Since becoming a mom

 

When you become a mom…..everything changes.  I don’t just mean your body either. I mean everything changes.

Your body does change. I have had two kids and still haven’t lost all the baby weight. It sucks. I also have more stretch marks than I have ever thought I would. Taste buds change. your sleep patterns change. The way you think changes.

If you had an anxiety or depression issue before kids, it changes as well. Before kids, my anxiety or depression level only rose due to stress. The more stressed I was the more depressed or anxious I was.

However, since having kids…. I get anxious over pretty much anything. I have days where I just feel down or blue, depressed. Now I work very hard to get thru these days so that it doesn’t affect my kids or those around me.

But when my first kid was born….something changed deep inside me.  My brother likes to say that I became a bitch. Because I would no longer allow him to run over me. I was stronger because I had this little person dependent on me. I had to be that person who would fight for her tooth and nail.

 

Becoming a mom… it is one the most amazing things that I could have ever asked for. I love it. I love my girls. I love how they made me grow and change. I was 19 when I got pregnant with my first kid. Because of her, I grew up. I didn’t become some couch jumping young adult with nothing going on in their life. The minute I had that positive pregnancy test in front of me. I knew. I knew that moment that I wanted to be a great mom. That I would fight tooth and nail to be that kind of mom. We literately started from the bottom. We were barely able to pay for a motel room each week. From there staying with friends and family. To our own apartment, then to staying with my mom, to a trailer and now owning our own home. I have fought for everything we have. For my kids. When I was little, we didn’t always have food, water, or lights. Things were difficult. I knew when I looked at my first pregnancy test that I wouldn’t ever let my kid know how it felt to be hungry because there was no food in the house. I didn’t care what kind of job I had to take,  I didn’t care about how many jobs I had to work. We were going to be okay.

My kids give me drive. They give me passion. They give me a reason. The person I am today, is because I became a mom.

 

What changes have you experienced since becoming a mom.  or dad

Good for mental health

 

I don’t know if you can tell that I decided to create this blog because I have a mental illness and there is such a stigma around mental health that it can make it hard to talk about it. That is why I decided to write about it. Write about me. My struggles. My issues. My anxiety. Because not only do I want to lend a hand in breaking the stigma like Mike Shinoda, Anna Shinoda and Talinda Bennington. But I feel better when I write about what is going on. It helps to get it out. I know you all could judge me. But what I have seen from the first time I started writing is that you guys do not judge. In fact, many of you are very understanding because what I am going through many of you have been through.

It is so amazing to know that other than my best friend, there are others like me. And I will continue to write as long as I can.

I find that writing about the things that make you depressed or anxious is a great exercise in the step to understanding what is your trigger. Notice that I didn’t say get better. or fix it. Because I will always have this battle. It is not something that you can just get over. Even though people like to assume that you can just get over it. You can’t. It is just impossible. There is a chemical imbalance in my brain that I don’t know can be fixed.

Writing allows you to describe what is wrong. What happened. And why it made you feel that way. Over time, writing will allow you to define what some of your triggers are. That way in the future, you may be able to either overcome the trigger or identify it so that you can make changes before it triggers you.

Either way, if you have a mental illness…. I suggest keeping a journal of when you have those bad days.

Perfection

 

Perfection and mental health. It is something that isn’t all to uncommon. I am pretty sure that everyone that suffers from mental health struggle with perfection. And it is harder when you know that you’re not normal. That there is something unbalanced in your brain. It’s not perfect.

 

My thing is… I like things done perfectly. Which is why helping my kid with a project that involves artsy stuff, I get very anxious. I am no where near an artsy person. I cannot draw. I cannot see a blank canvas and envision anything other than a blank canvas. Well that isn’t exactly true. I can imagine what it should look like but the execution isn’t my best quality…. Whenever, I try to do anything, it is never the way I imagine. However, when it comes to photography. I am great at that. I take some really great photos and I can edit them to look amazing. I love editing and that is why I started editing with a company called Mendr.

So when it comes to getting other things done, like a project or anything. If it is not perfect, my anxiety flies thru the roof. I just cannot cope. And it is really sad. Because I don’t like my kids to see me be that way. Which is usually why I excuse myself to go take a shower or I say that I need to go t the store so I can freak out without them seeing. However, sometimes my mind doesn’t comprehend that I need to excuse myself and have a little meltdown right where I was standing.

And the fact that I cannot use a hot glue gun without burning myself….turns into the mommy who uses bad words. That glue hurts like crap. And I don’t even see how I burn myself so much. I use all the precautions.

The perfectionist in me goes way beyond the art projects. When my house is a mess, it drives me crazy. If I have a dirty house or clothes just sitting in the dryer for days, it usually signifies that I am either having a anxious time or a depressed time. I think that’s what people really don’t understand about mental health. There are days where you just have a day of depression or anxiety. Like the other day, I started my work late because I was crying and there wasn’t any pin point to why exactly I was crying, I was just depressed and cried. So when I finally got to work and on the phone….. I said the wrong greeting. I messed it completely up. Said the wrong company. I beat myself up for the rest of the shift. I pride myself on having a customer service voice and being helpful and understanding. So when I make one little mistake, I take it seriously and personally. It is even worse when I have customers yelling at me or cussing at me when I didn’t do anything. I am just providing information.  (if you can’t tell I am a sensitive person.)

Like I said, it goes way beyond art projects and my agent at my insurance company knows this. So when he knows that I am coming in to talk about something he usually picks at me. I like the pens being one way. I also have to make sure that the cards are all aligned. It just kind of irks me when they’re not. So I’ll fix them……he’ll mess them up again. It is a silent battle that we have during the whole time I am there. He gets a kick out of it. But he’s not mean about it. So I don’t feel like he’s making fun of me. He’s actually trying to make me feel more comfortable with him so in case I really need my insurance company in the event of a wreck or something, I won’t feel so scared to call, like I was during my last wreck.

Does anyone else feel the uncontrollable need to be a perfectionist and when it isn’t perfect your anxiety/depression kicks up.

Kids chores

 

I haven’t really came across anyone who doesn’t have their kid do some type of chores. I have my kids do chores and when my nephews are here, I expect them to pitch in as well.

I am no maid.

Yes, I clean all the time, but when it comes to the girls’ room, that is their responsibility. So I thought I would write about the benefits of chores.

1.) Teaches them responsibilities.

I am the type of mom that if I go into the room and trip over a toy, that toy goes into toy jail. Especially if I told said kid to clean their room.  I also teach my kids that it is easier to clean up a few toys than a whole room. So that kind of teaches them that when they’re done with one toy and they’re no longer playing with it, then they should put it up before getting another one out.

The two year old hasn’t quite gotten the hang of things yet, but she does try to assist her sister on cleaning things up. Then there are days where the two year old decides that every toy should be on the floor.

My oldest, she has learned from chores that it is her responsibility to keep up with her toys because leaving them out could mean that toy gets taken away or broken.

2.) A sense of accomplishment.

I try to teach my oldest that I shouldn’t have to tell her to clean her room. That doesn’t always go over the way I want it. But then there are some days where I will be in the kitchen or doing something and she’ll tell me to come here and she has cleaned her room and made her bed without being told. She feels accomplished and as a parent who wants to inspire my kids…. I acknowledge that accomplishment.

3.) Delayed Gratification

We offer our oldest an allowance for doing chores without being asked. Now if we have to harp on her all the time, then she doesn’t get paid for it. However, there was one time where she had her cousin/best friend over and after they ate dinner, without being asked, she cleared the table and wiped it down. I was utterly proud. However, she doesn’t get her allowance the day of. And we don’t hand out actual physical cash because it can get lost. So what we do is keep a tally of the days she has done chores and if there are any extra bonuses. When we go to the store, she ask if she has enough money in her ‘imaginary bank’ to buy a toy. She asks if she has enough for a little, medium or large toy. If she doesn’t have enough, she simply says that she’ll have to work harder to earn the money and that maybe next time she will have enough to buy something.

4.) Self discipline

Chores teach kids self discipline. What that means to me is that if your kid is not responsible for the mess they make and only depend on others to clean up behind them, they’ll carry that into adult hood and could possibly live in a mess. Our oldest knows that if she makes the mess she has to clean it. She cannot go to granny’s or do any fun things if she has a mess left behind

It also teaches her to allow time to clean up. So that if she knows that she has to go to bed at 9 and brush her teeth at 8:30 then she will need to have her room cleaned up by 8 or else the next night her bed time will be moved up earlier.

5.) Independence

We never want our kids to grow up but as parents we need to make sure that we are teaching our children how to adult without us. That doesn’t mean make a 6 year old think and act like an 18 year old. No! What we’re really trying with chores is to teach them how to handle things independently and the amount of independence grows with age. A six year old is not expected to cook by themselves. However, my six year old does help set the table while I am cooking. It teaches her that meals such as dinner should be ate away from technology. She will put the plates out and get the water for everyone eating. Soon, as she grows older, she will be able to cook on her own. Right now, I let her help me cook. Her favorite thing to cook is eggs.

6.) Chores create teachable moments

When my kid was watching me do the dishes, she didn’t understand why I did them in a certain order. This allowed me to teach her why doing the greasy frying pans last is easier and better because it doesn’t transfer the grease to other dishes. Why does mommy vacuum after dusting? This allowed me to teach her that if you dust, the dust will fall on the floor. If you vacuum before dusting, then you will be vacuuming again. There are many teachable moments in chores, you just gotta let them come to you with the questions and be ready to answer.

7.) Good work ethics.

Chores teach good work ethics. Work smarter not harder. Sometimes my kid is very good at this and sometimes not so much. But she is still learning. There are days where if she has one toy out but wants to play with another, she will put the first toy away before getting the second. This allows for a less cleaning time and more play time. Now she’s only 6 so sometimes she still just pulls them all out. and that makes clean up harder but she still gets it done with no fuss.

8.) Finish what  you started

Chores are a great way to teach children to finish what they start. You’re clothes are just going to get dirty if you don’t put them up and dump them on the floor. The dishes won’t get washed if you just pile them on the table. This can transfer to school and later in life

9.) Respect

Chores is a great way for kids to learn respect. If they are responsible for their own items, then they will respect them more. Especially if doing chores allows them to buy items. Then they will have even more respect for those items because they worked hard for them.

10.) Finding fun

Chores have always been a tedious job. I, as an adult, still don’t like to do chores but I have to get them done anyway. But I find a way to make things fun. Especially when I have music playing and I’m dancing around. Kids look at the chores the same way. So it allows them to find a way to make something so boring and turn it into fun. Like who can get the most toys cleaned up the fastest.

Picky eaters

 

One of the biggest challenges that I have faced as a mom isn’t dirty diapers or sick kids. I have a natural maternal instinct so the sick kids I can handle. The dirty diapers comes with being a parent. What my challenge is….. Picky Eaters!

My oldest didn’t use to be a picky eater when she first started eating solid food. She was actually a vegetarian for 6 months. Wouldn’t touch anything meat related. So that made me a vegetarian for 6 months because there was no point in fixing two meals and financially it wasn’t worth two separate meals.

But then something changed when she was 2. She would only eat chicken nuggets, pizza, eggs, and pizza rolls. it was a battle to get her to eat anything else. Sometimes she would eat spaghetti but not the meat. She would pick that out. When I was working all the time, it was just easier to cave and give in to her pickiness than to actually fight to get her to eat something else. I was exhausted.

But when I became a home mom, I had more time to try to work things in. But if she could see it, you would forget about it. So there was half the battle. I know that you can shred cooked broccoli and hide it in mac n cheese but if she saw a speck of green she wouldn’t eat. That is where shakes came into. I could make a banana smoothie with spinach, put it in a cup that you couldn’t see thru with a straw and she loved it.

But I couldn’t hide everything and it got really hard. She loved carrots. But only the sweet kind you get from a Japanese restaurant. So I could use those and slowly decrease the sweetness and she didn’t know.

But as she got a little older and we were preparing for her to start her first year of school, we knew that if she wanted to eat school lunch she would have to expand her taste buds. And to do so, whenever I cooked food, she would have to eat a small bowl of what I cooked and if she didn’t like it she could find something else for dinner which usually consisted of pizza rolls, grilled cheese or chicken nuggets. However, to her surprise, she sometimes liked what I had cooked and asked for a second bowl. There are sometimes, I know she won’t eat what I cooked but per our agreement, she has to try it. I never give her too much because if she doesn’t like it then it is wasting food.

It probably isn’t the best way to fight the picky eater syndrome. But it is a start. She is seeing that there are other foods that she really likes, like chicken pie and lasagna soup. I even let her help meal plan. Where in the 60 meals I choose she gets to pick 10 of her all time favorites that are not grilled cheese, breakfast, chicken nuggets or pizza. Then of course we do have pizza nights all the time. Maybe twice a month. But we don’t order out pizza. That is for special occasions.

Nope. We sit together at the kitchen table and make our own pizza. And we make it stuffed crust. Even the two year old loves to help put cheese and pepperoni on the pizza.

The picky-ness hasn’t ended yet. But we are working on it. One meal at a time.

Not a babysitter

 

One thing that drives me insane is when people ask me if my husband will watch the kids. Like he has to be coaxed into spending time with the kids. Like he is some kind of baby sitter.

That is what kills me in today’s society. The mom’s are expected to devote their entire life to their kids. But when the mom wants to do something without their kids, they’re supposed to ask the father to babysit.

Like oh do you think their dad will watch them while you go out and do something. Or will their dad watch them while you go to work or to a friends.

That is not how things work in my family.

My husband is a dad, not a BABYSITTER.

When I need to run errands, and lets face it, errands are so much easier when its without the kids. Especially with a toddler. The getting them in and out of the car and carrying them into the store or place where you need to go is hard. Or going to the doctor. That isn’t something you want to do with a kid. But when there are things I need to do without the kids or things I want to do without them. I don’t ask my husband to babysit his kids. We talk about it.

Hey, I have plans for this Friday at 7pm. His response isn’t I guess I’ll watch the kids. No. He actually wants me to do things. He says go have fun. There is no asking him to watch OUR kids.

Being a dad means you share responsibilities for your kids. Being a dad means that you are there for your kids. You spend time with them, you make sure they have clean clothes, you make sure they eat. You are THERE. Not because the mom asked you to watch them.

See, my dad wasn’t a dad and he definitely wasn’t a babysitter because he was never around.  So I knew that when I had kids it was going to be with someone who actually wanted to spend time with his kids. Not as a babysitter but as a daddy. Someone who wanted to have alone time with them. Daddy daughter days. Luckily, I found that. My husband is a dad. He never has to babysit his kids. It is his responsibility to be there for them just like it is mine. When he wants to do things he doesn’t ask if I will watch the kids. We discuss things. He tells me he wants to have plans with said friend or do something and asks if I have any plans that day. He doesn’t ask permission to go. That’s not what I am implying. He makes sure that I don’t have to go do anything.

 

Is preschool important

 

With our first kid, we didn’t go the preschool route because we were in between houses and weren’t in the school district that we wanted her to go to kindergarten. With the situations that we were in, we didn’t have the resources to get the most out of preschool.

However, that has not stopped her from learning. We worked with her when I was pregnant with our youngest. We went over sight words, both reading and writing them. We went over songs and make believe was always our favorite past time. We play games. We role played. We did a lot of things right. And it has showed so much with this past year she was in first grade doing second grade work. I am so very proud of her as a mother should.

But, we are in the district now that we want our kids in. So why wouldn’t we put our youngest in preschool in two years? This isn’t a post about why we shouldn’t do preschool. It is just a discussion. Just a thought process. I actually found two great articles that describe the importance of preschool and I think I will be using them in my decision.

Here are these two links

Why Preschool is Important

The 13 Key Benefits of Early Childhood Education: A Teacher’s Perspective

I have always been an advocate for teachers. I do not think that they are paid enough. If you break down the hours they work and how much they’re paid once or twice a month. It is less than minimum wage. And if you think about it. When you wanna go out, you hire a baby sitter. That baby sitter doesn’t teach your kid anything. They just watch your kid for a few hours. You pay that babysitter more than the minimum wage. I know when I baby sat in my teens, I was paid about 8-10 an hour. Minimum wage where I am is 7.25. And teachers, who are teaching your kids valuable information, working to shape the future of your child are barely making minimum wage. It is ridiculous. But that is a different topic.

 

My mother in law is a teacher. So I know the struggle that she goes through.

But with her being a teacher. That provides me some advantages if we don’t go the preschool route.

Each child learns different. Which is why I am having a difficult time with deciding if we should do the preschool route. The good thing is, I have about 2 years to decide.

My oldest can be a timid child. She shows a lot of fears when it comes to new things. She approaches them cautiously. Kind of like me. However, my youngest shows no fear at all. She will jump in head first. She has done things that her sister didn’t do at that age.

It was easy teaching my oldest to write and read and math. But will my youngest be harder? She is stubborn. She is my mini me. So I am wondering if that will cause teaching her to be harder than it was for her sister. I mean I hope not. But it could possibly happen. Another scenario is that she wants to be just like her sister (which is how and why she does so much now to do just what her sister is) that it will be easy for her to learn these things. I mean she’s 2 and she’s already trying to sing the abc’s It is not completely coherent but you can tell what she is singing.

I think education is completely important. I guess that I will have to see how things go before making a hard decision. Maybe try teaching her things between now and preschool time to see. I know either way, Preschool would benefit her. It’s more about being emotionally ready. Both her and myself.

Only time will tell.