“I hat mi self”

This is my seven-year-old daughter. Her version of I Hate Myself.

Do you hear that sound? The banging and vibration? That was my heart. My throat closed up in sadness because my very young, sweet girl was feeling something so deep.

We all know that it’s tough to be a girl and grow up with social pressures, fit in and learn confidence. Add social media here soon. The sad truth is, we exchange these feelings of inadequacies for other things as women…that we’re not doing enough, could be doing more, hence the be in 20 places at once attempt (nearly daily). It’s exhausting. We need to stop being our own worst critic and build each other up.

And we need to stop it where it’s starting, with our little ones. I just had no idea it’d be so early.

After I got over the sadness and fear of what this would mean if she were older with such high suicide rates, we talked. We’ve been talking every night about this in different ways since then.

First of all, I sympathized with this deep, sadness. We’ve all been there (but we mostly remember that when we were older). She told me, “I just feel so alone sometimes. Like I don’t belong.” [Insert more tears. But I did wait until I was away from her for that.]

I let her in on the secret: EVERY girl and woman has these feelings. She is not alone in feeling this. And we talked about how to change the narrative in her mind. It’s too young to talk about confidence, or rather a little confusing, I tried. This is something that will need to develop with time and example. So we talked about what we’re thankful for. Every day since, we’ve highlighted the things that were funny or fun, and anything that bothered her. Something so little like an old friend has new friends on the playground, that’s a big deal. But it doesn’t mean that they are not friends anymore. She’s having issues with math (she’s in Spanish so can you imagine doing math is Spanish as well..) so we’re getting her help there so she can start to enjoy it again.

When I step back and look at this situation, I’m am astonished that she is able to vocalize these feelings so succinctly at such a young age. These are themes that adults even have trouble saying so definitively. There’s one thing for sure,  I wish someone would’ve told me about all these secrets and struggles that girls and women face.

But now she knows that these thoughts are a feeling that are so common, but they don’t belong to her. And most importantly, it’s not the truth. She doesn’t need to hold onto them and harbor that sadness, alone anymore.

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Just Make it Happen Already

There are so many things that we say throughout our lives, “Oh, I’d love to do that…” and eye someone with envy when they’ve given themselves the permission to do something out of the box.

I think women are particularly hard on themselves for these sort of things. When I think of something I want to do, it has to make it past my list of priorities: husband and kids, writing, work, friends, and more.

I’d love to do that…but I’ll just be bringing the kids back from gymnastics and the timing is really tight.

I’d love to do that…but work just started to pick up.

I’d love to do that…but that’s like two months straight that I’ll need to find some backup to watch the kids.

Recently, a friend passed away from cancer and everything around me has seemed like a missed opportunity. My heart has been broken since her passing. She used to say every day counts.

We don’t get a second chance at our lives.

So this is a note to ask you what you’ve been wanting to do lately. And I give you permission to do it for yourself!

On Monday, I start ukulele lessons…get ready world!

ukulele

 

Living in the Today

It feels like every other day there is an awful shooting or act of terrorism. But sadly, I heard a stat that there have been more mass shootings than actual calendar days of the year so far.

I think it makes all of us feel helpless as we sit watching the news, hugging our family, not knowing how to protect them. My daughters are five and three years old, so they haven’t had to hear about all of this. But soon they will, and I worry they will fear for the future, like I sometimes do. And more than anything, it makes me sad that they will lose that sense of innocence.

San Bernardino two days ago, Paris the other day, Beirut, etc. It feels sad to even write “ETC.” but it goes on and on. I can’t help but wonder what the solution is, how do we handle this sadness, scariness, and evil that is everywhere today?

Last night I realized I needed to stop watching and start living.

  • We need to live in the today.
  • We need to stand tall for our beliefs.
  • We need to love our family and friends more.
  • We need to believe and act as though every day counts. 

And when these tragedies happen, we need to urge everyone around us to support each other and find a solution. All of our neighbors, family members, state and national government should be held accountable for keeping each other safe. There’s a grave disconnect with mental illness and the constant threat of terrorism, and we need to figure out how to identify these issues and stop them before they happen. How can we live in such a progressive country, yet be afraid to send our kids to school?

I hope that you will find strength in something in your life, and hold onto that the next time tragedy hits.

In the meantime, live and love deeply.

Free_hugs

Let’s Fly

I have a quote on my desk that makes me smile. I originally printed it, to give it to my girls, but it hasn’t made it off my desk.

(I do plan to get a better print and frame it for them.)

But the sentiment is so important. It’s just that daily reminder that we need to get out there and give it a shot.

“What if I fall?

Oh, my darling, what if you fly?”

So today, I say…go for it! And don’t forget to remind your friends and family too!

 

 

Why is it so hard to ask for help?

It was a particularly rainy afternoon and I was waiting for my 2 1/2 year old to get up from her nap.

It was after 4 PM when I was finally able to drag the two kids with me to the grocery store. I put one in the cart seat and one in the actual cart so that they wouldn’t run through the store, in hopes that we could get this done quickly.

Two bathroom trips (yes, that was TWO) and 90 minutes later, we’re finally trying to get out of the store. And I had already forgotten two things. Too bad.

I’m trying to unload and check out and my youngest starts crying because she can’t reach the food to “help me out” and put things on the check out. My older daughter is counting the chocolate bars by touching each one on the side of the aisle.

The cart is overflowing and I’m trying to get the kids jackets on, pay and get out the door, when my youngest falls sideways and of course, hits her head on the cart.

Now she’s really crying.

“Do you need help out?” the store clerk asks.

“No, no,” I say as I’m trying to push the kids forward and out of the way so the next customer could pay. I lean down, trying to console my youngest.

“Does she need an ice pack?” another clerk asks me.

“No, thank you, she’s okay. We’re just trying to get out of here. It’s been a long trip, so to speak,” I said and honestly, I could not get out of the store fast enough.

“Do you want me to help you out?” this store clerk asks.

“No, thank you. We’re just trying to go,” I say as I’m trying to get the girls to follow me, jackets on, etc.

“Here, let me push the cart. You can get the girls,” she said.

And she pushed the cart out for me, while I put my kids’ hoods up, held their hands as we crossed the street to our car. And then she unloaded the cart into my car.

I couldn’t thank her enough.

The lady that stood behind me at the check out line was parked near me and said, “I’ve been there before. I’m so glad that lady helped you out.”

I smiled at her. I was too.

She continued, “I don’t know why the clerk asked you if you needed help. She should know we ALWAYS say no, but we really mean yes.”

The Simple Things

I never expected how much I’d enjoy seeing the wonderment in my children’s eyes when they see something they like. These little kiddos are the perfect example (most of the time!!) of pure love and excitement. The thing that’s so amazing about watching through their world, is that they are so excited about the smallest, most simple things.

It makes you take a step back and just enjoy that moment with them.

A few weeks ago we went to visit friends in California and were able to go to Disneyland. While Disneyland is a kid’s dream, these girls got so very excited at the site of a parade or a special wand or a lollypop. Their jaws dropped open with pure awe and excitement.

If I could just channel some of that and just enjoy some of the simple things…

shocked

 

The Sweet Sound of Snoring

There are so many sounds that bring a smile to my face and a sense of nostalgia:

The sounds of little children giggling warms my heart. Alternatively, there’s nothing so sacred than absolute quiet. Not a sound.

This morning I realized I love the sounds of breakfast cooking, when you’re not the one cooking it!

At night as I hear the train’s whistle blowing, it feels like a daily reminder of something so industrial and romantic to me.

But one sound that I was so shocked to hear and love, was the sweet sound of my youngest daughter snoring. There is something so innocent and pure about that sound, it’s almost like a pur.

When she was an infant, I didn’t realize how thankful I would feel for the reminder that she was okay as she slept. And now today, as she’s older, I still hear the loud purring sounds of her snore and it makes me smile. I hope to imprint that sound in my heart.

Now if I could just get the pug to not snore so loudly, I could get some sleep!

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Letter to My Daughters

Dear little ones,

I wanted to write you a letter to read when you’re older because life gets complicated, life gets busy, and you get busy with your complicated life.

Please remember that you can do anything you want in life. I want you to repeat this to yourself, like I do with you now. When we get older, we seem to come up with a million excuses or reasons why we shouldn’t try to do something. But I believe in you and I know you’re amazing.

Don’t give your heart out to everyone but give it fully to those you trust. A full heart makes for a happy life. You’ll never regret loving someone with all that you have.

Don’t trust everything you hear. People say a lot of things that don’t make sense. Remember who you are and decide for yourself.

Be a dreamer. Never stop.

Never compromise who you are. Feel confident enough in yourself to say what you believe and be strong enough to stand criticism. Others will learn from you if you can do that and it’s a great thing to pass along vs bullying.

No regrets. We all make mistakes, learn from them.

Don’t be a bully.

Don’t ever let yourself be bullied. Stand up for yourself no matter the stakes. Or at least call your mom.

Always know that you can come home. And that your mom has a hug waiting for you.

Caveat: Also, please know that mama has been around the block. Thereby, there shall be no sneaking out of your ground level windows. I will be standing outside upon your return. No closed doors with a boy in the house. Otherwise that party for two will become three.

At the end of the day, I’m still going to try to hold you in my arms even when you’re an adult. So slow down, enjoy life and don’t try to grow up so fast.

Love,

your mom.

 Letter to my Daughters