Time Cherished

Wow! I don’t know if I could feel more exhausted right now because I haven’t really slept the last few days. I never sleep well in a hotel.   My oldest daughter and I flew to Atlanta on Friday for her first live cheer competition of the season, and we got back late yesterday afternoon.  It was our first time traveling since the pandemic began, and it was quite an experience.  I was nervous about it and our chances of exposure, but I was also excited to be doing something that sort of resembled our old normal.  We took every precaution that we could given the circumstances and will be quarantining ourselves for the next week to make sure we didn’t pick up anything we could spread.  

The trip started out like a normal trip except having to wear a mask.  We got to the airport in plenty of time to get through security and get to our gate.  As we boarded the plane, the flight attendants handed us each an individually packaged sanitizing wipe that we could use to wipe down our area before we sat down.  I had actually brought a small pack to do that myself but didn’t need to use them.  The fact that the flight was full made me a little nervous, but I tried to put it out of my mind.  I felt like most people were being cautious and trying to be safe.  What I did not count on or consider was that since it was a night flight, the lights would be turned off, leaving the plane dark.  This gave some people around us the opportunity to get away with pulling their masks off and not wearing them.  I was pretty upset about it, but I didn’t feel comfortable enough to say anything.   I just kept hoping the flight attendant would notice, but that didn’t happen because the flight attendants had to remain seated for the majority of the flight due to turbulence.  It wasn’t just a little turbulence either.  It was probably the worst I have ever experienced and certainly didn’t help my nerves.  I get bad motion sickness too, so that was fun.  Needless to say, the flight to Atlanta was not pleasant at all. I was so happy to get off that plane and to our hotel.  Thankfully our flight home yesterday was not full or turbulent and everyone kept their masks on! 

Typically, when we travel for competitions, we go out to eat and try new restaurants, do a bit of sightseeing, and hang out with teammates when they aren’t competing.   That was not the case this trip.  In an effort to minimize our interaction with others, we stayed in our hotel room the whole time.  The only time we left was to go to the competition, and then we came right back after it was over.  This was my first experience using Uber Eats, but it actually worked out great for lunch and dinner for the duration of the trip.  The driver brought the food directly to our room and left it outside the door to minimize contact.  It was perfect and super easy.  We watched a lot of TV, experimented with new ways to do her competition hair and makeup, and just hung out together.  It was kind of fun in a way because we just talked and laughed a lot.  I know my opportunities to do that with her are dwindling since she will be off to college soon, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I love the young lady she has become, and I found myself really enjoying her company.  Even though there wasn’t much excitement to the trip, it is definitely one that I am going to remember forever.  Time spent with my family is the biggest thing that I have taken away from the pandemic.  It has opened up opportunities to just be together like never before, and I will cherish this time always.  

While we didn’t bring home the win, we came back with memories to last a lifetime.  The girls killed it both days and placed third among a super tough division.  My girl walked away with a renewed confidence in herself and pure happiness for the first time following a competition in a long time.  I saw the same light in her eyes that I used to see when she first started competing in gymnastics return, and it was shining so bright.   She even kept saying to me over and over all weekend that her eyes looked so blue.  I think she was seeing that same light that I saw.  I caught myself several times just staring at her during the trip thinking how beautiful she is and how much she has grown up.  I am so happy that she has found a new sport that she loves and is excited to learn, improve, and give it all she’s got. Although it is a sport that I never saw her doing or ever wanting to do, she is thriving in the midst of it.  I couldn’t be more happy or proud of her. It just goes to show that it is never too late to try something new and that hard work and determination pays off. 

I am happy to be back home and to have gotten a full night of sleep last night snug in my own bed, but I already miss our mom and daughter time together.  Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world, but it is also the most rewarding.  I would give anything to go back and do some things over so that I would have had more moments like this weekend.  We rushed through so much over the years, and I hate that I didn’t take the time to simply just hang out with both girls more.  COVID had taught me such a valuable lesson.  NOTHING is more important or more precious than time spent together.  Going forward I promise myself that I am going to take more of that time and cherish every single second of it.  

Anchored,

Just Stay Little Forever

Something happened last week that I am so not ready for.  In fact, I am not sure that I will ever be ready for it.  My oldest daughter, after having completed driver’s education, 45 logged hours of driving time, and a 7 day behind the wheel course, has officially gotten her real license.  She just has a piece of paper right now because the state requires her to appear before a judge in court to get the hard copy in the next few weeks, but that piece of paper means she can legally drive without an adult.  I’m not ready.  Is any parent ever ready to let their teen get behind the wheel alone and drive off? I don’t see how anyone could be.  The thought of her driving without her dad or me there is so scary.  We live in an extremely high traffic area which is a far cry from the small, zero traffic town where I first got behind the wheel alone all those years ago. I am certain my parents were nervous for that first time, but I feel like it is vastly different here. There are so many more opportunities for crashes in the crazy traffic we see around here.  I think I would feel much better about the situation if we lived down there instead of here.  Let’s be honest, though. That’s probably not really true.  I would likely be a nervous wreck no matter where we lived. Ugh! I’m not ready. I know I said this same thing when she got her permit, but this is a whole new ballgame.

Later this week will be the first time that she has to drive by herself.  She has SAT tutoring, and my husband and I are not able to take her that day.  Normally, we would just reschedule, but my husband has talked me into letting her drive herself there and back. He says it has to happen sooner or later. It is only like 2 miles away, but I am not sure I am going to be able to breath until she texts me that she is safely there and parked and safely back home and parked afterwards.  I made her drive there yesterday with me to practice and to practice parking in the parking lot.  Of course, she did fine, but that doesn’t mean that she will do fine on Thursday.  She still makes careless mistakes sometimes as an inexperienced driver that really make me nervous.  Plus, she is a blond and a true dingy sometimes. I can say that because I am her mother. If you know her, you know it is true. She will admit it herself.  I know that she had her own nerves every time she gets behind the wheel, and that does make her more cautious.  I guess that is a good thing, but I would like her to be a little more confident.  She says that she is ready, though, and that she will be fine driving to tutoring by herself.  It is just me that isn’t so sure.  The whole time she had her learner’s permit, she really had no interest in driving. We actually had to force her to drive most of the time just to get her practice and to be able to log her 45 hours of experience. Now that she has the real thing, though, she is making all these plans of where she is going to go and what she is going to do.  I am thankful that the law here is that she can only have one non-family member in the car with her at a time.  She can’t just load the car up with all her friends and go galivanting around town.  My husband and I were talking yesterday about needing to set our own ground rules for driving as well.  I can think of like 50 rules, but he, of course, thinks that is overkill.  

I know that this is a part of growing up and a normal part of life, but she is my baby. She may be almost as tall as me, but to me she is still that 4 lb, 8 oz peanut that we were scared we would break when we brought her home from the hospital. Now I am scared she will break while out driving, and that is a million times worse. I know this is a big step in her life, but I don’t like it.  Why can’t they just stay little and innocent forever? I don’t know how I am going to do this.  I get a pit in my stomach just thinking about it.  I know I have to let her go and just keep praying that she will be safe, but it is excruciating. Is there ever a stage in life when parenting isn’t hard? We have joked for years that we couldn’t wait until she could drive herself to practice and we could get a break from all the trips back and forth.  Now that the time is here, I have changed my mind.  I take back all those times I complained about the time I spent in my car.  I will happily continue to drive back and forth if it means keeping her safe forever.  Please pray for me. I might have a nervous breakdown. Mom life is HARD!

Anchored,

Mommy Sick Day

I am certain that most of you did not notice that I didn’t post yesterday.  In fact, I think my grandparents, who are probably my most loyal readers, are the only ones that did. Anyway, I did not post yesterday because I had to force myself to take it easy.  I have been sick since the end of last week.  I went to the doctor on Monday and was diagnosed with a sinus infection and got an antibiotic.  I didn’t sleep well at all Monday night.  My husband even said I was moaning loudly all night long in his ear. Well, when I woke up on Tuesday morning, I was feeling even worse.  By Tuesday night I was running a fever.  Even though I felt a little better when I got up yesterday, I decided that I was going to try to give myself the much needed rest my body apparently needed.  I was going to take a sick day, but a sick day for a mom doesn’t really exist, does it? There is no such thing as a mommy sick day. I may not have written a post and may have taken one small nap; but I still had things that I had to do like get the kids up and ready for school, pack lunches, drive them around all day, and meet with an agent to turn over the keys to our rental.  Today I am feeling about the same as I did yesterday, a little better but not great.  I have had no voice for days, I am coughing like I have been a smoker my whole life (never ever smoked anything), and my head may burst open every single time I cough from the pressure.  I really hope that I am on the mend, though, because I am so over it.  I am starting to think that I will never get my voice back! 

My youngest gave me a lecture yesterday about taking care of myself.  She told me that the reason I wasn’t getting better was because I wasn’t staying in bed all day.  Of course she is right, but how in the world can I possibly spend a whole day in bed? There is too much to do: getting them to and from school, getting them to and from practices, getting them to doctor appointments, fixing lunches, figuring out dinner, writing my blog, running my other 2 businesses, making shirts for my side gig, meet with agents and cleaners to finalize things with the rental house, attend school performances, take the dog to the vet, do the laundry, do the dishes, get groceries (because my kids think we have no food in the house), continue to unpack boxes, and the list goes on and on! How can any mother really stop and spend an entire day in bed when she is sick? It is not possible.  It’s just not.  That is why so many of us get sick and get sick hard.  We don’t take care of ourselves like we should.  My kids see their doctors at least every 3 months for med checks and once a year for a checkup. My youngest sees specialists multiple times a year. As soon as one of them gets sick, I start calling the doctor.  If I asked most of the moms out there when the last time they went to the doctor was, they most likely couldn’t answer me.  We take care of everyone but ourselves.  Shouldn’t we have yearly checkups too? Shouldn’t we see our doctors on a regular basis? We shouldn’t stop seeing doctors regularly just because we hit adulthood.  Your body doesn’t stop growing and changing just because you hit the magic number of 18 years old.  Your body changes throughout your whole life.  Adults should still have yearly “well checks” just like kids do. The only time that we go see a doctor shouldn’t be when we are practically dying and are so sick that we can’t even crawl out of the bed, but so many of us do just that. I am guilty for sure.  I don’t take the time that I need to get well when I am sick.  I just keep pushing. 

I wish I knew the secret to finding the balance of taking care of myself and being a mom, wife, and entrepreneur.  I wish that I could just stay in bed all day when I am sick, but I just don’t know how that is possible to accomplish.  It is never going to change.  I know this. I will continue to run my body into the ground.  It’s what moms do.  It is a part of who we are.  I wish there was a way to change it, but I sure don’t know how. Sure, things like the dishes and laundry can wait, but, unfortunately, there are those things that can’t. It is just a part of the life of a mom.  It is sad but true.  To all you sick mommas out there chugging along the best you can, I feel you! I know that you can’t take a mommy sick day, but try to do only what is absolutely necessary.  Give your body a chance to heal as much as you can.  It is a lesson that I still need to learn because right now I am getting a big fat “F” in taking care of myself!

Anchored,

Kids are Annoying…Sometimes

Well, my doctor diagnosed me with a sinus infection just like I expected and prescribed me an antibiotic.  First of all, I am allergic to penicillin, which makes many doctors nervous about what to give me every time I have a sinus infection (which is a lot). When I go to an urgent care place, they always give me a Z-Pack even though I have told them a million times that it never works.  I always end up going back in for another antibiotic.  Since I went to my regular doctor who has already come to know me pretty well in the few short months that we have lived here, she knew not to give me that.  Instead she decided to give me an antibiotic that I have never had before that I can recall. She warned me that it was a cousin to penicillin but that it should be fine.  She said the chance of me reacting to it was only like 3%.  I trust her so I was fine with it.  My reaction to penicillin is not typically life threatening anyway. I usually just break out in hives.  Anyway, I was happy to have something other than a Z-Pack. Well, when I got to the pharmacy, the pharmacist was hesitant to fill the prescription for me. She told me the same thing that the doctor did about it being a cousin to penicillin.  She confirmed with me the type of reaction I typically have and made me fully aware of the risks of taking it.  Then she told me to have Benedryl on hand.  Okay, now I was starting to get a little nervous, but I trust my doctor so I told her to go ahead and fill it.  I have had 3 doses of it now and so far I am fine.  I know that if I am going to have a reaction, it will be a few days before I do.  At least, that is what typically happens.  The bad news is that I woke up feeling worse today than I have felt the whole time.  I didn’t sleep well at all.  In fact, my sleep app said my sleep quality was only at 45% last night and my husband said I made moaning noises in his ear all night. I am coughing my head off and my chest and abs are sore from it. I am practically blowing my brains out of my nose and the pressure in my head is ridiculous.  I know that is all gross and you probably don’t care, but you know I vowed to be honest with what is going on in my life.  This is my reality today.  

When I wake up in the mornings, I really like to not talk to anyone.  I like to immediately take my shower and get ready for the day before I talk to anyone.  I have always been this way.  It is my “me time,” my time to reflect and pray.  When I don’t feel well like today, I really don’t want to talk to anyone. I’m cranky and just am not pleasant. Well, when you have two children that have ADHD who wake up talking non-stop, it is pretty impossible to have your quiet morning time.  It is hard enough on a normal day to listen and pay attention to what they are saying at 90 miles a minute in the morning, but today was especially difficult for me just because I don’t feel well.  My oldest was even extra chatty today.  She must have asked me a million random questions this morning.  It was taking all of the energy I had left to not get impatient with her or show how annoyed I was.  Isn’t that horrible?  I know that it sounds bad, but I can’t help it.  All I wanted to do was crawl back into my bed and try to get some sleep.  I know that all moms get annoyed with their kids every now and then whether they admit it or not.  As horrible as it may seem or to hear out loud, it is the truth. If you were ever to tell me that you never get annoyed with your kids, I would have to tell you that you are lying. If it were the truth, you wouldn’t be a normal human being.  You would be like a robot or alien! I’m not kidding! Every mom/parent gets annoyed with their kids sometimes.  Kids are annoying sometimes. Some parents have it happen more often and some less frequently depending on their personalities and their kids’ personalities. No matter how little or how frequent, it happens to us all, and it is perfectly NORMAL!  It is also perfectly NORMAL to admit that your kids drive you nuts. Thankfully, I have my tribe that I know I can be 100% honest with, and I know that they won’t judge me.  They will commiserate with me and tell me about how much their kids also annoy them. It makes me feel like I am not crazy, and I am not alone.  I’m not a bad mom.  It is totally normal for my kids to get on my last nerve.  Sometimes I explode.  Sometimes I am able to keep it together.  I have learned that it is okay.  Now that my kids are older, I can totally tell them when they are driving me nuts. They often think it’s funny and will attempt to just annoy me further all while they are laughing their heads off. It is all normal.  It is just part of life, the life of a parent. 

Now, if you will please excuse me, I am going to go crawl back in my bed where there is peace and quiet and attempt to go to sleep.  

Anchored,

Mama Tired

Those of you that are moms will understand when I say that I am “mama tired.” Let me try to explain it to all of you non-parents that don’t understand, but it is likely impossible to truly put into words.  Being a mom is a job. It’s a job that you do 24/7. It is a constant state of being. There are no vacation days, there are no sick days, and there is no time off.  I had the flu last week, but that didn’t matter. I still had to do the mom thing. The job of being a mom never ends. It also isn’t an easy job. It’s honestly the hardest job in the world. There is no instruction manual that tells you what to do in every situation. You can’t go to college and study how to be a good mom. You basically have to make it up as you go and pray, cross your fingers and your toes, knock on wood, and say all the “Hail Mary’s” and hope with every fiber of your being that it was the right decision. Sometimes it is, but many times it isn’t. Then you have to live with the consequences and spend your life trying to make up for it or fix it.  

Being responsible for the well being of another human being and the kind of person they become is like no other pressure in the world.  You are constantly stressed. You are constantly worried. You are constantly second guessing yourself.  Some days you want to curl up in a ball under the table and never come out.  That’s just how it is.  I don’t know a single mom out there that wouldn’t agree.  We all love our kids to death and wouldn’t want to loose them or take back having them ever, but it is exhausting.  It’s not just a physical exhaustion either. It is mental exhaustion just as much as physical.  Your mom brain NEVER turns off.  Even when you are asleep, your thoughts and dreams are about your kids.  There is no off switch.  

Some, actually most, moms even go through an identity crisis more than once. You begin to loose who you are as a person separate from a mom.  You are so wrapped up in your children that you forget who you were before they came into your world.  You become mom only, and you loose the rest of you.  It’s so easy to do, and it just adds to the exhaustion.  You are no longer feeding yourself.  You are no longer able to see anything beyond your job as a mom. You need a break, but you can’t take one because there is no such thing. Even when you are away from your kids, you can’t shut off being a mom.  You still think about them. You still worry about them.  You talk about them constantly.  You cannot escape.  A real escape does not exist when you are a mom. It just doesn’t. 

Moms can feel the weight of the world on their shoulders, and that world is our kids.  You can see it in our posture. You can see it in our eyes. No make-up or concealer can cover up mama tired.  We all know it is there.  We can recognize it in each other, but many moms don’t talk about.  They suffer alone. This is where you can go wrong. You have to have someone that is in your same shoes that you can talk to, vent to, and commiserate with.  It is so important. I am lucky enough to have friends that I can do that with.  We have even been called “the mommy council” by one of our husbands because we are the first people we turn to for advice.    We bounce things off of each other. We tell each other about the things we are struggling with. We plan a group gathering when we know that one of us is really struggling. We support each other. We don’t judge. We are each other’s relief.  Even when we are miles apart, we are still there for each other every second of every day.  We have this Facebook Messenger group that we have had for years.  It is one long thread of unending support and nine mamas who are in a constant state of exhaustion.  We celebrate each other. We cheer each other on. We know that we aren’t alone. We love each other unconditionally.  I am certain that if I didn’t have this amazing group of friends that I would be under the table curled up into that ball all the time.  I encourage all of you to find that person or that group that you can be “mama tired” with because it makes being “mama tired” okay.  It lets you know that you aren’t crazy.  It lets you see that how you feel is normal and okay. It lets you rediscover who you are outside of being a mom.  It helps you get back to you. Whether you are new at being “mama tired” or you have been doing it for years, you aren’t alone. There are millions of us out there that feel the exact same way and it’s all going to be okay. I promise!

Anchored and Mama Tired,