Pause to reflect

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Well, here we are, the last day of the year and the final post in 2015!  This year has gotten away from me and I haven’t posted as many times as I would have liked, but that is ok!

This will be a brief post, but I wanted to reach out one more time before the year’s end.

I think we all love the idea of the Holiday season…something to distract us from the short days, weird weather (70 degrees on Christmas Eve… Think Mother Nature missed the memo of a White Christmas!) and spending time with the people we love.  However the expectations can be somewhat unrealistic and when you are rushing around, shopping, cooking, and trying to fit in family fun, it can be gone before  you blink!

I did have a very nice Christmas with family.  I remember being young and feeling bad for my parents because Santa missed them on Christmas, but my parents reassured me that their gift was seeing us happy.  I didn’t understand, but now I do.

Santa brought our son a kitchen set.  I thought he might be to old for one, but he is the king of imagination with his dress up, cooking, and so on.  Well, the kitchen was delivered from Santa set up!  It must have been to big to wrap so Santa hid it behind the curtain.  Well, my little one came running down the stairs, didn’t see the kitchen, but he had one gift wrapped from Santa on the table.  He grabbed the gift, quietly sat on the floor and said’ “I am not sure, but I think this is a box of coal.”   I replied that he was a good boy and doing so well at his new school that I am sure it was not coal.  He said, “Whatever it is Santa wanted me to have it so I will like it!”  The most astonishing part is that his older brother had his gifts wrapped and in plain view, but there was no tantrum, no “he has gifts why not me.”  Nope, he sat there happy as ever with his one gift.  I was impressed. Ha! The little things!  Well the kitchen was spotted soon after and there were hugs and smiles all around.

Now I am reflecting on the past year.  We have had so many changes this year, new, exciting, scary changes. An all around eventful year!  I think of how busy the year has been but remain thankful that we have so many people around us that made this year so special!  I invite you all to reflect and think back 365 days ago to what your hopes were for the New Year.  Did I meet all of my goals – no, but they don’t have to disappear.  My New Year’s Resolution is this, Life is short and I am thankful to be at the age where I have realized that no matter what you do you can’t please everyone, but you can please yourself!  I will reflect on my goals, push myself to be the person I want to be, and most of all enjoin the small things in life.  Wishing everyone a very peaceful, safe and Happy New Year!

Stay tuned…. 2016 will bring some guest writers and exciting topics!

 

*grammatical and spelling errors are done purposefully to make sure you are reading the article!  Enjoy!

Zombie Mom

IMG_3567A few weeks ago I was on the phone with my best friend and we were making plans for a girls night.  You know how that goes, in order to go out the plans need to be made 3-4 weeks in advance, on a night that everyone is free, everyone has a baby sitter, and there isn’t much going on the next day.  We both vowed to ourselves that this summer, during the few brief weeks between sports and school starting we would have some more girl time!  Then she came up with the term Zombie mom, and I love it!

For the past 5 years our New Year’s resolutions have been, “This year I am going to have more me time” and every year we fail!  Truth is I love spending time with the kids and the family, but when I get that night out I realize how much it is needed.  AND when I get home I am happy, refreshed and looking forward to hugging the kiddies.  BONUS to this is they missed me and they are behaving like angels! My husband and I went out for dinner, just the two of us a few weeks ago….actually a few months ago now and when we were out we were trying to think of the last time we went out sans children…and we couldn’t remember.  Granted we just moved a few months ago and have been super busy settling in and with life in general, but why do we always find time for other things and not for ourselves?

I often feel like a version of Bill Murray in the movie “Groundhog Day.”  Wake up, get kids ready, buy much needed coffee, drop kids off at school, go to work, pick up kids, drive home, do home work, make dinner (or hopefully reheat leftovers), go to baseball or clean or yard work, come home, showers, pajamas, bed, repeat.   Zombie mom.  It is our day to day that we LOVE and always wanted, but man does it get tiring!  The one piece of advice that the more experienced generation of moms give that is ALWAYS the same is, “Enjoy this time while your kids are young because it goes way to fast.”  I couldn’t agree with that more, BUT the problem is, and I think the more experienced generation of moms forget, that this age means our group of friends and family is also this age, also with young children…so that means weekends are filled with celebrations while the week is full of commitments so down time is few and far between.

Nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than when my little 6 year old gets up to bat and hits the ball and runs his little legs to first base!  Then he looks over at us on the bleachers and is smiling ear to ear jumping up and down and is so darn proud of himself! THAT moment makes it all worth it!  Or when we are at the elementary school at 11:00 pm on a school night because our oldest son’s basketball team just won the playoffs and were the winter league champs but they barely won a game all season – THAT was an awesome thing to witness!  These moments make all the running around seem like nothing and “of course we will be back next year!” However, Zombie mom comes out once in a bit.  She means well, but she is tired, annoyed with boys peeing on the toilet seat, irritated that people leave dishes in the sink instead of putting them in the dishwasher, and lets please not forget the different sizes of socks that are rolled in balls and left under couches, in between bed sheets and sometimes found in toy bins.   Zombie mom definitely needs a break from her routine to recharge and snap out of it.

“Me time” does not always consist of spending money, making a whole day and night out of it or doing chores solo.  Yes, once in a while I do love to go out with adults for a nice dinner, or a fun show or whatever is on the agenda, but that isn’t something we can do everyday and let’s face it, we are better to others when we are best to ourselves.  Moms and Dads need to put themselves first.  I like to compare it to the advice we get from our beautiful flight attendants – if there is an emergency put your oxygen mask on first then assist the children and elderly.  This applies to parenting…if we don’t take care of ourselves mentally and physically, how can we be the best parents we want to be?  So mom and dad find out what your “me time” is and stick to it as you stick to homework time, or making dinner, or bed time routines.

I have a confession to make…I LOVE watching Days of Our Lives!!! I watched is as a child with my grandmother, and my mom and now I DVR that show everyday and can’t wait to sit down and catch up!  Is it because I want to see who Stefano brings back to life?  Is it because the story line is like nothing else I have ever seen?  OR is it because I live with 3 boys that scatter like ants when I put it on?  I sit, I no longer fold laundry while it is on, I just sit and watch and take in the peace and quiet.  I also started family walks after dinner.  Well, that was more frustrating than anything so I walk with my dog and that is that.  We need to recharge, reflect and relax!  I enjoy when my cell phone rings and I can go into my room, close the door and swear a little bit, OK like a truck driver about life without feeling like the worst mom because I dropped an F bomb in front of my kids yet again.

I mentioned that we recently moved…we went from small city where I can get to 4 stores and home in 30 minutes (not kidding), to a 10-15 minute drive to get anywhere to get anything.  Not a big deal but I have that RI mentality that if it is farther than 5 minutes it is too far to leave the house.  Anyway, not living so close to everything has made us slow down a little bit. Instead of being able to run out and grab something (which turns into and all out shopping trip) we say we will get it tomorrow.  If I have laundry piling up or a date at the ice cream parlor planned, I no longer cancel my ice cream date because if I stayed home to wash ALL the clothes and get all the laundry done, there will be more clothes in the baskets when we change for bedtime.

I think a lot of parents will say they live for their children and we NEED to live for ourselves.  If we don’t listen to the flight attendant and put the mask over our children’s faces before our’s then what if we are not able to get OUR maskt on fast enough? Who will take care of us? Who will now be there for our children?  A better me is a happier child.  An adult phone call, a 15 minute walk, listening to music, 20 minutes aside every day for reading, writing, taking pictures….whatever it is let’s get in the habit NOW before September and the whole school routine comes back.  Make it a habit so you fit it into your daily routines.  Zombie mom is almost inevitable…we all have good days and we all have bad days, but stirring the pot with something just for our selves can be the difference between the amount of good and bad days we have.

 

*Enjoy and skip the spelling errors and grammatical mistakes…this mom is enjoying me time writing and I am not worried about the minor mishaps!

 

Picture Perfect vs Reality

 

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I love family day! Trying to find the time to spend together with everyone’s different schedules is somewhat near impossible at times. All we have time for some days is a quick 10 minute family dinner in between homework, practice, work, etc, etc. However, when we can all get together as a family for some fun time, day trips are my favorite! My fondest memories as a child were day trips with my family. Rocky Point, a Rhode Island staple, was probably the most amazing thing since slice bread! Boston day trips were also beyond fun…I mean so much to do in the historic New England city and finish that off with a bite to eat…what is better than that?

Now that I have my own family, I want my kids to look back at their childhood and also be filled with love and happiness…but why doesn’t it work out that way? I remember our first trip to Disney. PICTURE PERFECT: My husband and I had never been as children so we took our oldest son when he was about 3. To think, we were in Disneyland…the most magical place on earth! All I could imagine was our little man beaming with happiness, the hugs and kisses, the screams and thrills as we ride the best rides on earth, and the hats with those awesome mouse ears. How special for all of us to experience Disney for the first time together. REALITY: Once we FINALLY got into the theme park (long ride in from the parking lot, getting all hot and sweating waiting to get on the monorail, the bag check at the main gate and waiting at the stroller rental place) our little guy was a little tired. But that was ok because we had all day to enjoy…well, he was a little overwhelmed but we kept on truckin’. We finally arrived at the castle….I was in awe! Little guy was walking on by wondering where the heck we were. Finally we were in line for our first ride…my husband and I were beaming…and we waited….and waited….and waited…and about 45 minutes later we were riding the cars!! I mean it was so much fun…2 minutes later it was over, little man was crying because he didn’t want to get off.  Here we were, the only family in the WORLD trying to calm down a toddler screaming at the top of his lungs. My husband was ready to call it a day but by some grace of God the crying stopped, we bought some snacks and nap time came next. Fast forward through the rest of the day to the part of trying to actually LEAVE Disney… First I have to say, I didn’t know the park blew up every night…I mean the happiest place on earth just turned into a race to the finish line! As we stand in line, once again waiting to get on the car to take us to our car in the parking lot, I am being called all types of names and getting numerous disapproving stares as my 3 year old is licking down a 2 foot tall lollipop! I mean what good mother allows her child to have that much sugar at this hour of the night…THIS ONE! The kid was dripping colored sugar all over the place and as he tilted the pop to get a good lick, every once in a while he would lightly tap someone standing near us leaving a nice stain of Disney on their clothes. After all, Disney is all about dreams coming true right?? What 3 year old wouldn’t LOVE to be sucking on a sugar stick hours passed their bed time? As the disapproving stares were coming toward me I held my head high thinking #1 Mom right here.

Don’t get me wrong, the whole day wasn’t a bust, there were many fun rides, the parade was magical and I have amazing pictures to last a lifetime, but how frustrating when we see the advertisements of EVERYONE having the time of their life. Why can’t MY family be identical to the thousands of people in the commercial laughing and having the time of their life?! I mean in movies, moms look absolutely gorgeous in the delivery room after giving birth. Why did I have puffy eyes under my glasses, my hair in a nest-like bun on the top of my head, rocking a nightgown that would make my grandmother jealous. Ugh… Hollywood is a whole other beast. Let’s touch on the movies that show all these relationship problems, but once the baby is born the couple comes together in the delivery room, promising to be perfect in every way and live happily ever after. I think the movie should start there because we all know that is just the beginning! The birth of a child is amazing but it is rarely done with lipstick and eyeliner on, unless of course you are the beautiful Duchess Kate Middelton.  I mean did everyone see how amazing she looked days after giving birth – jealous girl rant over!

Or what about the dream guy in the movie….ladies fess up – we all have watched these ooey gooey movies and they shot a narrow eyed stare at our husbands thinking, “How hard would it be for him to say something nice!” My husband’s reply to “the stare” is, “If I had someone writing my every word I would say those nice things too.”

Back to my Disney REALITY… if you ask my son about the first time he went to Disney he actually remembers some of it. He remembers sitting on dad’s shoulders watching the parade, he remembers the amazing candy store and he remembers being on the Aladdin magic carpet ride. At the end of the day we had successfully completed a family fun memory for our little guy! Maybe there were tears, maybe some frustration, maybe even a little swear word here or there, but as we retell the story of the loudest screaming child that caused a circle to form around us in the center of “the happiest place on earth” we say it smiling and laughing and there is a warm feeling that fills my heart because that is our family memory. Who said picture perfect has to be magazine worthy? Forget magazine worthy and make it memory worthy!

*as usual, please excuse any typing or grammatical errors, the thoughts flood my brain faster than I can get them on paper and I don’t want to forget my thoughts…mommy brain!

50/50 shot to get it right!

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My whole outlook on parenting is that it is a much more difficult job than I ever thought! When we are young we feel that our parents have all the answers and wait a minute – do you mean they make mistakes? I have come to realize that parenting is a 50/50 shot at getting it right. I actually thought when I had children all the answers would just come naturally and flood my brain so that I would raise “the perfect child.” You know, the type of child we ALL believe we will have before we actually have children, yup that one…you know the one that DOES NOT exist. Now, I have 11 years of being a mom under my belt….thats right, 11 years and 6 years with two children (doing the math you may have guessed I have an 11 and a 6 year old) and I am proud to say that I do NOT have all the answers. I literally sit back, make a decision, cross my fingers and hope for the best possible outcome!

When we are pregnant we worry, about everything, but when you hear that little tiny baby cry you feel a sense of relief. I think I am like most moms, I prayed for a healthy baby. I have been blessed with 2 beautiful, healthy, loving boys. I do consider myself to be a pretty lucky mom, I mean at the pediatricians office my boys are both over the 75% percentile on the growth chart…isn’t that what we all want to hear at their visits? How our children measure up to the norm? I think I always held my breath waiting to see what percentile for height and weight my kids fell into and had a sense of pride when a paper was stapled to my oldest son’s growth chart because he had literally grown off the charts!

However, does anyone prepare you if you have a child with a reading disability? ADD? ADHD?  Autism? We hear of these things and think “Another kid with ADHD, what have their parents done wrong? If that were my kid he would listen no matter what!” Do we as parents really try and understand what another family might be facing?  What about Lyme Disease? Do people really understand the issues someone has to face with living with this disease? It is hard enough trying to do the best we can but I think we all have heard that baby crying and rolled our eyes wondering who the bad mother is that can’t keep her baby quiet!

Everyday I watch my boys grow, learn new things and experience life.  The older they get, the more I worry.   I feel that I doubt myself and everyday conversations have me wondering, “How did I handle that?” or “Is this normal pre-teen behavior?” or “Is there something else going on here?”

So how do I get over the guilt of making a possible wrong decision? Well, it’s knowing that every decision I make has some thought behind it and a sprinkle of mother’s love. Nobody will ever know you better than you. Everyday we grow as parents, and everyday our kids are one step closer to growing into little adults…so there is no definite answer. I give and take advice with a grain of salt. So if you read something here that isn’t your cup of tea, or may offend you (absolutely unintentional!) then please know that my goal here is to have mothers  and fathers come together, share some thoughts and most of all support one another. This day and age there is so much competition and craze trying to raise these little people that it literally takes a village!

*Please excuse any typos or grammatical errors, my thoughts are way to important to express than to worry about spelling and grammar 🙂