Finding My Balance Through Faith

It has been a long time since I last posted.  My aunt asked me why, and my mom answered for me “because she has found her balance.”

I may not be perfectly balanced.  There are dishes in my sink and laundry is piled up.  I have a to do list.  And I never get everything done that I want to.  The difference between now and two years ago is that I have finally figured out that we aren’t meant to get everything done.

I have learned how to prioritize, and to not feel guilty when I just can’t do it all.  I have learned to make time for myself to do what gives me life.  One of these things is spending time in the word every day.  In doing so I feel as if my life is as balanced as it ever will be.  Yet, I am still finding lessons wherever I go.

Last night I went with some family to see Miracles From Heaven.  This movie tore at my heart strings in every way imaginable.  If you haven’t seen it, I won’t ruin it for you, but I am going to share a big question it made me ask myself.

Over the last year I have really been moving forward in my faith journey.  I have been getting to know God in a whole new way.  I am stronger in my faith now than I ever have been in my life, and it feels really good.  I feel pretty confident in myself, that I am gaining ground as a Christian.  I am learning more, and sharing what I am learning with others.  I am putting my trust in God, where in the past I would have taken on the whole burden myself.

Watching this movie last night, especially knowing that it was a true story, I had to ask myself something.  Would I have the same amount of faith in God if things were going badly?

If one of my kids got hurt or sick, would I still trust in Him?

It is so easy to trust in His plans for you when things are going smoothly in your life.  It’s easy to say “I know God loves me, look at all he has blessed me with”.  But what about the trials?  Where would your faith stand then?

I would love to say that my trust would be just as confident then as it is now, but I honestly don’t know.

I watched this mother lose faith.  I watched her not understand why bad things were happening.  But at the same time, her daughter’s faith never waivered.   I want to be like that little girl.  I want to always trust.  I want to teach my children to always trust.

There was an Albert Einstein quote used in this movie that I will keep imprinted on my heart.  “There are only two ways to live your life.  One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

Let’s choose the latter.

Advertisements

Goals.

I see this word a lot on social media.  “Squad goals”, “Relationship goals”, “friendship goals”.  It has become one of those weird words that young(er)* people use without an explanation.  Under a picture of a happy couple – “goals”.  Under a picture of someone eating an icecream cone – “goals”.  Under a picture of a six pack (of either beer or abs) – “goals”.

Well, I may not have icecream goals, and I’ve already reached my relationship goals, and I’m not really 100% positive what a squad is, unless you are referring to a group of cheerleaders, but I do have some goals for 2016.  And with this being the last day of 2015.  And with the fact that I have been completely slacking in the blog department.  I thought I would share them.

  1.   Whole 30.  I am going to start my first Whole 30 on January 4th.  I spent a good part of 2015 taking steps to become healthier, both physically and mentally, and have really been wanting to try this.  I don’t really care if I lose any weight or not, I just really want to reset my body.  I want to see how much the unnecessary junk I put into my body really effects me.  I want to establish healthier eating habits for both myself and my family.  I want to focus on nourishing my body, practice mindful eating, and if I lose a couple pounds in the process – great.  My ultimate goal is to complete this every couple of months throughout the year.
  2. Simplify.  I have already started on this one.  My intention is to get rid of things we don’t want/use/need.  We live in a pretty modest sized house.  Holding on to things just for the sake of holding on to them has caused a lot of clutter to gather in our modest house.  The clutter has started to make my brain feel like it is going to explode.  And then we just buy more stuff.  It’s time to stop.  No more clutter.  No more unnecessary things.  No more wasted money and space.
  3. Celebrate.  I want to celebrate every day.  I want to wake up and have dance parties with my kids simply because it’s a Tuesday.  I want to celebrate friendships.  I want to celebrate my husband coming home after a long day with the kids.  I want to celebrate life.  I want dinner on a Thursday to be a celebration because we are all together, and happy, and healthy, and alive.
  4. Mindful living.  This includes less screen time, being more present in the moment, paying more attention, doing things with purpose.
  5. Make moves.  I have a couple personal goals that I have been sitting on, and I have every intention of moving forward with them this year.  I will share them when the time is right.

As far as mom goals go, I have high hopes that I will continue to simultaneously keep myself and my children alive, that my daughter will be potty trained before her 30th birthday, that my son will eat something other than chocolate for breakfast, and that maybe we’ll get one full, eight hour night of sleep.  2016 I’m coming for you.

*There is a good possibility that everyone of all ages use this termonology and I’m just really that un-cool.

When Bed-Sharing Comes Full Circle

As I mentioned before, we are co-sleeping parents.  For my oldest, that turned into bed sharing.  She has slept between us in our bed, besides a short stint last summer, since she was 6 months old.  She will be three this month.

As much as I love cuddle buggin’ her, our queen size bed recently started getting a little tight.  We would ask her if she wanted to sleep in her own bed, she would say no, and that would be that.

A couple nights ago, as we were going to sleep, she was pushing on both of us, stating that her spot was not big enough, to which we replied “well, you would have a bigger spot if you would sleep in your own bed.”  She told us that she didn’t want to be in a different room, so, taking advice from some other momma’s, I suggested putting her bed in our room.  To my surprise, she actually loved this idea.

The next day, we moved her bed into our room, and for two nights now she has been happily sleeping in it.  Last night, when I got her all tucked in she said “Mommy, this bed fits me just right.”  Huh, imagine that…

So, what started as co-sleeping, and turned into bed-sharing, is now back to co-sleeping.  I know the next step will be moving into her own room, which weirdly enough makes me a little sad.  It may be my anxiety speaking, but there is something I really enjoy about waking up and seeing her peaceful sleeping face.

Either way, it makes me so proud that this is something that she is doing on her own.  I told her that last night before she went to sleep, and the smile she got on her face was reassurance that I might just be doing this parenting thing okay.

P.S.  Her brother, who has been sleeping in his crib, in his room, since he was 6 months old, ended up in bed between my husband and me in the middle of the night last night.  Luckily we are both on the same page in knowing that some day we will have more than enough time just the two of us, so for now we are just soaking them in.

Monday Motivation – Give Yourself A Break

In my experience, mom’s are always trying to do it all, for everyone else.  Very seldom do they take time for themselves.  And in the rare occurance that they do, they feel bad about it.

Well momma’s, I am telling you to give yourself a break.  In all things.

Have you been extra hard on yourself lately because you can’t keep up with it all?  Stop.  Go take a long bath, everything will still be there when you get done.

Have you been feeling down, and tired, and beaten?  Stop.  Call up a girl friend and get some coffee.  Chances are she will completely understand, and you will feel much better afterward.

Have you been feeling overwhelmed?  Stop.  Take a walk, or read a book, do something that relaxes you.

I know it is easier said than done, trust me, I do, but make sure you take some time for yourself.  It is not selfish, it is necessary.

Embracing New Seasons

I have a confession.  I am not a baby person.

I never have been.  Besides some little cousins, with pillows under my arm, Madeline was the first baby I ever held.  Hers were the first diapers I ever changed.

Since then, I have held a few more baby’s, and changed more than a few more diapers, but the truth is, unless I gave birth to the baby, I have close to no desire to hold it.  And I definitely don’t want to change it’s diaper.

I just don’t really get them.  They are miracles, yes, and that is wonderful, but the joy I have for being out of that stage is almost embarrasing.

That being said, give me all of the toddlers.  Yes, they talk back.  Yes, they throw temper tantrums, and sometimes make me want to pull my hair out, but I will take this all day long over all day feedings, every three hour wake ups, spit up down my shirt, and blow outs.

I can officially say that we have entered a new season, and I am loving every second of it.  Blake is no longer a baby.  He communicates with us (even though he only knows a handful of words), he understands when we ask him to do things (even though he doesn’t always do them), he eats with utensils (or flings food across the room with them), when I reach my hand down, he holds it.

Sometimes I will be walking behind him, watching his little head bounce around as he runs, and I can’t help smiling and thinking to myself “this is my life”.  I have two toddlers, and I love it.

I can’t guarantee that I will be welcoming every new season with open arms, that as they get older and need me less it won’t make me long for their little hands in mine, but for now I am just soaking it all in.

I am embracing the tantrums, because it means I have strong willed children who know what they want.

I am embracing the fighting, because in two seconds they will be giggling about something else.

I am embracing the mess, because my healthy, happy children made it.

I am embracing it all, even in the midst of it, even when I have to just shake my head and walk away, even when there is spaghetti sauce splattered on my dining room wall, because this is my life, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Tackeling Mommy Guilt

We’ve all had it at one time or another.  It can come in all shapes and sizes.  Maybe it’s something that eats at you every day.  Maybe it’s something that creeps up here and there.  Regardless of how or when you have it, the reality is that you aren’t alone.

When I was in the midst of my post-partum anxiety, I felt it all the time.  It would eat me alive.  I was sure I was doing everything wrong.  I would lose my temper with my oldest.  I would despise getting up in the middle of the night with my youngest.  I couldn’t keep the house spotless.  I wasn’t spending enough time with my first born.

These thoughts ran through my head constantly.  They had me convinced that everything I heard or saw regarding parenting was about me.  I was a bad mom because I didn’t breastfeed, I was a bad mom because I bed shared, I was a bad mom because I had an epidural, etc.

Luckily, I got myself some help, and these ridiculous thoughts stopped.  I realized that I was doing the very best I could, and that it was all okay.  I wasn’t a bad mom.  I’m not a bad mom.  And neither are you.

Last night I had a flash of mommy guilt.  I get them every now and then, as I’m sure you do too.

It has been a long week with my littles.  The youngest is teething, and has a cold.  He has also 100% entered toddler-hood.  He is into everything he shouldn’t be.  He is testing his limits, and testing my patience.  His big sister is on the verge of becoming a threenager.  She is sassy, and strong minded.  The two of them have started fighting like brother’s and sister’s will.  Neither of them have been sleeping well.  I’m sure many of you can relate.  I know I am not the only momma going through this right now, but that doesn’t make it easier to go through it.

It was getting late, both kids were tired, but both kids were refusing bedtime.  I hadn’t been able to exercise earlier in the day, which has become a refuge for me.  My husband took number two upstairs to put him to bed, so I told number one that mommy was going to do her workout, and that she could get cozy in her spot (she has a designated couch spot that she has referred to “her spot” since she could say those words) while I did it, and then we would go to bed.

This did not end well.  It took me forever to get through my half hour work out.  She wanted to build a fort, she wanted to make a tent, she wanted me to read her a book.  I kept saying “hold on, mommy just has to finish this”, and each time mommy guilt would rear it’s ugly head.  I felt guilty that I was saying no to her requests.  I felt guilty that I was taking time to myself and not giving her my 100%.  I considered turning off my DVD and building a fort and a tent and reading a book.  But in the end, I got my work out done.  I took a shower.  We went upstairs and snuggled until she fell asleep.  And she was completely fine.

You see, there are all of these voices telling us and reminding us that our children are only little once.  That a time will come when they will no longer ask us to do things with them.  That their needs should always come first.  That taking time for ourselves will somehow turn them into serial killers.

So here is my question, momma’s, where do we draw the line?  When is it okay for us to say, “You know what? Momma needs some time.”?

I’ll tell you what I am slowly figuring out.  It is okay to take some time for yourself.  In fact, it is completely necessary!

Don’t get me wrong, my children do, and always will come before myself.  However, if I don’t take care of myself, of my needs, I can’t be the kind of mother they deserve.  If 9 times out of 10 I do make the fort, or read the book, but there is one time that I need MY time, that doesn’t make me a bad mom.

If I have the week that I’ve been having with my little’s, and I am excited to be able to run out the door to work at my brother’s store, that doesn’t make me a bad mom.

It doesn’t make you one either.

Next time mommy guilt tries to get the best of you, remind yourself that you are doing the best you can.  Tell yourself that you matter too.  Look in the mirror and remember that you are still a person beyond being a mommy.  Don’t let it get the best of you.  And always remember, you are not alone.

Monday Motivation – You’ve Got This

To the momma who barely made it through last week.  Your kids were fighting.  Your baby was teething.  You ran on fumes.  Today is a new day, you’ve got this.

To the momma who feels like she can’t keep up.  You’re dishes and laundry are endless.  Your kids are like tiny tornadoes who leave distruction in their path.  Take a deep breath, you’ve got this.

To the momma who is making a change.  You are starting a new job.  You are heading out on a new journey.  You are moving to a new town.  Keep your head up, you’ve got this.

To the momma who is questioning her sanity.  You can’t remember what you were supposed to be doing, but you know it was something.  You called your child by the wrong name, twice.  You left your coffee in the microwave for 24 hours.  Smile, you’ve got this.

Remember, we are all in this together.  You are not alone.

This week I challenge you to reach out to someone.  A new mom.  A friend you haven’t talked to in a while.  Someone you know needs some kind words.  Let them know you are there.  Give them some words of encouragement.  Take them a coffee.  Just be there.

What’s In A Name

Since I’m still extremely new to this blogging thing, I thought I would take a second to talk about where “Momma Seeks Balance” came from.  Sometimes knowing the origin of a name helps to understand where the blogger is coming from.

As I shared here and here, I suffered from post-partum anxiety, OCD, and depression after the birth of my second child.  At the time, I was a new stay-at-home mom.  I had no idea what was going on with my brain.  I had no idea what I was doing with a toddler and a newborn.  I felt lost.  I needed to find a balance.

I didn’t want to lose myself in my children.  I no longer had a job outside of the house.  I no longer had an actual reason to have to get up and take a shower in the morning.  I could stay in my pajamas all day, and nobody would say anything.

I was seeking a balance between still being my own person, and being a mom.  I still am seeking this balance.

I constantly feel like I can do one thing or the other, but never both.  I can make time to exercise, but not clean.  I can make time to play with the kids, but end up not getting a shower until before bed.  I can make time to clean, but don’t get any one-on-one time with the kids.

Slowly, very, very slowly, I am starting to find a balance in some aspects, and as I figure some of it out, I will share it, just in case there are other momma’s out there looking for the same thing.

So there it is, Momma Seeks Balance.  If I ever find it, I’ll let you know 😉

Monday Motivation – You Are Enough

Sometimes in motherhood it is hard to feel like we are enough.  We get spread so thin between trying to be a good mom, good wife, good friend, good employee, good sister, daughter, neice.  It feels impossible to give everyone the attention we feel they deserve.  No matter what you do, there is always something left undone.  It can become overwhelming.  It can cause you to question your sanity.  It can cause you to question your worth.

Well momma’s, you ARE enough.  You’re hard work does not go unnoticed, even if it feels like it does.

I had a moment last week.  I took the little’s to two different playgrounds.  We had a picnic lunch, and went for a long walk.  When we got home I needed a second to sit down, only to be met with “mom I need you!” “mom I need a drink!” “mom!”  I thought to myself, “oh my goodness, nothing I do will ever be enough, these little people are always going to want more.”

Not to sound like a broken record, but it is hard!  It is so hard to be needed so much.  To feel like you just can’t give anymore.

In these moments, just remind yourself that you are enough.  That you are doing the best you possibly can.  That it is okay to take a second and rest.

Today’s challenge:  If you see an overwhelmed momma, lend her a helping hand, or a friendly smile, tell her she is enough. This simple gesture could make a huge difference in her day.  Remember, it takes a village.

Finding a Financial Balance

As I mentioned before, one of the scariest parts of becoming a stay-at-home mom was switching to one income.  It didn’t matter that day care would have taken a majority of my income anyway, it was still a big change.  We were going to have to adjust our budget, and re-evaluate what we really needed as opposed to what we just thought we needed.

We already didn’t have cable or the internet, but there were other things we were going to have to learn to do without.

One major change was eating out and ordering food.  This was a luxury.  One that came in very handy when we were both working, and many times didn’t feel like making dinner when we got home.  This change was not only good for our wallets, but also good for our overall health.

Most of the time when we would order food or go out to eat, it wasn’t exactly something healthy that we would get.  It was usually pizza, wings, subs, french fries.

There are a couple things that have helped with this change:

  • Menu planning.  Every Friday I plan out all of our dinners for the following week, along with breakfast and lunch ideas for the kids and I.  I look to see what items we already have, and then make a list of what I will need to shop for.
  • Meal prep.  After grocery shopping I take time to wash and cut up any produce that needs it.  We’ll make extra chicken or other meat to put on salads later in the week.  I’ll hard boil eggs.  This makes it easier to grab things, and not stray from the plan because I don’t have the energy to prepare something.
  • Leftovers.  Like I said above, we always make extra meat to use on salads later in the week.  We also utilize leftovers on the nights when we don’t feel like cooking.  There is always something in the freezer we just have to warm up, or something in the fridge we can use for something quick.

We now save going out to eat for special occassions such as anniversaries and birthdays.  We order food maybe once per month, give or take, as opposed to the couple times per week that we used to.

Another change I made was being more open to second hand clothes and toys for the kids.  For some reason, when Madeline was born, I wanted nothing to do with second hand anything.  I was a snob about it.  I’m not sure what the issue was exactly, but I wanted new everything for her.  Looking back that was absolutely ridiculous.  We now happily take hand-me-downs, shop consignment and garage sales, and then when my kids grow out of stuff we hand them down to the next person, or take them to consigment shops.

I have also cut back drastically on spending money on clothes for myself as well.  First of all, I no longer need two separate wardrobes – one for work and one for home.  I also started experimenting with capsule closets, which cuts back on unneeded items that never get worn, and helps with thinking I need to buy every maxi dress I come across.

Lastly, we utilize free fun.  Kids are generally happy with the simplest things.  My kids love going to the playground.  They could play for hours in the water table on our front porch.  They like to color and read and take walks.  They like to jump in mud puddles and dig in dirt.  I take full advantage of this.  We save things that cost money for special times, play dates with cousins, or celebrating being good at the doctors.

We are most definitely a work in progress here.  We have credit card debt that we are working on paying off.  We sometimes spend too much money at Target.  There are still things we don’t really need that we think we do, but compared to a year ago?  We have made big steps in the right direction.

Here’s to finding happiness with a simpler, smaller, lifestyle, and a continued journey to financial balance.