Finding Calm In The Chaos



Let none of us mommies kid ourselves, motherhood is hard. Anyone that says differently either has the patience, energy & halo of a saint or they are on really great pills. For somebody like me, who suffers from chronic anxiety, it can be nearly impossible on certain days.

People often ask me why I am anxious. It is difficult to explain to people that it is nothing specific that causes it. It just comes on without warning. One of my biggest problems is I think too much. I fill my mind with one million & one thoughts & all of those thoughts start fighting with each other for my attention. The trick is to try to quiet all of those thoughts and get them to all stay silent long enough for me to regain myself. When you have a rambunctious toddler running circles around you & trying to push the boundaries, it just adds to the chaos in your head.

It is essential to a mother’s sanity to allow herself a few minutes of peace to recharge her batteries and get back to super-mom status or semi-super at least. One thing that used to help with the everyday stress of life is meditation. Before we had our daughter, I would do it for 10-15 minutes twice a day. It is amazing how just a few minutes can clear out the clutter in your mind.

With the uncomfortable rise in my anxiety levels as of lately, I thought it might be time to try to re-incorporate it into my daily routine. Yesterday, I retreated to my bedroom for a little bit to try just that. I found it very difficult to concentrate with my daughter laughing and screaming in the next room. After a few moments, I gave up & returned to the craziness that is our home. I was still feeling edgy and Mai was still operating at a high volume. I grabbed my daughter by the hand & asked her,

“Would you like to come & meditate with mommy for a minute?


I told her to sit down & do the same as mommy. She sat down next to me and followed my breathing. I could feel her calm. I could hear her breaths. The silence was golden. It was divine. Even though it only lasted only for a minute.

“Mama, can we open our eyes now?”

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Coping With Life While Struggling With Anxiety

547261_10201276813635636_507554525_nHave you ever started out your day normally, woke up, made breakfast, kissed your husband and child, felt all the happiness in the world and then BAM!… are over taken by a wave of indescribable fear? Your heart starts pounding, heat rushes quickly across your face, your extremities start tingling. You get dizzy, can’t form a single rational thought and no one around you understands. I have. Many of you might not know this about me, but I suffer from chronic anxiety.

It has been something that I have struggled with since childhood. As a child, I had a specific disorder called Trichotillomania, where I would pull hair from by body. I would yank out my eyelashes, eyebrows, the hair from my head & tweeze hair from my legs. These actions were soothing to me.

Throughout my life, my anxiety has changed and taken on many different forms. Some days are manageable, other days it is debilitating. I have been through, therapy & medication. Therapy did not help. Medication worked, but I found that I could not function without it. When we decided we were going to try for a baby, I weaned myself off & never looked back. I refused to live my life dependent on pills. This was a very painful time for me. The pain that your body can feel because of your mind is frightening. I learned to meditate during this period. I learned how to slow down my breathing and my mind. This helped me through my pregnancy, but after the birth of my daughter I found that it was becoming unmanageable again.

I never know when an episode or an attack might occur. Some come on sudden & hard. They may enter in a flash and hit the unbearable and then fizzle out within an hour’s time. Some present themselves more subtlely, leaving me feeling emotionally drained, lightheaded and scared. This can last for days or for weeks. This is a difficult reality for me. It makes it even more difficult when trying to take care of a toddler. I am not always able to be the kind of wife and mother that I would like to be, but I try my best.

Today was my daughter’s weekly gymnastics. It is always a challenge getting through a 45 minute class with my rambunctious child. Today was worse. During her class, Mai was her usual self. She was running around the mats instead of waiting in line to go through the obstacle course. She was being a toddler. As I was chasing her, an all too familiar feeling came over me. I suddenly became uncomfortably hot. The tightness in my chest triggered a series of burps brought on by stress-induced acid reflux. A million dizzying thoughts started jumping around in my head, making me feel as if I was out of my body looking in. My movements became more sluggish and it was a struggle to propel my body forward to retrieve my running daughter. In a panic, I told her “We need to go home.” She cried and said “Nooooo, mama.” I told her that she needed to stay still, that “Mama doesn’t feel good”. She settled down just long enough to get me through the end of her class. I felt a pang of guilt. My daughter doesn’t understand. She is just enjoying being a happy kid.

When we returned home, I set my daughter down for a nap in her crib. I meditated and prayed in her bedroom as I watched her sleep. Her soft breaths and sweet face brought some peace back to my tense spirit.

The truth is my family is the best therapy that I can ask for.




One of My Babies Has Fur & Bad Breath


When my husband & I first met, one of the first things that we agreed on was that we did not want to have children. We were always on the go, with parties, sporting events & travel. A child was far too much responsibility for a couple with our life style. We didn’t even have the time for a pet.
One day a good friend of ours asked us if we would be willing to foster a rescue dog. He was an Australian Cattle dog pup from Tennessee & just needed a temporary home until he found a family to adopt him. Why not? It was only short term…or so I thought. As soon as I saw him, it was love at first sight.


Duke became a member of our family.


For a couple that wasn’t having any children, he became like a furry adopted son to us. He slept in our bed, cuddled with us on the couch & even traveled with us.

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Then it happened…

The couple, who didn’t want babies, changed their mind. Only a month after deciding that we wanted to extend our family, we found out that we were expecting.

Duke was excited when he found out that he was going to be a big brother. He curled up with his little sister, still inside my belly, every night.


As it got closer to my due date, we began to worry. How he would react when we finally brought her home? Would he be jealous? Would he jump up on her? Could we still have him on our bed, with the baby in the co-sleeper? I did a lot of reading about babies & dogs. I was worried, but I vowed that I would still give my furry little guy just as much love as before. That was easier said than done.

The big day finally arrived. Our baby girl was born. It was time to bring Mai home. Carrying her through the door, Duke reacted with his usual greeting of jumps & licks. Our reaction to him, however, changed a bit. What used to be a hug & a pat on the head was now a firm hand pushing his affection away. We didn’t want him hurting the baby.

That first night I am sure was confusing for him. The lap that was normally reserved for him had a stranger on it. He now took the backseat to this new little girl.


The first few months were difficult for him. He developed anxiety & licked his paws until he gave himself sores. He couldn’t understand why his mommy & daddy would yell at him when he would jump up on the couch or bark at the UPS man. It is what he had always done. The veterinarian told us he was depressed. This made us feel horrible, but at the same time this dog that I once adored, became the recipient of my anger & resentment. “He’s going to wake the baby.” “There is dog hair all over her toys.” “He better not jump up on her.” Life had changed dramatically for all of us. Duke was no longer mommy & daddy’s favorite.


Still he was curious about this little creature that screamed and pooped a lot. What is all the fuss? I’m cute too & I poop outside. It was time for him to investigate.


He sniffed, he licked & he stared. In time he learned not to jump or run around her. He touched her gently and gave his little sister loving puppy kisses.

As time went on, she learned to love him back …


Until one day they became the best of friends.


While most of the love that we used to give to Duke, has been taken away & given to our daughter. She gives him back enough to more than make up for it. Mai has a big brother. He has fur and bad breath & she loves him.


Up Next: It’s a Marshmallow World

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