Well Hello PPD, I Wasn’t Expecting You.

Don’t you just hate that feeling of dreading going to sleep, because you know the next day, you have to wake up and take care of your children? You know your newborn is gonna be there when you get up, looking at you and crying, and want to be fed and have her diaper changed, your toddler is going to want breakfast and to change out of his pajamas, and all you want to do is leave them alone in their cribs and run out of the house and never come back.  That feeling of resenting them because they are so needy and all they do is take, take, take giving you nothing in return. Ugh, that’s such a drag, isn’t it? …..

Wait, why do you look so confused?  ….. You are probably sitting there wondering what kind of monster could possibly say those things about their own children. Well, I’d like to introduce myself, I am Tiffany, and that monster was me.

My first pregnancy was glorious.  When my little man came earth side, everything was right in the world. I would hear his little cry in the middle of the night and fly out of bed, eager to comfort this sweet, innocent, wonderful little being that I had created. We would wake up in the morning and I would spend literally hours, just studying his beautiful little face. I would snap 8,000 pictures of him in the same pose, then when he would nap, I would smile as I looked through all of the pictures I had just taken an hour before. My love for him was overwhelming, and I would have done anything within my power to make sure that baby was cared for.

I got pregnant again when Kaiden was 6 months old. I had wanted to have another baby. We planned it so that Kaiden could have a sibling close in age. I knew I wanted another child, and I didn’t want to have to start all over later on in life, so we decided to just pop another one out right away.

I knew this new baby was going to give me a run for my money when I found out I had Gestational Diabetes.  During pregnancy, the placenta makes hormones that can lead to a buildup of sugar in your blood. Usually, your pancreas can make enough insulin to handle that. If not, your blood sugar levels will rise and can cause Gestational Diabetes. Long story short, I had to spend the remaining duration of my pregnancy eating cheese and crackers and pricking my fingers to check my blood 4x a day. All I wanted was a lot of ice cream and I couldn’t have it. This baby hadn’t even been born yet and I already had a small, unjustified resentment against her.

My delivery was a breeze, Chloe was out in under 4 minutes. All of the resentment I had felt prior had been erased the moment I laid eyes on her.  She immediately made me realize all of the sacrifices I had made during pregnancy were worth it.  She arrived healthy and happy and life was good.

Until we brought her home… She cried all night that first night. Literally…The. Entire. Night…..And she didn’t stop, for about 2 weeks.  If her eyes were open, she was screaming. I spent every night trying to keep her quiet as to not wake my husband, and her brother and sister. Everyone would rise for the day, and I would still be awake.  They would enter the living room chipper and ready to start the day, and I would be on the couch with one eye closed, the other half open, covered in poop and my own tears, rocking back and forth furiously in a desperate attempt to achieve one moment of silence.

Chloe would eventually fall asleep around 10, but I didn’t have the luxury of taking a nap with her, because I still had a 1 year old, and sometimes a 5 year old to look after.  I found myself becoming short fused. Kaiden would want to laugh and play, but all I wanted to do was sleep. I found myself crying out in desperation numerous times throughout the day. I questioned on many different occasions whether or not I made the right choice in having her.   It became impossible to form a bond with this screaming child that I was supposed to love.

I found myself lying in bed, dreading having to wake up the next day to take care of my own children.  I didn’t want to do it.  I resented them for existing.  I know this may sound unfathomable to most of you, but it was my reality at the time. I. Did. Not. Want. To. Be. A. Mom. Anymore.

I had slipped into a depression. I didn’t have the energy to shower, I stopped answering my texts, because I got sick of lying to everyone when they asked me how the baby was. I couldn’t tell the truth, which, at the time would have sounded like this; “Hey! thanks for asking, she actually sucks, all she does is scream and cry, yeah, and her big brother like, constantly wants my attention, it’s super annoying, uh huh, yeah and I don’t even have the energy to shower, let alone take care of 2 kids,  I kinda want to die, so, other than that, things are good!”  

I didn’t want to tell my husband the truth about how I felt, because I didn’t want him to think I was a bad mother, or regret choosing me as the one to bear his children. I didn’t really know how to talk to anyone else about it either.  It is a hard thing to put into words, that form a sentence, that would make any sense to anyone, so I kept it to myself. I buried it deep down and continued pretending all was ok. I was drowning, and taking my little ones down with me, and there was no one there to rescue me.

I didn’t have it in me to do it anymore.  The constant screaming, the constant yelling, the constant crying, it was too much to bear. I needed out. My kids didn’t deserve this, it wasn’t their fault, they didn’t ask to be born.  They were beautifully delicate little humans who needed love, protection and compassion, and at that time, I had none to give.

I googled “I am depressed and just had a baby, help me.” A million websites popped up immediately all saying “Post partum depression.” I had heard about it, I think my Dr. talked to me about it, but I had paid no attention at the time because I was waiting with baited anticipation for my ultrasound.  I began reading the various threads and was immediately overcome with emotion. This was real, and it was common.  The moment I realized I wasn’t in fact a psychopath, I called my Doctor. I cried to them telling them the entire truth, begging them to help me. They got me in that very day. (Shout out to Dr. Sullivans office!)

The Dr. Spoke to me as if he had had this conversation thousands of times, and that made me take my first big sigh of relief, in as long as I could remember.  He went over my options, and we came up with a treatment plan we both felt would work best.

I joined a support group of moms with PPD and gained a wealth of knowledge from others whom had experienced my same struggles. I told the group my story, and someone suggested I get my daughter to the E.R. to be checked for “Silent Reflux.” I went that night, sure enough, she had it.  They put her on Zantac and kept us there for 3 days to monitor her.  That night, was the first night she had slept since she had been born.

After getting help for myself, and my daughter, my world changed.  I was able to enjoy her smiles, her giggles and her funny little faces. I watched her sleep peacefully and felt an overwhelming feeling of love and pride. I was finally able to begin bonding with her once we were both feeling better. My son had his mom back, and my daughter had the mother she always deserved.

Reaching out for help became an easy thing once I realized I wasn’t alone.  The fear of how people may have perceived my emotional state, kept me from getting the help I needed much sooner. I wish I would have gotten help straight away, but then again, I am glad I got to experience those feelings.  Not only because it gives me an appreciation for my life now, that is renewed daily, but it also allowed me to experience those thought processes so that I can write this today to tell you, if you too have felt this way, you are not alone.  PPD is incredibly common, and there is no reason to be ashamed.

Talking about how you are feeling and getting help is the single greatest gift you could give to those children, and yourself. PPD can affect 1 in 4 women, and the sooner you get help, the more quickly you will recover. You deserve to experience the joy associated with celebrating those milestones with your little one, and your little ones deserve to have a mother who will gratefully, and enthusiastically guide them through life. I have included some links at the bottom of this page for anyone who thinks they may be suffering from PPD, or if you just want to better understand it for yourself, or a loved one.

Life is hard, raising children is hard and sometimes asking for help can be hard.  You do not have to go through it alone, there is no shame in reaching out for a hand if you feel lost. I am so grateful that I did when I did. I am currently watching my daughter try with all of her might to climb up on the couch to get my cell phone so that she can accidently call various loved ones for the 6th time this week. My heart feels like it’s going to explode watching her little baby legs wiggle back and forth while she makes her noble attempts. Moments like these I am so thankful that I was strong enough to overcome those incredibly dark days, allowing me to enjoy these bright, beautiful ones.

Overview of Post-Natal/ Post Partum depression: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024789/

Signs you may be at risk: https://www.care.com/c/stories/5347/postpartum-depression-signs-youre-at-risk/

Here’s a Facebook Support Group: https://www.facebook.com/PerinatalDepressionSupportGroup

 

 

 

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If Anxiety & Paranoia had a lovechild, it would be me.

I have chewed my fingernails for as long as I can remember.  I don’t mean cute little “Aw, I’m nervous, let me give my nail a little nibble.” I mean, imagine my nails were bunny rabbits and my mouth a cheetah. I annihilate them. I mean, I really destroy them. I chew and chew until they are non-existent. I do this when I get nervous, and since I am nervous virtually every second of the day, they are horrendous to look at. Why am I telling you this disgusting fact about myself? Because this is one example of many, of how my anxiety manifests itself daily.

Many people don’t know that I suffer from anxiety, except those closest to me. In fact, I take medicine to keep my crippling anxiety at bay. I don’t advertise this part of me because it is actually a very dark place for me to be. I believe the stigma attached to these types of personality disorders has caused many people to sweep their issues under the rug, not seeking the proper treatment.  This can be a very dangerous thing.

This is why I have chosen to put the ugly truth about my generalized anxiety disorder here for…well, anyone to see….

Many people close to me have a hard time understanding why I react to things the way I do. It is difficult to make someone understand something, they have never felt. If you were to have a ball thrown at your face, you would throw your hands up and most likely try to duck.  That would probably be your knee-jerk reaction to that situation.  My knee-jerk reaction to almost every situation, is to stress, worry, and imagine the worst case scenario possible.  It’s automatic, and out of my control.

After reading this you will probably think I’m nuts. I’m prepared for that. You will most likely think I am overreacting and unreasonable, that’s ok too. The truth is however, that your potential reaction to my way of thinking, is the main reason a lot of people keep quiet, and suffer silently.  I am hoping to shed some light on this subject so that anyone else who may be dealing with this, can know they are not alone, I’m right there with you, and there is help available.

This is what it is like inside my anxious mind…….

My sister asks if she can take my son, her nephew to the park–  I say no, because if she were to get into a car accident with him, and he died, I could never forgive her.

My bonus daughter asks if she can go in our backyard, 2 feet from the back door, to play on our playground by herself I say no, because if someone were to come kidnap her when I looked away, I would never be able to live with myself.

My husband wants to give our baby a banana to tryI say no because I don’t want her to choke and die, we will just stick to baby food until she’s 15.

I leave my house 45 minutes early to pick my bonus daughter up for school- because being late to places kicks my anxiety into overdrive, so to avoid that feeling, I make sure I am 30 minutes early…….everywhere I go.

My mother in law wants to take my son for a sleep overI say no because he is not used to her bed and may fall off in his sleep, breaking his neck and becoming paralyzed.

If I have a stomach painI convince myself that my appendix just burst and I currently have poison filling my insides and am going to die within the hour.

If more than 2 people are talking at onceI feel like I am a soda bottle that has been shaken, and I am on the verge of exploding.

If you invite me somewhereI will smile and excitedly say yes.  When the day comes, I wake up dreading it, because it requires me to get myself ready and have conversations with people.  I will spend the entire night absorbing other peoples energy and entertaining small talk, and by the time I get home, I am utterly exhausted.

If I leave the house feeling self conscious about my hairI will spend the entire day watching every single person I walk past, to see if they look at my hair, then when they do, I will convince myself that they are thinking about how hideous it looks today, and that I never should have left the house looking like that.

If I tell my sister to call me later, and she doesn’tI will call her.  If she doesn’t answer, I automatically assume she has been kidnapped and murdered.  I even envision my reaction when the police will call to confirm my suspicions.

If someone asks to hold my babyI will stare at them the entire time so that when they drop her, I will be prepared to catch her.

If someone I don’t recognize knocks on my doorI grab a weapon with one hand and have 911 on speed dial with the other.

If I am lying in bed and hear a noiseI envision a robber coming to kill us all. I visually locate a weapon and mentally plan my sneak attack for when he comes in the room.

This probably sounds CRAZY to you right? I know. Trust me, it feels crazy.  Who the hell would want to live like that? I don’t think anyone would.  Yet, many people do.  Some people may have it easier than me, some, probably worse.  There are so many variations of anxiety disorders, each of them equally as difficult to live with.

The excessive, relentless, unrealistic fear that at any moment, terrible things are going to happen.  Most people can enjoy a day at the beach with their children, I will spend the entire day rolling them around in sunscreen and searching the water with binoculars for sharks.

The exact cause of generalized anxiety is not fully known, but a number of factors — including genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental stresses — appear to contribute to its development. I have been this way for as long as I can remember, and I’m certain that a lot of it has to do with the fact that I have lost both my parents, and all but one grandparent. Part of me recognizes that a loved one can be taken away in an instant, therefore I go to extreme and illogical measures, to keep my loved ones safe.

This is the first time I have ever shared this with anyone other than those closest to me.  Reading back to myself what I have written, and seeing my thought processes in black and white has been quite eye opening. I see how unreasonable my thought process is. I see how insane it must seem to outsiders.   I have laid my deepest fears and imperfections at the feet of anyone who chooses to read this, in hopes it will make someone realize they are not alone, and help others realize that we aren’t just being “worry warts” who need to “relax” and “calm down”, trust me, if we could, we would.

I have started meditating and praying and it has helped tremendously.  The problem stems from my need to control, and in reality, nothing is in control….I cannot control the wind, the time, the flow of traffic, gravity, the weather or anyone other than myself. I need to recognize this, and let. it. go.

In the meantime, I need people to understand that we are not faking it, it is very, very real.  We need less criticism and judgement, and more love and support.  If you know someone who suffers from anxiety (and I really do mean “suffers”) don’t downplay it, don’t make them feel foolish, or crazy.  Ask how you can help and let them know you are there for them.  It is very difficult to live this way, but having a strong support system makes all the difference in the world.

 

 

I have a bonus daughter…

Happy Monday friends! I wanted to take an opportunity to talk about being a step parent, and what it means to me. I have a 6 year old bonus daughter.  I don’t like calling her a stepdaughter.  The term “step parent” has never made much sense to me.  I find that perhaps “Step-up Parent” would be a bit more fitting for most of us who do it, as that is essentially what we are doing. Stepping up and taking on an incredibly challenging (and rewarding) role. Stepping up to love, care for and help raise another’s child as their own.  Besides, “Bonus parent” sounds a lot more fun.

The Merriam-Webster definition of a “step parent” is pretty cut and dry, it reads as follows: “Someone that your mother or father marries after the marriage to or relationship with your other parent has ended.”

Nowhere in that definition does it state any duties of the step parent.  It doesn’t say “Someone who promises to love, care for, protect, help mold and shape you, and love you as if they gave birth to you themselves.”……They left that part out.  They didn’t include that because it’s not required.  All you have to do is marry someone who had a kid before meeting you, and you automatically qualify for this title.

That’s what makes a lot of Bonus Parents so special.  If you fall in love with someone, you are not required to fall in love with their child.  It is as simple as that.  Love takes time to grow and flourish. It requires a lot of work, sacrifice, and selflessness. It takes an extraordinary person to become willing to not only dedicate themselves to nurturing the love they have for their spouse, but are prepared, and often enthusiastic to take on the endeavor of building a separate and equally as meaningful relationship with his/her child.

The first night I started crushing on my husband, he had a speaking engagement, and was up on stage.  I remember thinking how handsome he was and how well he spoke.  As I was mentally deciding what color the flowers at our wedding would be and what our kids were gonna look like,  this itty bitty little 2 year old girl with a head of bright blonde hair came bouncing up to the stage yelling “Daddy!”.  He picked her up on his lap and she hugged him. My imaginary wedding plans came to a screeching halt and I thought…… “Oh, s***”

I had never dated anyone with a child before.  So when we first started seeing each other I  was unaware of how it worked. I remember excitedly turning to him one of those first nights and suggesting we take his daughter trick-or-treating.  He got very quiet and let go of my hand.  I was thinking “Oh s*** what? She can’t eat candy? They don’t celebrate Halloween? What just happened?” He turned to face me, and I could tell by his face, things were about to get real.

He explained that it was nothing personal, he just wasn’t ready for me to meet her yet (ouch).  He wanted to make sure that I was going to be a lasting part of his life, before bringing me into hers. I would be the first girl she had met since her mother, and he didn’t want to confuse her, had I not been the one.

Ok, so if we are being honest here, my very first thought was “oh hell to the no. Here I am, with a list of our future kids names (jk), and he’s not even sure I’m gonna last? Ha….Wow. But my second thought was “Wow, that is a really important, and responsible point.  It made me respect him even more.

A little while later, I finally won him over with my charm and gorgeous looks (ha), so he decided it was time for me to meet her. I remember very specifically being nervous as hell now that the time had come. I googled “How to make a 3 year old like you.” “Funny things to say to a 3 year old to make them laugh”, “What do 3 year olds eat?” Etc…..The articles had a lot of great advice, but I went with a foolproof plan.  Bring that kid a toy and bribe her into liking me.  Besides, she had just had her 3rd birthday, so it was a perfect excuse. My heart was pounding as I stood outside the door of his mothers house.  That little blonde girl was just on the other side, having no clue I existed. Drew opened the door and I followed closely behind. “Daddy!” She yelled jumping up to give him a hug.  When her feet hit the ground, I emerged from behind him….She immediately burst into tears and ran and hid…so….it went well.

I eventually coaxed her out of her hiding place with the promise of coloring with her.  She hesitantly took me to her room to get her coloring books, periodically peering over her shoulder to catch a quick glimpse of this tall strange lady following behind her.  We spent the next 3 hours coloring, making animal noises, doing horsey rides and eating snacks. She hugged me and asked when she could see me again, I looked over at Drew and he smiled and said “Whenever you want”. My heart jumped for joy as I noted that she was sad to see me go.  I nailed it!

I ended up marrying Drew, and giving Aubrey a brother and a sister. Over time we got to spend more and more time with her.  Initially we would visit with her on the weekends, working our way up to having her stay with us one night a week, then two, then three. Now, she lives with us full time. Over the course of this transition, I have faced many challenges as a bonus parent. I have experienced misplaced resentments, frustration, feelings of being underappreciated, feelings of inadequacy, and questioning whether or not I was cut out for this. To parent a child that is not your own can be confusing.  When to step in and discipline, when to remain quiet.  Wondering what rights you have as far as decision making, in regard to what is best for the child. When you throw Maternal grandparents, paternal grandparents and a couple of other children into the mix, it makes it a little trickier.

I laid in bed many nights thinking “Geez this is confusing! They say love a child as if they were your own, but then they say ‘Never forget, they already have a mother'”. They say “Don’t over-step your position, let the real parents do the disciplining”, But what exactly is my position if I’m the only there and she is swinging from the ceiling fan? They say “You are there support your spouse as they raise the child,” But what if he works a lot and when she over she spends a lot of alone time with me? Am I allowed to tell her she shouldn’t call her brother stupid? Am I allowed to make her eat broccoli  because I’m making her brother eat broccoli? Am I allowed to tell her that despite the fact that “her grandma lets her jump on her couch” that doesn’t mean she’s allowed to do it here? If I bring her to school and her teacher asks me to sign a permission slip, am I allowed to sign it? There are so many gray areas I had moments of wishing that somebody could be there with me telling me the right decisions to make. Unfortunately that is not how life works. You must live and learn.

Once the transition of her living with us full time was complete, everything improved. I no longer felt like a “weekend babysitter” (who wasn’t getting paid). I enrolled her in school myself, I filled out all the paperwork, I got her shot records, I bought her patches, I chose a teacher, and I began taking her to school in the morning and picking her up.  I became the one to ask her if she has homework after school, the one to sit and do her homework with her. The one to make her a healthy dinner, make sure she brushes her teeth. The one to wipe her nose when it runs, and reward her when she gets a good report at school.  I was finally the one that people were asking questions to. My role became clear. I was not her mother, I was not her babysitter, I was just an extra person to love her and steer her in the right direction, and help provide her with the stability she so desperately needed.

Aubrey is loved by so many people. My mother in law has been a godsend in every facet of me becoming a mom.  She has been there every step of the way, for Aubrey since birth, then with my own children. And once I started openly communicating with Aubrey’s mothers parents, everything fell right into place. I knew where I stood.  We all have her best interest in mind and they have been more than gracious and respectful of my position, and have helped me get comfortable with my role. We have a very close relationship with Aubrey’s mothers’ parents now, we have dinners there, we swim in their pool, we have spent holidays together, and they adore my children as well. We all feel as though it is important for Aubs to see there is no separation, family is family, and sometimes, it takes a village….

There is no perfect way to be the perfect Stepmom.  However if you have love in your heart, and a desire to help them grow and become the best person they can be, then you are off to a good start.  It is not easy, but it is the most rewarding job I have ever had.  I am so grateful to God for trusting in me to help mentor, and be an example for this little girl.  She has a heart of pure gold and has honestly brought so much joy to my life that I cannot imagine it without her. Each night when I tuck her into bed I tell her a story, then kiss her goodnight, I whisper into her ear that “I love her more than she will ever realize”.  And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. She was placed in my life purposefully by a power greater than myself.

I have learned a very valuable lesson about family because of her.  It is not about titles, it is not about where you came from, it is not about biology or  genes, family is about love. Everlasting, infallible, unconditional love. If you are willing to give this kind of love, then you have succeeded in fulfilling your life’s purpose. To love, be loved, and help others along the way……

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Men, don’t say I never gave you anything…

If you are a Male, you should read this. If you are a Female, you should share it with a Male. Just saying.

So, today, as I walked passed my garbage can, I looked down and admired the sheer focus and determination it must have required my husband ( as well as a few small children who shall not be named) to construct such a massive pyramid of miscellaneous garbage, without it toppling over.  It was as if the other members of my family huddled around the trash can, laughing and high-fiving while they played Jenga with Taco Bell wrappers and empty toilet paper rolls…….. I was impressed.

I was lucky enough to be the one chosen to disassemble it. I smiled the entire time thinking to myself “Man, they worked really hard on this, it’s a shame we have to take it down.”

Just kidding…..It went something like this; “Oh you gotta be friggen kidding me, this s*** again? ….GUYS!? Am I the only one with eyeballs in this household? You literally walk by this thing 34 times an hour. Is there some kind of Guinness World Record tryout going on around here that I’m not aware of? Biggest effing garbage stack in America? I’ll tell you what….I’m gonna start my own Guinness World Record tryout starting  right now.. “Most roundhouse kicks delivered to loved ones throats.” Guarantee I’ll be the world champ. Try me. I’m not cleaning this up! …………I’ll tell you that right now.” Saying that last part under my breath as I defiantly exit the kitchen with my arms crossed stomping past the room full of people watching SpongeBob who didn’t hear a word I just said……

……As I was cleaning up the garbage, I had a lot of time to think.

(And before I go any further, I would like to state that what I’m about to say is not in any way directed at my husband specifically.  He is a hardworking handsome hunk of a man with whom I am eager to spend this life and the life after this world with. It is a culmination of past relationships, current ones, and things I’ve witnessed over time. By the same token, I am not saying this applies to all women…..just like….97% of them)

I know most men will say women are complicated creatures. Let’s be real, there is some justifiable evidence behind this theory. …Take the time I told my husband I wanted ice cream for example. I expressed a burning desire for this sweet delicious treat.  My husband decided to surprise me with said ice cream out of the kindness of his heart.  I proceeded to verbally assault him for 10 minutes straight, because I am trying to get skinny and hot and he should have known better.

Man’s Brain: Wife want ice cream, must get ice cream. Why she mad I got ice cream. Me so confused.

My Brain: How on earth could this sonofa b**** have the audacity to show up in this house with ice cream.  When I said I wanted ice cream so bad I could cry, what I meant was “Man, this diet sucks, I would really love to have some ice cream, but I can’t button any of my jeans anymore so I obviously can’t eat it.”  God, what is so hard to understand about this? Does he listen to a word I say? Ever? If he really cared about me, he would support my lifestyle change.

Man Brain: Me support you, here, I bought you workout pants and protein bars.

My Brain: Woooooooooww…….okay….Ha…..so you agree, I’m f***ing fat. Cool. Super cool babe. I’m sorry I’m not *insert air quotes*  SKINNY enough for you.  You shouldn’t have gotten me pregnant if you didn’t want me to gain weight. Gah you are so ru-………

Man Brain: Malfunctioning, malfunctioning….powering dowwwwwwn……

By now you have heard the age old saying “Happy wife, happy life.” In other words,  if you want to avoid feeling as if you want to gouge your eardrums out of your head on a regular basis with sharp pencils, to avoid having to hear the constant nipping of your Chihuahua of a wife, than you should just agree with everything she says.

And while I do feel that agreeing with everything your lady says is a surefire way to create peace within the home, (Ha, OBVIOUSLY)….I don’t think this is fair to the fellas. So I’ve decided to share a few tips with you men, because I’m pretty positive that if you try at least one of these, you will have just narrowly avoided a verbal smackdown. Take my suggestions or leave em. It’s your safety that’s in question here, not mine.

*Ahem*…..

  1. If your lady spends time in the bathroom applying makeup, doing her hair or getting dressed up,  even if she’s only in there for 5 minutes, when she walks outta that bathroom-you better act like Marilyn Monroe just showed up in your living room.  You could even slow clap if you want….get crazy. Why? Because having to paint the face you were born with in order to feel presentable to the world sucks. It also requires some skill. 98% of women on this planet wish they could roll out of bed and let their hair go natural. However this is impossible.  People would be throwing change at us on the streets and offering us their leftover sandwiches out of pity. Straightening and curling individual strands of hair is tedious and ridiculous. But it’s necessary.  Therefore, if we know you are outside waiting for us to finish so we can go somewhere, the moment we step out of that bathroom we are displaying the art we have created, using our body as a canvas. You better look up from that phone and  give us a damn compliment or you will hear about it. Maybe not tonight, maybe not tomorrow. But she is saving this situation in her arsenal ,as ammo for when she feels you don’t give her enough attention.  Trust.
  2. So here’s a tip guys. Women want what they want, when they want it. If we say to you “Honey, could you please fix the ice maker, pretty please??” To be honest with you, we aren’t really asking. While it may appear as those this was posed as a question, we are kinda expecting you to put the controller down and fix it immediately. We may let it slide once or twice, gently reminding you, trying to sound as sweet as possible.  But when it’s 6 months later and I’m still getting pelted in the eye socket by wild flying ice.  We are gonna throw hands. Why? Because women desire a man that is dependable. Most men are born with a specific set of skills, such as: Hammering stuff, killing insects, doing mechanicky stuff to the car, unclogging drains, etc.  I personally, find it sexy when my man grabs a tool and fixes the s*** out of something…maybe it’s just me. My point is.  We tend to directly connect your desire to help us, with your level of love for us.  “I don’t want my baby getting a black eye every time she tries to cool down her drink with some ice, let me fix that for you beautiful” VS “Jesus woman, I told you I’d fix it when I had time, besides, I’ve seen the speed in which those ice cubes fly outta there, it’s not even that fast.  If you can maneuver your cup just right, you may even be able to catch em in midair! Aw man that would be cool” …………See what I mean?
  3. Give your lady a big hug from behind.  Out of nowhere.  She’s doing the dishes? Sneak up behind her and wrap your arms around her.  Tell her she’s beautiful. Give her a kiss on the forehead, grab her hand and hold it.  It sounds cheesy but I’m serious. Why? Because over time we get comfortable in relationships. Our woman “knows” we love her by now so we don’t have to show it as much. Skkkkkeeerrrttt. Let me stop you right there. Women always have, and always will, long to be desired. Best believe I’ll be 80 years old struttin around this house showing off my goods, whether he wants to see it or not. Let me put it to you this way. If you are in a relationship with a woman, you are the only man who is allowed to hold her hand, to kiss her, to hug her romantically from behind.  Since you are the only man allowed to do this….you better f***ing do it. Otherwise, you are robbing her of the joy that goes along with being wanted by someone, which is something I think all of us want.
  4. Here’s a quick one.  If a woman is experiencing anxiety over something that may seem insignificant to you, for example, she’s sitting on the bed crying because she has no clothes, (as you glance at the closet and note it is completely filled to the brim with tank tops and dresses). Under no circumstances are you to use words such as; overreacting, irrational, or crazy.  We are well are we are being ridiculous.  We can’t help it.  We need a hug, and for you to ask us what you can do to help.
  5. If you see her huffing and puffing around the house, overwhelmed by the amount of chores that need to be done before she can relax, get your a** off Facebook, off the couch, off your high horse, and pick up a shirt off the floor.  Think about it, for every piece of laundry you pick up, that’s one less that she has to.  Every bit helps. Seriously.  Besides, you will never catch a woman yelling at you while you’re vacuuming the carpet.  Won’t happen.  She will hold on to her resentments for fear that out of spite, you may never pick up a vacuum again.
  6. Lastly, and most importantly…………Stop pissing all over the toilet seat. I’m not even going to explain why.

 

 

 

 

This is your brain on drugs…

Mom Blog Monday! Let’s talk about drugs mannnn!

So check it out. Here is something you probably didn’t know.  The human brain doesn’t fully mature biochemically until between the ages of 24 to 26. So basically this means, up until this point, the part of your brain that handles decision making is not fully formed, (which explains many questionable choices I made during my early twenties).  Anyway, while there is no concrete evidence, there is plenty of information provided by individuals and psychologists which support the theory that relationships and personal emotional growth is vastly effected by prolonged drug use.

Why the hell am I getting all “Bill Nye the science guy” on you you ask?

Here’s why. If these theories are correct, people who use drugs for a long time, can stop maturing emotionally.  So if I started heavily using drugs at age 20 (which I certainly did) as a result, my brain would’ve stopped developing the way it’s supposed to right then and there. So while currently I may physically appear to be 31 (which, let’s be honest here, I don’t look a day over 18), mentally, I’m still in my car with the bass pumping  Akon’s “Smack That” while driving home to watch “Twilight.”

As an addict this philosophy make a s*** ton of sense.  My singular focus for many years, was getting high. My first thought upon waking was “How can I get high today?” Immediately followed by an elaborate scheme to beg, borrow and steal to get my drug.  Then came the physical aspect of going about said plan, followed by me attempting to locate a dealer who happened to be holding my desired merchandise.  Upon meeting with said dealer and collecting my drugs, I would then administer them.  By now it is night time and I am ready to lay around and attempt to watch Shark Tank while periodically nodding out, only to be awoken by my forgotten cigarette burning a hole into my thigh.

That is how a typical day in the life of Tiffany would go, for many years.  At no point did I take a break to study how to file my taxes.  I didn’t set up an online account to pay my FPL bill efficiently and on time.  I certainly didn’t take any cooking classes, or study the correct settings on a washing machine to get optimum clean.  My brain consisted of a set of railroad tracks.  Those tracks carried a train that went from stealing, to scoring, and getting high.  The train reset it’s starting position each morning, and rarely steered off course, leaving me completely and utterly clueless on how to do adult things.

What does this have to do with motherhood you may be wondering.  It has literally EVERYTHING to do with motherhood.  I got clean right after I turned 27 upon entering jail, where I spent many months learning how to make “whip-it’s out of jelly packets and coffee.  I also learned how to consume an entire meal in 7 minutes flat and how to play spades for honey buns.  No life skills there.  I then entered rehab, and began learning specifically about my addiction, which was wonderful, but up until this point I still didn’t know that you are not supposed to put butter on your toast before putting it in the toaster.

As soon as I left rehab I went to a halfway house……….2 months later, I was pregnant. There was a real life human baby person growing inside me that I would be in charge of.

I had to go from zero to adult super fast because now, not only was I in charge of learning how to become a productive member of society myself, I was responsible for raising one.  I stopped by the library, but unfortunately they were fresh out of the “How to be a cool person and not f*** up your kid” workbook.

Here’s the thing about being a Mom.  Regardless of whether or not you are able to fold a fitted sheet, balance a check book, or order school pictures on time (FML), it’s already in our DNA to nurture and love our babies.

I had an epiphany the other night while I was playing with my Talk Boy and feeding my Tamagachi.  Back in the day, when people lived in tiki huts in the woods, they were stripped down to bare necessaties. They weren’t checking the Dow Jones industrial average everyday, or shopping for f***ing  life insurance policies.  They were feeding their kids berries off the ground and pooping in bushes. Time and technological advances have now made it possible for us to be better protect and nourish our babies obviously, but the point is, they survived. (Well, most of them, I’m sure they had their fair share of lions and poisonous snakes inhabiting their neighborhoods). You get what I’m sayin.

Now I’m not saying, “Hey, it’s cool if you live under a bridge while shooting dope with your kid’s 3 feet away, as long as their eating something it’s all good.” But what I am saying is, being mentally stuck in the early 2000’s might not necessarily be a bad thing. Take this morning for example, before school I turned the disco ball on and we danced to the classic tune “Milkshake” by Kelis.  Like, they wouldn’t have even known how to avoid a flock of boys arriving to the yard if it wasn’t for me….so….you’re welcome….

It all boils down to this.  There are a few wrong ways to be a parent, but there are a few right ways too. Over the course of my life I’m certain I will experience both.  I try everyday to educate myself on how to be a better person.  Do I occasionally have to google “How long to cook chicken in a skillet”,”Why is there a crayon in my washing maching?” “How long can a car run on empty before it breaks down?””Tips to decompress after a childs temper tantrum”, “How to remove cheerios from a nasal cavity”? Hell yes.   And that’s OK.  Remaining teachable is a crucial part of being a good parent.

I’ve learned a lot about life through the course of my journey, but the most important thing I’ve learned so far is to go easy on yourself and don’t take life too seriously, as it is temporary, and fleeting. Quit focusing on being the perfect parent, stop listening to the advice of random strangers in Facebook Mom groups. Love your kids, do what feels right to you. Raise them to be kind, respectful human beings. Put the phone down and watch them dance. Run outside with them when it starts raining. Wake them up with sprinkle pancakes for no reason at all.  Have fun and cherish every moment. That’s all we are left with in the end, the moments………. Now if you will excuse me, I have a Pog tournament with the neighbor boy and I have a brand new Slammer that needs breakin in.

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I’m Tiffany, & I’m an addict.

Hey you! I plan on writing many blogs detailing the dark, filthy trainwreck my life had become once the disease of addiction took ahold of my soul, however since this is my first post in this category, I thought I would take this opportunity to give you the 411 on my specific addiction….

I have a very vivid memory of setting my stuffed animals up in a row and teaching them about turtles. I explained about their shell, the way their heads ducked inside when they were scared, and the way they either lived on land or in the water. My treasure trolls never paid attention in class, so I usually had them in detention writing they were “sorry” over and over for interrupting my class. I had a passion for teaching and knew that when I grew up I was going to be the greatest teacher this town had ever known.

My dream, was to become a teacher, and at NO point, upon being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up did I EVER respond: A lying, thieving drug addict.

I didn’t want to be that. I don’t think anyone does, so HOW does this happen over and over to countless friends and loved ones? How do people who were straight ‘A’ students, or like myself, Captain of the High School cheerleading squad, ultimately end up in a trap house shaking uncontrollably while the dope man takes his time gathering the drugs I’ve just purchased with money I’ve just stolen out of my sisters wallet after she invited me over to hang out?

How come the girl next to me can take a pill for the first time, and never have the desire to try another, but when I take a pill, I am immediately thinking about the next time I can try one again.

Apparently there is something in our brains called a “reward system“. Evidently, back in the day, this came in handy when people were new to the earth. When they ate food, or had sex, the dopamine in their “reward system” spiked, that caused feelings of wanting to do these things again. I believe the “reward system” was put in our brains to continue procreation and encourage the human race to feed themselves on a consistent basis. After all if people were repulsed by sex, no one would have done it and humans would eventually fizzle out right?? This is the same reason that when you see a big a** delicious piece of chocolatey cake you get friggin excited, and when you eat that bad boy your “reward system” is like HELL to the YES….

The thing about our “reward system” is, it also releases dopamine when drugs travel through it, record levels of dopamine in fact. For someone like myself, when my “reward system” starts pumping that dopamine out, I never want it to stop.

Imagine you go to get a professional massage. You are on the table, waiting for the massuese to begin rubbing the warm oil between her hands. You know that at any moment, she is going to place her gifted hands onto your tired, achy, sore muscles and gently knead the stress you have been carrying away until you are completely relaxed. You are waiting with anticipation for her to begin….THAT feeling, is what it was like when I first started using…

The anticipation of knowing that the minute I took that pill, my days of stress and worry would disappear and I would become completely relaxed. If you could get a professional massage everyday, you probably would. I wanted that feeling everyday. I had a choice between feeling bored, annoyed, anxious and stressed, or feeling happy, relaxed, careless and free. Once I realized I could feel that way all the time, I never wanted to stop.

Eventually my “reward system” responded by lowering the amount of dopamine it produced, the only way I could feel that wonderful feeling I initially experienced was to do more than usual. My body built a tolerance. So I doubled the amount of pills I did to show my body who was boss…..

I didn’t know about withdrawl when I first began taking these magical pills. I was unaware of the consequences at that time, hence, my continued use. One night I was lying in bed and I got a feeling similar to that of growing pains. Remember when you were little and your muscles and bones were growing and that shit hurt?! That’s how I felt. I called my best friend and she told me it was most likely because I hadn’t taken a pill that day, and if I took one, she is sure I’d be fine. So I did. And she was right.

That was the night….. That night I stopped using because I wanted to, and started using because I HAD to.  I found, that when I stopped taking a pill for an extended period of time, my body revolted.

Imagine laying in bed, and all of a sudden it felt as though your bones were breaking out of your skin. Your muscles were twisting in on themselves as your body became drenched with perspiration. Despite feeling as though you were sitting in an oven, your body was prickled with goosebumps. Your nose begins running and your eyes watering. You clench up into the tightest ball you can make and begin rocking to help alleviate the pain, to no avail. You attempt to sleep, in hopes of time passing without you being conscious, but the severe physical pain your body is in doesn’t allow it. You have diarrhea and vomit leaving your body at the same time, but you dread having to get out from under the covers to use the restroom because the cold air feels as though someone is repeatedly stabbing you with thousands of microscopic needles all over every single inch of your body. You are forced to be awake every second and feel every ounce of this torture. Seconds seem like centuries…….and this feeling will last for weeks, even months, until the drugs are completely out of your system…

Or. …….You can feel better within seconds…..all you have to do ….is take one pill and all that pain and anguish instantly……disappears………

It’s as if you are underwater, the remaining air you had in your lungs just dissipated, so you begin hiccupping on whatever miniscule traces of oxygen you have left. The surface of the water is a mere inches from your face, all you have to do is stand up and you can inhale fresh, clean air into your empty tired lungs….

That is how it feels during withdrawl…..the pills, in essence, are my water surface….

I know it was my choice to begin taking the pills. I know it was ignorant of me to not fully research the consequences of my actions…but once I began, it became virtually, impossible….to stop….

If you know someone who is suffering from addiction and you are thinking to yourself “why the f*** don’t they just stop?” ….Try walking up to someone on an oxygen tank and saying to them “hey, why don’t you just turn that damn thing off?”….

That’s how it feels to be an addict. If an addict has a job, a family, a home, a vehicle and they have the choice of going through weeks and months of physical and mental agony, or taking just one more pill and postponing the pain for another day.  They will most likely choose the pill, every time.

Don’t be judgemental, be empathetic. Don’t be hateful, be emotionally supportive. Don’t lose hope for them, pray for them, and don’t write them off as a lost cause, because change is always possible. You cannot talk a drug addict into getting clean. They must experience enough pain, desperation and heartbreak to decide to fight with all their might to beat it. No one on this earth, including children and judges, can make an addict become willing to stop if the journey of getting clean seems harder than continuing on the dark path of addiction. This is why many of us have to hit rock bottom in order to stop. If things haven’t gotten bad enough, why would we? It’s torture.

If you are a parent,spouse or child of an addict,….you have to know this isn’t your fault. Its ours, and theres nothing you could have done differently aside from chaining us up in a closet, (and even then we would most likely eat paint chips off the wall…jk…kinda). Don’t give us money, give us love and support and please believe me when I tell you this……that this is ALL you can do.  There are no “right” words to say to us..no “right” things to do or not to do…love us from a distance if you must but please, don’t stop loving us.

I am grateful that no one wrote me off as a lost cause…It was the love and emotional support of my family that kept the hope in my heart alive as I fought the demons permanently residing in my head, that so desperately attempted to take my life from me.

I will never be able to be a school teacher (damn felonies) , but when I got clean I made a promise to God that I would take every opportunity I was given to teach others about how recovery and the program worked for me, and that it can for them too…. My life isn’t where I expected it to be, but I believe in my heart of hearts, that its exactly where it was always meant to be…..

 

 

 

 

Fundraisers & Ghost Pants

mondsay

 

Happy Monday Friends!!!

I think Monday is gonna be my blog day.  It’s perfect because Mondays usually consist of me sitting around, staring at my messy house, repeatedly saying, “Alright Tiff, refresh Facebook ONE more time, then if there’s nothing new, get up and clean”.  Before I know it, my husbands’ walking in the door from work wondering WTF I’ve been doing all day. So if I pump one of these bad boys out, I can say I accomplished something.

Anyway, if you follow my YouTube Channel (which you don’t, because I have zero subscribers, so, thanks for that) then you will see that I already covered some of this on my last video. But the video is 8 mins 30 seconds, so if you don’t have 10 mins to spend watching me be weird on camera, I’ll recap.

You know how in high school, someone would invite you to a party, and you knew that the cooler, more mature kids would be there.  So you’d get dressed and stand in the mirror, giving yourself a pep talk like, “alright, this is it.  We are going, we’re doing this.  We gotta impress these people. Play it cool, just blend in…..don’t be weird.”

This is exactly how I feel……every time I walk to pick Aubrey up from her class after school.

It starts on the Sidewalk of Shame. I refer to it as the Sidewalk of Shame, because this sidewalk runs parallel to Webber Street.  Between the hours of 2:45-3:15, a parade of parents can be seen traveling by foot to pick up their offspring.  Therefore, if your destination takes you down said street at said time, you have a front row seat to a runway show of Moms and Dads modeling the latest trends in the parent fashion world.

This really sucks for me, seeing as how my outfit of choice usually consists of the same shorts I wore yesterday, a hideous bun thrown hurriedly atop my makeupless head, and my husbands work shirts which are usually covered in paint and other miscellaneous man dirt.

Last week, the universe aligned and placed my path, directly behind them. We will call them Becki, Lexi & Skipper…

mom-stroller

They are a trio of moms/milfs/supermodels, who really have their s*** together. I initially observed their hair. Becki had fresh highlights, Lexi had waist length straight red hair (think Jessica Rabbit) and Skipper had gorgeous flowy curls.

They each had tank tops on that displayed their beautifully tan, toned arms. Becky had a pair of cut off short shorts ( a little too much leg in my opinion…..could be the jealousy talking I’m not sure ). Lexi had a cute skirt with crazy patterns on it that flowed in the wind, doing its own beautiful dance around her perfectly petite body. But SKIPPER, Skippers pants really made my blood boil, and here’s why…..

Skipper had on a pair of leggings (cool) I’m assuming, judging by the 342 Facebook groups I’ve been invited to that these must be of the Lula Roe variety (they are all the rage and I’m pretty sure they feel like buttah, a sensation I will never experience because I’m broke), they had little ghosts on em, just, ghosts floating up and down her leg.  Here’s the thing…..

I specifically recall, in 7th grade, I made the bold attempt to wear spandex pants with ghosts on em and everyone called me a loser weirdo.  Skipper slips em on, and suddenly she has grown women chasing her down the street throwing money at her shouting something about a unicorn and trying to buy the pants right off her f***ing legs.

Life doesn’t make sense anymore.

Anyway, Lexi is pushing this $29329 stroller down the street, her perfectly clean, well dressed child licking an organic, soy free, gluten free lollipop waving to strangers, meanwhile I’m hobbling behind her with my umbrella stroller, trying to keep it on the sidewalk because the wheel is broken so it shakes uncontrollably. My baby still in her pajamas from the night before, because I didn’t have time to put a cute outfit on her for our one, singular outing of the day.Her tiny hand grasping a leaf I picked up off the ground to keep her occupied during her bumpy journey.

They are talking and laughing about how splendid it was to see the look on their kids faces as they brought all the cookie dough from the fundraiser back to the customers in the neighborhood.

My heart dropped upon hearing their conversation.

I remember the selling of the items (thanks to her awesome grandma who got some of her friends to buy stuff), I remember turning in the forms and money. I do not however remember gleefully passing out the goods to their rightful owners.

This is because we didn’t.  We didn’t do that. Nope, we sure didn’t.

Some idiot forgot to pick that s*** up. Now, I’m not gonna name names here, but let’s just say…..ok no, ya it was me. I didn’t, I didn’t pick it up…..

Now that I was thinking about it, I did remember there was a pickup date, I also remember a line at the bottom saying “any items not picked up will be considered a donation.”

Ha…haha…….hahahahahahha……….*laughter turns to tears of sadness…

I began internally panicking. You had ONE job Tiffany. This was your first opportunity to step up and be a kicka** mom. Now you gotta go friggin door to door and hand over pennies and nickels from your change jar to people expecting delicious cookie dough.

I started thinking about how I was gonna tell Aubrey, I imagined it going something like this: “Aubrey! Guess what honey! The uh, school called, and, ha, this is gonna sound crazy but, I GUESS mice got into the cookie dough box and…you’ll never believe this but, they ate ALL the cookie dough! But this is good news, because we get to go on a treasure hunt around the house to gather all the change we can find! Yeah, and then we get to hand it to the neighbors yell “Sorry!” and run as fast as we can back home it will be so fun!”

When she got into the car I asked if she had any homework. She said yes and mentioned how it was really important that we return her library book the following day, seeing as how we had forgotten to bring it with us today.

I took this opportunity to lecture her about the importance of being responsible.

I decided maybe this wasn’t the time to have the cookie dough talk with her….

The next day I marched into the school.  I had been up all night preparing my “I’m not f***ing buying 18 houses worth of cookie dough” speech. The woman at the front desk seemed really sweet, so I decided to change my approach to the innocent, doe-eyed, disheveled ignorantly busy mom.  I am pretty sure I even cried a little, for dramatic effect. I really had to sell this to her, because the last thing I need is a mugshot in the Gotcha with a charge of grand larceny, cookie dough theft.

I explained my predicament through nervous laughter and a look of apparent disappointment plastered on my face. I finally finished verbally spewing pitiful excuses in her general direction and waited in suspenseful anticipation for her reply.

“You still have 3 weeks……So…”

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When I feel embarrassed I get really akward. I get loud and over explain things. So I started laughing at the top of my lungs and yelling about how foolish I felt and how grateful I was for her and how beautiful she was then I left.

So all is well, everything is cool. So, now I just need to figure out how to explain the missing cookie dough from Mrs. Millers box when we go to drop it off.

cookie-dough

It wasn’t me, at midnight, watching the Walking Dead and binge snacking.

Friggin mice.