Saturday, April 27, 2013

How to be a Perfect Wife and Mother

Obviously, this is a satirical post. The perfect wife and mother do not exist. I learned this the hard way by comparing myself to other women, wives and mothers. You see, I'm a perfectionist by nature. I have been as long as I can remember. Once I became a mother, the most natural thing was for me to be perfect at it. I read everything I could. Researched every little thing. The biggest problem with being a perfectionist mommy is there is no way to be perfect at anything, ever. Learning this was the best thing I could have done for myself and my children.
Thing I have done to STOP being a perfectionist:

1. Don't compare yourself to other mothers. I am not as skinny or as fit as so and so who has 5 kids. I feel exhausted 90% of the time but see mothers who are either on caffeine overload or just have the personality of the Energizer bunny bouncing from their PTO meetings, home room mother outings, gardening, blogging, photography, volunteer board positions, all while holding down a full time job. Instead of comparing yourself to others, do the best you can with what you have and call it a day.
2.  Don't be a helicopter parent. If you don't know what that is, you may want to look it up. I fuss over my son who insists on wiping his nose on the front of his shirt, picks holes in the knees of his pants and my daughter who seems to find every dirt pile in her path and high place to climb only to subsequently fall off. I used to be one of those parents who spent an inordinate amount of time obsessing over EVERY, LITTLE, THING. Now with two, not so much. If my daughter has a piece of candy, I don't have a breakdown thinking of how it will scar her taste buds for the rest of her life because she had one piece of candy. (Trust me I did this with my son. He had his first piece of candy at his preschool when he was four!!)

3. Don't obsess over the cleanliness of your house.  I am also not the best or most efficient house cleaner. Cat fur tumbleweeds blow in the ceiling fan breeze, my toilets are in constant need of attention and dried milk always coats my tabletop, even though I clean daily. Anyone who knew me before children could attest to my almost obsessive need for things to be clean and in its proper place. I'm not saying I don't fight that little gremlin but motherhood certainly humbles your existence. Maybe it's because I have a 2 year old. Maybe it's because I am somewhat of a lazy perfectionist these days. Or maybe it's that my children and my family are what makes me happy. Maybe my priorities of health, playtime and a semi-clean home are what I feel my children need from their mommy. The dishes will get washed, the laundry folded and the beds made. Take that moment when your child says, "Mommy, wanna play?" and instead of saying "I'm busy" say, "Absolutely!"
4. Last an certainly not least: Make your health a priority, too.  How would our children's lives be without us in it because we didn't make our health a priority? I believe I am the best mother I can be when I take time to take care of myself. Not just physically by exercising and eating healthy but also by making sure I pursue interests outside of motherhood, things that exercise my mind. The pursuits I had before taking on the persona of mother of the year (only in that alternate universe of my overinflated ego mind). Take time for yourself everyday and make sure to have a date night with your significant other at least once a month. Even if its only for a few hours, date night is essential.

All this being said a happy mommy=happy children, right? Not necessarily. Each child has their own personality. My son is the pessimist, my daughter the optimist. My daughter laughs easily and loves intensely. My son loves intensely, unknowingly and laughs cautiously. My son loves to cook, my daughter loves to eat. My son cannot be bothered from his toy cars to help, my daughter sees a task and does it. They are different sides of the same coin. How can two human beings produced by the same two people be completely different? The answer is that they came from two completely different people. Two people who love each other with everything we have to give. One who sees the good in others and one who struggles to see the good in anything. One who laughs with all her heart and the other who laughs at her laughing. One who pursues childhoods' simplicity and the other who fights it with all he has.

My children are as happy as two children can be considering the life we lead. One of my children has special needs and the daily struggles of this are sometimes so overwhelming all I can do is focus on anything else. I put too much pressure on myself, feeling as if somehow my childs special needs are my fault. My son experienced his father deploying when he was 3 and I heard him say "See ya later, tater" as we waved goodbye. I did all the things the military tells you to do. I let my son help his father pack and took pictures of it. I made him a photo album with pictures of all the fun things he and Daddy did with captions that read "Fun with Daddy at the Waterpark" and we would look through the book during the year separation to remind him that Daddy loves him. I took him to the farewell. I let him watch his father board the white bus and then I held my son as he cried when he finally realized he was not going with Daddy. All he kept saying was "I wanna go on the white bus with Daddy." My heart broke in those moments. Even though he is almost 7, he still talks about "daddy leaving" and I still have to explain that Daddy isn't going anywhere for a while. I did all the things I was told to do to help him cope. At least this is one stressor he doesn't have to deal with for now.

Paraphrasing one of my dearest friends: "I will never be the perfect mother or the worst mother. As hard as I try, my children will end up in therapy either because I wore myself out trying to be the perfect mother or because I wasn't the perfect mother, so I just do the best I can". I strive to be a better mother, to achieve the goals I set for myself, to show my children determination by making lemonade when we are handed lemons. I want to teach them that life doesn't always turn out as you planned. Happiness is a choice not a chance. Personalities are predetermined but it does not have to mold your emotions. Instead of pushing for perfection, I strive for my children to feel secure, safe, loved, cared for and most of all cherished by their mother, as the miracle they are. I strive for them to understand that home is where the people you love are and not some tangible, touchable place. For it is in the heart, where the home lies.


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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Healthy Clean Eating Recipe # 4: Clean Eating Berry Muffins

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy for the fam with Spring Break, Easter, and lots of beautiful days, we have spent much of the last two weeks outside. We have taken trips to the park, the zoo, bike rides and Easter egg hunts. The last few weeks have been loads of fun, but I have been missing my little caveat, blogging and trying new recipes.

I am a fair weather kinda gal, the main reason I'm still in love with the time we spent in Hawaii and would seriously consider moving back there. Needless to say, I love this time of year with the sunshine and fresh produce to eat that motivates me to try new recipes. All of this great weather always motivates me to eat healthy with nothing to weigh me down, literally and figuratively.

The Clean Eating Strawberry Muffin recipe is right up the healthy beach-ready-body alley. Part of the inspiration for the choice of this recipe was that California strawberries were on sale at my local supermarket. I LOVE California strawberries (they are the sweetest strawberries I have EVER had, sorry Florida) and got hooked on California produce while in Hawaii. I also feel a little safer eating California produce because of the strict regulations the state places on its farmers to not use potentially cancer causing agents on the crops produced in the state. So with all this the recipe was a no-brainer. I found a similar recipe on Pinterest a few weeks ago which gave me the idea.

I tried the recipe once but have suggestions for my future try. I couldn't get the right consistency from my food processor for the oatmeal to turn to "oat flour" which produced a grainy texture muffin. For the second attempt, I will try a coffee grinder to get the desired "flour" consistency. The recipe on Pinterest said to add strawberries to the mix but I found that made them very gooey and the kids wouldn't touch the muffins. So the second time around I will place strawberries on top of each muffin prior to placing them in the oven which should produce a slightly less strawberry-ee and less mushy muffin and hope to achieve a better consistency muffin. If I add some chopped nuts to the mix it would be more of a nut muffin which would suit my tastes anyway.

Clean Eating Berry Muffins

2 1/2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats (not quick cooking) ground to a fine powder
1 cup Non-Fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt
2 eggs
1/2 cup Splenda for Baking or 1 cup sweetener of choice
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 cup Strawberries quartered or diced whichever way you like them, dried with a paper towel

1/2 cup Chopped Pecans

No-Flour Strawberry Muffins
Line your muffin tin with either foil liners or silicone muffin liners or spray each cup with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place oats in a blender, food processor or coffee grinder and grind until you can't grind anymore. Actually just until you get to a "flour" consistency. Or if you are particularly in need to spend some serious cash and save some time, buy oat flour. Once you have reached your desired consistency, place all the dry ingredients in the blender and just blend slightly to distribute the ingredients. Pour all blended ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add the wet ingredients except strawberries, unless you don't mind the gooey consistency of baked strawberries. Mix with a wooden spoon or any spoon until well blended. My first try I placed a few strawberry pieces in the bottom of each cup then filled 3/4 of the cup with mix then added two strawberry quarters to the top. Way too much work for me. So my next attempt, I will only place the strawberries or most likely blueberries on top of each muffin cup. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve with all natural or homemade jam. I loved these little morsels but couldn't get the kids to eat them because of the consistency! With approximately 100 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of protein (unless you add a scoop of protein powder) and 4 grams of fiber, you can't miss!!! Slather a tablespoon of peanut butter to these puppies and you've got a great way to start your day. Plus they keep in the fridge for several days so make these in your spare time and keep them in your fridge for an easy breakfast. To change it up a bit, you could add blueberries or mango or even papaya to the mix instead of the strawberries and top with local made honey. Or you could add chopped walnuts or almonds for some Vitamin E and a scoop of vanilla protein powder for an extra protein punch! There are so many yummy variations!

For my next culinary adventure in the no-flour muffin world, I will attempt the triple chocolate no-flour muffins! I will for sure post about that experience. My perfect dessert and my husbands' perfect breakfast. Hmm.....Maybe for his birthday breakfast? Except his birthday falls on Mothers' Day this year. Uh-oh troubles a' brewing in Mav-land. He will be feeling totally neglected this year. Gotta come up with something good that involves both of us having a special day! What to do, what to do?

On the menu next Very Berry Protein Shake using left over frozen strawberries and organic frozen blueberries, plus South o' the Border Tilapia using fresh lime juice with Better Than Guacamole Broccomole. Delicious!

Happy Cooking,
Leave me a message. I would love to know how these recipes turned out for you!