Taking Medicine to Control my Anxiety

Taking Medicine to Control my Anxiety

I’ve had pretty significant anxiety for over 10 years. It started when I was a sophomore in college when I noticed myself obsessively re-thinking every situation I was in. It could be as small as wondering why I asked a question in class or as big as feeling like I made an ass out of myself while out at night with friends. It would completely consume me to the point of not sleeping and I started avoiding situations all together or attempting to overly prepare myself for them. It got worse when I would obsessively check my blinds at night, thinking someone was trying to come into my 2nd floor bedroom window to get me. I hated driving in the car and would often times picture my car crashing into medians. After many nights of not being able to sleep, I called my dad while I was out shopping while home from college and basically said “I think there is something wrong with me, I haven’t slept in 72 hours.”

At this time, I was on Accutane, a very intense acne clearing medicine. This was the last time I took it after being on it a handful of times before. I don’t believe Accutane had ANYTHING to do with my anxiety, and it was truly a Godsend for me given how horrible my acne was, but the way I was feeling concerned my dermatologist enough for him to recommend I seek help. For those of you who don’t know anything about Accutane, it has been linked to young adult depression and thoughts of suicide, but my body always reacted well to the drug which is why I don’t think it necessarily was responsible for my anxiety. I just happened to have an appointment scheduled with my dermatologist the day following the call to my dad and broke down in his office, explaining how weird my life had been recently. After this incident in his office, he immediately stopped my meds and sent me to psychiatrist to make sure I was taken care of. Looking back, considering the sensitivity around the drug at the time, the scenario may have been heightened to be worse than it was. However I am thankful for it because I was able to start a medication that really changed my life.

My psychiatrist diagnosed me with OCD and anxiety and prescribed me Xanax only to be used when I felt a panic attack coming on, and Zoloft, to be taken daily as something to control anxiety long term. At first, it was a weird feeling as I never thought of myself as needing prescription help. I was happy, in college, doing what I was supposed to do. I didn’t feel depressed or unhappy, but my anxiety feeling was becoming debilitating as it consumed every moment of the day. Medicine. Changed. My. Life. I had no idea how great I could feel – like a normal person without the constant nervousness and light headed feelings. Throughout the years, I have tried to go off of my medicine a handful of times and then always determine that I’m better when I’m consistently taking it. I’m a better person, less anxious and overall, happier.

When I started thinking about getting pregnant, I talked to my OB about the need to stay on or get off my medicine. She told me that she was comfortable with me staying on Zoloft (Xanax was a big no – no) but if I was more comfortable going off of it, she would work with me to wean me off. At this point, panic attacks had become almost non-existent and I felt pretty good with where I was so we began the process of weaning me off my meds. I will also note that two of my biggest anxiety triggers are caffeine and alcohol, both of which I knew I wouldn’t touch while pregnant, so that also helped during this time. I spent the nine months of my pregnancy without taking a single dose of medicine. Toward the end, I recognized some of the same symptoms coming back – I was becoming anxious driving and in public places with a lot of people. I would often get light headed and felt really off. I wasn’t sure if it was anxiety induced or pregnancy symptoms, but either way I recognized a difference in myself. We talked extensively about the fact the those who have a history of anxiety or depression before pregnancy had a bigger chance of postpartum depression and anxiety. I wanted to be as prepared as I could to understand how I would feel after having William so that I was equipped to take care of myself and my new child. Again, I have to thank my OB and give her all the credit for having such a close eye on my own personal history and focus on what I needed and would need after William arrived.

I was extremely anxious during my C-section. I also was having surgery while awake and I hadn’t slept in 36 hours, but I just remember thinking how long the entire operation felt, even if it was actually very short.  I didn’t want Alex to leave my side and I was weirdly not worried about William once I heard him cry for the first time. I didn’t want to hold him because I was scared of dropping him or not being able to care for him correctly. I went back to recovery and kept asking myself why I hadn’t stayed on my medicine. The next day, a partner in my OB’s practice came by to see how I was doing and I just broke down in tears. I guess this is fairly common as giving birth releases a whole mess of emotions and it’s hard to control those feelings, but because of my past experience with anxiety, I told her that I felt it best to start back on my medicine. If I was already feeling this way with the support of my husband, how was I going to feel when it would become just me and William during the day? I just remember her saying, “Let’s do it” and I started taking my anti-anxiety medicine less than 24 hours after having William.

I’m not saying that every woman who experiences anxiety needs to be on medication, but you should feel perfectly fine recognizing that you don’t feel like yourself and may need some help whether it’s through medicine, unbiased conversation, weekly therapy sessions, etc. No one should make you feel bad about it. I would not be the mom….or human that I am without some help and I have had so many conversations with people who are embarrassed or don’t feel like it’s necessary to seek out additional help. Being a parent is tough…and also never ending, so if you find yourself going in a downward spiral of anxiety, depression, overall crazy, etc. absolutely reach out to a friend, doctor, mentor, whoever it is and talk through what help you may need so you can be the best you.

Interval Work Out Updated – Hard

Interval Work Out Updated – Hard

I’m not the best gauge on a hard vs. easy workout but the interval workout I posted two weeks ago for “Workout Wednesday” is fairly difficult for me to complete (i.e. I’m feeling it after). I had a few requests for one that is harder…and making me feel like an ass for thinking it was fairly difficult…but nonetheless, here it is. The workout I did when I was in college and haven’t really been able to do since then. For you fit people – let me know if this is, in your opinion, a difficult work out. Or if I am kidding myself and should change the workout from last week to easy, this one to intermediate and marathon running at a 6:30 pace hard…I’m just saying people. Some of you have to be average.

30 minute interval workout – hard

0:00 – 20:00 at 0.0 incline

0:00 – 2:00 – 5.0

2:00 – 4:00 – 5.5

4:00 – 5:00 – 6.0

5:00 – 7:00 – 5.5

7:00 – 8:00 – 6.7

8:00 – 10:00 – 5.5

10:00 – 11:00 – 7.0

11:00 – 13:00 – 6.0

13:00 – 14:00 – 7.5

14:00 – 16:00 – 6.0

16:00 – 17:00 – 8.0

17:00 – 19:00 – 6.0

19:00 – 20:00 – 8.5

20:00 – 22:00 – 6.0

22:00 – 24:00 – 6.0 4.0 incline

24:00 – 25:00 – 6.0 0.5 incline

25:00 – 27:00 – 6.0 6.0 incline

27:00 – 28:00 – 6.0 0.5 incline

28:00 – 30:00 – 6.0 0.0 incline

February 1st

February 1st

February 1st…

A time to reflect on January, have a glass of wine with our friends who mistakenly gave up alcohol for a month and look back on goals that were made when opportunities seemed endless with the start of the new year bringing heightened motivation.

January was LONG. It’s the first time in a long time that I kept asking why the hell it wasn’t February?! Time flies these days so I guess I’m thankful that it seem to slow for a month but man oh man I was ready to say “BYE” to January. The temperatures were bipolar with -5 one day and near 60 the next which just messed with our emotions. Work is always a little crazy after the new year but for some reason this January has been exceptional. And all in all I just miss my family that I don’t get to see as much as I do in the warmer seasons when it’s easier to travel. However, I’m thankful that we have all been healthy and happy for the most part. William is learning something new every day, WALKING and babbling lots of “words”. He is moving up in his daycare and I swear he is becoming a little child. We had date nights, celebrated birthdays and celebrated BIG for our sweet sister in law who kicked cancer’s booty. Fantastic things rounded out the first month of the year but overall it. Just. felt. Long.

I started off the month working out 5 days a week (keeping my NY resolution). That lasted until the 3rd week or so when I only made it 4 days but I didn’t get discouraged and made up for it the following. My biggest frustration was the lack of weight I was losing. I was counting calories, not drinking during the week, working out every day and so annoyed that I didn’t see anything on the scale. In the last two weeks I moved to a low-carb focus and really limited the amount of carbs I was eating vs. counting calories. I finally started seeing an impact so I’m actually motivated moving into February.

We are gearing up for a ski trip with Alex’s family in West Virginia next week and I am PUMPED. It also happens to be Alex’s birthday! Birthdays are a big deal in our family so we are looking forward to celebrating and spending lots of time with family we haven’t seen in a few years. We are also planning our bathroom renovation for our guest bath and will finally have a usable BATHTUB. I seriously can’t wait.

Sorry I was MIA this week. Alex was traveling for work and I was playing the single parent role. Lucky for me I had lots of sweet friends who helped me out with William and kept me company. I like to be dramatic about having to take care of him alone but it worked out really well. More posts coming! Some a little out of my comfort zone…so bare with me 🙂 As always, thanks so much for all of the support!

William’s Birth Story

William’s Birth Story

My OB checked me for the first time at 39 weeks and I wasn’t sure I even wanted her to. I assumed I was nowhere near ready for delivery so hearing the news that I wasn’t dilated in the slightest would have been discouraging. Because of how low I was carrying and the pressure I felt in my lower abdomen, she insisted she take a quick look to see how close I was getting. I was dilated 1 cm and my cervix was getting soft so she went ahead and stripped my membranes as best as she could. She said that if William wasn’t here by my 40 week appointment, she would mark me down for an induction at 41 weeks. Following the appointment, I went back to work uncomfortable and in quite a bit of pain.

I didn’t feel great that whole day, so I went to sleep early and tried to shake the crappy feeling I had. I woke up at 4 AM having a pretty strong contraction. I hadn’t experienced any Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the end of my pregnancy – but my symptoms had me, and those around me, convinced that was what I was experiencing (and therefore wasn’t starting labor). Have you ever had a charlie horse? That is the best way I can describe a contraction. This feeling, and the length of time they were persisting, helped me realize it wasn’t Braxton Hicks, but the real thing – I was starting to have contractions. They were coming about every seven to 10 minutes, but the pain was manageable. I decided to work from home that morning and Alex went ahead into work.

My OB told me she wanted me bent over in pain and unable to walk, with that feeling coming every three to five minutes before heading to the hospital. While this was not happening, I decided to call her to see if I was in fact in labor. She recommended I take Tylenol and if the contractions subsided then I wasn’t in real labor. Once the Tylenol kicked in, I definitely felt the contractions slow throughout the day. Alex came home around lunch and we walked (it was an unusually warm November afternoon). We walked and walked and walked some more, trying to keep my body in motion in case I was starting pre-labor. Contractions would speed up and then slow down. This abnormal rhythm had me convinced today was not going to be the day I delivered. 

That night I finally fell asleep around 11PM. 15 minutes later, I woke up with a painful contraction. Three minutes later I had another one. Four minutes later I had another one,  and for the next 30 minutes this cadence of contractions continued. Alex called the hospital and alerted them we were coming  in whether they recommended it or not.  I’m pretty sure the hospital staff thought we were crazy (and at that point, we probably were) because no one seemed convinced I was in real labor. On our way to drop Maisy off at my brother and sister-in-law’s house, my water broke in the car. HA! I am in labor!

Everyone tells you that your water breaking is nothing like the movies. Sometimes people don’t even realize that their water has broken. Mine was exactly like the movies, leaving a trail of fluid from the parking garage into the hospital (great visual, I know). From that point on I was in full panic mode and Alex was weirdly calm.

I was not that person who looked naturally beautiful heading into the hospital. I was clearly in pain and very nervous.

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I walked into the hospital around 12:30 AM and the nurse immediately checked me to see how far along I was (4cm and full effaced). By 3:15 AM the epidural was in. I had been told that women either feel like they got the epidural too soon and didn’t feel like they gave it long enough, or they feel like they waited too long and felt like they let themselves suffer. In my own experience – there is no “too soon” to receiving the epidural. It. Was. Amazing. I actually slept for a little bit and was able to relax before the sun came up. Outside of a little pressure, I couldn’t feel any contractions which helped calm me down. Around 7 or 8 AM, the attending OB came in to check me because one of my nurses was concerned with how William was positioned (she thought he was coming down ear first). He confirmed that and also was concerned that I was having a really big baby and told me to get some rest as I was going to need it. At this point, both nurses had me doing yoga moves and stretches with hopes of changing William’s position enough for him to come out head first vs. ear first. And if anyone tells you that you can’t move after the epidural, they are wrong. While attempting yoga, I felt safe with Alex and two nurses on either side of me to ensure I didn’t fall, and was able to move onto all fours to attempt to get that baby in a better position.

About three hours later, I was fully dilated and ready to start pushing. After two pushes, William’s heart rate dropped really fast and took a while to come back up. My nurse called my OB, who told me she wanted me to stop pushing until she arrived in case we got into an emergency situation. 30 minutes later my OB came in after cancelling her appointments for the rest of the day and spent the rest of the afternoon with me until William arrived. I can’t say enough wonderful things about her – she was by far my biggest cheerleader (after Alex) that day.

After 2.5 hours of pushing with a couple of really great pushes and too many not so great pushes, my OB ultimately didn’t feel confident with William’s chances of making it far enough down the birth canal and we started to talk about the need for a C-section. She said I could continue trying to deliver naturally, but she was concerned his heart couldn’t handle another three hours of pushing, which she was sure I would need in order to get him out.

At this point I had been up for 36 hours and I was exhausted. I was extremely discouraged and emotional about the thought of a C-section. But at the end of the day, I just wanted William to come out healthy…and soon. So we moved forward. The sweetest moment was when they took everyone to prep for the C-section, leaving just me and my OB in my room. She held my hand and assured me that everything was going to be just fine with William and commended me for how strong I had been. She waited until the team came to wheel me into the room and then left to scrub up for the surgery.

Photo: Alex outside my surgery room waiting to be called in.

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The room was extremely bright and cold. That is one of the strongest memories I have. That and the fact that there were like nine people in the room – three nurses for William, four doctors (all women I might add), an anesthesiologist and Alex. Once the sheet was pulled up, covering the view between me and the doctors, Alex was invited in to be by my side. I remember the nurses taking a really cold cotton ball material, running it up my body and asking me to tell them when I felt cold. I didn’t feel the material until it hit my neck. By that point she had already started the initial incision. About five minutes into the surgery, I was told to prepare for a lot of pressure (I felt my entire body slam down) and at 3:55 PM, out came our beautiful, perfect baby boy.

I didn’t have the additional nurse you need (and didn’t know to ask for it) to do skin to skin right away. Looking back on it, I can’t decide if this was a good thing or a bad thing. After William came out, I was in full panic mode – Alex was emotional, I couldn’t see anything they were doing to William or if he was OK, I knew my body was cut open on an operating table…so in my mind, I’m thinking that if they tried to do skin to skin I wouldn’t have handled it so well, but then the flip side maybe it could have calmed me down? Either way, William was perfect and he and I bonded just fine 20 minutes later. 

While they were stitching me back up, I wouldn’t let Alex leave my side (like a crazy person-who doesn’t let their husband go to their new baby?!). The nurses cleaned William up, weighed him and made sure everything looked right and then called Alex over to cut the umbilical cord. After he cut the cord, he finally had a chance to hold William. It only took about 20-25 minutes to get me sewn up and bandaged but I swear it felt like hours. All I wanted was to get back to my room, hold my baby and get some sleep. The feeling I got when they handed William to me for the first time is like nothing I have ever felt. It was immediate tears and unexplained love. I couldn’t believe he was mine.

I was finally able to get some rest and so started our five day journey in the hospital. While we had hoped it would be a short stay, my recovery was shared by William having to recover from a case of jaundice. Quickly into the 2nd night we realized the nursery was our best friend. No one should feel guilty about sending their baby to the nursery. The nurses brought him back to nurse every two to three hours so I never felt like I was away from him for that long. And it gave me and Alex some much needed, uninterrupted sleep. Once they send you on your way, the exhaustion really kicks in so I was glad we were able to lean on the nursery while we were there.

Photo: Sweet William needed to spend 24 hours under the billy lights to get rid of his jaundice

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The nurses at MoBap, the entire staff, the pediatricians, everything was perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience even though it ended differently than I expected. Childbirth is such a crazy and wild ride and it is absolutely incredible to see what our bodies can do for us. When I think back to how long William lived inside me without knowing if he was getting enough nutrients and progressing the way he should, it’s just amazing that he came out so perfect. And he is so loved by so many people – we feel like the luckiest people in the world.

I was not one of those women who had her cute PJs ready to change into by my bed. I wore this pink hospital gown for two days. Finally someone told me I could shower and I was like OMG I have to get out of this gown? …gross.

GAH William was such a chunk when he was born…THOSE CHEEKS.

Sleep, or Lack There of…Will be the Death of me

Sleep, or Lack There of…Will be the Death of me

Do you ever feel like you are failing at life?

This week has been one for the books my friends and my primary source of stress is William’s sleep. I’m. Losing. My. Shit. And I’m pretty sure I have no one to blame but myself.

Every night, William is rocked to sleep (1st mistake) by me (2nd mistake) and has a bottle (3rd mistake). Once he is sound asleep (4th mistake), I put him in his crib, sometimes in a sleep sack, sometimes in only fleece pjs. Recently we have only been getting about 2 hours of him sleeping in his crib before he wakes up hysterical. And I’m not talking laying in his crib fussing because he wishes we were in the room with him. I’m talking full on devil trying to invade his body hysterical. We have been trying to do some version of cry it out but it feels impossible. Last night I waited outside his room for an attempted 5 minutes. 20 seconds before the 5 minutes was over, he had his hands in his mouth while screaming and proceeded to throw up everywhere, which resulted in a shower, new PJs, lots of snuggles and mass confusion from poor William as to why I would have let that happen. Which then leads to this feeling that I am legit failing as a mom. WHY WON’T MY CHILD SLEEP?!

I have methodically thought through this no less than 5,000 times and here are my thoughts:

  • William slept in our room until he was 6 ½ months. Never in our bed – in a rock n play for the first 4 months and then in the Halo bassinet with a dock a tot. He would still wake once a night wanting a bottle
  • At 6 ½ months, we transitioned him to his crib with the dock a tot and at 7 months he was sleeping through the night – glorious!
  • At 10 months, he stopped sleeping through the night – we could put him to sleep but he wouldn’t STAY asleep. Out of sheer exhaustion I finally brought him into our room and as soon as he hit my shoulder he would be back to sleep – so starts the sleeping in our bed.
  • 3 days before his 1 year appointment, he starts sleeping through the night again after we let him cry it out – we thought we were on the up and up….nope.
  • A week later he was back to waking up and this time earlier and earlier after putting him to sleep.
  • So here we are, 4 months into our son not sleeping through the night and now sleeping with us consistently although He always starts in his crib. He also does wake up throughout the night a little fussy once he is in bed with us, but once he realizes he is with us, he rolls over and goes back to sleep.

My conclusion – he wakes up and is uncomfortable with the fact that he is in his crib and not in bed with us. I’m sure any of you reading this are like….DUH…but that is the only conclusion I can come to.

So…I’m making an appointment with a sleep specialist and I’m buying a dock a tot. Those are my next steps in saving my sanity because everything can be going semi-swimmingly and 3 nights of interrupted sleep can make you feel like your whole life is falling apart…we are going on 4 months. I received some great advice from my original Facebook post about William’s sleep issues- one of my favorites was that you have to survive the night in order to thrive during the day. I embraced that but because he wakes up earlier and earlier, the initial cry to come in get him sets my blood pressure into over-drive and that feeling of failure and defeat comes soaring back (wow do I sound dramatic or what?!). So, we need to find a solution, for both myself and my husband’s sanity. I’ll keep you updated if anything finally works or if we are doomed to a life of sleeping with our child. 

If any of you are also having sleeping issues – Alex and I have also considered/tried the following to no avail – but they seem to have worked for some! …and to be completely honest, some seem ridiculous.  Babycenter.com had a good synopsis of the different sleep expert viewpoints for kids William’s age. Good luck and Godspeed to any of you with sleeping issues. I feel your pain and wish you the best. 

    • Mindell’s View: As long as you’re putting your child to sleep on his own at bedtime, it’s all right to do what you think will help him go back to sleep, such as rocking him or pacing the floor until he falls asleep. As long as his bedtime routine is consistent, night waking should diminish in a few weeks. If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to resort to a checking routine: Stay in your child’s room for a brief time, keep contact neutral, and don’t pick him up. Leave and return in five-minute intervals, gradually increasing the time you’re gone. Didn’t work for us – i.e. last night’s puke disaster
    • Ferber’s View: Make sure your child falls asleep alone — without you, a pacifier, or a bottle. If he won’t stay asleep, try letting him cry for progressively longer intervals of time, starting at five minutes, increasing to 10, and so on. Between intervals, you can spend about two to three minutes with your child, reassuring him by talking to him and possibly patting him on the back. Don’t pick him up or rock him. Doesn’t work for us per the four mistakes I listed in the beginning of my post
    • AAP’s View: Make sure your child falls asleep alone — without you, a pacifier, or a bottle. If he won’t stay asleep, try letting him cry for progressively longer intervals of time, starting at five minutes, increasing to 10, and so on. Between intervals, you can spend about two to three minutes with your child, reassuring him by talking to him and possibly patting him on the back. Don’t pick him up or rock him. Essentially a summary of one and two and why both don’t work for us.
    • Brazelton’s View: Break into your child’s sleep rhythm by waking him up before your bedtime. Love and cuddle him, feed him if necessary, and put him down again, reassuring him that you’re there. Be firm, and make sure you’re following all your familiar bedtime rituals. If My child is asleep, there is no way in hell I’m waking him for fear that he will never go back down.
    • Sear’s View: Be flexible. Don’t let your child cry it out; instead, try to find the source of his wakefulness (such as a dirty diaper, hunger, upset routines during the day, a stuffy nose, or even irritating pajamas). Increase his daytime attachment to you and let Dad play the role of nighttime co-comforter so both parents can help their child fall back to sleep. If your child has been a consistent sleeper but is going through a big development spurt, expect him to wake up more often at night. When this happens, try to get him back to sleep without taking him out of his crib. Instead, pat his back, talk to him soothingly, and sing. You can also consider taking him into your own bed. This is essentially what we are doing…minus looking for the source of the wakefulness outside of what I would consider pure hysterics. But the result is yes, he is in bed with us.

 

 

 

Maintaining Life & Relationship After William

Maintaining Life & Relationship After William

I was so scared that having a baby was going to completely take over my life and I was going to lose the normalcy Alex and I had created. We had a good thing going and I was terrified that bringing a baby into the world would turn ours upside-down. And it did…but I feel like we have a done a good job of maintaining some sense of life we had before William. I’m not going to lie – it takes hard work and consistency, but we have gotten into a groove that I am happy with. Today I am talking about the 5 things that worked for us to keep our relationship strong and maintain our life pre-baby as well.

  1. We try not to keep score: OMG this is so hard to do but it was advice given to me early on and I loved the idea of it. Alex and I both work full time jobs during the day and often times one of us will have an obligation after work or on the weekend or just need some time to ourselves. Alex ALWAYS does drop off at daycare in the morning unless he is out of town. I am not a morning person in the slightest, so even if I do need him to pick William up (about once a week) it is a part of his routine to take him in the morning and will always do it. Some weeks, Alex is gone 4 out of the 5 nights with obligations at work, meetings, choir practice, etc. so William and I hang out and I handle dinner/bedtime with him. Almost always, Alex will take William for at least an hour in the morning on the weekends so I can sleep. We have birthdays, happy hours, friends in town, etc. that come up all the time and we try to do our best not to say “since I did this last week can you take William on this night…” because it doesn’t matter. There will always be an opportunity for one of us to get time to ourselves and need the other to step in. I’m not saying it is always that easy, especially when one or the other has been travelling or has stayed home with a sick baby…but we try to have the mutual respect to not care if we have to put in a little extra time and effort with William 🙂
  2. We embraced babysitters early on: We were so lucky to find a long list of recommended babysitters from our church and invited a couple of girls over when William was really young (like 8 weeks) to spend some time with him and get to know him. I’m not saying it was easy to leave the first, second or even third time, but allowing ourselves to get out the door when he was a baby, gave us the ability to leave now when it’s even harder to run out the door as William is often screaming and telling us he doesn’t want us to leave. Now if one of them can’t babysit, there is a long list of girls they can contact and each one has been so wonderful with William. We also ask for pictures and updates throughout the night so we know he is safe–which helps my sanity as well–but it allows us much needed alone time. We try to get away at least once a night every 2 weeks just the two us.
  3. We take William with us: I realize this is not always possible (especially for those who have colicky babies and those that don’t like to be in their car seats) but William was a very easy baby to cart all over the place. He often slept in his car seat and as long as we had a bottle he was quite content. I know not all babies are that easy, but he made it simple for us to get out around other people without always needing to have a babysitter. Socializing him at a young age seemed to be a positive influence on him as he is still pretty good and easy to take out with us. The other day we went to lunch and then met a couple of friends at a brewery and as long as William had a sippy cup and some cheerios, he was happy to be with us.
  4. Alex and I have strong individual friendships: Although spending time together is a priority, having our own friendships has helped maintain our own relationship. It has been important for us to not be so reliant on each other and focus on spending time with our friends as well. This is when I get a lot of advice about parenting, am able to vent about anything and also hear that my friends deal with the same things I deal with day in and day out. Alex is my biggest supporter, but my friend’s are a close second as they are always there to listen, be a shoulder to cry on or just share a bottle of wine with.
  5. We balance each others interests: Alex is an outdoor person 100%. His ideal day is a long family hike, a picnic in the park, a bonfire outside, some sort of festival, etc. He likes to be busy and has a hard time relaxing. He is all about the experiences and likes to try out new places and immerse himself in the city. While, I enjoy these things, he could do all of those in one day and I’m more of the one and done type person. I like to relax at home, cross things off my to do list and enjoy a nice bottle of wine on a patio somewhere. I love lunches on the weekends with a glass of champagne and entertaining friends at our house. So we try to balance each other’s ‘ideal’ weekends and change it up every now and then by getting out of our comfort zones.

All in all it’s about finding what works for you and then sticking with it and working through the frustrations (that are bound to happen). A sweet reader sent me a message and asked why parenting has to be so black and white?! Either you have a life without kids or don’t have a life with them. I don’t think it has to be! We try to not let it completely consume and change us so our happiness is a priority as well. How do maintain your relationship and normalcy after kids?!

Mom Monday – Ashley Blair

Mom Monday – Ashley Blair

I am so excited about a new weekly post I will have I am calling Mom Mondays. I will be interviewing a different mom each week with a handful of questions to provide different perspectives on how they live their life. Stay at home moms, working moms, single moms, moms who have adopted, moms who are fostering, and many many more. The idea came from wanting to get many different opinions about ways to parent in different scenarios as I was trying to figure everything out. Although I didn’t take every piece of advice I received over time, it was so nice to hear how other moms approach situations.

To kick things off, my sister n law, Ashley, answered some questions about her role as a mom to her sweet kiddos, Russel age 3 1/2, and Elsie age 1 1/2. After she had Elsie, she decided to stay home with her kids full time. Ashley is so creative with filling their days with fun things for the kids to do. They are always going somewhere or doing something whether its singing songs and dancing around their house or visiting the zoo or Grant’s Farm when its nice out. She has been so helpful since I have become a mom and I of course adore her kids. Enjoy her responses and send me a DM if you are interested in doing an interview with me for Mom Mondays!

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K: How did you decide you wanted to be a stay at home mom?

A: I decided that I wanted to be a stay at home mom because my heart was no longer in my job (preschool teacher).  I was never fully giving myself to my students because I was always thinking about Russ.  It wasn’t fair to my students and I hated that I was missing so much of Russell’s early years.  I knew once Elsie was born that it would be even harder to be away from my kids and that my students would get that much less of me.  My heart was at home and that is where I wanted to be.

K: What does being a mom mean to you?

A: It means loving my children with all of my heart and soul.

K: What has been the biggest challenge of being a mom?

A: he biggest challenge of being a mom is finding the balance between being a mom and being myself.  I struggle to do anything for myself or by myself without feeling guilty.  I feel as if I always need to wear the Mom hat and never wear my Ashley hat.  Being a stay at home Mom has helped with this some but I still struggle.

K: What is the one product you cannot live without?

A: Is coffee a product lol.  I just recently started using dry shampoo and I am obsessed.  Lets face it.. I don’t get to shower everyday so dry shampoo helps me to look and feel fresh.

K: What is your favorite activity to do with your kids?

A: Dance and sing!  I love singing and dancing and being silly with my kids.  Our current soundtrack on repeat is Trolls.

K: What child care exists for your kids?

A: Russ goes to preschool M, W, & F from 9:00-12:30.  Elsie attends Mopettes twice per month (that is when she will actually separate from me).

K: How did you choose that?

A: I went to social media to find a good preschool for 2 year olds and St. Lucas was suggested.  We LOVE it.

K: What do you wish moms talked more about?

A: How tough it is being a mom sometimes.  Sometimes other moms on facebook make being a Mom look so easy and it discourages me and makes me feel that I am a subpar Mom.

K: What surprised you most about being a mom?

A: The incredible, overwhelming feeling of love you have for these tiny humans.  I knew I would love them but I never realized how all encompassing it would be.

K: What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a mom?

A: The transition from 1 to 2 was very difficult for me.  I never felt like I was being the best mom to either of them.  In the beginning I didn’t know how to simultaneously give them both attention.  As they have gotten older it has gotten easier but it is still tough some days.

K: What do you do to relax?

A: I exercise, watch tv with my husband, craft, and drink wine!

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