It’s a loaded question isn’t it?  How did I get HERE?  I’ve been thinking it a lot the past year.  So many nights, as I tried to fall asleep but failed miserably, I would wonder how I got myself into the situation that was making my mind refuse to shut off.  On any given night I could be worried about one or more “here’s”.  Since I’m a math person, I’ll explain it with logic.
If HERE = Here, here Then…

I’ve been following CT Working Moms for a couple of years now. My son was around three at the time and I was struggling with his typical three-year old shenanigans.  Once I started reading through other moms’ posts I found myself saying “Yes!” out loud, a lot. It was so comforting to know I was not the only one going through it.  Then when I saw the Love More, Judge Less campaign I fell in love with the site all over again.  It’s just such a fantastic message and philosophy to live by.

After I gave birth to my second child I went to a few meetings at my local hospital for Mom’s Group. There were lesbians, first time moms, veteran moms, working moms, stay at home moms, breastfeeding moms, formula feeding moms.  Our differences went on and on, but none of them mattered. We were all sitting there in a circle, bouncing our baby to try to keep him or her quiet, most of us not showered, hair in a ponytail, and spit up on our shirt, but all you had to do was lock eyes with the woman sitting across from you and give her a smile.  You knew you would get one in return, because we all had one thing in common. We were moms. I so looked forward to those mornings, to feel that community reaching out to me. When I had to go back to work after just 7 weeks this site became my community. I would log on during lunch, or – let’s be honest – while I was in the bathroom, and see what other moms were dealing with or thinking about.  It would help me get through the days, and long nights.  I am so excited to be able to share some of my story with you all now.

If HERE = my current emotional/physical state Then…

I got postpartum anxiety with both of my pregnancies. Even a year after having my last baby I still struggle some days. I see a therapist and take medication so I can function at a normal level. Without it I was in such a panicked state I couldn’t leave my house. It was awful. I also developed severe food allergies when my oldest son was 7 months old, which still makes me anxious when eating new foods or at restaurants.  Everyday I hope I don’t have a reaction, and pray my kids don’t suffer the same fate.

For the past year I have had to deal with an enormous amount of stress, which took a physical and emotional toll as well.  When my baby was four months old he got RSV and had lingering asthmatic respiratory problems for almost five months. He was retracting with every breath and sounded HORRIBLE!  We went to doctor appointments weekly, from his primary pediatrician to an ENT to a pulmonary specialist and had an ER trip somewhere in the middle when he wasn’t getting enough air.  I was so scared for him, and as a mom I felt like I had to bring him to every appointment, give him every breathing treatment, and hold him every night, because that’s all I could do. I missed a lot of work, got demoted for missing a lot of work, and felt like my boss hated me (she later told me that was never true). I had FMLA, but it wasn’t enough.  I also have colitis, which is triggered by stress. Why is it that stress creates more things that make you more stressed??  So I had to go back on steroids for a while to get that under control. Oh, and I still have ten pounds of baby weight I haven’t been able to kick yet. Working on that.

If HERE = my financial situation Then…

I am an accountant. I know numbers. I know how balancing a checkbook works. I was well aware our expenses would increase when we decided to have a second child, and I made plans to adjust spending elsewhere to accommodate that. However, I did not plan for paying two mortgages. Yes, you read that right. We currently own two houses. It’s kind of a crazy story. When I went to register for the before and after school program I was told there was a waiting list and I would have to wait and see if they had any spots open up. Well, I could wait a little while, but what happens when it’s August and my kid needs to go to kindergarten and I have nowhere for the bus to drop him off?  With very few options, I decided to move across town, to a different school district, so he and his brother could stay at their current daycare and the bus could pick him up and drop him off there. Crazy, right?  Of course, it was time sensitive, so we moved into the new house in August and left our old house on the market, which is where it still is, waiting for someone to fall in love with it and take it off our hands. More stress.

If HERE = my marriage Then…

My husband and I have been together for 10 years, married for 9.  We had a rough first year. My parents separated and divorced two weeks after my wedding. I was a mess. I got depressed.  I felt so bad I was bringing my husband down with me. Luckily I got the help I needed and recovered rather nicely after a while.  The road was still a bit bumpy though. My husband is a firefighter and frequently had to leave me at the sound of those tones, regardless of what I had planned for the day. He worked long hours, and I got really lonely. Once we became parents that loneliness turned into feeling like a single parent on top of it, and that was not a good feeling. I had lost myself, and no longer felt like an “us”.

We recently started going to counseling to try to get to a better place where we were both happy and all of our needs were met. After just two sessions it became clear that there was a big hole in our relationship. Communication. Turns out, while I thought we were communicating, we were really just having conversations. You pick them up from daycare, I’m taking them to a birthday party tomorrow, can you go get groceries… Neither of us told the other one how we were feeling, or how we wanted the other one to act, or how their actions made us so mad we were thinking about leaving.  My boss has a philosophy when she has to look something up in her Microsoft Access manual. If the answer she needs is in the first half of the book she gets mad at herself for needing to look it up. That’s how I felt when we realized how much we hadn’t told the other one. Who hasn’t heard that it takes communication to make a marriage work?  All the venting I was letting loose on my friends I should have been telling him. Even though I knew he wouldn’t want to hear it. That’s the only way it could get better. He can’t fix what he doesn’t know is broken. And hinting at things doesn’t count as communicating either, FYI. He never got the hints.

…Now that I’ve put all these “HERE’s” together, It seems pretty obvious that they are all at least partially the result of becoming a mom.  While that is my most demanding, exhausting, and frustrating job, it’s also my most rewarding, proud, and joyful one. I wouldn’t want it any other way. And after this past year, I’m relieved to say that I really believe I am, and we are, going to make it after all.

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