Wow, thanks for all the great survival tips, ladies! Kylie, you really knocked yourself out. Though of course, brownie points go to Katja, who can always bring the blush out–

“My survival techniques? Well, that’s easy! Just keep reading the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about mamahood, as ably and humerously written by dear dear CJ!”

Everyone offered up goodies. Lots of things we already do, but it never hurts to be reminded about the importance of. Getting outside is one of the best tools in the parenting toolkit, for so many reasons. It’s easy as pie here, most of the year. Especially now with our new, improved, big yard.

I heard ya on the jacket potatoes. Check. I do them sometimes, but not often enough. What do you all like to put on them? Fried rice is a great one too, that for some stupid reason I never make. Will remedy that tonight.

Unfortunately, my used to be “great eater” has officially become “picky.” She hardly wants to eat anything but frozen berries and cheesesticks. Even used to be faves get the stink eye. It’s so discouraging. I know I just need to let it go. Roll with it, right? She’ll eat if she’s hungry. No one ever died of starvation with food on their plate.

I knew this would come. Pickiness is practically a rite of passage. And with her defiant personality, I’m just lucky it took this long.

But, shower before bed? Every night?! When am I supposed to clean up after dinner? Sweep up the day’s disasters? Talk with My Man for our daily 10 minutes? Wind down with my beloved blog readers’ brilliant comments? Not to mention, just go the hell to bed? Showering sounds so laborious to me at 8:30.

Nevertheless, I think you might be on to something, Kylie. I am a dirty beast. My usual schedule is shower once a week, on Saturdays. Yes, even in the hot sticky summer. Hey, I used to go months without showers when I lived in the woods. The dirtiness kind of plateaus.

But I’ve been getting sort of fed up with being dirty all the time. More distressingly, I’ve been having trouble some nights quieting my brain down for sleep. Laying there in bed, soooooo tired, but unable to go to sleep– my kiddos didn’t get their sleep issues from nowhere. I used to suffer terrible insomnia, my whole life on and off, until wrenching heartbreak somehow cured me. I know, doesn’t make sense, but it was like a light switch. Since then, I have had just a night here and there, which always terrify me because I think it’s coming back.

Anyway, there’s few things in this world more frustrating than lying in bed, tired as hell, not sleeping. As a mama, the frustration of it is doubled. So, even though it’s only happened to me a handful of nights, I had been thinking I need to nip it in the bud. To re-write my bedtime rituals.

As impossible as a shower sounds, it’s a good idea. I might just give it a try.

In amongst other good advice, Mutherfunker said to zone in on something lovely about each of my kids. This is a theme repeated in lots of comments, and in my own brain quite often.

I have lots more to say about this, but it will have to wait for tomorrow, Little Guy just woke up.

Good morning!

14 thoughts on “Tips

  1. “I used to suffer terrible insomnia, my whole life on and off, until wrenching heartbreak somehow cured me. I know, doesn’t make sense, but it was like a light switch.”

    So this resonated with me. I think big hurt, big trouble, big pain gives us cause to find peace if only as a survival tool.

    Sleep? I remember the days of running all night with my friends getting buzzed only to have to go straight to work in my cafe cooking a full shift. That was hell. Sometimes I used to try and stop my partying supply by 1:00 am so I might, might, might be able to fall asleep by 3:00 am and might, might, might be able to get in a couple of hours of sleep before work. But hell. My monkey mind was on steroids as party favors will do (am I being subtle enough?).

    Now yes, I could have given up the bad habits (and I did eventually) but oddly, miraculously, I learned how to shut down buzzed out monkey mind. How the hell I did that was anyone’s guess but I’m thinking that the fear of ripping out my own liver at 3:00 am cause I was so freaked out with every scary/neurotic/self-recriminating/self-loathing thought that popped into my head (bad, bad mother being a favorite), taught me how to tame the beast. Somehow I trained my mind to concentrate on one image – the light from a candle (you can choose your own) and every time monkey mind wanted to jump to another limp I forced it back to the candle flame.

    Funny to know after all these years that focusing on breath or a single image or your mantra or whatever is a tool for meditation. Back then I was just trying to keep sane. But what it gave me all these years later is a tool that is fool proof. Evidently once you learn to calm party favor monkey mind you pretty much got it down for life. So whenever a scary, fretful, worrisome “what-the-fuck-am-I-going-to-do-know!!!!!” sort of thought pops in my head in the middle of the night (which happens a bit more now given the menopause and all and cause, well, you know…..the husband jumping ship) I just still the mind and settle on the light and fall asleep. Not much a person can do about anything anyway particularly in the middle of the night.

    Which is what I meant by a survival tool. I learned that trick cause I would have torn out my liver (which given its condition might not have been a bad idea cept for the fact that I did not have a replacement and, well, there’s such a long waiting list given how many of us went to such great lengths to destroy it) and cause I wanted to get a little sleep and cause, well, I knew that I wasn’t really all that bad even though it felt like it back then.

    So Stringz, find your light and bring your thoughts back to it whenever they start jumping around and know, really know, that everything passes and will right itself if your heart is basically good which yours definitely is.

    Much love – your mom (sorta kinda)

  2. When my boys were smaller, one great way we all wound down together was to all get up on ‘the big bed’ & I’d read a story – often it was a chapter book so all 3 of them were into it. It was a way to S-L-O-W down the day, tranisition to bedtime, without being too abrupt. Of course, I usually fell asleep, too! And the discussion with their Father?? Um…I guess we’re still behind on that one…

    1. we have big bed time too, but with the itty bitties it’s more like jumping up and down and playing tent under the sheet. not exactly wind down material. the 3yo is almost to real chapter books, but not quite. the 1yo, like any healthy 1yo, does not sit still for books with more than 12 words/page

  3. I was told to come and find your blog. I did. Hello, post punk feminist mama blogland buddy. Glad to see the real side of motherhood hasn’t been glazed over with frosting…

  4. You mean I’m not alone? I’m not the only insomniac out there? Sheez. Mine has been going on for a really long time. I must say worrying is not what keeps me up. It’s that my mind is in overdrive. All of my good ideas come to me at 1:00 a.m. and they keep on rolling. All the wonderful things I want to do with my backyard, house, etc. All the things I need to do (and want to do). All the creative ideas come to me unbidden. It’s like I’m on coke only, I’m not. Never ventured there. (Too scaredy cat for all that stuff. LOL!) Then of course when I wake up in the morning? I’m exhausted. All those WONDERFUL ideas seem insurmountable to accomplish. I do well to keep up with daily chores. Sigh. It’s a vicious cycle. I’m going to try the candle/mantra thingy. But how do you stop GOOD, EXCITING thoughts?

    Harriet, I’d hate to see you when you were in your party-favor-monkey-mind pattern, just the way you write sounds like you’re in superdrive mode. In fact, reading the above post, I had a picture of you running around the house with your hands on each side of your head while your hair is on fire. Honestly girl–do you EVER slow down? I guess that’s how you get it all done. :)

    CJ: Good luck with the “I” monster. I hate using the term, it gives it too much power.

    1. i read once to keep a pen and notebook next to your bed. when you have an idea, or something you need to remember, turn the light back on and jot it down. once written your mind can let go of it, and relax. of course, this doesn’t work with the kind of comprehensive life revolution schemes that i suspect you are hatching at midnight… nevertheless, worth a try?

  5. A shower is a survival tool… 5 minutes of peace with hot water, coming out feeling clean and knowing you can then get away with washing the sheets only every fortnight (in Winter). Or talk to your husband while you are in the shower. And I read to wind my brain down at night… being on the computer just before bed doesn’t help (I know, I know, I still do it!)

    Our other survival tips (I didn’t post yesterday and hesitate to now, because they might not be welcome):

    Hang clothes on folding racks, place them outside to dry, but if they don’t, or it rains, or whatever, you can easily bring them back inside. You can get them off when you have time, or even, as you need them!

    Clean the kitchen during the day… ie. cook earlier in the day, be it Slow Cooker, Make In Advance, Freezer Meals, or cooking two meals at one time. After dinner, just having a few dirty dishes to sort out is great!

    Shower early with the kids… then once dinner is over & they’re in bed, your few dishes are sorted, you are ready to get straight into your free time… blogging, reading, husbanding, sleeping! I like to have as much done before the kids go to bed, rather than tidying up etc. taking up my precious R&R time. Of course, this only works if said kids help you tidy, or refrain from making new mess!

    Online grocery shopping, casual daycare days, weekly mummy-treat (to keep you going), Rescue Remedy…

    Anyways, you know how to survive, you are a tough chick, but it’s OK to cry too… another tip, go bawl your eyes out in the toilet, then you’ll be ready for Round 2!

    1. i do the movable laundry rack thing with diapers. works great. and yes, they often don’t make it off the rack till it’s time to use them again.
      i do clean the kitchen during the day. doesn’t mean it doesn’t need it again at night. not to mention the rest of the house.
      and showering with the babe? not happening. i was able to get away with that some when he was littler, before he could stand up. now, it’s hard enough to keep him sitting down in a bath.
      but, i love your bathroom break/balling session idea. brilliant. wish i’d done that when the 3yo peed in a box of unpacked clothes tonight while i was trying to make dinner, instead of screaming her name with a couple of swear words attached.

      1. Yea, sometimes when people give you advice, even with the best of intentions, it just makes you a bit pissed off instead, because it makes you think, “I’m not an idiot, I do that stuff already, der”… so, sorry for that. Happens to me alot too… but as with all unsolicited, or solicited, advice, there are some gems amongst it all, and I’ve even used the crying in the toilet one at work, so I can go back out & face it again. Sad, but true, I’ve also cried in front of my kids a couple of times when it all got too much, and it made them stop what they were doing & come to comfort me and start behaving better… works on husbands too!!

      2. I know about the pitfalls of advice. But even the stuff I do know, and do, it sometimes helps to be reminded the importance of.
        Re how much you get done in a day, don’t forget, you also work at a job! Boggles my mind, how you ladies can balance both, when I can barely keep up here at home. Amazing.

  6. Hey sweet CJ! Wow, what an honour it is to be mentioned by name!

    Ok, just quick, cos it’s school holidays and my son, dressed as a fairy and all, tent made over the dining table, and flipping through books and building lego, is on a high-attention-needed day and I only got a few mins to read this and comment…

    But, here’s an idea:

    You + Man + Shower = two birds, with the one stone!

    I know we’re meant to be conserving water, but that sounds like a good idea to combine a shower AND have a erm, ‘conversation’ that will tire you out for sleep…..



    1. oh, you do crack me up.
      we don’t need to conserve water around here particularly. Mississippi river and all.

  7. This will probably be a totally unwelcome suggestion, but I have just recently (since late Feb) gone coffee free. I’ve been an avid coffee drinker since high school, and I’m still in denial about it, but I can’t believe how much better I feel. I fall asleep so much better and wake up more refreshed so I don’t even feel like I need it–although I still want it just because! Like Terri, I’ve spent my adult life thinking my best thoughts at night, so in a way I miss it, but I can still stay awake thinking if I really want to.
    Now if I drink a cup once in awhile I feel like crap and my heart races at night. I wouldn’t have dreamt of giving up coffee anytime prior, and I’m not really sure how I did it, but it’s just a thought.

    1. oh yeah. heretic. you can keep those kind of outrageous ideas to yourself, I’m still a Fundamentalist Believer in coffee as my personal savior ;)
      the sleep issues i remember ever since i was a kid, so, preexisting condition anyway. not that i don’t feel coffee’s ill effects, but i sold my soul to the devil a long time ago for 25 cents and a pound of beans.

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