January 2017 - Baby Steps in High Heels

Monday, January 16, 2017

Today was supposed to be a holiday ...

2:02 PM 0
Today was supposed to be a holiday ...
God bless this hot mess: Summer tank, fleece-lined leggings, glitter tutu, last year's shrug. Then she added tall Frozen socks and brown ankle boots. Sometimes you worry about the small things. Sometimes you pick your battles. 

Today was supposed to be a holiday for this working momma. But my youngest is sick, so we are scrambling to squeeze in a doctor's appointment. And I'm on mom duty instead of getting the pedicure and the peace-and-quiet I had planned. 

I had planned to meal prep, get some things for work organized in anticipation of a busy sales season, and possibly take a long afternoon nap. A little rest would have been ideal as I continue to shake off the effects of these cold/allergy symptoms that have plagued me for the last 10 days. Instead, I'm refereeing two of the tiniest, fiercest little people you could ever meet, who are currently reveling in that sick-but-not-sick phase that keeps kids at home and moms on their toes. 

I love these fierce little people, and I live every day for them. But my oldest has sung the same 6 words in rapid succession for the last 12 minutes strait, and I'm wondering how early is too early to pour a glass of wine. 

"Are we there yet?" they asked 2 dozen times on our 16 minute drive to the pediatrician. 

Today is not a day to worry about the small things. Today is a day to pick my battles. What she wears ... That he is hopping like a frog around the doctors office ... That I will get absolutely nothing done that I had planned...

I want to dwell on these things, wallow in frustration, grumble about that nap I'll never get. But picking those battles would be futile. Instead I am trying to take a cue from my 2017 word of the year (build) and re-frame my perspective ...

How fortunate we are that this happened today, when I am home from work. No meetings to miss or reschedule. No disruption to our overall schedule. No added stress for my over worked husband. 

Y'all, it can be hard sometimes to appreciate things like this. Things that don't immediately bring joy, things that aren't an obvious cause for celebration. But I'm trying every day to recognize these little gifts...the sick day that forces us to slow down, to take in extra snuggles on the couch, eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch, and put aside the rest of the world. No matter how much it doesn't want to let you. 

Being still has never been my strong suit, but God always knows when I just need a little break. Today was one of those days. I didn't work out. I haven't rushed anywhere. I haven't cleaned, organized, or even answered more than an email or two for work.

   But I did have an amazing conversation with my kids about the significance of this MLK holiday, about kindness and inclusion, and respect, and love. 

  And my daughter was fascinated at the doctor's office, which led to more discussion and you tube videos...and, for the first time ever, she might be considering non pop star related life goals. 

  My son laid his head on my shoulder and reassured me that he would be just fine, because, "Mommy, you always take BIG care of me!"

These are moments that would have never happened if my day had gone according to plan.

So, when I say God bless this hot mess, I'm not referring to sparkly pink tutus paired with hiking boots and a dozen accessories. I'm referring to myself, and the constant buzz in my head that runs and runs until outside forces take over. I function both on autopilot and in complete overdrive so often that I think I want so badly to fight those outside forces, ignore the runny noses, and hope for the best.Today, I am grateful to have been able to press pause.

I let my one-of-a-kind child do her own thing when it came to wardrobe selection. And I allowed life to slow down, even if for a few short hours. It wasn't easy or even a very natural inclination for me, but I managed to pick the right battles today, listen to my instincts, and even sneak in a brief nap.

It may have taken 3 sittings to write the entirety of this post, but aside from the doctor's warning that steroids can cause hyperactivity and that my son's croupy cough could stick around for a couple of days, we are all doing just fine.

Thanks for joining me today as I take a few baby steps forward in my journey as a working mom. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017: BUILD

7:42 AM 0
2017: BUILD
For the last few years, instead of making an official New Year’s Resolution, I have followed the lead of my friend Jolie at The Gray Matters and selected a word that would guide me through the upcoming year. Two years ago, the word was Move. Following a rough pregnancy and baby time with my youngest, I was ready to take back a bit of control and move though my days with mental and physical intention. Last year, in a completely random turning of tides, I selected the word Still. I must have regained a bit too much momentum in 2015, and I was ready to quiet myself from the rushed pace I had been keeping.

I worked hard on capturing that still frame of mind in 2016. At a leadership conference in June, I was introduced to the concept of mindfulness and immediately knew it would be a useful tool for my goals. Slowing down is still a work in progress for me as a busy working mom, but I did take a few steps last year in an effort to find a bit more calm. Completely counter to my typical and very committed see-it-though-to-the-end mindset, I quite the PTA at my daughter’s school in September and immediately recovered 10-15 hours in my month. I also made the tough choice to stop publishing my Macaroni Kid newsletter. I loved being the Editor and Publisher for almost 7 years, but it had become more of a chore than a joy. It was simply time to move on to other adventures.

I have thought a lot about what my word for 2017 will be, given the dichotomy of my words from the past two years: Move vs. Still. I considered Balance. It would be oh-so-wise to make balance an intentional goal, but it also carries the biggest potential for failure. And, who needs that right off the bat in a new year? I’d like to continue with my mindful practices and the goal of finding more calm in my days, so I considered extending the word still for another year. But it didn’t quite fit anymore.

In thinking about what I would like 2017 to bring for myself, my family and friendships, my career, this blog, and so much more, I realized that the perfect word to focus my goals this year is BUILD.

The realization hit me softly as I reflected on the beginning stages of building our new home. The process has been tedious, but the reward will be wonderful. We will push through the pain points during the first few months of the year to find ourselves settled in a home that will allow us to build a foundation for the things that are so important to us … faith, family, friendships, and gathering those we love around us. Building our home will allow us to surround ourselves with a bit of nature that will bring the peace and calm we haven’t been able to find in our current crowded space. Our home will build the future that we have been not only dreaming about, but planning and saving for for a very long time.

This is the year to lay the foundation and BUILD.

We have spent 3 years carefully considering neighborhoods, builders, existing inventory, and so many other factors. We knew we would need to move, and we wanted the move to be long-lasting and the best fit for our family. Of the many considerations, we knew we needed to move from our neighborhood built on clay soils across town where our foundation would sit on solid limestone rock.

I love how fitting this verse is as we move forward in building our home and our life this year….

24 Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. –Matthew 7: 24-25