This morning was a rush, as every morning is. I rush out the door just to sit in my car and idle in traffic. It is finally warm here in Michigan and by warm I am talking 75° this morning. I have been yearning for the warmth since January. I curse at the weather every day because I get so irritated with having to bundle up. I want to throw on my sandals and head out the door. I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my body and the wind in my hair as I drive. You know, the “feels” of life. The nature, the simplicity. I miss that. So often I am in a daze with my kids and having the sun shine down gives me hope that I can make it through the tantrums and demands of everyday life.

On my ride into work, I chat with my husband about various topics and today (and for the past month or so), it has been about how I feel – like a robot – always on the go, never really allowing for downtime. Just going through the motions of day-to-day living. I am the hamster on the wheel that keeps running but doesn’t see myself getting anywhere. And I get sad. I feel sorry for myself. I know all about the power of positivity and try to enjoy my cup half full versus half empty, but lately, it’s been hard. 

And it makes perfect sense why. My family and I haven’t had a real vacation in a year. And when you take a vacation with young children, there isn’t much relaxation going on. I really, really could use a weekend trip to a tropical island sans kids, but oh, the mom guilt wouldn’t allow for that. Nor would my finances. So I continue to strive on and remind myself that everyone does it. I am just burnt out. And which I am. 

Just as I was getting on the elevator this morning on my way up to my office, a co-worker asked about my kids. And my response, “Good, you know, they’re kids.” He knew what I meant. I ain’t one to sugar coat how kids can be. You probably know that about me if you read my blog or if you know me personally. There is no reason to hide the truth. Kids are WORK. And some parents work at it harder or have circumstances that don’t allow for much rest or weekend getaways. 

And the response from my coworker (who’s also a parent) was one of understanding, “Feel like a hamster on a wheel yet?”

Boy, do I ever, I thought.

Least I’m not alone. 

 

Follow:

 

One of the very hardest things about being a parent is making sure you are a good role model. Like all the time. Which is hard. Obviously, most of us are just trying are best at this parenting thing. It is without any hesitation a high demanding job, a job we do for quite a while before we see any reward.

We pray our children grow into awesome, contributing members to society.

We want to leave a legacy. We want our kids to be better than what we are or were.

My mother is an extreme talent. Her specialty and one true love has always been the piano. She used to tell me she always had a dream to play at Carnegie Hall in her youth. The biggest reason her dream never came to fruition was her own self-doubt. When she got married and became a mother three times over her dreams seemed to fade even faster.

When I was a young child, she taught piano lessons in our home. Even during my high school years, she taught on and off. I used to take her talent for granted. She had tried to teach me piano but I never had a real inclination to learn. And I never really gave her skill much thought until I became an adult and a mother myself. Her gift is obvious to all that hear her play.

My mother always second guessed herself. She always compared her talent to others. And I think after she divorced my father she was very depressed but never truly admitted it and I do believe if affected her self-worth even more.

A couple of years ago, she bought my oldest daughter a keyboard and said, “I hope she learns to play.” My daughter was 3-years-old at the time and had no interest in learning to play – rather banging on the keyboard was her idea of fun. Two years later and now my mom is just beginning to teach my oldest the basics of the keys, how to read music, etc.

My mother is in her 70s now and I know her biggest hope is that one of her grandchildren learns to play the piano. The one legacy she can leave. A piece of her undeniable talent, her contribution to this world. And a knowing she taught her grandchild to play.

But, if neither of my girls shows interest in the piano, that’s OK. Whatever passion they have, whatever it is that motivates them, I want them to attack it with full throttle. No second guessing themselves. I often say, “when there is a will, there is a way.” And I truly believe that.

Just like my mom, throughout my life, I’ve often doubted myself. My capabilities. My skills. In my early 30s, I guess you could say my soul was craving a creative outlet. I found myself writing a story that consumed me. That story was later self-published, thanks to the help of a family member. I was pregnant with my daughter when the finished product landed on my doorstep. I remember thinking how surreal it was – a book I wrote, in the flesh.

I never really marketed the book. And I really started to doubt its worth. My worth as a writer. I mean, I never really wrote before. How could I think my novella was a worth a read? Looking back now, I see that I allowed my ego to get in the way. I allowed my own self-criticism make me believe I wasn’t worthy of being a successful writer. And then just like my mother, I started my family and put my dream of being a writer on hold.

But the one thing I have that my mom didn’t is a supportive husband. I am grateful to my husband for always telling me, reminding me, that I am good enough.

When I became pregnant a second time, my mindset shifted and my creativity started to nudge at me. There is something about being a mother that makes you feel empowered. Something that makes you feel like you can do anything. And after the birth of my second child, I started this blog.

I had no idea how much time went into blogging; something I am still learning. It’s a slow process because I work outside of the home and my blog has now become like my third child who doesn’t get fed often. Oops.

There have been times I’ve said to my husband, “Maybe I should just quit. I don’t think many people read what I post.” But he always encourages me to keep at it. Something I am grateful for. And isn’t this a dilemma many bloggers face?

And, I can’t quit. I enjoy it too much. I enjoy the expression of writing, the freedom, the creativity.

I also want my girls to witness my efforts towards something I am passionate about. My 5-year-old knows I blog and will ask about it every now and then.

I try to never talk myself down in front of my kids. Regardless of how I feel inside. I want them to witness my hard work and to see my achievements. So that one day, when they find their true passion, they always believe in themselves.

Confidence is an important trait for everyone to have, but its weight is slightly heavier when you’re a parent. For the words you say have an echo effect on your children. It’s important for them to see and hear a mother who believes in herself.

You have to show your kids you can do it – whatever it is. So they believe they can, too.

Follow:

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!

Follow:

I don’t know about you, but in our house, it always used to be a battle to get our toddler to eat dinner. My daughter will be 2-years-old in May and she started giving us her toddler opinion right around the 18-month marker. You know, full blown ‘tude .

Like most families, every night we try to sit down as a family and enjoy a nice dinner after a long day. Every single night (and mainly the days I worked) she would resist dinner. She would downright cry and scream for what seemed no apparent reason. And of course she couldn’t verbalize her upset with just the 15 or so words in her vocabulary.

It was tiring, it was confusing, I mean wasn’t she hungry? I am always famished by the time I get home from work, but kids are different. They are different in the sense that “eating” takes up their precious play time. It took me a couple of months to figure out how to get my daughter interested in dinner. I mean, we all know that eating before bed is necessary for a good night’s sleep.

I have noticed for myself and my kids the strongest desire to eat is around lunch time. I believe it’s because our bodies have been up for hours and we need a decent meal to get us through our long day. Both of my kids have always ate the best at lunch time. And since I work outside of the home, I don’t always know how well they eat at lunch each day. And toddlers sleep patterns can be erratic. It’s best to make sure they get some good nutrients in their bellies before shut-eye, otherwise, who knows what time they’ll wake up wailing because they’re hungry.

According to Ayurvedic wisdom, the biggest meal of the day should be around noon, as this is when our digestive system is working at its best. I agree wholeheartedly with this logic, but I also want to make sure my toddler’s tummy has some food in it before she dozes into hopefully a nice slumber.

There is a trick to the dinner time toddler madness. I’m sure not all parents will agree with my tricks and that’s OK. There is no one size fits all when it comes to parenting. You do what works best for you and your family. The biggest challenge we faced at dinner was my daughter sitting in her booster chair. Amazingly enough, Minnie Mouse isn’t as attractive as mom’s lap. I’ve learned that the best way for her to eat at dinner is to allow her to sit on my lap. Once I made that switch, we noticed a decrease in the number of outbursts.

The second thing I started to do was offer her a cookie with her meal. I know some might shake their heads at this, but we always give our kids a treat with or after dinner. My oldest generally eats her dinner without many complaints and knows if she eats a decent amount – she’ll get a cookie or something sweet afterward. Since she always finishes before her younger sister, she gets her treat while sister is still humming and hawing over what is in front of her. And of course, little sister wants in on the goods. I quickly realized with my youngest that when I gave her a cookie or say, a donut hole – she would then eat the other food on her plate.

Of course, at first, I thought it was a fluke. And I tried it again the following night, the night after, and the night after that and voila! It worked like a charm. Every. Time. She’d take a little bite of a cookie, then eat a strawberry. Then another bite of pasta, and a bite of her cookie.

And the best thing of all with my newfound discovery… most nights she doesn’t even finish her dessert and she eats a bulk of her dinner. #winning

I don’t know about you but there are only so many battles I can deal with. And after a long day at the office, a long commute, and tired eyes – the last thing I want to do is fight with my mini-me over where she sits or if she eats.

Follow:

Today’s post is brought to you by pure frustration. I have given up so much of myself as a person since becoming a mom. I have given up sleep, exercise, privacy, and hot coffee to name a few. My little one will be 2-years-old in May and I don’t care if this sounds harsh, but I dislike this age very much.

My child is glued to me <literally> and what I mean by glued is: I wake up and she is attached to me from when I drink my coffee on the couch to when I try to eat my breakfast to when I use the restroom. She is at my side. She even insists on sitting on my lap when she eats – every time. I love her unconditionally but I cannot get a break, and I’m tired.

I have tried to be tough about it and not give into her demands. I have tried you guys, really tried. But I’m butt fucking tired! My husband always catches up on his sleep on the weekends since he works two jobs and guess what? Mama never gets to sleep in or have downtime unless I’m at work. And the one thing I refuse to give into is letting her sleep in our bed. I learned with my oldest if you have a young child in your bed – you never rest. And I cannot not rest and not have any bit of alone time during the day. Guess I choose my battles.

If I have to choose between sleep and eating, I guess sleep wins because I never get enough of it. I am writing this while she at the moment is sitting on my lap playing with her sister’s tablet. This is my downtime. She is not crying or demanding something, so I guess I’ll take it when I can get it.

Follow: