parenting

The Power of Starting Your Day Off Right

My husband started doing this thing awhile ago that literally had me thinking he was crazy. He started setting an alarm and waking up before everyone else in the house. His reasoning? He wanted to have time to ease into his day, he wanted to have time to himself to drink a hot cup of coffee and read, pretty much he wanted time to himself before the craziness of the day kicked in.

I could appreciate that. Because the days are crazy and there’s nothing worse than getting slammed out of bed, having to hit the ground running first thing in the morning. But when he started doing this, I was still in such a point of pain and my sleep at night was suffering SO much that the thought of setting an alarm to go off even earlier was like sheer torture to me. Any extra sleep I could get was a luxury, and mind you Grace was sleeping through the night at this point. But I wasn’t. My back was in so much pain, it was so inflamed that I would wake up on a good night at least once in pain to the point I couldn’t move, and it would take me at least an hour to go back to sleep. I went to bed exhausted and I was waking up exhausted.

Here I was thinking post foot injury that it would be my foot that would cause me the most amount of grief, when in reality, post partum, my back was worse than a hot mess. A hot mess express perhaps? I was listening to my doctor who was telling me to focus on core exercises to help support my low back help, which of course made intuitive sense to me as a Pilates instructor. But the pain was going nowhere fast and as anyone with chronic pain can attest, when you have chronic pain, it literally impacts every single aspect of your life. Not just your body and how it functions but EVERYTHING. 

So no way in HELL was I going to be setting an alarm. I was looking to sleep in, I was looking to wake up feeling refreshed. I kept at it with the core exercises, I was already eating clean AF so I wasn’t too concerned about eating foods that were anti-inflammatory (because I already was) and I just waited for things to change. It killed me, this waiting around. 

Finally after a few months of doing Isagenix, with my digestion back to normal and the toxins leaving my body at a rapid pace, I slept through the night for the first time since I had Grace. It was over two years and I remember waking up thinking “Whoa, WTF just happened?”. I felt like a freaking human again and it was the BEST FEELING EVER. I finally felt like myself. I finally looked like myself because while I didn’t lose a lot of weight (I lost my baby weight ironically super fast, but the inflammation that stayed around made me look like I hadn’t lost anything), I had lost my muscle tone and I had ENERGY. Chronic pain is this sneaky thing because it takes so much energy for your body to be in a constant state of pain that you’re left feeling depleted constantly. Combo that with the sleep deprivation of having a newborn child and it’s a recipe for disaster. I’m not kidding when I say I was so tired and run down, that I would drive to places, park my car and then wonder how I got there because I couldn’t remember the drive.

But now I felt like I had my life back. I can’t even begin to explain to you the relief I felt. It was like the clouds parted and freaking angels were singing from the heavens. It was only then that I felt like ok maybe I COULD set an alarm and get up before the rest of my house so I could ease into my day like I did pre-baby.

I started doing it and I learned that I actually really loved it. At first, my morning routine was nothing fancy, sometimes I would just lay in bed and give my brain a moment to wake up, sometimes I would get up and get coffee, sometimes I would snuggle one of my puppies.

Now my morning routine is intentional. Now I understand that how I start my day, including my first thoughts of the day, set the trajectory for my whole day. If you read my last blog, my initial thoughts in the morning are the same. I still wake up thanking God for the day ahead of me, being grateful for the life I had, and being grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to share my story and experiences with others as a means to empower the people around me. Don’t get me wrong, some days still go nuts and the morning routine doesn’t happen, but the majority of the mornings, I’m doing it. Even if it’s done in pieces or with Grace meditating with me, it still happens.

Now I set my alarm at night looking forward to the time I’ll have in the morning to pray, read my devotional, journal about the things I’m grateful for and most importantly, snuggle a puppy.

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What's Your First Thought In the Morning?

I want you to know that as I’m writing this, a swarm of bees is surrounding my house because it’s springtime and they want to know where to put their queen. Of course right? Just when you think things are going your way or when you have a certain plan for your day, the universe literally sends you bees. Is that a sign of the apocalypse? I can’t remember.

That’s the thing about life though, it’s unpredictable at best. Same with parenting. As soon as you think you have some of it or all of it figured out, the universe (or your kids) throw you a total curveball.

What’s your first thought when you wake up in the morning? I know it seems unrelated but go with me on this one. Do you wake up thinking about how tired you are? How you’re SOOOO not looking forward to your work day? Do you wake up on a Wednesday wishing it was a Saturday?

The first business coach I ever had asked me that question as one of her interview questions for new coaching clients. My answer? I wake up every morning looking at the amazing view in the house I own with my husband and I think “Good fuck this is a good day. Thank God for this day.” Everyday. Rain or shine. Crappy sleep or 10 hours of sleeping like a rock. It doesn’t matter. That’s always my first thought. 

It wasn’t always that way thought, especially when I first got hurt or even right after I had Grace. When I first got hurt, there was no way I could have approached anything from a place of gratitude, even though I should have because that situation could’ve been way worse on a multitude of levels (trust me, I’ve ran through them all in my mind). I was too angry and quite frankly too scared about what I would do with my future to be looking at anything in my life from a place of gratitude. I was too busy thinking about what went wrong, how I could’ve prevented it, and what my future held.

After I had Grace, while I wasn’t depressed, I was so focused on the pain my body was in especially in my back as well as how tired I was that I couldn’t be grateful for everything around me. When you have chronic pain, pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night, pain that leaves you unable to stand for longer than 2 minutes, pain that makes it miserable to sit for longer than 2 minutes, there’s not a whole lot else that consumes your thoughts.

At least in both instances, that’s how things were for awhile. But then when I started to come out of the other side of the pain, when I let go of how much worse things could have gone (in both cases), I started realizing how good I had things. Granted this wasn’t something that happened overnight. In both instances, there was a TON that happened that I needed to process. I needed to think about the worse case scenarios, I needed to think about the bad shit, I needed to perseverate on all of it for a little bit. But then I needed to stop. Because focusing on how bad things were, focusing on how much worse things could’ve been, wasn’t serving anyone.

I did what I needed to do to find the silver lining on the cloud. It was necessary for my survival. Now that I’m on the other side, I get to wake up every day excited for the day, grateful for the day, and thankful for whatever it holds for me.

Now I understand that having that mindset serves me on a greater level because it allows me not only to deal with things like bees in my yard with some levity. It also allows me to not give up when things get hard, because they will get hard. It allows me to continue to push through to my fitness goals, even with things that could be viewed as obstacles like chronic pain and previous injury. It gives me the perspective on a good workout to know I’m getting stronger and pushing past my limits, and it gives me the perspective on bad workouts to know that I’m still getting stronger and I’m learning about myself.

So what’s your first thought in the morning? Is it time to change it?

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Let's Switch It Up

I realize that up until now, the intention of this blog has been for me to share funny parenting stories. While I will still be doing that, I feel like it’s time to expand the horizon of this blog into something more, something still funny and still equally worthwhile.

I think it’s time for you to learn a little more about me, about how I operate and about how I integrate all of these healthy things into my life and ultimately why that matters to me. I guess on some level that’s important for Grace too so she can understand her Mama a little better. 

But ultimately, especially when you’re working with someone, be it through coaching, or even just using their workouts or recipes, it’s good to know their motivation. It’s good to know why they’ve decided to do the things they do so you can decide whether or not they’re someone you vibe with.

So coming in hot with all things mommyhood and just adulting at its finest. The good, the bad and the ugly because that’s often how life goes for all of us and if we can’t support each other then really what’s the point?

I figure my mindset shapes how I do pretty much everything, including parent, so knowing me and knowing my mindset will help you understand how I am (especially with my funny parenting antics) even more!

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Why Does Everything Embarrassing Happen in Public?

Specifically Trader Joe’s. Because let’s be honest, she could totally do these things at home but it never goes down that way.

I should start by saying that having a four year old is currently OWNING me. Anyone who said that the terrible two’s were bad obviously has only had one child who is still two and hasn’t had the lovely experience of dealing with a four year old. Don’t get me wrong, I love my child too much to even describe but GAHHHHH!!!! The attitude, the talking back, the sass, are out of CONTROL. Not to mention the fact that I feel like I’m on an emotional rollercoaster every day. I’ve literally never seen a single person cycle through so many emotions in such a short duration, like 10 minutes (I’m being generous, it’s more like 5 minutes). And yes, I discipline in a way that’s appropriate for her age and all of those things, I just know that this is currently a season and it’s not a season I’m enjoying overall.

Gone is my little girl with the occasional meltdown, replaced with a child who has a HUGE opinion and is articulate to a scary degree. Don’t get me wrong, she’s still the sweetest, kindest and most compassionate child I’ve ever met, but wow when she turns Dr. Jekyll she goes FULL ON.

One of the biggest things we’ve been contending with is the selective listening and follow through (yes this is a four year old and yes I know I’m screwed when she’s a teenager). I feel like I repeat myself SO much and now I truly understand why by the time you’ve repeated yourself 22 times, you’re not longer speaking in a calm tone of voice.

But of course the one time you don’t want them to listen is the time they actually listen. We were in a rush, granted that’s how I live my life lately, and I realized after I got my purse in the car that my keys were in my purse in the car and I almost locked myself out of my car. Thank goodness for fancy fangled key FOBS that won’t allow that to happen. Of course I was frustrated by the maneuver I pulled and uttered an “oh crap”, not even realizing that the kid was RIGHT THERE.

Yes I know there are worse curse words that can be uttered, but of course this was the one that Grace decided not only to repeat but to repeat on repeat. Of course in this moment she decided to become a parrot and then when I told her that only grown ups can say those words, she started in with “But I like crap”, “Crap is my favorite”, “Mommy don’t you like crap?”.

Insert smack my face emoji here. OF COURSE. She can’t seem to listen to anything I say, she can’t seem to do anything I ask without me getting upset but this one thing she nails on the first attempt.

Side note, yes she did stop but not without some convincing.

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Don't Worry Mama, I Know Those Are Bad Words

We live on music in my house. We always have music playing, in the house, in the car, it doesn’t matter. I mean it makes sense because I learned how to write and read music when I was a kid, my parents always played music for us (I have awesome memories of listening to Fleetwood Mac as a kid, still love them) and encourage my brother and I to have pretty eclectic taste when it came to our jams.

Needless to say Grace has been exposed to all kinds of music from the time she was an infant. Different decades, different genres, everything we listen to, she listens to as well. Of course this means major jam out time when we’re in the car, because otherwise car rides are boring and horrible. I mean I’m just saying, a car ride with some good tunes is life for us. I’m sure you understand.

So whoops when I realized too late that the playlist rocking out in my car one day was Mommy’s playlist with the explicit language and not the censored child playlist. Bigger whoops when the song that came on was a hip hop song that Mommy loves (and Grace does too but up until this point she had only heard the censored version) with ALL the language. Like ALL of the language. Of course I realized this way too late and when I went to change the song, not that it mattered but it’s the thought that counts, Grace BEGGED me to keep the song on.

Ok so the song stays on. But so begins the conversation about bad language which pretty much was the 4 year old explanation of how there’s bad words that you don’t say out loud, but when it’s in a song you can sing along with the song in your head. Silently. I think at one point I even told her that there were words in the song that she would NEVER hear Mommy (or anyone else in her life for that matter) say out loud.

Conversation over, song over, here I am thinking maybe I dodged the proverbial bullet. Ironically, I was even thinking wow she let that go way faster than I thought she would have.

I was wrong. Of course I was wrong. So the next time we get into the car, the music comes on and Grace tells me, “Mommy, can we listen to the song with the bad language so I can sing along to it in my head?”. Whoops.

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Her Magic Wand is Broken

What a tragedy right? So is the fact that my kid is totally NOT napping when she should be as I write this blog. Ugh, this phase of transitioning out of naps has totally NOT been our golden moment because she so desperately still needs to sleep and just won’t, there’s just too much going on inside that brain of hers to let her rest. But that’s another story for another time.

This one is about my kid and her magic wand. Which actually is appropriate for her not napping because it has me reflecting on how much really things have changed since I became a Mommy. We went from her wake up being at 4:30a everyday (yes I’m serious, I thought I was going to die from exhaustion) and her first nap being in the stroller during Sully’s walk, to her having only one nap a day and walks consisting of a park trip to wear her out.

Now walks are just something she tolerates. Because it’s exercise for the puppies, she knows she has to stay in the stroller so I know it’s not the most exciting way for her to spend her time. But in reality life could be worse, so walking we go. Granted I do try to make it as fun as I can with running commentary about the trees, all the things I see, that sort of thing.

But we also are collectors of sticks on our walks. For some reason the trees around where we live give the BEST sticks in the whole world. The costume designers from Harry Potter literally could’ve used these sticks as wands in the movies, they’re that good.

Naturally the kiddo calls them her wands and regularly does magic spells while we’re walking. Because why not? It keeps her entertained and quite frankly watching her imagination go wild is also super entertaining for me.

So one morning we’re enjoying our walk and she’s super excited because Mommy found a particularly AMAZING stick, and she’s saying “magical wand, magical wand, turn me into a Princess.” She’s also turning the dogs into various creatures and the trees into other things, basically she’s having a ball and living her best life.

Then she turns to me and says “magical wand, magical wand, turn Mommy into a Princess” and I promptly remind her that Mommy is the Queen, not a princess and she says “oh yes Your Majesty” (did I mention my kid calls me Your Majesty? She came up with that one on her own and I’m not fighting it).

She looks at me again, takes up her wand and says “magical wand, magical wand, turn Mommy into a Queen” and then starts banging the wand on the side of the stroller and yelling “WHY AREN’T YOU WORKING WAND??”.

I had to stop walking I was laughing so hard. Her comedic timing is ON FIRE and the best part is that she doesn’t even realize that she’s being funny.

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The Mulan Superhero Princess

She Wants My Car

Sometimes the things that come out of my kiddo’s mouth astound me. There’s really no other way to put it. I don’t know how she comes up with this stuff. It makes me wonder who at school is talking like that or if she heard it on TV or even from me without me realizing it (because let’s be honest we’re all guilty of those moments).

Nonetheless, she surprises me. It’s not always crazy stuff either, sometimes it’s super sweet things like the big hugs and thank yous I get for washing her sheets and blankies, or the prayers she says at the end of her day. It’s such an insightful experience for me because I get to see how much she really is taking in from the world around her.

Apparently part of what she’s taking in right now is that she is a little kid who will one day become a big kid and becoming a big kid means she gets to drive my car. Or so I’ve been told. By her. Multiple times.

So I guess I need to realize that she won’t be my little one for forever, even though I should already realize that because she’s almost as tall as me and she’s only 4. And as she grows it does mean that she’ll be able to gain more independence and be able to have more responsibility, blah blah, adulting isn’t fun ALL the time (but she doesn’t know that yet).

At least now every time we’re in MY car and she tells me how much she loves Mommy’s car and how one day she’ll be driving Mommy’s car instead of Mommy (and in Mommy’s mind, I have a super nice Range to ensure that I still have a car when she takes mine), we also get to talk about how driving a car is a HUGE privilege. It’s not something that just happens, well at least not for me, and if it’s something she wants then she has to have responsibilities like a job.

Because cars cost money, lots of money, and there’s no way to pay for a car without a job, well I guess there are tons of ways to pay for a car without a job, but she doesn’t need to know that because that will NOT be the case for her.

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My Kid is a Back Seat Driver

Apologies to anyone who lives near us. I’m serious. I shouldn’t be surprised that this is even happening. My kid is the WORST back seat driver, and while I love my husband, she completely gets it from him.

At first I didn’t believe it. My parents were watching her while I worked one morning and while she gave them a tour of our little town, she apparently also yelled (from her car seat) at a person using the cross walk because they weren’t crossing quickly enough. For her liking at least. Which is when I really wish I had that emoji in this blog of a girl hitting herself in the face. Because that’s what I feel like.

But that incident was months ago so I thought it was a fluke thing, this wasn’t regular behavior and I had nothing to worry about.

Until today. When I was stopped at a red light that was apparently not changing fast enough and Grace (again from the car seat) started yelling that she didn't like red lights and green lights meant go, so she needed a green light NOW. NOW. NOW.

You know those moments as a parent when you’re thinking well I really need to handle this but she can’t see me laugh because it’s going to positively reinforce the negative behavior? That’s how I felt. That’s exactly how I felt.

Sometimes it would be so much easier to be a stern parent if she wasn’t so funny all the time.

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I Hate Naptime

I know what you’re thinking. But nap time is the best. Agreed. Totally agreed. I used to absolutely LOVE naptime. Gosh I could get SO MUCH DONE during naptime. Even just sitting in my house in silence felt like an accomplishment, and one I would gladly take.

But we’re headed into this dreaded nap transition where she doesn’t think she needs a nap, but she clearly needs a nap otherwise the whole world suffers because she doesn’t nap (I know I’m being dramatic, but the no nap days are AWFUL…and then the next day is even worse). My child is not one of those kids who will sleep in the next day because she doesn’t nap. While I can and do lay her down for bed earlier, she’s up all bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning at the exact same time. And then 5 minutes into the day, she’s a cranky pants. But that’s a blog for another time, just know that it’s such a struggle in my house that her no napping self has the nickname of No Nap Sally (it’s her alter ego).

Needless to say, I’m standing on the cliff of desperation for any possible way to make her FREAKING EXHAUSTED so she’ll sleep for at least an hour. I would pay her money at this point to just rest. Seriously. I’m out of ideas. And don’t get me wrong I know this is a transition every parent goes through, I just don’t like it because of how bad her behavior becomes as a result because she’s just so dang tired.

So we’re in the midst of doing the naptime routine dance one day, and I can already tell it’s going to be one of those days. Of course though because I have to go back to work and I know I’ll come home exhausted. It’s like karma for a previous bad deed. Coming home exhausted to an exhausted, crying child.

But she just had ENERGY. Even when I took her into her room that was all nice and dark, she was still walking in literal circles. And then she started jumping and I thought cool, maybe it’ll make her tired, jumping sure does make me tired. And then she gets on the ground and goes into a full plank, telling me that she has to do her workout. Ok cool kid, have at it, plank makes me tired, maybe it’ll do the same for you. Except somehow I ended up being the one doing a plank and then push ups because she wanted to see what a push up looked like (I guess I need to work on my verbal cues), I ended up tired from my impromptu workout and she ended up just playing in her bed.

Maybe tomorrow will be better…

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My Child is a Blank Canvas

It took me a long time to become a parent. Not because I didn’t want to be a Mama, but because I was so fortunate to have all these amazing moms already in my tribe, who were always fantastically honest with me when it came to the struggles and pitfalls of parenting. And I listened to them. In my mind, they were (and still are) experts in their fields of parenting practice because they live the life of being involved and active parents.

So it took me awhile and I don’t regret it. I wanted to be young and selfishly enjoy sleeping in on a Sunday morning or watching movies all day on a rainy day when I could. I didn’t want to have the obligations of being a parent. I knew when I could be ok with giving up that sense of freedom for a sense of responsibility, then I could become a parent.

Along this journey, the one thing that always leaves me in awe is the tremendous amount of responsibility on so many different levels you take on when you become a parent. Your child is literally a blank canvas when it comes to everything in the world and everything they learn will be a result of you teaching it to them. That always really stuck with me. That her views on people, on right and wrong, on even how to cook an egg would be the result of me teaching her. For me, this was always a HUGE thing and while I wanted it, it also made me feel like this parenting thing isn’t for the faint of heart.

We’ve hit our major developmental milestones for her age and all of that with relative ease which I seriously thank God for everyday because I know not every parent has that experience, and now we’re starting to learn more abstract ideas. Yep. The hard to explain ones because they need to be explained to a 3 year old in a way that a 3 year old can understand, when let’s be honest, some of the things that happen in the world are still difficult for my adult brain to grasp.

Nonetheless, we truck along. And we approach the idea of stealing. Well specifically, taking something that isn’t yours without permission, thanks to a Lilo and Stitch book we borrowed from the library. She was very confused why Stitch could take a bike that wasn’t his, but she can’t take something from a store (for instance) if Mommy hasn’t paid for it. I swear she understood that taking something that’s not yours is wrong and it hurts people, blah blah, all those good moral things, blah blah.

I thought wow this is really sticking because every time we read the book, she could comment about how Stitch shouldn’t have taken the bike because it wasn’t his, and it belonged to this girl, and it was mean. I thought wow maybe this has potential to be a parenting win.

Then one day we’re at the pool, because that’s her favorite place in the summer, and she was playing with this toy boat that some kid left there, totally struggling as to why she couldn’t take said boat home to play with in her bathtub. Me, being the obvious genius I am, equated it back to the bike and Stitch and taking something that isn’t yours. I told her maybe the owner of the boat would come back to get their boat and they would be so sad if it wasn’t there because in their mind, it should still be there.

I felt like she was grasping the idea, she seemed on board, she was agreeing with me and said she understood why we needed to leave the boat there. So I thought well what the heck let’s see where she’s at with all this and I asked her, do you remember the fancy word for taking something that’s not yours? I didn’t expect her to know it, just so we’re clear…and she said “Of course Mama. Unfortunate. Because he left it and I got it.”

Oh geez. Back to the drawing board I guess…