Acceptance is the first step in order to fall in love with your passions

 

How do you respond to the request “Tell me a little about yourself.”?

Typically, I launch into a 30 second elevator pitch – checking off accomplishments and current status. Went to school (insert school), work in (insert industry), which means (explain industry/company/role) and I live (city/neighborhood) with (self/people/family). Blah.

Last week at a work dinner, I was asked to “Tell my story.” As I launched into my typically story – bullet points about my past – I was interrupted and asked a series of follow-up questions. Many, many follow-up questions. It was a great way to get a few laughs at the dinner table and a memorable way to get to know someone deeper. Sure, I played tennis in school, but he wanted to know if I enjoyed it now. Throughout this line of questioning, he correctly deciphered that I enjoy running and loved cooking shows. It was a great way to get to get the answer: “What do you do outside of work? What are your hobbies?”

A hobby is an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for fun. I’ve dipped my toe into various hobbies but rarely do I dive in and give it my all. I rarely experience the reward in learning a new skill. I have a dusty sewing machine, almost-new knitting needles, half-assed attempts at calligraphy and boxing gloves. I’m not even certain how the boxing gloves made it into my closet.

The point is, we’ve all latched onto some craze or felt a surge of energy when trying something new. I enjoy learning about new subjects. I’ve checked out sewing books from the library and signed up for online calligraphy classes with little to show for the investment in time and money. It’s frustrating and annoying. Why do I bother to explore hobbies when the majority of them fail? Isn’t this supposed to be fun? Why am I stressing out about my calligraphy form? I’m sure someone could analyze the reasons why but I’ll take a stab in the dark and assume it’s because I think it’s easier. Easier to not try verses try and fail.

It’s easier…but not fun. Or fulfilling. Over the past year, I’ve experienced personal success with running. It took me months to even call myself “a runner.” It took me even longer to realize how much I truly love the sport. With every new investment – running shoes, race fees, clothing – I questioned my intentions and commitment level. Would this be “worth it” in the end? Ultimately, I experienced some level of “mom-guilt.” Everyone (EVERYONE) tells you to take time for yourself but, is this too much time? Too much focus on my needs and wants? Regardless of someone’s definition of “too much,” I fell in love with running and now consider it to not only be one of  my hobbies but, one of my passions.

Rather than skim the surface of my loves: running, yoga, writing…what would happen if I took a leap to really give it my all? The risk of failure is greater but the reward is sweeter (Jamie hits this point in another post). Ragnar gave me a taste into the pay-off of training. Now what?

In order to keep myself accountable, I joined my gym’s yoga/running program. Our class instructor sends out a weekly running schedule and healthy recipe. Each Saturday morning we get together for a group yoga class and go on a run. I was hesitant to sign up for this program because of the investment. It’s not expensive but, am I willing to wake up early every Saturday in order to run? Am I willing to make up these runs even if I’m out of town?

My goal is to continue running on a regular basis – regardless of race schedule. Plain and simple.This program combines my three fitness “loves” – running, weight training and yoga into one. How could I resist?

Getting “into” something takes guts and can sometimes be read as selfish. Who cares what others think. Just go for it and take the shot.

Writing About Motherhood is Scary

Jackson crawling through a tunnel

You never know what’s around the next bend.

You may read that title and think, “What a hypocrite! How can you have a website aimed at mothers when you don’t even want to write about motherhood?”

Well, it’s not that I don’t want to – I do. I’m just scared to because there is SO much scrutiny around everything mothers do (and parents, in general).  When I write about wanting to advance my career, or wanting to be healthy, I’m fairly confident that there is a sizable population in the same boat as me.

But when it comes to my views on motherhood and parenting? All bets are off. There’s a really good chance that any opinion I share is going to be met with a backlash of some proportion because not only is it a topic that people are VERY passionate about (funny enough – they don’t even have to be parents to be passionate about it), it’s also a topic where people have very strong opinions on their version of what is right and what is wrong. How do I know this? Because I’m just as guilty. There are some things that I can let go, and there are some things that just immediately send me into hysteria. I feel it’s my civic duty to get up on my high horse and preach to whoever will listen about my views (which are the “right” views, of course…wink, wink) on that particular parenting topic.

A sampling of parenting methods…SCRATCH THAT….too exhausting. I’m only diving into food preferences

First off – I’d like you to know that my intent was to show how many different parenting methods and mantras exist on various topics. I got through food preferences (which again, aren’t all inclusive) and I didn’t feel like diving into any other topics. There was enough in that one decision of the millions of decisions parents make on a daily basis to illustrate my point.

Food preferences – what should your child(ren) eat?

  1. Organic and vegan only (nitrate-free, gluten-free, soy-free if possible).
  2. Organic and homemade. Get out of here, Velveeta!
  3. It doesn’t have to be organic, specifically, but maybe more heavily relying on fresh produce.
  4. Are hotdogs considered nutritious? Meh, who cares. They’ll probably get some nutrition at daycare.
  5. Organic shmorganic. I make comfort food. And Velveeta family meals are my main squeeze.
  6. I feed eight mouths, three times a day. Whatever keeps the grocery bill down is whatever they eat.

Now I’m willing to upset a large majority of my readers by letting you all know this one thing about my parenting preferences as it relates to food preferences. For the most part, I bounce between 3, 4 and 5. And I probably stay on 4 and 5 longer than I should.

But you know what? I know parents that fall at various locations on the spectrum. Does that mean I should be able to tell them whether they are right or wrong? Now some of you may say, “YES. Food is easy, Jamie. Kids should eat healthy foods. The healthier, the better.” And of course I agree with that statement. But am I going to tell the mom of eight kids that she is a terrible mom for wanting to feed her kids only what she can afford because she also wants to keep a roof over their heads? No. I cannot in good conscious make that judgment.

The root of it all

And that’s just it. I have a fear of writing about MY views on motherhood, because I fear the judgments that may usher forth from putting those views out into the world. But it also goes both ways. I also fear that some of the things I put out into the world will make others feel bad about what they’re doing as a parent. And that’s not what I want to create either.

I’d love to have a “Kumbaya” moment here with all of the mothers and fathers and grandparents and aunts and uncles and foster parents and anyone else that may take on a parenting role and say, “We’re all doing the best we can!” Which for the most part is true (there are always exceptions, unfortunately). But I’m not a sappy hug-it-out kind of a person so I’d like to just skip that and say, at least as it pertains to me, I’ll try to do a better job not judging other parents if you all try not to judge my parenting skills too harshly. Kapeesh?

What I will share with you

Whew! What a load off my chest! Okay, moving on. I know what I want this website to be – the same motto we have listed on the front page, “A community for mothers who follow their passions.” So I will be writing about motherhood, to some degree, because it truly is a passion of mine. But you won’t find me preaching “the one true way” or the “best way to be a mother” or any topics aimed to pit those who are stay-at-home mothers against those who pursue full-time careers while still being a mother (not even with a ten-foot pole). Because no matter what your method is, we’re all doing our best because our kids deserve the best. But I know that my best and your best may not entail the same journey. And I’m okay with that.

To be clear – you won’t see me getting up on my high horse about any parenting methods I use or don’t use. However, I’m going to share successes and frustrations as it relates to raising my little one. Because it’s not just about sharing your beliefs and views, but sharing how those beliefs and views actually translate into real life situations.

So I’ll leave you with this, because it’s always makes me laugh, but just know that I can’t take credit for it…

“I was a really good mom…until I had kids.”

Instagram

It's almost comical how exhausted I look I this picture. Or, how exhausted I am in this picture. I was the last one to teach today and those 30 minutes were equal parts fear and joy mixed with the bittersweet feelings of "an ending" coupled with the nerve-wracking energy that propels us into unknown "beginnings." These last 10 months have been emotional, joyous and introspective. I'm so thrilled to be a registered yoga teacher! So honored to have taught/learned/laughed/cried/danced/sang/practiced alongside my fellow teacher trainees. And feel blessed to have learned from Mel and Jes who poured their hearts and heads into this program. 💜 Do good. Be good. 🕉

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Jamie LeRoy

Writer of things