Acupuncture and Life Balance

Two days ago I got acupuncture again. I had gone 3 years ago to see if it would help my infertility and crazy hormone issues.  After 8 weeks of treatment I stopped going but got pregnant soon after.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  But I had never felt so “balanced” emotionally and physically and I am sure that helped get me pregnant.  And after 5 years of never getting that magic pregnancy line I sure wasn’t going to complain!

So when I developed Carpal Tunnel type pain during pregnancy and it still didn’t go away after birth and after trying wrist braces, exercises, rest, etc. I went to my acupuncture lady.   One treatment and the pain went away and never came back.  I so wish I would have seen her sooner instead of wasting so many months dealing with the pain.

Lately I feel like my hormones are all over the place again. My cycles are spacing apart.  My skin is crazy.  Ever since I gave birth I feel like I am one hormone away from losing it.  That or it is the lack of sleep and the fact that the bottom of my purse is now a garbage dump of half eaten goldfish crackers.  Either way I feel unsettled. Unbalanced.

So this week as I laid on a table with needles poking from every limb while trying to not think about that fact, I tried to meditate on why I am feeling so crazy lately. I remember feeling free and unstoppable.  Youth does that to you.  When you are 20 the responsibilities of adulthood feel so far away.  I didn’t think past that weekend.  That summer.  And what summers they were…..  But now? At 37 with all the responsibilities of job and home and never ending bills…..it is enough to just give in and say “this is it.”

And as a mom to a young toddler I feel like there are a lot of expectations that you are now supposed to be just a mom. Your dreams and ambitions go on the backburner.  Your life is their life.  Maybe it is my mom guilt that makes me perceive this but I am just trying to balance everything the best I can.  Being a mom is harder than I thought it would be.  You constantly feel like you are not doing enough yet feel pulled in every direction.  And as much as part of me would love to stay home all day with him the reality is I also like having a “life” outside of being a mom.  Of interacting with adults and knowing TV shows other than Bubble Guppies. I didn’t get a college degree just for the hell of it.  But since I graduated – 15 years ago! – I have yet to find my way, my calling.  These are the thoughts bouncing around my mind while I laid there.

I love this quote as it pretty much sums up what I need to do right now.

“Be Addicted to the Feeling of Having your Shit Together.”

Now if I could only figure out how. Maybe next week’s session will uncover that…..

All things in moderation…..

So last year I got in on the essential oil bandwagon. I love them.  I really do.  I now have things in my home like all natural laundry detergent and natural hand soap that have essential oils in it.  I have roller balls of essential oil blends that I wear as perfume or for help with everyday aches and pains. I have an awesome homemade muscle rub cream that I swear melts away my neck tension every night.  But I am also living modern life.  I am a working mom who eats things like Orange Chicken (so delicious) from Panda Express for lunch.  I let my son do things like drink water from the garden hose or eat day old cheerios off the floor.  I also still have a medicine cabinet filled with things like Tylenol and Claritin because you just never know when you will need them.

When I decided to start this website last summer it was to be an outlet for me to write about my new role as a mom and explore this new world of essential oils I was excited about. It was also a creative outlet for me as I grieved the sudden loss of my mom last summer.  And over the past year I have been feeling more comfortable in everything. My son is going to be two in a few weeks and I still love my essential oils.  I also can think about my mom now without dissolving into a pile of grief.  It has been a good year.

But….

There are so many fanatics out there on both the essential oil AND motherhood front.   Sometimes I want to shout, “REALLY?  You really did power yoga, cooked an organic breakfast AND magically healed your sick child from one application of essential oils all before 9 AM?”

The reality of life is that sometimes you feel like super mom and other days you just survive till the kids go to bed. Essential oils have supported my family in an amazing way this year and I love them.  But I also will still take my child to the doctor if he gets really sick.

It is called moderation people. In the end, we are all just trying to make the best decisions for our family while trying to fulfill our dreams and ambitions at the same time.

Now excuse me as I get my 3rd cup of coffee for the day.  It is Friday after all and I am running on fumes at this point.  Moderation in the caffeine department can start tomorrow…

Chopsticks and Toddlers

So last night we went out to dinner with some friends. Bryce was extra fidgety.  He wouldn’t sit in the highchair, wouldn’t sit in the booster, nor would he sit on our laps.  Thankfully we had a booth and he happily sat between us for the meal.  But not while sitting still.  Up and down, to and fro he went.  I tried everything to distract him.  Ipad? No.  Toys?  No.  Knife?  Yes. Wait, knife?!  Grab that from him! Ugh…

Finally I spied chopsticks sitting on the table and gave them to him. That worked.  For one minute. Until he decided to throw them at the older couple behind us.  Mortified, I apologized.  The guy, apparently a grandfather or at least a kid lover, came over to our table and gave Bryce his chopsticks back.  He bent over to his level, and smiled big for Bryce while saying hi little man.  Bryce, being the ham he is, loved the attention and started clapping and laughing, bringing even more attention our way. Soon three tables around us were clapping along with Bryce!  The rest of the meal Bryce happily clutched the chopsticks and never threw them again.

As a parent I will admit I do not keep calm during the storm. I am the parent that worries what others think, feel like I never can keep my kid behaved, and am anxious as soon as we leave the house.

Last night reminded me that most people at one point were in our shoes. That maybe, instead of seeing an out of control rambunctious toddler, they see a sweet almost 2 year old enjoying his time out with his parents and finding everything about the experience thrilling, including chopsticks being flung and then returned by a sweet couple.

This stage of life….it’s hard.  But it also has the most rewards.  Lesson learned.  At least until the next outing….

 

When Toddler Angst Strikes

Am I the only parent with a toddler who goes crazy when a parent is out of town on business? Brian has been gone since Monday and Bryce is progressively getting worse each day. He is fussier, clingier and not sleeping well at night. Last night he started screaming in his crib and would only fall back asleep when I put him in bed with me.  The weird part is when Brian facetime’s us Bryce refuses to talk to him! He sees it is daddy and walks away.  Like he is mad that daddy is not here so is giving him a hard time.

Brian comes home late tonight so hope Bryce will be back to his normal self soon. This morning he woke up at 5:00 AM and just wouldn’t settle back down.  So I will be drinking copious amounts of coffee today and just hope to get through.  I am grateful that it is at least Friday!

Here are photos of us from earlier in the week. His toothy grin is just precious.

The Language of Parents

Here are examples of things I say to other parents and then what I actually mean. The best part is that most people understand that I am talking about the long version without me actually saying it.  Anyone relate out there?

What I say: I’m trying to potty train my kid but we are not there yet.

What I mean: My son pooped in the shower the other week and recently peed on my freshly cleaned carpet.  He thinks an actual toilet should be where his toys are stored and has completely disassembled his “practice” potty. I am fine with using diapers.  What size do they go up to again?

What I say:  I am sorry I can’t go there today, my kid might fall asleep in the car on the way back.

What I mean: If my kid falls asleep for even 5 blocks on the way back, we will get home and I will be exhausted from whatever outing we just had but he will want to run around the neighborhood, and I will turn into crazy mommy.

What I say:  I’m sorry I can’t go out tonight. It’s been a long day with the kid. He got up at 5AM

What I mean: At 5AM I was woken up in a way that is inhuman. My son was screaming for us in his crib and wanted up. I then proceeded to attempt to make breakfast while son is running circles around me and the cat is going nuts because I haven’t given her food.  Breakfast ends up taking 30 minutes of rushing around grabbing food and drinks and cleaning up the ones that spilled and I didn’t get to even drink a cup of coffee. When I head out the door for work, I will have felt as if I worked a full 8 hour day and feel relieved that I get to go to my job which, to me, seems like a break since I can use the restroom at some point with no one screaming at me. After I get home, make dinner, do something that looks like a cross between eating and waiting tables, clean the house, bath the kid, brush his teeth, put PJ’s on him, read stories and wrangle him into bed, I then start the laundry and see it is already 9PM.  I’m now so tired my eye balls are stuck looking at the wall so I technically I cannot make it to my car and safely drive.  Have fun without me.

What I say: I have decided to “free range parent” with sleep training

What I mean:  I am too exhausted at night to deal with his screaming so I do whatever  it takes to get him to sleep.  You want to sleep with mommy and daddy tonight? Fine.  Just try to keep your feet out of my face.  You need driven around the block because you decide you just don’t want to fall asleep any other way tonight? I’ll get the keys.  Rock you to sleep while you hoard all 10 of your blankets around you because you suddenly decide one blanket is just not good enough? Fine.  I am learning that as a parent getting them to sleep is more important then how it happens. Because once they are asleep for the night you finally can sleep!

What I Say: We are getting a date night this Saturday.  I’m so excited

What I mean: Besides a “to do” list and talk about the kid, my husband and I haven’t had a real conversation in weeks.  Nor have we been able to sit at the same table and eat a hot meal without getting up 10 times each.  We haven’t seen a movie in over a year and we most likely will stay out too late and have to pay the babysitter overtime. When we come home we will feel like we took a vacation since we actually got to leave the house and relax while doing it.

Toddler Life

I vaguely remember my life pre-child.  Sleeping in, drinking hot cups of coffee, eating hot food while watching a TV channel other than Disney Jr.  Heck I think I even have memories of being able to read more than two pages of a book before passing out in exhaustion! Or talking to my husband about something other than our child, bills or our ever growing to do list around the house.

Parenthood is wonderful. It is also exhausting. We have entered the tantrum stage and I swear he knows to throw one just when they are least welcome.  Middle of aisle five at the grocery store because I wouldn’t let him climb the store shelves? Of course.  Out at the park because we need to leave? A given. Before or after his bath because he hates transitions? Why not.  And trying to put a diaper on him lately is like wrangling a snake.  He hates it and won’t sit still. He won’t use a potty either so wrangling him it is. I have taken to whatever distraction necessary to change his diaper.  Want to play with mommy’s phone? No, OK, how about this Ipad? No? OK, here are a pair of scissors…..ugh of course those would peak your interest….

 

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Because wrapping paper apparently makes the best cape EVER

 

 

We have had to remove EVERY bar stool from our kitchen because he has become fixated with climbing them and then onto the kitchen counters. Which that alone is bad but then he proceeds to throw everything off the counters onto the floor, which in turn makes me a hysterical mess….it has not been a pretty sight at times in the Thomas household lately.

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He is already fascinated with how things work and wants to fix everything.

 

 

But when the going is good it is amazingly beautiful.  He loves to cuddle up on our laps now with his blankets and will just turn around randomly to give us a hug.  I melt every time he does that.  His mental capacity to figure things out is growing leaps and bounds everyday. He is talking more.  Understanding more.  He understands what we say so much now that we have started spelling out words we don’t want him to hear. The problem with that is mom is NOT a great speller, apparently….

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He has a slight blanket hoarding problem

 

He will be 22 months in a few days. Almost two years old.  I am continually grateful that he has come into my life and even though we have a lot of the these crazy days in our house currently, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  If you are in the thick of toddler life like me, remember you are not alone.  And people tell me there is this thing coming up in a few years  where the kid goes to this place for the whole day and you get the house to yourself. It is free and they are taken care of by a whole team of people. I hear it is called school…..

Maybe Reality Really Does Bite

I turned 37 years old yesterday. I didn’t think it was going to bug me. I mean, 40 is the new 30, right?

So I should be OK with turning another year older.  But I am a mess.  It isn’t the whole “I’m so damn old, woe is my aged self” thing that has me reeling, although I do confess feeling kind of old of late. It is the nagging “shouldn’t I feel like a dang grown up by now?” question. I am like, way far into this dog-and-pony show, right? At what point, exactly, will I feel like I am where I should be?  When will I feel like I have this life thing figured out?

I briefly considered diving into a good old-fashioned midlife crisis – but dipping my toe in those waters just doesn’t appeal to me. For one, I can’t drink a 21 year old under the table anymore, let us be honest here. And those clubbing clothes of my younger days? Let’s just say there is a reason there is not a junior clothing section for moms.

So the midlife crisis is off the table, which is for the best as I don’t have time to self-destruct just now. There’s really no spare time to blow everything up when you are just hoping to get your kid and yourself out the door with lunch packed and pants on both of you, seriously!

But what then? Or what now, I mean. Here I am being all old (but not), coming to terms with the idea that maybe, JUST maybe, this is all there is.

Maybe I am not destined to change the world, or even my little corner of it. There is no cosmic line to cross or switch I have to find to make things “the way they are supposed to be.” No fairy godmother is going to come donk me on the head and pronounce that I am now fully qualified for adulting and open a door to some wonderland land of perfection for me.

And then this thought hit me last night. Here in 2016 and MANY years away from my college degree, I have come to the realization that I’ve been on this planet for 37 years and still cope with stressful situations primarily through nacho consumption and wine drinking.

Maybe growing up is overrated. Pass me the nachos please.

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That Runners High

Seriously. Can I be honest with you? I don’t get that “runners high” so many people chase by logging mile after mile running.  I actually hate working out in general.  I hate giving up carbs and sugar.  I love glasses of wine and big dinners.  I love Chick-Fil-A.   And I really love these things called Snicker bars.  But my weight is the highest it has ever been.  My energy levels?  Let’s just say I could fall asleep when Jeopardy is on TV.  I let my baby and work be the excuses not to do anything about it last year but this year it has to stop.  So I have started walking lots of miles.  I eat less “shudder” carbs.  And I am drinking less wine.

And this week? I ran. Almost a mile straight.  I thought I would pass out and my legs felt like jelly, but tomorrow I will do it again.  I am going to do it not because I get that runners high but because I want to smile when I see photos of myself  or pass a mirror.  I want to be able to keep up with my active son.  I want to like me more and I like me better when I try harder.

I realized if I am going to be a health and wellness advocate I need to physically be a better billboard! I am pretty sure that the run down, squeeze into outfits, can’t keep up with my toddler me is not the appearance I want to give off to others.  Nor is it how I want to be. I let denial rule me for so long but no longer!

The struggle is real though. There have been days this past month when working out didn’t happen. Or the Snickers bar magically appeared in my mouth somehow.  But I am not giving up.  So here is to month two:  Let’s do this!  Here is to trying harder and chasing that mythical runners high.

 

Cool Azul
The Active & Fit Kit – Perfect for those after workout aches and pains

Omi Saves the Day

Back in December my son got kicked out of daycare for biting. He is 1 years old. Someday I will laugh at this but at the time I thought the world was ending with the amount of stress it gave me.  What to do, on top of the holidays, made me a mess. And people don’t have much sympathy when they hear it is a behavior issue.  The judging I felt I got from others plus the unsolicited advice from them was too much at times.  I am not in a situation where I can just quit my job and stay home.  But I also knew daycare was not a good fit for him.  He needed more attention and less of a schedule.  More time to explore and just be a kid.  Nanny?  More money than we could afford.  So what to do?

We are very lucky that my mother-n-law offered to watch him for us. So currently my mother-n-law lives with us during the week and watches him.  And in just one month he has made so much progress.  He rarely bites anymore and has calmed down.  He actually can concentrate on the task in front of him instead of bouncing around from one thing to another.  He smiles more. He sits on my lap and gives me hugs when I get home instead of the tears I was getting before. It is like he is a different child.  And of course I love the pictures she sends me during the day of him.  Their relationship is special and you can tell he adores her.

Upon reflecting on this arrangement of course I have mom guilt that I am not there. Every mom –working or not – has mom guilt. But I realize these days of him being with his “Omi” are precious. You see, she is his only grandparent. My parents are both deceased as well as Brian’s dad. “Omi” is it.  I was so close to my “Omi” growing up and am SO grateful that he is getting to know at least one of his.

Life has a way of pushing us where we need to go whether we are ready or not. Lesson learned.

Exactly What I Needed

This weekend was exactly what I needed. I started January 1st with the phrase “highest potential.”  That is my 2016 resolution. To strive for my highest potential. I love this quote I read recently from Oprah Winfrey:

“Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe. ” So true. So difficult to do. This is what I am working this year to do. Create my vision.

After I had Bryce I became an extension of him. His needs were my needs, and his schedule was my schedule. I got lost in the exhaustion and work of baby. I thought it would get better when he turned one. But it didn’t. And then my mom died in July.  Oh did I bury the grief. I just couldn’t deal with it. Too much pain. And this fall I paid for it. Summer turned to fall, and I realized I was lost. Lost as a mom, lost as a wife, lost as a worker. And tired. So so so tired. My health had taken a major nosedive when I became a mother. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I was getting sick all the time. My weight was creeping up. I was getting tired just going up the stairs. I excused it with I was a new mother and just didn’t have time.  But my baby is now a toddler. I was running out of excuses. And eventually I would have to deal with my emotions from mom’s death.

This weekend I had a come to reality check. I became honest with myself. Which we all know is about as easy as watching money grow on trees. Why is change so hard? Why is seeing yourself honestly so scary?

Basically I have decided that I have got to put myself first. Take care of my health, take care of my relationships. But most importantly create my “vision.” So I started working out this weekend. Gave up sugar (so hard!!) and I am committing to reaching my goals. There is many more checks on my list but you get the gist.

It is time to hustle.

I recently bought this oil blend from Young Living called Highest Potential.  It is designed to increase your capacity to achieve your dreams.  I put it on my wrists everyday as I head out the door and it really is helping my mood.

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Ingredients:

Australian Blue  (which is another YL blend) is stabilizing and inspiring.

Gathering (another  YL blend) helps with overcoming mis-guided energy that takes us away from our focus.

Jasmine essential oil is uplifting and helps with feelings of lost hope and anxiousness.

Ylang Ylang essential oil is extremely balancing to your energies. May help restore confidence.

I know I have my work cut out for me. Saying I will do something and actually doing it are two separate things. But I also know I cannot continue as I am. So my exactly what I needed this weekend was a reality check. Let’s keep the momentum going.