Heartfelt Valentine’s Day Gifts

As a mother, I have a unique bond with my daughters. But, the bond they have with their father is immeasurable and indescribable. There really is something to be said about “daddy’s little girl”.

My girls can be with me all day, but once their father comes in, I suddenly become invisible. It’s all about daddy. I totally get it. Daddy does cool tricks with them, lets them eat more than one rice krispie treat at night, and sings karaoke becomes he’s just as tone deaf as they are. Who wouldn’t want to be around daddy?

So when Valentine’s Day rolls around it should come as no shock that they want to get something special for him. Homemade valentines are a given. Not only are they super-cute, they also make for a great winter activity that’s time-consuming , if you get my drift. Beyond the valentines, we usually look for a gift that’s heartfelt, useful, and meaningful.

Usually I find these types of gifts in photos. Photos in different forms make great gifts because they capture a memory and a moment that has meaning. Some photo gifts I’ve done in the past include photo albums, photo mugs and photo blankets. This year is no different. I’ve done the blankets before as Mother’s Day gifts, but never as a Valentine’s Day gift. Cue this year’s gift.

Living in the Northeast, you can never have too many blankets. That’s why they make such fantastic gifts.

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This year I decided to get a photo blanket from Personal Creations for my girls to give their father. Choosing a photo was the hardest part. As a parent, we always take so many pictures of our kids and the things that we do that it’s hard to pick the perfect one.

After scrolling through all of the jpegs in my computer, I settled on a picture of the four of us from this past Fourth of July. It was the first time we spent the holiday away from home.  We ended up having a fantastic time and made many memories.  

Hopefully when my husband opens up this year’s Valentine’s Day gift, the memories of that day will warm his heart just as much as the blanket. Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

My Love-Hate Relationship with My Kids’ Homework

As a kid I was never a big homework fan. I did it because that’s what I was supposed to do. I’ll admit I was pretty good at it and did well in school.

As a parent, my relationship with homework is more complex. Being on the other side of the coin, you begin to question the benefits of homework. Kids spend the better part of their awake time at school. When they get home should they do more school work or should their time be spent doing something else? Hmmm….

For years there’s been a “10 minute rule” attached to homework. Many educators seem to follow it from what I’ve read. It means ten minutes of homework for each grade level. Ten minutes for grade one, twenty minutes for grade two, etc., etc.This tends to ring true in my house. Both of my girls come home with homework four out of five nights a week. My oldest daughter is in second grade and her homework takes her about 15 minutes, maybe 20 on a bad night. My youngest daughter is in Kindergarten and her homework takes about five minutes.  In the big picture, I know this is not a lot of time out of their day. Still, my girls do not want to do more work when they get home from school.

I know some parents who wait until after dinner to tackle homework. I’ve always been a “get it done early” kind of parent. I’ve tried the after dinner thing and it doesn’t work well in my house. My kids are even more tired and less interested. Many after school programs also have students do their homework right after school for this same reason.

The big question is, should kids have homework at all? There’s research to support both answers to that question. Some say it helps when it comes to self-discipline and problem solving. Others argue it can lead to negative attitudes towards learning. There is also an argument to limit or eliminate homework for elementary school children. I know my kids would love that right about now!

The “love” part of my relationship with my kids’ homework stems from the fact that seeing them do their homework gives me a first hand look at how they’re understanding the material. I can tell right away if they get it or if they’re having trouble. Sometimes asking your kids how their day at school was and what they learned is like pulling teeth. Parents, I know you know what I’m talking about here. You get the appetizer and the dessert, but you never get the full-three course meal.

For this reason, I think homework is useful.

There are other days when I don’t want my kids to have to worry about doing homework. I want them to have all the time they can to play or draw or do something they choose to do. They can worry about school the next day when they’re there for six plus hours. Let there free time be just that…free. I wonder if teachers find it time-consuming to correct all of that homework the next day. Couldn’t that time be used for something else? Just a thought.

For this reason, I think we can do without homework.

But, I can’t see a universal no-homework rule on the horizon any time soon. I’m sure there are many parents who would raise an eyebrow or two if their kids didn’t come home with homework. Some may wonder if the teacher is doing his or her job or what’s being taught at school. Either way, you’re never going to please everyone.

So, perhaps the status quo will remain. Teachers will give homework. Kids will complain. Parents, like myself will continue their love-hate relationship until the next worksheet shows up tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it Too Late to Unplug Our Kids?

Kids and technology. It seems to be a love-hate relationship for parents. For me these days it’s more of a hate relationship. Everywhere I go I am seeing more kids plugged into technology, glued to a screen, walking around like zombies. This frustrates me and makes me sad at the same time.

I wish we could rewind to the days when Atari was considered ground-breaking technology and the thought of having a cell phone seemed like something only the Jetsons could achieve. But, the reality is many kids are obsessed with their various devices to the point they don’t know how to have a conversation or use their imagination.

Market research found that children ages five to sixteen spend six and a half hours in front of a screen everyday! If you take into consideration the fact that they sleep for at least eight hours if not more, that means there’s less than ten hours left in the day. When you factor in school and activities, there’s hardly anytime left to have a simple conversation. Is it too late to unplug our kids or have we lost them to technology forever? I guess it depends what side of the screen you’re on.

Have you ever watched a child while they’re on a device? It’s like they’re in a trance. It totally consumes them. Part of me thinks that’s why so many parents let their kids spend so much time on them. It acts like a free babysitter. No parenting required. No interaction needed. Sad isn’t it?

Before you think I’m a technology hating mother who only lets my kids play with pen and paper, I will tell you my kids do play games on my iPad and my phone. But, they do not have their own devices. Why do a 7 and 5 year-old need their own iPads or tablets or kindles? I’m sure many people have their reasons, but they’re not enough for me to take out my credit card.

I am fully aware that kids need to understand and work technology to exist these days and to compete with the rest of the world. I know there are a lot of educational apps and games and books to read. Does that mean we throw out real conversations and books or imaginary play or the arts? I surely hope not. From what I see that seems to be where we’re headed, if we’re not there already. So many kids don’t know how to interact with real people because they spend so much time interacting with their devices.

In order to change the tide, there needs to be balance, as with anything in life. While my kids are allowed to use technology on a daily basis, I usually limit their usage to 15 minute intervals. Once the time is up they have to go and do something else that doesn’t involve a screen. Most of the time they agree, other times I’m “mean.” I can live with that title if the result is that my kids go out and play or use their imagination instead of gluing their eyes to a screen.

When it comes to technology addiction many kids are only copying what they see their parents do. Truthfully there are times when we’re no better. I know I’ve been guilty of a little phone addiction every now and again. Do we really need to constantly check our Facebook feed to see who is blowing their nose every minute? I think we all know the answer to that.

That’s why I have a little rule called “no phones at the table”. It means just what it says. My husband and I are not allowed to have our phones at the table when we’re having a meal. This way we can pay attention to each other and have real conversations. Crazy, I know. But, it works.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s tempting to run over and check a dinging text or go back and finish scrolling through Facebook. But, it’s also important to set an example. If kids see their parents glued to their devices, they may be more inclined to do the same. If we set the example that technology is not king, then maybe we can start to slowly unplug our kids, one device at a time. Hopefully it’s not too late.

 

 

More Patience & Presence in the New Year

It’s almost time to watch the iconic ball drop in Times Square, signaling the start of another year. It’s the time many of us make a list of cliché resolutions like losing weight and exercising more. While those are important, often times we make them, can’t or don’t keep them, and then feel like a failure…again. Aren’t resolutions supposed to lift us up instead of pull us down?

I love the start of the new year for the fact that it’s a time to start with a clean slate. This is not to say that everything that happened the year before doesn’t matter, because it does. You can learn from what the previous year left behind, but you can also embark on new journeys with the hope a new year brings.

A chance to do better.

A chance to be better.

A chance to make a difference.

A chance to chase your dreams.

A chance to appreciate the things around you.

As a mother the days are so jam-packed with work, kids, and everyday nonsense that you forget to appreciate the things around you. In fact, instead of appreciating them, you often ignore them and tell yourself you’ll have that extra five minutes tomorrow to take it all in. But, tomorrow doesn’t seem to come. There’s always something to occupy that extra five minutes.

If 2016 has taught me anything, it is to truly value each moment and day because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Things can change so quickly that you’ll think you’re living someone else’s life.

That’s why 2017 will be the year of patience and presence.

Patience with my kids when they yell “mommy” for what feels like the hundredth time in a day. One day they’ll think they’re too cool for their mommy. That’s why I need to appreciate every minute I have with them now.

Patience when my kids want to play another board game when all I want to do is sit and enjoy my coffee. Time will pass so fast that those board games will end up in a tag sale quicker then I can say “go fish”.

Patience when I need peace and quiet and my house feels like it’s out of control. One day the house will be too quiet and I’ll miss all the noise.

Patience when things don’t happen fast enough or when I think they should. Everything does happen for a reason. Every time I get frustrated and look back it’s clear why things turned out like they did.

Patience when I get down on myself for one thing or another. No one is perfect no matter how things may appear.

Presence with my family. Facebook and e-mail can wait. Our parents didn’t have their heads buried in their phones, so why do we? I can admit I’m guilty of it.

Presence in “little” moments…a laugh, a smile, a sunset. Not to sound morbid but you don’t know when it will be your last.

Presence in everyday life. Many of us, myself included, just seem to go through the motions. We do what we do because it’s what we’ve always done. Are we really into it? Many times the answer is no. It’s time to tune in and take in every moment, even the mundane ones. Sometimes being present in your life means saying no to people every once and awhile and doing what makes you happy. This is not to say we should all become selfish people, but there comes a time when you have to put yourself first. Be present in your life.

The list can go on and on, but I think you get the idea.  I simply felt compelled to write this because I think patience and presence can get pushed aside when we’re dealing with our kids and busy lives. They are the things that we sometimes need to be reminded about from time to time. There’s no better time than the start of a new year. Hopefully I inspired just one person to try to be more present and patient in 2017. If I didn’t, that’s okay too.

Here’s to a new year of new memories and possibilities…and to patience and presence! Cheers!

 

Gifting Experiences Over Presents This Holiday

As I sit here at my kitchen table and write this blog post, I can’t help but notice something out of the corner of my eye. It’s my children’s playroom. It’s a mess. I’m not ashamed to admit it because it’s the truth. Sure there are bins in there to organize the toys that are too small to put in my hands and the ones that are too large to leave out. But, those bins have failed. Or, should I say I’ve failed those bins. My kids and I just keep jamming more junk in there to the point where I couldn’t tell you what’s in there except for toys.

Many of those toys my kids haven’t played with in who knows how long. They always play the same things…school, dancing, Barbies, games. The other miscellaneous toys seem to get lost in the clutter. I can honestly say I think I’ve only bought about 10% of the items that are in that room. With two kids you tend to accumulate a lot of things through birthdays, holidays, and other events. That’s the reason why I’m choosing to gift experiences over presents this Christmas.

Of course my girls have asked Santa for toys. Honestly, they haven’t asked for all that much. They will get the one or two things they really want from Santa, minus an iPhone, because no 7 year-old needs one,  and minus a FurReal Cat because I find it extremely creepy. If Santa has the toy thing taken care of, what do Mom and Dad give? More toys? Nope. How about something that can’t really be wrapped?

I’ll explain. See, my 7-year-old has been asking for guitar lessons since she was five. I don’t know why, but she is infatuated with the guitar. So, this got me thinking. How about giving lessons as a Christmas present? Lightbulb on and Google activated. After a bit, what did appear at my googling fingertips, but music lessons in my area that not only specialize in the guitar, but several other instruments! This was better than using manufacturers coupons and store coupons on an item that’s already on sale! It gets better! Hard to believe, I know. There are even classes that my younger daughter can take since she likes music as well.

My husband and I decided this would make the perfect Christmas gift because it would introduce both girls to several instruments so they can figure out which ones they like. In the end if they decide playing an instrument is not their thing right now then that’s okay too. At least they gave it a try.

Giving the gift of this experience is far better than some toy they’ll play with for a week and then toss in the bin. Sure they may be confused when they open the box and see a paper explaining the lessons, but they’ll have the memories they’ll make together while learning something new. Perhaps it will even make them want to pursue more lessons. Whichever the case, I think it’s a win-win all around. Plus, it alleviates the clutter in the house which makes me one happy momma. Merry Christmas!

Teaching Kids About Death & Grief

Death is one of those things that is indescribably difficult to deal with and to understand. Imagine trying to do it as a child who still believes in things like the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. It’s nearly impossible. But, as parents it’s one of our toughest jobs. It’s tough because it’s painful and because there doesn’t seem to ever be the right words.

Finding the right words should come easy when you’re used to writing for a living, but that is not the case with something as fragile as death. You need kid gloves, no pun intended, to delicately explain to a child why someone has left this Earth. I am by no means an expert when it comes to this subject, but I’ve had to do it so many times already that I’m unfortunately becoming more used to the uncomfortable situation.

When someone they love dies, the hardest part is telling my kids they’re never going to see that person again. They’re never going to get or give a hug. They’re never going to hear that person’s voice. It’s heartbreaking to see their faces when it begins to sink in. And sink in it does. Although they may not understand how bodies are buried and souls go to heaven, they can understand the fact that they’ll never see someone again.

Then, of course, come the questions of why. Why did someone have to die? Why did they get sick? Why couldn’t the medicine fix their boo-boos? These are all questions none of us know. The best answer I can give is to be honest and admit that I don’t know why. As disappointing of an answer as that may be, it’s the truth. When it comes to a subject like death, the best thing we can do for our kids is to be honest. With that honesty comes the acceptance of letting them be sad. Parents don’t like to see their kids in pain or sad or crying. We always want to take their pain away and make them feel better. Sometimes we just can’t and that’s okay. What we can do is comfort them through their sadness and let them know it’s okay to be sad and to cry and to miss someone. It’s part of being human. It’s part of having emotions. My kids have seen me cry when someone dies because just like them, I’m sad. I don’t know if it makes them feel any better, but at least they know it’s normal and everyone is human…even moms.

While I let them see me cry, I also let them see me wipe away my tears and get up again. Hopefully, that is teaching them they can take their time to mourn, but at some point, they have to keep going, as difficult as it may be. Grief can’t consume you. I try to tell them that the person who died would not want them to be sad forever. They would want them to be happy and play and dance and do all those things that make them a kid. These words seem to work, at least for now. But, I also tell them you don’t forget about the person who died. We never forget. As parents, we can help our kids keep memories alive by maintaining traditions and continuing to do the things we used to do with the person who is no longer with us. Traditions don’t die with a person unless we let them. Kids should know that keeping traditions is how we keep loved ones with us always.

If death teaches us nothing else it is that life is fragile and tomorrow is not guaranteed. That’s a lesson we can all learn no matter how big or small.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do Kids Hate to Wipe Their Own Butts?

Why do kids hate to wipe their own butts? As a mom, I know cleaning butts comes with the territory. I’ve handled many diaper changes and blow outs as I’m sure you all have too. But, at what age do you have to pass the toilet paper torch down to your child? There comes a point when they have to start taking responsibility for their own butts, both figuratively and literally. Right?

I honestly thought that would happen in my house when my kids started going to full-time Kindergarten. Teachers certainly aren’t going to do it. That’s not part of the curriculum. So, kids have to take matters into their own hands, so to speak.  But, my kids have not.

I should have known that the whole “wipe your butt at school” thing wasn’t going to work when my now 7-year-old daughter was horrified at the idea of pooping at school. When I told her that those school tacos may have her running for the border she vowed never to poop in school. Two years later, she’s kept her word. Needless to say, she still isn’t volunteering for the clean-up committee. At home, I get the dreaded, “I’m done” call which means come and clean my butt.  Before I say a big hello to King Charmin, I do tell her to do it herself. The look of disgust I get is incredible. I can see in her eyes what she’s thinking.

You want me to clean my own butt? You must have had too much wine mommy. That will never happen silly lady. Now clean my butt!

To avoid a major craptastrophe, I oblige for the one-hundredth time in my mommy career.

Her little sister isn’t much better. But, I can cut her a little more slack since she just turned five. We also had the “you’re going to have to clean your butt at school talk” too this past summer. She wasn’t buying it either. She also took a solemn pledge to the poopy gods to never go number two at school. Just like her sister, she’s kept her word. Sigh.

But, I may get a bit of a reprieve with number 2…child number 2 that is. Although I still get the dreaded “I’m done” calls, she has actually taken the plunge a few times and cleaned her own butt at home. Was she mortified? Absolutely. Did she do it? Yes! Does she do it regularly? Nope. Sigh.

What baffles my mind about it all of this is that kids will play in mounds of dirt and grime for hours. They will spill all kinds of things over their clothes and fight you not to change them. They’ll sit in wet sand at the beach all day totally unbothered by chunks of sand getting in places they should never be. But, ask them to clean their own butts, even with a mummified hand of toilet paper, and you are asking way too much!

The only solace I find in this whole ordeal is that I know I’m not alone. I’ve talked to plenty of other moms who are battling the same problem. I know there are those of you out there who swear your kids have been wiping their own butts since they were potty trained. Talk all you want. I know you’re lying. There’s no shame in it. Hop on the wiping wagon and just admit you still have to do it like the rest of us.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll have to fight the good wipe. Hopefully my tour of duty will be over soon. For now I’ll just take it one toilet paper roll at a time.

Why I Still Make My Kids Write Thank-You Cards

Thank-you.

They’re just two words, but they mean a lot. Sure you may say them from time to time. Hopefully, you teach your kids to say them too. But, when was the last time you sat down and wrote a thank-you card to someone whether it was for a gift or something nice they did? Better yet, have you ever made your kids write or sign a thank-you card?

I can hear the crickets as you read this.

In the age of texts and tweets, the thank-you card has long been forgotten. While bordering extinction, it’s hanging on by a thread. While a lot of people may say who cares? I actually do. That’s why I still make my 7 & 5 year-old  write and/or sign thank-you cards when they get gifts.

I know, I’m such a nag.

But, I’ll take the title proudly if it means my children learn they are not entitled to things and need to express their gratitude. Just because it’s your birthday doesn’t mean you have to get a gift. Someone felt like doing something nice for you. The least you can do is send a thank-you card. It’s a pretty simple concept.

I know, I know. Why would you take the time to go to the store, buy a thank-you card, sit down and actually think of something nice to write, buy a stamp to put on it, and then go to the mailbox? Even more so, why would you sit down and have your child write one (if they’re old enough) or simply sign their name? Quite frankly because it’s the right thing to do.

Believe me, I’ve heard all the excuses why not to send thank-you cards. They end up in the trash. The cards are too expensive. The stamps are too expensive. I don’t have time. Blah, blah, blah.

Of course if that’s what you think, that’s what your child is going to think too. The thank-you card will never get the love and respect it deserves. It will die along with all the other “old school” things like dressing up on a holiday and asking to leave the dinner table instead of bolting like it’s on fire. I think we need to bring some of those things back if you ask me.

If you really break it down, the time and money spent on thank-you cards doesn’t have to bankrupt you or take up your day. You can go to the dollar store and get a pack of at least 6 for $1. Stamps are stamps. They cost what they cost.You just need to deal with it. In reality, it may take you a half-hour tops to write a handful of cards with your kids. Big deal. Isn’t that time well spent together?

I think the pros of writing a thank-you card outweigh the cons by a long shot. In my eyes, there really aren’t any cons to hand-writing a thank-you note. Just think…the person getting it will be excited to get something other than bills in the mail. Maybe you can instill a little love for the thank-you card in your kids so it truly doesn’t become extinct. That wouldn’t be so bad. Give it a try.

Thank-you for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely,

Kristina

 

 

 

If My Children Were Running for President

I’ve never been one to publically display my political views or beliefs. But, this election season is certainly different than any other I’ve ever experienced. With that said, I’ve heard a lot of people say they’re not satisfied with either of the choices for President this time around. So, that got me to thinking, what if my two daughters were running for President? What would their campaign promises be? What agendas would they try to push? At ages 7 and 5, they certainly have minds of the own. So, let’s take a look, shall we? As both of their campaign managers, I have some insight.

Presidential Campaign of my 7-year-old:

Promises:

If you elect me as your President, I would provide taco supplies to each & every American household once a week because tacos are yummy and everyone should eat them. I would also abolish all bed times and all rules that kids need to sleep in their own beds. After all, they made mommy’s bed big so that must mean I can sleep in it too. As Justin Bieber as my Vice President, I would make sure everyone in America has his latest CD at all times, even the non-Beliebers.

Slogan: The only thing we have to fear is bedtime itself.

Health Care: Everyone would be guaranteed one sticker after each routine doctor’s appointment, but not at specialists. There are no excuses for running out. You’re a doctor’s office. You know people like stickers. Get with the program.

Taxes: No taxes on money collected from The Tooth Fairy, Santa, or any of their cousins (even second and third ones).

Jobs: You should get one. I plan on becoming a teacher, hair dresser, nail person, and writer, that’s after I become your President of course. 

Education: I actually like to go to school, so you should go too. But, I’m really trying to get the perfect attendance award. So, if you miss a day, oh well. That’s less competition for me.

That’s what the 7-year-old is banking on. Now let’s take a look at the 5-year-old.

Presidential Campaign of my 5-year-old:

Promises:

If you elect me as your President I will make sure ice cream is put on the dinner menu and not the dessert menu. We all know ice cream is a meal so it needs to be treated as one.  I will make sure each and every American has their own teddy bear to sleep with every night. Expecting anyone to sleep without one is just cruel and unusual punishment. Any walls that need to be built will be built with my Jenga blocks or Duplos. They will probably be knocked over and rebuilt over and over again on a daily basis. Oh well. One last thing, as  Pharell Williams as my Vice President, we will all be happy all the time.

Slogan: Ask not what your Teddy Bear can do for you, but what you can do for your Teddy Bear!

Health Care: Under my presidency there will be no more boring Band-Aids sold anywhere. All Band-Aids will have characters. No one uses brown ones anymore. Not having characters is just inhumane.

Taxes: Everyone getting more than $2 a week for allowance will have to pay taxes. I firmly believe the rich need to do their part.

Jobs: That’s why I’m running for President. Do you know anyone who’s hiring 5-year-olds? I don’t. Duh.

Education: Each child will receive proper Shopkins training so that they can learn the names of each Shopkin from every season. Education is key people. This is important stuff.

So I think that pretty much sums up the campaigns of both of my pint-sized candidates.

On a serious note, I did ask each of them what they would do if they were President. They actually both said they would help poor people and give them food and houses. They didn’t say how they would pay for it all. But, everyone would have a house and enough food, which I thought was sweet. Oh, and my five-year-old wants to buy everyone flowers! So, she’s got that going for her too!

I don’t know about you, but I kinda like these presidential choices better. I can get on board with stickers and teddy bears in a heart beat, can’t you?

 

 

What I Would Tell My 18-Year-Old Self

Sometimes you don’t know how good you had it until you move forward and look back. You see, I went to my 20-year high school reunion recently. First of all, I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since I graduated. It may sound cliché, but I can honestly tell you I don’t know where all the time has gone. I also can’t believe how many things, both good and bad, have happened. If you ever told me some parts of my story over the past 20 years, I would have told you, you were nuts.

As I walked through the newly painted and renovated hallways of my high school, I could see visions of my teenage self at various stages of my high school years. I even turned to my friend and commented about how I could close my eyes and immediately be transported back 20 years.

If I could go back 20 years, there are so many things I would tell my 18-year-old self.

Have More Fun. As much as getting good grades is important, I would tell myself to have more fun. This really is the most carefree time of your life! At what other point do you not have to worry about paying a mortgage? When else can you go out Friday and Saturday night and not have to worry about a babysitter or getting up the next morning to kids who think it’s cool to get up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning? There will be no other time like this in your lifetime. Live it up.

It’s Quality Not Quantity with Friends. It truly doesn’t matter how many friends you have. Although it may seem like the end of the world that you only eat lunch with two other people instead of ten, it really isn’t. There are far worse things. If you have to put an exhausting amount of effort into a friendship it really isn’t worth it. It took me a long, and I mean long time to realize that. But, once I did (well into my adult life) I was a much happier person. A true friend is one you can talk to after a year of being off the grid and feel as though you were just with them yesterday.

Not Being Cool is Cool Enough. I was not “cool” in high school. Totally not cool. I knew it and so did all the “cool” kids. Enjoy the real friendships you do have. In the end, you’ll be better for it.

Your Life Plan Will Change. I’m fully aware of your life plan. But, guess what? It’s going to change and that’s okay. Not every prophesy you declare when you’re 18 will come true. You will grow. You will change. Things will happen and it’s all okay. If you ever told me I was going to quit a job I loved to become a stay-at-home mom in my thirties, I would have laughed in your face. I would have laughed even harder if you told me I wasn’t going to be a television reporter. That was the big dream. But, over time my big vision shifted…more than once. I decided being on-air wasn’t for me. I liked the behind the scenes television life instead. Then after a long time, I decided that career wasn’t cutting it either. I decided to follow my passions, even if it meant being viewed as unsuccessful in the minds of some. In the end, you have to do what makes you happy and what’s right for you, not anyone else.

Time Flies When You’re An Adult. As kids we want time to fast forward itself so we can become fancy adults. When we become adults we want to pause time so we have more of it to enjoy our lives. As we all know that’s not possible. There comes a point when you really don’t know where the time went. When you finally become that adult you dreamed about all those years you quickly realize it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. In fact, life is full of rainy days and bulls. Don’t rush to become an adult.

Don’t Take People or Things for Granted. People are not immortal. Things don’t stick around forever. Enjoy them. Appreciate them. Don’t be self-absorbed. There is much more to the universe than yourself. Open your eyes and appreciate the things and people around you. Guess what? They’re not going to be around forever. People get sick unexpectedly and there isn’t always a happy ending. You really need to stop and enjoy everything and everyone around before it is too late.

The saying, “I wish I knew then what I know now” holds a lot of merit. If I knew some of the things I knew now when I was 18, perhaps things would be different. For better? For worse? Who knows? Perhaps my 30-something self can learn from what my 18-year-old self didn’t know.