This is the Life We Live

A thought to contemplate today, and perhaps tomorrow as well. We live our lives everyday, either happy or mad, at ease or stressed, hoping and dreaming. We admire others lives, and have hopes for change in our own.

Whatever it may be, we have the life we live. But how we view it is up to us.

We could be frustrated with how things have been going lately. And truthfully I would be a hypocrite if I told you that was wrong. Frustration is part of life. It’s part of living in the uncomfortable that comes with change and growth. But too much frustration, and living in the negativity that it can create, is unhealthy.

We need to find a way to turn those frowns of ours upside down. We need to get back to the power of positivity. We need to start saying “this is the life we live” with an uplifting tone in our voices.

We need to learn to appreciate the things life has given us no matter how unexpected or challenging they may be.

Yes, giving ourselves a lot of grace comes along with this. Allowing moments of sadness and tears is absolutely okay. Accepting the need for help is normal. Turning down invitations and reevaluating commitments may be essential.

But recognizing what good things come from the moments we weren’t expecting is necessary. So today, as I try to look at my computer to work, and have an 18 month old climbing onto the couch next to me and slapping my keyboard, I pause. I think, this life I live is full of opportunity and blessings. Yes, it is stressful, out of my control, and has me crying multiple times a day. But, it is amazing, and I am glad to be here, overwhelmed with all the blessings and challenges life is giving me.

And parents who are reading this today, how can you do the same? How can you re-frame your situation to look at the positive? Even if it is only for a moment…

I encourage you, love the life you live, and love yourself for doing the best you can.

P.S. – If you need extra reminders, I encourage you to check out my products page where you can find parenting affirmation cards. These are great reminders, opportunities, to choose positivity.

Falling off track for your good, and when to restart

I’ve fallen off track recently. If you follow me, you know I have a themed post every day. And some weeks I’ll miss a post, but I’ll get right back to it the next day. My daily micro-blog posts keep me going and inspired. And hopefully they keep my readers inspired as well.

But, I fell off track, starting Friday. I didn’t post Family Friday, and subsequently I didn’t write on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.

It wasn’t that I lost interest or have given up. In fact, it was the opposite. Last week I struggled to find myself, in the business sense that is. I want so badly to be a successful writer, and create this Parenting Roller Coaster brand of mine. To build my following and inspire others the way I dream of. But this past week I was feeling defeated, as if this dream couldn’t happen.

So I paused for a long weekend. I paused not because I didn’t want this, but because I needed to reconnect with why I started this and continue everyday. What is that? My family of course. I spent more time with them, worked on projects for a comfortable living environment, played in the blow up pool, watched movies, and just plain played.

So what about you? Why do you do the things you do? Or why did you stop? Are you inspired to do something, or drawn to a goal but haven’t started yet? Or stopped because it was uncomfortable or felt impossible?

We can work through this together.

It is almost guaranteed that you will feel defeated and want to give up at different points in your journey. For runners there is a point right before the “runner’s high” where a runner feels like moving forward is impossible. It is only the runner that pushes past this point that will grow and improve, and experience the coveted “running high”. This is a great analogy to attach to any goal, big or small. We have to work through the hard parts to experience the successes we desire.

Pushing through these challenges, or rather, working through them, is important. And at this time one of the best things we can do is to reconnect with our WHY. Why are we here? Running this race?

If reconnecting with your why means taking a break, and being with that value that drove you here, then you absolutely should. But not too long of a break, because consistency in our actions can be a valuable asset to our successes. However, reconnecting can mean recharging and coming back even stronger.

This, of course, doesn’t have to be about parenting. This can be for parents working toward any goal. Even for non-parents, though I’m here writing this blog today primarily for the parenting crew.

The truth is, anything worth having and achieving takes discomfort and work. We just have to be ready to accept the hard parts. And we have to move in stride to make sure our actions still align with our goals and values.

So what are you going to reconnect with today? Why are you running on your current path? Does it still align with your goals?

You’ve got this! You can reach those goals!

When do we know it’s right to make a change?

When our youngest child was born I struggled to return to work. Having our third and final child brought me to a place of wanting to be home with our children. I want to be able to help them learn and grow, and be the person to care for and inspire them in these younger stages of life.

However strong the desire to stay home, I needed to return to work. Our finances do not allow for one of us to stay home, though I’d even find satisfaction in having my husband home with our children. Truthfully, our wonderful nanny gives me piece of mind as well, when we are not able to be home with our children, but I still have the desire to be the one at home with them. Thankfully I have a career I chose, and I get to do what I love, but still, the desire is there.

Lately, so many things have been driven by COVID-19. And this feeling of mine has also been influenced by the pandemic.

Now, instead of teaching in a classroom, I teach online, from home. For all of you now working from home, I see you, I get it, and I am sorry. In so many ways working from home has been a blessing because I get to be with my children all the time, and I get to see them so much more. But, I also see my children all the time, and working is so much harder!

Additionally, our oldest is not at school, but in school while at home. We finished the last three months of school this way last year, and will be entering the new year this way as well. This shift is almost enough to prompt us to switch to a home-school platform, though I wouldn’t honestly know where to begin.

I do not aspire to only be a stay-at-home mom. This is a wonderful thing, and I value every parent who has the strength and devotion to take on this thankless job. But those that know me know I am not good at focusing on one thing and being present. I work on presence everyday, but this is a weakness of mine.

So my dream of being with my children is perhaps a bit more complex than it should be. I dream of writing. I dream of writing books, getting published, and creating works that people want to read. That they choose to read. And I dream of doing this in my own time, while working around the schedule my children have created for our household. You know, the schedule often driven by morning routines, eating many meals, needing educational moments, having story time, taking naps, and going to the potty.

My dreams of writing and being home with my children have been pulling at me more and more lately. This idea of writing, and publishing, has given me a platform for my dreams of staying at home with my children. But yet, it is still just a dream. I am nowhere near making this dream happen, and it hurts my heart.

But my children will still be at home, trying to learn, as I try to teach others. My job is important, and I make an impact on other futures. I remind myself of this everyday. And I worked hard for this career, this career I am proud of. Perhaps that makes this war inside me even more tumultuous.

So as parents, when do we decide to make a drastic change? When can we choose our career, or our children? How do we decide what the best move is for achieving our parenting goals? And are we even capable of recognizing what will have the most positive impact for our children?

I know I am not the only parent who has felt a shift in thought and desire since COVID-19 hit. And, if we think this will change, it likely won’t. Even if this pandemic ended tomorrow, which it will not, we have already grown. This pandemic has given us a new perspective on our lives and our parenting. We should be thankful for this shift, for this motivation to want to do things differently.

Yes, it sounds odd that such a disheartening and harmful thing can give us new light and motivation. But then, sometimes the best things come from the darkest moments in our lives.

The inspiration is there. Now, we just need to figure out what the right thing is. We just need to determine what each of our families need, and what each of us as individuals need. How can we be better in ourselves and in our parenting? Does that look like slowing down and changing careers? Or starting something new and showing our children perseverance and grit? What if it is figuring out a way to set everything else aside to put our children at the forefront?

Whatever this looks like for you, I hope you can determine if now is the time to make a change. Believe in your why, and believe in your family. After all, these are perhaps the most important things.

The Ever Evolving Experience of Parenting

Today my sister sent me a message. I well thought out, sincerely written, message. A concern she had over something our oldest son told his cousin (her daughter) this weekend. This message was difficult for me to read for two reasons, but neither of which were her immediate concerns in sending it.

My sister, like me, is learning how to navigate all the challenges of parenthood. It is not an easy journey. Not anything like we imagined. At times it is far more difficult than we imagined, but it is always far more rewarding than we anticipated. So, in an attempt not to hurt my feelings, my sister waited several days to talk to me about the situation my son created.

Her message to me simply explained my son had made a statement about how we, he, was better than her daughter because we, he, had a newer truck and newer camp trailer than she had. He not only hurt my niece’s feelings, but also repeated the same thing to my sister at a completely different time, likely hurting her feelings as well.

Receiving this message I instantly called my sister. She was concerned I would think she was attacking my parenting, which was not her intention. I immediately apologized (though still in shock), and let her know I would never see it that way. I encouraged her to tell me right away next time a situation arises where any of my children say something inappropriate and hurtful.

So why was this situation difficult for me?

First, I never want to come off as a parent who cannot receive feedback. And I never want to make anyone feel hesitant or uncomfortable in offering feedback. I know my children aren’t perfect. They are growing, developing humans that have faults, and will continue to have faults. And I know my husband and I are not perfect parents. After all, nobody is ever perfect, right?

I want my family and my friends to say something if my child is not kind. And I want them to say something to me if I am not kind. In our home, our most important thing is to be kind to everyone. We want to show kindness and love, because everyone is deserving and we are not better than anyone.

Second, I was presented with a new challenge in parenting. How would my husband and I get our point across that this behavior was not okay, and still manage our emotions when discussing this with our son?

I was partially relieved to find out my husband had already overheard our son making his statements to his aunt, and immediately set him in timeout and had a conversation with him. For our children, addressing the problem at the time it occurs, seems to be the best and most effective approach.

To be clear, we have a newer truck and a newer camp trailer, but we make payments every month, and therefor we are both working parents without an option to stay at home. Having nice things does not make us better, it simply ties us to our obligations even when we would prefer other options. My sister has always been savvy when it comes to money management, and has done a fantastic job at choosing a debt free lifestyle so they have more freedom. I envy her ability to make this happen, and I am proud of her for her well thought out decisions.

This afternoon I have had to make sure I do not get angry. Our son is only six, and has taken a strong interest in all transportation options, including cars, trains, planes, and camping trailers. He is aware of the differences in age, and somehow this has translated to value in his mind. I cannot be angry with him if I want him to understand he was not nice.

Talking with him I explained we are not better than anyone, emphasis on not better, and followed with how we are all the same and need to treat everyone equally. I was then straight forward and explained we have the cars we have because we make payments and that is why Mom and Dad have to work all the time. I finished with the important piece that he hurt his cousin’s feelings, and that is never okay.

I also have been managing my emotions in the sense of sadness. With our constant teaching of being kind, I feel sad we had a situation like this, intentional or not. Six-year-olds are learning so much, and it is inevitable that they will say something we perceive as unacceptable. And, likely, every time it will hurt, and tears will either fall or be fought back.

My message today: Parenting is tough! Things are always changing, and our children are always evolving. Evolve with them. Make sure you are kind and teach kindness. And be open to feedback from others, because it is hard for them to say something just like it is hard for you to hear it.

Perhaps it’s time we get pushed outside our comfort zones

The events in our country recently have created much unease across the nation. What happened to George Floyd was, without question, appalling, heartbreaking, and so blatantly cruel. The negativity toward our police officers is disheartening because the majority of them are truly here to serve and protect all of us. And the looting and destruction of property in cities across the country is terrifying and unsettling.

In our house we have found ourselves having uncomfortable conversations. My husband and I are white, and thus, have white children. Still, with similar backgrounds, my husband and I feel uncomfortable expressing our feelings to one another, even in the security of our own home. It is as if we shouldn’t have an opinion, or a voice, because of the color of skin we were born with. And we have no idea what to tell our children. This is disheartening. It disrupts our world.

But then I realized perhaps that is the point.

I remind my students all the time they must be uncomfortable to learn. “Get comfortable being uncomfortable,” I tell them. And in my career and goals in life I absolutely believe that’s true.

So why should I think this moment, right now, should be any different? Why am I so uncomfortable in the skin God gave me right now?

So, laying here before bed, I tell my husband, “Perhaps the point is to make us feel uncomfortable, because maybe that’s what it’ll take to really help us learn.” He agreed.

So what can we learn? We can learn to identify with the feeling of being singled out because of the color of our skin. This can help us learn that just because our skin identifies us as part of a demographic, doesn’t mean we are all the same, or are all what we are perceived to be by society. It can help us understand what it’s like to be judged by the color of our skin and not by who we are as a person.

My husband and I don’t judge based on skin tone, heritage, or background. We choose to get to know people and understand who each unique person is. But we do not know what it is like to be Black, or Asian, or Hispanic. This list doesn’t end here either. All we can identify with is being Caucasian, having English heritage and being born and raised in the United States. This is who we are, how we grew up, and all we know.

This week we only get a small glimpse into what it feels like to be judged by the color of our skin. Only a brief moment of feeling uncomfortable with how we look. For us, this will likely pass. But for many this is how they feel everyday of their lives. There are not just fleeting moments of discomfort. Not just temporary squirms and feeling of injustice. For many there’s no reprieve. No solace. Only anguish and pain, and a longing to be treated as equal, without the fear of being shot for simply wearing a hoodie on a cold night.

So perhaps it is time for us to be pushed out of our comfort zones. Maybe then we can learn. Maybe then we can try to understand.

My husband, also brought up a thought provoking observation. The news, while attempting to remain unbiased, was still not giving a voice to those peacefully protesting. Those on stage, that the news anchors praised for influencing peaceful demonstrations, were still not being heard. Those of us in the comfort of our own homes do not know what these speakers are saying. We cannot learn from them. Their voices continue to be lost.

So without truly knowing what the message is, I can only assume. I am just guessing, grasping at straws in an attempt to understand and relate. But my new discomfort is stirring up thought provoking topics, all in an attempt to think of how we can be a part of the solution. How we can inspire change in our future generations.

It should not matter what color someone’s skin is. It is unacceptable for us to judge someone based on their profession. There is much more good in this world than bad. Many amazing individuals waiting to be seen for their uniqueness. And part of that unique identity comes from the differences in cultures and views of our world. It is time we step outside our comfort zones. It’s time we all work toward the common goal of equality and social justice. It is time we listen to one another, and give strength and voice to those who need to be heard. It’s time to make the world a better place.

In such an uncertain time, one thing I know for certain is the love from teachers

This week has been bitter sweet. We get this unexpected and blessed time to spend with our children due to COVID-19. No matter how stressful, overwhelming, and ever changing this time may be, we all have taken moments to cherish the amazing beings that are our children.

When J entered his first year of school this past fall, we felt unsure of what the school year held. He’s our first of three to go to school. Our school district was new to us, and though research said it was a good district, we didn’t know for sure. He was slotted to attend an elementary school that was older, and in some ways appeared warn down and weathered. Could this indicate a school that might not be great? And what about his age? He had just turned five years old only two months before the school year started, and we were unsure if it was the right choice to send him.

During our special introductory day just before classes were to start, J had a one-on-one appointment scheduled with his kinder teacher. As parents this was also our opportunity to meet the teacher and ask her any questions we had. She immediately set our nerves at ease. Her welcome was warm, and she formed an instant connection with J. We established a relationship with her at that moment too, where we agreed to stay in touch and discuss and work through challenges if they arose.

And oh boy did challenges arise! J is a loving kid, but also comes with many opinions. His will to do things, or not do them, can be strong. But we felt blessed because we were in the trenches with an amazing kinder teacher who loved our child and was dedicated to his success.

Then, something so unexpected happened. Schools shut down for what we believed would be six weeks. Then the rest of the year. Our hearts sank. This was never part of our plan when introducing our oldest to his educational career. This was a plot line from a movie, or the manifestations of a bad dream. Could one virus really shut down everything? Would it shut down the path to our son’s future?

But J’s devoted teacher never had any intention of letting her kindergarteners fall through the cracks. She got to work immediately creating plan, after plan, after revised plan. She set up meetings, then adjusted as the school district caught up and asked for more structure, then less structure, then more structure.

And let me tell you, she did this all while taking care of her two young children at home! It’s dedication to be a teacher to other people’s children, and a whole new dedication level to suddenly be your children’s teacher as well. But, she never let this interrupt her determination to make this sudden rift feel anything but seamless.

Today she shared her heart with the parents of her kindergarten class. A wonderful, tear jerking, passionate letter of how she would have changed things if she’d known her last day with the kids was actually the last day. How she would have given big hugs, taken extra time, and given even more love. This coming from a teacher who always gave her all, no matter what. No matter her overwhelming fear of exposure to a deadly virus. No matter her concerns over families, students and jobs.

The amazing thing…the thing we should be so very thankful, grateful for this Teacher’s Week, is that our teacher isn’t the only one with such a big heart. There are many, many teachers out there taking a giant leap, and trusting in what innovations they can make, so their students can thrive in this very different time. They are all working tirelessly, coming up with creative solutions, and making themselves available for all the different needs of individual students. These heroes are fighting for our students by encouraging learning at any and all levels, while more importantly making sure they are taken care of at a psychological and emotional level. Because they recognize this time is hard on our children too, and they often don’t know how to express it as adults do. And, as teachers, they continue their battles for inequity and food insecurity, and many even ramp up their fight for change because all they can think of are the many children and their families who have so little.

So today, I thank our wonderful Mrs. W. And I thank all the other teachers out there who are embracing this shift in our world, because they are devoted to our learners of the world. What you do is amazing, and special, challenging, and hard. Thank you!

P.S. – I’m also sending all the love to our hard working nurses. Happy Nurse’s Week! From one nurse to the rest, you are also amazing! I love all you do. There’s a reason Nurse’s Week and Teacher’s Week fall at the same time. Because you are all amazing!

Why do I feel so out of place in the surroundings I love?

Today I drove for the first time in a week or so. I drove baby B to his 12 month well-child check. As he was scheduled to receive vaccinations, this visit was still considered essential amidst the Coronavirus lockdown. I thought it would feel good to get out of the house, to see people outside of our home. But with the dynamics of our community shifted from comfort to fear, this simply wasn’t the case.

I found myself even wondering if it was acceptable to have my window down. The sun was out. The temperature was in the low sixties. It was an ideal day for a drive, windows down, wind blowing through my hair. But it did not feel wonderful. It felt like I was breaking an unspoken rule.

Walking into the doctor’s office felt unsanitary and uneasy. Not necessarily for me. I am comfortable in healthcare settings, regardless of who is sick and what they may have. It comes with the territory of being a nurse. But truthfully it felt uncomfortable to those who work there. The front desk staff were cordial, but not social like normal. I felt like all eyes were on me as i tried to fill out forms and make sure my son didn’t touch anything. The medical assistant told my one year not to touch her arm…

The only moments that felt normal were when our family doctor examined B and spoke to me. I really appreciated being around someone who didn’t make me feel like I was walking on egg shells. But this bubble burst when it was again time to leave and get back to our car.

I was acutely aware of all the businesses that were closed. I found myself amazed at the number of people going through the fast food drive thru, while also feeling concerned for the vulnerable window attendant. I relayed scenarios in which I would be pulled over to confirm I was out for essential purposes.

The worst part of the entire experience was feeling dirty. This wasn’t the first time I felt like this. Since the shift in society from Coronavirus took place I’ve felt this way in public. Like I’m not clean, because I may have come in contact with something. And honestly I’m not even concerned about myself, but instead what I could expose someone else with. What if I transfer the virus from one surface to another? What if I take it back home to my children? It’s funny, feeling unclean. Actually, it’s not funny at all. It’s uncomfortable and disheartening.

And the feeling of isolation in public, well that’s worse than feeling isolated at home. Nobody talks to each other. Eye contact isn’t acceptable anymore. There’s no socialization. I’m afraid to have a tickle in my throat from needing to simply take a sip of water. What if my allergies get the best of me in the wrong moment?

The sad thing is, I’m not the only person feeling this way. Many, many people do. We are driven by fear. If not our own fear, then the fear of others. We are so overly cautious and aware of our surroundings and what others say, think, and do.

During my drive home I found myself thinking of two important things. One, I wondered whether we could go back to society as it was before this virus. Would we smile at strangers and strike up a conversation of commonality? I do hope so, but it is unclear. Fear can really change people. And two, how very glad I am that our children are young and naive. That they aren’t going out in public and seeing this drastic shift. And that hopefully they will recover.

So, I leave this message simply with hope. The hope that our children only see the good in this. The hope that our society will connect again. The hope that our children will be the drive for this connection. And the hope that as parents, as adults, we can also see the good as our children do. After all, they need us to.

The breaking moments

You know that moment when you are pushed so far you are about to fall off the ledge? And maybe you even do? You lose all sense of control, frustrated beyond belief, and can’t get back to a rational place to stay firmly grounded.

Your child, learning from home, chooses fit throwing over giving even the slightest bit of try. Your youngest joining in at just the right time, seeing you are about to lose it, throws every toy in sight down the stairwell, watching it all crash to the beautiful wood floors below.

The house is a disaster, and you are unable to keep anything neat and tidy, no matter how hard you try. Dishes pile up. Art projects gone awry scatter the dining room table, and floor. Laundry piles keep getting higher. All organization has left, leaving your home a disheveled mess.

Trying to figure out why you can’t gain control over your emotions, you realize you haven’t eaten. Again. And it’s almost dinner. But then, sometimes it’s hard to believe because you’ve served meal after meal, and cleaned up the remnants of kid-made snacks all day long.

And, speaking of things undone, you still have plenty of work you are supposed to get done, but, like everything else, you haven’t had the time you need to devote yourself.

Yes, this is when it all falls down. If you are lucky, you are still fighting back the tears. But likely, at least a tear or two has already fallen.

Then, you step out of your room, prepared for your inevitable explosion, to find an adorable scene. Stuffed animals lined neatly on the couch. And when you ask, you are told they represent Mama, Daddy, and the rest of the family.

And just like that, you are pulled back, rescued from the fall. Momentarily teetering on your tip toes, and reminded why you allow this dangerous dance in your everyday life.

Yes, this is hard. All of it. But, it is oh so worth it!

In the thick of it

Okay, how many parents feel like you are in the thick of it? Like never before. Yes, you no doubt know the feeling, and you can say first hand this stuff, the stuff we are working through, is some of the hardest!

We knew technology was ever evolving. We’ve talked about how our children would know technology beyond what we could fathom. We thought we would keep it at bay, fearing technology would keep them from productive things in life, and cause negative health impacts. Yet, here we are, running learning from a computer screen, at home.

Our six year old who is now attempting to navigate the first grade, with us dragging him every step of the way, kicking and screaming (and it’s unclear whether the child or the parent is the loudest, most resistant). He is learning to type, take photos, use a touch mouse, and get from one app to another, all with minimal reading and writing skills. He’s a wiz! He can show me how to do something that takes me much longer to figure out, and I know technology.

And yet, he’s still writing by hand, journaling, drawing pictures, working through math problems, and participating. He’s still developing all the skills we thought technology would remove from him. And, best yet, he knows when it’s time to walk away from all the tech and get out and play. A fine balance is happening here.

Now, I’m not one to say this all doesn’t come at a major cost of time, struggle and effort. This child of ours has zero ability to sit still for even five seconds (unless he’s ill). He cannot focus, and must be fighting through a thousand thoughts a second in his mind. I can only imagine what he struggles with internally.

And us? The parents? Well, we are both working full time and attempting to also raise a young toddler and a preschooler. Balance seems to not be our forte. We cannot keep up with anything and constantly feel like we are failing at everything.

For me, working from home adds a completely different level of stress and necessity. I am not sure how I’m managing any of it, and while I find pride in accomplishing even a single task, I turn around and cry because I feel like I am not giving anything my everything. And for someone who feels like things need to be successful and complete, this is not an easy pill to swallow.

None of our children are getting their particular emotional needs met, because we have too many balls in our court at any given time. Our oldest, while getting a bunch of attention from us directing his learning, falls short on feeling complete from the one on one fun time. Because, by the time we are done with his learning, we are scrambling to give the other two any semblance of devoted attention we can. But they feel left out because of the learning shift as well. So now we have a home full of children who are acting out because their emotional cups aren’t filled.

And speaking of emotional cups…My husband and I are so drained. So exhausted. So stressed. So…burnt…out… We aren’t filling our cups or our relationship’s cup. It’s just one exhausting day compounding on the next.

So where’s the light in this storm? Well…let me share. It’s in finding the funny, cute moments. It’s in reminding ourselves to be kind even when we feel like we cannot. It’s in seeing little successes. It’s in making it through another day and realizing we are one more step toward a weekend. It’s in the beautiful moments when our children do miraculous things (like potty training).

It’s in remembering that despite having limited adventures, we get to spend more time as a family than ever before.

Even if that means doing ten million things all at once, diverting our attentions in multiple directions, and trying to pull off a juggling act even the best of performers cannot fathom.

This is real life. This is what it’s like to be in the thick of it.

It is messy, hard, busy, exhausting, unappreciative, ungrateful, overwhelming, tear jerking, beautiful, rewarding, and strengthening.

It is perfectly impossible. And that is exactly where we want to be.

How will we ever learn to manage these new, more challenging than ever before, times?

I have always been one to take on many tasks. Always moving, always doing. The more the challenge, the more satisfying. Balancing, coordinating, and challenging myself has always been my way.

I think I have finally met my match though, in this “new normal” and in motherhood. The one challenge that has me trying to find ways to do less, because I can’t keep up. Balancing and coordinating cannot achieve what is necessary this time. Less would feel like so much more.

Each individual component is not necessarily overwhelming. I can care for our three young children while my husband is at work. I can work from home and complete my tasks. I can help our oldest son with his first-grade learning from home activities. I can keep up on my side hustles that demand my presence on social media. I can help our three-year old with her much needed potty-training tasks. I can keep up with chores and have a semblance of a managed home. But…I cannot do all these things, or even some of these things, with any real success.

And, as we all know, the opposite of success is failure. Something I do not manage well. Something many moms do not manage well. I feel like I am drowning almost all the time. Even if I have someone to help with the kids, I still can’t balance it all, because all three kids cannot be managed, with their different necessities, at the same time.

I’ve found myself crying more often. Much more often. More than I have ever cried before. Even more than the tears I shed during the holiday season, watching Hallmark movies that are predictable, but heartfelt and touching. What makes it more difficult is all the tears are sad tears. Frustrated tears. Defeated tears. No happy tears this time.

What’s more challenging, is it seems I am in this niche that is not all parents, or all moms, but rather a much smaller group. See, not all moms have three children. Not all families need both parents to work full time. Not all situations have a demanding job that requires availability and flexibility all day every day. Not all moms are trying to manage preschool aged children and school-aged children at the same time. And yet, not all children need a parent to be sitting with them, following along, and redirecting every moment of their learning experience.

Yet, I am not alone. I am so far from alone. And I do not need to feel alone. Because, you know what isn’t unique about my situation? What isn’t unique, is that it is unique.

You see, we all have quite different situations from one another. And, if we spend time dwelling on this, we will feel more alone than ever before. Instead, I do believe we should all focus on the aspects in which our unique perspectives can bring us together. I can support other moms who are trying to balance work and children. I can encourage others experiencing the pull of work while trying to help your child succeed while learning from home. I can recognize the exhaustion of crying, because it all feels too overwhelming to manage. And there are many other moms out there who can absolutely relate to these challenges, emotions, and blessings.

Blessings? Well yes! I have been forgetting lately my strong desire to be with my children more. Now I get to be. I have also been forgetting how incredibly empowering it is to need to be present with my son while he attempts to learn, rather than letting myself be pulled a thousand different directions.

You see, we can all relate to one another in some way. We are all struggling through this. Many of us likely feel like we are drowning every day, with so much uncertainty in whether we will make it through. And we are all getting to experience special moments that we wouldn’t be blessed with in any other situation than our own “new normal”.

Mama, you have got this! You will make it through. And if you need to cry (many, many times throughout the day) then so be it. It will make us stronger, better, and lead us to the mama and the person we truly are meant to be.

To the mama trying so hard to keep her home organized

To the mama who wants and organized home,

I see you. I get you. You are not alone.

You organize the toys. Sort bins by types of toy. You go through the puzzle boxes and make sure the pieces are in the correct box. You decorate the book shelves after sorting books by types and putting specialty items up high.

You separate crayons from markers and colored pencils. You put construction paper in one place, and coloring books in another. You designate special drawers for each type of art project, and make sure the paints are out of reach of little hands and curious inquirers.

You fold laundry and hang special things. Sorting dresses, shirts and skirts. Button up shirts are categorized by short and long sleeve, and not mixed with sweatshirts and t-shirts. Linens have a place within the closet that make sense and is user friendly.

Your kitchen cupboards are organized for ease and convenience. The drawers have designated purpose and keep things simple when cooking, baking and cleaning. In your pantry everything has a specific place to be stored.

But, your bedroom, where you are meant to have a sanctuary, is often a disaster. Bed made but laundry piling high. A catch all for things you remove from the reach of your children. Your shower unclean, because the rest of your world always calls your attention first.

And your carefully placed items throughout the house are quickly pulled out, and thrown elsewhere…

Toy bins dumped and mixed promptly after you finish sorting…

Your linens pulled down from the shelf then shoved unfolded on another…

Dresses are pulled off the hangers, leaving a pile on the floor and broken hangers in their midst…

Art supplies scattered and flung on the dining table, with tiny cut paper pieces all scattered under the chairs…

Trying to keep a clean and organized house is futile. Yet, you keep trying. You keep sorting. You keep attempting, hoping this time it will stick.

Mama, I see you, I get you, and you are not alone. You are doing great! You are trying, you care, and that’s what really matters. You’ve got this!

Work it Wednesday: Unplug

My readers, have you unplugged recently? Have you done something just for you so you can be a better you after you have? If not, I encourage you to.

Also, this is a preface into what to expect the next four days from me. My husband and I celebrate our ten year wedding anniversary on Friday, so we are headed back to where we said our vows. Vegas Baby!

We are completely child free. Wish us luck! Or better yet, my mom luck. Baby B hasn’t been away from us for a night since he was born, and now it’ll be three full nights. Much overdue, but with COVID it has been hard. And this time, instead of excitement, the other two had tears. I suppose we have grown closer since we’ve all been with each other non-stop.

But, time as just a couple has been much needed, and is going to be much appreciated.

Alas, if you do not see posts from me, or have anything new to read until next week, it is because I’m disconnecting and enjoying being in the present.

Thank you all!

Mombie Hack Monday: Out with the old, in with the decluttered space

Let’s face it, one of the things that really brings out the Mombie in us is the clutter and mess around our homes.

The added layer of stress our space can bring is exhausting. So why let it defeat us when we can fix it?

This Monday I was hit with the urge to get rid of stuff to free up the clutter and bring a sense of calm to our space. I resisted this urge because I knew other things were to get done. But, fate knew where I should be, and a lost car title sent me into an organize and toss frenzy.

So mamas, don’t ignore the urge that tells you to follow your basic instincts of good shelter. Embrace it. Declutter. Get rid of all the old and enjoy the less overwhelming home. You’ve got this!

Setup YOUR Success Sunday: Do we prep for back-to-school?

This has been an ever-growing thought on my mind recently. Do we prep for back-to-school even if our kids aren’t going to the school? Do we still shop for school supplies and back-to-school clothing? Do we do anything to really prep for a return to school that is all virtual?

Truthfully, I don’t have the answer. Until Friday we didn’t even know what our daily schedules for our oldest would look like, because the school district, like so many others, have been struggling to come up with a plan.

Today I made a decision though. There will be back-to-school preparation. It might not look like any school prep we have ever done. It might not be what we expected. But we do need to do something to “rally the troops”, to get our kids excited for the start of the school year. Because, like it or not, we will be back in school in less than two weeks. And we need to get motivated and prepared.

So, in our house this will look like reorganizing our school and art supplies. Potentially getting a big colorful calendar created for our dining room wall, and even shopping for some fun new supplies to provoke excitement.

On this Setup YOUR Success Sunday I encourage those of you with school age children going back-to-school online, to figure out how you will ring in the new school year. Will you go shopping? Will you clean? Will you find different ways to get organized? Let’s do this! Because it’s coming whether we are prepared or not. So let’s get prepared!

Self-Care Thursday: Try not to panic

I am struggling with self-care this Thursday. I typically try to incorporate some sort of self-care into my Thursday routine so I am more successful at writing my blog posts.

Today I started the day off strong! I actually printed blank calendar pages so I could work on finally creating our Fall schedules for childcare and school. Since I teach, now primarily from home, and J will be in first grade, now at home, there’s more to add to our Fall schedule.

Like many other parents, I am sure, I have been avoiding creating the plan. I have been dreading the end of summer because going back to work and school feels much more overwhelming than a traditional year. But, I knew having a plan would bring me peace, which is truly what I needed for my self-care today.

I was quickly proven wrong. There are so many moving parts to creating our schedule, and I realized half of them are still missing. No school notifications with schedules. Half of the pieces I need from the college I teach for are not available. And developing even a skeleton schedule for our nanny soon became impossible.

Alas, this was not a very caring day for myself. It is only the evening, yet I am exhausted, defeated, head pounding, and anxious. At one point today I was reciting over and over, in my head, “Don’t panic. Don’t panic. Don’t panic!” Then a friend and neighbor reminded me I am not alone. So many of us are in the same boat. This isn’t easy, not for anyone.

So, my call to action for you all, and for myself, is to plan, not panic. Maybe we can’t plan everything right now. Maybe we don’t have schedules yet. Absolutely this will be different. Absolutely it will be challenging. But, we also absolutely can handle this! I challenge you to put a focus on planning our self-care first. What self-care will you do each day or each week? How will you plan to take care of yourself? We are going to need it to get through this next season. Are you with me? Let’s plan!

Work it Wednesday: Choosing to grow together

This Work it Wednesday, I am choosing to focus on a growth mindset. I have big dreams, and I want so badly to achieve them. And likewise, I want to help others in achieving their goals. I want to help you!

If you are reading this on my blog, I’d love for you to comment. If you are following me on social, post your comments there. I want to know, what are you doing? How are you choosing to grow? And how can I and my readers help?

This Work it Wednesday I’m also asking for a bit of help in my growth. I would love for you, my reader, to subscribe to my blog. Even share my blog if you love what I write. I am working on growing my following and creating something that is so important to me.

Together we can achieve greatness! So let’s come together and support one another.

P.S. – If you don’t share, then I cannot offer support. So please, share your desires and goals for growth! And you never know who else might be reading and ready to support you too!