Bottomless Momosa: Podcasts and Daily Affirmations!

I am currently looking into possibly creating my own daily affirmations you can sign up for, for moms and/or new moms with some advice, but also some humor thrown in at times, but in the mean time, here is another one I just discovered called Bottomless Momosa! She also has some great podcasts! Not sure if I am going to do podcasts in the future or not, no plans at this time, but I am hoping to eventually sell and/or give away planners, daily calendars and maybe even journals for moms.

@bottomless__momosa | Linktree

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor

Private Support Group to discuss Parenting, Marriage, Pregnancy, Mental Health and/or Postpartum Mood Disorders…

Hey everyone! I have a support group, but not a lot of members yet. It started as postpartum mood disorders support group, but I have modified to also include privately discussing parenting, marriage, pregnancy and/or mental health. Here is the link if you or anyone you know would like to join…

(3) Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine Support Group | Facebook

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor

Mental Health Books for Children!

I just wanted to share these links to a great site with mental health books for children to help reduce anxiety, help manage anger, etc….

Right Now – Complete Series ❤️ (puppydogsandicecream.com)

Right Now: Anti-Anxiety Bundle (3 Book) – Puppy Dogs & Ice Cream Inc. (puppydogsandicecream.com)

Sleep Like a Baby Bundle (3 Books) – Puppy Dogs & Ice Cream Inc. (puppydogsandicecream.com)

The Empathic Parent’s Guide to Raising a Highly Sensitive Child: Parenting Strategies I Learned to Understand and Nurture My Child’s Gift: Meighan, Freeda: 9798614031671: Amazon.com: Books

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor

Micromanaging and It’s Effect on Mental Health

I read an article the other day where a woman was seeking advice because she felt her husband did not do anything right when parenting their child. Here is a link if you want to read that first, which I strongly suggest:

https://slate.com/human-interest/2021/01/husband-is-incompetent-father-care-and-feeding.html

Twelve years ago I probably would have related more to her, but these days I related more to the advice columnist, who basically replied telling her she was micromanaging her husband and causing him to lose interest in parenting. Micromanaging your spouse can destroy a marriage and it can destroy that spouse’s relationship with their own child. I was not intentionally doing it of course. It was a symptom of my postpartum depression and my OCD becoming worse postpartum, but some people never overcome this and do it their entire life. I had a boss who micromanaged me and all my coworkers once, and it took a toll on our mental health and majorly affected our lives. It also changed a job I loved, and a company I was devoted to and would have retired with, to a company that disappointed me and broke my heart.

I was at a job I loved most days for years. I was my boss’s right hand man, I got raises and even thought about getting back into management again when my boss decided to leave and my daughter was older. Turns out my boss left, after over 20 years I might add, because she had a new boss who was micromanaging her. After she left, he replaced her with another micromanager, but did promote me and another person to assist them. I stayed for another year and a half. Most others have since either been fired, or eventually left like me. Even the ones who were star employees before were no longer good enough. The thing is though, we are all human and make mistakes daily. If any boss followed their best employee around all day and looked for mistakes, they will find them, as would their boss in them. Once this is done though, it can affect your confidence and of course make you nervous. The next thing you know, you go from making the every day common mistakes everyone makes sometimes because you are human, to making more and more and bigger mistakes because you are a nervous wreck. The micromanager then uses this against you to make you look like you were always this bad, the old boss just was not managing correctly.

Before we knew it, they had HR and upper management believing we were all the problem and not them. No one else would speak up with me, in fear of losing their job. This is how worthless we all felt by this point, that the company would get rid of an entire department, even people who had been great employees for years and would have retired with the company, before they got rid of this person. I on the other hand, could no longer take the toll on my mental health or take the injustice. I got another job, worked out a notice and left on good terms. A party was thrown for me, people gave me gifts and money and food. It felt crazy I was even leaving, or felt I had to. I told them everything I thought, as professionally as I could in an exit interview. I even told them I did not want the person fired, they were good at the other parts of their job, just not at supervising people. I also told them that one coworker I knew, who had never even had Anxiety or panic attacks before, had two caused by this boss, and I, as someone on medication for OCD and the Anxiety it causes, had no longer suffered attacks in a long time since being put on medication, but started having them again.

I loved this job before, and most of the people there loved me and had the same opinion of this boss as I did. I even reflected for that year and half trying to determine if there was anything I could do to change or make the situation better, until I realized it was not me. Everyone saw this at the time, except those that had the power to stop it. By the time they finally did, people’s lives, careers and mental health were already hurt. I had told them most of it before, they just did not listen because they wanted hard evidence, and I was not sitting around documenting everything instead of doing my job like that boss was. Some others were, but it did them no good either. As a former HR director myself, it was hard to lose confidence in HR. I tell this story as much as I can because I have been shocked at the people who have been through the same.

I was told that after I left, my old boss’s boss quit before they were fired or laid off, but my old boss is still there. They are no longer a supervisor though, because once even all the people they hired had the same experience as us, they finally believed us, once most of us were all gone and once our mental health, careers and lives were already majorly affected. Some other good people in the company were laid off after I left , so maybe I got out at the right time. The company was not as good as I thought and disappointed me. Luckily most of my bosses have been great, although I did Nanny for a couple for a short time who micromanaged their kids this way, so I felt kind of micromanaged as well, or required to micromanage them myself one, and both made me uncomfortable. I have also had coworkers at times, some even Leads or ahead of you seniority wise, maybe even training you, who micromanage, and that is hard as well. They see you struggling with something and do not jump in to help unless you ask, and sometimes even then, do not. However, they see you make a minor mistake and call it out from across the room. They never make any, and even have time to check everything you are doing while they do everything perfectly.

In so many of these cases, these people do have the best of intentions. They think they are helping, they are perfectionists. Because of this perfectionism, they are also often very good at certain parts of their job. However, this leads to them being very critical of anyone who even does it the least bit different, even if or when their way might be better, or when it might be okay for someone else to do the same thing differently. I say all of this as someone who has battled perfectionism my entire life, but I do not want to be them, but I also do not expect to change them. That is part of overcoming my own perfectionism. I cannot change them. I can only change me, my reaction, or my situation, as hard as that is sometimes, So I write this, not hoping to change them or those like them, but more so for people that are affected by them, like me, so they know they are not alone, but also for the ones that may find they are like that, as I once was, and do want to change. I also write this for those around who can change things for the person being micromanaged, like the ones who did not believe us all, and the ones who would not stand up with me and risk a job they eventually lost anyways.

As someone who has been a lead and manager, if you see someone struggling, a coworker or someone who works for you, or someone you work for, or your spouse, or your child, help them without them even having to ask, or if you do not see them and they ask, try to help them. Lead by example, by practicing, not preaching, and give them a little room in error. I work in childcare now, so of course if I saw a situation where I truly believed a child was in true danger, I would speak up to someone about what they were doing, whether it was intentional or not. However, I have often found these people often seem more concerned about things that are not life or death, while ignoring others that are or could be. Also, like with kids, when parents get onto you for everything, you eventually drown them out, or just do not care anymore because you seem darned if you do, or darned if you don’t, as is often said. For instance, with that old boss, if you did not take initiative you should have, but if you did take it you should have asked permission first. Life is not a Disney movie. Sometimes the bad guy just seems to win in real life, and it just hurts. I am almost 40, and tired, and I am ready for it just once to easily work out for me, as it seems to for them, but while actually doing the right thing. I guess I just wanted any of you reading this and feeling the same, to know you are not alone.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor

I Had to Become More Selfish to Become a Better Parent

I know this title is already sounding crazy to some of you, but before I had a child, most people would not consider me a selfish person. I have always loved doing things for other people and getting gifts for others. I know I still had my selfish moments like anyone else, but overall I considered myself a pretty selfless person. I thought being a parent was all about being selfless and sacrificing everything for your kids. I eventually learned though, like they teach you on airplanes, if you don’t put your oxygen mask on first and then try to put your kids’ on, you may not get the chance to put your kids’ on. You may not physically be able to. When my daughter was first born, I was not getting sufficient sleep, I was not doing many things I enjoyed. I was revolving around my entire world around her. Then, I felt guilty for not always enjoying that. Eventually I learned that while parenting, like marriage and other relationships does require some sacrifice and compromise, it is also important to be a little selfish.

Also, it is not selfish to take basic care of yourself. It is not selfish to try and get the amount of sleep required for a normal person to function, or to take proper care of your body, or to shower, but mothers often feel selfish and guilty for even these things. If you throw in stuff like getting a massage, or buying yourself clothes you need instead of just clothes for the baby, then the guilty really sets in, but these are not truly selfish either. Now, if you get yourself clothes and everything your heart desires while your children do without, sure I personally think that is selfish, and not the kind of selfish I am talking about becoming. I am also not talking about doing anything you want just like before you had children when it comes to smoking, drinking, going out, etc. but it also okay to do these things some if you desire, and your children are still well cared for.

Maybe if you were a selfish person before kids, you do need to become more selfless, but for me, I had to learn to take care better care of myself in order to be the main caregiver for someone else. This also eventually helped me set boundaries in other relationships I probably should have set a long time ago. Some relationships ended, but the ones that remained, and new ones that formed were way better than the ones I lost. I feel like I eventually not only became a better mother but a better wife, a better person, etc. In some ways, I did become more selfless. It was easier to be selfless when I was not responsible for another life. These days I am also responsible for two dogs. When I do something, including being a mom, and even a dog mom, I want to be great at it and do my best, but sometimes that causes me to neglect taking care of myself, and this actually results in me not doing doing my best, and not from lack of trying.

When I had a child, I knew I would not sleep as much as I wanted anymore, but I never imagined being so sleep deprived I could hardly function. I knew after having a child I could not do anything I wanted anytime I wanted, but I had no idea how hard it would be to have friends over to do anything with friends, or that trips to restaurants for years now would include either changing diapers, feeding your child, or taking a potty training child to the restroom every five minutes just in case they really do have to actually go this time. I knew it would not be just me and my spouse all the time anymore, but I did not realize it would feel like it was never me and my spouse anymore, and when it was we were too tired to function, or felt like we did not even know each other anymore.

Before you become a parent, not only is it not taught to us as mothers to take care of ourselves first, but often the opposite is taught, and others often pride themselves on and compete over who is the most neglectful of themselves for the sake of their children. If you are a servant type person, as I am to a point, and as my mother is to an extreme, it is okay to enjoy serving your kids and others, but it is still okay to take care of yourself too. I truly believe taking good care of yourself mentally and physically is part of being a good mother, and often times the hardest part. Once you figure out how to though, it can make you a better wife, a better person, a better employee, a better everything, and a good example to your child, because you want them to take good care of themselves too, even once they become parents.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor

Great Book for Explaining Postpartum Depression to Kids!

I ordered this book to read it myself before suggesting and it seems like a great book to explain postpartum depression to a small child whose mother may be going through it after having a younger sibling.

Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor

Teaching Your Children not to Ignore Their Mental or Physical Health

When my daughter was a toddler, like many, we used to joke it often sounded like she was speaking a different language. She talked early and often, but at times only my husband and I could understand her. As she got even older, and we were still sometimes the only ones that could understand everything she said, some started suggesting something might be wrong. Maybe it was because I was still recovering from severe postpartum depression at this point, but that bothered me so much at first. I don’t know if I felt it was my fault or I thought it somehow made me a bad mother, but it made me defensive at first. My husband and I also did not have any speech issues that I knew of when younger, but some of our family did. Eventually I gave in, got her the help she needed, which turned out to just be speech therapy, and we saw almost instant improvement. This therapy continued for a bit and helped make sure she was ready for Kindergarten.

However, in second grade, one of her teachers, who we still call the best teacher she has had even years later, noticed something with her speech that most probably wouldn’t. She only noticed because her daughter had the same issue. This time, I had no guilt, and did not hesitate to accept the free speech therapy offered by the school, (well, not really free, but paid with our tax dollars, but still, we had to pay the first time, so this was nice). My daughter continued this therapy off and on through the years until recently, and it has helped her tremendously. There are other children I have known, who are now adults with a stutter, because they never got the help they needed, whether it was because the parents felt guilt or shame, or did not want their children to, or for other reasons, I do not know.

I often try to imagine if my daughter had turned out to have a more serious issue, and how I would have handled that. Looking back of course, it seems silly for me to have been so defensive about my child possibly needing speech therapy, when others have much more serious issues. Maybe one of my fears was finding out it was a more serious issue, or it was my daughter experience shaming for having it, like she wouldn’t if we tried to ignore and it and did not get help for it. Of course I felt a little guilty in retrospect, but I have learned it is important to not harp on guilt. As I recovered from my postpartum depression for instance, I also noticed positive changes in my daughter. This made me realize something I already feared, which is yes, I think our children do pick up on our depression, and the hard part is to stop dwelling on the guilt, and to work on getting better for them, and for you. My daughter does not even remember any of it now, but she does know about it, we do talk about it in case she ever goes through the same. She is now my biggest fan and encourager!

Even though her speech issues are resolved for now, she still shows signs of anxiety like me. Because of this, she often talks too fast for others to follow, especially when she gets excited. Of course, I think a lot of people, or maybe even everyone, does this to some extent when excited. I am the same way, because, even on medication, my mind is often full and I try to get it all out before I forget at times. This made some worry she still had speech issues at first, but the speech professionals agreed that was just fast talking, possibly from anxiety and possibly just from normal excitement. My daughter may have speech issues again later in middle school, or in high school, and if she does, I would again not hesitate to get her the help she needs. She also does not feel any shame, and realizes it is to help her. She is proud of how far she has come, and wants to maintain her progress, so I hope if she has any speech issues, anxiety issues, or anything else as an adult, or if she has children with them, that she does not hesitate to seek more help.

Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor

Mothers Need Sleep and the Homeless Need Homes

In a postpartum support group I am a part of, mothers often post desperate for solutions to their baby not sleeping. Many are on medication and/or in counseling or trying other things to recover from postpartum mood disorders, but medication and therapy do not solve sleep deprivation. Many others will offer endless advice on how to get your baby to sleep through the night and if you try any and they work, that is awesome. I was one of those desperate mothers years ago who tried everything and my child just would not sleep. Now she is 12 and I can hardly get out of bed before lunch sometimes. I now work in a daycare and there is almost at least one child in every class that will not nap no matter what you do. At work, I feel like a baby whisperer sometimes as I get 5 one-year olds to nap, and sometimes for 2 to 2 and half hours. I could not even do this with my one child at that age. Before she was born, I usually slept through the night. Meanwhile, some people, like my mom and husband, can often function on little sleep.

I dealt with serious sleep deprivation for years and I am sure it contributed partially to my OCD, anxiety and depression getting so bad. So to mothers who are asking, what do I do? Especially in the midst of a pandemic right now? Many say they have no help, but you have to find a way to get sleep. Whether it is allowing your baby to safely play in their crib or a bassinet or pack in play next to you or in their own room while you sleep, even if they do not sleep, whether it trying to form at least one good friendship with a neighbor, even if you have no family in town, to have someone who can occasionally help you or watch your child while you rest; whether it is paying someone if you can afford it or seeking free help if you do not. On a show I watch, I remember the adults on their street used to take turns every weekday taking care of all the kids on their street, so one person would have all the kids one day a week, which seems genius to me and costs nothing.

Even during the pandemic, the daycare I was work for is open and safe. I actually caught COVID-19 before working there from my husband’s work. He is a restaurant manager and I have not gotten sick at all since working at the daycare. We clean way more than most of us do at home and we wear masks, etc. Before the daycare, I did keep two kids in their home for a family who was working and none of us got sick. If you have a partner, whether you stay at home or work or both work, it does not matter. Neither of you can work 24-7, take shifts, give each other breaks.

If you still say there is no way, you have no help or partner, or you breastfeed and have to be the one to feed the baby, do not give up, try to figure out a way whether it involves pumping or other solutions. I personally chose not to breastfeed for my mental health. My daughter is super smart and healthy. I am not trying to discourage breastfeeding at all, but your mental health is more important for you and your baby in my opinion, so whatever reason, do not give up on finding a solution. Sleep is so important, and taking care of yourself so you can take care of the baby is so important. Move closer to family if you have to, take drastic measures if needed. If you live close to me, I would love to keep your child while you nap or even get a full night’s sleep for free, I am a mother and take care of children for a living and have offered and no one has ever taken me up on it.

People often attempt to resolve the homelessness problem by giving the homeless food, giving them temporary shelter, trying to help them get off drugs or alcohol or forcing them to in return for shelter, or assisting them in getting a job, donating them supplies, and sometimes they actually give them a home. Luckily, that last one, the only one that actually makes them no longer homeless, is becoming more common. People often do not like this option because they do not get a home for free so why should anyone else? So instead, we spend more tax dollars on emergency services used due to these people living on the street then we would just building them a place to live.

Many of these people are veterans, people who were willing to sacrifice their life, but instead sacrificed their mental health for the rest of us. Some are just people who have just fallen on hard times temporarily and need a little help, but many have some mental health issues or addictions to drug or alcohol that cannot be quickly or easily resolved. In the mean time they need a home. Mothers getting sleep with young children cannot be quickly or easily resolved, but they need sleep in that waiting time until their kids sleep past lunch when they are older. Many mothers are sacrificing their sleep and mental health for their families. Can we just start homing the homeless and allowing mothers to sleep somehow instead of wasting more money and time doing things that do not resolve either issue?

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor

Having Our First Child Almost Ended Our Marriage

My therapist once told me that when people have young children it is the hardest time on a marriage. I never realized this before. My mother left my father when she found out she was pregnant with me and my sister was not even two years old yet and if you ask my mom why, she says she would have tolerated his behavior forever, but realized she could not put her kids through the same. So you think since that is how my parents marriage ended, that I would realize a lot of marriages end around the same time. However, my mom met met my stepdad not long after and they were married by the time I was 10 months old. He had one child already and she had two, so they started their marriage with 3 children and this is the main marriage I grew up seeing. They are still together over 37 years later. I always grew up seeing them the same way, with kids around all the time. It was not until they were empty nesters that I actually saw a different type of relationship. When the grandkids were around, it was a lot like my childhood, but when it was just the two of them only, I think they had to adjust because they were not used to that.

It was the opposite for me and my husband. We met at 14, started dating at 16, were engaged at 21, married at 23 and had Aubrie at 26. We had been together 10 years just the two of us, we did not even have a dog.  By the time we were ready for that responsibility we decided to have a baby.  Now we have two dogs and a 12 year old daughter and are trying for more kids. If we have more, this time it would not be the shock to our alone time it was the first time of course. If anything, now we have gotten used to this and going back to an empty nest would be another adjustment, but one we are well aware of this time. If Aubrie is even gone for a day, we think it is too quiet in the house. If Aubrie and I both go somewhere without my husband, he gets lonely. I picked on him for being the main one to freak out when she went to Kindergarten, but that might be me when it comes time for her to move out, like the mom in the movie Blockers.

When I worked in a retirement community for years, some of the women would often come hang out in the lobby instead of their apartments or homes across the street. They were so used to their husbands working, but now they were retired and home all the time and got on their nerves. My mom and stepdad are both now retired and have my mom’s mother living with them and they all need breaks from each other at times. I am still part of a postpartum support group to help women who are still going through postpartum depression like I did years ago. Without sharing anything that would identify anyone, here are some regular posts from it relating to marriage:

“Mamas who are/have fought & argued with their husbands a lot… does it get any better?... I feel a lot of anger, resentment, & disappointment towards him. I still love him, but I don’t feel like he hears me anymore, or cares. He says he does, but it doesn’t feel like it.”

“Is this normal? Will this likely get better with time? I feel like we’re heading towards divorce, which scares the crap out of me because I am a stay at home mom…”

“Anyone leave their husband while pregnant or with a newborn? I’ve begged my husband for more support, financial and emotional and haven’t gotten it…”

“It was tough emotionally to leave my husband, but it literally burned my soul to feel like a single parent while laying beside my partner. I begged him to help but it fell on deaf ears because he assumed I was just being a emotional woman…”

“It’s been 19 months since I’ve given birth. I feel as if my marriage is falling apart. I feel like my husband is grieving the person I use to be and I can’t blame him. I hate the way I feel now. This isn’t me. It isn’t the person I want to be. Home doesn’t even feel like home anymore. I just want to be the person I was before having a child.”

For those of you feeling this way right now, you are not alone and it can get better. Your marriage can survive this, but even if it does not, you will be okay. At one point I did not think mine was going to, and my doctor even said I grieved the loss of my marriage like a death. I went through the stages of grief and eventually I decided I had to be okay for me, for my daughter and for everyone else who loved me regardless. I could not control the actions of my spouse and it takes two, so yours could still end even if you personally try everything you can to fix it. It was not easy and it took a lot of time and it took both people admitting their mistakes and trying to do better. Ten years later I feel my marriage is so much stronger and better. It is so important to parent as a team. Life has changed for both of you, you are both tired and stressed a lot of the time, both of you might be missing the freedom you had before and the person you were before, and one or both of you also might be missing the person your spouse was before. Whether you both work outside the home or one stays home or one or both work from home, you both need to support each other instead of it always being a competition of who has it worse or is doing the most.

A lot of times as parents, we try to push through exhaustion, sickness and everything else to take care of our kids. Every once in a while though, if you do this for too long without a break or help, you often reach a breaking point, and when someone helps you even just in those breaking point moments, it can make all the difference in the world. Now my husband and I do a better job of recognizing when the other one is at that point. I try not to keep score anymore on who does what. I do what I can when I can and if I get too overwhelmed or tired or sick or anything else to do it, I know now that my husband will probably realize it and help me, and I try to do the same for him.  Of course our marriage is still not perfect. My husband is not even thrilled about my book and blogs, never has been. He is not as open of a person as me. He will give you opinions about politics and current events and religion all day long, all of that controversial stuff, but when it comes to talking openly about the worst year or two of our lives and marriage, not so open. I had him read my book before publishing it and asked if he suggested changing anything. I even wanted him to write his own chapter or allow me to based on what he told me, but he had no interest in doing that. He tries to be supportive regardless, because he knows for me, the sharing helps me and it helps others too and it is something I feel I need to do.

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor

When Even Home is Not a Safe Space

I was recently in a situation where I was a Nanny in an abusive home. Of course, I did not realize this right away. What is weird is when I try to google this happening to others, mainly stories about abusive nannies or babysitters come up, but I feel this should be talked about more (even if the names and certain details are kept confidential), because it was a horrifying experience. Of course it is always easier to go back and look in retrospect at what you could have or should have done, and if you have anxiety, that is all you do after being in a situation like this. Even on medication, it is hard for me to let stuff like this go and not forever bother me, but I am trying, and writing this blog is one way I am trying to do that. I even asked my husband, is this my fault, like sometimes you start to feel you put yourself in bad situations and could have prevented them, and in retrospect, there is a little truth to this, but it is also sort of like victim blaming, but you are the victim.

You are still a victim and you still did not deserve this, just like a girl does not deserve to be raped if she wore a certain outfit, or got drunk at a party, or was in a bad part of town, but I also would not blame her for being scared of doing these things after it happened. I used to not understand why some people seemed so guarded and closed off to you. You try to be friends with them and they get weirded out at how immediately nice you are to them. Now, I get it. They probably have experienced what I recently did with this family and with others before this, so many times that they just could not put themselves through it anymore. I will say in 21 years of working I have had mostly great coworkers and bosses, but the ones that were bad, were so bad it affected my mental health, and no job is worth that. My husband says I just give people the benefit of the doubt and want to believe the best in them, and work with them beyond what they might deserve.

With this family, I tried to make personal bonds. I really cared about the children and wanted to have a close relationship with them and the parents, but the parents made it clear pretty quickly that I would never be more than the help and was treated as so. Not that I had never kept children for well off people before, but this time eventually turned into an absolute nightmare. I once babysat for an old boss years ago. She lived in a very nice house and neighborhood, but we were friends and she trusted me so much that I kept her kids often. I once even spent the night at her house while she was in the hospital, picked up her children from preschool and school and dropped them back off. She had two year old twins and a 6 year old. I didn’t even have a child yet at this time and she even paid me well for it. I live in a house just as nice or nicer than the people I recently nannied for, but they lived in an area where prices were so much higher that their home was probably worth 3 or 4 times more.  

These people look like they have the perfect life on Facebook and are probably very respected in the community, but I soon learned their true home life was a nightmare. There were red flags early on. Even the person who referred me to the job did not want to keep the kids anymore because they were difficult, and only did it for a short time because it paid well, but she was a college student and I was a 38 year old mother, I could surely handle this. I love a good challenge and I wanted to help the kids and quickly got attached despite the hard parts. I thought I could make a difference in their lives if even for a short time. We had a lot of fun together at times, but these kids often lied, did not listen, hit each other, hit, kicked and punched me, yelled at me, would hide my phone and purposely steal my stuff and hide it because they thought it was funny. They were older kids, who probably could have even stayed on their own if they had not acted like this, but instead if you did not watch them every second like a toddler or baby, they were into something. 

I believe both of the children had some mental health issues, I was not told this initially but this was often used later as a general explanation or excuse by the parents for any behavior, although I was never given the details of what exactly was wrong so I could be prepared or properly handle it, or even be aware of it at first. The craziest part was one parent was even there working from home in a home office while I was there keeping them. That parent would either fix their own lunch or go out and get it, but I still always handled lunch for the kids. Even if they were acting up with that parent in the room while up for lunch, they would often not even intervene unless I asked them to. I would occasionally have to go get that parent or call the other at work, but of course tried not to interrupt them constantly because if I do, what is the point of me even being here? Yet anytime I discussed concerns about their behavior with the parents, the answer was to come get them or to call them. I was even told to keep electronics from them until they had certain chores, schoolwork etc done but once when I did this, one of them just spent 4 hours looking for where I hid them, and repeatedly harassed me and got nothing done in those 4 hours.

What the kids were allowed to do and eat was pretty strictly scheduled. The kids said things that concerned me at times about possible abuse in the home, Once I had been at this home for two or three months, I am pretty sure I heard one parent throw one of the children into a door while they screamed, “I am sorry” repeatedly, while the other child and I ran upstairs scared with my heart about to beat through my chest. The child eventually came out limping and bleeding. The kids seemed to hint once the other parent found out this happened “again” they would be upset about it. I ended up telling the other parent and leaving the job. I am not sure if I would ever feel comfortable in someone else’s home like that again. I normally keep kids in a preschool controlled environment. The only reason I stayed as long as I did, was that I had formed enough of a bond with the kids that they acted better for me most of the time than they had in the beginning, and of course I now knew where their hitting and rebellion came from. I now blamed the parents, not the kids.

I have never felt so relieved that my home feels so much safer than that one for me and for my child, my spouse and our dogs. One of our dogs gets scared and hides under the bed if we ever even raise our voices because of past abuse she both experienced and witnessed in a former home. It is so sad that so many children do not have a safe space anywhere, not even in their own home. I even feel bad for the parents though because who wants to live in that constant stress, and they probably are just mimicking what they grew up with. I think one of the parents is even a therapist. I know none of us are perfect, sometimes parents yell, sometimes they lose their temper. When I was going through the worst of my postpartum depression, a lot of yelling was going on, and our home was not a safe space for any of us. If yelling and/or hitting is a regular thing in your home, break the generational curse and please get help for the sake of your kids, future generations, yourself, your pets, and even your babysitters.

 

 

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor