So apparently the Germans have a specific term for the final days of pregnancy...it's called "Zwischen" which translates to "between" in english. I learned this interesting fact from an article I currently have saved on my phone browser along with 9 other articles - most related to the final days of pregnancy and what to expect during the onset of labor. It might be helpful context to share I had a planned c-section with my son due to a condition called placenta previa, thus, this is my first time preparing for actual labor.
I have no doubt Google analytics has pegged me as a pregnant woman on the verge of popping given my search history. In fact, next time I meet someone new and want to get to know them, I'll skip the small talk and just ask if we can exchange phones for a minute. One glance at their open browser tab(s) will likely provide much insight on their current life goals and priorities, albeit quite intrusive, an efficient way to learn a lot in little time.
Just check out your open browser tabs. Do they not shed light on what matters to you most in life right now? Mine certainly read me like an open book. Here's proof:
Tab 1) 10 Symptoms and Signs Labor is Near
Tab 2) Did Stripping the Membranes Help Induce Labor
Tab 3) The Last Days of Pregnancy - A Place of In Between
Tab 4) Red Rasberry Leaf Tea = Contractions
Tab 5) Wikipedia - Ben-Hur a Tale of Christ
Tab 6) A Long, Cold Road to Bethlehem
Tab 7) Natural Ways to Bring on Labor
Tab 8) Extreme Fatigue in Late Pregnancy
Tab 9) Preparing Your Child For a New Sibling
Tab 10) Leftover Hambone Soup Recipe
Without ever meeting me, someone could easily assume I am a very pregnant woman with a planning personality and interest in biblical history. I can't help but chuckle at Tabs 2, 4 and 7 as they blatantly point to my desire to control the timing of a very uncontrollable situation! For the sake of time and continuity, I will digress from expanding on all my open tabs, but do want to highlight Tab 3 where I first learned about zwischen. According to the author, who is a trained midwife and doula,
"The last days of pregnancy are a distinct place, time, event, stage. It is a time of in between. Neither here nor there. Your old self and your new self, balanced on the edge of a pregnancy. One foot in your old world, one foot in a new world."
She goes on to say,
"These last days of pregnancy are a distinct biologic and psychological event, essential to the birth of mother."
The birth of a mother.
I'm captivated by this concept.
How many of us recognize the birth of a mother as well as the birth of her child? This article has definitely given me a new perspective on the dichotomous nature of birth since two lives are forever shaped by this event. I can certainly attest to this new birth in my own experience becoming a mom. The "me" before entering motherhood is distinct from the mom"me" I am becoming.
Becoming is the key word here.
I have mom"me" milestones just like my son has growth and development milestones. Right now I am working on the potty training milestone and just like babies and toddlers, I have regressed in my progress at times. As I approach my current pregnancy milestone of zwischen and prepare to welcome this baby, I am also preparing for the birth of my new self with an expanded heart for two. Bring on the birth of this baby and the rebirth of this mama!
As the new year draws near, I can't help but reflect on the creative habits I have adopted to refuel and live in the many precious moments that made up 2016. I can honestly say this year has been transformational as I have allowed myself to unplug from time commitments that were no longer in alignment with my new life as a mom and mompreneur. While it was not always easy confronting my limitations and necessity to prioritize and say "no" to many things I once said "yes" to, I have been blessed with the opportunity to plug into my sources of inspiration and creative gifts as a result.
While I have held on to many idealistic (and often unrealistic) expectations for myself over the years, I have finally learned the freeing power of simply letting go and enjoying the moment. The moment, I have found, is where true life is experienced. While I have been tempted to live in the past or plan far in advance...I have learned now is a gift to cherish, especially in my daily interactions with my little guy who is growing faster than I can keep up!
Just think of all you have overcome to get to your now. This is what I remind myself of when I start to become too preoccupied with what I could have done or what I should be doing. Instead, I have started to ask myself, "What has blessed me to get to this point and what blessings are in front of me?"
It's such a mindset shift for a reflector/planner personality like mine, but oh, such a gift when embraced in the moment! Now, don't get me wrong...I still reflect and plan. The shift for me is no longer dwelling in my past/future but rather setting aside reflecting and planning time so I can be present in the here and now as often as possible. After all, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, thus why not own our now! Perhaps this is the reason these two words share the same letters!
In fact, I am owning my now as I write this blog while getting a pedicure. Color choice: "Let Your Love Shine." Coincidence, I think not!
May you own your now and let your love shine in the new year ahead!
A Christmas Poem...
The presents have been opened,
The cheer has been spread.
It's time now for me to go to bed.
But first a thought, a simple prayer,
A list of priJOYaties to consider and share.
Jesus, Others, You ordered just so,
Results in JOY to bless and bestow.
Put Jesus first, and you'll find a way,
To consider Others in things you do and say.
You, my friend, will be blessed in turn,
When you put JOY into practice
and practice what you learn.
As a busy mom, you know the value of time.
As a busy, creative mom, you know the value of coming up with many ideas.
As a busy, creative mom and limited human being, you know the value of implementing systems to manage life's demands while also developing your creative endeavors.
For those of you who use social media regularly, or like me, are learning to use it more regularly to share your creative ideas, you know how much time, energy, and effort it takes to post a picture, quote, blog post, etc. to various social media accounts. Being the big picture planner that I am, little details like posting 10 different types of content to 5 different social media platforms slows me down and often, keeps me from posting content I want to share because I don't have the time or patience...that is, until I discovered Viraltag.
Viraltag is an all-in-one marketing platform. You can use Viraltag to find quality visual content to share, improve your own photos and create original graphics, and then schedule your posts on various social media platforms including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter to name a few. Viraltag makes it simple to schedule something you would like to share from various sources including articles you find on the internet, Pinterest posts, Instagram photos, etc. The Viraltag link automatically directs traffic to the original source. See example below:
Once you have decided on the content you want to share, you can make any edits you need to the caption, then select the social media accounts you would like to post it to and the time you would like it to be posted. I have found scheduling social media content in advance to be a huge advantage of using Viraltag! Viraltag gives you several options for finding your own content to share including RSS feeds from your favorite blogs or websites with content your audience will value. A feed of the most recent photos and visuals will automatically appear in your Viraltag dashboard and you can schedule posts directly from there. See example below:
Another awesome feature of Viraltag is the Viraltag Browser Extension which allows you to schedule content from anywhere on the web. Just like using the Pinterest "Pin It" button, the Viraltag button allows you to bring up all the photos on any web page and simply click to schedule one or multiple photos to your social networks. You can even use this button to schedule your repins. See example below:
Finally, if you are a blogger using Viraltag, you have the option of getting 60% off your yearly subscription if you write a Viraltag review like I am doing here! I also like how Viraltag partners with their users by allowing them to make commission through anyone who subscribes to Viraltag using their affiliate link. Viraltag users like me typically see four times the amount of engagement on content shared through Viraltag in addition to increasing followers by 25% every month for each social account connected with Viraltag. You can track this growth using the seamless analytics tool. See example below:
Bottomline, you are a busy mom, as am I.
I'm about to be a busy mom of 2...only 2 weeks to go until my due date!
So how do I plan to feasibly share all the resources I want to share with you via social media while keeping up with 2 little ones...Viraltag!
It's the only "viral" thing I actually enjoy. If your kids are in daycare for any portion of the week, you know what I mean. Don't worry though, Viraltag is only contagious in the best sense possible. It helps you spread your message with those you come in contact with and makes it easy for them to share your message with their friends, etc. So if you have something to share and want it to go viral...Viraltag is your "one-stop go-to" for all things social media content scheduling and posting! Hopefully, I have convinced you to sign up for your own Viraltag account! If so, you can Subscribe to Viraltag HERE!
As always, wishing you creative and refueling days ahead!
It is 1:41am as I begin to write and I have been wide awake for an hour. At first I just stayed in bed twisting and turning waiting for sleep to find its way back to my eyelids, but alas, my eyelids are wide open now.
I contemplated organizing my closet with this unexpected burst of energy until I looked around and saw everything neatly hung and folded reminding me of my urge to purge while organizing my clothes and shoes a week prior. If my impeccable closet wasn't an obvious sign my "nesting" instincts have kicked in, tackling the random "Odds n Ends" laundry bag should have been my next clue. Basically, I throw small socks, thongs, crinkled undershirts, and all the little laundry annoyances in a black hole of a bag after folding the bigger, easier to deal with clothes until my "Odds n Ends" bag is full.
It's been full for months.
I assume the same nervous excitement waking me tonight is responsible for my uncharacteristic initiative to deal with "Odds n Ends" laundry bag earlier this evening. If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know how much I love laundry and dishes (wink, wink). Would you believe I folded 36 pairs of socks? 36! Given we live in temperate San Diego, I wear flip flops and flats most the time so socks aren't high on my priority list. No wonder my husband can never find his socks. He is going to feel like he hit the jackpot tomorrow when he opens his brimming sock drawer in all its abundance!
If only I could bottle up the abundance of energy pulsing through my veins in these last few weeks of pregnancy. I would take shots of it to stay fueled during the round-the-clock nursing hours following birth. Oh well, at least I can use this pent-up energy to deal with the "Odds n Ends" of life now so I can fully focus on snuggle time once baby comes! Until then, I will do my best to manage my odd behavior at the end of pregnancy (like staying up writing a blog post until 3am)!
Have you ever wished you could replicate a movie or TV show set to escape real life for a while? I have often pictured myself walking the whimsical streets of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls complete with twinkle lights and quirky characters around each corner. I have been a long time fan of the show. The witty banter and playful storyline paired with a candor-filled cast is a welcome escape for me. What I love most about Gilmore Girls is the close friendship shared between Lorelai and Rory which reminds me of the close friendship between my mom and I (Like Rory, I am my mom's only child). After following Lorelai and Rory's journey from the pilot season highlighting their relationship during Rory's early high school days through the final season where Rory graduates from college, it is clear Lorelai's support is the one constant throughout Rory's changing life seasons.
Like Lorelai, my mom has been a constant support throughout my growing years. After my parent's divorce, we embraced our new normal as the Barton Babes (Barton was my maiden name), a term I fondly coined in relation to the similiar relationship we shared with the Gilmore Girl duo I had come to love and respect. Ironically, Rory's character was only one year ahead of me in school while the show was being filmed which made the show all the more relatable. While my mom was not 16 when I was born like Lorelai's character, her youthful spirit was equally as vibrant, creating a special friendship and bond I will always cherish.
Now, as the years have passed and I am a mom myself, I find our friendship has become deeper and more meaningful now that I can better understand her mother's heart. She inspires me on many levels and I am thrilled to share she has decided to join me in support of the Creative Habitat vision. Starting in 2017, my mom and I will be joining creative forces and working together to support mothers of all ages and stages in the discovery and development of their creative gifts. I can't imagine a better partner as she brings years of motherly wisdom and experience. She recently retired from a 30+ year career as a principal and teacher in elementary education and has decades of refueling creative habits to share, not to mention a joyful spirit which is contagious!
If I can equate our partnership to a storyline in Gilmore Girls, Creative Habitat is our "Dragonfly Inn" and my mom is my "Sookie!" Anyone who has seen the recent Netflix Gilmore Girls revival knows the Dragonfly Inn just isn't the same without Sookie! She is the "icing on the cake" so to speak (for those who haven't seen the show, Sookie is a culinary wiz and pastry chef, hence my cake reference). It is with great thanksgiving and anticipation I welcome my "Sookie" to the Creative Habitat team!
Finally, for those who have seen the Gilmore Girls revival, you are likley aware of the much anticipated "last 4 words." Well mom, here are my last 4 words for you:
Let's ice this cake!
“Becca, you are 8 months pregnant and have a two year old, how productive do you expect yourself to be?” asked my realist husband in response to my idealist request to retreat to my son’s room (one of my Creative Habitats) for some refueling time to develop Creative Habitat this weekend. While I was a bit perturbed by his blatant assumption that my body “full with child” was not just as capable of having a mind “full with ideas” as my pre-preggo self, I simply thanked him for focusing on quality father-son time for a few hours so I could focus on my pregnant thoughts and thoughts of being pregnant.
Regarding my pregnant thoughts…well, as far as I’m concerned, my mind has always been “pregnant” with a new idea or concept. I was constantly participating in some make-believe game when I was younger and have continued the habit of playing make-believe in my adult years. Now, I try to focus on making myself believe life is not as serious as I often make it out to be while reminding myself each day holds an element of wonder and surprise. Each step in the development of Creative Habitat is the perpetuation of this playful mindset. When I am able to retreat to my Creative Habitat to blog, develop a new training tool, or connect with another creative mom, my heart is full! I then tap into this full heart to serve my family, friends, and clients with even greater tenacity.
As for my thoughts on being pregnant, well, let me just start by saying I am so excited to welcome this new baby into our family. He/she has been kicking even now as I type and reminding me of the miracle of life and what a blessing it is to be a woman bringing life into the world. That being said, I am not naïve to the fact my life will be changing greatly with the birth of another child who will rely solely on me for nourishment and care over the next few months. I must admit I have been on autopilot with all of my other life responsibilities and am finally starting to realize how soon this change is approaching thanks to my husband's timely reminder.
Indeed, I am 8 months pregnant. Indeed, I am preparing to enter a new season of motherhood with two little ones including sleepless nights (yet endless cuddles). Indeed, I am excited to see my son bond with his sibling and hold them both in my arms knowing they are God’s ultimate creative gift to our family. Indeed, I am rejoicing over our upcoming arrival, yet, I must admit I am wondering how I am going to sustain the development of Creative Habitat while simply trying to sustain basic life needs for a newborn and active toddler. This is not to mention making a concerted effort to maintain enough energy for coherent conversation with my husband on what is likely to be very little sleep for both of us. The good news is, each time I start to wonder how I will manage it all, I am reminded God has gone before me and will give me what I need as He has every step of the way.
So in response to my husband’s comment and reality check earlier this evening, I do not expect extreme productivity from myself during this season, but I do expect extreme inspiration. While I am 8 months pregnant, I am also 31 years inspired. This means I have 31 years of make-believe experience to make myself believe anything is possible including continuing to carve out creative time and space to refuel and develop Creative Habitat (even after the baby arrives). I know from experience, this healthy balance will help me avoid burnout so I can continue serving those I love more fully.
I’m sure there will be days in the upcoming months where I will be exhausted beyond belief, but that’s why I am committed to maintaining the creative habits I have developed during my first two years of motherhood. I have learned the importance of retreating to my Creative Habitat to stay refueled even amidst the busiest of seasons including my husband’s intense medical residency years where I have felt like a single mother much of the time given his grueling schedule and long hours. As we prepare for his final few months of residency and upcoming cross-county move, I am amazed how God has carried us through the many life changes we have encountered over the course of his medical training years and know the upcoming changes will be equally covered in abundant grace! After all, anything is possible with a little imagination and a lot of prayer, both creative habits I intend on focusing on as I continue to grow as a mother of 2 and develop the Creative Habitat vision I have been blessed to share.
Stay tuned! There are many more Creative Habitat resources to come in 2017 for all my fellow busy moms who are seeking creative time and space to refuel in daily living. Looking forward to sharing all that I have been working on behind the scenes over the past couple months. In the meantime, check out the Creative Habitat Facebook Page for daily resources to help you develop refueling creative habits starting this week!
Wishing You Creative and Refueling Days Ahead!