Apr 24

10 Things That Determine Your Worth as a Woman

10 Things That Determine Your Worth as a Woman

women empowerment

1.  The size of your heart

2.  The number of nights you sacrifice your sleep for your family

3.  The meals you have cooked for your family, new moms, or sick friends.

4.  The minutes you spend on the phone crying with your sister or girlfriend who is broken hearted.

5.  The number of times you sacrifice a pedicure or manicure so your child can have field trip money.

6.  The smile on the faces of your children when they see you cheering them on from the sidelines.

7.  The hugs you get from your father that tells you that you are still his princess

8.  The loads of laundry you have done so your husband doesn’t have to worry about clean clothes.

9.  The dust on your furniture that says you would rather spend time with your family making memories.

10.  The countless prayers you’ve offered up for others.

Oct 08

Anger in Families

Young Hispanic Family Enjoying Meal At Home

“Mommy I am frustrated,” my two year old toddler growled at me in her highchair while spitting her food out.  I looked at my husband and sarcastically said, “I wonder where she gets that from?”  My mini-me had just mimicked what I expressed five minutes ago.  Not ten minutes later there was yelling about a sippy cup of milk deliberately spilled on the couch.  It had been one of those days.

As parents we try so hard to teach our children how to be kind, speak softly, use nice touches and respect boundaries but every so often they yell, push, pout, throw things and give you an attitude when things don’t go their way.  This is tolerable if you understand that they may be tired, hungry, or just acting like a toddler.  The guilt comes when you realize they are mimicking you and that is the last thing you want to teach them.

Anger is a normal human emotion.  Its function is to let us know when we have been wronged, motivates us towards action or helps us see a need for change.  Anger functions similarly in families.  If your husband orders NFL Sunday ticket instead of using the money to pay the phone bill it is OK for you to get angry.  Where you have a choice is in how you express it, if you let anger control you, and how you let it influence your children.  Here are some helpful steps for handling anger in your family:

1.  Asses your emotions.   If you have had a stressful day at work or your child had a poor night of sleep, his tolerance level may be lowered.  Check yourself before you hit the door.  Know what you are feeling first and why.  Ask yourself why your child might be acting this way.

2.  Ask yourself 3 questions: Is this the right time for me to act this way? Will it build up or tear down?  Will my family respond to me out of fear or love?  I Corinthians 10:23 says, “All things are lawful but not all things build up.”  Teach your child to ask themselves the same questions as they get older.

3.  Take a time out.  If you feel yourself getting angry remove yourself from the situation or your family before you blow your top.  Never discipline out of anger.  One of my kids’ favorite shows is Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS.  One of the episodes talked about anger and says, “When you’re really mad and you wanna roar, take a deep breath and count to 4.”  James 1:19 also counsels us to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.

4.  Take responsibility instead of blaming.  Instead of saying to our spouse, “You made me do this,” take responsibility for what you did or said that might have contributed to conflict.  Have a no tolerance policy for reacting physically because of your anger.

5.  Ask for forgiveness.  It is important to confess our wrong to our spouse and well as our children when we have reacted inappropriately.  Confession allows for reconciliation and gives us a chance to teach our kids that we have lessons to learn just as they do.

Remember you may have a right to feel angry but you do not have a right to take that anger out on yourself (self-hatred) or others.  Let your anger spur you to action.  To act in a way that shows love, tolerance and understanding to your family.

Sep 20

Coping with Job Loss in Today’s Economy

job loss picAmong life-altering events, such as the death of a family member, divorce, and a serious illness, losing your job ranks among the highest in stress-causing situations. Job loss can have a profound effect on your emotional well-being. You may experience symptoms of depression such as isolation, a loss of interest in activities, an increased need for sleep or an increased sense of worthlessness. Your family life many also become affected.  Besides the financial pressures to provide for them, you may experience increased irritability with loved one and may find yourself withdrawing.

During this time it is important to keep the following in mind to help you bounce back

  1. Allow yourself to grieve: It is normal for you to feel a sense of loss, sadness or even anger. You may even see yourself as a victim of circumstance.  Acknowledge your feelings but don’t let them paralyze you to not act.
  2. Assess your values, strengths, weaknesses and goals: It is important to take a realistic look at yourself and ask yourself where do you want to be 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years from now.  It may be the perfect time to take some classes to update your skills.
  3. Utilize your support system: Be sure to process your emotions with your family, a close friend or even a trained counselor.  Seek their ideas and support. Remember that your family may be experiencing the same stress as you so learn how to cope with frustration. Develop a “we’re all in this together” attitude.
  4. Take proper steps to stabilize your financial situation: This may mean calling your creditors and asking for a more reasonable payments plan.You should also try to cut back on unnecessary spending.Items like cable, the latest cell phone or a new designer purse may have to wait. Develop a budget worksheet and stick to it.
  5. Inform EVERYONE you know of your situation: Ask for assistance, advice, referrals, and support. You never know who is amongst their contacts and who might be useful to you. Network, network, network!  Don’t overlook opportunities to do so through social clubs, churches, organizations or even interactions at the supermarket.  Always have business cards ready to give out to people with your contact information on it.
  6. Devise a job search plan and work it: Just as you would for a normal job, devote close to 40 hours per week to your job search. Maintain regular work hours so you won’t be tempted to sleep the day away. Use the time you have to network, search for jobs on the internet, make phone calls, send faxes, re-work your resume, or create promotional materials. Send thank you cards and thank you e-mails to people you interview with.
  7. Develop healthy coping skills:It is important during this time to maintain a healthy life style.  You may not be able to afford a gym membership but walking, running and lifting weights can be done at home or close to home. It is important to drink lots of water, eat healthy and get an adequate amount of sleep.This will help offset any depressive symptoms or any tendency to turn to alcohol or other substances.
  8. Keep a positive attitude: It is easy to get discouraged when your phone calls are not returned or when you’ve gone on 10 different interviews without any job offers. Staying optimistic will help to keep you motivated. Have faith that God knows your hurts and needs and he will provide for you.

If this is your case, what are you doing to survive your job loss?  Share as you might be able to help others in your similar situation.

Sep 13

How to Love a Woman with a Broken Heart

I thought I would never find love again.  Not after going through the worst heartbreak of all, being betrayed by my husband.  As a young married newly graduate student I thought I had the world in front of me:  career, marriage, a new house, everything a young woman could want.  Five years later it all came crashing down and I was left to pick up the pieces.  Although the break-up of my marriage was not my fault, I was left with many negative feeling towards the “male species,” because that is whom I was hurt by.  Intellectually I knew the saying, “all men are scum,” was not true but that was how I felt at that time.

Four years later and after much healing I married the right guy, my husband Tim.  Many guys would have run for the hills knowing the baggage I was bringing into the relationship but not Tim.  He persevered and endured my questions and insecurities.  He knew I was worth the wait and worth fighting for. 

If you know of such a woman whose beauty, character and morals you admire but are hesitant to approach her because she was hurt before and is very negative about men consider the following.  You might be just what she needs to heal her broken heart.

1.  Show courage and don’t be afraid to approach her.  You see her across the room and are enthralled but after asking your buddy what her status is you learn she just came out of a bad relationship and is currently on the warpath against men.  What do you do?  Don’t walk away.  Let her know that you fine her intriguing and would love to get to know her.  Give her your number and let her take the initiative.  Even if she doesn’t call still be friendly and engaging whenever you see her.

2.  See her for who she truly is not what she’s been through.  She may rebuff you with negative comments or a bad attitude but don’t’ take it personally.  Ask her friends about her best qualities and complement her on those when you see them exhibited.

3.  Be ready to pay for her past.  If she does give you a chance be ready for a litany of questions that may include questions about your mental health, finances, goals, family history, and any addictions. Don’t let the questions put you off.  I asked these and more of my husband as I did not want to be with someone who exhibited the negative characteristics and tendencies of my ex.  Yes, you may feel like you are having to pay for the sins of the “ex,”  as she may have trust issues but keep her heart in mind when it feels like it is becoming too much.  Be an open book.  Trust takes time to build even if you are a great guy.

4.  Don’t give up on her.  If it feels like it is becoming too intense don’t throw in the towel.  That is just what she is expecting, for someone to give up on her.  Let her know there is nothing to fear and all she needs is to come to you and let you know when she is feeling anxious or suspicious instead of “having an attitude.”

5.  Help her see her self-worth.  Letting your woman know how beautiful she is both inside and out is very important as she questions things about herself every day.  She may have even blamed herself for her “ex” leaving thinking she was not good or pretty enough.  I did when I went through my heartbreak.  Positive words go a long way and repeated often enough and complemented by actions will eventually lead to her believing in herself again.

There is no guarantee when it comes to love.  Even after all your patience and perseverance she may just not be ready for a relationship.  You might be ready to love her but she might not be ready to love you or any man right now.  What she will need the most is time.  If you did have a chance to show her your strength and worth but was rejected just know that someday your efforts will be rewarded with the right mate at the right time.  Keep growing in your life goals and character that any woman would be proud to be joined to.

Sep 11

10 Things About Early Motherhood Your Girlfriends Never Told You.

motherhood girlfriends

My kids are 2 & 3 1/2 and I find myself only having recently come out from my “Mommy fog.”  You know the one which you are in if you decided to stay home with your babies before going back to work.  I can now actually leave them alone with the TV to take a hot shower, think, pray and get inspired.  Yes, I get inspiration in the shower.  So here are a few of my reflections on the last 3 years.  Why did no one tell me about this?

1.  You’re probably not going to sleep when your baby sleeps.  And even if you do sleep, you still jump up at every little sound thinking your baby is up.  And why sleep when there are a million things to do around the house.

2.  Breastfeeding can suck.  You had visions of gently cradling your baby’s head as he or she was nursing but what you actually experienced was cracked nipples, letdowns in the grocery store when you hear babies cry and guilt when you decided to use formula.

3.  You will be your own worst critic. Don’t be so hard on yourself if the house isn’t clean.  Ask for help and get out of the house when you can.

4.  The pain of childbirth will be quickly forgotten and be replaced by love you never thought your heart was capable of.

5.  Your boobs might let down during sex and leak.  Hopefully your husband won’t mind.

6.  A smile from your baby, a hug from your toddler, or the words “I love you” will give you the courage to face another day.

7.  Poo, pee and spit-up will be your perfume not of choice.

8.  Your closet or bathroom will be your oasis as you try to catch a break and catch up with your friends on Facebook.  Just don’t drop your phone in the toilet.

9.  You will scream and jump for joy the first time your toddler goes potty.

10.  Take a mental snapshot of when you’ve had a good day.  You will need to remember them when the going gets rough.

So what is something about motherhood your girlfriends, mother, sister never told you about and you had to learn on your own?

Sep 10

Postpartum Depression

My second child was a breeze to take care of.  She was so less demanding than my son.  He was a preemie who required 3 hour feedings to thrive and who didn’t sleep through the night until 6 months.  In contrast, she slept through the night at 6 weeks and was a happy, cheerful baby. I had the luxury of regular sleep, a supportive husband and felt that our family was complete.  You would think I would be happy but one day after crying for most of the day, yelling at my husband and feeling like a truck had run over me it dawned on me: I had postpartum depression.  I had been experiencing these symptoms for up to two weeks along with anxiety, forgetfulness, and feelings of hopelessness.

Right away I let my family know what was going on and enlisted their help,  My husband took some time off and I made a plan for better self-care and to get out of the house.  Lucking after a month my symptoms lessened and I felt more in control of myself and my life.  For some women these symptoms last longer and can sometimes turn into depression.  If this is you it is helpful to know what you are struggling with and get help.

What is the difference between “baby blues,” postpartum depression (PPD), and postpartum psychosis?

-The baby blues can happen in the days right after childbirth and normally go away within a few days to 2 weeks.

-Baby blues include having sudden mood swings, sadness, crying spells, loss of appetite, sleeping problems,and feel irritable, restless, anxious, and lonely.

-Symptoms are not severe and treatment isn’t needed.

-Postpartum blues do not interfere with a woman’s ability to care for her baby.

-PPD can happen anytime within the first year after childbirth.

-You may have negative thoughts about the baby and fears about harming the infant (although women who have these thoughts rarely act on them).

-Postpartum depression often affects a woman’s well-being and keeps her from functioning well for a longer period of time and interferes with a woman’s ability to care for her baby. This condition occurs in about 10-20% of women.

-Postpartum psychosis is rare (e.g. Andrea Yates) Women who have bipolar disorder or another psychiatric problem called schizoaffective disorder have a higher risk for developing postpartum psychosis. Symptoms may include delusions, inability to sleep for no more than 2 hours per night, rapid mood swings, hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing things), paranoia and obsessive thoughts about the baby. For this condition you should seek immediate medical help.

 

What is PPD?

Any of these symptoms after pregnancy that last longer than two weeks are signs of depression

-Feeling restless or irritable        -Feeling sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed

-Crying a lot                              -Anxiety

-Having no energy or motivation   -Eating too little or too much

-Sleeping too little or too much    -Trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions

-Feeling worthless and guilty       -Loss of interest or pleasure in activities

-Suicidal thoughts                       -Withdrawal from friends and family

-Having headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations or hyperventilation

-Being afraid of hurting the baby or oneself and not having any interest in the baby.

 

What steps can I take if I have symptoms of depression after childbirth?

Self-Care

-Try to get as much rest as you can. Try to nap when the baby naps.

-Surround yourself with supportive family members and friends, and ask for their help in caring for the baby.

-Spend some time alone with your husband or partner.

-Take a shower and get dressed every day.

-Get out of the house. Take a walk, see a friend, do something you enjoy. Get someone to take care of the baby if you can; if you can’t, take the baby with you.

-Don’t expect too much from yourself. Don’t worry too much about the housework. Ask friends and family for help.

-Talk to other mothers. You can learn from each other, and their experiences can be reassuring.

-Join a support group for women with depression.

-If the depression persists for longer than 2 weeks or is very deep, talk to your health care provider. Self-care alone is not recommended.

How is depression treated?

There common types of treatment for depression include:

-Talk therapy. This involves talking to a licensed therapist, psychologist, or social worker to learn to change how depression makes you think, feel, and act.

-Medicine. Your doctor can give you an antidepressant medicine to help you. These medicines can help relieve the symptoms of depression. Many women have seen good results with Lexapro.

-Vitamins. It is important to continue taking prenatals and iron even after delivery.

-Hormonal therapy

-Thyroid Check

For More Information & Counseling

Postpartum Education for Parents
Phone: (805) 564-3888
Internet Address: http://www.sbpep.org

Postpartum Support International
Phone: (805) 967-7636
Internet Address: http://www.postpartum.net

Counseling Services: Lyris Bacchus Steuber, LMFT
Phone: (407) 417-7770
Internet Address: www.lyrisbacchus.com

Depression After Delivery – (800) 944-4PPD

Aug 30

Can Your Marriage Survive a Financial Storm?

Many of the couples I’ve seen in the last 6 months are experiencing financial panic and worry.With banks, auto companies and businesses going under every day lots of couples now find themselves in a situation in which one or both people have lost their job. When this happens marriages become strained.Why?Because when a financial storm ensues it leads to shorter tempers, arguments, mixed priorities, isolation and depression.It is not wonder that troubled finances continue to be one of the top 5 reasons why couples divorce.

If your marriage is experiencing a financial storm it’s important that you take action and consider the following:

Stop arguing and start talking:Instead of trying to blame one another for how you might have gotten into such a mess you need to have a frank talk about your financial goals and decisions.You both need to be on the same page about your spending habits, use of credit cards and know how your needs differ from your wants.Budget, budget, budget.Helpful tools and free software can be found at http://www.myspendingplan.com/ and www.mint.com.

Spend on your immediate needs first:Your immediate needs are food, clothing, shelter and transportation.Do you really need satellite TV with 140 channels?How about that monthly subscription to your book club?Borrowing from the library is for free.For your children you have to be honest with them about what you can afford.Just because their friend has a Wii doesn’t mean they should as well and do they each need a cell phone?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.It’s important that you pay your survival bills first.After that contact your creditors including your mortgage and auto lenders, to update them on the situation. By communicating with your creditors you can perhaps establish a repayment plan that you could afford, allowing you to make partial payments and not be considered delinquent.

Use all the food in your pantry.We all have food (cans, boxed items), items for side dishes that we never use because we go to the grocery store and buy other things.Make it a goal for you to use all the food in your pantry before your next shopping trip.If you need food immediately Angel Food Ministries offers food that will feed a family of 4 for a week for $30.00.No applications, rules or forms to fill out.Just call and order.http://www.angelfoodministries.com/

Trade for things you need and want.Websites like www.freecycle.org allows you to trade your household items for items that you may need that others have. Have a block trade party with your neighbors.You might find tools or that sweeper vacuum you had your eye on in the store.

Network, network, network.It’s not enough to just e-mail out your resume to employers, you need to make a good impression if you want to get noticed.That means making follow up telephone calls, sending a hand written thank you note or e-mail after an interview.Let everyone you know you are looking for a job like your pastor, family, or friends on facebook.

Seek counseling if necessary.Contact a debt management company if you need financial counseling.Contact a therapist if you and your spouse are having trouble communicating and getting on the same page.If you don’t have insurance ask if they have a sliding fee scale.

Having a healthy marriage can help people weather the storms of life.Many couples are even realizing that it’s cheaper to stay together rather than get divorce.Be fore you even reach that point make a commitment to weather this storm together. It will pass if you stick together and take action.