Finding your self-care rhythm

IMG_5813

{image c/o Modify Ink}

Finding a new rhythm for anything is tricky.  Whenever life changes, it throws me for a loop.  It always takes time to work out the kinks, and it is no different for starting a new self-care regimen.

These are just some of the things that have helped me get back into the swing of things after becoming a mother.  Now, if you just had a baby, do NOT expect to embrace several new things at once.  Be gentle with yourself.  I have a nearly 5-year-old and a 2 1/2-year-old, and it’s taken me a long time to add these routines back into my life.  Slow and steady wins the race though. Continue reading “Finding your self-care rhythm”

Self-Care Redefined

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

The term ‘self-care’ has been used all over lately – I see it hash-tagged on Instagram, in quotes on the Internet, and in so many other places.  I think for some, it can have negative connotations – especially in the parenting world.  For me, though, self-care was a term in my vocabulary years before I became a mother.  But it means something totally different to me now. Continue reading “Self-Care Redefined”

Happy Every Day

Gomez+2014+71-3524648557-O

I was all set to write a Mother’s Day post that included sentimental thoughts on parenting as well as my hopes and dreams for my children.

Then today happened.  And I found myself wishing that maybe I could spend Mother’s Day alone.  I know…awful.  But not.  Because this job is hard.

By 8am they had both tested my patience so badly that I almost cried trying to get the three of us out the door and by 8pm, I felt like I had run a marathon.  Ok, maybe a couple marathons since my husband pointed out that a marathon would take me around five hours. Continue reading “Happy Every Day”

Swing Kids

Sometimes I don’t know how us mothers do it…as I sat rocking my son from 1:30 to 2:30am early Monday morning, I didn’t know how I would keep pushing through.  I kept thinking, how in the world will I make it through the day tomorrow?  All I knew is in that moment, in that hour, he needed me.  When he woke for the day at 5:20, I had the very same thoughts that I had three short hours earlier.  Somehow, some way though, I did make it through the day.  Just like always.  Even if it was one of those typical Mondays – smoke alarm going off from bacon I burned, a short car nap for my son (no transfer to crib) which meant he and I never got the rest we needed.  That kind of a day.  A friend was coming for dinner, so I had an extra time-consuming meal to make.  Yet it all worked out somehow.  Again, it always does.  I felt overwhelmingly grateful when my head finally hit the pillow at 9pm.

As I sat and rocked him for that hour Sunday night, I couldn’t help but wonder what is in us as mothers that pushes us like nothing else?  We think of giving up sometimes, but we don’t.  We never do.  When we don’t think we have the strength, we somehow find it.  When we think all of our patience is gone, we manage to muster up some more when we need it.  How us mothers do it, I’ll never know.

I feel like parenting is perhaps the biggest test I’ll face in life.  I’m constantly worried I’m failing the test…and failing it miserably.  When they don’t eat the way I want them to, I feel like I’m a failure as a parent.  When we have a challenging night (or week) of sleep, I wonder what I’m doing wrong.  Even when they’ve gotten ear infections, I’ve actually questioned if there was something I could have done to prevent them.  It’s absurd.  Where does this guilt come from?  Many of us have this intense need to strive for perfection, but that will assuredly result in feeling like a failure too.

It’s easy to look at the next parent and think they have it all together or it doesn’t seem like they’re facing the same challenge I am at the moment.  But why would they be?

At times we will undoubtedly switch places and we’ll be on a high when they’re on a low…it’s a constant ebb and flow.  I sometimes picture parenting as all of us playing on a park playground.  We’re all on different equipment, trying it out.  While a friend and her child may be swinging happily together this week, my little one may be slipping off the monkey bars into my arms.  No one’s ahead of anybody, but we are all on an equal playing field.  What happens next is anyone’s guess.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from parenting, it’s that things are constantly changing.  I’m not sure why anything surprises me anymore!  What I feel matters most is how I handle whatever it is that’s changing at the moment.  For me, it means pushing through until I know I can get a break.  After a rough week I’ll always need a refresher to press the recharge button in order to take the reins again come Monday.  I don’t let myself get to the point of burn-out because that’s just not good for anyone in the house.

And so, I plunge into yet another season of self-care.  Recognizing what I need following a draining week can be the best way of taking care of myself.  I may not get to refuel for a bit but eventually I know a small break is coming.  A pedicure, a cup of tea with a friend, or a workout session alone will typically do the trick.  It’s nice to block out the noise, tune into my thoughts, and just “be” for a few hours.

And I have to remind myself to take heart that next week will probably look brighter.  These phases – they thankfully don’t last forever.

And hopefully, we’ll be the ones on the swings next week.

photo

 

Please Don’t Take My Sunshine Away

A few weeks ago, I attended a fun event at Fashion Island at Newport Colony Baby & Paperie where I won the grand prize of the evening in a series of giveaways.  This gorgeous picture is now hanging in my living room, even though it’s probably made for a child’s room.  I think it’s great!  Thank you, Newport Colony!!  If you have never been to their Baby & Paperie store, it’s adorable.  So many fun things I want in there for my kiddos.

photo - Version 2

The words of the song remind me me so much of people who exude light and positivity.  It is a great reminder to keep surrounding myself with people like this.  Too many times in my life I have let people in who I knew weren’t the most uplifting of personalities.  I’m much more selective with my time these days and who I choose to spend it with, since God knows I don’t have much.  This quote by Joel Osteen pretty much sums it up!

7fb0aeb62548ef042c48c84511e98036

I’m thankful for the close friendships I have – each one is such a positive and encouraging source in my life (you know who you are!).  On the note of being positive, I have needed to hear this message myself lately.  It’s been a hard season – having small children and a husband who works long hours can make me feel exhausted and defeated some most days.  Two kids has felt like what I expected having four to be like.  For those of you who have 3, 4, or 5 small children – I honestly don’t know how you do it!  I feel like I am constantly meeting demands all day with “just” two little ones.  By the end of the day, I’m emotionally and physically drained.  My sunshine feels taken away…it’s been hard to see the glass half full some days.

Right when I needed it, a girlfriend sent me a blog post on accepting the chaos of motherhood, and it helped change my perspective as a stay at home mother (and being a mom in general).  Kids will make messes.  Kids won’t always sleep when you want them to.  They’re slow.  You have to teach them everything.  It’s part of the job.  Like the blog author, I was getting to the point where I was sick of hearing myself complain, so I can’t imagine how my husband must have felt!  I do feel there is such a thing as healthy venting, but I was in full complaining mode!  Since reading that message, I’ve felt a little more positive all around.  If I expect less, then I won’t be so disappointed on the days they don’t nap at the same time or they’re both being extra clingy, etc. I realized I’m in charge of my own sunshine.

Unknown

Words to live by!