It’s been a few weeks since I’ve updated our YouTube and blog. Our family has been navigating some serious life changes and it has been quite a whirlwind. In case you haven’t seen the last video we posted here is a brief summary of our life this past month. A week after we had Joseph we moved our RV and family to Lufkin. We parked at my aunt’s house which is my childhood home. I have another aunt and an uncle who live there too. We moved into the house and enjoyed meals cooked for us and lots of attention and care. Ryan had been making plans to return to work and his company needed him in Oklahoma. We decided that Ryan would travel first while I stayed with the kids and recovered at my aunts. Our two week separation felt like two years. In the twenty years we have been together the longest we have been apart is three nights. I cried for two days before he left and everyday that we were apart. I’m not sure why I agreed to this arrangement in the first place.

Picnic lunch at the zoo and our first picture as a family of seven. Two days before Ryan would leave.

It was such a luxury to wake up to breakfast at my aunts and have every meal available to us. It was also nice to spend time with all the grandparents and relatives. It was also just so hard in the evenings without Ryan. Not only did I wake every few hours with a newborn but we all got sick with a terrible cough and congestion. I dealt with higher than normal potty accidents. The two and four year old took turns waking up throughout the night and I stayed up coughing. I didn’t have anyone to help in the evening nor could anyone help except Ryan. The kids only wanted me and only I could translate their cries.

Our second Sunday without daddy. We are standing in the driveway of my childhood home. The church I grew up in is in the background.

Ryan was so busy while we were apart. His new job required a lot of his attention to get over the learning curve. He stayed up until nearly midnight finishing up work. We made the right decision to start off apart. He didn’t even make time to go to the grocery store. His dinners were late night scroungings of rice and beans. He even got desperate and ate garbanzo beans with rice. Knowing his priorities, I took it upon myself to order him groceries to be picked up.

The drive to Tulsa is long and we broke it up by staying for a night at my godsister’s home in the Dallas area. We ended up driving with only one stop between Dallas to Tulsa. There weren’t many gas stations so we found a driveway off the highway with pretty wildflowers to pick.

I have been and am still currently in survival mode. I am getting much more sleep now but the past month I have been using television to help me parent. Ryan works seven days a week, twelve hours a day. As I write this, we have been in Oklahoma with him for two weeks and it has been such an adjustment with his schedule and our own without him.

We discovered it was too confusing for him to work inside the RV during the day. He will join us for meals but either stays outside in his car or sets up at the park office for work. The first week we were in Oklahoma it felt like we were constantly in his way. I worked hard to organize the camper so there would be less frustration.

I didn’t realize I could be so anxious about driving and running errands with my children. The first time we went grocery shopping I spent thirty minutes crying in the car explaining to my big girls how overwhelmed I was and that my anger towards them has more to do with my lack of sleep than their bickering. I begged for forgiveness for my erratic behavior and also pleaded with them to help me navigate new territories by helping me with the small children and to not argue with each other.

My anxiety created tension between Ryan and I. We were not communicating and my sleepless nights without help made me bitter towards him. The fog of newborn land has always been a big low in our relationship. But with each low I dig myself into, a period of redemption eventually occurs. Sometimes it takes weeks for me to crawl out of my pity hole I have buried myself in. I tend to suffer in silence until I boil over with anger. I’ve been offering up my sufferings and using my lows as a chance to grow in all the virtues I desperately seek.

I deleted Instagram which has been a big part of my day for the past decade. I created a bad habit of late night scrolling while breast feeding and it has also lead to increased anxiety watching hate crimes, seeing the explosion of “woke” culture and stories of child trafficking. The ads for postpartum weight loss and summer bathing suits has not helped my mental state either. I found myself filling up my online shopping cart at two in the morning just to abandon it because I really didn’t need anything at all. I’ve been so consistent with posting videos and pictures online. I had my first viral reel and I focused on how to monetize my social media during my pregnancy. But after I had the baby I noticed I haven’t been consistent with my children and our daily routines. Granted I realize I just added a child but with a new town and Ryan’s new job I needed to remove all distractions to focus on getting back to a normal rhythm. I gave myself permission to quit Instagram. Hopefully I’ll be back on in a few months with a few added restrictions for myself. At first I found myself looking for the icon while I nursed or sat down with my phone. I don’t want my kids to think that I find my phone more interesting than them. I always made sure that while I was “working” on my phone it would only be during times the children were busy with school or in the evenings after the kids were in bed. With postpartum there is a loneliness that I feel being by myself feeding the baby late at night. Having to stay home during this adjustment period has been isolating. Instagram made me feel like I was still connected to people but still left me feeling sad and lonely. I need that evening time to reconnect with my husband and reflect on my day. Instead I was distracting myself and avoiding my husband adding to my loneliness.

So far, staying off social media has been a great thing. I am journaling more, remembering things better and taking photos for the sake of remembering and not just to share on social media. I’m puting all those crafts I’ve saved into action as well as those recipes I’ve never made. I’m also enjoying this phase of a new baby which goes by faster and faster with each child.

We just joined an athletic club with a kids clubs and it has given us something to look forward to during the week. Ryan is able to join us and work in the cafe l while the kids enjoy activities. I get kid free time to listen to a book and walk around. The baby is still too small for childcare so I wear him while walking on the treadmill and Ryan will watch him while I attend a class.

The areas the I am the most flawed seem to be magnified while I am in periods of transition. I’ve told my husband who is use to my postpartum rollercoaster that sometimes I just need to hangout in the valley for a bit. My trek back to the top will happen eventually.


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