An Ordinary, Joyful Day

An Ordinary, Joyful Day

I’ve been dealing with some heavy stuff these last few weeks. All the stressful thoughts and grieving sadness spiraled into a near panic attack and I felt like I was going to burst open. I was forced to just stop and take a step back. 

I thought how much easier life felt when I only focused on being a mom or when I wasn’t actively trying to better myself. As great as self improvement and enlightenment are, they bring up a lot of baggage. Of course an easier life doesn’t mean better, but it made me really see that I am making things so much harder on myself with everything I think I need to do. I spend so much time in my head that I am missing out on the joys of today

I decided I need to cut out unnecessary stressors, put down my phone, go with the flow of the day more and focus on what’s in front of me (something I always forget somehow). This meant saying yes to my son more, something I’ve wanted to do. So after a morning of watching the garbage trucks on our street and playing in the wet sandbox, he asked me to move a big pile of rocks with him to the porch. These are rocks my husband moved behind our shed so he wouldn’t run over them with the lawnmower. Now, I didn’t really feel like moving the rocks, I didn’t want to but I said yes because I couldn’t think of a real reason why not. It brought him so much joy! He would smile so big and started saying “this is very amazing,” and “this is great idea.” His joy brought me joy, and guess what? All it really took was me saying yes and giving him my attention. It was so easy.

In going with the flow (and since I was solo-parenting), I decided we’d take an unexpected shopping trip for Halloween costume goodies and would probably end up eating dinner out. A shopping trip and public dinner alone with an almost three year old is not my idea of fun or calm. But it needed to happen, otherwise we would’ve just sat at home all evening and with my tired mind, probably would’ve butted heads. 

He was pretty patient for our short trip into the craft store but at the end he threw a fit because the cashier handed him the receipt (like why, lady?) and I took it from him. He was screaming and crying but I stayed calm! I instantly got sweaty but I spoke to him quietly and went about our way. This is a big deal for me. Of course by now I can handle tantrums but there were so many extra factors in this public setting that would normally stress me out. What did I do differently? I didn’t focus on what the people around us must be thinking or how I felt. Honestly when you’re living in the moment, there’s no time for that. Deep down I also knew the moment would pass and dwelling on it or adding stress to the situation wouldn’t help. I stayed calm and it felt so good. 

After that, we headed to one of our favorite restaurants. The hostess sat us at one of those tiny tables for two, where one side was a chair and the other side, a wall-length booth shared with other patrons. Um, no. I instantly thought this won’t work and asked for an enclosed booth. All the moms of toddlers understand this right? I remedied the problem before it was a problem (another mom thing) and after a little wait, we got our booth. Instead of panicking or making myself deal with what we were given so I wouldn’t inconvenience others, I asked for what I wanted. 

As I said, taking my son out to dinner by myself isn’t something I look forward to but this night, I was delighted. I was too tired to really care what anyone around us thought. I kept him happy with cars, coloring and my attention. (I also kept my phone in my purse so no pictures of our dinner either.) He proudly asked the waitress for a blueberry pancake, which is on the menu. Later he told her, “Thank you for making dinner,” and she kinda giggled with pleasure. After demanding in his two-year-old way that he needed my food he said, “Thank you for sharing with me.” My heart melted. There was a woman working on a laptop at the table behind us, who I heard commenting about the table of kids there before us, so I was hoping he wouldn’t bother her. At one point he stood up and told her, “Hi, I’m just eating dinner with my mom.” She asked him if he was using his good manners and told him he sure seemed sweet, to which he replied, “thank you.”

I don’t really dote on his manners much because I think there are more important things than being obedient, etc but these interactions really filled me with pride. Pride in him and myself. Even when I feel like an awful mom or think he doesn’t get enough social interaction, I am clearly modeling something good for him. 

As much as I love my role as a stay at home mom, I often get weighed down with the stress and energy of it. Yesterday I cleared out my head and approached life with a truly different perspective and calmness. I saw my son as a delight. I reminded myself that I am capable of living the life I want, when I get out of my own way. 

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Some Days are Better

Some Days are Better

Last week was wonderful. My husband took off work, some family came to visit and I got my first ever night away as a mom. After more than two and a half years of spending practically all day everyday with my son, I finally let go of the reins because I knew how deeply I needed a break — and because I realized it doesn’t ALL depend on me all the time.

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Our Night Away
A night away and a whole week reconnecting and parenting with my husband was truly refreshing. We were able to talk about many important things, some of which I’ll get into in a later post.

That brings us to this week. And…it’s been kinda awful. More specifically, yesterday was awful. Okay, so one bad day doesn’t ruin a whole week. BUT I feel I can only say that now since today’s been better.

Between coming down with a cold or whatever it is and E barely taking a nap, I broke down. I was angry, infuriated. I didn’t get to have my precious alone time to do whatever I wanted and I fell deep into despair. Really really deep y’all. Like hastily searching for mother’s day out programs and therapists because I felt like I couldn’t handle ANY of it anymore. I cried and yelled. My son cried and yelled. I slammed doors. I felt utterly alone. An awful day.

Now that I’m on the other side of it, I realize a few things. When things were going badly, I kept telling myself, “I can’t do this” and “this is not what I want.” I also seemed to want to make my anger and sadness known to my son…a two year old. Did those thoughts or feelings accomplish anything? Nope. That way of thinking made me and my son feel worse and worse.

I did go to bed thinking, tomorrow’s another day. But it’s not like I woke up in a good mood today or consciously chose to be more positive. No, in fact I was feeling even sicker today. It wasn’t until later this afternoon that I realized I was having a better day because I let go and let the day happen. I didn’t put any pressure on what I needed to do today. I listened to my body and gave it nourishing food and gentle yoga. I stayed present and out of my head.

And you know what, even though I’m physically not feeling so well, I feel much lighter mentally and emotionally. I opened myself up to the day and flowed with whatever happened. Of course it helped that E napped for three hours and the weather was twenty degrees cooler so we could spend more time outside.

I’ve talked about anxiety and depression before and why I’m trying to find happiness. Even though I am working towards a positive goal, I often feel like every other day is a bad day (though it probably isn’t). Between taking care of a toddler and trying to “change my life,” I’m burning out and needing a break more often than I’d like.

I guess my point of this post is to say that change takes time. A positive mindset takes work.

Finding this quote today was perfect. “Some days are better, some days are worse. Look for the blessing instead of the curse. Be positive, stay strong, and get enough rest. You can’t do it all, but you can do your best.”

There are some concrete plans I know I need to figure out but for now I’m trying to pay attention to what works or doesn’t work for me. Mostly that means letting go of what’s bringing me down. And of course, not giving up.

My First 30 Days of Yoga

My First 30 Days of Yoga

When I became a stay at home mom, I didn’t really care about losing weight or what I looked like because I didn’t need to dress up everyday or even leave the house. I had other things to focus on and felt like no one was really looking at me anyway, so I didn’t put much effort into taking care of myself.

Fast forward two years later and I’m exhausted, often angry and resentful. Clothes still don’t fit right but mainly I’m sick of feeling tired and crappy everyday. Good health and self care are an essential part of happiness that I was missing. Read more

Quote

“It’s not selfish to love yourself…”

“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.”   – Mandy Hale

I know many women, mothers and good hearted people who often put everyone else’s needs ahead of their own. Being a mom is certainly fulfilling but taking care of yourself is important too. Read more

Growing for My Dreams

Growing for My Dreams

I took a little break from posting because I’ve been in a weird headspace. I felt pretty guilty about it at first because I wanted to stick to a consistent schedule of posting. I know if I get off track, I just keep slipping. Then I remembered I am still writing, just not sharing with the world. I really am a private person so sometimes it’s hard for me to share so much.

Taking a break for my own sanity is okay. I’ve had to relearn this truth after becoming a mom. But there is a big difference between taking a break and giving up.   Read more

Quote

“I don’t know what living a balanced life feels like..”

“I don’t know what living a balanced life feels like When I am sad I don’t cry, I pour When I am happy I don’t smile, I beam When I am angry I don’t yell, I burn The good thing about feeling in extremes is when I love I give them wings but perhaps that isn’t such a good thing cause they always tend to leave and you should see me when my heart is broken I don’t grieve I shatter”   – Rupi Kaur

I used to wish that I didn’t feel so much or didn’t care as much.

Read more

Surrendering to the Unknown

Surrendering to the Unknown

Surrendering to the Unknown

As a mom, I feel like I’m always trying to figure something out or that I should know what to do about everything. In the first year of motherhood, I was asking myself a LOT of questions. Why won’t he sleep? Why is he crying? What’s the best way to..? Should I be doing this or that..?  With all the sleepless nights, those questions became overwhelming and exhausting. Mom guilt made me feel like I was failing if I didn’t know the answers.  Read more

Quote

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically..”

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another, unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made of layers, cells, constellations.

– Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin Vol. 4 Read more