mom of teens

As if learning to not care about what others think about you wasn’t stressful enough, add being a mom to 2 teenagers. I worry about what my kids think of me because I want to be a cool mom! I want to be that companion they can go to whenever and wherever. I want to support and encourage their every endeavor, foster every change. As my children grow, I feel like the timer speeds up on how much longer they have until they’re adults – makes me super emo tbh!

Becoming a mom was not completely new to me. As a parental child, I was taught to mother based on how my own mother parents. I memorized the good things and the good of the bad things, and left what I did not want to even exist in my home. Let’s say, elimination was vast majority, so there I was learning new things. Learning how to parent, have patience, not beat myself up because I fell asleep while feeding, etc. all of this was totally new for me. I went through postpartum depression with both my children. I could not convince myself to believe that I would be a good mom given my upbringing. A mental mind f&*^ as per usual, get out of your thoughts Tiff!

I remember being embarrassed in my marriage because I didn’t know if my husband was going to leave me if:

  • I allowed my mental health to control me instead of taking this opportunity to focus on our new babies
  • Couldn’t cut it without making the same mistakes my parents made
  • Ultimately failing my husband (in this order)

Distorted thinking. Hush, quiet, into the vault you go because none of those thoughts are true, accurate and valid. Speaking of distorted thoughts, for which I still have, I am super grateful for my therapist because she is providing me tools that are working for me, and this is a first (I just entered my late 30s). I never had much luck with therapy, antidepressants, sleep medication, stimulants, even though my doctor’s kept throwing that shit at me like candy because of childhood trauma.

My Family, Fall 2020

What’s beautiful about my boys is how they show me unconditional and love. My younger son has this habit of randomly approaching me and saying, “You know what you need? A good luck hug”. His hugs and that embrace is something that renews my energy – it motivates me. Some days are tough being a mom and his hugs always arrive at just the right moment.

My older son keeps tabs on me. He’s not much of a talker, but he always knows where I am. If he doesn’t, he will find out. He’s an old soul. Eager to learn yet subtle in his approach. He prefers habit, minimal change and staying home playing video gams.

As parents, we beat ourselves up constantly thinking about how we can be the perfect parent. That’s not real life, so please stop doing it if you do. Life is messy, including the good, bad and the ugly. Everyday we wake up is another opportunity for progress not perfection. One thing I promised myself I would never do was give up on my children. I never want them to feel abandoned.

Moms of Teens, Parents of Teens, Dads of Teens, Guardians and Grandparents of Teens, we’re in this together. The teenage phase of Parenting requires the utmost patience. Remember when I spoke about Patience earlier, yeah – I have none. I learned through trial and trial and error and error, lol. Word to the wise, don’t take the things they say and/or do seriously. In 5 minutes, they’ll be looking for you wondering what’s for dinner. I promise. I’m convinced that during the teenage years, their short term memory is almost nonexistent, just kidding. Selective hearing though IS a thing, and it’s super annoying!

Rant over, good night amigos/amigas!

some days…

Some days are meant to be appreciated for the simple fact that we made it through – y estamos vivos ~ we’re alive! Some days are so tough that they require all our energy. Some days are super long and they drag. Today was one of those days. We’re currently caregiving for my husband’s grandparents. One of said grandparents is suffering from the C word, Cancer. It is never easy to hear let alone accept a Cancer diagnosis no matter who it is.

My heart breaks for my husband. The moment he arrived to this country at the ripe age of 13, he immediately began paving his path for success. He had a dream and has accomplished his goals and maintained success. That shouldn’t be taken away from him. It is never easy to be the only one in the family who gives a shit. You set higher standards and you make shit happen – that’s how you avoid the generational curse. Break the cycle, be the difference. I am forever grateful for how much he has taught me.

Homeschooling two teenage boys in middle school comes with plenty of drama. It has been difficult to navigate virtual school due to COVID-19. We hoped it’d be over by now, but so did everyone else in 2020. I feel like I have another full-time job as a homeschool mom, but I’d rather be a homeschool mom than an elderly caregiver (honesty is the best policy)! Managing 6-7 classes per kid makes me feel like I am in high school again, writing notes on the white board for the Teacher so that she didn’t have to even get up from her seat. Dearest Ms. Cunningham, she was one of those teachers who leaves a footprint on your heart. I found out through one of my high school colleagues that she passed away peacefully. I must admit, I was a Teacher’s Pet!

Some days are meant to be ended with a glass of vino.

Stopped writing, walked to fridge, grabbed a glass of Riesling!

Back to regularly scheduled programming… I come on here to vent and express myself in the form that serves me best. I have written since I was a child, literally. Google Tiffany Oklahoma City Bombing and watch the infamous YouTube video if you dare, lol. Not terrible, just never was a fan of my teeth until I got braces!

Point is, many of us struggle with mental illness daily. Many of us also suppress because it’s the only way we have ever known how to mitigate our emotions. Never did I learn how timing is everything and the importance of an outlet. You need to do something, preferably healthy, every single day or as much as you can to release the tension and stress that comes from everyday life. Perseverance and resilience can be achieved by finding this healthy method among other ways. Over time, progress not perfection becomes second nature. Find something you love doing that has positive return on investment, and do that thing as much as you want.

Cheers amigos!

In my head…

  • Distorted thoughts as my therapist calls them
  • Anxiety builds
  • Negative talk begins
  • Shaming as its finest
  • Depression onset immediate
  • Get over it
  • Cycle ends for a lil’ bit

If you were to asked me a year ago if I understand how this was what happens in my head daily, I wouldn’t know what you were talking about. Today, I’m well aware. I yearn for my parents to realize the things they did, just in these steps alone, to me as a child and as an adult. If only my parents could understand that if we acknowledge that we behave a certain way, or do certain things, it doesn’t mean those behaviors, ways and things are normal! Also, when you behave a certain way, it affects the ones who love you, consider them too. I did not before and now I do. I’m not saying my parents need to be like me, I know they won’t. The cycle ends with me though and my kids are smart enough to judge for themselves.

Therapy is not meant to fix me, I know that. Therapy is meant to help me identify and treat for me and ONLY ME. I know that negative talk is not healthy, but I have always done it thinking it was normal. It is not. Heck, I have messed up a recipe in the kitchen while my son was making himself lunch, and said “ugh, how dumb of me – I forgot to add the salt”, and my son called me out for it. As a parent, imagine how that feels. I wouldn’t want him talking to himself that way, checkpoint.

We were not placed on this earth to beat ourselves up. To be honest, it was the weakness I answered during job interviews when asked that infamous question, “What is your weakness”. Gosh, who came up with that question anyway?! My weakness is that I beat myself up and believe my negative thoughts.

It is vulnerable of me to post this because I am letting you in, but I am okay with it. I am an eccentric woman with good intuition and a gift for discernment. Extremely observant, I often times notice things other don’t. Being able to post about my journey will hopefully help someone experiencing the same. As Professionals and adults, we work so hard to paint the perfect picture of ourselves. We work hard everyday and we don’t give ourselves enough time to rest and recover. Stress creeps up and before you know it, the cycle begins all over again. I am finally accepting the ability to stop, it’s okay not to be okay.

If we see the cycle, we can break it and be the change this world needs. Everyone should always feel empowered, encouraged and ready to take on the world. Life is short, and there is only one. Live your best life and never give up.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline

1-800-662-HELP (4357)
TTY: 1-800-487-4889

Website: www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline

Therapy is Running too…

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”

https://www.active.com/running/articles/18-motivational-running-quotes-to-keep-you-inspired

During this mental health journey of getting my head right, I have fallen in love with Running, again, for the nth time. Living with Anxiety and Depression as a result of Childhood Trauma has made it difficult to enjoy workouts like the majority, except when I’m running. Running gives me a feeling of escape. In the middle of a panic attack, all I want to do is escape into my Happy Place and put all those negative thoughts into the VAULT! The ability to go as fast or as slow as I prefer, when I want, feels euphoric.

In the past, food was my escape. I used it for everything, found an excuse at every negative thought or experience during any given day. I realized that I no longer want anything or anyone to influence and/or control me to the point of no return – ever again. I want to have control of everything, and that includes food. Everything I put in my mouth has a cost, and I learned that the hard way losing my Gallbladder. Regardless if I needed el maldito organ, I still wanted to die with all of my organs. Well, actually, I also had a hysterectomy so it’s a shitshow at this point. Whatever stays is paying premium rent at this point, lol. Seriously though, I have battled obesity most of my life.

The point I am trying to make is that I feel in control when I run. I have a running playlist with my favorite musica urbana/o artists – YES, I grew up on Reggaeton and I love that shit! I digressed; the weight loss I appreciate the most. I have not weighed what I weigh today since before having my youngest child. The heaviest I have ever been is 315lbs, and today I weigh 265lbs. While I am still way overweight, I rather do this slow and steady. Besides, I am super strong!

I am trying to turn a new leaf and dig into passions I enjoyed most growing up. In addition to writing, I love Dance. I have considered dancing again, but more holistically, by filming my own videos and posting them on my Instagram. It is still a thought, but I welcome tips from the Pros, as per always. My favorite Choreographer of all time is Cat Rendic. I grew up watching her dance on a show called The Roof as a youngin’, and fell in love with her style ever since. I’m such a FAN!

Thank you for supporting this blog and my ADD self. We covered a lot today, and I have a new goal this week to post daily – cheers amigos!

Processing…

There is a key fact that no one prepares you for when undergoing treatment for anxiety and depression. The feelings are REAL. One minute you can be smiling from ear to ear, and the next minute you are crying without reason. Your body is feeling, processing all the emotions you have suppressed for years. These raw feelings feel like you are about to jump off the ledge of a building. Heart is racing, you are uncomfortable and uncertain of the future.

Withdrawal from society is something I started Monday. Deactivating all social media, I have accepted the process and embrace every raw feeling no matter how uncomfortable it makes me. Not having to worry about my post being worthy of a like feels good. Only allowing the chosen few in feels good. Not feeling the need for validation feels good. It’s a new era for me, and right now I am in the midst of all feelings.

Not to mention, I think it is safe to say that my household in general is over this long awaited election. The ability to tolerate colors and numbers on a tv screen goes only so far, haha. Our country knows deep down, behind all the political bullshit, what we as Americans deserve.

It is with hope that I continue processing raw emotions with the ultimate ability to manage traumatic situations in the future better. I experienced a lot of childhood trauma growing up, and I have a habitual pain of comparing every current situation to that trauma. I’m not afraid to admit it because there’s someone out there who knows exactly how this feels. I am with you.

So the saga continues. I know this will get better. We all have a vice. We are human. We aren’t perfect. We know what we deserve. We are not meant to be fixed, per say; but, if we consistently focus on improving the opportunities will present themselves for a clearer future ahead. A healthier mental state.

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling and/or having suicidal thoughts, please seek help. You are not alone. I am not suicidal, but I have been and I know what it feels like so I sympathize.

Peace and unity…

I started therapy…

Anxiety is an asshole! It lives rent-free in my head and has for way too long. It takes over me and I see red. People have called me dramatic, they have disregarded my feelings and whatever else. Through the years, I have strived for ways to manage it better, but now I embrace it and live with it because Anxiety is a part of me. For those of you who suffer from Anxiety, I am all ears for pro-tips.

So far, therapy has been positive. Learning so much about myself, I realize how much of my parents live in me. It’s scary because I have spent the majority of my life trying to not be like them. I love them, I always will. My path has always been the opposite and we have yet to see eye to eye. There is a blatant disregard for the pain I endured as a child, growing up I suppressed the shit out of it… Ask me how that worked for me? Not good.

As years progressed, I became a wife, mom, etc. and established my career. In November 2019, I moved to Colorado with the intention of opening a business and being closer to family. Reasonable right? I am in my mid-30’s, my kids are almost teens, time to be closer to family, stable and settled down. Who knew that one incident would change the trajectory of our plans as a family and everything we had worked for together up to the end of last year? Needless to say, it didn’t work out. We are back in Florida.

Something took place that reminded me of my childhood. Why? Because ever since I got my period at age 10, I have been given the responsibilities of an adult. I, as a mom, struggle with letting my kids be kids because my brain has been molded to think that we must constantly be in a state of hustle and panic. What I am saying is that, I grew up in survival mode. My mom was a single mom and my dad left the house when I was 5. My parents were unstable and not the best of mentors; however my loyalty always stayed under them and ’til this day I defend them – even when I shouldn’t. What took place in Colorado was what broke the camel’s back for my husband and I. I knew I couldn’t stay there. I knew I couldn’t be calm. I knew it would put me in a constant state of shock. Why did I think this would work? How could I put my family through such a big move? Yeah, I’ve been thinking about all those thoughts on repeat for the past 10 months.

I want to learn about myself and why I behave certain ways. Therapy is a necessity for me, I have been in and out of therapy since I was a kid. My mom could never afford to get me past 3 sessions so I was never consistent. It was here and there. As an adult now, the struggle is real. I am self-taught. My goal as a parent is to not repeat the cycle. While I also have the same goal as a wife, given how many times my parents have been in a relationship, my kids are my priority right now and I can only handle one thing at a time when it comes to improving my mental health.

I encourage anyone needing the attention of a mental health counselor to seek help. While I am no one to take advice from, I can assure you that being able to communicate with your therapist 24/7 by means of a voice message, text message and/or voice call will assure you are always supported. I am enjoying it so far and look forward to my recovery.

TalkSpace is my therapy source and humble abode at the moment. I’m so grateful for my therapist.

If you or anyone you know is struggling, remember to love them first but also encourage them to seek help. My husband was the one who gave me that tough love talk, and I’m thankful.

Cognitive Distortions Are Not Limited to People with Mental Illness, So Let’s All Learn about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – Hufsa Ahmad, MSW

People with mental illness are taught about the cognitive distortions we have, which ranges from black and white thinking (a.k.a polarized thinking), to overgeneralization, to catastrophizing. However, after learning about and practicing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques for 6 weeks, people can dramatically change the way they think, feel, and behave. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is…
— Read on mentally-chill.com/2016/08/30/cognitive-distortions-are-not-limited-to-people-with-mental-illness-so-lets-all-learn-about-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-cbt/

This is such a good read 🙌🏼

It gets old

I have never had the best relationship with my Parents. We have never really seen eye-to-eye per say. My mom led a totally different life, never believes she is wrong, and I can count with one hand the number of times my Mother has hugged me, kissed me, or even told me she loved me. My Father has always been in and out of my life. Now that I am a Mother, I can put into perspective my synopsis of how my Parents make me feel.

One thing that is so important includes being the change. The subtitle of my Blog is, “Break the Cycle, Be the Difference”. The reason being, I have spent the majority of my life finding ways to go the route contrary to my Parents due to their examples and lack of support for me in my life. Yes, they’ve made strides to be there for momentous occassions, but it has never felt real. It has never felt pure. My Parents have always had another agenda. It is what it is, I’m almost 36 (it’s my Birthday month haha).

IG: Stimulate_Mental

You know how everyone has a pet peeve? Well, mine are liars. Both my Parents made a lot of empty promises to me growing up. As a Parent myself now, I can imagine that initially the promise was made with every intention on fulfilling it. However, I feel like honesty is the best policy at all times, whether in your personal life and especially your kids.

You have to live with some degree of integrity. I have worked so hard to achieve the reputation that I do today. That isn’t because I just wanted the attention. It’s because I want to always be remembered as someone always willing to lend a helping hand.

I digressed… I guess it just pisses me off when my Parents begin to implement those false promises with my kids, their grandchildren. Don’t lie to my kids. You lied to me so much in my lifetime, shit on me all day for all I care. But, do not repeat the cycle with my children as that to me is where I have to cross the line. I had to recently confront one of my Parents about it and I am glad I did. It is not okay, and if my Parents want to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren, then I think there is a degree of respect, honesty and integrity that they should maintain themselves.

Okay – rant over.

My kind of White Rice

Ingredients:
Long grain White rice
Water ~ Agua
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tbsp Vegetable or Olive Oil (I usually jump between Vegetable Oil and Olive Oil)
1 Garlic clove peeled (garlic powder also works, half a tsp/dash)

Steps:

  • Add your desired number of cups of rice to a dutch oven style pot (deep enough for rice and water) I usually cook 2-3 cups
  • Wash the RICE! Make that RICE your b*&$# at least 10 times (yes, 10 times lol)
  • Drain as much water as you can, the clearer the water the better wash it has
  • Once you’ve drained the water from the RICE BATH, add enough water until you can rest the tip of your finger on the bed of rice under water. Once the water reaches the first bend/line on your index finger, you have added enough water! Trust me, it works lol.
  • ADD:
    -1 tsp. sea salt
    -1 tbsp. veg oil (i jump between veg oil and olive oil)
    -1 garlic clove peeled (garlic powder also works, half a tsp/dash)
  • MIX it well
  • COOK:
    Place pot uncovered on stove on HIGH, and let boil until water is almost gone
    Lower temp to simmer/low with the lid closed tightly once you see water is almost gone
    LEAVE IT ALONE please 🙂 no peeking!!
    Give it 10-15 minutes dependent on your stove heat level
    Open lid and fluff your rice with a fork (also turn heat to lowest temp unless your husband likes burnt rice like mine does)
  • ENJOY! Please leave your review in the comments if you get to try this! 🙂

Thanks for cooking with me!

The Ex-JW wife

Being married to an ex-Jehovah’s Witness isn’t as peaceful as you would think. There is the constant judgement, consistent influence and preaching whether you like it or not, comparisons and such. Though my husband has not practiced the religion in over 20 years, the desire for him to repent remains. If I thought I had issues with my mother-in-law it would only be due to this. I wish Netflix or some platform would interview spouses of ex-Jehovah’s witnesses to get a feel for what these people went through. But what about us wives? When do we get to stop being judged? While I can’t give enough shits about what anyone thinks of me, the family dynamic and where we fit in to the puzzle is a misfit.

I have been married for almost 15 years. Since the beginning of my marriage, when I met my in-laws (notice, not before I was legally married), I have been critiqued, judged, talked about, envied over, the works. When I was first introduced to my husband’s family, I had a 15-year old girl tell me I would never feel welcomed since I am clearly different from them.

As for my kids, I was told that when Armageddon decided to show up, that we would be destroyed since we are not Jehovah’s Witnesses. Perhaps they don’t have a pulse to understand how much that hurts to hear.

I have been asked multiple times why I chose to marry into such a complex family dynamic. Love would be the obvious answer, but not I. I do love my husband, but that’s not the point.

My entire life I have been a misfit. I was always the rare breed, the runt of the litter per say. I know what it’s like to be nothing to most yet everything to everyone when needed.

Leaving a cult isn’t the easiest thing to do. Being disassociated as they say equates to being shunned. If you were walking down the street, no one could look in your direction let alone share the same path. The best part, the same people who preach this Jehovah word are the same people hypocritically and intimately involved with minors. I have more examples, but that’s enough for tonight.

I stick by my family, but I know right from wrong. It’s the one decision my husband doesn’t regret. I am forever grateful he left that cult religion, or else I would have never met him. Here we are, still standing strong together.

Good Night…