Posts tagged perspective
If You Aren't Using This ONE SURVIVAL TACTIC When You're Sick, Are You Even a Real Mom?

I’m sick. I mean, it’s just a cold, and I don’t mean to be a whiner, because I get that people, maybe even you, are receiving health news much worse than “looks like you’ve got an endless amount of snot that keeps pouring out of your nostrils no matter how many times and how long you blow your nose.”

I mean, where does it all come from? Lord have mercy!

But I digress. And I’m here to tell you one quick thing before I go to bed at 8:30 p.m. for the 6th night in a row (thank you, Nyquil…you’ve never let me down, even after all these years).

 
 

There is ONE THING that all sick (insert: pregnant, lazy, busy, stressed, and actually sick) mothers use when they bite the dust. And how do I know this magical thing, you might be thinking? Well, of course, I took my woes to the I Am Mother of the Year Facebook groupand this ONE THING kept floating to the top of the list.

So listen here, mama. If you aren’t yet employing this miracle, life-saving strategy, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

You guys. This. Is. Genius. And I can say that because I didn’t come up with it.

It’s called (drum roll, please………………………………………….)

THE PANTRY RAID:

If you’re a sick mama (that means anything from having the sniffles, to barfing, to being overly or newly pregnant, or had a bad day at the office, etc.) you do not have to feed your children dinner. Instead, your employ the good ole fashion pantry raid, whereby your kids get to eat anything from your pantry that is within reach. And you call it dinner. And you call them fed. And you call yourself a hero.

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Don’t believe me? Just check Section 9, Page 1,387 of the Parenting Handbook, where mothers from around the country have chimed in on this very matter:

  • Jessica: Whenever I bite the dust, it’s a pantry free for all. Popcorn, pop tarts, granola bars, chips, cereal (dry of course)... whatever you can reach, you can eat.

  • Cassidy: TV all day. And eat what you can find/reach!

  • Katie: Candy and chips only for food.

  • Tiffany: Anything within reach - Cheetos? Sure! Animal crackers? Fine! M&M's? Go for it! Just eat at the table.

  • Victoria: Sat on the couch all day while instructing my 2.5 year old how to feed herself. “Push the chair to the pantry. Open the door. Get the goldfish... there’s lunch!”

Apparently, mothers for GENERATIONS have been using this exact same tactic.

  • Emily: My mom just shared with me that she was laid up on the couch with a terrible cold when I was about a year old. She brought the box of Cheerios with her and kept throwing handfuls onto the living room floor for me like she was feeding birds!

Not so sure about this whole Pantry Raid idea? Not a problem.

Some honorable mentions include survival by:

  • TV. All day ‘er day.

  • Goodbye Diapers. Seriously, if you don’t have energy to change them, why put them on? As a bonus, it induces some extra incentive to have your carpets cleaned.

What’s the point? When mama’s down, mama’s down. The quickest way for mama to get back up again is to soak in All. The. Rest. And that means employing some tactics that probably wouldn’t fly on a regular Tuesday. But listen, not ONE of these moms talked about feeling guilty for doing the absolute bare minimum. Mom guilt won’t help you heal any faster. No one’s snot is disappearing overnight because they felt guilty for throwing Cheerios on the floor and calling it dinner. No one’s vomit has spontaneously vanished because mom guilt made them feel like a complete loser of a human being for allowing their kids free reign over the TV for a few days (or weeks). Mom guilt is a dumb liar.

Thanks to all the moms who helped me feel better for scraping by in my time of sickness. We don’t need to thrive all the time. If we did, we’d never appreciate our own awesomeness, and neither would our families.

So raise your class of Emergen-C for a toast. “To you, mama. For being who you are in sickness and in health and in all the days between. Your sanity, your creativity, your love is unparalleled. And your kids, your family, and your community are better because you are in it. Snot and all.” *Clink clink* And goodnight.

P.S. If you need some practical self-care steps, download your FREE Self-Care Guide here!!!

 
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Have You Ever Had a Trip to the Grocery Store Like Jen's?

Have ya ever had a trip through the grocery store like Jen’s?

“I left the baby home with my hubby and took the two-year-old grocery shopping this morning. All was well until I got done unloading groceries onto the belt. That's when I realized that the entire time I was doing that, my darling boy had been cracking eggs, one by one, against his chest. Thank God for understanding cashiers and fellow customers! The guy behind us even sent his daughter to get me a new carton of eggs while I was cleaning up.”

I mean, I don’t even know where to begin except to say that two-year-olds are some of the most creative people I’ve known. Who else do you know that, in any social setting, would even think to grab eggs from the carton and crack them one-by-one onto his chest? It’s brilliant!

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But what I really love about this story is that we can all identify with it. With a simple shopping trip gone awry. A breakfast ruined because the toast was cut into squares instead of triangles. A fun playdate that ended up in time-outs and tears instead of sweet goodbye hugs.

Toddlers (and maybe kids in general, but for now I can only speak from experience) have the unique ability to challenge each moment of the day in ways we couldn’t even anticipate! And if we’re not careful, we may start to resent these tough moments and even these kids.

Gosh, of course we love our kids more than life itself. I’m serious. Sometimes I look at my kids and I can actually feel my heart bursting from the inside out. Other times I look at my kids and can barely keep from exploding with anger and frustration. GO TO SLEEP! QUIT STALLING! GO POTTY FOR. THE. LOVE. OF. EVERYTHING. GOOD.

So how do we keep ourselves from resenting these moments and resenting our babes?

1. Keep some perspective. If Jen’s day didn’t get any worse than the eggs-on-the-shirt incident, she still had a pretty good day. Plus, it makes for a really great story!

2. Laugh it off. If you don’t laugh you cry, that’s what they say. And I agree, although usually I laugh and cry. And cry and laugh. It’s a very fine line for me. Laugh when we need to and cry when we need to, but then let’s take our cue from Elsa and let it go…

3. Name the good. So the grocery store wasn’t a success, but you survived it. Say that out loud. Then look for the next thing, and the next and say those wins out loud too. It’s so important to keep our eyes on the good. There’s so much good in our days that we can miss when we’re caught up in the bad.

4. Don’t forget you were made on purpose and for a purpose. You’re raising babies and there is no more noble cause. You’re also a friend, a spouse, an employee, a neighbor, and the list goes on. You’re on this earth to love others well in ways that only you can. And if you’re buried in the weeds of motherhood you may forget this. But don’t.

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What’s also cool about Jen’s story is that after she posted it to our awesome I Am Mother of the Year Facebook group, she was cheered on by an amazing community of moms who totally get it. She even jumped back into the conversation to share the fact that it turned out better than expected because she found an extra outfit and some wipes in the car to clean him off with. Mother of the Year!

Jen, thanks for sharing your story! Mamas, thanks for being the best online community we could ask for! You. Have a great day. The best one ever. And if you’ve got any advice on how not to resent our kids, our situations, our long and hard days of motherhood, pretty please share it! We need all the help we can get!

3 Ways To Cling To Your Sanity When Catastrophe Strikes

Guys, I. CAN’T. EVEN. right now with Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFM). The word catastrophe in the title is pretty dramatic…or is it? All day as I wrote this blog in my head, I was preparing a list of the unfair, uncool, and downright miserable characteristics of this stupid virus.

A couple weeks ago (some of you may have seen my post in our Facebook group), Cal got HFM. It was stressful because it entailed a daycare shutdown which also quarantined my 3-year-old. And it was the week before we left for a much-needed and much-looked-forward-to family vacation at the BEACH! So adding that all together, while trying to work and work ahead on my real job and both of my side jobs (Radio Theology and I Am Mother of the Year) and I was at my limit!

Thankfully, his case was so mild that I even questioned that it existed at all! Everything got done. Vacation was a dream (understatement of the century), aside from what I thought was a pretty gnarly diaper rash for my boy. This morning, when it had spread out of the diaper area to his feet and legs, I almost knew for sure.

I kept him home and called the doctor, even though I knew what it was. I knew it was HFM and I didn’t need her to tell me that. I needed her to tell me that it wasn’t that. That it was a lookalike nothing that spread for fun and wasn’t contagious and didn’t mean that instead of recovering from vacation, I’d be staring down the barrel of more sleepless nights and soothing a fussy and uncomfortable baby.

But alas, she confirmed it was indeed a different strain of HFM due to the number of spots he had already compared to last time. It’s going around, she said.

And on my way home, I began planning my pity party. I planned for zero productivity and the worst mood I could muster. Two cases of HFM in 3 weeks? Not. Fair. I was going to cry, binge on chips and salsa despite my plan to get back on the healthy eating post-vacation train, and probably drown my sorrows in Netflix. I’d avoid all of my responsibilities except the most pressing (the baby), and leave the unpacking, laundry, and grocery shopping for another time.

But at the stop light, it dawned on me that my selfishness would not and could not be the victor today (note that I didn’t hardly mention the baby and his impending pain in any of my woe-is-me thoughts above). I needed a heart shift.

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I’m not sure what your proverbial HFM curve ball is today, but I bet you’ve got one. Whatever you’re dreading, working through or pity partying about, here’s my plan for this kind of stuff:

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Keep Perspective: As I mentioned before, I was writing this blog post in my head hours ago, and was listing the horrible qualities of HFM (a ninja virus with no cure, where your kid is most contagious before he even shows symptoms so he’s spreading it all over tarnation before it is caught {and also how he caught it}. Then, in swoops a high fever, sometimes a bout of vomiting, followed by painful sores all over the tops and bottoms of hands, feet, bottoms, and of course, inside and outside of the mouth. The only treatment is symptomatic, meaning that pain reliever is the only thing that can help. And it gets worse before it gets better and can last days and sometimes weeks. Sleep is trash because how would you like to attempt rest when you’re covered in painful bumps from head to toe?). On and on I went. Until it hit me, that some parent right now is leaving the doctor with a cancer diagnosis for her kid. One mother just heard the news she was suspecting – autism. And another mom has buried her child. So my little pity party just got pathetic pretty fast in the light of those kinds of realities. My son has a mild-to-medium painful rash that can be eased with Tylenol and will go away after a week. He will sleep again, and so will I.

Do Something Nice For Yourself: #TreatYoself. I did. To a Starbucks. Triple Mocha Frappuccino with coconut milk. $5.78 well-spent. But I didn’t stop there.

Do Something Nice for Someone Else: Well, who should happen to pull up behind me in the Starbucks line?  A mama with kids in the car, getting herself a little caffeinated treat. So I thought, what if her day is worse than mine somehow? It’s probably not likely that she was the mom receiving horrible medical news about her kid, but I bet she’s going through something. Aren’t we all? So, I paid for her drink and handed the barista a Mother of the Year award sticker to give to her when she arrived at the window. If I’m grumpy or can’t pull myself out of my own worry or problems, nothing brings me back to reality like a good ole random act of kindness.

HFM is no joke. And neither is what you’re walking through right now. But whatever unfun surprise that motherhood or life throws at me, I want my family to say that I wasn’t easily shaken. That each little bump in the road didn’t lead to a self-destructive pity party or an out-of-control tailspin. That I’m steady and loving and full of grace even when I don’t want to be. That I pray more than I worry. That I believe the truth that I’m known and loved by a God who knows and loves each person I come in contact with (and I treat them that way).

And just in case you’re like me, with the gift of feeling all of the emotions of life, making it both easy and hard to do and be what that last paragraph says, know this: it’s ok to throw a healthy pity party. To process and grieve and feel. And it might sound silly to grieve over HFM, but it is more about the loss of routine and getting back into the post-vacation swing of things. It’s another week of rearranged schedules. And sleeplessness. Oh the sleeplessness. And if the tears come, just let ‘em flow!

Case in point, this morning I felt like crying about this. When I told our daycare provider. When I talked to the doctor. When I told my friend that her kids could be infected. When I was texting with my sister. Coulda, shoulda, woulda…later in the day, due to the ridiculousness that is my life sometimes, I ended up crying on the phone to the airport guest services lady about how there were no parking spots in the garage. Another story for another time, but you get my point.

It’s ok to feel how you feel, but don’t stay stuck there. Reclaim your peace and joy and move on.

So what is it for you right now? Even as I type this I don’t feel qualified to say this, but if you’re walking through something and feel alone, please please reach out to me! Or share your struggle (or victory over it) in the I Am Mother of the Year Facebook group. You are loved, friend!