Why is it that whenever you think you have life figured out, that you catch crazy curves that almost knock you off course? Being a very, very amateur aspiring writer makes me feel like I can do something with the words I have to say. It also makes me feel like most of the time I am kidding myself and that I write like a middle school aged child. The real bit of trouble is, when you aren’t physically committed to doing a certain amount of work every day, and it doesn’t hold a guarantee that you will be paid for hard work put in. Because technically I only sell what people think is good.

Thrown into the mix, with their cute little fluffy topped heads, my three adorably overwhelming and stubborn willed children, who, even when not suffering months of sicknesses, are needy, obstinate, and mentally gifted. These little creatures that I gave life to are my favorite little bloodsuckers, but boy are they ever sucking the life from me.

The mental disorder I have inherited and perfected from generations of ancestors is not helpful as far as motivational skills, social skills, and being a bubbly mommy. bUt I am trying.

I’ve fallen behind on things that truly matter to me. Especially spending time with my little sister, who is my very best friend. She is a real inspiration to anyone who wants to be more than what everyone settles for themselves being. She amazes me, and sometimes all of the things that she accomplishes on her own seem frightening and so daunting that I fear for her in her independence.

Regardless of the time I have lost with my sister, I will never stop supporting her, loving her, and even sometimes telling her things she doesn’t want to hear, because I love her dearly, and I expect the same from her. I feel the same with all of my sisters, whom I’ve grown apart from, unfortunately. I wish to remedy that.

I am very lucky to have a family that loves me. My children are going to be rocket scientists, my husband is hard working, supportive, and loving, and I have not just one, but a slew of sisters that I love and would do anything for, and they would do the same for me.

My partner in crime on the Sisters Curious is a strong and determined woman who has overcome and trampled so many obstacles to becoming the beautiful, linguistically and musically skilled beauty that I am proud to call my baby sister. You can read her blog posts here on THE SISTERS CURIOUS or you can check out her band MARGOT AND THE KIDDERS on facebook, or her own personal facebook page MARGOT LeMAY.



Human Connection: A Must for the Modern Child



The dynamic of a family is no longer based upon the love and support of a caring set of parents or a single parent striving to make a better life for their children. It is centered around whoever thinks they deserve the most attention within the family unit at the time. Parents are letting their children grow up without a human connection on a deeper level that most humans crave. A deep connection and understanding with one parent or sibling can mean the difference between good and bad mental health in a young child as well as into their adulthood.


The family life of any given unit of individuals can usually be predicted as a race to be the most preoccupied with the greatest amount of electronic devices possible. Children are given tablets to keep them occupied. The electronics of today have become the basis for the personality of our children, as well as having become the primary caregiver of many children in the US today.


All of this seems to be, to the perusing reader, merely a complaint, and commentary on the sadness of what things have come to in the last ten years as far as attention towards younglings and involved parenting goes. However, I can assure you there is more to it than that. In fact, this is my way of asking you, the reader, if you will stay with me, because I love my babies, you love your babies, and we want what is best for them. to please look your children in the eyes when you speak to them. Set time aside in your day, every day to enjoy your time with them and make it a special point to know that you value their opinions and you are always there for them to talk to. It is so important for a human person to have human connections to maintain their mental health.


Please look your children in the eyes when you speak to them. Set time aside in your day, every day to enjoy your time with them and make it a special point to know that you value their opinions and you are always there for them to talk to. It is so important for a human person to have human connections to maintain their mental health.


Think back to your childhood. Were you all alone all of the time? Did you have anyone to look up to? Did you have anyone that understood you and looked at you as though they wanted nothing else but to be there with you, and who, when they hugged you, you knew they meant it and that they were to be trusted? Most people, even the loneliest and most poorly treated people have someone who they look up to as a child and grow up to want to model themselves after. For myself, I was lucky enough to have a personal investment of a few people, especially my big brother and sister who talked to me like they cared about me, and made me feel loved.When you have someone that you can be emotionally intimate with, you are able to access and process your emotion and thereby learn to handle them.


Does your child have that? Have you been that person for them? For most people, I would guess that the answer is no. It’s true that everyone has a life and everyone stays busy, in my house this is especially true. The difference in my house is that although we are very busy, I always, always set aside a special time with each of my babies so that they know they are special to me. So that they know that I love them and that I find them far more important than a video game, or an email, or what’s on television that I don’t want to miss. It’s true that we are busy but we are sure to show each other that each of us is more interested in our family than the hustle and bustle that we have to attend to.


Have I been guilty of neglect in this area from time to time? PLEASE! It took us ages to get our acts cleaned up and focus on what’s important. The primary thing to remember is that it’s never too late to improve the lives of your children by increasing your one on one time. There is always time to improve your relationship with them. All it takes is for you to do little things to show that they are important. Get up early and make them breakfast. Surprise them by waiting for them to get off the bus. If you work late, wake them up for a snuggle and a little talk. Take advantage of the little opportunities, and you will see the benefit it does to their mental and emotional health.



12654633_10156473963715147_3170224069259108172_nJoanie stays up late at night wondering if she’s “Mommied” properly that day. She loves her hubs and has an oddly mistaken idea that the weekend still means she gets to sleep in.




What is Confidence?

     Not long ago, I was sitting at a pub table in my local watering hole becoming entrenched in the realm of weirdness on YouTube, one recommended video at a time, but also searching for new songs for my band to play. At one point in the evening, a man approached me at my table. He waited patiently for me to notice he was there, which took several seconds. I was obliged to remove the buds from my ears. As I took them out, he leaned towards me and spoke. “I think you’re quite attractive, and I really admire your confidence.” I thanked him for his compliment. Then, with a small nod, he took his leave and went back to his friends.While causing no small obvious inflation of ego, that man’s remarks also provoked some thought in me. Confident? Me?

     I pondered what lay before me on the table: my phone with ear buds connected, a notepad and pen, and a double gin and tonic. I tried to determine what gave him an outward indication of my supposed confidence. I then tried to think of expressions I might have shown on my face. I came to the conclusion that the only reason this man would assume I am confident is the fact I was focused on what I was doing.

Well! Thought I, is that all there is to being confident? Focusing on your interests rather than what is going on around you?

     To put my hypothesis to the test, I walked into a coffee shop the next day. My goal therein was to find someone who looked confident and notice what it was the person was actually doing. Scanning the dim-lit room, my gaze was drawn to a well-dressed man sitting in the back. As I slid into a seat near his table, he took no notice of me. While I glanced creepily at him, I saw his face get closer and slowly closer to his computer screen as he typed. Only when he finished typing did he pull back and look around him. Seeing me, he smiled, then continued on with his work.

He looks so confident, I thought to myself.

     I concluded, after my experiment, confidence is not something that is realized.  Confidence, to me, is more based on focusing on your hobbies, work, or your own thoughts, and not being concerned with the innumerable distractions around you. In my case, for certain, confidence is more how people view me, not necessarily something I am. If a person thinks to themselves, I am confident, are they truly that? Just as someone who has given food to the poor and considers himself selfless, his own thoughts eliminating any indication he has done something selfless, if you tell yourself you are confident it is more likely that you are, in fact, not. Theorizing this, as I do, I will not concern myself with the pursuit of confidence, just as I shall not bother with trying to find happiness or contentedness; these things come as a result of our actively and constantly pursuing goals and delving into some form of self-driven work.

DSC03471Nancy loves her cats, her friend’s cats, and every cat in the world.

5 Revelations to Surviving the Summer with Young Children

Just in time for the weekend, let’s talk about ways to keep the kiddos happy and cool! (Because as we all know, a hot kid is a cranky and gripey kid!) There are no words to describe the misery of a hot summer day. Too hot to go out, and too sweaty to play. You just sit in your house all that hot, muggy day. With a less than efficient air conditioning system and 3 bedrooms, 2 floors and 5 people to keep cool, the day-to-day struggle to keep the heat to a minimum at all times of the day and well into the humid night is real! Here are some tips from personal experience that can make a big difference when it comes to cooling down the rowdy kinder.

Cover the windows! My husband knows that if it’s getting hot, I don’t really put too much worry into what he thinks is tacky looking. Making a physical barrier between the heat radiating from even a well-sealed window will help a room cool down more quickly.

Keep Clothes to a Minimum!  Of course, if you order pizza, you’re going to be embarassed by your kids one way or another (“Mommy, is that my daddy?”, “Mommy, why is that man so big? He must’ve eaten all of his dinner!”). The point being, don’t make them wear clothes if they do not need them, on the other hand, it is important to be clothed in public or in the presence of anyone other than immediate (and non-creepy) family.

Make Them Drink Water! This seems like a no-brainer but I swear upon the souls of my ancestors that some kids (like mine) would rather die of thirst than drink anything besides a fruit flavored drink. My solution? A very cool and grown up looking travel water bottle. Even my eldest son (who thinks he’s smarter than every other human being on the planet) has succumbed to consuming the element which brings life.

Block the Rays of the Hideous Sun Demon! Sounding like your mother in law yet? No? It doesn’t sound like mine. I am in that glorious generation where I am baffled at the careless ease of which  people let their children play outside without sun protection. Of course, my porcelain skinned sweeties can’t o out for 5 minutes without burning up. I’m afraid I blame myself, having had a heat stroke at a tender preschool age. Of course, even if you don’t have fair-skinned children, go ahead and google image search “melanoma”, and you’ll grease those little stinkers up faster than a house gets trashed by toddlers (boy, is that fast!!)

Popsicles and Bathtubs are Your Friends! I know you hate cleaning up the syrupy popsicle mess, and the gallons of water they splash on the floor, but you have to keep them cool, and they’ll never stay cool if you don’t make them sit still with something cool to eat, or to sit in. I know that bath time can be nerve-wracking (“Jackson, don’t try to drown your sister!”), but the decrease in crankiness will be exponential and you might even cool down yourself!

Or, when all else fails, there’s always the hobo bath in the wading pool, on the front lawn, for all the neighbors to see and deride your parenting skills and personal integrity while watching your middle child water the grass with his very clear urine whilst you are tending to the baby eating ants. Just remember, your family is your priority, stay relaxed, stay calm and above all keep those kids (and yourself) cool!


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Writing Contest: From Our Family to Yours

Family is a touchy issue for a lot of people. Some don’t get along. Some people don’t even have a family to speak of (unfathomable!). We love to hear about family matters that inspire or even anger. As long as your family is invested in you, it doesn’t matter if they’re happy with you or angry at you, because as long as they feel something towards you, that’s how you can know that they care. The worst thing we can think of is not having family at all.

Beautiful sisters that we are, we pride ourselves in our family roots. The attractive throng of stubborn and hard working individuals that we are descended from are a matter of pride and a feeling of superior exemption in our heart of hearts. How many times have we been accused of being as obstinate as a Doss, or acting like a Hancock. There are Haffers, there are long lost Whitecottons and all kinds of quirky and interesting people along the way. The foundations of our very souls are grounded in the treatment by and tales of our very strong, very amazing family.

There is the matron supreme, the mama of all mamas, the rock in a turbulent world that each of her 6 children have always been able to depend on and look up to. Not a shred of mistreatment ever occurred to one of her children by her hand. She dealt with a couple different horribly mean men and came out stronger and a special favorite of all of her children. On my part, I look up to my mother’s temperance in times of need when I feel that I am not being fair and even tempered with my children, as she always was able to be.

Then come the big bad 3 sisters. The character and imagination of these ladies is a topic of true inspiration for their 2 younger sisters (namely, Nancy and I). Our eldest was out of the house before we were born, she was always the grown up and married one. She served as an inspiration and excursion destination to us whenever our Mommy simply worked too much to keep up with us. We used to love her house so much we’d hide keys or purses to keep from having to leave. Nevermind the fact that she had two daughters not more than 5 years younger than we are. We became best friends and did some of our most ridiculously stupid things that we could think of, and we did them together.

Our next eldest sister was the dark, brooding, middle child, and she was so freaking cool! (yes, I still think so). She has a poetic soul, a troubled mind, and a heart that cried out to help little sisters that were not always treated very nicely by a very depressed and somewhat unstable father. For a while she was our champion, taking care to see that we were treated fairly. When she moved out I think that my whole life came crashing down around me at the tender age of 5, and I slept in her Guns’N’Roses every night because of how much I missed her.

Our next eldest sister was the one that lived with us the longest, (we graduated ten years apart), but she stayed at home for quite some time after, and she became the scapegoat for any problems Nancy and I had, because she did not like our defiance, which in all honesty, we cannot help but dish out to anyone that is bothered by it, still. We love her dearly, and she was a source of great fun and playtimes with her creative stories we would bring to life, as well as playing a Hogwarts-esque type of boarding school game.

Now before I bring up the next in line, I want anyone related to me to settle down, and if you’re not, be prepared because he is the one male in any of his sisters’ (or his mom’s) life that was good to them. He is the standard for each of his sisters that anyone they are involved with can never live up to. The Marine, the police officer and the all around badass big brother. Being the special favorite of everyone related to him isn’t as easy as it sounds. For his sisters, he has to act as a sort of a father figure fill-in. For his mother, he is everything that she has tried to instill in her children, and somehow failed in everyone except him. He is the golden child, and I would say it bothers me, but he is very awesome and I would be a great person if I was half as awesome, responsible and just generally badass as he is.

Then there’s us. The dorks. The young ones. The impressionable, eccentric, and slightly bi-polar little sisters. Growing up with bad haircuts and low self-esteem. A lot of times we only had each other and we fought. A lot. At one point I was convinced that Nancy was actually trying to kill me due to the violence of her emotions. As well as her biting. We have blossomed into slightly more self-aware weirdos and our awkwardness is only overshadowed by our amazingly eccentric personalities, as well as our very high highs and resoundingly low lows.

We love our family. We worry about them when they are having a hard time and we always miss the old days when we were all closer.
We know that our family, good times or bad, is what has shaped us into who we are today and the stories we have, funny, sad, meaningful, or all three mean everything to us.

We can never forget when our big brother rode home from California on his motorcycle to visit. All of our nieces and nephews being born, how whiney our sisters were when they were pregnant. There were so many petty fights, and so many really messed up incidents that did not result in nearly as much punishment as it warranted. (No one would ever believe the degree to which Nancy’s habit of anger-biting effected my life.)

We want to hear about your families. We want to hear what makes you tick. What makes you happy or angry about them? Do you have any crazy stories? These things are important, because after all, if a girl didn’t have a family, who would they cry to? (Or yell at?)

Please send a parable that is humorous or meaningful about your family that you would like to share, and we will choose one lucky submission and publish it on our blog, with you, lucky winner, as a guest writer for The Sisters Curious!


Joanie quite flawlessly locates four-leaf clovers, and enjoys

endlessly barraging her husband with a babbling brook of questions about nonsense she has no intention of letting him speak long enough to answer.

Best Springfield Happy Hour Hotspots

It’s safe to say everyone loves a good deal, and these local bars and restaurants are abundant in great specials on food and beverages. They have been tried (and tried and tried) and tested by yours truly.

Missouri Spirits Distillery- 507 W. Walnut Street

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Happy Hours: 4-6 PM Tuesday through Saturday and 10 PM- close (12:00), Women’s Whiskey Wednesday all day

This is one of the most unique places in town. They make their own moonshine, corn whiskey, bourbon, and vodka, and they ship to 27 states. Simple syrups here are made in house, as well as hand crafted flavored ice cubes, candied orange peels, and so many other delights I could not possibly list them here. Have you ever had smoked ice cubes?? These guys aren’t messing around. Every drink made here is finely crafted to perfection. I am frequently faced with so many drink choices it’s almost impossible to pick just one. Okay, I never pick just one (let’s keep my alcoholism between just us girls). Do tell them Nancy sent you, and say hello to the bobcat in the window for me.

Women’s Whiskey Wednesday: Every beverage on the drink menu is $5, for ladies only!

Nancy-tested and approved food: Hummus with veggies, Pimiento dip, Queso and chips, Pulled pork sliders. This list will only get longer as I try everything on the menu.

Recommended drinks: If you like it sweet and fluffy, get The Bluebird. Like to imbibe a bit stronger? Go for Bill’s Bullets or a Missouri Mule.

Find their drink menu here, and their food menu here

Golden Girl Rum Club- 137 Park Central Square

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Happy Hours: 5-7 PM daily

A fairly new establishment, Golden Girl Rum Club is a tiki bar you’d expect to stumble upon along a boardwalk in Honolulu. From the tiki torches on the patio and tealight candles in brightly colored holders on the tables, to the neon bendy straws and ceramic cat and shark mugs lining the bar, this place is unique to say the least. Every drink here is fruity, delicious, and strong. Their Holy Sh** Shark in 3-D drink, which is creamy and dreamy, warns of its strength and has a maximum limit of two per person. Did I mention they make their own ramen? The duck egg in this delectable bowl of broth dreaminess is not for the faint of stomach; it is spicy, but I found myself continuing to scarf it down despite the likely event of a burn at both ends later on (this did not occur, as I found out the next day).


Recommended drink: Holy Sh** Shark in 3-D

Patton Alley Pub- 313 S. Patton Avenue

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 Happy Hours: all day Sunday, 4-6 PM daily

     The selection of beer at Patton Alley Pub is astounding. With over 40 beers on tap, trying them all would take a daunting amount of time (challenge accepted?). You can also get your favorite cocktail here. On Sundays, I can get two double gin and tonics and an order of hummus with pita and veggies for $12. They have hummus, says you? I proclaim this: the best hummus I’ve had in Springfield can be found here. There is pop culture trivia on Thursdays and Sundays at 7:30, so get a team together and put all that useless knowledge you carry in the old noggin to the test.

Recommended drinks: Beers- Abita Purple Haze, Framboise Raspberry Lambic, Piney River Black Walnut Wheat.

Here’s a list of some of the beers they have on tap.

Mudlounge- 321 South Walnut Street

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Happy Hours: 4-7 PM daily

This place serves the ever-popular Mudhouse coffee, but with an unexpected twist- you guessed it, they add alcohol. Coffee and alcohol were just meant to be together. It’s a lovely compromise; you can study for your calculus final and then get sloshed. The atmosphere is cozy and low lit with comfortable couches and armchairs like the ones at grandma’s house. Getting hungry? A vast array of delicious fondues is beckoning. Heed their strange, gloopy call, and from 4-6 get $2 off these dips of delight. The martinis at Mudlounge are full of spiked coffee, and are $2 off during happy hour. Check out the link below for full Happy Hour details.

Mudlounge Happy Hour Details

Ocean Zen- 4117 South National Avenue

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Happy Hours:4-6 PM in the bar, 8-10 PM Sunday to Thursday, 9-11 PM Friday and Saturday

If you have not eaten at Ocean Zen, definitely think about making plans to do so. You won’t even need to worry about wallet drainage if you go during their Happy Hour. The chefs have created a mouth-watering menu: Mongolian ribs, four cheese macaroni and cheese, blue crab and cream cheese stuffed wontons, salt ‘n’ pepper jalapeno fried chicken- okay guys, need I go on? All of these culinary perfections can be found on the Happy Hour menu below, as well as a long list of wines and cocktails (one is called Mango Tango. Intrigued yet?).  Dress up like you’re fancy and leave with your wallet only minutely lighter.

Ocean Zen’s Happy Hour Menu

This list will expand as I try more and more places. I make this sacrifice for you, dear reader.

DSC03471Nancy likes her gin and tonics and wants a Snuggie for Christmas.

Let’s Wash Our Faces!

What’s this, a face washing tutorial? Who the hell doesn’t know how to wash their face? To answer that question, dear reader, we must go back to the days of teenage angst and insecurity. Just kidding, I’m not walking you through the most awkward stages of my life, not yet anyway. We don’t know each other that well. Give it time. I’ll go ahead and summarize: when I was in high school, and even a few years afterwards, I struggled with acne. Not deep, debilitating acne that made me hide my face from the world, but oh wait, when you’re a teenager with ANY acne you want to hide your face from the world. I always blamed myself for my acne problems, and guess what? I was right. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you focus on your flaws, odds are they’re going to get worse. Such it is with acne. When I thought about my acne, I noticed it; when I noticed it, I picked at it.

Guys, let me tell you this: EVERYONE GETS ACNE. Your mom gets it, your babysitter got it, super models get it. No one is immune, and if they are they’re Jude Law from A.I. (aka a sex robot. Not gonna lie, you should keep that person around if so. Why not, right?). It’s okay that you have acne, but if you’re anything like I was as a teenager, all you care about is the tutorial. Okay, I understand. Let’s just get this going, shall we? And look, it comes with pictures!


Cetaphil Daily Face Cleanser

Dickonson’s Witch Hazel

Cotton Balls or  Tissues 

Oil of Olay Moisturizer


1. (Ermahgerd it’s official now) Remove Makeup.

Listen up, kids. You HAVE to remove your makeup before you even think about washing your face. Let me reiterate: YOU HAVE TO REMOVE YOUR MAKEUP BEFORE YOU EVEN-. Okay, I think you get the gist. The face wash I use is gentle enough for you to wash your face with it to remove makeup (I recommend Vaseline on a cotton ball for eye makeup, as face wash will dry out your delicate eye skin no matter who the hell you are). Now, look at this fantastic picture of me removing my makeup by washing.


2. Apply face wash to a scrubby brush. But oh-em-jee Nancy, I thought exfoliating my face will make it worse. Blah blah blah, this is how I’ve washed my face for years and look at it. To be serious though, it really depends on your skin type when it comes to exfoliating. I, for one, don’t know what the heck my skin type is and I don’t know how to find out. I simply tried this method and after a period of time, nay almost immediately, it started working for me like a beautiful charm from Pandora I cannot have (crap costs money, yo). In a gentle, geeeentle scrubbing motion, massage the cleanser-packed brush all over your face, avoiding the eye area. Catching a theme here? The less you touch your eyes with anything, the better. The skin is thinnest there, and you WILL get wrinkles there first. If you don’t care about wrinkles, then go ahead and rub pumice on your peepers.


3. After wonderfully and geeeently exfoliating your face, pat dry. Look at that girl, she knows what she’s doing.


4. Use Witch Hazel as a toner. Once again, my loves, do not use this on your eyes. It’s natural, but we don’t want to risk it do we, precious? Cotton ball it up. Put the witch hazel on there and wipe or dab it on your face.


5. Use a gentle moisturizer. This you will massage all over your face, neck, and under your eyes, so don’t use anything with salicylic acid in it, because (you guessed it) it’s bad for them. Plus that crap stings in there. Yeah, moisturize it. Like that.



6. Actually, that’s it. This routine doesn’t take me more than five minutes, and my face is usually so clear I don’t wear makeup. I do, however, wear a tinted moisturizer with SPF during the day (we all know that doesn’t count as makeup). Since I’m white as rice I don’t bother with too high SPF, but if you get a lot of sun, please do yourself a favor and wear a high SPF sunscreen/ SPF moisturizer.


I’m going to use a writing cliche. Here it is: To conclude… washing your face doesn’t have to be a pain in the patoot, but I definitely understand how it can get that way. We were all young once. We all experimented… with different face washing techniques *glances to the left nervously*. But I mean it when I say the one you stick with is the one that will work for you. No matter how you wash your face, stick with it until your face gets used to it. That’s probably the most important take-away I can give you. Don’t try a face wash routine for a week. Stick with it, and you should see good results. Unless, that is, you’re using broken glass as a scrubby and acid as your face wash. Please, get help.

P.S., I recommend diluted tea tree oil on any acne you might have.

DSC03471Nancy would like to thank gin for helping her write this article.

The Cloud of Depression (and Its Silver Lining)

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As much as I was inclined to write about something amusing to display on the blog I share with my lovely and hardworking sister, this past week it has been hard to be amusing, because I haven’t been able to be amused, I haven’t been able to be lighthearted or funny. The beginning of this past week marked the start of a particularly extreme bout of depression for me. .

On a regular day, when my depression is being managed, I have fun, act like a big dork, love on my babies. I go out of my way to do something special and fun to entertain them as well as taking any chance I can to educate them. I can’t be slowed down when it comes to keeping up with them. I stay on top of the housekeeping (most of the time) and diapers, as well as situational maintenance (potty messes, etc.). I am a funny and outgoing mother and a devoted and overwhelmingly clingy wife.

However, when the depression sinks in my heart drops and I can feel everything bad anyone’s ever done to me like it is a testament to what a foul person I am, I feel like everything that has ever troubled my beautiful babies is my fault, and I’m ashamed to have them see my self-pity. The thought of them seeing me depressed and crying makes me more upset and disappointed in myself.

On these days where I have this hopeless feeling in my heart and an angry and morbidly upset film over each and every thought I have, I don’t do very well on my own. Sitting or lying alone in my room while my husband watches our kids exacerbates the theme that I am, in fact, useless. Going out among my family in times like these is even more painful, on account of the fact that even though my family is everything to make me realize the amazing quality of my life, they are so beautiful and funny, ornery and loving, that I am struck with a bad case of “I don’t deserve them”. I begin to think that everyone would be better off without me. To my husband, I perceive myself to be an annoyance. To my children, I feel as though I keep them from happiness because of my mothering skills.

Now, let’s be clear… there is no part of this individual that does not think myself amazing in all aspects of family life. I have some annoying quirks, like anyone with half of a personality, but I’m generally adored by the people whose opinions I value. The trouble is, like anyone who has suffered from severe depression knows, all the good things don’t matter when you feel that dark cloud starting to loom. Attempts to cheer you up by yourself or by a concerned bystander, or even a family member, are not only futile, the outside aide not working will only make you feel like more of a horrible person. My husband starts out wanting to know why I’m upset, wanting to help, but when I can’t even bring myself to speak, only cry, and beg him with my eyes to help me, just help me somehow feel better, he doesn’t know how to help me, or even where to begin. I can’t imagine seeing him feeling the way that I do at these times and not being able to help. It would break my heart.

Looking back on the history of my emotional and mental health problems, I remember the first time I felt this severe depression. I was less than 3 months pregnant with my first son and all I wanted to do was lay in bed and be left alone. I had no issue with being pregnant, I just let the smallest thing start a downward spiral in my mind that ended with a feeling of just not wanting to be. Not suicidal, not angry. Just a feeling of wishing I would simply stop existing.

The worst part about this feeling? When you let it go untreated for as long as I did, it can be debilitating to you as well as the people who depend upon you. No one wants to be married to someone that cries so much they have to hide from their children so that they don’t worry about Mommy? Who wants to hang out with someone that is always thinking people are against them, or find them annoying, or are friends with them out of pity?

I used to think that most embarrassing thing in the world was to be diagnosed as depressive, and to take medicine for something that normal people just power through, to get upset by things that other people just deal with so much that it stops you dead in your tracks to where you can’t function on a daily basis. However, after receiving treatment and maintaining that treatment at the insistence of my obstetrical physician I can honestly say the most embarrassing thing in the world is to deal with this huge and very real problem on your own.

You see, I haven’t had a bout of depression that was so very, very bad, (like the one I had over the last week) in a long time. It was my antibiotics for a sinus infection that inhibited my antidepressant. In this time that I was still taking the antibiotic and antidepressant, I felt back to my old, easily excitable and horribly morbid self. This is not something I was proud of, but it was also something that I couldn’t control, and this feeling is like you will have it for the rest of your life. The thing is, after my antidepressant kicked back in I felt like a normal person again. I don’t intend to suggest that medication is what I recommend for people who suffer from depression. But please, please just acknowledge you need help and seek it, because as soon as you work towards being able to control your depression, the more hopeful you can feel during the onset of depression, as far as believing you can one day not feel that way, and that is the real way to fight off the long and damaging effects of depression, treat it and make it seem like it can be overcome, one day at a time.

If you struggle with depression there are multiple physical and online aids to help you. Check out Depression Chat Rooms.

Nancy’s Cakes and Bakes

Coming from a large family, and deeply enjoying baking for friends, I have conjured up many gastronomical delights, some of which are displayed here. I got hungry just uploading these photos.

Mastering Yourself: When Motivation Doesn’t Cut It

The silver and gold streamers flutter near your face, the champagne glass you’re holding is being topped off by the hostess, everyone is intently watching the clock with wide eyes and raised brows, and Frank Sinatra is blasting through the speakers as your best friend starts to weep profusely about her poor choice of men the last year and wipe her face on the sleeve of the sequined dress she said would look “so super hot” in.

Yes, my friends, I’m speaking of the dreaded New Year’s Eve, and with a new year comes the inevitable New Year’s Resolution. We’ve all been guilty of feeling a flit of optimism on this celebratory night and spewing our goals for the new year as if your laziness will somehow be overcome by motivation. Yeah right, like when does that happen?

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For those of you who struggle to keep your goals, I say this: motivation is probably not what you need. Motivation is all fine and dandy, but what about whipping yourself up a savory batch of discipline instead? Bear with me.

Discipline. Sounds kinky, right? We’re not talking about bedroom antics here, oh no. What I’m talking about is giving yourself a goal, and sticking to it because of this magical little word.

Let’s talk about human nature for a bit.

When you were in school and the teacher gave you homework, what did you do? You did your homework, yes? If you didn’t, then shame on you. But hey, that’s your choice. Let’s stay on topic. For those of you who completed your homework and turned it in (10 points for Gryffindor), why do you think you did? Is it because you wanted to get that A-Plus scholarship sooooo bad in 2nd grade?

Probably not. I can, however, guess the most likely reason why: Discipline. Mmmmm, it sounds so sweet rolling off the tongue. Try it. Yeeeeeah, smooth. Like a grape popsicle dipped in Welch’s Grape Juice. You did that homework because you had to or chaos would run rampant in your life; your mom would have choked you, your dad would have sent you away to a convent or work camp, and your Aunt Mabel wouldn’t have given you that twenty dollars on your birthday.

Yes, my friend, discipline is what keeps the wheels and cogs of this world moving. Without it, motivation is just a word that sounds like a car part I don’t know what to do with. How many times have you uttered the phrase: “I need more motivation”? What is the use of motivation if you don’t create disciplined standards for yourself?

Ever heard of Stephen Covey? You’re about to. This brilliant man said that we don’t achieve our goals because there is a difference between how we do something important compared to how we do something urgent. Your homework in school was urgent because you’d have gotten your arse beat if you didn’t do it, and your goals are just important because they come from yourself. Just important, you ask? Yes.

P.S., buy Mr. Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Peoplehere. Moving on…

So, the question you should be asking but I’ll give to you anyway is this: well jee whiz, how do I make something important into something urgent? Wow, what an awesome question (20 points for Gryffindor)! To make a goal urgent, it needs to be dipped in chocolate discipline, covered in motivation sprinkles, wrapped in discipline cellophane, and packaged in a discipline box. Seeing a theme here?

Start small. Make yourself a checklist of things that are urgent. Heck, even write urgent on the top of the checklist. Wow! Don’t even let motivation ruin it for you. Say “this list must be completed today or I will get a butt whooping”, except dad won’t get that switch in the yard, you’ll do it yourself. Hah, I’m kidding, no self flatuation here. Wait, that’s not right. Don’t let yourself even ponder not doing the things on your list; make it mandatory. This is where discipline begins, my friend.

The next time you decide to start that exercise plan or tell yourself “I’m going to learn Cliffs of Dover and play it at Aunt Mabel’s 5th wedding in three months”, think of motivation as the kick-starter for your goal, not the driving force. If you have discipline, even when you don’t “feel like” going to the gym or busting out the old Stratocaster, it will get you through those slumps. If you tell yourself you have to do it, eventually it will become second nature and you’ll have achieved a goal you never thought achievable. Why wait? Try it now. Try it. Go on, try it.

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Nancy likes long walks and fat, fluffy cats