Thursday, September 22, 2016

The latest with me

I've got like 20 drafts of posts that I just never quite get around to polishing and posting. I've got some great photos and info on our National Parks trip, an almost-finished post with tons of great info on Costa Rica for anyone who may ever want to go there. And lots of rambling draft posts about the things I'm worried about and what I've been thinking about and learning.

I used to blog so regularly and I love looking back and remembering the cute things the kids said and did alongside the big and small moments of my life over the years. A few years back, it was all very well and good to post about the crazy messes the twins made when they were toddlers or post about the cute and funny things Eliza used to say or share challenges I was going through with various kids in a way that didn't really identify which child I was talking about.  But now that my kids are older, I need to respect their privacy and there are often issues going on that are far too personal to share so I don't post about the challenging things that they do or my concerns about them.  I just post on Instagram about the great things they do and the beauty and happy times in our lives with a very occasional picture/post about something hard but not very personal. And so much of what I'm going through in the past couple years is stuff that is very personal to me so I try to process it through my rambling unpublished blog posts and my personal journal rather than processing it online as I used to do back when my issues seemed huge but now seem quite tame in comparison to what's hit me in the past few years. I'm OK. Or at least I think I'm OK. But sometimes I'm not sure!

I guess to anyone looking at my life from the outside, it would seem that everything is just wonderful. Successful active kids. Beautiful hikes. Great family reunions. Wonderful things going on at Power of Moms. Lots of fun family trips. And while these things are all true and are all things I am so grateful for and want to remember and share, they are not the full story. Pretty much no one shares their full story on social media or even in really private conversations. The longer I live and the more people I talk to, the more I realize that the vast majority of people, like me, have a full story that contains some really crazy hard parts. And I think one of the reasons that so many popular "mommy blogs" are written by moms with younger children is that it's easier to share what's going on when your children are small and the hard stuff, while still very very hard, is often stuff that doesn't need to be kept private.

We might post about things that are tough sometimes, but when our hearts are broken due to challenging relationships or mental health issues or places where we feel like a failure, we don't generally blog about it or post about it on Instragram or Facebook. That's the time we often go inside ourselves and feel pretty lost and sometimes quite hopeless. We get to the point where we don't know what to say even if we did feel comfortable saying something. During this time, we post happy pictures and successful moments so that we can count our blessings and celebrate the good in our lives. When we seek the good, we can feel much better about our lives. There is so much good. And that goodness helps the bad stuff feel more bearable. But sometimes, as we're posting about good things, we're just putting on a brave and happy face while we're really struggling with various things.

Anyway, the past year has had some really really hard stuff for me as well as some pretty hard stuff and some great stuff. And maybe it will be helpful to someone out there to know that they're not alone if they're feeling sort of hopeless and lost at times. It happens to the best of us.

One of the things that really helps me in the hard patches is having something really meaningful to take my mind off my worries. The hard part is that the meaningful stuff I do often becomes overwhelming so that it adds to my worries! But I'm learning, bit by bit, how to draw boundaries around my meaningful work so that I can also have time for meaningful fun and meaningful rest.

Here's the meaningful work I've been doing lately:

I'm really excited about our speakers this year - 20 really amazing topics presented by 20 top-notch speakers. I'm so glad I get to be part of presenting these messages to all the moms in the world who, like me, are struggling with various things. I love that the conference is FREE and that moms can watch from home w/o having to get a babysitter. I loved hearing from so many moms last year who said that they found answers to some of their most pressing questions and worries when they watched last year's conference and I'm sure it'll be the same this year. I know I found answers to some of my pressing questions when I conducted my interviews for the conference.

If you haven't registered already, please do. You'll be richly rewarded. And please share this with all the moms you know - it might be an answer to prayer for some of them.




Trip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margo said...

I recently started posting really really honest photos on instagram. What I look like after a terrible crying jag after I got dumped, for example. No make up photos. My anxiety medication. Although my account is locked to people that I know it's still enormously hard and uncomfortable for me to do that. But it's been really good for me, to be honest with myself as well as other's. I also feel, weirdly, that it's brought me closer to God by stripping back the layers of rubbish I put around myself to try and protect myself.
Can I recommend either book written by Nadia Bolz-Weber? She talks a lot about this and is a wonderful writer.

Jenny (also) said...

Saren, You are working hard, doing well, and an inspiration! Some times I think we all think something like " I had no idea being a grown up/married life/raising kids/getting older was going to be THIS hard!"

cheryl cardall said...

Have you read any books by Brene Brown?? I have read a couple this year and they have been life changing. Truly being open and raw and vulnerable is so hard but is so good for connecting with others. She also has some TED talks that are so great. I have tried to be very real on social media but also focus on the positive. It's a fine line for sure. I'm sorry for what you've been going through. I didn't get to read the other blog post before you took it down, but my friend did and called me about it crying because it touched her so deeply.

Heidi said...

Thanks for being real, I can relate. I often put on a happy face when deep down I am hurting and I filled with anxiety and depression. It's easier to share the good things, because I am scared I will be judge for my not so perfect things.

Heidi said...

Thank you for sharing! ♡ ♡ ♡ I feel like you just said exactly what I'm feeling! Posting the good to put on a brave face!

Nora said...

"Pretty much no one shares their full story on social media or even in really private conversations."

Especially when it comes to older kids, I think it's smart and respectful to cut back on social media, but I am so sorry if you don't feel like you can share (and explore) the hard parts of your story in private conversations. (Maybe you mean share widely, and you are actually able to talk honestly with family/close friends about the hard parts, I hope so.)

My kids are a bit older than your and have some on-going difficulties that it's not my place to share, and I am in the middle of a long process of figuring out how to support them and deal with my own fears and feelings. I've found two or three people I am honest with - my sisters, who love my kids and "get" them, a few friends whose kids are going through similar things. I talk with those people regularly. It helps, it makes me feel less alone, and guides me in figuring out how to be the best mom I can to these particular children at this moment in their lives.

Wishing you peace around this. You are a good mom. You don't deserve to feel isolated.


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