As the New Year approaches, I find myself thinking about my kids and trying to gauge how much they really understand about the idea behind making New Year’s resolutions. I wrote this article that appears in January’s edition of South Florida Parenting Magazine to teach (myself) and others how to get the message across.
What are your New Year’s resolutions? Have you talked about them with your kids? I bet you’d be surprised to hear what your child’s resolutions are. I know I was!
I was diagnosed with clinical depression almost 15 years ago. I was in college and going to therapy once a week but still couldn’t get my thoughts to move in a positive direction. When I started taking medication for my depression – it was like a whole new world opened up for me. I felt like myself again. I was able to bounce from one thing to another without the weight of questioning every decision. Fast forward to today and I find myself going through a medication change and feeling all of those helpless, negative thoughts I felt so long ago. That’s the thing about depression – it has the power to take you down out of nowhere.
The difference between then and now is that I have 3 children…3 little children and I am still very much in the thick of parenthood. Sure, there are no more binkies or diapers or sleepless nights but there are hurt feelings, let downs, and boo boos that still demand my attention. I am a mom with littles who has depression and sometimes it’s really, really hard to get out of bed.
Sometimes I find myself questioning every parenting decision big and small. Should I have let her have the IPAD that long this morning? Should I have allowed him to stay at his friend’s house all day? Did I read enough to my kids today? Am I messing them up? You may be thinking, we all have those feelings and I don’t suffer from depression…the difference for those of us with depression is that these little talks we have with ourselves in our heads are debilitating. They consume us. They stop us from continuing on with our day. They cripple us. They make us feel like we can’t breathe. They make us question EVERYTHING. It is a battlefield in my head and I can’t stop it.
I’m a pretty open book but I don’t normally talk about depression with my friends because I usually have it under control. And really, who wants to talk about this stuff anyways? It’s hard to understand and explain to people who don’t know what it feels like. It’s also hard to be a mom when you feel like you’re not doing a good job. I know this is the depression talking and it’s not reality but I want you to know if you’re reading this and you are a mom who has depression or thinks she has depression – you can feel better. There are ways to get out of the pit. There are things you can do to help you get out of bed even when you can’t think past getting out of bed.
Start with one small step today. Just do one small thing to feel better. That will look different for each of you. It might be calling your doctor and scheduling an appointment to talk about what you’re feeling if meds are right for you. It might be calling a therapist and scheduling your very first appointment. It might be telling your husband you think you’re depressed even though you have an amazing life. It might be taking extra care of yourself today by not having a to do list. It might be just sitting on the couch, holding your children because you don’t know what else to do.
If you are a mom with littles who is suffering from depression, know this – it will pass. These feelings will pass and you will feel better again. You will feel like yourself again and you will get through this.
I found this checklist on the Internet and I think it’s a great place to start if you don’t know if you have depression. Hang in there mama. You’re doing a great job and this will pass.
I don’t put too much pressure on myself when it comes to New Year’s resolutions but I do think it’s important to set some goals for myself each year. As I look back on 2016, I realize how many blessings actually occurred in my life. If you haven’t done this yet, I encourage you to write down at least 5 blessings you can think of off the top of your head. It really puts things in perspective and helps set the tone for the rest of the day – even the next few days. It’s important to keep yourself accountable to not just tangible goals but to mental ones, too. That’s why I’ve decided that one of my goals for the new year will be to fill my head with scripture instead of Facebook.
One of the ways I plan on doing this is to read the Bible in its entirety. Yep. I’m going for it. One of my friends, knowing I wanted to do this in the new year, has lent me a chronological Bible. How did I not know the Bible wasn’t already in chronological order? Did you? I guess that’s a good place for me to start!
A few other goals for 2017:
Continue training for my first half and actually run my first half which is in April.
Schedule myself at least one speaking event each month (for a total of 12).
Sell 100 more books.
Get control of my sweets intake. (It’s bad).
See my family in Massachusetts.
This is a big one (that goes in this spot right here) but I’m not ready to share it yet. I will do a proper announcement when the time is right. Just know that it’s big – something unexpected – something God had planned way before I ever caught wind of it but something I am due diligently working at 100% right now. And NO – I am not pregnant. But, I am looking forward to sharing this great, big news with you when I’m ready.
PS – I am always looking for places, venues, meetings to speak at. If you know someone or are in a group right now that you know I would be a good fit for – please contact me. You can find a list of my specialties under my events tab.
Christmas is over but I wanted to share some of the fun things I made this holiday season so you can order some of your own stuff for any upcoming birthdays, events, etc. you might have coming up!
The folks over at Paper Mart were gracious enough to send me some fun stuff to decorate my house with and wrap my presents in. I’m pretty picky about the type of wrapping paper I use. Seriously. I don’t like the cheap stuff that rips at every corner and causes me more stress than necessary when getting gifts ready to be enjoyed by friends and family. Paper Mart’s wrapping paper is some of the best if not THE BEST wrapping paper I have ever used. It never ripped and it was thick enough to cover even the oddest-shaped gifts. I got more compliments on this paper on Christmas morning from my family than I had anticipated. They have all sorts of colors and patterns – not just holiday.
I also made these cute paper straw ornaments using Paper Mart’s straws. It was one of the easiest crafts I have ever done and they turned out perfect. I put some on my tree to use as ornaments and the rest I used to decorate my friends’ gifts with. They were a hit! Check out my article in Connection Magazine on how to make these.
I also ordered some of their clear cello bags to put my baked goods in. I like the fact that there are A LOT of bags that come in each order. None of this 10-bag count thing. These bags would be perfect for weddings, baby showers, birthdays, etc. They have all sorts of designs and of course, they have the clear bags if you’d like to dress them up yourself with ribbons and bows. I will be using what I have left of these bags for my kids’ Valentine’s Day parties at school.
And there you have it! Check out Paper Mart’s website when you’re shopping for your next event if you want something convenient and shipped right to your doorstep.
Thank you to everyone who has bought my book and plans on buying my book, “I See You: Helping Moms Go from Overwhelmed to In Control”. Your support and encouragement mean the world to me and I want you to know I read each and every one of your comments, posts, and emails. Keep them coming! Almost 200 of my books are out in the world right now and I’m praying each one of those books lands right in the hands of a mama who needs to hear the words I so desperately want her to hear, You are amazing and You are enough.
In the spirit of the new year coming upon us, I’d like to extend an invitation to you. I am taking the contents of my book one step further and will be helping a handful of you with diving deeper into the area of creating margin in your life. I only have 4 spots left and it will be on a first come, first serve basis. Once I reach my total of 6 women, I will close this workshop. Want to know what the heck I’m talking about? Glad you asked! Check out these details:
The “Overwhelmed to In Control” Mastermind Workshop will be a 4-week time investment.
You must have the book, “I see You” and have read it since we will be working directly from that.
The whole point of this workshop is to help you create margin in your life to free up space where you might be feeling overwhelmed. So, you will need to want to make it a priority to sort out whatever it is that is overwhelming you in your life. I can’t make that a priority for you. Only you can do that. I can help you sort things out and set a plan and give you direct access to me.
You will get access to me for 4 weeks. What that means is that you can email me, call me, and private message me on Facebook with questions you have about the book and I will make you my priority in responding to your questions/comments.
I will provide you with daily prompts every morning, delivered right to your inbox (31 to be exact) that will help you jump start the idea of creating more margin in your life. Here is an example of a prompt you would receive: Day 1 – Today, I want you to make your bed. It doesn’t have to be perfect but I do want you to make this a priority. If you are someone who already makes your bed, kudos to you! I challenge you to take it one step further and change your sheets today. There’s something about making your bed that sets the tone for the entire day. If you get too busy in the morning and miss the opportunity, don’t worry, just do it when you get back home and give yourself 5-10 minutes to make it happen.
We will be using the Overwhelmed to In Control worksheets in the back of the book. Please be prepared to either write in your book, photocopy the pages or print them from my website. I know these have been unavailable on my website in the past but the link is now fixed. You can find them here.
We will also be using the ABC Scripture Cards . I have a fun way we’re going to use these to help us throughout our 4 weeks together.
I will be offering an introductory rate for this first workshop and it will be available to only 6 women. I have 4 spots left and would love for you to join us! The cost for this 4-week workshop is $29.95. That’s less than a dollar a day! After this first round, the Overwhelmed to In Control workshop will go up in price to $99.95.
Workshop begins on Sunday, January 1, 2017. Will you be there?
It will be exactly one year this December that I was on the phone with my publisher, talking about wanting to write a book. Although I wrote the book over a three day period – it has taken an entire year to see it come to fruition. I could not be more proud to share with you my debut book, “I See You;” my true account of raising a child who has behavioral issues and what that looked like for our family.
I didn’t stop there, though. In the second half of the book I talk about how I went from an overwhelmed mom to a mom who was more in control of her feelings and actions. I help guide you along with a few resources I came up with when I was figuring out how to be less stressed. I have included simple worksheets and ABC scripture cards to get you started on your own path to living a less overwhelming life.
My reason for writing this book is simple. I wanted to write the book I had been looking for while trying to help my son and, I needed to do the actual writing down and documenting of our story so I could see how far we’d come. It’s been a long, struggling, stressful several years for our family and this book is my way of wrapping it up and sharing with you all – the raw, honest and, yes, sometimes hard-to-read truths of raising a child who requires extra attention.
I’m nervous. I’m nervous about sharing my hard parts of life with you but I’m hoping another mom will feel less lonely after reading my book. I want moms everywhere, to know that this is hard. It’s tiring. It’s worth it. All of it.
You can purchase “I See You” right here on my website.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve blogged and I have good reason for that. I’ve been struggling with who I am lately. Let me explain. I’ve always known, since I was just a little girl, that I wanted to do something amazing…something huge….something that would change the world. I’ve always had a passion for getting to know people and wanting to hear what their story is, what makes them who they are, where they come from, what makes them tick, what makes them happy…you get the idea. This dream of mine has changed over the years, no, actually it’s morphed into different things here and there as I’ve gotten older. High school for me was about surviving. College was finding myself. Post college was settling down with my man. Becoming a mom was a dream come true and now, now I’m coming full circle and accomplishing some bucket list things I’ve always known I’d do.
The main change in all of this was that I didn’t know Jesus growing up. I didn’t get to know him until I was pregnant with Dylan. A lot has changed since then. I’m not the same person and so my ideas about what I could accomplish to change this world have swayed a little bit. I no longer want to be known for writing a book. I want to be known for being a catalyst for moms everywhere, to give themselves more grace than they ever have before and yes, a book will have been birthed out of that. I want to be that resource for women who are struggling to get out of bed each day because they’re depressed and don’t know why. I just want to be me. And if I’m going to be me, I can’t do that without Jesus.
The past few weeks have been emotionally draining. I’ve lost sleep, overeaten, over thought, and overshared when I should have been on my knees praying. I was scrolling Facebook in the wee hours of the night when I should have been scrolling scripture to guard myself with truth. It’s true. God meets us right where we’re at; even if it’s in messy places…especially when we’re in messy places. That’s where He does His best work. He fine tunes us during tiring times, overwhelming times and, times when we’re not sure we’re doing anything right. I need Jesus. I just can’t do life without Him. And so, you might see a different side of me. A more vulnerable, raw side of me. But I promise it’s the real me, always has been.
If you’re in the trenches right now…if you’re just trying to hold on – whether it’s through a friendship, a miscarriage, a heartbreak, a rumor, a fight, a failed job, an overwhelming season – hold onto this, His word never comes back void and He will carry you through any obstacle – no matter where your view may be.
I had the privilege of going to MOMcon this year for the second time and I prayed that God would soften my heart about a few things that I had been struggling to understand. Have you ever been in a season of life where you had more questions than answers? My guess is you have. I’ve learned to embrace whatever season of life I’m in whether it be high or low or a mix of both. Sometimes it’s hard to see the good through the confusing and the hope in the unknowing but with an open heart, a pliable heart, ears to listen, and eyes to see – I know that I am being prepared and shaped for my next big step.
This season of life you’re in right now won’t last forever. You know that. It’s hard to believe that though, when in you’re in the midst of something hard. My mom always says, “This too shall pass,” and those words couldn’t be more true. Whatever you’re facing – a divorce, a marriage that is more work than enjoyment, a paycheck-to-paycheck kind of living, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a baby, the distance of a friendship or perhaps, the not knowing of what your purpose in life is are just seasons in your life that will come and go. When we don’t know what to do, we do the things that help us survive and that might look like overeating, not working out, overspending, gossiping…you get the idea. When what we should be doing is turning our eyes to the only one who can make sense of it all – Jesus.
The truth is – we all have a purpose. We were all made to love one another and if we can just remember those two things, we can begin to live again. I mean, really live again. We can wake up with a zest for life. We can choose to be intentional about loving our husbands. We can make that decision to be the person who lifts a sister up when all she really needs is a hug rather than a look.
This season of life you’re in, probably looks a lot like mine. We’re in the midst of child-rearing, car-pooling, and self-feeding. You’ve got this. Take that next small step and find truth in who you are in HIM and find pure joy in the fall, winter, spring, and summer of your life.
Gabe and I went away this weekend. It was our 10 year wedding anniversary and I told him we needed to do something. Anything. With three small children (7, 5, and 2) you can imagine how difficult it is to have any alone time. Add in the fact that both of our families live in different states and well, you’ve got a recipe for a marriage that gets put on the back burner.
We started talking about our kids on our way to Eureka Springs. Gabe shared with me that he thought I was too hard on Hannah, our middle child. I immediately went into shaming myself for not seeing it how he saw it. I started beating myself up in my head about the many times I had yelled at her or lost my patience with her. I sat silently in the passenger’s seat and prayed that God would take the heavy weight of my guilt from me right then and there. Sometimes it’s so heavy I feel like I can’t breathe. Gabe reached over and held my hand. “It’s okay. I’m guilty of it too,” He said.
I envy how guys can move on from one thought to the next without getting hung up feelings. I was still stuck in the moment of feeling like a really bad mom; one who doesn’t always see the goodness in my kids. One who doesn’t always love getting on the floor and playing dolls. One who doesn’t feel like watching a kids’ show. One who knows it’s dinner time and the kids are hungry but cooking is the last thing I want to do. Even if it means just making a sandwich. “What is wrong with me?” I thought. I prayed for each one of these children and God gave them to me. He entrusted me as their mother so why am I beating myself up about making mistakes?
Well, the truth is, sometimes I am too hard on Hannah. Sometimes I am too hard on all of my kids. But you know who I’m the hardest on? Me. Myself. Meagan.
So if God’s mercies are new every day…why do I have such a hard time accepting them? Believing in them? And allowing myself to be human and imperfect? Why do I feel like crying the moment someone says something to me about my parenting? Even if that comment is coming from a loving, caring man like my husband. Well, it’s because I cannot do this without God. I am the mom I was designed to be for my kids just the way I am. I have flaws. I have moments. But I love these kids fiercely and uninhibitedly without any apologies. Simply put, I am the mom my kids need.
Today is the first day back to school for our family and for a lot of you, too. I’m mixed with emotions. On one hand I’m excited to see Dylan growing and entering second grade. On the other hand, I’m baffled out he’s old enough to be in second grade. Why does it feel like I was just holding him in my arms and rocking him to sleep as a baby not too long ago?
It’s a different season of life we’re entering right now. Dylan will be going to school every day. Hannah will be going three days a week which means Ellie and I will have three days to ourselves. Thoughts and ideas about what we will do together run through my mind and then I stop to think about when it was just me and Dylan. Next year, Dylan and Hannah will both go every day, all day. The year after that, Ellie will start preschool. Have you written down or thought about where you will be in five years? I encourage you to do it. It’s kind of scary but worth the doing.
In five years I will be 39-years-old. I will have a 13-year-old, a 10-year-old, and an 8-year-old. Five years is not that far away. Will I still be a stay-at-home mom who writes in her free time? Or will I go back to work as a full-time mom? I have no clue. I’m open to anything. Will I write more books? Will my current book be a best-seller? I hope so 🙂
I do know this. I know that I want to continue to encourage moms. And I know I want to continue using my platform as a journalist to share my thoughts and struggles, sorrows and joys, and tips and tricks with other women who might find just the tiniest bit of hope in my words.