Back at it!

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Hey Ya’ll! It’s 2019 and this is the first time I am writing in a very long time. I think it is safe to say it’s been a minute or so… So let’s pick up where we left off shall we?

Before that, let me catch you all up.

LIFE, remember that good friend, well it happened. I jumped in to blogging last year with the intent of sharing my life with other women to connect and form a community online. Typical wanna-be blogger stuff ya know? I have a crazy life like most of you filled with ups and downs and writing and blogging was my release.

As there were more ups and downs (definitely more ups than downs) I pushed writing to the back burner. After over 6 months of pulling back I realized it was something I missed and enjoyed doing. I received a few messages, texts and phone calls from friends and acquaintances that I had no clue were reading my blog when I posted something. (Which by the way made me feel so special!) I was so happy that many of you were able to relate to me and over the period of time that I “disconnected” from my blog, I realized I missed that small sense of community and upliftment. (That is not a word, but I think it should be so i’m keeping it there.)

I decided this was my “me thing.” So many of us shelve ourselves for people or events that we think are priorities but forgetting we are our first priority.

I’ve given some thought to the safety procedures on a plane that a flight attendant goes over prior to take off. Make sure to secure your oxygen mask before attending to your children.

Well shit, isn’t that the truth. In the heat of the moment (life) we jump to assisting the ones we love when we have not taken care of ourselves first, because we are, and dare I say it, selfless. BUT, I have come to the realization that I am able to take care of the ones I love when I, myself are in a better state of clarity, mind and happiness. So here I am, honest, as I promised about my life and where I have been.

In this whirlwind of what feels like forever this has been my messy, beautiful life…

  • Our family moved across the United States
  • I started my children at a new school, and started volunteering there a few hours
  • Started my children in 3 different sports and 2 different activities (separately)
  • I started a new job in a new city
  • Started to make new friends
  • Got a puppy! (This is probably the most exciting one)
  • Committed myself to a new car I’ve been wanting for a decade (still no regrets, check back in a month, I am sure that will change 🙂
  • Got involved with a new community
  • Started a giveback program (currently in the process of re-strategizing)
  • Got Engaged!!
  • Nearly killed my fiance a few times (vice versa; we’re still here though, haha!)
  • Traveled to Minnesota in the Summer – it felt good to come back!
  • New Orleans for our Anniversary – trip blog and recommendations coming.. no ETA 🙂
  • trip to California – always home ❤
  • Gained 20 lbs in 10 months (It’s happy weight?)
  • Started building a home (if this is not the most grueling thing in the world)
  • Got my wisdom teeth taken out (3 of them!). I DO NOT advise at the age of 28
  • My older son started Sclerotherapy (surgery to take care of some venous malformations in this leg. 1 surgery of 3 in the books… blog on this too later, maybe?)

And it doesn’t stop there friends!

  • We set a date for our Wedding, October 19th, 2019!
  • HAHA! To the last one, right? 7 months away!! So Wedding planning is in full force!
  • We move in to our home in 7 weeks
  • I am still working full time… HELP!
  • Gearing up for Summer vacation… also HELP!
  • Going to Minneapolis for a weekend of Wedding Dress Shopping (EXCITING!)
  • Having a Bachelorette Party in Vegas in May (need I say more?)
  • Bridal Festivities in Minnesota in July (heart skipping beats!)

Perfect time for me to start blogging again right? Even though it doesn’t seem like it, there is probably no better time. I found myself needing to make more me time and force myself to do things I enjoy and love. This is not life advice, I will leave that to your therapist or hairstylist, this is just my realization. If I can’t control everything in my life, I can at least control my happiness.

The whole gaining 20 pounds thing, is a little WILD, so I plan on exercising 3 times a week. I use that word loosely… I plan on putting work aside when possible and logging on for only 2 hours on my days off and focusing my free time on my children and being completely present to them. And most importantly, I plan on writing once a week, about something, anything and hopefully you will read it 🙂 and even better, relate in some way.

I can’t be the only one right? That has gotten so wrapped up in work, children, commitments, LIFE? Well feel free to share your ideas on how you started to take control of your happiness with me.

Until next time….

 

 

 

Mother’s Day 2020

HAPPY MOTHER’s  DAY

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers. To the Mother’s to birth children, foster children, adopted children, rainbow children and the children that made it into our hearts and not to this earth. Happy Mother’s Day to the grandmothers, aunts, teachers, social workers and friends that play the role of a mother in any child’s life. 

I am a wife, a friend, a daughter, an advocate and ally, a woman that has earned her place in the corporate world and most importantly I have been blessed and lucky in this lifetime to also become a mother. I am a mother to two creative, funny, loving and caring human beings. My older son Malik is just like any other 11 year old boy, into video games, building with legos and experimenting. My 7 year old Mikail is into anything that revolves around sports or getting outside. 11 years ago I became a mother. Looking back at 11 years of motherhood I have experienced every emotion humanly possible.

My journey of motherhood began when I was 17 years old. I found out I was pregnant half way through my senior year of high school. My parents belonged to a huge Sri Lankan Muslim community. Generations of Muslims; a background of traditional customs. Finding out I was pregnant was going to shake my parents world. Everything they knew was going to change; their circle, their faith, the life they envisioned for me, their marriage… their entire life. 

3 months into my pregnancy I walked into an abortion clinic. In the steps I took into the clinic I stood there. Behind me I had my friends, ones I would keep for a lifetime and many that I would lose, my faith community, my life, my future, college, independence and freedom to become whomever I chose to be. In front of me was nothing but a blur. I had no clue how to imagine what my life would be. I had no clue what becoming a mother would entail, how hard motherhood would be;  how rewarding or how uncertain, unjust and down right scary it would be.

And right where I was standing, I had the choice to make a decision as to choose where I would go. I had that moment in time to define my life. And then to decide the life of this unborn child. Before #prolife was a thing and before I even understood the meaning of pro-choice. 

With an ultrasound and a heartbeat; I knew in my heart regardless of what unknowns were in front of me, I had already become a mother. Today those unknowns have become the very reason I wake up every morning. It has been the fuel to my fire, my aspirations and my inspiration. Becoming a young mother was my purpose in life and is my purpose every remaining day of my life. Protecting my children is the only job I have been given that I will give my complete and whole heart and soul to.

In the past 11 years I have watched Pro-Life marches, petitions to end abortions, the media spinnng every and any story in every which direction. I quickly learned my heart, and I knew for myself I stood for life. I stand for life for myself and any life I am blessed to bring to this world. As an advocate for women I know my heart only allows me to make that decision for myself. I became a mother the moment there were two heart beats in my body. It seems that heartbeat never left my body, it simply lives outside of my body.

These 11 years motherhood has brought me so much joy. To watch my child and then children grow into these beautiful beings right before my eyes. In the same breath my heart has broken and has been broken so many times into so many pieces seeing the things I have seen in this world since becoming a mother. 

Quran – “And among His wonders is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues and colors. For in this, behold, there are messages indeed for all who are possessed of innate knowledge!” Surah 30 Verse 22

This year, Mother’s Day hits a little harder. This has been by far been the hardest week that I have ever had as a mother. This week my career has put me in a place that may put physical distance between myself and my family. Miles and miles in between my marriage of just 5 months. Leaving my husband to become an even more pivotal part in my children’s lives. This week I have continued to pour my soul into fighting for immigrant refugee children. Fighting to show the value in their life and their right to live freely. This week I watched video footage of a 25 year old black man, hunted, shot and murdered. This week I have found myself worked up, crying, writing and angry at the world. 

Then when I thought it could not get any harder, I told my 11 year old Black son once again that he will be treated unjustly, unfairly many times in his life. With tears in my tears and a dagger through my heart I looked at him and said, “I will protect you with every last breath in me, I would stand in front of 100 bullets for you but one day when I am not near and you find yourself facing hate, discriminitation, and unjust moments like this, hear my words; remember to stand tall. DO NOT run. You may be provoked, angered and physically harmed but DO NOT RUN. It doesn’t matter if it is during the day or night you stand. You pray hard and believe and hope that whomever you are facing finds a light to see value in your life. Pray hard that they see you first as a human being, sees you as a child of a mother, sees that our lives will never be the same without you in it, and then as a black child and one day as a black man. You don’t have options, you have only your life. This will be the cost of your life. DO NOT RUN.” 

“He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.” Proverbs 17:15

My life has never been easy. Many of these parts of my life I have molded on my own. Many decisions I have made have been wrong ones. My children have never been one of those mistakes. I wish I was the one that chose to bring Malik to this earth but I was merely chosen to be the strong mother of my 11 year old black son, to remind anyone that is Pro-Life, that stands for life from conception to natural death stands for that regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. You stand for justice, you stand for equality, you stand for mercy, for love for every child, every adult every being. Every single heartbeat. 

Torah – “You shall not oppress a stranger for you know the feelings of the stranger having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.” – Exodus 23:5

This Mother’s Day find what your heart aligns with. Look at your children, what conversations are you having them? What conversation are you blessed to not have with them. What are worries that keep you up at night. Are these worries that their life will be weighed upon?

A special Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers who put their children to bed not knowing if they will make it past political unrest in their home country’s to protect their children tomorrow. Those mothers making a long dangerous journey across many borders with their children in their arms to flee oppression. The mothers in detention centers wrapping their uncertain arms around their hungry children. A Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers sacrificing and working 2 or 3 jobs to put food on the table. A Happy Mothers Day to the mothers fighting poverty giving their every last breath to hoping their children have a different future. Happy Mothers Day to the abused mother trying her best to protect her child. And today a special Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers Burying their children. To the mothers whose children were brutally murdered to no fault of their own. Your child should be walking through your door with flowers, thanking you for the sacrifices you have made. Your child’s death will not be in vain. This Mother’s Day I celebrate you.

This world was unjust to you. I am sorry that today should be one of your most joyous days of the year and today you mourn your child. Your child should have returned home today. There are many ways in which I have lost hope in this world. I have not yet lost faith and hope in women and in mothers. We have not done our part yet. We have yet to change this world. Happy Mother’s Day.

Doing Our Part: COVID-19

 

Why don’t we get right to the topic that everyone is talking about… This one is long, read it all, you have time now that you’re probably at home.

COVID-19 also know as the Coronavirus is here. Where you ask? Everywhere?

How do I know this? Well, here is the thing. I don’t for a fact know that this is not some government or world collabrative conspiracy; the thought of that makes me cringe, so stop saying it. I mean maybe we are all on some game show and will be awarded a grand prize for not loosing our shit, but the likelihood of that is 0 to none.

But here’s what I do know. I am NOT a doctor. I am also NOT a doctor or health care professional attending to anyone with COVID-19 or diagnosing it. I DO NOT work for the CDC or the Federal Government and I do not study diseases and viruses for a living. I work in hospitality. An industry like many or most that are being heavily hit by this pandemic.

I AM like most Americans, below average in knowledge when it comes to this disease or most diseases. I can spend all day and night compiling a list of “facts” and putting together my own research or I can follow the instruction of professionals who do this for a living.

I can tell you all the reasons why this virus should not have any impact on my life.

  • I am beyond “blessed” to be a healthy 29 year old female (what we know of this virus is that it is primarily affecting individuals 60 years and older? maybe not?)
  • I am beyond “grateful” that I have two healthy children
  • I have a wonderful husband who is also also a healthy individual with a flexible job and means of income
  • I do not have family that I will come into contact with in the high risk category of 60+ year old adults
  • I work for a company that is trying to do it’s best to keep afloat and keep their employees employeed (but who knows for how long)

And honestly… we are completely content hanging out at home with our children and dog (most days 🙂

So why would I take the information I am given and proceed with caution? For these few reasons…

  • I work with a group of individuals that may go home to family that are immunocompromised or elderly
  • I may come in contact with individuals in the high risk category of 60+ years old in my place of work
  • I have encountered enough people over the course of my life who have minor to fatal diagnosis’ that are impacted by this illness to care
  • Most of the people I work with outside of my career and volunteer for are not financially secure to plan, quarantine or live without basic necessities for multiple weeks
  • Although I have a job today, I may not tomorrow because it is simply not safe for me to be around anyone; really for any one of us

I can very well easily not care. Seems like most Americans are split between #flatteningthecurve and #notgivingashit Whats new? We like to sit on opposite sides of the spectrum; rarely the solution is on either side but possibly in the middle.

I have seen many memes floating around but the one that stands out most is a simple thought. that seems to be coming from a huge population of Americans… “This virus won’t affect most healthy individuals, it will only affect the elderly and immunocompromised. The fact that it doesn’t stop us is the problem it self.”

Something else that caught my eye is an old highschool classmate of mine who posted a picture of her family including her child on what looks like a breathing tube; joyful and happy as ever, but with the words “Your only, is my everything.” Really let that sink in. These are her cards, her life, her child, her everything. That is all we really need to see right? It should be. But apparently not, so I will keep going.

This is the probably the most alarming thing I have seen on Instagram.

Shoud I keep going? Okay will do…

Harsh right? In all honesty, it is too close to the truth right now. Check out ‘Rythm 0’ a live exhibit by Marina Abromovic from the 1970s. When allowed to people visiting the exhibit did terrible things to this woman. After the experiment no one could look her in the face. Oh humanity… you fool me sometimes.

I get it, this world is run on money, oil, resources etc. etc. etc. We as human beings are greedy. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. US. myself included. The thought of the economy going down on a world scale still leaves us in utter panic about our personal financial crisis even if it has such little play or affect by all of this. So the extreme grocery shopping and stock piling is some what of a natural response per our regular asshole like behavior. (The toilet paper situation I am yet to understand)

But I can’t help but think that although there is no solution to all of this, we can still work together. I mean that or we all die together?

Some people, like myself, are still working. IT IS A LUXURY NOT TO HAVE TO WORK EVEN IF YOUR COMPANY IS STILL OPEN. People that are still working are probably worried about a virus possibily taking down your family or your electricity being shut off. Either way I am sure our company will soon follow suit and I too will be at home. In the mean time trust that for me is it to work and back.

No one with common sense, outside of the Healthcare field or grocery store workers (because let’s be honest they are the true heroes here) are working because they want to contribute to this spread. Although my family is quarantined at home and my husband is working from our dining room, I still have to shower, sanitize, pray, hang garlic around my neck, gargle salt water and do a nightly ritual hoping I don’t catch this thing and worse, pass it along.

So now that we have that covered let’s go over a few things…

-Firstly, talk to your children. Explain what is going on. Don’t scare them, well hell scare them a little, my kids shower twice a day now 🙂 its great! (I have two boys…) They are and will be a part of this world’s history. We believe in 100% honesty and communication. We talk about the birds and bees, mental health, poverty, racism so why not this right? The more they know the more proactive they are likely to be as well. Plus let’s raise smart children together, yeah?

-Antivaxxers, ya’ll are quiet. Very quiet. Please observe and notice how vaccines work and also watch how viruses and diseases CAN and WILL BE contained. Your rebellion to vaccines put other immunocompromised children at risk; not just during this pandemic but EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I am sure I will receive the googled note from a nurse, the one that is 1 in 30,000 BUT no one wants polio… And if you still don’t get it, let us make this even more simple… we better not see you in line when there is a cure to this sucker.

-People that are stock piling food supplies. Ugh. Yes, you have the means to stock up for 3-6 months. Most Americans do not. Most Americans who do not have the means to stock up for months are the ones working to get that food from the fields, to the cans, to the stores and into your pantry. So fine if you want to stock up like a real A1 jack-o-lantern but realize when everything goes back to normal (which it will) your grocery stores are going to look really bare so get ready to turn in that white color for a quality stained one.

If you are going to stockpile, regardless to how you feel after this post ***please make sure to         shop for items without the WIC logo on the price tag. These products are the only products             the government assistance program fro Mothers, Infants and Children can purchase.***

-To everybody comparing death tolls, survival rates and age brackets. Stop. This is not the flu. We know the flu, SARS, ebola etc. etc. etc. Yes they also grew rapidly. Yes the numbers may be larger, but we have only 3 months of data and as of 3/19/2020 the numbers doubled and it would not be surprising if they double over night, every night for a while. We don’t have a solution but it can start with slowing this down by doing our part.

-Stop saying well there are so many Survivors. Realize survivors, will still live a life with damaged lungs or one of them. These elderly people dying with atleast 5-10 more years now passed away, alone, scared and without family due to contamination rules. We are human one death SHOULD mean something. It is someone’s grandmother, someone’s brother or someone’s 7 year old with asthma. You may think you don’t care, you do, look deep inside, no one is that shitty of a person.

-Wash your hands. That was news from 400 years ago. But hey let’s start doing it now?

-Toilet paper. Stop. Please. This is ridiculous. I want everyone to be able to wipe their behinds. When this is all said and done, no one is shaking my hand because I am not sure who had TP and who didn’t

-Teachers, raises for all of them. My kids are at home with my husband. He should get an award too. And for the teachers getting online to read books for their students to watch, for the ones organizing sack lunches for children without meals, for the teachers offering video conferencing and counseling for our children during this time and the ones sending emails for us 9-5er parents to stay strong as we are now relearning to be parents and even to the one’s who really needed this break to get back to their own family. YOU ARE THE REAL MVPs

– For the Spring breakers. No words. I have seen this all over Instagram. Your grandfather was called to war. You are called to sit on your couch. There is no better time to be quarantined. It is 2020. Netflix, Hulu, AmazonPrime Video… the INTERNET? it is all there, waiting for you. We flex all damn day. Let’s see who looks the cutest on the couch, snap a pic, put it on IG. Let your natural hair color grow out, nails go undone and lashes look like a naked mole rat. Whatever who cares, its COVID-19 we are all going to get ugly together.

-For the healthcare workers. WOW! Every single one of them. For the hospital staff from the maintenance and housekeeping staff to the doctors and nurses. WOW! To walk into a fire every day, look at it in the eyes and say I am here to help and then come back for another round. All of them are going to work for us; the least we can do is stay at home for them. And on that note, stop taking their masks. They need them to stay healthy, when caring for those who are sick and to lower the chances of spreading this. Unless of course you have been hiding your credentials of being a doctor in your back pocket all along and are ready to jump on the line? Then by all means buy up all the masks and we can quarantine you with a COVID-19 patient.

-For everyone that doesn’t believe any of this. See you on the other side. We can always over react and say “whelp that was silly” or we can avoid reacting and not have the oppurtunity to say anything.

-For our government….

…………..

We can all fill in the blank. But let’s all remember these few moments. When this all dies down, and when we are at the polls remember who it was that denied this ever existed a few weeks ago as this nation is now struggling and suffering economically, socially and in our healthcare system. How you choose to lead in a time of crisis is the biggest display of your ability to have ever become and remain a leader.

There is a cure, I know it. I can feel it, a little inkling. There’s talk of a cure through a Malaria drug and a study that went into effect 2 days ago. I have faith in that. I am telling myself that, trust me you should too. It helps. So does a margarita or 4 right now.

I don’t have a solution, clearly, I am writing about this on my blog named Stilettosinasandbox but my suggestion in containing this would be working together with our nation. Locking down every business except grocery stores, pharmacies, hospitals and shelters. Regardless how we feel about this pandemic, one thing is clear we don’t know this  BEAST. We are seeing something that has not been witnessed for GENERATIONS. We are smarter, faster and prepared with more technology than ever before, but we are fueled with more greed than we ever shoud have been.

It seems like the only way out is to collectively struggle. Disagree all you want, I promise this blog and your opinion will probably go no where but if one person buys one less 12 pack of TP or 6 less cans of soup then my job is done. Because you made it possibly for one under privellaged familly to find a way to survive another 2 weeks.

Thanks for reading, now go wash your hands for two happy birthdays. twice 🙂

 

Seeing Faith, When It’s Invisible

This blog post will be more vague than most. Let’s be honest this is a longer conversation that what I can write in the waiting room of Mikail’s doctors appointment this bright and early Friday morning.

Faith is a big deal in our relationship, as you can imagine with Jonathan’s career based in a faith community. I come from somewhat of an in the middle of conservative and liberal Muslim family. What does that look like? Growing up…Sneaking out of the house after bedtime and changing clothes in the car on the way to a party I should have never been at in the first place 🤪 Also being an immigrant my parents toggled between balancing culture shock, values and traditions from our culture and maintaining their faith in a totally new environment. No complaints about how I was raised in my faith. I always knew right from wrong; even when I chose to ignore it and I knew that my purpose was beyond only living my life for me but to impact others around me.

Jonathan is what they call a “cradle Catholic.” You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to use that lingo. He was born and raised Catholic. Church on Sundays, Confirmation, Communion, Easter egg hunts and waiting for St. Nick by the fireplace, the whole shabang! At one point of his life he found himself looking to possibly lead in the church. (Phew… close call. We almost would’ve could’ve never been… JK 😆) In all seriousness though, today, I can proudly say he is a very significant part of his faith community and impacts quite a few lives daily.

Marriage can be a funky concept where you take two people from completely different backgrounds, upbringings, cultures, families and perspectives in the world and merge them together and hope for the best. I suppose we both could have found partners similar to ourselves and eased those hurdles but that would be too easy right? 🤣

Between the two of us we have different families, skin tones, ethnicities, experiences and much more. It honestly makes our relationship very, and I mean very complex. These differences really call us to truly put ourselves in each other’s shoes. Not just the “my wife cooks and cleans after work, I should probably take out the trash,” or “my husband worked all week tirelessly and did the laundry I can run and do the groceries,” kind. Like truly immersing ourselves into each other’s vision of the world. It is practically impossible to be a partner in a relationship if you are not willing to walk the walk of the person you love. Our relationship means toggling between different ideas and values and finding what fits our family best.

Faith is different for everyone. We recognize that sometimes faith is believing in God. Sometimes it is believing in yourself and other people. Sometimes faith is simply hope. We do believe that faith is a pretty fundamental factor in life; in whatever way, shape or form you choose.

When it comes to faith I think the most important perspective we have gained is respect. We have both taken time, energy and heart to learn about each other. Through respecting the values we come from and the values we want to uphold in our family we have to agree on every. Single. One. If it doesn’t sit right with either of us it simply doesn’t make the cut.

We’re not in the business of proselytizing anyone because well…that’s unnecessary, but we believe that finding purpose in ourselves and the people around us help us believe in our faith. That has been the underlying factor of our faith and what has become the foundation of our life together. Faith is such a personal journey and experience. I could be 100% wrong but to me your faith should mold your decisions when it comes to how you raise your children, how you view the world, and expressing those views, your stance on social justice issues, the politics you converse about and just about everything in between.

Our faith in this very moment calls us to be forgiving, kind, understanding, compassionate, and loving to all the people we find so hard to love. Forgiving those that don’t ask for forgiveness. Kind to those who we don’t feel deserve it. Understanding when you can barely find the middle ground. Compassionate even though you have no idea where the other person is or where they are coming from. And loving to people who don’t ask or don’t seem to want our love.

Funny how it is the hardest at home to do all of those things. To wake up every morning and choose to be the best person you can be to the people that surround you, the people you love the most and then to go out to the people that you don’t even know and do it all over again. Many times, and I mean MANY times I need a reminder of that. (Thankfully I have friends to CONSTANTLY remind me of that 😉)

Over the past three years the biggest lesson that I have been blessed to learn in my relationship is that faith is beyond sitting in the front pew of your home parish or letting your forehead hit the prayer mat five times a day. Faith is living the values you believe in, every day of your life even after you leave your place of religion. Faith is expressing and living all of which you hear in a homily, sermon for khutbah in your every action and word.

We are far from living our faith, everyday, but life is that journey for us. And speaking of that journey… I am also going to throw in a shameless plug since we are talking faith…

I AM BEYOND PROUD TO BE THE WIFE OF SUCH AN INSPIRATIONAL MAN.

This weekend Jonathan launches the second round of a program that he has helped in an immense way to bring to his faith community. Along with a group of amazing people who also believe in finding purpose and community; Renew will change so many lives.

I have seen this man put blood, sweat and tears into every aspect of this retreat. He saw a program that changed many lives being discontinued and refused to watch it go away. His faith in God, community and people is truly reflected in every page of these books. His vulnerability and honesty through this process is so admirable. His own breakthrough and rising through his current journey is the definition of what Renew is.

We are constantly striving to find joy and purpose in this world and this is what I have found to be one simple way to possibly find that.

Are Moms Allowed to Time Out?

https://stilettosinasandbox.blog/category/life/  <– Welcome 2020 Post

We all understand the concept of securing our sanity before we are able to assist our children. Or so we think we understand that concept. Think about the last time you took a flight and they mentioned the procedure for the oxygen mask. (I like to use this one a lot)

Securely place the mask over your face and breath normallly, the bag will provide oxygen even if it does not inflate. Secure your mask before helping a child.

If ever face with it, our natural instinct is to jump to help our children regardless of the state we are in. How likely are you able to mentally and physically attend to a child when you are not oay yourself?

As parents we tend to believe that every sacrifice for our child is a sacrifice worth making. Maybe it is engrained in us, maybe  being not okay is just not okay. Or maybe it is; regardless if there is pressure surrounding us or not we tend to put pressure on ourselves.

Trauma is a tricky thing. It comes on when it feels like it is most inconvenient. When it is unplanned and unwanted. When we are inbetween soccer season, or when you are overwhelmed at work or your behind on bills. That leaves us feeling like we are a day late and a penny short. WE. WILL. ALL. EXPERIENCE. TRAUMA. At some point in our lives. In different ways, in different periods of our life and with different people.

But you are a mom right? There’s no time, space or money to have a meltdown. Well trauma doesn’t wait for the green light. So what happens when we get there? We deal.

For me, as a mother, that has looked so different over the course of my 11 years of parenting. Primarily, dealing,for so long looked like smiling when I felt like crying, showing up when I felt like hiding, working longer hours when my body needed a break and participating in even more activities when all I wanted to do was sleep. My dealing actually started feeling a lot like depression. Hold that thought…

depression

[ dih-preshuhn ] A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.
By definition depression would pull me out of all of the things I was currently over working myself with. But being a mother didn’t allow me to do that. I had to be able to maneuver around this feeling without disturbing it or else it would get worse. So long as I ignored it, it couldn’t exist right? Wrong.
So many of us believe that asking for help is accepting defeat. Defeat that you are not a good parent, or you can’t handle being a mother or simply that you are weak.
This isn’t a race or a contest so defeat actually isn’t something we should be concerned about. Defeat looks all too scary when it comes to real life; it looks like giving up. This is our precious mind and with out it our body and spirit don’t seem to align just right.
So how do we keep going? What does help look like?
August of 2019, I fell into a depression, falling head first not knowing which way was up. Two days after I returned from a trip to California, a day after going car shopping with my fiance and the day before my children started school my world shattered. At least my world as I currently knew it. For the first few weeks I was dealing with it, like I have with just about any trauma, for over a decade. This is until I didn’t know how anymore. My body and mind collectively made the decision for me to stop trying to be okay and allow myself to just NOT BE OKAY. As you can imagine this isn’t pretty. It is messy, and painful. But for once I did something different. I asked for help. From anyone and everyone I could possibly think of. In these moments, I couldn’t be the mom I always aspired to be, but my children couldn’t loose a mother for even a week. But what I realized is that my children could gain a village. They could gain friends that were willing to take them to games, help with homework, watch football with them and be there while I slowly got back up.
Help looks like asking a friend to coffee. Talking to a therapist. Sitting with a journal and putting all that you are dealing with on paper. Asking a friend, parent or neighbor for help watching the kids. Dropping the kids off at a play date. Getting on your knees and praying to whomever or whatever that your heart beats to. Getting a massage and your nails done. And when you are tapped out of all of these resources, help looks like calling a local YWCA, women’s group and Facebook moms club. Fact is you are not alone. You are not the only one that feels this overwhelming feeling that you are not able to keep going. And then when you least expect it, there is a magic in this world that when you ask for help, the right people start to show up.
Help looks like anything other than what you are doing right now by keeping it all in. That is not dealing, that is feeding your trauma. I fed mine too long and a beast gets hungry when you don’t feed it.
So my unsolicited advice, is ASK FOR HELP. Everyone, at one point or another, will need it. Your vulnerability to ask first only paves the path for someone else to seek help at some point as well.
*Please note, every blog I write is written with heart, to share with you how I navigate through my life. This is only proven for myself but I hope it can help you overcome something in your life.*

 

 

Hello New Decade!

It’s a new decade, so let’s try this one more time.

https://stilettosinasandbox.blog/category/parenting/ (first blog post back!)

I think I have proved to myself that I do not own the cards that I am dealt. They are simply borrowed. This decade instead of trying to control where my cards are going I am choosing to embrace where they land.

With that, welcome back friends! This is the new(ish) StilettosInASandBox. Many of you that know me outside of my blog know that my life this past year has been a rollercoaster. 6 Flags kind of rollercoaster, the one you stand in line for 2 hours, shake in the seat, scream but also laugh through it and then get stuck upside down in the middle. 🙂

This time I have stayed away from my blog not because I didn’t have time, although I have very little like most of you mamas, but more so because my year was very personal. I needed this year to grow; and with growth comes growing pains. Although I didn’t blog, I picked up journaling. Now I find that I am finally ready to share the pages of my journal with you all.

Through everything I have experienced, I have found a small group of women that have empowered, lifted and supported me. Funny how life will take you through the depths of pain to bring you through a rainbow. I don’t know if any two people can relate on every level but I do believe that every person can find one similar something with anyone standing next to them. That has been a really beautiful realization for me this year. Understanding that everyone struggles with something to some depth, and as humans we need each other to navigate through life.

There is only three reasons you are reading this post;

  1. You accidentally clicked 🙂
  2. You are just one of those miserable people that likes to follow other people’s lives through your screen to criticize them behind their back
  3. You actually find my content relatable! YAY!

So… if you are here because you accidentally clicked, I hope you stick around. You may find something you like.

If you are just that miserable and want to watch my rollercoaster life unravel before your eyes, please take a seat I hope you enjoy the show. Because truly I am writing this blog for the possibility that ONE person finds my content relatable. Maybe that ONE person is going through the muck of life that I found myself in and I am able to walk with them to the rainbow with my words. This blog is for you 😉

Click here for my first blog post: https://stilettosinasandbox.blog/category/parenting/

Mama Monday Motivation

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It’s Monday, you made it. You made it through the laundry, the mopping, cooking, park, gum in the hair, mud in the shoes and finding the old hot dog behind the TV that sparked you Sherlock senses.

And shit… everyone is still breathing, alive and well. I guarantee you probably received a thank you and if you’re lucky maybe a please? Cheers, you’re not the only one.

This summer I have had a few weeks to reflect on my full time job as a mom while my kids have had beyond a fun summer vacation. For the first time, both kids went off to grandpa’s in Los Angeles for 3 weeks, spent a fun filled few weeks in Austin again, and are now with their dad in North Dakota for 10 days. It is funny how missing these chores is what makes me realize how much we do as moms.

Like most of you being a mom is not my only full time job. I recently started working with LaCorsha Hospitality as a Director of Sales on one of their newest project with an upcoming hotel here in Austin. (shameless plug: visit East Austin Hotel in November!) In the midst of the whirlwind, I was added on to open a second property in Salado, Texas. As crazy as this all sounds; this is truly my passion and I could not be more excited. But let’s get real for a moment. That is not always life.

I remember walking into my previous property in Minnesota excited to see my team and staff and ready to empower and support them everyday but dreading the outside factors of my job. Those days can get long and we have all been there. So having a moment to step back and reflect with my children being away, and indulging myself in my career with a company that makes me beyond happy, I wanted to throw some motivation your way.

You, fellow mothers, do a thankless job day in and day out and no matter how many thank yous you get I guarantee its nearly not enough. As women we spend so much time comparing ourselves to each other from grade school to college. When we think we are happy with how our lives turned out, we pop out these angels (or adopt ❤ my personal favorite kind of mom), and start then comparing ourselves to the other moms. The fit moms with the abs, the stay at home moms (bless their hearts for committing to that different kind of hell. I praise them!), the career moms, the moms that send the home made lunches and the moms that don’t forget their children’s birthdays. It is tough competition out there ladies. Guess what? Every single one of them struggles. Their Instagram feed only promises to show you the brighter side of things.

If my career is going well and I am spending every night at the pool with my kids and crafting and parkin’ on the weekends, I can tell you McDonald’s is on the schedule 4-5 times that week.

A small key to happiness I have found in being a mom is, no one does it better than you. No one in your situation, with your children, with your time, your commitments and your energy will do a better job than you. You know what the beauty in that is? You can’t test that theory ;). Feel free to hit your mother or mother in law with that one. Thank me later. In all seriousness, most of the details will not matter. Your children will not remember a mopped floor, unstained t-shirts, 3 course 0 fat, 12g of protein dinners, boxed home made lunches or the smell from that nasty hot dog behind the TV going on week two. They will remember the park, the hikes, the pool, the wrestling matches and the nasty mac and cheese from a box and the route to the McDonalds drive through like it was road to the gold mine in Fort Nite.

So do yourself a favor, let them re-wear the stained shorts. Trust me you will still be tired and you will then know you are doing it right. Tired and happy.

Cheers to another day, week, month. You are the best mama they will ever get and they will only get one!

Finding & Living Your Purpose

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Super dramatic title, I know. I promise this post is equally as dramatic so with this 6 minute read you will definitely have your daily dose of unsolicited advice.

For most of us our careers are what supports our lifestyle, our hobbies are what we do, when and if we have time, our schedules are made up of to do lists and tasks and our goals usually fuel the desire to accomplish all of these things. Dreams and aspirations are usually fond memories and far from our daily life.

I literally cringed typing that because those few sentences were a huge portion of my life. It was my Monday through Sunday, what I breathed and lived. Or thought I was living? So at what point did I go in to autopilot and believe that my life had to be this routine that seemed so normal to me.

When I was a child I remember organizing a New Baby Item Drive; I believe at the age of 9. I had a goal of giving pregnant, under privileged women the essentials of what they needed for the first few weeks with their baby before they were back on the streets of Los Angeles. With two supportive parents, family friends funding my little vision and an idea that I thought could save the world, I was able to create packages for these women to take home with them from the hospital.

Fast forward a few years, when I was a teenager I was familiarizing myself with folks on the streets of Los Angeles on Humanitarian Day or volunteer soup kitchens. After having children I found myself serving food at the local food pantry, volunteering to help women and children at the local YWCA and donating extra items to foundations helping children and women get off the street and into stable housing, incomes and lives.

I would love to say I was giving back because I felt I needed to in my heart, and I am sure as a child that was where it stemmed from. Truth is as I got older and had children of my own I felt almost guilty.  Moving out of my parents’ home at 18, 7 months pregnant with my first son, I was one of those women at some point in my life. Though the streets were not my home and safety was not an issue for me I shared more in common with many of those people than the person I strived to become. The only difference was I had a little bit of luck and far too many blessings that allowed me the chance to become successful in this world.

Though I made some poor decisions, the man upstairs (or the universe, friends of the big man, karma however you want to spin it) had a different plan for me. I was blessed with a few skills, talent and heart to keep pursuing my goals, giving my children and myself the life we want, nothing short of beautiful, adventurous and memorable. Once work and life became more routine I realized I was taking my blessings as a given, as if one day they couldn’t be taken away. I started to realize every year I lease my life but not truly living it to the fullest and making a difference.

About a year and a half ago after going through heartbreak I realized no one should break me. Not because I have taken nearly a decade to build myself, career, life and family but because I have more to give. I have more to offer and to break me would mean I could not pass my light. I knew I wanted to do something. Changing the world was a little out of the scale for me but changing someone’s world was not.

I decided to live with purpose; to change one person’s life outside of my children. After months and months of searching for how I can apply purpose to my life I decided I wanted to help people who were not always given the opportunity to ever find theirs. I decided at the beginning of this year to start writing in hopes of inspiring one person, maybe a tired mother or a heartbroken girl and then to create a chain of hope. With Jonathan cheering me on I created Austin Hope Squad. With every visit to Austin, I planned how I could mark my purpose when I moved here. And what almost felt an overnight change, I found my purpose in life.

Hope Squad Austin

IG: Austinhopesquad

Aside from this being a shameless plug for Austin Hope Squad. It is a slight nudge, asking you if you are living your purpose. Do you wake up to a routine? Do you ever think about a goal or dream you never really got to? Do you think about the day you take your last breath and where ever you go to next, if you left something behind worth remembering? Regardless of if you believe in a life after, do you feel like your time here has been worthwhile?

If the answer is no I encourage you to find your purpose. Of course this is coming from the girl behind this blog so take it as you will. Whether you are an artist with a story to tell, a teacher with an idea that will change the way your students look at their education, a doctor with a gift of healing to offer someone in need, a mother with the talent of comforting someone else’s child as well as your own or just someone who wants more of this beautiful life, find your purpose. And then live it.

Hope you all have a wonderful fourth of July holiday!

That Decade Old Bucket List

So this past week I celebrated my 28th Birthday! I swear I was blowing out my 22 birthday candles, blinked, and my 28th Birthday on Friday, April 20th, 2018 happened. Not any special birthday milestone for most people, nothing like buying my first car on my 18th birthday or shots off the bar at The Hub on ladies night for my 21st. However insignificant a 28th birthday can be to the average adult, this birthday for me, by far was probably the toughest to come up on. Aside from real wrinkles starting to set in and getting tired after a few flights of stairs (HAHA…) I really had a hard time in the weeks prior to my birthday.

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I felt a slight sense of depression coming upon me. I am a firm believer that depression is partially due to being ungrateful. Disagree with me if you must but remember, this is my platform for expressing my opinions so that I will do. I try steering away from “getting depressed” about life circumstances and challenges by comparing the blessings I fail to recognize daily to the misfortunes that others may have. Seems shitty I know, but I truly look at it in a “be grateful for what you have” aspect. Somehow I missed that train for the past couple of weeks. It must have chu chu’d right past my stop.

In the stress of resigning from my current job, applying and interviewing for new jobs, planning and prepping my children’s upcoming schooling and sports, I lost sight of where I am heading.

I am a 28 year old, single (soon to change; Jonathan’s planning on helping with laundry on the weekends!), self sufficient, independent, working mom of two boys. Right? Right. Well… restarting a career, relocating your family, finding a new home, new friends and new lifestyle can be quite a curve ball that takes you right off the straight path.

For months Jonathan and I talked about one of us moving and goals we had in our careers and relationships. The time had come and we made the choice for me to relocate. Just in time for me to find my 10 year high school reunion bucket list. “Own the car I am currently driving, own a home that I am living in and make $100,000 annual salary.” I also found a page in my scrapbook with a high school graduation picture and a note to myself promising to be the best parent I could possibly be to the baby I was carrying. For the past 8 weeks my bucket list just ate at me. I am so close to crossing everything off the list. Am I just going to stop everything, right now? And just move?

Being a city girl, living in small town Minnesota or North Dakota was not going to be my life plan. I knew in my heart that this move to Austin would make me so happy, fulfill my needs to further my career and offer my children so many more opportunities in education and sports. But I couldn’t help but think that I had failed myself by not reaching the goals I was so sure and so close to reaching. I was absolutely fixated on my bucket list that my unknowing, immature, too soon to be a mom, 18 year old self had made 10 years ago.

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And then it hit me as I was packing up boxes last week, sorting through more pictures from my senior year of high school. I came across that graduation picture again. I had promised to be the best mother I possibly could be to my child. I could have been a lot of things at 18. Obviously making bad decisions was my specialty at the time, but single and a mother was going to be all too new to me. However, out of all the decisions I could have made, I chose to be a damn good mom. I have always put my children first, worked my ass off from the bottom to the top, crushed every obstacle in my way and given them a life that most children dream of. They have traveled, experienced life, culture, friendships and love that most people don’t see in a lifetime. I have raised kind, genuine, loving, caring human beings that always put others first. And if that wasn’t a blessing enough, through 10 years of relationships in my adult life I was sent a partner who has not only become my best friend but it willing to go through the rest of his life parenting, loving and caring for my children and myself. This all only adds to the countless amounts of relationships I have made with friends and coworkers and my amazing family. (Cheers to my girl gang for a wine night and card games on my birthday!)

There it is! The silver lining right before the depression tries to grab popcorn, take a front row seat and get comfortable. I have, in my life, the most valuable components to happiness. I have two studs for children, a supporting family, amazing friends and a loving boyfriend. I am making a ridiculous payment on a Buick Verano (yes I know your grandma drives the same car as me), I just signed a lease with an even more ridiculous amount on rent and I just let go of an amazing position at the top of my career. Let us just go ahead and call this chapter a huge leap of faith! Faith that sometimes there is no timeline on your goals. There is no set date on finding true happiness. Love doesn’t know timing and certainly doesn’t present itself when you are looking for it. There is no life meter measuring your successes and failures and as Notebook as this may sound, sometimes you just have to follow your heart.

So to anyone that is coming up on a milestone or personal significant birthday, take that ‘glass half full’ approach. Count your blessings for what they are worth and enjoy every day that you are living. I’ve heard that the other option isn’t ideal.

As always, thank you for being a part of StilettosInASandbox, I appreciate all of you that are following. Feel free to reach out, I would love to hear your feedback!

Hello to the Parent with the Child on the Spectrum…

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So there’s that good ole’ saying… “Kids say the darnest things…” It is all fun and games until you become a parent, right?

My parenting method, if you really want to call it a method, has been to love them until my heart hurts, do for them anything and everything they need and teach them respect, love and most importantly kindness to everyone and anyone.

My focus has never been to have the perfectly clean home, or the children with the unstained t-shirts, but to have kids that would make friends with the outcasts, offer kind words instead of a HA-HA, and remember to say their please and thank you’s. I am forever grateful that so far, minus a few thank you’s we are doing okay. I always see the blessing in having these two as my children but last week I had the biggest blessing of realizing that my children have kindness in their hearts. It was my Glory Mom Moment!

Mikail my youngest son is not outwardly affectionate. He can be very tough and always reluctant to show his feelings. Although he is friendly he likes to keep his distance. You know… he enjoys the Mikail show featuring himself. (hope this explains why he takes up all my IG camera time and Malik choses to stay away from any camera.) He has a mind of his own and has a pretty stubborn personality. And he gets away with most of it with his piercing blue eyes and annoyingly cute smile. But I always fear I will have a “oops umm… kids say the darnest things?” moment with him. Surprisingly, so far… so good … We have had more proud mom moments than oops moments!

Last week when dropping him off at preschool a little boy ran up to him and hugged him. Without hesitation Mikail hugged him back and said, “good morning! How is your day? I missed you.” I was more than a little shocked! Mikail is always a nice kid, specially to others, but I had just witnessed an out of the way kind moment for him.

I have been on a few field trips and school events to notice that this specific child struggles in many situations with self control, listening to instructions and getting frustrated easily. As I was walking out a parent stopped to tell me that this little boy has a lot of trouble in class. She mentioned Mikail has become friends with him and it has truly helped to shape this little boy’s behavior in the classroom. Yes, my heart melted. I was informed that there are children in his class of all capabilities but I am very blind to that as I just see kids as kids. Any more than 3 in one place is hell regardless! Just kidding… kind of… Point is I couldn’t tell you which one of those children may actually have a learning disability and which ones are just choosing to ignore instructions. But apparently my son had it all figured it out…

When picking up Mikail from daycare, I asked about the boy at preschool. He started talking 100mph. Here was the eye opening portion that I picked up, “mommy he doesn’t act very good in school. Not like my kind of bad, because you know if I want to listen I will, its just sometimes I don’t want to, so I don’t. But he can’t listen! He doesn’t know how to, but he tries, he really does. I seen him try. But I think it is really hard for him, so sometimes he cries and gets upset. I help him and I play with him because it makes him happy to play with me even when he’s upset. And I think that helps him because then he’s being good. And he is a nice boy. And his mom and dad should know that but he doesn’t act so good at school all the time so I think the teachers tell his mom that. But if I am good to him and he be’s good, then his mom will be happy with him, like you with me.” (and yes he says be’s… and I think its the cutest thing ever. And no I will not correct him…not yet at least)

In my 27 years of age I realized in that moment that I could not empathize with the parent of a child on the spectrum. But some how my 5 year old son had found a way to find the deepest amount of sympathy and offer all of his kindness to this little boy.

So this is to the parent of a child on the spectrum.

I can’t possibly imagine how hard your bedtime or morning routine can be. I have no idea how defeated you may feel at the end of a simple task like dressing your toddler or getting them in the car for preschool; only to drop them off and feel a huge guilty sense of relief. Knowing that they are trying, and you are trying but there is no middle ground because there is something over powering your little guy and their will to want to listen. Not just the I am 5 and I don’t want to listen kind of behavior but the uncontrollable, unstoppable kind of behavior that leaves you feeling helpless and sometimes hopeless. I can’t imagine how many extra hours in a week you spend on homework, or trying to engage in conversation at the dinner table or how difficult it must be to explain a task 2, 3 or 4 times.

I realize you still have to go through your grocery list at Costco while your child is performing their best tantrum work or waiting room game at the doctor’s office while your child is sprawled on the floor and refuses to get up. You are possibly sitting in fear at the salon chair for a quick eyebrow wax wondering if your 5 year old has ripped through the product shelves on the store display in anger. Or maybe your battling the fact that every time someone, adult or child, says hello he or she retreats, panics or gives some sort of awkwardly uncomfortable reaction. Maybe you are worrying about your child making friends at school, hiding out in the bathroom to avoid other children in the cafeteria or being the last at everything because they are over thinking every situation.

I am not here to give you the stare, the look, the feeling of what the hell am I doing wrong? I am telling you that I am sorry that you feel alone. I am sorry that you feel that you have to be sorry for your child’s behavior. I am sorry that the world knows how to talk about ADHD, ADD, Austism or Asperger’s but we are still learning how to react to it. I am sorry that we don’t know just yet how to help you cope with it. I am sorry that we may not know how to translate our concern other than to stare. I am sorry that we don’t know the right way of helping out in a tough situation in public. I am sorry that we haven’t spent enough time teaching our children to offer extra kindness to your child.

It is not you. It is us. It is the parents with the blessing of not having this daily battle and taking it for granted. So help us, help you. It takes a village right? Let us be your village. Coming from a parent who has not had experience with a child on the spectrum, we want to help, but maybe we just don’t know how. Because only through our kindness will our children truly learn to be kind themselves. In my home that is my number one goal; to raise children to wake up spread kindness, hopefully receive kindness and live the meaning of being kind to one another. To raise these kinds of children it takes parents like you to show us the struggle you go through every day; but also your spirit of trying again in the morning.

For the moms, dads, grandparents, foster parents, teachers and family of those dealing with a child on the spectrum you are the real MVPs. Thank you for the patience, kindness and love that you show these children and for reminding us of the big blessings in our lives. And for the parents looking to help I am going to share a few links below that have helped me understand a little better. And not to worry, one thing for sure is whether your child is or is not on the spectrum we all feel that sense of relief after dropping them off at preschool. 😉 No guilt here! Good luck to us all on raising these little humans and let us all remember to be another parent’s village. Whether it is for a minute, a day, a week or a lifetime of friendship, we all need that extra hand at some point.

https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/add-adhd/adhd-and-anger-what-you-need-to-know

https://iancommunity.org/cs/articles/parental_depression

http://autismnow.org/in-the-community/