From the Mommy Files…

Archive for the ‘mom guilt’ Category

Yes, you, Mom. I’m talking to you.

You need to make investments in you each and every day. You’re worth it, and you deserve it.

Now, I’m not talking about shopping sprees (you’re welcome, husbands). And I’m not talking about financial stuff. I’ll leave that to the Dave Ramseys of the world. I’m talking about doing things for YOURSELF. Every. Single. Day.

Like all moms, I always put myself last. And I felt awful—physically, emotionally. I wasn’t at my best. This is a tough concept for us moms to comprehend. My holistic health coach Roula at MyHealthySoma showed me how I could make space for it in my life, and why it was so important to my well-being, and that of my family

Right about now, you’re thinking, “There isn’t enough time,” or “It sounds so selfish.” You do have some time each day. And it’s not being selfish. On the contrary, this not only helps you but also helps your family. All these small investments add up to THE BEST YOU EVER. And you know what that means? It makes you a better wife, a better parent, a better daughter, a better friend, etc. Isn’t that worth it?

taking time for yourself (2)

Here are some ways you can invest in yourself every day:

    • Get physical. Feeling sluggish? Can’t get through the day without a double espresso? Your body and mind need exercise to be at their peak. Think you can’t fit it in? Here’s how: Get up a little earlier, go walking or biking. Kill two birds with one stone, and ride your bike or walk to run errands. Bonus: You can shop local and support small businesses. After the kids head off to school, hit the gym. Get it out of the way in the morning so there are no excuses. Take a walk in the evenings after dinner. The whole family can do this together, too. A little every day makes you stronger. The benefits are far-reaching. We’re talking about your health. Exercise goes a long way in stress reduction, too. You’ll get fit, your mind will be clear, and your energy level will soar. Double bonus: You will feel better about you.
  • Rethink food. I don’t use the word diet, because the word has been corrupted to mean a deprivation in order to lose weight. We’re talking lifestyle here. Eat healthier, work in organics, and take the time to think about what you’re cooking and eating. Eat more fruits and veggies, add some probiotics, drink more water, skip the sugar and soda. Cook healthier meals. Small changes every day. You and your family will reap the benefits. Bonus: You’ll probably shed a few pounds too. And that always makes us feel good!
  • Read. Reading provides an escape from reality, taking you on a journey in your mind. Read books on productivity, something you wish to learn. I like to read while I’m walking on the treadmill, and also before bedtime. No electronics at bedtime! Your mind won’t be able to shut down. So get out that printed book or magazine! Even if you read for 10-15 minutes a day, you do this for you, and invest in your personal growth. Bonus: You feed your brain and keep your mind sharp.
  • Have a girls’ night. Yes. That means put on something stylish, some makeup, and get out of the house, away from your family. You need a break. You need adult conversation, and some girl talk. You must maintain your friendships. This rejuvenates you, and sends you home happier, less stressed. Enjoy a cocktail, but don’t go crazy. That’ll become an expense and not an investment. Bonus: You had fun and spent some time nurturing your friendships. We need them.
  • Transform your bedtime ritual. While you’re washing your face and brushing your teeth, turn on some soothing music. It will help to get you begin to relax. Maybe you put lotion on your hands and feet, or use essential oils. This is a great time to do it, and wind down. Read, pray, calm your mind. Make a to-do list for tomorrow and get it out of your head. Bonus: This pays you in sleep dividends. Another bonus: Well-rested moms are happier and more accomplished.
  • Practice gratitude: Do this every day. I start my day thanking God for giving me another day. After I say my prayers at bedtime, I thank God for all my blessings. It may seem tough when you start, but once you get going, you will be surprised how this flows. You realize you have more blessings that you thought. It gives you perspective. Bonus: You realize you really are rich, in the most meaningful way.
  • Start with positive thoughts. After I thank God for allowing me to wake up, I repeat some mantras. I say them for myself and my family. I start with me. It could be something as simple as, “I’m going to have a great day!” or “I’m going to complete my to-do list today!” I check in on my girls as they sleep. I whisper to them, “You’re going to have a great day,” “You’re going to ace the test!” or something like that. Then one for my husband: “You’re going to close that deal today!” or “You’ll make strides toward closing it!” Bonus: You’ve added to everyone’s balance. Another bonus: You set ta positive tone for the day.
  • Be an early bird. Whether you use this time to work out, read, plan your day, reflect, write—whatever – this is your time. Everyone is asleep. No one’s calling or you to do something. This is the perfect time to add to your account. Bonus: So much is accomplished in these uninterrupted moments.
  • Get a hobby. Is there something you enjoy doing? It’s always fun and enriching to do something creative, and having that outlet makes for a better you. This can be done with the family, too. Bonus: You develop or hone a skill, and have fun. You are enriched.
  • Chase a dream. Just because you are a wife and/or a mom, doesn’t mean you have to give up your dreams. Want to be an artist? Writer? Crafter? Want to help people? Do it! You can do this during that uninterrupted time in the morning (or when everyone’s asleep, if you’re a night owl. You know yourself best.) Bonus: A sense of accomplishment, confidence, and enhanced self-worth. Double bonus: You set an example or your kids, about working hard to make dreams come true and achieve goals.
  • That’s just a start. Trade a coffee for a cup of decaf tea. Meet a friend for a coffee or lunch. Occasionally DO get a mani/pedi, or a facial or massage. You will feel like a new person. You are worth it! A zillion times bonus: You look good AND feel good.

Small investments in you each day = happy you AND happy family. Remember, you set the tone for your family. They play off you and your attitude. Model happiness and joy for your family. Your investment in you benefits the ENTIRE family. You owe it to yourself – and your family!

~

How do you invest in you? If you aren’t why not? What can you do today to make your first deposit? Share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Been away for a while dealing with my elderly parents. I’ll update you on their situation another time. So much has happened.

 

Let’s shift back to those small beings living in our home…our kids. 😉

 

Bebs is home sick today.

 

Again.

 

On Monday, I heard about this stomach bug that lasted a day, causing vomiting.

I thought, “Phew. Dodged that one!”

 

Spoke to soon.

 

We were up all  Tuesday night.sick_clipart

Just when you think you’re done changing the bed linens for the night…

You know what I’m talking about!

Bebs stayed home from school on Wednesday.

 

Uggh!  I had things to do!

 

 

I’ve got a very full schedule, and not including pick up/drop off, I have about 5 hours, 5 days a week without kids to accomplish it.

I’m singing your song, yes?

 

You’re worried, feel awful for your sick child, and you tend to him/her.

 

But what about the other stuff?

 

I began complaining about all the things that wouldn’t get done that day.

 

You too?

 

Well, there’s my trip to the gym.

I have health issues, and this helps me keep those in check, not to mention it curbs stress, improves my mood, and gives me a sense of “Yeah! I did this just for me!”

I also use that time to read.

Scratch that from the list.

 

Then there’s the grocery shopping, and errands.

 

Oh yeah, I was planning to write.

 

And there is, well, that part-time job.

The one that helps me to celebrate my Greek heritage and culture every day; keeps me involved in the community; gets me published regularly; has been responsible for great learning; offered me the opportunity to meet some really great people (including a mentor!); and, well, I’ve garnered some fans along the way, and their praise and encouragement feeds my ego, and eases my writer’s doubt. It’s more than a job to me.

 

Then there’s volunteering. These days, we must be involved in our kids’ schools.

We have to know who’s in the schools, what they’re doing, and well, if we want activities for our kids, we have to be there to organize and work them – you know. We must also be the teachers’ partners in our kids’ education.

My girls go to two different schools. And Boo attends Greek school on Saturdays.

That’s three schools/PTAs requesting my time.

And I serve on a school board.

You know those days when you have to call and cancel out on something because your child is sick, and it just happens to be the day that everyone else is canceling for the same reason? Yes. We feel guilty when that happens.

 

I’m doing a lot of things, but they’re all very important to me and I make the time for them.

Except on days when I have a sick child at home.

 

NOW WHAT?

 

Most of the to-do list doesn’t get done, and it makes me stressed, and I’ve lost my sense of accomplishment for the day.

Those little things like checking off parts of your to-do list go a long way.

 

I started to complain, and then I stopped myself.

 

I pulled out the to-do list.  to do list (4)

 

Time to re-work it.

 

What could I accomplish with my child home?

Is there anything on tomorrow’s list that I could do at home, and shift some of the other stuff to tomorrow?

 

As my daughter slept, I took the opportunity to write.

 

I made some phone calls, did some work.

 

CHECK. CHECK. CHECK.

 

Then I switched to some household tasks.

– Planned dinners, made the shopping list.

— Cleaned out a cabinet, then started to file some papers.

Those were much lower on the list, but I’m here, can’t go out, so might as well.

 

I couldn’t get to the store that day, so I had to plan something else for dinner with what we had.

 

No gym.

– Watched what and how much I ate that day.

–  Since I was stuck in the house, I made a few more trips up and down the stairs for good measure.

 

I moved my “outside” tasks to the next day.

 

When Thursday rolled around, I got up a little earlier.

– I took care of my writerly tasks before the family woke up.

– I took the kids to school, got that workout in right away – and did a little extra.

– Work

– Volunteered at Boo’s school

– Attacked those errands that I couldn’t do

 

Then it was time for pick up.

 

I actually thought I had caught up from the sick day, and was ready to attack today.

 

GUESS AGAIN!

 

I got up at 5 (These are Golden Hours. I do whatever I want!). Wrote. Answered emails.

 

Then it was time to get ready for school.

 

Boo went to school.

 

Bebs didn’t feel well. Slight fever, lethargic.

 

Staying home…again.

 

As I began stressing about all the things I’d have to give up today, I stopped.

 

Time to re-work the schedule…again!

 

– Fortunately, I checked several things off the list this am.

– Gym? Nope. Extended workout on Monday.

– Lunch with a friend? Raincheck.

– Grocery shopping? Will have to wait until the evening.

 

That frees up some time.

 

What’s on tomorrow’s list?

 

Oh yes.

Laundry. Cleaning.

Let’s go.

 

I’ll be so happy tomorrow. Then I can just play!

 

As winter approaches, we’re all going to have those days when our kids have to stay home from school, and it throws off our day(s).

Try to remember that it’s OK to re-work your schedule.

 

This is a great reminder to not put things off, because you don’t know what the rest of today – or tomorrow – will bring.

 

It’s a reminder to prioritize.

 

Remember that saying, “Man makes plans and God laughs?”

 

It’s so true.

 

Life is unpredictable.

 

We have enough stress. Don’t add to it.

 

Some ideas:

– Make sure you leave some flexibility in your day.

– Schedule the most important tasks early in the day so you’re sure to accomplish them.

– Don’t put off going to the gym until tomorrow, because who knows what the day will bring, and why feel awful that you let yourself down?

– Make that trip to the grocery store today, while you can.

– Don’t leave all the errands for one day a week. Do these throughout the week, when time presents itself.

 

Check these off the list!

 

Take a moment to remind yourself that you aren’t perfect, you are a mom (or a dad), and life is unpredictable.

 

You know what?

 

You’re a superhero already.

 

Know why?

 

Cause you are MOM. Or DAD.

 

Plain and simple.

 

Give yourself a break.

 

Don’t stress.

 

Now, back to my housecleaning.

So where did we leave off before I got consumed by moving?

That’s a whole other story.

Oh yes.

STROKE ALERT!

A quick trip to the CT room and back, revealed there was no stroke.

Thank God.

But…

Yes, there was a “but.”

Something on the scan didn’t look right, so the doctor ordered a series of MRIs and MRAs.

The doctor gave no clue as to what he was looking for nor did he share any of his suspicions.

I didn’t even know how many tests I was about to receive until later.

Meanwhile, the vertigo was still an issue, especially with all the tests.

Another doctor came in and told me in order for him to figure out what this vertigo was, he had to do a test that would probably make it worse.

He raised me up quickly and turned my head really fast.

Holy cow!

Talk about speeding up the spin!

“A typical case of Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo.”

Say that 10 times fast.

“Or BPPV for short.”

Apparently, we have crystals in our ears that regulate our balance.

When one comes out of place, it creates the vertigo.

The doctor explained that this was treatable.

He said there was a therapy I could do to gently move the crystals back into place, and then it should go away.

OK! So set me up!

Not so fast.

“We have to get the results from your other tests first.”

Meanwhile, Peter left to be at home when the girls woke up.

It would be several hours before I got any answers—or any relief for that matter.

I was given a pill and an injection to help stop the vertigo.

They helped, but didn’t relieve it 100%.

The ER began to fill up – there was a flu epidemic and people were flocking to the emergency rooms.

Eventually, this ER would be shut down.

I had been in the ER for more than 12 hours before I received more information.

Vertebral Artery Dissection.

What’s a vertebral artery?

The explanation I recall from the ER is not 100% correct, so I’m not sure if I didn’t hear it right or it wasn’t explained well.

We have two vertebral arteries—one on the left side of the neck, the other on the right. They are major arteries of the neck.

The one on my left side was torn.

Wait—there’s more.

I was told there was an aneurysm blocking the entry point.

VAD happens typically when there is an injury, or in many cases, a chiropractic adjustment gone bad.

I had neither.

The doctor asked me think back to what has been going on in my life.

We discussed the molar pregnancy, the chemo, the neurological issues I have had since.

It could all be related. They just weren’t sure yet.

This is a rare malady.

And for now, they would pronounce the cause as “spontaneous,” though we would revisit this again later.

So tell me, how did I get two “rare maladies” in a little more than two years?

Lightning struck me twice!

Then came more news.

I was going to stay in the hospital.

And my children?

The nurse said, “Let your husband take care of it. You can’t stress yourself out.”

Well, stress is part of this game we call Motherhood, no?

NOW WHAT?!

A chest x-ray, a discussion about therapies, and a four-hour wait in the hallway for a room.

Yes, you read correctly.

The ER was so jammed, I was moved from my room and had to wait in the hallway of the ER until I could get the x-ray and a room became available.

I was offered the choice of several drug therapies—all involving blood thinners with varying side effects, as well as follow up methods.

I chose Xarelto, which was a relatively new blood thinner, since I wouldn’t need weekly blood work, and my diet would not be restricted.

Then came the rules for this game.

“There are several things you will no longer be able to do, and some for now, let’s put on hold,” the neurologist explained.

“You have to take it easy, and no stress. You need to heal.”

I told him I was a mother, and that was an impossible task.

“Well, you have to try,” he insisted.

Then came the litany of activity restrictions:

No running, no jumping.

No prolonged movements of the neck.

“You know when you go to the hair salon and they put your head in the shampoo bowl?” the doctor asked.

“Don’t do that. It can give you a stroke.”

WHAT?!!!

“No quick movements of the head either. Use extra care when you drive.”

There was more.

“No neck massages, no yoga.”

How was I supposed to relax?

“No aerobic activity. Walk on the treadmill, but at a slow pace and only for a short time. Listen to your body. If you get dizzy doing anything, stop.”

“Take your meds once a day with dinner. Do not forget or you will be an increased risk of stroke.”

I asked how likely it was that I could have a stroke.

The doctor said it was VERY likely if I didn’t follow the rules, and somewhat likely even if I did.

He told me that I was lucky.

Lucky? How do you think this is lucky?

It seems that most people do not know they have VAD until they have a stroke.

If you hear of people under 50 having a stroke—this is most likely why.

So I was a walking time bomb.

“Oh yes,” the doctor said. “You might want to not play with the kids. No horsing around whatsoever. Do not lift them. Do not lift anything heavier than 10 lbs.”

“Are you kidding me?” I asked.

“I wish I were,” he replied.

17 hours after I arrived at the ER, I was finally on my way to a room.

Somebody wake me up from this nightmare.

This cannot be happening!

————————————————————————————————————————

Check back soon to learn what happened next.

 

 

 

By no means do I wish to dissuade anyone from the institution of marriage.

I think marriage is a wonderful thing. cake topper

It’s challenging, but it’s worth it.

Sometimes, we do make it harder than it has to be.

While I never expected the fairy tale, I didn’t expect it to be so hard.

I got pregnant very early in our marriage, so there was little time to really explore these new roles of husband and wife, how that affected our lives and who we were as individuals.

Fast track to parenthood –and without any help –led to much stress and strain on our marriage.

Our kids are now 6 and 4.

Has it gotten any easier?

No.

The challenges are different and ever-changing.

So is this a rant or complaint about my husband?

No.

This is a reality check.

As I ponder what has happened during our marriage –good and bad—I realized something very important.

Neither of us was raised with the tools to be a good spouse.

Think about this for a moment.

We are taught to be good people and kind to others, and yes, all that helps.

But, like many of you, we were not taught how to be a good husband or wife.

And that doesn’t mean cooking, sex or making a lot of money.

It’s about relationships.

It’s about respect.

It’s about listening.

It’s about being unselfish.

Putting someone else first, but NOT always putting yourself last.

You know what I’m talking about, Ladies.

That last one really hit home, yes?

We always put ourselves last.

We watched our mothers, aunts and grandmothers do this.

These women did not have the same opportunities that we do, or the same education or motivation to do anything outside the home.

But we all have an inner drive, a wish to accomplish something in our lives, to be a unique individual.

Sometimes, this gets squashed in marriage and parenthood, and it brings about feelings of resentment.

These feelings are not always recognized, but they are there.

What about communication?

This is vital.

I grew up in a house where children were to be “seen and not heard.”

We were supposed to be thankful for what we had, not complain, and just deal.

This did not serve me well in my dating years, and certainly not now in my married years.

It didn’t help me in my career, either.

I was conditioned to not ask for what I wanted or needed, to make do with what we had and to just deal with the way things were, as unhappy as they made me.

I’m still struggling with this as an adult.

Things get overwhelming and you fall back into old patterns.

Think about what is going on in your life, in your marriage.

Are you personally happy? Fulfilled? Motivated? Inspired?

Do you embrace the individual you are and not allow yourself to get lost in the everyday of marriage and parenthood?

Do you take time for yourself to work toward your own goals?

Do you observe couple time? (Not talking about sex, sorry. There will be more of that when you work toward these things!)

Think about how the lack of personal time and couple time affects your parenting.

We all could use a break.

So.

We can break the cycle.

And enrich our own lives.

It’s not a fairy tale. There’s no automatic “Happily Ever After.”

It’s important for us to raise our children to be good spouses.

If they choose not to marry, these skills will also serve them well in their lives.

Think about what traits a “good spouse” has.

Next time, we’ll discuss some things we can do to help raise our kids to be good spouses.

I hope you’ll share your thoughts as well.

This October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

This is a day for people to commemorate their lost little ones.

I lost mine in the early part of my pregnancy, but it hurts tremendously, nonetheless.

A loss at any stage of the game is life-altering.

I cannot fathom the grief experienced by women who have progressed far into their pregnancies.

Or the incredible sense of loss felt by women who’s babies were born sleeping.

Or who those who had a a child who lived for only a short while, and left this world way too soon.

And let’s not forget the dads–and other family members. They grieve too.

They feel the loss in different ways, but are still affected.

But it must be acknowledged and worked through.

My heart breaks thinking about this.

It’s an earth-shattering experience.

And one often suffered in silence.

Why don’t people discuss pregnancy and infant loss?

Why do we grieve undercover?

According to iamtheface.org, 1 in 4 women will experience the loss of a baby at sometime in their lives. 

That’s a staggering statistic.

So why are we still not talking about this?

Many people you know have experienced a miscarriage.

When I began speaking about my experience, I received notes from people telling me they too, have had a miscarriage–or two or three.

Why did I not know?

Do we feel ashamed?

We should not.

We’ve all heard people say, Just get over it.”

The truth is, you can’t.

You must grieve your loss.

Mothers fall in love with their babies from the very beginning.

Sometimes even before the pregnancy is confirmed.

The very thought of this new life growing inside us inspires great love, dreams of little tiny feet.

When that’s ripped away, it’s something that rocks you to the core.

We often blame ourselves when there is no blame to be given.

Many women do not properly grieve their loss.

And it haunts them throughout their lives.

We must grieve this loss.

We must get in a good place with it, so we can truly move on.

This is one of those things that is gone, but not forgotten.

You learn to live with it, and you find a way to move forward.

You may commemorate your little angel on your due date, the date of loss, even their birthday.

This October 15 at 7:00 pm, join women and their loved ones around the world, who will light candles in honor of their lost little ones.

Participate in this Wave of Light.

Light a candle.

Cry if you need to.

Say a prayer.

Imagine your little angel in Heaven.

Sing.

Meditate.

Do whatever works for you.

If you know someone who has been through this, give them a giant hug.

Acknowledge their grief.

Moms are incredible beings.

Moms who have endured this life-altering loss, I salute you.

You are stronger than you even know.

Sending big hugs your way.

Now, imagine our little angels playing together in Heaven.

Now that’s a beautiful image.

RIP DPK. 

You know you’ve got it too.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

The truth is, I don’t know if we always realize we are doing this.

We take on so much.

Often more than we can possibly handle.

And we stress ourselves out.

So why do we do this?

I wonder…

Do we do it because we want to be helpful?

Because we don’t realize the time commitment?

Because we can’t say no?

Because we think we can juggle everything?

Because we are afraid we won’t be liked?

Because we think we have superhuman powers?

Well, we all have a bit of the Supermom Syndrome.

You know what I’m talking about.

We take on way too much and then we are always frazzled because nothing is done and nothing is done right.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

I wonder if we just don’t know that we are doing it.

Perhaps it’s a little bit of all those reasons.

What I do know is that I did it to myself again.

How much can one person possibly do?

When we take on too much, we can’t put the effort that we like to put into things.

We aren’t superhuman.

Time to retool, redefine, restructure.

Time to learn to say NO.

You’re shaking your head.

You’re saying “Yeah right.”

Guilty.

Once again.

Time to retool, redefine, restructure.

Time to learn to say NO.

Ok, this is my new mantra.

I’m going to repeat it over and over again.

I’m going to be lean and mean.

Well, you know what I’m trying to say.

I have to set boundaries and keep them.

Priorities are priorities.

The rest is secondary.

Here’s a New Year’s resolution for you.

I know you’re right there with me.

We’ll all retire our capes together.

Before it retires us.

We can’t save the world.

We can save our sanity and the peace in our homes.

OK. One more time.

Repeat after me.

It’s time to retool, redefine, restructure.

I WILL say no to all that stuff that I shouldn’t be doing, and what gets in the way of my priorities.

I don’t need to be a super hero.

With this weight off my shoulders, I can excel at what I really feel is important.

Great!

Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!

I know I can, I know I can, I know I can!

We’ll have to check in on each other from time to time and make sure we aren’t overwhelming ourselves again.

It’s such a bad habit.

And so bad for our overall health and well being.

Yes. It will kill you before your time.

Not to mention the sanity in our families.

OK!

Take that cape and RIP it to shreds.

It’ll help you get out some frustration, too.

Go on.

Throw that cape in the fire.

It’s over.

We are only human.

We’ve been away for a while, as we prepared for Boo’s surgery to correct Vesicoureteral Refluxalso known as kidney reflux – in her left kidney.

The procedure, called reimplantation, went well.

Following a night’s stay in the hospital, we are home resting and recuperating.

I’ve begun writing about this, in effort to share our journey with you.

As I do more research and encounter more parents of children afflicted by reflux, I’m amazed to learn how they had to fight for their child to be tested for it, that their doctors simply ignored their request, often resulting in the condition worsening.

We’ll probably be away for a bit more, as her immediate care is quite time consuming, not to mention making Bebs extremely jealous.

At 2, she doesn’t quite understand why her sister is being carried around and getting so much attention, when she is not.

My husband asked with a chuckle, “What kind of meds do they prescribe for the parents to get through this?”

We’re doing the best we can.

My hat is off to the parents of children with series illnesses and disabilities.

I don’t know how you do it.

God bless.


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