Sunday, February 15, 2015

From Motherhood to Menopause

My Daughter after her Grad Ball June, 2010
This is one of the titles I recently discussed with a business coach.  We were looking at my areas of expertise.  I'm not sure if Motherhood to Menopause Coach  (M2M?) is it.  I'm all over the map, but I thought I should share a few thoughts and see how it goes.  Please do add to the comment box.

Motherhood - I'm not going into the details of childbirth and raising preschoolers.  If you're a mom you know it.  I will say, a woman's entrance into motherhood is jarring.  At least it was for me.  And there's no turning back.  It is a commitment that sees a lot of highs and downright exhausting and frustrating lows.  And so the metamorphosis of the mom-woman begins.

Mothering the In-School Child - Once both my children were in school I grieved the loss of their babyhood.  Let me remind you I'd left the workforce and had been home fulltime. Yes, I craved the "me" time, but it hit me that my children were no longer babies and the baby clothes had to be packed up.  Once again my role changed too.  A season had passed.

Mothering the 10 and Up - Another stage of grief hit as my youngest started to give up playing with toys, and the day was approaching when he would no longer hold my hand while walking to a store, etc.  The children's interests turned to technology and I was needed even less.  Enter the "Who am I now?" mom.

About that time I purchased a book "The 8 Seasons of Parenting".  I recommend it.  It spelled the stages out so well.  It  was helpful to realize my experiences seemed to fit very well into the descriptions in the book. 

This book can be read in stages.  As a new stage unfolds, you can read the next chapter.  That's what I did.  This book has become one of my choice guidebooks for managing motherhood.

Peri-Menopause and the "My daughter's about to graduate high school" Mom - eventually graduation arrived--in tandem with other midlife issues.  That's a whole other topic. (See my Midlife Christian Woman blog if you like).  It was challenging, but I got through it.

My Daughter's Off to University Mothering - As I write, my daughter's completing her 5th year.  She's lived on campus for all five and has been on the student executive--a paid position--and even a couple of summers stayed there to work.  My son is finishing his 2nd year of university.  Going through this phase was not without a few tears, but did just as we all do--I walked through it. And in the end, I'm presently surprised how I've gotten used to the idea of it just being me and my husband at home.

Even this dedicated momma got tired!

  • Where are you in your parenting? 
  • How has your personality changed over the years of being a mom?
  • How do you feel about the current stage you're in?

Monday, February 09, 2015

My eBook for Christian Women in Midlife Crisis

Every once in awhile I need to refer to my eBook again.

In this eBook, I've assembled a lot of thoughts I've written in these blogs.  But it contains even more thoughts about the challenges women face in midlife.  It is a self-coaching tool, meaning it has probing questions with each chapter designed to help you work through some common life issues.

There really is no book exactly like this that I could find.  When I was in crisis, I certainly couldn't find a book specifically for Christian women. 

All through life we search for purpose.  At various stages we seek to redefine ourselves.  It is a fairly common process.  It is always helpful to have a guide to help us do that.

I'm growing as a writer and don't profess to be perfect.  My goal is to help Christian women make sense of their midlife crisis feelings, perimenopause, menopause, midlife relational issues, next steps, and so on.

My goal and prayer is that at least one thing in this book will help at least one woman.  If you think it will help you, it is available as a digital download from Amazon in your country.  You don't have to have a Kindle reader to read it.

Thanks, and God bless you!  

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Do You Have Fairy Tale Syndrome?

I was reading a story about a woman who felt her life was a mess.  She disliked her husband, always seeing his faults.  She disliked her home, body, hair, clothes, the family she'd been born into--everything, it seemed.  She was even more frustrated her children wouldn't co-operate and be the little angels she wished them to be.

She prayed and prayed for change but nothing changed.  Her children were still doing things that conflicted with her dream of the perfect family.  Her relationship with her husband failed to bring her joy and she entertained thoughts of leaving him, for surely there must be someone else out there for her--her soul mate.

She went to a counselor and church and carried on one miserable day after another.

Then, one day through conversation, it dawned on her counselor the woman suffered a syndrome.  It was the fairy tale syndrome.  A sign of this syndrome is when a woman uses words like

"I deserve"
"my dream"
"I want"
"I wish"
"soul mate"
"he doesn't"
"the kids won't"


Obviously a woman with this syndrome needs a paradigm shift in her thinking.  You see, a woman with this syndrome is so dissatisfied because her mind lives in a world that doesn't exist on earth

This woman is easily swept into images in magazines, romantic movies, fiction romance novels, and the tabloids.  She thinks others have the fairy tale life she wants for herself.  And so she remains negative. 

This woman will say didn't intend to marry the frog, she wanted the prince that would shower her with gifts and respect.  She wanted to be "treated as a princess"--get what she wanted when she wanted it and so on. 

She didn't want a run-down house, she wanted a castle; she wanted a body like the Barbie doll she'd played with as a child; she wanted to dress like a fashion model; she wanted angelic children who would grow up to be scholars.

Her greatest pain was she could not change the horrid family of her birth.  She did not come from royalty, she came from a family that was poor and still was. Her family had no etiquette, they were verbally abusive.  They didn't give her the love and affection she craved and even as an adult she held it against them.


Her idyllic dreams may not have come from the enemy, but you can be sure the enemy would use her way of thinking to keep her bound in fantasy.  He would whisper dissatisfaction at every turn.  He would try to get her to destroy her relationships.


It's actually very easy for each of us to fall into this syndrome . There are keys to walking through the door into reality, however. On the other side of fantasy life is peace and happiness.


Are you stuck in this syndrome?  Have you constructed a fairy tale life in your mind that will never be achievable here on earth?

Take a moment to look for any ideas you may have set up as false gods. We live in a fallen world. No one and nothing is perfect. That guy you think is a prince is human.  He is subject to failures.

There really is no prince charming.  There can be a great husband, but he won't be perfect, that is for sure.  For him to become your prince, you will need to let him be all he is without trying to control him. 


If you recognize yourself in this scenario, you can unlock the door to real life by stopping the fantasy.

In your mind, picture yourself accepting yourself as God created you.

Picture yourself accepting others as they are.

Offer yourself to God and let him help you be all he intends you to be.

There is nothing wrong with dreaming and with working hard to perfect the life you have.  But it is another thing to make it an idol or to ruin relationships because of your fairy tale ideas.


Here is a list for you to check for fairy tale syndrome.

Have you been over demanding of your church?
Have you been over demanding of your children?
 Do you expect to have a Norman Rockwell Christmas or to be the perfect turkey dinner/football family?
 Do you fantasize about being like families you see on TV?
 Do you put unrealistic expectations on others?
□ Do you get angry at yourself far too often?

I'd love to hear from you about this subject.  Please comment below.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

My Depression Fighting Strategy

Original art work by Author.

I mentioned in a post that I would share my "system" for implementing at the first hint of depression.

Everyone has a different make up.  Some are prone to depression.  No matter how careful we are of our diet and routine, some of us face depressive episodes. It's not something to be ashamed of. It is something we need to manage.

Where depression comes from varies.  I won't try to get into it here.

Through my life it's come and gone and often been linked to hormonal changes. In peri-menopausal years (48 and upward), it arrived cyclically but with a headache. The combination of the two tended to make me feel a dark cloud was over me. Even my voice lowers.  Then my thoughts become negative.

Now as it happens, I realize I need to treat the pain, and hopefully ward off depressing thoughts that are sure to arrive if I don't catch the headache.  It took me a long time to make this connection, but it really has been important for me.

Simply, there is something that goes on in my brain.  Apparently, God made me this way so I need to walk through it, manage it, and not fight it.  I know if I mentioned it to my mother she would try to solve it or make out like I'd been doing something to cause it.  I understand her feelings.  As a mother myself, I never want to see my children suffer.

But assigning blame does no good.  And, she can rest assured, I have walked through it before, I will walk through it again successfully.

Of course I fear depression. I fear not getting a grip on it.  When it arrives it's like an old bullying friend I'd rather forget.  So here are a few strategies I put into place when I begin feeling egged on by it:

  1. As a believer, I know Satan will use my vulnerabilities if he can.  He will whisper temptations into my ears.  He will tempt me to think negatively. He will tempt me into doubt and despair.

    So the first course of action in my system includes praying for Jesus to take the temptation from me.  
  2. Next, I try to dismiss overthinking.  I put my brain on sick-leave.  I'm tempted to troubleshoot--to look for drastic changes to make--so it takes diligence to know when to step forward and when to hold back.  
  3. As problems rise to the surface, I'm tempted me to over-pray.  But it's important I dismiss over-praying because doing so makes my head hurt.  Instead I ask Jesus to pray for me. I ask him to make plans for my days ahead that will help me find joy quickly.
  4. I try to slow my brain down and rest it.  Maybe I'll watch mindless TV comedy or meditate in quiet.  Sometimes painting pictures calms me.
  5. It's important to stay present when vulnerable to depression.  In other words, to resist pining about the past or worrying about the future.  But even the work it takes to stay present can be too much to handle.  Again, I surrender myself to God to handle.
  6. Going for a walk has often been helpful.  In a best case scenario, I'll lose myself in the walk and have a reprieve.   In a best case scenario, I'll find helpful endorphins.
  7. I try to avoid establishing new markers.  It's tempting to remember the last time we were depressed.  If we make too much of a depressed time, it lodges in our mind as a reminder.  Trying to wade it out is better.
  8. I try not to assign too much thought to it.  Usually we want to solve our problem, we want to think the worst.  But giving it too much focus will make it worse. Sometimes going to bed early is needed.
  9. I tell myself to wait it out.  That tomorrow will be better. Usually it is.
  10. I sometimes ask others to pray for me from my church online prayer wall to Facebook friends.
  11. Depending on the time of day, a change of environment may help.  Getting out in the sun or to somewhere like a mall where I can people watch sometimes helps.  Especially since I work at home, a change of scenery is important.
  12. While reading the Bible or devotionals sometimes helps, with my accompanying headache, reading sometimes feels stressful.
  13. Setting small goals helps, as does recording small accomplishments.  Today I got groceries, sorted socks, cooked a stew.  Yesterday I cleaned a bathroom and wrote several chapters of a new eBook.  All these small jobs count as good accomplishments.
  14. Each day a goal may be as small as getting a letter mailed or as big as sewing on a button (yes, that's a big one for me).
  15. Reading positive journal entries or a motivation book like a Joel Osteen book can be helpful in changing my paradigm.  Again, in balance with how I'm feeling.
  16. Some of my journals record disappointments.  It is usually good to avoid reading them.  It may be helpful to start a journal for positives only.
  17. Sometimes crying will help.
  18. Having someone to talk to helps too.  A hug from my husband is always helpful.
  19. Being around happy and positive people is a good choice.
Do you have a system for managing depression?