In order to solve any problem we must accept, and own, how we have contributed to the situation. A resolution can be easiest found when we are willing to listen to understand rather than waiting to speak. Being absolutely present and providing those speaking with the attention that ‘we’ desire when WE ARE talking can prove extremely beneficial in rectifying an issue. Rarely will you find Blame being a one way street!
I may have three grown boys, but that doesn’t mean I have stepped out of “mom” mode. During this journey through motherhood I have realized many things; and I know there is much more coming my way. The one lesson in particular I’d like to share is that the “Cloak of Invisibility” is worn way too much, if not entirely, while mothering our young children. I am sure this is holds true for those fathering children as well. Prior to those newborns coming home with us, we vow that motherhood will NOT change the following: our sex lives, careers, identity, friendships, hobbies, or whatever else comes to mind. The pledge may also consist of promising that we will not raise our children as our parent(s) did.
Then as time go by we begin to ask ourselves “where is the old me?” The “me” prior to raising this little human being. We start reminiscing about pre children date nights, events with friends, kidless vacations, hobbies, and days in the office. Fatigue may fill a huge chunk of our day, wearing clothing other than pjs, or sweat pants, seems pointless, as does keeping the house tidy, and participating in personal hobbies is an unrealistic notion. Unbeknowingly, we have acquired “The Cloak of Invisibility”. Our authentic self outside of mothering has gone MIA.
According to data, moms of preschoolers have to stop and take care of their child’s needs at least 210 times per day. And when it comes to household chores, laundry alone can eat up a mom’s time. Eighty-eight percent of a family’s laundry is handled by her, totaling more than 330 loads of laundry and 5,300 articles of clothing per year.
It’s important to understand that during motherhood we ARE changing, and growing into a new self. That doesn’t mean parts of our “pre-mom” attributes must completely vanish. However opinions, likes, dislikes, and goals may change. We must understand that through experiences, and observations during child rearing we gain insight that allow us to evolve into a stronger, wiser, version of ourselves.
Hanging Up The Cloak of Invisibility
Hanging up the cloak of invisibility can be accomplished, but it requires a commitment to remain true to our personal self. I wish I had hung mine up sooner than later. If you’re looking to shed that cloak and step into the light of Visibility keep reading.
How to unfasten the cloak:
~Nix the perfectionism, and STOP comparing yourself to others. ~Embrace that you ARE A MOM; and will be for the rest of your life! Moments surrounded by small children goes by in a blink of an eye, don’t wish them away.
~Make guilt free me time for YOU! Even if it’s only thirty minutes a day, make time to do something you enjoy (journaling, meditating, reading…whatever you love to do)!
~Learn to say NO (no one can be everywhere, or do everything). Nothing should be done out of obligation, those yes’ manifests resentment and frustration within ourselves.
~Support, and incorporate CORE friends/family to help. ASK for help when needed! It is those who are brave that ask for help; no one is a superhero!
~Understand that new friendships will be created and others will fade. Not everyone walks with us forever; some for a reason, a season, or few for a lifetime.
~Don’t join groups, clubs that only add to your stress level, and your “things to do” list. Keeping up with the Joneses is overrated, and many are not liked. Be choosey in what, and where, you want to spend your waking hours; your time is precious.
~Make goals for yourself. What would you like to achieve in the next four weeks? Create small aspirations that are meant for personal growth!
~Make time for your partner. Connecting with your significant other helps maintain, and encourages unity, support, and a feeling of “visibility”. Time together prevents loneliness, and negativity from creeping into your world.
Most of All
******Be kind to YOU! Respect yourself, like yourself and take note whether the Cloak of Invisibility is being worn, hung up, or has been thrown out. Kudos to anyone who has never worn one!
Is it a sign of a bad relationship when couples don’t sleep together? Before I give my two cents let me share a little history regarding the whole bed/sleeping situation.
From 1850’s-1950’s it was actually a health precaution for couples to sleep in separate beds. Sleeping in one bed was actually considered to be, to an extent, unhealthy. Then in the 1880’s warnings were given expressing that sharing a bed increased the risk of inhaling germs which would cause a rise in health issues.
A huge turning point where NOT sleeping together was deemed a sign of distance and a failing marriage. From there the idea of sleeping together emerged into the idea of intimacy, romance, and sex. Don’t sleep together, do sleep together..which is it?
Humans are an ever evolving species; in all aspects of our relationships we are continually changing. For example we have seen growth from those possessing a monogamous relationship to polygamous couples, and blended families. Today what deems a relationship “successful” is unique from one couple to the next.
The National Sleep Foundation surveyed that 25% of couples sleep in separate beds & 10% sleep in separate bedrooms. Say what? What is going on here? Don’t sleep together, do sleep together, and now don’t sleep in the same room?
What brought about the change these changes? Many, many things!
#1 Sleep is a biological function that doesn’t have to be tied to intimacy. When you’re sleeping, you’re sleeping! During those nighttime hours we also sweat, snore, toss/turn and many other things that actually deter romance.
#2 We can give a huge thanks to Covid 19. Numerous jobs became remote, employees had no choice but to work from home. Couples working from within the same four walls found little escape from one another. Retreating to separate rooms gave the space needed for “me” time.
#3 Maybe your relationship works wonders during the day but when it comes to going night night it’s a totally different story. Between insomnia, temperature, banket hogs, bed times and medical issues heading to dreamland is a nightmare.
#4 We all know what Lack of Sleep Does! We become more emotional, resentful, and frustrated, Bickering/arguing transpires, memory becomes foggy and our sex drive declines.
Should the Bedroom be “Mine”, “Yours”, or “Ours”?
Here’s my two cents, I am someone that needs their beauty sleep; uninterrupted beauty sleep. That being said if my husband goes out with the guys, and has a couple drinks he will snore like there is NO tomorrow! Due to the snoring he retires to our guest room, out of respect for my need of quality sleep, and vice versa. The notion of “we MUST always sleep in the same bed/bedroom” doesn’t always work for us. *** Anyone that thinks intimacy (sexual intimacy) only happens in the bedroom needs an education! Everything in life is about making personal choices. Therefore, no one should mandate “how” we should be sleeping, “where” we should be sleeping and “who” we should be sleeping with; that all a load of BS. The statement “what happens in the bedroom(s) stays in the bedroom(s)”, couldn’t be more accurate. Sharing a bed, or not, is irrelevant because it’s no one else’s business!
That’s the truth! I know millions of people, like myself, who suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Trust me when I say there is no bullshit in IBS. I felt it poinent to create a post regarding this topic since it was the reason my 30 Day Walking/Blogging Challenge did not commence last weekend.
What is IBS? Per Mayo Clinic Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the stomach and intestines, also called the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. IBS is a chronic condition that you’ll need to manage long term.
It is a very awkward, uncomfortable, topic to discuss with anyone that possess a healthy colon. Since the symptoms can’t be seen, and flares can vary, lasting from hours, to days, to weeks, many patients dealing with this issue are perceived as being dramatic, or a hypochondriac. I seriously doubt people deliberately want to enjoy and share thoughts of soiling their pants to feel important or gain attention from others (perhaps a few sad souls).
The Relationship with My Colon
My colon and I are incredibly close. We have a conversation every morning and it goes something like this:
Me: Good Morning how ya doing? Colon: You tell me. Me: So far I can't complain. I say we think positive and have a good day. Colon: Ok boss. Let's see what "you" choose to do with "our" day.
Our day then begins and depending on what I do throughout the daylight hours determines if and when we will converse again.
However, this past weekend my colon did not give me a chance to offer a morning greeting. Instead, it woke me up yelling:
Colon: What the hell did you eat, or drink, or stress about? Damn, what were you thinking? Do you have any idea what you have done to me? To us? Nevermind, don't answer you'll find out soon enough.
Upon receiving its message I immediately began with the symptoms of bloating, cramping, nausea, lack of energy, cold sweat, and of course diarrhea.
Any sufferer of IBS will agree that it is critical to know where EVERY bathroom in EVERY store, entertainment event, restaurant, home, recreational facility, or elsewhere, are located! They will also understand you cannot “run” to the bathroom. Although you desperately want to sprint, it requires that you do the hiney cheek shuffle. Which is squeezing your hiney cheeks together while quickly shuffling to the closest restroom. Sounds pleasant, right? Wrong! It’s embarrassing, humiliating, and often debilitating.
I’m airing my dirty laundry in hopes that those who possess a healthy gut gain some insight on what a silent, shitty, condition this illness is to its recipient. And for those like me, you aren’t alone! I am fortunate to have a support system that is kind, non judgemental, and understanding. If you are reading this and don’t have someone to talk to I urge you to reach out to your doctor, friend, or someone you can share your experiences with in a safe, honest and open way. Years ago my husband, parents, and I traveled to Germany to visit our son, who was studying abroad. While enjoying some retail therapy in a German mall I soon found myself in a bathroom stall handling the sudden onset of IBS. Was it the fact that my coffee was different from what I usually drink? Was it the fact that I felt intimidated that I didn’t speak German? Sid I eat something the night before? Was the overall new environment? I’ll never know, but my mother came to my rescue, she ran to the nearest clothing store and purchased a $250. pair of Jordache jeans for me to wear. The most expensive pair of jeans I’ve ever owned. Thank god I was with my mother, thank god we were in a shopping center when this incident occurred, and thank god my father and husband had chosen to do their own thing that day.
Foods, stress, and lifestyle definitely play a big factor in managing IBS. I know in a hot second when stress has gotten the best of me. When eating unhealthy foods, indulging in alcohol, and neglecting self care, my body will handle those choices in a very unkind response.
IBS is an invisible illness, one that has no “cure”. I empathize with anyone who endures its wrath. To my fellow IBSers I feel your pain!
A backhanded compliment is any comment that blurs the line between an insult and a compliment. These comments are also known as left-handed compliments, stealth insults, or insincere compliments.
The majority of the time I have a difficult time keeping my facial expressions and inner thoughts to myself.; especially when a super sneaky insult is flung my way. I am working on restraining my impulse to immediately sputter a passive aggressive response, but it is so damn hard! Understanding why people feel the need to provide backhanded compliments makes it a tad bit easier to keep the zipper on my mouth closed.
Examples of backhanded compliments: “Your hair looks good straightened, you should do it more often”, “You clean up really well”, “You haircut really slims your face”, “You’re so not what I expected”, and “Not EVERY woman could pull off that outfit” Do any of those sound familiar?
Why Oh Why?!
Why are we receiving these unsolicited remarks? Through reflection and conversations here’s what I’ve concluded:
~People feel the need to improve how they appear to others. Voicing these comments feeds “their ego”. Unfortunately, they don’t realize they appear “unpretty”, and “unkind”.
~Sorry folks, but some people are just mean. They don’t care what they say, when they say it, or who it’s said to; they are simply unkind.
~Individuals are ignorant to their dialogue. They lack the self awareness that allows them to put them in someone else’s shoes. They have no clue how their verbiage impacts the conversation.
~Believe it or not, MANY people just don’t know how to deal with their emotions. Did I say MANY? Yes MANY! When feelings of frustration, hurt, insecurity etc. stir within them, their first reaction is to usher a lovely backhanded compliment.
Derailing these Insincere Compliments
How do we handle these unwelcome words, especially when we can’t predict when they happen? Well, I’ve given a few ideas that might make the situation tolerable. I said “might”, give one of these a try:
~Ignoring the comment, yeah I know being the bigger person is not an easy task. But, refusing to engage can help deter these actions from repeating themselves.
~Breathe and pause for a moment. Take a second to consider if the person was trying to be malicious, or are they just ignorant? Could what was said actually have been a compliment gone wrong?
~Address the remarks with “Thank you”, or “Thank you for noticing, I worked hard”. Acknowledge the positive part of what you heard.
Have You Blurred the Lines?
Can you honestly say that you have NEVER delivered a backhanded compliment? I know I can’t. We’re imperfect beings, and I’m quite sure we can admit that intentionally, or unintentionally, an insincere compliment has slipped from our lips. That’s okay, the rare slip of the lips happen, just “SINCERELY” acknowledge and own your blunder. Don’t except an immediate “it’s okay”, realistically you’ll probably receive “Yeah that was a pretty shitty thing to say”. Again, own it!
At the end of the day, what do you want your trademark to be? Do you want it be “His/Her loose lips damages relationship”?
The other day I had my yearly physical. I LOVE my doctor, I do not know what I’ll do if she the leaves the practice. That being said, she has been urging me to incorporate exercising and healthier eating habits into my lifestyle for the past two years. She isn’t wrong, the junk in my trunk should be moving.
Honesty Brought Me Here
Because I respect, and trust, my physician I tell her everything. She is well aware that my passion in life is writing. My evening routine of quickly changing out of my scrubs, and then sitting my ass down to commence typing is no secret. We’ve discussed, on several occasions, that although it’s wonderful that I love blogging I mustn’t overlook the importance of being physically active. She has continually requested that I walk 30 minutes a day. During those chats I nod my head in agreement, departing with good intentions of starting an afternoon/early evening stroll; yet no steps forward are ever taken.
The GOOD Doctor
Unlike previous visits she didn’t deliver the standard talk that gets my motivational thoughts temporarily moving. Oh no, she pulled out the “I Challenge You” card. WTF? The “I Challenge You” card (as she knows) is the three word phrase that has been extremely beneficially in assisting me with embracing my authentic self. It ignites something in me; when I hear that phrase (which makes me cringe since it involves stepping out of my comfort zone) I can’t ignore the mission.
Not only was “I Challenge You” issued, BUT this requisition contained another element she suspected I wouldn’t/couldn’t refuse, “Blogging”. Damn her! A smirk appeared across her petite face, tapping a pen on a bright orange Post-it she announced, “Okay, I challenge you to walk for 30 minutes a day and then produce a post about your outing. Whatever you see, think, and feel. You can report back to me in a month” Umm, we work in the same building, reporting back won’t be necessary; it’s more like “I’ll hunt you down”.
Isn’t she a creative little thing? Never underestimate a pretty lady in a white lab coat that starts your appointment with “Good afternoon Sunshine!”
Day One, Challenge Accepted
Today I begin my “30 Day Walking/Blogging Challenge”. Stay tuned, I believe it will prove to be very interesting! Thanks Kenz!
I cannot believe it took me this long to figure out how to win at either the Baby or Bridal Shower Bingo! I’m headed to my nieces baby shower this weekend, and you bet your booty I’m gonna win!
Take your pick
The only think I have ever won at a Bingo gathering was an albino aquatic frog that was in the vase as our table centerpiece. In case you’re wondering I had attended a Designer Purse Bingo event. No, no, Kate Spade, or Coach handbag for this player, just a white frog with red eyes. Yep, that’s how my luck rolls..not very lucky!
don’t OVERTHINK the process
Here’s where I went wrong, I thought too much about my answers. The main strategy is to be vague and keep it simple!
You have 24 squares to fill, so here’s what you don’t/do do:
Don’t write down “bath towels” DO write “towels”
Don’t write casserole dish DO write dish
Don’t write champagne glasses Do write glasses
Don’t write receiving blanket DO write blanket
Don’t write car seat DO write seat
Okay perhaps I’m being competitive, a sore loser or a cheater. One time I’d just like to yell BINGO
When someone in your life takes ownership of their wrong doings it is refreshing. Their confession allows us to feel important, validated and heard. Unfortunately, there are those that, play the blame game, are narcissists, or have no self awareness that an apology is even warranted. So, receiving an authentic apology is extremely important. Hearing “I’m sorry for….and I can imagine you must have felt and now feel…” nurtures the intimacy and connection within that relationship.
Repeat offenders are individuals who continually apologize for their conduct, and/or attitude over, and over, and over again. Oh how predictable, and tiresome this becomes!
Providing the same apology over time, without doing anything to change the behavior, eventually becomes lip service. Plain and simple. I’m not implying that change must occur overnight; slip ups happen. What I DO mean is, instead of always exclaiming “Sorry for being late to dinner” make a conscious effort to be on time. If you’re constantly being absolved from cancelling plans manage your time more effectively. This day and age there is a plethora of tools for organizing task, appointments etc., use them!
If you say yes, then honor your commitment. There’s no denying that we pursue and accommodate those we deem worthy and important. The true question is “How important is that person if you repeatedly postone/abandon plans with them?”
Respecting those we love means recognizing that offering the word “sorry” for the same screw-up isn’t enough. Believe it or not I have given the statement “don’t be sorry, be better” to a couple individuals. I tolerate a lot, being a WIP I understand all that personal growth involves. That being said, digesting words of “so sorry, I’m really really sorry I did it again, or omg I’m truly sorry” carries no weight when habitually received. I am worthy of more than just “being sorry”; I am worthy of being with “better” people. NO apologies here.
Recently very dear friends of ours lost their son, their only child. He was 23-years-old, and in his last year at college. This tragedy hit close to home; we have three boys and our youngest is a junior in college. I had read this book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”, by Harold S. Kushner over twenty years ago; now witnessing the anguish and hardship our friends were experiencing I felt the urge to read it once more. For anyone that has questioned why terrible events occur to those they love, or themselves, this book is very insightful. Rabbi Kushner, understands the perplexity of “why”; he, himself, lost his son at the young age of fourteen. Yes, this book is written by someone of faith, however, religion is not the message the writer is attempting to convey. I am a spiritual person, but I wouldn’t say I am “religious”, and I admire how Rabbi Kushner brought the ultimate question of “Why us?” to light. Sharing his story of loss, heartache, and grappling with his own faith, he demonstrates empathy, and provides comfort to others encountering pain and suffering.
We are all human, and suffering is inescapable. To find a book filled with compassion, and love, is a read worthy to be found on any bookshelf; this is that book.