Expecto Patronum!

Why do moms have such a propensity for guilt? patronum

Why does this guilt seem to surface most visibly around our children’s birthdays?

I have a secret to share: I suffer from a lesser-known anxiety disorder. It’s called Party Compulsive Dysfunction. I’ve had this affliction going on nine years now. It is a wholly personal affliction that usually sets in 8-12 weeks ahead of either one of my children’s birthdays.

I suffer from PCD because I am under the false pretense that having in-home birthday parties is more low-key and easier than the expensive, elaborate off-site parties so prevalent these days.

(how very wrong this assumption is) More

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Educating Girls

This post originally appeared on World Moms Blog February 8, 2015 as part of a three-part series supporting #aPathAppears and @SavetheChildren

malalaI have long been an advocate of girls education. It is something I want every girl, wherever she is in the world, to have access to. I deeply believe educating girls is a key piece to improving our world.

So when my daughter was born eight years ago, I committed myself to ensuring that she would always have access to and the support she needs attaining the best education my husband and I can give her.

But along with the paramount importance her education is to me, so too is her understanding of how valuable having an education is and how lucky she is to have safe schools and many choices available to her.

But how do you impart this on an eight-year-old? More

Confessions of a Former Addict

birthday cakeI admit it. I’m a junkie. Not on drugs or alcohol nor really anything that’s bad for me (unless you consider aging and self-indulgence vices). I’m addicted to birthdays. And not just anyone’s birthdays…MY birthdays.

I don’t doubt that there are people out there who suffer this addiction far worse than I—in fact, I’m sure Pintrist will prove me right—but hey, I’m a Scorpio and my kind are notorious for basking in the limelight. Just ask any of the former Scorpio Fest members from the late ‘90s (Dani Ghiradella, Ari Kambas, you know who you are).

But you don’t need to worry about me, I’m in recovery. More

Enjoying the Journey

happy anniversaryBack in my early twenties, when the internet was still in its public nascency and using e-mail was pretty novel, I used a quote in the auto-signature of all my outgoing mail.

“Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.”

It was a quote I came across while preparing for a nine-month journey home from Japan, where I had been living for the past two years. As someone perpetually focused on the outcome, I am consistently guilty of “achieving the product but missing the process.”

I’m not a live-in-the-moment sorta gal. In fact, quite the opposite, I’m more of a busy-myself-in-the-moment-by-planning-for-all-future-moments kinda gal. So you can see how the concept of enjoying the journey as well as the destination would be a novel one for me.

I have since matured out of using this quote in my auto-signature but I continue trying to follow its mantra.

Today is my 10th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, DH and I took a journey.

More

Out of the Weeds

IMG_4155I have to move on from the somber subject of my last official blog entry here. There Are No Words was a cathartic piece to write but the experience of my friend’s loss rattled me more than I realized. As a result, I’ve spent much of the time between late November and now reflecting on the brevity and uncertainty of life.

It’s time to focus on the many positives that have occurred since last year’s tragedy. For one thing, my youngest child turned 5 (and the parents among us know that 5 is a huge milestone in the parenting world).

Once your youngest child turns 5, my husband and I refer to it as the point in parenthood when you finally get to “come out-of-the-weeds.” Five means we are just months away from full-day kindergarten, and isn’t sending your final child to kindergarten the chance to reclaim self again?

When DH and I brought our first-born home from the hospital in 2006, life as we knew it turned on its head. When your first baby comes home, everything in life has to adjust to a new baby. When your second baby (or third or fourth) comes home, the baby has to adjust to its new life as part of your family. More

Our Bags Are Packed And We’re Ready to Go

suitcasesIn fact, I’ve been halfway there since we booked our first, family overseas trip back in September. Because for me, one of the hardest things about settling down and starting a family has been, well, settling down…

Truth be told, I’d much rather be traveling the world, meeting new people and exploring different cultures, or at least still doing that WHILE having a family. Don’t get me wrong, the kid journey can be pretty amazing too but I’ve been eagerly waiting to have them participate in the bigger journey pretty much since I first conceived our daughter, 8 years ago.

Prior to that time, the world was an open road waiting to be explored. In our twenties, both DH and I did a fair amount of traveling in some pretty extreme locations, predominantly Asia but some in the Middle East too. We carried backpacks and our Angus MacGyver tool was the multipurpose sarong (which doubled as: a dress, a scarf, a sheet, a towel, a curtain). We thirsted for third-world travel, where we found life stripped away at its rawest and yet most complicated state.

Traveling became part of who we were and what drew us to one another, then also how we grew together. Now that we’re married, kids do the same thing for us. More

Running Scared

5491796838_9e91366626Today was Patriots’ Day in Boston, a day marked by its predictability and routineness. A day that begins April break for many Boston school children; the heralding of spring; a home game for the Red Sox, sometimes a win; and always the running of the Boston Marathon. In fact some people know today first as Marathon Monday, and second for the holiday commemorating the Battle of Concord and Lexington, fought in 1775, marking the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

Today things changed.

I’m thankful that I took my kids away for April Break. Away from usually safe, predictable, routine Patriots’ Day down to our Nation’s Capital, where just about anything can happen. Yet here I sit, feeling safe and unthreatened while I watch news reports of fellow Bostonians feeling shaken and upset.

Two bombs were detonated at the finish line of the Boston Marathon today and at least three people are confirmed dead so far. More

40: Shades of Gray

shades of grayWhat do you want to be when you grow up?

No, really. What do you want to BE?

Because, let’s face it, whatever you’ve been doing in your twenties and thirties, probably isn’t what you still want to be doing in your forties and beyond. (If it is, congratulations, you can stop reading now because you are way ahead of the pack).

I know this is true because in the past few years I’ve been watching friends and acquaintances around me turn 40 and each time, within months of their birthdays, many of them have initiated one type of major life change or another. Some of them have changed careers; some have started families; some have ended marriages; and some have finally worked on turning their dreams into realities.

Forty is reality.

It’s time to take charge of life rather than allowing life to take charge of us. Out with what society expects of us; out with what we’ve been groomed to do or be our whole lives…what is it YOU want to be?

More

Couples Counseling

coupleLast year, I wrote about investing in your marriage in a post called Marriage Takes Work. It’s been a popular read and has generated a number of comments but that’s not why I wrote it.

I wrote it because I grew up surrounded by divorce and because my husband and I reside at almost opposite ends of the Myers-Briggs personality spectrum—I’m a sound ENFJ and he’s an ISTJ. If you’re curious about yourself, you can take a quick test here, (thanks Marisa Hopkins for the link).

DH and I entered into marriage knowing it would require our constant care. So last spring we enlisted the help of a clinical social worker and started Couples Counseling.

People have funny misconceptions about the term “counseling;” it often seems to connote that one is seeking counseling for something that is in trouble. In our case, we’re not in trouble, we just want to make sure we don’t lose our way. We’re not asking for help but rather seeking “guidance.”

Guidance to help us better manage the way we communicate with one another, guidance to bring up topics we didn’t know have the potential to evolve into challenges later, and guidance to prepare us for future hurdles that we may encounter along the way. More

Wearing 4T

Starting today, my son and I have something in common, we’re both a 4T; it’s just that his is a clothing size and mine, an age.

Today has been looming on the horizon for a good long while now. In fact, in many regards, this celebration began when I turned 38, so unexpected and wonderful was that birthday surprise. Scorpios love basking in the sun, so being celebrated and the attention that comes with birthdays suits us well. In fact, ask most Scorpios and they’ll confirm that we tend toward recognizing the entire birthmonth, not just the day.

Scorpio pride aside, I’m downright lucky that I married the man I did—a man, who speaks his love through action—because so far this month has been one prolonged celebration. From the gathering of friends, family traveling to be together, and the general broadcast over social media, I have no hope (nor desire) to hide my age and, quite honestly, I’m rather perplexed by the notion of people who do.

I’m a staunch believer that age and wisdom go hand-in-hand. More

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