Ponderosa Pines Message to You

Have you been driving along many roads over the last few months and noticed all of the dead trees?  So I live in an area that is part of the same forest of trees as Black Forest.  This land has been traveled in for centuries and has a lot of meaning to Native Americans and those of us living among it now.  These trees teach us daily what living in Colorado can mean.  We just need to keep looking and listening.

As we have all spent an unreasonable amount of time in our homes over the last 18 months or so, connection has not been met for many people.  People may be living along, living with a spouse or Significant Other or maybe with their family.  What I can say is, most of us have missed the camaraderie of other people in our lives- at work, social networks, friends and near or far away family members.

These memories bring me to the dead ponderosa pines all over the place.  The one place I see the worst is driving down highway 86 in the forested area.  Both sides of the road have trees with brown  pine needles all over.  Have you seen them?  Even in my yard I can witness a couple of dying trees.  Have you considered what is causing so many hundreds or thousands of trees to dry up? If you look beyond the road, how many trees do you see that are brown?  Not very many from my observations.  I feel they are telling us something – or confirming what the 

Pandemic has  shown us.  WE NEED OTHERS!  

Yes, I mean that too.  The trees that are alone or on the outer sides of the pack of trees are the ones that are dying.  They do not have other trees around to protect them and are left alone to do their thing, or not do it.  Many of these trees are dying of loneliness and lack of protection.  I feel we have a lot to learn from them.  Man was not put on this earth to live alone.  We need other people to nourish our souls and minds.  We need daily communication with someone beyond a screen to know we are not alone. We thrive on being together at least some of the time.  Don’t get me wrong, many of us introverts need down time also.  However, we can only survive on so much alone time.  So what can you do to not become a dried, dying Pine tree?  Reach out to others.  Anytime a person comes to mind, reach out.  Chances are they need a word of encouragemet or to just know someone cares too.  Look for places that you can safely meet with your friends, family, new people- get out and live.  Everytime you drive down this road of life, look around you and notice.  Just notice what Mother Earth is saying to you.  Don’t be like the pine trees and wither away due to lack of community, protection and love.   

Mom, Are You Struggling?

  You are not a bad mom!  How many times do you have to stop and remind yourself of this daily? If you’re like most,  I would say at least 50 times or you should say it to yourself this often.

Having young ones in the house can be very stressful and hard.  I wish we were told this in the beginning.  Maybe you grew up having visions of perfectly dress, well mannered cherubs.  That was a great dream and highly unlikely at all times.  If you are blessed with perfect kids, stop reading now.  If you are one of us who have to face reality, read on and know the struggle is REAL!

What can you do when you feel Satan himself has entered your innocent child’s body and you are about to lose control? Or maybe you know the pain of losing control when the neighbors can hear your screams- and I mean those neighbors that live 2 miles away! First, take a deep breath and keep reading.

  • TIME OUT!  And not for your littles, but for you. It is okay to take a few minutes away.  If you’re lucky, you may have a spouse or an older child who can watch over your spitfire.  If not, make sure he is safe physically and hide! Hide in a closet, locked bathroom or maybe under your bed.  Any place you can get away for a few minutes to regain your composure.  Take time to breathe, pray, meditate or just find silence.
  • Get involved with other moms.  Many churches offer MOPS groups, Bible Studies, Meet-ups or just search social media sites for other overwhelmed and exhausted moms.  Oftentimes we feel we are alone in these challenges and it is great to know you and your child are normal and so many others are out there like you.  This is also a great way to build lasting relationships.  Many gals I was in a Moms Group with 10 years ago are still my close friends as we are now going through the tween and teen years together miles apart.
  • Pick your battles.  Not every issue has to be  a power struggle.  So your 4 year old daughter wants to go to the store in a plaid shirt and striped pants with mismatched shoes.  It is OK!  Other parents will understand that you are a great mom who allows choices and your daughter will survive- and so will you.  You say your house is a mess and you’re embarrassed to invite guests inside? That’s ok, so are other homes with good parents out there.  It means you’ve probably used your time playing with your kiddos rather than cleaning.  Let it GO!  One day you will miss the handprints on the windows and toys all over the place.  For now, let you expectations down a little or a lot.
  • Self care is important and I cannot emphasize this enough! Yes, it is a luxury to get your nails and hair done, buy new clothes for you, take vacations but are those things possible now? Maybe so, but maybe not and likely not as often as before kids.  To a mom of wee ones at home, self care can be a shower and washing your hair at times.  It is really nice when you can eat a meal that does not consist of macaroni and cheese or tater tots too.  Take a walk, go to the park and bonus if you meet other struggling moms wearing leggings and a hat.  It is also important to talk to your spouse or a good friend about your feelings.  Ask for 20 minutes a day of peace and quiet where he can keep the kids so you can bathe, read a book, journal or do some mindless activity that does not involve Disney or Nick.

As a busy mom, it is easy to put your needs aside and you are not able to do that and survive.  You have to put on your oxygen mask first before you can help your kids and family.  Know your limits and stick to them.  In the end, your mental wellness is key.  If you’ve tried these tips and are still struggling with these overwhelming feelings, reach out to your doctor or therapist for professional help.