Author

Deborah Cruz

As a mom, how often have you felt overwhelmed and overworked in your life? Most moms will acknowledge the responsibility that is motherhood, and no matter how much help you have, it seems mothers are hardwired to carry the weight of motherhood physically. All the parts you can see and the parts you can’t see. Even if you manage to share the load with your other parent, husband, partner, chances are most moms will still feel the stress that comes with parenthood.

“A mom’s work is never done.”

More so now, during a global pandemic, moms and dads alike often forgo what they need themselves as they strive to provide for their family and keep everyone happy, safe, and healthy. Sadly, this means as parents, more often than not, your needs come last. But all the stress, worry, heartache, and mental juggling of tasks can take its toll on your mental and physical health.

Even those pushed for time need to take some time to make sure they don’t burn out and make themselves ill. Your family needs you to be healthy, and this means looking after yourself as much as everyone else. Even if you feel like you don’t have the time or you shouldn’t. Self-care needs to be standard and not classed as a luxurious treat.

Self-care can simply be the act of putting makeup or completing a full skincare routine with cream, oils, and face masks. Check out these FAQs on the best type of oils to use for your skin. It can be reading a book or taking a long hot bath in peace. It doesn’t matter what it is or how often you do it, as long as you do it, and it makes you feel better.

Accept help

You may be able to do it all on your own with no help, but that doesn’t mean you should. New moms, let someone take over the small tasks for you. Sure, you may not want to leave your new baby, but having someone come over to help clean up, put the dishwasher on or washing machine or simply make you a hot drink and some food can be a huge help during those first weeks of getting used to life as a new parent.

But as your family grows, learn to accept the help for what it is and not as an attack on you and your parenting skills. Having the kids go for a playdate for an hour or two can give you breathing space to do something you need to do. Be it a nap, drink a hot coffee or binge watch that show on Netflix everyone is talking about. If it makes you feel better, do it and don’t punish yourself for accepting help – a happy parent is a much better parent, don’t you think?

Eat well

How often have you tricked your child into eating healthy food to make sure they are getting all their vitamins and minerals? When was the last time you checked to make sure you were getting all of yours? Neglecting your diet can lead to unhealthy choices and a lack of energy as your body isn’t getting what it needs. If you are struggling with choosing the right foods, try meal planning, and prepping to make sure you have healthy meal options available at all times.

Supplements can help boost your required daily intake but not replace them. You shouldn’t rely on vitamin supplements to get what your body needs each day. Keep a fruit salad prepared in the fridge for a go-to snack or have healthy nuts and seeds for you to snack on during the day. Look after your body, and it will look after you. After all, as a busy parent, you need all the energy you can get.

Sleep

Easier than it looks. Parents sleep if their kids sleep at night. And if they don’t, coffee is your best friend! The baby and toddler years can be rough when it comes to sleep deprivation – especially if other parents brag about how their child sleeps through the night! You may feel like you will never get a good night’s sleep again. But little things can be done to help you fall asleep faster and make the most of the time you do have to sleep.

“Sleep when the baby sleeps” Possibly one of the more ridiculous things to say to parents. As much as you may want to nap, chances are you will have other things that need taking care of instead.

Try to find a good bedtime routine that works for you and your family. Take note of advice such as removing electronics from the bedroom, keeping the tv off at night, and having a bath before bed. Practicing yoga can help to relax you as can meditation if you can find time to get into the right mind space for it to be effective. Lavender works wonders for inducing a calming night’s sleep – for you and children too, as can using a sleep mask and the right bedding for your bedroom for any given season. Exercising in the evening can help you to burn off any pent up energy and allow you enough of a release to sleep better at night. But, working out too close to bedtime will have the complete opposite effect—trial and error but always worth trying out.

Exercise

Taking the baby out for a walk in their stroller is exercise, as is chasing a toddler around the local park or even jumping in the pool with the family on a hot summer day. It isn’t all about hitting the gym and pushing yourself as hard as you can. But if that is what works for you, then it can be that—a dance class with your friends or a neighborhood basketball game. Get out, get moving, and raise your heartbeat. The wonders those feel-good endorphins you release when you workout can have considerable benefits to your physical and mental health.

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Father's Day, Gift Guide

Can you believe Father’s Day is just around the corner? It kind of snuck up on us, to be honest.  What with the coronavirus pandemic, not knowing what day, week or month it is and being fully emerged in the fight for equality, things have been upended here and the new normal is absolutely not normal but the Big Guy really is one hell of a dad and husband so I really wanted to make Father’s Day special for him.

READ ALSO: What Makes a Good Father and How to Be a Good Dad

But what do you get the man who has everything? It’s not like when the girls were little, no one is having to wait months on end to try to piece together a free night out or save up for a new video game. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been quarantined for the last 4 months so we’ve pretty much been doing as we pleased…well, within the confines of our house because who’s going out? Maybe a cool new mask that’s better suited for the summer months, just to say we care. You’re not alone in this quandary.

Father’s Day Gifts that every dad will love

1. Well, he’s the dad of a couple of teenage girls so first on the list is no bickering. Like seriously, we love these girls more than life itself but when they start bickering with one another, it pretty much sounds like cats screeching their nails down a chalkboard. So silence could definitely be a gift.

2. But that’s probably not going to happen because they are my children and we’re talkers what can I say. So maybe we use the words for good instead of evil and tell the man how much he means to us. The girls can make cards and tell the man how great he is. Me, I’ve got this here blog that I’ve been cultivating for 11 years so here goes (I’m using my words)

Babe, you are the wind beneath my wings. Honestly, as cheesy as it sounds, you elevate me and me and give my soul, my heart and my mind the freedom and support to fly. You are the best husband and father anyone could have ever asked for and probably better than I deserve on most days.  I know it’s hard being the only man in a house full of women but you are the best girl dad I’ve ever seen and our girls are blessed to have you, as am I. Thank you for all that you do for all of us. Thank you for your unconditional love and support. We love you to the moon and back and infinity and beyond.

 

  1. Bake Me a Wish

The Big Guy has a serious sweet tooth sometimes and what’s more delicious than gourmet bakery gifts? BakeMeAWish.com, is a leading national online gifting company.  5% of all purchases will be donated to the Meals on Wheels COVID-19 Response Fund. Bake Me A Wish! guarantees overnight delivery for those last-minute gifts! Let me tell you, I sampled the tiramisu cake and one of their gorgeous gift baskets and it was a winner in our house.

Even though we may not be able to celebrate alongside dad this year, receiving a bakery gift is a special way to let dad know how much he’s appreciated this Father’s Day. Bake Me a Wish! offers guaranteed next day delivery, for all the last-minute gift-givers.

To order a gourmet bakery gift for dad and support the Meals on Wheels COVID-19 Response Fund, please visit www.bakemeawish.com.

   4. Society Socks

Society Socks are cool socks with super cute designs that any dad would be proud to wear to the office. They offer products with a social cause that are the perfect gift for the stylish dad who has everything. Society Socks are whimsical, comfortable and best of all with every subscription box, you receive 2 pairs of socks and Society socks donate 2 pairs of fun and funky socks to the homeless shelter.

Bonus: They make cool socks for mom too!

   5. Lodge Cast iron for the Outdoorsman

If the dad in your life is a chef or an outdoor chef, Lodge Cast Iron is an unconventional yet perfect way to celebrate Father’s Day. Lodge cast iron is great as versatile indoor grilling cookware but also absolutely perfect for camping trips.

READ ALSO: Father’s Day Gifts for the Great Outdoorsman

As you may be familiar, Lodge Cast Iron has been making heirloom-quality cookware and accessories for over 120 years at its headquarters in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. I’m not normally one for getting appliances or any kind of gift that can be construed as a “chore” but cast iron on a family camping trip is definitely a gift; pancakes on griddles, chili in dutch ovens and pizookies in cast iron skillets. They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

   6. Sugarfina for the sweetest dads

Finding the perfect gift for Dad might be a bit more challenging this year, but who says it’s impossible? We’ve put together the SWEETEST suggestions for Dad, Pops, Daddy, Grandpa, Uncle .. Whoever you’re celebrating, Sugarfina has the sweet treats to make this Father’s Day one he’ll never forget!

  • Choco-holic Dad– give him treats as sweet as he is, Coconut Toffee Macadamias
  • Do-It-All Dad– caffeinated sweets will keep his motor running, NEW Cold Brew Cordials
  • Top-Shelf Dad– keep it classy for the dad who’s casually cool

They have gifts for all price ranges; under $35, gifts under $50 and $75? No problem. Sugarfina has you covered.

   7. Give dad the gift of smart surround sound

Apple Homepod speakers for the tech-savvy dad. HomePod is a breakthrough speaker that adapts to its location and delivers high-fidelity audio wherever it’s playing. Together with Apple Music and Siri, it creates an entirely new way for you to discover and interact with music at home. And it can help you and your whole family with everyday tasks — and control your smart home — all with just your voice. There is almost nothing the Big Guy likes better than a smart home.

READ ALSO: Father’s Day Gift Guide for the tech-savvy dad

HomePod combines custom Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced software to deliver precision sound that fills the room. And at just under seven inches tall, HomePod fits anywhere in your home so no cutting into your walls to install speakers. They are sleek and you almost don’t notice them so they will blend right into your home décor.

   8. Father’s Day Spa treatment

I like getting people gifts that they wouldn’t normally buy themselves. The same way that I’m remiss to buy myself anything luxurious unless it’s on a deep discount, the Big Guy doesn’t spend money on taking care of himself. It seems like he only feels comfortable buying what he needs so a luxury like a skincare system is nothing he’d ever stop to get himself. The Thermaderm Father’s Day set is easy-to-use, effective skincare basics, that will have dad looking polished and ready for anything.

The Theraderm Father’s Day Set comes in a smart black travel bag, great for guys on the go, and keeps it simple with three effective products that will keep skin clean and youthful.

 Kick-off every day with the Theraderm Cleansing Wash to get rid of all unwanted oil and dirt without drying out the skin. Suitable for face, body, and even hair, this non-irritating cleanser is perfect for dads with busy schedules. The Cleansing Wash is gentle, yet thoroughly penetrates all the way to the center of the hard keratin in hair and can get unruly manes and even beards clean before a shave.

 The Fruit Acid Exfoliant makes exfoliating quick and ultra-easy. Alpha hydroxy acid works to minimize pores and slough off dead skin cells while evening out skin tone. Packed of lactic acid toner, this product with get dull skin looking dapper after one use.

 Top off this quick routine with the Platinum Protection Facial Sunscreen 43, the magic number for broad-spectrum UV protection because it has the exact amount of active ingredient needed to trap harmful UVA/UVB rays. This oil-free SPF absorbs into the skin quickly and goes on undetected without pilling or stinging the eyes.

Every dad is different and special like giant dad body shaped snowflakes. In the end, all most dads want is a day to feel appreciated and maybe sneak in a much deserved and long-overdue nap. Just gift from the heart something that will be meaningful to your dad or husband and it’s sure to be a hit.

 

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Amy Cooper, George Floyd, Christian Cooper, Ahmed Aubrey, racism

“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.” Those are the words Amy Cooper wielded as a threat to birder, Christian Cooper, when he insisted that she put her dog back on the leash in a leashed dog park in New York’s Central Park in an area called the Ramble, known for its wildlife and birds that live there. But she didn’t just make an idle threat because she was upset that this man dared to ask her to leash her dog, she literally threatened his life with those words and by calling the police. What threat was she under? Not being able to exercise her white privilege.

I keep hearing that we’re all in this together but I know that’s not true.  We’re all in a boat in the ocean of life but some are yachts and some are 2 popsicle sticks held together by bubblegum and hope. One thing we all know, whether you are black, brown or white, is that being black or brown in America is dangerous every single day, even during a pandemic which you’d think would be the great equalizer.

READ MORE: Michael Brown

Amy Cooper was so angry that this black man had the audacity to request that she live by the same rules as the rest of the world and check her privilege that she threatened his life, because we all know that is exactly what that was. She was like a toddler throwing a tantrum with a semi-automatic weapon. You don’t just randomly call the police on anyone especially not a person of color for no reason. She knew that by making that call she was putting this man’s life in danger and she either didn’t care or cared more about getting her way, than his life.

For those of you who don’t understand this, let me catch you up, if you are not white in America, you do not receive the same rights as those who are white. We have to work twice as hard for half the pay. We have to be respectful and hold our tongues, as the minority, or suffer the consequences. We have to check self-respect, self-dignity and equality every single day of our lives on some level and defer to white America because they remind us every single day that it’s their America and we’re just living in it and our human rights can be revoked at any minute, if we are even afforded them at all.

READ MORE: Criming While White

There are white people of privilege, then there are white people who have no privilege but yet still hold some sliver of privilege because of the very color of their skin. Then, there are the rest of us. The darker your skin, the worse you’re treated by racists because the skin is not something you can hide. You can’t just blend in when your skin is proudly announcing your arrival.

People of color worry because just the act of existing outside of our own homes is dangerous. Actually, even staying inside our own homes doesn’t keep us safe. We’re taught to be quiet, blend in, be respectful, show our hands at all times, and never talk back even when we know we’re right because the price we pay is our life. The majority holds the power and that is why Amy Cooper thought it was ok to cry wolf in the middle of the park with no consideration for Christian Cooper’s life. Racist aren’t sorry for their hatred, they are only sorry when they get caught…sorry that they got caught, still, unapologetic for their fundamental hatred of anyone different than themselves.

READ ALSO: Trayvon Martin

I’ve long held a theory, take it as you will from this white Latina who grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood, some (not all) white people are afraid of black people. As far as I can see, there’s no logical reason for it but I think maybe it’s genetic. As in white people have been treating people of color so shitty for so long that somewhere in their DNA they know they’re wrong for it and that causes a deep-seated fear of retaliation that manifests as preemptive, blind anger. Karma people. If you go around being a monster for centuries, maybe be afraid that one day, God’s going to get you. So, instead of changing the shitty behavior, they go on the defensive and just keep on treating people of color like they are less than. Rather than, treat us all like human beings they double down on the hate and so goes the vicious cycle of white privilege and racism.

As if the Karen in Central Park choking her dog wasn’t enough. We’ve got a whole neighborhood in Brunswick, Georgia (let’s just call a spade a spade) lynching black men in the street. There are so many things wrong with the Ahmed Aubrey situation that I can’t even begin to start to point them out. You have eyes, you are intelligent, I don’t need to be Captain Obvious but something most definitely stinks in suburbia. I’m calling bullshit on the whole thing. This family of racists and their neighborhood buddies went on a hunt in broad daylight and Ahmed Aubrey was the prey of the day.

READ ALSO: When Racism Happens to Your Child

Next, we have the video of George Floyd, a 46-year-old father of 2, killed while Officer Derek Chauvin, pinned a handcuffed Floyd down on the ground. Officer Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck with the other on his back pinning him down, restricting his intake of breathable air, even while Floyd begged for breath. All while 3 other officers helped to subdue or watched Mr. Floyd take his last breaths and go limp as he died on the pavement below Chauvin’s weight. The police were responding to a call from a grocery market about an alleged counterfeit $20 bill.

In the video, Floyd is seen moaning and struggling, as bystanders urge officers to place him in the police car. “Please,” Floyd pleads. “I can’t breathe,” he continues to moan. An officer keeps insisting he get in the car, while the man repeatedly says he can’t.

READ ALSO: Charleston Shooting

“My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. … (I need) water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe, officer. I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.”

The police insist that Floyd was resisting arrest. Let me be perfectly clear on this next part, I don’t care if he did actually try to pass a counterfeit $20 bill or not (it’s irrelevant) because no matter what he did or didn’t do, it shouldn’t have cost him his life and if those officers had any respect for this man’s life, they would have relented and taken the knee off the neck. Therein lies the issue. They did not treat this man like a human being because they do not see him as their equal. They saw him as less than they are. This is racism. This is hatred and self-loathing resulting in murder. The four officers were fired Tuesday; on Wednesday, Mayor Jacob Frey called for Chauvin to be criminally charged.

READ ALSO:  Dear America

There were more instances of blatant racism in the news this week and that was just in the past few days. But this was not the first time these things have happened and it won’t be the last. Racism is not new. Social media is. Racists have been out here living their best lives, assaulting and murdering people of color since the beginning of time, but now, we all can see it. Now, we can share it. Now, we can call out for justice and bring these transgressions to the light of day. There is no denying culpability when you’re caught on tape. The world cannot continue to turn a blind eye when the truth is viral.

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new normal isn't normal at all, coronavirus, pandemic

We’ve been sheltering in place for 10 weeks. It’s been challenging in some ways. In other ways, there’s been peace in knowing that I’m doing my part to keep everyone safe. I’m not a doctor, nurse, first responder or healthcare worker. I can’t save lives on the front lines like some but I can do my best. I can shelter in place, wear my mask and social distance. It’s been hard mentally, physically and spiritually and the new normal isn’t normal at all.

I’m an extrovert. I’m human and I need people. Even more than that, I care about people so while it feels completely unnatural to shelter in place, I know it’s the right thing to do. It’s the only thing I can do, anything else would be selfish. So while my soul may be craving the attention of an audience, my brain knows better.

READ ALSO: How to Protect Your Mental Health During a Pandemic

Last week the Big Guy had to go back into the office as Indiana is reopening. His job can be done from home, and that is what the governor’s guidelines recommend, but his company is “essential” so they require that everyone needs to be back in the office.

My husband is one of 3 people wearing a mask, out of 600 people. Working in a cubicle leaves him exposed. Others aren’t observing social distancing so he wears his mask because he is hypertensive, I am diabetic and our daughter is immunocompromised. He wears his mask because if he contracts Coronavirus he doesn’t want to pass it on to us nor does he want to be responsible for passing this potentially deadly virus to one of his coworkers and their families. Unfortunately, most are not extending us the same courtesy. So he wears his mask, despite others not wearing theirs.

This new normal isn’t normal at all and it hangs in the air like a death sentence when you try to ignore it, just waiting for you to let your guard down.

It’s difficult for him to breathe wearing his mask for 10 hours a day, at his desk, on the computer (doing what he’s been doing from home for the past 8 weeks) but he goes in because we need an income. His glasses fog up so badly that he can’t wear them. He’s getting sores on his face from the mask rubbing the bridge of his nose from talking all day. Still, despite the weird looks he gets from all of his coworkers and as uncomfortable as it may be, he knows that being dead or killing someone we love would be worse.

READ ALSO: I Miss You Most at 6 Feet Apart

His choices are to prioritize our health or our livelihood. We can die from coronavirus or we can die from starvation. The choice is ours. I did not want him to go back into the office. He asked if he could work from home. He reminded them of our conditions and his. They were not moved. His attendance at the office was mandatory.

Every day, I’m afraid for him. I worry about him. The thought of him in his office being physically and mentally uncomfortable, having trouble breathing, feeling jeered and dismissed for being cautious is horrible. He’s doing the right things but sometimes doing the right thing is hard. He’s doing hard things every single day, for his family.

New normal isn’t normal at all.

Despite the world being upside down right now and our entire way of living being turned inside out, we try to do our best. However, is our best good enough? I’ve found that there is a false sense of hope that is born out of feeling “normal”. You see, when we went into lockdown, I got really stressed out. I’m not talking about your everyday run of the mill stress eat carbs. I’m talking about forgetting all the rules, we’re all going to die, release the cortisol, this is fight or flight. “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father prepare to die” kind of end of the road dire straits.

READ ALSO: How Coronavirus is a Blessing in Disguise

But then the Big Guy went back to the office and I lost 3 pounds almost immediately. I was walking again and, despite my allergies being out of control, I could finally exhale and feel “normal” in the “new normal.” My brain subconsciously sent a message to my body that everything was going to be alright because today resembled some random Wednesday back in 2019 before all of this bullshit happened.

Even though I know we’re right in the middle of a pandemic and my new normal is wearing a mask and not touching people and who knows when my children will be able to go back to school, that simple act of the Big Guy leaving the house tricked my brain into a false sense of safety and I think that’s happening to a lot of people. They’re not seeing the people they love die so it doesn’t feel real to them. I know it’s real. It’s a silent, deadly killer that walks up on you in broad daylight. Maybe you’ll get lucky and be asymptomatic but while you’re not exhibiting symptoms, you’re giving it to everyone around you.

New normal isn’t normal

The weather is changing. Sure we had snow last week (in May) but now the warm weather is coming and everything in the Midwest is blooming, the governors are opening the states (the public is skipping over steps and ignoring others) and from the inside of my house, it’s beginning to feel normal.  We’ve been hiding indoors from coronavirus for so long, we’ve almost forgotten it’s out there. Not really but in a way, I feel safe because it looks like a normal day in May.

The quietness of it, the hushed whispers and contradictory reports are confusing and they fool you into having hope that the worst is over but then my brain kicks in and I remind myself that this virus hasn’t gone and is going nowhere anytime soon. We have no cure, there is no vaccine and, really, there is still so much that is unknown about how coronavirus works long term. What we do have right now is common sense, some basic precautions to take to stop the spread and flatten the curve and we have choices to make but unfairly we have a false sense of security that might lead us beyond our reason and into danger.

READ ALSO: How to Enjoy Your Summer Together while Social Distancing

All the doctors can do right now is best guess treat the symptoms. The scary part is the tests are still not meeting the standard of care we need. There is still a huge percentage of false negatives. An ED doctor friend of mine told me that she had 2 patients who were obviously infected with CoVid19 test negative. The test isn’t working guys and we don’t know how or if reinfection is going to hit someone who’s already been there and done that or how hard it’s going to hit if it does.

There’s security in normalcy even when it’s not safe. But there’s no safety in the new normal because the new normal isn’t normal at all. Enjoy the quiet moments in the sun with your family. When it starts to feel like things are all right in the world just remember to be safe. Don’t forget that right around the corner a silent killer is lurking but you can save yourself. All you need to do is practice social distancing for a little while longer and wear a mask. That’s it and you can be a hero, not just for yourself but for the people you love too.

What are you doing to protect yourself and the people you love in the new normal?

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Mother's Day

I wasn’t sure what to expect this year for Mother’s Day. Normally, my only wish is peace, a clean house and not be needed. I appreciate a good day off of mom duty. I know it sounds selfish when so many moms just want to celebrate with their children or their moms but really all I want is a quiet house with no one asking anything of me. I want 24 hours of no responsibilities and no one depending on me for anything. I want to just be me. Somehow this Mother’s Day was more special than any other.

Normally, what I’ve wanted is exactly what the Big Guy has given me. It’s a Queen for the day situation. Well, to be honest, with the Big Guy, he always treats me like a queen just this queen has to do dishes and break up bickering matches between teenagers and fold laundry. Being a queen is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes, I just want to drive somewhere with my favorite music blaring singing at the top of my lungs or eat what I want to eat or watch a rated R movie or binge a foreign film series without judgment. I hate the feeling of expectation. You know when the world gives you some side-eye as it wonders pretty damn aloud, why you aren’t doing something else…something they deem productive? No, just me?

READ ALSO: A Mother’s Day I’ll Never Forget

I grew up in a house where weekends were not for sleeping in; they were for waking up even earlier to get more done. And you never had the luxury of being bored because my father would find some household chore for you to do. Everything was never always done and there was plenty to go around. And so, now, I find I almost impossible to relax if anyone else is around. If you are anyone who could possibly expect anything from me…you can rest assured that I cannot relax.

But this year, Mother’s Day fell on quarantine, so did the anniversary of my miscarriage which I observe every year as my national day of grief (this year I had an audience because everyone was underfoot), as did my husband’s birthday, our 21st wedding anniversary is this weekend and my daughter’s 13th birthday. This shelter in place is really jacking up life as we know it. My expectations for Mother’s Day were pretty low.

I didn’t expect gifts because who can go shopping. I didn’t expect fancy brunches at a restaurant or visits from my mom or my sisters. All I wanted was my day off but how? We’re all in this quarantine together so I couldn’t really expect alone time. All I really wanted was no bickering between the kids, no housework for me and not to have to worry about dinner. Done, done and done. But something was different, aside from the world being in a coronavirus tizzy… my girls did something different.

READ ALSO: Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead on Mother’s Day

I don’t know if it’s the fact that we’ve all been quarantined for over 2 months or the fact that they are getting older or maybe they just were trying to make me happy with their thoughtfulness but they surprised me. Both girls posted sweet messages on Instagram with pictures of us from when they were little. It wasn’t about the picture on social media it was the fact that they said how much they loved and appreciated me, with specifics, online, in front of everyone. They’re teens.

Not to be that person but my 15-year-old called me, “Diosa,” which means goddess. Fuck a queen, my girl thinks I’m a goddess and she called me her best friend. Then, she thanked me for making her the “bad bitch” she is. Now, I don’t like women being called bitches but when my teen thinks of herself as a “bad bitch” I call that a mom win.

My youngest, who I’m pretty sure hates me on most days because fucking hormones and she is my teen wonder twin, told me not only that she loves me so much but more importantly she said that I’m always there for her and never give up on her which I don’t ever but I wasn’t sure she realized that until that moment. The fact that she does lets me know that I’m on the right track. God knows we moms spend so much time trying to figure out what’s going on in our kids’ heads. It was so nice for them to tell me.

READ ALSO: The Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever

Not going to lie, I’ve done a lot of shit in my life. I’ve accomplished a lot. I’m well-educated, well-traveled, I’m cultured and I believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to and still these two girls are and always will be my legacy, my greatest achievement. My goal is to raise good human beings and that’s a lifetime position. It’s hard work; it takes up all of my time, my energy, my heart and my soul but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Their words, those notes, unprompted and unsolicited expressions of love, meant more to me than any gift ever could.

I don’t know what you did for Mother’s Day or how your family celebrated you but I hope they made you feel like a Diosa, a goddess, and I hope you know how much they love and appreciate you. You’re a bad bitch and I see you. So when you’re tired, exhausted from no sleep, dealing with tantrums or bickering teens, sick children and it feels like nothing in the world is going right…you’re homeschooling and you’re never off duty, just remember inside the crazy storm of motherhood, there is a calmness. Motherhood is misery peppered with profound moments of bliss. I know I’m a day late because I was trying to just be yesterday but Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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How to stay motivated to work out , fast weight loss, sponsored

Today marks 365 days since I found out that I was diabetic. That was the day that my life changed forever. The thought of dying scared me so much that I began my journey to health that same day. It’s not been easy but it’s been worth it, most days. There’s no such thing as easy, fast weight loss. Changing your eating habits and working out can help get you healthy but it takes time and patience. This is how I stayed motivated to work out for a year.

Let’s face it, often working out is more of a chore than it is a pleasure. Most days I struggle with motivation. I always feel better after I’m done but finding the inspiration to get going on some days is harder than the desire to lose weight or even get healthy but then I remember why I’m doing it; to live.

READ ALSO: How I cured myself of diabetes

How you feel about working out, especially during a shelter-in-place, will definitely impact how hard and how often you work out. Unfortunately, feeling discouraged and out of sorts will only encourage you to do it less and less. In the end, it’ll take a toll on you mentally and physically. As challenging as it sounds, the best thing to do is power through and just do it.

Here are four sneaky ways to stay motivated to work out and lose weight.

Work Out With Friends

Everything’s better with friends. After all, you’re more likely to laugh and smile, and they’re both signs that you’re having a good time. This logic even counts for exercising, so never take your buddies for granted. The trick is convincing them to do it, which is harder than it sounds. Hopefully, once they see your results and how you’re pushing yourself to be better, they’ll happily join. If social distancing measures mean you have to stay at home, you can use Zoom or FaceTime to connect virtually.

Work Out with Music

Who isn’t inspired by the soundtrack of their life? Music makes everything better. A good beat can really inspire your week out groove. Of course, not all music is created equal, and some beats get you more pumped for working out than others. The key is to choose wisely when looking for work out inspiration. Start by picking your favorite songs. Music that you love will help you push passed your exhaustion and to keep going. Next, find upbeat music. Personally, I love to work out to today’s hits or reggeaton.

Getting Dressed Up

Getting dressed in clothes other than day and night PJs isn’t really happening much at my house. In fact, these days, yoga pants and a t-shirt qualify as dressing up. But staying in your pajamas long enough can suck all of your motivation to work out and it’s not very conducive to fast weight loss. One way to change your frame of mind is to use clothes to boost your self-esteem. Whether it’s a Disney Toes or Five Toes design, your workout gear should have two advantages. Firstly, wearing them will make you want to exercise. Secondly, they’ll aid performance, meaning you’ll always be at your best. Working out isn’t challenging when you’re stacking wins.

Don’t Second Guess Your Achievements

You’ve worked hard and hit your goals and suddenly, the goal line moves. This is because we live in an Instagram world and everyone else on social media appears to be hitting higher targets. They’re losing weight faster, easier and looking better doing it. Next thing you know; you feel subpar instead of like the winner that you are. Regardless of what everyone else is doing, focus on you and your goals. You’re not in competition with anyone else. The goal is to be healthy, nothing else matters. After all, you’re the one who has to put in the hard work and do the workout. One day, you’ll reach your target weight and fitness goal. For now, concentrate on what you can control and have fun.

READ ALSO: Food’s an Addiction and Sugar is a Drug

Whether you want fast weight loss or long-term health, this is how to stay motivated to work out for an entire year and beyond. What do you do to stay motivated to work out when you are not in the mood?

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coronavirus, 6 feet apart

The past 7 weeks have been life-changing for all of us. I can feel it in the very thread of my soul. 50 days is a long time to be apart from the ones you love and society in general. Honestly, 6 feet apart can feel like miles when it’s the people you love who you want to be nearest to. Coronavirus has taken physical contact out of the equation for all of us.

My family is very close emotionally but more than that, we’re a very touchy, feely group. There are a lot of us and we were raised on good morning, and off to work/school, home from work/school, and good night kisses. No matter what kind of day you had or how many times we fought, in the end, there was always love. These hugs and kisses were guaranteed. Maybe we didn’t have money but in love, we were/are rich.

READ ALSO: What Every Mom Should Know about Coronavirus

This is not just a childhood thing, I’m a grown woman, mother to two and when I’m home or my parents visit, I kiss them good morning, good night and whenever I leave the house. My kids do the same with their grandparents. We all do the same at our house. My brothers and sisters do it at their homes and whenever we visit one another, there is a good 15 minutes of just welcoming hugs and kisses and we love every single moment of it all. It is as natural and necessary as breathing for us so it’s been really hard.

Add to that the fact that my dad had just returned from months in Mexico for Bella’s quince that never happened, the week before the shelter in place order went into effect. I got to see him and my mother the day before it went into place. I haven’t seen them since. My youngest sister just had a baby 3 weeks ago. I haven’t met the baby yet. My middle sister is planning a wedding, I haven’t gotten to help her at all. My 3 brothers live in town but for the better part of this shelter in place, I’ve felt like I was hiding in place. I haven’t been inside anywhere in weeks and the only people I’ve seen have been the random neighbor here and there that I try to avoid on my walks.

READ ALSO: Doctor Gave Up Her Kids for Months to Save Yours

After a while, it starts to feel normal and that might be the worst part of all. 3 out of the 4 people in my house fall into the underlying condition category, so I’m in this for the long haul. I know this. I’m fine being in my house but lately, I’ve been missing my family in ways that I can’t explain.

I’m missing them in the little ways, my little brother’s Charlie Brown dance he does to make us laugh at family gatherings; the look on my little sister’s face when she watches her boys, the serious look of confusion and love that floods my middle sister’s face when we bullshit her about something, or my big little brother’s smirk when he’s bullshitting us or the care and concern in my middle brother’s voice when he asks if you’re alright and is genuinely concerned. I miss that same serious face my mom gives me before she breaks into my big little brother’s smile when she’s pulling my leg. I miss my dad’s laugh and the way he always blesses me before he leaves me or I leave him because we were raised that every time could be the last so always say I love you and that’s never been more true than now.

READ ALSO: Interview with a Coronavirus Doctor on the Frontline

Most days, I push it all down and try not to feel it. But this week, this is my terrible, no good, very bad week of the year. Every year since 2012. Even when I forget the anniversary, my heart remembers and it’s soft and sensitive and exposed and it hurts. It’s the one week of the year when I always need a soft place to land and here I am twisting in the wind. Right now, this 6-feet-apart feels like miles and miles and miles. I feel so alone.

The other day, I needed to see family. I needed to hear their laughter, see their faces and feel their energy; the energy I was born of. The family who knows all of my secrets and shares my history and loves me still; loves me more than I probably deserve and always has me held in their hearts, lifting me up in prayer and covering me in blessings and unconditional love even when I feel unblessable and completely and utterly unlovable. Still, there they are always in all the ways. My family is truly everything to me.

READ ALSO: How Coronavirus is a Blessing in Disguise

The other day, I made an executive decision as I am known to do and I told my brothers,” I’m driving by just to see your faces.” 6-feet-apart, so close but so far apart. And while it was balm to my soul to see their faces and hear their voices I never realized how much it would break my heart to have to walk away, to be in their orbit, and not get to hug them. It was almost unbearable and felt absolutely unnatural. It was the first time since they’ve each been born that I’ve seen them and not hugged and kissed them. I left feeling sad and hollow.

Mentally, I know that I saw them. We spoke and laughed and fed off of one another but the physical connection that transcends time and space that comes with touch was missing and there I sat, looking right at them, missing them and that’s a horrible side effect of the coronavirus. I can give up going to Target and restaurants and movie theaters. I can even give up travel and the freedom to roam the world as I so much like to do but giving up my people, the handful of people who mean everything to me, that’s hard but it’s selfish not to right now. So I take what I can get. Spaced laughter, togetherness apart, 6-feet apart dinners on my deck, movies in my family room with masks on with the same people who I share a mother and father.

READ ALSO: How to Protect Your Mental Health During a Pandemic

I’ll keep dropping snacks off at my friend’s and family’s houses just to get a passing glimpse of their smiles and to feel connected. If that means that I have to drive 3 hours to get a glimpse of my parents from 6-feet-apart for a couple of hours, it’ll be worth it to see my mom’s smiling eyes above her mask and hear my dad bestow upon me a blessing before I get back in my car to drive the 3 hours home. Until then, it’s ok to feel sadness and grief to miss what might have been and what once was. At least, when this is all over and we’re all safe and healthy, we’ll all have each other’s hugs to look forward to. For now, we stay 6-feet-apart so we don’t end up 6-feet-under.

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How Coronavirus is a blessing in disguise

I’ve been having a large range of emotions the past few weeks, day 31 of social distancing for us. I feel, for lack of a better word, triggered emotionally and that’s saying a lot for someone who is susceptible to bouts of mania. My mental health has to be at the front of my mind, even now when I can think of nothing else but my physical health and well-being and the health of everyone around me, everyone I love…everyone I know; my friends, my family, coworkers, the children I spent my days teaching and nurturing even the strangers I surround myself every single day all around the world. Maybe coronavirus is a blessing in disguise for all of us?

READ MORE: What every mom should know about Coronavirus

It’s everywhere; on the news, in my feeds, in texts from friends and conversations with loved ones. I can’t turn it off. I try. I zone out. I try to keep my mind occupied. I try to stay positive. We are resilient and there are bright spots amid this gloom of coronavirus. I fill my days with other things while trying to stay sane while living in place. I feel like I am metaphorically treading water to avoid drowning in my own thoughts. On some days, I feel like if I stop for one moment I could completely lose my grip on reality, I’ve felt this way since about day 11 (the day we officially are ordered to stay home) I can barely remember what day it is.

Through my fear, I can’t help feeling like Coronavirus is a Blessing in Disguise for All of Us

I’ve tried to see the positive. We’re alive. We’re safe. We’re at home together. But then I take a deep breath and realize that nothing is normal, I’m a prisoner in a beautiful cage and my fellow prisoners are delusional. I have to hold it together, I’m not afforded the luxury of being able to lose my shit because if I do, the entire house of cards will come tumbling down. This is my circus, these are my monkeys and the fucking world is on fire. Deep breaths, Debi. We can do this.

READ ALSO: Doctor on Front Line of Coronavirus Gave Up her Kids to Save You

There is no positive about the coronavirus except for the fact that it’s making us all slow down. Sure, it may be from school closures and crippling anxiety but we’re getting a forced reset and perspectives are changing. I mean who gives a fuck whether or not the Bernie Bros are going to have an all-out war with the MAGA hat wearers when the entire world has been set on fire? Not me.

The only thing that matters to me right now in this moment, life in the time of Corona (virus), is how we survive with our families intact. Everything else is bullshit.  Everything else is literally unimportant. So, let’s let it all fall away. Forget about fancy meals and perfect houses. Let’s practice patience and grace. Let’s embrace gratitude and think of the bigger picture.

How Coronavirus is a blessing in disguiseThis is temporary and as horrible as the coronavirus pandemic may feel, this is a gift; a blessing.

In the end, I think we will be kinder, more compassionate and better human beings. When I talk to my friends now, we really listen. We check in on one another; really check in and care. We have become a nation of lifelines for one another. We are more in tune with our bodies and our minds. We are moving more. We are re-prioritizing every single thing and the unimportant things are falling to the wayside while the most important things are coming clearer into focus because the noise of the world is fading.

READ ALSO: Interview with an ER doctor on the front lines fo Coronavirus

Strangers smile and say hi. My daughters have moved through their bickering phase and into a comfortable place of thankfulness for one another. They not only love one another, they show it and no longer take one another for granted. My husband who has always been my best friend has become my hero. He is my rock and when I start to go off the rails and buckle under the fear and pressure, he is there to grab my hand and tell me that it will be alright and I hope I’m doing the same for him. Together we’ll get through it.

I long for the faces of my parents and my brothers and sisters. I remember that they always have been there for me but the promise of tomorrow is not a certainty. I have hope that in time we will all be together again, for now, we check in on one another in the only ways we can. 6 feet apart drive-bys to say hello to my friends and family have become the highlights of my day.

I’m thankful for my job that allows me to work from home. I’m thankful for my husband’s job that understands even though he is essential, his family is immunocompromised and makes allowances for that. I’m so thankful for bosses who understand the mental strain that living through a pandemic puts on even the strongest person. I’m grateful for the grace and patience that we are all showing one another.

How can it be that even in such a horrible situation, Coronavirus is a Blessing in Disguise?

It’s all a matter of perspective. Staying home was not anything I ever imagined would be forced upon us as a nation. I’m an extrovert and while I’ve longed for moments of peace and quiet, I never wished for forced removal from society. I’m scared. I know too much; we all do. All we can do is to do our part, be safe, stay home and support the heroes who save us all; the healthcare workers who sacrifice so much to take care of us and our loved ones, the grocers and restaurant workers who make sure we are fed, the delivery people, the police, EMTs, firefighters and other civil service workers who risk everything to keep us safe.

Remember this is temporary, even though it feels like forever when you’re living through it. Feel what you need to feel okay with the circumstances. There are no rules right now. Just survival. Let go of expectations and if you need to cry or be mad or just not care, just do that. All of your feels are valid. There are no wrong ways. But please give yourself and those around you grace and patience. None of us have ever been through this before.

READ ALSO: The Importance of Friendship

In the end, I think we’ll all be better people from this. We are having greatness thrust upon us. This is the time to rise to the occasion. Be kinder, be better, think of others and remember to breathe and laugh. Drop off snacks at your neighbor’s doorsteps. Have a pizza delivered to your brother’s family for lunch. Order groceries for your elderly parents and have them delivered. Tip your delivery people.

Share your time, your experience and your abundance. Give of yourself but give to yourself to. Stay safe. Be well and I can’t wait to celebrate with all of you when this is over. For now, celebrate your health, your life and the kindness and efforts of those around you. We’re all struggling. You are not alone.

How are you holding up during this pandemic? Hoping you and your family are staying healthy and being safe. I know this pandemic is horrible and hurting a lot of people but theoretically, do you feel like the coronavirus could be a blessing in disguise?

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