Just uncomfortable

Another post. Another post about me wanting and needing to loose weight. If you’re sick of them, join the club. I feel like this is a problem plaguing most mothers because let’s face it, our bodies became parachute pants after pregnancy and labor. Baggy, weird shape, has pockets, but not the most attractive sight. Even the most physically fit moms would talk about how their bodies were just wrecked for a year after giving birth. Not all of us are Kate Middleton and have the glam squad and glam airplane hanger from Miss. Congeniality in their hospital room. Although, if that was a packaged offered, I’m not saying I would say no to it.

Most of us left the hospital in our husband’s pants with the permission to, “Just keep them”. A t-shirt that already had spit up all over it. Flip flops (even if it was February with a foot of snow outside). A rat nest bun because a messy bun is still too neat and put together. And underwear that could double as a car cover. The euphoria of the new baby smell takes over all of that though. You forget about all of it as you and your husband fight over whether the car seat is safe enough and how many Dunkin Donuts you would stop at on the way home for all the coffee. All. The. Coffee. Mostly you wanted to get home and start your new life.

Fast forward to when you’ve had the kid for a while and you are beginning to feel like life isn’t slipping through your fingers. For me it was okay. After about a year and a half I started going to the YMCA and working out. We were eating way better and not so much like trash pandas. Then one thing happened, and another thing happened. I could work out. I couldn’t work out. I could work out. I couldn’t work out. It all just kept piling up and I gave up. I completely and utterly gave up. I have tried so hard the last few months to get the motivation. I have made Instagram videos basically pleading with myself to loose weight. I tried to keep in mind that I want to be there for most of Eva’s life. I tried to remember that we want more kids and I need to be healthy for that. I tried…everything.

Then last weekend we had a very busy weekend. We went to a cousin’s 2nd birthday about an hour away. Celebrated Mother’s Day with Tim’s family about 45 minutes away. We spent a lot of time in the car. I was so uncomfortable. My body was uncomfortable in itself. We’ve spent plenty of time in the car traveling all over New England in the last five years. I was never as uncomfortable as I was this past weekend. I didn’t fit the way I used to. My stomach was squished out in new ways. I hated every minute and hated feeling it. So that was my turning point. That was rock bottom. I couldn’t even be in the car for an hour without wanting to rip my skin off to feel some freedom from my body’s cage. It was pretty bad, I wanted to Silence of the Lambs myself.

On Thursday night I pulled out a workout DVD program I had done about four years ago. It’s called Insanity. IMG_20180518_070847759The name fits the work out perfectly. It’s ridiculous and insane and you wonder every minute of doing it why are you doing it? I was ready to go. Friday morning I woke up early I put on work out clothes and went downstairs to put my body through pure hell. Seven minutes. I made it seven minutes. Every part of my body hurt. My lungs were burning. My heart was racing in my ears. I could see sounds. It was insane for sure. Out of frustration I slammed my laptop shut and thought, “Whatever, I’ll just warm up some Annie’s toaster pastries and sit down and enjoy the alone time. I can’t do this”.

Thankfully, my rational and motivated side kicked in. “No. We can be more constructive. We’re ready to work out. Go for a walk in this beautiful town. Do the loop and then come home and do some free weights.” IMG_20180518_074003028So I did it. We have a loop trail around the river in our town that’s a little over a mile to and from our house. I walked down and around the loop.IMG_20180518_074759327 I’ve done this walk many times with Tim and Eva. It’s a quick walk we can do on Tim’s lunch break or before dinner. Nothing over strenuous, but at least it was something. I decided to take some selfies to remind myself that I can get up and do something to make myself feel better. Plus we have an idealistic setting downtown for some good selfies. AmIright? Then on the way home there are little baby hills you have to go up. I decided to run them. Now, I am not what one would call a “runner”. “Jogging’s the worst. I know it’s good for you, but my God, at what cost?” -Ann Perkins (Parks and Rec), my philosophy. I took another selfie when I got to the top of the hill before our house. It wasn’t pretty, but at least it was evidence I did it.

I need to loose weight because I’m uncomfortable in my body and I’m sick of it. It stresses me out to think that I have to be in this body tomorrow. I got beautiful pictures of Eva’s second birthday party and cringed at every single photo I was in because I hated seeing my body. And I get it, body positive. My body brought life into the world. So on and so forth. That’s all well and good, but at some point you have to also realize when you’re just not comfortable with the body you have (within reason of course). Even though doctors aren’t suppose to body shame anymore and tell you that you need to loose weight, I realize and know I can loose weight and should. I want to. I want Eva to grow up in a healthful household. I want Tim right beside me for the long long long long haul. I just want to be comfortable. Two days of working out isn’t going to change everything and who knows what I’ll do next week. But at least for a couple days I was comfortable in my body. I was comfortable in me.

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It’s just one day.

This past Sunday was Mother’s Day. A day that we celebrate all the women out there that have chosen to take on the exhausting, exhilarating, heart stopping, wonderful roller coaster known as motherhood. A day in which we collectively recognize, “You are raising a tiny human. I’ve heard of many others doing this. We shall rejoice together, huzzah!” Well, at least in my mind that’s the way it goes. I haven’t seen that Hallmark card though.

For each mother this sacred day means something different. Some moms want to spend the whole day with their children and partner. Some want a gift certificate to a spa at 7 am with the first mud wrap at 8 am. Some want a nice breakfast and then Sunday as usual. Some have hopes of Ryan Reynolds and Joseph Gordon-Levitt carrying them around all day in a throne carrying device thing. All these interpretations of the day are great because much like your birthday, moms get to decide what that day means to them. And honestly, they get to have that determination dang it! It’s their day. It’s. Their. Day.

Now, there are a million situations out there through the whole world, fun fact: Mother’s Day is a world wide celebration held on different dates through the year. There are married moms who have a husband to look to. There are two moms for a family. There are single moms. There are legal guardians who have stepped up and became a mom. There are moms who foster. There are moms who adopted. There are moms who have no kids but have become a mom to someone. There are so many definitions of and scenarios of mom that it’s hard to realize what Mother’s Day means to you as a mom.

I am part of some mom groups on Facebook. A social support network to get through this crazy journey. On Sunday my feeds we chock a block full of moms describing a situation or posting a picture of husbands or partners asleep still, or sitting on the couch, or asking “What are we doing for breakfast?”. Your typical, “Are you kidding me, dude” posts. It really made me begin to wonder after seeing the 10th post about it before noon, what is Mother’s Day? What do we expect? Please know, I’m not judging these flares of irritation. You aren’t married and have children without being annoyed with your husband’s chewing. If you say you aren’t, you are lying to yourself.

Really, though. What do we expect? I looked up the history of Mother’s Day in America. I looked it up on the Pedia of Wiki so we know it’s legit. Apparently a woman named Anna Jarvis made a memorial for her mother Ann Jarvis at their local church because her mother was a peace activist during the Civil War and set up Mother’s Day club that helped people in lower classes care for their children prenatally and after. Anna believed that her mother and all mothers deserved a day of recognition and went to congress with the proposal in 1908. Fast forward to 1916 Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation that Mother’s Day would be the second Sunday of May annually. Later on Hallmark and other commercialized people things took over the holiday and re-enforced that nothing says Mother’s Day like flowers, cards, and something nice. Anna Jarvis was furious at this commercialization and actually sued companies who were profiting off Mother’s Day. Clearly, Ms. Jarvis’ fights didn’t stick.

It makes one think though, is that what mothers want? Flowers, candy, and something nice? Husbands, children, partners, those who felt the love of mother all scramble to find that perfect thing. When asked though a lot of mom will say, “Some peace and quiet and a minute to myself.” Maybe a mani/pedi. If a mother has adult kids, they usually would like a dinner or a simple phone call that day. All in all, we just want acknowledgment. Like Anna Jarvis said, a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”. Tonight Eva bumped her head on something and asked me to kiss it. A mother’s kiss to make it all better. That is something I instilled in her. A security that I can make anything better by just being here, being near her, and recognizing that she needed a little extra at that minute.

At some point we all need a little extra in that minute. Mothers do so much for their kids and family. We organize schedules. We make appointments. We are nurses. We are discipl….you know what. We do a lot. It’s too much to list. Now, fathers also do so much for their kids and families but this is a Mother’s Day thing, so chill out until June 17th. The point is, mothers make it work. We can tell you the exact place of that blue ball point pen you put somewhere two months ago, no not that pen, the other one. We are the music makers and the dreamers of dreams. And we just want the people closest to us to understand that. We know that you can’t get mad for not being thanked in a thankless job. To be the foundation of a house is overwhelming and heavy. You never feel like you can crack.

So yes, it’s annoying that you just wanted that one day to hear thank you for 24 hours and you look over and that person who you feel should acknowledge that is asleep on the couch. It’s frustrating that you’ve cooked meals roughly 1,000 times this past year and get asked one more time, “What are we doing for food?” It’s insanity inducing to not even hear, “Happy Mother’s Day” until 2:00 pm because that’s when it was finally remembered. Moms spend their whole life being there for someone else. They are constantly told to remember self care or to take a minute for themselves. The reality of that though is a tough one. Especially for those different scenarios where you don’t really have someone to give you those five minutes to just breathe.

It’s not too late though. Mothers are forgiving creatures. It comes with the territory because there is no point of holding onto the negative. Your two year old takes care of that because you made her wear sunscreen on a 80° day and direct sunshine…but I digress. If you feel like you could have been that photo of a husband sleeping, or didn’t call or text or Facebook or twit or whatever your own mom, there’s still time. There’s always a chance to say, “I see you. Thank you for all you do. Take a minute. Breathe. I got this.” It may just be a day, but it can mean so much more. Happy Mother’s Day to all those women out there who have taken on this role. It’s not an easy one, but it’s truly a great one.

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This is 32

Today is my birthday…thank you, I will have a happy birthday. Today I turn 32 years old. I am 32. I am 32 and I’m married and have an almost two year old. I’m 32 and have lived life. Or have I? I have no idea why but this birthday has made me question more than any other birthday whether or not I’m living the best life I could be. 29 came and went without worry. 30 was no big, I was pregnant with Eva and didn’t really do much. I was too tired to. 31 Eva was almost a year old and again I didn’t really do much because I was just too tired. This year I didn’t want to do much because I didn’t want to. But why? What’s the reason Kicky Housewife? What’s the reason?

When I sat down to write this post I was going to write about how I was going to make 32 my bitch. I was going to wake up every day and show myself and everyone that I woke up with reason and a plan. The truth is this past year I’ve felt really lost in myself. In retrospecting yourself you really look at the good and bad of yourself. Not strengths and weaknesses, because in my experience we’re never kind enough to ourselves to give it the label of strengths and weaknesses. They are the good and the bad.

My good:

1.) I’m a good mom: I love my little girl with the passion of a thousand suns. I have thrown myself into being Eva’s mom. She is an independent, loving, empathetic, sassy, hilarious toddler and I get credit for growing and nurturing that.

2.) I’m a good wife: I was insanely lucky the day I met Tim. I found my life mate, the love of my heart, and he quickly became my best friend. Even before we were married I was the best housewife I could be.

3.) I am creative: Being a mom sometimes you have to get creative. Whether it’s making crafts, playing with dough (Play or otherwise), making train towns, or teaching your child about their body. Thankfully doing these things comes easily to me and I’ve never been so grateful for that gift before.

4.) I’m open minded: You don’t go through 32 years and live in a new state, go through toddler play groups, and be a human without being open minded. People are who they are and it’s not my place to judge that life.

My bad:

1.) I’m Eva’s mom: Amy doesn’t live here anymore, Eva’s mom does. It’s great to throw yourself into your child’s life. At some point in Eva’s life though, I’ve kind of lost myself. I tell myself that it was a necessary evil because I literally don’t have time to be anything but. This is why moms have started so many blogs and vlogs and bogs and cogs. We get to be moms and talk about mom life but we also get to be ourselves and for a few minutes be who we were before becoming so and so’s mom.

2.) I blame myself: For everything. Tim gets annoyed with me sometimes because I apologize for things that are clearly not my fault. When I was in labor with Eva I kept apologizing for screaming or crying. At one point Tim said, “I don’t understand your goals for today.” Get the human out, don’t apologize should have been my only goal.

3.) I’m too emotional: I blame it on having Irish Italian heritage. I come from very passionate people. I’m loud, my family is loud, and we all cry. I hate it. For a while I had it on lock down and didn’t really cry at much, but the older I get the more I cry and get upset over nothing really. Aging, you crafty mistress.

4.) It was too easy: It was too easy to think of my bad list and expand on those qualities. I could have written 10 more bads easily. Coming up with four goods was difficult and took about twice as long and each point was twice as short as my bad.

This retrospect has made me wonder, what do I want from my life? Who do I want to be? I want to be a good mom. I want Eva and whomever else to look back at their childhood and say, “I had an amazing childhood. My mom was a total badass”. I want to be a good wife/daughter/sister/friend to all the people. My family, blood and chosen, are insanely important to me. As much as I try I feel like I am failing them constantly. I missed a text somewhere or haven’t checked in enough. In wanting to be all these things I need to figure what I want to be for myself.

I want:

1.) To be more kind to myself. Every time Eva does something awful that a two year old does it’s not because I’m a horrible mom who is raising a brat. I’m a mom raising a toddler and by god is that a different breed of raptor.

2.) I want to stop not wanting to do things because I think I’m too fat. Going through pregnancy, labor, raising a human, being pregnant and having a miscarriage all within two years has put my body through the Olympics of ouchies. Depression, lack of motivation, and not amazing self esteem has led to some unwanted pounds and shapes. Still, it’s my doing. Eva nor my family and friends should suffer those consequences of that feeling.

3.) I want to remember why I am important too. I am a mom and wife but I am also Amy frigging Gagnon. It’s not even if I don’t put myself as a priority then I can’t be the best mom and wife I can be. It’s if I don’t remember why I’m important then what am I doing? Who wants to become a faceless person who is just schlepping around their kids without knowing or having known who they are?

4.) I want to know that it’s enough. All of it. I want to know that me as a mother to Eva is enough. I want to know that BEING a mother and wife is enough. I want to know that if I wake up every day and show up for the people in my life that is enough. I want to know that wanting more and figuring out what that is, is enough. I want to be enough.

So yes, 32. I am 32. The first picture of me below is me taking the time and being made up to go out. Something I loved doing before having Eva and rarely have time or energy for anymore. The second picture of me below is me without make up. The way most people see me most of the time. Both pictures are me. Not at the good, not at the bad. They’re just me. They are a 32 year old me. It makes me feel awkward to say they’re beautiful because they’re pictures of me, but they are in a way. Not because I’m beautiful but because I’m a woman standing there in her bathroom being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a listener, a care giver, a lover, a fighter, and a dope kid is. I’m all those things and probably more. We all need to take a retrospective sometimes and remember who we were, who we are, and where we’re going because it’s all beautiful. It’s 32.

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What I learned from therapy…not mine though.

For 21 months I had the perfect child. True, Eva was a monster baby and gained an amazing amount of weight every week. I remember going into breast feeding support group and saying, “She gained 10 ounces this week” and mothers jaws dropping. At one point a mom asked, “Are you hungry all the time? I mean all the times you’re hungry, yes?” From the beginning she was an overachiever. She was a little late in rolling but I was assured that was normal for children with large…fat reserves. Once she started rolling over she never looked back. She went from crawling to walking within two weeks time. She went from walking to running in no time without looking back. Even now she jumps in the air with plenty of air between her and the ground.

During the first year and half all your child’s milestones are judged in physical milestones. Every single milestone Eva has met and been very successful at. Of course I was a first time mother who worried herself sick with every single one thinking she was late for everything. Looking back, she wasn’t late at all. She was right on time for Eva and I should have never doubted her. We started going to a gym class back in September. In her gym class were a lot of other little ones around Eva’s age. I started noticing more and more that these kids were saying a lot more words than Eva.

I tried to let my attitude of Eva taking her time to achieve things shine through. Every month though that light kept getting dimmer. I have an amazing group of mom friends here in Exeter. These women and kiddos that I call the Baby Gang. They were posting videos or telling me stories about the funny things their babes were saying. I realized that I didn’t really have those stories. I had funny, “Eva did this with her food the other day” stories but no, “Eva said the funniest thing yesterday” stories. At first I was just trying to give her the time and patience to let talk to me when she wanted to. As more and more time passed that patience became worry. That worry became denial. That denial became blinders to the whole situation. My husband started saying more and more, “Babe, I really think we need to get some professional help here.” I wanted to throw up every time he brought it up.

Now, Eva is not non-verbal. By any means. She has some words that she can say and she can babble with the best tongues speakers. Which is great but not where she should be. At the beginning of February I finally broke down and admitted that she needed to be evaluated. Whatever it was that I was doing wasn’t working on getting her through this Hoover dam of speech. I called the numbers and by the grace of the gods got an evaluation a week later (thank you to whomever cancelled their evaluation. We are forever grateful!). I filled out a packet larger than my mortgage application and in we went. Me and two lovely evaluators sat on the floor with Eva and played with her. I was asked question after question. I felt pretty good about everything because they were impressed by Eva’s physical skills and her direction taking.

After 45 minutes I finally heard the words I was fearing, “She does qualify for speech therapy”. I almost broke down. I was told by two professionals that my daughter needed help in growing into a person. Literally my one job. I wasn’t misreading their questions and comments though. Eva’s output verbal was at 11-13 months but her receptive verbal was 21-27 months. She could understand at a level higher than her age but couldn’t speak to us for her age. The most bitter sweet evaluation I’ve ever gone through. Her evaluators reassured me that they were very optimistic about therapy for Eva. She literally had all the other building blocks for her 21 months, she was only missing this top block. At the end I was putting Eva’s jacket on and I said, “Eva, can you help me?” and she put her arm through the sleeve and said, “I did it!” Needless to say, I was reassured again that they thought therapy would be effective.

Look, it’s all great. Eva was struggling with a part of her development and we decided to be proactive about it. I talked it through with Tim over and over again. I talked to my parents. I talked to my sister. I talked to my sister from another mister. I talked to the baby gang. I had to keep saying “She’s going to do speech therapy” over and over because I had to adjust and accept that idea. I feel like an enormous failure as a mother. Especially because I stay home with her. I’m the one who should be teaching her these things for life. I keep going over the last 22 months in my head. I let her watch too much TV. I let her eat too much junk food. She has too many toys. She doesn’t have enough educational toys. I didn’t read her the New York Times enough as a baby. I didn’t talk to her enough through her life. I wasn’t enough. I’m not enough for her.

Accepting that your child isn’t perfect in the sense of she will never need outside help is a hard pill to swallow. It needs a choking hazard warning. I’ve tried my best. I’ve re-framed IMG_20180217_201748482_LLit in my mindset of, if she was struggling in math at school we would get her a tutor. She’s getting a tutor for speech. That’s all. Tim and I have readjusted the way we try to help her with words. Apparently we raised an extremely independent kid who was probably frustrated with us trying to force her to talk and wanted to do it her way. So again, my fault. I let her roll away from me, that’s where this all started. I’ve even made a speech therapy binder for her to keep all the paperwork paperwork paperwork. I’m trying hard here, guys.

We had our first therapy appointment this past Wednesday. It was fine. It was to see where Eva was and get her used to her speech therapist. Eva was mostly excited to play with new toys. Here’s what I learned from therapy, again. I need to let go. I need to let Eva get there in her time. I need to stop doubting her and myself. She will talk. She will communicate. I need to be gentle with myself and realize I’ve given the her all the other building blocks and some extras. I need to trust Tim when he says that Eva’s perfect the way she is and so are we. I need to just be. I once again am learning I can’t control everything and that’s okay. I tell Eva all the time that things don’t go the way we want, and that’s okay. In fact, that’s called life.

Sunday November 26th

Sunday November 26th was the beginning of the nightmare for us. That morning I went to the gym and came home and started breakfast and cleaning up to put Christmas decorations up. I went to the bathroom and saw the worse thing possible. Blood. I was eight weeks pregnant and two days. My heart dropped to my stomach, I became light headed, and my mind started running as fast as it could. Short of breathe I told Tim that I was going to Walgreen’s to get another pregnancy test to see what it said. It still said positive. I called the on call OBGYN and told them what was happening. The blood lightened and stopped for the day. I was told to take it easy. No exercise. No lots of physical exertion. No stressing. I found the last one to be impossible.

I had taken a pregnancy test about four weeks earlier. I was excited at the idea of expanding our family, giving Eva a brother or sister, and bringing another kick ass baby human into this world. We wanted this since we had gotten married. We wanted multiple kids. We wanted. Excitedly we told family and gushed over the possibility of another set of feet to pitter patter through our lives and hearts. The truth was I knew it wasn’t right. I told my parents and broke down crying because I was so worried that something was going to happen. I told Tim almost every other day that something didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel pregnant enough. It took until Sunday November 26th for my body to catch up with what my mind and soul already knew.

Monday the bleeding got worse and I started having some light cramping. I was told by many people including the OBGYN that bleeding was common and mothers go on to have very healthy pregnancies and labors. I knew I wasn’t going to be one of these mothers. I knew my body was going through the M word. The Voldemort of the pregnancy world. The word that must not be named. I was going through a miscarriage. I spent the day going from trying to pep talk myself through it to crying a lot while holding Eva because I couldn’t give her the sibling I promised. We were scheduled to have an ultrasound on Tuesday and between Monday morning and Tuesday morning it felt about six years in time.

Tuesday November 28th our nightmare came to life and it wasn’t this thought bubble looming over us anymore. They couldn’t find a heart beat. They couldn’t find a cell sac. They couldn’t find…anything. Needless to say the next hour of our lives was pretty awful. I spoke with my doctor who reminded me that this wasn’t my fault even though I went through every movement and food I ate over the last eight weeks. I had started going to the gym again. Maybe I worked out too hard. I ate lunch meat. Maybe I didn’t heat it long enough before eating it. I helped with yard work. Maybe I helped too much. I had to find the reason that I was having a miscarriage and I had to find how it was my fault.

The next few days were quick and also painfully slow. I was going through waves, tidal waves, tsunamis of emotions. I knew logically that my body knew there was something not right with the baby and that’s why this was happening. I would be perfectly fine and the next minute would be in tears devastated. I was a mother going through the M word. I was mourning the loss and trying to figure out how to function. I then got the call that I was technically still pregnant. My body was not shedding the pregnancy the way it should. On Friday December 1st our nightmare became never ending.

I went to the doctor’s and was given medical options to shed the pregnancy. I decided on a D&C and was told I could have it within the hour. We went down to the surgery center of the hospital. Tim dropped Eva off with a friend and we had to mourn the loss again. Before the surgery I started passing large blood clots and was told that it was good I was going into surgery because I was going to end up in the hospital that night anyway from loosing too much blood too quickly. Someone somewhere in the universe was watching over me and my family and we were in the hospital at that time for a reason.

Sunday November 26th was possibly one of the worse days of my life, if not the worse. The next couple of weeks were just me trying to figure out how to function again. I didn’t want to leave my bed or the couch during the day. I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t want…anything. The most I could do was be a mother to Eva but I wasn’t her mom 100%. I was a shell of a mom that did the bare minimum. We were lucky that my parents came and helped with Eva for a couple of days. I got amazing support from friends and family. The more people we told the more we heard, “That happened to us too.” We couldn’t comprehend how common this was and how often it happened.

This was truly the word that was not to be named. There is heart break and then there is loosing a baby or child. I didn’t think my heart could suffer that much heart ache. At some points I thought I would die from the heart ache. There is heart break. There is sadness. There is loss. Through it though there is help around you. There is love around you. There is support around you. There is life around you. We all go through the grieving process differently. For some keeping it bottled in is how they deal with it. For others talking about it helps them. For me talking always helps, but I felt like I couldn’t. I felt like because I was talking about the M word I was giving into it. I was admitting that I was sad and couldn’t function at full speed. Mothers went through this all the time, why was I so different? Why couldn’t I win over it.

I joined a support group on Facebook and learned that I wasn’t doing any of that. I was being a mother going through a miscarriage and a D&C. It was okay to be sad. It was okay to be angry. It was okay to be whatever it is I was because that’s what I needed to be. The M word of pregnancy carries so much weight because it’s clouded in so much secrecy. No one failed for having a miscarriage. No one did anything wrong. No one was being punished for something they did in their youth or childhood. No one deserves to know this heart ache.

There are still some points during the day that I am sad. I try to focus on the amazing aspects of my life. I am part of an amazing group of women whom I call the baby gang and their babies have turned into my babies. My best friend and I were two weeks a part in our pregnancies, in the end I still get a kick ass baby human. My parents came down without thought to do whatever they could to make the load a little lighter. I have a wonderful, hilarious, smart as a whip, sassy, heart bigger than her body, little girl who dropped whatever she was doing to hug me when I was sad. I have a husband who held me while I sobbed and never once made me feel like this was my fault and who just wanted to take the pain for me.

I learned that the human spirit is incredibly resilient. You keep going through it all because you have to. There are times you want to give up and throw it all in. And if you do for however long, that’s okay too. Sunday November 26th the word that shall not be named came crashing into our lives and took from us something that we already loved more than ourselves. Sunday November 26th our strength was tested, our marriage was tested, and our family was tested. Sunday November 26th was the start of a nightmare come alive. Sunday November 26th I became heart broken. Sunday November 26th I found out how strong of a person, wife, and mother I was.

Broken

As a parent you aren’t prepared for a lot of things. The realization that when they tell you that you are in fact pregnant that it is for the rest of your life. The idea that this small adorable blob is relying on your for literally everything and doesn’t understand nor care that there are other ways to obtain food, clothing, and shelter. The physical and mental stamina one has to attain in order to keep up with said blob. Plus a million other small nuances that you never even thought of until they happened.

Tonight wasn’t the first night I felt this one but it was the first time I was able to put some sort of label on it. Tonight I was broken. This is what an exhausted mother looks like. IMG_20171110_225714 This is what a totally and complete melt down looks like. This is what feeling like a failure looks like. This is what utter defeat looks like. This is what broken looks like. A raw unedited unfiltered broken parent.

For about two weeks our daughter has become a Tron baby and refuses actual sleep. Today she napped for about 20 minutes. We put her into her crib around 10:15 pm and at 11:00 pm Tim went up to gather the screaming banshee because she cried and screamed in her crib for a full 45 minutes. Without stops, without time outs for exhaustion, without anything. Tim played a video game to distract himself from the screams coming from upstairs. I cleaned up the living room and playroom to distract myself. After 45 minutes neither of us could take it anymore and Tim went to get her and I went into the bathroom and was just…broken.

I am so lucky and have an amazing support system. I have my family, my friends of 10 plus years, a group of moms that I’ve met here in Exeter, and my husband. They are always supportive and all of them are first to yell, “You are an amazing mom! You’re amazing parents” when myself or Tim doesn’t feel that way. Let me tell you something, when you feel like you are doing poorly at being a mom it does not matter what people are telling you. You get sucked into a black spiral with barbecue sauce of shame. I felt like everything I do is wrong. I don’t wear her out enough during the day. I don’t do enough of a bedtime routine. I don’t do enough. I am not enough. Eva deserves more.

I decided to write this post because you could have a 100 mom friends, have an incredibly supportive husband, and a best friend a text away but still feel like you are alone in everything. I was alone in that bathroom. I was alone in my feelings. I was alone in my failure. At the end of the day, am I a failure of a mother because my daughter won’t go to sleep? Of course not. I rationally know that but when you are exhausted and have been watching your child all day there is no rationality, there are no calming words, there is only the spiral and the barbecue sauce. That’s it. I wrote this post because I want other moms to see, you are not alone. You are not broken alone.

Thankfully Eva had exhausted herself crying for 45 minutes straight that she went to sleep shortly after we brought her downstairs. Unfortunately when she exhausted herself she also exhausted us. For about two weeks straight Eva hasn’t gone to bed before 11:45 pm some days with naps some days without a nap. She sleeps pretty late into the morning but personally, I need my break at the end of the day. I prefer a moment after war to assess my current situation rather than mentally prepare for the day’s battles. Tim and I weren’t getting breaks. He was working all day then helping with Eva while I watched Eva all day and through the night. It was taking a toll on our mental well being and each other. We get snippy with each other and begrudgingly tell the other that they can go to bed because they watched her the night before until 1:45 am.

There are a lot of cool moments of being a parent, but sometimes you feel like that’s all you get. Moments. Then the not so great moments feel like they turn into a epoch. The last two weeks our house is and was the ice age and there was no sunshine. Today was a better day. We woke up and started our day. Eva and I went and got bagels and coffee while daddy got some well deserved sleep. We carried on. This all may seem mellow dramatic because who hasn’t had a bad day, night, or week? Somehow it feels different. Being a parent of a child makes those dark moments different. You aren’t concerned about yourself anymore, the entire future of your child is in that moment. Sadly those moments just leave you feeling broken.

 

I’m a white housewife

This past Sunday myself and millions of people tuned in to see their favorite players jog out onto the field and play some football. On that Sunday most people found themselves picking their jaws back up off the floor after a very loud thud. Either teams did not go out onto the field for the national anthem or took a knee or locked arms with their teammates. After this happened there were scorch marks on social media sites from quick moving fingers. People outraged by what they had just witnessed. People applauding what they had just witnessed. People who wanted to point out that there were other things to focus on.

It would be so easy for me to say, “Not my prob, Bob.” I am a white housewife. I live in a higher middle class. I live in New Hampshire, a very white occupied state. I own my house. I am married to a man. I have a beautiful blonde haired blue eyed little girl. We are the poster people for the American dream. I’m one step away from taking NyQuil shots of being Ms. Doris Day. I could ignore what I saw and go on with my life. After seeing all the articles, opinion articles, editorials, news casts, social media rants, pointing of fingers I realized something. I’m a mom now.

Eva is only 16 almost 17 months old. She doesn’t speak yet and honest to god has no idea what happened Sunday afternoon. Just like she doesn’t know what happened in Charlottesville, VA last month. Part of me is glad that she is still in that blissful innocence age. Her biggest concern right now is how to move that empty laundry basket into the play room when it is clearly bigger than her. The idea that one day I’m going to have to sit down with her and explain racism in our country, boggles my mind.  It’s going to be up to me and Tim to explain what is going on around her. Explain to her what the other kids were talking about. At some point that innocence is going to be taken away and there is no amount of Gorilla Glue or duct tape I can use to cling onto it.

We as parents need to have a dialogue because here’s the cold hard truth. We the parents, the adults, are the ones who raise these children. We are the ones that give them the first views and morals of the world. We are their appetizers into a confusing utterly infuriating and frustrating buffet line of life. We have to talk to them about racism so they know how to avoid it. We need to talk to them about what ninja racism is because I’m sure you’ll hear many people say that it isn’t as bad as when our parents were young because at least groups of black people aren’t being beat in the street every day. Which, sure, that’s not happening every day. It still exists though. The black community still fights to go to Walgreen’s and not be followed because of their skin color. They still fight to not have horrific names scribbled across their garage doors and cars. They still fight to drive down the highway without a heart palpitation because they realized they were two miles over the speed limit.

Sunday was not an isolated incident. It wasn’t petulant children walking out of a test at school because they think the teacher is mean. It wasn’t a violent act that ended in arrests, tears, and the perpetual fear that we as a country are still fighting a civil war that supposedly ended 152 years ago. People are screaming that it was the definition of disrespect because there are men and women who fought for that national anthem and that flag that waves. A flag that represents freedom, passion, fight, blood, sweat, and tears. An anthem that still makes grown men weep and brings a sense of pride to the most non patriotic person.

Our country is phenomenal at selective memory. As much as our ancestors fought for that flag and as much as our friends and family still fight for that flag, we have to remember that the black community fought for it just as hard. “Well, Amy, wouldn’t that make it so important that they stand and respect the flag?” No it isn’t. People are arguing that kneeling is a slap in the face of military personnel and their family and friends. We don’t know what they go through on a daily basis and we don’t know the wars they fought to protect that flag. We are forgetting that in the same respect most of us in this country don’t know what it is the be black. We don’t know what the black community goes through on a daily basis and we don’t know the wars they fight every day. I can say with full confidence that I as a white housewife with a Prius will NEVER know what it means to walk into Walgreen’s and be followed because my skin is darker than theirs.

Colin Kirkpatrick wasn’t a spoiled NFL player who was stomping his foot and sassy walking away from his parents yelling at him. He was a black man who was tired. Tired of his family and friends being called thugs. Having every stereotype thrown his direction because his Afro was bigger. Tired of turning on the TV and seeing another race motivated story splashed across headlines with a angle this way or that depending on how conservative that news organization is. I have to be honest. I get it. People think he doesn’t understand what it meant to get that flag to wave but I have to ask, do you understand what it means to keep it waving? This country is a place of freedom. It’s a place where our crown jewel monument says, “Give me your weak, your poor, your hungry”. A woman with a torch to welcome any and all those who need that help. We fought to make that monument an testament of truth not flourish of language and I think it’s a disgrace we’ve let that ideology die.

We need to have conversations about race because it’s still relevant in this country no matter what overlaying issue you have. If you live here as an American citizen you have every right to stand or kneel and say, “I have a problem with the way I am being treated.” I desperately want to look at Eva and explain how things used to be here but how they’ve improved drastically. I want her to go into the world looking at every person for who they are, race and all. Now look, I’m not a political analyst. I am not a politically correct person. I’m not a part of the military and I’m not black. I’m a white housewife that has to raise her children to be better members of this society than what we are seeing right now. They have to be the change because there has to be a change. It’s starts with them, WE need to give them the push.