Self Respect Journey

You are kind. You are smart. You are a friend. You are worth it.

I tell my kids this at least once every day. I don’t miss a day saying this because I want my children to remember this. They are young and likely aren’t comprehending what I’m saying yet, but I believe that the more they hear it, the more it will become a part of them. I want them to always love and respect themselves. I want them to believe in themselves. I want them to have confidence in themselves and in turn, I want them to make other people feel good about themselves. I want them to have the ability and the knowledge that they can change their little corner of the world by being a good person. I know there will be days when confidence and self-respect isn’t the easiest thing for them, but I hope they have the tools to combat those negative feelings and I hope they know they can turn to their parents and siblings for a boost in the way they are feeling and the way they are viewing themselves.

As I was thinking about all these things I want for my kids, the thought popped into my head that kids learn by example and they copy what they see. I need to practice what I’m preaching to my babies. I need to be kind. I need to believe I am smart. I need to be a friend. I need to believe I am worth it. This kind of sent me spiraling into this idea that I need to start on a self-respect, self-love journey that my mind, body and soul desperately, desperately are in need of.

And I am so excited.

I’ve been doing some planning and have set up some goals for myself. I’m going to finish the year out strong so in 2019 I can begin the year feeling confident, refreshed, capable and have the self-love and respect for myself that I deserve, want and need. Its also going to focus on serving others and being kind to others, which I feel like is an awesome way to kick off the holiday season!

If this sounds like something you’d like to do with me, join me! I’ll post my ‘schedule’ below – you can switch it up to better cater to you, but I think this would be a fun little journey to go on together during the remainder of the year!

The Weekly Goals

Week 1 Nov. 18-24: Focusing on body love – verbally telling myself things about my body I am grateful for. Doing yoga twice a day, focusing on love and appreciation for my body. I am perfect the way I am right now – I am beautiful the way I am right now. 

Week 2 Nov. 25-Dec. 1: Every day write down 5 good things about my character (no repeats)! Read the list throughout the day and believe those words. At least 10 minutes of quiet  meditation a day (whether that be yoga, laying in bed, sitting in the spare bedroom in the basement, in the bathtub, etc). 

Week 3 Dec. 2-8: Be extra friendly and give service. Every day do something/say something kind to someone else (outside of immediate family) – do this however you think would work best for you and others (in person, on social media, a letter, treats delivered, etc). Be mindful of how many times I say sorry and stop apologizing for my actions that don’t need an apology. For example, sometimes before I start talking or make a comment on something, I’ll start with, ‘sorry,’ or if I feel like I’m in someones way I’ll apologize. I’ll apologize for the way I look, sound, act, etc. Don’t feel embarrassed to have an opinion or to want to speak up or say something. Not all of this needs an apology! I can exist without having to feel like I’m bothering people! 

Week 4 Dec. 9-15: Learn something new each day. Whatever you want to learn about, do it. Want to know more about history? Read about it! Want to learn about constellations? Study them! Want to learn how to paint your nails better? Watch some tutorials. Want to learn how to clean the tile on your kitchen floor? Learn that! Just expand your knowledge every day with something new. Then tell someone what you’ve learned! Don’t feel embarrassed – be proud!

Week 5 Dec. 16-22: Every day write down 50 things you’re grateful for. Yep, 50. They can repeat, just really focus on what you’re thankful for that day. Express your gratitude to the people around you, to yourself and even to objects (haha – you don’t have to, but I’m going to!!) Donate! Find things you can donate to the people around you in need – that can be to people effected by the fires in CA, people who don’t have enough money to have Christmas gifts, people who can’t afford a yummy Christmas meal, etc. Donate and help peoples burdens feel lighter. 

Week 6 Dec. 23-31: Learn more about the Savior. Study the birth of Christ in the scriptures as well as His life. Every day focus on an attribute that Christ has that you want to apply to your life. Strive to be more like Him. Fight the negative thoughts that come to your mind – whether they be about yourself, others, the current situation, etc – and actively replace them with happy thoughts. 

I am so excited to do this. I really am! I have high hopes for this challenge and I’m hoping it really resets my mind. I hope it makes me happier, more positive, more confident and respectful of myself and of others. I believe that if I really do this I will come out a much kinder, happier and content person – and I don’t know about you but that sounds like a dream come true to me!

Advertisements

I Never Had to Split My Heart in Half

When I got pregnant with E, I was ecstatic. But almost as soon as I saw that positive sign, another weird, unexpected feeling rushed over me along with the joy. That was guilt. It instantly hit me that H would no longer be an only child and his world of near constant attention and having his parents all to himself would be over in several months. I knew having more than one kid was absolutely right for me. I knew I was going to have more than two kids even. But I never knew how part of me would feel guilty for growing our family. I never thought about that when I was younger and to be honest I never really thought about it much until I learned I was pregnant with my second child.

The feeling of joy was a million times stronger than the guilty and sad feeling. But when I let myself really dwell on those two words, it got worse and worse. I knew how much I loved H. SO MUCH. So how on earth could I possibly love another human as much? Was my heart even capable of somehow dividing such a strong, powerful, fierce love to two kids? How would H not just always be my favorite because I’d had him and known him the longest? Would my second child feel neglected? Would he see that I had a ‘better’ relationship with his big brother? Fear and worry would creep over me easier each time I allowed myself to think on these scary thoughts.

I did my best to ignore them. People add children into their families every day and guess what? The other kids are ok. The new babies are ok. The family is ok. The mom…I hope she is ok. I would switch my focus back to joy. Adding this new little brother to our family was perfect. He was going to be so sweet and handsome and I couldn’t even handle the thoughts of how cute his relationship would be with his brother. Having two sons was absolutely going to be the best thing ever. It was right. It was good. It was perfect. I was going to figure out how to split my love.

Split my love. I hated that phrase, but I thought it all the time. Somehow I’d have to figure out how to take half the love I had for H and give it to his brother. Thats where the real guilt came in. Would H notice I had to share my love? Would he feel like he was less loved and less important? Sure he wasn’t even two yet – but even toddlers notice change. Was he going to be sad? Was he going to be mad at me? Was he going to resent his brother for this big life change?

I never told anyone these fears. No one. I was worried saying I was worried I couldn’t love them both as powerfully, equally and strongly made me a weak mom. I thought it would make me a bad mom. I kept it to myself and I tried not to worry and focus on the joy. I prayed a lot. I tried to have as much faith in myself as a mother as I could.

Then the day came. November 10th happened and I had my second son that night!

I learned something incredible. The second my c-section started I started praying in my head. I prayed that the operation would go well and that my new baby would be safe and healthy. I prayed I would be healthy. I prayed that H was happy back home with his grandparents.

I prayed that my heart could figure out how to be a mom of two.

Something pretty cool happened then. E’s delivery was a little bit scary. As soon as he was out, he was taken immediately to a NICU team in the next room and my husband went with him. I was alone on the operating table with medical people around me. They were talking to me, trying to distract me from the scary thing that had just happened. They were trying to distract me so I wouldn’t dwell on the fact that my new baby still hadn’t screamed or cried or taken a very good breath. I was terrified. Their distractions didn’t work. All I knew is I had only seen my sweet son for a split second and he was gray and silent. I just wanted to hear him cry. I needed to know he was ok. Nothing else in the world mattered in those unknown moments.

Thats when it all dawned on me. I loved him with my whole heart. I loved him just as powerfully, equally and strongly as I loved H. But it wasn’t because my heart split in half. It was because my heart doubled in size in a way only the heart of a mother can do. My love didn’t change, it didn’t shrink or alter for H. It stayed big and the same – maybe it even grew. My love for my new son matched the love I had for H perfectly. I just knew all those worries and fears I’d had most of my pregnancy were all a thing of the past now. I knew that both of my sons had equal, huge love from me. It was such a calming, overwhelming feeling. I was so gracious.

It felt like forever, but not too much longer there were finally some loud and glorious screams from the room next door. My doctors all sighed with relief saying, “there he is!” or smiling really big at me. My anesthesiologist energetically patted my shoulder. My nurses cheered. He was ok. So was I. I loved that little boy I hadn’t really seen so, so much.

He was finally brought out to me where we had our little post c-section face snuggles. It was so spiritual and perfect. He was snorting in my ear and seemed to be telling me he loved me and he was comfortable and happy to be back with me. It was perfect. I told him I loved him and I felt that. I truly, truly meant it.

My heart never had to change its love for H. It knew what it was doing. Maybe all the while my belly was growing, preparing to deliver a child, my heart, too, was growing – preparing to love another sweet little baby.

My Words for 2018!

I am so excited for 2018. There is no real reason why, I just think I like the thrill of a new year. A fresh start of sorts. I’ve been working on my list of New Years Resolutions for the past couple months now and all the while have been trying to settle on my word for 2018 as well. I would get a good list going of creative words that I felt good about, but I always had the same word planted in the back of my mind during this whole decision making process. The reason I didn’t want to pick it though is because…it was the same word as I had picked for 2017. How boring and lame would it be to repeat the word? However, I pretty much focused on that word for January and February of 2017 then forgot all about it. In fact it wasn’t until a few days ago that I finally went back to my 2017 Resolution list that I even realized the word I was pretty sure I’d pick for 2018 was the same word I’d chosen for 2017. So I kept on searching for a new word and actually found two more I really loved, but I still couldn’t shake that original word. So I decided to mix it up a bit this year. Instead of one word for 2018, I have three. (the first is my original word)

KIND, BRAVE and TIME.

Kind: Heaven knows the world could use more kindness – why not try and put a little more into my small corner of the world? I have always felt a particular pull to this word. I want to be genuinely kind, always – or as much as possible. I want it to be real, too. It is easy to act kind on the outside but have a very different mindset on the inside. I want to have kind thoughts and kind words and deeds. I know very well this won’t happen overnight and will take practice and may be something I never truly master, but I do know I’m very capable of at least getting better at it. I want to be one of those people who everyone feels comfortable talking to and turning to because I am kind, gentle and loving. I know I’m not the funniest person, I’m not the most creative person, I’m not the wittiest person or most social person and I’m like 99% sure I never will be. But I can be one of the kindest people. I want to see the good in others, give people the benefit of the doubt, love unconditionally, be more charitable and give much, much more service. I want to be Christlike and be a light in others lives. I want to leave people feeling better than they did before.

Brave: This is definitely the scariest word for me. I am not very brave at all in any aspect of my life. I’m not saying I want to be brave in that I’m going to go hike to the top of Angels Landing and look over the edge (oh sheesh I just spiked my anxiety just typing that) because that is not going to happen. I want to be brave in my words and actions involving my family. I want to be better at standing up for myself. I want to be better at speaking my mind. I want to be better at not making it my life mission to avoid any and all confrontation. Stuff like that, you know? I’m getting antsy even thinking of potential scenarios…but I also know how life changing it could be for me even if I just improve a little bit. In 2018 I want to be braver than I’ve ever been.

Time: As I’ve reflected back on 2017 I noticed that the majority of my mom-guilt came from feeling like I didn’t manage my time well enough to give my kids, husband and even myself the best life I can provide. I am not good at time management and I probably never have been. But thats going to change this year. The priority for me is making sure my time is spent nurturing my children and creating a home that is a safe place for our family. I want to spend less time on my phone and on social media and reading blogs and more time on the floor playing with blocks, identifying shapes and colors and changing diapers while having funny conversations with my toddler and exchanging coos with my newborn. I want to be actively involved in conversation with my husband and be a sounding board for him when he comes home from work. I want to spend more time in the kitchen making meals and less time on the couch in front of the tv (but don’t worry, I’ll still make sure I save some time for tv because I’ve got to be me!) I am going to spend time tidying up the house and making it a place where you can have a clear head and less time doing something useless and letting things pile up on the floor and counter, creating a frustrating environment. My time is going to be much more well spent and my whole families life is going to benefit from this.

2017 was wonderful. I loved it, I really did, but I am so excited for this new year. Hello, 2018! I’m ready for you. Lets do this.

Happy New Year!

 

Pray. Say thank you. 

I woke up with my husband this morning – which is code for: I woke up really early this morning. Like 5 or something gross like that. Of course, he didn’t know I woke up because I laid there with my eyes closed trying desperately to fall back asleep. I’m almost 35 weeks pregnant, so it’s no surprise that I didn’t have a great night of sleep last night. Our sweet little H who has been struggling to sleep all night lately laid beside me sleeping soundly and I was jealous. He looked so relaxed. So I tried really, really hard to fall back asleep. But every time I felt like I was at the brink of sleep, something would wake me up again. A movement from H, a sound from Wild Man out in the kitchen, a wiggle from baby boy, a sharp pain in my hip or another charlie horse in my leg. It was weird. It was like everything but my own brain was telling me to stay awake. 

I heard Wild Man leave and I could hear the dog adjust in her kennel out in the living room. Then there was silence. I laid in our dark room with my eyes open just wishing I was asleep. There seemed to be absolutely no reason to be awake at such an early hour. Then, what felt like out of nowhere I had a thought pop into my head: Pray. Say thank you. 

I’m a little bit embarrassed to say I didn’t immediately start a prayer. H was wiggling around and I was watching his funny little sleeping faces. Baby boy was also wiggling and I was trying to figure out what body part it was I could feel. I knew I should pray, but I guess in my mind I thought it could wait so I brushed it off. Both of my boys settled again and as I sat in the stillness and quiet and looked at H’s perfect little face I heard it run through my mind again: Pray! Say thank you! This time the thought was accompanied with a realization that it is because of Heavenly Father, who I pray to, that I have my sweet, healthy, almost two year old, my wiggly baby boy in my stomach and an incredible husband. I knew exactly what I was supposed to say thank you for now. 

I didn’t even sit up or kneel. I stayed in the same position in bed with my toddlers left arm draped over my face and his feet tucked under my belly. I closed my eyes and said a prayer in my mind. I thanked Heavenly Father for my many, many blessings – especially for my wonderful family. It wasn’t a long prayer and it didn’t feel particularly powerful. When I finished it, I didn’t feel as if I’d had some incredible experience. But as I sat there I came to realize I was feeling something I haven’t really felt the past week. 

I felt peace

I’m not sure what it’s been about the past little while in my life, but it’s been hard for me not to feel overwhelmed, inadequate or like I’m doing my role as a wife and mother. I have been easily upset at myself, I’ve been impatient, emotional and feeling very off. It’s been a struggle. I have a lot of craziness running through me, likely since I’ll be having a baby soon – but I felt like there was even more to it. I was a mess and my mind was a mess and (a lot like my house, lately) I couldn’t get it cleaned up and organized which just caused me to feel less and less peaceful and…ok. 

My shoulders felt a little lighter after this prayer. I felt like the elephant that’s been crushing my chest lately was gone – or at least less paralyzing – and I could feel my regular happiness starting to familiarize itself with my body again. That’s when I realized that this whole time I’ve been feeling miserable for myself, I’d been praying the whole time, but I was always asking for things. I was asking for help. Begging for relief. For things to go my way.  Complaining and venting. But I never stopped to take the time to pray about what was going right – what I was thankful for. It hit me like a ton of bricks. THATS why I was feeling off and that’s why my life seemed as if it had a little extra level of difficulty to it that I couldn’t figure out how to effectively combat. I wasn’t thanking Heavenly Father for my blessings! 

The sun hasn’t even come up yet. It’s not even 7 in the morning yet. Who knows if I’ll fall back asleep this morning or not. But I am grateful I woke up at 5am this morning (NEVER thought I’d say that) and they I finally said a prayer of thanks. I hope it has set the tone for my day. I hope this can be what flips this weird month around for me. I hope I will remember this experience and not go so long without being thankful for my blessings. I feel so good. I feel so light and happy. I feel like I was a dead battery and am now fully charged and ready to go. My mind is much clearer. 

It’s funny how the Lord works sometimes. But it’s always in the most perfect way for our individual needs. He answers prayers in His own way and His own timing and it’s always just what we need. 

Now let’s hope that with all this newfound light and clarity, my body and house can get on board 😉 

xoxo

ceeceesparkles 

My Little Boy

I have been hit pretty aggressively with the realization that we are down to just a few months of having just one child. Our sweet baby H. The perfect little bundle of joy who made us parents and introduced us to a happiness and overwhelming feeling of pride we never could have known if it weren’t for him. 

My heart is feeling torn in so many different directions. Of course I am beyond thrilled to have our second little boy in November. I’ve dreamt my whole life of having several kids and that’s still my dream! I am so excited to see H become a big brother and to finally meet this little brother of his. I am so anxious to see his face, to learn his personality and to soak all of him in. I actually feel more excited this time around, probably because this time I’m not so clueless. I know how special my children are now. I know how much I love them and how much I love being a mom. I can’t let myself dwell too much on this or else I turn into an emotional puddle. 

But then there is the part of me that knows how much H’s world is going to be rocked. Life as he knows it is going to drastically change and a part of me, in a weird way, feels a little bit guilty. People who often joke about how H is going to be second place, etc certainly don’t help the way I feel either. He is very accustomed to being the one and only. He’s used to undivided attention and snuggles on demand. I know it’s good for him to learn that the world in fact doesn’t revolve around him…but there’s still guilt!! 

I hope he can figure out quickly that he’s still so loved. Our love isn’t going to lessen for him even in the slightest. In fact I’ve heard the love we have for him will even grow! Our hearts are just going to get bigger so we can have the same amount of love for little brother! I hope he sees that he’s still our world, our joy and our tiny best buddy. Because he is – he always will be!

I know that especially once the baby is here I will feel differently. I’ll just know our new family of four is perfect and meant to be. I know that now, come to think of it – I’m just.. I don’t know. Am I even making sense or do I just sound crazy? I am so in love with this crazy 20 month old and I want him to never feel that his value has decreased just because another baby joined our family. It’s giving me so many emotions I honestly wasn’t anticipating. It’s funny how I am so far past elated for this new addition but at the same time feel a tinge of guilt. 

Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s ever felt like this? Also please tell me it’s just hormones or a phase or something and I’ll get over this before November?!

xoxo

ceeceesparkles 

Stop the Comparisons 2017

We have a cousin who’s daughter is just three weeks older than H. We are very close so we see a lot of each other and for the first several months of their lives I realized I was always comparing our babies to each other. Not in a who’s baby is better than who’s kind of way, but in that I was always comparing their milestones and achievements. I always felt like H’s cousin was progressing faster than him and it freaked me out and I spent way too long worrying that maybe, heaven forbid, there was something wrong with my perfect baby. I (thankfully) eventually came to realize that there wasn’t anything wrong, but that they are two different people who do things differently than one another. H was farther along on some things and his cousin was farther along on some things. Sometimes I feel like I spent so much time on worrying that H wasn’t just like his cousin that I missed out on really enjoying the current stage he was in.

Since I became mindful that I was doing this, I’ve come to realize I actually do it…like a lot. With so many different areas of my life. I cannot even count how many times I have made myself feel small and inadequate because I have compared myself to other people who I swore had it more together than I did. I’ve really felt this as a mom and housewife. I have one child and am pregnant and its seriously a struggle for me to always have my whole house clean. Then I think of my sister in law who is pregnant with her fifth child, or 99% of my friends who have more kids than me – and they all have these clean, organized homes. I’ve spent countless hours crying while I clean my kitchen, feeling overwhelmed that I’m a bad wife because I can’t do this one thing as good as so-and-so. Its draining and its debilitating. I am SO good at comparing myself to others and its a really rotten talent to possess. I could give you so many examples of times I have compared myself to someone else who is seemingly very near perfect at something, then looked at myself and have felt instant misery because I wasn’t at the same place they were. It takes you to a place of sadness, heartache, depression and a loss of self respect and love.

I know my husband and son love me and appreciate me, but so often its easy to feel undeserving of such feelings. How could my husband truly appreciate me when the sink is full of dirty dishes, theres toys all over the floor, I don’t know whats for dinner and the bed isn’t made – and lets not even mention the laundry. How does my son still idolize me when I stick him in front of the tv so often while I have a meltdown or try desperately to catch up on housework? Its feelings like these that start piling up way too easily and swiftly drag me down to a place of feeling so bad.

Not that long ago I became really aware somehow that I was letting these spiraling thoughts into my mind way too easily. So I decided to try and actively fight these evil thoughts. Its really hard not to compare yourself to all the ‘perfect‘ people in your life. Believe me, I know this from experience. Its hard to feel like you’ve done some good in your life and the life of your family when someone else has an immaculate home, perfect child, well-trained dog, a homemade meal on the table and has perfect hair and makeup every day.

But guess what? That perfect person most likely feels just like you do. Who knows, maybe they even think you’re the perfect person they keep comparing themselves to. Its very likely there is something you do really well that someone wishes they, too, did just as good. The things you think you’re bad at, someone could be wishing they did more like you. The reality is that none of us are perfect – we are all just trying. And its a lot easier to try and be the best version of ourselves when we only worry about ourselves – not about the neighbor. Everyone is struggling somewhere in their life. They have days where they feel awful, too. Even that Lifestyle Blogger who only posts the pretty and perfect things going on in her life.

Actively reminding myself of these facts was a game changer. I obviously don’t always remember this and have plenty of pity parties. But when I do remember that everyone is just trying to get better and the only person who I should be worrying about is myself, I do a lot better.

Its so easy to compare and its really hard not to. But oh my gosh when you stop worrying about what someone else’s home and life is like – life gets 100% better. I have been able to take more pride in what I’m doing around the home. I am able to see why my family values me. I am better able to go throughout my day with a clear mind and light heart. I am happier and calmer and have a lot less anxiety. It makes me more confident and relaxed. It takes concentration, mindfulness and focus but forgetting about all the other perfect people makes my life seem a lot more perfect.

It has been the biggest blessing to be able to feel like I’m sort of getting a grasp on this. I know myself, so I know this will be a constant, lifelong struggle for me, but I am so glad I know how to combat these feelings too. Also, talking with family and friends has worked wonders. The people around you who love you will really boost you up and remind you of your worth and will be able to help you see that no one is as perfect as you fear they might be.

I imagine I’m not the only one who feels like this from time to time. If you’re one of these people I really hope this post gave you some ideas or gave you some hope. We are all just doing our best!

xoxo

ceeceesparkles

Back to Me!

IMG_6691.jpg

Finally at 22 weeks pregnant I am feeling almost 100% myself, again and I want to shout this good news from the rooftops! When I got pregnant with H, though I was really sick, I still felt *normal* as I could. I was able to get things done, I was able to find motivation even if it was just in small bursts, I was still myself more or less. But this time around it took me so long to feel that way. Like I said, I’m still not 100% but I can see and feel the changes finally. I’m able to keep the house clean, stay on top of laundry and do the dishes regularly. I can put effort into dinner again. I just feel so much better. So much more me!

This all came at the perfect time really because this past week poor H has been the sickest I’ve seen him. He got hit with a nasty bout of diarrhea and then also started throwing up. Just when I think he may be on the mend he has another yucky diaper or throws up again. Its kind of heart breaking. Seeing him laying on the couch for hours at a time just watching movies is sweet but also really sad. But thankfully now that I’m able to be motivated I’m able to keep up on the dirty laundry this poor sick boy has created in ever growing piles. I’m able to keep his room and bed (ohhh the messes that have happened in his crib) clean and sanitized and feel like I’m doing all that I can and should be doing to hopefully help him along the road to recovery. Its a good feeling – feeling like I’m able to give my all to being the best mom I know how to be to my more than deserving little guy.

I know this is a short, random little post. But I’m feeling really jazzed about feeling good. And really hoping H can join me soon in this feeling good party. ::fingers crossed::

xoxo

ceeceesparkles