Observations about parenting infants through preschoolers

It’s the End of My Rope as I Know It

End of Rope
End of Rope

I’m on my second cup of coffee and today is looking like it may very well require multiple pots of that precious elixir.


Here’s the snapshot so far:


Tres is standing on the table in her underwear “showering.” She has commanded no one can look at her or talk to her while she “washes her hair.” I just told her to take the nail file out of her Dora underpants before someone ends up hurt.

Bubby is in the high chair emitting high pitched squeals in practice of his sonar tracking system. I believe he got the inspiration for this super sonic invention during his time communing with bats in the wee hours of the night because sleep is for the weak.

Uno is badgering me to assume ownership of a rabbit that’s half her body weight. She is more concerned with ownership and her rights than Lewis and Clark and the U.S. Government.

Dos is still complaining of “grumpy legs” – which I think are a way of her telling me she’s having growing pains – and wants to see pictures of all her friends on Facebook. This means she lets out a huff worthy of a howitzer blast every time I take my phone away from her because I’m under the crazy impression the phone belongs to the person who pays for it and is least likely to put Pop Tart smeared fingerprints on the screen.



I am, without shame, now hiding with my laptop and a cup of coffee while my husband, the versatile gem that he is, attempts to pull the kid off the table and complete farm animal needlepoint at the same time:


He makes a lovely stitch, does he not?!
He makes a lovely stitch, does he not?!


All of this makes me think about how I respond when people ask what it’s like having four kids and also homeschooling them. Chaos like this morning and pain of it all are the images that flash into my mind and I groan and say, “Let us be your cautionary tale! Don’t do what we do!”


But then I think again and remember the pure joy I felt when I met each of these children moments after they emerged from the womb; how just hearing their laughter makes my heart lift; I have a flash of excitement when they are able to read street signs and sound out words — even our showering beauty on the table this morning was hilarious in the midst of complete disregard of all societal norms that encourage us to stand on the floor instead of the location we place our victuals.


When I lump the bad and  the good all together (and pray… lots of prayer), I realize I have the courage to try again; to leave the my hidey-hole, and take up the privilege of teaching, mentoring, stewarding these little lives.


So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a table to Lysol and a pig needing some needlepoint completed. I’ll catch you in awhile.


(But feel free to pray for us. It’s gonna be a looonnnnnnggggggg day.)




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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

The stereotypes about boys are true

celila / stock.xchng
celila / stock.xchng

I’m not one to buy much stock in blanket generalizations, but every once in a while I am reminded that stereotypes become stereotypes because in many cases… they’re true.


Tonight when I found our 1-year-old son standing in front of the window of the front loading washing machine, bouncing up and down, batting at the clothes whirling around inside, and laughing, well, the cliché of men being relatively simple and obsessed with simple pleasures came to mind.


Three other things I’ve noticed after comparing a baby boy to three girls?


Boys bang. This child believes everything is a snare drum, from his high chair tray, the kitchen cabinets, to his sister’s head. The world is his oyster and he’s going to bust it open or die trying.

Automatic watering system. I was warned about the dangers of the male apparatus and urine production, I even got a pee-pee tee-pee as a shower gift, but nothing can prepare you for the directional sprinkler system attached to your masculine progeny. This child could nail a fly on the opposite wall on a bad day… and dampen everything in between.

He’s happy, happy, happy. While we’re getting glimmers of a strong will in this boy as we enter the Era of the Tantrum, in general if the kid is dry, fed, and rested there’s not much that can derail his happiness. He giggles. He smiles. He coos. He’s unbelievably stress-free. This is a direct contrast to our girls, who could visibly be seen multi-tasking and seeking the next best thing even as toddlers.


I can’t wait to see what other stereotypes will be confirmed or denied in the years to come. I’m just praying his easy going nature will continue when his sisters are in the teen age years, Lord knows we’ll need a voice of reason around here!


What differences have you noticed between male and female toddlers?




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I am not June Cleaver

June Cleaver and Leave it to Beaver.
June Cleaver and Leave it to Beaver.

Although this will likely not surprise you, I have a confession to make: I am not June Cleaver.


I am also not Mama Berenstain Bear. Nor any other paragon of motherhood heralded before me in the media.


I cannot explain why this realization was so shocking to me, but it hit me yesterday like a ton of bricks – I’m not a perfect mother and I don’t even portray an image of a perfect mother. I don’t always have the right words to sum up the moral lesson, I lose my temper, sometimes I argue with their father, I hate doing laundry and the corners of our shower are a little frightening to behold.


I’m not perfect. Nowhere close. No paragon of virtue present in this household.


For a long time I’ve tried my best to match up to the examples set by the maternal influences in my life whether my mother, mother-in-law, sister, friend, etc., or the women I see in movies or on television, or brought to life via words from the imagination of authors of books. I’ve read books, scoured the internet for blog posts, and solicited parenting feedback from friends near and far.


The ultimate diagnosis? I’m not perfect. I will never be perfect.


But that doesn’t make me hopeless. That’s the next step in this line of thinking – that lack of perfection doesn’t equal failure as a parent.


Yesterday wasn’t a special day and I’m sure this is an understanding I will have to acknowledge again and again, but saying the words, “I am not June Cleaver” lifted the monkey of perfection from my back for a bit of time. Here’s what I can claim as real instead of perfection (and maybe you can claim it, too):


  • I am a capable woman who is sometimes overwhelmed by the tirade of emotion coming from children over whether they get a piece of gum.
  • I am a logical human being who realizes sometimes getting a few hours of sleep is more important than having the floors mopped or socks matched.
  • I am a caring person who invests in those around her and occasionally that means arguments and temper tantrums – because the opposite of love is not hate, it is apathy.
  • I am courageous and up to the challenge of parenting because I choose to be present in these children’s lives and live authentically with them.


Oh, how I wish it didn’t take me writing these things down to try to remember them in my most critical moments! But I don’t have to be June Cleaver (and neither do you). I can be me.


Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to model yourself after someone else, or an image that seems too good to be true. Just be you. Do your best every day to be true to your values and then… relax.


Be the best version of yourself, no one else. It’s enough. Rebuke the pressure.


What truth statements do you need to write down so you will remember them in your critical moments?




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Story of a Reluctant Homeschooler: Part Two

We took our family’s educational process back to the one-room schoolhouse model.

I’ll be telling our story of Reluctant Homeschooling over the next few days.


Yesterday I left off with the discovery that, despite our ill-informed prejudice, we decided we wanted to give homeschooling a try. I wasn’t willing to go for it all the way because I was still working and, frankly, the idea of not getting a break from my child was a little too scary to seriously contemplate.


So we pulled Uno back to a half day in pre-K and started Classical Conversations one day a week to see if this could work for us.


Over and over my husband and I tried to figure out how we would accomplish this crazy goal of homeschool. I didn’t want to give up my career path and he didn’t want to be the primary educator… what would we teach Uno? How would we teach Uno? Would she gradually become incapable of socializing in a normal way with other children? What did we think we were doing???!!!!


A few opinions emerged from the weeks of wrestling with whether we should side step the traditional education process:


  • If the education we received didn’t give me the skill set or confidence to teach my child in a logical, educated way… why would we want her to continue in the same system? There’s a phrase for that: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Poor outcomes don’t need repetition.


  • There are many, many ways to educate a child and homeschooling is only one of a wide array of good educational choices. There is no spiritual winner’s laurel for homeschooling. Homeschooled children aren’t any more intelligent or godly or… anything… simply because they learned to diagram a sentence at their kitchen table or missed out on mystery meat in the cafeteria.


  • We didn’t want our children in school as wards of the state (yes, that’s the legal status of a child during school hours) for the time equivalent of a full-time job. School takes up a lot of time, which makes sense as the institution acts as free babysitting for many, many families in this country. But we liked the option of a shorter quantity with (hopefully) improved quality of time spent on schooling.


  • We didn’t want to spend the precious few hours we had with Uno at the end of the day doing homework and undoing the behavioral lessons she’d picked up at school. We wanted that time to concentrate on family, not sass.


After deciding some practical reasons for home education in our family we had to consider a few larger, simple questions with startling complexity:


What is the point of education? Is education about the social outcomes?

A miscellaneous gaggle of facts?

Is an education truly necessary? Is it useful for all people?


Without those foundational ideas solidly answered in my head, there was no way homeschooling would ever be successful for our family because the sacrifice would be too extreme. The loss of “me” time – even the ability to use the restroom in peace – and the constant stress and insecurity would be too painful for success to occur unless I was truly convinced this was the best choice for our family.


So we wrestled. And wrestled. And, over time that wrestling has proven to be a blessing to us because we were able to start with the end in mind.


From a practical perspective, we started by finding childcare for Uno for a few hours a day so we could both still work. Over time our situation changed so I now run a business out of our home. We wear many hats, our school day doesn’t follow a specific pattern, but we’ve found a way to adapt and make this work or us.

What are the answers to those questions for you?


Did you miss the start of the Story of a Reluctant Homeschooler? Here you go, links to catch up!

Story of a Reluctant Homeschooler, Part One



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Story of A Reluctant Homeschooler: Part One

We never thought we’d be homeschooling!

We are preparing for our fourth year of homeschooling. I am still in shocked awe that this is a path our family is walking together!


Five years ago I didn’t have anything against homeschoolers – except I really believed the required attire for the home educated was a denim jumper; that girls had long hair worn most commonly in a bun, boys wore button down shirts with the top button buttoned and well-geled crew cuts, and they always had pasty skin and buggy eyes because of lack of sunshine. In my mind, they also were very clean.


Not to work off of stereotypes or anything.


My husband and I would talk about how we wanted to educate our children and dream of supporting their public school teachers, being involved in the Parent Teacher Association, and warm cookies around the kitchen table while asking, “How was school?” each day.


It was a good image. {sigh}


Once Uno hit school age, however, we discovered our perception of school wasn’t quite as “Norman Rockwell” as we had originally assumed. Uno is a rule follower and her pre-K teacher quickly put her into a leadership position by assigning her to be the constant companion of the most troublemaking boy in the class.


The first time she came home and told us he punched her in the face we thought she was joking. By the third time we weren’t thrilled with the education our child was receiving. We met with her teacher and learned her veteran, very well respected teacher just loved having Uno in class because, “I never have to worry about the other children behaving when she’s around, she keeps them right in order!”


We started looking for options. Homeschool reared its ugly, bun-sporting head.


I am NOT a college-trained educator but I do have a background in educational concepts: my Bachelor’s is in Journalism and Humanities, my Master’s is College Administration, and I have a good chunk of a PhD completed in the History of Education with a focus on colleges and universities. When I started looking at what my child was experiencing (that pre-K is a year more concerned with learning how to treat others, raise your hand until recognized, stand in line, and share than how to hold a pencil, letters, numbers, or colors) I was able to trace it pretty easily to the literature I’d learned in my own studies, specifically to the man who overwhelmingly influenced modern educational practices.


John Dewey, father of modern education, founder of the Dewey Decimal system, and orchestrator of society. Buildings across the U.S. are named after him and there may even be some educational nerds who say his name in a voice hushed with reverence.


The idea that our public schools should create societal norms and shape the relational philosophy in large part comes from Mr. Dewey. In 1897 Dewey published his pedagogical creed, which includes the statement: “I believe that the school is primarily a social institution. Education being a social process… “


And here, I always thought going to school meant my child would be prepared for a career. But it turns out after the sweeping educational reforms of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, inspired by Dewey philosophy, schools feel it’s more important to teach community values. I’m not inherently against that – except that’s my job as a parent – not a school system that in intent on pushing children into cookie cutter molds so they will pass a test, resulting in more governmental funding for the school.


Something’s fishy about that to our family.


I’m going to take a few days to walk through the Story of a Reluctant Homeschooler.


I don’t want to be homeschooling. When we chose to make this switch I was working professionally in a field I felt God’s calling to work within. I don’t have a teaching degree and I honestly don’t love children that much. They move and shriek and occasionally drench you with nastiness!


I don’t want to be homeschooling – but we’re in it for the long haul.


We’ve spent a good amount of time thinking through our decision and I’ll share that thought process with you. I know some of you cringe about your child’s educational system and wonder if you could  – maybe??? – pull off a change. For others, there’s a reasonable chance you can’t relate to our rationale at all and think you can smell the crazy on us.


But just in case it’s helpful… I’ll share.  Stick around for the next few days as I continue to tell the story of a Reluctant Homeschooler.




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8 Reasons I Pray for My Children

A few weeks ago a friend gave me this nifty page with suggestions of how to pray for my children daily.


Oh heavens, do I need to pray for them on a daily basis. Mostly that I won’t string them up by their toenails.


While I actually love the page itself and would highly recommend it to anyone so inclined, I thought it would be fun to take a few of the virtues and mention, with trademark sarcasm, why it’s important I pray for this quality in the hoodlums.


1. Self-control. Remember the time Dos slid her fingers through the arm hair of a practical stranger? Yes? Well, if anyone needs self-control it’s this girl. I was foolish enough to venture into the mall with my brood today in search of a gray shirt. I turned my back, next thing I know, Dos is in the store front window, running her hands up and down the mannequin’s legs. Self-control? Needed.


2. Justice. There is nothing so well-developed as a sense of justice in a six-year-old. Uno collapsed into tears a few days ago because Dos got a larger piece of gum. It was a Chiclet – I’m confident it’s impossible for those to be irregularly sized because they’re all coming out of a factory that uses scraps of gingham to size their product. My opinion doesn’t matter, however. Justice must be maintained.


3. Mercy. Just this evening Tres took her father’s slipper from his foot and slammed it down on Uno’s head. Why, we don’t know. But until Uno learns to holler, “Uncle!” I’m guessing I’ll be praying for mercy for the two-year-old.


4. Courage. My children watched me butcher a chicken. They touch friendly snakes without fear. All have been known to practice their gymnastics on the steel handrail affixed three feet above our cement sidewalk. I pray their courage is tempered so they don’t end up dead one day from foolhardiness!


5. Purity. Some families might see the word “purity” and equate it with chastity and such. Not us. I’m considering purity from the germ standpoint. On any given day our children run around barefoot, feet sporting the dirt-encrusted line of a flip flop sandal. Dear Lord, please keep them from foot and mouth disease, stepping on earthworms, and stealthily-hidden shards of glass.


6. Humility. I suppose I should be grateful my children are secure in their affections, but it’s disconcerting to have the following conversation with your kid: “Sweetie, you know I love you, right? No matter what.” “Yeah. I know.” It’s never crossed their minds they might need to practice a smidgen of humility.


7. Perseverance. Nothing says you’ve got a child with stick-to-it-ness than a horse-obsessed six-year-old with a piece of rope. That child can turn anything into a horsey item. The walker doubles as a horse and a horse-mounting step stool. Every spare bit of time becomes the stage for a quick horse race. The kid is horse crazy and willing to do anything to work horses into everyday life.


8. Peace-Loving. Dos can screech like a hoot owl. How would I know this? She was NOT demonstrating her peace-loving nature. Instead she was sitting in the Barbie Jeep with her sister, screaming, because Tres wouldn’t remove her foot from the pedal. Did I mention the Jeep was moving with nary a hand on the steering wheel? Peace. It’s another quality we find lacking on a daily basis.


There are certainly other qualities we need in our house, these are a few that stand out.


As you check out this graphic, what qualities do you think your children need the most?


This post was originally published September 26, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!



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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Going Natural

There’s a little bit of a punk in me.  Maybe it’s in you as well?


Because I’m a stinker, sometimes I do things just to get a rise.  I guess it’s my way of checking my mental pulse.


One of the ways I do this is to follow blogs and news from sources holding different values than I hold.  I’m a firm believer that untested philosophies are worthless, so if I can be challenged to defend my point of view I’m likely going to be more intelligent about my opinion and more likely to convince others I’m right!


(Let’s be honest, it’s all about being right, right??)


I recently read an article about how underutilized the IUD is as a form of birth control.  If you’d like to read the entire story, here’s the link.


Here’s this nasty, hard-looking device being promoted as awesome.  Forgive me, I like to avoid a plastic anchor being placed into my body just so I won’t possibly be burdened with a child!


What really made my blood boil was the innocently offered statement:


“Today’s options are t-shaped and work by damaging and killing sperm, as well as changing the uterine lining to make it an especially inhospitable environment for little embryos (should the sperm survive).”


I can’t help but become outraged because that’s not just an inhospitable environment for the sperm to survive… that’s a fully viable child that’s being destroyed because the fertilized egg can’t implant!


When I think about the absolute magic that comes with childbearing and the odds against a child being conceived and carried to term it makes me incredibly sad that so many people make the choice to halt the life of a child based on thoughtlessness and convenience.


(In case you haven’t figured out, I believe life starts at conception, the moment that little sperm hits that little egg and fireworks erupt.)


Going cold turkey with birth control isn’t a viable option for most people, I realize.  After all, I am pro-child but fully terrified of ending up living in an asylum for small children à la Dugger-style.


I didn’t want to be on the birth control pill anymore but I didn’t want to practice free lovin’ either.  I didn’t like the hormones of the Pill and I didn’t like learning that during each year I had been on the Pill I had likely conceived three times but my body had created an “especially inhospitable environment” and flushed that baby out.


While there were definitely other options available I wanted something that was easy, logical and effective.  (And not so messy, either.  Because I’m a sissy and don’t like messes.)


At the time I was exploring options for birth control a friend passed on a very valuable resource, here it is.


My friend told me about the book Love and Fertility published by the Family of the Americas Foundation.  The explanation of this method is logical, easy to understand, and it also helped me understand my own body.


For us, it has been 100% effective.


So I’d like to share it with you.  I hope this makes you at least think of birth control options – and perhaps take a chance on going natural!


(I recommend buying the book from the Family of the Americas Foundation.  I included the link to the book on Amazon.com just because I thought you might enjoy reading the comments.)


This post was originally published May 23, 2011 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Your BIG Story


Do you watch the Olympics and wonder where you fall on the spectrum of exceptionalism?


I do.


Not that there’s a lot of attraction for me in prancing around in a bedazzled gymnastics leotard or running, running, running in circles around an arena for 30+ minutes (athletics not being my strong calling in life), but there is an utter fascination I have for watching a fellow human being excel to the level of an Olympian.


In my own arena I am competitive, I want to be noticed, to have a story my children tell their children, to leave a legacy that will be noted as unusual and inherently useful.


I don’t think I’m unusual in that desire.


I also don’t think I always set myself up for success. Sometimes the lure of the sofa, of that extra episode of The Bachelor or Wipeout, or that difficult conversation that has to take place before the next step of progress… well, those obstacles crop up and it’s easier to embrace mediocrity, go with the flow, or relax a little.


Too much of that and you realize you never swam out to meet your ship coming in.


“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” Randy Pausch, Last Lecture. (Here’s the You Tube link for this quote, the video is 76 minutes long. I listened to the audiobook with Lizard on a cross-country journey. Both of us were changed. Really.)


There are times I wake up to four little faces and feel completely overwhelmed by this life I’m living. I always knew I wanted to be a mother and have a larger family, but I also had a strong desire to be the president of a university, a published and successful author, and a secular, feminine success story.


These children’s faces, they crowd out my other dreams and make me wonder at what point I’ll come to my senses, realize four children is an insanely, irresponsibly large number of children for any family? (Much less a family whose birther is a woman who doesn’t rank highly on the maternal aptitude test?!)


I’m not up to this challenge. It’s messy. It’s exhausting. It’s rewarding, but it’s not always pretty. Yet it’s also more important, long-term, than anything else I can conceive, any figurative gold medal that can be hung from my neck.


We all love our stories of ridiculous success, the Michael Phelps, the Secretariat. We love tales of greatness that make our throats close and eyes mist with inspiration while stirring music plays in the background.


But in searching for our own BIG story, we tend to forget the greatness in our everyday, in the willingness to make irrational sacrifices of consistency are what make up success. We ignore or forget the truth that every success story looks hard, ugly and — in some lights — broken before they become worthy of soul-stirring musical accompaniment.


Yet success stories don’t ever look like quitters. Because the little, everyday, consistent choices create a story titled  “Exception.”


No television cameras were there for Michael Phelps’ early morning practices day in and day out. No one was applauding his mom while she figured out how to feed that kid massively high calorie meals on the vague guess that the potential and passion she saw in her son would come to fruition and be rewarded with golden medallions on a world-wide stage.


I’ve been reading posts of parents sending their kids to school this morning. I suppose it’s the first day of a month of various first days of school.


What are these kids being taught about success? That it’s only for the fortunate few, those gifted with athletic ability, uncommon intelligence or unusual moxie?


Or are they being taught that success in any arena is the result of courage and repetitive hard-fought, smelly, sticky, sweaty, unreasonable effort?


They’re being taught what you believe to be true because they’re watching you find your BIG story.


So. What are you going to do with that?


This post was originally published August 6, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!




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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2013 | All rights reserved

Getting Real

Victor Bezrukov / compfight.com

Something very bad has happened to my email inbox. It is full of stuff. Lots of stuff.


This morning I looked down and saw there were well over 300 emails in my inbox. Now that seems like a lot of emails to any rational human being who isn’t dealing with a major job or extraordinary crisis. It was time for a spring cleaning.


I started at the top and worked my way down. In the process I came across an update I sent to friends and extended family after Tres turned one. And I ended up crying.


Generally I try to keep things lighthearted around here, that’s what Stealing Faith is all about… but I think all of us know that sometimes life isn’t as lighthearted as we might prefer. And today, well, it just seemed like the right time to share a bit of personal experience with you.


I should warn you it’s a bit raw. And it’s really scary for me to put it out there. But I’m going to throw this into the winds of the internet because maybe, just maybe, there’s one person out there who needs to know right now… this minute… you’re not alone. Here goes:


“I know you’re not supposed to have favorites, but, Tres’ first year has been my favorite “first year” of all our kids!

With Uno I was way too ridiculous about what a mom should do.  Dos was way too colicky and we had just moved to a new place and I was too lonely to spend a lot of time in enjoyment!  But Tres? She’s been a bright ray of sunshine.  She laughs, she interacts, she has a sense of humor.  We get a lot out of her for an infant!

(In a weird sort of way it makes me want to have about 16 more kids because with her I feel like I’ve finally “come into my own” as a mother!)

What all but about 10 people DON’T know is this precious little body of sunshine that is Tres was also the instigator for some challenging experiences for me, personally.

Here’s what I wrote in September, when Tres was 5 months old:

“Today, in the whole day, I had two times of maybe a minute each where I thought, “oh, here I am!  I forgot what this looked like!”

They were moments free of feeling overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted, angry, frustrated, hopeless, insane.   Moments where my head wasn’t spinning in circles and my over-riding conscious thought wasn’t, “Normal… What is real here? React to what is real, not what you feel…”

Yesterday I went to my OB/Gyn and found out that I have a very easily diagnosed case of postpartum depression.  He reassured me that I’m not going crazy, I’m not weak, this is real and that no matter how much I try to control it I can’t.

“It would be of tremendous benefit to you and your family if you were to take medication for 3-6 months to help your neurotransmitters stabilize,” he recommended.

I think that’s what he said. What I actually processed was: 

“Blah, blah, blah, FAILURE, blah, blah, FREAK, blah, blah, blah, ADDICT-TO-BE, blah, blah EMBARRASSMENT.

So, I agreed to take a drug. I’m scared to death of it and incredibly ashamed, but this morning I took the pill.

And this evening… For two moments… I felt a release of the pressure.  I was getting milk for Uno and Dos talked to me and I didn’t have a heart palpitation from trying to concentrate on more than one thing and their little girl voices didn’t rub me raw and make my brain twitch.

I didn’t know it had been that bad until I had a moment that suddenly felt ok.

If I can take my melodramatic perceptions and lay them out, I feel like I’ve been standing next to the Grand Canyon. I’m right on the edge, where every once in awhile my foot slips and sends rocks hurtling down. I’m scared of that canyon because I know if I go down there I’ll just be… Gone.

As much as it terrifies me, there’s also a little part of me that wants to fling myself over and GO. 

Just fall, fall, fall and never, ever resurface. 

That part of me has a constant voice in my head chanting: “Sucks as a mom, sucks as a wife, sucks as a professional, sucks as a daughter, sucks as a sister, will never live up, will never get it right, never, never, never, useless, useless, useless.” 

I suspect maybe everyone is standing next to the Grand Canyon in their insides. But maybe most people are farther from the edge and have a safety fence that makes it so they don’t even realize that there’s a gaping hole available for them to drop into. 

I don’t know. Maybe.

My feelings and knowledge of reality are almost always separate right now. Instead of a good angel and bad devil on my shoulders I have the Id, Ego, Superego, whatever, running commentary on what I’m SUPPOSED to be doing and thinking right now in order to function appropriately for my life.

That voice fights constantly for attention with the other one inside. When other people talk to me it’s sometimes hard to listen or even hear what they’re saying.

I haven’t been able to control it. I haven’t been able to remember what anyone tells me. I haven’t been able to enjoy my children or my family. I haven’t been able to let go of an irrational fear that we’re not going to have food to feed our family, or that I’m actually insane.

So that’s the long and short of it. The thick and skinny.

I’m terrified. I’m ashamed. I’m humiliated and I am internally convinced I’m a failure.

I’m hoping there’s hope, though. Because for two moments today the noise inside of me stopped.

And that’s enough to give me hope for tomorrow.”

Just reading this makes me cringe inside.  It’s absolutely terrifying to even put this piece of writing out into the real world.

So, why would I bring you in when I’ve been quiet about it for so many months?

Well, for a couple of reasons:

1.  It’s Tres’ birthday.  Her birth sent my hormones into the crazy tango and yet, she was the only think that I would smile about during the dark months.  Even knowing how the hormones affected me, I would have her again.  She’s been that incredibly awesome.

2.  I still find the concept of postpartum depression shameful.  And yet, I experienced it, I was treated for it, it is real.  Maybe if I speak up someone else won’t feel as ashamed as I did because they know it’s not the end.

3.  I took the medication and it was worth it.  Against my own personal belief that you shouldn’t take medication unless absolutely necessary, I followed my doctor’s recommendation and took it.  Those two moments I wrote about above turned into a life this past fall where I rediscovered how to laugh!  I was so scared I would lose that when I stopped taking the medication… And I didn’t!  Now that I’m drug-free (yay!) I can say with assurance I haven’t forgotten how to laugh, I enjoy my children more, I’m a healthy participant in my marriage, and I’m excited about living each day!  That’s all good stuff.”


Maybe one of the worst things about going through a hard time is you lose the ability to think that things can’t actually get that bad.


For example, early in our marriage someone close to us committed suicide. It’s a long story but the upshot is that act and event changed us. It changed our marriage, our parenting, our view of life. We suddenly realized how bad things could feel. And how precious life is that how deep the web of relationships go.


Once the damage was done, we realized a few things: One, life can be grim. Painfully grim. Two, you can make it through. One step at a time, one day at a time, and sometimes it’s about accepting help as it comes.


And then there’s the day you find yourself laughing and realize it’s been a long, long time since your belly hurt because of joy. And you feel alive.


Today my overwhelming thought is to encourage people don’t give up. Even when it looks dark and overwhelming, find the little spark that makes you step away from the ledge.


I’d love to hear your responses to this post… and actually, I’d also love to see some things that help us smile. So… please! Post your favorite corny jokes in the comments. Or good jokes. Totally up to you. I’ll award a gold star to the comment that makes me laugh out loud! Ha!


This post was originally published February 6, 2012 and is being recycled as part of the “I’ve Been Around” summer! Hope you enjoyed it and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!



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