The Space Between

For the women trying to live life in the space between it all.

Category Archives: Wife Life

A real, honest and raw article about anxiety. 

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Please let me preface that this is unbelievably hard for me to write about and admit. Anxiety is real and terrible and it affects more people than you could ever imagine. Some of what I’m about to say is going to sound crazy but I know there’s some of you out there who can relate which is why I’m willing to share part of my journey.

I haven’t always struggled with anxiety. I’ve always been kind of shy and introverted but I used to be extremely carefree. Things didn’t bother me. I could drive without breaking a sweat. I could pretty much do anything. But something over the last 5 years completely changed me. I’m not the same person I used to be. Let me tell you a few things that anxiety has done to me.

Anxiety has…

  • Made me stay at home instead of going out with friends.
  • Led me to question my marriage and if I should even be married to my husband.
  • Made me question if I was a good mother.
  • Made me wonder if I’m capable of snapping and hurting my children.
  • Caused me (in the past) to be an extreme people pleaser.
  • Made me question if my own parents and husband even liked me.
  • Made me wonder if this world would be a better place if I wasn’t in it.
  • Made me think I’m stupid and incompetent.
  • Never allowed me to completely let my guard down in relationships.
  • Never allowed me to completely be myself in any situation, ever.
  • Forced me to be on guard no matter where I am – anyone that walks in the park or by my house is out to get me or my kids.
  • Caused me to lose friendships.
  • Caused many fights and arguments.
  • Caused me to question if God really exists and why He would put me on this earth just to fail.
  • Made me question if being a wife and mom is truly what I’m meant to do.

This is actually a really short list compared to what all I’ve dealt with. If you’ve never struggled with anxiety, this probably seems absolutely crazy toIMG_4112 you. But if you have, then you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Anxiety is ugly and mean and it brings out the worst versions of us. This is a topic I’ve never really talked about. I finally found the courage to talk to my husband about it a couple of years ago. He was extremely supportive and caring. Another topic that people are afraid of…I struggle with intrusive thoughts. Thoughts that I never would’ve imagined I’d be capable of thinking. If I’m carrying my baby, I’ll have a vision of me falling with her. If I’m driving, I’ll imagine what it’d be like to get into a car accident. There have been times that I’ve been so unhappy with the way things were, or rather, my brain was telling me I was unhappy, that I wondered how everyone would handle it if I just ran away. Now, let me be perfectly clear here – I’ve never felt capable of ever actually running away (or hurting my children, for that matter) but there are many times that I can’t control my thoughts. If I read an article or news story, my mind will wander and create these thoughts, then they creep in and consume me. I have to completely shift my mind and not think about them and even then, they still loom. I’ve questioned if being married is truly what I want. I’ve questioned if my girls would be better off without me. There have been times where my brain is telling me, “That person doesn’t like you.” And I believe it, even if there isn’t any proof or reason to believe that to be truth. I’ve thought it about my husband and even my own parents. I always think people are mad at me and I read way too much into stupid little things. I have made myself literally physically ill over things completely out of my control. And anxiety is to blame. It’s caused crippling fear and terrible thoughts. It’s caused me to lash out over minute things that nobody would ever understand. And as the freak out is happening, I can feel it not being me but I can’t stop it. I can’t control it.

Over the past year, I decided to face my anxiety head on. I was done. It had consumed me for so long and I wanted my life back. It has taken me many steps and lots of prayer and conversations but I feel more like myself every day. I still have days that are very tough but I have some days that don’t consume me. I caIMG_4113n finally drive without feeling sick to my stomach constantly. I can take my kids to the park or go for a walk without
constantly looking over my shoulder for a serial killer. I now greet at church without
breaking a sweat – BIG step but I’m doing it. I can leave my kiddos with grandparents and other family without leaving a schedule or a huge long list and without feeling guilty. The girls and I go to the store without my husband regularly, whereas I wouldn’t even go by myself when I was pregnant. My husband and I fight a lot less and I’m able to let more things go. The past year has been a complete rollercoaster of emotions and working through this. I’m nowhere near close to overcoming anxiety and I honestly don’t think I ever will but it’s gotten better.

 I know exactly what you’re feeling. Whether you suffer from depression, anxiety, OCD or some other form of mental illness, I want you to know you’re not alone. It’s pretty common for anxiety and OCD to be linked and sometimes depression can sneak in there especially post-partum. I’ve dealt with all of those. I had severe post-partum anxiety (PPA) after my three year old was born and mild post-partum depression (PPD). I’ve always struggled with OCD, but that’s a topic for another time. I want to urge you to seek help if you’ve been dealing with any of these feelings. There are healthy ways to deal with them and while they may not be curable, they can be manageable. Whether it’s PPD or PPA or even just anxiety/depression you’ve always dealt with, please seek a healthcare professional. Talk to a pastor, talk to a friend, a doctor, message/email me. Seek help. You’re not alone in this journey. You are seen and loved, even if your anxiety is telling you otherwise.

If you need to talk to someone, here are some resources available:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
National Postpartum Depression Hotline – 1-800-PPD-MOMS
Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-SUICIDE

Living in doubt.

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This is going to be extremely candid and not very well rehearsed as I’m writing this from my phone while nursing my 8 month old. I’ve felt the Lord pushing me to write this for a few days now and I’m finally doing it very causally and quickly. I’m praying the Lord paves the way and these words are truly from Him.

I’ve officially been a stay at home mom for two months now. I’ve been struggling big time with only living on one income. I love shopping and spending money and I love serving others and being able to help others out. I like nice things and coffee and smell good things. I’ve been struggling with not being able to willy nilly buy whatever I want. Talk about selfish. We have a beautiful home, beautiful children, beautiful things. Of course there’s things we want to improve or buy new but that’s not a reality for us right now. Why am I so focused on the things I want rather than what I already have? Why do we do this? I want. I want. I want.

I started applying for jobs last week. Brandon and I talked and we came to the conclusion that God was just trying to teach us a lesson about money and being grateful for what we have. Yes, that’s it. We’ll be different this time. No, no we won’t. We’re still spending left and right and haven’t learned anything. I told my mom I was applying for jobs and she told me that it was just a case of the “I wants.” She was right. I had a very eye opening conversation with a friend who is in a similar situation last night. She’s struggling with some of the same things. But she’s trusting the Lord to provide and they’re doing everything they can to make this work for them. She told me we’re always chasing something. We’ll always want more or new or different. I’m currently wondering what I’m going to do come fall and I can’t spend $200 on Bath & Body Works fall candles like I do every year. Is it even fall if your house doesn’t smell like pumpkins or fresh leaves? Maybe not. Just kidding, yes it is. And at the end of the day, I’m staying at home with my kids for my kids. Do you think they’re going to remember what our house smelled like? Will the pumpkin smell be their fondest memory growing up? It might be. But probably not.

I’ve spent the last month doubting God’s plan for our family. One of my dear friends received a text from me at 2am one night because I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t stop crying over this. She encouraged me to pray. I’m truly grieving the life we used to live but I truly believe (and am working on living it out) that the Lord has a great plan for us. I may get a job soon. I also might not. But I’ve had some strong convictions lately and if it does happen, it’ll be for the right reasons. I don’t know what the future holds. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a God crystal ball? I’d love to see the future but that doesn’t leave much room for faith, does it?

Today I’m praying for anyone living in doubt of what the Lord has planned for you. Having faith can be so hard but I’m letting Jeremy 29:11 ring true.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬

Such powerful words. The Lord has great plans for our lives. Maybe you’re in a season where you just don’t feel that. Hold tight. It’s coming. He will always provide and in the midst of the good and the bad – He remains constant and good. Shake that doubt away and hold close to this promise He made to us. He has us. He has me. He has you. He won’t let any of His children slip through the cracks. I know it’s hard but rest assured this is only a season. I’m praying for you, friend.

21 cheap and easy date night ideas.

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If you’re on a budget or just plain busy, it can be difficult to plan date nights. Or maybe you and your partner are super indecisive and you need ideas on what to do…here you go! I wrote all of these on popsicle sticks and stuck them in a mason jar to draw whenever we needed an idea.

  1. Mini golf – you both should be able to play for under $10 (or at least close)
  2. Picnic in the park – FREE!!
  3. Movie night – grab a Redbox movie and some microwave popcorn
  4. Play a game – my husband and I really enjoy playing Uno even though he cheats 😉
  5. Give each other massages – this one is a little risqué but can totally be fun! And it’s free.
  6. Cook together – make dinner together or bake dessert together
  7. Go for a walk – this can even include the kids, take a nice evening walk
  8. Watch the sunset – go grab some drinks or snacks and sit and watch the sunset
  9. Go for a drive – grab some coffee and drive around and listen to music
  10. Coffee date – go sit at a coffee shop and just chit chat
  11. Go bowling – this is probably the most expensive suggestion but still so fun! And it’s always possible to find coupons.
  12. Disc golf, bike ride, hike a trail – do something outdoorsy together
  13. Do a couple’s devotional together – you can order a book online or there are some free devotionals on the YouVersion app.
  14. DIY paint and partake – get your favorite drink, snacks, some canvases and paint and paint together
  15. Go to Target! – though this one may end up not being very cheap haha
  16. Play 21 questions – this can be fun for a new couple OR a vetran couple in a rut – a 21 question blog may come in the future.
  17. Go camping – camping is pretty cheap for the most part, it can definitely be done pretty cheaply!
  18. Date Box – Subscribe to the Date Box. It has great ideas and products to help create an in home date night.
  19. Play Truth or Dare – Ooh, la, la!
  20. Check Groupon – Groupon always has really good prices for restaurants, shows, movies, etc.
  21. Hanky panky – my husband made me put this one on the list 😉

Date night doesn’t have to be dinner and a movie every time. It also doesn’t always have to be super expensive. Some of our best date nights have just been simple and intentional time spent together. Make your popsicle sticks and get to dating! Enjoy! 🙂

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To my husband. From the wife who lost herself.

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First, I want to say thank you. Thank you for still loving me like you did when we were fun and spontaneous. Thank you for not treating me any different than when we were newlyweds and could still be playful with each other. I’m not the same person you married. I know that. Two kids in just over two years has made me a little less fun and a lot more tired. I know I’m not as eager to go on date nights or show you affection because I have kids crawling on me all day long. I’m sorry I don’t notice and appreciate the little things you do for me. I’m sorry I don’t thank you as often as I should. I’m sorry I sometimes throw the kids at you without saying hi first when you walk in the door.

You have held this family together the last 3.5 years. From the moment I got pregnant, you’ve been attentive, caring, loving, patient, kind, and so many other things. You have a servant’s heart in how well you care for and love others. I’m so thankful for that. You maneuvered through my postpartum depression and anxiety so cautiously yet with so much grace. It couldn’t have been easy to deal with. It couldn’t have been easy dealing with a wife who cried all time and who constantly needed the house to be perfect and got ragey when it wasn’t. It couldn’t have been easy having a wife who was afraid to be alone. And yet, you did it. You were so loving and kind even though you didn’t understand.

I know it seems like I put our kids before you. And maybe sometimes I do, but I don’t mean to. We created this family together. We are partners on this incredible journey. I know I don’t look the same as I did before kids. I know I don’t act the same. I don’t even smell the same. Things changed. I changed. I lost a little bit of myself when I had kids. We now have two beautiful children and they took a piece of me with them when they joined this world. I know it seems like I lost myself but really, I have spent the last 3.5 years figuring out who I really am. I’ve learned that in the midst of being a mom, I’m also a wife and that has to come first. I know so many days it doesn’t but I’m working on it. I’m working on loving you better and putting you first. I’m working on being the carefree person you fell in love with.

We have an incredible life and I attribute that to you. You’ve provided for this family so tirelessly. You’ve stepped up to do menial tasks to help keep our household running. You’re amazing. You always say you don’t know how I do it. But I don’t know how you do it. You’re the piece my life was missing. This family needs you. We wouldn’t work the way we do without you. We wouldn’t have the things we do or be the way we are without you. You are the pinnacle of this family and we would be so lost without you. Thank you for the man that you are. Thank you for being the constant we’ve so desperately needed the past few years. We need you. We love you. Thank you for all you do.

The power of essential oils.

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Before you roll your eyes and think this is another promotion post. Let me preface by saying that I don’t sell essential oils and I never have. I probably never will. I just really, REALLY believe in the magic within them.

At 6 months old, my oldest started suffering from terrible night terrors. We tried EVERYTHING. Putting her to bed later, putting her to bed earlier, white noise, night light, we tried baths, we tried waking her up, we tried taking her outside, etc. NOTHING worked. Her night terrors still came every night and she would scream and be incoherent for at least an hour, most of the time longer. I had a friend recommend diffusing lavender. I kindly thanked her and went on my way not thinking it’d actually work. You guys. IT WORKED. She stopped having night terrors. She did have one when we were on vacation a few weeks after the lavender but I blame that on the time change and sleep deprivation. She hasn’t had a night terror since! That was two years ago.

That got me hooked. I started researching a little more and asking people about them. I have horrible anxiety (I suffered awful postpartum anxiety after my first was born) so my mother in law gave me a grounding blend and a joyful blend to diffuse and wear together. I can’t tell you how much it helped me. Skeptics will cry placebo affect and maybe that’s the case but I honestly don’t care. The point is, I felt better. Now I’m not saying my anxiety went away completely or that I didn’t have bad days – the oils aren’t a cure all but they helped tremendously. During my second pregnancy I was SO nauseas. It was terrible. I carried peppermint with me and anytime I felt pukey, I inhaled my peppermint deeply twice with 10 seconds in between each inhale. Did my nausea go away completely? No. But it kept it at bay and tolerable! This past year was the first time I used a protective (a germ be gone) blend constantly and none of us got the flu!!! We don’t do flu shots and we all stayed relatively healthy this year with the exception of a mild cold. AND we had a newborn during cold and flu season and she stayed healthy other than a runny nose here and there. We wore it, diffused it, sprayed it, we did everything. This stuff WORKS. Maybe you still don’t believe me, that’s fine. I have plenty more stories to share but I’m only going to tell this last one. My 7 month old started the beginning stages of night terrors a month ago. Dread and anxiety set in because I know how awful they are. She wasn’t completely unresponsive or incoherent like my oldest was but just screaming and still asleep so I started diffusing lavender. Guess what. They stopped! She was still whimpering in her sleep every once in a while so I start diffusing a stronger restful blend and now she sleeps so great! It’s AMAZING.

I know essential oils don’t work for everyone and that’s okay! They’ve worked wonders for our family. Maybe you’ve been considering trying them out and this was the push you needed. I don’t really think one brand is better than another – I obviously have my specific brand I use but I think any brand – DoTERRA, Young Living, Eden’s Garden, Plant Therapy, etc. is fine. Just please don’t buy them from a grocery store. Only buy 100% pure essential oils. Do your research before you buy. Enjoy the oily life! It’s completely changed my entire world.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a medical professional. I do not claim that essential oils are to be used in place of medicine or medical treatment. I do not ingest them and I do not suggest that you do. I am not affiliated with any company aside from purchasing them. Please consult your physician and/or do in depth, research from a reliable source before diving into the world of essential oils. They are wonderful and helpful but can be dangerous when used incorrectly especially with young children. Most oils need to be used with a carrier oil when applied topically. Again, please do in depth research before using essential oils.

Below are linked pictures of my favorite oily items from Amazon! Just click the pictures and it’ll take you there. (Affiliated links.)

For the exhausted momma.

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You are super mom. You run around all day, cleaning up after little hands and little mouths and you don’t ever have time to care for yourself. The mornings go so fast then all of a sudden it’s lunch time and you’re making lunch and feeding the baby then it’s everyone down for naps and when you finally collapse onto the couch and you feel your body relax for a split second you realize you didn’t eat lunch. You look around and realize everything you worked so hard for the last 6 hours was undone just as quickly as you did it. I’ve heard the analogy cleaning up with kids is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos. While a very gross analogy, it’s accurate and it makes me laugh just thinking about that thought put into action.

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Actual photo evidence of my messy kitchen that I swear was JUST SPOTLESS. How does it get SO messy SO fast? 

You spend your days cleaning and organizing toys and books and unloading the dishwasher just to load it again and then you do it all again the next day. Sometimes you wonder why you even bother. You sweep and mop the floor just for a tiny helper to spill applesauce everywhere. You change your sheets just for the baby to spit up on them within 5 minutes. You dust and you vacuum and you do it again. You finally get all the laundry done! It really happened, all the baskets are empty! For about 5 seconds then someone tosses something in and you start the pile all over again. You change a diaper just for it to be pooped in immediately. All. Day. Long.

Everything you do all day just keeps getting undone. It’s exhausting. Why do you keep doing it? Because you are momma. You are a superstar. You are amazing. You are exhausted but you wouldn’t have it any other way. You do it all for everyone and you keep redoing it just as soon as it’s undone. You go, super mom. You keep redoing the undone things. You were made for this. Nobody else can do this like you can. You may be exhausted but you’re still rocking it. At the end of the day, your kiddos may remember that momma was exhausted but above everything, they’ll remember that momma did it all. She was exhausted, but she did it all. And she did it all for them.

My first week as a stay at home mom was a nightmare.

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I’m going to preface this by saying, I’m SO thankful I get to stay at home with my kids. It’s such an answer to many prayers and truly a blessing for us. However, I expected our first week to be sunshine and rainbows and it wasn’t. Not. Even. Close. It doesn’t even make any sense because I stayed home before, I just had additional kids to watch. You’d think it’d be easier! Nope. It wasn’t. My kids lost their routine. They lost their friends. Now we wake up when we want, we eat when we want. We’ve been doing the same thing every day for a long time and now everything is changing. Why did I decide to use this huge adjustment and transition period to potty train my two year old? Apparently, I’m a glutton for punishment because holy moly it was the worst idea I’ve ever had.

It’ll be so great. I’ll be able to clean my house and go outside all the time and potty train Audrey and have dinner on the table when my husband comes home. The laundry will always be caught up and I’ll be able to meal prep and make gourmet breakfasts. What was I thinking? Why did I think this would be easy?

Audrey is a mess because she’s trying to adjust to a completely new day to day life and Quinn has done nothing but scream and cry all day every day since Monday. Genius idea to schedule 6 month shots that first week. Good job, Alli.

My poor husband didn’t come home to a clean house or a meal on the table or a happy wife. He came home to a tornado of a house after Hurricane Alli came through trying to do her home cooked meals and a shell of a very defeated wife. I haven’t even had time to write a blog post until now because I’ve been so busy adjusting and figuring things out.

I’m going to share a screenshot of a text my amazing husband sent me and hopefully he doesn’t get mad – just kidding, he won’t! I’m so thankful for his encouragement and support. He has made this difficult transition much easier with his encouraging words and being willing to clean our disaster house after his long work days.

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Can we all sing together? What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man. Good job, guys! But seriously, how awesome is he?! I’m such a lucky lady!

Stay at home moms, I don’t know how you do it! We just finished up week 2 and it was much better but not any easier. My house is still a wreck. I’m hoping the ability to balance things and juggle will come with time. It does, right?!