Scenes from Life: Being a Mom (Parent)

Go with the flow. Be flexible, agile, patient and open to experience the unexpected. Live on minimal sleep. Drink plenty of caffeine. And, some wine after the kiddos go to bed. Eat standing up while making breakfasts, packing lunches and taking inventory of backpacks. Exercise to keep stress away.  Stay organized. Two planners — traditional and smart — are what it takes; for me. Support systems of family, friends, teachers, neighbors and virtual connections for stability; and comic relief. Listening to music does wonders, too. The Killers, When You Were Young, is pumping me up.

It takes a human with a balance of love, stamina, strength, intelligence, fortitude, compassion, calm, resolve, persistence, resourcefulness, creativity and many other attributes to be a mom (parent). Prior to being a mom (parent), I spent most of my time helping Syntel, a global information technology solution provider, generate new business leads and land multi-million-dollar contracts. It was a pretty intense, fast-paced, always-changing, not-for-sissies life.

So, 12 years ago, I sat at my desk in a cubicle at the 525 office building on 16 Mile in Troy, Mich. I was prepping for the next leg in life. 22 more days. The calendar did not lie. My temporary replacement baulked at the project list he would inherit and support. Could he keep up in this needed-it-yesterday environment? That was the least of my worries.

My plan was to work from home until Issa — my eldest child — made her début. Then, maternity leave. But, my first lesson in being a mom (parent) was about being ready for and managing the unexpected. Issa arrived early. Work-from-home projects had to be delegated. Maternity leave began earlier.

What to do? Give Issa all the love and attention she needed to thrive.

The second lesson was about adaptions; survival of the fittest. Before Issa, I easily slept until 9 am. Unfortunately, Issa gravitated toward her dad’s wake-time of 6:30 am; even on weekends. In the beginning, I unleashed a few snarls of discontent at my husband; especially when he claimed not to hear her crying for some attention.

What to do? Wake up! Drink coffee. Play.

Now, early wake-times no longer phase me. In fact, I accomplish more. I stay on track with work, school schedules, volunteerism, socializing, and wine time.

A third lesson, which I am still in the midst of learning, is about resilience and resourcefulness. As Issa entered preschool, we (my husband and I) discovered she had ADD (attention deficit disorder) as well as global development delays. Riff (my youngest) also has learning challenges and development delays.

What to do? Learn. Make friends with school district decision-makers, teachers, therapists, education consultants, pediatric non-profits, and peer parents. Advocate for whatever Issa and Riff need to be on a path for current and future success. Actively support them through participation in their activities, tough love and understanding.

Finally, the most important lesson is the one of patience. Before Issa, patience was not a natural virtue. It still isn’t. It’s just not in my DNA.

What to do? Self-imposed time-outs, calming strategies, and positive self-talk.

Home life is peaceful. Well, maybe I went a little too far there. My home is not synonymous with church. There are daily moments when I snap into a being I do not recognize. I swear, yell and use not-so-nice sign language. Imperfection at its finest; beautiful chaos.

So, now what?

Go with the flow. Be patient. Experiencing the unexpected is one of the greatest gifts of being a mom (parent); and it is not for sissies.

 

Six Sentence Monday: Entry #15

I am fortunate. Supportive, loving family and friends. A glass or two of Franco Serra Barbera D’Alba to chase the chill of a wintry Monday night. What could be better? A “W” for my team — the Detroit Lions — in their contest against the Baltimore Ravens. Oh, and the lucky Mega Million ticket.

Check out this post from another who likes to drink wine, but doesn’t like to pay a lot for it.

Franco Serra Barbera D’Alba

Six Sentence Monday: Entry #13

Two life-long friends from my days at Western Michigan University spent Sunday afternoon with me. One I have not seen for years despite my sister being married to her cousin. The distance of our homes and personal routines ceased to exist. Conversation flowed; as did the wine . It was as if no time had passed between previous meetings. That’s how it is with such amazing, loving, wonderful good friends.

Thinking About …

While waiting for my morning caffeine kick to nudge me toward my elliptical machine, I read Facebook status updates.  Two posts moved me so much I had to share.

First, a high school friend encouraged her network to rally for the United States …

Prayer Request—I have a prayer request. There’s a lady I’ve known forever. She’s very sick. On top of that, she’s being abused by those to whom she has given everything….. Lies about her abound, and seem to come from all sides. Just breaks my heart. Seems there’s nothing I can do alone but maybe, if we all join in and lift her up together, He can heal her. She’s well over 230 years old, but way too young to die. Her name is ‘America’… And I love her and have always been proud of her. Please take time to say a prayer for her – even if it is a short, simple prayer like, “Lord, please heal our land. Amen.” Thanks!

Next, a business owner and healthy eating advocate I had the pleasure of meeting two years ago, shared the following to help those healing from loss.

Also, I had this to say to my people …

You know who you are. I call you family, friend, neighbor, mentor, teacher, helper, advocate or inspiration. Some of you may not live nearby or know me personally. We may not visit, call, write or text often. Time together is often scarce. We’re all so busy. I understand that; and I’m sure you do, too. But, just in case. You should know. I think about you often and I love you. The part you play in my life means so much.

Finally, a childhood friend of mine who has been healing from some recent losses and who authors a blog called Tickling My Fancy recently wrote a phrase, which I have plagiarized without shame when I write e-mails to friends or family.

She says, “Hug your people!”

So, that’s my call to action for today and everyday. Don’t forget … Hug Your People!

Drink It: Dailys Frozen Cocktails and Vin de Pays de Vaucluse 2010

Since, my family and friends had much to celebrate on July 4, we had quite a selection of kid- and adult-friendly beverages on hand. Two favorites emerged.

First, my girlfriend and fellow mom, Christy, treated us to Dailys Cocktails Ready-to-Drink pouches. Just like it says on the packaging, all one has to do is freeze and enjoy. I tried the Pina Colada mix. The frozen concoction was so refreshing while watching fireworks on such a hot, humid night.

Second, I diverted from my usual selection of Spanish and Italian red wines to French. My local gourmet grocer offers an ever-changing selection of under-$10 bottles from a range of countries and regions. Plus, I figured it was time to become more educated about the many great wines from France. My selection, Vin de Pays de Vaucluse 2010, Domaine du Vieux Chene from Jean-Claude et Béatrice Bouche, was superb.

See It: Xanadu Live at Meadowbrook Theatre

You have to believe we are magic
Nothin’ can stand in our way
You have to believe we are magic
Don’t let your aim ever stray
And if all your hopes survive
Your destiny will arrive
I’ll bring all your dreams alive
For you

— John Farr, performed by Olivia Newton John, Xanadu

After romancing two glasses of Pinot Grigio Campanile and my husband at Mitchell’s Fish Market Saturday evening, I revisited what I define as one of the best decades ever. I saw a family friend and former neighbor star, David Havasi, in the live production of Xanadu at Meadowbrook Theatre in Rochester Hills, Mich.

Photo Credit: Meadowbrook Theatre, mbtheatre.com

Perhaps re-connections with school mates through social media sites such as Facebook and Pinterest stir up all these feelings of nostalgia. But, it was a decadent performance complete with leg warmers, flashy colors, superb roller disco moves and replays of hits from Olivia Newton John (one of my fave’s from that era).

I recommend booking a date with your partner or girlfriends for a trip down memory lane with this very talented cast. It’s surreal to look back at the years growing up during the ’80s. What great memories and good times.

Can’t help myself. I’m singing this in my head as I type. So, it’s the only cure I know …

A million lights are dancing
And you’re here with me
Eternally

Xanadu Xanadu (now we are here)
In Xanadu
Xanadu Xanadu (now we are here)
in Xanadu

Xanadu
your neon lights will shine
For you Xanadu.

Jeff Lynne, performed by Olivia Newton John

Cover of "Xanadu - Magical Musical Editio...

Cover via Amazon

So, What’s Your Excuse?

I have excuses for everything. They are at the ready for missed workouts, disconnect with family and friends, not walking the dog, serving chicken nuggets for dinner, or any occasion. I catch myself firing them off whenever I fall short of meeting my expectations.

At the school bus stop, Friday morning, one of my girlfriends commented on having finished her workout already. All of us other moms congratulated her motivation and commitment to fitness. But, I also heard myself rambling down my list of excuses. Not only was I excusing myself from morning workouts, I was  excusing myself from workouts at any time of day.

Part of me wanted to hear my friends tell me my excuses were valid. Thankfully, they are no-excuse-girlfriends. They didn’t let me off the hook. So, that’s when I decided it was time to stop with the excuses; not just on missing workouts. But, on all other areas where I know improvement is required.

Perhaps part of the adjustment required is creating realistic expectations. For example, I whined about being too sleepy to work out before my children wake up. They wake up at 6:30 am. Instead of whining about why not, I decided to work out at 8:30/9:00 am, which is after my oldest gets on the bus. That I way, I accomplish my daily fitness goal before I become distracted with other high-priority responsibilities. So far, I’ve made two consecutive workouts this week.

I also have alternative workout plans to eliminate weather-, television-, or hunger-related excuses. It’s a given that scheduling conflicts will mess with my plan to workout every single morning at 8:30 am. So, rather than give myself an out, I have my answers ready to ensure I stay on track. Changes to workout locations, programs and times are not difficult. Plus, mixing up the routine a bit is beneficial.

So, what’s your excuse?

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