This is the first time I’m speaking publicly about my journey through anxiety. Not because I’ve been embarrassed (and, for the record, no one should be) but because I haven’t really “struggled” through it in a long time. It’s always there and I make a conscious effort to temper my emotions and push through. The only thing stronger than my anxiety is the sheer willpower I have.
I want to say upfront that I have an amazing support system. Mental health issues are an issue in my family and, being the progressives that we are, came to an understanding and acceptance of this long before I came along. If I’m feeling all the feels, I call my mom. I call my aunt. I group text with my best friends who have also dealt with these issues. A solid support system can make all the difference and I acknowledge that.
Back to the point of this post, sometimes I suffer through it. Sometimes I suffer through it and it effects my productivity and my level of engagement with my kids and husband and that makes me feel guilty; the guilt can be severe and then I suffer through moments of depression. It’s a rabbit hole.
When I go through this cycle, I think of the NyQuil commercial, “Moms Don’t Get Sick Days.” It always lightens my mood a little bit. I mean, the commercials in that campaign are just funny and I don’t care what anyone says. And the thing is, it’s true. Parents don’t get sick days. There are little people who need you no matter what you are going through, right?
I am going to be talking a lot more about self-care this year because I have really neglected myself since having kids. It’s common and, for me, the most natural thing. It has been a serious effort to feel ok with doing something that only directly benefits me.
My mental health is a major part of my self-care focus and I want to share some of the things I do/use to care for my mental health.
Practice Open Communication
Talking about how I feel and having someone acknowledge those feelings does wonders. Like I mentioned before, I have been blessed with a support system that gets in on a personal level or empathizes with me on a genuine level.
If you don’t have that, there are other ways. I’ve used Talkspace before and really enjoyed talking to a professional on my own terms without having to set an appointment. (this is not an ad)
With kids in the house, quiet time may seem impossible but it’s not–you just have to realize your moments and take advantage of it. Wake up a little earlier in the morning when the house is still asleep or sit still instead of doing laundry when they are down for naps.
I’m a busy-body so sitting still, in silence, and focusing on calming my mind is hard for me. It’s something that takes time to practice and settle in to. Do it! Taking time to calm my mind leaves me in a better space to handle all of the craziness motherhood and life throw at me.
I absolutely love ariel yoga. Although I could probably handle advancing in the practice, I always take the beginners course because I go to relax, not to challenge myself.
The focused breathing, stretching and ambiance of these classes is great for my mental. At the end of these classes, floating savasana (which really means you lay inside the silk and let your body and mind sink into the feeling of weightlessness as you float in the air) puts me over the top. I always leave feeling emotionally and mentally lighter.
Sara is an essential oil that helps with hard emotional times. Essential oils have been around for a looooong time–way before they became trendy and there is a reason for that: they work.
I choose to let them work for me. I dilute the sara oil into a salve that I rub into my hands. The smell is so soothing and calms me in a way that is really hard to explain but it’s real and I recommend it.
Early Morning Routine
Finding an early morning routine helps start my day in a calm manner. I wake up a littler earlier than everyone and make my coffee and sit at the kitchen table and relax.
It’s that simple.
Until next time.
Taking on the SAHM lifestyle has shown me parts of myself that I wasn’t aware of and that’s life: a constant learning of one’s self. That’s how I see it, at least.
During the start of a new year, I usually think of a few things that I’d like to focus on but, to be honest, I’m never very determined in sticking to these “resolutions”.
This year, what with my new-found self-awareness in motherhood, I decided to make a short list of things that I wanted to do with (and for) my children this year. Small, simple things that (I think) will be meaningful for them and me!
Parenting is something you can get better at–that’s what I am going to dedicate this year to. Here is my list:
More Reading, Less Screen Time.
When I didn’t have kids, I swore I wouldn’t be the parent that let their child glue their eyes to a screen. Then I had kids and screens became my good friends. I’m a little disappointed in myself for this but I don’t condemn myself for it–I’m just going to do better.
My kids love to read but I want to be more involved and expand on that love. I’ll be taking them to the actual library for story times, introducing them to plays (lots happen in community parks!) based on children’s stories, and facilitating more reading at home.
No more “one book before bed”. I’m going to try to set their bedtime schedule a little earlier and spend the last 30 mins with them reading as many books as they want. That will be my commitment to them.
I mean, it really is just that simple. Both the kiddos went to the dentist Dec. 29 and came out with a zero cavity diagnosis. The dentist did ask if I was flossing their teeth…which I’m not..so I’ll do that.
Play Outside More.
My kids love nothing more than to play outside–even if its just for a little while. But I can be pretty fickle depending on the weather and how I feel after commuting all day…but the weather and the commute don’t have anything to do with my kids so I am committing to checking my attitude at the door and keeping my own issues out of my decisions to let the kids run wild outside.
More City Explorations
We are really lucky to live in a large city that prides itself in the arts and unconventional community engagement. I’m pledging to take more advantage of this in 2018.
Last week, Makenzie had fallen asleep early which left me and RJ in my bed watching cartoons for a couple of hours before bedtime. We laughed at the cartoons, Facetimed some family, talked about any and everything and it was wonderful.
I realized, in that moment, that I don’t spend enough one-on-one time with my kiddos. It’s hard when you have more than one, right? I spend a lot of my time finding compromises for them and keeping them from killing each other and turning our living room into a war-zone. I also spend most of my time splitting my attention between two kids who are really just trying to one-up each other.
In all of that, I lose the ability to really soak in their individual personalities.
This year, I’m going to change that. What are your parenthood resolutions?
Until next time.