The thing about having a crisis of any kind in your life, is that it can force you to evaluate things. What you believe, your habits, your surroundings, what’s worthwhile. Kind of like New Years, but probably more meaningful since it’s coming from within. I had one of those things this year. It all started with the tick bite on my baby, and me spinning out of control with fear and mom worries and not handling life well at all. It’s like I had been holding the roof up with rickety toothpicks, and the last gust of wind just knocked it all down. (I’m going somewhere with this, I think.)
All of the turmoil made me realize that I needed to pay better attention to my wellbeing. As a mom, you can get so locked into the needs and identities of your family that you forget that you also need to be cared for if you’re going to have anything to give.
I’m randomly interspersing some family life pictures through here because it makes things more interesting. Plus they’re cute.
One of the things I decided to do was to actually get a checkup at a doctor for the first time in like…..years. I feel like a grownup when I do things like that. Especially when I have to bring the baby with me and he screams and cries and causes chaos in the doctors office the whole time.
I also tried to reign in some of my anxiety and tiredness by trying some supplements. St. John’s wort was one I tried, but I think it was making my skin sensitive in the sun. I also got some 5HTP because I read it can help with anxiety issues. I’m still going with that one. Keeping on top of my fish oil intake too. And I got a turmeric supplement to help with joint aches I was having. It’s supposed to be good for inflammation plus full of antioxidants and good stuff.
I try to take a B vitamin and maybe some C from time to time when I remember. And sometimes a cal-mag. Making babies and raising them seems to take a lot out of you. Like literally takes things from your body that you need to replace. Maybe this feeling of depletion affects some women more than others. I always felt like pregnancy was slowly sucking the life out of me, and then birth and breastfeeding and getting no sleep just continued the process. If you’re already predisposed to anxiety and feeling all the feelings, the whole thing can be kind of a bewildering experience. Especially when you have the privilege, but also the burden, of staying home with them and not having much of a life outside of that.
As I was beginning my quest to become more balanced and healthy as a person, I was contacted by a company that wanted to know if I was interested in trying out their product. It’s called “happy calm and focused” and is meant to help replenish your brain with amino acids and other brain healthy minerals. Something that can help revitalize your thinking and maybe clear some of the fog. ( here’s a link)I almost laughed out loud that this showed up in my inbox right as I was intentionally setting out to improve my emotional and mental well being. I was literally trying to become more happy, calm, and focused.
So I thought “seriously, why not?” Life wasn’t really working for me like I wanted, and it was time for some changes. So I said yes and they sent over a bottle to try for a month for free. You take it in the morning before you’ve had food, so I’d trudge down to the kitchen at 5 something in the morning, pop a few pills, start making breakfast for everyone and packing a lunch for the man to take to work, brew some coffee, and then eat my breakfast a little later.
And you know what? I feel like my brain and emotions are doing better lately. Placebo effect can be a real thing, but I felt like things did improve after I started taking it for a few days. I looked forward to taking them every morning.
I’ve also been praying more. Reading my Bible more. Trying to pursue some of my own creative urges just for me. Seeking peace over circumstances and trying to let go of the notion that I have much control over how things turn out. Not that I shouldn’t try or do my best, but not dwelling over the what-if’s as much. You can lose yourself in “what if?’ They defeat by robbing you of joy in the moments of real life.
I’m trying to be more fun and not get weighed down constantly in being MOM. All moms used to be people before they were mom, and the responsibility of raising kids can slowly erode the memory of your previous identity. You have to keep doing things that interest you and feeding your brain or you’ll run out of things to do besides cooking and cleaning and keeping the kids alive. Plus they need the model of a person who lives life from us. It’s my responsibility to be alive for my kids to see.
And getting outside is a weird thing for me, with a bug and foliage phobia and all, but I’m also trying to do plenty of that. Being somewhat cautious, spraying the kids with homemade bug spray when we go anywhere particularly bushy, but also not letting my heart start freaking out. Speaking truth to myself.
One of the best things was taking a vacation from my problems. My husband thought it would be good for me to get away, and we wanted to do something fun for our anniversary, so we planned a trip to Cape May. It was heavenly. Seriously. We’re all still talking about it. I toted all of my pills on vacation and kept up my new habit of taking the supplements every day. You can’t take a vacation from everything.
The beautiful, cool ocean air, crashing waves, victorian homes, friendly atmosphere….it was all just perfect. We listened to wooden wind chimes swaying with cool winds in the evening and played games on the deck while people walked to and from restaurants and gatherings
Every morning, we got up and had breakfast and then trooped down the street to the beach. Often the only ones there. So peaceful aside from the possibility of drowning children.
Just changing scenery and getting out of the daily drudge for a while was kind of magical. It also forced a bit of reevaluation. Like, what is it about this that I love so much that I can possibly emulate in daily life? To a certain extent we create our own lifestyle and atmosphere. How can I make mine more joyful? We did bring home a wooden windchime that looks like a skeleton, and continued the practice of sometimes playing games in the evening after the kids go to bed. We like fun strategy card games like Splendor and Forbidden Desert.
I’m still working on getting to a good place inside. Taking time to create art helps. Allowing myself to enjoy moments with my kids, rather than feeling like I have to be worrying or afflicted all the time, or else I’m probably just goofing off.
Our 10 year anniversary is in two days. One of those monumental mile posts in a relationship. This trip was worthy of it. Now if I could just come up with an epic gesture on our actual anniversary day. Getting comfortable over the years and distracted by raising small kids can take a toll on some of your awesome cute couple gift scheming.
Oddly, it used to be sewing that I could smooth some of the mental wrinkles out with. Something constructive that gave me joy in finishing, even when nothing else seemed permanent or stable in life. But when I kind of had an emotional meltdown, I lost an appetite for it like a sick person does for food. And I’ve been particularly sensitive to chaos and clutter, and wanting to just remove complications from my life. That plus a boy who isn’t sleeping well in the evenings and giving me a break to do anything on my own. So sewing slowed down a lot. I just didn’t have time or motivation to do it, so I didn’t. My appetite is coming back. Creativity is coming back.
I suddenly wanted to start making portraits of people. Then I got brave and grabbed some of the kids paints.
Oddly, quilting is really appealing to me right now, even though clothes tends to be my thing. There’s a project called the Up and Down quilt in the Handmade Style book by Anna Graham. It’s really appealing, and yet intimidating to me.
I’ve been writing tons of lists and checking things off as I do my best to plan for the next homeschool year. Violet will be an official kindergartener, which blows my mind. She’ll be joining in just like she always does, while having some more lessons just for her. Our style this coming year will probably be an eclectic/charlotte mason/classical/whatever they’re interested in mashup. Hawthorne will start getting little Montessori activities to do. So cute.
Hopeful, and intimidated. That’s how I feel about starting up with some more intentional, organized homeschool. They learn so much by just having freedom to play and read and listen to music and audiobooks. I know they’ll be ok even if I’m not the greatest, most organized, or innovative homeschool mom. But it’s still kind of scary going against popular practice and doing things our own way.
I’m basically doing a massive photo dump from here to the end of the post, so if you want my last words, they’ll be at the bottom
Our life always looks more fun and action packed when reviewed in photos.
Sorry. This is an enormous assortment of photos from our life lately, but I’m enjoying running through some of our activities and moments.
I found a tick crawling on Hawthorne while he was climbing on this tree, not long after he got bit. It was a moment of defiant bravery when I took them here to play again.
He started sleeping in a toddler bed. Even though he is clearly, clearly still a baby. I can claim that till he turns two. Which is this month.
When Violet matches the paintings she likes.
We had to remove a mulberry tree from our yard, and used the thick parts of it to make a teepee
I still need to blog this top. It’s the Limon top pattern from Willow and Co. I was supposed to do their tour and had to back out when the computer was broken.
That’s mister peabody. A fledgling cardinal we found dying on a sidewalk. After hanging out with us and feasting for a couple of days, he hopped up to the back door, chirped at me, let me hold him one last time, and then flew off the deck railing. We all miss him. It’s kind of precious and pathetic how much we all loved mister peabody.
That’s it! All the photos. I’m not exactly sure where I was going with this post. Maybe it was just one of those aimless “around here plus product review and life dump” posts. I’m going to be posting more making posts. I feel like I say that all the time, but it’s rarely true. Friday should be a fun day on this blog though. I’ve been working on some Alice in Wonderland inspired sewing.
Meanwhile, I’ll be working on bringing more balance to the force here. Decluttering. Taking some supplements (re ordering some Happy Calm and Focused), remembering my fish oil, and smearing myself with essential oils. Making tea and putting on some lipstick when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Making time for art.