Slow it Down

Is it just me, or is May like the new December? It’s one of those crazy months where your schedule is packed-out like a Taylor Swift concert. Between baseball tournaments, ballet recitals, musical performances, awards banquets, field days, end-of-year parties and graduations, it’s hard to find time to breathe. Yes, these are joyful occasions; priceless moments for the memory book. I’ve cried at pretty much every single sweet event. But, the insanity of May-cember can tend to add a few extra gray hairs.

I think I’ve been ready for summer for about the whole month of May. I function so much better in the slower months of summer. If you know me, you know I am a slow human being. In fact, this is probably my husband’s least favorite thing about me. He is like the energizer bunny; I’ve grown accustomed to being 10 steps behind him in almost every situation. One could beg to differ that his impatience is a match for my slowness, (now, don’t you just know that God put us together to learn a little thing called tolerance?) but the older I get, the more I appreciate this trait. What’s wrong with stopping to smell the roses? And the gardenias, magnolias, lavender, honeysuckles…

I do enjoy life in the slow lane. Except when the world wants you to go fast. 

Which is what May is to me. Fast-paced and jam-packed and just plain emotional. Things are ending, beginning…changing. All of a sudden, Jack is done with Kindergarten. My baby girl is four. I started off the year pulling my hair out trying to potty train that iron-willed girl, and now she is so independent sometimes she forgets to tell me she’s pooped. And don’t you know, parents of young children, you are nosy about their poops.

Today was the day my May-cember wave finally crested. We had Jack’s field day and end-of-the-year party today, which was actually really fun. I do love participating in all that fun stuff. As a former teacher, I do miss that fun, crazy time with the kiddos. But 5 hours in the blazing, humid Georgia sun with screaming children and a tear-jerking Kindergarten slide-show is just about enough to do you in. We headed home with strict orders for everyone to rest. Until, a friend invites us to the pool. How nice does the pool sound on this 88 degree day? Maybe just for a quick swim? But don’t forget, quick is not in my vocabulary.

After that 2 1/2 hour shin-dig, I remember that I have to eventually feed my children, so we hike home, sun-baked, chlorinated and low on fuel. Allie is whining because she’s scraped her toe in the pool, so we are moving at a snail’s pace (that mind you, is too slow even for me) and she is begging me to carry her, at which I look at her like she’s crazy since I have two bags and three pool noodles in my arms already. But how sweet that our kids think we are super heros like that.

We make it home, and knowing I have to focus my ADHD brain on dinner prep, I stick an iPad in front of the kids and try to proceed. Allie’s iPad, however, is having connection issues and she’s asking for help and again, I give her a crazy look since I have two raw chicken breasts in my hands and clearly I am in no position to put my fingers on an electronic device. “Go find your dad” is my solution. Off she goes.

I really wish I liked cooking. I actually don’t mind it when I can do it slowly, without distractions. Which I haven’t had in about 7 years.  But the whole following-directions and timing thing is a bit overwhelming for me, and my husband knows I turn into a crazy person and it’s best to leave mommy alone during the meal-making window. But alas, the kids are still needy and hungry, the trash is overflowing, and I have made the mistake of not pouring a glass of wine before the maddening dinner creating. I’m sunburned, tired, hungry and irritated. If I hear “mommy” one more time, I just might crack. You win, May-cember. 

Then I remember my meds. I am weaning off of my anti-depressant (with the hopes to try something new) and clearly this has not helped my current mood. Switching/weaning medications has never been a smooth process for me. There are withdrawl symptoms involved and when you have anxiety, these symptoms can throw you into a panic. I am more experienced and educated in what to expect, so I have learned to give myself plenty of grace during this process, but it’s still no picnic. I have actually been feeling okay, and my short temper this evening could simply be from the day’s events, but it’s worth a thought. Luckily, I remembered to brief my husband of this change so he could brace himself for whatever version of his wife was about to emerge. That sweet man, who is clearly scared by my tone of voice by now, offers to put the kids to bed. How fast can I pour my wine and hop in the bubble bath? No slowing down there.

Now I’m clean, cozy and horizontal. My sweet children are tucked in and dreaming. Things have finally slowed down. But I wouldn’t appreciate this moment so much had the day been any different. It was exhausting and crazy, but it was my crazy. We made memories and said good-byes and laughed and cried. We pouted and whined and kissed and hugged and said good night. Today was a good day.

“Today is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” – Psalms 118:24

One of Jack’s teachers showed us a clip of her son graduating high school today:

“Don’t blink, parents!” she exclaimed.

And then I sat and cried through that sweet slideshow of my baby boy.

We can’t slow down our days. Time marches on and change will inevitably come. We can try to enjoy the present as much as possible, even when it irritates us to no end. One day we will look up and the world will be different. We will wish we could go back and just slow down. Savor every sweet moment.  That last wave of May will crash onto the shores of summer and slowly disappear, soaking in each little memory. I hope you welcome summer and its promise of slowing down. As for me, I was made for summer. But inevitably, the waves of life will come again. How I choose to ride them, however, that is up to me. 


Do you ever feel like you’re on a ferris wheel? Like you are constantly spinning around not accomplishing anything? That’s the phase I’m currently in.  I know I haven’t posted in a while, mainly since I haven’t quite figured out how to be a blogger and also since I can barely make it through the kid’s bedtime without falling asleep tucked up next to their soft blankies and stuffed-animals.

My sweet friend Kristen, who just launched her own blog (here is where I would insert a link to her blog if knew anything about blogging) sent me a tutorial, which I am yet to read, and I still can’t manage to drag myself down to my desktop in the basement without being intercepted by my couch and a blanket. I am currently accepting laptop donations to fix this issue. So there is my explanation on lack of blogging.

But a lot is going on for sure. Hit a rough patch of anxiety which peaked and resulted in adding to my current anti-depressant, which I have since decided to go back to my original dose. Playing ping-pong with the old brain again. Poor thing. Have dabbled with paleo dieting and possibly changing medications all together as advised by friends/doctors/health coaches. Lots of possibility brewing. But my favorite little tool in my anxiety tool kit at the moment is my current book, Panic Attack Workbook, by David Carbonell, Ph.D.

A brief synopsis of the book…it basically says that to truly beat “the panic trick”, you have to practice the exposure theory. Which is pretty much letting yourself panic in phobic situations and working with the panic instead of fighting it. Which personally, I’ve known about for years but have never really been ready to face. After 12 years with this mess, however, you start to say enough is enough. 

It’s a great, practical, pro-active read. I’m pretty sure he named every single panic situation/thought I’ve ever had, along with offering non-complicated advice. Well, non-complicated until you actually start practicing with panic. Easier said than done. And bless you, Dr. Carbonell, I would love to practice for your recommended hour a day/five days a week, but I have two small children and a husband that is gone half the month usually. I’m practicing most days keeping little people alive and functional. Finding time to go to the bathroom, let alone “practice” with my anxiety, is a luxury. So I would have maybe added a chapter, like: Panic and the Tired Mom. Or, Practicing with Panic While Your Kids are Screaming in the Background. But hey, maybe in the next edition.

Just to illustrate my point, here’s a brief overview of my evening. Hubby is out of town (for 10 days!!!) and I’ve just finished miraculously putting some kind of food on the table. My kids start yelling at each other because Allie’s chair is touching Jack’s and she won’t move it and then she bumped it hard “on purpose”. So we flee the crime scene and start the bath/shower process, where Allie is fussing because she has her arm stuck in the shirt she is taking off by herself because “she can do it”, meanwhile Jack has clogged the toilet because he uses about half the roll to wipe himself. So, I help Allie with her shirt and then go into the bathroom to find poop ON THE WALL. It’s a trace amount, mind you. But no amount of poop on a wall is acceptable. So I clean that up while the dog starts going crazy at the door because the TruGreen guy is here to ask if I need lawn services even though somehow they have missed that they have been treating our lawn for 2 years. All is quiet momentarily so I go to clean up from dinner when I hear screaming from the bathroom because Allie has splashed Jack because “Jack was being mean” and he is splashing back because “she splashed me first”.  But man, are they sweet when they’re sleeping.

I love my children dearly, I do. My mom bought me a sweet little sign that says, “Being a mom makes me so tired and so happy”. I love that. Being a mom is a labor of love, and being a mom with panic disorder adds a hint of spice to the dish. Which makes me think, maybe I shouldn’t beat myself up for relying on medication for anxiety in these early childhood years. Maybe that book was meant for moms with kids off to college. Certainly they don’t want you to do it during the teenage years either. So when is the right time to suck it up and start exposure therapy? I’ll sleep on that one.

Seriously, I do want to start soon. I have so much hope in my fearful little heart. I think once you loose hope, you’re in a far tougher spot. So I’m thankful for hope. I can’t say I’m thankful for anxiety, but I am accepting of it and it’s the journey I’ve been given. My hope is to overcome it and to help others on their journey as well. So cheers to starting practice… one of these days.