Why I’m Thankful for Motherhood

Easter 2016

This week, I am finding it hard not to reflect on being a mother with Mother’s Day coming this Sunday.

I sincerely believe that all of the blessings and transformative instances I have experienced over the past seven years can be attributed to me being a mother.

The act of having to put someone or in my case – three little someones before my own needs has taught me selflessness in a way I don’t think would have been possible without becoming a mom.

When it comes to my business, I believe I owe it all to my children. If I hadn’t had my two daughters whose ever-rising daycare costs took a healthy chunk of my salary, I may not have explored my former employer’s option for teleworking – which then lead me to thinking about building my own business.

All of the hustling, juggling, and lack of boundaries between work and motherhood were a few of the reasons why I took an extremely preliminary idea of starting my own business from concept to reality in less than one year.

Now, as a work-from-home mama, my days can be pretty crazy. Running a bustling business, wrangling a 4 year old, an almost two year old, and a seven year old – while supporting each developmentally, emotionally and academically can be exhausting.

Couple that with my business which is scaling nicely and imagine the angst and euphoria of figuring out who gets to stand-in for me while I pursue business opportunities- many of which are out-of-state. Like I said, both exhilarating and exhausting.

Thankfully, each of them are growing nicely in their own ways. They have gotten use to some of how my schedule and business impacts our home dynamic.

Every once and again, one of them will say to me: “You’re the best Mommy I ever had.” I usually say “thank you” and chuckle thinking: “I am the only Mommy you have ever had”; but I digress.

That “thank you” means so much more than they know.

I want my kids to know that I am thankful to them for forcing me to be a better person. They need to know that I was probably operating at a quarter of my greatness prior to having them.

I need them to know that when they pardon me for being imperfect – I am in return learning to be kinder and more forgiving of my own shortcomings.

The ability to see something both old and new through the eyes of a child is a gift.

Life has an unfortunate way of suppressing the aspects of the human experience that are innate to us all. Creativity, fun, laughter without abandon are just a few things I have invariably lost and regained as a result of wanting to live in the moment with my children.

I don’t say all of this to suggest that you will be a selfish, boring, non-creative person for not becoming a mother. From my perspective, I see my children as my divine counsel pushing me to be a better version of me in a very imperfect and non-linear manner.

They will never truly understand how they are doing that nor will their precious little brains understand now how much it means to me.

To all of the mothers (biological and non-biological), our one day per year is coming, but be sure to take time everyday to recognize the magnitude of all that you do. Know that even when you think you are screwing up, you are just fine.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all! Be sure, to put those little people to work on Sunday and enjoy the day!

In case you missed it, I have a show on Thursdays called: Ask Czarina Live ™ .

In the episode below, I talk about being a working mom and the struggles many of us face in juggling home and professional pursuits. I hope it is helpful!

Bothered By Everything and Nothing At All

Bothered By Everything & Nothing At All

As I peruse my social media accounts and watch the range of issues and concerns plaguing the minds of the masses, one thing stands out. It is this new reality of people being bothered by everything and nothing all. Let me explain. People love kitten photos and will wage an all-out war on someone who harms an animal – yet will remain silent if later faced with an update on another black child being killed in Chicago. They rant about a lack of manners and etiquette at the gas pump or in the supermarket, but fail to see how their political or racial rants may be just as lacking in the aforementioned.

While it’s not my job to tell people what they should or should not concern themselves with, it appears to me that we give much more credence to the mundane annoyances we all experience and actively choose to be “unbothered” (as the younger generations say) with facts, integrity, human life and any other virtuous elements that define and illustrate our humanity or lack thereof.

I have heard of friends who were unfriended from posting too many times about the deaths of black kids or the #blacklivesmatter movement, yet they were perfectly acceptable to remain in everyone’s timelines when they posted exploitative twerking videos of people behaving poorly or providing outlandish comic relief.

Double standard much?

I get it! We can’t be all world news, politics, and serious causes 100% of the time. I completely get the need for mindless activities. On this fact alone we may agree. However, there is some serious stuff going on in the world at the moment. I wonder if we would be better off if we all took a few moments from our day to acknowledge the relevance of the human interests of our time. What if we spent fewer moments concerned about the minuscule annoyances we experience day-to-day like no Wi-Fi or an inconvenient flight? Would we then have the time, empathy and energy to digest the societal concerns that require our attention?

By the way, this doesn’t just extend to the digital realm either. I encounter far too many people who are complaining about a plethora of situations and injustices. Again, we all complain. The bigger question is: what is the value of complaining and how does it impact or change what is bothering us? It doesn’t change anything. In my humble opinion, we need to be so bothered by the atrocities of the moment that we actually do something about it. It’s called activism and right now we have a lot of people passionate about being right and uneducated in the facts that inform our reality. The result of this is: an alternate realm of reality where everything that truly matters becomes a nuisance and the things that have little societal or moral value wins the hearts and minds of the masses.

Indecision is a decision. Inaction is an action. Sometimes silence feels like the safest bet when you are trying to decide whether you should risk your reputation to assume an unpopular position. The problem is you are gambling away your values and morals too. It is quite the dilemma, but worth evaluating.

I recently chatted about Feminism in 2016 on my Periscope show “Ask Czarina Live™”. I shared the perils of being a “me” generation and the limits of “social media activism”.

Watch the episode below and share your thoughts about my concept of “being bothered by everything and nothing at all”. I want to hear from you.

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Growth and Imperfection

Image courtesy of LiveLifeHappy.com

Image courtesy of LiveLifeHappy.com

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 22 of 31-Growth and Imperfection

When I look back at what I have shared so far, I realized that it is a testament to growth, imperfection, and limitations. I promised you 31 days of me and you got 22 days. A little dishonest, perhaps- but it wasn’t on purpose. I aimed for 31 days until I realized that doing this would mean two things:

1) I would be writing 7 days a week. Which after writing 5 days per week I was completely drained and needed recharge. I’m an introvert and this is what happens. Not an excuse, but the truth.

2) I was also participating BlogHer’s March NaBloPoMo challenge. They only require writing Monday through Friday. In other words, I would have been doing more than what was required or truthfully needed.

Here’s what I have learned:

There are limits to how much I can share of myself. I had an idea, I shared, I discussed and realized some limitations in the interim, but most importantly I showed up. I did the best I could. I am imperfectly, limited and growing through my work, life and all the experiences in between. I know where I’ve been and how it informs who I am today. I have some ideas of who and what I want to be in the future; but recognize that even that vision has limitations. My roots are deep and my branches are growing in many different directions. That is after-all both the mystery and zest of life.

I hope you have taken away nuggets from this series that you can use in your own life. That was my sole intention and if I accomplished at least that- nothing else matters.

In case you missed any of the posts in the series, here is a comprehensive list of them all:

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Time

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Living With Purpose

31 Days, 32 Revelations: The Distraction of Ignorance

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Silent Sentinel

31 Days, 32 Revelations: A Little Bit of Faith

31 Days, 32 Revelations: A World of Dishonesty

 31 Days, 32 Revelations: Green-Eyed Bandits

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Digital Snobbery

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Chin Up, Dear!

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Blossoming In Time

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Knowing When To Move On

31 Days, 32 Revelations: What Checks and Balances?

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Playing The Game Is Played Out

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Ask Questions Even If It Kills You

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Innovation Ego

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Life Data

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Striving For Quality of Life

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Happily Different

 Czarina’s Lesson: Growth is a journey not a destination.

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Happily Different

Image courtesy of DesignUrge.com

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 18 of 31-  Happily Different

People that have known me my entire life or the better portion of my life will usually have one thing to say about me consistently. That thing is: “I am wise beyond my years or as one of my dearest friends says “I was grown from the gate.” I have always had sensibilities, knowledge and common sense about things that were beyond what most would expect from someone my age. Perhaps it is a gift or maybe I have been here before if you believe in that kind of thing. I will say this- it is a sort of purgatory that you live in when you are like me. On the one hand, you think, do and say things that no one else in your age group is prepared for and that can cause you to be alienated or misunderstood by people when you are younger.

As a child, I was never friendless, but I think I was an enigma to many and slightly off-putting. As an adolescent and young adult, I infuriated many older people in my life because I was often reasoning and thinking about things on a level that they weren’t able to being 10, 20, 30 years older than me. Even now as I approach my 32nd birthday this week, I find my way of thinking is an acquired taste.

That said, what is abundantly clear to me is being wise beyond my years really just boils down to me being different. I have been happily different for the better part of my existence (sometimes less or more so- I’m human). However, I never cared if people thought I was a nerd or lame, because I was smart. I couldn’t care less when kids had jokes, because I was wearing blazers in the fifth grade when others were wearing well- kids clothes. I’m the gal that hears fun when someone says quirky- I dig unique people. Just the other day, my mom was at my house and I was playing some Afro-Beat tunes and she exclaimed” “what are you listening to?” I simply replied: “Music.”

When I look around, I see a lot of duplicates- people of all ages lost in the sauce and losing the very things that make them unique. It’s sad to watch, because they are essentially crushing the divine gifts they have been given to conform to fads, standards, and trends that are constantly evolving and changing. My message for today is embrace what makes you different. Sure it might be uncomfortable at times when everyone else is copying and keeping up appearances, but think about how free you will feel.

 

Czarina’s Lesson: I’d rather walk alone in my uniqueness than in a crowd as a clone.

 

Are you like me? I want to hear from the old souls, quirky, crazy, upside-down thinkers. Let’s celebrate what makes you different.

31 Days, 32 Revelations: Striving For Quality of Life

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Series Introduction

Every year, I like to find a different way of celebrating my favorite day: my birthday. Since I am turning 32 next month (I know…awww…), I’ve decided to share 32 revelations I have had during the course of my life about everything from life in general to business. Think of it as daily inspiration for you and therapy for me. It is a challenge for me, because I don’t think I have ever published a post everyday in the entire existence of The Aristocracy of HR. Plus, I recognize that while I am fairly generous in sharing on social media and here, I have only just scraped the surface on sharing who I am when I’m not pontificating how HR and Business can do better. Let’s use the month of March to get to know one another better. I hope at the end of the month, you walk away with something you can use in your own life or business.

Day 17 of 31- Living Simply

A few years of ups and downs, twists and turns and a few failures will whip you into shape emotionally and personally. It is as if hurdles were strategically placed throughout my journey to provide new insights and perspectives. This has been my life the past few years. Even my horoscope speaks about this “period of renewal” I have been dragged through for the past four years. Allegedly, I am at the end of the cycle and moving into smoother waters now. Good, bad or indifferent, I have figured out that I want to live a simple and peaceful life.

I am convinced that the pace here in the US allows for one scenario for us working Joe’s and Jane’s- you work and work and work, pass go retirement and then you die. I know that sounds terrible, but the reality is we live and work in a country obsessed with work, material possessions and money. Don’t get me wrong I have an appreciation for all three. I just think there is more to life than racing around frenetically trying to be the fastest, the best, or appearing to be successful when all you’re really doing is killing yourself.

Before I started working for myself, my schedule was frenetic and unsustainable. My days went like this:

I was up at 5am. Had to bathe and dress three kids. Drop my two little ones to day care (on days when my husband was held over- my trips were in three because I had to get the oldest to morning care), deal with the daily HR headaches, breast-feed, pump additional milk so I kept enough for home and work, leave work at five pick up the youngest two, then race across town to get my oldest from after-care with sometimes a minute to spare before I was charged a late fee. I would get home have to do homework at 6:30pm- while finding out how school was and cooking dinner. After we read, said prayers and everyone was settled, I started my second job which was to continue building my current business- writing blog posts, creating scopes of work for potential clients, taking client calls and working until approximately 2am many days.

To be fair, I knew my first full year in business was going to be rough because I was working two full-time jobs. Ultimately, my intended rise up the ranks at the day job wasn’t worth it and neither was the paycheck. I have not only gone into business for myself, but I am altering my life for simpler joys these days. I meditate, I’m having fun, I’m more alert and attentive where my children are concerned and  I work how and when I want. In return for a simpler life, I made a lot of sacrifices. I never knew that was part of my journey when I left my day job. Apparently, I was due for a complete overhaul.

I am grateful to finally be living and not just existing. I used to feel like I barely had time to enjoy my home (that I pay quite a bit for). Now I’m enjoying it.  Life isn’t a complete bed of roses, but I am finding ways to make things simpler and less frenetic for myself -because I deserve a better me and so does my family. I guess I am striving for a better quality of life.

I know I’m not alone in having experienced this frenetic lifestyle that we all have grown accustomed to. To prove my point, check out the chart below from Social Progress Index to see how the U.S. is lagging on quality of life. Pay particular attention to “Health and Wellness” as well as “Tolerance and Inclusion” along with other indicators .

 

What kinds of things are you doing to make your life simpler? 

 

Czarina’s Lesson: Life should be an inner-body experience not an outer-body experience. Live-don’t just exist.

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