a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Saving Moms from "Personal" Bankruptcy

Moms, if you didn't read yesterday's post, please take the time to read it first. If you don't, it will be like coming in for the second half of the movie.

Taking time for self is as important as doing for others. This new way of living is not going against maternal bond or ideals. Dr. Phil presented the following---
"There is an honest-to-goodness hormonal difference between men and women. It is a science called Behavioral Medicine and the proven truths of it are:
  • When things get tough, men either Fight or Flee
  • Women Tend (nesting and homing) or Befriend
  • Men enjoy their buddies
  • Women NEED friendship. In times of stress, girlfriends help us calm down. This chemical reaction reduces our life's health risks as much as 60 percent."
Oprah added, "Women just don't get it. We HAVE to make ourselves a priority."

If women and their families allow for non-Mom time, it is a good deal for everyone. It eliminates resentment build-up and burn-out. To paraphrase a popular saying, "If Mama is happy then everyone is happy!"

Dr. Phil admonished "If you don't put yourself in the shop as much as your car you are  going to break down."

You are, or may be, becoming a martyr if: 
  • You say no to yourself more than to anyone else
  • You have gone a week without time for yourself while serving everyone else
  • You are making sure everyone else has fun, freedom, relaxation and stress relief, but not yourself
  • You cannot buy into the fact that it is okay to take time for yourself
  • You have been sold the bill of goods that being a wife and/or mom is ALL that is necessary---that you do not need adult time, quiet time, self time.
Many years ago my personal physician told me that stress is the #1 underlying reason for doctor visits and "If you don't stop or at least limit yourself, something will!" I ignored that sound advice and later learned the hard way that you should not wait until you need a doctor's permission slip to say NO.

How do I get this time for me?
Dr. Phil gives us the following steps: 
First, admit that we as women teach people how to treat us---we allow them to treat us the way they often do. 
Second, if your situation is such that you need to do this, write a script to help your family understands your needs. Choose a time when everyone can be together without tension, TV or other distractions. 

Line them all up like birds on a power line, screw up your courage, take a big breath, and say "I want to talk about ME." and put the following into words you are comfortable with---
  • I have been trying to give you everything I have and as a result I have been cheating all of us ---none of you are getting all of me or all I have to give...
  • I can't give you what I don't have and I have just about given all I have...
  • I need wind blown into me. I need to refuel. I need regular and scheduled time to breathe and just be me---not wife, mom, or anything but me---a unique individual...
  • I try to make sure you have everything that you need and in doing so I am neglecting myself. I feel guilty if I take time out for myself and I shouldn't...
  • I want your blessings. I want your encouragement. I NEED your help...
  • I must make sure this happens. I am worth it!
As you consider all the above, and take the hard steps of accepting the seemingly selfish fact that the above is not being selfish at all, remember that bank accounts usually don't increase by huge amounts occasionally, but small amounts regularly. Picture how fast a jar can fill up with the small addition of loose change you add at the end of each day.

I am sure that you will find that setting aside some time for "your" time---though a comparatively small amount---will fill you immeasurably. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Avoiding Womanhood Bankruptcy or . . .

Notice: This post is for those of us who are always doing for their family and for others but never take time for ourselves. That was me in the old days.  It wasn't that I couldn't take time for me-time, I just didn't. It didn't seem right. Except for my paragraph about my personal physician, the information below is from Dr. Phil McGraw, PhD, when he was a guest on Oprah Winfrey's show, several years ago. Some of it is pretty extreme----sometimes we may need extreme. 

. . .Picture the check register of your bank account!
If there are only withdrawals and no deposits you will quickly become financially bankrupt.

Picture yourself as the check register. 
If there are only withdrawals of self and no deposits (renewals) doesn't it follow that you will become emotionally bankrupt?

Where are you on your own priority list?
If you are not high on your own list, take steps to change that.
How can you do that? 
Get over any guilt about making yourself a priority ---
Being the best wife/mom/person is not devoting every minute to others and their needs. Do not feel guilty by not giving 100 percent to others. Do not think you have or must have an infinite amount of energy to give to or provide for others. You will quickly reach the point of "going through the motions."

What gift is that to your family? You cannot give what you do not have.

Structure your life to make yourself a priority ---
You are not giving a gift to yourself or your husband or family if you burn yourself out. It is easier to tell yourself "no" than others. Make appointments with your self and keep them. Be willing to delegate to others to give yourself time. 

Let go of the perception that everything has to be done your way and, if necessary, accept less than "perfection" as a result of this delegation.

"Kiss a Lot of Frogs"
Discover a new role for yourself. Find out what your passions are. Use the survey that follows to create a list of everything you use to do and enjoy. . . and why you stopped doing them. If you stopped because of lack of time, try to figure out how to make a little time. Your time "away from home" brings more energy back home!

I used to love to________________but I quit because_____________
I used to like to ________________but I quit because_____________
I have always wanted to_________________
What is it in my day that truly makes me the happiest?_____________
What was the happiest time in my life?________________
How can I replicate that?________________

You can't let yourself believe it is really okay to put yourself on any rung of the ladder of priorities let alone near the top rung. It will require that you move outside of your comfort zone. Or, could we say rut? This will make you think, make you come up with something to do---and then doing it.

Your husband and kids might make you feel guilty when you try to do something for yourself---which may require (more) help from them. 

When you make deposits in your own personal self account you are buoying yourself up, refreshing and renewing yourself, getting more so you can keep giving. Any kite flies higher with good wind to lift it. 

You will fly higher, with more energy and happiness, if you take time to refill your sails by allowing yourself another dimension. You will not burn out. You and everyone around you will be happier and healthier.

Please ponder these things and if you need some time for yourself  "tune in" tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

#16 What If . . . Non-Food Considerations for Grab-N-Go Bag

What If . . . #11 was the initial post on Grab-N-Go Bags, 72 hour kits, or whatever you choose to call them. The names are as varied as the containers and the ingredients but they all have the same single purpose:

To have at the ready ---- a portable container of essentials if you had to leave your home immediately in the case of an emergency.

Years ago I was told there where only three kinds of people in the world---regardless of their locations and circumstances. 

  1. Those who make things happen
  2. Those who watch things happen
  3. Those who wonder what happened

As I noted in What If . . .#11, the hardest part of putting these kits together is deciding what should go into them----what are absolute necessities, what would fall in the handy extras category, and how to keep them light enough so you can transport them if transportation is not available.

Unfortunately there is no single list telling exactly what you need but there are a zillion Internet sites to give you suggestions and ideas.  I don't think I'm exaggerating, at least by much.

Post #11 gave you a preparedness site's recommendation for an absolute minimum menu for 72 hours but that isn't etched in stone either. WATER is a must! The remaining items are recommendations or suggestions and ideas to get you started.

There are sites that report what the first 100 items to disappear from grocery shelves are but they each differ somewhat. Looking at these lists give you "oh, yeah, I didn't think about that" ideas.

There are Internet sites by those who have experienced earthquakes, tornadoes, and they are great resources

What We Know:
It is important to be prepared for an emergency!
More and more government agencies and communities are preparing and encouraging us to be prepared.

What We Don't Know:
Everything else!
We don't know why, when, or what the emergency may be.

To be creative, determined, and up to the task---to be one who makes things happen!

Things to Consider:
  • How many in your family?
  • How many will be able to carry their own pack (or at least part of one)?
  • Are their babies or elderly or disabled --- or others with special needs?
  • Are prescription or special medications a part of your life?
Things to Ponder:
  • Since you never know when an emergency may take place you have to consider climates and seasons  --- and, if you live in an area of extremes---you must change the clothing items seasonally.  
  • How often should you exchange the contents of your kits --- because of outdated foods or outgrown size?  Don't laugh, it can happen. We had suitcases in our garage that still had diapers and baby food in them when our youngest was about four. Every six months is about right to check them. It is wise to put a reminder on your calendar! Some families make a special activity out of the checking --- having a picnic with the old -- then restocking with the new.
 Over the years we have considered and tried many different ways to contain our 72-hour supplies. Some have been more successful than others --- and as the years and our circumstances change so has our methods.

It is suggested that each member should carry as much of their own supplies as they are able. 

Over the years we have, or have known those who have, put their supplies in
Don't just stand there ---
Keep plodding along and you will be the winner!
Start where you are and build as quick as you can.
The only way you can lose is if you never start!
  • suitcases (ones with sturdy wheels are great)      
  • 5-gallon buckets
  • a variety of different types/sizes backpacks
  • wagons
  • trashcans with wheels
  • duffel bags
  • sports bags
  • various plastic containers
  • cargo type pants and jackets

I read recently of a sweatshirt "backpack" kit. The hem and the wrist were sew together with dental floss to securely close those openings. The body of the sweatshirt was then filled and it could be carried, or tied "fashionably" around the waist or around the shoulders. It could also be cut open and worn should the weather call for it. 

Now that Dave and I are older, we have modified ours "carriers" once again. Ours are actually in parts to balance the items all over our aging bodies. They are listed in need-to-have through helpful-to-have order.  (And the containers can be taken or left behind as the situation and means of transport allows.
Each of us has
  • a fishing or photographer vest with the absolute necessities. 
  • a web belt with grommets for essential items that can hang. 
  • a small bucket with additional food, water and helpful to have items
  • a backpack
  • a duffel bag

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

#15 What If...Emergency Readiness Test 2

As pointed out yesterday, not all emergencies require you leaving your home immediately but many, if not all, do require some immediate action be taken.  Please continue with Part 2 of Yes/No quiz to evaluate where you are.

If an emergency lasted for three days (72 hours) before help was available to you and your family (in your own home) -----
  1. Would you have sufficient food?
  2. Would you have the means to cook food without gas and electricity?
  3. Would you have sufficient water for drinking, cooking and sanitary needs?
  4. Do you have access to a 72-hour evacuation kit?
  5. Would you be able to carry or transport these kits?
  6. Have you established an out-of-state contact?
  7. Do you have first aid kit in your home and in each car?
  8. Do you have work gloves and some tools for minor rescue and clean up?
  9. Do you have emergency cash on hand? (during emergencies banks and ATMs are closed)
  10. Without electricity and gas do you have a way to heat at least part of your house?
  11. If you need medications, do you have a month's supply on hand?
  12. Do you have a plan for toilet facilities if there is an extended water shortage?
  13. Do you have a supply of food, clothing, and fuel where appropriate: for 6 months? for a year? 
These are all questions that need answers if you are to be safe and as comfortable as possible in an emergency. If you answered 'No' to any of them, its now time to work on getting those items handled.              

from One Heart, Inc.

Monday, January 16, 2012

#14 What If. .Emergency Readiness Test 1

In #11 What If . . .? post I talked typed about emergency Grab-N-Go bags for when you have to leave your home on a moment's notice---- and I'll do more on that subject in the near future.

BUT. . .

Not all emergencies require you leaving your home immediately but many, if not all, do require some immediate action be taken.  I ask that you take this Yes/No quiz to evaluate where you are.

Preparedness Test
  1. Has your family rehearsed fire escape routes from your home?
  2. Does your family know what to do before, during, and after an earthquake or other emergency situation.
  3. Do you have heavy objects hanging over beds that can fall during an earthquake?
  4. Do you have access to an operational flashlight in every occupied bedroom? (use of candles is not recommended unless you are positive there is no leaking gas)
  5. Do you keep a pair of hard-soled shoes at your bedside to protect your feet against broken glass?
  6. If a water line was ruptured during an emergency, do you know how to shut off the main water line to your house?
  7. Can this water valve be turned off by hand without the use of a tool?  Do you have a tool if one is needed?
  8. Do you know where the main gas shut-off valve to your house is located?
  9. If you smell gas, do you know how and would you be able to shut off this valve?
  10. Gas valves usually cannot be turned off by hand. Is there a tool near your valve?
  11. Would you be able to safely restart your furnace when gas is safely available?
  12. Do you have working smoke alarms in the proper places to warn you of fire?
  13. In case of a minor fire, do you have a fire extinguisher that you know how to use?
  14. Do you have duplicate keys and copies of important insurance and other papers stored outside your home.
  15. Do you have a functional emergency radio to receive emergency information
  16. If your family had to evacuate your home, have you identified a meeting place?
These are all questions that need answers if you are to be safe in an emergency. If you answered 'No' to any of them, its now time to work on getting those items handled.              

One Heart, Inc.  "Tune in" for Part 2 tomorrow