From Survive to Thrive

Thrive

I asked last week on my personal Facebook page about how moms go from living in survival mode to thriving in life.  I received a ton of great input.  I started outlining a series to cover all of the comments, plus some of my own thoughts, but after writing the first post I realized it was a bit overwhelming.  In reality, most of the ideas fell into four main points.  I will briefly discuss them today and then over the next few weeks I will probably add some more detailed articles about how I make this reality.

Too many of us are living daily in survival mode when God didn’t create us this way.  He created us to thrive.  If you are living in survival mode daily (guilty here so I’m going to practice what I preach) it is time to sit back, re-evaluate and figure out how to get out of survival mode.  It is an evil necessary every now and then but not how daily life should be.

Daily time in the Word. I know that if I don’t spend time in my Bible, my day seems more off and I try to do way too much on my own.  Being in a super busy phase of life, I do not put pressure on myself to spend a lot of time on a deep Bible study.  Some days it may be as little as opening the Bible app on my phone and focusing on the verse of the day.

Many people will say their best time to spend in the Word is early of a morning before their kids get up.  I’ve tried that before and my kids are usually up sometime in the 5 am hour.  My body doesn’t function well with me getting up any earlier so the first thing in the morning plan does not work for me.  When I had little kids and was nursing through the night, I kept a devotional book or my phone nearby and did my quiet time in the middle of the night while nursing.  I now have a toddler who only takes a tiny part of his nap on how own and needs someone to hold him or snuggle with him for the rest of the time.  That is when I usually do my Bible time now.  Find what time works for you and stick with it.  Do not feel it needs to be something in depth or lengthy but do spend some time with God each day and many times your priorities will then fall in line.

Take time for yourself. As moms, we many times find it hard to take time for ourselves.  The to do list will never be done so please stop trying for a few minutes each week and focus on yourself.  Your body and your family will thank you for it.  This will look different for everyone.  Some people need to be alone so time in a good book or a hot bath are all they need.  I tend to want out of my house where the to do list is staring me down so “me” time looks more like meeting a friend for coffee, shopping for a few minutes alone, or using the free WiFi and surfing Facebook while drinking coffee at a the Y or a coffee shop guilt free.  Schedule at least a few minutes into each week, even when it seems impossible to find that time.  You will probably find you are more productive and much happier after a few minutes of down time.

Limit activities.  It is so easy to say yes to every activity available.   Piano lessons, swim team, soccer, baseball, art classes, etc are all good things but too much isn’t a good thing.  We value family time and thrive on being home a few nights a week.  In our family we have allowed our kids to be in one activity at a time.  We do have therapy after school three days a week which is just as busy or busier than one activity but it is a non-negotiable at this point in time.  For a few years that is all we did but as our kids get older we want them to have some time to just be a kid and not have their one and only activity be therapy.  We allow them to pick their activity and that is currently Cub Scouts for our two oldest.  If your schedule is overwhelming, write down all of your commitments and see what can be cut.  Make sure all of the activities are in line with your family goals and needs.  Yes, they may all be good but are they worth the added stress?

Plan ahead. I cannot thrive when I’m flying by the seat of my pants.  The best thing ever for me has been to take a few minutes each week and plan for the week ahead.  I used to do this on Sunday afternoons but then felt I was never really getting a break from everything so I moved it to Fridays and that has really helped.  I menu plan, discuss the schedule with my husband so we are both on the same page, and figure out what has to be accomplished for the week.

This week, find one thing you can do to change from simply surviving to actually thriving. Feel free to comment here or on the Facebook page with the one thing you are going to change this week.

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Musings from the Gym

Sweat Smile Repeat

I love to people watch and the gym is a great place for that.  I workout a few days a week at our local YMCA.  I always said I would not work out in front of others but my husband suggested we try it several years ago.  I went along with it so I could encourage him to exercise.  I quickly learned that the 2 hours of free childcare each day was something to savor on the rough days so I became a fan of the gym.  The funny part of it all is that my husband now comes about twice a year and I’m there weekly.

One thing that immediately caught my attention those first few weeks was that all shapes, sizes, and abilities come here.  I’ve always pictured a gym as a place for athletes to come work out and that the rest of us just don’t fit in.  I’ve had plenty of intimidating experiences over the years from elite athletes but I’ve had way more encounters with regular people who are just here to be healthy.

Since I love people watching, here are just a few of the people that stick out in my mind from the past several years I’ve been here.

1. The Old Couple.  When I first started I hung out on the elliptical because it was against the back wall and I could blend in.  The track goes all the way around the upstairs which is where the equipment, classes, and weights are.  Towards the end of my workout, almost every day, an older couple would come and slowly walk the track.  They were always in their sweats and holding hands.  You could tell they were still in love after all those years and they were doing what they could to still be active.

2. The Beginners. There are so many people in this category that I’ve watched over the years.  They come in, just like me, intimated by the equipment.  They are overweight and do not feel comfortable in a gym but want to do something about their health.  Some I have watched go through grand transformations, some I have never seen again.  This could be to varying schedules or they decided it just wasn’t their thing.  I was silently cheering them on though because I was one of them once.

3. The Fashionistas. I’ve wondered if a few of these people actually come to workout or put on a show.  There are a few that come with full make up, hair done, and in the latest fashion in workout gear.  After their workout they still look just as great.  Um, this would not be me.  I wear clothes from the clearance section of Old Navy and Target and when I’m done I look like I’ve run a marathon even though I’ve come nowhere close to that feat.

4. The Retired. There are two groups that come almost every morning just for socialization.  They usually are split into a men’s table and a women’s table but sometimes the groups merge.  Most of them do senior yoga but I think they really come to visit. We have an open area with free coffee and many times I work from the tables and listen in on their conversations.  This week they were discussing their “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” buttons.  It was hilarious.

5. The Just Don’t Care What Others Think of Me People. Next to the Old Couple, these are my favorites to watch because they beat to their own drum and are proud of it.  My current favorite guy in this category has been dance walking around the indoor track.  He is horribly out of shape and not a great dancer but is a blast to watch.  He only does a few laps before moving on to other forms of exercise.  The staff has caught on and now starts asking him what he is listening to each day while dancing. Silently I’m cheering him on because he is doing what works for him to get fit.

There are so many more people I could talk about but I will leave it at that.  Just know that when I’m at the gym and people watching, I’m silently cheering everyone on.  Anything done to get more fit and healthy is worth it and it doesn’t matter what size or shape you are or what you wear. I entered the gym years ago intimated and trying to hide but once I started running I gained the confidence to run the track and there is no hiding there.  I’m still not up to swimming laps with everyone but working on that confidence right now.

Have any great people watching stories from the gym to share?  Feel free to talk about it in the comments or on the Facebook page.

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The Why Behind Supermom Without a Cape

Why Supermom

Our church has been going through a huge transition over the past few months.  Every so often a company (or church) has to step back and evaluate every aspect to see if they are headed in the correct direction and if there is anywhere they can improve.  That is where our church is right now.  A few weeks ago one of our pastors preached on the why behind what we do.  He gave a great quote from a Ted Talk geared toward high end executives and CEO’s that basically said most companies tell what their product is but they don’t tell the why behind it.  People want to be involved with the why.

So, why did I start Supermom Without a Cape?  Simply put, because I love moms.  It could be because I am one but I think a lot of it comes from my nine years in MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), with 8 of those being in a leadership role.  I started out as the new mom that didn’t have a clue what she was doing and developed into a leader and a confident mom who realizes I don’t know it all but I will still survive.  I’ve watched many moms over the years go through that same process.  While I still very much fit the profile of a MOPS mom since I have a two year old, I also sometimes feel like the mentor mom since I’m older than many of the moms and have older children too.

Through MOPS and social media I’ve watched as moms feel weighted down by the pressures of society.  Too many people only share the positive aspects of life and don’t really show reality.  While I don’t share everything that goes on behind closed doors, I don’t hide the reality that parenting is tough and there are good days and bad days.  I like to keep it real.

We all have a story to tell and everyone has their own struggles.  Mine happens to be with dealing with a special needs child, an allergy/asthma child and the middle brother who feels left out.  No matter the story, we all need someone to lean on as we navigate this crazy world.

I want moms to know it is ok to be real and share the struggles.

I want moms to feel confident even when they don’t really have a clue what they are doing.

I want moms to know it is ok to need some “me time” and not to feel guilty for taking a few minutes away.

I want moms to learn a few tricks I’ve figured out over the years and then share their tips with other moms too.

I want moms to know their children love them even when they mess up.

I want moms to not feel guilty for whatever path they have chosen for this season of life – stay at home, work from home, work outside the home, travel often, etc.

I want moms to be able to find their own tribe so that they don’t have to go through this journey alone.

 

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed. ~Linda Wooten

 

 

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