Friday, February 27, 2015

Mom Talk #30: Every Body Stinks

yay!  you're here!
for the introduction and index of the posts in this 31 Days series, click }here{

Dearest Children of Mine:

In high school, one of my best friends would frequently pull me aside, ask me if her breath smelled bad, and discretely blow in my face.  By the time you know someone this well, you know you're friends for life.  Her fear of being caught with bad breath was surprisingly endearing, but my point is that her breath never, ever smelled bad - not once.  She was  obsessed conscientious about it, therefore it never was a problem.

This is the post where there's no room to mince words and telling it like it is is the only way to do it.  You may be inclined to groan and roll your eyes ... but seriously, if your mother doesn't tell you these things, who will?

Let us commence with:

 The List of Things that Stink

Your Body

No one is exempt - the business of living life in a human body is a smelly business.  Fortunately, there are simple guidelines that will keep you from grossing out the people around you:
  • Take a shower - preferably every day.  If you didn't shower yesterday, DEFINITELY shower today.  Three days without a shower and you're in the danger zone.  Just do it.
  • Wash your hair.  You'll have to figure out how often it's necessary for you.  Your hair naturally builds up oil that begins to have an odor.  You may need to wash your hair as often as every day, but you should wash it regularly at least once a week.
  • Wear deodorant.  Lots of it.  Actually, wear more than you think you need.  Every time you change clothes, put on deodorant.  Keep a stick of deodorant in your bag or in your car for those times when what you started out with in the morning isn't doing the trick.  If, by chance, you sweat and get smelly but don't have time to take a shower, make sure you wipe your underarms well before you re-apply deodorant, and if at all possible, change your shirt.
  • Brush your teeth.  Your dentist wants you to brush you teeth after every meal.  If you can't do that, at least brush in the morning and before you go to bed.  Or, when you blow in your best friend's face and they tell you your breath stinks :o)

Dirty Sheets

Your sheets don't need to have visible stains on them to be dirty.  They may look perfectly clean, but they may also be stinking up your whole room.  Or your whole apartment.  Or your whole house.  Sheets that haven't been changed in a while begin to smell, and probably much sooner than you think.  Their odor can sink into the mattress and also make your pillows smell.  So how often should you change your sheets?  If you're aiming to please your mother, that would be once a week.  Once every two weeks is a stretch, but anything more than two weeks and it's quite likely your sheets are putting out their own funky aroma.

Dirty Laundry

Dirty laundry is a ticking time bomb when it comes to smelling bad.  Same as your sheets, you need to process and wash your dirty clothes within a few days of wearing them.  Not only will your dirty clothes smell bad themselves, their  odor can permeate the air, your carpet, your furniture and your other clothes.  One dirty item -  especially a sweaty dirty item - laying on top of perfectly clean clothes can make the clean clothes smell bad.  The longer you leave dirty clothes unwashed, the deeper the smell gets into them.  There's a point at which washing something that's been allowed to stay dirty for a long time won't get the odor out - you may wash it and think smells clean, but your body heat activates the smell all over again when you wear it.  Don't let your collected dirty laundry pile up.  Get that stuff washed!

There you have it - Mom's list of things that stink.  The weird thing about smells is that you become sort of immune to them.  I know you've known these things since you were five years old, but sometimes they bear repeating.  Rather than counting on your nose to tell you when to take action, just incorporate good habits in your life to keep things fresh.  Or, you know ... make sure you have a really good friend who'll tell you that you stink :o)

for the introduction and index of the posts in this 31 Days series, click }here{
thanks for reading!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Mom Talk #29: When You Feel Out of Control

yay!  you're here!
for the introduction and index of the posts in this 31 Days series, click }here{

Dearest Children of Mine,

I don't think I considered myself a "Control Freak" growing up.  I'm not sure I even considered myself a Control Freak ten years ago.  Maybe the need to be in control is something that comes with age.  Maybe it comes with realizing just how fragile life really is, and the necessity to let the people most precious to you venture into the great wide world without holding your hand.  

But I think Control Freaks get a bad rap, because controlling (what you can) about your life has a lot to do with your personal sanity, and what's not to love about someone taking personal responsibility for their own state of mind?

Here are a few tips for those times when life feels like it's spinning out of control.

Set Yourself Up to Feel at Peace

I promise, this isn't a not-so-subtle attempt to get you to clean up your room, HOWEVER ... your environment impacts your mental state more than you may realize.  Keeping your place in order gives you a stable and soothing place to operate from when life throws you curveballs, and it's one less thing to distract you or stress you out.  Life feels better when there's order around you, so especially if you're feeling out of control, give yourself the gift of order.  The result and the singular act of exerting yourself on your environment will make you feel better.

Identify What You DO Control

It's important to identify what you can and can't control in life so you don't use up your energy trying to fix things that you simply can't.  You'll reduce your stress level considerably if you ask yourself if you have any power over a situation before you get involved with it.  When there's something you can do, take action and do that thing!  And when you get to the place where there's no more action you can take, admit to yourself you've come to the end of your influence, and let it go.  Don't dilute your energy by focusing on things that are outside your control.  Throw your action and focus and intent behind what you do have control over.  

Know (and do) What Calms You

When life goes bonkers, you'll naturally gravitate to things that settle you, and you may not even be aware of why it is that you're doing those things.  Explore and observe what calms you so that when things feel out of your grasp, you can purposefully turn to them to find some peace in the storm.  For me, it's putting things in order, which I didn't fully realize until last summer when the Hospice nurse made her first visit to see your Granddaddy and I was furiously organizing his linen closet.  Small comforting actions may not impact the big things you're concerned about, but they will make you feel better.

Don't Lose It

Have you ever listened to Fighter Pilots talking to each other in the middle of a battle?  Or 911 Operators taking emergency calls?  They aren't speaking clearly and succinctly and politely because they necessarily feel calm - their training is forcing their response to the situation.  I wish I could tell you that life goes according to plan most of the time, but sending you off into the world with that unrealistic expectation would do you a huge disfavor.  The truth is, much of life is about coming up with Plan B.  This is normal.  The only thing you are 100% in control of is your response to life, whether you're on Life Plan A, B or Z.  Your response to the setbacks in life become a habit - don't practice losing control when life gets crazy.  Remember that you have control over your response.  Practice staying in control.  And if you don't feel like you've got what it takes, pretend you do.  Pretend you have what it takes to stay in control ... until you do.  

See?  When life spins out of control, you can still have a plan.  It mostly has to do with controlling yourself.  It's the only thing you have control of anyway :o)