Lately, I've been telling myself that I don't have time to do the things I love and enjoy because my 'responsibilities' are more important. As if in my own head other stuff needs to come before me --like cleaning and cooking. Um, yeah--don't think so. Now, I have no problems putting Sophie ahead of me, and when necessary Nate too, but to put washing a floor or folding laundry ahead of what makes me--me? No way! Yeah, I am quickly-but not soon enough-correcting this thinking. So, here's something that has been on my mind lately as I begin to wind down after ONE.CRAZY.SUMMER!
1. TELL MYSELF I'M GREAT! No kidding. Each night before bed I make sure to tell Sophie how fantastic I think she is, ( read about that here ) and each morning I do the same for myself. I have a personal "ME" journal where I write all the good stuff I can think of. This way I can start each day with a reason to be happy-with myself. It is VERY easy for me to forget ME when praying about how grateful I am for things. I really think it helps me to be a better mom: more patient, tolerant, kind, understanding, and loving. So like in the movie Enchanted, should I be asked, "Do I like myself?" I will honestly be able to reply, "What's not to like?"
2. TALK LIKE A BAD A*S IN THE CAR WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG. This sounds stupid, but seriously, I'm a big chicken when it comes to telling people off, so I pretend I get the chance when I'm in the car. This way I can voice my authority and superiority (even though I know I don't have any) over the little twit who couldn't bag the groceries right causing the bag to rip when entering the car. This avoids my becoming that grumpy, mean lady at the store--you know, like the one who pitches a fit when her peaches don't ring up for the sale price and holds up 5 people in line for 15 minutes over a whopping $.30. Yeah, you know the one. So I can be nice, cheerful, and understanding in the store, and still get to b*tch about it, without hurting feelings-while acting like a bad chick who doesn't put up with nonsense. This totally makes me feel somehow~~ powerful?? Sounds weird, but so true.
3. TEACH SOPHIE SOMETHING NEW. Nothing makes me feel more confident as a mom than seeing Sophie accomplish a brand new task, learn a new skill, or simply have a 'light bulb' moment. Last night while she was playing with her foam letters in the bathtub, she finally realized that a group of letters make up a word! WHOOHOO for reading! Anyway, she said, "Look Mommy, I spelled the word cup! ZCDAPTU!!!:) A little bit of work on the particulars and she'll be reading in no time--WHOOHOO for Sophie! See? I totally rock!;)
4. SING LIKE A ROCK STAR. No matter where I am, or who I am with, singing ALWAYS makes me feel good. Sometimes it's the songs I listen to, sometimes it's the people hearing me sing well that makes me feel good, and sometimes it's just the simple act of doing anything other than cleaning that makes me feel good. Singing rocks!
5. EXERCISE. Ugh. Had to put this on the list. As hard as it is to admit, and even harder to actually start doing, I ALWAYS feel great about myself, like I can 'conquer-the-world' great, after a rock star round of TAE-BO, or a marathon race on the elliptical. (The treadmill is officially stupid and will be ignored by me indefinitely.)
6. DAYDREAM. Sometimes it's fun to just let my mind wander, relax, and think about the impossible or unimaginable happening-(like winning 10 mil in the lottery) and what life is like if it happened. Lately I've been daydreaming about Sophie becoming an Olympian--in every sport of course and what our life looks like that way. I always feel so inspired when I think about the possibilities in front of us that it actually gives me a little boost in creativity-and a little zest in our family life. The other night a bunch of us ROARed with laughter daydreaming about what the U.S. Diving team would look like if Nate and his best friend Chris were the new duo for synchronized diving! (you had to be there)
7. READ SPIRITUAL BOOKS. In addition to my "me" journal, I also like to read a little something uplifting everyday. For the past two years, my husband and I have been reading Joel Osteen books-a couple of pages a day and talking about them each morning before we start our day. It's how 'connect' on a mental and spiritual level to keep our marriage as strong as possible. Our morning time (while Sophie is still sleeping) is my favorite part of the day (as a wife) because we get to focus on us as a couple whether we are talking about God, or ourselves, or our parenting. It's nice.
8. LEARN SOMETHING NEW. I'm a nut for learning, so every couple of months or so I like to tackle new projects and teach myself something in the areas I like to play in --like digital scrap booking, html codes, or preschool activities and crafts. The new ones I am starting soon are photography (once I buy the new camera) and homeschooling 'Montessori' style for preschool. Learning new things help to remind me that I have purpose in this world-and I also have lots to contribute to it.
9. PLAY LIKE A 3 YEAR OLD. This might be my favorite way to stay confident as a wife, mother, and even a woman. There is nothing more exciting to me than going to the zoo and having a hot pretzel while oogling the silly polar bears, and then heading off to the petting zoo to laugh my head off when the donkey starts squawking and makes me jump ten feet. OR- eating giant lollipops while wearing a silly hat on my head and watching the Wizard of Oz. Or taking a bike ride stopping at all of the parks in the neighborhood pretending that Sophie is the princess and I am the queen. Yesterday I had to be the evil queen. nice. When we got home though I felt really satisfied that I spend great quantity and quality time with Sophie and even though I hadn't even brushed her hair that morning I was still one-great-mom!
10. SPEND GOOD QUALITY TIME WITH HUBBY. We try to take time for 'just us' in addition to our morning talks to laugh and play like only married couples can. It's always fun to be together and last weekend we got a reminder of how much fun we have when we went to a White Sox game--it was awesome. We don't get a lot of this kind of time anymore, but we certainly appreciate it and know that it is a vital part of our lives together.
11. EAT HEALTHY FOOD. I've discovered that what makes my taste buds happy, almost always makes my tummy (and mood) icky. Twizzlers even has a commercial out there, 'makes mouths happy' but they neglect to mention what candy does to the rest of the body. So, healthy food for confidence. Easier said then done. BUT, if I am eating it, there's a good shot that my family will too. That makes me feel like a better mom, you know what I mean? (Even though a bag of carrots will never taste as good as a bag of chips, they certainly make me feel good!)
12. MAKE A TOUGH DECISION AND STICK TO IT. I didn't learn this one until Sophie was born. I learned that once a decision for my family was made, I had to make it my own and not compare to others. This was tough, but it really helped me to understand the 'what works for us' mentality especially in the parenting and married arenas. I was able to not only make the decisions, but not regret them as well; I choose to bottle feed instead of nurse; I choose to use smart love parenting over the other more popular types; I choose co-sleep (and still do btw); I recently made the decision to home school preschool for one more year. These were all very hard decisions to make. I've made even tougher ones with my marriage, but for the sake of post-length I won't divulge all of them. It really helps my confidence and esteem to know that I choose the things I choose for very specific reasons-no matter who agrees or disagrees. I really like 'what works for us!'
13. PRAY. I decided to put this one last because I think it's the most important. While I am not a religious person, I do believe in God, and I believe a relationship with God is incredibly important for long term health and happiness. Some people like to go to church, some people like to pray before a meal, some people get on their knees by the sides of their beds at night, and some people pray whenever and wherever. I'm in that last category, but mostly I pray in the mornings and I try to stick to what I am grateful for. An attitude of gratitude can help me through the rough, boring, happy, mundane, exhausting, scary, hysterical, and crazy parts of life-pretty much keep me seated while riding this never-ending roller coaster. When I am close to God, I am a better person all around-thus helping me be a better mom and wife.
So, there it is-some of the things that make me the mom and wife I am today. Just thought I'd share. I can't wait for this non-structured, hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer to come to an end. It happens every year right around this time that I have officially had ENOUGH! I want my schedule back!