The Working Mama Paradox

My daughter’s field hockey team practice was cancelled yesterday due to rain.  Is it bad that I was secretly happy that I did not have to bark out orders to get all of the equipment packed up and drive all the way across town?

Wanna know something else?  I AM NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO SCHOOL STARTING! Boom!

Yep, I have continued my yearly denial techniques:  no shopping on the tax-free weekend (there are NO good sales that weekend anyway) and waiting until the last-minute to purchase school supplies.

Perhaps I am not looking forward to school because we did not have a restful summer filled with “just hanging by the pool” and lazy days of nothing to do. Since I have to be at work at 8am, we still get up early just like during the school year so I can get the girls to summer camp before work.

Although summer offers a reprieve from homework and extracurricular activities, this mama is not feeling refreshed and ready to begin a new school year.

Just thinking about homework and the hurry, scurry schedule gives me a rash.

Totally not trying to be a Debbie Downer–just keeping it real.

Ladies, kids or not….are you rested and full of renewed energy?  Are you happy?

Do you feel like you can efficiently wear all of the hats your life demands you to put on AND look fresh and fashionable?

I found an interesting article and graphic on www.greatbusinessschools.org called: A Woman’s Paradox: The unique challenges facing women who “want it all”.

With studies to back up their claims, the article states: “Despite progress toward “having it all,” research shows that American women are less satisfied and burn out more quickly. And today’s economic realities mean fewer options when it comes to choosing between work and home.”

WOW…

Check it out and let me know your thoughts in the comments section! (Click on the graphic see a larger view.)

A Woman's Paradox
Source: Great Business Schools

Today’s post is part of a weekly meme called Pour Your Heart Out hosted by Shell over at Things I can’t say.

Brave-Writer’s Workshop

Happy Thursday y’all! Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s writers workshop! Each week Mama Kat provides several blogging prompts to help bloggers keep de ‘ol writer’s block away! I chose the prompt: “write a post inspired by the word BRAVE”.

As an adjective, BRAVE is defined as: courageous – gallant – valiant – bold. As a verb, BRAVE is defined as: defy – dare – challenge – face.

The last few months have taught me BRAVE also means asking for help. BRAVE means going to bed when my body is tired instead of valiantly trying to get it all done. BRAVE is seeking truth as negative thoughts swirl around in my mind. But most of all, love is BRAVE.

Lisa Jo Baker described BRAVE as a whisper some days and a battle cry on others. So true.

With every dance fitness class I teach, I get the awesome opportunity to watch women dance in spite of all that is going on in their lives. But more than that, I see women saying hello to each other. I see women giving much-needed hugs. I see women challenging other ladies in the class to work harder.

Even the little ones get in on the action!  This mama daughter shake contest has BRAVE written all over it!(LOL)

Becky and Edith

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Dear God,

Thank you so much for the very air I breathe. Please continue to remind me that I am my BRAVEst when I surrender my plans and my will to you.

Amen

How do you define the word BRAVE? {Tell me in the comments:)}

Three Things Learned About Marriage

Today is my anniversary!  Fourteen years ago today, I married my high school sweetheart which means we have been together well over half of our lives. Now, I totally understand why most weddings start out with the preacher saying something like: “Marriage is not to be entered into unadvisedly”.  (AMEN)

So instead of a long post about how fabulous my husband is and how everything is just WONDERFUL (gag), I am going re-post and add some new things I learned about marriage by being married to the man of my dreams (awwwwh).

Lonnie and Katina Wedding

DRUM ROLL PLEASE:

#3 Husbands are capable of a whole lot more than we give them credit for!

I have finally learned to allow my husband to do things with the girls or around the house without me constantly NAGGING him to do it or hovering over him like a helicopter. Sure, he may not do things exactly the way I would do them but he CAN do a lot. Allowing him to do things his way has helped me stop being SUPER Mommy! Super Mommy sounds great but she gets overwhelmed and stressed out really easily. After chatting with many women I have learned that if we keep over-riding our husbands, they will LET US DO IT ALL and sit back and watch.

#2 If you have not contemplated murder or at least bodily harm to your husband, you are just NOT normal! (Just joking!)

Divas, I love my husband but there have been times when I could just knock him in his head with a cast iron frying pan. The people who smiled at me on my wedding day and wished us well did NOT tell me about disagreements. I have learned on my own that there is a way to fight fair. Even though neck and eye rolling with arms folded comes natural for me, it is not always the best way to communicate that Mama is NOT happy.

Marriage puts two people with two different upbringings and two different thoughts about everything: how children should be raised, finances, jobs, YOU NAME IT. Let’s not even throw meddling in-laws in the bag. Communication, communication and more communication then devising a plan TOGETHER is the only solution! Then you gotta get real. Nobody gets along every day….and that is ok. 

rice_family-5

#1 True love is not based on feelings it is a choice.

I know that sounds cliche-ish but it is true.  Every day you have to choose to love.  Making the “love choice” is easier when you know how your spouse wants to be loved and when you know how you like to be loved and can communicate it. 

More than seven years into this crazy thing called marriage, someone introduced me to a book called The Five Love Languages. From the book,  I learned that you usually show love to others in the same way you like to be loved. I also learned that most married couples do not speak the same language…. surprise …surprise.

Learning our love languages REALLY helped our communication.  My love language is mostly “acts of service”.  I am a don’t-talk-about-it-be-about-it kind of girl.  My husband’s love language is “words of affirmation”.  He needs to hear me say how proud I am of him and how much I appreciate him.  I need him to help me when he sees that I am overwhelmed.  Just telling me how great of a hard worker I am when I am obviously in over my head aggravates me!!!!

Do you know your love language?  If not, find out here.  What have you learned about marriage over the years?

Mark 10:9………..Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. (NIV)

Five Minute Friday-FALL

Every Friday, Lisa Jo Baker hosts a blog link up called Five Minute Fridays. She provides a word prompt and then participants are to set their timers for five minutes and write until the timer goes off. The word for today is FALL. Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

young pharmacist Katina

I graduated from Pharmacy School at the tender age of 23 and took my first job as a retail pharmacist at Revco.  I marched in with high ideals about being part of the healthcare team, leading diabetes days and lobbying for a “private counseling room”.  After about four months of practicing, I decided that instead of more pharmacology classes in pharmacy school, I needed more psychology classes. 

Everybody was, in my opinion, CRAZY!  Patients were only interested in getting what they needed quickly and upper management did not equip the store with the staffing necessary to meet the patients’ needs…..SAFELY. 

Although I was “grown” for all intents and purposes, I was still not very comfortable in my own shoes.  Life back then was like walking on a balancing beam.  Arms swinging, toes grasping for the beam ….I did not want to FALL.

If I could go back and say something to the young woman in this picture I would say: 

Oh you sweet and beautiful girl.  You are amazing and God loves you so much.  Stop worrying about FALLing.  You will fall  alot….and it will hurt.  Most of the time, there will  only small scrapes and bruises but a couple of times you will get up with bloody knees and elbows.  But, you will survive.  Girl, God has your back and He will take care of you.  You will finally stop your crazy balancing act and surrender it all to God but you will get so tired in the process.

The profession of pharmacy is not ready for your creative spirit now but things will change eventually. Continue to serve others and everything will FALL into place.

Oh, and that thing you have ALWAYS loved to do….DANCE–keep your skills up.  When you are knocking on the door of turning 40, you will FALL in love with the Lord more than ever before by leading women to dance through life with JOY! (Dance Fit Divas)

 

The Get-out-of-that-funk two step

imageHave you ever had a period of time when you just don’t have your mojo?  Things that normally take you no time to finish seem to take an eternity? If you are totally honest, you really don’t have the energy to do the things you need to do.  Mama is irritable.  It is kind of like a toddler who has gotten over tired…..sleep would REALLY help them but they are too tired to wind themselves down so they throw a fit?

I am not sure if any of this sounds familiar to any of you, but it pretty much sums me up for the last couple of months. I have been in a funk.

Oh and add some guilt in there because my inner mean girl keeps reminding me–in the grand scheme of things….my “funk” is nothing in comparison to the hurt people are feeling in different parts of our country and across the globe. Well now, just knowing that I feel funky but that I am totally over-reacting really helps me feel better right? Uh, no.

So what is a Diva to do? Well, I learned the two things from my fitness class ladies that have really helped me begin to feel better. I call my lesson the get-out-of-that-funk-two-step.

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Step 1–Gratitude
I know it sounds cliche-ish but you really can’t stay in a funk when you thank God for all of things that are going right. No matter how funky you feel, there is always SOMETHING you can be thankful for. I can’t tell you how many times one of the ladies in my class thank me for being their instructor. No, THANK YOU ladies for being some of the most amazing women to dance through life with. Thank God for bringing us together…it has all been HIS design.

Step 2 Don’t cry about it……Dance about it
Every week, the ladies in my classes come in with their own set of problems yet they hoot, holler, punch, salsa, merengue, and kick in spite of it all. They challenge each other during class then they put prayer requests in our prayer box.

One of my favorite biblical characters is David. I think I like him so much because of his passion. In 1 Samuel 30:6 David is in a funk and he two-stepped his way right out of it: David was greatly distressed…..But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God. (AMP)

How do you de-funkify?
This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell over at Things I Can’t Say

Five Minute Friday-JUMP

Five Minute FridayEvery Friday, Lisa Jo Baker hosts a blog link up called Five Minute Fridays. She provides a word prompt and then participants are to set their timers for five minutes and write until the timer goes off. The word for today is JUMP. Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

On Wednesday afternoon, I was scrambling to put my playlist together for my fitness class that evening. I was down on myself because I only had one new song choreographed. My inner mean girl reminded me..”good instructors provide fabulous new songs often”.

I chose an old cool down song that we hadn’t done in months, (I Smile) by Kirk Franklin. Don’t get me wrong, I love the song but I honestly felt guilty for using it since we have been doing it so long.

When I arrived at class , I saw a class participant who had not been to class in over a year due to some personal struggles. I hugged her,  told her how happy I was to see her and class began.

Even with only one new song, a sea of women of all different colors, ages, and stages hooted, hollered, sweated, and JUMPed with big smiles on their faces. About half way though the cool down, just as the singers on I Smile crooned…”Even though I hurt I smile, Even though I’ve been here for a while….I smile”, I locked eyes with my returning class participant. Big tears began to JUMP from her eyes. Just then the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said the song “I Smile” was for her.

At the end of class, I went up to her and told her that I felt God telling me the song was for her.  She looked at me with tears streaming down her face and said, “I needed that”.  So y’all know we both ended up with “the ugly cry”:)

I often JUMP to wrong conclusions when I allow my circumstances to be indicators for how things are really going.  Circumstances often only show a piece of the picture.  They don’t always show God working and JUMPing in on our behalf behind the scenes.

Spring in my neck of the woods-Writer’s Workshop

Happy Thursday y’all! Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s writers workshop! Each week Mama Kat provides several blogging prompts to help bloggers keep de ‘ol writer’s block away! I chose the prompt: “show us what spring looks like in your neck of the woods”.

As far as the weather is concerned, spring around here doesn’t look much different from winter. However, spring for me is blooming with some of the most awesome women I have ever had the opportunity to meet! (My Dance Fit Divas)

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When I stand up on stage and look out in a gym full of… ”life givers, joy raisers, laundry folders, world changers” (thanks Lysa Jo Baker). I am humbled.

Our time in class together provides so many with so much. It is so much more than a room full of women jiggling around all sweaty. Although there is plenty of jiggling around and enough sweat that if sweat could be sold we would be rich, it truly is more than that. For me it is God allowing me to do what I feel like I have been waiting my whole life to do. I am so alive on that stage dancing and sharing the love of God with women of all different shapes, sizes and colors. Oh how I CHERISH my time on my God-given platform.

From what I observe, it is the relationships and the environment that makes our class so much more than dancing and sweating for the ladies in class. It is the praying for each other, giving each other a much-needed hug after a long day, and punching together in the song my ladies call Beep-Bop.

Yep, spring around here is simply breath taking!

Five Minute Friday-Remember

imageEvery Friday, Lisa Jo Baker hosts a blog link up called Five Minute Fridays. She provides a word prompt and then participants are to set their timers for five minutes and write until the timer goes off. The word for today is REMEMBER. Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful… (Deuteronomy 8:18 NLT)

I started a new job this week. To say that I am on information overload would be an understatement. I worked in my previous position for almost six years. I did not REMEMBER how mentally draining orientation and training can be. I feel like a duck….I am smiling, looking confident, and nodding my head LIKE I understand above water ( what people could see), but I am nervously paddling with all I have underwater (on the inside).

With so much information to take in and process, I am not sure I have REMEMBERed anything! Thankfully, I have been taking a lot of notes. I have asked The Lord several times….”Are you sure you picked the right woman for the job?”

When I have a brief moment and my mind reflects about my old job, I REMEMBER how self-assured I felt. On the new job, I have had to REMEMBER to place unshakable assurance in GOD instead of my limited talents or skills.

Writer’s Workshop Dance

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Photo Credit: Alpha Source Promotions

Happy Thursday y’all! Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s writers workshop! Each week Mama Kat provides several blogging prompts to help bloggers keep de ‘ol writer’s block away! I chose the prompt: “Dance”.

I love to dance and I am my most authentic self when I am busting a move. My father was a great dancer. He knew how to shag, two-step, swing dance, you name it! I LOVED dancing with him. He got the party started at my wedding reception by leading everyone in doing the Electric Slide! You cannot possibly have a wedding reception WITHOUT dancing the Electric Slide!

I think what I like the most about dance is that it is real. Dance is one of those things that are hard to “fake” and just like anything in life worth having, you have to work hard sometimes to master certain steps.

Every week, I get the amazing opportunity to lead dance fitness classes to women of all shapes, sizes and colors. Ladies come to class with the weight of the world on their shoulders and they squat, punch, and salsa all over their problems. If only for a moment, they are able to dance away from “the drama”.

As we dance along through life, we all have moments of graceful footwork. Yet at other times we are tripping over every thing in our path. Sometimes we feel like Paula Abdul, taking two steps forward and two steps back.

Psalm 30:11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

Five Minute Fridays-REST

imageEvery Friday, Lisa Jo Baker hosts a blog link up called Five Minute Fridays. She provides a word prompt and then participants are to set their timers for five minutes and write until the timer goes off. The word for today is REST. Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

My life is really busy right now. Ok, who am I fooling? My life is always busy. With working, mommying, wifeying, blogging, and leading fitness classes, REST comes in small packages. However, as I step closer to the big 4-0, I am reminded that I am not as young as a used to be and my sleep calls me.

I am human, so I must answer the call of my sleep and slumber when necessary. Yet my true REST is not always physical sleep. I am able to REST assured (be confident in) my calling of inspiring women to be joyful with faith fitness and fun.

REST is trust.

Sometimes doing the thing we feel made, built, prepared to do – that is it’s own gift of REST. Lisa Jo Baker

Dear God,

I trust you with my calling. I praise you that I am able to REST my mind from trying to control the hows, whens, and who withs. Forgive me for not always choosing your REST over strategizing, organizing, planning and manipulating. Just doing the thing I feel made to do can be a form of REST if I can just remember to trust you.

Oh the joys of those who trust The Lord…. Psalm 40:4