Stop Shoulding All Over Yourself

Should. Should. Should.

Should is an evil word. Should has no good intentions. Should should jump off a cliff.

Should is a word that has dominated too much of my life. Should has been wearing the crown and sitting in judgement of far too many of my choices and actions.

I should do this.

I should not do that.

I should let it go.

I should not take up too much space.

I should not ask for anything.

I should not say that.

I should just say yes, no matter what it costs me.

Should- you’re fired.

There is a transition afoot in my life and in my inner being. It’s going to be a bumpy transition for some people. My first answer is no longer “yes, let me lay down and make this easier” it is now “no, I am tending to my own garden”. I have been terrified of saying no for years, worried that I am a bad person if my answer is no. I’ve been trying it on and saying no in safe ways, to safe people I know will still love me even when I say no. It’s been emboldening.

I have met myself before though. No is not going to be easy for me. I need reminders. Insert my current brain hack. I am channeling a younger version of myself and I set a song as the ringtone on my phone. Yes, If my phone rings in public it will be loud and obnoxious to others. I’m ok with that because as Meghan Trainor sings No, I am reminded to protect my self and my family from burnout and say no.

What does this have to do with should? My yes was often rooted in should. I should do that for them. I should not rock the boat and just go with it. I should help them with that. I should not worry about burnout. I should be quiet about that. I should conform to the status quo.

Does this mean I am going to stop being a person reaching out to help others? No, because that’s not who I am. I am a helper. I am someone who views the world in a way that is always asking, “how I can serve?”. That’s not going to change. What is going to change is the realization that I am one person. Just one. Currently my plate is full. Is it too full? No. Is it unmanageable? No. However, it is full. There is no more room and I cannot let should be the reason I add more to it, for then the plate will collapse under the weight.

Letting go of should has opened the world up for me. It has opened me up to my truer self. The self that is far more organic, bohemian, barefoot, loving, open, and free spirited. I like this transition. It’s making life a lot more fun.

How is should making your life small or robbing you of your true self?

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Why Mamas Need Nights Out

I have gone on short spurts of outings. Quick lunches, the occasional rushed through dinner. All of them were nice but I was always very concerned about what was happening while I was gone and how long I was taking. I usually came home from my “Mommy outings” drained not refreshed. Then last week I had a true day and night out. I had no idea how badly I had been needing it.

Last week I was able to go out with a dear friend from college for the entire day. I was gone almost 24 hours. She lives on the other side of the state. I drove over in the morning and we went on a Target run with her littles and hung out and chatted during nap time. As soon as her hubby came home we went to IKEA and then out for a late night dinner and drinks.

That may not sound like much to you but it was basically a trip to Walt Disney World for me. I discovered something really important about that time away. It was a chance for me to be just myself. I was puzzling over the feelings I felt on my long drive back home and I realized that it was like taking off a heavy coat you’d worn too long.

I usually think of myself in relation to other people. I’m someone’s mom. I’m someone’s wife. I’m someone’s aunt. Someone’s sister. Someone’s daughter. That day I was still all of those people but I was able to set them down for a moment and just be my own someone.

A nice addition to relaxing into this moment where I got to just be myself was I got to spend that time with someone who knew me before I was a Mom. She knew an easier to explain version of Cabrielle who knew more about who she was within the world than who she was in relation to others. I got to spend the day combining the two versions.

As a Mom I need friends I don’t have to be prefect for. Friends who get it and don’t judge me. The type of friends you never have to say “sorry about the mess” to. The friends who never bat an eye when we are a complete tornado of chaos. Friends who laugh with me when hilarious or insane or gross things happen with the kids and cheer us on when exciting milestones are met.

My Mama escape last week was with just such a friend and it was so relaxing to be with her and not have to put on any show or dress up anything. I could say “this is hard”, “this part sucks”, “I miss…”- all without her taking it wrong and thinking I don’t love my kids with my entire existence. She knows my heart, she knows how amazing my kids are and how much they bless every moment of my life. She also knows this motherhood gig is tough and none of us have a clue what we are doing. She got it. I didn’t have to couch what I said in explanations and disclaimers.

I had no idea how long it had been since I had unclenched and just relaxed until I did it. I did not know I hadn’t really relaxed before. Now that I have felt this feeling it has opened my eyes and made me reassess a lot of things. The people in our lives should give us chances to relax into ourselves and take off the coats of who we are to others. When you find the people you can do that with, keep them close. If you feel yourself having to put in a massive effort to hold up some perfect version of yourself around someone, they may not be your people. They may not be part of your tribe. That’s ok, that doesn’t make the wrong or evil, just means your types of crazy don’t jell. Don’t force it. Just let yourself go and just be with the people who love the real under all the coats you are wearing.

Chronological Scripture Study Series: Adam To Noah

Hey guys! This week’s scripture study covers:

Genesis 5

Moses 8

If you are new to this series you can find the first in the series here.

Genesis 5 is mainly a family tree of early man. It shows that people lived a great deal longer than they do today and that Adam’s family grew to be both large and diverse. We also learn that by the time of Noah, God has cursed the ground and the people were looking to Noah for comfort. We also learn that Noah had three children.

This passage, for me, speaks to the universal desire to know where we come from. We all long, at one point or another, to feel like we know the names and personalities and stories of those who came before us. I know it means a lot to me when I learn new stories about my ancestors. I know the feeling of comfort when I can draw parallels between our lives and I would imagine early man would have felt the same way.

Moses 8 goes more in depth, as seems to be the case with the LDS scriptures, it adds more depth and color to the story. In Moses 8 we learn that Noah was sent to preach the gospel to the people and to try and get them to repent. The Lord claimed that people had become evil. There is not a lot of explanation as to why people were evil enough that God felt the need to cleanse the planet. How in a relatively short amount of time had people gone so off course that God wanted a do over? I don’t have answers to these questions because I do not have the knowledge of God but it seems odd to me. Odd and harsh.

Here is the part that I had to read twice, Moses 8:18 “And in those days there were giants on the earth, and they sought Noah to take away his life; but the Lord was with Noah, and the power of the Lord was upon him.” Giants. I read it twice. Giants. Huh? Ok let’s go with this for a while. I have two thoughts. Part of me, the part that loves folklore, thinks yes of course giants that’s awesome. The cynical side of me thinks, and yet we have found no archeological evidence of giants?! I do not know how to process that information. Giants. I will be thinking on this for a while.

This week I am still struggling with my hippie side being like- nah, all these rules are ridiculous. However, I am not ready to toss the baby out with the bath water and I’m going to continue reading and pushing my understanding to new levels. I’m left wondering why God needs such vengeance? Why was the evil of the world then different than the world today? Where is the explanation of where the giants came from? Why do the giants want to kill Noah? I just have so many questions. Some I hope to find answers to and I hope to be ok with the knowledge that I won’t have answers to it all.

If you want to follow along with the study we are following this Scripture Timeline.

Next week we will be discussing The Great Flood.

How We Are Handling Trauma Fueled Hoarding And Aggression

When you decide to become a foster parent or adopt a child that has experienced trauma it is common for people to fall into the trap of thinking they can love the trauma away for their littles ones. It’s tempting to wish that were possible. I, myself, have often wished I could climb inside my kids and find all their wounds and cover them with love until it no longer hurts.

Unfortunately, we cannot change the past. All we can do is offer our children a safe place to work through their experiences, help them learn healthy ways of coping with the pain, and love them through it all.

Trauma causes a myriad of behaviors in children, no child will behave the same way and each child will go through different types of trauma fueled behaviors at different times. Currently, our older boys have really been struggling with hoarding, with food in particular, and fighting.

We have tried all the more traditional approaches to handling these behaviors and they made no impact. We then had to step back and ask ourselves what the root cause of the behavior is and what they are trying to gain. For our boys, and many children who have experienced trauma, the goal is often to feel in control of the world around them. Feeling like they have no control is a terrifying feeling because then it is hard to predict what may happen.

Our first concern was the fighting. We needed to come up with in the moment interventions that would help them find better ways to handle being angry than hitting one another. Once one punch is thrown it usually descends into a full on brawl. The trick was to get them redirected before the first swing, and that can be harder during the moments they are not within direct line of sight. To help them feel more in control of the situation we sat down with them and asked them for ideas of good things we can do when feeling angry. They came up with a good list that includes things like:

Wall pushes

Jumping jacks

Praying

Deep Breathing

Caterpillar Fingers

Asking for a hug

Tearing up a piece of paper (that an adult provides)

Taking a positive time out

Singing a song

Talking about it

Clapping

Etc.

We took the ideas and wrote them down on slips of paper, with illustrations since they are not reading fluently yet. We labeled the container “The Mad Box” and we have it on their dresser so that when arguments begin they can go to the box and find a good alternative to fighting. It’s really helping them to have a list of safer choices instead of having to come up with them on the fly.

One of the biggest sources of fighting was the tv in their room. The fighting over the remote was getting out of hand and they did not respond to having tv privileges being taken away, as soon as they got their privileges back the fights started again. Once again control was the issue and not having a structure to follow. Thinking, if I don’t get to have control over what we are watching now I never will. We created a simple chart for their room and they take turns having a day they get to be in charge of their remote. If someone starts a fight about the remote they lose their day and if the fight gets out of hand the tv goes off for 24 hours. Since we implemented the new system there was one fight over the remote (to test the system) and none since.

Now that we had a game plan for the fighting we needed to work on the hoarding. For kiddos with attachment issues it is often easier to attach love to items and food than to abstract things like spending time together or caring about one another. When you attach love to physical things love becomes finite and it is easy to worry there isn’t enough to go around. This was showing up here with snacks and food being snuck into their rooms and hidden. Not just a cookie or a cracker, entire boxes of food hidden in their room and eaten entirely. Added into the attachment they have to the food is the history they have of not getting enough to eat. Now, even when there is plenty to eat they are worried they will suddenly not have enough food. The best way to ensure they knew they had enough food/love was to stockpile it.

We decided, after trying to reason with them, that we just needed to meet them where they are and soothe their anxiety about it all. Hopefully, in time that anxiety will lessen. Each boy now has a box for snacks in their room. The box gets filled once a week and they have complete discretion over when and how they eat their snacks. If they eat them all at once that is fine but new snacks will not be added until the next week. If they eat them slowly all week that is also fine. They are not allowed to take snacks out of each other’s boxes or from the kitchen without permission. We opted for clear boxes so they would have the comfort of knowing the food was there even when they were not eating it. The first few weeks they emptied their boxes immediately, but slowly they are learning when the box will be refilled and how to spread it out and slowly they are relaxing into that security.

Experience tells us more confusing and confounding behaviors will crop up over time and we pray we always remember to stop and figure out what the cause is and what their goals are so we can meet them where they are. In the meantime, we will keep loving on them and continue to be amazed with their strength and resilience.

Chronological Scripture Study Series: Enoch

Chronological Scripture Study SeriesEnoch

Welcome back to our chronological journey through the scriptures.

If you are new to this series you can find the first in the series here.

This week the topic is Enoch, found in Moses 6-7. I have been following this scripture timeline.

Guys, I have been avoiding this post for a while. I started this series to work through some pretty conflicted feelings I have about religion and that process can be messy and unclear. I wanted to wait until I had an uplifting and inspiring response to this section of scripture. Sigh. It is not happening. I promised you guys transparency from the beginning so I feel like I should share with you guys where I am with it all.

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Let’s discuss the basics of the story of Enoch. It is basically a blueprint for the plan of salvation. This is a HUGE and amazing thing. If you wanted to get the basics, these two chapters lay it all out nicely. I have no issue with the plan of salvation, it is wonderful and beautiful.

My issue is more within myself. You know in old cartoons you see someone with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other representing the two sides of the person. For me, I have a Monica on one shoulder and a Phoebe on the other. Half of me is anal and obsessive and loves structure. The other half is a free- spirit hippie.

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How does this have anything to do with my religious bipolarness? My Monica side loves the structure added to every last detail of life that comes with the LDS faith, it is regimented and orderly and Enoch shows the structure has been there from the beginning.  It’s neat and tidy. Meanwhile, all of the structure bugs my Phoebe side, who wants to live in an organic, open, moment by moment way. This side of my personality bucks the idea of being instructed on so many aspects of life and wants everyone to life their truth no matter how out of the norm and “structure” it is. I would say for the last 5-10 years my Monica side has been driving the ship, but, lately I feel more and more like a Phoebe.

In college, in Shepherdstown West Virginia, there is a much beloved local coffee shop with an infamous owner. He often does not wear shoes, he is the very definition of a free spirit, and he will frequently go on long and energetic rants about big government and corporations and too much structure in our world. More than once lately I have felt certain that I am becoming a female version of him as I age. Watch me drive around in our 12 passenger van with fair trade chai in my hand as I well at NPR and you would see it as well.

I am going to continue my scripture study series. I want to have a full picture of the scriptures regardless, but I am more confused than ever about what you could call the particular religion of Cabrielleism.

Why I Went Blonde For My Son

It happened. I have become a blonde. 😳

I never would have imagined I would do this. I was never the brunette wishing I was a blonde.

However, I will do anything for my kiddos.

Our kiddos all look pretty similar but Perry is our only super blonde kid. I love how bright his hair is and it fits him perfectly. Perry, however, has been distraught about it recently.

As our older boys have been settling in more to life lately and really processing that we are a family forever it has given them space to work through some trauma. For Perry it has really started bothering him that he doesn’t look like everyone else. We have worked hard to tell him how little that matters. We have shown him pictures of both myself and Tyler as children and shown him we both had blonde hair. We have pointed out that Alizé is also blonde, albeit a darker shade. None of these things have made much impact on our boy.

It has gotten to the point that once or twice a week he has a complete meltdown and asks me to change his hair or change everyone’s. After months of this I decided that he needs more assurance than just us telling him he is a part of the family blonde hair and all. This lead me to the idea to add some blonde to my hair.

I thought about it for a while and decided if I kept my dark locks but added in some blonde it may help Perry without bothering the other kids too much.

I got some strange looks when I told people I wanted to try this and see if it helped Perry. I knew it sounded strange and like it would have no impact on the situation but I had to try something. It broke my heart to watch him struggle with this so often.

I told him the morning of my appointment that I was going to have blonde put in my hair and he got so excited he jumped up and down. I felt sure I was on the right track.

When I got home and showed him my new look he jumped and danced around and acted like it was Christmas morning. In the way that only a mother can feel her children’s emotions, I could feel him relax into my arms as he hugged me in excitement, holding my hair up to his.

Is it a long term solution to his pain? No. However, it’s helping now as he works through these big and complex feelings. Turns out, I actually am really loving it myself. Let’s see if I have more fun this way.

Coming Back Soon

I wanted to check in so you guys didn’t think I had fallen off the face of the planet here.

All is well, I am just having a slower recovery from shoulder surgery than I had hoped. Typing post surgery has been a bit more painful than I had anticipated and it’s been slowing me down.

Hopefully, by next week I should be back up and running. I’ll have double doses of the Chronological Scripture Study Series, as well as new updates on our crazy crew.

In the meantime, I wanted to let you know that you can also follow me on the following social media platforms (more will be coming soon):

Facebook: Urban Rooted Mama

Instagram: UrbanRootedMama

There will be some things only shared on social media, like me making the crazy decision to do live videos with the kids all up. It’ll be fun so be sure to like and follow so you don’t miss anything.

Starting next week there will also be more video content available here because my new equipment just arrived- Yay!!

Oy, too much typing. I’m off to find my ice pack. See you guys next week.