I Am Broken and That Makes Me Beautiful

Have you ever heard of the Japanese art of Kintsugi? Artists will take a broken piece of pottery and repair it with a special lacquer that is dusted with silver, gold, or platinum. The broken piece becomes even more beautiful as the precious metals gleam through the seams which were once broken. Kintsugi is a celebration of seeing beauty in the flawed, expressing regret when things are wasted, and the acceptance of change. As I spent more and more time in the world of addiction, betrayal trauma, and abuse I began to feel like on big broken mess. There were little pieces of who I was scattered across the floor of my life, and I couldn’t see myself or my beauty anymore. As I have worked on healing the past few years I have allowed God to Kintsugi me back together.

I am Broken and That Makes Me Beautiful | muchnessmama.com | Japanese art of Kintsugi | repairing pottery with gold | betrayal trauma healing | addiction recovery

God Uses Broken Things

Not only does God find glory in repairing broken things he actually requires that we be broken before he can use us. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17) God can not use us until our hearts are humble enough to accept his will and instruction. None of us escape trials in this life. We all face things that can leave us feeling cracked and broken. If we allow God into our hearts he will put us back together stronger and more beautiful than we could ever be on our own. As he works in us we can begin to see the beauty in our flaws, refuse to waste our precious time and lives, and accept the changes that are an inevitable part of this mortal experience.

Seeing Beauty in the Flawed

When I was in my twenties I listened to the same radio station every morning on the way to work. They would often have a fun little trivia question with a prize for whoever called in and got it right. One day they asked what is the #1 thing people criticize about themselves that the opposite sex actually finds attractive. All sorts of answers were given. It was fascinating to hear men and women both talk about the little things they loved in their spouse or significant other that they wished that person loved in themselves as well. Answers ranged from a little bit of extra weight to freckles. The correct answer according to some survey somewhere was a gap in the two front teeth. I wonder how many people have spent money on braces trying to remove that gap that others may find incredibly attractive. How many things about myself have I seen as flawed or broken when they were the exact things about me that God could use to bless others? I can’t reach out to someone in my own perfection and be received. It is through our imperfections, our weaknesses, our struggles and our trials that we are able to connect with others. It is our willingness to let others see those cracks that allows us to truly serve them.

Regret in the Wasted

How much time have I wasted over the years trying to put forth a perfect image? How many relationships have fallen by the wayside because neither of us was willing to be vulnerable and form a real intimate connection?  How much money have I wasted on trying to look perfect, have the perfect accessories, or say the perfect thing? How many opportunities to truly serve others have been wasted because of my inability to see the beauty in my brokenness and the value in what I had to give? I don’t want to just float through life unconnected and unfulfilled because I allowed my brokenness to become trash instead of beauty. I want to connect. I want to be used. I want to let the light of Christ shine through me. I can’t do that in broken pieces on the floor. I can only do that through the beautiful glints of gold Christ repairs me with.

Acceptance of Change

Change is inevitable. We all know that, and yet we all fight it. Even when the life we are currently living is broken and ugly we resist change because we fear “what if it gets even worse?!” Well what if it gets better!? I have spent so much time in my marriage walking on eggshells trying to avoid rocking the boat. The biggest change that I have embraced through working my recovery is the need for boundaries. Not only can I embrace change, but I can create it. I can say no more. I can decide what I will and won’t live with. I can open myself up to the threat of more pain because I know that I am strong enough to handle it. I know that I have an amazing support network of women surrounding me and a God standing under me to lift me up. I can embrace the changes in life with not only trust and humility, but with excitement at what the future may hold. Sure I may trip and fall. Sometimes I may even tumble end over end back down that hill. As long as I keep getting back up, patching up each new crack with a little more gold lacquer, I know I’m not only going to survive, but I will thrive!

I Am Broken and That Makes Me Beautiful

I am Broken and That Makes Me Beautiful | muchnessmama.com | Japanese art of Kintsugi | repairing pottery with gold | betrayal trauma healing | addiction recovery

Yep I crack under the pressure. We all do. There was only one perfect man to ever walk this earth, and even Jesus needed alone time to rest and recuperate. So how do we embrace our own broken beauty? For me it starts with owning my story. Being vulnerable and sharing my heart makes me stronger. As I share my broken parts with others they have so graciously shared theirs with me. I see the beauty and strength in these women. I see their courage and their hearts. I listen to their laughs and see their tears. Every one of them is radiant and beautiful. As I see and embrace the beauty in them it becomes so much easier for me to acknowledge it in myself. It is only in the dark of night that we can see the stars. So it is with us. It is only in the cracks and broken pieces that we can truly see our beauty.

How do you find the beauty in your broken pieces? What has helped you to stop wasting life and embrace change with optimism? Who has inspired you through their broken beauty? Do you have a story of brokenness that you’d like to share as a guest blogger? Come join us in the Muchness Mama’s group on Facebook and let’s chat about it!

5 Things Sex Addicts Say When They are in Denial

Almost two months ago I first wrote out our story of sex addiction and betrayal trauma. I shared it in a few Facebook groups and got some amazing support and love. Not one single person judged us or was unkind, well at least if they did they kept it to themselves. For some odd reason one of the religious groups I shared with didn’t approve the post until today. Honestly I’d kind of forgotten I’d even submitted it there! I think God may have had a hand in it, however, because we got a few comments that two months ago would have sent me into deep trauma. Thankfully today I was able to see that they were clearly coming from someone who would rather deny their addiction and blame-shift everything onto their spouse than accept responsibility for their own choices. In fact at one point I actually laughed at the absurdity because, rather than accept the truths my husband was presenting to him he accused me of writing my husband’s responses! Aint nobody got time for that!

You don’t have to live with an addict in denial. Here are five of the most common excuses they use to avoid taking accountability for their choices refuted by my recovering sex addict husband.

5 things sex addicts say when they are in denial | muchnessmama.com | bullshit excuses for addiction | be 100% accountable | sex addiction recovery

Ladies and gentlemen I have to say that the way my husband rose to this occasion literally had me in tears. The validation that he gave to my trauma as well as that of other women was beautiful. It’s not like he said anything new, but the way he said everything all at once without a single smidge of justification, blame-shifting, gaslighting, or minimizing was exactly what my heart needed to hear today. I wanted ot share his words with you because I feel they are incredibly powerful and need to be heard by both the addicts and the betrayed.

I don’t feel it would be right to copy directly the comment he was responding to, so I will just give you a brief synopsis of each point that he responded to as he gets to them.

But did You Have Enough Sex?

The first comment accused me of not giving my husband enough sex. If I was using sex to manipulate him as most women do (his view not mine!) then it’s no wonder that my husband had to “step out”.

Was she sexually active with me? Yes. Not one or more times per week, but three times per week and often even more frequently. For 11 years. Not just for the newlywed/honeymoon phase. She did everything I asked. She took pictures. She tried every position I wanted. She dressed up the way I wanted. She broke down certain techniques and tried to do them just the way I wanted as though she were a student taking a typing class and I was the teacher. She almost never got to tell me no. Many nights, she would be physically or emotionally unprepared to have sex with me, but I always pressured her, and I always got my way. I wouldn’t call it rape, but I certainly abused her sexually, and often. During the periods in which I acted out in adultery, we were having sex with the same frequency we always had. She and I had sex within one or two days of me being with other women.

After just this one paragraph, you should be able to see clearly that she experienced deep betrayal and legitimate emotional trauma. But let’s continue.

You Can’t Get PTSD From Betrayal Trauma

Next this man took offense to me describing my betrayal trauma as PTSD and said that I couldn’t claim that unless I was officially diagnosed.

PTSD must be diagnosed by a professional. PTSD can’t have occurred unless your physical life was threatened. Think about relationships you have been in where you felt someone else had power over you that you couldn’t break. That person made decisions that were harmful to your welfare, and you felt powerless to defend yourself, change the way you were being treated, or ask for help from someone else. This happens at many levels: in superior/subordinate relationships at work, peer situations at work and school, sibling relationships at home, and many other situations. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the classic human condition in which one person consistently dominates relations with another person over a long period of time, and for whatever reason, the person on the short end of the stick stays in the relationship. I have experienced this in work situations myself. I had a boss who lied to me, cheated me out of money, asked me to do unsafe/illegal things, etc. I stood up to him and to his boss with as much vigor, logic, commonsense, and appeal to emotion as I could, but in the end, they would find anyway they possibly could to get their way. I couldn’t leave the situation because no other companies would hire me with the experience I had. The situation was drastically affecting my welfare. I was operating unsafely. Time was going by and I wasn’t making the money I should’ve been making, and my bills were not stopping. My bosses were making money off my efforts and looking for every opportunity to screw me out of what they should have been paying me. I was getting taken advantage of and I wasn’t getting compensated for it. I had nothing to show for the sacrifice I was making for this company, which included weeks upon weeks of travel time away from home. I felt like a rat in a cage. I felt like a slave. I was powerless to get what I needed. I was alone. Every time the phone rang, every time a message came through my communication system, my stomach knotted up. To this day, I still have a wave of negative energy flash through my body, stomach knots, and feelings of rage when I think about that situation and those people.

That, my friend is trauma. I was in a situation where I should have been safe, but I found myself alone, fighting a losing battle for my own welfare. It doesn’t matter whether it’s physical safety or spiritual or emotional safety. That is the situation I put my wife in. She knew she was being abused. The way I treated her felt unfair, one sided. But because she didn’t feel empowered to leave or to set boundaries, she couldn’t change the situation. She lived like this for over a decade.

Thankfully, we don’t need a doctors opinion to understand the truth. Her experience being married to me has colored her world in such a way that she now has a hard time trusting others. She is getting much better, but the way I treated her led her to believe she was fundamentally not good enough or didn’t really have anything to offer people in relationships. Little arguments still set her off so easily because she still believes I am going to drive a freight train through her life and take everything I can from her while leaving her in shambles. I have trained her to live in fear of never being seen, validated, having her needs met, or having her emotions mean something to her husband. The person who is supposed to make her feel like the most important person in the world, like she is special, valuable, needed, powerful, and beautiful, treated her like a sexual and emotional ATM, and she NEVER (yes, I will say never), ever got her needs met. She was starving emotionally and spiritually.

Hopefully you are beginning to see the kind of trauma she truly experienced and how it doesn’t just go away without a lot of love, support, therapy, and time.

Porn Isn’t That Big of a Deal; Stop Shaming Men Who Look

Yep, a supposedly good Christian man really tried to say that women make way too big a deal of this. If we would just stop shaming them then they wouldn’t have to look because they would feel better about themselves. Basically it’s all our fault they look because we get hurt when they do, and it’s really not that big of a deal anyway. I really didn’t follow the logic on this one, but ok.

Too many women treat porn like an unforgivable sin. First off, what is pornography? Do you realize that there is no such thing as a porn star? They are all in slavery in someway. Even the ones who got into it voluntarily find themselves pressured to do things they don’t want to do (pornharms.com). It’s a lifestyle they wish they could get themselves out of, but there is an abuse cycle that keeps them in it for much longer than they wanted. That’s the ones that were approached in a bar by some studio owner and went along willingly. The ones who got drugged and kidnapped and are now making videos in some warehouse in Sri Lanka are straight up sex slaves. I remember watching some movies thinking, “Wow, she doesn’t look like she’s having a very good time here.” Even when I sought out pornography for my own pleasure at the height of my addiction, it still bothered me deeply to watch these women going through this abuse. And at the time, I didn’t understand it. I really didn’t know that that’s what happened to a lot of the women that end up in those videos. But it is. Every time you watch pornography, you are creating a demand for some woman like your wife or your daughter to be kidnapped and raped in front of a camera every day of her life until she is no longer useful to her captors, at which point she will be murdered. So, since you to contradicted yourself and said women regularly use porn, I will say NOT ENOUGH women treat pornography like an unforgivable sin.

But that’s not really the point you were making, is it? You were trying to say that porn isn’t that big a deal for the user, without any regard to how it affects the people who create it. But let’s just assume for a few moments that, just like the fantasy world most people want to live in, the women in pornographic material are doing it willingly and are fairly compensated. That’s the best case scenario. It STILL violates the law of chastity. It’s still violates the social expectation of marital fidelity, whether you made a covenant in the temple with your eternal companion or married in a civil ceremony. It still hurts the women we claim to love. That is elemental and will never change. If I punch you in the face, you’re gonna be pretty pissed about it, right? Well the same goes for watching pornography. It hurts our wives’ feelings. Period. It hurts them just as much as if we went out and screwed some woman. We are telling them they are not good enough, not beautiful enough. The women in the pictures will continue to be young, fit, exotic, or somehow fitting a fantasy. The older our wives get, the more they realize they can’t live up to that expectation. We are telling them that when we have sex with them, we don’t do it because we love them and want to give ourselves to them and receive them in the most intimate, vulnerable, complete way possible, but rather because we have a bestial urge that they just happen to have the proper equipment to help us satisfy. That doesn’t sound like true love. That doesn’t sound like a celestial marriage. That sounds like abuse. So no, I don’t think enough women treat pornography like an unforgivable sin. Maybe if they did, the divorce rate in the church wouldn’t be so high.

Don’t forget how vehemently President Hinckley denounced unchastity in ALL its forms. Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Pres Hinckley, pp 217-219. Go read his comments there, then ask yourself if you aren’t guilty of that type of abuse? Claiming that women have too big of a problem with men who view pornography and that their hurt feelings over OUR egregious sin make the problem worse? God have mercy on whatever man spews that vile drivel in public like you just did.

But Women Have Porn Too!

He then said that women have their own porn, mostly in the form of romance novels and movies, but they just aren’t willing to admit that is what it is. If they indulge then why can’t I?

Women ignore their own versions of porn. Yes, they do. Women of the world who have not made covenants with the Lord. But how can you compare those women to the women in the church who by and large do not indulge in that stuff? I know there are women who don’t wear their garments on cruises with their husband while they’re wearing immodest dresses. They went to see Fifty Shades of Grey. They lost weight and posted immodest pictures of their new bodies on Facebook. But I also don’t see those women in the church anymore. The women in the church don’t do that stuff. But the men do. So you can’t justify pornography usage based on the fact that “everybody’s doing it, even the women who claim it’s such a big problem for them.“ Besides, even if that were a correct premise, try saying that to the Savior when you meet him and see how far past the gate that gets you.

Men are Visual, Women are Emotional

Men are more driven by their eyes and women by their emotions. It’s just sooooo hard for men not to look and they aren’t capable of the emotional connection that women want.

This comment highlights the type of emotional retardation for which men are infamous inside and outside the church in this day and age…Probably since the beginning of the world. I declare that men and women are created exactly equally both in terms of sexual drive and desire for emotional connection. See, once you start figuring this stuff out, you realize that what you were looking for all along in all the ways you acted out was an emotional connection that made you feel loved, important, and secure. Sexual relations are the pinnacle of such a relationship with a member of the opposite sex. But Satan knew what kind of havoc he could wreak if he were able to confuse us into believing that sex was the beginning point in seeking out emotional satisfaction. And he is winning that battle quite handily at the moment. Satan wants us to believe that men are built for watching football and drinking beer and fixing stuff and slapping each other on the back and hurling jestful insults at each other while women were built to connect and talk about their emotions. But that is false. Men were created to talk about their emotions and connect with other men and with women just like women were built. So long as Satan has us believing that we are fundamentally incompatible, he will continue to tear apart our families. But if you can accept that you will feel happy and free when you really get in touch with your emotions and feel a connection to yourself, God, and others all at the same time, it becomes so easy and so clear to see that we are all the same. Male and female, we are all worried that we aren’t enough, that nobody will love us, that we are really a fraud. Relationships with others in which we reveal ourselves and lovingly accept what others reveal to us gives us the true freedom and security from all of that negative self talk Satan wants us to buy and sell every time we have a lustful thoughts or commit an unchaste act.

Be 100% Accountable

Here’s the thing ladies and gents; an addict is ALWAYS 100% responsible for his/her actions. It doesn’t matter if you came from an abusive home, were assaulted, bullied, shamed, didn’t get enough sex, oh I could go on and on. You are always capable of making a better choice. Always! The only thing an excuse can do is keep you stuck in a pit. IF you want to get out you have to be willing to do the hard work to change. Sure God throws a ladder down there in the form of 12 step groups, books, therapists, community, and more, but it’s up to you to grab hold and climb out one rung at a time. We all have trials. We all have bad things happen that hurt us. It is always our choice to grab life by the reigns and move forward with grace and dignity or wallow in the mud feeling sorry for ourselves. This speech by Lynn G. Robbins is an excellent read on the subject of taking responsibility for your life regardless of the circumstances.

Now please don’t think this means you have to stuff down any negative emotion and pretend life is a bed of roses. Nope. You cry. You rage. You process. Then you move on. Healing and growth are lifelong processes. They never stop, so we shouldn’t stop either. You got this. You just have to be willing to do it.

What other excuses have you used or heard to avoid working recovery? What fears hold you back from your own healing/recovery? What are you going to do today to take more responsibility for your life? Come on over to my group Muchness Mamas on Facebook and let’s talk about it!

Overcoming Fear- I Walked on Fire, I Can do Anything

I have spent way too much time letting fear run my life. Fear of failure, fear of judgment, fear of losing people, and yes, even fear of success. Why is fear such a powerful force in our lives? To answer that question we have to understand what fear is and where it comes from.

Overcoming Fear I Walked on Fire, I Can do Anything| muchnessmama.com

What is fear?

At the Determined to Rise retreat in Randolph, UT we were given the opportunity to participate in firewalking. I’ll admit I only went to watch. I had absolutely zero intentions to actually participate. What type of crazy person walks on 1200 degree coals?!?! Before we were allowed to move to the fire an amazing instructor spoke to us. He explained how fear is programmed into our brain. Fear is simply put the brain’s way of keeping us alive. Every experience we have is recorded and stored then accessed when we are in a situation so we know if we should fear.

For example a baby is sitting on the floor and is approached by a harmless daddy longlegs spider. The baby laughs. He doesn’t fear that spider. The spider crawls on the baby’s leg. He just giggles because it tickles. He grabs the spider and pops it in his mouth right as mommy walks into the room. Now mommy doesn’t like spiders and she screams “NOOOOOOO!” Well that is a scary noise and baby starts to cry. Mommy runs over and scoops him up and babbles something about that mean old scary spider. You’d better believe that for the rest of his life that baby will now fear spiders. His brain has recorded that experience and now tells him that spiders are scary. That fear overrides reason and logic. The only way for us to get out of that fear is to choose to take control of it.

Fear can be a very real warning of danger, but as often as not fear is simply False Evidence Appearing Real. Just like in the story of the spider we often are trained to fear things that hold no real danger to us. Before publishing my post about my husband’s sex addiction I was paralyzed by fear. It took my nearly a year to even write the post and another several days to hit publish. I was afraid others would judge me. I was afraid they would reject me. I was afraid that after sharing my hope it would be dashed by another relapse from my husband. I was afraid that I was a total imposter in the world of healing betrayal trauma, I mean after all what do I know?  Want to know what happened after I published my story. I got messages, lots of them. Every single one of them was from someone who wanted to reach out in support. Not only did my fears not materialize, but the opposite actually came true. I found strength, healing, and support that I didn’t know was possible.

How do You Conquer Fear?

So how did I overcome my fear enough to push that publish button? Conquering fear takes both logical thought and decisive action. Every single one of us has an inner voice that will guide us if we can push through the fear to listen to it. Sometimes it will tell us that the route we are considering is not safe. Our inner voice is very smart after all. Sometimes listening to the fear is the proper choice, as long as we are doing it out of rational thought and not being controlled by the fear. More often though by thinking through things logically we will allow our inner voice to calm the fear and give us the courage to take action. I had to ask myself what if all of these horrible things I am imagining actually come true? What if my husband relapses? Can I live through that? I’ve done it before. What if my friends abandon me? Can I handle that? Well I have two real friends that already know my story and they’ve stuck by me. I also have huge amounts of support in my FB groups of warrior women! Even if the rest of the world turns against me I know I will always have them. What if I get hateful and judgmental comments from the peanut gallery? Well I suppose I’ll live through that too. Not like I’ve never had a bully in my face before. I can survive that too. Not only can I survive all these things, but I can thrive through them! Then, with my inner voice cheering me on, I hit publish, shut down the computer, and went to bed. I wanted to make sure people saw it before I had a chance to back out. That was my decisive action!

We can only conquer fear when our motivation to succeed becomes bigger than our fear. The most important part of conquering fear is knowing your why. What is it in this world that you are willing to fight and sacrifice for? Family? God? Yourself? Find something that gives you the power to keep stepping one foot after the other no matter what obstacles are in your way. Everything starts with why.

I Conquered My Fear

When we got to the fire our instructor told us it was time to set our personal intention if we were going to walk across that fire. He said “Who or what would you be willing to walk across fire for?” He had told us earlier that he usually sees his family. Now maybe this makes me a bad mom or wife, but I can’t honestly say I felt that conviction that they would carry me across that fire. Instead what came instantly to my mind was a vision of myself emotionally healthy, full of confidence and strength. Could I walk through fire to become that woman? Did I believe in her enough? Did I love that woman enough to walk through fire to become her? In that moment I knew my inner voice was telling me that I had to walk. I hesitated a bit. Man this crap was SCARY!! I took off my shoes, squared my shoulders, and got in line. I knew that this challenge was something I had to do in order to propel myself into greater health, strength, and self-love. As I came to the front of the line I said “I am walking tonight because the girl on the other end of this path is worth it!” I raised my hands as a symbol of surrender to the process, and stepped out onto the hot coals with my chin high. I honestly didn’t feel a thing other than a slight crunching under my feet. As I reached the other side I felt a new power and self-confidence. I made a commitment to myself to push through all of the fears that are still holding me back from becoming the person that God created me to be.

COnquering Fear- I walked on fire | muchnessmama.com | listening to my inner voice | finding my strength

I am strong.

I am beautiful.

I am wise.

I am confident.

I am courageous.

I am capable.

I am victorious.

I walked on fire, and I can do anything!

What fears do you need to conquer? Do you know your why? Who or what would you walk through fire for? Come join us in The Muchness Mamas Facebook group and let’s talk about it!

You’re Not Alone- Parenting a Child with Mental Illness

Remember that moment you became a parent for the first (second, third, or eighth) time, suddenly all you could think about was how amazing this tiny human would grow to be. You thought of their future job, spouse, how many children they would have, and all the amazing things they would accomplish in their lives. All of your hopes and dreams for them seemed limitless and I was the same.

I used to think of all the things my sweet babe would need to learn in order to grow into the man I hoped to rear. He would be strong, a defender of the weak, humble, God-fearing, faithful, honest, loyal, and a good listener. I would teach him to cook, and clean and be self-sufficient so his future wife would have a true helpmeet. He would be a man with values and strong moral courage to stand up for what was right. He would be all of these things and more. What I didn’t plan for, is he would also be suicidal.
Parenting a Child With Mental Illness | muchnessmama.com | You're Not Alone | anxiety | depression

Hi – I’m Brandy, and I’m the mother of an 11 year old who has suicidal ideations!!!

I’m willing to bet you didn’t know depression and suicidal tendencies occurred in such young children. It’s a sad fact that more and more preteen boys and girls are having thoughts of self harm. In fact, suicide is the leading cause of death in children from ages 10-18 according to the CDC!

I’m not here to give you a list of reasons why this happens, or even bore you with the specifics of the physiology of the human brain. What I do a want, is to encourage you or anyone who is raising such a child and help you understand that you’re not alone. So maybe you can find hope in my story and some normalcy in mental health and raising a child who struggles with major depression and suicidal thoughts. Here’s my story.

Three years ago my son’s father and I divorced. It was a surprise to me, and of course my, then 8-year-old, thought for certain he’d done something horrible to make his dad leave. My ex did not leave us gently either, for lack of a better word, he abandoned us. Left me with all the debt, all the bills, a child, and no way to take care of any of it. We were devastated! With much counsel and support from a loving Bishop we began family therapy with a licensed therapist to work through this difficult ordeal and the feelings that came with it.

During this time I knew I needed to find work that would support us. I had so me college classes but no degree that I could use. So I had some tough decisions to make and ended up going back to school full-time to become a nurse. The school I chose was accelerated, completing a 4 year Bachelor degree in 2.5 years. That meant I needed to make some sacrifices. Time was a precious commodity now. I went from being a stay-at-home-mom to full-time student and part-time employee within a very short period of time. This meant less time for fun and family. I tried as best as I could to only study when Ethen was a sleep or at school, leaving what little time I had left just for him. We talked about the sacrifices we had to make often, but still he struggled. He would cry to me saying how much he wanted time with me but knew how important it was I study. No amount of therapy helped. We persisted though.

There came a point when my ex moved back to the state we reside in and we agreed to a bi-monthly weekend visit. The time off for me was hard but a welcome reprieve. I missed him when he was gone, but enjoyed my time for self-care. Then trouble started really happening! Every time my kiddo would come home, he would be a terror for several days. Attitude, yelling, talking back, not doing homework or chores were constant struggles between us. As much as I assured him he was loved but insisted that rules be followed he would fight me. This only made power struggles more difficult. Come to find out, there’s very little structure and rules at his dad’s, a stark contrast to my home. We had so many conversations between us and with our therapist about the differences between our homes. Things only got worse.

Fourth grade was the worst year. Enter school yard bullies! Don’t get me wrong, my child is no angel, and I fully warned his teacher that year. I asked her to work with me, to help him learn to better control his emotions. That went out the window it seemed, because that year my son was suspended from school FOUR TIMES and the last time they actually wanted to expel him. He would be bullied and harassed at school and told “ignore it” when he would report it. Of course this direction doesn’t work and gives bullies more power, so after ignoring it for so long, my son couldn’t take it any longer and explode (verbally not physically thankfully). On one occasion, he was physically assaulted and yelled at the kid to not touch him. Guess who was suspended… if you guessed my son, you guessed right. When this happened, it broke my son. He had his first real moment of contemplating ending it all. He was 10.

I thank God that my relationship with Ethen is strong enough that he willingly confides in me these feelings. I’ll never forget that first time he told me that, while in his room, he held a knife to his heart. I grabbed him, hugged him, and we both cried. My anger and frustration about whatever had happened previously faded, and so many emotions took their place. I was afraid, sad, and relieved all at once. We went to therapy the next day, and determined he wasn’t currently (in that moment) a threat to himself, so we made a safety plan and continued on with life.

Things did not get easier though. He would spiral out of control emotionally. He was becoming lost to me. It didn’t help I was busy with school/work and he had an emotionally unavailable father. But we kept at it. Over the course of the following year and a half, he would make two more serious threats to his life. He would say to me things like he wished he’d never been born, or could be born over again so he could start over. He would say he wants to be good, but doesn’t feel he can ever be good so he might as well not be here at all.

The final straw was only a few weeks ago. We hit a major wall in this uphill journey. There was some argument about some insignificant topic that sent him spiraling and falling fast! He came downstairs crying carrying his pellet gun and BEGGING me to throw it out. He had held it to his head and was going to pull the trigger. Now a pellet gun is, technically a toy, but it uses compressed air to propel a pellet (about the size of a bb but more oblong shaped) out of the barrel. At close range and in direct contact with the temple (a soft tissue area of the head), it could have been very dangerous.

Panic set in! I threw the gun away and called our therapist immediately. We were at a point of no return! We had an emergency meeting with his therapist, this time he was asked on a scale of 0-10 how likely he was to hurt himself. Ethen responded with “an 8 or 9!” My heart sank! I was told to take my son to the emergency room for an emergent mental health evaluation. That was the longest drive of my life!

My son would spend the next five days in a mental health facility. It was the worst experience of my life, and certainly his. He hated being there, and begged me to take him home. He was there under a doctor’s order which meant I couldn’t take him even if I wanted to. Visits were very restricted and limited to 30 minutes every day, and only at specified times. There was also phone calls, but again, highly restricted time frames. I visited and called every day I could. Each time crying as I left the facility or hung up the phone. Where had I gone wrong?
Parenting a child with mental illness | muchnessmama.com | you're not alone | anxiety | depression

The truth of the matter is I hadn’t done anything wrong. My child is simply one of the millions of Americans and American children who suffer with major depression. The chemicals in his brain do not function properly. It’s as simple as that, and nothing I did caused it. Though it doesn’t feel like that at all! We still have a very long road ahead of us, but he’s on the road to recovery.

We take it one day at a time. We maintain balance, structure, and I ensure he takes his medication as prescribed. I still keep open communication with him, laugh with him, snuggle with him, help him with homework, and everything else a parent does. Just like every other parent out there, but perhaps I’m more vigilant and must take EXTRA steps any other parent wouldn’t necessarily take to ensure his safety. All weapons are locked away with the keys in safes he doesn’t know the combination to and the kitchen knives, razor blades, even staples and glass are closely monitored to ensure he doesn’t use them to harm himself. It’s exhausting and scary!

This is my story about parenting a child with suicidal ideations. It is not at all what I ever imagined for my son, or for me as a parent. I’m learning new ways to parent. I’ve never prayed so hard in my life. I’ve reached out to my support systems and even found new support systems specifically for this. Our journey is far from over, in fact it’s really only begun. But I know that Heavenly Father loves us and he wants us to rely on him. He’s not going to magically take this away from us, but show us how to live with it. I trust the perfect parent, to show me how to be the parent my suicidal child needs!

Learn more about mental health and depression by visiting the National Alliance on Mental Illness website at www.NAMI.org – together we can end the stigma that surrounds mental health issues in our country!

A Huge thank you to my favorite bestie Brandy for this guest post. Have you dealt with mental illness in your child? What resources have you discovered for yourself or your child? What do you wish people knew about parenting a child with mental illness? Come chat with us in the Muchness Mamas Facebook group!

Do you have your own “You’re Not Alone” story to share? I am looking for more guest bloggers! If you have an idea for a post that will help other women who may feel alone in their struggles please contact me.

What is Betrayal Trauma?

In my previous post I told you that I have betrayal trauma induced post traumatic stress (PTSD), adrenal fatigue, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Some of you may have read that and said “huh? What in the world is betrayal trauma!?” I know that’s what I thought the first time I heard the term. Understanding is the first step to healing, so this post is all about understanding betrayal trauma and it’s affects on the individual and the relationship.

What is Betrayal Trauma? | muchnessmama.com | When you are betrayad by a spouse or caregiver it can leave deep wounds. Did you know that the symptoms of betrayal trauma are the same as the symptoms of PTSD?

Betrayal Trauma Definition

The term betrayal trauma was first introduced by Jennifer Freyd in 1991 at a presentation at Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute. According to Freyd “Betrayal trauma occurs when the people or institutions on which a person depends for survival significantly violate that person’ s trust or well-being: Childhood physical, emotional, or sexual abuse perpetrated by a caregiver are examples of betrayal trauma.” (link) So as a wife of a sex addict I experienced trauma when I discovered the ways in which my husband was acting out. When this trauma hit it was a HUGE betrayal because it felt like there was more harm that could come from confronting and standing up to it than there was in putting my head down, walking on eggshells, and trying to maintain the peace. For me personally betrayal trauma has also been sustained by my husband’s anger management problems in our early years as well. Double whammy!

The Affects of Betrayal Trauma

Freyd further tells us that when trauma involves a betrayal we are less likely to be aware of what is occurring or recall the details. Why? Because when we confront the perpetrator it threatens an attachment that we feel is necessary to our survival. Those awesome survival instincts can kick in and literally erase our memory or change it to make the betrayal seem like less of a threat.  I felt like I was all these monkeys combined into one! I refused to hear or see the abuse in my marriage and definitely terrified to say anything about the things I did notice.

What is Betrayal Trauma? | muchnessmama.com | wife of a sex addict | spouse of an addict | PTSD Joao Tzanno

When our conscious mind is protecting us, and our subconscious mind is screaming that everything is not ok it can lead to some pretty severe problems. In a recent study it was shown that ~70% of wives of sex addicts could be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Yep, the same thing that military folk come home with is what traumatized wives deal with. Lucky me, I got both! I will say, however, that my trauma from deployment was VERY minimal to the extent that I didn’t even really realize that it existed for a long time. My betrayal trauma due to addiction has been much more in my face and in control of my life. PTSD comes with a lot of really fun symptoms including:

  • Spontaneous or cued recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic events
  • Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content or affect (i.e. feeling) of the dream is related to the events
  • Flashbacks or other dissociative reactions in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic events are recurring
  • Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic events
  • Physiological reactions to reminders of the traumatic events
  • Persistent avoidance of distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic events or of external reminders
  • Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic events (not due to head injury, alcohol, or drugs)
  • Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted,” “The world is completely dangerous”).
  • Persistent, distorted blame of self or others about the cause or consequences of the traumatic events
  • Persistent fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
  • Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
  • Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others
  • Persistent inability to experience positive emotions
  • Irritable or aggressive behavior
  • Reckless or self-destructive behavior
  • Hypervigilance
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Problems with concentration
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep

Yeah, that’s a lot. All of these symptoms can also take their toll physically. Adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, joint and/or muscle pain, headaches, weight gain, and even more often manifest themselves when a person is suffering from trauma. “The Body Keeps The Score” is a great book to read if you are more interested in this topic. It’s WAY too much to cover here.

How To Heal From Betrayal Trauma

Quite frequently all these symptoms are lumped into one happy little diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression. Here pop a pill and be on your merry way! While I’m all for medication if and when you need it really healing trauma requires far more than that.

4 Steps for Betrayal Trauma Recovery | muchnessmama.com | you can heal from betrayal trauma, but it requires a lot fo work. Here are 4 important steps to get you started.

First and formost you need to get out of your isolation! That is why I have ripped the curtain off my life and decided to start sharing here, thankfully with my husband’s full support and even cheerleading. You need to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! As I said in my previous post 64% of Christina men admit to at least monthly viewing of pornography. I dont’ think there is a single woman in this world who has not been affected by sex addiction in some way. Whether it’s harassment from schoolmates or coworkers or a deep betrayal of a spouse we’ve all been touched. It is not your fault. You don’t deserve it. You are worthy of love and respect. There are a few different groups out there that you can meet with in person. S-Anon is the partner program to Sexaholics Anonymous. They provide pretty good support, but they follow a codependency model which I believe is very unhealthy, so I would not personally recommend them. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints offers a Spouse and Family Support Group. These meetings are based on some beautiful principles. The leaders, however, are missionaries called by the church. They may or may not have any actual education or experience with trauma. Some meetings can be further re-traumatizing. If your local meeting is not a supportive safe place for you there are many phone meetings to choose from as well. Lifestar and Healing Through Christ are two other groups I am aware of. They both lean towards codependency though, so once again not my highest recommendations. I am also a member of a few different groups on Facebook. Due to the sensitive nature of the topics discussed these groups are secret. If you are interested in learning more about these groups please feel free to contact me. Determined to Rise is also a great resource for connection. I am REALLY looking forward to attending the retreat that they are hosting next month in Utah.

Second, and equally important, is counseling with a qualified therapist. Finding the right therapist can be very difficult. While there are all sorts of certifications you can look for ultimately it all comes down to do they know and understand betrayal trauma. It is also really helpful if they are trained in EMDR and/or neural feedback therapy (more on those in a future post). Both of these help to integrate the mind/body connection and speed up the healing process.  Betrayal Trauma Recovery is an excellent resource for finding a good counselor. They are coaches rather than certified therapists, but they have focused their training on betrayal trauma and most are victims as well. One last note on therapy. NEVER EVER EVER do couples therapy with a man who is still in active addiction. It usually does far more harm than good as it provides a platform for the addict to further abuse you through manipulating and gaslighting both you and the therapist. I would recommend that an addict is working a solid recovery program and attending weekly counseling sessions on their own for at least 3-6 months before you even consider couples therapy. When you do start couples therapy look for a therapist who uses Emotionally Focused Therapy techniques. Addiction is at the root a disease of connection. Learning to reconnect to your own emotions and your spouses in healthy ways is far more important than directly working on any specific marriage issues, especially in the early stages of healing a relationship.

Third, become  a learn it all. No one is ever going to care as much about your healing as you do. Knowledge is power and you need all the power you can get to escape the pit that you find yourself in while dealing with these issues. The first book I would start with is “Your Sexually Addicted Spouse“. If you are dealing with verbal abuse or out of control anger as I was then I would also highly recommend “Why Does He Do That“. For dealing with your own insecurities adn regaining your individuality and muchness anything by Brene Brown is pure gold. I’m currently working through “The Gifts of Imperfection” book via the art journaling class.

Fourth is some solid self-care and self-love work. Self-Care is NOT selfish! You matter. You are important. You can not give to others what you don’t have for yourself. Your capacity to love others, including and even especially your own family, is limited by your ability to love yourself. If you struggle with this I would encourage you to find ten minutes every day where you can just do something you love. Take a walk, do some art, sing in the shower, just do whatever makes you happy. Then look in the mirror and say to yourself “I am a beloved child of God with infinite potential. I am worthy of love. I love you Emily!” Please put your own name in there though. While I do enjoy adoring fans this is about you.

What is Betrayal Trauma | muchnessmama.com | Positive Affirmations | you are beloved | Child of God

Are you or a loved one suffering from Betrayal trauma? What more do you wish you knew about it? I’d love to see you over in my Muchness Mamas group on Facebook where you can discuss this and other topics in a group of supportive and understanding women.

 

Blogging Boot Camp

I’ve been blogging off and on since 2010. I’ve read lots of books, talked to lots of people, and joined lots of Facebook groups. There are two things that have helped me more than anythign else. First was personal coaching with Christine Tremoulet. You can read all about her awesomeness on my Smith Squad blog. Second is Blogging Boot Camp with Brenda Ster.

Brenda is the owner of the company “The Sassy Suite” which she started to help direct sellers excel in their business without annoying all their friends with spammy marketing tactics. She has some absolutely amazing classes on using social media to sell. Two of the many I’ve taken that I loved are the Suite Success with Instagram video course and the Winning with Pinterest video course. My absolute FAVORITE course is blogging boot camp. In fact The Muchness Mama wouldn’t exist without Blogging Boot Camp. I was a member of Blogging Boot Camp 5.

The best part of this Blogging Boot camp is that they help you with both the technical and the artistic details of creating and maintaining your blog. They don’t just set it up and leave you high and dry to figure out the rest. This course is completely comprehensive on how to use wordpress, pick and change themes, customize themes, come up with content ideas, create basic graphics, etc. Best of all you get tons of help from the other students and the instructors in a private facebook group as well as assistance and feedback from the community at large in a closed Facebook group. I can’t say enough about how fun and helpful Brenda, Wendy, Hope, and the other instructors are. I’d honestly say this course is worth double what they charge.

If you are ready to revolutionize your business, reach new costumers, become an influencer, share your message, and get found on Google the Blogging Boot Camp is the way to do it. Simply click the image below to get more details and get started.

Sassy Suite Blogging Boot Camp

Weak Things Become Strong

We all have weaknesses. Character flaws, not yet achieved ambitions, desires to do or be better. We also all have strengths. A big part of self-love and self-care is being able to accept our current state of being while still pushing forward to always be better. With that intent we often quite vigorously hunt for our weaknesses, catalog them, make goals for change, collect accountability partners, then proceed to beat ourselves up over our perceived imperfections and lack of acceptable progress. We all know that God can make weak become strong. He can change and refine us to be more than we ever could on our own.

Weak Things Become Strong | muchnessmama.com | self love | make your weaknesses strengths | weak things of the world | you are unique

What if we changed our perspective a bit? Maybe the things we consider weaknesses can actually be our greatest strengths WITHOUT being changed. Maybe with some things exactly who we are is exactly who God wants us to be.

I was first introduced to this idea when I read the book “Parenting the Ephraims Child” by Jaime Theler and Deborah Talmagde. In this book they talk about traits that are often considered weaknesses in children and challenges parents to reframe them and strengths in need of refinement. For example stubbornness is VERY annoying when your 3-year-old won’t stay in their bed. That same trait, however, can lead them to say no when they’re a teen and their friends offer them drugs or alcohol. A child who is very sensitive and always having hurt feelings can become incredibly compassionate and charitable. 

Weak Things Become Strong | muchnessmama.com | self love | make your weaknesses strengths | weak things of the world | you are unique

Take a moment a jot down a list of your perceived weaknesses. If you’re anything like me things like eating healthy, exercise, yelling at the kids, etc. might be on your list. Some things really are just weaknesses that need to be improved on. What things are on your list that maybe could be strengths if just refined a little? I’ll give you one of mine as an example. I am a very easily distracted person. I have a hard time sitting and completing a task all in one go. I’ve started, stopped, and restarted this blog post three times now! I’ve always thought my lack of singular focus was a weakness. Then I started to really think about why I was so distracted. It was because I was acutely aware of what was going on around me. This awareness leads me to notice things that need to be done, and often allows me to bless others. I am aware of the woman sitting on the edge of the room alone who looks like she may need a friend. I’m aware of the person in a wheelchair coming up behind me who may appreciate having a door opened. I am aware that a child is struggling with a task that they haven’t thought to ask for help with. This awareness allows me to bless others. This awareness also made me a really good intelligence analyst in the Marine Corps. My husband really appreciates it when we are watching movies with complicated story lines and I can point out the small details he missed that pull everything together.

God made each of us unique. We all have different talents and abilities. There is no one else on this earth who has the exact same mix of strengths and weaknesses as you. You aren’t a mistake or an accident. He created each of us quite intentionally. I would challenge you to take some time this week and identify those things that you have perceived as weaknesses that could become your greatest strengths. Celebrate who you are instead of comparing to others and wishing that you had their talents. Now take your newfound strengths out into the world for a test drive and let me know how it goes.

Paparazzi accessories $5 "I am Strong" necklace | muchnessmama.com | self-love | self-care

Come join our Muchness Mamas Facebook community and share what weaknesses turned strengths you’ve identified. We’d love to hear your stories of how you have used them to bless yourself and others.

The Leaky Bucket-Managing Your Daily Energy Reserves

I had always imagined my energy reserves as a big metal bucket full of water. This bucket had holes all over the bottom constantly spitting out water as a small stream ran in. In my little mental cartoon I was manically trying to plug as many holes as I could to make sure my bucket didn’t drain faster than it could fill. As you can imagine that was a rather messy and quite impossible task.

managing your daily energy reserves | mucnessmama.com | introvert | extrovert |energy draining | energy filling | leaky bucket

Then I watched “Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life” with Stanford professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans on CreativeLive. They had the students make a chart. On the chart they were supposed to list their top 10-15 tasks that they typically did every day. Then they were supposed to use a bar to represent whether that task was energy filling or energy draining. Make sure to really think about this part. Draining doesn’t always mean unpleasant. I LOVE our weekly homeschool coop meetings. Being surrounded by 20-30 noisy kids for ~3 hours is still VERY draining for an introvert mom, no matter how much fun we are having. What they said next surprised me. I thought they were going to talk about how to get rid of or reduce the energy draining activities, AKA plugging the holes in the bucket. Instead they started to brainstorm on how you could manage your overall energy reserves by either changing the draining activity to a filling one, or creating a fill-drain-fill sandwich.

Changing an Energy Drainer to a Filler

So how do we CHANGE that draining activity into a filling activity? One example they gave was the daily board meeting. Instead of having it in the boardroom why not meet at the coffee house around the corner before going in to work and have some drinks and snacks while you talk? For those of us who stay at home why not turn on your favorite dancing music and sing along while doing dishes? By pairing a draining activity with a filling one your total energy balance after the activity will be much higher than before.

The Energy Fill Sandwich

What do you do when you can’t change an activity to make it less draining and more filling? Bill and Dave suggested the fill-drain-fill sandwich. In a work setting maybe you go for a short walk before the awful board meeting then treat yourself to a yummy healthy lunch afterwards. At home you may have hot shower, do the house cleaning, then take a quiet moment to read a book. By sandwiching a draining activity in between two filling activities you make sure your bucket is overflowing before it starts draining and then replenished after it’s drained.

Balancing the Fill and Drain Rates

While getting rid of energy draining activities certainly helps self care isn’t all about getting rid of the things that drain you. Fact is there are certain draining things that just have to be done. Living life drains energy. It’s just impossible to plug every hole in the bucket. When I started to shift my focus from plugging holes to increasing the water flowing in my energy level has gotten and stayed higher throughout the day. Instead of a 2 hour laundry marathon I now write a blog post (energy filling), fold a basket or two (majorly energy draining), then take some time to do a little art. I’ve been able to enjoy my kids more, feel more satisfied with my life at the end of the day and I find that I am getting a LOT more accomplished. Washing dishes doesn’t seem like quite the same torture it was before when I know my calligraphy pen is waiting for me when I’m done. The best part is that when the unexpected drains occur (three year old temper tantrums come to mind) my energy reserves are higher allowing me to better handle stressful situations.

What are your biggest energy drains and fillers? What can you do to restructure your activities or schedule to better regulate the flow of incoming energy adn keep your bucket full? Come join the Muchness Mamas Facebook community to continue the discussion!

Filling Your Bucket with Drops of Awesome

If you are anything like me then most days you go to bed with with a mountain of regrets and a long list of to-do’s that never got done. It’s a little bit too easy to get lost in the negative self-talk of “I’m a failure!” What if instead every night you focused on counting your drops of awesome?

What are drops of awesome? Well they are all the successes, big and small, that you have every day. Stop to think about it and I bet your list gets pretty long, even longer than the failures. Each positive action is a tiny drop of awesome that you get to put in your Super Mom bucket. I bet you’ll find that you need to upgrade to a bigger bucket once you give yourself permission to recognize and celebrate them. Check out the book by Kathryn Thompson on Amazon.

Drops of awesome | MuchnessMama.com | self-care | self-love | you are enough

 

Collect Your Drops of Awesome

Did your kids get fed today? Drop of awesome!

Did you snuggle a sad child? Drop of awesome!

Did you count to 5 and talk calm when you wanted to yell? Drop of awesome!

Helped a child with a school assignment? Drop of awesome!

Pregnant or breastfeeding? Drop of awesome, or maybe ten!

Created something just for yourself? Drop of awesome!

Mopped the floor, that has been dirty for a week or two? Drop of awesome!

Put on real clothes AND brushed your hair? Drop of awesome!

It would be really easy to look at all these moments and say “Suzie homemaker NEVER feeds her kids cereal!” or “Why should I be proud that I procrastinated the dishes until I ran out and had to use paper plates for the third meal in a row?” or “I’m so selfish for ignoring my kids for 5 minutes!” That kind of negative thinking can not only destroy you, but it makes it even harder to succeed tomorrow. YOU ARE ENOUGH!! 

I am enough | muchnessmama.com | self care | self love | drops of awesome | supermom

Focus on the Positive

I have a challenge for you. Get yourself one of those little click counter things. Every day for the next week after you get it carry it around and give yourself a click each time you collect a drop of awesome. At the end of the day write down a few of them in your journal. At the end of one week I bet you will be amazed at how much focusing on your awesome seriously improved your mood and self worth.

YOU ARE AWESOME!!

Why not start here and now collecting your drops? Head on over to our Facebook Community and wave your brag flag by telling us all about today’s drops of awesome.

You Don’t Have to Enjoy Every Minute of Motherhood

“The time will pass so fast. Just enjoy every minute!”

I call big fat BULL$***!!

You Don't Have to Enjoy Every Minute | muchnessmama.com | motherhood is hard | self-care | self love |

Are you seriously telling me that I should enjoy rinsing poop out of my three-year-old’s underpants? I should be whistling a happy tune while scrubbing the make-up off my walls? I should be in the throes of euphoria while repeating “JUST PUT YOUR SHOES ON!!” for the tenth time when we are now ten minutes late getting out the door? Or do you think I should be laughing through every moment my baby screamed and there was nothing I could do to comfort him?

Nope. I don’t buy it. Life is full of all sorts of emotions, and none of them are bad, shameful, or to be avoided. Stop telling moms to stuff their feelings!

Instead let’s tell moms that it’s ok to feel however you feel, this too will pass, and everything will be ok.

Your nipples hurt every time that little chomper needs to eat and it sucks.

Your baby will stop crying eventually and you are not a failure if you feel like ripping your ears off while you wait.

Your hormones are totally out of whack and your emotions may not make sense, get some drugs if you need them!

Lack of sleep is the pits! Being a Mombie is miserable. It’s ok to take a nap instead of washing the dishes and serve dinner on paper plates.

Just don’t bother repainting the walls, they’ll just color on them again. Sorry, you won’t have anything nice that stays that way until you have no more toddlers.

Waiting it out is sometimes the best you can do. You’re still a rockstar.

Toddlers asking the same question for the ninth time are very annoying. It’s ok to be irritated, just try not to be mean when you tell them to please just stop talking!

You don't Have to Enjoy Every Minute | muchnessmama.com | toddler tantrums | motherhood is hard
Mommy took the bag of marshmallows away after she worked so hard to climb up to where mommy thought they were out of reach.

It’s ok not to worry about the dead cockroach on the floor before taking a picture to show your husband (and all of social media too) just how much your day is totally sucking.

Give yourself permission to hate this moment. Cry through it if you need to. Get out for a bit if that’s what it takes. Go ahead and throw that underwear in the trash because you just can’t handle washing one more pair. Eat some chocolate while hiding in your closet. Then pull up your big girl britches and get back to work. Because it is work. It’s rewarding and fulfilling, but it’s still work. It’s going to be ok.

Feeding your child can become a joyful bonding experience, even if it’s because you switched to a bottle.

Your baby will finally smile with tears in their eyes and completely melt your heart.

Hormones will balance and emotions will stabilize.

You will eventually have more time to sleep than you know what to do with.

Some day you can have white walls and carpet if that’s your desire without danger of markers grape juice destroying them.

You’ll make it. You’ll still be a rockstar. You’ll miss those sticky little monsters, but you won’t miss every single moment, and that’s ok.

What are your favorite, and least favorite, parts of being a mom? Come join the Muchness Mamas Facebook community and let’s chat about it!