Being a Mom Makes You A Natural Problem Solver!

WE ALL DO IT …

As soon as our heads hit the pillow after we turn off the lights, we take a deep cleansing breath and close our eyes. While we recount the day’s events with snapshot images pulsing in and out of our mind’s eye, we inwardly laugh about a clever comment one of children made, or we wonder how a friend that’s struggling with personal problem is doing, and we wish we hadn’t eaten those four Oreo cookies after the dinner dishes were done.

We also begin to think about the bigger things that revisit our minds each night, such as: “I’ve got to succeed at finally potty-training my youngest son”, or “it’s time to bring the car back in for maintenance work and it needs new tires before winter arrives”, and “we’ve got to start saving more for college tuition because high school is right around the corner!”

As our minds attempt to visualize the end result of our goals, we consciously and subconsciously formulate plans, create strategies, and make commitments to achieve those important objectives for ourselves and our families. Sometimes expressing these wishes to someone else, or physically write them down on paper, make them all the more real and official.

As a woman, wife, and mother, what are some of the goals you’d like to achieve now or in the near future?

What elements in your life are keeping you from achieving your goals?

What specific obstacles are preventing you from living the life or lifestyle you want today, or are limiting your dreams for the future?

• Are you frustrated while trying to lose substantial weight?

Has the extra weight you’ve been carrying around been plaguing you with thoughts like, “I just gotta figure out how to lose it”, or “I’ll start that diet plan tomorrow”, or “Did my last attempt not work because of my lack of  full commitment?”

• Are you worried about one or more of your children?

Do you worry about a slow weight-gaining baby?

Are you having difficulties with breastfeeding (low milk production, plugged milk ducts, or latching problems)?

Do you have a child who is doing poorly in school or is demonstrating a behavioral problem? Are you trying to find the source of his or her challenges?

Does your heart break as you watch your child struggle wishing you could snap your fingers and solve whatever the problem is?

• Are you experiencing financial worry?

Are you struggling to pay your mortgage or rent each month?

Are you putting off home repairs or renovations because there are more urgent issues eating up your household funds?

Are you considering placing your children in day care or after school care so you can go back to working full-time outside of the house to help pay bills?

Are your credit card balances and other debts getting out of control?

• Are you experiencing difficulties in your marriage?

Are the stresses of parenthood with its physical, mental, emotional and financial demands putting stress and strains on the relationship with your spouse?

Are you both so depleted and exhausted by the end of the day that there is no longer time, energy or desire to personally connect?

Are moments of intimacy very few and far between?

• Are you experiencing difficulties in your marriage?

You alone know your deepest worries and hopes for finding solutions.

 

Everyone at one point will experience one or more of the above scenarios as parents in today’s fast-paced, demanding world. As women, and specifically as mothers, we begin solving problems simply by virtue of our nurturing nature. We instinctively comfort, protect and sincerely desire the happiness of those that we love. As mothers first calm and soothe a fussy newborn, it is ingrained in us to find the cause of sadness, discomfort or pain, and make it “all better”.

So, if we instinctively know if and when our child needs our help with a problem, we also instinctively know when it’s time to help ourselves. We know that the time has arrived for action on our part to better a situation that is becoming increasingly worse.

How do we do it? Our natural abilities to SOLVE, to FIND an ANSWER, to BETTER our situation kick in when we come to the point where we cannot endure the present challenging situation, as it stands, any longer.

It is amazing how true the saying is: WHERE THERE’S A WILL, THERE’S A WAY.

If you are struggling with a problem, or more than one problem, get up and find a solution. Dig down into your very heart and soul, commit to finding a solution …

AND MAKE IT HAPPEN.

Believe it or not, the answer is within your reach.

Success in any endeavor is yours for the taking.

You have the power to tap into the powers of your own mind, will power, sense of commitment and resolve.

As Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” writes: Whatever the Mind can CONCEIVE, and BELIEVE, it can ACHIEVE.

Blessings ~

 

 

Are You Trying to be A SUPER MOM?

With a large family, there are many aspects of “keeping it together” that need to be maintained on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. While I no longer insist that the entire house is in complete order as I once did before I had children, it is important to me to keep on top of the daily tasks and finances in order to keep our home and lives running as smoothly and as organized as possible! I’ve been asked on occasion if it’s possible to maintain an organized home with lots of kids. Honestly, some days don’t run as smoothly as I’d like, but for the most part, we all pitch in so that we all benefit from our team efforts.

7 Suggestions for Maintaining Controlled Chaos (well, most of the time):

Many share in the messing; many share in the cleaning.

1– Stay on top of daily chores: Keeping on top of the never-ending laundry, the ongoing kitchen tasks with meal prep and clean up, keeping the pantry and refrigerator stocked with the meals for the week ingredients as well as basic staples, paying the bills and keeping control of the household budget simply are musts! But do I do it all on my own? Of course not!

2– Delegate: In our home, our four older kids each have a list of jobs to do around the house that are clearly posted in the kitchen for all to read and refer to (which, of course, they so appreciate being reminded about). Because two kids are 16 and two kids are now 12, each are required to take turns with dinner dishes and folding two large loads of laundry on alternating days in addition to their homework. Our 16-year-old daughters are to keep their shared bathroom clean (not that they always do the perfect job at it) and to help take care of their little brothers for me while I run errands. All are expected to keep their rooms in order as well as the upstairs loft which they all share to play games, computer work, homework and TV-watching.

3– Divide up tasks over several days: I try not to feel like it all has to be done everyday. I’ll spread my tasks out over a few days. For example, I’m content that the bathrooms get thorough cleanings on Mondays, vacuuming gets done on most Wednesdays, and dusting is saved for Thursdays, so that cleaning gets done once a week. The kitchen floor may not get completely mopped each day, but it requires sweeping and spot-washing several times a day.

4– Communicate/Post schedules: As for the children’s after-school activities, as schedules seem to constantly change, we communicate daily as to who needs to be where and when. A large, erasable calendar is posted for all to see showing Brandon’s baseball schedule, Erin’s soccer schedule, and Kathryn’s dance classes, Lauren’s Thespian (drama) club, social activities and presently, Driver’s-ed classes. My 8-seater van shuttles everyone all over the place, but I also have a carpool arrangement with another family. Right now, I have four kids in two different schools, and it’s a real challenge making sure that everyone gets to and from their activities daily.

5– Be money-conscious: Many families with several children are tightly budgeted, which is no easy thing to do. While it can become a habit to place this or that on credit cards when there’s more month than money, it’s frighteningly simple for spending to get out of hand. Before you know it, you’re in deep debt! Our motto is: if we don’t have the cash for it, we don’t buy it. I plan out the dinners for a week and stick to those ingredients so that I’m not tempted to buy lots of extras. I take advantage of sales, coupons and on occasion shop at second-hand stores for kids play clothing, etc. I believe that living this way is teaching our children to appreciate what we have and to respect the costs of daily life.

6– Take care of yourself: When the busy day full of home care and shuttling is over, find an outlet to relax. It’s important not to be hard on yourself when things don’t run as smoothly as you wish, so cut yourself some slack. You’re doing the best you can, and that’s what’s important! Exercise! I actually exercise in the evenings, followed by a hot shower or relaxing bath. The stress relief from endorphin release during physical activity, followed by the hormone oxytocin that the body releases while being soothed in warm water is the perfect prescription for relaxation! Additional Stress Reducers: Some evenings I go out to meet a friend for coffee and dessert or a movie. I also love to go to movies all by myself, allowing myself to get immersed in a good love story or comedy. After having the chance to take a break, I’m a much happier wife and mom!  🙂

7– Go on a date with your husband! Get out once a week or so, just the two of you. Reconnecting often as a couple is VITAL to the longevity, renewal and healthiness of your marriage!

 

You know, people say to me all the time, “Fran, I don’t know how you do it!And often I’ll answer, Some days I do, and some days I don’t!” And that’s the truth … some days go as smoothly as a well-oiled machine, and other days seem to be fraught with a hundred little fires that need to be put out one by one, just like most families experience daily! So delegate the house work tasks, and accept help, take care of yourself, and above all, don’t try to do it all on your own …

And here’s a good question: What is our ultimate goal as moms?

Is it to raise our children to become self-sufficient, independent, life-skilled, confident, responsible adults?

YES!

And there’s no better training for our kids than to entrust them with chores, responsibilities, and expect no less than their best efforts in return for our trust, and in the process, we provide them with our unconditional love, support and encouragement (with doses of correction and redirection when needed!).

 SO, in choosing to raise our kids this way …

We ARE SUPER MOMS after all!

Are you just “Overly-Emotional” or is it Postpartum Depression?

Everyone experiences the natural spectrum of emotions throughout their life, it’s just human nature. However, when overwhelming life events directly impact the body’s normal state of well-being, we sometimes lose our abilities to cope as we think we should. Such circumstances may include a death in the family, a long-distance move, or a divorce. But few events directly impacts a woman’s physical, mental and emotional state of being as much as the birth of a child. The sudden changes in hormonal levels as the result of giving birth can result in a feeling of sadness or “baby blues”. When these feelings don’t lessen after a few weeks, or become worse, a woman may be suffering from postpartum depression.

National Vital Statistics report that approximately 10 to 15% of women suffer from postpartum mood disorders (PPMDs), including postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety/OCD and postpartum psychosis. In 2007, the statistics report indicates that the total number of clinically recognized pregnancies is around 6.4 million. 15% of that would mean that each year approximately 950,000 women are suffering postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression can occur anytime between one to two days following delivery, up to and beyond a year.

From a personal perspective, I did not suffer from PPD following either of my first two pregnancies. But, I fell into a deep dark place two weeks following the births of my third set of twins. Knowing that this was not normal for me, and also knowing that I wasn’t able to “talk myself out of it”, I asked my OB/GYN for a consultation, and after talking for some time, she prescribed a medication for me that was safe to take while breastfeeding. After a couple of weeks, I began to feel better, more like myself again. It felt as though sunshine was finally breaking through dark heavy clouds that had been looming overhead, raining heavily down on me for weeks, totally exhausting me. Finally, I could pick up the babies without feeling as though they were a threat to me, no longer foreign little bodies posing as the sources of my confusion and grief. If you’ve ever experienced postpartum depression, you can understand what I mean. I could cope with the struggles, challenges and fatigue without crying all the time, and felt the deep, protective love for my babies that was supposed to fill my entire being instead of chronic sadness. I wasn’t completely symptom-free for a few months, but I knew this wouldn’t last forever. I was blessed to have my husband’s understanding, patience and support during my darkest times … and I prayed … a LOT.

Many postpartum depression sufferers just want to know WHEN it will end. Blogger and former PPD sufferer Katherine Stone educates on all areas of postpartum depression on her site: Postpartum Progress. One of her articles lists the six factors that can affect how quickly a woman can recover from PPD. She lists:

1. How long did you suffer from PPD before you reached out for treatment? If you’ve not sought treatment or help for a substantial amount of time, you may be looking at a longer recovery time. Nipping a problem in the bud, as they say, before it grows out of control can be key in reducing the time it takes to come out of the PPD fog.

2. How severe is your illness?

3. How effective is the treatment you have been using?

4. How effective is the doctor or therapist you’re working with? If your symptoms are quite severe, it may take more time, treatment and therapy (and their effectiveness) before symptoms begin to subside.

5. What is your current life situation and how may it be affecting your recovery? It will be much harder to go through this condition without some support. If you’re a single parent, for instance, you’ll have a harder time than if you have the support of your husband or other close family member(s). Whether you are returning to work or are a stay-at-home mother will also play a huge factor in your recovery time.

6. What have you been doing to follow your treatment plan and take care of yourself? The more sleep and the better nutrition you receive, the better, as both allow the body to recuperate and better cope with difficulties and challenges.

There are several physical support groups available, as well as online support blogs to turn to for assurance and understanding. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. PPD is a very commonly occurring condition that is well-recognized and well-supported. Don’t suffer alone, and know that you will get through this … the sun WILL come out again.

Fulfilling your nutritional needs will also help balance your hormones and provide you with an overall feeling of wellness. Please remember to eat a balanced diet full of lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fresh dairy and take a daily supplement to fill in any nutritional gaps that may exist.

* * *

For more information, please visit Katherine Stone’s blog at: Postpartum Progress … together, stronger, where you will find a wealth of information and resources.

Also, please visit Mayo Clinic for medical information and treatment options for Postpartum Depression.

Blessings ~

 

 

Your Newborn Twins CAN Tell You What They Want!

When I was lying on the sofa during my last pregnancy’s first trimester (you know, when you feel sick all the time, and have no more energy than it takes to lie around watching TV), I paid especially close attention to the Oprah show that aired one afternoon. When the announcement of upcoming guests and topics was made just as the show was starting, a chord was stuck in me, and I knew I would be giving my utmost attention to this program!

One of Oprah’s guests that day was an Australian mom named Priscilla Dunstan who shared with the audience her discovery of distinct infant cries and their meanings. I was glued to the TV because I knew that once again very soon, we would be parents to brand new infants. Ms. Dunstan in her method called Dunstan Baby Language describes the 5 different and distinguishable cry sounds that babies in their first few months of age make when they are expressing different wants and needs.

As Priscilla began to talk, I reached for already opened envelope that was on a side table nearby, picked up a less-than-sharp blue crayon, flipped over the envelope and started to jot down some notes. I had lived through the early months with two previous sets of twins, and one of the difficult and frustrating aspects was trying to translate my babies’ cries. I’d so often wished that the babies could TELL me what was wrong during fussy times that, no matter how I tried, I just couldn’t always resolve.

According to Priscilla, babies’ cries are reflexes that are detectable in 0-3 month old babies. What’s important is that you have to catch these sound signals early on, because if not responded to with the requested need readily addressed, the baby will stop using them as they get older.

So here are the 5 distinguishable sounds that infants use to express what they need:

  1. EH means I need to burp
  2. NEHmeansI’m hungry (and might be accompanied by rooting for the breast and sucking on his lil hand)
  3. OWH means I’m sleepy (with this cry usually comes the little wiggly chin)
  4. HEH means Discomfort (“I need for diaper change, I don’t like the feel of these jammies, I scratched myself”)
  5. EAIR means Abdominal Gas (I got this one a lot, and it usually turned up in the late afternoon and lasted through midnight, as colic would kick in!)

For exhausted new parents, these tips can save lots of time and ease frustration. I truly believe these sound translations are accurate because I put it to the test once Sean and Benjamin arrived, and I was amazed when I compared the sounds to what I’d learned … My husband and I really could apply a cry sound to a baby need (most of the time)!

You’ll be surprised how distinguishable these are, and how you’ll readily you’ll begin to pick up on these sounds. And again, as all mothers know, any and all tips that can ease the challenges of having newborns, (especially in multiples) are very welcomed!!

Blessings ~

 

Hey, It’s Natural to Feel Stressed as a Mom of Twins!

It’s no surprise that we are all under enormous amounts of stress! Often, we put pressure on ourselves to achieve more, and do everything better or faster than we already do. Some of our stress is from outside forces such as an unexpected job loss, illness, death of a loved-one, a spouse deployed to war, while some sources of stress are expected, such as the birth of a new baby or arrival of twins/triplets, but its intensity and duration are unexpected. Honestly, three of the most stressful and exhausting times in my life were the first few months following the births of my twins.

5 Common Causes of Stress

1. Relationships (dating, planning a wedding, marital problems, divorce, problems between parent and child, everyday demands of family life);

2. Environment (moving, retirement, travel);

3. Death (of a close family member or friend, whether expected or unexpected);

4. Health (being given a frightening or life-threatening diagnosis, difficult pregnancy, new baby(ies), weight-gain);

5. Work (pressures to perform on the job, personality conflicts, fear of losing one’s job or of demotion).

There! We made it into two of the five, and most impressively into the #1 cause! With all that we take on, are asked to take on, or with what happens in our lives as a result of this fast-paced life in 2011, it’s no wonder we’re all stressed-out!

MayoClinic.com provides one reliable source for understanding stress and finding the ways that work best for you to ease the stress and the symptoms.

I find now with toddlers, and found especially while my babies were all infants, that taking advantage of the times between feedings when they were asleep or at least quiet (and in the care of my husband or of my visiting mother or mother-in-law), I would find a far on the other side of the house and SLEEP. Sleep is so incredibly recuperative and beneficial to our brains, exhausted bodies and nerves, that even an hour to 2-hour nap can work wonders.

EXERCISE, for instance, taking a stroller walk (good fresh air for babies and you), doing some stationary stretching, a yoga video, or whatever gets your blood circulating, your heart rate up a bit, and your breathing deep helps to release the pent-up stress and tension that invariably builds up under the enormous demands of new motherhood. If you’re up to it, and you’re doctor has given you the thumbs up, a good roll in the hay with hubby is a wonderful stress-releaser … for both of you, and you both more than deserve it!

Sometimes, just GETTING OUT for a change of scenery (lunch out with a friend, a walk in the mall, grocery shopping) can cleanse the mind, body and rejunenate the spirit to actually have your looking forward to going home and nuzzling up to your babies for their next feeding … at least until the demands start piling up on you again, in which case, I recommend you repeat the above suggestions all over again!

If you enjoyed or related to this article, please post a comment. Also, please subscribe to my website by filling in the box on the right of this screen … you’ll receive free gifts, information, and blog post announcements, PLUS you’ll be eligible to win a copy of TWINS x 3 in my monthly drawing from my subscribers names!

Blessings ~

 

Oops Moms of Twins: Your Stress Is Showing!

“I can usually tell if

someone is stressed out or not just by looking at their belly size.”

– Dr. Mehmet Oz in First for Women

 

Boy, if that’s true, than we’re a stressed-out society! Is it my imagination or does it seem like more and more people, from children to seniors, seem to be harboring excessive amounts of belly fat these days? In an excerpt from a to-the-point article posted on the awareness-building and informative blog, Always sick and Tired (Help me get healthy), popular blog writer and chronic illness sufferer herself Always Sick Chick conveys to her readers after thorough research the following:

“There are obvious ways stress affects us negatively. It can cause irritability, tiredness, loss of energy, loss of appetite or an increased appetite, make us crave unhealthy things such as sugary foods with no nutritional value, etc…  All of these come together and cause weight gain, but it’s the type of weight gain that it causes that makes it different from anything else.

When we are chronically stressed out, our bodies believe we are in peril.  We can thank evolution for this one, as the chronic stress of our ancestors was usually related to famine or extreme danger from a predator.  Such stress meant the body needed to store up fat for fuel to keep from starving or to give extra energy for the fight or flight against the predator.

Today, though, our stress is different.  We are not facing famine.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  Food is plentiful.  So whenever we are stressed, our bodies think we need food, even when we don’t.  And as we eat that double cheeseburger, our body is storing every ounce of fat in it for the famine that it thinks is approaching, or the marathon it thinks we need to run to escape that saber tooth that no longer exists.  The body does this with the help of a naturally occurring steroid produced by the body called cortisol.

You’ve no doubt seen those commercials about cortisol and how it causes stubborn belly fat. They’re selling you pills that don’t work, but their information about what causes belly fat is true according to Dr. Oz.  The cortisol makes you hungry, even when you don’t need food, because you’re stressed out.”

I found that the older I became, the harder it was for me to lose my pregnancy and post-pregnancy  weight, and I have had experience myself with stress-induced weight-gain and the inability to lose weight due to stress. It’s so frustrating, and the more stressed I am about the weight, the harder it is to take off … a truly vicious cycle.

Doctors and fitness experts agree that plain and simply: take in less than you burn, and you’ll lose weight; take in more than you burn and you’ll gain. Exercise while eating correctly will increase your metabolism and burn fat and calories while it also builds stronger muscle mass and allow you to have a more efficient metabolism. With more muscle mass, you’ll lose weight more quickly than if you only ate less or made better food choices because muscle burns calories, even while resting.

There’s some food for thought for you!

If you enjoyed or related to this article, please post a comment. Also, please subscribe to my website by filling in the red box on the left of this screen!

Blessings ~