Thursday, January 21, 2016

Joy Suckers

Every single day, I try to create my own happiness. I actually work pretty hard to "be happy."

I don't think Happiness with a capital H just Poof! magically taps select people or that those of us with sunny personalities are just "lucky."

Though some humans may have temperaments that lean towards glass half full (or glass half empty), I still think those of us categorized as cheerful put more work into it than one may assume.

When life throws you lemons...

However, there are life events/issues that I call Joy Suckers: They do their darnedest to suck out any of my hard-earned joy.

I try to fight back, and here's how. Hi-Yah!

Joy Sucker #1: Spouse Travel.

This might be my Number 1, face-drooping, laugh-crying Joy Sucker. I miss him. My kids miss him. I feel alone and up to my ears in responsibility when he is gone. This is a hard one for me to combat, but I do have a few survival tricks up my sleeve to share with you.

  • Easy meals: This includes Happy Meals, going out for a treat with the kids, letting my daughter have Easy Mac. Whatever it takes to make mealtimes less stressful.
  • Stay busy: This is a tough balance for me, because my son is tired after school and unlikely to happily socialize, and I'm a classic introvert. So I do what I can, and maybe meet up with a friend while my daughter is with me or take the kids on a low-stress errand so we don't feel too cooped up in the house.
  • Babysitters: Alas, I do not have free family childcare. For those times when my husband is gone for long periods, I have to set up a break or two using a babysitter for my own sanity. Worth every penny.
  • For more on this, read my post, here.

Joy Sucker #2: Being Sick.

Collective grunt. For moms, there are few things worse than being sick, right? We don't get sick days! Your kids still expect the same amount of you regardless of how awful you feel.

  • Zi-cam: I'm not messing around here. Expensive, but I think it works, so I start using it as soon as I begin to feel a cold coming on. Zinc is your friend!
  • Early bedtimes: I try to get in bed soon after my kids to rest when I can.
  • Extra coffee and sugar: When extra sleep or downtime isn't an option, I let myself indulge in more caffeine and cookies. [Hey, I never said my remedies were healthy.]

Joy Sucker #3: Cloudy, cold, dark days.

I'm pretty sure I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, I think it's called? What can those of us do who don't live in warm, sunny climates?

A rare sunny early winter day here in Minnesota.

  • Exercise: Yes, it's even harder to get outside and motivate myself on a dreary day, but if I can manage it, I always feel better after a short walk or even a quick game of tag with my kids.
  • If it's too cold to do that (it can easily drop below 0 here), I might run around with the kids in the house, or turn up the music and get them to dance with me.
  • Extra coffee and sugar: This one just keeps popping up. I'm no saint.
  • For ideas on how to survive winter with young kids, I wrote this.

What [or who??] are some of your Joy Suckers? How do you work to destroy them?

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Frantic Mama's "My face when..." Memes

My "My face when..." meme came to me in the middle of the night a few weeks ago. In fact, all of my ideas germinate in the middle of the night, when I would rather be sleeping but instead find myself scrounging around for a pen and paper because if I don't write something down, my mom brain forgets it 2.5 seconds later. Poof!

One night, I started laughing in bed, thinking about some of my favorite Saturday Night Live characters. [Again, I would rather be sleeping, but the brain wants what the brain wants, right?]

I especially love Kristen Wiig's over-the-top facial expressions. Why not use those for some funny memes?

My first one:

I guess other people wonder this too.

Then I had to create this one with the fantastic Debbie Downer character for moms who are already trying their best every single second so if strangers and older relatives could juststopfreakingtellingusto enjoy EVERY one of those seconds, that'd be fantastic.

Then there's Stephan (pronounced Stef - awn).

"Okay okay okay okay."

Finally, I couldn't resist this one, which might prick some people the wrong way, but, eh, that's fine-- it makes me laugh every time I look at it.

Stay classy everyone.

P.S. If you have another two minutes, check out my recent essay published by Mamalode!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Love Story

Christmas and the end/start of a new year often make me nostalgic.

This year, around Christmas, I kept thinking about the early days of my relationship with my husband, back before we were married.

Getting engaged is a magical, exciting, BIG time in most of our lives. A time that can't ever really be replicated.

While the relative calm of married life (we have been married for 8 years) might on the surface seem boring compared to that lively pre-wedding phase, I find that there is also a simple, peaceful beauty in it.

A photo of my husband & me from last summer.

I was inspired by Mamalode's theme for January-- Story-- to share a glimpse of my own love story, its quiet transformation over time.

I hope you enjoy it, and that other longtime couples can relate to our small corner of the world.

You can read my essay, The Small Spothere.

Thank you for your support!

You can sign up for my newsletter, here! Happy New Year!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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