Tantrums Get You Nothing…or Do They?

I cannot count how many times I have told kids, be it my own or my students, that tantrums accomplish nothing and will get them nowhere. Something I failed to recognize until yesterday was the inaccuracy of that statement. Tantrums do accomplish something. Whether that something is getting energy out, expressing a feeling, or learning a lesson about self or life, ultimately something is gained. What is gained may not always be positive but it is still something.

So how did this change in understanding occur for me? What prophetic moment sparked and brought this topic to mind? I wish I could say that it was just something that popped into my head, or that it came up in conversation, but both of those things would be a lie. The truth is, it came about because I, yes me, a grown ass adult, threw a tantrum yesterday.

Okay, so what was this tantrum over?

Well, it was over my workout at the gym. Yes, that is correct, I threw a tantrum at the gym.

What seems like forever ago, but in reality was just 12 short weeks ago, I had major surgery. A hysterectomy at 26 where not only my uterus was removed but pounds, yes pounds (12 to be precise) of scar tissue was removed. This scar tissue had attached itself to my uterus as well as my bladder, causing my stomach to expand as my bladder was slowly ripped in half as it was being stretched across my body.

During the time prior to my surgery I had been working out through my pain and hoping to keep energy and momentum in order to get healthier. I was proud at my progress and found determination in hitting awesome benchmarks. The one I had found myself most proud of was being able to complete a 3 minute and 9 second plank.

Cleared and feeling good at 8 weeks post surgery I went back to working out. Frustrated at a huge amount of weight gain my body experienced post surgery I was ready to get back at it. I had gained over 30lbs. For me that type of gain was unheard of. To be fair any gain was unheard of. Prior to my surgery I had to actively focus in order to not LOSE rapid amounts of weight, gaining weight for me was impossible. Post surgery that is definitely not the case.

So back to that tantrum.

Here I was at the gym. 12 weeks post surgery. I came in ready to push myself and feeling confident. It was AB day. Push-ups, planks, bicycle crunches, planks, burpees, planks, leg lifts, planks. That was my workout. For an hour. 90 seconds a piece. 2x.  And there I was unable to even make a plank for 30 seconds. I found myself comparing myself to pre-surgery me. I could do over 3 MINUTES before surgery and now I couldn’t even make 30 seconds. I felt defeated. I felt sad. I felt ultimately like I was failing because post surgery me couldn’t plank like pre surgery me could. And no matter how much prior I had heard, “you just had major surgery, you’ll get there” I couldn’t get that to make me feel any better. I felt as though if I wasn’t making that then I wasn’t trying hard enough.

The 2nd plank hit in round one and I dropped to my knees about 20 seconds in. I felt the tears coming. They weren’t sad tears. They were angry tears. I was getting angry. By the end of the first set I was pissed. The 2nd plank was worse than the first and I decided that if I couldn’t do those than I would put everything I was feeling into my other exercises and so I did. I hit my burpees with anger, with determination, and I think in the hopes of somehow telling myself it was me making up for something I felt like I was failing – my planks. I slammed my feet into the ground hard with each burpee I hit just trying to work out the extreme amount of pissed off I was feeling and when that 3rd set of planks came around my trainer called me aside, and called me out on what ultimately had been a bit of a tantrum.

He reminded me again that the body takes time to heal, it had only been 12 weeks, and that I can only do so much right now. And I hated those words because I knew it wasn’t what I could do. I had planked for 3 minutes before I could do more than 20 stupid seconds. I felt fine so why couldn’t I work like I was fine? Why wasn’t it showing? That is when I said that I was feeling defeated but bottom line I was feeling like a failure. Like I wasn’t pushing hard enough because I wasn’t meeting previous work expectation. And to me that meant I was failing. Failing myself and failing him. That it meant I wasn’t working hard enough because I wasn’t back to where I knew I could be. He reminded me that I needed to work to my CURRENT level to avoid injury whether I liked it or not and I finished my workout with that in mind.

So what did my tantrum get me?

My tantrum gave me some clarity and a whole lot of emotions. I am a still really frustrated at my inabilities right now. I hate feeling as though I am behind where I know I can be. And I hate feeling like I am not ever going to get back to what little strength I had had. I hate feeling like my goals are so out of reach because it makes me feeling like I will never succeed to my end hope. But I am recognizing now that failing is a choice but it’s also a perspective. I am at the gym and I work every moment to the best of my current, sucky ability. I push hard and I always feel my workouts in the morning. That means I have to be doing something right. If I was failing I wouldn’t be there at all. My scale backed up this budding thought process as I hit another 3 lbs down. This is leaving me at only 15 lbs from my pre-surgery weight and 20lbs from my goal weight. That’s progress. That’s progress even though I can’t plank for 3 minutes anymore. And progress is my goal.

The reality is, I may never get back to that 3 minutes ever. And I need to learn to be okay with that. Just like my mind is different today than it was even a year ago so is my body. A body that has been through a whole hell of a lot in its life and has a lot of healing to do. And I need to stop comparing who my body used to be to who it is now. My tantrum helped to remind me that even when I felt weak I wasn’t. It helped to remind me that when I feel like I am failing I am surrounded by people who remind me that I am maybe being a bit unreasonable with myself. It helped to remind me that I’ve been through so much, but there is progress being made inside and out that is positive and that I have to keep fighting for that.

In this I learned that tantrums, they do get you something. Sometimes good and sometimes bad there is always a lesson, always a reason, and always something to be gained. Now that doesn’t mean I recommend them, but it does me that I now respect what they have to tell me. Not just in myself but from my kids, from my students, from my friends, and from my family, because in them is always something more than just those hard landings during burpees, in them is some of the biggest fears, challenges, and struggles people hold in and don’t know how to express.

Thank you to my amazing trainer for never giving up on me. For always pushing me not just to be fierce in the gym but to be fierce in my soul and to recognize the connection between what’s manifesting outside as a result of what is happening inside. For smiling through my tantrum and taking that time to remind me again no matter how many times he has before, that I am not in competition with myself or others in this journey to health and that I am not a failure to anyone including myself. I can’t promise I will always have good days, but I can promise I will always work my absolute hardest, whatever that level may be in order to become a better and healthier me inside and out. Thank you for not giving up on me even when I wanted to give up on me.

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It’s a New Year – Welcome 2014

The dawn of a New Year is that time of year notorious for resolution making, goal setting, and the general desire to increase ones health, wellness, and prosperity for the coming year. For many these resolutions last days or weeks, sometimes even months, but rarely span out to the entire year. Goals often involve getting fit/healthy, earning more money, being a better person, but what does any of that actually mean? Vagueness in a goal is, in my opinion, one of the biggest reasons they fail, or motivation for them is lost. You know, that and day to day life stuff getting in the way, there is that too. 😀

As I have said before, the best goals are specific goals.

1. What do you want to accomplish?

2.Why do you want to accomplish it?

3.How long will it reasonably take?

4. How long would you like to accomplish it in?

5. What is the end result – ie: the goal?

Breaking down what you truly want to do may seem ‘over the top’ but the reality is when you know exactly what you want to do and the steps to achieve it, you are much more likely TO achieve it, instead of just wish you had.

This year for me and our family is full of new changes. We are preparing every day for the newest member of our family to meet us on the outside, and now with only 6 weeks left we realize we have less time to finish preparing than we had thought. We will then have a decent adjustment period as we merge into a family of 4 and LM merges into the capacity of older sister and not only child. SCM will have a mission later in the Spring that will take him away from home again, this time for a much shorter duration, and there will be adjustments there for us all. Added to the adjustments we have this New Year as a family we have individual ones as well. SCM has school, work, Army, health/fitness, and family to focus on. LM has toddlerhood and all the woes that go along with that as well as the adjustment of big sister. I have motherhood, wife-hood, my business, and my own personal goals in health and fitness, body and mind. And of course we have Belly Baby and his/her adjustments to the outside world as well. Wow, does that sound like a lot? Well when it is jumbled into a paragraph with no real structure or plan of attack, it IS a lot. It doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as it looks though, or so I tell myself.

I’ve decided first and foremost to focus on what I can control, and what I can control alone, which is ME, (and I suppose belly baby until he/she comes out). My focus on myself and my goals will help me to be a better wife and parent as well as a better support to them in their goals.

So:

What do *I* want to accomplish this year?

This year I want to accomplish many things both mentally, physically, and spiritually. I chose to write what I “want” as WILLS, a statement of affirmation that it IS something I WILL accomplish this year.

  1. I will take more time to read books for myself. To expand my mind through readings of all genres. My goal this year is to read 52 books, though I will be happy if I make half that number being that my total read last year was a sad and measly 3. (So far this year I have already completed 1 and am 2/3 into a 2nd. I say this is already progress.)
  2. I will evaluate my spiritual compass and find a deeper and more identifiable connection to what I believe and how I live it in my daily life. While identifying this I will show, and teach it to the children in day to day actions and focus to become a more spiritually grounded family again.
  3. I will take the time in every moment of every day to be the best wife that I can be for my husband. I will take the time to evaluate HIS needs and HIS processes in handling situations and not just my own. I will communicate more with him and respond with more thoughtfulness. I will be a better wife in order to strengthen my marriage and the bond that I have with SCM.
  4. I will take pride in my body and allow it to become a portal of strength and not a house for distain. So as to say, I will focus on not just being “small” as I have always been, or losing the pregnancy weight, but truly becoming healthy and fit and strong. Developing a routine for working out and eating right that leaves me proud of  myself every day and is right for MY body. It is something I can and will share with the rest of my family so we can have a healthy lifestyle together.
  5. I will work my business with pride and devotion even in times when it is slow to pick up. I will work with consistency, even if that consistency is small. I will work it for myself and my family at our pace and in the manner that works well for us. No one else. I will remember that I do this job to obtain goals that *I* set and I won’t be pushed, pulled, or cornered, into sacrificing more important aspects of my life for the sake of THINGS.

Why do *I* want to accomplish it?

Each and every one of the above things I have the desire to accomplish because they will make me a better person both on the inside and the outside. It is my utmost hope that accomplishing these tasks this year help grow in aspects of faith and devotion, patience and productivity, love and responsibility. I hope to come away with a better sense of self but also of  others. To truly obtain a better outlook and be in a better place.

How long will it reasonably take?

A Lifetime.

I am not kidding. Obtaining goals of higher self, deeper self, better self, those don’t happen in a week or a year those are things you work on and struggle with your entire life. Those are things you fight for, your entire life. A year can make them a habit but it certainly does not ensure that they are permanent. My hope is that by making them a habit this year I can and will maintain them for a lifetime, each year adding habits that I believe are beneficial to myself and my family.

To set a ‘timeline’ however on the two things that are easiest to set a timeline on, #1 & #4. I plan to take the entire year to read 52 books and I plan to start my workout structure no later than April, at which time I should be fully cleared and healed from having baby and able to focus on a system of goals I want to accomplish from April -December of this year. Those specific goals however are a mystery until after I birth.

How long would *I* like to accomplish it in?

Let’s be true here, I’d love to snap my fingers and have the answers, be fit, have magically absorbed all the books in the library, and be amazing! I mean who wouldn’t, right? However, that is not how life works. I would LIKE to have a steady grasp on all of these goals and be deep into them by June of this year, by November I would like to have them fully set into routines so that come 2015 I can add new goals to the pile whilst still maintaining these ever so important ones.

What is the end result – ie: the goal?

The end result for me in accomplishing these things this year is:

  1. To have expanded my knowledge base and learned some amazing new things through text.
  2. To be stronger and more knowledgeable in my faith, in what it is and what it means to me and my family. To be able to show and share that with the people around me through who I am every single day.
  3. To have a stronger and better marriage as well as a stronger and better relationship with SCM. For us to be more of a cohesive unit.
  4. To have a body that is a physically strong as my mind. Healthy and thriving. To feel good about how I look in my own skin, to know that I am the healthiest and strongest me I can be and that I am caring for myself.
  5. To have a business I can be proud of and customers that appreciate what I have to offer. To be able to say I have contributed to the family finances in a positive manner.

Knowing what *I* want out of this year will help not only me to attain them but also for me to help my family attain whatever their goals are as well. Working together, as a unit, as a family, we can all make our goals for 2014 stick.

These are my goals for 2014, what are some of yours?

Thirds & Finals

Well, it is official, my third and final trimester of my third and final pregnancy has arrived.The breath of that announcement was brought to me courtesy of my “the bump” APP this  morning as it shrilled to remind me to take a belly photo for the memories.

28W

This pregnancy has been so different from my other two. My sickness has drawn out over the whole duration of my pregnancy thus far and not just in the beginning or in bits and pieces, movements are stronger and more pronounced earlier on, Braxton Hicks have taken over my life since before 20 weeks, and my in and outs of the hospital for fluids and monitoring has been a tid excessive for my liking, but despite all of that, compared to my other two pregnancies this one has flown by.

I swear it was just the other day I got my BFP (big fat positive) and here I am now rounding the corner into two of our households favorite holidays and Little Miss’ 2nd birthday which will quickly be followed by beginning the New Year, meeting our new addition, and moving on as a family of four in the home, well five if we count our four legged companion Harley.

While I feel slightly unprepared in the fact that I do not have the things purchased I would like for Belly Baby nor anything arranged in LM’s room as we prepare for the kids’ to room share, both of which leave the Type A me feeling a little scattered,  I do feel strangely at ease with being in the home stretch of my pregnancy. Birth is a beautiful, albeit messy thing, and it brings with it a multitude of hormones and dynamic changes but being worked up about it is something I am not, and for that I am grateful.

As my pregnancy has progressed I have come to be at peace with whatever the remainder of this pregnancy and its birth brings. I have sat down and focused which led me to remember that I have two amazing Holidays coming up with no impending pressure of labor happening during them, unlike with my other two who were Christmas time babies. I have LM that is turning two and AB that is turning 4. I have plenty of things to focus on between now and the start of the New Year. Things that are positive and happy and beautiful. Things that I do not want to miss the beauty of because I am too busy freaking out about my pregnancy and/or birth or all the little home details that will resolve as they always do.

In order to keep these things in mind I’ve made a 3rd. Trimester goal list of sorts to remind me to focus on the NOW and take it one day at a time so as to not miss the beauty I have in front of my at this very moment in lieu of stressing about the beauty I will have in front of me in a few months.

  • Make a daily to do list. Not a weekly or monthly to do list. A DAILY to do list. Focus on what needs to happen in that one day and work to get it done. Not only will that allow you to feel more accomplished, but also more focused on what is truly a priority each day.
  • YOU time. Take a little bit of time every day, even 5-10 minutes and focus on yourself. You are growing a person, and it’s hard work, don’t discount that. Do something that is relaxing to you. Drink tea, read a book, take a bath, get a massage, garden, whatever relaxes you. Is it hard to have “you” time when you have other children, yes of course it is, but it isn’t impossible. It is extremely important to your health and well being that pregnant or not you take that time for yourself so that you can be the best mother and spouse you can be. No one benefits when you are stressed beyond belief, snappy, and cranky. Make “YOU” time a priority every day. Set a timer if you have to. It’s better for everyone.
  • FAMILY Time. Just as “you” time is important so is family time. Take part of every day, again even if it’s just 10-15 minutes and have the whole family gather together and do something. Whether it is family prayers, a book reading, decorating for the holidays, cleaning up the house together, or taking a walk -do it together. Give yourself the time to listen about their days and communicate, regardless of if it is your children or your husband. It is easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and our needs and forget to include the family in this pregnancy wonder.

Though these 3 things seem very basic they are things that are often forgotten in day-to-day life, especially day-to-day pregnant life. Despite what our hormones may tell us at a given moment not every little thing is a crisis, the world isn’t ending, we can do this, and it will all be okay.

6 Tips for Handling Deployments

Deployment is hard no matter what, toss having children into it and it gets even harder. You have little minds that don’t quite understand what is going on, you have little emotions that don’t quite know how to express themselves which can lead to tantrums and power struggles, you have frazzled emotions as the parent which can lead to our own meltdowns. Your days can go from scheduled and functional to a disarray of intense emotions all it once. It is hard to balance.

So how does one organize their mind to ease the stresses of deployment for you and your family? Here are six practical tips for Parents and Children going through a deployment.

For You the Parent:

1. Take time for yourself: Easier said than done I know. In the hustle and bustle of  “Independent Parenting” find a time during each day, whether it’s first thing in the morning before the kids get up, or during nap, or in the evening when they are in bed, and have some YOU time. Relax about the stresses, plan out your TO-DOs and remember that you are strong for doing what you do. If you have a little extra time, splurge and do something nice for yourself. You deserve it.

2. It isn’t personal: Remember that deployment and distance is a strain and a change, there will be times where emotions are fried. Your significant other may be testy from being away from loved ones and the stress of their job, you may be testy from day to day hustle and bustle, your children may be testy from the change in their family dynamics. When those occasions come up remember that it isn’t personal, don’t let those moments ruin what little time you have to communicate or change the attitude of your day. I know it can be hard but try to see the separation from one another’s point of view so that you can maximize and enjoy the time you DO have together.

3. Set Goals: Setting goals during a deployment will not only help keep you organized and motivated, but it will help the time apart go by quicker. Set goals for yourself, for your family. Where you are now, things you want to accomplish Before the end of the deployment, things you want to do After deployment is over, where you want to be financially, etc. Write those goals down and every time you meet one cross it off, SEEING what you are accomplishing will continue to keep you motivated. Let your children set goals for themselves as well.

For the Children:

1. Talk about it: Don’t let deployment be the “Elephant in the Room”, talk about it with your children. Even if they are infants talking to them about how mommy or daddy are away, but how much they still love them and miss them will help bring comfort to children in uncertain situations. Let them talk about it and share their concerns, validate their feelings and let them be upset about it. It’s a hard change, and not something that children can fully wrap their heads around so approach the situation openly. There is no right or wrong way for your child or you to feel about the separation. If you have multiple children be prepared for different ways of coping. 

2. Do Projects: Art projects, photographs, and letters sent to the child’s parent can help them feel no so far away. Set a time every day that is “project time”, in that time make something for Daddy or Mommy that is deployed. Talk about why the deployed parent would enjoy it, what it represents. That time together will be a bonding time for those left at home as well a memory time for the one that is away. Then make it a family event to box it all up and send a care package. Doing that as a family will help the children feel like their parent hasn’t just vanished but is reachable. For the little mind that can be a huge sense of comfort.

3. Embrace Technology: Technology is a huge part of our life now and is something that has made deployments easier in many regards than they were years ago when all we relied on was “snail mail.” Use that technology to your advantage, and let your kids too. Have Skype or Face-time dates whenever you can. Giving your children (and yourself) the chance to see your loved one and know that they are alright will be a blessing for your family and will open up more discussion topics for you to cover at home. Use the technology to make your children Daddy/Mommy Dolls  so that they can “have” their loved one with them all the time. It can be huge sense of comfort and they are pretty cute.

 

There are so many things we can do as a family to ease the strain of deployment and these six things are a great start to making that time apart a little less challenging.

Using Technology to see her Daddy.