Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Mom Thing

I honestly felt better after ranting last week, so I'm back. Today's post is more of a lament. Last year I skipped all the kids' performances and events because of my concussion stuff because I was convinced I couldn't handle them, because I knew the pain would be excruciating, and because I knew the days after would be long and arduous in recovery.

This year, though, the mom guilt was just too great.

So I've been going. Even though it's awful. Even though it's miserable.

Even though it's the most exquisite torture you can ever imagine.

There's my darling, up on stage, performing her little heart out. Singing her solo. Doing amazing. Sounding awesome.

There's her mother, in the audience, cringing at every clap and cheer, at the boom of the mic, the crescendo, etc. Wishing I had something, anything that could block out the noise. I stumble out at the end of it all blindly, like a drunken sailor at the end of a wild night, looking for a hole to crawl into to sleep it off.

This is what mothers do.

And sometimes it totally sucks. My girls will never know how much it costs me to sit in the audience and hear them sing. How much it physically hurts. But how could I miss it? Because I know how much it hurts them when I sit home and don't attend their concerts. I've seen it, all last year. They'd tell me it was okay because that's what was expected of them. And they tried hard to be okay with it. Philosophical about it.  But it mattered. It's not fair. It's not right. It's not their fault I'm going through this, that I've got this problem. And I'm tired of making them suffer for it.

Honestly, I'm tired of all of it. The headaches, the sensitivity to noise, how the crowds make me physically ill with their talking and clapping and cheering. How even plugging my ears does nothing to relieve the misery.

And then the next day when I sleep until noon to try and recover, and then feel thick headed and groggy and still try to get things done.

Because it's a mom thing, I guess.

Sunday, May 7, 2017


I'm here because I haven't got anywhere else to rant, and I really, really need to rant. This post is about me, so if you don't want to hear it, don't read it. Nobody's making you.

It's been a hard month. Knowing I've got a clot sitting under my IVC filter has done nothing for my stress levels, as you can imagine. Made me feel like a ticking time bomb. What if the filter fails? What if I get more clots and clog up the area around the filter? Logic says the blood thinners I'm taking are going to break up that clot, but how long is that going to take? I mean, I was on blood thinners when that clot formed. What does this mean for the rest of my life? My quality of life?

Am I going to drop dead randomly at any given point in the future?

So, yeah, stress levels have been high. Anxiety has been high. And I feel like I have to hide it. That nobody wants to hear it. I have to be cheerful. Can't scare the kids. Bryan's got enough going on. He doesn't want to hear it, doesn't need more on his plate. I honestly feel like we can't talk about this. Every time we start to tread in this direction things get dicey. So, no, taboo subject.

Possibly the biggest thing in my life, and I can't talk to anyone. WTH?

And, naturally, we can't stop there. Let's pile on, you know, as life does. The twins are graduating--which is fabulous and exciting. But also full of stress. I can't even tell you all the last minute expenses we've had to shell out this year. Let's not forget our only income right now is Bryan's job at Taco Bell. You heard me. A family of six living off a Taco Bell income. How, you ask? God's grace. And these stupid expenses keep cropping up. The truck broke down. We should plan for stuff like that, but how? We barely cover living expenses, how do we squirrel anything away? Daniel had a school trip to the zoo. Super cool, they were going behind the scenes and seeing how things work. But the teacher planned to go to a restaurant for breakfast and then fast food for lunch. So my son spent more than $35 on food. That might not seem like much to you, but it is to us. Jeffrey went to State with his track team. Super exciting! Except he's not hotel savvy and didn't know they were checking out that last day. He managed to get his clothes out of lost and found, but they threw away his retainer. That's $150 we have to come up with right away, because we don't want his teeth to shift before we can replace it.

How are we going to come up with that?

Do you have any idea how I feel? Crippled, stuck at home, trying to contribute something--anything--to my family? My Etsy store doesn't sell. Nobody knows it's there. I've got stacks of aprons sitting here at home getting permanent creases because I'm invisible online. I'd say, generously, 100 people or less are aware of my Etsy store and/or that I have a product to sell. And most of them have already purchased. I've already had a few repeat customers.

I'm invisible.

And let's not forget my books. Ten titles published, sitting in cyberspace with the millions of other titles, invisible to readers, lost in the shuffle. They don't sell. The few attempts at marketing have been dismal failures. As a published author I don't exist.

In a time when I need to be noticed most, nobody knows I'm there. Nobody cares.

This probably sounds like one giant pity party, but I can't help it. I feel useless. I'm paralyzed by anxiety. For months now I haven't been able to write a word. I've had tons of fabulous ideas, and time to write, but when I set everything up to write I freeze. It's unbelievably frustrating. And it just fuels my feelings of inadequacy and uselessness to my family. In a time when we really need me to be a source of income, I'm failing.

My husband doesn't want to hear this either. He gets so bent out of shape when I rant about how I'm not contributing, about how I feel useless and inadequate. But I do. These are legitimate feelings. They hurt me. They're hard, horrible feelings. I can't will them away. I'm drowning in them.

I keep things light on social media because my personal account is connected to both my apron account and my author account. And, let's face it, nobody wants to buy from someone who's this pathetic. If I posted this stuff people would stop following me. There's a line between being brave about your struggles and openly admitting you're pathetic, poor, and are begging for business because you need money. People don't want to hear about money. It's still taboo, still an ugly word. They don't want to be reminded it's a fact of life, a necessary part of our existence in this world.

Well, guess what? It is. I have to sell 6 aprons to get my son his retainer. And that's just the tip of what we need. I'm pissed off, and I feel like a failure, and I hate it. But I can't just sit on my hands and do nothing. When I got out of the hospital last October, Bryan didn't even have a job. I had apron orders sitting, waiting for me to fill. The first day I felt like I could start sewing, I started filling those orders. A very good friend helped us cut some aprons out, and in November and the first part of December I made aprons and filled orders, and made enough money to almost pay our bills during that time. Then Bryan got his job, and just like that, the orders dried up. I continued sewing through the month of December, but didn't sell any of the Christmas aprons I made.

You and I both know what a story like that signifies. You know that's the hand of God working in my life. He didn't help me while I did nothing. He helped me while I worked. So I'm going to apply that same principle again. At least, to the best of my physical ability. I still don't know how to solve the writing thing. Or the anxiety thing. I know the obvious answer is talk to someone. Therapy would be ideal, but I don't see that as an option right now with our situation.

So, for now, I'm going to apply the old stand by. Get on your knees and pray, then get on your feet and work. 

I'm tired of feeling useless. I'm tired of feeling like I don't contribute, like what I do counts for nothing. So if you read this, and see my store links or my book links, please give me a shout out. You never know what might come of it. And thanks for listening.