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When the going gets tough… the smart take a break?

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Mental Health
When the going get’s tough the tough might keep going, but perhaps the smart take a break.

Regular readers may have noticed that while I was on vacation and for a week after coming home, I took a little break from the blog. Usually I post multiple times a week, but for the past 16 days it has been radio silence, other than some social media posts.

I’d like to tell you it was so I could fully engage with my family while on vacation and that I needed a bit of time to get settled into life when we got back, which is partially true, but the truth is 2016 kicked my ass, and I wasn’t quite ready to take on 2017.

I’ve read a lot of articles and posts like this over the past few weeks, so I’m going to go out on a limb and say 2016 was just one of those years. As an adult and as a Mom, I’m the type of person that abides by “when the going gets tough the tough get going.” I can, without hesitation, say that 2016 held some pretty terrible days and, for the most part, myself and our family kept going.

What choice did we have? The world doesn’t stop for anyone.

So what happened in 2016? It’s rather public knowledge (at least for my readers) that I miscarried in the spring and that I published a piece on how I felt, months after the fact, this fall.  What’s a little more private, is that when the article was published I had recently found out I was pregnant, and that a few weeks after, I found myself once again staring at a monitor that confirmed that this time wasn’t going to work out for me either.

The feelings were different, in some ways stronger and in some ways more suppressed. The first time, I cried and grieved a lot. I wrote out my pain. This time around there were way less tears. Everything about the experience was different, from how it happened to how I behaved after. The next day, I got up and life went on as if nothing had ever happened. I haven’t been as comfortable talking about it, and when I do it’s more matter of fact.

Perhaps, it’s because after my piece for Scary Mommy was published I received an outpouring of responses from women who had connected with it, some of whom had experienced several miscarriages, and I didn’t want to ruin it by disclosing that today I was a little more jaded and a lot more angry. Maybe I’m just a little ashamed that it’s easier for me to operate under the assumption that I’m going to be the mother of one, rather the mother of multiples I’d presumed I’d be. The bottom line is, thus far, I’ve had no interest in waxing poetic about it.  (Yes, I know in all likelihood, statistics show that I will go on to have another healthy pregnancy, if not multiple, but I’m talking about how I feel, not about what is realistic. There is a difference.)

I’ve been really lucky in life, as I’ve experienced very little loss, so this year’s big trials mixed with the small ones, like starting this blog, finishing our basement, and mothering a toddler took a toll on my soul.

But here is the problem, I didn’t even realize it, or what rough shape my spirit has been in, because I just kept going. I’m tough and the tough keep going. That is until they can’t.

Powering through is all great and good, because it’s true that the world doesn’t stop for anyone, but I’m starting to realize that when you don’t hit pause on your personal world every once in a while, you’re not going to have much of yourself to give. I generally work on the site or as a homemaker every hour I’m awake, which is way more hours without sleep than any doctor would recommend. Does the make me a hard worker? Sure. Does it make me tough? Maybe. But I’ll tell you what. It sure as hell doesn’t make me smart.

When we arrived in Hawaii for Christmas I unintentionally took a break, and I realized how wrong I’ve been. I love vacations, but by the end of them I’m usually ready to come back to my every day life. This time I wasn’t, so I didn’t. I may have returned to the land of snow, but I kept taking time to myself.

I’ve come to realize that powering through in 2016 meant I had less to give. I’ve been less of a mother, wife, business owner and friend than I could have been. Was I bad at any of these things? No, but I know I could have been better.

More self reflection and breaks in the 365 days of 2016 would have probably meant more days with tears, but it also would have meant more days when I could have appreciated the good. Because no matter how awful some of the days were, the majority of them were pretty awesome. Sometimes I was just too busy to fully notice them as they were happening. I’ve come to realize, that if you don’t let yourself feel, you may not find yourself crying in the shower, but you miss an awful lot of awesome moments.

So, two weeks late, here’s to 2017. A year, hopefully, filled with better luck, more giggles, some awesome DIY projects and posts, and a few more breaks, because when the going get’s tough, the smart sometimes take a break.

Best, Katie

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