2013 was a hard year for me- It started out difficult, trying, and stressful, but by the end I had discovered my family’s beautiful and rewarding future of possibilities. I started out the year crying. We were broke, I was stretched ridiculously thin with my jobs, my relationship with my husband was lacking at best, and my (wonderful) children were trying me every moment of every day.
My little Q was almost 2- headstrong beyond belief, and into EVERYTHING! My older Z was just as busy, also into everything, was even more trying- something was going on, but I couldn’t pinpoint what. She was about to be basically kicked out of her Montessori school (though I didn’t know it yet)- she hated going every day, she threw monster tantrums multiple times a day where she threw herself on the floor with enormous force (almost like she was possessed) and would have to be held so she wouldn’t hurt herself, she reacted dramatically to noise, she directly disobeyed directions (though not in a defiant way, more of a visceral disobedience), she aggressively attacked Q any time they were too close together, and on and on.
Even on the best of days it was impossible to function in a way that I didn’t feel like crying almost every moment I was so exhausted. Any time anybody asked me ‘how it was going’ I would break into tears. Basically we walled ourselves inside our house because it was impossible to go anywhere. It was too embarrassing and too dangerous- Z would run off or cry about how much she hated it the whole time and I would end up carrying two sobbing children out. I had basically lost track of all my friends because I spent all day and night either trying to keep our children from killing each other or earn money.
I. was. burnt. out.
Somehow in the midst of my fog I decided to take yet another thing upon myself. I switched gears from earning money (a huge leap of faith given our finances) to figuring out what was going on. (I had asked doctors and teachers previously, but nothing helpful came of it.) I dove into nutritional books and websites looking for answers in so many places, I took her to an integrative MD, I read more books, I took her to a homeopath, and I studied some more.
Long story short, we did some huge dietary changes. We switched to a completely gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, whole foods diet, starting with an elimination diet and gut cleanse. The tantrums decreased incredibly- we continued with our clean diet, we supported with supplements and homeopathy to balance Z’s nervous system.
In the beginning it was so tiring- figuring out what to make, encouraging the kids to try so many new foods, etc. but I was committed to figuring this out. I could see such amazing things inside my little girl, and I wasn’t going to wait another minute go by without figuring out what was going on.
In May I started at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I knew that I wanted to be able to pass this information on to other parents who were struggling with challenging children. Parenting is a hard enough job without all these added variables. I knew that with more information I could better help my own family, rebalance myself, and start to make my mark on the world by helping other families achieve their own health and freedom.
The year flew by- we saw more and more improvements as her little body rebalanced. I started having opportunities to go out with new and old friends who I hadn’t seen in ages, we started being able to go on play dates, and by the end of the year my girls had become best friends. That was by far the best gift I could have received- both for my sanity and for their social development.
We are still mostly gluten free, mostly dairy free, mostly sugar free, but it isn’t hard any more. We focus on whole foods and enjoy baking projects to keep our freezer well stocked.
Even more than food, though, we invited hope into our house. We calmed our spirits, we focused on what we could do instead of what was out of our control, and we took the time to enjoy our family. There is still work to be done, relationships to strengthen, personal reflection to be done, but life is good. My girls are healthy, busier than ever, and I am grateful. Grateful for their creative, loving little personalities. Grateful to have my own path being revealed to me. And grateful to my husband for still being around strong and patient as ever after everything that we’ve been through.
2014 is going to be a great year!