Surviving a traveling husband

Lately, we find ourselves in a season where Matt’s traveling is the rule instead of the exception. It often feels like he is gone more than he is home. The days can feel long and I am regularly looking for where I left my patience. While he is gone, there are a few things I try to do consistently, that help the days flow better.
The first is making sure I have some quiet ‘me-time’ each morning. While it can be hard to force myself out of bed while it is still dark, I never regret the silent moments I have to myself. I look forward to a fresh cup of coffee, the warm glow of a candle and a well-used journal, waiting to record my thoughts. It helps set the tone for the day and I’m a much nicer version of myself when I have time to wake up before being bombarded with other’s needs.
Exercise is high on my priority list, whatever that looks like with the time I have. Sometimes it is running, or walking, or yoga, or chasing after kids. I try to get a workout done first thing in the morning, before too many excuses creep in. There is a direct correlation between my mental state and my exercise level.
I love having a good book to dive into after the kids are in bed, it is a good way to spend the evenings. A fun TV show also helps. Right now I am reading A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. It is a great summer novel. And I am loving Poldark, a Masterpiece mini-series set in the 18th century.
One of the most important things I do is regularly managing my expectations. Many false thoughts and feelings can creep in if I don’t keep those in check, including bitterness, pity, entitlement, resentment. I have to regularly remind myself truth and silence the lies that can start to sneak in.
While I hope this travel schedule doesn’t last forever, I am so thankful for Matt and his hard work. As they say, “The days are long but the years are short”. I know this is just a season in our life and the best thing for me to do is embrace and enjoy it.

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Things I do well

Sometimes we tend to focus on the things we don’t do well, the negatives. Today, I want to share 5 things I feel I do well. Some of them really well. I hope it doesn’t sound like I am bragging too much.
1.  I make a good boxed mac n cheese. After years of practice, I have perfected it to a super creamy and delicious balance. Some might call it a talent.
2.  I have a special skill in wasting time on social media. I can easily turn 5 minutes into 30 minutes on Instagram, no problem.
3.  I have powers to make socks disappear, especially 2 minutes before it is time to leave for school. I have, on occasion, been known to buy more socks, in an effort to avoid doing laundry.
4.  I can dive into a parallel universe when reading a good book. I can tune out everything around me, including my kids and their requests, and I can read for hours. Minor things, like meal times and bed times, lose their importance.
5.  How quickly I can accumulate junk and trash in my car is high on my expertise list. I can have a completely clean car in the morning, and by evening it will look like a tornado hit the inside of it.
I’m sorry if these special gifts I have make you jealous, that’s not my intent. I felt today was a good day to be positive, to stop looking at what we do wrong, and to draw attention to all the things we do right. I’m curious, what do you do really well?

Joining together as moms

As fellow moms, we have a great opportunity to encourage and come along side one other.  We can learn from those who are farther down the road and we can support those who are just getting started.  We forget all too quickly how it feels in each stage with our kids.  But no matter which stage we find ourselves in, we can play an important role.  From new moms to Grandmas, we can learn from and teach one another.

  1. Find someone who is ahead of you in the journey of motherhood.  Be willing to ask for advice and help.  Don’t try and be an island, we’re better together.
  2. Be willing to step into someone’s day-to-day and help them.  Offer to hold the baby so mom can shower, or better yet, nap!  Offer to run after the toddler who can’t sit still so mom can have some peace.  Offer to carpool with the mom who has 3 kids in different activities.  Offer to take the teenager out for coffee, re-enforcing the truth her mom is teaching her.
  3. Use caution with your words.  While we are usually well meaning when we offer “wisdom”, it does not always come across that way.  Remember our memory as moms is selective and sometimes biased.  If you are a mom of older kids or a grandma, and you think your kids ‘never acted that way’,you might be remembering wrong.  Even if you are right, most likely that isn’t the encouragement that mom needs to hear.  Our words can either encourage or discourage, they are powerful.

 There are days when I feel like a failure as a mom.  I’m convinced I’m the only one having certain issues or problems.  Almost always, however, when I open up and share what I’m going through, I find others who are experiencing the same thing, or who have gone through it already and can offer advice.  This Mother’s Day, let’s work on looking for areas where we can build others up.  Motherhood is a marathon that sometimes feels like a boxing match.  Let’s be cheering on the sidelines and helping in the corner of the ring.

Preconceived Notions

Have you ever had preconceived ideas about something new or unknown?  I had a lot of ideas about California before we moved here.  I was sure I was going to get a fine for not recycling correctly.  (I don’t think that is a thing).  I thought all people I met would be fake and superficial. (Not all of them are).  I was convinced I would never get anywhere because of the traffic. (This actually happens).  I’m happy to say that my views of California have changed, thanks to our community and friends.

I have also realized some people have their own ideas about the Midwest.  I have heard numerous Wizard of Oz jokes, asking me if my name is Dorothy or where my red slippers are.  Some people think Kansas City is a small town.  There was the time when I met a fellow school mom at the park one day.  (She ended up being one of my dearest friends) As we talked, it came up that we were new here and I told her I was from Kansas City.  A couple of weeks later she introduced me to some others as being from Kentucky.  When I corrected her, she asked me if there was a difference between Kansas City and Kentucky.IMG_4188

Weather is always an interesting topic, like the time when it was hailing outside and my friend said, “It’s snowing!” She tried to convince me that hail and snow are the same thing.  No, no they aren’t.   Or the time someone told me they wished they could live somewhere where there was a real winter, including snow.  I chuckled and thought to myself, “Spoken like someone who has never endured a real winter”.

I now laugh at the silly ideas I had in my head before we moved here.  And I just want to say, “Sorry I judged you, California.  I will try to lay aside my bias in the future.”