Adjusting to the new

I finished my first full week at my new job! Honestly, I’ll be happy when the new job is old habit and the routine is “normal” to me. Everyone says change is hard and I won’t discount that. But, something tells me that spending 10 1/2 years at a job makes this change a little harder than someone who has considerably less time in. Or stays at the same company. 

I thought I’d probably spend the first couple of weeks too busy to fully realize the life change. And maybe enjoying the one job thing so much that I wasn’t thinking about the old. {That’s my style. Deny & ignore.} I have a lot of work to do in the new job so I didn’t expect the first few days to be so hard. Mentally hard. I thought I’d be blissfully ignorant of my major life change. Monday came around and it was so quiet. Not that my team was loud, but I was missing the sound of voices. I used to have a lot of meetings too, which made it hard to get anything done but it filled the quiet air. I hear people but it’s the public or people unlocking their office doors. It’s different when you have no connection to what people are saying. It’s not comforting noise like in a workplace. Basically, I’m going to know every pop song lyric for the rest of time. And I might become that girl in her office singing…OR TALKING TO HERSELF! 

It’s so intriguing to me how a job can mess with your core. How it can make you crave personal contact so much. How it made me view all areas of my life with a gloomy perspective. Then again, I’m a pretty social person who was used to being so busy I barely had time to think. {Which only intensified once I had two job responsibilities.} I’m not used to a wide open schedule. I have a few deadlines next week and I was feeling that familiar anxiety as I contemplated bringing the work home. Until I looked at my calendar for Monday and realized I have one meeting at the end of the day. That means I get to spend the work days getting things done! {Maybe this change won’t be so hard…}

Something clicked on Wednesday and I found my groove again. It was glorious! My mood was sunshiny and bright and I was happy in all areas of my life. I am struggling with the fact that one area can touch so many others and impact my life. I didn’t realize that being able to do things that I was used to would bring my confidence back. Like sending out a message to my softball team about a tournament or coordinating a girls weekend to Kansas City. Things that Kyley does and Kyley can still do. It may be from a different office and email address, but I’m still me. This seems like basic stuff, but my brain has been SO full this summer that those things were always last priority and usually last minute. I enjoy being the organizer and I was finally able to get back to my pre-chaotic planner self! 

We joke at our house that Bryan is a total Type A personality and needs to feel control in all situations. The truth is I do too. I just go about it differently. Mine doesn’t look the same as his so it’s not as obvious. I have certain areas I don’t need to control so it looks like I’m a free spirit. I’m not. {Or I am if you compare me to an engineer! ūüėČ} 

I’ve struggled with my transition because I don’t know EXACTLY what it looks like. It was a cloudy image of something I couldn’t touch. I drove to the right office every day, and it’s starting to feel more like my place, but it’s still not my normal. I know it’ll come, but I want to fast-forward through all those feelings and get there right now! Because it’s unsettling to be in a new situation. And I like to be in control of my mind. 

A sense of peace has come over me this weekend. I’m not spending my Sunday feeling anxious because I’ve already done that first full week. I’ve already had my first board meeting and a lot of other firsts. Now it’s just getting into my groove. Getting used to scheduling meetings via phone or email instead of an Outlook calendar. Not being able to chat with someone via messenger because I’m not part of a company. And parking in really small public parking spaces. 

Five or six weeks ago I wasn’t sure what any of this was going to look like. I was terrified and felt like I was losing control of my life quickly. I’ve still got a ways to go, but I have a better idea now. Time heals, even when you don’t think it actually will. This has definitely been an exercise is patience and faith. I know I could and should have done a million things differently, but I’ve never done things the easy way. This is my journey and I wouldn’t change any of the struggles and pains. If it weren’t for half of my struggles, I wouldn’t have realized how amazing my friends really are. When you’re in a crisis situation, you see how much your friends hold you up when you need them. 

Here’s to week two! 

Adjusting to the new

Taking an unexpected leap

I never planned out my future, it just kind of happened. But as I progressed my career and began managing a department, I saw the future unfold. It wasn’t one I expected, but I was happy with it and began creating my next career goals.

Ten years later, I’m doing something I never expected. I’m leaving it. I’m leaving the best boss I’ve had and the greatest team who is doing such amazing things. I’m leaving a ton of open goals for myself and the department. But for what? To help my community. An amazing opportunity presented itself and I’m sure it was God’s will.

I always read about how people are given these opportunities and they don’t want to but God keeps putting it in front of them. Honestly, I was envious of that. I was sure I’d never be one of those people. At the same time, I questioned if my random thoughts of not working were it. Was I supposed to push myself and leave my career and stay home? Yet, when I thought about doing that I never thought I’d be good at it. I’m not good when I’m left with no real goals. I’m not good at boy activities. It just didn’t feel right.¬†So I kept doing what I was doing. One foot in front of the other.

Now, I really get it. Change is so scary and leaving what I expected to be forever is terrifying. From the unknown future to letting everyone down as I leave. It’s hard.¬†But in my heart I know this is what I’m supposed to do right now. I’m being pulled in this direction and now I understand how people try to push it aside but they just can’t. I truly believe that my professional and personal experiences have led me to this point. I have experienced them so I can do this.¬†It may only be temporary or it may lead to another path I didn’t expect to go down. Either way, I’m making this leap with a lot of faith that I am doing God’s work.

I’m going to miss all my work friends, my co-workers, my team, and my boss. It’s hard to imagine that I won’t be with them every day. As I form new relationships and become more integrated with the community, I’m adjusting to my new norm. I’m excited about the newness, the project, and challenges ahead of me. And, I know that all of my experiences have put me in this position. I am supposed to be walking down this new path. As scary as that may be and as sad as it makes me, it’s what I need to do. To put my skills to use in the way that God wants me to do.

I needed this test of faith. It’s been hard for us the past few years. We’ve had definite challenges and in a sense we’ve gone into survival mode. We’ve had parenting struggles, we haven’t put our marriage first, or even ourselves. I carry the stress of my job around with me. Always wanting more and feeling too much. I “handle” it because that’s what I think I need to do. Bryan has always questioned if I’m really happy and I always tell him that I am. I just assumed this was part of life and juggling so many things. I always pull up my¬†boot straps and deal with it. No free passes.

I know this change is going to be big for our family. It comes with its own set of challenges and I might be gone nights or weekends sometimes, but that comes with flexibility. Flexibility to be there at other times of the day when I normally wouldn’t. Pool days, breakfast dates before school or daycare, or picking them up from school and daycare to go on adventures before its time to make supper. This is huge as I get ready to send one off to kindergarten and look to preschool soon.

One of the “perks” of this new position is the requirement to be involved. My desire to help more and be involved more is part of what I get paid to do. When Maximus starts school, I can be involved for my desire to help cultivate a great learning environment for him but also as a way to better do my job.

It’s scary to not be in control or know how life is going to unfold. It’s terrifying to put an end to the constant and the safe. It’s gut wrenching to feel like you let people down. But, it’s enriching, soul warming, and pretty amazing to see the possibilities of what you can do in this leap of faith move. Not just for myself, or my community, but also for the company I’m leaving. The company that I am so fiercely loyal to. The company that I owe this opportunity to. I hope I can make such an impact that all the community-related discussions we’ve had are now taken care of. So they can focus on their jobs and move into the next chapter of success.

God truly is amazing, even when you don’t think you’re doing a good job honoring him. When you think you’re being selfish and living a life all about you and your surroundings. He still loves you and He still walks you down your chosen path. Be open to His ways and be willing to take that leap no matter how scary it is. Because He will take care of you.

Taking an unexpected leap

Struggles with being and doing it all

On the eve of Maximus’ 6th birthday I’m left feeling a little deflated. My feet feel like dead weight kind of deflated. I spent the day vacuuming, sorting toys, organizing toys, and putting all things kid away. In between that I stopped to have a beer and buy party supplies. {The beer was extra delicious!} I haven’t planned a single thing for this party, but that’s the season of life I’m in right now. Maximus changed his mind twice on his cake, from Lego to Batman. And that means I’m not baking a cake this year. I’m too exhausted with life to feel bad about it. I’m looking at it as one less thing I have to do. 

I’m not sure if it’s good or bad timing that today I feel like I finally have the words to describe my struggles this summer. It’s a mix between being tired of doing It All and wanting some kind of recognition for doing It All. I know I’m not alone in any of this and having small kids only makes it all seem more crazy. But half the time I want recognition that I do a crap ton of stuff. That not everyone can do as much as me. {As I’m writing this I’m realizing that I need to tell my friends they are awesome. I can think of a lot of people who fit this description and I need to build them up.} Most days it feels like no one in my house can pick anything up. It’s utterly exhausting to just look around at all the things I pick up day-after-day. I’m trying really hard to raise boys who clean up after themselves but most days it seems like I’m talking to myself. {Please, no suggestions on how to have kids help around the house…} We make one good step forward and then someone {Quinten} is spreading tooth paste all over the bathroom like an animal. 

Clothes, toys, papers from daycare, and shoes. Every where. Every room I go into has something that belongs to a little person. All surfaces are constantly covered in things that belong plus random clutter. It’s like constant visual noise and it hurts my brain some days. I used to escape by watching shows at night. This summer I’ve found my escape to be my bed. For the most part, it’s a kid-free zone. 

It feels like the weight of all my responsibilities is finally getting to me. I’ve had plenty of pity parties over the past six years. Most of them have been about missing my freedom. Missing the carefree lifestyle and missing my individual identity. This feels different. It’s like I want a break from all of them. It’s a lot of hard work being a mom, wife, employee, boss, and volunteer. It’s really hard to be on from the moment you wake up until the second your mind finally shuts down at night. 

The things I can beat myself up about the most seem to be the ones that I want to escape from the most. Parenting and all the wife duties of taking care of our home. I should do more and be more. Yet, I find myself wanting to do nothing. I want to escape. On our girls trip, I so creatively coined the term “not adulting.” It’s been overused all spring and summer. It’s code for, I need a break from all of this so can we please go out for a drink {or 4}. 

I feel like I’m in Groundhog’s Day. Except it’s pleading with small children about the same things, picking up the same toys, washing the same clothes, making the same foods, putting the same dishes away EVERY.SINGLE.DAY, and doing the same bedtime routine every night. Even our weekly activities are the same – softball nights or band practice night. It’s so routine that I never know what day of the week it is. They all look the same. 

I’ve never felt like I needed spontaneity in my life but this routine and constant responsibilities seem to be doing me in right now. It’s a season, I know it is. That doesn’t make it any easier. I’m not even finding comfort in my friends who send out cries of non-adulting pleas. No solidarity pledge from me. Unless we’re escaping for a night, it’s not doing either of us good to know we both need out. It can be a suffocating feeling. And when I feel suffocated, I disengage with life. I solely exist in bodily form but can’t be expected to engage in meaningful conversation or do much but be there. 

I know I’m not more special than the next struggling mom. I’m not writing this to say I am. I’m writing this because I’m sure there are many who can relate to this feeling. I don’t know how to solve it. While the snaps from friends that say this sucks don’t help, I think our conversations do. There is comfort in talking with someone about the struggles. When people connect about struggling with all the parent responsibilities, it makes us feel less like we’re failing. Makes us feel more normal and ok with this phase. As long as we know everyone finds this hard, then we’ll make it through. Plus, find yourself a tribe who can not adult with you. Preferrably one who can help you have the best time of your life on those days or nights that you can escape! And added bonus if you can pretend to not adult while the kids run around and you drink an adult beverage. 

Struggles with being and doing it all

Feeling the raw emotion

When I wrote that post about finding your tribe, I didn’t fully realize how much I was going to need them. I don’t normally need people. I’m usually pretty self-sufficient and strong. I know strong sounds like a weird reflection of myself, but I don’t usually doubt myself or need others to reassure me. I love helping other people and I’ll usually drop everything to be there for someone. Yet, I don’t usually need that in return. 

To say I’ve had a lot going on in the past few months would be a gross understatement. I’ve spent most of that time telling myself that I’m fine and can handle everything. I’ve been stretched thin more times than I can count. Overworked until I’ve reached my breaking point. And then I’ve kept going. Honestly, I have no idea how. It’s always a new day with new responsibilities and a different schedule. So push through is what I’ve done. One day after another. It’s a lot like biking. Keep peddling.

I’m not proud of my parenting over the past few months. My patience is basically non-existent. I can’t figure out how to get it back. I’ve used up all my energy and brain space getting myself to the evening and forget how to parent two small boys who have a lot of energy. So I hope that each day they give me a new chance to be a little better and yell a little less. I try to build up a little more patience and remind myself that fighting and not listening is normal. 

Summer is crazy around here. I know it’ll get worse when the boys have more activities, but it’s enough to have us wishing for a few quiet days. If you’re not careful, marriage can be a lot of passing in the kitchen and text messages. Bless this husband of mine for being ok with all the nights I can’t “deal.” For understanding that I’m overwhelmed. For stepping up and doing things he normally doesn’t do. I know he hasn’t liked it and it’s been a strain on him too, but in a sense I’ve been on survival mode. Some nights he sends me away. Other nights he takes care of me. And there are a whole lot of other nights where we co-exist in a messy house with loud boys. 

One of my best coping mechanisms is sleep. Or laying in bed. I’ve been alternating between going to bed at 8:30 or going out with my friends. Which means going to bed waaaayyyy to late. It’s not a healthy choice to stay out so late. But guess what? When I go out with my friends, there are no expectations. We chat about life but I don’t need to do anything for them. I can talk through a struggle or complain about one thing, but it doesn’t make everything fall. I can forget all the things that are piled up on me and I can just be me. I know it’s not good to ignore the stress in your life, but it’s something I’m really good at. Pretend it isn’t there and it’ll eventually get better. Keep pushing through. 

I’ve reached the end of that line. It’s time for me to start processing my feelings and dealing with my emotions. Some day I’ll put together the right words to thank my friends. Our nights out haven’t been about me and most nights it was actually about someone else needing me, but that’s the irony in pretending that you’re ok. I now realize it was just as much for me as it was for them. And I know that all of the past few months have happened to each of us because we were the right people for each other. I needed a couple of close friends who could help carry me. Even on the days it looked like I was carrying them, it was still a little bit about me. 

They were distracting me and giving me a purpose. Giving me something to focus on that wasn’t a responsibility but was simply opening up my heart to help a dear friend. That’s the easy stuff. That’s the stuff I can do in my sleep. You need me? I’M IN! If I’m starting to crumble…well, I’m not good at that. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to be alone, I want full-time distractions. I don’t want to feel. I want fun, uplifting distractions. Build up my confidence or compliment me. Ask me to go do something but don’t make me talk about real life. Keep it light and I’ll have the time of my life. And please, don’t ask me how I am. If I’m on the edge, that pushes me over. I can’t handle the compassion and concern. It opens up all my feelings and eventually you leave but I still have to deal with them. 

By this time, it’s pretty obvious that I do really good at ignoring, pretending, and distracting myself from myself. Until I reach my breaking point and then I break down. It doesn’t have to be something big that does me in. It can be a little thing. A small disappointment or small thing that didn’t go as planned. It only takes that one thing to make it all fall down. I had one of those moments last week. Well, it was longer than a minute. It was raw and hard and I am so grateful to have one of my best friends by my side. I didn’t solve anything that night. And it took me a good day to start to feel better. 

Maybe it was the really good cry, maybe I pushed the feelings aside again, or maybe it was the reminder that I’m the strongest person she knows and I’ll be fine. Either way, I’m ok. I’m kind of dealing. I recognize some of the hard stuff and feel it. I get close to not being ok but then pull myself out of it. So far. I’m not done yet. Honestly, I’m afraid I’m not even close to being done before I really get through them all and can feel safe in my head again. 

Recently, someone commented on how I can put myself out there on this blog. Writing is one of my passions. It’s not easy to write the hard stuff, especially when this feels so raw. I’m basically opening up my heart in this post. I’m admitting to not being able to handle everything. Admitting to not being as strong as everyone thinks I am. That’s really hard. But I’m also hoping that my words can help me deal. I figure out my thoughts through my writing and I realized a few things from this post. I feel confident in saying, I’m fine. 

Feeling the raw emotion

The power of words

I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around something for a while. Struggling to put it into eloquent words. Heck, I don’t know that it was necessarily eloquent but maybe just words in general.

I’ve had a few friends get pretty hurt lately. If I wasn’t so stubborn, I probably would have experienced my share of pain, too. It really has¬†me thinking about people in general. None of these situations have been the same, but I’m still surprised at the way people treat others. It’s sad to see how immature some people can be or how they can have such a disregard for another person. I think I do a pretty good job of treating others how I want to be treated. I’m even nice to people who I kind of don’t want to be nice to. Maybe it’s the way I was raised or maybe most people just don’t have that characteristic. It seems like a basic rule to being an adult…

I’ve been surprised that people don’t seem to care about¬†others’ feelings, don’t know what their words or actions can mean to someone, and in some instances how their words could ruin someones’ life. I want to call them immature and say they’ll grow out of it, but will they? That’s the part that scares me. Are some people destined to be awful people for their entire life? And these aren’t awful people – or appear to be¬†people who shouldn’t act this way. People that on the surface seem normal, but behind backs they turn into malicious people.

I’m wondering where along the way of being a grown up, some of these people forgot the basic rules of friendship. The things I’m teaching my young children. Be nice. Share. Don’t be mean to your friends.¬†Maybe that means calling a friend and having a difficult conversation. Explaining why you’ve made certain life choices that directly impact them. Or defending a friend when you hear a rumor. Or checking in on them when you know they are going through a difficult time.

Being a friend comes easy to me. Sure, I don’t treat everyone with the same level of compassion, but they don’t treat me with the same either. However, one thing is definite – ¬†I’ll be there for anyone who needs me. Always.¬†

I wonder what people think¬†before they talk poorly about others. Anything? I try to make a habit of¬†not¬†talking poorly about people. I like the “rule” of not saying anything you wouldn’t¬†say to the person being talked about. Seems like a pretty good way of life. I especially pull back from talking poorly about people in group settings. It’s distasteful. I don’t want to be the center of those conversations, so why should I do it to someone else? What are my opinions anyway? They aren’t facts, they are my opinions. It’s a view or judgement not necessarily based on fact. And probably more based on rumors.

When people spread gossip, do they want credit for spreading it? Want to be known as the first person who knew? Is it a competition? Do they feel remorseful? From my experience, most of the things¬†I hear aren’t¬†true. It’s sad that so many people spend so much energy spreading rumors. What happened to sharing the good news? What happened to celebrating when good things happen to people?

{Rumor}: circulating a story or report of something uncertain or untrue.
{Gossip}: casual conversation or reports of other people, typically containing details that are not confirmed as being true.

I thought my adult life would continue to distance me from drama, but I’ve found that drama and gossip don’t have an age. I wish they did. I would have happily left that behind in high school. How come people can manage to pay their bills and do very well at professional jobs, but can’t stop themselves from saying untrue things about “friends”? Or, can’t bring themselves to be adult enough to have an honest conversation with a friend?

I¬†don’t let a lot of things get to me. It’s either the stubbornness in me or hearing my dad tell me at a young age that people talk about you because they are jealous of you. It’s always stuck with me and when I self-reflect I think it’s true most of the time. If I find myself annoyed at someone or something, it usually comes from a position of jealousy. I remind myself that the grass isn’t always greener and I have the power to change my situation. I don’t talk poorly of the person, instead I adjust my life so I can be happy with where I am.

I hate when a¬†friend is hurt by actions or words. Other than¬†being there to help them process and get through it, I hope I’m a positive influence. I hope I do it with grace and lead by example. I hope that¬†little-by-little “these people” begin to understand that there’s a much happier life out there if they¬†aren’t concerned with everyone else all the time. It’s sad to think some people spend valuable time thinking and talking about others when they could be leading a better life. Be a positive influence on someone, even if it’s not obvious. Set a good example and you’ll feel much better about your own life!

The power of words

Surviving the last 24 hours of solo parenting

Do you believe in karma? I suppose I do because I have been known to say it a time or two. In early January, I was traveling for work and Bryan ended up only working one day out of an entire week. I can’t remember who got sick first, but at one point they were both home. We had a pretty complicated schedule that Friday as he was leaving town before I was getting back. It would have normally been no big deal – school and daycare. Except they were both home so a grandpa came in to cover for us.

Fast forward a couple of months.

I’m ending a two-week solo gig. Our first week was SUPER.BUSY. We were only home two nights out of six. By the end of the week everyone was worn down and tired. That made for some fun mornings. As we entered week two, our schedule looked good. We were going to be home every night and I had my lunch hours planned to get all my errands done. {Because no one wants to run errands after work with two kids in tow.}

Then Tuesday happened.

One whining child was so tired he couldn’t get his pajamas off to go to the bathroom. {Hashtag: the struggle is real.} The other complaining of his tummy and leg hurting. Off to the kitchen he went to eat his cereal. Pro tip:¬†if your slowest eater is dressed, take advantage and try to get that food in him quicker. Also, he eats about three breakfasts a day but loses his mind if he has to skip the one at home. Back to “help” a 5-year-old figure out how to get off the hallway floor when he’s soooooo.tired. Crying from the kitchen. Sprint through the house because I’m thinking the worst just happened and it was probably throw-up. Nope. Hurt leg really hurts and cereal looks untouched. I pick him up and don’t like¬†the sounds in this throat. Luckily, I have years of experience at this stuff. No thinking required, just action. I stand with my back to the sink as I’m holding him against my chest. Arch my back so his face is over the sink. Or at least I hope it is because I can’t see back there. Shush him as he throws up over my shoulder and calmly talk to Maximus as he buttons his pants and tells Quinten it’s ok. {Yay! He’s able to get dressed again!} When I’m sure he’s done, I look to see that he didn’t have anything in his stomach so it was just a lot of saliva. However, dress goes into the laundry and yoga pants and t-shirt on.

So¬†karma does come back around. The throw up was an isolated incident and in came a small fever.¬†Little did I know, there would be no¬†work and daycare on Wednesday. Maximus woke up around 11:30 that night and was pretty hot. He stayed up until almost 2:30! I eventually let him come into my bed. Quinten stormed into my room around 2:15 terrified of a loud sound and pretty hot as well. It was most definitely a monster or a siren or a mouse or a loud boom or a beeping sound in his room or thunder. He’s just sure of it. I did what any solo parent does at 2am¬†–¬†got everyone’s pillows and blankets and favorite stuff animal and turned on random bathroom and closet lights so everyone could see. And told them to stop talking and use quiet voices and JUST PLEASE GO TO SLEEP. Then I slept on the smallest sliver of my bed, crowded out by Quinten and Wrigley.

Luckily, I had shared a bottle of wine with a friend that evening so whatever I can deal. Because otherwise a person would go crazy after that kind of night. {Yes, I bought the same wine today when we were at the store. Because, yes.}

Wednesday got us two kids staying home! Slight fevers and emotional messes because no one got enough sleep due to our middle-of-the-night party. I was bored out of my mind and tired of watching Curious George, but we survived. And at the end of the day, I drove all around town getting them fast food because it was that kind of day. I high-fived myself when I got them both to sleep in their own beds even though it was raining, windy, and thundering.

AND THEN 2 AM HIT AGAIN!

I sat up in bed as I watched them both come into my room talking away. “Mommy, I’m thirsty. Mommy, I want to sleep in your bed because I’m scared. Mommy, my tummy hurts so I want to sleep in here.” AHHHH! Fifteen minutes later I had all the necessities again and we were settled in. Somehow they slept until close to 8:30, but ruined my early morning workout plans again.

It’s 30 outside, windy, and gloomy. We’re fever-free, it’s spring break, and we’re bored. I took them to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast and the grocery store so I could get a Starbucks. {Let’s talk about how I calmly waited out a stubborn 3-year-old who wanted to push his own little cart. GET IN THE OBNOXIOUS FIRE TRUCK. PLEASE AND THANK YOU! I won.} I made them a super awesome lunch of pigs in a blanket and promptly put them all in the fridge because no.one.ate.them.

One more day until Bryan comes home…and a bottle of wine that’s calling my name. When can I open it???

Surviving the last 24 hours of solo parenting

My battle with migraines

“The cabin doors are closing, lets update our Facebook status one last time and send that text and tweet so we can get going.” – I do love a social savvy flight attendant! Something about humor that connects with my soul before signing off for the flight. ¬†

As I left my house in the bitter cold early one¬†Saturday morning, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past week. Heck, the past month. It’s been hard. Like, physically hard. I’ve had only a few instances like this in my life. Breaking my foot, getting E.Coli after a work trip,¬†and the worst ever recovery from the stomach flu¬†that left me not eating for a month. I’ve battled migraines since my teens. I began to worry that I was changing my status from random migraines¬†to chronic suffering.

After my second 2-day migraine in under a week and 8th total in a month, I got myself in to see a doctor. She deemed me the proud owner¬†of a sinus infection and put me on antibiotics for 14 days. I really liked her. She wanted¬†to attack whatever was wrecking havoc in my face first and at the same time work on my sinuses and get the migraines taken care of. After learning that I should be able to pop my own ears, she decided I had some things not working to relieve the pressures of my sinuses. At that point, a guess of why I get migraines is like winning the lottery, even if it ends up being wrong. With some exercises to do and specific nasal spray to use, she sent me on my way with instructions that I should taste the spray when I use it. It’s not the most ideal and honestly, I try not to taste it when I take it. I’ve been taking it for a year straight because I thought it was helping my migraines but in no way have I been taking it so well that I’ve been tasting it. So 1/2 a point for me for taking the right thing, just really poor execution. That’s what I get for trying to self-fix. But if any of you suffer from migraines, you know how difficult it is to control or diagnosis. So you do what you can to continue on with a semi-normal life.

I was in an absolutely awful form of hell. No joke. Worse than when I was on bed rest for 6 weeks with a broken foot. But maybe not worse than The Stomach Pains of 2015. Those where pretty excruciating and left me not able to find the right fetal position to make them stop. I was like a caged animal. But the past month has left me unable to function 8 to 9 times. Some days I had to push through some activity or work to get to a place where I could crawl into bed with a heating pad and cold meds. I learned with the first one in December that cold & flu meds plus a heating pad had me almost good in just a couple of hours. That trick soon stopped working {much like any other self-medication I’ve found for migraines over the years, it always stops working eventually} and I was trying a combination of sinus related cocktails. Decongestants, cold & flu, nasal spray, allergy meds, and ibuprofen, water, and lattes for the caffeine. Sometimes {ok, every migraine day}¬†going through all of them. On the other days I was popping cold & flu and decongestants to dull the headache. The strange thing is that I never had cold symptoms. I guess my sinuses are just cool like that.

As I was sitting on the plane last weekend, my ears basically popped for the first 40 minutes. I was incredibly grateful they were popping. I was kind of¬†concerned, but never have a problem with my ears popping on a plane so I figured I’d be fine. I had a number of people concerned the plane would make it worse. I figured I¬†had¬†already experienced some really shitty days, so I’d just be dealing with it in a public place. Nothing I hadn’t done before. Hopefully the forced pressure changes helped me in the long run.

The physical hardships I’ve gone through have been enough to shake me up. I pick myself back up pretty quickly, I always do, but it’s been pretty hard mentally as well. When I get random migraines I experience a lot of mommy and wife guilt. Nine times out of ten, I get myself through the work day and pick up a kid. I get home and because it’s a little bit quieter {for short bursts of time}, my brain has space to realize how much my head hurts. And I give in. Rarely do I retreat to my dark bedroom, even though almost always do I want to. I usually set up on the couch, sometimes even closing my eyes for a bit and falling asleep for a few minutes at a time. Migraines don’t work around my schedule, they show up unannounced and always unwanted. I feel less guilt when my husband has plans for the evening. I crash on the couch until he leaves and then make it through to bedtime. Sometimes the boys watch way too many cartoons and other times I haul myself into the bathroom so they can take a bath before extended cartoons. It’s a crappy feeling to sit on the couch while chaos ensues around you and you do nothing.

Only a mommy guilt brain can make you feel worse when your spouse is home with you. I should feel better that he’s home and can pick up the slack while I try to take care of me. Instead, I feel worse that he HAS to pick up the slack and feel like everything he does is full of disdain and annoyance towards me. Every timeout he has to initiate, every meal he has to put together, every dish he puts away and counter he cleans, and the bedtime routine that all of a sudden becomes a solo act. Nevermind that most nights he handles the kitchen cleanup. Something about having a migraine makes me feel guilty for him doing something he does most nights.

I hate that my kids have spent countless breathes asking me if my head hurts. Or that after returning from a week-long trip, Quinten tells me after my head stops hurting we’ll do something. I’m at the end of my 14-day meds and it’s been a number of days since my last headache, but the last thing he remembers is me spending an entire evening and not going to work because I was in so much pain. I wish my kids didn’t know a life of chronic pain.

For all of you who suffer from some form of chronic pain, mental or physical, try to give yourself a break. Don’t put added pressure on yourself. It really is ok to just take care of you and make you better. Do what I say, not what I do! But I can tell you that sometimes when you have a migraine on a work trip and you’re stuck on Bourbon Street, you can take enough ibuprofen that it will eventually go away while you go from bar to bar with live music. You’ll eventually walk out onto the street and realize it’s gone! Making you feel like you’ve unlocked a special level in the world of migraines.

My battle with migraines