Welcome!

I’m Wrae and I am delighted to be here.

Please check out the “Learn More About Me” page 🙂

I am 35, and I’ve always loved writing. I’ve done some journaling, some poetry. I am on wattpad, and if you want that information, I’ll be glad to share it. This blog came pretty much out of nowhere but sometimes that’s the best thing.

I will be putting up a statement for legal reasons about what I will not tolerate on this blog, but in general, I’m pretty laid back. For sheer example, this welcome post is today’s post.

Guests are always welcome, I hope everyone enjoys what they read and leave having learned something or at least gotten a different point of view. As Jewel once said, “I’d rather see the world from another angle.”

I will have posts up on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I also have book reviews once monthly on Wednesdays.

Happy reading!

Wrae

Tips for Teaching Kids About Disappointment

Kids learn a lot of lessons- not all of them are fun. They learn that if they don’t listen to us, they can get hurt, in trouble, or just maybe, we were right.

They also have to learn about disappointment. Yikes. This can happen after not being able to go out with a friend, not being picked for a team or even after finding out that the store is out of a toy/DVD/something else they wanted. It’s not fun to see the look on their face, but it’s a part of life, right?

Unhappy

Bouncing Back from Let Down

Learning to bounce back is a skill that kids will need to hang onto for life, so it’s important to learn this lesson early. They need to learn that it is okay to ask others for support, communicate in an appropriate way and stay optimistic. It’s best to start with the basics. Some of the following information is from Parents Magazine

  • Teach your child that some things can be changed and some things cannot be changed.  For example, if a storm ruins a trip to the park, explain to your child that we can’t control the rain, but offer a different solution. Also remind them that a tantrum or other negative actions (like whining, my personal pet peeve) will not get them what they want. If your child sulks, choices can save the day.
  • Instead of rushing to fix an issue, let them try to fix it themselves (depending on the age). This may take some time, but your child will learn that they can fix bad situations on their own.
  • Show some empathy. Your child will see that it’s okay to be sad or upset over unexpected things if they see that you aren’t pleased over canceled plans.
  • Create a network of people that your child can talk to when things are a bit rough. Sometimes your child may want to talk to someone else besides their parents and this helps build resilience.
  • Don’t tell them “You’re being a baby”, “It’s not a big deal”, or anything similar. They are kids, but they also have feelings. These phrases make their feelings seem smaller and that hurts as much, if not more than the situation itself.

Time For Processing

Many kids sit in the sadness for a day or so, depending on the situation. We don’t like seeing our kids sad and a bit heartbroken, but this time may give them an opportunity to think things out and come up with an idea of what to do next, how to improve, etc.

They may not even need us to help them. Even if they don’t ask, check in with them to see if they need a listening ear and/or an idea or two on how to move forward. Remind them that you still love them, no matter what. You may get brushed off but it’s probably what they need to hear most.

Listen to your child and validate their feelings. They need you to help them deal with their thoughts. If they need a bit of encouragement, give it. This isn’t the time to demean them or their attempt at making a team, getting into college, etc. Being disappointed is a part of life and part of being a parent is helping them through the rough patches.

Unhappy

Pics courtesy of unsplash

How well do your kids handle disappointment? Do you have a story to share when your child handled it well? Please share in the comments.

 

Book Review: “I’m Just Happy to Be Here”

I have decided to restructure my book reviews a bit. I hope you enjoy it, please let me know what you think in the comments!

Title and why I chose this book:

“I’m Just Happy to Be Here”

I chose this memoir for these reasons: I love memoirs, and I thought that this one would be a good one. It looked interesting and I was absolutely right.

Who do I think this book is intended for?

It is probably good for anyone that is currently experiencing issues with drinking, reflecting on their past or is close to someone that has either of those issues. It may create a better understanding of that person’s thought patterns.

What I liked:

I loved Janelle’s honesty. It’s all over the memoir, from beginning to end. I also like how she discusses her childhood and what led to her drinking, not just starting with the drinking. I enjoyed her vulnerability because that is important in a story like this.

What I didn’t like:

The story’s timeline jumped around a bit. That’s the only thing that bothered me.

Book cover

Plot:

Janelle grew up with her mom. She was a Mormon, whose family converted after missionaries showed up at their door. Her mom became inactive later (this means she stopped attending services and didn’t go on a mission) but when Janelle was 9, she was baptized into the Church.

As a teen, she started questioning the Church, as many teens do. She didn’t believe that she was the good person that everyone thought she was, plus, she hated the rules.

For sheer example, I’ve seen an older version of the BYU honor code (circa 2003) and it was not easy for me to consider living by, but then, I also wasn’t raised Mormon. At some point, Janelle started experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

This eventually equated to drinking wine while making dinner. She would drink while cooking and then have a cocktail with dinner. I used to make dinner with a glass of Pepsi of juice with a splash of Fireball. The kids knew not to touch my glass.

She discusses a difficult experience with PPD, which borderlined on psychotic, which she was medicated for. After she and her husband moved out, she began counting down the hours until she could drink.

There is something comforting about knowing when you will feel better about your day, or maybe your whole life. This used to be in the form of alcohol for me. Now, it’s probably yoga or writing.

Janelle’s story takes many twists and turns throughout four pregnancies (yes, she does stay sober throughout) and her tumultuous marriage. I was intrigued throughout and read it over a weekend because I couldn’t stop.

It wasn’t until her second child was 6 months old and she relapsed that she began to think that she could possibly be an alcoholic.

Does Janelle get a happy ending? Find her book online or at a local library. I don’t want to spoil it for you!

Feather

Quotes that I loved:

“It made it worse because I knew he simply did not have what I needed.”

At one point, my husband did not have what I needed. I needed to know that I was a good mom, person and not just a sex doll. I needed more than just my own strength.

My depression became a lot worse once I realized that he did not have it in him to give me what I needed. My drinking also got a lot worse.

In case you can’t tell, I highly recommend this book. Come back for next month’s pick!

A Better Version of You

Self-improvement has become an important topic in the last few years. Many of us are taking a deeper look at ourselves and what we can do to lead better and happier lives. We are realizing that our emotional wellbeing is incredibly important to the rest of our lives.

How can we improve our lives and become a better, potentially, the best version of ourselves?

Think big. Think of where you are now and where you want to be.

wp-1552924586464.jpg

Stepping Stones to A Happier You

  1. Decide to truly love yourself. For some, this can be a difficult step. It is important, however, to conquer this step before the others. You can find ideas on how to love yourself more in Thoughts on Self-Love and 5 Ways to Conquer Self-Kindness . Loving yourself can be an inspiration to push yourself further than you have in the past. You are able to believe in yourself a lot more, and even when you fail, you forgive yourself a bit easier. Loving yourself can help with happiness and satisfaction. Also, love yourself for who you are. There isn’t another person who is exactly like you and that is the cool thing about being an individual. Don’t let your bright light burn out by trying to be like someone else. Let those quirks out and others will appreciate them.
  2. Allow yourself to heal through forgiveness. Learning to forgive yourself can be a long, sometimes not-so-easy process, but it can be done. It also may require the help of a therapist and this is okay. Having an extra set of ears to help process your thoughts can be a good way to process and move forward. Either way, you will definitely thank yourself later. The freedom of forgiving yourself will allow you to potentially forgive others for things they have done to you. It also lifts what can be a heavy burden.
  3. Say goodbye to your inner critic. My inner critic sits inside my brain and even with two years of therapy behind me, she is still there. I have a hard time making her go away sometimes. On the bad days, it’s all I hear. This is where learning to be kind to yourself kicks in. Remind yourself of your strengths, not your weaknesses. Remind yourself of how far you have come in changing your life and thoughts, that you are moving into a better, brighter area of your life.
  4. Take care of your body. This step can be a fun one- find something healthy and new to do. I enjoy yoga, even though my body may not always enjoy it later. (My hips really do not like the pigeon pose, even with modifications. I struggle a lot with the airplane pose because my balance is awful, but it’s fun trying.) It’s my hour and a half a week in which nobody bothers me plus there’s a 12 Step meeting involved. Some prefer hiking, running, baking, whatever works. Everyone is good at something- you may have a talent that you aren’t aware of. This also can include making a precise plan for more/better sleep, eating better, or all of the above.
  5. Create a life that you want to wake up for. I’ve honestly struggled with this one. I have no idea where I am going, career-wise, because I do not know what kind of job would make me happy. I’m no longer able to physically perform the job I loved in the past. I do love my blog, so I’m working on sponsored posts again. I’m also back at work on my e-books, and at some point, before the kids are out of school, I want to have them up on Amazon and Smashwords. These goals help me get out of bed on those really bad mornings. I’m sober, so that is something else to get out of bed for because drinking creates a rough life. My kids have always been my biggest reason to get out of bed, even when I just wanted to stay in bed and let the world go on without me. What inspires you? What makes you happy? What would you want to add to or take out of your life to make it easier? These are the things you want to think about when creating the life you want to wake up for.

This information can be found at MindBodyGreen

wp-1552924554660.jpg

Being Kind Can Take You Far

There are stories every day about shootings and other types of violence. Like most others, it greatly disturbs me. What happens if people decided to be kinder for a day or two? This could definitely help make us all better people. We don’t have to go on an all-out mission to be kind.

Something as small as holding a door open for someone that is struggling with a load of things in their arms, buying coffee for the person behind or in front of you, or a similar act can make someone’s day. We don’t know what another person is going through and this can change how they see the world around them. It can also help us- being kind to others does make us a bit happier.

Do you have any ideas to add to this list? Have you decided to become a better version of yourself? Please let me know in the comments.

Pics courtesy of unsplash

The Drinking Article

I love Buzzfeed. I have the app, read articles, and yes, take those weird quizzes every day.

I read an article about Chrissy Teigen a while ago and it stuck with me. If you don’t know who she is, she’s a model, has a hilarious Twitter (which I follow @chrissyteigen) and she’s married to John Legend.

I don’t watch “Lip Synch Battle” but I have heard it is pretty funny. She has also battled Post-Partum Depression (PPD) and anxiety. I am very familiar with this, because of my issues with this after Julian was born. It wasn’t my favorite time as a mom. I’ve also worked with women who were at risk for and/or who struggled with it.

Wait…Is That Me?

It turns out that Chrissy has issues with drinking, and it runs in her family. She said in the article (no spoilers) that she had come to realize that her drinking made her act differently than she would like to around others and it was hurting their reputation. She said that she realized that she needed to fix herself. The link to the article is at the bottom of this post.

I have felt the same way.

My sobriety date is 1/1/17. I was a very hard drinker for almost four years. I’ve been drinking since I was a teen, like many, but later on, the drinking got out of control.

wp-image-1490944920

NAMI walk 2017

In late 2011, Julian was diagnosed with ADHD and autism. My husband and I had already been fighting a lot about how to handle his behaviors, but after his diagnosis, things just got worse. At times, we didn’t speak for days. Julian had become aggressive and difficult to handle.

Things were so bad that by 2013, I had begun going out for dinner and drinks with a group of co-workers every Tuesday. I needed the escape from my life at home. It hurt a lot that I couldn’t fix my marriage- I didn’t know how to stop the fighting or the mean things my husband was saying to me. I didn’t know what to do with Julian.

I knew that drinking was fun and it made me feel a lot better. Everything that was stressing me out went away and I didn’t have to do anything but be hilarious. I’ve always been funny, to begin with, but alcohol brought that out a lot more. This continued for about two years, until September 1, 2015. My entire life stopped and shattered that day.

I found out about Jake’s death the next day, September 2. I didn’t deal with it well at all, but then, when someone you love dies, you rarely do. I partially dealt with it by downing seven shots of Fireball. Most people would have passed out at some point, but I kept crying. I’m not really sure who put the Fireball away, but someone did.

I drank my way through the next year. I drank during the day while my kids were at school- some days I was barely able to get my kids off the bus. I drank on the weekends.

Looking back, it took a lot more than it did, in the beginning,ng, to get me anywhere near drunk. My hangovers got worse. I would spend the whole day either in bed or wishing I was. My stomach would hurt so badly that I could barely eat until the pain eased.

I didn’t pay attention to this. I drank so much that I scared my friends. One sent me home from her house with a trash bag in case I threw up in my husband’s truck. Don’t worry- he was driving.

The Fun Stops

The end came with lab results from my doctor’s office. I can’t remember the reason for the labs to begin with, but my doctor called.

She knew I had been drinking, but she didn’t know how much. She let me know that my liver enzymes were elevated and that I needed to cut back or stop drinking. My liver could still repair itself at this point, but if I didn’t stop drinking soon, it would not be able to.

I knew exactly what she meant. I’ve worked in the substance abuse field long enough to know where she was going with this conversation.

I thanked her and hung up.

The next night was New Years’ Eve, and I drank one last time with a friend, our husbands and another friend. That was the last time I have drank anything. The next day was January 1, 2017, and I started a sober life.

Last night of fun

My last night of drinking

Living a Sober Life

I can’t say I liked who I was while I was drinking. I may have been funnier than I already was, but I was also obnoxious. I was clumsy as a toddler- I’ve spilled drinks in my purse, almost fallen on sidewalks, and I even fell off a barstool at my own birthday celebration. That was awful, and that story can be found in my guest blog for savvyesposito.

I also affected my kids- Cameron swears he will never drink, and I’m not sure if his siblings will follow his example. They saw me hungover, tired and cranky. They had to see me the morning after I fell off the barstool and that’s not something a kid should see.

I’m a much better mom, wife, and person. I went into therapy in October 2015 and my therapist was thrilled to see me stop drinking.

It’s hard, I won’t lie. I have been stressed. I have had fights with my husband, even though we are working on things. I’ve had bad days with my kids. I’ve had to face life minus a coping skill.

I’ve replaced it with coloring books, meditating, reading The Big Book and a weekly yoga class. I’m doing a lot better with facing my feelings and dealing with them.

I do struggle. I have had issues staying sober. You can read my thoughts on that here

Staying sober is possible. It just requires taking life one day at a time.

Chrissy Teigen article

5 Powerful Ways to Discuss Depression With Your Teen

**Trigger warning: this post discusses suicide. Please read with caution.**

The Importance of Checking In

Cameron wanted to watch “13 Reasons Why” and while I’ve never watched it, I didn’t want to hold him back. I sat him down for a chat before I would allow him to watch. We discussed what it was about, how Hannah’s death impacted her friends and if Cameron thought it would upset him.

He said that he would be okay watching it, his friends had told him about it. He asked me if I wanted to watch it, and I told him thanks but no thanks. (My former therapist advised me to not watch it.) He watched it and was a bit sad but otherwise okay.

After Cameron finished the series, we talked again, only this time, we talked about suicide itself. I just wanted to see where he was. He said no, he had never thought about it or never been so depressed/angry that he thought about it. I was relieved.

He knows that he can come to me about anything, but I also know that many who consider suicide don’t always go to someone when considering it. I asked him if he knew anyone who might even be thinking about it or is hurting, and all I got was “Nope, I think everyone is good, Mom.”

I was relieved.

Thanks to my work with kids around Cameron’s age, I know this conversation doesn’t happen in every home and/or doesn’t go so well. I’ve seen teens angry as hell that their attempts were not successful.

There isn’t really a timeline on how often to check in, but I would go for it every once in a while. Just see what your child is thinking.

5 Things to Keep In Mind

  1. Listen, even when your teen is being quiet. Teens do have quiet moments. It happens. The time to worry is when they are being more quiet than usual. Are they stressed out? Did they just have a bad breakup? Chronic medical issues and/or severe chronic pain? Is there a family history of suicide? A history of substance use? Encourage your teen to not isolate but don’t push too far. Some kids like being alone.
  2. Lower demands of your teen. Teens are very busy these days. Life is full of stress from school, friends, even sports and jobs. All of this can snowball and when you feel you aren’t “good enough” it can be crushing. Try to help your teen when you can and break things down, even if that means quitting a sport or other activities. There is a reason I keep my kids underscheduled. I don’t want extremely stressed out kids. This may change once high school starts, but for right now, they aren’t bogged down with constant activities.
  3. Teens can be embarrassed to ask for help, just like adults. They might not want to ask for help because they don’t want to burden their parents, who are busy with work and other things. They don’t feel worthy of the help they need. We need to remind them that they are worthy.
  4. Some teens are resistant to help but may warm up later. Don’t expect immediate results. They may try to skip sessions, not speak, etc, but will eventually come around. Stick to the therapy and the results will be worth it.
  5. If your child mentions wanting to complete suicide or wanting to die, please seek help immediately. Remove anything that they can hurt themselves with, including firearms, immediately and get them to an ER. This cannot be brushed off and can end tragically if it is.

Sad

Getting the Help Your Child Needs

Admitting that your child needs psychological help is not an easy thing. I’ve had to do it. Taking Julian to a psychiatrist was one of the hardest things I have ever done as a mother, but it was well worth it. It will be worth it for you, your child and your family.

Your child may need in or outpatient help, or a combination of both. If your child needs medication, that is not terrible. Please consider the pros and cons before starting medications. There is no shame in doing either and please remember, it is not a reflection on you as a parent. It took me years to learn that.

Encouraging Empathy and Compassion

If your child seems fine, this is great. The talk you have can change gears into how they can help a friend that isn’t okay. Again, the world we live in can be overwhelming for some teens. They may need a friend like your child who can listen, offer a hug and maybe even a laugh or two. Laughter can go a long way with teens when they are not doing so well.

Compassion and empathy can go far when your child has a friend who is struggling through their days and need someone to remind them that it is okay to not be perfect. Everyone has difficult times and needs someone to reach out to. Your child can be that person to someone. This can end up being a good lesson.

Depression can hit at any age, for any reason, at any time. Please remember this when you speak to your teen about this issue. Handle the discussion carefully and don’t judge them. You may lose their trust if you do so. Please see my Resources page for more information on depression and suicide resources.

Information for this post from these resources:

healthy children

apa.org

Pics courtesy of unsplash