Mommy Needs a Time Out, Too!

As a therapist, whenever I see a female client we generally always get around to how she takes care of herself. Most of the time, the female client has a really hard time explaining how she goes about taking care of herself. I'm not saying every woman that I have seen in counseling is lacking in this area, but it came to my attention pretty quickly that when women present to a therapist with depressive symptoms, weight gain, anxiety, among other issues, typically, self-care is lacking or non-existent.

I wanted to take a few weeks and really take the time to educate people out there about self-care and how important it is in this crazy life we are living. I mean, lets face it, unless you are Amish, living on a farm somewhere secluded, with no accessibility to electronic devices, we all share similar life stressors. We all go through life stages. Sometimes those stages are wonderful and fun and fulfilling. Other times, they are depressing, overwhelming and emotionally draining.

Our ability to sustain and take care of ourselves (and others) will have a huge impact on how we recover when life throws us those curve balls. Sometimes the curve balls keep coming. Sometimes we think the worst has happened and we find ourselves empty, void, and depressed. Unable to fight back any longer. Unable to spring back, revitalized, yet again. We are done. Finished.

So how do we prepare ourselves for life's ups and downs?

Simply put, we have to take the time to care for ourselves even when we think we don't have the time. You can ignore your body, you can ignore the depressive symptoms, you can deny being spiritually, physically and emotionally can ignore these symptoms, for a time. But the body has a funny way of letting you know when it's had enough.For some this is physical symptoms such as intestinal issues, inflammation, heartburn and anxiety attacks. These are signals our body is giving us that we need to slow down and take better care of ourselves. For others, it leads to more serious symptoms, some people are hospitalized. Some people are near nervous breakdowns. It doesn't have to get to that point, it shouldn't take hospitalization in order for us to take notice of what we are doing to our body (and our soul and our spirit).

If there is anything I could teach women it would be the art of self-care. So, that is what I am going to set out to do in the next few posts and weeks. Break it down. Educate. Empower.

First things first. What is self-care? And what is it NOT?

Next time we will look in depth at exactly what self-care is, the definition and what it is not.

Here is a hint. As wonderful as taking a hot bubble bath is and making time to go get a mani/pedi can be stress relieving, or having a girls night out every now and then can increase bond with others; true self-care comes from inner values of what we find important. Knowing who we are. Our purpose, and why we are here.

It is a process of nurturing ourselves over the long run, not just a quick fix it like taking a hot bath or reading a favorite book. Granted, those should be incorporated into our lives. They are healthy. They are important.

But there is much, much more to it than that.

I leave you with a question: What is self-care to you?

Can't wait to dig into this with you guys!!!!

Three Reminders I Need to Equip Me to Effectively Parent My Seven Year Old

Today is the day.   For some reason my boy turning seven this year has affected me more emotionally than usual. So, I started reflecting on why?? I mean, I not only felt sadness, but a little anxiety. It was almost like it hit me that my husband and I are truly in charge of raising this little human being and this human being is not so little anymore.

This is a different developmental phase we are entering. Things are changing, and well, things are about to get more and more complicated. This is a time of greater independence and I think what hit me was, Greg and I are going be seeing more and more the results of some of our parenting. Our pouring into Carter. And... what if it doesn't turn out well?? Eek!!! (I mean, come on, do you NOT ever wonder what if?????)

So, these are somethings I have had to remind myself of this week as I processed moving to a different developmental stage.

1) Even though I may not see the influence that Greg and I have on Carter every day, there are days when we see it and it confirms that we are doing something right.

Some days with Carter are hard and challenging. Some days are wonderful. Some days I want to give up. But, every once in a while, OK, quite often, I see how Greg and I are influencing him in a positive way. The problem is we tend to focus more on the problems rather than the successes. It is so much easier to freak out over a minor behavioral issues rather than the big picture. It is also easier to focus on the negative rather than the positive. Believe me, I can teach parents all day long to focus on positives to reinforce the positives, but when it comes to day to day life with MY child it's harder than it appears.

So this year I am reminding myself to see the positive

2) Teaching my kids to act right and have good manners and social skills takes time, energy and a lot of patience.

Let's face it. We all want perfect children, right? I mean we would never say that, but get in public with others and you want your child to act perfect, because it reflects how good a job at parenting we are doing. Wait. Did I just say that? Yes, I did. I often lose my patience more in public than in private because I have this high expectation on my kids to reflect me in a good light. That is wrong. It is prideful. And I have learned I will always leave that situation with egg on my face and heart full of regret.

If I am not consistent in teaching my kids how to act on a regular basis, why do I think they are magically going to have those skills when we are in public. Now more than ever, I have to take advantage of every situation to make it into a learning situation. Having a dialogue as to why we don't do that but do this. Carter is only going to become more independent.  And if my child does not act how I want him to act remember he's a kid, and he's not supposed to be perfect and this is how he learns.

I could go on and on about this, but I will save that for a separate post.

So this year I am reminding myself to remember that every moment can be a teachable moment.

3) Carter is going to fail. He's going to mess up. He might not always make the best decisions, but this is critical to how he will learn to make better decisions.

Developmentally, 7-9 year old years means we are entering a time of more independence and your child wanting to make more decisions about his day to day life. There is a fine line that parents walk during this time. Some parents don't want there kids to be hurt, fail, or make mistakes. Therefore, they go rescue them whenever they see a potential "train wreck". This is  commonly referred to as "helicopter" parenting. And we all have a little bit of that in us and that's okay. But when we as parents continually protect, control, and ultimately make decisions for our children based on keeping them safe, we are crippling them and their ability to be independent one day.

I admit this is hard. I have felt it. I have to remind myself to butt out!

Let me give you a couple of examples:

When Carter comes home complaining that his friends were mean to him ALL DAY, didn't play with him, didn't sit with him, etc. I don't pick up the phone or get online and try to fix or figure out what happened and was my child mistreated. I just try to understand his feelings and empathize with him on how bad that particular day must have been for him and help him see what he could do differently next time.

 If your kid has a really bad, difficult teacher, teach your child to respect those in authority no matter what. They can't quit something because they are not getting along with someone. Same with a coach, Sunday school teacher, etc. Any adult your child has to interact with on a weekly basis. This is YOUR opportunity to teach your child how to get along with others and not quit. As hard as it is, allow your child to feel discomfort, to not always get his way, and to teach him how to live with difficulty. Too many times we just want to rescue.

A great couple of books to read on this is

Parenting Is Heart Work

Helicopters, Drill Sergeants, and Consultants

It's a lot easier to take over and "fix" the situation than to let your child suffer. We want to take over. When you feel this way, it is a great opportunity to stop and pray and ask for wisdom! This is when you have to see your kid unhappy, fail or even possibly get really hurt by others. This when parenting gets hard (er).

So this year I am reminding myself to be more of a "consultant" and less of a "helicopter"

I think this is where my anxiety was coming from. My little boy is growing up. I guess I just needed to remind myself, again, that I am already equipped, through Christ to do this. I'm not going to be perfect, I don't have to be perfect AND neither does Carter. We both need grace, prayer, consistency and lots and lots of hugs for when life gets hard. And the reality is, it's going to get harder.

But, I still have time. We can do this. We are equipped to do this. And as scary and anxiety provoking as it can be, it's really cool seeing this little human being becoming his own.

I love you Carter.

Happy New Year!!!

I hope everyone had a blessed, safe and non-eventful New Years Eve!!!

We stayed home and had a very low key (boring) evening. Got the boys in bed and attempted to stay up until midnight and almost made it. The in laws kept the boys for a few hours new years day and what did we do

We sat down and looked over our budget for the year and how to stay on that budget. We also set family goals, personal goals, business goals and ministry goals. Whew!

I have to say it was awesome though, it is something that we talk about a lot but have not followed through on. We want to be more organized and goal-oriented. I've been watching videos and downloading free e-books on the subject of de-cluttering and goal setting. But that part is easy. It's the follow through that is often the hardest part.

I'm hoping in the next few weeks to share some of my struggles and even some triumphs in this journey to get organized and de-clutter. I might even share a few of my more personal goals. We'll see.

The first thing I did today was "like" this page on facebook after a friend posted about de-cluttering her home in 2013 and posted this great calendar (that I have already printed off). Basically, you spend 15 minutes a day de-cluttering so by the time the end of the month/year you have actually accomplished a lot, rather than spending, say, four hours on a project then ignoring that part of your home again until it's all cluttered up again (ahem, guilty here). I also downloaded a free e-book on scheduling cleaning each day, something that intrigues me also. Anyway, you can get to her website from her facebook page and download everything I did. She asked that people not share her link, so if you go to this website, you will be able to find everything  I did.

So, what are some of your goals for 2013. I don't call them resolutions. Goals. Let me hear about them!!!!