34 Year Old Life Reflection

Man, I think if someone asks “when was your self-discovery age?” I would have to say the past 12-18 months I have done more soul-searching and self-discovery than ever before. I’ve asked myself the deepest questions and I have found myself changing habits due to this transition. This also means the past 12-18 months have been the most difficult in my life. I don’t think it is fun for anyone to look at themselves through a microscope – a lot of disappointment and discouragement is what I experienced during the bulk of this season of my life. From the disappointment and discouragement I found a strength and desire that I never knew existed. I needed to learn about the weakness in me in order to allow my strengths to do what they needed to do to help me overcome my weaknesses.

I’ve also learned a lot about people in general. I can’t tell you how many books I have read on the subject of self-discovery. I prefer the term self-discovery over self-help. Self-help sounds too desperate to me. But anyway, the common theme of these books is if you look at people, as a whole, from a high-level every person’s actions are in an effort to make themselves happy. And while it may seem that the action is against you or the universe, they believe that what they are doing is going to make them happy in the long run. Hearing this and reading this and understanding this was more than just a lightbulb for me. It was like fireworks going off in my subconscious. I started looking at every person differently. I began to see a shift in my response to other people. I was always a person who took things – large or small – personally. Of course they were in some way plotting against me! That was the only rational explanation to what they were doing. When I started to comprehend (and this took quite a bit of time to sink in – so the fireworks had to get super-loud and bright before it had enough of an impact – haha) what was actually going on – at the root – my heart started to feel the compassion that it was supposed to feel.

I share this with you – my internet friends – only to maybe spark this thought process. I’ve found that since my heart was in a place of understanding and compassion, I have let go of so much unwarranted, self-inflicted pain. I am not perfect and this place is sometimes so far from my train of thought and my temper gets the best of me, however I am much stronger today than I was this time last year. I find it no coincidence that this awareness comes at the same time as Mother Teresa’s canonization. Her words have been a great teacher for my soul-work so I will leave you with her words as it directly pertains to my point:

People are often unreasonable and self centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat on you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be Happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Happy Tuesday.

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Tough Decisions | Life As A Working Mom

I try my hardest not to see things so black and white and to realize that each choice is unique from the next. It is something I have to constantly be present about because my natural instinct is to prejudge situations based on previous experiences. To add fuel to this fire, motherhood and parenting has become increasingly difficult over the past year – probably because we have 3 young children who are all in the age of discovering what they like to do. Which means, too many activities to manage PLUS two full-time working parents. I think this has led me to have a heightened sensitivity about my current season of life as well as increased amount of “Mom Guilt”.

Geez – I could write a novel about “Mom Guilt”. About how it is unavoidable, unpreventable, and untreatable. But, I won’t. Because who likes to read negative ramblings anyway?

Recently, I started investigating alternatives for the twins daycare/schooling.  They are currently at the same school my older daughter attended for the first 6 years of her life. It is a great school that happens to be going through a bit of transition. Unfortunately, the transition hit hard for the twins’ age group. There have been a lot of teaching transitions, schedule transitions, etc. While I have been going through this, I felt like my world and the twins’ world was falling apart. I found myself thinking “how are they ever going to survive? They need stability in 3k”. Then the dreaded “Mom Guilt” kicked in… “This would have never happened if we were in a better place where I did not have to work.”

Y’all. I was considering turning our lives upside down to move them to a school that could not keep them for a full work day and hiring a sitter to pick up my 3 children and drop my 3 children EVERY DAY just because I wanted to protect my children from hardship. THEN I would come to work and complain to my boss about the millennial I have working under me – She is too entitled. She has too high of expectations – someone failed her along the way because they never let her experience anything tough.

So it didn’t hit me that I was a living hypocrite until I was driving to work this morning – sans kid drop offs because of a teacher in-service. I would have never thought I would be causing my children potential harm by trying to create the most perfect external environment possible.

SIDENOTE – – I need to work on my control issues.

I guess my purpose of this rambling is to provide some sort of “I’m going through this too” content instead of writing about the roses and glory moments that DO exist in my life. Parenting is tough. Choosing when to push and when to pull back is not black and white. And I don’t know everything. And my children will be fine – and WHEN they survive this transition it only means that they now have a solid life experience to help them with the next change that happens down the road. They have that experience because they overcame it on their own, while i sat on the sidelines prepared to hug them when it was at its toughest.

On a brighter note… we had a lovely time last night at their book fair. Both of my 3-year-olds sang and danced and smiled alongside their buddies. This great school that is going through a tough transition made my kids smile. And I am eternally grateful. Here are some snapshots of those smiles:

Humpday Thoughts

Four things occupying my headspace right now:

  1. What the heck is snapchat? And why does it matter? And why are businesses talking about this being the next big social sell network? Wasn’t it just yesterday that you were hoping your teenage daughter didn’t have this app downloaded on her smartphone?
  2. Simple Life: it makes my heart happy to hear so many people talking about getting a grasp on their lives and striving for more of a simple life. This leads me to start thinking about why businesses have not caught onto this yet. For so long, people believed that they were the only human being who was not capable of working 90-to-nothing during the work-week. Why have employers not caught onto this yet?
  3. Heat: It is so bloody hot in the South this time of year! Why do I pray for hot weather when it is cold and cold weather when it is hot? I probably belong on a tropical island somewhere where it is 75 degrees year-round. Or maybe I have control issues and I need to come to terms with these issues.
  4. Why does my 3 year old all of the sudden have a stutter? A friend of mine who works in the speech therapy industry tells me it is “developmental disfluency” and it is very common at her age. It drives me crazy though – I don’t know what to do when she does it. Do I try to correct it? Do I just allow it to happen and pray she self-corrects? It makes my heart hurt and my mind go wild wondering if there is something wrong. She did send me this article, which eased my mind slightly – knowing that it is typical for her age. Have you experienced this?

I feel better now. Thank you for allowing me to have a place to dump these thoughts so I can get through the rest of my week. Happy Humpday!

Have You Heard? | #mothermanifesto

#mothermanifesto cissyromano.com

I was on the phone with a friend of mine from college this morning. Our sorority house is being demolished this weekend in order to make room for a larger and fancier house on campus. I don’t know the history of the house and how long it has stood – I should know, but my days of pledgeship are over, so just take my word that it is old. My friend mentioned that I will probably be the only sister not there this weekend, which makes me sad. Sad, because I know the reason I am saying no is because I’m having to make very tough choices these days in order to manage how stretched thin I am. I am sad because I know that I am missing out on yet another event with friends who were once a priority of mine. Sad. Sad. Sad. I miss them. And I miss that part of my life.

Motherhood is hard. Ok, you are thinking this is going to be a complaint post. No, not a complaint post. More like a PSA for all of you mothers that are living day-to-day right now. So I get to my point. A friend of mine from high school has co-created an initiative called the #mothermanifesto. She charges all women from all walks of life to band together in support of being a #mother. While I know that a simple pledge is not going to be life-altering or grant me more sleep at night, I do find encouragement in a band of sisters lifting each other up in support. Sometimes, you just need to reinforcement that you are not alone. There are other #mothers out there who have to flake out on their college buddies for important events. Because, you know, you have kids. And no babysitter to be found. And you are renovating your kitchen. And those weekend hours are spent at the library picking up site-word books for your kid that is starting school in the fall. Or making Costco runs and freezer meals for the upcoming week.

So, here I am – very transparent. Letting you know that I am riding this ride with you sweet mother. I feel your struggle and I know the way your brain is rationalizing decisions. I signed the manifesto because I want others to feel my digital embrace and to know that they are not along. If you feel the need to encourage, you can sign the manifesto here, and order the cool #mother shirt here.

Back To The Basics | Less Toys = Life With More

So, it’s been a little over two months since the lightbulb went off. That is about 10 weeks of increased sanity, increased time, and increased love of my home. I’ve tackled several areas of my home thus far, but my happiest is our toy collection. It is my belief that no matter if you have one or 10 children, you loathe toys. Am I right? They are everywhere. No matter if you are diligent about picking up said toys, they seems to appear in every spot besides the spots that you designated: sock drawers, your bag for work, the fridge… I was ready to declutter this part of our lives. R.E.A.D.Y.

I should set the stage. We have a very small home compared the American average. Please don’t ask me the square footage, because I have never been able to understand why we talk in square footage when it comes to homes. But, either way, trust me – it’s pretty compact for a family of five. I love that it is small. Small house payment. Small surface area to clean. We are on top of each other – and I like for my family to always be in my line of sight or within an earshot. – sorry for the tangent – OK, so our toys lived in every part of our house: the kids rooms, our rooms, the bathrooms, the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, the den, and even outside! Seriously. Every room.

I decided I was going to confine the toys to three areas: my oldest daughter’s room, the twins’ room and our den. Then, I used the KonMari method and dumped everything into the floor of my den and started sorting. I found the easiest to get rid of where all the miscellaneous piecy kind of toys that had missing parts or were bound to have missing parts in the near future. DONE. The hardest to get rid of were books. We have been given so many beautiful children’s books over the years that I found the memories of people giving them to us made it difficult to part with them. I then resorted to a max number of books allowed and reminded myself of our fantastic library and the experiences we have had going to the library to pick books out. DStorage Container for decluttering toysONE. I purchased a clear box with a handle similar to this for a small collection of toys for the twins room. I also left a toy castle in their room between their cribs. Because my oldest daughter is at the age that she is able to play by herself, we allowed a few more toy options for her room. She houses all of the children’s books in the house as well as most of the stuffed animals. The stuffed animals now live in a pop up tent/castle that does an excellent job at concealing the large collection of stuffed animals that she was not able to part with. She also had a small(er) collection of Barbie and Barbie accessories in her room. All toys are now contained in similar clear boxes in her storage unit from target. The third place that houses toys is in our den. We have another cube storage unit that we store the following in: music toys, puzzles, blocks, plastic toy animals, and dress up accessories. We also have a basket with our balls and then a small kids table for the girls to sit at and play. The toy kitchen and kitchen accessories are also down there. Our arts and crafts are housed in a small fabric box on top of our tv and the games are right next to it in a plastic storage bin.

So, we no longer have toys in our line of sight no matter where we walk in our home. It takes me – MAYBE – 15 minutes to pick up the worst tornado that is possible. Yes, 15 minutes. I have control back. My kids are starting to play in concentrated areas instead of at my feet while I cook. I am happy. My husband is happy. And my kids hardly miss the HUGE AMOUNT that we donated to the Salvation Army.

If you are struggling to find a place to start in your home – try the toys. Everyone is happy to see those go!

Back To The Basics | Living Life With Less

Budda Quote_CissyRomano.comHave you ever seen those programs about tiny houses? The ones where the people live in spaces under 500 square feet? If you haven’t – check out this YouTube channel. Absolutely fascinating. While this lifestyle would never work for me right now, it got me thinking if one day I would be able to live with a minimal number of possessions – truly live with only what I need. I’ve been intrigued by this lifestyle for at least a handful of years. It was only recently that I started making changes in my own life to get closer to this minimal way of living.

Regardless of what you have going on in your life and the number of warm bodies (human and furry friends) you are responsible for, have you ever spent an entire Saturday or Sunday cleaning up your crap? I’ll take that as a resounding YES – even if you aren’t admitting to it now, we’ve all had to take time out of our valuable and precious weekends to sort our things out. Call it “spring cleaning” or whatever you want – it exists. And it stinks. It makes you realize real quick that you are an adult and that being an adult is just not fun sometimes.

So this whole minimalist movement is about solving that problem. What if you controlled your living space and possessions instead of these things controlling you? Admit it – its intriguing right? And completely counter-intuitive to our Western culture where more is more and less is less. What if less really was more?

As I mentioned before, my husband and I have already started making smallish changes in an effort to explore this new less-is-more lifestyle. It was easy to get him on board by merely talking about how much time we would save on our weekends and dedicated free time if we weren’t having to do mounds of laundry and spend hours picking up the explosion of toys that happens immediately after the previous pick-up session.

My first step happened in January of this year – I started in my closet. Clothes seemed to be the easiest starting place for me as I am not emotionally attached to clothing. My reason for having so many items of clothing was practical and rational for this point in my life. My body has endured so many changes over the past 6 years – I have grown and delivered three human beings, so of course my body shape has been all sorts of shapes and sizes during this time period. I was hanging onto clothing with plans in mind of not being as large or round in certain body areas forever. OK, so its taking longer than I would like for this to happen. I’ve accepted it and I have now parted with the variety of sized clothing in my closets. It is still not where I want to be – I need to shed some more – but it is better than it was when I started.

My second step was our kitchen – again out of rational thinking – we are about to undergo a much-needed kitchen reno next month, and therefore we need to have all the crap that we don’t use out of the way so its easier to work around the reno and store our belongings. I have 4 of the same-sized pyrex! How does that happen? I also shed our old plates we received from our wedding. We had more than we needed and the majority of them were chipped anyway. We upgraded to stark white plates, which I am obsessed with and they bring joy to me every time we sit down to eat.

After the kitchen purge, I watched a review of a book that seemed to be taking over people’s conversations (in the social/web community I take part in): The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Her book basically summed up everything that I was reading and watching that was inspiring me to make these changes. I picked the book up in hopes that it would help me organize my plan of attack for this new exploration of mine. I’m about half-way through the book and it is amazing. And life-changing. And magic. I highly recommend it.

This past weekend we purged toys. It was amazing. It was joyful. My house smiled when we finished. My children did not even notice. Again, I feel we could purge even more, but this was an awesome starting point. My next attack will be my closet again. I plan on documenting my process now that my house is not as embarrassing. Had you only seen where I started.

I can tell you that so much peace has already come upon me and my family. After three months of slowing chipping away at the over-abundance of STUFF that was taking over our lives, I have never felt so at-ease walking into my home. It is slowly but surely becoming a place I enjoy spending my time.

Have you been intrigued by this minimalist movement? Have you tried changes in your own life? Please share with me any successes or failures you have experienced. I hope at the end of the day the promise of minimalism comes true, and I hope you enjoy our journey.

I feel a “Namaste” is an appropriate exit of this post. So, namaste.

Cissy

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TAG | 25 Facts About Me

1003570_10101919504614435_1907611018_nFor me, starting to blog is like starting a new book that you just can’t put down. I’ve entered into a new world and every door I open increases my desire to learn more and see more. Tag videos on YouTube are some of my very favorite videos to watch – mainly because you get to know the people you follow on a deeper level. I’m pretty new to Bloglovin’ so I’ve been spending a lot of time (probably too much time) exploring all of the beautiful and creative blogs that exist! I stumbled upon The A Style yesterday and saw this tag and thought it would be appropriate for new-ish blog. So here we go!
 
What is your middle name?: My given middle name is Curtis. I know. It’s unattractive and boyish. Not something I would have chosen for my girls. I legally changed it to my maiden name when I got married. So glad that chapter of my book is closed. It does, however, still exist on my college diploma, which hangs in my office.
What was your favourite subject at school?: Theology. I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Catholic Schools and I was always fascinated with the deep thought required in all of my theology classes. Props to my teachers who encouraged such thinking!
What is your favourite drink?: Beer. If I had to choose a fav, it would be Hoegaarden. I love it. I also love the huge craft beer movement that is going on in my town right now. So many different varieties! And I love shopping local!
What is your favourite song at the moment?: It would have to be Slumber by NEEDTOBREATHE. I’m slightly obsessed.
What is your favourite food?: Ice Cream. No doubt.

What is the last thing you bought?: A dishwasher. Life of a homeowner…
Favourite book of all time?: The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Takes me back to being a teen.
Favourite Colours?: Red. If you are into the psychology behind this, read more here.
Do you have any pets?: We have a dog. His names are: Charlie, Charlie Brown, Charles in Charge, BoBo, Buddy, Dog!, Bub. He is old. He is our original baby. He used to sleep between my husband and me in a queen sized bed. He is now blind, can not eat table scraps, and has a HUGE mass of fat on his undercarriage that can not be removed because its tangled in blood vessels. Poor BoBo.
Favourite Perfume?: Very Sexy by Victorias Secret.
Favourite Holiday?: Thanksgiving. I love food.
Are you married?: 7 years strong!
Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times?: Yes. Italy twice. Spain twice. Caribbean a few times. Mexico a few times. Canary Islands once. And I stepped into France for about 10 minutes. Spain is my favorite. I love you. I hope to see you again soon.
Do you speak any other language?: I fell in love with a boy from the Dominican Republic when I was 16. *Sigh, young love!* That will make you want to learn a language like nothing else. I then majored in Spanish in college and spent a couple of semesters in Spain. So I would say my Spanish is good enough for a basic conversation. I can read and write fluently though.
How many siblings do you have?: I have an older sister and a younger brother.
What is your favourite shop? So many to choose from! It all depends on what I am shopping for. Food – Whole Foods. Clothes – Gap. Makeup – Ulta.
Favourite restaurant?: Oh, Hot and Hot. Let me count the ways…
When was the last time you cried?: I have three kids ages four and under. I cry a lot. Mostly because I am tired and don’t know how else to react.
Favourite Blog?: If I had to honor just one, it would be Essiebutton. But there are LOADS of others that I am in awe of.
Favourite Movie?: I have issues with watching movies more than once, so I am going to skip this one. I do love movies though.
Favourite TV show?: I’m really into Sherlock right now. I will also watch the crap out of Criminal Minds. Criminal Minds is probably my only exception to watching a show or movie more than once.
PC or Mac?: Mac
What phone do you have?: White iPhone 5.
How tall are you?: I would not use “tall” as a descriptive word for me. I am short. Lets just leave it at that.

Can you cook?: I repeat. I love food. Which translates over to cooking. Love of cooking is something my husband and I share. I love him only slightly more than I love food.

El fin! I really enjoyed this tag! I hope you did too. Share with me if you decide to do this tag as well!

xo, Cissy