Tips on Taking Time For Yourself Each Day, Even When There’s None to Spare


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As a mom it’s not always easy to find time for yourself. And often when you do it somehow feels like it’s at the expense of someone else in the family. But as research and personal experience shows, taking a little time for you is VITAL to be a good parent, a healthy person and just plain happier.

Even with my kids in school (one only in school for a couple of hours at that) I still struggle to find time for myself that doesn’t involve cleaning or working. But lately I’ve been working hard at making it happen, and I’m starting to get better at it.

Here are a few things you can find a little time to yourself even when you don’t have any to spare.

  • Garden – OK so gardening can be a bit of work in the beginning but once it’s going strong the actual “gardening’ part can be very therapeutic. Weeding, watering and harvesting have been soul-soothing activities for thousands of years. When the weather is right you can let the kids loose in the yard while you get some earthy time in the dirt.
  • Read – Most schools ask that your kids read 15 to 20 minutes a day, each day. At our school we actually have to sign a sheet that the child did read for that period of time. Instead of nagging your child from the kitchen, sit down and read a book or magazine of your own. This will help encourage your child to work on their reading and give you 15 minutes of quiet reading time.
  • Early to Bed Early to Rise – Make it a point to get up 15 to 30 minutes early than the rest of your house. Read, do some yoga or just enjoy a quiet cup of coffee before the chaos of the morning starts. And set a decent and early bedtime for your kdis and stick to it. Then use that time to unwind from the day, catch up on Facebook, go to sleep early or simply watch a little TV with your spouse.

These things may not seem like much but incorporating them into your daily routine can do wonders for your stress level, your health and even your ability to be a good mom.
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Talking Tucson With Your Kids

I am a pretty compassionate person and when I see injustice or tragedy strike anywhere I feel pain. Both of my children have made it apparent that they have a similar compassion for injustice. That’s why I was unsure what to say to either of them as I sat, stunned, watching the horrific events unfold in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday after Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was among 20 people injured in a shooting where six people, including a 9 year old girl, were killed. More

Wordless Wednesday – Fun With Fox News

The family and I had the rare odd and fun opportunity to be filmed for a story that aired on Fox News Tuesday. So I’m posting a few screen shots of the clip for Wordless Wednesday. OK, so there are a few words here but it’s my blog so I can add words to my Wordless Wednesday if I want.

If you want to see the clip you can check out here. If you want to know more about Life360 visit their website here. Oh and if you’re … ahem … NOT a big Fox News fan visit my pals here... More

The War on Moms

Last week on WomenCount Radio (the Blog Talk Radio show I host on Thursdays) I interviewed Sharon Lerner author of the new book, “The War on Moms: On Life in a Family-Unfriendly Nation.” I also got the chance to read the book before hand and it gave me a lot to think about it. The book basically is a look at how in the United States mothers face so many challenges when it comes to simply raising out children.

Take for instance,

  • Only 42% of working mothers stay home for the first 12 weeks of their babies’ lives.
  • The United States is one of just a handful of countries that do not offer paid maternity leave. Nations such as Germany or Australia dole out money just for having kids. And after infancy is over, there is free, high-quality childcare in France, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden.
  • The average cost of keeping one infant in a child-care center is greater than tuition at public college

And that hardly scratches the surface of issues facing moms, and doesn’t even touch on the other side of the coin, women who stay home and the challenges they face. Personally I have been a working mom and a WAHM.

I gathered a handful of links to posts about the challenges mothers face in hopes of doing the same thing the book does, which is show that we are not alone in our challenges as moms. We’re all doing the best we can.

From Mommyhood: Next Right – Between Home and St. Elsewhere

From Mother Knows Less – Working Moms v Stay At Home Moms

From Just Mommies – 6 Things Nobody Told You About Being a SAHM

From Godsy Girl – The Top Five Challenges Facing Women in 2010

From The Queenof Spain: Make Me

From My Blogalicious – Just Call Me Sisyphus

I would love to add more links to this post so if you’ve written something about the challenges you’ve face as a SAHM, Working Mom or WAHM please leave the link in the comments.

And here’s to ALL moms!

7 Links For You to Read

I’m taking the SITS Girls challenge on Blog Frog, 31 Days to a Better Blog. Today’s challenge was to write a list post (something I love to do) so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and also take part in another challenge from ProBlogger, the 7-link challenge.

So here is a list to 7 links from past blog posts you may have missed as well as a post that I didn’t write but wish I had.

Enjoy this look back and I’d love to hear feedback on any of the posts!

  1. My First Post – My first post was actually on my MySpace blog, but I did upload to Meg’s Idle Chatter when I first set it up. It was the first of many birthday posts I would go on to write. This one being about Patrick’s 4th birthday. It’s hard to believe I’ve been blogging that long! Reflections on my Baby’s 4th Birthday
  2. The Post I Enjoyed Writing the Most – This post felt so good to write. It really felt like this was the kind of post that I was meant to be writing on this blog, Every Mom is a Working Mom
  3. A Post That Had a Great Discussion – This post didn’t just cause a discussion on my blog (see comments) but on MomConnect.com, Facebook, Twitter and even with moms I knew personally at my son’s school. Your Parenting Style and How Your Doing it Wrong
  4. A post on someone else’s blog that I wish I’d written – This was such a great post that I related to and shared on Facebook. This was another incident where I had moms at school thanking me for posting it on Facebook. The amazing Stephanie Himel-Nelson, better known as Lawyer Mama, wrote it. My Scarlet Letter H
  5. My most helpful post – If any regular readers would like to disagree, feel free, but I think that this post related to getting kids to read was the most likely to be helpful considering how many moms I know (including myself) have found this to be a major challenge. Tips on Getting Your Kids to Read
  6. A post with a title that I am proud of – Breastfeeding is always an important topic to me. And finding support for the difficulties that can sometimes be found when breastfeeding was one of my introductions in to the world of mommy blogging. So it was only fair that I eventually wrote a post on the topic and gave it a funny tongue in cheek play on words as a title. Breastfeeding Sucks
  7. A post that I wish more people had read – This was one of the most emotional and personal posts that I think I ever wrote. I cried writing it and sometimes still do. This man may have been just a director to some, but he was a major influence on me and I found it surprising difficult to say goodbye. I wish more people had come across this post. My Life According to John Hughes

Do you have a favorite blog post from this blog or any blog to share in the comments?

First Graders and Condoms?

It’s no secret to people who know me that I am pro-choice. I believe whole-heartedly in a woman’s right to choose, despite how I feel about abortion personally. Which is why whenever the debate comes up, I prefer NOT to debate the morality of abortion because it’s a moot point and we will never live in a world where everyone agrees on the issue. Which is why I believe it should be up to every individual woman to decide what’s best for her. I much prefer to discuss the real issue we should be working to solve, which is unwanted pregnancies. Forget about the abortion debate, how do we stop women from getting pregnant when they don’t want to be. My answer is always, EDUCATION.

Starting in high school. Give teenagers condoms. TALK about sex, the consequences and how to protect yourself. Obviously not every parent can be relied on to talk to their kids, and I support sex education in the schools and consider it the greatest weapon we have against teenage pregnancy, STD’s and a whole wealth of other emotional issues. Communities that have extensive sex education programs in their schools have lower teen pregnancy rates and reports of STD’s. You don’t need to be a political analyst or even a mathematician to figure that one out.

I have no problems with high school having vending machines with condoms. None. Teenagers are having sex or not having sex. Access to condoms is not going to impact that choice. But it WILL help keep them safe.

What I do have a problem with? FIRST GRADERS BEING GIVEN CONDOMS. My son is in the 2nd Grade. My daughter? Kindergarten.

WHY THE HELL WOULD THEY NEED CONDOMS?

Apparently in Provincetown Massachusetts, they do. This is one of the most shocking things I’ve read in a long time. In Provincetown, under a policy approved by the town’s school committee last week, FIRST GRADERS will be able to ask for and receive condoms at school WITH OR WITHOUT their parents knowledge. The children will have to speak to the school nurse before receiving one. This policy also states, get this, that the school district will not honor requests from parents that their children not be given condoms.

Seriously. What the hell?

Now as I mentioned earlier, I am in support of schools offering protection to students. Totally. But generally I mean high schoolers, MAYBE Junior high, I mean I knew girls who had their first baby in junior high, but first graders?

This frightens me to my core. Not so much that the school passed this policy UNANIMOUSLY, but that they felt there was a need to pass it. I get the logic behind policy like this. And I also get why the parents in the community are foaming at the mouth in anger. I would be too. Because my son HAS NO IDEA what a condom is. My son has no idea what sex is. And I’d be pretty pissed if I found out that one of his friends could tell him to innocently go ask for a condom and have him not only get one, but get a lesson in how to use it and a sex discussion with the school nurse. And I WOULD NEVER KNOW.

Hell to the no.

But what frightens me, angers me, and upsets me even more, is that in this community in Massachusetts someone looked around and said, “This is a problem that we need to fix.” This community needs to get off the backs of the school board for a moment and ask themselves, why do their first graders need access to condoms? What is going on in that community that THIS is a problem?

I think about all my son’s friends and I can’t imagine any of them having the slightest hint at what a condom is used for. Or why they would need it for anything. My kid would be the one assuming it’s a water balloon. My kid is still playing with legos. My kid still thinks “darn” is a bad word.

Condoms? I hate to judge you dear parents and community of Provincetown, Mass. But if any of you out there are reading this, please shine some light on the issue. What the hell are you guys doing out there?

Anne Frank and the Truths I’m Not Ready to Tell

Last week we went to the library. Each of the kids picked out a few favorites and I went in search of a couple of books I wanted to read to them. This month we celebrate the birthday of Anne Frank. Knowing that there were a few kid’s books about Anne Frank I searched through the stacks until I found one that seemed like a suitable book and checked it out along with the rest.

Anne Frank is such an iconic figure to me. I hold the memory of reading the Diary of Anne Frank for the first time very close to my heart. And even now in my 30s, nothing puts my life into perspective like thinking about Anne Frank.

Patrick and Cheyanne are seven and five. Way too young for the actual Diary of Anne Frank and for learning all about the Holocaust. While learning about both are important, at this age I feel like it would be too much for them. But I thought that a children’s book about her life would gloss over some of the aspects that they might not be ready for yet still show them what an inspiring girl she was.

Color me stupid.

That night I opened up the book and right away images of swastika’s and cartoon depictions of Hitler jumped out at us. “Who’s Hitler and why didn’t he like Anne’s family?”

I took a deep breath. Who’s Hitler? How do you explain to a seven and five year old that in the world there really are villains that are more evil than all the bad guys in the Marvel universe? Especially when in the past I’ve told them that the scary bad guys on TV and in the comic books aren’t real. How do I explain about Hitler without admitting that those bad guys do sometimes exist?

I closed the book as every picture and story I ever read or heard about the Holocaust flashed in my mind. And I looked at the book and realized that there really wasn’t a way to gloss over the fact that Anne Frank’s story ended with her dying in a concentration camp.

By telling them that story, right then at that moment, I couldn’t help but feel I’d be taking a tiny piece if their innocence away that they’d never get back.

I answered Patrick’s question simply by saying, “Hitler was a bad bad man who didn’t like people. But we’ll read this story some other time.”

Some may think I’m a chicken for closing the book, others may think I was silly to borrow it in the first place. Regardless, we all agreed on reading Humphrey the Lost Whale instead. A true story with a happier ending and no nazis.

Love and Laughter

I don’t think that there are really any right ways to be a mom. Every family, every house, every woman and child are different. But there are two secrets to surviving motherhood that apply to every mother. Love and Laughter. Now I think as mothers we generally have the love part down. It’s the laughter part that we seem to lose sight of from time to time. At least I know I do sometimes.

During the most chaotic days in my house I know I get caught up in the never-ending to–do lists of household chores, deadlines, homework, field trips reminders, prescriptions to pick up, etc. sometimes I forget to laugh.

But sometimes I remember. I look at my house, which is a mess, and my kids who have turned over chairs in order to create a puppet show where the puppets throw all the toys within reach across the room and laugh.

Because being a mom is silly. It’s exhausting and silly and crazy and wild. It’s like living on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Every single day. And totally the most awesome thing ever.

For the last couple weeks I’ve been spending every quiet moment I can spare (which are few & far between) to read bits and pieces of the hilarious SV Moms book club book, Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom by Kristin Van Ogtrop.

Written as a dictionary with terms that every mom knows. It’s pretty much one big laugh out loud moment that reminded me that we need to take life just a little less seriously and enjoy it for what it is.

Awesome.

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Here I Am

Each day I’m taken by the beauty that is my hometown of Livermore. The fact that Livermore was one of the winners of last years Great American Main Street Award (which means our Main Street is one of the best in the country) is not really a surprise to any of us who live here.

But for me what makes this town great is all the memories of all the perfect moments that this town is full of. Memories of playing in the fountain downtown or learning to drive and of course memories of walking every single inch of this town over the course of my lifetime.

Friday was a reflective moment for me when I walked with Patrick’s class to Livermore’s own Firehouse 6 to see the world’s oldest light bulb. That same light bulb that has been burning for 105 years here in Livermore. As we walked along East Ave. watching the beautiful landscape of the Livermore hills I realized just how lucky I am.

Our life may not be perfect. We may not be rich and things may not always be easy for us. But our life, it’s full of little moments. Warm sunny beautiful moments. Field trips to firehouses’. Ice Cream on a Sunday afternoon. Roses in full bloom. Laughing with my husband. Water balloon fights on aspring day.

And of course, waking up every morning to find my bed full of the three most important people in the world.

We have so many little moments that I could never begin to count them all. And almost every single one is set against the backdrop of this town. My hometown, my Livermore.

Once upon a time I was a teenager here and I daydreamed about all the places I would someday live and wondered where I would someday start my “real” life. Never did I imagine that at 32 I’d still be here raising my own family.  But here I am. And there isn’t anywhere else in the world that I’d rather be.

The Story of Easter

Our Backyard Tree in the Dead of Winter

I’ve written before about how I’m not big on the whole structured religion thing and as my children get older I ponder how I should go about dealing with the topic of religion. Today was Easter, which of course brought the whole religious thing into question, again. So how do I explain Easter? I mean truthfully Easter originally is a Pagan holiday (Eoster) which (like Christmas) got painted with the Christianity wand. So what do I tell them?

Well I opted for a simpler tale of rebirth. Outside we have a huge tree that shades half of our backyard in the summer. It’s one of the most gorgeous trees I’ve ever seen. During the winter the tree has been bare but in recent weeks it’s slowly began springing back to life with tons of bright green leaves. Also in our backyard are the sprouts in both our vegetable garden and flower garden. There are coming to life as well and slowly growing into the full rich colorful gardens they will be throughout the summer.

So instead of trying to explain the story of the Resurrection I took my kids outside. We looked at the beautiful tree that had been dead all winter and examined all the signs that it was indeed coming back to life. That, I told my kids, was what Easter was about. The changing of the season. When the cold harsh winter moves away and all that was asleep or dead comes back to life again.

I think by giving my kids a good spiritual base that is more about nature and just the life force that flows in and out of all of us, I’m giving them a strong foundation to help them as they grow older to seek the path that works for them.

Or maybe I just don’t feel like going to church.

So if you’re not exactly overly religious, or not religious at all, do you make any attempts at trying to explain holidays like Easter? Or do you just let them thing the whole thing is Easter Bunnies and chocolate eggs?

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