Meet the Mominator

Mom·in·a·tor-

The Scene:  It’s 3 a.m.  Your tiny chunky 3-month-old baby is breathing rapidly, struggling for air.  You rush in to assess the situation.  He calms in your arms, but not enough to calm you.  This cycle repeats a few more times.  You, now sleep-deprived and swimming in a sea of fear and emotional instability, have a choice to make.

The Scene:  You are walking into a baseball game and your princess-dress-wearing 3-year-old falls and cracks her teeth on the sidewalk.  You, already under scrutiny for having the audacity to bring a screaming child out in public, have a choice to make.

The Scene:  You have been dealing with a painful tear in your shoulder for over a year.  Delayed by misdiagnosis and pregnancy, the time has finally come for some answers and some relief.  Already waffling back and forth between whether you want the results of your MRI to show a problem or not show a problem (thus proving you crazy), you hold your breath as the doctor shares that if these cortisone shots don’t work, surgery is the option and you won’t be able to lift your obese infant and spirited daughter for a month.  You have a choice to make.

The choice to make?  Meet the Mominator in you.  In 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Get yourself to a safe and private location.  Usually, the bathroom works for me.  (Pro Tip: Make sure your children are safe, secure, and unable to witness what comes next.)

Step 2: Let it come.  The tears.  The shortness of breath.  The rational fears and the irrational ones.   Let yourself dissolve into a puddle of ridiculousness as you chase every thought down to the worst possible scenario. (Pro Tip: It only takes 60 seconds for an emotion to take you over and let you go again.  It’s science.)

Step 3: Lock it up.  As quickly as you let the emotions come, let ‘em go. Your time for tears, panic, and uncertainty is over.  You are now the Mominator and you will confidently emerge from your hiding place ready to handle. that. business.  (Pro Tip: Removing any mascara/tear stains from your cheeks makes you more believable.)

Sling on the left arm for a month?  No problem, your right side will get super toned.

No two-front teeth for your 3-year-old?  Cool. Now she’s got a Christmas theme song for the next 2-6 years.

Kid can’t breathe? I’m on it.  Call in reinforcements including but not limited to your family, your hubs, and a team of medical professionals who tell you they can’t find anything wrong with him but if it happens again to bring him back to the ER (where they will probably find nothing wrong with him again).

I saw a quote the other day on Instagram, and it was this: God gave those little children to you, Mama – YOU.  No one else can mother them like you can.  You may have your work cut out for you, but you’re the one cut out to accomplish it.  You and your alter ego, the Mominator.  Go get ’em!

god gave those children to you

Self-Care, Self-Love, Self-Whatever-You-Want-To-Call-It-Just-Do-It

If you’re thinking, “Self-care sounds like a therapy word,” You Are Right!  It’s a fancy, not-so-fancy way to say TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.

As humans, yes, we need this.

As human mothers, we need this all the more.  And the more we have going on in our lives, the more we need to pay special attention to filling our own cups!

you-cant-pour-from-an-empty-cup

It’s not always easy, and it’s quite the process to nail down the specifics, but if you don’t have a satisfying self-care routine, dig deep and get to it!  Not sure where to start? 

Here’s a look at my self-care journey.

When I’m not diligently practicing self-care, (*in varying degrees depending on how long my stretch is) I:

  • Isolate: Not in the physical sense, because who has time for that! Full-time job, husband, 2 year old, family, friends!  Oh no no no….I hide away inside and bring my relationships to the surface. It’s a slow, almost-unnoticeable progression, but it happens.
  • Make poor decisions: I get lazy. Instead of practicing any sort of discipline, I do the bare minimum.  I keep up my house, sort of.  I keep the laundry going, just so I can binge on Netflix. I go to work, I cook, I play with Josie…but not in the fully-living way that we all deserve.
  • Play a dangerous game of chicken with depression: I’m prone to depression.  Sometimes I can see it coming at a distance, which is a scary gift.  If you’ve ever lived in the trenches with depression, you get what I mean by scary.  But a gift because I know I’ve got time to take steps to get healthy.

When I AM diligently practicing self-care, I:

  • Work out consistently: Nothing like a good sweat and some trusty endorphins to make me feel empowered, accomplished, and disciplined.  (Edit for pregnancy: let myself not work out because I can’t even get up the stairs or have an exciting conversation without losing breath and sweating profusely…oh the joys!)
  • Make healthy food choices: Can’t ruin my morning work out! (Edit for pregnancy: chocolate and dairy, in as many combinations as humanly possible.  The end.)
  • Am Transparent: I’m back to storytelling and wearing my heart on my sleeve.
  • Look for joy: Sometimes, I know just where to find it.  Other times, I’ve got my eyes wide open looking for it in the day to day!
  • Take my alone time: If I don’t get alone time, I go nuts.  So I take it when I need it, usually before I start getting really cranky.
  • Focus on others: Because I’m not busy burying myself, I’m free to send a small gift just because, bake cookies to give away, or enjoy conversations I’d otherwise dismiss.  I’m available to love others well.

It’s taken me a while to even get to the place in life where I can put words to all of this stuff.  I haven’t always been good at recognizing my times of no-care or plenty-of-care.  But I am getting better.  My self-care stretches get longer and longer, and the breaks get shorter and shorter! 

So every day I’m striving to love myself well, so I can love others well too!  Isn’t that kind of the point?

I’d encourage you…take the time to get to know yourself so you can chase down what brings you deep joy and excitement, health and wholeness.  love-yourself-love-others.png

I Can’t Remember The Last Time I Felt Pretty

This isn’t an easy one to write.  But those were the words I said out loud to myself one Sunday afternoon.  Ryan was running errands and Josie was sleeping.  I had a list of things to do, but the only thing I could think of when I looked in the mirror was that I couldn’t remember the last time I felt pretty.  Not looked pretty, felt pretty.  And I didn’t like it.  I felt (and looked) worn-down and kind of pathetic!

mascara-meme

So I got to work: 

  • Hot shower
  • Curled hair
  • 20-minute mascara application
  • Cute clothes
  • Painted nails

All great things that made me feel better about my outside appearance, but nothing that stuck longer than that evening.  And as I dug deeper into this, I realized that it all comes back to my New Year’s Resolution – to put more focus on self-care.

What does feeling pretty really have to do with self-care?  EVERYTHING!!!!!!  Everything.

Case in point, the week after my not-pretty afternoon, I went on a Girls’ Weekend with my college roommates.  On the first day, my soul was so filled with peace and encouragement, just from being together and laughing and swapping stories about babies with the flu and potty training and our husbands who sacrifice so we can jet out for a weekend away.  So filled that I lay on the side of a mountain, covered in snow, and felt like taking a selfie — which had little to do with my physical appearance and everything to do with how pretty I felt surrounded by my beautiful friends and the beautiful mountain.  And I knew I would post it because in the moments after the selfie when I lay there in the snow, I actually cried from relief that these moments exist.  If we focus on filling our own cups, we are able to pour into others – love and joy and peace and encouragement.  We can be who our family needs, and who our friends need, and who the world needs — our best selves!  Exactly who we are!  Exactly who we were created to be!

mountain-selfie

But it doesn’t just happen.  We need to figure out what brings us the most joy and create the space for it.  Not every weekend or even every year will we have the time or money to spend a weekend away with besties eating fancy crepes and getting massages and pedicures.  But every day we can do one thing that fills our cup a little more.  And with that we can love extravagantly!  God can take our little efforts of self-care and multiply them into care for those around us.  He is extra gracious and generous in that way.

You can’t pour from an empty cup.  And you can’t feel pretty with an empty cup either.  

Friends, please.  Create small moments in your day that fill you and cling to them!  You are worth the effort.  And you’re pretty too 🙂

pour-from-an-empty-cup

This One Thing Will Prevent the Spread of Stomach Flu

Disaster struck our house last weekend.  In the form of Josie’s first bout with the stomach flu.  Poor baby, you should’ve seen her…wild-eyed and scared to death of what had just come out of her tiny mouth.  (First and last gross part of the post, I promise).

As soon as we discovered this horrible turn of events, I immediately sent Ryan to the store for grape juice.  Yes.  Grape Juice.  100% Concord Grape Juice with no sugar added is THE ONE THING that will prevent the spread of stomach flu.

everyone-gets-the-flu

So follow these simple instructions the next time one of your family members (coworkers, etc) gets taken down by the stomach flu:

  1. At the first sign of the flu invading your home, drop everything.  EVERYTHING.  And run to the store to buy 100% Concord Grape Juice with no sugar added.  The no sugar added is important.  Brand is not.
  2. Drink 8 ounces 3 or 4 times per day until the flu has left the premises.
  3. The end.
  4. No, seriously. That’s it.

welchs-grape-juice

Some thoughts:

  • This should go without saying, but don’t attempt to give the grape juice to the flu-ridden. That would not be pretty.
  • At the first sign that you may have the flu, discontinue the grape juice. Again, not pretty.  But, probably not likely, since the grape juice is a miracle-working drink.
  • Please note, the grape juice doesn’t CURE the stomach flu, it prevents the spread of stomach flu. So there will still be one family member that has to take one for team.  If that’s you, sorry ‘boutcha!  But your entire family will thank you for reading this and heeding my very wise words.
  • During cold and flu season, maybe just keep a bottle of grape juice at the house just in case. We don’t keep juice in our house at all, so the late night run to the store was mandatory. Next time, I’ll be more prepared.
  • Some may say that red wine has the same powerful effect. However, I have not tested this theory, nor do I intend to.  Seems a little risky if you ask me.

So how does this tale end?  Ryan and I remained healthy and flu-free!  (This isn’t our first time using this technique either — it’s tried and true!)  Turns out, Josie got this stomach bug from daycare.  A few of the other kids got it over the weekend as well, but guess who else got it?  Their parents!  If only they had known…..

Cheers to good health and whatever works to keep us healthy!