Morning Hugs

In the morning, when it’s me who has to wake up Chaeli for the day, I always try to wake her up with a hug.

She’s not too far off from what I’m like in the morning. I do have the discipline of waking up early but I do it my own way. If some one wakes me up, they better tread lightly?

This morning, when I sat next to her on her bed and gave a soft, singing, “Good mooooorniiiing…” she replied back with eyes closed, “Morning hug… I like my morning hugs.” And so as usual she slowly sat up and we embraced each other, giving her a chance to adjust herself to having to get up.

She then whispered, “I love you, mommy.”

I think that was better than a cup of coffee.

Work Hard In Silence – Let Success Do the Talking

I read this somewhere, recently. I believe the original quote ends with “Let Success Make the Noise.”

I prefer “Let Success Do the Talking.” Because even then, noise isn’t required. One’s hard work will always show without making too much noise anyway.

This has been something that’s really honed in on my professional front. I have been working very hard for many years but these last few months have really challenged me to excel forward. Through it, I have been surrounded by a lot of noise. A lot.

Noise about how much overtime is being put it.

Noise about not having time to take a vacation.

Noise about not getting paid enough.

I, myself, would shrink back into the shadows during these competitive one-up matches. I didn’t see the point. Why would I have to prove that I’m working harder then any other of my peers? Why would I care how hard they are working?

I realized that I don’t really care. It’s none of my business. What matters to me is what I do and the quality of my work. Lessons are made to be learned through both success and failure along the way, and that’s okay. So long as I improve upon these mistakes, I can take pride in my work.

The noise has lessened since. As my work has started to shine through, I’m not being targeted with these one-up matches.

Perhaps simply because, with me, they can not win.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff” But why?

I’m always told not to sweat the small stuff. For the most part, this statement holds true. But what if the sweating the small stuff is a way to practice handling the bigger stuff?

Lately, I’ve learned a very valuable lesson in my personal life. Through the help of therapy, I’ve been able to use ‘the small stuff’ to practice my change in attitude and behaviour within myself.

An example would be whenever my mother would come over and criticize something she sees in our house. Yes, mothers tend to do this and yes, it sounds small. To most people, it probably is small. To me (and others like me), it’s actually quite huge when it’s connected to a history of my upbringing and relationship with my mother.

The first time I realized my mother’s critique wasn’t as devastating to me as it use to be was about 2-3 weeks ago. We had this Easter lily plant in the middle of the coffee table. Completely dead. I think it was dead for at least a week before she pointed this out. And continued being dead for another week or two before my husband finally threw it out.

My mother went on about everything she could surrounding that dying plant. I can’t for the life of me remember what it was that she said – which was a good sign. A year ago,  I would have uncontrollably made a slew of mental notes about every single word she said to me. And then days later, weeks even, be tormented by it all. It was just something I became a pro at because it was the only life I knew since I started to walk and talk.

Though I do recall her saying that we used a perfectly good plate to put the plant on. I only remember this because I thought it was funny – it’s an ugly side plate which we’re going to replace soon anyway.

Anyway, point being, I realized for the first time that while her comments still frustrate and annoy me, I was suddenly able to not beat myself up over her negative reactions. It’s always something I understood in concept but never something I was fully able to believe in myself. And when that evening came and went, I explained to Doug that I finally was able to separate myself from her issues. That everything she was saying in direction of me was really issues she had all on her own.

And that I’m fine. I’m okay. I’m not the disappointment she continually tries to remind me that I am (either intentionally or not – most likely she doesn’t even realize she is doing this). Even if she truly believes I’m a disappointment, she’s wrong. I am my own person – flaws and all.

So I’m glad I did sweat the small stuff all these years. I think it was part of my road to practice on in order to face some of the bigger stuff either presently in my life or whatever might be waiting around the corner.

I don’t feel guilty about sweating the small stuff anymore. The small stuff has proven fruitful to me – rather than casually throwing them off to the side with a ‘meh’ attitude, it’s helped me distinguish what I need to do in the grander scheme of things.

A Lesson for All Mothers and Wives

If you’re a wife/mother like me, you’re probably the “manager” of the household. While holding down a stressful career where you’re always having to prove your skills, you also are in charge of daily management of your family.

What this might involve might differ from one person to another. I manage all our bills, am the go-to person for mortgage and insurance renewal, know everyone’s weekly schedule, social planner, event planner (i.e. birthday parties, mother’s day/father’s day dinner, christmas present shopping list, summer camp registration, etc.) and am the homework police to boot.

The bigger picture of all this – I still think this is due to the fact that society still places different expectations on women than men. On the other hand, when it comes to my own personal life, I see this as partly my fault.

I have been accountable for setting the standards and expectation of each person’s role in my own household. It wasn’t intentional, of course – I just went with what I was good at. I had the talents and skills to remember not just what was on my plate, but everyone else’s plates, and my multitasking skills, compared to that of my husband and so far my daughter, is pretty much outstanding. It was only natural I took on this Manager of Household (and sometimes, Overlord of the Universe) title.

So lately, I’ve been letting go a lot. And it’s evident that both Doug and Chaeli are a little bit lost now that they have to think for themselves. I was actually amazed to see what a difference it made.

For example, in less than a month, Chaeli forgot to bring her gym gear twice (both times when Doug was in charge of taking her to school). In all her four years, she has never forgotten her gym bag. Why? Because I never let her forget. I couldn’t rely on Doug when she was too young to remember herself – Doug’s memory is pretty terrible. So I just took over.

Now, Chaeli is older. And there’s no excuse for her to not remember what she needs everyday for school. And when I’m on a business trip (or just simply in the middle of a big project at work), Doug needs to step up to the plate (especially between shifts when he is not working for a few days).

So perhaps I’m doing this a little later than I should have. But when my health and career started to become more challenged, I realized it’s never too late to correct some bad habits (in all of us).

Things are slowly improving. I let both Doug and Chaeli fail (not without some frustration on my part, mind you – I’m not perfect) but that’s okay. They learn from their failure. It will all work out.