When You Can’t Blame PPD Anymore

Post-no-more-baby blues. Tired Mom syndrome. Tired working Mom sydrome. There is nothing else to call it. It’s depression. 

I don’t know why I’ve been saddled with this mental illness that is only treated with medicine. No amount of food elimination diets, yoga, exercise, prayer, or meditation will make it go away. 

I forgot to take my medicine two days in a row and today I cried while putting beans on my chips. Haystacks should not make me cry. Nothing made me cry except my brain chemistry and the fact that I forgot to take my medicine two days in a row. 

In my last post, I mentioned that I broke up with Facebook. This week I deactivated my account. I feel free. I also have missed out on wedding pictures from a wedding I was not invited to, pictures that make me jealous for illogical reasons, and political rants from both sides. 

My Facebook breakup is real and final. I’m reaching out to the people around me to connect in person and catch up IRL or virtually. But now virtually means texting, emailing, chatting online, and a shared iPhoto album. 

My husband and I are going to Kauai on Sunday without our kids. My sister-in-law is due any day with her first child and I am guilt ridden because my in-laws are staying at our house to watch the boys and a variety of complications make it almost impossible for them to leave when the baby arrives while we are away. 

But I am putting my guilt aside. I am choosing to focus on me, my husband, and do a lot of self care in Hawaii, including drinking coffee and reading the newspaper while my coffee is still hot, reading and listening to lots of books, listening to podcasts, lying on the beach, swimming in the pool, watching sunrises and sunsets, taking lots of naps, maybe learning to snorkel, and eating lots of fish and fresh tropical fruit. 

And I’m going to remember to take my medicine. 

I Finally Found The Perfect Dress Pants

…and they’re on sale right now.

I wandered into White House Black Market last week with two of the world’s wildest kids and promised that if they behaved, they would be rewarded with a visit to Starbucks. So they kind of behaved while I browsed the sale racks and discovered a pair of comfy looking dress pants in a size smaller than I normally wear, but the pants looked like they had a good bit of stretch, and God’s gift to mothers everywhere: an elastic waistband.

I have been searching for the perfect dress pants since I had my second baby two and a half years ago, and as soon as I tried them on, I knew I had found them. They are as comfortable as yoga and pajama pants, and because they are available in neutral colors – gray, black, and navy – they go with every shirt that’s already in your closet. I bought the gray and black in the store and ordered the navy online, along with this adorable top for my upcoming trip to Hawaii.

And because this is a shopping post, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my new favorite shirt from the Loft. It’s a thick knit with bell sleeves, and is available in gray and navy (at least it was…I can’t find the gray online right now, but it might still be available in stores). I’ve received a lot of compliments since I bought the gray one a couple months ago, and I am happy to tell you that the navy is on sale right now.

And if you haven’t signed up for ebates yet, save yourself some more money before you make any of these online purchases. Ebates pays you to shop and has great cash back offers at some of my favorite stores, including the Loft, Target, and many more! So what are you waiting for?!? Sign up and happy shopping!!

To the Girl in the Blue Bathing Suit

At my son’s swimming lesson last week, we met his new swimming instructor, a teenage girl with blonde hair and long legs and a face that spelled uncertainty. 

Parents sit on chairs behind a glassed-in pool and watch the various lessons happening at the same time; most of the swim teachers are in the pool with the kids, but since P is in stoke development, his teachers spend most of the time pacing the pool, watching the kids from above and commenting on their stroke form after a length of the pool. 

P’s new instructor does not look entirely comfortable in her own skin and I just wanted to reach through the glass and give her a hug. I wanted to tell her: “you are beautiful, you are skinnier than you think you are, you are brave for choosing an after school job that requires a bathing suit uniform, for walking back and forth in front of all of these parents and all of the other teachers, most of whom are muscular teenage boys.”

And in a way, I was telling my own teenage self that I was enough, that I was always skinnier than I thought I was, and even if that wasn’t the truth, my body was the shape and size of the majority of American women, and that comparing myself to others would never be a good idea. I would tell my teenage self to wear that bathing suit, to wear those shorts, because a beach body is the body you live in.

Taking a Break

I kinda, sorta broke up with Facebook yesterday. I have a feeling it’s the same kind of breakup I had with my now husband when we were in college. I broke up with him for 8 hours. It was excruciating. 

But this breakup is probably for the best, and so far has lasted longer than 8 hours. 

I have still have an account. I still exist on the platform. I use Facebook at work and need a way to post and log in, so I’m not deleting my account. For right now, I deleted it off my phone and replaced that icon space with a game I really like, so when my thumb gravitates to that spot out of habit, it opens an addicting game instead of the social media app that’s lately made me feel like crap. 

There are all sorts of studies about how social media can impact self esteem. And lately, because of other external factors, I’ve been feeling kind of low. So this is an experiment to see if my lack of daily FB checking brightens my spirits. 

I’m on Instagram and Twitter still, so let’s be friends! And if you know me IRL, my number hasn’t changed since I signed up for Cingular in college. 

Goodbye, Giant Hunk of Metal

We said goodbye to our Toyota 4Runner this week. My husband was in a car accident and thankfully he’s fine, but the air bags deployed and the front bumper was destroyed, which made a car that old, with that many miles not worthy of saving.

I know it’s ridiculous to feel emotional about a car, but I do. We brought Future Husband home in that car. I remember it vividly: it was about 9 o’clock at night and super cold. I sat in the back with the baby and warned my husband to go slow. I was so tired, anxious about taking a jaundiced baby home. I was wearing the same thing on the way home that I wore on the way to the hospital.

We had plans to give Future President this car when he turned 16. “Where’s Daddy’s car?” the baby now asks whenever we pull into the driveway at home. “It’s broken. It’s gone. It’s getting smashed.”

The car dealership let us keep the car overnight when we were debating whether to buy it. So we drove up one of the canyons out of Salt Lake City to see how it did climbing a mountain. It was powerful, so much more powerful than the Ford Explorer we had used to move across country, a car that literally died five miles from our final destination. So we bought the powerful SUV, with dreams of someday pulling a water ski boat behind us, dreams of camping trips and packing it full with kids’ gear like bikes and skis.

My husband and I drove to D.C. in a car packed to the ceiling with our meager belongings as we set out for law school and work on the Hill; we drove back across country three years later to Seattle for more school; a year later, we drove to Salt Lake City for a new job; and three years later, we packed up a giant U-Haul and the 4Runner to go “home” to the Pacific Northwest. Here’s to more adventures in a car that gets better gas mileage than that red beast.

Books & Podcast Recommendations for the Easily Distracted Parent

In the six years since I first became a parent, I’ve discovered that my attention span is exactly the length of two Paw Patrol episodes. But due to a recent surgery, a broken wrist and seven (yes, count them: SEVEN) weeks of suffering through various head colds and the flu, I found a newly redeveloped talent: the ability to sit still and pay attention to printed words. However, I realize that not every parent has the luxury of sitting on their couch for hours on end, so the following recommendations can be enjoyed in snippets, too!

Books:

Act Like It When I received the iBooks email with the phrase “free books” in it, I didn’t know I was going down a rabbit hole of romance novels, but this book is well-written and a good read, which I discovered after two shout-outs, one on Book Riot and one on my favorite podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour. After reading this, I’ve read a lot of BAD romance novels and I’ll tell you, this one is rare: good, an interesting plot with real-life characters. Trust me.

Dumplin’ If you enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, you will like this book. It’s YA fiction at its best: it doesn’t insult your intelligence and portrays teenage characters in a realistic way.

Hag-Seed Totally and completely different than the previous two recommendations, this is a highly entertaining book by Margaret Atwood. It’s her reinterpretation of The Tempest and you don’t have to remember the original (or even have read) to enjoy it.

We Live in Water I don’t usually enjoy short story collections, but this one by Jess Walter is so, so good. The first story is probably my favorite – it’s gut-punching, magnificent writing and the PWN is lucky to have such a talented writer.

And if you’re not in the mood for books right now, here are a few podcasts I’ve been enjoying lately:

Podcasts:

Crimetown Go behind the scenes of organized crime in Providence, Rhode Island, with this fascinating look at a larger-than-life mayor and the mob. After each episode, you’ll marvel that this is a true story.

Missing Richard Simmons I didn’t even know Richard Simmons was missing, but that doesn’t matter. Why did he disappear? Why haven’t his closest friends heard from him? And will the mystery be solved by the end of the season? I need answers. NOW.

Farewell, Baby Maker

I’m on the other side of one of the hardest medical decisions I’ve ever had to make, and yet as I snuggled with my two kids and husband in the early morning hours, I surprised myself by how content I felt with my family of four. 

I’ve struggled with endometriosis as long as I’ve had a period, but was not diagnosed until I was 18. I still remember that first pelvic exam and the giant speculum the doctor held up for me to see. That’s huge! I marveled. She laughed and then showed me the one used on women who’d already given birth. Oh. 

Surgery #1 was quite successful, as was the second. But the pain kept coming back and when I told my current doctor how much medicine I was taking to control the pain, she said it was time to find a better solution. More shots, different birth control, or a hysterectomy. 

As much as it pained me to go with the hysterectomy, it was the right decision. I didn’t have a party, celebrating the end of periods and hopefully the end of pain. In fact, I cried as I said goodbye to my husband as they wheeled me away to the operating room. I cried because I was nervous. I cried because my baby making days are officially over. 

But it was my choice. I made the decision. No one chose for me. As a woman, this takes pro-choice to a whole new personal level. I made the choice. Just me. 

In the operating room, before the anesthesia took me away to dreamland, my doctor admired my pink cast. I chose pink, I said, because while I couldn’t go to the women’s march and wear a pussy hat, I got a pussy cast instead. Everyone in the room – the two doctors, the nurse anesthetist, the nurse and tech – they were all women. 

You’re my pussy posse! I said. They laughed and said that’s right! And then I drifted off to dreamland.