The truth in my pain

There was once a time when my children didn’t overwhelm my very being. When I wasn’t short tempered and impatient. When I could clean and cook and do fun stuff with them. When everyday was an adventure with them and not just a day to get through. When I loved every moment of being a mom and never wondered why I had kids. When I just knew.

And then depression entered my life. Now some days are good days. But most days aren’t. Most days are just days to get through. Now I find myself frustrated and annoyed by tantrums that I used to work through with them. I find myself allowing more screen time. I take them to the park less.

I write this with a heavy heart and tears running down my cheeks. Alex starts school in a month. The last days of having him home with me all day everyday are upon us. And I can’t muster up the strength to enjoy them. I feel trapped in my weaknesses.

I love my kids more then words can possibly express. But lately I wonder if they know that. If I am capable of showing them that. It hurts to think I might be failing them. To know I’m not being the best I can be. And not know how to fix it.

I feel so much guilt when I raise my voice. Or snap at them. Or show my annoyances.

I dont write this for your sympathy or to search for words of encouragement. I write this because I feel alone. But I can’t be the only mom who feels this. I hope my confessions can make even one mom feel a little less alone.

Whoever you are, you are not alone.

Counting down to Christmas

Since December 1 the kids have been receiving nightly visits from Billy the Elf. It has been a blast! Billy is not an elf on the shelf. In fact, the kids never see him. Elves are far too busy making toys to hang out on our shelf, at least in my opinion! Billy brings us an activity, craft, or treat every day that we can enjoy together. We’ve made gingerbread trees, snowman faces on paper plates, foam gingerbread men, pipe cleaner candy canes, ornaments for the tree… Well you get the point! The elf also changes our ‘days til Christmas’ board so the new number is showing every morning.
I have LOVED doing this with the kids. I love how Nick is recognizing the numbers, how Zoey’s fine motor skills have improved putting the perler beads on the pipe cleaners, how Alex is starting to get an understanding for the concept of time… But most of all, I love hanging out and doing Christmas activities with the kids. I’m looking forward to Christmas Eve, when Billy leaves them pjs and dvds so we can have a pj party and green and red pancakes for supper.
Christmas is magical.
From our home to yours, I hope the magic of the season finds you and brings you the joy its bringing us ❤
Love hugs and more to come later!
Lynn

Christmas Traditions

Its December!! And with that comes Christmas! I love Christmas. The togetherness, family, lights, traditions. This year is a little different for us then most years since we are living close to my family which means we won’t be spending the holidays alone, like we usually do. Which is going to be absolutely fantastic!
Last year I introduced the concept of Billy the Elf to my kids. Billy isn’t an elf on the shelf. Elves are too busy making toys to hang out at our house all day everyday. Billy is an elf who pops over every night while the kids sleep to leave them a Christmas activity for us to do together.
Of course that means that I spend November cruising Pinterest for a bunch of Christmas crafts and activities and then go through our craft supplies to make sure we have what we need. Our elf leaves everything we need to do a craft or activity in our ‘elf bag’ which is just a crocheted bag that I made and he changes the number on our countdown to Christmas board. Sometimes, when he has time, he leaves a letter for the kids.
I love making memories and having traditions for the kids to grow up with! I can’t wait to enjoy the holiday season with them! Our elf bag is just one of our many traditions. What are some of yours?

Love, hugs and more to come later!
Lynn

I can’t win

Lately I feel like Hubs and I have been struggling like crazy. I can’t seem to find a balance when it comes to helping him cope.
There are things he needs help with. I get that. The medication he is on to help him with his pains affects him mentally.
There were days he was forgetting to take his pill, or unsure of whether he took them. He decided to text my phone whenever he took his pill. Which worked… Mostly. Except when he forgot to text me. I found that he was relying heavily on me to remember if he took his pill/pay attention to his every move. So I bought him a 7 day am/pm pill dispenser. Now there is a visual he can use to track it himself. Then the problem became that he would forget his pill and remember it when it was too late to take it. So again, Lynn to the rescue. His alarm now goes off at 845 am and pm to remind him. And again at 945 am and pm, just in case.
He and I got into an argument today. Because he was supposed to go enroll at the university and he hasn’t. When I asked about it, he spouted off his reasons for not going… I hadn’t told him how to get there (he hadn’t asked, and can use Google Maps without me) He forgot and I hadn’t reminded him. He thought I was going to email/call them.
I kind of lost it at him at that point. I’m his wife. I’m willing to help him. But I’m not his mother. I explained that he needs to take ownership for himself. But I’m frustrated. I’m annoyed. I’m saddened. And most of all… I feel guilty.
I love this man. More then I can possibly describe in a mere blog post. I want to help him. Care for him. But I want to be his wife. Not his care taker. Its so… Draining. I find myself getting annoyed more and more. I find myself surrounded by happiness less and less. I tell myself it’ll get better once he’s in school and productive… But… What if its not? I know the divorce rate for chronic pain sufferers is high. And I’m scared. I want to work on this with him, but I’m tired. I’m going to Edmonton alone in a couple weeks for a weekend. I’m hoping I find perspective. Because right now I don’t feel like I have it.

Love, hugs and more to come later
Lynn

There’s No Buddy Like a Brother

Alex: ‘Nick! You’re a hero! You got the car from under the couch’ 
Nick: ‘Alex. No’
Alex: ‘No? How come?’
Nick: *shakes head*
Alex: ‘Oh Nick. You’re a super power. You save the day.’
Nick: *giggles*

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I seriously love listening to the boys talk and play together.

Love, hugs and more to come later!
Lynn

In Honor of ‘I Support You’

As part of World Breastfeeding Week, Suzanne Barstone of Fearless Formula Feeder, Kim Simon of Mama By The Bay and Jamie Lynne Grumet of I Am Not the Babysitter are encouraging all mom’s to stand up and say ‘I support you’ to all other moms regardless of their feeding choices.  

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The “I Support You” movement aims: 1) To bridge the gap between formula-feeding and breastfeeding parents by fostering friendships and interactions. 2) To dispel common myths and misperceptions about formula feeding and breastfeeding, by asking parents to share their stories, and really listening to the truth of their experiences. 3) To provide information and support to parents as they make decisions about how to feed their children. 4) To connect parents with local resources, mentors, and friends who are feeding their children in similar ways.

 

As part of the ‘I support you’ movement, these wonderful women are encourage fellow bloggers to interview their ‘opposites’ and participate in a blog hop.

As an exclusively formula-feeding momma, I chose to do two interviews. I chose to interview Elise of Persephone: Parent, an exclusively breast-feeding momma to Baby E and Jaclyn, a momma who breastfed her two daughters T and K for different lengths of time and had two different experiences.

This was my interview with Elise:

1) What was your original plan for feeding your child? How does that compare with how you are currently feeding your child?

I always planned to breastfeed. Or hoped to, anyway. It was a bit rocky in the first few weeks where I did give my son a few bottles of formula, but with the help of fellow bloggers I stuck it out!

2) What is the best part of how you feed your child? The worst?

Cynically, the best part is it’s free and easy now. I don’t have to remember to sterilise bottles, buy formula or take some with me when we go out. If I forget to buy dinner, we order a take away. I couldn’t do that for baby Elvis.

The worst part is sometimes finding places to feed. Just yesterday I went somewhere new in town on my own. I found some public toilets with a baby change room. The room was dirty and there was no lock, but it was too cold to do it outside. If I bottle fed, it would have been easier to find a place when I was alone without prying eyes!

Another bad thing is that apparently formula fed babies sleep longer overnight and sooner. I’d loooove more sleep!

3) What judgements on how you feed your child are the most hurtful?

I don’t think I’ve experienced anything really hurtful. Breastfeeding is very much encouraged in England. I did have a MIL ask if I was breastfeeding purely to lose weight. Uh, no!

4) Do you feel that you were supported in your choice?

Yes. Incredibly so. My husband made it clear he wanted me to breastfeed, but would have supported me if I had a true reason to give up. He knows exactly when to push me, when not to and we tend to both agree on many things.

My mum never breastfed me, but my cousin did her 3 boys and whilst we’re not exactly close I sent her plenty of tearful texts in the first few weeks which she responded to immediately!

5) What would help you to feel supported/understood in your choice?

I feel perfectly supported in my choice, but would have preferred different support in the hospital after I gave birth. I really didn’t enjoy my post natal hospital stay or the staff!

6) Think 20 years into the future. If you could give your child one message about how you chose to feed him, what would it be?

Now if I’d had a daughter I’d like to think I could be really supportive to her! I’ll tell him that, at the time (because professionals are always changing their mind!) breast milk was “the best” for him and that I stuck it out for as long as was best/I could. I tried to do my best for him from before even day one!

This was my interview with Jaclyn:

1) What was your original plan for feeding each of your children? How did that compare with how you fed them?

With both girls I had full intentions of breastfeeding both. Both pregnancies were induced and rough labours, second ending in a csection, both leading to a 5 day delay in my milk coming in. With my first I did for about 6 weeks at that point I switched her to formula as I felt she wasn’t getting enough and my milk supply was dwindling. With my second I was able to breastfeed no problem for 7 months.

2) What is the best part of how you fed each of your children? The worst?

The best part about formula feeding my first was that my husband was able to have a strong bond with her as we took turns doing night feeds. With my second her and I had a stronger bond as it was just me feeding her. The worst with my first was we didn’t have as strong of a mother daughter bond I had anticipated as dad was doing feeding just as much, with my second it was hard during the summer. She would cry from the being hungry but too hot to feed. Took a while but she was able to drink breastmilk from a bottle.

3) What judgements on each way of feeding were the most hurtful?

With both there wasn’t any personal judgement on formula or breastfeeding. The only judgement I received was from different facebook groups saying one was better than the other.

4) Do you feel that you were supported in your choices?

The only support I had in breastfeeding with my first was my husband and my family. With my second I had a lot more supportive friends around which was a huge encouragement and a big reason I feel my milk didn’t dwindle like the first time.

5) What would help you to feel supported/understood in your choices?

A way to help people feel supported in either formula or breastfeeding is to have an understanding that you are doing what’s best for your child. One of my closest friends personally didn’t like breastfeeding but she didn’t care that I did. She knew that’s what i preferred just like I knew she preferred formula. If there was a bigger acceptance of both that would be the best support.

6) Think 20 years into the future. If you could give your children one message about how you chose to feed them, what would it be?

My message to my girls in the future is to do what they feel most comfortable with. Seek help and understanding if they are not aware so they can make the best choice for them and their children.

It makes me happy that both of the women I chose to interview as my opposites had such a positive experience. To both of them I say ‘I support you.’ To all the moms out there who choose to breastfeed. I support you. To all the moms who choose formula. I support you. To all the moms out there who need to change their plan and find something new that works. I support you. I support all moms and all feeding choices. Why? Because ultimately as long as our babies are fed, loved, healthy and growing, there can be no wrong way.  

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I am lucky that I was also one of the lucky ones who didn’t face a lot of judgement for my choices. The people who did judge me for it, weren’t important in my life and for the most part it was easy to remember why I made the choices I did. Seeing my babies growing, thriving and healthy definitely helped me through that. I hope that all Moms can remember that we are all doing the best we can. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my babies didn’t come with a handbook. We need to continue encouraging and supporting one another. 

The best way to counteract hate is by drowning it in a sea of change. The tide is rising, and we can float above the negativity and fear; push down the us-versus-them bullshit and let it sink to the bottom, where it belongs; lure it to its death with a siren song of I support you, sung far and wide.

-Suzanne Barston

 

Love, hugs and more to come later

Lynn

*All interview answers appear exactly as they were given to me with no editing. The words are those of the moms I interviewed*

A Valuable Lesson

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I have seen this picture before. But it has never, ever meant as much to me as it does right now. This morning I learned something that I thought I knew. I learned a lesson that I hope I never forget. 

We leave to head back east on Monday after spending the last 5.5 weeks at my parents house. I have tons of laundry to do, packing to do etc. And I won’t have time to do it Saturday or Sunday. That leaves today. So this morning I got my coffee and planned on sitting and drinking it while I folded laundry. 

Alex was having a bad morning. He didn’t want to share. His version of playing nice was pushing and kicking his brother and taking all the toys away from his brother. It was rough. Normally I don’t have to intervene, but this morning I obviously did. Eventually I had enough of reminding him and then having to take the toy back from Alex to give to Nick. I didn’t yell (which, those following my progress with the Orange Rhino challenge will know, is important) but when he started throwing a tantrum, I took him by his hand and walked him into the bedroom to have some, obviously much needed, alone time. 

Over the monitor I could hear him. ‘Momma, come cuddle with Alex. Please Momma. Cuddle. Alex sad’ It was heartbreaking. I looked at the laundry. I looked at my coffee. And I started walking towards the bedroom. At first I was upset. My coffee was going to be cold. I had a rough night with Zoey. All I wanted was a hot cup of coffee. Then it hit me. All he wanted was to know he was loved. He just wanted some Momma time. Without his brother or sister. Just him and Momma. My coffee might cool off, but I could reheat it, or get a new one and enjoy my hot coffee later. My laundry was still going to be sitting there waiting to be folded. Alex couldn’t, wouldn’t wait for me. He shouldn’t have to. 

I went into the bedroom where Alex was lying in my bed on his Daddy’s pillow. When he seen me, he patted my pillow and said ‘Momma lie down with Alex?’ So I did. He had a toy car in his hand that he told me all about. Then we talked about how hitting and pushing hurts people. And how we show love instead of hurting. We cuddled. We hid under the blanket from the ‘dinosaur’ that only Alex could hear coming. 

I spent 10 minutes in the bed with him. That was 2 hours ago. Since then, I drank my coffee. I folded my laundry. And Alex? He has been playing nice with Nick. Sharing the toys and smiling. 

The fact I needed to learn this brings tears to my eyes. But I have learned it now, and I will be a better mom for it. 

Love, hugs and more to come later

Lynn