Happy Monday friends… uff da. The last week has been a crazy one. We went down to visit my parents a week and a half ago, went to the Iowa State Fair… and got Covid. This was our second time getting it, but it was definitely a harder go around this time… especially for the kids. Gabe was pretty sick there for a minute, and Ella and I are still recovering, but it does seem like we’re on the upswing so thank God for that!
I know I’ve been hinting at a life update for awhile now so I thought I would take the time to do that today… a very chatty update so be prepared. 🙂
Oh man… life. Ha! Where to start. Let’s start with the kids and then I’ll move on to me.
The biggest, most consuming thing in my life over the last few years has been the constant (and I mean constant) fight for the care my children need. It’s not that anyone has been working against my desire to find answers for my children, it’s more so the unfortunate convincing you have to do with healthcare workers. And again, it’s not that people were disbelieving, it’s more so that I had to bring it up many, many times to finally get in with the right people.
But I digress.
In the past year 2/4 of my kids have been diagnosed with ADHD, and I have one other child I’m trying to get seen because I am confident she also has ADHD (just try getting into a child psychologist right now… it’s next to impossible). One was diagnosed through her therapist and the other was diagnosed through her NICU follow ups, and it has honestly been a whole lot to process. There’s a lot more I could say here, but I’m choosing to use a lot of discretion because I respect the fact that my kids might not want me sharing all the nitty gritty details with you guys.
But from my perspective I can tell you that it’s been a whirlwind of a year. And I don’t think I’ve always handled it very well. I have felt every emotion including relief (I KNEW there was a reason for our chaos), anger, frustration, awe (witnessing the creativity of a person with ADHD is humbling at times), physical sickness, overwhelm… you name it. I’ve always felt like our oldest had something extra going on behind the scenes, but to find out that 3 of my children have an extra hurdle they’ll have to jump over for the rest of their lives is… a lot to take in. They are the best kids ever and they are doing the best that they can, but there’s a whole lot of reframing that I have to do that is overwhelming at best.
And speaking of overwhelming, my health has taken a decided turn for the worst over the last couple of years. After seeing a lot of doctors, the most likely cause of all of my mysterious symptoms is… chronic stress (anyone see that coming?). I have been dealing with anxiety, PMDD, GERD, PTSD (from the twins’ early birth, and Rosie’s brain bleed diagnosis), migraines, debilitating skin rashes, and increasing food sensitivities… plus I’ve lost more weight than I should. I have been seeing a therapist for awhile now, and she has helped me to see how my very difficult journey as a mother has manifested in my body in very painful ways. I always thought my “journey” (anyone else feel like the Bachelor franchise has ruined that word?) as a mom has been a very normal journey, but therapy has helped me to see that it has not been. I’m not going to go into every detail, but very hard pregnancies, post partum depression, high risk pregnancies with all three of my girls spending time in the NICU, scary diagnoses, and now oodles of ADHD (with one having severe ADHD) has led to one very stressed and repressed mama.
All that to say, it’s been hard. If you’ve noticed inconsistencies with my presence on here or on Instagram, that explains it. I show up when I can and I don’t show up when I can’t. At first I would push myself to do it all, but I’m learning that on days when the kids need extra help with regulating their emotions I need to take extra care to do less. Because it takes a toll on my emotions to be that for my kids. I will do it again and again, every day for the rest of my life if they need me to… but I’m learning to take care of myself in the process.
And I’ve been working on healing my body. I started taking anti anxiety medication over the summer and that has helped a ton. I’ve also been meeting with a dietitian to find ways to heal my body through food – one of which is to figure out exactly what foods I’m sensitive to so I can have less rules around food while also experiencing less GERD. I’m also working with a gastro specialist on some more intensive methods for pinpointing damage that stress may have done internally, and I plan to meet with a neuro specialist to talk about ways to more preventatively treat my migraines.
Other things I’m doing:
Working out more consistently, but with less intensity. I’ve taken a break from running for awhile and instead I’ve been focusing on basic weight training and going on gentle walks.
TRYING to drink more water (this one is hard for me)
Having a dedicated time to read books just for fun every night
WAY less time on social media. Like I spend very little time on there anymore… and it’s not because I don’t care about the people I follow/you guys who follow me… it’s that my life is so flipping jam packed with appointments for myself and my kids, and cooking everything from scratch (since I can’t actually eat anything remotely convenient) and trying to find time to read and work out and CLEAN… oh and handle the one hour meltdown from a child who was so overloaded with stimulus from our trip to the Zoo this morning that now it’s coming out in chaotic behavior… any time I have left for you guys I just want to spend it here because I feel like you guys that keep coming back here… you’re my people. 🙂 I’ve basically had to decide what I care about more: creating blog content or creating Instagram content, and… I’m a blogger at heart. Plus Instagram can be such a time suck that it’s hard to manage everything else going on when you are constantly checking your phone… oh and I’ve given up any thought of every trying to incorporate Tik Tok. It’s just not happening.
I’ve been aiming to get 9 hrs. of sleep a night. I know. it seemed impossible to me at first as well, but my therapist really pushed me on this one so ways that I’m accomplishing this:
- I have a strict no phone after 8:00 policy.
- My husband and I have relegated our hang out time to the weekends so on the week days we plan to just start getting ready for bed as soon as the kids go to bed at 8:00. I read for an hour and am in bed at an early hour and David does work e-mail catch up or listens to a podcast before going to bed.
- I no longer drink caffeine of any kind (although that’s because of the GERD, but it has also left me less jittery and more able to fall asleep)
- I have truncated my morning routine by a lot:
- I now workout during the day with the kids… and surprisingly it’s become a very fun way to spend time with them! I’ve been doing a basic weight training program in the TIU app and they’ll get out my two pounders and do it with me.
- I simplified my everyday makeup routine OR I’ll put it on while the kids are playing outside if I want to play around and have fun with it, and…
- David and I switched around the way we do things. Now I know we are lucky to have this versatility with both of us working from home, but he now gets breakfast ready for the kids and in exchange has pushed his workday out an hour. I would rather have him available in the morning and he can get in end of day work calls. It’s kind of been a win/win.
Anyway. I told you guys this was going to get chatty… and it did! It feels nice just to chat with you guys about it and to fill you in. I haven’t been holding things back from you guys because I wanted to hide anything, I just wanted to have a better understanding about what was going on before I shared. And of course I always want to keep things as private as possible when it comes to my kids’ lives. I’m always happy to share how I’m doing in light of something going on with them, but I never want to get too particular in the details about what they’re going through if that makes sense.
Thanks for listening friends… I don’t say all of this for sympathy or to make you feel bad for me, but just to give you an idea of why I haven’t been able to be as focused on here as I would have liked to be. I’m so thankful to those of you who have stuck with me through it all, I can’t believe I’ve been able to do this for as long as I have and to have had a community as supportive as you guys for all the ups and downs of the last several years. I love you all!
Until next time,