Tips for turning Rough days into Not-so-rough days.

It’s 3 o’clock and your patience is wearing thin. Dinner is fastly approaching…”damn again…didn’t I just make and clean up a meal.” The kids woke up on the wrong side of the bed and you never even woke up seeing as it felt like not sleeping while you nursed a baby practically all night. Or you just haven’t had an adult conversation in weeks, or you are just tired of keeping up with the energy of a toddler…or two. Whatever the reason, some days are just rough. Here are a few tips for getting through those days that I have implemented over the years that have helped me perk up, smile and enjoy the day I was given.

  1. Change clothes! Some days it is all we can do to roll our of bed a speck earlier than our littles and whoosh the days is almost over…p.j’s still on. I find if I am having one of those days I change clothes, even if I am not in what I slept in. Taking a couple minutes to find something that makes you feel like you ( insert given name-delete mom). It may be a pretty skirt, a nice bra, or even just a necklace. Something though than ties you to yourself. Not necessarily apart from your children but for you and not them…I know blasphemy right. No really we have an identity outside of what we provide for our children that is down right vital for them and us alike. Our children need to know who we are. That we are individuals just like them. Smear that lipstick on girl!
  2. Make a drink! I super love this one and actually practice it most days. Before I start to get dinner together I make myself a drink. Many times it is just the remaining bits of my tea from the morning I never got around to quietly finishing thrown over some ice and milk. But other times I will make a shake or a icy milk concoction. Something easy and tasty. I have it to sip over while baking, sautéing, etc. It helps!! A treat for myself…by this far I’ve likely made it through breakfast, school, lunch, many diaper changes and a snack or two so treat yo self right!
  3. Incense. This one is great any time of the day. For real some good incense that you love and invokes a particular positive feeling works wonders. My children love it to…it helps them as well. We often start our school day with a candle but as it is a homemade beeswax one is scentless. Having smells that aren’t’ carcinogenic is good for the soul and the body. Incense can change the aura of a room instantly. It inspires creativity and warmth ( think bad attitudes gone). You can also use a diffuser with essential oils.
  4. Dance! Dancing ladies! Yes sometimes when we need to get reframe our day we put on some good dance music and get jiggy with it. Physically moving our body helps to reframe our mindset, this works as well for adults as it does for kiddos. Plus come on, who can’t help but smile when grooving to some good ole’ jazz.
  5. Out the window. Ok some days just stink. The stars aren’t aligned, Dad is out of town, new attitudes learned from the playground bullies are being tried on, mom is sick, whatever is going on some days are just rough. If it is that bad and you find yourself losing it every other minute; throw it out the window. Throw the plans, the list, the chores all out the window. No really, sit down and visualize the list of things you are to accomplish that day and pick them up and swoosh out the window they fly. This is why we stay home with our children. Because life does not fit into a 9-5 as much as our economically driven society would wish it would and on those days we would be wise to just chunk it all and sink into a child-like attitude full of dew drop tea shared with our individual self, our children and of course imaginary friends. Cheers!
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Perfectly not perfect

I am not a perfect parent…and that is perfect.
Last night I lost it. We buried another duckling. These are ducklings that have been a yr in the making, so its tragic for more than just the unnecessary loss of life.
These ducklings will grow to be the start of our Muscovy flock we will use as supplemental income to continue our lifestyle of being rich in time and sanity so we can actually be with our children, family and friends. This is the 2nd duckling lost this week and 3rd at the hands of this puppy. After realizing this puppy’s s tendency for duck a la fresh we have been careful to not leave her unattended near their coop, alas you can only be so careful and so quick as a flash as we are transitioning to meal time and gathering the pups, it happened again.
I share all of this with you so I can now say…this is why I lost it. Another gory scene, another punch in the gut to future building and I lost it. Tears exploded into rage. A foot found itself against a door and the words “F#$@ it!” definitely came out of my mouth. I walked into the house and effortlessly fell into my worn spot next to the stove and began stirring the sauce again, tears falling, mind searching trying to solve this repetitive quandary.
My children immediately ran to comfort me and said and did some of the kindest things. “I’m so sorry”, “I know how you feel.” I wondered to the side why they didn’t always show this sort of empathy to each other. No matter, I was both comforted and impressed…proud. My children did not hang on the “no no” words I just screamed. They simply saw it as a real expression of how I felt in that moment, and were moved to respond. They were right, I truly felt those two words. Like why try, why even waste my time.  And “f&%# it!” fit beautifully.
Now this is more rare than it is common for me to shout or even say curse words, especially around my children. But I am not one who thinks they should never be uttered. They are perfect for those times when life gets very…..well you know. However, I also feel our culture tends to way over use them and in completely inappropriate ways. I’m sure some will disagree that these words should ever be used. But I have seen a little of the darkness we sometimes have to face in this world and sometimes in those quiet, dark moments we need words that match the ugliness we see and feel.
So here I am, mama to 3, shouting a curse word and being not-so perfect in the face of fowl foul play. I believe my kids might be better for it. Really this highlights my belief that I am not perfect and that is perfect because my kids will not grow up to be perfect either. I use my real to teach. My children know the real me, not a fake version who always has is together. I make mistakes with them, I apologize. I do something in front of them I instantly regret, I apologize. I model imperfection walking around as their mother aiming for greater, striving for better, and sometimes not missing it along the way.
And so, I don’t worry too much when I mess up like I used to as a new parent. Everything, I’ve learned, can be used as a teaching opportunity because, thank God, it’s real. Its true. In that painful raging moment I felt those two words and my kids saw it. They saw me and that is exactly who I want to share with them. Me.
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The Beauty of Morning Pages

When I first read the concept of Morning Pages, I was in. Julia Cameron (author of The Artist’s Way) writes in The Sound of Paper-“that Morning Pages are the pivotal tool of a successful creative life”. She goes on to explain that three pages of longhand writing about anything and everything is considered Morning Pages. They can literally be anything: hopes, plans, random thoughts, fuming rants, grumbles or accolades. Upon reading this almost a decade ago, I already wrote on a frequent basis in my journal so this made sense. I had already discovered that the more I wrote, the more me I felt…..the more well oiled I was. It was a sort of priming I had learned to do long ago and had served me well. I had however not tied this act and the daily importance of it to my creative life. So this made perfect sense. If I just stuck to this and wrote…anything everyday I would be ready to really write at a moments notice. I would be ready in season and out.
The first obstacle with this of course is time. Time oh time, where will I find the time. And the answer of course like with anything worthy needing of your time is; you make it. For me that looks like having my laptop charged and “out”. It is within arms reach when I am most likely to pick it up; in the early morning when I sip my tea. I battle, like most mothers, the never ending pull to tidy and get something done. So if this laptop I am writing on right now is near me I am more likely to pick it up and begin typing than if I have to step over all those things I need to do in order to get it. It is as simple as saying no once to the never ending pull or saying no many times. Just because my will can say no many times doesn’t mean I need the exhaustion of it. Leaving the laptop “out” helps me do this. When I get the itch to write I just grab it and begin…often it is a quick 10 minutes. But in these precious 10 minutes I am able to hammer out a blog post, a poem, or even just have a much needed conversation with myself. Its amazing…thank you laptop.
And so it is I begin most mornings after the chores are complete, sitting-laptop within eyeshot ready to think, to wonder and to write. I also choose to type during this time rather than physically write. This was a sad transition for me as I love my handwritten journal and I do still use is occasionally but I found immediately when I made the switch how much more I could process and get out by typing instead of physically writing. For me and my life the switch was necessary and life-giving.
The other thing I love about morning pages beside the cheer practical genius of it, is simply the way it sounds in my head. Morning pages…like an elegant dip into enchanted waters. Morning pages like a showering of pure shimmer from the heavens. Aaahh, its nice; and surely I must let that light in that is morning pages.
But stepping aside from the esoteric notions there is of course the pure practical beauty of writing each day. I am certain I am not alone when I say the inner monologue I compose most days only grows on the days I allow for poetic murmurs and musing to bubble up. One way to allow for these is to simply set the tone of the day by letting whatever is in there bubble up onto the written page as you wake. Some days I only have a few small and already defeated words to say, but it keeps me oiled just putting them down. Julia says to aim for three pages each morning along with a healthy dose of walking outdoors as well as an artist’s date, which she describes as “a sacred time to nurture our creative consciousness.” These combined are like strawberries and fine cheese….when together they create something altogether new and inspiring that they alone could not do.
Now a word on how motherhood fits into all of this. Well it must. If you are a writer….and you know who you are…you peculiar observer, you people watcher and elaborate thinker you. You must know that the writer in you does not sleep or wait while precious littles nibble at your chest or wander from your sight. It is not dormant, but longs to breath in the exhausting but magical air around you as you run to kiss a bumped knee and stir another bowl of steaming oatmeal to perfect temperature. We say things like, “I’ll get to it one day.” But today the pages are lost that are not written. Because the thoughts and unique perspective you encase today cannot time travel, sleep will wipe the slate, and yesterdays musings will be lost.
There are so many valid reasons why writing should wait…I know. But they lie. They mix the lies with guilt and finely crafted to do lists and watch slyly as you take the bait whole each day like the good mother you are. I offer a different perspective. The perspective that to indeed be a truly great mother you might instead give your child the whole you that you are and that includes writer, artist, maker, or whomever you are. Write! Write about your children’s chubby smile for three pages or vent your frustrations to the unseen friend on the page with tabs and tabs of listening skills. Write about how this sucks and how many other things you should be doing instead of pushing dust into your keyboard. Just write wherever you are and do it everyday.
I will be there with you there under shimmering light.
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