No, I am not expecting a baby. I simply have not posted about being a mom in quite a while.
Overview: I took nearly all social media aps off my phone and Ipad. In doing so I found something amazing: I have nothing to do! It’s incredible! I have been trying to figure out how to be more intentional in my life and in doing so realized how much of a life-suck these platforms are TO ME (not everyone, just me. And not all the time but especially recently). Now that I have a ton of free time, structuring this post seems fitting. Planning and outlining much of my week helps keep me on track with the million goals I set for myself each day. I am working full time, momming the other full time, going to school again, editing my third book (second in the series), writing a memoir and an epic fantasy novel. I am also wifing and holding down the fort. Am I crazy? Eh, maybe a little, but I am definitely not bored.
Self-Care: I am awful at self-care. I have been listening to a lot of books lately, and thanks to “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis and I have found that I am a workaholic. It is true to my core. The things I think are for self-care tend to be just more stuff for me to do. Then, when I get stretched too thin, the first thing to get dropped is my “self-care”.
- Self-Care 1- Writing. You see, writing is not the difficult part of writing. Editing and FINISHING a manuscript is difficult. So, when I have far too much going on in the day. This therapeutic outlet that I love is often pushed to the side.
- Self-Care 2- Reading. Or listening rather, though it takes me far too long to listen to a book than it would to read. I am able to multitask while listening to an audiobook, which I guess kind of defeats the purpose of self-care if I am still hustling around taking care of everyone else.
- Self-Care 3- Bikini Body. For the past 3 months I have maintained my goal weight in the 130s and for the first time in seven years, a healthy BMI of 24%. This is insane to me. At the same time I know the hard work that went into reaching and holding onto this goal. Now I am incorporating specific workouts to target my “troubled mommy areas” so when I go on vacation in a few weeks, Mama will be rocking the bikini on the beaches of San Pedro.
- Self-Care 4- Education. Yeah, yeah, yeah. This is work, but doing something to better myself is self-care. I am in a constant state of learning and applying what I have learned. Last night, I finally remembered to read my son’s library book he picked out. I am ashamed to admit that before last night, I was completely unaware of WHY Nelson Mandela was such an influential and important person to human rights. I also learned that the only difference my son could pick out between the kids in the book was one group wore shoes and the others did not have shoes, but we both agreed that they should all be playing soccer together and not separate… I would also like to add that while my son found the difference in race unremarkable in the context of the story, my house recognizes differences in race and believes everyone comes from a beautiful heritage. We do not “whitewash” other races or say “We do not see color.” We see, identify, and celebrate every single person and their background. –Raising my children to love others, also builds up my soul and I consider this self-care too. I only wish I had personally learned this particular lesson decades ago.
- Self-Care 5- Therapy. I have gone to the same therapist off and on since my daughter was 8 months old. It took 8 months for me to recognize I was suffering from PPD. While my girlfriends listen to my problems and might have coached me from my biased corner of the boxing rink, therapy helps me gain an objective view outside of my own HUGE emotions. I am still thankful for the validation my girls offer.
Kid Care: Holy-moly do these kids push me. As a mom, I spend so much time being hugged, touched, kicked… I was slapped in the eye last night while the littlest tried to grab my face for a smooch. Cartoons, snacks and boogers (because it’s booger season). Potty training, teaching respect, and getting them to eat more than mac and cheese. Being a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done. Of all the things I take on, this one remains at the top of the priority list.
Dude– My oldest is hilarious. He is a sweet boy who is learning to push Mommy to her utter wit’s end. While he sees it as advocating for his wants, I often see a stinking boy who should be cleaning up his toys so the dog does not eat them. Or who needs to eat his dinner before he gets a snack. Or needs to get ready for bed. But once we are in bed and it’s time for the Mommy/ Dude Show, we settle on a number (less than ten) and tell each other jokes as if we have never heard them before. Then, we snort laugh until all the fingers on Mommy’s hands have gone down. We hug and kiss and “sweet dreams”.
I work 3-4 days a week, but they are very long days. The kids have a sitter pick them up from the center that closes an hour before I get off work. This requires my boy to ride the bus from school to after school care. Sometimes it is hard on him to not see mom or dad after a long day at school, but he is resilient and we make it work.
Ballerina– Her vocabulary doubles every single day. I cannot keep up with how fast this little turkey catches on to the subtlest things. She is also a tattle-tell on her brother, the dogs, Dad, Mom. She very often “Don’t want it…” referring to everything you ask her to do. “I don’t want it hugs.” That’s cool, babe. Sometimes I don’t want it either.
Fur Children– I pushed around where I wanted to make this announcement, because it really belongs in self-care. We have a new addition to our family. Ms Molly Brown Arnold is a baby beagle puppy and has spent a week integrating into our family nicely. She spends hours each day playing with our 7 year old pup Watson and terrorizing Ballerina (they really have the same personality. I am sure once one of them grows bigger than the other, things will be better between them). While training a new puppy is yet another thing to add to my many things I have going on, I very much need Molly. She rounds out our family and our home is finally as full as our hearts.
Privacy: Recently, upon checking the search engine optimization of my website, I found Google has recognized me as a public figure. I have seen writers not afraid to parade their kids along their journey and I have seen writers completely remove their families from social media. I was interviewed by a local neighborhood magazine about my book and family. I realized, if for any reason someone reading my books wanted to find my children, it would be all too easy. Their names, their school, their babysitters are all over social media for the world to see. While I understand privacy measures, much of my audience is from social media. Before any kind of exposure to the masses, I never considered what I threw out on the worldwide web. Now, I find myself wanting to tuck all their photos, names and everything else away from any nut-jobs that could use that information to hurt them.
Maybe I am being crazy. Maybe I am crazy for not doing this sooner, or for even sharing them to begin with, but I am going to start back-pedaling on social media. I have no idea what this looks like since I am taking a break in general. But family care is definitely self care.
Sparks will fly in a mother’s electrifying journey to pick up the pieces of worldwide devastation.
A dormant gene awakens… And so does a rising world government.
A young mother, the key.
Does she save her family? Or humanity?