Exposing Vulnerabilities

I can’t swim.

There i’ve said it.  See, along time ago, when I was a child, I was taking swim lessons. One day, the lesson must’ve been holding your breath under water.  Well, I missed that instruction, or maybe I didn’t know how to hold my breath, or maybe I just forgot.  I remember all of us kids in the water, each with our handler holding us.  Then all of a sudden I got dumped under water.  There might have been a 1,2, 3, but I don’t remember it.  There might’ve even been a “Okay, now hold your breath!” But I don’t remember it.  All I remeber is swallowing water, trying to let the person holding me know that I didn’t hold my breath, that I didn’t remember.  I rememeber flailing my arms and legs.  That time under water felt like an eternity.  I felt like I was dying and I didn’t even know what dying was.  It was the scariest and most vulnerable moment in my life.  My life was in someone else’s hands and it was uncomfortable, it didn’t feel good.  Instead of gear up for the next day ready to learn, I screamed and kicked my way out of it.  I ran, never to take a swim lesson again.

I have recently gone through an exercise in exposing one’s vulnerabilities.  Time will tell on how well I have actually handled it.  But I hope that it will serve as a reminder that life is not stagnant, it is a constant ball of motion and any number of variables can change the course of how you perceive a situation to be.

I know, i’m talking in abstract terms, but I hope you get my drift.   I like to be in control.  In general I like to be in control of what i’m doing, who i’m affecting, what i’m saying and how that is being perceived.  When I lose a any part of that control, it unnerves me.  Which is why when I was younger, I never wanted to go back to swim lessons.  I couldn’t control what the teacher would do, I couldn’t control what I was going to do in class and I didn’t have enough skill to swim on my own.  I gave up, very easily.  I think most people, when they lose control of a situation retreat.  No one wants to go into a situation knowing that you will not know or do or say the right thing.   I think that anytime you expose yourself, whether it be emotionally, physically or mentally there is a part of you that is very hesitant at first to let the world see that part of you.

Right now my life is being exposed more than ever, and it’s more than a little uncomfortable,  but so far i’m getting through it.  Blame my shyness coupled with Introversion. To me this serves as a lesson I need to teach my kids.  That life tends to be uncomfortable, and it’s how you get through the uncomfortable times that shows your true grit.  As an adult, as a mom, right now my kids are at the age where everything I do is perfect, I can do no wrong.  But after the rose colored glasses fade they will get to the point where they see a true adult with vulnerabilities.  I hope they can learn to appreciate the flaws.  Way after I teach them how to swim.


What a difference a year makes

I have been truly humbled.

Today marks the One year anniversary of one of my best friend’s sobriety.  One year ago today was a very dark period in her life.  Usually I write about motherhood and all of it’s offshoots, but today I can’t help but write about my friend.

We met in college and instantly connected.  We say to people we were roommates, but we actually stayed right next to each other.  We did all of the things that roommates in college do, eat lunch and dinner together, go out together, plan vacations together, celebrate birthdays together, and long after our college days were over, we stayed in touch throughout the years.  We both entered graduate school at the same time, her law school, me film school.

I remember when she left the city and moved to an even bigger city, I would visit her often.  We survived a blizzard together.  We took a 10 day trek across the west coast together.   I remember when she graduated from Law school, she sent me pictures of her graduation and I was sad that I missed her special day.  We try every year to celebrate our birthdays together.  She has planned every major baby/birthday/wedding milestone that i’ve had.

She moved back to the area after she graduated from Law school and like every other person, got a job, and went about the day to day life of a single person living in a city.  I, doing the same, went about my life as well.  Even though we lived in the same city, we would try to talk often and get together as much as possible, but in the day to day bustle of life, plans would get canceled or forgotten, weeks would turn into months, months would turn into years, and before we knew it, we weren’t spending time or talking to each other much at all.

So when she called me a year ago, looking for help to find a new apartment, I didn’t think much of it.  I searched some places, sent her some links, and carried on with my day to day life.  She called again, lamenting about the trouble with her search.  Again, not thinking much of it, I rationalized away her need to just talk through her emotions over moving.  I again suggested places for her to call and placated her with the standard “Everything’s going to be okay” “You’ll find something” “Everything always works out in the end”

Now, before this call, every once in awhile, I would get a random two or four AM text or voicemail from her saying she needed to talk.  But since I was always asleep at the time, I would never get it until at least the next day.  Sometimes I wouldn’t respond until days or weeks later, thinking to myself, “Oh she was probably okay, I don’t think she needed anything that important, I’ll just call her when I get a chance.”

But one day, a year ago, she called me late at night.   I don’t remember what time of day it was, but I remember it wasn’t too late that I was asleep, but late enough to be dark.  She sounded upset.  Normally, I would have tried to calm her down and placate her again with cliche sayings about everything being okay in the end, but this time sounded different.  She was barely cohesive, she would switch between manic and depressive moods in the blink of an eye, her overall conversation was truncated and she was talking about things I knew nothing about.  I called my husband and told him that I was going to stop by her apartment after work just to see if everything was okay.

What I witnessed when I came through the door was not my friend.  The person I saw was the shell of the girl I knew.  Her eyes were empty, she was chain smoking and drinking until oblivion.  Drinking away what?  I will probably never know.  My entire body wanted to start crying.  How did this happen?  How did I not know?  Why did we go so long without getting together regularly or checking up on each other?  I sat down and just listened.  Listened to this person who had taken my friend.  I didn’t know what to do.  I didn’t know what to say.  I wanted to hug away all of her hurt and pain.  I wanted to take away every emotion that made her go to the bottle.  But I didn’t know how.  I didn’t even know the first steps to helping her.  So I just sat and let her talk.  That night, we sat together and she eventually fell into a drunk sleep.  I called her sister, who she had been talking to earlier in the night, to tell her that she had fallen asleep and left the apartment.  It was almost four AM.  After seeing that, I thought the worst was over.  Man was I ever wrong.

The next evening, I got a call again.  Again she needed to talk.  I stopped by a local fast food restaurant to get her something to eat. I went home to explain to my husband that  I would be heading back to her place again.  I was breastfeeding at the time and I couldn’t afford to really be out late for another night, so I went home and got my 3 month old daughter and brought her to my friends house to help her not pick up a drink.  I had no idea if she had or hadn’t been drinking.  I tried to see if there were any bottles or glasses around and there weren’t any.  A family friend who lived in the area stopped by as well.  We would get bits and pieces of a story.  Still not cohesive, still not making much sense, but again, I would just listen, hoping to salvage a story out of her musings.  I left her apartment at three AM that night.  My body was weary. If I put on a strong front for her, it would break down as soon as my driver side car door closed.  That night I just sat in my car for awhile hoping I could get it together enough to drive home.  I had after all, my three month old baby with me, I had to pull it together for her, for me and for my friend.  I cried in spurts all the way home.

When she realized she had a problem, it was a conversation that was simultaneously a relief and hard to ingest.  This person who, for me was so full of life and such a light for others, suddenly found herself needing the help she so frequently gave out.  She was set to go to rehab on Monday morning.  Little did I know what it would take to get there.

Enlisting the help of another mutual friend, together we met at her apartment to begin her journey of healing.  Uneasy at the start, she was hesitant to get in the car.  But once she did we were finally off.  I thought, “This is easy, we only have a quick 20 minute ride and once we get registered, she’ll truly begin the healing process.”

Things took a turn for the worse once we hit traffic.  She began to fall in and out of consciousness reciting biblical scriptures and hallucinating.  In trying to remain sober for me, day three proved to be too much for her.  Not knowing it at the time, my friend was not so quietly going through withdrawal in my car on the way to rehab.  I know now she was most likely suffering from DT’s; delirium tremens.  The death rate from DTs — which are characterized by confusion, rapid heartbeat, and fever — is estimated to range from 1% to 5%.  When I say I was frightened for not only my life, but hers and our friend who was helping us, it would be an understatement.  To see a dear friend switch moods from hysteria to calm to hearing voices to talking to the dead;  again, I didn’t know this person.  I tried to remain as calm and collected as possible.  It took everything in me not to start hysterically crying in the car.  I felt every emotion that she was putting out in the universe and it hurt like a sharp knife in my heart.  I kept repeating to myself in my mind “Just get her to rehab, just get her to rehab” “She’ll get better once we get there.”

But the universe was trying to tell us something different.  In my rush to get to the rehab center, we got into a car crash.  My friends hallucinations got worse.  I can only make up variations of stories in my mind about the lady who hit us wondering why the passenger seemed more upset than I was, but in the moment, I didn’t really care.  I quickly took her info and set back on the path to rehab.  In hindsight that was probably the worst thing I could have done.  Leaving the scene of an accident in which I was of no fault, but I had other pressing matters to attend to.

We finally get to the rehab center and when the staff took a look at her, they knew she was detoxing.  They immediately sent us to the hospital.  The past three days of no alcohol was way too much for her system.  After our mutual friend and I admitted her to the hospital and gave them all her paperwork and accompanying information, we both went down to the hospital cafeteria and just looked at each other.  We couldn’t believe what had just happened.  I remember my mouth moving and us talking to each other, but I don’t remember the conversation we had.  I think we both just wanted to breathe.

After three days at the hospital, she was finally admitted to rehab.  I was relieved.  Her stay there proved to be a much needed worthwhile one.  She has taken this incident and her healing very seriously and for that, I am grateful to finally have my friend back.  It is evident by her dedication to attend meetings and take steps to correct certain prior roadblocks in her life.  When I attended her 1 year sobriety anniversary, all of the depressing emotions of the previous year were replaced by sheer joy.  Like a proud parent at their child’s graduation, happy tears flowed freely.  It’s definitely not over, but i’m proud to say I love her effort so far.


Dream Big, Kid.


I was talking with a lawyer who’s a dear friend of mine about our childhood and how she dreamed of being something that she currently wasn’t.  We talked through her real dream, and she finally admitted that she wanted to be a dancer, and she thought of pursuing dance professionally.  I encouraged her to follow that dream, with the hope that she really would to find her passion purpose back in her life.

I remember when I was a child, I wanted to be an actress. I remember fantasizing about what it would be like to be on set of a movie or a television show working with other actors and being praised for being good at it.  I also wanted to get out of my own shadow.  I was incredibly shy and because of that, creating another persona who was charismatic and said all the right lines appealed to me.   As I became a teenager heading off to college, my parents pushed for me to find a profession where I could “get a job” right out of college, so I compromised my dream by focusing on working behind the scenes in entertainment.  I didn’t know exactly what that meant, or how I would do it, but that became the dream that I strived for.

As I was talking to my friend, a lawyer who passed the bar in several states, about her dream career when she was little, she followed a similar thread that I have heard a lot lately.  Her dream of becoming a dancer was quickly quashed by her parents desire for something more “practical”.  The toll for parents paying for college was to find a job post college, not necessarily to pursue a “passion”.   As a parent, I get the reasoning behind it, but I wonder what would happen if our parents had encouraged us to follow our real dreams?

I remember my parents always telling me, “You can do anything you want to do and be anything you want to be, the world is yours”  But when I actually decided to take my parents up on that offer, the tune was quite different.  I remember quite a few questionable looks and hesitant conversations around me going to college to study acting to be a professional actress.  Being the shy person that I was, I quickly conceded to my parents wishes to find something more practical and headed straight for the school of communications.  I figured if I wasn’t going to be an actress, I would at least try to be in a profession that would be close.

She and I had similar experiences.  In fact,  this conversation isn’t a new one among a lot of peers.  The story of many has a similar thread.  The crazy/wild/outlandish dream gets modified by parents who want their sons and daughters to get a practical “job”.  Said dream becomes a footnote in our lives until a life altering event happens where it doesn’t matter anymore and we give up our day jobs to pursue our real passions.   So right now she wants to pursue dancing, and I think that is the best decision that she has made.  Why?  Because once you let go of the fear of saying what you really want to do out loud to people, you become free to actually pursue it sans fear of what anyone else thinks.  I wish more people would do this.  It would save a lot of people from becoming unhappy and unfulfilled doctors, lawyers and executives.

So to my daughter and son who might want to be a space explorer or Alvin Ailey dancer, Dream big, kid.  The world is yours for the taking.

To Spank or Not to Spank: That is the Question

psychology - spanking

This past weekend, I received a compliment I have been waiting to hear for years.  No it wasn’t on my shoes, or clothes or “getting my body back” after baby, whatever that means (trust me, after you have a baby, there is no “body back” no matter how much weight you have lost).  I digress.

As I was leaving a dinner party, filled with adults and kids, a lady walked up to me as I was getting my two children and said, “You have the most well behaved kids!  They are so polite and have great manners, you’re doing such a good job with them.”  Like Lupita Nyong’o at the Academy Awards, I almost broke down and cried my way through an acceptance speech.  “I’d like to thank…” But instead with a sheepish grin I mumbled together something like “Oh thanks!”

I would love to say that I did this all without, as Gwyneth would say, “forcefully disciplining” my children.  I would love to be a part of the chorus that believes that spanking children is not the way to go and the only thing you are doing with spanking is creating more aggressive, fearful children.  But since i’ve used it on my own children, I won’t.

Look, I don’t believe that spanking should be the main form of punishment for a child.  It shouldn’t even be a go-to.  What I will say is that I believe there is a right and a wrong way to discipline your children no matter if you spank them or not.

When I was growing up, both of my parents spanked me.  There was a difference however, in the way that my mother and father carried out that punishment.  Now, before I start ratting out both of my parents, I have love and respect for both of them.  As an educated adult, I understand their belief that spanking would curb certain behaviors.  With that said, My father was a military man.  As the main enforcer of punishment, he was often reactionary, with the thought that any misbehavior would self-correct after a good swat.

My mother on the other hand, took a different approach.  She would rarely spank, but when she did, she would often stop the wrongdoing immediately and delay the punishment.  I always wondered why (I know now the delay was so she could have time to calm down).  Spankings with her usually occurred at night after a long explanation for the reason, so that I fully understood it’s purpose.

So it got me to thinking.  It’s not necessarily spankings, or timeouts, or whatever mode of discipline is new right now.  What children really need is to be talked to, starting at an early age, even if they don’t understand everything right away.   Understanding why you are being punished goes a lot father than passing out the punishment.

I have since tried to model my own life with my children, like my mother did with me and my siblings.  I’m not going to give future predictions, but judging by the world audience, so far it has worked.


This piece was originally featured on WTOP’s Parenting page.
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Would you do it again?


“If you had to do it over again, would you?”

This question was raised to me recently at a girl’s night in, a ritual that I have cherished since I was a teenager.  Girls getting together does something for my soul.  It renews my spirit in the collective, and refreshes my mind.  It’s like going to the spa for my entire being.

So when I was asked this question, a late night filled with trash talking, advice, sailor cursing, and praying, I paused, because I wanted to give a true answer.  An answer that didn’t trivialize the work that parents do, or the frustration we sometimes feel at the lack of understanding of the task at hand of raising whole beings, yet spoke to the reward we parents feel without glossing these truths over or sounding overly mushy.

So, for all those with children, and for those who have yet to have children, these are my thoughts from a mother with young children.

Let me first say, Parenting is hard.  Really, really hard.

When I first brought my first born home from the hospital, there was a feeling of anxiety.  I read tons of books, looked at countless videos, signed up for several classes on baby care, caring for newborns, what to do the first year.  But none of those books prepared me for trying to get a baby to sleep when he’s colicky and the gripe water doesn’t work, nor does rocking, or swaddling, or singing, or moving feet.

Everyone jokes about sleepless nights.  I remember countless times friends with kids said, “Get your rest now, because when the baby comes you aren’t going to get any! lol”  This was a direct quote.  It’s not a joke.  It’s not even really funny, and lack of sleep can have major consequences on a parent.  Even getting sleep before the baby arrives won’t do anything for the lack of sleep once a baby is here.  Sleep is not on reserve.  You can’t go back and get the sleep you had before the baby and insert it in present day, life doesn’t work like that.

No one talks about the time it really takes to breastfeed.  Everyone totes the good qualities of breastfeeding, how it helps babies, how it’s the “best source” early on.  If you breastfeed exclusively, no one talks about how you and baby are essentially attached to each other for the first two months of life.  By attached, I mean if your baby is hungry and you are about to use the bathroom, you sometimes have to take your child to the bathroom with you and feed and pee.  Yes, that happens.  Or if you are at the grocery store and your child gets hungry, how you sometimes are shamed for feeding your child.  I once went to a baby shower (a baby shower nonetheless!) and had to feed my child.  I was told, “The bathroom is over there.”  Yup that happened too.

No one talks about not being able to take a shower early on.  Days would sometimes flow together because of the daily cycle of feeding, eating, sleeping and changing.  I had both of my children in the winter months, some of the shortest days of the year.  The day would be over before it started.  5pm would come as if it were 11a and the drive to take a shower at 9p would be nonexistent.  One day would turn into two, two would turn into three.  Everyone just jokes about it, and makes it seem like it doesn’t really happen, or if it does, it’s THAT one person, not the collective.  but it’s the collective, trust me.

What we do talk about are the feelings we get holding our baby even though they are crying.  The simultaneous feeling of unconditional love and frustration, are feelings I have felt as a parent.  The instant my children are silly, smile, hug, or have shown that they have learned something from what I or their father has taught them, fills my heart with immeasurable joy.  Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Twitter, and all other social media tools show these moments daily.  This is why the collective community love these posts so much.  They restore our love of children and the unknown possibilities of these little lives.

What we need to talk about are the times where we secretly love that our baby needs us so much that we have to feed them in public.  Or when we pee.  Or when we are late to the meeting, work, playdate, party, or whatever we go to because we had to make sure our children ate, or had their nap before we leave, or had a bath, or did their hair.  It’s uncomfortable, and it takes extra time, and it makes us look bad, and it gives us a bad name, but secretly I would rather spend time with my children than go to said event, meeting, or job.

To me, children are the best and worst version of ourselves.  At times when we are at our best, we can see the same flashes of this in our children, at times when we are at our worst, our children can amplify this feeling to infinity.  In my opinion, if you want to see who you really are, have children.  They will give you all of your emotions unfiltered.  Learning to mold and shape my children to be genuine, honest and respectable beings, has been my greatest life lesson so far.

So if I had to do it over again, would I?  I would in a heartbeat.



I Don’t do Cock Fights

Self-editing is such a good thing.

So I begin my story by saying, I self-edit a lot.  I have to, it’s part of my job, plus I have a husband and kids, so the ability to “keep it real” is not always afforded to me.  This is probably why I have a blog.  I carry a journal with me so that when I have an idea for a new blog post, I can write it down and write down the main points so that if I have the chance to type it out at some point, I can expand my bullet point thoughts into a new post for you all to see.  So two weeks ago I had an idea, based off of an incident in my life that gave me ample dialogue for a post.  I wasn’t able to type it out online, so I went to my journal.  I furiously wrote my first thoughts down on paper and after finishing, I closed the book, hoping to write it out at some point on this blog.

I’m so glad I didn’t do that.

Because most of the time the first thoughts out of anger, aren’t the thoughts that actually need to be conveyed.  What does need to be conveyed is the principle behind those thoughts.  My main point that I wanted to get across?  I don’t do fighting.  I didn’t do it as a child, and I definitely don’t need to do it as an adult.  I don’t encourage my children to fight.  Fighting creates so much stress for all parties involved whether it be an office fight or a fight in the home, where the ramifications extend far beyond the principle characters.  This is why.

Office fights can add so much stress to your home life.  This Gallup study estimates that at least 450 billion dollars a year are wasted due to office fights.  Nevermind the possible lawsuits from the fallout of an office fight, but it can also result in a lack of productivity and an increase in distraction.  How can you concentrate at work if the only thing that permeates your mind is the reverberations from an office fight?  Home life and lack of engagement with your family can result as well.  Who hasn’t been in an office fight where all you can seem to talk about at home is what crazy drama happened at work?  Trust me, you family cares, but not that much that it becomes the only thing you can talk about.

Couples fighting can lead to stress in children.   This study by Parenting.com lays out why children don’t need to see their parent’s fight.  Parental stress can lead to child stress and even if you don’t “mean to” do this to your children, it still can result in behavioral issues with your children.  “The early childhood brain is disproportionately receptive to what’s good and bad in the environment,” says Rahil Briggs, director of the Healthy Steps program at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. “This is why a young child can learn a new language in a year. It’s also why stress in their environment is disproportionately impactful.”

So it got me to thinking.  I care about my kids, I really do.  After I had my first child, my entire world changed, and whatever I did, whether it be professionally or personally, I tried to do it to the best of my ability so that when my children were old enough to discern what mommy did and how she lived her life, they would be proud.   Seeing their faces when I wake up in the morning and when we go to bed at night gives me so much joy.  I know I can’t take away all of the stress in my life, but I also know that in order to raise happy healthy children, managing the sometimes crazy in my life needs to be a constant priority.


Where did my Brain go?

I swear I have some of the most brilliant posts in my mind.  Just this weekend, I had an idea for a very thought provoking piece dealing with…yup, I can’t remember it.

So at first, I thought to myself this would be a temporary thing…The infamous mommy brain.  I recognized it when I was pregnant with my first child.  I would be talking with a friend, and I would have to recall an event, something minimal that I of course knew how to describe eloquently, but alas, I would just end up saying, “Um, um, um…wait a minute, it’ll come back to me” and the thought would never come back to me.  It was like it was stranded on a desert Island, waiting for me to come save it.  It was there, I just had to find it.

My memory recall has gotten worse after my second child.  I even took extra DHA (recommended by a friend) in order to save my brain cells.  Sometimes when i’m at work and in social circles, I sound really smart and I think to myself, “There you are brain, we’re back in business!”  Other times, I feel like a blubbering idiot.  I try to laugh it off, because I know this is a part of life, but I have thought to myself, “Is this early onset dementia? Am I losing it?”

I hope i’m not alone on this, because It would totally suck if I was.

You know how you feel when the thought is right there, and you just need a little help recalling it so that the full thought comes out and you can display your genius like a proud peacock?  Well I feel like that all the time.

Yesterday, I had a great topic idea for a new blog post and I tried to write it down but I was in a place where I couldn’t write it down anywhere. When I tried to recall the idea…yup, you guessed it, I couldn’t remember it for the life of me.  If ever I felt a missed opportunity happening, that was it.

No mom wants to really admit that her brain loses cells each time she has a child.  The repercussions in the work environment and at home would be too great.  Imagine your boss blaming your work performance on your lost brain, or your partner always blaming your absent mindedness on your missing cells.  But I really wish those conversations could happen because they are important.  Imagine how your workflow would go if you were totally honest with your boss, your co-workers and your clients if they knew this information and didn’t use it against you. If society was more honest about motherhood and parenting in the 21st century, that means we could have an honest conversation about my missing brain.

What I miss about not having kids

I know, I’m suppose to say that I love my children and since i’ve had them my days have been infinitely blessed, I can’t imagine what life was like before them, what was I doing with my life, etc., etc., etc.  Well I can tell you that my life was actually quite fulfilling before my kids.  I reside in the city where I went to college, and a good number of my friends still live here.  I had (have) an awesome single social circle.  I live in a city, so I was not remiss with things to do on a week-end.  I am a very active person, I would workout on a regular basis, I joined co-ed recreational sports teams and I loved going to comedy clubs, the movies, festivals, you name it.  My husband (boyfriend at the time) and me would always venture out past 11p to hit up a local restaurant or pizza place to get some food if we didn’t feel like cooking, or we would get cookbooks dedicated to single meals in order to “try out” new recipies because we were feeling adventurous.  So here is my post dedicated to those times.  RIP good food, good bars, and spontaneous dates…

My kids have killed the good meal.  In my effort to make meals that can be mushed in little peoples mouths, contain all five of the basic food groups, and can be prepared quickly, out go the days of preparing an intricate, meticulously slaved over meal.  Maybe i’ll dust off the cookbooks that we have in our kitchen when they are older, but who knows if i’ll even feel like it then.  I remember when I used to cook and it actually meant something, like I actually remember the meal I prepared.  Now I cook just to see how long I can go before I have to cook again.  Casseroles and soups have been my friend for years.

I always say to people i’m a vegetarian because I don’t workout anymore.  Trust me, i’ve tried.  I’ve tried getting up before the kids wake up, and that lasts for maybe a week or two tops.  I’m way too tired to try to motivate myself at 6am.  And don’t let one of the kids wake-up at 6:05.  Workout ruined.  I’ve tried working out during work.  But most of the time, i’m too busy actually working to stop in the middle of the day to go to the gym at work.  It’s extremely convenient, but not practical for me.  I’ve tried going to workout after I get off work.  But let’s face it.  Getting up working with my kids, then going to work, then trying to muster up enough energy for a workout?  Yeah exactly.  It was always an epic fail.

Whenever any one of my friends happens on the occasional facebook stalk, they always mention pictures of my husband and I playing co-ed flag football, and I reminisce on how active I used to be…how easy it used to be to join that stuff with friends, or how we could go to a friends’ birthday/engagement/cookout party on a whim.  No babysitters needed for our outings, we could just go.  And don’t even get me to talking about vacations.  I took endless vacations in the US and beyond the parameters of America as well as to many of the islands in the Carribean with friends as well as with my husband.  Good times, Good times.

But this is my formal goodbye.  We’ve had a good run, you and I.  I’ve laughed until it hurts and thoroughly enjoyed the freedom that comes with a childless life.  Maybe i’ll see you again in another 20 years or so, but by then i’ll be a much more mature person.  I don’t know if I can reclaim the crazy times of my youth, but I hope by then i’ll feel young enough to try.


The New Norm

When I was growing up, there was a constant struggle to keep the house clean.  My mother struggled with putting laundry away, keeping the dishes washed, etc.  When my brother, my sister and me were older, we of course became the hired help – Read:chores, but she still struggled.  I remember saying to myself, I will never let my house look like ours did at times.

Oh how we lie to ourselves.

Now, I want to preface this by saying we live quite modestly.  No McMansions over here, we use our space quite efficiently.  My husband and our two kids are comfortable but we aren’t spread out.  So when I say that our house is in a constant state of emergency, I no kid.

Like the aftermath of a midwest tornado, things are everywhere.  Toys, books, games, book bags, purses, clothes, mail you name it, we have it, all. spread. out.

I keep telling myself that I am going to get to it, but a part of me doesn’t want to.  You know why?  Because I know that the minute I pick it up and put it all away, two seconds later it will be back on the floor.  And i’m not just talking about the toys.  I’ve had three different organizers come into our home to “de-clutter”.  I’ve purchased all of the organizational solutions known to man.  Closet organizer? Got it.  Storage furniture? multiple ones.  Shelving solutions? Elfa is my friend.

In my head I know it makes sense to clean up the house, in order for it to stay clean, in order not to be embarrassed when company comes over and so the kids can play without me constantly picking up toys so that they don’t trip on them.  But in practice it’s a losing proposition.  To knowingly keep cleaning something that will immediately get dirty over and over and over again means that you keep getting on the wheel thinking you’ll get different results when the results will always be the same.  I will never rid myself of cleaning up the house, well that is unless we get a maid, but even then the organization still needs to be in place, otherwise I’m just going to be cleaning up for the maid.

But even more than just me, this seems to be a phenomenon with people I know with young kids.  As messy as I thought our house was growing up, I never remember it being in the current state that mine is in now.  Maybe i’m glossing over my youth (as I sometimes do) but there were certain parts of my house growing up that would never be subject to a mess.  So why am I allowing this mess to take over?  Are we (me and my husband) that busy that we can’t take an hour or two to clean up? Are dual income households in general too busy that they don’t have time to take care of the home anymore?  Most of my peers that don’t have this problem have a maid.  Is this what it has to come to? And what happens to the people that can’t afford a maid?  I have too many questions…lol.  Everyone that I talk to with young children says yes and to just get a maid, but I refuse.  I guess i’m still in denial about my ability to “do it all”, but I haven’t yet accepted the fact that in order to keep our house clean, someone else has to do it.

But right now in our current state, our house stays clean for maybe one week out of a month. Maybe that’s good, maybe it’s not.  And just maybe i’ll have to wait until my kids get older in order for me to keep it clean for the other 3 weeks of the month.  Only time will tell.

Top 5 things TO do around young children

These little sponges take up a lot in a little amount of time. Show them the world.

Take them to the library, the bookstore, the zoo, a museum

This could be a post entitled take them anywhere, so use your judgment when determining where your children go.  But the point being, expose them to what the world has to offer.  There are tons of free child events that happen in your town, take them.   Not just for their sake, but for yours as well.  Just don’t forget the snacks/diapers.

Play with them

Dedicate time at home to play with them.  It doesn’t have to be for long, but let your child know that you care about them and them only, and not have it attached to an event outside of the home.

Love yourself

I know it sounds weird to talk about yourself in a post dedicated to children.  But really, love yourself.  Love where you are in life, love what you do for your children and don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect.  Because life happens.  Because if you have a strong, healthy love of yourself, your children will have a strong healthy love of themselves.  It starts from the teacher.  Teach them by living the example you want them to emulate.

Read to them

It’s self-explanatory, but a child who has been read to at an early age, becomes a child who loves to read.  Show them that reading is cool, and worthwhile and important.  Don’t raise your child to the Ipad.  I know it’s cool to see your 3 month old baby unlock your computer and turn on their game, but it’s even cooler to see your 2 year old child pick up a book and read because he knows how and because mommy and daddy have read to him since he was born.

Give them a hug/Give them a kiss

Young children have emotions too.  Show them that you love them by hugging them when they wake up, when you drop them off at daycare/school, when you pick them up and when you put them to bed.  Hug them when they do something they are really proud of, hug them when they accomplish a goal they set for themselves, hug them when they don’t expect it.  The same goes for the kiss.

So here is my list of things you should do around children. What do you think?  Did I leave out anything important?  If so add it to the list in the comments section!