The Art of Self Care


It’s been a hectic few months around the W household. If you don’t follow me on Facebook, the latest hurdle is that S. was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, or in layman’s terms – an enlarged heart. I won’t bore you with details, but it looks like he is going in for open heart surgery in a few months. It’s been a whirlwind of doctor’s appointments, medication changes and muddling through scary, annoying symptoms.

When I shared the news on Facebook I had a lot of supportive comments about my own ‘self-care’. Then a few weeks later the term came up again on an Facebook group for women I am active with (I do leave the house, I promise). One person said, as a mom of multiples, as part of her ‘self-care’ she goes on a solo vacation for a week. A WEEK! At that point I had to figure out what ‘self-care’ is all about, because apparently I am doing it wrong. And for the record, going away for a week wouldn’t make me feel good – I would miss my family! And where is the line between self-care and selfishness?

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I asked some friends what ‘self-care’ meant to them and found some helpful sites online (this is my favorite, it makes self-care seem realistic). My favorite ‘definition’ is this from a fellow Mom: “Being able to take time to still be me, without husband, cats, or child. To not be defined by others but be challenged to define myself. To have time to better myself, and therefore have more to give to the beings that depend on me.” Here’s what some others said:

“Letting the my kids watch TV while I have my first cup of coffee

“Basically it just means putting my mental well being first when I need it. I hope this will make me a more refreshed, happy, mommy and will also teach my kids the importance of self care in their own lives. My hubby’s self-care involves playing baseball with his buddies two nights a week. It’s a huge release for him and he’s a much happier person when he gets that time.”

“For me, that means eating when I’m hungry, so I can make food for the kids too. Taking a nap at rest time, so I can play later. Chatting with mommy friends during play dates and ignoring the kids for a while, so I can interact with them again.”

Yoga gives me peace of mind to tackle whatever the week can bring. And wine…wine helps.”

“I make it a point to workout at least 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week. Often times, Matt and I will be in our home “gym” after B goes to bed.”

Monthly massages! I also started doing some simple pen and ink watercolors to help relax and de-stress. I’m also planning to take a day off work to be at home by myself.”

 

I loved all these ideas.I like the idea of having things that keep me Jackie and rejuvenate me to be a better wife, mom, employee and person.  It made me think about what my own self-care routines are currently and what they could be.

{Daily stretching routine} A yoga mat at work and an office with a door helps.

{An uninterrupted nightly bath with a book} Just remember, just because you start it doesn’t mean you have to finish it. Life is too short for crappy books.

{Color} Lately it’s been coloring as a time to quiet my mind and be creative. I’ve been using Colourifique Gel Pens and working my way through an Inspirational Coloring Book. I love the practice of picking a color scheme and the repetition of coloring.

{Magazine Subscriptions} I love celebrity gossip and getting my Us Weekly each week is a treat. Sometimes it’s hard to justify the expensive subscription, but Zulily and Groupon usually have a good deal a few times a year.

{Getting it Out} – When I need a creative outlet, or feel strongly about something, my blog is the first place I turn. It lets me focus on me and perhaps inspire someone in the process.

What does self-care mean to you?

 

Oh, if you didn’t notice, this is a review of some products. Don’t worry – it’s my honest opinion and I wouldn’t recommend anything I didn’t believe in. And no one can afford to buy my positive review. 

Stay Silly

One day you will stop asking me to lay down with you for no reason but to talk about Batman and make silly faces.

I am thankful that wasn’t today.

stay silly

Smooches!

I noticed on Facebook Victoria Beckham was trending because of a kiss. I was hoping she was caught kissing another man and David would finally be available …

Alas, no. Victoria is trending because of this picture on Instagram.

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9.674 comments and quite a few were along the lines of  “Eww sorry I’m old fashioned it looks like they making out,” and “It’s nice but you’re not supposed to kiss you’re children on the lips. I’m not trying to be rude but it’s true.”  

Do what now? After reading a few articles about this, I had two thoughts:

1. What the heck, are you on crack? Should she wish her daughter a happy birthday with a firm handshake?

2. Stop sexualizing motherhood. Really. Stop it. It’s weird and gross.

If kissing your kid on the lips is wrong, I am very, very, very wrong and not sorry. Lips are for kissing and one day he won’t want me to kiss him anymore. I am stocking up now. It’s how we show love and I love my kid.

With that said, I am off to kiss my kid.

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Daily Movement, Minimal Sweating

This might come as a surprise to you, but I am super busy these days. Working full time, chasing a three year old, keeping the house in order and making time for self care even WITH a supportive, helpful husband is exhausting. And when my life gets crazy (so 90% of the time) exercise takes a backseat.

Also? I hate to sweat. So there’s that too.

But guess what! I figured out how to take time out of my work day to just move. Nothing too crazy like PX90 or Crossfit, but something to get me off my swivel chair and get the blood flowing without the sweat flowing. If you can relate, here are some ideas that have worked for me.

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{Walk it out} Taking a walk during your lunch break is probably the easiest and most common option to get moving during the day. Thankfully I work in a nice, safe office park where a lot of people are walking around the parking lots at lunch time. A quick 20 minute walk with a podcast not only gets the endorphins pumping but the fresh air and sunlight helps me come back to my desk focused. On hot days I break it up by walking around the perimeter of our building every time I go to the bathroom (which is often).

walk it out

{Online Gym 4 Me} I am a card carrying donor to a popular gym in my area. I went every so often, but I just can’t get comfortable there. I prefer to sweat in private. Which is why Online Gym 4 Me is PERFECT! It is both on demand classes and live classes. Since it is a London based company so the live class times aren’t always conducive to my schedule, I love the on demand options. At work I like the easier, shorter classes like Gentle Flow Yoga and Morning Salutations (the shorter classes are 15 minutes – perfect!). I just keep a yoga mat under my desk, shut the door, take off my shoes and let the instructor tell me what to do.

online gym 4 me

{Booty Loops} A common tip I hear is to stand up and move while you are on the phone. WELL – I will do you one better. Booty Loops. I laughed out loud when the company sent me these simple fitness straps to try, but they are no joke. On conference calls, webinars and virtual training I just slide on a Booty Loop and do a few strengthening exercises.

booty loop

{Stretching} I mentioned how I keep a yoga mat under my desk, but I also keep a tennis ball in my drawer. Sometimes, when I feel my shoulders touching my ear lobes or my nose touch the desk because I am so hunched over – I stretch it out. I google some sort of variation of ‘office yoga’ and take a few minutes to relax. I use the tennis ball for trigger point massage and it is usually just the pick me up I need.

Stretch it out

There you have it! I am not going to drop dresses sizes in a few months by doing just this, but it makes a world of difference in my mood and productivity.

You guessed it, parts of this post are sponsored. But my use and review are real. Trust me, they can’t afford to buy a positive review from me. 

Never Will I Ever

Pre-2013:

“Never will I ever have a kid who doesn’t wear matching clothes. When I have a kid I am going to make sure he is at least dressed appropriately for the weather. And I don’t understand why parents can’t at least brush their kid’s hair before going out in public. There is no excuse for kids to go out looking like a hobo.”

June 29, 2016:

“For the love of all things holy Mike just put on a pair of shoes so we can go!”

never have i ever

Hey Pre-2013 Jackie? Shut up.

A Boy and His Bubba

For as long as I could remember I’ve heard my mom talk about my addiction to pacifiers. I believe she compared me to a drug addict and from her account it sounds pretty accurate. I also remember her telling the story about how my brother gave up his ‘ba-bas’ – by handing them to her randomly and never looking back. It makes sense seeing our personalities now.

A boy

When Mike was born I was pro-pacifier, but his addiction didn’t really take hold until his 1st birthday – long after I thought we had dodged the bullet. Then it was his ‘bubba’ all the time. Like a good little addict he had his favorite – the expensive (and very worth it) Wubba Nubba brand pacifier with the stuffed animal hanging off it.  Of course the doctor said to CONSIDER weaning him off it, but we were getting ready to move and thought he needed something to comfort him. So after we got settled we opted for Bubba in the crib only. Which eventually morphed into Bubba in ANY bed any time of the day. So if we were watching a movie in Mommy and Daddy’s bed – the Bubba joined us.

We would go through waves of him happily throwing his Bubbas back to bed in the morning when he got up to having a full blown meltdown when told to put Bubba night-night. In fact, we started hiding them during the day. And yes, I said BubbaS. He had one the suck and one to hold.  I know. We are such enablers. Mike caught on quick (like a seasoned addict) and would run into his room after bath time and basically toss his room like a jail cell looking for Bubbas.  I don’t know what was stopping S. and me from just calling it quits to the Bubba. I know from my perspective things are a little nuts in our home and he could use the comfort of his Bubba. And it helps him so why rush it? Also, we were probably a little hesitant knowing how hard it would be for him to cut the cord.

But at Mike’s 3 year old appointment it was obvious his teeth were being pushed out and even though the doctor didn’t make us feel awful about it – I felt awful about it. After consulting my ‘tribe’ of mom friends, S. and I decided it was time to bite the bullet. And because I’m me, the planning and overthinking began.

I hit Amazon first and found a book called ‘Bea Gives Up Her Pacifier‘. According to the reviews it is a book full of voodoo that lulls children into willingly giving up their bubbas without nary a question or tear.  I had my doubts, but still clicked purchase.  My next stop was the blogsphere.  Lots of fun stuff about the Bubba (pacifier) Fairy so after we got the book S. and I went to work following what the book said was going to happen and buying insane gifts.

Bye Bye

 

When the book came, Mike and I read it while Dad made dinner. Mike liked it, but I could see the wheels moving in his head and he didn’t like where this was going. Over the next few days we read the book and talked up these Bubba Fairies A LOT. Mike always sat through the book riveted, but was always sure to point out the fact that Bea missed her Bubba (we might have changed the wording a bit). It also helped that presents are a big deal in our house right now. So there was that draw to keep him upbeat.

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Then came the dreaded night. Mike came home to a gift and a note from the Bubba Fairy.  He was pretty okay withthings until it came time to actually GO into the crib. He had about an hour and a half of hysteria. I am not going to lie – listening to him beg and plead for his Bubbas was hard to hear. I think because it was something we had control over. We could very easily give them back to him and I am sure we both let that thought cross our mind. I did go in a rock with him and we talked about the Bubba Fairies again and they already came and took the Bubbas and left a gift for him in the morning.

I woke up to Mike crying on the monitor for his Bubbas at his usual wake up time and thankfully I rushed in and told him about his gift and he was excited to open it. He spent the rest of the morning playing with his Play Doh.  Even nap time (which has morphed into rest time) brought on a few whimpers, but nothing longer than 10 minutes. The rest of the weekend he would randomly ask for Bubba and we would remind him the Fairies are using them for whatever. To be honest, the book laid out some stupid things like an umbrella and merry-go-round.

We are officially 4 nights in a he is doing AMAZING. I thought by this point we would be holding an intervention and sending him to the ‘rehab’ Britney Spears went to. I guess the moral of the story is not to project your own worries on your kid.

 

A Birthday for a Super Hero!

We are still scratching our head about how Mike got into super heroes. Neither myself or S. have every had much interest in comics, the movies or know the difference between Marvel and … the other brand. Yet here we were, planning a super hero birthday. And Mikey had a birthday fit for a super hero thanks to Pinterest and our tribe.

We have always enjoyed Mikey having an early June birthday because the weather tends to be cool enough to be outside and warm enough to venture into my parent’s backyard pool. S. also had the amazingly practical idea to have the party from 11a-1p. Give them lunch and get them a nap – the parents were THRILLED to have some fun, wear out the kids and get home for the afternoon. Parents take note!

S. and I had the best time planning the menu – how many food items can we include that have a ‘hero’ theme? Apparently quite a few! We had DIY HERO sandwiches, power fruit and the very popular POPcorn!  My mother-in-law made veggies in dip with cute cups the kids could take home. I found the idea for the comic cones on Pinterest, but didn’t have any comic books. Remember Matt from the podcast I was on? Well he LOVES Wonder Woman and was more than happy to scan some pages in for me and S. perfected the rolling technique. Oh and that awesome cake? Done by my friend Steve who was on Food Network’s Holiday Baking Challenge. He just happens to own the local B&B with his husband. #famousfriends

PicMonkey Collage

As for decorations, I have discovered the concept of buying digital downloads from Etsy. For just a few bucks (or less) I can download ‘paper’ or graphics which I used for the invite. Hell, I can even download prints or banners! It gave me a sense of being a creative DIYer without being an obsessive perfectionist. I also had my Dad and brother make a phone booth out of a fridge box. It turned out so cute and the kids had a fun time running in and out.

decor

 

I had planned on having the kids make super hero masks, but ultimately everyone had so much fun running around and swimming we forgot all about the activity! I think that is a sign of a great party.

fun

And because this is my blog and I do what I want, here are some of my favorite pictures from the party. I think my super power involves surrounding myself with awesome people who like to help make my vision happen AND have fun in the process.

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Dear Mikey: You at Three

Dearest Mikey –

In the words of my favorite Broadway musical ‘Hamilton’:

When you smile I come undone
My son
There is so much more inside me now
You outshine the morning sun
My son
When you smile, I fall apart
And I thought I was so smart

mike at 3

I can’t believe it’s been three years since you made your grand entrance into the world. It seems like you’ve been here so much longer and other days it seems like you should still be the wrinkly baby who resembled Benjamin Button.  Here is a snapshot of you on your third birthday:

You legs are impossibly long. Each morning when I get you dressed it seems you grew another foot overnight. You are long and lanky for now. Your hair has a personality all it’s own. Geema keeps telling me to ‘train it’ – but I can’t. It picture lots of buzz cuts as you get older! Your eyelashes, OH those lashes. I have to keep my jealousy under control because they are so long. Though your toe nails are … strange, you fingers are so long – perhaps you will play the piano!

You are a comedian already. You love to use different voices and point to things while calling them ‘funny’. Daddy and I have learned quick if we laugh at you it is a promise you will keep doing it. Your laugh is infectious. You lose your eyes when you smile like me and you open your mouth wide even for a giggle.

You put a lot of thought into choices. Whether it’s your shirt, book or snack you tap your finger on your chin and say ‘hmmm’. We try to give you as many choices as possible or you would be eating hot dogs and Minion gummies while wearing the same Batman shirt everyday.

Ah Batman. Where did you learn about super heroes? It seems to have started with PJ Masks and your friend at daycare and now suddenly you MUST, AT ALL TIMES wear something Batman related.

You are impossibly sweet. The minute someone says ow, you are right there asking if they are okay, needing a band aid or, more importantly, a kiss. You had your first urgent care visit this year and handled it like a champ. You were dancing too hard (I find that hard to believe, but alas it’s a thing) and fell into the bookcase. You had a pretty nasty goose egg pop up quickly so while Momma silently freaked out, Daddy packed you up and away we went. Of course you were just fine.

You still are hopelessly addicted to your ‘bubbas’. You only get them at bedtime and nap time and most mornings you are very hesitant to put them back to bed. When you are very very very tired, you cry for them. That’s how we know it’s time for a nap!

Speaking of naps, you are starting to put up a fight at nap time. You are more than happy to jump in your crib and throw stuff around and sing for a couple hours, but when we realize you actually fell asleep? That is like finding a unicorn in the closet. You will regret your lack of napping when you are older kid.

You love anything with wheels – fire trucks (tucks), motorcycles (cycles), excavators (underwear), dump trucks (boom tuck), and even buses. You also love reading which makes me oh so happy! Plenty of evenings I glance over to see you lost in another adventure. You still like Llama Llama, but also Diggers Go and any that feature the alphabet. You’ve gotten pretty good at reminding us when we skip pages too.

You had to do speech therapy for a bit, but now you are a motor mouth. Asking why, what color everything is, what everyone is doing, where we are going, if I am tired (yes my love, very very tired) and for your favorite foods. Food like chocolate milk, pepperonis, gummies, jelly beans, rice, hot dogs, chicken and melon. All at once! Your tastes fluctuate often enough that I can’t think of anything that you don’t like!

My sweet, sweet boy. I am so proud of you and the gentleman you are becoming. Never ever lose your empathy for others and remember Momma and Daddy wanted you so much and love you twice as much. One day I will show you the receipts to prove how much we wanted you. Until then – stay you.

I’ll eat you up I love you so,

Momma xoxo

3rd Annual Diaper Drive

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My dear friends – it’s almost that time again! I can’t believe we are just a week away from the launch of the THIRD ANNUAL 12 For 1 Diaper Drive! I am so excited for a lot of reasons – the main one is 20,000 diapers. I know we can do it and I can’t WAIT to see what that looks like.

As I do every year, I am asking for your help and there are a LOT of ways you can be involved. Here are some FAQs from the past two years to help you help babies keep their tushies dry.

Q: What can I donate?

A: We are collecting diapers, wipes and diaper rash cream. St. Martin’s Ministries is in need of all sizes, but specifically sizes 4 and up. Brand doesn’t matter and we will happily accept open/damaged boxes or loose diapers.

Q: Where can I send or drop off donations?

A: If you want to drop off diapers you can take them to The Barry’s House in Denton, The Weisman’s House in Crofton or Choptank Transport who is generously donating the space to store donations. You can also order diapers online and have it shipped to one of those locations. Please contact me for those addresses.

Q: I don’t have time to shop. Can I send money?

A: You bet. We have the ability to get great deals with the money donated. You can send a check to me, Paypal me or simply go to gofund.me/12for1diaperdrive. 100% of donations will go towards diapers, wipes and cream.

We will also accept gift cards such as Target or Amazon.

Q: I don’t have the funds to make a donation right now. Are there other ways to help?

A: YES! Of course. The easiest way to help is to share not only information about the diaper drive, but the diaper gap in general. Share the diaper drive updates on your social media sites (use #12for1), ask your friends for any diapers they aren’t using, and cut coupons. We can also use help loading and unloading in July at the conclusion of the campaign. If none of those fit your skill set, you tell us. What are your talents?

June is not only my favorite month because it’s Mike’s birthday month, but I also eat, talk and dream about diapers. I hope you will help spread the word and get us to 20,000 diapers.