PREGNANCY (NO)GLOW

I have yet to find the glow that is typically associated with pregnancy. While it may exist for some women, I seem to have missed the memo that pregnancy is supposed to make you feel like the beautiful trapeze artist at the fair instead of the bearded lady. Yes, the daily glances in the carnival mirror make it hard to appreciate the so called beauty of pregnancy.

Is creating a tiny human from scratch a miracle and a blessing? Of course, and when that baby comes out believe that I’m going to love the crap out of it, but let’s drop the facade that getting there is always this beautiful and inspiring journey. Sometimes it just sucks. Sometimes it makes you feel like a failure before you’ve even really begun. Sometimes it makes you second guess yourself and sometimes it snuffs out your fire instead of igniting your glow.

With my first pregnancy I ended up with pretty awful anxiety–a side effect that is rarely spoken about as I learned after the fact. Near the end, it took everything I had to force myself out of the house for twenty minutes at a time in order to check one thing off the list. Could I count the number of times I cried in a parking lot trying to convince myself to get out of the car? Probably not as the panic attacks seemed endless, but yay! I made it to the end and holding my little love was the high that made the lows worth it. Did the anxiety go away overnight? No, but in breaking, I was able to build myself into a better and stronger version than before which is something I’m actually quite proud of.

So fast forward to this pregnancy and I had told myself things would be different. I had a vision of the person I wanted to be, and I had that match ready to light that glow. Well, despite my most optimistic intentions, that just has not been the case. There has been obstacle after obstacle, emergency room visits and daily pains in line, if not worse, than those felt after being induced at forty plus weeks. Though the anxiety has not been as bad as before, it has been present enough to leave me disengaged when it comes to social interactions. While I have to force myself out of the house for my kiddo, keeping up with friendships, social media or anything that will take me out of my homeward bubble has been a challenge that I have unfortunately been less amazing at overcoming.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to hide the fact that my glow was barely an ember. Despite the fact that I frequently share about my struggles, for some reason I felt like I needed to keep up appearances and fake it till I made it. So of course when that approach did not work–because who honestly ever feels better when they’re being inauthentic to themselves–I decided the best thing for my system was a reboot. To unplug and refocus.

Now, thanks to a little surge I received this weekend from an amazing mommy blogger I know, I am going to try waking up from this winter to enjoy the sunny days ahead.

Even if the fog hasn’t fully lifted, I think I can finally start to see the lighthouse ready to guide me home.

PREGNANCY-TAKE TWO

Pregnancy is hard. Not as hard as motherhood itself, but it is not the sunshine and roses too often portrayed. Between morning sickness and seeing your mummy tummy expand, that illusive pregnancy glow is more like a faint light from a flashlight running low on battery power.

The only thing I really love about pregnancy is the end result. That beautiful tiny human that comes from forty (ish) weeks of being put through the gauntlet–preparation for motherhood. The flutters are pretty cool, but the idea that there is currently a teeny tiny person floating around my insides is just weird.

The first time around, there is really nothing I enjoyed about the process. The changing body was not something I accepted with open arms. The constant nausea and the fire of  non stop acid reflux were unfortunate side effects. The crippling prenatal depression–yup didn’t know THAT was a thing–left me unable to find joy in any bit of pregnant life. There was no glow, I was no Fleur Delacour and even likening me to Hagrid would have been insulting to him. Pregnancy was supposed to be this amazing experience so say the books which made me feel like a dud, and if I was a lemon as a pregnant woman, what the hell kind of mom would I be?!

With my first pregnancy the small simple things that bring so many people joy left me numb. I was not really into any pictures, but tried to keep up with the Joneses. The selfies were well angled and taken twenty times prior to being posted. I did not want to document that body because of the crazy delusions I was telling myself.

The lies, the nerves, the fears were all very real the first time around. While I know now that many of those thoughts and feelings were falsehoods I created in the vortex of my depression, the residual effects of those lies had me nervous for the second time around. I knew I wanted a second child, but the thought of living through that darkness was not one that had me jumping to the bedroom.

Fast forward to take two, and I told myself that this time around would be different. Well, that’s an easier statement than execution. All pregnancies are different, but this one did not start off on the right foot. The aches started earlier, the pain started earlier and the stomach sure grew faster. At eleven weeks I was told there was a slight cause for concern and that I had to take it easy. At fifteen weeks I found myself in the fetal position daily thanks to the pains from cramping, sciatica and chronic back pain. At twenty three weeks, I feel as I did when I was thirty three weeks with my first.

For weeks it took everything I had to make it through the day–to fake it–with my kid because these are her last months being an only child. I want to make this time with her count, but holy hell is it tough when you feel like you are crumbling, and when the pain is at times blinding.

But these are her last months being my only baby and I don’t want to squander that. I don’t want to make it any less special than it deserves. So I’ve been taking a step back. I’ve prioritized. Knowing I need to allow myself to break and bleed, I have let myself off the hook. While she’s up, I’m up. I’m playing with her, loving her, and soaking in all those giggles; however, when she’s asleep, I let myself breathe. I let myself heal. As a result, my house is less tidy, the dishes might be stacked higher than Everest, I just might be working through one or two series on Netflix instead of blogging (sorry about the absence!), but my heart is happy.

It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to not do it all. It’s a lesson I am glad to be learning because it’s a reminder of what really matters in being the best mom I can be. Presence.

With this pregnancy, I am trying to be more present. I am trying to enjoy every flutter and kick, something I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for the first time around thanks to the darkness of PD. Even though I feel like a blimp, today I even made my husband photograph my bump, my bump, my lovely baby bump because the snow was too beautiful a backdrop not to.

This time around I am trying to be happy. Despite the pains, despite the tears, I am fighting to find the joy, and fuel that pregnancy glow, but in the end, I know now that not loving being pregnant is okay, and that there is absolutely zero correlation in your abilities to love that baby when they are finally out of your body and in your arms.

Working through the struggles and finding the balance is definitely what has been needed for me to enjoy pregnancy the second time around.

WHEN A MOM BREAKS

Two years ago, September pulled me into darkness. The floor broke beneath me and I free fell with an anchor tied to my ankles. It was terrifying, it was painful, but it also showed me the unbelievable strength that can be found in struggle.

Fast forward to last month, and you may have noticed that blogging was virtually non existent on my end. Well, October was another roller coaster month. Granted not nearly as horrific as 2015, but hard non the less. You know the picture of the Cat in the Hat balancing on a ball holding twelve thousand things in his hand? That was me. Between being busy creating products for this month’s launch, attending seminars to further my professional development, taking on a seasonal night shift, dealing with extreme mom guilt and attempting to keep an active toddler happy despite the nightly sobbed question of “why are you leaving me?” October was hard. Add to it a heart filled by some really great news only to be turned around and shattered by a heartbreaking diagnosis, and I was still okay because I had to be…and then I met Neil Patrick Harris and my life imploded.

One of the things I learned at one of the seminars I attended was that in a crisis you can either look for the danger or the opportunity, but what was left out was that you also need to process your feelings. You need to allow yourself to break before picking yourself back up and being that ultimate beacon of strength people are depending on you to be. Sweeping things under the rug only feeds into the eye of the storm of emotions swirling beneath the surface.

Meeting NPH was like that final rush of adrenaline before your body begins to process the trauma of the car crash. The surge of energy overwhelmed my already shaken carbonation and just like the can of pop you foolishly put in the freezer, I exploded. All the emotions, all the heart aches, all the pressures I had been putting on myself, everything I had kept bottled up came rushing out in a very public, very embarrassing way.

When a mom breaks there’s not only the emotions from the why, but a horrible bout of guilt for not being enough. That awful feeling of not attaining the ridiculous illusion of motherhood perfection that is expected of you. While of course those expectations are bullshit, it’s still something that aches through you.

For me, the way I process emotions and work through struggles is through writing which was something I did not allow myself to do last month. I wasn’t brave. I was honestly afraid of what would come out and what I would be forced to deal with. Writing keeps me sane. It keeps me self aware, it allows me to let go of the toxic negativity that can easily build beneath the surface if left untouched, and it really allows me to let go, move on, and focus on the positives.

I hate the feeling of becoming a geyser. It really doesn’t do any good for anyone–especially me. I love that I found something that works to keep myself in check, and that helps me through the struggles, but I need to actually do it. I need to fit time in my day to actually take care of myself so that I can actually properly and effectively take care of others.

Strength isn’t about never breaking. It’s about picking yourself up, and finding a way to move forward. Strength isn’t about burying emotions, it’s about making sense out of hardships, clearing your mind to be able to face a problem head on.

The fact that you break isn’t what makes you weak, the only weakness is when you use that break as an excuse to not get back up again.

October broke me, but believe it when I say that November is going to see me rise.

HOLY HELL, I’M A MOM

Okay, so I know I’m a mom. After all, I WAS there when the ten pound medieval flail exited my body, but every now and again I am hit with the realization of “Holy crap, I’m actually a mom, and THIS is actually mom life!”

As amazing as it is to be a mother, it involves doing things you never hoped, never dreamed, never conceived you’d be having to do. Motherhood illusions and naive expectations are constantly being shattered by the realities of what really goes into being a mom.

For instance…

Last night, out of nowhere during our nightly snuggles, my lovable little bug managed to projectile more vomit than Sheila on the Santa Clarita Diet–for real, sour milk everywhere! As disgusting as it was, that was not the thing on my mind. The thing on my mind was my poor, confused child.

Without hesitation, everyone around sprung into action. We tag teamed stripping down our exorcist, cleaning up the couch, and destenchifying the air. In a matter of minutes, the laundry was in and all signs of undigested dinner had been erased.

Growing up I have a vivid memory of my mom. I was five years old and had just come home from a surgery. Before being discharged and despite being nauseous from the anesthetic, the nurses gave me a delicious purple Popsicle which of course I devoured.

Well cut to being at home sitting in a rocking chair and the nausea overcame me. I turned to the side and began throwing up. Why has this memory stuck with me all these years? Well because it contains my mom swooping in and cupping my purple puke in her hands–SO GROSS!

That memory has vividly stuck with me, and growing up I could never understand how she could do that because I never understood being a mom.

Now I can.

In the span of two hours I had been thrown up on three times, my husband drenched once, and I had climbed into a lukewarm bath to both clean and cradle my sickened daughter.

After finally getting her to bed, I woke up to the horror of a broken diaper…I will let you fill in that blank.

Do I now understand how my mom could ever catch my vomit in her hands? Yup. Despite the bowls that we had strategically placed, did I at one point have to use myself as a human shield last night? Yuck and yes. Did I give my poo covered child a much needed hug this morning because she was feeling so awful about the mess? You bet I did, because mom life is not all sunshine and rainbows my friends. Mom life is about being there for your child no matter what…it also involves dealing with far more crap than ever thought possible.

Despite the wardrobe change and a shower do I still feel as though there are lingering bodily fluids on me? Yes, but I couldn’t care less because if being a waste disposal system is what my daughter needed from me, that’s the kind of mom she got. I might cringe thinking about it, but that sure as hell doesn’t stop me from doing it.

Now, I’m not saying we need to make this a habit or anything, but holy moly, I’m a mommy, and being a mom means that sometimes (let’s face it most of the time) you need to set aside your ego, suppress your own nausea and be the calm in the storm.

…and take advantage of those naps to rubba dub scrub away the absolute ick of your day!

 

ARE YOU THERE BOOBS? IT’S ME, ANDREA

The other day I was talking with my BFF, and as is the norm now, our discussion turned to “For real, WHAT happened to our bodies?” We were reminiscing about the good old days prebody apocalypse and laughing about the realities of what I affectionately refer to as Deflategate.

Now Tibby is far more of a fit mom than my 30 minute workout DVDs allow me to be, but hearing her say “it’s just not the same” definitely makes me feel a little less alone on this island (aka social media) in a sea of mommy illusions.

News flash: Growing a human inside of you will alter you. It’s inevitable. Even those fit moms you see under headlines of “no excuses” will have some part of them forever lost to the miracle of child birth. Tibby being involved with bikini competitions and what not will tell you the same (phewf). Smoke and mirrors are not just for magic shows my friends, so just relax and stop allowing yourself to feel the pressure of illusions.

The thing we probably laugh the most about are our boobs. When we were young and naive with the perkiness of fresh curves it was hard to understand why anyone would ever get a boob job. I mean who needs a triple G anyways? That to me just seemed like way too much maintenance and I felt like they would always just be getting in the way. Well cut to losing those postpartimplants you got before your little leech drained you dry, and laying on your back flat chested with your boobs in your armpits,  and it’s safe to say your perspective will change.

For the record I’m all about loving the skin you’re in. I’m a big advocate in the flawsome mindset. That being said, I can now completely understand the appeal of a little lift. While I personally might not feel the need to look like a Barbie when I leave my doctor’s office, who am I to judge the people that do? Recently, I was able to get veneers on two of my teeth. I remember talking to my mom as young as eleven about my teeth and how much I hated them. I can lose weight, I can grow my hair out, I can do this, or that to alter my appearance if that’s what I feel like, but no matter what, I couldn’t change my teeth, so I can understand and appreciate the fact that some people may feel like seeking help.

Honestly, I cannot tell you how many laughs Tibby and I have had over our boobs. The fact that I can fit an entire fist in my once overflowing cup is astounding to me. You know those weight loss pictures you see of people standing in their starting point jeans? Yea, it’s like that except WAY less empowering when it’s a shrunken cup. The fact that I wake up in the morning not knowing if I should be looking for a bra or a belt is laughable, but one of the many joys that, once again, people choose to omit from their motherhood narratives.

Do I love my new boobs? Not as much as I liked them before. Will I be rushing to get a boob job tomorrow? Nope. Am I siphoning money away now just in case I change my mind later? I was a Girl Scout after all and as the motto goes it’s important to always be prepared.

The moral of the story is to not judge what you don’t understand. Young and naive Andrea didn’t understand the need or desire for perky boobs because I was a freaking teenager and had them. Now that I’m a little older, I get it. No judgement. No thinking anyone needs to alter their body with smoke and mirrors, but an understanding that if that’s what’s going to make someone happy then who am I to be a judge or juror. Having my teeth done was amazing. It’s a perceived flaw that I no longer see when I look in the mirror or at photos. It made me happy, and yea it increased my confidence. It was an area of insecurity that is no longer an issue and I could not be happier with the decision. That being said, it was not an overnight decision, and remember, like the Tweety Bird you got on your ass in high school, it’s a decision that is easily reversed.

Motherhood can leave you with what feels like a stranger in the mirror. It’s important to find a way to love what you have, laugh at what you had, and do what works for you. So fair well tatas of old, and hello flap jacks! I guess my boobs were just an easy price to pay for the best treasure in the world.

LEARNING STATION-SIMPLE HACKS TO MAXIMIZE FUNCTION

I am a BIG fan of maximizing our living area and finding the most function in a tiniest spaces.

I’ve shared with you my toddler art station already:

Toddler Art Station

Now I am sharing with you my Learning Station! I call it a Learning Station because you can never be too old OR too young to learn. I’m in absolute love with this desk area because it is so versatile. I can use it for so many things from blogging to crafting, and it is a place where I can lead educational activities for my kiddo too!

I had been searching long and hard for just the right desk for the area. As we are limited on space, I decided the best place (the only place) for a desk was the hallway. As a result, I needed to find a narrow one.

I found a lot of great desks online, but as luck would have it, this gem appeared on a mom group bidding site I belong to, and I snatched it right up. Steal of a deal! It was a dark brown when I bought it, but I repainted it to white because for my personal aesthetic I feel better when things are light and bright.

Next came the task of making it as functional as possible. My goal was to create a suitable space for a not only a blogger and DIYer, but a creative and busy two year old as well. I started with a basket. It is a perfect home to all those miscellaneous items that end up at your desk. Things that are needed, just not at all times: paper clips, highlighters, post it notes, etc. It also doubles as a platform for my computer which, in the long run, will save my neck and posture. To finish it off, I added some flowers to bring a little life to it, but also to hide the chaos within!

                     

My pen/book planter is actually a decorative shelf turned upside down. It neatly keeps things away from my work space, and I love that, just like the basket, it can be easily moved to create a larger surface.

                     

Borrowing from my art station hack, I covered the top with a layer of white erase adhesive paper. I cannot encourage this enough for a desk! It is not only perfect for  notes and to do lists, but it is a great place for hang man and tic tac toe.

                     

On the wall I have both a white erase weekly and monthly calendar. It is great to organize your thoughts, and every successful person I have talked to has said how important it is to write down your goals–or promises as my mentor would say–to stay focused and on track. Deadlines and planning easily accessible to better manage your time. I have also attached a little inspiration, and have the means to display either photos or my daughter’s artwork.

To fill the space beside my desk, I found this awesome organizer. I love it because each drawer clips closed which eliminates the loss of what’s inside. I call this my daughter’s “busy tower” because each drawer houses an educational activity I know she will love.

                     

At the end of the day, you’re going to increase productivity the better you feel. It’s important to find the right desk for your needs. Things need to be accessible, but the clutter needs to be managed. Limit the distractions. Make it comfortable. Find ways to showcase accomplishments because you should be taking pride in your work. Be creative, think outside the box, and design a space that’s right for you.

Hopefully you found some tips and tricks to increase productivity and truly enable that love of learning!

If you’ve loved my look, but don’t have time to drive around hunting for those “just right” items, I highly recommend Wayfair. Similar items to all that I have shown you, shipped straight to your door!

XoXo

GOODBYE SUMMER

Summer isn’t officially over until September 22nd, but already the outside world is filled with pumpkin spiced everything to which I say RELAX! You might be ready to let go of summer, but I am holding on to every last minute of it.

Our last summer Saturday was a beautiful sunny day, but this dreary Sunday is the perfect occasion to reminisce a thank-you to the long, sunny days of June, July, and August.

This summer has been nothing short of amazing. WAY better than last year which was full of struggle, unknowns, and the selling and moving of our first home while also navigating life with a walking one year old.

So before I give in to the pumpkin spiced life (because let’s face it, I do love it as much as the next person), I am reflecting on all the wonderful adventures of a summer well lived!

Classic Childhood

We spent a lot of time outside this year. We lathered on the lotion, wore our hats, and sandal tanned our feet. Side walk chalk, backyard pools and sprinklers, sandcastles, and indulging in a first very own ice cream cone are all ways we created some truly classic childhood memories. It is easy to get carried away and think that every activity and memory needs to be above and beyond, over the top, epic, but it doesn’t. The best memories are the simple ones. The ones where everyone is engaged, happy and present. The excitement of screaming GO before dumping over the sand, the pride in learning to ride a tricycle, the chuckles at the first sight of ice cream, and fumbly hops of hopscotch are all moments that will be cherished.

       

Lake Life

Is there anything better than spending a day at the lake? This year we were able to spend some time with extended family at beautiful Whatcom Lake. Morning walks, jumping off docks, relaxing on floaties, paddle boarding and kayaking, and seeing what we could catch in our nets were all ways to make the day a great one.

         

Bon Voyage

In July, we were happy to be able to visit extended family and friends back in Edmonton. Although the plane ride brought a few tears (toddler and momma), it was definitely worth the stress. It is not easy moving away from a life and home you built from scratch, and it is also not easy to go back, but it’s a good reminder of strength. A few highlights of this trip: The local zoo, returning to our hood to splash and play in the spray park, and attending the wedding of two good friends.

        

Beach Days

Picnics are such a great way to fill a summer’s day, and with the sand and sea so close, it was only logical that that is where we would set up shop. My kid absolutely loves to dance with the water, the undertow and the waves–I swear one of these days Moana will no longer rule my life! We love to watch the boats speed by, and the tug boats dance. It’s calm, it’s actually peaceful, and most of all, it’s a great way to spend the morning!

           

Summer Haze

An unfortunate part of summer are the wild fires that rage through forests and towns. It is heartbreaking to think about the loss of habitat. Although the fires were not a direct threat to us, the smoke made its way to remind us to be grateful. The silver lining of the poor air quality was getting creative, and making our inside days as exciting as our outside ones.

          

Special Trips

One thing that we absolutely loved was spending the day at Cultus Lake Water Park. I was a little unsure at first as it’s a long drive, a bit pricey and it was a real risk if G would like it or not, but the risk was more than worth the reward! My cautious daredevil loved zipping down the slides, splashing in the spray, and having fun in the sun. Bonus that she had a great nap ALL the way home!

The PNE

Our summer would not be complete without a visit to the Fair at the PNE. This year, G was able to enjoy more of what the fair had to offer. The rides were fun, the Superdogs were classic, but the best was definitely the discovery farm! She loved harvesting, milking the cow and sorting out her treasures. The bunnies were a big hit as well!

           

While there are many more memories to share, there are still a few more days of summer to be enjoyed. Even with the rain rolling in, we are going to zip up our rain gear, strap on our rain boots, head out and dance in the rain as we gear up to welcome autumn with open arms.

Goodbye summer, thanks for the memories!

DEAR MEN, STOP CALLING US CRAZY

So the other day I was talking with my husband and he brought up a conversation he had had with a colleague. This friend’s wife is nearing the end of her pregnancy, and as many of us can relate, her emotions are becoming a little more…hmm how to put it nicely? Let’s just say challenging to navigate.

Now this is something I understand far too well. I was less of a delight during the course of my pregnancy than my regular flawsome self. I will admit my eccentric behavior actually won me a lovely dinner and piece of jewelry from a radio contest as I may or may not have ruined Valentine’s Day thanks to some less enjoyable hormones. I was moody, irrational and honestly 50 Shades of CRAY!

But men, just because we can reflect and recognize that our behavior is absolutely ridiculous at times does not mean you get to call us anything less than a freaking Goddess! We will also accept being called amazing, incredible, Wonder Woman, or any other positive synonym you can think of, but DO NOT call a pregnant person (or any woman for that matter) crazy.

We’re not, and if we are acting irrational, maybe you should reflect on the why and stop pissing us off! Seriously, when your very pregnant wife is dealing with pregnancy insomnia and needs you to send her another life on Candy Crush because her finger is too swollen to swap the right tiles which cause her to lose the level, just do it. Don’t hold that life hostage and tell her to “get some sleep”. For real, that two hour cry fest is on you, and is not a battle scar you get to brag about.

Men, you honestly have no idea what women go through to give YOU the most precious gift on the planet. We are literally growing a human being. We are giving this baby so much love, energy and brainpower. We are altering our body and mind, and just because the baby isn’t outside of our wombs waking us up with their cries does not mean that we are getting a good night’s rest.

So sorry (not sorry) if we snap here or there, but we have a little more on our minds than curbing the hormonal monster. Yes it’s not pleasant, but in a lot of ways  neither is being pregnant so you can just deal with it.

Furthermore, do you think we don’t feel bad for the freak out or frustration? Trust me we do, so you pointing it out or mocking us after the fact isn’t helpful. It actually hurts. A lot of women can even recognize they are being irrational WHILE they are being irrational, but the tornado is too strong and we continue to spin and spin and spin. It’s just another perk that we have to deal with during pregnancy, so how about a little understanding, support, and a freaking foot rub.

We are not anecdotes for around the water cooler.

Stop making fun of us for something that is out of our control, and stop wearing the fact that you “survived your wife’s pregnancy” like a badge of honor. You know the only person who earns that badge? The woman who was ACTUALLY pregnant.

So to quote Maui (because I’m the mother of a toddler and Moana has literally taken over my life) “I believe what you were trying to say is thank-you”.

 

You’re Welcome.

ART STATION HACK

I’m not going to give you the illusion that my house is photoshoot ready 100% of the time. Like I’ve said before my house is lived in, and I’ve put to bed the notion that an immaculate house is what it takes to be considered a great mom. Having said that, I’ve talked before about my anxiety, and I will admit that I notice a difference between a tidy house and a messy one.

So how did I find my balance? I recognized that I didn’t have to erase our days to keep my anxiety at bay, but when it comes time to tidying up, I need to know that everything has a place. I need to know that I won’t be shoving things here and there to give the illusion of tidy. So, I have been working to find organizational fixes to my every day problems.

Today’s focus is on the beloved yet dreaded toddler art station. Walking past it was my Hunger Games. For real, I don’t know how such a tiny space can spark THAT much anxiety, but it did. From the endless paper, to the assortment of writing objects (some with lids, some without), and all the random Dollar Store crap that has accumulated over time. A tiny catastrophe located between my kitchen and my living room.

Nightmare.

I racked my brain and Pinterest for ways to cope, but nothing seemed to fit my kiddo’s needs. Then one day, I found myself in the As Is section of IKEA (I say as if I’m not there ALL the time) where I found this cute little kids table with baskets hanging from its top, and I immediately knew how I could make it work.

I did a simple IKEA hack on this bad boy to create the exact function and look I had envisioned.

First thing’s first, I replaced the too bright orange baskets that came with it for more neutral white ones. Next, I sanded, stained and waxed the wood to get the darker finish that was more in line with the design of the space.

The baskets would be great to house the paint, stickers, and other non daily art supplies, but what I really needed was a fix for the waste of paper. We have colouring books and drawing pads, but those still didn’t provide the clean look I had hoped for. My daughter loves to draw, and nurturing that love is a priority. In the end, I was able to cover the table in a white board film I purchased from Staples. Perfect fix! Now she is able to draw to her hearts content using the markers we have set out nicely in a Dollar Store container without the mess of papers, or the guilt of waste. We also put some small note pads in there as she likes to “take notes” of her day and “write down” observations on our nature walks–for real she’s too funny!

It’s a simple fix, but honestly I find those to be the best kinds. I don’t need something complex, I just need something that is going to work. My daughter is absolutely in love with this little hack which, at the end of the day, is the biggest mom win of all!

THE THING YOU NEED TO SUCCEED

This morning I was once again able to meet with an incredible group of women. This group truly supports with an open heart. Moms empowering moms. Women empowering women. While many of our avenues are different, the common ground is the same : be our best, and work damn hard to turn those lucrative goals (or promises) into realities.

Where I am today is not where I’m going, it’s just a pit stop on a long journey that will be filled with challenges to overcome, and mountains to move. Where I am today is not the end, it’s the beginning; however, my version of today almost didn’t happen because for too long I allowed myself to be not only stuck at the beginning of the race, but afraid to even register for it.

The fear was crippling. I am not an expert. This was not the box I checked off in high school. The crystal ball did not foretell this future. In this new world, I am a round peg to a square hole, so how could I possibly find success? Each day I would wake up, and within minutes I would flatten myself. I would put myself back into the preconceived box, and I would tell myself that I wasn’t good enough.

So what changed?

I actually found something where the excitement outweighed the fear. I found something that fuelled my flame instead of snuffing it. I found something that, for the first time in a long time, made me believe in myself.

Now, of course you need to work damn hard day in and day out to attain it, but at the end of the day, if you don’t believe in yourself, that you are the best person for the job, that you are capable of achieving those goals, and that come hell or high water you’ve got this, then success will never be in reach.

I can. I will. I am.

I statements command attention. They tell not only the world, but yourself that you ARE a force. That you DO have this. That you WILL attain your goals. I statements hold more accountability because in making them, you are actually telling yourself you CAN achieve them.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot that goes in to becoming a success. Work ethic, research, follow through, positive action, networking, etc. However, none of that would even exist without the belief that it should.

I didn’t believe in myself because it was honestly easier not to. It was a safe zone, and a form of self preservation. To overcome my fear I needed to change my perspective. So, I began to look at my fear in a different way, and I realized what was scarier than trying and failing was actually staying on the sidelines of my life. Sure, I might never be able to Bend It Like Beckham, but was I seriously okay with not even participating in the game?

Now, I believe. I found something that excites me more than the fear could ever cripple me, and I believe I’ve got this because I DO have this. I am bigger than a box. I am better than I was giving myself credit for, and I absolutely 100% know I will get where I’m going.

Maybe what I’m doing will have an impact, maybe it won’t (it will), but at least I’m having the courage to find out, and that my friends is something I can take to the bank!

You’ve got this, so stop waiting and GO GET IT!