I'm passionate about philosophy, but after having my girls I'm even more passionate about Mommy Matters

Monday, March 6, 2017

It's About Time

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     I think it's about time that I wrote on my blog again, it has been almost 18 months since I last posted! There are many reasons for that, but mostly I just needed to focus on living my daily life without extras distracting me - making big steps forward in deciding who I am and who I want to be. Part of that process has been learning how to live in and better appreciate the present moment, the most important moment of our lives is the one we're currently in - right? I've been going through this as a process and it's a lifestyle change I'm still going through. but slowly I am doing better at living in the present moment and loving who I am now, loving my family now and enjoying my life so much more in each given moment!
     So, I've already touched on some of my history with going to therapy and having personal family struggles in previous posts. About two years ago this was really taking over my life, I felt like I was drowning in some ways, even though I knew I had the potential to be happy and content with my daily life... it was like I couldn't quite reach it. My fingers would barely get to the surface and then something else happened that made me feel like I was being pulled down further under the water again. I prayerfully, with much consideration and after many weeks of therapy (during which I wrote the last few posts before this one) I knew that taking medication was not right for me. I knew in my heart that I could heal myself and what I really needed was inside of me already - I just wasn't seeing it yet. Now, I want to put out the disclaimer that of course I am not critical or judgmental of anyone else who has or is taking medications to help with depression, anxiety, etc. I completely understand why, and with mental illness running in my family the way that it does I seriously considered it as an option for me, but in the end it just didn't feel like my answer.
     After about twelve weeks of therapy I decided that it had done the work it was going to do. I felt a little better, like a bandage had been added to my wounds and it comforted me a little. However, in the back of my mind I was haunted by the thought that I would one day have to return. Something still hadn't changed that needed to, I hadn't really fixed the problem and eventually I would need to go back and possibly get medication later to help me. It felt like an inevitability.
     During that time I was on my knees in tearful prayer most days and nights, begging to know how to be happy and have fun in my day to day life. I wanted to feel whole and complete, something I hadn't ever truly felt before. Even during the best times of my life I've often felt like something was missing, something was wrong with me. I would get balanced for awhile, only to get stuck in feeling the void again. I knew big changes needed to occur for the sake of not only my well-being, but the well-being of my family. I was becoming a yelling mom, a mom who reacted and even put my own issues subconsciously onto my children. I didn't want to be that mom, that person, and it didn't feel like me. It felt so wrong.
     I have been part of a local chapter of MOMS Club for awhile as well and the friends I have made there, the resources they have offered, have helped some and alleviated some of the pressure. I live in a wonderful neighborhood with a great support group of other mothers and even though some aspects of my extended family life were struggling (and still are), my husband has always remained my biggest supporter and best friend. Many of my extended family members who were also struggling with the changes and issues happening, and all of the members of my husband's family, gave me added love and support as I needed it. Even with all of the support, I knew I needed to make certain decisions and actions for myself to get better, just talking about it and receiving love from others wasn't enough, so I tried a lot of different things and just kept trying harder.
     I continued writing here and there for a book review blog, I tried doing my own creative writing on a consistent basis, I got into running (which helped me with coping on a physical and mental level), and I tried to invest myself more in my community and the positive relationships I had. I tried to have more gratitude. I felt like trying so hard started to pull me in too many different directions and just continued to actually distract me from the real problem, avoid what I really needed to do - which was to look within and chill for one thing. However, all of this trying lead me to a great discovery, one I know was of divine orchestration and has changed my view of myself, and everyone else too! 
     Have any of you heard of Carol Tuttle, Dressing Your Truth, Remembering Wholeness, or the Child Whisperer? This, my dear friends is where my journey toward more joy really began. The problem turned out to be that I did not truly know myself or love myself. I was too busy focusing on making my life not what it was at the time, on what I didn't want and didn't like, instead of focusing on what I actually did want and what a great life would look like to me. I was also very much on cruise control/survival mode and, as previously stated, not living in the present moment or appreciating it for the beauty it was/is. 

(Squeaker & I post-haircut a couple of weeks back)

(Goose & I pre-haircut a few weeks back)

     A little over a year ago I met a new friend who has turned out to be a bosom friend, a soul sister, and a key to my healing as well. She used to work for Dressing Your Truth and introduced me to it. At first I didn't take it seriously, I thought it was just another personality test of some kind - fun, but not really helpful. Plus, I'm not really a fashion kind of person and didn't think I cared enough to get into it, especially to be told how to dress. Boy was I wrong about everything
     Through Carol's "energy profiling" system, I went on a very interesting and emotional journey in order to discover that I am actually a very naturally animated and buoyant person! I have an energy that I was born with, my own unique gift to the world, of being a cheerful and optimistic person! Wait... but I was depressed a lot of the time, feeling like I was drowning, etc. How does that make sense? Well, through many experiences in my life and from what I felt like I had been told by others I was constantly trying to turn that part of myself off. I did my best to turn it off anyway, as much as possible early in my childhood and then it just became a habit after that. Especially in my adulthood,I felt like I needed to 'grow up', become more structured and consistent, which are not my natural gifts. So, whenever I didn't do something like I thought I 'should', then I hurt myself emotionally and my self-esteem continued to plummet. The first time I went to therapy was during my freshman year of college (there had been some rough times before then, but I always picked myself up) and as I got more responsibilities in life I started going more frequently for longer periods of time. As life seemed to get more intense and heavy, I made it even more intense and heavy by holding myself up to certain expectations that just didn't fit me at all. I thought, subconsciously, that I had to change myself in order to become a better person and for others to love me more, even for me to love myself. 
     Dressing Your Truth is basically a makeover system from the inside out. Instead of deciding what I wanted to look like and put on myself or the way I wanted to be perceived by the world, I had to really know the truth of who I am. I had to accept myself and love myself, so I could live true to myself and then decide what I wanted to look like in my appearance that showed my truth. The dressing part simply and practically supports the self-love aspects and makes shopping so much easier! I could seriously go on and on about how much I love this information and work, but I will just save more details for a future post. However, I encourage all of you to click the link above (or this one) and begin your own journey of self-discovery and love!
     What Carol Tuttle's work helped me understand, truly understand, for the first time in my life is that I am perfect as God created me. I am who I am meant to be and all of the life experiences I have are meant to be an option for me - an option to choose more joy and to love myself more, learn and grow as I am through joyous experiences. OR to choose more negativity, more doubt, to get myself stuck and feel bad for myself... to learn nothing, not grow, just feel like I must be flawed because if I wasn't then I would be happy no matter what. It's not always about being happy either, but simply about being content and fulfilled, happiness and joy can look like being at peace... instead of bouncing around dancing all of the time - which I let myself do a lot more often now too! In finding this sense of joy and peace I honestly no longer feel like going back to therapy or taking medication is an inevitability, I don't worry about it at all anymore. 

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     I've decided it's like this - I did have all I needed in order to be happy inside of me all along (just like the movie 'Trolls' says!), so many experiences through my life and so many people in my life have tried to illustrate that to me in the ways I needed it. I was doing the best I knew how with what I had in order to have more faith, to understand how the atonement works for me in my daily life. But, it wasn't until I got a new teacher, like when you get a great new math teacher that just makes everything click in your mind even though you've looked at the same problems before and they never made sense until you got that new teacher, Carol Tuttle has been that teacher for me. She simply gave me new tools that helped me figure it out for myself and made it all make sense somehow. Like a good math teacher with a new perspective.
     Since discovering this part of myself, my true nature and energy, the doors of inspiration have been opening wider and wider. It hasn't given me all of the answers all at once or made everything automatically easier, but has given me more tools to work with. It's a daily process of creating a new lifestyle, creating the life I want and choosing to focus on the positive - focus on what I want my life to be like and who I am meant to be, instead of falling into the familiar habit of focusing on what annoys me, what I don't want and what I wish I could change. I have the power to create my life, why not create one I love & admire? Why not become someone I admire by loving myself more, judging myself less and no longer trying to turn off who I really am? God made me this way for a reason and my path in life will be so much easier the more I try to be who He made me to be!
     To wrap all of this up somewhat, I just want to encourage all of you & say that you can do it! Whatever 'it' may be. The process can take as long as you need it or want it to take. Look around you right now, what do you want more than anything? More cooperative kids, a more supportive spouse, to lose weight, to just be more happy, all of these things and so much more are within your power to create. Take out a peace of paper and just start describing the life you want, what it looks like, feels like, and who you are as God created you to be. Then go make it happen, live that life and be more of that person! You are an incredible child of God, a divine creative being with infinite potential. He wants you to have joy and created you to have it! Ask Him how, with a heart full of faith and know that the answers will come. They are already there - He's trying to give them to you right now. You might not find the same answers I did, or find them where I found them, but they are available and it is your life's purpose to find them - to live them! 
     I want to write more, I could go on for much longer with things I have been going through the last couple of years, but below is a list of things I am planning on posting about, when I actually do I'll turn them into links to those posts. 
     I guess we'll see what comes and how it all happens :) I love how open and surprising the future is, especially with me and my randomness! haha

  •      Considering homeschooling. 
  •      Running a marathon.
  •      Appreciating that I am a mother!
  •      Becoming more whole - mentally, emotionally,    physically, and spiritually. 
  •      Expecting baby girl #3!!
  •      More on my Dressing Your Truth (DYT) journey & the 4 energy types.

     I'm also planning on updating the look of the blog, pictures and whatnot. However, it's honestly not a huge priority for me right now since I've got 2 very active girls and I'm 22 weeks pregnant with another one. So, I hope you enjoy seeing what happens as it comes and don't judge me for being consistent at being inconsistent - which I am! haha

     I love you all! Thank you for reading and being part of my life experience  :)

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

World's Okayest Mom

     I've been thinking a lot lately about "shoulds" when it comes to motherhood and why mothers always feel like they need to be better, no matter how amazing they are. This is something I've been struggling with and working through. I also have recently read two books that made me think even deeper about this issue: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh Primates of Park Avenue by Wednesday Martin. If you go to my book review blog then you can see my review of one of them and the second review is soon to come. Both of these books have mothers who consistently feel inept and as though their children deserve more from them, even when they're trying their absolute best and doing all they can. Why do we do this to ourselves? 
     Three thoughts have helped me work through solving this problem within myself:
   1. You are enough! There isn't a day I can remember living when everything went according to plan and I've always been hard on myself to varying degrees when it comes to what I did or didn't do. I've often found myself saying things like, "I would be a better wife/mother/etc. if I had just done X or done X this way." Now, at the end of the day, no matter how much I have or have not accomplished and no matter how I did the things I did do, I accept the day for what it was and say to myself that I was enough - I am enough. Even if it wasn't really a good day, there are always better and worse days ahead and that's okay - it all evens out in the end. Also, I think it's true that we learn something new everyday and I often have to learn things the hard way, but that doesn't mean I'm not a good enough wife/mother/etc. 
   2. Don't should on yourself! I stole this wording from a friend of mine, because it made me laugh. I often pile "should" statements onto myself. "I should do X because that's what good mothers (other mothers) do." It took me a long time to realize how damaging these statements were because I didn't really think about the second half of the statement. I would just go around thinking about all of the tasks I should be doing, but neglected to think about why I thought I should be doing them in the first place. Most of the time these shoulds aren't things that are necessary for myself or my family, they're just extra things I'm putting on my shoulders and expecting myself to do when they don't actually need to be done at all. 
   3. It's okay to be the world's okayest mom! (click the link to see some awesome mugs if you need a daily reminder of this) This point is from my therapist who, after listening to me whine over and over again about how much I want to be the best mom I can possibly be, said, "Sometimes okay is enough." All our kids really need and want from us is to make sure their basic needs are met and that we're there for them. They won't implode if we spend all day in the house and let them watch more TV than usual because we're sick or depressed and can't imagine doing anything else. They don't need to be involved in extra activities everyday to be happy, or go to an elite preschool that so-and-so says is the first necessary step for your child to get into the best universities. All kids really need is love and support, just like the rest of us and if that means that I'm striving to be world's okayest mom instead of the worlds best mom (because focusing on more makes me and my kids more stressed) then that's what I need to do. 
     Moms everywhere take on unnecessary stress when often those stresses, meant to help us become better or our best, actually lead us to lose sight of what really matters. What really matters, in my opinion, are the little things. Appreciating the time together that is fleeting because children grow so quickly, being simply grateful that we have what we have when we have it. This appreciation and gratitude takes effort too, but I think it's much more worth while and rewarding than all of the extras. As long as your children are loved and know it, they're happy and you're doing everything you should be doing - I promise! 
     So, tonight when you're trying to go to sleep after constantly chasing, policing, cleaning, bribing, playing, feeding, and doing everything else that comes with being a mom, I hope you look back at the day and say to yourself, "I am enough, in fact I am the world's okayest mom!" Say it loud, say it proud Momma! 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mom on the Run

August 22nd, 2015
My first 5K race! Time: 29:37

Before I start I'll just say that the title of this blog was inspired by The Little River Band's "Man on the Run" and Paul McCartney & Wings' "Band on the Run". So, this post might be slightly (greatly) more awesome if you listen to those songs while reading it. 

I've run off and on since I was in high school and it has helped me through bouts of depression, times of anxiety, and given me an outlet of forced meditation. Even though running has always been these things for me, I've had a hard time making it part of who I am and committing to it with consistently. The longest stretch of time I called myself a 'runner' was after I graduated high school and through my first semester of college, it was during that time I found out that I could go farther than I previously thought (the longest run I did was about 6 miles) and how much I enjoyed long distances when I didn't hold myself back. After giving birth to Squeeker I went running maybe three times. Even though I knew it would help me to work through stress and feel better, I've always had a hard time making it a habit.

After giving birth to Goose things were different. As I posted last time, I've been going through a lot of family troubles this last year and having two kids at home is definitely different than only one. I felt split in two since the moment Goose was born, part of me wanting to put all of my energy and care into this newborn - like I was able to do with Squeeker when she was born, but the other half of me knew I had a beautiful toddler who I wanted to continue to put all of my energy and care into as well. How could I love so deeply and put so much of myself into two separate beings? This love, as all parents can attest to, is different than any other kind of love. It's distressing at times; when you see your child in pain something primal takes over and everything inside of you aches to fix it, to see your child happy again. The love of your child becomes an extra appendage, physical and emotional in its control over you. Having Squeeker was intense enough, although I didn't have any depression after having her, but when I had Goose I did get depressed and more overwhelmed than I had ever felt in my life. I wanted to give both of my girls everything I had, but there's only one of me and I needed to take care of myself too. Not to mention giving all I could to my marriage and my love for Husband as well. 

It was an odd time and I felt like I bounced out of it fairly quickly, we moved into our first purchased home only about twelve days after I gave birth to Goose. That was a good outlet, although an extra stressor, and I used it as a distraction from my feelings. I continued to put myself aside and everything/everyone else first. That's when I started to break and I knew I needed to run. Something instinctual rose up inside of me, telling me to run. I didn't want to run away, I love where I'm at in my life and all that I have, so I started to run towards something instead - a healthier and more balanced me. 

Now I'm slowly strengthening myself, pushing my body, and I love it. I never thought I'd enjoy running the way I do now, it has become what I need in order to stay grounded and gain perspective in life. Two things drastically helped me in finding this enjoyment: 
     #1) I bought a new pair of good running shoes (Asics GT-2000 2, if you're interested), but I also run barefoot sometimes. To a certain extent I buy into the barefoot running philosophy and I do think going barefoot every once in awhile gives me immediate feedback from my body, so I can correct my gate and run more pain-free. However, I also really love running in shoes, they're like running on clouds and I can think about things other than my feet and gate when I run with them on, unlike running barefoot - which in my experience is fun, but also grounds and focuses your attention on your feet and gate completely. Running shoes can be really expensive, but if you do the research and look at all of your options then you can usually find a deal. My Asics' MSRP is $120, but I got them for $67 from Running Warehouse online. This Runner's World article will help you  with some guidelines to buying a good pair as well. 
     #2) Using the zen labs fitness C25K (stands for Couch to 5K) free app. This training program pushed me, but also worked my strength up at a comfortable pace. I liked having the app tell me when to run and when to walk so I didn't have to keep track of it myself and it also informed me of how many runs I had left in my workout as I went. The app is based on running three times a week and workouts vary in length. I highly recommend this app to anyone who is trying to work toward a 5K, whether you have been a runner in the past or not. 

Those two things have helped me to prevent injury, which I did get while using my old running shoes and not having a training program, and they have made running more comfortable/doable/fun. Until this last Saturday I hadn't participated in an official running event, but I'm never looking back now. I am planning on running in many more and making running part of who I am from now on. I'm also going to run a marathon in the fall of 2016, so you'll get to read about that insanity as I train. 

I have read the following books about running and found them helpful and inspiring: Born to Run by Christopher McDougall & What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. These are two very popular running books and I think it is with good reason. I am still working my way through other running books, so I will share others I find helpful in the future. 

Sometimes I run without listening to anything, but other times I listen to music or a podcast. The podcast that Another Mother Runner puts on is great and I love their work in general. There are running apps and music apps that can put together play lists based on your running pace, which is awesome. I like the app runkeeper for keeping track of my distances/pace while I'm out, but I also keep a journal that I write things down in the moment I get back from a run. I write my distance, time, pace, route, how I felt (physically, mentally, and emotionally), what I encountered, and anything else that stood out. 

So, if you're finding yourself feeling adrift or needing an excuse to be alone outside for awhile, go for run! If you really don't think you're a runner, and frankly don't want to be, then find something else that will help you in similar ways: yoga, swimming, biking, etc. 

I have also recently joined a group called MOMS Club, they have different chapters all over the United States (I don't think they are an international group, but they could be). As part of my chapter one of the moms started a Get Fit challenge, which I decided to join as well. As part of this challenge I have the opportunity to earn five points everyday. Each of the following things will earn me a point: 
   - Taking a multi-vitamin (it's especially good for mothers to have extra iron and folic acid, calcium doesn't hurt either)
   - Drinking 64oz of water 
   - Being active for 30 minutes, trying to get your heart rate up during that time. 
   - Eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables (not 5 each, just all together)
   - Completing a me-time activity (reading, meditating, going out to a movie without your kids, etc.) Which has to be separate from your 30 minutes of activity, even if it's something that helps you to de-stress and is personal time. 

As I focus on doing these five things everyday I am boosted and feel stronger. I never realized how hard it is for me to set aside time for myself, or to eat five servings of fruits a vegetables, until I was doing it. I'm so good at making sure Squeeker gets her fruits and vegetables, but I neglect my own health all of the time. 

Anyway, these are few things that have been giving me what I need to strive for better personal health. Comment if you have any questions that I didn't answer. I hope this helps you find what you need to get through the happy times and the tough times too!