Friday, June 30, 2017

Because I LOVE reading books. Because I LOVE to learn. And maybe you do too!

So this book...

A Mother's Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul

By Holly Pierlot

About the vocation of MOTHERHOOD. Why didn't anyone tell me about this book before I had kids?!?! Babies don't come with an instruction manual, unfortunately. But this book is the closest thing you can read on how to live a happy, fulfilling, stress-free life with kids.

Before I read this book, I thought kids and chaos went together like Peanut Butter and Jelly. Handling chaos is not one of my strengths. For that reason, I've always been attracted to the religious life. My Aunt and Godmother is a Dominican Sister of the St. Cecilia Congregation in Nashville, TN. I thought I was called to be a religious sister when I was in college. But, long story short, I was just attracted to the tranquility, the schedule, the beauty, the simplicity, the apparent peace and joy that comes with that certain kind of closeness to Our Lord. There was no way to achieve that "spirituality" being a mom..........or was there? Longer story even shorter, I am married with two kids. Holly says there is a way to bring a "Rule" into your home without putting your kids up for adoption and joining an religious order.

I finally have an understanding of my vocation as a mother. Sure, I'm not perfect in putting it into practice. But it's a hel'ov'a lot better. I have direction. I have purpose. Being a mom has so much more meaning now.

If you read this beautiful book, please don't let it overwhelm you. Holly had older kids when she wrote it. With little little kids, it is practically impossible to stick to a time schedule. And I didn't write things down as I read, like she recommends. I just read the whole thing and took the spirit of it and applied it to my own particular season of life.

And let me changing. for me. right now. at this time in my life. 'nough said.

Monday, June 26, 2017

God's plan is infinitely greater than mine

Yesterday was Sunday. I try to follow the mantra, "Lots of God, Lots of Family, and Lots of Rest", a quote that I stole from this great book about the vocation of motherhood called, "A Mother's Rule of Life: How to bring order to your home and peace to your soul" by Holly Pierlot.

Anyway, both boys took an awesomely epic the same time. This never happens. I caught a quick nap myself and then just kind of chilled out doing I can't remember what. As the minutes went by, I got more and more anxious. I started pacing. What the heck was going on? My heart rate skyrocketed, and I started breathing heavily. I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I didn't know what was wrong. There was no logical explanation. I thought I'd be refreshed, but instead, I felt awful.

The trouble was that, usually, I have a plan. And when I don't have a plan, I feel "shoulds" and "oughts" and "should haves". Yesterday, I unexpectedly had 2 1/2 hours of "free time". As this rare opportunity grew, I felt more and more guilty that I hadn't used my time wisely........or what I thought was "wisely".  All the things I could have done piled up inside my head until I was about to explode.

As much as I try to make Sunday God's day, I couldn't just let go 100% and be content doing nothing, resting as God did on the last day of the week.

There is so much I feel like I have to do. There is so much I'd like to do.

But all those things on my lists, yes lists, are not top priority.

I have not fully embraced my vocation as a mother. I still try to fit in all this other stuff to make myself happy so that I can just get through my primary job, being a mom.

God called me to this vocation of motherhood because, in His great wisdom, He knows it's my path to Heaven and ultimate happiness. I may think I have the best plan, but God's plan is infinitely greater.

I'll try to let go of my rules and start following God's rule for my life.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I'll try this for now, but I'm not I'm not getting my hopes up

I think I may have figured out a somewhat suitable solution for my "kids get the screamies and I just want coffee" problem.

I run myself into the ground before asking for help. I try to do everything myself......because that's what I feel like I should be doing. I'm not working, so I need to save money and not get babysitters. At least, that is what guilt is telling me.

Honestly, to maintain good mental health, I need to schedule times throughout the week to take breaks. Whether that's setting up a babysitter in advance, or talking with my husband about a good time for him to watch the kids, or whatever, I think I could use an hour away a couple days a week. Any more than two hours and I run out of things to do, or I feel like I'm falling behind on all the tasks two young boys require you to do.

The thing is though, I'll do this "take care of me" priority for like a week, if even that. Then, things come up and it's the first to go out the window. I'm the first to sacrifice myself when times get tough. I know I am going to do it again and again. Because I'd die for my family. I love them.

But they are going to kill me if I don't take care of myself.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Kids get the "screamies" and I want a coffee break

A new day, a fresh day with no mistakes in it....yet. I think Annie of Green Gables might have said something along those lines. I don't feel like looking it up. Lazy, I guess. I am already feeling defeated before the day even really starts. Hmmmmm.....

Before, like in college and before kids, I used the beginning of a new day as a natural reset button. It feels logical to start over on a new day. The sun will come out tomorrow kind of thing. In the past, if I was having a really difficult time, I would check out for the day, isolate myself, read in my bed, watch TV, cancel all activities, etc. Not exact 100% healthy, but it kept me going.

I definitely can't do that now. As much as I'd like to check out until I can start again tomorrow, I have two itsy bitsy kids who need me to stay checked in.

SO how can I click the "reset button" during the day? I am really limited in what I can do.

I would LIKE to go for a run. Make a cup of coffee and read on the porch. Go to church and pray a rosary. Take a 15 minute nap. But I can't do those things right now, because what are these kiddos going to do? But, by the time I can coordinate a last minute babysitter, if I can do it (which has more to do with me admitting I need help), it seems to turn out more stressful then if I would have just let it go. Missed nap times, missed meals, missed poopy diapers resulting in diaper rashes, them just needing more mommy attention and getting the "screamies"...

I feel so guilty about using television. I feel like I need to figure out another way to "save the day". This week, I'm like, "NO MORE TV". But it's Monday morning at 7:00am and I've already caved.

What do you do? How do you reset in the middle (or beginning) of the day?

Friday, June 2, 2017

From Crazy to Cool

I used to get so angry. I could go from calm to blowing smoke out my ears in a matter of seconds. Like when I would spend a while trying to get Joseph to sleep, and Dominic would waltz in and wake him up just as I was laying him down. I would get so mad. I hated my anger. I was terrified of my anger. It hurt my heart and my head. I don't know why I got so angry. I don't know where it came from. I thought I was just a terrible person. How can you get mad at two little kids? I hated myself for it. I wanted to punish myself for it.

Not too long ago as well, fear consumed my life. So many things used to frighten me. Big things, little things. I was afraid to leave the house. I was afraid of the future. I was afraid of everything. Even bugs would frighten me. Spiders especially. I could hardly function if I knew a spider was in the room. If I thought I walked into a spider web, I would constantly brush my shoulders and flip my hair. Once, we thought a mouse was in the basement. I couldn't sleep. I could hardly think about anything else except that it was scampering over me and my kids during the night.

My poor boys. I used to be so picky about changing diapers. It would take me two, three times as long as anyone else to change a diaper because they had to be wiped just so. No molecule of poop was allowed within a 100 mile radius. And the diaper had to be on just so, not too loose, not too tight. It was frustrating for everyone involved, to say the least.

I used to be really picky about washing dishes and cleaning too. Everything would take me so extremely long to complete. I moved so slowly, so careful not to miss one single germ, rinsing things ten times over. I would have a nervous breakdown every time I cleaned the bathroom. I cleaned it well mind you, but I couldn't get over that it wasn't perfect. I felt like there was always more to clean no matter how long I spent on it. The thought of germs sent me into a panic.

The stomach bug would knock me senseless. Thank God for my husband who always knew how to snap into action. I've been thrown up on many many times and every time he's had to console me and the poor sick child at the same time. Sometimes, I would get a hunch that Dominic was going to get sick and I'd be up all night listening for him. I did not know what to do or how to clean up or how to handle the thought of it happening again and again all night long. It was debilitating.

Cleaning and germs and schedules seemed to be my biggest challenges. When the kids went to bed at night, I cleaned up all the toys and put them back into their special spots. I waited until they went to bed because I was embarrassed and afraid of passing on my obsessive behavior. I even tried to hide it from Craig because I knew it was ridiculous.

I tried stopping these weird habits, but I felt like I had to. I always felt better when it was done, like a hit off a cigarette. I knew something wasn't right. But in survival mode, sometimes you just have to do what you do.

Ever since I've been on Prozac, however, these weird rituals have slowly faded away. At first, I didn't notice. But now, I'm shocked.

My anger has subsided. I laugh things off more. I say, "OK, we'll try again later". My heart and my head and my actions seem to be more aligned. Of course I'm not 100% never angry. But it's more realistic and I get over it easier, like how I used to when I was a kid.

I'm not as afraid of things anymore. I'm squashing spiders left and right. I might even hold your pet mouse, if you asked me to. Surely I'll use hand sanitizer after, but I'll hold it! I'll answer my phone when it rings, I'll answer the door when someone rings the bell. I'll even make scary phone calls instead of copping out with a text. I can take deep breaths and use my coping skills to conquer really scary fears. Like not knowing how or when we're going to move this month. In the past, it would have kept me up all night. Now, I just let go, pray, trust, and give it God. Everything I've practiced and tried is finally working. Of course I'm not perfect, but who is?!

Changing diapers and cleaning aren't as big a deal to me anymore. Today, I set the record for the fastest (and the cleanest thank you) poopy diaper blowout change ever! And as far as house chores go, I only clean about 30 min a weekday. Maybe. If I feel like it. Ok, we'll say 3 or 4 days a week then. :) Dominic plays in the dirt. I let Joseph crawl around in the grass. And, you know, sometimes we even forget to wash our hands when we come inside.

But our house is adequately clean and the kids are joyfully happy.

Instead of focusing on all the "to-do", now I can see all the people around me and rejoice in their presence.

I didn't know how much depression was affecting my life until I started to get better.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Treating your eating disorder will treat your "sugar addiction"

I've been thinking a lot about sugar recently. Sweet Biscuits! You too?!

I just went to the dentist...da, da, da, duuuuum (the ominous Beethoven chords). I have several cavities, all on the left side of my mouth. The dentist said it was most likely from the gummy prenatal vitamins I took last year. Hmmm. Well, that's a bummer. Sometimes you feel like you just can win, ya know? You think you're doing something right...

Also, my older son has been having chronic diarrhea that comes and goes for, I don't know, forever. We recently figured out that it is likely from a fructose-malabsorption issue. Meaning, it is not good for him to eat too many high-fructose fruits or food with high-fructose corn syrup. We're talking about blowing through boxes of diapers. I've never heard of someone not tolerating fruit before, but a low-fructose diet is helping him tremendously. It is most likely something he will grow out of, hopefully. Or, at least, he should be able to handle more fruits in the future. Weird, huh?

There are so many opinions about sugar. So many. Say! Why don't I add another? OOOOOOK.

Some people think it's a slow acting poison. Some people think sugar is addictive. Some people think that sugar tricks our brains into thinking we aren't full when we are.

I'm not going to scientifically study sugar and it's effects so I guess I'll never really know the answer to the ever popular question, is sugar bad or not? There's fructose, glucose, sucrose, lactose, and maybe more, I don't know. But if you were to say that all sugar is bad and you should not eat it, I'm not sure what else you'd have left to eat!

So, I can't answer the blanket sweep of a question, but what I do think is that I can answer the question of is sugar bad for me? For me. Not you. Not you. Not you either. I can only answer the question of whether or not sugar is bad for me.

Honestly, and maybe a priest can correct me here, sugar is not inherently evil in and of itself. Sugar is neither good nor bad, morally speaking. It's neutral!

Yup, that's right. Eating sugar does not make you a bad person. Go back and read that again. You are not a bad person if you eat sugar! There is no such thing as "sinfully delicious chocolate", "decadently indulgent cookies", "wickedly naughty ice cream", or whatever. All those things, chocolate, ice cream, cookies, or other sweets are morally neutral. Eating them does not make you a bad person.

Similar to alcohol, also something that is neither morally good nor bad. However, ahem, however, how one uses it determines the morality. It's about what you do with it.

Personally, I cannot handle drinking alcohol. It was a long road to get to where I am today, and I'm not about to throw it all away so I can have a glass a wine. By the grace of God, I realize I am limited, and humbled, by the unfortunate fact that I do not know when enough is enough. For whatever reason, and it's not just because I haven't tried hard enough, I cannot moderately drink alcohol.

The best way to approach my situation is to end my relationship with alcohol completely. No more drinking. No more getting drunk. No more addiction. No more sin. (It's so not that easy, I know.)

I used to feel the same way about sugar, once upon a a decade ago....or longer.

I do not feel the same way about sugar now. I feel like I am capable of eating sugar in moderation. I actually feel like I can eat anything in moderation....again by the glorious grace of God. Ever since I found healing from my eating disorder, I am freed from any sugar binging episodes or temptations. I am actually listening to my body and my hunger cues. I actually pay attention to things that give me an upset stomach or headache. I pay attention to food that I like and make me feel good. I don't like to drink pop because it makes me too bloated and gassy. But I'll still have one every now and then. But I'm not like drinking it by the case just because I am over my eating disorder (myth buster #gazillion). I love Sea Salted Carmel Truffles. I get them every now and then and it makes me happy. Again, not eating them by the case.

Treating my eating disorder inadvertently treated my "sugar addiction".

I thought I was addicted to sugar. I felt like I had absolutely no control when it came to eating. And that is absolutely terrifying. Especially, because of, influenced by, etc., all those dang grocery store checkout aisle magazines. We. must. control. our. bodies. If not, we are likely to end up fat, loveless, jobless, joyless, and oh yeah, did I mention fat?

With alcohol, you can give it up and never go back, if you so choose. But if you are struggling with an eating disorder, especially Binge Eating Disorder, you can't really give up eating.....then it would be called Anorexia.....which happens more often than you might think.....and you are still in a mess.

So, I think (just my opinion) it is very possible that some people think they are addicted to sugar or can't eat it in moderation, but, in reality, they are struggling with a binge eating disorder.

The withdraw symptoms of a "sugar addiction" don't hold a candle to the withdraw symptoms of an alcohol or drug addiction. Talking about your past/present/reoccurring sugar addiction at a party is really pretty rude, considering someone else there probably is personally affected by drug abuse or alcoholism.

I will not down play a perceived sugar addiction. The effects of an eating disorder are very awful. It consumes your life. It can cause depression and suicide. So, yeah, misdiagnosing an eating disorder and calling it a "sugar addiction" is dangerous.

Some people are lactose-intolerant. And it makes sense to give up dairy or take those cool little expensive pills. My poor son won't be able to have too much fructose for a while, but he needs to so he can grow and not be in intestinal pain all the time. Some people can't drink sugary drinks like pop or Gatorade because they want to protect their teeth from further decay. But most of the time, these people are totally ok with it and do not battle themselves with their decision.

I think whether or not to eat sugar is personal question. I do not think it should be banned in our country. I do not think the government should get involved. I do not think schools should brainwash children with lists of which foods are "bad" or "good". And I do not think that people should plaster their anti-sugar agenda all over everywhere.

Eating disorder treatment is the better option. I think we could save more lives and give people better lives by facing the eating disorder epidemic in our country.