Last weekend, I had the opportunity to reflect on the birth experience, that amazing and sometime’s shocking event that begins our journey into motherhood. I was invited to a friend’s birth blessing party – think baby shower but for the mother. It was a lovely way to shower the mother with love and strength as she prepares to welcome her baby into the world. We were asked to bring birth affirmations or prayers and as I searched for affirmations, I was inspired to write a few of my own.
Just as the sun delivers life and light to the world with it’s warmth and energy, so will you deliver life today.
I find nature inspiring and what could connect us more to the natural world than birth? The power of words and thoughts (or lack there of) can really help direct labor. A birthing mother is full of energy, warmth and love which lights up her world and the world of her unborn child. I’ve never drawn the connection between a birthing woman and the sun before but what a powerful way to imagine and align yourself during birth. To be radiant like the sun as you bring forth life into the world. Focusing on the strength, love, warmth and light emanating from your body could really help refocus your energy away from the pain of labor and more towards it’s joy.
I trust my body to birth my baby. We are both healthy and strong. We will dance together until one becomes two.
I found the first two affirmations and combined them, both powerful reminders when it seems American culture encourages women to doubt their bodies and fear for the worst during pregnancy and childbirth. Bringing trust, confidence and optimism into the birthing room is a must. I added the last sentence because I love the image of birth as a dance. Naturally laboring women are encouraged to dance and sway and circle their hips to help the baby make the journey from the womb into the world. The literal and figurative power of labor and delivery as a dance promotes connection between mother and child as their bodies work together.
Even past the point of birth, these affirmations can be powerful meditations on motherhood. Mother with the endless energy, light and warmth of the sun. Something we probably all live up to even when we feel exhausted and crabby at the end of the day. Perhaps the more exhausted we are, the more light we’ve poured out onto our children and partners and jobs. Trust yourself as a mother, believe that you and your children are healthy and strong and savor the unique and beautiful dance of the relationship between mother and child. If we focus our energy on these powerful positive words, our lives will reflect that. Just as in birth, our thoughts (or lack there of) can direct the journey.
I recently attended a birthday party for a 5 year old girl with my own 5 year old girl. The birthday girl was beyond excited, moving around the room with a run bounce hybrid and wearing a super smile on her face. One of the dads in attendance commented that he didn’t know what he’d do if he felt that much excitement about something. I commented, you’d probably be jumping up and down just like her. Which got me to thinking about being a kid and so full of emotion. All emotion.
We spend our whole lives learning how to reign that in. Reign in those unbridled emotions. Of course we need to learn how to manage anger, frustration, fear or sadness. But should we temper excitement, joy and happiness too? The truth behind that dad’s offhand comment about not feeling that level of excitement in life is sort of sad. If, as adults, we’ve lost our ability to feel that much excitement, maybe we need to make some changes.
I’m not saying adults should start throwing tantrums (although we probably do from time to time) or start randomly bouncing all over the place with large cheesy grins plastered on our faces. But, I’m thinking we could take a lesson from our kids and their fresh, untamed emotions. Revel in happy, let yourself feel excited about something (even if it’s just a cup of coffee), soak in those positive emotions in life. And if you don’t think there are things in your life to strike those types of emotions, watch your kids and smile when they smile, jump when they jump. Eventually your body will remember what joy feels like.
Karen Maezen Miller has done it again. I posted about her book Momma Zen and I can’t get enough of her insightful words and thoughts on life, especially when it applies to being a stay at home mom (aka: my life).
hand wash cold: care instructions for an ordinary life is an amazing little book. This book could be helpful for anyone but is especially inspiring for this stay at home mom. Maezen Miller shares the life experiences (both positive and negative) that have brought her to her present state as wife, mother and Zen Buddhist priest. Miller writes elegantly about truly being present in your life everyday. About laying down that pesky ego, about living your “someday” today and truly just appreciating the world around you and your place in it right now.
She touches on things I struggle with as a stay at home mother and as someone with a type A personality. Of someone who is always looking ahead trying to figure out what the next step should be and someone who worries a lot about what kind of job I’m doing. Intellectually I know these lessons but that doesn’t mean emotionally or spiritually I’m any good at performing them in my day to day life. What I love, love, love about Miller is that in her book, she gently and beautifully illuminates the path. A path that seems doable. Or at least doable for me.
hand wash cold will live on my bedside table. And I’ll say it again, I think I might be a Buddhist. Perhaps it’s time to start living my “someday.”
Baking soda isn’t just for baking. Lately, I’ve been using it all over the place. Here are my current top 5 uses. Enjoy!
1 – It will make your kitchen and bathroom sparkle. Just sprinkle a bit in the sink, tub or wherever, add a little water and scrub clean. You’ll be amazed. My disgusting stainless steel kitchen sink and porcelain bathroom sink have never been cleaner. I added a little squeeze of lemon juice to the kitchen for added power and a nice, fresh smell.
2 – Mix equal parts baking soda, coconut oil and shea butter for an all natural deodorant. Add a few drops of tea tree or lavender oil (natural anti-bacterial) for a scent if you’d like.
3 – Put a little baking soda in your hand, add a few drops of water to make a paste to use as a gentle exfoliant for your face or anywhere on your body that could use a little scrub. Add a bit of sugar for a more textured scrub.
4 – If your silverware or cookie sheets are spotted like mine, try using a little baking soda and water to scrub them clean. Then rinse and wash as usual. Works wonders.
5 – Need an activity for a rainy (or snowy) day indoors with the kids? Grab an empty yogurt container and tape to a paper plate (right side up). Wrap it all with tin foil and then poke a hole in the top and then press the tin foil inside the yogurt container. Set it on a rimmed baking sheet. Add equal parts baking soda and vinegar to the cup and watch your volcano bubble over with lava. Add food coloring for more fun!
This month is the month for love… I’ve felt plenty of love for my family, friends and been grateful for the things in my life. However, I’ve also found myself in various states of outrage as well. I could blame hormones or lack of sleep (and they probably do contribute) but the more I think about it, the more my reactions seem like the appropriate ones. I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Lately, I’ve been outraged that…
While looking at schools for my daughter to attend kindergarten next fall, I’m trying to discern where she would be safest from a school shooting. It pisses me off that this is a legitimate fear parents have to face when sending their children to school.
The rain forests might be gone in 40 years. It’s true, I read it on a sign at Sea Life Minnesota of all places and then looked around online. As a global community we may destroy all of it in my lifetime. Most definitely in my children’s lifetime. Our family likes to watch the BBC Planet Earth series. My oldest is always saying how she’d love to visit those places. Of course, I never thought we would really get to see the actual places in the film, but I did believe that they would be there if we could find the time, money, whatever to get there. The fact that they may not be is outrageous to me. And further outrageous, there is probably nothing that we can do to stop it.
I live among people who have no respect for living creatures. Or in this case, deer. We have a rather large population of deer that run through our suburban neighborhood. They eat a lot of our plants and sometimes walk down the street. They have their babies in the tall grasses behind our house, bed down in wooded areas or sometimes even in our backyard. They live here. When I let my dog out today, we startled one that was lying in our yard. It stood up and as it turned to hobble away, I noticed an arrow sticking out of what I’d call her front right shoulder. She was moving extremely slowly and after she was a few yards away, she turned and just stared at me with these huge eyes. Someone obviously illegally shot her with a bow and arrow and didn’t kill her. So, not only do I feel bad for the poor, suffering deer, I also get to wonder about people shooting bow and arrows in my neighborhood… will my kids or pet get hit if they miss their target?
These are just three random examples of things that make me feel like screaming WTF at the top of my lungs. Sure there are lots of good things in life, I keep a gratitude journal to help me see them. But more and more lately, I’m coming across all sorts of things that make my blood boil. What’s on your short list?
I’m a sucker for the printed word. I like the feel of the pages in my hands. Of course, I’m admitting this on a blog and it doesn’t get more virtual than that. I know. In any case, I picked up a free copy of Minnesota Parent a week ago and noticed it’s weight had increased, more articles, more great stuff and a few more ads to make it happen. I loved it. Where is all of this going, you might ask.
I’m getting there.
There was an article that highlighted green baby options, which we all know is an interest of mine. The Honest Company’s diapers were mentioned as a way to do more responsible, safer disposables. And to be honest, I’m getting sick of doing so many loads of cloth diapers. So I had to check them out.
Great diapers, great company, as far as I can tell. Super cute, high performing diapers that don’t stink like so many of the regular disposables out there do. I’ve ordered a few packages to supplement my cloth diapering. Don’t get me wrong, I still can’t really justify spending money on diapers that I throw away. But, for days when I’m just not feeling the cloth diaper vibe, I will feel good about what I’m putting on my daughters cute little buns and what I’m throwing out with the trash.
The Honest Company is definitely worth a look. The revamped Minnesota Parent Magazine is too, for that matter. Happy reading!
That is the question.
There have obviously been rather large lapses in time between posts this past year, which seems to be carrying into this year as well. My mommy brain continues to observe and note the remarkable things in everyday life at home with my girls all the time, I just haven’t been taking breaks out of living life to get them out of my brain and onto the virtual paper that is my blog. I’ve been debating whether to write a that’s all for now blog post and put project mommy brain to bed permanently or to keep it and make an effort to post a bit more frequently. At the moment, the latter is winning the debate.
So, welcome to a new year (a little late). Hopefully you’ll be hearing a bit more from this mommy brain as time and inspiration allow. Stay tuned.
Patricia Harman is the author of two memoirs, The Blue Cotton Gown and Arms Wide Open. She’s a fantastic advocate for birth and women and a very talented writer. Her latest book is a novel. Mommy brains, birth advocates and anyone who loves birth stories will especially love this book. The characters set in the town and surrounding area of Liberty, West Virginia during the Depression will haunt you. Check out my review below, the cool book trailer and pick up a copy! You won’t regret it.
From the very first sentence, Harman draws us into Depression-era West Virginia and the life of midwife, Patience Murphy. Times are hard and so is the life of Patience as she struggles to come to terms with her new identity as a midwife and leave behind a tragic past.
The Midwife of Hope River is full of tension – racial, economic, and the strife of the coal mine workers. It examines the raw edges of the loneliness and ugliness of life, but as the title suggests, there are also moments of hope. Much like a churning river, life has it’s peaks and valleys and Harman examines these with the artistry of a master. Her voice soars, especially when describing the natural world and human nature. For those of you who have read her memoirs, you will recognize her cadence.
As it often does, art reflects life in the sense that some of the most hope-filled events in the novel shine through in the countless births Patience attends. Moments of love between partners, parents and children, women attending the births, and of course between Patience and her clients. These moments of kindness and beauty found through love and connection between human beings are what buoys the heart in difficult times and in essence, what this novel is all about.
Patience Murphy exists almost 100 years ago but the messages about life and love and hope are timeless. The Midwife of Hope River is an excellent fiction debut for Harman. She’s an author you won’t want to miss.
I’ve been a Dove girl for as long as I can remember. A Dove deodorant girl, that is. I loved that it was creamy, worked well and only lightly scented. However, the past few years I’ve been noticing more and more natural types of deodorants on the market. And although I’ve been switching to more and more natural products, I hadn’t gotten up enough guts to try any until recently. I came across Meow Meow Tweet via Blissmo and was intrigued by the natural ingredients and the fact that it was a cream. I’ve been really happy with Blissmo highlighted products I’ve tried in the past and it was on sale. So, I ordered it.
And after trying it for two weeks (in the very hot heat of this MN summer), I’m pleased to say that I’m sold. It is a fantastic product. It works great, is lightly scented with lavender (aka: calming), and gentle on that delicate underarm skin. Plus, I feel great about not putting more unnecessary chemicals on my body. And the little jar looks so cute next to my bathroom sink. I give Meow Meow Tweet Lavender Deodorant Cream a confident two arms up.
The book Raising Happiness by Dr. Christine Carter is the parenting book. It’s all about the things (little, simple things) we can do in our lives to increase our own happiness and also to model and teach our children to be happy too.
Happiness might seem like a superficial or hokey thing to teach your children, but isn’t it really the number one thing we want for our children? To be happy? Yes. And it turns out happy people tend to be more successful in the traditional ways that we measure success in our society as well. But aren’t happy people just happy and sad people just sad? Dr. Carter says it just isn’t so. Happiness can be taught and learned.
No matter what your parenting philosophy or even if you don’t have one at all, I’d highly recommend this book. It’s one that changed the way I think about the whole concept of being happy and it’s one that I will come back to again and again.
I’ve been thinking about writing this review for weeks, about what I might highlight or draw out. And now that I’m actually writing it, all I really want to say about it is that you must read it. Enjoy!