Pick Your Pie

“For those of you who feel overwhelmed and yet can’t see what you could eliminate from your schedule, I’d like to address a few things here. First, I want you to know that life really isn’t a competition. I think we can all agree that a little competitiveness is good-it motivates, keeps us on our toes and helps us do our best. But when you feel everything you do is being compared to someone else, it can make you a little crazy!

I’m not knocking being the best at something. But there are tons of other positions in life. You’re probably familiar with them despite killing your Self to be number one. I’m urging you right now to just do the best you can (and let your kids do the same) and then relax.

Instead of ‘putting your fingers in so many pies’ I’m urging you to limit your kids’ activities to one, maybe two, things a week. Just think how much more family time you’ll have! I’m urging you to choose one, maybe two volunteer activities you feel passionate about and let the others go. You will find you have more time and energy than you’ve had in a long time. Believe me when I say no one is judging you for what you are or aren’t doing. Everyone is too wrapped up in their own lives to give yours more than a brief notice.”

Today’s author is Stacey Glaesmann, MA, LPC. Her book is What About Me?

What is a Mother?

As we conclude our Mother’s Day Contest/Challenge, here are some final thoughts about what motherhood means.  One of our favorite poems about mother/parenthood is from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, “On Children.”

“Your children are not your children.  They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. ..

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.”

Another touching  account of motherhood is found in the video “What Is A Mother,” from Mother to Mother, one of our challenge champions.  Click here to view.

Then I saw Katherine Stone’s beautiful Mother Day post at Daily Hope and wanted you to see it too.

“You will discover the mother inside you and how beautiful and wonderful she is thanks in part to the love from your children.  You will grow to see yourself as your child sees you when he or she calls your name, or falls asleep comfortably in your arms, or smiles at you, or wants you when she is scared or hurt, or asks your opinion when he needs guidance.  You will see. ”

Photo by Real Mom Kim

We took the weekend off to practice self-care so contest winners will be announced Wednesday.  In the meantime, we hope you’ll send us your comments about what motherhood means to you.  Remember, make everyday Mother’s Day by Living Self-Care.

Self-Care During the Heat Wave

Temperatures have been breaking records all over the country due to the extreme heat. Not only is it uncomfortable, but triple-digit temperatures can be the cause of illness and even death if you don’t take care of yourself!

Some self-care techniques may seem obvious when you step outside and immediately start sweating. Stay inside where there’s air conditioning, drink plenty of water, and, if you do have to be outside for more than 15 minutes, wear at leastSun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 sunscreen to protect your skin from dangerous sunburns and seek out shady spots and take breaks often. However, there are some facts about self-care in the heat that many are not aware of.

Pools are popular places for residents to go for relief from the heat. The cool water masks the fact that you are still most likely sweating. Also, the pool water can actually focus ultraviolet (UV) rays on to your skin in a more extreme manner than if you were out of the water. So if you think you have less of a chance of getting burned in the pool, think again. Don’t pass up that SPF 30 or greater sunscreen, and apply it often – about every 30 minutes. This also applies to visits to the beach or a lake!

Cloudy, breezy days also seem to encourage folks to come outside. Many people believe that since it is cloudy, their risk for sunburn is diminished. Unfortunately, UV rays easily penetrate even the thickest cloud cover can can burn skin just as quickly as they would on a clear day.

It is true that the best times of the day to be outside in weather like this is in the mornings before 10 a.m. or in the afternoons after 4 p.m. The sun is not high in the sky during these times and UV rays are not as harsh. However, if you are required to be outside for over one hour during the heat of the day, wearing long sleeved shirts, long pants and a hat will give you the greatest protection. It sounds backwards, but the clothing will protect your skin and will also help absorb moisture from sweat. In this case, it is essential to stop and drink water every 10 – 15 minutes to lessen the chances of experiencing heat exhaustion or heat stroke. It used to be common thought that sugar and caffeine found in sodas and other drinks actually dehydrated the body, but this has been found to be false. However, experts still agree that water is the best option for hydration in temperatures this hot.

It looks like the heat is here to stay for a while, but using the self-care tips outlined above, you and your family can navigate the summer free of sunburns and heat illness.

For Prego Moms: Beat the Summer Heat!

We’ve been discussing all types of ways to engage in self-care.
No time is more important than when you’re pregnant.

Prego Factoid: During your pregnancy, your body produces
approximately 50% more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the developing baby. Swelling is a normal part of pregnancy that is caused by this additional blood and fluids. Normal swelling, which is also called edema, is experienced in the hands, face, legs, ankles, and feet.

Swelling can happen at any point during your pregnancy but is
usually noticeable around your fifth month; it can increase while you are in
the third trimester. Here’s why it happens: Summertime heat, standing for longer periods of time, “long” days of activity, diets low in potassium, higher
levels of caffeine consumption, and too much sodium.

Now for the self-care part! Eating foods that are high in potassium such as bananas and avoiding caffeine can reduce your swelling. Here are helpful hints:

  • Avoid standing for long periods
  • Minimize outdoor time when it is hot
  • Rest with your feet elevated
  • Wear comfortable shoes, avoiding high heels if possible
  • Wear supportive tights or stockings
  • Avoid clothes that are tight around your wrists or ankles
  • Have your legs massaged
  • Remove your rings before your fingers swell up
  • Drink water which helps flush the body and reduce water
    retention
  • Minimize sodium (salt) intake, avoid adding additional salt to
    meals

If you follow a regimen of self-care, you’ll always feel better!  Today’s guest author is Mollee of pregnancy.org.

It’s Summertime-Don’t Forget Yourself

It’s summertime when many of our schedules are crammed with kid and family activities. Several months ago, Susan Wenner-Jackson, co-founder of Working Moms Against Guilt wrote a great post about rediscovering herself after having children. We decided to rerun it so you don’t forget yourself during this busy season.

“As a mom, my only times alone with my thoughts have been 10 minutes in the shower or commuting to work. And guess what I was thinking? “Man, this shower feels good” or “I really hate this $#&@ing traffic.” Deep stuff.

Perhaps because my almost-5-year-old is more independent and my 19-month-old is no longer a baby, I’m now emerging from the mom-cocoon. It also helps that I work for myself, from home, with child care. As I poke my head (antennae?) out, I’m looking around saying, “What about me? What do I want?”

I’m allowing myself to move up my priority list. How do I want to spend my time? What do I want to experience or accomplish? It’s exciting to ponder these questions. I’m still a mom, with all the responsibilities and joys that come with it. But I’m also a person — who’s enjoying getting reacquainted with herself again.”

It doesn’t take long to reconnect with yourself. Spend 15-20 minutes each day doing something you enjoy whether it’s sipping coffee, sitting in a comfy chair daydreaming or painting your nails. Keep your thoughts on yourself and what you’re doing. Don’t let the summer pass by without making me-time. Have a great one.

Laughter: “An Instant Vacation”

I was teaching a self-care class on Wednesday to hair stylists, who certainly do their share of counseling, when one commented she’d seen this great sign, “Laughter is an instant vacation.”  I agree wholeheartedly so when my younger daughter sent me this cat picture a few months ago, I saved it for when I need a good laugh and decided this week to share it with you.  Hope this tickles your funny bone.

“Jabba” the Cat

May “the force” of laughter be with you.  Enjoy your weekend!

Rules of the House

As a psychotherapist, I work with many adults who are still struggling with their childhood “programming.” These are the rules and beliefs that your family of origin used, often unconsciously. It is very easy for someone who grew up in an abusive household to think that abuse is “normal.” Then the cycle continues.

One very common “program” is the “Don’t Rock the Boat” rule. This means that no matter what, family members either act like a dysfunction isn’t there, or try to “sweep it under the rug.” For example, a family with an alcoholic mother may never talk about the subject and may even step over her and keep walking if she was passed out on the floor.

Another common “program” is the, “Everything is Fine” rule. With this belief in place, each member of the family puts on “masks” when they have to interact with other people. For example, the mother and father could be going through an ugly divorce, but the children are all smiles and act as if everything is great. The parents do the same thing when in public.

What these programs have in common is untruth. These families don’t want to express their pain and dysfunction, so they never give themselves a chance to work through their problems. When they get to my office, they can be holding a lot of anger towards their parents, children, siblings or other family members. These folks have a choice: anger or forgiveness. As Kambri Crews, author of Burn Down the Ground says, “Forgiving others and making peace with the cards you have been dealt is within all of us. Generally speaking, people aren’t purely evil or good. Life is much more complicated than that. ” Well said, Ms. Crews.