Monday, February 27, 2012

What shade of America am I?


This morning the hubby, my daughter and I went to a diner for breakfast. At the table, my daughter reached her hands out for her dad's hands, looked at them and asked:

“Dad, what are you?”
“I'm hazelnut baby” (although I think he is more of light caramel)
“Come on daddy!”, she replied. She then asked, “Okay, then what am I?”
“You are Mocha Latte baby”, he replied.
“DADDY!!! Seriously, what nationality are you?”

(She thinks, in this country called America, there are many different nationalities, as she hears African-American, Italian- American, Irish-American, etc.)

“Well baby… I am part ALL and some some...”

The conversation kept on as she really wanted to know the different “chromosomes” that would help identify her background. How is she supposed to define herself ethnically to others? She is becoming more and more conscious of the fact that, with all the different shades (skin tones) in our extended family, there's bound to be different backgrounds (the root of her interrogation was the fact she heard the singer Beyonce stated that she was part French, Native American and African American). While her dad kept on teasing her, I blurted out “you are American baby girl, that’s all”.

I tuned out of that conversation and start thinking of what my husband had said to her... “I’m part ALL and some some”... Doesn’t that sum up Americans?

What a great time to have this conversation; we are just a few days away from the end of “Black History Month”. Almost at the end of seeing all those advertisements, highlighting the work, influence and impact black people have contributed, making this the free country that we now live in, known as America. So why do we find it important to have this month long moment? We celebrate our ancestors’ fight for our equality, but can also take pride in the results of their battle by, every day of our life, calling ourselves American (just American and not African-American). Being black, isn’t your ethnic background, your African gene and your ancestors’ history attached to you and as obvious as a uniform you proudly earn and wear every single day? Why do we allow ourselves to perpetrate unnecessary diversity labeling? 
How foolish is it that my 9 year old needs us to breakdown her origins, not as a learning experience, but to be able to define herself. Seemingly, it’s not only a sub part of America, but also a sub part of a sub part of America… What are we really celebrating here?

What happens when February comes to an end?

Diversity: The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.  It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

When opening the doors of this big country called United States of America, you see, feel and experience the diversity that created it. Different colors, different smells, different shapes, different heights, different cultures and different races. But why is it that, where our dissimilarities should have made us stronger, it made us weaker? Diversity, which is part of the world DNA, instead of being cherished, brought discernment against our differences and ultimately racial discrimination. Why is it that birds of different feathers will sometimes congregate together but can’t pledge to look out for one another? Unless we start defining ourselves as American and not by all its sub ethnic entities we will never be the strong country we were meant to be.
Some might say “Who am I to speak?”, “What do I know about the history of the ancestors of this country?”, and “I’m not from here so I can’t understand”. To that I would reply: there is no denying my roots, and it is with pride, that when you look at me, you see the African in me. You can tell by my skin, my accent and my demeanor, just as much as I see the African in you, although you have a different accent, hair texture and demeanor. Granted, today through marriage, my nationality is American. Because of that and my 2 beautiful children, embedded in me is the history of this country. But even before that, you all need to know that I understood something; that myself, my parents and grandparents didn’t grew up here, and didn’t have to live through the oppression that the black forefathers of this country endured. However, somewhere further back down the line, your history is connected to mine because our ancestors are from the same land. So… Your history is my history, which gives you the answer to why I have an opinion, who I am to have one, and what I know.

Maybe I don’t understand because I grew up in Europe. The way things work there is quite different. Whether you were born there, or immigrated there, you are who you are. If you are a citizen of France, Spain or Italy, then you’re French, Spanish or Italian. Not “Afro-French”, or “Afro-Spanish”, or “Afro-Italian”. Even though you’re origins are obvious to everyone, it seems to me that shaped the way I look at the whole matter. I think you should speak of yourself as a member of the whole, while your individual culture will speak for itself.

“My hero is my history and my history is a legacy of people who have triumph over tragedy, who have succeeded in spite of oppression. How can I fail, because they thought me failure is not an option. We are All as people, as a country destined to succeed” ~Beverly Kearny

Speak, scream, protest, march, complain, and rally against your own oppression, because those before us laid themselves on the line to give us that power, and the right to do so. Use our ancestors’ legacy as a learning tool, not as a pretext to differentiate ourselves and demand continuous “amends”. What we should learn from our predecessors who engaged in the civil right movement is that the gift they passed on to us was that, going forward, we as people from all different backgrounds, can and need to take control of our own history. With the movement, they gave minorities to a voice and Caucasians opened their eyes to the segregated world they had created. Let’s celebrate year round for Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall, Viola Liuzzo, Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner, JFK, Black Churches, students, ect… All those blacks and whites, who created, lived the movement and help make life better for black, Asians, Mexicans, and Caucasians alike. They fought for you, for all of us, not so that we could be weighed down by discrimination, but instead, for us to be able to stand tall, taller than they ever did.

I personally believe that limiting the celebration of one heritage to a specific month not only takes the joy out of it and magnifies the obvious differences, but it also perpetrates differences. Everyday, I look at myself in the mirror and celebrate the image of me, what it represents past and future and honor that legacy by portraying and embracing it with pride, just as I expect any other race to be proud of themselves and the strides we ALL made as human beings.

Let’s celebrate the Americans that we are!

“I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for ALL people”
~ Rosa Parks

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I detest racialism, because I regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black man or white woman”
~ Nelson Mandela


I had my husband read this before I posted it to get his point of view as I know this is a sensitive subject. He said to me “it is hard for people to let go of their resentment for the wrongs that have been done and paranoia as we are still being treated unfairly! We are rightfully eerie of the authority figures of this country. You just can’t understand… And as far as Black History Month, we had nothing but now we at least have that.”

Although I’m not going to change anything I wrote, I just want to stress that my point is not to say the bad experiences which occurred in the past or at this moment or are bound to happen, are not realities that needs to be remembered, voiced and dealt with; what I’m trying to say is that we need to change the way we define ourselves because through the bad sprinkle with a little good, your, our ancestors have gained the right for us to be called American.
We earned a month to celebrate us, why don’t we make more strides and celebrate us at all time…

         Love always,

Friday, February 24, 2012

Religion VS Jesus or is it one of the same...

When I wrote my post about "FAITH", one of the comments I got was:
"God is all about relationship, while (I think) people are looking for religion"-Anonymous

I agree wholeheartedly with that deduction as I think we like to put everything within a box, defined and labeled to give it weight and purpose. I do believe religion and all institutions involve are man centered and Jesus is God centered.

“Religion is man searching for God; Christianity is God searching for man”

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus

After watching this video I'm sure you all have plenty going through your mind either because you agree, disagree or simply are more confused from where you started.

I would love to read your take on Jefferson Bethke's point of view on religion and moreover I would love to read your personal thoughts on religion.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Raising our children, or living vicariously through them?"

It was never meant to be complicated. I believe that it was intended to be a fun, loving, gratifying experience where we all are intended to come out rewarded and unscathed; We parents, with a sense of triumphant completion and our children, polished, decent and productive members of society, with the foundation needed to endorse the experience of parenthood themselves when the time comes.

I believe and have always said that there is never a perfect time to have children; we can never be ready for the expected or unexpected experiences that come with bringing another being into the world. I’ve come to learn while looking around me, that it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor (although the latter would prove the experience to be more challenging), whether you’re single or in a relationship, what religion (if any) you adhere to, what disposition you’re in, nor what your outlook is when starting this journey… My belief is, at the end of the day, you have to be assured that you have accomplished all the selfish longings on your wish list, because from this point forward, it will NEVER again be about you!


As parents, even before our children are born, we have big dreams for them. Once we meet them, we work towards not dreaming anymore but making all of it reality for them… or maybe for us… Are we trying to guide them toward what’s best for them, or are we trying to accomplish what’s best for us? Are we making sure the choices we present to them are ones they would want, or only ones that we want? Do we forget that they have dreams for themselves? It’s a known fact that parents often hold the most responsibility for crushing their children dreams, as we get caught up in “knowing what’s best”.

We often live by the old adage “do as I say, not as I do”, and this is because we as parents “know better” and facilitate what’s best for our children… But, could it be simply because we have the years along with the experience under our belts? Is it because we wish we did things differently for ourselves, and we need to know the outcome of that “possibility” we did not reach for ourselves? What is that option we did not follow through on? What could have been, if those dreams we had for ourselves had become realities? Or maybe… it is that we actually know best…

Do we live for our kids or do we experience through our kids? Is there any wrong to either statement?

When my husband and I became parents, there was no manual guaranteeing success in parenting; the “do’s and don’ts” for “triumphant” child rearing. There were and still are plenty of books on how to raise a child and become the best parent, but nothing that will give you a step by step process to guarantee a successful outcome. Anyways, I was never interested in getting those types of books, as I always knew I wanted to be a mom when the time was right. I had unconditional love to give, which would ultimately help me do the best job with my child/children. I had great role models in my life, but above all, I also knew for a fact that I could never have a better partner to bring my unborn children in this world than my husband … if you ask him, he would insist that I was never a child; I, in turn, wonder if he would ever grow out of his child like nature… J

As you know from my previous posts, the hubby and I have 2 beautiful kids. Our son is 12 years old and our daughter is 9. I can safely say that I adore them. Since they came into my life there hasn’t been anyone or anything that has brought more joy, and they have truly completed me, my relationship with my husband and our lives. Baby years, toddler years and early school years were the easy years, where following our guts in what needed to be done for and with them was truly an easy process. We had tremendous love and through it all, they remain our number 1 priority. Now that they are entering the preteen years, I’m starting to wonder if my husband and I still have the same vision for our kids and their future… let me take that back… I do believe we have the same vision, however, a different approach to seeing it come to pass.

We imparted to our kids the importance of always being polite, nice, humble, cognisant of others’ feelings, tactful, and equal towards everyone. For my son who is the most agreeable person I’ve ever met, always worried about hurting anyone’s feeling or disappointing them, it was an easy process for him to embody all those characteristics. As far as my daughter... (big smile on my face as those who know her are probably laughing now), can I just say that, at 9 years old, she has not yet learned how to use her filter; sweetest princess out there, but for her there is no other way but to “tell it like it is”! Even though she exemplifies most of the qualities we taught them, tactfulness is not her forte! So, they can be well rounded socially and productive members of society. The other thing we instructed them in, is the importance of excelling academically. The method we used (which has proven successful for us, since they started kindergarten) is, during the school year weeks, no video games at all (and you all know how important that is today in these kids’ world), minimal TV, and all this is after ALL school work is done before their bed time. If their report cards come back with at least a “B” or above, the weekend is all theirs to do how they please.

Now this is where I’m having a chuckle… and a bit of a worry… When it comes to our kids extra curricular activities, I believe that my husband lives vicariously through our children!
My son at 12 is an upcoming DJ, has done many paying gigs,  but until this day I’m not convinced that  he told his father that’s what he wanted to do. I think he got swallowed up into the whole thing after seeing his dad’s own involvement. My husband will have him practice the same cut over and over and over again for hours and hours, while I can see our son fighting tears because he is tired and over it. My daughter just started basketball and none of you can imagine how proud and excited my husband became, when he found out his babygirl wanted to pursue the sport he likes the most… and I felt like, God help her! Last week we were at a scrimmage practice as the game had been cancelled, there was no other parents standing on the side line screaming “do this, do that, what are you doing?” I mean, he was louder than the coach (who in all fairness, is clueless) and when I told him he was confusing her, his response was “What do you think they do in the NBA?” truly…God help them!

I’d like to think that there is a difference between being supportive to your kids’ extra curricular activities and pushing them to be perfect. Being too demanding may just harvest the opposite reaction, and if they give up, whom else would we have to blame but ourselves. We reap what we sow. The pressure may just be too heavy to carry. I believe that we need to let them discover, learn, dream, try, fail, try again and be successful despite our support and with our support.

Children idolize their parents and to mimic them is the first form of flattery they learn, that in addition to the genetic heritage which is highlighted in how much they take after us. 
Let’s not lose sight that they are their own person with their own temperaments, traits and aspirations.
Being parents wasn’t meant to be complicated however in the last 12 years I learned that there is no way around the unknown of child rearing and its complexity. While we can use our own past to give us pointers, let’s make sure we keep the ability to recognize our children dreams; after all we are raising our children and not raising ourselves over again through them.

        Love always,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I've been "wowed" ...

I got woken up yesterday with a sweet kiss and the sweetest “Happy Anniversary” whisper. It felt different, it felt special. I got up, wrote my little post on Facebook about how time flies and (I guess) how clearly I’m aware of the effort we've put forth and how appreciative I am of the results.

I got to work and my assistant asked me how I felt. It was our 15th anniversary and the fact that it falls on Valentines Day is an added bonus, I guess. How excited was I? I don't think what I felt was excitement, and actually the more I think about it, the only word I can come up with is “Wowed”! Yes, I was amazed!
“I am wowed”, I told her, with a big smile. In addition to love, it took lots of hard work for us to be where we are, and to celebrate 15 years of marriage, the life and love that we made…WOW!

No one will ever hear me brag about having the perfect marriage, the perfect man or that I’m the perfect wife. You will hear me brag about the fact that I have learned, worked and grown within our relationship and we are where we are because we’ve committed to making it work. Really, I look over my shoulder and re-live our history and I’m amazed by the good, the bad, the irreplaceable, the joyous, the sad, the scary, the milestones, the accomplishments, the deceptions, the rewards, the losses and the blessings we’ve accumulated over the years. I’ve said it before; that we are not an example to follow, and my purpose in sharing my experiences and stories is not to come across as Mrs. Know-it-all. We are not the spokespersons for the “How to make a marriage work” organization; we are only the result of the choices we’ve decided to make. What worked for us, the compromises and decisions we decided to take, may not be decisions suitable for another couple, however, it worked perfectly for us and that’s why we are where we are today.

I mean, it took and still takes lots of patience, sprinkled with God’s grace to deal with my husband’s habits (and peculiar behavior at times), especially since the dust of lust has settled, the honeymoon years are WAY back there in our past, and cupid has taken back his arrow to find brand new lovers. I've also always said that I’m an advocate of living together before getting married, because if you don’t, the things you are going to find out after the he “cantdonothingwrongyears” will make you feel like you married the devil’s brother or got tricked into a bad joke!

So, sitting at my desk tonight, I started to write down the things I’ve learned and feel have carried us through the 15 years we've been married. I want to share it with you all, while keeping in mind that I’m not here to teach anyone how “it” works; however, I feel in this instance, most of you who will read my “15 musts” (1 for every year we've been married) will not only appreciate but relate and agree.

Here they are, in no particular order, as they are all very important.

1. Laugh: The hubby and I get into this endless hysterical laughs, he comes up with the craziest jokes and stories and most of the time, it’s just about us and our silliness. This lightens up our days and nights; nothing beats a good laugh…
2. Fairy tales of happily-ever-after don’t exist; life tales of making-it-ever-after do. Thinking your marriage is going to be a lasting success just because you’re in love is a BIG mistake. Tina Turner said it best “What’s love got to do with it?”
3. Compromise is that nasty prescription pill you have to take to make things better. Pick your battles, not everything is worth an argument; knowing you are right doesn’t always need to be validated, sometimes letting go is worthwhile.
4. No one is perfect. Don’t elevate your spouse to a pedestal, although they will try to live up to it, you will be the one on the disappointing end when they fail. Be realistic with your expectations.
5. Know that you are equal partners but also know when to take a step back and let the other shine; every situation requires a leader but to accomplish and solve those situations you need to work as a team.
6. The 3 Cs: Converse, Communicate, communication, in whatever order you want…just do it!
7. Never go to sleep angry, you won’t have a good night of sleep. Don’t carry into tomorrow what can be said or solved today. Make every day a fresh start with no baggage…at least not opened ones…
8. Be humble, say sorry, show understanding and forgive: Recognize when you are wrong, right the wrongs and the same way you will want empathy shown towards you, apply it back and learn forgiveness.
9. You don’t need to do everything together, be each other’s official or unofficial best friend; but while cultivating your own friendship, make sure you know each other friends.
10. Be the number 1 cheerleader; don’t let anyone else stroke their ego more than you; validation that matters and has any substance needs to come from you!
11. Be loyal to your partner and your marriage; keep your privacy private…Respect each other at ALL times; some truth and details are not to be shared. You never want to disclose information that would make the receiving person uncomfortable being around your partner going forward. Even though you need a support system, make sure those you put in that circle know to be impartial and they are a support to the both of you.
12. Be selfless but never lose sight of your own happiness; that is your responsibility.
13. Want to be in it! There is no magic wand to make your marriage work, you have to want it. As I said several times, love is not the end-all or be-all to a marriage. It’s a must-have ingredient that needs to be cultivated, but much more is needed to make the relationship lasting.
14. Be an example to your kids as you are showing them how they’ll need to be with their partners.
15. Being insecure about yourself will only hurt you and your relationship.


As usual, this is about what I've learned and think is important in building a lasting relationship. Share with me your thoughts or advice you followed that helped you through your relationship.

        With love always

Sunday, February 12, 2012


When too soon is too soon...

 “I was made being able to recognize what's sensible against what's pointless...
More than ever I've come to term that WE as MEN only make suggestions but at the end of the day GOD has the final say...but I also know that he hear me when I say this was too soon...
” This is a quote I wrote when a family member of mine passed not too long ago and at this moment I have that same senseless feeling trying to wrap my mind around this news…

I feel like part of my life, history, is gone with her… every step of my going thru adulthood was laced with her music from being at parties, music I listened and still listen to, fashion icon in black modelling community…
She was the soundtrack of a large part of my journeys in life so I close my eyes and listen, let my mind my soul get taken away by her voice and all I can think is when too soon is too soon, all I can do is let tears flow down my checks because there is no going or coming back and all I can hope is this is how we all will remember her and let her legacy be this incomparable voice.

Remember, while grief is a temporary feeling, the joy from the gift she leaves behind with us is forever…

“I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows. If I fail, if I succeed, at least I live as I believe. No matter what they take from me, they can't take away my dignity”. Whitney Houston

           Rest in His Peace

Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm not who I use to be...

I look at myself in the mirror and the reflection of who I see is not the reflection of the person I know to be me…

Where did I let go of myself? When did I let myself go? When did the changes occur? And why do I have the hardest time getting me back?

At work today, when getting ready to leave the store, one of my staff members came out of the fitting changed out of his uniform and looking very fresh and simply well put together, my other supervisor and I looked at him and I said “where are you going looking this cute?” In a very matter a fact tone and quickness he replied “I’m going home…this is how you keep your man ladies!”
Wow… I laughed, though it was cute that this young man was trying to give me tips on how to keep a man.

Now 5 hours later I’m still thinking about what he said… “That’s how you keep a man”; and the more and more I think about it the more I realize for some people he is right.
My circumstances are nowhere close to his as far as the responsibilities I have like i.e.: professional responsibilities, years of marriage under my belt, a house to maintain and mainly my 2 beautiful kids to raise but I realize that I’m using those responsibility to justify not keeping up with myself the way that I use to and should so in that sense he is right.Why can't I be the way I use to be? I'm not saying that I don't like the person that I've become but saying I'm sometimes disconnected to "her"
We all have have our struggles, personal demons, things, thoughts and fears that seem to come into our lives unbidden, at a time when we are most vulnerable and hence seem to make whatever we are going through much more intense. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to be the best of what we can be? And for the ones whom share our lives isn't it like pulling the rug from under their feet when we do a complete 180? How do I keep him in my life when I'm not the person he meet and the new me is at time foreign to myself? Is the way to maintain a relation base on shallowness behavior?

What I’m going to say I believe many of us could and will relate, when in a relation, with years we become complacent. We take for granted and develop a sense of security where our appearances take a back seat in our line of priorities.
God bless my hubby, every time I ask him about the way I look or the way I am and he always answers “you really have not changed much”. So either he is a very smart and knows when he is starting to trade on thin lines, or a bad liar or he is going blind either way I’m not getting anything out of him.
Personally I’m torn because while vanity has to do with the changes I’m experiencing; I’m convinced my physical self as change as much as my mental self…

Where I use to sleep with nighties…now I wear my husband boxer shorts and thank tops.
Where I would dress up for a trip to the grocery store…now a pair of sweat is my favourite outfit.
Where I use to be on top of the fashion trend…now “boring” “safe” classic is the way to go…
Where I use to go out all time… I've become uninterested
Where I use to hang out with my friends…I’ve become a bit of a loner
Where I use to love cooking…It is now more a necessity than a joy

Who are you? I often ask the reflection in the mirror... And then life goes on... life goes on because I've learn  that "When we get things the way we like them, we usually don’t want them to change. But they will change. It’s a fact of life. We cannot keep things the way we want them to be … instead, it’s better to learn to accept things as they are. Accept that the world is constantly changing, and we are a part of that change. Also, instead of wanting things to be “perfect” (and what is perfect anyway?), we should accept that they will never be perfect, and we must accept good instead."
And maybe because he can see beyond the superficial that's how I keep my man!

         Love me Always...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Beside EVERY women there is the man they created...

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I’m reminded about the meaning of love and relationships.
I’ve learned that a relationship is a partnership that’s created, and is meant to be in a developmental stage every single day of its existence. There are ground rules established by common sense when entering the relationship. Some of which are respect, kindness, desire for your partner and exclusivity, which are all expected but can’t be taken for granted. And that is why beside every woman, there is a man she created…

I truly believe that no love affair is perfect; however, all can be happy ones! Being in the pursuit of perfection will set you up for failure, as perfection is usually characterized by others’ standards. On the other hand, being in pursuit of your own happiness can lead you towards success in your life and any relationship.

21 years ago, I meet the man who today is my husband. The way we love each other and show our care for each other now, is so different than when we first meet. While the intensity is not what it used to be, the depth of it is irreplaceable…

While within the years we knew that we always wanted to be together, damaging actions have been made, and hurtful words have been said, offsetting what we thought was the perfect relationship. I decided to erase from my vocabulary the word “perfect” when it comes to my expectations, because while my focus was to have the perfect marriage, the perfect husband and be the perfect wife, reality slapped me dead in the face. I had to learn to say “I’m sorry”, “forgive me” and show “empathy” and “forgiveness”.

I focused on learning my true needs, so I could voice them clearly, with no shame and the need to settle. I needed to be specific in what I deserved so that I couldn’t blame anyone else if they were any shortcomings. Here are the requirements of my happiness (the things I expected from him so he could be the man I need him to be):

• Love me (even when I’m not lovable), be affectionate
• Respect my feelings, opinions and choices
• Trust, show support, be my economic partner, be accountable
• Be loyal, honest, have healthy communication
• Care for me and protect me
• Forsake all others, show fidelity

And in turn, I would do and be the same for him.

Create the partner you would like to see in your life. Only then will you will see, standing NEXT to a good woman or a good man, a supportive, caring, loving, successful, wonderful partner that will be the driving force in your life!

       Love always…

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thank you for the easy post...

I was tagged with this "Life is good" blogging award.  And as a recipient my job is to answer these questions and then pass the award on to other fine bloggers, who in turn get a bit of a plug and the opportunity to pass the award along.

Q1. If you blog anonymously, are you happy doing this? If you aren't anonymous, do you wish you started out anonymously so that you could be anonymous now? 
Well I don’t know how anonymous I am, when I started this blog I used Facebook as a venue to “get it out there” and most of you know who the real RosieSandz (nickname one of my staff gave me) is. My blog is very personal as far as the subjects and stories I write and although I obviously don’t see any wrong in sharing my life stories I need to be considerate of my family and shielding their privacy…somewhat. In my latest post I used my children’s name and that’s as far as I will go.

Q2. Describe an incident that shows your inner stubborn side. 
Inner stubborn side? I truly don’t believe that I’m stubborn; either I’m right or I’m wrong and I don’t have any qualms with being either…so I think. Maybe this would be a better question to ask you guys about me?

Q3. What do you really see when you look at yourself in the mirror?
That is the subject of an upcoming post in my blog… Wow… What do I see? I mean this can go either way; I can literally give you the rundown of what my reflection in the mirror is at 6 o’clock in the morning and that will give way to a very depressing start of the day or I could be very philosophical about the whole thing -I see a loving wife, mother, friend…- but really who would believe me?
Can I get a take two on this question and reply after I’m all done up?

Q4. What is your favorite summer cold drink? 
Sooooo easy, all season, night and day (not literally but you get the picture) Smirnoff Pomegranate Vodka mixed with Newman’s Pomegranate lemonade with tons of crushed ice…

Q5. When you take time for yourself, what do you do? 
Time for myself… uhhhhh? 

Q6. Is there something you still want to accomplish in your life? 
Geeeeesh, heck yes! I’m far from having all that my heart desires and achieving all there is to achieve. I mean can you imagine if at 40 I didn’t have anything to look forward to 
Did I say I wanted to write a book? Be debt free is a good one to accomplish… Get back into serious running regiment. Stop eating Starbucks Iced Lemon Loaf….

Q7. When you attended school, were you the class clown, the class overachiever, the shy person, or always ditching? 
Always ditching!!!!! Hahahah, please Lord don’t let my children read this until they finish college!!!!

Q8. If you close your eyes and want to visualize a very poignant moment in your life, what would you see? 
Few come in my mind all at once 
Overwhelming joy/love at the birth of my children.... 
I remember the exact place I was when I learn of my father passing…
Fighting to save my husband life…
First time I heard my son sing at a school recital…

Q9. Is it easy for you to share your true self in your blog, or are you more comfortable writing posts about other people or events?
It is easier to write about myself, my experiences, my life lessons and my feelings; however, other people or events can be a catalyst to a post if it stirs something in me. I’m not narcissistic at all but I find that my best writing is when it’s about me and my true emotions.

Q10. If you had the choice to sit down and read a book or talk on the phone, which would you do and why? 
No question, read a book! I somewhat I have an aversion to phone unless I’m the one making the call. I will text, email or Facebook before I grab the phone.

Here’s the point where I get to pass on some of my favorite reads in the blog-a-sphere.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Finding your balance...

Working mother VS stay home mother....

I’ve always known that I wanted children just as much as I wanted a career. From the time I was old enough to work (well… maybe a little later, for the sake of not sounding too dramatic. I wouldn't want you to think that at 15 years old, I was already on the grind earning my dollars!), I've been working.

Then I had my beautiful children… 
Did the prospect of being a stay home mom, to focus on my children, husband and be the household manager ever present itself as a serious thought for me? NO. I could never be a stay home mom, not only because our household requires 2 incomes to function properly, but also because I need the stimulation, the daily change from home to the working environment. At home, I challenge myself to be the best mom and wife I can, and the rewards are instant (loving, devoted me + clean house = happy home), however for me, I know it would have been an overwhelming situation if that was my day-in and day-out life. At work, I earn an identity other than “mom”. I get a certain stimulus from interacting with adults, a joy from knowing that  I’m a positive contributor to the workplace, and a satisfaction with knowing that I’m a role model to my kids (in this particular aspect of life). But mostly, I get the reward of bringing home that additional pay check, which allows our family to have a better financial structure.

Just as much as I know for a fact that I wasn’t meant to be a stay home mom, 2 months ago, something happened that made me question myself as a mother. It made me question my priorities and whether or not I’ve had it all wrong for the past 12 years…

I have two beautiful children; my son is 12 and my daughter is 9. When Jayson was born, it was an easy adjustment. I used to call him my handbag, because everywhere I went, he was there right along with me. Quiet and easy going, he was a joy to have around and even for anyone to baby-sit. Having a child wasn’t as daunting a task as I’ve heard it could be. Between my husband and I, I was able to go back to work full time after 2 ½ months of maternity leave, and we were able to keep him out of day care until he turned 2.
3 years later, my little princess Jazzmine came along and that’s when I truly felt that I had a family, because things weren’t as stress-free anymore. Who carries 2 handbags?  It’s not as easy to ask someone for help when you have to watch 2 instead of 1. With the support of family and great friends, we made it work. As I spent the last decade of my life building a career for myself, while maintaining what I believe to be a good family structure, I didn’t notice that my priorities (or the way I managed them) were skewed towards work. From time to time, I would have an inclination that I needed to spend more time with my kids. It became obvious when I would come home and hear the fun stories of what they did with daddy. It became more obvious when we realized that all the scheduled activities Jazzy wanted to be involved in, were all catered to stay-home moms (and their open schedules). Unfortunately, she never got to be involved them, whereas Jayson was luckier.

I have been looking at my kids lately and thinking; they are well adjusted, well behaved, happy kids but more and more, the guilt in the pit of my stomach was making my days away from home and them really unsettling. Was it guilt or was it just being exhausted and needing a break from the 100 MPH lifestyle I was living, trying to be “Wonder Woman”. I was starting to realize that, what I thought may have been a work of art in juggling all my responsibilities, wasn’t as perfect as I thought…

Two months ago, I came home and on our kitchen calendar there was a permission slip for a volunteer chaperon on a school activity for Jazzmine’s class; she had filled in my name, her name, her grade and on the part that asked what time the parent would be available she wrote in capital letters, “NEVER”.
I was standing in front of my calendar, reading those 5 letters over and over, with my coat still on, my bag in one hand and groceries in the other and I felt deflated. The kids were upstairs with their dad and at this point, no one had realized that I was home. I went into my room and while tears were falling down my cheeks, I was making the decision that my children were more important than any career and things had to change. Quickly, my mind was going, and while getting dinner ready, I decided that I needed to quit my job. I had to find a 9 to 5, anything that would allow me to be a chaperon, carpool mom, soccer mom, or cheerleader mom… all those things that I now knew   I needed to do, in order to be the perfect mom.
My daughter came downstairs with her joyous self and gave me a hug. I showed her the slip and asked her if that’s how she really saw things and very matter-of-factly she said, “Well mommy, you always work so I know you’ll never do it but that’s okay, I don’t care”. The fact that she meant what she wrote and tried to make me feel good about it by saying she didn’t care, pained me even more. The fact that my 9 year old cared more about protecting my feelings, than declaring what she wanted most, just emphasizes how wrong I had been.

That night, I went through the motions of our evening ritual. After the kids went to bed, I went into my bedroom and sat there for what seemed like hours, until my husband came to lie down. As soon as I told him we needed to talk, I started crying hysterically.  I had let down the most important people in my life by choosing not to see. Now confronted with my failure, I was lost. Through my tears, I told him something had to give. I was going to scale down and focus on my baby girl and all the things she had been missing out on. He listened to me, while rocking me and trying to calm me down.

My husband finally held my head in his hands and said, “Baby, what do you need from me? Whatever you want to do, I will support you but instead of wanting to take such extreme decisions, which truly are not necessary and wouldn’t make you happy, why don’t you look at the little things you could do that mean the world to her and will keep you doing what you love. On your day off, set up mommy/daughter day, where you pick her up from school, instead of her going to the afterschool program and let her choose what she wants to do. Go on date with her and you’ll see how you’ll make her day, how she will look forward to those special moments with you and this without you having to compromise your career…”

Stay-home mom VS working mom, for me, it has never been an option. I always envisioned myself working, although my priority has always been my children. I was willing to give up what I knew fulfilled me as a person (outside of motherhood), so I could be a better mom instead of finding the balance that would’ve allow me to be a better manager of my life.

Since that conversation with my husband, my daughter and I have lunch dates, spa days, cuddle time, and she signed herself up for the basketball league at her school. I have found time to go and be a cheerleader at her games, instead of telling her she couldn’t because my schedule doesn’t allow it. I’ll never have an 8 to 5 schedule but the schedule that I have will have to make place for my kids.

Again, we go back to “If I’m happy than you’ll be happy”, and finding that right balance for your life.

Love always,

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