Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Who Am I?

Who am I? Not "who is Lindsay/Jared/Haley/Nathan's mommy", but who am I?
  • A child of God.
  • A wife
  • Someone who would love to be a labor and delivery nurse in the future.
  • A woman who loves to read.
  • Someone who loves to craft-although sometimes I think I'm an artist trapped in a non-artist's body.
  • Someone who loves order-but constantly allows chaos to reign supreme. 
Do you know how hard it is to define yourself? I don't even think I did a very good job. I think that if a therapist/counselor had asked me to do this exercise...he/she would be disappointed in my answers. I think that most of my answers say what I like, what I do, etc. I don't know if that tells who I am.

As I've been going about my life-ie picking stuff up and cleaning and rearing children...I have been thinking about this. I wanted it to be profound. But these were all that I could come up with.   Does anyone have any way that they would define themselves?  By the way. I am a mom. And that is who I am. ;)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

  This is so true. I was trying to read this article while folding 2 loads of laundry. It's so nice and quiet for this moment in my life. The kids are all in bed (and so is my husband). It's been a good weekend. Actually a great one. But I am tired. I have been running on empty for a while now (a month at least!). My gas tank is so depleted. I am not eating right, exercising, sleeping enough, doing the things that I enjoy (not that I don't enjoy my children, but things that allow me to recoup and recover a little bit of "me" in the midst of it). I don't remember the last date Harold and I had. I usually have 3 places to be at one time. And let me tell you. That does not work. Physically.  So, as I was reading the article I had a few "aha" moments.
  • I'm not taking very good care of myself-physically or mentally.
  • I have not been very good at setting boundaries. Telling people "no". Even my own kids sometimes. *gasp*
  • Do I really know myself anymore?

Now, before I go on, let me stop for a minute. I get really frustrated when people make such a big deal about "me time" that it becomes almost an obsession and I begin to wonder when that person does anything that doesn't revolve around "me". There is a middle ground between complete selflessness (sometimes it takes the form of martyrdom) and living only for yourself. But, as this author points out...we must take time to take care of us so we can take care of "them". That only makes sense.

Am I taking care of myself? No. Not really. I need exercise. And I need sleep. If I would go to bed at a reasonable time (like an hour ago) I would be able to get up and exercise without it taking time from my real job. Do I take the time to put myself "together". Nope. During the weekdays most of the time I'm wearing something stretchy on bottom with a big (old-belonging to my husband) shirt. this is partly because I'm not sleeping or exercising-therefore the stretchy and big is to cover up the results of that. Make-up is a waste if you're not going anywhere, right? Well, not really. What is the purpose of make-up (if you use it)? Is it for others to see? Or for you to "feel"? For me, it just makes me feel better. So, why don't I put it on every day anymore? It would take, literally, 5 minutes out of my day to spruce up. And if I exercised in the morning (before the kids get up) I could take away that "excuse" for not getting ready. (I sometimes tell myself-isn't it fun to lie to yourself?-that if I don't get dressed I will work out later! Nine times out of ten it does NOT happen. Therefore, I'm just a schlump for no reason.) My goal? To go to bed earlier every night (starting tomorrow) and wake up by 7am (unless I have children keeping me up-then I HAVE to sleep in a bit) this week. 10:30. Lights out. That's my start.

Setting boundaries. We have to cut out some activities. Right now I have my children in 4-H, Wednesday night church, Drama, Baseball, Scouts, American Heritage Girls, Soccer, and pretty much anything they ask to be in. Are those all good things to be in? Absolutely. But, each family I know would tell you that the activity they are in is "good" (karate, tae kwondo, dance, gymnastics, music, speech and debate, Bible quizzing...and on and on). And I don't dispute that. But, we can't be in every good thing. Ever heard that you can have "too much of a good thing"? So, just sitting here right now I can think of a few of those that will be cut out. The things we are in need to be really important to us. Not important to our friends. Not "one day it might lead to a scholarship-maybe"...IMPORTANT TO US as a family. Oh, and no more animals in my home. 'Nuff said.

Do I really know who Cara is? Not "Lindsay's mommy" or "Haley's mommy". But Cara. I have honestly caught myself, years ago, on a rare occasion to be out without the kids (when I just had the two oldest) telling a cashier at Wal-Mart something just to throw in that I had kids. It wasn't something that I really needed to say or that she needed to know. But I almost felt like "mommy" was my entire identity...and since she might not know I was a mommy she might think I was nobody. How sad is that? It's great to be a mommy-and believe me, I wanted it worse than anything on earth. But you have to remember who you are as a person. As a woman too. Otherwise-even if it doesn't have any ill-effects right now-you will flounder when the kids are grown and gone. Sure, they'll always need you. But when you are not on duty 24/7...who are you? Who am I?

This article will be staying in my open tabs for a while as I  read over parts of it again and reflect on it. I have some serious soul searching to do. I need to quit making excuses and feeling guilty about me time. But I do need to prioritize and decide what is important enough to spend on "me time". Do I really need to check facebook 20 times a day? No. Once would be enough. Just like money...maybe even moreso!...time should be budgeted and spent according to our priorities. :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

40 Bags....

So, I read a blog post about a Lent project. It's called 40 Bags in 40 Days. It involves 40 Black Trash bags ( you know, the big kind) and 40 days of purging. Forty days! And Forty Bags! At first I think I could never do that (my house isn't THAT big! Come on!) Then I look around in each room and realize...there is so much we don't need. That I don't love. You should love everything in your home. And if you don't? It's not worth your physical or emotional "space".
Now, that doesn't mean I can throw out my couch and loveseat, even though after 10 years, I don't love them anymore. In fact, they kind of gross me out! They will go next year because I think my family would frown on sitting on the hard floor (it's not even carpet!). But what about the clothes in my closet that haven't been worn in...well, so long that there is an inch (well, almost) of dust on them! It's ridiculous to think that I will one day start to love those clothes. I think I'm holding onto them just so I'll have something in my closet. But that's silly. So, today I cleaned out my closet. And I love it. There are probably a few other things I could get rid of also. And I will. Sometimes, I've found, it takes several tries before you really get it down to the bare bones of what you need and love. I forgot to (or rather got all in a hurry before I could) take "before" shots of what I've done so far...but I think I'll take pictures of the piles of stuff I pulled out. They're really big piles considering how little time I've spent on it thus far. I'm excited. Of course, I'm doing this as Lent is over. Ha ha! Gotta be a rebel somehow! Toys, books, clothes....kitchen stuff....nothing is sacred. And I have some house projects coming soon too-hopefully!

Monday, April 18, 2011

If You Blink

Did you know that if you blink, time is gone? I never really understood that until I had kids. I cannot believe that my little girl is 11. She really is. Sometimes so grown up and sometimes...not. But she is 11 and that is crazy to me.

Another crazy thing? My mister man (aka son) is 9. He can't be. But he is. And today, at church, he made the decision to be baptized. I'm so proud of him. He is like his daddy, shy. He doesn't really want people looking at him or watching him. But, he came to the point where following God's command was more important than his own insecurity. So, during altar call, we went down together and talked to the pastor. I'm so excited for this event. As a mom, you have to wait patiently for your children to come to this conclusion all on their own. You could technically tell them to do it. But it wouldn't matter. It has to be their decision. Their desire. For it to matter.

We spent this weekend running-as usual-between sports events. We had baseball, soccer, baseball and baseball. Sometimes we have to decide who (parent) goes to which game. Saturday everyone (Nana and Papa included) were at baseball...then some of us (Nana, myself and the babies) went to watch Linds play soccer. We missed the second baseball game (yes, 3 in one weekend. 2 in one day!). Lindsay's team did well...it was a tie. Jared's baseball team was playing a tournament and they were UNDEFEATED! Awesome, huh? And best of all? The stands were covered at this particular baseball field. So, no one is sunburned! Yeah!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Part 2-Groundhog's Day

I sometimes wonder how women did it back in the day when they had more kids than I have (I think that is about a gaggle or something) and less modern conveniences. Here's what I think is the TRUTH about that. Life was hard. You woke early (but you didn't stay up late...say blogging? because there were no "modern conveniences"-lights, computers, television...). You worked hard. Then you went to bed so you could do it all again tomorrow-and it was dark anyways...what else were you going to do. So, you might have had that groundhog's day thing going...just not the insanity we have.
  • Mama didn't get distracted by the computer.
  • Mama didn't have to run kids all over the place. I think when Laura and Mary Ingalls got out of school...they walked home!? Never once did I hear anything about Mary needing to hurry and get ready for soccer practice.
  • You didn't have to keep up with the Joneses...who cared? The Joneses lived to far away to know what you had anyway.
  • Laundry was hard to do but there was less of it I think. And if you wore the same dress to church two Sundays in a row? So what. So did everyone (except Mrs Olsen-and who liked her anyways? She was so rude and ugly!)
  • Mama didn't worry about her kids psyches endlessly. She loved her kids. And although there was a gun in every house and every kid got spanked (behind the woodshed no less) no one took that gun to school and shot anyone!?
  • Mama didn't really need to worry abut her figure. She didn't have the overabundance of "convenient" food that we have now. And would she go to the gym? No. Her daily work was enough to keep her waist trim!
 I'm not saying I wish we could go back...I just realize that maybe our modern conveniences aren't so convenient after all.

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