There and back again….

Yeah, yeah. I am not a hobbit, nor I am elfin or dwarf…. but there are days I wish I were.

It has been some time since I wrote last, or had much to say for that matter. I am now, not only a mother to a precocious 3 year old but also to an almost 1 year old little boy who is equally just as active. There are days I wish I didn’t have to get out of bed. There are days where I would just like to do nothing. I am a mother…. so this never happens. Even on mother’s day.

My son really has a hard time letting me do much…. he wants to be held a lot. And if he is not held he screams. I can not stand the scream crying. It is too much for me. So, I am holding Smiley. A lot. Thus cooking is difficult and so is getting around to typing on my blog much. But, here I am. Trying to write while he is asleep on my lap.

I still struggle with depression and anxiety, but I have managed to do okay in most areas of my life. Patience, at times, is not one of those areas. There are days where I wish I could be a better, and more patient mother to my daughter. She is so much like me in so many ways that it is scary. I want so much more for my kids then to have to struggle with anxiety. My anxiety and lack of patience is higher with lack of sleep. I want to continue to use attachment parenting, but there are many areas in which I have just had to stop, or change tactics when trying to parent my highly passionate daughter. Have I mentioned that my daughter is a MASTER negotiator? She is even using the phrases “lets make a deal” or “lets compomize mama.” She wants something and she wants it 10 seconds ago, but she will use her impressive vocabulary to say why she wants something and try to negotiate how to get it.

You know that t-shirt that says ” I am a co-sleeping, breast feeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, blah blah blah, attached mama”? I am still officially a breast feeding mama. My daughter quit 2 days before my son was born. I was all prepared to tandem nurse, but even after Smiley was born, Sunshine tried some pumped milk and just didn’t want it. I am still nursing my son and he just chows down a lot at night. Yes, we are still a co-sleeping family. My daughter finally moved into her own room, but she struggles with nightmares and anxiety. We would have her stay in our room but she actually sleeps worse when she is in there. Smiley still resides with us though. He is the better sleeper between the two. Otherwise, Sunshine sleeps from 7 p.m. to 7- 8 a.m.  I am still a “sometimes” baby wearing mother. Smiley prefers to be held, but he is outgrowing the ergo just a bit. Now, cloth diapering I save for swimming diapers. Regular cloth diapers just became too much. I am finding I need to really clean house. Get rid of a lot of clothes and items…. perhaps with kid #3 or #4 I will have time to launder such items… but babies make a lot of poop. And my kids especially. So, cloth diapers are out for now. I feel terrible about the earth and the ecosystem… but I can only do so much with the limited brain power and high stress levels I already struggle with.

I guess I am starting over. It is quite a journey; motherhood. I may not always be patient, but I am being more patient with myself. I am not perfect, but I love my family perfectly. So, I guess I will share what I know, what I don’t know, and what I am still learning; As a mother, as a woman, as a human being.

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Best. Compliment. Ever.

Hopefully, you’re familiar with the feeling one gets when one receives a compliment. At its best, it can just about make your day, right? Ranging from comments in passing like “that shirt really brings out your eyes,” or the “Your hair looks great today,” to something deeper and maybe more meaningful, such as “I think you are a super role model for my daughter.” These can be a real pick-me-up. Today, I received such a compliment and for reasons that are personal to me and my situation, it pretty much made my year. Granted, the calendar year did just start, but being able to kick it off this way was/is pretty cool nonetheless.

Today, I was visiting my counselor and my ARNP. We were discussing my sleep, or lack thereof, as it relates to Sunshine-care. I happened to mention that I was going to be joining a MOPS(Mothers of pre-schoolers and this is # 6 on my list of new years resolutions- Woot!) group on Thursday and that I wanted to network and create more opportunities to get out and socialize. Perhaps it is that I am trying super hard to remain healthy and connected to people when I tend to want to stay holed up in my house with Sunshine and isolate. *sigh*…social anxiety sucks.

At this point, my ARNP stopped me and said, “You know. You are like a mom living without a mental illness.” She went on to explain that I am healthier than I have ever been (in her eyes), and being that I have been visiting her since 2006, this is quite significant to me, as well as flattering. She mentioned that perhaps this is the best job for me to have; being a mom, that is. She also spoke about how situations related to work most likely have had a negative impact upon my mental illness due to my anxiety, perfectionism, and having had some pretty crummy bosses/supervisors.

Depending upon your own perspective/experience, maybe you’re scratching your head and wondering how this might be a compliment. Well, you see – when someone says “You seem almost normal to me” when in the past I have felt anything but that, it gives me a boost of confidence to know that I am caring for myself well, and that this shows. Taking into consideration that which I know to be true about myself of late, I DO feel that I’ve got my crap together. I am super observant of my emotions and where they are taking me, so upon reflection, this seems pretty much spot on.

With this exchange having further cemented my decision NOT to return to the workforce at this time such that I might experience the joys of mommyhood full-time 24/7, I now get called to interview for a job that I would absolutely LOVE to have. *ARGHH*

Were I to accept an offer for this position, I would be working at a college teaching students with disabilities and helping them find internships. This is what I am good at. This is what I love to do. Can I take this on and still be a good mommy? Still maintain my mental health? Can I miss out on all the learning Sunshine will do, as she is so close to walking and possibly crawling (yeah, I know backwards but she is an ambitious little gal). She is engaged in learning new things each day, and I am not so sure I want to miss that.

The dilemma for this lovely day is to decide whether I should interview or not. I do not wish to take up this organization’s time if they are unable to accommodate me. I do great work. I am good at what I do. I say this while looking back upon the work that I have done during my career and this gives me the confidence to go and interview. I would be worth their time. However, I hope that if I am offered the position that I could ease into it somehow – I’m not sure how to get used to the whole “Sunshine and me apart for more than 3-4 hours” situation. She will be 8 months old tomorrow, and we have not spent more than 4 hours apart. I know that working will be hard on her, and incredibly hard for me. This Saturday will be her first time just with dad for the whole day while I attend a choir retreat. This will be really hard for me (and for the Orbs), but as absence makes the heart grow fonder, the return home to get my Sunshine hugs will be just that much better.

I also need to be realistic. She is still not sleeping through the night. As in, waking up about 9-10 times between 1:00- 7:00am. Plus we are still co-sleeping with her. This equals not so much sleep for me. Being a SAHM, I currently have the flexibility to sleep in a bit longer with her, or to just take it easy . This may be a significant factor as to why I am doing so well mentally/emotionally. Signing me up for a rigid schedule and book-ending it with a pretty hectic commute…well, maybe that’s not so fun or easy on my sanity and well-being. If we are still not getting good sleep during this next step in my professional career, at least Sunshine will have the option of sleeping during the commute. I will be jealous at times, I’m sure.

This is going to be a hard decision for me. We could use the financial stability. We could use the peace of mind knowing our bills were getting taken care of, and outstanding debt has been eradicated. On the other side of the coin, we could have the peace of mind knowing that Sunshine is with a parent, me, and I get to spend time watching her grow. I may also be giving myself the best chance at mental stability. Yeah. Not such a tough decision now, is it? *sigh* As my hubby observed, “It’s Murphy’s law. When you don’t want something to happen or don’t care if it comes around, it will do just that. When you do want something and the timing is right, it won’t work out. The perfect job just doesn’t ever seem to come at a perfect time.” No kidding.

“It is an experience common to all men to find that, on any special occasion, such as the production of a magical effect for the first time in public, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Whether we must attribute this to the malignity of matter or to the total depravity of inanimate things, whether the exciting cause is hurry, worry, or what not, the fact remains.” (Murphy’s Law; Wikipedia)

Well, at least I can bask in the glory of the compliment I received for today. My ARNP thinks I am pretty normal. Considering where I’ve been, this is magnificent indeed.

What sleep?

So, here I am on a Tuesday evening… twiddling my thumbs.  No really, I am past the point of tired, exhausted, delirious.

The Thyroid
Endocrine Website

Here’s the deal. The past 5 weeks, my throat has been super sore and my glands are pretty swollen.  I have 4 weeks until I see my endocrinologist again, and I am pretty sure the remaining half of my thyroid has gone south.  No funcionar!  Nada.

I feel like crap, and this is not necessarily because I have a now 5 month old who is not wanting to sleep.  I was tired, like normal new-mommy tired, for the first 3 months of Sunshine’s life.  The past 2 months, I have slowly been feeling worse and worse. More exhausted and more sick feeling.

I don’t think I have a cold, and I don’t have a PCP to see to find out as my old doctor closed her practice.  Sigh. I went to a Doc-in-the-Box and they confirmed my lymph nodes are really swollen and my throat looks really red.  This RN gives me a medication (again, another thing of antibiotics, why do doctors/nurses just push antibiotics/drugs which end up making most problems worse because it kills off your bodies own antibodies to fix the problem in the first place? Sigh, thats for another post). This RN didn’t even know if I had an infection in the first place, but just said to take them. I hate taking medications when I really don’t need to.  The Nurse also took a whole bunch of blood samples for my thyroid, iron levels, and so on.  I honestly don’t think she knew what she was doing as she had no medical records of mine to go from, and she was like 20 years old. Hate to say it but I sound like my mother when I say, the kid was way younger than me and I am biased. I am only in my low thirty’s, but hey….I like to know the person has been practicing medicine longer than a few months.  Right?

I digress.  My endocrinologist had scheduled, about a year ago, to have my last remaining thyroid examined as it was getting puffy again, and to look at my lymph nodes.  I, however, didn’t have it done as I discovered, much to our happiness, that I was pregnant.  Now, it has been about 13 months and it looks like I do need to have my throat x-rayed again.  Sigh… My hubby already predicts that I will need to have the last half of my thyroid removed. I have gone 3 years without a surgery.  I am trying to stay OUT of the operating room. Plus, I felt so crappy after that particular surgery.  I do not wish to go that direction, and really wish the doctor who had performed that little bit of procedure had taken BOTH thyroid lobes out as neither were functioning at the time and we were told I’d have to have both removed eventually.  Oh well.  (Another secret ploy for surgeons to get another surgery out of you.  Suck!)

All I know is the last time my thyroid crapped out on me, I had two golf ball sized goiters pressing against my vocal chords and my wind pipe.(Try google images and looking at the pics of people with BAD goiters. I mean, some make me feel ill looking at what they were going through). When I tried to sleep, laying down, I had a difficult time breathing. When I swallowed it hurt. By the time I got the goiter/lobe removed you could physically see them on the side of my neck. When I auditioned for choral union in 2006, I didn’t make it because my intonation sucked. The goiters were pressed against my vocal chords. The non-functioning thyroid added a non-functioning libido and non-functioning metabolism. I looked, felt, and sounded awful.

Now, here we are. Five years later. I am back in Choral Union, one of the Nations top community choirs. I am having the pains when swallowing, and the lymph nodes areas are hurting and causing ear pain. My weight loss since the pregnancy has stopped and I am stuck at the 30 lbs left to go. However, this is partially due to having no energy and feeling icky most of the time, so I don’t exercise as much as I should. Plus, I have no desire to be intimate. Each morning, my head hurts like a mother-trucker and the past few days has been bordering on migraine status. This is enough to make me worry. If I do have the surgery, it would have to be in the summer when we aren’t singing, but how much will this take away from my intonation before then? How long do I have to feel this tired and this awful?  Not a positive outlook here.

With the past week, Sunshine has had a terrible time sleeping and has now taken to sleeping in our bed because 1) I need some frickin’ sleep  2) though we may come across difficulties getting her back into her crib later, while sleeping in our bed she does not have the little night terrors she has been getting when she is in her crib. 3) I need some frickin’ sleep.

Also, I have not been all that social of late. I feel crappy, I isolate.  I get little sleep, I isolate. My social anxiety has hit the roof. What do I do? I isolate.  Even in choir, I feel like a social pariah and like I can’t hold a normal conversation. (Partially due to anxiety, partially due to my head pounding and my throat feeling like I got an egg sticking in the side of it).

So, That’s the truth of it all. Anybody has any musings or ideas to cope, I would LOVE to hear. Hoping with these few musings I can at least go back and say, “Hey. I was feeling this way on Oct.4th, 2011 and now I feel great!”  Let’s just hope that happens.