I Gave This Whole “Self-Care” Thing a Whirl and Here’s How It Went

I Gave This Whole “Self-Care” Thing a Whirl and Here’s How It Went

Self-care is important and “me time” is a must — especially when you have kids. At least, that’s the message that seems to be playing like a broken record these days. (Just give a quick scroll through your Facebook feed, and you’re bound to stumble upon an article or two that mentions it.) But as a mom of two toddlers, carving out a window of time just for myself isn’t exactly at the top of my list. As a working parent, it’s hard enough finding time to set up a play date or squeeze in a date night (that actually happens) without just adding more stress to my already-hectic schedule. However, the past few months have left me seriously reconsidering the importance of self-care. Maybe it was the fact that I kept getting sick (over and over again) that made me think the universe was trying to give me a sign; or, maybe I really had read one too many self-care articles, after all. Whatever the case, I began to wonder: Was I really doing enough to take care of myself? Enter, The Experiment: I decided it was time to get onboard with this whole “Me Time” thing (or at least try), once a week for one month. It wouldn’t be easy, but I promised myself I’d commit to the cause. Week 1: I picked up a book and actually read it. Image Source: Ambrosia Brody                                                         I I initially planned to meet friends for dinner and drinks as a throwback to the Friday nights before bedtimes dictated...
I Am So Over the Babymoon

I Am So Over the Babymoon

Of course, a baby moon isn’t logistically or financially possible of everyone. But for those of you who are considering it, please heed Ali’s hilarious warnings: it’s not always what the glossy magazine photos depict. (Maybe this just makes me feel better because I didn’t get one. 🙂 Picture it: you and your husband toasting the Golden Trimester and your impending parenthood by taking a luxurious jaunt to the tropics. You will bask in the glorious sunshine by a crystal-green ocean, a virgin mojito in hand and a masseuse rubbing coconut oil on your baby bump. I’ve had two kids and two babymoons, neither of which involved coconut oil rub-downs. Unlike a honeymoon, which signified the start of our new life together, the babymoon just reminded us of what our life would no longer be like. If I were to have a third child (I said “if”- don’t get any ideas, Mom!), I would ditch the babymoon altogether, because I am so over it. Here are a few romantic illusions that were shattered upon arrival: 1.) This babymoon will be my last hurrah before the baby comes. The Plan: a spa day, followed by a relaxing stroll through town, a fancy romantic dinner, and then a show or movie. We would cuddle by the fireplace in our B&B, sleep until 10am, and then enjoy the delicious home-cooked breakfast downstairs. The Reality: The local spa did not offer prenatal treatments. The “relaxing stroll” became an “awkward waddle with frequent bathroom breaks.” Throughout dinner I alternated between staring wistfully at the other patrons sipping wine, and hightailing it to the bathroom....
What The Pressure Of Parenting Really Looks Like On A Marriage

What The Pressure Of Parenting Really Looks Like On A Marriage

I got home from work at 6, and I was exhausted. I didn’t really want to do anything but soak in the tub for a while, and take a moment to clear my head. I walked through the front door, and Mel, my wife, unloaded. She told me about how Tristan, our 7-year-old, hadn’t cleared the table for dinner or started his homework. She told me how Aspen, our 4-month-old, had blown out her diaper twice that day and refused to take a nap, and how Norah, our 5-year-old, had done little but throw one fit after another. This was about two years ago, and at the time Mel was a stay-at-home mom and a part-time student. She was in blue jeans and a striped T-shirt, her brown hair pulled back. She was stirring something on the stove, and on her hip was Aspen, who was crying and wearing nothing but a diaper. The house was a storm of toys and unfolded laundry. The bags under her eyes, her makeup-less face, her sagging right hip, her slumped sounders, everything about Mel said weary. She’d had a long day. But so had I. At the time, I worked at a university as an academic counselor in a program that served under-represented students. A friend once described my job as the “social work of higher education,” and I think that was a good assessment. One of my students had been arrested the night before. He was facing felony charges, so I’d spent a good amount of time chatting with university legal services trying to help make sense of the situation. Trying...
The Ugly Days of Parenting

The Ugly Days of Parenting

I put my all three of my kids to bed an hour before their scheduled bedtime tonight. It was one of “those days” where nothing seemed to go the way it was supposed to go and all of my children were out to not only get each other, but take me down in the process, too. By the time dinner was over, I was officially over all the arguing, the whining, and the crying, so I just decided to get all three ready for bed and asleep. Magically, each of them was out like a light within 15 minutes flat, which basically never happens. We don’t have these days often, but when we do, they beat me down. As I sit here writing now, I’m in my living room with a glass of wine beside me, listening to the sound of my son’s sound machine humming upstairs. I don’t want to hear anything other than the thoughts in my own head. And at this point, I’d tune those out too, if I could. Today was one of those days that I questioned whether or not I could keep it together. We leave for a month-long vacation this Friday, so my stress level is already pretty high trying to prep for that. Without trying to stress the kids out too, I tried my best to turn my laundry list of errands into tiny little “adventures” for them. But, surprise: it backfired. Big time. With every new store that I walked into, at least one or more of my children threw a tantrum. We left the restaurant we ate lunch in after breaking one bowl and spilling...
Things I Learned In School That Do And Don’t Apply To Parenting

Things I Learned In School That Do And Don’t Apply To Parenting

“Well, that was a waste of an education.” I’ve heard it from people. I’ve thought it myself. I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in graphic and website design. I had a fun run doing just that for six years, and then two more years after I had my first child. Is my particular education lucrative to staying home? Not really. I rarely use my degree skills — unless you count designing photo books and birth announcements — which I never really did. So, technically, I don’t use those skills for my day-to-day activities. It’s not too often my kids need a brand style guide or animated banner ads designed for their website. No one needs logos or business cards, just water, some crackers, and 47 band-aids for a teeny, tiny cut that may or may not even be there. Now, classes I took in high school — those are a totally different story. Sure, I was required to take classes I didn’t want to take, questioning their relevance, “When am I ever going to use this stuff?” Now, three kids and 20-plus years later, it’s all finally making some sense. These are the classes that turned out to be useful for parenting: Basic Math: Also known as creating and following a budget. You can’t do this if you don’t know basic math. Even if you’re like me, and all you can do is count on your fingers, it still counts. I have no issues standing in the grocery store counting on my fingers the amount of money I’ll have leftover if I buy that roasted tenderloin for dinner —...