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.

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.*

 

 

Mama Monday Motivation

IMG_0126

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!

Hello to the Parent with the Child on the Spectrum…

IMG_3553

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/

#HockeyMomFreshman

So our family just finished up our first season ever of Hockey and as relieved as I am… one week later I kind of miss it. So I decided I would put together this video before I started to forget a few of the tougher moments of hockey season.

If you prefer to read content over videos here’s my list of positives, negatives and tips!

Positives:

1. This sport is fast pace and isn’t boring to watch. So if I had to spend hours at an arena I suppose watching something a little more fast pace helps.

2. My son Mikail, loved it. Everything about it. Getting on the ice early and getting off the ice last.

3. There is potential to make “parent friends” with other parents. I didn’t indulge in this too much because I have a crazy enough schedule but if youre looking for a sport that you can possibly make friends in this is it. It seems a little culty on the outside but they’re a lot nicer when you’re one of them haha.

4. If you’re in a community like mine where hockey is fully supported there is always a way to find old gear and support from other parents. My friend Mel and her husband Matt were a huge part of getting us signed up and through the whole season!

Negatives:

1. Cost- but everyone who goes in to this sport knows that. Our hockey association does an amazing job with fundraising so that you’re able to rent some of the equipment when you first start which is a huge help! Traveling won’t start until your child is older but keep that in mind, your winter months will revolve around this sport!

2. Time- two practices during the week and one on the weekend. Those weekend practices are early… not like 10am early but like 7am and 8am early. Specially when tournaments are in town and the older teams need ice for their games.

3. The “hockey moms” are relentless with the raffle tickets, donut money and the volunteer hour sign ups. Hahaha…Lucky for me the volunteer hours weren’t required for first years. As for the hockey moms again, they do an awesome job in making sure the kids have these extras to keep them motivated and going. But seriously the app we had to download for the updates didn’t go a day without a few alerts and a few mini dramas. All in all pretty fun so I can’t really call this a negative just a heads up!

4. It is frowned upon to want to jump over the box and deck the slightly older and much bigger kid hitting your 5 year old in the back of his legs… so I stayed upstairs and watched from a far to prevent myself from embarrassing my 5 year old. FYI this happened multiple times when my son moved from practicing with Termites to Mites but my 5 year old can hold his own so I got used to it as well.

5. You have no choice but to be organized. The schedules change, sometimes daily on the dates and times so you have to stay on top of it. Practice starts at the time it starts. You can stroll in late but then you look like an asshole parent when your kid skates in the middle of a routine.

6. If you have other children you better invest in an iPad, a hobby, a book subscription or any other means of keeping them busy at the arena. Dealing with the “I’m cold, I’m bored, how much longer?” is absolutely more annoying than being at the arena for four hours a week.

7. If it is your first year you are in for a hell of an awakening. This is isn’t soccer or baseball where you show up 2 minutes before practice, with a juice box and send them out with a glove or ball to pick daisies on the field. I left work 30 minutes earlier on hockey days just to warm up my sons skates, put on all his gear and fill up his water bottle. You will become the master of tying laces and the MVP of racing the clock on putting on shin pads. FYI socks go over the shin pads.

Tips:

1. Learn to tie those laces before your first practice.

2. Check practice times on Sunday and put calendar reminders on your phone. I promise you will forget a few.

3. Start looking for gear before the season. Now would be a great time for next season when everyone is getting rid of their old stuff with intention of buying new gear at the start of next season.

4. Hype those raffle tickets early so you aren’t scrambling last minute. Once again my friends Mel and Matt came to the rescue and helped me sell all of mine!

5. Seriously pick up a hobby for the time you will spend at the arena. I heard knitting is coming back in style.

Full disclosure: none of the negatives will keep us away because my son loves this sport. Whether he is showing off his stops or skating backwards, the smile on his face when he’s on the ice is priceless. Hockey is a lifestyle I’m coming to learn and if your child really wants to play in my honest opinion I’d do this first year all over again without a doubt so give it at least the first year.

What the Flu!

mik

So nine years in the game and I apparently knew nothing when it came to sick children. About the flu at least. With so many articles, research studies, Facebook posts and nightly local news stories flying around, I never really knew what to do when it came to the flu. Do we vaccinate, do we not? With having to take Malik to one scary trip to the Emergency Room I learned everything I never knew about the flu and more. Take it with a grain of salt, obviously consult your MD. This is my average mom on the mean streets of Detroit Lakes, MN understanding of it. Many times I walk in and out of the pediatricians office more confused than when I walk in. This time I had the pleasure of speaking to an amazing doctor who took quite a bit of time explaining all of this to me. Feel free to do your own research, as I did when I got home, but hopefully this gives you a rough idea.

Everyone has seen that picture of the doll with injections punctured all over it, with the labels of different immunizations from birth to five. Pretty intimidating, but so is that Polio so call me ignorant but I went ahead and signed up for all the vaccinations when both my children were born. I wasn’t trying to fight the system with absolutely no knowledge on vaccinations.

However, any immunization that wasn’t required, I tried to steer clear of. So yes, for 9 years and 5 years, both my children went without the flu vaccine and we did just fine. This year my worry started early. I heard that this year would be the worst flu season we would experience. Reports said that Australia had extremely high numbers and the US were soon to follow. Why do I bring up Australia? Well I learned that Australia uses the same vaccination as the US. With their flu season preceding ours we pull information and statistics to give us an idea of how our flu season will follow. Interestingly enough they said that the vaccine was only 10% effective. In addition to my doubt, I learned that the US uses the same vaccination as the Australians. Just like any other year I decided with that little amount of information, we would go without it.

After a trip to New York, followed closely by a trip to Austin, I found my self in bed with a temperature of 103 degrees and barely able to get out of bed. I wasn’t able to hold food down and I barely felt alive. Being that I was stubborn and avoided the trip to the clinic, when I finally went in I was treated for an upper respiratory, ear and sinus infection. This usually follows the flu as your body is trying flush it out of your system.

Unfortunately the following week as the temperature went down I had already passed it on to Malik. Within hours his temperature had spiked to 103 and he could barely keep his eyes open. We took him in to the emergency room and within the first 10 minutes with the doctor, after being poked and prodded, he was almost certain that Malik had the flu. To be sure he had the nurse perform the flu test. (Which by the way is probably the most horrific experience I myself have had to date in a doctors office. If you have never had one, consider yourself lucky. A long ear bud like gadget is stuck in to your nose and pushed all the way up, which almost feels as if it is between your eyebrows, until they can get enough substance to test it for the flu.) Well once that horror story was over the doctor informed us Malik did in fact have the flu and he would prescribe Tamiflu. (Brace yourself… this fun little prescription after insurance on a high deductible health plan is $250…)  This same doctor gave me the run down on how the flu works, the medication and the vaccination process. SO here goes it… I’ve watched a few seasons of Grey’s Anatomy so I’m practically qualified. JK. Once again take it with a grain of salt and do your homework as well.

There are viral and bacterial infections. Bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics. The common cold would be viral and can not be treated by an antibiotic. Influenza or the flu is one of the only viral infections that is treated by physicians. I should probably rephrase that, because medication that is prescribed for the flu, like Tamiflu’s; purpose is to lessen the symptoms that come with the flu. With high fevers, chills, headaches, body aches and possible seizures being significantly  magnified with the flu, Tamiflu, lowers these symptoms. Here is the catch, it is most effective from 48 to 72 hours after symptoms appear. Being that I was already sick, I knew what we would be heading in to and I knew Malik would not be able to go through what I did for 10 days so I took him in right away. In most cases we would treat our children at home with the Tylenol and Motrin alternating combo, cool packs, Gatorade and chicken noodle soup. (So I have added a few items that helped us get through the flu with the medication this season. These are all items that I keep stocked at home at all times. Once again, none of these things will treat the flu itself, but comfort your child while the sickness runs its course.)

So, the flu shot… I was under the understanding that since the flu shot was only effective on 10% of users, there was no point in getting the flu shot. I knew that every year researchers picked a strand of the flu to combat and to create a vaccination. For the sake of time lets call it a “scientific guesstimate.” The vaccination would then fight this strand of the flu. Once again, with the little knowledge I had I believed we would be okay without it. Here is what I did not know… The flu can manipulate itself into so many different variations. Every year when the flu vaccine is received, your body learns to use that vaccine to protect against that strand, lowering the symptoms of the flu. Because each flu has similar characteristics the vaccine still protects your body to a certain extent against any form of the flu. Your body then records this vaccine and learns this way of fighting that specific strand of the flu. Researchers then alternate the different variations of the flu to create vaccines. So in other words if you have been getting the vaccine for 10 years, your body most likely remembers 10 variations of the flu,multiplying your chances of fighting off the flu. Tedious process right? Winter comes, get the flu shot, maybe get sick, struggle bus through it and do it all over again next year?

Well… FUN FACT! FUN FACT! Scientists have recently found a common gene in each of , check out the links below.

Flu ToolKit:

  1. NoseFrieda: get all the snot with out all the redness from 7 days of using tissues  https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/store/product/fridababy-nosefrida-reg-the-snotsucker-saline-kit/1061259324?skuId=61259324&mcid=PS_googlepla_nonbrand_beautywellness_online&product_id=61259324&adtype=pla&product_channel=online&adpos=1o1&creative=224129507250&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&mrkgadid=3245555321&mrkgcl=609&rkg_id=h-60f0d0409d523e4d592d16bf01c59306_t-1519357098&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5azznY672QIVxrjACh2H9gkvEAQYASABEgKKG_D_BwE
  2. Vick’s Vapor Stick: when you can’t smell a burning house standing above the flame https://www.walgreens.com/store/c/vicks-sinex-vapoinhaler/ID=prod6335341-product?ext=gooPLA_-_Health_Care&pla&adtype=pla&kpid=sku6279473&sst=aae2a332-1239-4c2e-bebb-636bd35c4d99
  3. Be Koool Soft Gel Packs:the days of running back and fourth to wet a towel are over  https://www.walgreens.com/store/c/be-koool-soft-gel-sheets-for-kids/ID=prod5438-product?ext=gooPLA_-_Health_Care&pla&adtype=pla&kpid=sku305438&sst=aae2a332-1239-4c2e-bebb-636bd35c4d99
  4. Little Remedies Sore Throat Lollies:Trick your kids into suckers to clear their throat  https://www.walmart.com/ip/Little-Remedies-Sore-Throat-Pops-10-CT/143784934?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&adid=22222222227000000000&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=42423897272&wl4=pla-51320962143&wl5=9020174&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=online&wl12=143784934&wl13=&veh=sem
  5. Pedialyte Freezer Pops: Alternative to keeping them hydrated when Gatorade is out  https://www.target.com/p/pedialyte-freezer-pops-assorted-flavors/-/A-52925180?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Baby+Shopping&adgroup=SC_Baby&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9020174&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1JaQxY672QIVApJ-Ch3iiwjsEAkYASABEgK5D_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

 

Taking A Little More Time To Love

pancakes

Parenting has been one of the most challenging aspects of my life. I have never been the best at multi tasking. I do get most of my daily set tasks done, but invariably one aspect of my life is neglected. There are my NEED to do’s and the can be pushed until tomorrow’s. Currently being out numbered 2:1 with my children can be the most frustrating aspect of being a parent. I would be lying if I said that I haven’t been late to 75% of my children’s events. Or if I said I haven’t received the phone call that my child’s lunch card is out of money because I forgot to refill it. Or that one child isn’t always upset that I am spending more time or giving more attention to the other. Or that we don’t eat mac and cheese for dinner 2 nights a week… who are we kidding 3 times a week! (In all fairness my kids love mac n cheese). So at what point as a parent do you decide something has got to give? And then deciding what is that something?

For me it was my career, definitely my career. Every parent has their struggle. Just because my career was my breaking point doesn’t mean my house isn’t in constant need of cleaning and my laundry isn’t piled up most days. (That may be a slight exaggeration, currently I am only overdue for a mopping and one load of laundry. HOORAY!) For the sake of this post let’s just talk about my career since that was the most overpowering portion of my life. The field I work in has a high turn over rate and business is pretty competitive. In a small, seasonal town with too many hotel rooms for not enough excitement, my position here can be pretty stressful. If it isn’t trying to increase revenue it is trying to retain my staff. I am truly blessed to say that my staff is amazing, but I would like to think that it has a little to do with how much I appreciate them and like to be there for them. This means my job doesn’t end at 5pm, like most of you out there.

A few months ago Mikail (5) said this to me, “Mommy we’re always at your work. When we’re at school and daycare aren’t you supposed to be at work, working? You know, so you can hang out with us after? But you always want to come here!” (Obviously, I have a mouthy little 5 year old.) This absolutely crushed me, partially because he was right but mainly because I didn’t realize he thought that I was choosing to spend my time at work over having time with just them. Obviously I work as hard and as much as I do because let’s be real… this girl like to shop, eat out and buy nice things, but also because my job provides us with the life we have and there isn’t much room for falling behind my work load.

This however, was my breaking point. The point where I realized that I needed to take a pause and reevaluate my priorities because they weren’t lining up with that was important in my life. Ever since I was pregnant with Malik (9) I told myself I was going to give this parenting gig my all and everything. I was walking in to it as a single parent and I knew it was going to be challenging. As cliche as this sounds, I didn’t realize how challenging. Without realizing it, some where in between these past 9 nine years, I seemed to have fallen off the wagon a tish. I am sure many of you feel this way. There are times we catch it and ask ourselves… hmm well why is that? Well LIFE. JUST. HAPPENS.

Most of us are clocking in and out to build the life we want or to get by on the life we have. It has taken me some time to realize that the life I think I want, I may never get. (real optimistic right? haha) I could push towards a goal that may or may not be attained, but I would indefinitely miss out on the life that I currently have, that is here, right now and is happening. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely believe that you should set goals in your career, in your life, in general but I believe I was setting them incorrectly. (Feel free to disagree, I am always open to constructive criticism) I wasn’t considering the commitment that it would take to reach these goals in the period of time that I wanted to get there. I didn’t realize all the other aspects of my life that I would have to put on pause to get to these goals. I took my eyes off some of the most important people in my life, thinking I can pause what was going on while I attend to these set goals. After all, I am doing all of this for them right? They know that I work hard for them to have some luxuries right? They know I am putting in the time, to work my way up so that they can experience all the amazing things around us right? WRONG. My children don’t see the work behind the things and experiences they receive. And how was I expecting them to? They’re 9 and 5. How did I expect them to understand that this is a part of being an adult? In all actuality I don’t want them to understand that, at least not yet.  Well I had to remind myself, time doesn’t stop. Its doesn’t bend, pause or break. Time doesn’t wait for anyone or anything. So the extra hours I put in at work took away from the extra time I had with my children.

So where am I at now? This is a simple fix right? Just chill out, work less? Well, it happens to be a lot harder than that apparently. For me at least. I had to make a conscious effort this year to disconnect. I had to inform the staff I work with that I will take phone calls on emergencies and times of urgency at the hotel but outside of that, if it could wait, it should wait. Off days are now off days, I don’t call or text, I just let just the staff I trust to do the job they were hired to do, and guess what? They haven’t disappointed me. I put my phone aside when I am with my children, which by the way is challenging. Yeah I said that, go ahead roll your eyes. I am just going to be the parent that admits to that. And most of all I listen… to the Minecraft talk, booger picking kid stories, to the fart battles and to the bickering between my two boys. I can’t say I love all of it, I want to say I do but I don’t love it all. But I am pretty sure that these are the moments I won’t ever want to forget someday. I am not really sure when my life started to get so busy that I neglected the little bits and pieces of being a parent but it happened. And for most of us, including myself, it will happen many times in our life with our children. I probably won’t own my own house by the time I am 28 (in 2 months… haha), or pay off my car in full by 29, but you know what being late on a timeline of material things that I have set for myself is perfectly fine with me. I am trading that in for a timeline that I want to mark memories on, which will disappear faster than I can imagine. I am learning to accept that I have already lost time I can’t get back. I am also willing to  change that and change really is the only way to get better. So cheers to the parents out there who already have this down to a science, please feel free to share your secrets. And an even bigger cheers to the parents who are just learning to balance their life and that are owning that and becoming better everyday!

Raising Rugrats

I knew my About Me wouldn’t be complete without giving you a glimpse of the little’s that are the biggest part of my life.

I am an incredibly proud mom to two boys, Malik (9) and Mikail (5). Let me clarify, proud, exhausted, packed schedule, minivan in a Buick mom to two boys! One full time working human to two active, action packed children is a tough ratio. (<– personal vent… I know some of you mamas have way more going on with way more littles!). However, I would say 80% of the time they are the two people I prefer to be around the most. Well maybe even 85% of the time.

Malik is my shy, sweet, extremely intelligent and sensitive nine year old. Mikail  is my firecracker, quick with his tongue, athletic, tough guy five year old. Malik is a straight A student, that takes part in every after school program like STEM and Photography and then spends his free time at home learning about astronomy, doing math equations, online gaming, coding and practically save the world before bedtime. Mikail loves art but also loves to pretend he’s reading, fling food across the table when I blink my eyes, make funny jokes and only gets serious when it comes to hitting baseballs on the field or practicing at the hockey arena.

Just when I think I have everything down to a science my nine year old decides he too wants to be in sports(basketball) and my five year old decides he would like to learn how to play guitar(currently a Disney Planes edition guitar we scored at the thrift store!). With four years in between them, most days, my nine year old is fighting for space away from his brother and my five year old is usually busy giving him wet willies or planning his next attack. However, in between my 9-5 job, pick ups and drop off to sports and clubs, refereeing living room wrestling, meal planning and prepping breakfasts’ and dinners, gym trips and laundry we find a little time to wind down. That usually means we turn on the record player and have a dance party in our living room. If we’re lucky Jonathan jumps in on FaceTime for a little dance battle action! I opt to stay out, selflessly allowing one of those three to win. 😉 I never imagined raising two rascals on my own. Most days it isn’t easy. There isn’t any great secret for keeping your sanity, not that I have found anyway, so i’ll just keep pleading insanity. HAHA. There is not a day that goes by that I am not catching the curve balls these two throw at me. A few days where I am trying to dodge them as well ;).

However, I am me because of them. I truly believe becoming a mother has been a huge role in shaping me into the woman that I am. After all, a few scream fests in a week, possibly a mini meltdown, piled up dishes and 147 loads of laundry I still consider being their mom to be my biggest blessing. My daily mantra has definitely become “I love them, but I don’t always have to like them.” And frankly I am okay with that.

So there’s a few bits and pieces of my boys. I hope you stick around to getting to know our family a little better and we would love to get to know yours!