Friday, April 30, 2010

A Juggling Act

Last week I talked about getting inspired. I mentioned how my father taught us, through his example, to live each day positively and full of kind doings for others. Lately I have been taking on far more than the twenty-four hour day will allow me to do (so much for trying to find "balance" in my life). My motivation for all of this getting inspired is Little Chick. My entire day is filled to capacity with things that I do for and with my daughter. Like my Dad, I want her to learn through my example. However, the one thing that I am not so good at is finding the time I need for myself to recharge. We all need it, but how many of us really set aside the proper time we actually require to re energize?

Having waited as long as I did to finally have Little Chick, I guess there is a part of me that simply can't let go of being a super dedicated mom for even a moment to refuel my individual being. This is where the "balance" I so desperately need comes into play. It is also the part where I have to remind myself (as all parents do) that without recharging our inner battery we will simply fizzle out.

The past few weeks I volunteered to do some special things in Little Chick's school for teacher appreciation week. It all sounded great when I offered and my creative mind was proud of what I was going to do, but the reality was that "time" was limited for me to be able to accomplish everything to the degree of what I consider well done. I am a bit of a perfectionist and have a hard time doing mediocre projects. So there I was up late every night working on getting each task done. My family kept saying that no one will ever know the amount of time and work that I did on these projects, but it came down to what I knew and most importantly what Little Chick saw her mommy preparing for her classroom.

This morning I brought the finished project to my daughter's school. As I started hanging my art pieces, Little Chick said to everyone that walked by, "Look what mommy made! I'm so proud of her." It was all worth it!!

In a parent's world it comes down to a juggling act each day. We have to prioritize and make sure that our children's needs are completely met emotionally, physically and spiritually. While perhaps these projects were entirely too time consuming for what my schedule allows for these days, the end result was truly priceless. I had accomplished what my father had done for us - teaching through example. Creating balance and recharging my inner self is still looming over my head. I guess we all have to start by recognizing exactly what will help us to refuel our minds, bodies and spirits. Next, we have to make the time to do it. And finally, we have to get rid of the "guilt" that comes with doing something purely for ourselves (something I so desperately need to learn).

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rock Star Days

A few of you e-mailed me and asked about my famous beau from the past. I thought it might be kind of fun to get nostalgic and write about my "rock star days". First of all, it is not all that it is cracked up to be. I went on tour with my ex for about a year and quite frankly, it was exhausting! I have a lot of energy and I have never smoked or drank, but man I could not wait when we would head back home for a few days. The band members learned the art of sleeping while sitting in the airport, on the plane and on the bus. Who knew that this would be the prerequisite to being famous? I need a cozy bed to catch some Zs. However, it was pretty exciting and a bit surreal. We traveled a lot and my love for music and dancing made this the "perfect guy" at the time. I say at the time, because as you already know, my goal was to find a family man and have children. Needless to say, he wasn't the guy. I wasn't about to ask this Grammy guy to settle down when his career was on high. So I leave you with a mystery man picture. Have fun figuring it out!
Mystery Man

Yahoo for a Family Man!!!!!

Mama Hen, Papa Rooster & Little Chick

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What is a Friend?

"How rare and wonderful is that flash of a moment
when we realize we have discovered a friend."
What is it that makes a good friend? As a parent we want our children to be as happy as they can be at home and also when we eventually have to set them free in the world. Whether it be preschool, grade school, high school, college, and then out on their own. How do we prepare our children for the unkindness and disappointments they will inevitably encounter?

My sister just had to give me a pep talk the other day, because I was feeling sad and discouraged about the ongoing kindness I had shown a "friend" of mine who all of a sudden vanished from my friend radar. I am thirty nine and it hurt just the way it did when friends were like the ice cream flavor of the week in grammar school. I did not understand it then and I sure don't get it now. However, my big sister put it all into perspective for me. She shared a quote that shed some clarity about this journey we are all on.

“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime."

I thought about this friend and the changes she had experienced in her life and realized that in that particular time frame of our lives it made absolute sense that we were mommy pals. Our children were the same age and our interests similar. However, she had a change of itinerary that took her journey on another road.

I have always thought of a friend as a lifetime traveling buddy. To share our stories, adventures and memories together over an entire lifespan. I am that type of a friend. I have a difficult time with the part time passengers, but I am learning that not everyone is that invested in the work that goes into burgeoning a true friendship.

I have been blessed with some amazing friends. They have been with me for the happy times and also the most tragic ones. They listen to me complain and they appreciate my compassion and advice in times of need. They do not tire of me and are "always" there. That is a true friend. My father used to repeat Lee Iacocca's quote: "When you die, if you've got five real friends, then you've had a great life."

It was good that I experienced this recently. It allowed me to take a disappointment and turn it into another lesson learned. It will prepare me as a mom to handle similar situations as they arise in Little Chick's life.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Getting Inspired

Who and what inspires you to go above and beyond what you normally do? For me the "who" is my father. He was an inspiration, not only to his family, but to all who met him. He radiated a light wherever he went and people were drawn to him. He never let anything disappointing get the best of him. In fact, we never even knew when things were tough in his life, because he never showed it. He started his day by saying "good morning" when he first saw us. If we were grumpy he expected us to put a huge smile on and respond with a happy "good morning." When I was a teenager I did not quite get it. I would get annoyed that he expected this and that he did not understand the woes of my teenage life. However, now that I am an adult I see that he "got it" more than anyone else did. Starting your day on a positive note will trickle a positive effect throughout the entire day. Sure, "crap" happens. But it is what we do with it that truly matters.

I got my blog rolling with the entry about wanting to find balance in my life so that I, too, can inspire my daughter and others the way my father did. It can be difficult at times with the crazy schedules and running around we all do. Trying not to let the "grumps" of the world get to us. It truly is an art. I have yet to learn it. But I am willing to try. I personally find inspiration in helping others and doing kind acts. I make it a point to do something for someone else each and every day. No, I am not a saint, but the conscientious act of helping another human being fills me up with the positive energy I need to get inspired and stay inspired.

I guess sometimes we all need to remind ourselves of what is truly important in our lives. Writing this blog entry has triggered a few ideas of things I can, need and should do. I am getting inspired just thinking about it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Icky Itchy Eggama

Last night at around 9:20 I was excited to finally get a moment to sit on my comfy couch with a bowl of popcorn and relax. Little Chick had fallen asleep by 7:30, I published yesterday's post, I washed the dishes, cleaned the kitchen and folded the laundry. Ahhhh, it was now time for me to get cozy with Bret Michaels and the Donald on Celebrity Apprentice. It is not often that I finally get these "me" moments, but as I mentioned in my first post, I am trying to find some "balance". Why not start with a little relaxation and of course, sexy Bret Michaels.

So there I am, losing myself in Bret Michaels' baby blues (Gotta love rock stars! You know I used to date a famous rock star. Yes, I said date. I wasn't a groupie. We were together for over two years. But that is another era and another story. Now I am in mommy land and loving it!) and I heard a noise. I instantly stopped munching my delicious popcorn, pressed mute and sat as quiet as a church mouse. A part of me thought that if I sat as still as possible maybe my relaxing moment could continue a little longer. After about ten seconds there it was again but even louder. "Mommmmmmyyyyyy! Come up stairs! " I looked at Bret and told him not to worry I would soon be back. However my mommy instincts told me otherwise.

I ran up the stairs and there was Little Chick scratching away at her arms and neck. My poor daughter has had eczema since she was a tiny baby. She looked up at me and said, "Mommy, that icky itchy eggama won't go away." It took her a while to settle down from all the itching and she finally fell asleep at around 11:25. So I ended up packing it in for the night. Oh well, there is always next weeks episode of Celebrity Apprentice. Let's see how it goes with Dancing with the Stars tonight.
Fans, non fans, and people who don't even know who Bret Michaels is please send out good thoughts and prayers that he will recover fully and be out of the hospital soon.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Watching Over Us

So I mentioned the passing of my Dad in the last post and how devastating it was for me. Sadly, Little Chick at only three and a half has had to deal with the loss of our beloved dog, Cuddles. I had already talked about heaven when a good friend of mine passed away last summer. She saw me crying as we drove by his church and she asked me why I was so sad. I explained to her that Uncle George had gone to heaven to be with her grandfather. She did not really push the conversation, so I left it at that. But even now, eight months later, whenever we pass Uncle George's church, Little Chick says, "Remember when you were crying mommy? Uncle George is in heaven now with the angels."
Recently one of our dogs had been missing over night. We looked everywhere for him, but could not find him. The next day I found him outside already dead. I screamed and cried my heart out! I had Cuddles since he was a little baby. He was my first child. Little Chick knew something was wrong and kept asking where Cuddles was. I could not get myself to tell her. It was so hard to lose my beloved animal of fourteen years, but to tell my daughter who loved this doggie so incredibly much was heart wrenching. After making many excuses about the dog being at my mom's house I finally got up the courage to tell Little Chick the truth. I told her that Cuddles needed to go to heaven to be with her grandfather and Uncle George. She had such a sad expression on her face and replied, "Mommy, Cuddles is an angel watching over us like Granddaddy and Uncle George."

She was broken hearted and cried, but repeated many times that day and every day since, that Cuddles is up in heaven watching over us. I find comfort when she tells me this. It is almost as if she knows I am the one who really needs reassurance that Cuddles is an angel up above making sure we are all doing alright .

We love and miss you Uncle George and Cuddles.

Let's Talk About Our Day

About a year ago I started a new tradition with Little Chick at bedtime. Every night we do the same routine. Little Chick likes to turn on her lullaby music and pick out a few books. She then says, "Who gets cozy first?" Then we both run to the bed and jump in. We get all snuggled up and read the stories and as I begin to close the final book Little Chick says, "Mommy turn the light off and let's talk about our day."

It wasn't until recently that I realized just how important this tradition had become for my daughter. A few times it got late and I tried to shorten the nightly regimen, but without hesitation Little Chick reminded me that we needed to talk about our day. So each night we turn out the light and begin our rundown of fun activities, things that bothered us, and our favorite moments.

Traditions come in all kinds of packages and can have such a positive impact on our lives. I began thinking about my own childhood and the things that meant the most to me. Most of them revolved around my family and the time we had together. Every Sunday was our big family breakfast. I looked forward to my mom cooking scrambled eggs, the smell of coffee brewing, and my dad cracking open the newspaper. After breakfast my father and I would play a few rounds of Backgammon. It was so simple and routine, but it was what I missed the most when my father passed away twelve years ago.

At this point in my life I am learning about the things that are truly meaningful to me, as well as the "stuff" we should let go and not waste time with. Losing my father was a hard and traumatic experience for me. But happily I can say that I had an amazing father who gave me the special memories of simply sitting at the table for a meal. It is this type of tradition that stays embedded in my mind and etched in my heart. So, even when the nightly routine begins a bit later, I make sure that Little Chick gets the pleasure of saying, "Mommy turn the light off and let's talk about our day."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ahoy, Julie McCoy

So my last post talked about finding "balance" in our busy mommy lives. This past week did not really reflect that, but it sure was fun. My daughter had vacation from her preschool, so I thought I would fill up the days with lots of playdates and fun things to do. She only goes three days, and I have been feeling a lot of mommy guilt lately that I have not been able to have another child for her to grow up with. If I could I surely would, but it is all up to God. So I tried my best to make this an amazing week for her.

Just call me Julie - Julie McCoy. I often feel like I am the cruise director on the Love Boat trying to fill each day with an exciting itinerary. As I said, a lot of it has to do with wanting my Little Chick to have a sibling, but also because I really want her to look back when she is older and say that this was the best cruise ever!

The adventure started last Thursday when I picked her up from school and brought her to our local zoo. We ended up meeting some friends the next day at the zoo again. On Saturday we went out for breakfast at the diner like we always do and then headed to a fun filled birthday party. From the party we headed to a fair that was going on down by the beach. Little Chick loves fairs and it was the first one of the season. On Sunday we went to another birthday party at an inflatable bounce place for children and then headed again to the carnival at the beach. Monday we had a playdate at home and then our neighbors showed up (I am always encouraging them to stop on by, so they did) with their three kids and then three more little friends came by. It was like a party! Tuesday I headed to Massachusetts (an hour and a half drive) to Six Flags and Wednesday we had another playdate. Thursday morning we headed to a school friend for, once again, another playdate and in the afternoon to another little buddies house to play. Today, Friday, we drove one of Little Chick's friends to gymnastics and then headed to lunch at the playground with another pal. Wow! I am surely pooped out! Yet as I tried to tuck Little Chick in for the night she continued a conversation as I could hear myself start to snore. This was one heck of a cruise this week! Maybe I will start finding some "balance" this coming week.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Give a Little Peep

Need to give a little peep!

Contact me at:

My Peeps

Coming soon!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In the Hen House

"A mother who radiates self - love and acceptance
vaccinates her daughter from low self esteem."

I remember watching an Oprah episode in 2004 on raising children. I was still dreaming of becoming a mom at that point, however, this quote struck a chord within me. I quickly grabbed a piece of paper and pen and wrote it down. I am not sure who the great mind behind the quote was, but I knew that when I finally became a mother that I would remind myself of this statement from time to time.

It is not always so easy to feel accepting of oneself when the day is focused on trying to make sure our children's needs are met, our home is in order and our bills are paid on time. There is much more I can add to this list, but I think any mom can grasp where I am heading with this. I start my day by putting my "mommy uniform" on. This consists of my black sweat pants (of which I have four pairs thanks to my friend who works at Ann Taylor Loft), t-shirt (a rainbow of colors to choose from thanks to the great prices at Old Navy), and my wonderful No-nonsense socks (all of which are white to make the laundry a tad easier). This is a far cry from the beautiful blouses I used to wear, along with sexy fine fitted pants and a pair of high heels. It is all about comfort for me these days. I like to run around in the yard with my Little Chick and climb the monkey bars. When we are indoors I am either on the floor doing puzzles with her or running around cleaning the house and cooking. I do not always feel so beautiful and the twenty something pounds I have put on don't help either.

So I need to refer back to the quote from time to time to remind myself of how important it is to take care of me for my inner well being, as well as for my daughter. I want her to be able to learn from my example and to be inspired. I know that my "mommy uniform" does not define who I am and how I feel as a person. But I do find myself getting so caught up with wanting to do everything as a mom and I end up losing a part of myself in the process. This is the balance that I am trying to learn so that I can inspire my daughter in every way and re energize myself.

It is every moms conundrum to find the time for herself. And when she does, not to feel guilty that she should be doing the dishes, balancing the checkbook, or cleaning the dreaded bathroom tub and toilets. We moms are all on this journey together working on figuring it all out while we lovingly try to create the best environment and life for our families. And so begins my blog about my own personal journey as a mom who is trying to find the balance necessary to be that mom who "radiates self - love and acceptance."

About Mama Hen

Since I was just a little girl I knew that my one true goal in life was to be a mommy. I wanted the quaint little house, white picket fence, loving husband and healthy happy children. I carried this dream with me until I was blessed in 2006 with my beautiful daughter. I remember when people would ask me in my twenties about my goals in life I would always reply with, "I can't wait to be a mom." I received the same response rather often of, "Oh you are so young, you have time for that." Then as I reached my thirties the question remained the same, and my response to people hadn't altered. It is just that people now responded to me with, "Oh, you are getting older now. Don't you want to have children? Don't waste time." I waited patiently for the right man to come along. I went through some doozies! I always had long relationships, and somehow it took me a while to set those roaming roosters free. I got married in 2004 and went through quite a bit of fertility challenges to finally become the mommy I had dreamt my whole life of being. I now have a quaint house, a hard working husband, a beautiful healthy happy daughter and one cute little yappy doggie. I don't have the white picket fence yet, but perhaps in time. I learned a lot through these past thirty nine years of trying to reach my goal. I learned that each day is an absolute blessing and should be cherished with every fiber of my being from sun up to sun down. I learned to hold on tightly to my dreams no matter what, but to accept that God has a plan and my wishes will be granted, however, not always in the way I had envisioned them-even better! I learned that we don't always know why we go through the challenges we are dealt, but there truly is a greater plan for us, so just hang in there. I learned that dreams are well worth waiting for. I love my daughter more than anything. She is my beautiful Little Chick!

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