Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer-time Blues

So I am a Facebooker.  I check it several times a day.  Somedays I post several pictures, ideas and comments, but most days I am just an observer.

Lately, I have observed from many a friend that their little ones are starting to get on their nerves this summer.



This is an age old problem.  I am sure your, "Leave it to Beaver" type families in the 50's and before had many days where their children were just too much to handle.  But these people happen to be the older generation of our day now and for some reason forgot completely how difficult raising little ones can be.

For instance:

While at the store one day, my very precocious two year old was having a little spout of, "Give me what I want or I will tear this store down bit by bit" tantrum.  My four year old was whining and my six year old was standing by watching it all come down around me.

A sweet grandma in her 70's or 80's told me to, "Enjoy this time.  It goes by too fast."  I looked at her with what I am sure was shocked a dismayed eyes, as I couldn't imagine, at that moment, for one second, that I would ever be able to enjoy this moment.  And I didn't want to.



However, as I have thought about that experience, I have come to realize that this wise and seasoned mother was probably trying to let me know that while these little ones have the power and stamina to drain you right down into a withering heap on the floor, the problems and stresses you deal with at the age of 2 or 4 are far easier than the stresses you deal with when your child is 14, 18 or 30, when life really counts.

It is Summer.  Our kids are all around us, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  They are bored, hot, bored, and ready to start school usually a month before it actually starts.

While I am not an expert when it comes to overcoming the Summer-time blues, I have come up with a few ways to make my day a little easier and for me to enjoy "these moments" a little more.  First, commit to mommy-time.  Most children do things just for our attention, whether it is good or bad.  I find that if I have, even five minutes of mommy time with my children, they feel less inclined to act out in a negative way.

So I put together a list of about 20 things and cut them into strips of things that I, and I emphasize "I", would like to do with my children, such as playing a matching game, reading books, going on a nature walk...and each day one child gets to chose out of a jar something for us to do together.  We do it every day at the same time and they don't let me forget.

Second, find time for yourself.  Hand the kiddos off to your hubby or your mom or a friend (if you don't have any of those, put on a movie) and just sit for as long as you can.  Read a book, take a walk...do something that clears your mind.  Doing something just for you helps you be a better mom.  My amazing, wonderful, beautiful little sister (my BFF is her older sister) is the Hungry Runner Girl and one of her posts rang true to me with this idea:
http://www.hungryrunnergirl.com/2013/05/why-working-out-helps-me-personally-to-be-a-better-mom.html

Third, breathe.  This is something I need to work on.  When my baby is crying, my two year old is screaming and one or both of my older children are wining about some drama in their lives, I try to just remove myself for a moment to breath.  I count to 10 or jump up and down until I feel better.  This usually distracts them from whatever they were crying about and they start jumping with me. :)

In the end I think that sweet old woman was right.  Enjoying the moment is something we should all try to do in life, no matter where we are.  But I know from my own experience it is much easier not to.  I hope we can try a little harder to combat the summer-time blues and give ourselves a break. Let's enjoy our babies while we can.  Our children will grow too fast, right before our eyes, and one day we will be the ones telling a frazzled, tired mom of little ones to enjoy this moment.

Because we will finally understand how much we miss it.



Lots of love,
Niki

Monday, June 10, 2013

Stress in Hiding

Have you ever done something in your life that was stressing you out and you didn't even realize it?  Have you taken on a project that seems to be a perfect fit, but find yourself feeling overwhelmed anyway?



This is what happened to me.

I would have to say that having my fourth baby has really been my breaking point.  I feel tired and overwhelmed with kids needing my attention.  I love each one of my precious little babes, and I felt myself being short tempered and feeling less than enthusiastic in playtime with them.

I decided to take a deep hard look at what could be a cause of this.

I will say this, I feel it is very important for each and every person to find a hobby, interesest, a talent...something that is just yours and work on it.  It could be running, art, music, reading, writing, photography, sewing, etc.  

As I looked at what I was doing with my time, I found more time than I thought was being taken up by my photography.  I was taking time away from my children with the planning, shooting and editing time of taking pictures.  I was blessed to have many clients and many opportunities to work with some amazing and fun people...but I was missing my children.

 I found myself stressing over the weather for the session, the time of the shoot, getting the session done in time for Hannah's recital or Lia's activity...I found myself not being around for many bedtime stories and prayers.  I found myself running out the door at dinner time or Saturday morning snuggle time.  And then my husband asked me one day, "Are you happy doing this?"

I thought about that.  And I came to the conclusion that while I do love photography, I found that I don't love the time it takes away from my children or my husband.  

I am grateful for the time I spent taking pictures of babies, families, brides and grooms, children and even pets; it pushed me to be a better photographer.

I will never give up photography.  But I will be learning and doing things on my own time.  

Lots of love,
Niki