Awareness

White Daffodils

It’s finally my kiddos’ Spring Break this week, so I have been purposefully staying off social media as much as possible so as to manage my feelings of inferiority on not being able to afford Caribbean trips at this time of our lives.

Instead we went to an Imax movie and out to eat at our local Food Network-famous BLT and malt shop yesterday.  Today we are going hiking and also out to eat.  In fact, there may be a margarita in my near future.  It will be just like a beach.  Ha!

Many of us eye-roll at the social media documented vacations our friends and family take, but then also continue to post and check-in when we ourselves are out and about.  The cycle continues.

But none of it matters.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”  Ian Maclaren (not Plato apparently)

Mindfulness means awareness.  The seductive temptation of judging ourselves against the perceived accomplishments of others does not help the world.  It only serves to make us feel unworthy.  Being aware of my own feelings, including those of insecurity and inferiority, helps lessen their hold on my heart.

It’s also a good tool in managing first-world comparison grumpiness.

There is much in our lives to be grateful for.  Start there, and the open up to awareness of your own feelings.  Pretty soon one margarita will be absolutely lovely.  And I don’t need to put a picture of it on Instagram for that feeling to stick.

Much Love,

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Weak hair and nails oh my

Manicure

On an April morning last week, I noticed that my gel-manicured nail damage from December seems to have finally grown out.

My whole life I have had extremely fine hair and very weak nails.   Sometime in my junior year of high school my parents went out of town and left me at home with $40 spending money. Standing for a minute or two, looking at the money, I promptly swiped it up and marched right into a nail salon for a full set.  Then I ate what was in the house and watched TV for the rest of the weekend.   It was glorious.

I quickly learned how to adjust playing flute & viola with my beautiful new daggers.

Sometime before college I had them removed.  The details I assume had something to do with budgeting, but I don’t really remember.

It has been hard to accept my natural, less-desirable traits, as it can be for many of us.  Taking Calcium & Vitamin D supplements before bed seems to have helped strengthen my nails a bit.  More recently, I have found a cool conditioner/shampoo combo that helps keep my hair extra fluffy.

But when faced with the tantalizing prospect of chip-free, beautiful strong nails all through the holiday season…it was hard to decline.

Still, I will try to remember the 4 month recovery time when faced with that decision again.

Such a first-world problem to have…hair and nail trouble.  Boo flipping hoo.  Right?

Right but…feeling bad about yourself can still take up precious emotional space in your heart.   Some of it is so old, we don’t even notice it really.

For me, when something like this comes to my attention, I remember that comparison is a slippery slope.  There will always be someone nicer, fitter, more productive, happier, richer, prettier with better hair and nails than I.  In fact, I have dozens of friends that could fit into this category.  So what?

I still have so much and am grateful for it.

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Grateful For

Bluebird

Beautiful weather

Fresh and clean running water

A momma & daddy bluebirds in our backyard birdhouse

Two healthy children

Wind chime songs

A kitchen full of food

Finding creative ways to reuse old things

This moment in time

Feeling happy, blessed and abundant.

Much Love,

 

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On Mothering

Sweet Baby

My first baby

[Originally published 9/16/11]

When I had my first baby, I continued working outside the home.  There was no other choice.  We could not have survived on one salary – not to mention our health insurance was through my work.  I was lucky though.  She was born in November, so my maternity leave went right up through the holiday break.  I was able to take 8 weeks of paid maternity leave.  Also, when I returned to work, I brought her with me.   She was our office baby until she started crawling – at which point it was day care time.

I LOVED my day care.  Really, the staff loved each and every baby – especially mine.  I felt a little guilty leaving her, but I knew in my heart that they were taking excellent care of her.

Then I was run over by a truck.  My daughter was 3 and 1/2 when it happened.  After returning to work, I began post-traumatic stress counseling, and my therapist encouraged me to consider staying home with her more.

I was quite confused.  Why?

She informed me that the research wasn’t all in on kids in day care, and that they really needed to be with mom at home more than anything else.

Well great!  What am I supposed to do?  I have to work.  GUILT – FEAR – OH CRAP!

Six months or so later, I was fired from my job while pregnant with Baby #2.  It was around this time when our financial situation changed and suddenly momma staying home was possible.

Great!  I will stay home and be a good momma for my babies.

We bought a house in the suburbs.  I switched my daughter to a local preschool.  I had my son, and I was ready to start living the stay-at-home-mom relaxed and happy lifestyle.

HA!

You can’t win.  Society just will not let you win.   If you are stay-at-home mom, what the heck do you do all day long and why are you tired?  You only have two?  Or three?  Or something…

If you work, why don’t you stay home with your kids?  Don’t you know that’s what good mommas do?

However…

You don’t have to listen.  It really is up to you.  Just because society says that the ideal mother is an angelic version of June Cleaver who also should be creating and running non-profit foundations, knitting mittens for her children, keeping her house spotless, and preparing gourmet dinners (that even the picky toddlers adore) in her spare time, it doesn’t make it true.

Realizing that the idealized mother is just that – a TV fantasy – is the first step out of hell.

Be you.  Be the mom you want to be – not an imagined version of what is ideal.  Let all that comparison go and live today with a smile.  It’s your life, so you might as well enjoy it.

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Self-Renewal Phase 2

[Originally published 4/15/13]

Oh the come down.  I tell you, the excitement of all that fun election and civic duty stuff is a bit addicting.

I found it hard to stay off facebook for most of last week…even though I knew I should.

So far this week, it’s been easier.

On Saturday I attended a two hour restorative yoga class.  All together now “Ahhh…..”

Yesterday, was an outside day.   The weather was beyond beautiful.   We made fairy houses, squirrel holes (little boy fairy houses) and planted flowers, lettuce and cilantro.  Our whole family was together all day – dirty, sweaty and muddy.  It was perfect.

Our Fairy House

Today I am finding it easier to refrain from checking facebook incessantly, and it is good.

Which reminds me…oh right – I’m doing a little mini self-renewal program.  And phase two is self-care.

Funny how that kind of happened naturally.

This week, I need to try and remember to focus on it though.  So the plan is:

  1. Eat lightly and healthfully.
  2. Drink plenty of water.
  3. Go to yoga Tuesday and Thursday morning.
  4. Keep business hours for work.   Can be so hard to do when working from home.   (I can totally do laundry and finish the projections today – is a plan destined for failure!)
  5. Paint my toenails.
  6. Visit my favorite resale shop and pick up a cute summer top.

I realize that making self-care a priority can seem like the first step down a slippery slope towards perceived rich bitch, spoiled brat laziness.   But it is NOT!

From my own Everyday Peace Class Week 2:

It turns out, there is a neurological reason that self-care calms us down. When we take
time off to relax, it triggers what is known as the relaxation response. This response is
the opposite of fight or flight. Your brain releases calming chemicals causing your
anxiety and stress to fade away. It’s like a spa day at home.

The same reaction is triggered by a sustained meditation practice, which you can learn
about in this week’s bonus material. However, self-care is so much easier to learn and
fit into our busy lives.

The health benefits of reducing stress are too numerous to list. But, my favorite health
benefit is feeling happier and more creative. It’s great!

Okay then – lots of water and new shirt it is!   I love taking my own advice.  Ha!  Give it a shot.

 Much Love,

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Self Renewal – Phase 1

Crocus in the snow(Planted 100+ crocus bulbs last fall.  It appears the squirrels have eaten them all.  Ha!  Originally published March 26, 2013)

Been feeling extra grouchy this week.  Yes, it has mostly been PMS. BUT, I am still not feeling as connected to the universe as I have in the past. Time for a little mini-self-renewal program. Step 1: Gratitude. This is always the EASIEST practice to come back to after life has been dragging you around by the ass for an extended period. No worries.  It’s just how life is sometimes.  Accept it and move on. Okay, what am I grateful for today?

  1. The fact that it’s 10:40 a.m. and I’m still in my pajamas.
  2. The fact that I could go to the store in these pajamas and no one would really know.  Thank you sweatshirt and yoga pants.
  3. The fact that my job is so flexible that I can hang out at home with my kiddos while they are on spring break.
  4. The fact that they are not bugging me to go on adventures everyday and are happy playing outside with the neighbors.
  5. A heated home with fresh clean water available for drinking, and the ability to take a hot bath or shower whenever we feel like it.
  6. The fact that 6th grade seems to be quite a bit easier for my daughter than it was for me.  Thank goodness!  No, I haven’t been living my entire life dreading the fact that my poor children have to go through adolescence and deal with all of that annoying drama – don’t be silly.
  7. All of my children are healthy – what a miracle.
  8. The fact that I have figured out that high fructose corn syrup makes me break out.  It wasn’t that hard of a diet switch…and I love my wrinkly skin more when it is blemish-free.
  9. Our bills are always paid.
  10. There is always enough food to eat.
  11. I have a happy marriage.
  12. I have lots of friends.

Repeat daily for a week. Much Love,

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Thinking thinking thinking – should probably try feeling

Yesterday afternoon, I put on an outfit I hadn’t worn in 15 years.  It still fit, kind of.  So that’s something I think – two kiddos later.  (Of course I wore spanks – pft.)   It was a 70s themed event, and since I did my last novelty clothing shopping in the 90s, I had options.  Indeed, I even found silver strappy platforms.

A few things happened.  The American Hustle cleavage felt weird with all the facial wrinkles, and something about showing my side boob just wasn’t working.  I adjusted and appeared somewhat more respectable.   Then the shoes literally fell apart as I was wearing them.  Besides being incredibly uncomfortable, the heel end came off and the silver started falling off in chunks as I was walking around.

I’ll dry clean the outfit.  Perhaps my daughter can wear it one day to a 70s themed party.

Change is in the air.

I’ve decided to stop blogging about parenting.  It doesn’t feel right at all anymore.  My kids have turned into real people with real feeling and real friends with iphones.  I can’t talk about our personal issues anymore – it’s not right.

I thought for a while I could talk about my feelings about parenting these older kiddos and focus more on self-care for mommas, but no.  It’s not working, and it feels all wrong.

So I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking.  I’ve done a lot of reposting of older articles since I haven’t been feeling inspired.  But so far nothing concrete about new directions.

My creative rut has been annoyingly long.

But it’s okay.  It’s cool that at almost 40 I was able to wear the outfit I bought for a party when I was 23.  It’s cool that I had shoes in my closet that worked.   It’s so appropriate that they literally fell apart on me.

That time is past, and it’s okay.  Brave new worlds and exciting paths lay ahead and I refuse to wallow in pity for not being a young hot thing anymore.  I mean it’s been awhile anyway, but I still feel the same inside.  I suppose that’s how it is.

I resolve to have patience as inspiration hits whenever it does.  I will remember not to think so much, but to trust my feelings and be gentle with my lack of creativity.

Will let you know what happens next.

Much Love,

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In Control

This morning I decided to try making homemade whipped body butter.  My $14 hand lotion was empty, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.

It was surprisingly easy, but in my research of how long to whip it, google directed me to the amazing wellness mama.  Wow.  I could read her articles and ideas for days.  Great stuff!

She reminds me of myself kinda’, years ago, only more committed to green living and better at turning a hobby into a business.

When we moved into our first brand-new home, I vowed to live as sustainably and green as possible.

  • I started making my own cleaning products – eliminating extra exposure to possibly harmful chemicals.
  • I switched all of our personal care products to green ones – eliminating extra exposure to possibly harmful chemicals.
  • I bought green and natural cleaning products when my homemade ones didn’t work very well – eliminating extra exposure to possibly harmful chemicals.
  • We began composting – helping a little bit to save the planet for our children.
  • We eliminated paper napkins and paper towels from our household – helping a little bit to save the planet for our children.
  • I switched away from disposable sanitary pads – helping a little bit to save the planet for our children.  This was actually surprisingly easy, and I do recommend the cloth ones.  It’s not nearly as icky as you might think.
  • We started buying locally raised meat, eggs and veggies – eliminating extra exposure to possibly harmful hormones and chemicals as well as opting out of the food industrial complex.  Did you see Food Inc.?  Yikes!
  • We started gardening more and eating out own veggies – helping a little bit to save the planet for our children.
  • We started buying organic fruits, veggies and dairy products – eliminating extra exposure to possibly harmful hormones, preservatives and chemicals.
  • We eliminated almost all processed food from our diet – eliminating extra exposure to possibly harmful preservatives.
  • We bought terrapasses for our car.

Yes, we really drained our bacon on rags for two years before we broke down and started purchasing recycled paper towels.  We considered eliminating toilet paper but could never really bring ourselves to go there. I am grateful in so many ways for recycled toilet paper.

Do you see a pattern?

I feel like I’m in control of this big scary world when I’m using the power of my wallet to buy things that make me feel like I’m doing the right thing for my health, my children’s health, and the planet.

It’s not a bad thing to want to reduce your carbon footprint, but I don’t think I recognized it as being so much based in fear before today.

If I can use green shampoo and think it’s helping me reduce my cancer risk – great! No harm there.

If I can feed my children the best quality food possible and keep them healthy – why wouldn’t I want to do that?  It’s a great thing to do.

But these are high-class, luxurious choices that we have made.  And we could still be run over by a bus in the morning.  Also the scientific evidence seems to go back and forth on the health-benefit of eating organic food even as the evidence remains quite solid that it is better for the environment.

We have mellowed out a bit since the initial change.

  • We use bleach sometimes in the laundry even though it’s bad for the water supply.  I mean, we were fighting MRSA at the time, but we forgot how much we loved the smell of bleached sheets.  Not everytime – just sometimes.
  • After many headaches and countless hours, we now buy laundry soap and dish packs.  It is not always the super expensive green option.
  • I’ve never attempted to make my own yogurt or cheese.

I do still very much enjoy making and using my own cold-process soap, but I don’t know if the body butter will be a permanent thing or not.  Life is short.  We’re all doing the best we can – generally speaking.

I could probably give up more, but I do enjoy living.

 

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Spa Day at Home

Winter is back and I officially have the “it’s been too cold outside for too long” blues.  Also, I seem to be coming down with a cold.  As easy as it is to feel bad about taking care of yourself, I think I’m going to have to try this today.  Fingers crossed!

Originally Published August 18, 2011.Stack of Rocks

When is the last time you had a spa day? Do you remember how amazing it felt to be away from your responsibilities, drink lemon water,  and walk around in a comfy robe?  I can.  It feels so…ahh….  Heck, that’s the feeling even before you start adding facials, massages, pedicures, or whatever.

For me, it was this past January.  I had an amazing experience along with the best facial ever.  This girl made me feel like a queen. (No, not a drag queen.  Stop that.  Okay a princess – is that better?)   It wasn’t cheap either, but it was totally worth it!

So, for my birthday this year, I asked for a facial.  I really wanted another one, but could not bring myself to buy it again without the excuse of being away on girls weekend.

Last week, I celebrated the return of school with my birthday facial.

It wasn’t the same.  It was nice, but I did not experience that I feel like the most pampered person in the world..ahh feeling.

This got me thinking that maybe there is something to the spa day ahh… that doesn’t have anything to do with the actual services.  If that’s true, can I recreate that feeling at home?  Because I think I would like that very much.  Also, it would be good for my family to have a nice relaxed momma.  Don’t you think?  Me too – you’re so smart!

Here’s the plan:

  1. Clean living room.  Or better yet, have your children clean the living room if they are old enough.
  2. Put a lovely, placemat on the coffee table.
  3. Fill up your fanciest pitcher with cold water and add some sliced lemons. Use organic lemons to get that spa day splurge for under $3 if you can find them.
  4. Place lemon water pitcher on placemat in clean living room.
  5. Place your favorite wine glass next to the pitcher.  Add candles, flowers, stacks of rocks, or whatever if you feel it adds to the relaxation.  However, the water is just fine by itself too.
  6. Play some soothing and relaxing music on the stereo.
  7. Dress in comfy clothes.  Robes are comfy.
  8. Grab a book or magazine and plop down on your couch. (No TV, no internet, no angry birds.  Trust me.)
  9. Drink lemon water, listen to soothing music, read a book, and feel the ahh…

Note: Yes, if you have little children at home this will be a bit difficult to pull off.   However, this can be done for any length of time.  20 minutes of spa-day ahh during a child’s upstairs quiet time or backyard playtime is a good investment in your own mental wellness.  I cannot stress that enough.

Additionally, older children can hang out with you and read their own magazines and books.  Instilling the importance of relaxation into your kiddos is excellent peaceful momma parenting!

Resist the urge to feel like a loser for sitting around doing nothing.  This is of utmost importance to familial happiness.  A happy momma is the first and possibly most important ingredient to a happy family.

Let me know how it goes!

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Every month…

Sweet Baby

Every month I think I’m pregnant.   Many years have passed since the vasectomy, but I still think sometimes…maybe…

As I approach my fortieth birthday, I still feel young enough to have a baby.  I look back fondly at the times in my life where there were tiny people in this home.  That time is long gone, but it still lives inside me – inside every mother.

I now have a teen.  One whose needs I cannot easily sense.  One whose problems cannot be solved with a hug.  One who is growing, ever faster each day, into a young adult.

And I remember my infants, dependent on me.  And I remember that I could almost always psychically sense what they needed.

The long untangling of our lives and emotions from very close to separate is in full swing, and it’s okay.  It is how it is supposed to be.

I know this.

I do.

I just…

I just miss the closeness.

To comfort.

To ease pain.

To fully and completely adore.

Instead, some of my work is done.  I must allow the space between us, and yet be mindful not to fall down into it.

And then another month has passed, and I’m just sure I’m pregnant again.

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  • About




    I'm Elise, mom, wife, and lover of comfy shoes.

    My mission and the goal of Peaceful Mommas™ Inc. is to teach you easy peace practices that fit perfectly into the craziness of how life is.

    Thanks for stopping by. Keep breathing.

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