While this photo might look like an ordinary bag from the Bucks of the Star, I can assure you it’s not. Also, this isn’t an ad for one of my favorite places… though if they want to fully support my little Starbuck-a-roo habit, I will gladly and shamelessly promote them. In the meantime, here’s a Musing for your Monday.
Hang on to your pantalones because it’s about to get all real up in this hizzy. This Musing is brought to you on the heels of one of the greatest #MomFails I have yet to make… Well, if I can be honest, it’s actually second to the time when I had just switched from boob to formula and left the house on an outing with Hubbz and our boy only to realize I had forgotten formula. #TrueStory #ThankYouCVSforCarryingFormula #YouSavedMyAssThatDay #IDigress
On FriYay (not a typo) mornings on the way to daycare drop-off, I buy my sweet little boy Starbucks breakfast. Maybe it’s me feeling guilty that I have to wake him to take him to daycare so early so I can keep the work/life balance in check- regardless of why I do it, it’s something we look forward to and he gets so ridiculously excited. Hang on to that palpable excitement as I fast forward you, post drop-off, I am now 20 minutes away. I begin to collect my things from the front seat of my Jeep, only to see my sweet little boy’s Starbucks breakfast staring back at me…
I will let the thing that we refer to as #MomGuilt sink in for you, the reader. If you aren’t familiar with #MomGuilt, thank sweet Baby Jesus.
I spent the next hour beating myself up for what a terrible Mom I must be. Who forgets their son’s “FriYay Fun Breakfast”!?
Apparently, Folks, I do.
I knew that he was well fed at daycare and he had plenty of food in his lunchbox to feed him breakfast, lunch and dinner twice over (I make no excuses for my over packing his lunchbox… it’s the Italian Mama in me.) but I couldn’t shake this feeling that I totally and completely must have disappointed him. Is this the kind of thing that is going to send him to the therapist couch at 40!? I started praying about it because I couldn’t get the awful feeling that I had failed as a Mama out of my head. This lie kept running through my brain that I was a terrible Mama and other Mama’s definitely never forget the FriYay Fun Breakfast. Mid prayer, a still small voice in my soul whispered, “how about you show yourself a little bit of grace?” I literally gasped out loud and I stopped in my tracks. I spend a lot of time and energy in this life showing others grace. When I don’t want to, when they don’t deserve it, when it doesn’t feel good for me. Why is it so hard to show a little grace to myself? Is it like that for any of y’all?
We are so busy running around taking care of everyone else but we are the hardest and the biggest critics of ourselves. In that moment, in that realization, I took a deep breath and exhaled so very good. The truth of grace offered a little peace. In that moment I was able to flip my palms up to Heaven and thank my sweet Jesus that I had a little boy who is well cared for and well fed while I enjoy working at a career that I love… and I am able to provide things in his life like Friyay Fun Breakfasts… even if I did forget it on the front seat.
I end this Musing with a question for you – where can you show grace in your life? To others, yes, but maybe first and most important, to yourself. We have a Jesus who paid the price of his life so we can have grace. It’s something we don’t deserve and something freely offered to us. Where can you enjoy that gift that is freely given to you and ultimately enjoy your life a little more? Sweet readers, I hope you find some truths in this that speak to your dope soul. I hope it permeates your being and offers you some peace where you need it the most. Take some time this week to throw around grace like confetti. You just might be surprised by the magic that it can create.
Meet you back here next week, same time, same place!
I have decided that when people were congratulating us on our pregnancy they were withholding information to ensure we didn’t question what the hell we just did. I am certain that they were like “Hooray, it’s amazing!” while silently laughing because just as we would begin to think we had a hold of this parenting thing, they knew our sweet angel baby would turn 2. Two year olds are unpredictable, impetuous humans that seem like sweet angels… until they aren’t.
I love and adore our son… and also, Jesus, take the wheel as we careen head first into the Terrible Two’s.
Lord, have mercy on the working mama’s who have to get themselves and their children ready every morning. The Career Maven Mama’s holding it down like the badass bosses that they are. I am not going to lie… sometimes I fantasize about what life would be like if we were fancy and had a nanny. I won’t hide the fact that I have had daydreams about how fabulous my mornings could be if I didn’t have to worry about getting myself and a walking, talking, very independent, very strong-willed two year old out the door and to daycare. Nobody tells you these things when they are congratulating you on your pregnancy. Nobody tells you about the mornings that you show up at work with milk spilled on you and banana hiding somewhere in your hair because #toddlers. Nobody tells you about the crazy mornings when you’re trying to get out the door and your kid is not cooperating and has zero interest in wearing pants, let alone shoes. Nobody tells you about the time that you will get out of the car at daycare and look down only to realize you are rocking your Adidas flip-flops with your dress. Nobody tells you about the strong will of a toddler who likes to try and climb on everything including pantry shelves.
Lord, have mercy on the Mamas.
I thought about how strong my morning routine could be if Hubbz would hire me a nanny during a recent morning as I was putting my very upset, very loud, very screaming toddler in my Jeep. He was screaming because he wanted to go play outside… in the rain, that was also kind of sleet… in air so cold that it made my boogers freeze. As I buckled him in, I
prayed pleaded “Jesus take the wheel because I just can’t even.” To which my toddler screamed “Jesus no take the wheeeeeel!!!!!”
As I drive him to daycare I feel my eyeholes start to leak because, can I be honest with y’all… this Mom gig is hard sometimes. I see him in the rearview mirror, completely content now and sitting buckled in his seat with his sippy and his stuffed donkey, Pietro. I am completely dumbfounded how a child can go from terrible to tender in the matter of minutes. I feel the pang in my chest reminding me that these mornings will pass in the blink of an eye.
Before I know it, he will be running out the door.
To catch the bus.
To catch a ride
To catch a plane.
Chasing the goal.
Chasing the girl.
Chasing the dream.
For now, he’s buckled safely where I can see him.
There are days when being a Mama is so hard.
There are days when being a Mama is the most gratifying thing I have ever done.
That strong pang in my chest aches again.
I have a hunch that I will look back on these hard days and hold them dear in my heart. The moments we thought were so hard, our wee ones were learning to spread their wings, test their limits and develop their strengths. As Mama’s we get to give them the space to do this. The going through is trying sometimes but I know that I will look at my son one day and remember that every Terrible ‘Effing Two moment was him learning about the world and becoming strong and independent.
Until that day, Lord, have mercy on the Mamas.
I am starting this musing out with a super fun thing… HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAMA!!! I didn’t realize this little musing (inspired by her) would end up posting on her birthday, but it did- and that’s just so great to me. If you have the moment, send her a little birthday shout today because she is one pretty incredible lady! #allthefeels
2018 felt like jab, right hook, jab, cross.
And over again.
If you aren’t into boxing or never watched any of the Rocky movies, you may have zero idea what I just said. Basically, 2018 was rough and life beat me up a little. It was a year where I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath let alone catch a break. Maybe you felt like this too? Over and over through the year, the wisest woman I know, my sweet Mama, kept reminding me, “you cannot connect the dots going forward, you can only connect them looking back.” Her wisdom would meet my unease of the moment or situation and it would allow my soul to be still. Somehow that reminder always soothed like a balm on rough, dry skin. I think maybe Mama’s are good like that. Showing up with wisdom when we need it so deeply.
I live in a world where nothing is random. I truly believe the good and the bad happen for a reason- a greater purpose. I don’t think coincidences are a thing, and I don’t believe we meet people by accident. I believe there is a greater power (for me it’s the will of God) guiding my life. Maybe I am wrong about the way I look at it, but that’s the basket I am putting all my eggs in for this lifetime.
The newfound wisdom about connecting the dots has allowed me to keep life’s punches in perspective. Maybe it will allow you to do the same? Try on that thinking and see if that’s something that fits for you and your life.
Looking back over time, maybe we will see that nothing was ever random.
One day soon – or 20 years from now – just maybe we will be able to connect the dots.
Connect the dots on situations we found ourself in.
Connect the dots on things that happened to us.
Connect the dots on people who had parts in our story.
You cannot connect the dots going forward, you can only connect them looking back.
For now, we roll with the punches as they come, because they will come.
And we believe it was never, ever random.
Meet you back here next week, same time, same place!
We’re Italian which means we will always have more than one refrigerator in our home. It’s like a rite of passage to being Italian. You have to have one in the kitchen and one in the basement. Recently, we bought a new second fridge and suddenly all is right in the world… at least as far as my food refrigeration needs are concerned.
When the new fridge arrived, I began the process of organizing my fridge and freezer in my kitchen which meant cleaning it out and bringing a plethora of adult beverages, homemade olives and meats down to the auxiliary fridge. It is here that I should pause and offer a shout out to Hubbz for adding the term “auxiliary” in front of anything that I do in life that he finds to be “extra”… a list of auxiliary things include: an auxiliary patio set, an auxiliary Keurig in the laundry room, an auxiliary mini-fridge- also in the laundry room, multiple auxiliary Christmas trees, and of course the auxiliary fridge. It amuses him to point out where I live in excess. I think he should be careful because if he keeps up his shenanigans I may need to find an auxiliary husband… I’m only kidding, relax. Hubbz is my O.G., Ride or Die, and also my Champion. Back to the process of organizing the fridge…
As I was carrying a box down the stairs that would have made my Orange Theory coaches super proud, my Ma warned me, “be careful – the first step is the hardest!” Sheryl Crow’s version of “The First Cut is the Deepest” instantly started playing in my brain because I make weird associations to songs. Over the melody of her voice, and per usual, I got to thinking…
The first step in life is ALWAYS the hardest. In love, in our careers, in working out… basically in all things, the first step is the hardest… unless you’re getting chased by a bear or something. Then well, you don’t even think about steps- you usually just run. Not that I’ve been chased by a bear… but if I did, that’s how I think it would go. I digress.
The first step walking away from a toxic relationship is always the hardest. Sometimes we find ourselves in relationships with men who will gladly hold our bodies but not our hands and never our hearts. Sometimes find ourselves in relationships with people who won’t admit their feelings (or not feelings). Sometimes we find ourselves in relationships that help us fill our time but not our souls. In these moments, we need to take a step back from the emotions that can cloud our thinking. We need to examine our hearts and what we truly want and are looking for. This isn’t an easy process and sometimes it hurts like hell… but it’s imperative to do the hard work. Our hearts and souls deserve it.
The first step in getting real about our careers can be the hardest and let’s be honest, the most terrifying. Sometimes we find ourselves in jobs that pay the bills (or not) but leave our hearts void of joy and purpose. For myself, if I am going to spend 40-50 hours or more working, it is a non-negotiable that it needs to be something that lights me up and impacts the world. If I am trading a day of my life for something, it needs to be something worth doing. That worth can come in the form of money but deeper- in the form of fulfillment. I have had positions where I made very, very good money but it didn’t light up my heart. I have had positions where I didn’t make a lot but the job lit up my soul and the souls of others. I have come to the conclusion that the magic is finding the career that does both. A role that offers you a lifestyle that you want while lighting you up inside and sharing your gifts with the world around you.
The first step on the treadmill is always the most difficult and the first dumbbell we pick up is always the heaviest. Can I be super transparent and say that although I do love Orange Theory and workouts that leave me tapped-out, 100% of the time I would rather be laying on my couch, in my most comfy clothing, watching DVR’s with a pint of Talenti.
It is here I pause and tell you that if you don’t know what Talenti is, stop what you are doing, get in your car and go to the nearest grocery store. Joy and dancing await your tastebuds. Joy and dancing, people. I shit you not. If you are already at a grocery store and happen to be reading this… A) GOOD FOR YOU! B) Head to the freezer section, STAT!!! I whole-heartedly digress…
I have never been one of those people that L-O-V-E-S working out. I wish I was. I really, truly do. Although sometimes that kind of enthusiasm makes me raise an eyebrow. If you are one of those people who loves working out, I promise I am not judging you. I am mostly in awe of you and your enthusiasm… it is my eyebrow that is judging. She has a mind of her own. I can’t control her. Don’t get me wrong, I do get amped to workout but most of the time, it’s just my pre-workout drink talking. Alas, since I have made the resolution to not lose weight but to just grow taller multiple years in a row now and it hasn’t happened, I am confident I need to clean up my act when it comes to food and gluttony and moving my body. I can tell you that I know first hand that the first step is the hardest… and the second and the third… but something happens after you get going. You start to pick up speed and you start to eventually enjoy it.
The first step in making a decision to better your life is always the hardest to take- even when it comes on the heels of a “New Year, New Me, Who Dis?” mindset. Just because the calendar flipped a year doesn’t mean our minds magically shift. Changing our habits is HARD. If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. To change your habits you have to change your actions. For most of us that means flipping auto-pilot to the off position and getting real with our thoughts, attitudes and feelings. In this space, we are free to dream and strategize and create lives we really truly want to get out of bed for. Some of the changes we desire to make are as easy as putting the Talenti in the auxiliary fridge and keeping it out of sight and out of mind. Some of the changes are harder. In relationships they take more thought, conversation and radical acceptance. In careers they take more time, training and a solid strategy. One thing I have learned is that regardless of how hard that first step is, a lot of the time it gets easier as you go.
You pick up momentum.
You gain more knowledge.
You increase your self-confidence.
You move swiftly through roadblocks.
Yes, the first step is the hardest, but to create a life you love, it is also the most necessary.
I sat there with a smug smirk on my face knowing I was super right about the topic at hand. I was right and the other person in my life was wrong and I wasn’t backing down. My friend looked at me after listening to me talk about the situation for longer than she probably cared to. It was then she said something that changed everything. “What if you stop being right about it and start practicing radical acceptance?”
After realizing she had blown my entire argument to smithereens with one perfectly offered question, I gasped as if to be offended… and then I got to thinking…
Soooo, lately I have been embracing the idea of radical acceptance. It’s basically acceptance but a drastic, far-reaching, wide-ranging version. To be super honest, it’s a new concept for me because, #TypeA #Perfectionist who also happens to sometimes think her way is basically correct… oops.
To say practicing radical acceptance has been a challenge is an understatement. To say the people who are closest to me probably like me more because of it, is not. Practicing radical acceptance has made me put down my pre-conceived notions about things (which apparently, I have a lot of). I have had to give up my judgements about things (which apparently, I also have a lot of). In order to radically accept things I have had to give up being attached to situations, people and outcomes and stop trying to control everything. I have had to let go of how I think things, people or relationships should be and accept them as they are.
A strange thing has happened since I have been practicing radical acceptance. While situations, relationships and people haven’t changed- something has… me! While I still may not like the way people are or situations that occur, I have found that accepting them as they are has offered a soul-settling peace around them. Like the Isaiah 55:12 kind of peace. Standing in this peace I am able to lay down my sword that screams #TypeA #Perfectionist #IamRiiiiight. With my hands now empty, I am able to outstretch them. I can offer my hands to help in situations that need understanding and not judgement. I can offer my hands to embrace others with love exactly where they are. I can offer my hands to serve and bring light into dark places.
Radical acceptance is one of the hardest things I have ever done and the moment I think I have it mastered the Universe offers me another test just to remind me that no, I definitely don’t. As I write this, I wonder what would happen if more of us started practicing radical acceptance? It would require vulnerability and understanding, sprinkled with mercy and grace. What do you think? Want to do something different with me? Want to let go of the way you think things should be and start radically accepting them as they are? It will be hard and maybe even a little painful at times, but what it could offer… well, my sweet friends, what it could offer could save a life, enliven our world, and maybe even impact an entire generation for the better.
Meet you back here next week, same time, same place!