Let’s Get Real!

Let’s make this short, sweet, raw and real. Something so refreshing happened to me a few weeks back. We were outside enjoying one of the nicest days of the year and our sweet neighbors came outside.

To preface this: throughout COVID these sweet people were some of the only real life people that Sweet R saw. Sweet R is a talker (if you met her Dad, there is no questions where she picked this trait up). She talks in her sleep, to her self ALL DAY LONG, and to my husband and I ALL DAY LONG. I am amazed that she doesn’t get in trouble at school for talking too much. Our neighbors always genuinely listened to her and interacted with her.

Anyways…our neighbors have a little one the same age as Beast R. The impossible age of somewhere between 2 and 3. The age that makes working from home IMPOSSIBLE. The age that makes pretty much anything productive impossible, unless it revolves around them. So my neighbor tells me that she had to end up sending her little one to daycare full time because she just couldn’t work from home and try to entertain a 2 year old anymore. She follows up her statement with ‘for my mental health.’

I wanted to reach out and hug her. I don’t hug people, hugs aren’t my thing. But standing right there I finally heard someone come out and recognize that the mental health of parents is at stake. For a year I have heard these BS canned answers about COVID being great ‘family time’ or a ‘great time to slow down and do things they haven’t been able to’. I’m sorry but I don’t buy it. I don’t buy your Facebook posts or perfect IG photos with smiles. I’ll be the first person to tell you that I can recognize some good things that have happened in the past year. There have been some positive things.

But one of them is NOT trying to working from home with my entire family there. Nor is one of them listening to Moms (and Dads) lying through their teeth about how great the family time has been. I pulled my hair back into a half pony tail last night to wash my face and made the mistake of looking in the mirror. Oh my god, I have infinite more gray hairs. Some of them might come from age, but alot of them come from parenting in a pandemic.

So thanks neighbor for telling the truth, for acknowledging that pretending to be mentally ok is exhausting and just being real. It does not mean that you love your kids or family any less.

Stop the act people, it’s unhealthy.

February Project :: 2021

Hey everybody, it’s been a hot minute since I sat down at the computer to write any kind of blog…an unbelievable, unprecedented year to be exact. Some days I think, its only been a year? And some days I think, ITS ONLY BEEN A YEAR! Anyways, the truth of what has happened in a year is not what I came here to talk about today.

I started to transition this site to a new platform, and was going to dedicate my time to new graphics. Unfortunately other things have just taken over my life and my time. Just bear with me for now, I still have ideas in my head and I absolutely need to get them out. It turns out writing is sort of like my therapy and Lord knows we could all use that after the past year.

Last year I saw a pin on Pintrest that featured a picture of hearts on a kids bedroom door with writing on them. It looked pretty cute, but I quickly dismissed it. I didn’t have enough time or energy and my kids couldn’t read, so they wouldn’t even know what they said.

This February rolled around and even though I still didn’t have time nor the energy, I decided we needed to embrace ‘Love Month’ this year. Our entire house needed this project.

I cut out hearts for both kids, one for every day of the month. It’s the shortest month of the year I told myself as I felt like I was cutting forever. Midway through I told myself this was dumb, but I kept going. My hearts are all shapes and sizes, some looked horrible and others looked perfect. Sort of like real life, I suppose.

Every night I got a heart out, wrote one thing I loved about each kid and stuck it to their door for them to see when they woke up in the morning. At first it was really really easy to think of new things, but as the days went on it definitely got more challenging. Not because I don’t love my kids, but just because 28 days of new things you love about each individual kid…holy $hit guys.

What started out as a project for my kids to see and enjoy, turned into something that definitely benefited me more in the end.

February Door Project

No matter what kind of day I had or what they did that was sooo super annoying that day. At the end of the day, I forced myself to write down 1 thing that I love about them. And even on my hardest days, I still found 1 thing that made me smile.

Obviously my kids loved the project. I mean who wouldn’t love seeing hearts gathering on their door? The one that could read, loved reading them… and the one that is too young to read yet, loved seeing ‘balentines’ on the door.

It changed my perspective and brought gratitude into my life. Two things we all need right now.

You Become What You Listen To!

You Become What You Listen To!

Read that again…YOU BECOME WHAT YOU LISTEN TO.

That’s a truth bomb. It’s easy to gloss over it and never give it much thought. What you listen to on a daily basis, whether it’s people, music, podcasts, TV shows, movies, the news, YOURSELF…it’s either lifting your mood up or it’s taking you down.

I happen to have a job that I can put headphones in and listen to something all day long. This is not the norm, I realize. But in my little world, it is.

Since the beginning of the year, I have made a conscious effort to read social media differently…less random scrolling and being more intentional with how I consume it. Along with this has come a shift in what I am filling my world with.

For 2020, I have chosen Books and Podcasts.

What am I reading?

  • #IMOMSOHARD by Kristin Hensley
  • Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  • Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

What am I listening to?

  • Start Today Morning Show Podcast
  • Rise Together Podcast
  • Rise Podcast
  • Sunday Sitdown with Willie Geist Podcast
  • Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations Podcast
  • Where My Mom’s At Podcast (usually viewed on YouTube)

Honestly, I already feel it working. I feel a shift. A noticeable shift in my mood and how I view the world & life.

One of my biggest revelations of the year is something that deep down I already knew.

Negative self-talk will sabotage you.

All the positive reading and listening in the world isn’t going to make up for being unkind to yourself. Your inner monologue, what you say to yourself on a daily basis…it’s POWERFUL.

What are you listening to these days? Is there something your listening to that I need to? Please share!

But most importantly, how are you talking to yourself?

How Are We Talking To Our Kids?

This morning, as I was having yet another conversation with my daughter about her attitude, a realization smacked me in the face.

Sometimes I talk to strangers (coworkers, friends, clients) nicer than I talk to my kids.

That was really hard to just type, that realization was really really hard to admit. It smacked me really hard. Why on earth do I talk to a stranger nicer than I am talking to my own child?? I adore my children, what the actual f&*k am I doing?

In the heat of the morning routine, my daughter wasn’t listening to me AGAIN. She was going in what felt like slow motion. I got snippy with her, I had things that I needed to finish. In return, she responded to me in the same manner. She mirrored my behavior. I mean after all, that’s all my kids are doing daily. What am I teaching her? Am I teaching her to talk to those she loves like that?

How you say it is just as important as what you are saying.

I am human. I get frustrated, I get frazzled more than I’d like to admit. And most of the time the people that get the brunt of my frazzled, are the ones that I love the most. While this isn’t right, it’s the truth. Guilty as charged.

Point noted, tomorrow I will try harder. Thanks Sweet R.

‘You’re going to miss this.’

It’s advice that I hear often from the varsity moms. Mostly from the Moms of kids who are grown and no longer live in the house. Moms who are 20+ years removed from the ‘you’re going to miss this’ actions of their kids.

Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying it’s not good advice. It certainly is.

But honestly, when you are in the throws of a hard season with your kids (whatever age that is because there is always a hard season)…it’s the last thing you want to hear.

It’s straight up just not helpful. It comes with guilty feelings or a suggestion that we aren’t enjoying our kids enough. We are all deep in the trenches trying our best, we don’t need any shade thrown. Mom guilt is a real thing and we don’t need more.

Let’s get this out in the open, I’m 100% thankful for my kids. They are definitely one of my life’s greatest blessings.

But, I would say that over half of what I do for them is not something that I will miss. Changing diapers, sleepless nights, washing bottles, throw yourself on the floor tantrums, attitudes, smart mouths, talking back, the word no, cold dinners, dinners that last 5 minutes, fighting, cleaning up messes that aren’t mine, flooding bathrooms with water outside of the tub, not going to the bathroom alone. You get my drift, and I’m positive you can add to my list.

With that said, the things I will miss, I’ll miss hard. The love of a little person is amazing.

Watching a little person learn to walk or read or explore something they love, when their little hand reaches up for yours, introducing them to things you love, hearing the words ‘I love you Mom’ as you walk out of their room at bedtime (especially after a rough day), watching them sleep so innocent and beautiful…this list goes on and on. I’m positive you can add to that list as well.

It’s innocent advice, but the next time you feel the need to say it…I urge you to rethink. Tell us we are doing the best we can and that’s good enough. Tell us that you know what it’s like and reassure us that it will be ok. Tell us to breathe. Ask us if we need help.

But good lawd, stop telling us we are gonna miss this. We are well aware of the things we are going to miss. Well aware that time is flying by.

What advice have you heard from fellow parents that just isn’t helpful?

Lessons To My Past Self.

Lessons To My Past Self.

Today is a Tuesday. It’s a typical Tuesday in your current world. You’ve worked from home, in between putting your oldest on the bus and being there for pick up.

Truthfully, my life today is probably no where near what you thought it would be.

Family

To start, I have 2 kids. Yep, you read that right…not just 1, but 2! I know you never really gave much thought to children, you were too into your life and career.

Career

Oh speaking of career…yeah turns out all that never really panned out as you planned either. I mean, yes I am still doing the same thing that you had your heart set on. Honestly, I pushed the limits and expanded my horizons when I started learning to design and code for the web. Bet, you never saw that coming! But the corner office at some fancy design agency…ha, yeah that didn’t happen. Although my career isn’t perfect or maybe not even what you had dreamed of, it certainly has sustained the family that you didn’t plan for.

Time

You waited & waited to be 18, a legal adult. All those years, it felt like your life was going in slow motion. 18 years felt like the longest eternity. Well I’m here to tell you, basically I blinked and somehow 20 years went by. And it’s not stopping, it’s only picking up speed. Most days I just hold on tight for the ride.

You looked at almost 40 as old. I recall you lovingly saying to your parents that you’d be putting them in a home when they were 40. 40 was stable, comfortable…and old. Ha ha. You never ever feel like you’ve arrived. But the truth of the matter is; I’m glad I haven’t arrived. I’m thankful to be on the journey. Once I am not on the journey anymore, I won’t be here to tell you about the destination.

'Best Friends'

All those ‘best friends’ that you couldn’t live without…you actually could because I am. Many friends serve a season in your life. It’s only a precious few who come for a lifetime. Don’t mix seasonal people up with lifetime expectations, I have done it and it doesn’t end well.

Your Gut

Always always always follow your gut. Your gut reaction is strong, and almost always correct. When you went against your gut, I have always ended up regretting it.

And probably the most important lesson that I wish I could go back and tell you is:

You are not what you see in the mirror.

There is so much more to you and so many better things to spend your time on. Stop letting the mirror dictate your self-worth. Truthfully, in life, nobody cares. Be you. Do you. Be happy. Stop stepping on that stupid scale. Feel healthy. And if you don’t feel those things, take action. Change it. Stand up for yourself.

The Year Wrap-up

Today is my birthday. Do you know what that means?

Besides the fact that I’ve taken another trip around the sun, another 365 days of magic, it means I have officially been writing on this blog for a full year now. Every year on my birthday, I look back and reflect on what my year looked like. Usually my year is categorized by a few ‘big’ things, sometimes they are happy and sometimes, as life can do to you, they are not. Mostly though, I have a hard time remembering what happened in the year or what I was thinking. But this year is a little different, as I have a written record in the 7 blogs that I published.

So what did this year look like?

Stress. Pressure. Purge. Transformation. Growth.

I stole this from Kristin. Thanks Kristin!

I have two kids, Sweet R and Beast R. Every day when they wake up, I ask them the same exact question…

“Did you grow last night? You look taller and older than you did when I put you to bed.”

Sweet R always laughs and says “Of course I did, I’m getting so big”. It’s so easy to see the transformation and growth in my kids, they are literally growing and changing before my eyes. The year to year comparisons are just unreal; physically, emotionally & developmentally.

Why is it that we, as grown ups, don’t seem to continue to look for growth within ourselves? Even if only on a yearly basis, we need to dig deep and ‘trust the process’.

This year I purged my life.

I cleaned my entire house out, ROOM BY ROOM. I got rid of so much junk that sometimes my husband thought he was gonna go too. I got a new car, new cell phone, wiped my contacts, gave away the clothes that I was never going to fit into again (because let’s face it, it isn’t happening and it’s just making me feel bad), sold all my baby gear and baby clothes/shoes.

And let me tell you how good it felt. It was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

My motto this year: You do you.

The older I get: the better I get to know myself, the more confident I feel following my gut and the less I care about what other people think. Asking myself questions like: Why am I putting people in my life as a priority when I am merely an option to them? Realizing who was treating me as an option, now that was not an easy pill to swallow. But I’m trusting the process.

To everyone who followed me along on this blog journey, who read along, encouraged me and commented (either to me in person or on the blog), thank you from the bottom of my heart. I truly enjoyed getting back to my writing roots. I love writing and honestly forgot about that part of myself.

I have a lot more things on my mind, so I’m hoping to be able to increase the number of posts this next year and maybe even spiff up the site. But for now…

Here’s to the next 365 days…wherever that takes me, it’s gonna be something I tell ya.


What Is Your Time Worth?

About 2 months ago, I was sitting at my kitchen island on a Tuesday morning drinking my coffee and feeding my little guy breakfast before I started work for the day.

I had already gotten my daughter and husband out the door and off to their Tuesday morning coffee date before he drops her off at school for the day. The sun was shining in the front windows and it felt amazing. All I needed was some good ole Tuesday morning inspiration.

Awesome sunrise!

Quickly I decided to find a Rachel Hollis podcast to get me going for the day.

If you don’t know who Rachel Hollis is, please take a moment to google her sometime. She’s the author of “Girl, Wash Your Face” and her latest book “Girl, Stop Apologizing”. She does many other things; like run companies, be a mom and inspire many people.

She touched on one thing that I have had burned in my brain for 2 months now. You see, she was talking about time & life circumstances. How there are so many differences that can give people a leg up in life, such as amount of money you have, or your network of connections, or your job. Everyone is always asking her how she seems to fit everything that she does into one day, and how people always say that’s unrealistic to their life circumstances.

However, she so nicely points out that we all have one thing in common…

“We all have the same 24 hours. And only you can decide how to use them.”

Let that sink in for a minute, read that again…

“We all have the same 24 hours. And only you can decide how to use them.”

Sorta crazy to think about right? Every person on Earth has the same amount of time in a day.

So what is your time worth to you?

This question that has been on the top of my mind for awhile, far before hearing this podcast. It’s actually the subject of many many conversations that my husband and I have had this year.

Obviously we can quantify our time within our careers, it would be how much we make. Our salary or hourly wage has to equal more than our bills, or at least that’s the goal.

But what about your ‘free time’? The time you spend outside of your normal 9-5 (or whatever it is you do in life). What is your time worth?

Would you rather go grocery shopping, or take your kid to the park while someone runs through a grocery store & stands in line for you?

Would you rather cut your grass, or have someone do that for you during the workday?

Would you rather spend your life doing laundry, or would you like to have someone pick it up, do it and drop it off folded?

That project you’d love to get done in the house…yes, you or your husband could do it, but will it get done? And how long will it take?

Grocery delivery. Lawn maintenance. Laundry service. Contractors. Yes, they all cost money, but time is money after all…right?

What if I said this thought can be applied to who you spend your ‘free time’ with?

Think about it. We all know those people, the ones who are complete energy drains on your system. You know, Suzy, who complains nonstop about everything. You end up feeling tired, drained and out of energy after your interaction with them. You could of gotten so much done that day, but she took your energy.

So the question of how much your time is worth, goes straight down to who you are spending it with. Are you spending time with people who are good for your soul? People who rejuvenate your soul? And as bad as it sounds, people who are worthy of your time?

Nobody can tell you what your ‘free time’ is worth. This is a completely personal question that you’d have to take time to think about. Time is very valuable, we all never seem to have enough of it. And yes, we all have the same amount.

I challenge you to think about it. What is your time worth? How are you spending it? Can you make changes that will give you more time?

Lessons From My Marriage.

Today, April 3, 2019, is my 15th Wedding Anniversary. 15th!!

Am I even old enough to be married for 15 years? Most days I’d tell you that there is no way that I’m old enough to be married for that long. Except those days when my kids run me ragged or have decided not to sleep. Most days I’d tell you that I feel about 17 years old.

How did we get here? The answer in my head is ‘I have absolutely no idea’. But the truth is that we worked hard to get here. A lot of people seem to think that marriage should be easy, that it shouldn’t feel like work. Certainly, I am not a lot of people.

My husband and I have a great story. We met at the ripe age of 12, in the 7th grade of St. Ann’s School. It wasn’t love at first sight, we definitely didn’t even want to be friends. But slowly over the years, we wore each other down and became the best of friends. We dated off and on (mostly just on) through high school and college.

Prom 1999
Prom 1999
(
Don’t mind the horrible quality photo, it’s a photo of a photo back in actual camera and film days.)

In 2004, after graduating from college and spending 4 years across the country from each other, we got married.

Wedding 2004
(Again don’t mind the horrible quality photo, it’s a photo of a photo.)

5 moves, 2 houses, 2 kids, 2 dogs, a miscarriage, 6 grandparents lost, 5 jobs, 1 career change, 3 college graduations, 8 cars, 4 car accidents, bills, friendships gained, 1 rental property, bills, 15+ vacations, 2 trips (lol), bills, friendships lost, bills, countless dreams shared…the list could go on.

Personally, I think we’ve made it look easy for everyone on the outside. From the outside, our story looks like a real life fairy tale. And trust me when I say, I feel lucky. Lucky to have met my person and been able to share my entire life with him. There is truly no other person who I would want to do life with, no better person to be the father of my children.

But people, the truth is I AM NO CINDERELLA.

Some days it feels like we’ve been married for a hot minute, and some days it feels like 115 years have went by. Marriage is work, relationships are work.

I asked my husband what he learned over the 15 years we’ve been married. What was one lesson he would share with people? His reply was: “Just enjoy the journey.” I needed an explanation, I wasn’t really sure where he was going with this one. He went on to explain that no marriage is perfect, but that you have to embrace the good with the bad and just hang on to each other through it all. I liked it, it’s similar to what I’d say to people.

4 lessons I have learned from marriage:

  1. Show up. Showing up is half the battle. Be present, take the time to hear them. You don’t always have to talk, a simple hug goes a long way. Just be there, have their back. Loyalty, show them how important they are to you.
  2. Team work & communicate. Work together, instead of against each other. Believe it or not, you are both working towards the same goal…being happy in whatever life you’ve built or are building for yourself. Tackle life together. Actually talk to each other. Don’t confuse this with always agreeing, just because you are married does not mean you share a brain.
  3. Take time to yourself. Give your partner time to be themselves, time to do their thing. And in turn, give you time to be yourself, time to do your thing. This one might sound the opposite of what I have been saying in 1. and 2. above, but hear me out. Speaking for myself, I am a better person when I have time to breathe and be myself. This used to mean a vacation alone, now it means time in the bathroom alone. Like I said before, you’re married, you don’t share a brain. You don’t have to be together 24/7 just because you got married, guaranteed doing something for yourself will make you a better partner, probably a better parent too.
  4. Laugh. This needs 0 explanation, laughter makes everything easier. If you can find laughter in life, it makes it easier to live…so keep laughing.
Us – 2017

This is Us. We aren’t perfect, but we show up day after day for each other. Fails, successes…we just keep laughing. Sometimes it’s teary-eyed crying laughter, and sometimes we laugh until we cry.

Love you Nick, always have and always will. Thanks for always showing up. Cheers to the rest of our story.

This is Us.

Today I failed.

Today was not my finest day. Today I was not my best self, I was not the best mom/wife. Today I had a ‘poor me party’, where I was the only one who showed up. Today I wouldn’t of won ‘Mom Of The Year’. Today I was mentally checked out, unavailable…just going through the motions. Today I failed.

You see I’ve been up since 2:15am, when my son started restlessly coughing. By 3:45am, I was laying on the couch willing him to close his eyes (more like screaming in my mind to go the f&$k to sleep, which I might of said out loud at one point). I dosed off between 4am and 7am, but any parent who has slept with a kid on the couch knows…it ain’t sleeping.

My hat goes off to all the Stay At Home parents out there. I will never pretend to be one or want to be one. I am not cut out to stay home, it’s not in my DNA and I’m ok with that.

I’m lucky that I am able to be off on Mondays to spend time with my kids (it came with a price of 1/5 of my salary, but the memories I’ve made with my daughter have no price tag). My job allows me to work from home on Tuesdays, I’m lucky and thankful to have that flexibility. Don’t confuse that flexibility with ease. Working from home with kids is a challenging struggle, to put it mildly.

Without that flexibility, I would of easily lost my job by now. Since the middle of January, I’d be lucky if I have made it to work 3 full weeks (which is only 3 days per week).

Of all the things we’ve caught this year, not a one of them has been a break.

If you read my last blog, you’ll remember that our Disney trip was one big fail which ended in non-stop sickness throughout February. Sadly, March has been no different. We’ve had cluster headaches, the stomach flu, pink eye, an ear infection/earache and a thrown out back (don’t even ask).

(And for anyone who would like to point out that my 8 month old goes to daycare…you are correct. My 8 month old does go to daycare 2 days a week. And in the past 2 months I think he’s made it to daycare 4 or 5 times (2 weeks). So keep your daycare judgements to yourself. I don’t judge you for your nanny or your in-home care or your family member or for being a stay at home.)

It’s March 25th and I’m just done…fed up, tired and frustrated. Everyday I look in the mirror and I see more grays, more wrinkles, more bags. My body feels so beat up and I’m exhausted.

You know the last time I did anything leisurely? The last time my husband and I had dinner together that didn’t consist of keeping other humans occupied? The last time I went to the gym? Watched TV? Slept without interruption?

This is real life. This isn’t some fake Facebook best life post. This $hit is hard.

So to all you parents out there that are struggling, feel like you can’t catch a break, are rundown, feel like you are sinking…

Today I failed…but I’m gonna wake up tomorrow (maybe at 2:15am again, who knows) and I’m gonna try all over again.

Because I’m a Mom and that is what we do.