Tag Archives: mother

I Don’t Judge The Mom In Pajamas

I don’t judge the mom in pajamas….

It’s 7:45 am and I’m pulling up in the pickup line. Across the road comes a mom toting a baby and holding the hand of a 5-year-old. She is sporting tinker bell pajama pants and a winter coat. There was a time I would have judged this mother.


A time before I had kids, before I experienced the never-ending exhaustion motherhood has to offer. A time when I didn’t have kids and thought I knew it all. Admit it we all thought we had motherhood figured out until they handed us a newborn!

Now I offer a smile. A sign of our sisterhood of mothers. I know the struggles of a mom, I have 3 kids under the age of 8 and most days it’s a circus! I don’t know how her day started or what she is battling. Who am I to judge? 

I had to learn this the hard way, I found myself running to Kroger for Tylenol after being up all night with a sick toddler and I realized halfway through my sprint across the store I never changed out of my flannel pajama pants. I felt ashamed. I couldn’t even put myself together or run a brush through my hair to go out in public, but then I realized something, the only person I care about right now is my sick toddler and he didn’t care if I was in pajamas so why should I?

As mothers we need to stop the judgement and offer smiles and words of encouragement instead. To some it may seem simple, get dressed, but to some that is just adding another chore to their endless mornings!

We have no idea if a mom is battling depression, if she’s a single mom with no support, or if she is a new mom just trying to figure it out. Lets all take a step back and remember the days we were deep in the trenches of motherhood and just trying to keep our head above water. Just smiling at another mom could change her entire day, and its effortless! Let’s all take a step back and remember we are in this together, this isn’t an endless competition of who is the best mother, it’s a sisterhood of all of us together just trying to survive. Reach out to the mom in pajamas maybe offer her a play-date, a cup of coffee, and a safe space to vent instead of a judgmental look. 


A Mother’s Guilt

A mother’s guilt..It is Halloween 2020.

My ex-husband has the kids today, so I’m childless on one of the most child-centric days of the year. While that can sometimes be a very good thing, today I’m feeling the loss and pain of what could have been. So I really should not have been surprised by the onslaught of emotion that a seemingly simple phrase brought on. 

After I got out of the shower, my beagle Dolly decided that she was bored and antagonized me to play with her for a little bit. She swiped at my feet with her paws and lowered her head and the front of her body to the ground, sticking her butt and tail up into the air, while looking up at me with those big brown eyes. I knew she was spoiling for a fight. She and I usually wrestle and play fight with each other a couple of times a week, so I’m very familiar with the signs of her wanting to “get into it” with me. Even though I had just gotten out of the shower and was wearing nothing but a towel, I decided to get on the floor and indulge her for a bit. We did what we typically do; I tapped her paw and she snapped her jaws in my direction (don’t worry, she doesn’t bite me when we do this). Then I tapped her other paw and her head snapped in that direction. This went on for a few minutes until she and I were grappling with each other as much as a human and a dog possibly can. At one point, I grabbed her and held her tight, feeling her warm, soft fur against my cheek, and said to her, “What if I don’t want to fight?” Without warning, the floodgates opened and I started full-on ugly crying (to my complete and utter shock). My entire body heaved, pressing into my shocked dog and the hardwood floor. Dolly slinked out from underneath me, completely scared out of her wits and unsure of what the heck just happened. She flattened herself and belly-crawled under the bed while my entire body racked with powerful sobs that I just could not control. I yelled in a sort of primal frenzy, “What if I don’t want to fight anymore?!”

I was completely taken aback by the force of the anger, pain, and fear that were coursing through me. The enormity of those words hit me like a ton of bricks. The weight of the truth behind them was just too much to bear in that moment, and I felt lost, hopeless, and frightened. I was completely taken aback by the force of the anger, pain, and fear that were coursing through me. The enormity of those words hit me like a ton of bricks. The weight of the truth behind them was just too much to bear in that moment, and I felt lost, hopeless, and frightened. For the past  six years, I have known one disappointment after another. First, my father was taken from us way too soon. He had a wretched bout with cancer and there was nothing that could be done to help him by the time we found out. I’ll always regret some things about this time in my life, and the fact that I did not spend more time with him weighs on me more heavily than anything else. Four months after his passing, my husband and father to my three children told me that he wasn’t happy and wanted a new life. Without delving into the history too much, he and I still do not see eye-to-eye to this day, and practice a dynamic that I like to characterize as counter-parenting. Literally every decision is a fight, and it’s very difficult to draw on reserves of energy that are running dry. Just yesterday, we got into a disagreement about something involving the kids; it was more proof that we will just never get along (not that I don’t want to). 

As a result of the divorce, I had to leave the home I loved (my dream home, a beautiful house that this Jersey City girl could have never envisioned herself having for her own) and start all over in a much smaller space.  Add to that the pressures of a new position at my job as a teacher, disputes involving bills, the typical “joys” of parenting teens and tweens; the result is that I always feel like I am engaged in some sort of back and forth with someone.

And obviously, it’s taking a toll.

In general, I don’t put a lot of faith in spirituality, or messages from beyond. But somehow, a thought was planted in my head just moments after I questioned what if I don’t want to fight anymore. In response, I heard the words, “But you have to.”

It was that simple. I knew that the voice (or whatever it was) was talking about my kids. I’m the one in their corner, the one person consistently in their lives on a daily basis. I’ll always be one of the primary people who are willing to fight for them, whether they want me to or not. We work so hard to keep our lives as normal as possible, and there is just no way that I can give up. I can’t let them down any more than they have already been, even though they assure me that they’re fine and are worried about me. And that makes me feel even more guilty. Whether it should or shouldn’t, I can’t say. But for whatever reason, I stopped crying as soon as I heard, “But you have to” in my head.

I wiped my tears, picked my sorry self up off the floor, grabbed a tissue, and coaxed the dog back out from under the bed.  Walking over to the coffee maker, I said, “It’s okay.  I got this.”  Maybe it was the thought of a warm, rich cup of coffee that began to soothe my soul; regardless, I started to feel more in control.  It really is going to be okay.

While it is daunting to know that you have a huge responsibility to your kids, there is a certain power that comes with that. Even though there are very few moments when I feel like I have everything under control, my purpose in life is clear. And that gives me a strength that propels me forward and influences everything I do.

There is nothing greater than a mother’s love except for a mother’s guilt. But if that sense of guilt drives me forward and gives me strength, then it will all be worth it. And for the days that strength is in short supply, there’s coffee.


Needing That Feeling Of Purpose

I think I lost some of my purpose in my job and home life over the last couple of years.  I just feel like something is missing that used to be there.  I have been trying to pinpoint what it exactly is and think I finally figured out that it is that feeling of purpose or accomplishment. 

When my kids were younger, that feeling was always there, they needed me all the time.  It was constantly tiring, but rewarding.   But as my youngest is going to be entering the teen years soon, I could tell I was losing that feeling between all of them.  

As they get older and more independent, the less I felt needed all the time. I have always been around for them. I pick them up from school, give them rides, take them to appointments, whatever they need, I am around to help them with after school.  I am so grateful that I was able to do that for them.

So, I started to think more about the future,realizing that I did not feel that accomplishment or purpose either at work. Was this what I wanted for the next 20+ years?

Work was changing, there were less pats on the back or even a word of gratitude.  The last year changed a lot with COVID due to how hard our industry was hit.  And I have been in this industry for about 25 years, so it has been a huge adjustment for me.  No longer a feeling of a team atmosphere.  Instead I felt most days of being on an island alone.  I missed being with a team and having co-workers.  I missed getting any praise or approval from all the hard work that we put in day after day.  I realized that I am the person that needs to hear that “pat on the back”. It motivates me and keeps me focused.  

The feeling continuously got stronger at home and work.  I felt like I wasn’t getting back what I needed.… there were no warm fuzzies.   I felt like I was being pulled from both directions but neither one gave me anything back.   

As my kids were getting more independent in some ways, they were also getting so dependent in others.  They were starting to be too dependent  that I could just take them wherever they needed to go and do what they needed for them.  I felt like they took me for granted a lot of days, but I am guessing that is the teen years.  I felt like most days all I did pick up and wash all the dirty dishes. The more I was around, the more I felt like they just assumed we could run here or there without any notice.  

Both work and home were pulling me in directions that didn’t give me any feeling of accomplishment or that feeling of being needed.  I needed to feel that purpose again.  I had to find the self worth again.  I just remember how that feeling of purpose used to make me so much more productive and focused.  

I knew that one might have to give more than the other to start with. I might have to give up a little with one to gain more from the other.  Either way, I knew I needed to gain that purpose back.  So it was either going to be at home or at work.

I decided to take a job in a new industry.  I know the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  However, I knew that I needed to do this for my own self worth. It wasn’t so much about the job as it was about me and what I needed.  I was more about being excited again, learning new things, and feeling a sense of accomplishment.  I needed to find all of that again that I had so missed over the last couple of years.




Janet Truszkowski-Burton

An empty self, metamorphosed into a woman on a mission to serve and overflowing with peace.  A woman who is humble, kind & continuing on her life-long journey of self-becoming.

Daughter.  Grand-daughter.  Sister.  Mother.  Friend.  Wife.  Mom.

This woman who became her little sisters’ “mother” at a young age because their mom had to work to provide for the family, has learned many lessons in her lifetime.

The most important is to not lose yourself in the midst of life.  As Janet says,

Maintain your own interests & identity.  Be a mom, yes, and be a great mom…BUT….be sure to feed your soul….every day.  You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

It was really tough when her grandmother passed because she was such an inspiration and an integral part of Janet’s life.  Grandmother had a hard life, but she never gave up and she always found joy in the little things.  Janet loves to cook because of her grandmother’s teachings & remembers often, there is always so much to smile about.

Looking back, she now sees “hitting rock bottom” was a catalyst to drive her to care so much for young moms.  It’s what feeds her desire to make a difference.  She remembers her own struggle and if there was somebody in her life to walk through the valley with her back then, it wouldn’t have been so hard, so lonely, so mentally debilitating. “Learning from the mistakes that I’ve made, if I can help younger moms and teach them, support them, guide them…. THAT would be a good day.” 

Janet looks forward to teaching them to be financial responsible as well, and motivating them to keep their identity outside of their job and their children.

You never know how something like this will impact you but after being a “mental mess” she decided it was time to do something.  Holding fast to: “God is GOOD All the Time, All the Time God is Good!!”

She pressed on.  It was hard!  But she built herself up!  Just like her grandmother.

She took a job which became a better job, which then became her career.  Now, she is touching lives every day.  Her boss calls her his partner, which is quite an honor.  She’s extremely important to him and he lets her know it.  When the phone rings-she’s there.  When the clients have questions-she’s there.  When appointments fill up the day-she’s there.  It’s about building relationships and she is good at it!  Janet enjoys building friendships with clients and because of it, they trust her.  To be an integral part of the success of the business is a blessing.

Another blessing was stumbling upon Noelle and The Working Single Mom at a time when Janet needed it most.   Noelle’s strength, teachings, and blunt honesty about her own struggles, burdens &  breakthroughs, Janet learned to change her way of thinking, alter her future and become a stronger woman.  It has helped her have a peaceful, healthy, abundant life.

The biggest blessing of all was raising her two boys.  She gave her ALL to raising them and stand proud at who they’ve become.  Her youngest is off to college soon and she often wonders who will she be separate from her boys?  Giving to and doing for herself is a new thing and she’s anxious & excited at what will come next.  Never forgetting though, ‘Once a mom, always a mom.

This mom’s kind and nurturing spirit fills the room when she walks in.  Her friends look forward to her arrival.  10 years ago though, it was a totally different story!!  She didn’t’ get off the couch, let alone engage with people.  Now as she stands firm in her worth, she is able to say what she means, express herself in a loving way and touch lives one hug at a time.  

Janet continues to hope that she can take her love for supporting single moms to a more workable arena.  Women new to single motherhood, women in their 40’s starting to go through menopause, women who are unsure of themselves.  She knows “If you have someone to help you through it… things can be different.”  

To Be that Voice.  THIS is her passion!!! 


I Changed My Last Diaper

Today I packed away diapers to be donated, I changed my last diaper. I never again will change the diaper of my own child. It is a sobering thought. Suddenly, the baby of the family isn’t a baby. He is a big boy in underwear. 

I did not realize I would take this so hard. I was excited to be out of the diaper game, excited my kids were becoming independent, and excited to watch how they were growing, but then tiny underwear and bras started showing up in my laundry and heart took a beating. I suddenly realized I was not ready as I thought I was. 

I wanted to stop putting baby teeth under pillows, stop the homework game, and stop donating tiny clothes. I want to bask in the scent of a newborn and struggle to find a new normal as I adjust to parenthood, I want to start over. I want my babies back. 

But alas they aren’t really ours, are they? They belong to themselves and we are on borrowed time with them, time that seems to shorten every day. We have a responsibility to raise them to do better and be better than we ever imagined we would be. 

So, I cry. I cry at the ever-changing season of parenthood I’m currently in. Praying for time to slow down but basking in the time I have now. I’ll spend another morning folding little, tiny underwear knowing soon they’ll outgrow them, and I’ll start the mourning process of their childhood all over again. 

Its an amazing experience to raise a child. I am lucky to be raising three. I am in multiple levels of parenthood at same time. But I will never start over, everything I do with my youngest I do for the last time and its heart wrenching but beautiful at the same time. I realize my days of being a parent will never end, but childhood ends, and their needs will differ. I am preparing myself for a future but also enjoying the present. 

Here is to you parents. Out here doing things for the last time. Folding your last onesie, making your last bottle, and changing your last diaper. Have a glass of wine on me and bask in it. You have come so far! There is no going back, but there is a grand future ahead of you full of little underwear, school projects, and independence in your children. 


Jude Barry

This middle aged single mom of four is on fire for living life large.  There’s a whole lot of joy, positivity & exhuberance for life going on in this woman!

Jude lives on the East Coast with her 4 kiddos and if she’s not spending quality time with them, she’s either traveling, enjoying her gaggle of girlfriends or working.  Working hard. 🙂

Yes…. her work. It is what allows her to take care of her children, decorate her home and travel abroad.  She is happy with her career, is going on her 19th year and is the happiest while serving her clients.  Her pride in being an insurance agent shines through as she truly cares about each and every client.  They appreciate her honesty & knowledge. There are times when a new customer who is shopping around will call her with a policy they want a quote on and after a heart-full conversation about their why’s and how’s & qualifying reasons, she then gives her ‘Best For You’ options… and they walk away a very satisfied new client.  

She’s one of those gals who shoots from the hip, tells it like it is and looks to speak her truth.  It’s her authenticity & engaging personality that draw you in.  And then it’s her caring soul, listening ear and inquisitive manner that keep you there.  “My friends say I have no strangers,” she says as she laughs at the thought of how truthful it is.   This can come across as ‘too nice’ sometimes, but she doesn’t seem to flutter at the thought of it.  

When Jude went down the road of divorce, she reached out to friends and faithful clients for prayers.  This was one of the toughest times for her.  Not only did it teach her some valuable lessons she’d never change, it showed the people in her life this woman who rocks it every day….it showed them her real, raw, vulnerable side.  This woman who pressed on with a glowing spirit was doing all she could to get through and it touched lives! This truth changed relationships for the best.

Speaking of ‘the best’ is is important for Jude to live her best life every day.  Taking what was taught to her & teaching her children.  THIS is what fills her cup.  Her tea cup that is.  Tea is part of her brand, part of who she is and adds a touch of class to her business logo. The tea cup & the tea leaves have deep meaning to her, as well as the name of her company “ Benefits Caring for You”, which names her 4 children.  She enjoys teaching them all that she does and how she does it.  Maybe one day one of them will be that colleague she is looking to hire.  One with drive, integrity, energy and willingness to work hard.

Jude shares her enthusiasm for life with the people she meets as much as she can.  Going out into the world with her vibe of positive energy, touching people lives with compassion & caring.  She’ll stop and give a compliment or ask a question in hopes to make their day.  She looks forward to making others feel like they matter.  She knows firsthand from all she’s been through that ‘The Energy You Put Out is the Energy You Will Attract.’  This is one of the reminders that drives her.

Her children know by watching their amazing mom what really matters.  Relationships, how you treat people & the footprint you leave behind.  For Jude, it’s her clients, accounts, family & God that give her reason to express gratitude for all she has.  In those moments this go-getter is joyfully reminded just how blessed she is.

Amie Colby

Amie Colby  “I am Love”

Nominated by Amie’s Aunt Candace

What a gem Amie is.  Her spirit is full of grace and love.  She is a mother, a student, a survivor and a woman on fire to bless others with her smile, positive energy and story of transformation.  You would never know she had to work through a history of addiction, self-neglect or being stuck in bed, because now all you see & know is a woman spreading love.  “I am LOVE” is her focus and it is what drives her.  She builds her days, her intentions & her weekly theme from it.  This is what helps her show up for herself. 

 She and her kiddos (son/8, daughter 6 & 2) live in a 2-bedroom apartment in the beautiful state of VT.  Just a hop, skip & a jump from Canada.  The joy that fills her day covers them all, with lots left over.  It wasn’t always this way.  Amie struggled with giving, giving, giving.  Which eventually landed her ill.  Only then did she learn that she MUST tend to herself, she must give to herself, she must love herself.  Now that this is a habit for her, she fills up her LOVE tank.  She has plenty to give away and still feels full at the end of the day.

Amie looks forward to helping others….. “almost to a fault”, she said.  She knows first hand what it feels like to be down and alone, so bringing joy to others is what fills her up and lifts her spirits.  To cheer someone up, make their day and give away a smile, every day, is natural for Amie!  She will have a conversation with a stranger in hopes to make their day.  She goes so far as to call herself ‘Chatty Cathy’ looking forward to yet another conversation to share her love.

She learned at a young age how to be there for others by watching her Granny Tee and her mom.  Her mom was always standing up for others and loving on people… even in the midst of her addictions.  And Granny Tee… what a beautiful woman she was!  Always full of a zest for life with her door was always wide open to others.  She was touching lives and making a difference. 

Currently, Amie is involved in a ‘Women Thrive’ class where she is constantly learning to be a better self, a better mom, a better woman. And now that she is 3 years clean, she is always working on healing past wounds. Growing every day.   There are no regrets for Amie.  If she could do something over, she’s not so sure she’d want to.  She wouldn’t be the woman she is today if she was to start over.  She’s learned a lot and those ‘big’ things she didn’t think she’d get over… she did.  Which reminds her of a song that sings “The girl she used to be…she’s not that girl any more.”

Oh and her 2 bedroom apartment… it’s actually perfect.  The physical closeness they have, has created a loving space for her children. 

Because of Amie’s love for herself and others, she has created a wonderful home in a world she never thought of before.

Is It Just Me?

Is it just me? Lately I’ve been thinking about somethings that have really been points of curiosity for me now that I’m at home with my children all the time.  No, I haven’t been pondering anything deep like politics or how to become a millionaire.  I’ve been wondering about practical everyday things and wondering if these things are just happening in my house or are other moms having these same experiences.

I’ve decided to pose the question in hopes that you all would be able to tell me, is it just me?

Is it just me, or can no one ever find anything but mom?   Keep in mind, they don’t ever actually look for the item in question.  Their way of looking is by saying, “Mom, where’s my….?”  or, “Mom, have you seen my…?”  I can’t seem to understand why it is that these children have no clue where their something is, but I can walk into a room and be looking right at the thing they
want.  As a matter of fact, they had to walk past it just to come tell me they couldn’t find it!  Does that happen to you moms or is that just me?

Is it just me, or have other people that I haven’t met yet moved into my house and
started putting their laundry in our baskets?  I swear I do laundry every day and I’m never done.  There are ALWAYS more clothes.  It’s almost as if my hamper is the Mary Poppins bag!  It’s endless!  To make matters worse, I don’t even remember buying all of these clothes.  Where did they all come from?   Why can’t these people just walk around naked for a few days or something?  I mean I seriously live in fear of the day my washing machine dies. Is anyone else drowning in laundry or is it just me?

Is it just me or do kids ignore the fact that they have a father?  My middle child has literally walked right past his father sitting on the couch and come into the kitchen while I was cooking dinner to ask me to open his fruit snack.  Seriously?  My oldest has woken me out of a dead sleep before to ask me something about his Dad.  When I asked him why he didn’t just ask him, his response was that he didn’t want to wake him up.  Oh because that’s right, I don’t sleep.  I just lay here with my eyes shut anxiously awaiting your next demand.  Please tell me that it’s
not just me!

Also, is it just me or does anyone else’s children snack excessively?  It’s almost as if they’ve never eaten and never will again in life.  As soon as they wake up,they need a snack.  If we have to go anywhere, they have to grab a snack for the car.  As soon as we arrive home, they need another snack. I will be in the middle of cooking dinner and they are in the pantry getting a snack.  I’m cooking dinner people…you’re literally going to eat a full meal in less than 20 minutes!  Within 20 minutes after they eat, another snack.  And the minute I remind them that they
just ate, they respond with, “but I’m still hungry.”  Anyone else?  Just me?

Finally, and this one is my personal fave, is it just me or does anyone else’s children not need them until they get on the phone or use the restroom?  I could do a tap dance routine and stand on my head in front of my kids and I would get a laugh and then back to playing the video game or watching the television show.  But let me be on the phone, use the bathroom or try to shower.  You would think my house was on fire.  Everyone now needs mom.  They will see the phone in my hand and still keep talking to me as if I’m just holding it and talking to myself.
What is that about?   It can’t be just me!

So for any of you reading this post, please examine your lives.  Think about what
goes on in your day to day and let me know…is it just me?


My Divorce Is Final…Now What?

At the time my divorce was final, I was still living with my ex, which I do not recommend to anybody, but financially we just couldn’t support two households. Life went on this way for about 4 months post divorce. Finally I was able to buy a house of my own. We sat down with our 3 daughters and explained to them THIS IS IT! Mommy and daddy would not be living together any longer. They seemed to be okay with the news. 

I was about to turn 40. The first weekend I had to myself was like a scene from a movie. When my ex pulled out of the driveway with our girls for the first time it was his weekend, I screamed out loud with sheer joy. I had already made a playlist with my favorite break up songs, but not the depressing ones, the liberating ones like “I Will Survive” and “All the Single Ladies.” I danced around my kitchen and made myself a gourmet meal complete with a bottle of wine. 

The following day I slept in, got up and pulled my hair into a ponytail. I looked at myself in the mirror and realized I could do whatever the hell I wanted for the next two days. I watched Chick Flicks, Netflix, period dramas, cooking shows, you name it. Most of my divorced girlfriends had immediately gotten involved in other relationships, most that had started before their divorces were final. Not me, I didn’t need a man! I’d read every self help book I could find. I was going to work on myself, love myself (insert eye roll). I knew I needed to be alone and figure out how I’d contributed to the demise of my 12 year marriage………….until the loneliness set in. 

Loneliness can make a woman do stupid things, as I was about to find out. 


So Much More Than That

I am not just a wife; I am so much more than that.

I am not just a mom; I am so much more than that.

I am not just a cook; I am so much more than that.

I am not just a chauffeur; I am so much more than that.

I am not just a housekeeper; I am so much more than that.

I am not just an employee; I am so much more than that.

I am not just a boo-boo kisser; I am so much more than that.  

So then what am I?  I’m so glad you asked.  

I am the daughter of The King.

I am intelligent.

I am a creator and an innovator.

I am a vessel through which life is brought.

I am bold yet humble.

I am beautiful.

I am a superhero.

I am a woman!

You see, before I became a wife or a mother or anyone of those other things that make me who I am, I was a woman.  So often, I tend to forget who I once was, and get stuck in the day to day of being the “just a”.  I find myself hearing other people discuss things that they are doing, and I think to myself that I am “just a…”.  But this just isn’t true.  I am and always will be an intelligent, beautiful, bold and unique woman.  I will always be the creative daughter of The King.  I can never loose sight of that.  In the midst of my daily life, I have to remember her.  I have to keep alive the woman who grew to become the wife, mom, chef, chauffeur, boo-boo kisser etc.  I have to cherish and nurture her.  I have to fight for her.  I have to love her.  When I do this, I am no longer “just a”.  When I do this, I am so much more than that!