I Simply Remember My Favorite Things

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I took my 4-year-old daughter to see ‘The Sound of Music’ not too long ago.  Despite the start time being at her approximate bedtime, I forged ahead, excited about the experience we would share together.  ‘The Sound of Music’ was one of my favorite movies as a child, and every year at Christmastime, I share that tradition with my daughter.  So when the chance came up to see it live, I jumped.

I made the mistake of not really making her eat a full dinner before the play, thinking there would be snacks at the theater.  When we arrived, I regretfully realized I was wrong.   Continue reading “I Simply Remember My Favorite Things”

Let it Rise

This is a piece I wrote last Summer – on why I started to write again…and reminds me to pay attention to the signs…they’re all around.  Hope you enjoy!

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Last year I found myself facing unexpected anxiety following the birth of my second child.  I’m not sure if I had just presumed we would all adjust seamlessly in this new transition?  Or maybe I figured since I already had this parenting thing down, another kid was no big deal.  How much work could one more child be, really?  A lot.  I honestly had no idea how hard it would be.

Continue reading “Let it Rise”

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.

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Pretty Little Boxes

The other day a girlfriend asked me if I had ever heard of Birchbox, the subscription service that delivers a box of beauty and lifestyle samples for the reasonable price of $10/month.  I had, in fact, heard of Birchbox – my husband and I had subscribed for a few months earlier in the year.  Neither of us were blown away with the items we received, so we cancelled our service after maybe 3 or 4 boxes.  It got me thinking, though, what are some of the things we can do that promote self-care and a thought for ourselves in the midst of busyness?  Besides carving out time to be alone, what are some small, tangible ways to create that value?

What is it that brings joy for only YOU?  What’s your guilty pleasure that puts a smile on your face?  I encourage you to find whatever that may be and bring some of it into your life.

I don’t know what it is about receiving things in the mail that makes me giddy with excitement, but I think Birchbox was revolutionary in promoting such a service.  I personally just felt they fell a little short in the product selection.  I wanted more beauty products like lip gloss or mascara samples, but what I mostly received were skincare products, candles and chocolates.  Fortunately, there are about a million other boxes available to subscribe to.  And thanks to Sarah at bitsandboxes.com, you don’t have to do any of the research yourself.  She’s done it all for you!

I love her recent post on Fabletics, Kate Hudson’s workout line.  For $49.99 a month, you’re able to choose a 2 or 3 piece workout outfit, according to Sarah (and your first outfit is only $25!).  Sounds great to me.  I’ve heard nothing but amazing reviews about Fabletics so far.

If workout gear isn’t your thing, have no fear – Sarah has you covered.  This is her list of several other box subscriptions, from beauty boxes like IpsyGlossybox and Julep, to The Honest Company to Just Add Honey (teas) and Love with Food (organic and all-natural snacks).  There is a box for anything these days.

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{photo c/o ipsy.com}

Of course, you can also subscribe to a magazine and that’s fun to receive too!  I love when I get my Real Simple each month – I’ll try to make time to sit and browse it when the kids are asleep or my husband is playing with them.  I know I’ll be getting a few other subscriptions too, when my stepson’s school fundraising begins.  At least this is one obligatory purchase that will keep on giving, instead of sitting at the back of my fridge like the cookie dough I bought last time.

As I mentioned before, it may be as simple as a drink from Starbucks that makes you smile, or maybe even a new pair of earrings on your routine Target run.  At the end of the day, it’s nice to feel valued and to know that you made yourself a priority, even if in a small way.  Obviously, we all have our own budgets and interests, but I encourage you to do whatever it is that feeds your soul on a daily (and perhaps, monthly) basis.

 

 

 

 

Season of Self-Care

One day last week I found myself needing a break in a bad way.  When it was noon and I was irritable and antsy and had no idea what to do with my kiddos the rest of the day, I decided I was in need of some time for myself.  Time to process these crazy past few weeks, time for solitude, time for breathing, time for healing.  So I booked my sitter and spent two lovely hours on the beach alone where I did not talk to one person.  It was glorious.  And it was just what I needed.

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I wrote, I cried, I listened to music.  I prayed.  I asked for words.  I heard.  Humbled by God’s beautiful creation, there really could not be a more calming spot for me than the beach to enjoy my afternoon of silence.  There is something about the ebb and flow of the waves crashing and the stillness that occurs in between.

All week I knew I was in some need of some self-care, but it was hard for me to make it happen.  It is interesting because I have been doing a lot of dreamwork lately, and came across a synopsis that said if you’re dreaming you are neglecting an animal or a baby in your care, you are neglecting yourself in real life.  I couldn’t believe it – for years, and I mean years, I had dreams just like this.  I don’t know why I never looked it up, but how crazy is it that self-care has turned into my passion now that I’m a mother.  I wish I had analyzed the meaning of my dreams at the time, but I’m grateful I now know the underlying message!

I find it can be so challenging to focus on our own needs when we are constantly meeting the demands of our children.  I feel so worn down some days that the last thing I have energy for is time for me.  But I’ve found that even little things I can do for myself like grabbing Starbucks on a day that drags on, squeezing in a 20-minute workout or reading a few pages of a book can buy me some time until I have a few hours to solely devote to me.  Just being mindful of making myself a priority, even if in a small way, can help feed my soul and rejuvenate me a bit.

As I read this mother’s question on a blog I follow, I couldn’t help but feel a renewed sense of why I started this website in the first place:  so that others would also spend time connecting and caring for themselves in ways that will make them the best mothers, wives and women they can be.  It reminded me to re-read my Self-Care 101 post to refresh myself, too, on how I can slow down and honor my body in this busy season of life.

I also love this friend’s blog on the very same thing, and perhaps turning this new season into a pattern of no’s instead of one of perpetual yes’s.  As I’ve written before, I feel that Fall often gives us that permission to settle in a bit earlier, and stay in a little more.  I hope this season of life brings all of us intentional quiet moments of reflection.  May we establish a new, healthy rhythm of listening to ourselves regularly.

Happy Fall, friends.