Strawberry Memories and Baby

When my daughter was less than one year old, I bought her three strawberry shortcake dolls. She loved them so much and called them “Oh baby” when she was looking for them. I spent the rest of the summer stopping the car at every yard sale I saw, searching for more. 

She ended up with about 6 of them, by the end of that summer. She always knew how many she had, even though she could not count…well, she did not know the numbers. She would always look for the last one, if she was missing one in her hand. 

I still remember when I handed her two dolls and she was upset and began searching for the third one. I was surprised that she knew how many she should have, because she was just a baby. But she certainly did know. strawberry shortcake dolls

Single Mothers, Working Mothers Depression and Anxiety Disorders

It is no wonder that single mothers and working mothers become depressed. We are doing the jobs of too many people. We usually do not have enough help. The help that is offered is often more of a burden that it is helpful. People guess at what will be helpful rather than asking us.

It is hard for other women to understand the stress on single mothers. This is also true for working mothers that do not get enough support from their husbands.  

We cannot go out and spend time doing social things that other women do. They ask us to come along with them and they are offended when we keep telling them no. It becomes a burden on the relationship and we end up losing the friendships with our female friends. We become more alienated.

Our families may try to help but they do not know what would be helpful. If their effort to help us, they often create more anxiety for us. The teachers at the school expect us to be able to all the things that other mothers do, but we cannot keep up.

Our boss is demanding when we are at work. Being a single mother is no excuse for not living up to all the obligations of our job. We are exhausted when we get home from work, but there is no rest.

We are still working until  we drop from exhaustion.We fall into bed and have thoughts running through our heads about all the things we did not get done today and have to add onto tomorrow’s schedule, which was already overloaded.

We have little time to do anything for ourselves. We have little or no time to rest. There is no end to the endless responsibility and endless stream of chores, errands, workload, and unexpected problems.

On top of that, people are always complaining to us that we “should” be doing things in a different or “better” way.What they mean of course is that we should be doing things their way. But they have no concept of how our brains are suffering in torment.

Everyone had suggestions and criticism about how we should be doing things differently. My ex mother in law once told me that I should spend all Sunday afternoon making casseroles to freeze so that I would not have to cook during the week. “Then you just pop them out of the freezer and microwave them”, she said. She had decided that this was the answer for me because my “perfect” sister in law did that.

First of all, I tried to explain to her that my  kids and my husband (her son) hated casseroles and would never eat them. Then I tried to explain to her that I was entirely too exhausted by the weekend, from work, to stand in the kitchen and cook for five hours every Sunday. Nevertheless, the bought me the casserole book that my sister in law used and insisted that I try it.

My sister in law did not work and was maintained in a rich fashion be her husband. He ability and desire to make casseroles was completely different than mine. Come to think of it, I had no desire to eat frozen microwaved casseroles every night for dinner either!

Speaking of crying, we don’t even have time or any private space to do that. We don’t want to break down in front of the kids. We have no time for therapists or to go out with friends to vent. We cannot cry at work without  appearing incompetent. So that leaves us to cry in our car for 5 minutes when we get home from work, before we go into the house.

We worry about the kids while we are at work. We worry about work when we are home. We feel guilty about leaving the kids to go to work.If we cut back our hours to spend more time with the kids, then we feel guilty that we are not making enough money to take care of them.

No matter what we are doing or where we are, we feel like we should be doing or worrying about something else. We are happy we have children but at the same time we feel guilty that we have ended up in a position of being so overworked that we do not have enough energy for them.

The guilt leads to a lowering of our self esteem and we become depressed. The constant worrying turns into a severe anxiety condition that interferes with our ability to function as well as we used to.

We feel behind all the time. We have trouble keeping up with the kids doctor appointments and their homework. We feel more and more like we are getting sucked into a pit of quicksand.

Our own minds begin to work against us. Our brains begin to fill with obsessive thoughts that are fearful about the future and regretful about the past. Why did we end up here? How can we keep going like this? Who are we anymore?

We begin to lose touch with our own identity. We are not a whole person anymore. We are fragments of different people who wear different hats at different parts of the day.We keep changing hats from work, to mom, to nurse to the kids, to the person that has to talk to the teacher, to the bad friend who has said “NO” the last 5 times our girlfriend has asked us out for lunch.

We have little time to talk on the phone to a friend and even then we are interrupted. We crave a moment to ourselves, a moment of rest and peace. We feel guilty that we want to do something for ourselves. We want to be beautiful again and desirable to men. We want to be a woman who is allowed to have needs and desires.

But there is no time and if we make the time, we feel guilty the entire time we are out. Men have trouble understanding that we want to check in with out kids while we are on a date. They feel slighted because after all, men want our attention as much as the kids do.

We are more and more and more drug along by life and the schedule that we are not able to keep up with. We cannot continue without something having to give somewhere. We are headed for a breakdown.

We can become very depressed to the point where we have clinical depression. At this point we need help but we are still in the same boat of not having time to do anything for ourselves. We have no space during our week to schedule a therapy session or even a doctor appointment.

We put it off, We become filled with more and more anxiety and depression. We cannot continue.

This happens. It happened to me. We have to find a way to reach out and get help from someone, somewhere.We cannot just keep ignoring the feelings that our mental health is in jeopardy. Our feelings are trying to tell us something.

It does not get better without reaching out for help. Reach out to someone, whether is be a friend, a  paid service for chores and errands, a therapist for counseling, the church, or anyone who will be compassionate. You need to talk to someone who will listen.

Look through your schedule and find something that can wait, even if for a few weeks, so that you can use the time to help yourself. You have become conditioned to feel that all of those things you do for others are life and death. You might be surprised when you take a second look at your routine.   If you change your perspective, to seeing the situation as a personal mental health emergency, you might find something that can be put aside for a time.

Behavior that repeats over and over becomes imbedded in the brain. It feels like there is no other possible way to do things. Find someone else to take your kids to church for you every other week  and take a yoga class or sleep in. Have a niece help help you around the house and pay them by a barter. They may be glad just to get out of their own house for a change and spend time with you.

Think of anyplace that might have free counseling and also might offer assistance to you for a short time, like the church or a community organization. Be creative and barter for services, like laundry and making dinner.

Another parent from the school may be in the same boat as you are.  They may be happy to trade days driving the kids to school, so they can have a few mornings to themselves also. Or maybe to take turns one night per week, making the dinner for all of the kids.  This way each of you has one night off.

Seek out other single working mothers who might feel like they are drowning just like you are. Get ideas and help each other. Think outside the box a little and do not stay locked into your same schedule.

Every tiny difference you make, could make a difference to your mental health. Being locked into the same exact routine for too long is devastating to your mental well being. Humans are built for some variation in routine. It stimulates the creative centers of the brain and will help you to think of more ideas and to be less depressed.

The longer we go without help, the worse it gets. Make the time for yourself. Do not feel guilty. If you crash then what will happen? You are not superhuman, even though  other people may be relentless in their efforts to demand the world from you.

All the adults that are making demands of your time are only looking out for their own agenda. It is your turn to look out for yourself and your family.

Your kids will probably not mind a change in the routine, because they are probably stressed over the same day to day routine as well. Get help and be creative. The more you think outside the box, the better you will be able to make small alterations in order to preserve your sanity.

Take care of yourself.

Blessings,

Annie

Amazing Resemblance Genealogy

kayla with great grandmother

This is a picture of my great grandmother on the left. She is my father’s mother’s mother. Her name was Mary Pacholski. 

The picture on the right is my daughter. My father sent me these two pictures together to show me where my daughter gets her beauty from the Polish side of my family.

My other daughter resembles my mother’s side of the family. My younger daughter , pictured above, was so happy to  finally feel like she looked like someone in the family. My father noticed this resemblance just after I had emailed him the picture of my daughter.

Teaching Children to Have Self Esteem

While it is true that life can dish out some unfair circumstances, we do not need to “prepare” our children for this by treating them unjustly.

Children and teenagers are very aware and sensitive about fairness. It is emotionally and psychologically painful to them to be treated in ways that are unjust.

They need to be heard and validated. If we are to teach them to have integrity and to treat other people fairly, we need to do the same with them.

Children and teenagers do not learn by what we say, as much as they learn from what we do. Our actions are far more powerful that our words.

Children learn what they see and what they experience.

They should have a chance to tell their side of things and to talk about their feelings. We cannot teach them that our legal system offers a fair trial and then turn around and punish them without hearing them out.

Let us treat our children that they matter. Their integrity and self esteem matters.

This is the way they can learn to set boundaries with other people.

They can learn how to explain how they feel about things and why they feel that way.

If a situation arrises that the child will experience consequences then they should understand what is happening and why.  Those consequences should be equal to their behavior and not overblowing what actually happened.

Teachers that punish an entire class of students, for the bad behavior of 1 or 2 students, are not teaching the children that they are individuals with individual rights.

Sometimes there are unavoidable consequences for a child due to something their sibling or their classmate did, but consequences should not be inflicted upon innocent bystanders just to exercise control or to make a point.

Children need to grow up in a safe emotional and psychological environment.

Imagine if you were at work and forced to do overtime without pay, all because of a disruptive co-worker who slowed down the progress of the workday.

You would feel angry and mistreated. How would this affect your feelings about the supervisor that made you work extra hours with no pay?

How would this affect your overall morale?

There is an old saying that you may have seen on an office poster….

“Until morale improves…the beatings will continue..”

You cannot punish people into wanting to behave better. Children and teenagers are people and they need to be able to trust their environment.

This will allow them to blossom and learn. A benevolent and just environment will allow children.  To feel valued as individuals.

The ability to express one’s emotions and thoughts is a learned skill. To be able to present your side of a situation in a logical and understandable manner is a critical life skill.

Let us hear our children and teenagers out. Teach them respect of others and respect for themselves.

Let us celebrate the young minds and remember that those minds can tell when they are treated unjustly.

There is a psychological consequence for every negative experience and there are associations wired into the brain im regards to repeated experiences.

If we want the respect of our children, we need to treat them with compassion and empathy, as best as we can. There is no rule that says the adult cannot apologize if you make a mistake.

It shows the child that you respect them when you admit when you are wrong. It teaches them that everyone makes mistakes.

When you forgive your children for their mistakes they will learn to forgive you for yours. This will help to build their self esteem.

Self esteem is critical for survival. If we bring up children to be adults that cannot self-generate self esteem then they will be targets for predators and abusers.

Children and teenagers that learn to express their feelings and expain their side of things will be better equipped to deal with the people they meet as adults.

 

Good Morning

I woke up to use the bathroom…which is what my bladder does three times during my sleep every night…and I was able to catch my older daughter before she brushed her teeth.

I told her to use the bottled water to brush he teeth because I do not know what is up with this water.

I got a lot of suggestions on the last post and hopefully the house owners will have it fixed by the time I get home from work because they use the water too.

If for some reason my ex mother in law is not disturbed by the water then it will not get looked at until my ex father in law comes home in a couple of days from New York.

Let’s hope it bothers her to use it. It is hard to say with them. She frequently uses very expired ingredients to cook food with for the kids so her germaphobia is about the opposite of mine.

The fact that I have OCD and am now washing my hands in what appears to be contaminated water is disturbing. I have been using hand sanitizer after I wash my hands.

Luckily I have a small bottle in my purse most all of the time….best invention ever! Yay!

So I was able to let the kids know to use bottled water for teeth brushing. Thank goodness I had half a case left.

I am going to try to sleep another hour and a half now. I did not fall asleep until around 5am which is a little worse than usual.

One day I might get back on a better sleep schedule. But for now I need to get another hour or so before going to my babysitting /tutoring job at 2.

See you all later on. I will let you know how things are going later. The worst part of things like this is that it puts in my face about this living situation.

I know that they will not fix something unless they want it fixed…even though I pay them 1,000 rent a month, for this badly maintained attic. It is sad really.

Talk to you later 🐇🐇❤💙🐇🐇

Annie

Depression C-PTSD and PTSD – How to get Your energy Back

I just finished giving a guitar lesson to my teenage niece. It is nice to spend time with her. I have been giving her lessons for a few months now, about every other week.

Before her father had asked me if I was interested in doing guitar lessons with her, I had not been doing much with guitar at all. 

I used to play all the time. Depression has a way of making you lose interest in the things you once used to love to do. After back to back abusive situations with partners and family members, I lost my will to do anything that I liked to do. 

Since I have started my life coaching business I have been feeling that life force coming back. Once people suck your will out of you, it takes time to be able to self generate that energy again. 

It takes doing something that you are passionate about. Since I have been working with other abuse victim, I have felt a purpose in my life that means something special to me. So this is having the effect of generating some of that will power back again.

I still feel the weight of depression pressing down on me as I try to push it off. I am learning that you cannot push it off at all. It is more a matter of accepting without judgement of yourself. 

Then allowing the feelings to come and sitting with them in a way that is nurturing. Showing yourself compassion when the people closest to you cannot show you any compassion is not easy. But you can do it once you learn that the perceptions others have about you do not have to frame your reality. 

Anyway, I was thinking of putting new strings on my guitar so that it would sound better. The old strings have a very thumpy, dull sound. I know that I would be pleased to hear the sound of new strings and I would be more likely to play for enjoyment. 

I might learn a new song or write one of my own. Baby steps are sometimes the way to make great changes in your perceptions. It is the change in perception that will create change in your behavior. 

Perceptions control your emotions. Emotions are underneath of all behaviors. Once you can begin to change behaviors and have more control over getting some momentum, then you can begin to enjoy your path as you are creating it under your feet. 

You are as Beautiful as You Feel

feel beautiful

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Children Should Have Magical Holidays

zzz

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Sun High Orchard Activity for the Kids

sunhigh

This weekend is Halloween weekend. I promised my daughter that we would do fun activities on that weekend. I am planning to take her to the Haunted Scare House, but I want to do a daytime activity too.

fall_hayrideslarge_pumpkins_apples_mums

Sun High Orchard is a family owned farm that is about a 15 minute drive to get to from my house. They have animals that you can feed like sheep, and goats. There are a lot of bunnies….YAY! If you have been following me for a while then you know how I love love love bunnies.

baby_bunny_matt

bunny_in_cage

There is a little store there that sells homemade bread, apple butter, and jellies. The store has some antiques as decorations, which will be interesting for my daughter to see. I think the last time I took her she was too young to appreciate the antiques.

fall_color_at_farm

There are some photos from the web site HERE

http://www.sunhigh.com/page/page/4862850.htm

Hedden Park Photography by my Daughter

park trees lake rockss

bridgeparl trees lake rocks 2

park trees lake rocks

These are pictures that my twelve year old daughter took. She is developing a love for photography. These were taken at Hedden Park which is near to my home in New Jersey.

This is a great quality time activity that costs nothing. It was relaxing to walk in the nature and enjoy the beautiful discoveries together.

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