Emotional Wellness, Post Partum Resources, storytelling

Confidently Cooking: 5 Tips on Cultivating Joy in the Kitchen

woman in green tank top holding orange bell pepper
Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

As the news’ updates continue to roll in, and safety concerns rise over eating outside of the home, it is no surprise many of you may begin to experience anxiety over what to prepare in your kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The truth is, for many millennial mothers across the U.S., cooking and meal-planning, are a source for stress, worry, and downright fear.

Despite the limitless access to family-friendly cooking networks and shows, like my favorite, “The Pioneer Woman” – books, magazines, and even Instagram pages supporting our inner homemaker, some of us still get a sense of overwhelm when it comes to creating healthy, hearty plates that everyone in the family can enjoy.

There are myriad of reasons.

For some mothers, this overwhelm is rooted in issues with time; you might have a career that imposes  constraints or unpredictability, causing you to outsource to local restaurants and establishments you trust. Fatigue, an imbalance in support from your spouse, or even the absence of a spouse, can also add to issues around time and overwhelm.

For others, it’s the fear of not being able to perfect certain traditional dishes, not being comfortable with your cooking skills, or simply, not having any cooking skills at all.

And if you’re a mother who falls in the last category, have mercy on yourself. Becoming skilled in the kitchen might have been thwarted by a few factors.

For one, as a millennial mother, you happen to be part of a generation of women who came of age in the midst of being spoiled by easy access to campus life or dining halls. Remember the quick, pressed grilled chicken panini sandwiches and wraps? The late night orders to Domino’s Pizza and Denny’s pancakes on the weekends? Compounded by limited time and space, the stage might not have been set to help you develop the inner culinary you. 

And even if the access to meal cards or dining halls aren’t part of the reason why your ability to cook wasn’t fostered before now, you might have been the student always working or studying, preparing to stand out in an ever competitive environment. Food prep was always an afterthought.

For me, it was a combination of a few things.

While ordering out as a single, working professional worked, once I became a mom, I learned the hard and expensive way,  how going back to work on my traditional dishes would not only be healthy for my family, but would help me kick a self-sabotaging belief that if the dishes didn’t come out like my mother’s, they weren’t worth eating.

And that ladies, is the category many of us bashfully fall into.

As a woman of Haitian descent, it is important to note the level of pressure placed on cooking. Known for authentic cuisine with dishes like soup joumou (pumpkin soup), diri djon djon (mushroom rice), diri kolé (rice and red beans), lambi (conche), tassot kabuit (fried goat) or legumes berejen (eggplant), and a Sunday classic- diri Blanc ak sos pois (white rice and black bean stew), it is expected you’re prepared to cook for your family. Intimidation or simply not being able to, can leave you feeling less than or even shameful. 

Don’t believe me?

Just tune in to myself and former guest, Vanessa Coquillo‘s episode where we discuss this in entirety.

So if the anxiety of having to cook multiple tasty meals is seeking to overwhelm you, take heart.

And a deep breath. 

Here’s five tips I’m sharing, learned over the last three years of transitioning into a full-time stay-at-home/work-from-home mom, you can use during this season. Give yourself permission to cultivate a spirit of joy instead of fear, when it comes to nourishing your family.

anise aroma art bazaar
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
  1. Have confidence: preparing food is an exchange of energy. Approaching your cooking with love and a mindset that you’re capable, is a great place to start. Even if you miss a step or two, your meals will resonate a love and affection your children will grow to appreciate.
  2. Keep practicing: a sure-fire way to become good at anything, is to keep working on it. The same goes for nourishing your family with what you cook. I know it can feel annoying to not yet have mastered dishes you ate maybe everyday as a child, but don’t give up. Keep working on those dishes until you feel satisfied with the outcome.
  3. Kick perfectionism: Have patience with the process and trust your own style of preparing food. Making meals is an art form for sure, but the beauty of making art is it’s defined by the artist. While traditional recipes might have a structure to how they should turn out, you have the special something that adds its own flavor to how you feed your family. Add more of this, or less of that. You can use different oils or spices until you and your family are well versed with the meal.
  4. Make it fun: Before you get mad at me for suggesting to incorporate the kids, one way to know that you’re making a difference, is when they begin to show interest and want to participate. If you’re a neat freak like me, this might seem intimidating at first, thinking about how much of a mess might incur, but allow these moments to help you bond and grow deeper in your nurturer’s role. These are the moments that don’t have a strict guideline for and honestly, that’s a good thing. Give yourself permission to loosen up and receive the joy from bonding with your family. 
  5. Keep it simple: how on Earth can you decide if everybody is healthy or getting what they need in a society throwing studies and information at you 24/7? This alone used to intimidate me and fill me with excuses from feeling engaged in the kitchen. Start with the basics. Incorporate veggies of all types, flavor them in a way that gets the babies engaged. Don’t fear repetition. Don’t fear rejection. Gently introduce new things as you go along. The best thing as a mother, is to not let fear or shame grip you.

Happy Cooking!

 

 

 

 

Emotional Wellness, Post Partum Resources, storytelling

When ‘Awareness Months’ End : 3 Ways to Emotionally Manage a Miscarriage

I am one in four

Apparently, all of this emotional upheaval left me with some unfortunate news of my own. It was December, and I began feeling funny.  I started having headaches and I noticed my menstrual cycle was off. I thought we were pregnant again…We learned I had suffered a miscarriage. Although I hadn’t been far along, I cannot break down how crushed and perplexed I felt. Immediately, I plunged into self-condemnation.- Ch 12. “The Audacity to Finish”- A Memoir

 

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, here in the U.S. At any point during this month, if you signed-on to a social media outlet, the hashtag was hard to miss. However, as the month comes to a close, the awareness also dies down. Stories stop getting shared, while many mother’s still grieve.

According to the March of Dimes, a miscarriage is defined as the spontaneous, unexpected, sometimes unexplained loss of a baby before 20 weeks of gestation. Stats reveal 10% of all first trimester pregnancies end in miscarriage.

For us millennial women, the use of awareness months and hashtags have become a way to share stories, information, and tips for prevention.  But beyond these 31 days, come many holidays,  which may act as triggers to emotional scars not yet healed.

As a fellow survivor, I’m sharing with you, three ways to emotionally manage your miscarriage, beyond the month of awareness.

  1. Feel your grief: You might already be feeling a range of emotions, but central to our generation’s experience is trying to numb our emotions by hiding behind perfect posts; sometimes it’s mindless scrolling to avoid actually dealing with what’s trying to surface. You can begin to feel your grief by talking to others. Share what hurts, how it hurts, when it hurts. Talk about what it means to you to have lost a child. 
  2. Stop rushing past your grief: Sometimes it takes a few months and sometimes it takes years. With society’s approach of ‘fast and now,’ sometimes it can feel burdensome to you and others to unpack the loss of a pregnancy. Most people are unaware of the connection that forms between a mother and child, even if the loss happens “early.” While it may hurt to be asked questions like: ‘why aren’t you over that yet?’ Don’t take it personally. Honor the loss for as long as it takes until you reach acceptance and feel peace. 
  3. Find a support group: Whether it’s mother’s who pray together or book clubs, find an avenue to channel the experience in a healthy or even creative way. At times, it may feel supportive to get on Instagram or Facebook to share, but those are open spaces without any rules for sensitivity towards unhealed emotional experiences. Beyond awareness months, you may be doing more harm than good, expecting to feel supported or safe in those spaces. Work up the courage to get into real community. Can’t find something? Create it. 

*Bonus*

Prayer and Meditation: Suffering a miscarriage can be a deeply disturbing experience, spiritually. It is not uncommon to feel abandoned by God, angry at God, or altogether disinterested in continuing your faith walk. However it is manifesting for you, know that beyond the pain, sadness, or even disbelief of a miscarriage, comfort and restoration are always available to you, in the hands of the Divine.

A Prayer for Grieving

Heavenly Father, Blessed Mother, I humbly come before you, with my arms wide open. I present before you my blessed womb. I surrender to you my sadness, rage, resentment, fear, frustration, depression, misunderstanding over the life no longer present in my womb. I pray to receive soul-level healing. I pray to receive heart-renewing gladness. I pray to be held in your arms as I process this season of my life. I love you and I trust you. In your blessed name (Christ’s name) I pray. Amen.

Affirmations to work with at this time:

I am loved by the Divine

I am comforted by the Divine

I am seen by the Divine

I am restored by the Divine

Essential Oils to work with at this time:

  • Geranium: helps soothe a broken heart and supports feeling trustful.
  • Cypress: helps with teaching the soul to let go of the past and supports the release of feeling stuck emotionally or mentally.
  • Peppermint: helps with feelings of despair, intense sadness, and discouragement, and supports feeling relief, optimism, and strength.
  • Bergamot: helps with feelings of self-blame, judgement, and supports feelings of self-acceptance.

For a personalized blend, send your request here.

For past episodes dealing with grief and loss:

https://thebeautifulstruggle.blog/2018/11/19/life-after-neonatal-loss-claire-daniels-talks-embracing-motherhood-a-second-time-around/

https://thebeautifulstruggle.blog/2017/06/07/pt-2-post-partum-the-doula-help-an-exploration-of-grief-transparency-accepting-help-after-birth/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Partum Resources

“Turning Audacity to Action” An Exclusive Look at Digital Workbook for Millennial Mom’s

audacity workbook by Laura Eustache Zamor

 

 

It’s here Mamas!!!

A timeless guide to navigating your return to school and being a mama, I have created for you, a practical tool to help with decision-making and self-care.

Everything from mindset, to gestational illness, to life in the early postpartum journey, “Turning Audacity to Action” takes the inspiration from “The Audacity to Finish” and gives you direction. Complete with checklists and questions for consideration, my desire for you is to use this guide to accomplish your goals in a resilient, but nourished way.

No matter where you fall on the Millennial gen spectrum, as a mama, there’s something here for you!

To download your sneak peak, click here .

 

Post Partum Resources

A Morning at the Mat: 5 Things That Kept Me Sane While Washing w/ the Kids

Being a full-time, stay-at-home/ work-from-home Mother is anything but glamorous.

I know we are constantly fed the images of perfectly snapped photographs on social media feeds, but the truth is, parenting, Mothering, and living amidst the day-to-day demands with two children under 5, is anything but a walk in the park.  Particularly, if you are a Mother who does not have extra help or a nanny on hand.

Some days it is filled with hysterical laughter and on other days, like today, it’s filled with conquering anxieties and fears you never knew existed.

Today’s particular anxiety: taking both kids to the local laundromat for the first time.

The fear? That every possible thing that could go wrong, would.

kid s blue shirt hanging on the clothesline
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

For instance, as an apartment-living NY’er, you want to make sure the car isn’t parked too far so that getting the kids and the laundry out the door, on the first trip, goes smoothly.

But on this bright sunny day with comforters to wash and my husband working a 16-hour shift, I decided to bite the bullet and try.

And the good news is- I survived Mamas! Everything’s washed, everybody came back in one piece, and I’m not too tired to share how.

So the next time you feel anxiety or fear about conquering this type of daily grind activity, remember not to judge yourself or think you should “know everything by now.” Calm the voices of shame and bite your own bullet. You might just surprise yourself!

  1. Ground and Center: I made sure to start the day with my trusted and comforting cup of Bustello. I applied Frankincense essential oil along the nape of my neck, the base of my spine, along my wrists, and across my forehead. This oil is great for getting you calm and less scatter-brained, without making you overly mellow. It also nourishes the nervous system, which is usually the first to get affected when trying something new or stressful.
  2. Repeated Communication: I told both boys exactly what we would be doing for the day, as many times as possible, as calmly as possible, to help them understand the transitions we’d be making. I’ve learned how my boys respond to a break in their daily routine and as Mamas, we can get so overwhelmed, we can forget to honor their emotional needs.
  3. Comfortable Clothes : Going to the laundromat is not the same as going to the movies or the zoo. While I know we as Mamas always want to make sure our kids look good before stepping out into public and looking “put together” keeps you a side-eye away from people’s judgment, putting them in some shorts, a baseball cap, a plain t-shirt and sneakers, worked wonders. There were no bells and whistles to deal with when it came time to change pampers or head to the potty (big boy is soaring with the briefs now) and it helped me worry less if one got dirty.
  4. Food, Food, and Yes, Food: Now I know we all have our baby bag filled with everything we need, but stopping by your favorite shop and stocking up on specific favorites, less on the sugary side, works wonders. It helped them get excited about this “new” experience, kept them calm when it seemed the dryers weren’t moving fast enough, and kept me from getting nagged to death about “needing a snack.” For us, it was a green mango juice, bananas, pumpkin bread and extra water for the win.
  5. Relationships with Local Business Owners: I have definitely been called a warm extrovert, engaging in conversation with others quite easily, and today, it truly paid off. While I’m not saying you need to be a social butterfly to get your errands done, when you establish positive regard with the places of business you frequent, their graces can be extended to your children. Today, the lady I regularly greet was managing and without hesitation, she accepted my request to watch the boys as I unloaded the car or when I needed to use the restroom- something so simple, yet so important when you’re running solo.

Bonus Tip: When and if they start to get fidgety or irritated from the wait, and you worry about navigating a tantrum, get them involved. Even if it seems like more work, trust me, it is better than having calmness turned into turbulence. Let your nurturing come through by leading them to the washers or dryers and letting them help you with the clothes.