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special occasions, life, children, laughter, all in, just do it, life's to short to be unhappy, Atlantic ocean, Cape Cod, Boston

Stop waiting for special occasions.

Do It Now!

Don’t Make Your Happiness Contingent on anyone else or conditionals. I will/can be happy when I …. is a crazy way to live your life. In fact, I have spent most of my life bartering with myself. When I get skinny, I will allow myself to finally be happy. When I do this, I will deserve that. When my daughters are no longer bickering and talking back, I can relieve myself of some of this mommy guilt. When my house is clean and my laundry is folded, I will be a good housewife. When I give my husband the attention he deserves, I will be a good wife. Then I beat myself up about all of it. It’s wasted energy.

You deserve happiness now. I.DESERVE.HAPPINESS.NOW! Not tomorrow or the day after or whenever I hit some imaginary goal, NOW! It shouldn’t be reserved only for special occasions. Tell people you love them. Dance like no one is watching. Don’t be afraid. Go for what you want. Celebrate every single day. Stop and see the beauty all around you. Every day that you are alive is a “special” occasion.

I’ve always been that kind of person who has hung my life on conditions and some imaginary set of rules for life. I don’t know why or how this started but I just never feel like I quite deserve success.I always feel like I need permission to just do what I want. Sounds crazy because I am the same person who believes that anything is possible through hard work and sacrifice. Maybe I only believe that applies to other people. It’s the mantra that I base my entire life on but then I just don’t quite feel like I deserve it, any of it. I feel like a fraud, in my own life.

I rush through the moments. Sort of like running through rain trying not to get wet. Instead of spending my life leisurely strolling through on a sunny day like I won the world and deserve all that life has to offer, I run from point to point trying to go unnoticed even when I want to be celebrated for my achievements. I half-ass a lot of things. I never give anything completely 100% because if I give 100% and it’s not good enough, then I am not good enough. I can’t give more than 100%, so if I hold back a little bit at least I can assuage myself with the knowledge that I didn’t try my best so sabotage is better than failure but success is never even an option when you live like that. Fulfillment can’t happen when you aren’t going all in.

special occasions, life, children, laughter, all in, just do it, life's to short to be unhappy, Atlantic ocean, Cape Cod, Boston

Like a lot of people, I reserve things for special occasions; beautiful dresses that never get worn waiting for “special” enough occasions. China that never comes out for fear of being broken or the situation not being “special” enough. Furniture that stays covered, so many things that never get used but instead tucked away safely waiting for someday. Flowers we never cut and enjoy at our table for fear they will die. Well, I am tired of waiting for SOME DAY. I want to live my life all in TODAY. I don’t want to be afraid of breaking or damaging something before it’s appropriate time because if I keep living like this, I am wasting my life waiting. We’ve all done it. I’ll reward myself with this when I accomplish this. I will do that when I deserve it. You deserve it now. Just do it. Stop waiting, life is short.

I should have learned this lesson when I was in labor with my first baby. I refused to use the breathing technique until I was in full on transition labor at which point I couldn’t focus or catch my breath. I was in a silent moment of complete overwhelming terror and I had no way to get out because I had rationed my “breathing” for a “special” occasion, as if breathing itself was a luxury that I did not deserve. That’s my life in a nutshell. Hurriedly being stoic and never feeling the full weight of my joy.

peony, special occasions, life, children, laughter, all in, just do it, life's to short to be unhappy

So when I decided to make this summer the throwback summer, I thought I was doing it for my girls and I was, mostly because I wanted them to experience just playing and having fun and enjoying summer without a schedule but it’s slowed me down. I’ve been sitting and listening to my children laugh. I’ve been noticing the rhythm of the birds singing.  I can feel the calm that the water brings as it splashes up into us when we play in the pool. I am breathing, all day long because that is what you are supposed to do. Air is free. I am walking more slowly. I am invested and present and you can’t believe how it changes your perspective.  I have given myself permission to be happy and enjoy my life.

Today, I planned to make enchiladas, Mexican rice and refried beans for dinner. Usually, I hurry the kids out of the kitchen because it’s easier and quicker for me to do it myself. Today, I put on Mariachi music in the kitchen as I boiled the chicken. We were already running late but you can’t make chicken boil faster than it does. The girls were dancing, I was dancing and they were giggling and telling me to call them by their middle names, their “Latina” names. They said they were being full-on Latinas. They were really enjoying all of it and in turn I was happy to be doing it.

My 9-year-old loves to cook and she asked if she could help me prepare the meal. Again, normally, I would have brushed her off but today, I said yes. She was my sous chef. I mean when you think about it, this was a tremendous teaching moment and what kind of person would I have been to deny her of something so simple as helping her mother with dinner? So, she cooked the entire meal with me and it was the best meal I’ve eaten in a long time and I told her so. I mean this could be her passion. Who am I to deny her? The point is that it felt good to do this with my daughter, she felt good to be doing it and the food tasted great. A memory was made and I know my daughter didn’t feel rejected or dismissed. She felt empowered and accomplished and I had something to do with that.

There is a special contentment that comes from going all in. The other day, I was doing an assignment and I really put all of my time and attention into it. I didn’t hurry. I wasn’t thinking of all the other places I needed to be or things I needed to be doing, I was just present in my writing and it felt different. I felt the passion return. I guess my point of all of this is, be present and give 100 % at whatever you do; you are missing out on the best days of your life by running from shelter to shelter in life’s rain. Put your rain boots on and dance in that rain, jump in those puddles and don’t worry, you are stronger than you look. You won’t melt and you won’t believe how great true accomplishment, at something even as simple as listening to what your child is saying, will make you feel. I want to teach my girls to enjoy life, the simple moments because sometimes those that seem the most insignificant are the more unforgettable.

special occasions, life, children, laughter, all in, just do it, life's to short to be unhappy

When’s the last time you allowed yourself to really and truly enjoy something without worrying about where you needed to be or what else you were supposed to be doing or waiting for special occasions?

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happiness, choices, life, being a good person, random acts of kindness

Why do we need permission? Who made these rules we all live by? In the last 24 hours I have went against my “better” judgment twice and both were better choices for me. Yesterday, I was tired and instead of doing what I normally do and miserably powering through my day and just getting things done. Going through the motions really. I stopped. I turned on the fan, closed the blinds and cuddled into my bed and napped for 3 hours. Right there in broad daylight, like I was a baby or a woman of leisure. I woke up and I felt rested and happy. I was in a great mood when I picked up my children from school. I was more patient and kind. I was a better mother than the miserably exhausted person who was there that morning before the nap. I cooked a big dinner and enjoyed the process. I never enjoy the process. It’s usually something that I do because I have to, like laundry. The dinner tasted great. Everything was better but it was all tinged with my secret…the nap. I felt guilty; guilty for actually responding to the needs of my own body. What craziness is that? If I don’t take care of myself, who will? I told my husband my dirty little secret, the nap, and he did not make fun of me or say something flip, he was genuinely glad that I gave my body what it needed. The guilt was lifted and now naps are on the table☺

This is the problem with so many of us. We go through life doing what is expected of us and we are miserable. Who made these rules that we have to follow x, y and z in life? We feel beholden to a certain way of parenting, being married, achieving success even being physically acceptable. If we don’t fit the mold then we feel guilty because obviously we’ve don’t something wrong. We have some deficit. I say fuck the mold. I want to break the mold.

We accept these expectations of us to be fact. They are not! Why are we all made to believe that life is a spinning wheel and once we choose a wheel we are confined to it like a prison for all of eternity? It’s not true and if we just took a minute to think about it logically. If we took a moment to breathe and trust our own instincts, to listen to our own heart, we would realize that we know what is best for ourselves, for our relationships and for our children.

Every day is the chance for a new beginning. I am tired of spinning that wheel that chose me. I want to do what I choose to do; not what life has chosen for me. I want to choose the path my life takes, not follow the path expected of me. I want to be who I want to be not who I am expected to be and more importantly I want to be happy. No one knows what can make me happy and no one can truly make me happy, that is something that I have to take responsibility for. Happiness is internal. It is fulfillment and every person’s fulfillment is different.

I lie awake at night with insomnia worried about all of the things that I didn’t do or need to do the next day because it’s what’s expected of me. I usually go against my better judgment and do what’s expected of me from society. But this morning, after I dropped my daughters off at school as I was pulling out, the car in front of me died. It was a mother who had rushed out the door 2 blocks and ran out of gas. I asked her what happened and she explained. My brother, whose sons also go to the same school, was pulling up as I was pulling over to park to help her. We both got out of our cars and pushed her out of the road and into the median at school. I let her use my phone to call her husband to bring her gas and then I drove her home. Now, to be clear, this is not something I would normally do because you know …I don’t know her. She could have been a psycho or she could have just been a stranded mom. I chose to believe she was someone who genuinely needed my help.

After I dropped her off, I even called the school to make sure they didn’t tow her car because she was so overwhelmed at the situation I doubt she remembered to call them. When I dropped her off, she genuinely thanked me. Someone let me help them. This made my day. It felt great to help her. I felt like I did something good.

The thing is a lot of people just backed out and went around her. It didn’t matter to them that it was 5 degrees out and snowing. It didn’t matter to them that there might have been children in a minivan leaving a Catholic school. They just went around. I don’t blame them because we live in a time where we walk past beggars in the street because we don’t know if they are going to use the money for food or for alcohol or drugs. We don’t stop and help stranded drivers because they could be crazed serial killers who might chop us to bits. We don’t let our kids play outside unattended because everyone’s a potential kidnapper or pedophile. We’ve become conditioned to not trust anyone and our skepticism is keeping us from being the good people we want to be. Our cynicism is keeping us from committing the random acts of kindness we all talk so much about. Don’t get me wrong, an unexpected free cup of Starbucks coffee is fantastic but we can do so much more. We can truly help people in need. We can be happy.

It’s true, we can’t know the hearts of others. We can’t dictate how a homeless person spends the money we give them. We could bring them food or clothes instead of money, I suppose. What we can dictate is how we react to the situation. That is all we can control. We can choose to do the right thing. We can choose to be those changes we want to be. We can choose to follow our hearts and not do what others expect of us because when we do what is expected, we fail everyone, most of all ourselves.

happiness, choice, being a good person

So, I am asking you today to make the decision to follow your heart, listen to your body and do not measure yourself by anyone else’s standards. Be you. Be happy. Love big. Live big. Give of yourself and you will be surprised at what you get in return. In place of going through the motions, you will find yourself living no holds barred out loud and fully. Maybe even taking a much needed nap.

What would you do if you followed your heart? What would make you happy? Give yourself permission to be you.

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Am I Ugly, internet, teens, girls, tweens, Youtube.com, body image, slef- confidence

Throat Punch Thursday,Am I Ugly, videos, teens

Am I Ugly?

Teen Girls are asking the world, “Am I Ugly?” ~ This is a recipe for disaster. As if the media is not already loading the gun with bullets of self-doubt with impossible standards perpetuated further by models and actresses embracing these standards, now our daughters are taking to the internet to ask a world peppered with miserable trolls, “Am I Ugly?

This scares the hell out of me. The potential for catastrophic long term effects from this seemingly innocuous question is beyond belief. I know how a simple critique can go into a young girls ears and get twisted and bent until it has burrowed itself so deeply into her psyche that there is no chance of recovery. To think that a young girl would willingly open herself up to this kind of criticism is unbelievable. I would take the computers and phones away, home-school, whatever it took to spare my daughters of the pain of  living with and suffering daily with body dysmorphic disorder.

Am I Ugly, internet, teens, girls, tweens, Youtube.com, body image, self- confidence

 Why Am I Ugly?

Let me assure you, there is no such thing as an innocuous question when you are opening yourself up to the world to ask  Am I Ugly? There will always be someone who will say yes, even if it’s just to go against the grain. To this new fad of asking the entire world, Am I Ugly? I give the throat Punch because I can assure you that somewhere in the world there is a young girl who just lost all of her self-confidence because the reply to her video was yes.

Somewhere in the world, seeds of self-doubt have been planted and are taking root in a child’s brain. Somewhere in your neighborhood, a 12 year old is crying because she was just told that her skin was bad. Somewhere else, a little girl is running before school and skipping lunch because her reply was that her face looked chunky. There’s a little brunette who is waxing her face for the first time because she was told that maybe if she didn’t have a mustache; she’d have a boyfriend. A blonde with natural curls is wearing a hat because somebody called her hair frizzy. A red head is trying to scrub the freckles off of her face. Another girl is hiding her smile because someone said her teeth are crooked. And yet another tween is crying because her bangs won’t lay right, last night she was told her forehead was too big.

Once these things have been said to these girls, you can’t unring that bell. The girl is changed and she is now self-aware of every real and imagined flaw that have ever existed within her. This is a slippery slope that many girls come to in life and fall down and never recover from it.

It will never end. Beauty is respective. The standard is impossible and the system of measurement is skewed. These little girls need to hear it from their parents, from the time they can hear, that they are beautiful; they are smart; they are funny; they are athletic; they are strong; they are miracles! They need to be self- aware that they are capable of everything, not made painfully aware of their one shortcoming.

What would you do if your daughter made one of these videos? How do you feel about these videos being uploaded by tweens? How do you encourage your daughters to have self-confidence? How do you foster self worth? Don’t let our girls fall victim to the internet by asking Am I Ugly?

Don’t ask Am I Ugly; ask What’s my most Beautiful Quality

Photo Credit

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working mom , mommy guilt, work, mom, family and work balance

working mom , mommy guilt, work, mom, family and work balanceThe Working Mom

Working Mom guilt ~ Finding the balance between work and family is the sweet spot in life where every working mom wants to live. But how do we find the perfect balance between our careers and our family, more importantly, our children? This is a struggle that I think every woman is too familiar with; one that I, myself, have struggled with since giving birth to my first child.

Even if we are afforded the luxury of being stay-at-home Moms,  we are torn and left feeling guilty for not wanting to be in the house, with the children, sans adult conversation for 24-hour increments/ 365 days a year. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, a work outside of the home mom and a work-at-home mom. All have had their challenges and in every category, I was a working mom. Raising children and maintaining a home is never ending work, even if the perks include spontaneous hugs form adorable munchkins.

As a stay-at- home mom, I wrestled with being overwhelmed with no down time. I found myself having verbal explosive diarrhea each afternoon when my husband walked through the door. I felt disconnected to the outside world and then I felt extreme guilt for feeling like I wanted to be anywhere else. After all, what kind of mother needs time away from her children? Obviously, this was a sign of a major character flaw on my part and I should suffer in silence like a priest trying to purify his soul and purge the impure thoughts. After all, wanting to be away from my children, wasn’t that the most impure thought that a mother could have?

While pregnant with my second child, I temporarily took a job outside of the home. It was only in the afternoon, after my husband was home from work, because I could not bring myself to leave my 1 year old with anyone else (another side effect of extreme Mommy guilt). She was up for precisely 2 hours after I left for work. In retrospect, she probably didn’t even notice that I was gone. She normally played with Daddy from the moment he walked in the door until bedtime anyways, regardless if I were home or not. Yet, every single day that I walked out the door for my 5 hours of work, I felt like I was betraying her in some profound way; abandoning her. The guilt was palpable. The job lasted eight months. From the moment I took the job, I was looking to find something that allowed me to work from home.

This Working Mom wanted to work from home

At six months pregnant, I found a fabulous job that allowed me the flexibility to work from home and make my own schedule.  I was ecstatic. Then I started the job and realized there is only one rung of Mommy guilt worse than leaving your child to go to work and that is sitting in the same house as your child, hearing them call out for you and having to make the decision to tune them out so that you can get work done. The guilt I wrestle with is colossal.

I’ve been fortunate that my job has allowed me to scale my hours back when I need to and increase as I see fit. It’s been a Godsend. Now, the girls are a little older and next year, they will both be in school all day. I decided it’s time to pursue a career that not only fits my lifestyle but also is something I love doing. After all, don’t we all deserve to have it all; the partner, the children, the career and the lifestyle that we want?

I’ve just started a couple new jobs. I still have my original job; editing and tutoring in English but I have added regular freelance writer to my repertoire. I can now be found at SmartMomStyle.Com and The Stir daily plus I am writing my weekly post at Aiming Low. It’s very exciting and absolutely my dream job. As it is starting any new job, it’s taken some concerted scheduling efforts on my part. My husband and I had to sit down, figure out a writing schedule, incorporate the kids schedule and make certain days and times off limits because they are reserved fro family time. It’s only been a week but I can see that the schedule is already making a huge difference in the amount and quality of time that I am spending with my family.  It is also working wonders for alleviating the Mommy guilt.

I’m sure you working moms have many different ways to deal with the Mommy guilt, the schedules and how to make the best out of your time. I’d love to hear your stories and recommendations. I want to have it all and leave that working mom guilt out of it.

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Bye Bye Working Mom Guilt

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I have found this to be very true in my life; if you change your attitude,and change your perspective you will in effect change your life and your circumstances.We are only as miserable as we allow ourselves to be. If we decide to count our blessings rather than our problems, we will be much happier ( and have loads more free time!). Its easy to get down on ourselves and think,” Poor me! Look what life has done to me! I have nothing I want and everything is against me!” Yes, that is easy. We’ve all been there and we are all entitled to visit that place once in awhile. Pity parties are a right of passage. The problem is when we decide to dwell in miserable town; to stake a claim and make a life. Whats not easy is to say, “EFF you  circumstances..you are NOT bringing me down! I am a fighter and I am about to kick your miserable ass! I will be happy, even if it kills one of us!” That’s what I want to teach my girls.
I’ve noticed lately that my girls are spending  wasting an inordinate amount of time wanting things because others have them. I don’t mind if you want something for the sheer pleasure or id desire to have it, but I will not tolerate children who want things only because others have them. Lately, they want the same thing everyone else has but…bigger, brighter, newer.  I don’t know where they have learned this. I am not materialistic. Wait! I love nice things, but the most important things to me are people and relationships, health and happiness. Things are just that…things. I grew up poor, things do not define me. Who I am, what I believe/stand for, what I make of myself, how I treat others..that’s how I measure my success. Not by the things that I own. But I see/hear my little girls getting upset because they are measuring themselves against what others have..material possessions. We had a big blow out over a friggin soccer goal. Oh yeah, you heard me correctly. My daughters have loads of toys, a swing set, a pool to splash in, every thing a kid could want..even a soccer goal. Apparently, theirs is not as large as the neighbors and so they demanded that I must buy them a larger one. WTF? I sat them both down (because I think you are never too young to learn this lesson) and told them to be grateful for those things they do have….their health, their parents, all the love in the world, a home, food to eat, a bed to sleep in, friends, and more toys then most children know what to do with. I explained that they already have a goal and the neighbor may have a bigger soccer goal ( that her parents probably found at a garage sale..lucky smart people) but they have so much more and should be happy for her that she has that nice big goal. I am trying to teach them to be happy for others successes, to measure themselves only against themselves , and to share and be generous. A life of coveting others things only leaves a person with an unsatisfied taste in their mouth. Be happy with what you have, be happy for others peoples successes and work hard to enjoy your own successes. Remember an uncelebrated success is a failure.You are what you think you are, so be happy!

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Wow! There is nothing like our children to put the entire world into perspective. As I am running around like a chicken with my head chopped off, trying to find shoes and coats, finish the laundry (the never ending laundry), pay bills online, make phone calls /return phone calls, return emails and texts, make sure my kids are fed and clean and everywhere they are suppose to be on time and a laundry list of other daily chores (just like all the rest of you Mommies) it hits me, Stop! Take a breath! I am spending so much of my time lately trying to organize and plan life, that I am afraid that I am missing out on and not enjoying life. I find myself filling my days with things that I have to do and very little , if any, of what I want to do. This is making me uptight and grouchy, and defeating the purpose of all of the planning. After all, the planning is to maximize the quality of my daughters’ childhoods not to make them remember their childhoods as ” Remember how uptight and crazy Mom was?” What brought about this revelation, you ask? My brilliant little 2 year old. I ask in complete desperation, ” Gabs, please help Mommy clean up your room, honey.” Her response, “No Mommy! Me no want to!!!!”” Please?” “NO.ME NO WANT TO!!!!!!” (Basically, look woman I told you once..I don’t want to). Then it dawned on me..Me no want to either!! So, why not let the laundry wait a few hours and go have some fun with my girls. They are only this age now..NEVER again. I can’t rewind time like a video cassette. I’m hitting the reset button (oh yeah, once again. Apparently, in my life, it is a button I will be hitting quite frequently. Now, if I could only find that damn EASY button they keep talking about!)

This week we had an impromptu meeting downtown Chicago. Normally, I am in and out of downtown. The traffic frustrates me, the kids get bored and scream and cry; it really becomes an enormous headache.This time I said, hey we’re going to make it an adventure and have some effin fun. After our appointment, we cranked up the volume on the Yo Gabba Gabba CD, started cruising around downtown until we saw some place that we wanted to stop. To the bean we went! I’ve been wanting to hit Millennium park for some time now and an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is presented itself. The girls, me and my lovely “NManny” for the week ( my 19 year old brother, who my daughters absolutely adore & so do I , for him coming out to help me while Daddy is on business)  explored all the facets of any art and design that the park had to offer. It was a spontaneous, lovely day in the park…which are always the best. Cheers to many more days of living life while smelling the lilacs versus only planting while multitasking 20 other things, and never truly having the opportunity to be happy or let those around you be happy. I need to start relinquishing some control and going with the flow, because the flow is where I live and no matter what I do…the flow is going to keep on flowing!

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I am a Mommy, first and foremost. It’s a fact of my life. I love it. I chose it. This is not something that I got trapped into, this was something that I intentionally chose, in fact, it was one of my loftiest aspirations. I used to be a daughter and sister, then a wife, then a Mommy. Somewhere in there, for a brief fleeting moment, I got to be “Debi”. I remember that girl, I liked her. She was a lot like me but had absolutely no real ramifications for her behavior. It was awesome.

It was pre-filter on the mouth and brain for child security reasons, yet, post the imposed filter of my personal freedoms by my Father:)It was wonderful; it was euphoric. I was selfish, carefree, and completely oblivious to the wants and needs of others. I always did exactly what “I” wanted to do, with no care or concern for anyone else. I know it sounds terribly vain and narcissistic, and perhaps it was, but it was fabulous..for that time in my life…all 15 minutes of it. These days, I am “Mommy”, “Honey”, “Mama” ,”You”, “Mother”, and “Mrs. Cruz” but hardly anyone ever calls me “Debi” anymore.I feel as if I have disappeared figuratively and literally. But for someone who is invisible, I certainly do stay busy. How can this be?

It is absolutely mind-boggling to me but I am fairly certain that I am not alone in this situation. Can I get an amen from my Mommies out there:) So, I go through life, these days, busier than ever before yet feeling like I really never accomplish anything in my days. Every night, I am thoroughly exhausted ( believe me..just ask my husband)but usually can’t sleep.Every morning, I am still tired because I was up the previous night until 2 am thinking of all the “Stuff” I have to do the next day. No fair, right?

Last year, I made a conscious decision that 2009 was going to be the year of “Debi”. I had my mind made up, I was planning to plan to revive that feisty broad.It’s pretty bad when you are telling your husband something about yourself before he met you and he is looking at you like you are full of shit because the “you” he knows, would never do something like that.I was determined, I was making a comeback in my own life. That was my plan! Then, real-life and minutia got in my way.

So, around September ( my birthday to be exact) I put my foot down and started getting to it…for like the 100th time since I had realized that I wanted to change some things. This time it was different though. This time, I made real efforts. I joined Weight Watchers ( yes, to my initial utter embarrassment. I had so convinced myself that I was not “that” fat but I was, in fact, “that” fat and let me tell you..admitting it was the first real step towards fixing it !) , I started walking and working out and making a genuine effort..and didn’t quit or make up excuses after I got bored with it. This time I approached it like an adult. I also joined some Mom’s groups that stress being a woman and not just a “Mommy”, I made new friends ( I had to we had just moved halfway across the country from absolutely everyone we knew), I got a babysitter ( a first for my children aside from the very occasional grandparent) and I forced myself to go out without my children. At my husband’s insistence, I even made it out to a few MNO!

Life was turning around. People were calling me “Deborah”, granted it wasn’t Debi but hey, a more adult version of myself is a good thing, right? Then the holidays hit. We traveled and it was one thing after another. So, here we are at the beginning of 2010. I am still forging on to revive myself. I am the priority in my life now, well…I am one of the top 3, for sure. I am a work in progress, but that is ok. As long as I am on my own to-do list, there is hope for “Debi” My point being, with a little real concerted effort, I am 25 lbs. smaller than I was in September, and I have made some wonderful new friends, and I am feeling more like the starring role in my own Cinderella story versus the cat that belonged to the ugly stepsisters.

I feel like by getting back to “Debi” and introducing that intelligent, beautiful, healthy, cultured, well-read, strong woman to my girls I am not only regaining my independence, my very existence… I am showing them, by living example, that they are important and vital to their own life story. That no matter who they are, what they think, what they look like, and what they choose to be or do in their lives, they must be present and they must be content with the versions of themselves who are present because they are imperative to their own happiness and nothing is more important than feeling like you matter and being fulfilled with who you are in your own life.

Who I am is a direct reflection of who my daughters will someday become. I want them to know they can have the world and that they deserve it all and so does Mommy.The paddles are out, Clear…..

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Every morning, I wake up and I see my daughters, usually one or both have ended up in our bed at some point throughout the night, and I am in awe of them. I truly am overwhelmed with a feeling of pride and blessedness that I have the honor of calling these perfect human beings mine. The sheer fact that I had anything to do with assisting them to enter into this world, it makes my life worth living. And every night before I go to bed, I pray to God to watch over my daughters and to let them live long, happy, and healthy lives. Above all else, this is all I ask. It is all that really matters to me. I think this is how all mothers feel. But some time in between the morning awe and the bedtime kisses and prayers, we get sidetracked by life. I’ve caught myself yelling at my girls to ” please be quiet,” or even the occassional full on “Please shut up,” at which I immediatley feel horrible and like I should be awarded the worst mom ever trophy. I know that I want and have every intention and capability of being a great Mommy to my girls but sometimes I feel that it is about as effective as having every intention and capability of working out. Where is that fine line that we cross where we go from thinking our kids’ behaviour is endearing to it is unacceptable? Its not them who is changing the rules, it is us and these sliding scale rules to fit our own moods, that is the real problem. That is the true culprit to our frustration. I am making a concerted effort to look at my children , even in the most trying times, no matter the behaviour and stay in control. Who makes the rules? We do. So my new rules are these 1) Love my children above all else, no matter what they do 2) Never let them see you sweat.Stay in control. 3)Let the small things go. They are only small( the children ,not the “things’lol) for a short time.4)Turn the frowns upside down. Life is too short to be unhappy.5) It’s more important to have a healthy and happy realtionship with your children than to have lots of money, a clean house, a quiet house, or a social life.By trying to have all of the above, you ( or at least I do) will find yourself frustrated and unfulfilled. So, my new mantra is “Enjoy my children and forget the rest”, it is the only way that I can accept the chaos that fills my everyday. It is not a bad chaos, it is merely a deviation from my plan and sometimes thats enough to throw the most organized of us all into a complete parental tailspin. But what a wonderful, exciting tailspin it is and I am blessed to be able to share this journey with my two free-spirited, adorable daughters.

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