A balanced Mother’s Day during unbalanced times

While I’ve never been one to make a big deal about Mother’s Day, it is always a time that reminds me to think about how becoming a mom was the best thing I’ve ever done. No, it’s not bliss and dreamy at all times. It’s messy, crazy, stressful, and exhausting. And that’s completely fine with me! It’s perfectly imperfect. I mean look at these 2, what could be better than this…

This year is definitely no exception for me in terms of  checking in and questioning how great or not great of a mom I am. For almost 2 months we have basically been on lock down during this pandemic. I’m teaching from home, the kids are learning from home, and we are home. All. The. Time.

I have always been a worrier. Having kids has brought that out even more, as I’m sure most moms can relate to. But this year has brought it to a whole new level. I worry that they’re completing their school work. I worry I can’t help them enough because I have my own school work and students to help. I worry that even though they seem happy they might scared, anxious, or sad because their whole life changed overnight. I worry about their mental health and have hardly slept through it all.

I am doing my best to make sure they are okay. But in order to do that, I have to be okay. I’ve always been an advocate for the belief that moms who take care of themselves and put their mental and physical health first sometimes are better for it. The whole you can’t love someone else until you love yourself first idea. I think it’s important for us to have time to work out, read, take a bath or whatever it is that makes you balanced. And for me, now more than ever I need that. I need to release this stress somewhere so it’s not directed at these innocent little babes who are just trying to understand what the heck is going on right now!

I’ve been waking up and running almost every day before everyone else is up and before our school day starts. It’s not even physical right now, it’s for my mental health. It gives me the chance to mentally organize my thoughts for the day, and physically move before sitting behind the screen for 3 or 4 hours. It makes me more patient while trying to multitask like I never have before…working in my “classroom” while getting the 25th snack for someone or helping with multiplying fractions (although I don’t know how much I’m actually helping with that).

I guess my point in all of this is, if you are a mom and feel like you are struggling right now, you are absolutely not alone. This is hard. It’s not normal, not even a “new normal”. It’s scary, frustrating, and stressful. But I think the more you try and find something that grounds you…no matter what that is, try and make an effort to do that. You deserve it. But even more importantly your kids deserve it. It’s not easy but I know it’s so worth it and I hope you can find your release too.

Happy Mother’s Day. Do something for yourself today mama, even if it’s just putting those feet up and enjoying some burnt pancakes in bed. You need it, maybe this year more than ever.

barbalinardo

xoxo,

Heather

Kindness over competition

 

A few days ago we were hit with a blizzard. In the past, I would have never went out and ran in the wind and snow, but over the past year I have made a commitment to myself to stop with the excuses, set the example for my kids and just get it done. Thanks to some motivating friends and a great community of amazing women I follow on Instagram I felt inspired to get out there. So out I went and was pretty darn proud of myself.

The first day I just ran up and down the same street not knowing what the conditions were around me. But the second day I ventured out…loving the sound of the snow crunching under my feet (and the occasional snow blower).  I would guess that about 90% of the people I saw were men. There were a few kids sledding and a handful of women shoveling.

As I ran by, most men waved or said good morning. I was also told, “god bless you!” “now that’s determination!” and was given a few thumbs up. It felt nice, although I wasn’t out there to be told I was doing something great.

But then it happened. Only one woman felt the need to say something to me. And that was the comment that hit hard. She stopped shoveling and stared at me as I ran by and asked, “Is that really necessary?”.  I almost stopped. I almost snapped back and asked her if her comment was necessary. I almost let myself feel bad. But I didn’t. I kept that one on her.

But why? Why not just ignore me if I was upsetting you that much? Why was I even worth commenting at? I just don’t get it. But what maybe made me even more proud of myself than the fact I got out there was that I just let her comment go. For years I would’ve held on to that and allowed her to make me feel like I was doing something wrong. That I was stupid for running that day. That I somehow should be apologizing or feel guilty for being out there. And that makes me sad. Sad I wasted all that time not letting it go and using it as fuel to work even harder.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with self confidence. Let’s face it, girls can be pretty mean sometimes and for whatever reason we don’t always tell each other how amazing we really are. It seems as though girls are taught to compete with each other instead of work together or build each other up. It’s taken me 37 years to fully wake up and realize that it’s okay to walk away from those who make you feel less than what you should, and that if someone is making you feel that way it is most likely an insecurity or issue within them, NOT YOU.

As a mother to a young girl, I’m sure I have been more sensitive to what other women say to me since Ava was born. I’ve made a huge effort to make sure she understands that she is amazing and not to take what others say to heart. It’s as simple as when someone pays you a compliment just saying “thank you”. Why do we feel the need to act undeserving of someone who is actually being nice? Why if someone tells us something simple like “your hair looks great” do we say something like “oh really? I need a trim badly” instead of “thank you”. We are so used to hearing something negative we can hardly even take a simple compliment. And this needs to change. For me to help Ava understand, I have to keep making an effort to change myself. To be aware of how I say things and make sure I am making other women feel good about their choices and not guilty. I know  I am not perfect in doing this but I will continue to try. We owe it not only to ourselves, but to those little girls who look up to us. They deserve that and so do we.

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