Ah summer. I have such a conflicting relationship with you. On one hand I seriously love having my girl home for three months. On the other, she’s home for three months. That’s three months of attempting to entertain her without breaking the bank (or losing my mind). Adding a newborn to the mix had me fairly anxious as the last days of Mother’s Day Out dwindled down. I knew I’d need some kind of game plan, but I was also worried about setting myself up for failure. Hi, my name is Blake and I’m a recovering perfectionist.
Then I realized, this summer is what I make it. I decided to go ahead and make a plan and just heap grace upon grace. I figure having a plan and not sticking to it is way better than it being a random Tuesday with nothing to do and sitting around the house losing our minds, ya know? So this is what I came up with. Each day of the week has an “activity”, and each week has a theme. These are the times that Pinterest actually comes in handy.
I realize as I sit down to write this that I never wrote Pacey Claire’s birth story, even though I totally intended to, just for myself. If that’s not the epitome of motherhood, right? It can be summed up fairly simply: her due date came and went (that’s always a fun day), and 3 days later we induced. I had gestational diabetes with the Pacers, and my doctor was a little worried about her getting too big. All good. I know we both barely slept from excitement, got to the hospital around 4, & started the pitocin. Going into her birth, med-free was the plan. Going into September 22, it was obvious meds were going to be involved, but I was hoping for no epidural. 6 hours into pitocin-level contractions (which, come to find out, are regular contractions on steroids), I went ahead and got the epidural. She was born and hour and a half later. All together in labor for 8 hours, pretty sure I pushed all of 4 times. I remember through the haze my darling OB mentioning something about my body being “made to make babies”.
Fast forward to now. Pregnant with baby girl Guichet number two, all prepped and ready to go for med-free birth, attempt two. The books are read, the playlist is made, the essential oils/diffuser/bluetooth speaker/birthing affirmations are packed. The postpartum necessities are bought. I am ready. I’m even thinking if for some reason we have to induce again, even though I’m GD free this time, we can just take the pitocin a little more slowly and I should be able to get through it. The 35 week ultrasound rolls around, and we’re all super excited to get to see baby sister. The ultrasound tech nonchalantly mentions “and she’s breech”. I’m fairly certain I blacked out. Not really, but I definitely tuned out. I could feel the oh crap vibes pulsating off of my poor husband sitting next to me. When the tech walked out of the room, he quietly asked if I was okay, and I answered with a simple and short no. I was very not okay.
There’s a definite surge on the inter webs of people trying to make healthier, safer choices for themselves, so this blog post is not a rarity right now. But as I’ve talked and posted on social media about the changes I’ve been making for myself and my family, I’ve gotten a steady influx of questions about what I use. So, what’s easier than typing it all up in a nice, neat blog post to direct people to?
A tiny bit of back story: I’ve been a middle-of-the-road, closet crunchy mom for a while now. I’ve only use natural products on Pacey from pretty much day one, we’re a big essential oils family, and use almost exclusively natural cleaning/washing products. But we also eat Pringles and donuts and drink soft drinks. Balance, ya heard? So when 2017 rolled around, the stars kind of alined between having friends that were using safer products and being pregnant and wanting to make better choices and being introduced to the Think Dirty app. (Warning: only download said app if you’re prepared to be really bummed out about the toxicity of the products you use every day). I realized I’ve been making all these great choices for everyone but…me. So I’ve spent the last 2 months making slow but steady changes in the products I use, and I wanted to use this platform to share them, in case you’re in the same boat of wanting to change but not knowing where to start!
Here are some of the links that I found (or was sent) along the way that helped convince me this is an important change:
Nifty Yet Terrifying Infographic
Huffington Post article – about how what comes in contact with our skin effects our health
Paula’s Choice article – about how the use of fragrances in cosmetics effects skin
Experience Life article – about hidden toxins in cleaning products
Somewhere along the way, I bought into a big lie. And “bought into” is putting it gently. “Dove headfirst into” is more honest. Sometime after creating and growing and nurturing a human being, I decided I needed to be sorry for my body. To apologize for subjecting the world to it. The extra weight and softness and scars became my biggest sins that I spent all my time repenting and atoning for. No one implicitly told me to. Subliminally, I’m sure; it’s never exactly been American media’s M.O. to make women comfortable in their skin. But no one I loved looked me in the eyes and told me to apologize right now for this sad excuse of a body. My husband loves me exactly the way I am, and tells me so nightly. If anything is going to influence the way I think of myself, it should be that. Yet, it consumed me. It’s a strange and sad existence when every other thought about yourself is “ew”. You may not realize it, but that thought pattern will wreck you. One day you’re functioning fairly well, making it – at least, and the next you’re telling your husband you’d rather die than exist in this body anymore.
Uh, come again? No ma’am. You see, somewhere in this year’s wide-reaching journey for self-acceptance (more on this coming, eventually), I made an impossible deal with my body. “I’ll accept you and love you once you look the way I want you to.” I covered it up nicely in grace and that I’ll take it slow and have realistic expectations, but in reality I’m rolling my eyes at myself anytime I catch a reflection in a mirror, scooting out of pictures when others try to include me, and talking to myself like I would never speak to my worst enemy. I’ve said things to my reflection that I would fight other women for saying. Horrible, degrading, downright mean things. I put my self-esteem in a headlock and dragged her down as far as I could get her without actually killing her. I think. I think she’s got a small amount of fight left in her.
I’m about to get real “Christian” up in here, y’all.
I want to talk about the relationship between Christ and social media. Go ahead, get the eye rolls out of your system, and if you’re still here – let me be transparent about the things Jesus has been teaching me for a second. Lately I’ve found myself wondering what it would’ve been like if Jesus, Peter, and James had been Facebook friends. That’s a hilariously lame sentence, but if we’re honest, it’s kind of something to think about. In 2016, social media only continues to grow as a real deal part of the world we live in, don’t we want to utilize it the way Jesus would? I really wish there were chapters of the bible dedicated to the social media world. But there aren’t, and it’s can be a hella mixed bag.
So what do we do? Do we eliminate it all together? Impose time restrictions? Or maybe we just kind of keep Jesus out of it (it’s just Instagram…) and go about our lives. Raise your hand if you’ve at some point done one of the above. All three? Okay, me too. The Lord started stirring up this conversation around 6 months ago, and I’ll admit – there was a fair amount of eye rolling on my part in the beginning. Social media is so engrained in our generation, it’s as natural as breathing for some of us. Wake up, make coffee, check Facebook. Or maybe spend upwards of an hour under the covers scrolling through Instagram. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve auto piloted straight to one of the medias when all I picked my phone up for was to check the time. It’s insane! And it, for the most part, wasn’t something I felt I need to welcome Jesus into. It just didn’t seem important enough. But goodness – is it.
What if we asked ourselves the honest but hard questions about our usage? What goodness does this actually bring into my life? How much time am I wasting on it? What emotions or patterns do I see emerging in my mindless scrolling? Comparison. Judgement. Validation. I mean the list is endless. Here I am comparing (& probably questioning) my life up against a photo someone could have spent who knows how much time posing and editing. You can’t even take the way people look in photos at face value anymore thanks to beauty editing apps (don’t even get me started). Millennials are referring to themselves as “content curators” and I want to jump off a cliff. But I digress. Let’s get back to Jesus.
This isn’t going to be a long post. Mostly because I spent the weekend helping throw my wonderful church’s 10th birthday reunion celebration extravaganza, and I’m tired. But not to tired to share some free stuff! When 2016 rolled around, I decided to set a couple of goals. I refuse to refer to them as resolutions on principle, but let’s be real – that’s what they are. There’s a few, but one of them is to be more organized across the board. That means more detailed meal planning, a cleaning schedule that is actually doable, adding some spreadsheets to my bill paying, and a few more odds and ends.
As I headed into the year raring to go, I had the thought “You know what would make this more attainable? Pretty printables.” So I carved out some time from my normal schedule and created these five organization printables. It only took 18 days for it to occur to me to share them with you! I hope these help you keep this crazy life in order, and add a splash of pretty to your days.