The kids and I, when the world is in its regularly scheduled routines, spend a decent amount of time in the car. A couple of years ago we started listening to audiobooks when we travel. One of our recent listens was the classic “Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was one of my favorite book series when I was younger, but listening to it as an adult I was listening with the perspective as a working mom and wife. The fact that the whole family was ALWAYS together and did EVERYTHING together really struck me. They were completely dependent on one another for food, shelter, clothing, learning, fun. Everything. They didn’t see people very often and when Pa had to go into Independence the time passed so slowly. They didn’t readily have access to store bought items and made much of what they needed. As I was listening to the book I tried to imagine what life would be like in that kind of situation. We are so used to go, go, going. How would my family handle all that togetherness? What would it feel like to be so isolated from others. What would I need to think about if I couldn’t run to the store or order something online when I needed something?
When we were listening to that book I didn’t realize the impact that COVID-19 would have on the everyday lives of our communities and that I would have the opportunity to get a little taste of what life on the prairie may have felt like. We are 4 days into what would normally be a busy school week. We’d be going to church a couple times this week for mass and different Lenten activities. We would have had baseball, dance, choir, and piano. But so far I haven’t even pulled my planner out of my school bag. We have been able to video chat with some of the people we normally see, but the only people we have seen in person this week has been those out walking in the neighborhood. Stores are running out of certain items that we have taken for granted as always being available. It has been interesting. This is a good time to get “back to the basics.” We plan on spending time doing things that we typically wish we had more time to do. There will be a lot more prayer time, board games, reading, and playing in the yard.
Be safe and stay healthy!
Confessions of a tired teacher mom time here. There are a lot of things I want to do. There are a lot of things that I need to do. I often knock those “want to do” things down to the bottom of my to do list because I’m a teacher mom and I’m programmed to put others first. If I’m honest with myself, it’s more than that. I WANT to put other people first. I get immense joy from being able to help others. Sometimes the price I pay is that everyone else’s needs get prioritized above mine. It’s part of the job, right? Right. But I’ve learned that with a little more self-awareness I can wear most of my hats without completely neglecting myself.
Confessions of a #tiredteachermomchallenge time. The day moves so fast that sometimes I’m agreeing to things asked of me before my brain has fully processed the request. At home and at school my littles (and the bigs too) make requests and sometimes I’m too quick to jump in with a yes. My challenge for myself (wanna join me?) is to not answer right away. Give myself a minute to think. Is this something that I need to do or is it something that can be done or tried by the little? Do I really have time to do that? How should this request be prioritized compared to what I’m in the process of doing or about to do?
Do you have any tips and tricks to managing all the hats you wear?
...and if you haven’t already, go search #tiredteachermom on twitter. There are some funny tweets out there and it is nice to have a reminder that we're not alone in this tired teacher mom journey!
Since my first pregnancy, my weight has been something I have struggled with. The past decade has been a journey of trying to figure out how to best balance all the different hats that I wear on a daily basis and the ones that have been dropped the most have been the ones that have to do with eating right and exercising. Over the past 2 years I have been working to shift my mindset and priorities to address this and I believe that I am finally getting the hang of it!
A Burn Bootcamp opened up in my area about 10 months ago and the idea excited me. It is geared towards women, more specifically moms. There is child watch available and the type of exercise and nutrition focus is a good fit for me. I still am struggling with the balancing act of all my hats, but I’m more committed to a healthier me. I have the right mind set, I feel myself getting stronger and healthier, and I am making slow progress. I’m excited!
One of the funniest things I’ve learned the past few months? My feet are really out of shape! My muscles in my feet have been so sore from the planks, burpees, jumping, bouncing, etc. Who’d have thought?!
"The early bird gets the worm." That is an expression most of us have heard. I know that I heard it a lot growing up. I've always been a relatively early riser and I'm the annoying type of person who wakes up ready to go. My suite-mates in college used to give me a hard time because I was smiley, chipper, and trying to hold conversations with them as they were sluggishly working their way to the shared bathroom to brush their teeth. Even now, conversations I have with my husband first thing in the morning often end with me asking "too much too early?"
As a wife-mommy-teacher-person the needs of others often guides the forming of my day. Like many, I find myself happily and willingly putting the needs of others before my own. That's what we do, right? And that's okay! Serving others is okay! I find a lot of joy in it. But, I'm very guilty of not finding the time to take care of my self afterwards. I easily get lost in everything that needs to get done to help my kids, my husband, to (try to) keep the house in some sort of order, to keep up with the laundry, to make meals that is healthy and edible in the eyes of my children. You know what I'm talking about! I know that this is not a predicament unique to me! I always think "As soon as this activity/project is over, I'll have time to concentrate on eating better/implementing a regular exercise routine/other healthy things I should be doing." The fact that it has been about a year and a half since I wrote in this section...and the subject matter of the last post...supports my findings here. ;)
In the spring I joined my local Burn Bootcamp and really love it. It is geared towards women with a special concentration on moms. Read: Childcare is included during most classes. I have a lot of friends who go, so I often know at least one person in the class. They offer a variety of times, so there's usually a time I can make work. After I signed up, life happened, and I have not been able to make it. UNTIL THIS MORNING! We're into our 4th week of summer vacation and I realized something I should have realized sooner: life doesn't slow down in the summer. There is so much we do! So, last night I decided I was going to get up and go to their 5:30 am class. I know, crazy! I had to wake up 15 minutes earlier than I do on a school day to get to this class! But, I did it for a few reasons. 1. I realize that I'm a morning person. I am better in the morning than I am in the afternoon and evening. If I can get up, I can get going, and I am going to have a better workout. 2. My children wake up early, but a 5:30 am class is early enough that I am likely to be able to leave the house before anyone else wakes up. A clean get away! 3. Quiet. I LOVE that I have been able to shape daily life so that I am able to be with my children the majority of the day. But, that also means that "me time" doesn't happen. I don't need a lot of "me time" but, I do need quiet to recharge and that does not happen too often.
This morning went well. At 7am I was home, but I had already gone to a Burn Bootcamp class and ran a lap at a local track. I had had some quiet time to myself and had even said a Rosary! I'm going to try and keep this early routine 2 days/week this summer. I'm hoping this is a turning point for me in this journey! What is something you are going to do for yourself today?
I love the show "The Middle." I already loved Patricia Heaton in "Everybody Loves Raymond" and Neil Flynn in "Scrubs" so I gave it a chance when it came out and was hooked. Like most people who watch it, I relate to the show in so many ways. I was Sue growing up, awesome sense of fashion and all...and I feel like Frankie and I could be best friends. So many things that she says out loud I have thought. The week that "The Middle" opened with Axl and Mike dragging a very dead Christmas tree outside so they could saw it up and stuff it in trash bags...my husband had done that same exact thing 3 days earlier. I texted him "We're the Hecks!!"
Sue Heck, the middle child in the Heck family, is often overlooked. She is not the most graceful, but she's enthusiastic and spirited. She has a kind heart and is often misunderstood. She loves to be involved and tries out for teams and musicals and she never quite makes it...but that doesn't get her down or stop her from being enthusiastic and loving life. Her senior year of high school she declares "the year of Sue." She decides that she is going to do everything in her power to make it an awesome year and that things are going to go her way.
This year I'm going to channel the spirit of "the year of Sue"--what do I need in order to do this? I *think* I need to reflect on where I am and where I want to be. What can I do to better myself for me and for my family? How can I help set up my family for a year of health and happiness? I also need hope! Can't do it without crazy amounts of hope.
After working to organize my thoughts on this, I've decided that this year I'm going to be concentrating on weight loss across the board. Since becoming a mother I have really struggled with my weight. Before motherhood when I decided to loose weight I just did. I changed how I ate and I hit the pavement. I've tried many times and while I can easily change what I eat (at least for a little while), hitting the pavement just cannot happen with the intensity and frequency it used to. There are many mommas who can make hitting the pavement work...in this season of my life, I'm not one of them.
Over my lifetime I have accumulated a lot of stuff...that's really true for everyone in our house...we have a lot of stuff...and a lot of what we have does not get used very often. SO, the house and I need to loose a some weight.
My aunt has been working with a registered dietician and has had a lot of success. I have recently started working with her too and this time it is going to take and I'm going to lose the weight I've been trying to lose since the birth of my first child. I'm going to do it in a healthy, sustainable way. I also noticed that an exercise center is coming to town soon--rumor has it this March. It is the first of its kind (the kind that will have child supervision available during specific times) on our end of town making it FINALLY possible for me to get into a more structured workout routine. I love working out with my kids, but I never really get out of it what I hope to. Earlier this week I cleaned out some of my kitchen cabinets and took some items that we haven't used in almost 10 years of marriage to a non profit that will put it to good use.
It's a good start! A jumping off point. How about you? What does your "year of Sue" look like?
In the New Testament Jesus tells us to have the faith of a child. The older we get, the further we can be removed from the ideas and spirit that allow us to have a child-like faith.
This past Friday, October 13th, marked the 100th Anniversary of the miracle of the Sun. Our Lady of Fatima appeared to 3 children six times over a six month period. The last time she appeared there was a miracle in the sky. You can click here to visit EWTN's webpage explaining more about her visits to the children, her message, and the miracle she performed 100 years ago.
This is a story I am very familiar with. My Nanny had an animated version of the story that we watched many times. As an adult, I have been interested to learn more about it. I more recently began reading "Fatima in Lucia's Own Words: The Memoirs of Sister Lucia, the Last Fatima Visionary." Sr. Lucia was the oldest of the 3 children who Our Lady of Fatima appeared to. She was also the only one to live into adulthood.
Last night I read about Jacinta. Sr. Lucia was asked by the Pope to describe her cousin, the youngest of the three children. This little girl had such a beautiful faith. Such love for our Lord and His Mother! On her own, she offered up small sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and the reparation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She had such a desire to help people find Jesus through Mary. Such an amazing faith. The faith of a child. Through painful illness, the loss of her brother, and with the knowledge that she was going to have to go to a hospital where she would die from her illness away from her family, she kept her faith. She was joyful with the knowledge of the love of God, Jesus, and his Mother. She was scared, but she offered up her suffering and turned it into something that could be used to battle sin and death.
Phew, to read and learn about the very real faith of Saint Jacinta Marto really puts things in perspective. It is quite humbling. I'm going to be honest. Life can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. My kiddos at home need me, my kiddos at school need me, I'm taking a class that has me reading multiple articles and writing a paper every week (in APA format...ewwww ;)), chores at home keep piling up...I'M OVERWHELMED. THINGS ARE NOT GOING THE WAY I WANT THEM TO. And then I read about Jacinta and I am reminded that the priorities of earth are not the priorities of heaven. These things that seem so HUGE are really quite small. I am not alone in my journey. I have a loving Mother in Heaven who is constantly working to help me know her Son better and grow closer to Him and to our Father in Heaven. How amazing! How blessed! Let's strive to have the faith of a child and follow the example of the children of Fatima.
I get into funks...I think we all do. It is very easy when we're so busy with life to get into the mind set of putting our head down and just getting it done. When I do that, I don't take the time to enjoy what I'm doing and I get out of a thankful mentality.
With the beginning of the school year all of my hats get put back on. There are some that get to be hung up a bit over the summer. This fall I'm a wife/mom/homemaker, teacher, active church lady...AND a student. This class has a lot of reading and a lot of papers---my favorite (please read as if said dripping with sarcasm). I had to give myself a pep talk. It worked. I came into this week ready to kick booty as an amazing modern day hybrid of June Cleaver, Mrs. Frizzle, St. Catherine Laboure and Hermione Granger. I'm going to do it all! Look good doing it! Do it well! And HAVE FUN while I'm doing it!! YES!!!!
...and then I get a cold...a stuffy head, have trouble thinking straight but still able to function cold...and I'm not kicking booty and staying on top of things like I wanted to this week. BUT, I'm still trying! I'm not giving into the HUGE desire to collapse on the couch in the afternoon. I'm trying to knock things off the to do list...and then collapse in bed early ;)
So all you June Cleaver, Mrs. Frizzle, St. Catherine Laboure, Hermione Grangers (substitute what fits your hats best!) out there, HANG IN THERE! YOU GOT THIS! YOU CAN DO IT! At least that's what I keep telling myself.
Okay, let's do this!
Let's face it...most moms (and dads...and care givers) are really good about making sure that everyone else gets what they need. Often times this happens so well because we put our own needs and wants aside. It is a sacrifice as wives, moms, daughters, sisters, friends that we make happily. It is something that we often don't even think twice about. We're happy to do these things for those we love and care about. If we're not careful, we can find ourselves feeling completely depleted. When this happens to me I often focus on my short comings instead of what things I can do to recharge myself. The past couple of years I have tried to find ways to recharge myself that don't have a negative impact on my family and don't significantly impact the time I spend with them.
I decided to try and find ways I could pamper myself at home. Things I could sneak into my weekly routines that made me feel better about myself and give me a small chance to relax.
At about the same time I was beginning to have this revelation, a friend from high school started to talk about this new product she had developed. I hadn't seen Tobi since our high school graduation (my mom still talks about the awesome speech she gave) but we had kept in touch via facebook. Tobi is a mom of 7 who had been looking for a face regimen with natural ingredients that worked. She couldn't find any that didn't include fillers, so she started to work on developing one herself. That is how Belpeau was born. (That is a very short summary of the background story of Belpeau, so please go check it out on her webpage!) I was excited to try Tobi's nourishing exfoliant because it sounded like EXACTLY what I was looking for AND it gave me the opportunity to support a small family business. Since then she has also come out with a nourishing oil and has plans for a daily face wash soon (I can't wait!). I decided to give it a try.
So, how does this pamper me? I found myself, a mom in my early 30s, using the same face wash I had been using in high school. I really didn't have a skin care routine (even though my mom said that I should)...who has the time or money for that, right? I had some friends who had started to use things like Rodan and Fields. I used Proactive in high school and it worked. I really wanted to try it, but I didn't have the wiggle room in the budget to afford it.
I am a busy mom. It is very easy for me to fall into a routine of go go go. One where I barely have time to stop and look at myself in the mirror and when I do I think "Oh my goodness...who is she?" but I'm on the brink of running late so I just have to take a deep breath and keep going. I wanted to start taking better care of myself. I wanted to feel like more than just mommy. This has been a very small step I can take to try and achieve that.
I'm sure that everyone who uses Belpeau uses it a bit differently, but here's how I use it. I have a subscription (that saves me money). I get the exfoliant and oil every 3 months. I use the exfoliant about 3 times a week on my face, neck and chest. Every once in a while I will use it more like a body scrub. When I use the exfoliant I don't need to moisturize my face after my shower like I do with my daily face wash. I use the oil almost daily. I use it on days that I use my store bought daily face wash and I use it after I shave my legs. I apply it while I'm in the shower and it keeps my skin soft and healthy. This sounds so silly, but I always wondered how in the world other women kept their legs from getting that dry skin/ashy look. The creams and moisturizers I was using didn't work. I figured out how I can get rid of dry skin! For me, it is Belpeau. This past winter I used it on my arms too. It really helped with dry skin. I was a little skeptical at first because I was afraid it would make me feel gross and oily, but it didn't and I love it!
The product usually lasts me more than 3 months (typically 4-5 months), but I have found that they make great gifts (check out the amazing way Tobi packages them). So when they come in the mail, if I don't need them yet, I put them in my closet. Sometimes I give them as a gift for someone else and sometimes I open them up for myself!
Belpeau is one way that I pamper myself. It is a small way I take a little better care of myself that gives me a bit of a self confidence boost and allows me to recharge, even if it is just a smidge, as I get ready for the day.
I also have to add that Tobi has no idea that I have written about Belpeau. I will probably share it with her in a few weeks. After using Belpeau for a little over a year, I have come to love the products and wanted to share them with you. For me, Belpeau has been a little luxury. What little luxuries do you have?
I am a big fan of Holy Heroes and their Glory Stories. They bring to life the lives of Saints in a way that captivates the children (and parents!) listening to them. I recently purchased a couple Glory Stories that we didn't yet have and we were listening to them in the car Sunday on the way to church. One of the stories was that of the children of Fatima. I wanted the children (and myself) to learn more about the miracles that occurred there 100 years ago. We've been praying the Rosary more often and I thought that learning what Our Lady said to these three children and the directions she gave them would go nicely with our recent praying habits.
I think that when I listen to these stories I get as much out of them as the kids do...sometimes probably a bit more. One thing that struck me was how willingly these young children (9 and younger) made small sacrifices at Our Lady's request for the conversion of souls. How willing they were to suffer to help repair the Immaculate Heart of Mary and please our Lord and His Mother. All we need is the faith of a child, right?
I'm so used to being comfortable and having my needs and wants met. My children are too. I think that many of us are. This week I've thought a lot about this Glory Story and the words of Our Lady at Fatima. How can the frustration that comes with things not going the way I want them to or the disappointment of something not going my way be turned into something good? How can I intentionally make sacrifices for the conversion of souls, the sick, and other things that brings the world closer to God? I've tested it out a couple of times and want to know what I've found? When things don't go my way, it doesn't bother me so much. Huh...that's kind of cool. I feel myself focused on God, Jesus, and Mary a whole lot more too. That's a blessing in so many ways.
Take some time to learn more about Our Lady's appearances to the children in Fatima 100 years ago and try making little sacrifices and offering up times of suffering. It has made a difference in my life this week. I hope that it will make a difference in yours too!
You ever have a moment where you're explaining something to someone else and while you understood the subject matter before, you have an ah ha! moment where you understand it on a deeper level? I had a moment like that earlier this week talking to a friend at work.
She had spent a lot of time that morning discussing how she was working to avoid sweets and cut down on carbs because she really wanted to get in better shape and eat healthier. As you know, this is a journey that I've been on for a while. I've learned a lot of things from very knowledgeable people and experiences along the way although I'm still working on my own implementation....
She was having a particularly rough day that day and towards the end of the day she started talking about how she wanted a large cheese pizza, chocolate chip cookies, and a sweet tea. Then she said "I deserve that after today!" *Cue Ah Ha! Moment* I poked my head out and said, weeeelllllll, really, if your goal is to eat healthier and get in better shape, then you might really want the pizza, cookies, and sweet tea but if it doesn't help you get where you want to go, then you don't deserve it. You deserve to be strong and make choices that help you obtain your goal.
It made me realize how much we say what we deserve and some of those things that we say we have earned because of rough experiences, they're really wants. My friend chose to walk laps at one of the local schools and have a healthier dinner than she was previously dreaming of that evening. She deserved that.
I need to follow my own advice too. What can I do to help myself reach my goals? I'm going to be working to take a better look at what I deserve.
I can't forget that before I wore many of these hats, I was me. In order to succeed in my other roles I need to take care of myself too. This is a tough one because many of my other hats are more precious to me. I think many can relate to this.