Archive August 2018

Back Alley

I am grateful.

 

For the simple joys of summer.

And that is – watching my boys explore our back alley.

Amongst all the amazing things we did this summer – vacations, trips, playgrounds, family visits, water fun – we found that pure and simple summer fun in something unexpected, unplanned and free – our back alley.

My kids were picking raspberries, climbing trees for apples, biking for hours on end, splashing in puddles and playing with rocks and sticks.  We got to know our neighbours and found secret passages from one alley to the other.  If we got too hot we’d splash water on our heads and keep going.  Kids would come home covered in berry juice, with wet hair, shirt free and dusty – and oh so happy.  And most importantly with a happy mama.

Why , do you ask, I feel this is important enough to share with all you guys?

Here is why.

It wasn’t always that way!

For a long time I would go out to the back to supervise the little humans of mine and work myself up to a nervous, anxious, snappy mom.  I was so exhausted of thinking of what could go wrong.

The back alley is technically a road after-all.  So as a responsible mom I would anticipate all that can happen to a boy on a road.
A car hitting a boy on the bike.
One of the boys biking too far and turning a corner where I can’t see them.
Two boys getting hurt at the same time and me being torn between which one to run to first (which actually happens regularly).
Constantly thinking about all the horrible accidents that could happen to my boys.  It was exhausting!

One day I was so tired of my own constant head turning (to check for cars) that I decided to see how long it takes before the next car drives down the alley.  To my amazement it was over and hour and a half until we saw any car at all.  For that entire time we had the back alley all to ourselves and not a single car to bother us!

Everything changed for me at that moment.  I brought my attention to the facts and realized that the back alley is not as dangerous as I was making it out in my mind.  It simply wasn’t.  And even when the car drives down the back alley – it is going very slowly.  So why get so worried?

No longer was I obsessing about what could happen.  I was so grateful to have such an amazing extension to our backyard.  Full of puddles, biking space and berries.  What more can a boy (and a boys mom) ask for.

Sometimes my worries are so far removed from reality that they make my life a little bit worse!  Shocker, I know, but I learned that the hard way.

I am so proud of myself for taking that leap and trying to imagine myself – in the back alley and relaxed.  Still on guard and ready to come to aid but relaxed and enjoying one of my favourite activities of summer!

What is your ‘back alley’ which you enjoy but know you would enjoy a lot more if you dropped the unnecessary worry?

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Decision Anxiety

So for my second post I decided to write about anxiety. Heavy topic – I know.  Yet still here we go.  As soon as I committed to this topic I started having doubts.  

What do I really know about anxiety?

 What if I don’t really know what to write about it?

 What if nobody wants to hear what I think about it?

 What if I shouldn’t be writing about anxiety? May be I should pick a different topic…?

 Doubt, after doubt. Worry, after worry.   Same thoughts spinning in my head over and over again. 

 I found myself with this heavy, nagging feeling that something was wrong.  Something was wrong with me or my ideas.  What was that feeling? Of course I was anxious about writing about anxiety.  The irony didn’t go to waste on me and now I have an intro. 

But seriously though – Anxiety is no joke.  

About 6 years ago when I first had my first 2 sons I found myself in the doctors office.  

“It’s strange” I said to him, “but every time nap comes around I am running to the bathroom more often than usual”

“How am I supposed to fit in cleaning, cooking, me time, errands, workouts and other stuff into that 1,5 hour while kids are napping?”

“I’d like to enjoy that break but instead I am miserable and can’t decide what I should do with that precious window of time.”

My doctor replied: “Would you like me to talk to someone about your anxiety?”  

“Who, me?” I thought – “I have anxiety?”.

That’s was my first introduction to anxiety.   

Now I notice that my anxiety revolves a lot around making perfect decisions.  Mostly it’s decisions that don’t have any real consequences.  Like – which playground to go to with the kids this morning? What errand should I do with the twins today? And then I start debating between the 2 imperfect options in my head.  I am so afraid to make the wrong choice I spend ALL morning obsessing over it and not deciding.  It is draining.

Sometimes I get worked up about more consequential stuff like loosing my children or my husband.  I’ve decided that when that happens it means I’m exhausted and I need to go to bed (these thoughts usually visit me in the evening when I am spent).  That works for me every time.  I learned to not give in to these thoughts and just see the big picture.  I need sleep so I go to bed.   e13973cb-2694-4458-8395-e6e3a7dc4228

It is true – there are people out there who are debilitated with anxiety.  It gives me comfort knowing that there are also people out there who have overcome debilitating anxiety and can guide those who are stuck.  I am not one of them.  But I have my own baggage. And happy to share it with all of you here.

So back to the small stuff that I obsess about.  What works for me when I notice my mind spinning and dwelling about a perfect decision for that third hour that morning – I make myself choose.  It is so hard as my brain starts freaking out even more.  I have to remind myself – it doesn’t matter which one I pick.  Just pick one.  Whatever I pick will be perfect.  The illusion of one of them being better than the other sucks me in every time.  It simply is not true.  

Whatever I choose to do – will be perfect – because I chose it.  

Anxiety – you are what my brain does when unsupervised.  But I’m watching over you more and more so I’m no longer afraid.

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To Yell or not to Yell?

IMG_5351What do I know about yelling at my kids? A lot.  What I feel when I yell.   I feel like I need to stop whatever is happening at any cost.  If it’s a screaming kid I can yell at him to stop yelling.  If it’s two fighting boys I can get in there and fight with them about their fighting. I am really good at that.  

Is that a person I want to be?
Definitely not.

Have you ever found yourself feeling so irritable and jumpy that even the slightest misdoing by your kids sets you off?

Welcome to my world.  Big boys – 6 and 5 and the twins are 2.  Little ones are the sweetest little things and are so cute, I can just squeeze them and kiss them and show them off to every stranger who’s wiling to look.  Until they start screaming for my attention.  And I want to give it to them.   And may be that’s the problem.  The screaming gets to be too much to handle and adds to the chaos and I end up yelling.

Then there are the big boys.  On my good days I do enjoy looking into their eyes and listening to their crazy explosion or war stories and looking at their amazing lego creations.  I do really love them.  BUT then I happen to them.  I happen to myself and take some of that joy away.  

“They shouldn’t be hurting each other” I think…
“They should turn the hose off when I ask them to turn the hose off…” – makes total sense to me when I think it
“They should respond to me when I talk to them…” I go again to myself
“I shouldn’t be getting upset over it…” I start on myself
“They only hear me when I yell…” now my blood starts to boil..
“Why do they do this to me ..”  And right away I know I’m doing this to myself and it’s too late.  

I
Just
Yelled.

“Total disaster” I say to myself.
Heart full of disappointment and embarrassment.  

After apologies and kisses I am left with myself.  

‘I am worthy, 100% worthy and complete – no matter what I do’. SO my coach tells me.  

How do I see that after what I have just done?   That seems impossible.  At first I didn’t even consider it as something that could apply to me.  IF only I can stop yelling THEN I will be good enough.  

But now I am slowly opening up to the possibility that I am indeed worthy at all times, regardless of what I do and don’t do (After all I was born worthy).  I am opening up to seeing proof of that.  

If I am worthy, then …. what? 

If I don’t need to make myself better? … then what? 

IF I am already perfect just as I am… 

THEN

…Yelling doesn’t have to mean that I am failing, broken, wrong or a horrible mother …. it could mean something less dramatic…

I’ve decided to make it mean that I am learning to accept myself and the world AS is.  Right now I am fighting it with my YELLING.  But what If I just let it be? 

What if I let ME be me without any ‘shoulds’?   Then may be I can let the world around me just – be.  

Wouldn’t that feel good? 

Are you letting yourself just be?

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