The Weight is Over: Spring into Action

20140101_145443

Spring is officially here and I’ve decided it’s time for me to Spring into Action and make health and wellness a real priority in my life. I’ve put on a few pounds over the winter, and just like the cold weather has to go, so does this extra layer of fluff.

In my defense, we have had an unprecedented polar vortex here in the Northeast and it would have been irresponsible of me to shed that extra layer of insulation during sub-zero temperatures.

Not buying it? I didn’t think so, but a girl had to try.

All jokes aside, as a mother, I realize how important it is to take optimum care of myself, because so many people are depending on me to take care of them.  If I focus and cut the crap, I can be in a much better physical position,  by the time summer gets here. So, instead of thinking about what I need to do, I’m actually going to DO what I need to do to get in better shape.

I firmly believe that there is no reason to face any challenge alone, so I’ve grabbed an accountability partner who is going to hold me to my decision to start eating better and moving more My accountability partner is none other than Mrs. Rhonda Hall from Raising Her Right.

She’ll be there to snap me back into reality when I get complacent and feel tempted to throw in the towel, and I’m going to do the same for her.

The reality is that I am busy and I have lot on my plate (LITERALLY), but I feel like I will be able to handle everything, so much better, if I get my energy level up and put better fuel in my system.

My approach to this is going to be simple, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.

I’m going to provide more specifics on exactly how I’ll motivate myself, what I plan to eat and my work-out regimen in another post. But I’ll clue you in on my goals, now.

They are as follows:

  •  Lose 20 pounds by June 21, 2014
  • Lose 4 inches from my waist
  • Tone my upper and lower body
  • Reduce my sodium intake by 30% to lower my blood pressure
  • Stop traffic – at least once.

No more delaying and putting off until tomorrow what should have been done yesterday. In closing, here’s a few more of my before photo to give you an idea of where I’m starting.

 

20140101_145455

20140101_145501

Yes folks, we have work to do, and believe ME, it will get done.

If you’re interested in my fitness journey, subscribe to the blog and follow my posts on twitter under hashtag #theweightisover.

For more inspiration and weight loss strategies, be sure to follow Rhonda’s posts over at Raising her Right. She’ll be in the trenches with me. Hope you join us as we Spring into Action.

Stay Liberated.

Growth Involves Dirt: 3 Areas I’ve Grown As a Mother #NakedMoms

Growth SoilMotherhood is about a lot of things, but mostly, it’s about growth. The growth of our children, as they reach milestone after milestone, and our own evolution from incubators, to caregivers and ultimately to launch pads.  All of those phases require some manner of getting our hands dirty and going through difficult situations to reach a higher level of understanding and a better way of engaging our kids. Whatever our shortcomings are, invested moms know that growth is a process and doesn’t happen overnight, but when it does happen, it’s definitely something to celebrate. Bring confetti and join me as I outline the 3 areas I’ve experienced the most growth.

 I Focus on Completion, Not Perfection

As a younger mom, I felt a lot of pressure to be perfect. I knew I didn’t stand a chance, but somehow, I still bought into it. I was driving myself crazy. My kids had to look just so, my house had to look just so, I had to look just so (I frequently fell short on that last one) before we could do anything. Then one day I realized how ridiculous it was and how miserable I was.  Life isn’t about perfection, it’s about completion. I refocused my efforts and stopped trying to be perfect and worked on being complete. Yes, families need regimen and routine, but you also need messy hair days and spontaneity to keep things, light fun and memorable. It feels good to just jump out of bed, get reasonably presentable and go on a random outdoors adventure with my girls without worrying that we’re all camera ready. Most importantly, we’re all happy and complete and that’s picture perfect.

 I Don’t Hover (As Much)

I’m a momma bear and I do everything in my power to protect my cubs. I pray for the brave soul who would dare to test this theory. For a while, that fierce desire to protect and clear the easiest path for my children amounted to whole lot of hovering.  Honestly, I thought I was helping, but I eventually realized was just getting in the way of them becoming more independent. By nature, I’m a fixer. So, when something goes wrong, or isn’t quite right, I feel compelled to fix it.  Sure, kids need their moms, but sometimes they need their mom to back off so they can figure some things out for themselves. Simply put: I needed to back and give my kids some space. How did I solve my hovering problem, you ask? It was very simple: I GOT A LIFE.  My children are my life, but that was no excuse for me to put some of my goals and aspirations on hold, so I could micromanage theirs. I am still a momma bear and I am still watching, but I am making space for them to find their way and eventually find their wings.

I Don’t Care What People Think About Me (Or My Mothering Skills)

Don’t let my straight-forward nature fool you. I’m a very sensitive person.  I’m tougher now, but when I was younger, the criticism others would launch at me (some deserved and some undeserved) hurt my feelings. Over the years, I’ve toughened up and realized that I am not out here doing this thing called motherhood because I’m trying to win the hearts and minds of spectators to this rigorous sport. I am a mother because sperm somehow found its way to one of my eggs – twice. Still boggles my mind, but I’m digressing, that’s a tale for another time. My point is that I figured out that people are going to have their opinions. They are indeed like belly buttons; we all have them. However, I have the power to pick and choose what I let hurt me and what I will let make me better.

I’ve decided that life can throw all the dirt it wants. I’m just going to use it to grow.

 How have you grown as mother? Leave me a comment. I’d like to know.

This post is a part of the #NakedMoms campaign where I am going to get naked and tell the truth about motherhood. There will not be good lighting, or fancy filters for these posts.  Unfortunately, motherhood doesn’t come with an app for that, so it’s just the truth about motherhood uncensored. However, to make it fun, I’ will be getting naked with some other MILFs (Moms I’d like to Friend). Hopefully, you’re into that kind of thing and will join the conversation at #NakedMoms on Twitter.

 

HOW TO BALANCE YOUR CHECKBOOK OF LOVE #NAKEDMOMS

heart 

It’s Valentine’s Day and I’ll start by stating the obvious: I REALLY LOVE MY FAMILY.

This is not news, because we all do.

Why else would we go long stretches of time without sleep, or properly caring for ourselves in hopes that the sacrifices we are making now, result in a better life for them in the future?

We do it and have always done it because we love them –and regardless of what the experts try to tell us – it is NOT easy.

In a lot of ways, I like to think trying to find balance in motherhood it is a lot like trying to  balance our checkbooks.

Just like the ebb and flow of the money doesn’t happen in a vacuum, neither does love.

If you find yourself losing patience with your kids, yelling more than you’d like to and fighting the urge to get in your car, drive off and not come back; (no judgement, we’ve all been there) it could be because your “love” account is in the negative.

Meaning, you probably have more love going out than you have coming in and that’s not good.

Happens to a lot of us more than you might think.

For me, this is where I look to my husband to make up the difference.

Of course, he loves our girls too. However, some things are best handled by Momma.

Like preparing for that certain time of the month, practicing ballet dance moves (however haphazardly) or picking out the perfect dress for the school dance. Trust me, they don’t want dad in on the process.

These things fall squarely on my plate and they require effort and energy that I don’t always have.  So, while I’m hustling and bustling to take care of them, anything he can do to lighten my load on the back-end is a huge help.

It’s nice when he is there to bridge the divide by pouring into me while I’m pouring into them. Whether it’s a reassuring word after a long day, a gentle shoulder massage or a hug that says, “Don’t worry baby, the therapist will help you sort that one out.”

It always gives me a little wind beneath my wings to feel like I can fight another day.

Father

And let me tell you, he’s good at this.

But let’s be real. This doesn’t always happen. Nobody’s perfect, so there are times when they all (kids and husband included) take make more withdrawals than they make deposits – leaving momma feeling busted and cornered.

busted

This is why I always say keep a stash of self-love in your savings account, because you don’t know when you’ll have to do an occasional balance transfer to stay in the black.

During those times when your stores are low and you feel like you just don’t have another thing to give, don’t be afraid to hand out one of these:

Insufficient Funds

With all that being said, there is nothing like going and growing through the journey of love with family. It’s all about maintaining the proper balance of give and take.

This Valentine’s Day, I am thankful to have  a partner who works to keep a smile on my face, so I don’t go completely crazy trying to put a smile on theirs.

Let me just say, waking up to this Valentine’s gift, didn’t hurt things at all. 

2014-02-14 06.33.24

How do you balance your checkbook of love?

This post is a part of the #NakeMoms campaign where I am going to get naked and tell the truth about motherhood. There will not be good lighting, or fancy filters for these posts.  Unfortunately, motherhood doesn’t come with an app for that, so it’s just the truth about motherhood uncensored. However, to make it fun, I’ will be getting naked with some other MILFs (Moms I’d like to Friend). Hopefully, you’re into that kind of thing and will join the conversaton at #NakedMoms on Twitter.

Check out some other #NakedMoms posts here:

Loving the Mom in Me by Stephanie at When Crazy Meets Exhaustion

Loving While Waiting by Heather at Diary of A First Time Mom

Present in Love by Laila at Only Laila

I Loved You Before You Were Born by Joyce at Mommy Talk Show

My Mom Was Right About Motherhood by Thien-Kim at I’m Not The Nanny

Being a Loving Mom Begins With Loving Yourself by Steph at Confessions of A Stay At Home Mom

I Love Being a Working Mom by Vanesse at Mommy Works A Lot

Naked Love. Learning to Be Vulnerable by Summer at The Dirty Floor Diaries

Back To Love by Brandi at Mama Knows It All

 

New Interview With The I Like Family Show

The Walkers photo

My Husband and I

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of appearing on the I Like Family Show with host Rey Brown. Check out the podcast here.

We had a fantastic time talking about marriage, motherhood, love and everything in between. And, you know that I was completely transparent on this thing, simply because I don’t know any other way to be. 

Take a listen and leave me a comment below with your thoughts and takeaways from the interview. 

In closing, Rey is a fantastic host and if you aren’t already, please follow his work.

For more info on the I Like Family Show, visit ilikefamily.com or follow Rey Brown on Twitter @reylikesfamily.

-Be Liberated. 

My Daughter is Dangerous

At 15, my daughter is doing something I couldn’t do at her age.

She is un-apologetically committed to being herself and it’s outright dangerous, in a world, that at every turn, demands she be like everybody else.  

Her battle for originality has been hard fought, as she’s had to deal with her share of tormentors who were so uncomfortable in their own skin that they couldn’t rest until they saw her uncomfortable in hers. But as Tamar Braxton says, “She Won”. 

Case in point, a few days ago she had a dress down day at school. Since her high school has a strict uniform policy, she cherishes the days she can do her own thing, wear her own clothes, and express her own style – and I do, too.

Her choice for this most recent dress down day was to pay homage to Michael Jackson. 

2014-02-07 07.07.00

Just so you understand, my daughter LOVES Michael Jackson.  She’s been fixated on him, his music and his legacy since his untimely death in June 2009. It was then that she fully discovered his music, his talent, and his wish that humanity live in peace.  

His message really resonated with her and I know his music got her through some pretty tough times.

Now, Michael Jackson is not without his controversy, but for her, he symbolizes having the courage to be unique, and different, in a society that requires everybody to be the same.

Kids at school have tried to shame her into dressing like them and following certain trends, but she stands her ground and firmly says, “I’d rather do my own thing.”

Her commitment to embracing herself as a unique being who sees the world very differently than a lot of her peers does not come without repudiation.  As I said earlier, bold statements of originality attract the ire and criticism of others, because nothing makes an insecure person more afraid of their own skin, than seeing someone else comfortable in theirs.

For this reason, I consider my daughter a fully loaded weapon of independent thinking and expression and I know she’ll leave an indelible mark on the world.

In Michael’s words, she is Dangerous.

 What are some ways you encourage your kids to stand out from the crowd? 

Mothering While Introverted

nakedmoms2

Warning: I am going to get naked and tell the truth about motherhood as a part of the  #NakedMoms campaign. There will not be good lighting, or fancy filters for these posts.  Unfortunately, motherhood doesn’t come with an app for that, so it’s just the truth about motherhood uncensored. However, to make it fun, I’ will be getting naked with some other MILFs (Moms I’d like to Friend). Hopefully, you’re into that kind of thing and will join the conversaton at #NakedMoms on Twitter.

When I was a little girl, I didn’t think I’d grow up to be a mom. I can’t say I really wanted to be. I was a shy and relatively serious kid, and early on, I understood the profundity of my introversion. And while I was certain that introverts did a lot of good in the world, I didn’t think they could make for really incredible mothers. I’ve carried that belief with me for many, many years and it’s time to give it up.

The fact that I am a mom tells you that I did somehow manage to extrovert myself long enough to get pregnant, at a young age at that. But even then it was only because he somehow managed to create a space where I didn’t have to really let go of my introversion to be with him. It felt safe and it worked, until it didn’t anymore. But that’s a whole other story.

To provide some background info, when I was pregnant, I dealt with crippling bouts of ante-partum and post-partum depression. There I was ready to retreat deeper inside of myself, but I knew the life growing inside of me meant that I’d be obligated to share myself with another person and it frightened me.

How would I manage? What had I gotten myself into?

However, after giving birth, it wasn’t so bad. As a teen parent, it wasn’t like I could go out and run the streets. (Something I had no desire to do anyway, but felt pressured to do to appear “normal”) Because of my situation, I had to be home and take care of my daughter and what a comfort that was. She was a low maintenance, easy-going baby and didn’t  require a whole lot. For all intents and purposes, she was an introverted mother’s dream, but it lulled me into a false sense of security because they don’t stay babies forever. As she got older, it became more difficult to co-manage my introversion and the pressures of being a mom. I felt guilty all the time, like I should be doing more.

Although I am very interactive with my children (they are more than enough stimulation for me), I don’t go a whole lot of places, or do a whole lot of things. I have very few friends (by choice) and I’m content with a book or sitting in front of a computer, or television. Secretly, I was ashamed and felt like I let them down because I couldn’t be the more outgoing mom I’m sure they want and deserve. Although, I’ve gotten better over the years, the feelings of inadequacy still haunt me and it’s time to give it up.

A few days ago, my older daughter, who I often worry that my introversion may have hurt the most, told me that she’s always known I was different than other moms. And even though she wondered why I wasn’t more outgoing and didn’t have a lot of friends, what she noticed more, was how I’ve always been there for her and I have always put her first.

While other kids had moms who seemed to be chasing the wind, I was entranced by my own wind, but I was always there and always available to her. She says she accepts me as I am and could not have asked for a better mother. For years, I have felt like I failed her, only to find out that I’ve been just who she needed me to be this whole time.

Motherhood is not easy, but we can make it a lot simpler by giving up all hopes of a better past.

For me, it starts NOW.

What are you giving up?

Here are those wonderful Moms I’d Like to Friend I was telling you about. The #NakedMoms posts will happen on the 14th of every month.

To Be a Better Mom You Have to Give Up by Steph at Confessions of A Stay-At-Home Mom

I Am A Recovering Perfectionist by Thien-Kim at I’m Not The Nanny

Giving Up On Perfect Single Motherhood by Laila at Only Laila

The Time I Almost Gave Up on Motherhood by Vaneese at Mommy Works A Lot

Motherhood: The Sacrifices No One Tells You About, But You Need to Know  by Joyce at Mommy Talk Show

To Let Go and Let God by Jacquie at The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood

I Didn’t Want to be a Mom by Summer at The Dirty Floor Diaries

Motherhood is About Giving Up by Jessica at A Parent In Silver Spring

Motherhood: I Give Up by Stephanie at When Crazy Meets Exhaustion

Giving Up Supposed To Be by Brandi at Mama Knows It All

Giving Up And Getting Down by Heather at Diary of A First Time Mom

Improvised Parenting : Doing it On the Fly

I’ll be honest, when it comes to this parenting thing, I mostly just fly by the seat of my pants. I mean, I do some planning and preparation, but over the years I’ve found that there will be those times where I just have to wing it and rise to the situation in front me.  As the parent of two girls, aged 15 and 6,  I pretty much live from one teenage/pre-tweenage crises to the next. So, improvisation is a skill that definitely comes in handy.

For instance, this morning my  6-year-old tells me, “Mommy, it’s picture day and I don’t have to wear my uniform.” This throws me all of course, because:

(1) I don’t remember  getting a picture day notice.

(2) It turns out, I did get a notice, but it was buried under her tuition bill which gave me sticker shock, so I didn’t bother to sift through the rest of the pile of papers.

BAD MOMMY.  

In any event, the picture day reminder was  in her notebook (which I failed to check the night before because I got too wrapped up in Scandal – but that’s for another post) and it said she couldn’t wear: skinny jeans, jeans with holes, skirts that don’t come pass the knees and she should be dressed like she’s going to church.

Rabbit out of hat

Well, that just about eliminated her WHOLE wardrobe because she can’t fit any of last fall’s dress clothes. Needless to say, I had to scramble to find someting that  would fit the bill and VOILA, I managed to pull a rabbit out of my hat. Leading me to wonder, am I mother or a magician?

I managed to find a pair of dark wash boot cut jeans I got on sale at Walmart and a nice dress shirt I had bought a few years ago –  that she’s just now growing into. Mind you, she’s 6 and will only agree to wear skinny jeans. What’s up with that? Anyhow,  I purchased them just in case she ever needed a good pair of standard jeans. Luckily, they looked dressy enough when paired with baby doll shoes.

I’m so glad I had the foresight to do that. And, it totally compensates for the fact that I indulged in primetime television instead of doing a backpack check last night, right?

In the end, it all came together.  I did a little razzle dazzle with her hair and we came up with the look below, which I think is pretty good for picture day on the fly.

How do you recover when you drop the ball?

CYMERA_20131108_110710

Tomiyah is ready for picture day.