Mothering with an Anxiety Disorder.

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I’ve mentioned in past posts that I suffer from anxiety. There are so many things that I seem to not be able to do because of this illness but how has it affected my mothering? In some ways it has made me a better mother because of how deeply I think about everything. I think deep deep thoughts much of the day and take my role of mothering very seriously. Yet I fall short. As most people do.

There are many illnesses that mothers can go through. Anxiety is just one of the many. Parenting with an illness or handicap is quite common. Life is unpredictable and suffering can be around any corner. We live in a fallen world, tainted by sin and sicknesses. I’ve met mothers with vertigo, some with depression, some in a wheelchair, some with hormonal issues, autoimmune diseases, I even know one young mother with cancer.

So why is it that I feel so ashamed about this anxiety? Maybe because it is a silent illness that from looking at me you cannot tell. Most people who know me closely say I have a calm demeanor, an easy going personality and am bubbly and joyful.  Which I am all of those things. The effect of anxiety on me is completely internal and mostly, cannot be seen with your eyes.

A racing, pounding heart, shaking (skin crawling) feeling inside my legs, arms and hands, racing thoughts, panic, painful shoulders when under stress, headaches, a tight chest and feeling like I can’t breathe, picking away at the skin on my thumbs and feet, clenched jaw, fatigue, insomnia, foggy brain, overeating, itchy skin, stomach in knots, nausea, diarrhea, (IBS), stomach aches, OCD compulsions (hand washing, checking things), feelings of guilt, shame and inadequacy usually follow.

Phew…that was a long list of crazy things going on inside my body.  I don’t feel all of these things all of the time. They come and go. Some never completely go. And I never can tell when I’m going to have a panic episode but I do know that I when I get overloaded with stress, even just normal everyday stress, this is when the symptoms worsen. I have chosen to live a simple, gentle life with not too many other activities going on besides the primary care of my family.

This was never meant to be a ‘woe is me’ type blog post but I thought that there may be other mothers and fathers out there with anxiety who could benefit from somebody taking about it.

If you are misunderstood I know exactly how you feel. Anxiety has been my ‘Achilles heel’, in which I can only seem to get so far in life before anxiety pulls me back like a chain upon my legs. Impatient people cannot handle me, as I pull out of things at the last minute. All. The. Time. I have been given labels like ‘unreliable’ and ‘full of excuses.’ (mostly by myself).

The Lord may heal and deliver me from this one day and I have grown stronger as I’ve gotten older. I no longer have the phobias and fears as extremely as I did as a child. But until that day I will fight this battle called anxiety.

Of course, there are many things that anxiety has not stopped me from doing and I am determined to keep going, keep trying, keep dreaming big, keep praising my saviour and keep on trying to be the best wife and mother I can be. Thankfully the Lord is full of grace and compassion and my sweet husband is too.

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Thankfully the Lord gave me the most gentle and patient man on earth to be my husband!

I always appreciate it when bloggers and YouTubers are honest and share from their hearts so I thought I would be honest with my readers about my struggles as well as the things in my life that I’m super proud of.

Thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to leave a comment, I read each one and reply when I can. Let me know if you would like more blog post chats about anxiety or hear about my current natural remedies to heal my nervous system.

Blessings, Peta xo

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Our Family Sings At Luke’s Work.

Hi lovely readers!

Here is a vlog of our family singing at Luke’s work place – a nursing home. Unfortunately I didn’t get the children singing on film because our camera ran out of space before they came on! Maybe next time!  Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel while you are on YouTube.

 

Thanks for your support, 

Blessings, Peta. 

Saturday Morning Routine. With 5 Children ages 8, 7, 5, 3, & 23 months.

Here is our current Saturday Morning routine. Every second Saturday Luke works. So I’m on my own with the children one Saturday and on the Saturday Luke has off we often go out on a day trip somewhere.

Right now we wash all the children’s hair on a Saturday morning and I also like to have a slow morning and cook pancakes for a bit of fun.

I also included what the children get up to and how I keep them busy while I get all the morning jobs done.

7am – My alarm goes off – I like to sleep in more, but…those kiddos need supervision or I wake up to all sorts of ‘fun’ that they got up to while I was asleep…anyhow, I turn off my alarm and fall back asleep!

7:38am – I’m awoken by Savannah (5) who wants me to help put her dressing gown on.

I get up and get Willow out of her cot, she has spilled a bit of milk on the carpet left over from her overnight sippy cup. We clean that together.

8am – I serve Willow and Holly a little bowl of strawberry yoghurt to distract them so I can have a shower. They sit up at the table and eat and I get a shower in and wash my hair.

I’m super excited to get dressed this morning because I picked up some new comfy clothes last night from late night shopping at Myer. I took a photo to show you. I love this short gray tee by Princess Highway with flower embroidery near the shoulder and these black leggings from Miss Shop basics. Yeah, I’m aware that leggings are actually underwear – I even wrote a song about it back in my punk days with my electric guitar! But I love wearing leggings at home. Sooo comfy and stretchy and much less frumpy than tracky pants – which I used to wear way too much!

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Hmm I need to clean that mirror!

I also drink at least two large glasses of water when I first wake up. It helps me to feel refreshed and gives me energy.

8:30am – I head to the kitchen and get started on making pancakes. I make two batches of pancakes one from the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook for me and one recipe that I love from Taste.com for everyone else. I use half white flour and half wholemeal spelt and I reduce the sugar. The kids love these.

It’s challenging getting anything done this morning because Willow is tired from our late night last night shopping and is being cranky. I make myself a green tea and have this while I cook.

9.45am – All the kids are done eating and I finally sit down with my own pancakes. I have a little coconut yoghurt on mine and a smear of fig jam. It’s SO good!

10am – Bath time! I run the bath and wash Holly and Willow’s hair. The two older boys (8 & 7) have showers all by themselves and wash their own hair – I finally taught them how to do their own showers the other week. And it has really been a load off me!

10:15am – Savannah is in the bath now and I wash her hair. I remember the meat and get out some chicken thighs to thaw out for a casserole I’m planning on cooking for tea.

10:20am – I begin what I call my ‘morning routine’ which is just a list of jobs that I need to get done every morning. I put on a load of washing, take my supplements and wipe down the benches. Savannah wipes down and cleans the table, with a bit of help.

The boys work on their chores enthusiastically because when they are done they can have a screen turn.

Arrow does Transformers app on the tablet for 30 minutes and Francis watches a LEGO making YouTube channel and builds LEGO with the tutorials. Savannah and Holly watch My Little Pony on Netflix and Willow heads out into the backyard to play.

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11am – I notice that the dishes are still piled high and floors desperately need sweeping. But I’ve been running around after Willow for a while now washing her hands and arms three times because she kept finding left over wet paint outside from the other day. And I changed her nappy once.

I decide to call the morning work done and head to my room with a cup of white tea. I spend some time in prayer (something I try to do before the children wake up but this does not usually happen on Saturdays) and I put on some basic makeup.

11:40am – both boys are finished their screen turns and are looking for something to do. I set out a find a word activity for them.

My eldest son enjoys academics and will happily do things that resemble school at anytime. He has a go at it. This find a word activity was supplied to us from Education.com.

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Learning reading skills will be a blast with this word search while pretending to kayak down the river. For more fun, visit Education.com’s activities, worksheets and more!

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The worksheets all look really well done. I’m planning on printing out some preschool worksheets for Holly (3) next week.

There it is, our Saturday morning routine.

Thanks for reading,

Please leave a question or comment. Would you be interested in me doing a routine type blog post on my own health routines that I use to keep feeling fit and healthy? I’m thinking of a video or written blog post…or both? Let me know what you prefer, reading or watching. Thanks!!

Blessings, Peta

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Good Friday Nursing Home Performance.

Last Friday we were booked in to play at a small nursing home around 45 minutes drive from our house. This time the children sang two songs for the residents! We were given one hour for the performance and Luke sang the bulk of the songs and played his guitar in front of an audience of around 15 residents. It was a special day and being Good Friday all our songs were focused on Jesus and his death and glorious resurrection!

Our day didn’t get off to a good start. A few of the children didn’t sleep well and were in a very grumpy mood! We tried to do a practice in the morning but the moods continued and at that moment Luke and I were feeling pretty stressed!

Things did come together though. Praise the Lord! We had a quiet early lunch of toasted wraps and tuna and beans to give us the energy to give our best. The drive up was very quiet! We listened to a new Hamilton family theatrical CD about ‘Pleasure Island’ and how the sailors made their escape. It was also quiet because when I’m nervous I go silent and hold it all internally. I have no idea why I was so nervous, we were only singing in front of 15 smiling elderly people who were so pleased just to see a friendly face and I’m sure, couldn’t care if we were any good or not. Perhaps because it’s been several years since I stood up in front of a group of people or perhaps I was nervous because the morning practice was not so crash hot!

Once we were there the set up went quickly and smoothly. I set up our ‘camp’ in the back of the room with pencils, note books, stickers, crackers, raisins and activity sheets and all the stuff.

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Our ‘camp’ set up in the back of the room.

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Setting up. Willow’s looking at something?

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Sound checks

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On arrival – lots of gear to bring in and people to unload!

I didn’t get any good footage of the children’s performance because I had no one to film for me and didn’t get time to set up the camera properly – maybe next time.

Luke opened with the songs ‘Mediator’ by Ghost Ship and ‘Grace Alone.’ When it was time for myself and the children to come up the front Holly (3) was busy colouring in and didn’t want to come! She’s eventually went up the front and sat on the floor and in front of everyone yelled…

“I’m NOT singing!!”

A chorus of laughter echoed throughout the room! Of course all the residents thought she was adorable and it was the funniest thing ever. So – on with the show we sang the songs anyway with Holly sitting on the floor colouring. Oh well. She is only three so I was surprised if I could even get her to sing or even stand in a line.

After the show we stayed and had afternoon tea with the residents. This is a great learning time for the children. I was very proud of the way a few of my children spoke to the residents and answered the elderly residents questions. I had a lovely chat to a few of the people and listened to a few very sad stories. One lady’s story really touched me. She is ninety six years old and was put into the home because she was sick but is better now and all she wants is to go home to her lovely country cottage. She says she doesn’t get to go out much and tears rolled down her cheeks as she told me her story. It really got to me. I couldn’t imagine the sorrow of staying in a hospital like place…forever. If I were her I know for sure I would want to be in my home surrounded by people I love with a lovely garden and my own freedom and dignity intact.

They were so grateful for us for coming and brightening their Good Friday in the facility and loved seeing the young children. It really brought so much joy to their day and it made all worth it. I’m really glad we went. We sing all Christian songs. Hymns, praise and worship songs as well as contemporary Christian songs. We are spreading the gospel through music and bringing Christ’s light into an other wise dark, sad place.

For those that do not know, Luke has worked as an aged carer for eight years and so, is used to the ins and outs of nursing homes. One day his workplace found out he sang and played guitar and asked if he would play for the residents. Luke happily agreed, did a little show for them and they loved it. And so our ministry began. We now have been to many different nursing homes throughout South Australia. From Paradise to Murray Bridge. We are working slowly towards to children and myself singing and playing too. The children and I have joined Luke up the front for 1-2 songs of the last two shows.

It is our dream and vision to bring our nursing home ministry to the rest of Australia. We are saving for a caravan and plan on traveling around Australia visiting the elderly. We will be visiting churches too.

If you would like to support our family ministry there are a few ways to help out and help get us on the road sooner.

You can donate on our family band website HERE

You can purchase my new Ebook ‘Yes You Can Lose Your Pregnancy Weight’ HERE

You can spread the word about Luke’s graphic design business Breathe In Designs. Have your website, business cards and logos done by Luke. He does each job very uniquely with detailed design flair. All his customers and well looked after and are very happy with his work, he is a very talented designer and works on his jobs right away as he enjoys his work so much. If you have a YouTube channel he also designs thumbnails and video editing too. His website is HERE

Thank You for supporting our family’s ministry. It really means a lot to us. Everything for our ministry is paid for out of our own pocket so any amount of donation helps to keep us going and will help us to improve our equipment and enable us to purchase our long awaited caravan.

Enjoy this vlog of our day and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel too.

Blessings, Peta.