3361438790_1f68e4aa27_mI know I need self-care as much as I need air, sleep, water, and food. I need time to recharge after constant yessing and doing. I just can’t seem to make enough time for it. Sure, if I reflect hard enough, I see a moment here and there spent reading a book during a bout of insomnia or taking a very quick walk between tasks. My version of self-care is so fast that if I blink, I miss it completely. It is an afterthought–something to check off the to do list once everything else has been done. Or something to do simultaneously while folding laundry.

I tell myself that I should be happy with the random moments here and there. That a moment is more than some people get. And that my reasons for not having time for self-care are happy problems (not even “problems” at all)–my son, who wants to spend every waking minute with me, being the primary reason. I enjoy the vast majority of the time we spend together, I really do. I am so grateful for our time together. I’m fortunate that our battles are few and far between. Like every parent-child pair, we have some tough times, and those times make me want to run away and hide.

This morning was like any other weekday. I got in the shower, and no sooner than the water got hot did Jax come into the bathroom and lay on the floor next to the shower. Then the dog and cat joined him. All of them relaxed on the floor of my teeny tiny bathroom while I tried to get ready for work. And then I kind of melted down. I raised my voice and I yelled a little about wanting some space and privacy and breathing room. And then when my husband finally escorted them all out of the bathroom, I slammed the door and locked it and cried because I felt so incredibly guilty at kicking out my son, who 5 minutes previously had just said to me, “Mommy, I see so much beauty today.” (See how awesome he is??)

My heart hurts today. I don’t know what I want and I feel like a huge contradiction. I want to be with my son all the time. I also want space and time alone. I want to go to work, where I can interact with grown ups and read things on the computer all day long and feel important. I don’t want to work at all. I’m tired but still seem to find the energy for playdates several nights per week. I hate doing laundry, but sometimes it’s all I want to do! I miss blogging regularly (without having to choose what to sacrifice or say no to in order to make time for blogging). I hate yelling in order to get what I need. Why can’t I simply get what I need without having to melt down? I’m and angry and resentful when I see others reading books, watching tv, enjoying themselves without scheduling it or asking anyone’s permission. But I also applaud them for putting themselves first once in a while. Why do I struggle so much with that?!

I think what I need is a vacation.

My husband offered me an amazing gift this morning on my drive to work when I called him to talk about hard-boiled eggs. He told me that for my Mother’s Day gift, he would buy me a plane ticket to visit one of my friends in another part of the country. He wants me to have a weekend getaway to recharge.

Immediately I started to cry, and my brain spewed reasons I shouldn’t accept his gift. Then the rational side of me jumped in and I realized that this is what I myself said I needed this morning while I was yelling and ranting in the bathroom. And that the boys will be completely fine without me for a weekend. And that nothing bad will happen while I’m away. And that there isn’t any valid reason I shouldn’t go away.

So I texted my best friend in Florida and told her, thinking that merely saying out loud what was on the table would mean I would have to go. That she would hold me to it, and it would be good for me. Just last night, the two of us had texted each other about how much we miss each other. This would be a fun, good thing.

So I guess I’m going away for a weekend to recharge?? I’m going to have to fight off my anxiety about this and keep reminding myself that this is a gift and a very good thing to do. It’s going to be hard to not make excuses to get out of it. Which, when I read what I just wrote, makes me feel kind of silly.

Have you ever escaped for a weekend by yourself? How did it make you feel?  

Image credit: János Tamás

It’s gonna get all awkward up in here for a minute. Although it really shouldn’t. I mean, we’re all parents here (probably), so we’re used to talking about bums!

The other day, as Jax was sitting on the potty, he told me he wanted to use wipes on his bum, like he did when he was a baby. He’s 4, so any baby wipes we had in the house have long since been used. I made a mental note to pick up some baby wipes the next time I hit a store.

This past weekend, I solo grocery shopped. It was exactly what you would expect it to be—a mini vacation! List in hand, I headed down the paper products aisle and stopped in front of the toilet paper. Cottonelle® Clean Care has been my usual go-to for a while now, but this time, with Jackson’s request in mind, I noticed some different Cottonelle products next to the toilet paper.

I listen to a lot of Howard Stern, people. And he’s made me appreciate the wet + dry combo for a really clean bum! The man loves to talk about bathroom habits! Channeling my inner Howard and remembering my son’s request, it occurred to me that maybe I should give the wet + dry combo a shot, too. Tossing the toilet paper into the back of the cart where my 4-year-old usually hangs, I also grabbed a package of Cottonelle® Flushable Cleansing Cloths. 

In case you’re wondering, here are the product details:

- Flushable
- Break up after flushing
- Sewer- and septic-safe
- Alcohol-free
- OneTouch dispensing tub
- Great for the entire family

#letstalkbums

Happy about our new bathroom routine!

It’s been a few days of use now, and I’m sold on Cottonelle® Flushable Cleansing Cloths as part of our bathroom routine. Jax loves them, which totally makes sense. Kids are tough critics, and Jax sure can be. But he knows what he likes and I pay attention! And he was right about this.

Every parent is familiar with the magical baby wipe. You trust them on your baby’s bum, but why not try using one for yourself with Cottonelle® Flushable Cleansing Cloths?

If you’re thinking about trying them but aren’t sure you want to spend the extra money, why not visit the Cottonelle Facebook page to hear Cherry Healey talk about bums in her cute British accent (which right there will probably convince you to try them out)? You can even snag a $1.50 coupon to save on Cottonelle Clean Care TP & Flushable Cleansing Cloths to experience the fresh, clean feeling for yourself! 


Thank you to Cottonelle for sponsoring this post and keeping my family’s bums clean!

 

 

I’m not sure whether it’s writer’s block or spring fever (I am out doing ALL THE THINGS) or both, but I haven’t said much here lately. I miss writing in this space, but I’ve also spent a lot of time wondering whether I actually miss it or it’s that I feel I should be spending my time here.

My friends and I have a joke that any time one of us uses that nasty little word “should,” she takes a shot. If they actually held me to this, I’d be drunk most of the day, every day!

In some ways, it’s been a nice break. The time I used to spend blogging has been recently devoted to getting on top of my work, spending time outside, and about a hundred other things. Look! I even created a list, if you’re just that curious!

Instead of blogging, here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • Taking Jax to play dates and birthday parties every weekend, sometimes more than one per weekend. Boy, there are lots of spring babies!
  • Overspending. I think I might have a little problem when it comes to shopping. I’m trying to reign that in and am considering issuing myself a month-long no-spending challenge (except on bills and necessities). If you’re up for the challenge, let’s talk and make it happen!
  • Reading. I’ve always been one to stick my nose in a book as much as I can, but lately I simply NEED to read. I usually spend 15-30 minutes in bed with my Kindle each night. It’s less stimulating than watching Netflix, and my mind doesn’t make to do lists when I’m engrossed in a book.
  • Home improvement projects. So far I’ve repainted all the trim in the living room, plus the basement door and the trim around the back door in the kitchen. I’ve yet to paint the trim in all the other rooms, paint the living room walls, recaulk the bathtub, and various other repairs, although I bought the materials so I’ll be ready the next time the mood strikes!
  • Worrying about what I’m going to write for my upcoming week manning the helm at Postpartum Progress. I’d love to hear your suggestions, if you have any, about what you think moms (and dads) want to hear or need to know about perinatal mood disorders. Or if you had an experience you want to share, let’s talk!
  • Making smoothies.
  • Taking walks. And yes, I’m still doing yoga & still loving it. If you’re local to me and want to meet up for a class, let me know!
  • Hanging out with my new kitten, Gordo. Making sure the dog and the kitty don’t hurt each other.
  • Trying to figure out just how badly I “need” the new patio I got an estimate for (ie, whether it’s worth going into debt for)!
  • Wrapping up my 12-week balance skills/mindfulness class, which was really helpful and inspiring. Again, if you are local to me and interested in the next one this fall, I will gladly hook you up with the info!

That’s about it! I’ll leave you with a pic of Gordo because he’s supercute. If you follow me on Instagram, my apologies for flooding your feed with his face over the past 3 weeks. But come on, how cute is he?!

 

20140414-150352.jpg

walk signI need some. The motivation and the self-care, both. Life has become so busy, suddenly. I’ve allowed this to happen, and I am painfully aware it is a problem I would like to overcome–the constant overscheduling, the need to fill every pocket of downtime with something.

Spring is finally here, and if I don’t slow down, I’m going to miss it.

I haven’t written in weeks. I haven’t taken a walk in months. I haven’t finished a book in weeks, which for me is a tragedy. It even feels like it’s been too long since I simply got down on the floor and built Lego houses with Jax.

What the hell have I been doing lately? 

I have been shuttling myself, Jax, and our new kitten to appointments (to a wrist doctor, the dentist, and the vet, respectively). I’ve spent ample time in PetSmart for both the dog and the kitten. I wrapped up my 12-week balance skills/mindfulness group. I’ve gone to countless playdates and birthday parties with Jax. I’ve sorted through tax paperwork. I’ve made more phone calls than ever.

None of this feels meaningful. I don’t remember the last time anything I did felt meaningful. Or fun. I put my to do list before fun every single day.

How sad. And not what I want to role model for my son.

I’ve been avoiding putting myself first because it feels selfish when there is so much to do! But I know better. I know how dangerous that kind of thinking is.

With a loose plan in mind to increase my self-care, earlier this week I cashed in some recent blog earnings and treated myself to a FitBit Flex. Ta-da! A fun way to get myself to take more walks (one of my favorite forms of self-care)!

I am a goal-oriented person by nature, and I enjoy analyzing data. So it just makes sense for me to rely on a trendy gadget to motivate me to get moving, right on out of my slump. I’ve wanted a FitBit since last summer but I’ve been talking myself out of the splurge. But last weekend, I started to think about how much I miss walking during my daily lunch breaks now that I spend that time picking up Jax from school and dropping him off at daycare and then rushing right back to work. I felt depressed that I’ve given up my lunch break walks, even though I can’t tell you how much I truly love and appreciate seeing my son in the middle of the day. (That’s for another post.)

After 6+ months of not walking at lunch (and nearly 3 more still to go), I’m really feeling it now. The days are warmer and brighter after one of our cruelest, longest winters ever. It’s torture to not have time to get outside and enjoy it.

The FitBit is going to fix my life, right? My need to attain the daily goal of 10,000 steps is going to motivate me to stop scheduling my life away and get my pale self outside, walking in the sun–which, to me, sounds like the antidote to being stuck inside a gray cubicle all day long and then spending the evening crossing things off my never-ending to do list (ya know, like dinner, sorting through school papers, laundry, etc).

Yesterday, instead of standing outside my son’s school playing with my phone as I waited for him, I took a 5-minute walk because I wanted to increase my step count. It was invigorating and a much better use of my time than checking Twitter and Facebook for the tenth time that day. While I do love Twitter, it’s not exactly self-care.

My goal this week is to keep my weekend wide open and spend part of it outside. I’m sure I’ll be tempted to fill up the planner with playdates and tasks. But really I just want to play with my new toy, the FitBit! So that’s what I’m gonna do.

Have you struggled with pushing aside your to do list and making time for self-care? If so, what have you done to remedy the situation? 

photo by: rockmixer

Chopra quote about intentionLast week, I tried something new–setting an intention for the day. I pulled out my “positivity notebook” and on a clean sheet of paper, I wrote “What is my purpose today?” I did this two days in a row.

I scribbled the first few things that came to my mind. Starting my days in this way changed something in my mindset, which changed my entire morning. I admit, I’ve been known to start my mornings in a frenzied, negative state of mind, where the littlest thing that goes wrong can set off a bomb in my brain. But not that day, and not the next day either.

What is an intention? According to this article in Yoga Journal, it is:

…not oriented toward a future outcome. Instead, it is a path or practice that is focused on how you are ‘being’ in the present moment. Your attention is on the ever-present ‘now’ in the constantly changing flow of life. You set your intentions based on understanding what matters most to you and make a commitment to align your worldly actions with your inner values.

I flipped back to my intentions once or twice to remind myself of them before setting about doing the things I had planned for my day. The short list helped me focus on the present moment. I asked myself throughout the day, am I honoring my intentions right now?

Even a single moment spent intentionally can reset a downward spiral into emotional mind. I struggle with my emotions–I let them control me–all the time. I’m working on it, believe me. Intention setting is a new tool for me. It helped me go about my day a bit more mindfully.

I googled “setting intentions” before I sat down to write this post. Huffington Post, of course, had many posts related to this topic. According to this one:

Starting your day with an intention will leave you willing and available to say ‘no’ to what is not serving you in your life.

As a people pleaser and a yes woman, this idea intrigues and calls to me. I understand that I need to say no to more in order to feel less stressed and more relaxed, and to have more time to explore the things that make me feel good (to say yes to more).

Do you set intentions each morning? If so, how does it affect your day?