Welcome to Led Astray…My outlet.
I’m nobody special. In a world with millions of blogs and even more opinions (you know what they say about opinions) I’m just a tiny speck. However to my kids and husband, I’m pretty special, or at least I would like to think so. This blog was created simply for a way for me to journal about my day to day life and opinions about what’s going on in this crazy world (“crazy” is putting it nicely). I’m happily married with 3 wonderful kids, 2 smelly dogs and a cat that every once in awhile decides to grace me with her presence when she’s hungry. I admit I forget we even have a cat most days. I was sitting on my couch, scrolling through my FB feed and realized how angry people are these days. If I ever feel like I want to revisit my high school years I just sign on to social media and boom, I’m back in high school. The cliques and name calling between people with different opinions is sometimes amusing but always sad. I’ll admit, I’ve wanted to resort to the same behavior because I’m a pretty strong headed person that stands firm in my beliefs on things but I for the most part just scroll on through arguing my side in my own head. That’s when I decided I’d blog. As a stay at home parent I’m pretty sure this is not a new concept. I would like to officially welcome you to my world. I’m open for critiques, opinions and debates but the minute you resort to childlike behavior you have my permission to leave this blog and return to your angry, self absorbed life. This blog is not about shaming others but about how I see things. My perception is just that, my perception. Everyone experiences life differently which leads them to draw their own conclusions. Everyone has different experiences and this is just a way for me to chronicle mine. So welcome to Led Astray…My outlet.
A simple yet extremely complex word. Used constantly regarding food, clothes, people, pets, and all things. “Oh I love that recipe”. “I love your new outfit.” But seriously, what is love? Love encompasses everything. I’m sitting here on the couch. It’s 10:30 at night and my husband is playing his PlayStation while I catch up on my shows on Netflix. Most people would be bothered by his gameplay but he makes plenty of time for me. If I asked him right now to turn it off and watch something with me, he would, without hesitation. We have been married almost 16 years (this September) and I still adore this man. We have had some extremely hard times. Most recently was last year. However he is still my best friend. The one person I know I’m meant to spend all of my life with. He loves me and he loves his kids. He’s not perfect but neither am I. I feel like people give up to soon. I love this man more now than I ever did when we were dating or right when we got married. Till death do us part. That’s a vow I take seriously and so does he. He always makes me laugh when I’m feeling down even if he’s having a bad day. He tells me I’m beautiful when I don’t feel it. Sure, he’s done things that have made me cry and hurt me and I’ve done the same to him. We’ve grown up together, trying to figure out this life together. I watch him when he’s not looking and see his simple smile when one of our kids are talking to him. I watch him as he laughs at a movie I find completely stupid and literally fall in love with him all over again because of his smile and laughter. He’s one of those quiet types. Hard to get to know yet I know him, almost more than I do myself and he knows me the same. He said to me the other day when we were having lunch and I was talking about how I was feeling down and his reply was, “I want you to be Jen and whatever that is, I support you. Find hobbies that make you happy and I’ll have your back”. That’s my husband. Unconditional. At times when it was hard and I was ready to throw in the towel he wouldn’t let me give up and vice versa. I used to fight with the fact that we were so different. He’s fine sitting at home constantly and I want to go do something and he’s never stopped me. Just wants me to be happy and isn’t that what true love is? Wanting the other to be happy? I want him to be happy so sure, play your game babe because I know when I need you, you’ll turn it off and give me that look that’s says “I’m all yours”. Geez I love this man! Love is a simple word but takes a whole lot of work. It’s not a feeling but a choice and I choose to love this man with all of my heart here on earth and after. When you are going through hard times in your relationship, just know that nobodies perfect but loving them through those imperfections will make all the difference in the world. Here’s to my husband, best friend, childhood crush and soul mate. You have my heart and always have. I love you more today than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow.
This is a hard one to write however I feel like I would be a total fake if I wasn’t honest in my posts. I suffer from Depression and anxiety disorder. I was recently put on Lexapro and so far it seems to be helping a lot, however I still have my down days. Today was one of those days. It took all had to get out of bed this morning. Actually I didn’t actually get out of bed until 12:30 because my husband called to ask if I wanted to have lunch with him. I miss the person I was before this. I was thankful for that phone call because when it comes to my husband or kids, they are what keeps me going. I’m nowhere close to where my husband is in my depression but it helps me understand him and how he feels. Mine started around the time we moved back from TN and had all our belongings stolen from us. Things are replaceable so that part doesn’t effect me as much, however our computer, which I had not backed up to anything, had every photo and video of my kids, mostly my son on it. I have no baby videos of my little guy to look back on and no photos either. As I’ve said in a previous post, my kids are my life so even thinking about it now , almost 2 years later, it still makes me completely upset. Depression is a hard thing to define. Its choosing to forgo spending time with friends and family and then complaining that you’re lonely. Its having a messy house and knowing that the only reason I clean it is to hopefully brighten my husbands day when he comes home because the last thing I want is for my hard working husband to come home to a messy house. Its telling people that I’m busy or not feeling good when I get invited to go somewhere because I don’t have the mental strength to go and the motivation it would take to get up and get dressed is sometimes too much. From the outside people don’t understand. I have a wonderful husband and equally wonderful kids which our for sure my reason to keep going. Its hard to explain but its there and I feel like the stigma of mental health needs to be removed. Life can be pretty hard sometimes…However I feel like the good days are far better than the worst. I can be in a complete downward spiral feeling numb to everything and one of my kids pop in to say something silly and it immediately makes me smile. I feel like people don’t know how to handle someone who is depressed so in turn they turn away because they don’t understand. I’m here to tell you that what you need to do, is keep calling them even when they have nothing to say. Let them know you think about them and care about them even when they don’t seem to be putting in the effort to let you know they care. They do care, a lot, but have a hard time showing it. There’s days my husband comes home and I can tell he’s feeling down and my ultimate job then and there is to do whatever I can to make him laugh and take his mind off of, well his mind. It works, he will forget in those moments that the darkness seems to be taking over his mind and he will throw his head back and laugh and that brings me the greatest joy. I do my best to fight the depression and will go long periods of time feeling great but its always there, lurking beneath everything. The best advice I can give someone struggling with this is to FORCE yourself to get outside, focus on the beautiful things this world has to offer. Closing yourself off from the world might feel best but it isn’t what is best. Give people a chance to surprise you. I am loved, tremendously, by my husband and kids and mom and dad and siblings. I’m thankful for all I have and all those in my life so I know that though I may be going through dark times they will pass and the sun will shine again. I’m blessed beyond belief with who I have in my life and I will not allow this darkness to define me or my life. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. If only, I could get rid of the tunnel.
My 3 precious kids left days ago to spend some time in Georgia with their Nana. They begged and pleaded that I let them go and since it is summer and we aren’t doing a vacation this year, I decided to say Yes. Wednesday morning they packed up the SUV with my mother in-law and got on the road. My husband, whom I rarely talk to while he’s at work, called me numerous times throughout the day to see how I was doing. I was a hot mess. At points sobbing hysterically and even going into their rooms just to cry a little more. My kids are my life, just as I’m sure other moms feel the exact same way. My day to day life revolves around them just as any future plans I may make. My girls had done this trip before and I was a mess then, but this time all 3 went. This was the first time my little man (who has always been quite attached to me) has went and by far the longest we have ever been apart. I was worried he’d get sad and miss me just as much, however I was wrong. As it turns out they are having a blast and loving every minute of their trip and I’m still sitting here at home a mess. I think that can pretty much sum up parenting. Numerous people have mentioned that I should take advantage of this and they would love a little free time. My kids, however are already pretty independent as they are older, 15,12 and 6. So I don’t need a break, to sleep in on the weekend or relax in the evenings. My house feels like a library. There’s not a sound. No laughing or even fighting coming from upstairs. Robbie isn’t asking me to play slap jack with him and the girls aren’t asking me to take them to the mall. They aren’t here to watch Big Brother with me or to argue about eating the Salmon I cooked. I’ve realized in this small amount of time (I still have a week to go) that I should probably get a hobby. A hobby is something you enjoy doing in your free time. Well all along my kids have been my hobby and now that they are getting older I’m realizing that all I know myself to be is a mother and wife. These are definitely not bad things and are the two things that have brought the greatest joy to my life. So maybe I will think about getting a hobby. Going to the beach and relaxing, having a glass of wine and binge watching the ID channel all day. (could not do that with the kids home, murder is a pretty scary subject to them lol) The problem is….If I go to the beach, I know I will see some kids with their parents and that will make me think of mine. If I binge watch ID channel, I’ll come up with some crazy worry about why I need to go get them because maybe my mother in-law has a crazy neighbor I don’t know about. I can’t wake up and check on them. I can’t get 12,000 hugs while I’m in the middle of trying to do the laundry and I can’t argue with my oldest about her choice of clothes. Being kid less (temporarily) may seem like a wonderful thing to some but to me everyday is too long and every evening too quiet. Most people go through life wondering what their “purpose” is. well I know mine. Its to be the best mom I can be so while I sit and sulk on my couch trying to hold back tears, they will call on the phone and I will put all that aside and smile and act overly happy that they are having a great time, because after all…They are what matters. Me, I’ll get over it. So for now. The kids are alright and I’ll pretend for their sake, I am too.
So I’ve decided to share a bit of a personal story in hopes to perhaps help those parents out there that feel alone in this struggle. My beautiful 15 year old daughter has been struggling with depression. For those of us that don’t fully understand depression it can be a difficult concept to grasp. While I’m all too familiar with this horrible mental issue, being married to a man diagnosed with severe depression and PTSD, I’ve been pretty good at picking up on the signs. I have also realized that there seems to be an increase in teens and depression these days and I honestly blame most of that on the internet. Social media has become a new way of life. Heck, I check my FB, Insta and Twitter multiple times a day and if you aren’t mature enough to understand that as great as these websites are they can be just as detrimental to your life if used too much and as a way of comparison to your life and others. Most people only post their best photos (filters included) and only post about the positives they have going on in life. I mean….who wants to follow a negative Nancy that just brings you down. But teens need limits put in place by their parents. There are a ton of mean keyboard warriors out there that jump at the chance to put someone down and it is my job as a parent to be as involved in my kids digital life just as much as I am in her everyday life. Having set limits and restricting use of certain sites (such as Snapchat) I can be sure that my daughter is as protected as possible. Of course I can’t always catch everything but when I do see something that I know has had a negative impact I make sure to sit down with her and we talk about it. She knows she will receive no judgement from me. She seems happier now that she isn’t on her device constantly and that makes my heart happy. I also understand that she has developed friendships with her “internet” friends but together we do our research and make sure the person she’s talking to is the person they say. I read through her chats and discussions as well. She likes to say that it’s her privacy but I have to remind her…its the internet. Nothing is private and almost everything is fake. The Instagram models alone can make anyone feel bad about themselves, especially young teenage girls. My hope is that all parents monitor their childrens internet use and always listen and pay attention to your kids words and actions. Sometimes they say a lot without having said anything at all.
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and I’ve realized that the majority of my life I have lived so as to please others. Not in a people pleaser way though. I enjoy helping others but am usually too lazy. That’s definitely something I have to work on. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. What I mean is putting others opinions of myself and life ahead of my own opinions of myself and my life. Which has resorted to me living my day to day life as mundane and unexciting as you could imagine. I believe to have true joy…You need to find that within yourself and not in others acceptance of you or your ideas. There’s something incredibly freeing in finally having the realization that all I need to do to change my life and live with purpose is something I’ve had all along, and that’s myself. Today is as good a day as any to start living, not just existing. I do however have to clean my house because my mother in law will be here tomorrow and I still have responsibilities that can’t be neglected but I’m not talking about the tasks of day to day life. I’m talking about the way I will start perceiving this world we live in. I’m going to look for the good in everything and everyone. I’m going to smile more. ( I usually look down when I see people so as to avoid all eye contact which may turn into any type of communication…I know its a scary thought) I’m going to feel beautiful in the body I have while working on living healthier. I’m going to chop all my hair off because I want to and not keep it long because my husband doesn’t like short hair. I’m going to sing when my favorite song comes on no matter who can hear me and I’m gonna dance like no ones watching. Yes that is such a cliché thing to say but all the more reason to give it a try. I’m going to try new recipes and new activities with my family. I’m going to read more to myself and my kids. I’m not going to beat myself up if I’m running late or forget to pick up Milk at the grocery store. I’m going to finally take the time to learn about the things I find interesting such as herbalism and gardening. That might take some extra work, because I was definitely not born with a green thumb. I’m going to turn off the TV and instead of watching other people live their lives on Reality TV…I’m just going to live mine (Of course that will have to wait until Big Brother is over) I’m going to live like a Wildfire….Spreading my energy and love to everyone I come into contact with. That is what I intend to do starting now. I’ll chronicle this new adventure I tend to take and share with all of you. For it is even more beautiful to experience the journey together. I hope we can all learn to let go of the small unimportant things and cherish the precious things. This will be hard for me, since I’m kind of a hermit but that’s no way to live. Time to get out and have some new experiences! To being Led Astray by this wonderful thing we call life! But first..I’ve got to clean the damn kitchen.