Archive for the ‘Motherhood’ Category

Are Your Kids Outside Enough? 10 Reasons They Should Be!

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HOORAY FOR OUTDOOR PLAY! I was a pretty active child. In middle school and high school you could find me playing sports year-round. I still have nightmares of field hockey practice on hot August days. For a few weeks we had double header practices – one at the crack of dawn and the other later in the afternoon. I don’t know how I survived! I’ve always loved being active and would spend countless hours riding my bike, playing with neighborhood kids, swimming or and participating in jump rope contests (I was pretty good!) – my childhood in one word could be described as ACTIVE. When my daughter came into the world I wondered what pieces of me and her Dad would live on inside her. Her Dad was pretty active too, so I hoped she would also love getting outside and getting moving. Well…she hasn’t stopped moving since she started walking! Being car-less has it’s pros and cons – but a BIG pro is that it encourages us BOTH to be active and get moving. And it’s no surprise that we’re currently training for her first kids Triathlon in a few weeks. Yes, my 8 year old daughter is participating in a Triathlon! And let me tell you – she is kicking butt during our training sessions!

I want to encourage her to always desire the simple pleasures of playing outdoors – with so many kids sitting inside playing video games – my daughter craves time outside – hiking, at the beach, on the bike path, at the park – and I couldn’t be any happier.

It’s pretty disappointing that so many kids don’t get outdoors, and the following benefits show the endless benefits to living a healthy lifestyle:

Thank You to PaperKarma for these images

Thank You to PaperKarma for these images

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How do you encourage your kids to live an active life?



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The Rain Won’t Last: Picking Yourself Up When You Feel Broken #loveurself

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I’ve been the skilled captain of my own seemingly sinking ship for as long as I can remember. Expertly navigating through one storm after another without completely falling apart, but taking in more water than I’d like, moving slower and growing more tired. I’ve felt like life was a storm I could never pass – that I was forever stuck under a dark cloud feeling like happiness was only found in the movies or for people who deserved it. I didn’t think I deserved it; I was too broken, too fucked up. I thought my daughter’s smile and free spirit could save me from drowning under my mistakes and ridiculously high expectations of myself. I had to be great, amazing even, and I wasn’t living up to the woman I wanted to be, and therefore I was a failure. A complete failure, stuck in the rain.

My whole life I’ve been resilient, I don’t think I’ve had an option to be any different. I’ve had to be a strong and independent woman often without a tribe to lean on during my darkest days. I’ve had a difficult relationship with my mother and my estranged father passed away a month ago bringing to light many childhood feelings I’ve worked so hard to store away. I’ve struggled knowing my worth and thinking I could achieve anything worthwhile, trying hard to define success for myself as a woman and a mother. Guilty that my role as a mother just wasn’t enough to fulfill and nourish my soul. As I’ve gone through one storm after the next I’ve repeatedly asked myself: what will I become? What will I become? I’m often too scared to make a change and have tiptoed around my life worried I was just going to make more of a mess of everything.

All of this doubt and fear has left me emotionally drained and socially isolated wanting nothing more than to put a do-not-disturb sign on my door and lay in bed. Still. Hoping if I did so life would be OK and I’d dodge another storm. Worried if I faced another storm I wouldn’t survive.

I’ve tried hard to cover up my unhappiness with an empty smile and simple conversation. I’m the Queen of deflection. But last Friday someone saw through the façade and saw I was hurting more than I was able to process. I felt exposed, I felt naked. But more than anything I felt relieved. Holding all these emotions in has consumed me, and I was finally able to breathe and be OK with knowing that I’m not OK right now, that I need help. And that started me becoming truthful to myself and those closest to me. I was so afraid to be anything less than stellar, but in the process I was killing myself.

I’ve spent entirely way too much time beating myself up over decisions I should have made and mistakes I regret, telling myself that my life wasn’t going to change. I wasn’t worth it. No wonder I wasn’t on my way to finding happiness, I was literally talking myself out of it. In the midst of the rain I was crying and not moving, sure that nothing good was going to come.

The first step in feeling better and moving forward is being honest with yourself. This often means acknowledging you need help and that you aren’t OK. As someone who has suffered from depression I know it’s easy to sit back and let your emotions consume you. But this isn’t the legacy I want to leave for myself or my daughter. I know happiness isn’t something that is going to happen overnight and I have to learn to accept that there will be more storms, but I will overcome. I have come so far already to give up now. But I can’t go along this journey alone so I’m seeking out help to be a better person, to me. I owe myself that much.

So let the rain fall, accept it’s time in your life. But sail forward. You’re worth it.

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An Open Letter To My Mother

This is the follow-up to the essay I wrote last week. In it, I come to grips with childhood trauma and searched for answers in my mother’s actions. Read that essay if you haven’t yet, then come back and read this. 

 

Dear Mom,

I’ve begun writing this too many times to remember. I’m angry. I’m upset. I’m sad. I’m disappointed. I’m trying to make sense of so much, Mom, of our broken family, of you being emotionally absent for me and my siblings, to you prioritizing a piece of scum over your children.

What man would talk down to a woman and verbally assault her in front of her children? And what mother would allow that to happen and scold her children if they tried to protect her? Do you know that I refuse to celebrate my birthday, and it’s not because Grandpa passed away on my birthday years ago. It’s because you never prioritized my birthday, one year you simply left an outfit on my bed and left a note stating you’d be at his house for the night. I spent the whole night crying, Mom. There is no reason my oldest sister, who for reasons you refuse to take responsibility for, had to raise me and my siblings. You were the mother, you were the parent. But you weren’t there.

I’m sure I should be in therapy. Everyone thinks I’m so put together. I do what I have to do for my family, but I’m a mess and for the longest time I refused to work through the negative feelings of my childhood. Do you know I have almost no recollection of my childhood before age 11 except a few moments that stand out. The time you flung me across the room because I asked a friend’s parent for ice cream money. Or what about one of the many times you were beating me and I cried out my brother’s name. That was my childhood, Mom – that is what I remember. The affects of living with an emotionally absent and depressed woman is that I now have severe issues with communication with friends and in my relationships. I withdraw and I shut people out – for awhile I got scared because I worried I was going to end up like you. Miserable and manically depressed.

While I can’t imagine being given up for adoption as a newborn as you were, I do know what abandonment feels like. You abandoned us – you abandoned me. For someone who wanted a big family so bad, you sure didn’t treat us like you wanted us.

Read the rest of “An Open Letter To My Mother” over on The Young Mommy Life. 



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Loving My Mother Though The Hurt

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I have always been slightly confused and jealous of friends who have functional relationships with their parents. I grew up without my father around and watched a severely depressed woman raise four children in fear. Her children were supposed to obey her and be polite. Over and over in my childhood I heard people tell my mother how well behaved her children were because we used our manners, didn’t talk loud and called our Mother ‘ma’am.’ We were the kids on the block that were called inside before it got dark and were always put together. We were beat with a belt or fists when we did something that she didn’t approve of…like the time I asked a friend’s mom at school for money for an ice cream. First she flung me across the room, then she made me return the money. All my mother wanted to do was be a mom, one would think she would have showered her kids with love – I would have grown up a different woman if that was the case.

I wish the memories I had as a child were ones that included our family going to the park, doing arts and crafts together or in the kitchen baking. Didn’t you have a good childhood? my friends and daughter ask. Did I? What I remember is my mother giving me my first bloody nose. I remember her leaving me a birthday gift on my bed and telling me she was at her boyfriend’s house. I remember her being at her boyfriend’s house. I remember a quiet empty house. I remember being alone in a suburban town and feeling like an outsider. I never did discuss with my mother how I felt, how sad I was growing up because in our house we didn’t talk about our feelings. It’s no wonder I have such communication issues in my love life.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised that she got annoyed when I asked her to drive me and my two-day-old daughter home from the hospital nine years ago. I shouldn’t have been surprised that as soon as I laid my newborn daughter in her crib I heard the front door slam, her truck start and zoom off to her boyfriend’s house. I shouldn’t have been surprised that the first night at home with my daughter my mother decided to be at her boyfriend’s house.

Read the rest of “Loving My Mother Though The Hurt” over on The Young Mommy Life.



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Listen To Your Mother Boston: I’m A Castmember!

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I’m a storyteller. I share painful and honest stories about my experiences, my fears, my mistakes and anything and everything in between on my blog. Opening myself up through writing over the past five years has provided me with an insight into myself I didn’t have before. It’s too easy for me to focus on the negatives in a situation – but through my blogging I’ve been able to work through those negatives, put them into perspective and try to come to peace with them. I write to heal, not because I’m broken, but because I want to grow and become a better woman for myself and better mother to my daughter.

When I heard about the Listen To Your Mother show come to Boston I was initially intrigued, share your story about motherhood? That’s what I do ALL the time on my blog and social media sites!! After the initial excitement wore off fear kicked in. I’m behind a computer screen pouring my heart out, not in front of a live auction. I was immediately worried my story wouldn’t be valid. That there wouldn’t be a place for me among the cast – that I was too different. I was scared of failure and worried I wouldn’t be able to deliver.

But sometimes you just gotta take a leap. You gotta get uncomfortable to grow.

So I auditioned.

And I was cast in the show.

When I walked into our first rehearsal this past Saturday I was beyond nervous. I was scared. Worried I wasn’t good enough. Why do I ALWAYS feel this way?! As we sat in the circle and began sharing our stories of motherhood a bond was created – no story mirrored my own but I found a piece of myself in every story that was shared, and I realized there is so much more that unites us then what separates us. I of course, cried my eyes out sharing my uncertainty on being a teen parent. What I didn’t know was someone else in that circle, Julie of Sober Mommies, was also a teen parent, had experienced many of the feelings of guilt and shame as I did when I found out I was pregnant. I walked in that rehearsal scared, and walked out with a renewed sense of confidence in myself and my experience and a new friend. I got so much more than I had bargained for, and while I’m scared to share my story to an audience of 500 in April, I know that they will hold me and support my experience.

Meet the cast:

If you are in town and want to hear an amazing group of women ‘give motherhood a microphone’ I’d love to see you on April 26 at 2:00pm at the Old South Church in Boston. Tickets are only $15 until March 15 and after that they are $20 and can be purchased by clicking here. I assure you – it’s a show you don’t want to miss…and I’d love to see a familiar face or two in the crowd!

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