Sunday, July 15, 2012

Taking Care of the Caretaker

Have you ever had one of those days where you snap at everybody?  Nothing seems to go right...  The dog pees on the living room floor, the cat throws up a hairball, the kids are fighting, the hubbs is in a bear of a mood, and you are exhausted.  Sound familiar? 

If you are like me, most days are somewhat like this to an extent.  There is always something to clean up, always an argument to settle, and a meal to be cooked.  Most days I love it, it's what I do, it's what we all do.  But sometimes, some days, I feel like I'm just going to go nuts!  Do you ever feel like that?  Well I can't speak for you but I know when I get like that, it usually means I've been neglecting to care for the caretaker.

We need to remember to be kind to ourselves.  How can we care for everyone else if we aren't caring for ourselves?  It's important to take some time for yourself every single day.  Some days, this isn't practical and you just can't do it.  It seems like those are the extremely stressful days.  How do I keep from boiling over on days like this?  I take care of me.

I usually don't notice that I'm having one of those days until one of two things happens: #1 - I nearly bite some one's head off, #2 - I actually bite some one's head off.  Neither of those things are good!  Some days I can catch it before then but sometimes not... 

Let's say it's been building up to be a whopper of a stressful day.  Just like in the first paragraph, things are piling up all at once...  Your family is tugging you in 10 different directions, all at the same time.  You feel like you're about three seconds from either yelling at someone or locking yourself in the bathroom.  Here comes the straw to break the Mom's back, the youngest just spilled his entire glass of chocolate milk...  On the carpet...  And he wants a refill. 

This is where I would have to stop, take a breath, and walk away.  In this situation I like to go sit outside by myself on the back porch for a few minutes, listen to the birds sing, get some fresh air, and just try to clear my head.  I would almost call it meditation.  I find that when I'm about to break, if I do this it helps me recharge.  While I'm sitting there I think of all the things that make me happy and all of the many blessings in my life.  After I've had a few minutes to calm down, I'm able to go back inside and face the spilled milk without crying over it.  I don't feel like I need to scream anymore and all is well. 

Sometimes though, I don't catch it in time and I do end up snapping at one of my beautiful babies or my hubbs.  If that happens I walk away and do my "calming down", then I go back in and try my best to apologize.  I think it's always easier to say you are sorry after you've had a chance to think things through and process what you are feeling.  You would be surprised how far an, "I'm sorry, I'm having a stressful day and I took it out on you.  I shouldn't have done that and I will try my best not to do it again." will go...  I know I always appreciate an apology after someone has snapped at me! 

No matter how zen you are, there will be stressful days.  But you can keep them to a minimum if you remember to take care of you.  Exercising is a great way to reduce stress and it's good for you!  Go for a walk (or run) outside, play with your kids in the back yard, go swimming, do a Jane Fonda video.  There are a thousand (fun) ways to get your blood pumping and shed some pounds while you are at it.  Get your hubbs to tuck in the kiddos once a week and while he's doing that, take a long hot bubble bath.  Do you know what I find relaxing?  Grocery shopping without the kids! 

There are a lot of things you can do to relax, find what works for you.  Everyone is going to have different ideas of what is relaxing but I can promise you one thing, if you take pamper yourself every now and then, you will be a better caretaker to your family.  The short of things?  Every day find a few minutes in a quiet place to breathe deep and think of all the things that make you happy.  If you get stressed to your breaking point, walk away.  At least once a week take an hour to do something just for you!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A man with a sign...

I'm warning you guys...  I'm in a very deep state of mind today.

Today while on our way to the grocery store, we passed a man holding a sign.  It said "Will work for food."  This is the second time since we moved to this area nearly 5 years ago that I have seen this man.  He is an Army Vet and my heart breaks for him...  I don't know his back story but I wish I did. 

I grew up with a father who, when he saw a homeless person or someone begging, would say "Get a job you bum!".  It was embarrassing as a child and now as an adult, I'm horrified at the memories of how he behaved.  But I knew as soon as I saw this man, I wanted to help him.  I checked my purse for cash, no cash.  So I continued on to the store, bought a few groceries for him and some other staple items, got cash back at the check out and we were out the door.  I was afraid if I didn't hurry, he would move on and I'd miss him.

As we are sorting the items we bought for him into a bag, my oldest (10) says, "He's lucky we are helping him."  When he said that, it made me stop and think for a second about how to respond.  I mean really, is he lucky we are helping him?  No not really...  There aren't a lot of things that I have to stop and think about before I answer my kids.  Most of it at this point is pretty automatic.  But when he said that it made me pause for some reason.  I realized we were the lucky ones...  To be able to help this man.  So that's what I said, "Actually Alex, we are lucky to be able to help him." 

We packed in the rest of our groceries and headed up the road, he was at an intersection so I had to do a bit of turning to get to him.  We pull up, roll down the window, say hello, and he approaches the car.  Alex hands him the bag of stuff and I reach him a bit of cash.  He asks if he could please do some work for us and I respond with a thank you but no, he says God bless, I say you too and we drive off.  It took like 30 seconds of interaction but it had an impact on me none the less.  For a lot of reasons...

It makes me feel like I take the things I have for granted even though I try to always appreciate everything we have.  I feel like I am not "giving back" enough, like I'm not contributing to the greater good.  I also feel like I'm not teaching my children to be as appreciative as I thought I was.  My hubbs is blessed with a wonderful job that pays well above average for our area.  We live in a nice home and I drive a nice car.  My children have all the new gadgets, toys, and video games.  We have clothes to wear, food to eat, beds to sleep in.  Do we take it for granted?  I'm afraid we do...

There are so many things you have to do as a parent, so many things to teach them.  It's hard to keep up with it all and I know I leave out important stuff.  All I can do is try to get remember as many important things as I can, show them I love the unconditionally, and teach them the best values I can.

I'll be thinking of the man with the sign for the rest of the evening...  Wondering if he has a place to sleep tonight, if he has dinner, if he has family.  Today I will be even more thankful than I normally am.  I'll hug my kids a little longer and talk to them about our appreciating our many blessings, as well as blessing others when you can.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My (lack of) 50's Style

One of my favorite things about the 1950's housewife is that she always, and I am always, looked her best.  Me on the other hand?  Unless we are going out somewhere, I'm sitting at home with my jeans and (stained) t-shirt, hair in a frizzy pony tail, and not a speck of makeup.  I feel like a skuzz and hate to go to the door if someone rings the bell.  I mean I'm not walking around nasty dirty but still I don't feel "pretty", you know what I mean? 

Let's just go over my contents of my closet, shall we?  The majority of my clothes are dark in color (black is slimming right? =P) *Quick Note - If you want to skip over the contents of my closet and get to the "point" of this post, scroll down to the next asterisk (*).

1 floor length black (This is what I call my "fancy" dress)
1 knee length black (Even I have a LBD)
1 knee length floral (worn once because I got too fat for it, have since lost weight, yay!)
1 knee length black & white (favorite!)
1 knee length white & gray (newly purchased for the hubs birthday last Feb, OK so not new exactly)

1 long black
4 knee length black
2 olive green
1 khaki

4 jeans (3 blue, 1 white)
2 slacks (1 gray, 1 black)

2 jean
1 khaki

Now looking at all of that, I would think to myself, "Well what's the problem?  I've got nice clothes, why can't I make that stuff work?  Well the problem is my collection of "tops".  It consists of mostly t-shirts and more t-shirts lol. Honestly I can't remember how many shirts I have at the moment and I'm not going to go count them right now (I know, I know, lazy!) so I'm just going to estimate.

1 black
hmm I honestly only can remember the one!  I need more sweaters!  Or maybe I have some and just never wear them?  I'll have to check that out!

Long Sleeved T's:
3 black
2 gray
1 blue
1 pink

Short Sleeved T's:
8000 - OK not that many but at least 30.  They are all different colors!  But I almost ALWAYS wear T's.  I don't have hardly any winter shirts because I just wear a t-shirt under my coat.  It's crazy now that I think about it...  I've got problems lol! 

Almost forgot the tank tops!  It's summer and I have a ton of tank tops...  Probably 10-15 in varied colors.  I wear them to sleep in or around the house.  Rarely outside the house but if it's hot enough, I'll totally go for it!

*My goal is to spend the next 30 days making what I currently have in my wardrobe work.  Fall & Winter are rapidly approaching so I will be trying to make a few sweater additions but as I said, I'm just going to try and work with what I already have.  Later today, I will be going to clean out my closet and I will *try* to take and post photos for you guys.  Once I get things sorted out and organized, I'll take inventory of what I actually have and post an updated list (hopefully, you know how it is as a mom, you get side tracked!).  With that list, I will plan out my outfits a couple of days in advance! 

Why am I doing this?  Is it because my husband thinks I'm a slob with no style?  Is it because I think housewives should always look fabulous?  Well no...  It's because I am tired of feeling like a frumpy housewife.  It's because I want to take pride in my appearance.  It's because I want to feel good.  Am I going to play dress up like it's the 50's, wearing my dresses and pearls every single day?  No.

What I am going to do every single day is:

- Wear a nice, yet comfortable outfit every day.  (This may even include a t-shirt, because my collection of what I would call "nice" tops is very limited.
- Accessorize with some jewelry.  I have a lot of nice jewelry yet the only things I ever wear are my wedding band and simple hoop earrings.
- Stop just pulling my hair back in a pony tail!  I exercise daily so I have to have a pony tail then but lately, it's been up all day every day.  So I'm going to start prettying it up!
- Wash, moisturize, and makeup my face every morning!  I am great about washing it before bed but totally slack on the morning routine.  Also, I'm not talking all out war paint but a little powder and mascara really makes me feel pulled together.

That's really not so bad is it?  I mean how long will it take to do all that in the morning, 10 minutes at most? 

I have one more thing that I want to touch base on really quickly and I hope it doesn't get me virtually thrashed.  I think that it is extremely important to "pretty up" for yourself.  To give yourself a bit more confidence and to hold your head higher (some of you may not need that, and if not good for you, I admire you!).  But I also think that it is important as a wife and mother to look nice for your family.  Personally, I know from past experiences that my husband notices (and comments on it) when I take a little more pride in my appearance.  When I first met him, I was always dressed nicely and always had makeup on.  Why should we stop doing this once we are married? 

So if you are like me, tired of feeling frumpy.  If you want to start putting a little bit of effort into the way you look each morning, join me!  We're all in this together anyway right?  Let's look awesome while we're at it!  If anyone wants to do this with me, let me know!  Either here, on my FB page, or email me.  We will support each other!  =)

Also keep in mind, I'm no style expert.  I'm just a woman, a housewife, and a mother wanting to un-frump.  I don't think I'm qualified to write a "how to" exactly but maybe one day, at the end of this exercise, I will be able to!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Being A Supportive Wife

I was originally going to post about my lack of style...  One thing is for sure, women of the 50's were glamorous.  Me in my jeans and t-shirt?  Not so much.  It was a very good topic I think and I still will make a post on it.  Instead I have something more important to talk about today!  My experience with trying to be a supportive wife to my husband.

My hubbs has been working on a book for about 3 years now, actually he's written a total of 3 books.  He's ready to start getting them out there in the world for people to read and it's not been an easy road so far.  We've run into a few snags...

I will give you a bit of info about my hubbs since I really haven't really done that on here yet.  He is an extremely hard working man, a wonderful provider for his family, an involved father, and a caring husband.  One thing he is not, is good with people.  He can't stand interacting with people, especially people he doesn't know, it makes him extremely anxious. 

Can you imagine what that's like for a writer?  Working for years on your book, putting a part of your soul into it and then sending it off for strangers to critique?  Well it's just not easy for him...  He struggles with all aspects of it. 

I've been doing my very best to help him as much as I can...  I've helped him create a Facebook page for his books, I've helped with research and finding publishers & agents, I've helped with editing and revising, I've helped with brainstorming ideas, today I helped him create a blog...  I really have done my very best to help in any and every way. 

What I haven't always been able to do, is help with a smile every time.  I try my very best to be understanding and supportive.  I've never once told him he couldn't do it or not to do it.  Because I know he can do it!  But he doesn't seem to believe in himself.  I find it frustrating that he doesn't just get in there and do what he needs to do next...  He agonizes over each and every decision and choice.  He's a perfectionist for sure! 

I listed the ways that I have supported him, now I think I'll list the ways that I have failed him.  Keep in mind these are only related to supporting him in his writing.  I get snappy when he asks me the same question over and over, I get frustrated when he needs me to look up something that he could look up himself, I've yelled at him over stupid things, I am extremely impatient, it frustrates me when he doesn't understand something when I think I've been perfectly clear, I took too long when helping with proofreading...  I'm sure there's more but I'm having trouble recalling everything. 

Looking back now I realize I have lost my temper a lot more than I wish I had.  I do believe that I have been more supportive than not...  He may have a different opinion on the subject, I'll make a mental note to ask him.  I'm going to make a decision right now to try my very best to be patient and understanding when we're talking about his books. 

I think it's very important in a marriage for both the husband and the wife to support each others dreams and projects.  I can't think of any person in the world that I rely on for support more than my husband.  He supports me in every aspect of my life and I try to do the same for him.  I think sometimes we all get caught up so much in our own hopes and dreams, we find it hard to support others with theirs. 

So I ask you, are you a supportive spouse?  Have you ever told your spouse that you thought their idea was a bad one and not to do it?  If you aren't very supportive, will you try to change that?  I hope so because we all deserve someone in our corner.  Be there for your spouse!  =)

My favorite, FAVORITE thing about blogging is reading your comments!  So if you have anything to say on the subject I ask you to comment!  It's the best part really!

Aaaaand I forgot to put a link to his blog here!  Just incase you are curious as to what all the hubbub was about!  You can find it here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Quick Note

Hey guys!  Just a quick post to say that we finally have power back!  I have a ton of errands to run today, especially to the grocery store.  But you can bet your butt I'll be sitting down to write a nice long post tonight.  I have SO much to talk about!  Mostly how grateful and blessed I am for this wonderful life and wonderful family.  I wanted to let you all know that we are alive and well.  The storm was nasty but we had gas for cooking and hot showers so it wasn't so bad.  I hope you guys have a great day and can't wait to get back on here to write!