What My Kids Taught Me About My Anxiety

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The truth of the matter is I don’t know exactly what started my anxiety.  Whether it was predisposed, the situation, exhaustion, my physical pain or spiritual.  All I know was that it was real.  It was suffocating.  I swatted at it from every direction (physical/mental/spiritual), just to be safe, and it left me feeling defeated.

Living with pain for over a year taught me a lot.  I went from a mom who yelled too much to a mom who yelled all the time.  I went from a laid back mom with normal issues to a mom whose life was falling apart and felt I couldn’t control anything.  It was 1 car accident on 1 morning.  I couldn’t control my house, my kids, or myself.

For a long time I just tried harder.  That, and I was angry, sad, all the feelings.  I would double down and attempt to push through.  I consulted doctors, nutritionists, and my counselor.  I yelled all the time because I was dealing with pain all the time.  I was failing, and I was mad that I was failing.

My kids showed astonishing resiliency through all of this, at least the first few months.  They maintained their childlike laughter which also made me mad.  It was too loud, or too rowdy.  They could never leave me alone for just 2 seconds.

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Garden Takeover

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We are thick into the season where the garden literally takes over our life.  No matter how much the weeds have taken over, garden produce for the year has gone from the trickle of strawberries, to now a full out invasion of peas, beans, broccoli, cabbages, as the raspberries wind down.  The tomato plants are heavy with green orbs that look as though they may blush any day.  Then life outside the garden and kitchen will virtually shut down.  The cucumbers as well look like they will be ready to be pickled by as early as next week.  I’ve never grown my own pickling cukes, so I don’t know how long that season is.  I know very little about it.  Last year we were given lots of cucumbers by some of Knut’s cousins who had excess in their garden, and the fermented dill pickles I made were to die for.  I could sit and eat a whole jar if I let myself.  I knew right away I could no longer go back to store-bought.  The garden has ruined me for yet another food that I no longer want to buy.

I am so joyously ruined.  Silje jokes that I’m ruining them all for life because they will never be satisfied with normal food and will be forced to garden as adult.  I tell her it’s all a part of my evil plan.

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Cat-napping

 

Missy has had to put up and mother several kitties around here these days.  We are learning how to care for, and manage barn cats which have turned out to be an essential part of our farm, as the mice and rats started taking over there for awhile, even to the point of the nasty rodents bringing the poison we had planted for them into our house to nest, for the kids to find.  It was then that we decided to get cats a few years back.  We have tried not to go above 8 cats, and finding homes for extras we have.  However, this last year we have realized that 8 may not be enough to manage the amount of land we have around our house, especially with the large grain bins right here.  I’m still deciding how many of these litters we will keep, though keeping them all is on the table of discussion.

The first litter we had this year was from our mama cat, Boots.  Boots gave birth to 2 kittens, one orange, and one black.  We gave her some space, as we have learned it’s good not to handle the kittens when the mama doesn’t like it.  We actually have a hands off policy for the first week.  We also have a nursing mom’s don’t have to hunt policy, and give her extra food where she decides to nest so she doesn’t have to leave her kittens to hunt.  Sadly, we peeked in on the mama 2 or 3 days after birth, only to find both kittens had been abandoned by their mama and had died.  It was really, really, hard on the kids.

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IMG_3438The second litter was from our mama cat, Midnight.  Midnight gave birth to 3 orange kitties, and 1 black kitten.  Again, we kept away for a whole week.  On day 3 we realized that Midnight had been repeatedly pushing away the black kitten from nursing, and the kitten died not long after that, leaving the 3 healthy orange cats.

These 3 remaining kittens have been the most docile and cuddly that we have ever met.  They are more tame and easygoing of any cats.  Ingrid’s favorite thing to do is go down to the barn and snuggle the kitties, which they seem to enjoy just as much.

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Yarn Along

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I’ve actually made huge progress in my shawl for a friend.  The old Sandbank is ripped back to a large ball, and the new pattern I’m using now is Nuvem which is a very, very simple shawl that I’ve had in my queue for quite awhile now.  It’s the simplicity I’ve really been craving now, and though it’s large, it’s going surprisingly fast as you can see I’m near the end of the first ball.  This shawl will make me dig into my second skein of this yarn, that I was hoping to save for another “someday” but I think it’s for the best.  I just need to figure out how big exactly I want this to get at this point.  The yarn is Madelinetosh Prairie in “fragrant.”  I love it, (even the 2nd time around after frogging a whole project) and would highly recommend it.

I’m reading Parenting is Heart Work, which may be one of the best books on parenting I have read to date.  It’s very simple, not extremely profound, but has been an enormous encouragement.  I love how it offers no quick fixes to parenting.  No “have a perfect child in 5 days” approach.  It acknowledges that this parenting thing is hard work, so roll up your sleeves.  It doesn’t dismiss discipline and trying to get your kids to obey, but it says that is only one part of the equation.  The more significant part, and the more significant calling, is reaching your child’s heart.  That should be the focus, and how you discipline, and how you orchestrate your schedule and move forward in life with your child should be with this goal in mind directing everything else.

I love books that focus on eternity, rather then getting through our days as comfortably as possible.  I feel like this book walks step in step with Luther’s theology of vocation, but in reference to the vocation of mother.  It doesn’t water down or simplify parenting.  It encourages and brainstorms practical ideas to reach your child’s heart, with Scripture throughout to point back to that goal.  The chapters are relatively short, and it’s very simply written.

I guess it’s encouraging to hear: Yes it is hard.  That doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong.  It means it’s that important.  It’s honest, and practical for the stage of parenting I am in.  I’ve been adjusting and reframing how I deal with my kids already, and already I see fruit in my kids with this gear shift.

What are knitting or reading these days?