Do Your Circle

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Just your circle, no one else’s.  That’s what I have been concentrating on lately.  DH has been a big proponenet of this for a while and I’m not sure, but maybe I just needed some context for what it really meant, but I really got it last week.  Big lightbulb moment for me.  I coordinate the mom’s group, The LS Chatterbox Cafe’,  at my church where we meet once a month and I was, as I always am, hurriedly dashing into the gathering and making sure that everyone “saw” where we were just in case they wanted to join.  So, we were talking about how Facebook has changed how we interact with our friends, relatives and pretty much everyone we’ve ever met.  Its so different from 10 or 15 years ago when you closed a chapter of your life and then it was well, closed.  You didn’t have to revisit those memories, people, experiences again, unless you wanted to and actually sought it out.  Now, it pretty much hunts you down.  I’m friends on Facebook with people that I went to high school with who remember me vividly, but I have no memory of them.  Its odd.  Also though, we’re bombarded with hardships and illness of friends of friends of friends and long lost relatives.  Its overwhelming.  As humans, we’re not wired to process those kinds of hardships and obstacles on that scale without feeling like there is imminent doom.  As an example, my anxiety occasionally gets kicked into high gear just from watching the news and reading Facebook.  We have a 24-hour news cycle now and can connect instantaneously with others all over the globe.  Wonderful, yes?  Yes.  But also difficult for some people, like me, to process.  I can’t help my friend’s friend’s cousin’s brother who is dealing with chemotherapy, except to perhaps send a Facebook note.  What I can do however is do MY circle.  I can send a home cooked meal from TakeThemAMeal.com to a woman going through chemotherapy in my Thursday Mom’s Group so that her family won’t have to worry about dinner for that night.  (I know, I know, I have several moms’ groups.  Ha!)  I can drop off charitable items for a local charity that then resells (or gifts) the items to community families.  I can attend my local alderman’s meeting to vote about changes to our neighborhood and voice my concerns.  If everyone does their circle, then good works get done, people are cared for, voices are heard and communities are built.

So, instead of sticking your head in the sand the next time you feel overwhelmed on Facebook and declaring that you can’t do anything to help all the “bad” in the world, so you shouldn’t do anything at all.  Reach out to your circle and just do that.  Do your circle.  It will help.  It really will and you’ll be able to see it.  Think of it like little baby steps.  Do baby steps.

In case you may not know where to get started (say you’re in a new community or your life situation has recently changed), try some of these things.

  • Attend a PTA or other school meeting and get involved!  If you have an activity that you want to see for your child at school, get involved and make it happen.  If you have a special needs child and the program at your school isn’t cutting it, get involved and make those changes.  You’d be surprised how much power parents have.
  • Attend your neighborhood or Alderman’s meeting.  Investing in your community makes it safer.  Get to know your neighbors.  Make playdates with kids close by.
  • Join a play group or specialized support group if appropriate.  (Austism, special needs, etc)  The best advice you’ll get is from others who have been in your situation.
  • Find a church.  Really research them.  Find one that fits your family.  Not feeling religious?  What about spiritual?  Try a Unitarian Universalist congregation.
  • Are you a stay-at-home parent?  May I suggest joining a parent group?  You would be surprised at how much free information and assistance you can get just by being part of a group.  Babysitting swaps, doctor references, a helping hand at home when you’re sick.  Be a friend, make a friend.
  • Get to know your neighbors.  I said it before, I’m saying it again.  Who are the people next door?  Do they have kids?  A dog?  What is the dog’s name?  Do you know the people in your condo building?  Where are they from?  What holidays do they celebrate?  What can you give without really giving…. that would create neighborly bonds (maybe not quite friendships?) in your area.  Its kind of a selfish thing really.  We once let some neighbors park in our driveway for a couple of weeks (!!) because they were waiting on some documentation for their vehicle to make it legal for them to park on the street.  Firstly, you have to know that we don’t use our driveway, almost ever.  We literally did almost nothing, but it helped them out so much.  But, we know them.  We know they kind of “keep an eye out” for things going on around the back-side of our house that we can’t see.  They once sat in their vehicle for an hour in front of our garage because they saw that I forgot to close our garage door and they didn’t want anyone to steal anything from our garage!  We borrow tools from one another and our kids occasionally play games in the park together.  If you have a porch, sit out front occasionally and get to know who walks by.  Its worth it.  Its valuable.

#BeFierce.  #DoYourCircle

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

Frozen

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I think we’re all getting a little weird from being inside too much.  The weather has had the schools closed for two days due to cold temperatures.  My daughter has started playing with an imaginary reindeer.  My middle child thankfully has a playdate for most of the day and my oldest (ASD) is so off his schedule I’m pretty sure that anxiety is setting in.  He’s not sure if he’s coming or going and its really stressful for him!  I know its winter and this happens.  Somehow because it was so close to the holidays, I was just completely unprepared this year.  Could we have had a warning?  I guess not.  Weather doesn’t really rsvp…  Its so hard for us to keep up with our usual activities because it requires SO much more effort to get out in the snow and get from place to place with all our winter “gear” when all I can think of is wouldn’t it be nice to be warm and cozy inside??  And then of course we stay inside all warm and cozy until we all go bonkers and have to venture out in the snowflakes (when its actually warm enough for snowflakes), its a vicious cycle.

In other news, I really dropped the ball with my preschooler’s “homework” documentation this past fall and I am trying to keep up with it now.  I just, I just don’t take it seriously.  I mean, until recently, she was 3.  3!!  Who has homework when they’re 3??  Anyway, we did it, but I didn’t document it and then when she got  her end-of-year “award” it was horribly incorrect due to lack of documentation (my fault.  boo.)  So, I’m trying to just “go with it” and not over think it and just submit the documentation for her work at home so that she’ll get the correct “award” at the end of the quarter.  (It was really hard not to roll my eyes when I typed that.  I may have still done it.  A little.)  Ahem.  Moving on…

We’re picking out 1 sport activity and 1 art activity for the kids to do and due to my fabulous organizational skills, most everything is already full until spring….  but, I think I have found some openings for classes at our local YMCA so we’re going to see if that will work out.  *crosses fingers*  I’ll try again for the original classes we were going for in the spring and I’ll sign them up EARLY!  (maybe now!!)  We’re also beginning pre-planning for our summer trip and A’s birthday party (we’ll have to plan it before we leave in June).

So, new goal!  Get on schedule!  I can do it!

Be Fierce.  Find your schedule.

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

Hello cupcake!

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Happy New Year everyone!  Hope you’ve made it through the holiday season and if possible, had a lovely one!  Sometimes that’s the minimum, isn’t it?  Making it through a season?  Holidays can be difficult.  Especially when its a LONG season like the Hanukkah/Christmas/New Year’s marathon in winter.  And of course you add to that the lack of sunlight, kids’ winter break from school, extended family visits or lack thereof and well, its just madness.  Don’t even get me started on winter and depression, that’s a whole blog on its own.  Where does all this stress come from??  Are we trying to live up to what holidays look like in the movies?  Recreate what we believe our childhoods were like?  Comparing ourselves to friends, neighbors, relatives?  All of the above?  Whatever it is, it IS stressful.  All these articles and books come out about how to have a “stress-free” holiday, how to “simplify” your holiday, etc.  I’m just not even sure that is possible.  I mean really, are you actually going to avoid the holiday decor and madness in stores, on the street, in your e-mail even?  I much prefer to look at my stress head-on and figure out a tackle method.  What kinds of body/emotional armor do I need?  Support systems in place?  Self-care in place?  Conscious social planning?  (ie. avoiding obviously harmful situations)  Ok, let’s dive in to this holiday!  Enjoy the parts that we can!  Be thankful and self-aware through it all and day by day, make it through to the other side.  Here are a few of my holiday favorites:

1.  The lights.  I love love twinkling lights.

2.  Christmas music of all kinds!

3.  Decorating my tree!

4.  Holiday parties!

5.  Cookies and candies!  (and cupcakes of course!)

6.  Giving and getting gifts!

7.  A full house of visitors

Ok, so some of my favorites, like the full house and holiday parties are also stressful, but so enjoyable, I believe they’re worth the stress.  Its a balance.

And now, now that we’re on the other side of the New Year, let’s celebrate new beginnings!  Today is a new day, its a New Year and if you want to make a change, now is a good time to do it!  Start fresh!  I’m really on the fence about resolutions, but I did get a FitBit One for Christmas, so I’m trying to track my activity and sleep lately.  I’ve also signed up for a blogging class!

So, my resolutions:

1.  Exercise regularly whether at home or at the gym

2.  Improve my blogging

3.  Keep to my home schedule

We’ll see.  I’m going to hope for the best.  Its a new year after all, you never know.  I feel like these are very attainable for me.  I actually do all 3 of them now, but I really want to improve all 3 of them.   Lots and lots of positive vibes to all of you out there!  May your New Year start with bright, crisp weather and warm, genuine friendships!

#beFierce!  #CelebratewithCupcakes!

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly