Dear Friend, What if We Had Coffee?

Angie Warren // Writer

Dear friend,

If we were to meet for coffee, I would likely be a few minutes late. I would apologize profusely and then want to buy your drink.

I'd wear cozy yoga pants and my Uggs, maybe a baseball cap. You'd sit across from me while I sip my iced coffee and you sip your ___________, and we would chat, like long-time friends.

I want to imagine it's possible. This coffee date together. I want to hear your heart and share mine too. What would we talk about? What would you ask me? What would we laugh about? What might we cry about?

In the words of myself circa junior high: write back soon.

Love, Ang

Hey Mama, I Hear You

Dear mama, I hear you. You matter, you're enough. // An Essay on Motherhood // Angie Warren


Hey mama with the yoga pants on, I hear you.

You want to put your nice clothes on, but it's taking all your energy to get through the day. You'll wear the jeans again, I promise. For now, enjoy the cotton, I hear you.

Hey mama who is in the throes of post-partum depression, I hear you.

You were so excited for this baby, and now, the things you feel scare you. You're not alone, mama, I hear you.

Hey mama with the tired eyes, I hear you.

You've been up all night with your toddler, he's the best thing about this life, but you're tired, and want just a bit of sleep. I hear you.

Hey mama who feels guilty for working, I hear you.

Your job is important to you, but so is your mothering. You feel torn between two worlds. It's okay mama, me too, I hear you.

Hey mama who can't find time for self-care, I hear you.

You know it's important, you miss the days of leisure pampering. You'll get there again, I know you will. I hear you.

Hey mama whose child is fighting anxiety, I hear you.

She's being alienated in school, your heart is broken, and you aren't sure how to help. I get it, I hear you.

Hey mama who is exhausted from fighting with your teenager, I hear you.

They're not itty bitty anymore, and the constant arguing is taking a toll. You wonder what you're doing wrong and will things ever be okay again. I hear you.

Hey mama who just lost your dad, I hear you.

Those last days of cancer were the worst parts of this life, and now you feel like the dark is suffocating you. I've been there, I hear you.

Hey, mama? Can I tell you a secret? You're not alone. You're enough. You're fighting the good fight, putting one foot in front of the other. You're brave and you're strong, and I hear you. There's light where there's dark, there is good when there is struggle. Hold on, mama, and don't let go.


The Gym Has Become My Prozac

Angie Warren // The Gym Has Become My Prozac

The gym has become my Prozac.

As in, it's chewing me up and spitting me out, in the best way of course. I was a self proclaimed basket case, most of the time. I'm a mother of three, who just this year brought her babies home to educate them. I was on edge all too often, twenty five balls too many in the air. I've been a slave to my to-do list, I've chosen perfect over present, for far too long.

But recently, the gym has become my Prozac.

I'm a PPD survivor, someone constantly juggling anxiety, and three years a motherless daughter. I love a handful of addicts who love their drug more than they love me. I have spent the better part of my mothering years struggling through the murky, dark waters of feeling like, I'm just, not, good enough.

But my friends, the gym has become my Prozac.

I have a good, good, husband, who has walked beside me through every one of the storms life has carried. He reminds me of the good. He sticks around when many would not. He's wonderful and yet, I still felt stuck, suffocated, tangled. I felt like I was drowning.

And then, the gym became my Prozac.

It's true. And truth be told, a year ago, or three or five I'd have laughed at the thought. When my OB wrote out my very first prescription she casually mentioned that activity is good for depression. When my therapist taught me grounding, she suggested daily walks for anxiety.

I've heard it time and time again and yet, I've said under my breath, "You're absolutely nuts." - there was just no way I had it in me. I was trying to survive. I was begging to breathe, to just get through the day so that night would come. There was no room in my mind or my heart to move my body any more than what was required to keep myself and my kids alive.

But it's true, on a cold November day, we did it. That husband and I, we walked with our little chicks into the gym and we haven't looked back. Those first weeks were rough, I'm not going to lie. It was a struggle to go, my body felt sluggish and my heart was heavy.

Slowly however, the most amazing thing began to happen. On my rest days, I felt it the most, that familiar aching tried to return. The rush, the anxiety, the craziness inside of me, it was on the surface again. And it was then that I began to realize, my time at the gym was doing more than changing my physical body, it was changing my entire mind.

That gym, it became my Prozac.

It's the act of going, the sacrifice of my time, it's the space of an hour or so that I'm just me. It's the knowledge that for the first time, in a very long time, I am taking care of myself. I'm putting me first, so I can be the best mom/wife/human to those I love the most.

It's changing my life, the gym. It's the choice to get up, even on my hardest days, when the anxiety flairs, when grief grabs hold - and that awesome husband I mentioned? He does his thing, "You'll feel better if you go, I know you will." And guess what? He's right.

I've become a better version of myself, physically and emotionally. The weight of anxiety and overwhelm don't hold me down, any longer. I breathe new air, smiling is more natural, and I'm choosing present now, over perfect.

The gym has become my Prozac, and I wouldn't change it for the world.


On Quinn Turning Five

Angie Warren

I think I can speak for most of us mamas when I say, the birthdays of our children are times of great reflection.

My husband laughed at me a bit just now as he walked in on me scrolling through videos from her birth, and then, for a while we both watched. Quinn came bouncing in and said, "Wow, was that me?" to which I nodded, tears threatening to spring.

We've celebrated two 5th birthdays so far, with our boys, but there's something about our little girl, our baby, our last one. Perhaps for us, for my husband and I, it's that these five years have been the most trying, the roughest of roads for us as a couple.

We've walked through fire, and there have been a few times the both of us threw our hands into the air and wanted to just be done. Life and loss and grief and anger will do that, to even the best of people.

So, this week we celebrate more than just our wee girl turning five, this week we also celebrate us. We celebrate how far we've come, how much closer we are, and the strength our marriage now has for having been through the more difficult days.

I loved watching those videos with him, side by side, smiling, remembering. It was as if five years, 1825 days, endless minutes really, flew right before my eyes.

Now, I'm off to snuggle my four year old, one, final, time. Tomorrow is a big, brand new, day, and we can't wait to get it going!