Go Play Outside

Do you remember when your mother would tell you to “go outside and play”? That is my recommendation for you on this sunny day.

The weather is nice and in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, these days are cherished. Making a point to “go outside and play” each day is great for your total wellness. Sun and nature often have a way of helping people melt away stress.

Ideas for family fun outside:

  • Go to the park with your kids
  • Simple family walk
  • Hike in the woods
  • Find a new beach to enjoy
  • Sit and read on the deck

If you are looking for something to do with your kids during the summer months, check out Playtime in the Park sponsored by the Keweenaw Family Resource Center and BHK:

Playtime in the Park 

What is your favorite summer outdoor activity?

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Moms: Do you “should” on yourself?

If you are a mom, you have days where you feel exhausted and unmotivated. (Some of you everyday?)  Well, if those types of days have been around more often than not, I encourage you to look at how much you “should” on yourself.

How many times per day do you think things like:

“I should have the house clean by now”

“I should have lost the baby weight already”

“I should be exercising”

“I should have more motivation”

“I should be more productive”

You can probably add 100 more items to this list. We put intense pressure on ourselves daily with these type of thoughts. It can become very exhausting to never feel “good enough”. That is the underlying message to yourself using “should”.

Here is my challenge to you in three steps:

1: Start by becoming aware of your “shoulds”

  • Write them down. The first step to changing your mindset is awareness.

2: GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!

  • As a mother, please look at all you do on a daily basis. It is a lot. If something gets left undone, or you have a couple extra pounds hanging on, it does not make your worth decrease.

3: Stop shoulding on yourself for a whole week

  • Any time you hear one in your mind, challenge it. For example replace “I should have lost the baby weight by now” with “I am worthy as I am. I have my life ahead of me to accomplish my goals.”  OR replace “I should have the house cleaned by now” with “I was able to clean the kitchen today. I will focus on the laundry tomorrow.”

 

By changing your mindset and rewording “shoulds” to positive statements, you may find your motivation returning.

This quote from Brene Brown sums it up:

“No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Caring for Mother’s Spirit

When it comes to a mother’s wellness, calming and slowing down are challenging. Meditation is a way to help calm your mind/body/spirit after a stressful day. It can take just a couple minutes for a busy mother to take this break. You may have heard of meditation before and have an image in your mind about what meditation is.

Meditation can take on many forms. If you are interested in trying to calm your mind or renew your spirit, it can help. If you are new to meditation, try it when you are ready for sleep, then put o,n a guided meditation.  You may make it through the whole thing or fall asleep. Either way it is okay!  Mothers battling insomnia may find this especially helpful.

A great website to try out some guided meditations is:

http://www.meditationoasis.com/

Click on podcasts, they are free!  The website is full of wonderful information.

Why am I not feeling bonded to my baby right away?

You may hear people say “The first time I looked at my baby, I never felt something so strong”. That may leave you thinking “What is wrong with me?” “Am I a bad mom?” if you do not feel the same way right away. The truth is, some mothers do not feel the bond right away. There are many factors that are at play.

Some factors that can make bonding difficult at first:

  • Having a C-Section
  • Premature baby that has to be brought to the NICU right away
  • Postpartum depression or anxiety

Even if you do not have any of the above risk factors, but don’t feel an immediate bond, just know you are not alone! Just you worrying about it, and reading this information indicates how much you care. For some, the bonding process takes time. There are some ways you can help bond to your baby. Read more about bonding with baby and why it isn’t always immediate here.

  • Try skin to skin contact with your baby (also called kangaroo care). Read more about the effects of skin to skin contact here.
  • Learn about infant massage and try it with your baby. Read about infant massage here.
  • Spend quality time with baby, holding her and playing with her
  • Try baby wearing using a wrap to carry baby around with you during the day

Know that over time, generally, the bond will develop. For some it occurs when the baby starts to become more interactive.

If it has been a longer time and you are still worried about not bonding with baby, talk to your doctor. Postpartum depression, anxiety and OCD can affect the bonding process. These conditions are treatable with proper care. Read more about these conditions and about steps to take if you need help here.

Mom Friends

Motherhood is often a shock to the system. Suddenly there is a small helpless being you are caring for and it is hard to describe to someone who has not “been there”. Whether you are a working mom or stay at home mom it can be difficult to find balance. The days often blend together and you may feel isolated from others.

It is important during this time to connect with other moms. Some do this very easily and often. Others, it takes a bit more effort. Ladies, I am talking to you! This is a time in your life where it is helpful to be very intentional about seeking and connecting with other moms who are in the trenches with you.

Ways to connect

Groups

There are many groups available to participate in all over. Just start looking. Here locally in Houghton and Keweenaw counties here are some examples of ways to begin connecting in a group setting:

The Keweenaw Family Resource Center and the Treehouse

This resource is great because no one will be turned away. Those who can afford it pay a fee and those who cannot are welcome too. In addition, they have free events for everyone, including free days at the treehouse and playtime in the park during the summer.

There is a local Christian Affiliated group called MOPS (Mothers of Preshoolers) that meets 2 times per month during the school year for Mommy time. Childcare is included.

Online groups such as Copper Country Moms and Dads can keep you in the loop about what is going on in the area for families and possibly connect you to a new mom friend.

If you are not in the local area, look for support groups in your own area.

Individual

Bring your baby/kids to a local park. It is a great place to strike up a conversation with other parents doing the same.

Reach out to someone you know is a parent that you maybe have not connected with in a while. This can be done by facebook, phone, text, email or in person. You will often find how supportive most other parents are willing to be.

You can look at this as “phase 2” of dating. You meet moms, get phone numbers and set up playdates!

Start by doing one thing. Get yourself up out of the house one time and put yourself out there. It will get easier. Once it does, you can add this important mom interaction in your daily/weekly or monthly routine.