In between overdoing it

Posts tagged ‘motherhood’

Month 4 of Taking Care of You: Pamper Yourself

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.

 

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A Morning in Mommyhood

morning in the mommyhoodI stand in the shower. To be honest I’m hiding in there, letting the hot water run over my face as I stare at the wall.  If I look down I will see the empty shampoo and body wash bottles that have collected in the corner. My eyes will drift over the bottom of the shower door, full of filmy soap scum and in need of a good cleaning. Knowing I don’t have the time to clean it or even stand in here any longer, I have I hurry to wash my hair. 

It is time to get out but I am reluctant to start the day, to leave the warm, comforting water and small space that is my own right now. When I open the door I will see the collection of messes that have accumulated through my bedroom, then through the house. Knowing full well I am all that stands in the way of the messes and complete chaos.

Get some pant on

As I open the top dresser drawer I say a silent pray of hoping there will be a pair of clean underwear left since I only got to the kid’s laundry this week. Yes, thankfully it is shoved at the bottom between bras that no longer fit. Ok, maybe I can manage to get through today. Hey I have underwear so it might not be so bad. There is a knock at my bedroom door. Well, not really a polite non-intrusive knock more like a door swinging open and hitting the wall as my kids and the dogs barrel into the room.

 No… this is supposed to be my sanctuary. Well at least where I can get dressed right? As I stand in a towel, my wet hair dripping dry into all sort of Medusa like snakes. I hope I can at least get a brush through it before I must be pulled away to find this or locate that. But first back to the underpants, as I gather them together I retreat (because really that is what it is I lost this battle) into the bathroom in the hopes of getting some clothing on before I am forced to locate any more items.

image found on Pinterest.com

As I get my undergarments on I realize the toilet paper roll is empty, there is dust on the bathroom shelves and we won’t even get into the look of the toilet. More on my list of stuff to do. Feeling my anxiety rising, I hope I am left alone to get the rest of my clothing together. Then hopefully  flee from all the mess and some of the responsibility I don’t have the time to address right now.

I have nothing to wear

Opening the door, I see for now I am alone. Ceasing the opportunity I move stealthily to the closet and look through my clothes…depression sets in as I realize I have nothing new, nice or well-fitting to wear. What did I expect when I buy all my clothes over the internet. Guessing on what might fit is not the same as what fits. I look longingly to my comfortable yoga pants. The only garment that seems to not judge me. How much I weight. How things in my body have shifted with age and children.

But I don’t get to linger on this long because I realize my hair is almost dry and it is a total mess. Dressing in whatever matching items I can stand to put on my body. Some feeling to lose, others to tight.  Do I have time to run an iron over this? Emerging from the closet (yes where I was hiding again.) I search desperately for one of the 7 brushes somewhere in our home. We have 7 brushes because of the reason you can never find one when you need it. They are never in a logical place where they should be. They are in plastic bags, left in cars, brought to school…etc.. So, we continue to buy them only for them to grow legs and wader off. Like right now…I am left with only a promotional comb from a hair salon missing teeth.

It’s ok I’m the mom. I will make due. Don’t we always? Realizing it is to late to salvage a good hair day, I search for a clip. This  as my children and husband begin Round 2 of the “where is my… have you seen my…?” Q and A. To find the clip I must rummage into the deep dark corners of the vanity and shift out of the way  weeks of accumulated toiletry items, deodorants, colognes, and toothpaste tubes . Realizing this is yet another area I alone will be cleaning I feel more anxiety.

Going to be late for work

Mistakenly glancing at the clock to see I have 4 minutes left before I must be on the road or I will be late for work. Both my children are half clothed. The dog is crying to go out for the third time and I have not packed my lunch or had any breakfast. Oh, and shoes??? What about shoes? Since those are much more difficult to estimate sized of the internet I am down to the few pairs I have scavenged and procured in rushed side trips to the supermarket. They are old and ratty and well… embarrassing but right now they will have to do. The nice ones are from a different era in my life where beauty overruled comfort and practicality. Now I cannot imagine making it through a day at work, then the drive home, then baseball and bed in shoes that hurt.

I slide into my old reliable’s and glance at myself in the mirror. Feeling disgusted and disheveled I vow (again) I will tackle my ailing wardrobe situation, my abominably messy house and my unpolished toenails. (Side note: my husband asked why I never paint my toes anymore…Is he serious? I could totally if you would do one load of laundry ..maybe I could carve out five minutes to paint my nails dear??? -insert imagine of me fluttering my eyes at him.)

Am I a good mom… a good wife?

Realizing this is it. This is all I can reasonably do in the time I have I forgo breakfast, (and pretty much lunch.. Figure I will put some make-up on at stop lights on the way into work. Kissing my kids on the forehead I feel the gut wrenching feeling that I am not a good mom. I should be leaving notes in their lunch boxes telling them how much I love them, should have given them something better than just plain PB & J. Maybe I should have cut it into shapes or something like the “good” mommies do? I don’t have the time and must go to work. My heart hurts knowing I can’t be the mom I want to be or should be. Instead they are stuck with the impatient, always rushing, non-star shaped melon making, frequently yelling, mess that is their mom.

Giving my husband a quick peck on the cheek as I leave I feel the loss of meaningful conversation we rarely get to have without some interruption.  I wonder as he eats his cold cereal, wishing I could make his something better, if I am the wife he through he would have? The way I look now, the person I am. No, I’m not the 20-year-old he fell in love with. In the back of my mind I fear he will get sick of waiting for that 20-year-old to come back from whatever beach vacation she has been on. He will decide to seek out a shiny new model to replace his old yoga pants wearing clunker.

But I’m the Mom

As I glance around my home, the home of two adults, two children and two dogs, I know I should see all of the life that lives here, the love and care. Lately, I only feel anxiety and inadequacies. Today I only see mess to come home too. The one’s that will still be there tomorrow as I lack the time to get to them. My anxiety grows as I recognize here is where I should be. Here is where I am needed. I sigh sadly and recognize there is no way I can do this all. There is no way that I can get these things done. Maid, cook, employee, desirable 20 something, Pinterest mommy, I can’t be all these people.  Somehow, I know I will try to because I love my family and that is what Mom’s do.

 

Mama’s, You are not

Dear Beautiful Mama

I was inspired to write this after reading a similar list from the blog Cresting the Hill. There I encountered a post titled “You are not.” It was a list of all the negative things women in their 50’s might say about themselves. Her words really hit home to me. I recognized that all us women’s do this. For us mama’s we pine for the person (and body) we had before kids, focus on flaws instead of seeing the beauty of motherhood and fixate on perfection instead of being in the moment.  More recently, I have come to appreciate the idea of changing our negative self-talk so I created a version for Mom’s.

Mama’s You are not…                                              mama's you are not

Your  extra pounds of baby weight

Your messy house

Your overflowing laundry

Your dirty diapers

You are not…

Your sleep deprivation

Your inability to stick to a diet

Your lack of time to get things done

Your yoga pants and stained shirts

No…You are more

You are a caregiver and friend

You are a wiper of tears and kisser of boo-boo’s

You are a teacher

You are a creator of home

You are nourishment and home cooking

You are the comforting arms

You are the immovable force protecting your children

You are what it mean to be a family

You are love

 

 

 


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The Week I Went Numb

the week I went numb

This week I feel like I went numb.

I know it is a weird thing to say. Here comes complete honesty and yes a little dramatics, but it is the truth. This week I feel I have been pushed past my breaking point and well… I broke.  There was a culmination of an unexpected family death, a possibly Category 4 Hurricane and a frantically busy pace that has left me so worn out I can’t seem to recover.

The busy pace began when school started and has not let up ever since. Each day we have some practice, lesson or activity that must be accomplished. Add to that the growing concerns about my daughter’s sudden inability to do her homework and my son’s constant need for attention.

The frantic pace and the constant need to nag to get simple tasks done is nothing new for most parents. It is annoying but part of the parenting package. I just figured if I hang in there a few more weeks it will slow down and I can catch my breath. (We all know that this is a totally fallacy seeing as the rush of the holidays would be in full swing.)

Out of nowhere a family member unexpectedly passed away. This caused us all to go into a little bit of shock. It was surreal and weird. After it we were all a bit off balance. My kids behavior took a turn for the worse and I found myself getting more quick to become angry and agitated.

The day before the funeral we woke up to find we had to decide whether to flee our home from a possible major hurricane or stay and risk our safety. Me and my husband went back and fourth. I wrote about my fear of uncertainly in an earlier post here. But after deciding to stay, I was shuttered in alone with my children for 48 hours straight gripped by the possibility of impending doom and hyped by the local news.

I only tell you this timeline to set the stage for what let up to my feeling of nothingness. Friday morning we emerged from our home to find everything was fine. The storm had never turned our direction and instead set its sights on other areas (So sorry St. Augustine, Georgia and South Carolina.) There was no lost of power, down trees and roof damage like anticipated. We were elated or should have been. That is when I started to notice the numb feeling set in. I felt like I had used up all the emotions I had from sorrow to anger to despair. I felt empty, like I had nothing left.

So there I was alone with my children, who were going through there own emotional stuff, but I felt I had nothing left to give them. Over the next 3 days as we moved our lawn furniture back outside, my children’s behavior was more out of control then ever. I tried to talk to them about how they were feeling but after each conversation I felt like a failure. The constant pressure of trying seemed too much. I was failing them again and I just felt tired.

In our society there is so much pressure to be the perfect mom.

We all talk about this pressure but it doesn’t make it any less or make it go away. It just sits out there like a category 4 hurricane off your coast. Sometimes this pressure creates a big raging storm swirling with activity. Leaving emotional flooding and broken pieces in its aftermath. But sometimes it moves on past taking all your strength, energy, and warmth with it. Leaving things to appear normal but feel empty.disturbing-water-1180557

That is were I am at. The pressure of all the worrying, the fear and sorrow, the circulating fury of the motherhood maelstrom seemed to suck all my want, my energy, my life away. I feel like the sea after a storm.  Calm but not peaceful, flat, dull, still.

So why do I share this with you? Why do I lay it all out there and be this raw and vulnerable? Because I know no one is perfect. We might never admit to it but I know I am not alone in feeling like this at times. Just figured there might be another mother mindlessly numbing herself at her computer. Another pressure filled mother who feels on the verge of losing it. I just want her to know she is not alone.


hint with a kick of natural caffeine

How to remain calm when all you want to do is SCREAM!

success in parenting

Let’s play a little game.

Have you ever lost your cool with your kids? Did your children ever jumped on your last nerve? Have you ever felt overwhelmed and your child was the recipient of your angry outburst? YES! Yes and yes! Now what? For me, I cannot stand when I behave that way and I know what effects it has on my little ones. I am going to give you a sneak peek into a recent “parent fail” of mine.

First allow me to give you a little background information. One of my pet peeves is to hear someone crushing a plastic water bottle. That being said, here is what happened.

I had a typical day teaching Pre-K and then coaching my “Girls on the Run” team. I was ready to go home and relax. My eight-year-old son was in the backseat and decided to read his new library book for the drive home. Yes…. I was going to enjoy 25 minutes or so of quiet time.

Then it happened – CRUNCH! I asked my son to stop squeezing the water bottle while he is reading. Of course he said, “I don’t have a water bottle.” I glanced back and the bottle was in the pocket of his door. His feet were on the seat and pressed against it. I asked him to keep his feet off of it. He must have kicked it 2-3 more times before I lost it. I yelled, removed privileges, and acted like a total jerk.

Within a matter of seconds, the guilt flooded in. What the heck was I thinking? I wasn’t. I allowed my emotions to get the best of me at the expense of my child. C-R-A-P. What’s a mom to do? There were so many options; I am embarrassed to think about it. But let me just list those I could have implemented while driving.

  1. Take some deep calming breaths.

  2. Ask my child to hand me the bottle.

  3. Count to myself.

  4. Ask myself why this noise was getting to me.

  5. Utilize my essential oil bracelet that I was wearing.

  6. Use an “I feel” statement to clearly convey my message.

Here are some additional options, if I were not in the car.

  1. Tell my child, “Mommy needs a break.” and walk away.

  2. Think about my “Happy Place.”

  3. Change my activity.

  4. Remove the water bottle.

Guess what else I didn’t do because I was mad at myself? I didn’t explain to my child why I behaved that way and I didn’t apologize. There are so many benefits to communicating our feelings clearly and calmly. Obviously, I made a mistake in the way I reacted. But I should have brought attention to my mistake and apologized to my child. Being a good model is so important. It also teaches that it is ok to make mistakes and when we do, we need to apologize. I needed to reconnect with my child and I missed that opportunity. However, I learned from that as well. In the reconnection I could have explained what led to my irrational behavior and that I need to practice my calming down techniques so I do not hurt his feelings.

image found on Pinterest.com

image found on Pinterest.com

There are so many lessons I have learned from this hiccup in my parenting. I know I am not alone in this journey. (Raise your virtual hand if you are with me!) These bumps in the road are happening to all of us. Mistakes are going to happen and we need to remember there is no such thing as a “perfect parent.”

We are all doing the best we can and we will get emotional. It is how we handle that emotion that is going to dictate how successful our children will become. Just like we get embarrassed when our children act out in the grocery store or in a restaurant….. they will also make us proud in how they care for others. How they behave in a public place when their emotions are running high and how they use strategies to control themselves. They will remember and practice what we have taught them, so let’s be that example.

To talk more about this and other parenting topics, visit my Facebook group, Success in Parenting, and read our recent discussions about being parents. Currently are exploring ways to control our anger and be excellent role models for our little ones. At Success in Parenting you will find support, a listening ear, and strategies that may be helpful. Input in our group is what makes it successful!

 

Rantings of an Overwhelmed Mom

Sometimes (ok pretty often) being a working mom can be overwhelming. We get to the point where we feel so full up with responsibilities and stuff to do that it feels like we are in a constant start of overflow. Always trying to catch-up… catch-up on housework, catch-up on “Work” work. Trying to be a god mom, be a good parent. We wear so many hats that our head hurts from switching among them so often.

Mom, mom, mom, mom

Me and my other friends who are working mothers have talked at great length about how tired we feel. I think this has generated from our biological wiring. Once our children are born our body changes and our brain becomes wired to detect the slightest sound of a baby in distress. This also comes along with and intense anxiety that begins in the battle to get enough sleep. Will I sleep enough to make it through the work day? Will I get enough sleep to care for my kids? If I fall asleep now I will only get 4 or 5 or 3 hours of sleep. Should I just try sleeping in my car on my lunch break?

I just want to go to sleep

As our children grow our new bat like ears pick up very sound inside our house. Pets walking across the floor, our spouse opening the fridge, a car driving loudly down the road. Every sound seems to steal restful sleep from us.

Being a working mother is almost like being between worlds. Mom’s have a desire, a want and even a need to be a homemaker and to create a loving, peaceful nurturing home for our family. ATo be home with our children, feeding them all the right nutritious foods (instead of mountains of Goldfish). We want to be the envy of our neighbors, with a well maintained home and tasteful furnishings (instead of a stained couch and messy floor.)

We want to still look like a 20-year old fashion model (in our mind) and have our kids properly (and cutely) dressed, (instead of wrinkled uniforms since you have no time to iron or put away the stuff in the dryer.) All too often life is too hectic and busy to present the home we envision in our brain. (Or get out of our sweat pants and mom jeans.)

We compare what we have to what others put forth but what we see is not always what is real. I know to make my house presentable for company me and my husband have to do a 6-hour marathon cleaning which is destroyed in less than an hour.cleaning

Yes, my house is a wreak most of the time. More often than not I feel overwhelmed. Like I am dropping the ball in so many places in my life. Then I think back to holding my baby in my arms and all the dirty laundry and work drama melts away. I savor the joy in sitting and reading with my son and none of the other stuff seems to matter. Being silly and laughing with my kids, capturing those small moments where I see them find joy in something.

Those times when they give me an impromptu hug. When they say, “mommy, I love you” and my heart melts along with all the stresses of the day. This is what makes it all worth it. Being a working mother is hard. It is really hard. Some days I feel like I’m completely failing. But there are these moments, so golden, pure and natural that I feel like being a mom was what I was always missing and in this messy house with these wonderful little beings is exactly where I am meant to be.

 

A New Perspective For Moms from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

*Inbetweenmoderation is not affiliated with the church in this video. I just really liked the video)

Finding My Calling in a Sink Full of Dishes

dishes

The picture above epitomized why the tone of this blog is going to shift a bit. This sink full of dishes is what I came home to yesterday. The sink full of dishes is the reality of a working mom. A mom that has no time. A mom that never gets to sit and have dinner or breakfast. A mom that has to handle all the pressures and stresses and bad bosses and back stabbing coworkers, then come home to a sink full of dishes.

Sometimes the scenery might change, the ages of the kids might vary but the plight of the working mom is very real. This is our life…this sink full of dishes. This is our story. We are depended upon; things are expected of us. Things that, if we thought about, we would never in a million years expect someone else to accomplish in the amount of time and pace we expect from ourselves.  Somewhere along the way the role of the mom become all encompassing. We lost the stay at home, Jello mold, dress wearing mom of the 1950’s and replaced her with the hurried, haggard, working mom of the 2000’s.

 It has reached a new level of craziness in that this is what we have done to ourselves. We have guilted ourselves into believing that all we do, in an insane amount of time, all these varied tasks are our responsibility and ours alone. And we are expected to carry them out with near perfection! What have we done to ourselves. No wonder we feel out of balance all the time. No wonder we are overwhelmed.

I came home to a sink full of dishes, a dinner to cook, a house that looks like a disaster, a mountain of laundry, children’s homework to do and a cake business to run! Most of this I created. I brought on myself. We are mothers yes, but where in the handbook did it say we are slaves? Where in the rules did we lose our freedom to have a loving home where we are appreciated and at peace?

I want to state for the record that as of today I want to reshape the idea of the working mom. I want to make it into something that is actually real. Someone that exists. Not this sink of dirty dishes, false expectations and insurmountable pressure. I want to get back to what I loved about being a mom. What it felt like to come home from work and not want to run screaming from responsibility.

 I want to discover new and better ways of doing things that don’t take such a toll on the “momness” inside me. Over the coming months, this blog will change and I will embark on this new journey of remaking the idea of the working mom. I will still focus on our key areas like food, as the nutritional gatekeeper of the household and family health practitioner. I will also continue to address household finance, since in most cases this is also the duty that falls to mom. Family and feelings, these two areas will take center stage. Balance and moderation are still going to play key roles but they will be weaved into the strategies of a working mom.

My aim is to help you and myself not feel overwhelmed, angry or sad about coming home to a sink full of dishes. I want us to be free from the “mommy guilt” and the feelings we create in our “momhood.” I want us to transform into the happy, healthy, balanced mom’s we should be! Come join me on this new journey.

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