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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query self care. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query self care. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query self care. Sort by date Show all posts

Self Care Tips for Parents

A Guide to Taking Care of Yourself as a Parent

Self-care is often not a parent’s number one priority. First and foremost, they tend to the wants and needs of their child, and everything the parent wants and needs comes in a resounding second place. Parents need to take care of themselves to properly care for their children. We've compiled some self care tips for parents.
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Self Care Tips for Parents

Living without self care for too long, however, will do neither parents nor their children any good. It will lower the elder’s morale and make them more susceptible to fatigue, and the younger won’t get the care they need as a result. If you feel that you, as a parent, are guilty of not taking care of yourself as often as you need to, then, you need to make a change.

To see what you can do to take care of yourself without forgoing your responsibilities as a parent, be sure to check out the following self care tips for parents.

Guide on How to Take Care of Yourself as a Parent

Don’t be adverse to napping

If you find yourself with a bit of spare time on your hands (if your parents offer to have your child for the afternoon, for instance), don’t feel that you need to spend your free time cleaning the home or getting dinner ready. Spend your break wisely, even if that means taking a little nap. Sleeping is always an excellent idea for parents, especially those that feel particularly run down, and even a few minutes here and there will prove beneficial. No matter the time of the day, if you feel in need of some rejuvenation, just get your head down for a nap!

Exercise regularly

On the other hand, physical activity can also prove to be a significant benefit in this instance. Whether you head to the gym, go on a run, take a brisk walk, or workout at home while your child is playing or sleeping, you will release endorphins around your body when you engage in physical activity, and these endorphins will make you feel instantly more positive. When you are tasked with the demanding job of being a parent, being positive as often as you can is pivotal, which, in turn, makes exercising regularly a must.

If you really are opposed to strength training and cardio work, then why not try yoga? This form of exercise, whether it’s rigorous or gentle, will release the endorphins as mentioned above just as well. What’s more, it will keep you in shape both physically and mentally to boot. Making you a better parent!

Engage in therapy

Sometimes, all you need to do to take care of yourself as a parent is to engage in therapy. When you talk to a neutral third-party, you'll be able to dump a lot of the feelings, fears, and worries that you have long carried around with you without having to worry about what your friends and family may think about you. The neutral advice that they offer will also allow you to see your life from a whole new perspective. Again, this will make you a better parent.

For more information on how you can engage in a therapeutic program, especially that that is centered around substance abuse and mental health, make sure to check out With compassionate and effective programs on offer, Forward Recovery could help you to become not only a better person but a better parent.

By making a point of taking care of yourself, both you and your child will benefit. Take the advice laid out in the guide above, then, and start putting yourself first for a change. Self care while you're parenting is essential to a healthy family life. Don't feel guilty to the time you need for yourself!


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Healthy Family Advice

Can't We All Just Get Along?

The last few articles have been on the subject of mental health and the breakup of the family unit. As the family situation changes, so do the matters of family concern. Of course, how you deal with these changes affect the future mental health of your children, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. As mentioned in a previous article, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” My advice is this, self-care is a key element to a happy, healthy family, but be careful, don't over do it.

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healthy relationships how to get along self care  quote

If you’ve come off a long-term, unhealthy relationship, chances are you’ve been neglecting self-care. Self-care is key to your happiness. Newly separated or divorced individuals might choose to jump out into the dating scene. At first, it's exciting and new. If you've been in a bad situation, going out on dates and having fun can feel like self-care, but you need to be careful that all that good time fun having doesn’t lead to an even more unhealthy rebound relationship. Just like our children, we need to make healthy choices.

Practice being alone. I can’t emphasize this enough. Spend time alone. As much time as it takes for you to get over the pain. And as much time as you need to grow as a person. Learn from your mistakes and take care of yourself.  As I age, I see intelligent women jumping into relationships. Perhaps, they’ve been a stay-at-home mom. Maybe they’ve never held a full-time job. Some never had the chance to go to college. They’ve never managed their own finances. Often, they feel like they just can’t handle the responsibilities of taking care of themselves and their children. So, they go out on a man hunt. The goal is to find a better man than the last one. Some are looking for a man to meet their financial expectations, others are looking for companionship, and some are looking for a father figure for their children. Whatever the reason, they jump into a relationship too soon. Been there done that. 

Healthy Family

I got married while still in college. It was okay. Just okay. I wanted to be happy, but we were young and a lot was missing in the relationship. At that point in my life, the idea of a wedding was more important than the idea of a marriage. We were friends and companions struggling to find common ground, but something was always missing. Both of us had placed our focus on gaining knowledge and prepping for a career and little attention was given to intimacy. As starving college students, there was no money for fun things and then we jumped into buying a house, and then another house, and then it all just got way too overwhelming. There was simply no fun to be had.

Eventually, we talked to friends, family, and clergy. We attended counseling. It all pointed to the same thing, we just didn’t have the same goals or the same outlook on life. We ended the relationship in an amicable fashion. And that’s when my real troubles started. I briefly dated, but playing the field has never been my thing. Dating in your late 20’s is an experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Ugh. It’s a brave new world. With my thirtieth birthday looming over my head, I really wanted to settle down and start a family before it was too late. I had some great men to choose from, two were truly amazing with interesting careers. One was neither amazing, nor did he have a great career. He was lucky to hold down a job. But he had what I wanted. A little girl. My family doctor and the counselor both advised against any serious relationship or even dating after the first year of a breakup, but my biological clock was ticking. Tick tock. Having been told I likely could never have children, I jumped at the chance. 

However, that wasn’t the only thing. He was fun. Oh so fun! He loved to dance, hike, bike, play sports, cook, and clean. One day, he called me one of the “cools.” I had been feeling lost. I was never cool. I wanted to do all those things I felt I’d missed out on in high school and college. Except I didn’t. I was still that goody two shoes inside. His risky lifestyle stressed me out. We fought. Among other things, he drank. He was verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive. It was like a dark movie from one of those cable tv channels for women. That was my first rebound.

After that, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pick myself up again. I had a lot of counseling. I saw a psychiatrist. I took various medications. Was I suicidal? Not really, but it seemed like life had gotten the best of me. I felt like a failure in every way imaginable. No kids, no career to speak of, and no real chance to recover from all the despair because, in my head, I was old. Oh, so old. I turned to online dating. It was uplifting to have so many men interested in dating me. It was also terrifying. That was the start of rebound number two. Not only did I not wait a year to date, in only a few short months I had moved in with a man and was pregnant. At the time, it seemed like he had everything I wanted. A good job, two kids, pets, a nice home. He was a widower and that (like the alcoholism before him) fulfilled my need for codependency. I had something to do, people to take care of, and dreams to fulfill. Except, we were less compatible than the previous rebound relationship. Shortly after my son was born, I became pregnant again.

Things weren’t ideal, but I always questioned myself. Why not? Maybe I was the problem. I should’ve been content. I was determined to make it work. I mean, after all, he wasn’t abusing me. He yelled a lot. It triggered old feelings from the previous relationship. I cried a lot. It made him mad. I cried more. It was an endless cycle. We barely knew each other. We met online. We were both lonely. As it came to be that he was my only friend for many years, we were really never friends. We both tried. The harder I tried, the more difficult it got. And now, there were kids involved. I didn’t want to break up the family unit. I didn’t want my kids to come from a broken home. Ugh, the damage I did to all of us by trying to stick this one out. We were the absolute opposite of compatible. I will spare you the gory details.

I had so many health issues. I spent months in bed, with nothing more to do than reflect on my past. I knew it had to end. But I was scared. Could I do it alone? Was I strong enough? I started stepping up my game, working harder from home, seeing various specialists and improving my health, and building credit. Once I knew what had to be done, I still wasn’t ready to do it. Things finally worked out in a way that made ending the relationship the most logical decision. It was difficult, but I didn’t need to seek counseling. I threw myself into my work, my writing, and the remodeling of my new house.

After years of thinking about it, deep down, I knew if I were ever to have another relationship again, I’d have to be strong. I’d have to take care of myself first, I’d need a break. I wrote down the pros and cons of dating. Months passed. I thought about what I wanted. What I needed, who I wanted and why. I realized I didn’t need a man to be happy. But I wanted that companionship that had eluded me for most of my life.

Why it's okay to Need a Man

It was always the same set of traits that had always led me to the same conclusion. But, I didn’t want to make the wrong choice with the right choice. So, naively, I  attempted to play the field again, but I didn’t date. I just talked. I talked to several old friends and acquaintances. This time no online dating, no strangers. I weaned them all out. I settled on one for an attempt at dating. We talked for weeks before meeting in person. I knew him from high school. He seemed to fit the criteria. But low and behold, it was a mistake. A big mistake, but one I wanted to cling to because I was sad and lonely. I had basically given up. I was about to turn fifty. There was no more time for mistakes. If I thought dating in my late twenties was hard - whoa. In your fifties, it’s a whole new frontier. Casual dating wasn’t an option for me. 

I took a few weeks to get myself together. I pulled out my list again, and this time, I realized what I always needed had always been there. Sometimes, you just need a friend.


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How to Put Yourself First and Feel Good as a Mom

Mom Self Care Ideas

Although you might believe that every second of your day has to be focused on your kids for you to be a good mom, this is not the case. To be the best mom possible for your family, you must learn how to put yourself first and feel good. Read on for self care ideas for moms.

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How to put yourself first as a mom self-care

Indulge and Treat Yourself to Little Luxuries

You might believe that it is only your kids who should be treated when you go on a day out or when the summer vacation hits. However, this is not the case, and you should make sure that you spend some of your hard-earned cash on the person who worked for it: you! One of the best luxuries you may want to consider indulging in is cologne for women. This can help you feel good about yourself and add that extra spark of magic to every day of the year. At, they offer a cologne subscription that allows you to receive a box filled with lovely scents every single month. Indulge!

Take Time for Yourself

When you have kids, you don't' have to spend every moment of the day with them, and it is just as important to take some time for yourself to protect your mental and physical health. For instance, many moms indulge in a relaxing bath or shower, as this helps them to pamper themselves while taking a little me time away from the kids. You should also make time to do the hobbies that you enjoy and to attend social groups and activities in your local area. If you are unable to find a close relative or friend to take your kids off your hands, there is also no shame in calling a babysitter to care for your kids while you are focusing on yourself. Remember, don't neglect your friends. They need me time too! Spend it together and stay connected.

Build a Support Network

No matter how of a good mom you are, everyone needs support at some time throughout their parenting journey, and the best source that you can get this from is other moms. Consider joining a mom’s group in your local area that will allow you to meet other parents who are in the same boat as you, and who you can rely on for emotional, and even practical, support when times get tough. 

Update Your Wardrobe

You may feel as if you're constantly updating your kid’s wardrobes as they go through constant growth spurts. However, to feel good and to boost your confidence, you should also update your own wardrobe. Mom style is not only loungewear and baggy clothing, you should try to hit the balance between comfort and feeling good with items such as day dresses, tunics, and patterned jumpers- anything that makes you feel good on the inside and the outside!

Chase Your Own Goals and Dreams

As a mom, it's easy to put all of your energy into your kid’s dreams and end up forgetting your own. Instead, you should make sure that you chase your own goals and objectives too! Whether these dreams are heading off to college or training to run a marathon, don't put them off. By doing this, you can maintain your own sense of identity and ensure that you still have something to focus on when your kids eventually leave home to chase their own desires.


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If Mama Ain't Happy Ain't Nobody Happy: The Family Relationship

Family Relationship Challenges

What’s the biggest relationship challenge in your family? How do you keep everything together, day in and day out, day after day? Time commitments, financial responsibilities, and emotional needs of each family member can take a toll on your happiness. Those people pleasers who need to take care of everyone often forget to take care of themselves. In my situation, I never wanted to spend money on personal needs (including health care) if it would take away from things my kids needed or wanted.

For years, we didn’t have health insurance, so any health setback caused major financial problems. I also didn’t take care of myself in other ways. I cut my own hair, never had a manicure until I was fifty years old, wore the same old clothes year after year, never went out to lunch with friends, never even saw my friends, and never indulged in frivolous things that I might want for the house. I considered any of that selfish.

This sponsored post contains Amazon affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

if mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy quote song

It’s important to take care of yourself. You’ve probably heard the quote, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain't nobody happy.” I’m sure there’s some truth to this. You can put on a happy face, but if your needs aren’t being met and you have nothing to look forward to, your relationship is going to suffer- even if you're not the one causing the majority of the turmoil. I know it’s difficult. I used to see other women spending too much time on themselves, ignoring the needs of their children. They’d go shopping for themselves several times a month while their children wore clothes they’d outgrown. I never wanted to be like that, but I took it too far the other way. You’ve been there. We don’t have to be martyrs to be mothers. Taking care of yourself, puts you in a better place. You’ll be better equipped to tackle those relationship issues with your partner. Communication is a key factor in the downward spiral of relationships. When communication is poor, everything else becomes difficult.

Eventually, lack of communication breaks the partnership. In my relationship, the more I tried to communicate with my partner, the more difficult the relationship became. There are things couples need to discuss. Things that can’t be swept under the rug. Plans for the future, health of your children, plans to make about family events to attend, even how each of you are feeling about the status of your relationship. When you have a partner who won’t talk to you about any of it, you’ve got a problem that needs fixed. Parents need to keep a united front for their children. They need to work together as a team for the greater good of the family, even if it means sacrificing the personal desires.

For me, self-care felt like a selfish, personal desire because my partner took up all that empty space for himself. He worked all the time or found extra things to do to help others, just to avoid coming home and facing real life problems. These problems ranged from my serious illness where I was bedridden for months, to house repairs, financial responsibilities, and even mental health problems the kids were facing. I couldn’t run off for a haircut or even a doctor’s appointment because there was no safety net. He couldn’t seem to  find an hour to give me a break and if he did, he’d use that hour to sleep - not to watch the kids. So, everywhere I went, I took the kids. Everywhere. 

Check out this old post about a family excursion, see any red flags?

Let me tell you, this is not only unhealthy for you, it’s also unhealthy for your kids. We all need time apart from each other. The kids feel it too. They need options. They need time away from the family.  Sure, we attended homeschool groups, summer camps, special events, 4-H and any other free or low cost activity I could find, but none of it made the pitfalls in our broken family any better. It just kept our mind’s busy enough to make it through another day- or so I thought.

Mama needs time to feel good about herself. Sure, you may think you don’t want to jog or join a walking club. You may think you can cut your own hair to save money for the greater good, you may think a vice here and there, maybe a pint of ice cream or bar of chocolate, are good survival mechanisms, but in the long run, if your always the one making sacrifices life’s not going to turn out like you hoped.

Remember when you started your relationship with your partner? You took care of yourself, you took showers- maybe even relaxing baths, you did your makeup, and bought yourself a flattering outfit. You went out to lunch with your friends. You had dinner dates with your partner and even did activities that you both enjoyed together. You probably even talked about your hopes and dreams for the future. Don’t let yourself get lost in the shuffle.  If it's not too late, fix it. If it is too late, do yourself a favor and try to fix it before throwing in the towel.

Don’t try to wait it out and hope it will get better. There’s no need to feel guilty about taking time for yourself.. If you can’t possibly spare the money or feel like spending money on relationship counseling would set you back financially, there are many affordable online counseling services out there. ReGain is a great place to start. There are  plenty of self-help articles and videos that can kick start your decision making process and help you decide what’s best for your family. 

Going back to school and investing in one's self is also a huge deal for self-confidence and mental stimulation/relaxation. Healthcare-related fields offer great satisfaction and challenge.  Looking at community colleges or schools for certification or insurance coding can be a great first step.

Life balance is important. Don’t suffer in silence. Don’t decide that you must've done something to deserve your current situation. Sometimes, you can’t fix it on your own, sometimes the answer is right in front of you, but the outcome will have unavoidable consequences. On the flip side, sometimes, if you make small changes in your personal life, if you start taking care of yourself and taking pride in your own achievements, everything else will fall into place. Your children won’t suffer from a parent who takes care of themselves, when Mama is happy, there’s a far better chance that everyone else is happy too. Don’t wait until it’s too late. 

Your happy ending is waiting for you.


Pamper Yourself

Ice Cream Recipes and More from Adventures of Kids Creative Chaos.

Mommy, you look beautiful.

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Can the Stress of Being a Mom Cause Hair Loss?

How Mom Stress Can Cause Hair Loss

What can cause hair loss in women? With all of the traveling and adventuring, it is easy to become stressed from time to time, especially when you also take into account the challenges of everyday life and work. Although a little stress is normal when you have a family, if you are beginning to feel as if your stress is endless, you must find ways to manage it, as stress can lead to physical symptoms, including hair loss.

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How Mom Stress Can Cause Hair Loss

In the photo above, I have inexpensive hair extensions for a Halloween costume party. I thought it was obvious, but my friends actually thought I went to the salon and got real extensions. My actual hair is shoulder length. Pretty good color match, don't you think? Though, I don't have a problem with hair loss or thinning, I did notice a lot of hair extra hair in the shower drain after recovering from Covid 19.

What causes stress?

You may begin to experience stress due to changes coming up in your life, even if these changes are fun ones like going on vacation or moving into your dream house. You might also start to feel stressed if you feel pressured, whether this is to be a good mom or to meet all of your work deadlines. Some women feel stressed if they do not take enough time off work, or if they are worried about something, such as a new baby or their lack of finances. 

How does stress cause hair loss?

As well as having an emotional impact on you and causing mental health issues, stress can also create a physical reaction in your body. It should also be noted that hormonal changes such as perimenopause and menopause can cause hair thinning and loss in women. When you are stressed, your hair follicles might stay in the resting phase of their cycle rather than fluctuating between resting and growing. If this persists for too long, they might then begin to fall out regardless of what you do to your hair. This can make you even more stressed as you begin to feel self-conscious about your appearance.

Should you get a hair transplant?

Although your hair will usually start to regrow once your stress levels have lessened, if you do find that you are struggling with hair loss to a great extent, you should consider the benefits of a hair transplant from a hair clinic near me. They will be able to restore your hair to its prime and allow you to disguise any bald patches that have formed on your head. With a hair transplant, there;s need for Halloween hair extensions. This can help you to meet your hair goals and to feel like yourself again, boosting your confidence, and enabling you to focus on your family. Although there are many different treatments for hair loss, hair transplants are nearly permanent and can make a dramatic difference that will allow you to start living your life to the fullest instantly. You won't have to hide inside your house in fear that others will notice your hair loss.

How can you reduce stress?

If you want to reduce the stress that you've been experiencing, make sure that you exercise often and get out into nature to enjoy the benefits of sunshine, that you drink and eat enough healthy choices, and that you try to reduce the triggers of your stress.

Take some time off to recenter yourself and perform self-care activities during which you can focus on yourself rather than the rest of the family. If your stress has reached unmanageable levels, consider scheduling an appointment with a therapist, where you can talk through the problems you are facing and process the emotions that you are experiencing. Sometimes, it's as simple as throwing on some silly hair extensions and attending a costume party! Whatever you choose, be sure to keep your stress levels at a minimum. Seek help if the stress feels overwhelming.


Self-Care Tips

Ways to Reduce Stress

How to Help Protect Your Teen From Mental Health Disorders

Keeping Teens Safe

From their very first days, your mission as a parent has been to keep your children safe from harm. This involves taking proactive steps to ensure their safety and make sure they grow to understand the potential for negative consequences to their actions. It's so hard to know how to help protect your teen from mental health disorders. Protecting your children from harm is a lifelong job.

How to Help Protect Your Teen From Mental Health Disorders

Like many parents, you likely sought to accomplish this goal by teaching them good eating habits and how totake care of themselves physically. However, the mental challenges that children face, particularly when they

transition into their teenage years, might not have been on your radar quite as much.

It can be difficult for parents to understand the mental struggles that teenagers face in this day and age. Today, teens face a great deal of pressure to live up to a certain archetype and work hard to set themselves up for future success. That being said, from a mental and physical standpoint, teenagers are still developing, leaving them to face such pressures before they even really know who they are or what they want to do with their lives.

As a parent, the best thing that you can do for your teen is take a proactive stance on mental health. With mental health conditions on the rise in young people, and more and more teenagers turning to self-harm and even suicide, it is important for parents to step in and help teens to navigate the burden of this stage of their lives. If you're the parent of a teen, here are a few ways you can seek to protect your teens from developing a mental health condition.

Educate Yourself

First and foremost, the best thing you can do to help your teen avoid developing a mental health condition is

to educate yourself. Learning about the prevalent mental health conditions in teenagers and how to detect

early signs that an issue might be at play can go a long way to stopping the progression of a mental health

condition before things get out of hand.

It's also a good idea to learn about the treatment options available to teens who struggle with mental health disorders. Resources on specific conditions like anorexia and bulimia can be found at Acquiring information from your family care physician can help you to learn more about the internal struggles that your teen might be facing.

Create a Positive Environment

With busy work and school weekdays, it can be difficult to make time for meaningful conversationsand time together as a family. However, one of the things parents can do to help teens avoid mental health

issues is to work to create a positive and safe environment. Checking in with your teen and leaving the door open for communication is key. Promote a positive sense of self and provide your teen with positive affirmation which can help combat outside pressures to change or act in a certain way that may not align with their personal ethics and morals. Positivity and a happy home life go a long way in helping children cope during the teen years.

Recommended Reading:

How to Protect Teens from Cyberbullying

Self Care is Key to a Healthy Family Life

Teen Mental Health Self Help Books  (Affiliate Link)

Peeping Tom? Still Suffering from a Load of Junior High Lack of Self Esteem

Confessions of Self Esteem Issues in Junior High

Remember how you hated junior-high - we all suffered with a lack of self-esteem. Here is my story. Enjoy!

spongebob band, self esteem
Sponge Bob in Marching Band.

Hey you, I see you there. Are you a Peeping Tom? Junior High is the worst. Are you still suffering from a lack of self-esteem? We all struggle with life in those awkward teen years. Here's my take.

Shh...  Don't tell anyone. I like to window peep, strike that, make it love.  I love to window peep especially during the holidays.  Driving thru the city with the clever vise of looking at Christmas lights, I secretly spy on families thru their picture windows. It's neat to see what they are doing -to notice their dining room decor or their living room doings.  I'd never hop out of the car, knock on the door, and scream, "Hey, I'm watching you!"

No, I'd never do that.

Why do we like to know when someone reads our blog?  Why do we ask them to advertise our button to share the love?  Two years ago, when I launched my blog I worried about who might see or read it.  I got a few blog hoppers who asked me to visit their blogs. I discreetly perused other blogs for ideas and ways to improve mine.  I never left a comment.  I didn't want anyone to know I had stumbled upon their most personal thoughts.  Mostly, I wondered why I would want other bloggers to read my blog.

I wanted readers, fans, followers, anything but bloggers...  Now I get it.

Bloggers are our equals.  Bloggers will become friends.  Friends will become followers and fans.

So, why do I still hide much of the time?  Most bloggers know I've visited because they keep track. I look at many blogs everyday following anyone who asks me to, and I visit other blogs, but I only read a few.  One of my favorites is "I'm a Lazy Mom".  Why?  Because, I am a lazy Mom.  It validates my life.  It makes me feel okay with my lazy, little secrets.  In a recent post she discusses cleaning the stove off with a vacuum.  Been there, done that!  I peek in her window a couple of times a week -she didn't ask me too- but I'm sure she doesn't mind.

Why, then, do I feel uncomfortable about peeking into a blog that is written by someone I know in real life?  I've read several blogs written by friends and acquaintances from high-school, but I rarely go back for more.

 A girl, okay a woman, I went to school with, blogs regularly.  Apparently, she's been doing it for awhile.  I pop in and covet her header, her followers, her style. I knew her in high-school. We weren't exactly friends, but we weren't enemies either. At least, I don't think so.

I don't really know much about her. Whenever I talked to her, I liked her, but we rarely talked. I heard an occasional hearsay comment about this or that from her brother or my boyfriend who were best friends.  I made assumptions about her through hearsay as I expect she did about me.

Cheerleader clipart, self esteem,  junior high

She was a cheerleader and I was band-geek.  A cool, band-geek I might add.  I played the bass guitar in Jazz Band.  The point is we had different interest and different classes. The last time I remember having her in class was in eighth grade, I think.  Oddly, I sometimes confuse her with another girl.  I think this is because they were both nice to me at times, and I didn't know what to do with it.

You see, I felt geeky most of the time. Yep, I know we all did; too bad  we didn't know that then. Both girls were pretty and popular.  Apparently, I was too, but I didn't understand that back then. I was an awkward skinny, terrible-toothed, little girl until the fourth grade. I got cuter for a second, and next thing I knew I was a chubby puberty-bound girl with a fat face.

The summer before seventh grade apparently something changed.

Bert and Ernie Picture
Bert and Ernie.

Seventh Grade.  Yuck.  All of the elementary schools meet up.  New faces. New friends.  New people to tease me.  They called me "Jimmy Carter" and "Big Lips".  I smiled a lot and had, get this... big lips.  They told me I had bushy eyebrows like Brooke Shields and a uni-brow like Bert.  I guess today that would be considered bullying?

I was clumsy.  I could  can trip over nothing.

I plucked my eyebrows to nothing.  Oh, how I wish I had Brooke Shield's eyebrows to sculpt today.  Please explain to me how having "Brooke Shield's" eyebrows transpired to lowered self-esteem?

Advice for Teens who struggle with self-esteem: My story

The first thing my husband said to me when he saw me - you and your lips remind me of Angelina Jolie. (Wonder if he still thinks that two kids later?)  Brooke Shields?  Angelina Jolie?  Smiling all the time?  Aren't kids nuts?  Today, those things make me blush.  What extraordinary, backhanded  compliments for a middle-aged, overweight, has-been.

So, I confuse these two pretty girls because they both complimented me during Junior-High.  One spoke to me for the first time after gym in the locker room.

"Are you trying out for cheerleader?"
I blushed.
I laughed.
I said, "No!", as if it were the most ridiculous thing I'd ever heard.

It was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard.

Why would she ask that?  Was she teasing  me?  Of course not.  At that moment, I lost a potential new friend.  She later became one of my best-friends, best-friends.  I never really talked to her again.  How rude and nasty she must have thought I was... I bet she never knew I thought she was beautiful and untouchable, someone who couldn't possibly want me as a friend.

Tortoise Shell Glasses
Tortoise Shell Glasses.

Back to the blogger.  I think she once told me she liked my clothes.  Another time, my hair. Preposterous! I think both girls were in that eighth grade English class.  I didn't care for the snobby, preppy teacher and the feeling was apparently mutual.  One day, she asked if anyone knew what kind of glasses she was wearing. The other girls, fashionably aware, raised their hands.

My best sweater came from Sears and had my initials neatly embroidered on the front.  The preppy teacher called on me!  I figured she picked on me to humiliate me.  I looked around and thought, "Of course, they know the answer!"  Why didn't she call on them?  I had no idea so I blurted, "Bifocals"?  I don't know.

Wow.  No... apparently not bifocals.  If the teacher didn't like me before...  Yikes.

Everyone laughed, but I didn't get the joke.  I was red from ear to ear.
'You're so stupid,' I thought to myself.

Now, I get it.  Oops!

The irritated, English teacher called on one of the prettier, popular girls.  The girls whose hair and clothes I coveted, their smiles, and bubbly personalities, and their confidence.

"Tortoise Shell?"

"TORTOISE SHELL!  What the heck?"

The teacher looked back at me.

"I've never heard of that!"

"Of course you have," she grunted. (She thought I was a royal b who purposely said bifocals to make a mockery of the situation. I didn't even know what bifocals were. To me, they were just a type of eyeglasses.)

No, I really hadn't. I may have looked like a fashionista in my garage sale, K-mart, Hill's, and Sears clothing, but I'd never even been to a mall until eighth grade.

My mother always ironed my clothes. I obsessed that everything matched perfectly all the way down to my socks.  I appeared to be a preppy.  Other kids would call me a 'Prep' with a nasty glint in their eye.  I didn't really know what a prep was, but I sure knew I didn't want to be one.  Unfortunately, even though I couldn't afford Ralph Lauren, Gloria Vanderbilt, or Nike's in eighteen colors I was a prep.

In retrospect, the teacher probably called on me because she assumed such a stylish, popular, pretty, young girl would know the answer.  Again, I cast a stone against them (all three of them) without warrant or intention.

I dated boys because they asked me too; rarely because I wanted to. I didn't want to hurt their feelings.  It never lasted long.  They moved on when they realized nothing was about to happen.  So when a cute boy asked me to the carnival I decided to meet him there.

We waited in line to ride the octopus and he combed his hair.  He combed his hair in glare of the adjacent car.  He wore a comb in his pocket.  That was that.  End of story.  Back then, I heard this girl, now turned blogger, liked him and was upset with me.  If you know anything about me, you know I am nothing if not naive.  Again, I cast a stone.

My boyfriend was a hussy.  He told stories on himself all the time.  He told stories about blogger-girl.  She unknowingly cast a stone against me or maybe not.  Maybe it was intentional pay back.  Maybe it never happened.  I don't know.  I don't care.  It never mattered.

I always liked blogger-girl's point of view; apparently, I still do.

I follow her, but I try to hide my visit when I see myself show up on the Blog-Frog button.  I feel my face burning like I am doing something wrong.  What if she thinks I am spying on her?

The truth is, I like her blog.  I like her style.  If I didn't know her personally, I'd be telling her how awesome I think her blog is and how much I enjoy her postings.

Oh I don't know... she probably thinks she is lazy and imperfect but there are different levels of imperfection to consider here.  It seems she likes nice things.  It looks like she takes care of herself.

I am a lazy, mom blob.  I don't know if we'd ever be friends in the real world, but I really like her blog; it makes me smile. I read it whenever I get the chance. Is it because I enjoy peeping into her life- seeing how her life turned out? Or is it because her writing entertains me and her anecdotes often bring a tear to my eye or have me laughing out loud?  You decide.  It's a great blog, so I'll share a link, I'm tired of deleting my visits.

Don't worry, I sent her a head's up so she can read this too. This is my Olive Branch for the week.  'Tis the season go out and extend your own Olive Branch today.

This post is dedicated to my teenage daughter who will one day understand what it means to feel beautiful.

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