Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun!

Being a SAHM, I miss work all the time. I am one of those weirdos who is either wired to work, or crazy enough to think it makes me a better person. Either way, I miss it. The interaction with peers, the lunches out, the collaboration, the brainstorming, the list of “productive” things I accomplished in a year’s time, the evaluation at the end of the year that is admired and then rewarded with a raise….you get the picture.

But on days such as these, I see a glimmer of why I’m home.

It was 65 degrees and sunny today. I ran a few errands while the clouds cleared, and then we high-tailed it to the park. I have the luxury (at least today) of dropping everything and saying, “NOPE! Screw you, dry cleaners, pharmacy, and grocery store! We’re going to the park!”

(Mental note to self: You DO need to pick up a few things tomorrow….)

My children have never been cuter, more perfect angels than they were in the park today. They felt so good to breathe fresh air, to run, to jump, to climb, and to play that I think even their poops did not stink today.

We also managed to discover something new, because when everyone is in a delightful mood, discovery and wonder are just par for the course. There is not one— but there are TWO volleyball sand pits at our local park. I can hear my husband laughing as he reads this (I hear he reads this blog, sometimes) because the volleyball pits have always been there…..for year and years….and it was only today that one of my sons looked not down but up and out and beyond. He saw the nets and the sand and ran for them, which prompted a following from LM2 and me.

Before long, the boys had their sweatshirts off, their shoes and socks tossed to the side, and there were smiles for miles. And all I could think was, “Wow, this is such a tremendous blessing.”

When is it 65 degrees in February? When can we find ourselves outside, toes in the sand, on a winter day? That groundhog must have missed his shadow this year. I don’t know. But the magic of nature seems to re-invigorate my soul, and I can’t help but feel grateful, especially for the boys.

What magic crept into your Thursday?  SHARE SHARE SHARE the wonder. 

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The Peace of My Tea Meditation Discovery

They say we realize and miss the things we love when they’re gone. Well, in my particular case of having children, I have been too busy and preoccupied to even realize some of the things I miss about life B.C. (before children.) I attribute this entirely to my inexperience (I never babysat much, was the youngest of my cousins), my messy inability to schedule, plan, or prioritize, and my complete lack of foresight in dealing with the challenges I’ve been presented. Days often feel like one stream of play with blocks, cars, trucks, trains, and puzzles with an occasional rest for food or diapering. I am trying to gain a grasp on the days, but mostly we end up playing randomly until everyone is too smelly to resist bathtime, too hungry to deny the seated position long enough for some serious snack scarfing, or too tired to move. All of this is to say that it wasn’t until I spent a week last summer with a child-free twenty-something who, after spending time with me and my kids, said something along the lines of, “isn’t it ever quiet?”

And the answer, of course, is no.

There is screaming, shrieking, giggling, tears, snot-blowing, grunting, babbling, talking, questioning, splashing, squeaking, pushing, running, dancing, frolicking, and the occasional “bleh,” when one of them has clearly had too much chocolate milk or goldfish (the only real staples in any toddler diet, obviously).

The noises never stop.

And when this twenty-something said the words aloud, “isn’t it ever quiet” I realized that I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE the peace of quiet. I used to spend time alone. I used to have time to rest inside of my own head. And it was lovely.

I hear all the time about the positive power of meditation. The power of quiet and rest and rejuvenation. And all I can think is that I never have time for it. With my little ones running around, the only noiseless time in my home is bedtime, at which point I clean the house or collapse completely into a pile of mush and fall asleep. Gathering the time or patience to meditate at night has always felt entirely fruitless.

And then a lovely friend of mine recently introduced me to a tea meditation I thought to share here. It sounded different and interesting, though I am always skeptical of meditations, this one seemed doable because it only takes 5 or so minutes and it involves tea, which is my livelihood.

Anyways. This is an adaptive recreation of it, but let me know what you think! It may bring a little peace into your house and head, too.

Step 1: Tell your kids it will be quiet time for ten minutes. After they stop laughing, set up an intentional activity they can do alone (playdough, coloring, blocks, puzzles, a movie on your iPad).

Step 2: Get some kind of alarm, timer, buzzer, etc, and set the timer to show your little ones you mean business.

Step 3: Stick to your guns and teach the kids that your ten minutes are precious. You can help with absolutely anything they need after the timer has buzzed.

It’s not easy being green. But this mommy is learning a little more each day!

Step 4: Heat your water; prepare your teacup.

Step 5: Pour your water and smell the tea leaves. Breathe in and out slowly and consciously for several minutes, considering the aromas in your leaves.

Step 6: Drink your tea slowly and intentionally.

It sounds like although this is only meant to take 5 minutes or so, it could be longer if you’re really taking your time. But the meditative piece at the beginning of drinking is my moment of quiet and calm.

I am super pumped to make this a steady practice. I want to teach the kids the importance of a few minutes of quiet and set the tone for my day.

Have you found anything especially calming and helpful!? Share with us! I’ll keep you posted on my new tea meditation find.

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A Little Man in My Mirror

LM1 is growing by leaps and bounds. I’m astounded by the fact that he seems to be my emotional mirror. He is upset when I’m upset. He’s easily frustrated or disheartened, just like his mama. He sees a challenge or obstacle and immediately calls for me to fix the problem or shouts over its unfairness. (I may have done that a few times…..over ridiculous things I don’t care to mention here.““`)

Oh….and he is loud. ;0)

Over the years, and especially since having children, I’ve learned to tackle my temper and my quick assumptions that nothing will work out. But I won’t deny that the first thoughts to jump into my mind are always something along the lines of, “Give up now, this probably won’t work out. Find an easier solution.”

I recognized this about myself and have learned ways in which to breathe. I’ve tried telling myself it’s human nature to be negative. It’s a knee-jerk reaction, maybe. And then I try to laugh or take a minute to reflect. I look for a new solution. I ask questions. I give things time.

And then there’s LM1.
My man of three.
The reflection of my past self and, perhaps, the natural state I push beyond.

Helping him to navigate frustration, fear, and aggression has been an eye-opening challenge. Sometimes, I want to say, “YES! Let’s yell about this and we’ll feel better!” But I know that doesn’t solve anything. There’s a slippery slope at play in which some of the things I want to help him with come from my own experiences. I’m his mom, so I can teach him through my own experiences. It seems like the natural course of things. And yet, I need to watch and observe and allow him space and freedom to experience and feel things for himself, too.

Just the other day, LM1 became frustrated (yelling, screaming, fake tears, etc) because his toy wasn’t working. A little lever had gotten jammed and he couldn’t make a little figurine sit in it. And I thought to rush to him. To console him. To explain that yelling doesn’t fix anything. TO say it’s ok to get frustrated.

But I let him sit with the toy, instead. He screamed for me and yelled and shrieked, and I said in a calm voice, “Figure it out. You can do it.”

Two remarkable things happened as a result:

1.) He figured it out. All on his own.

2.) I started telling myself that same phrase and entrusted myself with a little extra empowerment.

In the face of challenges, I’m often eager to phone a friend, my mom, or scour the internet for answers when I’m really, truly frustrated. But sometimes, if I can quiet my mind and open my heart, I can figure it out. I can do it. And I can help myself to feel much better about it.

For now, I’m still easily frustrated by LM1’s outbursts. But I’m looking at them differently. Because they’re always teaching me something else about myself. And that’s helpful, to say the very least.

What’s new with your babes??!?!? What are they teaching you! Reply in the comments!

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Ode to Joy

In the early years of mommyhood, it was hard to go with the flow. I didn’t know how to be a mom, I didn’t feel confident that I would be a very good one, and I felt pretty sad that I was somehow failing at something that was supposed to feel natural, beautiful, and joyful.

My lack of confidence was a hindrance. It was keeping me from becoming the mother I want to be, and it was keeping me from experiencing joy. Nowadays, I put less pressure on myself. I tell myself I’m a great mom because thinking otherwise doesn’t accomplish anything. I make mistakes, I cry, I foul up, I apologize. I live and breathe and take it all in as par for the course. I tell myself that if I’m trying too hard to be perfect, that is all my children will learn: to strive for something that is not only impossible but damaging.

So I’ve made some new goals.

My goal for each day is to find joy.

My goal for each day is to say to my children, “This is so joyful! This is so fun!” as we walk through daily life.

And we celebrate little pieces of joy all day long.

This week, the last of the leaves from our trees. My husband has just “finished” a huge rake job and then more came along. When I saw the yard, I imagined our weekend plans (getting out to the Brandywine River Museum!) quickly thwarted by a new need for leaf clean-up. (Gotta get those leaves before everything freezes and we kill the grass! Aye-ya-yay!)

Until I remembered the leaf blower…

I’m not sure why we never thought to purchase a leaf blower before. We have plenty of trees and more leaves than I can rake by myself. My dad finally bought us a Toro last year, and he was quickly overcome with joy over it’s blowing power, so he purchased himself a matching one. Needless to say, you can imagine the level of adorable that unfolded in my yard when father and daughter had matching blowers as we dominated the landscape.

Then it got packed away and I kind of forgot about it, since I thought the leaves were finished for the season.

When I remembered that we had one and where it was, another real benefit of the leaf blower became visible:

Leaf blowing is a quick route to joy and fun.

Fun is pretty incredible but I’ve always thought it’s hard to get things done with too much fun. It sounds terrible! I know! But I can hear myself saying, “No! We’ve got to get this done!” and then I’m stressing out because I’m not trying hard enough to accomplish any given task.

I’ve needed to loosen up on this idea and tell myself that the stuff on my “To Do” list isn’t going to get done until my kids are at least six. Or maybe seven. Or maybe thirteen. Or at least until child labor is considered legal (does that start at fourteen?)

All this is to say that this week when I tried to blow leaves around, we quickly reverted to just having fun. My son found an old eagles hat of mine: one of those ridiculous ski hats with the dreadlocks made out of felt and a big old Philadelphia Eagle on the front. LM1 had never seen the hat before and decided it could behave like a pair of earmuffs, which he likes to use to block out the sound of the leaf blower. In his mind, thick dreads = noise canceling (a fair assumption, I’d say).

He put the hat on and discovered that what was actually way more fun than blowing leaves was standing in front of the blower and swinging the locks in front of the nozzle so the felt dreads and the leaves would fly into his face and tickle him.

It was hilarious.

It was joyful.

It was fun.

And I can’t remember the last time I did something so merrily just because it felt good. So, here’s to joy. Here’s to getting less and less done, but feeling more joy in the process. Here’s to a messy yard and a smiling kid.

And a smiling mommy….

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Welcome to the Terrible Threes

When I decided to write a bit about “the terrible threes,” I had to think for a few minutes before writing this post: whether or not I feel comfortable calling my kid terrible, like some newly anointed member of a terrible gang called “The Terrible Threes.” Then I told myself, “It’s not him. HE is not terrible. It’s the age.” But then I thought, “No, no, it IS him…at this age.” That thought was quickly followed by, “Ohhhhh $hit! What am I gonna do?”
It’s tough sometimes to be a parent and to search for the right words– the right ways in which to describe things, trying to be as honest as I possibly can, without sugar coating because my kid is the absolute sweetest, cutest thing ever. But let’s call a thing a thing here: lately, his behaviors have been pretty darn terrible.
Word choice aside, here’s a piece of the new human we’ve seen in our home:
Everything is a battle. LM1 doesn’t want to take a shower. He’s mad I didn’t make a meal for dessert ( I don’t get that one at all– but he wanted chicken as a dessert to his steak, and I didn’t have more chicken). Then he doesn’t want to eat veggies at dinner, he doesn’t want to wear pants, he doesn’t want to go to school. Any of these items have easily and quickly become grounds for tantrums, which is super annoying to watch, heart-wrenching to feel, and deafening to hear. LM2 and I sometimes cry, ourselves, simply because the fight is so hard.
Hubs and I are using time out. We are using quiet alone time to settle down. Some days it feels so exhausting to have to do so much for so little. Each tantrum will surely spar another within a few hours or less.
I’m praying this is just a phase and that things will dissipate before they escalate. Of course, my mind is doing what it usually does: run around in circles, planning for the worst. I’m imagining that he will become compulsively defiant. I’m imagining he will become violent or aggressive with words or hands. I’m imagining he will not grow out of this phase or ever learn how to behave. He will become worse and worse until he’s become a kid no one wants to be around.
As a result of my (irrational) fears, I have started to compulsively watch episodes of Supernanny on YouTube, searching for advice and commentary on the tantruming patterns of three-year-olds, like he’s some kind of chimp scientists studied in a lab and then fed bananas to after he finally “got it.”
I am a crazy person, worrying and thinking that if I plan and learn it will somehow soften the blow of a bigger reality that haunts me: what if I have a bad kid? I’ve heard of them. Bad apples, they’re called. I tell myself he doesn’t even like apples and we’ve already dropped him before, so how can this be?
Then I tell myself I’ve officially developed what I call CLS (Chicken Little Syndrome) and the sky is falling and maybe I should just have a glass of wine and pull up a chair to grab a view of the onslaught of chaos.
After he falls asleep at night, the house becomes quiet and everything settles down into its rightful place. I play soft plinky, planky stream music, mostly featuring a lute or a harp, or some kind of American Indian flute-sounding thing. In the peace, I tell myself this will probably pass, like the days when he thought it was hilarious to throw noodles on the floor. It will pass, like the days when running into the street without looking was exhilarating.
I take a deep breath and remind myself that the only thing falling is me: off my rocker.
I have the glass of wine and decide tomorrow will be a better day. I will be stronger and better prepared. We will encounter challenges together and work through them together. We will more than survive because none of this is really a big deal at all.
With that mindset, the next day was better. The threes are less terrible. They’re not yet terrific, but something tells me that if I make up my mind that they ARE terrific, they will become terrific all on their own.
Today I am smiling. LM1 is smiling. Everyone is smiling. And we are settling into peace before bedtime, searching for it throughout the day.
And it is slowly working.
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Out of the Dumps

This is me, only my lips are smaller because I don’t have injections like the Kardashian people.

The weather is starting to chill and I can feel myself getting nervous as winter approaches. How terrible that I smell a breeze and my mind goes to the dreary-wearies, I KNOW! I’m the worst. I’m like the Pout-Pout Fish in that silly book my kids love!

Winter is coming.

I say this phrase aloud and then laugh because it feels so much more ominous now that we’ve become Game of Throners and we expect winter to bring war and carnage. Metaphorically, of course.

But I get down in the cold weather. If I feel my nose chill a little bit, I think, “Oh, dear! In no time at all, we’ll be bundled in hats and snowsuits! HELP!”

I’ve started a little mental list to help combat this silliness. It goes like this:

1.) Dance to Pharrell’s “Happy.” LM1 loves this song and so do I. He’s at the top of our playlist and we love to hold hands and bounce as high as possible while spinning in a circle. This brings up the smile count, immediately.

2.) Start sweating. I wear more sweaters than I need to and ask the kids to go for a walk with me. In no time at all, we’re wishing for a cooler breeze and catching our breaths in a pile of leaves.

3.) Get out the leaf blower. I mean, is there anything more fun that watching your kids fall down because you “accidentally” blew in their direction? (Sry, LM2, but you look like a Teletubby and it’s adorable).

4.)  Bake cookies. If there’s one great thing about winter it’s SWEATER SEASON…..and that means covering up! Bring on the COOKIES! Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe EVER. Right here! Wanna know my secret surprise? Use more brown sugar than white and use chocolate chunks instead of chips. Also, be sure to refrigerate your dough for an hour or two before scooping onto the baking sheet. YUM

5.) Sign up for swim lessons at the heated pool. YES! It’s like a bathtub, but it feels cleaner because it smells cleaner.Thank you, chlorine. And only other moms go there for the mommy-and-me swim class, so I don’t have to wear a bikini! I can wear a long-sleeved rash guard-looking thing from Athleta and NO ONE CARES. Amazing.

How are YOU going to beat the cold?!!?

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Nightmares Are Real!

My favorite nightmare came true this past whimsical Wednesday and I thought, why not let everyone else have a giggle over it?!

I took the boys to one of our local libraries because it contains two of life’s greatest luxuries: (1) a (clean and beautiful) fish tank and (2) a train table. LM1 and LM2 love visiting, I force books upon them (sort of), and it’s a win-win scenario.

Unless you’ve got to go to the bathroom.

Unless your children are screaming.

Unless your youngest son can now reach the door and open it at will because the locking mechanism is synced with the door handle.

Unless the bathroom you chose to use was a solo room which is directly connected to the library Children’s Room.

So, mid-stream, yes, mid-stream, it happened. And the door was wide open. My screaming children became running, screaming children, and I had my pants down.

I whispered my shrieks at them, trying to at least be loud enough to cover up the sounds of my sprinkles and tinkles.

Thank you to the librarian who didn’t laugh and instead pretended this sort of thing happens EVERY DAY. (I know it doesn’t. I know it doesn’t happen to anyone. Ever. Never Ever.) Thank you to the other librarian who successfully shut the door for me without making eye-contact and then shuffled the boys over to some legos or that wooden castle thing they love.

THANK YOU, nightmare, for reminding me why it’s ok to be dehydrated sometimes.

#makinitwork

#thiswillprobablyhappenagain

#beentheredonethat

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Explaining Stuff

I feel like I almost never speak my mind.

Outside of my inner circle of friends, it is rare that I say what I’m really thinking. This will, I’m certain, come as a shock to many people, in part, because I never shut up (sorry! I love to gab; this is true.) But the truth is that I often refrain from saying what I’d really like to. I’m afraid to offend. I don’t want to turn off. I don’t want to rile anyone up.

Because the biggest truth of all is that I cannot take confrontation. I completely shut down. And then I cry, which feels like the biggest defeat of all. It’s hard for me to defend myself in any way when I’m doing that red-faced, blubbery, incoherent tear thing. So I try to keep it cool.

In failing to deal with my tear-trigger, I always dreamed to become one of those articulate, quick-thinking speakers. A woman who can snap at someone to stop them in their tracks, turn off the ammo firing at me, and flip it on its head. Well, I never quite figured that out. But I admired people who could.

Now we have a president who can seemingly do just that.

He disarms with his words. His cunning, quick tongue fires at anything in his way. The man can stand his ground. He can seemingly take on anything in his path. He can use derisive little one-liners to bring about pause.

He sounded less presidential. Less professional. He sounded like a man without any real ammunition at all.

What I thought I always aspired to has been, in fact, the exact opposite of what I thought I wanted. Being well spoken, informed and effective is very different from firing at will. It’s different from ridiculing others simply for the sake of it.

I don’t like engaging in political conversations because, remember, I hate confrontation. I don’t like having to defend my ideas because I can’t. But even more importantly than that, I don’t want everyone else to share my ideas. They’re mine. You’re allowed to have yours. You’re supposed to have yours. Please, have yours!

But having children gives me a reason to think more critically about my stance on things. It means needing to consider my opinions and defend them, not because I’m being attacked, but because someone wants to know and understand where my ideas came from.  And I feel like it is my moral obligation as a citizen and as a parent to at least know how I feel and why I feel that way.

So I need to have an opinion about politics. And our president. And how to speak to others. And how to engage with people whose opinions I do not share.

LM1 is precocious, to say the least, and he’s always picking up on things and asking questions.

With the political climate being what it is, I have had our television tuned into the news more mornings than I’d like to admit (because we try to limit screen time….because we’re trying to pretend that limiting screen time makes us better parents).

This week I had the news on while I made breakfast, and I heard the phrase “SOB” spoken full-out on the television. I was shocked that the tv let out such words. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure we’ll hear it at an Eagles game or in a zillion other places, but for my three-year-old to hear it at the breakfast table, I thought, Whoa! When I heard someone say SOB on the tv I felt HORRIBLE for having the bomb dropped over pancakes and chocolate milk.

Lesson learned: no more news at breakfast.

But there’s more to learn here for me: I realized the reason it was on the news was that our nation’s president used the phrase to describe other Americans.

And I thought about how this abrasive language, which degrades other human beings, has become a part of our everyday norm. Now this guy is calling another nation’s leader “Rocket Man,” a childish, irrelevant term that is insulting at the human level.  (Note: I’m not saying Kim Jong-un is a great guy or anything– I don’t really know him or his politics.) But is name-calling accomplishing anything?

I’m confused about when name-calling became a part of politics.

The president has an opinion about how NFL players are using their celebrity as a platform to disrespect the American flag. He has an opinion about what should be done by leaders within the NFL to alleviate the protests.

That’s cool. Have an opinion. Voice an opinion. Share your thoughts and feelings and encourage others to consider your side and take action to defend your opinion.

But do we need to degrade our fellow men with rotten language and cheap insults?

Won’t our thoughts and ideas come across in a clear and articulate way when we refrain from this behavior? Aren’t we supposed to listen to each other in order to best resolve conflict? No one is listening from the moment anyone drops a nasty insult. That’s what stops the listening.

I need to understand these things better because I want to explain this life to my sons. I want to tell them what’s right and what’s wrong. I want them to learn to choose for themselves what is right and wrong. But I also want mentors and adversaries to help model productive behaviors and ways in which to engage others– the people we agree and disagree with. There are good ways to engage in discussing our differences of opinion. There are productive ways to ask questions, to learn, to be heard, and to listen.

So how do I explain that?

Interesting read from the New Yorker. Not sure how I feel about this one, either. But for now, I think I’ll keep trying to inform myself as best I can. I’ll inform my opinions and decisions with facts and news and information. And I’ll try my best.

 

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A New Natural State- Loving the Little Things

Love this day of tossing lettuce at the ducks. Amazing.

There are a few things in life that return me to what I have always thought of as “my natural state.” This phrase is simply my way of saying I’m blissed out– finding that peaceful space in my heart that is old and familiar, joyful and quiet. This feeling is something that had become less common since the little ones came along. It was just plain hard to get into my comfort zone and feel like myself.

Perhaps that sounds strange or sad– but having small children means there are more than a handful of things I cannot do for the duration and quantity of times I used to do them. This is not something to grieve– or perhaps it is, to a reasonable extent.
These pieces of my natural self felt lost:
– not getting out on the boat to read for 3-6 hours with Hubs at the bow.
– not working out at the gym for 2 hours at a time (let’s be honest– some days I’m lucky to get 15 minutes before a sweet older woman in a blue polo comes to remove me from the elliptical machine because “your baby won’t stop crying without you.”)
– not swimming by myself at the beach for an hour because, inevitably, someone wants to swim with mommy. (Still thankful that someone has yet to be a shark.)
– not taking time for simple pleasures like sipping coffee alone in a bookshop and perusing the aisles for new authors and titles means leaving my kids with someone who is not me.
– not writing. Because when I try to write while anyone in the house is awake (man, woman, boy, girl, infant, houseplant) I am distracted quickly by the other things I need to accomplish to keep our house afloat (no, we don’t live on a houseboat, but how many dishes in the sink is “too many?”). This means I write and rewrite, then I get frustrated, then I hate the paragraph I constructed, then I’m angry because I think this makes me a terrible writer– that I can’t write amidst chaos and noise.
Swallowing these facts over the years made this mom frustrated and resentful about it— which became so engulfing that I started to crave the feelings of frustration and resentment. THEY started to feel like my natural state.
WHAT?!!?
Yea.
Seriously. And, sadly.
I wanted to feel sorry for myself that life had changed– and fell into the seeming comforts of the “you’ve got it so toughs!” And the “it’s so hard for new mommys” and the “lets cry togethers.”
But those feelings didn’t get me so far. They distracted me from blissing out over new, intoxicatingly beautiful moments with my kids. They slapped me in the face and made me cry, and the pain took me away from catching the most incredible new memories we were forming as a family. Feeling sad and frustrated were normal and natural, but I let them take over. They distracted me from seeing that my natural state of being was changing, growing, and morphing in exciting ways.
My new self is a pretty decent mommy. What has felt, at times (too many times, if I’m being honest) like draining self-sacrifice has actually been an awakening toward a more mature, fuller, wholer (yes that’s a word (ok, no, I don’t think that’s a word)), less make-up wearing, more bra-free self.
Life is born in perspective. I was so busy mourning my former self that I forgot to welcome my new self. So my natural state, my blissed self, now includes recognizing and working on the following:
Real Fact: Life is different now.
Real Fact: I need to be more flexible. Everyday. Always. Endlessly.
Real Fact: My natural state is different than it used to be, but it doesn’t make me unnatural.
Real Fact: I can swallow my pride (ugh, literally my least favorite pastime!) and let myself go so I can become the me I have been waiting to become for a long time.
My natural state can appreciate:
– seeing my kid pantomime a pitch from the pitcher’s mound. While he cannot say pitcher, mound, swing, or miss, his heart and physical self are practicing for what’s to come
– reading books for 45 minutes with little men who don’t know how much mommy loves to read, but who love it all their own because we get to snuggle and ask each other questions (this week, particularly, about dinosaurs)
– seeing LM1 finally ride the tricycle uphill on his own– without even noticing the amazingness of his accomplishment, as if he was born to always do it
– hearing LM1 ask to visit family members we haven’t seen in a while because his memory and acknowledgment of love are so pure and natural, he merely has to ask and receive its sweetness
– seeing LM2 rebound from a fall like it was no big deal because, arent they all?
– admitting when I need a break, calling a grandparent, and accepting help from others
What have you noticed about yourself this week!?
#amazingrevelations
#blissedout
#timetogrowup
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Slowing Down

I came across something recently that I thought to share. I read In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms, by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I’m not one for uber-conservative, traditional thinking, but the title grabbed me just enough that I felt compelled to buy and read the book. I knew NOTHING about Dr. Laura or her radio-empire. So, it was an interesting read, needless to say.

I can’t say I would absolutely, resolutely recommend the book. I’m not into telling women what to do with their lives. I’m not into preaching at anyone to say that one way of living or behaving is better than another. So, some of Dr. Laura’s words fell flat for me. Hyper-generalizing the human experience feels so unfair. But my big take-away from her book has been in my heart for a few weeks now. I am playing something over and over again in my mind.

Dr. Laura admits that being home with the kiddies can be difficult sometimes. She acknowledges that the doldrums and monotony of housework and childcare can sometimes overwhelm. And although it sounds kind of simple, her solution for that was:

Play with your kids. 

She talks about the benefit of slowing down, relaxing, and letting yourself play with the kids. This made me consider how interesting it is that we’ve changed a woman’s title from “House Wife” to “Stay-at-Home-Mom.” One idea behind the change, as I understand it, is to acknowledge that the primary focus of the day should be on the children. We are moms before we are home managers. We are not home to clean and keep the house in order so much as we are home to care for our children in the best way possible.

When I feel like I’m failing, when I feel exhausted when I feel like I can’t get anything right, I have been thinking about that as my purpose and role:

To play with the kids. 

It’s my job to teach them, to show them, to speak with them, to share with them. It’s not my job to keep a perfect home or to make sure I finish every single thing on my To-Do list. It’s my job to raise beautiful, compassionate, self-aware, well-rounded children. And since kids learn through play, love, and attention, that’s where my energy can go when I’m bored, tired, or disenchanted.

I get down on the floor, pull out a toy we haven’t used in a while and use my imagination. I get creative. I force something up from deep down inside myself and look for the childish spirit that needs time to sprint around.

So, I’ve tried to follow through on that. I’ve worked to bring the idea into other areas of my life. When I’m just feeling plum out-of-it or a little blue, I look for some fun. I look for the things that make me feel more myself. I let myself laugh and giggle and play. The kids are learning by my example to turn a bad mood into something fun and uplifting.

I’ve even recommended the thought to Hubs. If he’s worn down, less enthusiastic, less himself, I say, “Let’s go have some fun.” We drop our projects and find something exciting to recharge our batteries.

A little play every day.

It sounds so simple, and yet, how often do I make time for real fun? Being a grown up gets a little less than sometimes.

What fun stuff have you been up to? What’s making you smile, laugh, or giggle with glee?

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