Self-Care for Grown Ups

Self-Care for Grown Ups, sometimes it’s just getting five minutes of piece, and sometimes it’s about finishing that project without getting interrupted!

 

There is a lot of stuff in the news and popular media these days about self care. There was even a trending article just before the holidays that argued that self care is not about chocolate and luxury and is instead about actually making a budget for your household, etc.

I would like to argue that self care can be all these things and that for grown ups it often depends on the day.

For me self care can sometimes be as simple as getting away from my kids. Right now I swear my 4-year-old is clingier to me than she was as a baby, and just having a few minutes when she is not touching or whining at me would be absolutely wonderful!

The occasional breaks I get to go get my hair cut, to go grocery shopping alone, to go on a business retreat or extra training at Girl Scouts can be a lifeline for me.

But equally important is time with friends. Even if my kids are still there and are their normal interrupting chickens, having time with friends is better than staying a hermit in my house. Truly.

Hiding in a hot bath and reading a book is one of my go to things when I need some extra TLC or am just feeling under the weather. Most of the time I can sneak it in without any of my girls joining me, occasionally though it ends up being a family affair.

When it is not bitterly cold outside, drinking a hot drink with my hubby out on our back deck is lovely, the kids tend to either play in the yard or find that it is slightly too cold for them and go inside. It’s great because we get some much needed Vitamin D and a gentle start to the day.

But sometimes self care is getting that uninterrupted time to actually do something, be it have a conversation with your hubby, do your taxes and set a budget, pay the bills, or actually de-clutter the top of my dresser without having to explain what each item is. Just doing these things are super important.

Stealing a few minutes to finish the chapter of my book, or getting in an extra two rows of knitting done. Or actually getting to finish my food without someone else insisting on taking some bites or finishing it for me.

These are important things. Dragging my kids on a walk or a hike even though they may talk the whole way does seem to really help our relationships and at least gets us all outside.

Making yummy treats just because the day ends in Y is also a fun thing to do, like spontaneously ending the night at a friends house.

We schedule regular game nights or afternoons with friends, partially so we can have a chance to play games with people over the age of 15, or at the very least spread the teaching good sportsmanship around. But also because we have found it’s a great way to connect with other families and other adults while still including the kids.

Sometimes it is moving furniture around to make for a better flow in the house, so that things can work better, or just to change things up so that things flow in a different way.

Sometimes it is getting to garden without extra help.

Sometimes it is their insistence that you have to stop what you are doing Right. Now.

And play with them or read them a book.

Sometimes it is not telling them their best friend is coming over until just before they arrive so they don’t ask you all day how much longer it is until their friend comes, when they just asked two minutes ago.

Sometimes it is just taking a deep breathe and knowing that this too will pass, that this stage will change and that helping small people learn to take care of themselves and get their own self care is one of the most demanding jobs we can ever attempt to do.

And there is beauty in the attempt and not the perfection. There is beauty in the fact that we all mess up and it will never be perfect, because life isn’t perfect and there is so much for your children to learn from the imperfection of our life and the impermanence of it all.

Like self care moments that you hope will last at least five minutes and instead get shattered in two. And so you try again as soon as they are distracted again.

Chase Young is the founder of The Mommy Rebellion a place for judgment-free parenting.  She’s created a place to get tips, tools and support for what it is truly like to be a mother, stories from the trenches that show you you’re not alone.  Tips that real mothers use.  Tools to give to yourself and to your parenting friends to feel more focused, have more patience and energy, and feel less tired and snappy .  
You can follow Chase here on this blog, sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

PreTeenage Angst

Where were the warning signs that this was coming?  I think I lost the memo.

No one told me that it starts well before they become teenagers. At least if they have two x chromosomes it does. I swear it starts at like 9.

With my first born, my hubby and I were on the receiving end of all the attitude and explosive emotions and all the pain. As her body developed and grew. At almost 11 ½ she still hasn’t become a woman in any sense of the word, but some of the emotions have settled down a little bit, at least compared to her 9-year-old sister.

My second born has thrown most of her attitude at her sisters. She appears to be this lovely, easy-going and generous 9-year-old that you would love to have as your buddy in Girl Scouts or on your building team. But if you are her sister, not a day goes by (sometimes it feels more like not an hour can go by) where she is not screaming, yelling or otherwise in a huff just because you exist.

We didn’t spot it immediately, because it wasn’t directed at us. We didn’t even realize it was happening and I am still not totally sure how much it is happening, because you know I am not with them 24/7 and giving them my full attention, I have a business and household to run as well.

But it is happening. We can hear it in the timber of her voice — in how quick she is to fly off the handle. It’s as though something has happened since she has turned 9 and her ability to hold onto her shit instead of losing it has disappeared.

Dinner time is not a lot of fun any more. Because she is rude to her sisters, forgets her please and thank you’s and is often overly tired anyway. Combined with my 11-year-old who should be crowned the queen of sulking and holding a grudge and it can make for a very interesting table. Because my youngest at four is having a very hard time communicating exactly how she wants things to go and to be. Because of that she is often throwing those intractable tantrums that only a 4-year-old can throw. At least most of the time my 6-year-old is pretty mellow.

Maybe I saw these warnings before I had kids. I might have just ignored them in my pre-kid bliss brain of I’ve been a camp counselor, I can handle this shit. I think mainly I heard that it’s the teenagers that are hard to deal with, that take more time than the toddlers, that are the emotional roller coasters without a pre-frontal cortex to soften any of their edges.

I missed the memo about the 9-12 year-olds. Totally missed it, and what is funny is that as my years of a Camp Councilor, that was always the group of kids I was given, the 8-12 year-olds was always where I started and the groups I worked it.

But I guess because I was “public” and therefore not their parents I didn’t see the worst. Or maybe because they slept in their own tents and not in mine, and that I had them at most for three weeks at a time, that made a difference. Anyone can get through 3 weeks right?

But when they are your own kid and they don’t go away and no matter how hard you think about the fact that they come into the world with their own personality, it can at times be very hard to not take their behavior personally. Either as a reflection of you, or aimed at you, when often you are just their safe person to help them try and deal with the emotions that are overwhelming their body.

It is still yucky winter here, so some of the tools that help my preteens are a little harder to reach. Once it gets a little less icy we can do more hiking.

There is something about being out in the woods climbing a hill that seems to calm my kids down and seems to work out all the frustrations of being in their bodies. My eldest is often in the lead and my middles are busy chatting and my youngest is either holding my hand or her dad’s and up the hill we go.

I need the weather to break just a little so we can do this. I am personally getting a little tired of walking the neighborhood, though I still try and drag them out to do it every day. For some reason this year the dance parties aren’t really working. Maybe it’s a lack of floor space, maybe they just have too many opinions about how they should dance. Maybe it’s because every time I think of holding a dance party all I can see is the mess they have yet to clean up on the floor. I don’t know, I just know that hasn’t been working very well.

And we need something. We need to find new ways to communicate, to help my daughters learn to deal with their raging hormones and emotions and to understand that sometimes you just have to lean into the feeling so that you can move on to the next one, and that ignoring it or trying to tamp it down only makes it blow up in your face later. Not that I have that one completely worked out myself, I am still working on that one and feeling like it is safe enough to cry.

Maybe I could just convince them to get a little more sleep? Because sleep is an important part of all this growing and getting bigger, and when they sleep I can sleep, or at least not have to be a parent for a while. All this parenting gets so tiring sometimes. So very, very tiring.

And just think in three more years I will have another 9-year-old, with another one about 20 months behind her. I wonder if I will have any more wisdom, or if they will have just come out of left field as well?

Chase Young is the founder of The Mommy Rebellion a place for judgment-free parenting.  She’s created a place to get tips, tools and support for what it is truly like to be a mother, stories from the trenches that show you you’re not alone.  Tips that real mothers use.  Tools to give to yourself and to your parenting friends to feel more focused, have more patience and energy, and feel less tired and snappy .  
You can follow Chase here on this blog, sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Why Can’t They Just Get Dressed?

I think my kids might just be giving up wearing anything other than pajamas all day for lent!  Maybe it’s a strike against winter?  Or a new way to drive me crazy?

 

Some days getting my kids dressed is a full blown mission. And at 11, 9, 6 and 4 you would think it wouldn’t be that hard. I know perhaps if I sent them to school it would be easier because they would have to get dressed every day in the morning, but honestly between play-dates, errands and Girl Scouts they already have to get dressed on a regular basis most days.

But lately I don’t know if it’s because it’s the middle of winter and we had a cold winter to start with, or what exactly it is, but none of them want to get dressed in the morning, or at all. While honestly I really don’t care, – I mean at least pajamas cover all the important bits – lately I have found that the more they are in pajamas the more they fight and complain about not feeling well, and give me the worlds biggest sighs about doing the few chores we ask them to do do around the house. And just general prickliness. So really I think that asking them to get dressed, to make an effort to put more than one layer of clothes on would really help improve our day-to-day living.

They however could care less. Because I structure my day to get my client work done in the morning when at all possible, they are able to get away with not getting dressed until probably lunch time. I mean who really wants to fight with them about clothes? They have too many fucking clothes as it is and they are strewn all over my house, their bedrooms and are constantly in a state of needing to be washed or folded.

My hubby and I are super close to only letting them have three outfits for summer clothes this year because we are so tired of seeing the same clothes ending up in the to-be-washed pile, even though they haven’t actually been on a daughter’s body. Nope they haven’t been worn at all and yet there they are needing to be washed again because someone dropped them on the floor and walked on them, and no on really wants to be wearing stepped on clothes, do they?

But seriously what is it about not getting dressed? They would be warmer and less irritable if they had more layers on. Because we heat our house with fuel oil it is never going to be that warm in the winter, maybe if we used wood or solar power or something it would be, but as long as we are burning dead dinosaurs I am not turning the heat up. Sorry, you each have about a dozen sweatshirts/sweaters/jackets, so you really could just put another layer on. Not to mention everyone has multiple pairs of thermals. So seriously.

Recently all my hubby’s socks have gone missing. And I know I am suppose to care, because you know everyone should have socks, but since handing the laundry over to my 9 year old I have tried as much as possible to stay out of the whole laundry thing. But I think I am going to have to go hunting for socks for him this week. I don’t know where the hold up is, if they are not actually getting washed, or if they are not getting folded. Because my girls seem to think that they can ignore the rags, socks and handkerchiefs at the bottom of the laundry baskets until they fill half the basket and I complain I mean point out that they really should be folding and putting away those items as well.

By and large my hubby has socks all the same color so it’s not really a matter of trying to match up different pairs of socks. Of course it is possible that there is a stash somewhere in our room of socks that never made it to be washed in the first place. I will be looking for that stash, rather than focusing on other areas where the socks might be. Other locations that they could be hiding, sound like something the laundry processor and my husband need to deal with. Now if I can find where they haven’t been washed than that part of the problem could be solved by an adult. Potentially.

But seriously why not get dressed? You have plenty of clothes. You would think the duck loving girl would get dressed before going out to see her ducks, but since it is cold enough to warrant snow pants, she just puts her snow gear on top of her pajamas and away she goes never actually bothering to get dressed. What is more she is happily dressed quite early on weekends, there just seems to be something about weekdays when I am the only parent home, and where more often than not we do actually have someplace we need to be when they all refuse to get dressed.

I have even tried saying I won’t make lunch until people get dressed but that ends up just becoming the world’s biggest shit storm of unhappy girls and hangry people. I don’t try that threat anymore. And they do get dressed right before we walk out the door, but I feel like a lot of the angst and squabbling could have been avoid if only

They would get dressed!!!

Chase Young is the founder of The Mommy Rebellion a place for judgment-free parenting.  She’s created a place to get tips, tools and support for what it is truly like to be a mother, stories from the trenches that show you you’re not alone.  Tips that real mothers use.  Tools to give to yourself and to your parenting friends to feel more focused, have more patience and energy, and feel less tired and snappy .  
You can follow Chase here on this blog, sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

The Teenage Brain – A Book Review

This week we are short a contributor so I thought I would review a parenting book that I have so far found very helpful and read just a few months ago.

 

I was drawn to The Teenage Brain thanks to a parenting book display at one of my local libraries. The secondary title of A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults

really spoke to me as someone who grew up in a scientist’s household and yet at the same time has this strange new create of a per-adolescent daughter of 11.

This book is written as a guide to parents, teachers, coaches, girl scout leaders, anyone really who is going to be working with humans from about 12 until 25 to30.

Yes you read that right, I said 25-30. Why? Because the brain is not done developing that all important frontal lobe (where all our control comes from and the ability to predict what might happen after we do a certain action) is not completely formed and developed until that late age of 25-30. Are you shocked yet? I was that it can take quite that long.

One of the most meaningful piece of information I have gotten from this book, at least in the short term of not quite having a teenager yet but staring at having one in less than 18 months is this. The ability to be able to predict that an action is going to need to happen in the future goes down between the ages of 10 – 20.

What does that mean in the life of a parent? To put it bluntly it means that my 6 year old is better at predicting that she might need to refill the cat’s water dish in a few hours because the cat just took a large drink than my 11 year old can predict that we just ate a big meal with a lot of baking and therefore there will need to be several loads of dishes put in the dishwasher as well as washed by hand!

So yes you do have to keep reminding, and reminding your teenager to do things, because they do not have the infrastructure in their brain yet to be able to predict it themselves, even if it’s something they need to do every single day.

This book also really brought home why things like driving, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and social media should all be controlled substances around kids up until at least their early twenties.

It also added some new research into understanding what is going in in the brains of those Millennials and all the generations coming after.

And this is scientifically backed by studies using functional MRI’s, and ways of imaging the brain that we have only had in the last decade or so.

This is new information. This is information you can share with your teenager to say “Oi, this is why I am telling you to do it this way.”

Your high school student may not be able to prioritize their homework. That maybe something you need to sit down with them every night and make sure they know the order in which they need to get it done. This doesn’t mean they are stupid, this is just how their brain works at this moment in time.

Just like you need to help teach your kids how to tie their shoes, you have to teach your teenagers how to deal with a world that thinks that they are already an adult before they actually have the infrastructure in their brain to be an adult.

Maybe this is why more and more 20 somethings are still living at home? Maybe this isn’t really the curse we think it is and is in fact a blessing in disguise?

This book was written to be shared with your teens. To sit on your bookshelf and be brought out when different issues come up. This book is filled with stories of the actually crazy stuff that actual teens have done, and in some cases how they turned out. Teenage brains are not set up to make good choices much of the time, but the more we tell these stories to our kids (and yes over and over again is preferred due to selective hearing and the repetition needed to create new pathways in the brain) the more likely they are to remember that there might be stupid/bad consequences to this action.

Or at least be willing to call for medical help when someone screws up and does something stupid. Because that seems preferable to kids dying.

This book even provides ideas of how teachers, parents, and even the justice system could be better designed to better serve our adolescents.

I highly recommend this, whether you have teenagers yet, or just work closely with anyone under the age of 30.

Chase Young is the founder of The Mommy Rebellion a place for judgment-free parenting.  She’s created a place to get tips, tools and support for what it is truly like to be a mother, stories from the trenches that show you you’re not alone.  Tips that real mothers use.  Tools to give to yourself and to your parenting friends to feel more focused, have more patience and energy, and feel less tired and snappy .  
You can follow Chase here on this blog, sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.