Monday, May 23, 2016

My DAMD frustration and the Cure for it


The Day After Mother's Day (DAMD) was the most frustrating day of the year for me. The world moved on from celebrating motherhood and I was left right in the middle of it. The flowers dried up, the candy was on sale. I was rightfully back at my "job," struggling to find meaning and lasting joy through it all. 

It's only right that I give you a disclaimer. My husband has always helped me a lot. When I went through "all day sickness" with my kids (instead of morning sickness) he would get everything ready so I could rest for 3 or 4 hours. He's the man who cleans ceiling fans when I go out of town friends. My husband also works, so he's not here at least 40 hours each week. 

I have searched for the meaning of my DAMD frustration and I found that it came from:

 the weight of the job - while the world moved on, I was still doing the heavy work of motherhood. I enjoy it but let's be honest, there's nothing easy about changing 3 diapers, cooking, cleaning and being part of other activities in life. Add sleep deprivation to this, hormonal changes, friendship challenges and you get a frustrated person. I was not ungrateful, I was just a tired mamãe.  

• wrong expectations - being celebrated is so good, I decided I'd like the whole world to do it all the time. This is unrealistic, I know. I also had the unrealistic expectation that at least half of Downton Abbey's staff would move in and help me (now you understand why I try not to watch too much tv?). Right or wrong, expectations are a part of the motherhood journey. 

Each year on Mother's Day I experience a mix of thanksgiving with grief because my grandmothers are no longer alive and I can't be with my own mother (she lives in Brazil). If I'm dealing with any other inner struggles, it shows up too. 

This year I had a new thing happened: my husband was out of town on mother's day. It was my first time in 7 years without him by my side to celebrate such a big date. 

I made up my mind that this year, it was going to be extra special. The kids are old enough to understand mother's day and to fully express their appreciation. They made cards at school and they prepared a special surprise for me. 

Before the big day, I was aware that the DAMD was coming and I did not want it to be similar to what I experienced in the previous years. Instead of focusing on what I didn't have, I decided to change my perspective and celebrate what I had before during and after mother's day. 

Before - I took the kids to the beach. We LOVE the ocean so we decided to go and enjoy it for a couple of hours. It was lovely, it added so much joy (and memories) to our hearts! The goal was to get out of our routine and have a fun time together. 

During - I cried hidden tears as I remembered my grandmothers and as I missed my own mother. Then the kids woke up and gave me their surprise: the made breakfast (granola with yogurt) and they read their cards. It was the best, most thoughtful and true display of honor anyone could ever give me. I love my kids! We also went out for lunch and the restaurant ran out of food so I couldn't eat. Instead of having a bad attitude, I fed the kids and I had a pleasant and thankful attitude towards the staff who gave us that meal for free. I learned so many lessons during that 20-minute meal. Motherhood is about sacrifice and putting others first, while doing it with grace. 

After - Because I didn't eat out the day before, I gave myself the gift of a run in the gym and afterwards the kids and I went out for fajitas. It was awesome! I was also aware that this year the DAMD was different and I was okay with it. Being proactive really worked. 

I don't know if you can relate at all with my experience. I do know that frustration and anger are so normal for people who do it all for everyone, all of the time (aka Moms!). I do know that God loves me for who I am, where I am. He also gives me strategies for every season of motherhood. I also learned to rely on my friends for affirmation and support. 

I don't know what the next DAMD will look like but if I rely on God for guidance, it will be a day filled with thanksgiving, no matter my circumstances. 

Do you ever feel frustrated in your motherhood journey? How do you bounce out of it?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Adulting: going back to School


"When are you going to get your PhD?" My dad has been asking me this question for the past 10 years. I have had great excuses until now. 
I am thankful that my father has never stopped believing in my ability. I have also been fooling myself that another degree might not be something for me. 

A lot has happened since I got my Masters Degree. I got married to the love of my life, we moved to North Carolina, we started our family and moved to Texas to multiply even more. 

For every excuse I gave my dad, I have met someone who superseded it. I have met women who had more kids than I had and went back to grad school. I see women on a daily basis who are working as doctors and teaching med students. I have friends who have more kids than I have who are fantastic mothers and lawyers. 

There's no excuse but there is an opportune time

I realized that I might have ran out of excuses but I am not going to run and register just now.

I'm very much in a discernment process. This going back to school thing needs to work for everyone. I also have high standards I have been cultivating since 1998. I want it to work for my family and I want to do it fully funded. Yes, I believe in grants and scholarships to the max. 

I believe that God will direct my path. I believe that it will work for my family. I believe that it will work for me and it will enhance the calling of God in my life. 

I also believe that it will be fun. It has to be cause I remember that getting a Master's Degree was A LOT of work but I'm glad I did. 

Lastly, I think that getting higher ed degrees is very much like having kids. Some degrees leave you traumatized but (hopefully) when you get the next one, it will be so easy, it will feel like a heavenly reward. 

Have you thought about going back to school? How did you know it was time? 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Where is God when things don't happen as planned?


God's got a plan but He doesn't often share the details with me. He does ask me to trust Him day by day. 
I don't know many people who have their lives (or days) executed as planned. 
Take my wedding for example. We planned and planned our special day. We still have the notebook we used to write the long list of things we needed, a ballpark of how much it'd cost. The closer we got to the big day, the less likely our dreams appeared. I accepted a job in North Carolina and Zeke was not able to go back to college.
 
God's execution was totally different than what we could ever imagined. When God's plan came to fruition, the details were much different (and better) than what we expected. 

We had a beautiful, meaningful wedding in the mountains of North Carolina. We celebrated our marriage both in North Carolina and 6 months later in Mississippi. God was establishing a firm foundation for our family in a new place. We just didn't know about it when we planned our dream wedding. 

Friends, I didn't even have the impulse to fight against my circumstances back then. I decided to trust God to lead my steps for He delivers on His promises every time. Now every time when I get to the end of an uncertain road, I ask myself, "why did I ever doubt? God really worked it out!" 

Trusting God is a daily thing and it's for a lifetime. I am encouraged to trust Him in every situation because I know that somehow, He has an upgrade for me.

• I might want a pretty wedding while God wants a firmly established marriage;
• I might want a career while God wants to give me multigenerational impact;
• I might want vanity while God wants to give me a perfect heart.   

As I acknowledge God in my area of need, I know, direction will come from Him. 

My friend, if you find yourself puzzled because your plans are not working, know that God is. God is working on your upgrade. You just can't perceive it yet. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." 
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How to fight (and win) against Fear


The spirit of fear will hide behind some big names (CDC, MD, bill, etc) but there is no greater name than the name of Jesus. God has NOT given you a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. Walk by faith and not by sight friend. Look at the Prince of Peace Himself for all assurance you need to overcome. Enjoy today's video!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Goals: 32 Weeks in 2016

I just completed 42 weeks of my adventure as a preschool music teacher. I am thankful to God for what's ahead. While I have learned a lot from the past, one thing is for sure: there is nothing I can do about it. Yesterday is gone and all I have is what God has given me in the gift of today. 

You and I have great possibilities contained in the next 32 weeks. What will you do with it? I have a pretty great idea of what I can do. 

Family - Camp Listenbee will be in session for the summer again. I am planning an epic time with the kids. The goal is to experience new things without being over committed and exhausted. I'm looking forward to a happy summer filled with fun memories. I also plan on spending some major time with my husband. I've been married to him for 10 years but somehow, I can't get enough of him. 

Health - I scheduled my annual exams and I have been working closely with my family doctor. I see her every 3 months because of the high blood pressure meds I have been on since 2007. The last time I was there I told her I am working on losing weight and she gave me some great advice. My goal is to be fit for my Fall and Winter races. Now is the time to do the hard work and I will continue to benefit throughout the year. 

Fitness - I am reading "Run Less Run Fast" with my running buddies. I like the book and I plan on starting that training plan soon. My next race (Rock'n'Roll San Jose Half) is in October, so my fitness goal is to PR as well as a have a lovely time in California with my dear friend and her family. Right after that we crank up the Chevron Houston Marathon Training. My heart is to train with purpose for Houston and finally, finally run a dreamy race that shows in the numbers. 

Business - I am open and eager to pursue new business opportunities this year. I've been praying and working on new projects and I'm excited about the places God is taking me. 

Faith - There is something about faith that is not quantitative. God is all about relationship, so I'm happy about that. I am planning on continuing to read my Bible in One Year. I'm late but I am persisting and reading daily. I am also embarking on a new area where I have the honor of co-teaching Colossians with a dear mentor and a faithful sister in Christ. The study is called "Walk this Way" and you can listen to it this summer at www.MerryMinistries.com If you are a local friend, I expect you there. If not, do listen online. I will be studying and praying more than usual this summer as we embark in this amazing journey through God's word with the help of the Holy Spirit. 

I wonder if you have considered the fact that this is a good time to focus on your goals. January is gone but God is a present help today and He loves you for who you are, just where you are. 

Look for updates on these goals a few times this year and I will count on your prayers and encouragement, deal? 

Have an amazing day!