In between overdoing it

Summer to Remember

summer-learningWe are coming the end of another school year. This time of year is bittersweet to me. I look forward to the summer, the less hectic pace and the opportunity to spend more uninterrupted time with my children. At the same time I am also a bit melancholy over the passing of another school year and the ever present march forward.

My daughter is entering 5th grade next year. In public school down south that means the last year of elementary school. With middle school looming I (as well as other mothers facing the same circumstance) am filled with fear and trepidation. My fear is founded in what my little girl will be facing. How “advanced” are these middle schooners? Will my innocent child fall prey to some all knowing 8th grader?

I remember middle school for myself. It was a really troubling, emotional time. Leaving childhood behind and embracing hormones, teens, boys and the need for popularity and acceptance. I know that very soon I will be left behind for friends at school. And I get it that is just the way of things, I did it to my parents who did it to their parents and so on. It is a right of passage. But even with I am still emotional about her growing up.

All those people who said how fast the time goes when you have children weren’t kidding. It flew by and as I sit here typing this I watch as another year come to a close. Even though I am saddened at the idea of my cuddly funny, sweet babies moving closer to adulthood. What ultimately gets me is that I know they are only mine for a short time. The time feels much shorter now then it did when they were in diapers.

In the end it is about watching them grew. Seeing them have new experiences and transform into the people they are meant to become. As I have mentioned before part of that scares me but that is the leap we take when having children. We know at some point while holding that baby in our arms we will have to release them into the world.

Part of why we hold on the past is because we know what has already happened but we do not know what will be. I think as fearful as I am about the future I am also hopeful. For some of us, like my sister-in-laws and their children, they come back to you. Not as the child that left you but as the friend you never knew you needed or that they would become.

The future hold so much possibility for my children. I will just have to sit back and enjoy the journey. As for now I plan on making this summer and each one to follow as fun, funny and memorable as we can make it.

 

Having a Bad Mom Day

FLOWERI feel like I try so hard to be  good mom but some days I just fail. The day that ends in a screaming fight. The hours that feels like a battle for supremacy. Mornings I want to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head.

I fail because I am human and I have no idea what I am doing. Some moments I shame myself and don’t feel like being the adult. I forget to set the example. In my heart I want my little ones to grow up and be productive, happy, healthy people but my head tells me over and over… I am failing at it.

I yell too much and say things in the wrong way. At times I totally lose it, go in my bedroom, close then door and have my own little tantrum like I am the child.  Don’t you ever get tired of telling them to put down that cookie or stop jumping on the couch?  Sometimes I just do not feel like being the adult. But I am the mom.

Moments when I feel like I can’t get up off the couch again, do another load of laundry, and break up another argument. I start to disintegrate after I have clean the same area I have now cleaned for the 5th time that day. I just get tired. Mentally and physically.

Emotionally, there are times when my need so badly to control my children’s environment. The fear almost over powers me. If you would only do things my way, the way I want you to. I will be able to keep you safe, innocent. If you would just listen. But you are kids. It is in your nature to test your boundaries. It is nothing new to repeat something for the 9th time knowing I have not been heard. I just get tired, my edges worn down.

Sometimes the push back gets to be to much. My need for control takes over and I try to fit square pegs into round holes. Try to shove my wants into may kids. Making them who I want them to be instead of who they are. This is my biggest fail time and again.

There are so many threats, so many people looking to steal their innocence. To rob them of childlike goodness. I fight in vane to stay vigilant and keep the threats away. Swatting at them with paper swords… it is all for nothing.

My grip has slipped and I can not longer defend against it. Desperately I try to shield my children with my own body. Not realizing that ultimately the only one who can defend against this enemy is themselves.

I must put the sword in your hand. That is my job. I need to let you stand and fight. My fear is that you won’t…and I will have to watch you get hurt. Knowing I could have stopped it.

I know I need to step back. To let you fail, to learn and overcome if that is what is meant to be. Instead I keep failing as your mom, keep overstepping and over reaching. Yes, you are clothed , feed, have a roof over your head but how do I give you guidance when I feel like I am always doing it wrong?  Shouldn’t I know more by now? Shouldn’t I have more of the answers? Frequently I have none and make it up as I go. Feeling that I fail more often them I can count.

Were is the wisdom that was suppose to come with these crows feet? Where is the grounded strength I should feel from the added weight on my hips?  I only feel more ignorant and unbalanced, weighted down by my parental ineptitude.

Less prepared for each day, less able to protect you. To help you. To control things. My heart breaks.  Talking to other mom’s they seem so secure, so confident that they are doing it right. Is that an act? Do they have the answers I don’t or are they just better at hiding there failures.

There was a time I loved being a Mom. It made me feel special, important to a little person, loved and able to give love. I felt like a million dollars. Floating on air. I raced home each day to see my babies, hold them love them. So full of love.

Lately, I feels like a battle where I am left in pieces. Attacked on all fronts. More often them not, I am losing. I have no strategies, no techniques. Only want to get through the day without feeling like a failure.

I know no one is a perfect mom. Inside my head I still strive to be and fall so far short. Even though I know it is unrealistic the feeling is there and it makes me feel awful. But there are other feelings too. The feeling of those little arms around me, telling me “Mommy I love you.” Those little moments where I feel like I have done O.K. Maybe I won’t screw them up too much. In the end all I can do is love them.

 

 

milkIt all happened when I gave up Milk

Went I think of Vitamin D I think of milk. In recent years I have all but given up regular cows milk for the digestive upset it can give me. Never did I think that by giving up this dairy staple I might have been leaving myself susceptible to a Vitamin D deficiency. Lack of fortified dairy is only one way to get Vitamin D however. THe majority of our daily intake comes from sun exposure. The idea of exposing yourself to the sun runs counter to what we have been told for years. Cover up, use SPF 1000, wear a heat, avoid the sun. Little did we know we were also denying our bodies much needed nutrients.

If you are like me and work indoors each day it is easy to forget how little sun exposure we are actually getting. I mean we go from the house to the car, car to work, sit in enclosed office all day, then got back from office to car, car back to home. When do we even see the sun?

Ahh… on the weekends maybe? Maybe not. If you live in a cold climate it is unlikely you are venturing out enough to really get sufficient Vitamin D. If you are in a warm climate like me we are slathering on the sunscreen or just staying in the a/c and out of the heat.

How common is Vitamin D Deficiency?

The next thing you know these factors come together to bring about a Vitamin D deficiency. So how common is vitamin D deficiency?

According to Mecola.com “Researchers estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, and this percentage rises in higher-risk populations such as the elderly and those with darker skin.”

Why do we need Vitamin D anyway?

So what does Vitamin D do anyway? An article on WebMD by Daniel J. DeNoon states …”your body must have vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). You also need vitamin D for other important body functions.”

“Vitamin D also fights infections, including colds and the flu, as it regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses,” says Dr. Michael Holick, author of the book The Vitamin D Solution.

“Research has shown that vitamin D might play an important role in regulating mood and warding off depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms,” according to Healthline.com.

How do I know if I don’t have enough D?

So how do you know if you are Vitamin D deficient? I found out after a routine blood test. A lot of the symptoms had already presented themselves but I just assumed they were from other things. Vitamin D never crossed my mind. Here are some signs you may need to have your Vitamin D levels checked.

  1. Aching Bones and joint stiffness
  2. Depression
  3. Your overly sweaty
  4. You have tummy troubles. (This one is kind of ironic to me because that is what kept me from drinking milk, most likely making me more D deficient.
  5. General weakness.

People that are darker skinned or over 50 may be more susceptible to iron deficiency because of reduced ability to absorb D from the sun.  Even as little as 15 minutes outside without sunblock can have an effect on your Vitamin D levels. You doctor will advise you if a Vitamin D supplement is necessary. In general however, the best way to be sure you are getting the enough of the sunshine Vitamin is to turn of the TV, get off the computer, get out of the office and get outside more.

***I am not a doctor and this post is not medical advice. I am just someone who was caught by surprise by my low Vitamin D count. This is intended for information purposes only.

 

 

 

I’m Back

Ok, It has been about a year since I migrated off WordPress.org and moved on to WordPress.com. Needless to say I learned a lot from the experience. Mostly I learned self hosting for the non-tech savvy is very difficult. Quite frankly I found I was spending more time trying to sort out why my blog was not working, instead of what it was meant to do.

After a long four hours of frustration, yelling and ignoring my kids I had enough. I was done with self hosting, done with blogging. All I ever wanted to do was write and here I was not writing and sacrificing time with my kids for it. Although I learned a lot and came across some wonderful people, like my Over the Moon link Party Ladies, I knew it was time to pack it in.

I needed to let go of my dream of being a big time blogger with sponsors and a huge following. I had to face the idea that this was not the stage in my life where I was going to be able to devote the time needed to sort out tech stuff, come up with email list promotions and coordinate social media campaigns. Heck, even keeping up with a monthly newsletter was becoming difficult. Granted, I still want to write and share my thoughts with whoever will to hear them. So I figure why not return to where my blog began. Where I first found support and gave this blog a voice. Back to this platform.

Migrating to self hosting turned out to be a frustrating endeavor that did not bring me closer to what I wanted. So I decide to stop. I moved most of my posts over the past year back here. I am letting go of the schedule I created for myself that became more of a chore then a joy. The goals and aims for both platforms are very different and it turned out to be much more tech driven then I had time for. So here I am selling nothing, promoting nothing just being me again. And that is exactly how I like it.

Pamper YourselfThis is the fourth installment in the “Taking Care of Me” series. In month one we examined Habits, month two we looked at Loving Ourselves, and month three we examined Letting Go Of Something Toxic. This month is about Pampering Yourself.

This month, for the first time in years, I actually looked at my face. Sounds pretty crazy right? For years I have not taken the time to look in the mirror. With how busy of mom life is each morning, I would wash my face, brush my teeth and get on with reading for the day. The hustle and bustle of the increasing morning responsibilities with children chipped away at my make-up routine.

Eventually what little primping I did evaporated. Jewelry and accessorizing was a practice that went away along time ago. Morning life just became too busy to take the time to stare in the mirror outside of  a cursory glace as I ran out the door. (This was pretty much to make sure my hair wasn’t sticking up and I didn’t have baby food anywhere.)

Never having been a girly girl, I ;et go that at this point in life I just didn’t  have the time to paint my nails, put on lipstick regularly and select complementary accessories. Yes, I would stare in jealously at the women at work who always looked put together and ready for the day.

I vowed to myself someday I would take the time to take better care of myself. Finally I would use the trendy facial mask collecting dust on my vanity. Or at any rate I would at least fully dry my hair before I left the house. In reality those things never happened, I never made the time. Feeding the baby, throwing in a load of laundry, and packing lunches. Those things had to happen first.

So I let the primping and coloring go. I stopped caring about doing my hair and make-up. Hey, I was raising a family, lipstick had to take a backseat. So what if I felt disheveled and a bit embarrassed when I got to work? None of it really mattered when I thought about all I had done before leaving the house each morning.  Looking back I give myself and any working mom a pat on the back for managing to get to work at all.

Then one day I looked in the mirror. I REALLY looked in the mirror. Who was this person? My skin looked terrible. The big dark circles under my eyes make me look like I got double face punched. My eyebrows! They were an Italian girls nightmare. Suddenly the acne that had plagued me disappeared but in its place was this patchy dry, sagging dullness. My skin didn’t look like this before. My face looked tired…and old. In my hustle, bustle and self-neglect, I had aged.It was written all over my face.

The process of change began by the purchase of moisturizer. A product me and my formerly oily skin, stayed far away from. Then with the help of some Younique and Sephora samples I stared to experiment with other items like primers, creams and foundations. I never used a ton of make-up due to my acne. Everything I used would break me out so I kept it very basic and never experimented much.

After about 5 (or more) years of not taking the time to care for my skin and face, I was shocked and saddened by the changes that took place. This could not be me. I didn’t look like this. Who was this person? But I knew the answer was staring at me like that new tub of moisturizer.

This is the mom when stayed up with her restless daughter or sick son. The daughter who buried her father, and grandmother. She is the wife who tried to keep the house quite and let her husband sleep in because he worked all night. This is the caregivier who cooks a weeks worth of food in one day so her family will be well feed. This face is me. Maybe not the 20-year-old me, but it was me all the same. And it was time I took care of her.

This month I (literally) came face to face with my face. Deciding instead of pining for the skin I once had, to take the time to accentuate what I am now. Instead of noticing my new wrinkles and dull skin, I need to take a moment to pamper myself. Discover and apply some products that make me feel good about the person I have become. The tired mom… well she is still here but I no longer have a baby crying through the night and my red, bumpy, painful acne is a thing of the past.  I can embrace the face I have, with all the wonderful experiences that are etched into it.One year of taking care of me

For the first time in my life I am learning about make-up. Finding joy in the pigments and products. Exploring how proper skin care and application can transform a tired face into one of brightness. Honestly, I didn’t know how transformative proper skin care could be.

Learning all about the amazing array of products, what they do and how to apply them has been fun. Pampering myself was never a phrase in my vocabulary but venturing into this area has been so restorative, emotionally and physically. Overall I just feel better about myself when I use these new products and take the time to apply them regularly.

Although it has not been easy. Some mornings I have had to force myself to set aside time. Literally locking my husband and kids out of the room until I was done. I have even started night routine. Before I would just crash into bed from the exhaustion of the day. Now I am preparing myself for bed.  This month I learned a lesson in valuing myself and making my face a priority. It is not a great deal of time, but it is a enough to get back to the me I need to be. The one that I now see on a daily basis in the mirror.

This month is about Pampering Yourself. This could mean scheduling a spa treatment or massage. Finally getting the expensive purse you have been loving from far. Or just stopping to take a needed nap on a Saturday afternoon. This month make a special effort to treat yourself right and give to yourself without blame, guilt or regret because you are important and you matter.

 

5 Ways to Build a Girls Self WorthGrowing up we all had that one friend who would say they were your bestie but the moment someone “cooler” came along they would drop you like a bad habit. These people would return to you when there was nothing else to do or when no one else was around only to flat leave you all over again. This behavior would play on repeat until you would finally decide you had enough and end the “friendship.” These are known as fair weather friends.

growing up I was not the try of kid who would ever hurt anyone’s feelings. Basically I was a doormat. Letting these fair-weather friends walk all over me. Then one day I decided to put a stop to it. Fast forward to today as I watch this same situation play out with my own children. I watch as the fair-weather friend mistreats my daughter. Invites her over then drops her when another friend can come over instead.

I stand by silently as my daughter cries as this little girl brags to her and puts her down. I sit silently and I wait. I wait for the moment when my daughter will fight back. When she will see here own greatness. I wait until the flurry of words explodes from her so that this girl never messes with her again. I wait but it doesn’t happen. My heart breaks as I see the pain on her face.

Honestly, I wish it could jump in and defend her, protect her from this little evil being hurting my little girl. But I know this is not my fight. She needs to find her own greatness, her own self worth. Something I never learned until far to late.

It will happen one day soon when she has had enough but part of me wonders if I can’t help her more. No, I don’t mean Marching in costumed body parts, wearing pink caps and shouting baseless claims of “resistance.” I mean really teaching a girl her worth. Helping her find her self respect. To stand up to other girls as she will eventually have to stand up to other women and men. Here are 5 ways to build a girls self worth.

Don’t raise her as a “pleaser.

According to Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, EdD, a clinical psychologist, we should encourage her to stand up for what she needs and wants. “Create opportunities for her to use her voice,”  “Ask ‘What do you want?’ Let her make a choice and then honor that choice.” – from ChildMind.org.

Set an Example

Don’t trash talk other women or yourself. ” …if a mom is gossiping about one of her friends on the phone and the daughter overhears this, that memory is in her brain forever and she will be more inclined to gossip with her friends as she grows up.”- says Lauren Galley, President of Girls Above Society. (Huffington Post)

Get her into Team Sports

According to an article from Kidsealth.org, playing sports builds self-confidence. “Girls involved in athletics feel better about themselves, both physically and socially. It helps to build confidence when you see your skills improving and your goals becoming reality. Other esteem-boosting benefits of sports participation include getting in shape, maintaining a healthy weight, and making new friends,” it says.

Be wise to media images

Some media images such as plus sized models and female athletes can help young girls feel accepted and empowered. But more often then not TV, movies and magazines are flooded with images that stress “ideal beauty” and appearance. As well as the over equalization of women and young girls.

Girls’ confidence frequently drops in the pre-teen years as they begin to base their feelings of self-worth more and more heavily on appearance and weight,” says Media Smarts.ca. It is important to limit exposure to media images and have an open dialogue with your daughter about how the media depicts women.

Tell them their value and you love them no matter what

Our girls need to be told tell have value. We often tell them what they have done wrong but we also need to be praise them.  Let them know that their unique gifts, talents, and abilities have value. They are unique and individual. We love them for the person they are not there appearance or accomplishments.

She needs to know that you’ll love her no matter how her appearance might change or how she dresses or how she might perform at something,” says Dr. Mary Rooney, PhD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in adolescents. Rooney adds “Because even though kids are so reliant on their peers for feedback when they’re in their teens, what her parents think of her matters just as much as it ever did.”- Childmind.org.

 

 

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