What Does It Mean To Be Productive?

Hello New Day.
Hello New Week.
Hello New Adventure.

HelloMonday

The sun is shining. The windows are open. Oh how I have longed for this day! Despite my best efforts the weather plays a big part into my moods. The fresh air is very much needed right now. Now if only I can tear myself away from the singing birds long enough to actually do something productive.

But really what does it mean to be productive? Are you only productive if your house is spotless, everything is cleaned, washed, put away? Are you only productive if you go to work every day? Is it strictly based on what others can see? Can you only really be productive if your actions can some how be measured? Who decides what is productive?

What does it mean to you to be productive?

This past weekend I sat outside in the warmth of the sun. I listened to the birds. I played outside with the kids. I watched the kids play in awe of how much they have changed since last year. I did a lot of sitting outside. Just being in the moment. My house didn’t get cleaned. Laundry is way behind now. My living room looks like some supernatural event happened.

So did I have a productive weekend? What do you think? My answer; Yes. Yes I did.

I did what I needed to do. I did what my heart and soul needed. I was in the moment. I relaxed. I watched my kids. I played with my kids. This is what I needed to do. For my own mental health, my psychical health, I needed a break. I needed to be in the moment. I needed to laugh. I needed to feel the sun on my skin, the wind in my hair.

If you looked at the state of my house you would not think it was a very productive weekend. If you looked at me you would know it was.

As far as house chores go, I am behind. In terms of my spirit, I am ahead of the game! I am refreshed, relaxed, and ready to take on this week. I am in much better shape to handle this week than if I had been inside cleaning all weekend.

So Monday, this week, bring it! I’m ready for you! Right after I finish my coffee and listening to do the birds sing, then I will get up and rock this thing!

~ Michelle

 

When Your Husband Gets The Big V, The Snip Snip.


My husband got a vasectomy. I have never been so conflicted about anything before. I have also never been so at peace with something. Life is strange like that sometimes.

After our daughter was born, even during my pregnancy, we knew this was it. Our baby would complete our family and we were done. Our family was done. When we finally held her in our arms, we knew without a doubt, we both felt it, we both knew it. She would be our last baby. We were finally done.

The truth? I know I don’t want more kids, I know in my heart that I am done, I also know that I sometimes ( a lot of times) I miss pregnancy, I miss the newborn stage. Yes the person who has had 3 high risk pregnancies, 2 pregnancies on full bed rest, scary stress filled pregnancies, misses pregnancy. I miss feeling a baby kick. I miss the little itty bitty new born baby. Do I honestly want to go through that again? Not really.

Motherhood is a strange thing. I sent my husband off to get the big V done, to get the final snip, and yet as soon as he was gone I cried. I don’t even know for sure what I was crying over. I suddenly felt an empty hole appear, a void if you will. Knowing that we will never, ever, again welcome a small itty bitty baby into our family as parents. It hurt. It still sometimes does hurt. I sometimes feel like I’m missing out. Other times, most times, I am so happy and content and most importantly – I am complete.

Whats done is done, and I am happy. I know we made the right choice for our family. I couldn’t imagine our family any other way.

But still, the hole, the void still lives and thrives at times. I’ve come to terms with it. Its voice isn’t as loud anymore. It doesn’t rip open as often anymore. I wouldn’t change anything. I am happy with the fabulous, wonderful, amazing children that I have brought into this world. I do make pretty awesome kids if I do say so myself. I know I was very blessed to be able to carry 4 beautiful babies to full term. But my time is done and over with.

Besides my daughter is 3, and still doesn’t sleep all night, I would for real go crazy with sleep deprivation if I had another baby, especially if that baby slept anything like my daughter.

Right now, I am just dreaming of more than 4 hours of sleep at a time. That would be nice. Sweet, sweet sleep.

~ Michelle

Inside Out

My kids love the movie Inside Out. I have to admit, I do too. Its a very cute Disney Pixar movie. Have you had a chance to watch it?

Basically it is about the different emotions inside everyones head, especially focusing on the main character, a little girl.

Every time I watch the movie it makes me wonder, if our emotions were set up like that, what would it look like? Who would be in charger? Would there be one in charge or would they all just be fighting like crazy? How many would be fighting to control and how many emotions would be sitting the corner rocking and crying?

Sometimes it feels like an on going battle in my head. Anxiety and Depression are not the easiest to get along with. So I imagine Anxiety and Depression are big giant bullies trying to take over the controls while joy sits in the corner rocking back and forth crying. Fear is their little side kick. Sadness just floats over head on a cloud of sadness raining down on them.

All of it is so exhausting.

It is hard to explain it to someone who has not experienced it first hand.

I try to hold my head high. I try to put on a happy face. I try to get through the day in one piece while a battle rages on in my head for control of my emotions.

Monday and Tuesday of this week I accomplished so much. I worked out, I worked hard, I left the house, I wore make up. Today? I’m still in my pjs and have zero motivation to do anything. This is what happens. I’m beyond exhausted, and not in the way that any amount of sleep can help. I’m worn out from trying so hard, I’m worn out from putting on the brave face. I’m worn out from fighting. I’m not giving up. I just need time. I just need a day to take care of myself. I’m not being lazy. I’m taking care of myself. I’m doing what I need to so I can make it through another day.

Today, even though I am worn out, it feels like Joy has pushed her way to the front and is in charge of the controls.

Its the small things that mean so much and can make me happy, like having the freedom to stay home and do what I need to so I can take care of myself. Even if that means staying in pjs all day and playing with my kids.


~ Michelle

Progress Not Perfection

Hello New Day.
Hello New Week.
Hello New Adventure.

HelloMonday

Two weeks ago I was on a roll. I was working out every day, eating healthy, had so much energy, I was getting so much done. It was great. Then March Break happened. My boys went away for the week with my parents and my husband decided to take a week off work. It was just my husband, my toddler, and myself for a whole week. I didn’t work out. I didn’t eat the most healthy items like I could have. I didn’t work. I honestly didn’t do anything that I had planned. I even threw out the to do lists that I wrote.

Do you know hat I did for the week? I was present. I was here. I was on the floor playing with my toddler. I was sitting on the sofa cuddled up with  my husband talking for hours. I was in the moment. And you know what? It was the best thing I could have done. Productive it terms of work? No. Productive in terms of self care?! YES!

Progress not perfection.

If this had happened before, if I had an entire week off from working out, eating healthy and work, I would completely flip out. I would fall into a deeper depression. I would think I ruined everything. But now I am finally learning that none of that is true.

Yes, I needed to do things, things had to get done. But the things I did do, spend every minute with my husband and daughter is also what I needed, what we all needed. My husband and daughter have never had that much time together to just play. It has been years since my husband and I have had so much time to talk. I don’t remember the last time we got to talk so much, have such deep conversations, discover new things about each other.

This past week went nothing like I planned, but it was everything I needed. I feel refreshed. I feel better. I feel more focused. I feel more at peace with myself, my husband, my life, with everything.

Things don’t always go as planned, slowly but surely I am learning that that is ok. Sometimes that we think we need is actually what we need.

~ Michelle

 

Self Care

Hello New Day.
Hello New Week.
Hello New Adventure.

HelloMonday

Last week, yet again, I wrote about getting back on track, back to the basics. Do you know how many times I have written something like that? A lot. Why? Because I keep falling, I keep going down the wrong path, I take 50 steps back. But do you know what I also do? I always try to get back up again, and each time I do I end up learning something new about myself. I find new strength in myself. I find new passions. I find a new way of looking at things.

Something  I have learned over and over and over again, is that I suck at self care. I blame it on my anxiety and depression. Do you know what else I have learned over and over and over again? Self care is super important. Like really important. But still, I suck at it. My anxiety and depression monsters tell me I am not worthy of it. I don’t deserve it. I am not worth it. My time would be better spent doing something else. That I am selfish if I want to spend time alone, do something just for me. Its hard. It really is. These monsters, they are so loud. They are so powerful. They are so convincing at times. They wear me down, they drain all of my energy until I can no longer fight them.

I have decided to start yet another journey, this one about self care. I have also started a fitness journey. They happen to be one in the same. For the first time my fitness and workouts are not about actual physical fitness, they are purely for my mental health. And you know what? I enjoy my workouts even more now. I don’t feel pressure about how much weight I may or may not lose, how many calories I am eating, because right now, they don’t matter, they are not my priority. Don’t get me wrong, my psychical health and over all health is important, they just aren’t my focus right now when doing my workouts. As I focus on my mental health, everything else is falling into place. I feel better after I workout, and so I make better choices about the food I put in my body, and slowly I have started to feel better both physically and mentally.

Lets be honest here, I don’t know how long this will last. I don’t know how long I will be able to do this. I don’t know how long it will be till the monsters knock me back down again. But what I do know is that when that happens, I will get back up again, eventually, slowly, but surely, I will get back up. I will continue to try. I will learn something new. I will find new strength. I will continue this dance with the monsters, trying to tame them, over come them??? Honestly I am not sure, but I will not give up, that I am sure of.

How do you take care of yourself? How do you make sure you are getting enough of what you need? I would love to hear! Leave a comment or message me!

You can follow along with me on Instagram as I try to do this thing called Self Care.

~ Michelle

Stop Saying “Boys Will Be Boys”

I hate that saying. “Boys will be boys”. What does it even mean?! I have two beautiful boys, they are 13 months apart in age, and lets face it, they can be a handful sometimes. Especially when they were toddlers. When they have acted out people have said to me “Boys will be boys”, as if to explain their behaviour, to make it ok, to excuse it. I don’t know. I haven’t had anyone say it to me in years, maybe because I have kicked up such a stink about it. Just because I have boys, just because these sweet humans happened to be born with a penis is not an excuse for bad behaviour, for throwing things, for being rude, or for what ever other activity would warrant a “boys will be boys” comment from someone.

Yes I have boys, boy who are growing into men, gentlemen! Boys who will grow to be adults one day and God willing will be polite, kind, generous, gentle, compassionate men. Men who will be responsible for their actions.

Two things happened last week that has brought this “boys will be boys” nonsense back to my attention.

1. I was out with my three kids. We were walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator. My boys were playing, no big deal, one of my sons decided to race up the stairs. Just so happens that a lady was coming down. I stopped my son, told him to wait, and get behind me to leave enough space for the lady to pass. My son said sorry for almost running into her. What was her response “Don’t worry, boys will be boys. Thats just how boys are”.   Um, excuse me? What?! No! My child’s gender is not an excuse to act like a fool, be rude, run up the stairs and almost knock a person over. Boys, men, will never have an excuse to behave in that way. So please don’t tell my son is it ok to be rude and push past people on the stairs simply because he is a boy.

2. We had teacher / parent interviews last week. I asked my oldest sons teacher how he was in class, if he was organized. My son used to be very organized. I admit it has been slipping lately. We have had a lot going on and figured that maybe that had something to do with it. His teachers response “Boys will be boys”. When I asked him to explain he said “Boys just do this at this age. They don’t care. They become disorganized, its not something boys care about.” My son’s sarcastic response “See Mom, it is because I’m a boy, I’m allowed to be disorganized” Um?! No! I’m pretty sure my sons brain can handle writing in his agenda every day and it won’t hurt him. Boy or not, he can and will be organized and take care of his things!

I have been blessed with 3 beautiful boys. 3 beautiful boys that will one day grow into men. I am trying my damnedest to teach them that they are accountable for their actions, all their actions, big and small. I am teaching them to be polite, to be caring, to be kind. To be aware of their surroundings, and the people around them.

Just because 3 of my children were born with a penis does not give them green light to disrespect people, to not take pride in their work, and to not be organized.

So please stop saying “Boys will be boys”, by saying this you remove my child’s responsibility for his actions, you excuse his bad behaviour! My son’s are very much responsible for their actions, and they need to learn this now, so they know damn well when they are adults that they are responsible and that nothing will be written off as “boys will be boys”.

Boy or girl, my child is responsible for his/her actions. Don’t excuse and take away responsibility, just because someone has a penis!

~ Michelle

How To Get ‘Me Time’ When You Are Busy

Before kids ‘Me Time’ was ALL the time! Before kids I could do what I want, when I want. I could take a nap. I could stay up late because I wanted to, not because someone was keeping me up. I could sleep in. I could take a bubble bath. Read a whole book in one day. I could go shopping without running around after anyone. I could do my nails without ruining them in 2 minutes. So many things I could do.

I have my 3 beautiful children. My time is limited. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But still, some ‘me time’ would be nice. Here are my quick and easy ways to try to squeeze in ‘me time’.


1. Take a shower or bath. Especially if you have some new bubble bath or bath bombs or something to use to make it special.

2. Light a candle and enjoy the quiet. Even if for a few minutes. Scented candles are my favourite. Especially the Christmas holiday ones.

3. Grab your music device, iPod, phone, whatever you have, put in earphones and dance. Dance like no one is watching. Dance in your underwear. Just dance and block out the world.

4. Journal. Or color. Or some combination of both. Even for a few minutes. Let your creativity flow. Let your words out. Let your frustration out.

5. Apply a face mask and read while it does its magic. Just make sure your kids are in bed, or not home so you don’t scare them, like I may have done once.

6. Eat a special treat, and don’t for one minute feel bad about it. Enjoy it.

7. Read. You need to have time to read an entire book, or even half, or a chapter. A few minutes can make a difference.

8. Get lost in a tv show. Or a movie if you have more time. Bonus if it is a show the kids can watch, not exactly ‘me time’ alone, but its better than having to stay up all night just to watch something without them.

9. Go for a walk. Or a run if you are up for it. You get alone time, its healthy for you, and it gets you outside in nature. Win win.

10. Make your favourite meal. Comfort food is always a good thing.

11. Do some yoga. Even if you aren’t good at it, give it a try, you may surprise yourself or have something to laugh at.

12. Paint your nails. Probably have to wait for the kids to be in bed, or you could paint your kids nails too in hopes they will sit still as well.

~ Michelle

Lets Talk, About Anxiety and Depression

I don’t normally talk about this. I don’t like to talk about this. Talking about anxiety and depression gives me anxiety and makes me feel depressed, sad and weak, sick and stressed. A whole whack load of different emotions.

I have been facing my fears and talking about anxiety lately. See, we are going on a family trip soon, and yes I am happy, I am thrilled, but the thing is, I have severe anxiety and chronic depression. So even though I am happy about something, I am never truly *just* happy about it. There are ALWAYS underling feelings and emotions going on. Always. It is none stop and it is beyond exhausting.

So why am I talking about it now? Is it because of the trip? No, not really. I am talking about it because I am sick of trying to ‘cover it up’ and act as if its not there. But it is there, its always there. Sometimes its small, and sometimes its so over powering I don’t know how to explain it. Sometimes I even think its gone, but it always comes back. It is there, it is a part of me.

I have severe anxiety and chronic depression. I am in a constant battle with myself to do every day things every day. I am always in a struggle to ‘put on a happy face’. I am always gauging my mood, trying to stay one step ahead of it. Always on the look out for the next trigger, but most of the time I don’t even know what the trigger is. It can be so exhausting. Always on the look out, always putting on a happy face. The truth is most people would never even guess that I have anxiety and depression, that in its self is exhausting. Always holding a mask up so the world won’t see the true me.

I want to talk about this, because I want anyone else to know who is going through this that it is ok! There is no shame!

For years I used to walk around confused, feeling so alone because I could never properly voice what was going on. Some days I still can’t. People would say “get some sun”, “cheer up” or “its all in your head, just be happy, its easy”. But it really isn’t that easy some days. I want to be happy, and even when I am, I’m never 100% happy. I will always feel some degree of sadness, some degree of anxiety. And that is ok. That is who I am. I am still a good person. I am still (for the most part) a happy, go lucky, look on the bright side, find the silver lining type of person. I am still a good mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend.

There is no shame. Yes I have anxiety, yes I have depression. And that is fine. It is ok. It doesn’t make me less of a person, even if sometimes I feel like it.

Like anyone else I have good days and bad days, mine just tend to be a little bit more up or down, sideways and all around swirly than other people. And thats ok.

So if you are out there, and you have anxiety, or depression, or both, if you are scared, or feeling alone please PLEASE know that it is ok! You are not alone! There is help out there. There are people out there that can help you, that you can talk to, and people out there that you can relate to and understand you. You are not alone. Despite what lies your anxiety and depression may be telling you, you are not alone! There is help!

Writing this  post right now its giving me so much anxiety. I feel physically sick right now. Trying to explain that I have anxiety and depression but still a good person sounds so stupid and hard to believe, but it is true. Trying to explain how having anxiety and depression feels is one of the hardest things. I still haven’t figured out how to properly explain how it feels, and I don’t know if I ever will.

I am writing this for me. I am writing this for you if you feel the same way. I am writing this for my kids, because if they ever feel like this, I want them to know it is ok! I want them to know there is no shame. I want them to know I understand. I want them to know, and for you to know, that you don’t have to hide away all of your complex feelings and thoughts. You don’t have to hide any part of you. You, all of you, every part of you, you are beautiful. So beautiful.

I found these photos on Pinterest the other day. Apparently the universe was pushing for me to write this post because these two photos showed up in a mix of other photos about recipes and decorating for the holidays. I believe everything happens for a reason, I may not ever understand the reason, or know the reason, but its there, some where.

I am going to say this again, please, please, PLEASE know that if you have anxiety, or depression, or any other issues going on, there is always someone you can talk to. There are people out there that can help you. People that will understand you, and help you.
If you can’t reach out to them, you can reach out to me mommyhoodland@gmail.com

~ Michelle

Relieving My Anxiety For Our Road Trip

I was once brave enough to travel with a 6 month old from Canada to Austria for a week during the Christmas holidays while 2 months pregnant. Ok in all fairness the Grandparents came with me. But my son was such an easy baby, it was almost unreal. He slept all night and simply stayed on his schedule, as if there was no time change. 3pm here was 3pm there. And when we got back, right back to schedule. No issue at all.

Then when my boys were 5 & 6 years old we drove down to Florida. We drove straight through and the trip was wonderful. Again, my kids were so easy to travel with.

Now… Well now I have 3 kids and my youngest, my sweet girl, my girl she hates sleep and hates the car. For whatever crazy reason we thought we would take a road trip to Florida again. 

My anxiety is on high. Honestly I am terrified of this trip! A very small part of me wants to cancel the trip because, well anxiety. Anxiety is evil. But I will not let my anxiety win! I want this to be a wonderful fun family trip! I want this to be a family trip to remember, and not because it turned out like a Stephen King horror movie!


I am trying to relieve my anxiety before and hopefully during this trip. Which is near impossible, but I will try. I have been writing lists. Planning and more planning. Planning so much gives me a false hope of being in charge. I have bought and made my toddler new toys. Bought new movies (THANK YOU in-car dvd player!). And I’m still coming up with activities she can do in the car. I am also doing the same thing for my boys. I am making them a travel binder (I will share that all with you when its done). And I am also making a travel bin for the boys ( will share that when its done as well).

Planning and packing can only take me so far. For other ways I am trying to relieve my anxiety right now is to eat healthy. Junk food may taste good, but it always makes me feel worse after.

Meditation. Well not really, three kids, more like I am taking time to be quiet, to concentrate on my breathing. Counting to 10, 100, or a million, whatever works in the moment. Breathe in the good thoughts, out with the bad. All that. It may sound cheesy, but it works. And if it works, then it is a good thing!

Music. Music can speak to us, move us, energize us, calm us. Music can do so much! I have been working on new playlists. One to relax and calm me, one to energize me, and of course a fun dance party one for the family. My daughter loves music and loves to dance, and it always puts her in a good mood, so music for this trip is a must!

Visualizing. This can work both ways for me. I can visualize the most relaxing trip ever, sitting on the beach, watching and listening to the waves. Or I can let my thoughts wonder and end up picturing all hell breaking loose.

Journalling. I love to journal. Music and writing are my outlet. So I have been journalling a lot and I will for sure be packing my journal with me. Lets just hope I don’t get carsick when I am writing in it.

Sleep. I would say get lots of sleep. Sleep is so important. However, like I have stated my daughter hates sleep. So getting plenty of sleep is out of the question.

Do you have anxiety? How do you help relieve it?

I’m sure as the time comes closer I will need to do these things more often. For now they are working. And that makes me happy. Happy wife, happy life, and all that jazz.

~ Michelle

 

When Someone Told Me My Marriage Would End.

Marriage. Why didn’t anyone tell me it would be like this?! My parents made it look insanely easy, or maybe they were just good at not arguing in front of the kids. Movies clearly lie about relationships, especially Disney. (I’m still waiting for animals to come help me clean the house, not that that has anything to do with marriage, it would just be nice.)


The thing with marriage, is that it is as unique as each person that is involved in it. No two marriages are the same, so its hard for people to actually give advice. When they do give advice it is more of a blanket type advice.

When I met my husband, I didn’t really listen to advice much. I’m not one for being told how to do things. I’m stubborn that way. I figured that we would figure out what worked best for us and go from there. Adjust and change as needed.

I have been with my husband for 11 years now. It is long enough to learn a few things, but clearly not long enough to know everything. We still manage to surprise each other. But what we have learned is what works for us, for the most part. We have learned how to communicate better, thats always something we will be working on. I have also learned that marriage is hard work, but so worth it.

I have also learned that everyone loves to put their two cents in, usually ‘helpful’ advice. What I never expected was when someone told me my marriage would end. To be fair this person did not just simply say something mean in passing, they actually yelled at me and tried to make an argument for their case. It was not because my husband and I were fighting a lot. Not because one of us had an affair. Not because we didn’t love each other. Someone told me my marriage would end because my husband helps around the house!

See in our marriage that was one of the things we figured out that worked for us. We both live in this house, so we both take care of our house. We both wear clothes, so we both do laundry. We both eat, so we both cook and clean the kitchen. I cook dinner, my husband cleans the kitchen. My husband cooks dinner, my husband cleans the kitchen – just kidding, I help!

When my husband and I got married we agreed we were an equal partnership. We help each other out, we support each other, we take care of each other, we lean on each other, we parent together, we make decisions together. We also help each other out around the house.

I’m not going to say my marriage will never fail, I hope it won’t, I don’t think it will, but I know for sure that if it does, it won’t be because my husband had to do dish and wash his own clothes.

My marriage is a partnership. My husband and I work together. And my husband sure as heck does not “babysit”! He parents along side with me! But that is a whole other story and issue. My husband is more than someone who brings home a paycheque. He is my husband and my children’s father. How we make things work, how we live, how we choose to spend our happily ever after is our story to write and enjoy.

Moral of this all, your relationship is your own. Your marriage is your own. For me and my marriage we figured out what worked for us. Marriage is hard enough without outside people trying to rip it apart. So when giving “advice” make sure it is helpful. Just because you think something needs to be said, doesn’t always means the other person actually needs to hear it.

Marriage and parenting. To each their own. Enjoy it as you wish.

~Michelle