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!
“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!
My heart swelled with joy as I witnessed my 2 year old son bounce uninhibited to the mariachi band playing at the 60th wedding anniversary celebration we recently attended. His white helium balloon bounced along with him juxtaposed against the backdrop of a wise crowd full of years and experience. While he brought the average age down, he lifted many spirits up with his constant giggling face drowned out by the loud trumpet behind him.
His exuberant dance moves were the opitomy of carefree, a reminder to his often care-filled mama, that sometimes, you just need to let go and dance. It doesn't matter if anyone is watching or not watching. What matters is showing up with all the gusto you have to offer.
As I caught my gaze wondering from my dancing son to survey the room, I was touched to see the couple we had all gathered to celebrate dancing together equally uninhibited. There we were, my 2 year old son with his bouncing balloon, Charlie and Annie representing 60 years dancing hand in hand, and this inspired mama - all enjoying the moment together. All experiencing the gift of now.
Oh to be like a child, filled with constant wonder and curiosity combined with the wisdom of the ages. This is what my almost 31 year old spirit longs for - release from all of the unnecessary cares and judgements ingrained in my mind, mindful simplicity, and a consistent creative habit of embracing the here and now. I wonder if the other 60th wedding anniversary attendees would support this creative habit. If only I had time to sit with each of them to soak in their decades of knowledge and advice. How I would have loved to hear their perspective on childlike faith in their late 80's and 90's.
As my son turns 2 today, I hope my husband and I can give him the same gift Charlie and Annie gave me at their 60th wedding anniversary - to dance freely and joyfully amidst life's many unexpected twists and turns and to exude both wonder and wisdom. In the meantime, I'll give him his new Strider bike knowing his real birthday gift is his mom's dedication to instilling in him the creative habit of living in the here and now as she strives to do the same!
Rain drops and a muggy hotel room were not on the agenda for the start of our vacation this week and yet we found ourselves doing our best to keep an antsy toddler entertained in a confined space when the rain decided to put a damper on our plans yesterday.
We were relieved to wake up to sunshine this morning and I was also relieved my camera captured this playful moment of my son dancing in the sunlight considering my SD card malfunctioned and corrupted all of my stored photos yesterday as well. Sadly none of them were backed up.
To say yesterday was frustrating would be an understatement but today was a chance to begin again.
"Always we begin again."
This famous quote by Saint Benedict has played over and over in my mind after hearing it at a women's retreat I attended at my church a few weekends ago. This statement is so simple and yet so profound. The word always is what gets me. When you really stop to consider that we always have the opportunity to begin again, it is incredibly freeing.
No matter what frustrating situation we may find ourselves in, we always have a choice to start a new, begin again, and trust the best is yet to come.
Ladies, perhaps you had a frustrating day yourself. Perhaps life rained on your plans and now you are faced with the choice to sit in your frustration or let it go and dance in the sunlight. I hope you will allow yourself the freedom to begin again because this is the first step in any creative act and key in developing creative habits to refuel in daily living.
So next time life gets frustrating and you want to throw up your hands, I hope you are reminded as I have been today,
"Always we begin again."
ALWAYS in ALL WAYS!
Wishing you new beginnings and creative days ahead!
I miss hearing cheers in our living room now that the Rio Olympics have ended. I can only imagine how the athletes must feel after years of training for two weeks of glory that are now history. Fortunatley for athletes like Kerri Walsh, many are returning to spend quality time with their families after intense months away training.
Kerri is not only a decorated Olympian in beach volleyball but also a mother of 3! In fact, she was pregnant with baby #3 during the last summer Olympics in London where she won her third gold medal while starting her first trimester! Having just gone through a first trimester, I am amazed at her stamina and agility amidst so many changes happening in her body. Her example of grit is nothing less than bump, set, striking!
So striking in fact, I had to research Kerri further which lead me to "A Day in the Life" clip where Kerri discusses balancing her career and family goals (check it out in the Mompreneurs in the Media section of this site - under Resources).
What strikes me most about Kerri is her ability to weigh decisions based on what is best for her family including making the committment to pursue her gift in volleyball so she can stay inspired.
"Any time away from my family needs to be something that betters me and betters my life for my family." - Kerri Walsh
This single quote shows she knows her values and refuses to settle for anything less than best for her dreams and her family. She understands the sacrifices and the reward of pursuing her gifts. Fortunatley she has not let the sacrifices hold her back and has reaped both personal and professional rewards as a result of her diligent dedication to her sport.
Like any mom, I'm sure there are days where she wonders how she will juggle her training schedule while keeping up with 3 kids. Yet somehow, like any mom, she makes it happen day after day because she has established a routine and her routine includes carving out time to develop her gift so she can continue to be bump, set, striking!
Ladies, we may not be Olympians like Kerri, but we are all invited to play in the game of life. We have 3 choices. We can continue rushing busily through our days and miss the opportunity completely, sit on the sidelines and wish we were gifted enough to play, or recognize our gifts and carve out time to develop these gifts so when it's time to play, we can bring our "A" game!
Choose option 3 and the next cheers you hear in your living room may just be from your family because let's face it, when you develop your gifts, everybody wins!
If you want help carving out time to discover and develop your gifts, DOWNLOAD a FREE:
"Mom's Guide to Developing Creative Habits"
"Mompreneurs Guide to Uplevel Success"
Blog photo from fiercelyfitenterprises.com
"Diving board", "Vault", and "Medal" are all among a slew of new words I've been teaching my son while streaming the Rio games this week. "Perseverance" and "Grit" are on the list to learn, but those will come with time, sweat, and energy in the future. Life alone will teach him. No Sesame Street episode or "Word of the Day" can convey the courage and endurance needed to persever under pressure, however the Olympics provide many examples of those who embody this spirit of grit!
In fact, every Olympian athlete embodies this tenacious spirit, yet, there is one who stands out to me during these games. Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze medalist, Dana Vollmer is a 28 year old swimmer and 6 time world record holder as well as a "Momma on a Mission" as she proudly refers to herself.
So what makes Dana Vollmer stand out? Perhaps it's her humble spirit, down to earth demeanor or the fact she gave birth 17 months ago and is still competing in the Olympics, nevermind winning medals!
This means she started training months after birth, probably while still nursing and I'm assuming on very little sleep. I mean WOW! I'm truly in awe of her capacity and dedication to carve out time to swim! She embodies not only perseverance and grit, but the very mission I have been trying to convey with this blog encouraging busy moms to carve out creative time and space to refuel in daily living by retreating to their Creative Habitat (a protected environment promoting growth and well being)!
Dana's example is proof it is ok and healthy for moms, even brand-spankin new moms to retreat to our Creative Habitats to refuel. She swims laps at the pool and wins medals while I write blog posts and enjoy the simple pleasure of penning a few thoughts. Different outcome, same renewing effect!
Mommas out there, if you are exhausted, stretched to your limit, depleated of energy or perhaps you just feel like you have let an important piece of you go, I implore you...for the sake of your health and your family, please allow yourself creative time and space to refuel on a regular basis (if not daily). If Dana can return to the Olympics as a #Mommaonamission, we certainly can carve out a little mom"me" time to enjoy the creative gifts we embody!
This article describes Dana Vollmer's daily routine and "creative habits" that have allowed her to carve out some mom"me" time to refuel before spending the rest of the day enjoying mommy time with her son, Arlen.
"Time management is key," she told TODAY. "I kind of retired in 2013 and had my son. And my whole goal with this comeback was that I would always feel like my son came first. I have tons of super supportive moms I talk to all the time, and they always said you need some alone time for yourself. And that's what swimming became for me."
Did you like this post and want more encouraging and helpful resources to help you carve out creative time and space to refuel in daily living? If so, please "like" the Creative Habitat Facebook page HERE.
While sitting in church this morning, I realized my true appreciation for the yellow Play-Doh stashed in my purse. This moldable fun has helped my son endure doctor's appointments, lunch dates, plane rides and pretty much any activity requiring a toddler to sit for more than two minutes.
What could have been an hour rummage through my purse (and let's be honest, the woman's purse next to me) turned into a calm and peaceful service. In fact, I can even tell you what the sermon was about which is proof yellow Play-Doh can do wonders for focus!
Focus, I am learning, is a precious and elusive gift for moms with young ones. When our attention is not being summoned by our child/children, our own minds serve as a constant reminder of all we want or need to do. Yet, just as I begin to let my mind get sidetracked, an eager fist reaches over and hands me some yellow dough with a simple request to roll a "Ba.""
And snap I am back...living in the moment as I roll that yellow ball and hand it over to my little sidekick. Suddenly it hits me, that yellow Play-Doh is just as important for me as it is for him because it forces me to live creatively in the moment and focus on the work at hand, a creative habit I am constantly trying to foster amidst the myriad of distractions vying for my limited energy and attention.
To my fellow creative mamas, may you find your "Yellow Play-Doh" this week and live creatively in the moment. When tempted to give in to the pressures of the day, simply take a deep breath and focus
on the work at hand. If your lucky, you may just create your next masterpiece or at the very least, a well rounded "Ba" and hopefully, a well rounded "Ma" in the process!
In an effort to create space for new creative habits to take root as I embrace this new chapter of full time motherhood and mompreneurship, my son and I escaped to Colorado Springs (where I grew up) for a two week quest in creative problem solving. We are starting Week 2 of this very important time of reprieve and regrouping before returning to San Diego where our "New Chapter" officially begins.
Points of exploration on this quest include:
1) Praying for energy to match a toddler's energy on a daily basis.
2) Planning a new weekly schedule that will meet the development needs of my son and allow me to carve out time to pursue my own creative habits.
3) Strategizing a way to "batch" weekly responsibilities (cooking, cleaning, etc.) so we can make the most of our quality time.
Most importantly, this time is dedicated to embracing courage in the quest for creative time and space, knowing life will always swirl with the to-do's of today and unknown priorities of tomorrow. To live fully, I must learn how to embrace the delicate balance of letting go and holding on...letting go of my desire to control and holding on to my desire to create. Both require intention and courage from which I believe true creative genius stems.
Elizabeth Gilbert, authour of popular novel, Eat, Pray, Love, recently published a book called, Big Magic where she discusses the creative genius hidden within each of us if we have the courage to live beyond fear. Given creativity is the pursuit and exploration of the unknown, one must overcome the implicit fear associated with such a daring act...to create original work with confidence!
Big Magic is the novel I felt lead to read during this two week hiatus in Colorado. Ironically when I found it during a recent Barnes and Noble date with my son, he grabbed my hand and walked me directly to the Dr. Seuss section. There before us were many examples of one man's creative genius on display. Surely it took courage to write each of those colorful, silly books! Surely Dr. Seuss overcame some level of fear to dare to write books with made up words when he originally intended to get his Ph.D in English Literature. Imagine if he had not chosen to live creatively beyond fear?
I have only just begun reading Big Magic, but it's no surprise the first chapter is titled, "Courage" because courage is the first step in any creative endeavor. The author recounts a profound quote by the late poet and English Professor, Jack Gilbert, who once asked one of his students, "Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say "Yes" (Gilbert, Big Magic, pg.7).
This is a question we all must ask ourselves when we are on the brink of uncovering our Creative Genius. Fortunatley, creative geniuses like Dr. Seuss answered, "Yes!"
Wishing you courage in your creative quest as I embrace courage in mine, admitting each Creative Habitat blog post is just that, a courageous step towards creative living without fear!
Check Out Elizabeth Gilbert's "Your Elusive Creative Genius" TED Talk on the Creative Habitat Creative Leaders link found HERE.
Little did I know the day I first became aware this life of mine was growing with a little life to share.
That time would shape us both with each new passing day and teach us how to view life in a new and special way.
Little did I know my heart could love so much as I held you in my arms and knew you at first touch. Sweetly breaking me of previously held fears, smiling down on you while holding back joy-filled tears.
Little did I know our days and nights would merge turning sleeping into waking with both starting to converge. Not knowing how I'd make it from day to night to day, yet, somehow through the exhaustion we always found our way.
Little did I know how that gummy grin could tease and how those pretzeled little legs could bring me to me knees. Praising God above for my precious gift while strapping on my baby carrier and giving you a lift.
Little did I know how many supplies you would require to keep you fed and dry which became my main desire. Through it all I learned a helpful hint or two about how to improvise and still take care of you.
Little did I know how my plans would change on a dime when you needed a diaper change or decided it was nap time. With your help I've learned how to relax and chill...and always be prepared for the next spill!
So on this Mother's Day, I just want to share all the many ways you've taught me how to care. Nose to nose and cheek to cheek, I cherish you from week to week. And this I know is true as I watch you grow...before I met you, little did I know.
Why is it children intuitively understand how to enjoy the moment while adults spend a good portion of their lives chasing moments only to find they were too busy to enjoy. My theory...children know how to pause and release.
Take an empty toilet paper roll for example. If this seemingly trivial item strikes a toddler's fancy, they won't think twice about pausing to investigate. They will freely release their inhibitions to explore the many possibilities for this new found treasure.
On the contrary, most of their adult counterparts won't think twice before tossing this "treasure" in the trash. There are, afterall, people to see and places to be. What adult has time to pause and release for trivial play these days while living in such a ubiquitous digital age where we are so connected? Or are we so disconnected? Either way, many adults have forgotten the art of "pause and release" because they are too busy with the "go and hold."
We go, go, go and hold tightly to our plans wanting to make the most of each day, yet can miss the best of each day if if we don't embrace the "pause and release" like our children.
I took this photo of my husband and son this weekend while functioning in go, go, go mode. We drove to La Jolla Cove for a walk and I wanted to get home in time to give my son a bath so I rushed.
Who rushes in La Jolla Cove? It's only one of the most beautiful and scenic walks in our country! It should be savored! Well, I hate to admit, I was guilty of not savoring until my son reminded me to pause and release.
While trying to get him to cooperate and get in the stroller so we could go home, he kept arching his back in pure defiance. My husband decided to play a game of toss to distract him. As I watched them play, I couldn't help but pause to enjoy and release my plans in exchange for this photo which I will cherish for years to come!
As you move forward in your day, I hope you will embrace a moment to pause and release. I plan to adopt "pause and release" as a new creative habit starting with writing this post which required a "pause" from my normal morning routine and a "release" from my original plan to curl my hair. Someone is definitley wearing a bun to work today...but it was so worth carving out this time to reflect and, I hope, encourage you!