I read an analogy about depression and snow a few nights ago. In short, the article was talking about how depression is much like snow. Snow can fall slowly and build up over time, or snow can fall in blizzards and pile up in very short amounts of time. If we don’t shovel our way out, as the snow falls, the piles become bigger and bigger and mound over our homes and we find ourselves trapped. I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone else, but when I read the analogy in the article, I instantly related. Depression isn’t something that a person just wakes up and hopes they have. Depression is sneaky. Every year when it starts to get colder and darker outside, I have to work so hard to not let depression sneak in. I’ve done a crap job at that this year. Actually, it’s like I’ve been standing at the door watching Depression and all its friends just walk right in. I can’t seem to get a grip on things this year. I watch the clock tick tock tick tock tick tock, moving at a snail’s pace and it feels like these dark days are getting longer and longer. I’m tired. Even when I get to sleep for several hours in a row, I wake up tired. I wish that I could stay in bed. Thank God for my kids, or I really WOULD stay in bed all day. I told my best friend this morning that I’d run away to Canada with her……I’d rather a sunny place with a beach like Mexico, but things are kind of unsettling south of the border right now and I’m not looking to die, I just wanna run away from my problems for a while. HAHA I told Chip last night that I’m really struggling to know my purpose these days. He of course has no idea what I’m talking about. He can’t relate to me at all. He doesn’t understand depression (and that’s okay). He’s a guy. Guys want to fix things, and well, this just isn’t something he can fix…….because he doesn’t understand it. I asked him to list a couple things that I’m good at…a few things that give my life purpose. God love him…his answer was “You’re good at taking care of the kids.” The blank stare on my face must have let him know that I didn’t like that answer. HAHA He then told me that I’m good at cleaning the house. I’m not trying to make him out to be the bad guy because he’s not. He’s a really good guy actually. But he just doesn’t understand what it’s like to walk through life and literally feel like if you disappeared, how long would it take anyone to notice? I mean, yeah…….my kids would need someone to open their fruit snacks and change diapers, but anyone can do that. I just feel snowed in, you guys. I should’ve started shoveling at the first sight of snow, but I just sat and watched it fall instead. I could ask for someone to help me shovel, but who has time? I’ve tried to get myself out of the house and hang out with friends but NO ONE HAS TIME. I actually asked Chip if something is wrong with ME…….I need summer and sun and a million bucks……. Happy Hump Day, everyone.
Obviously I’m not a writer. I enjoy writing from time to time, but I’m not gonna quit my day job to pen any articles for a magazine or online journal. I write so I can free up some space in my mind being occupied by words that are screaming to be let out (personification alert LOL). I write because no one really has time to sit and listen over a cup of coffee anymore, so I’m forced to make friends with a computer screen instead. That’s just life.
I’ve been in a funk lately. I usually love Christmas. I listen to Christmas music year round, I start decorating for Christmas as soon as trick-or-treating is over on October 31st. I’m one of those annoying people who skip Fall and Thanksgiving and go straight for the tinsel and lights and Santa and baby Jesus. My tree is always up on November 1st. This year I waited until after Morgan’s birthday and put the tree up on November 11th. I didn’t enjoy putting the ornaments on. I didn’t have any Christmas spirit while hanging the garland. I just felt…..bleh. Add to that the fact that Morgan has a kitten this year and the stupid cat kept climbing the tree and running circles through the branches, knocking all the ornaments off. So, all day long I was picking up ornaments and sticking them back on the tree. I got sick of it, so I took all the ornaments off and boxed them back up, packed them up to the attic and sat and stared at the naked tree. Well, that got old, so last weekend I took the entire tree down and it joined the boxes of ornaments in the attic. It isn’t even December yet and the tiny bit of Christmas joy I had is now boxed up in the attic with all the décor. I’m in a funk, and I’ll admit it. Don’t alert the press or send in the troops. I’m not calling off Christmas all together. Maybe I just need some time.
I think part of the reason I’m in a funk is that I feel like a crap mom. There. I said it. I’m so sick of playing with farm animals, and puppets, and playdough, and doing crafts, and playing house. And before you get all judgmental on me, just hear me out instead. Maybe you’re a stay-at-home who totally rocks the gig and you love crafting with your kids and you make pancakes from scratch every morning and your kids’ nap times are synced and they’re always bathed and dressed in clothes that match. Well, that isn’t me. I actually tell Morgan that she can’t talk to me until I’ve at least poured my coffee. I’d prefer her not talk to me until I’ve been able to actually take a drink of my coffee, but beggars can’t always be choosers. So. I love my kids with every fiber of my being and I shouldn’t have to make that clear, but people are so quick to judge these days and I feel the need to clear the air on that. Yes, I love them. Yes, they drive me crazy. My mom told me this morning that she knows these are some hard years, but that when I look back on this season, it’ll be one that I miss the most. Maybe that’s true. But right now, it’s just so damn hard. I chose to stay at home with my kids for several reasons. One, it’s stupid expensive to send two kids to a babysitter. I don’t know if you know this or not, but teachers don’t make very much money, so in the long run, it just didn’t really even out. Chip and I could afford for me to stay home so we made the decision together and I’m really glad that I get to do this SAHM thing. But I also think it’s normal for me to feel the way I’m feeling now. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome that this job doesn’t require a bra or for me to brush my hair. I also get to show up in my pajamas and I don’t even have to shut the door when I pee. LOL There are definitely a lot of perks. But man, it’s lonely. And on most days, I feel like I’m barely existing. I know that I have the job of keeping my kids fed, alive, bathed, entertained, and all of those things are super important and I could be paying someone $1000/month to do those things for me. But on the flip side of that, I don’t feel like I’m contributing to this family at all. I mean, think about it. Yes, I take care of the kids, but I bring in zero dollars. There’s no opportunity for me to get a promotion and it’s kind of hard to get a raise when you work for free. There’s no vacation days when you’re a SAHM. It’s 24/7/365. Running errands, don’t even get me started. I had to take the kids to three places yesterday and I tried all day to talk myself out of it, but the errands had to be run. So really, Christmas trees and the holiday spirit haven’t been too high on my list of priorities.
I can almost feel the rolling of eyes in people’s heads as they read this. Roll on, my friends. Roll on. Morgan put herself in time out yesterday because I got on to her for something. And for a second I was so jealous of her. I wish I could sit myself down in time out and just let the world keep spinning around me while I take five.
I know I can’t be the only mom who feels this way from time to time. And if you think I’m a horrible person for feeling this way, then gosh, I wish I could get on your level.
Happy Thursday, everyone. Rachel
I listened to a podcast this morning about women judging other women, or just judging people in general. This is not to say that men don’t judge as well, but by nature, women tend to be a little more judgmental (in my opinion, anyway). I try so hard not to judge people, but I’m human and I find myself mentally judging others at times. I know it isn’t kind or right, but it happens. Before I had kids, I judged moms so hard. I would stare at the moms who had screaming kids in Wal-Mart and I would give the stink eye to parents with whiney kids at restaurants. I’d feel like they were rude because their kid was ruining my dining experience. I had a whole list of “my kid will never do (fill in the blank)“ and an even longer list of “when I’m a parent, I will never__________________________________.” Those lists make me laugh now. And kind of cringe, if I’m being honest. As much as we teach manners and kindness in my home, trust me, if my almost three year old sees Shopkins or Peppa freaking Pig in Wal-Mart she goes nuts. She wants them and doesn’t understand why I won’t buy her every single thing she wants. I now, at times, have that screaming toddler in my cart. I said I’d never co-sleep. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Thank God for a king size bed is all I have to say about that. My point is, I judged moms who did things that I thought I would do differently. Stupid. I have no place or right to tell a mother how she should parent her kid and especially not to judge them.
I’ve judged women for what they were wearing. I’ve said to myself, and probably to others, “Does she not own a mirror?” But I’ve also said things like, “She is way prettier than I could ever dream of being and I could never wear that outfit.” You see, sometimes even “friendly” judging is hurtful. Not just to others, but to ourselves. I mean, let’s be real. There ARE some things that certain people just shouldn’t wear. If I know what your private parts look like, your shorts are probably too short. Just saying.
I’ve judged the way women keep their homes. Again, before I had kids, I said I’d never be caught dead with dishes in my sink or house that wasn’t clean. I do think it’s important to take care of your things, but I don’t have the time or energy to dust and vacuum every day. And if toys scattered across my entire home make you uncomfortable, well sorry but we live here. This isn’t a home being staged for a magazine photo shoot. My actual children play and live here, so if you choose to spend an afternoon in the Cortez household, please watch your step because there will 100% guaranteed be toys on the floor. I don’t want to be the woman that people are afraid to invite over because they fear I’ll judge their home. I promise you, I won’t even see the mess. Your mess will make me feel more at home probably!! Now, we do have a habit of picking things up before bed, but again, my house always looks lived in. I’ve been on the other end of this judging thing, too. I have people in my life that I would crap my actual pants if they showed up unannounced because their judging eyes would just be too much for me.
Because I’ve judged others in the past, it is extremely easy to feel like other women are judging me. And they probably are. It’s so easy to do. I used to never leave the house without makeup, because without mascara I truly look like a lizard with those big buggy eyes. I still worry about what women think of my weight, my hair, my clothes. I find myself wanting to buy, buy, buy so I have the latest trendy clothing, and then that’s not enough. I got my hair cut this summer and, God love her, the girl cut off at least 4-5 inches more than what I asked. You guys, I cried. I bawled for three days. Over hair. Hair that grows. And I mostly cried because I was so scared of what people were going to think about me. I even told myself that this would be the worst summer ever because I wasn’t gonna be able to leave my house because of my HAIR. GET A GRIP, RACHEL! I worry constantly about my weight and that women think I’m fat. I’ve lost over 100 lbs and I still worry about being fat. I have no idea if women are judging me because of how I look, but because I’ve been “one of those women” before, I find it hard to convince myself that I’m not being judged at all times.
I truly want to be the kind of woman that is known for having an open home, open arms, open mind, and open heart. I want you to know that even if you don’t believe the same as I do, I still love you. When Jesus said to love others like he loves us, do you realize that His love isn’t based on conditions? If you’re a Christian, I love ya. If you aren’t, I love you too! If you go to my church, I love you. If you go to the Catholic church across town, I love you too!!! If you are gay, I love you. If your skin isn’t the same color as mine, I love you. If you feed your kid lunchables or if you only eat organic, I love you either way. If you enjoy an adult beverage from time to time, let me know and I’ll bring over my favorite wine next time I visit. If you don’t drink alcohol, that’s perfectly okay, too!!! If you vaccinate your kids, guess what? I do too! If you don’t vaccinate your kids, I still love you. I’m so sick of people trying to push THEIR beliefs onto other people. You do you. YOU worry about YOU. And continue to LOVE others even if they do life a little differently than you. Do I think their needs to be accountability amongst women? Yes. In the podcast I listened to earlier, she talked about how accountability comes from a place of LOVE. It’s important to be able to lovingly sit down with your girl friends and hold them accountable. Don’t judge someone or point fingers or gossip about others and then call it “praying for them.” Judging comes from a place of hatred. Maybe it’s self-hatred that has stirred up a judging spirit within you. Maybe you grew up in a judgmental home. Whatever the reason, there is always time to start over with a fresh, new mind. Will I continue to have days where I judge others? Sure. But I pray that I’m convicted quickly and that God will renew a RIGHT spirit within ME. Not the person I’m judging, but ME. I want to be known for my love for others, not as a judgmental woman.
So my challenge to you is this: next time you find yourself starting to judge someone for WHATEVER reason, instead ask God to show you how to love that person RIGHT WHERE THEY ARE. You often have no clue what that person is dealing with. Maybe they’re wearing those clothes because that’s all they can afford. Maybe their child has special needs and the only way they know how to react to loud noises in public places is to flap their hands. Maybe their house is a mess because they chose to play with their kid instead of clean. Who cares, anyway? We don’t need a reason to not judge. Be known for your love towards others.
Lately I’ve been thinking about what life would be like off the grid. I’m talking totally pioneering the heck out of life. I’m fairly certain I could grow a garden sustainable enough for my family, but if they want meat of any kind, they’re on their own because I’ve never shot a gun in my life. And I’m pretty sure I’d suck at wrestling any sort of wild animal to the ground with my bare hands. But I’m also sitting here waiting for Morgan’s mac-n-cheese to be done in the microwave and I’m like no, maybe I should only live halfway off the grid. HA. I do think that life would be so much easier, simpler, humble if I lived in a cabin somewhere in the woods. I’d be okay with like two or three outfits, but the minute one of my outfits wore out, I’d be a screwed pooch because I simply can not sew. When I was in high school, we had a sewing project where we could choose to make a pair of shorts or an apron. I chose to make a pair of shorts. The only problem with that was when I submitted the final project, the shorts were without a crotch. Afraid that I’d be docked points for the crotchless shorts, I decided to take the teacher up on her extra credit offer. If we sewed on buttons, we got extra credit. So you better believe I sewed buttons around the entire waistband (which if I lived in the woods with the animals, would it really matter if my pants had a crotch? That’s something to ponder…..). Basically what I’m saying is that the idea of living off the grid sounds fabulous, but I’m just not cut out to be a total pioneer woman. I like the first world amenities like running water and electricity, but I do crave a simpler life at times. I feel a purge coming on! Who wants some free stuff?!?!?!
Last night I had a super small birthday party for Chip. I wanted to have a full on party with all our friends and family, but Chip was pretty adamant about not having a huge party. Every party has a pooper…….HAHA For as social as Chip is, he really didn’t want a full blown celebration. Which makes me laugh because the first year we were together, I didn’t throw a party – I put on a production. I could’ve saved a lot of time and money, but now I know that parties are not his thing. Anyway. I bought a cake, invited our parents and siblings and cut up a watermelon. I told everyone it was really just a gathering, I didn’t think this would actually qualify as a party, but to come and celebrate Chip regardless. Chip’s sister had to work late, so I made sure to save half the cake for her and her fiancé. Right before they arrived, I walked into the kitchen to find my nephew and an empty cake box. EMPTY. haha Not even a crumb. Afraid to ask, I said, “Ummmm where did the cake go?” He told me he’d eaten five large pieces (also known as half of a cake) because he was a growing boy and needed that much. Now, I don’t care that he ate that much cake. That’s not the issue. But I was instantly sick to my stomach thinking that someone was going to be mad that they didn’t get any cake. I was about to load up in the car and go buy another one!!! I told Chip’s sister what had happened and apologized like 400 times. I was sick about it. Just sick. I was so worried that she and her fiancé were mad that they didn’t get cake. I couldn’t even fall asleep last night because I was so worried about it. I woke up this morning and sent her a text telling her I’d make a cake for her since she didn’t get any of the birthday cake. You guys, I needed a chill pill STAT. But that’s just who I am. I hate when I think someone is mad at me. I dwell on it. I obsess over it. I think about how I could’ve done things differently or how I can fix the situation and in doing so, I sometimes make it worse. Chip kept telling me who cares if someone is mad that they didn’t get cake, it wasn’t their birthday….. which he has a point, but surely someone reading this gets MY point, too. I just felt bad. This is an area of my life that I really need God to work on. I’m gonna be 32 in two months. Certainly not old, but I feel like the older I get the more I’m realizing that this is MY life and I have one person that I’ll answer to when it’s all said and done. Now, I don’t want to just walk around making people mad at me, but there are inevitably going to be situations in my life where I piss someone off unintentionally and all I can do is ask for forgiveness and move on. Not everyone is going to like me and that’s okay. Jesus loves me, my husband loves me, my kids love me because I feed them. HAHA And that’s enough for me.
So what areas of your life are you asking God to help you with right now? Do you, too, struggle with the “need to please?”
Happy Monday, friends!! Make this week a great one!!
*P.S. It’s been 12 days since I started this no sugar thing. I lost my mind on Friday night and ate almost an entire pint of Halo Top ice cream. Other than that, I’ve done surprisingly well. I haven’t had even one sip of pop, either!!
I joined a Bible study group a couple weeks ago. We’re reading a book called Seven by Jen Hatmaker. The very short summary of this book is that as you read it, hopefully you can get rid of the excess crap in your life and make more room for God. There are seven categories that she addresses, hence the title of the book, and right now we are studying the food chapter. Wow. For an entire month, the author only ate the same seven foods. Chicken, apples, avocado (and I don’t mean guacamole)…. I don’t remember them all, but you get my point. The idea behind the seven foods is not to lose weight, although she does mention her clothes fitting differently when the month was over. If you’ve ever fasted, or gone through Lent, this is the same idea. She gave up something in order to make more room for God. When she was sick and tired of eating the same foods over and over again, that sacrifice was a reminder to pray and to seek God and to ask Him to speak to her. As a group, we decided that for the food portion, we could do the seven foods thing, or we could fast food in some other way, so long as we were truly giving something up and for the right reason. We even talked about eating only the very basic foods that other countries eat so I of course volunteered to pray for Mexico and eat only tacos and ceviche and drink margaritas for a month, but some fun hater shot that idea right down. HAHA I already eat chicken and apples and a lot of the same things that she ate, so I chose to give up sugar and pop. So far it’s been five days and I want to either A.) murder someone, B.) murder myself, or C.) lay in traffic. I did not realize how badly my body would crave sugar and pop. I was guzzling through four of five cans of Diet Dr. Pepper a day (don’t judge me), and although I don’t eat a ton of sugar, I can’t believe how difficult it is to give it up. THERE’S SUGAR IN EVERYTHING. This is my husband’s birthday week. There’s been pie, and there will be cake and cookies and ice cream and HOLY CRAP WHY GOD WHY?!?! HAHA I eat Halo Top ice cream every.single.night. Yeah, it’s a “healthier” choice if I’m gonna eat ice cream, but I gave up sugar and I’m not giving in. I was thinking about in the past how I’ve tried to do cleanses or diets – not to be confused with a fast – and I’ve always cheated on some level. I would always think to myself, “No one will know if I eat this candy or cookie.” But this time, I’m doing this for God, to deepen my relationship with Him. So I have been super strict because no person may know if I cheat, but God will. Just in these five days, I truly have felt like God is showing me things that if I was just going on about my day, not having to be conscious of sugar and pop, I would’ve missed. Isn’t that the point? When I’m ready to throat punch my husband while he eats pie, I can take that time to ask God to speak to me, to show me what and where He needs me to be during this season of my life. I’m telling you what though, when this fast is over, I’m crawling inside a tub of ice cream and I will eat my way out of it. Yes Lord.
One thing that I think God has been talking to me about lately is being more open. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty open book. I wear my heart on my sleeve. Most of the time you can look at my face and know if something is wrong or not. What I mean by being more open is being willing to open the doors to my home, my heart, and my ideas. I’m a pretty guarded person. It may not seem like I am, but oh am I! I’ve missed out on friendships and opportunities because of being so guarded. I do think it is important and necessary to protect your heart and mind, but there’s also a fine line where if crossed, you can totally close yourself off to the world and find yourself in a dark place. Been there, done that. So instead of waiting until my house is in perfect order to invite people over, I’m swinging my doors wide open. Well, not too wide. LOL Some days I don’t wear pants so give a girl some warning if you’re coming over, okay?! HAHA But for real, if you wanna come over for coffee, I ALWAYS have a pot brewing by 6:00. If you wanna bring your kids over to play, come on. One of my best friends was talking about his church and how welcoming they are and he said, “Rachel you could slide an 18 wheeler in sideways through the doors of that church, they are wide open.” I love that.
So anyway, pray for me. Pray that I don’t commit a crime or do anything stupid while I’m on this no sugar thing. Pray that my heart and mind are more open to the things that God wants me to do. Pray that I listen. And I will pray for you too.
Much love, friends!! Have an awesome week!!
For the first time in my entire life, I’m not getting ready for a new school year to start. From kindergarten to college, to teaching in my own classroom, I’ve always been in school in some capacity. Until now. It’s weird. I don’t really know what to do. I stood in the school supply aisle at Target a few days ago and my head was spinning, torn, bittersweet emotions running through my mind. I’m so happy to be home with my kids, but this is the first August in decades that won’t be any different than June or July. It’s kind of like my world is at a standstill while everyone else around me is running full speed into a new school year. Just weird. I’ve been Ms. Cantwell or Mrs. Cortez for a while and now I’m just Mom. And I don’t mean I’m JUST Mom. I get to be Mom, but still, it’s an incredibly odd feeling that I haven’t completely wrapped my mind around yet.
Now that I’m in early retirement (I love to tell Chip I’ll never work outside the house again HAHA), I’m learning my new groove. Here’s what I know so far: being a Stay-at-Home-Mom is a never ending job. When I worked, I had a lot of responsibility outside the home that made me feel …… important …… I don’t know if that’s the wright word or not. I had a reason to get dressed and put on a bra every day. I had a reason to wear cute clothes and buy new shoes. Most days I wear running shorts – but I don’t run – and old t-shirts that are covered in baby food, spit up, snot, tears shed by a two year old that doesn’t understand why Dum Dums aren’t part of a balanced breakfast. I looked at myself in the mirror today and thought WOW, THAT HAS TO BE A MISTAKE. haha I couldn’t remember the last time I washed my hair. Being a mom sometimes feels like a job with no benefits, no vacation days, for sure no sick days, no opportunity to climb the ladder, no opportunity for a raise. I mean yes, it is a rewarding job, a job that I feel like God has gifted me with and one that I take very seriously. But occasionally you find yourself looking at the calendar on your phone because alllllll the days have run together and you aren’t even sure what month it is. Two days ago, I sent a Happy Anniversary text to a friend and I told them sorry I’d missed telling them on the actual day but two or three days off wasn’t that bad. The friend replied something about the anniversary being in June. Oops. I was two months off. My brain is mush, people.
So, here we are. August. I’m learning my new roll. I’m settling into my new identity. Most days you’ll find me humming along to Peppa Pig or making chocolate milk or feeding mashed up carrots to my baby. I’ll more than likely look like death row, and if you stop by, please don’t expect the house to be clean. We’re doing our best. And some days our best doesn’t look polished or pretty. Some days it looks like a two year old in time out and a teething, fussy baby.
One thing I was truly worried about being home all the time was overeating but I’m proud to announce that since I had Colter in February, I’m 25 pounds UNDER my pre baby weight. I haven’t weighed this much in …….. I don’t know. My drivers license has said I weigh this much for like 12 years HAHA but now I can finally go about my day knowing that I’m not lying to the DMV about my weight. HAHA Since I had Morgan in November 2015, I’ve gone down TWELVE pant sizes. Twelve. What the actual heck, you guys. I think my next goal, since I’m no longer working and have all this free time on my hands (insert sarcasm), is to join the Y and start some spinning classes or something to tone up. My stomach looks like a balloon that was blown to capacity two times and then deflated and shriveled in the sun. You’re welcome for that visual.
Alright, friends. Time to sign off and go see why Morgan has been quiet for so long. Have a great weekend!