I have always taken great pride in my teeth. My dad used to “motivate” us when we were kids by paying us every time we came home from the dentist … Continue reading Brain “Cavity”
I had a bizarre experience the other day. I was watching a television show, which admittedly was pretty intense. In the show, a girl was hit by a car. Badly. … Continue reading Flashback
I might have mentioned that I’ve been writing again, but I haven’t said much about what I’m writing. I challenged myself to write a book in a year and while … Continue reading A Book in a Year
One year ago, “Silent Grief, Healing, and Hope: 15 Inspirational Stories of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Child Loss” was launched to the world. Inside its covers, 15 women share their stories and mine is one of them. It’s a story I’ve told in bits and pieces for 10 years. Because it was literally 10 years ago this fall that I experienced my first miscarriage.
It was important to me to tell my story–you don’t know who else is struggling silently until you share. It creates a safe space for someone to speak their truth. It means that they are not alone. And even though I’ve been an avid reader and writer for most of my life, I learned on a different level the power of storytelling.
Growing up, my family didn’t hang dirty laundry out to dry. We kept the struggles quiet. It took me a long time to change my perspective. I am proud of my contribution to this book and I hope that it works to remove the stigma associated with infertility, miscarriage, child loss, or any other struggle for that matter.
I believe the best way to change perception and remove stigma is to talk about the real issues in a real way.
As if self care wasn’t hard enough before, the pandemic has made it nearly impossible. Flight attendants advise parents to put on their own “oxygen mask” first, otherwise they may be unable to help children or dependents. I believe this to be true, but when you are working, parenting, and homeschooling…there are just not enough hours in the day. Self care becomes sleeping, eating, and showering, if you’re lucky!
Another truth I have heard about self care is that it doesn’t have to take a long time. It can be 5 minutes, 5 hours, or anything in between. This should make it easier for busy parents, but is it feasible to benefit from anything that only takes 5 minutes? I’ve tested this out more than a few times since the pandemic began, not intentionally but out of necessity. I have, on more than one occasion, locked my bedroom door and laid down on my bed, not to sleep but just to close my eyes and have some peace. While 5 minutes doesn’t do much for me, I found that 15 or 20 was useful. It gives me a much-needed “time out” but also allows my twin girls enough time to sort things out on their own. This way, when I emerge from my time out, everyone has moved on from whatever drama drove me to retreat in the first place. And trust me, the percentage of meltdowns by everyone in our house has gone up during COVID-19 isolation.
Maybe you can count this as self care, and maybe not, but it was effective in the moment and there are many things you can do in 15 minutes. At this stage in life, I also feel that I’ve lost track of my own interests to a certain degree. I’ve been focused on kids for the last 6 years, what do I even like to do anymore? Reading is a given, I’ve always loved reading. Some of my other interests have changed though.
Here are some ideas:
- a hot bubble bath (preferably in a deep claw foot tub);
- a cup of tea, coffee, or a cocktail and a book/magazine;
- a short walk, run, or even sitting outside enjoying some sunshine and scenery;
- going for a drive by yourself and listening to music;
- engaging in some intimacy with your spouse/partner or by yourself;
- watching an episode of a grown-up show;
- or a phone/video call with a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but all of these are things that make me feel better!
Since the end of March, I have boycotted “homeschooling”. My girls are 6 and keeping them focused on anything is a challenge. Instead, I have been taking opportunities for learning as they come. I have taught them how to count money, bake cookies, play “go fish”, sew, and a number of other things. A question or a problem arises and we do it together. What I realize now looking back is that this is a concerted effort on my part to incorporate learning. It may not be a 3-hour block, structured on certain subjects, using the online resources that the teachers have provided. But I am taking the time away from work and “normal” parenting to focus on these things. And it’s been challenging but fun. Don’t short-change your efforts during this unusual time–the weight we are all carrying and the accompanying stress needs to be balanced by some much needed self care.
Why don’t we make time for ourselves? Unfortunately, as parents, we often put our kids’ needs above our own and since the younger ages need us frequently, the “to-do” list is never complete. We think that we will get to ourselves once everything else is done, but who are we kidding? If having kids has taught me anything, it’s the that the list keeps growing and you simply have to prioritize the items. So, self care should really be scheduled and prioritized. I still struggle with this…I tend to do it only when my girls are with a family member or when I’m about to lose my *&%$#@!
But what if we taught our kids to engage in self care as well? What if we asked them what activities make them feel calm and happy? What if we schedule time for the whole family to engage in self care, individually if that’s what’s needed? Would everyone will learn to respect each other’s needs and boundaries? It might not be easy at first, but it might also be worth a try…
Confessions of a Twin Mom started out as a column for the Durham Parents of Multiples newsletter. I joined DPOM when I found out I was having twins and found a wonderful group of people. Since I love writing, I began to write some articles for the newsletter and then eventually became the newsletter editor.
One of my articles was picked up by TWINS Magazine which was fantastic. I also wrote my chapter for “Silent Grief, Healing, and Hope” under the “Confessions” banner.
“Confessions” is my way of communicating that motherhood is not what I expected. Sometimes it’s better and sometimes it’s worse. It’s my way of calling it like it is and trying to break down the social-media-perfection barrier. It’s my way of reaching out to say, “I’m not always okay, are you?”
Now I’m writing through this blog. It’s not always going to be about motherhood or twins, but it will be honest. I found that if I talk about what’s going on with me, I find other people who have been through (or are going through) the same thing. You can help them, they can help you, and then you have an open dialogue with someone like-minded.
If nothing else, this blog will maybe make you laugh!