Mom Wellness, Uncategorized

What Moms Really Want for Christmas

Significant others, listen up closely, and, others, take note if you are getting a gift for a Mama! And Moms, share this with your people, you will thank yourself later for doing so!

Holidays are right around the corner and there will be a lot of gifts that get stuffed away and never thought of again. There will also be so many mothers that ask for nothing and won’t say what they really want because they are more concerned with how the holidays will be for others. Even though I love surprises, I am a big advocate of communicating what you really want, just so there is no confusion, everyone is happy and it won’t be wasted money or energy.

So first thing I would do is literally ask the Mom in your life what she wants. If she loves surprises, have her make a list of different things. If answering that makes her uncomfortable try one of these…

*If you are the Mom, I suggest getting comfortable with communicating exactly what it is you want, especially when asked! Release the mom guilt, you deserve a Merry Christmas as much as everyone else! And this communication practice will help for future situations that encourages healthy and authentic relationships.

  1. Time alone

This gift can simply be a homemade certificate that she can cash in anytime or you can set up an event or get a gift certificate like a spa day, a wellness retreat, workout/yoga class she loves, a target gift card, whatever she is into! It doesn’t have to be expensive, the time alone is going to be so good for her well being it will mean so much more.

  1. Sleep

This one is more for significant others but no, I am not kidding, sleep is such a gift as a mom. This could happen to be the best gift you could ever give her. Take on the morning duty alone and let the Goddess get her beauty rest. Again, you could make a homemade gift certificate, maybe with a few Sleep In certificates that she can cash or schedule. Or if the child/children are having sleep issues that is affecting Mom’s wellbeing – gift her a sleep consult with a children’s sleep expert. I have worked with a sleep expert and it was the best thing for not only my son’s health, but mine. I was a literal zombie, or Mombie, and after getting my son sleeping I felt like a million bucks. Don’t hesitate, it’s worth every penny to have someone set up a custom sleep plan for your family. Sponsorless shout out to Heaven Sent Sleep.

  1. House Cleaner/Car Detail

Releasing a Mom of a cleaning duty or her coming home to a clean house/car is going to make her day! This is a service that can be done by a significant other or gifted as a service done by a professional. That gives her more quality time to spend with family, which is what all moms really want.

  1. Babysitting

YESSSSS!!!! This is worth the price of gold to moms. Whether you are a spouse setting up a babysitter to take her on a date or a family member/friend that offers services as a babysitter, schedule a date that works for her and set it up so she doesn’t bail out and feel possible mom guilt. Even if it is for a couple of hours, it will be much appreciated.

Moms are simple creatures who just want to enjoy the simple moments in life. Moms spend so much time worrying about if everyone else is happy that they tend to neglect their own self care, so you can’t go wrong with gifting something that is going to light up her soul and fill her cup. When Mom is filled, the whole family benefits from it. The gift that keeps giving!

Happy Holidays and Merry Mom Christmas! 🙂

For Balancebuilding Philosophy Gift Certificates Contact Brandi at Balancebuilding@brandimills.net

Uncategorized

Sick Child Survival Tips

‘Tis the season for sick children. If you are like me, you really think your immune system is top notch, until you have your first child. My son’s first year of life, I am really not sure if he was ever not sick. On top of being a food allergy baby and dealing with eczema and a constant runny nose, he was in daycare, which is like the cutest little human petri dish. He had the flu, on constant ear infection that led to tubes in his ears and let’s not forget about all of the teething that first year. Exhausting mentally and physically for everyone. I have never felt so helpless as I did when trying to soothe my sick child. And not to mention, I have never caught so many bugs in my life. And the lack of sleep alone can drive our insanity through the roof. Whew, it really takes survival mode!

This is that part of life I talk about where it becomes a huge bump in the road toward your goals. Obviously, this stuff happens and when you have kids you can’t predict when this will happen. And it always seems to happen at the most inopportune times, because LIFE!!

Tips to help you survive all of the nasty bugs your child/children get…

  1. Release expectations of everything else

Taking care of a sick family takes a lot out of you, not to mention if you are sick too! I am talking forget the dishes, vacuuming, only wash laundry that you need. Prioritize everyone’s health, including your own, literally survival mode. Make life easy on yourself, use those paper plates. Rest when you can, you can worry about the rest of things when you feel back to normal.

  1. Communicate logistics and Ask for help!

Number one, talk with your partner to see who can take off work and plan ahead. So coming up with a couple of different plans for a couple of days is going to make this whole process easier. And it takes a village, use them! When you need to call in more than you or your spouse, do it! Let go, and let someone help.

  1. Self-Care

Self-care in this situation looks a little different than your mani/pedi visit but still do it! In this critical moment, self- care is taking your vitamins, loading up on vitamin c, zinc, and elderberry. Wash those hands like it’s going out of style! Change those snotty, pukey clothes often so you don’t completely soak in all of their germs. There is nothing easy about sick kids, so keep yourself as healthy as possible.

  1. Lower those expectations!

This is where life is put on hold, so who cares about the kid’s screen time, healthy dinners. Don’t feel guilt about grabbing that take out, vegging out on the couch, not getting anything done. Number one priority is making it out of this germ filled quarantine.

  1. Release the guilt!

Release the guilt of taking sick days at work, they will survive. Yes, it doesn’t matter what your job is, the parenting job comes first, don’t let others dictate how you feel about your priority. Release the guilt of thinking this is your fault somehow, like, if they weren’t in daycare, if they didn’t go to the park, if they didn’t go to that birthday party. Seriously, you can only do so much to prevent this. It is going to happen! Release the guilt of being the perfect parent. It is a learning curve, and when babies and kids are sick, it is like a treasure hunt on how to make them feel better, you are doing your best!!! Let me say this again…. YOU ARE DOING YOUR BEST AND THAT’S ALL THAT MATTERS! Soak that in!!

There is nothing worse than sick children but guess what, it happens! It happens to the best of us and all we can do, is be our best for them when they need us. Stay healthy and strong, my friends, and hope you can use the tips for the rest of flu season!!

Mom Wellness

Ever have doubts and wonder if you were made for this Mom title?

With my son’s birthday a couple of ago, I have been looking back at pictures from his birth in complete amazement. I re-lived his birth and to be honest I didn’t have a very blissful experience and my recovery was so hard on me physically and mentally, so it’s something I don’t like to go back to often. But this moment captured in this picture was a pivotal moment in my life and the exact moment I realized that this child was meant for me. He was mine and I was his.

I remember this exact moment and I am so glad it was captured because the day was a blur and it confirmed what I felt. After he was delivered by emergency caesarian section, he was evaluated by the NICU because meconium was found in the amniotic fluid. So, I didn’t even get to see him for what felt like a lifetime. I was shaking from the anesthesia, scared because I wasn’t sure if he was ok, and was in shock and exhaustion from the long labor and emergency delivery. Thankfully my husband was able to be right there with Maddux and even bring him to me when he was cleared. As he was bringing him to me, Maddux was crying, and as soon as he snuggled up close to my face, it was like Maddux just knew, he calmed immediately. His face softened, his hand felt my face and he was safe. Close to his mama. Close to the person that he has been nestled in for 9 months prior.

If I had to go back and tell my new mom self something, I would say, “Brandi, this might be tough, this might be extremely challenging, but you are tougher! You are strong. Your baby loves you and that is all that matters. Don’t let others dictate how you walk through this journey. Communicate your feelings as best as you can. Ask for help, even when you hesitate and think it might make you seem weak, ask for help! Hire that sleep consultant sooner than 14 months, being a zombie isn’t all that fun. It’s ok to not love motherhood at all times, but I promise Maddux is worth every second, so trust the process. Love yourself as much as you love that baby. Everything will be ok, even when you think it won’t. And YOU ARE THE BEST MOM FOR MADDUX, I can tell by the way he hugs and kisses you!!”

When you are in the thick of motherhood it can be hard to clear your vision. If you find times where you aren’t sure if you were made for this job, or you are wondering whether you are a good enough mom, you were good enough without even laying eyes on each other! You were good enough without them knowing anything about the world. You were good enough when you were all they had.

You are their world, you are their safety. This was my personal experience but I am sure if you look back on your journey with your little one, you have a moment where you just knew. That moment of connection, even if it wasn’t right off the bat.

There are times in this journey where you can feel defeated, not good enough, compare yourself to other moms, feel like you just aren’t cut out. But let me give you a little insider tip… everyone has these feelings at some point, but it is our responsibility to ourselves to change the perspective. You owe it to yourself to change the narrative. Switch the negatives to positives and if that isn’t possible in the moment you are in, switch it to a neutral comment.

Instead of I am not good enough, change the narrative to I am enough, or I am doing the best I can. And repeat this to yourself over and over again. These affirmations are so important to our mom well-being.

If you were to go back to the new mom you were, who just gave birth to your little being, what would you tell her? What would you insist she do from that point forward?

Mom Wellness, Self Care

Motherhood Mantras to Get You Through the Day

As mothers, we have a tough, thankless job that doesn’t come with any handbook with directions on how to navigate motherhood. We are forced to tap into that divine feminine intuition that sometimes can be tough to listen to when we are tired, working, trying to raise kind, responsible human beings and juggling all life throws at us. That can lead to opportunities for negative narratives filling up your mind. Then comes the comparisons to other mothers, without much help from social media. It then leads to focusing on what we did wrong to what a horrible parent we are. You can head down a rabbit hole of despair fairly quickly.

But there are some things we can do to stay centered and close to the Goddess Mother within you. The more we work on our own narrative, the more others will catch on as well. If anything we need more now, it’s to support each other in this motherhood journey even if situations are not the same. We need to unite as mothers because, let’s be honest, it takes a village to raise a child!

So how can we do that?

Changing the narrative.

Sounds easier said than done, I know. But don’t complicate it because it is a simple task, we can all do. When you find negative thoughts flooding your mind, instantly turn it into something positive. Whether its immediately thinking of 3 things you are grateful for or just saying something positive about yourself instead. This will train your mind into releasing the negative and focusing on the positive. Instead of thinking about everything you did wrong, think about everything you did right! I guarantee that list is longer!

Something else I love, love, love are Affirmations.

Affirmations are positive, unique mantras or statements about you or your situation that you can play on repeat in your mind daily. You can choose one daily or a few different ones to repeat throughout the day. I suggest starting your day, upon waking, with an affirmation that will set the tone for the day. Write it down so you can be reminded of it often.

If you are having trouble coming up with your own, here is a list of 30 Motherhood Mantras that will get you through the chaos that motherhood comes with.

  1. I love myself enough, to nurture myself, so I have an abundance of love to give to others.
  2. I trust my intuition to lead me in my motherhood journey.
  3. I am capable of amazing things because I helped create life.
  4. I love the body that created and carried my child(ren).
  5. My body is beautiful and deserves grace in this season of healing.
  6. I am centered and focused on healing my postpartum mind, body, and soul.
  7. I am strong because I helped create, carry and birth my little one(s).
  8. Peace begins with me. The more peaceful I am inside, the more peace I have to share with others. – Louise Hay
  9. This is just a season of life that needs me to nurture and be nurtured.
  10. I love myself because_____________.
  11. I am filled with an abundance of love.
  12. Today I will find peace in knowing that the sun always rises and so will I.
  13. Even the littlest thing I do, serves the greater good of my family.
  14. I parent with confidence, without guilt or comparisons. Other mothers are not me, as I am not them.
  15. I give myself permission to do something that nourishes my mind, body and soul.
  16. Loving my child(ren) is more important than loving every moment of motherhood.
  17. I am a good mom, even as I work to become a better one.
  18. I was chosen to parent my child because I was exactly what he/she needed.
  19. There is an abundance of love and peace in this home, even in the midst of chaos.
  20. I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my child(ren).
  21. I will do my best as a mom, and that is always enough.
  22. I am more than enough for my baby.
  23. I am present and grateful in this moment.
  24. I will model self-love to my child(ren) without guilt.
  25. The struggles I push through today will be the strengths I gain tomorrow.
  26. My love is given from my full, heart centered, cup.
  27. I will let go of how I think today is supposed to go and accept how it flows.
  28. I am grateful for my ability to create and carry life.
  29. I was brought to this moment because I am strong enough to thrive through this situation gracefully.
  30. I am going with the flow of life and I am peaceful knowing it will all be OK.

I hope starting this affirmation practice gives you the confidence you need to be your best Goddess Mother self, even when life challenges it.

Exercise, Mom Wellness, Women's Health

Yoga and the Pelvic Floor

Yoga has a great way of bringing self-awareness to our bodies. But did you know that a mind-body connection is key to having optimal pelvic floor health? Just as we need a mind-body connection for exercise and yoga, we also need it for our pelvic floor, so it makes sense yoga would be the best place to become more mindful of this practice. Strong pelvic muscles aren’t just built by doing your occasional Kegels and along with strength, you need stability and softening, the trifecta of a healthy pelvic floor. Based on research, yoga is considered a great option for strengthening, softening and stabilizing these muscles.

Since the pelvic floor isn’t widely talked about, let’s talk about the specifics.

What is the pelvic floor?

The pelvic floor refers to all of the muscles at the base of the pelvis, creating a hammock shape. These muscles cover the opening of pelvic boney structures, supporting our reproductive organs, bowel and urinary organs. These muscles might be small, but they have some big jobs to excel at keeping our bodies functioning well. The pelvic floor is the foundation to our whole-body structure. So, any issue with the pelvic floor can cause some major problems to our bodies.

Pelvic Floor Jobs:

  • Provides support for pelvic organs
  • Facilitates birth
  • Maintains optimal intra-abdominal pressure
  • Assists in stabilizing the body, along with, the core, hip and back muscles
  • Plays an integral role in sexual health

Pelvic Floor Issues/Disorders:

  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Fecal Incontinence
  • Pelvic organ prolapse
  • Pelvic spasms
  • Painful Intercourse

Causes of PF Issues/Disorders:

  • Pregnancy
  • Vaginal childbirth
  • Obesity
  • Constant Coughing
  • Some surgeries that might require cutting
  • Lower levels of oestrogen after menopause

Nearly 24 percent of US women are affected with one or more pelvic floor disorders, according to research done by National Institutes of Health It also showed that the frequency of pelvic floor disorders increases with age, affecting more than 40 percent of women from 60-79, and about 50 percent of women 80 years of age and older. The prevalence of pelvic floor disorders increases with the number of times a woman has given birth.

The American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AJOG) conducted a research study to assess the changes a yoga class could make to a group of women with urinary incontinence in 3 months. In that 3 months, there was a 76% decrease in the frequency of their incontinence and a 61% decrease in stress incontinence. There are definitely no losses in adding yoga to your new routine.

So, in other words, any woman can be affected by a pelvic floor disorder but there are ways you can be proactive in prevention and recovery.

Do you think you might have an issue?

Talk to your provider or a physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor, to assist in diagnosing and treating any pelvic issues you might be experiencing.

Exercise! The pelvic floor is the foundation of our center so a full body workout is indirectly, positively, affecting the pelvic floor.

Add in some yoga, core, pelvic floor, and breathing exercises to your health regimen. Most of the appropriate exercises can be done daily in the luxury of your own home.

Yogic Practices that can help Strengthen, Stabilize and Soften the Pelvic Floor

Diaphragmatic Breathing

The diaphragm and the pelvic floor are synergists, they work together with inhalation and exhalation. They are both hammock like muscles that do the same thing at the same time. So with inhalation, the diaphragm and the pelvic floor both drop creating space in both the lungs and the pelvis. With exhalation these muscles lift with the vacuum effect that takes place in the body.

These two important muscles work best when aligned properly over each other. So this is where posture becomes important and where yoga can help. Tadasana (Mountain pose) with head over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over feet with pelvis slightly tucked in a neutral position. Or you can try lying with knees bent and a neutral pelvis slightly tucked.

  • Breathing deep and slow, focusing on filling up the lower part of the lungs (belly will expand but it’s not the focus here) immediately triggers the vagas nerve which is directly related to our parasympathetic nervous system. Then exhale completely drawing the navel toward the spine to help empty completely. This can be done at any time of the day just to relax and center yourself.
  • You can take it a step further, try connecting with the pelvic floor and doing a kegel (a gentle squeezing/lifting action of the pelvic floor as if you were trying to stop urinating) on the exhale. With a kegel, you want to isolate the pelvic floor and keep glutes, hip and legs soft.
  • Once you have felt that contraction, reverse it and try contracting a kegel on the inhale, much harder.
    • Note that kegels should be practiced for the fast twitch muscles and the endurance muscles within the pelvic floor so you can try doing a lift and release with diaphragmatic breathing like explained, lift and release 1 second hold to 1 second full release while breathing normally, and a lift and release building up to 10 second hold while breathing normally.

Diaphragmatic breathing can…

  • improve the pelvic floor musculature.
  • Lower stress responses associated with “fight or flight” mechanism
  • Improves heart rate variability- which is the measurement of variations between beat-to-beat intervals.
  • This is great to do anytime, anywhere for any amount of emotion, anxiety, stress, or irritability- because life.

Bandha Engagement

Bandhas are energy locks that are engaged during certain asanas or postures. Bandhas help regulate and flow energy through the body. There are three bandhas that can be engaged together or independently from one another, the Mula Bandha or root lock, Uddiyana Bandha or abdominal lock, and Jalandhara Bandha or throat lock. When all three are engaged it is the Maha Bandha

Muscularly, the Mula Bandha or Root lock, is similar to a kegel with a more complete engagement of the pelvic floor. Kegels focus primarily on the muscles that control urination. This certain engagement, draws the levator ani muscle up into the body for added strength and toning of the pelvic floor. A yoga class can keep the mula bandha engaged the whole time with a sequence focused on postures that energetically engage this lock. The poses below focus on this.

Engaging the Uddiyana Bandha or the abdominal lock, takes your pelvic floor engagement to another level by involving the core. Having strong deep core muscles (transverse abdominis muscles) also helps to improve pelvic floor health.

To engage the Uddiyana Bandha…

  • Start with diaphragmatic breathing.
  • On the exhale, engage those deep core muscles by drawing them in like a corset, simultaneously, engaging the mula bandha, lifting the pelvic floor. You can place your hands on your belly to help feel the contraction of the transverse abdominis muscles. Your belly should not buldge here, it should draw in creating a more flat contraction.

The asanas listed below are postures that will help you put this all into action. If this all seems overwhelming to do on your own, start with one thing at a time. Master it and move forward. I also plan on starting a weekly Women’s Health Yoga class that will focus on all of this. The postures listed below are a good place to start that will naturally engage this area.

Strengthening Poses

  • Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
  • Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana or Chakrasana)
  • Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
  • Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)

Stabilizing Poses

  • Chair Pose (Utkanasana)
  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
  • Bird Dog Pose (Dandayamana Bharmanasana)
  • Extended hand to big toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangustasana)

Softening or Stretching Poses

  • Malasana (Squat) Pose
  • Child Pose (Balasana)
  • Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana)
  • Cow Pose (Bitilasana)

The pelvic floor is widely unknown yet such an important part of keeping our bodies healthy and running at optimal performance. It is never too late to start!

Resources:

www.nih.gov

https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(18)30915-3/fulltext