What Stay-at-Home-Mom’s Want You to Know.

It’s no lie that every mom has a tough job. No matter if you are a working mom or a stay at home mom, someone always has something to say. I never realized all of the misconceptions there were about being a stay at home mom. I also did not realize how many people had an option about my choice to do so.

  1. Not all of us are staying home because we want to. I know, I know you think it might be an option, and often it is. But you have to look at the financial matter to staying home as well. Having kids is expensive, between diapers, clothing, feeding them, money just blows in one window and out the other. Having to pay a daycare or babysitter X amount of money each week puts a huge dent in what you bring home. On top of the gas to get to work and any other expenses you may have, staying home might actually be a financially smart move in the long run.
  2. Not all of us are “Crunchy moms”. I had no idea what this term even meant until like 4 months ago.  I am a former breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering mom and had no idea there was a term for that. But I have also been the mom who used disposable, pushed the kids around in the stroller, and currently giving my 13 month old formula. My kids are smart, happy, and that is what’s important to me.
  3. It’s more lonely than you think. Not all of us have mommy tribes that play date every Wednesday. Most of us don’t get to go on dates with our significant others because not many people offer to watch the kids. Getting time for myself is hard, most people think because I do stay home that I don’t have the need for a babysitter or to do anything alone. It can get depressing not having someone to talk to.
  4. We don’t just spend our husbands money. Actually, if you need a serious 101 in budgeting, find a stay at home mom. Our money saving tricks and tips are the best around. Our designer yoga pants, we bought them on clearance. (little SAHM joke for you) But in all seriousness, living on one income is not easy, I have gotten pretty creative with my money saving skills.
  5. We actually love it. I know it seems like we complain a little. But deep down we wouldn’t want our lives any other way. Being a stay at home mom has been the best gift my husband could give me. I love having the open ability to do anything and everything with my kids. Being home for the first words, steps, being able to video tape them for my husband to see. I couldn’t be happier with my decision to stay home.

Being a stay at home mom has so many up and downs. You learn new limits that you didn’t know you had, you also learn some amazing life skills. I wear my badge with pride, and I hope you do to.

What Postpartum Depression Did to Me.

 

If you have children, you have probably been told about Postpartum Depression. But have you been told about the actual dangers around Postpartum Depression? I wasn’t.  Having my first child was supposed to be a joyous occasion for my husband and I; for the most part it was. With all of the day dreams I had, I was excited to step into my new role as a mother. After having a major miscarriage the September before my son was born I knew I wanted to be a mother. I fell into a really bad depression and could hardly function. By January we were pregnant and overwhelmed with joy. I was taken off of work and put on bed rest due to having a history of complications staying pregnant. We thought everything was finally looking up for us, what I never told anyone is that my depression was getting worse. I played it off like I was fine and even started to believe that myself.

As my due date grew closer I became more anxious. Not about having my son finally with us, in fact it was about everything else. We lived in the neighborhood both my mother and I grew up in with the same neighbors yet I started locking my doors, even during the day. I was constantly scared someone was going to break into my apartment. I always had it in my head that my husband was cheating on me even though I knew he wasn’t. I had never been an anxious person before and couldn’t understand what was happening to me.

After Emmett was born, I was happy for a while. I was relieved to be home with my husband and to start my new life as a stay at home mom. Two weeks later the crying started and I couldn’t stop. All I did was cry, I hated myself, I hated everyone. I felt like I had let this little boy down already, I knew it wasn’t true, but the thoughts kept coming. Emmett was around three months old when I finally called my doctor and told her about how I was feeling, she confirmed it was postpartum depression. I started an anti depressant and everything seemed to be getting better. I wasn’t as angry, I was feeling productive in my role as a mother and a wife. I was working out and losing all of the weight I had gained, I was starting to be my “old goofy self” again.

The medication helped me get my life back on track and I was truly happy. By Emmett’s first birthday we had gotten pregnant again, we wanted our kids close in age but didn’t think it would happen as soon as it did. I had to stop my medication immediately because of the effects it could have on the baby during pregnancy. I was not informed I needed to wean off of the medication and soon became angry again. The stress of pregnancy and a toddler was wearing me down. I was sick constantly and Emmett was getting to be a lot on me, even though he was just being a normal toddler. I once again started getting anxious over everything and could hardly function. I was falling deeper and deeper into my depression and anger and couldn’t see what it was doing to me.

Three months before Norva was due Matthew accepted a job that was two hours from where we lived. This meant he was going to be gone during the week and only home on weekends. Because we only had one vehicle I had to pick him up Fridays and drop him off Sundays. It was a lot on my heavily pregnant body and mind. Especially being alone with Emmett during the week. I had a lot of help between my cousin who lived with me , my sister who lived next to me, and my mother who came almost every week, but it wasn’t the same as having my husband around.

When Norva arrived I thought that all of the depression would finally be over. I wanted to so badly to believe that, but it was so different from what actually happened.

My depression hit an all time high after having my daughter. I was lashing out at friends and family, I was angry and yelling all of the time, all my husband and I did was fight, and I never saw any of this. I couldn’t understand what was going on around me, I couldn’t see what I was doing to the people who loved me. I couldn’t even see the toll it was taking on my kids to have a mother like that. A mother who was always upset or mad, a mother who would get frustrated at the smallest things, a mother who would be in a bad mood all day because of something silly. My son had started to bite his nails and I couldn’t make any connection with my daughter who was only a few months old at the time. Breast feeding became more and more difficult, all I wanted to do was give up. I didn’t feel like I was good enough to be a mother, I felt like they would be better off with out me, that my husband would be fine with out me. I went between thoughts of suicide and running away from my family. In this time frame we made a major move. It is is where everything got worse and worse for me. It was winter time, I was secluded in a town where I didn’t know anyone, my husband was still gone for days at a time, and I was alone with two small kids and no vehicle. I had no help and felt like I had no allies. This is when I knew I had a problem and began looking up the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. What I found is that I didn’t have the signs for just postpartum depression, I also had the signs of postpartum anxiety.

Just as I was figuring this out, I was always making excuses as to why I couldn’t get help. Some excuses were even so far fetched that I didn’t even believe them. I knew I needed to get help, but I felt like such a failure not just my kids and husband, but to myself as well. I no longer recognized the person looking back at me, I could no longer recognize the sound of my own voice, and I couldn’t place who was thinking these thoughts about suicide, there was no way that could have been me. I spent so many nights crying trying to figure out where the real me had gone and looking for any trace of her I might still have left. I could never find the happiness I once had, or the passion, things I used to love doing I now hated or couldn’t do anymore. I hated everything and everyone, mostly myself and what I had become.

In March of 2017 we made another major move, this time closer to my husband work. This meant we would be together as a family everyday and I would be able to get the help I needed. But at first I didn’t. The first two weeks I felt amazing, I was happy, we were all together as a family again. I was getting out and exploring my new town and meeting the neighbors. My postpartum depression and anxiety soon came back with vengeance. I became so angry with my husband for moving me so far from my home. I was so angry that I had no one I could call to sit with the kids for an hour while I de-stressed. I felt even more secluded than I did when I literally had no one. To say my marriage was on thin ice would be an understatement, we were both just waiting for the other to say it was over. Once again, instead of getting help, I just blamed everyone else, this time my husband got the worse of my lashing out. He no longer wanted to be around me, we both could feel the tension and knew something needed to give.

When our marriage hit an all time low and I left for a weekend, I would be lying if I said I didn’t like the lack of responsibility I felt. It was a much needed break that gave me time to get the clarity to see my life, where it had gone, and what I needed to do about it all. I decided when I returned back home I would be calling around for a therapist to finally do something about this. I told my husband of my plan and that I would require his help and support to make all of this work. I made sure we were on the same page 100% before I jumped into anything.

After a week of calling around, I found a therapist I felt comfortable meeting with. We have had several meetings since and I can honestly say it is doing so much good for me. I told her about all of the feelings I had and my thoughts to look into medication. She suggested working out as well so I joined a gym that week. I also recently started a new anti-depressant and can feel such progress in my life and see my relationships improving. I am no longer lashing out at people, my mood has improved and I actually feel happy. I am making huge strides in the gym and my physical well being, all around I feel like I am getting back to normal.

When ever I talk to people about this time in my life, I am completely honest with them. I don’t want anyone to go through what I have been dealing it. I know the strides I am currently making are not a quick fix and that this will take time. But I am ready for that fight and get my life back.

If you or someone you know has had a child in the past 12 months and are showing any signs or symptoms, please call your doctor. You don’t have to fight this alone. According to http://postpartumprogress.org  15% of women are affected by postpartum depression.

Postpartum Depression signs:

  • Excessive crying
  • Sever panic and anxiety attacks
  • Intense anger or irritability
  • Difficulty bonding with baby
  • Thoughts of death of suicide

Postpartum Psychosis signs:

  • Confusion
  • Obsessive thoughts about baby
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions and hallucinations

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/symptoms/con-20029130

Thank you for taking the time to read my experience with postpartum depression and what it did to me. I hope this post can help you or someone you know. Having a good support system is so important. Remember you are loved and you are worth it.

38 Simple ways to bond as a Family

When you think about spending time with your family, you might think about dinner time where you discuss your day, Sunday evening board games, or camping on the weekends. It all might have been so fun or relaxing, but it also helped you build a strong bond with you parents, siblings, and other members of your family. As children grow they learn everything about life from their parents, having a strong bond helps children grow more confident in themselves. It has also been suggested that children who have steady positive interaction with their parents will less likely have negative behaviors or suffer from depression.

Often the biggest challenge families have when trying to set aside family time is when and how to do it. The great thing about spending time with your family and bonding is that it can literally happen when ever and where ever. It could be something big like a road trip or something small like taking 15 minutes a day to talk. Many people seem to think that spending time with the family has to be routine, it is a nice thought, but not ever family has that option.

If you have ever worked in a public setting such as restaurant, gas station, stores, etc, you know that you don’t always have a set schedule; you might not even have the same days off each week. Some people even work over night which leaves very little time during the day to sleep and do other daily living activities, others might even work opposing shifts as their S/O. So how do you plan to spend time with family when you live an unconventional schedule? You have to be creative with the things you do.

  1. Plan trips and events a month in advance
  2. Check out local events and festivals
  3. Research your family genealogy
  4. Write notes to each other
  5. Find time to read together
  6. Talk walks
  7. Tell your kids stories about your childhood
  8. Ask for their help with meal planning
  9. Play card or board games
  10. Invent your own family game. Example; Trivia about your family
  11. Color and draw together
  12. Start a family journal
  13. Camp out or camp “in”
  14. Video chat
  15. Learn about a country and its cultures
  16. Do crafts
  17. Take an interest in your children’s interests
  18. Bake or cook together
  19. Find a new show to watch each week
  20. Start a family group message or text
  21. Start a family scrap book
  22. Play dress up at grandma and grandpas
  23. Volunteer
  24. Talk in accents all day
  25. Spend time with each person individually
  26. Ask your kids what they want to do
  27. Make Holiday decor
  28. Simply just talk to each other
  29. Build a fort or tree house
  30. Catch fire flies
  31. Make goal charts and help each other meet their goals
  32. Plant flowers or a vegetable garden
  33. Take a class together
  34. Stargaze
  35. Watch the sun rise or set
  36. Go to an SCA event or a Renaissance fair
  37. Go berry picking
  38. Have a dance party

I hope this list helps you create beautiful memories and have some summer fun!