mama brain

I was working on a bunch of projects with my nieces and as we needed to learn information I was opening new tabs in my internet browser.  We had about 7-10 open when my teenage niece says to me, “that many open tabs gives me anxiety!”. I turned to her and said, “that’s what my brain feels like all the time.” I may have done a wild eyed slow turn and half whispered this at her as I was realizing this.

I feel like I have 10 tabs open at all times.

“What am I going to make for dinner?”
“I need to change the clothes to the dryer.”
“I need to fold and put away all the clothes.”
“But first the dog will need to be walked.”
“Almost lunch and nap, have to make sure I do all the lunch and nap things”
“While they nap I should probably shower.  Or should I fold and put away the clothes?”
“The kitchen floor looks gross! Maybe I should vacuum and mop instead of the clothes or the shower. But when did I shower last?”
“I need to fill out the school paperwork.”
“I need to sign the little guy up for his class.”
“Oh, its August, I need to get the car inspected this month.  What does my calendar look like?”
“Should I turn off the fan? I don’t remember the last time I dusted it and it’s probably just spewing dust everywhere.”

It was the perfect example of what my brain feels like at times.  It feels like there are too many tabs open and maybe you can’t even see all of them anymore, you just see those little arrows that tell you there’s more hidden.  But you don’t see those arrows right away, they’ve been there and then all of a sudden you see the arrows and you sorta freak out for a second when you notice them.

Luckily making lists helps me focus on what open tabs I need to focus on so that my brain can start to close some out.  But even that sometimes is one of the tabs – “make list of things I need to accomplish today” – which is why it is important to focus on our mama selves.  In reality it doesn’t take too long to come up with that list, even though it can feel like it will.  If I take 5 minutes to do something for myself I will be better off the rest of the day.

In 5 minutes I could accomplish one of these helpful for me things:

  • meditate
  • make a list
  • pray
  • shower (although, I’m not a fan of the 5 minute shower, I like the loooong hot showers of yore, okay maybe they didn’t have hot water in “yore” but you get the idea)
  • pick out an intentional oil blend to put in my diffuser (Peace & Calming perhaps?)
  • sit in a quiet space
  • read a chapter of a book
  • read one of the many open browsers on my cellphone that I’ve been meaning to read for the past 6 months
  • put some lotion on my hands (especially in winter)
  • do squats (maybe not good for my mind, but my bum wouldn’t mind)

Instead I tend to pick up my phone for those 5 minutes and check my email, texts, and social media, further fragmenting my mind.  I find that making the choice to take care of myself is actually the biggest hurdle.  It comes more naturally to choose something automatic and motion filled.

I know what I’d like my kids to do though, I know what I’d want them to choose.  So I will aim to improve this habit of mine.  I will choose the 5 minutes of self care to be an example for them.  So strange how I have to trick myself into doing what I know is a good, but this mama brain is full and sometimes we have to trick it to work with us.

What are some 5 minute self care ideas that help you?

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moms & littles & coffee

On some magical mornings, I get to go to a local coffee shop with some mama friends.  That means the littlest one and I, and some other mamas with their littles that are the same age, go and have coffee, some baked goodness, and sit and talk.

I’ve thought about what past me might’ve thought. “Must be nice”, as I dash off to work.  I remember pulling into our amazing neighborhood after work with all the moms and their kids outside.  Kids are playing, moms are chatting, occasionally they even had a beverage in hand. “Must be nice”.

Well now I’m lucky enough to be on that side.  I am blessed to be able to stay home with my babes and experience all those “must be nice” moments.  But let me tell you, it is HARD HARD work.  So when you see a group of moms in those moments, this is what it is:

It is a meeting.  A brainstorm.  A gathering of the minds.  Figuring out how to best raise these kids.  How to make them into good, kind, strong adults.  We strategize and discuss best practices.  It doesn’t look like that I’m sure.  But that’s what it is.

And I am so lucky to be able to understand that and live it.  Because I don’t know that I could’ve, had I not lived through it. Taking the time to talk with my village makes me a better mama.

Build your village mamas! Take that time you need. And if you are new to mamahood, the lonely parts can be the hardest. If you see a village – ask to join, or if you are really lucky they’ll see you and know and ask you. But know that whatever it is that you are going through, good or hard or bad or pretty or ugly, there are people who get you! You are loved and understood. As I see it, we are all in this together! ❤️💙

grace

My goal for 2018 has been to grow in giving grace.  I remember when I acted up as a kid, my mom gave me grace.  It made me feel like she believed in me when I didn’t have the energy/strength/understanding to believe in myself.  That is what I’d like to do.  I am blessed with amazing kids and I think giving grace is going to be important in making them feel loved and making them feel like the strong wonderful people they are.

Giving grace is hard, it means taking a breath and not reacting, looking at the situation from a more removed perspective.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?  But it isn’t easy.  It is sometimes, but not always and when I can manage it, it is wonderful!  So that’s what this year (and likely the rest of my life) is focused on.  Growing in grace. I don’t know how my mom did it, but I hope I can follow in her example.

This also means that I need to forgive myself and give myself grace.  Be proud of when I do things well and give grace when I struggle.  This doesn’t mean giving myself permission to not get better, it means accepting the moments for what they are and not dwelling on them so I can focus on self improvement.

wellness journey

I feel like this wellness journey really began without me realizing.  I don’t even know that I’d call it a wellness journey so much as just trying to do well everyday.  I have been forced in some of my “wellness” journey because of health.  I’m fairly healthy so I can’t complain but for example, I have really bad allergies to RANDOM stuff and dust…very allergic to dust.  One of the things I’m allergic to is petroleum jelly which is in almost EVERYTHING we buy for skincare at the store.  I’m allergic to lanolin which is another ingredient that is supposed to help moisturize.  Things like that have forced me out of my comfort zone but I’m happy it has because…I don’t really want to slather petroleum products on my skin…I mean…ewww. But I couldn’t find any natural alternatives that didn’t cost a fortune or they just didn’t do the same.

With allergies you’re also told to lose all the good smelling things – detergents, fabric softeners, plug-ins, room sprays, candles, etc.  And clean sheet day just isn’t the same without that wonderful clean smell. But you do what you must.  I lived without those wonderful smelling things.

Then there was a plastic water bottle recall for the water bottles that EVERYONE used so that made me rethink plastics…they thought this was safe and then they changed their minds soooo what’s to say they’re not going to do the same with the other plastics? So off to glass and stainless we went.

Then I had kids and I definitely didn’t want all those chemicals around the kiddos.  Then my kiddos had dry skin and I slathered them in petroleum because nothing else worked and then that still didn’t work!  So I was forced to find other options again.

I have finally found some recipes for things that work for us.  Some homemade skin care.  Some oils. Some easy recipes.  I’m SO happy where we are and excited to keep moving forward on this.  I now have my yummy smelling laundry.  My clean (or citrus, or relaxing, or fall-like) smelling home.  I have affordable skincare that I know is good for our skin!

But I want to keep moving forward.  I want to take better care of myself.  Actually strengthen my core! Not because I want 6 pack abs but because I want my back to stop going out.  I want to be proactive with MYSELF so I can be better for them!  I want to maximize my time here on this planet but also enjoy myself.  I want to make good choices where I can for my family and the planet.  I want to be a good example to my daughter.  I want to be STRONG.  I have a lot of things I want and it is time to talk about how to work those in, because it is hard. There are only so many hours in each day, and only so much energy and coffee.

I hope that others can find some ideas here that maybe they haven’t tried yet.  And hopefully find a way of adding something healthful into their lives.  All are welcome and zero are judged!

breathe love in

Breathe Love In. This has been my mantra for over a year ago.  I envision breathing love in and envision breathing love out again.

I first heard “breathe love in” when doing yoga.  It resonated.  I have two little kids (at the time 3 years old and 7 months).  Those kids LOVE me, I am their mama (and man do I adore those little people).  I am their soft place to land.  But boy is it hard to be that soft place to land when what they need is to get all the feelings out.  The crying, fits, testing, whining.  Breathe love in.

Breathe love in.  I stop and think it and focus on the words.  Breathe love in.  What happens when mama comes back from being away?  Behavior gets worse.  Always.  I don’t know any mom out there that has said that their kids behave better around them.  Why?  Because they love us and depend on us.  Breathe Love In.  Breathe it in.

Through every fit, through every truck chucked across a room.  Breathe Love In.  Does that mean we allow chucking trucks across the room? No. But mama takes a deep breath and breathes love in.

Then, I focus on breathing love out.

I breathe love out.  Those little people, who I was blessed with.  I breathe love out to them.  I focus on doing it, intentionally. Then I do whatever it is needs to be done, from ignoring bad behavior to a timeout.  But Breathe Love In.

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When they are at their worst, I know that their whines around mama mean that I’m the one they depend on most, and that, to me, shows loves.  So I Breathe the Love In from them, and then make sure to breathe it back out.  I don’t know why this resonates with me so much, but it does and it has been my mantra for over a year now.  It helps me focus on my breathing and centers me so that maybe I can have a little extra patience or be a little bit calmer.  But let’s keep it real, it doesn’t always work, but a lot of times it does.  And any moment that we are able to stretch ourselves, or our patience, means we are getting stronger and better.

Breathing love in, breathing love out.  It is what we do, day in and day out during mamahood.

I think this goes beyond kids.  The beauty of nature, the breeze in the air, the snowflakes, the flower petals.  It is all living.  Think about it – plants take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen (they are breathing love out!).   We all need to breathe love in, so we can breathe love out.  Self-care and loving yourself is so important to be the giver most of us hope to be!