Posted in Friday Rambles

It’s Summer in Manitoba!

Ah…summer.  We’ve dreamed of it all year.  Planned for it.  Reminded ourselves wistfully that it actually does exist, when the 6 months of winter have seemed too much to bear.

Vegetable seeds, planted with joy, have begun to sprout.  Anything seems possible!

Tents and supplies are hauled out and dusted off, as we all compete for prime camping spots.  We will clamour to live as sun-burned, homeless, mosquito-bitten nature-lovers for as long as we can possibly endure.

We’ve gleefully collected plastic 4 litre pails all winter (a great excuse to buy ice cream), in anticipation of strawberry picking season.  $10 a pail: fill ’em up, and shake ’em down.  Rounded – no…heaping on top.  “Don’t eat breakfast, kids!  We’re going to the strawberry patch!”

Mamas everywhere will wear themselves out with beach trips and bucket lists and litres upon litres of potato salad.  We’ll observe with wonder the gradual bronzing of our children’s skin, and the fading of their hair.  We’ll lovingly count their freckles as they appear.  We’ll watch proudly as they remember long-forgotten skills – bike riding, tree climbing, and flailing around in the water.  We’ll cackle with satisfaction at the wild little creatures they will become.

The privilege of manual labour will be re-discovered, when paired with hot winds, cold drinks, and copious amounts of vitamin D (aka sunshine).

Smelling of soil, sweat, smoke, and sunscreen, we’ll forego our make-up but look nicer than ever.  We’ll linger outside, and watch the sun setting over the lake at 10:00 pm.  We’ll wonder why the kids are still up, and then let them stay up a little bit more.

For, we know how brief the summer is.  Soon, the nights will grow longer, and darker, and cooler.  We will sigh, and lament the seasonal change…outwardly, at least.

But the truth is, we’ll be tired.  Our old routines will beckon us, and we’ll quietly welcome back the casseroles, hot drinks, and comfy sweaters.  We’ll wash off the sticky sunscreen.  The sunburn will fade and the bug bites will heal.  We’ll winterize: our homes, our yards, our cars, ourselves.

Survival mode will kick in as we brace ourselves for winter.  The first cold snap and the first real blizzard will carry an air of excitement that nobody wants to admit. 

Because: we’re in it together.  For the long haul.  The same people we sat with in the sun are the ones we will huddle with, over steaming mugs and frosty clouds of breath.

Wherever you live, and whatever the season, it is the people in your life that give these moments their meaning.

What’s the weather like where you are today?  Who are you spending the day with?  I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Posted in Friday Rambles

Hey Young Mom, Your Feelings Matter Too!

The other day, I took my kids to the park.  In order to get a bit of exercise myself, I opted to do laps around its perimeter rather than just sit on the bench.  As I walked and kept one eye on my children, I devoted the rest of my mental energy to naming the different feelings I’d had over the past few days, and why.

This may seem like a rather strange, self-involved thing to do.  But lately I’ve noticed something about myself.

I don’t know how I feel.

As a kid, I remember believing that I needed to get out of the way so the adults could have their important discussions.  As I grew, I learned to care about others and put them ahead of myself (a good thing, but it needs to be held in balance).  I entered a helping profession, and my mind was filled with my clients and all their stuff.  I became a mom, and was quickly consumed by my children and all their stuff.

In the meantime, however, I forgot about all my own stuff.

Why is this a problem, you might ask?

Because un-dealt with stuff has a way of boiling over at the drop of a hat, in ways that can harm yourself or the people you love.  You bump your head, and explode in tears.  Your kid spills his milk, and you nearly take his head off with your words.  Someone says something offensive to you, and you’re despondent for days.  (Please tell me I’m not the only one!)

There’s a lot of talk these days about self-care.  That’s important too, but right now I’m talking about something else: self-awareness.  Self-awareness is what allows us to recognize and name our feelings.  Going one step further, we identify the cause or trigger behind the feelings.

This is as simple as:

  • I feel lonely when I take the kids to the park by myself.
  • I feel anxious when my children are sick.
  • I feel joyful when we go out for ice cream as a family.

After becoming aware of how we feel and what is causing it, the next step is to take ownership of and responsibility for our feelings.

Ownership: These feelings are mine.  Others are not experiencing them in the same way as me.  And other people may not have a clue how I’m feeling, unless I tell them.

Responsibility: My feelings are not the fault of other people.  There are things in my power that I can do, in order to deal with my own feelings.

This can look like:

  • I’m going to ask the neighbour if she would like to come to the park with us and hang out.
  • I’m going to stock the house with the supplies I need in case children get sick, and ask for help or emotional support from other people when they are sick.
  • It’s been a rough week.  Maybe we should do something fun together and get some joy back.

As a mom, and as a human being in general, caring for others is essential.  But when you are so others-focused that you are not dealing with your own emotions, and taking steps to deal with them, your ability to help people will be severely limited.  You have feelings, your feelings have causes, and these things are worthy enough to be dealt with.  For your family’s sake, and your own!

Can you relate?  How are you feeling today?  (Do you even know?)

Warm wishes,

Lisa