Catching The Torch

Trials by Fire in Hostessing, Motherhood, Life


What Makes You?

What Makes You?

Hello, Mama!  How are we doing on building our sanctuaries?  Have you carved out several hours to work on it?

Bwahaha, right?  Who has that time?

One of the hardest lessons I’m still learning as a mother is the loss of control of my time. I am a teacher by trade, and a teacher’s day is scheduled down to the minute. Yes, there is a ton of work outside of the allotted school hours, but the school day is incredibly structured. I translated that structure into my personal life before kids: I walked my dog at a certain time, we had dinner at a reasonably structured time, I slept for an allotted number of hours per night, etc. Then I had kids and all of that blew up in my face. I can make a schedule and I can implement the beginnings, but the ending points are always up to the little people I created.

Sound familiar?

One thing that seems easy to accomplish for “breaks” within a day is spending time online. Obviously, I support this activity as I’m writing a blog. Online is a fantastic way to stay apprised with the parts of people’s lives that they deem good enough to share. It is not always a place to find true camaraderie or empathy. I’ve found that as a stay-at-home-mom of toddlers, I actually do have space within the day to decompress by surfing the net. Some of my “breaks” are when I put Courtis down for a nap (sitting in the rocker feeding him his bottle), getting distracted while surfing Pinterest for a recipe, getting distracted sitting in the car programming directions, etc. On days that I use that time to read funny snarky posts or scroll through “helpful” message boards that consist of moms deriding each other, I am in a grumpy mood. Shocking, I know. The days when I read only advice columns can make me feel frantic, like I’m doing everything poorly. However, when I’m able to devote this precious time of internet surfing to articles that are affirming, helpful, and creative, my day improves. To this end, I’ve found several amazing blogs about organization, decoration, and using your individual talents to help the world around you. Here are some lovely links:

Kitchen Fellowship

Interior Musings

Beginner Beans

For the Creators

Reading these blogs has helped me form and affirm my sanctuary space, and I hope you will click over to them to help build yours.

Your sanctuary is a physical space that reflects:

  1. Your favorite place in the world
  2. The activity that makes you YOU
  3. How you regain balance


Favorite Place in the World

  1. Where is your favorite place in the world? It’s easy to say platitudes like “home,” “where my family is,” etc., but truly. What is YOUR favorite physical place on the planet?
  2. Imagine yourself there
  3. Are you sitting? Standing? Lying down? Moving? How?
  4. What do you see?
  5. What colors stand out? Specifically, what about those colors? Bright or dull? If they were crayons, what would you name them?
  6. What do you smell?
  7. What is the light like?
  8. What do you hear?


The Activity that Makes You You

  1. When they’re in college, you want your kids to say, “I always remember Mom doing _______.”
  2. If your kids have confidence _________, you will be happy. (Health and values are out – this is an activity)
  3. What activity gives you peace, engages your brain, and allows you do work out emotions?


How You Regain Balance

  1. Ever taken a Mommy Time-Out? What did you do?
  2. Are you spiritual? What parts of your religion give you hope and strength?
  3. When you wake up sore, do you stretch? How?
  4. What physical activity do you enjoy? Truly enjoy?
  5. What part of the day/routine drives you absolutely nuts?


Please share some of your answers!  I’ll share mine next time as we explore ways to transform our answers into an actual space.  What inspires you? What makes you YOU?  Let’s inspire each other!

(This post is one of a series.  Feel free to check out Mama’s Sanctuary and Creating a Sanctuary if you are in need of some context. : ) )



Creating a Sanctuary

Creating a Sanctuary

It is not news that we mothers take care of everyone.  It is also not news that we often feel as if we are failing in one area or another: we yelled today, the house is never clean, we arrived at Target accessorized in dried yogurt, the kids didn’t eat the healthy part of the meal.

Whether you are a work-out-of-the-house mom, a work-from-home-mom or a manage-your-home-mom, the workload practically triples when you have kids.

How can you possibly not have time keep the house clean?  You used to!  Well, you have triple the laundry (which includes scrubbing of bodily fluids), double the food preparation, and if you have young children, months or years of interrupted sleep.

How are you not put together?  You used to be!  Well, you’ll always hug your kids, even if they have food on their face and fingers.  You may not have had 5 consecutive hours of sleep in a long while which makes it very hard to rise at the alarm.  Your body is recovering from growing and housing babies and is forever different.  Remember, it took 10 months for the baby to grow and leave – it should take at LEAST that long to recover.

How are you not doing that one thing you love?  You used to have hours for _____!  Becoming a parent is a life-exploding, intense experience.  I think dedicating time and effort to your passion is extremely important and vital to your well-being.   The truth is, it’s hard to remember what you love when you are wrapped up in caring for this little person you love more than life.

We’ll discuss these issues at length in later posts, but I think these are the top three issues that boggle new moms.  I know they boggle me.

What has helped in my life is creating a sanctuary.  Literally, a space.


A place in my home filled with things I love and that make me Katy.  It’s helped me remember who I am at my core.  Kids don’t need a generic mother, they need their mother.  A fascinating woman full of interests and desires who loves them completely.  It’s important to keep that woman afloat, and a space for yourself is a good way to do that.

A sanctuary is a space that you keep clean and free of other people’s things.

Maybe it’s your bathroom.  Maybe you keep toys off the counter and kids out of the drawers. Maybe you keep a vase of pretty flowers or a houseplant on your sink to give the day a bit of beauty.

Maybe it’s a chair with a table that you always keep polished and clutter-free.  Maybe a stack of books and snacks are stashed out of reach for you to grab in that rare solitary moment.

Maybe it’s the porch.  Maybe you try to sweep it and keep a cheery plant or two alive.  Maybe your knitting basket is tucked away in the closet and you take it outside for a few minutes every day.

Maybe it’s a spare table in the basement or office with room for your creative supplies.

Maybe it’s a floor that you always keep clear for your yoga mat, with work-out clothes tucked away nearby.

Maybe it’s a piano or guitar and your music

Maybe it’s the kitchen because you take great creative joy in cooking.  Maybe you keep the counters wiped even if the rest of the house is a disaster.

Maybe it’s an altar with the writings of your belief system.  Maybe there are candles, flowers, a cushion.

In any case, there’s something about having a space of your own.  Maintaing your space and using it can give you a sense of comfort and peace amid the chaos and uncertainty.  Virginia Woolf reminds us,

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

I’m not saying that you must write to justify your space.  (Nor am I advocating filling your pockets with rocks and taking a walk in a river…)  However, it is important to set aside a bit of money and some space to maintain our identities.  A little of that scary budget for ourselves, and the dedication of some space and time to be who we are.  Even if you don’t visit your space as often as you may like, it is there for you to see every day.  It is allows you take a deep breath, lift your chin, and say,

I am Mom, but I am ultimately Me.  I can do this.

Let’s give ourselves space to be ourselves, together.

Do you have a sanctuary?  What will you create?  What are some of the elemental things that make you you?

1 Comment

Mama’s Sanctuary

Mama's Sanctuary

I’ve thought long and hard about throwing my hat in the ring of Mommy Bloggers.  I’ve agonized over my tone: Will I sound “know-it-all,” because I surely don’t.  Will my babies read my words someday and feel sad that I complained?  Since Blondela was tiny, I wanted to write about Motherhood, but struggled with the point.  My point.  What do I want to say?  How can I, a girl who feels like she’s often making it up, contribute positively to this conversation?  If I am searching for the elusive answers to Motherhood, how can I possibly have anything to say about it?

After talking to my very inspirational friend Alysa over at, I figured it out:  We Mamas need a space.  A safe space to talk honestly about Motherhood.  A kind space where we attempt to help each other rather than deride and brag.  A space for encouragement, especially by veteran Mamas to us newbies.  A space for humor, for tears, for real.

I humbly hope to provide such a space on my blog.  A corner of the big wide internet that is kind and hopeful for Mamas.

If you are interested in the another place for honesty and kindness that fosters cooking and fellowship, please visit Alysa and her beautiful blog

Are you a mom?  Do you have something you’d like to ask or discuss?  Do you have words of wisdom?  Please share!!

The next step is giving yourself that space.  Let’s find how how together over at Creating a Sanctuary