Thankful Thursday

Have you noticed a trend in social media posts lately, encouraging you to be thankful on Thursdays? This trend has arrived at the right time. We have had many things impact all our lives this year. None of us can deny it has been a challenge. And for some, it may have been the most challenging year yet.

The stresses of this year have been nothing less than consuming. You may have found your life turned upside down, and needing to make drastic changes to accommodate the new normal.

So why be thankful amidst so much turmoil? Because, we have many things we should be thankful for. So many things that might go unrecognized if we don’t pause and realize what we appreciate.

Even the simplest of things should be called out, pulled to the forefront of our thoughts, and put front and center. We are not meant to squander our thoughts by relishing in the negative. We can do so much more when we focus on the positive.

Parents, we have this slippery slope each week. We get pulled into our to do lists. We need to work to support our families. We are schooling from home, pre-schooling even. We are trying to manage the load of household responsibilities with the need to care for our children and work, all at the same time. We drop the ball, and things are left undone. Our frustrations boil over because we feel so far from perfect. So far from perfect, it feels like failure.

By the time Thursday rolls around, we feel defeated, at the least. The weekend is near, and we are glad, but so much is left to still get done before Friday evening. How will we manage? Why is this so hard? Is it going to feel like this every week, compounding from one to the next?

This is hard!

But, thankfully, there is Thankful Thursday. And, we could all use a little bit of thanks.

Here’s the deal, it doesn’t have to be an entire day of gratefulness. But, we could all use a little change in the way we think. So, I encourage you to practice being thankful this Thursday, and every Thursday from here on out.

All you need to do is find something to be thankful for. Write it down. Share it on social. Tell your children.

Today I am thankful for…

It is amazing what a little statement can do to shift your entire outlook and remind you that no matter how bad things get, there is always good to accompany it.

Today, I am thankful for the inspiration from my children, and the ability to share my thoughts on this blog. Today I am thankful for all my readers. And today, I am thankful for the opportunity to be thankful.

So tell me, what are you thankful for?

The breaking moments

You know that moment when you are pushed so far you are about to fall off the ledge? And maybe you even do? You lose all sense of control, frustrated beyond belief, and can’t get back to a rational place to stay firmly grounded.

Your child, learning from home, chooses fit throwing over giving even the slightest bit of try. Your youngest joining in at just the right time, seeing you are about to lose it, throws every toy in sight down the stairwell, watching it all crash to the beautiful wood floors below.

The house is a disaster, and you are unable to keep anything neat and tidy, no matter how hard you try. Dishes pile up. Art projects gone awry scatter the dining room table, and floor. Laundry piles keep getting higher. All organization has left, leaving your home a disheveled mess.

Trying to figure out why you can’t gain control over your emotions, you realize you haven’t eaten. Again. And it’s almost dinner. But then, sometimes it’s hard to believe because you’ve served meal after meal, and cleaned up the remnants of kid-made snacks all day long.

And, speaking of things undone, you still have plenty of work you are supposed to get done, but, like everything else, you haven’t had the time you need to devote yourself.

Yes, this is when it all falls down. If you are lucky, you are still fighting back the tears. But likely, at least a tear or two has already fallen.

Then, you step out of your room, prepared for your inevitable explosion, to find an adorable scene. Stuffed animals lined neatly on the couch. And when you ask, you are told they represent Mama, Daddy, and the rest of the family.

And just like that, you are pulled back, rescued from the fall. Momentarily teetering on your tip toes, and reminded why you allow this dangerous dance in your everyday life.

Yes, this is hard. All of it. But, it is oh so worth it!

In the thick of it

Okay, how many parents feel like you are in the thick of it? Like never before. Yes, you no doubt know the feeling, and you can say first hand this stuff, the stuff we are working through, is some of the hardest!

We knew technology was ever evolving. We’ve talked about how our children would know technology beyond what we could fathom. We thought we would keep it at bay, fearing technology would keep them from productive things in life, and cause negative health impacts. Yet, here we are, running learning from a computer screen, at home.

Our six year old who is now attempting to navigate the first grade, with us dragging him every step of the way, kicking and screaming (and it’s unclear whether the child or the parent is the loudest, most resistant). He is learning to type, take photos, use a touch mouse, and get from one app to another, all with minimal reading and writing skills. He’s a wiz! He can show me how to do something that takes me much longer to figure out, and I know technology.

And yet, he’s still writing by hand, journaling, drawing pictures, working through math problems, and participating. He’s still developing all the skills we thought technology would remove from him. And, best yet, he knows when it’s time to walk away from all the tech and get out and play. A fine balance is happening here.

Now, I’m not one to say this all doesn’t come at a major cost of time, struggle and effort. This child of ours has zero ability to sit still for even five seconds (unless he’s ill). He cannot focus, and must be fighting through a thousand thoughts a second in his mind. I can only imagine what he struggles with internally.

And us? The parents? Well, we are both working full time and attempting to also raise a young toddler and a preschooler. Balance seems to not be our forte. We cannot keep up with anything and constantly feel like we are failing at everything.

For me, working from home adds a completely different level of stress and necessity. I am not sure how I’m managing any of it, and while I find pride in accomplishing even a single task, I turn around and cry because I feel like I am not giving anything my everything. And for someone who feels like things need to be successful and complete, this is not an easy pill to swallow.

None of our children are getting their particular emotional needs met, because we have too many balls in our court at any given time. Our oldest, while getting a bunch of attention from us directing his learning, falls short on feeling complete from the one on one fun time. Because, by the time we are done with his learning, we are scrambling to give the other two any semblance of devoted attention we can. But they feel left out because of the learning shift as well. So now we have a home full of children who are acting out because their emotional cups aren’t filled.

And speaking of emotional cups…My husband and I are so drained. So exhausted. So stressed. So…burnt…out… We aren’t filling our cups or our relationship’s cup. It’s just one exhausting day compounding on the next.

So where’s the light in this storm? Well…let me share. It’s in finding the funny, cute moments. It’s in reminding ourselves to be kind even when we feel like we cannot. It’s in seeing little successes. It’s in making it through another day and realizing we are one more step toward a weekend. It’s in the beautiful moments when our children do miraculous things (like potty training).

It’s in remembering that despite having limited adventures, we get to spend more time as a family than ever before.

Even if that means doing ten million things all at once, diverting our attentions in multiple directions, and trying to pull off a juggling act even the best of performers cannot fathom.

This is real life. This is what it’s like to be in the thick of it.

It is messy, hard, busy, exhausting, unappreciative, ungrateful, overwhelming, tear jerking, beautiful, rewarding, and strengthening.

It is perfectly impossible. And that is exactly where we want to be.

This is the Life We Live

A thought to contemplate today, and perhaps tomorrow as well. We live our lives everyday, either happy or mad, at ease or stressed, hoping and dreaming. We admire others lives, and have hopes for change in our own.

Whatever it may be, we have the life we live. But how we view it is up to us.

We could be frustrated with how things have been going lately. And truthfully I would be a hypocrite if I told you that was wrong. Frustration is part of life. It’s part of living in the uncomfortable that comes with change and growth. But too much frustration, and living in the negativity that it can create, is unhealthy.

We need to find a way to turn those frowns of ours upside down. We need to get back to the power of positivity. We need to start saying “this is the life we live” with an uplifting tone in our voices.

We need to learn to appreciate the things life has given us no matter how unexpected or challenging they may be.

Yes, giving ourselves a lot of grace comes along with this. Allowing moments of sadness and tears is absolutely okay. Accepting the need for help is normal. Turning down invitations and reevaluating commitments may be essential.

But recognizing what good things come from the moments we weren’t expecting is necessary. So today, as I try to look at my computer to work, and have an 18 month old climbing onto the couch next to me and slapping my keyboard, I pause. I think, this life I live is full of opportunity and blessings. Yes, it is stressful, out of my control, and has me crying multiple times a day. But, it is amazing, and I am glad to be here, overwhelmed with all the blessings and challenges life is giving me.

And parents who are reading this today, how can you do the same? How can you re-frame your situation to look at the positive? Even if it is only for a moment…

I encourage you, love the life you live, and love yourself for doing the best you can.

P.S. – If you need extra reminders, I encourage you to check out my products page where you can find parenting affirmation cards. These are great reminders, opportunities, to choose positivity.

How will we ever learn to manage these new, more challenging than ever before, times?

I have always been one to take on many tasks. Always moving, always doing. The more the challenge, the more satisfying. Balancing, coordinating, and challenging myself has always been my way.

I think I have finally met my match though, in this “new normal” and in motherhood. The one challenge that has me trying to find ways to do less, because I can’t keep up. Balancing and coordinating cannot achieve what is necessary this time. Less would feel like so much more.

Each individual component is not necessarily overwhelming. I can care for our three young children while my husband is at work. I can work from home and complete my tasks. I can help our oldest son with his first-grade learning from home activities. I can keep up on my side hustles that demand my presence on social media. I can help our three-year old with her much needed potty-training tasks. I can keep up with chores and have a semblance of a managed home. But…I cannot do all these things, or even some of these things, with any real success.

And, as we all know, the opposite of success is failure. Something I do not manage well. Something many moms do not manage well. I feel like I am drowning almost all the time. Even if I have someone to help with the kids, I still can’t balance it all, because all three kids cannot be managed, with their different necessities, at the same time.

I’ve found myself crying more often. Much more often. More than I have ever cried before. Even more than the tears I shed during the holiday season, watching Hallmark movies that are predictable, but heartfelt and touching. What makes it more difficult is all the tears are sad tears. Frustrated tears. Defeated tears. No happy tears this time.

What’s more challenging, is it seems I am in this niche that is not all parents, or all moms, but rather a much smaller group. See, not all moms have three children. Not all families need both parents to work full time. Not all situations have a demanding job that requires availability and flexibility all day every day. Not all moms are trying to manage preschool aged children and school-aged children at the same time. And yet, not all children need a parent to be sitting with them, following along, and redirecting every moment of their learning experience.

Yet, I am not alone. I am so far from alone. And I do not need to feel alone. Because, you know what isn’t unique about my situation? What isn’t unique, is that it is unique.

You see, we all have quite different situations from one another. And, if we spend time dwelling on this, we will feel more alone than ever before. Instead, I do believe we should all focus on the aspects in which our unique perspectives can bring us together. I can support other moms who are trying to balance work and children. I can encourage others experiencing the pull of work while trying to help your child succeed while learning from home. I can recognize the exhaustion of crying, because it all feels too overwhelming to manage. And there are many other moms out there who can absolutely relate to these challenges, emotions, and blessings.

Blessings? Well yes! I have been forgetting lately my strong desire to be with my children more. Now I get to be. I have also been forgetting how incredibly empowering it is to need to be present with my son while he attempts to learn, rather than letting myself be pulled a thousand different directions.

You see, we can all relate to one another in some way. We are all struggling through this. Many of us likely feel like we are drowning every day, with so much uncertainty in whether we will make it through. And we are all getting to experience special moments that we wouldn’t be blessed with in any other situation than our own “new normal”.

Mama, you have got this! You will make it through. And if you need to cry (many, many times throughout the day) then so be it. It will make us stronger, better, and lead us to the mama and the person we truly are meant to be.

To the mama trying so hard to keep her home organized

To the mama who wants and organized home,

I see you. I get you. You are not alone.

You organize the toys. Sort bins by types of toy. You go through the puzzle boxes and make sure the pieces are in the correct box. You decorate the book shelves after sorting books by types and putting specialty items up high.

You separate crayons from markers and colored pencils. You put construction paper in one place, and coloring books in another. You designate special drawers for each type of art project, and make sure the paints are out of reach of little hands and curious inquirers.

You fold laundry and hang special things. Sorting dresses, shirts and skirts. Button up shirts are categorized by short and long sleeve, and not mixed with sweatshirts and t-shirts. Linens have a place within the closet that make sense and is user friendly.

Your kitchen cupboards are organized for ease and convenience. The drawers have designated purpose and keep things simple when cooking, baking and cleaning. In your pantry everything has a specific place to be stored.

But, your bedroom, where you are meant to have a sanctuary, is often a disaster. Bed made but laundry piling high. A catch all for things you remove from the reach of your children. Your shower unclean, because the rest of your world always calls your attention first.

And your carefully placed items throughout the house are quickly pulled out, and thrown elsewhere…

Toy bins dumped and mixed promptly after you finish sorting…

Your linens pulled down from the shelf then shoved unfolded on another…

Dresses are pulled off the hangers, leaving a pile on the floor and broken hangers in their midst…

Art supplies scattered and flung on the dining table, with tiny cut paper pieces all scattered under the chairs…

Trying to keep a clean and organized house is futile. Yet, you keep trying. You keep sorting. You keep attempting, hoping this time it will stick.

Mama, I see you, I get you, and you are not alone. You are doing great! You are trying, you care, and that’s what really matters. You’ve got this!

Work it Wednesday: Unplug

My readers, have you unplugged recently? Have you done something just for you so you can be a better you after you have? If not, I encourage you to.

Also, this is a preface into what to expect the next four days from me. My husband and I celebrate our ten year wedding anniversary on Friday, so we are headed back to where we said our vows. Vegas Baby!

We are completely child free. Wish us luck! Or better yet, my mom luck. Baby B hasn’t been away from us for a night since he was born, and now it’ll be three full nights. Much overdue, but with COVID it has been hard. And this time, instead of excitement, the other two had tears. I suppose we have grown closer since we’ve all been with each other non-stop.

But, time as just a couple has been much needed, and is going to be much appreciated.

Alas, if you do not see posts from me, or have anything new to read until next week, it is because I’m disconnecting and enjoying being in the present.

Thank you all!

Mombie Hack Monday: Out with the old, in with the decluttered space

Let’s face it, one of the things that really brings out the Mombie in us is the clutter and mess around our homes.

The added layer of stress our space can bring is exhausting. So why let it defeat us when we can fix it?

This Monday I was hit with the urge to get rid of stuff to free up the clutter and bring a sense of calm to our space. I resisted this urge because I knew other things were to get done. But, fate knew where I should be, and a lost car title sent me into an organize and toss frenzy.

So mamas, don’t ignore the urge that tells you to follow your basic instincts of good shelter. Embrace it. Declutter. Get rid of all the old and enjoy the less overwhelming home. You’ve got this!

Setup YOUR Success Sunday: Do we prep for back-to-school?

This has been an ever-growing thought on my mind recently. Do we prep for back-to-school even if our kids aren’t going to the school? Do we still shop for school supplies and back-to-school clothing? Do we do anything to really prep for a return to school that is all virtual?

Truthfully, I don’t have the answer. Until Friday we didn’t even know what our daily schedules for our oldest would look like, because the school district, like so many others, have been struggling to come up with a plan.

Today I made a decision though. There will be back-to-school preparation. It might not look like any school prep we have ever done. It might not be what we expected. But we do need to do something to “rally the troops”, to get our kids excited for the start of the school year. Because, like it or not, we will be back in school in less than two weeks. And we need to get motivated and prepared.

So, in our house this will look like reorganizing our school and art supplies. Potentially getting a big colorful calendar created for our dining room wall, and even shopping for some fun new supplies to provoke excitement.

On this Setup YOUR Success Sunday I encourage those of you with school age children going back-to-school online, to figure out how you will ring in the new school year. Will you go shopping? Will you clean? Will you find different ways to get organized? Let’s do this! Because it’s coming whether we are prepared or not. So let’s get prepared!

Self-Care Thursday: Try not to panic

I am struggling with self-care this Thursday. I typically try to incorporate some sort of self-care into my Thursday routine so I am more successful at writing my blog posts.

Today I started the day off strong! I actually printed blank calendar pages so I could work on finally creating our Fall schedules for childcare and school. Since I teach, now primarily from home, and J will be in first grade, now at home, there’s more to add to our Fall schedule.

Like many other parents, I am sure, I have been avoiding creating the plan. I have been dreading the end of summer because going back to work and school feels much more overwhelming than a traditional year. But, I knew having a plan would bring me peace, which is truly what I needed for my self-care today.

I was quickly proven wrong. There are so many moving parts to creating our schedule, and I realized half of them are still missing. No school notifications with schedules. Half of the pieces I need from the college I teach for are not available. And developing even a skeleton schedule for our nanny soon became impossible.

Alas, this was not a very caring day for myself. It is only the evening, yet I am exhausted, defeated, head pounding, and anxious. At one point today I was reciting over and over, in my head, “Don’t panic. Don’t panic. Don’t panic!” Then a friend and neighbor reminded me I am not alone. So many of us are in the same boat. This isn’t easy, not for anyone.

So, my call to action for you all, and for myself, is to plan, not panic. Maybe we can’t plan everything right now. Maybe we don’t have schedules yet. Absolutely this will be different. Absolutely it will be challenging. But, we also absolutely can handle this! I challenge you to put a focus on planning our self-care first. What self-care will you do each day or each week? How will you plan to take care of yourself? We are going to need it to get through this next season. Are you with me? Let’s plan!