Music, Oh Music! How I Love Thee!

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

-Bob Marley

Music is beautiful.  All of it.  I can’t say that I am knowledgeable on all that is musical, but I know what makes me happy.  Most of it puts me in a better mood, clears my mind, and gets me moving.  No matter what kind of mood I am in, I can turn on my Spotify account, hit Starred, and instantly be taken away from whatever bad mood, thoughts, or dark clouds that are surrounding me.  It really is a beautiful thing.

Like most people, I have songs that I identify with, and listen to when I am in that particularly dark state.  They usually involve a great beat, a great message, or both.  Lately, my song is “Wake Me Up” by Avicii.   The music makes me smile every time, and the beat gets me up and dancing with my girls.  The lyrics are wonderful.  Be who you are, and find the ones who share those same qualities.  Everyone has a place in this world, and you just have to find it, let go of the societal chains, and just be.  My favorite words of the song are “I tried carrying the weight of the world, but I only have two hands.”  Goodness knows this is how I feel on a daily basis.  Lately I have felt naive, and too empathetic.

Is that even possible?  To feel too much empathy?  I know I am a very emotional person, and I feel other people’s emotions as well.  Even someone I read about in the news that lives oceans away.  I always feel as if I let the worlds problems rest solely on my shoulders, as if I am the one who needs to fix everything.  I CANT DO THAT!  I am only one person, and just have to let go of the idea that it’s my responsibility to fix the world.  I have to share that responsibility, and advocate for change, help, and peace.  I have to use my voice and compassion in order to make a difference.  Music has helped me realize that, in particular that song by Avicii.

That’s why I listen to music.  Not only is it a wonderfully beautiful aspect of life, but it helps me work through my issues.  When I was suffering from postpartum depression, music was one of the few things that helped me get through the day.  Then when I was writing about experiences, music helped me sort through the jumble that were my memories, and get them down onto paper.  Florence and the Machine was one in particular that helped a lot with her song “Shake It Out.” 

How motivating is that?  If you start to feel like the world is pressing you down, or the darkness in your mind, you have to try to shake it off.  Know that you are worthy of goodness, that you deserve happiness, and the demons in your head are just that: demons in your head.  They aren’t you, and they can’t define you.  It’s tough getting to that point where you can really know that those dark thoughts really aren’t your own, but once you do, it’s a beautifully liberating thing.  I still struggle with it, but when I realize it, I just turn that song on.  Helps me so much.

Music can also just be fun, and the one thing that can make you get up and dance.  My two most favorite songs for that are “Daylight” by Matt and Kim, and “Love Today” by MIKA.  Matt and Kim are my go-to for uplifting spirits, as my girls and I always end up dancing and laughing together.  Seeing their smiles while we jam to good music equals happiness and success in my mind.   

What’s your jam, your go-to mood lifter?  Share the music!

Kids. They Grow Up Too Fast.

Samantha starts First grade in a little over a week.  Say what?!  Yeah, First grade.

samanthababyWhere did my baby go?  She’s lost in the jumble that is my PPD memories, and this makes my heart ache.  I remember her birthday, and our time in the hospital.  After that, much of it is a blur.  A dark, overshadowed blur.  Sure, I have pictures to remind me what she looked like, and a couple of videos, but those aren’t really memories.

Since I started getting help for my depression and anxiety a few years ago, things have been better.  What I wouldn’t give to remember those early years, though.  What her first words were, when she “crawled” for the first time (or what she considered crawling, which was really more of a crab walk of sorts), all those little momentous occasions that many parents write down in the child’s baby book are lost somewhere in my head.  They will probably never be retrieved, so the best I can do is remember and make new memories.

Last year, when she started Kindergarten, we were both so excited.  As the year went on, she faced some struggles with her crying and subsequent behavior, so it wasn’t as smooth as I had hoped.  Now that she is starting First soon, my anxiety is running overtime.  I want her to do well, and I want her to be able to control herself.  I want this year to be awesome.  I want her to enjoy school as much as I did.  She just needs to control the emotional side of her, and be confident!  The girl is a smartie pants, and I know she will do well if she can just rein it in.

She wants to ride the bus the first day.  It’s not even here yet, and I’m already nervous and sad.  I wont get to walk her up to the school, have a pep talk, and send her on her way.  Now I have to stay back, and just wave at the bus as it drives away with my not so little girl.  Sigh, this isn’t about me, but my anxiety is so strong about this, that it’s becoming about me.  In my head.  I suppose that’s the point of this blog, to get the jumbled mess of thoughts out.

Where did my baby go?  I feel guilty for not being “there” the first years, so maybe that is why there is so much anxiety about letting go.  Why must it be so hard?  Why must they grow so fast?  Why must I be crying about it already?  haha

All I can do is hope it turns out great, and that she has the best year yet.  It’s fun watching her learn new things, and discover who she is.

I think I just found the thought I need to hold onto.

mommyandsamantha

How Do You Raise Maturity?

This is Sam. She is 6, and a nerd like her mommy. <3

This is Sam. She is 6, and a nerd like her mommy. ❤

Raising kids is hard, yo.  Seriously, trying to make sure you bring them up knowing respect, love, laughter, discipline, and everything in between is a struggle sometimes.  I want my kids to be happy, but I also want them to know boundaries, and when getting emotional is OK.

I have always told my oldest daughter, Samantha, that being upset is perfectly normal.  We all have this feeling from time to time, but it’s how we handle it that’s important.  I want her to understand that it’s OK to cry, and it’s OK to be angry, sad, happy, or whatever you happen to be feeling at that moment.  However, there are times when it’s not OK to get overly emotional.

For example, Samantha has this thing where she scream cries.  At just about everything.  OK, not everything, but the things she chooses to get emotional at, which does seem like everything from time to time.  She doesn’t get her way: scream cry.  Loud noises hurt her ears: scream cry.  She gets in trouble for whatever reason: scream cry.  She falls down: scream cry.  A friend wants to go home: scream cry.  I can’t tell you the number of times I got a yellow note home from her Kindergarten teacher because she was scream crying so loud another teacher had to come in and check on her.  All because a kid called her a name, or she didn’t get to finish her work, or whatever.

I mean, seriously, it’s just about everything.  I feel like we are to blame though.  She was an only child for over 5 years, and I had no intentions of changing that.  After my experience with postpartum depression, I wanted to steer clear of babies.  So, we spoiled her.  Gave her everything.  Gave into her cries.  You name it, we did it.

I wanted her to feel loved and special.  I felt as if I wasn’t doing that with the horrible, intrusive thoughts that were in my mind, and the darkness that surrounded me.  The days that I felt good, I wanted to make up for the days that I didn’t.  The days when I screamed at her for no reason, raged for no reason, or just was smothered by the darkness.  There was a reason.  It’s because PPD is a bitch, and so is anxiety and any other form of mental illness.

However, those bad days were not the real me, and I felt the need to compensate for them.  However, giving into her wants, like toys every time we went to the store, were not things that make up for bad days.  Spending time doing what she enjoys, such as art, is the way to do it.  I know that now, but at the time I felt it wasn’t enough.

So, here we are, 6 years into her life, and we are stuck.  She’s an emotional wreck, a bit immature if you will.  Now that her baby sister is here, she doesn’t get the attention as much anymore, so it seems like the tears are here all the time.  Or she is trying her hardest to get my attention when it’s not on her, whether in a good or bad way.  I don’t know what to do, really.  Every child needs discipline and boundaries, so how do you do that with a kid who hasn’t had much of it until recently?

Honestly, and this is probably my guilt from the past 6 years rearing its head, but I feel like she is not her bright, cheerful self anymore because of the change in discipline and boundaries.  How do I know if it’s just an act to get her way (which I know she does quite often because the sudden lack of tears and joyful attitude show me that), or if she really is blue about the changes in her life?  How do I fix that?  How do I show her she is still loved and cared about without giving in to her?

Raising maturity is hard work.  We all want our kids to grow up well-rounded, and functioning members of society.  So how do we get over the parenting guilt?  I know I’m not the only one with the guilt, so how do you get past it?  How do you teach your child boundaries, respect, and discipline while also showing them that they are still loved over the moon?