Tag Archives: Mom

If Mama isn’t at 100% She Can’t Give 100%

16 Jul

I had not realized how important self care was until I had a mini-breakdown when my first child was 18 months.

It wasn’t until I could barely make it through a day, dragging my frayed mind, body, and emotions around through the never ending mundane and the constant needs of a busy little body that I realized something needed to change.

I needed to change.

Let me know if you recognize any of these in yourself:

  • You postpone your own laundry in favor of everyone else’s
  • You realize it’s the middle of the day and you’ve only had a few bites of food
  • It’s been weeks since the last time you read a book or watched a show for your personal enjoyment
  • Fruit? Vegetables? What are those?
  • You stay up half the night to enjoy just a “few moments” of quiet
  • You wake up with the children, or with just enough time to pee and brush your teeth by yourself
  • You realize the voice in your head doesn’t have to work very hard to get you in a bad mood
  • The slightest thing can set you off on a mental or verbal tirade
  • You and your partner haven’t had a date, with or without kids, in months
  • Your multivitamin bottle has a layer of dust on it
  • You’re touched out, mentally wiped, emotionally drained, and/or at the end of your rope in any other way every. single. night.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way saying our lives should never contain any of these, and that if they do we’re failing.  There will be days, even the occasional couple weeks when we deal with several of these at once.

But a full month? Two?  No.

At that point it’s time to take a self assessment.  Spend a couple days where you watch yourself through the eyes of a stranger.  Or just sit in the quiet one morning or night and go over your last few days in your mind or a journal.

I did both of these.

Exhausted Mom

Beyond simply tired.

The conclusion?  I was trying to pour from an empty cup.

With no thoughts to my personal upkeep I had given to those around me to the point that I had nothing left. Nothing.

My first step?  Getting a good multivitamin.

I was still nursing my toddler, and without enough nutrients going in to maintain the both of us my body was lacking a lot of things.  Since I have a terrible time getting pills down I opted for a high-quality children’s chewable.  By the end of a week of vitamins, a little extra water, and taking a few minutes to make myself a real breakfast every morning, things had started to turn around.

From there I went a step farther. Literally.

A couple days a week I would put my little one in her stroller and take a mile walk.  No time limit.  No hurry.  Just a 20 to 30-ish minute stroll around the neighborhood getting some sunshine, a bit of exercise, and a change of scenery while pointing out birds and dogs and squirrels to my ecstatic toddler.

It was a pleasant break in our normal routine of me mostly just hanging out at home waiting for the next mini disaster to happen.

From there I started looking more proactively at my personal routine.

I found that if I went to bed shortly after she was down for the night I could get up and have a couple of hours to myself, or with my husband, in the morning.  Even if all I did was get myself ready for the day, then sit and enjoy a mug of tea while reading or watching a show of my choosing or sit on the couch with my man, it was a step forward.

Bubble baths made a reappearance in my life.  If the kid found me and climbed in, whatever.  I was in a tub filled with bubbles, my lufa, and a couple drops of whatever essential oil made me happy that day.  I’d just take a deep breath and laugh when she tried to help me exfoliate my arms.

I also started adding a drop of jasmine or lavender to my daughter’s baths.  If I’m stuck in the bathroom for 20 minutes playing lifeguard, I may as well get a little aroma therapy in.  (IF you do this, you’ll want to be sure it’s just a drop or two in a lot of water, make sure they aren’t allergic to that particular oil, and that you have high quality oils that won’t be exposing you or your child to heavy metals or pesticide residue.)

I temporarily gave up trying to read paper books, and started downloading ebooks to the Kindle app on my phone and laptop.  It was really nice to be able to sit and read something fun or at least interesting while ignoring the children’s educational show in the background.  If I got interrupted, no biggie.  I didn’t have to worry about trying to find somewhere safe to put the book, I just slipped the phone into my pocket and changed the diaper or whatever.

Never underestimate the importance of a partner who is willing to help you out!  After discussing things with my husband, letting him peek into the little hell I had unknowingly allowed to build in my personal life, he started taking our daughter on occasional strolls around the neighborhood and bug hunts in the yard, strictly so I could have half an hour with the house to myself.  Now, in his defense, she was a very mom-clingy toddler, so it wasn’t until about that time that she would be ok with the idea of leaving me for that amount of time.  Poor guy still occasionally came back in with a bawling kid suffering from mommy withdrawals.  Now that she’s 3, however, they have shopping adventures together.  They hit the hardware store as a team at least once a month.

Pregnant Woman Enjoying Sunshine

Soak in moments of peace. They’re magic.

Now, 2 years later, I’m in my last trimester with our second girl.  Perhaps that’s what brought up this train of thought.  I am still taking those children’s vitamins instead of prenatals.  My water bottle is always handy.  I get up 2 hours before our preschooler usually wakes up, and that is my time to wake up, get my morning self-care done in peace, find a first breakfast, and watch a couple YouTube videos, read articles, or check email.  This amount of time also allows my husband and I at least a few minutes of quiet time to talk without being interrupted by the flow of the day.  It’s too hot right now for walks, especially this late in my pregnancy, but my daughter has toys to play with in the yard while I putter around tending to our little raised bed garden.

I can’t say that every day is perfect.  But it’s a whole lot better than it was 2 years ago.

Your list of self-care needs could look completely different from mine.

You may be an extremely outgoing person who needs to be around other people a lot.  If that’s the case you could spend an hour at the park with your kids while you talk with other moms; a lot of fast food restaurants have a kids play area that often have other parents willing to chat; ask a couple friends to meet you weekly at a favorite coffee shop; arrange for a phone call or Skype chat with someone or several people a time or 2 a week, etc.

You may really need a heavy workout 3x a week to feel human.  If you’re a runner, and leaving the kids at home with someone is not an option, get a baby jogger, put older kids on their bikes and get out there.  Little kids think yoga is the funniest thing they’ve ever seen, and will often try to imitate the positions.  Little kids also make great (giggling) weights for squats or lunges.  There are any number of ways to incorporate kids into your exercise routine.  YouTube is full of cute videos of parents working out with (and often in spite of) their kids.  Or, if you have the funds, a lot of larger gyms provide childcare.

Participating in your community may be your thing.  Joining a community garden would be a great way to help out.  Smaller museums are always looking for volunteers. Your local library probably has a project or program that could use another set of hands. Most care centers would love having someone come in and sing, play an instrument, put on a comedy skit, or just hang out and talk. If you bring your kids along (as possible) it would be a great learning experience for them, too.

If, like me, you need to be alone to recharge, then nap time is your friend.  Don’t just use the alone and quiet to rotate the laundry and tidy the kitchen.  Even if you take a mere 10 minutes at some point in the day to journal, meditate, do a bit of centering yoga, or reading an absorbing book, it will do you a world of good.  Waking up before the kids is very important here, so you have some quiet in the morning to get yourself together before dealing with the never alone that happens through the rest of the day.

Comfortable Couple

A few peaceful moments with him can make a big difference.

This last thought may come across as a bit counter-intuitive, but I have discovered that when I am feeling touched out and ready to scream the best remedy is spending touching time with my husband.  All day long I have been touched because of need, whether physical or emotional need, it’s been draining.  When with my husband I am inviting touch out of want.  It’s a choice thing, I guess, but it does wonders.  Cuddles, snuggles, holding hands, a long hug, a bit of hanky-panky while watching a movie, spooning as we fall asleep, it doesn’t have to be a big production, just touch that you have invited or even initiated does wonders for your soul.  The same idea could apply to a close friend, a sister, or your mom, just anyone you would feel comfortable hugging, getting a back rub from, having your hair played with, leaning against when you’re both on the couch.  It’s not a bad thing for moms to need to be physically comforted, too.

    As moms we often think of ourselves as the ones who just take care of everyone else. But there’s one other person we usually forget to put on our lists. Us.

Our families, those we take care of, deserve to have us at our best.  But more than that, we deserve to have us at our best.

So do it.  Remember that multivitamin.  Make real food a priority for yourself.  Go to bed a bit earlier than usual.  Get up with some time to spare in the morning and spend a few minutes in the tub, or reading, or just sitting in your favorite chair sipping tea enjoying the silence.  Find something that’s just for you.  Whether that is reading fantasy novels, writing a blog, knitting, running, coffee with friends, volunteering, gardening, or any number of things.

Spend time on You. Because you deserve to be at 100%.

 

Video

How Does A Head Cold Patient Entertain Herself?

11 Dec

Very Carefully.

.

Hi, I’m in a brief window of time where I’m not too stuffed up to think straight, and at the peak of my awakeness between sleeping sessions.

Gotta hurry, though. Wouldn’t want the cold to realize I’m being almost productive.

.

Well, so far, I have watched one and a half seasons of My Hero (from BBC), taught my husband how to reblog, helped contain pets as Lonnie unfroze the kitchen pipes, nodded off while playing Wizard101 (badly), called my mom to tell her I wouldn’t be going to Bible study this week… and bemoaned the fact that reading more than a couple pages of any book makes my eyes hurt.  😦 

Other than that I have pretty much eating, sleeping, and sneezing.

.

I hope your week is going much better than mine.

.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXxmZKDsirk

.

Too Many Ideas For One Mind To Handle

8 Jun

When I was younger I didn’t think I was a creative person. My mom and a sister were the visual artists.

Another sister was the fashionista (She still is. Just got a Mohawk a couple weeks ago. Looks Awesome!).

This first sister was always inventing a code or language, sang all the time, making up her own songs, has a beautiful voice, picked up sign language in a semester…

Mom can write, sing, draw, paint, act, darn near anything creative is covered by this one woman!

Dad can build anything, and fix anything.

My youngest sister could pull a new friend out of thin air. She was also something of a fashion bug. Always managed to look very ‘Now’, even when wearing jeans and an old t-shirt.

Me? Yes, I could sing, dance, and act. But put a pen in my hand and ask me to draw a bunny? Erm…No. Tell you a story? Ok, once upon a time there was a happy Princess, she met a happy Prince. They got married. The End. Happy??? You wanted more than that? Oh. Sorry.

Then I took a class on Essay writing. Full on panic mode! That teacher wanted a couple two page essays a week! But, I got to know her a little. Then a little more. After a couple classes I was teacher’s pet. I learned how to write to my audience. Soooo…yeah. I got an A.

I didn’t start doing any creative writing until I was about 24. My husband was still my boyfriend/fiance, my boss had moved to Florida, hubby’s job had moved to another city, and I was broke and bored. Got a plot idea in my head one day, so I called up Lonnie and told him I didn’t know how to start writing it out. He told me to write a little for the beginning, a little for the middle, and a little for the end. Then go in a fill in the blanks.

So I did.

And it worked.

It still isn’t finished, though. First novels rarely do get finished in a timely manner. While working on that book I got about 10 more plot ideas, and carefully put them into Word documents of their own. They are all crying out to be written and read. Some days it gets rather noise in my head.

Like today. Lonnie came up with another plot idea while in the shower. He gave me a run down of the idea and asked me to type it up. Then I got a little idea to add to a sci-fi I’ve had simmering in my stories folder. Another synopsis caught my eye and needed a little tweaking.

Seriously, if I could afford a couple ghost writers right now…I could keep them busy for a couple years with all these ideas crying out for attention.

Needless to say, I can get a little distracted from the project I am working on.

*        *        *

Do you have a couple ideas percollating on the back burner?

Are they a distraction? Or something of a dangled carrot (as in “Look what you get to work on when you finish your current project!”) ?

My unfinished to do list for My Ignored Hamper and Other Bathroom Poetry

My unfinished to do list for My Ignored Hamper and Other Bathroom Poetry

We Survived The Roadtrip!

29 Apr

A car full of people recently traveled nearly the entire breadth of Oregon to attend the Living Proof conference in Eugene.

101_1116

This is my conference booklet. Photo was take at my seat in the Matthew Knight Arena. We just about packed the place.

The speaker was Beth Moore, and the subject was Time. It was very cool, and a little overwhelming. It will certainly take a few days to process all the little epiphanies she inspired.

The final count on the first evening was that 7,300 women (and a few brave men) were in attendance. Wow! There were certainly a whole lot of people there, but everyone was Sooo polite!

Here are a couple photos of the landscape we traveled through.

 

 

The worlds largest juniper forest is spread over the middle of Oregon

The worlds largest juniper forest is spread over the middle of Oregon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow capped mountains in the distance.

Snow capped mountains in the distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mom and the lovely lady who did the driving managed to find a waterfall for me so I could take some photos. It was rather chilly in the shade of all the trees, but well worth the trek.

Sahalie Falls

Sahalie Falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rainbow at the base of the falls

The rainbow at the base of the falls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at all that moss! It's a pretty, pretty place.

Look at all that moss! It’s a pretty, pretty place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would have taken more photos except my camera was brought along without forethought into how the batteries were doing.

 

Here’s a photo of some of the crowd at the conference.

This was taken during a music portion of the second day.

This was taken during a music portion of the second day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tried to get a snap of the people on the stage, but my camera would not handle all the lights.

It was a trip well worth taking. Not only for the conference, but I was able to reconnect with an acquaintance from years back (furthering the acquaintance into a friendship), and also make new friends. Hooray for new Facebook friends! 🙂

That’s all for me now. Time to unpack and run a load of laundry. lol