The Honest Mommy

Uncensored thoughts on parenting & more

Day 3 after saying goodbye to Freckles March 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 1:11 am
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I am starting to feel like I might actually make it through this (losing our dog of 9 years). The waves of panic were much, much less today than previous days. I did definitely have a period of being really sad, from about 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.

It was a bit of a downer to call to make an appointment with my therapist and find that the next opening is 3 weeks from now. Ouch. But I know that if I really, really needed to talk with a professional, I could see another counselor at that clinic.

In other news, I am sensing some tension between Hubby and me today. Not sure what that’s about. Did I leave the kitchen a mess? Do something to offend him? Is he tired (already) of me being sad about Freckles being gone?


Loss of pet is bringing anxiety issues to the forefront March 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 9:53 pm
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I decided not to go to church this morning. I could just tell that the first time someone asked me how I was doing (after putting Freckles down), I would turn into a blubbering mess. Sometimes my emotions are like that — just the situation of someone asking me how I’m doing triggers a meltdown, not necessarily because I’m feeling particularly sad at that moment, but in part because I know I want to hold myself together — so of course, the opposite happens.

Fortunately, Hubby seemed to understand the situation and was not grumpy about my absence from church. He had to be there this morning to help with the service. Hubby told me after church that the veterinary clinic secretary, who is a church member, asked him how he was doing. He responded that he was doing “okay” but didn’t really want to talk about it. That tells me that He is really hurting; usually these kinds of conversations aren’t a problem for him.

Hubby was the one who brought Freckles to the vet and was with her in her final moments, so I think he has even more to deal with than I do.

My feelings of panic and grief didn’t really get bad until the middle of the afternoon today. Sometimes, I feel like I’m going on with my (relatively) normal life, and the fact that Freckles isn’t with us is a sad but minor background detail.

Other times, I feel overwhelmed with the sadness that Freckles is gone. I worry that the sadness will be too much to deal with and, I suppose, that I won’t feel happy or normal anymore. I suppose the anxiety (which feels like tightness in my chest, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, and uncontrolled tears) is because I don’t know how to live without Freckles; I don’t know what life without her looks like. It is change, and it’s not “fun” change like getting accustomed to a giant new television.

It is funny that I seem to have two modes. One mode is logical, reasonable, and calm. That mode understands that when you choose to begin a new chapter of life that includes a pet, you are also choosing to accept that at some point, another chapter of life without that pet will begin. That mode understands that the house and family will feel different without Freckles, but that we can and will get used to it. This logical mode realizes that some aspects of life will be calmer and simpler without Freckles, especially since she had some quirks that made her hard to live with.

The other mode is grief-stricken, miserable, and panicky. When I’m in that mode, I feel…. lost. Unsure how to go on without Freckles, even though I didn’t spend all that much time doting on her after her first few years with us. (We had our first child three years after we adopted Freckles, and, as many pet-owners-turned-parents have discovered, things change once a child comes along.) In grief mode, my inner monologue says, “I can’t believe I’ll never see Freckles again. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to lose her. Did I appreciate her enough when she was with us? How do I live in this house without having Freckles here? Will I always feel this sad when I realize that there is no dog here to eat up the crumbs? When will I stop feeling so sad and panicky?”

As I told a friend of mine who understands pet-owner stuff and also anxiety stuff, I feel like my anxiety issues have a life of their own and are making grieving Freckles much more complicated. I can pinpoint various times in my life when these waves of anxiety, which feel very icky and almost feel like being sick, were a problem. As a grade-schooler, I went to summer camp several different times, and I remember homesickness being a problem. The physical feelings that I called “homesickness” were exactly the same feelings I have now that Freckles is gone. I may have been having a nice time with my fellow campers, then during a lull I would have a thought about home, and *bam*, the tears, tightness in the chest, and so on would overcome me.

I also remember a time in my childhood, I suppose I was about 8 years old, where I would be playing at a friend’s house in my neighborhood, and then I would feel overwhelmed with the desire to go home. I didn’t want anyone to know I was feeling this way, so I would keep it to myself and find some reason to go home if I couldn’t get the feeling to go away. I remember thinking it was silly to feel this way; I was close to home and was having a nice time with a friend, so what was there to feel panicky about?

When I was 16 years old, I flew overseas to be an exchange student for the summer. I remember that after I got settled into my bedroom at my host family’s home, the feelings of homesickness, panic, and anxiety were very, very intense. Looking back, I can see that it’s normal to feel homesick in a situation like that, but the way that I experienced that homesickness was probably not “normal.”

After the birth of each of my sons, and especially after the birth of my second son, I went through a period of feeling so panicky and tearful that I thought I might need help.  Oh, how embarrassing it was when my midwife returned my call (my husband’s call, actually) and I cried and gasped my way through the entire call. I did my best to hide these struggles from my parents and from most of my friends, because I found it embarrassing and I wasn’t sure how to even explain what was going on. Postpartum panic?

It’s time to wrap up this blog post. If you have any insights to share or can relate to anything I’ve written, do let me know in the Comments.


A new chapter of our lives, without our Freckles

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 3:26 pm
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On Friday (two days ago), we brought Freckles to the vet to have her put down. She was a lab-pointer mix that we got from our local Humane Society 9 years ago.

We found out 4 months ago that she had cancer, so we knew it was only a matter of time. Her last 24 hours with us, her hind legs were really not functional, and she was distraught that she couldn’t get up. Her breathing was labored, she panted, and it was clear that her belly was distended. It truly was time to relieve her of her misery.

Saturday, our first day with Freckles, was quite difficult for me. I have this anxiety problem — I guess that’s what it is — that rears its head when I’m dealing with things like change or grief. I will call my therapist, who has been helping Hubby and me with family issues, on Monday so I can meet with her about the anxiety.

The anxiety feels like a wave that washes over me, makes my chest tight, makes it hard to breathe, makes the sadness and tears come on. It happens more often when I’m not busy with something, when I’m at loose ends, or when I’m getting worn out, like at the end of the day.

That brings me to the present moment. I am deciding whether to go to church today. Not sure if it is a good idea at this point. Our veterinarian is a member of our small church, and I do not want to end up a blubbering mess the first time someone asks me how I’m doing. I wish like anything I could hold myself together better during difficult times.


Feeling really behind lately, and frustrated March 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 9:04 pm
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Oh my. Lately I feel I have been fighting a losing battle as far as organizing, cleaning, and so on.

Lots of stuff is packed away, or otherwise not where it belongs, due to our flooring projects. In the last 2 months, we have put new floor down in 90% of our main floor. The fruit-basket-upset that this has caused is even worse because, since February, I have spent three long weekends away from home (with the kids) so Hubby could work on the floors.

On Monday morning, I returned home with the kids and a van full of luggage, etc., at 11:30 a.m. after spending the weekend at my parents’ house. I returned to a home where the kitchen was semi-usable in that the refrigerator was in the dining room (which is NOT right next to the kitchen) and the kitchen floor not ready for chairs. Spending the last three days trekking back and forth between the kitchen and dining room has not been fun. Feeding a toddler is never a simple thing; throw in the least-efficient-possible arrangement of kitchen-refrigerator-dining space, and Aaaargh!

I am finding it more difficult than I expected to cope with all of the things that need attention: Of course, the kids need meals and baths and bedtimes and so on. The laundry needs to be done, especially with a bed-wetter in the family. Groceries need to be bought. Food needs to be prepared (especially since Hubby and I are eating low-carb). Preschool and other commitments need to be attended to.

Meanwhile, there is lots of unpacking and organizing to do, and the time I have “free” to work on those things — well — I just want a break, and if I’m not taking a break (by blogging or resting), there is always the 5-year-old who wants me to spend time with him.

Mornings in particular have been rough. When I get up and start my day, I feel like the cards are already stacked against me. I battle through getting myself fed, getting the kids fed, getting the kids dressed, getting myself dressed, cleaning the kitchen, getting a handle on laundry, fixing snacks … all morning long. By the time my 2-year-old goes down for a nap around 1 p.m., all I want is a break, yet it seems I have little to show for my morning full of work.

Hubby may wonder why things are such a mess when he comes home for lunch, or at the end of the workday. I wonder that, too, since on a typical day I haven’t exactly been sitting around eating bon-bons.


Low-carb food for kids

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 8:08 pm
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My kids, especially my 5-year-old, like to eat things like bread, crackers, pasta, and cereal. And of course, they like sweets and desserts.

I totally understand; I love these things, too!( That’s probably why I’m carrying around an extra 10+ pounds on my petite (read: short) frame.)

It has recently come to my attention, as I cut back on the flour and sugar components of my diet, how much starchy stuff my kids eat. You know how it goes — cereal and fruit with breakfast, sandwich for lunch, something involving bread or pasta for dinner, not to mention any snacks-on-the-go like crackers, granola bars, or pretzels. (Every mom knows that these kinds of snacks travel well and are well received!)

I’m no doctor, nor a nutritionist, but I have to wonder whether it’s good for my kids’ bodies to be eating starches and sugars all day long. I think these types of foods tend to be very palatable (another serving, please!) and not very filling (ever notice how much mac & cheese a kid can eat at one sitting?). I should note that we buy 100% whole-grain products whenever possible, and things like juice, pop-tarts, fruit snacks, candy, and cookies are rarely in the house.

I’m not too concerned about fruit, since the accompanying fiber and the relatively low amount of carbs per serving make them a lot easier on the body than things like bread, cereal, or juice.

That being the case, I am now going through my days of SAHM-hood trying to figure out what to feed my kids besides starchy stuff. Protein is awesome; I fear no fat (except trans fat) for myself or my kids; and I would rather they eat almost any fruit or vegetable than bread, biscuits, or the like.

Here is what I’ve come upon so far as food choices, that my kids like, that emphasize protein and fat rather than carbs:

  • Banana “sandwiches”, sliced lengthwise, with natural peanut butter as filling and banana as the “bread”
  • Apple slices with cream cheese
  • Chicken nuggets made with parmesan as the breading, fried in coconut oil
  • Taco salad with full-fat sour cream, and/or served in hard-shell tacos. I am not nuts about taco shells, but they are less carb-dense than bread.
  • Lettuce greens with full-fat dressing (my 5yo loves salad; my 2yo does not)
  • Peanuts or almonds
  • Full-fat plain yogurt with some honey stirred in

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not trying to take all carbs out of my kids’ diet. I am just concerned that starches, starches, starches all day long is not good for them and is training them to expect these foods at every meal.


2-year-old controlling my day? March 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 4:30 pm
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Here is something that I think a lot of parents, especially at-home parents, can relate to.

We are on Spring Break this week, which means no preschool for my 5-year-old and no Mommy & Me class on Wednesday morning. It’s not so bad being at home more than usual; there sure is plenty to do around the house, from everyday cleaning to organization tasks that pertain to our current flooring projects.

Here is the problem: We are at home in the morning. I have tons of things to do. Clean the kitchen, fix low-carb food for myself, make phone calls, do some work at the computer. And spending a morning at home seems like the perfect time to work on these things. But the limiting factor is, of course, the kids. Specifically, my 2-year-old. He gets quite… what is the word? Restless? Aggressive?

Much of the time, I can’t just do my thing while the kids do their thing, because Mark is getting into mischief (though we are about as childproofed as can be) or hitting his older brother or interfering with what his brother is trying to do (put together a puzzle) or fussing at me to be picked up, have his sippy cup filled up, to be read to.

It is enough to drive me bonkers. It’s not that I expect to completely ignore my kids all day. But really, unless Mark is sick or unless there is (what I consider to be) a special reason for him to be restless or unhappy, I think there is something wrong with the idea that Mark can dictate the tone of our entire household; what we do or don’t do; etc.

Certainly mothers of previous generations had a *lot* of work to do every day. They did not have a lot of time to devote to a 2-year-old who was determined to interfere with everyone and everything.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Mark (28 months) very, very much. But it is because I love him so much that I need to put more work into setting limits on behavior.


Losing my mind, toddler style March 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 4:20 pm
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Oh my. I think my 2-year-old is going to cause me to lose my mind, and soon. Each and every morning, he alternates between fussing for food, fussing for his sippy cup (sometimes I put water in it, sometimes milk), generally being listless, being aggressive toward his brother, fussing about whoever isn’t at home at the moment (Daddy or Adam, his older brother), fussing about something he wants and isn’t supposed to have, fussing about something that is broken or is not the way he wants it to be, and getting into mischief.

Sure, it would be nice if I could be with him and entertain him all morning long, but I don’t have time for that. I also object to that on principle.

Mark is 28 months old, which I think is old enough to start learning that he can’t have his way all the time and that he has to entertain himself sometimes.

I can’t recall for sure whether his older brother was this difficult at this age. I do remember some really fussy times for Adam when he was around 18 months old. Perhaps Mark is extra difficult lately due to being tired, but as I’ve written before, I have no idea what to do to improve his sleep or provide more sleep for him. Lately he has been stuck in the pattern of waking up for the day around 5:15 a.m., which is pretty early considering he falls asleep around 8:00 p.m. According to Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, that is below the 10th percentile for hours of nighttime sleep for that age.

My sympathies are with anyone else going through this toddler fussiness right now.


Decluttering toys March 5, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 4:12 pm
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This morning I am working on listing a few toys on Craigslist. I noticed in my Craigslist images folder how many toys we have sold over the last year or so; this doesn’t include the toys we have given to Salvation Army.

It strikes me that we have gotten rid of a LOT of toys. And guess what — I don’t think I regret a single one. Even the nice things that we have gotten as gifts.

“Less stuff, more living.”


Supermom, I ain’t March 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — lotsofopinions @ 11:43 pm
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Lately I have been… not sure how to describe it…. down in the dumps? Feeling out of rhythm? Feeling out of control?

There are a few major home projects that have thrown a wrench into our regular routine, and in fact I’ve spent two out of the last four weekends with the kids at my parents’ house so Hubby can work.

Back in January I discovered (re-discovered, sort of) low-carb eating when I read Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It by Gary Taubes. The problem is, while I think low-carb eating is an answer (the answer?) to my weight issues, it is so darn difficult to stick with it. At the moment I am trying to pull out of a downward carb spiral. I just don’t seem to have the necessary motivation and organization to make it happen.

One thing about low-carb eating that I’ve discovered is that I need to spend more time in the kitchen than I’m accustomed to. Bacon and eggs for breakfast means time spent prepping food, cooking food, and cleaning up afterwards. Deviled eggs for snacks means I have to make the darn things. Taco salad for lunches means time spent chopping and washing lettuce and cooking the ground beef. It’s not like Weight Watchers where I can just buy frozen meals or choose a “light” option for a meal or a snack.

Then there’s this winter weather which makes it difficult to go outside, go for a walk, or go to a park. It’s March, and I am tired of the cold.

I am also tired of my 2-year-old, Mark, dictating what we can or can’t do at home or away. I am *not* supermom. I do *not* have endless patience for toddler hijinks and toddler moods. I do get tired of looking at the same four walls every day. I do get tired of hearing, “Can I have a snack?” at the very moment I’ve just put the kitchen back in order. I get tired of feeling guilty about not spending time with my 5-year-old during the precious time in the day when my 2-year-old is napping.

I get tired of the endless task of paring down our belongings so that we can live somewhat comfortably in our small home, knowing that sooner or later my mom (who is wonderful and means very, very well) will ask whether we have this or that kind of toy or craft supply. The truth is, I would *love* to keep lots of different things on hand, but we just don’t have the space to store or even use a lot of things.

I also get tired of the battle with my weight, of the battle with my tendency (to put it lightly) to use food to deal with my stress, boredom, anxiety, and so on.

It feels good to get my frustrations into black and white. To anyone reading this who has similar struggles, I wish you the best!