Tag Archives: link ups

Paying For Sanity

1 Apr

As I sit here typing, my four-year-old and one-year-old are in the other room playing nicely together, sharing toys and building a town out of Duplo blocks.  I haven’t gotten my butt out of this overstuffed chair in over 15 minutes and the music of my choice is playing in the background (I’m on a Brett Dennan kick, if you must know).

I pay for this time every Monday afternoon.  You see, I have the world’s best babysitter.  Her sister babysat for No1 before heading off to college, passing the babysitting legacy to J.  They are both great neighborhood kids from an amazing family, and they are all mine (I may share their number with you for a small finders’ fee and a signed non-compete clause).  J has known No1 from the time she was 9 months old and is one of the only people outside of the family that No2 is comfortable around.  She has this playful yet stern nature and has wisdom befitting someone much older than her 13 years.  And she LOVES my kids.  I’m pretty sure she would come over and play with them even if I didn’t pay her.

When J was unable to babysit on piano lesson days, I was initially reluctant to shell out $10 an hour on a different day for “no good reason.”  But it’s turned out to be one of the highlights of my week.  I get time to write, or cook, or do something for myself, and the kids get time with someone much better at playing pretend than I am.

It always feels like money well-spent.


Things I’m Afraid to Tell You

13 Jun

If there’s one thing I know for sure from the last year of blogging about mental illness and airing my dirty laundry for all to read, it’s that being vulnerable is a strength.  Every time I hit “post” and share something I’d rather hide, I get a little braver and shame loosens its grip.

I write about my anxiety, postpartum and antenatal depression, and postpartum OCD without filter.  But there are still things I don’t share about myself…out of fear of judgement, fear of being misunderstood, or just plain embarassement.

Well, today is the day I get brave.  Here are five things I’m afraid to tell you:

1. I’m an atheist.  My religious beliefs have evolved greatly over the years and include a 4-year stint of bible study and a Bible course in college.  Growing up in the south, admitting to being non-religious meant opening myself up to judgement and proselytizing by folks who meant well but just didn’t understand.  I am a good person with morals, no matter what my beliefs.  And my philosophies and beliefs about life and religion are a big part of who I am, just as organized religion is a big part of other’s lives.  People ask less up in the northeast which church you attend and the population is generally more diverse, but I still hold this truth close to my chest because I worry it will turn people off.

2. My temper sometimes gets the better of me.  In person, and surely here at Learned Happiness, I appear calm and introspective.  And I usually am.  But I have also punched a hold in the laundry room door out of anger.  I’ve ripped books, dumped a bottle of water on my husband while he was trying to sleep, and have thrown spaghetti across the room.  Thankfully, this rarely happens anymore – therapy and medication have helped me manage the anxiety  and OCD that lead to rage.  But it’s there, under the surface.  It’s like I’m the hulk.  A very petite one.

3. I’m a little afraid of the dark.  I *know* monsters aren’t real, and I don’t believe in ghosts, but I absolutely cannot hang my feet off the bed at night.  You know, just in case something tries to grab me by the toes.  And if I dare to be outside my house at night, which backs to up woods, I don’t walk…I run.  It’s kind of embarrassing, really.

4. My OCD manifests as intrusive thoughts like “what if the baby falls down the stairs” and “I could just leave her in the car and have the house to myself.”  I KNOW they are irrational and would NEVER act on them…in fact I’m always so horrified by them I think I am more careful with my kids than many parents…but it’s still hard to admit to them.  Some people don’t understand PPD & PPOCD and I worry they would think I was a bad mom for having these thoughts.

5. I shave my toes.  You know, when I actually get around to shaving.  Otherwise, I feel like I have hobbit feet.  I’m probably overreacting.  Let’s not find out.

Bonus Thing: I take antidepressant and anti anxiety pills every day.  Both are for the anxiety, so I tend to refer to them as my anxiety meds.  Part of me feels like people are less judgmental of anxiety medication than antidepressants, so I hide the antidepressant a bit.  And I hate when people call them “happy pills.”  For me, they are my “normal pills,” something I need to be myself, just as a diabetic needs their insulin.

So.  There you have it.  I have properly embarrassed myself and probably turned off a few readers at the same time, but I am bound and determined to live a life of vulnerability and connection.  And that means opening up.

I’m linking up with Farewell Stranger (whose blog layout and design I covet, by the way) today to be a part of a movement called Things I’m Afraid to Tell You.  What started as a simple honest blog post by Jess Constable of Make Under My Life has spread like wildfire thanks to Ez of Creature Comforts, even making news on the Huffington Post.  I am so grateful to be included and can’t wait to read the rest of the links!  Head on over and get reading!  There *should* be a linky widget thingy below (if I’ve managed to do it right, that is).


Everything I Ever Needed to Know…

21 Aug

I’m recycling this post from last week because it’s exactly what Just.Be.Enough.  is all about – relaxing our hold on perfection and realizing the beauty and strength in who we truly are is enough.  For one month, they are raising money for families affected by cancer – and all you have to do to help is link up!  So please pardon the repeat post, click on over to Just.Be.Enough and read (and share!) stories of empowerment.

From their blog:

To do this we will need YOUR help. Bellflower Books will be sponsoring the Be Enough Me Monday link ups for ONE month, starting today. For every 20 people that link up with a story of how they lived the Be Enough Me “feeling” that week, Bellflower will donate ONE $75 gift certificate to a family identified by Crickett’s Answer for Cancer for the creation of a 20-page memory book. We will keep a running total of links over the four Mondays and hope to reach our goal of 120 links, which would provide TEN Bellflower memory books.Our goal is to provide up to TEN women fighting breast cancer a Bellflower book made by their family and friends, a work of art that will make these women smile and remember, and a treasured piece of family history for generations to come.

Not so very long ago, she was a tiny infant…shiny and new, full of possibilities.

And I was terrified of her.  Terrified she wouldn’t eat enough, sleep enough, or  grow enough.  I was overwhelmed with the idea that I was responsible for a whole person.  There is so much to teach to a child; so much wisdom to impart.  I felt too small and insignificant to be everything she would need.

Turns out, all she needed me to be was myself.

And we would teach each other everything we would need to know along the way.

Lesson 1: Getting messy is good for the soul, especially when it’s a chocolately mess.

Lesson 2: Let Daddy be in charge.  He may not do things like Mommy, but sometimes that’s a good thing.

Lesson 3:  Don’t sweat the milestones.  They’ll happen.

Binkies, solids, big girl bed, potty training…it will all happen in good time.

Lesson 4:  Silly is beautiful.

Lesson 5:  Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.

Lesson 6:  There is wonder and joy all around…if you stop to look.

My Darling DoodleBug,

In just a few months you will be three – and in a few more, a big sister.  Time passes all too quickly and I want to soak in the rest of this year with us as a little family of three.

I am in awe of all you have taught me and am so lucky to have you as my daughter.  Always fight for who you are and expect others to do the same, because who you are is (and will always be) enough.

Please keep teaching me and I will keep teaching you.

I love you “a little bit much”.


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