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Thank you for stopping by!
...back again. Hayley's back, tell a friend! But really! After almost a year since I last posted, here we go again. I sure have missed writing here, but this past year (and even in the months before that when I was rarely posting), I just wasn't in a place where I felt like I could write down what was going on in my life and I wasn't doing much with S and E that I felt were worth sharing.
Here we are on October 1st, my most recent post being last October 30th, and SO much has happened in our lives. In September we celebrated one year of having Joe home from his deployment. We are almost at the one year anniversary of living in the house we had just moved into two days prior to my last post. Skyler finished his first year of preschool, started his second and final year of preschool, and that sweet boy of mine will be in Kindergarten next year! It doesn't feel real, but I just got the first piece of mail about it, so it's happening whether I want it to or not!
I don't really know where I plan on taking the blog this time around. I loved it so much when I started the first time, but I had much more time to make cute crafts and activities, and I felt completely capable of posting almost everyday. This time around, I am very different. I don't have all that extra time anymore. Skyler hardly naps (and his brother tries not to - but I am not ready for that!), which was when I prepped activities. Having a four year old and (almost) two year old, our activities are a lot more simple. There are still a lot of things that are hard to cater to their 2.5 year age gap. I suppose my ultimate goal is to post once or twice a week, hopefully including a toddler activity with Emerson and a preschool activity with Skyler, or possibly a sibling post, mama post, or something else related to our life. This time around, there is a lot up in the air.
I started this blog at a hard time in our lives. When I started Minne Mama in December 2013, we had found about my husband's upcoming deployment a few months before and had finally decided to have a second baby even knowing he would be missing out on a lot of time with not only Skyler but the first months of the new baby's life. In November, I had gone in to have my IUD removed and my doctor couldn't find it. She couldn't see it at all, and I was terrified. I had to wait an entire agonizing month of wanting to be pregnant so badly and feeling worried that the missing IUD was damaging my chances of even having another baby. The day that I started Minne Mama I had spent the morning having the IUD surgically removed and when I wrote that first post I was still feeling terrible both from the cocktail of medications I had been put on and the pain I was in.
That day was hard, but I know we are so lucky. It took us only three months before I was able to get pregnant with Emerson. That hard day gave me the push I needed to start this blog. It was something I always wanted to try. Being a stay at home mom was my life goal and I was living it, but it was also nice to have a place to post all of the crafts and activities I loved doing with my son (and also keep all of it off of Facebook for those friends that I'm sure were not interested). I felt like even though I wasn't working as a teacher, at least I could have something to "show" for my time as a stay at home mom.
I have always used this as my own outlet. I didn't really anticipate other people reading my posts, but it has been so much fun to talk with people who read the blog, and every time a friend of mine tells me about seeing Skyler's face pop up on their Pinterest feed, it fills me with so much joy. I have to be completely honest though, writing this is now for myself more than ever. Last week, I was having a little pity party for myself. I was looking through old blog posts and really missing it, and I was shocked when I didn't even recognize myself in those posts. I feel like I am a completely different person and mom now.
I didn't recognize it as it was happening. I blamed a lot of my stress throughout my husband's deployment on being a single parent/stay at home mom with two young kids and I really thought that when he came home it would be like this magical transformation back to the person I was before. If anything, this past year of having my husband back home has been harder than the year he was deployed. I had to admit to myself that I was not okay. I did not feel happy with myself and I couldn't find much joy in my life, even when I was with my family. I was drowning and I needed to accept that this was not something that could be changed with a magical homecoming. It took me several months even after Joe got home, after we moved, after Skyler started preschool, all of these huge changes in my life and my family's lives. I started talking to a therapist and she told me what I knew all along, I had been suffering through postpartum depression and anxiety.
For a year and a half I played the part of happy mom and Army wife, and sometimes I actually felt that way, but it was rare. I tried as hard as I could for my family, but I spent a lot of time crying, having a lot of panic attacks, and finding ways to hide away by myself. I was cancelling plans, losing touch with friends, and truly lying to myself. When I talk about it now with people who spent time with me then, they tell me they had no idea I was going through it. I did a decent job of hiding it, but it's not something that should have to be hidden. I honestly didn't even plan on writing about this here, but now that I did, I see that maybe this is why I was missing my blog all along. It feels good writing it all out. I know I am not the only parent feeling this way and my experience is not uncommon. Did I ever think I would have depression? Absolutely not. But, it happened to me and I am happy I did something about it.
Our days are not perfect. They weren't when I was writing the blog before either, but I felt a lot better then. I said to people after having Emerson that I thought I was a good mom until I had two kids, but I know now it is because I was already dealing with anxiety and depression. I talked to my wonderful therapist once a month for five months and when I felt like I had tried everything I could to be a calm and happy person, I saw a psychiatrist and started taking a tiny white pill once a day before I go to bed. With it, I can fall asleep at night instead of having racing thoughts keeping me awake, I don't cry several times a day, I don't have panic attacks, I have patience with my family and myself, the smile on my face is real and not forced, I talk to people more, I don't hide on the stairs with my heart racing as my child has a tantrum one room over, and I can easily say that I am happy every day and not just every once in awhile. I am not a perfect mom or wife. In fact, I felt like a failure three months ago when I started taking my medication, but the way I felt before and the way it was affecting my children was not something I could live with. I have noticed such a huge difference in myself and in my children since I started taking it. I knew I made the right decision when, my first day after starting the medication, I didn't feel like I was in a fog and my sweet four year old commented on how happy my face looked. I remember driving somewhere and looking around in awe of how beautiful everything looked, I literally felt like I was buzzing because it had been so long since I had just felt happy for no reason. Sometimes, your life is not what you expected it to be, but you just need to find the best way to live it in that moment. I don't think I will need to take my little white pill forever, but right now it is what holds me together and I am so thankful to feel more like myself. My day to day life is still not as easy as it once was, but it is manageable and that feels like a huge accomplishment.
Yikes, this post was a doozy! If you read it all, thanks for sticking with me. You are great and I love you for being here. I hope that I can keep up this page of mine and fill it with more fun activities for you to try with your kids. If it includes more posts like this one, I hope it can help some people who have felt this way. Either way, parenting is both incredibly challenging and the most wonderful thing imaginable, so we can get through all of these good and bad days together :)