Laresa Watkins

Balance in the Chaos-Taking Care of Yourself

Nov 30, 2017
mommyinbonlee

 

In my mom’s group a few weeks ago we were talking about disciplining in anger and how to avoid that.  One mom pointed out that she had a difficult time dealing with her children when her blood sugar was low, and all of us agreed that we had a hard time when we were running on little sleep.  I’m sure all of us have gotten into a habit, at some point or another, of not taking the best care of ourselves.  We do things for other people all day long, and it’s hard to stop and spend time on ourselves. The problem with this is that everyone around us suffers when we don’t take care of ourselves.

While being healthy and feeling good are important to me, the main reason that I need to take care of myself is for my mental well-being (in other words, so I don’t lose it on anyone in my family).  When Charlie cries for an hour because he can’t wear shorts in December, I cannot handle myself very well if I only got 5 hours of sleep.  When I have 10 emails to return, school to teach, and my phone won’t stop beeping with text messages, I get frazzled and can’t focus if I’ve had too much coffee and no breakfast.  In order to handle life’s everyday stressors with grace and compassion, I have to care for myself.

My suggestions aren’t things that take a lot of time.  You don’t have to find a babysitter or take your kids to a germy gym childcare to work out.  You don’t have to get up at the break of dawn or spend hours cooking an organic farm-fresh meal.  These are just a few simple things that you can incorporate into your day that will enable you to have more balance when a chaotic moment is inevitably thrown your way.

1-Get a good night’s sleep

It seems to be the cool thing for women my age to brag about how much coffee they need to drink during the day.  Now, I am a coffee lover, so I’m not downing coffee, but on an everyday basis we should not have to drink coffee all day long in order to get everything on our to-do lists completed.  It’s not healthy.  We need to take care of ourselves by getting more sleep!

I am putting this first because it is so important to me.  I need at least 7 hours of sleep at night, and if I don’t get it I am cranky all day long.  Even thought I know this about myself, it is still really hard for me to make myself go to sleep at night.  After I get the kids in bed I want to spend time reading, watching TV, or playing a game on my phone.  After 15+ hours of hearing “Mom! Mom! Mom!” and “Laresa! Laresa! Laresa!”, my time alone at the end of the day is just wonderful and I hate for it to end. I have to really be disciplined and make myself stop whatever I am doing, turn out the lights, and go to sleep.

It really helps me to sleep better if I get up at the same time each morning, so I have also gotten back into the habit of setting my alarm.

That being said, for all of my friends who have new babies: you just go on drinking your coffee all day.  😉

2-Work Out

There is nothing worse than the 3:00 slump.  That time in the afternoon when we feel like shirking all of our duties and laying down for a nap? Whether you work at home like me or work at a job outside of the home, I know we all experience this during our day. It’s difficult no matter what you do, because we can’t just stop what we’re doing and sit down when we feel a little sluggish.

I have found that if I have a good workout in the morning I don’t experience this tired, cranky feeling in the afternoon. The problem is that I don’t have much time to work out. I used to love going to the gym or walking miles at the park, but that just isn’t feasible for me now.

I have tried lots of different YouTube workouts that I like, but right now I am really enjoying a new app called Aaptiv. You download the app and instantly have access to tons of great workouts.  You can choose from strength training, outdoor running, yoga, and so much more.  You can also select how long you want to work out, which is a huge plus for me since some mornings I have more time than others.  If it’s a morning that I have to take Maddie to gymnastics or we have a MOMS meeting or science co-op and I have to get everyone ready and out the door in a hurry, I choose a short workout so I can get a good workout in without putting a strain on our chaotic mornings.

Aaptiv even has a series of workouts for parents-they’re all around 15 minutes long and give you a great workout in a short span of time.  And, for all of my friends who are expecting, they even offer a great prenatal workout program with different workouts that are appropriate for each trimester.  I wish it had been around when I was pregnant.

They’re offering a free trial right now, so if you’re like me and you need a quick, easy workout you can do at home, you should give it a go.

3-Essential Oils-I have become an essential oil freak.  I used to burn candles all the time to have my house smelling good, but now I constantly have some sort of oil running in my diffusers to not only make my house smell nice, but to keep us all healthy.  When it comes to keeping me balanced, I turn, of course, to DoTerra’s Balance.  🙂

I think I finally convinced my husband of the awesomeness of essential oils last week when he used my Tea Tree Oil on an ulcer in his mouth.  It was gone the next morning!

4-Eating Well- I’m not talking hours of meal planning or crazy shakes or anything like that. I once heard the advice that I should eat 5 servings of fruits/veggies every day, and that’s what I do.  I also try to drink plenty of water.  Doing those simple, non-time-consuming things makes me feel so much better and better-able to handle life’s craziness.

 

Our bodies are gifts from God, and it’s so important we take care of them.  When we do, we feel better, are kinder when faced with tough situations, and can find some balance in this chaos.

Balance in the Chaos

Nov 14, 2017
mommyinbonlee

 

We all have lots to do, right? I don’t care if you have children or you don’t, if you work or you stay home with kids, if you are in school or retired, we all have TOO MUCH TO DO.

I am, personally, very careful with my schedule.  I’m pretty good at knowing my limits and those of my family, and I’m not afraid to say no when I can.  But even though I do guard our time, sometimes the everyday chaos of life overwhelms me.

For example, I lost it on Jason last week.  It was Monday, the day that I set aside for the kids and I to stay home and get ahead on our week.  We do lots of schoolwork and housework, and I plan and do things like return e-mails and other little tasks that I may have been putting off.

On this particular Monday, my poor husband sent me an e-mail asking me to do something for him, and having that extra thing to do just put me over the edge.  I shot back a quick message telling him how overwhelmed I was feeling and informing him that he was just going to have to find someone else to do this work.  Then, when he didn’t respond back quickly enough for my liking, I sent him another message demanding he “hear me.” After his response that he did “hear me” but that he was having a really busy day at work, I continued about my frustrating Monday, anxious and worried that I couldn’t get it all done.

Well, you know what? I did get it all done that day.  I looked at my to-do list with all of the items crossed off, and I wondered why I had freaked out and added to my husbands worries, when there was really no need to. I had basically ruined everyone’s day, including my own, for no reason.

For a while now, I have felt a nudging to look at myself and my reactions to this chaotic life.  You know, it is what it is.  God created us to work and help each other and serve him.  The key is to do those things with the right heart, which is definitely where I am lacking.

As I have been reflecting on this, doing some reading and trying some different things to help myself find some balance in the chaos, I have come up with some strategies that are working well for me (well…most of the time), and I feel led to share them with you.  I’ve narrowed my ideas down and am going to share them in blog posts every two or three nights for the next couple of weeks. I would love to do a post every night, but I learned during Write 31 Days that I have to do my writing early in the morning or after we get the kids in bed at night, and (spoiler) I realize how important my sleep is for me.

Speaking of sleep….I need to go to sleep.  But I do hope you’ll check back in a couple of days and see what I’ve come up with, and I pray it will be a help to someone who is searching for a little balance.

 

 

31/31 Days!!!!

Oct 31, 2017
mommyinbonlee

I can’t believe this day is here-day 31 of the Write 31 Days blogging challenge.  It hasn’t been easy for me to write every day, since I have to do it at nighttime after I get the kids in bed and I am usually exhausted at that point.  I feel like I didn’t do a great job writing for that reason, since I didn’t have the time to really work through my thoughts or think about good topics.  I’m pretty proud of myself, though, for just getting my writer’s juices flowing.  I can definitely tell that I am more motivated to write now, which was my goal in taking on this challenge.

This month has been awesome.  Our new batch of chickens started laying eggs. I’m so happy not to have to buy eggs at the grocery store anymore!

We got to do all of the fall things:  make applesauce and apple pies and apple butter, go to the state fair and pumpkin farms with our friends, and take many, many hayrides. Seriously, I don’t care to take any more hayrides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then Halloween, of course. We have so much fun with the kids.  They have such great imaginations and they love dressing up all year long, not just at Halloween.  To them, Halloween is an excuse to wear their costumes out of the house and get some candy!

 

For me personally, one great thing about October was that I finally hit my stride in our homeschool.  I feel like I have a good understanding of our new curriculum and we’re on a good daily schedule, which is a huge relief since it took me awhile to get a handle on things.

I feel like this quote sums up my feelings about October:

“October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!”-Rainbow Rowell

16/31 Days

Oct 16, 2017
mommyinbonlee

My MOMS group is a small, fabulous group of women. We come from diverse backgrounds, have varying goals and dreams, and run our households differently, but we are bonded together by the great equalizer of motherhood.

As part of a meeting that we had a couple of years ago, we were challenged to list five things that only we could do. Just five things. Doesn’t seem too hard, huh? But when I brought up the question that had been asked of us (What are five things only you can do?), I was met with silence and blank stares. No one started furiously writing as I had expected, no intense conversations began between this group of deep, thoughtful women.

I tried to give them ideas, but they were shot down one after another.

“Could anyone mother your children like you do?” I asked.

“Sure,” one woman answered. “My mom could do it.”

“What about being a partner to your husband?” I suggested, “I’m sure no one else could do that.”

Another woman said, “He could find another wife.”

I said to a friend known for her fabulous pound cake, “No one else could make a pound cake like you.”

“Actually,” she responded with a laugh, “I put the recipe on Facebook yesterday. Anyone could make that pound cake.”

I had nothing to say. My mind was blank, because I myself couldn’t answer the question. Is there anything I uniquely do that no one else could ever do?

“We don’t think highly enough of ourselves, ya’ll,” I half-joked, moving on in defeat to the next question.

When I got home that day, I started an experiment. Every single thing I did, from common chores to playing with my children to talking on the phone with a friend who had a problem, I asked myself, could anyone else do this?

Sometimes the answer was yes. I laughed to myself as I balled up my husband’s underwear and shoved them in his drawer, thinking that he wouldn’t have any trouble finding a woman who could do this chore better than me. As I heated up bowls of instant oatmeal in the microwave, I knew that my kids would gladly welcome someone who made better breakfasts than me.

But I also found things I do that I knew could never be replicated by anyone else. Like the time Maddie and I spend together in the mornings, curled up on the couch under a blanket, me doing my devotion while she watches Scooby Doo. Or fixing the perfect cup of coffee for my husband every morning (It has taken me 15 years to do it right, so I seriously doubt anyone else could ever replicate it!). Or sharing Charlie’s excitement over a silly joke that no one else finds funny.       

As moms, I think we tend to downplay what we do every day, thinking that anyone could perform the mundane tasks we perform, but realizing that every one of us is unique is very important.

No one else could ever love our children like we do. Sure, other people could provide for their physical needs, but we were specifically created to raise those little people.

No one else could be the partner that we are to our husbands. We were made for them. No one else could ever team with them the way we do to live the lives we have created together.

No one else could do our mission work the way we do it. Whether it’s homeschooling, sharing the love of Jesus with someone at our job, helping an elderly person grocery shop, baking pound cakes for our sick neighbors, or leading a Sunday School class, no one else could do it like we do, and there is a possibility that it wouldn’t happen at all if we didn’t do it.

Ladies, what if we realize our worth? What if we acknowledge our importance? That there are some things that only we could ever do?

Would we perhaps be braver? Would we go about our mornings with a different attitude, knowing that the cup of coffee we pour is important in how our husbands start the day and that no one else could do it right? Would we consider the time spent cuddling on the couch imperative for our children, and understand that no other woman could take our place? Would we do our mission work with a different attitude knowing that without us, this work of God would not get done in the same way?

Knowing that we’re the only one is scary, but empowering. Let’s be brave, own our worth, and see what happens. What if….

15/31 Days

Oct 15, 2017
mommyinbonlee

I have written on mom guilt before:

Letting Go of Mommy Guilt

This was 3 1/2 years ago, and I while my mom-guilt is so much better (a result, I am sure, of better sleep and generally improved sanity) it still pops up sometimes.

Yesterday I felt guilty because we didn’t go to a festival in a nearby town.  We went to a dairy farm last week, spent several days either at friend’s houses or with friends here, and this week we’re going to the fair one day, zoo another, and pumpkin farm another.  WHY, then, do I feel guilty that I am not providing my children with this fall festival experience?

Is it because I have friends who took their kids and posted the pictures all over Facebook and Instagram? Or because I made the kids stay home and clean their rooms instead? Or because the real reason we didn’t go is because I just didn’t want to leave the house? I really don’t know.  I just know that I felt it.

I have to go back to the verse that I used in my first mom-guilt blog post:

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and

kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich

and satisfying life.”

John 10:10 (NLT)

Such a relief to remind myself that every day I have is a blessing, and God means for every day to be rich and satisfying.  Maddie and I thanked God tonight in our prayers for all of our blessings, that we have each other and that we get to do so many great things.

I’m just going to hang onto that.

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