Eat Dirt.

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Eat Dirt is a new book that has been getting a ton of buzz lately. Have you already heard about it? It’s about how to eat to repair and prevent “leaky gut syndrome” – a theory about the origin of many autoimmune disorders. Whether you believe this theory or not, I think the book some good takeaway messages:

  • Ultra cleanliness/sterilization/antibacterial soap is not necessarily good for us.
  • Probiotics are an important of our diet.
  • Raw honey is good for you.
  • Pets are good for you.
  • Swimming in the ocean is good for you.
  • Walking barefoot is good for you.

Those are all things I can get behind. As a scientist, I enjoyed reading anecdotes from research and case studies. As a mom and a postpartum doula, I think this is a great perspective for parents who try to sanitize their children’s worlds. It also reminds me of the article How to Get High on Soil – something I’m really into!

There are so many good ideas in this book – it would be hard to walk away from it without an idea or two that would make your life better at least in some small way. And I love a book with a good recipe section…curried cauliflower soup, sweet potato/beet hash and a cherry pie smoothie? Coming right up!

Check out the book Eat Dirt here.

Easiest toddler morning routine ever…

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Omg, that title made me laugh. It is. SO. Hard for us to get out the door in the morning. Just me and my toddler? Or you, too?! Over the last year I’ve come up with a few tips that help us get out the door easier. They work like a charm for us…hopefully they are a help to you as well!

The night before:

  • Pack lunch for school: we use this container, dinner leftovers go in the bottom, the middle is nuts/crackers/cheese/dried fruit, the top is fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Pajamas = clothes for the next day: stretch pants and a soft, long-sleeved shirt…
  • Put shoes by the front door: or make it even simpler by leaving a shoe basket by the front door so shoes are just always by the front door.
  • Have a plan for breakfast: have a little go-to list so you aren’t having to be creative first thing in the am. Our options are: plain yogurt with jam and granola, toast and a protein bar, cheerios with a handful of pinenuts thrown in, overnight oats with apples cinnamon and walnuts, or chicken-apple sausage and toast.

In the morning:

  • Potty + brush teeth at the same time: two birds one stone.
  • Breakfast Part I (at the table): we talk about the day ahead while eating.
  • Shoes on, jacket on: That’s it for getting dressed and that’s how I like it. 😉
  • Breakfast Part II (in the car): the rest of our toast, protein bar, etc can be eaten on the way to preschool.

I hope at least one of those tips are helpful to your family. I’d love to hear your tips, too!

The mom I wanted to be: links to look at.

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Sometimes, after a good and long day, I try to reel my mind back to when I was pregnant – just dreaming up what kind of mom I would be. It was a fuzzy image but a positive one. It definitely lacked the knowledge of how hard it can all be. But I have to relish in the ways my vision was right on. This is a thought I come back to often – to kind of realign my reality with my highest values. With that in mind, while digging through my Pinterest account, I found some things that remind me of what my early vision of motherhood was – and how those visions sometimes overlap really well with how life really turned out to look.

Easy, environmentally friendly crafts.

As many cuddles as I can get.

Creating a cozy, colorful space for my kid.

Making a sweet home.

Drawing.

And building.

Storytelling.

Bath time.

And so much sidewalk chalk.

 

 

Easiest evening routine ever.

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Facewash / Alba

Rosehip oil / Evan Healy

Hand Salve / lala earth

Herbal tea / Mother Mountain Herbals

Easiest morning routine ever.

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Toothbrush + toothsoap / Sonicare + Fat and the Moon

Facewash / Alba

Sunscreen / Alba

Deodorant / Fat and the Moon or Soapwalla

Side braid / Scunci

Now, the toddler portion of getting out the door is a different story – that takes about 72 different steps.

 

Dear Mr. You,

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I think you should stop right now and just go get this book right now. Seriously. It’s written by single mama Mary-Louise Parker and so many of the chapters either struck such a strong chord or went ahead and opened my mind in very surprising ways. It’s a book of letters to men who are or have been a part of Parker’s life. It’s as incredible as you can imagine your own letters to people who have passed though your life (both good and bad) would be.

Dear Poetry Man, Dear Cerberus. Dear Orderly, Dear Lifeline, Dear Neighbor – were my favorites. I can’t decide – I loved (and hated?) them all. I’m a busy lady and I didn’t regret a single moment I spent with this book, and it’s the first book I’ve read in a long while that I know I will reread again in the near future. There are whole pages of it I could just stick on my wall as reminders of people and places – both to run to or run away from.

I patiently awaited the day Dear Mr. You would be released. I tried to lower my expectations but I couldn’t. Which turned out just fine because it was an amazement. I dare any parent to read Dear Orderly or Dear Lifeline and not be completely moved. It’s so good. Go read it and come back here and tell me what you think!

Surf’s up.

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This cute little book I posted about has really been kicking around in my head lately. It paints such a lovely picture. And, obviously, leaves the hard parts out. It got me thinking, maybe I don’t leave the hard parts out…enough of the time. In my friendships, in my doula practice and in my nonprofit practice – one of my highest values is consistently being a tell-it-like-it-is kind of person. Life is short, no need to waste any of it, right? It has worked well for me in life. It has pulled the right people into my life and it has helped the not-so-right people know they don’t belong with me.

At the same time as I’ve been telling it like it is in real life, my time on this blog has been more about how to survive it all beautifully, pleasantly, with grace. We all know it doesn’t always work out quite like that…but it helps me to keep on curating lists of how to cope well and with a zest for life fully intact. Now back to surfing the waves + fresh breaths of ocean air (they do go together).

How do you merge the two? How hard life can be + keeping cool as a cucumber? Need your tricks!

10 ways to relax at the end of the day

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  1. Power off your computer and phone as soon as you get home. I find it so easy to let the work of my day drag out late into the night if I don’t do this.
  2. Brain dump any lingering thoughts and to-do items on a list. Any scrap of paper will do but if you are looking to be more organized, here is a good one for the week and one that captures your shopping list, too.
  3. Try taking the deepest breath you have taken yet this year. Something I learned from Yoga with Adriene that I’ve fully adopted into my days.
  4. Have some tea with your kid. I usually go with lemon balm. It’s a nice ritual and fun to say cheers at the end of the day.
  5. Do a puzzle. Use a different part of your brain, boost your grey matter, zone out. This one is good for us because my kid LOVES puzzles. Puzzles with 50 or so pieces seems to be perfect for us right now. Here are a couple of good ones: solar system, horses, and construction equipment.
  6. Have an easy meal plan. I’ve said it before many times, and I’ll probably say it at least 100 times more. Having a simple meal schedule has saved my sanity after a long day.
  7. Go for an evening walk. Get that last bit of energy out and feel the evening air on your skin. It’s something I recommend so often to parents of small babies trying to regulate sleeping schedules – and I take my own advice on this one! It’s a great family tradition. We do this at least twice per week.
  8. Invite a friend over for dinner. I keep hearing that you become like the people you hang out with – so choose accordingly!
  9. Play around with an instrument. Grab a ukulele, keyboard, harmonica…kazoo! Just play around no matter how it sounds. It can really set a new rhythm for your evenings. Something most kids will want to get in on, too!
  10. A self-care ritual to calm your body. After your kid(s) are in bed try a calming ritual. Maybe it’s dry brushing and abhyanga oil massage. Maybe it’s a bath with warming salts. Maybe it’s a short yoga practice online. You can’t really lose when you take care of yourself like this.

 

 

WTH

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So. I threw my neck out this morning. While washing my face. Enter so many swear words here. More swear words. More swear words. This means driving to preschool was a bit silly. And I couldn’t go see my postpartum client today. Such a bummer to disappoint a new mom in a time of need. And such a bummer to know that calling off work one day will make paying my bills at the end of the month a much deeper pinch. Ugh, single motherhood and self-employment…they go so well together most of the time. Just not today.

One of my favorite bloggers posted this link today. Strangely perfect timing. It is SO hard to take care of ourselves as parents at the same time as we take care of everyone and everything else. I don’t know for sure if it’s true because I haven’t lived life as a partnered parent, but all the research seems to point to being a single parent makes self-care an even more distant possibility.

I want to have something here for you today. Like how to take care of the business of work, home or child when you can’t move your neck. Or how to prevent this from happening in the first place (don’t wash your face?) But I’m kind of empty handed here. More mindfulness, more glasses of water, more breaks, more friends… Yeah that probably helps – but here I am stuck in bed. Counting my blessings that I can do so because my toddler is living it up at preschool for a few hours. Resting up for the rest of my life’s work today.

On being “the help.”

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Almost two decades ago I was a nanny. It was a good life for me at the time but I slowly grew away from that and started down other paths… I worked in food service and retail, went to school and became a scientist, left the science field and became a non-profit developer. I still have one foot in the non-profit world but another foot planted firmly in the post-partum doula world. Right now that means I spend part of my week with moms of brand new babies, helping them navigate their way though the challenging first year. So I find myself back in the company of the rest of “the help” at long last.

What that looks like is I arrive to their neighborhood in the morning when all the other help is arriving. The gardeners, housekeepers, nannies, dog-walkers… We all quietly nod to each other when we cross paths, minds full up on the needs of our own homes and families. So many game faces so early in the morning. I love the work that I do – it borders between new parent coaching, lending a friendly ear and managing households that are slowly adjusting to their new normal. I LOVE the families – I’ve created lifelong bonds with some of them. Sometimes though, I feel weary. As I listen to a new mom learning to cope with the hard parts, or swaddle and coo to a newborn, or read books to a crawling baby or lovingly prepare postpartum meals and/or made from scratch baby food – I feel a little guilty that I’m not making my own home and tending to my own “baby.”

I have to remind myself that it all adds up to a really good life for us right now. A friend reminded me that I can be a lot of things to my child – but I can’t be a dozen kids plus several teachers to play/learn alongside of. I can’t be everything my child needs. Nor do I want to. Nor do I have a choice, really, so the preceding two facts are pretty damn lucky. Mama has to work to keep a roof over our heads. I’m glad to be working with my hands and having very real conversations with women in powerful new positions in life everyday. There are few places I’d rather be. So what if my own house is a mess and a not every meal is scratch made? It’s all good – it’s a cozy and full life for us.