Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Smiling faces

This was our family snapshot taken on Christmas Eve at Church (someone else took it with their camera and I had to crop it, sorry for the poor quality). Steve spoke that evening and did an excellent job. It was very touching because he was able to speak about our child just being born to us, and then about "a child was born unto us" being Jesus.  You can check the sermon out HERE.

Here is a pic that we used for Colton's announcement and Steve showed on Christmas Eve

 So why is this post called "Smiling faces?" Sure we were smiling in our picture for Christmas Eve, but there hadn't been much smiling on my face during that week.  So many of us read other's blogs and look at facebook pictures and see smiling faces.  We don't know the story behind the smile.  

There were a few days right around Christmas that I was crying much more than smiling.  It started the day before my mom left to go back to Florida and lasted for a few days.  I felt bad for Steve, he really didn't know what to do for me.  I tend to be a pretty emotionally stable person, so when I had this breakdown, my poor husband tried to help but really was left helpless.  He would ask what I was crying about and I would say that I was crying about everything and nothing all at the same time.  Here are a few of my thoughts about why the tears flowed so easily

1. HORMONES!!!! I have to give hormones some credit. The "baby blues" as some call it.  I know it was some hormones because I cried over silly little things like the pediatrician's receptionist being rude to me, and dinner plans falling through. Things that happen every day that normally I wouldn't blink an eye about, made me want to crawl in a hole and cry. I don't remember being that emotional with Payton, but a few of the other factors might have contributed.

2. Holidays - I tend to get very lonely here in KS around bigger holidays.  It feels like (I know this isn't the complete reality, but it feels this way to me) that everyone here in KS has family near by. If they aren't right in town, they can make a quick drive to spend the holiday's with the ones they love.  It isn't that simple for us. We can't drive to FL that quickly and because of Steve being in ministry we don't have the opportunity to spend the actual holiday with his family in St. Louis. I remember Easter last year trying so hard not to cry at church because I watched as families came into church together, excitedly talking about their Easter plans.  I so long to live near my family, but I know the reality is that might never happen again. This year with the Hormones and other factors, I had a really hard time with that. I do believe this was a big factor in my tears, I would cry so easily if I thought about my family being together celebrating or about others spending time with their family.

3. Lack of Sleep - Another factor had to be my lack of sleep. This really hasn't improved much over the past few weeks. Payton slept well from day 1, we were spoiled. Colton is probably more typical.  Most nights I was getting about 3-4 hours of sleep. Some nights less, very few nights more.  (Last night I got about 7 and feel like a million bucks).  I do not do well with lack of sleep. I have always loved going to bed early and getting a good nights rest.  Lack of sleep wears on my patience (especially with my almost 2 year-old's attitude) and my emotional stability.  I understand this is a newborn phase and it will pass. This "phase" though has about convinced me that I only want 1 more child (combined with the fact I don't enjoy being pregnant and really could do without labor and delivery). Colton has spent many nights screaming all night long, not allowing for much sleep to take place. I believe he has gas problems and we are working on solutions for that.
So yes, we are smiling in our picture, but Christmas wasn't that fun for me. My 2 year-old spent a lot of time in timeout on Christmas day and ended up going to bed early without dinner because she was having such meltdowns at the dinner table.  Once she was in bed, my husband and I silently ate our lobster dinner as we were both so exhausted. I cried over that too, Christmas is supposed to be a celebration, I didn't experience that this year. 

I am not looking for sympathy with this post. I know I am such a blessed individual that has an amazing husband and family who loves me. I am blessed beyond description in my life, but Christmas was hard and I wanted to share that, because too often we share all the wonderful things about life and people can get the wrong idea. Everyone has bad days or weeks.

I am better now, it has been over a week since I have shed tears :)

Thanks to those who have read this whole post and listened to my ramblings.


  1. Colton is so precious Erin! Hopefully you guys can get his gas situation under control, so then maybe you'll get more sleep! :)

  2. Oh Erin......please know that you are not alone :) Us in the mommy club often have these emotional breakdowns, especially when things don't go as we expected. The day I got home from the hospital, I set my son down on the floor by the door in his car seat, ran to my room and into the shower and proceeded to cry for the next 4 hours - I have no idea why! My husband and in-laws - thank god - took over mommy dudties for me during that time. I think I cried at the drop of a hat for the next week or two. I even remember crying during a dorito commercial! And then when Jaden started getting the tummy troubles, I thought I was going to loose it :)But once he started to smile and laugh, I forgot all about those horrible times! Just know that you are such an amazing mother to your sweet girl and that your husband is there to support you whether you are sane or not. It's ok to feel this way! Look at this year as a stepping stone and just think that next Christmas will be so much better! Keep your head up and maybe enjoy a little glass of wine tonight or a pedicure this weekend :) You're doing a great job!

  3. erin, thanks for this post. it is so honest and real. you're right, life is not always fun and smiles, especially when you have just had a baby, it's the holidays and you do not have any family around for either. that is a lot for anyone to deal with. hang in there momma. thanks again for this post.

  4. I love you so much, Erin Southards! Thanks for being real and transparent (two things I've always seen you to be and have loved you for from the very beginning). Thanks for giving us a glimpse into real life and opening up. I can't do much for Colton screaming through the night (wish I could), but please call me to come play with Payton for a few hours one day. I'd love to take some of that "attitude" for a little day trip somewhere so you can have a little rest, OK? I have several Friday afternoons open between the end of January and the end of March (I'm not sure what hours Steve is at the office) or I could come take her for a few hours on a weekend too if you want some time with Steve. If you don't call me by next weekend, I'm calling you!

  5. Erin, You are MORE than welcome to contact and share in our holidays, big or little, as Glen, mom and I are mostly alone. Our families do not live near and neither do our kids. Please don't hesitate to call if you need ANYTHING!! I loved your post in that you are so transparent about your feelings! Thank you!!

  6. I'm right there with you, the posy-baby hormones, being without MY family on holidays and exhaustion from raising toddlers! I love you friend, praying for you!

  7. i love you Erin! Thats a great post. I am so glad you are feeling better. Spidey cried non stop for the first 7 weeks, it drove me crazy!!! hormones can be so extreme and take over! just know you are NOT alone!!!!! love you so much

  8. Erin ~ Thank you for being real! This is the side of mommy-hood that not everyone always talks about, but is very real. We were also here in KS, alone, for the holidays. We had a great weekend, but I'm with you ~ it just isn't the same without the whole family!

  9. I'm glad you are feeling better:)I remember those first few weeks so clearly even though it was 7 years ago for me. I'll do anything I can to help in upcoming weeks! I know you will be off and on exhausted so please please please let me know what I can do. Kaden and I would love to come see you guys and you know how good Kaden is at keeping Miss Payton entertained:) Love you hun.