Monday, March 23, 2015

Not OK

I've been feeling a bit down lately. A bit sad and a lot tired and a bit overwhelmed by life. And ashamed because who gets to feel like this with a life as good as mine? There have been a few tough days. But this afternoon I went outside and helped Espen practice riding his bike. I noticed how the plum tree is starting to flower, and that the hydrangea has pushed up a few green shoots. I devoted 45 minutes to weeding a garden bed. I felt happy and more like myself than I have in weeks. While I don't think breathing fresh air and getting my hands dirty actually makes my problems go away, I do feel like at least part of the solution might lie among the simpler things in life. More pink cheeks and grubby fingernails to come.

Last week I posted the above picture and text on Instagram, and I wanted to share it with you too. Not without a little trepidation, because we don't really live in a world where it feels terribly acceptable to be having a hard time. Especially when the struggles you're dealing with are all internal, like mine are.

Really, there's nothing wrong at all with me. I have a pretty fantastic life. My children are sweet and loving and pretty wonderful. My husband is beyond loving, supportive and kind. My faith is deep and sustaining. Any want or need I might have is generally promptly fulfilled. And yet I keep having days where all I want to do is get back into bed. Days of being tired and grumpy and impatient. Days where the thought of planning meals for the week and then shopping for the groceries needed to make them has been so overwhelming it has brought me to the brink of tears. Days where it's hard to see the point of doing anything productive because the things I do matter so little anyway. Days of feeling inadequate. Unfocused. Off my game. Days where my sweet husband has held me and listened to me and wiped away my tears.

We're not really sure what's going on with at the moment, but we are exploring a few possibilities. I've been really, really tired a lot of the time (ask my kids how often Mama conks out on the couch in the afternoons), so we're looking into what we can do to improve the quality of my sleep. Another option is depression and/or anxiety. I dealt with both of those as a college student, so I'm definitely pre-disposed, but I've been fine for almost 10 years now. And the final option is that it's just a passing schlump, a "phase I'm going through", if you will. We'll see.

This all sounds very grim and serious, and I want you to know that there's no need for alarm, I'm going to be fine. I have a great support system in my family and a few close friends. A lot of the time I feel perfectly happy and normal. Some days are happy and productive and fun, and some days are long and exhausting and hard. Most days are a little bit of both. Some days we eat a glorious home cooked meal, and some days we get takeout. Some days I vacuum and mop the whole downstairs and play with the kids in the yard, and other days I play Threes on my phone and feel guilty about how much screen time the kids are getting and how I'm a terrible mother.

Why am I telling you all of this, you ask? It's because I feel like it needs to be OK for people to struggle with things like depression, anxiety or just general schlumpiness. It needs to be OK if we're not happy all the time. Nobody is. And for it to be OK, people who are having a hard time need to be willing say "Hey, I'm actually not OK" without having to feel ashamed or afraid of the consequences if people know. Because people who are depressed or anxious or struggling with other mental health issues already feel ashamed and afraid enough as it as. What they need is for someone to hear that and know that and love them anyway. To let it be OK that they're not OK.

So this post is me telling you "Hey, I'm actually not OK right now." Is that OK?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

February 16th

One of the highlights of Granny's visit was Espen celebrating his fifth birthday. Five! He is five years old. It's a little late this year, but I didn't want to miss out on the tradition of the annual birthday picture post: 







Oh, we love him!

A month with my Mumsy

My mama and me!

We have just come to the end of a glorious month-long visit from my mum and are slowly adjusting back to every day life. Not an easy thing to do, you should know, because it's amazing how quickly you get used to having someone wash your dishes, cook the occasional meal (or favorite treat!) and watch your kids so you can shower or run a quick errand. My mum is pretty great.

As great as it was to have her here to help out with the every day practical stuff, I also really enjoyed having someone to do stuff with, both big and small. This was her sixth visit to Utah, so we didn't really need to hit the really touristy highlights anymore, which allowed us to stick to a lot more day trips and local stuff, which was fun too. We're lucky enough to live in an area that has lots of fun stuff to do, especially for families, but sometimes it's nice to have the excuse of taking a visitor to get you to actually get out and do something. So we went to the aquarium, the natural history museum, the Springville museum of art, the Hale theater. And, let's be honest, an awful lot of stores. My mum is a shopper, I'm a shopper, but if we combine forces... oh man, so much shopping. The kids won't need any more clothes until Christmas*. Especially seeing as my mum caught the sewing bug and made Gwen a skirt and three dresses while she was here (with two more to follow).

The best best part, though, was seeing my mum and kids together. They just adore each other, and Granny has time for books and games and stories in ways that only a grandparent does. Given how far apart we live, the time we spend together feels extra precious. Here's hoping that we'll all be able to keep up the good health and finances necessary for these trips for years and years to come! Naturally there is some sacrifice involved to make it happen, but it's so so worth it to be able to spend together as a family.

Counting the days until next time!

Espen, Granny and Gwen.

*I wish that were actually true.