moms

To all the amazing, strong, beautiful and brave moms out there —  The Happiest of Mother’s Day.

All my love and good wishes to you all.  Make sure to do something wonderful for yourself today.

So Dr. Laura is on Larry King right now discussing her new book “In Praise of Stay at Home Moms”.  I have to say that I am a little confused about what to say about this.

I am more than slightly uncomfortable with the fact that Dr. Laura is the new spokesperson for stay at home moms.  Her traditional value system and outdated theories certainly don’t represent me as a stay at home mom.

But with that said, I am glad that someone is speaking to and about stay at home moms.  I have said before that I feel very fortunate to be in the position to stay at home with my kids and I do, but it was a choice that we made for our family because we felt that was what was best for our family.

This was a very significant sacrifice for us and  we struggled financially for a long time.  But with careful planning, stategic budgeting and a lot of self control, we have been able to not only survive, but thrive in our situation. Karli has worked so hard to advance his carreer so that we can build our life and provide for our kids.

And now that the kids are getting  a little older there is an opportunity for me to remake myself professionally as well.  I put my career on hold to stay at home and it is undeniable that I would have been very successful by now in that career.  But, that doesn’t mean that I can never work or build a new career for myself.  It just looks a little different now and for me that is the best thing that could have happened.  I feel like I am going to get my cake and eat it too –  a professional life that fits my lifestyle and the family life that we have chosen to build for ourselves.

Choosing to stay home has been the most rewarding and challenging thing I have ever done.  It isn’t easy and I am certainly not lazy or stupid.    I have heard that this is a common perception, but I have never experienced that.  I work very hard and give of myself on an emotional level that I think is hard to understand or relate to unless you do stay at home.  But I also reap the biggest rewards and I think my kids do as well.

But, I also don’t think it is productive to perpetuate the divide between stay at home and working moms.  We all work very hard to care for our children in the way that works best for our families.   My closest girl friends work outside the home and I have a great deal of respect for them and there choices just as they have respect for mine.

We often joke that we couldn’t imagine how hard it must be to do it the other way around and I think that says that we have made the right choices for us.  Moms should support and respect each other, no matter what our circumstances are.

On somewhat of a side note…

A while back my step sister in law (is that the way I say it?) posted the article below on facebook.  I felt this was a pretty good representation and until now forgot how much I wanted to share this with you all.  Now seems like an appropriate time.  Click on the image to make it big enough to read.

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This is part 1 of 1 in the series Mom Tips

There are many times when the little pieces of wisdom learned from other parents, friends, teachers, grandparents, coworkers or whomever come screaming to the rescue. These bits of information that lie in the back of our minds are very valuable and should be openly shared and cherished between parents. It is our job as parents to support each other and we have so much knowledge and experience that we may never share with each other, but definitely show.

A couple of weeks ago some dear friends of ours were visiting for dinner. As you do when visiting with other parents we were sharing our little worries and goings on with our kids. It just happened that I had also recently dealt with similar issues as my youngest is just a few months older than her youngest. I was able to share a couple of products and experiences that turned out to really work for her. These same products were passed onto me from other moms who had dealt with similar situations in their pasts.

I also have a few lines of wise words that were shared with me by teachers of classes I have taken that have shaped who I am as a parent. I find myself sharing these with others regularly.

This is how is goes in the world of parenting and these things have inspired me to start a series of articles called Mom Tips.  Although I will be sharing my mom tips, I would also love to hear yours.  You can share in this discussion by commenting on individual posts with ideas or questions about that particular topic. Or if you have a mom tip or would like to discuss a new topic, I would encourage you to contact me with your mom tip or question and If it is appropriate for my readers I will post it to the Mom Tips article series. Just use the contact me form and make sure to include your website URL so that if I use it I can give you proper credit.

I really look forward to sharing in an open dialog about products, tips and words of wisdom that make us all the fantastic parents that we are.

You may have noticed that this blog has been a little dormant lately.  This has a little to do with the holidays and the continuous stream of family visits, but I think I have been feeling a little blocked up because I have been avoiding writing this post, which I sketched out several weeks ago, but has been sitting unattended in my notebook since then.  It’s amazing the things you will do while avoiding.  The house is clean and I am getting really good at Zen Gems. 

Why avoid it though?  Maybe because if I actually say it out loud, I will finally have to follow through and hold myself accountable?  That’s a tough one, you see I tend to talk big and fail to follow through.  I want this to stop and that is why I am sucking it up, taking a deep breath and writing it all down for the world to see and hold me accountable for.

This is going to get a little lengthy and I apologize for that ahead of time.  You can stop reading now if you want because this post is really for me anyway.

A few notes before I get into the nitty gritty.  The goals on this list are intended to be year long goals not to be implemented immediately but taken one step at a time and built upon as the year progresses.  This is a year of change and forward movement for me though and I fully intend on working on each and every one of the items on this list.

This really isn’t a post about my new year’s resolution as much as laying out my goals for this year, but if I had to sum it up into one resolution, I would say that it is to not get overwhelmed and paralyzed by the enormity of it all.  I think I tend to look at the big picture too much and it just freaks me out and keeps me from being effective at the step by step, day by day stuff.  So, my goal is to get organized, get motivated and tackle one thing at a time.

Ok, so here we go.

In my old book club, I had the pleasure of knowing a well known hypnotherapist and a really great woman Diane Sewell. A few weeks ago, she sent out an email (I assume to her mailing list) that really inspired me to take this year’s goal setting seriously.  Here is her list of 10 things you can do to be successful and get off on the right foot in 2009.

  1. How You Think is Everything:  Always be positive.  Think success and not failure.   Also beware of negative environments.
  2. Decide Upon Your True Dreams and Goals:  Write down your specific goals and develop a plan to reach them.
  3. Take Action:   Goals are nothing without action.  Don’t be afraid to get started.  Just do it.
  4. Never Stop Learning:   Go back to school or read books.  Get training and acquire skills.
  5. Be Persistent and Work Hard:   Success is a marathon, not a sprint.  Never give up.
  6. Learn to Analyze Details:   Get all the facts, all the input.  Learn from your mistakes.
  7. Focus Your Time and Money:   Don’t let other people or things distract you.
  8. Don’t be Afraid to Innovate; Be Different:   Following the herd is a sure way to mediocrity.
  9. Deal and Communicate with People Effectively:   No person is an island.  Learn to understand and motivate others.
  10. Be Honest and Dependable; Take Responsibility:   Otherwise, #’s 1-9 don’t matter.

Diane Sewell, Master Hypnotist and Weight Loss Expert

In the past year I have struggled and worked very hard to improve my mental and emotional states as well as remove the negative environments that were contributing to my depression and life paralysis.  Now, I look at my future as a clean slate, a place to start and it is time for me to take control, set goals and direct my own future.

I have an affirmation that I say all the time.  I say it when I am feeling overwhelmed or sad or stressed, during Savasana, before I go to sleep – really any time that it seems appropriate to do so.  It calms and focuses me.    It goes something like this.

I am whole, I am happy, I am healthy, I am beautiful

With all this in mind, I have laid out this years goals into those four categories and listed them out below.  Some of the items are pretty simple and straight forward, but many will required detailed plans to accomplish.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will be posting these plans as well and will link to them from the appropriate items below.

These lists are not in any particular order.  Just as they came to me.

I Am Whole

Things that are healing and contribute to my overall mental health and fulfillment

  • What are my true dreams?
  • Work hard and accomplish enough that by the end of the year I am attending therapy once a month rather than every week.
  • Complete and full 21 day manifestation. 
  • Read my tarot cards once a week for insight, guidance and awareness.
  • Be contributing $500 per month to the family budget by the end of the year.  
  • Find or create a mommy support network.
  • Create and maintain a comforting and manageable home environment
  • Be the best mom that I can that day, every day.
  • Start writing my book.

I Am Happy

Things that are simply for my and my family’s pleasure.  The things that just make life more fun.

  • Have one great family adventure every month.
  • Take time for fun just for me – book club, girls nights etc.
  • Find a babysitter
  • Have more sex
  • Kiss my husband passionately every day
  • Give myself a break sometimes
  • Laugh out loud with my kids every day

I Am Healthy 

Things to improve both my body and mind

  • Achieve a slim, fit and healthy body – this means to me…  Look and feel great naked and goal weight of 135.
  • Experiment and incorporate more healthy foods into diet
  • Sleep better
  • Walk the dog more
  • Garden and landscaping projects
  • Generally by more active and productive – just get up and do it, when you think about doing it.
  • Reduce TV watching by 1 hour per day
  • Be reasonable with the puzzles and online games – have a picture and a crossword puzzle printed out to work on during downtime.  Online games only during designated relax time.  Get a grip.
  • Complete PHP certification

I Am Beautiful

This is as much mental as physical for me.  I want to feel beautiful in my own personal and distinct way.

I am terrible at  forming good habits and have neglected much of the womanly maintenance over the years.  As many moms can probably relate – I have let myself go a little.

Now, I am not really into a lot of the girly stuff and looking perfect all the time doesn’t even reach my radar, but it is important that I begin to feel good about myself again and keeping up with some physical improvements will generally lead to that I think.  You’ll notice, this is pretty basic stuff here.

  • Wash my face every night
  • Shave my legs once a week (I have very blond fine hair so this is all I need to do), even in the winter.
  • buy some quality makeup
  • Get a haircut regularly
  • Lotion all over, every day
  • Figure out my own personal style
  • Buy new clothes that fit well and make me feel good about myself.  Don’t just buy what’s cheapest.
  • Look in the mirror and say you are beautiful inside and out, every day

As stay at home parents we are in a unique situation.  Our job takes place in our homes without the presence of bosses or coworkers.  Yes, we have friends and family, but really the only people who we really interact with in our jobs are our kids.  And the only outside person who really sees us in our jobs is our spouse.

This creates a lack of job performance recognition.  I have been feeling undervalued lately.  This is a rough time for us and although we are very lucky and blessed in our life, we are struggling right now.   

Although it is a lot of pressure, all the responsibility for lifting me up and making me feel valued and validated falls on my husband and this is a little much for him, I think.  Unfortunately, there is no one else to help carry this burden.  It is his to bear, and I am sorry for that.

I tried to give him an analogy to help him to understand.  I asked him to imagine that he went to work every day and no one there ever said he was doing a good job.  It would be awful for him, and I think that it helped him to see the reality of the situation.  This is our job and validation for being good at our job is just as important for us as it is for anyone else.

Unfortunately, now that I have spoken about it, we now struggle with how to provide me with the support I need without his compliments or statements sounding contrived and trite.  

The great thing is that we can have this conversation at all.  I feel very fortunate that I feel safe enough and loved enough that I can say that I need more from him.  That says a lot about the strength of our relationship.  Many don’t have this situation and live alone with all this.

There is this catch 22 about being a stay at home parent.   At least for me, i feel guilty if I complain at all.  I made this choice and I am very grateful for it, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have hard days, days that I wish I could crawl into bed and not get out till next week.  When you have a job outside the home, you come home and discuss the things that are going well and the things that are hard at work.  But when I do, i feel guilty.  I feel guilty for not enjoying every moment with my children, guilty for complaining about a choice that has been a huge sacrifice for our family, guilty for wanting more for myself.  And in response I usually get the suggestion that I go back to work.

I don’t need to go back to work, I need two days by a pool with a foofy umbrella drink or ten.

It is impossible for those not staying home to fully understand the joys and trials that we face every day. There are moments of pure bliss and moments when you feel like you have completely lost all value and substance.  It is equally impossible for us to fully understand the stresses that working moms face trying to be and do it all and not feel like they are doing any of it very well.

The hard fact is that being a parent is hard.  It just is.

We need to support one another, husband and wife, parent and child, friend and friend.  We need to be compassionate and lift each other up and be there for each other, even if we aren’t all the same or make the same choices or parent the same way.  

Hugs and kisses and flowers and all that crap.

I can not seem to get a grasp on what is up with me these days. I have had a lot more energy lately, easily keeping the house clean, playing with the kids, even reupholstering my dining room chairs. But this week, I just feel uninspired.

I have felt really self conscious this week, second guessing everything that comes out of my mouth, feeling like everyone in the room thinks I’m a total idiot.

My therapist says that it could be premenstrual, that many women feel that way before our favorite time of the month. This is not an unfamiliar feeling for me, but I never tied it to that before. The timing is right, any day now. We’ll have to see if it goes away afterwards.

I guess this could explain why I am not inspired or motivated to write or work this week. If I say anything or build anything or design anything, I will have to spend the next several hours or days wondering if what I said or did was right or offending or if someone is going to think poorly of me because of it.

Why is it that I just can’t sit comfortably with myself? Why do I worry so much about what others think, while at the same time repeating to myself how little others opinions matter to me.

I know that I am not the type of person that everyone likes. I am not bubbly or outgoing and I don’t play the mommy social game well. But, why is it that I have such a hard time meeting and making friends with other moms. Probably because I am so damn self conscious or do I think that because I’m self conscious? Where did that come from?

See, so uninspired, nothing but blathering to contribute. God, could I be more self deprecating.

I’ll be back once I’m done feeling sorry for myself.