Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Open for Business

After a couple years' hiatus, I'm pleased to announce that I am taking on clients again! We're working on filling our 2013 schedule, so if you're expecting or need some breastfeeding advice--please contact us soon.
One of the benefits of working with Nurtured Mother is that we block off our schedule to ensure your doula is present at the birth. Which means, we take on only a handful of clients per year.
The website is being updated (we've re-routed the URL to come here, to our blog), so please check back often to get details on our services--or feel free to contact me: tamara "at" nurtured-mother.com.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Whole Year Went By

I didn't post once. Wow. Must remedy that immediately.

In the last year I:
1. started a charter school (now you know why I didn't post)
2. achieved my Certified Lactation Counseling certification
3. attended 10 or so births, taught several more classes
4. I'm sure I did some other things, but the previous 3 kind of take up all memory space in my head.

This year, I'm not sure what's next. I'm waiting on the Lord. I have several options and opportunities, but I'm not feeling led in any certain way at this time. I'm content to stay put until I hear from Him. At the same time--I feel a tremendous amount of power swelling inside me, ready to tackle the "next" thing.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Glimpse Into Our Life

Whenever I get a second to stop (rarely does this happen), I reflect on what we do daily, weekly, etc. I really have no idea how everything that gets done--gets done. I also realize our normal looks nothing like what I assume is "normal" for most people.
From the few short years that I've been working as a doula, I've come to realize that women really want someone that can relate. They need to be told that it's okay, that they're not weird. I spend most labors assuring women that yes, flatulence is okay/normal, yes, burping is okay/normal, yes, this sensation/that sensation--totally normal. Who is it that defined normal? Each woman, pregnancy, labor, birth, and baby are totally different. Similar, sometimes, but always different.
In the spirit of "get to know you," and in hopes of reviving my passion for writing on this blog. Here is a glimpse into our normal.

  • I'm attempting a 6 a.m. wake up--something that used to be normal, but sometime this year it went askew. I'm usually awake by 6:30 or 6:45. Sometimes, Matt is home & wakes up with me--which, makes it SO much easier to wake up.
  • I start with Bible study and prayer. If I'm struggling to keep my eyes open--lots of prayer.
  • After 15-30 minutes, depending on when I woke up--I slide out of my pajamas & force on the sports bra. I greet Jillian (30 Day Shred), and begin my workout. I don't like going anywhere to work out, and this is the first DVD I've used that requires minimal time (20-30 minutes) and has excellent results. If Matt is home, he joins me--which makes it SO much better.
  • Typically, O is out of bed & observes my workout. He joins in for the cool down stretches. Occasionally (especially when Matt is home), O will workout for the duration.
  • E sometimes wakes up during the workout (around 7 a.m. ish), but I usually get her up afterwards. The three of us sit on the couch and go through our calendar (practice counting & looking at days, weeks, months and year). We also write out our task list for the day. This really helps the kids. They enjoy the structure and will remind me if we forget to do it.
  • If Matt is home we like to make a big deal out of breakfast, like pancakes or biscuits. If not, it's usually oatmeal, toast, or eggs. Starting the day with big breakfast seems to keep me from overeating all day. Truly, I've noticed, if I eat an excellent breakfast--I can do a small lunch & still feel great at dinner time. O takes enzymes to help him digest his food, along with high doses of A,D,E, and K vitamins. His breakfast is sometimes as simple as a piece of toast, but usually it's toast, an adult-size portion of oatmeal, and a banana. Plus a glass or two of juice. O also takes a thyme oil supplement, fish oil, probiotic, and a kids multi vitamin. The multi is simply b/c his sister takes one & it's more interesting/animal shaped/sweetened with fruit juice than his boring CF vitamins.
  • After breakfast, we clean up and get dressed. If Matt is home I can sneak in a shower while he makes breakfast. If not, the kids get 30 minutes of PBS while I take a necessary step in making sure my day goes well. I must shower to feel human.
  • By 9 a.m. we have cleaned up, dressed, and are ready for homeschooling. I do school at the kitchen table. I find a project to keep E busy (watercolors, coloring, stringing beads), which allows me to focus on O's phonics & writing. With a few breaks worked in--including a snack break with nuts, seeds, dried fruit or other healthy option, we somehow manage phonics, writing, math, reading, piano, and we alternate between geography and science. I keep track of what we've done & the time in a day planner. E gets focus time as well, but typically all of her schooling is on Friday when O goes to a homeschool enrichment program all day.
  • Lunch at noon. My kiddos love PB&J, PB&honey, turkey sandwiches, mac & cheese, fruit, veggies, and turkey dogs. Here's the difference: sometimes my son will eat most of those in one sitting. O can eat a box of mac & cheese (organic box or homemade) by himself along with some apple slices and some bell pepper slices. We also do enzymes (a must anytime he eats).
  • Free play. The kids are allowed to play in their rooms or outside. I insist on the outside if weather is favorable. Nothing beats natural vitamin D, and it's essential to O's health. I spend this time cleaning.
  • At 1:30 p.m. we start the process for rest time. We read and pray, and by 2 p.m. one or both kids falls asleep. At this point I don't require actual naps, but quiet rest is a must.
  • During nap time I do a quick tidy up, and then head to my computer. For two hours, I attempt to get as much work done as possible. Between scheduling, invoicing, and managing my husband's music teaching studio, running my doula business, managing the household and trying to start a charter school--I have to prioritize what will get done each day. It's usually: home (budget/research on kid's/family health), Matt's studio, Nurtured Mother, and then charter school. Having a priority list really helps things get done.
  • The kids are up by 4 p.m. E watches a video (she's slow to wake up), and O has to do his nebulizer (hypertonic saline) and his respiratory therapy (vest). This takes nearly an hour. O will play games on his computer or Leapster, or simply plays in his room. Sometimes he'll join his sister for a video. This is not his favorite time of day, and sometimes when he's cranky--it's a struggle (to put it mildly). While they are busy, I start dinner. Once in a while there is a request for a snack.
  • This year we've started to give the kids an allowance. They have to earn it. At 5:30 p.m. we have tidy time. The kids have to pick up all their belongings from the living and dining room, and then they have to clean their rooms. If they do, daddy "pays" them at the end of the day. This has, so far, been a huge success--especially for little E! She even "hides" her money jar. If she finds other coins anywhere in the house, she gleefully asks if she can have it for her jar. She told me the other day she's saving to ride the penny horse at the grocery store. It's good to have a goal.
  • Dinner is at 6 p.m. Matt isn't usually home. Typically, he's home while we're eating or after. Last year I got into the habit of having it ready when he was home--around 7 p.m. That was just too late for me and the kids. It made bedtime difficult, and didn't leave time for Matt & I to enjoy a few moments of peace together before sleep. O takes the last of his enzymes for the day.
  • Following meal time is Family Bible study. Before we get started, the kids get ready for bed--pajamas, brush teeth, etc. Matt reads scripture and we sing with the kids.
  • Bedtime is at 8 p.m. Matt reads & prays with O, and I do the same with E. Sometimes it takes a good hour before the house is quiet, but 8 p.m. is a necessity if I want any time with Matt. We sometimes enjoy a movie or TV via internet. We're working on being in bed at 9 p.m. Matt works super early most days, and I'm determined to get us healthy sleep. Last year we seriously lacked rest and it trickled into every aspect of our lives and relationships. It wasn't pretty.
That's the day in a nutshell. We do school Mondays and Wednesdays. Tuesdays & Thursdays we run errands, go to the library, or go on a play date. If I somehow catch up on my work--I enjoy some time sewing or knitting during nap time. On Fridays when E and I aren't doing school we clean, run errands, or have a little fun (ie paint our toe nails).

Having a schedule helps us be flexible when the need comes. It helps me feel normal.

What does your day look like? What's your normal?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Diagnosis

The test results are all in, and a diagnosis has been made. I’m afraid it’s not good news. Apparently, I have had this for many years and it’s gone unchecked, ignored, and brushed off as other issues. In fact, it appears that many of my health issues—eczema, depression, weight gain, digestive issues—are actually caused by this very same problem. It can lead to other problems too—heart attack, stroke, auto-immune disorders, memory loss, and others.

It is also very difficult to cure. There is no pill to take that will heal it. Treating this disease will take major changes physically, emotionally, and mentally.

I suffer from overwhelming stress. Telling you that is, sadly, very difficult. That’s because I don’t like being a burden to anyone, I don’t want anyone to know I’m not as tough as they think, and I am a perfectionist. I take on too much, I am a workaholic, and I enjoy taking care of other people to the neglect of taking care of myself. It’s not just the amount of stress I take on, I also do not respond well to stress. I withdraw, I obsess, and/or I get angry. Pretty much, if there is a bad way to respond—that’s what I do.

I’ve been told by several people that I am intimidating. Not that I’m threatening or mean, but I do seem strong and confident all the time. A woman spoke to me today, and she is one of the few people in my life who was unabashedly forward with me—not intimidated in the slightest. This was remarkable to me. I want to share with you some of the things she said to me.

If you’re perfect, why are you here?

This is going to stick in my head for a long time. She said, “If you’re perfect, than why are you here? You might as well be in heaven.” Wow. I know perfectionism isn’t right or God’s desire for me. I know in my heart that I was made perfect through Christ’s blood—HECK, I even told a friend that recently! I’ve got the words, read the scripture, and KNOW what’s good and right. Try telling my head to follow along though. (If you can’t tell, or didn’t know—I tend to be a bit stubborn & hard-headed.) Her point was to make me understand that I need to accept my own imperfection.

Leaders need to be real.

This woman also told me that people are more apt to follow when they know their leader is real. Let them see you cry from time to time, she said. It makes them feel they can relate to you, and they are more willing to follow someone that is real. This was a novel concept to me. This has never been the picture of leadership I’ve held in my mind. I don’t have to have it all together all the time, and people appreciate that.

Those are choices YOU made.

I’m such a hypocrite. I say this all the time to women I counsel. I often feel as if I don’t have a choice. My mind easily twists things to make me believe that I must or have to do this or that. I mean, if I don’t, who will? Even my GI doc said, those things will get done. To which I responded, Yes because I will get them all done. Yikes. I struggle with saying no. I am getting better, even my husband told me that today, but I still choose daily to take on as much as possible. I carry the load for all because it’s my nature to take care of everyone. Then when it’s overwhelming, I suffer physical pain.

I also choose to RESPOND the way that I do. This will be the most difficult thing to change. Even though I’m getting better at saying no, I’m horrible at responding well to stress. I typically shove it down or burst out—depending on the situation.

So, here’s where I show vulnerability *gulp* and ask for help. How do you choose to respond to stress? Let’s make a good, long list of ideas for me to try. Do you count to ten when the boss is screaming? Do you have a special prayer? Sip some tea? When the bills need paying, and the kids are fighting—what do you do? (Please, let’s also be realistic. I’m a working mom of two—though I’d love a good soak in the tub, it’s not going to happen on a daily or evenly weekly basis. Especially since our bathroom is still being repaired.) Let’s make it an experiment. I’ll give each idea a try every week, and then report back. While you come up with some ideas, I’m going to go do something that relaxes and stresses me at the same time—knit.