I’ve Got the Eye of the Tiger, the Fire

Hello again!  I’m stoked to say that I’m officially down 7.4 lbs as of yesterday’s weigh-in!  I’m also down a whole shirt size and half of a pant size (I didn’t record my starting inches but I wish I had so I’ll be recording those from now on)!

On this journey I’ve decided to try some meal replacement shakes for the days that I’m too busy to eat a good meal which, let’s be honest, happens more than I’d like doing daycare.  I have a friend who sells Shakeology so I decided to look into that; she was kind enough to give me a sample and I will say it was pretty tasty (I made a chocolate pouch with one cup of 1% milk and a few ice cubes) – it was filling and not chalky at all.  Actually, here’s my review:

My Shakeology Review (opens in a new tab)

Ultimately what it came down to is that it’s too expensive.  It works superbly for her and her husband but I just can’t afford it off of a daycare income.  Sooo I started looking at other options and was suggested FitMiss Delight that I could buy on Amazon.  I know a few personal friends who use it and swear by it so that’s what I bought.  With Prime it cost $31 for a 36-serving container, it got here about 18 hours after I ordered it, and I just made my first shake this morning.  Here’s that review:

FitMiss Delight Review (opens in a new tab)

Ultimately, this stuff was AMAZING.  I made it with a scoop of powder, 2/3 c. of 1% milk and 2/3 c. of black coffee (Wegmans brand 100% Arabica Ground Coffee, Traditional, Medium Roast) and hoooo my gosssshhhh it was SO YUMMY!!!

I wasn’t going to do a review but it was just so good that I had to lol.  I also thought that I’d share a current photo of me because you can really see it in my face and that makes me feel good.

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Both pictures are taken without face makeup (I have mascara on a little eyebrow tint in the right picture) and you can see just how clearer my face looks, my jaw line is more pronounced, my cheeks are going down…this is all so exciting!!

I’m probably going to post again soon because I’m doing a very important walk in a week that has a fundraiser and everything so I’ll post either later today or tomorrow.  We’re puppy sitting this weekend so maybe I’ll post tomorrow because three boxers is a tad exhausting lol.

Till then…toodaloo! ❤

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I’m a Gentle Parent…Not a Passive One

gentle parenting not passive parenting

I never planned on having kids so, like many non-parent adults, I had views on parenting that I was certain would work best.  Those views were very traditional, strict parenting: spanking, time-outs, yelling, like hell the kid would sleep in my bed, etc.

Then I became a mom.  A mom who suffered from postpartum anxiety and OCD (my post about PPA/PPOCD)) and man, did my views change.  In helping heal my PPA I found that taking a gentle approach to my life truly helped me; I started meditating, I stopped stressing about things I couldn’t control,  I would practice my breathing and control my emotions before I responded to a situation and I found that it worked!  While I still have general anxiety, I’ve learned to regulate it without medication and, for somebody who has been struggling with it for almost 20 years, that’s a big accomplishment.

My daughter was very attached in her infancy; I had to babywear if I didn’t want to listen to her scream because if she wasn’t near me then she was just miserable!  I found that I loved babywearing, though, so it turned out to be a win for both of us.  As she got older and more mobile it became harder to wear her while trying to do things around the apartment so she’d just follow me and scream, out of frustration I’d yell at her to leave me along for five minutes, if she touched things she wasn’t supposed to I’d smack her hand.  Every time I did something like this the look on her face would break my heart but it’s the only thing I ever knew in regards to “discipline” and teaching.  She was a very high-needs baby, but also very sensitive, and that has carried on with her now that she’s a preschooler.

One day we were getting in the car at the mall after a play group and after telling her to wait by the car while I loaded in the little boy I watched my daughter darted into the road and a car had to swerve to miss her!  She thought it was funny and giggled as she ran, but out of complete fear I raised my hand and I spanked her butt.  I hit my child.  I was angry and so scared, more scared than I had ever been in my life, but I hit her.  I buckled her into her seat and I sat outside my car and I cried.  Man did I cry so hard.

While most people will read that and think, “Good, she deserved a pop for that!” I am still feeling guilt because of it.  It broke me.  I was spanked as a child and I grew to fear those spanked me.  I never felt respect for them, I never felt that I learned anything, I grew to be cautious of them; if I stepped out of line or said the wrong thing I could get hit.  I never wanted that for my child but there I was, hitting her in a parking lot.

Something needed to change after that.  I started applying my “gentle life” techniques to my parenting and it was like an instant change in our daughter.  She started listening more, she was more curious about life and was much more excited to show me things that she found in her world, we were interacting on a different level and it was incredible, I don’t even really know how to describe it.

I’ve shared that I’m a SAHM/childcare provider, my husband works long hours and, as a result, isn’t around much so it took a long time for our daughter to get used to him.  For the first year and a half of her life he was active duty but then after he got out of the USMC he took another government job with equally as long hours, often getting OT on the weekends.  Charlotte wouldn’t go to him much, she was wary of him because he has a strong presence; a stone face, doesn’t show much emotion, strong voice, and loud when worked up about something.  He was raised in that traditional, strict home as well and then joined the Marine Corps. where emotion was pretty much banned, so, in a nutshell, the man is far from Mr. Rogers lol.

I’ll never forget the day that he and I reached our breaking point in parenting.  While I had started to filter gentleness into my style, he remained the strict one.  We were packing our apartment to move to our first house and our stress levels were much higher than usual; Charlotte happened to touch something that my husband didn’t want her to and instead of saying, “Lets not touch that, we could get hurt,” he shouted, “NO!!” and smacked her hand and snatched up the case she had touched.  Instantly she came screaming to me, red, puffy cheeks and eyes, shouting, “Daddy scare me!”  He heard it.  As I hugged her and calmly said, “Daddy didn’t want you to get hurt,” she just cried and wailed, “No, daddy scare me!”  He acted preoccupied but I could see that her words were hurting him.

yelling silences message

That moment caused a fight between my husband and I (and in our five years together I can count our fights on one hand).  I described his actions as listening to a TV when the volume is too high: you can hear the noise but the words aren’t clear.  That’s what was happening with our toddler, a tiny human who was still learning how things work – she was exploring and instead of learning why not to do something, she was basically told to fear it because she couldn’t understand the message.

Since that day I’ve noticed an incredible change in my husband.  He is so much more patient with our daughter, he takes the time to show her how things work and explain why we do things.  He even invites her into the garage (his personal sanctuary) so they can work on his project truck together.  We had snow a few months ago and he went outside and built a snowman with her.  He encouraged her walk along side him while he put some chemicals on the lawn last weekend.  She gets so excited when she wakes up and realizes that he’s still in bed and not at work, because it means she gets to hang out with him.

I know that it made him sad that our daughter was scared of him for so long, his family would comment on it, he even made a remark to a friend of ours at a Fourth of July BBQ that our daughter would never want him to play with her the way our friend’s son was playing with her husband.  I’m so glad to say that in under a year that has changed all because of his new gentle approach to parenting.

We are often criticized for our choice to not spank or yell, because we choose not to isolate our daughter in time-out, that we still hug her when she’s sad or hurt or scared, but to those people I say, “Oh well.”  We are raising a child who is confident in her choices, who knows that it’s okay to be wrong from time to time, a child who isn’t afraid of an accident.

be it to teach it

I found this quote recently and I quite like it:

“When a child hits a child, we call it aggression.
When a child hits an adult, we call it hostility.
When an adult hits an adult, we call it assault.
When an adult hits a child, we call it discipline.”
– Haim G. Ginott

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  Were you spanked as a child?  How do you feel about it?  Do you spank as a parent?  Have you asked your child what they think about being hit?  I hope y’all have a great weekend!  ❤

OCD Isn’t Cute, Dammit!!

Hey hey!  It’s been about a week since I wrote last, sorry for the lapse!  I have a little list I’ve been compiling with ideas of topics to write about, things that are deeply personal to me or that I’m passionate about, you know.  Well, I’m surprised I forgot to write about this sooner because it’s such a big part of me – mood disorders!

When I was younger (high school age) I battled depression for a few years and that settled down to a pretty steady anxiety.  I posted before that I’m an introvert and that’s very much the case, but aside from loving my personal home-time I have such anxiety about being around people.  That intensified so much when I became a mom plus added in a nice amount of OCD.  Which, let me tell you, is NOT cute.  Just because you like your DVDs alphabetized doesn’t make you OCD, it makes you meticulous.  My OCD was (and sometimes still is) debilitating.  I couldn’t leave my home for fear that something awful was going to happen.

Let me start at the top.  I never really planned on being a mom so when it happened I was shocked to say the least.  Around 25ish weeks pregnant I had a routine appointment and I opened up about my fears.  I expressed to the healthcare(less) provider I was seeing that I had some anxiety about birth, what happened before, during, and after labor, all of that.  Her response?  “You know, so many women can’t even get pregnant so you should really just suck it up and consider yourself lucky.”  That was that.  I didn’t share my concerns with anybody because she made me feel so small and guilty about my fears that I felt like scum.

I had a frustrating pregnancy because of the medical staff I encountered, not because of the physical nature of being pregnant.  The staff was awful and at one point towards the end (I’m going to get personal here) there was a nurse who gave me an internal check to see how dilated I was and she didn’t take her rings off.  When I commented how badly it was hurting she told me, “Deal with it, honey, labor hurts worse.”  I’m convinced that because of what I said to her I was transferred to an entirely different hospital (this was all in military hospitals).  At 37 weeks I was sent to a hospital that was about 90 minutes from my home but they decided to induce me (at 39 weeks) because they were convinced I had gestational diabetes (I didn’t, I’m just fat).  So there I was on a Sunday morning in early January, being induced.  Labor lasted 27 hours and our daughter was born early Monday afternoon after an emergency c-section.

She was, and still is, perfect.  I remember the staff trying to explain to me what was happening on that floor and how things worked, but as soon as my daughter was wheeled into the room I stopped listening; it was really the first time I had seen her since she came out of me.  I never really felt true love until I saw her – this little being that I created.  She grew inside of me.  It’s so bizarre to think about and I look at her now and I am still amazed at all of it.  My husband and I had planned for me to go back to work, even if it was just part-time, but we couldn’t find any childcare in the area that was reasonably priced and I started having these really weird thoughts and episodes.

One night we were laying in bed and I was still awake because I was terrified that if my daughter stopped breathing I wouldn’t know and then I wouldn’t be able to save her.  I heard my neighbors next door arguing and I sat awake in fear thinking that people were in our apartment to kidnap her.  The amount of sleep I survived on is amazing to me.  Then when we’d get ready to go do things during the day I was scared to even go down the stairs because I was scared I’d drop her or I’d fall or the stairs would collapse and we’d both plummet to the concrete below and she wouldn’t survive.  How would I explain that to anybody?  When we finally did make it out of our protected bubble I was certain that there were kidnappers and deadly diseases lurking everywhere.  If anybody wanted to look at my daughter (which, honestly, was a lot of people because she’s gorgeous) I was certain that they were secretly trying to take her and I’d never see her again.  At home, I was scared to shower or go to the bathroom because what if she fell out of whatever she was in or something fell on top her – literally every terrifying scenario raced through my head and no matter what I just couldn’t control these thoughts (which I later found out to be called Intrusive Thoughts).

So I took to Google, of course.

I don’t know how it is in civilian hospitals because I’ve only ever labored in a military one, but the postpartum screening sucks terribly.  Before being discharged and again at my six-week follow-up I was asked:
1. Do you feel like killing yourself?
2. Do you feel like harming your child?

The answer to both of those questions was no, a BIG FAT NO.  However, I felt like I couldn’t protect us enough from the impending death and harm that skulked around every corner.  Everything I found mentioned postpartum depression (PPD) but I didn’t have those symptoms.  I was getting desperate and I felt like I was going crazy.

Then I found it.

The website that opened with the hallelujah choir and a massive sigh of relief.  I found an article called, “The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety (in Plain Mama English).”  I know it sounds corny but this is the truth.  I sat on the floor between my couch and my coffee table with my two-month-old daughter asleep on the couch behind me and I cried.  I cried so hard.  That website, Postpartum Progress, and its author, Katherine Stone, saved me on that March morning.

I wasn’t alone.  And if you’re reading this feeling the same way I did, I want you to know that you aren’t alone either.

There are others out there feeling the same way that I was.  Katherine Stone writes, “Postpartum depression and anxiety are not “one-size-fits-all” illnesses.  Your experience may be focused on just a few of the symptoms and you may not have others at all.”  This is so important because I knew something was wrong, but I was trying to lump it in with PPD because that’s what everybody’s heard of; I had never heard of PPA or PPOCD so my thoughts terrified me.  I found an article from Psychology Today that helps to encapsulate why I was so scared to open up: article

Now, two years later, I can say that I know how to manage things much better.  I try to talk openly about what I experienced because I think it could be life-saving, at the very least sanity-saving!  Many of my friends have become moms since then and, no matter how weird they think I am, I try to talk to them about it because it’s so important to know that you aren’t alone in this.  I felt crazy.  I felt like my husband would leave me.  When I opened up to my mom finally her first reaction was, “So..what?  Should we take you away and lock you in a straight jacket?” and that was exactly my fear!!  I was petrified that I’d be taken away and never allowed to see my amazing daughter again.

I don’t want any mother to feel that way.  Ever.

So this was really long and if you made it to the bottom then you’re awesome.  If you know a new mom, and even a mom who’s been a mom for a while, share this with her.  Let it get out there.  Let them know that perinatal mood disorders are far more common than we realize.

Thanks for reading.

Happy trails ❤