My “Why” 

I’ve never been interested in dropping my kids in the play room at the gym, so I started getting up at 4:30 am to get work outs in. For one, I like to exercise when group classes are offered. So that limits my time. It’s what I enjoy doing most. Even if they are hard, I really do have fun. Also, I prefer to get workouts done when the kids are asleep, or when Matios is at work. I don’t enjoy compromising family time for gym time if I don’t have to. I want to soak up all the time we have all together when we get it. So I always want to work around this as best as possible.

So, when the stars don’t perfectly align and I can’t get to the gym before the sun rises, I have been getting frustrated. I started feeling like I couldn’t go to the gym at all if I missed the morning classes. I do home work outs, but it’s not the same for me. I don’t consistently feel like I can get as solid of a work out in at home compared to the classes. As an added challenege, it’s hard to maintain motivation and really give it my all when 1 kid is climbing on my back, one is tugging on my shirt and one is chanting “mommy” 1,000 times like I’m Lois and he’s Stewie from family guy…

I recently realized that wasn’t wise and I was doing myself a disservice. I was only adding unnecessary strain on this process when the solution was there–just drop them off in the kids room for a bit. With Matios’ support, I convinced myself to give it a try. It’s just for one hour and I’m right there if they need me. However, I struggle with allowing people I don’t know to watch our kids. It makes me nervous, but they are growing up and will be starting school soon. So, it’s bound to happen and it’s good for them to learn to be around different people. Now, I’m not going to go hire a babysitter I don’t really know that well to come to my house, but the brief gym drop off is working for me right now!

So far, they’ve enjoyed it and they’re looking forward to going to the gym to play with the other kids and toys. Plus, they are feeling included in my routine. Which is also going to help them learn the gym and exercise is not only good for you, but can be fun! It’s normalizing a healthy lifestyle and I love that!

Today, I had a conversation with one of my favorite instructors, Olivia, and she finally got to meet my kiddos. She gestured towards them and said, “so, this is your why”, and it opened my eyes to all of this. That’s exactly it. My family, my babies are why I get up and moving in order to make the effort in keeping my body healthy. Having my “why” there with me during my classes motivates me even more. Despite their tantrums, fights, broken things and food on the floor everyday, they light the fire inside me and push me to be stronger.

If you’re struggling to stay motivated in anything, find your reason, your why, and focus on that. It will power you through the tough moments.

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day calligraphy image
In my experience, it seems moms have this way of intuitively knowing the struggles we are facing even when we don’t tell them. They have a way of recognizing how our personality and behaviors may influence any challenges we will endure in our lives. Despite what I thought, my mom always knew what I was experiencing even when I didn’t want her to know, or tried to hide it. So, her advice always came at a timely moment. She tried to explain things to me so the shock of any struggle would be less. She was doing her best to prepare me for this world. It’s one of the many difficult roles a mother has. It’s a part of the mother’s job I’m still learning with my own children. Yesterday in the spirit of Mother’s Day, I was surrounded by mommies who continuously inspire and teach me how to be this to my children. It was beautifully moving and I was content.

And of course, there is my own mother. The one who’s known me since I was in her womb. I hugged her and in that moment I wanted her to know and feel how much she means to me. So I hugged her tighter. As she held me I cried because suddenly I was filled with emotion and deep gratitude for everything she’s done, all she’s sacrificed and everything she’s taught me. Not everyone is blessed with loving, generous and compassionate mothers. Mine is all that and more. She is my best friend.

I’m thankful, blessed and moved by her existence. I’m lucky to be able to take all she’s taught me and put it into raising my children.
So, thank you mommy. I love you more than I can put into words.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing Mommies!

The Serenity Prayer

Life changes on us faster than we even have time to process sometimes. We know it is inevitable, but still, unexpected changes can throw us for a loop.  Cue Serenity Prayer…

“God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.”

Aaaaahhh yesssss. Time and time again many of us have heard, or read this to ourselves and thought, “wow, that makes so much sense.” However simple it is to understand, it doesn’t make it easily applicable. I remember always reading the prayer from a young age, as it was framed in my grandprent’s home. It always stood out to me. There is just something special about this reflection– whether you’re religious, or not.

My entire young life, all I wanted to do was hurry up and be an adult, so I could be in control of my life and make my own decisions. I would day dream of “adulting” and part of that included graduating college and finding a stable career with a decent salary. My interests led to either teaching, counseling, administration in higher education, or marketing for an innovative company. I had a vision for myself and an idea of what types of careers would satisfy me and validate my success as an adult. I was chasing after a token to mark my place in life as having “made it”.

I quickly learned job hunting was more challenging than I imagined–especially as a mother.  Simply because employers sometimes are under the impression working mothers are incapable in giving 100% commitment to the job. So, I made sure to not bring this up in interviews. However, it didn’t really matter. I tried relentlessly, landing interviews with various institutions, universities and companies, only to remain stuck in a job that I was enjoying, but wasn’t feeling challenged in.

It was my second job after college and I was there for over 3 years. For a long time the job was great. I had many amazing co-workers, whom are now friends I keep in touch with to this day. I learned so much from them. They would lend an ear and listen to me talk and (mostly) complain more and more about my position and how I needed out. This is behavior I’m not proud of. Whether, or not they grew frustrated with my incessant negativity, they continuously encouraged me, supported me and helped out when they could. All in all, I had support from Matios, my family and my friends and yet, I wasn’t succeeding as I had envisioned.

I noticed friends achieving and I caught myself comparing my progress to their’s. I began to feel as though something was wrong with me. I beat myself up wondering why I wasn’t chosen for positions over and over again. I practiced interviewing, typing and reviewing every piece of the job description. I put every ounce of energy I had into my reumes, cover letters and interviews. Despite this, I never landed the jobs I wanted and it slowly made me lose my confidence. Frequently, I would remind myself how competitive the job market could be especially some positions I was drawn to. Still, it didn’t make it any easier.

When I had no luck, we finally decided I should leave my job and stay home with our kids.  I was not happy there anymore and our kids needed me, but it still wasn’t an easy decision. However, the day I handed in my resignation letter I was suddenly able to breath. I immediately felt a sense of serenity in letting go and embracing this transition from working mother to stay at home parent. I’ll admit I was pretty scared, but I was happy.

This leap of faith was the best thing I have ever done in my life. I know my kids better and our relationship has grown. Also, I know myself now. I was blessed with time to step away from the rat race and find myself. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but its true. I took control of my health and began trying to understand how you even begin to budget for a family of 5 on one income. I read more, wrote more and took things a lot slower. Well, lets be real… we have 3 kids ages 4, 3, and 2– shit get crazy sometimes. BUT I share this all because I learned one very important thing:

Unexpected paths may lead us to the place we belong. 

I have a hard time with change and letting go of the things I can’t control. This moment in my life tested me. Luckily, I learned the value of patience and how important it is to avoid making impulsive decisions. Hard work and goal setting is important, but so are the unexpected things.  I used the past year to teach myself to better adapt to going with the flow in a wise way rather than a reckless way. Sometimes the best we can do is change the things we can, and let go of the things we can’t. 

Be patient, seek opportunity, and make wise choices. Eventually, you’ll end up in the right place.