Mami Mondays: What I Know For Sure

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You know I love me some Oprah. I have it in a corner of my vision board that I shall be speaking to her at some point in time. So it is no wonder that the words "what I know for sure" are so ingrained in me that when I say the words in my head, it is her voice I hear them in. As I round up to my birthday on Friday, I wanted to share what I have learned in these 40 beautiful years of life. It is a small gift to you that pales in comparison to the gift you've given me (it's one of the things I know for sure). And so, without further ado, here we go.

Live in gratitude. For your children, for their health, for their tantrum, their smiles, their tears, for yourself, your hardships, your joy.

Live in gratitude. For your children, for their health, for their tantrum, their smiles, their tears, for yourself, your hardships, your joy.

On Mamihood...

  1. If you think it's hard, you're right. If you think it's easy, you're right: Mamihood is what you make it. Own it, be filled in it, listen to your heart because whether you believe it at this moment or not, you know what's best for your baby. Breastfed? Great! Bottle fed? Great! Cloth diapers? Outstanding. Pampers? Fantastic (though I might judge you if you use Huggies, true story). The happiest Mamis I've seen are the ones who own their Mamihood. The good and the bad.

  2. Labor is not for the fainthearted: I know that most of us don't think about this when we are ovulating but, one should strongly consider labor prior to having the seed and egg meet. Why? Because once they do, there's no turning back and suddenly you find yourself unable to pee and waiting on your culposcopy scar to literally tear so you can dilate and before you know it, you're 40 hours in and already making a list of situations in which you will remind your little miracle about said 40 hours.

  3. Breastfeeding hurts! Don't let them fool you, people! It hurts. And no, you're not doing anything wrong. It's just that having an 8 pound, toothless being attached to one of the most sensitive parts of your body takes a little getting used to. On the upside, if you ever need to go to war, your nips shall be ready to roll!

  4. Sleepless nights are bullshit: I would love to write about sleepless nights but the hormones and the brain's natural ability to make you forget about this shit in order to trick you into continuing the human species and procreating again means that all I really feel when I think about sleepless nights is love for the sleeping girl in my arms (apparently, the brain is also really good at inserting whatever the hell it wants into your skull. If it's this good, I wish it would rebuild my site while I was sleeping)

  5. Mami knows best: I love my pediatrician because she says this. Cut out the drama, the people commenting on what you're doing (that are nowhere near in the same place as you), the magazine article you just read. Sit still and know that you are doing what is best. Never doubt that if you're coming from a place of truly doing what's best for your kid, 8 times out of 10, you're doing what's best (sorry, I had to add some margin of error there. It's not you, it's me).

  6. Doing it alone is hard: being a single Mami is difficult, to say the least. Navigating co-parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done (labor included). Some days I wish it were different but I know that this is what's best for the frog princess for a lot of reasons that I will discuss with her when she's old enough to understand.

  7. Taking care of yourself is key: I type this and it's still something I struggle with. My coach is insistent that I date myself once a week for 90 minutes. When I do, my mind is clear, I can work on the things that I know need to be worked on and I can continue to build on my successes. I wish I'd done this from day one. But that leads me to #8...

  8. No regrets! Mamihood is perpetual motion wrapped around time and sealed with a bow of years. It moves fast and regretting things only muddles the awesome. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, figure out what needs to be done differently and then keep it moving.

  9. They will do what you do, not what you say: When the thunderstorms roll in, we see the lightning first and then, depending on the distance, we hear the thunder. In that same way, our kids will do what we do first and foremost. It will come natural to them, even though they will hear the words later. If we settle for less than what we deserve, so will they. If we don't demand what we are worth, so will they. This one thing has caused me to make life-changing decisions and be bolder than I ever thought I'd be.

  10. Be grateful: for the good days, the bad days, the funny days, the sad days. Love them all. We get this day ONCE. It will never return and we don't know if tomorrow will be here. I've learned to be filled with gratitude even on the hard days (which Ann Voskamp calls eucaristeo). Live in gratitude. For your children, for their health, for their tantums, their smiles, their tears, for yourself, your hardships, your joy. Live in gratitude for your Mamihood. Right when I turned 30, I knew I wouldn't have kids even though I wanted them. I'd had my first battle with endometriosis at 26 and the chances dwindled with each passing year. I know so many women that didn't get this chance to carry a life inside of them and nurture them from the inside out. Live in gratitude and abundance will find its way to you.

What did I miss? What do you know for sure about Mamihood?

Check out: On Living | On Love | On Dreaming Big

What Does Motherhood Mean to You?

Two years ago I saw a movie that changed my life. I hadn't heard of it before and haven't heard anyone speak of it since though I have no idea how I haven't. It's called Motherhood and it stars Uma Thurman and Anthony Edwards.

In the movie, Uma was a blogger out of necessity but she always fancied herself a writer. And so, we see the ups and downs of what a mami has to go through in one day with all that she had going on daily plus planning for her daughter's birthday AND on deadline to enter a blogging contest that was sure to give her some much needed recognition and cash. All she had to do was answer one simple question: what does motherhood mean to you?

And so, after sleep training the frog princess I was home alone on a Saturday night, tired. Exhausted from long hours working as a project manager, stressed out about my mami's illness, concerned about my relationship and lonely from the burden of what I thought only I was going through, I sat down in front of the television and saw this movie. And I realized 2 things: 1. I was not alone and 2. I had to pick up the pen, so to speak, and start blogging.

This site was up the following week and this welcome was the first thing I wrote for you two years ago today.

Since then I have been through many situations: the loss of my mami, the loss of my partner, the loss of my job. But I have also shared some of my best moments and times, the frog princess growing and flourishing, my faith, funny moments, happy times and general malay. I have gotten to know some pretty awesome folks on Twitter and in real life at the various conferences I've attending. My CFL Latinas, My Dancing to Success Divas, My Boojahjah/Planking babes and so many more!

You've gotten a chance to see me birth my company and return back to school (why didn't you stop me?!). I've had the pleasure of reading your comments, Tweets and Facebook messages which keep me doing this thing. There have been days when your contact is the only other meaningful positive adult interaction I've had.

I now want to answer the question that Uma had to answer on her blog: what does motherhood mean to you?

Motherhood is this. Every word I have written, every thought I have had, every feeling I have shared and experienced. It is waking up at 2 am in a pee-soaked bed, laughing til I cried as my frog princess nibbles on my belly, watching with wonder at my child going potty all-me by meself, seeing the joy of accomplishment as she figures out how to take off her socks, nighttime kisses and earnest words of love exchanged with a creature that was knitted in my womb and who grows more and more each day.

Motherhood is laughter and tears. It is experiencing loss and yet knowing that I have to get up and go the next morning. It is watching daily dances while moving my own feet and learning that my voice may not be worthy of being on the radio but dammit it makes a little someone smile. Motherhood is about dreaming BIG. Understanding that we each have a purpose in life. That we are MORE than just mamis even though being a mami is pretty fulfilling. It is recognizing that we might mother differently but that the love is the same.

And for me, motherhood is realizing that in my world, I will always have My Mamihood. Thank you for coming along for this ride. I am so grateful for each and every one of you that takes the time to read my words.

I want to do something for you. Tell me what does motherhood mean to you? If you are a blogger, feel free to link up and answer that question. If you don't have a blog, leave me a comment below. I will be selecting a winner next Saturday that will receive a copy of the movie Motherhood for your own viewing pleasure and a special little something else (read: whatever I might have in the manner of swag in my closet).

I am grateful for many things in my life. This blog and the real life connections that have entered my life are just two of those things. Now, if I could only get that trophy wife job that I'm looking for!

Denial or Deliverance?

I had a little bit of time while waiting in line at the McDonald's drive thru (don't judge me! It was a bistro and I had a buffalo chicken sandwich and I didn't even eat the bread (no, I won't count the fries)!).  The phone decided it wasn't going to work so I thought it was a good time for me to do some contemplating.  I turned off the music and thought about all that's been going on lately.  The new job, the baby, my relationship with the man.  But mostly, I was in deep thought about my mami's illness and I wanted to have a conversation with God.  These words are a direct result of that conversation. I have been feeling bad that lately, I have been planning for the worst with regards to my mami (though somehow that still needs to be done.  Each and every one of us should have our affairs in order because it's not just the people with cancer that die).  I feel at peace.  And I feel as if maybe we have more time than I think.  That perhaps God will grant us that wish.  Dad decided to have a priest marry them since they never did the church thing.  This despite the fact that we were going to have a surprise party for mami on that day.  But, he wanted the wedding and I'm sure that's why mom is going along with it (for being almost 65, my mom is horribly practical and marriage is something that you must hear her speak of b/c I CANNOT do her logic justice).  I can't be mad though because hello? My sister and I were planning a surprise party that I am sure in part was for us.

I had all kinds of great and fabulous logic when I parked the truck but I don't recall what that was.  I went to see about her discharge during lunch but they were taking too long so I answered as many questions as possible, handled as many open issues as I could and went on my way back to the office. On the way to my car, I saw one of her friends heading in to the hospital.  She gave me a big hug and a ton of calming energy.  She smiled as she spoke and said not to worry that she was being prayed for (don't I know it?  My friends, friends friends, people I will probably never meet are praying for my mami and I am SO grateful).  She said that God can work miracles so, why not now?  She didn't say anything profound and did not mention anything I didn't already know deep down in my soul.  There's a calm right now.  And perhaps God is giving me that calm despite the circumstances not turning out the way I'd like.  But, I have learned (and re-learned over and over again) that we cannot give up the joy of now for the uncertainty of tomorrow.  In doing so, we miss the gift that we are so desperately afraid of losing.

A Chinese proverb states that an inch of time cannot be bought by an inch of gold. So why try?  It also cannot be bought with worry, fear, anger or sadness.  All I have is NOW.  All I will EVER have is now (thank you Eckhart Tolle).  This one moment is all I can claim.  I can't claim 5 p.m. or the weekend. I can only claim that which I am present in.  So, this is where I am at.

At the moment, I feel peace.  Calm.  A certain joy that I can neither explain nor decipher and which I won't try to.  I told The Man the other night that I don't feel that there's anything left unsaid between mami and I.  She is not a person that says I love you though, I will bet all the tea in China that the people that hear those words every day haven't been loved as well as I.  Mami is all about action and intent.  Words are nothing to her.  Action dictates how she responds.  I have sat with her on many occasions during chemo without saying a word.  Interjecting this thing or that over an 8 hour period. Being perfectly comfortable in the silence.  Because there is nothing left to be said.  She knows how much I adore her.  I know how devoted she is to me.  Our love is palpable and needs no words to describe it.  The things that I would want to say to her are not for today. I would want to have conversations with her as the frog princess grows, as  I come across an issue and need advice, etc.  I want her for the future.  For always (doesn't everyone feel like this about their mamis?).  So there's really no stress because we get back to the fact that all we have is today.  I wish all of my relationships were like that. Where we'd instinctively know that we'd NEVER do anything to hurt one another.  Where an apology is already on file if we ever should do so inadvertently. Where love is not doubted.  Where love is not questioned.  Where it is already a fact that we won't desert one another.  She has known that I'd be here for her since I was woven in her womb.  And in the same way, I feel like I've known that I would care for her always.  There's a comfort in that.  Not a burden, not an added stress.  But a genetic predisposition to simply do and be.

I do not know if I am diluting myself into thinking that mom will not pass in a short period of time.  I don't know if God is sending me this peace so that I can function day to day while the inevitable gets nearer.  I trust Him.  I am in love with the song No Matter What and these words sum things up for me especially: "I know that You can find a way to keep me from the pain but if not, I trust You.  No matter what."

I am human, though, and will fall to stress at times.  But I pray that this feeling continues til the end of my days.  About this situation and everything else that arises in my life.  I plan on returning to the book The Power of Now so that I can have these principles reinforced.  And I will return to my bible.  I'm reading Job.  If it can happen to him, why not me?  I read about Elijah earlier today.  How he prayed for no rain and it did not rain for 3 and a half years.  I will pray.  For mom's health.  For God's will to be done.  He won't give me more than I can bear.  I am a witness to that statement.  I continue to be.  I am a witness to His power, His goodness and His grace.  I have His blessings.  And in all that I STILL forget that He's got me sometimes. I will try my best not to do that.

I looked at my mom today and, thinking in the car, I realized that it wasn't denial that I have been seeing in her eyes when we speak about her condition or about the fact that medically, we have no more options on medications, trials, surgeries or procedures.  What I have been seeing is deliverance.  And a level of faith I hope to get to some time real soon.  It starts now.

Thank you for your continued prayers and your words. God has sent each and every one of you into my life for a specific reason and He continues to move you to minister to me.  For that I am eternally grateful.  To Him for sending you and to you for listening to Him.

I need to go get some work done.  Because as we all know, life doesn't stop.

If I could leave you with one last thought: decide what's important to you, that which is most precious and divine, then devote sufficient time, energy and love to it so that there is room for nothing else.  Not regret, not pain, not what if's.  Because you won't get a do over and if time is a most precious gift, we shouldn't waste it on feelings that will take us away from enjoying it.

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