Mastering Mind, Body & Spirit: 3 kids in 3 years

In October, my third child, a girl, was born 8 days before her oldest brother turned 3. This, coupled with me starting a full-time job (blog series forthcoming) in August, has definitely involved some adjustments.

However, with more work (more kids, full time job), comes the increased desire to blog, especially since I feel like I have so much more to say these days. My experiences are growing and my wish to share is too.

Now, I need to/want to master mind, body & spirit as a wife, mother, employee, friend & family member.

Please join me on this journey.


Mastering Mind: Silence AND Noise Make Me Anxious

As a mental health counselor, I’m constantly asking patients to describe their anxiety symptoms for me so I could properly diagnose them. Excessive worry? Psychomotor agitations? Difficulty concentrating? Irritable?  The list from the DSM-V goes on. But, I’ve recently learned, it’s occasionally an indescribable feeling. 

After the birth of my second son, I started experiencing anxiety. Only my symptoms weren’t listed in that big book on my desk. The best way I could to describe it was feeling “overstimulated” and then sort of feeling “removed” from what every situation I was in. It was like everything would become too much and my “psyche” would attempt to escape my body and watch everything happening like a couch potato watching a TV show. 

The overstimulation often occurred in the late afternoon/early evening hours when I was attempting to cook dinner, the TV was on for “background noise,” my older son was playing with some obnoxious mousing-making toy and my younger son was crying or cooing depending on his needs at the moment. There was just, unequivocally, too much noise going on in the house. And, realistically, there was nothing I could do to change the environment. 

Fast forward several months and now during dinner making time the boys typically entertain themselves (still with obnoxious noise making toys and occasional brotherly spats that include yelling and crying), and I’ve attempted to keep the TV off more often (deeming background noise an unnecessary stimulus). But, now the silent moments make me anxious too. Still in the same “out of body way,” but with thought patterns like; “What am I missing?” “Is something about to happen?”

Then my inner critic appears (not a good friend to those with anxiety) and starts saying, “well you weren’t happy with all the noise either. What do you want?”

While I don’t like my inner critic, there is a point there. What am I looking for in those moments that cause my anxiety to be so hyper-aware of what’s going on around me?  I can’t figure it out. 

Mastering Body: The Haircut 💇🏼

I’ve kinda hated my hair forever. It’s a boring color, with just enough wave and body to be bothersome but not stylish. 

After becoming a mom I recognized my hair as a small symbol of larger issue. I felt/feel frumpy, uncool, old, and unoriginal. 

So, I did this. 

And didn’t love it. It didn’t improve those feelings at all. 

So then I took a HUGE step (luckily, with the support of my husband) and did something I’ve been fantasizing about for years. 

I pixied it.

It’s been a bit over a week now and I’m still not sure how I feel about the new look. I’m on a huge learning curve when it comes to styling products and styling in general.  And unfortunately, on the days I’m not enjoying the hairstyle, the feelings of frump and dump still remain. 

So, the hair remains a representation of a larger issue that will need to be worked out in a much different way. 

Mastering Mind: Books or TV

Awhile ago, when I was going through something, I went into problem solving mode.  I was constantly upset at myself for lack of motivation, lack of creativity and lack of energy. I felt like I could never accomplish enough on any given day. So my problem-solving-self, decided to start with sleep habits and sleep routines. 

The grand plan included things like a consistent bedtime and wake up time, always washing my face before bed and using Bath and Body Works aromatherapy sleep lotion on my hands at bedtime. 

One other change I opted to make, was turn the TV off before bed and read instead. 

At about 9PM every night, when everyone (including my husband is asleep), I get a mini “second wind.”  I think my mind recognizes this as potential “me-time” because I’ve got no one I’m taking care of and really no logistical way of taking care of daily chores/tasks.  But during this time, the only thing I really want to do is mindlessly stare at the TV. I essentially don’t want to “think.”

I know that electronics can reduce your body’s ability to produce melatonin. So I hypothesized that was effecting my sleep and next day productivity, so I vowed to turn it off. I started reading. I have no shortage of things I could read; books for work, books about raising kids, or just fun “mindless” beach reads. It worked for a little while, I think my sleep improved and I actually found myself reading more during the day.

However, old habits die hard and slowly the TV got turned on; it started out occasionally and now I’m noticing it’s happening almost nightly again.  

So I’m recommitting. But, I could use your help; despite having an endless list of books I could be readying, I’m really struggling to find something that is grabbing and keeping my attention. Any suggestions?

Mastering Body: Or not

Let’s be honest, I have not mastered fitness and health at all.  I had two children very close together and got pregnant with my second before losing all the pregnancy weight from my first one. And now, almost a year after my second was born, I’ve been completely unable to find a fitness and eating routine that I can stick with.

It’s frustrating…but it’s also my fault. If I’m being honest I’m not sure I’ve really tried very hard. Especially with my eating. I graze throughout the day and/or “binge” (I’m actually trained to work with eating disorders so I know that clinically I’m not binging, but subjectively I am) after “dieting” all day. I know what I need to do; but grabbing fruits, vegetables, and water are just not what I’m wired to do. I’d much rather have coffee, sprite and crackers. 

I do want to change these things and improve my quality of life. While I occasionally (falsely) blame my children for my body looking so different, they are also the exact reason I need to get things in order. 

Any tips on how to make the changes and have them stick?

Lately, I have tried to incorporate more movement, even just as little as 10 minutes of yoga a day and that has made me feel more accomplished. I’m hoping to continue to build on that. Here was yesterday’s yoga set-up…

Mastering Mind: What is up with me?

I’m going through some experience that feels indescribable and incomprehensible. I can’t sleep. I’m feeling deeply, personally affect by things that aren’t (really) personal to me. I’m reading more. I’m writing more. I’m exercising more. And I’m constantly grappling with the, “I should do this…” or “I want to do that…” and doing none of it. 

In short, I feel different. I think something is brewing and I think it’s good. However, I think it’s gonna take work and hurt to uncover the good. I think I’m feeling a calling to look deep within and do some soul-searching and healing. 

One of my favorite assignments as a therapist is “a letter to yourself,” and for some inexplicable reason, I’m feeling the need to assign this task to myself. 

Anyone want to join? Write a letter to the old you, younger you, new you, current you. I don’t care which you. But deeply converse with yourself and enjoy or learn from your shared experience. 

Mastering Mind: What to write?

I started writing another post about decision making and pro/con lists and ended up rambling about how, as a mother of two, I am finding it difficult to think.  In fact, the disjointed draft was a perfect example of my current cognitive difficulties.  Too many ideas.  Not enough concentration to streamline my thoughts.

So if I am truly committed to blogging, what do I write?  I guess for now, I write short and sweet blog posts about how I have a thousand blog ideas, but I can’t seem to transfer those ideas from my head to the computer.  And while I find that disappointing, I also have a strong belief that eventually I’ll be able to think clearly again in the future (even if it is after the boys are out of the house I don't know smile).

It is concerning to me though, that if I can’t think clearly enough to write a blog, how on earth can I think clearly enough to parent.  But I guess that’s a blog post for another day…