Going home

Today, I am flying home to Washington, DC after moving away about seven years ago. I went back for a quick weekend wedding in June and we went back as a family in 2008. It’s been a long time away, and as I’m on the flight I feel both anticipation and dread for the week that lies ahead. This isn’t a so called fun trip; my mom has breast cancer again after fifteen years and is having a single mastectomy on Wednesday. We’ve had a strained relationship and a very rocky road especially the past few years, but cancer changed everything for me. It’s a reason to forgive, let go of past difficulties, and offer unconditional love and support. She lives alone, and I feel it is the right thing to do to go there and help her as she goes through this unfortunate process. As a secondary focus and added bonus, I do look forward to reconnecting with friends and family in the area whom I haven’t seen in years.

It is odd and a little disconcerting to leave behind my husband, kids, and pets for so long, but I am thankful for their support and confident they can take care of everything for me while I’m gone. I know day to day that although I don’t work outside of the home, my job is busy, challenging, and stressful at times, I laughed this morning about how long the list of things I usually do and manage really is. All the tasks I take care of may seem like low level jobs, but they hold our family and household together. My husband works long hours and I’m not sure how focused he is on all my little jobs, so I gave him a long list or reminders this morning:

Please remember to:
1. Feed, walk twice a day, care for the dogs, and don’t let them run away.
2. Feed the fish as much as they will eat in five minutes twice a day. (I cleaned both fish tanks yesterday so they would be ok this week. Last time I went away he forgot to feed my fish).
3. Mail a bill on Monday that I already put in a stamped envelope.
4. Water the hydrangea shrubs every day. Water indoor plants when they are dry.
5. Make sure dogs are in the fenced run when outside because the puppy eats my plants and digs holes.
6. Take our son to Taekwondo Monday and for his belt test Friday(got his uniform ready for him last night).
7. Attend our son’s musical at school Thursday.
8. Take and pick up our daughter to and from school and to and from dance classes (m-Th &Sat). And make sure her dance bag is packed and that she put it in the car. She also needs something for dinner since she is there until 9 or 9:30 at night.
9. Make sure kids take their medications and vitamins every day.
10. Make sure kids have lunches or lunch money.
11. Take our daughter to the orthodontist Wednesday.
12. Take our son for allergy shots on Friday. Don’t forget to bring the epi-pen.
13. Pay any bills that come in the mail.
14. Check our son’s folder for checks from other parents in his class and file them away with the ones I’ve collected so far. (I’m class mom and am in charge of the class parties).
15. Trash goes out Saturday and Wednesday. Recycling goes out Wednesday.
16. Remind kids daily to do homework and chores.
17. Change the laundry often because it will stink if it stays in the washer too long.
18. Our son has a guitar lesson and baseball end of season party today.

He is going to have fun being both mom and dad this week and getting a closer look at my daily life as a stay home mom. I’m thankful for his help and support as well as for his mom because she will also be helping with the kids this week. I know they are in good hands.

As for me, the trip will be a practice in zen and a trip down memory lane. My mom still lives in the same house that I grew up in. We moved there in 1972. Of course, there are many memories from the past and I will choose to focus on the positive ones. I used to climb a big pine tree in the front yard and sit up high looking at the surroundings. I ran wild outside and rode bikes with friends until it got dark. We played kickball in the culdesac below us.

Life was so different back then.

As for the zen part, I’m determined to keep my inner peace and strength regardless of what goes on around me.

Thankfully, I got to see two great friends when I landed at the airport! I arrived from Texas right before another friend was departing for Florida. We stopped and visited over some chardonnay. Talk about serendipity! I love it when things work out like that.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

25 Things About Me

I’m flashing back today, looking back over some of the old notes I wrote on Facebook before I started blogging.  Found this list of 25 things about me and got a kick out of re-reading it and thought I would share with updates where necessary.

1.  Like my friend Eve who tagged me in this note, I have a genius IQ, but I knew it when I was a kid and resented the pressure to be an overachiever.
2.  I like beans….and I make a yummy bean salad.  Whatever I cook if I can throw in some beans I will. (Update-I no longer eat beans!  I’ve been following a mostly paleo diet since August (no grains, no dairy, no beans/legumes, no refined salt, sugars, or oils). 
3. I like to cook, and I am obsessed with eating healthy food like lean meats, lots of fruits and veggies, and whole grains. (Update-no more whole grains!  Was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity (click here to read the entry I wrote about it) in May and have been off most grains (except a little rice since August).
4.  I always wanted to be a wife and mother and never really knew what career to pursue when I was growing up.  Click here to read why.
5.  Because of #4, I went to three colleges, took two years off (one to work for GP and do a NOLS semester (click here to read about it) and the other to work as a cook and live in Telluride, CO), and changed my major twice (#1 French #2 Philosphy/Religion #3 Environmental Studies)….didn’t graduate until I was 25.

Telluride, CO from a gondola.

Telluride, CO from a gondola. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6.  My first ‘career’ was an environmental activist for Greenpeace in Washington DC.

Washington DC

Washington DC (Photo credit: eGuide Travel)

7.  I got my master’s degree in Education and became a teacher after my GP job got moved to Amsterdam;  I was a single mom so I didn’t want to go.
8.  When I was a teacher, I discovered a passion for math, and now that I am a stay home mom I love tutoring math because I can help students learn to love math.  Click here to read about my love affair with math.

Dansk: Dedikeret til matematik

Dansk: Dedikeret til matematik (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9.  I love to sleep and will sleep until noon if nobody wakes me up.  I also love being pampered like getting massages.
10.  I met my husband, Joe, at the gym when he was working there and going to school and I was his 12:30 appointment for personal training.  We started running together and the rest is history.  Even though he is a lawyer now, we still go to the gym every weekend and love exercising together.

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11.  I am lactose intolerant (like most Asian Americans).
12.  I am an extrovert and love to get together with friends, pot-luck style, with good food, drinks and conversation.
13. When I go out, my drink of choice is gin and tonic (Bombay Sapphire) and my favorite shots are Jaegermeister and Tequila. (Update-no more gin or jaegermeister due to food allergies.  The only liquor I drink is Patron silver tequila).
14.  I drink wine (chardonnay) when I’m cooking and with dinner.
15. I am kind of a control freak and always am trying to avert danger and/or accidents, especially with my kids. Like we don’t let them play outside in the front yard without an adult and don’t even get me started on how hard it is to have a 15 yr. old who is about to date and drive etc. (Update-since I wrote this post, I wrote nineteen episodes of fiction. I realized this theme came up in my fiction writing. Click here to read my fiction episodes).
16.  I like heights and exposure, hence my affinity for climbing trees as a kid, my love for rock climbing and high mountains where the earth meets the sky.  When I stand on a cliff or overlook I get the urge to fly like a bird, but of course I don’t have wings so maybe I should take up hang gliding or something?

climbing

Split Rock, WY 1989

17.  On the flip side, I am claustrophobic and I would really hate to go scuba diving or caving or anything like that.
18.  I am a big flirt, always have been, in fact I won ‘biggest flirt’ in 8th grade with Bill Schraa who ironically was also voted ‘best couple’ with his girlfriend.
19.  When I go shopping I am all about the sales and hardly ever will pay retail price.
20.  I manage all the money in our household and am good about paying our bills on time or early.
21. I correct people when they use bad grammar (I know that is annoying, but I can’t help it).
22.  When I am going through a hard time, I make music mixes full of songs that reflect whatever it is that’s going on.  Before CD‘s I made mixed tapes.
23.  I always try to complement people and tell them what I like about them (something I learned as a teacher when conferencing with parents).  There is always something nice you can say, no matter who it is.
24.  I spend alot of time on the computer.
25.  I give my kids ‘mommy homework’ if they don’t have any from school and make them do reading, writing, and math all summer (for about an hour a day, it’s not so bad) to keep them challenged.  Click here to read about summer learning.

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 26 Home

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This is a picture of my house and home. We moved to Texas from Virginia seven summers ago to take advantage of the housing market. We were able to buy more than twice the house for less money than in the DC area. Although I miss my hometown in Virginia and being in the DC area, I’ve always wanted a nice big house where I can raise my kids and then they can return when they are home from college. Now that my oldest is finished with her sophomore year of college, that dream has already come true. She says she appreciates that she can come home and have her old bedroom. Moving into this house literally changed our lives overnight. We were all able to spread out; each kid got their own room and walk-in closet. We went from one living room to four living rooms. I love coming home to our house and hope to be there for a long, long time!

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 8 Flower

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I took this picture of a hydrangea in my friend’s front yard in Maryland. We only had a short time to visit a couple of people during the day on Saturday before the wedding on Saturday night.  We were visiting with a friend of my husband’s from law school, and he gave us a tour of his yard.  I’ve always loved hydrangeas even though I’ve never tried to grow them in my garden at home.  I believe they are annuals, meaning they will die in the winter but come back in the spring.  And the color of the blooms depends on the pH level of the soil.  After seeing his hearty gardens in the shady area by his front door full of hydrangeas, irises, and lilies, I am motivated to plant some in my backyard.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

31 Day Music Challenge: Day 5 A Song that Reminds You of Someone

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-vZlrBYLSU

“Every long lost dream led me to where you are.

Others who broke my heart,

they are like northern stars

pointing me on my way

into your loving arms.

This much I know is true,

that god blessed the broken road

that led me straight to you.” 

Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts reminds me of my husband.  Love these lyrics about the long and winding road of life and love.  Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing because everything I did led me exactly to where I am now.  Even at the time if I thought it was a tough experience or the end of a road or relationship, I didn’t know where I would be now. Sometimes it’s true that when one door closes another one opens.

We met in 1998 after both having failed first marriages. I had just moved to Reno, NV (long story). I was thirty years old, a new teacher with my master’s degree, a single mom with a five-year old daughter.  He was a  25-year-old college student (started college at 24 years old) working at the gym.  We were in different places in our lives, but we met at the gym, and we fell in love.  We got married a year later and had two children together.  He finished his education and became a lawyer.  I’m so thankful that our paths crossed and hopeful for our future together.

The Broken Road

The Broken Road (Photo credit: aaronmcintyre)

See the whole music challenge list at DeBie Hive.

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

Friday Fiction #8: Home = Our Beliefs about Love

femmesfatales

It’s Fiction Friday and the last week of romance month.  Every Friday, the Fiction Friday Femmes Fatales post different fictional stories based on the same prompt (see below).  This is episode eight. If you missed the first seven episodes, the links are below.

______________________

Amanda sat down in a chair in her front yard with her laptop and her assignment. Just thinking about her childhood made her both angry and sad, but her counselor gave her online homework. If I want to start feeling better, I need to do this.. She told herself, even though she didn’t want to do it.

“Think about what it was like growing up. Are there specific feelings or situations that come to mind? Write them down and use a word to describe the feeling or situation (ex: mom was always angry: anxious).

Raised by a single mom.  I remember a lot of fighting, frustration, and angst.   Frustration.

Questions to ask yourself:
 Was there lots of affection in your home or was affection withheld?

There was affection from my mom.

Were you frequently criticized?

Yes I was. I felt like I was never doing well enough at anything. My father was Korean and preferred by brother, my mom told me, because of cultural reasons.  He didn’t want me because I’m a girl. And I never lived up to either parents‘ expectations-spiritually or academically.

Were your parents available to take care of you? Were your needs met?

My mom was for the most part, but she was very busy working three jobs to support us. My dad was not available. My physical needs were met, but not my emotional or spiritual needs.

How was anger expressed – or not?

Yelling, throwing things, fighting, crying, threats of suicide from my mom.

Were there addictions?

 Sugar-mom
Smoking-dad

What was your parent’s relationship like?

Non existent. Dad sent a monthly check and visited maybe once a year. They never talked as far as I knew.

Was love freely exchanged?

Same answer as above. We were told we were loved by my mom. Not between me and brother.

Did you feel a sense of stability?

No. I didn’t understand why my dad wasn’t around and other kids had dads. I didn’t understand it when my mom got so mad and sad that she would threaten suicide. I wondered if I would find her dead several times and that it would be my fault because we fought.

Did your family communicate about feelings?

Not very well. My dad was absent. My mom did the best job she could. She would try to reassure me when I was sad about not having my dad. She explained that Koreans favor the first-born son. She tried to love me enough for both of them, but it didn’t work. She didn’t really listen to me about anything I wanted to do when I became a teenager. She said no to everything so I just started lying and doing whatever I wanted anyway.

Did family members support one another?

My mom supported me to be a good student, to keep my eyes Asian and not have plastic surgery. She supported me through college. She supported me financially. Brother never supported me. Not sure that I supported him either.

How about fidelity?

My mom was single so I never had an example of faithful parents. I learned that my dad was cheating on my mom when she was pregnant with me. My mom said not to have sex until marriage because of the bible. But I didn’t listen to her. I cheated on all my boyfriends.

Did you feel “safe” or anxious in your home?

Anxious. I wanted out. I didn’t know why I was born into my family.

Key Words About Home
Write down 6 keywords about your home life growing up.

Chaotic, volatile, critical, rebellious, abandonment, rigid

Positive examples might be:

safe
secure
loving
open
caring
fun
joy-filled
comfortable
inspiring
supportive
Negative examples:

scary
chaotic
critical
dishonest
not available
disregarding
shut down
betrayal
abandonment
violent
Take the six keywords you wrote about home:

Home = Chaotic, volatile, critical, rebellious, abandonment, rigid

Now substitute the word home with LOVE = Chaotic, volatile, critical, rebellious, abandonment, rigid

This may help you understand how you have formed your beliefs about love and relationship. It may also shed light on past or current partners you have chosen as we tend to repeat the familiar until we learn new patterns of relating.” – read more and take the online quiz by clicking here

*************
These were probing questions. The more she thought about it, the more upset she became until for some reason tears started erupting. She never realized how much of an effect her parents’ relationship had on her overall outlook on love. No wonder she had problems inside her own marriage. She didn’t trust the forever part of marriage even though that’s what she wanted more than anything in the whole world.

Her dad taught her to run from her problems, to abandon your children, and that because she was a girl, she was actually worth less than a boy. She spent her adolescence seeking male approval and the intimacy she lacked with her father. She blamed herself unconsciously, blaming herself just for being born. She didn’t know what to do or how to behave to gain his love.

Her mom taught her to be easily overwhelmed, to act out in times of stress. She taught her to be rigid and unreasonable. Amanda constantly fought off critical thoughts about how she didn’t measure up to expectations. Her mom was desperately depressed before Amanda was even born, yet when they fought, she would threaten suicide because Amanda was so cruel and hurtful. Amanda grew up with the irrational belief that she had power over someone else’s will to live. She wondered if she would find her mother dead from suicide and if it would be her fault because they had bad fights.

As a teenager, she started lying to her mother because she said no to everything. There was never an intelligent, rational discussion about life and how to live it. There were just angry lectures full of ‘shoulds’ and the only time she felt free was when she was away from her family.

She didn’t have a good example of marriage, love, or fidelity. To her, it was all pie in the sky. Yet she based her whole life on creating what she never had.

Amanda decided to write them a letter to let it go once and for all.  Perhaps letting it out would be beneficial to her progress.

Dear mom and dad,
Thank you for bringing me into this world. Thank you for my life. I now know why I am alive, and I am changing things in my life from this day forward. Say goodbye to the old Amanda. She’s dead.

I forgive you for abandoning me dad. I accept that your life, your culture, your personality made you behave the way you did, I believe that you loved me even though you didn’t know how to show it. I forgive you for cheating on mom. I forgive you for leaving us. I forgive you for setting me up to believe that all men will act like you did.

Mom, I forgive you for your angry past. I know you’ve had a rough life and have done the best job you could have given the circumstances. I forgive you for criticizing me and for being so angry you threatened to kill yourself. I know it wasn’t my fault that you got so angry. Know that the guilty feeling you gave me still lives inside of me. Two of my kids died because of decisions I made. I really was my fault. It’s ironic that our fighting never resulted in your suicide, but that a momentary lapse in judgement killed my two kids. I can never fix that. And I can never go back in time to fix what you said to me when I was a kid. All I can do now is forgive you and myself for everything that has happened.

Richard loves me. Steven, Brad, and Robert love me.  Richard weathers the storms with me. Richard and I have a life together despite all our ups and downs. We lost two kids, but we still have three who need us to be happy people and parents. I release you into the universe so I can live my life without a heavy cloud from the past hanging over my head. You tried the best you could, and you both really messed up. I refuse to let the past define me. And I refuse to use the past as an excuse not to fully appreciate and trust the relationship I do have.  I believe in love and fidelity, and intend to live my life accordingly.  From this day forward, I am vowing to life my life in a way that when my kids grow up and take this quiz or one like it, they will have different results and healthier beliefs about love.

Love,
Amanda

______________________________

Here is the prompt:  Your character has a certain deep-held belief about love and fidelity. This belief may be based on religion, on something s/he learned from her/his parents, or on her/his own experience. Decide what this belief is and where it came from. In your story, something happens to the character that seems incompatible with this belief. How does your character react? Write the story.

Visit the other  blogs to read what they wrote based on the same prompts:

http://www.clearlykristal.com/
http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/
http://www.bulamamani.com/
http://www.itsadomelife.com/
http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com/
http://www.mollyfield.com/
http://neargenius1.blogspot.com/
http://the-suds-box.blogspot.ca/
http://www.quirkychrissy.com/

Follow us on Twitter:

Follow us on Twitter:
@clearlykristal
@worldsworstmoms
@BuLaMamaNi
@SusanneNelson1
@ItsADomeLife
@DeBieHive
@MollyFieldTweet
@monsterNbox
@chrissawoj
@Near_Genius

Thanks for reading this entry. Peace out!

Friday Fiction #1: Lesson Learned

Every Friday this month, I will be posting fiction. This is a challenge from my friend Molly Field over at her blog Grass Oil, and several other women are also participating. Please visit their sites as well so you can read what they wrote with the same prompt!

Winter vacation was over, and it was finally time to get the kids back into a routine. Baths and showers, then some reading and cuddling before drifting off to dreamland. The older boys, fourteen year old Brad and seventeen year old Steven, both had classes early in the morning and athletics zero period. They took less prompting during the bedtime rituals but inevitably stayed up later than the two little boys, five-year old Anderson and nine-year old Robert, who responded well to their mother’s bedtime structure. The middle child, a twelve-year-old girl Ella, was at that age when she wasn’t quite little anymore, but she also wasn’t quite grown up and independent. Tweenagers float around in that in-between stage for a while, looking up to the bigger kids and looking down on the littler kids.

Amanda Keilsth quit her job as a teacher to become a stay home mom when her fourth child was born. She was thankful her husband, Richard, had a thriving practice as a neurosurgeon and that she had the opportunity to devote her life to her kids and the running of the household. They were both well-educated professionals and spent their lives building their family one step at a time. Even as a busy teacher, when she was pregnant she read all the “what to expect” books and went to the Lamaze classes. She got prenatal care for all the babies, read parenting books, and did the best job she could at balancing her job at school with her job at home as a wife and mother. When the fourth child was on its way, she and her husband decided it was time for her to stop teaching and stay home full-time. After having three children already, she knew the demands a new baby presented and wanted more time to be available to her family. When their fifth child was born, Amanda and Richard decided to stop having kids, and they were most thankful for the blessings of a big family.

The alarms started going off at 5:30am. She got up without hitting the snooze button, despite feeling exhausted, and made a hot breakfast for her teenagers before they headed off to school for athletics. The sun wasn’t up yet, and she praised them for their tenacity in sports and their self-discipline to get up so early without complaining and go on their way to meet expectations. She gave them big hugs and told them to do their best, just like she did every day.

“No texting and driving. I love you!” she said as they got into the car. No response. Oh well, teenagers were never known for their shows of affection to their mothers.

Her husband left next and told her he loved her and that she was a good mom. She smiled to herself and thought she was doing a good job and how nice it was to hear it. Being their mom was the best and most important job she could imagine.

Ella had to be at school about ten minutes earlier than the two little boys, so after breakfast, brushing teeth, getting dressed, and packing backpacks, they headed outside to her brand new BMW. Mr. Keislth knew how much his wife wanted a new car, so he surprised Amanda for Christmas, complete with a giant red bow just like in the television commercials.

She buckled the boys into the back seat, and her daughter asked if she could sit in the front seat since it was a brand new car.

“Honey, the sign on the visor right there says children under thirteen are at risk in the front seat because of the air bag.”

“Mom, come on. I’m almost thirteen. Please, I’m sick of you treating me like a baby. Anderson doesn’t even have his booster seat in this new car. Why does he get to ride without it? There’s not enough room to fit all three of us in the back seat” she complained, trying to persuade her mom to change her mind.

“One time. That’s it. And I don’t want to hear any more about it ok?”

“Deal.” Ella said as her smile grew as wide as her face and the look of anticipation lit up her pretty green eyes. She got in the front seat, buckled up, and little Anderson sat right on the seat not really sure what to think.

Amanda’s phone went off as she pulled away from the house and turned right to drive out of the neighborhood.

“Oh yea, I’m totally Instagramming this.” Ella said as she took a selfie and posted right away about sitting in the front seat of the car.

Amanda tried to see who just texted her but couldn’t quite tell since she was also navigating the wheel and a hot cup of coffee. Her phone kept going off as it lay on the center console.

“No texting and driving mommy.” Ella reminded her sarcastically.

“I’ll check when we stop at the stop sign” she replied with authority. “And stop sassing me young lady” she added.

Robert was playing minecraft on his itouch in the back seat oblivious to the quarreling in the front seat. Anderson tried to see out the window but wasn’t quite tall enough, so he started squirming.

When Amanda stopped at the stop sign, she put her coffee in the holder and picked up her phone to check the texts. Before she finished reading the first one, they were hit from behind. Another teenager in the neighborhood was late for high school and was speeding while also on his phone. He didn’t see the stopped car in front of him.

The noise was incredible. Broken glass, metal crunching, airbags, and screams echoed as the moment took place in an instant that felt like forever. Amanda fell unconscious. EMS arrived on the scene, and they were careflighted to help at a nearby hospital.

Amanda woke up in the hospital. The last thing she remembered was putting down her coffee and checking her texts. The next thing she knew, the doctors told her that only Robert survived the accident. The front airbags deployed, and since she wasn’t quite tall enough to be sitting in the front seat, the passenger airbag broke Ella’s neck. Anderson’s seat belt didn’t fit him right properly on his lap and chest, and he died from complications of the trauma to his neck and stomach. Only she and Robert, who were restrained properly survived the crash. They had injuries and faced months of physical therapy, but they had their lives.

“How could you let this happen?” Her husband asked her frantically. They were both in shock and disbelief.

Amanda felt empty inside. She knew that the children were trusted in her care, and she failed to follow basic safety instructions. She felt responsible for her two children dying. She learned that no matter how much you do for your children, no matter how good of a mom you feel like, a momentary lapse of judgement when it comes to safety can make it all a moot point.

She never got the chance to make a little child sit in his or her booster again, but she never let Robert ride in the front seat before the age of thirteen. The Kielsths started a foundation called EllAnderson to spread awareness of basic safety precautions that every parent should take using the CDC’s recommendations found here:

http://www.cdc.gov/features/passengersafety/

     They could never get their kids back, but they hoped to prevent future tragedies from happening. Lesson learned.

Life as a Married Mom

Two movies in two days, both with the same lead actress and plots about being married parents. In This is 40, a couple faces middle age, parenthood, and marriage. In the Change Up, a single slacker and a married lawyer switch lives by accident after wishing for each other’s lives. In both movies, the characters learn to appreciate what they have and how to fix problems common in every family.

Let’s face it. Life is hard. Being single is hard. Being married is hard. Having children is hard. Being childless is hard. It’s hard to be a kid. It’s hard to be a student. It’s hard to have a job. It’s hard to be the parent of adult children.

It’s tough having quality time together as a couple and/or family, and its tough finding time to be alone. Meeting our own needs as individuals is difficult, much less meeting the needs of spouses, children, and parents.

Our jobs as parents require us to have all our shit together enough to provide for, care, guide, and nurture the little people we created. We shape and mold them emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially, and psychologically. If we are too busy or unhappy with own own lives, they pick up on it. It affects their sense of self. It affects family dynamics.

As with everything in life, it seems that the answer is always balance. As adults, we need to take care of ourselves first or we are no good to our children. Do we sacrifice for them? Of course we do. But if we don’t take the time to meet our needs first, we won’t be able to give to our children in a quality way. And we won’t be able to be happily married while we raise them.

Both moms and dads work hard to provide financially for families. We have different needs, but it’s important we allow ourselves some down time when we are not working to pursue our interests, socialize, and exercise. It’s important we care about what we eat and how much we sleep so we can feel our best day to day. We need quiet time to reflect and develop ourselves spiritually. We need friends and fun. We also need alone time, both as individuals and alone time as parents.

Holidays together exaggerate family dynamics and intensify expectations and tempers. A college aged kid wants to come home for the comforts but doesn’t want to be treated like a kid. Little kids misbehave when they eat too much sugar, stay up too late, and are bored because adults are talking. We try to give them what they want, yet we try to teach them that Christmas is for giving, not getting. We try to make things special for them, but we also need to be consistent with expectations and consequences.

We have to remember we made these little people and act accordingly. We need to remember that life is precious and we create our realities. A yoga teacher once told me,a “where the feet go, so do the hips.” It’s the same with the mind. The way we think is reflected in the world around all of us. It’s up to us to be strong, balanced, and loving. It’s up to us to communicate. It’s up to us whether our kids have happy memories from childhood. Nobody is perfect, but finding the fine line of balance can make life feel perfect.

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Nice Things My Kids Say

“Are you playing Moves Like Jagger?” my son asked as I was practicing my guitar (improvising). And no, it wasn’t any song at all, just playing notes in the key of E.

“Did the maids come today?” Why no they didn’t, but thanks for asking! My daughter noticed that I actually got the house to look and smell nice today.

“That’s beautiful, but not as beautiful as mommy, right daddy?”  That little boy has me wrapped around his finger ❤

I love my job as their mom. The rewards are priceless!