Hope you all enjoy…there’s some famous people on here too!
Here’s a sample question from our wonderful conversation:
Q: You chart an interesting course from professional woman to CEO of your house. Can you describe this change?
A: Moving up the homemaker ladder of success takes time as it took time to climb the corporate ladder. In exchange for a business plan, you’ll be following a different set of guidelines orchestrating your Life plan—preparing for your greatest investment ever: your child. During the first few months of staying at home with my son, I was in overdrive. I set tangible goals including reading several books daily to him, in order to feel as if I was accomplishing some measurable level of success, as I had at my job. Although others were urging me to rest when my baby slept, I continued to run on autopilot. I was programmed to perform on an efficiency schedule at work, so I transferred that mindset to my motherhood role, even trying to bake homemade cookies for my guests who visited. In contrast to my job, I felt completely scattered in my homemaker role at first. There was no job description, paycheck or accolades from my boss/coworkers; no power lunches or even coffee breaks. In fact, I didn’t even know when to eat lunch and had very little social interaction. It took me a long time to learn how to simply enjoy the time with my son and celebrate the many intangible moments of play and wonder.
Channel 12 News Interview for MommyBest–Please check out what I had to share about some of the 13 lessons I learned as a Mom…so far.
Happy Mother’s Day–See if your journey into motherhood was like mine, different or still yet to come!May 6th, 2011
The Birth of a Mother: Each Woman’s Journey into Motherhood is Unique! Dedicated to all the moms around the world!!I’m sharing this first memoir from my book: MommyBest: 13 Inspirational Lessons Derek & Dylan’s Mom (and maybe yours) Never Learned in School. Check it out @ www.mommybestbook.com B&N or Amazon
Ever since I was a little girl, I had big dreams. I would spend hours each day listening to my radio imagining how all my dreams would come true. As the music played, my heart raced as I saw myself traveling to faraway places, becoming famous and rich, and most importantly—emerging as an independent woman.
Sometimes, before bedtime, I would share my dreams with my mother who always listened with eager and excited ears. All my dreams were a stark contrast to my Mom’s childhood dream of getting married and raising children. I couldn’t understand, given all the opportunities I had, how my mother could derive such pleasure and fulfillment from motherhood. And, since I knew all about life, so I thought, I often advised my Mom to do “more” with hers,’ besides “just being a mother.”
As I grew and went to school, I often watched my mother throughout the day. With her eyes half-opened and what we would describe today as a really “bad hair day,” she would scurry in the morning to prepare breakfast for her five children, pack our lunches, find lost items we were distraught about and mediate our arguments, not to mention the house cleaning and chauffeuring she constantly did. Mom repeated her mother’s dance of caring for everyone else’s needs throughout the day—two steps here, two steps there. I was determined not to follow her lead, especially after she had to be hospitalized several times due to a medical condition, related to exhaustion. As a youngster, unable to fully understand my mom’s bouts of exhaustion, I struggled blaming myself and even her for the times she was absent when I needed her.
So, each evening while I listened to my music, I orchestrated the course of my life—and becoming a Mom was not part of my score. Instead, I imagined traveling to faraway places while becoming a famous movie star or a powerful businesswoman.
I studied and practiced my entrepreneurial skills early on by charging my siblings a few cents for cooking such delicious breakfast meals as Mayonnaise sandwiches. I often babysat for the younger children in the neighborhood who I loved to boss around. Sometimes, I’d even help my brother deliver newspapers, especially on Sundays when I could browse through all the fashion magazines before shopping. Often, the persuasive headlines lured me into reading many of the amazing stories. The words, like music, stirred my emotions long after they were read and lingered like flavors savored after a delicious meal. I was compelled to add becoming a famous writer to my collection of dreams, a collection I examined, revised, admired and cherished in my mind each time I listened to the lyrics and rhythm of my favorite melodies.
Moms and those who care about them: Bring this list for your annual physical. It helped me discover a health concernApril 16th, 2011
Sorry, on this post, WordPress decided to add its own additional s p a c e s….
We all hear so much about the importance of women, moms in particular, putting their own health on the infamous “to do” list. The phrase, “you have to take care of yourself first,” has almost become cliché for us ladies who constantly hear this advice from doctors. But the simple truth is we often don’t; moms frequently ignore symptoms of ill-health, usually addressing them only when they impact their ability to care for others.
Several years ago, I experienced constant and severe stomach bloating and pain–which occasionally still persists. To recount my experience with the many doctors and myriad of tests, along with conflicting diagnosis would not only bore you, but put me in a depressed state, which is not what this blog post it all about. It’s about empowering you and those you love to take charge, at least to some degree, of your own health.
Still, I have to briefly share a little of my history in order to explain my current perspective of trusting your Mother’s Instinct in researching your own health–and understanding sometimes we have to wait for answers: When, after two years of repeat endoscopies, ultra sounds and scans of all sorts, the doctors disagreed on whether the cause of my pain was a hiatel hernia they discovered, gastric polyps, Celiac disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (a common diagnosis when doctors don’t know what’s causing stomach upset), I became immobilized about how to get help for my pain. Nothing was working so I stopped seeing doctors for many months. I often couldn’t sleep because my stomach was in so much pain, not to mention my mind-wandering thoughts, wondering if I had an undetected fatal disease that would one day rear its ugly cells.
In an effort to take charge of my health, I started seeing an acupuncturist. I felt more relaxed afterwards for sure, but I struggled with the placement of some of the needles as they were so uncomfortable. I went for eleven visits while also taking several herbal concoctions they created for me. Unfortunately, many of the herbs made my stomach even more upset. Although I do believe in the philosophy and merits of acupuncture, I stopped my treatments because they weren’t helping my stomach pain–and they were very expensive, not covered by my insurance.
So began a lifestyle of trial and error in my avoidance of different foods, along with eating smaller meals. I started taking a probiotic, and after many more months, had more blood work taken which revealed I had untreated Lyme’s disease. Whether or not this caused my stomach upset is still undetermined. But, along with the dietary changes I’ve made, and the antibiotics to treat the Lyme, I have more relief. My doctor doesn’t believe in prolonged treatment with antibiotics, so I’m finished for now. Still, to say there are many theories and “specialists” who charge thousands of dollars for treating Lyme’s Disease in an understatement.
I also read several health books, including those written by Dr. Amen (seen on public television). I copied a list of blood work he recommended for female patients. I brought this list to my general physician and he ordered all but the food allergy tests.
Interestingly I, for the first time, had a Vitamin D deficiency (maybe from all the cloudy days here in the Northeast?) So, now I’m taking a supplement to balance my “sunshine” level. I have come to the conclusion that managing my health is a constantly-changing, ever-evolving state of being as is our existence. I will have to modify my regimen by paying close attention to my own needs. I also pray for good doctors–and dentists to come into my life when I, or anyone in my family, needs them.
Since I have met so many moms who are having health issues, I’m listing the blood work I had done as a reference point (you too can check Dr. Amen’s books for this) for my readers here. Of course, verify with your doctors and get their professional advice. I simply want to help other women get as much empowering information as possible to SPRING into health this season:
**Lab Work to test for:
~Complete blood count
~Fasting Chemistry–metabolic panel
~25-Hydroxy Vitamin D
~Thyroid Panel–TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Thyroid Antibodies gland, Thyroid antibodies hormone
~Fatty acid profile to check omega 3 fatty acids
~Free and total serum testosterone
~Estradiol and Progesterone levels* Women 45 and over for this test.
**This list is copied and not intended as “expert” medical advice, so everyone check with your doctors.
When my sister-in-law called to share Papa “J” wanted us to visit him, we knew it was time. It was time for my husband and I to take our kids to spend some precious moments with him, moments he may never recall. You see, Papa “J” is in the grips of a mentally, emotionally and physically debilitating disease that overcomes even the fiercest men and women, notably including one of our nation’s former Presidents, Ronald Reagan. Alzheimer’s disease is heartbreaking for it’s victims and the families they often don’t even recognize as time goes by.
We knew for a while that Papa “J” was becoming more and more forgetful and seemingly lost. His wife, my childrens’ grandma who past away over a year ago, helped by often reminding him of his fleeting thoughts. While his long term memory remains in tact, his short-term memory fails him. Before our visit, we hadn’t experienced first-hand the impact this has on his daily routine and in the scheme of his entire livelihood.
We were ill-prepared and unsure what to expect upon arrival. Great start when we were greeted by Papa “J” waiting for us outside his home. There he was sitting with his cane in hand–he wears braces on both legs as a result of having a dual operation for prostate cancer and several herniated discs. He became immobilized and lost feeling in parts of both legs so the braces were added for stabilization.
“HEY, you guys are finally here; Let’s go to the local seafood restaurant for dinner,” chanted Papa “J.” He was the picture of health–for an 81 year old that is. And our dog, who we brought on her first long distance trip, fell instantly in love with this man with the cane. He reciprocated barking back and teasing her with his “walking stick.”
Once we got settled in, we happily drove to the restaurant, and I recall thinking, ”maybe some of our fears resulting from incidents involving Papa “J”s memory loss could be allayed for awhile given his seemingly confident, cogent and relaxed demeanor.” He didn’t seem like the man who paid disreputable landscape contractors thousands of dollars for work they never did because they lied to him-knowing he is easy prey for a good con. Nor did he seem like the man who, a few months earlier, drove to Georgia to visit my sister-in-law, arrived at her home, then immediately left and drove the entire way back home because he forgot why, what, and where he was supposed to be? These incidents had prompted us to contact the police and served as a wake-up call to how lost Papa “J” often is.
Now, he didn’t seem lost at all. I listened as he explained to my husband where the restaurant was and about all the different activities in the area. He shared lots about his past with my kids and was able to recall so much of his history.
Once inside the restaurant, the situation changed. Papa “J” asked us several times where we were. At first, my children giggled because they thought he was kidding. Once we told him where we were, he responded the same way he would the next week we spent with him–each time he didn’t know what was going on, “Oh, yeah, that’s what I thought.”
And so began the realization and understanding that although it appears that Papa “Js” long-term memory is in tact, his short-term memory is not, and at times is worse than others. Worst of all, I can see his fear and sadness, and occasionally, the anger, each time he’s unable to recollect who, what or where we are.
Each day he’d awake spirited like a little kid, asking what we were going to do, followed by what we wanted to eat for dinner. These same questions were repeatedly asked throughout the day–as were many other inquiries he continued to echo. At times, he even forgot my children’s names.
We had to throw out much of the expired food in the refrigerator and buy many daily items he didn’t have, including laundry detergent. Surprisingly, his extra refrigerator in the garage housed about 200 frozen prepared meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which he eats on a daily basis–when he remembers to eat.
Yet, this once World War II Vet, fondly remembers times with his wife–and even guided us to her gravesite to visit, two hours away. We spent several joyous moments laughing at silly things in life including mimicking our dog. We shopped and went out to dinner often and watched a few movies with him. Although he shared he loves to go on walks, when we went with him, he could only walk down one block before having to sit down. I could see how disappointed he was–this former long-distance track star! As always, I joked with him about eating more fiber to get his legs moving next time, and we giggled : )
When it was time to leave, it was difficult. He asked if we could stay, maybe come back in a week or so. We all knew that our next visit would be to move him out of this home he loves to an assisited living facility, closer to family. Watching our parents, grow old, is so very “hard to do.”
As I’m sure is the case with most writers, especially if they have published books and/or “write for a living,” they have little time to do what they love best: WRITE for themselves–and hopefully, to informally speak to their audience! My writer’s voice has been lost among stacks of files I have created in an effort to sort, what’s been for me, a wave of technological mayhem from e-books to social media venues and the rules of engagement for each. For someone who is still learning the magical appts (oops, I think it’s apts or apps?) that her cell phone is capable of, I truly feel as if I’m under water gasping for breath from HTML, to links, to RSS –okay that’s enough,…I’m already hyperventillating–or is it hyperlinking LOL. (I used to think LOL meant lots of love).
So, for me, back to basics. This MommyBest Blog will be a way for me and all of you to share our experiences growing as a mom and as a human being, always evolving and learning life lessons. My first book, MommyBest: 13 Inspirational Lessons Derek & Dylan’s Mom (and maybe yours) Never Learned in School…Book 1 is a combination of heartfelt motherhood stories along with the lessons I learned. Unique to my book are “Reader Reflection” pages which allow moms to share their own notes to save or later use as a springboard in creating their own mommy memoir to share with their children. In this way, I will use the MommyBest Blog as a stepping stone to develop longer prose, possibly for my MommyBest…Book 2…I invite all of you to share your insights, triumphs and struggles on your journey to becoming your MommyBest or in encouraging someone else to….Maybe we could be neighbors in spirit. And maybe, just maybe, I could borrow a cup of sugar or at least share a cup of coffee as we chat together on here : )Donna