People say that when you have children, your lives change forever. We were blessed with two beautiful girls – Lucy and Kate, born two years apart in 2009 and 2011. They were our pride and joy! They also brought about a whole new side of their Momma that she didn’t know existed…..
I had a terrible delivery with Lucy – one where the hospital screwed up my bloodwork and told me there was a possibility I would die upon her birth. Apparently, this was all a mistake but you can only imagine what other baggage I took home that day, other than my beautiful Lucy. This moment, in my mind, was the pivotal moment and the reason that I spent the last six years sick and feeling the way I did. It was also the reason that poor Lucy suffers the anxiety and worry she does today. Her beautiful Momma – who was pink and happy – had turned into a sick and sad attempt at being a Mommy. And like I said in my last post – Lucy knew it, but Mommy ignored it.
Kate, on the other, was brought into a different world. I’d spent time with a psychologist and worked through some of my challenges and by the time she arrived, brought so much joy and happiness. I had become calmer and more of the mom i’d wanted to be, rather than had to be. They say that things happen for a reason and I believe that Kate was brought into the world to make our family whole again.
After almost three years of being a stay at home mom and doing my best to enjoy the moments, I did what most do – went back to work. Here is where my backpack took over.
Life went from crazy to chaos pretty quick and everyone else could see it, but me. I attempted to go back as the person I was before – putting all my effort into work to prove I was the same women. I started seeing my family failing at home and instead of putting my focus back on them – I put more of it into work. As someone who lived for acceptance, a sense of purpose and success- I knew I was great at my job so I put my effort in the place I knew I’d be successful.
I could see myself slowly turning that dark grey on the inside – fatigue started to set in, I was starting to look grey, I was getting sick ALL the time and the biggest eye opener? I was blaming my KIDS for their issues and somedays didn’t even want to go home to deal with it. I’d walk into my house with my fake pink energy and immediately, because my kids saw through it, they broke out in tears and fears. They say that kids strive for a secure attachment and what I was bringing home everyday was anxiety, stress and anger.
I had become very selfish….selfish in a way that wasn’t even fair to myself…if that make sense – I’d put all my effort into work….not anything else (especially not me as a person or my family).
To make matters worse and to add to the tremendous chaos that was happening in our family – I decided to take a promotion and move our family back to Toronto. It was a great move for us because we were closer to family, however, in the end, it took our family (and me) completely over the edge.
I was so excited about the promotion. I couldn’t wait to show off my skills. I couldn’t wait to be in head office and most of all, I had moved up in the career world and felt like my OLD self again. I continued to put all my effort into work and left everyone at home to fend for themselves. Two little girls and a husband that all HATED change were left to deal…. all by themselves. I laugh at this now…we even seeked the help of a psychologist to deal with the behaviour changes that were happening at home……how silly was that???? How did I miss it all? How does a MOM do that?
Little did I know that my attempt to deal with it all, had slowly taken a toll on my body. All the energy I had put into being the fake pink person, was slowly killing me.
Within six months of the promotion, I was quite sick. My thyroid was functioning at a level that I should have been hospitalized for, however, I was still fully functioning. And when I say fully functioning, I mean blowing my job out of the water, coming home and dealing with everything at home and going to cross-fit nightly to deal with my anxiety and stress. My family was seeing me go downhill, but no one at work knew anything was wrong. I had become a master faker.
I was dying on the inside but didn’t want to give up. My goal in life was to be the next CEO and I was well on my way. I was obviously not doing as well as I thought…eventually it started to get noticed…and by a special CEO – who I will never forget. I remember the morning he stopped in my office and look at me very sincerely….you don’t look well, Nancy, whats going on. I told him of my challenges with my health and work/family and he told me in a very nice way to get my priorities straight. I remember his face as he left – almost sad for me – and I knew it was time to take a break. So here it was….my first Sick leave. My first big kick in the ass! Me? On sick leave? What? Everyone always told me you never come back from a sick leave…oh? then you DONT KNOW ME…SO within three months – still not feeling the greatest, I went back. Not because I was better but because I STILL HAD TO PROVE myself….
What? Really Nancy? Have you not woken up yet and realized how screwed up your priorities are? Do you not see that this is NOT all about you being successful? It was clear that the universe and friends around me were trying to tell me something, but I guess I wasn’t ready to hear it… yet.
So i continued onward and upward….and continued to get sick. Upon my return from sick leave, i tried even harder to be the best….and do it all…and actually clenched my jaw so bad because of the stress that I flattened my eardrum – yes, you heard that right, flattened my ear drum.
My backpack was full, my priorities were skewed and I had become someone who I never imagine i’d be. I was mad at the world and everyone around me. Anyone who tried to give me any hints about what I’d become, I shut them down and blame them for their issues….it wasn’t my fault….
Through all of this, my body started to die on the inside. I felt like an 80 year old and I didn’t know how to get out. I was sick, scared and lost…..and didn’t know what to do next.
My trip to the mayo clinic opened my eyes….”one year from now and you probably wouldn’t have walked in here”…..excuse me? what? You can imagine the wake up call!
I know I’m not alone. Its such a hard shift in priorities when children come into our lives. Most people settle in well, but there are some, like myself, that take time and effort.
How do we manage it all? why do we try?
As you read my story, I don’t want you to feel sad or take pity on me..there are many people who struggle even worse that I did…so trust me when I say – I will take what I get…..I just want you to take something away from it.
I want you to think of your day to day activities! Are you doing too much? Are you really as balanced as you could be?
Are you maybe trying to be someone your not? Or use to be?
Are you priorities in the right place? Is there anything you can do to put more effort into your family? Do you want too? And if not, why?
Don’t be afraid to share….you aren’t alone.
Now, take two minutes and listen to this song….
Don’t miss anything else. I won’t now!
I’ll see you next time.