Mama, it’s okay to take care of yourself

Take Care of Yourself

When you’re living in survival mode, and heck, let’s face it, When You’re A Mom, it’s tempting to put self-care aside “for the good of the family.” And heck, who has the time, anyway?! Well, Mama, it’s okay to take care of yourself! It’s necessary, and it IS for the good of the family! When I feel human, I can better care for my humans. Imagine that.

Self care doesn’t have to include expensive drinks, weekends away, or even professional manicure services. (If that’s your thing, and you can swing it, by all means!) You can carve time and budget to take good care of yourself right from home.

Get your Move on.

Our bodies are made to move, and no, chasing a naked toddler with a fresh diaper does not count. I feel better, sleep better, and am less twitchy when I get exercise of some sort. Walking fast outside, pushing the stroller, and chatting with my husband kills all sorts of birds with a 30 minute stone, but I also appreciate a good workout video. I’m not ready to invest a lot of money into classes, and not willing to drive 40 miles round trip to the nearest gym, but I can still move. You can, too.

Treat yourself.

ipsy

Figure out what works with your budget, and treat yourself to something fun and useful. Last spring I caught on to the ipsy craze, and now I receive a monthly makeup and skin care bag with fun, useful products that break up the monotony of my facial care routine, or lack thereof.

I enjoy wearing makeup. I need to wear makeup to feel more confident, awake, and ready for the day, but I’m slow to experiment and try new colors and products. Ipsy makes it fun for me and has introduced me to some products that I now love! How did I ever live without City Color HD White Powder? Who knew?!

Quote from my 8 year old: “Mom, are you wearing turquoise eyeliner?!” Yep.

Read a good book.

I used to be a voracious reader, burrowing into a good book for hours on end, getting in trouble for leaving my lamp on all night. Before social media, I’d even read for hours while nursing my first few babes. It’s hard for me to get into a book these days what with all the fits and starts and All The Interruptions, so the book has to be excellent and worth the effort.

For the Love

For the Love! Oh my word, friends, I am enjoying the heck out of this book! The chapters are separate essays, so if I have to put it down, I don’t have to count on Mommy Brain to keep up with all of the details of a heavy, long read. It’s poignant, hilarious, and light, and a book that each and every one of you should go buy right this very minute because you’ll want to read it over and over to be reminded that You are beautiful, talented, and perfectly loved just as you are! (What Mama doesn’t need to hear that?!) For the Love frees you to love yourself and your people with reckless abandon!

The book itself is a treat, but I especially enjoy reading it at the end of a long day in the bath with my favorite Epsom salts and essential oils combinations. Bliss!

Take high quality supplements.

A lot of what’s on the market is junk, much of it expensive junk, so I know this one is kind of a crap shoot. I get it. I’ve tried the whole “if you eat real, nourishing foods and get plenty of sunshine you don’t need vitamins,” and to that I say Pffffffffft. Hogwash. 1) I know that no-grain, fermented veggies, probiotics-loving people exist, just not in my world. and 2) It’s hard work to eat perfectly every day!

I feel okay most days on a “good as I can do with what I’ve got” diet, but I feel unstoppable when I consistently take my NingXia Red and Multigreens, both by Young Living. (Key word: consistently. Not my forte.) I’m sure there are other excellent products out there, so use what works for you! I’m just grateful to have found something that works so well for me that I can see and feel a difference. (PS ~ My husband requests Young Living’s BLM supplement.)

Nourish your relationships.

Several weeks ago my sister and I stole away for the day to go shopping, just the two of us. At the time, she was 3 weeks away from delivering her fourth baby, and I had recently weaned my sixth. While we were eating lunch and not having to clean up any spills or wipe anyone’s face but our own, I tried to remember the last time we spent the day together, just the two of us. Pretty sure it was about 12 years ago. It won’t be 12 years next time. Know better, do better!

dress

She found me this dress, which is the first I have bought in about the same 12 years. Gracious.

And that husband of mine? We are rapidly approaching our 17 year anniversary. By this time many couples have a 15 year old and a 13 year old and are smooth sailing to weekly date nights and weekends away. Yeah, well. We’re plowing through life with half a dozen young ones, ages 12, 10, 8, 5, 3, and 1. Our time will come (in the nursing home, we joke) but right now we mostly connect in stolen moments. But stolen moments with my man? Necessary and good.

Start the day well.

Mama, we are not doing anyone any favors starting our days behind, frantic, and in a mood. Yes, I’m talking to myself. Rolling out of bed is hard, but getting the day started well is worth it! Crystal can motivate us and provide the tools we need to make mornings a catalyst for a great, productive day. Makeover Your Mornings is on sale TODAY (Tuesday, August 25) ONLY for just $10. If you’ve been dragging your feet and wishing at the end of each day that your day was, well, MORE, then buy the course and work through it with me!

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When it’s time to break free from survival mode

Break Free From Survival Mode

It’s time.

Mid-summer, when our sixth baby turned a year old, I finally admitted to myself that I had been in survival mode for nearly a year, and that it was time to break free. 

There is a time for everything, and adding a sixth child to a busy family the same year that our oldest started middle school and All.The.Activities (cheerleading, music contests, volleyball, basketball, track) that go with it, well, that was a good time for survival mode. Do what has to be done. Hone in on basic needs. Get by. It’s okay!

Survival mode is a tool, not permanent state of being. Even knowing that, it’s overwhelming to conjure the effort to break free. But it’s worth it. Here are four strategies that work for me when it’s time to break free from survival mode.

Complete a project.

What is with all of the dirty dishes, cracker-coated floors, and mountains of laundry that a family of eight produces?! The hamster wheel of washing, sweeping, and folding only to do it all again and again is mind-numbing and a little depressing, especially when the time it takes to keep up (or not) with the basics keeps me from other projects that make our house a home.

We’ve lived in this home for 9 years, and in June we finally landscaped the yard. It was revolutionary to our curb appeal (and we have the community “Yard of the Week” sign to prove it. Ha!) and felt so good to work hard on a project that has a noticeable end result! And you know what? Though they may have sat longer than we like, the dishes, laundry, and floors all got done that week, too.

Don’t be afraid to accept some convenience and compromise in one area (we ate a lot of sandwiches over the summer) in order to free up time and resources for other projects and priorities. Get off the hamster wheel.

yard

Redefine routines.

In the rote day to day of survival mode, we came to accept both the effective and destructive habits and routines we’d accidentally or otherwise created long after they were necessary, because it was easier than thinking through and expending energy on something new. For nearly a year, the baby slept with me because it was so much easier to nurse and care for her at night if she was right there. Until it wasn’t.

When it was time, and while the big kids were at church camp for a week, we decided to transition our 12-month-old to sleep in her own bed. (She had given up nursing a couple weeks earlier, so that part was easy.) It took a few nights and a few tears, but my husband and I have our bed back, and baby and I are both sleeping better in our own space. Freedom!

Do what you gotta do in survival mode. I’m a fan. I’m also a fan of breaking free when the time is right, and establishing new and better routines for myself and my family.

Find joy outside of the day to day.

Parenting is constant, 24/7 exhausting work. The intensity revs up when adding a member to the family. While enduring a lengthy survival mode and making hard choices (lots of “no”s) that help get the important things done, I can feel the joy draining. I can absorb some of that temporarily, but my joy meter is also a great indicator of when it is time to break free.

The day to day work of raising a family isn’t going away any time soon around here (and really, yay for that!), but it’s time to make room for some of the other things that bring me joy, and in turn, make me a better mom. This blog brings me joy. I may not be able to write every day like I used to, but we’re back on! Sharing Young Living Essential Oils brings me joy. I’m not ready for a full class schedule, but the business behind the oils is slowly working its way back into my days. Spending individual time with my children lights my Mama fire for each of them.  I’ve found ways to steal away one-on-one over the summer for a few hours. Find your joy!

summer9Use your mornings well.

In June, I bought my friend Crystal’s Make Over Your Mornings course. The one thing I knew I absolutely had to guard while in survival mode was my sleep, so I had been waking up with the kids for months. I still do some days. It’s time to break free, though, and I am certain that using my mornings well is key, because I’ve inconsistently tested that theory for days or weeks here and there between babies over the last 12 years. It works. When I do it.

The excuses came fast and furious all summer, but it’s time. School starts this week for us, which is about as “New Year Resolution” as it gets around here. Even as I am up ridiculously late hammering out this post (joy!) I know that tomorrow morning the alarm is set. New week. New school year. New freedom from survival mode.

I’ve only just begun the course, but I trust Crystal’s experience, expertise, and long-time success with the method. Care to join me? If you haven’t already purchased Make Over Your Mornings, you can head over to MakeOverYourMornings.com to sign up to download the first day for FREE. We can work through the course together!

P.S. Stay tuned for a very special one-day sale on Tuesday, August 25, 2015!

Have you recently been in a season of survival? How did you break free?

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Day in the Life {August 2015}

ditl1

I'm so excited to post this because 1) I've missed the monthly Day in the Life posts! and 2) The 15th was such a fun day! It was Saturday and we all took advantage of sleeping in. Baby J woke up at about 7:30, but wasn't ready to be awake, so I … [Keep reading…]

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It’s Not Just a Game

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There were many times over the summer that I had so much to say (usually while in the shower), and just not enough time to form the right words. The morning that I woke up early for what we knew would be our last baseball day of the summer, the words … [Keep reading…]

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Oh, Summer

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There's really no good way to get back to blogging after a 2 1/2 month disappearance. I knew this summer would be crazy, but then she upped the ante and I pretty much threw my hands in the air like I just do not care! I went along for the ride and … [Keep reading…]

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The Casted Tyrant

leg

It was a good run. Twelve years of parenting without an ER visit (well, there was The Appendix...) Sunday evening, after eating at Freddy's on our way home from a baseball tournament (Do you have Freddy's? You MUST enjoy Freddy's sometime!), we … [Keep reading…]

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Get Out and Play!

play1

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Quaker Oats for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine. Just yesterday I received this text from a friend: "And summer has arrived!!! The boys racing to the pool. (They were too fast for me to snap a … [Keep reading…]

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Summer Bingo! {FREE Customizable Printable}

BingoThumb1

You guys! School was out a week ago and I'm still trying to get traction on summer before it blows away. A few of you have so kindly emailed to request these FREE Summer Bingo Board printables again, so here they are! Bingo boards are a great way to … [Keep reading…]

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My Mom Uniform {And a Giveaway!}

apron

"Here, mom. I'll take your picture for you." Such great help, he is. ;) So, I've read a lot of blog posts over the last several years about how important it is to "dress for success," even as a mom at home. That dressing for the day is a … [Keep reading…]

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