Less and More

less-and-more

Sitting here, on the barstool at our kitchen island – my new favorite writing spot once the kids are in bed and Ben has kissed me goodnight before heading upstairs himself – the house is quiet except for the hum and rhythmic click of zippers from laundry being tossed around in the dryer.

I’m snacking on a bowl of the granola bars I made with the kids today. It’s in a bowl because they never set and are all crumbly so I have to eat it with a spoon. I choose a kiddie spoon out of the drawer, realizing in that moment that we’ll soon be getting rid of all the kiddie cutlery. At three and five my kids no longer want to use a tiny plastic fork or spoon, protesting when I still serve them cereal with the brightly colored utensils.

Practically every night I worry that I’m failing them as a mom. Why is it I always play back the mistakes I made during the day, rather than recall the beautiful moments we had playing and laughing and snuggling together? I wonder if I’m too focused on my own personal goals and feel guilty I don’t consciously set goals as a mom.

I want to make significant changes in this new year, this fresh start. I want to check email less, and bake with my kids more. I want to complain less and drink in the giggles more. I want to not stress out over small things and hug my family and friends more. I want to be less critical and be more appreciative. I want to not freak out when the kids are simply being kids, and instead smile and file the memory of how they are at these ages away so I never forget.

Every day is a new chance to try again. Another day to try my best at being the absolute best mom I can be for my kids.

Planning the Future and Enjoying the Journey

planning-future-enjoying-journeyPhoto Credit: Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel via Compfight cc

It can be almost dizzying to have to plan for what’s ahead, but yet keep your focus at the same time on the daily details that actually may make the future happen.

There is so much written lately about staying “in the moment” and how we need to remember to cherish the everyday little events that happen to us rather than spend all our time anticipating the next big thing: graduating college, getting married, buying a house, having kids, etc, etc. I even wrote recently about how the swift tick of the clock changed me when reflecting on my daughter’s hospitalization for Kawasaki disease.

I agree wholeheartedly with this concept of fully enjoying the time in our lives that falls in-between those major life events. But things also change when you’re planting seeds. You have to set long-term goals. Write strategic plans. Manage expectations of your backers.

Because success is on the line. [Read more…]

Why I Declare My Goals

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Photo Credit: shirishbendre via Compfight cc

Back in June, my husband and I went on vacation with our friends to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversaries. One night at dinner, Tim asked us go around the table and share our goals out loud. Studies have proven that when you declare your goals, the act of simply vocalizing them to people, you have a much higher probability of actually reaching them.

I used to love goal-setting, but had fallen out of the habit since leaving the corporate world to become a stay-at-home-work-from-home-mom.

Ten years ago, in my career as an agency recruiter, I witnessed the power of setting goals. I’d talk about them to my boss and colleagues, and would work my tail off to attain them, seeing the direct results of my tireless dedication displayed on reports each week, month, and year of sales numbers.

These days, I am my own boss. There is no promise of a paycheck for the advocacy work I’m doing. Only the pure sense of [Read more…]

Living an inspiring life

Yes, that is a bowl full of pomegranate seeds. I scooped them out myself. And of course, when I finished de-seeding this lovely fruit, I took a picture. Because it took a good 20 minutes and I was proud of myself for getting every last seed out of the darn shell.

Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring.

I believe this to be true and I so want to heed this advice.

I registered for my second writer’s conference this morning – a memoir writer’s retreat – in March of 2013. I want to make my dreams of sharing my story a reality and I’m taking concrete steps towards my goal of publishing my memoir. I want to be an inspiration to other young women living with bipolar disorder who are wondering if they’ll ever be able to have kids. I’m living proof that it is possible.

Now, let’s be real here. I’m not perfect. I most certainly have my moments. Those times when I’m overtired, stressed out from a work deadline, and the kids are arguing over a toy – those are the times when I need help. And I’ve learned when to ask for it and how to not feel guilty about needing a little time to myself in order to re-charge my batteries. It helps me tremendously and then when I jump back into the action I am that much more prepared to handle anything.

Just like a pomegranate is a tough fruit to de-seed, I think I’m a pretty complicated individual. And yet, I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I’m the type of person who would share my life story with someone I just met, if they wanted to listen. I love meeting new people and making connections; I feel like that is such a huge part of what life is all about. I believe everyone on this Earth has something to share. Me? I want to share my story of how mental illness crept up on me and emerged out of nowhere, shocking the living daylights out of me, my husband, my parents, our siblings and our friends. How I rode a roller coaster of emotions for a year and a half before finally becoming stable and healthy again, only to be thrown on the same haunting ride of my past, landing in the hospital twice more, yet emerging a stronger, more determined and driven version of myself than I was before.

I’ve decided that I’m going to start carving time out of my schedule to write. An hour a day is what I’m going to start with. Whether it be a blog post, a journal entry, a chapter of my book, or time spent reading other memoirs, I’m writing down goals so that I can measure my progress. I learned a ton in Sanibel (and met a bunch of really extraordinary people) which I want to apply to my writing in order to improve and grow as a writer. Beginning in January I am going to set new goals, specific to my book project, so that I can truly hold myself accountable and make progress every day.

I can feel my dreams moving closer within my reach. Because if I write words, they turn into sentences; if I write sentences, they turn into paragraphs; if I write paragraphs, they turn into pages; if I write pages they will eventually turn into my book. Just like it took patience and determination to empty the pomegranate of its seeds (have you ever tried to open one of those darn things?? Talk about the fruits of your labor. Sheesh.), I will eventually get all of my thoughts out on paper in a concise, engaging story which will hopefully help to end stigma and educate not only young women living with bipolar disorder, but also their families, friends, doctors, and therapists. Just because someone is living with a mental illness, it doesn’t mean they cannot enjoy the good life.

I love my life. I feel incredibly blessed. So glad that Thanksgiving is right around the corner because I have so much to be thankful for.