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Archive for November, 2018

6 Lessons learned in 15 years as a mother

Our kids just turned 15!

The combination of preparing for their birthday and loading the Shutterfly app onto my phone, I got lost in reflective mode and became a little sappy and sentimental.

I could feel weird, but then, it’s to be expected right?

The real question is: how can something not much bigger than two butternut squashes become amazing human beings who will most likely be driving this time next year — in just 15 years?!

The shortest, and longest 15 years!

 


For six days leading up to their birthday, I posted a different lesson I learned in 15 years as a mother on my instagram account. I thought I would combine all the lessons here, and share it all in one place.

Here are the 6 lessons I have learned in the last 15 years as a mother:

1 : ASK 

I learned even before they were born that I needed to ask for help if I wanted or needed help.

Our good friends with twins told us about this very important lesson. People, even the ones who don’t know you at all, are always ready to help. Speak up, and you shall be heard (and helped)!

Asking is a practice.

2 : PAUSE

Some days, especially when they were little,  felt like they would never end.

And yet the years seemed to speed by.

Those long days (a rare occurrence now) were meant for us to pause and take it all in. Those pauses allowed us to witness the extraordinary in the ordinary.

I think I paused, but I am learning to pause even more now.

Pausing is a practice.

3: LISTEN

My ears and my hearing got an upgrade over night, especially after they returned home from the NICU where they spent the first week or so (they were a bit early, but seriously, they were running out of room in my belly!).

We, as parents, first listened for those cries. Then we listened to their attempts at talking. Now we listen to their stories, and those gaps in between the stories.

These days, we get to hear about their hopes, dreams, their fears and sadness. Listening, for us as it is for them, is the best gift we can give.

Listening is a practice.

4: GIVE

There is no doubt that we give to our kids.

But what is also true and required is that we also need to give to ourselves.

What we give to them is what we must give to ourselves: time, patience, unconditional love. The more we give to ourselves, the more we can give to others.

Giving is a practice.

5: TRUST

In general, I might trust too easily, usually from a place of intuition. Or some may call that, gullible.

Becoming a parent, I trusted even more readily.

I first had to trust that all those doctors knew what they were doing with two babies at once (well, there were actually 8 minutes in between, thankfully).

Then I had to trust my body that it would know what to do.

I had to trust that I could step up and learn how to be a mother of twins.

Fast forward 15 years, I now trust that I have given my kids enough thus far so that they can trust themselves, their decisions, and actions.

Trusting is a practice.

6: GROW

There is no question that becoming a mother requires that we grow.

We grow into being a parent; we watch them grow; and we grow with them.

Growth is not an option, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Growing is a practice.


 

Are you a parent?

What lessons have you learned that you are still learning today?

What lessons are you still practicing, with or without children in tow?

 

 

Strength: What Does It Cost?

It is not often that I look up from the dumbbells.

It’s even less often that I spend anytime noticing other people’s workout gear.

When working out, I’m usually in a meditative zone (trying to catch my own breath), minding my own business (keeping count and not dropping heavy things on my toes!).

But today, in between sets of sumo squats, I caught a glimpse of someone’s shirt.

In big letters, it said: “Fort est gratuit.”

Thanks to my high school and college French lessons, I was translated the phrase in my head.

“Strong is free.”

As I picked up the dumbbells to complete my last set of squats, I pondered the phrase.

“Strong is free.”

We require strength to be strong.

Is strength really free? 

I asked myself.

Then I remembered what my older brother once told me: “Nothing is free in this life, sis.”


I remember not liking that wisdom from him… at all.

I wanted to not believe him.

I remember wanting to argue with him, and tell him:

“Of course there are some free things in life: Air! Water! Trees! Love! 

But are they?

They may be “free” as in, you don’t have to exchange money, silver, or gold for them.

But for us to have them, are they truly free? 


Back to the gym, and the T-shirt, and strength.

Like I said, I was pondering whether strength is free while sumo squatting.

In the last sets of squats, as my thighs were burning, I decided right then and there that to be strength is not free.

Strong is not free.

I was feeling my muscles burning – a sensation we are expected to feel if we want to build muscles, and get stronger.

It’s common knowledge that if we want more physical STRENGTH, we can’t stay comfortable.

Then I thought about emotional strength and how much thought work needs to happen to manage our mind. It hurts my head sometimes to think about thinking, and feeling. It would be easier to not think, and just ignore and avoid any unpleasant thoughts.

It is not comfortable to do emotional work. 

Emotional strength definitely does not come for free.


 

Putting down the heavy dumbbells, I looked up at the lady’s shirt again.

It matters not what language, what country, or where we are in the world and in life… I decided that I am going to disagree with “Fort est gratuit.” 

Strong is not free. 

Strong requires strength which does not come for free.

The more strength we have, the stronger we are.

Strength requires patience, perseverance, and commitment. 

Strength requires time.

Strength requires that we show up for ourselves, no matter what. 

The price tag for strength?

All the above, which can be boiled down to one word: discomfort. 

Discomfort is the currency to strength. 

We must allow ourselves to feel discomfort in order to grow… physical and emotional strength. 

Is it worth the payment?

If you want more strength in some way shape or form, for sure it is worth every ounce of discomfort.

Maybe I will design a shirt that says: “Fort est gagné.” 

Strong is earned.

If I wear it to the gym, I wonder if she would notice?