The Importance of Beauty

I’ve forgotten about how truly important beauty is and what it means for my life. Of course, there are more urgent matters throughout the day, everyday. As a mom, making sure my kids are fed, that they are taken care of, that they are safe-these things are more important than the kinds of beauty I’ve put on the back burner for a while.

Having found myself around vain and superficial people at times, I’ve completely turned my back on anything related to it. I thought by doing so, I was doing the right thing and teaching my kids to not be those things. While I’ve been successful at making sure they are not vain, shallow, and spoiled humans, I may have taken it a bit too far. I’ve completely counted out the importance of beauty. What is life if you forget to add as much beauty to it as you can? There are many different kinds of beauty, that are more than skin deep, even the seemingly skin deep kind.

Working hard to create a food garden, there’s a big difference when it looks unkept and when it looks cleaned up. It looks much more whimsical back there when it’s cleaned up-it looks like something Tinkerbell would be proud of! I don’t do it to impress anyone, that’s missing the point. I’m sitting in my backyard garden, under my avocado tree and feeling the zen of BEAUTY. I created it, I spent time and energy laboring over it, not to just be functional, but to be beautiful.

Working from home can truly make personal beauty take a turn for the worst. One an average day, I don’t see any of my clients. I often don’t leave the house. I’m working from my computer and from my phone. No need to get out of my pajamas because I don’t get out of the car to drop off my older son to school. I’m barefoot 95% of my day. And makeup? On an average day, I don’t wear any. This may sound great, and for the most part, it can be. But on the flip side, to truly start not caring about personal beauty, or style, or anything but getting work done…that’s not what I meant to do. Beauty and personal style are still a part of who I am, and I have been neglecting it.

Instead of natural and relaxed, I’ve become sloppy and unkept. Along with this comes low self image issues and depression. It’s a vicious cycle if not caught early on. After that, diet and exercise become secondary. It’s a dangerous and miserable place to be. All this because I forgot the importance of beauty.

My home environment is my work environment and vice versa. This can be maddening. While I admit, I’m a naturally messy person, I realize that as I get older, I NEED a certain level of order and cleanliness in my environment to focus and do my best. I had not seen the beauty of my home as important as it needs to be. Other things are always so urgent. But when the environment is negatively affecting my work, my mental state, my sense of well being, and my family, something needs to change.

I steam cleaned most of the carpets the other day and stayed up late to clean the kitchen. You know what? It felt so nice to wake up the next morning in a clean, beautiful environment. I felt renewed!

So, from now on, among all the urgent and important things to be mindful of, I must also remember, the true importance of BEAUTY.

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Priorities, priorities, priorities!

Being a work at home mom, I tend to overwork myself, even when I know it’s unhealthy for myself. Many moms I know tend to put themselves at the bottom of the family totem pole, and I am guilty of that. VERY GUILTY. It’s only when mom gets sick or has a nervous breakdown does she truly realize that she is the nucleus of the family. Without her, things just don’t run as they should. But when she’s overworked, stressed, and has a terrible sense of self, how well can she run that family even when she’s getting by? Not very well. This is the lesson I learned this month.

My son got a cough, then my husband, then me. It was bad-it was more than a cough or a cold. This one led to some respiratory issues and it lasted about 3 weeks before showing any signs of going away. Previous to me getting the bug, I’d been overworking myself with my job, my freelance jobs, guilting myself over housework, guilting myself for not doing my best as a mom, feeling depressed and then feeling guilty about that, trying to fit in laundry and dishes, guilting myself for being unhealthy, dealing with the stress of a difficult teenage girl, a very difficult two year old going through the terrible twos, and an otherwise easy middle son who was feeling ignored and slipping at school. My job and getting more freelance work was something I felt was for myself, and necessary, as working from home hasn’t matched up my old income from working for a corporation yet. But, it was starting to become an escape, and not a healthy one. Finally my mind and body had had enough of my crap, and my immune system shut down. I got that virus and ended up having to go to Urgent Care. I couldn’t breathe or sleep for 3 nights. Truth be told though, I hadn’t been able to sleep right in a long time, and not just because of a nursing child. My mind was riddled with stress of all kinds. The pain in my chest started more mental and emotional than physical, but it was manifesting itself into the physical and grown into pain in my digestive area and then acid reflux. So when I got sick, I realized what I had done to myself.

So shifting my priorities now. Taking care of my health and making sure I eat right again. Being active again-starting a little slow because of the weight gain that all the cortisol from the stress had caused. Reconnecting with the kids-and they in turn have reciprocated my efforts and have been helping me with the housework more, without me having to nag half as much. I even reconnected with my daughter after having been disconnected for about 6 years now (that was a BIG one). Rocky even sleeps through the night! He even had his first 2 night sleepover at the grandparents’ house which was a miracle! I’m not going to say all my problems are solved but they never will all be solved will they? It’s all in how I handle it-and I know if I want to avoid another WORSE physical breakdown, I need to keep my chin up and remind myself why I’m staying at home in the first place. I could get more work done easier in an office, but the reason I decided to stay home and work from here is to be here for my family. And I have to remember that to be truly HERE for my family, I need to take care of myself, too.

A WAHM’s work is never done!

There are pros and cons to being a work at home mom. Being able to be with my kids almost 24/7 is extremely rewarding. I am very thankful for the opportunities given to me to be able to do this. That being said, sometimes I feel like I never get a break. I don’t go to work and focus only on my job. I don’t have the luxury of being able to focus only on cooking and cleaning and the kids. It’s a constant juggle of working, parenting and housework. There are no time constraints and kids don’t generally get the idea that if mommy is working, she needs to focus and doesn’t need to hear about Finn and Jake right at that moment.

Right now my stubborn toddler is refusing to fall asleep as I’m trying to nurse him. I have a dirty kitchen and need to put food away, pack my husband’s lunch and wash the dishes. I have a full dryer and full washer that need to be switched out and clothes that need to be folded. I need to write up 4 more SEO blogs, take care of some custom tattoo requests and schedule at least 24 Facebook posts. I don’t know what time Rocky will fall asleep, but no matter how late it is, I still have to take care of the things listed above, even if I’m up until 3 am. And forget sleeping in, I wake up however early the baby wakes up to nurse–and I have work in the morning, so I need to be online. For those who think being a work at home mom is a breeze, it definitely is NOT! But I love it anyway (even if it drives me nuts half the time).

Bonding with Rocky

Today was one of the best days I’ve had with Rocky since he’s been born. He is more difficult than my older son was. He demands more attention and often not in cute ways. He has a scream that reaches a pitch that goes straight to my brain and there isn’t a gradual cry to get there. If he’s upset about one of his toy cars not going where he wants, it’s the same blood curdling scream as when he’s REALLY scared or upset.

Today, however, he woke up calm and happy, and was just that the whole day! His brother and sister were with their grandparents so it was just he and I. I have to admit I was worried about how he would feel today without brother or sister there, but he did surprisingly well! He was sweet and affectionate but also independent and focused. He ate all day, whatever I gave him. And he nursed, but not obsessively. He and I had a wonderful day together and got things done at the same time. I cooked, cleaned, worked, exercised, and he had a bath, climbed, ran, lined up his cars, looked through books and took a nice nap.

I hope this is a sign of how it will be when both the older kids go back to school and it’s just the baby and I for the majority of the day. I expect there will be difficult days, too, as there always are, but with days like today, I can deal with them. 🙂

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Not Enough Hours in the Day

Today I woke up in a great mood, ready to get crackin on everything on my to do list. I even started by washing the dishes. Because there were enough for 3 dishwashers full, I only got through one batch (and we DON’T have a dishwasher, unless you count me). The baby was extremely clingy today and wanted to do nothing but nurse. But I persisted and got some work done. Then I looked at the clock. Way more time passed than I realized and I had to go turn in overdue library books, pay the overdue water bill, take a trunkful of old stuff to the thrift store and boost morale in the house because the kids just looked sad with cabin fever today. So i figured I’d take them to lunch, since that was overdue, too. So we got everything ready and the kids got into the car while I tried to pay the water bill online. No go. My old computer’s Internet stopped working and I had the acct number and pin saved on that one. My main working computer needed the information I had saved on the other one and I don’t have that written down anywhere. So I say forget it. I’ll deal with it when I get back. Meet the kids at the car and turn the key. My car battery is dead! Still feeling optimistic, I say, let’s walk to get something to eat and go to the store (we were completely out of toilet paper, trash bags, kitty litter and cat food). Not even halfway there, one of the kids (won’t say which one, in case that kid reads this blog one day) has an episode that lasts the whole lunch, store visit and into coming home. Surprise! It’s already late! And I got only a fraction done of what I wanted. I didn’t cook dinner. I had to spend money to get food tonight. Not fast food though, but really good and healthy Lebanese food from our neighborhood market. Spent about the same as I would have at a fast food place. Still had to catch up on work and it’s now nearly midnight and I’m nursing a toddler who falls asleep with teeth clenched (you know where) and still thinking about that unpaid water bill. Guess I’ll have to call the bill in in the morning. Oh yeah, and thank goodness for triple A. I’ll need to call them in the morning, too. Hopefully at some point I can get some work and cleaning in. I will definitely have to delegate tomorrow. Sorry kiddos!

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Hard Work at Home Monday

Today was a difficult one for me. Didn’t get any cleaning done and barely any cooking. I am prone to depression and for whatever reason, it got a hold of me. We moms have a lot of things we have to deal with for everyone else in our families. Sometimes it’s hard to just do the things we need to do for ourselves. Nobody is perfect, even us supermoms! So make sure to take some time for yourself and to admit to yourself if you’re having some issues. Admitting that they exist opens the door to doing what you need to do to help yourself. You have to help yourself in order to help your family and be the mom you want to be. Keeping that short and sweet, and moving on…

Here are some pics of my work in progress last night:

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Toddler Time

Some mornings are harder than others, especially with a toddler. They have no sense of work or deadlines. They just want to spend time with mama! I gave up trying to work at the computer because his crying and screaming and pulling were such a distraction it was pointless. So I’m working on my phone, with the boy standing on my back. After he roughed me up and messed up my hair and gave me a few headbutts. Feeling a bit defeated but I will figure something out…

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