When there’s passion outside parenting

Okay, it’s true, my world is not always the sunshine and rainbows of parenting.

Yeah, okay, the parenting part isn’t sunshine and rainbows either. Not often anyway. But we already knew that, right?

I’ve mentioned before that writing is an integral part of me. This blog helped me grow and develop my craft until I was ready to conquer writing at the novel level. And thanks to over a year of Covid restrictions, I’ve found fiction to be a valuable escape.

I’ve also found writing about parenting has gotten harder and harder, because I’m so close to it that I’m constantly overwhelmed by imposter syndrome. Surely someone will show up at any moment and tell me I’m not qualified after all.

I yell entirely too much, frustrated by the unrelenting closeness to children who choose to live a life of fit throwing, ignoring instructions, being bored, and fighting with one another.

And my saving grace is knowing I’m not the only one feeling overwhelmed by parenting these days. We all need a break, an escape. Please find your escape, if you haven’t already. You need it, and your kids need you to take a break. I promise, it’ll make things better, even if only momentarily.

If you are curious about my fictional escape, well it mostly comes in the form of currently unpublished novels. But I’ve been dabbling in short stories as well. I’m including a link to one of them below.

Be warned: It is a sad story about post apocalyptic times. And the main character has memories of the loss of a child. But if you like dark, haunting short stories, this you may enjoy. I also appreciate hearts on top of views.

Thank you my friends!

https://vocal.media/fiction/on-a-foundation-of-memories?fbclid=IwAR3TERJviGxksaYsyB5hR_KVDRPSUj6aL1pck0G5RvINLKaIAnsZQ9gZUQY

Target – a retreat for the moms…

Target. The place moms have decided is the retreat we crave.

What is it though? Is it the one-stop-shop? Or the affordability? Maybe it’s the adorable collections they offer and the great marketing that makes us want it all.

Worse, maybe it’s because as moms we’ve let go of the things that seem unreachable. We’ve succumbed to the choice that a day at Target is great. Perfect for an escape from the routine and constant bombardment of children’s requests.

Perhaps it’s the quiet in the car between home and store. The excuse to get out on our own, and grab a coffee at the stand inside for while we shop. Is it the chance to listen to something other than Baby Shark? Undoubtedly, it’s at least that.

It’s hard to know why we flock to this store as a way to give us the relaxed, lowered blood pressure, state we crave so much. But, it works, and we keep coming back for more.

Regardless, tonight I’m thankful for Target in its entirety, this night before Easter. I gathered stuffing for plastic eggs, snacks, special Easter basket gifts, and wine. So much wine. Where else can we do all this?

P.S. – Target, you should know I call Costco the $300 store. But now, I grant you this title as well. Or rather, the $300++ store.

Good Riddance, or Thank You, 2020?

The general consensus has been to rid our lives of this awful year. This year that has brought so many of us to a point of exhaustion, frustration, and many, many tears.

Shall we recap? No, I don’t think so. You don’t need me to remind you of pandemics, lives lost, imprisonment in our homes, political and social injustice and frustration, financial burdens, and all else that has been packed into this year. I think we can all agree we have been effected in at least one way this year by global and national events.

Honestly, I’m not here, writing, to dig up all the mishaps we hope to leave behind in the new year. Not at all, in fact.

Today, I want to say thank you to everything 2020 has given me, and hopefully inspire you to see the good this year has given you as well.

Let’s start with one of the momentous things this year was meant to bring for me and my fellow nurses. The year 2020 was the year of the nurse! Many of us are exhausted, warn and burnt out more than we could have ever imagined possible. This year has been the hardest on nurses in living history (emphasis on living because I cannot imagine what generations past went through during events such as the Spanish flu).

So, it may seem like this year royally sucked for nurses. But, do you know what else has happened? The role of the nurse is more known. The general public now understands what a nurse goes through on any and every given shift. The public came together and showed respect for the medical field, and honored all that cared for patients. If that isn’t the best possible outcome for the year of the nurse, I don’t know what is.

Now, let’s zone in on our busy lives for a moment. How many of us have struggled for years to find time to read a book, to pursue a hobby, to spend time with our children and just be present in life? I’d be remise to say I felt overwhelmed by the constant go, go, go of our family and society.

This year, I was gifted the opportunity, along with everyone else in our nation, to dismiss the constant need to go and do things, and to be content with being at home. Of course, for those of us who are lucky, there’s still work. But we’ve been given permission to sit still for a while, and to learn to enjoy the presence of family while not trying to keep up with The Jones’s. What an honorable gift this is!

Much of our political and social environment has been in upheaval. It has put stress and strain on us as a society and as individuals. And, as a nation we have learned how to express ourselves as individuals. We have learned to speak our minds. We have learned that our voice does matter. And that we can instill change.

For me, I’ve also learned a lot about myself when faced with so much discomfort. I’ve made this point before, and I will again: we grow most when we are uncomfortable, as comfort is the enemy of growth. I’ve lived this every day this year, and many others have as well. I’ve pushed boundaries and explored possibilities. I’ve learned where I hold value in my career and in my life. I’ve found new heights in my passion, which, if you haven’t caught on, is writing. I’ve discovered my voice, and when I should use it. And I’ve found how much I want to have coveted family time with my husband and children.

This world may be a mess, but I believe within the pile of rubble we can find treasure. For me, I say thank you 2020 for helping me find who I am in the midst of disaster, hardship, and uncertainty.

And, to 2021; I do hope you can lead all of us further down our paths of enlightenment. Help us recover and build now that we’ve broken away all the unnecessary things that encumbered us. Help us to heal our losses, which for many of us, includes the loss of loved ones. And please, help us find a state of more health, less illness and death, and more freedom.

Happy New Year everyone!

My Mom Club

This one is all about the moms, and for the moms. While the parenting club and dads are not left in the cold, today I can reflect on this, because as a mother, I rely a lot on My Mom Club.

Truthfully, I’ve been beat down lately, just like the best and worst of us. Trying to be a teacher to my children, a housewife, and a full time (and then some) work from home employee, has been impossible. This is not to leave my husband out of this equation, because he’s quite helpful (taking on at least his share), and in our household there should be at least two housewives and two housegrooms to keep up even slightly.

Regardless, I’ve been exhausted and feeling defeated almost everyday. I feel incapable of sharing tidbits of positivity and knowledge, because I’m not navigating any of it with any grace. While there are less tears than I had in September, there are still heavy moments at least once a day where I let my emotions take over (crying, anger, or frustration). Currently in fact, as I try to type, I’m hollering at my kids to not drink the shower water by licking it off the shower floor; a repeat offender for my frustration.

And I must say, without the group of ladies in my corner, for whom I’m referring to as My Mom Club, I think I may not survive. The best part is, when times get tough, our bonds get closer. And when times become the worst, they are the closest.

I don’t even have to see them face-to-face. On any given day I get a message from one of the members I’ve enrolled in My Mom Club. The given lady is typically reaching out to share a happy moment, to ask for advise, or to simply see how I’m doing. And, in every one of my days I reach out to at least one to see how they are, or ask for encouragement.

Of course, I’m also lucky to have wonderful neighbors I call friends, who may show up at the door with a gift or a thing of food for our family. Even a knock on the door asking to borrow my stapler leaves me feeling loved and remembered.

This week I received happy mail from a good friend, sharing with me her newest lines of Sassfirmation Cards. One of which was for mamas. What a smile I got reading each deck of cards, especially the set for moms, with one card reminding me to “stay calm, even in the middle of mother-f#%*^\! chaos” (insert hilarious, and mildly inappropriate language as appropriate).

It is such an honor, and a gift to be surrounded by so many friends (including my lovely sister and sister-in-laws, whom I cherish as much more than just a relative).

The main message today, is thank you! Thank you to all those lovely women who have accepted my invite into my proverbial Mom Club. But also, to all the other mamas out there struggling day in and out, remember about your own Mom Club. Your ladies are out there. They’ve got your back, and I’m sure you’ve got theirs. Give them a big virtual hug, and tell them you love them.

P.S. – If you are looking to send a little motivation and love in the mail, consider some parenting affirmations. You can check mine out on my products page. Or better yet, check put some Sassfirmations (beware of language – Kate is a firecracker with a fantastic twist on traditional).

For Sassfirmations: https://www.classybishkate.com/sassfirmations

Got the Holiday Blues?

Tonight I am sitting here with my children as they watch a Christmas movie. Personally, I am so excited to have the enjoyment of the holidays in our house amidst another stay-at-home order in place. But, I also sit here, struggling to write something upbeat and from the heart.

Writing for my blog has been hard because I have felt more struggle and less positivity in my parenting arena lately. I have been writing. I’ve been writing a lot, actually. But not in the realm of non-fiction. My attention has been captured by novel fiction writing. But writing about parenting hasn’t been easy lately because I have been at a loss for how to handle the needs of our children, thus, lacking the ability to share our successes.

Truth is, I’ve been struggling a lot. It is hard working full time while helping our oldest learn from home. I have been quite thankful for daycare for the two younger kiddos, but the cost of it adds to our daily stresses. And our oldest, J, has been having a difficult time with learning and focusing, leaving us with a lot of school work and not a lot of time. There are many days we do his school work well into the evenings, my husband trading off tasks with me so I can work while watching the younger two.

The children have become restless as well. Spending much of this year stuck at home, they are struggling to find excitement in each passing day. And with the shorter days, this is even more difficult. We are running out of ways to keep them entertained, and our children are acting up with no way to control their frustrations.

We thought a good way to combat this would be a vacation for our holidays. However, this dream could only remain a dream, because traveling is off the books, and unsafe. Yet, bombarding them with presents that consist of more toys won’t suffice either.

While this is only a summary of events in our home, and far more complex than just a few paragraphs can encompass, it is our reality. And it’s the reality of many families. Trying to keep children engaged, on their best behavior, and healthy, is a big challenge. School from home and work from home is yet another big challenge. And none of us really know how to navigate this new world we are living in, nor do we know how much will remain the same when we can better treat COVID.

This is a challenge. Our new world is hard. Perhaps harder than it was before. But it isn’t worse, it’s just different, and learning how to navigate the change is our hurdle for this year.

I would like to wish you all the best as we become emerged in the depths of this holiday season. Remember you are not alone, even if at times it may feel like it. We are all trying to figure this out, and we can all relate to one another in one way or another. If you are feeling the blues from the last few months and in this holiday season, this is okay. Just know we will all make it through, together.

Thankful Thursday

Have you noticed a trend in social media posts lately, encouraging you to be thankful on Thursdays? This trend has arrived at the right time. We have had many things impact all our lives this year. None of us can deny it has been a challenge. And for some, it may have been the most challenging year yet.

The stresses of this year have been nothing less than consuming. You may have found your life turned upside down, and needing to make drastic changes to accommodate the new normal.

So why be thankful amidst so much turmoil? Because, we have many things we should be thankful for. So many things that might go unrecognized if we don’t pause and realize what we appreciate.

Even the simplest of things should be called out, pulled to the forefront of our thoughts, and put front and center. We are not meant to squander our thoughts by relishing in the negative. We can do so much more when we focus on the positive.

Parents, we have this slippery slope each week. We get pulled into our to do lists. We need to work to support our families. We are schooling from home, pre-schooling even. We are trying to manage the load of household responsibilities with the need to care for our children and work, all at the same time. We drop the ball, and things are left undone. Our frustrations boil over because we feel so far from perfect. So far from perfect, it feels like failure.

By the time Thursday rolls around, we feel defeated, at the least. The weekend is near, and we are glad, but so much is left to still get done before Friday evening. How will we manage? Why is this so hard? Is it going to feel like this every week, compounding from one to the next?

This is hard!

But, thankfully, there is Thankful Thursday. And, we could all use a little bit of thanks.

Here’s the deal, it doesn’t have to be an entire day of gratefulness. But, we could all use a little change in the way we think. So, I encourage you to practice being thankful this Thursday, and every Thursday from here on out.

All you need to do is find something to be thankful for. Write it down. Share it on social. Tell your children.

Today I am thankful for…

It is amazing what a little statement can do to shift your entire outlook and remind you that no matter how bad things get, there is always good to accompany it.

Today, I am thankful for the inspiration from my children, and the ability to share my thoughts on this blog. Today I am thankful for all my readers. And today, I am thankful for the opportunity to be thankful.

So tell me, what are you thankful for?

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.

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.

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.