mommyverbs

Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Doodle. — Treasures Found.

I used to get so anxious when people messed with my lists and To Do notebooks.

I needed them to be pretty close to uncluttery.

But as usual, having kiddos has made me let that little obsession for perfection go.

(Just like Felix had to let go of the whole “no spots on the faucet’ thing he used to fuss about several years ago.)

Now,  every so often, I will flip through my To Do list notebook and find little treasures.

Little treasures left as doodles by the boy child.

Now, I’m so glad when I find these.

They are like snapshots of  his five year old thinking. Right now.

smart

Yes. Yes, you are smart. Always believe this. But never ever begin to think that you are too smart to learn.

penguin named bacon

You have an awesome imagination. I hope you will always make time for play. And dream up penguins named “Bacon”. (Actually, the teacher in me thinks you are spelling “Penguin” there at the top…But as your Momma, I just think it is pretty ironic that it also looks a lot like “Bacon”.)

tgiving meal      santa

Holidays are magical. And I get the message, you are not a fan of turkey or … mashed potatoes, maybe? At least right now. I am betting that will change as you get older. But I think we both agree that Santa is awesome and should always be in color!

portraits

Always know this. You will always be in my heart, too, Buddy. (That is X and Me! Just in case you couldn’t tell!)

You. You are a treasure.

And so are your random doodles.

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Gasp. — Then Get Up and Try It Again.

I remember when my kiddos were just learning to walk.

For a short time, they both did the Frankenstein walk, taking a few unsteady steps with both hands either out in front of them or above their heads for balance.

And inevitably, they would stumble and fall.  Y was always pretty good about getting her hands down in front of her to cushion the landing. But the boy child. Oy. The boy child was always a little top heavy it seems and while he got his hands down, he still ended up falling forward until his little forehead touched the ground. I swear in slow motion sometimes.

Fortunately, we haven’t had any super major injuries (KNOCK ON WOOD!) except for that one unfortunate collision that X had with the corner of the kitchen counter a few years ago that left his father and I making that decision about heading to the Emergency Room. Felix googled and made some phone calls, while I stood there looking at the hole in his little forehead, saying, “Yeah, that is not going to close up on its own.” while realizing that the loudest cries where coming not from the injured boy but from the hysterical girl child, sobbing on the couch a few feet away. But I digress…

Being a connoisseur of all things parenting magazines and books back then, I recall articles from random people who are experts on … well, themselves … about how I should react when my kiddos fall down. I remember reading about how I shouldn’t OVERreact, how I shouldn’t run over to them and make a big deal about things, but instead I should encourage them to get back up and do it again.

Easier said that done when it is your kid hitting the pavement.

But I have to say that I have developed my own personal response style when it comes to my kiddos falling down and/or getting hurt.

I gasp.

I don’t mean to, but I have come to realize that when they are doing those things that could cause major injuries and more trips to the Emergency Room…like jumping off of high things or swerving on bikes and doing tricks off of the diving board or throwing balls at each other’s heads or … you know, the stuff of being kids… I gasp.

I suck in air and make a noise like the world is ending in front of my eyes. Probably in reaction to my heart skipping a beat and my mind’s eye seeing all the ways that this could go terribly wrong, terribly quickly.

But then I will say that I do recover quickly and tend to respond in a fairly calm manner to each of these scenarios:

*** If it was a ‘kid-stoopid’ thing to do but no one is hurt: “GASP!!!!! OMG, Do NOT do that again!”

OR

***If it was a ‘kid-stoopid’ thing to do but there is a minor injury: “GASP!!!!! Are you ok? OMG, Do NOT do that again!”

OR

***If it wasn’t a ‘kid-stoopid’ thing, but was a true accident with a minor injury: “GASP!!!!! Are you ok? Let me see it. Let’s get you fixed up. Ok. Get up and and try it again!”

Depending on the situation, there might be a kiss and a cuddle or an extended time spent just holding in my lap, but then it is usually, “Get up and try it again.”

It is just hard to watch them fall down. It is. There is nothing easy about seeing your child get hurt or seeing the potential for injury which abounds in kidland. Mommas are masters at the silent prayer, “Please don’t let them get hurt. Please don’t let them get hurt.”

But isn’t it true … that making mistakes and getting hurt sometimes is part of the learning process. A part of the process where we learn how to make better choices. And we learn how to do things better. Because if we don’t fall down. If we don’t mess up. If we don’t get messy. If we don’t try. If we don’t take a risk sometimes. We never learn what we can do. We live in fear and miss some of the magic that comes from these experiences.

And as parents, as hard as it is, we have to let them try. We have to let them know that …

We fall down. We get back up. And we learn.

We learn to keep our balance better.

We learn to land with both feet.

We learn to protect ourselves.

We learn to think ahead and have a plan.

We learn not to make too-sharp turns.

We learn to watch where we are going.

We learn how to try something new. And then try again.

We learn that it is not the end of the world if we do fall down.

And we learn that someone we love will be there to pick us up when we do.

Even if your Momma does make that horrible GASPing noise in the process.

We still learn how to get back up, dust ourselves off …

and try it again.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Just for fun, here are a few video examples of my kiddos falling down. 

While ice skating. 

My GASPS are not audible, (however my southern drawl seems to be working overtime) but trust me, there were LOTS of GASPS!  Lots of them! And for the entire three hours that we were all on the ice, my silent prayer was: “Please don’t break anything. Please don’t break anything.” 

This is my hockey player, for sure. Look at that style of run, glide, run, crash. At least he followed my directions when I said, “Don’t hit your head!”

Yeah. I know. Ouch. This is when I remembered how serious I was about NOT falling down myself! I don’t bounce like that anymore.

Y’s my cautious glider. She got the hang of it so fast and I think she is really good considering this is her second time on ice in three years. (Third if you count that weird outside plastic ice rink we went to that time. But that was just weird, skating on white plastic and made me paranoid about the plastic shavings all over us…and even though it was on ice skates, I don’t think it should count.)

And then the race. Figure skater vs. hockey player. Y would like it duly noted that X crashed immediately after he passed by the camera. That’s true.

And the sibling love continues on.

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Nourish. — Green Smoothies and Big Dreams

This morning, I opened the fridge and pulled out the spinach, an avocado, a lime and a banana to make my favorite green smoothie.

It is the prettiest of greens and although it might not sound good to you, it really does taste great.

I love to pour it into X’s Avenger tumbler and head off to work with it in hand. It is like my very own Incredible Hulk smoothie and I like to think I look cooler carrying this young, hip cup into the office.

cup

But more than the perceived hip factor, I also love what this green drink  does for me.

It provides nourishment.

This is good for me. This greenness in a superhero cup feeds me well. It gives my body energy…good, whole foods energy. There is nothing fake. Nothing processed. Nothing phony baloney in it. Just a serving of fruit and a serving of vegetables that I can enjoy before 9 a.m.

In a superhero cup no less.

And this is what I want 2014 to be about. This is the verb.

Nourish. To provide with food or other substances necessary for life and growth.

As Mommas, we work hard everyday to make sure we are providing our families with the “food and other substances necessary for life and growth.”  We stock the fridge and pantry with good foods.  We make sure people are fed and clothed and as clean as humanly possible in kidland. We take note that the jackets are zipped up and the shoe strings are tied before they head out the door. We’ve read with them and checked their homework. We’ve tucked them in and sang the 17 required songs and supplied the hugs and kisses needed for sweet dreams. We plan for their events and schedule the games and practices into our lives. We encourage their BIG dreams and applaud their triumphs and confidence. We cuddle them through disappointments that teach life lessons along the way. We say prayers at night for their health and safety.

We remind. We teach. We fuss. We laugh. We cry. We play. We feed. We zip and tie. We love.

All in the name of providing them with the nourishment that they need to grow and live life.

And we get up the next day and do it all over again.

In 2014, I want us Mommas to remember that we also need to make sure we are just as focused on nourishing ourselves just as much as we think about how we provide nourishment to our families.

Sometimes I think that it is selfish of me to still have BIG dreams. To still want to do ‘other’ things with my life. Sometimes I think, I had my chance. I should have done it then. I should have traveled there before. I should have pursued this goal a long time ago. Sometimes I think that my time has passed. That this should be their time. That my focus should be on them now.

But I always think of a few years ago, when the girl child was just one and I had a chance to go to NYC on a business trip. Travel is a rarity in my work world and I took the opportunity to go and be a part of this conference. While I was there, I started feeling those twangs of Mommy Guilt. Oh, my poor baby, at home with her very capable, very caring father. What have I done? Why did I think I could come to the Big Apple and be among esteemed colleagues and learn more about my profession? Why did I think I could travel and sleep, uninterrupted, in a soft bed with clean sheets and a venture down to a continental breakfast prepared for me? (And on and on and … on…)

Until my friend traveling with me, stopped me from my own self-imposed downward spiral of guilt and regret by saying this:

“By being away on this trip, you are teaching Y a powerful lesson. You are showing her that she can do it all. She can have a family when she grows up. She can have a career. She can always continue to learn, no matter her age. What a gift to show her the power that comes from pursuing a dream.”

Nourishment.

We can still be the Mommas. We can provide and love and care and comfort. And we can also learn and grow and dream and try.

And we should. We should make sure that our bodies, minds and souls are nourished. Everyday.

Eat the food. Get the rest. Write in the journal. Read the books. Listen to the music. Take the class. Be with friends. Be still sometimes.

And go after those BIG dreams, whatever they are, while you encourage your kiddos to pursue their own.

That is how a good teacher teachers. By modeling. By showing. By engaging each day with action words.

We should practice what we preach. We should walk our talk.

Eat well. Play more. Choose happy.

Dream Bigger. Make it happen.

Create the time to really nourish your body, mind and soul in 2014.

(And drink a few green smoothies, too. They are good for you. Trust me.) 

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

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Choose. — Opportunity Costs of Being a Mom

Have you ever heard of the economic term, opportunity cost?

I think it sounds like it might be a much harder concept than it actually is. Something from that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad college economics class.

Opportunity Cost.

Simply put, it is …  the next best thing.

It is the thing we didn’t choose.

Opportunity costs become clear when we have narrowed our choices down to two things and we can pick only one of them.

The opportunity cost is the thing that is still on the table.

It is the value of the thing that we didn’t choose.

It is the thing that came in second place behind our first choice.

As Tired Working Mommas,  (and as Tired Working Daddys), we make a lot of choices during each day.

And each of those choices has an opportunity cost.

We choose where to go. We choose what to do. We choose what to eat and who to call.

We choose how we spend our time and our energy.

And the things that don’t make the list, the next best things, are the price we pay, what we give up, for what we do.

Today, I chose a grey skirt over my favorite blue jeans.

Then I chose to go support a friend at a doctor’s appointment for an hour today instead of having a lunch hour … and ate a salad at my desk while I answered emails.

This evening, I took the kiddos to work at the Food Pantry instead of enjoying a casual Friday evening on the couch.

And now, I’m cuddling with a cute five year old, watching “A Bee Movie” instead of…

…actually, this is perfect. I don’t have a ‘next best thing’ for this.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Today’s Action Challenge: We all know that grown up decisions are hard. Our time is limited. Our energy is limited. Our resources are limited. So, how do you decide? Where will you spend your time and energy? Start being intentional about your choices and your ‘next best things’. Is the reward of this thing, better than the cost of not doing or having that thing?

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Crave. — Your Life Is Trying To Tell You Something

This afternoon, I was sitting at my desk, counting down the hours and minutes left in this Friday, when all of a sudden I wanted something sweet.

No. I’m sorry. Correction.  I … needed … something sweet.

As I read and responded to another email, trying to catch up at the end of the week, I was completely distracted by the need for some sugary goodness something.

I began to think of the possibilities that existed to me at the moment. Where do we keep the chocolate around here? Oh yes. There is some in the filing cabinet drawer that we use for workshop treats. Oh, wait. I think there may even be some sugary nonsense leftover from the meetings of the morning.

As I was considering my few options, I started the beginnings of a plan. A plan to get a sweet treat without being noticed. How can I get to the piece of chocolate or sugary gooiness without everyone and their co-worker seeing me? I am a health coach after all.  I do have my pride and reputation to uphold, you know.

I hit send on the last email note and stood up to head for the kitchen. But instead of sneaking into the filing cabinet or dipping into the leftovers, I filled up my empty water bottle to the rim and waited to see.

Sure enough. Within a few minutes, I was back to the work, focused and getting things marked off of the eternally long to do list before the weekend.

This is how cravings work. Our bodies, our minds, our souls know what we need.

But sometimes the message gets confused and we can’t tell that what we want and what we need are not always the same things.

This is true, not just in our moments of craving sweets or potato chips or bread sticks. These are the cravings of our bodies, telling use what we are lacking…water, nutrients, vitamins, minerals.

But this is also true in our…lives.

As tired, working Mommas, we crave a lot of things.

And sometimes we look for the drawer of candy, or the sugary nonsense, or the glass (or two) of wine to help us meet these needs, supply these wants, fill these gaps, when that is not what we are really craving.

As tired, working Mommas…

We crave more time.

We crave help.

We crave quiet sometimes.

We crave downtime and ‘me’ time.

We crave freedom.

We crave more sleep.

We crave romance. 

We crave comfort.

What would it look like if we took the time and energy to explore these cravings and find out what we really need, rather than just trying to get what we think we want.

Our cravings are important messages. We need to learn how to pay attention. We need to pause and begin to ask ourselves three questions:

What is it that I am craving?

What does that tell me that I need?

How do I meet that need and cure that craving?

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Today’s Action Challenge: What are you craving? What does your body, mind and soul tell you that you need? Does that match what you find yourself wanting? If not, make a change. Get what you need, not just what you want.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Is THIS what you want...or what you really need?

Is THIS what you want…or what you really need? Go. Get what you need.

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Drop. — Balls and Plates and Whatnot.

Well, it finally happened.

I knew this was coming. It was inevitable.

One can only keep so many plates spinning at one time.

Just so many balls in the air.

And today,

I let one fall.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a huge one, more like a ping pong ball.

But as I watched it bounce across the floor and roll under the bookcase, I realized just how much we are all doing.

Every day. We are busy. Our days are full.

And then we go and make our days full of more.

Maybe fuller than they have to be. Than they need to be.

From morning to night, our days are full of action words. MommyVerbs.

Mother. Shower. Cook. Pack. Comb. Brush. Clean. Find. Call. Drive. Greet. Email. Respond. Problem Solve. Eat. Talk. Write. Think. Check. Teach. Help. Support. Text. Care. Blog. Coach. Commiserate. Compliment. Create. Plan. Grade. Connect.  Parent. Listen. Sing. Cheer. Rock. Bathe. Kiss. Hug. Write. Sleep.

And get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

To Do lists that no longer fit on one page, but now have to be kept in notebooks.

And when I look at all I do, I know that I have the power to change it. I could choose to stop.

I could choose to let some things go and have more time to sit and just be.

But I can’t figure out which should go away.

Because there is a part of me that enjoys the juggling and the spinning.

And the consequence of being a spinning juggler is that …

I have to learn to be good… with letting one get away from me every now and then.

I just have to learn to be really good with super glue when the pieces occasionally crash down.

Because all of that…Action.

Is who I am. Right now.

And it’s working.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Today’s Action Challenge: Take a look at your To Do list.  Is it manageable? Is it doable? Is there anything that you want/need to come off? What’s missing? What should you be doing that you haven’t made a priority? Add that to your list.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

plates and balls

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Solve. — The Puzzle of Life in Six Easy Steps.

I keep thinking about a phase that X was going through a few months ago. He was really into puzzles.

Solving puzzles. Putting puzzles together. He would sit for the longest time and really work a puzzle. I loved watching him to do this.

I learned so much about his little big personality.

And I decided that four year olds really know how to live. They have it figured out, this puzzle of life. It is really not so difficult.

If we just stop for a little while. Stop and watch the four year olds. We might just find the pieces we’ve been missing.

*******************************

There might be 100 pieces to this puzzle. 100 pieces is a lot. They are all different shapes and sizes and can be overwhelming when we open the box and look at everything that has to be accomplished. Today. Tomorrow. This week. Before the holidays. We can choose to just say, “Nevermind. This is just too much.” and put the lid back on the box. And put the box back on the shelf.

Or. Like the four year old, we can throw them all out over the coffee table, and just pick up one piece to start with.

To the Mommas, all of those pieces, just laying around in a pile, might look just like a huge mess. We wonder if we can really do this all by ourselves. Put this all together in a way that makes sense.

And the Momma of the four year old wonders just how long he will be able to keep up with all of the pieces before he loses one.

We wonder about this for ourselves, too. How can we keep up with so many pieces, so many things to be and do?

But if we just pick up one. Like the four year old. Just pick up one to get started. Then find one to go with that one.

One by one, we can piece it all together.

From the four year old, here is “How to Solve the Puzzle of Life in Six Easy Steps.”

1. You start with what you know. You focus on the important stuff.

You build the people first.

In the case of X, the superheroes.

Watch the four year olds. They will always put the people, the animal, the characters together first. They are the first things that get ‘pieced’ together. They stand out the most. They have the brightest colors, the expressions. They deserve to go together first–they are in fact the most important part of the puzzle.

As the Mommas, we should follow his lead.  He’s right. Shouldn’t the people in our lives, come… first?

Shouldn’t we focus on the people we love, the people we care about.

Make the people in your life the center of your puzzle.

2. You start in the middle and work your way out.

When I was younger, my grandmother told me that you always start with the pieces with the flat edges. You find all of those and you build the frame first. I tried to pass that sage advice on to the boy child, but he had other plans. I don’t say this often, but I think this time, she might have been wrong, after all. Sure, it is another way to do it. But the frame is not usually the most exciting part of the puzzle. Yes, it holds it all together, and it is needed for sure. But it is usually just the background pieces, the landscape.

The four year olds intuitively know that the action, the real action, is right in the middle of the puzzle.

Why not start there and let the background fall into place as you get to it?

The action is where it is at. It is not the clean counter tops or the folded laundry in drawers. It is not the mopped floors or the perfectly picked up toys. We all know it is the Family Wii tennis tournament challenge in the living room. It is the squirt gun fight in the kitchen. It is the tickle monster chases down the hall. It is the belly laughs at the dining table.

As the Mommas, we will get to the frame. We will pick up the toys and put away the clothes and wash up the dishes. We will do that stuff because we are the Mommas.

The trick is not to miss the action in the meantime.

Our lives need to be lived from the middle … out.

Let’s focus on the middle, the heart of our homes and lives. We can build the frame as we go.

3. It is ok to ask for help, but you want to put the piece in by yourself. You can’t let someone else do it FOR you.

And it is. It is ok to ask for help. Ultimately, the four year old is right again. As the Mommas, we can show him where a piece might go, but he has to figure out the direction. He has to be the one who turns it over, matches the shapes and colors. He has to be the one to determine if it is a good fit.

And if he gets frustrated. If a piece just doesn’t seem to fit just right, he can ask for help.

As the Mommas, we want to help. We want help.

But just like the four year olds, we have to learn that we have what it takes. We can do this. We can reach out and get some help, but ultimately, it is our puzzle. It is our life. We know how these pieces go together. We have to trust our instincts. Stop second guessing. Stop comparing.

We know how this puzzle goes together.

4. You have to keep going. Take a break, sure. Have a little ice cream. But then keep at it. You will get faster, the pieces will come together easier.

The four year olds totally understand this. There are sweet things in life that must be enjoyed. Sometimes we have to stop. Take a breather and then come back at something with even more perseverance and determination.

The Mommas in us need to remember that it is okay to stop. It is okay to take a break. We deserve it. We deserve to call a time out, for ourselves, and then come back to the puzzle to start again.

5. But…Sometimes you have to get IN the puzzle to really make it all come together.

Puzzle_Life_Solver

The four year old said to me, “Ok, this top part … is the hard part. I have to look close.” Isn’t that true? When things get hard; when things are difficult–You do have to really be there. Pay attention. Focus. Get in it and get messy.

Stop multi-tasking. Slow down and focus. When things get hard, we have to get into the puzzle to figure it out.

And if nothing else works, a little change your perspective can do wonders.

And last but not least…

6. Be proud of it. Leave it out on the table. Admire it. Brag about it. Call people from the other room to come and see it.

Life is made to be shared with others. Don’t hide your accomplishments. Share your talents. Brag a little.

This puzzle of life is hard. 100 pieces is a lot. As the Mommas, we spend too much time trying to live small. Trying to keep the focus on others. Trying not to sound too proud or shine too bright.

The four year olds know how to live. Jump up and down. Squeal a little.  Celebrate the big accomplishments. Make sure everyone knows that you finished this puzzle and you are ready for the next one.

Because, Mommas…it is a big deal. It is okay to be proud of the puzzle you are piecing together.

Show it off a little.

Just like the four year old, it is okay to say, “Hey! Look what I did!”

Let’s All Go, Do That.

puzzle

Today’s Challenge:

Create a puzzle of your life. On each piece, write something you are proud of. Something you are. Something you have done. Include a few pieces that you are still working on. Do all of the pieces fit? If not, stand up and move. Get a new perspective on it.

Stand back and admire the whole that is you. Call people from the other room to come and see it.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

blank puzzle

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Pause. — To find your pause. Before you hit play again.

I told you about the little guy across the street who hasn’t started school yet.

How in the afternoon, he comes outside to wait for the bus. Sometimes for an entire hour. How he sits and waits.

wait

How he waits patiently with wondrous anticipation for the big yellow school bus to bring some of his favorite people home.  How he holds that space for them. Sitting on the hill. Playing in the grass. Watching the bugs. Soaking up the sun. How he doesn’t miss a thing.

How when he hears the loud mufflers of that yellow bus come up over the hill and down around the corner, he jumps up and squeals for them and runs to meet and greet them. How he can’t wait to hear about their day. How’s he’s been looking forward to their arrival all day.

How he held this space for them.

This space in his day. This space in his life. This space in his attention and excitement.

Remember?

Well, this is what happens next:

reconnect

These two…

These two pause to talk to each other from the safety of their yards, yelling across the neighborhood street.

In the cutest four year old voice, he always asks, “How was your day?” And unlike many of us, I think he really, really listens to the answer.

X sits down in his driveway and one by one pulls out artifacts from his day at school.

X holds up papers of numbers he added, letters he wrote, books he authored, and pictures he drew and colored.

While his friend jumps up and down and paces back and forth, genuinely excited to hear about his buddy X’s school day.

Life is busy. Even when you are four and five. They are always off to the next adventure. Ready for the next game. On to the next toy.

But in their own way, this is how they catch up with each other.

They’ve been apart all day and inevitably this scene is followed quickly by “Can he come over to play? Can I go over to his house to play?”

But until that happens, they pause. They take the time to reconnect and catch up.

They hit the pause button. Before they hit play.

Y, on the hand, and as per usual, is completely different.

When she comes home, she turns into a pause button. An exhausted, slightly grumpy, very hungry pause button on the couch.

She needs, no, …craves…, some down time.

She needs a snack. She needs some quiet. She needs some zone-out time on the couch or in her room.

She has to pause to reconnect with herself. She needs to just catch up with her own thoughts.

She pours so much into her day, her friends, her work, pleasing her teachers, keeping up with everyone and everything.

She needs … pause.

Before she can reconnect and catch up with others. Before she comes asking to call this friend or ride her bike to that friend’s house.

She has to pause to find her pause button. Before she hits play.

Dear Tired Working Mommas: Transitions are hard sometimes. Coming home from school or work.

Really trying to leave work when we leave work.

Taking off our work costumes, like Superman, to reveal the true superhero Momma on the inside.

Even Superman had to pause to find a phone booth to change in.

Dear Tired Working Mommas: What if we all did that?

What if we all stopped, paused, for a few minutes and took some time to reconnect?

Hit the pause button on life as we come through the door.

Whatever our pause button looks like. If we just pause and take what we need, before we hit play again.

It might look like X’s pause button: Talk. Share. Show. Vent. Connect. Reconnect. Catch up. Ask. Listen.

Or maybe it looks like Y’s pause button: Hide. Sit. Still. Quiet. Change. Recharge. Be.

Either way, if we pause to find our pause in our transitions home, I think we might find it refreshing.

Hit the pause button on dinner and clutter. Hit the pause button on practice and homework. Hit the pause button on all that is … next.

And really focus on reconnecting. Really focus on catching up.

If we pause to find our pause in our transitions home, I think we might find it invigorating.

Hit the pause button on the venting. Hit the pause button on the rushing. Hit the pause button on the nagging or reminding.

If we pause to find our pause in our transitions home, I think we might find it more peaceful.

Dear Tired Working Mommas:

Transitioning from work or school to home can be hard sometimes. Taking off one hat, one suit, one job to swap with another hat, or suit, or job seems easy.

But it is hard sometimes.

Maybe we need to hit the pause button more.

Whatever our pause button looks like, let’s find it. Take it. Use it.

If it is a few minutes in the car in the driveway, finishing listening to that song, before anyone notices that you are home.

If it is a quick trip up the stairs to take off the skirt and heels to trade for the sweats and sneakers.

If it is a hug and a kiss with our partner or a minute to sit on the couch with the grumpy-ish Y.

Whatever it is.

Dear Tired Working Mommas: Pause to find your pause.

Transitions are hard sometimes. Leaving work when we leave work is easier said than done some days.

So, look for your phone booth. Make the change.

Pause to find your pause button.

Before you hit play again.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Button-Pause-icon

Today’s Challenge: Pause to find your pause button.

What do you need when you need to transition?

Do you need quiet? Do you need interaction?

Do you need music or a time to sit with a book?

What does your pause button look like?

What’s in your phone booth that helps you change from one activity to another?

Draw your own pause button. Create a description of what you need to recharge, refresh, reprogram.

Get out your colored pencils and crayons and visualize what pause means to you.

Then use it. Hit the pause button. Create that space for yourself in real life.

Hit the pause button. Before you hit play again.

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Thank. — Note. And Take Notice.

note

It has been a busy week. A good, but busy week.

It has been “Winning Choices Week.”

The week of the year that I spend traveling with a guest motivational speaker, going from school to school, sharing a positive, ‘make good choices’ message.

It has been a good week. A good, but busy week

I was already keeping a list of folks that I need to write Thank You notes for their help, all the while wondering when in the world I would make this happen.

And then, today, Y surprised me by bringing home a story that she had written at school for her Winning Choices Character Essay entry.

Here it is. A mini-guest blog post from Y:

“My Mom’s friend did a half marathon. They parked in a parking garage. When they came out of the parking garage, there was someone who was stopping buses so people could walk across the road. Nobody said thank you. My Mom’s friend could not find their car after the race. The Police helped them find their car. They found the parking garage they parked in. They asked the guy who was stopping buses if he had seen their car. He said yes. My Mom’s friend was surprised. There was at least 1,000 people there. The guy who was stopping buses said, “You were the only one that said, “Thank you” So I remember you.”  And he let them in to go get their car.”

Isn’t that great? I think she should totally win this character trait essay contest.  I’m her Mom and I think she is all kinds of awesome. And don’t tell her this, but maybe she’s too close to the event organizer, aka Mom,  to actually win. We’ll see.

It is also a very, very good reminder that this girl is a total sponge.

I told this story to Felix last week. I think it must have been while we were making dinner. I’m not even sure I fully connected to the fact that Y was there for the telling of this. Intentionally, too, because I do remember actually trying to keep some of the details from her, since we censored her access to information about this event for our own parental reasons.

But, she still managed to get most of the story right. She missed only a few very important details.

Yes. This is a story about my friend.

But she didn’t run a half marathon.

She ran a full marathon.

And not just any ol’ 26.2 mile marathon.

There were more than 1,000 people at this race.

It was more like 23,000. Because.

My friend was in Boston.

My friend ran in the Boston Marathon this year.  On April 15th, 2013.

It is true that my friend and her husband did park in a parking garage, so early in the morning before the race.

There was an attendant stopping buses to let them cross the street.

My friend and her husband did finish the race a little bit before the bombs exploded.

It is true that my friend and her husband couldn’t find their car and were talking with police to get locations of the local parking garages when they heard one bomb explode. And then a few seconds later, the second bomb explode.

They had no money on them. They had no change of clothes. They didn’t have their cell phones. They had actually hidden the key to the rental car on the actual car in the parking garage that they now couldn’t find.

Then there was pandemonium and chaos. And they just needed to let their families know that they were ok. People offered them money. People offered them a place to take a shower. The nearby hotel let them use the phone to call home. Ultimately, they called a friend to come and pick them up.

The next day, they came back into the city, but everything was shut down for security purposes. They went to the parking garage and asked the attendant if they could go in and look for their rental car.

He said, “Yeah. Totally. Your car is just inside. I remember you.”

My friend shook her head, disbelieving. “No way, there were 23,000 people here yesterday.”

He responded, “No. Really. I remember you. You were the only person, all day long, who stopped to thank me for being here to help yesterday. Your car is just inside to the right.”

He let them in and sure enough. There it was. Just where he said it was.

And he remembered her. Simply because she took the time to say, “Thank you.”

In the middle of a crazy day for him. (Even before the unimaginable evil entered that place and changed lives forever.) Two words. A simple “Thank you” made a huge impact on his day. And he remembered.

We cannot underestimate the power of two words. We have to start to notice more. Notice more and take note of the wonderful. The wonderful and the simple.

How hard is that? How much time does it take? Just to say, “Thank you.”

Just two words.  Thank you.

Now, take the time to write down kindnesses that you have really appreciated over the years, months, days.. or today.

And then, make the time to write them a Thank You note. A good ol’ fashioned, hand-written Thank You note.

These are important stories.

Note. And Take Notice.

Even during the busy weeks. The good, but busy weeks.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

2 Comments »

Make. — Mexicali Soup for the Tired Working Momma’s Soul.

mexicali bowl

I’m discovering today that….

All I really need to know… about being a Tired Working Momma…

…I could have learned from a favorite childhood book, called Mexicali Soup.

So, I’m thinking about creating a new MommyVerbs series for you:

Mexicali Soup for the Tired Working Momma’s Soul.

Mexicali Soup was my favorite book growing up.

I’m not sure I can tell you exactly why. It might have been the pictures and the story. Or maybe it was because of the way my Momma read it to me. But I seem to recall liking it a lot, too, because it was long, so it stalled bedtime a little more.

Seems I might have been a lot like X and Y in that regard.

I hadn’t thought of this book in years, until my Momma mentioned it after I wrote a post about my X and the rocking chair.

And then. I couldn’t think of anything else. I couldn’t wait to get home and find this book. I knew I had just seen it…but where?

There it was, on the bookshelf, right where I placed it in a special spot, to make sure it was always safe and sound.

It was written by Kathryn Hitte and William D. Hayes,illustrated by Anne Rockwell. Printed n 1970.

mexicali cover

Mine is in three pieces. The front cover. All of the pages fortunately still nicely glued together. And the back cover with a Rosie the Robot sticker that I must have foolishly put on it years ago, before I knew what a treasure it was.

My mom looked it up online and discovered that the only copies available are selling for more than $75.00.

Of course, to me, it is priceless.

And now, speaks to me more than it did when I was a kid.

Because.

It is about a Momma.

It is about a Tired Working Momma.

It is about a Tired Working Momma who wants the best for her family.

It is about a Tired Working Momma who wants the best for her family which includes eating well, with the best, freshest ingredients.

mexicali veggies

It is about a Tired Working Momma who is trying to balance wants and needs.

It is about a Tired Working Momma who wants to help her family fit in.

It is about a Tired Working who also wants her family to understand that is okay to stand out.

It is about a Tired Working Momma who learns that she can’t please everyone all the time.

It is about a Tired Working Momma who teaches her family that if one by one, we leave out the spice of life, we are going to end up with a bowl full of lukewarm water.

Sure. It is easy if we leave everything out.

But it doesn’t taste very good.

And another important lesson …

If Momma stops humming…it usually means trouble.

Mexicali Momma

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