My Friend Beth

When I found out my friend Beth passed away, I was heartbroken.  She was more than a music teacher. She was a dear friend who loved all three of my boys from the time they were itty bitty.  She instilled a love of piano in Teddy while she instilled a love of life in me. She was a warrior who inspired me more than she could have imagined.

It all started with a contest I entered on Facebook. As a stay at home mom with two little boys, I was thrilled when I won.  The first time I nervously unloaded my babies and entered the charming white house on Bulloch Avenue I had no idea that I was winning so much more than a free music class.  I was winning a dear friend who would forever change my life.

That early morning in March of 2013, Beth greeted us with her warm smile as we joined the first of many music classes that would follow.  Beth was bright and energetic and her shining spirit filled the entire room. She was funny, quirky, open, and fearlessly authentically herself.  Any sense of anxiety I brought into the room was easily set aside as we settled into a circle and filled the room with music. While Beth sang and played instruments with joy and enthusiasm, the mommies collectively let out a sigh of relief as our children (and we) were entertained for an hour.  Beth had a gentle yet wise way of meeting children exactly where they were. And yet she always held them to the highest expectations. Because she knew they could reach them. I learned a lot by watching her. My boys loved music class with Miss Beth. But I was the one who was really lucky to be there.

Once a week, for the next several years, my boys and I attended Beth’s classes.  Although she started out as our music teacher, we very quickly became friends. Beth watched as my family grew and so did her love for my boys.  As I went through the ups and downs of pregnancy, postpartum depression, and a relapse into my eating disorder, our weekly class with Miss Beth remained a constant.  Some weeks she was the only adult I interacted with during the day. Many weeks I withdrew from social activities, but I always came to music class. Perhaps I simply wanted to be warmed by her bright spirit.  Beth was honest and direct; she did not let anxiety prevent her from having the hard conversations. When I was at my lowest point, she was one of the few friends who confronted me directly on my own downward spiral.  She was somehow able to do it from a place of love and in a way that helped me climb back up.

When I started my Color Street journey, Beth was one of my very first customers.  When she joined my team, I was thrilled because it gave us another excuse to hang out, spend time together, and talk.  Beth was a hard worker, was serious, and she was very driven. But she was also hilarious- her texts often had me breaking into a fit of laughter. Best of all, she had a way of helping put things into perspective.

I will never forget the first class we attended after Beth was diagnosed with cancer.  While I was mentally prepared that her cheery “Hello!!” would not greet us from the kitchen,  I was not emotionally prepared for the gaping hole her absence would create. Beth’s strength, courage, and determination continued to shine through her blog and the texts we exchanged.  Everyone who knew her fell more in love with her. She was tenacious, she was honest, and she held on to her amazing sense of humor as she battled the next four years for her life.

I often told Beth how grateful I was to have her in our lives.  But I am not sure I told her enough. When Teddy began taking piano lessons 2 ½ years ago, I was most excited about the one on one time with her he would get.  Sure, she taught him how to play notes and chords, to read music, and to love the piano. But what I cherished most was the life lessons she gave him. She and I talked often about his own anxieties and perfectionistic tendencies and it comforted me to know she was working with him on being more flexible, accepting mistakes, and being gentle with himself.  Having a friend who loves your children and reinforces these messages you are trying to instill is priceless. The piano skills,  like the free music class, were just bonuses. We were the lucky ones.

Just like my children, I was blessed to learn so much from Beth.  It wasn’t necessarily anything she said or wrote, but it was the way she lived her life.  She was warm and friendly and caring and passionate. She was optimistic and determined. She wanted desperately to keep living life and she made it a point to find the joy and humor and love in all situations.  She was also direct and honest, and while she and I only talked about my own struggle with an eating disorder a few times, she inspired me in so many ways. Watching her body fail her as she fought relentlessly for her life, I could not deny the gift of physical health that my body gave me. It was difficult to justify starving myself while I watched someone I loved fight for her own survival.  I learned a new appreciation for my body and my life just by watching her struggle to keep her own. Suddenly the size of my jeans or even the size of my insecurities felt superfluous compared to the size of the mountains she was climbing. And while many times she must have longed to sit down and quit fighting, Beth did not give in. And she inspired me to do the very same.

It sounds so cliche but watching a dear friend slowly die puts life in perspective.  She was one year younger than I am, with so many hopes and dreams for the future. So many people here who still needed her. She was a mother, a sister, a daughter, a therapist, a wife, and a friend. The very last time I saw her, we met for brunch.  She pumped me with questions about my own writing journey and shared her desire to write. It was yet one more thing that bonded us in friendship. Sitting at the table chatting that morning I remember wishing the time didn’t pass so quickly.  Beth was like that. Whenever you spent time with her, you drank it in, hoping for just a little bit more.

As my husband and I walked into Beth’s memorial last week, Sweet Child of Mine filled the church while pictures of her magnetic smile flashed on a screen.  We sat on the hard pew as her loved ones stood to speak about the ways Beth touched their lives. Tears streaming down my face, I was reminded again how extraordinary Beth was.   One by one her family and friends described Beth exactly the same way I would describe her. It occurred to me that many people spend their entire lives molding themselves into what they think a person or situation demands of them.  But Beth taught, by example, the power and beauty of being yourself authentically and courageously. She taught me the power of using your voice. She lived life to the fullest touching everyone who was lucky enough to know her, and leaving them all a little better for it.  After the service, my husband placed his arm around my shoulder while we walked to our car in the grey rain. “That was the most joyful memorial I have ever been too,” he said and I agreed. It was heartbreaking and yet, even after her death, Beth was inspiring all of those lucky enough to know her.  She was a warrior and I already miss her dearly.

Daffodils


Daffodils used to make me cry.  I couldn’t walk past one without my throat tightening and my heart sinking into my stomach.  The yellow tips of petals peeking out through the winter grass brought salty tears to my eyes.  Every. Single. Time. To me, they were not a sign that spring was on it’s way. They were a reminder of grief and loss. Let me explain.

When I married my first husband I was 25. I believed I had finally gotten my “happily ever after” as we made our vows and joined lives.  Less than a year after our wedding, we purchased our first house. As my mother-in-law and I dug holes we strategically planted daffodils evenly across the front yard of the new home.  It needed to look perfect. I daydreamed about future children running and laughing as they raced through the soft green grass. “The daffodils will come up every spring,” my husband’s mom explained as I followed her lead and planted alongside her.  She had chosen all of the flowers and exactly where we planted them. 

Just three years later my future looked dramatically different than those daydreams. Instead of starting a family, I was signing divorce papers.  Although they came up again that year, I no longer lived in the house with the perfectly spaced daffodils. I lived in my sister’s basement. Approaching 30, I felt confused, alone, and devastated.  I had done “everything right,” and yet my world had come crashing down. I sunk to a new low and descended into the eating disorder I had silently battled since adolescence. I believed my life was over. I interpreted the promises my husband had broken as confirmation that all the insecurities I held inside were actually truths.  He had finally realized I was not worthy of love. 

When I saw daffodils peeking through the winter grass that year, the little bright flowers held new meaning for me.  They peered at me from other people’s yards taunting me with their cheery color and scent. They reminded me that my dream had fallen apart.  They pointed to the loss of my vision of a family with my first love. They were a symbol of what I no longer had. A sign of a broken dream and a broken heart. They were something other people could have, but something I had lost and believed I would never have again. I hated seeing the daffodils. 

Years passed, and I went through many more ups and downs.  Sometimes I was alone, other times I was blessed with the support of friends and family.  I realize now I always had exactly what I needed at the time. I learned through experience that even the darkest night ends and that when I thought my life was over, it had really only just begun. 

I saw a daffodil peeking out of the grass today as I walked through my neighborhood.  I had just taken my older two sons to school and was on my way home. As I walked peacefully down the road listening to a recovery podcast, the first feeling I had when I saw the daffodils was delight.  I saw them as a sign that spring was on its way. And then it dawned on me with wonder; at one time those yellow flowers brought pain and triggered feelings of loss and devastation. Over time the associations I had made began to transform.  Reflecting back- I don’t know when it changed- I just know it did. And 15 years ago I couldn’t imagine the life I live now. I couldn’t conceive of a world where daffodils didn’t make me cry. 

I walked up to our home and smiled at the very imperfectly planted blueberry bushes my husband and I put in years ago.  We chose them together. When I walked in our front door, my youngest son greeted me with a smile and showed me the snowmen he colored and cut out with his daddy. His daddy; my husband.  The one I feared I would never have. The one I have created a life I never imagined with. 

I was reminded that everything is temporary and even the deepest wounds can eventually heal. It doesn’t mean they don’t leave scars- but the pain eased long ago.  I marveled at the cycles in nature that so beautifully parallel the cycles in life. Nothing is permanent and everything is temporary. And meanings can change over time.  I now understand that planting daffodils in perfectly spaced rows across a front yard does not guarantee a happy home. And that I really can’t control and plan outcomes perfectly in my life.  Today I find comfort knowing the daffodils will come up again every year to remind us that spring is on it’s way. And the sight of wildly planted blueberries make me smile. Every. Single. Time.  

Lessons from a 3rd Grade Bingo Game

This week I was able to volunteer at my oldest son’s school holiday party.  While I am extremely grateful I get to be a stay-at-home mom, I sometimes miss my days working in mental health with children and adolescents. I loved my job as an elementary school counselor and third grade was always my favorite age.  So when I was asked to run the Bingo game in a 3rd-grade classroom I was excited to be able to help. 

For one hour, the entire grade of 8 and 9-year-olds rotated in and out of the classroom.  I had so much fun calling out the bingo games, seeing their excitement grow, and giving out prizes.  It reminded me of why I have always loved being around children. Children are so much better at being in the present as well as sharing their emotions authentically.  When they shout out with joy, the feeling is contagious.  I also adore spending time with children because we  can learn so much from them- if we are paying attention.

As one class after another came to play bingo, I was struck with an observation that felt important.  While I had enough prizes for all of the students, they initially did not know that they would each get a prize at the end.  The BINGO boards had five spaces across and five spaces down, and I started to notice two types of children playing. The first kind got visibly more and more upset if they did not win, sometimes whining and complaining.  One little girl proclaimed dramatically, “I never win ANYTHING! I am so unlucky.”  We had only been playing for five minutes. And then there was the other kind of kid- the ones who got ONE chip on their board, and excitedly shouted, “I ONLY need four more to win!!!”  These children had a blast playing, the entire time, regardless of winning or losing. I imagine these children carry this quality with them throughout their days, whether they are playing BINGO, soccer, taking a test, or trying a new challenge.  What an amazing quality to have.

As a child, what kind of BINGO player were you?  Personally, I spent the majority of my life an eternal pessimist.  This view on life not only fuels anxiety and depression, but it also steals the joy out of the present.  Whether it is nature or nurture that shapes this personality characteristic is irrelevant. What matters more is that we do have a CHOICE at how we view our situations.  And we also serve as role models for the children in our lives. Going through recovery from an eating disorder has given me so many precious gifts that enrich my life. The practice of gratitude and the ability to focus on the POSITIVES in siutations is one of the largest of these gifts.  So the next time I am feeling unlucky, resentful, or whiny, I am going to remind myself of the BINGO game and ask myself which kind of player in life I am choosing to be. I challenge you to do the same. 

GI-Hanks

I have always loved holidays and having children makes them even more fun.  What is more fun than dressing up in a hilarious costume?  Dressing up your little child in one!  What is more fun than decorating?  Seeing your children’s faces light up when you pull out the decorations.  For me, holidays with children are more fun.  But they are also more stressful.  Much much more stressful.  Let’s face it- someone has to buy/create the costumes, dig through the garage to find boxes full of holiday decorations, weed through said boxes of decorations, and spread them out through out the house.  Someone has to plan the meals, buy the food, purchase and hide the gifts, remember WHERE said gifts were hidden when it is time to wrap them, plan the parties, and clean the house.  That same person is usually busy either working full time or staying home with little children full time…. or sometimes juggling both.  That someone is often  (but not always) mom. 

I have SO MUCH to be grateful for- this holiday season and every holiday season.  I worried for years I would not find a partner, and once I did, for many reasons I feared we would not be able to have children.  Now our home is filled with three very lively, very energetic, and very loud little boys.  And I want the holidays to be special for them.  I want them to be magical.  

And yet, as I flip my calendar from October to November, my stomach fills with dread.  Not only do we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, but next month we celebrate two of my boys’ birthdays, our wedding anniversary, Chanukah AND Christmas.  All within the span of a few weeks.  And it is stressful.  Not to mention- the holiday season are extremely difficult for someone working on recovery from an eating disorder.  While delicious treats and family recipes are a foundation to the holidays, behind each piece of pie or chocolate covered oreo are the suffocating comments about New Year resolutions to lose weight.  To say it is hard would be an understatement. 

Last year I vowed in October that I would NOT allow the stress to get to me.  By the second week of December I was in tears, sitting amongst a mountain of presents, trying to decipher which gifts were for Teddy’s birthday, which were for Charlie’s birthday, which were for Charlie and Leo and Teddy for Christmas and which were for Charlie, Leo, and Teddy for Chanukah.  I wanted to get my husband a sentimental anniversary gift, but I was so tired I couldn’t think straight.  And then there were gifts for siblings, for parents, for nieces, and for nephews.  And don’t forget the teachers- those angels on earth that I entrust with my children every single day.  I wanted to express my gratitude to them, I wanted to give them something they would love.  I wanted them to know how incredibly grateful I am for their care of my little boys.  But there are JUST SO MANY of them.  Between my three boys last year they had 14 different teachers- and that is not including the administration who provides a safe and nurturing environment for them at school.  And so I did my best.  I made the lists, I bought the presents, I signed up for the parties, and I tried not to hate December.  With each trip I made to the grocery store, with every gift I wrapped, with each performance, class party, and family gathering I got my kids dressed and presentable for- I tried not to feel angry and resentful.  All the while, I was managing the first holiday season of my small business.  Also, my 2 year old side kick was with me almost all the time and my husband often travels for work.  I tried not to hate December. But I am afraid I failed. Miserably.

In the middle of the overwhelming to-do lists it is so easy to become lost and to forget what we are even celebrating.  Halloween, one of my favorite holidays, was overshadowed this year by my recovery from sinus surgery.  I didn’t plan our costumes for months, I only took out a few decorations, and I did not attend all of the parties and events with the boys.  I was sad to miss, but I also found a hint of relief in the simplicity.  I had time to take a breath. 

I was reminded of the lesson I am learning in recovery every single day- that most of the stress we feel we actually put upon ourselves.  Every single day I have choices- I can choose what I say no to, what my priorities are, and how much value I place on other people’s opinions of me. So de-stressing the holidays for me does not mean getting everything done an entire month early.  It means identifying what I value most and putting my energy there. It means saying no when I am asked to volunteer.  It means buying the dessert instead of baking it, it means skipping the holiday cards all together, and it means saying no to the parties, cookie exchanges, and evenings out that cause me more anxiety than they do fun.  It means accepting a messy home and a chaotic life.  It means doing my best, and having compassion for myself when my best falls short of what I think it “should” be. It means letting go.  

In addition to recovering from an eating disorder- I am  recovering from trying to be the “perfect” most pinterest worthy mom, wife, friend, and daughter.  I love to make arts and crafts and years ago I made a banner to hang across our fire place. It spelled “GIVE THANKS” in letters I carefully drew in pencil and erased several times before going over them with scissors.  I envisioned the “perfect” family photos in front of the mantle every holiday as the years pass. 

When I recently pulled out the thanksgiving decorations and strung the banner- I remembered my 3 year old ripped it last year. I must have stuffed the torn banner into the box in a mad rush to put away Thanksgiving and pull out Chanukah and Christmas.  I guess I threw away a couple of the letters.  My first thought was- “I need to make a new banner. Or at least make new letters.  It has to be perfect.”  But then, I took a deep breath, practiced some self compassion, and hung the banner anyway.  It reads: “GI  HANKS”  And it is perfectly imperfect.  I am going to leave it up as a reminder to myself.  It is funny, quirky, and a perfect example of the chaotic place my life is right now.  Three little boys under 9 are a handful.  My house is loud and messy- but it is also filled with life, with laughter, with energy, and with love.  I value  love, family, connection, and growth.   To me, the holidays, and EVERY day, are about celebrating these things.  And when it comes down to it, I have SO MUCH to “GI HANKS” for

Extend a Hand

 As we entered the local pizza joint in the small town we were visiting for the weekend,  my husband and I felt a tantrum brewing. Charlie, my youngest, was already in tears in the parking lot and less than a minute after entering, he was arguing with one of his brothers.  As I attempted to redirect him he started to yell. We scrambled to our table and prepared to tackle to the buffet. My 3 year old wanted control but I couldn’t give it to him. A room full of customers turned their heads as he let out some kicks and yells because I did not allow him to help himself to the salad bar (it was over two feet above the top of his head).  I tried to get him to our table and he crumpled to the floor screaming. My husband whisked him out as I managed to get drinks and plates of food for the other two boys. I was already covered with sweat. They came back into the restaurant again. Charlie immediately wanted control of an entire plate of cheese. He yelled and screamed again. My husband removed him again.  My heart beat faster as I felt every set of eyes staring at us. I wish I could say this was an unusual evening for us. It isn’t though. This is I why we rarely eat in restaurants these days. It is also why when we are out of town we pick restaurants with buffets. Don’t get me wrong- I love being waited on in a sit-down restaurant. But right now- this is our life. I have three small boys under the age of 9 and being waited on at a restaurant is a luxury I simply do not enjoy with my family.  And if I can, I avoid it. I reminded myself it won’t always be like this as I feel sweat dripping down my back. I wondered when my husband and Charlie were going to come back in. As they reentered for the third time I felt myself holding my breath. I let it out slowly as Charlie sat in the chair with tears still on his cheeks. He started to eat and I silently prayed the rest of the meal would be calmer. Then as he grabbed his drink to take a sip, he spilled almost an entire cup of ice water onto his lap. The shrieks were even louder this time. I gathered napkins and attempted to dry him the best I could. No longer even caring about the sideways looks and stares I was getting, I just wanted to eat my meal.   

I avoided eye contact with anyone and silently willed this lunch to be over quickly.  And then, as my poor husband finally went to get a plate of food for himself, an older lady came over to our table.  She smiled knowingly at me and said, “I remember those days.” I wondered if she was going to tell me it gets easier. Maybe she was going to empathize with the difficulty of dealing with an irrational three-year-old.  She continued, “They grow up though. And then it gets hard. Much harder. THIS- THIS IS EASY.” And then she walked away.

I choked back tears as I looked straight ahead trying to figure out why a stranger who could clearly tell I was anxious felt the need to come over and tell me that as bad as this situation feels right now- it will get worse. If she clearly remembered those days I don’t think she would feel compelled to tell me it only gets worse.  I will never understand this phenomenon that has been occurring to me since I had children. I am a stay at home mom. I spend almost every hour my child is awake with him. I wipe his tears, I fix his food, I entertain him, cajole him to clean up his messes, try to bathe him, do my best to teach him to be kind. I attempt to foster a love for learning, try to limit his screen time while allowing him to explore his creativity and also teaching him to navigate in this world. I am exhausted, often feel overwhelmed, and doubt myself almost daily.  I JUST wanted to go into a restaurant and eat lunch without every single person in the restaurant staring at me. And when my child yelled, screamed, and acted a fool and my husband systematically removed him until he sat appropriately, I felt the judgment of all the other people in the room. I know these moments with small children are fleeting and I know that as they get bigger they have bigger problems. But this is my life right now. And showering by myself, getting out the door without someone screaming and melting down (myself included) and eating in public without tantrums are extremely rare.  While the difficulties of raising children will no doubt expand as my boys grow, it does not make where I am sitting right now any easier. And to walk up to a complete stranger who is clearly struggling and tell them that it only gets worse seems like rubbing salt into an already scraped knee. And I will never understand it.

Parenting is hard.  The hardest job ever.  When you think about shaping the lives of these tiny little beings that you love more than you ever imagined was possible, the pressure is almost unbearable.  The baby phase when no one sleeps is crushingly hard. The learning to walk phase where playgrounds and fireplaces seem scarier than a den full of hungry lions brings anxiety out in even the calmest parents.  Raising strong-willed children can challenge the patience of even the calmest human beings (my husband is an example). Each child and each phase brings its own unique sets of challenges and beautiful moments.  My sister has described it to me like this- when they are little it is physically much harder, but when they are older it is emotionally much harder. That makes so much sense to me. But difficulties that come in the future do not make the current difficulties any easier.  

Because here is the deal. I see my friends sending their children off to middle school, to high school, and even to college.  Intellectually I understand that one day I will miss having young children who are innocent and need me. I can not comprehend what it will feel like to watch one of my boys drive off in a car.  But this does not negate my current situation and it does not make dealing with an irrational three-year-old any easier. 

Sometimes I imagine parenting as a series of mountains we are all climbing.  No two mom’s paths are exactly similar but we all have valleys, hills, and steep slopes we must learn to navigate.  Sometimes we stumble, many times we fall. I see the experienced fellow mothers of teens on the next mountain ahead of me.  My friends sending off their children to college are on a mountain even further in the distance from me. Someday when I reach the top of my steepest mountain, I imagine myself looking down below to the fellow mothers just starting the steep climb. And I will have a choice.  I hope I will see them with compassion and understanding. And rather than telling them “That part is easy. It is only going to get harder. Much, much, much harder,” I hope to extend them a hand and help them climb up the mountain. 

The First Day of School

  Tomorrow morning I will walk my two oldest boys to school for their first day of the year.  They are entering 3rd grade and kindergarten.  When my oldest started Kindergarten, I was anxious, emotional, and nostalgic.  I wondered how my little tiny boy would find his way to his classroom carrying such a large back pack.  I cried at his open house when the assistant asked me how he would be getting home from school and I dreaded the first day of school.  

Fast forward- just four short years (that have felt like very long years in some ways) and my second son is starting Kindergarten. I didn’t cry at open house and I watched with enthusiasm as he played with Legos in his Kindergarten classroom.  I took way less pictures.  I chatted with familiar teachers and neighbors in the hallway and it wasn’t until I was back in my home that I marveled at the fact that I didn’t even come close to tears (unless you count tears of joy).  I may have even danced a little as we walked to the car.  

I felt excited and at ease.  Perhaps it is because the first time around there was so much unknown.  I didn’t know a single staff member when my oldest started school and it felt like I was handing my baby over to strangers.  Or perhaps I am more comfortable because I know what to expect, I have faith in the school, and trust in the administration.  Or maybe, just maybe…  it is because of the tireless work towards recovery I have plunged myself into over the past two and a half years.  I have faced fears, challenged irrational beliefs, learned to live more in the present, and gotten to know what my true core values as a person are.  I have painstakingly challenged fear by learning to trust in life, embrace the unknown, and find beauty in the chaos.  Sure, I still tend to be anxious….  and when I picture my little Leo walking down the hallway with a big backpack on, I start to feel butterflies in my stomach.  I wonder- will he find his way?  Will his classmates be nice to him?  Will he be nice to his classmates?  Does he know how truly special he is?  Will his teachers know how truly special he is?   BUT I also realize these are all situations that I can not control.  And that I am not meant to control.  Whatever happens, we will figure it out, work through it, and grow from it.  

Recovery has also taught me about accepting and allowing feelings and that I can feel more than one thing at a time. I am ecstatic at the promise of a small break from refereeing, entertaining, and feeding three boys all day, every day while I also feel a bit sad and anxious about my little man in the big school.  Most importantly though, I understand that being excited about my sons returning to school doesn’t make me a “bad” mom.  It doesn’t mean that I love them any less and it doesn’t mean that I am doing something wrong.   There are a  million different ways to parent and a million different ways to feel on the first day of school.  And recovery has taught me not to judge myself or my fellow moms – however they are feeling.  After all- it is one of the toughest and most amazing jobs ever.   And even the best jobs need breaks!   So however you are feeling this Fall as the kids head off to school- give yourself some compassion and allow yourself to feel it. And please don’t judge your fellow moms.  Even if they do dance a little as they walk away from school after dropping of their kids. 🙂

The Hardest Job I’ve Ever Loved

Momm-ing

​It is the hardest job I have ever loved.

It is a job I prayed for, I hoped for, and dreamed of having.  And for a long time I feared I would never get to have. 

It is a job that is more difficult than I could have ever imagined.  But also more amazing. 

It is a job that brings me to my knees in prayer- asking for guidance, for patience, and for strength.  It is a job that fills me with fear and anxiety as much as it fills me with hope and love.  It is the most HUMBLING job I can imagine.  It is the only job there is NEVER ever a break from, there are a million ways to do it, yet almost every single person I know doing it fears they are doing it wrong.  Or worries they could be doing it better. Being in charge of another person’s world is a huge responsibility.  Sometimes overwhelming, other times daunting, and a privilege and blessing too often taken for granted. 

There are infinite approaches, philosophies, and perspectives of how to be a mom.  We even make up labels for moms.   “Helicopter Mom”  “Soccer Mom” “Tiger Mom” “Free Range Mom”…. I could go on and on.  With social media, smart phones, pinterest, and google, Momming is very different today than it was for our moms.  And it will be different for our children.   It is hard, scary, ever changing work.  We rarely get feedback on how we are doing as a mom- unless it is negative feedback.   Sadly, we are often judged most harshly: 
                     1. by ourselves and
                     2. by other moms.

The thing is- I genuinely believe most moms are doing THE VERY BEST that they can to parent. And I believe that we are more alike than we are different.  Most of all, though, I believe the more HONEST and AUTHENTIC we are about being a mom- the better.  The world does not need any more pinterest-perfect moms.  The world needs honest to goodness moms who make mistakes, share their experiences, and learn and grow.  It is not possible to be a perfect mom, and the effort that goes in to pretending to be one is exhausting.  A huge part of my recovery from an eating disorder has focused on allowing myself to embrace the messy, chaotic, and IMPERFECT parts of parenting and accepting that I will never be a perfect mom.  Because that simply does not exist.  But trusting that I CAN be the mom my boys need.  

Being a mom is the hardest job I have ever had.

But it is by far the best one.

Welcome to my Page

I am a writer, dancer, dreamer, friend, wife, and mother. My ten years of experience working in mental health failed to prepare me for the hardest job I have ever loved- being a stay at home mom to my three young boys. After struggling with an eating disorder for over 23 years, I finally chose recovery and found my voice. I have been writing for Recovery Warrior’s online magazine since April 2017 and am a Lead Contributor.

When not drowning in Super Mario or choo choo trains, you can find me clogging, reading, learning about astrology, taking long walks while listening to podcasts, or watching true crime documentaries. I also loves the ocean, the mountains, unicorns, any kind of art project, and all things sparkly.

Who am I?

  • I am quirky, clumsy, and extremely sentimental.
  • I am an extroverted introvert. While I absolutely love connecting authentically with others, I require solitude to recharge. Nothing drains me more than small talk.
  • I am a hippie at heart. A middle child, I have spent my life questioning why we can’t just all get along.
  • I have broken a ridiculous amount of bones, sometimes more than one at a time.
  • I cannot carry a tune, but love almost all genres of music. Country music is my favorite and I often use it to “teach” my children life lessons in “mommy school.”
  • Sometimes when I am signing my childrens’ agendas for school, I secretly imagine I am a rock star signing autographs for my adoring fans.
  • I am a recovering perfectionist who is chronically disorganized but almost always at least five minutes early everywhere I go.
  • I believe you have found this site for a reason and I am grateful you are here.

I am currently working on my first book. I live with my husband and three boys in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA. 

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. it’s to enjoy each step along the way.

Wayne Dyer

Follow me on Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/recoveringlove/

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https://www.pinterest.com/setty17

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https://www.facebook.com/Recoveryinglove-519932541829601

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Check out my Colorstreet page:

http://www.mycolorstreet.com/lisette