Monday, February 24, 2020

When Parenting Gets Tough

Parenting is tough sometimes.  It is true it isn't always unicorns and rose either.

Before having kids of my own, I developed thoughts of how I would be as a parent.  The things I would do, wanted to do, wouldn't do, would change, etc.

I thought that being a teacher would make me a better parent and would create a better understanding when it came time to raise my own kids.  Now, I am realizing that while the traits I had while teaching can and do transfer over into parenting, really being a parent would make me a better teacher.

Deep down, I know that God gave me these two boys because he knew I could handle it, I am the right mom for them, and I can be a guide for them.  But days like today, I question.  I question my strength, my patience, my understanding, my role.

As outbursts happen, battles ensue, tempers flare and the frustrations seem to pile on it leaves me drained.  Nothing left and only want to pull away.  I break down, I burst out, I turn in.

Today was a day I wanted to wave the white flag.  I wanted to surrender, let it all go, be done.  Today I burst.  I burst in my words, my behavior, my attitude.  I had lost the patience I had when I was a teacher.  I had gotten stuck in the why this all the time and when will it change.

There needed to be a mindset shift and a heart my kids and in me.  But what does that look like, what does it mean, how I, where do I begin?

I break down.  I let it out. I may have the words to put into prayer at the moment, but God knows, understands.

In letting my fingers type, out pours: God's grace and forgiveness fill my heart and let the holy spirit put into words what is needed to be said.  Fill our hearts with peace, fill our home with peace.

Yes, there are days I want to start over.  There are days when all I want to do is surrender and throw in the towel.

I do need to surrender, but I don't need to throw in the towel.  I need to release and refuel.

On the tough days of parenting, what do you do?  How do you feel?

On those really tough days, when you want to throw in the towel, how do you shift gears?

Today, I am using nap time to reset by praying and turning it over God, I am writing, letting tears flow if needed.

My in the moments may have not been my best or flattering, but I can change it.  I can let it go.  I can try again.

In your tough moments, you can try again too.

May God's grace and forgiveness fill my heart and let the holy spirit put into words what is needed to be said.  Fill our hearts with peace, fill our home with peace.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Are You Craving Spring?

Anyone else craving Spring?

I totally am.  Yup, I know, I am in Minnesota and by choosing to live here I am choosing to take the weather as it comes and goes.  And in all honesty, this Winter hasn't been that bad, or felt as long as in past years.  Here we are, one week left in February and the past months have gone by pretty quickly.

I am now just beginning to crave Spring.  So, despite being surrounded by snow, knowing more snow is on the way, I decided to de-Winter the inside of my house and let Spring come out.

Spring may not start showing up for another month outside, but I have bits of bright sunny colors all around the house.  It was a much needed switch.

Are you ready for the next season?

I am ready for longer days, more sun, more warmth.  I am ready to see the freshness, the new growth, the blooming that comes with the change from Winter to Spring.

There is a shift that happens when the seasons shift.  As we head into Winter, I want to head into hibernation mode.  But in Spring (one of my favorite times of year), I am ready to release, change things up, grow, and bloom.

So in my house, I try to have those things as reminders throughout.  Little bursts of color, warmth, blooms, change.  Once the snow goes away, outside will follow suit.  But sometimes, starting a little early inside gives hope, motivation, encouragement.

Interestingly enough, my word for March is release, April is steady, and May is dream.  It will be interesting to see how they play out during each month and how it intertwines with my yearly word light.  Spring is full of these things, but how my path goes is yet to be determined.  What I do know, is that as God says there is a season for everything and the He has got me on this path.  If I open my heart, release what I can I will be able to steady myself within His grace and love.

While I am not pushing for physical signs of Spring to start showing up outside yet, because it is too early for many things, I do know that they are getting ready to push forth and open, to bloom, to grow.  And so am I.

Which season do you most look forward to?  Why?

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

What is Self Care Really About

Self Care...what is it? what does it mean?

I am guessing you have heard the word self care a time or two, or the phrase you need to add self care into your routine/schedule/day, but what does it really look like?

In my option self care has become a buzz word, a badge just like the word busy or priority.  It is almost like a badge of honor when we say I am busy or I practice self care.  It seems like a word that people toss out there as a response to whatever life is like and bringing you right now.

If you are a mom, it is tossed out there in a way to be helpful, but for most it looks like one more thing on the list.  One more thing to spend time on, money, energy.

Why?  Because when people mention self care they usually mean: go get a massage, get a pedicure, get a coffee from a coffee shop, go shopping.

It begins to take the spin of selfishness, lazy, greed.  Go spend time and money on yourself, then you will be feeling back to normal, or you will be in a better mindset, and so on.

But really, what is self care?  And as we grow more independent, aren't we taking care of ourselves anyways?  Or at least we should be. 

True self care doesn't look the way most people think or say it does, and it isn't the suggestions that most people give often.

Sure, a massage feels good (but the idea of having someone else giving a massage isn't appealing to some), or getting your nails done looks pretty when it is done and feels nice at the time, but that doesn't get to the route of the issue.

It only masks what is going on.  True self care means peeling back the layers, digging in, healing, releasing.  It can take on many forms and it doesn't have to cost a thing. 

But what if instead of using material things to mask over the deeper reason you need self care and what it truly is that you need, we embrace where we are at in the moment.  Assess it for what it is and really take a good solid look.

Adding bits into your day, each day in the form of something that is just for you has it's benefits.  But it can be as simple as taking 5 minutes every day to sit and do nothing.  It can be praying, journaling, reading, taking pictures, working out, cooking, cleaning.  It can be stepping outside, going for a walk, working out, watching the sunset, listen to the birds, watch the kids as they do their own thing.  It can be spending quality time on your marriage, intimacy, talking.  It can be letting it all out, even if it means being vulnerable. 

The list does truly go on and on, especially when you take a different look at it.

Self care is about truly filling yourself up.  It allows you to be the best version of you possible in that moment.  It opens your heart up to release and feel freer.  It is a part of you, your day in the natural ebb and flow.  It gives you a chance to fill you up with what you truly need, then also be able to help fill those around you.

Recently I asked over on My Mama Side's Facebook page what is your definition of self care?

A good friend of mine responded with: "Things I do to help better myself for my family/those around me. For me it is: - prioritize getting enough rest - exercising on a regular basis (even if it is just a walk or simply getting up and moving) - not over scheduling myself or our family - drinking enough water - limiting social media usage/phone time 😊"

I love this definition!  It speaks to who she is, where she wants to be and why, and what she will do to get there. 

But as you can see, it doesn't mention anything about getting a massage, nails done, etc (the typical responses to self care).  It gets to the heart.  It fulfills mind, body, soul.  Not only does it fulfill, it is satisfying and it carries you through whatever else is going on in life. 

Did you notice, not a single one of the things she listed have a monetary cost?  Did you notice that most of what she said is stuff she incorporates into the day through their schedules, routines, and daily practices?

Self care isn't an add on.  It is a part of your day, your rhythm.  It sets you up for the day, carries you through. 

You may not realize it yet, but there may already be pieces of it in your day already.  Take a moment to look through your day and see if you can see it running throughout your day.

You may need to change your view and definition on what self care is or isn't.  You may need to broaden your perspective.

So, tell me, what is your definition of self care?

What do you do for self care?  What does it look like? Share below

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Are You Remembering to Take Care of Your Marriage?

So, do you put your marriage as a priority? Or is on the back-burner?

Do you keep things simmering throughout, day to day, year to year? Or has it been forgotten about?

I will admit, once we started to grow our family my focus shifted to a majority of the time the kids, letting my marriage sit by the wayside.

Sure, I realize that there are times, especially early on that kids require much more attention.  As they grow more independent, essentially your time opens up a bit more each season.

But even when the kids are little, marriage needs to be a priority.  I have learned so much about this over the past year.  Marriage has become priority 2 for me, followed closely after Faith. 

When you don't keep it a priority you risk many things.  Sometimes you may not see the affects of it until years down the road, other times things surface sooner.

There are many benefits to keeping your marriage a priority, no matter age your kids are, that far benefit more than you and your spouse.  They benefit your kids, the relationships around you, and more.

Yes, I understand priorities shift and need to be rearranged sometimes depending on what is happening.  Like, a kid is sick so most of the focus goes on them.  However, that doesn't need to stop you from giving your spouse a hug, quick snuggle, or kiss.  Knowing that once your kiddo is back to normal, priorities will shift again.

A great quote reminder is that the only constant thing is change.  Things are always changing.

There has to be a harmony in it all.  Too much focus in one area leads us astray over time if we are not careful.

So, where do you see your marriage at?

I know that when we begin to grow our family it does take time to readjust and some things get put off to the side.  The two things that get set off to the side most often are our marriage and taking the time to fill ourselves.

We need to fill ourselves in order to fill those around us.  Our marriage needs to be filled as well.  Putting it off to the side for too long leaves us lost, on rocky ground, filling ourselves with things that don't truly fill us.

Not only do we need to keep our marriage a priority for ourselves, but our kids need it too.  Seeing a loving, solid marriage gives them comfort and security.  It also builds up a foundation of how they should treat a marriage and their spouse.

In a healthy marriage, it is filling for both people.  But you have to put in the effort.  It takes time, energy, and work. 

It takes continually connection time, communication, adjusting, growing, learning, deepening, and of course love.  It also takes faith.  Putting God at the center of your marriage brings you closer, makes you stronger.  Gives you a solid base to build on and to come back to, together.  Prayer connects you with God and your spouse, intimacy connects you with God and your spouse, talking and listening connects you with God and your spouse.

Marriage is intertwining God, you, and your spouse.  Yes, we were given the blessing to grow our families.  But our marriage is a blessing, a gift that also needs continually focus.

As other friendships and other relationships or connections with people come and go, so do our kids.  One day they will grow up, become an adult, and venture out on their own.  One day those friendships and connections will change.  But God is constant and if you continually put your marriage a priority, your spouse will be constant as well.

It may seem simple, easy.  But thousands of things can pull us in every which way.  No matter what pulls you, always come back to reconnect with God and your marriage.

Every day, do a little something to keep things simmering.  Be intentional, be open, build your connection and communication, build your love and trust, deepen your intimacy.

What can you do today to make your marriage a priority?  What can you do each day to connect?  What can you do to keep things simmering?  What can you do to build and deepen your intimacy?

If you are putting your marriage a priority, share your answers to the questions about how and what you do.

I encourage you to sit down, take a moment to answer the questions and really look at your marriage.  Then, sit down with your spouse, talk and listen.  Set everything else aside, putting this into your primary focus.  See where this can lead.