I felt it was my time to share last year, but apparently it was still not quite time. I hope to share more one day, but for now, all I have time to do is write a quick post. It’s driving me a little insane to leave this website all wonky, unfinished, pages askew… oof. But it will have to wait.
So, then… the reason for this post?
My best friend and I have had many many talks about self care. We’ve had many talks about a lot of things lol, but as we’ve grown, gotten married, and had kids, mostly on similar timelines, we’ve learned a lot, and one of those things is that self care looks a lot different than most people imagine it to be.
When you’re on a budget and a 24/7 caregiver for very young children, it’s not exactly possible to go take a weekend trip to a Cali vineyard, or even go get a pedicure alone, lol! So what does it look like, to refresh and energize one’s self? To pour back into our cup that gets drained in just 47 minutes every morning from changing diapers, cleaning up endless messes, balancing budgets, chasing after kids, running a household, scheduling appointments, grocery shopping, cycling through mounds of laundry, changing out seasonal clothes, changing out outgrown clothes, buying new clothes (see a pattern?), wiping noses and hands, calming big toddler emotions, and on and on. Phew! I’m exhausted just writing that, hah….
So we’ve talked a lot about things we do for ourselves, and also things like insecurities that have been around since childhood. A recent topic was creativity. We both have some insecurities about creating… it always feels “not good enough.” After all, we’re no pros. There’s always someone else better. Many someones.
But it makes us HAPPY. Heck, there’s even information out there about the benefits of just exercising the creative part of the brain! Even if we suck at the output, we enjoy the process, and that’s all that matters.
So here I am, on a challenge 🤣, posting some of my recent creative projects.
A bit of background is that I got into digital planning last year. I’ve always been an avid planner, using paper planners of all kinds, and becoming increasingly more picky about my planners over the years, until I came upon Happy Planners several years back, and then refused to use anything else. I LOVED customizing them with stickers, markers, and more. Well, digital planning has digital stickers, and I thought it would be cool to learn to create my own…just for fun. I’ve been messing around on Procreate on my iPad, though I really am not artistic at all lol! I also have had almost no time to learn or practice different techniques or functions of the app, since I usually only have a few minutes at bedtime to play around.
I also love coloring, and when adults coloring came into style (haha!), I thought it was the best thing ever! I loved getting adult coloring books and using markers, colored pencils, and even gel pens to color them in. It was so relaxing, and I loved listening to music or an audiobook while coloring to calm my brain. Well, I thought it would be fun to create some pages to print and color! (you can also import them into a coloring app and color digitally)
So I made a page of free downloads, which you can find in the top menu, or by clicking here.
I hope you enjoy them, or if you’re an artist, I hope they make you feel amazing about your art 🤣 haha!
Now, before you think I’m being dramatic, you should know that this post has played out in my head so many times, based on many interactions I’ve had over the last 17 months of the nightmare I’ve been living. I’ve wanted to rant, to share info that I’ve learned over the last FOUR years, from licensed and experienced therapists specializing in the things I’ve been dealing with, countless books, and a year-long intensive betrayal recovery program (that has been around for a long time and is based on extensive research). People do not understand what I’ve been going through, and I do feel called to share, but every time I’ve tried to share a little bit, it seems I get ridiculed, falsely accused, or shut out of people’s lives. I just know that it’s finally time for me to begin sharing. And some of it isn’t my story to tell, so although I’m an open book, there will be some missing pieces, and I’ve learned that I don’t owe people an explanation for everything (or anything, really).
This is the face of a mom who just got her toddler to sleep at 11:30pm after trying for almost 4 hours. Nursing. Snuggles. Books. iPad. Even a midnight drive. Water. Music. Noise machine. Star projector on the ceiling. Favorite blankie. Rocking. You name it, I’ve tried it.
He was actually a good sleeper, sleeping 7-9 hours at night by 4 months old, without any sleep training. But the day after he turned 5 months old, my life turned upside down, and I was suddenly a single mom. Since that night, he’s had major sleep difficulties. He regressed instantly to sleeping only 1-3 hours at a time, and that went on for over a year. He finally started sleeping 5-6 hours at night a few months ago, and recently started sleeping about 8 hours some nights. He even started going to sleep without an ipad or being nursed to sleep, in his own room a few weeks ago. Then upheaval came yet again to his poor life, and he started sobbing at bedtime again. Plus crying in his sleep multiple times a night. =( Parenting a traumatized kid is SO painful. As much pain as I’ve felt for me, there is NOTHING like watching your child suffer, especially when they’re too young for you to explain things to, to try and reason with and comfort them. It’s soul-crushing.
I’ve been trying to survive on 2-3 hours of sleep a night for almost a year and a half. I finally started getting 4 or so hours. And yes, you can say that I need sleep. And I need rest. And all of this stuff. But the reality is that my kiddo is so high maintenance, that it’s RARE for me to get anything done during the day…it’s a battle to even get food on the table and him fed without a major disaster lol. So my work kind of begins when he finally goes to sleep at night. And believe me, I’ve cut back to the bare necessities. Which has meant not blogging (much less anything else). But I feel it’s time to bring it back, which is why I’m taking the extra few minutes to write this up. There won’t be any editing, so I know it’s rough, and probably has typos, but it’s time to just START. I’m trusting that God does a miracle and turns things around so that I can have time to do more than just survive. But in the mean time, I’m just taking a step out in faith.
I’ve recently learned that I am now 24/7, 100% responsible for my son. So yes, I’m WIPED out. Though I received little help before, it’s now all on my shoulders. Due to a very long and complicated set of circumstances, I’m also left to try and sort through and declutter a garage packed full of stuff, not to mention my house being full of more of it. I have to get this in order before I move, because I need to downsize.
Oh, and did I mention I have to schedule more doctor’s appointments and surgery for cancer? I know 2020 has sucked for a lot of people, but my personal hell began in July of 2019, and has just continued to get worse.
One thing God’s been challenging me on is to just take a step forward in faith, and trust that he will work it out. I don’t even know what that looks like when you can barely survive, but I’ve been trying to also work on things like asking for help. Heck, just accepting help that is straight up offered is hard for me LOL.
Now, what are some things I wish I could tell people?
Praying that “it’s not cancer when they take it out” doesn’t help anything, literally. I still need surgery, and my health is utter crap, cancer or not. I can barely function because my body is shutting down, so even if it somehow turns out to be benign, it doesn’t fix things for me, it just makes you feel better.
Telling me stories of people you know of who survived thyroid cancer doesn’t help. Most people catch it early, but mine has been around for a long time, it’s been affecting my breathing significantly, and we don’t know how far it’s spread or if it’s metastasized, and even if it’s “mild” and contained, it doesn’t change the fact that it or the lack of treating it has destroyed my health to where I’m barely surviving day to day.
Please, stop telling me to take care of myself. I KNOW this is important. If someone has the resources and energy to practice self-care, but just needs a reminder, that’s one thing. Even then, you should probably ask if you can help them do something for themselves. But for someone like me (and there are many others in similar situations), it’s literally IMPOSSIBLE to practice self care. Due to finances, time, energy, circumstances… What you should be asking is at least “are you able to practice self care?” And if not, “how can I help you get some self-care in?” You can offer to bring (or send via delivery service) a meal, watch their kid(s), do some dishes or fold some laundry. Maybe pick up groceries. Take things to a donation center to help them declutter. Bring wine and chocolate and sit and listen to someone’s pain. These are all just examples of some practical ways to actually be there for someone who is in survival mode. And if you think you know what survival mode is like, but you didn’t already know exactly what I just wrote in this paragraph, I promise, you’ve never been in survival mode.
Along the same lines, when someone is breaking down crying over the stress of not being able to stand up long enough to cook meals or do the laundry, or clean the toilet, please, please stop telling them to “just let it go!” Yes, there are some people who are anal retentive, neat freaks who need to control their surroundings. Even if that’s them, they likely need that organization level to feel calm and be able to function. But there are some of us who HAVE let it go, to the point where no one even wants to come over and see it or help, because it’s SUCH a disaster. To where we are walking around naked in the morning trying to hurry a load of laundry because there’s nothing clean to wear. To where you’re worried about ants because the kitchen needs cleaned. To where there are no clean dishes. There are only so many things you can let go, for so long. At some point, these things need DONE. Instead of telling people to “let it go,” offer to come help. Offer to bring paper plates and plastic ware and sit and fold laundry while watching a movie together or something. Offer to come clean toilets while they nap (another thing I hear frequently is how I need to prioritize sleep, but factoring in stress and the amount of responsibilities resting on my shoulders alone, it’s not possible to “just prioritize sleep,” it’s not that simple).
There are more things I could say, but I do actually need sleep, and I need to get a bit of work done before I sleep. 🥴
Our society has lost the ability to meet people in their needs, to listen to HARD and awkward situations without trying to minimize or reason them away, and to sit with people in their pain. To practically help. To witness people in their messiest, crappiest, realest nitty-gritty circumstances, and jump in with real love.
This is my plea to you: Consider the people in your life. Are you actually sacrificially loving them? Are you helping them in practical ways? It’s worth re-evaluating as we enter the new year.
And to those of you who have loved me in real and practical ways, and done the messy, not fun, thankless things that have blessed and helped me survive, THANK YOU. I’ll never be able to repay you, but I do hope one day to be in a position that I can pay it forward. ❤️
Most of you feel me about 2020 being an… interesting year. But the truth is, my year of shock, horror, and rough days began in July of 2019.
I’m not quite ready to share that story in detail yet, but it IS why I essentially disappeared.
I do feel it’s time I’m back on the blog train, though! Ready to share my life and some random and weird things along the way, from quick and easy Instant Pot meals, to health stuff I’m dealing with.
Over the last year, my already poor health deteriorated so badly that I am barely able to function. Add to that mold that we discovered in our rental house, leading to mold poisoning, and I feel like I’ve been pushed over the cliff I’ve been hanging onto for dear life for the last couple of years.
I started a mold detox August 19, and had NO idea it would hit me so hard. I was grateful I happened to start it about 20 minutes before Ben came home, because I crashed on the couch and couldn’t get up. I was SO sick. I was constantly missing days, juggling pills and unable to get out of bed and take care of Gideon…it’s been a nightmare. I neglected it for about a week before I restarted it Monday night, and WHOA, it was even worse than before. I couldn’t get out of bed except to barely get Gideon and nurse and change him and crawl back. It was horrendous, and the night ended with me puking my guts out. I am not really even sure how to survive this, but I know it has to happen, since the mold has really been preventing me from even addressing my other health issues, most importantly, my Hashimoto’s.
So that’s where I’m at… somewhere between frozen pizza from Costco because I can’t get out of bed, and trying to prepare meals from our locally grown organic produce box from our favorite farm, in an attempt to calm the inflammation in my body. 🤦🏻♀️
Anyway, I have some fun posts ahead, hopefully, where I’ve tried some new things out, and of course one of my favorite things to share is something new that I enjoy! =D I absolutely love trying new things!
So stay tuned, hopefully I can squeeze some fun in with the dreary topic of failing health. <3
It’s Elderberry Syrup time again! We don’t want the sicknesses floating around lol!
Here is a really cool (and short, don’t worry 😉) article explaining how it actually does prevent and treat the flu! We have had great success in preventing (and shortening the duration when we’ve slacked on preventative lol) sickness with this! https://returntonow.net/…/study-elderberries-block-flu-vi…/…
As I sit here, in my messy dining room, overlooking my even messier living room, I feel overwhelmed. January 1st is supposed to feel like new beginnings. Do overs. Fresh starts. Clean slates. All that jazz.
But instead, all I can do is think about the 872 things I need to get done. TODAY. And I just kind of want to cry.
2019 was a rough year. I birthed my rainbow baby in February, but had complications and emergency surgery right after, instead of being able to enjoy the “golden hour” with my child. I was grateful to just be alive. We had breastfeeding struggles due to severe lip and tongue ties, and my husband had to go back to work after a week, so I was left to fend for myself with critically low blood levels and a newborn that wouldn’t latch, torturous tongue exercises that had to be performed on him every 4-6 hours round the clock, and doctor’s appointments several times a week an hour away. It almost made me crack.
And just as soon as I felt like my health was recovering and I was adjusting to motherhood, I became a single mom. In the midst of incredible chaos, heartbreak, and the unknown. I don’t know how I’ve survived, but somehow God kept me going, and the drive to do whatever you have to to take care of your child is SO powerful. I averaged 2-3 hours of sleep a night for months, and although I’m dealing with the health consequences of that now, it kept us alive. The amount of moving and things I had to do, by myself, with a 5-month-old, was mind-boggling, all while sleep-deprived and in a horrible emotional state…but…we made it. I saw something that said “You have survived every single thing you thought you wouldn’t.” It’s SO. TRUE.
Anyway, I started 2019 off pregnant, living in an RV, and married. I ended it with a baby in my arms (ok, crawling all over me, who are we kidding), in a rental house, and separated from my husband. A year can bring a lot of changes. Some good, some not so much.
I felt overwhelmed for most of the year, but one of the things that stood out to me is a “challenge” that was born of a conversation with a dear friend of mine about self-care. We discussed how important self care was, yet how the most common perception of self care was a day at the spa or splurging on a mani/pedi, and not everyone can afford those kinds of self-care. We decided that there were definitely other means of self-care that didn’t blow the budget, and decided to have a week of self-care and report to each other daily. It was one of the best weeks of my life, though it was actually a horrific week otherwise. We both had a ton of rough things come up that week, yet being able to pick at least one little thing to do for self care each day and discuss it kept us going. We both ended the week understanding self-care a lot better.
This year, I want to have something for self-care every day. See, self-care isn’t just about one week here and there. It’s not about spending money on expensive things or vacations or fancy relaxation. It’s not about “treating yourself,” but more about taking some time, whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour, to focus on your entire wellbeing-physical, emotional, spiritual. To intentionally do something that improves any or all of those things. To refill your cup so you’re not running on empty.
So this year, I’ll be sharing what I’m doing each day for self-care, and I hope you’ll join in! I’ll (try to) share daily on Instagram (@trailertrashbalderdash), and probably just a weekly overview on here. 😉 My hope is that we can all share ideas and encourage each other in this, and end 2020 with overflowing cups. <3 We can best take care of those we love from our abundance, not our deficit.
One of the things I’m planning on doing for self-care in general this year is blogging again. It’s something that is important to me, though my blogging style (is it really even a style? It’s so haphazard and includes so many different things lol) doesn’t appeal to many, lol! I plan to share real life in a way that most people don’t. Because we’re (mostly) all living that ultra normal life. The one that isn’t carefully curated for social media. The one that doesn’t have perfect lighting, magical song lyrics, and daily Starbucks (which there’s nothing inherently wrong with lol, it’s just not the average life).
So my wish is to share the more relatable, albeit not-so-dreamy life. The hard stuff. The struggles. The fun moments that might not be perfectly captured in an artsy way. The nitty gritty. The average mom with an average life, average (ok, probably more than average) dirty laundry piles in the bedroom, who makes average meals, and wears average clothes. Lol!
Anyway, I hope you join me in my year of self-care! Feel free to share what you’re doing for self-care, and here’s to 2020! <3