Don’t Miss the Magic

As we have all heard and those who live it, parenting is hard.  There are days when you lose your mind and days when you lack sleep and feel half alive (like today).   It’s so easy to harp on the negative, to think about all the things not done… the forever accumulating to do list. The challenges, the exhaustion, the LAUNDRY… ugh.

The key to achieving a more calm state, one I need constant reminding of, is to accept and on top of that… ENJOY.  There is magic to this time, to every age of a child, to every experience in family.  I find myself sometimes rushing the years ahead in my mind… oh I can’t wait until Little Man doesn’t need to get picked up constantly when I’m trying to make dinner, or Little Lady doesn’t need help with homework or endless answers to the constant chatter.   Moments later I think… there will be a day when they don’t need or want me like they do now.  I get glimpses when my daughter is sassy pants and wants to be left alone….   When you think about your own adult self and the independence you have now, it’s crazy to think you ever NEEDED anyone to survive… right?  But we did, we all needed someone.  If we were lucky enough, we had parents that loved and supported us… even amidst yelling and  stress and jobs and LIFE.. they were there.

So I strive for this and to not MISS the magic happening right now.  The sweet way my daughter still believes in the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa…and adamantly defends them to the older kids at after care that tell her they are fake.  She loves the magic still, the princesses and everything that entails… she’s so innocent and sweet… and even when I was yelling my head off today, she patted my arm and said “It’s OK Mama” with her big blue eyes shining up at me.  I really hope she never loses that, that inclination to lean towards compassion instead of anger.   I pray she passes it onto her little brother who adores her and smiles every time she is near.  The magic between the two of them is already palpable.

So many moments can just pass us by if we don’t take notice to them.. if we don’t allow ourselves to feel them.  Not all of them will be rosy or end well.   I think that’s OK too, life isn’t a fairy tale, but it’s real and amazing and getting hung up on the small stuff is just not worth it.

Take your moment today and flip it around… be appreciative of the hug at the end of the fight, the compassion you extended or that was extended to you… take the good feeling away, don’t hold onto the hurtful one… smile.  Take the approach to the day in which you live, laugh, and love.   I promise I’ll do the same… the world could use it.

2017-04-13 09_52_05-smile laugh love - Google Search

Robbed Time

When I started to think about what I wanted to write about on this topic, I had one intent.  Releasing the anger that builds up inside when I feel cheated out of time with one or both of my kids, along with the time set aside for me.  For instance, when looking forward to time with my little man, still not able to walk and trying his best, all smiles and giggles, and my little lady decides she needs all my attention at that moment.  I was bubbling up with anger towards her, yelling far more than I should and expecting (Ugh, I should know better… read about expectations here: The thing about expectations) her to get  that the baby needs my time too.

I then would also rush towards anger when my son wouldn’t stay asleep during my daughter’s bedtime routine.  That’s the time when she confides in me, we read together, and we snuggle.  It’s our 20 minutes a day of mama / daughter time.  And he was robbing that from her, and again, I was angry.

I started obsessing about the me time I was missing.  Where was my time to write?  When was my downtime to veg and watch The Voice? And what about workout time… that’s been nonexistent!  Instead I was falling into bed knowing I’d be woken up by one or two kids at some point in the night for who knows how long.  And inside, the rage continued.

Now with all that said, I should note that my rational self realized throughout these feelings that I was lashing out and getting unreasonably fired up.  I have two kids, a full time job and a traveling husband, this is life as I have chosen it to be.  I have read enough and continue to about positive thinking, so what the heck is going on here?  I have forgiven myself somewhat, knowing I was operating on not enough sleep and solo.  However, I don’t want rage to be my default no matter what the situation.

anger-inside-out Credit: Movie- Inside Out

Even if feisty by nature, the happiness of those around me and myself has really been suffering.  At this stage in life, Mama is my children’s center.  And if their center is always teetering on erupting, well that doesn’t leave a great foundation for the times we are not together and how to cope with their own struggles.

So, here I was, coming around and realizing for the umpteenth time in my life, it’s better to roll with it than get upset.  To help the littles realize they have to take 2nd or 3rd slot at times and it’s going to be OK.  I was slowly coming around to all of this when a tragic incident happened at an event in my community.

My best friend is a runner and our 3rd musketeer was in town, so we went to cheer her on in a local race.  We had a really nice start to the day, got to see each other and our kids on a beautiful sunny morning (not so great for the runners) and cheer our friend on as she finished 13.1 miles.  I left feeling refreshed and looking forward to the day.  I found out later on that a woman a few years younger than me with 3 young kids collapsed at the end of the race.  She has now passed on.  And I can’t stop thinking about her… about how her time was robbed and there is no turning that clock back.  What a reality check, she was young and healthy, doing something good for herself and her body and for whatever reason her time was up.  That could be any of us on any day and we forget that, ALL THE TIME.  We waste time being angry or worried, not smiling, not laughing, not cherishing those we love and care about.  There will be moments when we are down, angry, and unreasonable.  I get that.  But getting lost in it is the real struggle, not able to step back, breathe and remember our time here is short and then determining the way we want to spend it.  To face situations with understanding, to give a hug vs. a harsh word. To remember we we are all human, and therefore flawed.

To NOT forget our time is finite… let go of the anger and hold onto the sweetness.  I urge you to enjoy yours as I continually try to create this balance for myself.

Thank you for reading and helping me towards that goal! I wish you the best towards finding your balance as well ❤.

life balance

What does Success look like to you?

Let’s start this one off with a dictionary definition (source – dictionary.com):

Success [suh k-ses]

noun

1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors;the accomplishment of one’s goals.
2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3. a performance or achievement that is marked by success, as by the attainment of honors: The play was an instant success.
4. a person or thing that has had success, as measured by attainment of goals, wealth, etc.:

She was a great success on the talk show.

 

My favorite is the first one noted above, centering on goals.  We all have goals right?  Big ones and little ones; realizing the right mix helps us to feel accomplished.  Conversely, too many big or difficult goals that are hard to meet can make us feel deflated.  And too many goals in general… utter chaos and overwhelming!

My latest attempt at goal setting is doing my best to pay attention to what grabs my attention and makes me feel something.  Then if that passion continues, set some goals around it.  Counting my blessings daily as posted here: The Best Perspective has been one avenue for me to tackle the goal of becoming a more consistently positive thinker.   I even have a metric built in for this one! I love a good SMART goal.  Measure success

Some other successes I chase after… when thinking about my world, am I doing enough in my own circle to feel like a successful human being?  Being the best parent I can be, a supporting wife, friend, daughter, sister… the true goal to choose kindness and understanding, to convey compassion vs. frustration.  This one is tricky for me, I have a short fuse at times and lean towards taking things personally.  So I need a lot of reminders, like the one below, and also a bit of patience with MYSELF first.

56573-quotes-about-not-taking-things-personally

There are lots of other goals as well…losing weight, to finally cleaning up that email inbox, to obtaining a master’s degree, or maybe writing a book (yikes!).   Part of life is shifting the goal to be more manageable, flexible, or even in the world of technology and business…agile.

For example. one of my goals at the start of this blog was 3 posts/ week.  I am averaging 1 per week since I created this blog a few months ago.  I have a lot of reasons and excuses.  No time, too tired, busy busy busy!  Truth be told, I didn’t factor in the fear of writing.  Of being read… of reaching MY success. Self-sabotage has come into play because it’s SCARY to do well.  For instance, it’s great to have a blog that hit home with many… and then the next gets no views.  So what if you have that amazing post, and then a not so great one?   Will you lose the followers you gained?  And if so, do you forge ahead, virtually brush yourself off, and get your thoughts out to the world again?

My latest mantra…

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Keep going.  Keep trying.  Your definition of success gets closer with every step.  

Thank you for reading and I would love to hear about your personal picture of success!

 

Puzzles

Have you ever faced a challenge that you couldn’t get to the root cause of, no matter how hard tried?  This almost sounds like a foreign concept to me based on my career of choice, which incorporates searching and unveiling hidden causes of stress and waste.  And though I am a strong believer in the “data doesn’t lie” statement that supports that data can tell the story of an issue, I realize that the data alone does not show the complete picture.  Nowadays I see there is another way of looking at things, an emotional, not quantifiable, way of learning the stories.  The anecdotal hints or reasons. These are equally important and should not be ignored.

So, when you are faced with a puzzle or challenge that is not easily solvable, what do you do?  And taking into account that your particular puzzle may be part of something or even of someone you hold dear, where do you go from there?

When it’s really scary and close to the heart, do you run and hide and hope it works itself out?  Or do you go after it head on and push fear aside? In my experience, I have done both.  In facing the challenge head on, there can be a lot of disrupt, lack of comfort, and all around uneasiness.  Who likes that?  So, maybe I have taken to hiding and hope it all works itself out.  Does it usually?  Truthfully no.  I have changed my ways in recent years and realized that most puzzles need to be faced head on and are worth the frustration.   What’s thrilling is when you can solve it and have that wonderful feeling of accomplishment!  On the flip side… when it’s an emotional puzzle, for instance,when the puzzle is a person you care deeply about, and you’re using your empathetic muscle to the MAX and feel like you are continually hitting a wall…OUCH !  The resulting overwhelming feeling of failure can feel like a sucker punch.

In my case, my recent puzzles of question are my kids.  My son who is still an infant took quite a while to figure out in regards to eating and sleeping… and I might note I’m watching him roll around in his crib as I type, even though last night and the night before he didn’t move an inch at this time.  Oh well, I will take the glass half full approach tonight and look forward to the snuggles ♥… I was not mentally able to do that months ago, luckily my brain gave up on fighting that battle and learned to accept what is right now.

As for my daughter, she’s tougher in so many ways.  You would think it gets easier as they get older, rationally they are now able to verbalize what they’re thinking and feeling.  Right?  Nada.  She just turned 7 and for the past several months she has been struggling at school.   It didn’t make any sense to me when she would seem to know her stuff at home and then fail when tested at school.  We’re still working out what’s going on there.

And her behavior has been all over the place at home, yet she remains an angel for her teachers.  I won’t even pretend to have her figured out on this front, but luckily, as in every complex puzzle, I think I am starting to find a few of the key pieces.  For one, when she flips out at home, I FINALLY got her to confide in me that she’s not getting along with a couple of friends from class.  Of course it breaks my heart to hear how she got her feelings hurt when one of her buddies was dismissive at recess.  In her world, that’s devastating to her and she really falls apart inside.   What’s so interesting is that she doesn’t let any of that out at school and promptly takes it out on me, Mama, within minutes of being picked up at the end of school day.

Now I know I am not alone on this one, but it sucks!  To have someone you love more that anything else in this world continually take out all their frustrations on you is rough; however, I gotta tell you… I see glimmers of hope.  I see the edges of the puzzle forming and now figuring out the middle will take some time and with any luck I’ll be able to figure out where most of the pieces fit and it will be worth every second.  I know I’ll never have every piece of this puzzle, I don’t think we really know anyone 100%… but I have faith that as long as she knows I’m trying to understand how she fits together, she’ll know she’s not alone and Mama will always be here, just hopefully not as the punching bag.

Until next time…good luck solving all of your life puzzles!

Photo credit: GT

 

 

 

 

The Best Perspective

Do you remember back to when you were a kid and what life was like?  How you viewed the world? Getting to relive that time is one of the things I love most about kids, their perspective on life. They’re so curious to see the world, to touch and feel and see and smell all kinds of things. They get excited for the ordinary stuff that as an adult I realize I take for granted. Like a new notebook or an eraser, who remembers being so overjoyed at receiving an eraser?!

Beyond their general excitement and curiosity, their resilience is amazing. They can have a whopper of a fight and five minutes later they are hugging you and apologizing, and believe giving you a kiss will make it all better. They can be hurt or excluded by one friend and find happiness with another one.  When did we lose that ability?  When did the answer change from a simple apology and a kiss, to a grudge?

We walk around mad or aggravated at people often. Or I should say, at least I do. I try my best at those times to channel some positive feelings, but it definitely is a struggle.  A decent amount of adult life seems to be dedicated to working through complex emotions, trying not to take things so personally, and realizing there’s a lot more to life.

To continue on this path for my own mental health, I recently started a challenge that I read about in Forbes.  The goal is to write down 3 positive things per day for 45 days. Lucky for me a few of my buddies are joining in. Today is day 1, and as my family and I are sitting in a ton of traffic on the way to Philly, I gotta admit that my mind is resisting.  Rather than complain I thought, OK, some now that I have some down time, work on a blog post!  My little man is just content as can be taking in the world through the window, and my little lady has been happily playing with the same toy and watching a movie.  No one is screaming, we actually remembered to pack snacks (Yay us!), and the world could be a lot worse today.  So I am holding on to a few moments of peace and doing something I enjoy… not too shabby.

And in closing, I thought this quote was perfect for being stuck in traffic 😊😬.  Leaving you with the hope we can all take a few moments to appreciate what’s around us.  To slow down, enjoying the bits of peace we get, and find something to be curious about today.

 

We can’t be everything 

I wake up everyday knowing I have about a 1000 things to do, starting with getting the kids ready for daycare and school.  Somewhere in there I get myself ready while trying to chat with my hubby for a few minutes before we leave each other for the day.  Sometimes I catch up with friends or family on the ride before starting a day full of work.  After work there is no rest with picking up the kids and making dinner, helping with homework, cleaning up, paying bills, and occasionally catching up with the hubby, friends, or watching possibly a half hour of TV before surendering to sleep.  I know this type of day is nothing special, many moms and dads have days that mirror mine.  And most days it’s ok, filled with happy moments, some frustrating ones, but overall positive.

Then there are the other days.  The days when one or more people in my house are in a bad mood, mean mood, and meltdowns take over.  Days I still need to be Mama and stay calm before I have my own private meltdown.  I know this is also something other parents struggle with and it’s hard for us to not all feel alone in that.

I then reflect and sometimes beat myself up a bit.  I should have done something different.  Have I checked in with my Mom? Have I reached out to a friend? Did I give my hubby a kiss goodbye? Did I hug my daughter enough this morning ? Did I give my little man enough cuddles and kisses before daycare?  Parents are always reminded these days that the kids being little does not last forever and that these days have a lot of magic to them that you do not want to miss. Parents today are more vocal about the struggles that come along with this time in our lives too, but sometimes it’s still isolating when it appears you are the only one without the ideal family. I think we all get lost in that with the sea of beautiful Facebook and Instagram pics.  Nobody ever posts a pic of a fight, including me.  Perhaps I should.

When I look at my day I wonder, where was I? I don’t remember taking a moment to remember who I am, to do something that’s good for me, to take a minute to take care of myself along with all my other responsibilities.  And I remind myself again, I am not alone feeling like this.

Remembering I can’t be everything is hard, I think most people want to be the fixer, especially when thinking about their kids. Watching them struggle and feeling like they are a puzzle you can’t solve is one of the worst situations to face.  Physical pain can usually be fixed with a kiss and a Monster High bandaid that is super cool.  Mental pain, that one is tricky and as a parent I don’t know how to be there and let go at the same time.  I don’t know how to let me little girl figure out her own way when she seems so lost and hurting.  I try my best to teach respect and give her calming down techniques.  And then I have to leave her to fend for herself at school and hope she isn’t hurting or feeling alone.  That she is happy and having fun and learning, and knowing that Mama and Daddy are her anchor.  That even on the hard days, we are her safe zone.

I know I can’t be everything to everyone right now or really ever, but I hope I can at least succeed at providing that safe and loved feeling for the two most important little humans in my life.

To all the parents out there, know I think you are doing your best and that’s enough.