We often hear “spring cleaning” get tossed around like a salad this time of year. And while I am all for cleaning out the junk in my home, I think “spring cleaning” is good for our bodies, too. And when our homes are decluttered, our spirit is lifted. A weight is removed from our shoulders.

Here in Michigan, the sun has been in hiding most of the winter. We get through our cold days with warm foods and little to no exercise. We might have good intentions to work out, but if our schedules are heavily loaded (and which they always are as moms), we push our health aside.

This time of year right now allows us to move outside more, so we might as well utilize what is given to us. Thanks, nature.

In our homes, we probably see that our garages have accumulated junk, as do our basements over the cold months. Once the sun glares into our windows, we start to notice the dust on the light fixtures we didn’t see just a month ago.

We see in a different light. The rose-colored glasses have been lifted and we notice all the clutter that is filled in our closets. So many toys our kids have and we think, “time to throw some out.” We get an extra spring in our step and we want to go for a walk, maybe a jog. Our bodies are in tune with nature, so it makes complete sense we feel the rhythm of the season.

Every year around this time of year, there are certain things I do to “cleanse” my house and body. Here are my top five:

  1. Declutter. This sounds obvious, but it’s something you really need to do at least once per year. Now is a perfect time! We accumulate too much crap, especially during the winter. We become pack rats for some reason. This is a terrific time to go through your clothing, to see what you can donate to the Salvation Army. And not only in your closet, but your children’s, too. Kids grow fast. My 5-year-old insists on wearing old clothes (even if they no longer fit), and then she looks absolutely ridiculous.
  2. Dust. If you’re like me, you do this year round. But, surprisingly enough dust isn’t always visible during the winter months (thanks to the gray skies), so make sure you get out your dust mitt and get to work! The walls, ceilings, cabinets, etc.
  3. Window Washing. Again, this is obvious, but when the windows are clean – your whole house feels better. And in the winter months, our windows in Michigan take a beating. I recently discovered Norwex products and am in love. Their window cloth is ah-maazing! You literally use water and a towel to get sparkling clean windows. It’s magic!
  4. Open your windows and/or sage your home. Let’s face it, our windows are closed all winter long. Our house wants fresh air, just like we do. So, when the temp breaks a little – crack ‘em open! And another good thing to do this time of year is to sage your home. If you don’t know what that means you can Google it. It’s basically a way to cleanse – based on Native American traditions. Many psychics, spiritual healers, believe in the power of sage to kill negative energies. I don’t know about you, but, if I can abolish any bit of negative energy, it’s worth a try.
  5. Get moving. With your body that is. Spring brings with it a feeling of renewal, a pep in your step. Go for a walk or a run. Whatever, just get moving! There are SO many great free exercise videos on YouTube. You don’t need anything but your phone to workout. So, the only excuse you can make is the kids. But they eventually sleep, right?!

I promise you, if your house is open and free from clutter and your body is given a nice dose of endorphins from exercise – you will feel an awakening! A spring awakening!

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baby-boom

“Nobody can have it all.” That is a line the character Fritz Curtis says in the movie, Baby Boom from 1987 starring the very talented, Diane Keaton. This comment in the movie is made by her boss, a man, just after he demotes her. You see, the character Diane Keaton plays, J.C. Wiatt, is a New York business woman. Her world of fancy business meetings and million dollar deals does a complete 180 when motherhood is laid upon her. I don’t want to give away the details of the movie, and if you’ve never seen it, by all means, search your On Demand or through Netflix now, because this is a must-see movie. It is your classic 80s flick, with the very sleazy James Spader, and instrumental background music in just the right places. It will pull at your heartstrings, but in a good way.

I find that will all our advances in modern technology, and the fact we are such a liberal country, the premise of this movie – from 1987  – is still very much relevant today. This movie will hit home with you. Especially if you’re a woman. Baby Boom is just what it is. A boom effect you feel after becoming a parent. Shit changes. Your life as you know it, will never, never, never be the same. Your heart will beat a little different. Your immune system will tackle random viruses. Your sleep will be lost. Your emotions will be exposed in every direction. There is no going back. And it’s not a bad thing, not a bad thing at all.

It’s actually a beautiful thing. A beautiful experience to love someone so unconditionally. And you will witness this when you watch this movie. You make sacrifices when you become a parent. Many sacrifices. Some people cannot or are not willing to make certain sacrifices. A challenge most women face is to decide to stay in the workforce, leave it to raise their family, or find employment that offers work-life balance. You would think since this movie was made (almost thirty years ago) and with the technology we have today – there would be more work from home jobs, but the cruel fact is, there just isn’t.

I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones. My employer has allowed me to work part-time for several years now. I know the society norm is for both parents to work full-time, and with the cost of living, it’s damn near impossible to have only one parent work. And that societal norm is unfair. It’s unfair to the mothers, but it’s really unfair to the child. Because the majority of women that work send their children to daycare – to someone who is not family. To someone who is a stranger to the child and parents. And usually from infancy.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many, many qualified daycare centers and providers. From a mother’s perspective, it’s just that much harder sending your child to someone you barely know and hope for the best. And that is what we moms (okay, parents) do in this country because most of us don’t have a choice.

Being a parent means accepting you cannot have it all. Unless you’re among the rich in the country of course, but if you’re like most, you are just making it – with two incomes. Accepting you cannot have it all as a woman is very important. Once you accept this, the standard you hold gets lowered.

Accepting this fact may help you breathe a bit better. You probably work 8:00ish to 5:00 p.m., deal with a commute, and rush home to get dinner on the table. Someone has to drop off and pick the kids up each day. Someone has to prep dinner. Someone has to get the kids ready for bed. Everyone needs to bathe. Both parents need to wake before the kids in the a.m. to get ready. It’s all a rush. And the itsy bitsy time you get with your child during the week might add up to 1.5 – 2.5 hours per night, depending on their bedtime. And this is our societal norm. This is what the majority of parents with young children do EVERY SINGLE DAY.

With such a rushed schedule, you can guarantee the laundry will not get touched until the weekend. The house will be in disarray during the week. Your children may feel or be neglected a bit, and it’s not for bad intentions on your part, it’s that the energy and time simply isn’t there. And if you’re trying to tone up your post-prego body, guess what? There will be no such thing as “me time” for yourself. So, accept it. Accept what Fritz from Baby Boom said. “You cannot have it all, no one can.”

Sacrifices. Sacrifices will be made. The question is… is to whom or what? And the only one that can decide that is you!

In this movie, the baby’s name is Elizabeth. She is a sweet, “agreeable” child. There truly is cinematic magic in this film – the cast is perfect. The connection between J.C. and Elizabeth feels entirely genuine. Diane Keaton wasn’t even a mother when this movie was filmed. You’d never know it. She nails the emotions we as mothers face; how you feel when leaving your child with a new sitter; how you feel when trying to juggle the work-life balance; and panic attacks. They’re real! I had my first one not too long ago.

I have a strong point to make in all of this. Please believe me when I say, when you become a mother, your world and how you view it changes. The career you worked so hard for, might just take a backseat when your baby arrives. And your employer might not care that your baby was sick all night and you didn’t get much sleep. They need you to produce. And it’s not their fault. The job has to get done. And we are all replaceable. Another point this movie illustrates.

“Nobody should have to make those sacrifices,” says J.C. near the end of the movie. She is right and yet she is wrong. Because as mothers, unfortunately, we are forced to make decisions and sacrifices. The corporate world is a rat race. Always has been, probably always will be. It’s up to you to decide at what pace you go, or if you go at all. Or maybe, just maybe, you have enough talent and luck to create your own pace governed solely by you.

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