For years my favorite movie of all time was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I loved the idea that you could steal a day away like that. That you could have a day where there were no rules or obligations, just fun. Then, in the spring of my senior year of high school, I got “spring fever” in a big way. I hung out on the front lawn of the school, found any excuse to have fun, and, yes, even skipped some classes. It was wonderful! And each spring, as the weather gets warmer, I feel a little itch to relive that spring. I have fantasies of dropping everything and playing hooky for a day. Well this year, my husband and I made it happen and it was AWESOME!…
My eldest son turned 7 this past Monday and so there was a birthday celebration for him at school. Last year I brought in watermelon “pizza” topped with fresh fruit and shredded coconut, it was beautiful and the kids loved it. This past week, however, was very hectic including weekend travel, a car that died, and house guests and I just did not have time to make something special from scratch, so I brought in store-bought popsicles and I don’t feel guilty about it….
Over the past few weeks there have been a number of blog posts going around about times when moms have felt judged by other moms. There have been a myriad of reasons—picky eaters, aggressive children, tantruming children, messy houses, etc. In some of the posts there is a redeeming person who comes forward and offers support, in others it is more a reflection on the power of letting go of all of that judgment and trusting in yourself. These have been powerful posts that have got me thinking a lot about two things: 1) how challenging it can be to be a parent and 2) how essential it is that we support rather than judge one another.
We are all balancing difficult choices in our lives: how much time (if any) we spend working at a job that pays, what sorts of foods we feed our children, what type of school we send them to, how we handle discipline, how we navigate our partnerships with significant others, where we live, etc. We are all trying to do what is best for ourselves and our families. Do we all make the same choices? Of course not. We are all balancing different needs and priorities and we all have different values and expectations for what our lives should look like. …
I was just saying (ok, maybe complaining) to my mom that in the past two plus months, every single time I have had a day to catch up on work projects there has been a sick kid or snow day. And today was no exception. Waking up this morning to discover that we had delayed openings for school was frustrating enough and by 8am school had been closed. Boy, did I get grumpy. As I sulkily sat down to figure out a plan for the day, though, I noticed that something interesting happened: when I took a deep breath and accepted the unexpected, I was then able to come up with a plan that would allow me to do some work but would primarily be focused on getting other obligations taken care of, tasks it would be easier for me to do with kids around, which would then free up time on other days. In other words, I was being flexible.
When our lives get super busy, remembering to remain flexible can be really challenging. We come up with a set idea of how things are going to go and then oftentimes convince ourselves that the approach we have come up with is the only option that will work. The reality, though, is that there is almost always another way. It may not always be the preferred way or the smoothest way, but there is usually another way.
Here are some of the things that I try to do in order to remain flexible (which is kind of against my nature) in these moments of unexpected curve balls:…
As I alluded to in a few posts over the past few months, our family has been a tad overextended recently. It is all due to good reasons and in many ways we have felt very blessed, but it has also been exhausting. In the midst of all of the juggling and rushing and cramming too much in, I realized that the boys were getting increasingly cranky and whiny and that I, in turn, was getting grumpier with them. There were moments when I thought to myself, “why are they being so difficult?! Don’t they understand that I have work to do?!” And then I (finally) realized that their whining and bickering was because they wanted and needed attention from me. They were begging for it….
I have a confession to make: self-care is really hard for me. Yes, I preach the importance of it all the time to my clients, friends, and family and I truly believe in what I am saying. Self-care is key to a healthy and happy life. But when it comes to my own life I am constantly finding myself prioritizing the needs of others ahead of my own. Even when I know deep down that I really need some time to myself, I often put other things first and usually it is my husband who steps in to make sure that I get the break I need (thank goodness for great husbands!).
But this summer I had two wonderful experiences that really brought home how healing making that time for you can be. For me, self-care can look like sleep or yoga, but it can also involve pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. And, in fact, the challenging experiences are often much more satisfying and reinvigorating for me than the more mellow ones are. This was the case with these two experiences….
For years I have been a proponent of self-care. As a social worker I often encouraged not only clients, but also co-workers to make sure they were finding time to rejuvenate themselves. As a health coach, it is something that becomes a focal point in my work with almost every client. With friends, I am often encouraging them to find ways to unwind and take care of themselves. There was just one hitch: I am not so good at taking my own advice….
This has been one of those weeks when things just don’t go as planned. It started off on an irregular note with the long weekend, then two snow days, and today a stomach bug has hit my older kiddo. I think these sorts of weeks are a challenge for all parents, whether you work full-time, part-time, or stay-at-home. Our plans, our priorities, our intentions get put to the side and we have to improvise and re-prioritize. I don’t know about you, but I find these periods to be pretty frustrating and stressful, but there are three things that I have found help me to keep my sanity: letting some things go, asking for help, making time for self-care….
I don’t know about you, but one of the things I find hardest about January is not practicing the new habit I am trying to build with a New Year’s resolution (or theme), it is the getting back to real life. Over the holidays I am definitely guilty of letting my good habits slip. I don’t work out as much, I don’t eat as many fruits and vegetables, I don’t get as much sleep, I definitely don’t drink enough water. So now that we are shifting back to reality, it is time to get back to the good routines. It can be kind of a bummer to let go of the fun and decadence, so here are some tricks that I have found help me to get back into the swing of things….
“Crazy busy week. But I think the fact that I’ve been humming ‘Feliz Navidad’ for the last hour means I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.”
This was my husband’s status update on Facebook yesterday evening and it made me laugh and also gave me hope because I. am. tired. This week (actually the past month) has been a marathon of busyness. Between birthdays, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, travel, visits from out of town friends, school events, crunch time at my husband’s work, and, oh yeah, that keeping-a-brand-new-business-going thing life has been pretty rushed. But as I take a moment to breathe and acknowledge that my to-do list to end all to-do lists is increasingly a collection of crossed off tasks rather than things left to be done, I am grateful….