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Normalizing Mental Health

by Leigh Craven • January 26th, 2023

As moms, life gets so busy we often put ourselves last. Some of us are wired this way, while others find themselves in this situation because there is simply no other way. We care for everyone else around us, forgetting that caring for ourselves should be top priority in order to be able to care for everyone else. What do we do when we are feeling like we are drowning? We look around and the laundry is piling up, the food shopping hasn’t been done. We have made it to everyone’s doctor and dentist appointment as scheduled for our little one(s), but we haven’t been able to schedule our own annual physical in years. We haven’t had time to get together with friends and when we do have the time, we think we should stay home and catch up on everything else we have been putting off. We think we should always be happy and grateful for all we have, yet we often find ourselves tired and unhappy. We must remember, we are not in this alone. The following are some gentle reminders that may help…

Talk to someone. A friend, family, doctor – get yourself to counseling. Normalize mental health and make it a priority in your life just like we do our physical health. So many people think they don’t need counseling as badly as someone else might and they don’t want to waste the counselor’s time. YOU ARE NOT WASTING ANYONE’S TIME. Your problems, your concerns, your thoughts, your life are important. Find a counselor ahead of time and start talking. Take care of yourself before things get out of hand and you feel hopeless.

Find a peer group. A group you can rely on and share your experiences both the good and the bad. Join a new mom’s group, breastfeeding group, or any type of weekly support group or class.

Don’t compare yourself to others. In the world of social media we see so many wonderful moments, great times, and happiness. Of course we want to share happiness with others and not bring people down with the sad and frustrating parts of our day, but those moments are there…in everyone’s life!  No one’s life is perfect!

Make time for yourself. Take time for yourself that doesn’t make you feel guilty for having alone time. Have a girl’s night, sit on the couch with your partner and watch tv, start reading a good book, go for a walk, buy yourself flowers, make that appointment with a counselor, get a babysitter and take a much-needed nap; start counting down to something exciting in the future! Do something that brings you joy.

LISTEN. Listen when someone says they are having a hard time, but also listen when someone says everything is fine. Many times, when we hear “things are great”, “things are fine”…we ask no other questions. ASK MORE & DON’T JUDGE.

Talk to your Doctor. Explain your everyday feelings and don’t be ashamed to do so. Don’t feel like taking medication is a weakness. Medication in some situations can help! See a psychiatrist and/or a counselor and talk about it. Let people around you know what you are going through. Don’t feel like you need to hide getting help. The more people you surround yourself with who can support you, the better.

You are loved, you deserve happiness, and you deserve to feel like your best self. Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs there is. Check on your friends, your family, and treat everyone you meet with kindness.

Recycling Sensory Play

by Leigh Craven • April 14th, 2021

Sensory bins are always fun for your little one – but you don’t have to buy anything to put in them. Here are some easy recycled materials for your child to explore. Always supervise sensory play and crafts.

  • Save your toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, egg cartons, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, bubble wrap and other safe materials.
  • Tape a tube to the wall low enough that your little one could drop items such as large pom poms through.
  • Make rain sticks by filling a tube with rice and using duct tape to cover the ends.
  • Tape bubble wrap to the ground and let them explore the texture and sound it makes when it pops.
  • Use egg cartons for sorting and crafts.
  • Use plastic bottles of different sizes for practice of fine motor skills such as putting popsicle sticks or q-tips inside and then dumping them out.
  • Put different items in a cardboard box and work on receptive  language skills by asking them to take out the “red ball” until you have gone through all of the items in the box.
  • Outside let them explore paint with different natural materials such as small pine branches.
  • Fill a sensory bin with water and other items and empty the water into your garden after playing.
  • Many companies send packages wrapped in  large pieces of paper and/or tissue paper. Use the paper to have your little one make a large mural. Let me crinkle and rip up the tissue paper for some sensory fun.
  • Fill a sensory bin with the items listed above and add rice, sand, beans and let your little one explore and figure out what is inside.
  • Make an ocean sensory bin with water, animals, and some items that do not belong in the ocean such as yogurt cups and straws. Have your little one sort what does not belong in the ocean.
  • Different size boxes taped closed can be great for stacking.

“The Earth is more important than money, and if we want our children to have a clean place to live, we need to do our part now. We can’t buy our children a new planet.” -Catherine Norton

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