Be Affectionate With Your Kids. They Need It. And So Do You.

I can count on one hand how many times my mother told me that she loved me. And I can count on two fingers how many times she told me that I made her proud.

Those words matter. Not only to a child, but also to an adult.

When I was growing up, had it not have been for my father who I saw irregularly, I would never have received affection at all. My mother was just not that type of person. As a child–when your perspective is rather limited to not much else besides your family–you think of things as β€œnormal” because you don’t really know the difference.

I didn’t mind it then, not receiving affection, because I naturally assumed this was how all families are.

Clearly, I was wrong.

For the rest of this story, click over to Life As Mama!

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Learning To Unplug From Life–And Work

When you work from home it’s not the same as working in an office. Sure, you are working, but “shutting it down” is just not the same as leaving an actual office when the clock strikes 5PM.

We are all guilty of “taking our work home with us” from time to time. For myself, I have been very guilty of this. But I’m actively trying to get better. I’d like to think it’s working.

I know for a fact why I do, and why I did this for so long to the point at which it was unhealthy. I liked feeling important. I liked the feeling that other people “needed me” outside of my home life. Sometimes when you have kids back to back and you’re deep in the trenches of diaper duty, meal prep, laundry and covered in spit up and snot, it’s nice to feel like your opinion matters to someone over the age of 5.

It’s also nice to hold adult conversation. For me, it serves as a fundamental outlet to escape and to satisfy my unbreakable passion to earn money and earn purpose outside of my family. None of this would be possible if I couldn’t work from home. My personal life wouldn’t allow for that. I have to be home to play shuttle bus driver, among other reasons.

But when is it “too much” that it becomes unhealthy? For me, it was when I realized what I defined as my level of “commitment” was a stark extreme compared to others. The phone can wait, the messages will still be there after the alert goes ding.

Above all, I’m actively learning that you don’t need to go on an actual vacation just to get away from work. You should have enough strength and will power and commitment to yourself and to your well-being to be able to shut it down even when you are at home.

Life needs balance. Without it, there are sure to be consequences. I think back to January of this year. I’m one of those corny people who goes guns blazing with personal “New Year’s Resolutions” I seek to fulfill because I convince myself that it will “make me a better person” when all is said and done. Typically I choose 3. This year was to give up caffeine, alcohol, and to try and take on side jobs and grow my “writing career” other than my editing career in hopes of self-fullfillment.

Fast forward to mid February and I was sick as a dog. My body, mind, and spirit were so run down and exhausted I could hardly move. Why am I killing myself to try harder? I couldn’t see that I was trying too much. For anyone that’s ever worked freelance at anything–or commission based–you understand the strange feeling of declining offers. You have this overwhelming sense of guilt that’s attached that makes you worry that you may not get this golden opportunity again.

Having to turn down the opportunity to earn more money was hard, but not when it came at the expense of spending less time with my kids or less time allowing my brain to have some downtime. The sense of worry was outweighed by practicality and I made myself speak up for the tiny voice in my head that was begging for a break.

Take those 5 extra minutes for yourself. Sleep an extra hour if you need it. We are all human and being a mother is like working two jobs that no-one is sending you a check in the mail for and if you throw a career on top of that it’s damn near impossible not to lose your mind on a few occasions. It’s okay to “shut it down” and detach. Don’t feel bad for needing or wanting that each day. Because if not, you’ll just be doing yourself an injustice that will transform into a major issue before long.

Time Is Always The Best Medicine When It Comes To Family

For people who are siblings, often times there are many things in common. Which, coming from the same parents, doesn’t sound so surprising. Sometimes these similar traits can serve as something to bond over, and other times it can be a source of frustration and even pain.

Spending your childhood with a sibling only to disconnect as an adult hurts.

Sometimes it’s over little differences that can’t seem to work themselves out, and other times it’s a falling out that leaves a person feeling damaged to the point of despair. I’ve experienced this and the only way to make the hurt subside was to push it to the back of my mind and to lock it in a safe spot that I wouldn’t allow my mind to wander to.

Don’t open that door. Don’t let that pain back in. It needs a place to stay because that’s what’s needed to feel protected from the questions that linger and hook into your brain.

Time is a funny thing. It has a unique power as it’s earned. Change cannot happen overnight. This is especially true when it comes to a person and who they are. In recent years, since the passing of my mother, my last living parent, I’ve grown up a lot. Not only as a human being, but in the roles I wear in my everyday life. As a wife, as a mother, as an employee, as a friend. I’ve become more aware of the person that I am playing in this thing we call life and the impression I am leaving on those I meet and surround myself with. I’ve gained a broader perspective of my actions onto another person. I realize now that some of this hurt and the painful rifts that were formed weren’t all someone else’s fault.

I was wrong. I said things that I learned are hurtful to others. I’ve talked about myself too much and fell short when asking questions about how someone else might be doing. I’ve been quick to judge. And most importantly, I realize that for a person that you are related to by blood it can cut like a dagger straight in the gut when these actions come from a person that you once spent each day of childhood with.

Time shows you things you need to see, but only when you are ready to see them. When you are able to learn and grow from the past, you have the ability to turn those mistakes into life lessons. You never know when your life can change or what the future holds. Make those relationships right. Don’t live with regrets. If you miss someone enough that you call a brother or a sister, pick up the phone. Tell them. Chances are, because of that blood that runs deep and links the two of you for life, they might be feeling the same way, too.

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