Monday, January 27, 2014

Motivational Monday: Thoughts on Teaching

Teaching and mothering are very similar.  Teachers and moms pour themselves into their jobs, giving their energy and passion without reservation.  We want to see our students and children become empowered people.  We want them to find their spark, the thing that lights them up inside.

A lot of stress and frustration accompanies these two callings.  Often times, it is challenging to stay motivated and keep on giving since I don’t often see how my efforts are benefiting my students and children.  Teachers do not usually see the backend of their efforts, and mothers usually wait a lifetime in order to see how the end result of their labor.

Sometimes all I need is a little glimmer of hope that I am on the right track and stay motivated.

This weekend I saw that glimmer.

A student of mine was chosen to be the student speaker at graduation.  MiVida was an incredible student, and I loved watching her flourish as she relaunched her blog, Faith with Heels.  Her positive energy was contagious!  In her speech, she acknowledged how I reignited her love for social media.  I was totally touched by her mention of me.  As much as she claims I gave to her, she has given back to me, which in turn, I will give out again.

Mommy on the Spot Motivational Mondays Thoughts on Teaching
Watch out, world!  MiVida is going to do great things!

Moments like this are magical, and I think that is the hook that keeps me coming back to teaching.

Are you a teacher?  Or a parent?  What keeps you motivated? 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Motherhood: The Early Years in Retrospect

This week, I have been working through my writer’s block and work on my Listen to Your Mother piece.

Combine that with mothering and teaching, I didn’t have a lot of time to work on a post for this week.

However, I did want to share some early photos of when I first became a mom.

This photo was the first day all the teachers went back to school, and I stayed home with my baby.  Even though I was obviously a mom before this point, this moment was really special.  I willingly walked (well, more like sprinted) from my job as a junior high teacher and walked towards a life as a stay-at-home mom.  I knew in the moment, that day was significant, but I never could anticipate how life changing it would be for me.

This photo is the day my fear of not being able to love another baby as much as I loved my first was quelled.  I fell in love with this little guy at first sight.  It is true what they say – the heart grows big enough to fit each child. 

Do you have any retrospective views on motherhood?  I’d love to hear them!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Motivational Monday: Writer’s Block

Yesterday I had writer’s block.  I can’t even remember the last time I struggled with getting my thoughts out on the page.  It seemed the more I wrote, the more frustrated I became since my words and feelings didn’t match with my thoughts in my head.

So I did what anyone would do – I asked Facebook what to do.  And then I went to Pinterest to find inspirational quotes.

That is when I realized fear were getting in my way.  

Fear and self-doubt were stifling my story I wanted to get out.

See, I am trying to write a piece for the Listen to Your Mother audition. I know that there are a few people that read this blog.  I have spoken in front of students, presented at a conference, and been on a panel on TV several times; but reading a personal story out loud makes me nervous.  Wonder if it is no good?  Wonder if I can't say what is in my heart?  Wonder if I fail?

But then I remembered this:

So I am not going to wait for it to come out perfectly

I am going to just breath and work through this.

Have you ever had writer's block?  How do you work through your fear?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Thoughts on Lena Dunham and Girls

I am going to cut right to the chase.

I love Lena Dunham and her show Girls.

The premier of the new season blew my mind!

I love how the characters are flawed and multidimensional.  Watching them show their different layers not only entertains me, but also gets me thinking about people and motivations and relationships.  (I have a whole other post devoted to this coming soon).

Right now I am going to focus on all the negative press surrounding Lena’s use of nudity.  In a press conference, Lena was confronted by a rude and passive-aggressive journalist who asked why Hannah is always naked.  She handled it like a pro, but I have to be honest, this made me mad.

Lena Dunham quote about nudity in Girls Mommy on the Spot
Seriously?!  I love this woman!

To attack a woman’s body because it does not look like a Victoria’s Secret model is counterproductive and horrible and just plain mean.  Why is this even an issue?  No one in an uproar about Adam’s body (Hannah’s boyfriend) not looking like David Beckham

I get that some people are offended by nudity in general, but the people who are offended because Hannah’s body is not considered perfect by the unrealistic expectations set by society is damaging to women.

What does that say about my body? What does it say to my daughter who is already picking up on society's pressure to look thin?  What does this say to my son who will pick up that talking about a girls’ body in a derogatory way is acceptable?

And I get the irony – I mean, Lena is writing herself into these sex scenes, and one may say that those sex scenes are objectifying women. 

I would disagree. 

Don't get me wrong - the sex scenes can be uncomfortable to watch. Not because of the nudity, but for me at least, it reminds me of the times I compromised myself in order to not be rejected by a guy. I can say that now being 15 plus years removed with lots of therapy to teach me about healthy boundaries. However, these scenes and relationships remind me of a confusing time in my life.

 That aside, I think the bigger accomplishment here is changing our perceptions of what beauty looks like.   Lena is normalizing what a normal person looks like.  She is making a place for women in a world that puts a high premium on being thin.

I think that is pretty remarkable.

(Hops off of soapbox).

What are your thoughts on Girls and Hannah’s nakedness?  Does it offend you?  Are you in favor of it?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Motivational Monday: My Thoughts on Running

In September, I decided to do the Couch to 5K so working out would not get lost in the shuffle of life.  Trying to make it to a class and hoping there is space available was jus too difficult, and 30-45 minutes 2-3 times a week on the treadmill seemed doable.  I just wanted to keep sane and not gain weight.  I never expected to love it.

And if I'm being totally honest, I didn't think I could do it. I have friends that were talking about running 5K during a workout or even a race, and, to me, that was equivalent to running to California and back.  I just didn't think running a 5K was a fitness goal that I could reach.

Right before Christmas, I completed the Couch to 5K program by running 3.92 miles.  I felt amazing! I did it!  I accomplished this feat that seemed unrealistic and totally out of my league.
Motivational Monday Mommy on the Spot  Couch to 5K

It was not easy: the first 15 minutes of each run make me wonder why I am torturing myself.  Once that wanes and the endorphins kick in, and I feel like the synapses for sadness become rewired. I feel happy. 

I even kept it up during the holidays, which is totally unheard of in my book.  I usually let the mental stress get to me and just try to sleep and eat as many cookies as I can.  

Then I hit a snag and haven't run in 2 weeks.  I blame Snowpocalypse along with a sinus infection/headache that was slowly sucking my motivation to do anything.

During these two weeks, my head is fuzzy.  Never getting off the couch and staying in my fleece jammies under a fleece blanket seems totally reasonable. I'm tired so I must need more rest, right!?

This is a lie.

I've been down this path before. The one where my body says it's time for hibernation. 

And I'm not falling for it this time.

Running makes me stronger. I feel focused.  I want to drink less coffee. I fit into my jeans.  I feel more mentally stable. I feel confident that I accomplished something I never thought feasible.

That warm, fuzzy blanket and cozy couch will be there when I get back.

But now that I realize how I feel when I run, I know that today, practicing kindness looks like going to the gym and running myself back to normal again.

motivational monday mommy on the spot thoughts on running

Do you struggle with wanting to work out and relaxing? What keeps you motivated?