“Just like Me….Just like You”

Hi guys! It has been awhile since I last wrote. I would contribute that to me being all over the place. Ensuring that I get everything done in both my family and career. I have also made the insane, but necessary decision to re-enroll and finish my Masters degree. Crazy! I know, but its so necessary for me to get back on track and  put myself back into the game. I have finally created a fail proof schedule with the girls, my husband is supportive, and work is flexible….so why wait. Plus, I hate not finishing something that I have started. Something that I have invested time, energy, and passion into. When I look back to my scholastic journey it has always been riddled with challenges….that I would overcome. I began grad school while Erilyn was only 4 months old. I just told myself ….I have to do this for my little girl. I wanted to be able to not only provide for her, but to ensure that I reached my highest potential. I began school and surprisingly I excelled higher than I ever could imagine. I was afraid that after being out of the classroom for years since Auburn that I lost my mojo. What I realized that working in the social work field somehow gave me this DRIVE. I also like to think that becoming a mother gave me super powers and the will to just “get it done” no matter what.

So, back to present day. I am now a working wife and mother of two. I have to drum up the courage and guile to be the best that I can be. I fear; however, that before I resume this journey that I have lost myself. It seems that everything has taken a back seat to being mommy including being Erie. I noticed that I no longer do the things that make me happy. I don’t read or write like I used to. This brought me great joy, and an outlet. Now, I just don’t have the time, and when I get time….I don’t have the energy. I realized today that I am afraid that I will never be Erika again. After the post partum, I felt tons better. I felt like a better version of Me, but I have yet to feel like Erie.

Yes, I do mommy maintenance by getting my hair done bi weekly, getting massages when I can, and going to get pedicures. Those things I feel are non negotiables. I try to relish my me time that usually looks like me being in the car during my commute listening to “The read” or my fave songs. This also includes SHOWERS….yeah I said it SHOWERS. Long, hot, showers….ALONE without Eriane crying or Erilyn coming into the bathroom to ask me a million and one questions. *sighs* I know that I am not the only one who feels this way. And unfortunately there are some situations that Moms don’t even get my non negotiables. But what about losing me….my biggest fear since bringing my babies into this world is being a crappy mom or that I would lose my identity. I think this bothers me more, because I had my babies AFTER being by myself for so long. I was able to be selfish with myself and my time….things I cannot do anymore. I have to surpress my Sagittarius urge to just hop in the car and travel….go and put my hands in the air as my window is down. I know that my babies wont be babies forever…that I should focus more on cherishing these rare moments, and that I will get that time back….eventually.  I guess I am wondering if there is balance to seek? Is there a way that I can at least FEEL like Erie while being mommy? Will I be able to let my light shine again instead of looking and feeling so dull….or is it more than just being mommy, but a combination of being so many things to so many different people? Could it be that my bipolar exacerbates my current emotions? Meaning that my feelings of being dull  at times is a combination of depression and exhaustion…..? I don’t know….but I just know that I pray for full acceptance of my new roles and make peace with the new me.

Today, I was feeling VERY un-erie. I couldn’t shake it. I called my husband several times because he always seems to make things better and motivate me. Unfortunately, he was on a swat call out and unable to answer. As I lay in bed….I literally had to physically move my legs and get out of bed. I shuffled to the bathroom and lit my candles and incense. I got into the shower and just prayed. I repented to God for seeking comfort from man before trying him. I cried and told him aloud how I felt. After my shower, I felt a little better. I had a little pep in my step and then the phone rang. It was my angel Gabriel. He could hear it in my voice that I wasn’t myself. I confessed to him how I was worried I was losing me. Surprisingly, he admitted that he felt the same way. He told me how he feels exhausted too and that it makes it worse that he doesn’t get to see the babies as much. He confided in me that when he gets home the babies are already asleep and that everything is done. He felt like he was not playing an active enough role. I assured him that we were both doing the best that we could. I cried a little and he LISTENED. He assured ME that I was still Erie. That we would get the time to enjoy each other. He promised that we would make time to nurture our marriage and find time to just be Gabe and Erie…TOGETHER instead of JUST mommy and daddy. After he made me laugh a couple times I hung up feeling much better. I immediately looked up to the sky and thanked God for answering my prayer and giving me comfort from both the divine and my spouse.

I said all this to say that I am still afraid, but I know that I am doing the best I can. I know that Erie is still deep down in me and I feel supported that my husband is going to help me bring her out.  I know that even though I don’t feel like Erie that my babies are loved and they SEE ME. I feel empowered that I can do it all…..and still take care of me. I also feel empowered that I am not alone in this journey. That my husband feels the same and that there are other mommies who Feel Just Like Me…. just like you

 

*sighs and gets excited that my babies will be happy to see me when I pick them u*

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“Four Leaf Clover”

Hey ALL!

Things have been looking up for little ole me. I have begun my positive life change journey and I must say that it is the best decision I have ever made for myself. Don’t get me wrong, it was scary to decide to start something that I have never done before. Not saying that I have never been healthy before (check out my pre babes body)! But even during those times, I was still reeking of a lack of self-identity. I looked at myself through the lens of everyone else. I allowed others to zap me out of my energy, and I am realizing that positive energy is so important in this world we live in. So, back to my journey. Not only did I decide that I would make a physical change, but I wanted to grow spiritually, emotionally, and in some instances outgrow old situations. I realized that I held onto my past for dear life because people and things were so comfortable to me. I had to finally make the decision to be uncomfortable in order to embrace the new. This was hard for me on so many levels. I had to stop hiding behind the baby weight, had to stop blaming my medications for my lack of energy, and most importantly unload myself of the baggage of my own and others that I chose willingly to carry. I had to make peace within myself as well as make peace with the people of my past.

I found myself having dreams with key figures of my past and I didn’t understand it. These were people that I had moved on from so why are they in my subconscious. I  prayed and meditated on it. I heard God’s voice so clear and he said, “Say goodbye.” And so I did. Every time I had a dream and my past showed up I just sat down in my dream and talked to them. I apologized for my part in whatever occurred. Explained that I still loved them for who they are, but explained that I am not the same woman. I held their hand tight, smiled and whispered good bye. I promise ever since I have begun doing so….the physical shackles of my weight have disappeared. The self doubt has all but disappeared and I have the willpower to get up…go to that dreadful gym and put my all into being healthy. I pay attention to what I consume and put into my temple both in the physical and spiritual sense. I am very particular who I let into my energy space. When things seem off…I start with a self check. So far…so good. With all this change, I feel like a better version of me. I am more engaged with my babies and in tuned with my husband. I have the energy to get through the days even when I am beyond exhausted. Its like I was in a field of green and I plucked a four leaf clover. I feel like I hit the jackpot and I can see the results even after only a few weeks. As far as my mental health, I have accepted the fact that I need to be medicated. I took active involvement in my current medication regime and I feel in more control. I take my medication daily and do everything in moderation. I try to sleep….I mean really rest and I feel good. Now lets be honest, I am still not a morning person (and I cut out coffee) but after seeing the smiles on my family’s faces it gives me the jolt I need. You know its funny, I think my children see a difference. I am more present mentally and I see their smiles more. No. MORE. POST PARTUM DEPRESSION.

I said all of that stuff to say that I would not be where I am without the Lord and his grace.  I would not  have so much peace in my soul without the prayers from some of you. He has really put people in my reach who wouldn’t allow me to give up on me. Most importantly I learned that my husband loves me just the way I am…So how can I not truly love me?!!

 

*grabs a handful of four leaf clovers and smiles*

“Maybe yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe…”

So, it has been almost 5 months since I have been back to work full time and being a mommy of two. It has been a rollercoaster of days where I have to accept that I cant get it all done. Days where I have to say, “Welp, its a Marco’s Pizza night” because I cannot imagine making dinner; and be ok with that. Days where I’m like you know what….you need a good cry because hubby isn’t getting home till after 11 PM, Gabby doesn’t like carrots and refuses to eat, and Gracie got into trouble at school for scratching…..and be ok with crying. Then there are days that I pat myself on the back when my routine goes by without a hitch. When Gracie comes home with a good report, and when Gabby FINALLY slept in her bed. On another note, There has been a lot of acceptance on my part. Body acceptance. Lack of sleep. A lot of being nice to myself and coaching myself that I am enough. I am enough for my kids. I am enough for my husband. I am doing all I can.

But….

I haven’t felt sooooooo isolated in my life. Like I find myself alone a lot. I’m not quite sure of the culprit. I know that everything is adjustment and time is essential through transitions, but my GOSH! I know that I am in a different plane in life than say some of my friends, but it feels that I have “lost” that girl friend connection. I am not sure if its because people don’t want to “barge in on my “fairy tale” which is far fetched .” Or if its, ” She’s married…she doesn’t need me anymore.” I can say that’s farthest from the truth. I still NEED my friends. I STILL need to feel like the vibrant me. I still need to laugh. Get dressed up for a girls night. Now this can all be what’s inside my head, but this is the way that I feel. Sometimes things can be rough and my husband can only understand so much….and take so much. Though I know that its his role; I feel bad dumping on him. So, selfishly I keep it inside, and I know from experience that eventually it will all come out.

Maybe this is what 31 is…..being home….with the kiddies…working till I am beyond exhausted…dreaming of vacations with my husband….praying for at least a date night with my husband without the SWAT phone ringing. Maybe….yes

…..maybe no….

maybe

maybe

 

 

“Say a Little Prayer For You”

I looked at myself in the mirror today and decided to actually say some positive affirmations to myself. I told myself “You are doing the best that you can,” “You are a great mommy and wife,” “You are strong” “You are still beautiful” “You’re a great Social Worker”. I said a couple of other affirmations that I can’t remember, but you get the jest. I was telling myself all things that were true, but for the life of me I HAD to remind myself. As I was looking at myself in the mirror I noticed that it was hard to watch. It seemed as if it was hard for me to smile, but eventually I was able to get a glimmer of a smile. Lately, there has been this dark cloud that seemed to be over my shoulders no matter what I tried to do. I have not had the energy to do the simple things. All I could do was care for my babies and that’s it. Thank God for that little bit of energy. I only had the energy to meet their needs, and this is no way to exist. Granted I am proud of myself for pushing just enough to get them fed, dressed, held, read to, taken to daycare, etc. I was unable to cook, unable to clean, unable to sit up without crumpling over. I cared very little about my appearance. In fact, I cared for much of nothing to include eating.

So, back to this dark cloud….This cloud made me feel so overwhelmed with just breathing. I did not want to speak to anyone, but I made myself mumble things to my poor husband. I sat and compared myself to every mom that I saw on social media smiling with their newborns. I compared my post partum body to all the women on IG and on television. I wondered why I cannot be like them. Why am I wiping tears while I clean bottles? Why am I dreading waking up AND going to sleep? I imagined that I had to be the worse mom on the planet, and there was no way for someone to convince me of anything different. I prayed often for strength, peace of mind, and energy. When I spoke to family they asked what I wanted for the holidays and I simply stated, “prayer.” To me that was the most important thing that someone could do for me and it seems to have paid off.

And then poof, one day it seems that the cloud has dissipated. The sky is gray at times, but the cloud wasn’t in sight. I could breathe a little. I would like to think that it is due to the massive amounts of prayers I have prayed as well as prayers on my behalf. When I sit and think though I believe it’s due to acceptance.  I finally admitted to myself and excuse me for what I am about to say, but THIS SHIT IS HARD…..but it can and WILL be done. It is HARD, but (postpartum depression) PPD won’t always be a factor. IT is EFFIN HARD and it’s ok….because that’s my truth. My life has changed drastically and I am currently going through a transitional phase physically (my hair is still falling out and the baby weight has yet to remove itself) emotionally and somewhat spiritually, but it will all become my new normal. Being a new wife, mommy of two babies, a caregiver, a full time social worker, grad student and wearing all the hats that I wear will just be my new life. I had to accept that there is NO BALANCE. With that I had to humble myself and realize that I could not finish school right now. I fought myself on this and made up reasons why I should just try to just get through the semester. But with humbling yourself comes great sacrifice and I made the call last week. I told my advisor that I was not willing to put my 4.0 in jeopardy, and most importantly my sanity.

There just aren’t enough hours in a day to achieve this unrealistic goal of “balance”. I remember my frat brother texted me congratulating me on giving birth and he asked how I was doing and what I am looking forward to with my two girls. I happily told him I was waiting on BALANCE….and he laughed at me and told me “good luck.” I stared at my phone like….”how dare he ruin my idea.” I was still adamant that it can be done because I “thrive off having balance” and what do you know….I started to decline…..I was failing to thrive. So, now with my acceptance which was a stage in the grieving process I feel like I can do it. I can do what I can do and there is nothing else to it. I may not be able to scratch off everything on my to-do list, there will be times where I will just shed a couple of tears just because, and there will be times where I am so exhausted I cannot breathe…but I will keep breathing. I have been thanking God for this feeling of peace. I have even taken to social media to ensure that I thank my followers for their kisses to the sky in my favor.

 

There’s an Aretha Franklin song called “Say a little prayer for you” and it has been so evident in my life right now. The important goal is to not forget to pray now that I feel better; But to charge myself to use that same diligence and “Lord…..I Need You” passion to ensure that I keep him first. It was hard for me to write lately because I didn’t want my writings to be woe is me, but I hope this helps someone going through this same or something similar. The clouds must dissipate. The sun will shine again. And prayer truly works.

 

*hums “Say a Little Prayer for You” *

“Thirty for 31”

The dreaded journey of turning thirty wasn’t so bad. For me, turning thirty was an accomplishment. It was a reminder that I had successfully been through so much and that God didn’t forget me. I got married a month before turning 30, and never looked back. Little did I know that I would experience most of the months of being “dirty thirty” pregnant, moody, and depressed. Granted I welcomed the change of scenery of my new home, I was ecstatic to give birth to my honeymoon baby, and managing all the hats I had to wear. I learned in this short year that I don’t wanna HAVE to be super woman. I don’t want to be viewed as someone without balance. I literally worked to the day I gave birth. I was worried about work crap when my baby and I both needed an emergency C-section. Throughout the year; I looked around and saw overworked and unhappy women because we feel the need to wear the “Cape.” I looked in the mirror and saw myself….exhausted with bags under my eyes trying to turn in an assignment and maintain the 4.0. I decided that I didn’t want to be only identified by my struggles. Yes, I overcame my struggles, but I am NOT only my struggles. I am a walking testimony. I didn’t WANT to be on #teamnosleep…hell I need my sleep! I learned that I wanted a positive work life balance. I want to be a present mommy/wife and career woman, and with faith I believe this is possible. Which is why I had to make the rough decision to sit out of school for another semester. I cried….and cried when I realized my graduation date would be pushed back. But I knew I needed balance. I had to be mature about where I was in life, and what was more important to me. The positive work life balance I yearn for is closer as a result of my recent decision. I just gotta figure out HOW! How to balance it ALL. I didn’t want to sacrifice peace and wellbeing to be seen as Superwoman even though I married Captain America. I just want to be Erie…..simply Erika Nicole. I am longing for 31 to get here so I can apply the lessons I have learned.

In fact, I am somewhat looking forward to turning 31 next month. It will bring yet another year of growth and blessings. If you have been keeping up with my writings; the past couple months have been rough on little ole me. When I take into account all of the changes that I physically, emotionally, and spiritually went through recently it would obvious to feel where I been coming from. Lately, my daily mantra of “Just breathe Erie” has been coming in handy. Anxiety is such a dreadful emotion, and for some reason there is the thought that one can control the anxiety that seems to creep from the back of your neck to the tips of your toes. For record, the only thing you can do is …breathe. Breathe through the anxiety even you cant remember how to breathe during the moment. Yea, you can pop a Xanax or khlonpin, but you still gotta breathe…slow your heart rate down and remember that God will get you through the moment……and that it will all be over soon.

I for one feel pretty ….ok today. I showered (yall this is like therapy for me), put my hair in my pig tails, put on my day jewelry, and waited for the babies to get to nap time. Ahhhhh Nap time. A part of me wanted to nap right with them, but instead decided to embrace these rare moments of solitude. I dusted off my laptop, sent my husband to the gym, “put them babies” in their respective cribs, made a cup of pumpkin spice tea in my “Im fucking Fabulous” mug and decided to vent-write.

Hitting the 31 next month for me will hopefully be a sense of awakening. Walking into motherhood a little more confident, one year of being a wife under my belt, and embracing being a homeowner without feeling like I am behind on everything. Learning how to truly breathe is one of my short term goals along with creating a schedule for myself. I was talking with my mother in law yesterday over a nice glass of red wine and she told me how proud of me she is. I didn’t know that before that moment I needed “mommy validation.” It seems lately I haven’t been as confident as I usually am. As a result, I have been needing more validation from everyone about EVERYTHING. I hate this phase I have been transitioning from. It’s kind of annoying to feel completely and utterly overwhelmed and feeling that you’re doing everything WRONG. I feel as if I put so much pressure on myself to fulfill these roles that I am driving myself insane. Even when I decide to do something for me (leave the house, get some girl talk in, etc)  the mom guilt creeps in which causes me to cry as soon as I leave the home and second guess EVERYTHING all OVER AGAIN. AHHHHH hormones! Mood swings! PPD!

UGH. it’s been rough, but just as always I will survive….I am surviving…and this too shall pass.

*chugs tea, shakes pig tails, checks baby monitor for gracie, sighs and preps for bottle time with nugget*