Guest Post – Learning to Be a Better Me

The following is written by my friend, and former collegue, Vanessa. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at a large university:

It was the day after Halloween. I kissed my husband goodbye as he left me to deal with two kiddos who had just been out Trick-or-Treating and full on candy. He was going away for the weekend–about two hours west, to participate in his monthly Navy Reserve drill weekend, like he had for one weekend a month, two weeks a year, for the last eight years.

I was a bit mad. Frazzled actually. He had been gone two weekends before that, and was going away two weekends later. He was gone half the days of August and September. I was frustrated in that moment because I knew I was in for a fight getting the kids bathed and to bed, and I was exhausted from working full-time, helping other people solve their problems all day and all year. I’m a mom, a Navy wife, and a full-time therapist. To be fair, my husband also works a full-time job, in quality assurance/IT for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, so he basically works two weeks straight every month.
Our little family has been through a lot recently. 
The kids are used to going places and staying with others, sometimes because I am also out of town. Both our one year-old son and four year-old daughter can fall asleep easily, almost anywhere. My daughter knows that Daddy flies on an airplane to Bahrain and where in the world on a map that country is located. My son knows that Daddy works at what is essentially an airport/seaport and is obsessed with my husband’s Dixie cup hat.  They are resilient kids, just like most other military kids. They are “go with the flow” type of kids. They make me laugh every day. But, they also make me pull my hair out and get easily frustrated. 
Because I am alone with them so much due to my husband’s travels, I have discovered something about myself…
I have learned that I have low distress tolerance levels and am easily set off by something little. Spilled milk? Check! The dog runs loose around the neighborhood? Check! I locked my keys in the car when out to eat with both kids alone? Check! 
I often wanted to yell at my kids or to cry. Sometimes I did both. I had to get it together. I teach distress tolerance skills to my clients: Things like learning to self-soothe and finding things to distract yourself “in the moment” in order to calm down. This helps college kids to stop cutting or drinking, and get their lives together. 
I just wanted to be a better parent.
I started working on myself. 
I took a few deep breaths before responding to anyone to check my tone and formulate my response. I adjusted my work schedule to get thirty minutes of alone time before picking up the kids every day. I learned to laugh or make due with a lot of situations. I practiced mindfulness (the act of going within oneself; purposefully doing things one at a time to practice being in the present moment). I laughed at myself practicing mindfulness. I laughed so hard one day when the dog licked my face while doing yoga and no one was even home to hear me. 
I became happier, less stressed, and more confident. My kids and husband noticed, and things were going well.
Back to the day after Halloween: I felt that frazzled feeling coming on. I felt sorry for myself that I was going to be alone again for a few nights. But, I took a step back. I didn’t say something spiteful or curse the Navy. I thought to myself how thankful I was that my husband could be home to Trick-or-Treat with us, as many military families are separated for much longer. I thought how grateful I am to be living in my childhood home. I took stock of what my life has become, after marrying that handsome Sailor eight years ago after his first deployment. 
I can be proud of our family. 
I am not perfect. We’re not perfect. I don’t ever intend for us to be. 
But, we—and especially me–have been working really hard to be on our way.
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Relieve Stress With a Sweet Mango Body Scrub – A Guest Post

I’m happy to welcome Kendra Thornton, Travel Industry Publicist and Spokeswoman, to my blog today:

During PregnancyAwareness Month I am continually reminded of the importance of staying healthy and stress free not only during pregnancy, but in all of the years throughout motherhood. Becoming a mother has been one of the biggest blessings and hardest jobs of my life. I want to be the best mom I can be to my amazing kids and that means taking time out to keep myself vibrant and full of life. With flowers budding and kids’ sports in high gear, I find my family’s days are a lot more full and active than they were a month ago. For me, that means making sure that I am as energized as possible … and what better than a spa treatment to keep you refreshed and energized!

Honolulu has become a favorite vacation spot for my family.  We stayed at one of the more popular hotels in Honolulu, the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort.  After years of working in the travel industry, I had heard many positive reviews about the hotel’s spa: Na Ho’ola.  I decided to try the Lomi Lomi Facial, which uses all natural ingredients, right from the island, that compliment my family’s holistic lifestyle. Utilizing some of the natural fruits and ingredients used at Na Ho’ola, I have recreated this at home beauty treatment in the form of a body scrub. 

Below is the recipe for the Mango Body Scrub:

1 Mango chopped

1/4 cup instant oats

1 cup of castor sugar

1 Tablespoon sweet almond oil

4 drops of orange essential oil

1 Tablespoon pineapple juice

Mix all ingredients in a bowl using a heavy spoon or fork, making sure to fully smash and incorporate the mango. You can use this scrub in the shower for an all over body experience or at the sink for a face and neck treatment. Make sure to refrigerate any leftover scrub in a tightly sealed container and to use the next time you want to exfoliate.

I love to use this scrub after a long day or in the morning to get me energized.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

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I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to try this scrub!


Today I’m Featured On…

Chaunie over at Tiny Blue Lines just posted my interview on her site!
Chaunie is “a freelance writer, advocate and speaker for young women facing unplanned pregnancies, and most of all–full-time mom to two amazing little girls [& a boy on the way!] [She] also works as a nurse to pay the bills, but that’s a whole ‘nother story…”
I’m so grateful for the opportunity to contribute to her always honest and inspiring blog.
So what are you waiting for?!
Go! Check! It! Out! Now!
Right Here.
Or Here.
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Then come back and tell me what you think!