Taking Time for Mom

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I love having my nails done—I loved nail polish when I was a little girl and was always giving myself manicures, complete with base coat and top coat, even when I was 10 or 11. I generally find going to a salon for a mani/pedi to be a relaxing experience. I used to joke with my husband that when I got a full-time job after gradutation, I needed to make enough money to be able to pay my student loans back and get more regular manis and pedis.

Well, eventually that has kind of happened. I found an amazing salon that is relatively close to our house and is near my office and I’m there about every two weeks. I love it and I love that time for me.

Between my work schedule, commitments for the boys’ schools, sports schedules and my husband’s schedule, my time is limited, but making time for me is important for me. As mothers, our natural tendency is to “go, go, go” and take care of everyone else but ourselves, but I become a very cranky mom if I don’t do something for myself. In addition to regular manis and pedis, I find that it’s important for me to get enough sleep and I’m generally in bed between 9:30 and 10 p.m. I know a lot of people seem shocked that I go to bed that early, but I also get up at 4:30 a.m. in the morning to do the next thing I need to do for myself—exercise! While I’m more naturally a morning person rather than a night owl, getting up at 4:30 is hard some mornings. It’s become a habit, however, and it’s the only way I’m going to get some necessary exercise in. I had slacked on exercise around Christmas last year and then had an injury from a fall in January and realized through the course of physical therapy that exercise is a must and not just to keep my weight down.

I’m a happier person when I do small things for myself. I’m a firm believer that women need to take time for themselves and that there’s truth to the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, then no one’s happy!” It’s not always easy—finding a yoga class that fits my schedule right now is hard, so I get it—but it’s important to do something that works for YOU, no matter what stage of motherhood you are in. I couldn’t go for regular manicures when my kids were younger. Life was too hectic with small children and money was tight, so I did try to paint my nails weekly after they went to bed and with the fast-dry polishes, they looked okay and it made me feel like I was doing a little something for me. When I went back to school, I treated myself to a coffee out or a lunch out at Panera once in a while when my schedule allowed for it to do something little for me. I found it refreshing. What do you do for YOU?

Giving back……

(Photo credit: technorati.com)

(Photo credit: technorati.com)

I want to volunteer.  I want to do something that matters for others. I want to give back.

I do work with the PTO at the elementary school and have been involved for six years, since my oldest was in kindergarten. In fact, I was recently a volunteer at the school’s biggest fundraiser this past Friday night. It was exhausting and exhilarating, as it is every year.  I wish I could have done more to help with this event leading up to it, but with school and the craziness that surrounds it, it’s hard.  Putting together that particular fundraiser takes a lot of work.

But I’ve recently been inspired and would like to find a way to do something else, something  that doesn’t necessarily involve my own children but involves the community.  In an ideal world, I’d love to help out at an animal shelter and play with and walk pups who are looking for a home, but the local shelter here requires a consistent commitment for at least four to six months, so I don’t know if I’d be able to do that.

Even though 2014 will likely bring many new challenges for our family with graduation and job-hunting on the horizon, I’d like to find something that I can do to help others.  I plan to do some research over winter break to see if I can make this happen.  More to come…..

It’s amazing what brings me back…..

Photo courtesy of bestclipartblog.com

Photo courtesy of bestclipartblog.com

I was recently looking for some information on my university’s website.  As I was looking through the site, trying to find what I was researching, I came across the flow sheet for my major.

I got goose bumps.

Why, you wonder?

When I was trying to apply to my university in the spring of 2011, I remember printing out that flow sheet and bringing it to my meeting with an admissions counselor.  Would they accept me?  After all, my early college days left a lot to be desired.  I brought that sheet with me to see if admissions could help me figure out where my transfer credits could fit into the program.  I recall the counselor looking at my transcript, getting up and saying she needed to get something and she came back with this gigantic master list to see what courses from my previous college corresponded to courses at my current school.  She also came back with a copy of the flow sheet and she was shocked that I had actually printed one from the website and brought it with me.  (Maybe that was a sign that I was becoming a go-getter?)

I think I cried when I got home from that meeting.  My previous college experience wasn’t a complete waste and courses would transfer.  I was shocked and thrilled when she said I’d be accepted.

A lot has happened since that meeting and I have become someone I wouldn’t have expected to become.  Going back to school has changed my work ethic and my drive to succeed.  I have pushed myself harder than I ever expected to.  I remember just wanting to get decent grades, get that “piece of paper” and be a good example for my boys.

Before I know it, graduation will be here and this experience of going back to school will be a distant memory, another chapter in my book of life.  Until then, I continue to take it all in and enjoy the story that is constantly developing.

Yes, kids grow up too fast, but…..

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My Boston fans!

They can be a lot of fun when they are older.  My boys both have birthdays next month and my oldest will be 12 and my youngest will be 9.  I sometimes wonder where the time has gone, but they are at ages now that are fun.  They can joke, they are pretty self-sufficient (I haven’t wiped a bum in years) and they can enjoy things that my husband and I also enjoy—take, for instance, sports.

My kids are kind of obsessed with Boston sports.  It can be a great thing when a team is winning and it kind of stinks when they lose.  When my youngest cried when the Patriots lost the last Super Bowl in which they played, I was not happy.  But waking my kids up this morning to tell them that the Boston Bruins won last night after a big come back was awesome.  And it’s not just that they were happy that they won.  When my kids asked which team the Bruins will play in the next series and my husband told them, my oldest said, “That’s going to be tough for them” because they get it.  They understand the games a heck of a lot more than I do.  They can have conversations about the games with my husband and talk statistics and analysis.  I end up left out of these conversations because I really don’t understand this stuff at all, but that’s ok.

 

And it’s not just sports.  My youngest loves to talk about current events.  He loves to take in information and learn new things, so he loves to know what is going on in the world.  It’s amazing to listen to an 8-year-old’s perspective.

 

While it stinks to think of how quickly the years fly by, I love the young men my boys are becoming.  I love that they are taking life in and participating in it.  I love that they can team up with their dad and tease me.  I love listening to them have conversations with adults.  And my oldest might almost be as tall as I am, but both boys still make sure to give me a hug and a kiss before bed.  After all, they are still my boys.

 

Another school year done!

I am writing this just a few hours after submitting my final assignment of the semester–and of the school year!  It’s amazing to me that two years ago, I embarked on this journey with a lot of excitement, a lot of fear and a lot of hope.IMG_0857

I had no idea what to expect when I went back to school.  I remember having so many questions.  “Could I do it?” “How would I juggle it all?” “Was I smart enough to handle the work it takes to get a bachelor’s degree?”

I feel very fortunate to have met so many wonderful people along the way–from great professors, great classmates, and great administrators to great professionals in the field of public relations. There is a communications professor whom I had in my first semester, I had her this past semester and I will again have her in the fall.  She is amazing.  She’s encouraging, inspiring and she has a demeanor about her that I can only hope to have one day.

Yesterday, at the end of our final class meeting, she handed out the sheet in the photo below.  It’s so appropriate for me.

Cheers to the end of another year–and the persistence and determination that has gotten me through!

Have You Ever Found Yourself in a Style Rut?

Have you ever wished that Stacy London and Clinton Kelly from TLC’s “What Not to Wear” could take you away on a shopping spree and tell you what looked good on you?  Well, that’s where I’ve been lately.  I started struggling with my clothes last semester.  Many would say I looked fine, and maybe I did, but I felt like I was in a rut.  I was wearing clothing to school that was 3-5 years old with an occasional new piece thrown in to the mix.

courtesy of stockfreeimages.com

courtesy of stockfreeimages.com

When I began working in an administrative office in September as part of my directed study, I realized I needed to up my game.  I was allowed to wear jeans to the office since I am a student, but I felt dowdy.  I wanted to look like I’d made more of an effort when administrators came into the office and I was introduced to them.  I slowly started picking up new pieces of clothing and tried to plan my better outfits according to when I was in the office.

Even though I was trying to make an effort, I still felt like something was missing.  One day I was trying to figure out which scarf I should wear with a specific top and I mentioned Erin over at The Glam Life Project in a tweet because I was wishing I could think outside the box like she does.  Erin is my friend’s sister-in-law and we’ve seen each other at many of my friend’s family events.

We went back and forth via email for a bit and she’s given me some wonderful ideas, some of which I have already started implementing.  It’s going to take a lot of money to overhaul my wardrobe—this is where I’m jealous of the “What Not to Wear” folks—but this gives me a chance to learn what works for me.  I’m trying to slowly build a transitional wardrobe with pieces that work when I am in “mom mode” and also work with a skirt or dress pants when I need to look professional.  I have no idea what type of attire will be required when I get a job, but at least I don’t feel stuck in 2009.  I feel like I am moving forward, which is especially important because I am a PR major.  PR majors are supposed to be hip…or at least that’s what I tell myself.

So I’m learning about style, and trying to make more of an effort in figuring out what looks good on me and what pieces work together.  I will be sure to keep you posted! In the meantime, check out Erin’s blog if you are looking for some style inspiration yourself!

This will be the semester of blog neglect

School has officially been back in session for two weeks and it feels like two months.  Life is busy for all of us.  We are settling into a routine and I feel better this week than I did last week.  Last week was TIRING.  By Thursday, I was struggling to keep my eyes open.  It was the first full week of school, plus I started working on campus two afternoons a week as part of a directed study.  I love it, but it makes for a few long days.  Add in one particularly difficult class (for me) that requires a lot of homework assignments, two kids with their own “stuff” (homework, appointments, activities, etc.), a husband who is working a lot and you’ve got one tired MomStudent. 

The good news is I love most of my classes.  I love working on campus and I love the new experiences I’m having as a result of it.  Like I said, we are settling into a routine.  We are working as a team and doing the best we all can.  My husband has been incredibly helpful.  The kids are handling the extra time at afterschool care well.  They weren’t happy about staying so late the days they are there, but they are managing. 

I realized last week that after this semester, I’ll be halfway done.  Three semesters will be done and I’ll have three more to go. I also had to look at the academic calendar as part of my research for my directed study internship and I got chills when looking at 2013-2014 and seeing the date for commencement and realizing that was when I’d be graduating.  After this semester I only have 11 required classes left, so I should be done by then.  May 2014 has been the goal all along and it’s definitely do-able. 

Anyway, this semester will be busy.  I don’t have as much time to write for me as I’d like.  I had an idea for a blog post the other day while walking to my car and lost the idea by the time I could sit down to write.  It’s going to happen. 

But that’s ok.  Life is crazy, but it’s satisfying and that’s what’s important.