Raising kids is a never-ending learning process. I have two teenagers and little one who is just about 8, going on just about 35. They are all girls, not sure if that makes things easier or harder, or just different. I consider myself a strict parent, but I do allow a good amount of freedom to my girls. I have rules, and they are expected to follow them, but I love when my children form their own opinions on topics and express them freely. Down with the old saying, “Children should be seen and not heard.” I believe that children are a gift for us to mould, but also to learn from as well. I have learned a great deal from my daughters, and I bet they have no idea.
My oldest daughter has taught me patience. Not because she is badly behaved, quite the opposite, she is a stickler for the rules. She is that child would tell on herself, knowing she would have consequences, simply because she knew she did something wrong and wanted to come clean. She needed to clear her own conscience, and she needed reassurance that it would be okay in the long run. She looked to me for that validation. She also knew that no matter what she did, I would always be more upset if she lied about it than if she had just told me the truth. So I do what any good parent should do, I listen, I enforce consequences, and offer time off for good behavior. Wait, that sounds more like a prison guard.
My second daughter, my middle child, is my gypsy in the wind. She was always so carefree and easy going, until middle school. At that point she became far more anxious and concerned about others’ opinion of her. She is not the tattle on herself kind of girl. She’s more the, “My older sister watches me and narcs on me if I do anything too stupid,” kind of girl. I watch her like a hawk, mostly because she is naive and thinks the world is full of good people. She doesn’t understand the world has some horrible, sadistic people in it and we are only trying to protect her from those people. Her anxiety probably couldn’t handle it at this point. She is sweet, caring, a little sassy, sensitive, and driven by emotions.
My third daughter is very much a mix of the first two. It is quite odd, really. If you took my first two daughters and smushed them into one person, you would get my last. She is smart, sassy, always on the side of right, but not going to narc on herself. She is an emotional being, and yet very logical and rational. In some ways she is the easiest because I have so much experience with each aspect of her personality from the previous two girls. She is cute and quirky, bright and affectionate. An all around awesome kid, just like her sisters.
My children have taught me how to love myself. Through loving them and wanting to be the best mom I could ever be, I learned the most important thing to teach them, self-love. I have to exemplify that which I want them to embody. If I want them to be strong, independent, self-loving women, I have to BE that for them, put my money where my mouth is. In order to be good parents, we have to be good to ourselves first and foremost. We have to exemplify to our kids how valuable human life is, especially our own. If we want them to grow up and be happy, successful, contributing members of society, we have to be that in our own life.
I have learned more being a parent than I could in any school, conference, or type of training. I have learned about myself, my children, and people in general. Parenting is not easy, but it is fulfilling, rewarding, and the most important job ever. It is our duty to our children and ourselves to be good to ourselves, work towards attaining our goals, pursue our dreams, and maintain our boundaries with others. Make YOU your own top priority.
One might think being diagnosed with PTSD would be a terrible fate. While it certainly is not something I ever anticipated, nor does anyone else, it could be far worse in my opinion. Keeping with my law of attraction mindset, if I allow myself to dwell in pity about my diagnosis, I will forever be a sufferer of PTSD. Coping with PTSD is not easy by any means, but good things grow from the treatment process. Learning how to process traumatic events, emotions, thoughts, and regulate behaviors is never a bad thing. Without my diagnosis of PTSD I would never have delved into the world of trauma as I have the past two years, and would not have tuned into myself and what I truly needed in order to be emotionally healthy. The time and energy I have invested in myself the past two years, and healing, surpasses the total amount of time which I have made myself a priority throughout my lifetime.
In some ways I am thankful for my PTSD, as it has been the wake up call I needed in order to learn how to make myself a priority. I have spent time learning to be patient with myself, and work on changing some harmful behaviors. I have learned how to meditate, and how to healthily argue with my negative self-talk. PTSD has given me the motivation to heal myself, grow, and move forward stronger than ever. I know some people struggle for years, even a lifetime. I do not belittle their struggle, or their journey. We each have a path to forge, and our own personal trail to blaze. I have nothing but respect and empathy for those who continuously struggle throughout their lives. I offer nothing but positive, healing energy to you and a hope for a better tomorrow.
As I have shared in earlier posts, trauma changes our brains. It alters the chemistry and how our brain processes. Trauma molds the way we process and view events. Through various therapies, those of us with PTSD learn, or re-learn, how to process emotions, reactions, behaviors, and even our own thoughts. I have come to know things about myself I would have never believed otherwise, good and positive things.
As the Law of Attraction states, we should be grateful for what we have in our lives, and I can say I am truly grateful for my diagnosis simply for where my journey has taken me the last two years. My therapy process has helped me learn how to look for red flags in relationships and stop making excuses for inexcusable behavior, to set boundaries and enforce them even if it is with myself, and to avoid triggers once they have been identified whenever possible. I have worked through most of my symptoms, and no longer suffer from a great deal of what once held me a captive prisoner in my own life. I have found independence, my voice, my creative outlet, and a passion for life I never had as deeply as I do now.
I have learned how to rewire my thinking and reword my inner dialogue in order to manifest those things which are most important. No longer do I live in the world of self-loathing, blaming my existence for all that which haunts me. No longer do I feel I deserve the treatment I received at the hands of those who should have protected me most. No longer do I feel a perpetual victim to life and those who kept hurting me. What happened and who is responsible is inconsequential. The important aspect is what I walk away with from everything. The important part is what I do now, and how I allow it to impact my life. I have learned and grown so much, and that is a priceless thing I cannot imagine my life without.
As much as I would love to be able to clone myself, and finally have those two extra hands I have needed since my first born was born, I have had to come to grips with the reality we only get one self. Obviously, I KNOW we only get one self, but it is really hitting home with me lately how much I have neglected my one self. I don’t exercise it as often as I should, although I do eat more healthily than I ever have in my life. I stress my one self too much and probably demand a bit much from my only self. I believe many of us parents are guilty of this epidemic. Why do today what you can put off until next never, because the kids require umpteen million things RIGHT NOW, and it’s just easier to take care of meeting everyone else’s needs ahead of our own?!? Can I get an AMEN!!
Law of Attraction
Recently, I started reading Practical Law of Attraction: Align Yourself with The Manifesting Conditions and Successfully Attract Your Desires, by Victoria Gallagher. Don’t roll your eyes, because I know you are rolling them and thinking I am about to unload some hocus pocus bullshit on you, but I am not, PROMISE!! A key concept I am learning from this book is putting my desires into motion by actually focusing on myself. I will never have what I want if I just sit around looking at what I do not have yet, and neither will you. If you want to lose weight, and all you focus on is the fact you need to lose weight, you will be in a constant state of, “I need to lose weight.” You may even find yourself gaining weight….oh the horror, right??
Change Your Mind, Change Your Life
Instead, focus on how you feel when you are the weight you desire to be, and what impact it will have on your health and wellbeing. Act as though you have already lost the weight. Say things to yourself like, “I enjoy being the healthy and active,” instead of, “Oh my gawd, I really want that ice cream but my ass is so fat I can barely fit in my chair.” You can see how one has a far more positive tone than the other. It is important to speak to yourself in a positive, uplifting way. Not necessarily sunshine and rainbows all the time, but kinda close. What your thoughts focus on is what you will manifest into your life. Keep that in mind. What you focus on is what you will receive more of, so be careful how you speak to yourself.
Put YOU First
I have also come to the realization I focus on others as a way to not have to focus on myself. I grew up like this, no blame, just reality. I grew up having to focus on my parents, focus on everyone else, and not really having a focus on me, or being the center of my own life. Thus, I feel most comfortable when I can devote my time and energy to others. Yes, I realize how unhealthy this is, and I am working on rewiring my brain to a healthier, more productive way of being. I know I am not alone. I know many people, mostly parents, who put their kids, their family, their friends and neighbors’ ahead of their own. It is as if we think we have to make ourselves the lowest totem on the pole in order to be a good parent, child, neighbor, friend, etc…
Happy IS as Happy Does
The fact of the matter is, the happier WE are, the better we are for ourselves, our kids, our family, our friends, everybody in our lives. Who couldn’t use a healthy dose of positivity in their life? I highly recommend reading the book and following the steps outlined, which are very well explained. It is time to take the bull by the horns and make our lives match our desires. It is time to put our SELF on our priority list, because it is the ONLY self we get and if we don’t nobody else will! To steal a quote from Dr. Phil, “We teach people how to treat us.” If we treat ourselves like second class citizens who do not deserve to be a priority, guess how we will be treated by others as well?!?
Let’s DO THIS!!!
Are you with me? Are you picking up what I’m putting down? Are you smelling what Coffee Mama is cooking?!?! I hope so! Start paying attention to your SELF! Take care of it as well as you take care of your kids, your spouse, your pets, everyone that you put on that priority list. Watch what you put into your mouth, get active, get happy, get what you desire out of life. It is NOT too late, it is NOT too much work, it is NOT hocus pocus. Start reading the book I mentioned, or any reliable information about the Law of Attraction. Start thinking about the ways in which you keep yourself bound to the ways you wish to change. Look at your contribution to your own SELF, and whether or not it is positive and affirming, or destructive and undermining.
Most importantly, LOVE YOUR SELF….
Some things are easier said than done. Hell, most things are easier said than done. When I first read this I thought, “Heck yeah, baby, no trippin’ here!” As I sit and ponder the meme and the whole aspect of life and not trippin’, I have to somewhat disagree with the sentiment, just a smidge. I have been known to trip over what would be considered a pebble or two in my lifetime. I definitely think I climb mountains for sure. Here’s the thing, when you trip over the pebbles the key is to not fall down and stay down from tripping on the pebbles.
This morning a perfect example of this occured. My 7 month old Great Dane puppy pooped in his crate. A massive, Great Dane sized poop…visualize that for a second, gross right?! Now, not only had he pooped in his crate but he had pooped, and then covered it with his blanket, and pushed it to the front of his crate, and then peed on the blanket, because that’ll show that pile of poop who’s boss. By the time I woke up this morning at 6:00 AM, the poop was a large, pancake shaped pile that was plastered to the crate floor. And given the size of the mess, my poor puppy was trapped in the back of his crate.
I cleaned up the mess, and then the puppy. I was literally nauseous and disgusted, and just cursing the existence of Mondays altogether. I mean where does Monday get off acting so nasty all early, and making my day so shitty (quite literally). My oldest said to me as she was leaving for school, “I hope your day gets better!” I thought to myself, “Pfffft, yeah because it’s starting out so fanfreakingtastically.” But then I saw this meme and adjusted my brain. I could let that event set the tone for my entire day or I could take the pebble that I tripped on and kick it right out of the way.
I opted for the second option because the first one is exhausting and just leads to a day-long bad mood. I could sit and stew over it, waiting for the next bad thing to happen, or I could be thankful that I was able to contain it to the crate and the puppy, which have already been cleaned. I skipped that stone across the water like a pro and kept it moving. We all have pebbles we trip over, which is part of life and is always going to happen. It is how we deal with those pebbles that defines us and our mountain climbing ability. It is when we learn to take a step back and look at things from a broader perspective that we learn which are pebbles and which are mountains.
Perhaps your kids give you grief getting up and ready and out the door for school in the morning. Maybe you overslept and are late for an important meeting. Did you intend to go to the gym this morning only to wake up feeling icky and not even wanting to look at your workout clothes, let alone put them on and go to the gym? Whatever your pebble is, look at it, think about it, and skip that sucker into the ocean. In the great mountain of life, that pebble will not matter one hill of beans when you’re halfway up the Kilimanjaro that is your existence. Live in the moment, each moment, and when the moment has passed, let it. Do not hold on to the energy those pebbles throw at you.
Today begins Day 4 of my journey to being vegan, no flour and no refined sugar. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I am not certifiably insane, or starving. Actually, I am eating quite a lot, tons of fruits and veggies, whenever and however often I want. That’s the beauty of this lifestyle, you can literally eat whenever you want. I am having some other issues though.
First, it’s really difficult to maintain my focus when I am the only one in the house on this journey. I do not impose my eating habits on my children. They are all open to making their own decisions, as long as we’re not talking cake for breakfast, candy for lunch, and cookies for dinner. Each of my kids has a different personality, and while I encourage them to be healthy, and choose 90% healthy options at the grocery store, they still have free will. So if they want to be meat eaters, I cater to that. If they want to eat dairy, I cater to that. As long as no one has an allergy or aversion to something, if they like it and want to have it, it’s okay.
For the most part they are really healthy eaters. The 7-year old needs a little more encouragement to make the healthier choices, but hey, she’s 7. I will say she is really excited to try brussel sprouts, not sure how excited she will be after she actually tries them, but I love her enthusiasm regardless. My older two, 16 and 14 years old, are still navigating their way through the food world. They want to be vegan, or at least vegetarian, but they really love eating junk food when hanging out with their friends. Plus, they do actually get made fun of for eating healthy by some kids. While we’re at home we eat pretty darn healthy. While they’re out in the world it sometimes goes to hell in a handbasket. It’s okay though. They’re figuring it all out in their own time. I am really proud of them for even caring about food at their ages.
The other issue I am finding with this new routine is that I have a headache. For approximately 3 days now I have had a headache off and on. The first two days it was constant. The last 24 hours it has faded into something that comes and goes. It is a dull throbbing headache. I did some research and found there is an actual withdrawal process when you quit sugar (which includes white flour). It is as if I am a drug addict coming off my addiction, which seems so strange to me. I know it is not quite as severe, or immediately deadly as an addiction to say heroin, but addiction to sugar is being studied greatly.
Today, as it is Spring Break this week, we are going out to have some fun. We are going in to D.C. to a museum or two, and going to be out and about in the sugar-laden, meat eating, dairy obsessed world of bacon we live in. It will be a great test for me. I have faith that I can maintain, especially with my kids there. Something about being accountable to the interrogation of a 7-year old is motivational in staying the course. I think I would rather endure waterboarding than that anyway.
So bring it on, sugar detox! I am ready for your shenanigans, your headache is no match for me. I will meet you with extra water, more fiber, and flooding my day with fun and good memory making moments with my kids. Your dopamine medling is not wanted here!
I will be adding another blog about the dangers of sugar soon! I will also begin adding food porn of what the heck I am eating these days. I warn, if you are thinking of going vegan, while it is a great lifestyle, it must be done correctly to ensure you receive all the nutrients your body requires. I will be doing a blog on that as well.
I have used this platform as a way of facing my own demons, which has been okay, but I want to use the Coffee Mama Says outlet for so much more than a self-growth journey. This place was never meant to stand as a representation of my struggle, and eventually my triumph. Coffee Mama is a foul-mouthed, sometimes hot-headed, introspective, emotional, intelligent, hot mess of a woman. She is a coffee-loving mom who struggles with parenting three girls, and two dogs. She is a fun-loving, silly woman who always finds humor, even in the darkest of situations she has faced.
I have started another blog, The Road Less Traumatized. It is there that I will share my healing, and growth while I face my Complex-PTSD. Here, I will be returning to my fun, silly, sometimes serious ways of facing any and every situation in life that a coffee loving mother faces. I thank those who stick with me, while I figure it all out. I will be diligently adding content to both sites, but it will be very different content. I may also transfer many of the posts here to the other site, as they are more pertinent over there.
I have been doing a great deal of introspection, and I have come to realize, I may never figure out what I want to be when I grow up…because perhaps I am not meant to be just one thing. I want to expand my horizons, and I do not want to be tied to one area my whole life. I will spread my eggs into various baskets, and do my best to tend to them all.
That being said, let’s grab a cup of coffee!!
I am a martyr, there I said it. And what?!?! I have spent my entire life putting everyone else’s happiness and well-being above my own. I spent all my energy trying to please my parents as a child, to no avail. I give myself completely in relationships to the detriment of my own wants and needs. I have all but completely enmeshed myself with my kids, trying to make them happy and garner my own happiness from their happiness. I am a martyr. I will do for anyone before I do for myself. I will drop everything to please another person before I will take care of myself, and then I become irate or wounded when it is not returned to me. I am a hurt little bird abandoned and unloved because I gave and gave and gave, and they took, and took, and took.
So now what you ask, we get it, you’re a martyr. Whatcha gonna do about it? I do not have that answer yet. For starters, I am acknowledging it, publicly. So I am hoping this is a step in the right direction. I guess now I work on setting boundaries, for myself and others. I learn to say no, without feeling like I have completely let the entire world population down in some way. I learn to make myself my own top priority. I learn to give to myself first, before giving to everyone else.
I grew up feeling responsible for my parents’ happiness, or lack thereof. My father left my mother the day after I was born. I was born with complications, more needs than he knew how to meet. So he checked out, emotionally and mentally, and to a degree, physically. While my mother always took excellent care of me when I needed surgery, emotionally, I was neglected and abused. I was made responsible for her happiness. I was not allowed to express my emotions, because hers took center stage.
Growing up this way has created a huge martyr complex in me. It has taken me years to see this, and honestly, I truly just viewed myself as the most nurturing person on planet Earth. I have always found my self-esteem through helping others and caring for others. I have said during many a job interview that I love assisting because it involves helping others live their vision. Sitting here now, I read that statement, and cannot help but feel sad. While it is great to help people and give to others, I have given whatever dreams and goals I may have for myself a back seat to helping others meet their goals. I have relegated myself to side-kick status for life, instead of being the superhero I really want to be in my own life.
I do love helping people, that part will always be true. Perhaps, instead of casting myself in the supportive role for life, it is time I find the spotlight in my own life. Perhaps I create the life I want, and realize my own dreams and goals. Now I just have to figure those out. I need to find my voice, my backbone, my strength. It is so difficult to change a pattern of behavior that started in infancy, and has been carried throughout an entire lifetime, but the alternative means remaining in a place of hurt, of weakness, of fear. I am more afraid to stay in this pattern than to move beyond this pattern.
So how do I stop being a martyr? I Google it, of course. From what I have been reading, the healing process starts with setting boundaries, taking time for myself, and allowing myself to be open to receiving from those who love me. The last one is probably my biggest struggle. I never really realized the true reason I struggle with that so much. I also have to stop acting like a victim…that, may be the hardest to do. I have this subconscious way of attracting and inviting trauma. I am working with my therapist to stop this, and it is probably a good thing I have an appointment with him today. I have to stop behaving like a victim in order to stop inviting trauma into my life.
I was almost happy when I was diagnosed with PTSD. It validated all my crazy feelings and emotions. It validated my insecure behavior and gave me the message that I am a victim, and now I have a disorder to prove it. Hmm, this is not how I want to live my life. I do not want to have a freaking psychological disorder to validate my victim complex. I want to live a happy, fun-loving life, successful in every way, and peaceful. I want people to love me because I deserve it, not because I have been through a lot and ultimately they feel sorry for me. I do not want pity. I do not want sorrow. I do not want trauma.
In order to move forward to where I want to be, I need to leave the place I have been stuck. I need to be ready to put down the baggage, and walk forward without it. I need to be able to look in the mirror and not allow what has happened to me, define me as a person. Yes, I have had traumas happen to me, but I am not a trauma. I do have the desire to heal, and thankfully, I am in therapy and working on it already. I will say though, this is freaking scary.
I feel blocked. No, not constipated, blocked. My energy, my potential, I feel blocked. I know it is because of the way I was raised, and the old beliefs I still hold on to because I am too afraid to let go. Blocked feels comfortable, as odd as that sounds. It feels frustrating, fearful, and yet, comfortable. It is what I have known my entire life, since birth. So how do I let go of this feeling, these stale, crusty beliefs that hold me back? How do I learn to release the krakken….no, I mean fear, and move forward? The other day I tried to listen to healing music and journal myself clear. Let me just say it rings true, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” By day’s end I was spiraling into a sea of negative thoughts and fear.
I believe that the world is made up of energy, and this energy flow determines what we attract, or repel, in our lives. I believe my energy is stuck, is blocked. I truly believe I am stuck because my subconscious refuses to give up the old, negative thoughts that were instilled in me as a child. So now, everything I want feels just beyond my reach. Everything I want to accomplish seems daunting and almost unattainable. Have you ever felt that feeling? Have you ever felt like you could see yourself at the finish line, but you have no idea how to get there, and the path along the way just keeps hurdling obstacle after obstacle?
How are we to keep moving forward when our own selves are raging against us, raging against the change we truly know we need? I listened to a podcast in which the speaker said to change your life 1% every day, and in a year you would be where you want to be. I feel like I am making small changes every day, and then, my old self, the self that is terrified of the new self, rages against me dragging me back to the starting line. How do we let go of fear and find faith, when everything we have ever had faith in has failed us, and we are fearful above all else? What is the cure for this?
I find myself exhausted, mentally and physically. I find myself distracted and missing things that I should not be missing. My blocks are inhibiting my progress, and I hate this feeling. How do I heal 40 years worth of neglect, fear, anxiety, and blockage, from my parents, my significant others, myself? How do I stand up to my subconscious and say enough is enough? How do I finally get what I want, what I need, to be happy? At what point is the change less fearful than remaining the same?
I need healing, I need to put myself on the top of my priority list, I need to set the example to my kids instead of just talking the talk. I need to show them what a strong woman looks like, instead of telling them how to become one. I need to face my fear, and shove it off a cliff…my fear, not myself, don’t worry. I need to be the strong woman everyone sees me as, and not the helpless, scared little girl I feel like inside. I need to empower myself, and stop focusing solely on empowering my daughters. Right now, as I write this, the one word raging in my head is, but, but, but, but….but nothing. I have to stop sabotaging myself.
And here I sit, waiting for the next words….but…nothing. I have to find the way. I have to find my way. I have to stop obsessing about this, living in fear, feeling blocked, feeling unworthy. I have to allow myself the same opportunity I want for my girls. I have to see the good in myself the same as I see the good in them. I cannot talk the talk and not walk the walk. They deserve better, and so do I, whether I want to believe it or not. So now what? Honestly, I have no damn idea.