Forgive me for the radio silence.
Deciding to become a stay-at-home mom was a long, drawn out process that was fraught with worry and hesitation. In May of 2013, after a few long and hard years of going to college while caring for a child, most of which was during a divorce, I graduated from a four year university. Those school years were plagued with doubt, and I was constantly terrified of how disappointed everyone would be if I couldn’t get a job after those years of leaning on others for support. I took the second job I was offered. Then, I stumbled upon an opportunity that was better for me and my home life, and jumped at it. Working from home, part time, for 150% better pay than the first. Perfect.
It was only a couple of months in before I realized how unsuited I was for the gig. I was disorganized, I lacked passion about my subject matter, and I lacked self-motivation. Week after week, I was suffering from self-imposed stress because I was focusing more on my duties as a homemaker and a mother than on being an employee. I was a failure. One day, in tears, I lamented to Mark, “I could climb the corporate ladder, I could be an entrepreneur, but nothing will give me as much satisfaction as raising my kids!” Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the cards for me. Continue reading
After our brief stint in Los Angeles, we stayed a night in Anaheim and prepped for the following days that we’d be at Disneyland. Originally, we had booked a room at the Sheraton Anaheim, but Mark looked at reviews last minute and it had a terrible reputation. We instead stayed at Sheraton Park Anaheim, which was just on the other side of the park from the first one.
The rooms had balconies that overlooked the back end of Disneyland Adventure, which allowed us to watch fireworks from our balconies each night rather than dealing with the crowds in the park. Sweet! We arrived at the park a short while before it opened, but I was surprised how quick it was for us to get in. Pro tip I found through my research prior: go to the entry lines at the far left. Everyone goes for the first lines that they see.
Never am I a stranger to gratitude, but still, this past week that surrounded Thanksgiving precisely encompassed all that I am currently most thankful for.
On Monday, I spent my day creating crafts and keeping the calm with preschoolers at the local Women’s Shelter as they prepared for a special family meal with their mothers. Directly after that, I rushed to the store and then home to self-consciously make dinner for a mother of Tobias’ friend from school, a chef whom I deem a friend of mine, that recently underwent surgery. Then, I rushed back home to make dinner for my own family, though that meal stopped short at hum drum.
Tuesday, I chaperoned Tobias’ field trip to the zoo, where the children acted more bestial than anything in a cage, a boy from another group chanting to me that I’m a “fat girl” while students in mine are running aimlessly in the crowded zoo haze. All while cursing the teachers who planned a field trip when many students are out and about for the week.
On Wednesday, I visited a friend of mine for over thirteen years. She recently left her husband, and is in a similar situation as mine four years ago, except with two kids and just beginning her career, rather than one while in school. Tobias brought them some of his toys as gifts for their new apartment, but I had a hunch that they were just fine with their new minimalist lifestyle. (Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt.)
We woke up extra early on Thanksgiving Thursday so that Mark, Tobias and I could all run a Turkey trot, I Pinterest-failed a baked cornucopia, threw it out, then delivered my disappointingly under-cooked pies to my mother’s house, who was hosting a Thanksgiving that included my ex mother-in-law and my new mother-in-law. Prior to our departure, Tobias and I both started feeling unwell, and I spent my entire Friday in bed–not figuratively–aside from eating a bowl of soup and using the bathroom, I kept my body in that same spot while Tobias wallowed in his own sickness and mind-numbingly watched his tablet computer.
I had a resurgence of energy after Mark brought me breakfast and coffee on Saturday, so I went to the salon to take off the terrible acrylic nails I was reluctant to have, had my nails painted, then proceeded to do yard work for hours on end. (Which would seem to most to be a terrible idea.) Today, Sunday, Mark woke me up before dawn to say goodbye, for he’s on a business trip for the good part of the week. I finished the book I began reading during my indisposition, then proceeded to flip flop between tasks all day, not getting anything done rather than deeply researching trips I’m taking four and eight months away.
Trust me, it all relates. Drum roll, please. The trite phrase you’ve been waiting for….
I’m thankful for…
Moms are conditioned to put their guard up, beginning in the early days of pregnancy. From the first signs of a baby bump, all-knowing and well-seasoned mothers and grandmothers are more than happy to delve out advice for what worked for them, and are unaware of the critical glances they give as you state that you’re doing the opposite. We’re all self conscious of whether or not we’re doing the right thing by our children, so when someone challenges it by taking a different route, panic ensues, and defense mode leads to rude expressions and disapproving comments.
I get it, it’s a nerve-wracking job to take on. Just when you’ve convinced yourself that something isn’t a big deal, there’s a Dr. Freud or a Dr. Sears to let you know that you’re potentially ruining your kids’ psyches. Whoops!
Here’s the thing: parenting isn’t a competition. Here’s another: you’re not right, and neither is the other person–there’s no right way to do it. And something we all need to be reminded of: Your [honest and truthful] best is good enough.
Not everyone has been reminded of those things, so when you come across someone that’s being snarky, here are some of my favorite comebacks: Continue reading
It seems like the only time you hear about self-motivation is when you’re reading resumes, cover letters, or job descriptions. Why is that? It’s because self-motivation, in a general sense, doesn’t exist.
If you’ve ever cruised Craigslist or Monster, you’ve probably noticed that job posters really want to find someone who is “success driven” and “self-motivated.” But, let’s take a moment and think about what that actually means. Continue reading
It sounds hokey, I know. I was curious when I first saw posters for 40 Days at my yoga studio. Personal Revolution, really? It’s pretty ballsy to say you’ve got a program that’ll single-handedly change the lives of those who take part. The flyer seemed so vague–forty days of WHAT will lead me to this?
During the first meeting, I learned what we’d be doing. There’s a book that was authored by the creator of Baptiste Yoga and each week we had assigned readings from the book that included directives on how we will be eating, meditating and practicing yoga for the following week. At the end of each reading, there are questions to answer about yourself and the way you’re experiencing the world, to dig deep at what is blocking you from living the life you want to be leading.
Along with the book, we were required to do yoga six times a week (five of which had to be at the studio, one could be at home), meditate morning and night for an increasing amount of time and attend a meeting once a week at the studio that focused on what was showing up for us through the process. At Big Yoga, we’re very much into community, so there were a few other things thrown in there so we’d get to know each other, but that’s the bulk of the plan.
This was my second time doing the program. The first time opened up a lot of stuff for me, and I was intrigued by these people who have essentially read the same book again and again and felt the need to participate again. I was curious as to what could lie ahead.
Here’s what happened:
I stopped worrying about pleasing other people and became aware of the subtle hints I was dropping to myself and the people around me about what I really wanted. I committed to changing. I decided to leave my job and we mutually parted ways. I allowed myself to be vulnerable, and opened up really deep feelings to a whole room of people I didn’t know and also to my closer friends. I opened up in general. I blossomed and became visually happier to those around me. I celebrated my accomplishments and accepted applause. I took breaks from vices that once controlled me, and continued with changed attitudes toward those things. I connected more deeply with every person in my life.
I became a stay-at-home mom and am completely fulfilled by it. After years of trying to prove myself, I’m convinced that I am enough. I became organized, cleaned my house, and have stayed up-to-date day-to-day with my calendar. I got things done that I had been putting off. I became calmer and more patient in my responses, which led me to be a better mother, wife, daughter, friend, granddaughter, and co-parent. I felt more warmth toward everyone around me. I began volunteering regularly to serve my community. I hugged my dad like an old friend, for the first time in my life.
Oh yeah, and I got better at yoga.