Choices

This week I started a new part-time job, not for fun, not for career advancement, not out of boredom (God, no), but simply because some extra money around the house would be useful. Going back to work, even part-time, became a huge life decision for me. My simple need to make some extra cash brought up questions about my career, success, future, retirement, preschool choices, resume and goals. It’s been hard enough to feel successful as a stay-at-home Mom, but now I was questioning if a part-time job is considered good enough… Should I be using my degree? Should I look for something with career advancement possibilities? Will this look good on my resume? Should my happiness and sanity be considered?

While debating and making my pro/con lists, I did what I always do when faced with a tough decision and discussed it with my Mom. She listened patiently as I rambled on about my options. I said to her “I do no want a full-time job right now. I love staying home with Luna, but my one worry, is that I will look back in 5 years and regret not taking the job that will help advance me in my career.” She stopped me right there and said, “No. You will only ever look back and regret not spending more time with your daughter.” That, right there, made my decision for me. That reminded me that my career is not my life, nor is it my meter of success, or at least it doesn’t have to be.

children

 

Then, because she always seems to know what I need to hear, Momastery posted this. This was the exact reminder I needed. My success is not dependent on if I work full-time, part-time or stay at home with Luna. I find success daily, in how I raise Luna, care for my family, treat others and lead by example through whatever I am doing. Today, I am a part-time working Mom, one day I may be a full-time working Mom, or perhaps a stay-at-home Mom to four kids, or a principal, or a writer, or a zookeeper. My roles will change, but my character will remain the same.

character

Right now, my role of Mom to Luna is by far the best damn role I’ve yet to play. It’s time I lay my insecurities and others’ opinions on what I should or should not be doing to rest. I hope one day Luna will look to me as an example of someone who followed her heart and did her best do what is kind, courageous and right, and I hope she does the same.

Cheers

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My Dilemma

Lately, I feel pulled in a few different directions and sometimes not pulled at all. I’ve made several big life changes over the last few years…moving to Albania, moving to Manhattan, getting married, moving to Tennessee, buying a house, quitting my teaching career and having a baby. All of these decisions have felt right, but one. One is still troubling me.

I am having a difficult time being a stay-at-home. I shouldn’t. I have wanted to have kids and stay home with them for as long as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to have a big family, cook healthy meals, make lots of crafts, be a soccer/head of the PTO/volunteering kind of Mom. I used to dream of the days I could volunteer making costumes for my kids’ school plays…yes, I’m serious. That’s just the kind of Mom I’ve always wanted to be. I’m fortunate that I even have the option to do these things. However, lately, I’m not sure what I want at all.

The other day I saw a report about a teacher who was freaking amazing. She had raised thousands of dollars for her low-income students to travel and learn about their curriculum in a real hands-on environment. She was taking her students to places they have never been, bending over backwards to help them comprehend every skill and was so loved by her students. It made my heart hurt a little. I don’t want to boast on myself, but I know that I am a good teacher. In fact, I often feel it’s what I was meant to do. I’ve always been the sort of teacher to literally do whatever it takes for the good of my students. So, is it wrong to quit doing something I do so well? Or, will I be using all of my teaching skills to be one badass Mom?

I wonder…just how important is a job? I believe that we should all be using our God-given talents to better the Earth, people around us or just humanity in general. It’s such a waste for anyone to squander away something they could be using to help others. For some, I think they do this through their job. I know many people who love their jobs and consider it part of their identity. However, I know others who are forced to work 9-5 boring jobs and spend their time off doing what they truly love. Then, I have friends who are stay-at-home parents like myself and are raising beautiful children, helping their friends and family who work and working for no pay all the time. All of these people are doing the right thing for them, but what’s right for me?

Lately, spending so much time on the computer has brought around a new round of guilt. If I stayed home to spend more time with my baby, why am I spending so much of the time staring at my laptop? I am trying to run two blogs and desperately trying to learn wordpress.org (BTW, if anyone has any advice for learning how to manage that PLEASE share!). I have been breastfeeding as I type and even setting Luna in her jumper just so I can finish an article. What’s the point of staying home if I’m still working?

Would it be a better use of my time if I volunteered more? Learned to garden? Spent more time remodeling the house? Should I be in a classroom? Is my time spent writing and sharing my own life lessons with the world wide web valid?

I don’t know.

Yesterday, my sister and I had a conversation about this very topic. She is a working Mom and has a lot of guilt about not getting enough time with her son. However, she feels comforted knowing that she’s doing what she loves, using her talents wisely and helping her family financially. I, of course, have the opposite guilt. Maybe it’s just normal for Moms, or all parents, to feel guilty no matter what we decide.

Unfortunately, I have no answers for you today. Honestly, I think I am meant to stay home, at least for a little while, but who knows what the future holds. I may be running a new website on wordpress.org, I could be in a classroom or maybe digging up a garden and learning to paint with Luna. At this point, I think anything is possible!

Cheers!

Back to Life…Back to Reality

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OMG, why is it so hard to get back into the swing of things? We have traveled around for 2 weeks, have had a myriad of friends and family staying with us for 2 months, celebrated so many holidays, had lots of parties and get-togethers and basically just been on a super busy long vacation the last few weeks…It was awesome, but I am done. I am so ready to get back to a normal routine and productive schedule, yet can’t quite seem to figure it out.

I feel sluggish after not getting any exercise over the last week. I am EXTRA heavy after eating 857 Christmas dinners. My sleep pattern is so out of whack…I am going to bed at 2am, waking up every hour to pee, getting up early, but then falling back asleep until I’m ashamed of myself. And being productive seems so far out of reach it’s just ridiculous… how do we fall out of habits so easily? Or how do we start new habits so quickly? I need help!

Besides all of the busy-ness of the holidays and traveling we have had a little snow/ice storm in Nashville, which basically shut the city down for 3 days. Flights were canceled, schools were out and all errands were put on hold. There are just too many things keeping life from getting back to normal.

With Luna’s due date just 38 days away (38 days!) I have many “to-do’s” looming over my head…like finishing the nursery. SO, this is it. Tomorrow, I will turn life around. I will get back to a schedule and my long lists will at least get partially finished.

My plan?

I will wake up early.

I will have coffee…oh yes I will.

I will make a list.

will pressure wash the house, or whatever it takes to get it clean.

will eat only vegetables and water for the next month…or you know at least cut out all the holiday crap I’ve been consuming.

And shit will get done.

Then perhaps a second cup of coffee, just because I’m feeling a little daring.

Wish me luck! On second thought, just hold me accountable!

Cheers!

Get Kidz Fit

Get Kidz Fit

It’s finally here! Today, a good friend of mine (aka my former boss) and I are starting a new website/blog. Chris, my partner in this project, is a former professional gymnast who now directs a gym in Manhattan where he trains kids from ages 18 months-14 years. He is an awesome Dad, super active, an incredible teacher/coach, the best boss I’ve ever had, and seriously knows his stuff. When I left NYC, we knew we’d eventually work together again, and have now found our opportunity.

Between the two of us we have many years of working with children and families in various educational settings and each have a serious passion for keeping kids fit and active. Over the summer, Chris approached me with the idea of starting a website to encourage families, especially ones with young children, to get active. I loved the idea and we decided that our focus is to reach out to families around the world and help them find ways to start healthy habits for their children from the very start.

We are staring with a blog to tell our own stories, give advice and to educate everyone on the importance of getting kids fit. Our goal is to expand to a website where we can offer skills and exercises for specific ages, plans for certain disabilities or weaknesses, meal plans and recipes for kids and a support system for families.

Our site is called Get Kidz Fit. Check us out, send us your feedback, questions and advice because we’d love to hear it all! We are also on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest so be sure to look us up.

I’m so excited about this new project! Wish us luck!

Cheers!

She Works (kinda) Hard for the (not very much) Money

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

I am a very indecisive pregnant lady. When I found out I was expecting my decision-making process disappeared and I became incapable of deciding what I want for dinner, what to wear, when to sleep and any big life decision is just too much to handle. One of these big life decisions included my career.

In the last 6 years I have taught public elementary school, coached middle school dance and drama, tutored kids, taught overseas for an international elementary school, nannied, coached gymnastics, dance and yoga for fancy Manhattan preschoolers and managed social media for the same fancy pants preschool. Clearly, I like working with kids and being active, but cannot really decide what I “want to be when I grow up”. Six months ago, we decided to leave NYC for the country life in Tennessee AND discovered I was pregnant.

Being pregnant and not clear of what career path I want had me taking 400 different paths… I decided I definitely 100% wanted to be a stay home blogger… for exactly 4 minutes. Then, I applied for some public school teaching jobs…then, some private school jobs…preschool jobs…daycare…coaching…social media… Pretty much anything that sounded half-interesting was worth filling out an application. Two hours later, I made the final decision to work on the house, have a calm relaxing pregnancy, learn to cook and garden and prepare to be an awesome stay-at-home Mom. That lasted for a day. See the pattern?

My indecisive-self kept me from completing most applications or following through with interviews (“Mrs. Positively Panicked we’d like to interview you!” Ummm…yeah, I ‘ve changed my mind, thanks anyways.) All of the non-decision making and busy life stuff lead me to where I am now…blogging (read: making nothing), tutoring and substituting. So, basically I work randomly, have no schedule and I am kind of loving it.

I love schedules, being busy and especially adore deadlines (I need structure!), but I must say that choosing whether I not I want to go into work kind of rocks. For example, this morning it was raining/snowing, freezing outside and I slept for a total of 30 minutes last night. So, when the phone rang at 5am and I was asked nicely to come in and sub for 8 hours I said, “yeah, no thanks.” Coffee, pj’s, a big blanket, my laptop and Good Morning America just sound SO much better.

Then on days when I feel like I need some structure and motivation I get up at 4:45am, take a sub job, teach all day, tutor all night and come home feeling productive. So productive that after working 14 hours yesterday I came home, did the Asylum and made dinner! BAM. Badass.

AND, I’ve been keeping a secret from you guys, with all my time off the last few months I have actually began learning to cook (gasp!). Like, real meals not just frozen pizzas and grilled cheese, though we still eat our fair share of both. I want to transition to full-time stay-at-home Mom when Luna arrives. I want to cook healthy food for her, sew costumes, do Pinteresty crafty things and grow vegetables in the backyard, but who knows what I’ll actually do. I think that maybe all my life decisions and job changes have led  up to my biggest role yet (world’s most awesome Mom), but I can’t rule out the realistic possibility that I might want to re-enter the work force at some point.

Honestly, my indecisiveness stems from all the labels and judging I keep reading about. Every single person and their Mother seem to have very strong opinions about whether Moms should stay home or work, and I just don’t want to be labeled or a part of that argument AT ALL. Recently, I realized that I’m not judging the other women and Moms, no matter their career choice, so why am I being so hard on myself? I just need to do what’s right for us, my family, and right now, things feel good, really good.

What about all your Mom’s and Mom’s to be out there? Do you work? Stay home? Wish you were doing the opposite? Have a good combo of both? Are you even decided yet?

Either way, I just feel so very very lucky to have these options, a Husband that supports me either way and part-time job with VERY flexible hours.

Or am I? The wind may change tomorrow.

Cheers!

What I Miss About NYC

It’s been a while since my last “top ten” post, and boy am I ready for another one! Tonight/this morning I am up and thinking about NYC. Today a friend asked me if I miss the city, and of course I do. Who wouldn’t? So tonight’s top ten is..

“Top Ten Things I Miss About NYC”

1.  My job. Looking for a new one stinks, especially since I really loved my old job. It’s so rare to find a job you love, a boss you love in a location you love.

2. Central Park. Tennessee is full of nature and breathtaking views, but I still miss walking to Central Park, taking Belle to “off leash hours”, picnicking and people watching. No park can compare to Central Park.

3.  The FOOD! OMG, why don’t the nice men on bicycles ride to Nashville to deliver my favorite vegetarian dishes at 2am?! I miss the pizza, the bagels, the Indian restaurant near my apartment, diner breakfast and it’s only been a few weeks!

4. Public Transportation. I never thought I’d miss the subway, but it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than buying gas. It was also nice to just sit and read while someone else did the driving. subway

5. The shopping. I miss Madison and 5th so much. Not that I could afford to shop on Madison and 5th, but window shopping was mine and Husband’s favorite way to relax.

"I'm throwing on my Louboutins"
“I’m throwing on my Louboutins”

6. The views. We may have snuck onto the roof the Parker Meridian fairly often to enjoy its view of the city, but we also love the view from many other rooftops…half of which were legal.

A rooftop bar is totally legal.
A rooftop bar is totally legal.

7. New exciting things and events every weekend. There is always something new to do in NY. The Daily Candy and Time Out NY always kept me up on the latest exhibits, new store openings, upcoming concerts, Broadway premiers, fashion shows, free festivals, street fairs, comedy shows, park events and so much more. NY has something for everyone…and LOTS for me.

8. The fashion. I loved just looking at what everyone was wearing, but I really loved the fact that I could wear anything I wanted and not be judged. New York is probably the only place that you will see a girl in stilettos, a guy dressed in candy wrappers, someone half-naked, someone else wrapped in cellophane, people in pajamas and people in designer gowns all within feet of each other. No one even gives them a second glance because a)they could be going anywhere or coming from anywhere and b) who cares? Now, in Tennessee, I get stares if I wear a sheer top or tie-dyed wedges.

9. Broadway. I think we saw over 30 shows in the two years we lived in NY. I loved being able to pick up half-price tickets in Time Square on a whim any night we felt like going out.

The night we met Jeff Godbloom on Broadway.
The night we met Jeff Godbloom on Broadway.

10. Zoey. Yep, I miss you Zoey.

zoey

Cheers!

 

Goodbyes Suck

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I’ve been MIA the last couple of days while I wrapped up my life in NYC. I had to finish work, pack all my crap into one suitcase (probably shouldn’t have shopped over the last month, woops), get lots of last-minute details organized and of course, say goodbye. I said goodbye to friends, co-workers and the Big Apple. It’s time; time for us to part ways.

Now, as I sit in the airport waiting for yet another delayed flight, I am overwhelmed with SO MANY emotions. I am so happy to get to see Husband tonight. I am sad to leave my friends and my job. I’m excited to see our new house (I’ve only seen it once in person!) and I’m scared about the many changes happening in our life. Also I feel incredibly guilty. I hate saying goodbye, because it always makes me feel guilty.

Me, on the way to the airport.
Me, on the way to the airport.

We have moved a lot in the last 8 years, which has warranted many farewells. Saying good-bye to so many friends always reminds me of the wasted time. The time I should have spent developing these friendships. I’m great at making the most of any situation and taking advantage of wherever I am, but I often focus too much on the adventure and not enough on the people. It’s the same feeling I get when someone passes away, like “I could have done more”.

My friend Sara is the opposite. She loves people, makes friends so easily and no matter where she is there are always friends with her. I cannot tell you how many times Sara forced me to go out with her in Albania, and I cannot thank her enough. See, I get set in my ways and I get comfortable. I’m shy when I first meet people and often it’s just easier to hangout with Husband, do our own thing, and avoid the whole “getting to know you” with strangers. It so easy to write this blog, spill my guts and be completely open and honest with the world. So why is it so hard to do this in the real world?

Sara didn’t care about my shy introverted tendencies. Sara knew we were meant to be great friends. She made sure that we had coffee together everyday, ate lunch together several times a week and very often went out at night together. Many of my favorite memories in Europe are with Sara. If it wasn’t for her being persistent and making an effort to spend time with me, I don’t know if we would have the friendship we have now.

So, as I leave New York I cannot help but feel guilty for not spending enough time with my friends here, and for not making a bigger effort.

The older I get the harder it is to get out, meet new people and make new friends. I try to make excuses like “I already have some kickass friends”, “I’m tired”, “It’s too cold to go out”, “I’m too busy”, and “I just want to stay in with Husband”, but the truth is that it’s just hard to make friends and I’d rather to take the easy route.

No more though, I’ve learned my lesson this time around, and I’m done with the easy/lazy route. I’d rather have more memories with more friends.

New York, you were wonderful to me, but we must say “Good-bye”, or rather, “See you later”. You better believe that I will be back! I have friends to visit and more memories to make. Nashville, here I come!!!

Cheers!