Taking Time for Mom

hands

I love having my nails done—I loved nail polish when I was a little girl and was always giving myself manicures, complete with base coat and top coat, even when I was 10 or 11. I generally find going to a salon for a mani/pedi to be a relaxing experience. I used to joke with my husband that when I got a full-time job after gradutation, I needed to make enough money to be able to pay my student loans back and get more regular manis and pedis.

Well, eventually that has kind of happened. I found an amazing salon that is relatively close to our house and is near my office and I’m there about every two weeks. I love it and I love that time for me.

Between my work schedule, commitments for the boys’ schools, sports schedules and my husband’s schedule, my time is limited, but making time for me is important for me. As mothers, our natural tendency is to “go, go, go” and take care of everyone else but ourselves, but I become a very cranky mom if I don’t do something for myself. In addition to regular manis and pedis, I find that it’s important for me to get enough sleep and I’m generally in bed between 9:30 and 10 p.m. I know a lot of people seem shocked that I go to bed that early, but I also get up at 4:30 a.m. in the morning to do the next thing I need to do for myself—exercise! While I’m more naturally a morning person rather than a night owl, getting up at 4:30 is hard some mornings. It’s become a habit, however, and it’s the only way I’m going to get some necessary exercise in. I had slacked on exercise around Christmas last year and then had an injury from a fall in January and realized through the course of physical therapy that exercise is a must and not just to keep my weight down.

I’m a happier person when I do small things for myself. I’m a firm believer that women need to take time for themselves and that there’s truth to the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, then no one’s happy!” It’s not always easy—finding a yoga class that fits my schedule right now is hard, so I get it—but it’s important to do something that works for YOU, no matter what stage of motherhood you are in. I couldn’t go for regular manicures when my kids were younger. Life was too hectic with small children and money was tight, so I did try to paint my nails weekly after they went to bed and with the fast-dry polishes, they looked okay and it made me feel like I was doing a little something for me. When I went back to school, I treated myself to a coffee out or a lunch out at Panera once in a while when my schedule allowed for it to do something little for me. I found it refreshing. What do you do for YOU?

What else should you be doing right now?

I could be typing up a news journal for geology class.

I could be figuring out our online checkbook register, but the security of the school’s wifi network concerns me, so that’s my excuse for not going to the bank’s website.

I could be writing an outline for a paper.

I could be organizing my to-do list for the next few days.

But instead, I sit here and write this post.  Not the best use of my time, but when I get overwhelmed, I do this.  I distract myself with something more interesting.  Isn’t that why most of us are on Facebook?

35 days until winter break….I may or may not be using a countdown app on my phone so I can easily figure that out.

Almost there……

What are you looking forward to? How do you distract yourself from a not so fun task?

Why I haven’t blogged much lately……

The end of the semester is near, and my first academic year back in college is almost complete.  Between now and May 10, I have four projects due, two final exams and a paper due.  My youngest dude also makes his First Communion on May 5.  If I don’t lose my mind, it will be a miracle.   I am taking a summer course during the first summer session (May 20-something to the end of June), but it’s one class two nights a week for six weeks.  Right now that looks to be a piece of cake, especially with the schedule I’m keeping now.  I am learning that some things need to be overlooked and I have to forgive myself for not being able to be Supermom and Superstudent all the same time. It’s not going to happen right now.  What doesn’t get done now eventually will.  I really want to clean out my closets, and sadly, I am at a point where I am really looking forward to doing that.  It will get done when I’m done with this crazy semester.  Right now I need to focus on light at the end of the tunnel.

Wonderful things have been happening for our family, and I choose to focus my energy on realizing that life is hard and there is a lot work involved in achieving dreams and goals, and eventually this hard work will pay off. At least I keep telling myself that!

Reducing distractions one blinking light, beep and notification at a time

I love technology.  I always have and I make no apologies for it.  I embrace it and try to utilize it in a way that makes me more productive. (Google Tasks and Google Calendar are a lifesaver. You have no idea.)

But there are times when technology takes over and my phone  becomes an additional appendage. Over spring break last week, I realized I had a limited amount of time to get a lot done.  I had a lot of cleaning to do and I had to make up for a lot of lost time.  In the midst of all the cleaning/reorganizing/moving furniture, we realized that one of our dogs had been using our family room as a bathroom–our carpeted family room.

Now that was fun.

By the time we figured it out, my break was almost over, so I had to get a lot of scrubbing done downstairs and finish up my homework before going back to school Monday. While I was cleaning, I purposely left my cell phone upstairs so I wouldn’t be distracted by it.  I decided to no longer keep my laptop in the living room.  It has a new home on my newly cleaned desk and gets put back at the end of the day.  Junk mail got shredded in the new shredder.

Things got done and the phone wasn’t attached to my hip.  What a concept.

What I learned last week–and it IS so obvious–is that even though it’s great to always be available, it’s ok to not be, too.  If something important is going on, I’m going to check my phone.  However, it’s not always necessary to have my phone in front of me, anxiously watching for its next notification.  It’s also not necessary to check Facebook and Twitter quite as much.  I tend to check Facebook and Twitter when I am bored but cannot take on something new and time-consuming (like standing in a hallway waiting to go into class or last night when I was stirring dinner but couldn’t really move from the stove).

It’s only been a few days, but the more I have my phone away from me, the more I get tasks done.

We definitely live in a society where people are attached and dependent on technology, but  it’s not always healthy.  I’ve had professors go nuts on classes due to the phones being used in class and I don’t blame them for their frustration at all. (And then you have me, the mother who could get a call from the school about a sick kid, who silences the phone and puts it in my bag during class.)  The girl who sits next to me in my class this morning was alternating between her Blackberry and her laptop during class–and she only opened the document for her notes occasionally.  She was on Facebook and Twitter a lot and I wanted to say, “Honey, I’ve seen your grades.  You might want to pay attention.”

I have too much going on right now, and while the phone is great and I’d be lost without it completely, it’s time to ease up on it.  It’s ok to tell someone, “I’ll check it tomorrow” so more time sensitive tasks can be accomplished now.

Time

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately–the past, the present, and the future.

I’ve been looking back a lot at my previous college experience, as I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks trying to work with the appropriate folks at my current institution to get previous credits transferred.  In looking back at my transcript, I’ve been filled with a sense of regret, but at the same time, I want to look forward.  Looking forward, however, requires I get credit for those classes in which I did well…or decent.  If the course was able to be transferred and I got an acceptable grade, I really wanted the credit.  I get to start fresh and those grades aren’t factored into my cumulative GPA at my current school, but the credits mean something.  The credits and course equivalencies mean I get to spend time taking classes that I want to take, not that I have to take.

In the end, most of the classes I was pushing for were finally transferred and this means that, at the end of the current semester, I will be considered a junior.  This also means that, as much as I look back on my previous experience with some regret, it wasn’t a waste.  It does count for something.  I’ve often made my student loan payment and felt bad because I don’t have “anything to show for it”.  Getting those credits means I will have something to show for it.

In looking back, I’ve looked forward because I have more of an idea what my future requirements will be.  I needed that information to be able to plan.  I couldn’t plan appropriately without knowing if I needed to re-take World History 2 or Public Speaking, among other classes.  Now that I know what’s left in order to graduate, I do still need to clarify some information, but I think I will be done by Spring of 2014, if not Fall of 2013.  I will need to take some summer courses in order to do this, but that’s OK.  I’m willing to do that to get this done.  I can take classes during the first summer session only each year and it won’t be too disruptive to the kids because they go to school so late into June.  (I guess that is now the perk for us, as opposed to the complaint in previous years.)

I don’t want to live life with regrets.  While sometimes I feel negative thoughts entering my head because I wish I had done this or I wish I had done that, I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason.  I made some lousy decisions at 18, but I’ve learned a lot from those decisions.  Those decisions have shaped my life, whether good or bad.  We are only given one opportunity at life and I don’t want to look back with regret.  I want to look forward with excitement and be proud of myself for having the courage to make changes.  That’s not easy to do, but being willing to make changes is half the battle.  The other half is taking responsibility for the bad decisions and moving the hell on!

As Bon Jovi says in their iconic song, “It’s my life…it’s now or never!”