Social Media Cleansing

Sometimes in a desperate need to connect with others, we choose quantity over quality. As if every little thing that sparks an interest or a curiosity is worth the effort. It is not necessary to connect all aspects of your life with social media. Practically every person, place, and thing can be found, followed, and liked. That is too much viewing, tapping, and scrolling for one person. Instead, hone in on what matters to you and find people with like minded interests. These types of connections can be joyful, motivating, educational, and enriching. Doing the opposite can result in feelings of depression, jealousy, and envy. Comparing yourself to others and picking out the contrasts is harmful to your well-being.

People let you see what they want you to see. Filters are used to enhance or reduce more than a picture’s color, shade, and tone. Filters can crop, enlarge, fade, and change an image completely. The story behind a post is a mystery, because vulnerability can be hazardous; all thanks to the trolling epidemic. You can rely on people to give unnecessary advice and share unwanted opinions. Good luck trying to tread lightly. People are ruthless nowadays!

Recently, I purged all my social media accounts. I deleted followers, unfollowed accounts, and deleted one or two social media apps. I felt it necessary to lineup my social media activity with my life. If it didn’t relate, interest or benefit me, it had to go. In doing so, I began to notice that my following was changing. One minute I had new followers and the next minute they were gone. Something I never realized was happening to me. People were purposely following me, so I would follow them back. Once they succeeded, they would unfollow me. When I shared this with my son, he looked at me and said, “Mami why are you surprised, this is old news.” He’s twelve years old and is with it more than I am! Well, I guess social media is an opportunists’ playground.

The point is, take care of yourself! There is more than one way or reason to cleanse yourself. Nothing wrong with not wanting to like, follow, and comment. You matter! Your life matters! Your mental health matters!

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Where Did You Go? What’s Your Excuse? It Better Be Good!

I am shy one day of two months since my last blog. Oh, the shame! If I continue at this rate, I will lose the followers I do have and miss out on the followers I could have. I know! You’ve heard it before, but life does get in the way. For a ADHD mother like myself, channeling my creativity can be exhausting and easily dismissed when I feel overwhelmed.

**Just switch the baby with a preteen in the image above, and that’s me! Well, not characteristically me, but you get the point.**

I have been so focused on toting my son to lessons, rehearsals, performances, dances, practices, and games. Somewhere in between all of that I am studying for a certification exam, looking for employment, an active member of a book club, routinely exercising, and managing all the mama stuff that pops up. Days go fast and nights are a blur! The evidence of days passed resides in a planner, pops up in social media, is backed up to Google Photos, reflected in a journal, and eventually lost in a dream.

My impulse to blog has lost to vegging out. No pressure to think, to plan, or to move. Rather, getting sucked into the senseless world of television. Making sure not to get lost in the plethora of streaming. The hilarity and absurdity help ease the anxiety and free my mind. Sometimes a bit too much!

**By the way, Netflix Original, The Haunting Of Hill House is amazing! I have yet to read Shirley Jackson’s book, of which Netflix reinterpreted.**

I have so much catching up to do on WordPress! There is a lot of great stuff for me to check out in my ‘reader’ section. Unlike myself, many bloggers have managed to steadily create and post. I hope my envy for those who are consistent, will turn into contentedness. First, I must figure out my flow and be consistent. I am an amateur when it comes to this stuff. When you don’t have a huge following or receive regular feedback, how do you know what parts of yourself to share? I have so many interests and experiences to share as a woman and a mother. I chose the name Unconventional Mami because I don’t consider myself a conventional mother. Then again, what does a conventional mother embody? Love is primary, I have plenty of that! I do know the following:

  • I am not a member of the PTA
  • Don’t drive a mini van
  • Not obsessed with charts or routines
  • I allow my son to eat foods that have sugar, gluten, and additives (he eats the healthy stuff too)
  • I have piercings and tattoos
  • I wear black lipstick on occasion
  • Musically love A Tribe Called Quest as much as I love Tori Amos
  • Open and honest with my son and not reserved or shielding
  • I can be very passive-aggressive when it comes to discipline
  • I lose control, but have quite a bit of patience
  • Have yelled at my son but have the ability to reflect, talk about why I yelled, explain how I was wrong and what I could have done better
  • Realize parenthood is about love, openness, honesty, and encouragement

I guess what I am trying to say is, I have plenty of excuses for my absence, but I am still here. I am not giving up on this!

Feel free to check me out on Twitter: @MsMarisolHarris and Instagram: msmarisolharris.

 

 

I Am A Big Boy Now, Not A Baby!

My son’s first day of kindergarten was September 6, 2011. His exact words to me that day were, “I am a big boy now, not a baby.” He was eager to meet his teacher and locate his seating assignment and excited to make new friends. I was happy, encouraging, and proud on the exterior, but internally an emotional wreck. I resented having to work and not being able to secretly stick around. Instead of being picked up from school, he had to take a bus to an after-school program. I’m sure I called to checkup on him. Fast-forward seven years, my son is in the seventh grade and walking to and from the bus stop.

Everything about September 6, 2011 differs from September 4, 2018. His exact words to me were, “I am tired. Can I use my phone?” If he was eager to meet his teacher and locate his homeroom, he wasn’t showing it. He was excited about his outfit and seeing his friends. I was tired, hopeful, and annoyed.

Waking my son is usually a tossup, but this time it went well. Breakfast went well. Getting ready went well. Reading the reply email from his teacher, not well. I was so annoyed, that I failed to focus all of my attention on my son getting ready and failed to give him a proper goodbye. He understood my annoyance and agreed I should reply back. However, when he left and I was by myself, I felt bad. I wanted it to be a big deal and it wasn’t. Was it because of me? Then I remembered, him and I fussed at each other. I wanted to make him a special breakfast, he wasn’t hungry. He wanted me to help him do his hair, he didn’t like it. He snapped at me and I scolded him.

The image you see below represents September 2011 and September 2018. As you can see, my precocious and handsome 5yr old is on the left and the moody, quick to snap, and still handsome 12yr old is missing on the right. He couldn’t be bothered with taking pictures this year, so I didn’t. I’ve come to learn when to pick my battles with him and this was not one of them. It is official, he is a preteen. Aargh! I miss the earlier years and loathe the current attitude, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I know this is a difficult time for him. Finding himself and establishing his identify, are in the developing stages. I just hope that he will continue to come to me with his problems, talk to me about whatever interests him, and still give me hugs. There’s no need to sweat the lack of photo on the right, Lifetouch will hit me up in a couple weeks. School picture day to the rescue!

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My PCOS Journey

I was officially diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels, in 2010. Although my gynecologist, based on my medical history, believes I started experiencing symptoms when I was a teenager. Looking back, I knew something wasn’t right, tried to do something about it, but doctors dismissed my concerns. The numerous times I met with doctors from the ages of 12 to 14, I was told stress, diet, and exercise attributed to the continuous irregularity. But, how could that be? My stress level was that of a normal teenager, I was not overweight, and I was active in school. I attempted to track and medicate my monthly cycles. I carried feminine wipes and tampons in my purse at all times. I did whatever I could to make it easier.

Unfortunately, not much changed throughout high school. I dealt with the cramping, blood clots, bodily pain, and irregularity until I was 18 years old. All the while, thinking everything I was experiencing was completely normal. Now that my health was my responsibility, I decided to go to Planned Parenthood. It was affordable and life changing for me. I had an amazing British gynecologist who made me feel sane and comfortable. She took the time to get to know my medical history, let me express my concerns, provided detailed information, and walked me through physical exams. Thanks to her, I began to feel comfortable with my body and my periods. I started to take birth control pills, which helped balance my hormone levels and regulate my menstrual cycles. I still experienced blood clots and heavy flows, but now my cycles were consistently on time. I continued going to Planned Parenthood until I was 25 years old.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

In 2005, at the age of 27, I became pregnant with my son. My pregnancy revealed gynecological conditions unbeknown to me. The first ultrasound images indicated ovarian cysts and a uterine fibroid. Because of the location of the uterine fibroid, my pregnancy was high risk. That meant constant monitoring, checkups, and ultrasounds. Luckily for my son’s father and I, our son’s ultrasound images were Flipbook Animation works of art. It brought us great joy to see our son’s various movements. Despite the potential risk, our son appeared to be cozy in the womb.

In the second trimester, an ultrasound indicated fetal hydronephrosis (dilation of kidneys in the renal pelvis). I was informed that this occurs in 1 per 100 pregnancies, can be monitored by way of high-definition ultrasounds, and will most likely correct itself over time. All I could do was take care of myself, keep appointments, and not worry. Seeing my belly move from baby kicking was comforting in this semester.

The end of the third trimester did not result in a naturally occurring childbirth. At almost 41 weeks pregnant, I was induced. Pitocin, epidural anesthesia (despite dilating 8 centimeters without), and Cesarean section would bring my baby into the world. For the sake of this turning into a birth story, I will not provide a lot of detail. Just this, Lunden came into this world without making a sound (until cleanup), eyes open, and checking things out.

After Childbirth

After I gave birth, it was all about the baby. Doctor’s were not concerned about my gynecological health and neither was I. The cysts and uterine fibroid were the least of anyone’s concerns. My focus was bonding with my son, breastfeeding, and healing. Doctor’s were focused on managing my son’s hydronephrosis. Thankfully, six months after birth, my son’s condition corrected itself.

At ten months old, I could no longer breastfeed my son. The supply could not keep up with the demand. Not having to dry up my milk was the only good thing. I say this because, I went a year without having a menstrual cycle. At first I thought it was normal. I was in between healthcare coverage, working full time, and concentrated on my son’s well-being. When I finally took the time to see a gynecologist, he told me I had HPV, gave me Medroxyprogesterone (medication to bring on a normal cycle), and prescribed a intrauterine device (IUD). He completely failed to address the lack of menstruation. I didn’t bring it up. I was too busy thinking about my ‘gift that keeps on giving.’ Damn! Who gave it to me and when? That I will never know, because much of the information for HPV is centered on women. All because women are at risk of getting HPV-related cancer, not men. So, I took the medication and tried the IUD. I found out the hard way that cysts and Mirena® IUD don’t mix. Due to pain and discomfort, I had it removed within months of insertion. The menstrual irregularities came back. It was time to get a new gynecologist.

The Diagnosis

The official Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome diagnosis was life changing for me. In one whole visit I felt validated and crushed at the same time. Everything I went through, all that I felt, was not exactly average or highly expected for most females. There is a name, conditions, disadvantages, and treatments for what I have. Unfortunately, high infertility rate was my disadvantage. I was told that I would have difficulty conceiving and even more difficulty carrying full term; chances for success were slim to none. I kept it together throughout the ultrasound and the remainder of my appointment. On my way back to work, I cried. I did my best to count my blessings, my son being the main one. I thought to myself, should he be the only one, I am the lucky one.

Over the next couple of years, I tried the NuvaRing®, two types of birth control pills, and nothing at all. Not taking anything seemed to be working. I was irregular, but never more than 40 days between cycles. It was the blood clots, cysts, heavy flows, and pain that never went away. I dealt with it like I always did.

My Alternative

Changes to insurance coverage caused me to see a new gynecologist. My first appointment was in December of 2017. During the appointment we discussed my medical history, concerns, treatment, and expectations. After speaking with my doctor, I decided to go back on birth control pills. This time taking Sprintec|Ortho Cyclen®, because these pills have been shown to reduce pain, decrease ovarian cysts, and make periods more regular. After six months of still dealing with the pain and blood clots, I decided to consider other alternatives.

I met with my gynecologist the first week in July and by mid July I was getting ready for surgery. I decided to have three procedures at once: hysterectomy (only uterus and cervix removed), bladder lift, and anterior and posterior repair. I know you may think taking away my chances of having more children is crazy. But, for me, it was an ‘aha!’ moment. My family was concerned at first with my decision, but upon talking with me, felt at ease. I  wanted to celebrate not having to use tampons or take birth control pills anymore. I was feeling liberated and in control of my body.

Currently, I am in the final stages of recovery. With the exception of heavy lifting, I have resumed normal activity. I decided to share my journey, because when it comes to their gynecological health, I don’t want women to think and not question, to feel and not be concerned, to deny and not seek answers. We tend to neglect ourselves and endure unnecessary discomforts. Sometimes we feel uncomfortable asking certain questions. Not once do we think gynecologist have most likely heard and seen it all. When your body is trying to tell you something is wrong, don’t deny it. Don’t be afraid to seek alternatives, second opinions, or weigh the options. Treatment and diagnosis does not come in a one size fits all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She Went Under The Knife, He Played Fortnite

It’s true! The title pretty much sums up the summer for my son and I. I had surgery July 13th and my son’s obsession started thereafter. I am in the final phase of recovery and my son has perfected ‘no-scoping.’ Oddly enough, both of us are equally excited about our progress. We should be! I’ve been following my doctor’s orders and my son has found a way to be at my side, while entertaining himself. *Wink*

Fortnite

When you are in the dog days of summer, with limited mobility and funds, what is there to do? Duh, Netflix and Fortnite! We do it curled up on the couch and wrapped up in blankets. When I wasn’t subjecting my son to watching Supernatural (my guilty pleasure), we watched original content and some oldie but goodie movies. Best believe he took advantage of the side effects from my pain medication. As soon as the drowsiness kicked in and I nodded off to sleep, he would cue up the PlayStation 4. Waking up was hilarious when this happened, because I would catch him in front of the television doing Fortnite dances. Some of his favorites are Dance Moves, Orange Justice, True Heart, and Electro Shuffle.

Percocet and Clarity Don’t Mix

Really, they don’t! The combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone is a killer of deep thoughts. The combination narcotic is best for relieving pain and serious sleeping. Because of this, I decided to take a break from blogging. I can’t imagine the kookiness that would have ended up on here, had I continued to post.

Have you noticed that I have yet to reveal the type of surgical procedure I had? Sorry to disappoint your curiosity, it wasn’t cosmetic. If you want to know what I ‘went under’ for, you’ll have to check out my next blog this week. It is more of journey, than an explanation. Hope you enjoy!

Damn You Social Media!

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I am oddly curious and I don’t know why. Every moment in between things to do, I find myself scrolling through my Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube feeds. Hoping the daily trends lead me to new and interesting discoveries. Most days what’s new is just another variety of what already exists. I can always find a plethora of health and beauty products, DIY projects, recipes, diets, and opinions. I wonder, how many eyeshadow palettes does one need? Did a mother and her children really build their house using YouTube tutorials? Isn’t the Keto diet the same as the Atkins diet? Would everyone’s opinions hold up if expressed live and direct? The answers to these questions are not life changing, yet my interest is peaked. Damn you social media!

Now that I am officially hooked, deciphering authenticity, reliability, value, and benefit is not so easy anymore. Not everything is subject to disclosures and fine print, but is susceptible to filtering and heavy editing. Influencers have become the analyst and journalist. Providing detailed information on just about anything. Good luck trying to weed out the bad from the good and the unreliable from the reliable.

A Few Of My Favorites

Instagram is for the wild, crazy, and cute. Also, the absurd and insane. For those seeking their fifteen minutes of fame, this is where it’s at. Post a picture, add a comment, include a hashtag or two, and watch what happens. You can witness the best and worst of humanity, by simply reading the comments. Don’t get me wrong, there is quality content on Instagram. There are tons of hilarious memes and short videos and plenty of accounts fighting for the greater good.

…it is my guilty pleasure!

Pinterest makes me feel like the most incapable and noncreative mother on the planet. I’ve seen cakes and party planning ideas that seem impossible and damn near magical. Who has the time and patience for all of that? Not me!

When I explore, I’m specific and include my expectations in my search. Thank goodness there is someone with my type of creativity and ingenuity! Because of them, I have found ways to save money and time.

The amount of hours I spend creating multiple boards with items, ideas, and interests is quite frightening. Will I ever do or have half those things? No, but I have followers and likes. My Pinterest boards are more like my dream boards. So, I guess I am dreaming of the perfect house, four course meals, fabulous cocktails, schmoozing with beautiful people and talented musicians, a postpartum body made to wear luxurious lingerie, a wardrobe for every occasion, the right accessory, and various tools, ideas, and mindset to live my best life. Yeah, right!

Twitter is all about the narrative. One Tweet is all it takes to make the Tweeps go crazy. If not, Tweeps can thread. Sometimes it takes a series of multiple Tweets, additional context, and updates to really get the point across. A Twitter war is not for the faint of heart. Shit can get real! Tweeps are passionately aggressive. Deleting Tweets is the equivalent of waving a white flag. Perhaps if Tweeps were face to face, it might go down like Fiona and Jesse in Shameless S7E9. I’m fairly new to Twitter and have yet to experience all of its glory, but intrigued for sure.

YouTube is the go to for gossip, reviews, tutorials, news, movies, music, how-to, a step back in time and into the future, proud parents and their kids, bad parents and their bad kids, trends, etc. You get the point!

Every time I type something in the search bar and it appears, it’s like ta-da! The red tube with the white screen and red play button has done it again. I’m cautious though, because there are a lot of poor reviews, fake influencers, and dishonesty. Nicol Concilio is a perfect example of what not to do as a beauty influencer. I wish I could take back the time lost watching her review. On the other hand, Stephanie Nicole is an amazing beauty influencer. She does her research, is thorough, and provides comparisons. I will stop here, because I could go on forever. Instead I will share a few of my favorite YouTubers/Channels.

  • Awestruck – Millennial entertainment brand for women who sometimes just can’t
  • CrashCourse – Awesome courses taught for all ages
  • CupcakeJemma – Runs Crumbs & Doilies in London – provides cake and cupcake recipes
  • First We Feast – Food meets pop culture
  • Jamie and Nikki – Husband and wife based in Australia who share lifestyle, beauty, and parenthood videos
  • Sprinkleofglitter – British mum who shares lifestyle, beauty, and parenthood videos
  • Tasty – Food made easy
  • TEDx Talks – Watch The Magic of Not Giving A F*** and you’ll understand why
  • The Hybrids – Kuwait based husband and wife, Ahmad & Ascia share personal style, travel, beauty, and more
  • WhatsUpMoms – Parenting channel

What If You Could Send Employers A F*** You Email?

Last month, my brother and I were sharing our frustrations with seeking employment. In the process of deciphering who had the worst letdown, it occurred to me. What if you could send a f*** you email to the employers who failed to get back to you? Think about it, how many phone and video interviews have you done, where at the end, employers have promised to follow-up but never did? For my brother and I, too many to mention. We try to laugh it off and tell ourselves that we wouldn’t want to work for a company that lacks professionalism. But, what is so difficult about making a quick phone call or sending an email with the truth as to why?

As job seekers, we concern ourselves with formalities and professionalism. Why are companies exempt or pardoned for not doing the same? Because they can and they do! Professionalism and formalities are for those with experience that matches the company’s current needs. Basically you don’t have that je ne sais quoi; quality that eludes description. Why don’t companies treat potential employees as potential customers? Because that type of treatment is reserved for new and existing employees.

For those of you trying to process the rejection from employers, I hope my f*** you email brings a smile to your face. A break from all the cliches.

Sample F*** You Email

To Whom It May Concern:

F*** you for getting my hopes up and wasting my time. For watching me squirm through your grueling and unrealistic video interview. You’re welcome for the free office entertainment.

F*** you for lacking articulation in your responses to my questions and answers and making me wonder why I don’t have your job. Honestly, what kind of vice president replies with okay, great! several times?

F*** you for being so detailed in your job post, yet lacking the attention to detail in your phone interview process. I have done plenty of research, I would be more than willing to share information and give you a couple of pointers.

F*** you for asking the questions: Why do you want to work here? What makes you the perfect candidate for this position? It is frustrating avoiding the obvious response, I need the money. The fact is, the majority of answers you’ll receive will be elaborate falsifications of what most candidates are really like and what they can do.

F*** you for requiring an account setup and loading a cover letter and resume. What’s the point if I still have to navigate the site and enter the information? What’s the purpose if you don’t take the time to read it? I am prepared for the phone interview, yet I can hear you shuffling through my resume in the background. You have some nerve creating a random question from information you just read. Oh, let’s not forget! You asked me to elaborate simple skills/duties that are self explanatory. Come on!

F*** you for not giving detail as to why I was not considered for the position. I know a pre-formatted template is quick and easy, but what’s so hard about tweaking it? I’m sure human resource management , upper management , and/or department management provided details for each potential candidate. Some of us, the majority of us, would really like to know where we went wrong.

I understand my name may be one of many on a list of non-potentials, that recruiting is costly and time consuming, but just like you, I need to make money. I owe it to myself, my family, and my bill collectors to get a job. So, if you could just take a moment and elaborate on that pre-formatted template of yours, I would greatly appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Desperately Seeking Employment

Motherhood Defined

Motherhood is completely unpredictable. There will be moments of complete terror, uncertainty, madness, and guilt. But that’s okay. You are human and born to make mistakes. To supersede those moments, there is pure joy, laughter, memories, and a love forevermore. Perfection is not a requirement, unselfishness is. The reward is unconditional love. And that unconditional love is not greater than or less than for stepmothers, foster mothers, surrogate mothers or mother figures, than for mothers.

Whatever you do, don’t get sucked into ideas of expectation versus reality. When it comes to motherhood, none of us do it the same. However, that is the beauty of it. Even though we have different ideas of what motherhood is, there are so many aspects of it that are relatable. When you open yourself to sharing and connecting with other mothers, you’ll gain some inside knowledge, new ideas, validity, camaraderie, and sanity. Let’s face it, it takes a village to raise a child, but who is part of your village, is entirely up to you.

If you are not sure what motherhood means to you, think about this, what are the combination of qualities and spirit that define you?

Being a Mom(1)

 

 

 

How This Mami Does Good Morning And Good Night

Music

Everyday is the same, I wake up and go to sleep to music. The only variation is the type of music I listen to. Lately, I have been obsessed with Max Richter’s album, Sleep released by Deutsche Grammophon for bedtime. The music is atmospheric and puts me at ease. Waking up in the middle of the night has been less aggravating since I’ve started listening to Sleep. There are no highs and lows like classical pieces, so I’m not startled. I’m curious how long I will continue to listen to the same album. My other go-to artists are Enya, François-Frédéric Guy, Melody Gardot, Massive Attack, and Emilíana Torrini. If I am ever at a loss as to what to listen to, I’ll choose a Spotify playlist. What are some of your favorite musical artists to sleep to?

Music in the morning varies for my son and I. Since he is performing for the School of Rock’s Red Hot Chili Pepper show, it has been a lot of their songs on repeat. Of which I don’t mind, because I get to reminisce about my teen years and my 20’s. It’s been fun sharing stories and dropping some RHCP musical knowledge. Side note, at one point in my life I wanted to be a music journalist. Some of the music artists we currently rely on to get us pumped for the day are: Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, Queens Of The Stone Age, DJ Shadow, System Of A Down, Travis Scott, N.E.R.D., Panic! At The Disco, and Marina And The Diamonds. Next week it will be a different set, but it is always an eclectic mix.

Please share in the comments section below who your go-to music artists are for morning and evenings.

Wind Up/Wind Down

We are not morning people at all. I wake up my son nearly two hours before he needs to catch the school bus. This allows for a much needed slow start. He has yet to wake himself, so I am his alarm. I know I need to work on this, but I honestly don’t mind. He’s eleven and has an irregular schedule. Between school, drum lessons, and sports it is hectic. When it comes time to get him out of bed, it takes several tries. Most days I literally have to yank him out of bed by his feet; gently of course. I’ve learned not to tickle or poke him, unless I want to unleash his inner demon. All jokes aside, waking up is aching and grueling. If we had it our way, the whole world would be night owls and we could sleep in.

Once we make it downstairs, we decide on breakfast. If cereal, my son serves himself, as do I. Otherwise, it is waffles, pancakes, eggs, and fruit options. We enjoy breakfast with Netflix. It is our time to catch up on shows we like. Currently we are watching Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Supernatural, Jessica Jones (fast forwarding the risqué parts), Miraculous Tales Of Ladybug & Cat Noir, and 80’s movies. Trust me we have time to chat, check the weather, select an outfit, pack bags, personal care, and what not. Curious what mornings is like for others; especially those who have more than one child.

In order to maintain energy and survive the day, I drink coffee mid morning and sometimes in the afternoon. I found that making coffee at home, Starbucks of course, and using a thermos to keep the temperature, is effective. Don’t get me wrong, I maintain my gold status with Starbucks. I love collecting my stars and redeeming my freebies. Not to mention, it is a great way for my son and I to pick up a treat, a drink, and chitchat on occasion. What fuels you and keeps you going throughout the day?

When school is out for my son and dinner time is approaching, is the time where things start to get difficult for us. We are so hyped to talk about our day and have a snack, that we tend to lose track of time. This is also the time when I tend to argue with my son about what constitutes a substantial snack. Oh, the agony! If he had it his way, snack would be high in sugar and also count as dinner. Does any mama out there have snacks prepared for the kids prior to them getting home or have snacks dedicated for after school eating?

Homework time, my most dreaded time with my son. Only because he struggles with staying focused and keeping on track and I struggle with staying calm and redirecting him. Listening to classical music has helped minimize the tapping, shuffling, whistling, and pencil drumming. If only I could keep that train of thought going, homework would be a walk in the park. I remember there was a time where he would welcome my help, but he claims I am too critical of him now. Side note – Is anyone else bothered by the fact that children in school these days are not required to work on their penmanship? On the nights he has lots of homework, I choose a cutoff time and have him finish in the morning.

Dinner time on most nights is between six and seven in the evening. Followed by dessert, showering, and getting ready for bed. My son says his goodnights, talks to me about whatever is on his mind, and then takes a moment to reflect on his day (think/process for himself). It is something he has recently started to do and I love it. It is so precious to see him lay on his back, with his arms behind his bed, contemplating things. Okay, so I know this because I secretly caught him once. Come on! What mother wouldn’t do the same (question with a wink)? These moments are fleeting; he’s a preteen.

Once my son is sound asleep, if I haven’t already, I shower and get ready for bed. If I am fortunate enough to have done so already, I plan for the next day. I utilize my Panda Planner to help me reflect upon my day, notice my wins/accomplishments, things to improve, establish projects, creating a monthly habit, a daily affirmation, and awareness/accountability for what I am grateful for and what I am looking forward to. I love the planner because it helps with all aspects of my life. It is a great tool to learn how to love yourself, prioritize your life, take time for the ones you love, create habits, minimize negativity, learn something new, and set life goals. The planner is broken down into three sections monthly, weekly, and daily. 

All that’s left to do at this point is apply my vitamin E hand lotion and EOS lip balm (I am secretly obsessed and have practically every flavor lip balm), do my Darabee Yoga Better Sleep workout, turn on my Himalayan salt lamp, select my bedtime music, and hit the sack.

Connecting The Dots:

Please note that not everyday runs this smoothly. Life happens! Some days are more entertaining than others, can be stressful at times, and have unexpected surprises and/or challenges. As a mother who suffers from mental illness, I understand all to well what it is like to have the best intentions and fall off track. The point of me sharing this, is to show that I have a plan in place. And like all plans, alterations and eliminations can be made at any time. I have a system that I’ve created to help me stay focused and maintain my sanity and composure. Self care is important for everyone in the household. Don’t get caught up with feelings of guilt and failure. Instead, reflect on your day, appreciate your wins (big and small), look for ways to improve, and know that life is about being a constant work in progress. No one is perfect!

Please feel free to share with me how you do good mornings and good evenings, your struggles, opinions, suggestions, feedback, and input. I would love for my blog to kickoff, connect me with others, and be a place for interaction.

Links / Coupons:

Be Happier & More Productive

Better Sleep Yoga Workout

Amazon Coupon Code (10% off)  – Enter PANDAFAM at checkout

 

Hmmm…International Women’s Day 2018

Today is meant to acknowledge women for their achievements. For some, today is the day we recognize the women who have influenced us. However, various social media posts would have you thinking differently. I’ve seen quite a few posts myself today involving nudity with mentions of liberation. Why must we constantly focus on empowerment with regards to our physical form? Is that what International Women’s Day is all about?

If we don’t want to be objectified and recognized for our abilities, intellect and strength, why do we continue to focus on our looks? Images of women, especially nude ones, are taken at face value. For many, Kim Kardashian would be a perfect example of this. When people look at her photos they don’t see an entrepreneur, mother of three, feminist, or a free thinker. More like an opportunist, narcissist, privileged, and attention seeker.

Connecting The Dots:

What prompted me to write this quick blurb, was Kim Kardashian’s release of her women’s empowerment emojis. I was so disappointed in how she chose to use her platform. Once again, she uses the female naked form. Adding catchphrases to images of breasts, such as: “The Future Is Nasty,” “Nasty Woman,” and “My Body, My Choice.” Some women may think she was savvy, but I think she lacked relevance.

Female empowerment should not begin with, but go beyond how voluptuous our breasts, lips, buttocks, and thighs are.