Posts tagged self-care
What Happens When Daddy Steals Your Thunder?

Mama, has this ever happened to you? You're duking it out with one of the offspring, but then Daddy comes in and steals your thunder? I mean, the mama-thunder. The thunder that was going to WIN THIS BATTLE.....well, it happened to me. And you'll never BELIEVE what my husband said after I got mad at him for rescuing me.

“I wasn’t trying to be her hero, I was trying to be yours.”

Aghhh. Gut punch. Cue the tears and self-loathing.

Let me take you back. I’ll spare you the most of the details of our ridiculous day, which included but was not limited to:

Me allowing Josie to wear my great grandmother’s wedding ring on her toe and then us thinking it was lost only to have had it been looped through Josie’s sandal the entire desperate and frantic time. (What was I thinking?!?!)

Josie not sleeping at all during her naptime and getting glitter from her dress allllllll over her bed and then in her eyes so that they were red and puffy by the time she emerged from her room, sleepless hours later.

Me letting our tiny dog outside in the 100 degree heat before heading upstairs for what I assumed was a quick paci-pop-in for a fussy Cal. Fast forward to AN HOUR LATER when Cal is still not settled no matter what I try and Case is panicking at the back door. I let him inside, he starts shaking, I start crying, he lets out a 15-second-long adult, human scream that I’m pretty sure rattles the wall décor, poops on the floor, and I assume he’s dying. (Thank you, Jesus, he was back to normal in almost no time!)

All of this happened in the hour and 15 minutes that Ryan ran to Menards to buy caulk.

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So by the time bedtime rolled around, I was sooooooooooooooo done. And the napless Josie was in rare form. Ryan went out to scrape paint off the side of the house while I attempted to put Josie to bed. She stalled, I boiled over. She screamed, I yelled back. It was the battle of the century. I was determined to WIN. THIS. THING. when all of a sudden, Ryan just waltzes in all calm, picks Josie up, and says to me, “I’ll take it from here.”

And instead of being grateful, I actually said the following words. Man, this is even hard to type, I’m so ashamed. I said, “Ohhhhh sure, just come right in and be her hero. I’m not leaving. I am ENDING THIS with her.”

Calmly, he excused me from the room again, so I came down to the kitchen to pout and ponder what a horrible mother I was that I couldn’t even get my girl to bed, and ponder what a horrible girl I had that she couldn’t even follow a set of simple instructions without losing her mind.

And I remembered how just a few days ago, I had experienced peace in my motherhood for a time. How glorious it was! And I began to get frustrated….why couldn’t I just KEEP THAT PEACE? Why does the tiny human bring out the worst in me?

It was then that Ryan came down the stairs after 3 successful minutes, wrapped me in a hug, and said, “I wasn’t trying to be her hero, I was trying to be yours. I heard her screaming from outside and thought to myself, ‘Oh, I bet Lisa might need some help.’”

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Well, I’m the worst. Ha! Lordy, I mean, what a horrible moment, but so redeeming at the same time. I started telling myself the truth in that hug. I am a good mom. Josie’s a good girl. We both have some work to do – ESPECIALLY when it comes to bedtime. We will figure all of this out if we keep putting in the work and she will be a world-changer.

As with most days like this, it makes for really good radio content, and the next day our team got together to plan our show and I presented the hot mess that was my day. Of course the guys didn’t really know where to start with me because WHAT IS MY LIFE?! But Daron, pastor and a decade ahead of me in parenthood, asked why I got so angry when Josie wouldn’t go to bed.

Because I’m afraid. I’m scared that she will never listen, will always stall, will turn out to be a horrible human. Yes, I can tell all of this in my worst flash forwards during bedtime. But mostly, I’m protective and selfish of MY TIME. I get to be just me after 7 p.m. And at 7:10 I’m seeing red because now Josie’s taking something away from me.

So here’s what we figured out and will share on the air this weekend. It just might come down to anger vs. compassion. Now, this is just a working theory, so hear me out and also weigh in! But when we lead with anger, it’s generally stemming from a place of selfishness. In the case of the bedtime struggle, it’s me thinking about how Josie is wasting MY TIME and how she will reflect negatively on ME as a parent.

If I approached bedtime with compassion – something I still have yet to try (oops!) – I could lead calmly and firmly, knowing that what’s best for Josie is quiet time and lots of rest. And what’s best for her is to respond well to authority and to direction. Compassion wouldn’t mean excusing her behavior, but it could mean being more of a guide than a crazy dictator, which is probably the nicest way I could describe myself when I lose my cool with her.

So, what now? How do we stay compassionate with our kids? Especially in the heat of the moment…

I don’t exactly know, but let’s try this:

  • Create and maintain a healthy life: This is what self-care actually is. If you’re all wound up about the goings-on in your life, then you’ll be a wound up parent, too. Invest in yourself. Create space for what brings you joy and peace.

  • Keep at it: Ugh, mothering is so tiring! It’s such hard work, but it is worth it. Keeping putting in the hard work and you will someday see the fruits of your labor. Keep your sails up! (We will, right?! That’s what they say so I’m banking on that being true!)

  • Tell yourself the truth: We talk a lot about truth and lies and what we believe about ourselves. Keep practicing replacing those lies with the truth.

What do you think? Hit me with your bedtime tricks, your stay-calm tricks, your whatever’s-working-now tricks. Share your wisdom, your struggles and your truth and lies. And pretty please, always remember, you are Mother of the Year!

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!

Can You REALLY Experience Freedom From Mom Guilt?

Mom guilt. You’ve probably experienced it in the last 20 minutes. If you need some encouragement, peace, and to hear that you are not alone, read on!

Have I mentioned (a thousand times already) that I LOVE our I Am Mother of the Year Facebook group? It’s amazing.

Case in point:

Katie shares, “So I work full time. My oldest is in all day kindergarten, and for the most part loves it. It's the end of the year and there are 100 things they are doing that would all be awesome to watch, but she gets that I can't be there. Mostly. Today she asked why I couldn't go to her color run tomorrow, especially since she (ahem I) did really well fundraising.

I knew I couldn't get out of work for "reasons" and she knew I couldn't get out of work for "reasons" so why does it hurt so badly? I just want to call in sick and watch her walk around the block.”

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I read this and my heart absolutely broke. I do work full-time so my kids are in full-time daycare, but they aren’t in school yet, so I hesitated in commenting because I’m not missing activities yet. Truth be told, all I would’ve had to say is, “Hang in there!” but I wanted to say more than that because I. HATE. MOM. GUILT.

Mom guilt is so crippling. So overwhelming. It’s the lie we tell ourselves and allow others to tell us, too. That we’re not enough. We’re not doing a good job. We are irreversibly screwing up our kids in a single bad moment. There’s enough pressure and concern consuming our every thought, and being swallowed by mom guilt is the last thing we need!

So, while I contemplated what I could say to this mama, an amazing thing happened. The group did exactly what our group does. Cheered her on with comment after comment after comment.

Here are my favorites. Take these to heart if you’re battling mom guilt for any reason!

Beth: Girl, I'd love to release you from that guilt! I am a stay at home mom, and I still haven't helped with a single thing in my kids' classes this year…You show your daughter you love and care for her in a million other ways. Take a moment to think of all the ways you've shown her JUST this week. Then take a deep breath and let the guilt go!

Tabitha: I like to think at the end of the day, when they are 18 years old and headed out into the world, they won’t remember the times you weren’t there, but the times you were. And they will remember the times you were there outside of school the most. Tucking them in at night and taking care of them when they were sick. Providing for your family is definitely an important job as well! Don’t let mom guilt get the best of you.

Angela: I worked only 1 day a week and did all the stuff until I got divorced. Now it’s not an option. I go to what I can and try not to feel guilty about what I can’t. Their dad or grandma goes sometimes. Honestly, I think in some ways they’re better for it. They see me working hard and yet valuing them and being there when I can. They don’t take for granted when I can. It’s built better priorities and character for all of us. I wouldn’t trade it if I could.

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Imagine this! If you were able to let go of the mom guilt for one whole day, the way your responses to your kids might be kinder, the way you deal with stress and anxiety may be healthier, and the way you love yourself could lead to more peace.

All I can say is, UNSUBSCRIBE from Mom Guilt! You don't have any space for this in your emotional inbox.

Thanks to Katie for sharing so she doesn’t feel like she’s the only mom in the world dealing with this. Thanks to all the moms who commented with words of wisdom and support. We’re all in this together. The more we’re honest with ourselves and our “people” the more likely we are going to be able to grow as women and mothers. We can learn to let the guilt go. We can know that we are amazing mothers. And we can experience true transformation.

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