If You Give a Kid a Pickle...

By now you should all know my unhealthily love for McDonalds. Only because I document it far too often on Instagram....but all it took was one trip that taught me a lesson that I will forever be grateful for. Seriously, who goes to a fast food restaurant and thinks that they will leave with anything more than high cholesterol or extra pounds? πŸ˜‚  I know I didn't, but sometimes things happen in the most unusual ways.

My daughter orders the same thing every time we go to McDonalds. A plain cheeseburger (only pickles) Happy Meal with extra fries and a small strawberry smoothie. It is always a guessing game between us on how many pickles she will get on her sandwich because it always varies. My husband was with us for our weekly Mickey D's run and he was quickly corrected when he tried to change up her order! Haha he lives in a house with very verbal women....poor guy.

So, Rowan gets her Happy Meal, opens up her cheeseburger, and quickly looks to see how many pickles she got. She shouts out "ONE!" I said "What? You were cheated!" She replied and asked me what that meant, the word cheated. And there I was stuck trying to explain the meaning of the word cheated to my 4 year old. Rude awakening. My husband tried to chime in a help pick me up while I stumbled over finding words she would understand. Unfair, deprived, and then I finally resorted to telling her that she should have gotten more than what she got. Her innocence quickly fired back with a "Why Mom? They didn't cheated me, I got one pickle. And it's a really big one too." 

I know I know you all are thinking what the heck does this have to do with anything or who cares, but it was a stop me in my tracks moment and instantly made me change my thinking. Why? Because in that moment I was reminded that my actions and words are shaping this young girl into what she will become. Do I really want her going through life thinking she was cheated because someone didn't give her more pickles on her cheeseburger? I hope you understand my point and where my heart is on this issue. It's not about the pickles at all, it's about everything in life. Why do we feel like we are so mistreated when we don't get exactly what we want when we want it? Why aren't we just thankful that we got one pickle? I scrambled to reply to my daughter that she was so right and how silly that was of me to say! I told her she was so lucky because she got a pickle! Yes, I know we ordered it and so naturally it should be there but when it's not, how do you want your child to react? I want my daughter to eat her cheeseburger no matter what and not think anything of it, like oh well at least I have food. It is not life altering in any way. Or go home and put on your own pickle.

Maybe you are thinking to yourself that this is so dumb and why would you teach your child not to stand up for what she wants or orders? Because life is hard & unfair already, I don't want her to constantly find the bad in everything she does. She will be let down so many times I won't be able to save her every time, but I can teach her how to think differently about things and situations, just like she taught me in that McDonalds drive thru. 

I remember before I was a mother, there was this great debate about all participating children receiving trophies instead of just the winners. I am not here to debate what is right and wrong, but I grew up not getting anything if we didn't win, but that just pushed me to practice more, try harder and to be a better teammate so we could win something. Too many times these days we expect handouts from life and when they don't come, we fall into a mood where we feel like a failure. Trust me, I have felt like this a lot and especially now as a mother and a wife. It doesn't have to be something great and grand to teach your children important lessons in life, or I guess it applies to adults to in this case. I am constantly learning from her. The spirit of a child is so innocent and pure. The joy they have where they just can't walk into the store, they have to skip, jump or twirl the entire way there. The way they love is so raw. They really love with everything they have because they know no different. So the next time you are walking into Target and your child is holding your hand, yanking it in every direction because they are skipping, look down and smile and maybe start to skip with them. Or the next time the waiter forgets something, teach them to look for the positive or ask politely. Find good in every situation and use the failures to teach valuable lessons. I now smile and wait for her to tell me how many pickles she got on her sandwich, because I know she is going to be thrilled either way. Today she got one again....and one big one. 

Start to treat people with the type of love you want people to treat you or your child with. Trust me, love can and will change the world. XO

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. Love your neighbors as yourself. There is no other commandment greater that these." Matthew 22 37-39

Letting Go of the Mom Guilt

I was out running the other day after my 2 week vacation and realized how much better I feel when I take time for myself. It was only a 4 mile run but it was something just for me. My daughter was at her favorite place, the gym daycare. Seriously. As I was running, I was smelling the air, listening to my breath, relaxed and thinking about how great I felt and how much I needed this. I forgot about me. Yes, I just returned from 2 trips but let's be honest that "vacations" with children are not vacations. I am mom just like every other day and still have the same responsibilities, just in another location. Please don't think that I am complaining one bit, just stating a fact! I love to travel so much and having just one child has allowed me to keep that lifestyle and stay sane at the same time, well most of the time. I was also taking the time to reflect back on my life and realizing how silly it was that I never allowed myself this time before, like there was always this guilty feeling. The dreaded mom guilt or so I call it. I love how running allows me to do this deep thinking thing, even with music blaring in my ear, I can still think and plan because isn't that what we do best? Multitask!

I finally didn't feel bad for dropping her off at the gym. I mean why in the world would I feel bad about that or even think to myself that it would ever be a problem? That's crazy. But at times I feel crazy. Maybe it is that I will only have one child. Maybe it is that my love for her is so strong I can't imagine life without her. Maybe it is that I am a total control freak and want her to only be with me so I can control anything bad that may occur. Because that is crazy to think in itself. I mean, she did get into an accident in my car while I was driving, but I still think that I can save her somehow. The burden that I carry around is serious and it has been quite the process letting go of all of this mom guilt. So many other mothers are so quick to give you the advice but if you have never had a child, it is scary. I did listen when my friends told me I needed to get my own life and get my daughter a sitter so I could still be a friend. I mean, I totally forgot about my old life and adapted to this new life as mom, which meant to me that I was stuck being the only caring for her.

I especially think that for me, because I stay home mom, I have become someone who feels guilty for paying for anyone to watch her. Isn't that the point of me staying home? Listen, I can tell myself all sorts of things to justify my actions but seriously, it is just plain crazy. I considered quitting my favorite Tuesday golf league when I couldn't find a nanny to come to my house. There was no way no how was she gong to a center to get sick or not watched. (insert crazy. I worked at a very nice one and would send her in a heart beat but I was convincing myself of anything to control the situation.) And I surely wasn't going to allow any of the nannies to drive her anywhere because what could happen if they were driving and something happened? Our current nanny now has a seat in her car to drive me daughter around....HUGE step for me, but it takes time!

So I had to let go. But how? Gosh, I can not be the only mom who struggles with this or has had these thoughts? I started small. Took her to a daycare center a few times while I golfed. I just re-read that statement and feel so dumb, but it was a major step in getting myself back to where I belong. I signed up for Stella & Dot. I loved fashion, accessories and it MADE me get out of the house and leave my daughter. I was like a new woman hanging out with all sorts of gals, meeting new moms and enjoying a glass of wine. Maybe I have learned a few things about myself along the way too. Like when I do something, I put everything I have into it. Was this my problem? Or was it a problem at all? I started saying yes to hanging out with friends sans kid or husband and eventually gained a new found confidence that I actually liked myself as a woman, not just a Mom. Being a Mom is great and all but it can not be everything. 

I bet you all remember the first time you went on a trip and left your child behind! I sure do! She was 9 months old, just stopped breastfeeding and I couldn't bear to think what was going on. She was with my mom of all people who clearly raised me. Well this is the feeling I get anytime I am leaving her, but the feeling I get now leaving her is unlike any other because I am free. Or maybe I should say I am free-er as I am still learning to let go. It is so hard!!!

I started this blog. I started cooking and baking again. Next thing you know I was applying for Liketoknow.it in hopes that I could be one of those awesome bloggers who make other women feel comfortable in what they are wearing and bring them great style made totally easy! I was accepted. I mean WHAT?!? It sometimes feels like this is all a crazy dream but I promise you, letting go of a small fraction of the guilt has allowed me to love and enjoy more things in my life. They say the best thing you can do for your children is to pray for them, and I do, but I also pray for myself. I pray that I can be the mom she needs and for me to do that, I have to take care of myself. It is not selfish, and really I think we both have grown from this. 

I still feel the guilt. Don't get me wrong. This blogging thing can get very time consuming but finding balance has become my greatest success and struggle. I am choosing right now, not to hire a sitter so I can work more on my "business" because I only have 2 more years until my daughter is in school full time 😭 and I will have all day everyday to put my focus into this! I am doing it for myself and I love every bit of it. But I am setting aside hours of the day to complete the things that I need and want to do. Again, balance.

So why do we allow ourselves to feel so much guilt when we can not be everywhere every time for everyone? I hope that someone reading this can relate and know that there are probably so many of us moms out there carrying around this guilt. As Elsa would say or sing I guess, Let it Go! 

Cheers!! XO

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Photo Shoot with Lady and Red

Photo Shoot with Lady and Red

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