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Archive for January, 2008

At PPD group, we go gaga when one of our friends shows up in jeans rather than sweatpants, gets a haircut, puts earrings in, or wears a little makeup. (In this case, lip gloss counts as makeup). There is something to be seen when a friend in the throes of PPD starts to see herself as a person again, and feels well enough to care about her appearance.

For the first three years of full time momming I have found myself reveling in the ability to wear the same pants 5 days in a row because “no one knows”. Sweat suits have been my savior. I can wear them all day, then sleep in them at night if need be, and it sure cuts down on laundry.

Funny that my inspiration to kick it up a notch in the wardrobe department came from a little show I’ve been hooked on for a few years now called Project Runway. Although we don’t have cable, we can rent the seasons from the library to watch at home. Having just watched season 3, I was inspired by one of the contestants named Laura. She has 5 children, and during the show found out she was pregnant with her 6th. She lives in New York City, sews all her own clothes, and never wears jeans. She dresses like she’s headed to a cocktail party or at least a business meeting every day of her life.

When asked about her dressing “up” all the time she said something to the effect of, ‘it’s a short and slippery slope to pajama pants and sweatshirts’. And she’s so right on. Her philosophy is ‘if I am dressed dumpy, I am going to eat badly and act dumpy. It’s such a simple thing to get dressed and feel better about yourself.’

Now, I have to disagree with Laura on that last point. I don’t think it’s a simple thing to get dressed. Especially since I am vehemently against waking up any earlier than I absolutely have to. And because my closet is a bit jam-packed and disorganized. (Not for long, though, after Chris Manion’s talk on organizing tips, I’ll be doing a fashion show for myself and sorting through my wardrobe shortly after I make my plan and write it down.)

The image “http://fashionistaandbaby.files.wordpress.com/2007/01/annasuidress.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.So, I thought, I’ve got a closet and drawers full of nice clothes, yet I wear the dumpiest, most boring, drab, elasticky outfits I own over and over and over again. My house and kids are my “job”, and if I keep dressing down and dumpy, what am I saying about how I view myself and how I feel about my work? I’m going to try dressing up every day for every day. I’m not talking stilettos and an up-do, but at least not the jeans with paint on them paired with the 2004 DV:FX Christmas long-sleeved T and the folded-over ponytail I slept on last night.

This past Sunday I dressed like I used to dress pre-kids when I was a “career woman”. And I got a whole lot of notice. Man, I must really be mis-representing myself by the way I dress normally–even on a Sunday. Except for the fact that I’m typing this at noon and I’m still in my PJ’s.

So ladies, try stepping it up a bit. I’m not talking all out blazer and skirt for a day of vacuuming and laundry, but don’t shy away from the “nice” sweater and jeans because those are only for “going out”. Treat yourself to a day of looking and feeling good at least once this week. If you do and I happen to see you, I promise to notice and praise you to the high heavens.

Speaking of which, I need to give out some kudos already:

  • LD–totally loved your cool mom cargos and funky-bright embroidered flower top bottomed with cool-girl shoes that you wore on Monday night.
  • DG–I didn’t realize your ears are double-pierced–and I totally loved your two sets of danglies. Totally hip, modern, and cool-mom. J-Lo would be proud.
  • JA–what can I say–NICE SWEATER! Glad you got the green since I got the pink so we don’t “match” accidentally. You have impeccable taste that is right on Target!
  • BM–You have been wearing makeup, doing your hair and just looking stellar lately–very nice V-neck sweater and under-t-shirt combo on Mon.
  • CM–you just look put together and professional and up-to-date all the time–that’s probably why you are giving US tips on organizing.
  • HD–enjoying your new organizing accoutrements?
  • Becky–welcome to the group–even if you are a “distance LABber” we are so glad you came this week.

I just may have to start carrying my digital camera and snapping pix of some good examples of moms that deserve to be on the…hmmm…not red carpet…I’ll have to think of a witty name for something akin to the red carpet but definitely depicting something closer to what we are used to–like a crumb-covered, toy-littered, Cheerio-riddled, hasn’t-been-vacuumed-in-over-a-week carpet.

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THRIFTY THURSDAYS FLAT header

Sippy Cup

I love free stuff. This came in the mail a week or so ago. You can ALWAYS use another sippy cup!

Get a FREE Sippy Cup

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book_review

This book was a duel-purpose read for me. Firstly, I had read somewhere that Amy Grant had shared her struggle with postpartum depression in this book, and I was intrigued to read her account.

Let It Snow

Secondly, it fits in to my Winter ‘Let it Snow’ Reading Club Bingo card under the category of “Inspirational”, which I truly believe it was upon completion.

Don’t be daunted by the 240 pages of this book. It is some of the fastest reading you will ever do. Each chapter is separated by song lyrics. If you’re familiar with Amy’s music, you won’t need to read the lyrics, or you can just read the memoirs and skip the lyrics.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story behind a lot the music that’s come out of Amy’s life and career. And vignettes like the one where she got tickets to the Andretti’s family box at the Indy 500 just because she mentioned Mario’s name in her lyric on “Good for Me”.

Although she addresses her family history of depression in one chapter entitled ‘Winter’, and the word “postpartum” is used in a different story (referencing her postpartum body in a conversation with her personal trainer/friend), there really is no allusion to postpartum depression. I’m actually kind of relieved, I don’t wish PPD on anyone. Ever.

I was oddly inspired by this book. It was a stretch for me to read about someone with a very charismatic faith, a celebrity life, and *gasp* a divorce and re-marriage.

If you are someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to read, this is the perfect book for you. You can pick it up and put it down every few minutes if necessary–the longest chapter is 6 pages long.

I found myself intrigued and bolstered by Amy’s unassuming sharing of memorable life instances, God-moments, and her inspirations for writing certain songs. Her down-to-earth tone and writing style transfixed me. And that’s my book review. Dew-doot-doo!

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At last week’s LAB meeting we did some art therapy by using magazine pictures and words to make a collage. We had some prompts to stimulate ideas of things we might want to try and express using words and pictures.

  • What are you especially proud of about yourself?
  • What are you the least proud of about yourself?
  • Make a three-part collage that depicts you as a child, you in the present, and you in the future
  • Find something in your pocket/diaper bag and have your collage tell a story about that item
  • Tired? Take a few minutes to rest, then collage your dreams on the sheet of paper
  • What’s your favorite color?
  • Depict a feeling you experienced this week—angry, tired, frustrated, confident
  • Depict something you don’t feel comfortable saying in words
  • Depict how you think your child/spouse/parents see you
  • Depict how you see yourself/how you wish you saw yourself
  • Your greatest fear
  • If you could wish something
  • I believe
  • I wish I had never
  • I regret
  • I want my kids to…
  • How I feel about my child/self/family member/spouse right now
  • It’s not fair
  • A moment of failure
  • My secret fantasy
  • What I did/didn’t do today
  • What is meaningful

I wanted to try to do two collages–one positive and one negative. I thought I’d start with the positive one first because that would be really easy and warm me up for my soul-searching, dark and negative one.

I chose a piece of purple paper for my positive collage. Purple is my favorite color. I wrote “My Favorite Things” on the back. I grabbed magazines and started flipping through.

Then…I had a major epiphany. I was completely stumped. I had gone through three magazines and not found a single thing that depicted something that was one of “my favorite things”. It was easy for me to find things that Dan likes, things that reminded me of L, E, or A, but finding things to identify who I am and what I enjoy was completely eluding me. I started feeling tense, disjointed, confused, slightly panicked. This was supposed to be the easy collage! I realized, in that moment, doing that simple exercise that I have completely lost my own sense of self.

who I am collage

I did, however, complete the collage. Although I felt it was a bit sparse and forced.

Here’s my interpretation of my “Favorite Things” collage.

  • I’ve been really into mochas lately
  • I’ve always been into chocolate
  • I think I’m funny, witty, and quirky
  • The past few years I’ve started wearing red and love the color
  • I use coupons, and revel in finding a bargain or saving money
  • I’m most confident in the kitchen cooking
  • I have always loved and still enjoy reading books
  • I love to laugh and think my siblings and I comprise the main characters from Seinfeld
  • I didn’t find a good picture of jewelry–I love looking at jewelry

I was disappointed. If these are my favorite things and what defines me, I’m about as deep as the thickness of the construction paper my collage resides on.

Then I started working on how I would define the things that make me struggle.

depression collage

At the center of my collage is the word GUILT. I decided not to use scissors to cut out any of my words or pictures–I wanted to feel this collage–hear the ripping, accept the jagged roughness of what I was trying to depict. I really wanted to interact and grapple with this one. I found lots of words and pictures jumping out at me, I just ran out of time to put it all together, so here’s what I have so far:

  • I feel guilty giving up and quitting so often
  • I feel like my time is so limited, compressed, like the picture of all the clocks sealed in a jar
  • I don’t take care of myself–“The average mom spends 116 minutes a day on laundry and only 7 on her hair”. I’m average in the laundry department, I might spend 7 minutes on my hair one time a week–and that’s on a good week.
  • I let my kids watch tons and tons of videos rather than playing with them–and I feel very guilty about that
  • I often complain, hence the “no blessings” depiction (which I know is NOT true, but my first impulse is to see/feel the negative, and I have to school myself to look for the positive in situations)
  • I take medication because without it, I’m not too good right now. I don’t want to, but I need to.
  • My house is dirty–I can’t seem to complete tasks.
  • A drink helps me unwind after an especially harrowing day.
  • Those last few lingering pounds of baby fat just won’t go away. And I have no desire or energy to curb my eating or exercise them away.
  • Motherhood is the cause of my depression. I love my kids and they are ailing me.

Maybe I should take these collages to my psychiatrist visit in a few weeks? It would be interesting to hear his interpretation. It also might help prompt and remind me of things I want to express that don’t always come easily out of my mouth.

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guest_speaker
Tired of tripping over toys, can’t find a match to your red sock, have
tons of Tupperware with non-matching lids, or just generally feeling
disorganized? Come to Life After Baby (LAB) ready to benefit from
some priceless “Organizing tips for under $20”, presented by Chris
Manion of Putting the Pieces in Place.

We meet in the nursery of Ada Bible Church at 8899 Cascade Rd SE, Ada,
MI 49301 from 7-9ish. Come when you can and leave when you must, and
be sure to bring your little ones along!

There is no fee, no need to register, just come. This is an ongoing
and open invitation to you and others you know who might benefit from
other-mother time.

After each meeting, we hope that you go away knowing that YES, there
IS life after baby!

Meet our speaker, Chris Manion:

Chris is a wife of one and mother of three. She started a highly
successful organizing business called Putting the Pieces in Place. She currently does organizing for individuals, businesses, or
educational speaking on this topic parttime. She is active in her
church by volunteering weekly in the nursery, leading a small group,
as well as practicing her well-honed skills in hospitality and
welcoming people into her home on a regular basis.

I have been so thankful for Chris in my life. She’s been a mentor to
me as a fellow pastor’s wife who has “been there, done that” in
learning to balance being a fulltime daughter of God, mother of three,
and the wife of a man called to ministry. I think one of the
highlights of our friendship was going on a missions trip to Africa
together this past summer to Mully Children’s Family (MCF).

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a time to rest FLAT header

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NNAS) 

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https://i2.wp.com/pedroelisete.no.sapo.pt/images/Bled.jpgSo, listening to Simon & Garfunkel’s “I am a Rock, I am an Island” on the way to my doctor’s appointment probably wasn’t the best choice of mood music for me.

As I was driving to my appointment, I was having all kinds of crazy-conflicting thoughts. Such as:

  • I will not cry. I will not cry.
  • Maybe I should act really forlorn, sit hunched over, spin a tale so awesome and painful that I can get ‘sent’ to a mental hospital for rest and therapy. That might be a treat. But expensive–not a good idea.
  • Do I just want attention? I don’t think so…but, I’m not sure of myself in many ways lately.
  • What if all my tests come back “normal” and no one can find anything ‘wrong’ with me…I can’t sit on this thought too long because I’m starting to feel tight in the shoulders and anxious just thinking about it.
  • I hope she doesn’t ask the ‘hard’ questions:
    • Have you ever had suicidal thoughts?
    • Have you ever put your children at risk or harmed them?
  • I wonder if this is a spiritual ‘problem’.
  • I’m so tired I really just want to curl up on the exam table and sleep while I’m waiting for the doctor to come in–I wonder if they would ‘count that against me’ if I actually did that.

I have the most wonderful doctor. Ironically, my OBGYN’s name is Dr. Ruth. She swept in and asked lots of questions. Took lots of notes, finished a lot of my sentences for me. I didn’t officially cry, but I did tear up once…no twice…during our conversation.

The image “https://i2.wp.com/medicineworld.org/images/blogs/4-2007/depression-456230.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The first was when I told her that my parents, who live in Oklahoma and I only see a few times a year, are the ones who asked me ‘how I was doing’ and told me they could definitely see that some days are good and some days are bad. It chokes me up when I think of my parents knowing how much I struggle, and caring enough to gently but strongly say something and encourage me to seek out care.

My second tear-session happened when my doctor asked how Dan was doing. I said, “uhhhhm, he’s struggling too.” Depression affects an entire family. That’s why I’m chasing after care. Because it’s not fair to the rest of my family for my struggles to become their scars.

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