SARKisms for Sanity

Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Staying Centered, Finding Balance
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they stay centered and find balance. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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Many moons ago I read my first SARK book, Inspiration Sandwich. I had a great friend that introduced me to her colorful, free-spirited writings. I really enjoyed SARK’s sense of adventure. She has such a  positive attitude and offers encouragement to live life to its fullest.She encourages you to look at ordinary moments and make them moments to celebrate. I loved how I felt after reading her books, they gave me a feeling of being alive and happy!

Those were books I read before I had children. It seemed they were put up on the bookshelf and I haven’t lifted them down since. Now my bookshelf is mostly filled with breastfeeding and birthing how-to’s. Well for whatever reason,  I actually pulled one  of SARK’s book down off the shelf today, and what perfect timing!  It was just the inspiration I needed.  I’ve had a particularly stressful month with my husband traveling out of town for work three separate times. This has left me  more than exhausted. I would go almost a week without a bath (eewww, right?). So I certainly didn’t have any “me” time. As a result, I’ve felt like a martyr, pushed and pulled beyond all recognition. It’s not a pleasant feeling. (How do you single moms do it?!) So I thought I’d share a few SARKisms with you as I share with you ideas on finding time to recenter yourself as a busy mama. I noticed a lot of her advice in her Inspiration Sandwich match parenting perfectly.
“Retreat when necessary”           “Put food coloring in your bath water”                  “Eat inspiring foods”
My favorite way to find some balance in my life is taking a giant bubble bath, sipping a nice glass of red wine and eating some organic, fair-trade dark chocolate, while reading something uplifting. Ohhh…heaven! I am amazed how such a simple thing as taking a bubble bath can completely put me in a different frame of mind. It helps me center myself after a long day and emerge  feeling  like a more loving and patient mama. I do have a hard time relaxing, often I’ll lie in bed at night with my mind racing with to-do lists and remembering things I forgot to finish. I think a big reason this happens is because I don’t take enough time to center myself each day. A small retreat often does the trick.
“If you’ve lost your sense of humor..find it fast!”  “Laugh your head off. ( then get it back!)”
This applies perfectly to parenting, does it not? I have been enjoying reading Playful Parenting as recommended by Code Name: Mama. It really speaks a lot to the power of play. A little humor can go a long way.
“Refuse to sit still for negative thinking”
It’s easy to let negativity take over, especially after a long day(s). Keeping a positive outlook helps keep things in perspective. When you stay positive, your kids will be positive. This is one I need to work on!!
“Lie down A LOT!”
Yes, this one is a lot easier to do when single. However, I found that lying down to take a nap with my Lil’ Z  or saying “yes” to a  snuggle on the couch with Big Z can be quite refreshing. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to give yourself permission to do it. It’s often easier to keep running around trying to whittle down your to-do list, but a nap and a snuggle is much more rewarding in the long run.
SARK talks about self-love and finding the time to keep your ‘cup full’. I have a lot to learn in this area, it was easier for me to do when I was single and when I didn’t have children. This is definitely an area that I need to work on. I think I pulled out her books at just the right time. Our family is going to go on vacation soon, I’ll be taking these books along for some extra motivation and refreshment. I really look forward to learning what you do to stay centered and find a balance.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated October 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • The World from Within My Arms — Rachael at The Variegated Life finds balance despite her work and her husband’s commitment to art through attachment parenting. (@RachaelNevins)
  • Balancing the Teeter-Totter — Rebecca is rediscovering balance by exploring her interests and passions in several different categories. She shares in this guest post at The Connected Mom. (@theconnectedmom)
  • Balancing this Life — Danielle at born.in.japan is slowly learning the little tricks that make her family life more balanced. (@borninjp)
  • Uninterrupted Parenting — Amy at Innate Wholeness has learned that she does not need to interrupt parenting in order to find balance.
  • Knitting for My Family — Knitting is more than just a hobby for Kellie at Our Mindful Life, it is her creative and mental outlet, it has blessed her with friendships she might not otherwise have had, and it provides her with much-needed balance.
  • Taking the Time — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker has all the time she needs, now her girls are just a bit older.
  • Please, Teach Me How — Amy at Anktangle needs your help: please share how you find time for yourself, because she is struggling. (@anktangle)
  • A Pendulum Swings Both Ways — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment found herself snapping with too little time for herself, and then veered toward too much.
  • Finding Balance Amidst Change — It took a season of big changes and added responsibility, but Melodie of Breastfeeding Moms Unite! now feels more balanced and organized as a mama than ever before. (@bfmom)
  • At Home with Three Young Children: The Search for Balance, Staying Sane — With three young kids, Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings knows parents sometimes have to adjust their expectations of how much downtime they can reasonably have. (@sunfrog)
  • Attachment Parenting? And finding some “Me Time” — As a mother who works full time, Momma Jorje wants “me” time that includes her daughter.
  • A Balancing Act — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes has concrete ways to help keep centered with a little one and a new baby on the way, from exercise to early bedtimes to asking for help. (@sheryljesin)
  • Aspiring Towards Libra — Are your soul-filling activities the first to be pushed aside when life gets hectic? Kelly of KellyNaturally.com aspires to make time for those “non-necessities” this year. (@kellynaturally)
  • SARKisms for Sanity — Erica at ChildOrganics has found renewed inspiration to take baths and laugh often from a book she had on the shelf. (@childorganics)
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Have a Happy Heart

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: We’re all home schoolers

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how their children learn at home as a natural part of their day. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Would you like to know how my Wednesday last week started? My youngest, Little Z, escaped from his diaper change and was running around the house naked. Sometimes I let him run around naked, but the morning is not a good time to do this. He routinely has a morning poop, so I was trying to track him down to make sure we got his hiney in a diaper before that happened. I turned the corner to find him squatting in front of DH’s desk. Yup, there he was pooping on the Persian rug. I didn’t want to scare him while he was pooping, but I also didn’t want him pooping on my rug! I did end up leaving out a squeal, which startled the little guy so then he ran and he wasn’t finished pooping, so there was poop now several places across the floor.So I  spent the next half an hour on poop patrol, diapered the baby and then moved us out to breakfast.  So we sat down and began to eat our oatmeal. Oatmeal down the pants! Well, the morning didn’t get further along and we found pee on the couch, poo on the floor, oatmeal down the pants and there was snot bubbling out the nose. Ugh! I was “pooped” before the day began. 😉 Sounds like a perfect time to start school. Say what!?!
Have you had days like that? Clearly some days are easier to deal with than others. If you have children at home I’m sure you have a similar experience you could share. So how do we get our learning done on days when we’re  feeling finished before we’ve even started?
Family circumstances can make it easy to start a day with a bad attitude. I have quickly learned that my attitude can influence my children’s attitude.  Duh, right? It shouldn’t be a surprise, but this is something I’ve come to see a lot more clearly in the past few weeks. I’ve recently noticed Big Z sighing, huffing, and even saying certain phrases..oh wait! That’s something I say, yikes! I think she just taught me something, again! I’m always telling her to have a happy heart, but it really starts with me, mom! What a difference it can make.
It’s not the easiest thing to do, but I certainly shouldn’t expect it from my kids if I can’t do it myself.
So, how do you get a happy heart? Deep breathing and lots of praying, that’s a good place to start. I’ve also found that taking a morning break and getting outside in some fresh air and sunshine does so much for everyone’s mental attitude.  Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in all of the things you need to accomplish in a day or start feeling self-pity and lose the joy in the day. I’m working so hard on trying to give myself a good dose of “perspective” ( to be said in the voice of the food critic from Ratatouille). Once I can take a step back and get some perspective it seems to give me some renewed energy and I can move on to a better place. So looking at my morning of pee on the couch, poop on the floor and oatmeal down the pants, I looked back and laughed, it was quite funny. It helped, we got outside and were able to turn our attitudes around and have happy hearts and be successful at getting our focus on our learning for the day.
So here we are starting a new year of homeschooling. Take a  deep breath, say your prayers, get a new perspective and have a happy heart. These are my goals for the new year. How about you?
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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

A is for Apple {But right now it’s more fun to pick apples!} — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment has a four-year-old who wisely knows she must forgo the worksheets for now and do things with her mother if she’s going to learn.