Life Lessons from a Former Stay at Home Mom

Listen having a child is a Christmas miracle. It is not to be taken for granted. Every time I hear of a Mom who lost their life-giving birth it hurts my heart. Women and their bodies go through the most to bring forth children that you hope will be productive citizens.

As a former stay at home mom I got lost many days. Between food on my clothes and wipes in my hand I had no idea what days were what at times. I learned so much about myself that I thought I had mastered until I was home with tiny humans who needed me for everything and I STILL apply the lessons to this day.  Even if you don’t have kids these are all lessons we can gleam from:

1. Time outs are not just for kids

Yes it’s okay to take a mental time out. I found I got mine when the kids went down for a nap. Now that I am back to working full-time I find that I have to push to get a time out but they are super necessary. You need to sometimes unplug and catch your breath. Life throws curb balls and in order to be ready I need a clear mind. Take a break and catch your sanity.

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2. Keep yourself fabulous

This is hard in this age at times as body issues and time can sometimes not be on our side but the years I spent complaining about what I looked like I could have done better by getting my entire life together. Listen in my stay at home days I couldn’t afford nail and salon appointments so I had to get creative. There are alternatives but keeping yourself “up” isn’t about a spouse or the world. It’s about you. It’s also for the little people who are watching you and taking in what you say and more of what you do. Hard times don’t have to show up in our appearance. My mother and I lived in a shelter and everyday she spoke over us to not look like where we lived. Has anyone not known we didn’t even look displaced. That takes strength even with your strength is depleted. Thank you Mom for that lifetime jewel.

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3. Exercise your NO muscles

Do you know how many times you have to tell a child no? Too many to keep track. Why do you get as an adult and feel like you on a yes choir?! No is powerful and one of the first words we learn as a child but is sometimes the hardest to exercise.  Your no is valuable but you have to use it. NO you can’t get up and do for another able-bodied adult. NO you can’t be used today. NO you can’t be a punching bag physically or mentally. NO! Use it! It will save you time, stress, and heartache.

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4. Have a plan and work a back up plan

All moms know what I mean when you have a toddler with a soiled outfit but no extra outfit. In life you will need the same plan. Things fall but you don’t have to fall with it. Failure isn’t failure until you give up or in whichever you allow first. Get up and work!

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Life is life.  Its designed to change at a moment’s notice.  Do not waste your energy or time on things that you can’t change.  Unless you are a breastfeeding mom, don’t cry over spilled milk.  If you take the hurt and pain to channel that into positivity your day will be that much better.

There are times when life will be super rough. Like 3.36 in your account, Ramen noodle eating, marriage on the brink, need a vibrator, and deadlines at work type of tough.  It will seem to be closing in at any given moment. However it’s not what’s happening to you that is the issue it’s what you allow in your response that matters. Get up, get dressed, care about life, work your plan, back it up and if your back is against the world well stand and make something happen.

Losing my Mind

So as we continue in the stress management month and talk about mind issues, what happens when it seems you have lost your mind?  You know that feeling where the very fiber of your being has fallen and you are at your wit’s end.  You have taken the time to meditate and pray and you still seem lost.  What does one do when you are in this state? You reach out for help.  We all have feelings of being helpless at times but if you truly can’t shake this feeling and you feel overwhelmed then help is your next move.

Talk to your doctor.  Yes your doctor the man or woman in charge of your health.  Talk to them about what you have been feeling, how long you have been feeling this and what are the attributes of how you feel.  The attributes of how you feel could be more tired, sick with no explained reason for being sick, worried feelings that take up a majority of your day, helplessness, stomach and headache pain that doesn’t go away, etc.  These will be vital to see how your mind is taken on your situation and you may need some assistance. This could come in the form of getting involved in a support group for whatever is troubling you.  It could come in a form of meeting with a therapist or even medication if its determined you need it.

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Let me take the time to crush some misguided information:

  1. Seeking help doesn’t make you a failure or weak
  2. Contrary to popular belief especially with minorities, seeking help doesn’t mean you are letting folks in on your business to harm you.
  3. If you take medication it doesn’t mean it has to be ongoing or something you take for a lifetime.  Some people use it temporary and are weaned off it and go to live productive lives.
  4. Therapists are just like pastors without sometimes the spiritual apathy.  You can still pray and see your therapist.  We need to knock this one out of the park.  You don’t need to listen to someone tell you that therapy is against God’s will.  This is simply not true and watch your leadership that tells you that.

I have said many times and will continue to push the importance of mental health.  It isn’t something that is geared toward “weak-minded” folks.  If you are one who think this way please change your own way of thinking.  People from all walks of life can have a moment when they can lose their way.  I believe in encouraging people to do what is best for them.  I would rather have someone get the help that they need than to harm themselves or someone else just to save face in their community.  Having good mental health can be the catalyst for having a better life.

If you are suffering from mental health and you need help please and are having suicidal thoughts please call and reach out:

Call 1-800-273-8255

There are resources that can aid you regardless of your ability or inability to pay

Here are some ways that people can encourage those around them to get help:

  1. Never minimize how someone feels-phrases like “get over it,” “it ain’t that deep,” or “suck it up” never works.  You are not helping you are only perpetuating that their issue is not a real concern which discourages others to get help
  2. Encourage someone to get help and let them know you care.
  3. Smile more-some people are really in a bad place dealing with some sad things so a smile can be one of the most encouraging forms of medication someone may need
  4. Don’t tell someone to call you anytime or talk to you when you really don’t mean it.  People don’t always have a sounding board so if you are really not equipped to handle someone in their lowest moment don’t offer and then not support them. This can be worst than not having someone to support you in the first place.

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Stress Month: Mental Set Backs

So it’s Wednesday and I have just gotten to getting my life together for this week I think. April is stress awareness month.  For the month we will try to break down stress in all categories possible.  This week we need to tackle the mind-set.  This is the first level of stress that actually occurs.  Yes we know that life happens and there are events that send us into overload but the reality is that the mind is the playground for most of our trouble.

So what is a mental setback?  It is usually made up of our thoughts.  We think something and then become that.  Like for instance keep telling yourself that you are fat.  You might be by scientific measures but your mind keeps thinking “I am fat” and you spend less ways trying to fix the issue, but more ways of downing yourself for the weight and nothing happens.  You will remain fat.  I know there are some who let their minds control them to the point that they can’t do anything until they “feel” it.  This is a lose lose situation. Your feelings start with your mindset.  I know you have heard at least once in your life that if you change your mindset you change your life.  It’s very true. Now we all need a come to Jesus moment every now and again where the mind is so polluted and its hard to crawl out so here are a few ways you can reset your mindset.

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  1. Think.  Yes how you think is how you are.  Change the way you think about the situation or person.  Yes your light bill is due and there is more money going out than in.  Think, what can I do?  Have you tried to call and make arrangements or find programs that can work with your income level?  Have you attempted to find out what changes in your home you can make to lower your overall cost?  Have you thought about things in your home you could see that you don’t use or don’t want and sell them? Do you have a talent such as baking that can generate extra income? These things take the doom and gloom out of the situation and makes you responsible in finding positive outcomes.  You use your mind to make a solution or progress and less time wallowing in despair over it.
  2. Clear your head.  Did you know that going outside for 5 minutes helps your self-esteem.  10 minutes and you have changed your ability to see things differently.  In 20 minutes your energy level increases.  30 minutes helps increase blood flow and decreases your depressive mood.  Wow it didn’t say you had to go out and be physical which is also a great mood stabilizer as well but it means simply being outside. Fresh air is quite a mood helper.  Get outside.
  3. Bounce off others-not literally.  However sometimes a conversation with a trusted friend may help you see things different and then change your mindset as well.  It can help you put things into perspective.  Find someone who is uplifting.  I have said this a thousand times and its true, Negative Nancies don’t do anything but bring your entire spirit down and that’s the last thing you need when you are dealing with mental stress.
  4. Take a time out-some parents use this tactic to calm a child and get them redirected.  It works the same for adults.  Corners aren’t always necessary. However taking a few moments to yourself to gather yourself can be life changing even if it’s for a few moments.  Do this often no matter how great or bad things are going.
  5. Change who you associate with-this is major.  Have you ever been around someone with a problem with someone and then you either start not liking who they don’t like or you start nit-picking others just from being in the same room or atmosphere as someone who is like that.  Change who you are around to help keep everything that you do and who you are around the way it needs to be.  This doesn’t mean life will just get better but having the right people in place is key
  6. Work on loneliness-this is true especially for single people.  An idle mind is the playground for unsavory things. I know that being single is hard.  You want someone to eat with, laugh with, and yet you go home to an empty home or home with just little people in it and have no one who makes you just want to be happier with. Well the time to change that is now.  Start finding your passion or an activity that you enjoy. The little known secret when you get married is that you don’t always have to give up your activities but sometimes you have to limit the amount of time you do them.  If you are focusing on the loneliness you will not see the beauty in coming and going as you please.  Create a little schedule and balance yourself so that you aren’t sitting around “bored.”  Trust me and its true happy people not just bubbly people attract the right people.  You are more attractive when you are happy and content.  That doesn’t mean you must have it altogether or have everything in its right place.  Being happy in your skin is an amazing and is more beautiful than any concealer or foundation can provide.

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So we will dive more into our mindsets because we have to start from the top in order to have happy and less stressful lives.  How do people who have the very bottom of their lives fall and still smile?  They don’t let things in their mind overtake them?  We will explore next what to do when after you have tried it all and you may need to see a professional.  I know its taboo to talk about it but if we were honest getting help isn’t a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.