Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Taking the Time to be a Happy Mama

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the 2nd annual Happy Mama Conference and Retreat in Raleigh, North Carolina. What, you ask, is the Happy Mama Conference and Retreat? It's the brainchild of some great special needs mamas of kids with invisible disabilities (ADHD, ODD, ASD, OCD, FASD, etc...) who decided it would be a hoot to get together for the weekend with a bunch of other special needs mamas...and they were right! It was a great time!

One of the highlights for me was that I managed to convince one of my best friends, who just happens to be a special needs mom herself, to come with me. When was the last time you spent two days with one of your best friends? I know, right? That's worth the price of admission right there! Just look at these pictures...how happy do I look????

 A selfie in my hotel room. Look...no bags under my eyes!
Amazing what a good night's sleep and a long nap can do.
 
 Cheese! Smile big big for the selfie, Allison Downey!
 
 We liked that first one so much, we took another one!
 
 Now these are happy mamas!
 
I finally got to meet fellow blogger and special needs mama Adrienne Ehlert Bashista.
She also happens to be one of the conference organizers.


If you were to ask me what I learned at the conference, I'd tell you not a whole lot. Now, don't get me wrong...there was a lot to be learned! The sessions were awesome, and I remember liking them all. I, however, have ADHD and am currently unmedicated, which means I can't remember a conversation I had 10 minutes ago, let alone an entire conference worth of stuff. What I will say, though, is that some stuff really, really resonated with me, and that's the stuff I remember.

Despite the fact that I had spent the money and taken the time to fly almost 1,500 km (or about 900 miles, for you non-metric people) to the conference (and abandoned my husband for the weekend with the children for the second time in a month), I still felt kind of guilty. The conference may be fairly inexpensive compared to other conferences, but it was still a lot of money for us. And while TheODDDad has hobbies that take him out of the house a few nights a week for months at a time, I've never had the kids to myself for an entire weekend. It seemed pretty one-sided...really one-sided...and a part of me felt unworthy.

And then came two sessions by Vikki Spencer, also known as The Mom Whisperer. Vikki is a motivational speaker, a certified life coach, and best of all, a special needs mom. In a nutshell, she gets it. She gets the tendency, which I don't think is unique to special needs moms, to put everyone else's needs before our own. To feel guilty when we take time for ourselves, even if it's just going for a walk or locking the bathroom door and taking a bubble bath. (OK, for the record, I hate baths, but I know they work for some people.) Vikki's message was the importance of taking the time to look after ourselves, to indulge in self-care.

Vikki shared an analogy on how critical it is for us to "sharpen our saw," which I believe she said is a premise she took from Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. She explained it this way (I'm paraphrasing, but the fact that I remember even this much shows how deeply it resonated with me): A man goes for a walk in the woods one day and comes across a woodcutter hacking away at a tree. It's obvious to the man that the woodcutter's saw is dull, so he suggests that the woodcutter take a break to sharpen his saw. "I can't," says the woodcutter. "I need to get this done, so I don't have time to stop."

Of course, we all know that things would go much easier for the woodcutter if he took the time to sharpen his saw. The work would get done faster, the woodcutter wouldn't be as tired at the end of the job, and everyone would be happy. Maybe he'd even have a little time left over for himself... Happy, happy, joy, joy!!!

As special needs moms, we need to take time to sharpen our saws. We are happier and better able to deal with everything that our lives...or our children...throw at us if we look after ourselves. As Vikki pointed out, there's a reason why adults on airplanes are instructed to put their oxygen masks on first and then tend to their children. While maternal instinct tells us to look after our children first, we can't look after our children when we can't breathe. Ever get so stressed that you find it hard to breathe? Right...you get the point.

The big question, of course, is how to fund your self-care. A walk by yourself might be nice, but wouldn't a massage be nicer? Or dinner with friends? Or a date night? Or that cut and colour you've been wanting? Or going to the Happy Mama Conference? Sure, I went to the conference this year, but that's because we came into a little bit of money unexpectedly, so I used some of it for that. But the question of how to fund next year's conference...because not going is NOT an option...is a big question.

I have to admit that when I was listening to Vikki talk about the importance of self-care, I was inwardly rolling my eyes as I tried to figure out where the money was supposed to come from on a regular basis. In our house, extra money goes to groceries, savings, or debt repayment. On occasion it goes to a special date night, but the guilt that comes with that can be pretty hefty! It seems there's always somewhere else the money should have gone.

Vikki, however, tackled that as well. She had some really great...and super easy...ways to find money. The thing is, though, that you have to change your mindset. You have to be willing to put that "found" money towards self-care, which means believing you're worth it. I know...that's the hard part.

Vikki asked a really tough question: Would you hesitate to spend the extra money on that child you love so much? Probably not, right? Then you need to love yourself as much as you love your child. When I put that question to the parents in our support group the other night, we all agreed we would find a way to pay for our child's soccer, or birthday party, or therapy. But when it came to putting that money towards ourselves, somehow all the moms and dads were suddenly looking at the ground. Ouch...

So, where do you find the money. Here are some ideas she shared and some of my own:
  • Does loose change tend to sit around in your house? Claim it! If there are any arguments, set a time limit. If it sits for more than 24 hours, it's yours.
  • Use coupons at the store and put the money you save aside.
  • Have breakfast for supper once a week. Pancakes and sausages are cheap and fun. Figure you save $5 or $10 a meal? Great...put it aside.
  • Buy your lunch during the week? Brown bag it once in a while and put the money aside.
  • Love your Timmies or your Starbucks? Forgo one a week and save the money.
I have to admit that not all of these ideas will work in my house. For one thing, I work from home, so there are no bought lunches here. I rarely hit Timmies or Starbucks, so there goes that. I do, however, see a lot of pancakes and sausages in my family's future. If I'm lucky, I may even find a coupon for them! Bonus!!!






16 comments:

  1. You are so right that all mothers, especially those with kids who have special needs, need to take better care of themselves, and put themselves first more often.
    I'm so very glad you "treated" yourself to this conference and that NOT going next year is not an option. Stick to that--no matter what life, and your family-throw at you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am so happy I came upon your Blog. I have been telling my mom I was about to start one. All I was finding was what ODD was not how to handle and live with a child who has it. I could relate with everything you were saying. I cant wait to share this with other moms I know who have kids with ODD.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Somehow I missed your post about Happy Mama! What a great take-away from the event! So glad you are coming again in 2015, and SPEAKING. I can't wait. I'm excited to get to know you more, Laura! I know we will have a blast in our cabin. ;-)

    Penny Williams
    Author of "Boy Without Instructions: Surviving the Learning Curve of Parenting a Child with ADHD" and "What to Expect When You're Not Expecting ADHD"
    ParentingADHDChildren.com

    Organizer of the Happy Mama Conference & Retreat

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello, It's my first time on this blog - how fabulous to finally find a site like this. Is there a website for the happy mom retreat?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi, i would like to comment on Doctor Osemu Okpamen and his dealing with my need. I contacted him in desperation over my girlfriend of a year that broke up with me and went back to her EX-boyfriend. Consequently the break up has been devastating so much so that I've considered and still consider suicide as my only option to relieve the pain and agony in me. I felt heart broken and it affected me that i couldn't concentrate properly at my place of work for i very much loved her and need to get her back and my last chance was getting a love spell. I entered on the website http://doctorokpamenpowerfulspelltemple.webs.com and made contact with the Doctor for i read that he has a lot of positive feedback with his spells. I’m not disappointed because my lover came back to me within 24 hours after getting a love spell from the Doctor called Osemu Okpamen. We are happy couples now and if you need any kind of help, Email him on ( doctorokpamenspelltemple@hotmail.com or whats-app +2348135254384 ). Michael Snapp, +1 (305) 647-6660 USA.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is really informative. Thanks and keep up the good work
    Odd stories

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for your miracle Doctor Osemu Okpamen

    This article is dedicated to the Doctor Osemu Okpamen. I have been married with my wife for 5 years and recently she broke up with me and it hurt me deeply when she told me to leave her alone and that she does not love me anymore when i was always faithful and honest to her. I tried all the ways to get her back buying her what she wants like i always did and she still left me heart broken and she even has a new boyfriend which destroyed me even more until a friend of mine from high school directed me to this genuine spell Doctor called Osemu Okpamen. This man changed my life completely. I followed everything he told me to do and my wife came back begging for me back. I was stunned everything happened exactly like he told me. I had faith in everything he told me and everything was true. Also he was there every moment until i got my happiness back and he also provides spells that cures impotence, bareness, diseases such as HIV/AID E.T.C You can contact him via email at { Doctorokpamenspelltemple@yahoo.com } or visit his website http://www.doctorokpamenspells.com. He will help you in anything you need and quick to answer once you contact him.

    You can also call me for more info +1 (914)-517-3229.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey guys, Get your ex back fast with the help of a real and genuine spell caster called Dr.Unity.
    I'm so excited my broken Marriage has been restored and my husband is back after a breakup, After 2 years of marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California to be with another woman. i felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband. Every day and night i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, I was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Unity can help get ex back fast. So, I felt I should give him a try. I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it then he did a (Love spell) for me. 28 hours later, my husband really called me and told me that he miss me and the kids so much, So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and the kids. Then from that day,our Marriage was now stronger than how it were before,All thanks to Dr Unity. he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet that Dr Unity real and powerful spell caster who i will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, if you are here and you need your Ex back or your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now. Here’s his contact: Email him at: Unityspelltemple@gmail.com ,
    you can also call him or add him on Whats-app: +2348071622464 ,
    his website:http://unityspelltemple.yolasite.com .
    Jessica, 26 years, Texas, USA.

    ReplyDelete


  9. We are trusted suppliers of various ADD/ADHD meds you don;t need an Rx to place an order
    We supply Modafinil ( Provigil), adderal, ritalin, dexedrine, concerta, vyvnase, straterra, desoxyn
    We can deliver to any address
    We offer tracking numbers for every shipment
    Ordering is secured, guaranteed and confidential
    We are very much interested in long term business so we deploy mechanisms to guarantee and maximize customer satisfaction

    For any inquiry or order call or text us at +1530-517-5542
    You can email us at buyrealmeds@yandex.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am very grateful to Doctor Omoluyi for bringing back my Husband after 2 years of separation due to pressure from his family and business associate saying that i am not the same country and different believe.. This Joan Robert From Miami Florida. After enough searching and surfing on the internet, I saw a post made by Peter Dashy from Canada referring of how he was helped by Doctor Omoluyi. I also decided to contact the Doctor for help because i was desperate to get back my lovely Husband. I followed all his instructions and he promised me that my husband will get back to me within 12 to 18 hours after he has finished with the preparation of the spell. And now, am finally a complete woman with my man back by my side. To also get your help from this great Doctor Omoluyi, Email: ( Doctoromoluyispelltemple@gmail.com ) OR Website: http://www.doctorokpamenspells.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm Janice Williams. I live in California USA, i want to say a bigger thanks to Dr Iyaryi for taking time to help me cast the spell that brings back my ex husband .No one could have ever made me believe that the letter I’m about to write would actually be one day be written. I was the world’s biggest skeptic. I never believed in magic spells or anything like this, but I was told by a reliable source (a very good friend of mine was the one who told me about the Dr Iyaryi that him say man of is world that what ever him say so shall it be) the man call the Dr Iyaryi is a very dedicated, gifted, and talented person,and is a good man that have help so many people to bring them Ex-lover back to them,It was one of the best things I have ever done. My love life was in shambles; And i said let me give him a try,and that was how he help me to get back my ex-husband. He did a love spell that make my ex-husband come back to me and marry me, With this testimony right now i am the happiest woman on earth and our love is now stronger than how it was even before. I will keep sharing this testimony all over the world. All thanks goes to Dr Iyaryi for the good work that he has done for me and people. he deeply enjoy helping people achieve their desires,thanks to my friend who introduced me to him. Should in case anybody need his help you can contact him on his email address: driayaryi2012@hotmail.com Dr Iyaryi restore my life in my matrimonial home you can thank him for me or email him for urgent help in any bad situation i promise you he will also help you,his email address: driayaryi2012@hotmail.com. And also Reach him on WhatsApp Number: +2349057915709 Thanks Dr. IyaryI

    ReplyDelete
  12. Good day everyone. I have something to share with you.. My name is Andrew Ryan USA, my girlfriend and I were separated for a long period due to some misunderstanding, I came across different spell casters and they were all unable to bring my lover back. I was so sad and almost gave up on him when i met a spell caster called Great Doctor Omoluyi who helped me get my lover back. Ever since then i have been so happy and couldn't believe it would happen. He also helped me with success spell, I have been living happily with my lover now and will be getting married soon. Here is his contact Email: [ Doctoromoluyispelltemple@gmail.com ] if you need his help on getting your ex back, stop your marriage from crumbling or you need success in every aspect of your life. He is really a good spell caster.

    Email: [ Doctoromoluyispelltemple@gmail.com ]
    Cell Number: +1 (914) 517-3229

    ReplyDelete
  13. So far so good i give thanks to Dr.Ogudugu for great work he did for me during my time of distress, And i have never seen anything that works so fast and so effective like the spell that Dr.Ogudugu cast on my lover which brought my lover back to me. Here is Dr.Ogudugu details: greatogudugu@gmail.com or WhatsApp No: +2348139793075 for further inquiry and assistance.

    ReplyDelete

  14. How I Got My Husband Back...........
    My Names is Monica Brown ,AM from United states .i never believed in love spells or magic until i met this spell caster once when i went to Africa in June last year on a business summit i meet a man called Dr oyinbo, is powerful he could help you cast a spells to bring back my love s gone misbehaving lover looking for some one to love you bring back lost money and magic money spell or spell for a good job i m now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 4weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 3 year i really loved him, but his mother was against me and he had no good paying job so when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him at first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try and in 6 days when i returned to taxes my boyfriend (is now my husband ) he called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married i didn’t believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid and my husband also got a new job and our lives became much better in case anyone needs the spell caster for some help his email address: prophetoyinbojesus@gmail.com or you can call him at +2348074066640

    ReplyDelete
  15. i never thought am gonna be able to get my husband back to me again" it was really terrible for me when he leaf me at December 14 2016 close to chrismax cerebration, i feel so a lone i could not go true the heart break because i loved him so much, i do all i could to get him back but nothing happens my friends tried all there best to help me talks to him to accepts me back but never listening, so i talks and thinks about it to get a spell dr. contacted for the help of bringing him back to me which i known that is the only way to get him back to me again, them i was able to get DR.COROBO email and his contact i was really happy to get reach to this dr. due to what people has be saying about him on how it has be helping relationship and curing diseases" i contact him for the spell and before i am to known my husband called me and he was crying on the phone by telling me to forgive him for what ever he may has cost me that him needs me back and them i forgive him and we where one again, he has loves me like it has never be before he has cherish me so much and i have nothing to say but to say thank you DR.COROBO you can email him if you wants to by solving your home marriage and your relationship https://www.facebook.com/Home-of-spells-732499473608461/ email. dr.corobospellhome@gmail.com call whatssap +2348155728933 thank you all for listening.

    ReplyDelete
  16. My name is Tricia millen.I am really pleased with this service. I am one of
    those people who said, “I’ll never call a psychic or a magician or
    whatever” to help me with my problems – least of all my love problems, but
    I reached the point where I knew I needed some guidance, and I’m so glad I
    found this man called dr.ajeghe. When I nearly lost David in one of our
    stupid,fights (he broke up with me), I thought I had lost everything.i cry
    all day and think that he will never come back to me again.i read so many
    testimony about Dr. ajeghe love spell,how he help to bring back ex lover
    back.I quickly email him.and also get back my husband with his love spell.
    And when I was at my most desperate,he didn’t take advantage of me. You
    performed a very good service for a person in true need. I don’t know how
    you did it, or how this magic works, but all I know is, IT WORKS!! David my
    husband and I are happily back together, and I’ll always be grateful to
    dr.ajeghe email him for any kinds of help is very capable and reliable for
    help ajeghespelltemple@gmail.com call him +2348061394778.or whatapp him
    with +2348061394778

    ReplyDelete