Half a Lifetime in Motherhood

 

As I approach my 34th birthday I am reflecting a lot on my life, on what I have accomplished, what I still want to accomplish, my family, my kids, life in general. And that’s when it hit me; I have been a mother for half my life. Half my life.

For those doing the math, let me help you, when I was 16 I was living in Kenya, I was in grade 11, I met a guy, an older guy from another school, he was a senior. So of course it was super cool to be dating an ‘older guy’ from another school. Well one thing lead to another, and I ended up pregnant. Just after my 17th birthday I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy (ok, 1 of the 3 most beautiful boys, because all my boys were of course the most beautiful ever. I’m not bias at all!).
When I was 16 and pregnant I had to start making choices I never dreamed I would have to do at that age. As my belly grew, my responsibilities grew as well. I made the choice to give my son up for adoption. You can read about thatΒ here.

Since that day in a friends basement bathroom when the stick showed two lines, my life and my choices have always had to factor in someone else. Now I have to factor in 4 kids and a husband.

For half my life I have been a mother. For half my life my heart has been walking outside my body. For half my life my decisions have been about other people. For half my life someone else, and a growing number of someone else’s, have been put first ahead of myself.

And do you know what I have learned from all this motherhood-ing (that is totally a word), is that I don’t know a damn thing about motherhood. Just when I think I got a handle on it the kids go ahead and grow up and things change.

I’m still trying to figure out how anyone can really call themselves a “parenting expert”.

I have given birth to 4 incredible humans. Four drastically different humans. Four people that are constantly changing, growing and evolving. Four humans that constantly surprise me, challenge me, push me to be a better person, show me what unconditional love is, push my patience to its breaking point, make me laugh, make me cry (happy tears, sad tears, frustrated tears, a lot of sleep deprived tears), and make me the proudest mother ever.

I can’t imagine my life any other way. I can’t imagine not being a mother.

Half my life has been spent navigating motherhood, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

~ Michelle

Overland

Have you ever heard of Overlanding? Someone being an Overlander? Yeah, me neither. My husband introduced me to it a while ago. And honestly I am still trying to figure it out. Basically to Overland is to travel by car over great distances, days, weeks or even months at a time. Basically it evolves a whole lot of driving and camping. Not really my scene, but other people seem to love it. Some people are even considered “full time overlanders’. Apparently there is a whole Overland lifestyle out there.

So why did my husband who knows how much nature and bugs hate me, want to introduce me to something like this? Simply put, this is totally his scene. He loves stuff like this.

So after much talking, mostly done by my husband, I have agreed to go on adventures known as Overlanding. Still not sure what I have gotten myself in to.

One thing is for sure, this is not a full time thing. At least not right now. I am still very much a fan of running water and sleeping in my own bed in my own room. Plus nature and bugs hate me. I go for a hike and end up covered in hives. So this is going to be an interesting experience.

So as I learn more about this lifestyle, as we go on adventures, you can follow along here and on Instagram.

And if you know anything about Overlanding, tips, tricks, advice, help, please send me a message!!!!

~ Michelle

Self Care Ideas

Why is Self Care so damn hard? I often wonder if I honestly just some how suck at it, or if its Mommy Guilt that stops me, or some misconstrued idea that Self Care is some how selfish? I honestly can’t tell you what the reason is, but all I know is that I suck at it. So this year, I am determined to practice more Self Care. For the good of my mental health. For me so I can feel better. For my kids so I can be a better mom for them. And for my husband so… basically so maybe he won’t get on my nerves so much. Kidding. I want to practice Self Care so I can be a better person for myself and for all those around me.

So, I present you with a list of easy Self Care Ideas. Maybe you are struggling to and this will help you as well.

Here we go.

1. Bubble bath.
2. Read a book.
3. Journal.
4. Color. Seriously, I am obsessed with the adult colouring books. I love them.
5. Dance. Put on some headphones, blast some of your favourite songs and just dance. Dance like no one is watching.
6. Go for a walk, or hike. Just get outside and get some fresh air.
7. Workout.
8. Yoga.
9. Mediate. Or try to, there are a lot of apps and great websites out there for beginners.
10. Clean or reorganize a room.
11. Watch your favourite tv show/ movie.
12. Drink water. Maybe add some fruit to it or something.
13. Cook your favourite meal.
14. Learn something new, language, learn a new skill.
15. Unplug/ turn off electronics for a day / or maybe just an afternoon.
16. Go to bed early and get a good nights sleep.
17. Do a facemask, paint your nails, wash and style your hair.
18. Do a random act of kindness.
19. Avoid toxic people.
20. Drink a hot cup of Coffee/ Tea.

And dont forget, it is completely ok to take a day to yourself. Take 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 1 hour, the afternoon, or the whole day. Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself!

Do you have any ideas? I would love to hear them. Share them in the comments!

~ Michelle

Perspective

This week I don’t know if the planets have aligned just so, or the moon is in the perfect location or bigger forces are at work here. I am going to go with bigger forces are at work here. This week has been insane. This week has been all about putting my life and my situations into perspective.

We’ve all heard the sayings “You better eat your food, there are starving kids in this world you know” or “don’t be so upset, you know someone out there in the world has it worse than you”. I’ve heard those sayings so much, that honestly I am kind of desensitized to them. Of course there is always something going on in the world, there are what like 7 billion people. So of course the chances that at this very moment someone is finding out good news, finding out bad news, welcoming a new life, saying goodbye, having a great time, having a bad time, someone is laughing while someone else is crying and hurting. Just because someone else out there is having a worse time, or a better time, doesn’t under value what you are experiencing at this moment.

In saying all that, I do think that sometimes other experiences can help put your own into perspective. Not undermine them, but give you a chance to come to terms and deal with your emotions and to reevaluate and adjust you’re point of view.

This week I forgot to pay for school pizza lunch for my kids. Not that we couldn’t afford it, but I just forgot to pay for it. And my kids were super upset at first. And honestly I stepped back and looked at them. This was their biggest issue. Not getting pizza lunch at school. They still had a lunch to take, but it wasn’t a pizza lunch. And this is what my kids have to get upset about? Damn, my kids have it pretty good if this is their biggest problem right now. My kids don’t have to worry about their next meal, they don’t have to worry about being taken out of their home, about being hurt, or scared. They are safe and happy, and they know it, because lack of pizza lunch one time is their biggest problem.

Then I was doing the endless piles of laundry. Like seriously people have to be living here that I don’t know about for the endless supply of clothes I have to wash and fold every freakin week. And I was folding a pile of my daughters clothes and something hit me. I was overcome with emotions. I am actually sitting here complaining about this?! About clothes?! I was actually complaining about folding clothes for a child that my husband and I tried for for so many years. We fought with fertility issues for years. We miscarried. We had our hearts broken. And then we were blessed with our beautiful daughter after a high risk pregnancy, where we thought we would lose her multiple times. And here I am, after going through all that, complaining about her clothes?! Seems kind of ridiculous in comparison doesn’t it? Don’t get my wrong, I still hate doing laundry. But that laundry represents the tiny lives I fought to bring into this world, all my pregnancies were high risk. And as much as I hate it, I am so thankful for my kids, and the ability to be their mom, to be home during the day so I can do the laundry while listening to my own music and dancing around like an idiot.

Its all the mundane things around the house. All the things I complain about, the things I hate, all those things I get to do because I have 3 beautiful children that I have been blessed with and an amazing hard working husband, that makes all this possible. The mess, the endless laundry, the forever filled sink with dirty dishes, the mess of toys every where, the sleepless nights, the list goes on.

I have anxiety and depression, so it is super easy for me to get wrapped up in my head with my emotions. Sometimes they are very big, very scary emotions. So for all these things to come together this week to get me out of my head, its been pretty eye opening. It doesn’t mean I will stop complaining about the endless messes, the dirty dishes I find all over the house, it just means I know why those things are happening and I love and appreciate the tiny humans behind the messes. I’m grateful for them. I’m grateful for the chance to do all these mundane things. It’s all about perspective. Finding joy in the little things. Enjoying the moment.

~Michelle

Hello 2019

Its a new year. I know its cliche to say it, but I can not believe how quickly last year went. I had so many plans. Many of those plans included blogging here, but clearly those plans didn’t work out. Oh well. Onward and upwards. No time to look back. 2019 is going to be different. Its going to be great, amazing, wonderful. 2019 is going to be my year. There I said it, and I meant it.

Maybe I’m just drunk on New Years promises of change, and resolutions and new beginnings. Yesterday I did go and cut off 9 inches of hair. You know, the whole “new year, new me” thing. And as my head starts to clear, I am realizing it may not have been the best idea. but its hair, it will grow back. Like I said before, onwards and upwards. No time to look back.

This year, I honestly don’t know what I want. I don’t have a word for the year. I don’t have a plan. I actually have a lot of plans all jumbled together right now. I want to do it all. I want to workout more, I want to drink more water, I want to get more organized, I want purge the house, I want to blog more, I want to meet all my work goals (that’s whole other long list). Basically, I just want this year to be great for me and my family.

I don’t know what this year will hold. I don’t know how often I will get to blog. I don’t know how many days I will for sure drink the right amount of water. I don’t know how many days will be Pinterest or Instagram worthy, but I do know this year will be great. One way or another. This year will be amazing.

So I hope you will follow along with me, here, or on Facebook or even on Instagram.

~ Michelle

In The Middle Of A Mess

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

HelloMonday

My living room is in the middle of a makeover. Its torn apart. Things are piled in the centre, a total mess. And right now all I can think is “holy crap, I can so relate to my living room right now”. I feel so scattered. So all over the place. So out of place. No rhyme or reason to my feelings and emotions. Not much is left in place. Struggling to keep it together.

As overwhelming and stressful as this little renovation /make over is causing, its nice to know that it will be put back together and be better than before. And I can relate to that too.

Things get crappy. Things get hard. Things get so completely overwhelming. But eventually, slowly, they get put back together and things get good again. And when that happens I get stronger. Even if its just a little bit and I don’t realize it, it happens. And that gives me hope. When things get dark, that things will get light again.

And yes I fully realize how ridiculous it sounds to be drawing a comparison to a living room makeover. But bare with me. Blame in on the fact that I have been a stay at home mom for nearly 12 years and I rarely ever leave the house, or that I have not slept all night in almost 4 years, and right now I’m sitting on my floor surrounded by a mess. A giant mess. A mess that is causing me to have a lot of anxiety and frustration. So I have to keep reminding myself that it will get better. That it will be put back together, and that when its done and over with it will be better than before. That makes me happy. That thought is what is getting me through this makeover.

That is what also gets me through the darkness, knowing that sooner or later it will be light again. And when the light comes it will be better than before, and I will be stronger than before.

All of this is just temporary, the makeover, the mess, the darkness, and yes even the light. But the good news, when it does get dark again (which it will) the light always comes back. Always. Sometimes slowly, sometimes fast. You never know when, but do know that it will.

~ Michelle

Staying Organized

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

HelloMonday

How do you stay organized? Please tell me your secrets! I feel like even though I buy the ‘right stuff’, I’m still running around in chaos. This year I for sure want to get more organized. I don’t want to feel so overwhelmed every single day and so out of control.

I have a few notebooks and agendas that help. This year I also started a bullet journal. I have zero clue what I’m doing. My bullet journal is not organized at all, the pages are no where near ‘pinterest worthy’, but I am totally loving it. Its fun, relaxing, and gives me a false sense of hope that I’m in control of things.

Here are my notebooks that I used to help keep me organized and grounded. I also have a giant wall calendar in the kitchen.

From the bottom, 1. My Binder. Its for work, blog stuff, blog ideas, blog calendar and such. 2. My Agenda. Pretty self explanatory. 3. My bullet journal. Basically full of lists and calendars to track stuff. Its pretty fun, still getting the hang of it though. 4. I call it my “self care notebook”. Basically quotes that make me happy, calm me down when anxiety is high, doodles and such. 5. My Journalling Bible. Again, pretty self explanatory and again the pages are for sure not pinterest worthy. 6. My prayer journal. 7. Daily devotionals.

Its a lot. I know. I probably could condense it a bit, but I like it all separate. And honestly I wouldn’t know where to begin to even condense it. So for now this works for me, so I will keep doing it.

So how do you stay organized? How do you stay grounded in the craziness of every day life?

~ Michelle