I’ve shared my journey with my oldest on here a few times, with occasional updates on her treatment, diagnosis, etc. To some, it may seem trivial that I dwell so much on the fact that she has ADHD, among other challenges. I’ve tried to deal with it all in silence here lately, but that seems to be harder on me than anything else.

Yes, she still struggles with her ADHD. Yes, she still battles depression and anxiety (even at just nine years old). Yes, the harder years are yet to come. We have been through treatment plan after treatment plan with no end in sight.

For those of you that aren’t aware of our journey, here’s a brief overview.

At age three, she lost her biological father in an accident. We managed and battled anger that her little mind had no clue where it was coming from. By age four, she started school. As an educator, I could see the signs that we were headed down the path of impulse and attention deficits. We used homeopathic remedies, strategies to work through things, you name it. The breaking point was when she lost control in the classroom and couldn’t gain it back again.

This led to an early diagnosis of ADHD and our first bout with medication. For about a year or so, we were good. The medication worked, she made great progress, and her educational abilities were able to shine through.

Fast forward to first grade. We were dealt the hand of struggling with friendships and difficulty being the person others wanted to be around. (I know every child is unique. I love this about her and the many children I teach. It doesn’t make the hard times any easier to swallow.) She was thrown into the mix with mean kids, she was the mean kid, and eventually she just isolated herself.

By second grade she was moved to the school that I teach at, as a student in my classroom. This was a blessing and a curse. I was able to step back and let my husband have the parenting role, but I saw her struggles full force in many different settings. By this time, we were on our third treatment plan. New counselors, new medications, new environment. (Also new father figure. I had recently married my current husband.)

We made it through the year with stellar grades and new friends that she would be with for years to come. She had goals set for the summer, we had travel plans, everything was sunshine and rainbows.

Third grade was much like second, only with a few new classmates and changing classes half-way through the day. Her teachers were very aware of her struggles and strengths. They were also made aware of any changes to her treatment plan throughout the year. They are amazing women who just “got” my kid. She didn’t feel isolated or like an outcast. Her depression and anxiety even got to be more manageable.

Now, we have just wrapped up fourth grade. She had the same teachers, a few new classmates, and a much heavier workload (as expected). This year was the kicker. Her emotional struggles took over. Her impulse control disappeared. She even started having extreme anger outbursts at home.

Her anger was geared towards her dad and me. She adores her little sister but can sometimes be sneaky about placing blame for things she did. And now, she has started eating and chewing on things that are in no way shape or form a food product. There’s a whole laundry list of new symptoms and red flags.

Current treatment plan: Back to an old medication that has worked in the past, but her system outgrew at the time. Added a medication to help with her emotional outbursts (anger, anxiety, and depression). She also takes a medication to help her sleep at night because of insomnia. Talk therapy has become the norm for a while now.

The hardest pill for me to swallow as her mom is that we are at the point of having her evaluated to see if the diagnosis she has been given is even the right one. We feel in our hearts that it isn’t but pray that we are wrong. We hope to get all of the answers to help her through this dark path, but also understand that there is no permanent or direct solution to any of this.

I don’t share this to get sympathy or beg for understanding. I share this in hopes that someone reading it will realize that they aren’t alone in their struggles, whether it be with a child or teen, even adult. I share this to ask for prayers of understanding and comfort. I share this because I feel like it’s my only outlet.

I keep telling myself that there is a reason I’m her mother. God chose me to raise her and help her through this. I don’t know how, but I’m doing my best. If you are parenting a child through a difficult season, just remember that there’s a reason you were chosen for that job.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” -Psalms 127:3

Let me tell you about the time my eight-year-old thought I’d lost my mind. I’m sure this will happen MANY times over the next few years, but this one is my all-time favorite moment in my parenting history so far.

Let me start with a little bit of backstory. My daughter, whom I will refer to as Boogie, has been on a rollercoaster of a ride in her few short years. She lost her biological father at three and was diagnosed with ADHD at four. That diagnosis threw us for a constant loop with the revolving door of medicines until we found what worked for her. (That didn’t happen until just recently.) I was her teacher last school year and noticed some things that didn’t quite add up with a simple ADHD diagnosis. That bit of speculation led my husband and I to find a behavioral specialist to investigate this further. Long story short, Boogie is now diagnosed ADHD with a co-morbid mood disorder. Now, I know not all parents are for medication, but it’s what my daughter needs to simply function on a daily basis. Not giving it to her would do more harm than good. BUT that’s a story for another day.

Back to the day where it rained baby powder. My husband was on shift, so it was just me and the girls. It had been a tough week for Boogie with lots of sneaking and blaming things on the dog when she would get caught. I asked her to keep an eye on her sister while I took the garbage to the garage and, of course, all was well at this point. Or so i thought…

I walked back into the living room to a one-year-old covered in powder. I mean head-to-toe covered. And she had the bottle in her hand just staring at me. I gave that small giggle that (as a mom) signals my dread of having to clean it all up. As I dust off the baby I begin to question Boogie on how the powder got everywhere. She simply stated that the baby did it. I took that answer with a grain of salt and went to bathe the snow baby. After getting the now powder paste off of her head, I pull up the baby cam that views the living room to see if I could either get a good laugh at the baby shooting powder all over herself, or discover the truth that I knew would be shown. (Cue the “dun DuN DUNNN!”)

On the video I see Boogie open the powder, sprinkle a little on the floor, and then look at the baby. She then walks over to her and sprinkles just a little on her head. Then she sprinkles a little more…and then a little more…and then half of the bottle. Keep in mind that all of this happened in a matter of one to two minutes. I calmly dress the baby and walk to the living room where Boogie is sitting on the couch. I pull up the video for her to see and she still denies the powder incident. Even with clear evidence, still denies it. This is where it gets good.

Without saying a word, I take the bottle of baby powder and walk to her bedroom. She quickly jumps up and asks with full alarm what I am doing. I ask her again why she put powder on the baby and on the floor. Here’s her response: “I was just trying to be helpful!”… Helpful! So, I open the powder and let it rain all over her bedroom without any hint of emotion. All the while she is screaming at me to stop and begging me not to spray it on her bed. (I drew the line there. No beds were painted white with powder.) After I finished, I turned to look at her and said, “I was just trying to be helpful,” and walked out.

I sat on the couch and just knew she was going to have a meltdown. I was prepared for another full-blown screaming fit. Instead, she runs to the laundry room to grab the broom and vacuum cleaner. She quickly cleans her room completely and then moves on to clean the living room. The bottle of baby powder was put back into the nursery and then she joined me on the couch. We sat for a minute just watching the baby play and she said to me, “I don’t like what you did, but I know why you did it. You wanted to teach me a lesson. I’m sorry I put powder on the baby and lied about it.” I thanked her for cleaning the messes and we pinky promised not to powder anything other than the baby’s bottom ever again.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">See? Even when you lose your mind and throw powder everywhere, it can still end up being a mom win. Also, I feel like I need a disclaimer of some sort here. This is not a normal occurrence in our house. Even if it hadn't turned out quite so well, I would've cleaned the messes up myself. Sometimes you just need to let your frustrations out. (Even if it's in the form of a powder dusting.)See? Even when you lose your mind and throw powder everywhere, it can still end up being a mom win. Also, I feel like I need a disclaimer of some sort here. This is not a normal occurrence in our house. Even if it hadn’t turned out quite so well, I would’ve cleaned the messes up myself. Sometimes you just need to let your frustrations out. (Even if it’s in the form of a powder dusting.)

Til next time! 🙂

A common comparison for life is to look at it as seasons. Seasons change, some are harsher than others, and some are amazing. The same comparison can be made with parenting.

Since my oldest has been diagnosed ADHD, I have been an open book about it. I talk about her meds, therapy, home strategies…but what I don’t talk about much is the harshness of the seasons.

In the past year we have been through probably six different seasons. These seasons can be pinpointed by medication changes, growth and development, and life’s curveballs.

We have had to watch our daughter go through trial and error periods with medication to help her manage her (current) diagnosis of ADHD, ODD, and a mood disorder. I know we could’ve been dealt a tougher hand, but with any medical diagnosis, it’s so hard to watch your child struggle.

We’ve learned to gauge her moods, highs and lows, and her middle ground. I can’t even begin to explain how much it hurts my heart that we can’t guide her through things any more than we already are.

For those of you against medication, we’ve tried it. We’ve tried everything under the sun. It’s the only thing that helps her and at nine years old, she fully recognizes that.

We have now hit the season of her growing up and wanting more independence. More freedom. To be who she is without us constantly looking over her shoulder or reminding her to have self-control.

With this season comes peers that are also at that same point in growing up. Our daughter is slowly realizing that she is different. She notices when no one wants to be around her. She sees and hears people saying negative things about her.

As a parent, my heart is broken. We do our best to teach our children to be kind, yet they don’t understand when they aren’t given the same kindness.

The whole point of this post was to talk about seasons in our lives. Our season right now is a bit brutal. It won’t always be this way. God will see us through like he always does.

As the start of this school year rolls around, please remind yourselves and your children that kindness goes a long way and everybody could use a little grace.

Many of you know about my writing journey. Some of you may not. It’s been a long one, but this week started with the sweet smell of success.

My novel, The Widow’s Heart, is now available on Amazon!

(Updated link in the comments.). The Widow’s Heart: Book 1 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0997QPKSF/

The e-Book will be released tomorrow, but you can preorder it today. The paperback is live and ready for ordering!

The journey of writing this book has been emotionally trying for me. I’ve stated before that writing is my therapy, and after hitting that publish button, a weight has been lifted.

My success not only comes from publishing my novel, but from putting myself out there for everyone to see (read).

Thank you all for the continued support! Book 2 is in progress and will be published when I feel it’s ready for publishing.

What’s a goal you’re working towards? And have you felt the shine of sweet success yet?

This post is going to be raw and as real as I can get through words. Self-doubt can kill your dreams. Let me further explain…

I haven’t written in a while for focusing on editing my manuscript. I am doing my best to read it with ‘fresh eyes’, but as the author I can only disconnect so much. I am doubting my ability to make it flawless (in my eyes).

This self-doubt stems from the confidence issues I’ve had most of my life. You can tell me positive things about myself, but I won’t fully believe you.

This rings true in MANY aspects of my life. It is also a struggle that my wonderful husband helps me to cope with daily. He listens to me complain, second guess, and cry about all the things I wish I could be.

Then he tells me all the things I am to him and our girls. He tells me how proud he is of me and how proud I should be to put my novel out there.

But I haven’t yet gotten that validation from a stranger, so it doesn’t hit quite the same. Even as my husband, he has never told me what I want to hear but only what I need to hear.

I know in my mind that I am enough in every sense of the word. But I don’t always feel it in my heart.

I see so many people struggling with mental health and awareness since the pandemic. Male, female, however you identify…self-doubt knows no stranger. Depression knows no stranger. Anxiety knows no stranger.

No matter what your struggles are, remember that YOU are enough. See yourself the way God sees you. Place your burdens on Him. Yes, the struggles will still be there, but He equips you with what you need to make it through.

I want to be the woman who doesn’t need validation from anyone else. I want to believe in myself the way my friends and family do. And, with taking small steps, I can.

I tell my daughters and my students that they can be anything they put their minds to. If I feed that confidence to them, then I should be able to believe it myself.

With that being said, I’d like to reintroduce myself to y’all. I’m Nicole Barnes and I struggle with anxiety and depression. It will not defeat me. It will no longer control me. I AM ENOUGH!

My childhood dream of becoming a published author is really happening! I’ve poured my heart and soul into my novel. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, I’ve scrapped some pretty hefty chapters…but the time has come.

My manuscript is complete! (Granted I’m still doing my final read-through.) BUT all of the pages are printed and bound. It’s easier for me to spot errors on a hard copy that I missed on the computer.

All the hours, all the pages, all the words in one binder.

Now on to the self-publishing process. Why self-publishing you ask? That’s simple. The process is cheaper, quicker, and pretty easy to manage on your own thanks to Amazon’s KDP service.

Since completing my writing, I have applied for a copyright and now have an ISBN through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Baby steps!

I have started on creating my front cover and back cover. It’s not finalized yet, but only because I’m taking my time to make sure it’s up to my standards.

Cover Art Teaser!

As an author, self-publishing or traditional, our success runs off of our book sales. Amazon KDP gives the option to have paperbacks printed on demand and E-Books for all you digital readers out there. 😉

I’ll keep y’all posted on the progress and will shout from the rooftops when it’s available for purchase.

As a mom, I have my struggles with my children. Power struggles, bedtime struggles, discipline struggles… Yesterday I figured out I am THAT mom. Big things happen, I remain calm. Small things, well that’s another story.

As I’ve mentioned before, my oldest has a pretty tough time with her ADHD. We’ve been back and forth with approaches, medications, and therapy. Nothing can penetrate that rock solid diagnosis.

I tend to argue and lose my cool with her over what I consider after the fact a small thing. Breakfast? Yep. Clothes? Absolutely. Homework? You bet.

Yesterday, however, we had something major (to her) happen. She dropped her tablet screen down onto the concrete. It still works, but the screen does not register touches and is not safe for swiping even if it was.

I am THAT mom who didn’t punish my child. She was distraught enough that I didn’t even need to say anything. I just told her we’d get it fixed and her punishment is being without it for a while.

So yes, I lose it over the small things, but the big things tend to roll off my back. I’m not sure why, it’s just my response to her. Some might think it should be the other way around.

I don’t think it makes me or anyone else a bad parent to tell and scream over things (big or small). It makes you human. Give yourself and your kids some grace. ❤️

Being a mom (to either fur or human babies) is a daunting task that takes a toll on the time you put into yourself. Here are some quick self-care tips that I’ve found helpful to me as a busy mom.

1. Find a good sugar scrub. Mine is a gentle scrub made by Scentsy. There are so many scents to choose from. I choose Luna due to its soft scent. I try to make time to use it weekly while showering to give myself that extra bit of pampering after the kids are in bed. (Scentsy Link: https://nicolewbarnes.scentsy.us/product/search?query=Body+scrub)

2. Learn some hair hacks for quick and easy hair care and styles. I have unruly, multi textured hair that hates the southern humidity. (Hence the ponytail or bun I constantly rock.) I have found a shampoo/conditioner combo that nourishes my hair and makes it easier to manage. It’s a little more costly, but makes quick styles look so much smoother than cheaper drugstore brands.

3. Do your makeup, even if it’s basic. I don’t do the whole contouring thing, but just swiping on tinted moisturizer, blush, and mascara makes all the difference. I feel presentable and more confident when I am put together.

4. Nap! I don’t get to do this often, but I take advantage of it when I can. Sleep doesn’t come easy for me. If I can catch a few extra minutes of rest, I’m grab a blanket and doze while I can.

5. Give yourself some grace. As a mom, I tend to be hard on myself when my kids are having a bad day or if I burn dinner, etc. Nothing you do will be perfect. It doesn’t need to be. By giving yourself some grace, you are teaching your children that it’s okay to make mistakes.

I’m not really sure if these tips count as self-care, but they make me feel better about myself. Just yesterday I took a day off from housework to go to Bee City (Cottageville, SC) with my in-laws and kids. I needed that break. I needed to see my kids enjoying time away from home and just be 100% with them.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, soon to be moms, and pet moms out there. Take time for yourself and love yourself as much as you love your family. You deserve it!

**I am an Independent Scentsy Consultant. Any purchase made from the above link will result in some compensation for me.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. It doesn’t mean my writing has been stagnant, but that sometimes life takes the majority of my time.

A little update on my short story contest…I didn’t place in the top five to move on to round two. I didn’t even hit the honorable mentions list (of only two). Am I sad? Definitely.

But this is where what I tell my daughter and students comes into play. You try to get better. You won’t succeed every time, but you will improve. Don’t stop trying just because it’s hard.

Sticking with my writing has proven to be very difficult for me. It’s easier to say “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’m too tired to write” than it is to actually do it. And half the time I put it off until whenever.

Times like now is when I want to put it down and walk away the most. But I’m not…I have something to prove to myself, and that is I CAN finish my book. I CAN move past this speed bump.

I WILL get it finished and published for all of you to read! My dream? To see my name on the cover of a finished novel. I am my biggest critic. I am my biggest obstacle. I will overcome myself to be successful.

As I continue to pursue and promote myself as a Freelancer and Ghostwriter, I feel the need to go a little deeper with the services I offer. I will go through each one and explain them a little better. If there’s anything I can help you with, please let me know!!

Ghostwriting- This is basically what happens when a person has a story but not the skills or time to go through the writing process. If the work is published, the ghostwriter doesn’t get any credit or mention in the writing. A good comparison would be paying someone to write your college essays. (Which I’ve never done from either side…)

Proofreading / Editing- You write a piece and I go through to make sure it flows and is properly written. Punctuation, grammar, or spelling errors? I’m on it! Kind of like fine-tuning your work.

Articles / Guest Blogs- Tell me your content preference and I will write a piece for you. I am currently working on affirmations and positive thinking for an app developer. I have done parenting and self-care guest posts also. I enjoy these because it gets my name out to a larger following.

On top of these services, I am currently working on my own things. I have a novel in progress and have entered a few short story contests. I was actually a finalist in one for microfiction! I have dabbled in different genres: romance, horror, crime, suspense…I am looking to work on more fiction and eventually move into non-fiction.

Rates for these vary according to project and agreement with the client. I am open to inquiries and questions. I am based in the US, but am not opposed to working with international clients.

To wrap this up, I like dipping my pen into different areas of content. I enjoy reading the work of others and helping them polish it. Words are my therapy. I’d love to help you create your story or proofread your completed work!

Every parent knows the feeling of watching your child hit the milestones for their age group. They also know the tinge of sadness that follows due to their baby growing up. Milestones at any age make for bittersweet moments.

We are currently dealing with an 18-month-old who decided to jump from her crib during a teething pain related rage. Once she fell to the (carpeted) floor, she decided right then and there that the crib was the enemy. How dare it make her fall when she was in pain already?? It wasn’t her fault that she fell.

But it was…Monkey Toes McGhee over here decided to try again at 2:00 one morning. She didn’t fall this time, but got stuck trying to get her leg over the rail. Mommy to the rescue! Disclaimer of sorts: Kid #1 NEVER jumped from her crib…ever… This is where the phrase about siblings being different comes into its truth.

Fast forward to the past two nights…we have her in her toddler bed (with a rail, Karen). We have to sit on the floor by her with one hand in her stomach. This keeps her in place. Once her eyes get heavy, you can slide back to prop up on the recliner. Tonight I was even able to sit in it while she dozed off!! And once the first sounds of snores escape, then I attempt mine.

Let’s just say, my ninja skills are no longer sharp due to the pop rocks in coke sound my joints make. Once I finally made it to the door (after going back to sit by her twice), I worked up my Kim Possible stunt of tip-toeing over the laser beam that is a baby gate.

Success!!!

Now to move on to Pinterest and search for some Super Nanny tips and tricks. Watching my baby grow is bittersweet, but as I was told a few months ago, “Don’t be sad to watch them grow. It’s so much better than the alternative”. My babies will always be my babies, no matter their age or size. I will sit by their beds any time they need me to.