Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mama, No Stress Deeter out

I swear, he really said that to me. Like August 7, 2011 or something.

But I've been thinking about stress lately. And anxiety. And ya'll I've had a few light bulb moments.

I admit... I was emotionally dumping on a friend. She told me what she perceived the source of my anxiety to be: kids, a lot on my plate, and not having all the schedules jig-sawed together quite yet. I took that thought home, sat on it, analyzed it, re-analyzed it, and then just for good measure, re-re-analyzed it. After realizing that was a cause of stress but not anxiety- and for the first time being able to separate the two- I was able to troubleshoot my two main anxiety* sources:
(*my definition of anxiety goes something like this: those conversations you have in your head that make you feel like you're on a merry-go-round, often times creating more confusion as the ride continues and result in no solutions.)


Serious? This was actually good news...I thought my whole life was in distress, but I only have two areas. What a relief!
Now don't get nervous (or excited depending on your personality type!), I'm not airing any dirty laundry here. Neither one of these areas is in crisis. Which made me ask myself what I was doing differently in these areas of my life versus those that I wasn't feeling anxious in. (ie: being a mom which would seem to be a natural cause of anxiety.)

We've gotten in a good rhythm where our normal spending habits are within our means. I can take care of all our families' needs and lots of mama's wants without breaking the bank account. So why in the world is this a source of anxiety?

My marriage seems to fit inside very comfortable parameters as well. We still like each other, we still get good laughs out of each other, our kids are a top priority, we don't fight much, etc. I feel respected and valued and really think I got a good one when it comes to husbands. So, same question...why is there anxiety here?

I found the answer....I'm living without focus and a plan in these aspects of life.

When we first moved to CA, we were so excited to make money and live on a budget (we genuinely were excited to live on a budget cuz we're nerdy like that.) Yosh set me up with an excel sheet and throughout the month I entered our expenses and the spreadsheet automatically did the calculations telling me how much money we had left in each category to last us until the end of the month. I always knew exactly where we stood and how much money was left to spend. Can I tell you how liberated I felt when we started doing this? I would've thought the contrary, that a budget would imprison me, that it would be that voice you couldn't shut up yelling, "Nooooooo don't buy that." But it had quite the opposite effect. Every purchase I made was deliberate and guilt free. I loved it and swore I would always keep the habit up regardless of our circumstances. Well we've (ok, actually just me. Yosh uses to track everything but I've got nothing!) since got away from that practice and the anxiety has crept back in. I don't have a plan for spending and that leaves me feeling: a)like I'm bleeding money, b)irresponsible and c)indulgent. Because I haven't taken the time to make most of these choices ONE time at the beginning of the month, I'm having to confront them multiple times a week, on the spot, without a reference point. Hence the anxiety. Get back on a budget, Gay, and you'll be free!

Now onto marriage. I've never done this whole married thing before. I've never been in a committed relationship for the long haul, and then on top of that taken on a joint venture as huge as a family before. And in the same breath I would say navigating my way through marriage hasn't been as innate as other roles I've taken on (ie: once again, being a mom.) Because of this, I find myself having the same monologue, "Should he be doing that or should I be doing that? Should I tell him we're doing this or wait and see if he knows? I don't want him to get mad. But I do want this to get done. Am I being too demanding? Am I not asking enough of him? Do other couples have this problem? Are we normal? Is it just me? I probably need to change. But maybe he should change." And all of this takes place in a matter of 15 seconds. Believe me, I get just as nauseous in the moment as you just did from reading that. But here's the thing...we're novices in the marriage department! We're definitely doing ok at it and have our heads above water but I don't want an "ok" marriage, I want an AWESOME one, not kidding. I have to think there's a more efficient way to achieve this than him and I kind of guessing our way along the journey. So while I don't think I should have it all figured out, I do think a plan would line out some expectations for each of us, give us the tools to deal with whatever issues arise, and therefore lessen the anxiety. I've been telling myself to just buck up and get a few tips by going to a couple of counseling sessions or read a marriage book. Now I just need to do it!

My overall conclusion is that when I don't have a point of reference, I stumble. My personality needs it. Apparently, that's my security blanket. That reference point is what makes me feel successful in certain areas of my life and the absence of it leaves me feeling anxious. Also, pinpointing the causes stopped the leaking over into other areas of my life. My overall life already feels more in control. I feel more reassurance after figuring these two things out and I haven't even implemented my plans of attack!

Alrighty now, what is it that's stressing you out or making you anxious? Think about it, be honest with yourself and put it out there. Because on the other side of those issues is happiness, freedom, and calmness. We can figure this thing called life out, I promise you!!! Let's do it!


  1. Hi Gay,
    I can definitely related to your anxieties. Christie Everitt and I used to go walking in the mornings before our lives would begin for the day. We (Ok, mostly me) would use that time sometimes to air out our frustrations. What I loved most about them was at the end of the walk I felt like I was not alone in the stresses of daily living. A lot of what I was going through she was as well, she just had a great way of keeping a smile on her face and looking at everything from a positive stand point. I think it is normal to look around and feel like our life could be better because we see someone else who can do it better but, I believe that in the end some are just better at hiding it. :)
    You are doing great!

  2. love you friend. SO glad to have read this post. Not because I enjoy reading other's stresses..but it reminds me that we are all human and we all have struggles.
    You have always been super mom to me...i have envyed your parenting style since we lived in LA.
    I know how you feel though, the sense of stress and anxiety- I need structure, I need plans, I need some form of control and when I don't have it I feel lost and out of sorts.
    I think it's great that you are realizing these things and wanting to better yourself. I think that is whats most important...if we all stay the same, complacent, that is where real troubles creep in. We should constantly be changing and bettering ourselves. I'm not airing any dirty laundry..i think most people know sam has been going to couseling for the last year to deal with issues from his dad's death, etc. Anyways in couseling he has learned how to better communicate and express feelings. It caused a total shift in our relationship. Here all these years I thought we communicated amazingly, we talked about everything...little did I know we had a completley unhealthy communication style. We've changed, adjusted but its good. The most important thing I've learned is its ok to ask for help it's not a sign of weakness, wether that's downloading mint on your phone or reading a communication book. If that gives you peace and provides a plan for you then it's worth it.
    Love you girl!
    wonderfully written post as usual!

  3. I completely love that little Deeter said that!

    Gay, I loved this post. As a one year graduate of therapy I am proud to say it has helped me to be a better wife, mother, friend & a better me. Don't get me wrong, we still argue (probably more than the average couple), but it has helped me to become a better me! And I love when you said, I don't want an okay marriage, I want an awesome marriage. Amen Girl! You are amazing and have no idea how much I look up to you as a patient wife, mother & person. You just seem to always have it together!



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