Self Care is Lifeblood, Not Luxury

 

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Self care is not a luxury. It took a while, but I finally get it. It’s a necessity, like food and water and breathing.

I’m a midwife and a homeschooling mom of two boys. It’s a life I love, and it takes a lot of juice to keep it up and running. More still to keep it flowing and vibrant.

I no longer expect to be able to pull the energy and peaceful frame of mind I need—for myself and my family—out of thin air. It has to be consciously generated. I’m learning how often, in what ways, and for how long I need to make time for self care and renewal. Continue reading

My Dormant Inner Political Activist Wakes Up

In my last post, I talked about the anger and occasional despair I’ve been feeling about recent national and world events. I’ve determined that it’s time to stop handwringing and take whatever direct actions I can. Posting articles on Facebook, signing petitions, and sending a small donation here and there are no longer enough for me.

A few weeks ago, after a particularly tough week in the news, I knew I had to do something concrete and active or I would scream or puke or both. Continue reading

A New Ritual for the New Year

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I’m loving my new magnetic poetry set from Coyoteloon. I gave them as gifts to some special ladies in my life and got one for myself while I was at it. I figured it would be a fun little thing to have and didn’t give it much thought beyond that. But it has quickly become a loved morning ritual. Continue reading

Managing the Stress and Feeling the Joy of the Holidays: 5 Things That Worked, and 1 That Didn’t

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I used to hate Christmas—so much so that I often bypassed it altogether. When I worked as a staff nurse, I did switches with people so I could work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and be off New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Christmas held no religious meaning for me, and as a single person with no kids and a very small gift budget, I didn’t have much use for the rest of it, either.

Now that I’m married with kids, it’s a whole new holiday, and I love making it fun and magical for them. But as we all know, it can be stressful. I’m not interested in “getting through” the holidays. I want to actually enjoy the season, so I look for ways to make it less stressful. Every year I learn a little more about what works for us, and what doesn’t.

So, here’s what worked this year: Continue reading

Monster Mom Meltdowns: Forgiving Ourselves and Making Amends

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Photo credit: Luc Latulippe

I’m a believer in peaceful, gentle parenting. And I’m a yeller. Not from the beginning, though.   As challenged as some parents are by toddler behavior, I rarely felt angry with my children until age around age 4. Apparently, I view toddlers as cute and impulsive little wild animals, and thus have few behavioral expectations at that age.  For my first 3+ years of motherhood, I was so proud of myself for my infinite patience and obvious knack for this parenting thing.

That was short-lived, because boy, can they trigger me now! Continue reading

5 Lessons From My Latest Homeschool Freak-Out

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Last week, I was looking at schools’ open house schedules again. It was a week filled with anxiety, overwhelm, and self-doubt. Granted we’ve been in re-entry from visiting family and world schooling in India, but still, it was more than that. I’ve gone another round with my biggest homeschooling challenge–finding (and losing and finding again!) the balance between structure and freedom.  I am grateful and relieved to report that I am again feeling inspired and excited about this crazy journey called homeschooling. Here’s how I peeled myself off the ceiling, and what I learned in the process.  Continue reading

How It Feels to NOT Be Sending My Baby to Kindergarten

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This post also ran on KiDOinfo: Connecting Families, RI and Beyond on August 26, 2015

The other day, I realized that if things had played out differently, I would be gearing up to send Boy 2 to kindergarten.

My boys are 9 and 5, and this will be our second year homeschooling. Last year, my little one was in a beautiful little co-op preschool, and I got my bearings homeschooling Boy 1. We had our tough days, but we love this way of learning and this lifestyle for our family. So both boys will be home this year.   Continue reading

More on Ritual: 6 Favorites that Make Our Lives Better

In my last post, I wrote about a prayer ritual from my husband’s religious tradition that I do every day. Since then, I’ve been thinking more about the role of rituals in my and my family’s lives. It’s kind of funny that I’m writing about this, because I used to hate the word “ritual.” It conjured up vague but frightening images of biblical animal sacrifice. Or something. Either that, or it was synonymous with routine, which I used to equate with boredom and rigidity.  Either way, I had no use for it.

I love the word “ritual” now. This was a gradual change, and I never noticed or thought about it as it was happening.   Without ever planning it that way, I keep adding rituals to my life one by one, and now they are my spiritual container, my guideposts. Initially foreign and even a little bit forced in some cases, with time and repetition, most of them have become part of me now—as comfortable and familiar as a favorite pair of broken-in shoes.   They are reliable reminders to focus on what really matters. On the harder days, they help me hang in there. On the best days, they create more joy in our lives.   Continue reading

The Gift of Ritual

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Sometime during the year after Boy 2 was born, depression snuck up on me. I had experienced several bouts of it since adolescence, but it took a while for me to figure out what was happening since it came on gradually and I had some legitimate stressors to pin it on. Once I finally accepted that it was more than just situational stress, I got some counseling.   Just as important, I thought about lifestyle changes I could make—more exercise, a regular meditation practice, etc.  I was talking with my husband, Gurpreet, about that and he said very definitively, “You need to do prayers.”   Continue reading

Decluttering Brings an Unexpected Mother’s Day Gift

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I’m in the midst of a massive decluttering extravaganza via the KonMari Method. So far, I finished the clothes category and I am completely sold on the process outlined in the book. My reluctant husband was inspired to do his clothes after seeing my results, and we have gone from filling two closets to sharing one. And we both have room to spare in our dressers—we could probably share one and move the other one out if we wanted to. We are both finding it simple, easy, and pleasant to get ready in the morning.

I haven’t had time in the last week to tackle another category, but I have been doing small things to stay in the mindset. Continue reading