Family

We can do hard things.

I’m sitting in bed, it’s Friday, I only know this because someone told me, the days are running together into an endless blur, and if you had told me 3 weeks ago I was going to be in my house with 8 kids for a few months, I would of thought it was impossible, but here we are, and we’re okay.

This is hard, it’s hard for all of us, we’re scared, we’re anxious, we don’t know where the bottom is. I wake up everyday and try to be positive and have some kind of structure (I need some,) but by mid afternoon, when the kids are occupied and I’m alone with my thoughts I can’t help but cry. This is a lot, this is a lot that came upon us really fast.

I’ve dealt with anxiety since I was a kid so I’m not new to this, as Glennon Doyle said “I know how to deal with anxiety and fear because I’ve been practicing my whole life.” It’s true but this is some next level BS right here. I’m trying to be the calm center for my family, I’m trying to educate, feed and protect them, and it’s hard and it’s scary.

I’m sure I’m just rambling, this is my brain these days, a series of disjointed thoughts that come and go, but I wanted to get them down, I wanted to say “this is tough on everyone, you’re not alone,” we might feel alone safe in our houses (I know we’re supposed to say safe at home, but I really feel trapped at home,) and it’s okay, if you’re not okay.

We can do this, we can do hard things (another line from my new favorite Glennon,) we will get through this, but we can also say it sucks and hide in our closets if we need to. Being strong doesn’t mean you can’t cry or breakdown, remember that, it’s easier to avoid emotions then to feel them, strength comes from being honest with what you’re going through, I lost it just yesterday taking this family photo (don’t we look happy?) I was trying to get the family together for a dance party for Bravotv and none of the kids were listening, Rowan popped Curren’s balloon, tears were flowing and I said “screw all of you,” jumped in my car to drive aimlessly and have a few moments to myself.

I’m here, I’m doing my best, and I know you guys are too, this will end and there will be an after.

You’re not alone

One of the perks of this job is that I get to connect with people from all over, every night I sit down and go through the DMs on my Instagram, making sure I read them all and answer as many as possible. Many are “I love the show,” or “where’d you get that sweater?” The ones that touch me the most are the ones that deal with issues my own family has faced, updates on kids with OCD whose parents asked for help, or LGBTQ+ teens who realize they aren’t alone. Yesterday I had a women reach out, she was wondering how I got through the tough times, she was feeling depressed and wasn’t sure anyone could relate and asked me how I stayed so strong.

I told her the truth, that I’m going through one of the hardest times in my life right now, that everyone goes through things, and to remember that when you ask someone “how are you doing?” And they say “fine,” there’s a pretty good chance they aren’t.

We’re conditioned to keep the hard parts to ourselves, to not complain or ask for help, women especially are brought up to “not be a bother,” and to smile even when we don’t want to. I’m guilty of this, my Instagram is filled with perfect pictures of a near perfect life, when the reality is I feel like everything is crashing down around me.

I’m lucky to have amazing friends, women that when I say “I can’t make it today, I’m isolating,” understand and don’t take it personally, friends that show up on the hard days, listen to the ugly and never judge. I also have the most supportive family, Sean and the older kids let me talk honestly about what’s going on, we share things as a family, and help each other though everything.

My life is weird, I have a job that supports lying, fighting and backstabbing, I’m surrounded by people that want to see you fail and will tear you down to stay relevant, it’s a 180 from my regular life and can still knock me off my feet, as much as I try and separate the two, work and my life, I have a hard time, and it can still send me spiraling down at times.

I’m working on myself a lot these days, tackling some big issues, owning up to my mistakes and admitting when I’m wrong. I still fail, every day I mess up and think “maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to do this better.” I’m a work in progress, we all are, and none of us are alone in that.

If you’re reading this and going through something, know you’re not the only one, reach out, connect, talk openly with a friend or family member, and if that’s not an option, message me. We’re all in this “life” thing together.

Xoxo

The Misadventures of the Burkey Bunch.

Where do I even begin.

We take two family trips a year, two trips where everyone stops what they’re doing, takes a break and comes together, with our busy schedules this time is sacred to me (if you recall last year between filming and a snowstorm, I missed it and sadly drank coffee alone in my kitchen.)

This year started out okay, I spent 4 days getting everyone fitted in the right sized clothes, ordered what we needed, donated what we’d outgrown, and headed out for a new destination. We’d spent time this summer with friends in Aspen and thought Snowmass would be a great, new destination for the family. We were wrong.

Let me start out by saying I know I’m very high maintenance, it’s who I am, I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like. I don’t like noise. At all. I like quiet. I know this seems weird being that I have 7 kids, but it’s true (it’s actually more of an over sensory issue, I never grew out of that “my socks aren’t right,” phase.) So when our first condo was right over the chairlift that blasted house music all day, I knew it wasn’t going to work out (shouldn’t skiing be John Denver and classic 70s hits anyway?) After a full blown meltdown, legit losing my shit in public, we had an amazing real estate agent that left her party and found us another condo (I did apologize for losing it by the way, hopefully I didn’t scare her.) This one wasn’t working either, it was beautiful, but on a busy road, and when I went to explore the village and asked someone “where’s the nature?” To be told I needed to take a bus, I knew this wasn’t a good fit for us. I’m out. When I go skiing I want trees and fields, snow forts and snowball fights, not Disney on ice. Sean, used to my “we aren’t staying here,” meltdowns, quickly went online and started looking for places in Beaver Creek. On Super Bowl Sunday. For 10 people.

No pressure.

Amazingly Sean did it , he contacted this amazing man, a father of 9, who wasn’t planning on renting out his house, took pity on us and let us stay. His clothes were still in the closet, his food in the fridge, but he’s like “I get it, come stay.” So we repacked for the third time, loaded the kids and drove through a blizzard to get here.

Let me say, for two people raised in the sun, driving in the snow was not fun, I don’t think I’ve ever had a more stressful drive in my life, 2 hours driving 40 miles an hour or less….but we made it.

This house is warm and cozy, well lived in with board games collected over the years, it’s perfect (I might be high maintenance, but I don’t need fancy, just clean and quiet.) This is my happy place. Was it a trek to get here? Oh ya. Do we do things most people wouldn’t consider? Yes again. Are we having the best time? Yep.

Moral of the story, if something isn’t working, we fix it, even if it’s hard.

In the end this has been one of the best trips ever, the perfect moment before the craziness of filming begins, and I’m now enjoying every last minute.