Controlling the Christmas Chaos

 I’m not sure if my Christmas anxiety is giving my everyday anxiety anxiety but I know for sure the Christmas chaos is here!

I know I am stressed when I find myself staring at my planner and making lists of lists. I get excited when I get to move into my new planner for the upcoming year so when I noticed my 2018 planner has this month in it I quickly did the switch. I also started laying out my bullet journal for 2018, which of course meant I needed a marker upgrade.

chaos control

All the planning in the world does not stop the Christmas Chaos from trying to steal your Christmas Cheer. So with Christmas Chaos swirling in the air I am reminding myself of ways to stay sane (aside from making lists of lists).

 I am Keeping it Simple.

Yes, after convincing hubby to help me get the 10+ Christmas trees and 10+ boxes of decorations out of the attic I found myself staring at it. I was overwhelmed. I didn’t want to win the “I have the most Christmas trees in my house” award this year. For the first time in over 10 years we are NOT hosting Christmas so even more reason to keep it simple. I decided to not even put up the “BIG” tree. Settling for a pencil tree in our living room, stockings hung on the mantle and our annual pictures with the Big Guy out to see.

After a slight panic when hubby questioned if I had “underdone it” I have concluded the keep it simple theory helps my sanity this year.

I am not subscribing to all the holiday “you have toos”

I do not have to come up with the “perfect” teacher gift, I know a gift card is many times preferred. I do not have to find the pajamas for my Chihuahua that matches my boy’s Christmas morning.  Disguising my Baileys as cream is my only goal on Christmas morning. And I don’t need my Christmas lights dancing to the music, I will settle for the Grinch trying to steal my lights.

I am not over committing

With all the Sign Up Geniuses landing in my inbox the last couple weeks I have taken a step back to ask myself what I really want to commit to and what I just don’t have time to do. Sure, I will buy skittles and marshmallows for the holiday party, but I am not baking 3 dozen homemade cookies for the teacher cookie exchange. Sorry, I cannot sell yo-yos at 7am on Tuesday and I will bring the snacks to the last game of the season (in January).

I am making sure to do my favorite traditions

Our multi family gingerbread decorating party, going to see the Big Guy at Northpark, donating gifts to the local toy drive, donating to the school angel program, sprinkling reindeer food out on Christmas Eve, baking Neimun Marcus Cookies to deliver to neighbors and dear friends, sending out the annual Johnson Christmas card, baking Jesus’s birthday cake and eating Hibachi after Christmas Eve Service.

christmas choas

I am saying No

I am saying “No” to the party I really have no desire to go to. I am saying “No” to the invite to go look at the same drab Christmas lights we have seen for years. I am saying “No” to overthinking gifts for everyone. I am saying yes to the events I want to genuinely go to like our friends fabulous Christmas pajama party (so my kind of party, in my PJs!) and holiday dinner with my close girl friends.

I will find Joy in the Pain

I am reminding myself what brings me joy during the holidays, being with the ones I love the most. This is going to be difficult this year because we have an empty seat at the table since my father’s passing. He is missed. His annual trip the John Deere dealership on Christmas Eve to let the boys pick out what ever they want, his perfectly cooked meat of choice and his snide comments and snickering leading to my mom to tell him to “hush.” Amidst his absence I will focus on the joy of my family, because without him my family would not be who we are.

Truth is many struggle with emotional pains of all kinds during what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. I will have grace towards the crazy driver who almost hit me while picking up my dry cleaning today. I will have empathy for the lady in my way in the aisle at Target. I will have compassion for the new client on the couch who is dreading sitting across the dinner table from her mother who will never really know her.

My wish for you is to keep it simple, stay with your truth, and don’t over do it.

Remember the “Reason for the Season.”

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.

 

Speaking Up: What Are We So Afraid Of?

Speaking up… In my post last week on authenticity I referenced the notion of speaking up as one component to authentic freedom. Of all the 5 points I listed, speaking up seemed to bring on the most feedback. I heard things like, “I really need to work on speaking up”, “I don’t speak up enough”, and “thank you for giving me permission to speak up for myself”.

This got me thinking: What is it about speaking up – bringing voice to our feelings and thoughts – that causes so much anxiety and apprehension? I realized this is worth exploring…

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REST…Why is it so Damn Hard to Take a Break?

 

What is it with women and resting (or should I say not resting)? I’m sure there are women out there who are adept at taking it easy when in need, but for most (all) of the women I know resting equates to staying in your pj’s while you clean the house, wash the laundry, fold the laundry, grocery shop, cook, and clean again. Then when that’s all done you “rest” for 15 minutes on the couch before remembering you need to pack lunches, iron clothes, and prep the coffee maker for the next day ahead. I need a rest just thinking about this “restful” day.

So what is it that makes putting off and putting down the to-do list so damn hard?


I’m only going to scratch the surface on this one today. I plan to write much more on this after a little further research. I am curious to know what prevents you from really resting. Not just when you’re shaking from a fever or vomiting from the latest stomach bug your kid brought home. That’s recovery, not rest.

I’m talking about the kind of rest you give yourself because you’ve been doing and giving to everyone else all day or all week and you realize your mental and physical fuel is running on empty. Or, the kind of rest when you’ve been offering your ear to your sister, your mom, your best friend, your husband, your co-workers, your kids, whomever and your now at the point where the only reasonable response you can mutter is “Mmmhhhmmmm. Ohhhh. Ahhhh. Hmmmm.”

We all need rest, but we don’t all take it. Usually it takes a collapse in immunity, emotional control, or physical stability to wake us up to the fact that we’ve overdone it, again.

So, please, help me in this quest of trying to understand why we push, why we ignore, and why we flat out refuse to give ourselves the rest and care that we would most certainly recommend to anyone else. Share with me your experience and your struggle in the ongoing battle with rest. I’m all ears.

			

YOGA? Y.ou O.nly G.ott A.

Breathe. 

It is more than a little ironic that Yoga is the activity I turn to on a daily basis to cope with the ups and downs of being a parent.  The more I think about it, the more I realize YOGA is the perfect metaphor for parenting.

I can almost hear each reader’s audible ugh as I type this post. YOGA….

Ya either love it, hate it, OR BOTH. Some of you haven’t tried it yet. Some of you never will. Kind of sums up having children does it?

 I can’t recall exactly when my love affair with yoga began, but let me assure you; it definitely was NOT love at first sight. Truth be told, my first date with yoga TOTALLY sucked.

First of all, before the date even started, Yoga wanted me to be quiet-STRIKE 1- I like to talk. Correction: I LOOOVE talking. Besides, how are we going to know if we like each other if we don’t talk?

Our love connection was off to a very rocky start.

Next,  YOGA proceeded to tell me to “be still”Seriously? Who the hell does this YOGA think he is? Doesn’t he realize I’m a mom & dishes don’t wash themselves? I’ve got things to do.  Furthermore, when I am still…I start thinking. I think too much…waay toooo much.  Strike 2.

The final strike came when Yoga wanted me to set an intention.  An intention for what? Staying alive? Fine. My intention was pretty much to try  super hard not to throw up or pass out OR die a heaping hot sweaty mess in the middle of all of these toned and tan & oddly serene strangers.

Ok…you win YOGA. I intend to survive this class.

As it turns out, I not only survived the first date; I  came back for more. 

YOGA and I  proceeded to “date” on and off for the next  few years. We even broke up a few times (my decision), before I realized that I really missed it..and loved it….and NEEEEEEEEEEEDED IT.

So now we are back together…at least for the time being. 

 

Anyway, I digress. My point was to tell you how lessons learned in YOGA mirror that of my experience in parenting.

YOGA ASKS THAT WE: 

  • Show up. Most days, making it onto your mat is the hardest part.
  • Set an intention to guide your practice.  Intentions are unique and change on a daily basis depending on your child’s sugar intake & the amount of caffeine you have ingested.
    OOOOMMM…Why is this so hard?

    Today, I want my children to be responsible, compassionate, passionate about learning, and kind. Tomorrow I intend to not screw them up too much. By Wednesday, my intention is usually not to throw up, pass out or die trying.

  • Focus inward…. How does the vision I have of myself, others and the world shape my choices as a parent.  How am I reacting to their successes & failures?  What parts of my own childhood am I replicating or running from and why?
  • Rest. It is a sign of strength. I repeat..RESTING IS ALWAYS A SIGN OF STRENGTH, never a sign of weakness.
  • Be flexible. The more rigid you are, the more it’s gonna hurt.
  • Focus on small daily progress.  The practice doesn’t change. You do.
  • Don’t look around. When you do, you give your energy away. This is not a competition & comparisons are a not helpful.
  • Be present.  Looking behind or ahead only distracts you from making the most each moment.
  • BREATHE…You Only Gott A Breathe…When you feel like giving up (& you will want to), you only gotta breathe.  As long as you are breathing and staying present, you are doing it right.

Other lessons from “Yoga”…

  • You will never do it perfectly no matter how hard you try. In fact, you will often fall. You will  look super weird and awkward…crazy even.  The good news is, so does everybody else!
  • It sometimes feels like it will never end.
  • It’s crowded & sweaty….Everyone else is working hard too.
  • Everyone has an opinion about how to do it & people are really quick to point out that you are doing it wrong. Tell them to shut the * up and get back on their own mat. 
  • You mostly go it alone-unless you count the other awkward, hot sweaty messes around you.
  • You may or may not have a teacher. If you do, you are lucky. But keep in mind, he or she is just a guide. …She/He doesn’t have all the answers either.

Namaste…the sweaty hot mess in me honors the sweaty hot mess in you.

 

some days i just need a few more hours

The last few weeks have felt like a race.

life is not a race

End of school projects, events and parties. Wrapping up sports…I am not sure why I broke my one sport each rule. Wait, yes I do, so they can find their favorite. A packed work schedule, plus travel for a 3 day conference. Not to mention Mother’s day festivities and a staycation weekend with my hubby. I did not get to make it to dinner with my tribe one night because both kids had to be on separate parts of town at the same time. I did not finish the craft project for sister’s nursery. I haven’t seen my BFF in months and I need some guacamole! I have not been eating as healthy as I’d like and I sure have not been making it to yoga. My house looks very lived in and we are expecting a letter from the HOA any day about the weeds in the flower bed. Some days I just need more hours in the day.

I laid in bed last night with my mind racing of the many to-dos I need and want to do. I laid in bed last night feeling guilty I have not been present enough for those I cherish the most. I laid in bed wondering if I should just get up and get to work. I laid in bed wishing I had a maid and lawn service on call. I laid in bed wishing I just had more help. I laid in bed wondering if my priorities are off. I laid in bed wishing there were more hours to the day so I can just catch up.

This is all very convicting because if you have been following me I am all about showing up, not glorifying being busy and setting priorities. Okay, so my dilemma is ALL this is a priority. My marriage, being a mom, being a good therapist, being a good sister, being a good friend, growing my business, staying mentally health, staying physically healthy. With all this comes being real, honest, and authentic. This is all convicting because even though these are my priorities and I preach this all the time to others, it is hard. This is a day I could use just a few more hours.

Today I am feeling a bit defeated.

Today I am feeling sad.

Today I am feeling overwhelmed.

Today I am feeling like a failure.

Today I am feeling tired.

Today I must take one step at a time.

be present

Today is a refresher course of being in the fire. Today I gain wisdom about myself, my relationships, my goals, my priorities.

Today I dig for strength to put one step in front of the other. Wake up, get up, put on my makeup, one step in front of the other. I dig for strength to show up, my kids need me as they are a bit run down from all the rush rush lately too. I dig for strength to trust that even my though my marriage is not perfect, we are forgiving of one another for times of disconnection and discontent. I dig for strength to show up for my client’s as they work on their story.

be kind

I am reminded that I must be kind to myself. Another reminder to practice what I preach. Be kind and loving. Kindness comes from a practice of mindfulness to not allow all the self-sabotage talk to soak in. Kindness is reminding myself that perfection is an illusion, perfectly imperfect is the goal. Taking one step at a time is good enough.

Today has been hard.

I pray tomorrow is better.

Right now I will pray, I will rest, I will reset.

Sunday Self Care – FUN!

It’s Sunday Funday!

fun

What are you doing FUN today?

When was the last time you had FUN?

Can you think of something you want to do that is FUN?

I ask this question a lot to my clients and more times than not I get a blank stare or stark silence as the answer. In the multitude of to-dos we all have heard that self care inevitably needs to be a priority. Fun needs to be at the top!

Let me remind you what FUN means:

fun

Why stop and have fun? Because it gives you natural joy, it makes you smile, it usually changes the pace, all things we need.

When was the last time you had FUN with your husband?

Don’t tell me you don’t have enough time. Don’t tell me yall don’t know how to have fun together anymore. Don’t tell me you don’t want to spend the money. I don’t accept excuses.

Think back to when you were dating, what did yall do for fun? Remember how it used to be a priority, back when you liked your husband more…….see the connection….fun + together = liking your spouse again.

When was the last time you had fun with your kids?

No I don’t mean the hours you are in the car together going from baseball practice, to the birthday party, to going to see Mimi. I mean when did you have fun with them. As in putting down the cell phone and chasing bubbles together. As in playing a game together. As in having a dance party in the living room or as Dillon often requests, family night at Dave & Busters.

When was the last time you had fun?

If you cannot come up with a good answer it is time to make FUN a priority again.
funfunfunfun

Hands Free Mama?…Yes Please!

Milton Berle

This motherhood quote is amusing because isn’t it obvious that even on a good day, 10 hands would never be enough to schlep around the arsenal of items needed to survive an average day in the jungles of motherhood.
Most days I have my hands full both LITERALLY  and figuratively. I stumble around barely walking upright as I balance my dinging cell phone & a piece of used gum in one hand; and his backpack, my purse, and assorted snacks (a bag of squashed Goldfish anyone?) in the other! Continue reading

5 things that are being pushed within me now the blog is live

5 things that are being pushed within me now that the blog is live

1.    I Am more intentional

Now it seems like everything I do I contemplate why, what it brings me, how does it make me feel. Yes, my brain has been on overload since the concept of our blog was nailed down. I find myself wishing I could stop and write many times during the day because I am thinking so much more about my actions, my thoughts, my feelings.

permission
from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Prayer is Self Care

Sunday, the day of rest. Honestly I try to enforce this in my home but commitments out of my control, aka my son’s baseball have taken over our Sunday afternoons for a while now.

Today I am thankful for Easter Sunday as we are observing the day of rest and plan to spend it with family. It has been a busy few days around my house as we have been building a new fence, thanks to recent Texas Spring Storms, so we need to rest.

Practicing self care is something I talk a lot about with my client’s and I admit I am not a pro. Being a therapist on top of being a mom on top of being a wife makes self care something I can not not make time for. It must be a priority and something I plan and practice with purpose.

prayer for self care

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