Journaling Prompts For Self Reflection [Quarantine Edition]

I am having an off day. It started out fine, but now everything is getting under my skin. I figured it would be beneficial to distract myself and what better way than to do some journaling?

Q&A quarantine Edition

1. What has quarantine taught you?

-I have always been a hermit crab. My mental illnesses [borderline personality disorder, ocd, ptsd, and anxiety] took a huge toll on my ability to feel safe. Now that we are quarantined and not really supposed to be going places, I find myself feeling compelled to do more. Normally I wouldn’t do anything without my husband present, but now all I want to do is go do something, anything. Maybe we all have our limits in being hermit crabs.

2. What are you glad you don’t have to do now because of quarantine?

-I really do not miss grocery shopping in the store. I have really come to enjoy picking up our groceries. It saves me time, money, and stress. I do still like “fun” types of shopping, but groceries isn’t one of them.

3. Have you realized anything you took for granted before quarantine?

-Not really that I can think of. Maybe just the fact that we are more cautious now about touching things and washing things more often. Not being able to just assume we won’t get sick just by talking to someone or touching something.

4. If you could have anything for the rest of quarantine what would it be?

-An endless amount of iced coffee and art supplies.

5. What will you tell your kids and grandkids about this time?

-I figure at some point I will not remember the exact time frame of all this. I think I will just remember wearing masks everywhere and perhaps the feeling of wanting to get out more.

6. What has been the easiest part?

-We have adjusted pretty well. I think that is because we sort of started this a year in advance because of our youngest son being a preemie and everything surrounding that story.

7. How are you increasing your knowledge?

-That is kind of a vague question. I have started to feel like less is more. The less I know the better about certain things. The news is all spin with hidden agendas so I don’t take anything they say as credible. I just try to focus on my family.

8. What were you looking forward to that has been canceled?

– Seeing extended family for birthdays was halted. We have basically limited it to our parents, siblings, and the few friends we see regularly. Nothing really important has been missed. I will be very upset if our fall activities get canceled though.

9. What is something you wish the world would learn from this?

-I honestly don’t know. Humanity itself is a mess.

10. What has the worst part of this been?

-The most challenging thing for us has probably been appointments. I have had to postpone many appointments because I cannot bring all the kids with me. Even to their appointments, I can’t bring the other kids with. I try to schedule for when Chris is home, but of course most offices close around 5pm.

11. What is the weirdest thing you have heard so far?

-Like I said, I sort of stopped paying attention to the madness. There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there that had me eyerolling.

12. What has been your binge worthy show?

-Actually I started a group with my best friend for Netflix Bingers. It is like a book club, but for Netflix. We are currently watching Bates Motel. Otherwise I have been watching New Girl (again) and some movies for a list I am working on.

13. The first thing I am going to do when this is all over is?

-At this point I couldn’t tell you. It could be a long while before it is “over”.

14. I am taking this as an opportunity to…

-Continue working on myself, my home, and making memories with our kids.

15. What is something you have learned from yourself during this time?

-That I do eventually get stir crazy.

16. What has been the best source of entertainment?

-Probably movie nights.

17. What is the biggest way your life has changed?

-Just being more cautious I suppose, wearing masks and sanitizing constantly when we do go out.

18. What is something that won’t ever change?

-I don’t really know.

19. Have you been practicing anything?

-I have been sewing more and painting more. Trying to improve on both of those skills.

20. What does an average day look like for you?

-It depends on the day really. My son goes to school every other day. So on the days he has school it goes like this..

705AM wake up

715AM Get out of bed, get dressed. Wake up the kids. Make breakfast. Feed dogs. Let dogs out and back in. Maybe watch a kids show if there is time before we leave.

Leave at 8AM for school. Drop #1 off. Go to Panera for my free coffee. Go home. Give kids 748392 snacks. Clean. Watch kids shows. Pinterest. Text people. Eat food. Figure out dinner plans if I don’t already. Pickup #1 from school at 215PM. Come home. Kids do their chores. Hang out til Chris gets home. Make dinner. Hang out for a bit. Bathe the kids. Get them ready for bed. Bed time is 8PM. Then I get to do whatever I want. Watching my shows, doodling in my journal, writing, playing my game, take a shower, and eventually go to sleep.

The days he doesn’t have school is just a little different.

Wake up around 8AM. Feed kids. Let dogs in and out. Do online school work with #1. Then the rest is basically the same.

21. What is your go-to snack?

Well, I have been doing more lazy keto-ing lately. So my snacking lately is not keto. Recently I have enjoyed butter puffcorn and some home made snack mixes.

22. Have you done anything crazy out of boredom?

-Not really crazy, but I have dyed my hair probably 8 times since March. I dye it often anyway, I like change. I guess I did cut my hair too (maybe 7 or 8 inches off).

That is that! What have you been doing during quarantine? Let me know in the comments!

Trying To Keep Sane

We have all seen it. The world seems to be in a dark and scary place right now. Before the start of 2020, I thought surely 2020 would have to be better than how my 2019 went. 2019 was a hard year for me personally. Had I known 2020 was going to come in the way it did, I would have appreciated how much my struggle then was easier than the global struggle that is going on right now.

I have tried to keep political opinions off my platforms. Not because I don’t care or am not involved, but because I believe everyone will believe their opinions are the right ones. I am not here to cause mass hysteria. I am here to try to reclaim my sanity and maybe help others reclaim theirs as well.

A lot has changed out there, or maybe, it just seems that way with the media’s attention on it. Maybe it’s always been this crazy, to an extent. My mental health doesn’t do well if I think about it too hard.

I am just trying to take it a day at a time here with my family of 5. The kids are fairly understanding of the corona virus now. I haven’t been able to bring up everything else with them as they are still very little, too little to understand some things. We did discuss George Floyd and my son who is now 7 was literally in tears. We all were.

I don’t watch the news and haven’t (except periodically) in over 2 years. It doesn’t help my anxiety and other brain malfunctions. I get most of my little tidbits from my mom and things people post on Facebook. Even those can be emotionally exhausting. I just don’t even know what to say or how to express it. It is rough everywhere.

With that said, I have been taking (or trying to) more opportunities to focus on my sanity and my family’s sanity. I thought it might bring some happiness to see some happy faces. Here is what we have been up to…

I went from purple hair, to blonde, to red and orange.

We took a family vacation to Milford Kansas at the end of May. We went boating and swimming in the lake. We had bonfires and for the first time since my wedding night, 8 years ago, I got completely drunk. Needless to say, I can wait another 8 years or more before doing that again. It was fun, it just isn’t for me. Here are some pictures from that trip.

Kona and Ellie were taking turns sitting on my chair behind my back. At one point Kona decided he wanted to lay down.
The kids did fairly well on the ride.
We went boating and I got sunburned pretty bad even though I had sunscreen on.
We went to the little beach area. The kids swam and played in the sand/gravel. Chris went on the kayak, but I didn’t get pictures.

We celebrated Pickle’s 7th birthday with a twenty one pilots themed surprise party.

We turned the garage into a concert venue and had their music playing on a t.v. and a party light going for the concert like vibes.
We had a water balloon fight on his actual birthday.

I also have been trying to find new ways to entertain myself.

I tried foam curlers in my hair overnight.

I have been living the strict keto life since Bug’s birthday and am down 22 pounds. I don’t have pictures here, but you can follow my keto Instagram account if you want to reclaimingmysanity.ketolife is my name on there. I post food and before and afters.

My plants are still alive! Woohoo!

Chris and I have also been trying to find ways to have date nights at home. We did a fondu night, a bonfire night, and most recently a “painting with a twist” night.

I found a tutorial on YouTube.

Some things not in my photo gallery are rearranging the house (again), going through stuff (again), “window shopping” online, playing video games, movie nights, and family dinners. Most of that stuff we do regardless of the status beyond our front door.

I guess all I am trying to say is there are ways to maintain your sanity even during these chaotic times. Enjoy the simple things.

-jenn

Quarantined Questionnaire

I have been feeling a little looney lately. I want to write. I have sat and looked at my keyboard many times. I have sat and stared at a pen for several unproductive minutes for multiple days now. Perhaps I have hit some writers block. I don’t know.

Anyways, I was scrolling along through pinterest and found a questionnaire that I thought seemed relevant to myself. I figured as we are (almost) all quarantined these days, why not get even more personal? I have no shame and nothing to lose. So here we go!

1. Do I like who I am right now?

I like myself more now than I have before. Of course there are always things I am striving to improve on. My mental health, my physical health, and marriage are things I will never stop trying to improve. But, I know I am a good person who only has the best intentions for every thing I do.

2. When was the last time I laughed so hard?

On Sunday afternoon, my mom and sister and myself went to the lake for a bike ride. We rented the bikes that they have stationed there. These are not typical bikes as they have some extra things attached to them making them a little heavier. Needless to say they are an adjustment at first. We started off on a very winding hill. My sister went first as she has been going several times a week and knows where she is going. My mom in the middle and I was behind her just to keep tabs on her. Not even 2 minutes into our ride my mom lost control of her bike, nearly implanting her front tire in a giant hole, but ultimately missed said hole and almost fell off sideways. She was ok and we were laughing so incredibly hard we were crying.

3. What would I truly regret not doing if I died tonight?

There are so many things I still want to do in this life, but if it were my time to go, there is not anything I would regret not having done personally. Of course I would miss out on so much of my kids and husband, family, and friends lives and that scares me the most. But, there isn’t anything I would regret not having done.

4. What is some advice that my family has given that I took just in time?

The first thing that comes to my mind is when I almost got smashed by a semi when I hit some black ice on the interstate and spun out of control. It was the first time I had driven long distance, especially alone, but in wintery conditions as well. Had it not been for the advice my sister gave me not long before this happened I probably would be dead. The advice is, when driving in bad conditions and you hit ice, do not hit the brakes or the gas, just steer. Had I not thought of that the moment I did, my car would have been seriously mangled by a semi and I would not be here telling you about it.

5. What were the top 3 lessons I learned the hard way?

1. Credit is the devil.

2. Not everyone has disturbing thoughts or depression, it isn’t “normal”.

3. Sugar is a drug.

6. What would I do if my biggest fear came true?

Well, my biggest fears involve death. I absolutely cannot fathom losing a child. I don’t know what I would do. I would be incapable of functioning. I literally just cannot imagine. My heart goes out to anyone who has had to go through it.

7. What would I do with the time I have left if only given 1 year to live?

I would try to make as many memories as possible with my kids and everyone I love. I would vlog every thing so that they could have it after I am gone.

8. Am I a servant of money or does money serve me?

Well, the only debt we have left are a couple family loans. So that I feel is a huge weight off of us. I think everyone in today’s society is somewhat a servant of money because you have to have money to pay for a house and food and all of those sort of things. However, I do not feel tied down anymore by the strain of debts.

9. Why am I afraid of being true to myself when others are around?

99.9% of the time I am true to myself regardless of who is around. Sometimes I do bite my tongue around people because I don’t need to fuel or cause unnecessary drama for others. If it doesn’t involve me personally then I don’t need to speak about it, unless they are asking for advice.

10. What are 3 things that I am most grateful for?

Since this says things, I won’t list people..

1. Clean water

2. Healthy food

3. Technology

11. Have I done something recently that I am proud of?

I think about this a lot. My day to day life doesn’t allow a whole lot of time for doing things for myself or out of the ordinary persay. But, I think being a kickass mother is something to be proud of every day. Raising humans is not an easy task and some days I feel like I am failing miserably. However, my kids are happy, loved, clothed, fed, and protected and even “just” maintaining that is something to be proud of.

12. When was the last time I extended kindness to somebody?

I always strive to be kind. Even to people who I feel may not deserve my kindness or graciousness, I still give it to them. With this pandemic going on, I haven’t gone out a whole lot, but if I do have to make a target drive up or go to an appointment, I am always sure to thank the person that has to help me.

13. What questions do I really want the answer to?

I think it is safe to say we all have unanswered questions. I strive to have no stone left unturned, but sometimes you just have to accept not knowing the answer.

1. Why was my relationship with you never a priority? [To my bio dad].

2. Why were you so insistent on name calling me behind my back right off the bat, when I did nothing wrong? Furthermore, why do you always leave that out when you tell people why you and your husband no longer have a relationship with my husband…đŸ€” [to my husband’s brother’s wife, Rachael].

So many things I would ask to both people, but they are too hard headed to listen and be civilized (trust me I have tried multiple times) so there is really no point.

14. What do I really want from life?

To be happy with myself and raise kids who are happy with themselves.

15. What aspect of my personality needs improvement still?

I find this question challenging because I don’t see any faults in my personality. I can’t pinpoint an answer for this, sorry.

16. Must I take other people’s advice?

Heck no! I have learned to not ask for advice very often. If I want advice it’s usually because I have more than one answer that feels right to me and having someone elses experience or expertise can help lean me one way over the other.

17. What annoys me the most?

Liars.

18. Do others find me likable?

Usually. If they don’t, then that is not my problem.

19. When was the last time I fell head over heels with life?

I really started to the last 4 years or so. When I am able to take more control of my life in every aspect, I can feel more at peace and excitement about where I am headed.

20. Am I enriching other people’s lives with what I do?

Well, outside of my own family, the only thing I “do” persay is this blog and my ability to offer encouragement to others. I actually had an old friend of mine recently tell me that I am her courage in dealing with her hardships because of the encouragement I have given her and my openness of my mental illness. So, that is something meaningful.

21. How meaningful is my life?

To me, very meaningful. To the world, I am not sure yet…

22. What makes life meaningful?

Happiness. Loving yourself enough to go for it, whatever it is that sets your soul on fire. Do it.

23. Would I lie down my life for somebody?

I would like to believe so, but I guess you don’t know until that moment.

24. How much money would I be willing to give to those in need if I won the lottery?

I would go crazy giving money! I have such a big heart and if I had the means to help, I am going to do it!

25.

Am I worthy of being loved?

One million percent yes!

26. What talents or skills do I have that I can do better than anyone else?

That is not a legit thing. There is always someone of equal talent or more, no matter what it is.

27. What are the things that put me off?

Liars. People who tell stories without putting in the parts of how they were guilty. Narcissist. People who use their astrological sign as justification for something. People who are highly drugged or intoxicated. People who use others and don’t even show appreciation for them.

28. What is a peaceful life?

One without stupid drama and hardships that cannot be overcome.

29. What am I most afraid of about life?

It ending before I am “ready”. Death.

30. If I had not been born what would be different about the world?

It would have less people in my family and it would have one less blog.

31. Would I enjoy watching a movie made of my life?

Probably

32. Is my definition of success the same as everyone elses?

I doubt it. Some people see money as success. Some people see happiness as success.

33. Do I have a personal mission?

I guess life?

34. How would I describe the perfect day?

I couldn’t because there is no such thing that exists in all scenarios and seasons.

35. What am I willing to go the extra mile for?

Myself and my family.

36. What are my 5 negative habits that I must change to something better?

Negative habits? Hmmmm.

1. Leaving stuff around the house and getting distracted by something and entirely forgetting about what I left behind to begin with.

2. Negative self talk.

3. Emotional spending (I have been working on this!)

4. Staying up too late.

5. Need for control.

37. What is something you are working on about yourself?

I am trying to dig deeper into myself. Why do certain things bother me? Why do certain things trigger me? What do I want to do when all my kids are in school? Trying to find the answers to these things.

38. How do you treat people that do you wrong?

Probably depends how it happens. I start by being angry, who wouldn’t. Then I will usually try to talk to that person to find their justification for what they did or said. Most people are willing to hash it out and make amends. The ones who refuse are no longer allowed in my life.

39. Have you read any good books lately?

I don’t read books all that often. The last one I listened to was Girl, Wash your Face.

40. Who do you look up to?

My mom the most probably. I feel like each aspect of my life may be a different person that I go to for advice or conversation.

—–

—–

Wow! That was longer than I anticipated! Which is fine since I am currently processing my hair! But, it never hurts to ask yourself some profound questions. You never know where your answers will take you.

A Journal To Document Our Self Isolating -4-

How is everyone doing lately? I hope you are all well and healthy!

We are all still doing just fine here. We certainly have been keeping busy though!

Bug turned 1 on April 17th! Seriously how did that happen already? We decorated some. I made his cake and some cupcakes for the other kids. He opened his presents that people sent to him. Overall, it was a relaxed but fun day.

Now that the weather has been amazing, we have been spending practically every day outside. We have been working on fixing up both the front and backyard. I even had my first try at the chainsaw! I turned around to find Chris had been taking my picture. There is still plenty to finish, but progress is progress!

We also got the kids a sandbox! They seriously love it! We put it together as a family last Sunday. That was a fun project!

I also decided to try out some DIY garden beds this year. I am starting small as I have a tendency to kill everything. I have tomatoes and bell peppers. My aunt gave me a DIY way to make raised beds from storage totes. I have plenty of those around here so it saved me at least 140$ to use those instead of buying a fancy wooden one. We will see how that goes.

I did treat myself a little bit with the stimulus deposit. I got a Fitbit Versa 2. It is such a fun tool! Especially if you are competitive, like I tend to be! Along with treating myself, I have been a little more adventurous in trying new things. For instance, those pesky ads you see for certain products. One in particular that kept popping up was Curology. I decided to give it a whirl. After all I only paid $5 for shipping. If it works, great! If not, then oh well. So far it has been about 2 weeks and I haven’t seen a whole lot of results yet, but stay tuned for that in a few weeks.

I also did a home trial with Warby Parker glasses. I have been in the mood for new frames. I have been sticking with the same shape for years now, though getting bigger in size. I wanted to try some out that I normally might not. The home trial sends you 5 pairs of glasses that you pick out. You have a week to try them on and then send them back. If you like one you can buy them for around $95 TOTAL!

Here are the ones I tried. What do you think? Any winners here?

I do have to get a new eye exam, so I am waiting for that before I decide.

We still have been doing a lot of art type things. Monkey and I painted our livingroom windows to look like under the sea.

We made some bird feeders out of what we had around the house. Mainly because I felt bad that we had to have our giant dead pine tree taken down (some birds have to move homes now).

But, also because the kids love watching wild life (we got a squirrel feeder too we just have not put it out yet).

We have been playing outside a lot; riding bikes, scooters, playing basketball, and coloring with chalk. I kept seeing people posting fun chalk pictures, so I decided we needed to have one of our own.

Can you name the movie?

Something about being outside, barefoot, and soaking up the sun makes for happy days for me lately. As for the kids…they love it outside! They would live out there if I would let them ha-ha!

As for me and my sanity, some days are better than others. I have been taking a lot of time for self reflection (perhaps I will save that for next time). I have been sticking with my keto lifestyle and adding in more exercise. I really am determined to get where I want to be. All in good time it shall happen!

All we are trying to do is stay sane and healthy during this madness. Some days are rough and some are wonderful. Life is all about the ups and downs, I just never thought we would be going through a pandemic simultaneously. It is what it is though. We will continue to do our best with what we have!

-A Journal to Document Our Self Isolating- 3

Alright here I am, back again! It is day….I honestly don’t know, of our self isolation journey. After the last post, I felt a sense of guilt for venting so much. I feel like it can come off as whiney and pessimistic, but it also just goes to show some days are hard.

So after that post, I decided to get us on some kind of structured plan. I wrote out several different things/charts. A chore chart for each big kid, a schedule, a rules chart, an attitude scale, and a consequences list. I hung them on the wall in the dining room. It has worked wonderfully for Pickle, he is almost 7 so he can grasp the concepts a lot easier. Monkey has been my biggest battle these days. It is a work in progress.

Besides that, I was looking through my gallery in my phone. Mainly looking back on my pregnancy with Bug, his NICU stay, and how much he has grown. I was also looking at everything we have done thus far (in isolation) that I happened to get pictures of. I thought it would be fun to share some of those!

I have been trying to incorporate the kids in my daily activities. Things like cleaning and cooking, to help them learn some life skills. I also have been letting them take the reigns on some things, like my 3 year old Monkey making herself a PB&J sandwich. Pickle learned how to make carmelized onions.

Speaking of food, something we have always done, but I have been taking more pictures of lately, is family dinner. We always eat dinner together, whether it is home cooked or delivered. We eat at the table as a family. On rare occasions, we will eat our dinner picnic style in the livingroom with a movie. It is always fun.

Yes, I like pictures of food.

Sometimes, the kids just start doing random things to entertain themselves. Like Pickle building a condiment tower after dinner.

I also have been trying to think of things that are exciting here at home. We have done a lot of crafts, but we also have done some science experiments, some bowling, treasure hunts, and playing outside.

These kids and their trampoline. I swear they would live on it if we let them.

Since this whole thing started we (the kids and myself) have only left the house 3 times. One was just a drive to the post office, one was a drive to get a target drive up order (just me and Monkey went), and then we also took the kids to the drive through safari.

It was slow moving, but we weren’t in a hurry. It took us about an hour and a half to drive through the whole thing. We saw some elk, some deer, many birds including bald eagles, and some Bison. The kids enjoyed yelling at the animals in their “native tongues”. They also found amusement in the geese and cranes that were blocking the road. We paused to listen to the sounds of nature, which I was grateful for some silence, even if only for a minute.

This past week I was pinteresting and came across a gorgeous ring. Somehow it lead me into the thought of trying on my wedding dress. So, 8 years and 3 kids later…

It still fit (minus the armpit area that was a bit more snug than I remember)! I may or may not have surprised Chris when he got home from work that day to a fake little kitchen wedding.

House projects tend to keep my anxiety going more often than not. Though I don’t have pictures right now, we finally got our shower redone. Oh and then! Our carbon monoxide detectors decided to die within 24 hours. We did get those replaced, too.

Moving on….we have cebrated St. Patrick’s Day and prepared for Spring/Easter. We have participated in the local “hunts” for shamrocks and easter eggs. We also have decorated for Bug’s first birthday which is in 5 days!

Easter is tomorrow, so of course we decorated eggs. We tried a few new methods this year, shaving cream, napkins, and the plastic baggy method. We also did our typical cup method.

The baggy method worked better than the shaving cream. The napkin method worked nicely, if you are old enough to do it. Monkey decided it was best just to use her hands and rub dye all over the eggs. Bug, well, he just kept trying to eat everything.

We also put together 133 treat bags for my sister’s senior residents at one of her properties. I love teaching the kids to think of others. We explained to them how these people couldn’t be with their families for Easter and we wanted to make them smile. They both understood the best they could for their ages I think. Bug, of course, bit open a chocolate bunny wrapper and helped himself. He can be such a vulture!

And lastly, tonight. Tonight we moved Pickle out of Bug’s room, per Pickle’s request. Then once they were asleep, the Easter bunny stopped by!

He also hid some eggs for them to find!

We aren’t religious so Easter for us usually meant a family brunch or dinner with Chris’ family. Sometimes my family does dinner together, but obviously this year things are different. I am going to make quiche in the morning and then for dinner we will have ham and a few sides. We likely will video chat our parents at some point.

I hope you enjoyed this post. More importantly, I hope you are all healthy and sane.

-A Journal to Document Our Self Isolating- 2

I have been in the darkness this last week. In partial because of my mental illnesses, but I think the quarantined lifestyle has made matters worse.

You would think it would not be that traumatic for a person who has been a stay at home parent for 6 years. Granted, that started with only 1 child. I now have 3 of them. 2 in which are not school aged.

We had our structure. As a person with mental illness, structure helps me thrive.

My son, who is nearing 7 years old, was diagnosed with ADHD; structure helps him thrive.

Add in my now 3 year old sassy pants daughter and my 11.5 month old adventurous little Bug, everything just feels like chaos. We strive on the structure. The structure we have now lost due to this freaking virus!

I am sitting here contemplating my capacity to be a mother. More importantly, a good mother that can help her kids thrive and not live off of 479202 snacks and 10 hours of screen time a day. To live in this world is exhausting sometimes. I have to worry about everything and even the things most people probably aren’t even considering…I WORRY ABOUT.

You would think, “wow your son’s school is not requiring him to do 3 hours of school a day on the computer? You are so lucky!”

When I make it through a day and realize we did absolutely nothing to help prepare him to enter 2nd grade, guilt sets in. Am I a capable mother? I try to set up some sort of home school, but he is quick to snap an attitude and quick to lose focus. Is it me? Am I just not capable?

I worry for the fact that he, according to his state testing, is still a little behind in some areas. How the hell am I suppose to help him be successful since he had to miss half of his 1st grade year and then go into second grade basically blindfolded, without some kind of requirement or structure?

Besides that academic guilt, my anxiety limits things. All the kids want to do is be outside, all day everyday, rain or shine. I am always making them wait until Chris gets home. Why? Well for starters, I have an infant that has to be watched basically every minute so he doesn’t put something in his mouth or injure himself from his adventurous ways. I can’t be in every place at once. And secondly, because it simply isn’t safe. I wish I had $6,000 to pay for a 6 foot privacy fence, but I don’t. We have a chain link, but that wouldn’t stop some lunatic from snatching them if they really wanted to. Paranoid you might say, while yes I do have paranoia issues, just last week the cops shared a picture of a car going around trying to lure kids. They caught him finally, but I am sure he isn’t the last. It just isn’t safe letting them out there all alone.

I try to plan fun things to do with the kids. I try to teach them new things and keep them from murdering each other. But sometimes, I just can’t take it. Am I just that incapable? Why does the struggle have to be so intense?

Tonight I was telling my husband I feel like I am cursed. How is it that I can have the things I always dreamed of and feel insane for having them. Or feeling like they are the ones making me feel insane. Does that make me an incapable mother?

I thought this quarantined life would be easy for me. After all, I did have isolation practice last year while I was in the hospital for a month. However, that was different because it was just me. I wasn’t parenting during that time because I couldn’t. Now, it is JUST me. There are no breaks or date nights without the kids because hello, everyone is at home [where they should be]. And, the kids always find me, even if I try to hide.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and would do anything for them. But this has me questioning my ability as a mother. It has me questioning my capabilities as a person. I am too much for myself sometimes. How can I escape myself? Doctor Strange needs to come teach me how to remove my soul from my body for a minute or something.

I need to make a better plan. I need to find something we can stick to. There just has to be balance somehow. There just has to. I’m going to find it.

-A Journal to Document Our Self Isolating-

Like I mentioned before, these are some weird times. These are rough, worrisome, and all together it is a struggling sort of time. When I am struggling, I write. I figured I should spend time documenting this time. Everyone keeps saying these are historical times and while I do believe that, it still seems weird to think about.

For those who are here for the first time, hi! I am Jenn, I am a 30 year old mother of 3 and wife of one. My kids are 6, 3, and 11.5 months old.

My husband works as a sanitation worker and thus is deemed “essential” to keep working during these times. It is scary to think of all the exposures that come with him leaving the house, let alone his line of work. I worry every day if someone’s trash bags or trash cans are contaminated. I worry that he might bring it home and who knows where it would go from there. However, at the same time, I am grateful he still has his job because without it I really don’t know what we would do.

My oldest son goes to school, he is in the first grade. They officially canceled school until further notice a couple of weeks ago. His school has not given any required work or e-learning to do. I have seen my niece and nephew get those from their schools. My son has been diagnosed with ADHD and unfortunately, the doctor’s still haven’t been able to get his medication to the pharmacy. With that said, he is a little behind in school due to his lack of focusing. I am sure many parents can attest that their children defy them the most. I only have so much time and energy that I can give to my kids. I try to incorporate things to keep him going, but he has a really hard time focusing here at home. Without requiring work how am I suppose to help him be successful academically? At the same time, I know there are other things to teach him more than just writing and reading.

We have been doing a lot of art. We have decorated the livingroom windows and all the other windows, twice, that face the street for the people going on walks and families on scavenger hunts in their cars. I created my own learning sheets by drawing them out and creating pieces with velcro attached to place on the sheet. We read every day. He practices writing everyday. We do some math equations everyday. We have dance parties, we use GoNoodle, and constantly build forts. But, the structure is gone. Sometimes getting him to do anything is a serious struggle. He doesn’t respect me the same way he does his teachers. More so, he just cannot focus here at home where everything else is not structured and is distracting. I do my best with what we have, but the struggle is there.

I also can’t forget to mention how often these kids eat! I swear they eat and 2 minutes later they are complaining they are hungry again. I wonder how my oldest makes it through a regular school day without so many snacks. đŸ˜”

We have been basically self isolating since the school’s announcement. The only places we have gone are the driveway, a walk to a park to play soccer and get some air, a short drive to get takeout [supporting businesses], and my sister’s house for my nephew’s birthday [don’t worry there was only 10 people and we were all cautious]. Now that the numbers are getting worse, we and others need to start taking this more seriously. Not that I feel we were going overboard but you never know where the virus is.

The eye opener for me was the video a doctor in NYC courageously shared. The part that really got to me was when she said they had to order a refrigerated truck to store the bodies. I cannot even imagine what that is like, not only for the hospital staff but also the families of those people. It is horrifying.

So, we are staying put. We are binge watching all of the marvel movies in some chronological order that my husband found (I think we have 5 or 6 left). We have canceled our youngest son’s first birthday party that is coming up. We have been playing card games like uno and skipbo. We are just trying to stay healthy. I cannot imagine this getting worse, but I only know it will. Especially if others keep doing what they are doing and not living by the guidelines.

These are some seriously crazy times. What are you doing during all of this to stay sane?

Time Flies

One year ago today I was 29 weeks pregnant, walking into Walmart for our typical grocery shopping. Immediately after walking through the doors, my water broke and panic set over me. I KNEW it was my water, but was hoping it was in fact pee. We rushed to the bathroom and quickly rushed back out to the van, and headed to the hospital. I was absolutely terrified of the unknown. Will my baby be ok? Will I be ok? What’s going to happen? I remember feeling overwhelmed with panic and Chris telling me to breathe and remain as calm as possible. The 2 younger kids were silent, probably wondering what the hell was happening.
We finally got to UNMC and Chris dropped me off at the valet area. I walked in quickly, but more of my water was leaking pretty bad. I stopped and looked for the nearest person. I was bawling my eyes out and asked for a wheelchair. The woman working at the check in area shut down her area, found me a wheelchair, and calmly wheeled me to labor and delivery. I was still mortified, but felt more comfort knowing I was in a safe place for me and my baby.
After a few hours and 2 tests, I was admitted into the hospital. Everyday was uncertain. Will my baby be born way too soon? Can I keep him in another 5 weeks? Every pain, gush of fluid, and change in the status quo made me panic “is this it? Is he coming?” Nothing was certain and the unknown does not mesh well with my anxiety and need for being in control.
I had to learn to how to be ok not being in control. As terrifying as that is, especially for me with anxiety, I knew I didn’t have a choice if I wanted to help my baby.
I spent 1 month in the bed of the hospital. My entire family taking on my responsibilities [it seriously takes a village] day after day. I forgot what it felt like to be outside. I actually longed to feel it rain on my skin during the storms. I felt helpless. I spent my days painting, listening to music, watching HGTV and My 600 Pound Life on repeat, being excited to try everything on the hospital menu, being excited when I would get my room cleaned by my favorite room service gal, being poked and monitored constantly, and barely getting any sleep. At one point someone put the orders in wrong and I was being woke up at 2am to have my blood drawn. I napped a lot during the day. I had to take one day at a time and be ok with not knowing or being in control. It was hard, but I had to.
He was born 2 days shy of my impending 34 week mark/induction date. We made it. I was excited that my favorite Doctor was there that night to deliver the last member of our family. I was excited to have both my mom and stepdad there to support Chris and myself through the entire thing. Plus knowing my stepdad would finally witness a live birth. I am grateful for the support and love of my adoring husband through everything. He is and always will be my rock and protector.
I kind of felt like a warrior afterwards. Everything I went through to get to his Birth day. The labor itself and the scary unknown surrounding how my body reacted to the epidural placement. At one point, I honestly thought I may not make it out alive. Thankfully, we both came out of everything kicking: alive and healthy!
1 year later I am sitting here remembering everything as if it just happened last week. I didn’t know it at the time, but the lessons and strength I got from my “quarantined” days in the hospital and the emotional roller coaster of the NICU journey, made me a better mother and better person. I didn’t know how much I needed my little Bug.
I cannot believe a year has already gone by. I didn’t think we would be where we are today, but as we are sitting through this time of self isolation or social distancing, I remember that I have had some pretty good practice. I can be ok with the unknown and take everything one day at a time. There is no need to panic. We all need to come together as the village that we are. Everyone is just trying to make it out ok. We can do that if we all calm down and quit putting our panic above someone else’s health and safety. I am not a religious person, but “love thy neighbor”. We can and will get through this, together.