the one about that someone

Wow.

Where have I been the past two months?

How have I gone two months without returning to this little space to write, document, and download my thoughts and feelings on motherhood and womanhood and other various 'hoods?

It's like the movie The Hangover. Something happened. I don't remember what, or how, or who. All I know is that I am now awake, and I've lost a tooth. Ok, I lied about the last part. I have all my teeth, but my Kindergartner is working on her first loose tooth, and I kind of can't deal with how grown up that means she is.

I have actually tried to write a few different times. I have tried to write about the holidays and the magic and the stress of it all. I have tried to write about sentimental feelings and even feelings of sadness and unworthiness. I have posts saved as drafts in hopes that I would either return to finish them or gain the courage to post them. In reality, they sit, unfinished and unspoken. A silent record of the past several weeks of my life.

The holidays. They happened.

And now here I am!

Call it a goal or resolution or whatever you like, but I am most certainly wanting to get back to writing more regularly. It feels so good to unload my brain and it also feels so good when I know that someone else can relate to what I just verbally vomitted all over the inter web.

While I don't have much of a written record of the last couple weeks of 2015, I can tell you that I actually spent a little of that time reading books. Crazy, right? In the day of Kindles and Nooks and people spending their time doing anything but reading, I actually was able to carve out some time to read a couple of wonderfully inspiring and influential books.

It sounds silly, but these books have actually empowered me as I begin the new year. There's something about reading someone else's thoughts as words and feeling validated because you have those thoughts, too. Suddenly, you're not alone. You're not crazy. Well, maybe you are still crazy, but at least you know someone else is your same kind of crazy.

I'd like to think that's why you're reading this. You're searching for someone to match your crazy.

I'm sure I'm your girl.

These two books, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker and The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You by Jessica N. Turner filled my heart with wonderful, affirming words and advice that will carry me through this next year -- a year I hope is positive, happy, and rewarding.

On New Year's Eve, I was talking to Luke about 2015. We were going through the highs and lows of the year...our favorite memories...our worst moments. He had so many highlights to claim and be proud of, and I struggled to come up with one. This is sad for a few reasons. For one, it's sad because "nothing" super amazing happened in those 365 days, but mostly it's sad because I didn't "view" the past year's highlights as what they were -- highlights. I had a hard time remembering any of the joy I had experienced. I saw 2015 as the year I didn't run the half marathon. It was the year the girls painted Disney World in puke.

2015 was also a year of extreme emotional stress for me. I took on too many commitments. I became a chronic and habitual yes girl. Being afraid of what people would think or say about me if I said no to a request became a monster I could not get escape from. By the time my day was finished with making everyone else happy, I would be frazzled, beaten down, and borderline unbearable to be around.

In my last post, I wrote about the half marathon I stopped training for. This was a pretty big turning point for me, because the rest of 2015 basically turned into a blur of stress and anxiety. One yes after another, and eventually I found myself unable to sleep through the night (which had nothing to do with the fact that my 3 year old still doesn't sleep through the night most of the time). I would wake up in a panic, making to-do lists on my phone at 3 a.m. or sometimes just waking up for good at that hour so that I could have some more time in my day.

I stopped eating. Ha. Not really. I stopped eating real food. With no time for breakfast, I would grab Starbucks daily. Most of the days, lunch was fast food of some sort or nothing at all. I lived off of Diet Coke, so much so that Luke had to bribe me with an overnight getaway just to give it up for one month. I always managed to come up with some semblance of a balanced meal for dinner...because, of course, I actually cared about what my family was eating.

Between the lack of sleep and poor food choices, I noticed my hair was dull and thinning in spots. I was sick more in those few months than I had been in a year. I weighed the same as the day I delivered Shiloh.

So why am I oversharing all of this with you?

Because somewhere, someone needs to read this.

Somewhere, someone needs to know that all those things you're yessing to are eventually going to suck the life out of you. With no time to exercise...no time to eat real, nourishing food...no time to read empowering books...no time to have meaningful conversation with friends...no time to soak up the little moments with your children...no time to simply be still and know...you will eventually run out of steam and make yourself sick, crazy, or downright miserable.

Are you that someone? Don't worry if you are...because I'm that someone, too. I'm still that someone, because it takes time to build confidence and form new habits. I am only one week into this epiphany of sorts, and it takes an effort each day to change my old ways. I am a People-Pleaser by nature, so I know that I will never be able to fully let go of my fear that if I tell a person "No" or "I can't" that they will shun me forever.

It's a work in progress.

I'm a work in progress.

If you're that someone, I invite you to try these steps to get you headed in the right direction. For the first time in several months, I have hope that I can overcome these obstacles and truly have not only a wonderful and memorable year, but a fulfilling and happy life.

1. Read the two books I mentioned earlier. They are quick reads. Make the time to do it. Use the time you spend on Facebook and Pinterest to enjoy the words of these women. You will come away feeling inspired, empowered, and motivated. You'll laugh a lot, too.

2. Pick a mantra, and put it on a bracelet. I believe in mantras. When I was pregnant with Shiloh and on bed rest for 12 weeks, I chose "I can do hard things," inspired by Glennon at Momastery. This phrase helped me to focus and get through a tough part of my life. I stamped the words on a leather bracelet and wore it even through childbirth.

For this phase of my life, I chose three mantras.

Be still. Choose joy. All I need is within me.

I found the inspiration for these mantras at Mantra Band. I love the color choices and daintiness of the bracelets, and there are zillions of motivational words and mantras to choose from. I wear my mantras daily, and they are a great reminder for me when I struggle.



3. Pull a Nike and Just Do It. Whatever it is that you're wanting to do-- read more, exercise, meet with friends, go to bed earlier...whatever you have been longing for and wishing to make time for...just do it. Write it into your calendar, arrange appropriate babysitting if necessary, and get it done. The first step is always the hardest, but after you do just one small thing for yourself, you start to think about other ways to be creative and efficient with your day to allow you to spend even more time doing what you love.

4. Be like Elsa and Let It Go. Let go of the guilt and feelings of being selfish. Mom guilt is a crazy, huge, real thing. We feel guilty for working. We feel guilty for going to dinner with friends. We feel guilty for calling in pizza. We feel guilty for spending money on ourselves. We feel guilty for hiring a babysitter so we can be alone or go on a date with our husbands. We feel guilty for not making the baby food from scratch. We feel guilty for every. damn. thing. Or at least I do.

It's time to let all of that go. No one else is keeping score except you (and if someone else is, that person's a real asshole).

I am a better, happier, more pleasant person to be around when I am taking care of myself. I am more calm. I am more patient. I am absolutely a better mother and wife.

I wish you a year life of letting go and doing it.
Well that got dirty real fast, huh?