14
Oct

When the struggle is real

I have been in a season of sacrifice for a very long time.
I started referring to times like these in my life as seasons of sacrifice because someone I follow mentioned how it helps to reframe the hard.
Focus that it is a season, not your life.
Focus that it is a sacrifice, not the new normal.
Focus on the systems you can put into play to make it manageable and realize you will get back to your ways in time.
It's a season, and seasons change.
But I remember the end of last year.
I remember how that season of sacrifice made me so sick.
Brought me to the doctor kind of sick.
Made me think something horrible was happening to me kind of sick.
And in my year of different, I knew the season was approaching and I have been trying.
I planned, I put my systems in place, I prepared, I put myself in the "right" state of mind, I kept eating and drinking water and doing the things that I was told I needed to not get sick and avoid another health scare.
And instead, I have been struggling, really struggling.
I think part of my issue is that it started so much sooner and summer never let up and I just never felt an exhaling.
Halfway through my year, there is always this little window of reprieve.
One in which I get to calm down a bit, regroup, recenter, refocus, and remember to breathe in and especially out.
That life isn't that serious.
That all is going to be okay.
That I know where my real priorities stand.
And as I enter my last quarter of the year, I am never ready, but my mind at least got a little break.
My summer normally is a time of rest and calm and instead it brought with it turmoil and haste.
And I struggled.
My fall is crazy, always crazy, and for the last several years, just keeps adding on to itself.
And I am still struggling more and more.

It could be because my summer was too much.
It could be because there is now too much on my plate and I can't breathe.
It could be because my calendar and schedule and to-dos and family and kids and business and life and all of it is piling up and I am the one that keeps us organized and I can't so we're not.
And I'm the one that keeps the house running and I can't so it's not.
And I'm the one that keeps everything moving but I can't so there's a lot of running to stand still.
So, I'm struggling.
To smile, to stay awake, to keep it all going, to be close, to talk, to want to partner, to take anything else on, to laugh.

And I say all of this for anyone that is reading and feels that they are alone.
I know I'm not, we're not
I know we are all out there.
Doing our very best every single day.
Because we are.
And our tempers might be short.
And our patience might be worn.
And our minds and bodies might be tired.
And our nerves are actually sizzling.
But we show up.
We show up for them and for us.
We show up for jobs and homes and loves and life.
We know the end will come and we tell ourselves every day that we, of course, have a little more to give.
We wake up a little earlier, we stay up a little later, we make time, we find a way.
We show up even though the struggle is very real, and there will come a day when we look back and think, how did we do that all?
How did we manage that?
How did we make it?

Today, for my birthday present, I went ziplining.
We were about to walk across a really scary bridge after three exceptionally scary "falls" and the tour guide said the best thing I have heard in a very long time.
Compared to the shit you have just done, this bridge isn't' even a skid mark.
And that's how we make it.
That's how even though the struggle is very real, we always find a way.
We show up, keep going, and realize we can handle a load of crap coming our way.
We let things go that we can, we prioritize it all, we continue to do and try our very best, and we show up again and again.

It's hard to stay strong and remember all of this when we are smack in the middle of it.
It's hard to keep remembering how capable we are.
It's hard to remember that sometimes you will lose at things.
It's hard to remember when you feel so unappreciated and so very alone.
It's hard to remember that it's not all on you.
Because the struggle is very real, and the time seems unmanageable, and you don't see a way out.
But hold on and remember it is a season, not your new normal.
The last leaf will fall
the season is changing again and the sacrifice is always worth it because we make it work.

12
Oct

Five Minute Friday - praise

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on praise.

Go.

Words.
Words of affirmation.
Words of gratitude.
Words of praise.
I love and live for words.
I am calling myself a writer because I have this teeny tiny little blog that only my children will read and follow.
But maybe because of my writing and my love of it always is why I love and live for words.
Maybe because it is my love language.
Maybe because I also chased their approval and never got it.
Maybe because I quietly worked so hard all of my life and not a single person noticed.
Maybe because now, as a mom and CEO and wife and business owner, I never ever hear them.
Unless I tell them to.
Unless I ask to be acknowledged and I cannot even begin to tell you how shitty that feels.
I made you dinner, what do you say?
I landed a donor, what do you think?
I found us the right fit, how is it going?
It all goes unseen, not recognized.

So, I spent a month acknowledging myself.
One solid month of each and every single day writing about something that I am proud of me for.
It was sad at first and a few times it made me cry but in the end, to look up from my desk and see 30 reminders and thank yous to me, well, that made me believe in myself again.

I gifted the words, all the praise, to me.
And one day my daughter wrote something.
A handful of days my husband wrote to me and both were lovely.
They instantly made me feel warm but this was a gift I gave myself and I followed through.
I was so proud of myself for fighting through the feelings of sadness
the feelings of "this is icky"
the feelings of "does it even count if it's coming from me?"
because it does count.
We are our loudest voices and we are around us all of the time and we are the worst at building ourselves up so yes, it mattered.
Yes, it counted.
Yes, I found my praise.

I praised myself for being a good mom
I praised myself for my strength
I praised myself for running a company
I praised myself for always being scared but always doing it anyway
I praised myself for training and running a half marathon
I praised myself for being 40 and handling my birthday like a grownup
I praised myself for the work I do for my agency
I praised myself for my work, my determination, my grit
I praised myself for my health and my priorities
I praised myself for my traditions and how special I make time, critics be damned
I praised myself for my nurturing nature
I praised myself for my love.

Words are important to me.
I stopped being shy about
I stopped asking for it from others, I can't even pretend that forcing it is okay.
And I just started with me.
I allowed myself the gift I always want, one that can't be wrapped, one that can't be put in a box.
One that takes time and consideration.
One that takes thought and notice.
I got me.

5
Oct

Five Minute Friday - share

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on share.

Go.

I want to share something,
this blog is for me.
It is healing for me.
It is a journal of my parenting.
And despite the criticism I receive regarding how pollyanna I make parenting seem, not only do I disagree,
I just don't care.
I know that I share and am honest about my struggles, regrets, worries, concerns.
And I just don't care if you think it's too positive, I will always protect and defend their childhood.
I do not do this because anyone follows me, because they don't.
I do not do this for others to offer advice, because I have none to give, I am winging it.
I do this for me and for them.
I do this so you have a way of knowing how this all went down.
I do this so I have a way of looking back and remembering how this all felt.
I share to heal.
I share to let go, acknowledge and define the feelings I have, and then tell them to piss off.

I share because there are times when I am lost and distracted and empty and it's all too much.
I share because I know so many go through this and we are not alone.
I share because I have to call it out in order to move past.

I share about our amazing.
I share about our awful.
I share about my past.
I share my concerns for our future.
I share what we do well.
I share where I failed.
I share my solutions for us, the positive ones I found, the ones that no longer work, and the regrouping we always have to do.
I share where we stumble.
I share where we lost our way.
I share our book, chapter by chapter.
I share for me and for them, to heal and to know we always find our way back to us.
Because we actually do, we always find our way back to us.
And it ends positively because that's our family rule, we always end the day on our good.
We always end touching toes and talking about the parts we loved and apologize for the mistakes we made.
And as I climb back down the stairs, after yet another long day, I am thrilled to have the quiet and the time without being a mom because I am me too.
The book we started over 18 years ago is torn and faded and beat up and the pages are weathered and the cover is old and a bit ratty.
The story is changing year by year and some chapters are really scary and tearful.
Some chapters are amazing
all the chapters matter.

I share because I will always believe in our happy ending and because I know I have to share to heal me.

Stop.

28
Sep

Five Minute Friday - potential

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on potential.

Go.

My son asked me last night how I became the leader of an agency, "how did you become the boss"?
He's been asking a lot of questions about my work recently.
Running the agency, starting my own business...why, and how, and what do you do, and how did you get there?
He's six and has always known this part of me, it's not something new to him but wrapping his head around it and putting the pieces together is something he is now starting to question.
So I answered, monkey, I worked really hard for a long time in my agency and then they saw my potential and asked me to take on the role.
Same with my company, I have been working really hard to make it work and I have to believe in my own potential.
And his immediate next question was "what's potential?"
It's about the future, what you can become and what you are capable of if given the chance.
I was given a chance.
Incredible mentors and your dad believed in me and I was given the chance.
But you have to believe in yourself too and that's where mom struggles the most.
But, I am getting better, finding my way to me.
At six, I let it stop there.
Because I need them to know it's not always easy to believe in what you're capable of.
Or that some people aren't born fearless and with all the confidence in the world.
But that doesn't mean those people stop and settle.
People that are scared and worry about choices, they make it too.
I feel it's a little harder for them, but only because it's the experience I know
and seeing the other side seems way easier, but it might not be.
Either way, they make it too.
They fight through doubts and fears and worries and concerns and they make it too.
Because in the end, their potential doesn't let them down.
What is sitting in them, it comes out, one way or the other.
Either through hard work
or pushing through fear
or focusing on what they do well
or challenging themselves
eventually ambition and potential find their way to the surface.
And if you're really fortunate, if you're privileged,
someone else sees it,
recognizes it,
and allows it to flourish.
They don't stomp it down.
They don't shut it down nor do they shut it up.
They amplify it and they shine a huge light right on it.
Potential will not go quietly into the night monkey.
Surround yourself with those that see it in you too and shine.

16
Sep

It's personal

I get asked why a lot.
Why do I run, why do I race, why the triathlon?
Why if you're so scared of swimming do you throw yourself into a body of water and swim across a canal?
Why if it causes this much anxiety do you keep doing it?
Why?
What is the rush for you?
Is it the training?
Is it the exercise?
Is it the body issues you still carry?
Why do you do this?
When it hurts, why do you keep going?
When do you think enough is enough?
When will you finally stop?
Why is it so important right before you turn 40, why in your 40s, why?

These aren't the only times people sit me down and ask why?
Because when you live like "this", people look at you and wonder why a lot.
Why do you do it that way?
Why do you add so much?
Why would that bring you, hell anyone, pleasure?
Why did you start doing that?
Why are you participating in that?
Why are you so type A?
Yeah, I get asked why a lot.

And all I have to offer is, it's personal.
There's only one person I am trying to prove it to.
And that's me.
I am sure it stems from them and wanting some sort of acknowledgment.
I am sure it is because they told me all I couldn't do it.
I am sure it is because they wanted to be needed and so they wanted to raise weak.
But I will be 40 and soon.
The only person this falls on now is me.

What I am about to write,
what I am about to share, is going to sound self-loathing.
It's going to sound as though there is too much self-hate.
But, I promise, it is the opposite.
This is the most loving part of me because it is all about self-care.
It's personal.

Races and running and triathlons and half marathons and marathons and hearing my feet on the road and freezing in water and swimming even though I just learned and biking 20 miles on a Wednesday and being bone tired and killing myself isn't just gratifying, it's healing.
It's healing because I live in doubt.
All year, all month, all hour, minute by minute, I live in doubt.
Of me.
And I have strong roots in fear.
Of all that I do and try to do.
Everything that I say yes to, I walk through fear to get there.
My jobs, my careers, my business.
My family, marriage, parenthood.
Owning a home living a life or just plain living.
I doubt myself and am scared of everything.
So, if that was my litmus test, if being too scared or thinking - I can't - was the reason I didn't do something,
I wouldn't do anything.
And f that.
That's not a life, certainly not one I want to live.
So instead, I do.
I run.
I try.
I swim.
I do yoga and get stronger.
I weight train and step out of my comfort zone.
I push.
I make sure I'm tired.
I keep going.
I work long hours.
I train for long periods of time.
I work on being a mom.
I work hard at my marriage.
I take the promotion, I plan for my future and next steps.
I write a blog to protect their childhood.
I work hard period and end of story.
I do.

And I tell myself enough.
Enough of the BS talk and whining and the scared nonsense.
Do.
Your body hurts? Too bad.
You're too tired? Everyone is tired, get out there.
It's cold and the water scares you to the point of shaking? Stop it, they won't let you drown, get in now.
You trained for four months and he is beating you barely hitting the road? Yeah, that happens, he's stronger and more athletic but who cares.
Oh you think you'll be a shitty mom and fail them? Well everyone thinks that so you're not special.
You're worried your marriage will ruin what you guys have? Stop being so negative.
You think you can't run a company, specifically this company? Too bad because you are so keep going.
You're worried everything will fail? Yeah, it might, it could all crumble, but you still have them.
You're busy? Show me someone who isn't.
You want your MS to be the reason you can't? Someday it might be, but not today.
Today you will shut up and show your body you can run 13 miles.
Show it that a triathlon is in reach, who cares how long it takes.
Shut the hell up and lace those shoes.
Get up early and get started.
Hand out your business cards and talk to people about what you do, sell your brand.
Work your mission and remind people why it's important.
Work for what you ultimately want.
Do.

Show yourself that you can handle this.
Remind yourself of what you are trying to get to, what is waiting for you within reach now.
Do.
That might mean more grit than most.
That might mean more exhaustion.
That might mean more from you more expected out of you.
Because in order to quiet the doubt and the fear,
I have to do.

And from the outside it looks crazy because it is crazy.
From the outside I know people judge.
From the outside I hear the whispers of that is one tightly wound ball because I am and I won't let myself down.
And those that don't have to be this way, I envy you. I wish I could live just like you but I can't.
I know I make my life harder and I am working on that but I won't give up on me either.
So instead, I do.

It's personal.

14
Sep

Five Minute Friday - crowd

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on crowd.

Go.

It's not my favorite, being surrounded by a crowd.
I instantly think of strangers and small talk and the awful feeling of awkward.
I think of how awkward I am, how quiet I get.
I get lost.
But then I think of him.
How much he loves a crowd.
How much he comes to life.
How much he seeks it.
How much energy he gets from it.
And I realize he is my balance.
He has taught me to find the energy from it, to take their excitement and turn it into my own.
He has taught me to love races, not just solo races, but official races with crowds of people.
He has taught me to sit back and watch, take in the crowd, watch how excited they get.
He has taught me to look at my resort town with enthusiasm when the crowds pour in.
He has taught me that it means life and joy and people are out and happy.
He has taught me to get caught up in it, use it to my advantage.
And so I have.

Each summer, our amazing little town comes to life in this amazing way and crowds and crowds of people come.
Everything is busy and loud and warm and summer nights walking around have become my favorite.
We are teaching our kids how special it is, how lucky we are.
We remind them that having to find parking means people are here.
We tell them that we are privileged, we get to live here, where others want to be.

Each year, I do two races and both are now in official race settings, not just on my own.
I have learned that my time does improve.
I have learned that it does warm my heart to hear people cheer their family members on.
I have learned that there is something about that "great job" from a stranger who is smiling that makes me feel okay.
I have learned that reading the signs always makes me laugh when I need it most.
I have learned to relish in their screams and cheers and go get its.

You taught me this and now I know it too.
I get it.
I don't need it like you do, I never will but I understand now.
Crowds do mean life and joy and spirit and energy.

Stop.

9
Sep

Exhale

It has been a summer.
Like a for real summer.
I don't have off like the rest of my family but even I felt like we were living our best life.
There were sunrises and sunsets
warm weather
paddle boarding
camping
our Cape trip
track days
so many old friends
framily time
so many visits and my heart being full
framily that knows my whole story
framily that accepts and do not judge
framily that only loves and knows we are all doing our best
ice cream for dinner
the kids read their hearts out
they played and played and played
Cole became the best bike rider
Anna went to her first sleep away camp
both kids went to basketball camp with dad
Pearl had an amazing Cape week with her bestie followed by fun with camping
a week with their grandparents and so much adult time
just amazing wrapped into one incredible summer.

Except I could not exhale.
Me, I was the problem.
I was so anxious and so nerved and worried and scared and had this feeling of concern
and there were days where it would pass and then days upon days of it being right there.
But, it's my year of different and so I kept trying.
Trying to figure out why
trying to let whatever it was go
trying to find my breath
trying to let it out, exhale and let go of whatever was on my mind
trying to not let whatever this was ruin this time, destroy the good memories
trying to not let them in on what was happening
trying to get back to okay so I could find my way into joy.

But, as always, the harder I tried, the worse it got until it all piled on and found its own way out.
And then built back up and piled on and found its way out
and such was the cycle I was caught in.

It's going to be okay, just call it out.
Give it a name, recognize that it's there and then it will go away once you have given it fair attention.
But it didn't.
And it hasn't.
And here I am.
With little faces in school and me wondering where I went wrong.

So, I start again.
Because fall is crazy and summer is how I restore.
Because I am mad at myself for not restoring.
Because I stayed too long at a party and I am trying to get back home.
Because I started something so new and so scary that I feel like I might mess it up all of the time.
Because when I do mess it up, it does crazy things to my nerves (upholders struggle with doing it wrong).
Because I have too many balls and I am starting to feel alone.
Because I am celebrating my birthday for the first time ever and I want it to feel special.
Because the weight is hurting my shoulders and placing a foot on my chest.
Because I should be crying more than I am, releasing.
Because I don't want to let them down, I don't want to hurt their memories.
Because I want to make sure they know I am here, even when I am withdrawn.
Because I need to not be withdrawn, I don't want to fake it.
Because there is nothing to fake, things are all okay.

Summer of 2018 was not an okay summer, it was wonderful.
My little boy told me yesterday he was so sad our summer and our time together was over.
He was actually heartbroen that our break had come to an end.
That's how different our summers have been.
Because our summers were not always like this.
Years ago, our picture looked shattered and our pieces were all over the floor.
And at the end of that summer, I started to put parts back together and made some big changes.
Since then, things have been getting better, stronger.
They were concerning and I couldn't have them be concerning.
And the tide turned because we shifted and we made important decisions to change.
I found framily to hold on to.
I reconnected with the past.
I started to take ownership.
I found their little.
I found joy and so did they.

So, I am back to my journey of starting with okay.
Just be okay and then find a little joy.
And with a little joy find a little more joy and a little more.
Find your calm mamma, remember after you take that big breath in, let is out again.
Exhale.

7
Sep

Five Minute Friday - rain

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on rain.

Go.

We're called Pluviophile, lovers of rain.
Those that find peace, joy, a calming of the mind the second the first drop falls.
It's restorative.
It is beautiful.
It is comforting.
And I wish I could explain why it's so important to me to have rainy days.
I wish I could eloquently put into words that when the skies gray, when the water falls, when the sound on my roof is that rhythmic beat of the earth crying, I feel comforted, I feel safe.
I am restored.
I feel relaxed and deeply exhale.
Because there is a sense of stopping, pausing, watching.

It starts with a darkening of the sky.
A sign of what is to come and flickering lights become a must.
You can finally look at the sky without squinting, you can see nature take over.
And we need the gray to enjoy the sun.
We need the dark to finally appreciate and never take for granted the light.
Water is needed because our earth needs to drink.
And sometimes, we all need a good cry, even the skies.

The sound, the rhythmic sound.
The sound against my roof, up against the windows, the sound that reminds me that all is being renewed.

So send me your long, cold, rainy days.
The ones I can watch out my window, light candles, cozy myself up.
Send me the wind and the storms, it's okay to tantrum out of control, even the weather needs to have a bad day.
Send me water and the sound and the rhythm that brings about a calm and reminds me to breathe.
Send me your storms while I take a long car ride so that I can see its full story in all of its glory.

I am not just okay with rainy days, I crave them. I wish them, I look for and am drawn to them.
They allow me to finally pause, take a moment and admire the power of weather.
Just stop, listen, watch it as it falls down all around.
And then, watch how green everything looks, how renewed it all is.
We need the rain, we all need water.
Some of us more than others.

Stop.

17
Aug

Five Minute Friday - loved

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on loved.

Go.

The way it feels to be around you.

I had this week with friends who know my whole story.
We talked and talked and talked.
We ate and laughed and watched.
We watched our children (no longer babies) love on each other.
We watched them become the sort of friends that will also know each other's whole story.
We watched the waves come in and out.
We watched the sunshine warm us all.
We watched the water make our little faces silly.
We watched love.

The way it feels to be around you.

I once wrote about when love becomes family.
How important that feeling is.
How you just know that it means this person will be in your life, you are connected.
And it can happen with partners.
It can happen with friends.
It can happen with the family you were given and the one you pick for yourself.
But along the way, all you have to keep in mind is the bond, the connection, the feeling of loving and being loved.
It is all that matters.
Not the squabbles.
Not the ups and downs.
All of those tell your beautiful story, give your life the color it needs.
But the family, the connection, the wanting to love them and being loved by them, that's family.
That's love.

The way it feels to be around you.

I didn't know if I would be a mom.
I didn't know if I would take this on.
And just the week, I was reminded by someone who only hears snippets of my life that I love it.
And I do.
I love being a mom, no, I love being your mom.
I love holding you.
I love hugging you.
I love the smooches.
I love the traditions.
I love making it special.
I love your childhood.
I relish in your little.
I am in love with your points of view.
I protect this time.
But, none of that comes naturally to me.
All of my mothering is a lot of work.
I work and work and work at being your mom.
But, want to know why that's okay, because it is the work that I love.
My whole life has led me to this moment, has led me to you, has led me to love my mothering.
My whole life, I didn't even realize how much I wanted this but now that it is here, I love being your mom.
Because when I am with you, I am loved.

It is my year of different.
And as the year is quickly rolling by, I need reminders of why I wanted it to be different.
I needed to find peace, calm, health, me.
I needed to find acceptance, gratitude, and reminders of all the love.
The love I give, the love I get, the love that surrounds us.

Because being loved is the way it feels to be around you.

Stop.

3
Aug

Five Minute Friday - anniversary

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on anniversary.
Go.

There's the one I share with you and the world.
The one in which I met you halfway down an aisle and together, we walked hand in hand to our forever.
But then there's the one just for us.
The one that people tell me I am silly for still recognizing.
The one where we met.
And for me, meeting you is the same as the day we became family.
I never needed the big day, or the announcement.
All I ever needed was us.
Because from the moment you smiled at me, I had this overwhelming feeling we would be in each other's lives.

There's the one I share with you and the world.
The one in which I am not even in the picture and dad is introducing you.
The one in which everyone else gets to finally see the amazing you are, all wrapped in pink little.
But then there's the one just for us.
The one in which we became connected well before it was time.
The one in which you let me know you were there
you were coming
you were a girl
when you were actually coming to meet everyone else.
There's that anniversary too and I remember it so clearly.
You were my girl, I was your mom and since I didn't enter into motherhood lightly
this is the anniversary where you whispered in my ear, we've got this.

There's the one I share with you and the world.
The one in which everyone came to meet this little man we created.
The one in which people fell hard for you fast.
The one in which I can hear nurses fighting over who gets to change you because being by your side meant finding joy.
But then there's the one just for us.
This quiet moment in chaos in which they put us face to face, nose to nose.
And I gave you our first little guy.
It's the one in which I remember thinking, this is love at first sight.
You are my one and only love at first sight.

There's the one I share with you and the world.
The one in which a family a four went and picked you up in a parking lot.
Got to take new puppy pictures and tried to heal from a loss.
But then there's the one just for us.
The one in a friend's living room looking through pictures of a new litter.
And I saw your puppy face and I said, that's her.
That's our girl.
I showed your dad and said clearly, this is her.
This is our next baby and we have to go get her.
Because I knew you had healing powers to mend the sad and broken.
And I knew we were ready to accept that again.

Anniversaries around here are important.
Anniversaries around here are special.
Some are joyous reminders of love and family and framily.
Some are reminders of loss and goodbyes and heartache.
All tell our story though because life has to be filled with both.
Anniversaries around here are plentiful.
There are many of them because we have much to celebrate, so much to remember and keep close.

Stop.

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