Transitioning From Stay-at-Home Mom to Working Mom

I have been a stay-at-home mom for ten years. I think a more realistic term would be on-the-go mom. I have worked my butt off, and I have loved almost every minute of it. As I look to the future, I feel it’s time to dip my toes back into the working world–as in a paying job. Back to work seems a little intimidating and unsettling, but I have been feeling the pull for a while. Sometimes I scold myself for letting so much time pass, but I’ve been busy doing exactly what I wanted to be doing—being an on-the-go mom. This year our youngest will be in school full-time, so it’s time. I want to go back to work as a writer. More

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PMS, Post Pregnancy Hormone Hell, Weight Gain & Disease ~ My Struggle To Be Healthy Again.

Our girls and I before my health completely spiraled out of control…

In high school, some teammates and I were chosen to go to a college Track & Field Camp to learn about different types of training methods. I was excited to be there! Just as I was signing in for this great weeklong program, I could feel severe cramps coming on quickly. I never knew when I would get my period because I had an irregular cycle that would sometimes skip a month or two. Within 15 minutes of arriving on campus, I was literally on the floor in a ball in so much pain that I was incapacitated. Advil didn’t touch the pain and my week was ruined. I had been to doctors before and after that incident, and there was nothing they could do for me except to put me on birth control pills, which didn’t make enough of a difference. This is how my cycle would be every month or so for years. Sometimes I’d get lucky, and the pain and other PMS symptoms were not as severe. Many years later, I became pregnant with my second daughter, Olivia, and everything changed.

After having Olivia, I never went back to “normal”. I had lost my pregnancy weight and should have felt great, but I didn’t feel quite right. Over the next year, my monthly cycle became more intense, my hormones were slowly spiraling out of control, and I began having weekly stomachaches.

The symptoms slowly crept up on me, and I thought I’d naturally get over the new issues in time.

After Olivia’s first birthday, things got worse. My periods started lasting longer and occurred more frequently. I started gaining weight, which was really abnormal for me because I had always been naturally thin and never had struggled with weight before. I was retaining water, felt bloated, and I was having severe stomachaches more frequently.

So began the parade of doctors..

At this time, my stomachaches were causing me the most grief. They were occurring daily now and affecting my quality of life. I saw my primary doctor. She ordered several blood tests, checked my thyroid, and a few other potential problem areas. All of my test results looked good. She referred me to a gastroenterologist.

The gastroentereologist asked if I had an eating disorder. I told him that I did not. He said, “Let me see your teeth.” Hmm—he looked at me like he didn’t believe me, and I opened my mouth. I passed the test; my teeth were fine. I suddenly did not like him at all. An endoscopy and colonoscopy revealed nothing. My intestines looked perfectly normal.  

He said I must have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I knew he was wrong, but tried the medicine and dietary changes anyway. It didn’t help. In fact, the dietary changes made me even more irritated. I mean who wants to give up coffee, cookies, bread, wine, sugar, and chocolate at a time like this!?! Not me!

I felt like the doctors were not taking me seriously and perhaps thought I was making it all up.

A few months later, things really went downhill. The pain was non-stop, my periods were lasting for two weeks, and my hormones were raging. My face was breaking out, I was having mood swings, severe headaches, other strange things started happening, and then—I started having night sweats. I mean the kind of night sweats when you have to change your clothes and sheets two to three times a night. I was still gaining weight. Then the night sweats started happening during the day too. I started having the shakes. I was miserable.

More doctor visits… More

Making New Friends–I’m Not Talking About The Kids

Megan and I have been friends for 20 years. This is a case of two people randomly being thrown together, opposites attract, and becoming the best of friends for life.  :) Thanks, Meg!

Making new adult friends isn’t always easy…

I’m not talking about acquaintances. I’m talking about a true friend who you feel completely comfortable being yourself with. Someone you can goof off with, have fun with, be serious with, and can behave like a complete dork and idiot around without worrying about what they think. Someone you can share your innermost deep thoughts and feelings with knowing that they will not share your information with others or judge you, even if they don’t agree with you. Mutual respect and honesty are present.

A true friend is a part of your “team”. You want what is best for each other and you want each other to thrive and be happy. You don’t compete with each other and you always have each other’s back. You bring out the best and funniest in each other, but you feel safe enough to be at your lowest in their presence.

A real friend is someone who will not maliciously talk shit about you, but she may talk smack to your face.

It is someone who cares enough to tell you when they are upset with you, so that issues can be resolved. Uncomfortable topics are discussed; not swept under the carpet to fester or be ignored. A friend is someone who does not suddenly disappear from your life forever. It is someone, you know deep down, whom you can count on—no matter what. You may not talk for days, weeks, or even months, and things are not always perfect between you, but you know that you are solidly connected. It takes time to get to that place.

I’m not interested shallow relationships. My desire for intimacy and mutual understanding in relationships has led to me having a small eclectic mix of trusted friends. I like it that way. Those friendships are very special to me.

Meeting new friends like that, as an adult or a transplant from another state or country, can be challenging. I’ve spoken to many women about this topic, and the unofficial poll results seems to be that meeting new acquaintances as an adult is easy, but making new real friends with depth is a challenge. Do you think that’s true?

When we meet someone as an adult, many different factors play a role into whether or not the new acquaintance becomes a true friend.

You may see a woman several times…you both smile, there is chitchat and small talk, you enjoy each other, you may share a few stories, books, recipes, and shopping, event, or childcare information. You may wonder–Would I feel comfortable fully expressing myself to this person? Do I want to? Will I be able to trust her? Will our husbands get along? Does that matter? Do the kids get along? Does it matter that they go to different schools? Is she a nice-to-your-face and talk-about-you-behind-your-back type of woman who cares about labels, social ladders, cliques, and being connected to “important” people? If so, I disengage as fast as I can. Who wants to invite that in your life…I want genuine authentic relationships that are not tainted by nonsense—at least it’s nonsense to me. More

Anaphylactic Food Allergies and Airborne Allergies ~ They Are Part of Life by Liz Nord

When our youngest daughter, Olivia, was nine months old, we found out that she has a severe anaphylactic allergy to eggs through both physical contact and ingestion. Our oldest daughter, Bella, accidentally flung a pea size amount of scrambled eggs onto Olivia’s arm one morning–the hives erupted immediately.

A trip to the Allergist, over a dozen skin pricks, and blood draws for the radioallergosorbent test (RAST)  confirmed that Olivia has a Level 5 anaphylactic allergy to eggs (that was the highest level at the time, although they have since added a Level 6), and that she was also moderately allergic to soy, milk, cats, dust mites, dogs, and mold.

That was a tough, confusing, and emotional time for us. Not only were we completely uneducated about the realities of a severe life-threatening allergy, but we hated seeing Olivia cry during the testing. It made us sad for her, but she was a trooper. We were also upset about the implications of the severity of her allergy;  Olivia would miss out on some things and changes must be made in our day-to-day lives.

Anyone who has a child with severe allergies knows the feelings you go through when you realize that this is a life altering diagnosis. I remember people saying that it was no big deal, don’t worry, she’ll out grow it, or don’t make a fuss. PLEEEZE! They are as clueless as I was before having a child with a severe allergy. I understand. How would they get it completely when they haven’t lived it? Having a child with a severe allergy is definitely a lifestyle change. No more Sunday breakfasts out or spur of the moment fun restaurant experiences. Most everything would be cooked and baked at home until we figured out outside places and food that would be okay for her. Some restaurants claim to be eggfree, when they are not. We’ve learned that the hard way.

Having a severe allergy there are issues to be dealth with: More

What Makes Us Different…Military Moms by Tracie Stern

I know there are many parents out there doing it alone. Whatever the circumstance it doesn’t make it easier to be a single parent. In no way am I trying to take away from those going at it alone on a daily and yearly basis. What I am trying to do is get you to understand what makes us different.

As with most single parents, when your day starts, you are responsible for everything. Getting the kids up, making sure breakfast is served, lunches are made, kids are clean and presentable, and hugs and kisses all around. If you are lucky enough to have school age kids in your home, once they are on their way, you can go about your daily responsibilities. That could include everything from work, grocery shopping, car repair, cleaning the house, laundry, or playgroups for those who have kids under five etc. etc. etc. In many parenting situations where two are involved, you share custody of your kids. One parent has them one weekend, then the next weekend you switch and are childless for a few days. This is a common situation amongst the single parents I am friends with. That isn’t always the case I know and some singles have their kids every day regardless.  More

Are You in an Abusive Relationship or Do You Know Someone Who Is? Guest Post by Marala Scott

Marala Scott (Center) with her son, Aaron and her daughter, Alyssa.

Marala Scott is a screenwriter and a multi-award winning author of the memoir, In Our House: Perception vs. Reality. In her book, Marala shares her personal story of a horrific childhood at the hands of her father and her journey to happiness and peace. Marala’s story is especially powerful because she was able to rise above her past and become a strong woman determined to break the cycle of violence. She is an advocate, inspiration, and role model for women and men who are suffering from abuse.

Oprah Winfrey acknowledged Marala as an “Ambassador of Hope” in 2009. Member of Congress, Mary Jo Kilroy, presented Marala a Special Congressional Recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community. United States Senator, Sherrod Brown, recognized Marala for advocacy to prevent child abuse and domestic violence. Ohio House of Representatives gave Marala special recognition for humanitarian concern for hosting the inaugural HEAL event. Marala Scott and Tre Parker received a proclamation from Mayor Counts of Powell, Ohio, recognizing and commending their work on Domestic Violence and Child Abuse. Mayor Michael B. Coleman, from Columbus, Ohio, awarded Marala with a Certificate of Recognition for her dedication to raising awareness of domestic violence and child abuse nationwide.

Here is Marala… More

Identity Crisis by Tracie Stern ~ Who Are You Now That You Have Kids?

I had spent the last ten years of my life traveling the world as a model and only having me to worry about. I knew exactly what to do the minute I was confirmed for the job. Whether it involved international travel, multiple days of work, foreign languages, or just a quick drive down the road. Whatever my agencies threw my way I KNEW I could handle it.

So when I found out I was pregnant with my now six-year old son, I was so excited. I was engaged to my husband when we found out about Ramsee. It was such an exciting moment. Over the next several months, my life took a turn for the unknown. More

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