Collecting Stuff and Losing My Mind

A friend of mine recently questioned my shopping. ‘Don’t you feel empowered when you don’t buy something?’ she asked. Sadly, my answer was no. I want things; I need things.

When I see an item I want, I can picture it in my life. I can imagine my lifestyle with it and see how much it would improve or create the perfect image. A toy for Annika equates a better childhood and makes me the perfect mom. If I don’t purchase the item, I can’t stop thinking about it. I agonise over whether or not I should have bought it. I feel sad that I won’t have it in my life.

Unfortunately, these emotions that I’ve equated to stuff has caused me to rack up my credit card. All of a sudden those great feelings of acquiring things has left me in debt and feeling panicky.

I recognize that I would much rather be able to teach my daughter how to be good with money than have every toy and decoration. I am sure I will also be a better mother under less stress.

So I’m getting back on track. I am taking my head out of the sand and recognizing that the debt isn’t just going to go away. I will live on cash from now on (cutting up one of my credit cards as soon as I sign off). I used to follow the advice from Dave Ramsey and was able to cut a huge chunk of my debt off. I think it’s time to re-read his book.

When shopping, I will really try to remember that the pain of being in debt will far outlast the small joy I get in purchasing an item. Which I almost find funny writing because it’s also something I have to remember with food. Many of the foods I eat, I choose because of the pleasure I experience while eating them. I have to remind myself that the happiness I will experience being at a comfortable weight will far out weigh the pleasure I’m experiencing while eating.

I guess it comes down to a few things, making conscious decisions and acknowledging emotions rather than eating or purchasing them.

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A non-compliment compliment

Today was a tough day. Still sick and didn’t get much sleep. Found myself with less patience for everything. Annika must have been having a tough day too. She seemed more fussy and cranky than usual (which was super timing for my day of less patience).

All day I found reasons not to give myself a compliment. My pants are still too tight post-baby. I didn’t go to the gym again. My skim seems to think I’m back in high school with all these breakouts. I still haven’t resumed my vegetarian diet like I planned after being pregnant. The list went on and on.

I don’t have days like this too often anymore. It was starting to get darker. I felt like there was merely a crack of light getting through and I was desperately trying to see just that. In the past, I might have simply let myself fall and wallowed in the misery letting it consume me.

Today I was able to hold on. So that is my compliment to myself today: seeing the light in the dark.

Compliment Catch Up

I’ve been down with an awful cold that hit me and my daughter. Really knocked me out. Feeling better enough to function today and able to tackle a few things on my daily list, including my compliment posts!
I may not have been posting but I was still thinking about my compliments.

My first one came while at work. One of the staff came to me with questions on how to teach her classes. I was surprised by how naturally it all came back to after being away from work for 6 months already. My compliment #10 was my creativity. I had tons of ideas for her and in my opinion they were all fabulous!

Compliment #11 came while attending my monthly Cookbook Book Club get together. I told a friend I was going and she was amazed at all the different things I was doing. I love that I push myself to do new things and meet new people (I only knew one person in the group before I started).

My next compliment came while being sick. My daughter and I had a bath together. I realized, while drying off, I hadn’t taken any time to think negatively about my body. I had simply enjoyed the time together. I was so proud of myself for both living in the moment and having a positive experience with my body and my daughter.

The next compliment came when my boss mentioned he had tons of projects he could hand over to me if I wanted the hours. Knowing that there are other people available to give the hours to, I was proud of myself to recognize that I am very good at my job!

My compliment for today came while attending a sewing lesson. I wanted to learn how to use my sewing machine so I can start making things for Annika and I. I took sewing classes in highschool but I’d completely forgotten how to use my machine. My compliment is my ability to learn new skills.

All caught up now and still going!

Outer Order

My favourite happiness author, Gretchen Rubin, recently posted a quote that totally spoke to me.

Secret of Adulthood: Outer order contributes to inner calm. To a surprising degree. @gretchenrubin

Yesterday while my daughter was napping, I finally folded and put away her clothes. The clothes have been piling up for for weeks. They were irritating me every time I looked at them. Some were still in the laundry room and the rest was growing out of control in her crib (she still sleeps in her bassinet, not with the clothes). Her drawers were pretty much empty and I was searching for an outfit among the piles. After folding the last item, this wash of relief flooded over me. I really did start to feel some inner calm.

The clothes were contributing to a growing sense of panic and hopelessness inside that I couldn’t put my finger on. Once the clothes were cleaned, I found it easy to put away a few dishes, move a table that had been bothering me, and take out the recycling. After everything was in order I felt lighter and calmer.

I even felt less guilt for staying inside the past couple days while being sick.

I’ve tried to sick to a regular cleaning schedule since having a baby (otherwise doing it all is too overwhelming). But once I slacked in one area, it had a domino effect into other areas. As soon as this starts, I know my mood changes. I feel a panic but don’t know where to start.

Ten minutes of cleaning is definitely worth an inner calm the rest of the day.

Check out Gretchen Rubin’s website for more happiness tips:  http://www.happiness-project.com

 

 

On top of the World

Annika is having a nap in her own bed right now and I feel on top of the world. Funny how such a small accomplishment can make you feel like parent of the year. I have the itch to call everyone I know and announce it or update my FB status with pride. I recognize that this accomplishment today is probably a result of her being tired and sick more than any of my parenting skills, but I still feel amazing.

I’ll have to remember this sense of insane pride and ability when I am faced with my next blow to the ego as a mom. With every down there is an up. Unfortunately those down moments tend to have a louder voice or spot in my memory bank. Time to push them aside, or at least learn from them, and keep my good moments front and centre.

I envy those that seem to eternally live in the positive. My mom is one of those people. She exudes confidence and happiness. She acknowledges feelings, processes them, and moves on. For most of my life, I’ve let my feelings rule my life. An increase on the scale would make me a ultra cow for the day (or longer); a ruined dinner would make me feel like a complete failure in life. I feel I’ve grown in the sense that I at least recognize my reactions and I’m trying to alter them.

So today I’m super mom!