Friday, January 31, 2014

Accepting Myself

I realize that I've been a little MIA, we have this terrible four week cold going around and my kids got it.  Blah!  Sleeping is rough when you have to suck on a pacifier but your nose is too stuffy to breathe through.  (Talk about acceptance!  But I've already journaled about this kind of acceptance this month.)

This last week I've really been thinking about something that I think is the most important kind of acceptance, and I can't believe it wasn't on my radar until now.  It's acceptance of me.  I don't know about the rest of you, but whether you are a wife, mother, single, divorced, old or young I think we all have pieces lacking in this area.

Because I've been focusing on acceptance helping me be a better mother and wife (because that is my own personal stage of life) I have to really think about how my thoughts about myself affect my family.  I wouldn't say that I am terrible at beating myself up, most of the time I'm pretty positive.  But I don't know that I give myself enough credit.

I am the only mother my children know.  To them, I am perfect.  I am just what they need.  So why do I spend SO much time thinking about all the things I could be doing better.  Do you know what?  I could be better, but I'm also doing a lot of things really well.  And my kids love me for both of those parts of me.  I'm working on accepting me the way my kids accept me.  Accepting me because I love them with everything I am and THAT is enough.  They accept me because I am trying to improve. 

I started setting weekly goals each week (I am not very good at keeping up with goals long term, so I have to set daily tasks for myself to accomplish steps).  These goals have really helped because I only allow myself to plan daily goals that I KNOW I can accomplish.  When I sit down, I know realistically how my days go, and I know how many little things I can fit into my day.  Some weeks I know that I don't have time to focus on having my house spotless because I'm trying to better a different part of me.  Sometimes I only exercise for 30 minutes a day this week because I want my house work to be a priority.

In setting small goals each week, I've found that slowly I feel more on top of the things going on in my life.  Suddenly, the things that are lacking that week are okay because I CHOSE to let it lack.  Does that make sense?  I have power over my life again and the parts of me that I'm lacking in are okay because they are not my priority this week.  This has brought me great acceptance.  Acceptance of myself while working on improving myself.

Boy this journey has been good for me.  I'm beginning to understand why the book calls these topics "powers".  I feel empowered by them.

I realize that this picture has nothing to do with the topic.  It's just a throw back to Halloween.  But it is a reminder to me of who I'm doing all this brain work for.  In the corporate world, people have trainings and set goals with management.  Well in the "company" of motherhood, I'm it (although thank goodness Nathan is by my side to help me figure it out).  So my work everyday is meeting with myself, finding what works and what doesn't and coming up with planning strategies that will work for my business; my husband and children.

Monday, January 13, 2014

a memory resurfaced

Yesterday I had a memory flash into my mind and I realized that I never recorded it anywhere.  Anyone who has ever rocked a sack of potatoes at the grocery store will certainly enjoy this recap, and everyone else probably will as well.

Two years ago, my sweet Eden was a new born.  I was in love, but I was also completely overwhelmed.  She only slept if I was holding her and she went through a period of time when she was waking up every hour to eat.  Let's keep in mind that she ate for 45 minutes.  This means that I would sleep for 15-20 minutes before she would be up again ready to suck.  (Thank goodness for Babywise and Happiest Baby on the Block.  They revolutionized my life and she quickly became the best sleeper of ALL TIME.)

But needless to say, I was extremely tired during this period of my life.  Nathan had a church calling that involved knowing some pretty sad things that were happening in people's lives.  On one particular Sunday he came home pretty upset about something.  He couldn't tell me about it, but he sat next to me needing some comfort and support from me.  As we sat talking and he was expressing his sadness, I suddenly realized that I had Eden's pacifier in my hand and I was about 3 inches from his mouth with it. 

I burst out laughing, realizing that subconsciously I was trying to soothe my husband by stuffing a pacifier in his mouth.  #youknowyouareaparentwhen

Friday, January 10, 2014

serves me right

My mother always said, "Be careful what you pray for".  Meaning that often, when we pray for patience, for example, life gets pretty darn crazy so that we have to practice.

Well, remember that awesome plan I had about how dinner time was going to go more smoothly because I had systems in place to help with the chaos?  JOKE IS ON ME!  Let me paint for you the picture of what happened that very night at dinner time.

Nathan coaches a high school frisbee team in our area and they have practice every Wednesday, so he doesn't get home until about 6:30pm (not bad, but most days he's home by around 4:30pm, so for us that's late.  Brigham was cutting a tooth, so he didn't take an afternoon nap.  He was getting pretty cranky when I heard Eden wake up around 4:15.  I let her play for a few minutes while I put some finishing touches on my preparations for dinner (you know, so that everything would go seamlessly).   I went in to get her around 4:30pm and the moment I walked in, I knew I had an adventure waiting for me.  The smell was TERRIBLE.  I walked around the corner so that I could see her and noticed a very mysterious dark brown smear across her face and mouth.  My first question..."Did you eat poop?"  "Yeah, Mmmmm!" was her response, though she looked a little like she might cry.  As I surveyed the scene further I found to my dismay, that she had taken EVERY book to her bed (which had been smeared with the loveliness) this means that every children's book we own was now covered in poop.

After a few hours of work, the bed was clean as can be and smelling fresh and lovely.  No use crying over spilled milk.

She was painted in the stuff, I won't go into details, but just know that a LONG bath was needed.  Please keep in mind that Brigham was screaming away, because he was already fussy and now I had to ignore him to deal with more pressing matters.  I am so grateful that my mind has been focused on the power of acceptance because I had a decision to make, I could either let myself get frustrated that my perfect day was ruined, or I could ACCEPT that this was a reality in my life right now.  I couldn't change what had happened.  All I could do was teach Eden not to do it again, clean up as quickly as possible and move on.

During Eden's bath we talked about what she could do if she got a messy diaper again during her nap time (she knows she can't get out of her bed during nap time, so I think that was the real problem.  She knew she needed help, but she also knew she was supposed to stay in her bed.) Then I put her in her high chair with a snack and show to entertain her so that I could clean like crazy.  Normally she helps me clean any mess she makes, but at this point, I had already cleaned her up and I didn't want to do that again.  So I had her wipe some of the books off with a Clorox wipe (after I had already cleaned them).

While she was in her high chair, I stuck the screaming Brigs in a front back to calm him down and went to town.  Nothing like trying to clean with a whining baby strapped to your front.  Nathan walked in the door right as I finished putting her new sheets on her bed and didn't know whether to laugh or just hug me as I told him the story.  Needless to say, I am still mourning the loss of the books that I had to throw away. 

But hey, when I finally got to dinner prep, the table was set:)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

More on Acceptance

This morning during my early Brigham time and after my killer Jillian Michaels workout, I listened to a Power of Moms podcast on acceptance.  I loved something that one of the women said about it, "Don't let the things you can't change affect the things that you can." 

My acceptance plan for this week is to note the times during the day that I normally get frustrated and then find some things that I CAN change about the circumstance.  So without further adieu...

Problem Time #1: Getting out the door on time to any event.  Inevitably one of the children gets a messy diaper RIGHT before we leave, Eden has put her shoes somewhere and can't remember where they are, I discover that the diaper wipes are gone in the diaper bag...ect, ect.

Solution: Each night as part of my nightly routine, I am going to make sure the diaper bag is packed for the next day.  Sippy cup, formula, snacks, bottle, diapers, wipes, ect.  I will also make sure that I have coats and shoes for the chitlins in a spot that Eden can't get to.  I can't change the messy diapers or phones in the toilet.  I can change the running around to pack things last minute.

Problem Time #2: Dinner time.  My kids go to bed at 7pm, so dinner time is quickly approaching bedtime which means onery, hungry kiddos.  Nate gets home about the time that I am making dinner and helps with the kids and setting the table, but Eden only wants mommy when she is tired and our kitchen is tiny.  This means that normally Nate is holding Brigham and getting in the kitchen to set the table, Eden has brought all of her toys so she can play right at my feet, and I'm trying to cook in 2 square inches of spaces and walk around everyone and their toys while cooking.  Mostly the stress comes from feeling like I need to hurry because everyone is onery, and when I feel I need to hurry, I get stressed.

Solution: After lunch, I will set the table for dinner.  This means that Nate won't need to get in the kitchen while I'm trying to cook (2 less people in our TINY kitchen).  During nap time, I can come up with a project for Eden to work on in the kitchen that will keep her occupied while I put on finishing touches.  I can also turn on primary music or soft piano music right before we head into this time to set a peaceful tone in our home.  When I feel myself starting to get stressed, I will take a deep breath and realize that I can't change that my kids are tired, I can change how many people are in the kitchen and how I react to the stress.

***If you are interested in listening to the podcast, you can find it at  Click on "podcasts" at the top of the screen and then scroll all the way to the bottom.  I think it was the 4th podcast they ever did.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tiny Miracles

Today I've been thinking about this amazing son I have.  My thoughts have wandered back to his birth and I realized that all these 7 months, I have failed to recognize an amazing miracle from that beautiful day.

As I've said before, having him natural was VERY unexpected.  I walked in the hospital the moment I was ready to push and was terrified.  Because I hadn't prepared for this at all, I wasn't ready for the incredible pain and emotional strain this was going to be.  I remember hyperventilating and looking at Nathan with pure panic in my eyes.  I honestly had a few moments when I knew I wasn't going to make it out of this alive and my thoughts wandered to those pioneer women who not only felt that absolute panic, but also knew that they could very well actually die from the experience.  What an incredible force love is.  It drives us to do things we couldn't on our own.  I had worried so much about this baby boy during my pregnancy, and I knew that a quick labor would help any heart problem he may have, so I was able to focus and do something I never thought I could.

The miracle that I haven't realized until today is my WONDERFUL nurse.  I can't believe that I was fortunate enough to have the same nurse that I did the day I had Eden.  I trusted this woman and I loved her with my previous and first birth, so when she told me that I could do this, I knew I could.  What a loving Heavenly Father I have, that placed someone that I trusted in a place that was so foreign and alarming for me.  Some people call that a coincidence.  I hurt for those people.  Because to me, it is a tender mercy that my loving Father gives me, a constant reminder day by day that he is there, that he will never leave me.  

Many people have asked me if I would ever give birth naturally again.  The answer: I don't know.  Sometimes I think back and all I can see were the beautiful moments that made natural birth so amazing.  Like the fact that I worked for this child, I gave everything for him, to the point that I was ready to give my life for him.  Or the incredible euphoria that came the moment he took his first breath.  Or the laughable question of how much pain I was in after he was born.  I looked at those nurses like they were crazy.  "I JUST DELIVERED A 9 LB 2 OZ CHILD WITH ABSOLUTELY NO MEDICINE, compared to that, I feel amazing.  I'll go run 3 miles right now!  Do you want me to get up and do a jig?  I shall!" My recovery was amazing.  Mostly because any pain I felt was child's play compared to what I had just done.  Or the fact that I bonded with him in an incredible way.  There is something to feeling every part of the life-giving-partnering-with-God that draws you towards your child in unexplainable ways. 

Truthfully, I loved everything about birthing naturally except the pushing.  People always tell you that the contractions are the worst.  I disagree.  They are a cakewalk.  I can carry on a full conversation and smile at all the lovely nurses up until a staggering 10cm dilation.  But the moment that burning begins, I started telling the doctor not to touch me, I told Nathan I couldn't do this, in short, I LOST IT.

But perhaps, if I was ready for it, if I had been ready for the pain and knew that it would come, if I practiced keeping my mind in a good place, I would do it again. 

I do know this, I will never get an epidural again.  But, some pain killers to take the edge off?  That sounds AMAZING.  I guess you'll just have to wait and see along with me.  All I know is how blessed I am as a woman to have opportunities to give all of myself for these beautiful spirits that God has given me.  I'm so blessed to know what true love is and to be shown how to love more perfectly by my loving Savior and my Heavenly Father.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

deliberate motherhood and a new year

Well, it's 7:30am on January 1st and I'm sitting at my computer with a baby on my lap.  Some of you will think nothing of that-but those of you who know me well will be shocked.

I love my sleep.  I always have.  I always will.  I took naps even in Kindergarten because I wanted to, not because my mom made me.  My sweet Eden has taken after me and still sleeps until 8 or 9am each morning.  This means that I haven't really encountered the whole, every morning 6am thing that most parents deal with from the get go.

Brigham has been following along the same pattern, until the last 2 weeks or so, when he has suddenly decided that he really likes having me to himself in the early a.m.  Thankfully, I've been thinking a lot about one of my New Years Resolutions.

For Christmas, I received the book Deliberate Motherhood: 12 Powers of peace, purpose, order and joy.  (Don't worry, I asked for it, it's not some kind of message being thrown my way.)  I decided a few months ago that I wanted this book and that I would focus on one of each of the "powers" each month of this year to help me become a better mother. 

This month's power is acceptance.  Basically the premise is that we can't change a lot of the things that we deal with as mothers.  But we only make it worse on ourselves when we try to fight it and can't make peace with it.  For example, I've been so frustrated with Buddy waking up early every morning. When I wake to hear him cry for food, my first thought is "NO!!!!!" 

But this morning when I woke up and that sinking feeling came, I decided that I wasn't going to let it overpower me anymore.  I have children, and they WILL wake up early.  And they will cry and they will always want candy for breakfast and need me the moment I try to do anything.  Suddenly my perspective changed.  Once I accept that Brigham wakes early, it's no longer a problem every morning- I can move on because I've accepted that it will happen.  I'm no longer upset with him for waking up- I can now rock this sweet, smiling boy of mine and relish in the time when it's just the two of us. Through the power of acceptance I have found joy and peace in something that has been driving me crazy.

I will be focusing on this for the whole month.  Join me!  What do you need to accept?  I'll be popping in at the beginning of each month to journal the power of the month and how I will try to use it.  Here's to the start of a better wife for my loving husband and a better mother for my wonderful children.

P.S.  The book is awesome so far, I'm not done yet, but I still recommend it highly.