Parenting in the Valley

  

This week, I’m excited to be guest posting over at my good friend Jenni’s parenting blog Just-Mama Jenni.  

I’m the proud and busy mom of a 1 year old son and a 2.5 year old daughter.  Just before the birth of our son, as I was plowing through my third trimester, my own mother took her life after a long and hard fought battle with depression and anxiety.  Processing the pain and shock of her suicide has been a big part of my parenting journey, so when Jenni offered me the option of writing for all of you I thought long about what unique insight could add to the archives she’s already shared with us.  I would like to write about what its like parenting your way through a difficult season in your life.  I feel this important because it will to all of us at one point or another.  Be it grief, divorce, illness or something entirely other, you will find yourself parenting in the valley.  Here is what I learned that helped me hold our family together even when it seemed as though things were falling apart.

1. Seasons- When we hit a valley season in our life we can fall into the trap of thinking that our family room will always feel gray and depressing.  It won’t, life is composed of seasons, both light and dark.  This is just a chapter in your family book, a formative one yes, but not the defining one.  If you fight on, there will be others and that spirit will be what defines you.  Don’t lose hope, instead grasp it tightly, you will need it.

2.  Back to Basics- When you’re struggling, it’s okay to strip your routine and to-do list down to the essentials and just “get by” for a while.  Eat a few pizzas, let the dust build up, buy jarred baby food and do whatever you need to do to make things easier for your family.  Real pain takes real time to work through and heal from.  Graciously cut yourself as much slack as possible.  My mom died just before Christmas and I stayed in on Thanksgiving, didn’t do Christmas cards and I didn’t decorate the tree.  I took baths and read books, I didn’t do much more than take care of my daughter and breathe and I have no regrets about that.

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