Peace in Therapy

Every now and again I feel like I need what I now call “a tune up.” It feels just like getting my oil changed in the car. Things aren’t running quite as they should, and I know I can feel better. There is a weight lingering on my shoulders I can’t quite shake.

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I always pull out my mental checklist and start asking myself what I need. Could it be:

  • yoga?
  • quiet reading time?
  • a healthier diet plan?
  • a break brought on by the babysitter?
  • a run?
  • a necessary disruption in what’s become a monotonous schedule?
  • a brunch out with the ladies?

I almost always attribute any shift in my thinking to “the winter blues.” It’s most often the case that NOTHING is wrong. NOTHING has changed and NOTHING needs fixing.

But sometimes, I need a tune up, nonetheless. I need a reminder of who I am and what I have to be grateful for. And sometimes, getting back to my normal self comes from a little help from a licensed professional.

I have a handful of helpful people I can turn to when I need to talk. And I find so much peace and comfort in it. I learn new resources. I learn new ways to examine problems both trivial and large. I gain some insight, and I’m so grateful for it.

I think there is a lot of misconception in our country about mental health and therapy and what all of this exists for. Does it really work? Does it make a difference? Is it still taboo?

I don’t have answers for any of those questions, but I do know this:

Sometimes Mommy needs a tune up, and I know where to schedule my time and with whom to speak. For me, it works. It brings peace.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace.

Peace With Pop-Its

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Last year’s back-to-school season taught us that Pop-Its are all the rage in elementary school. Who knew? This past Christmas, Santa brought everyone his own Pop-It toy. The kids mostly use them on the bus to help pass time during the ride to school, since we are one of the first bus stops in the morning.

But last week, I started something fun and new that I thought I might pass along.

When the kids are not being especially kind to one another, I’ve taken to using the Pop-It as a counter for compliments. I put the toy in the middle of us and we go around in a circle saying kind things about each other. Every kind phrase earns a pop. We try to fill up the whole circle. Sometimes we do. Sometimes we don’t.

This sounds lame, even as I type it. But you know what? It transitions our kiddos from their momentary tantrumy less-than-kind mental state. (Those moments find us at some point each day!) The kids focus on kind words for a few minutes. And this simple practice changes the tone of the room. It even makes me feel better.

I’ve heard parents complain about Pop-Its before, but this sort of use has a place in our home. It brings kind words and peace.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Fort Building

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Snow is always peaceful. Isn’t it? Well, today was a little different. We got snow, followed by rain, followed by more snow. Our driveway quickly became an icy mess. I can’t say it feels peaceful so much as sloshy, icey and yucky. While I wanted to get us up and off to the aquarium today, it seems life had another idea in store.

In this weather, I didn’t want to drive my family of five anywhere. Even if the car has solid snow tires ready for these days, I don’t want to battle with icy sidewalks or parking lots. What I hoped would have been a great sledding day became….kind of mush.

Days like this feel yucky. Yucky moments are often opportunities in disguise.

But WHAT opportunities lay ahead?

A day like today became a time to get creative.

In our house, getting creative usually means building something. Or many somethings. Today we made forts and houses and secret hideouts.

ALL. DAY. LONG.

The kids played in their underpants because, why? I HAVE NO IDEA. They told me they were hot. They built feverishly, collecting all the pillows and blankets in our home and making anything they can climb inside. And what’s so peaceful about it is simply the joy the kids find in their production process.

So many stories developed in and around their forts. They incorporated some kind of Minecraft theme today and were building “crafting tables” and “hidden jewels” and “amulets.” It was hilarious to listen in every know and again to see what they were doing. It was awesome and made me thankful for a sloshy rainy snow day at home.

What brought you peace today? Share the peace!

Peace in Jumanji

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I always loved the book Jumanji as a kid. The story is so fantastic, the pictures are phenomenal, and I just love a fun storyline. Recently, I tried to convince my own kids that it was totally awesome, explaining that the game comes alive and crazy things happen.

“You will be amazed!” I told them. “Let’s watch the movie.”

“That sounds terrible,” LM1 said. “And scary. I don’t like to be scared.”

I forget all too easily how scary movies can be. Deciphering between what’s fiction and what can really happen in not simple for the littles.

Even so, I somehow convinced the 3/5 of the family to watch the Robin Williams version of Jumanji with me. LM2 and LM3 loved it, fascinated by the animals suddenly stampeding through the living room. LM1 gave it a try but was ultimately scared enough to announce, “This is not for me,” before venturing off to find his Legos.

Then, this week I made it to our kids’ library to help put library books back on the shelves. I managed to be there at the same time that LM2 had his library class, so I could help him choose library books.

And guess what we found?

Jumanji, by Chris Van Allsburg.

Only, this book came with a CD, featuring Robin Williams as the reader of the story!!!

What an opportunity for peace. I know, I know, this sounds crazy. How could this scary book be peaceful? Well, for this mama, our storytime became a moment when the kids were quiet and concentrated and thrilled to discover a new book. And they had the opportunity to hear “some guy” they don’t even know how much to appreciate. What was already a beautifully illustrated, action-packed book got even better.

We had a fantastic afternoon, listening to the book over and over again. And I felt some kind of magical nostalgia for one of my favorite actors of all time. I could also zone out and meditate a little, while the kids were completely satisfied.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!