Sunday, December 9, 2012

Life is better with people who love you

So about two weeks ago, I was going through this intense amount of stress stemming from move, house, and baby woes. I was pretty much just falling apart. Crying. Worrying about irrational things. Stressing over things I can't control. Overwhelmed by everything that needed to get done in time. I was not a very fun person to be around (or be, for that matter).

Jeff and a friend gave me a blessing of comfort, and immediately thereafter I had two thoughts. The first was that I needed to write down everything in my life that was causing me stress, worry, or guilt and then release it. Just let it go. Send it off (to my sister, mother, father, and husband), and then just let it go. The second was that I needed to ask for help, that I did not need to do everything alone.

So that is what I did. I e-mailed the family members I listed above a very long list. I hadn't looked at it since sending it, but I was curious for the sake of this post as to how long it was, so I looked at it to count them. I had twenty-three bullet points. That's a lot of guilt, worry, and stress—in my opinion at least. And some of them were completely contradictory, so I couldn't win either way. Like worrying that my baby will come early with complications (like Jill) or premature (like Danny), but then also worrying that if I make it to 40 weeks, my baby will be too big and hurt me. See? Completely ridiculous. And counter productive. And don't worry, my doula and my obstetrician both have made me feel completely not worried about either of those anymore. I just gave it as an example to see what kind of craziness I was up to. Worried about something and its opposite happening.

I received some great responses from my family. Here are some of my favorite excerpts, because this post is about how blessed I feel to be in my family and to have the friends I have.

"You are a better person, wife, and mom than you give yourself credit for."

"Loving where you live is a blessing, and you may not always be so fortunate. You spent money on a home and gained many good memories. What else is the purpose of money but to be spent so you and your family can be happy and healthy? There are no guarantees in real estate." "Don't think of the money 'lost' on the house as lost. It is just an expense, a 'cost of living.' Let it go and don't dwell on it."

"Ask for help with the cleaning. Don't clean 'beyond' clean. Stop at good enough."

"About hurting Alice . . . have faith, calm down, and only do as much as a pregnant woman should be doing. You ARE pregnant. So act like it."

"You are not Superwoman. You are Mimi. You are human. You are pregnant with 2 small children. You are moving to a large metropolitan area. Your husband is starting a new job. This is not a job for Superwoman. This is a job for Mimi. Mimi—Wife of Jeff and Mom of Jill, Danny, and Alice. You've got all the love you need to be who you are. But, really, settle down and be a pregnant woman. Alice is your top priority. EVERYTHING else someone else can do."

"I am not surprised that you are finding the going so tough; I was told a long time ago that moving is as stressful as dealing with a death and my experience has found that to be surprisingly truthful."

"Seriously, girlfriend, I want you to get a bowl of ice cream and sit down, right now. Just kidding, you don't have to do that. Unless you want to, and you have ice cream."

"You should be doing as much as you feel like you can do. Listen to your body. When it is too much, call your RS president, or your VT, or your mother-in-law, and say, 'Come help me, now. Please.' And they will be blessed immeasurably for giving you service, and you will be blessed for providing someone with the opportunity to lift another. Be a General Conference talk, Meems. How often do you get to live one of those?"

"Houses always have problems; people know that. There is no such thing as a 'perfect, problem-free' house.  Anyone who says differently is lying to themselves or to you. Caveat emptor, and all that. You can't control what will happen in the house in the future, no matter how hard you try to make it perfect now. So, obviously you should make it as nice as you can, but there is only so much you can do, and let the rest go."

"If anyone can sell belongings, it is you and Jeff, Craigslist masters. There should be an official title for that."

"I don't know what your moving situation will end up being, obviously you don't either, so I don't know what to tell you on that one, but I do know that it will work out. LIfe works out. Sometimes it's hard, and sometimes it is messy, but it works out. And you'll be fine because you are a tough woman, no matter what you think about yourself right now."

"You could make a cave look nice, Meems. You'll be fine."

"I love you, and I hope my responses didn't make you feel more stressed, or upset. I just want you to know that I know that you can do all these things, that everything in your life that you have gone through before has prepared you for dealing with this situation right now, and that you will rise to the occasion."

"You are so strong."

I think it's pretty obvious how awesome and supportive my family members are. I think the point that really hit me, and that they both made in different ways, is that I don't have to be Superwoman; I just have to be me, and I can do this, and I should ask for help. I loved my sister's line line about being a General Conference talk.

So, I followed through with their advice and the second prompting that I had received, and I asked for help.

It is kind of amazing how wonderful my friends have been. Not that it is surprising, because I obviously think my friends are amazing, but it has just really touched me. Their help has made this transition a lot easier and a lot harder. Easier, because they're helping me. And harder, because it makes me not want to leave them!

I listed the areas in which I felt I needed help. I needed childcare, so that I could get things done without my kids undoing everything I had done or just watching hours upon hours of television every day. I needed help packing and lifting, and I needed help cleaning. I sometimes wonder if my pre-eclampsia with Jill was caused in part by the fact that we were moving, and I was doing a lot. And I sometimes wonder if Daniel's premature arrival was caused in part by the fact that I don't rest as much as I should. Maybe I exercise too much. Pick up too many heavy things. And just really never stop going. Anyway, so I took my mom's advice about how only I can carry and deliver Alice. Everything else on my long to-do checklist can be done by someone else, but only I can have my daughter.

I e-mailed my friends about watching my kids, and the response was overwhelming. (Now I'm crying out of gratitude for my friends rather than crying because I'm drowning in stress and worry.) Nine different friends and my mother-in-law are all taking turns watching my kids this month and next, for two to three hours at a time, once a day, so I can have a block of time where I don't have to feel like I am neglecting them by working on the house. And, as any mother with a 3 year old and a 1 year old can attest to, I am much more productive without them.

I e-mailed another group of friends about helping me pack, lift, and clean. I gave them a list of days and asked them to choose one day they could help me. Many of them choose multiple days, and one friend even wrote every single day on her calendar!

My father is going to use an entire week of his vacation to come down here and help me with my small things and Jeff with his big projects of home improvement.

I have created 56 craigslist postings (1. because I expect to lose about 600 square feet when we move into our new house, so I want fewer possessions, and 2. just to have more money for the closing costs, actual move, and baby—those are a lot of costs all at once). I have been selling some items to strangers, but I have been surprised and overwhelmed—in a good way—by friends who have taken the time to look up my postings and offer to buy my items from me. Even friends far away who offer to pay for the shipping, too. It makes me feel a bit guilty for not just giving these things to them, but it also makes me feel really loved that they are helping me out in this way. Jeff will have a higher salary in Virginia, but I am still completely unsure as to what to expect with the cost of living difference. Milk for over $4 a gallon?! I'll miss you, Midwest.

My mother-in-law and father-in-law are welcoming us into their home, so we can put our house on the market empty and so I don't have to deal with the stress of showing a house that has two toddlers in it.

The parents of some of our best friends have offered to let us stay in their home in Virginia for a short while in between our leaving here and finding a place to live there. (Other friends have made similar offers, as well.)

And many friends have given me the names and contact information of people they know who live in the DC area, and those friends and strangers have provided invaluable advice.

All in all, it just really makes a girl feel like she can never repay everyone, and it is so beautiful to know that they aren't doing it to be paid. They just love me and my kids. And I love them.

Thank you.

And because I felt like every post needs some pictures, here are a few.

An apple pie that Jeff, Jill, and Danny helped me make for Thanksgiving. Delicious.

We got to spend time with my brother Peter's family and meet his new son, Boston McKay Boling.

Danny at gymnastics: He loves having a place to run and jump freely.

Jill at gymnastics: She is really starting to impress me on the beam and bars (for her age).


  1. My heart is with you. I'm happy to share Dad. Love you. Mom
    PS I'll be there to watch Jill and Danny when Alice comes.

  2. Also, as I was falling asleep last night I was telling Devin about how cute Jill and Danny are in these pictures. I decided that the day your children were born, a line was drawn in the sand and every year your children have inched closer and closer to crossing it. I think with these pictures they just did. They are officially "Too Cute".

  3. You get good friends by being a good friend and it sounds like you have some pretty awesome friends and family! I know it is because you are always so willing to help other people when they need it. You definitely saved me a few times when we were neighbors! Good luck with everything. Stress management truly is an art and I am no where near mastering it. It takes practice and it sounds like you are getting plenty of opportunities to get your practice in. I wish I were closer (what's new?) so I could help you out! What I wouldn't give to have a play date with my boys and your cute kids! Hang in there. You are amazing.

  4. Great post Mimi. Thanks for the reminders.


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