Social Media Can Filter Only A Small Part of Motherhood

compassion, courage, depression, empathetic, gratitude, happiness, inspiration, life changing, lifestyle, love yourself, mental health, mental health awareness, Motivation, parenting, personal development, personal growth, relationships, role models, self belief, self care, self-growth, story, strength, transformation, wellness

IMG_0128

IMG_0336

Only on social media can I create the illusion that these precious boys are such well-behaved Angels 100% of the time. These pictures capture the beauty of childhood.  The truth is that only filters or the right angle of a picture will cover up my messy sheet on the bed, the pile of laundry in the corner and some dishes in the sink or hide the fact I just dealt with an hour long meltdown with my 6-year-old right before we snapped this shot

1

The truth is that motherhood is friggin hard; It’s not always smiling and snuggles & in those hard moments, I felt alone for a long time. I compared myself to everyone, especially the “InstaMoms” that capture only the glitz and glamour of motherhood. I wanted to be the “old me” who felt good about herself. But then I realized I LOVED who I was evolving into through motherhood

2

If your house doesn’t look like Pinterest, you’re still a good mom. And you are not failing because you didn’t get to make homemade lunches every day or because you didn’t send the kids to school in Cashmere sweaters. You are still a good mom. To our little ones, we’re the world; we are more than enough. And part of being a good mom is making sure you’re HAPPY because a happy mom makes a happy baby. 

 So as we honor the mothers in our lives this weekend, take a minute to realize what a badass mom YOU are.

If I’ve learned anything, it’s this belief that Mothers are the heart and soul in a family; If the heart isn’t taking care of herself than everything else will suffer.  So take the time to care for yourself. Take the idea of motherhood perfection and throw it out the window. Being in love with our children and feeling so grateful to be their parent can coexist with the reality that it’s also really, really hard. Allow yourself to be frustrated and “over the moon” in love with your child. Don’t shame yourself for having these feelings. It’s a reality. It’s a common theme that we all feel, but we don’t talk enough about. Take care of your mental health and don’t hold on to the guilt that comes naturally in the hard moments of parenting. In reality, we feel guilty because we love THAT much. Lean into that feeling. 

 

199e1fb32250bf0c455592a07c5feb15Different roads can lead to the same destination. We can parent 100 different ways & still raise happy, respectful, successful children. Don’t compare yourself to the InstaMoms. You keep rocking that messy hair bun, yoga pants and that heart of gold. You keep trying your best & keep doing what makes you happy so that you can keep shining and making this world a better place.

Wishing all of you wonderful and powerful women an (early) Happy Mothers Day!cropped-adamire2.jpg

Advertisements

3 Things I Rely On During Chaos And Uncertainty

anxiety, Avoiding Small Talk., depression, depressive episode, gratitude, happiness, life, lifestyle, love yourself, meditation, mindfulness, parenting, personal development, relationships, self care, self esteem

When life becomes too much, it’s so easy to get sucked into the whirlwind of anxiety, depression and hopelessness. If things are combined, constant and chaotic enough; it can leave you feeling like you’re in a paralysis; unable to move, make decisions and stuck in that ‘new life’ forever, ever and ever.

Good news is that I learned uncertainty and chaos eventually pass and new normal’s are worth embracing. I feel strongly about this from my own experiences and real life examples where I had to make a choice of  pulling myself out of the darkest, worst of times. I learned that out of hundreds of methods out there., it is for certain that a few simple practices will help you really prepare for the “when it rains, it pours” periods in life. You don’t have to keep feeling the surprise aftermath of being knocked down underneath your feet. Life can be hard and still feel worth it at the same time.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve felt comfortable in chaos.  Growing up in a divorced family that had two completely opposite sets of rules, to being the older sibling with a different set of expectations; I always felt like life was anything, but steady and calm. That was OK, life was a circus and I survived it just fine. I  felt that I was created to handle the storms in life; not only for myself, but for those around me. I use to I thrived in chaos until the chaos I was dealing with became my own brain and it’s chemical imbalances.

As life carried on, the realization came with it that challenges we face as an adult become so much harder. I’ve realized some people have it easier in life, some have it harder; but we all experience the eye opening, potential learning circumstances that come our way from life’s uncertainty and chaos.  Examples so commonly will include our own shame, decisions, our past or perhaps the future and mix that with just the unfair, random crap parts of life. I’d include my own examples, like when situations are minor, but annoying enough to make it a bad day like when I get a flat tire while becoming sick and nothing going as planned. Than we run into the more serious situations that happen to all of us; like making a bad decision,knowing it sucks, feels so unfulfilling,  and having to pay consequences. Or being told to do something from an older and wiser adult, choosing to do it  your way anyway and suffering consequences. I know only one thing from experiencing so much ongoing, unstoppable, uncontrollable and uncertain chaos which is that you have a opportunity to come out with a new perspective on some topic in life, but it is your choice. Just pure Life experience can be a free education topic & one that you can’t pay for…

Skip forward to being in your mid-twenties and life seems to get harder, challenges seem more complex and worst of all; they happen all at once. I call these periods of life: transitions. They’re uncomfortable. They’re isn’t always a bright side. But maybe we can make it our goal to make sure we have some lesson to be learned or use it for a part of your story to make you who you are . I can handle these hard times, not with grace and not with perfection, but I know I’ll make it through. Even when my depressive episodes enter and the feeling of worthiness goes away, I know I’ll have good days again and I’m sure you can relate too as we all have had our unique times where we’re forced to navigate  difficulties.

What I have the hardest time grasping my head around is the unofficial, but totally true… the basic rule in life that seems we all experience which is having to go through so many transitions at one time. How can one person possibly do that and thrive? Maybe they handle the issue well, but is it possible to handle several life changing circumstances while keeping in the right mindset easy? Maybe. But definitely not without purpose and practice.

At 27 and someone who is comfortable in chaos; I still get knocked on my feet and struggle to cope with the magnitude of the uncertainty in life and the chaos it brings when situations begin to stack on top of each other, day after day and one by one. I’ve failed miserably at keeping a open mind in the midst of a hardship.  After a few other things like loved ones being diagnosed with deadly diseases, betrayal and being diagnosed with my anxiety disorder… I realized I couldn’t live any longer in this constant trap of chaos. I started to become more mindful and open to listen for ways I can deal with these circumstances as they come. I can’t control a lot of things in life so instead I’ll focus finding what I can. I know that reading simple positive mantras while contemplating my life isn’t very motivating. I know to count to three during an anxiety attack, but does it always help? Definitely not.  With purpose and setting out to make a plan, I now have a few concrete steps that ground me no matter what situations life throws at me.

It’s always a work in progress, it doesn’t work for everyone; but through trial & error, I found what works for me. I can now follow at least 3 simple steps when I begin spinning into the whirlwind of chaos and uncertainty.  Even this last month, I was diagnosed with a life changing disorder, while just adjusting to the new invitation I extended to a family member (living with mental illness) to move in to avoid further hardships for them and than I’m in my first scary car crash which totaled my car and now leaves us paying for expensive fees and rental cars as my husband’s car is out of control too. It’s raining and pouring in my life, from one transition to another, one change than the next; but I’ll be the first to say people have it worse out there though and I’m not going to lose hope. If they can do it, I at least owe it my best shot. I know I made it out of harder times before.

So because I know that talking about realities that can feel so isolating, but actually happen to all of us and can help people deal with the pure hard times in life; maybe we can use that as motivation to find helpful steps that work for you. Until than, here are steps that I know to rely on time and time again.

  1. Constructing the Right Frame of Mind:
    Understanding hardships are a part of life. I’m not meant to feel happy and content all the time. Even the great accomplishment that I might have just achieved yesterday, is yesterdays celebration and this new hell-ish circumstance I may be going through today doesn’t take from the celebration yesterday. I know that actions come from thoughts so to avoid making radical decisions that I don’t want to regret later; I try harder to take control of my mind and my thoughts. I push the negative thoughts out or at least die trying, and rephrase the questions that naturally enter. For example: “Why does this have to happen to me, again?” will not help me see anything in a new light and yet it’s always the first question that pops up in my head. It wasn’t till I learned how powerful our minds are and that it’s possible to re-train them that I began shaping the question into “I’ve done this before, I can do it again”, which now gives me the opportunity to change or  grow, through uncertainty.  Feeling in control of my mindset is not only something I CAN do and CAN control (unlike many things); but it’s so important to making it through the circumstances. Speaking from just real life experiences and periods in the journey, being positive and optimistic has no negative side effects. Being pessimistic can ruin almost anything.
  2. Prioritizing my Self-Care and Self-Love… above all. 
    Setting up routines and sticking to them, for myself, is the best way I learned keep a sense of normality and calm in the midst of these circumstances. If I take on too much and commit to too many plans and people and obligations; I’ll feel so overwhelmed that it’s inevitable before I’m emotionally drained. Instead, I’m learning to pace myself and choose my time and energy wisely which is my form of self-care. I have to align my actions with my values during these periods which isn’t always easy. I’ve had to give up serving and volunteering which I loved. I’ve missed out on hanging out with my best friends. I wanted to do all those things and more, but I’m contingent because I must use the right mind. Even choosing to say “no” and spend time with my son, my family or myself is one of my most important values and since it’s what I learned that I needed most during life storms; I take care of that need to keep on keep-in’ on. I have only learned this by watching people do it around me. They break down barriers and stand strong in the worst times of their life because they built up the courage to love them self like they deserve.
  3. Not Isolating, but Socializing with the Right People.
    A concept borrowed from Stephen Covey’s, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, teaches  a general concept that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with. After understanding how much truth that holds, I realized I needed to evaluate a circle of friends who influence me and have values, dreams and ambitions that align with mine. Surrounding yourself with people who lift you up and inspire you is not only a healthy way to live life, but for me it helps me use these back-to-back hard times to grow into a healthier version of myself because I’m surrounded by people who can tell me a different perspective when it seems so cloudy to see myself. To prove that it’s healthy to socialize, and with the right people, research shows that connection helps reduce stress. So while I’m typically one that can easily isolate myself—I’ll push myself to talk to my favorite humans during the ‘rainy days’ in life because I know it’s exactly what I need.
  4. There is a super cheesy quote that goes, “You can’t control the waves; but you can learn to surf”. And boy, how true is that.
  5. While I don’t believe a lot of our hardships are designed with intention, made for us only to thrive and become our best self in; I do believe they happen, inevitably and you have the option to give up or keep going forward. As you move through it, In time you may understand that you are so much stronger than you think. Life experience is our best teacher. I also pay such close attention to how others handle the storms in life and I’ve watched time and time again the most courageous people fight in the midst of chaos or remain calm when they’re dealing with abrupt life changes that I have yet to deal with myself. This is where I’m introduced to these steps that I can rely on. The real life experience and people that motivate me help me get to the next stage in my life. Just like surfing is learned by practice, not through a how-to book; I don’t think these situations are something you learn in a book. I learned the hard way how to find tips for me that will make certain I walk with a sense of peace or resist the urge to feel defeated during the chaos. I know if I can do it, anyone can.

img_20180525_192342

5 Successful Tips for Loving someone with Mental Illness

anxiety, Avoiding Small Talk., bipolar, depression, depressive episode, gratitude, happiness, life, lifestyle, love yourself, meditation, mental discrimination, mental health, mental health awareness, Mental Illness and Recovery, mental stigma, mindfulness, relationships, self care, self esteem, self-growth, self-reflection, twenties

5 tips

I believe that Relationships and connection is what our purpose in life is. We were placed here and designed to perfectly and beautifully establish connections. I realized we have the privilege to receive and give love and to care for and be cared for. There is no stronger or more beautiful connection to me than, LOVE. It’s listed right there in the vows of traditional weddings, “Love you till death do us part, through sickness and in health“.  However, things aren’t always as easy as they seem. I can maintain a healthy relationship, while I battle multiple mental health issues, but it hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s one of the hardest roads I navigate in life because it’s a constant world of unknown struggles. What eventually made me embrace the challenge was understanding the small tips that helped us grow stronger and overcome the mental illness obstacle course.

From personal experiences to material learned in my degree program; These tips have helped my husband and I move from surviving to successfully thriving in our marriage while even though I continue to struggle with mental illnesses.

12705679_10204040789699912_7957014398661383236_nFirst tip , Let go of your timetable.  There is no magic time frame for wholeness, and certain mental illnesses ebb and flow for many years.  Believing that your loved one should be better in a few weeks or months can set everyone up for hardship; “should’s” are a trap, and everyone’s journey is their own.  Resolve to love and respect the person in your life through each part of the process—when they move forward and when they regress, when they have victories and when they stumble back into old coping mechanisms.  Let go of idealized timetables and make a one-time decision that just as you would tell someone with cancer that you will remain by their side until they beat it, you are going to be there (even if it’s hard, even when it’s ugly, even if it takes a long time).  And then stay, even when you’re pushed away.  Isolation can feel comfortable for someone suffering with certain mental illnesses, and sometimes not talking is easier than trying to express thoughts and feelings that they themselves can’t piece together and understand. Sometimes a person feels toxic to their environment, and they pull away to protect people that they are hurting because the symptoms of their illness are out of their control.  This is when love becomes a choice, because it can be a confusing and angering time for everyone involved.  Choosing to love someone who acts or feels unlovable can be part of what helps them see that are valued as a whole person, that they are not the sum total of their pain. (some information from nami.org) 

Second: Self-Love: Trying to be there for everyone else before you make sure that you’re okay is like  pouring from an empty cup. You can love others, but it’s not coming from a stable and healthy foundation. I learned that in a course in college where it was explained that the relationships I hold today are built off the structures that were modeled to me in childhood. Shouting, avoiding conversation and co-dependency from addictions that were present are some of the examples that molded you to form a similar pattern of communicating that you were raised in.  Taking care of yourself might mean going to counseling together with your spouse, or taking a designated “me” time to reflect and write in a journal. It could include ways you work through processing your past so that you can find a healthy way to love yourself the way you deserve to be loved. Therapy, where both my husband and I went, was the most amazing and beneficial thing we ever did for each other because instead of just one person working on themselves; we were working as a team to understand each other and shed light on the importance of self-love as a #1 priority in life.

IMG_20180512_192847Third: COMMUNICATE,
Even when you don’t feel like it, we have to try and communicate because your significant other cannot read your mind. They need us to communicate to them in order for them to understand what is going on and where your head space is at. In fact, Strong and consistent communication is important in every marriage and/or relationship, even without the aspect of a mental illness. Trust me, sometimes I don’t feel like talking to my husband. Not that I don’t love him, but I know it’s not comfortable or easy for me to talk about my feelings. Sometimes I can’t say aloud that I’m replaying thoughts about death in my head because although that’s normal for me, I feel in that moment, very vulnerable and afraid of being judged. When we feel so unloved, lonely and unworthy, it can be scary, totally out of our comfort zone to share with anyone. So, even if you don’t feel like it, and I know how hard it will be for you to talk about feelings when you’re feeling alone;, I’m understanding that it’s hard for them too. An example that we’ve probably all had one day or another is when we go to that dark place in our mind that can last days, weeks or months. It’s easier to say, “I’m fine”, “I’m tired”, “Can we talk later? However, if we don’t communicate what’s going on, they’re going to think your bad mood that’s lasted days or weeks or months is because you’re not happy with them. We know that the truth is far from that; it’s because we have a mental illness which overrides our ability to control our emotions so strongly. The benefits of communicating these emotions could provide your lover to be there to provide guidance when you need it,  To recognize the symptoms of a on-set of anxiety, depression, bipolar, etc… and try to off-set it before it begins. Communication helps so much because it keeps them from feeling left out and in the dark.  So even when it’s hard and you don’t want to, communicating with our lovers will make them feel better because you are enlightening them to what’s going on instead of keeping them in the dark. You are also learning to express your feelings in a healthy way so it’s a win-win.

Fourth, Help them to understand:
Mental Illness,  in terms of relationships, means that your partner has to understand there is nothing to be fixed, but what they can do instead is they can learn and put in effort to understand what you are going through. Becoming educated is one of the key factors that will teach our loved ones to help us, and as they learn more about our mental illnesses; than we’ll feel better when communicating our thoughts to them. At least, that’s what happen in my marriage. I encourage him to watch documentaries, listen to  podcasts, or  even read about it from the never ending resources on the internet.  With so many options to learn about what we are dealing with, we can feel so much more loved and supported; especially when they begin to understand why you need space or why we ask them to skip a movie date and just lay down and enjoy their presence on a Friday night. Knowledge is power!

Fifth & Finally:
Remember, you have a mental illness; you are not your mental illness. 
Marriage and dating come with their built in basket of  common issues that arise  in every marriage. Separating yourself from your illness is hard, but once you see things for what they are, you can be free to be yourself without the cloud of paranoia and delusion hanging over your head. It’s something you take care of, it’s not you. Also, when couple relationships are under stress, partners begin to physically and emotionally distance themselves from each other. They tend to avoid each other, and when they do come together, it’s often strained, resulting in restrained or surface-level conversations. A healthy way that my husband and I got back on track is by having reasonable expectations of the rewards that marriage brings, and recognizing that it still requires personal effort by both parties to make it work.

IMG_1049 Navigating the road of compromise in a marriage is a tough one though, when am I being selfish and when is he just not being sympathetic or helpful? While I still am a work in progress, I learned a important lesson which is… we don’t have to do life alone!

 “You can’t compare your insides with everyone else’s outsides.” You aren’t perfect, your partner isn’t perfect and your marriage will never be perfect. It’s the wonderful, spontaneous journey that you’re both on together which makes it worth it.

Wishing you and your loved one all the best,
Moores women's activewear (1)