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Monday, November 28, 2011

Let's Be Real

I mentioned last week that I was feeling down. 
Thankful, but a little down in the dumps. 
It wasn't for attention, I was just being honest. 
And, I said that I was going to put my feelings out there to get them off my chest, so that's what this is. 
It's not meant to be depressing or attention-seeking......really it's for myself. I want to write about how I'm feeling so that I can make sense of my thoughts and emotions, and hopefully come out in the end with some closure or maybe a sense of peace. I have no direction or plan for this post, so hang on tight ;)

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health ailments plague my family. I try to be aware of my own tendencies so that I can do my best to rise above and continue to be me. I know all too well (both from work and personal experience) what these ailments can do to a person. I thank God that most of the time I am aware of my mental state.....I can "catch" things before they get me too off track. I'm also thankful for family and friends.....often times they are the ones to notice a change in me. A gentle nudge is usually all it takes to get me back.

Fall and Winter are when I can usually feel myself sink into a slump. I generally like the dreary PNW weather, but at the same time, the continually-grey skies and rain and gloom can really do a number on a person. This kind of weather (and lack of sunlight) makes it so nice to cozy up inside the house and just be....."cozy". But, being cozy and cooped up can also lead to sadness, loneliness, and a little OCD for me. My mind races about all the things I "should" be doing......and sometimes I drive myself a little nuts!

This year, the blues caught me off guard. I haven't had to deal with them for a few years (I think), so I guess I just wasn't expecting it. Also, I think I had many more catalysts this year. Just as the weather here was turning sour, my emotions and mental capacity were all focused on a few very intense topics: money (or lack there of), expanding our family (the prospect of), and direction and purpose in life (for both me and Scott). I seemed to constantly be thinking of these three subjects throughout the day, in one form or another, until they ultimately consumed my thoughts. 

Days pass where I simply cannot focus on mopping the floors, because I'm too stressed out about how we are going to pay our bills. In turn, the dirty floors are begging to be mopped, and my inability to complete simple household tasks makes me feel insignificant as a wife and mother. It's funny how quickly a simple task like mopping the kitchen floor can be turned into something much bigger, right? Add to all this that Christmas is quickly approaching, and my mood hit the bottom of the canyon. 
Also? My patience flew out the window. I find myself snapping at my husband and's ugly. 
I think that's the part I hate the most about myself right impatience. 

I know that our financial situation will improve soon. But the term "soon" is relative. I mean, Scott will be done with school in six months, but right now that seems like an eternity! I'm trying to stay calm. We've been able to pay our bills so far, and we've worked out a plan for Christmas gifts that I'm comfortable with (I hate not being able to give gifts, so it was important to me to factor that into our budget no matter how hard it might seem)......we will get through this! I just pray for some self-control for myself when it comes to money......I know that I would be less stressed if I spent less......I just need to make that happen.

Then there's the whole "expanding our family" business. Plain and simple: I WANT A BABY! It's clear as day to me, and my body screams for it daily. It's just the next step for me (and hopefully my family). BUT, Scott has reservations. Not about the idea of having another baby, but about the timing. 
If I am being honest, he's right. 
Right now is just not a good time to be adding to our family (see paragraph above). The money we do have would only seem like even less if we add another mouth to feed to this already-too-small house. 
I am willing to make the sacrifices it would take to have another little one right now, but I guess it's fair if Scott isn't. I mean, it sucks.....but it's fair. 
He's being reasonable and wants to wait. Wait until he graduates, gets a job, and we all have good insurance. Fair enough. But, it's just not what my heart and head are telling me. 

Finally, there's an idea I've been stuck on for months (20 months, to be exact). I had a hard time going back to work after I had Ellie. I never wanted to be a working mom. I always dreamed that I would stay at home with my children until they were in school. I knew throughout my pregnancy that I would have to go back to work. I'm so thankful that I've been able to go back to work for only part time. It took a while, but I finally got used to leaving Ellie for 20 hours each week. It's not fun, and I still hate leaving her......wondering what she's doing and if she said any new words while I was away. But, it's definitely gotten easier. 
The one thing that has not gotten easier is finding my identity. And, after being back at work for 20 months, I still feel like I'm neither a "working mom" or a "full time mom". I'm caught in the middle. 
There are good parts about being caught in the middle, like the fact that I can relate to both my working mom friends, and my stay at home mom friends. But for the most part, it's just confusing for me.
 I crave to have an identity that I can throw myself at whole-heartedly. 
I mean, obviously I take being a mom very serious. Ellie is my whole world, and I simply count down the hours as they pass while I'm at work. But being a stay at home mom would be completely different. I feel like my time at home with Ellie is spent somewhat distracted. I'm constantly reminded of the fact that I'm not a "full time mom", and that hurts. 
I know that Ellie doesn't know the difference, and she's not any worse off for it.......but still.

So there it is, laid all out for the world to see. 
I feel better after the long weekend I had with my family and some close friends. For people to ask if I was okay meant a lot to me. To be able to admit that I'm feeling down and there's really nothing anyone can do about it.......felt freeing. To write this all out and compartmentalize my "problems" (how OCD of me) feels even better. Just admitting what's bugging me somehow makes my burdens seem lighter. I really have no answers or solutions, and tomorrow might be darker than today was.......but I'm here, I'm aware, and I'm determined to make my life as good as I want it to be.



Nani Iiams said...

I am so there right now, it's been hard to write about it. You hit everything on point. The stress, the baby fever, the moodiness. the only thing I haven't don eis go back to work and i think I need to because other stress. I know things are okay and they will get better but soon is just driving me nuts.

nicole. said...

aw lady. so many can relate....

in time things will get better. i used to stress about all sorts of things and then awful things started happening to people close to me - it wasnt until then that i realized, regardless of how little {or lots} we have.. we truly are blessed.

p.s. i feel you on the baby ;)

Kiara Buechler said...

It is so good that you are so aware of how you are feeling, and able to make adjustments to pull yourself out of a funk.

On the baby thing, I don't think there is ever the perfect time to have a baby. Things could be perfect when you get pregnant, but drastically change in the 10 months until birth. Or, you could get pregnant at what seems like the worst time, but by the time baby comes you are in a better spot. I say go for it. We aren't getting any younger. Plus, I am shooting for January, it would be great to have a pregnancy buddy, since all my other mama friends are due in April/May (trying not to get sad that I should be also, sniffle sniffle).

melissa rohr said...

we're here for you if you need ANYTHING :)
i am kinda glad tim puts his foot down about a baby, like we have talked seems i am more on the no fence and it is probably a good thing, ha!
time will fly by and you will be pregs in no time :)

Wendy said...

I feel like you were reading everything in my head as I read this. I can relate soooo much! We're struggling financially as well. Luckily we have enough to pay our bills and get us through Christmas, but we aren't able to save much for the house that we would eventually like to own. And we are talking about having another baby as well, but it's hard when you know you are barely making it financially as it is. But I'm like you, I'd make the sacrifices to give Hannah a little sister or brother. I think it is important.

And everything you said about wanting to be a stay at home mom...I'm right there everyday. It breaks my heart to put Hannah to bed at night and know that I won't see her again until 4pm the next day. But I do it because I have no other choice.

I keep praying for some answers, and for something to change so we can have the life we want. It's so hard because I don't know how to fix things. But I truly do believe that things will work out the way they should.

Just remember that you are doing everything you can for your family and you are a damn good mother because of it.

Hugs to you, friend.