Stop Comparing Yourself

As a mama, it’s easy to compare yourself to the other moms in the pick up line at school. It’s easy to think the mom who wears designer clothes must have the easy life and she’s got it all together. It’s easy to think we are failing because we don’t stack up to the unreasonable expectation we have set for ourselves. Stop it! You ARE enough.

You were chosen for so many things in this life and whether or not you see it, you are amazing! You are beautiful, even if  you don’t look like the skinny model on whatever magazine you’re reading. You’re smart even if you don’t understand your son’s Common Core Math homework. You’re a raging success even if you burned dinner.

Look around you. Every single person in your life, every one of them, chooses to be there. They choose to love you. They choose YOU.

And to the ones who don’t choose you, well, they’re just stupid. We love you anyways 😉

#keepbeingamazing #beingamomisnteasy #yourebeautiful

Love Thyself: Affirmations for Moms

Being a Mom is hard work but oh so totally worth it! I meet Moms every day that wear that tired and frazzled look on their face but I know that not one of them would ever trade a second away from their child for the world……maybe a spa day or a glass of wine…..(you know I’m kidding, right? Maybe?)

We are a strange and selfless breed who joke about such things but if it ever came down to it, we almost always choose the kids. It’s what we do; that’s why it’s important to take care of yourself if/when you get the chance.

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Start Slow

We spend the first twenty to thirty years of our lives learning to take care of ourselves. It’s a slow process, but just as we have it all figured out…. POOF! Life changes, kids are born and we forget all over again. That primal need to care for babies takes over and completely overrides our sense of self. We give it all to the babies ❤

Start by purposefully carving out a minute or two to just clear your thoughts.

I know this molehill sounds like a mountain but its the first and hardest step in the right direction. If you’re completely inundated with noise and kids, take a cue from your husband! Lock yourself in the bathroom and stick a pair of headphones in your ears. Meditate. Clear you mind and just rrrrreeeelaaaaaxxxxx. Go to your imaginary happy place.

Just two minutes. That’s one song.

Easier said than done, right? I’m no pro, in fact I still work at this one whenever I can. Mama needs a time out sometimes…..

Just as you have trained your family to depend on you, you can also train them to give the space you need. It takes time, but they’ll eventually get it.

Now, let me be clear, don’t be leaving the children unattended (if you can help it) but know that this two minute exercise can eventually lead into a 10 minute shower without interruptions….. yes, I know….. a shower without interruptions sounds like Heaven, right? It can and will happen if you keep working at it 🙂

Okay, so how do we keep our sanity for the other 23 hours and 58 minutes of the day?

Breathing and affirmations. Take a deep breath, count to 5 or 10 and paste these affirmations all over the house!!!!!! Oh, and strangely enough, I’ve found that when I”m overly stressed, yoga helps me re-center myself and the bonus is that my kids love to do yoga with me! Try it – they’re insanely cute when they try to Downward Dog ❤

Affirmations for Moms

  1. Not loving every moment of motherhood doesn’t mean I don’t love being a mom.
  2. I’m not the perfect mother, but I’m exactly the one my children need.
  3. The decisions made by other moms do not need to dictate mine.
  4. Today I will be an intentional parent.
  5. Today I will see the best in my child and the best in myself.

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What’s your favorite tip for self-care? What are you favorite affirmations?

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And The World Didn’t Fall Apart

I was bedridden on Saturday, laid up in tons of pain, unable to move from the crippling pain I felt in my neck. I had somehow re-activated an old whiplash injury by sleeping – Who knew that sleeping could be so dangerous?

There have been many times where people say things like, “take care of yourself first” or “this is your body’s way of saying it needs a break” but clearly moms like us never listen to these gems of wisdom because we just have way too much to do!

The weight of the world rests on our shoulders and we are the unspoken defenders of the universe who keep everything in order. As moms, it is ingrained in our DNA to protect our family, feed them, clothe them, watch out for them when they can’t/won’t and generally direct the traffic of our lives. WE are the traffic control signal that keeps order in our little town so without us, it’s just natural to believe that all chaos would ensue.

But it didn’t.

As I found myself unable to move, the world picked up where I left off. My husband played referee for the day, my kids came into the bedroom periodically to give me hugs and update me on their day and my husband brought me food.

It was the mini vacation I always dreamed of but I could hardly enjoy it because of the blinding pain.

I learned that although we can make a million reasons as to why we can’t or shouldn’t take care of ourselves, we really have no valid excuse as to why we don’t. Fear is a crazy thing that grips all of us, paralyzes us in our tracks and keeps us from taking any time for ourselves. Very few of us have actually mastered the art of self-care; you are a rare breed. I am part of the rest of us who need a little more work in perfecting that skill.

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For some of us, it’s not the fear of thinking the world will implode without our direction, for some of us, it’s the fear that taking care of yourself will be seen as selfish. Let me tell you, it’s okay to be selfish sometimes as long as that act is what keeps you in the game.

For some of us, we are just too busy and we forget to take care of ourself until it’s too late in the evening and our energy is completely zapped. This is common for Type A personalities…. I fall into this category.  Even while I was laid up, I was watching webinars to better myself in the business arena. Because vacations are for wimps (just kidding – I know better now).

You can’t do your job well (or at all) if you don’t take care of yourself first.

My blog series this month is going to focus on taking care of yourself, your husband and your family. Stay tuned for the next installment and please share if you feel it can help someone you know. This may be a blog, but it is also a community for moms just like you to relate and find reprieve. We can do this together!

 

Diaper Blowouts & Super Powers

Prepare yourself for some potty talk! That’s right, it’s a normal topic in our household and if you’re a parent, then you totally get it.  Embrace it.  Accept this stage in your life for all its worth because from what I hear and have experienced, it’s over all too soon. One day we will look fondly back on this stage and remember how cute their little baby butts were, not the poop stained clothing that always needs washing.

So here’s the story: I thought we were past the diaper blowout stage with my youngest because it hadn’t happened in so long! We started potty training and using pull-up style diapers a couple of weeks ago and aside from a few really wet morning diapers, its been going pretty good.  You see, she had colic as an infant and blowouts were a regular occurrence with her; I even experienced it during her newborn portrait session – sans diaper! (Yeah, snicker if you want! Laugh it up, funny guy!) Okay, it was pretty funny……

Anyways, out of the blue it happened again this morning and it was gross. Like really gross. Just be happy I won’t go into detail because I’m pretty sure some of you are already imagining the event with vivid minds.

It’s amazing how being a mom can make you rise to challenges that would have made you puke or get weak in the knees before kids.  We are fearless creatures with an amazing amount of patience when it comes to raising our little ones and I am convinced that we grow superpowers the moment we start growing a little one inside of us!

Here’s to all of the super moms out there.  Just know that the more you worry about being a good mom, the better a mom you are. Yup, you’re pretty darned amazing! Now, pardon me, I’ve got to go do some laundry. 😉

Inspiration from the Dark Days: Depression

Being a work from home mommy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be but it’s simultaneously the most rewarding work I’ve ever been called to do; Only SAHMs (stay at home mom)/WAHMs (work at home mom) will understand the spiraling misery and joy that each day brings and the monotony that can send you into a depression despite your best efforts.

My husband and I decided I would quit my cushy corporate job and work from home after our second child was born and alternately run my photography business from home. She was born early, quickly and she had colic; it was something we couldn’t have prepared ourselves for if we’d tried.  I found myself in the midst of postpartum depression for a very long time and often wondered if I had made the right decision to stay at home but it was too late, we couldn’t afford daycare even on my old job’s pay….I was officially a SAHM.

Our daughter just turned two and I can honestly say that I am FINALLY starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel! I am kicking depression’s butt and I am doing it without medication.  Considering I live in Colorado and for most people the answer to everything involves weed and beer, I am the outcast because I choose to use neither.  I couldn’t name three different brews if I wanted to, let alone tell you that a high is the least bit enjoyable for me (it makes me paranoid, actually).

Here’s what I am doing to improve my outlook:

  • Yoga & belly dancing – the endorphins are amazing…..if you can get your butt off the couch and start in the first place! I find that when I do start, I will do more than I should because I get hooked on the “high” that working out or dancing can bring.
  • Meditation – I follow Brendan Burchard on Facebook and absolutely love his outlook on life.  He recently put out a video on mediation.  I’ve been using his technique, but I change the word mediated on with each session depending on what I need to work on.  I tend to use the word “happiness”, “thankful”, and his favorite, “release” the most.  I’m pretty sure my husband would use “Money” but that’s only because he is the reincarnation of Scrooge McDuck!  Use whatever works for you in the moment but realize that when you send out positive energy into the universe, positive will return; and likewise the otherway around.
  • Spend less time pondering “Why” and more time on “How.” We tend to spiral down when we think about why the world sucks or why everyone is against you.  Who cares about why.  Why never helped solve anything other than a newspaper headline. Think about how you’re going to fix it or solve it.  Think about how you got there in the first place; are you to blame? How can you fix the situation?
  • Music.  I play acoustic steel-string guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, banjo, ukulele, I sing and I like to pretend that I can play drums too. When my kids came about, I stopped practicing my instruments and literally hung them on the wall where they became decor instead of emotional expression. I love music with my soul but all of the excuses in the world shouldn’t keep me from proper emotional expression! Find your emotional outlet, whether it be writing, painting, drawing, yodelling or underwater basket weaving…. find it and do it.  Don’t let your life get in the way; we are all guilty of this.  I am scheduling “me time” for music because my life just doesn’t quite afford me the option to have this time outside of the home and the added bonus is that my kids love to play music when I do, so it doubles as a music class!
  • Essential Oils.  Some of you may “poo-poo” the idea of essential oil use, but I honestly don’t know where I would be without my Young Living Lavender, Frankincense and Stress Away oils! I’ve shared them with a couple of mommy friends who can back me up….. Life. Savers. End of conversation. I do sell YL oils, but the point here is to tell you about how to kick depression’s but, not to sell you on anything.  This is what has worked for me.  Some people really like the Joy or Cedarwood blends, but they didn’t work well for me.
  • Get out of the house. It sounds simple, but I found that the more I stuck around the house in my yoga pants with my hair undone and generally looking slummy, the more depressed I was.  The trips to the grocery store became something to simultaneously look forward to and dread at the same time (because who wants to tote a 2 & 4 year around the store?)  Getting dressed and “putting on your face” each day actually helps to boost your own self esteem because you will approve of yourself each time you look in the mirror…more so than if you didn’t get dressed at all. No money? Just go to the park, go for a walk or hang out in the yard, but always get dressed up.  Those 50’s housewives had it right!
  • Socialize with real people…in person.  This one is the hardest for me because I actually used to suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder and aborhed public places to the point of a major panic attack each time I left my home.  I eventually kicked it with repeated exposure, St. Johns Wort  and added Valerian Root when things were still too out of control; I’ve never taken a pharmaceutical mood inhibitor drug in my life, only natural remedies. I am a shy person by nature and often struggle with talking to new people, so people see me as quiet and standoff-ish which makes it extremely hard to make new friends. I keep at it and figure the law of averages will work in my favor at some point, that I’ll find some people to really connect with.  Clearly, the name of my blog already told you I’m not Miss Popularity, lol! Anyways, I keep trying to make new friends because it is that in-person interaction that has the best effect on my mood.  I love my little people to pieces but sometimes Mommy needs an adult to talk to.
  • Being open about my feelings with myself and my spouse. Granted, he doesn’t want nor need to hear about every insecurity that passes through my brain, so I am selective and share with him the things that weigh heaviest on my mind.  Luckily, he knows women are crazy and is not afraid to tell me when I am being crazy! I accept my hormones go cuckoo from time to time, but sometimes it’s not my hormones and a little heart to heart with my hubby is all I need to feel better.  He is the force that balances me out. If you don’t have a significant other, try a best friend, family member or counsellor. My hubby is my best friend, so he gets to work double time 😉
  • Try to find humor in everything. I was once criticized by someone when I was younger for cracking jokes when conversations were heavy; it’s my way of coping and whether or not they felt it was appropriate, it has worked for me and continues to do so.  Ask anyone in a first responder position how they manage and they’ll invariably tell you the same thing.  Try to learn from mistakes but try to find humor in them, too; It will bode lighter on your spirit if you can keep things lighthearted.
  • Pay it forward, when you can.  I have always been a giver and a shoulder to lean on to anyone I have ever met, even strangers. During my darkest times, I wondered angrily, where the myth of karma came from because I had lost faith in it being a real thing. I thought so many times about how I’d always been there for others but after being in the dark pitt for so long, where was my help when I needed it most? Someone paid it forward and restored my faith in humanity once again….just by giving me a pair of old shoes when mine fell apart. Despite my darkest moments, I am happy to say that things are starting to look up for once! I am spending less time dwelling on the past and once again enjoying the sunlight on my face even though things may be tough still.  Two people have “paid it forward” in my direction within the last few months and, while to these contributors their acts were small and trivial, they have changed my life in a very positive and very real way. The second person to pay it forward renewed my faith in God, humanity, karma and reminded me to stop ignoring myself and the things that I need in life (like music).  He just thought he was giving me an unused concert ticket, but to me it was so much more.

The reason I tell you about all of this is because I realized my issues were not unique. I have a mommy friend, the one who indirectly inspired me to start this blog, who is battling depression, too.  This is me trying to help out all of the moms who are fighting the daily battle and me trying to help you. I am paying it forward in the only way that I can right now, with words of hope.  You’ve got this and I am here to help.