People calling in to Dr. Laura frequently talk about how they need balance in their lives. They are striving to balance work and home life, or work and family obligations. Dr. Laura then replies that there isn’t a balance there. You might try to balance the two, but your attention will always be more drawn to the hand that pays you.
I believe that, as well. I find it hard enough to balance just the pressures of home life, without adding in a regular job (although I recently started a very part-time job that fits perfectly in my schedule — I’ve been knitting shop samples for my local yarn shop, and I’m getting paid in yarn! :D)
After my recent miscarriage, I’ve found myself becoming more than a bit obsessed with finding information on why I could have lost that pregnancy, and how to replace it. I now know more about conception than I ever learned while trying to conceive my first three kids. I realized I was focused on that more than anything else in my life — almost to the point of neglecting the kids I already had.
After a little soul-searching and prayer, I came to grips that that needs to be a much smaller area of my life, and I need to balance the other areas with the focus they deserve. I’m obsessive compulsive, and tend to focus all my energy on one pursuit until my energy runs out or my pursuit is achieved. Last night, I had the brilliant thought that my pursuit needs to be balance — balance with the appropriate amount of attention on prayer, Scripture study, playtime with my kids, healthy eating, exercise, house cleaning, knitting and reading, and time with my husband.
I think with my new-found focus, my energy in general will last longer and go farther. Now… it’s time for yoga class! My intention for today: I want to find balance of worthwhile parts of my life, and minimize my attention on the parts that do not help me grow as a mother, wife, or person. Namaste.
I’ve been feeling lost, in more ways than one, lately. I have made some really positive changes in my life, and improved many aspects of my life, but I still feel like I’m treading water, looking for something I can’t identify.
I attempted home-schooling. It was, shall we say, not a success. I’m okay with this — I understand it’s a lifestyle shift, and one that doesn’t work for our family, at least right now. I don’t mind that it didn’t work out, any more than I’d mind not finishing a book or a movie that I didn’t feel was offering anything good to my life or my family. But I sort of had this vision that I’d love home-schooling, and be great at balancing everything, and I’d just be teaching the kids, while they all paid rapt attention to me, as I swept around the kitchen, baking bread, with a baby in a sling. And with just one school-age kid, it seriously wasn’t working! I think I feel a little guilt to myself, for not being able to do something I thought I could.
I joined a gym, and signed on with a personal trainer. I’m proud of this move I’m making for my own health, and I’m learning and doing new things, each day, and pushing myself physically, farther than I thought I could go. My body is definitely becoming more muscled, and on a good day, I can see some of the changes in a mirror, and I’m pleased then. But it seems like, more often than not, I notice the bad parts — what hasn’t gone away since my working-out efforts. Now, admittedly, I’ve only been doing this for two months, but I thought I’d have more noticeable results by now (not entirely my fault — the “sales guy” that gives the presentation for why you need a personal trainer showed me this graph of my expected progress, and said that I should expect to see the biggest changes within a month or so, and after that, it would drop off, until by the end of the year, I’d be basically fine-tuning my wonderful in-shape body. Now I don’t feel quite like I’m getting there, although I’m doing the exercises called for religiously. Part of the fault lies with me, though — I haven’t changed my diet long-term, and although we eat fairly healthy, we definitely like to indulge!)
I was pregnant. For just a short, glorious few weeks, I had the delight of knowing I was nurturing a new baby in my belly. Then one night, as I stood from saying a family prayer, I felt something. I excused myself and went to the bathroom, and discovered what I most hoped not to — I was miscarrying my baby. I am “over it” at this point — not crying and thinking about my little bean every moment, and physically fine, but I still mourn what was there. And I am excited to try again — I know that one more baby is waiting to join our family. But I feel slightly lost. I shouldn’t be trying to conceive now — I should be telling my friends and family that we’re expecting. I shouldn’t be buying ovulation predictors — I should be taking out my maternity clothes from boxes.
And I can’t help but wonder and worry that it was something I did. I know that there is very little a healthy woman can do to cause a miscarriage, and that in all probability, there was just something wrong with the genetic material forming the baby, and my body made a clean sweep. But I still wonder, did I run that bath too hot? Was it that day before I knew I was pregnant, when I sat in the sauna to put lotion on? Did I exercise too much? When I dieted before I knew I was pregnant, did I not eat enough food to sustain the bean? I know the answer was none of the above — that little body just wasn’t ready for the earth. But I still miss it…. And feel lost.
I take Tuesday night’s off. Ever since we’ve moved here (a year and a half ago), I’ve been able to fairly regularly carve out a little niche of time for myself, and lately, that time has been Tuesday nights. I generally go to the cute yarn shop in the next town, where the employees and owner put up with have befriended me, and sip a soda, knit, and chat with other customers doing the same thing. The yarn shop is open late on Tuesdays for just such a crowd. After spending an hour or so knitting, I go to my best friend’s house, where she has just finished putting her kids to bed, and we chat, giggle, snack, and knit. (She’s moving next month — I’m quite broken-hearted over it!)
Some weeks, this is the only time I really feel like I have to myself. Others, I manage to claim a little more free time while the baby is napping (did I tell you he just turned one? Sniff, sniff!) and the kids are playing quietly, or at least happily, on their own.
My husband was out of town for two weeks recently, and I didn’t get any alone time during that time. I also undertook some major household projects at the same time, so even after the kids went to sleep, I never really decompressed — I was always doing something. It caught up with me, and I’ve just been really feeling it, and haven’t felt like I’ve really been able to relax enough to matter since he got back, between a family weekend trip, illnesses, and doctor appointments.
Finally, yesterday, I decided that even prisoners get time off for good behavior. I had had too many bad days in a row, and it wasn’t good for me or the kids. And if the kids and I are all miserable, it can’t be a home that my husband wants to spend much time in! So, I asked him to take over with the kids early, and to let me escape. I ended up leaving around 2 pm, and didn’t get back until 10. I was finally able to shake that stress I’d been under.
I came back last night, feeling more refreshed and relaxed than I’ve been for weeks. This morning, I felt like a new woman! I got a good night’s sleep last night, I was creative with the kids, able to focus on the good in their behavior, and there have been no temper-tantrums on the parts of any of us today.
Even the most in-tune parent-child teams need a break from each other now and then! I think that my kids and I had too much together-time during my husband’s absence, and we were all just getting on each other’s nerves — not a good situation when the people in question are a home-schooling mama and her kids!
Do you ever need a break from your kids? How do you get the most out of it?
Yesterday, I wrote that I felt like I’d turned a corner and was over the rough patch that we’d been having lately. I published my post, played a couple of games with my “big kids” and promptly exploded into a temper-tantrum of my own to meet my daughter’s nasty temper-tantrum (do I get partial credit, for at least realizing I was having a temper-tantrum?)
I am on long-term allergy medication to manage what becomes very nasty sinus infections and chronic sinusitis. I ran out of my prescription and haven’t had it for several days. I know that’s at least part of why I’m feeling sick and short-tempered. I got the refill last night, but it takes a few days to get into my system and start working. Here’s hoping that I’m on my way to a better attitude. I know my kids are waiting for their “normal” mommy to return!
The last week has been kind of rough for me. Nothing in particular going on, but I’ve been feeling a little under-the-weather lately. I’m not full-blown stay-in-bed-all-day sick, but just sick enough that I lose my patience a little lot faster than usual, and don’t have enough energy to feel like doing the extras with the kids. (And, I’m sure you’ve guessed, blogging has gone by the wayside!)
I have been short with the kids, and a lot more prone to yelling, but today, I feel like we’ve turned the corner. I feel a lot more patient and I’m having more fun with the kids, so I hope this attitude is here long term!
Recently, we had an enrichment night (a ladies’ evening at church, where we learn lessons to enrich our home life), and the subject was improving meal time. First up — why meal times are important, aside from the food. The discussion was great, the lesson interesting, the ideas helpful. But that’s not what I’m gonna talk about!
The second lesson was about healthy eating, including referring us to mypyramid.gov — lots of cool info there! But we were all struck by how many veggies and fruits we should be eating, versus what we actually were. Let’s just say, most of us were missing the mark completely!
To save the day came the third lesson — green smoothies! R. set up her awesome blender (looks like the sort of thing they have at Orange Julius or Jamba Juice!), and proceeded to throw in an apple, a banana, some blueberries, grapes, carrots, broccoli, kale, celery, and two huge handfuls of spinach. She pressed the button, we all quizzed her on what kind of blender it was (a Blend-tec) and then she poured out samples. The resulting green goop was very good — not as sweet as a Jamba Juice style smoothie, but more of a light unidentified fruit taste. Easy way to get all your veggies and fruits for the day — anything else you have from other sources is extra.
Even my kids drink this up with no problem, although they don’t drink enough to meet their veggie needs. But I haven’t cut back on serving other veggies, so I know that every sip they take is more than they were getting before!
You don’t need a super-blender to do these (although it does help — I got mine in the mail yesterday, and I’m in love!). You can use any regular household blender (I made plenty of one serving size ones in my Magic Bullet while I was waiting for my Blendtec delivery). Check out greensmoothiequeen.com for a free (really) 3-day mini-course to learn more about why these are so great. There are also recipes.
If you are using a standard blender, I found it helpful to add my water and leafy greens first, and let that blend for a little while while I prepped my other veggies and fruits. The resulting smoothie seemed to be quite a bit smoother. Also, chop up your veggies and fruits into smaller chunks, so you don’t burn out your blender’s motor from working too hard (ask me how I know about this….). Try using the ice crush button for a bit before turning on the blend setting. Good luck! And enjoy!
A few nights ago, I had a girls’ night with my daughter, which culminated in shopping at the mall. As we held hands, she invented little games which involved jumping over certain colored squares in the tile floor, landing in others, and always jumping over contrasting lines. Although she was having fun on her own, she kept asking me to play the games with her. I couldn’t, I explained — I had to watch where we were going, instead of looking at the floor.
This resonated suddenly with me, as a metaphor for life in general with children. While my children are able to live fully in the moment, completely unconcerned with what the next meal will be, if there are clean clothes, if we paid the electric bill this month, or any of a million other minute details, their father and I are constantly watching for roadblocks, obstacles, people in our way, and ways to fulfill our wants and needs.
I believe this is what separates children from adults — the ability to consistently look ahead and plan for tomorrow and beyond. And by embracing parenthood, I have taken on the responsibility of not only watching my own path, but that of my children. This doesn’t mean I make it clear for them and remove all obstacles. I don’t make other people clear out of their way. Instead, I use those things and people in their path as teaching moments, to help them learn how to plan ahead for themselves.
But sometimes, when we’re just having fun together, there’s nothing wrong with just clearing her path, and letting her revel in today, in this jumping game, with no thought for the future. (And it’s also okay if, every so often, I check that the path ahead is clear for a while, and play with her in the moment.)
I have a house-full of sick kids. I’m getting a little bogged down in the day-to-day drudgery of wiping noses, giving medicine, cuddling with sniffling kids (not the cuddling part, but listening to sniffling makes me want to throw up, so it’s really hard on me).
But I am grateful to Heavenly Father for these moments — the times that remind me how truly lucky I am. We might have a lot of these little sicknesses roaming our house, but we don’t have any terminal illnesses or devastating diseases. And maybe we wouldn’t take time to remember and be grateful for our overall good health without these little reminders.
Well, when last I wrote, I had intended to tell my grandparents about my joining the church. Didn’t happen. There were no natural moments that would have led into a discussion about religion or beliefs. I’ll admit that I didn’t want to chance ruining what was a perfectly nice visit. However, there is more to it, and it was an intentional decision.
If you’ve ever listened to Dr. Laura for a full show, chances are that you might have heard a call in which someone wanted to tell another person something that would have been pretty big news — often something like, “you’re adopted,” “I’m not your real father,” “you were conceived by a rape.” Dr. Laura first asks, “How would it benefit this person to know this information?” 99% of the time, it wouldn’t. Most times, the caller realizes that it would only shake the sense of security the person has in the family or in their life. Sometimes, it would just be hurtful with no good to come of it at this point.
Although this is certainly not that monumental of a piece of information, it would be a big deal in our family. My grandmother is not close enough to us, geographically or emotionally, to see our lives and observe how my joining the church has improved my life and our family. She would not understand what is different from before. She would truly believe that it was an act of defiance meant to hurt her (which, I recognize is arrogant and rather foolish….) I truly don’t believe that anything good would be accomplished from it, and instead, only hurt would follow. I don’t want to cause a separation between her and her great-grandchildren, or any other family rifts, over something that I don’t think is that important that she know. Maybe it’s the wrong decision, but I don’t think so.
I prayed about this, that if it was important to tell her, I would, but that if it wasn’t, that I’d feel peace about not telling her, and it wouldn’t be a big deal. I just, while writing the last paragraph, remembered that prayer. After that prayer, it never even entered my mind again to bring up religion. I do believe that I got my answer. It wasn’t that important, and I had a great sense of peace from that.
Somehow, December just got away from me! We had a family trip to Walt Disney World, and then we had Christmas. We are gearing up for “Christmas 2.0,” for which we leave home for a week in a condo (off-season at a summer resort, ’cause it’s a lot cheaper!) with my extended family. I’m excited to see them, but I’m really nervous — I am planning to tell my anti-Mormon grandparents about my conversion this week. I’m not expecting it to go well, which is just a fact of life. It didn’t go well when I told my mother, either, and life has progressed okay since then.
I am debating about whether to share this news at the beginning of the week (to let her see that I’m still “me”, and the same as she’s always known me for the rest of the time), or at the end (so that if there’s a big to-do, we are escaping soon anyway). Should I plan a time for this discussion, or just wait until a time when it comes up semi-naturally, like when the kids are talking about their Primary class? I am riddled with confusion over this, so I will do exactly what I did before I told my mother — pray for my Heavenly Father to guide me, his spirit to be with me, and ask for my husband to give me his priesthood blessing that I will know what to say and how to say it. I will pray that my Father in heaven will open my grandmother’s heart to know that this is the right decision for me, and that I mean no disrespect to her or to my extended family by pursuing it. And for anyone who is reading this….. I could use your prayers, too.