Lessons from the storm

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It's been an eventful few days at BadAssMama Central. As you may have heard ( if you live in the Northeast, it's ALL you've heard), we've had a freakish bout of weather in the past week. First, an earthquake rocked several states from Virginia to NYC. Forty two flights of stairs and several Xanax later, I finished the work day st home. Four days later, Hurricane Irene paid us a visit.

You can really tell what's important in life when Al Roker tells you that a hurricane is barreling straight toward your neck of the woods. As the storm track became clear, I wanted nothing more than to hog-tie my husband (he refused to leave the house), pack up my kids and as many cans of Chef Boyardee that could fit in the back of the truck and drive through the night to Chicago.

I didn't do any of those things (my husband is surprisingly strong and apparently knows how to escape a straight jacket... not that I keep one handy or anything). Instead, I packed a bag of clothes and toiletries (just in case we were instructed to evacuate), placed our passports, birth certificates and other important documents in waterproof bags, filled a cooler with shelf-stable food and prepared to ride it out at home. I mapped out the nearest shelters and
evacuation routes, just in case, and Angel put away anything that might become a projectile in the projected 80-100 mile per hour winds.

And then we waited.

The waiting is the hard part. We waited until the boys were fast asleep then brought them downstairs to our make-shift fortress in the basement. I kept the bags in the bathroom, as
that felt like the safest place to be when the winds actually hit (Linette survived that way with Mrs. McKlusky when the twister hit Wisteria Lane, right?). We slept in fits and starts as the winds howled above our heads. Sleep came only from sheer exhaustion as we were both tensed to grab the boys at the first hint of danger (both of whom slept soundly through the night, by the way. They had no idea we'd even moved them from their beds until the next morning. We told them we were camping...)

Morning finally came and we we still alive. The power went out around 9am but danger never knocked on our doorstep. Well into the day, once it was clear that the storm had passed, we
ventured down the street to break the 2 days of cabin fever. Then we saw it. Trees down everywhere. The street to the daycare, blocked. Homes sliced in two. Stories of trees falling mere inches from sleeping babies. The randomness of it all was breathtaking. What was undeniable was that we were truly blessed.

Two days later, we are still without power. The threat is gone, but the feel of undeniable grace remains. There is nothing more terrifying than trying to protect your children from an
unpredictable, unstoppable threat. We're well out of the danger zone and I'm still not quite right.

But I am grateful. Eternally grateful.

Happy 2.0

I've come to learn that the key to happiness as a mother is learning to roll with the punches. Sounds easy, right? Clearly you don't know me very well.

For the first thirty-some-odd years of my life, I lived squarely in the realm of black and white. I like straight lines, military corners, right-and-wrong answers. As I've grown older, and perhaps a tad bit wiser, I'm learning to embrace the gray. And parenting, my friends, is ALL about the gray.

It would be GREAT if there were some handy-dandy notebook that popped out with your kid (right before the placenta maybe, so the doctor doesn't accidentally leave it all up in there), giving you simple step-by-step instructions on how to raise a happy, healthy, well-adjusted child. The rules would be uniform, one-size-fits-all. A simple cause-effect equation to good kids, happy families.

The problem, I've come to find, is that children are actually people and not clock radios (although mine wake me each morning like clockwork!). While they may all come with mostly the same parts, each are wired differently. They respond differently to uniform stimulus. Their moods, reactions and general demeanor can vary wildly from day-to-day (often moment-to-moment).

I've written about treating my kids like little employees - using the skills that have made me successful in the corporate realm to drive parenting success. The challenge with this approach (although it seemed utterly BRILLIANT at the time), is that it espouses the children-as-tiny-adults theory. That clear guidelines, timelines, consequences and repercussions will result in performance. The problem is that kids are not simply little adults. Their emotional intelligence and cognitive wiring are works-in-progress, and as parents it is our ultimate job to shepherd them through that development. This takes patience, empathy and a great deal of coffee (sometimes vodka...).

So, I have a new theory of parenting success. I will pick my battles. I will focus on the things that matter most and let the chips fall where they may for the other details. I used to agonize so much over developing the perfect approach to feeding, teaching, bathing and entertaining my kids that I often focused more on the schedule than actually enjoying my family. I was doing, not being. Treating parenthood as a never-ending to-do list, and missing the way that my boys interact like those old cranky guys up in the balcony on The Muppet Show. How Victor's smile lights up the room as soon as he wakes in the morning (very, very early in the morning...). How Angel can read the emotion of a room intuitively, and does his best to break up any tension with a joke or well-timed fart. How their eyes light up every time I walk into a room. How the word "Mommy!" at the end of an impossible day can be most beautiful sound in the world.

The BadAssMama is learning to live, love and laugh in the gray. I am better for it, and I know that my family is happier because of it.

And so am I...

You know you're a working mom when...

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It's been another rough week for The BadAssMama. Revenge of the terrible-two's, attack of the ferocious-four's, long commutes, short nights of sleep and way too many cupcakes (again).

So, rather than continue to drown my sorrows in pastry, I bring you another BadAssMama Top Ten list! Enjoy....

You know you're a working mom when:

10) You consider 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep a "great night"

9) Applying makeup and curling your hair on the commuter train is a several-times-weekly ritual

8) After yet another night of 1.5 hours of cumulative sleep, you pray that your boss does not ask you a question in the Monday morning meeting

7) You have fallen asleep in the bathroom stall at work...more than once

6) Your work suits are replaced by peanut butter and boogers most weeknights by 7pm

5) You fight the impulse to murder everyone in the room when someone tells you to "Enjoy your time off!" right before maternity leave

4) You think the hands-free breast pump bra-thingy is the BEST INVENTION EVER

3) You have locked yourself in the bathroom to finish a conference call while your children scream "I want to play with you!!!"

2) Your definition of success includes walking out the door fully clothed with matching shoes

1) You have ever reached into your bag for a business card, and instead pulled out a Hot Wheels car...

Having it all?

My life is perpetual motion. 

From the moment I rise in the morning until the time I collapse in my bed at night, I am doing something for someone, planning something for someone or preparing to do something for someone. From time-to-time that someone is me, but 9 times out of 10 it is for someone else - my job, my husband, my kids. Don't get me wrong, prepping and planning is something that The BadAssMama is good at and the OCD in me actually enjoys...most of the time.

Problem is, I do it ALL OF THE TIME. 

I made an appointment with an incredible nutritionist earlier this week(@theSPEACHgal - check her out on Twitter!). As part of our first consultation, she had me complete a lifestyle questionnaire covering topics like what kinds of foods I eat, how much exercise I get, what medications I'm on. During our conversation, she asked me to walk her through a typical day. I began with the standard 5am wake up call from Hurricane Victor, the rush to catch the 7:32am train, meetings-upon-meetings, rush to catch the train before daycare closes, homework, dinner, bath, bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. She asked me when I spend time with my husband or to just be still. The question left me a tad speechless, as I suddenly realized that I don't do much of either of those things.

Near the close of our conversation, she asked me to rattle off 3 things that I'd like more of in my life. I said that I wanted to eat for nutrition, not just weight loss (I have the how-little-can-I-eat thing down to an art. It's about time to actually view food as nutrition. Plus I want my boys to grow up eating real food, rather than subsisting on a diet of dinosaur-shaped meat and fish-shaped crackers...)I can't remember the second thing I said, but I closed with the fact that I wanted to find more time to relax. To focus on being rather than doing. To take some time every day to do absolutely nothing. 

While I left the call feeling optimistic, slowly over the course of the week I learned that I don't really know HOW to do absolutely nothing. And even if I did, how could I possibly carve out time to do absolutely nothing with all the doing that is required to be a busy working mom trying to keep a household on track? 

So, today The BadAssMama starts a new challenge and I invite you to come along. This week, I commit to carve out 15 minutes each day to do absolutely nothing. To sit still, breathe and just be. To think, reflect, relax. 

I don't know about you, but the thought of doing nothing is kind of stressing me out...and that's EXACTLY why I need it. 

A Year in the Life of a BadAssMama

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I recently had a birthday. I'm usually pretty good about doing the annual birthday-round-up blog post, but this year I am proud to say that I was actually more occupied with celebrating my day than writing about it. 

It wasn't a big birthday. Not one that ended with a five or a zero. There were no decorations, pre-packaged birthday kits or cards commemorating the number. The actual day was relatively quiet and lovely - day at the spa, dinner with the hubs at a local restaurant. I did get to wear a fancy one-shouldered white dress that I hardly ever get the chance to bust out of the closet (there were no children in sight, and the temperature hovered above the 100 degree mark well into the evening). The celebration continued through the weekend with the 40th birthday celebration of a dear friend and dinner/dancing the following Saturday (it's hard to line up babysitters, so we spread out the celebration - practical matters in the life of a BadAssMama). 

This weekend, we followed our now annual tradition of spending a night away at a swanky hotel in the city, re-claiming a window of our pre-children selves. Taking the time to focus on the two that were before there were four. We wore grown-up clothes and had dinner at a fancy restaurant. We got 10 glorious hours of sleep. We ate a leisurely breakfast overlooking Central Park, reading the Sunday New York Times from cover-to-cover. We got massages and enjoyed an incredible chocolate mousse cake - a surprise anniversary gift, compliments of the hotel (actually, given swanky New York hotel prices, it should have been the size of our actual wedding cake...).

It was an incredible weekend to cap off an incredible year. A life-changing, earth-shattering,  nearly-soul-crushing, I-can't-believe-this-shit-actually-happened kind of year. The past 12 months have been without a doubt the most trying of my entire life. And while I am not quite ready to share the details, I am proud to say that I have emerged from a place of hopelessness to one of boundless possibilities. Through the love of my husband, support of my family and friends, the help of an incredible therapist and the God-send of SSRIs (that's awesome anti-depressants in laymen's terms), I am beginning a brilliant new chapter in my life.

It's funny. The ultimate breakthrough actually came during my awesome anniversary massage this afternoon. Rather than the standard swedish treatment (yeah, like I get these things SO often that I actually have a standard...), we opted for the shiatsu massage. We answered a somewhat odd-ball questionnaire about things like trouble sleeping, constipation (great, more poop talk) and allergies which somehow helped the massage therapist to shape a custom massage to free our energy (or something like that). While I sound predictably sarcastic in my description, I have to tell you that the results of my "analysis" were incredible. Apparently, my answers lead the massage therapist to believe that I have a blockage in chakras related to the lungs and large intestine (all roads lead to poop). He explained that unlike Western medicine, where we refer to the physical organs, Eastern philosophy refers to the energy held within these organs. I displayed an imbalance in the element of metal - which represents the action of letting go. Letting go of old ideas, beliefs and attachments - leaving room for new space to grow and evolve. It also has to do with the process of grief. 

This description stopped me in my tracks. He described the exact process I felt my self going through over the past few months. Most interesting, actually, was the fact that my answers were split between the "release" and "flourish" elements. This resonated strongly with me, since over the past few weeks in particular I've felt on the verge of a breakthrough, but undersatnding that I still had some healing to do to get there.

The massage was different than any that I'd ever experienced. Rather than falling asleep instantaneously, I was strangely alert. I asked him what it meant when I would feel tightness or sensation in a particular area of my body. He might have been making all of this crap up, but each answer related to something I had experienced in the past year. During massage (and in my life in general), I tend to push back when I feel discomfort. In my head, I'm protecting myself by not allowing the technician to push too hard on a sensitive area. Invariably, however, the action of pushing back results in further injury to the area in question. So, for the first time rather than fighting against discomfort during the massage, I gave in to it. By the end of the session, I was more relaxed and pain-free than I'd ever felt.

At some point during the session, a thought entered my mind like a lightning bolt. I AM ENOUGH. Right now, just as I am. Not 5 pounds from now, or after the next promotion. Not when I become more patient or spend more time with my kids. I am enough just as I am, right now. 

And for the first time in my life, I actually believed it.

I know that this post is a bit more touchy-feely-nutty-granola than most, but I have been through one hell of a year. With the passing of another birthday and wedding anniversary, I am declaring this to be the year of The BadAssMama. I am ready to claim my power and own my light. I have been through the storm and lived to tell the tale. Through all of this, I have learned that there is an incredible power in knowing who you are, owning your story - any being ok with it.

For the first time in my life, I am. 

Reflections of a fat kid

It took me a long time to come into myself. You could say that The BadAssMama went through a relatively long ugly duckling phase. While my enormous eyes, long neck and distinct cheekbones work well on a grown-woman's face, they were a little overwhelming on an awkward 14-year-old. Add in Coke-bottle-Sally-Jesse-Raphael style glasses and a good 40 excess pounds, and you've got the makings of a lifetime of self esteem issues.

But, I was no shrinking violet. I had lots of friends, leadership positions in junior high and high school. I was a smart girl, driven and determined. I had a clear vision of my dreams and unwavering confidence that I could do whatever I put my mind to. But, I fell much more into the geek camp rather than hanging with the cool kids.

My biggest challenge was always with weight. From a young age, I was an emotional eater - burying the bad feelings in food. I remember being teased about my thighs from as early as the 6th grade, when skinny girls from a visiting softball team commented loudly on my stretch marks (I didn't even know what stretch marks were at the time. After 2 kids in 3 years, my stretch marks and I are on a first-name basis...). I was called fatty, chunky, thunder thighs, turtle neck, giraffe, fat ass, fat kid, nerd. I usually played off these barbs by focusing on the fact that all those idiots would look to me for a job one day. Even still, the constant taunting took its toll. Yo-yo and starvation diets, slim fast shakes and water pills followed. Almost anything in the quest to be skinny.

Years after the mean girls and stupid boys of high school, I grew more comfortable in my skin and began to appreciate that I was much more than the number on a scale. In my early 30s, I decided to stop seeing how little I could eat, and try to find just how strong I could be. I got a trainer and learned about portion control. Eventually, I discovered the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program. With TNT, I raised money for cancer research and trained to compete my first marathon in 2004. Over the next 3 years, I completed 4 full and 4 half marathons. I was strong and fit, and for the first time I looked at my body as an accomplishment rather than a failure.

In 2007, I gave birth to my first son and learned how truly resilient and powerful my body could be. 22 months later, a second baby was born and 18 months after that I completed my fifth full marathon - crossing the finish line with both boys in the double stroller. I still have a love-hate relationship with the scale, but I've learned to respect my body for what it can do rather than focus solely on how it looks. I treat food as fuel, while leaving room for fun. And while my weight fluctuates from time to time, I am proud to say that I am in the best shape of my life - both mentally and physically.

So I was somewhat surprised when a nasty comment by a troll on Twitter threw me for a loop this evening. I was checking my mentions on the train home when I came across a response to a video I shot for a new nutrition bar at BlogHer last week. The company put the video on their Facebook site and Twitter. They asked for The BadAssMama's tips for staying healthy as a busy working mom. I take pride in my ability to carve out time to eat well and exercise most days of the week, and I was pleased with how the mini-interview turned out. Then, this a-hole responds to the spot by calling me a "big bitch" who needed to follow Jenny Craig on Twitter, rather than giving health tips.

And in a split second, I was a fat 14-year-old again.

I often joke that God gave me boys because another generation of women did not need to grow up with my self esteem issues. While this may be true, I also believe that it is my job as a mother to teach my boys to be proud of who they are, and to respect that people come in all colors, shapes and sizes. And that everyone deserves to feel good about themselves regardless of their color, shape or size. Name calling is an easy way to make yourself feel "better" the someone else. But all you're really doing is covering up the fact that you don't love yourself.

So, to the asshole who called me a "big bitch" on Twitter, I feel sorry for you. You should be ashamed of yourself.

And you should apologize to your mother.

The Terrible-Twos: Take II

What's old is new again at BadAssMama Central. After eight blissful months of relative calm, Victor has decided to take on the terrible twos with gusto. Apparently after observing his big brother's version of the phase during his first year of life, Victor has decided that anything Angel can do he can do better.

It all started innocently enough. Rather than sweetly asking for a cookie after dinner, Victor would ball up his face and grunt, "Give me a cookie. NOW!" When I would turn and give him the mama face (you know the one I'm talking about), he would break into his trademark Kool-Aid grin and declare that he was "just kidding."

Soon, it progressed to imitation crying. The sound that every mother knows and hates to the very core of her being. A combination fake-baby-cry-whiny-giraffe-being-chased-by-a-rhino kind of yowl. Whenever he wanted something and the response time was not to his liking, he would go at it. Often at the top of his lungs for extended periods of time. I would calmly reply that, "Mommy does not negotiate with terrorists" or something like that, and after a while he would go back to using real words.

This week, he's decided to bring out his A-game. Welcome to the Tantruming Terror: Part Two. I used to laugh at Angel's silent tantrums on the floor. He would roll and thrash and occasionally screech, but his tantrums were generally dramatic and, while annoying, somewhat entertaining (at least to my twisted brain). Victor is a different story. First of all, he is a BIG kid. When he throws his weight against you, YOU move. He is strong and not afraid to literally throw his weight around. And while Angel's tantrum wails were high pitched and persistent, Victor brings a level of anger, frustration and pure agony to his cries that is truly gut wrenching. While I could rationalize that Angel was acting out or going through a growth spurt, Victor's tantrums just make me want to run and hide under my bed.

Maybe Victor's tantrums are worse. Maybe I'm punking out in my old age. Maybe the first round of tantrums took more out of me than I thought. Maybe I'm just exhausted. Whatever the cause, round two of the terrible two's is kicking my ass...

Living the Dream

After 3 glorious days in San Diego for BlogHer 11, it's business as usual at BadAssMama Central. I've gone from day-long informative and inspiring sessions, back to boogers and peanut butter. From dinner at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse to chicken nuggets and tater tots. From 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to intermittent trips down the hall to fix blankies, wipe noses and chase away the boogie monster.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

BlogHer was an incredible experience and much needed respite from the hustle and bustle that is my every day life with 2 boys under the age of 5. But as I got off the red eye Sunday morning, there was nothing I wanted more than to hug my babies. The screams of,"Mommy!" as I walked into baggage claim felt better than a full week of sleep with a Baskin Robbins sundae on top.

Well, almost as good...

As I reflect upon my BlogHer experience, three themes continue to resonate: Be authentic. Own your story. Know your value. Intertwined with technical sessions on how to implement community functions on your blog and tips on how to drive traffic, these themes continued to surface throughout the conference.

I may not know everything about being a good mom, but after enough years on those planet to know better than to discuss my age, I am learning to be more of my authentic self. I am learning that my story, while not always pretty, is mine and mine alone. It made me the bold girl that was, and has shaped me into the BadAss woman that I have become. With the help of my incredible husband, great friends and the reminder of 3600 awe-inspiring women bloggers, I am learning to know my value and honor my accomplishments as a professional, as a woman, as a wife and mother.

I left BlogHer feeling empowered to follow my dreams. To expand The BadAssMama Chronicles from blog to books, regular magazine and website contributions and more. I am excited to begin the next step of my journey, and I hope you'll keep me company along the way!

Top Ten Things I Learned at BlogHer - Day 2

I've had yet another incredible day at BlogHer 11. I am truly inspired by the incredible women all around me, and the level of speakers is beyond amazing! I met my idol, The Bloggess, the incredible Christina Norman, Gretchen Rubin, Janice Min and spent time with the incomparable Helen Jonsen from WorkingMother.com.

As promised, I've done my best to boil down 12 hours of awesomeness into a BadAssMama Top Ten:

10. We often sacrifice taking care of ourselves in the pursuit of career success and taking care of the ones we love. If you don't take care of yourself, you're no good to anyone.

9. Do not make work more important than spending time with the ones you love. Moments with your kids are irreplaceable. 9 times out of 10, the email can wait.

8. My definition of success may be different than yours, and neither one is better.

7. Your instinct is usually right. Trust your gut. Don't wait for someone else's approval.

6. There is NO SUCH THING as a balanced life! At the end of the day, focus on the highlights (not your shortcomings) and choose to magnify those things.

5. Are there values that you want your kids to take with them as adults? Realize that you have to live that way. It can't just be conceptual.

4. Confident parents make confident children. Be comfortable with your choices. Make your own definition of success.

3. We are conditioned as women to put the needs of others first. This can hold us back in our careers. Don't be afraid to be direct.

2. Perfection is NOT the same as striving for excellence. We try to be perfect to avoid blame, criticism, judgment and feelings of unworthiness. Perfection is a shield we carry to keep from being seen.

1. Owning your story and loving yourself through that process is the most courageous thing you can ever do. It gives others the permission to be courageous as well.

And a BlogHer bonus: Your success does not have to come at the expense of someone else's failure. It's OK to win.

Top Ten Things I Learned at BlogHer - Day 1

I officially have the first day of the mega BlogHer conference under my belt. I must admit, I was slightly intimidated as a newbie. But any apprehension quickly evaporated as soon as the opening session began.

Rather than providing a blow-by-blow of all the geeky blogger details, I thought the best way to share my experience might be in the form of a BadAssMama Top Ten List. So, here we go:

10. Make your imperfections your signature. In a world that often values fitting in above individuality, it is your duty to be uniquely who you are. When you are ok with who you are, you let others know that they are ok too.

9. Don't be afraid to stand out. Every flock starts with one bird. Have the courage to be a leader.

8. There is one sure-fire way to face your fear: Name it, claim it and kick it in the ass.

7. We cannot create from negativity and lack. Take inventory of how awesome you are on a
regular basis. Focus on what you do well and use your energy to build on that, rather than
dwelling upon your deficiencies.

6. Be incredibly specific about what you want. No one can read your mind.

5. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

4. Courage is not the absence of fear, but being afraid and moving forward anyway.

3. You don't have to be the best to be worthy.

2. As women, we too often play games to diminish our light. Don't.

1. Relationships are the foundation of every success.

Mommy time

I am in a hotel in San Diego. Alone. I am not on a business trip - well, at least not one for my day job. I am not on a family vacation. It's not a romantic getaway with my husband or a weekend away with the girls. I'm here doing something just for me.

It's strange, actually. After a lifetime focused on my wants and needs, my life as a mom revolves around the care and feeding of my two tiny lunatics. Now, don't get me wrong. My post-baby life is infinitely more rewarding (and exhausting) than life before kids. But I can't help but feel like something was lost in the transition. That the part of me that found it natural to take a time out, to pursue my passions, to be selfish with my time began to fade away the moment I held my tiny first-born in my arms.

I do still manage to carve out some semblance of me-time in the midst of an otherwise hectic life. True, that time often comes between 1 and 3am, but it's better than nothing, right? But the thought of taking time away from my family, my day job, my responsibilities to invest in something just for me? Inconceivable! I actually came close to canceling this trip, or at
least cutting ot short. Even when I registered for the conference, I never really felt like I was going to go. How could I leave my family for almost 4 days? It's not even a real business trip! I couldn't possibly take all that time just for me.

Then it hit me. It is my responsibility to show my kids that their dreams are worth pursuing. That they deserve to invest time in themselves. That it is not selfish to pursue a dream.

So, I am here in San Diego at my first blogging conference. BlogHer 11 - the mother of all
blogger events! Tomorrow Is Pathfinder Day. I'm taking the "Your Blog as a Book Proposal" track. Writing a book about my crazy adventures as a working mom is my dream.

What's YOUR dream? I challenge you to make time today to think about what truly makes you happy and go for it. You deserve to dedicate time to something for you and only you. You deserve to make your dreams a reality.

As for me, I am excited, exhilarated and a little bit nervous. But most of all, I'm ready. And I can't wait to see what the future holds for The BadAssMama...

Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny and the Myth of the Empty Inbox

I like to finish what I've started. While the simple act of attempting something new is better than sitting on your ass eating corn chips, I've always found that the joy of completing a task - particularly a big one - is more satisfying that simply starting down the path. I like to check things off of my to-do list, tie them up with a bow and move on to the next.

Then I had kids. And suddenly my life became a massive run-on sentence of incomplete and regularly re-visited, previously-assumed completed tasks.

Late last week, I had a conversation with my mother (an avid reader of this blog - Hi Mom!). In it, she suggested that I start writing more about how I'm a good mom ("Because you REALLY are a good mom, Sherice...") and how I'm starting to figure things out. To take a more positive spin on motherhood, and how things are getting easier.

I would LOVE to write about how after 4 years, I have it all figured out. For my next blog post to be titled, "How to raise happy, well-rounded, perfectly mannered, insanely creative and brilliant kids in 3 easy steps". I'd love to say that I've cracked the code to having a happy marriage, well-adjusted kids, good health and a career with some semblance of my sanity intact.

But I can't. Because I haven't.

As soon as I think I've gotten the hang of this mommy thing, the rules seem to change.  Tantrum-tamers that used to work like a charm are miraculously rendered obsolete. The adventurous two-year-old who used to eat anything now limits his food choices to pasta, milk and bananas. There are never enough hours in the day (cliche! cliche!). My to-do list runneth over and my patience runneth short. 

This much I do know. I no longer give much credence to how others think I should raise my children. After a battle with pre-eclampsia, premature birth, health scares and countless hours of nursing, feeding and comforting my children, I think I've earned the right to raise my kids the way I see fit. The problem is, there are only so many things you can accomplish in a given day and I continue to fall into the trap of trying to do everything, every day. I cannot be super mom, super wife, super executive, super friend, super sister, super daughter all at the same time. 

So why do I keep trying to? 

Like Santa Clause, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, the empty inbox or completed to do list are a myth. Urban legend perpetuated by generations of over-achievers struggling to keep up the facade of having it all. 

I may not have the secret to being the perfect mom, but I do know that I love my kids perfectly. I know that my priorities in life are to make sure that they feel loved, are safe and healthy, are able to learn and know how to play well with others. I may not get to all of them every day, but I know my priorities are in check. 

Hey - maybe I have this motherhood thing down after all...