Tag Archives: schedule

Confessions In A Communal Mirror

I put my makeup on at work today in front of the mirror

Standing in a public bathroom in unflattering lighting.

Annoyed looks from the younger women.

Sympathetic looks from the older.
I want to tell the youths that I’ve been up since five thirty.

This morning I checked my emails for fires, then roused two children and corralled them to school. That I had to issue 20+ reminders to my ADHD son to keep him on task, because his meds hadn’t kicked in yet. And that I had to remind myself to be intentional about paying equal attention to his brother so he wouldn’t feel ignored. That I hadn’t had my coffee yet.
That I had a 7:30 parent teacher conference with a team of devoted educators. And that afterwards I finished my grocery shopping, on my phone, while sitting in the parking lot.
That on my commute this morning I called the vet, the pediatrician, the pharmacy, and an electrician, because there’s a light in my basement that is always on and won’t turn off. I ate my breakfast at red lights and finished caffeinating in a parking deck, and  I will likely eat my dinner standing at the kitchen counter.

I want to tell them to be careful of the partners they choose, and life has no assurances so be smart when you pick your path. I want to tell them that even if their world burns down one day, they have the power to rise and to create something new.

I want to tell them that I’m proud of myself, and of my kids, and of our messy beautiful busy life. I know that if they knew these things, they’d be proud of me too.

But instead I just smile and nod at those whose I eye I catch while applying my make-up in the mirror.

~Leona

Mom’s Ups & Downs With Busy Schedules

After months of busy work, school and activity schedules, I was looking forward to a long holiday weekend to relax and enjoy some down time. We had a few things planned and my ex-husband and I were getting close to finalizing a car for our 16-year-old daughter, but I figured I would still have some time to rest and relax. On Saturday, we spent the morning signing papers for the car and figuring out logistics on how to surprise our daughter. The afternoon was spent picking up the car, surprising her with it and driving around to visit her friends. Who knew the emotions that giving your child a car would evoke? Although she’s been driving for months, giving her a car means having to let go a little more and not being able to protect her because she’ll be out there on her own when she’s on the road. It’s overwhelming to think about the fact that you’ve taken care of and driven this child around for 16 years and all of a sudden, they want to be out there by themselves and with their friends while you sit at home and wonder if everything is ok and track them on your Life 360 app. High school and driving are like tests of letting go for the parents, before the kids head off to the real world.

If that weren’t emotional enough, I was faced with more interesting information. I’ve been talking and to and hanging out with a guy for the past year; he lives over an hour away and is in the Army and was deployed a couple of months ago. We’ve never claimed to be in a “relationship” due to our schedules and distance, but we pretty much text/talk every day and it felt like we were. I won’t get into all the details, but let’s just say that I found out this weekend, through social media, that things were not what they seemed; another woman changed her status to say that she was in a relationship with him on the day after he stopped texting me. While I was worrying about his safety, he was busy playing me; I found out that he was back home from deployment and saw a picture of the two of them together. My emotions have been all over the place this weekend along with many tears, trying to figure out what in the world happened, going back and looking at old texts, questioning things and coming up with plausible theories. Maybe it’s my fault … I get truly invested in the people that I care about and can be over the top. Sure, that sounds great, but it can also be a tremendous weakness, especially when it causes you to get hurt often. And when it causes you to overlook red flags along the way because you just want to be in a relationship again.

The situation transported me back to when my ex-husband and I were discussing separating and all the feelings and emotions. Obviously, this situation is not even close to that, but I just remember constantly wondering what I did wrong or how I could have changed things, instead of realizing that it’s about him and not me and that it’s his loss or that I deserve better than this. Thank goodness for good friends who will remind you of that. I was constantly trying to keep things together on the outside for my girls while I was falling apart on the inside. When you have kids, you can’t just crawl in my bed and wallow; you just have to keep things going. On one hand, that might be a good thing because of the distractions. But, at the same time, the feelings of betrayal, loss and disillusionment are real and need to be addressed.

Ironically, the same day I found out this information, the girls and I attended my friend’s wedding. I was not feeling great about going, but I was excited to celebrate my friend. She and her fiancé both have gone through a lot in life and were each getting married for a second time. To sum it up, the wedding was just perfect – intimate, beautiful and heartfelt. As I watched them take their vows and listened to the speeches, it brought tears to my eyes; I was sad for what I was dealing with, but it also made me feel hopeful. These two had been through a lot and those experiences brought them to this point, where they were able to join their two families into one. I felt so grateful to be included in this amazing celebration of love and it gave me some hope that good things are coming.

If you remember one of my earlier posts, this year I tried something new and chose a word of the year – embrace (click here to read that post). I told myself at the beginning of the year that I was going to embrace life this year, the good and the bad. I’m trying to embrace all the changes in life as I parent a high schooler and a rising 4th grader, which is not always easy. I also embraced opening myself up to someone new and letting my guard down.

But now I wonder, what lessons am I supposed to learn from this latest challenging experience? I still don’t have the answer to that and maybe it will be a while before I figure that out. The fact that I invest in the people that I care about can be a positive and a negative. What I don’t want to happen is for these experiences to change me in a negative way. I hope I don’t become a pessimist about love and life and become cold, bitter and extremely guarded …. I worry about that. Right now, I don’t know how much more my heart can take, but at the same time, I really don’t believe that I’m meant to be alone forever. So, I guess I’ll just keep plugging along, taking care of my girls, working on myself, doing the things I love and just keep embracing life as it comes. What other choice is there?

 To see more posts by Laxmi, check out her blog at https://onedesigirlsjourney.wordpress.com/

Balance?!? No Such Thing..

A few years ago I was featured in an interview about work-life balance for Moms and what that meant. I said then and I will say it again now, there is NO SUCH THING for those of us that are really living this life of raising kiddos. So PLEASE do yourself a favor and stop feeling bad trying to achieve something that does not exist. All these “experts” out there have all this advice about how to make you a balanced human and since in my opinion this is impossible to achieve all this stuff does is make you feel bad that you are so off point.

After almost 19 years of raising a human single-handedly, owning and working for companies and being solely responsible for the running of a home I can assure you that life is meant to be ‘perfectly imperfect’. At no time during the last 19 years did I ever feel ‘balanced’ nor do I now:)

At the best of times it’s a flow that moves along pretty smoothly and at the worst of times it feels incredibly overwhelming and like you are drowning in too many things to do. There is nothing wrong with you if you are feeling this way, this is honestly natural and a by-product of the lives that we are living. Just keep doing the next task in front of you whether that is a work task or a home task or a kid-based task—-whatever it is just complete it and move on to the next one. Don’t beat yourself up because you had a work thing that made you miss a kid’s game or you left dirty dishes in the sink etc. You are truly doing the BEST that you can and you are doing GREAT…and never mind what anyone else thinks about it. Honesty, unless you have lived this life of single parenthood you have no idea…none. Also even if you are a parent with help juggling lots of things, there is no amazing balance to be achieved for you either. It makes me so angry when I read all these articles about how Mom’s can achieve work-life balance…such horseshit.

So in the midst of the juggling act that is our lives what IS really important is that you figure out how to say NO to things that don’t work for you and

establish a system for taking care of yourself. Taking care of myself is still kind of a foreign concept…evidenced by the 25 hour bug from hell that I just had likely because I have been running myself in a million directions since the end of June.

Let’s cover the saying NO part first—-you have got to learn to start saying NO to things that don’t serve you or support you. The needy friends that steal your energy, the family members that stress you out, the work stuff that people are trying to overload you with and you are so nice you just keep saying yes…all that stuff is wearing you down whether you realize it or not. Saying NO is ok and even healthy, remember that if you go down from exhaustion or illness everything goes down so protect your time and your energy. It is important, your well-being is very important!

The taking care of yourself part you sort of have to figure out as you go, maybe its yoga, or a walk on the beach, a good novel, a movie night with friends, sitting quiet somewhere, a spa day, a regular workout, a weekly binge watching session on Netflix. Whatever gives you peace and some moments to yourself—maybe it’s getting up an hour early to have an hour of power for yourself. Whatever it is you need to figure it out and commit to doing it. Your health, your peace and your peace of mind are vital in this mix…in order to keep moving and to keep doing the next thing you must be in good shape, so you have to commit to self-care. By the way I always made fun of that statement in my mind…self-care…until I realized that I had to actually be the one concerned for my OWN well-being because it was nobody else’s job. I have two speeds…go like a bat out of hell or crash and get sick for 2 days…pretty much that is all I know, at 51 I am learning a new way, learning that I can say NO, that I can go a little slower, that I can do what works for me….I am hoping that I can get you guys to avoid the errors that I made along the way.

Take the time to stop, breathe and appreciate the moments…they really do pass quicker than you think and inevitably you will look back and wish that you did something different. Let’s try and make sure that you don’t have too many regrets…appreciate how far you have come and take care of YOU.

XO,

Noelle

Question Your Routine

Hey Teens!

This week I want to share something specifically with you guys.

Recently I’ve been spending a lot of my time writing and finishing up homework for the upcoming school year. This means that I have basically been locked up in my room and focused on my schoolwork. Any free time that I’ve had, I’ve used to call my friends, or catch a couple episodes of my favorite TV show. I notice myself not really interacting with family members; my little sister, in particular, often gets ignored. This is something that commonly happens. I often notice that it becomes part of my routine throughout the school year. It was really something that I never noticed until one of my friends brought it to my attention. He began to tell me about his own issues with unintentionally isolating himself from his family, and about the negative impact it had on both him and his family members. It really shocked me, that I was committing the same mistakes as him.

This really made me question my “routine” and what I should be doing with my free time. Family is such an important part of our lives, and unfortunately I am also guilty of sometimes isolating myself from them. I’d like to make a point of saying that although it is wonderful to have your form of escape, as I have mentioned previously, one must not forget the importance of bonding with family. Our loved ones take time out of their busy schedules to try and reach out to us. Sometimes we forget how incredible they are, and we fail to let them know how much we enjoy hanging out with them. Because of what my friend told me, I decided that it was time to change some of my ways. I realized that I needed to spend moments with the people I love most. Many times, we will prioritize certain things over what is truly important. Make memories with your family, and live every moment to the fullest. Go and question your “routine”.  

-Dani

Consistency Eludes Me

Don’t look at yourself upside down…as in when you are doing the downward dog yoga pose…the skin on my thighs looks like it belongs to an elephant and so now I am going, like WTF?!

Also I have decided that coffee IS a food group. Now that we have established those two things we can move on to today’s blog…

What keeps us from achieving certain goals that we set for ourselves? Why can we be super disciplined about some things yet not at all about others? Why are there some things that it seems like we can never make a dent in???

These are the questions that I am asking myself this evening—- I am a REALLY high producer, people hire me to make things happen—-yet I have been struggling with the same two stupid things for literally a decade and I am so freaking SICK of it. For all of my training and forward thinking I have been seemingly unable to be consistent month after month and year after year with two things—-

  • A daily TO DO List
  • Sticking to a weekly workout plan

Just to be clear, I have days, weeks and even months where I do each of these things like clockwork and then something will happen and a day gets skipped and then I have fallen off the wagon again—- then starts my cycle of self-loathing because I am not consistent etc etc.

I am very convinced that the next level of my life will only come to me as a result of mastering these two items. I feel better when I am doing these two things as if they are a habit— I feel more on purpose and more productive…however consistency with them continues to elude me —- as you know I am working on a new book for you guys which will give you the tools to “change the game” and of course as I am thinking through the book content process I see that I will have to set about mastering these two things so that I can walk you through what it looks like to finally master something that has been an issue for so long. This motivation is actually a gift, thinking of all of you will make me stick to my resolve even when I don’t want to—-you guys are my WHY…and truly that is a blessing.

Armed with a new planner and a new workout program, I have started again on my quest to master these two items. The important thing is to simply keep going, because of course that is all there ever is to do. Just keep going, keep at it, keep moving—-no matter how long it takes you will get there and so will I—- stay tuned for my progress—-have a great week.

 

XO,

Noelle

Learn To Make No Plans

We made no plans and it was such a great weekend. The temperature was -15 below zero this morning. The kids and I laid in bed and did nothing for hours. We had breakfast at 11am because It’s what we wanted to do….

After I was recently divorced, I felt that when I had my kids I had to spend every minute with them and entertain them all the time. I would have the entire weekend planned with activities and events. We would visit family, friends, go to a waterpark, MOA, shopping, etc… I was exhausted with planning events and taking them everywhere. My daughter finally said “ Can’t we just stay home” and I didn’t understand why she would want to stay home. It took me over a year to realize that my kids could care less about going places. They just wanted to spend time at home. They wanted to hang out, watch movies, play video games, have sleepovers, and destroy the living room with Doritos. They wanted to sleep in until 11 or stay up until midnight. They wanted to be comfortable and be a kid.

I am a planner and I LOVE to plan my day. I plan everything in my day…and this killed me to just have days where we didn’t plan anything or let the day plan itself. This was very hard for me because I had complete mom guilt from the divorce and I wanted them to enjoy all of our time together. I thought I needed to make up for the time that I was not with them. It took me along time to realize that my kids were the same kids as before my divorce… They wanted to be themselves, be comfortable, and didn’t need all the extras. So, I realized that I could go to the gym, I could clean the house, paint my bathroom, go for a walk with a friend, or just have leftovers for dinner. We didn’t need to have some extravagant weekend planned. And it also meant that I couldn’t plan every activity or weekend. I had to let them make choices and tell me what they wanted. This is a very hard thing for a planner..so hard.

And now I LOVE these days or weekends.. Sometimes we skip activities or church just because I want too. Going out to eat is one of their favorite things to do together. At first, I thought it was nuts and a waste of money. However, I realized this was one thing that we all enjoyed to do together and it was uninterrupted. They couldn’t escape sitting with each other at a restaurant and we had to talk. Their other favorite activity is going to Target. Yes, my kids love to go to target. They like to all go together and walk around…So on Fridays, I pick them up from school and we go to Starbucks and Target. Not to Zoo or a waterpark, but Target..seriously Target.

I let me kids plan their day.. Don’t get me wrong it’s not like a house party and I do have some control, but I let them have friends over and spend time doing what they want. It is still hard for me at times.. I come up with these great ideas…and they just don’t want to do them.

Snarky divorced gal (snarkydivorcedgal.com)

Finding Time For Self Care

 

Finding time for self care is difficult. As single working mothers we can all reach that point of just one more thing going side ways and we will explode. It can be as small as spilling the last of the coffee or as big as our main mode of transportation breaking down on the way to work in the middle of winter.

The fact is as working mothers we carry a lot of expectations on our shoulders. Our own and societies. We are supposed to not only juggle the children with all their wants and needs and have a perfectly balanced “normal” family, Perfectly balanced with our jobs bills and other responsibilities all while looking like runway models! Top that with anyone who struggles with any chronic major health issues and its enough to make any person break.

We as mothers some times forget self care, or chalk it up to a want instead of the need it really is. Mental and physical self care keep us going through the ups and downs of the single parent life. Self care looks different to each person. One mom might find having a glass or two of wine while relaxing in the tub as self care while another might find going out to a noon showing at the movie theater  alone while the kids are at school as the the ultimate mental vacation from life.

I have met many moms that shrugged it off because of time.  There is many ways to fit in self care time. For instance if you cannot fathom taking a day or even a afternoon to your self try setting aside 10-30 minutes before bed. Pop in some relaxing music and soak in the tub or watch your favorite show.

If you have to literally schedule your personal time in, do it! No matter what your self care is, please remember yourself. You deserve it, and so does your little family. If your not operating at 100% how can you expect yourself to meet the demands of raising your family? You can’t.

Another form of self care is to evaluate the things that you find completely unbearable in your life but you still put yourself through due to some kind of obligation. Wether it be a job or an event you attend, making yourself miserable isn’t something you should entertain. Look at your options, if you can’t stand your job, what are your options to expanding avenues to employment? In life we are only limited to what we tell ourselves we are limited to. It’s ok to be temporarily stuck but there are always way to grow and work towards the life you want. With mindfulness, adequate self care and determination there isn’t a single thing we cannot accomplish.

 

-Always be unapologetically yourself

Ali