Tag Archives: challenge

Parenting With Depression

Parenting with depression..single parenting has its challenges. Especially when the other parent is completely removed from the picture, the pressure to be everything for our kids can be overwhelming. We must remain steady, managing our emotions well so we can help our children learn to manage theirs. Even with help from family and friends, we are the sole parent. The responsibility of rearing falls squarely on our shoulders. The weight can seem all that more overwhelming when you are dealing with depression.
Depression may come in waves, it may linger beneath the surface, or be a constant thorn in our foot reminding us of our weakness. It comes in forms of sadness, irritability, tiredness, or a wide range of other emotions. The variability of it makes it an unpredictable chaos. Single parenting with depression could be a perfect storm. It could be. Unmanaged, it could embed anxiety in the hearts of our children, as they struggle to find consistency and stability. It could. Unchecked, it could feed off our parenting guilt, drowning us in the reality that we can never truly be all are kids need. It could. Unsupported we could find ourselves with our heads just above the water, unable to do and provide all we desire. Under those circumstances, it will be a lose-lose situation for us and our children. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
In my household, there have been really good “mental health” days, but it took time to learn how to get there. Before I did some weekends were filled with emptiness. Everything would be quiet, except the sound of the television or tablet from the living room, as I lay bed unable to will myself up. “Mommy doesn’t feel well,” I would say when questioned. I desperately wanted something else for my son but didn’t know how to get it. Through prayer and counseling, I began to learn to brace myself for the waves. I thank God on a regular basis that He has helped me learn to parent beyond my depression. Now my son and I get movie and book days where we sit together in our pajamas and only venture out of bed for snacks. When journeying to the park is too difficult, the back door stays open and we blow bubbles, I count his jumps on the trampoline, and let him splash around with the water table. When I am irritable, I embrace ample opportunities to model the complexities of apologizing. A greater blessing is the ability to show my son (and remind myself) that we all mess up, but God’s forgiveness never runs out. On days where even the sound of breathing grates my nerves and being touched makes my skin crawl, I have been blessed with friends and family that will let me come over and rest while my son plays. While I see a counselor, it wasn’t until I stopped waiting to be cured that I could care for my son better.
I would rather not be a single parent that struggles with depression. I would rather be able to have a spouse that can pick up my parenting slack, but that’s not my reality. There will still be lots of Door Dash orders and laundry that piles up. There will be screen time and sometimes it will be more than recommended allotment. Those are the facts, but I can minimize the inconsistency and lack of presence that existed before. In all honesty, we can never be the end-all and be-all for our kids. Instead of rejecting that can learn our weaknesses. Instead of promising ourselves we will never face depression again, we can plan how to parent around it. Before it is needed, we can get help so our kids don’t become casualties of the silence and emptiness of depression.
Shon W

TWSM Book Review ‘Project 333’

Book Review of Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really Is So Much More

by Courtney Carver

Why not try a fall fashion challenge? Whether you are out and about (at least somewhat) or entirely house-bound during Covid, ​Project 333​ can refresh how you look and feel. I read Carver’s book and took the fashion challenge. At first, the idea of limiting myself to 33 items of clothing for 3 months seemed silly and not feasible, but I ended up loving the concept. I wear my favorite things more often, and I also mix and match my clothes in ways that make my life simpler, and am still in fashion.

There were several things that made ​Project 333 ​approachable for me. This is not a “throw out most of your wardrobe and give it all to charity challenge”. She suggests carefully choosing the items to include and then simply putting the others away for 3 months. The fact that I could technically back out at any time sounded good! Also, there are basic items that you don’t count in the 33 wardrobe items — lingerie, socks, jewelry that you wear everyday, and clothing that you only wear at home or for working out in aren’t included.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from ​Project 333:

“If there are one or two outfits in your closet that you really enjoy wearing, create a uniform with your 33 items and wear very similar things each day. Use other examples you might find on the internet for inspiration and experimentation, but give yourself room to be you and decide what you want to wear.”​ (Chapter entitled “Messy”)

“I prefer wearing clothes I can live in, clothes that fit my body as it is and not as it ‘shouldbe’ “. ​(Chapter entitled “Crazy”)

“Seeing the outfit you wore to an event that made you sad will make you sad. Holding onto your ex’s sweatshirt or your old work uniform can make you sad. You don’t get to hold on to people, relationships, or any part of the past just because you are holding on to the stuff.” ​(Chapter entitled “Emotion”)

By trying the Project 333 challenge, I found that less really can be more. I wore my favorite colors more often, threw together outfits more easily, and didn’t have to let go of any of the signature jewelry that I love. If you are ready for a change this fall, I highly recommend that you give Carver’s book a try.

Rating 4 stars out of 5

Copyright 2020

Liz​ is a technical writer by day and a humor writer by night. She lives in Minnesota with her two teenage daughters and their cats, Beau and Phoebe. ​When Liz is not reading, writing, or searching for new books to review, she can be found practicing yoga or enjoying time with friends and family — usually around a fireplace or a lake. She is savoring the time that she still has with her daughters under her roof, yet she secretly dreams of being an empty nester who can travel more and not have to worry about other people borrowing her socks.

I Feel Stuck

For the first time since all of this went. I feel stuck. I have been pretty good about getting up and having a bit of a routine. I am lucky in that I’m working, so I have to, to some extent.

But the last few days are the first in a long while, where I have no motivation. None. Even getting up and out of bed was hard. I have some rituals that I have held onto. Like doing my makeup in the morning. I know it seems silly. I am facing people I barely know in a ZOOM meeting. When I  shared that with one of my friends, she said maybe that’s my form of mediation.

I think so, I put in my AirPods, listen to music, do my makeup, and clear my head. After, I feel a bit ready for whatever the world is dishing out that particular day.

But I still am lacking in motivation. Except for cleaning and organizing. That has almost become obsessive lately. I have quickly ticked off my list most of the big projects that were going to eat up some time.

I usually like to read and have some craft projects I like to do. None of it is appealing. Even some of my favorite shows aren’t causing me to change anything.

The two things that seem to be able to unstick me are my daughter and don’t laugh- my dog. 

I have spent more time in the morning and evening flopped on my daughter’s bed talking with our big teddy bear of a dog at our feet than I ever did before.

The other day I looked at her and said aren’t you supposed to be in school? (She’s doing distance learning). She laughed, jumped up and said “oh yeah!”

My dog has become my new office mate. He happily interrupts meetings and naps at my feet. 

I talk to him when I can’t figure something out. When I’m stuck.

Like everyone I’m trying to figure this out.

Like everyone I wish I wasn’t.

I continue to be thankful for what I do have in the midst of what I don’t. My hope is with warmer weather and sunshine a few more cuddles with my big old dog and deep talks with my favorite twelve year old… it won’t feel like stuck. It will feel ok and ok has potential to be good, even great.

I hope you are safe. 

Much love Mommas

<3 Caprise

A New Beginning

It’s finally happened, the 2010s are no more and the 20s are now beginning.

Since I am only in my teenage years, this decade has taken up most of my life. It has been a decade so interesting, that it’s hard to keep track. In these past 10 years, we’ve experienced major events in not only our lives, but in pop culture, politics, and news. I’d like to say that I’ve learned a lot in the 2010s. Not just academically, but also lessons that I could use everyday.

Most of the things I’ve learned are due to the mistakes I’ve made on the way. Unfortunately, there were times in the past decade that I didn’t learn from the mistakes I had made. With this new decade now beginning, I decided that it was time to change my habits and work on those things that I want for myself and for my future.

For me personally, I figured out that I needed to start challenging myself in ways I never had before. I’ll be working hard to reach my goals, and I’ll never give up on the hopes I have for myself.

This is exactly what everyone should be doing when entering this new decade. You must figure out your weaknesses and work on how to better improve in that significant area.

Finally, I want to stress the importance of having a positive outlook on what these years have to offer. Just as the 2010s were filled with unexpected surprises, the 2020s will not fall short in that category. Be open to new possibilities and to new beginnings.

Happy new year! -Dani <3

Look Past The Mess

When there is a mess right in front of you, something that you’re dealing with, something that takes every ounce of your energy, needs your sharp focus, interrupts you with a temptation to quit….when it is right there, and you’re in the midst of the mess….you can sometimes lose focus on what will come after and sometimes stop in your tracks.

I want to remind you that after every storm, not just a few, not just the big ones in the desert…. but every storm….there is a rainbow. It may not be right there when you look up to the sky, it may not be in the direction of your eyes and it may not be in your neck of the woods…. BUT it is there. Do you trust that? YES? ….I challenge you to also to trust that on the other side of your mess, your storm, your upset…. Awaits a rainbow. A glorious, beautiful, amazing ‘after’.

Now walk through your mess. Do what you need to do to go through it. Holding your head high, respecting yourself and remembering to take care of you is of the utmost importance… and then walking through it is twice as important.

Do what you said.

Be who you are.

Stand firm in your truth.

Speak out loud.

Rebuke any ridicule and resentment.

Stand up against any judgment.

Express love always.

Have you ever trusted God so much that something you worried about dissolved and worked itself out with no alarms, no drama, no chaos?

If NO…, I challenge you to turn to Him for the courage, strength and mighty power you require to get through that mess that lies in front of you. Keep doing the next thing, and trust it WILL be good on the other side.

If YES…., I challenge you to pray for those who do not.

And happily enjoy the ‘after’ of all the messes.

xoxo

Your God girl,

Tracy

How To Deal And Navigate The Unexpected

Navigating the Unexpected

Nothing unseats us faster than things we don’t expect—events, circumstances or communications that we weren’t planning for, these are the things that have the capability to throw you if you allow it.

These unexpected events can range from an unwelcome communication to some event concerning our job or children that wasn’t in our master plan.  When this stuff pops up the first thing that we want to do is REACT which usually includes a fair amount of emotion and that never really leads us to a good place…

Unexpected happenings are designed to challenge us and often we allow them to steal our joy and take away our peace of mind, we give into the panic, drama or worry and within minutes we are ‘down the rabbit hole’ and off into all the ‘what if’s’— this methodology is a recipe for disaster…

All seemingly unwelcome events come to teach us something and they come to PASS and not to stay—how fast they pass really depends on our response to them.  We cannot control what comes our way, however we CAN control how we deal with it and how much of our energy we expend on it.  I believe that everything has something to teach us and the faster we are open to the lesson the faster we can move out of the circumstance.

Our response to our lives is KEY, I often tell you that what we call a thing it becomes so if we start calling some circumstance horrid or a travesty or insurmountable then that is exactly what they will become.  When things don’t look the way you want them to you have two choices—one complain about them to anyone who will listen and lament about how horrible your plight is OR you can choose to know that somewhere in it there is good and you can start saying things like “I know what to do and I do it”, “solutions present themselves to me”, “Divine Order is present here and now” and my favorite “every day in every way things are getting better and better for me now”.

Since I have been pushing that affirmation with you guys these past few Sundays on the FB live, I have started using it more myself.  Today when my daily prayer partner asked me how I was on our morning call instead of listing out all my grievances I just said you know what “every day in every way things are getting better and better for me now” and they laughed and I laughed and said, “I could list out for you all my seeming problems today, however what the hell difference would it make?  So I am just going with this statement as my answer— how I am today is better and better and I am sticking to that all day.”

So far, so good and it is 12:34pm at the moment—- I mean shit what do I have to lose, right?  I teach this stuff, it works, I tell you to do it—so instead of giving voice to my complaints I am doing it too.

It is all what we make of it—- if I list out all my crap then I only give it more power and I KNOW this for SURE.  The best place that you can be is peaceful within yourself—no HIGH highs, no LOW lows—if you can remain at peace knowing that whatever is displaying itself to you is only temporary then you will achieve a level of self mastery that most people never see.  It is a difficult thing to do and takes practice, yet do the work on yourself and you can get there.  I still work on this myself regularly—-it gets easier to quell your reactions with time.

So for this week strive to keep yourself in a peaceful place and know that unwelcome circumstances don’t come to stay, they come to pass.

 

Join me for Coffee Chat, Sunday on FB live at 10am est.

See you then.

-XO, Noelle

The Beautiful Mess That You Are

The Beautiful Mess That You Are.

One of the most challenging things about healing and growing, is learning how to be vulnerable. Figuring out how to show people your scars, both metaphorically and literally… Where do you start? Who do you trust? How do you admit the things to another person you barely admit to yourself? Where do you even start to develop the ability to accept what has happened in your life and start owning it? God knows it’s not easy to let one person (let alone the world) see the things that broke you, the things that scarred your body and soul. It’s terrifying to allow anyone to see the trauma and devastation you have experienced, so is it even worth it?

When you uncover those scars, you are doing more than just pulling off a bandage. You are tearing down years and years of defense mechanisms and fake smiles. You are shredding the illusion of yourself you have created for the world to see, and letting out the real, albeit messier version of yourself. It might not be as shiny or beautiful on the surface, and in fact, it probably won’t be. What it will be instead, is real and true. It will require a level of raw honesty that will probably hurt like hell at first.

Yes, you will be afraid that whoever sees your scars will only see what’s been damaged. You’ll be afraid that instead of seeing the strength it took to sew all those tears up yourself, they will only see the jagged stitches. Afraid they will see the gaping hole, and not the tenacity it took to pull the knife out of your back all on your own. Afraid the only thing they notice will be the cracks, and not understand the time and patience it took to glue it all back together again.

Here’s the thing, when you stop hiding from your past, your fears, and emotions you free yourself of the hold they have on you. You give yourself the chance to discover who you really are. You can let go of the fake version of yourself that is pretending you are happy with the life you are living… or I suppose for some people, you are giving up the fake version of yourself that pretends they hate their life and everyone in it. Whatever. Either way you are letting go of the illusion. Figuring out how to be real and honest, ESPECIALLY with yourself, is the most important part of healing.

Yeah, there will be the haters and naysayers. Those people who don’t want you to change or grow, because it makes them feel bad about their own lives. The thing is, the people who only see the damage, or criticize you for being your most authentic self aren’t worth having in your life anyway. So, pull off those bandages and let the world see the beautiful mess that you are. You never know who will love you, scars and all.

Embrace your perfectly imperfect self,

-Charli

Conquering Pride

Conquering Pride…

Hey everyone! I think I can say that it has been a long month, and that things have been crazy would be an understatement.  I think we all had our own personal battles throughout this last mercury retrograde, things slowed way down, energies were depleted and things were turned on their heads.

When Retrograde hit us this hard its to make us slow down, but not to smell the flowers. We need to inventory on ourselves and what we are putting our energies into. I realized  that my pride was holding me back from letting go of a business venture that was no longer serving me.

I was apart of an MLM and this MLM has amazing products, that i just adore, and helped me regain my self confidence to really start pursuing my dreams ( and I do have multiple that I am actively pursuing). The capital gain potential for me isn’t there with this company, I poured my time, effort, and money into building this mlm as my business, and even though I was losing money I was refusing to give it up because I didn’t want to feel like a failure. So I had to face my pride and take off the rose colored glasses and face things for what they were. That business helped me grow but it’s no longer a fruitful path nor is it serving me anymore, infact its starting to hold me back.

Pride is one of the hardest things to over come sometimes, especially gracefully. I hope everyone was able to take this slow down as a time to take a hard look at their lives and do some trimming (Spring cleaning) of the things that are no longer serving them. When we ignore these things it hinders growth.

I am challenging myself to keep growing everyday, I refuse to be stagnant. I strive to be the best version of me and i wish all the same joy upon all of you.

Always be unapologetically true to yourself,

Ali

Practical Changes

Below is my piece, Practical Changes, from 2007 when I was a contributing columnist to The Southern Ledger newspaper with my Practical Changes column, the night before my son’s birthday…as you all know my son graduated from High School early and will be 18 this coming May.  I wanted to share this old blog because it speaks to parenting and how it was for me back in those days where many of you are now…enjoy and hope everyone had a great holiday season.

XO, Noelle

WOW…I am writing a night early…Mr. Southern Ledger will surely fall out of his chair from shock tomorrow morning when he sits down to write that ‘friendly little reminder’ to the bloggers and notices that my column is already posted…HA

Six years ago tonight I was in a hospital in Plymouth, MA in the midst of 30 hours of HARD labor waiting for my son to make his first appearance…tomorrow he turns six and we have been counting down the days since Christmas…everything he sees goes under the ‘ I want this for my birthday’ category.  Those of you that know me well are now saying to yourselves, “just like his mother” and I can hear you.

In retrospect, I believe that was the hardest night of my life…I won’t bore you with the scenario of 30 hours, but trust me when I say it was FAR from pleasant…it taught me that if I could do that and endure that, then I could certainly do anything…what a good, smart, handsome little boy he is and funny and stubborn…sometimes I feel like the kid got a raw deal, all I do is work and it seems like some days I am always yelling…I have two modes loud and louder…it runs in my Italian family, we talk too much and most everything is loud.  Then there is that whole emotionally unkempt thing, which runs in my family too.

Sometimes I feel like I am doing such a bad job at all this…I think I should be nicer and more patient, yet someone or something is always pulling at me and I just have to keep moving because I don’t see anyone else around here paying for anything…granted this was my choice, to get a divorce rather than live in a situation that I was finished with just for the sake of security…I’m pretty sure the kid is normal, whatever that means anymore…I mean he goes to private school and has the best of everything and he is with me all the time…I have a great staff that helps a lot and without whom I would fail to function.

I think that no matter how smart we are there are always those times when we are second guessing ourselves, wondering if we are good enough or if we are doing it ‘right’…we must be doing okay around here though because we are starting year number six and that feels like a huge accomplishment.

As I sit here tonight I think back to who I was six years ago and I realize that so much has changed…I think that I am gaining some insight and wisdom as I go along…that’s a good thing…I am learning how to let things go, how to let someone else have the last word, how to walk away instead of react when someone is unpleasant, how to trust God and not be so scared all the time about everything turning out ok…I am learning how to take deep breaths and learning to remember that it will all still be there tomorrow.

I have also learned that I am too old to be blond anymore.  Recently, I had my hair highlighted and a lot of blond put in—it has been that way for about two and a half weeks and I have felt off the whole time—I kept looking at myself in the mirror and thinking how not like myself I looked, too washed out, too old and then finally this morning I wondered why I had done it, what was I hoping to prove?  In my other life I could carry blond, this life requires dark hair and ‘on purpose’ behavior—tonight my hair has been returned to a darker state and I recognize the chick I see in the mirror…  She has a messy desk, is emotionally unkempt, is a workaholic, is probably starting to wrinkle and sag, drinks too much coffee, shops too much and is not currently working out as much as she needs to, however, she knows how to get stuff done, she has a great kid, she has incredible friends, she is generous beyond measure, she knows how to laugh at herself and she understands that life is really about who we are and not what we have…I like that chick, she has dark hair and she’s not afraid to tell it like it is.

It’s good to mark time, to look back and see how far you have come…it makes us grateful for progress, grateful for all the gifts that we have been given…most everyone is always rushing through birthdays, Christmas Days, Mother’s Days, Father’s Days…how many times do we stop and remember the years past, how much do we acknowledge how far we have come?

We should you know, we should make a practice of acknowledging how much advancement we have gained over the years.  It is virtually impossible not to gain wisdom as time passes…life itself is such a profound teacher.

I will take my leave of you now as I have gifts to wrap in Spiderman paper and tomorrow there is a trip to Chuck E. Cheese in my future…I know y’all are jealous.

Relentless And Thirty-One

Thirty was brutal.

It was brutally honest and unapologetically raw. It was a beautiful mess with parts I would not wish on my least favorite of human spirits.

Thirty was the year of sorry’s, and sighs, and throwing my hands to the skies. Thirty was the year of aging mentally and physically. Thirty was the year of allowing myself to be lost and not wanting to be found by anyone but me.

Thirty was letting go and a series of hard choices–the kind of decisions that prove your character. The kind that ache, bleed, and scar. It was self discovery and starting new.

It was hitting reset, rinse, repeat.

Thirty was the year of unrelenting chaos, followed by uncomfortable calm.

Reset, rinse, repeat.

Thirty was wanting to run away and never come back. Thirty was wanting to disappear. Thirty was wanting to be seen. Thirty was wanting to be held. Thirty was the paradox.

I looked around the house and just wanted to burn it down more than once. I looked up airline tickets for three out of the country more than twice. I second guessed my decision to leave my marriage…zero times.

I redecorated. I made new recipes. I cooked a lot of food. I lost ten pounds. I gained ten pounds. I gave zero f&*cks. I grew out my hair. I bought $40 foundation for the first time ever. I painted my first and last room. I told some of my best jokes. I did some of my best writing. I had some of my worst parenting moments. I had some of my lowest lifetime moments. Thirty was angry, and it was sad. It was a 24/7 adrenaline rush and it was exhausting. Thirty was adult dating, and school girl blushing. Thirty was laughing like I hadn’t in years, even when it was at my own life or expense. Thirty was saying hard truths out loud. Thirty was letting myself grieve things I’d been missing. Thirty was accepting good things when they presented themselves and not feeling guilty about it.

It was letting go of things I had already long lost. It was closing doors to rooms in my heart that made me cold and sad. It was opening windows to trust new faces and unfamiliar spaces within my new life.

It was a year of allowing myself to cry at green, yellow, and red lights. In conference rooms, in the shower, at daycare, at the doctor’s office, at the dinner table of friend’s and in the doorways of their homes without warning.

I left a dozen chapters of my life behind, and in my husband’s hands, hours before someone else’s wedding. I forced myself to spit out razor blades of truth at the person I said ‘forever’ to. My head had to forcefully tell my heart to leave my husband and be completely unwavering in that choice.

It was the year of asking for help and of saying ‘yes.’ It was a the year of the king size bed, an ironic choice for a person with one less body next to them. The year not for the bucket list, but the f*%ck-it list.

Thirty was love at its most genuine, whether it was for me or from me. It was finding out who really is in my corner and who deserves to be put in one.

Thirty was dancing in the rain, crying in the rain, jumping puddles in the rain, kissing in the rain. I made the most of it, but thirty is what made me. Thirty taught me to spit in fear’s face, to say goodbye to people and things that don’t add, but detract, from my life.

Thirty gave me a glimpse into what I am really made of.

I am braver and stronger than I thought. I am more loved than I realized. I am capable of much more than I gave myself credit for.

The year turning over only proudly reinforces two things: this is my circus and these are my monkeys.

This is relentless and thirty-one.

~Jessica-Awesome Single Mama