Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Tired Soul?

Yesterday my sorority sister Amy Phillips from Love Myself Revolution shared the  quote “sleep doesn’t help when it’s your soul that is tired” and it really struck me as exactly where I am right now. I always tired. But I’m getting sleep. Ultimately, I don’t think it’s a physical tired.

I think my challenge is it’s a personal tired. Each day I make meals. I change diapers. I plan play dates. I play legos. I clean up toys. I do laundry. I clean bathrooms. I get drinks. I could go on about all the little things.

And I love my kids and being a mom. Watching them grow, learn, and develop can be very rewarding. But those little things? Not so much.
I think my soul is tired. Tired of not being challenged. Tired of not thinking. Tired of the same routine. Tired of not following a passion.

I googled the quote because there was no source when I saw it. Most of the graphics did not have a source either. One attributed it to Paulo Coehlo. In an effort to give credit, I’ll hope that’s accurate. Two articles listed the following:
 7 things that can make your soul feel sick
    1    Not being true to yourself
    2    Saying yes when you really mean no
    3    Giving of yourself when you are empty
    4    Negative self-talk
    5    Feeling as if your purpose is unfilled
    6    Engaging in petty arguments, gossip and being around toxic people, online and in real life.
    7    Surrounding yourself with clutter, both physical and mental  
For me, I can see number 3 and 5 being possibilities. I think number three is motherhood, especially when your kids are young. Other than relying on my husband as best as possible when he’s home, I don’t know an exact fix to that.

Number 5 is maybe easier to fix as it’s more concrete. I know creating and helps by people are my purposes in life. So the task becomes how specifically so I want to ensure I’m meeting those passions. Do I pursue them individually or together? Right now I see myself doing them separately. I create art. I hand letter. I sew and embroider. I coach through Beachbody. However, I’ve been kicking around an online class that I want to test. The goal of it would be to provide people the opportunity to self reflect on their passions and identify how to make them a larger part of their life.

The best thing I can do for me is find a way to live my life fully. Actually, the best thing I can do for my kids is find a way to live my life fully. Every day, it’s a challenge as I have to balance their needs (food, attention, baths, sleep - you know, some of that basic hierarchically stuff!!) with my own. But my tired soul isn’t helping to grow them as effectively I can and ideally should.

Do you ever feel similarly? How have you gotten out of it? I'd love advice. And I plan to report back on progress I make towards putting my greater purpose into action.

Monday, June 18, 2018

That Postpartum Time

I was talking to a friend who is a new mom about the transition to motherhood and how tough the challenges can be. Four years in I still firmly recall bringing Chase home for the hospital and being somewhat overwhelmed with the responsibilities.Who thought trusting me - even at 38 - with a newborn was a wise decision?

There's a lot of advise out there for navigating this big life change. Here's mine:

1.) Throw out the "sleep when the baby sleeps" advice. Personally, I hate this one. Sleep when you can. There will be times you need to do laundry (because spit up.... amiright?). There will be times you need to make a meal. There will be times you can't shut your brain off. I think the "sleep when the baby sleeps" advice can cause guilt or frustration, two things you don't need right now. Do the best you can.

2.) Allow yourself to cry. The hormones are flowing. You're not getting solid sleep. Everything is changing. Crying is okay. People might say "oh you must be so happy" or "he/she is so beautiful. How blessed you are." And that might be true. (It also might not be but that's a separate item!) But you're also allowed to cry. It's healthy even.
3.) Both breast and bottle are okay. I struggled with breast feeding with both kids. I wasn't producing enough. With my first, I didn't have enough knowledge and worked with the lactation consultant at the hospital. But when I went home it was just HARD. I tried breast feeding then pumping to increase my supply. But it was so stressful and ultimately just not healthy for me. So we switched to formula. With my second, I tried again. I saw a International Board Certified Lactation Consultant before delivery. I made a follow up appointment for afterwards. I met with someone at the hospital. But my supply wasn't there and the stress was too much. So again I quit. A healthy and happy mom is truly the best for the baby. Do what's best for you. As my pediatrician said "I was formula fed and look, I'm a doctor."

4.) Take the drugs but also recognize when you don't need them. I had c-sections with both kids. The first was an emergency because of crooked neck Chase. He wasn't coming out. I have scoliosis so that might have been a factor. The second was a scheduled c-section because they believed the same challenge might occur again. Following my doctor's advice on taking the drugs but also listening to my body and knowing when my pain decreased was huge. Addiction runs in my family so I'm very tuned in to listening to myself. Manage your pain with the drugs. But try to tune in to when that pain is decreasing.

5.) Take all the help offered you. People want to help. Let them. But set boundaries as needed. Helping isn't coming in and cuddling the baby for hours (unless that is what YOU want). Helping is doing a load of laundry. Help is dropping off dinner, preferably without staying. Helping is emptying your diaper pail or vacuuming. Don't feel guilty or like you shouldn't say yes. Let people help.

That said, some people will "help" in their own way. You're allowed to set boundaries. If people are sick or haven't had the requisite vaccinations you want, you can say no to them coming close to your baby. If people park themselves in your living room and stay foreverrrrr, have your partner or parent ask them to leave.

6.) If you are feeling sad, down or overly emotional, keep the lines of communication open with your medical team. My family is also prone to depression. I've also had my own challenges over my life. With this in mind, I left the hospital both times with a prescription for an anti-depressant. Sometimes you need help, whether it is counseling or a prescription. Don't hesitate to talk to your doctor or other medical professionals about this. My doctor, the pediatrician, and the lactation consultant all talked to me about it. I'm so glad they did!

7.) Follow your instincts and advocate for yourself. You know your body best. You know your baby best. If something isn't quite right, don't let the medical professionals dismiss you. Serena Williams has very publicly shared the challenges she faced post delivery. If she didn't push, she might not be alive now. I know it can be tough to tell a medical professional "you're wrong" but ultimately you have a great sense of what's okay and what isn't. Push when you need to!!

8.) Don't feel you need to do all the things people do now. And don't feel guilty if you want to! We didn't do newborn photos for either kid. I don't regret it. We took a ton of photos of our own. That said, I love looking at other people's newborn photos. We have more and more "must dos". Determine your own.

9.) Be prepared to buy that thing you didn't even know you needed! We didn't have the best swing for our son who was super colic-y. So we bought a new one. Babies will determine what you need and it might not be what you have. Be flexible if you have the resources to be.

10.) Find your mom network. Having other moms to bounce things off of is HUGE. I had a small group of new moms and some experienced moms I could count on for advice or could run things by. Join a MOMS Club. Put together a Facebook group of moms at similar stages. Join the Facebook group for your Wonder Weeks month. Join the support group at your hospital or local lactation support center.

You've got this Momma! As you navigate this life change, I'd love to hear what advice you think I missed. And please, believe in yourself. How lucky that kiddo is to have you!!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Motherhood Tears

Motherhood has often driven me to tears. Just yesterday, my daughter was complaining about dirt of the floor and “clean it Mommy, clean it”. Like I need housekeeping criticism from a 2 year old. Add that on top of being overtired, frustration over some knee pain, and the desire to fix breakfast without someone whining at me and you have a solid recipe for tears.

Motherhood is tough. It pushes you - physically, emotionally, and mentally. Little people need you constantly. They need milk or a snack or someone to play with. They need you to wipe their tush, change their diaper or reach something on the counter. And yes that stuff can be rewarding (except maybe the poop parts!) but it’s also completely exhausting. It is all consuming. It leaves no time for you to exist in any role other than "mom" sometimes.

I struggle with self-care. I wake up early, eat some food, read, and workout. All before my family is up. I go to sleep early (most of the time). I create. I sew, paint, or hand letter. I get outside. But I’m also very much an introvert. There is never enough time with small kids for the time I need to truly recharge. By myself.

And so sometimes it builds up. Sometimes the release is tears. Sometimes the release is begging my husband to stay with them while I slink off to try to get alone time. And sometimes I just have to wait it out, hold it together, and know the next day (or hour!) will be better.

I will say motherhood is also one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. With apologies to the US Army, I think they got it wrong. Motherhood is the toughest job you’ll ever love. With all things worth doing, tears sometimes happen. It's how you know it matters. I'm so glad I'm doing it but goodness I could use a nap.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

First Time (Working with Lace)

 Last night the hubs and I went out to dinner to celebrate his birthday. I don't get a ton of chances to dress up and what better occasion than celebrating the man I love entering into this world. I made this skirt the day before. I've had the fabric and the idea for quite some time but finally I had the time to do some selfish sewing!
I used a LuLaRoe Cassie from my closet as a guide, adding seam allowances when I traced it. You'll see from the pattern photo, I cut two main skirt panels - a front and back - and two waistbands. I had this green lace I got on clearance that I envisioned using as an overlay. Altogether I cut six pieces.

I attached the overlay front and back to each other and sewed up the side seams. I did the same with the black main fabric and the waistband pieces. I then turned the seamed sides in, placed the green skirt pieces on top of the black skirt. I carefully pinned the waistband piece, folded in half, to the main body and sewed around. Last step was hemming both skirt bottoms. Since my overlay was cut slightly longer to provide a sheer bottom, both were hemmed separately.
The skirt is a great somewhat dressy piece to add to my closet and altogether, cost about $15-20 total. Such a steal!! I used less 1 yard of both the lace and the black knit. Both were purchased at my local JoAnn's this spring.

I paired it with a thrifted shirt from ThredUP, Cole Haan heels from my closet (DSW discount pair!), a Stella and Dot necklace, bangles my kids gave me for Mother's Day (I think they are Five Below!) and a Vera Bradley clutch from the outlet sale. I felt sexy and well dressed!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Hawaiian Chicken

I didn't really have a game plan for dinner tonight. I had gone grocery shopping yesterday and bought a bunch of good for us food but I hadn't meal planned in advance. My son was itching to cut into the pineapple I bought and so Hawaiian Chicken came to mind. I didn't have a lot of time to research recipes so I winged it. Honestly, that's my favorite type of cooking. Here's what I used:

2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 cup cut pineapple
2 chicken breasts
6 to 7 stalks of asparagus
1 boil in a bag rice packet

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Smash the pineapple and add the soy sauce. Spoon over chicken breasts in a 9x9 pan. Add asaparagus, cut in pieces. Cook everything for about 30 minutes. In another pot, bring water to a boil and cook the rice according to directions on the box.

Pour rice on plate and put chicken, asparagus, and pineapple/soy mixture on top. Pour any of the liquids in the pan over rice mixture.

It turned out delicious. If I make this again in the future, I might add some cashews for a little extra crunch!