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#1 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Over the past 2 years, I've developed some major health problems. After some pretty intensive treatments & testing in Aug/Sept, we discovered some of the reasons. I started medication, which seemed to help. Though I don't want meds forever, I really just needed relief from the constant problems. This past week, I have relapsed in a very noticeable way. Long story short, I realize that excess cortisol production over a long period of time can explain all of my other problems (blood sugar imbalance, fluctuating blood pressure, even fibroids and ovarian cysts).

So...my husband said the other night in an off-hand way that it's the stress that's killing me. Literally killing me, not as a figure of speech here. I'm looking at this week, and we have various commitments on our time for every single evening, until about 10 PM on Wednesday and Thursday. I'll be getting up at 4:30 or 5 and not being free from obligations until 10. Though 10 is abnormal, being obligated until 8 or so isn't.

I'm realizing that the only real answer is going to be changing our lives drastically, but I'm afraid of doing that. Anyone done it? I've written in the nutrition forums before about dietary changes, and we have made significant changes to our diets. It's just that I'm now realizing that other changes are necessary, too, and that to save myself, I'm going to have to give up much of the life I have. I don't know what I'm looking for - thoughts, commiseration, ideas?

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#2 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 03:04 PM
 
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What does your day usually look like?

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#3 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wake up, and in theory, I work out. In reality I'm usually getting chores done. At 5:45, I take a shower. At 6, I wake DH and then work on whatever needs to be done - cleaning up, making lunches - DH & I take salads, so morning-of is the best I know to do. At 7, I wake the kids. They get dressed, breakfast, out the door by 7:40 - drop off DS, DH, DD, then work.

I leave work at 3 and get the kids. DH gets home around 5. (We usually pick him up but are thinking of having him ride the bus.) Between 3:30 and 4:30, we theoretically have time to reconnect, play a game, read. When DH gets home, I make dinner, we eat, and one or more of us usually has some meeting or event.

Kids' bedtime is 8. They're usually not asleep until at least 8:30 (which is its own set of problems). Then I spend a few minutes with DH and try to get something else done but usually am pretty tired. Bed around 10-11.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#4 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 04:37 PM
 
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Can you eliminate any of the evening meetings/events? What are your weekends like -- do you get any down time during the weekend?

It sounds like a very hectic schedule. Noone can be constantly on the go for 18 hours per day, something has to give. Perhaps a few quiet evenings at home might help?
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#5 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 04:37 PM
 
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People are different but it seems to me that you get vey little sleep. If I do to bed at 11, there is no way I am up before 7, preferably 8 (or 9). I had adrenal fatique, most likely due to hypothyroidism, so maybe I still need more sleep than other. It just seems as if you might be driving like crazy on an empty tank.

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#6 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Can you eliminate any of the evening meetings/events? What are your weekends like -- do you get any down time during the weekend?

It sounds like a very hectic schedule. Noone can be constantly on the go for 18 hours per day, something has to give. Perhaps a few quiet evenings at home might help?
I definitely need to give up some meetings. After last spring, when both kids were in soccer & dance in addition to everything else, DH & I decided that we wouldn't sign them up for anything this fall. We thought that would help, but I don't think we realized how overbooked we were. We have only 1 car right now, but then we had 2. We still were on the go all the time, usually with both of us driving to something.

I've been co-hosting monthly arts exhibits, but those have stopped for the season (last one was last Saturday). I'm also on a couple of nonprofit committees that I may just have to let go or come up with things I can do in my spare time, rather than at a set time. I work volunteer shifts at the women's shelter, though I've cut those back to once per month.

*Some* of the nighttime stuff is work-related. This week, Mon, Wed, Thurs, & Fri are work-related. Then I will teach a workshop on Saturday. Tuesday evening is PTO, which is something I really want to do. We've also had a lot of election-related events - fundraising events for local candidates, leafletting, dropping off signs, etc. - that have taken our time that are done now that elections are over.

Weekends aren't better, really. It's not unusual for us to have 4-5 things on a Saturday. Sundays are "cleaning days," which are supposed to be dedicated to cleaning, laundry, prepping for the week, etc. Unfortunately we've been so spent recently that we don't get everything done on Sunday, which just makes the week worse.

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People are different but it seems to me that you get vey little sleep.
Sleep is my greatest enemy. Seriously, I had severe bouts with insomnia that started years ago, back when I typically slept really well. For ages, I didn't sleep much at all but then would swing to needing tons of sleep.

Right now, I do not get enough sleep most nights. If I'm going to get up by 5, then I should be sleeping at 10. So I thought that if I would lie down to read/meditate/otherwise relax at 9:30, then I'd get to sleep by 10. The problem is that I usually feel too wound up by 9:30 and there are things to be done, so I don't do that. I said 10 or 11, but there are many nights when I'm up at midnight. I'm trying to dial that back slowly but probably should just force the issue.


---
I just talked to DH for a bit about it. He agrees that we need to make some changes. Of course when will we have time to implement them? Still, we've agreed that after this week, we will sit down and come up with a plan because our lives are spiraling out of control.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#7 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 05:43 PM
 
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You have a ton of volunteer/charitable/political activities. Those are nice, but they are killing you. Just like on an airplane, you have to put the gas mask on yourself first, or you won't be able to help anyone else.

I would stop those immediately. You can volunteer again once the kids are at college.

It sounds like you *need* to be a little selfish right now, in order to properly care for your family. Family has to come first. Actually, *you* need to come first in order to be able to prioritize and take care of your family.

Good luck mama!
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#8 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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You have a ton of volunteer/charitable/political activities. Those are nice, but they are killing you.
if you want to be better, you need to quit a bunch of that stuff and put it off until your kids are older/grown.

How old are your kids? Could you guys take some time in the evenings for everyone to make their own lunch and enrich that house is being left clean and ready for the next day. Then you could stop working when they go to bed and sleep a little later.

Our kids are limited to one activity at a time, which is a sanity saver.

The reason this is a personal growth issue to to look at WHY you think you must work yourself into the ground to be OK as a person. There is some underlying reason why you are forcing yourself to live like this, some belief that you aren't OK just as you are, and that caring for yourself, raising your kids, and nurturing your marriage isn't enough for you to be GOOD.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#9 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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if you want to be better, you need to quit a bunch of that stuff and put it off until your kids are older/grown.
Putting off civic work until the kids are grown isn't a viable option for me. It's vital to my life. I should limit it, and I know that. I suppose the key for me is determining what and how much I can make work in my "ideal" life. I do too much for my current circumstances, and I know that.


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How old are your kids? Could you guys take some time in the evenings for everyone to make their own lunch and enrich that house is being left clean and ready for the next day.
They are 3 and 5. They do help with some things. DD has lunch at daycare, and DS takes his lunch. He probably could pack his own lunch if I moved him in that direction. I probably do more for my children than I should. More help from my husband would be ideal, but that's not a battle I can wage right now.

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The reason this is a personal growth issue to to look at WHY you think you must work yourself into the ground to be OK as a person. There is some underlying reason why you are forcing yourself to live like this, some belief that you aren't OK just as you are, and that caring for yourself, raising your kids, and nurturing your marriage isn't enough for you to be GOOD.
I'm torn between and . There probably are some really great insights below the surface here. My life is privileged in many ways. I did not have a happy time growing up. I had no permanent home until I was 3; I lived in 10 homes as a child. Life was terrible, but I made it out. I'm okay. I'm alive and fed and sheltered and clothed. And so I should give back because, but for the grace of God, I could be one of the people I help at the homeless shelter or soup kitchen. I'm not so far removed from the people there. In many ways, I *am* those people. I've simply found a stable partner and been blessed with intellect that has allowed me other options. And, so, I suppose the short answer is that to do nothing is not good enough.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#10 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 09:45 PM
 
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Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Prize "for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace." She refused the conventional ceremonial banquet given to laureates, and asked that the $6,000 funds be given to the poor in Calcutta.

When Mother Teresa received the prize, she was asked, "What can we do to promote world peace?" Her answer was simple: "Go home and love your family ."

Take care of yourself and your family first.

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#11 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 09:51 PM
 
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Your post really hit home with me. I also got really sick from doing too much for too many people.

Guess what? I was forced to stop people pleasing and let it ALL go. Now I'm healing.

I let it go and got a weekly cleaning lady and now my favorite word is NO. I finally learned how to say it and say it often.

It's hard, but you're worth it. And I'm sure you want to be around to see your kids grow up. If you don't take a break, your body will force you to.

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#12 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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before I got married and had kids, I did a ton of volunteer activities and civic/work related stuff. I canvassed for political candidates, i served on tons of committees for work, I was president of my union, I attended city council meetings and school board meetings, I was on a ton of state and national committees for my union, I was a trainer for a national training program, I volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, I played soccer once a week, I attended and followed the local university women's basketball team, I was in a book club, I was on the board for the statewide gay rights group and I am sure there is other stuff.

Once I had my son, I dropped everything. Everything. I stayed home and stared at my beautiful child.

Now, I go to work, I come home, I take my son to the park, and I read him stories at night. On weekends, he does ONE activity (this week and next, soccer and basketball seasons overlap so we do two things on Saturday. ). My partner and I have a fair number of evening obligations for work, but that is the only thing we do during the week--except I go to my book club once a month.

I am so much happier than I ever was when I was doing a million things--even though I loved doing the million things. I highly recommend dropping almost everything, and being really strict with what you sign the kids up for.
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#13 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 11:18 PM
 
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How much of this over-extension (of yourself) is trying to avoid facing that you can't do everything you did when you were healthier?
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#14 of 31 Old 11-07-2010, 11:49 PM
 
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Another factor to think of is the example you are setting for your children. It sounds as if you had a lot of chaos in yolur childhood that involved many different houses. it's possible to create chaos while living under one roof too. Too much running, too much scheduling, too much "doing".
I think when we have patterns, either negative or positive, it can be hard to make changes even when we identify the need to. Perhaps you don't know how to be still, how to relax, how to slow down your life. And that's ok. You can learn. But it can be scary getting into new territory.
For your own health and the peace of your children and family, you probably should slow down. (And I need to do the same thing!)

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#15 of 31 Old 11-08-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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And, so, I suppose the short answer is that to do nothing is not good enough.
taking care of your own health and spending relaxed time with your family is "doing nothing?"

Based on your first post, it sounds like its vital to your life that you step back.

<<<to save myself, I'm going to have to give up much of the life I have. >>>

It's OK to let other people do what you doing for the community, but no body else can be a mommy to your babies.

And spending a quiet evening with your husband and children is doing something.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#16 of 31 Old 11-08-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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And spending a quiet evening with your husband and children is doing something.
A whole lot of something.

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#17 of 31 Old 11-08-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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You have a ton of volunteer/charitable/political activities. Those are nice, but they are killing you. Just like on an airplane, you have to put the gas mask on yourself first, or you won't be able to help anyone else.

I would stop those immediately. You can volunteer again once the kids are at college.

It sounds like you *need* to be a little selfish right now, in order to properly care for your family. Family has to come first. Actually, *you* need to come first in order to be able to prioritize and take care of your family.

Good luck mama!
I completely agree. There is a reason election judges and community volunteers are often mostly composed of the gray hair set. They have the time. I would cut all political and volunteer work OUT, except maybe being involved in PTO (but not running it or any committees). Also, husband take turns on the dinner making each night and teaching the kids to do whatever they are old enough to do. From the age of five my kids start learning chores and thing to help with in the house. They learn more tasks as they get old enough to do them (like reach the knobs on the washer/dryer).
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#18 of 31 Old 11-08-2010, 11:22 AM
 
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Putting off civic work until the kids are grown isn't a viable option for me. It's vital to my life. I should limit it, and I know that. I suppose the key for me is determining what and how much I can make work in my "ideal" life. I do too much for my current circumstances, and I know that.


I am sorry, but this is just fundamentally untrue. The previous poster was dead on. You need spend some time thinking about why putting yourself and family first above community when you are SICK, is (do not mean this to hurt, just can't think of a better word) a compulsion for you.

They are 3 and 5. They do help with some things. DD has lunch at daycare, and DS takes his lunch. He probably could pack his own lunch if I moved him in that direction. I probably do more for my children than I should. More help from my husband would be ideal, but that's not a battle I can wage right now.

Make a list of chores you need off your plate and present it to him as a "which of these will you take over to lower my stress and keep me well" and then stop doing them after he chooses even if he does NOT do them. Let him get to a point where he sees the consequences of not doing them if necessary. I stopped doing laundry last year. Just stopped. Did my own and the babies because her stuff get thrown in my hamper. Husband now doing laundry.



I'm torn between and . There probably are some really great insights below the surface here. My life is privileged in many ways. I did not have a happy time growing up. I had no permanent home until I was 3; I lived in 10 homes as a child. Life was terrible, but I made it out. I'm okay. I'm alive and fed and sheltered and clothed. And so I should give back because, but for the grace of God, I could be one of the people I help at the homeless shelter or soup kitchen. I'm not so far removed from the people there. In many ways, I *am* those people. I've simply found a stable partner and been blessed with intellect that has allowed me other options. And, so, I suppose the short answer is that to do nothing is not good enough.
You can give what money you can for now, because for you expending talent and time (as in time, talent and treasure) actually hurts you. I think that the part of the bible where it talks about how there is a season...and a time for every purpose under heaven... applies. You are not seeing that you do not have to do everything you are ABLE to do in the same years or seasons of your life. I can't imagine with the tender ages of your kids, doing all the things you are doing. You are missing so many wonderful moments with your kids being wrapped up in meetings and volunteer options. Wait till their teens and don't want or need to be with you so much for that work. Work, young kids and a home where partner support is not optimal is enough for a healthy woman and you are not in good health right now. A lot of us say "I could never" but if we sit with it a while we realize the only one making us do it is ourselves.
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#19 of 31 Old 11-08-2010, 01:04 PM
 
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Our dd is 5 and I could not imagine being away that much. You even have a younger child. I mean this in the best possible way but don't know how else to put it.... When do you have time for your kids.... just for hanging out? It sounds to me, also, that there is something driving you that may not be healthy.

When you are older and your kids are no longer little, you will have so much more time for all these activities. That is, unless you let them kill you before that time. You are also setting an example to your kids and showing them in action what really matters in your life. (I suppose it is obvious.... I guess I just cannot fathom the need for all these extra activities when the kids are young.)

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#20 of 31 Old 11-08-2010, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There were several things I wanted to quote but didn't because it would be too long (and is anyway). Many of you have given me things to consider. Some of you don't have an accurate picture of my life, and that's okay. I've read the comments and taken many as food for thought. Many made me defensive, which probably is good in the long run.

FTR, my kids are with me pretty much every waking moment that they're not in school or daycare (which are new for both of them). Until 5 weeks ago, they both were with me all the time and had been since DS was born in January 2005. So lay off the guilt about how I never see my children. It's wrong.

I go to maybe 1 meeting a month without them. They accompany us on most of our meetings, as do the children of others involved, so this idea that I never see my children is simply untrue. I plan quiet activities for them if needed, and then we'll grab a hot chocolate after a meeting and chat. Or they're actively involved (putting out yard signs, for instance). They have their own plans for community action. (DS, for example, is putting together business cards of local shelters and soup kitchens for the police to hand out to runaways after we saw a runaway begging for money turned away.)

A friend told me long ago that few people have activist hearts. She is right, and I know that's why some of you cannot understand how compelled I feel to do the things I do. My home may be busy, but my children will never, ever experience the things I did as a child. (Someone tried that comparison a few posts back, but it's inaccurate.) I experienced severe abuse - emotional, sexual, physical. That I lived in many homes is, I think, one of the reasons I'm so incredibly active. The idea of staying or being still is foreign to me. I do meditate. It's a process I'm still learning, but I'm getting there.

After I graduated high school, I went to college and moved for grad school, then jobs. DH & I moved to the very small city where we live in 2005 and bought our current house in Aug 2006. This is by far the longest I've been in one place. When DH & I talked about staying here permanently, we felt that this city lacked a few things that would make it ideal for us. So we agreed that if we stayed, we would work on making those things realities rather than simply complaining about them. (That you do not have to accept your situation but should instead seek to change it is the single most important lesson I want to impart to my children.)

That said, obviously I know that I need to give up some of the work I do. I'm trying to figure that out, and I don't know the answers. I did think about giving everything up last night, and I had a panic attack. Yes, I'm being serious. I ended up on the bathroom floor completely freaking out. The idea of *not* being involved in the community at large is just terrifying to me. I don't really know the "why" of that other than that it makes me feel impotent - as if I have to accept whatever comes along because I'm not working to make it better.

The two things that I know are concerns I don't know how to address are that I don't know what we would do every night at home. I'm sure that sounds silly to some of you, but I honestly don't. We have board games, and the kids have free reign over art & craft supplies, and we read, of course, but as for what to *do* with them, I haven't a clue. I'm afraid that if I dropped everything, I would become one of those hyper-focused moms who pushes my children until they're resentful. I already feel badly that we're not pushing DS to move through the lists of words he brings home more quickly. We do the required homework every night, but it would be easy to fall into the routine of pushing that. The idea of just "being" is...bizarre to me.

The other thing is my husband. For the person who suggested presenting him with a list, I have tried things like that. We've tried all kinds of set-ups. In theory, DH believes that he should do half of everything, which is part of the problem. There's no convincing him to think he should; it's just making him do it.

I don't know how many of you are familiar with abuse recovery, but it's a long, painful process. I spent a good 18 months working on myself through therapy, workbooks, group sessions, crying jags, etc. DH had no problem with that. He was there and picked up *a lot* of slack during that time. So now it seems selfish to complain about what he's not doing. I know that's not particularly logical and that he should be helping, but I get stuck there. Then when he starts saying that he has helped and he does do things, I feel badly and give in. So, yeah, I don't know how to get past my own thoughts on that one.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#21 of 31 Old 11-08-2010, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You can give what money you can for now, because for you expending talent and time (as in time, talent and treasure) actually hurts you.
Oh, yeah, on this...yes, I probably should alter my mindset to thinking about giving money instead. We make far more money now than when we got married, so I know that we could alter our view of the money vs. time giving.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#22 of 31 Old 11-08-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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Some of you don't have an accurate picture of my life, and that's okay.
we are only going by what you are presenting in this thread. please correct us where we are wrong. You are making it sound like you are on gone many evenings and for parts of the weekends. We don't understand what the reality is.

None of us wishes to give you guilt. Some of us have been through similar things as you, and wish to share what we have learned so that you can avoid some of the some painful lessons that we have learned. You sound very tired and very stressed. We wish to help you find a path out.

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I experienced severe abuse - emotional, sexual, physical. That I lived in many homes is, I think, one of the reasons I'm so incredibly active.
I'm so sorry for what you've been through in your life. I also the pain the of a horrific childhood.

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(That you do not have to accept your situation but should instead seek to change it is the single most important lesson I want to impart to my children.)
you have a new lesson to learn right now. Your body is screaming out for you to learn. Your body cannot tolerate your current belief system. It's wearing out far faster than it is supposed to because of your belief system.

Quote:
I did think about giving everything up last night, and I had a panic attack. Yes, I'm being serious. I ended up on the bathroom floor completely freaking out. The idea of *not* being involved in the community at large is just terrifying to me.
It is possible to be involved in community and not be completely stressed out. I volunteer regularly, and contributing is a natural part of our family life.

We went on a picnic Sunday, and as we were packing up to come home, spontaneously decided to take some extra time to patrol the area for litter. It was just a natural part of us relaxing as a family, enjoying nature, and feeling blessed.

There is a 3rd path, a middle way. Part of it is about balance, and part of it is about the way we look at things.

Imagine some one is attempting to drive cross country is a car that not only is low on gas, but has no oil in the engine and a tire that is so low they are driving on the rim. Do you think the trip will work? Of course not. They need to get off the highway and take care of the car.

It's not a matter of whether or not they are going the right direction or should be taking the trip, but rather, the way they are going about it isn't going to work. They are just destroying the car.

Quote:
The two things that I know are concerns I don't know how to address are that I don't know what we would do every night at home.
you would get some of the things done that you don't have time to do right now -- some of the things that keep you from getting enough sleep. From one of your earlier posts:

<<<Sundays are "cleaning days," which are supposed to be dedicated to cleaning, laundry, prepping for the week, etc. Unfortunately we've been so spent recently that we don't get everything done on Sunday, which just makes the week worse.>>

right now, you are so busy saving the world, you have trouble keeping your small child in clean clothes. You have things to do at home, they just aren't important or interesting to you.

Quote:
The idea of just "being" is...bizarre to me.
you really won't have much time to "just be." You need the time to take care of yourself, your children, and your marriage. You are neglecting all 3. You need more time to sleep.

Quote:
I don't know how many of you are familiar with abuse recovery, but it's a long, painful process. I spent a good 18 months working on myself through therapy, workbooks, group sessions, crying jags, etc.
18 months is just the beginning. You have more steps to take.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#23 of 31 Old 11-09-2010, 12:18 AM
 
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Oh, yeah, on this...yes, I probably should alter my mindset to thinking about giving money instead. We make far more money now than when we got married, so I know that we could alter our view of the money vs. time giving.
I think this is a good idea for you right now.

Also-- believe me, I know what it is like to have an activist heart in a non-activist body. I was hospitalized during the beginning of the Iraq war, having panic attacks over not being able to go to protests. But if your body won't do it, it won't, so there is no point in feeling guilty about it. Have you considered online activism, phone-banking from home, things that are less physical?
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#24 of 31 Old 11-09-2010, 12:50 AM
 
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Mama, I think you really rock for looking at this and for asking for help! I truly believe we are here to help and not to instigate feelings of guilt or defensiveness, though when those feelings DO come up, as you so wisely said, there is probably something to look at there. You'll do it in your own time.

I wanted to talk about the "just being". I think it's important for kids to have time to just be. Kids, when left alone, can come up with some really creative ideas. Mine are 8, 4 and 2. I try to make sure we have several hours a day where they are just left to their own devices to entertain themselves while I do stuff close by. They pretend to be all sorts of things, switching roles and trading off ideas. They find books and quietly look at them - even the 2 year old. My oldest draws a lot. They make forts. They go outside and build fairy houses and dig and throw leaves. They explore and are observers of their einvironment. Sure I have to intervene when a diagreeement comes up or a toy isn't being shared, but my kids will happily occupy themselves for an hour easily. It's nice to observe from a nearby distance. I think we adults don't know how "to be". Meditation will help calm and focus you. Activity is the other end of the spectrum. In the middle is "just being" with a cup of tea, gazing out the window, reading a book, relaxing as you fold laundry fresh off the clothes line - taking in the smell of the sun and fresh air that is locked in the fiber.
I think we (the general "we') are so locked into being productive and driven to be doing something. It's the general effect of capitalism. We must be producing to be worth something. Having a snuggle with your kids on the couch is the sort of chilling out and being that is priceless. Stopping to rub your husband's shoulders as he sits down for dinner, taking the kids out to the yard with no planned play and waiting to see what they do - that is just being and letting life take a deep sigh and fill you with some recharging breath of fullness that does not have a tangible result or an planned outcome. that is just being to me.....and I need to do more of it!

You're doing ok and you'll get where you need to be. You're pretty self aware and that is awesome.

As for the activist heart, I understand it. It's the urge that motivates me to continue to speak out and educate about male infant circumcion - a topic uncomfortable to many. You will find balance.

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
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#25 of 31 Old 11-09-2010, 10:31 AM
 
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[QUOTE=PuppyFluffer;16031008] I think it's important for kids to have time to just be. Kids, when left alone, can come up with some really creative ideas.

This is so well written. This past weekend I felt a little guilty because we didn't "plan" anything for DD other than piano lesson. She ended up playing outside with the neighborhood kids the entire day Saturday and Sunday. Jump roping, playing freeze tag, riding bikes, hide and seek. They had a blast and I was able to study and DH was able to chill. It was so regular and beautiful.

Me afro.jpg reading.gif Wife and Mom to modifiedartist.gif cat.gifdog2.gif.
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#26 of 31 Old 11-09-2010, 10:33 AM
 
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[QUOTE=PuppyFluffer;16031008]Mama, I think you really rock for looking at this and for asking for help!

Yes! OP, you have taken the first step.

Me afro.jpg reading.gif Wife and Mom to modifiedartist.gif cat.gifdog2.gif.
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#27 of 31 Old 11-13-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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VisionaryMom, how's your vision?  anything coming to you?  Have you found ways to lighten the load?

Just thinking about you!


"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
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#28 of 31 Old 11-16-2010, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not used to the new system so far!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
Some of you don't have an accurate picture of my life, and that's okay.
we are only going by what you are presenting in this thread. please correct us where we are wrong. You are making it sound like you are on gone many evenings and for parts of the weekends. We don't understand what the reality is.

None of us wishes to give you guilt. Some of us have been through similar things as you, and wish to share what we have learned so that you can avoid some of the some painful lessons that we have learned. You sound very tired and very stressed. We wish to help you find a path out.

Quote:
I experienced severe abuse - emotional, sexual, physical. That I lived in many homes is, I think, one of the reasons I'm so incredibly active.
I'm so sorry for what you've been through in your life. I also the pain the of a horrific childhood.

Quote:
(That you do not have to accept your situation but should instead seek to change it is the single most important lesson I want to impart to my children.)
you have a new lesson to learn right now. Your body is screaming out for you to learn. Your body cannot tolerate your current belief system. It's wearing out far faster than it is supposed to because of your belief system.

Quote:
I did think about giving everything up last night, and I had a panic attack. Yes, I'm being serious. I ended up on the bathroom floor completely freaking out. The idea of *not* being involved in the community at large is just terrifying to me.
It is possible to be involved in community and not be completely stressed out. I volunteer regularly, and contributing is a natural part of our family life.

We went on a picnic Sunday, and as we were packing up to come home, spontaneously decided to take some extra time to patrol the area for litter. It was just a natural part of us relaxing as a family, enjoying nature, and feeling blessed.

There is a 3rd path, a middle way. Part of it is about balance, and part of it is about the way we look at things.

Imagine some one is attempting to drive cross country is a car that not only is low on gas, but has no oil in the engine and a tire that is so low they are driving on the rim. Do you think the trip will work? Of course not. They need to get off the highway and take care of the car.

It's not a matter of whether or not they are going the right direction or should be taking the trip, but rather, the way they are going about it isn't going to work. They are just destroying the car.

Quote:
The two things that I know are concerns I don't know how to address are that I don't know what we would do every night at home.
you would get some of the things done that you don't have time to do right now -- some of the things that keep you from getting enough sleep. From one of your earlier posts:

<<<Sundays are "cleaning days," which are supposed to be dedicated to cleaning, laundry, prepping for the week, etc. Unfortunately we've been so spent recently that we don't get everything done on Sunday, which just makes the week worse.>>

right now, you are so busy saving the world, you have trouble keeping your small child in clean clothes. You have things to do at home, they just aren't important or interesting to you.

Quote:
The idea of just "being" is...bizarre to me.
you really won't have much time to "just be." You need the time to take care of yourself, your children, and your marriage. You are neglecting all 3. You need more time to sleep.

Quote:
I don't know how many of you are familiar with abuse recovery, but it's a long, painful process. I spent a good 18 months working on myself through therapy, workbooks, group sessions, crying jags, etc.
18 months is just the beginning. You have more steps to take.


I can't get into the quotes the way I want, so here's the response to all of the parts of what you said. I said that "we" have something every night, and that's what I meant. People seem to be interpreting that to mean that I never see my child, though I've expressly said that's not the case. All of the "I couldn't imagine leaving my child..." comments were what I was referring to because they are a) wrong and b) designed to induce guilt or let the poster feel better about her parenting choices. We are an incredibly busy family, but my children are not - and do not feel - neglected in any way.

 

We do things like that you're mentioned re: litter pick-up. We pick up food to drop at the food pantry and donate to toy drives and the like. I just need/want/feel called to different kinds of action. I'm trying to balance that with my need to take care of myself. I don't believe I'm neglecting my husband or children. My children are well cared for. We spend time talking, playing, doing art. They have time to play. From a physical perspective, they are well-fed (with homemade meals 9 times out of 10), sheltered, clothed. My marriage is stable, but I'd like to get back to a great place. That we're not there is not entirely my fault, however, but yes, slowing down some would help that.

 

One thing that struck me about what you said is that housecleaning and laundry aren't interesting to me. They're worse than that. Spending my days doing housework would be like dying a slow, agonizing death. It would feel like a life wasted. I know we're not supposed to ever say things like that, but there is it. That's how I feel. It may be that I've been cooking dinner since I was 10. I got myself and my sister ready for school and handled keeping our apartment clean, homework, laundry, etc. when I was a child. I'm sure that affects my disdain for it now. I do what we have to do to make things clean and presentable, but the idea of spending every evening doing housework really is unappealing to me. There is another way, though, and that is to hire someone else to do it. I don't actually have to do it myself to be a good mother.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
Oh, yeah, on this...yes, I probably should alter my mindset to thinking about giving money instead. We make far more money now than when we got married, so I know that we could alter our view of the money vs. time giving.
I think this is a good idea for you right now.

Also-- believe me, I know what it is like to have an activist heart in a non-activist body. I was hospitalized during the beginning of the Iraq war, having panic attacks over not being able to go to protests. But if your body won't do it, it won't, so there is no point in feeling guilty about it. Have you considered online activism, phone-banking from home, things that are less physical?


I'm iffy on online activism for reasons that aren't germane to this discussion. I do staff the local crisis hotline one week a month, which basically means I have a cell phone with me to answer calls about crisis situations. A couple of non-profits have asked if DH & I will handle their websites, which we could do from home. I've decided to volunteer 1 shift/month (4 hours) at the women's shelter and that's it. I've been available for emergency shifts, but I will remove myself from that list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PuppyFluffer View Post

Mama, I think you really rock for looking at this and for asking for help! I truly believe we are here to help and not to instigate feelings of guilt or defensiveness, though when those feelings DO come up, as you so wisely said, there is probably something to look at there. You'll do it in your own time.

I wanted to talk about the "just being". I think it's important for kids to have time to just be. Kids, when left alone, can come up with some really creative ideas. Mine are 8, 4 and 2. I try to make sure we have several hours a day where they are just left to their own devices to entertain themselves while I do stuff close by. They pretend to be all sorts of things, switching roles and trading off ideas. They find books and quietly look at them - even the 2 year old. My oldest draws a lot. They make forts. They go outside and build fairy houses and dig and throw leaves. They explore and are observers of their einvironment. Sure I have to intervene when a diagreeement comes up or a toy isn't being shared, but my kids will happily occupy themselves for an hour easily. It's nice to observe from a nearby distance. I think we adults don't know how "to be". Meditation will help calm and focus you. Activity is the other end of the spectrum. In the middle is "just being" with a cup of tea, gazing out the window, reading a book, relaxing as you fold laundry fresh off the clothes line - taking in the smell of the sun and fresh air that is locked in the fiber.
I think we (the general "we') are so locked into being productive and driven to be doing something. It's the general effect of capitalism. We must be producing to be worth something. Having a snuggle with your kids on the couch is the sort of chilling out and being that is priceless. Stopping to rub your husband's shoulders as he sits down for dinner, taking the kids out to the yard with no planned play and waiting to see what they do - that is just being and letting life take a deep sigh and fill you with some recharging breath of fullness that does not have a tangible result or an planned outcome. that is just being to me.....and I need to do more of it!

You're doing ok and you'll get where you need to be. You're pretty self aware and that is awesome.

As for the activist heart, I understand it. It's the urge that motivates me to continue to speak out and educate about male infant circumcion - a topic uncomfortable to many. You will find balance.


My kids do get plenty of unstructured time to be creative. I think we're actually okay there, and much of my guilt/concern stems from not being able to have them in more...not necessarily classes but more trips to museums, the zoo, etc. because we're always committed somewhere.

 

DH & I were considering buying a 30% share of a business. Long story short, we're not, but time is a big factor in that decision. While the kids could have been there (in a family store kind of way), we have decided that it's not the right place for us right now.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PuppyFluffer View Post

VisionaryMom, how's your vision?  anything coming to you?  Have you found ways to lighten the load?

Just thinking about you!


 

Thanks! I'm working on it. This week DS is sick. He started running a fever on Saturday, and we're going in to the doctor today. So we've been at home handling that, and I'm trying not to panic about it throwing off our schedule! Seriously, though, I have decided to limit my community work and am working on winding those down. I know people seem to be advocating just immediately dropping everything, but I'm trying to get to good stopping places. As I said, I will still staff the crisis hotline and work 1 shift/month at the women's shelter. Other than that, DH & I made a list of organizations we'd like to support financially.

 

My "career" is a mess (which is another post), and I think that's been some of the need to be involved - to feel useful and needed. DS came home from kindergarten telling me that he wants to be "first ladybug," which is a system his teacher has for moving kids along a scale based on their reading. So he's been working really hard to be the 2 kids in front of him. It's like seeing myself. I've always been (still am) hyper-competitive, which is why this illness has been such a downer. Still I think we're kind of figuring it all out...


It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#29 of 31 Old 11-16-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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And so I should give back because, but for the grace of God, I could be one of the people I help at the homeless shelter or soup kitchen.

You are giving back. You are raising two children, loving them and providing a stable, happy family for them. That in and of itself is a lot to give back to the greater community.

Any other work you do on this front is obviously meaningful and valuable, bit it will still be there when you are better able to give more of yourself without sacrificing your health, sanity, and quality time with your family. JMHO.

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#30 of 31 Old 11-16-2010, 06:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

I just need/want/feel called to different kinds of action. I'm trying to balance that with my need to take care of myself. I don't believe I'm neglecting my husband or children. My children are well cared for.

...

One thing that struck me about what you said is that housecleaning and laundry aren't interesting to me. They're worse than that. Spending my days doing housework would be like dying a slow, agonizing death. It would feel like a life wasted.


...

Thanks! I'm working on it. This week DS is sick. He started running a fever on Saturday, and we're going in to the doctor today. So we've been at home handling that, and I'm trying not to panic about it throwing off our schedule! Seriously, though, I have decided to limit my community work and am working on winding those down.


I think that it's great that you are making space to wind down. It sounds like you've been taking care of your family while doing this service, but not taking care of yourself.

 

As far as the housework stuff, I have things fairly streamlined and I'm not spending every day on it. Yet I find that my attitude towards it effects the way our home feels. Making a space for my family to live, to grow, to connect, etc isn't a life wasted. I think that there is something in this for your "personal growth." If the attitude you have that basic care of one's things, clothes, etc. isn't important, then wouldn't you be passing the message to your children than taking time to take care of themselves isn't important?  I think that if we have a correct attitude towards the clothes that keep us warm, the beds that allow us to rest, the books that feed our mind, etc., that "housekeeping" has a very different meaning than it does for people who are just going through the motions without any mindfulness.

 

There's an old proverb:

 

Before enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood, carrying water.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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