It all started with a phrase. One I hear at least twice a week. “I don’t know how you do it.”
Truth is, I don’t, really. Most days, I’m hanging on by a thread, with barely enough energy left at the end of the day to make it to the bed, much less put on pajamas. I told my sister the other day “You know that duck that’s swimming gracefully across perfectly still water that looks calm and distinguished and like life is a breeze of perfect awesome, but just below the surface of the water, it’s paddling like an insane madman who is going to spontaneously combust and burn up in flames if it doesn’t paddle faster? Yeah, that’s me.”
I find myself at a particularly interesting point in my life. I’ve hit the 7-year stretch in my marriage, which quite frankly, is almost the longest standing relationship of my entire life (which is saying a lot for an obsessive-compulsive, self-sufficient hermit like me and…also says a lot about the patience and loyalty of my husband). I’m just over 30, so I’ve bid a not-so-gracious farewell to my youthful indiscretions and stupidity (I hope), I’ve got a great career at an awesome company that is just the right fit for me, and my growing years of professional experience have also empowered me to build a successful photography business that has opened doors I never even knew existed, much less imagined I’d be stepping through. Oh wait, I’m also part owner of a photography studio (WHAT?!) which is something I never imagined I’d be able to do and it’s still so new that I’m still pretty shocked at myself for having taken that particular leap. Add to that a 13 year old step-daughter who is the light of my life, but comes with a whole planetary system of blended family fun along with the general insanity that is pre-teen-dom, and oh yeah, 2 year old twin boys who are my little miracles of boundless energy and somehow inherited my strong-willed attitude and obsessive nature…yeah, life’s a hoot right now. When I’m keeping my head above water.
So. “How do I do it?”
Lots of little steps. Tiny flutters and readjustments to my sails that keep the ship on course and deter life from running aground. The simplest of disciplines, routines and marked efforts to reign in the overwhelming sense of chaos that comes when I step back and look at the bigger picture. Focus small, think big. That’s me. Oh, and a whole slew of counseling. Even if it’s just to hear my own voice talk out the thoughts in my head.
So. “What’s this blog thing?”
Off the cuff, it’s another thing on my insanely long to do list of dreams. And in the words of my husband “Really? Because you have so much free time on your hands.” Yes, really. I started this blog because there are a lot of people out there like me. People with families and jobs and aspirations and road blocks and people that are exhausted but still running the race. Staying in the game and trekking along, but wondering what they could be doing differently to slow down the pace, adjust the sails, catch the wind for a bit and ride it out. So here I am. To say, you can do it.
This blog will be a mish mosh of how I “do it all.” The good, the bad and the ugly. The moments when I’m considering paying someone to take my kids much less offering them to the highest bidder. The moments when they melt my heart and I’m dumbfounded that God thinks I am worthy of raising them. It will be a little bit small business, a lot of my parenting, and all the rest organization (because that’s me in a nutshell). All those little pieces of the puzzle that keep me moving. Not because I know it all or because my way is the right way, but because this way seems to be working pretty well for me and maybe something I’ve stumbled across can help someone else get a leg up on the crazy state of their own life. In a way, it will be a cathartic process for me to chronicle life with kids and all else, and a space for me to just talk it out.
It all started with a few shared Pinterest boards and now I’m here. “I don’t know how you do it all.” Well, now you do. 🙂
PS. If you’d like to take a look at the shared Pinterest boards, there is a parenting inspired one HERE and a small biz tips and tricks one HERE. These boards are collaborative efforts, so I welcome input from all varieties of thought and experience. If you’d like to join in, please let me know. I’m happy to have you! Hopefully, they’ll continue to serve as resource libraries for new seekers and can help us all keep the very best and most useful information close at hand.
PPS. Here’s my fam…the center of the universe. Miss E, 13 going on whatever age these days doesn’t require any parenting by their own admonition of their greatness and knowing of all things. Hubby, J, who is my polar opposite (thank God!) and keeps me sane, and J&B, my little miracle men who are not so little anymore. LOVE.
How to Avoid the Epic Meltdown: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Duh, duh, duh….the dreaded meltdown. With one kid, this can bring the strongest mommy to her knees. With multiples, well…the word “epic” takes on a completely new meaning. In the worst possible way.
Moral of the story? A little organization and forethought can go a long way. Considering WHY my kids were throwing tantrums and then exploring what I could do to prevent them before they started has saved me a million tears. Like I said, it’s not a perfect system. But every little bit helps.
How to Speak the Right Language: Understanding Your Child’s Cues
Every day I pick up my children from day care to hear “They are such great kids! They had a blast today and are some of the best listeners we’ve ever had. They’re so well-behaved!” Yay, Mama win! And then we go home and they act like total demon-infested, hell-raising psychos and won’t listen to a word I say. Weekends can be brutal and I sometimes find myself praising Jesus that I decided to keep working and not stay-at-home.
sweet kids from day care?
Best Thing I Ever Did: I went to pick the kids up one day and they were enjoying themselves, so I decided to just sit and watch for a bit and let them play. Funny thing happened. I started listening to how the day care teachers communicated with my children and how they responded. And the light bulb went off. I don’t know how to speak the language my kids understand.
I started listening harder. And then I came back the next day and did it again. Now, every time I drop off or pick up, I listen. How are they talking to my kids? What are they saying? How are the kids responding? And then I mimick it at home.
Major win!!! My kids are starting to see an extension of their daily routine back into the home and it’s making sense. I say certain words they’re used to hearing and like magic, they listen. Not every time (which I suspect also happens at day care), but the majority of time. Major improvement. We are starting to speak the same language.
Sometimes I forget (or refuse to admit) that I am not my children’s primary care provider. For those of us that work outside the home, most often our kids spend the majority of their time somewhere other than with us. Sometimes, being reminded of that hurts. A lot. But truth is, they develop routines, cues and references that we’re not familiar with. We need to learn the language they are used to hearing every day so that we can communicate our needs in a way they understand. I need to speak my children’s language.
Phrase Adjustments that Worked for Me:
- “Walk away please” instead of “No!” or “Don’t Touch!”
- “Are you using your listening ears?” instead of “Listen to me!”
- “I’m going to go to work for awhile, but Mommies always come back!” instead of “Say bye to Mommy. I have to go to work.”
11 Alternatives to Self Harm: Emily Speaks
If you’re just connecting with the Emily Speaks series, be sure to check out her first post, Cyber Bullying and Self-Harm, to catch up. Today, Emily will be sharing 11 alternatives to self harm to help those hurting to make healthier choices to cope with emotional struggles.
I know it can be hard not to self-harm if you’re being bullied, but you need to try to think of other ways to deal with the pain. Cutting leaves angry scars on your body. You should try to deal with your hurt in other ways. Here are 11 good examples that will hopefully help you out a little bit.
1. Try talking to somebody about what’s going on so that you can get it out of your system.
2. Go outside where nobody is around and just scream as loud as you can for as long as you want.
3. Take a rubber band and keep it on your wrist so whenever you feel like cutting you can just take that rubber band and snap it on your wrist (softly – not to where it harms you).
4. Get an old teddy bear or stuffed animal that you don’t want and take your anger out on that.
5. Go on a jog or go out and ride your bike or long board or whatever you have and just ride around to calm yourself down.
6. Go hang out with your friend(s) and get your mind off things that would make you want to cut or do anything else to harm yourself.
7. Sleep it out and take a long nap and see how you’re feeling when you wake up.
8. Go hang out with your family and just relax.
9. Listen to some music.
10. Read a book.
11. Get an art journal and draw out your feelings. You can paint, draw pictures, even just scribble hard.
These are some of the ways that I stop myself from cutting, because I do still think about it when things get rough. When that happens, I try to do these instead and it helps. It does! You need to do anything that would take your mind off of any bad thoughts you are having and make you want to hurt yourself. This might not be the best list of ideas, but if you take a chance and try them out, they might end up working for you. You’re not only helping yourself, but you’re helping everyone else around you by making a better choice to not self-harm.