Category Archives: habits

My Life Painting

I have these three beautiful girls and an amazing hubby.  They truly rule my heart.

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Any wonder why?  Being the wife and mama takes my breathe away.

When I was working outside of the home, I absolutely could not justify additional time away from my family.  I was away from them a lot of hours, I reasoned, that must fulfill my needs for me.

Then I came home to roost.  And my mind didn’t know how to balance me and them and us.  I knew there was this concept, self-care, taking time to invest in the heart and soul through whatever activities or ideas feed your life, out there.  I knew people who espoused it.  I respected those who did.  I just felt lost.

I began to look around…and wonder what self-care was really all about.  And as often happens, my heart was drawn to a fellow mama.

My friend A’Driane does an amazing job of seeking and embracing self care. I watch her carve out the time and I am jealous. Not in the petty, she gets self care and I don’t, but in awe that she values herself enough to do so.

I grew up with women who saw surrendering of themselves to their children as admirable.  One of my strongest role model did just that.  She was so involved in her kid’s life and she made it look so easy, watching her invest herself so heavily seemed like a wonderful model of motherhood.  She was, and is, an amazing mother.  I dreamed of being such a mom. *

I also grew up under Biblical teachings often twisted to prove women should lose themselves in their vocation as wife and mother–or be able to do it ALLLL!!! (Proverbs 31 Woman).  So, I threw myself into doing it all.

But this idea of self-care nagged at me.  Was there something to it?  Should it be part of my life?  Could I still be considered a good mom if I indulged myself in this idea?

Truly, when I heard about self-care for the first time in ‪#‎ppdchat‬,** the idea was so foreign to me that I brushed it aside as something I didn’t need.  I was stronger than that, than those who “needed” time away.

But my beautiful A’Driane challenged my misguided notions just by living intentionally.  I saw her with her beautiful family of three boys and a great hubby.  I saw her making time to eat well, I saw her making time to exercise, I saw her making time to paint and write and love herself.

And I knew how strong she was.  There was no way I could construe her need of self-care as indulgence or a sign of weakness.  The woman chases after three boys, keeping up with demanding schedules with honesty and grace.

I began to wonder if the truth wasn’t that I loved my girls too much to take the time for self-care, but rather I didn’t love me enough to invest in who I am, in who I want to become.  I realized I haven’t arrived at at the final destination of who I am just because I love being a wife and mother.  I haven’t completed my journey of growth, I am still a changing, emerging, me.

Sometimes being me means I am all mom, or all wife, all family, sometimes maybe it means something more.  Maybe it means embracing where I’ve been, where I am and where I want to be.

It’s time to blend it all, to create my own life painting.

Today, I’m here to invest in myself. I’m here to take baby steps.

I’m here to re-embrace my lifelong love of reading. I’m here to let the authors words wash my soul, feed my soul, rebirth my soul.

I’m here to embrace me and all that it means.

 

*That amazing role model in my life?  I have watched her grow and rebirth as her motherhood journey has continued and she IS an amazing mother, friend, woman.  She has strength and drive to spare for all of those around her.

**Please, if you are working through a postpartum mood disorder, check out the hashtag #ppdchat on twitter to get an army of women who are right there in the journey with love and strength for you.  You will find resources and help, love and compassion that you never dreamed possible.

Am I the Only Mama

So we have things in our house that we don’t say.  The list includes such things as:

Stupid
Shut up
I don’t like
damn
hell
hate

Caitlyn does a great job not saying them.  The hardest one for her is “I don’t like.”  She often has to stop herself to say “I don’t a-fer (prefer).”

Sue glories in driving Caitlyn crazy by saying stupid.  One day I found her all alone in the kitchen, staring out the window onto the driveway.  There was no one around, but she was saying “stupid, stupid, stupid” over and over until Caitlyn came in to yell, “mommy Sue is saying stupid.”  Then Sue quit.  I didn’t even have to correct it.  Sue was satisfied once Caitlyn was irritated.  Ahhh the joy of sisterhood.

We did have an issue with Sue saying hate.  We tried ignoring it, then gently correcting it. Ultimately, I had to pull out the big guns, “if you say that again mama is going to put soap on your tongue.”  Again came around, so mama had to make good on her threat.  I grabbed the liquid soap, got a little on my finger, and went for the tongue.  She was a squirming mass of flesh and I would be very surprised if I even got any on her tongue, but it worked.  We stopped hearing it.  Even Sue noticed.  A couple days after the soap, she commented, “I’m not saying Hate anymore mommy!” 

She was very proud and so was I!

They both find joy in yelling “BUSTED” when they hear someone say stupid.  This is sometimes embarassing.  Like the time we went to daddy’s work and his boss said the aforementioned word.  Caitlyn whispered to me, “mommy, he said STUPID.”   Sue had no such restraint.  She stopped the world to say, “BUSTED!”

Guess who gets busted the most?  Yup, that would be mommy.  I am forever getting in trouble for stupid.  Ugggghhhhh.  And sometimes for shut up.  It is funny and frustrating to hear “busted” again and again, but not as bad as the “busting” I got through the innocence of Caitlyn a few weeks ago.  We had not told the girls not to say damn or hell.  They are not words heard often in our home, or so I thought.

The other day I was getting something out of the fridge.  Caitlyn was standing at the fridge door with me.  Something fell out and I said, “Oh!!!!” And stopped myself.  Caitlyn, my ever helpful daughter, said “dammit!”   Daddy met my eyes.  We both knew who was the guilty party.

It really hit home.  Several applicable scripture verses came to mind including, Proverbs 25:11 The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl, New Century Version.  That was definitely not the right word to hear.  And definitely not the right word for my daughters to be hearing.

And “You snakes! You are evil people, so how can you say anything good?  The mouth speaks the things that are in the heart.” Matthew 12:34 NCV.  Oh the truth in there hurts so bad.  I knew she had heard it from me and I knew that for all the times she heard it, I had muttered it in my heart several more times.

It is time to root them out.  I don’t want that in my heart in the first place.  I do not desire my children, or anyone, to see or hear my evil-ness.  So I have to replace those words and thoughts with something else.  I am spending more time reading the Bible and listening to Christian music.  I have to put good in if I want good to come out.  I am not perfect. Nor do I think I will be any time soon, but I can continue to be a work in progress.  As the Sunday School song says, “I am a Promise, I am a Possibility, I am a great big bundle of Pontentiality! And I’m a learning to hear God’s Voice and I’m a Tryin’ to make the right choice, I’m a promise to be anything God wants me to be!”

What Does NOT Work for Me–WFMW

This week’s What Works for Me Wednesday is a bit different, the theme is What Does Not Work for Me!
Mornings do not always work for me.  I don’t mind being up, but I do mind trying to find my kids clothes, socks and shoes.  Shoes, how I loathe thee!  But we have been very diligent so far, 3 days, with putting out clothes for the kids and I the night before.  That helps a lot.  Much less stress for the whole family.  Also, making lunches in the morning does not work for me.  It doesn’t work for my hubby either, so he has been making them the night before.  My hubby makes an amazing sandwhich.  I am not sure what the secret is, but they are so yummy.
Being clocked in the head by my daughter does not work for me either.  Sue was pushing Caitlyn who for some reason was holding her camera above her head; before I had a chance to control that situation, Caitlyn wacked me on the head with her new camera.  Ugghhh.  Her rotten apology doesn’t work for me either.  She yelled at me “Sorry, I didn’t mean it.”  For the record, she did not sound sorry.  So after I dealt with Sue’s behavior, Caitlyn and I had a chat about how we apologize for hurting someone, EVEN if it is an accident.  For the record, my head still hurts, the pain has outlasted the kidlets consequences.  Ahhh, the joys of motherhood. 
Going cold turkey off all candy is not working for me either.  Hubby and I have started eating healthier this week and I am struggling with the junk cravings.  I’m trying to keep them in check, but oh, the struggle!!!!  And I refuse to give up my nightly chocolate milk.  The baby needs me to get calcium, right?
I guess, right now, there are a few things that do not work for me!!!  I hope you enjoyed these thoughts and will check out what is not working for others.

Love in Any Language

I just finished reading a great post on another one of my current favorite blogs, We Are That Family.  She is doing a giveaway, but really, I just loved the idea of her post.  Check it out.

It got me to thinking about how we show each other love.  Recently my hubby has been amazing at showing me his love.  He has shown it very practically and very softly.

One such example was this last weekend.  I couldn’t sleep one night so I cleaned the house, all except our room.  I cleaned as the family slept.  Insomnia with a baby in the house is weird.  Being a mom of three kids has done some strange things to me.  So I clean.  And the other day my husband let me know he respected me and appreciated my hard work and how much he loved me.  He made our bed.  And the love it showed me was amazing.

Tonight he showed his love in another very practical way.  He kept all three girls safe and happy while I went running.  It was awesome.  And I am proud to say at 14 weeks postpartum I was able to run 3+ miles tonight.  I am so excited to be back to running a 5k.  Thank you my dear for showing your love to me in just the way I need right now.

Our little Patrice is a smiler.  She is the smiliest of any of our babies at this age.  And she is recently adding squeals and kicks when she sees us.  It is such a joy to see her face, truly her whole body, light up for us.

Recently my older two girls have been showering me with their love as well.  I don’t know how many times Sue has run to me and said, “I love you mommy.” Or “I have to tell you something, I love you mommy.” Or “I need to give you a hug mommy.”  Oh the sweetness she and Caitlyn show me.

Caitlyn is also such an amazing bundle of love.  Her hugs and kisses are magical.  And I am even seeing her love in her fits.  Bear with me.  Reallly, love in fits.  One such example, Sunday night she had a complete meltdown on the way home from Awana.  Daddy and I were both puzzled by the fit; when all other efforts failed, we were ready to send her to her room when we got home.

Things changed a bit as we got out of the car, she climbed up to me and said, “I am so mad at myself.” 
Why? 
“Because I thought when I got to be 4 I could be good.”  And I have seen amazing strides in her in the last 14 1/2 weeks. 

She is a good girl.  I reminded her what a good girl she is and how we all have times we are not good.  Mommy and Daddy both have times we do not make good choices, and that is when we have to ask Jesus to help us, calm down and try again.  And many times, apologize to whomever we hurt with our words or actions.  We’re not sure why recently we are seeing a few more fits, but what I am pleased to see is she is calming herself down quickly and coming to us to make it right.  That to me shows she sees our love and is learning how to reflect it, and many other emotions back. 

All love is a work in progress, and it is our privilege to help my girls through it.

How have you shown love lately?  How has it been shown to you?

Biggest or Smallest Winners!

I have had this blog rolling around in my head for a while.  Let me start off by saying no one asked my opinion on this matter and no one is paying me a single cent…

A few seasons back, my hubby and I discovered the tv show “Biggest Loser.”  Now normally, we are not much for “reality” tv.  But this one grabbed our attention and is now the only show we intentionally watch every week. 

Why?  Because in some ways it hits home.  We both carry a few extra pounds, and I am not talking about the current baby pounds…and need motivation and inspiration to do something about it.

I personally have found Biggest Loser to be very motivational.  I feel extremely guilty if I have not exercised and I am watching the show.  Last week, I didn’t make it to the gym due to working late, so I did step aerobics for 30 minutes while I watched the contestants.  Pre-baby, I jogged during the show.  Now, at 28 weeks pregnant, jogging doesn’t have as much appeal…

We love to watch the transformations.  We love to see people go from just barely able to keep up with a 1/2 mile walk on day one, to truly a different person by the final 6…

Yes, we are well aware they are in a situation most of us are not.  Most of us do not have 6 hours a day to workout, or personal trainers, or nutritionists or medical supervision or the opportunity to focus so completely on our physical condition.

And does it happen the contestants go back to their old habits and regain weight? Yes, for some it does.  For all I know, maybe a significant number do.  But there are at least a few who do not.  And for those people, the show truly has made a huge difference.

It also can make a difference for people not on the show.  The Pound for Pound challenge they have started has helped many people, it gives them a goal to work toward while helping someone else.  Last season, I signed up to lose 15 pounds during the pound for pound challenge.  I didn’t quite make goal.  I lost about 10 pounds, but losing it not only helped me, but food was donated to food banks due to my hard work.

Beyond that, my workplace has added a similar program where people can sign up to participate in a weight loss challenge and for every pound lost, the company will donate 25 cents to a food bank, which equals about 1 pound of food.  Again, it benefits many people, those who need to change their eating and those who need the food to eat.  It is a win-win situation!

And again, maybe not everyone keeps the weight they lose off, but a few do.  The show may not solve our obesity problem in America, but if it helps just a few, doesn’t that matter?  It sure does.  We have to start somewhere.  So tonight, like many other Tuesday’s, I will start by making sure I go to the gym before the show and if I am still full of energy, I’ll do a few extra minutes of step aerobics while watching.

Here is me the day I earned my 100 workout shirt at the gym.  I was very proud to have earned it and even more so to be working out while pregnant.  I was almost 16 weeks along in this photo.  At 28 weeks, I can no long fit in the shirt, but I have it for when I can!!!  And will be well on my way to earning my 200 workout shirt.  I did not workout during my first two pregnancies.  I am thrilled to still be going to the gym, even though the intensity of workouts isn’t quite there, I still am!