I knew that we were doing the right thing...the ONLY thing that would help us SURVIVE financially. And as much as I don't like to admit it, it has been a sacrifice, and a struggle.
I know now, looking back, that I was depressed...even though deep down, I KNEW that we made the right choice to move.
Evidence of my depression:
I stopped planning/cooking meals for my family. We started eating fast food almost every day.
I stopped exercising, and quickly (within 3 months) gained about 30 lbs.
I was struggling with how to handle Jakob's issues with ADHD/Anxiety/Depression. I felt completely hopeless as a mother...I didn't know HOW to help my baby. (This had been going on for a few years...but came to a HEAD when we moved...due to NEW school, NEW situation riding a bus, NEW situation being gone from 7:30-2:15 every day, etc. etc. - the poor kid was having a really, REEEEAALLLLLLY hard time, and so was I.)
Even though we were saving money on rent, we were still barely scraping by... I was embarrassed and ashamed of our situation.
Because we lived in (and I'm being frank here) an OLD, RUN-DOWN, UGLY apartment, I didn't want anyone to come over...and didn't care if it was a mess or not.
I continued to struggle with my photography business...insecurity isn't good for business...and wasn't helping me progress as a photographer at all. I felt like everyone around me (in the photog biz) was succeeding and I was just a fumbling, floundering mess... I felt like a failure not being able to help out financially...
The list could go on...but the point of this post isn't to make you feel sorry for me or whatever, it's just to show you where I've been and what I've been through and how I've grown, and changed.
Here's what I've learned through it all:
Prayer can give you hope.
I am SO blessed with an amazing husband who LOVES me and our babies dearly...and he is my partner in all of this. Fat and flabby, messy house, crazy emotions, happy days, bad days, laughing till we cry, crying till we laugh, etc. I am so grateful I have him. I know I COULD do it alone (thank you Gillian for pointing that out!) but I am SO thankful I don't have to...
I am so blessed to have 4 beautiful boys...who are so sweet and adorable and who are such good boys...I see the future in them...I am in awe that Heavenly Father would allow ME to be their mother. They amaze me with their wit and ability to love and forgive me for my weaknesses. They are my treasures.
I have learned that I DID care what people thought about me...where I lived...what kind of clothes I wore...if I had a nice house...and once I realized that, I hated myself for it. I realized that I needed to learn from this humbling experience...and let go of pride.
I learned that Heavenly Father loves me and puts me in places where I am surrounded by people who will love me no matter what. I was given a calling to be the 2nd Counselor in the RS Presidency a few months after we moved in, and as overwhelming as that was at times, I am truly thankful for the opportunity it gave me to learn who everyone was, and to serve them. Otherwise, it would have been very easy for me to retreat into my home and hide away from everyone. It forced me to make new friends.
About 7 months after we moved, there was a unique situation where my sister and 3 of her kids ended up staying with us (in my TINY 2 bedroom apartment) for almost a week. I have a very vivid memory of a conversation we had, where she told me that I was in "survival mode." I will never forget that...it was like the first of many wake-up calls. Yes, I was taking care of a bunch of little boys...but I was only doing the basics. She was right, I was just surviving...doing enough to just get by.
I've gone back to that conversation many times over the past 2 years, and am happy to say that now, I am not just surviving, I am starting to THRIVE.
So, my word for this year, is THRIVE. To me, that means I am making the decision to BE HAPPY with where I am...and to BE HAPPY with WHO I am...and to BE HAPPY with my children and my husband. I want to ENJOY this crazy life and stop feeling sorry for myself. I want to pursue my goals and my dreams...even if that means I fail along the way. I want to provide happy memories for my family by making meal time top priority, by making sure they are taken care of and feel loved 100% of the time.
I am ready to THRIVE.
1: to grow vigorously : flourish
2: to gain in wealth or possessions : prosper
3: to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances —often used with on <thrives on conflict>