Great article on pushing yourself beyond what you expect you can do.
Good morning, girl. Happy Thursday! How’s the week so far? You staying connected to your kiddos? It’s an ongoing thing, isn’t it? Every day is different. You energy varies, their needs vary, the little surprises of life can vary (like, surprise, your car won’t start! or surprise, kiddo has the flu!)
If you can hang on to one little routine throughout the crazy, it can provide so much comfort and connection.
Our routine when mine were little was reading out loud before bedtime. Even when I was so tired that I would literally fall asleep while reading the book! They would pat my cheek with their chubby little hands and say, “Mamma, Mamma… we’re not done yet! Mamma?” And I’d wake up and we’d get through another couple pages. I had Jamberry memorized. And Good Night Moon. I could turn the pages and “read” the book with my eyes closed! Mommy super-powers.
Recently, we had some tough stuff going on here at home. Big tough stuff. My teenagers ended up in my bedroom, one on the rocker, one on the floor, one on the bed. There was so much sadness; nobody was ready to go to sleep. And then I reached for James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great And Small”, a book that’d we’d read out loud, cover to cover, years ago (in fact we read through the whole series). I opened to a random story and started reading. They all looked up and smiled. “Oh, I love this one,” my daughter said.
It helped. Returning to our comforting routine, even all these years later, we all felt the comfort and love in that.
What is your I-love-you-ritual? Toast and hot cocoa before bed? Reading? Going for a walk? I know a couple who walk with their daughters every single night before bed. They put the girls in this uber-large stroller and walk till they fall asleep. It’s a lovely and loving ritual that helps Mommy and Daddy wind down too.
Make it yours.
Hey, girl. Happy Tuesday! What are you going to do to take care of yourself today? What one thing? To feed your body, your strength, your stamina. Because your body is more than just a transportation system for your brain. And your physical health affects everything, really, everything. Your mood, your focus, your energy … all hugely impacted by your physical health. And role model too, right? Remember those small humans who are watching you to see how they should live.
Cardio? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Every time. Or walk around outside the building for a fresh-air break.
Nutrition? Have tea instead of soda. Have salad instead of a burger and fries. Have an apple instead of a whatever from the vending machine.
Strength? Do eight squats by your desk when you start to feel sleepy. (cubicle squats, youtube) Or do milk-jug exercises when you get home tonight. Google it up, sister. So easy. Your kids will laugh and they will respect you for it.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. It does have to be intentional.
You deserve this. You deserve to be healthy.
I hate when I am the Queen of Excuses. (No time! I’ll just check email first. Just this ONE little sweet. And my favorite: I’ll start tomorrow.) Blech. Saps my energy AND my self-confidence. I am better than that. I will be better than that, starting now.
One thing. What one thing will you do to be healthier today? And how will that affect your family? Because your health affects them too.
I’m going to get 10,000 steps in today. I’ll take the stairs, park far away and probably have to go for a walk around the neighborhood tonight to make it happen, but it will happen. And I’ll feel better because of it.
How about you, Mamma? Your one thing?
Go, Mamma, go!!!
Hi, girl. Happy Friday. How are you doing? Well, I hope, but I know not every mom out there is having a good day. This gig is hard, some days are heavy.
This goes out to the tired moms. The sad moms. With love and encouragement. I’ve thought about writing about this for a long time, but wanted to be sure I could be honest about the dark while still reassuring you that you will get through it to the light again.
I love being a mom. I love my husband. I love my kids. And even so, there have been days during these last crazy twenty years when I was so tired and so sad that I just didn’t know how I was going to keep going. Some dark, tired days.
The good-tired days were when I could call a girlfriend and say, “my life is crazy my life is crazy my life is crazy” and she would understand and we would laugh and I would keep going.
But there were dark, sad days too. When life was too heavy for me to make that phone call. (Why is it the hardest to call when I need help most?) When work wasn’t going well (the pressure, my God the pressure); when every room in the house was a mess; when I had made some spectacular parent fail (way late to daycare, screamed at the kids, forgot kiddo’s event at school – like his BIRTHDAY). When there wasn’t enough money, or milk, or time and the thought of making dinner just about killed me.
At my worst, I worried about being a bag lady, my children gone, my husband gone, the house taken away. Not rational, no, but who ever said our fears had to be rational?
If you are there today, for whatever reason, you are not alone and you are not a failure. Even though I know it’s hard, pick that phone up and call your BFF or your mom or a therapist – whomever will help you carry that burden for a little while. Write down five things you are grateful for. Go for a run; even if it’s late, even if you don’t have the right running bra, even if you don’t want to, move your body for 20 minutes, it’ll help. Prayer helped me too; there have been worried nights I prayed myself to sleep because that was the only way sleep would come. And Cheerios for dinner are fine. Really, better than fine.
There is no magic pill for this, Mamma. This is life. It is hard sometimes, we screw up sometimes, the pieces don’t fall into place sometimes. It doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you human. There are ups and downs and unexpected turns.
I want you to know that it will be alright. Here I sit, twenty years along that rollercoaster. My kids still love me and my husband still loves me and we still have the house. I have far, far fewer dark days now – probably because I can see that my kids are turning out to be good people. And they can help with the dishes and the laundry now, no small thing.
Ask for help. Sit with gratitude for a moment. Move. Pray. Cut yourself some slack.
And keep moving. One foot in front of the other. You can do this.
When our son was young, his national standardized test scores came back in the 30th percentile nationally. Shocking moment for a mom, right? He hated school. Most days he would cry after school. My husband and I had intense late night conversations about what to do.
We did not tell our son about his scores. We met with his teacher, we signed him up for additional work after school, we read out loud to him and supported him at home, but we did not tell him his scores because we did not want him labeling himself as stupid, as less than.
Because labels have power.
Eventually, at our son’s request, I found a way to home-school him for two years, at significant cost and inconvenience, and it was a beautiful thing. His online school tested him and determined he was a kinetic learner – he has to move to process – life changing information.
While home-schooling, he played outside multiple times every day. He sought out teachers online – God bless youtube and Khan Academy. He painted and painted and painted, he sat in the thicket of weeds that border our house and sketched bugs, he did science experiments on our kitchen table with his dad on the weekends. He would study spelling lists while running up and down stairs.
I did research on achievement – nutrition, exercise, reading – and I would introduce these supports into our son’s life, but without ever telling him what I was doing.
And I continued to tell him he was amazing and wonderful. Because he is. And I continued to tell him how proud I was of his work and his efforts. As often as possible I would say it out loud while other people were listening. “I am so proud of your hard work and discipline! You are such a great student. I love how important your learning is to you.”
Three years ago, at his request, he went back to a traditional school.
This year, his first in high school, his nationalized test scores were in the 90’s. High 90’s, no less. His most recent report card is straight A’s and three of those A’s had a plus sign after them.
Your words have power, Mamma. Your vision of your child, who you tell them they are, has so much power.
To a profound degree, when you tell them who they are, they will believe you.
Good morning! Happy Monday. MLK day, God bless that wonderful man. May we all judge and be judged on the content of our character, period, amen. He changed our culture.
About a million years ago my husband and I spent six weeks choosing a kindergarten for our oldest son. Talk about culture. We visited nine different schools, most of the time surprising the school by just dropping by and walking in. You would be shocked at how many schools we just wandered into and wandered through with no one asking us why we were there. And you’d be shocked at what we saw (or maybe you wouldn’t be).
Most schools would let my husband and I sit in on an hour of kindergarten, by appointment. When we did this, we saw chaotic classrooms, we saw calm classrooms. We saw teachers who loved active little boys and somehow magically directed their enthusiasm, we saw teachers who clearly couldn’t stand active little boys, who censured them through clenched teeth. We saw interested kids and bored (or worse, scared) kids. We would ask ourselves, is this worth a half hour drive? Is this worth the tuition? Would our kid thrive here? Is this our tribe?
Recently, we concluded a six month search for a college for our daughter. Really, the same process, just longer drives to get there. College visits, graduation rates, average income of a graduate. Only this time the kid had much more input in the process. Do they have the classes you are looking for, can we afford it, what is the campus culture?
We care so deeply about where we send our kids, because the environment that they (and we) live in will have a profound effect on who they grow up to be.
Our work environment has a similar effect on us, doesn’t it? We are affected by the culture of the company we work for, we are affected by our commute, by our boss (less in our control), by travel and ethics and co-workers. I hope you are happy with your place. If not, is it time for you to start the search for a new environment for yourself?
You have my permission to be very choosy about who gets you and about who gets your kid. These are big decisions, no mistake.
Each of your kids is different. Each of us has a value system we hope that our kids school will support. You know your kid, you know your values, you know your resources. Don’t settle, Mamma. Be the Mamma Bear who demands the right place for your kiddo.
And, Mamma Bear, demand the right place for yourself too. Even if it takes months for you to find it and to get there, where we spend our days has a huge impact on our lives.
Find somewhere beautiful.
Hello, Mamma. So, for the last two months, while my company’s manufacturing arm got their part of our project together, I have had a chance to get a taste of what it’s like to be a stay-at-home mom. Sure, I did some studying, did some background research for a colleague’s project, tidied my office, but nothing like the usual madness of my working life. From November 1 till this last Monday, I was pretty much on hold. And I got to spend a great deal of that time at home.
Heaven, you think?
I won’t lie, it was, especially at first, pretty freaking awesome. But, after a while, really, you probably won’t believe this, I missed my work. I missed the urgency of my days. I missed parsing my calendar in fifteen minute increments. I missed jogging in parking lots because I didn’t have time to walk. I missed the kids yelling “MOM!!” when I walked in the door at night. I missed my life.
At first, I loved cooking every meal for my family. Loved the laundry and the dishes and all the mom-ing of it. Loved being home when they got home from school every day. LOVED IT. Went to bed thanking God for this amazing chance to be with my family. But after about six weeks of everyone assuming that because-mom’s-work-is-on-hold-she’ll-have-time-to-do-the-dishes, it lost some of it’s sparkle. When they stopped saying thank you, it became less of a gift to my family and more of a chore.
I feel guilty saying it, but I got bored.
And I began to question my own competence and value. Seriously, not two months away from my 100mph pressure-cooker of a job, and I’m feeling like a some kind of a less-than human. Like my intelligence has somehow evaporated.
It has been a revelation to me. I now have vastly more respect for SAHMs and less jealousy than I did before. How they get up every single day and take care of everything and everybody without anyone ever buying them a lunch or sending them an email telling them that their presentation was rock star amazing… that is strength, make no mistake, serious strength and sacrifice.
When our kids were babes, my husband stayed home. Six and a half years he did the dishes and the laundry and the car seats, and I didn’t appreciate him enough. And I was resentful and jealous too often. At the time, my mom was fond of saying that, in her opinion, the right partner was staying home. I was SO angry at her for thinking it and more so for saying it out loud, but mom, you were right. And husband, THANK YOU.
Lessons from my time at home:
Nobody gets a perfect life.
Nobody’s job is easy.
There was stuff I was missing, and I do mourn that.
I can still have a great relationship with my kids, because there is so much more to being a good parent than just being there physically.
I hate doing dishes.
I like working out in the world.
I love being a mom.
It’s been a weird two months, but a beautiful gift in so very many ways.
Don’t regret your life, Mamma. There is no perfect life. Know what you value, protect that. Know what you can and cannot do. Don’t give your entire life to your work, but, if I can provide you with a little comfort, know that it wouldn’t be perfect if you were staying home either.