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Mom’s You Can Only Do So Much…

Pack kids’ lunches.  Grade class spelling tests.  Make sure N’s book report is started.  Plan for the next Language Arts unit.  Make sure kids’ laundry is washed before Friday.  Make copies for Social Studies project.  Oh crap, I have to send out the minutes for the PTA board meeting.  Wait — did I really sign that field trip mission slip?  When is the next girls’ outing…is it this week or next?  Did I call my mom?  When do I need to have report cards done by?

Always Multi-Tasking
Always Multi-Tasking

These are my current thoughts.  I am now up at 3 AM on a Monday morning thinking of all the things I wish I would have had time to complete over the weekend.  Why am I up right now?  Why can’t I just get this noise out of my head?  Oh right — because I don’t just wear one hat, I wear like 20.  I’m (and in no particular order) a mom, wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, teacher, neighbor, friend, best friend, coworker, peer, subordinate…and so on and so forth.

Constantly…working moms around the nation are on overdrive.  Moms are always on the go and always “on.”  I know I’m always “on” — mainly because I’m an elementary school teacher…looking out for children is a constant in my life.  I don’t think it really matters if you’re a teacher or not — the constant to-do list runs through our minds day and night (see my earlier post about achieving balance).


When I took a year off last year, I noticed that I was relieved from that element of my life — which was work.  I didn’t have a boss to report up to because I was my own boss.  I didn’t feel this constant feeling of having to “report” anywhere by a certain time or fulfill my own set of work obligations.  Now — even when I love what I do and wouldn’t imagine another career for myself, I do feel a constant loyalty to my students day in and day out…even on my evenings and weekends.  Would I trade what I do to stay home?  Never.

All at once, I take turns wearing all the other hats — and try to juggle it all at once.  Sometimes I wonder why I even try to juggle it all because it seems humanly impossible to be everywhere all at once…but I try anyways because that’s what I am.  I am the type of person, like many other amazingly strong women out there that try to do everything all at once.  I am the type that will put too much on my plate because I know that I work best under pressure and can’t stand not giving any aspect of my life my 110% all the time.  Is it healthy?  Probably not, but that hasn’t stopped me once.

Constantly, I am reminded to take a moment for myself to unwind and take a “time-out.”  A moment to just be with my own thoughts and be myself, a moment to find my zen.  To shed away all those hats for a moment to gather my own ideas and to just be.  As I get older, I do find that listening to my inner self is getting more and more important.  When I feel that anxious, robotic, out of body experience.  When I feel that I’m slipping away from myself…

Mama Challenge - Time Out Card
Mama Challenge – Time Out Card

I have found a few ways that help me gather myself and recharge.  Whether it be making a Target run to just roam around aimlessly with a Starbucks in hand.  Or to get on that treadmill and run away the feels.  Or by meeting up with some girlfriends for some “wine and whine” time.  Or even by taking the long way home from work to just sit and listen to the radio in silence.    

I have found the importance of finding your “time-outs.”  What makes you feel like you the most?  What makes you feel so content that it feels like you’re recharging your “battery?”  What could possibly help you strip away all your hats for just one moment?  

So ladies, take a moment.  Not because I’m urging you to do so, but because you feel that it’s about time!  Take that moment for yourself — just for you.  You can only give and give so much…

You’re in “time out!”

Your Brainy Chick,

Komi

Disclaimer:  No way do I feel that moms staying home to take care of their household and family don’t deserve a time out either — get out there ladies…you need that break!

Chick Picks:

Raising Children in a Multi-Ethnic Family

We still live in a time when we tend to teach our children that their culture is the best!  They should be so proud to be Indian, Greek, Polish, Mexican, etc.!  It’s harmless, right?  They SHOULD feel proud of their heritage, no doubt.  However, it’s a ying without a yang. This is the seed sowed early on, that inadvertently makes our children feel that they are better than others….in fact, the best!

The way I have approached this is by telling my children that their culture is indeed wonderful and amazing, but that other cultures are EQUALLY as wonderful and amazing.  We normalize our traditions and rituals and cultural mores by immersing ourselves in them.  Diversifying our friendships at an early age allows us to immerse our children in other cultures as well, thereby normalizing other cultures.  We live in an age (thankfully) when it’s OK to promote others, and, not only is it OK, it SHOULD be done.  It is our lifeline for peaceful coexistence.  And who wouldn’t want that??

I married outside of the culture I was brought up in, thereby making my kids multicultural.  I’m not going to lie; at first it was scary.  The ride was bumpy.  Not when we initially married, but once the kids came into the picture.  Despite all the conversations we had, nothing prepared us for the gravity of having kids until they were here. The question I kept asking myself was, “where’s the blueprint??”  No one (at least no one that I had known) had ever flown the coup.  I was riding solo, which had never ever jived with my personality.  However, with time, I learned to turn my situation into an opportunity.  I had the gift of writing my own blueprint.  I had a blank slate.  I could take the things that had worked for me growing up, and leave behind the awkward, confusing remnants that came along with assimilating to a new culture/country.  God, were they immeasurable.  Thankfully, I am able to appreciate them today but on countless occasions I had wanted a large sinkhole to form under my feet and swallow me whole.

I often hear, “Oh, you married an American?”, forgoing the irony in the question seeing as how I am one too.  And, invariably the thoughts that are being channeled my way seem to signify their next thought  – “was there a shortage of men from our own culture to settle down with?”  They may not verbalize it, but they are channeling it louder than if they had been shouting it from the highest rooftop.  Notwithstanding their own marital failures, sticking to tradition and culture has always been more important than the statistical success rate of marriage between people even within the same culture.

I am unequivocal in my support for retaining culture and traditions and passing them down, whether first generation or tenth.  What gives me such optimism and “spring in my step” as my husband says, is a renewed focus that what has been handed to me is an opportunity to handcraft my future from scratch.  I don’t second-guess myself as much as I used to.  I look at my children and think they are lucky to experience richness in the number of holidays they celebrate, the number of religious houses they are comfortable in, the diversity of foods they enjoy, and the number of languages they feel at ease in.  I see the way they don’t bat an eye when wishing others “happy diwali” or “eid mubarak” or “merry christmas” or “shanah tovah” and my heart bursts at the seam.

I am not threatened by other traditions the way I remember my parents having been.  The way I remember my friends’ parents being.  The way we were all told not to wish others a blessed “you-name-it” so as not to normalize it.  But now I see that was entirely the wrong approach.  I don’t for a moment blame my parents.  Kuddos to them for envisioning and actualizing a new life, far from the one they grew up in.  That takes bravery beyond what I can muster.  Naturally, they wanted to control the one thing they knew how to.  But luckily for me, I can expand on that and allow for my children a platform to assimilate as much as they want to, and in as many cultures as they want to.  The biggest gift I can give them is richness of experience and a broadened tolerance of others.  And the best part? Most of it can be done for free.  Who wouldn’t want to cheers (slainte, salute, prost) to that?!

Until next time,

Brainy Chick Serene

You Are What You Wear

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Have you ever wondered what your wardrobe says about you?  What about what you wear is so definitively you?  Do you like to accessorize? Do you wear comfort clothes? Do you like to make a statement?  What does what you wear say about you?

I recently came across a company called India Hicks and they have these amazing pendants that can literally help you define to yourself and others who you are.  I bought the one that says “Live an Extraordinary Life” as reminder to myself and others that that is the goal that I am working towards.   Let what you wear be a representation of who you are each and every day.

Live each day with intention and definition.  Who do you know that would love these fun necklaces?

Side note: I have a special chick in mind for the “Mamacita” pendant.