Sending My Baby to Kindergarten and Finding Myself a New Normal

Here it is again, the start to a new school year.  But this year is different….very different.  This year my baby starts kindergarten.

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As I looked around, this summer, it was obvious that I am no longer a stroller mom.  You know the stroller moms. The ones who:

  • Takes 10 minutes to unstrap the kids and get out of the car
  • Has her hair unbrushed and spit up on her clothes
  • Tired (I mean, really tired)
  • Most days doesn’t leave the house due to nap schedules and too much trouble to leave
  • Carrying 100 things at a time

I could go on….

Although I’m still many of those things, I’m no longer in baby phase.  I still deal with tantrums with a louder much bigger child.  I still wear yoga pants when I’m not going to yoga.  I’m still tired and flustered but the differences are huge.

When I was a stroller mom, I remember someone telling me baby phase was ok because “Big kid, big problems.”  I remember looking at her and nodding while thinking, “Talk to me when I’ve slept more than 4 hours straight.”

And it’s true.  Baby moms can’t fully see the beauty in these chubby tiny babies because they suck the life out of you.  Their problems are eat, sleep, play, poop, repeat.  My baby now faces bullies, learning at a pace that is pushed towards testing, increased independence, relationships that I don’t control and situations I can not protect him from.
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As my son takes steps towards his kindergarten doors I regain some of myself.  I regain time in my day, energy that has been taken and quiet I have not had in 8 years.  All of these things I wished for as a stay at home mom desperate in the winter months feeling trapped and lonely are now coming to me.   And now I want my babies back.

For years, all I wanted to do was go to the store alone.  I was once tapped on the shoulder by a nice old woman who calmly said, “Miss, your daughter is standing in the cart.”  As I turned my head back from the cereal aisle she took a leap from her seat and I caught her.  I wanted the calm and now the calm just feels boring.  I talk to myself and look crazy (They were never really listened but at least I had someone with me.)  I need my shopping buddies!

I’m now the mom smiling at babies and telling stories about mine while the stroller mom is thinking, “Talk to me when I’m sleeping more.”

When your baby goes to kindergarten it’s an end of an era.  It’s an era that some may happily leave behind with the diapers and child care tuition.   But with new eras come new problems, big kid problems.

It will change us both.  As a stay at home mom, I gave up my life.  I gave up my job, my only friends were moms at the library and I sacrificed a lot while my husband traveled, I nursed and battled chronic migraine without medication.  I look back at those years as really hard.  Like, tears rolling down my face as I’m writing this HARD.  Those were the days I didn’t recognize myself because I wasn’t just myself, I was them.  Every second of my day revolved around these tiny humans that I had pushed out of my body and continued to give.  Gone are the days of playing and reading to them all day while no longer scraping play doh out of their mouths and  running around wild.

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The possibilities of this year are new to my kindergartener, new to me and similar in nature.

I hope he is safe.  We all need safety.

I hope he makes many strong friendships.  I hope to see more of mine.

I hope he is healthy with the new cesspool of germs that will live in his classroom.  I hope with the added time to myself that I can focus more on my health and advocating to improve the lives of many migraine and chronic illness fighters.

As my baby finds his way to the kindergarten doors, it’s hard not to think that I won’t be needed as much.  The reality is, after my oldest went, she needed me more in a big kid, big problem kind of way.  I may not need to teach him to speak, but I need to teach him to communicate.  I may not need to put him down for a nap but I need to help him understand how to relax and decompress after a long day.  I’m no longer his only friend and I need to help him navigate the ways of friendship, building lasting ones and avoiding toxic people.  Now is the time that my baby bird is leaving the nest and I know he will soar above the clouds as I count the seconds until he’s securely tucked back in.

Whether you were a stay at home mom or a full time working parent who has had their child in day care since they were a few months old, you still face the fear of “big kid, big problems.”  You may be looking forward to no more child care payments. You may be relieved to have some added time.  But we all face change in schedule and dynamics in the home.  Everyone’s lives change.

I’m no longer the stroller mom.  I’m the car pool mom, the sports mom, the where ever life takes them mom, the still tired mom.  Regardless of the title, I’m just so proud to be mom.

To a happy, healthy, safe and fun school year!

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Puppy Alert….We’ve Added to Our Family

I have an announcement to make……..

We have added to our family!  After loosing my best friend, migraine warrior and therapy animal, Lucia, we decided to add some love to our home.  Remember Lucia and Sammy here

Meet Charlie……

 

Charlie Red is a Golden Retriever.  He has brought happiness and puppy energy  into our house.  He is our new normal and such a good boy.  He loves to play outside and eat mulch, dress up and cheer on his sister’s swim team efforts and fully supports my writing and blogging career.  He eats a lot, plays a lot, and sleeps a lot.

 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me during my greatest loss.  Many people remind me that he’s not a replacement.  My answer to that is, OF COURSE NOT.  Charlie is a different life time for all of us and there is no comparison.  It has been the most difficult summer of my life after loosing Lucia, 13, and Sammy, 20.  Charlie has made the house less quiet, less lonely and fills it with new memories.  His sweet face and curious eyes  makes us smile!

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Wet ears=happy puppy post walk and big drink

Charlie plans to make his Instagram debut  @mymigrainelife

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Don’t forget to endorse my nominations for WEGO AWARDS.  WEGO awards many bloggers from a variety a conditions.  Let’s let Migraine be represented and supported.  Thank you!

ENDORSE HERE

WEGO Health Awards Nominee for Advocating and Influencing the Migraine Community. Endorse Now

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I am excited to announce that I have been nominated for the 2018 WEGO Health Awards!!!!!!! I have been nominated for “best kept secret” “best in show Instagram” “best in show community” and “best in show facebook” WOW!!!!!!!!

WEGO Health is a mission-driven company connecting healthcare with the experience, skills, and insights of patient leaders. They are the world’s largest network of patient leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics.
The WEGO Health Awards were created to celebrate those who tirelessly support the mission of WEGO Health: to empower the patient voice. With 16 award categories, the WEGO Health Awards are the only awards across all conditions and platforms, that recognize the over 100 thousand inspiring Patient Leaders who raise awareness, share information, and support their communities – but often without recognition.
It is a huge honor to be part of such a great group of nominees!  Thank you SO much for your nominations!  Now, I need your help…..
I’m looking to my incredibly supportive network to help endorse me for these  awards. It is easy to endorse and only take seconds of your time!

Click here to be taken to my WEGO Health Awards profile where you can click “Endorse” under my nominee photo (thumbs up!)

ENDORSE HERE!!!!!!!!

If I have ever supported you, made you laugh, or inspired you to keep fighting – please consider endorsing me for this award.

Elle Magazine’s Gross Portrayal of Migraine

This morning I woke up with a migraine.  I wake up with a migraine EVERY morning.  I went to bed last night with a migraine because I go to bed EVERY night with migraine.  I stumbled downstairs to get my coffee on this rainy morning hoping that my pain would lessen and shakes would dissipate so I could drive my kids to swim lessons.  After swim lessons, I face over 30 shots at my neurologists office just so I can wake up tomorrow to be able to go to the grocery store.   It’s not a glamorous life.

When I opened my social media, I saw this…….”All the pretty people on Instagram are doing the migraine pose.”  They have since changed it to “headache pose” in their title but the content still exists.

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During Migraine Awareness Month, THIS is the reason we all need to advocate.  I scrolled through the article and was shocked to see the popular models Gigi and Bella Hadid and Kylie and Kendall Jenner.  Why am I surprised?

  1.  Over my last vacation I read Believe Me by Yolanda Hadid.  Yolanda is the mother of Gigi and Bella and wrote a book about her arduous journey with Lyme disease.  Bella and her brother also discovered that they also have Lyme.  The book was honestly written about the life of an invisible illness sufferer and the long, winding, painful, expensive, loss filled road.  I plan on writing a review of the book and all of the impactful things that I related to as a migraine sufferer.
    1. Now, here stands her 2 daughters who fight by her side for Lyme Disease totally degrading and glamouring MY invisible illness.  All the pretty people are doing it…..””Migraine Pose,” coined by makeup artist Nam Vo, involves posing with one or two hands pulling your face up by your temples as if you had a, well, migraine.”  Where’s the “Lyme pose”?  Migraine is not beautiful, it’s a neurological disease!
  2. Kendall and Kylie Jenner are not known for their responsible modeling choices.  They seems to be ok with offending people to make a dollar but their own sister Kloe has often been heard to speak of her migraine.  Once again, even family is insensitive to the extreme nature of this debilitating disease.

During Migraine Awareness Month (#MHAM) so many of us are striving to make the face of migraine seen.  Elle magazine is NOT showing the face of migraine.  When I get a migraine above level 7, I throw up violently, loose speech and cognition, loose ability to walk and often crawl to the bathroom.  I can’t read, drive, be in light, have sound in my presence, experience muscle spasms, have sensitivity to touch and pass out from the head pain.  THAT is what migraine looks like.  Not a pretty model “showing off her manicure.”

I saw that migraine is trending in ALL the wrong reasons!

Here are a few examples of my migraine pose….(In reality my level 10s will never be photographed because they put me in grave danger.)

Did you ever notice how pets sense pain?  Humans blatantly disregard each other while no explanations need to be made to a dog.  I’m not showing off my manicure or pulling my face taught towards the light to look beautiful.  I’m surviving.  I’m using my best friend and therapy as a way to fight the pain.

But for some reason THIS isn’t trending.  I wonder why?  Pain isn’t pretty and shouldn’t be portrayed as a glamorous way to live.

Comment below with your migraine pose and share this.  THIS is what should be tending! SHARE that migraine is not beautiful.

Why I’ve joined up with Miles for Migraine and Increased My Advocacy

I recently got a flashback of one of  my first posts ever.  It was super exciting to see how far I’ve come and how I’m meeting my goals from  4 years ago.  This post explains how I want to help children and be part of a charity that raises funds for migraine and lowers stigma.

I’m proud to say I’ve found it and I AM saying “Wow, look how far we’ve come.”  If you see me post about Miles for Migraine it’s because I feel strongly that it is making a financial and community difference.

After the 2 races we  participated in, Team My Migraine Life raised $2,192.91.

I was asked to give my patient perspective at both races.  I also donated 9 inches of my hair between this time!  We  raised funds, raised awareness and lowered stigma for migraine.  My children were at both events to hear me speak and are not only learning about their mom at each event but how it affects so many others!  We will be the ones to make change and we will be the ones to pave the way for a less painful stigmatized future.  I’m so proud!

Check out a post I wrote in the first week ever of blogging…..

Miles for Migraine Cincinnati Results 2018 race/walk

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This weekend, I was part of Miles for Migraine race in Cincinnati.  It was a beautiful and warm day filled with love, support and a group of people fighting stigma and raising money for Migraine and headache disorders.

 

 

The race raised $3,550

Team My Migraine Life raised $567.37.  Thank you to all those who donated.

We were the top team!!! I’m so proud of us 🙂

The day began with fighting a 3 day migraine that I had traveled with but had huge inspiration to make it to the event.  When I got there, I was surrounded with some migraine advocate powerhouses.
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Michelle Tracy, Migraine Warrior, represented the INVisible project with her smiling face and sharing her inspiring personal stories. She also spoke to the group about being a patient advocate and how we can all be one ourselves.

Not only is Michelle an amazing and strong advocate but she was brave enough to sing the National Anthem to begin our race.  She has a strong voice as a patient and as a singer!

Katie Golden, GoldenGraine, brought sparkle to all of our days.  She is the senior contributing writer to the INVisble Project and a fierce advocate.  I can’t possibly list all of the things she is doing for the migraine and pain community but check her out and follow along.  She was kind enough to run the race with my daughter and then touch up her sparkles…..because there is no such thing as too much glitter!

IMG_3555 I once again gave my patient perspective.  I was shaky and read my speech because I could not guarantee that I could string my words together and make sense.  I felt so proud that I stood up to the pain and was able to put a face on what migraine disease really looks like.

We also heard from Dr. Andrew Hershey, the chair and director of the division of neurology at Cincinnati Children’s. He is a professor of pediatrics and neurology.

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After that, we walked.  At the Miles for Migraine events you are welcome to run and be a fierce competitor, walk and enjoy your team or stay at the tents to mingle or relax.  It’s all about building community, moving how you can and raising funds so we all can live a healthier life.

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The best part of the day was being with the ones that I love.  Spending a morning for a good cause with good people is always a great way start to the day.  I woke up in pain, shaky, sick and not sure if I could make it.  Thanks to effective medication, endorphins and a bit of luck, I was able to enjoy the day.  I walked with some of our best friends, my husband and our mini me’s.  It was a day that we  plan on turning into a tradition.

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Wondering about the Brain Hat? The Brain Hat Society is for people with migraine, their caregivers, friends and family while recognizing  their heroic efforts.  If you raise $50 you can be a member.  Purple is for migraine sufferers and pink is for the caregivers and loved ones.

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Thank you to all that supported and continue to fight.  We are fighting not just for ourselves but for future generations.

IMG_3582Also, a BIG thank you to the sponsors and these hard working ladies!  Shirley Kessel is the Miles for Migraine president while Katie MacDonald oversees operations.  They work tirelessly on bringing these events to more cities and raising funds to benefit so many.

Check to see if Miles for Migraine is coming to your city and how you can participate virtually!

 

 

 

 

 

The Start to Migraine Awareness Month and Miles for Migraine walk/run in Cincinnati

Happy June!  Today marks the first day of Migraine Awareness Month!!!

I know a lot of you are thinking, “But how can I help?”  This month I will be sharing information and advocacy opportunities from a variety of migraine organizations that I am involved with and follow. I can’t wait for you to get involved also.

The simplest way to participate is sharing information, following on all social media and virtually “making some noise.”  Share with your followers how you suffer, important information and help break down the stigma.

To start the month out, I’d like to ask for your donation and participation with an organization that you’ve heard me talk about…..Miles for Migraine.

Miles for Migraine vision is ” to create some “big noise” in the migraine community and raise awareness that migraine and headache disorders are more than “a headache”. We are making great strides by growing our signature event, the Miles for Migraine 2-Mile walk, 5K/10K run; and by expanding our newer programs –  a day camp for adolescents who have  chronic migraine, and our adult seminar series”

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On June 10, the Cincinnati walk/run will be at Otto Armleder Memorial Park

How can you participate?

There are a few ways to support:

  1.  Join My Migraine Life Team.  If you live close enough to walk/run, please join my team!  I’d love to see you there.  Go here and join team C0F0B55B-F24F-4204-9928-E32EFED679D8.JPG
  2. If you’d like to donate and support my fundraising efforts but won’t be able to make the walk, go here and donate A9A554EE-1C69-463A-9846-ACD72F425E9D
  3. If you are unable to walk/run but want to participate.
    1. If you are local and want to participate but are unable to walk/run we’d love for you to come anyways!  Join my team and come to meet all the wonderful advocates and migraine supporters.  There will be a quiet tent to rest and you are not obligated to walk.  Your donation and presence is much appreciated!  We are all doing what we can do and any effort are spoons well spent. 30A7FB9F-D0E4-41D7-A0E1-9DA39E84FE15.JPG
    2. If you don’t live locally but would like to support.  Please donate to my page and participate virtually.  You can walk and raise money without being at an event.  Join the team and ask others to help raise funds.
    3. Ask a friend, co worker or loved one to help you raise money.  You’ll be surprised at how many are affected by migraine and are happy to help make a difference.
  4. If you want to donate but don’t have the funds.  I totally get it.  Between the price of medications and therapies and difficulty with keeping a job, it can be even harder to donate.  Remember that $10 makes a difference.  Each dollar goes a long way and any donation takes us a step closer to helping many!
  5. If none of these are an option, please share this post.  Sharing is caring and if you can’t support maybe a friend can.  It’s all about not being alone and spreading a message.  Everyone can share!

Please consider donating to My Migraine Life team and my personal fundraiser page.  Follow along on all social media and share, share, share this month.  Teaching your audience/social media followers how strong you are to be fighting migraine for yourself or for others will go really far.

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