Find Calm in the Chaos

Image by Tomasz Marciniak from Pixabay

The past few weeks have been overwhelmingly busy for me. As we are all sheltering in place, many of us are struggling with how to juggle working from home, homeschooling our kids and figuring out new and exciting ways to keep everyone entertained and ourselves sane. In addition, I’ve been working on my masters, packed up a home I lived in for over 23 years, moved to a new town and just got married!!! Yep, that’s right, all in the past few weeks. So, yeah…I’ve been just a little busy.

There are days, I am so overwhelmed I’m in tears. Most days, though, my new chaotic routine keeps me sane, if that makes sense?! My daily tasks keep me focused and I feel a heightened sense of purpose. I make my organized, color-coded lists that I can check off as I complete a task and chip away at it throughout the day (type A here … don’t judge me lol). Yes, it is overwhelming to have to accomplish so much in any day but I don’t have a choice. We all live in circumstances we do not fully control. So, my strategy is to only ‘worry’ about the things I CAN control. Hmmm, there’s a thought. Something I’m trying to learn from my now husband. If we cannot do anything about a situation, why worry? It’s mind-blowing to me to think about it that way but it is true.

So my fresh approach… Pray about what’s ‘wrong’. Hope for the best. Then don’t worry. It’s not a novel method. I didn’t come up with it, but it helps me get though the rough days. I also feel so much better after a nice long power walk out in the fresh air with the sun shining. Ahhh….such a wonderful way to de-stress. Yoga and writing work well for me too. I talk a lot about stress relievers when I teach my Mental and Emotional Health unit to my middle-schoolers. We brainstorm an extensive list about ways to reduce stress and I always say, “Do what makes your heart smile.”

When I think about it, I have many things in my life that make my heart smile. A great new home with my new ‘Mr. Right’, more quality time with him and our four combined teenagers (yes four teens… pray for us lol), home projects getting completed, a beautiful lake surrounded by a wooden path for my walks, more time to try new recipes and a career that enables me to work from home. No it is not always easy. Yes it’s overwhelming. But if I cannot control it, I cannot let it control me. I will do what makes my heart smile. I hope you do as well. Stay safe. Stay well. And go ahead… Live Your Best Life!

A New Year… a new YOU!!!

What I love about a new year is the fresh start. It’s a blank canvas in which to create whatever it is YOU feel is important. YOU get to choose. So… “If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?” The answer to that question IS what you should set out to do this new year. I’m not talking about money. Yes, money is necessary, I get it. But, if your answer to that question is “I want to make a million dollars.” I challenge you to dig deeper. Ask yourself, How? And Why? I believe you MUST know your why. That is your reason. The driving force behind it all. And so that passion must drive it… your why. One of my favorite quotes is, “I trust in the next chapter because I know the author.” Again, I’ll remind you… YOU decide. You are in control of what dreams you will chase down. Ask yourself the question and BELIEVE you can do it. I know, I know it’s a clique to say I’m starting over this new year. Yeah, yeah. So what!? Clique or not, we all deserve a fresh start, a new beginning. Remember that slate… wipe it clean. That blank canvas… you are the artist… create what you will. It may be ‘small’ to some, but enormous to you. It may seem impossible to consider, but if it’s the answer to the question, it’s your heart’s desire… go for it. Don’t allow nay-sayers to derail your plans. Turn your dream into reality.

Goals give purpose and meaning to our lives. There is no direction without an endpoint in mind. We get a surge of confidence with the feeling of accomplishment. It’s human nature to want to achieve something in life, to be somebody, to do something important and meaningful. That ‘something’ is different for everyone. What’s important to you is not what is important to me. And that’s fine! We’re all marching to the beat of our own drum. What’s important is that it’s important to you. It speaks to you. It’s in your heart and on your mind, every day. To achieve your dreams, you must set goals. If you are not doing something every day to work on that goal, chances are you will not achieve that dream. You can talk about it all you want but until you do something it will not happen… you have to WORK on it!

I’m one of those people that like to write my goals down and create a plan. I like to make lists! There. I said it. Even with my daily tasks and to-do lists, yes, I get satisfaction from checking off each item and a surge of accomplishment when it’s completed. In all aspects of our lives, it helps to set goals to be sure to achieve what we set out to do day by day and in our life. It’s all about focus if you are not working towards your goal regularly it will never happen. So how you plan your goal has a direct effect whether you will achieve it. So, for example, if you are planning a new fitness routine and the goal is to lose 15 lbs or just tone and tighten, you have exercise and eat nutritiously most days to achieve that goal. So your goal might sound something like this: I will exercise for 30 minutes 4x a week or I will eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Whatever your goal is, be specific. Write it down. Write it in your journal, on a vision board or on a post it. Just make sure you see it, think about it and act on it every day.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy New Year. Here’s to making your dreams a reality! Believe in yourself! Go ahead… live YOUR best life!!!

The Season for Giving

Image by monicore from Pixabay

We have so much to celebrate this time of the year! Think about what really matters to you… people, not things, right? Many of us get nostalgic this time of the year and a little more sentimental than usual. Go with it. That’s the good stuff in life. It’s the people in our lives that give it meaning. So, it got me thinking… everyone, no matter who you are, what you believe or where you live, are very much alike. Whether you celebrate Christmas, St. Nicholas Day, Three Kings Day, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, any other holiday, or nothing specific, remember we are more alike than different. Whether or not they are religious, these special traditions share similar meaning. Christmas is a Christian holiday, the story of the Nativity, and celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God. Christians give gifts like the wise men brought gifts to their savior. St. Nicholas Day honors a man that gave all of his money to the needy and was known for his compassion for children and all those in need. Three Kings Day celebrates the day the three wise men first saw baby Jesus and brought him gifts. Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration in remembrance of an ancient miracle in which one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days in the temple. Kwanzaa celebrates ideals such as family life and unity. Do you notice a theme? All celebrate giving to others, helping one another, compassion, love, honor, and family, no matter what your religious beliefs or traditions. How amazing and wonderful is that?!

So, keeping with the theme of this time of the year, let’s talk about how we can give of ourselves. There are many ways to give: your time, using your talents to benefit others, donating to charities, helping those in need, meaningful gifts that show true love and much more. Acts of kindness, especially to strangers, is a sure way to brighten your mood and lift someone’s spirits and yours this season.

I’ve come up with a list of ideas. I’ve done a couple of these myself and plan to complete new ideas this year. Maybe you’d like to try one or more of these ideas. 1. Collect donations, from family and friends and or buy scarves, hats and gloves for the homeless. (We tied them to the poles or trees down the main street of our city, one year. The gift tag read: “If you’re in the cold and don’t know what to do. This is a Christmas gift of warmth from me to you. (Stay safe.) Love, A friend.”) 2. Serve food at a local soup kitchen. As emotional as that was for me, they were so grateful and I was happy to help. 3. Bring gifts to a Children’s Hospital for the sick children and self-care baskets for the parents. 4. Cook and or bake for an elderly neighbor. 5. Go Christmas Caroling. 6. Donate gifts to needy families so they may give to their children. If you have children, it’s wonderful for them to learn the value of doing for others. What a great lesson for our children to experience the joy of helping those in need!

Spending time with your loved ones is one way to make the holidays even more special. Keep your old traditions alive. Enjoy making memories with those you care most about. We’re all very busy and not everyone has off from work for more than a day or two. In the season’s spirit, I believe we should all make our family, love and close friends the real priority. Remember the feeling of excitement and joy when you were a child and allow yourself the opportunity to feel like a kid again. Renew your spirit this time of year. Remind yourself of what’s important. May you experience love, peace and joy this holiday season. So go ahead, my friends, Live Your Best Life!

Setting Boundaries

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits (according to Wikipedia). All people handle stress in different ways. Ways in which people manage their stress can be healthy or damaging. There are people in our lives that have a difficult time dealing with hardships. When our world is turned upside down for whatever reason. They may be grieving a loss, dealing with a breakup, trying to handle career struggles or sometimes they will find anything and everything to complain about. It’s easy to get sucked into their negativity. Did you ever notice how your mood changes after talking with or spending time with that ‘Negative Nelly’? I’m not making light or joking about their disposition, the struggle is real. We all have people like this in our lives. It pulls us down. We can feel negative, grumpy, sad or even depressed all of a sudden. We may not realize at first that it was spending time with a negative person that affects our feelings. It alters our thinking and affects our mood in a negative way. When it becomes a real downer for us and starts to affect our own disposition, it’s time to back away. We have to protect ourselves. It may sound selfish to say we need to ‘protect ourselves’ from a loved one, I know. But when we get dragged down into what feels like an abyss, it becomes a toxic relationship. The problem is when it’s a co-worker, a dear friend or even a family member, how do you avoid them?

In my own life, there have been a few times this has happened. Actually, truth be told, it’s happening right now. As I write this I am heartbroken for someone I love. It pains me to see her hurting and watch her struggle. I want to listen. I want to to do anything and everything I can to stop her pain. My heart hurts to watch her hurting. So, like most of us, I listen and I empathize. I offer advice thinking that I might just have a positive impact. I’ve been exactly where she is now. I truly understand the emotional struggle and the mental torture she has to endure on a daily basis. The thing is people only change when they are ready to do so. We all have to go through heartache, grieving or disappointment in our own way and in our own time. I noticed lately that even after trying to help, I sometimes turn angry and upset after a phone call or time spent together. My whole mood changes and not for the better. I feel myself getting pulled into the relentless complaining. That’s when I realize I have to set boundaries. I can not allow her to turn me negative as well. Especially since I have my own daily struggles, stressors and worries (we all do) and can easily get on that ‘complain train’ myself. Knowing that about myself, I have to be careful. I listen, truly empathize, show concern, validate her feelings and even offer advice. After that it’s up to her to make a change. As painful as it is, there’s nothing more I can do.

This is truly a difficult situation. I hesitated to even write about this topic. I actually worry about her reading my blog and knowing it’s all about her. (If you’re reading this right now, I’m so sorry for all you are going through. I love you.) However, knowing I’m not the only one who struggles with this, I felt compelled to share my thoughts. Setting boundaries is not about avoidance or creating conflict. We don’t have to tell the person off to protect ourselves or even explain that you need to ‘set boundaries’. We certainly don’t want to hurt them further or make them feel we’re turning our back on them. They are not in the proper frame of mind to ‘hear’ what you’re saying. So what CAN we do then? HOW do we set boundaries? Simply step away. We can still show our concern and continue to support and love them, but we must set a time limit to protect our own mental state of mind. We know the point in which it starts to affect us poorly. Maybe we can only withstand talking twice a week, a quick coffee date or maybe our limit is only 10 minutes on the phone. When we’ve reached that point, it’s time to remove ourselves. Quietly, exit stage right (so to speak). We can plan talking purposely right before we need to be at an appointment, or right before the kids get off the bus, or prior to entering work. That way you can be honest in saying you MUST leave or get off the phone. Personal boundaries are crucial. Creating limits of acceptable and healthy behaviors are needed. Be sure to take part in positive mental-emotional activities. Many of us are people please-ers and love to help others. Love yourself that much. Take care of you. Go ahead! Live YOUR best life!

Stressed lately?

Frustration rears its ugly head from time to time. Often situations lead to annoyance, disappointment and the stress that makes us feel like we will explode! There are many aspects to our lives, which all together make up who we are as a person. The people in our lives and the way we spend our time have a direct effect on our contentment. Work takes a majority of our time. For many, that’s well over 40 hours a week. With devoting that much energy to one area in life, hopefully its rewarding and fulfilling. Family is high on the priority list and impacts all we do. Family is often the driving force, our reason for doing what we do. Love is more powerful than many people like to admit. Whether your love affairs are amazing and bring you pure pleasure or devastate you unexpectedly, it can lift you up or tear you down, in an instant. Last, but shouldn’t be least of all, our general health and wellbeing. Proper nutrition and regular exercise are crucial, but even more neglected is the time to unwind, destress, you know… ‘me time’. I believe all of those areas make us who we are and whether they are in balance will determine our level of happiness.

I’ve learned that when one facet of my life gets ignored or neglected, even in the slightest way, it throws me ‘off’. I feel out of balance. If I don’t get enough sleep, I’m grumpy and irritable. Snipping at others and a lack of patience affects my social health in a negative way. When I miss my regular workout, I feel bad about myself and guilty, which directly affects my self confidence. A lack of confidence then affects my work or whether or not I feel sexy in that new dress on date night. I’ve learned that maintaining balance is extremely important. And when my life is out of balance it leads to stress and frustration. Sound familiar?

The good news…there’s hope. Stress and frustration can be prevented, or at the very least nipped in the bud before it gets way out of control. How you ask? Simple. Take care of yourself. ALL of yourself. Remember, you are made up of all the things you have to do in life. Think of it it as your 3 ‘R’s: Responsibilities, Relationships, Relaxation! Your responsibilities such as work, chores, paying bills and parenting are necessary. Not always fun but must be done. Relationships with your family and your love are important priorities for happiness. Spending quality time with those you love brings you joy and feeds your soul. Last, but certainly not least, relaxation is to remind you to take care of your mind and your body. Eat well, get and stay active and allow yourself that much needed ‘down time’. Yes it’s a tall order to maintain balance but, if you do, you will feel calmer, more focused and happier with your life. You are worth it. Go ahead, Live YOUR Best Life!

Trust Yourself

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Many things can happen to shake our confidence. We lose faith in ourselves at times and begin to doubt if we can handle all we have to accomplish. As soon as we make a mistake or don’t think we’ve done ‘enough,’ we start to feel worthless. We forgot about that appointment at 4 pm. and it’s as if the world may end. In actuality, we can reschedule it for a less hectic day. The laundry doesn’t always make it out of the dryer the same day it goes in, now does it? You know what? It’ll be there tomorrow. Okay, so maybe you wanted to go through that giant stack of bills and papers on your kitchen counter, but it got pushed off until tomorrow. Or you thought you’d ace that test, but it won’t be one to hang on the fridge after all. We plan with the best of intentions. But life often throws a wrench in that perfect plan, and we stop trusting in our abilities. Every time things don’t go the way we had initially planned, we see it as a mistake or a failure on our part. Busy lives, full schedules, and often, too many responsibilities can lead to doubting our capabilities and feeling like a failure. Usually, we spread ourselves too thin. Many of us set the bar too high. We are our own worst critics.

Everyone who knows me well, knows I’m an avid list maker. And yes, I feel satisfaction checking off that box. But even I have learned I cannot plan every minute of every day. I like to set goals. It gives me focus and lowers my stress so I can prioritize what I have to do in a day or within the week. However, some things can wait. And it is okay. It’ll still get done. I’m learning not to let it bring me down. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. If something can go wrong, it usually does. I can handle it. Staying calm and coming up with an alternate plan helps. If it’s important and something I genuinely want to do, I figure it out. Where there’s a will, there is always a way! I certainly have not mastered that completely. I’m a work in progress. But I’m learning to trust that I am capable of handling a ‘bad’ situation if I believe in my self and adjust my plan of attack. I’ve learned that when life hands me lemons; I can either feel sorry for myself, moan and cry or, I can make limoncello 😉

Listen, we can’t always be perfect all the time. Just because your original plan didn’t work out doesn’t mean you failed. Roll with the punches. Take it in stride. If it didn’t happen Tuesday by 5 pm, that’s okay. Make it happen Wednesday. You see, I believe it’s great to plan out your priorities and have a schedule. To-Do lists help us to stay motivated and get things accomplished. But who’s to say if you don’t check off that box today you can’t check it off tomorrow?! Be willing to adjust. Allow your list to be flexible. Instead of seeing it as a failure, realize you still can accomplish that goal another day. Have faith in yourself. Don’t let life shake your confidence. Trust in your ability to do what you’ve set out to do. Remind yourself that you are strong, smart, worthy, capable. You CAN do it. And you WILL! Now get out there and ‘Live YOUR best life!’


Most of us have a desire to accomplish something big, a dream we’ve always hoped would come true. Too often  we get paralyzed by our fears. It may seem hopeless. Circumstances in life can make you feel trapped. All too aware of our responsibilities in life, work, family obligations, and paying bills. Maybe you feel stuck in a job that isn’t fulfilling. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start your own business, go back for that degree, travel the world, run a marathon, pay off debt, travel to places you’ve never been before, go back for your degree (or get another degree) or go for that promotion. Whatever IT is, it calls to you now and then. You may shove it in the back of your mind for a while, months or years even. It will always resurface and make your heart skip a beat once again. Knowing what our heart’s desire is and being afraid to take the leap is common. Conquering your fears is key. They are holding you back. What are you afraid of, really? Failure? You might fail, yes. But you might also succeed. It’s been said that nothing will change unless you make a change. 

I believe there is more to life than struggling to make ends meet, working at a job that doesn’t make you look forward to waking up every day, worrying about your future, when and if you’ll get to retire. There should be more to life than that. I’m grateful for my children, my love, my family and friends that bring me happiness. I’m truly blessed. However, I want to accomplish a few goals for myself (and for them). Something halted my dreams, for many years. It was always ‘something’. Financial instability, relationship issues, or family health problems. I can cry about it and wallow in self pity (I’ve done my share of that). Overcoming many obstacles, I know now I can stand up, hold my head high, wipe the tears and get busy. I have stopped waiting for ‘my luck’ to change or for things to ‘eventually’ work themselves out. I’m capable and willing to take chances to ‘make it happen’. I have a bucket list a mile long and I intend to check every one off (eventually). Where there’s a will, there IS a way! I am through taking the back seat in life. Yes, it will be very difficult to rearrange my schedule and make time for what I must do. Admittedly, it’s terrifying just thinking about holding down two jobs and getting my masters and still spending quality time with my kids. But, it will be worth it. I want to better myself, learn and grow as a person. I want to make my dreams come true. In a couple years, I’ll look back and say, “Damn that was tough, but I did it!” 

Are you in? What’s your dream? Why? I mean who or what is IT all for? Know your ‘why’? Remind yourself every day of that driving force. Whatever it is, write it down, figure out what steps you need to take to accomplish ‘it’, make a plan. Tell your best friend. Gather up your posse for support. Turn to them for encouragement and the pep talks you need when times get rough. Then put on your big girl pants and GET IT DONE! 

Living in the Present

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

We spend much more time than necessary, thinking of the past or the future. Reliving and going over and over in our mind what happened in our past, or worrying about how our lives will turn out. We all have pain, hurt or events in our past we’d like to do-over. We all have dreams we hope will come to fruition. We worry and stress about the how, why and when. What if we didn’t? What if we just focused on what is happening right now, today? What if we just concentrated on who we spend our time with, at that moment?

Our past has shaped us into the people we are today. And yes, we live today based on what we want in our future. So, some analysis of what has occurred and what is yet to be is necessary for acting in a way that helps us achieve our goal. However, over-thinking can hurt our present living. Not living in the moment takes away from the people we’re with now in the present. I, like all of you, have events in my past that have been painful. What I need to remember is that it IS in the past. I need to leave it there. Yes, it shaped me into the woman I am today. I’ve learned from it. I grew from my experiences, but I need to move on. We can’t help but have thoughts about the people or things that upset us. It happens all the time to most of us.

I believe that entertaining those thoughts for too long takes away from the present moment. There are many times, while I’m at work that I worry about my children’s health, school grades, how I can convince them to do their chores without an argument. It can lead to oversights or missed appointments or a mistake. Sometimes I’m at lunch with a friend or date night and worrying about other things or other people. Don’t get me wrong; it’s healthy to vent or get worries off your chest, especially with your inner circle of people. They may have great advice and will often support and encourage you. All I’m suggesting is, don’t dwell. Recognize your issues and concerns, listen to help and then change the topic. I have learned that not only does it infringe upon my time with the person I care about, but it tortures me to go over and over a bad situation. We all do it at times. I have worried about the bills I have to pay while “relaxing” on the beach. Not very relaxing.

It happens though for sure. It’s natural even. Of course, I think and worry about my loved ones, the bills I need to pay, what my future will turn out to be when I can go on my next vacation. The key is to recognize the thoughts, acknowledge the situation and then let it leave your mind as quickly as it enters. It takes practice. However, practicing mindfulness in every case does truly pay off. It reduces stress and worry. Practicing mindfulness increases the feeling of happiness at that moment. Your problems in life will still be there after work. You will always have the same concerns after date night. Those same worries may even exist after yoga class. Focus on, better yet, enjoy the present. Soak in the person, and the moment you are in at that given time. Allow your mind to rest, so your heart can enjoy. Live your best life.

Adulting is Hard!

Wow…life is busy! Schedules are hectic. And the to-do lists are daunting tasks. When did life get so crazy? I often find myself thinking, “Life was so simple then.” You know what I mean. Pre-career, pre-mortgage, pre-major responsibility life. Think hard…you can remember. Nowadays, I sometimes feel like I don’t know if I’m coming or going. In addition to writing and working a small business, I work 8 hours a day teaching middle schoolers Health and PE, and I’m a single mom to a 16 and 12-year-old. After teaching, I have errands, food shopping, appointments, dinner to cook and household chores. Those of us that are working parents, also play taxi for our kids, and in the process try to squeeze in ‘quality’ time. Most nights I don’t sit down to unwind and relax until 9 or 10 pm. And guess what? Tomorrow, I get to do it all over again.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I’m grateful for the loving people in my life that make it all worthwhile. However, life is hard sometimes. Am I right? I KNOW we all feel this way at times. Some days I’m so overwhelmed by all I have to accomplish, I can’t even get out of my way enough to start. So in my, eh-hem…forty…eh-hem….something years, I’ve learned a few things that work, for me, to bring a little calm back into my life. You might want to give a couple a try. Hopefully, they help you as well.

First of all, years ago, I hated the term “me time.” It seemed so selfish and self-centered. I’ve always been a people-pleaser and raised in an old, Italian, Catholic home. I watched my Nonni, wait on my Poppop and my mother wait on my father daily. They were happy to do it and the men in my family, were not only grateful, but they also did plenty to please their wives as well. Win-win. So I didn’t understand people who would spend a lot of their time, regularly to do something for themselves!?!

Now that I’m older, I’ve learned that there is real value in taking care of yourself. For the longest time, I felt selfish leaving my kids to get my nails done or go to a yoga class or for a long walk. Truth be told, I still feel bad at times. But I’ve learned the worth of self-care. One of my new favorite sayings is “you can’t pour from an empty glass.” Wow, that is so true! There have been many days I’ve exploded unnecessarily, snapped at someone or been overly grumpy due to sheer exhaustion. That doesn’t help anyone and accomplishes nothing except feeling bad later and regretting something I’ve said due to frustration and stress. Imagine a romantic date, a bike ride, stroll along the beach, a massage, a yoga class, or even sit alone, in a quiet place with a great book. It may sound too good to be true. It may seem impossible to fit into your busy life. But, trust me, not only is it possible, but it’s essential!

We have many responsibilities. That will never change. Make time for yourself. You won’t be much good to the people you love if you’re not practicing healthy self-care. Go ahead, live your best life. Take care of YOU! Because you are worth it.

The Parenting-Struggle is REAL!

The love we feel for our children is immense. We do everything we can for them from the time they’re born. We willingly sacrifice time, sleep, money and our sanity. They are part of us and fill our hearts with such a powerful love. And although we experience waves of joy and pride, we also feel disappointment, stress and agonize over our decisions. Our children are our whole world. When they hurt, we hurt. When they need help, we want to solve their problems. When they’re angry, all we want to do is make them happy again. The anguish is in knowing when and where to draw the line. When do we step back and let them figure it out on their own? When do we intervene? When do we listen? When do we preach? We doubt ourselves as parents. We often wonder where we went wrong or if we handled a situation in the right way.

In my world of a 12 and 16-year-old, many issues need my near constant attention. Currently, my 12-year-old daughter is finding her independence and wreaking havoc in the process. She has Down Syndrome, so every accomplishment is a real celebration in my heart. However, in the process of her learning and achieving, I have one mess after another to clean up after. Her recent antics include making her own breakfast and taking care of her own business in the bathroom. Both of which, she’s made clear, must be done independently, aka without help from mom. As proud as I am when she takes care of herself, inevitably I must follow behind, without her realizing, to ‘finish the job.’ There are times I have her ‘help me’ clean, and thankfully she loves that chore too. I’m not complaining, it’s just the extra time involved throws off my own timeline of getting myself ready and out the door in time. The added stress takes its toll from time to time. Not to mention, I fight the urge to ‘just do it’ or how much to help her, just to get it done. Many times she and I are both frustrated. That’s when I feel like I’m failing as a mother.

My smart, albeit somewhat lazy, yet very social, 16 yr old son, is a procrastinator. Keeping him motivated to finish his school work or house chores can quickly turn into an argument. Did I mention he’s sixteen? I’m battling with knowing how much freedom to give, when to allow him to learn things the hard way, and lecturing on the importance of responsibility. I wonder at times if I’m too hard on him or expect too much. He’s such a great kid and an awesome, loving, patient, big brother to a special needs little sister. So I often wonder…how can I be upset with him?

All parents stress over their children. It doesn’t matter if they’re babies, young kids, teens or adults. We worry about them and at times doubt our own effectiveness as parents. Remember that your children are part of you. You know them better than anyone. You’re aware of what makes them tick, what brings them joy, and what upsets them. And in your heart, you are sure of what’s best for them. I am certain some things are absolute. All of our problems will not be solved today. I love my children more than life itself. My kids know I love them, not only because I have taken great care of them but because I kiss them, hug them and tell them every damn day! I follow my heart and listen to my gut. I try to do my best, as a mom, every day. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

“At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” Jane D. Hull

“A child who is allowed to be disrespectful to his parents will not have true respect for anyone.” Billy Graham

“Where parents do too much for their children, the children will not do much for themselves.”Elbert Hubbard

“There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one.” Sue Atkins