Tag Archive: mom


Love. Yo. Self

This conversation happened recently with my 4 year old daughter:
E: Mom, who in this room do you love?
M: I love you, Will, and me (husband wasn’t home I promise)
E: You love you? That’s weird!
M: Why is that weird? Do you love yourself?
E: Yeah, it’s just weird…
And then she moved on to wondering why I gave her the red cup because she wanted the yellow cup and when are we going to Nana’s again. 4 YO attention span, amiright?
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But, it is a little weird. It is something that isn’t talked about very often because it makes us uncomfortable. It is especially hard for women. Loving yourself ‘out loud’ makes women worry “am I coming across as conceited?”, “is this intimidating for others?”, “do all women hate me now?”, etc. And then there are the mommy martyrs out there acting like if you’re not miserable, exhausted, and depressed, you’re not trying hard enough.

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IS it weird to love yourself though? I would argue that it is weird NOT to love yourself. You are the only you that has ever been on Earth, and you are the only you you get to be! What a travesty it would be if you spent your one lifetime not loving the only you you are! That was a little hard to follow but I think you get my point…

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This doesn’t mean that every second of every day you love every single thing about yourself. You can love yourself and wish that you were a little stronger. You can love yourself and not love a part of your past. You can love yourself and be disappointed with the way you behaved that day. Really, loving yourself is like loving another person.

How do you treat the people that you love? With respect, kindness, forgiveness, understanding, etc. Do you treat yourself the same? Would you tell your sister ‘you look ugly today’? I certainly hope not. Would you tell your husband he was failing as a parent because he yelled at the kids too much that day? Not likely. So why would you say that to yourself?

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Let’s do an experiment! Say the 2 sentences below out loud and notice the way they make you feel when you say them.

1. Of course I give my kids their vitamins! I love them and would do anything to keep them healthy!

2. Of course I take my vitamins! I love myself and I would do anything to keep myself healthy!

Or…

1. My kids are in soccer and baseball all summer long. It’s hard to find the time, but their health and fitness is my number 1 priority!

2. I make it to the gym and yoga 4x a week. It’s hard to find the time, but my health and fitness is my number 1 priority!

Gets a little squirmy feeling doesn’t it? It really shouldn’t though. Should you love and cherish your children for the enormous blessing they are? Of course! Does your life change and do you make sacrifices for them daily? Duh! But does your life cease to exist? No! Do you become less of a priority? You shouldn’t. Think about it this way… Does your first born become less important when your second child comes? No. There is just more love! All of the sudden your heart just starts pumping more out. That’s the amazing thing about love- we never run out. We just keep making more.

So trust me, there is enough for you. You might need to practice a little bit. It comes more naturally to some vs. others. But it’s there. Take yourself out on a date, buy yourself a drink, and treat yo self real nice…
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I am busy. Like most of you, my day is full of activities that start first thing in the morning and go into the early evening. I also find that I am often at a loss when asked ‘so what did you do today?’ I mean, I was busy all day and can barely remember what I did. I thought it would be fun to capture this info as a ‘snapshot’ of my current situation. I still have the traditional ‘day job’ but also have my ‘side hustle’ that I am growing. Oh, and family and stuff….

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

7:10am- wake up time! Good morning world. I usually lay here for a few minutes before I go wake the kids up. this is one of my ‘late days’ at work so I have the first half of my day pretty open. I usually check my FB, email, IG, etc. to see if I need to respond to anything right away. I check my FitBit to see how I slept. And I chug whatever water I have left over in my night-side cup.
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7:15-8:15am- total whirlwind! Everyone needs to eat and get ready for the day. I made the kids breakfast, made my ‘bullet proof’ coffee, smoothies for me and my hubs, got my son’s lunch ready, and helped my daughter get dressed. They were both ready for school and now mom can put some pants on. (apparently it’s frowned upon to drop your kid off at preschool w/o pants..)
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9am- Kids are off! Both kids are at school. Normally I would be on my way to the gym by now but I didn’t finish everything I needed to this morning so back to the house. Luckily the preschool is IN the neighborhood.
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9:30am- Prep done! Tonight’s dinner is prepped and in the slow cooker. This is a must since I will not be home for dinner. This helps my husband do all of the other after hours stuff on his own- homework, pajamas, teeth brushing, packing lunches, etc. Off to the gym. Took my Shaklee version of ‘pre-work-out’. Performance (healthy Gatorade), B Complex (energy and mood), and an Energy Chew (they are seriously amazing). I’ll save most of the performance for after my workout but I drink it on the way to the gym as well. I’m off!
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11:15am- Done with gym! I had a great workout, listened to some sweet jams, showered, and now I am off to my newest Business Partner’s house! I normally like to shower at home but today- this was easier. I had a limited amount of time. BUT, I brought all of my Shaklee shower stuff with me because it is all I use.
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12:30pm- Lunch! Quick lunch with my husband at Portillo’s. This was random and lucky! Normally our schedules don’t cooperate. And, yes, Portillo’s is known for their beef and Chicago dogs, but today was a salad day.

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2:45pm- I had to get a little work done (day job stuff), but then I sat with my book (dream job stuff) for 20 mins. because I have been going hard all day. Threw in a load of laundry because now that my husband and I have been working out more, we have twice the laundry! Prepped lunch #2 of the day to bring to work. It needs to be fast, portable, and something I can eat/drink between clients. Since my schedule is weird, I do 4 small meals during the day. I haven’t even started my work day and I’m over 8,000 steps.
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3:30pm- Work! I am at work for the next 4-5 hours. I have 4 back to back massage clients. Even though this is ‘work’, I’m happy that I get to help people feel better at this job too. It’s pretty darn rewarding.
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8:21pm- Done! I got home from work just in time for my good night kisses and stories. I had my teeny dinner while listening to a conference call, and finished the last of the laundry. Now, I get to SIT with my book and a glass of whisky. I will be asleep in an hour- no doubt. Tomorrow starts at 5:45am and I really like sleeping.
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Thanks for joining me on my lovely day! I am blessed to be this busy but to also have this much FREEDOM in my day and life. That is what it’s all about for me. Being able to design my days, and therefore my life. Thanks for reading.

Candysbrain

I have discussed previously my love affair with Summer. It is by far my favorite season and I treasure it. But what about Winter? Well, let’s just say it’s complicated.
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In years past, I suffered through winter. I barely tolerated winter. I complained incessantly about winter. But, I had an epiphany this year. Bottom line, I live in Northern Illinois (practically Wisconsin) and I’m not going anywhere, anytime soon. So, what do I get out of suffering through the season? Nothing! In fact, the more you resist time, the longer that time feels.

I read an article about how people who live in Norway celebrate winter for brining them opportunities to do things they love but don’t do during other seasons. They celebrate things like skiing and being ‘cozy’ and reading by the fire. I decided that there are things I DO truly love that I get to do during Winter.

1. Reading- what better excuse is there to curl up with a book when the weather outside is frightful?
2. Fires- I LOVE having a fire going in the fireplace! Just ask my husband.. I would have one going 24/7 if it wasn’t too expensive. The fire is so delightful.
3. Hot Toddys- not sure how to spell that but I do love myself a warm drink. Whether it’s simply some tea or if it’s an adult beverage, a nice warm drink can warm your soul. And since we’ve no place to go…
4. Snow- I love the beauty of a fresh fallen snow! Nothing compares to it. The pure joy and amazement on my kids faces when they see that it finally snowed is enough to make you cry. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
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I plan to be as cozy as possible for the next 3 months and embracing what this time of year brings. Until March; then all bets are off! In March I’m sick of this bullsh*t.

My Idea of Summer

adirondack chairThank you baby Jesus, summer is finally upon us. I literally dream of summer all year long. In those desperate quite moments of February when you feel like you can’t take it for one more GD second, I close my eyes and think about June. I think about the sun on my bronze face and working in my garden and sidewalk chalk and happiness. And, it’s here! It’s finally here!

When I think about what I want to do with my summer… wait let me stop there for a second. Notice how I said MY summer? Notice I didn’t say my KIDS’ summer? That’s right. The kids are going to be fine no matter what kind of summer we have. Me, on the other hand, not so much. You see, my sister is the queen of summer. Not a weekend goes by where she doesn’t know about some awesome free summer event somewhere. Last year she brought us to a hot air balloon launching thing in Grayslake. It was very cool. And, bless her for not getting more irritated with me, but she sends me at least one email per week saying, ‘did you hear about the free summer concert series this weekend….want to go?’ And my response is usually something like, ‘maybe, we’ll see how the week goes.’ But, it’s all good. She likes to do that stuff. You know what I like to do? Sit in my yard listening to Bob Marley and drinking vodka (she likes to do that too…). I’d like to say that I’m joking, but I’m 100% serious. If I got to pick what I got to do on Saturdays all summer long, that would be #1.

I also love the kids running around the yard, playing on the swing set, exploring nature, and not bugging mom. It’s summer for crying out loud. They need Mom to protect them, to feed them, to love them, but they don’t need me to be their super-companion. That what’s your brother/sister, cousins, and neighbors are for. That is what your imagination is for. I’m like all of our parents were, I lose my shit when my kids say they are bored. Any one who says they are bored can go inside and take a nap! This doesn’t mean we won’t also have a blast. We got a new and improved blow up pool- cooler than anything I ever had. We got pool passes. I like to do camp fires and backyard camp-outs. I love going for long walks. We go to the park. And, we are signed up for t-ball. There is going to be plenty of fun for the kids of course. That’s the best thing about summer- it is fun without trying. Bubbles, hopscotch, hula-hoops, and hoses. That’s all it takes.

I just don’t want to jam in so much, that next thing I know it’s September and I feel like I didn’t sit down. Some people like to pack in as much fun into every day as they can muster. I like relaxing outside. To me, that is fun. (It makes me sound so lazy!). I like reading my book in the sun. I like grilling out. I like sitting around fires. I like talking with my neighbors until you say, ‘Holy crap, is that what time it is?’ I like playing bags and drinking shandy. I like waking up in the morning and blogging on my porch while my kids watch cartoons. I like going to the farmers market and touching and smelling and tasting. I like when my husband asks, ‘what’s the plan for the day?’ and I get to say ‘nothing, no plan.’

That is, until we get a boat. And then that is what I want to do everyday. But, with the Marley and the vodka….

Mommy Monster

I wake up in the morningIMG_6468
With my normal mommy-ness
You turn me into something else
When I see the giant mess

I plan to be a good girl
With no yelling and no drama
But you wear me down and help create
This crazy-eyed mean-mama

Why must you fight about
The color of your glass
It’s the exact same milk inside
You’re acting like an ass

My hair is falling out now
What’s left is turning gray
Because you whine non-stop
All the live-long day

It doesn’t change my love
Not one tiny little bit
But if you would just listen
Mommy wouldn’t lose her shit

I dream of peace and quiet
But when my dream is done
I wake up to complaining
Mommy-monster I’ve become

So I wave the white flag
I know I’ll never win
I’ll give into the mess
Can you clean with gin?

I’m being hyperbolic
It’s really not that bad
But all your crappy habits
I blame them on your dad

You fill my heart with love
And though you’re why mom jiggles
I love you little bastards
And your contagious little giggles

XOXO- Mommy

023I went to the new Trader Joe’s in Libertyville yesterday and I was just so inspired! Maybe it was because I am happy to have TJ’s closer to home, maybe it was because it was 50 degrees and sunny after a spirit-crushing winter from hell, but I don’t think that was it. I think it was because I felt like a French Lady at the Market. Can you picture it: some classy woman, dressed well, red lipstick, stopping at the market and picking up a few ingredients and some wine to bring home to her family? This imaginary family then sits around a table for hours enjoying each others company and the delicious food. (If you haven’t learned this about me yet, I have quite the imagination). In this fake scenario, there is none of the typical issues most of us face: no time, kids fighting, family complaining… It is a happy place and I want to live there more often. I am going to live more ‘European’.

In many other countries (France, Italy, Spain, etc.) the food that people eat and their relationship to it is vastly different than our experience in America. Of course I am making extreme generalizations here so if you take offense in anyway- you’re missing the point. In Europe you are less likely to see someone loading up their cart at Wal-mart every other week with convenience food and industrial size tubs of cheese balls. We have become obsessed with saving a buck and saving ourselves calories. We care more about how much fat is in something than what ingredients are in something. Exhausted moms are like zombies in the super market aisles asking themselves ‘will my kid actually eat this?’ On the other hand, people in Europe buy full flavored fresh foods without obsessing over calories. People in Europe don’t avoid chocolate, but they also don’t wolf down a Butterfinger on their way home from work. They ENJOY the chocolate.

When I went to TJ’s, I had no plan and no list. I knew I needed a few dinners, and I was out of wine. I walked the store and picked up things that looked good and fresh. I grabbed a fresh salsa we’ve never had for my husband. I got a whole chicken that I made last night, and I have some fish and soup for tonight. Add in 5 bottles of wine, fresh fruit and veggies, and call it a day. I didn’t bring home anything I am going to regret having in my house. I didn’t buy any food that will sabotage our diets/healthy eating. But most importantly, I didn’t ‘shop-down’ to my kids. I didn’t buy something breaded, bland, and beige for them to eat. I didn’t buy some food-like product that is easily palatable so I can get thru dinner without complaints. I simply bought food. When we ate chicken and roasted veggies last night, so did the kids (Will told me cauliflower is not his favorite). When we eat fish tonight, so will the kids. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in some weird bizarro world where my kids love everything I make, but they do know that what mommy makes for dinner is what’s for dinner. There is no back up dinner; there is no snack later because you didn’t eat your dinner and there is CERTAINLY no telling mommy that the food is gross! (I will actually be blogging about feeding kids soon so be on the look out for that).

Lastly, food should be wonderful and exciting and fulfilling and fun and delicious. Food shouldn’t be depressing or worrisome or filled with guilt or boring or stressful. People talk about love-hate relationships with food. There should be no hate. By choosing foods that are real and fresh and yummy and preparing them to nourish your family, you will never need to worry about calories again.

So, you can either be:

That frazzled, crazed, hurried woman at Wal-mart, fighting the crowds, cursing people under your breath, schlepping around 3 weeks worth of convenience food, obsessing over how many calories is in your lean cuisine and your vitamin water, wondering if your kids will eat pork chops or if you should just get nuggets for them, and going home feeling crabby and wanting to order pizza.

Or, you can be:

That stylish, calm, collected woman at the ‘market’ smelling the produce and smiling, placing carefully selected ingredients in your basket, bringing home new and exciting flavors for your family to try, and never again worrying about calories or fat because you know that when you focus on nourishing your body and soul, you will never be unhealthy.

It’s all in your head, and you can have that experience too. Just decide it

adirondack chairI had a little ‘AHA’ moment today while I was cleaning my outdoor patio set. The damn table needs to be cleaned a lot. It sits below two trees that are constantly dropping leaves, helicopters, sap, pine needles, etc. on it. Not to mention the damn birds that poop on my damn table. Brent was out front mowing the damn lawn and there was a lot more damn work to do. There’s a lot going on. In the last few weeks I have heard ourselves, our neighbors, our friends, and our family say ‘a home-owners work is never done’. It’s so true. Every time we finish something, there is something else that needs to be started. It’s daunting, it’s depressing….And then it hit me! My inner candysbrain voice chided me, “you know how f-ing lucky you are to have a home, let alone a patio set?!’ My brain sure told me.

The more I thought about it, the worse I felt for being such a whiner. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but we are so blessed to have what we have. We are so lucky to live in a nice home in a great neighborhood. I should be singing my praises while scrubbing my table instead of bitching. Not to mention that before we had this really nice patio set, we had a crappy plastic set that I hated. It was so ugly. How soon we forget right? It’s like you are so desperate for that next upgrade in life, we forget to open our eyes and realize what is sitting on our face.

We have some dear friends that just moved into their new gorgeous home this weekend. Of course, the market today is very different that it was 6 years ago. When I think about what we paid for our house compared to the deal that they likely got, it makes me ill. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy for our friends and can’t wait to have many a play date in that house, but it is still hard when you start comparing. Why do we do that? Why do we feel the need to compare? There are a lot of people in our lives that are probably jealous of what we have too. I don’t remember where I heard this but I love the saying that we need to stop comparing our ‘behind the scenes’ to everyone else’s ‘highlight reel’. The grass is always fucking greener….(seriously though, the grass is always greener. How does everyone else have such nice lawns and ours is filled with weed and clover?…I digress)

I posted a while ago about filters and framing and how our relationship to everything that happens in our life can be perceived differently based on how we frame or filter. For example, I just got new Adirondack chairs. I have wanted them for a long time. If you have ever shopped around for these chairs you know that you can find them from $50 to $900 dollars and every where in between. The ones I got were much closer to $50 than $900! They need to be stained, and they aren’t as sturdy as I would like. I could focus on this, or I could focus on the fact that they are beautiful and they allow me to sit closely next to my husband who I adore and the fact that they hold my ass up out of the grass. Our brains are funny in that they can be trained. If you make the decision to be happy and to see the good, your brain will start to normally frame your thoughts toward the positive.

Which leads me to my next big diet! I am going on a new and experimental diet. A no-blaming, no-complaining, no-bitching-and-moaning diet. I am responsible for what shows up in my life. I am responsible for my thoughts, actions, re-actions, etc. I have control over how different situations affect me. This is called a shift-move and I am ready to shift. I am going to live in a space of gratitude and wonder and love and appreciation.

Want to join me? Seriously, do you think you could try living in a world where you are 100% responsible for your experience? 100%- no more, no less. Of course this doesn’t mean you won’t slip up now and again. We are human after all. But, can you attempt to change your consciousness to a place appreciation, accountability, wonder, and feeling your feelings without judgment (joy/anger/fear/sadness/sexual desire)? I know that I will struggle. It sounds so simple when you just type it out, but in the real world it is much more challenging. Well, I know that I will try. I know that I will fail occasionally. But, when I fail, I will try not to judge myself too harshly and re-commit. I hope you will come along for the ride.

will dinnerThis blog has been in my brain for a while now and I am finally putting my thoughts down and together. It all started a couple months ago when my family was going to go out for dinner. It was not a fancy restaurant, but it wasn’t a chuck-e-cheese either. My 4.5 year old son and my 1.5 year old daughter were coming with us and three other adults. I don’t know about you but there is always a little anxiety about how they are going to behave. Right before we left, my husband said, “Should we bring the Kindle for Will?” I was surprised by my reaction but I said, “NO. Absolutely not! We are not going to be that family that doesn’t talk to each other because we are all staring at a screen!”

I said I was surprised by my reaction because I never really thought about it before that moment. Of course we have all seen that group of people out: no one is talking, everyone has their cell phone or tablet or game boy (or whatever kids use these days). But I had never thought about what I was going to do as a parent to prevent that with my own children. The more this idea sat in my brain, the more I felt compelled to write about it.

So, I will ask the question again: Do your kids now HOW to be bored? Do your kids know how to BEHAVE when they are bored? Dinner at a restaurant with a bunch of grown ups is not fun for most kids. They have to sit still, use inside voices, have polite conversation, eat different tasting food, etc. This is dreadful for the average 4 year old. Is it easier to give them a tablet and have them play angry birds for an hour? Of course it is! Does that teach them anything? Absolutely not.

ellie box

As a parent I believe it is our job to make sure our kids are capable of entertaining themselves, speaking clearly to other grown ups, sitting for five minutes without some kind of electronic entertainment. If every time they are on a road trip they can watch movies in the back of mommy’s seat they will never play the alphabet game with their sister. If every time they are sitting in a waiting room they are playing with a cell phone they will never play I Spy with mom. If every time they are bored at home they play on the computer they will never go on a treasure hunt in the back yard or play pirates with their brother. If every 5 mins. mommy has an activity planned they will never learn to have fun with only a box. If every time they are at a restaurant they have a tablet to stick their nose in they will never learn the importance of small talk and table manners and the joy of sharing a meal with the people that they love.

will treasure

I am grateful that my grandma used to tell me to sit up straight, and say ‘yes’ not ‘yeah’, and to put my napkin in my lap. I LOVE that my husband takes off his hat when he sits down at the dinner table. I love that my family still all gets together to share meals. And, I love that when we do, we don’t watch TV.

Kids are naturally resilient and creative and have amazing imaginations. As parents we don’t need to do much other than occasionally say NO. Say no to the TV. Say no to the computer. Say no to the constant requests for ‘mommy’s full attention’. It is okay to tell your kids to ‘just go play’. It is not mommy’s job to constantly think of things for your kids to do. Every day doesn’t have to be planned and structured with mom as the entertainment. They will naturally figure out what to do. Sure they might fight you a little. It might be frustrating at first, but worth the trouble! Besides, they have their whole adult life of no creativity or pretending to look forward to!

Let’s all take a pledge: I hereby promise to have at least 5 dinners per week without any electronic entertainment! I will unplug (at least partly) on the weekends, and encourage free play (for kids and parents!). I will teach my kids that even though they are bored, they still HAVE TO BEHAVE. I will be firm with my children when they misbehave in public (or at home).

I will teach my kids that ‘mommy will not have that shit!’

Day-Light-Savings-Surprise

This is something I almost never do- a morning quickie. Not the cool kind, just a quick blog while my kids are happily playing by themselves. Don’t worry, the big one’s watching the little one.

If you’re a parent you know that kids do not respect the ‘fall back’ part of daylight savings. Their internal clocks usually take a week to adjust. So, it was no surprise this morning when they woke me up about an hour earlier than usual.

My first reaction was a grown up temper tantrum (you know muffled crying sounds into your pillow). But, as soon as my husband plopped my little girl into my arms and she gave me 17 kisses, I knew it was going to be okay.

I decided to practice what I am always preaching, “reframe and refocus”. Instead of being a victim to my children and their ridiculous amount of 6 am energy, I decided to see it as a blessing. What could I do with an extra hour with my kids that I normally don’t get? Normally our mornings are pretty rushed. It is hard to get everyone fed, dressed, and ready for my son’s 9 am preschool. Not today. We spent an hour just playing. Hanging out in my son’s room doing puzzles, practicing our writing and spelling, and (Ellis) trying not to be afraid of tickle me Elmo. It was glorious.

 

 

These are the moments that makes me wish I could stay at home with my kids and be there for every moment. Although there are plenty of moments that make me want to run screaming to work as well. Bottom line, I am going to treasure the times I do get and try not to throw grown up temper tantrums (you know curse words under your breath until you feel better).