Let it go

Sometimes the hardest part of moving forward is letting go.

Let me explain.

2011 was quite simply the worst year of my life. It was a year filled with medical drama (for both myself and several of those near and dear to me), career upheaval, depression, anxiety and constant change. I have never been more excited to put a year behind me.

Yet here I am - just three hours shy of 2012 and I am feeling more anxious than I have in months. I've waited for this day. Prayed for it. Counted down the hours in anticipation of this wretched year finally coming up in my rear view. Yet, now that it's here, I'm finding it more and more difficult to let it go.

When you've lived in the middle of a nightmare for so long, after a while it becomes your new reality. When you are constantly bracing for impact, you grow accustomed to the feeling of tight shoulders, a clenched belly and shallow breath. The sound of the other shoe dropping becomes oddly comforting; welcome even.

I have come to accept the non-stop whirlwind of drama that was my life in 2011. I've learned how to roll with the punches and keep some semblance of normalcy for my family while I battle my private and not-so-private demons. Now that 2012 is upon us, the uncertain future is almost more frightening than my dramatic past.

But The BadAssMama is no coward. I am ready to walk away from the pain and struggle of 2011 into what has to be a glorious and promising future in 2012. Can I say with certainty that all of my pain and drama are behind me? No. But what I do know for sure is that I am ready and willing to accept what comes next. I am not afraid to trust the unknown future to a known God.

As the clock winds down on 2011, The BadAssMama is ready to drop the dead weight. As we turn the page on this year, I commit to leave behind a number of things that no longer serve me:

  • Fear
  • The assumption of scarcity and loss
  • Unworthiness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Planning for life, rather than living it
  • Small thinking
  • Anger
  • Self-pity
I am ready to shed my skin and emerge as a new and glorious being in 2012. I don't know exactly what the future holds, but I do know Who holds it. And I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for me and the ones that I love.

Happy New Year...

Bracing for impact

It is next-to-impossible to relax when you are constantly bracing for impact.

Let me explain.

Over the past few weeks, I've been reflecting on the need for more peace in my life - particularly in my home. By peace, I really mean quiet, stillness, lack-of-busyness-and-general-hysteria. A tall order with two-under-the-age-of-five, but a noble goal nonetheless.

I can't remember what I was reading last night, but it struck me to my core. This article proposed that women, especially mothers, are constantly bracing for impact. We clench our bellies waiting for the proverbial punch in the gut; hold our breath hoping the day goes by without incident or accident. Whisper silent prayers for safety and silence.

This act of thinking and planning ahead can be a good thing. It helps us to get our families where they need to be, with the all of things they need to do whatever it is that they are doing. It keeps us fed, properly clothed and provided for. But it can also make us crazy. It is IMPOSSIBLE to relax when you are always bracing for impact. You cannot enjoy this moment when you are constantly planning for the next one. You cannot exhale while you are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am nothing if not an advanced planner. I make it a habit to think and prepare 10 steps ahead, and have always followed the philosophy of "I'd rather have and not need than need and not have" when it comes to preparing for potential catastrophes - both real and perceived. I also have an almost complete lack of ability to enjoy the moment - to live in the now.

I'm beginning to think that this constant desire to be prepared is the source of my utter lack of peace. I try so hard to prepare for every contingency, to plan ahead, to "save" everyone that my days are spent focused on everything that might go wrong, instead of truly appreciating everything that is marvelously right in my world.

Now that's an ah-ha moment for you...

Can a sista get some peace?!?

The BadAssMama has been a bit more irritable than usual over the past few days.

Or months - take your pick.

As another year comes to a close, I find myself without a long list of resolutions - things that I'd like to change about myself, my life, my career, my family. I have no bucket list, no long list for Santa Claus after-the-fact. I don't need a spa day (although it would be nice), a weekend with the girls (while long overdue) or even a romantic getaway (like that's going to happen...). No, there's only one thing on The BadAssMama's wish list for 2012.


Not peace on Earth exactly (though, again, that would be nice). Just peace in my house. Seems a simple enough ask. Factor in 2 kids under-the-age-of-five, 2 full time careers and seemingly non-stop drama swirling around us - not so much.

As a great man of peace once instructed, I decided to try to be the change I want to see in my world. I decided to try to change my routine to find more peace - cut out extraneous activities, slow down, allow more time for the hectic morning and evening routine. To generally relax the schedule a bit. Since I've learned (painfully) that I cannot control everything that happens around me, I can allegedly control how I respond to it. So, I'm trying to breathe more and yell less. It's not going so great thus far, but I'm working on it...

I also decided to switch up my workout routine. After years of pounding the pavement with marathon and half marathon training, or feeling the burn in yet another bootcamp-type cross training routine, I decided to give yoga a spin. I'd tried it years before, but all that breathing and stretching took too much patience (insert-laugh-track-here). If I was searching for peace, it might not hurt to add it into my exercise life as well.

Since I am insane, I decided to start with Bikram Yoga. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular form of torture, it is a specific sequence of 2 breathing exercises and 26 hatha yoga poses in a room heated to exactly 105 degrees and 40% humidity. I'm sure there is a reason for all of this, but I didn't take the time to read the brochure.

In my first class, the goal was simply to stay in the room. No small feat given it was hot as hell and I was exerting myself just as hard at some points as during my marathon training. The next morning I felt energized, lighter. I went again the following afternoon and quickly realized that I was hooked. After the second class, I actually took the time to read the brochures and found that it is recommended that you take as many classes as possible at the start of your practice to master the postures - ideally attending every day for 60 days.

Like that's going to happen.

I'm nearing the end of my first week. I've taken 3 classes thus far and am seriously considering going tomorrow and New Year's Eve - at minimum ringing in the new year with a class. I started Bikram Yoga with the goal of shaking up my workout routine, ideally attaining the coveted yoga butt. But - what I'm finding is that Bikram is contributing much more to my sense of inner peace than my inner Christy Turlington. For 90 minutes, even though I'm surrounded by a bunch of sweaty strangers, it's all about me. No one is yelling, demanding things, throwing tantrums or throwing toys. There are no dishes in the sink, clothes to be folded or presentations to finish. It's just me, my breath and the pose.

The Bikram peace has yet to translate into more peace at BadAssMama Central, but I'm working on it.

Here's wishing you a beautiful end to 2011 and a peaceful new year.


Confessions of a BadAssMama - The Christmas Edition

I do not like to spend extended periods of time with my children.

Let me explain.

The same pattern begins every time the end-of-year celebrations roll around. We look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year (or whatever it is that you celebrate - the BadAssMama does not discriminate). Then suddenly it dawns on us...school is closed for 10 days straight.


What the hell am I supposed to do with my kids for 10 days straight?

Now, the perfectionist in me cringes at the mere thought of this. How could I not be excited, enraptured even, with the thought of spending a good chunk of uninterrupted time with my family? Don't we always complain about being too busy with work and the day-to-day grind to really spend quality time with the kids? Don't we wax poetic over all the crafts we would make and the playdates we would arrange and the outings we would take. Then, we have the time and all we want to do is send them back to school.


I know that this joyous season will bring its fair share of laughter and tears, happiness and frustration, shouts of joy and sheer madness. I will love spending time with my kids. And I will hate it.

Mostly love it...kind of. 

Pssst! Do you have the answer to #5??

Academic success does not necessarily prepare one for motherhood.

Let me explain.

I am a firm believer that there is a difference between book smarts and street smarts. Academic learning and common sense, knowledge and wisdom. Each is valuable in its own way, and not all folks are created equal when it comes to any of the above. I'd like to think that I have a good balance of book smarts and street smarts, and just enough common sense to make me dangerous. But my true strength is traditional academic learning. I'm a nerd, a geek, bookworm, teacher's pet. You name it, I've been called it and have LOVED every minute of it.

I find comfort in the binary options of traditional academia. An answer is right or wrong. Period. 1+1=2, not 4. You study hard, go in for extra help, get an A on the test and move on to the next subject. True, as you progress on to high school, college and beyond there is more subjectivity in certain subjects (essay questions, for example), but there is a still a process - a certain combination of logic, syntax and order that the professor looks for to determine your letter grade. I like clear directions, easily measurable goals, black and white answers.

And then I became a mom.

It hit me on the way back from gymnastics this weekend. The teacher let me know that Angel only got 3 stamps (instead of 4) because he was not following directions during the parachute activity (I was changing Victor's pamper, so I didn't see him through the window). She told me that, while his skills were very strong and he did a great job in the smaller group stations, he tended to wander during larger group activities. This, of course, was nothing new to me but I was hoping that it was just a phase that he would magically emerge from. Like, tomorrow. Driving to lunch, I realized that I longed for someone - anyone - to give me the answer. Who could I call to give me the process to get my son to follow directions? What book could give me the answer, what expert guide my way because clearly I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

But, there is no quick fix. No easy answer. No parenting guru with a solution for all that ails you. No once-size-fits-all-approach. The difference between parenting and school is that you have to figure out most of the answers on your own. Sure, you can get advice from books, parenting magazines and other moms, but at the end of the day no one knows your family better than you do. What worked for others may not fit your child's particular temperament or your unique family situation. You gotta roll with the punches and figure it out as you go.

Well, that sucks.

I'm still holding out hope that someone - ANYONE - will pass me a note with the answer when the teacher's not looking...

The BadAssMama's Christmas List

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Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is:

  • A full night's sleep
  • Workday mornings without the rush
  • Bath/Book/Bedtime without the fuss
  • A get-out-of-the-terrible-two's-free card
  • Peace on Earth (or at least in my house...)
  • Calorie-free Rocky Road ice cream
  • A self-potty-training child
  • Fashionable stretchy pants
  • A child-free vacation, without the guilt
  • The body of an athlete, without the work
  • A gentle reminder that the days are long, but the years are short

The BadAssMama

Confessions of a BadAssMama...

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I yell at my kids every night before bed.

Let me explain.

It is not my intention to end the day on a sour note. To send the boys off to dream with visions of their lunatic mother dancing in their heads. Yet and still, every night the pattern continues without fail. First, they want another book. Then someone cries because it's too late for more books. Then someone needs to pee. Then someone needs to poo. Then someone needs to pee again. Then Angel wants someone to rub his back. Invariably, he wants the parent OTHER than the one who first entered his room. Then he decides that we haven't rubbed his back long enough. 

Then, Victor starts. Rub my back! Fix my blankie! I want baba. NOT water baba, MILK baba. Then I explain (yet again) that we don't drink milk in the sippy cup at night, or he will get cavities. Then he explains to me (often at the top of his lungs in a semi-dictatorial fashion) that milk does NOT cause cavities. 

Then the crying begins. 

Then Angel tells me that we didn't rub his back long enough. Then he needs someone to fix his blanket because "I don't know how." Then he needs to pee...for the 5th time in 10 minutes. Then Victor starts screaming for milk baba...again.

And then I lose it. 

I yell at Victor, "Don't start! We have this SAME conversation EVERY NIGHT. NO MILK BABA. Go to sleep and you can have milk in the morning." "Angel, no one needs to pee THAT MUCH. Get in the bed and GO TO SLEEP."

Each night, I end with a rough, "Good night. I love you" before stomping down the stairs in disgust...at myself and the vicious cycle that never seems to end. 

Maybe I'll do better tomorrow....

When life gives you lemons...

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...sometimes you make lemonade. Sometimes you just have a bunch of useless lemons. Especially if it's winter, and lemons are out of season and kind of yucky.

So, the past few weeks have been a crap fest (both literally and figuratively - check out the last post) at BadAssMama Central. As a result, The BadAssMama has been a bit less of her badass self. I've been more like the CrankyAssMama. The ExhaustedAssMama. The bury-my-head-in-the-sand-and-hope-the-sun-comes-out-tomorrow mama. But, after a few weeks of relatively justifiable sulking, I've decided that I'm sick of moping and I'm turning a new leaf.

Come to think of it, I think that's really one of our main jobs as parents. To teach our kids how to bounce back when life bites you in the butt. Life comes at you - fast. Sometimes (hopefully most of the time) things are good. There are a few bumps in the road, but your family and friends are near to cheer you on. Other times, the hits just keep on coming. When you feel like lemons are raining from the sky (denting your new truck and squirting you in your already-pink-eye), it's easy to sit in the corner and sulk. Or yell at everyone around you. Hell, I've done a bit of both over the past few weeks. But when it comes right down to it, sulking and yelling don't really make you feel any better. You have to lick your wounds, wipe the lemon juice out of your pink-eye and keep it moving.

I didn't do the best job of teaching my kids how to deal with adversity over the past week. Frankly, I've been a raging bitch for roughly the past ten days. It's a testament to my husband's willpower, love and patience (or loss-of-will-to-live) that we are even still married at this point. But, we are...and he still seems to like me a bit.

The funny part is, I think my kids have taught me more about the power of resilience in the past few weeks than I have taught them. Take Little A - for 36 hours last week, this poor kid was puking his guts out roughly every 2 hours. When the wave would come, he would freak the hell out. But as soon as it was over, he was back to playing with his new Hot Wheels set from Abuela, reading a book or watching a movie with his brother. He didn't pretend that the vomit didn't bother him. He hated it! He was scared and eventually really pissed off that it kept happening. But once it was over, it was over. He picked up where he left off with his toys and kept it moving.

Maybe that's the real lesson here. Resilience isn't about pretending that it never happened. Acknowledge the bad things. Be in the moment, and feel whatever it is that you are feeling - fully. Then move on. Because, really, you can only truly move on from the bad things if you've let yourself experience them.

Smart kid. I wonder who his mother is...