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Lifestyle

I GOT DIVORCED: What I learned…

Divorce is one of those sensitive topics, especially right now. A lot of people are going through one right now. Life was all sweet and perfect until a pandemic hit. Nothing was broken until significant others were forced to sit down and evaluate.

Divorce was one of the hardest and most vital decisions that I ever made for my mental health and for my kids.

It’s normal to hit a brick wall in your relationship. Sometimes you work through that barrier with your significant other. Sometimes you work through that barrier by yourself. Sometimes you try so hard to break through the layers, but it won’t budge.

There was no arguing in the month leading up to my announcement. That was unusual because the entirety of the relationship was full of arguments.

I felt like we were mentally and physically at a place where we were over each other. We barely acknowledged each other’s presence. We didn’t share our room. We were just existing. There was no progress. There was no building. There were no breakthroughs. We were both obviously just over it.

Sometimes it takes a clear mind and conscience to finally pull the plug on a dead end situation. They say that if you are still arguing, that means you are still fighting for your relationship or you still care. I think that is true in most cases.

I felt like needed to set each other free from whatever was holding us back. We were on different paths, and had different goals. Wherever we were going, we could not take one another.

I was tired of staying “for the kids”. As much as I didn’t want to uproot my kids, and fracture the only family they had ever known, I knew that I was making a beneficial decision.

I kept going over the pros and cons in my head. There were several fear-based cons. There were a few pros. The few pros seemed to outweigh my fears. I definitely didn’t make the decision overnight or take it lightly.

A few weeks before I made my announcement, I confided in a friend. I just blurted it out: “I don’t want to be married anymore.”. She was stunned.

Honestly, I was too. That was the first time I had said those words out loud. I was so nervous to say anything to my (ex)husband. It’s funny how it’s easy to threaten divorce when you are screaming at each other…..

I wanted to make sure that I had some things in place before I made such a major change. Part of me also wanted to see if I could change my mind.

I gathered up the nerve to blurt out those words again: “I don’t want to be married anymore.”. It was towards the middle of January in 2014. I was on my way to work.

He wasn’t upset. He seemed a little shocked, but I think it was because of the timing. I explained my rationale. There was no argument. He agreed. It was settled.

I moved out two weeks later. The day before I moved, I was working an evening shift. I called my (ex)husband on break and told him that I changed my mind. I think I was so nervous. He decided that it was best that we continue the plan of separation. I didn’t argue against it.

I wanted to take my time, but he was already rushing my stuff out to the car by 8:30am. He said that he wanted to hurry and get it done. I could tell….

I arrived to a friend’s house with my kids. It was so weird. It was so different. I was very emotional. I knew that I wasn’t in love with him anymore, but I couldn’t contain my emotions. I felt like I had failed my children. Ariana asked questions. I tried to answer them the best way that I could. I had already taken her through so much.

I cried for a week. I fell into a slight depression. I even got drunk and texted him. I told him that I still loved him.

“It was all a lie!”- in my Karlie Redd voice(love and hip hop).

I think I was really trying to reconcile with the fact that my marriage was over. I’m sure that he was enjoying the empty home. I don’t fault him for that. Again, some people are on different paths.

Surprisingly, I snapped out of my mourning period pretty quickly. Even with the immense amount of stress, I felt like I was ready to stop feeling sorry for myself. I wanted to feel normal again.

I started mapping out plans to be a single parent(again). I made some adjustments to reach my goals. It proved to be much more difficult than I thought it would be, but I was determined.

In addition to working at least five days a week and taking a full schedule of classes online, I decided to pursue a second job opportunity.

It was a disaster. My grades were slipping, and I was spending less time away from my kids. I had simply taken on more than I could handle at the time. It was time to let some balls go.

I started dating Donnie in late February. As complicated as my life was at the time, I was happy to be dating again. Still, I was working towards my goals. Donnie was working towards his goals as well.

I told Donnie everything about me. The skeletons came out of the closet. I knew things were getting serious, so I wanted to be honest about everything that he was getting from me.

As our relationship grew, our goals became a collaboration.

After a meeting with my ex-husband, Donnie met my kids in May. They adored him. Was it too soon? Eh, our relationship was moving pretty quickly.

I had already been pregnant. The outcome of my pregnancy brought Donnie and I even closer. He provided great emotional support and physical support.

Despite everything, my relationship with Donnie proceeded with some caution. I was still dealing with the fallout and drama from my separation. The last thing that I needed was more drama.

I didn’t care about being judged. I did not care. My relationship with Donnie was a place where I could escape. It was a place where I could catch my breath. It was a place where my mind wasn’t overwhelmed.

Donnie and I continued to flourish as a couple. I was so happy. Not that cheap happiness that comes with money or materials. I was genuinely happy in my heart. Something was just different. I saw a lasting future with Donnie.

Exactly one year after separating from my (ex)husband, I filed for divorce. It didn’t hit me while I was filing the paperwork. I was ready to get it done.

My divorce from my (ex)husband was finalized in the middle of April of 2015. I woke up nervous that day. I had my dress picked out for my hearing and my accordion file prepared. I stopped at Dollar General to pick up a pair of tights. They were two small in the thigh area and I accidentally tore one of the legs. Lord have mercy! I was already feeling insecure from the milk leaking from my nipples and the pain in my stomach from having just given birth to Julian.

The hearing was quick. I didn’t want anything from my (ex)husband. We didn’t have anything anyway. I just wanted my maiden name back. The divorce was granted. The paperwork was sent to the clerk’s office.

My (ex)husband and I went down the same elevator after the hearing. We couldn’t look at each other. We didn’t speak. It felt like someone kicked me in my stomach and knocked the wind out of me. I was genuinely sick to my stomach. I wasn’t sad because I missed my marriage. Hell no. I was sad because I felt like I had wasted my time. I felt like that moment was unreal. After five years of marriage and separation, it was finally over.

After I caught my breath, I went back inside the courthouse to apply for a new marriage license.

Yes I did!

Donnie and I married five days later. It was fast, but I was ready for this new chapter. We were both ready.

After almost 7 years of being together, I can honestly say that I love Donnie more than I did when we first married. This love just hits different.

I will never regret my decision to divorce. Regretting my decision means denying my peace. Regretting my decision means denying the rest of my happiness.

If you are looking for some beautiful, yet affordable jewelry, head over to my website:

http://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

If you are looking to for some bath and body smell goods, check out my daughters’ newly launched business, ScentSc8pe:

http://www.scentsc8pebyaa.com

Thank you!

Categories
Lifestyle Parenting

My oldest daughters launched their business, ScentSc8pe! They sell a variety of homemade bath & body products.

I had been thinking of the concept of this business for about six months.

Originally, I was going to take on ScentSc8pe, but with the condition of my current business, Glamsc8pe, I knew that was a tall order. After several months, I decided to approach my girls with the business. Why not?! I saw this as a great teaching moment. I thought they would have fun while learning the basics of business.

The girls were very excited to start this venture. It was not only a chance for them to learn business techniques, but it was also a great opportunity to work on their relationship. They are in two different age groups, but I think that the sisterly bond is extremely important.

I like to use everything as a teachable moment. Having fun is great, but parenting during the storms is the most important test.

ScentSc8pe By Ariana & Amariyah was born on January 1st, 2021.

It has really been a fulfilling experience. Besides strengthening their bond, Ariana & Amariyah have used this time to really showcase their many talents.

Amariyah has a very creative nature. She is most definitely an actress. Sometimes that’s a great thing, and other times, not so much.

Ariana has a knack for learning. Like myself, she is a visual learner, and is open to learning new things. Sometimes she let’s her stubbornness get in the way.

Well, they both do. This produces another teachable moment: working through differences.

Boy, do they have differences. At the end of the day, they love each other. Even through some challenges in their relationship, they have been able to weather storms. Situations that were meant to destroy their relationship have actually strengthened it.

You may think that I sound silly, but sibling rivalry is a real thing, and it can last into adulthood. Satan is a crafty asshole, and he is definitely in the business of sowing seeds of division.

God is a fierce protector, however.

I’m proud of Ariana & Amariyah. Please support my girls by shopping their website:

https://www.scentsc8pebyaa.com/

Thank you & God bless

Categories
Lifestyle Parenting

Happy New Year!

The new year will be here in a few days. You know what that means?

YES! Everyone will be making superficial resolutions that they will only put thought in for the first few months of the year. Also, the eye-rolling, “I’m leaving (fill in the blank) in (fill in the outgoing year)!”…Like it’s that easy.

I really wish I could leave my bills in 2020. That wouldn’t workout well though….

“This is my year!”. I remember saying that at the beginning of 2020.

2020 was supposed to be the year that I put all of my kids in school, and I would be home alone.

But COVID-19 happened….

I stopped making these resolutions awhile ago. It has something to do with that expectation factor. I don’t like that….

For three years in a row, I put myself on a weight-loss challenge. By April of each year, I found myself saying “It is what it is.”….

(Unhealthy)Carbs for the win!

Instead, I self-reflect quite often. I like to examine the good situations and the bad situations… How can I build on this? How can I do better next time?

As I have said before, you can’t make inroads if you don’t take responsibility for the good AND the bad situations in your life.

You don’t have to claim every situation that pertains to you(takes notes). When you respond to drama and negativity, you are inserting yourself in that bad situation. You are causing your own problem.

I previously talked about self-reflection as a parent. To me, this is an extremely important step to working WITH your child(ren) towards a healthy relationship. However, you can’t just be willing to enjoy the fun times of parenting. You have to be able to parent when things get rough. Don’t be hard on yourself up for not getting it right. Be hard on yourself for not trying to do better. I’m working on it and praying for it everyday.

I have also talked about self-reflection as a spouse or partner. All relationships take TIME and WORK to evolve. I wish that I could say that you get back what you put it, but that is not always true. ALL parties involved in a relationship have to be willing to work together. However, you may outgrow your partner and your relationship, and that is okay. Don’t waste your time trying to pull someone up when they are not ready because you will be dragged right back down with them.

It’s important to be happy! It’s vital for good mental health. It’s okay to be free. It’s okay to protect your energy.

Anyway, let me stop before I get too preachy.

For the New Year, I just thank God for life. Without life, I wouldn’t have my little(or big) family. I also thank God for a strong and healthy marriage. My husband and I weathered many storms throughout 2020. We have definitely been blessed and will continue to be blessed.

2020 may be over, but COVID-19 is still very real. It especially becomes real when you know someone who has battled it. Please be considerate of others. Please continue to pray for those who are going into this New Year with uncertainty. God Bless us all!

Happy New Year!

I also want to shout out the many people that I have met this year because of my small business. Thank you so much for supporting my new venture. Thank you for advice, assistance, and donations! My website is always open to you:

http://www.glamsc8pe.com

Stay tuned for something NEW for the New Year! My girls are super excited about this✨

Categories
Lifestyle Parenting

Why I Love It: Online Shopping!

I started my online shopping addiction about 10 years ago. I was looking for maternity and baby wear. When I found a 6-pack of onesies for $4.00, I knew I was onto something. While it has it’s downsides, online shopping has satisfied most of my household needs over the years.

Shockingly, I’ve ALWAYS hated shopping. There is always something annoying to me about crowds or people just standing in isles, just to be standing….. I’m an “in and out” type of girl. I like to get my shit and I I like to get out. I hate long lines. During the rare occasions of in-person shopping, my children are pretty well-behaved. However, any parent knows that when you have children in the store for too long, they start to get restless. Snacks and drinks become insignificant at that point.

It’s convenient. Online shopping works for me because I don’t drive. Sure, my husband drives. However, being able to grab the same things virtually as I would in person saves time and gas. All I need to depend on is my Wi-Fi connection. Wal-Mart also has a feature where you can order your groceries online, and then pick them up. Do I miss the days when we had two hour grocery trips? Hell no! Not to mention, the Walmart Grocery prices are cheaper than the in-store prices. I just love saving $2.00 on a box of training pants. That adds up, beloved! Take that $2.00 and buy a pack of wipes.

The online selection is almost always greater! There are only so many variations in the store because they are exclusive to that store. When you shop online, you have more choices because companies can ship from all around the country.

I find some fabulous prices! This one is a NO-BRAINER. I have six children, children grow out of their clothes at a rapid pace, and I’m not rich. Do the math. I am naturally a cheap person, but as a parent, it’s very imperative that I am frugal. I bet that you have probably never walked into a mall and walked out with a pair of OshKosh B’gosh sneakers for $6.00. If you know how to get the most out of the search bar, you can find some amazing deals on Amazon! What do I look like turning down 3 shirts for $5.00? Sure, sometimes the shirts might be the same color, but who says we can’t triplet? 100 laundry pods for $8.00? Yes ma’am! I found the same double stroller online that was in the store for $50.00 more. Don’t play with me!

More often than not, I have been extremely satisfied with my online purchases. Whenever I get that rare article of clothing that is too small or too big, I can just hand it up or down. Sometimes I have to use patience because some deals are not as easy to find, but they can be found. This method just works for my family, and we have saved a lot of time and money.

I will say that I broke my online shopping norm to do an in-person trip. I just wanted to see if I was missing anything…. I wasn’t. I ended up spending WAY more than I intended, and I couldn’t find half of what I needed. I did end up leaving with a $5.00 pair of jeans for myself, a bunch of things for the kids, and a massive headache. I’m sticking to my devices!

Don’t forget to check out my website to support my small jewelry business:

www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Parenting

Self-Awareness And Parenting

You won’t always get it right, and that’s okay. Parenting is the hardest job ever. You are responsible for raising a whole human-being. As the child ages, it gets tougher. Pray for patience and understanding!

To successfully parent, you have to be able to look in the mirror. Taking responsibility starts with you. You must possess a certain level of maturity. If you can’t see your faults, how can you do better in the future? You can’t put the burden on your children to make better choices if you won’t.

Do you know who gets the blame when your child makes a mistake or acts up? DING! DING! The parents alway get the blame. We may think “Well, that’s not fair. I raised my child right.”, however, not all children are receptive. What I have learned so far: it is not just about what you teach, but how you teach.

You won’t always get it right and neither will your children.

If you have multiple children, as I do, you should know that you can’t parent every child with the same hand(no pun intended). Repeating the same thing over again, in hopes of change, is insanity. This applies to discipline. If it is broken, you need to fix it.

Another thing that I have learned: It is okay to listen you your kids.

I’m not telling you to let your kids run the house. Trust me, if you give them an inch, they will take a whole mile. All I’m saying is that it is important to work with your children instead of always being the big, bad, disciplinarian. You want your children to lean on you instead of fearing you.

As a parent, you should take every opportunity to evaluate yourself and your decisions. A strong foundation starts with YOU(in my case, God). Don’t be afraid to tell yourself that you didn’t get it right today. We all fall short. As long as you have breath in your body, you have another chance!

I just wanted to drop this quick read. It’s always busy around my home during the late-year holidays . While this has been a unique year, we are trying to make the most of these holidays. God bless you and your family.

Don’t forget to check out my other website for some cute and affordable jewelry:

www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Lifestyle Parenting

The Sweetest Embrace….

This is one of those stories that I struggled to share. Actually, this is one of maybe ten stories that I struggled to share. Before I went public with my blog, I thought that this “open book” thing was going to be easy.

Yeah….

I started struggling with my weight when I was in high school. Between being sick and going through puberty, I became disgusted by my body. My hips started spreading, and I had the slightest pudge in my stomach. I hated looking in the mirror. I often wore my middle school wardrobe as motivation for the weight that I wanted to be.

I remember the morning that I was discharged from a hospital stay when I was in the 9th grade. I put my size 11 jeans on. When I stood up, my pants feel to my feet. I thought that I had forgotten to button them. When I pulled my pants back up, I noticed how wide they were in the waist.

I was shocked and excited. I lost weight! Due to the various tests and procedures that I had undergone, I was placed on a strict diet. I just didn’t notice that this diet would have a big impact on my body. I was able to fit my older sister’s size 7 jeans! My clothes from middle school fit like a glove.

Literally…. My breasts were developing, so those shirts were tight in the chest area.

Once I was allowed to return to a normal diet, the pounds came creeping back. In no time, I was back in my size 11 jeans. It was so frustrating!

I started my first homemade “diet” when I was in 11th grade. I ate one Granny Smith apple a day, drank a lot of water, and had 1 hour of exercise a day.

I dropped 30 pounds in a month.

I started wearing my middle school clothes to school again. I knew my shirts were too short, but they clung to me and showed my flat tummy. I just knew I was cute.

I nearly fainted at school a week later. My father was understandably pissed off that he had to come pick me up. He was working second shift, and sleeping during the day. My mother was working first shift and had a lengthy commute from home.

I confessed to my father that I hadn’t been eating. I had never let my parents know about my issues with my body. He yelled at me for a good portion of the ride home:

“You know damn well you’re supposed to eat!”

I felt like I couldn’t talk to my parents about this issue. It was something that haunted me for years. I decided to just let them think I was acting stupid.

I started eating a regular diet and wearing my normal fitting clothes again. It was time for me to accept the fact that I wasn’t going to fulfill my dreams of wearing crop tops and low-rise jeans.

I gained about 60 pounds when I was pregnant with Ariana. It didn’t bother me much because I was able to use pregnancy as an excuse. I had to gain weight for the baby, right? Most of that extra weight went to my breasts, stomach, and face.

After I had Ariana, I began to lose the weight. I credit postpartum depression for that. I remember admiring my flattening stomach while I was in the psychiatric hospital.

After several months, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I was impressed by my ability to be able to keep my weight in check for years. I actually started to accept my curves. The guys loved the curves.

I always craved that attention from guys. I was always jealous of my older sister for getting it. I didn’t know that I was seeking to wrong type of attention. I loved it though. My self-esteem was higher than ever.

Maybe I was never fat to begin with!

I started gaining weight again when Ariana was three. At that time, I was in my first marriage, and I had stopped putting so much into my appearance. I was never into appearances. It just didn’t matter to me. I thought that my husband wouldn’t care because he loved me.

WRONG!

Another damn expectation placed on the woman.

When I was pregnant with Amariyah, the weight started piling on.

My thighs had never rubbed together before. For the first time in my life, the first number on the scale read “2”. I was gutted. I never thought that I would see the day.

After I had Avery, I completely let myself go. I didn’t even want to know what I looked like. I avoided the mirror as much as I could. I didn’t even do my hair in front of a mirror.

I was forced to confront my appearance after seeing a picture of myself from Avery’s first birthday party. It was a very humbling experience. Everyone feels like they look good until that picture is taken.

I’m not talking about a deceptive selfie…..

I reconnected with a grade school classmate on Facebook. It turns out that she had become a nutrition coach. After catching up for a few minutes, she introduced me to the Medifast diet. She gave me her testimony on how it worked for her. I was intrigued.

It was expensive, but I was desperate. My then-husband and I were having trouble paying our bills, but I could tell that he was excited at the idea of me losing weight. At a time when my marriage was quickly deteriorating, I thought that it was the least that I could do to salvage what was left.

The food was nasty. I had to eat five meal replacements a day, plus cook a healthy dinner. I added exercise into my regimen after a month. I was impressed by how fast the pounds were falling off.

I had one cheat day. A friend blessed me with a lunch date at Red Lobster. That endless shrimp was heavenly! Don’t get me started on the Dr. Pepper!

I stepped on the scale a couple of days later. I had gained three pounds. I could tell that my husband was annoyed. I was understanding. We were shelling out a lot of money for me to do this, and I slipped up.

After six months, I lost a total of 70 pounds. I felt fantastic! I graduated from my husband’s clothes to some new, cute clothes that I treated myself with. My husband even acted like he was attracted to me again. That didn’t go unnoticed. As bad as it sounds, I was loving the outside attention that I was getting as well.

After I separated from my then-husband, I gave up the diet. It was more important than ever to solely focus on providing for my babies.

I never entered the official maintenance portion of the diet, but I was able to keep my weight under control with small food portions.

When I started dating Donnie, he knew that I had been struggling with my image. Being the sweetheart that he is, he told me that I didn’t need to diet.

That was easy for him to say. He never saw me at my heaviest weight.

We had both actually just experienced a drastic weight loss. When Donnie and I found out that we were going to have a baby, the weight started creeping back. I craved cantaloupe and Dr. Pepper all of the time.

After I miscarried, I started relying on bad eating habits again. After a a couple of months, I was pregnant with Julian. Again, I put on a lot of weight. Again, I didn’t let it bother me because I needed to put on weight for the baby.

After I gave birth to the twins, I was at the highest weight of my life. Once again, I was forced to confront my appearance.

I took extra pride in doing my hair. My hair is something that I could always count on. Even when my hair was going through different phases of damage(illness related), cuts, and styles, it never let me down. I never had a problem growing my hair. I told myself that as long as my hair was done, the rest of my appearance didn’t matter.

It was nice to have the reassurance of my husband, Donnie, though. He has never made me feel like I am unattractive. He has always loved me. Knowing this made me take some pressure off of myself.

Maybe I don’t need to keep a certain appearance to please a man! The right man! The man who loves me unconditionally!

Sure, people got their fat jokes off at my expense. Good for them. For the first time in my life, I didn’t care because my husband loved every inch of me. My husband helped me love myself. I know that I’m not perfect, but I’m me. What can be better than that?! Certainly I’m not being miserable and cracking jokes on someone else.

Still, I knew I needed to lose weight for health reasons.

I also wanted to look better for me. Why wasn’t I blessed with good genes?! I have seen larger women with great figures:

Titties? Sitting. Ass? Poked. Frame? Hour glass.

Me? The opposite…..

Google told me that I was shaped like a damn apple….

My parents tried to blame my child-rearing for the weight. I mean, food is also good… When I’m depressed, I have an unhealthy relationship with food.

I started a Keto diet when the twins were two years old. I was impressed with the quick weight loss. Unfortunately, my weight loss stalled after losing 25 pounds.

Next, I tried the Atkins diet. It seemed similar to the Keto diet. It was a cute diet, but my weight loss was not cute. I gave up on that quickly. I tried a few more weight loss applications. They just didn’t do the job for me.

I was skeptical about Weight Watchers. This is the oldest diet that I had heard of. I was hesitant because I had to open my purse again. This time, the damage was far less.

I started the program in January of this year. I was actually impressed. You just track and eat in within your point allotment. You don’t have to worry about keeping track of carbs and fat and micros and macros… You know, those pesky numbers that indicate that you are overdoing it….

I think that my favorite part was the lack of food restrictions. I could literally eat what I wanted. The downside was that the portions were extremely small, compared to what I normally would eat. Sometimes I would find myself craving a 17-point Big Mac with only 2 points left.

Huge sigh!

I started losing weight at a normal pace, and I was happy with my results. I was no longer obsessing with the scale. I was obsessing over how amazing my new clothes fit.

One thing that I learned about myself from doing Weight Watchers is that I need to stop putting expectations on myself. I will probably never be tiny again, and that’s okay with me.

Part of the reason why I was failing at these diets is because I only had my eyes on the end result. I didn’t celebrate the small victories. I was only focused on being skinny instead of making realistic goals.

My goal is to be healthy and happy. Salads may make me healthy, but they don’t always make me happy. Oreos may not be healthy, but I will be happy eating them. Thanks WW!

It’s all a work in progress, and I’m still working. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m not at my highest weight anymore. Success!

Unfortunately, I’m human. I fell off of my program during my most recent confrontation with depression. I am currently taking things one day at a time until I am fully able to recommit

I want this story to promote happiness and acceptance.

I want to let you know that you don’t have to fit into a box that was designated by man. Break the norms. Fat doesn’t have to equal unhealthy or unattractive, and skinny doesn’t have to equal sexy or desirable.

Stand confident in you. Love you! You weren’t put on this earth to make people accept you.

Thank you for your support, and feel free leave feedback!

Also, don’t forget to check out my other website for some affordable jewelry:

www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

Categories
Lifestyle Parenting

Parenting Through Depression

That’s exactly what I’m doing now.

Over the past several weeks, I wrote down my thoughts, with full intention of sharing. However, I changed my mind. Writer’s block had set in so badly that hated everything that I typed. Everything just felt mediocre. I’m not saying that I’m a top-notch writer, but I usually like the content that I put out, and I hope you do too.

I’ve been struggling to keep up with everything that matters to me- parenting, my blog, my business….

Depression is something that I have learned to live with. I have some lows and I have a lot of highs. Unfortunately, the lows are not very fun.

For the first couple of months of virtual learning, there was never a problem with me hopping out of bed before my alarm even rang. These days, I find myself struggling to cope with a new day. Everything just seems overwhelming. It’s not the fault of my kids. Depression is no stranger to me. I have dealt with it since I was a teenager.

However, my depression seems new to my kids. I hate that they noticed this time. I’m usually able to hide my episodes of physical and mental illness from them. What’s beautiful is that my kids have been patient. Honestly, they are still hardheaded as Hell, but I could feel their empathy. It just doesn’t feel fair to put them in that position.

Today was the first time in awhile that I actually felt a burst of energy. I don’t know where it came from, but I’m not complaining!

I filled out the mountain of paperwork that I have been avoiding for months. I made some important phone calls. I also cooked a meal from scratch! I know that sounds simple, but it’s really an accomplishment for me these days.

Next on my list? I need to wash my hair. It’s been a hot minute. Not gonna lie. I have been keeping up with the girls’ hair. Normally, when it is time for me to wash my hair, I dread the process, but I go and do it anyway. Doing three heads of hair every other weekend is a job, honestly.

These days, I’ve been keeping my hair in “two fat braids”. That’s what my mom called the hairstyle when I was growing up. It was her go-to hairstyle for my sisters and me when she didn’t feel like doing anything elaborate. It’s safe to say that I need some “Hair surgery”. That is what I say when it’s time to do hair. It’s really a transformation….

I really surprised myself though. I was doing really well during this pandemic. When Donnie was home for two months, I thought it would be such an annoying experience. Look, I love my husband with every breath, but we all know how a significant other can get on your nerves when we spend a lot of time with him or her. I thought I was going to be lie, “Seriously, this is my territory. I’m the stay at home parent. Please go back to work.”. We just didn’t get on each other’s nerves. I showed Donnie the ropes of watching the four walls all day and listening to the kids argue. He was very hands on, which I loved.

We also got to work on our marriage. Nothing major was broken, but you know that you have to perform maintenance to keep the operation going. We actually became closer, and I was very grateful.

Having my husband go back to work was such a crippling experience. He immediately went back to working 60+ hours a week. I really miss having him at home. However, the bills must be paid, and until my kids pay their invoices, I’m not bringing home any bacon for my services.

I acknowledge that I need to get out of the house. Where would I go? I could step outside for some air and nurse my bug bites later. Because of the pandemic, the five recreational activities that were available in town are now gone.

It still pains me that we had to miss out on our annual family beach vacation this year. That one week over the summer is literally Heaven on Earth. The beach is my sanctuary. It’s probably one out of three places that I visit throughout the year.

Right now, I feel crummy. In reality, I will be fine. I always make it through. You will too. The most important thing that you can do for yourself is to move. I don’t mean pop in an exercise tape or go for a 5 mile jog. Start with something small. Every small move is important and significant. Even if all you did was just wake and get dressed, you are going in the right direction.

“I need you, you need me.
We’re all a part of God’s body.
Stand with me, agree with me.
We’re all a part of God’s body.
It is his will, that every need be supplied.
You are important to me, I need you to survive.
You are important to me, I need you to survive.
I pray for you, You pray for me.
I love you, I need you to survive.”

-I Need You To Survive by Hezekiah Walker

Get into it!

Also, don’t forget to check out my business website:

http://www.antoniasglamsc8pe.com

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Autism: From the outside looking in. Lifestyle Parenting

TELEVISION SAVED MY LIFE AS A PARENT.

I know I know….

It is absolutely frowned upon to let your children consume too much of the “idiot box”.

As a matter of fact, my parents only kept up to two televisions in the house until I was in high school. I didn’t have a television in my room until I bought one of my own.

The reason why I preferred having a television in my room is because I have always been afraid of the dark. I still am afraid of the dark. A traditional nightlight just doesn’t cut it.

During the first week of Ariana’s life, I had the worst time getting her to fall asleep. It was already terrible enough that she constantly cried. She didn’t have an issue with colic or health, she just cried a lot. At first, I tried to soothe Ariana with a radio. That worked for a few days. Then, I tried the television.

MAGIC!!!!

Did it stop her from crying? NO. Did the television help her got to sleep? YES JESUS! That means mommy could get some sleep. Mind you, I was battling postpartum depression at the time. I needed to sleep.

It wasn’t the fact that I just had the television on. Ariana specifically wanted to watch “The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. Homegirl thought she was grown.

This worked out well because these two shows came on back-to-back. DVR was also my friend when I needed access to these shows multiple times a day.

When Ariana graduated to her own room, I put a television in her room. By then, she had enter the world of Dora The Explorer. We love educational programming! No, she wasn’t sitting in her room, watching tv all day. She needed the television for background noise, just like I did.

As I continued to have kids, television became more of a necessity.

Have you ever tried to make phone calls or handle other important business while several little kids were running around? How did that work out? Have you ever needed to tend to one child, but the other one(s) we’re getting into everything?

Sometimes, you just need your children to sit down and shut the Hell up. Putting on a favorite movie or series with some popcorn just does the trick!

I also found tv to be an educational helper for my special needs boys. They all have shorter than normal attention spans, so traditional teaching doesn’t help much. Julian and Joshua are mostly nonverbal, but they can sing nursery rhymes and recognize some colors. Cocomelon and Baby First TV are their favorites.

Avery learned how to read high frequency words from watching YouTube. Although his comprehension is not good, Avery reads well above grade level. Phonics is his thing!

The thing is, it’s not realistic for me to keep all of my children occupied at the same time. Is using the television taking the lazy way out? It might be to you. However, it makes my household run a little bit easier, especially for my ASD babies. I’m not sure if the problem is how much tv time your children have. I think the problem is the kind of content that your kids are consuming.

Categories
Autism: From the outside looking in. Lifestyle Parenting

Our First Week Of Remote Learning!

Let’s just say that there is not enough wine in the world to go through this. It started out as an atrocity, but it’s getting better.

The state that I live in was obviously not prepared for this school year. The last few months of the last school year was also remote learning, but we had old-fashioned packets and pencils. I guess the state thought we would just pick up where we left off.

This school term is all virtual. This means that we are doing everything over the computer. We are saving trees, folks!

I think that everyone involved in this process needs to understand a few things:

1. The teachers are frustrated as well and would rather teach their babies in a classroom. THIS IS NOT THEIR FAULT!

2. Parents have to learn how to use new applications along with their kids. Some kids are being raised by a generation that is not tech-savvy. Parents, you are allowed to be frustrated!

3. Technology is technology. Something is going to malfunction or crash. Some parents have gotten their kids started in the morning with ease, and some are ready to tear their hair out.

I want to say that I am blessed to be in the position that I am in as a stay at home parent. There are parents who either had to quit their jobs, rearrange their schedules, go without sleep, or entrust their children to a babysitter to help with schoolwork.

Honestly, this was supposed to be the school term that made my house empty. I had plans to throw a party all by myself. I had plans to finally finish that mountain of laundry. I had plans to just enjoy the quiet time.

I complain about it, but I have to look at the fact that parents who work outside of the home are stressed beyond belief right now.

I never understood the last minute open house meetings. Why do I get all of my children’s information three days before starts? It makes no sense. Mind you, I already have the school supplies. Shout out to my early preparation in March!

What alarmed me about this year’s open house was finding out that two of my children were going to be attending different schools. The last minute notice…..

My older three children were set to start school on Monday(August 17th), and my youngest three were set to start later. I was ferociously checking emails and apps on Saturday(August 15th) because none of my children had classes. I hadn’t heard from Avery’s new school.

On Monday(August 17th), I logged into my children’s Google Classroom accounts. Amariyah had her classes, but her teacher is missing. She is being taught by the 5th grade teacher. Avery and Ariana were still without classes. I was able to get Amariyah started on her Zoom meetings with slight difficulties.

I proceeded to call my other children’s schools to figure out what was going on. After about 30 attempts, I finally was able to speak with secretaries. They took my messages, but didn’t call me back. Oh lord! According to a secretary, Avery was transferred to the wrong school.

Meanwhile, Amariyah was just breezing through her meetings with her NOTfourthgrade teacher. She is the type of child who likes to take charge. Sometimes it’s great and other times it’s annoying. I’m referring to the way that she talks over everybody because she just has to be first or correct.

I received a call back from a technical support representative for Ariana at 6:00 that evening. I was instructed to keep checking her email because she was no longer using Google Classroom. I checked Ariana’s email and found some links to get her started for the next day. Unfortunately, I still had no word on Avery.

On Tuesday(August 18th), Amariyah and Ariana logged into their classes and email and got started. I checked Avery’s Google Classroom app. There were two classes. Thank God! I was confused because he was still enrolled at the school that I was told was incorrect. I just wanted my baby to get started so I logged him into his zoom meetings.

Avery had a difficult time concentrating during his meetings. This was to be expected for several reasons. I had to sit next to Avery and help him pay attention.

When it came time for Avery to do his assignments, I had to guide him through his work.

The work that he was given didn’t seem to line up with his IEP. I called the school. I spoke to the secretary who was in charge of special education to express my concerns.

This is when I found out that Avery was in a regular classroom with an EC(Exceptional Children) teacher as backup. I was pretty annoyed at this point. The secretary confirmed to me that she had Avery’s IEP, but she said she never read it. She wanted to see what Avery was capable of doing.

Ummm…. isn’t that the point of the IEP?

I was pissed. I emailed Avery’s EC teacher, but she was also pretty dismissive. I miss his old school because I was used to his teacher. I hope that he can return soon.

Whew! I think that next week is when I will introduce my babies into virtual learning. I guess the therapies for Julian and Joshua will also be virtual…. This will be a movie.

Aside from late starts, defective zoom links, missing classes, and missing teachers, the first week went okay. We will continue to pray moving forward. I still have to get my babies on the bandwagon. This will be fun. We just all have to get used to this new normal.

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Lifestyle Parenting

***TRIGGER WARNING*** My Regret: A personal experience with postpartum depression

I am heartbroken as I write this at 2am. I have been sick for the last couple of weeks. I think the symptoms are finally starting to subside. I just knew I was pregnant.

At first, I was nervous at the thought. I already have six children, & a lot of my days can be overwhelming. I am a student & I struggle with depression most days. My older children already help me a lot with certain tasks. As the days went by, I had more & more typical pregnancy symptoms. My breasts had swelled bigger than ever. I had cravings. My sleep pattern was thrown off. The icing on the cake? My period was late. My period was NEVER late, unless I was pregnant.

I prayed about it. I was nervous, but excited at the fact that I could be carrying new life. I hate being pregnant, but for some reason I was really anticipating my husband spoiling me with massages & endless fast food binges again. Yeah…I use pregnancy as an excuse to eat everything in sight.

I contemplated telling my husband before I took a test. I initially decided that I would wait until I got that positive pregnancy test. My period was now two days late, and for some reason, I blurted out “I need a pregnancy test!”. My husband looked taken aback. After the shock wore off, he seemed to be pretty excited at the possibility, especially after I told him my period was late.

Later that evening, my husband bought me a pregnancy test, I went into the bathroom to pee. I knew this drill all too well. I dropped three drops of urine onto the disk and waited impatiently. My stomach dropped as I watched the red dye spread across the disk. It was visibly negative. I didn’t give up hope because I had what I thought was a negative pregnancy test in 2011, but there turned out to be the faintest line when I held it under light. I took the disk apart and looked at the strip under the flashlight of my phone. I was willing myself to see a second line.

As I was gathering myself, my husband opened the bathroom door and inquired anxiously. I was a little nervous to give him the sad news. “It’s negative.”, I said glumly. In a matter of seconds, I saw my husband’s face go from curiosity to sadness. He denied his reaction, but I knew better. I was upset with myself because I didn’t want to clue my husband in until I knew for sure that I was pregnant. I was trying to avoid these reactions.

My period was late for a third day. I scoured Google like a deranged lunatic, trying to renew my hopes. I decided to wait a few more days and test again.

Because I was hardheaded, I took another test. It was also negative. Again, I took the disk apart and started analyzing the strip. I started to wonder if I ovulated later. I was recently involved in a car accident and thought that it threw my cycle off. I thought about the day that my husband and I had sex and I gained some hope. I just knew I was pregnant. My symptoms were stronger than ever. I began to check my cervix every time I went to pee, which was frequently. It was high and there was watery discharge. I was excited because I read several stories on Google that pointed to this as a good sign. I knew damn well that everyone is different. I just needed one story to get my hopes up.

I went through the next day without asking my husband to buy me a pregnancy test. This didn’t stop me from obsessing over Google and looking up just about every scenerio that I could think of in hopes of a positive outcome.

On Sunday morning, I woke up early. I watched a movie with my husband. I then asked my husband to go to the store. I casually asked him to pick up a pregnancy test. My confidence level was through the roof because my period was now five days late. When my husband returned, I took the test into the bathroom nervously. I dropped the usual pee on the test and watched the dye spread across the test like clockwork. I was stunned. It was still negative. At this moment, I was shattered. My husband was adamant about me going to the hospital. I didn’t want to go. I felt it was a waste of time. I wasn’t having an emergency. I had no idea what was going on. I broke down and yelled at the sky “If I’m not pregnant, give me my period!”. I was so devastated and I sounded so ridiculous.

To calm myself, I took a shower and washed my hair. My husband went to pick up dinner and I asked him for another pregnancy test because I was planning on testing again in a few more days.

I finished my shower and hair a couple of hours later. As I was sitting on my bed, I felt a cramp. My heart sunk. It was a familiar cramp. I went to the bathroom and wiped. There was nothing. I was relieved. I stopped myself from pulling my pants up and decided to check my cervix. I pulled my finger out of my vagina and was greeted with a small amount of blood. I furiously grabbed a pad and put it into my underwear. By this time, my husband had returned home. He forgot the test. I told him that my period had started. I could tell that he was sad, but I knew that he was relieved that nothing was wrong with me.

Later on that night, I went to the bathroom. I looked down at my pad, fully expecting to see the obvious. I was shocked. The amount of blood in my pad was the size of a coin. I wiped myself after peeing and saw a little bit more light red blood on the tissue. I had no cramps. I returned to Google and looked up “implantation bleeding”. I was getting my hopes up again, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want to be counted out. I was desperate for hope. Hours passed and I was still monitoring my bleeding. It was more of the same: a small amount on the pad and a little bit more when I wiped. The next morning, I checked my pad. There wasn’t even enough blood on the pad to cover half of a pantyliner. I was still hopeful. As the afternoon approached, the bleeding started to darken. The amount was the same. There were small clots. Back to Google I went. My “pregnancy” symptoms started to fade and I started cramping. At this point, I went into “fuck it” mode. I continued to obsess over Google. My pad was still mostly white throughout the day.

I set myself up. I knew I had driven myself crazy. Despite being very fertile, which was evident by the amount of kids I already had, I knew there was a slim to zero chance that I could be pregnant.

It wasn’t just because I had this late, light, period. I had my tubes tied almost three years ago after a C-section. I had read all of the stories of women who had gone on to conceive after tubal ligation. I just knew it would happen to me. I expected to haven’t tubes tied during an emergency C-section because I was traumatized. Had I had a clear mind, I would have never authorized the procedure. The doctor asked me if I was sure and I didn’t hesitate. I regretted it months later. I felt like a part of me also went through with it to make other people happy. I get judged a lot for having so many kids. I am always told “You don’t need anymore kids.”. I wanted to prove to everyone that i was done. But I wasn’t. Now I sit here with depression two and a half years later, partially because I made a decision mostly based on other people’s emotions. My body is a mess around the time that my period is slated to begin. I always feel pregnant and my cramps are horrendous. I feel like God is taunting me or punishing me for not letting my body react naturally. Does this sound crazy?

I stayed up to let the tears flow and reflect on the “what ifs”. I know my feelings are selfish because there are people who can’t conceive. I love my husband and I am glad that he is so supportive. Some days I feel like it’s not enough. It’s not his fault. Some days I feel like dying. No amount of consoling could cure that feeling. Maybe one day I will get to experience that miracle again.

My Regret.

****08-18-2020****

I wrote this story a few years ago, as I was going through postpartum depression. I was upset about having my tubes tied because I didn’t like the way I felt. I was also upset because my twins were growing up. I missed them as babies.

Early in our relationship, Donnie told me that he dreamed of having 10 kids. Well, I said he could keep that as a dream.

I spent the majority of my 20’s pregnant. It looks odd, looking from the outside, but I always felt like something was missing from me. As long as I was pregnant, I felt that “something”. I felt whole. However, I hated being pregnant. I know, it’s confusing. The pain and the sickness is not fun.

One way that my body has changed since I had my tubes tied is pain. Around my scheduled ovulation period, I have awful nerve pain. It spreads from the top of my shoulders to the tips of my toes. Sometimes it renders me motionless. The same sensation is felt during the first two days of my period. I had never felt this pain before. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I had never felt this pain before.

Another thing that I had to get used to was the frequent “pregnancy scares”. I literally felt like I was pregnant every month, for the first couple of years after I had the twins. I had all of the textbook symptoms and signs. I became obsessed with Google. I knew my body. I knew every time that I was pregnant, except with Ariana(I was young and didn’t know what was happening).

Unfortunately, I didn’t know my new body: My post-tubal ligation body. My new normal definitely made my depression worse, to the point where I actually wanted to actively conceive. I wanted to try for baby number 7, despite my tubes being tied. Donnie had a lot of concerns. First of all, he saw how hard my last pregnancy, labor, and delivery was. Second, we already had a lot of kids, and they are VERY expensive.

Donnie has a habit of trying to make me happy, instead of telling me that I’m making a bad decision. I don’t like that. I have discussed this with him several times. He’s getting better. He agreed that we could try.

Obviously, my dumb ass plan didn’t work. I gave up the idea as I started snapping from my depressive state.

Ask me if I want to have baby number 7. Ask me.

HELL. NO.

With all the love in the world for my kids.

Don’t fight postpartum depression alone. If you experiencing symptoms, such as uncontrollable crying, lack of appetite, thoughts of worthlessness, or frustration (this is not a complete list), please ask for help. Seek out a relative or a trusted friend to help you care for your child.

You can send me an email.

You can also contact the National Postpartum Depression support number for additional resources:

1-800-PPD-MOMS

If you are having thoughts of suicide, PLEASE contact this number:

1-800-273-8255

Having postpartum depression DOES NOT make you a bad parent. Your body just went through a significant shift. Sometimes we just need time to process this emotionally and physically.

God bless.