Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Where I've been // Life lately

Hey friends...it's been a few weeks since I last posted. Part of my absence has been intentional because I felt like I needed a little break from everything and some time to just be for a while. The other part of it is just that life has gotten pretty darn crazy lately, and my time, energy, and attention is spread pretty thin these days. I've taken little blog breaks here and there before. It's nice. I've even toyed around with quitting it all, but I always end up right back here pouring my heart out to the internet again when I need it. That's just me...I have to write out my feelings. Talking is too hard, but typing I can manage. 

So, hi! What's up? SO much has been going on you guys...I don't even know where to start. I've opened up and shared my struggles a handful of times this last year or two, so I'm sure anyone who reads here or follows me on social media can probably tell that I've been a hot mess for a while now! Haha. I really don't like that phrase but it's so fitting for me in this moment. I mean, honestly, I don't even recognize myself in the mirror most days. The other day I cringed at my reflection and I just thought who are you? That's when I realized how bad things had gotten and I needed to just snap out of it. I don't know how else to explain it.

Is my postpartum depression gone? I'm not sure. Right now I'm on the upswing of a better couple of weeks, so I feel loads better compared to where I was at a month or so ago. But I know all it takes is one bad day...a few bad thoughts about myself, seeing or hearing something that triggers my anxiety/depression and BOOM...I'm back to being a miserable version of myself for weeks. It sucks, but that's the way depression goes. It's not an overnight "you're cured" type of thing. There can be sooooo many setbacks. But I've learned a lot about myself recently, and I've discovered that a lot of my hangups can be avoided if I really make a conscious effort every day to focus on the good things and just take it day by day. I'm going to have bad days. I'm going to have great days. I can't let myself go to that dark place in my head anymore. The place that tells me I'm not good enough, that I'm a bad mom, that I'm a shitty wife, that my entire family is against me, that no one cares about me, and that I'm going to feel this way forever. It sounds so dramatic when I lay it all out there like that...but these are the kinds of things that creep into my brain and torture me.

It's amazing what a little positive thinking can do. I've spent enough time wallowing and I'm just so over it all, really. I want my life back. I want to be happy again and not be this pathetic shell of a person anymore. I feel like I've lost so much time and it kills me to look at my kids and see how big they are now. Depression is a time-sucker, ya'll, and I feel like I've missed out on so much in life this last year or two (that's another side of depression- the guilt, because it's not like you can really DO anything about it while you're in the thick of it. It's only AFTER you've come out of the depression fog that you realize how bad the guilt associated with it is as well). It's time to focus and keep my eye on what's important: getting back to being myself and enjoying life with my husband and kids. Easier said than done, sure. But again, making that conscious effort really helps a ton and I'm just eager to move on, look forward, and focus on the next stage of life.

Walking helps my mood, so we've been doing a lot of that.

Which brings me to an announcement you may have seen me talk about on social media...we are officially homeschoolers! Well, not really officially officially yet, because we haven't started the actual schooling at home part yet, haha. But we took the first step, which was yanking both kids out of public school. Let me preface this by saying I am NOT anti-public school at all. I'm truly not! I  have a ton of respect for teachers and I have a lot of public school teacher friends- this is not in any way bashing school or teachers in some way. I think that every family is unique and that every child is different, so what works for one may not work for the other. I myself had a pretty turbulent experience with my own schooling towards the end of high school (I talked about that here) and I've often wondered how it could have played out differently if we'd considered at all of the different options for school. Public school is not the only option, but for the longest time we thought it was our only choice (because lets face it, private school is expensive, especially if you have a big family). We had many great years when our kids were in the public school system. I loved most of their teachers. They loved their school experience and for a while things were great.

But then, for our oldest child, it wasn't so great, and we knew we had to do something. I won't get into all of it because I think my son deserves some privacy (and I certainly don't want to air any of his struggles publicly), but we just knew it was time to revisit the homeschooling idea again. It got to the point where I didn't want him stepping foot in that building even one more day. So after talking to some homeschool friends and getting a ton of support from our local homeschool Facebook group (they were SO awesome and helpful about answering questions and directing us to other resources), we decided to just take the plunge. Why spend one more day in that environment? We un-enrolled him the week before spring break and said "we'll figure out the rest of this later." This idea probably shocks some people, and I admit that I was really really nervous (and frankly, still am!) BUT I really do think it was for the best. And a week later our younger daughter, who was still flourishing in public school, asked to be homeschooled too. We didn't argue.

So what now? Now we take a break. We are currently doing what is referred to as "de-schooling" which kind of looks like an extended summer break. Many homeschool moms I know who have already been through this same ordeal recommended a nice break before jumping into homeschooling and they all assured me that it would be easier for everyone if we had a little time to just chill first. Honestly, my kid had been through a lot this last year...he was really having a tough time. After  thinking about it I agreed with these homeschool moms that he needed a break from everything. Some space to just breathe and be happy again. Both kids needed that! So for now, we haven't been doing any schooling since Spring Break. That's not to say we're doing nothing, it's just that I'm not even thinking about curriculum or any of it until closer to fall. Right now we are just getting back to being a family and it's been great. I'm letting the kids be kids focus on their interests. We're playing outside a ton, spending time together, and I'm letting them explore things they want to do, like play guitar, draw, paint, build legos, read, etc, as well as tons of time playing with their younger siblings, and of course, helping me out around the house and with the little ones.

We've also been making a lot of slime! Lily is obsessed and Harper loves to watch her mix it up.

I've had to totally change my mindset about school and just relax a little more. Amazing grades aren't everything. Making sure my kids end up as good people and productive members of society is important to me. What we were doing was not working for my child. He was not flourishing. He was turning into someone I didn't like...heck, someone he didn't even like. As I said- I'm NOT anti-public school,  but for us and our situation, it just wasn't a good fit anymore. I've gotten some major side-eye from a few people for not letting them finish out the school year and for taking this de-schooling break...but you know what? Oh well. No one else knows the situation and an early summer break is not the end of the world. Their brains aren't going to rot or turn to mush before fall and they're not going to forget everything they've ever learned. They're not going to fall below their grade level or get behind. I know my kids. They're going to be just fine. Better off, in fact.

I'm not sure what our homeschooling journey is going to look like, but we will figure it out. I have a ton of support and resources, and I know a lot of people who successfully homeschool their kids and they've turned out amazing...truly, they are really great kids. I'm excited to see where this will take us. I'm also nervous as all heck, because, let's face it, I liked my time when they'd leave every day (mom truth!) I'm not going to lie...I really liked sending them off to school and out of my hair for the day. I selfishly didn't want to do homeschool for the longest time (we've been talking about it for years), mainly because I didn't want to give up my "me" time. But I'm getting accustomed to our new normal, which is being together pretty much every second of the day. And after the rough year we've had it's actually kind of nice. We could all use some extra family time together, and the little ones really love having their big brother and sister around more. Plus, you know, I can go hop in the shower any time I want now because I have helpers. Win-win for everyone! Seriously though, the kids are both enjoying their time at home and are both looking forward to what the next school year will bring for them, and I've also seen huge change in their attitudes in just a few short weeks. Regardless, I know I'm doing what's best for my family right now in this moment. I'm sure you will see much more on our homeschool journey, so stay tuned. And pray for us! It's going to be an experience, I'm sure!

This guy loves having his big sis home every day.

On top of all of that we're also trying to buy a house. For anyone who isn't aware, it's really stressful, and the market is kind of nuts right now. Prices are going up up up and there's a major inventory shortage (at least where we are). Houses are selling in a day with multiple offers. It's maddening! The home buying experience alone is generally one full of stress and anxiety, but ours seems extra bad because of all of the chaos already going on around us right now. I'm just so ready for it to be over with! We've been looking at houses and we put in a few offers for ones we liked. We came sooooo close to nailing down a gorgeous house that had every single "must-have" on our list. Our offer was accepted, we sailed through the inspection, hammered out all of the details and financing, had a closing date scheduled less than two weeks away...only to be blindsided by a low-ball appraisal. Which is really bad for a VA home loan. This started a whole process that they called "Tidewater," and the sellers just didn't want to work with us at all or come down on the price. They didn't even want to attempt to work it out...so they rejected our offer and re-listed the house on the market for the price they thought it was worth (*cough* $25k over what it was appraised for).

We were devastated, and then we worried that because the market is so crazy and that everyone is raising the prices of their houses to keep up with the inflation that we'd just keep getting these low appraisals and keep losing out on houses we'd fallen in love with. People want way more than what their house is worth right now, and someone with a non-VA loan can go ahead and appease them and just throw extra money at them. We can't. The bank is only going to give us what the house is worth, so we got really discouraged for a few days there. We're back to looking at homes now. We readjusted our attitudes (and lowered our expectations just a little), and we have a pretty good prospective house that we're looking at closely right now. Fingers crossed that it goes through and I can share more with you all on this very soon! I really don't want to jinx myself, even though I don't believe in that kind of thing. But I'll take whatever luck I can get...so I won't say much more and get my hopes up too high just yet. I will say that not being tied down to a school zone or district is awesome though and has opened up so many new possibilities for us!


I wanted to just touch on Josiah's progress since last time. He's still doing speech therapy, OT, and PT, each once a week and he's making some decent progress. He's still not talking but he is making a lot of noise and is babbling and trying to mimic sounds. But he's not even two years old yet, so I'm not really worried about the fact that he's not talking just yet. I know some kids don't talk until later, especially boys, so he may just be one of those kids. He's not in speech therapy because he's not talking yet. His communication skills overall have been a huge stumbling block. For example: we've been working with him for weeks and weeks now trying to get him to communicate to me somehow (verbally or non-verbally) when he needs a drink. He gets really thirsty and he goes absolutely CRAZY about needing his milk right that second. It always results in an epic meltdown for him. If the cup is empty he'll simply fall on the floor and start screaming and then I have to go down the list of things he might possibly need to figure out that maybe he wants more milk. We've been trying to get him to bring me the cup, or show me the cup, or point to the fridge, or even just go into the kitchen when he needs a drink. He doesn't point and rarely follows my direction if I try to show him something. We're trying to get him to sign, but it's just not clicking with him yet. I mean, he does get it sometimes, but not consistently at all. Sometimes he will have the cup in his hand and come up to me full on screaming and thrashing around trying to get my attention, but he won't actually SHOW me the cup or try to hand it to me or anything. His frustration level just goes from zero to ten over every little thing and he's hard to calm down after that. So it's this big meltdown over and over all day about everything, because he just can't slow down and tell me/show me what he wants at all still.

We're working on a lot of other little things too, like some of his sensory processing issues, but that's a whole other blog post. He is making progress each week in different areas, but it's just really slow going. Plus he's creeping closer and closer to two years old, so he's wanting more independence and all of that, which also equates to more screaming and tantrums. Aren't toddlers fun? He is so sweet otherwise though and recently started giving me kisses, which just melts my heart. His little baby curls are the cutest thing I've ever seen, and no I will not cut them! I can't believe my little baby boy is already going on two. It just goes by faster and faster the more kids you have and the older you get. He's a handful for sure.


Sooooo that's it. Just a few things that have been keeping me pretty busy lately. I'm so ready to buy a home, get settled, figure out our homeschooling stuff, and just kind of start over fresh with a new mindset. I have so many ideas racing through my head for blog posts that I hope I can finally focus on and have come to fruition. I cannot even begin to tell you how annoying it's been not being able to focus on anything or have the attention span to actually finish something I start. Baby steps. I'll ease back into it when I can breathe a sigh of relief about this whole home buying thing. 

I hope this long rambling nonsense doesn't come across as whiny. I hate that my personal posts lately have all centered around things I've struggled with, and I'm really not trying to just complain or get sympathy or or head pats in any way. It really helps me to just get it all out there, and I usually end up with emails, messages, and comments from people saying they are experiencing something similar, or they have something helpful to say about something I'm having trouble with. It's great to make those kinds of connections. As crappy as it is, I'm glad someone can connect with some of what I have to say. I don't wish a bad situation on anyone but it's nice to know you aren't alone, that there truly is no normal, you're not a bad mom,  and that you're not the only one thinking or experiencing this kind of thing. And if something I write about helps or encourages someone, then it makes me happy to put my mess out there for strangers to read. Why the heck not? We're all humans...let's help each other out in whatever small way we can. 



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