Wednesday, 23 October 2013

When a Tragedy Becomes a Teachable Moment

In an ideal world, I would stick my kids in a bubble.  They’d be surrounded by only lovable people who have their very best interests in mind; who would never hurt them or make them sad; who would treat them as if they were their own.  But, sadly, I know that this ideal world would not be good for them.  It’s not real-life, and the lessons they need to learn in order to become well-adjusted, kind adults will not fester in that bubble.

An innocent child in my state was killed today.

She was last seen riding her bike to a friends house in pure daylight over the weekend.  It’s all over the news–her community came out and searched for her, and today her body was found.  It’s absolutely disgusting to think that another human could do this, and to a child nonetheless.

At first, I prayed my children–my son in particular–would not hear about this tragedy.  How can you even begin to explain that someone killed a child to a child?  I didn’t want to scare him, but him and his sister truly need to understand the concept of stranger-danger.

Sometimes I think they “yes” me in order to get on with what they want to do–like riding their own bikes with their friends.  I’ve told them both many, many times that they can not speak to strangers.  I’ve given them the whole “hey-kid-I-have-some-candy-for-you” scenario to see how they would react (to which my daughter very innocently told me she would not go to the car for candy but if it was icing, well, maybe then she would!)

After thinking about whether or not to have the conversation with them, I decided that it came down to my own children’s characters.  My son is very trusting, and my daughter is very daring.  I decided to sit them both down tonight to tell them about this tragedy, and to use it as a teachable moment to reinforce how important it is to never be alone, to always be with a buddy, and to never. ever. EVER. talk to strangers.

It was a horribly tough conversation.

I told them that if someone they did not know was trying to get their attention and they were uncomfortable, that they had my permission to yell things like “Stranger!” or “Help!” or “No!”  I assured them both that they would not get in trouble for assuming someone was a stranger.

My kids were definitely both nervous going to bed tonight, which put a pit in my stomach wondering if I did the right thing by telling them.  But, I really do think it was important to reinforce this huge safety concern, and to then reinforce how they are surrounded by people who love and care for them deeply, and that they don’t need to be scared–they need to be safe.

Where do you stand on this?  Did you/would you tell your children about this tragedy?  If so, what did you tell them?  If not, what was your reasoning why? 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Working Mom Problem #1: Finding time to be a Mom Blogger

I’m pretty sure this post is being read by no one.

A few years ago, if I would’ve thought that no one was going to read my post, there is no way I would’ve hit publish.  I was far too consumed with my number of readers and subscribers, whether or not I was getting comments, and if my stats were staying consistently good enough for brands to recognize me.  I’d keep a running list of blog-worthy topics in my iPhone, and would often find myself ranking my day as “blog-able” or not.

When I started getting months supplies of cereals delivered to my door in exchange for telling my growing group of readers what my family thought of it, I knew I had become a “mom blogger.”  I joined every social media mom group I could find, attended every shindig I was invited to, applied for every “shop” I remotely qualified for, and spent hours weekly connecting with brands on Twitter and Facebook.

Guess I had a lot of time on my hands.

It’s ironic because, like most bloggers, when I started this whole thing, I didn’t have a clue what a page rank was, nor did I have any actual readers.  I wasn’t looking for free laundry detergent, or to schlep myself fours hours away to listen to someone tell me why I should buy their product in exchange for a free dinner.

I would’ve just bought a timeshare if I wanted that.

Blogging just seemed like a good platform for me to express myself, for no other reason then because I loved writing and wanted a hobby.

Now I have this little thing called a full-time job, and being a “mom-blogger” really cramps it’s style.  The realization has been a long time coming, and for many reasons.  The biggest?  Being a “mom blogger” no longer suits me. I can’t attend daytime events in the city, and attending weekend ones aren’t even an option because that’s my chance for quality time with my kids.  Speaking of my kids, they are too old to care what the hottest Playskool toys of the season are.  And, unless someone is giving the latest and greatest floor cleaner to the maid I’m about to hire, I will be useless in reviewing it.

Does that mean I won’t blog anymore?

No.

It just means I no longer will consider myself a “mom blogger.”  Ain’t no full-time working mom got time for that!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Work is really cramping my style

In one year, I went from being full-time stay-at-home-mom, to being full-time working-at-home-and-outside-the-home single mom.

I’m freakin’ exhausted.

For the most part, I can say that I have no problem working as hard as I do.  I’m lucky enough to enjoy the things I do for a living.  But that doesn’t mean that working doesn’t cramp my style every now and then.

Take today for example.

I rearranged my entire work schedule to take my daughter to her Girl Scout swim party.  The amount of working-mommy guilt I have been feeling since summer began was just flat-out gross, so this was the perfect day to throw my hands in the air and just be with the kids.

And guess what?  It’s raining and the pool party has been rescheduled to a day I am
–wait, can you guess it?–
working.

Then I see this super-fun bloggers event at the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia on
–wait, can you guess it?–
a Monday.

When I’m working.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

{Wordful Wednesday} This is what relaxation looks like…

It’s amazing what a few days in the sunshine will do for your mind, body, and soul.  This picture taken on a recent escape represents so very much to me.

The color of the sky, water and palm trees is so tranquil, and has inspired me to bring these colors into my own home so that I can enjoy the sense of peace they bring to me every day.

The fact that I instantly looked at those closed umbrellas and saw something “naughty” reminds me to be silly and not take everything so seriously.Laughing is certainly one of the best remedies.

And, most significantly, seeing my feet side-by-side with a man I am deeply in love with makes me feel so confident in the path my life is taking.

Monday, 4 March 2013

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe….EVER

I have a secret.

I’ve been holding out on you guys because I just wasn’t sure if you would believe me if I told you this amazing recipe is actually safe for my allergy-laden children.

But the guilt of keeping this ridiculously scrumptious recipe from my beloved readers was starting to eat me at my warm chocolate chip cookie core.

Run–don’t walk–to your kitchen and whip up a batch of these cookies right now.

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup Flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup dairy-free margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. water, 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, and 1 tsp. baking powder; mixed together
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together flour and baking soda in a medium bowl.  Set aside.
Melt the margarine in a large bowl.  Add sugar and beat until fluffy.  Add vanilla and water/vinegar/baking powder mixture.  Combine.
Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend well.  Fold in chocolate chips.
Drop by the teaspoon full onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until golden brown.

* I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but I can not.  But she can.

Monday, 25 February 2013

10 Most Inspirational People {in my life}

Another question from our drive to Vermont was to list 10 people who inspire us, and why.  At first I thought it was going to be hard to come up with ten people, but in the end, it was hard to come up with just ten people.  Here are the ten people who most inspire me and why:

My Son


The way my son handles the adversity he faces due to his food allergies is inspirational.  Each one of us faces challenges of our own, and could learn a lesson from him. Very, very rarely is it him who shows frustration when he gets left out of special treats at school, or can’t share the same meal as everyone at the table at family parties.  Usually it’s me. 

My Daughter


My daughter inspires me to be my best self, because after all, I am her biggest role model and she is watching me closely every day.  She inspires me to not look into the mirror and complain about my stomach or thighs, because I don’t want her to have poor body image.  She inspires me to be kind to people who aren’t kind, to show her that it’s far more important to love than to hate.  When I make poor choices, her presence inspires me to handle them in a way that shows her that everyone {even Mommy!} makes mistakes, and you should take responsibility for your actions and do the best you can in the future. 

My Mom


I could easily list a hundred reasons why my mom inspires me, and the list truly grows daily, but one thing that instantly sticks out in my mind is that my mom has the ability to cut people out of her life who aren’t adding anything positive to it.  She doesn’t allow negative people to drain her energy, and that is something I allow far too much.  I often ask myself WWTD {What Would Trish Do?} when I am feeling drained.  The way she cuts the negativity is never with drama or rudely, she just choose that they aren’t worth her energy and let’s it go. 

My Step-Dad


My step-dad has been in my life for longer than I can remember, and up until recently, I didn’t truly understand the depth of one of the things I’m most inspired by.  He has always, always treated me as his own, and loved me unconditionally–and as a divorced mom of two, this really strikes a chord with me.   Also, I’m not sure I can even count on one hand the number of times he has said something bad about another person.  He simply exudes so much love for the people around him that you can’t help but smile when you are with him.  He inspires me to be genuine in my relationships, and find the good in every person I meet.     

My Sisters


My sisters are both brilliant, and beautiful, and witty, and independent–and I do not think I am just biast. They are both such strong women, each with great heads on their shoulders filled with their own ideas on life.  They both inspire me to believe in myself, and my choices; to be a strong, independent woman like they are.  And it’s funny, I am the oldest and yet I look “up” to them both so much.   

My “Boyfriend”


Side Note:  Writing that just makes me giddy. I believe he came into my life for a reason, and there are many ways he inspires me.  But, most importantly, he gives me a reason to be motivated {or find motivation!} in everything that I do from mundane tasks to big decisions.  It’s very hard to find motivation when you are a single parent, working 2+ jobs, trying to stay a size 4, and trying to get eight hours of shut eye.  But, he believes in me, and that alone gives me the motivation I need when I truly can’t find it anywhere else. 

My Aunt Serena


Serena’s energy is contagious. And although if I had just a tenth of her energy, I’m sure I could move mountains, what inspires me the most about her is her spirtuality.  My fellow “black sheep” and monkey, Serena has been a buddist for longer than I can remember, and is a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, the Chinese Astrological Calendar, and being a GOOD person, which is certain to have exponential paybacks.  Her intuitive spirituality inspires me to think outside the box as I struggle with finding my own faith-path. 

My Cousin Jessica


A spring-chicken “just” six months younger than me, my cousin Jessica has confidence that is contagious.  I used to be a snob.  I used to think my $hit didn’t stink.  “Used to” is the key phrase.  I’m not sure when my confidence level became a thing of the past, but when I am around Jessica, she inspires me to look deep inside myself and find it. 

My Cousin Laura


Laura is a single full-time working mom, and she takes on the world.  She is *SUCH* a good mom.  She inspires me to fight through the exhaustion I often feel in so many avenues in life, and inspires me to make every moment special for my kids because that is what is most important at the end of the day.

My Girlfriend Allison


Allison is remarkable.  Not only does she never sleep because two of her three young sons have Diabetes and she is usually up around the clock making sure they are ok and getting the medicine they need, but her family just lost almost every single thing they own in Hurricane Sandy.  Yet you can run into her any given day and she is full of positive spirit and sincerely happy.  She is also the only other person in my life who not only shares my addiction of selling things on craigslist and returning items previously used, but is better at it than me. That alone is inspirational enough

Sunday, 6 January 2013

13 in ’13

I’ve always believed New Year’s Resolutions were a set up, so I’ve never made one.  Instead, I always opt to make a list of things I’d like to accomplish for the year–a bucket list of sorts–which provides me with enthusiasm for the twelve months of blank, white canvas just waiting for me to paint with colorful memories that lie ahead. None of them are huge life-changing tasks, just little things I’d like to be more conscious about over the coming year.

So, here goes.

1.  Start taking vitamins again, and stick with it!  There have been a few times in my adult life where I’ve been good with taking vitamins, and I noticed a difference almost instantly.  I am a chicken finger kinda girl, so I know I can’t rely on my diet to give my body all it needs, and between that and the growing demands of my life as a single working mom, I am easily exhausted.  Recently, I started having a GNC’s Womens Ultra Mega Maximum Nutrition shake once a day as a meal replacement first thing in the morning.  It’s not all that bad, and it’s an easy way for me to get a decent amount of vitamins & minerals.  I would like to add a Pro-biotic to my supplements, as well as more Vitamin D.

2.  Shake my ass, & get paid to do it!  I gave up teaching back in the Summer when I just could not manage juggling one more thing.   I miss teaching Zumba more than I ever thought was possible and I am determined to squeeze just one class into my schedule this year.

3.  Take my kids on a small trip each season!  I’m thinking skiing/tubing this Winter, camping this Spring, Baltimore Inner Harbor this summer, and maybe Hershey Park in the Fall.  I was originally thinking of surprising them with a Disney vacation, but to be honest, I feel like I’d rather spread out our getaways so that I have something special to look forward to with them every few months.  I miss them terribly these days and crave quality time with them.  There is so much I want to experience with them.

4.  Watch TV Regularly!  You may think this is an absurd “goal” but hear me out.  Mindless television is such a great way to clear your mind and wind down at the end of the day.  I tend to go non-stop all day long, and I have a very hard time putting away my work at night.  I want to get back into getting involved in story lines so I can push aside my own.  Even if just for a few hours a week.

5.  Get another tattoo! 

6.  Change up my decor!  I’m ready for some changes, and I am determined to grab a page from a friend of mines book and get the Pottery Barn look I adore through great steals on Craigslist!  I’ve been “country” for 10 years, and I am ready for some simplicity, some deep colors and clean lines.  I’m ready for my style to “grow up.”  I blame Pinterest for this.

7.  Keep my body exactly the same!  Sure, I’d love to be a bit firmer all over, and I wouldn’t throw a temper tantrum if I lost a few pounds, but for the most part I’m thrilled that at 32 years old with two kids and a fu&king crazy life that I can fit into a size 4.  And at 32 years old with two kids and a fu%king crazy life, keeping it this way is actually a challenge.

8.  Change my relationship status on Facebook!  I didn’t broadcast my marital problems on Facebook last year, and as a matter fact, I googled “how-to-privately-change-your-relationship-status” just so that no one would be alerted to my divorce in their newsfeed.  I wasn’t hiding it; it just wasn’t anyone’s business.  I didn’t want to shout from the rooftops that I was getting divorced.  But, what I do want to shout from the rooftops is that I am in a relationship with the most amazing man I’ve ever met.  Our relationship makes me giddy daily, and I am excited to become more open about him this year.

9.  Wear high heels more often!  I stand taller, walk more confidently and feel thinner when I wear heels….so why wouldn’t I want to wear them more often!?  I just need to find a pair that can be a go-to on days where I’m just doing mom-duties, as opposed to being in the office.

10.  Go back to Church.  I’m quite sure this has been on my list for the past 4 years, yet it’s the one thing that carries over to the new year undone. I think what I am going to do differently, though, is to redefine the word “church.”  I just want to find my faith this year.

11.  Clean out my closet/s!  I want to unload the junk in all my trunks.  If I moved something more than once and it hasn’t been used, it’s trash.  If I haven’t worn it in the past year, it’s trash.  If I don’t know what it really does, it’s trash.  And, by “trash” I do mean trashed, donated, or sold on eBay for some extra loot to buy more shit I’ll probably never use.

12.  Grow my business–the business I’ve spent four years slowly building through this blog!  What started out as a way for me to vent about my life as the “CEO” of my family has blossomed into so much more for me.  I’ve grown a resume of experience in social media, and marketing.  I’ve worked with some highly recognizable brands, and I’ve made great connections with women doing exactly what I want to do.  It’s time to combine what I’ve learned and really do something with it.

13.  Nurture the important relationships in my life.  Make time for my sisters.  Have lunch with my mom.  Call my Dad.  Have sleepovers with my cousins.  Play Bunko with my girlfriends.  Visit family out of town.  Have drinks with co-workers.  Read to my children.  Write thank you notes.

How about you?  Is there anything on my list that you would put on yours?   

Saturday, 5 January 2013

This too shall pass?

My mom shared this video clip on Facebook today.

In some ways, it was so sweet it made my tooth ache.

In other ways, it made me want to stick pencils in my eye sockets and pull my hair out while while screaming obscenities at the top of my lungs.

Am I ever going to stop feeling like I got totally freakin’ jipped out of something that every little girl dreams about from the moment she plays dress-up with her fitted sheet for a veil?  Am I ever going to stop feeling robbed of that special lifelong memory of a wedding day?

I have to assume that all divorcees feel this way for a certain period of time.

It’s got to be normal.

I think the reason it bothers me so much is because I am a hopeless romantic at heart.  Like most little girls, I started planning my wedding day before I was even boy crazy.

LIGHTBULB!

Maybe that’s the problem.  Maybe we, as a society, glorify being a bride too much at too young of an age.  I know that I’ve encouraged my daughter to play “Bride” yet in the same hour tell her she is too young to like boys.  Is that sending a message to her that being a “Bride” is what matters most?

 

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