What makes a "good" mom?

I was asked recently to define for myself what it means to be a good mother.  I was asked a week and a half ago, and I have still really, really struggled to figure it out. To be honest, in most aspects of my life, I'm a pretty competitive person and I struggle with comparing myself to other people. But in this example, I don't really compare myself to other moms and I really do focus on what makes me feel like I'm being a good mother. And honestly, I still don't know what it is.

Could this possibly be why I often feel like I'm failing?

Growing up, my mom always said, quality over quantity. She was a working mom and she was not able to come into the classroom all the time, although I don't really remember the other moms that did but I suppose they were there.  I do remember that she was always there for field trips and special events and things like that. And part of me knows that that is what I need to do, but the other part of me thinks that I just want to be at everything. I don't want to miss a minute if I can help it.  On the other hand,I like not being with my kids sometimes, I like the time off and the break and moments to think that work often provides. On the other hand, I don't want to miss anything at all. And at this point I think I've run out of hands. 

I struggle with this partly because I think it's good for the kids to have other people, or go with friend's parents, or to have someone else take them somewhere or watch them.  I have fond memories of riding in the back of friends' parents' station wagons or mini vans.  I don't remember what we were doing or where we were going but I know my mom wasn't there.  I actually think it's good for them and so, in a way, I think I'm being selfish to not want that.

My goal as a mom (because you know I love to set goals) is that my kids are independent and they can go around the world and feel comfortable to follow their dreams.  That they're kind and compassionate people.  Of course I want to achieve this by never letting them go and tucking them in every night for as long as they let me.  I want to read them books every single night.

What I think it really comes down to is that I want to be reliable.  I want them to be able to depend on me.  I want them to know that if I make a promise, I will keep it.  I just have to figure out how that actually translates into every day actions. So, there you go. I figured it out.   Except now I think I have more questions than when I started.  

Like what does reliable look like to me and how does that differ from a 4 year old?

First Friday Faves

First Friday Faves are already here and man it has been quite a month.  Here are some of my favorites that I plan on enjoying the month of July.

Class Mom  

This book is funny.  And true.  Perhaps an exaggeration on what being a class mom is like but its definitely based in a little truth.

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Maine Isle Flip Flops

A summer classic.  

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Nellie and Joe's Famous Key Lime Juice

This is my fave because it makes really great key lime pies and its not too bad with the mojitoes either.

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Hysteria

I'm a bit of a podcast junkie and my go to pod casts are definitely from Crooked Media.  Check out the new one Hysteria.  All women, all the time.

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Lawyer Moms of America

So, a few of us have been a little busy over the last few weeks...check us out and join us!  The dream of what America can be is still worth fighting for.  So are those children.  There is no such thing as other people's children.  

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#WhyIFight

Why I fight.

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Because I grew up watching the Cosby Show and Family Ties and I thought those worlds were real.

Because I thought that a woman could be anything a man could be.

Because I thought that our country provides refuge to those who need it.

Because I thought that we were the good guys.

Because I thought we got rid of the Nazis and racism was gone and segregation was over.

Because I was so very wrong.

Because today I watched a parade where everyone.  EVERYONE. was celebrated.

Because people waved their flags at the same time as reminding their neighbor that there is an election coming up in November.  

Because I don't believe helping others reach their goals means my kids won't have the same chance to reach their own goals.

Because I read the Declaration of Independence and it demands that we hold our government accountable.  That we demand better.  And perhaps the writers were concerned only for white land owning men but I say we can do better for EVERYONE.

Today at the parade a little boy had a sign that said "Try America Try".

And that's what we have to do right?  We have to try to do better.  We have to try every day.  I'm not going to pretend that the US is perfect.  Its far from it.  Its imperfect.  Its so imperfect.  But we're all imperfect.  I'm not going to give up on it.  Not now.  Not ever.  I'm going to keep going.  Keep pushing her.  Good old America.  Its #WhyIFight.

Don't be numb. Don't be silent.

Something has been weighing on my heart for the last few days. I've been meaning to write about it for awhile but its always late and I push it off to the next day.  

For the last, almost two weeks, a number of other lawyer moms and I have been putting together a day of action concerning the separation of migrant families.  Like most of America we are outraged by what is going on, both as lawyers and moms.

Before I got so involved I kept thinking about myself as a child reading books about Germany before WW2.  I remember thinking that I would have been a brave person to speak out.  I would have stood up.  I wouldn't have been silent.  And yet there was watching atrocity after atrocity happen in our own country and I was in fact being silent.  I needed to be able to look my kids in the eye 30 years from now and say I tried.  I did the best I could.  I wasn't silent. 

But lets be honest.  I have been silent.  I have been complicit.  I have looked the other way sheltered by the way our country has treated People of Color.  Sheltered by my white privilege.  I have been able to choose when to look and choose when to look away. 

I refuse to look away ever again.  I also refuse to be shocked.  If you are shocked about the way our country is treating these migrant families then you haven't been paying attention.  We as a nation have treated the poor, the new, the people of color horribly.  We have stolen their land.  We have shipped them off to camps.  This is not new.  It is just recent and for that it is shocking. 

I want to pledge to you that while I am focused right now on the migrant families I will not look away again.  I will not be silent again.

It is time that we say enough is enough.  We won't be numb.  We won't be shocked.  We will use our voices to stand up for people in this country who have been forgotten time and time again. We will not go back.

Step one to a capsule wardobe

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Capsule wardrobes are all the rage.  Okay I don't actually know if they are all the rage but they were at some point, recently.  One thing I loved about being pregnant was the limited options of clothing.  It made life so easy.  I always swore that when I got down to that ideal weight I would get myself a great capsule wardrobe.

Well, about two months ago I had the most uncomfortable day.  I did not like what I was wearing at all.  I wrote about it here:

Today was one of those days. Insecurities ran high. Self doubt. Comparisons to myself and others. 

Most of the day was spent running the kids around. I didn't feel comfortable or confident in what I was wearing. I would see other moms who looked like they had it all together. Cute outfits. Not chasing all of their kids. I would do math in my head. "She had a baby a year older than mine so technically she's not doing better than me. Oh, she had a baby just 6 months ago. Look how good she looks." This was my day. Add on a 4 year old who would not listen. AT. ALL. and it was a long day. 

Now before you go saying stuff. Let me jump right in and say what I was saying to myself as much as I could all day. I know I needed to hear it. Maybe you do too.

Just because someone looks put together and smiling on the outside doesn't mean they are. Everyone has their own cross to bear. Everyone has their own struggles. You can't compare yourself to others. You don't know their lives unless you have walked in their shoes. 

And as for me. Well, I am strong. I am healthy. My body is miraculous. I would take every extra pound, every feeling of insecurity for those three special little boys. I am one of the lucky ones. I am blessed. I am not defined by the number on the scale or the size of my pants. I am my harshest critic and I need to be kinder to myself. I would never treat someone the way I was treating myself today so why did I let me. My arms can carry kids and groceries and give excellent hugs. My body is good for snuggles and my feet are perfect for chasing after little boys. 

I am enough. Today. Today I am enough. No matter what my future size I will be enough. There is not if or when or butt. 

I am enough. You are enough.

Of course I got a ton of great feedback and of course I felt good and empowered.  But I still didn't like my clothing.  I still didn't feel good and I knew I would spend the summer stressing about what I would wear  Well, I have a friend who swears by just wearing black dresses every single day of the year.  That might be too small of a capsule for me, mainly because I live in the north east where its cold in the winter.  I did think there was something to this black dress thing because who doesn't feel good in a black dress.  I already had some black dresses and I bought a few more cheap ones (thank you Old Navy and Amazon).  I'm not going to lie I did have to learn about what to do with thigh chafing because a dress every day meant there would definitely be thigh chafing.  Once I sorted that out I was off to the races.

And OMG it is amazing.  Totally amazing. Any day I'm not working, and even some day I'm working, I'm wearing a black dress.  Sometimes with flip flops.  Sometimes with heels.  A hoody.  A jean jacket.  A blazer.  sneakers.  Whatever.  It is sooooo simple and amazing.

We will see how the summer goes but I think i'm going to like this.  Once the test of the summer  is over than we can go with the winter.  I'm thinking a couple cardigans, a blazer or two, black pants and of course my black dresses.

Stay tuned...half way to check this off my 18 in 2018 list.

I love habits...yes, its true.

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I used to proudly claim that "I'm not good with change."  As if that was some sort of badge of honor.  As if not being good with change was a good thing.  Now I embrace change.  I lean into it.  I know that with change comes good things.  That being scared is good.  

That being said, I love habits.  I love the routines.  I'm not exaggerating.  The word love is not an exaggeration here.  I embrace my habits.  At least if they are good habits.  I try to get as many good habits as possible because if I make good habits it means I don't have to think about it.  Its hard to make good habits but its not hard to keep good habits.  Once you've got them you can keep them.  (Current good habit I'm trying to work on is going to bed early...obviously I'm less than successful.)

The habits.  Our daily routines.   The simple things.  Right now they are what make up the fabric of our  lives.  Because lets be honest, with three little ones life is unpredictable enough.  (I mean we found three bugs they put in a box for toothpaste today because they thought it would make a good home.)  

Sure I dream big.  I set goals.  But that doesn't mean I don't find the joy and magic in my every day. I try to find the magic in the simple things.  Like a hot cup of tea.  Or a beautiful pebble.  (Or at least beautiful to me.  I love a rock collection.)

So lets keep dreaming big.  Keep setting goals.  But lets find the joy in the in the simple things.  In our habits.  If you do you will be forever grateful.  Or perhaps if you are grateful and then you will find the joy in the every day.  

First Friday Faves

First Friday Faves are here because May went in the blink of an eye.  Just a few fun things to kick off the month of June.

For the Love with Jen Hatmaker

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My podcasts consist mostly of political and personal development.  I recently read one of Jen Hatmaker's books and one of Rachel Held Evans books.  As luck would have it they just did a podcast together. 

Blueberries for Sal

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Growing up summer always meant a trip to Maine.  Its been a few years since I've been there but we have a few favorite books about Maine we always read.  This one is my favorite.  

TogetHER Rising

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Glennon Doyle is one of my favorites.  Favorite bloggers. Social media people.  Writers.  And now she is one of my favorite activists.  With her organization she figures out what the serious needs are.  Whether its diapers in Syria or lawyers at the border.  She gets out there and tells it like it is.  

Trader Joe's Watermelon Cucumber Cooler

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This is summer in a bottle.  I'm not kidding.  Over ice.  Over ice with vodka.  Or you know, just on its own.  Amazing.

Only Love Today by Rachel Macy Stafford

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I already wrote a bit about this book.  Its sort of like a daily reader except there is no pressure to read it daily.  It's exactly what it says.  Reminders to breathe more, stress less, and choose love.  Seriously, who can't say yes to that?!

18 for 2018

Its May 30th.  I've used excuse after excuse not do my 18 in 2018 list.  There are 7 months left in the year.  Some things I'm working.  Some things are super aspirational.  Either way, they're on the list.  I've written them down. I'm sharing them with the world.  Time to make a plan to hit these goals.

1. Date night with Nick (each month)

2. Monthly date with boys

3. Monthly featured country

4. Meditate daily

5. 5 alone minutes with each boy each night

6. Learn to play one song on the guitar

7. Finish Wedding Album

8.  Finish baby books and photo organization

9. Weekly piano lessons with A

10. Make a capsule wardrobe

11. Complete and launch course (Goals on the Side)

12. Finish 3 (3!!) Children's books and be an active member of 12x12

13. Read the book shelf

14.  Launch a podcast

15.  Learn to knit (again)

16. Become more involved in activist pursuits

17.  Work hard to pass full day K

18.  Set up seasonal family bucket lists and do them

5 Tips to turn your dreams into reality

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Okay, maybe I oversold this but it.  What I will lay out are 5 ways to turn your dreams into goals.  Not just pie in the sky plans but goals you can reach.  

1.  Think HUGE.  Then think Bigger.  I mean so very big it makes you scared, a little embarrassed, and concerned if you share your goals with anyone else they might laugh.  If its that big then you're in the ball park.  

2.  Get SPECIFIC.  Picture yourself 5 years from now.  What are you doing?  Where are you?  What are you wearing?  Be specific.  Be so specific so that you can see that person.  Talk to that person.  Are you in your same house or somewhere different?  Same job?  Same haircut?  Picture that person that is you.

3.  Make a PLAN.  Pretend that you have all the time in the world.  No money obligations.  No family obligations.  If you had all the time in the world what would you do to achieve that goal.  Would you go back to school?  Get a certification?  Join a gym?  Would you see a therapist or a life coach?  Would you fix your resume?  Would you start a business plan for a coffee shop?   If you could do anything you wanted what would it be?

4.  Break it down into small steps.  I'm talking teeny tiny steps.  5-10 minute steps.  You need to clean up your resume?  Find your old resume.  That's one step.  Search for a resume writer.  That might be 2-3 steps broken down into google, Groupon, etc.  Do a quick search of programs that get you the certification you want.  Whatever the steps are make them really small. 

5.  Write the first 7 goals on your CALENDAR.  (Or type them on your calendar but writing is better.  That's a whole other topic.)

And that's it.  A HUGE SCARY DREAM.  Teeny, tiny steps.  You are on your way.  

Should we be embracing mom guilt?

I've heard it.  You've heard it.  "I work.  I love it. But you know, mom guilt."  "I have to split my time between the two kids sports but I can't be in both places.  You know, mom guilt."  "After all day with the kids I'm exhausted.  I love it but sometimes I just wish I had my own time. Mom guilt."

It seems that moms (me included) revel in this mom guilt.  We use it as a cover for our real feelings.  Like loving being home but needing a break.  Like loving being at work. By constantly covering up our feelings by saying "mom guilt" we are discounting ourselves.  We are discounting who we really are.  We are somehow saying that our true feelings aren't important.

And I get it.  We get frustrated and upset when we're working and our kids are sick and we're torn between 5 different places.  But should we feel guilty?  What benefit does feeling guilty have?

Have you done something wrong before?  Maybe when you were a kid.   Like legit wrong.  Told a lie.  Hurt someone's feelings.  Broken a vase.  And you felt guilty right?  If you were like me it would weigh on you.  The guilty was way worse than the lie or issue.  The guilt would just sit on my shoulders and push me down.  Until something broke.

So here are my questions.  How is that guilt any different than this mom guilt that so many women carry all the time?   What are we doing to ourselves by covering our true feelings with guilt?  These are not hypothetical questions.  Instead they are real questions I want to answer.  When I feel guilty I'm more stressed with a shorter fuse.  Of course one option is to eliminate stress but isn't another solution to eliminate the guilt?  

For that we have to find forgiveness with ourselves.  I'm kicking off my understanding of guilt, forgiveness, and women with The Book of Forgiving and a whole lot of research.

I promise to report back on what I find.  Maybe we don't actually have to feel guilty.  Wouldn't that be a nice weight lifted?

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Align Yourself

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What I have realized in life, and maybe it's something you already know, is that we are all in constant motion. And I don't just mean our bodies or even our minds. But I mean who we want to be, who we are today, is probably not the person that we were a year ago, or even a week ago. And so, what happens is that the things that we're doing on a daily basis may not be in alignment with the person that we are or the person that we want to be. And I'm totally stealing the word alignment from someone who I've been talking to recently, but let's go with that because it has really clarified for me this concept of making sure that my daily actions and daily habits are in alignment with this person that I want to be, and the person that I need to be.

Of course, we're not forgetting the fact that on some levels what I need to be is a wife and a mom and a provider, and I need to make sure my kids are fed and loved and happy. But if we make sure all of that, then I can focus on making sure they're fed and loved and happy by being the person that I truly want to be. And I imagine or rather I know, it's something that I am going to be working on for the rest of my life. 

What I will say is, it's a two-step process that can probably be broken down in 100 steps. But I'm gonna start with two: figure out who you want to be or what you want to be, maybe when you grow up or tomorrow, and then you need to make sure that your behavior is aligned with your actions.  Maybe it's only 15 minutes a day, but whatever your actions are, you need to make sure that they line up with who it is you want to be and who it is you need to be. Your actions, your habits, when you take time for yourself, you need to make sure that they all line up.

I have to say, when it happens — and it's beginning to happen more and more for me — it's like magic, you know? And this is something I imagine that I'm gonna have to keep re-evaluating because the actions that I have been taking recently were for the person that I wanted to be 2, 3, 4 years ago. And that just wasn't working for me anymore. And so now, I'm working on taking actions that have to do with the person that I want to be now, and I've got to tell you, it's pretty great. It's pretty great when things all line up together.

So that's my wish for you today, on this beautiful Friday, is that you figure out what it is that you want to be or who you want to be and you start trying to figure out a simple question:

Does what I'm doing right now line up with who I want to be or is it a struggle for me to do it? 

The Magic Pill: Drink more water!

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There is a lot I don't know for sure.  Right now, today and every day, the biggest thing I don't know for sure is how to get outsides to match my insides.  I've done weight watchers, paleo, 21 Day Fix, calorie tracking, Whole 30, 131, keto.  I've gone for high, low fat, no fat.  I've tried no carb and no caring about carbs.  Honestly I don't know what will work.  After years of not eating enough calories over the years I know what I need to do.  

I need to fuel my body.  No matter what size I am, I want my body to be healthy.  And I don't want to do something that will cause me to yo-yo.  I don't want to lose weight just to gain it back.  I don't want to follow some crazy eating plan just to have one roll and have it all come back.  I don't want to eliminate food from my diet if I don't have to.

So I will keep fueling my body.  I will keep eating healthy most of the time.  I will also do one thing more.   One thing that I have not been great at.  One serious thing.  Are you ready?  Are you excited to find out my life changing plan?

I'm going to drink water.  ALL THE WATER.  No matter what way of eating you do drinking more water is always the first step.  Watch out world.  I've cracked the diet code and I'm drinking more water!

Stay tuned for what I do next week...like eat more vegetables.  

First Friday Five Favorites

When I first started this blog I had a series of First Friday Favorites.  I loved it.  Then I got busy and I stopped.   Well, I'm back on the horse sharing some of my favorite things this month.  Enjoy!  Tell me what you think if you try these out.  

Trader Joe's Coconut Oil

 This stuff.  Amazing.  I use it to cook, moisturize my hands, my face and condition my hair. This time of year as the weather gets warmer the oil gets more like liquid and its easier to use.  Plus, it smells like summer.

This stuff.  Amazing.  I use it to cook, moisturize my hands, my face and condition my hair. This time of year as the weather gets warmer the oil gets more like liquid and its easier to use.  Plus, it smells like summer.

Pod Save the People with Brene Brown

 I'll admit it.  I'm a Crooked Media devotee and when season 2 of Pod Save the People kicked off with Brene Brown I was over the moon.  Go download it and listen.

I'll admit it.  I'm a Crooked Media devotee and when season 2 of Pod Save the People kicked off with Brene Brown I was over the moon.  Go download it and listen.

Moroccan Magic

 They said it was great.  They said I could find it at CVS, Whole Foods and Wegmans.  I searched and I did.  Moroccan Magic is fantastic.  Reasonably priced.  Organic.  American Made.  Go to the store and buy it.

They said it was great.  They said I could find it at CVS, Whole Foods and Wegmans.  I searched and I did.  Moroccan Magic is fantastic.  Reasonably priced.  Organic.  American Made.  Go to the store and buy it.

Dagoba Organic Chocolate

 Because Dark Chocolate is good for you.  That is all.  

Because Dark Chocolate is good for you.  That is all.  

Girl, Wash Your Face

 Walk or run or just get your phone and order it on Amazon.  Either way.  DO IT NOW!  This book is inspiring, tear inducing and totally quotable.

Walk or run or just get your phone and order it on Amazon.  Either way.  DO IT NOW!  This book is inspiring, tear inducing and totally quotable.

Until next month my friends.

Happy May!

Love,

Tovah

May the 5th

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I'm trying to get back into the blogging swing of things.  I compiled a list of great recipes for Cinco de Mayo.  Then I had a thought.  Is Cinco de Mayo racist?  I have no intention of wearing a sombrero or spoofing the country of Mexico but then again I wasn't planning on teaching my kids about the Battle of Puebla.  So I googled "Is Cinco de Mayo racist?" and I came across this great article from Teen Vogue, "Appropriating Cinco de Mayo in a Trump Presidency Is a Bad Idea".  And because Teen Vogue is on point these days I'm taking their words to heart. 

This is a great article and it got me thinking.  I'm not going to pretend that we will not be having tacos at our house on Saturday.  Part of the reason is that we missed taco Tuesday and the boys have been begging for tacos.  Of course, Saturday isn't just the 5th of May, its also Kentucky Derby day.  There will be guacomole and there will be Mint Julips.  

In addition to the food however we will also be learning about the Battle of Puebla.  

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Health and fitness goals- Time to get serious...more serious

Health and fitness goals- Time to get serious...more serious

Time for a little heart to heart about my fitness goals.  My goals should not be tied to the number on a scale but I have to say it is.  I don't feel comfortable in this body of mine.  I feel strong.  I feel healthy.  I don't feel comfortable.  Maybe that's a failure of society or maybe that's just my personal failure but it is what it is.  So this post will talk a lot about weight.  Its not the most important thing for sure.  For me right now though I just don't believe that this weight is the healthiest weight for my bod.  I don't believe that my slow running is the fastest I can do.  If I were talking to someone else.  A close friend for instance I would say, "but how do you feel?  You're healthy and you eat healthy and you exercise so who cares what the number on the scale says?"  The answer?  I care. Maybe I shouldn't, but I do...

Read More

All the books

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Disclaimer....I wrote this on February 1st.  Its February 16th and I'm just posting this.  Actually its February 17th because I fell asleep with the boys and then woke up and wanted to watch the Olympics so its almost 2 am and I'm wide awake.  Anyway...pretend its February 1st with me for a moment.

It's February 1st, which means I suppose I need to get really focused on my goals for this year. I am not totally sure where January went, but it has come and it is gone. Here we are on February 1st and I have not written out my 18 for '18, and I have not shared with you my word of the year, and even my word of the month, but I am going to start doing that now. 

In a series of blog posts, you're going to find my 18 for '18, my word of my month, and then some separate goals and challenges that I'd like to talk about. So, a focus on fitness goals, a focus on certain relationship goals, how they all work together, a focus on career and business goals, and of course a focus on book goals. This is about my book goals.  I've known this goal since about half way through last year.  What can I say.  I love book goals.

Last year, I challenged myself to read 52 books, which means obviously a book a week. The way I was going to achieve that goal was a balance of reading books and a balance of Audible helping me out. I listen to a lot of books while I'm driving, or cleaning the kitchen, or doing the dishes, or running, or whatever. It was a combination of those two things. Of course what it meant was there were certainly books that I chose not to read. 

For example, someone suggested I try the Game of Thrones series. I thought, "Yeah. No, that book is really long. Or books are really long." Or I downloaded a book about the Donner Party, which is actually makes me remember that I want to read that while it's cold.  (better get on that!)  But I listened to an interview on NPR and it was about this man who wrote this very lengthy 16-hour book on the Donner Party and I downloaded it but I haven't listened to it yet because I didn't want to spend the time. There was a lot of sort of choosing wisely, choosing shorter books, and staying away from books that I know that I struggle with. 

So, this year, I have a different set of goals. I have a shelf of books in our bookcase that I have been meaning to read, have started to read, have never finished, and just continue to struggle with. I want to get those books off my shelf. Now, maybe they will be passed along to the next person or maybe they will be put on my shelf of books, of books that I love and I may read it in another point in my life or I may not. Like my Jane Austen novels, and Little Women, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, these are some of my favorite books. East of Eden. These are some of my favorite books that I just want to have a home that has them in my home. 

There are about 15 of these books that have been stalking me for years. Now, not every single book here is been waiting to be read for years and years. Some of them are just books that I have picked up in the last year or two and I just want to get them off my plate, but a number of these have been here for a while. Passage to India, I've made it to about page 70 in that book and I've never finished it. The Good Earth, Beloved, these are total classics and the problem is as often with many books, you need to get over that hump before you really want to read them. I just get too tired at night.

This year's really going to be me putting on a priority to find 10 minutes every day to read these books until I get to the point where I'm so excited to read them, I'm devouring them. That eventually happens with most books. Some of these books I picked out because I had friends who suggested them or they were hand-me-downs, but nonetheless they are books that have been on my list to read for a while. 

That is what this year is all about. I have read one book in the month of January, so I'm not off to an excellent start. I have not listened to any Audible books in the month of January, so, once again, not an excellent start. But my goal is to just read as many of these books as I can both because I want to read them but also just to feel like I can check them off the proverbial book list and get them off my plate so I can move onto other books, 

My question for you is are there any books that you have wanted to read for years and years and you've been putting off because if there are, and even better if they're one of the books on this shelf, we can do it together, which I would really love to do, working on this together. So, let me know what books are on your lifelong list to read?  Or do you have a different goal for books to read this year?

Really, I'm going to start journaling...

One of my goals this year is to journal every day. This was my plan. I was going to decide that this was the year of Tovah. This was going to be the transformative year of Tovah, and I was going to journal every single day. Just sit down at night, just going to type a little, just going to state my goals for the day or for the next day. Big plans. I was going to get up at 5 a.m. every morning, just going to work out. I don't know when I was going to meditate, but I was going to meditate. I had a new job, newish. This was great. It was going to be wonderful.

Well, it's February 7th. Let me tell you, I have not journaled one freaking day. Not once. Not once. Once I sat down and I opened up a Google Doc, and that's how far I got. Here I am, February 7th, and I decided, "Let's rip off the band aid. I need to start telling people about these goals of mine, these journaling every day, the year of Tovah." You know, this is the first time that I am going to be hosting a two year old's birthday party without being very pregnant. It does sort of feel like things are opening up for me, because I'll be honest, in the past when I've had a two year old, I have had to remind myself, "Hey, just wait. In a few months, you're going to be back to ground zero. The clock will restart." 

As much I love teeny tiny infant babies, and boy, do I love teeny tiny infant babies, there is something very calming and peaceful about knowing that this is done. That chapter is over. It's sad, it's scary, it's overwhelming, but it also means that not only can I refocus on the year of Tovah, but we can refocus on our family, as a family where we want to do stuff. We're not always running around playing catch up. We're not going to be separating our kids; here are the young ones, here are the old ones. You know, we're going to have three kids two and older, kind of amazing.
      
I feel like I just needed to get pen to paper and get something down. Now, ironically, when I said I needed to get something pen to paper, I'm dictating this. Even if I weren't dictating this, I'd be typing it up, because I don't journal anymore with a pen and paper. Maybe that's my problem. Let's be honest, I want screen times to be less. Maybe this is what I need to do, and actually pen to paper journal. . Now that I'm talking it out a little bit, because isn't this the magic of journaling, literally pen to paper. 

Part of me wants to use this as an excuse to buy a new journal. Let's be honest, I own a lot of journals. When I'm done with this I'm going to go find a journal, I'm going to take a picture of it to show you that I have it, and I'm going to start journaling pen to paper. I don't know why this is a mind-blowing idea. Don't know why I'm just thinking of this now, but nonetheless, I am. Here we go, the year of Tovah, 2018, starting February 7th. Pen to paper. Game time. 

Update:  I've journaled 4 times in the last week.  Victory!!

Do you journal?

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Word of the year is here. Finally!

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Finally I'm going to share my word of the year. (Only 6 weeks in.  Not so bad.)  I've done a word of the year for the last two years. I'm adding a little excitement to this year. I'm kicking it up a notch, and in addition to having a word of the year, I'm also going to have a word of the month. Let's talk about first the word of the year and then my reasoning to have a word of the month. In the past, I have picked one word each year that I have tried to remember and sometimes it's worked and sometimes it hasn't, but it is been there sort of in the back of my head throughout the year. It's just a reminder of what my goals are and how I hope to reach those goals. 

The first year it was ENGAGE, and this is something I still struggle with. Being engaged wherever I am, doing whatever I'm doing. When I have the mom hat on, which is so cheesy, but let's just say the mom hat on, I am engaged with my kids. I'm doing the mom thing. I'm not thinking about work. I'm not spending any of my brain power worried about work, worried about other things. When I have my work hat on or my friends hat, whatever, you get the point, the hats are cheesy, but you get the gist. When I have that focus, then that's what I am focused on. That is what I'm doing and I'm not looking at other things. I'm not worried about other things. That was engaged. 

Last year it was COMMIT, and the purpose of choosing that word was to really focus on committing to my goals and committing to what it was that I wanted to get done, to really throw myself into my job. You're going to find there is sort of a theme. I do pick sort of similar words. This year the word that I've had in my mind really for months and months is SERVE. It sparked my idea. I stumbled upon these bracelets. Actually, I was looking for something else from our trip to New Orleans online, and I came across these bracelets. They're sort of wooden and they each have a word on them. I got thankful. I got serve. I got explore. I have another word that I can't think of right now, but these four words, and I really just liked the word serve. 

I  have struggled over the last year really staying focus on my purpose, making sure that I'm doing best in the relationships that I have with other people. I really like this concept of serving.  Serving my purpose. Serving my goals. Staying focused on that. Serving why I'm here. What am I here to do, and feeling as though I'm really devoted towards this purpose, and also serving my children. I think when you start talking about kids, and husbands, and you use the word serve, it sounds like ... I don't know words that maybe we won't feel comfortable using, that there's some sort of hierarchy that we're putting in place. "I'm here to serve you," but what I really mean is to figure out, am I doing the best that I can do at any moment? Am I serving them in the best way that I can. Mind you, I didn't say, am I being the best mother possible in the wold wide world, but just am I doing the best I can at that moment. 

What I always remind myself is, and others I hope, is that sometimes our best at any given moment is not even the best that we can do on another day. It is what it is, we do what we can, when we can and we're not perfect. But am I really serving our family? Am I serving my husband and focusing on our relationship? As a relationship, we are coming out of the crazy bubble of young children. Obviously, we have really young children, but our youngest is about to be two, which has been in our past, in our world that sort of age, where you should start doing things and really engaging with them in a way that you couldn't before. The family has a little more freedom at that point. You're down to one nap. There's some flexibility on bed time if you have to have it. So flexibility that we didn't necessarily have up until this point. 

In the past, when we hit that two year mark, I have always been very pregnant with our next child. This is a unique experience in that I am not pregnant with no intentions of expanding our family. This can really allow us to reengage and reconnect and really serve our relationship, like we probably should of been doing for the past six years. That is how I came upon the word, serve, and I think it will serve me well.  (hehehe) I hoping to just have it be a guiding post, a guiding light throughout the year. 

Now, as much as I love that word, I have also decided that I need a word of the month, because the months are short. The months are quick and the year goes by so fast February 14th, here we are, crazy. We've just come so fast upon it, so I want a monthly word because it just gives me some fun. I made this decision last week and January is gone, but I've decided to give January a word anyway, because it's what I was doing, which was breathing. Taking a step back, taking a breath in, looking at the year in the past, looking at the future, figuring out what I wanted the next step to be. I'm still doing that, but that was the word that I applied to January. Breath.

I kicked off February with a new word that I am super excited about, and that word is grit. Grit is the word that I'm using. It's just a great word. It's fun to say. I feel feisty just when I say the word grit, so I am excited to see what the word brings. I plan to bring a lot of grit to it. That's what I'm planning on at least. I'm excited to see what this month has to offer (okay with just 2 weeks left!) We're out of the very beginning stages of the year. Now it's time to get to work, get our plans in motion.

I'm excited, so my question for you is, do you have a word of the year? What about a word of the month? How has it served you? How have you found it helpful throughout the year? Do you forget about it by, I don't know,  March or April or is it something that you stay connected with throughout the year? 

A review- Better than Before- #tovahreads

Recently I finished the book Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin and I was really excited to read this book. I had read Gretchen Rubin's earlier book, The Happiness Project, and I felt like I had taken a lot out of that book. I spent a fair amount of time on Gretchen's website, and I, also, listened to her podcast. I felt like, I was really missing out by not listening to her book, Better Than Before. 

It was definitely worth reading but I didn't love it.  While reading it I didn't feel like I was getting much out of it. I was wrong, and we'll get to that, but while I was listening to it, I felt like it was very repetitive, perhaps, because I listened to the podcast, so some of the thoughts were the same. I felt like there was more that I would have liked to have heard, on some things, and less that I would have liked to hear on others. 

That she gave a lot of personal examples, which is one thing I like about her, but one thing I could use less of in the book. I would've liked a deeper dive into the Four Tendencies, which I, actually, think is another book she's coming out with, so I must not have been the only one, but a deeper dive into the Four Tendencies, and, specifically, how each certain type of tendency should deal with another one.  I realized that my husband and I have very different tendencies. I think it would be, incredibly helpful if we learned how to deal with each other.  I need a better understanding. 

That being said, while I wasn't overwhelmingly, enjoying the book when I read it, I am glad that I finished it. I did pick up at the very least, one tip, if not many more, because I do love learning about habits, and the book is more about habits than I realized.

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Specifically, I am looking for ways to put a habit in place. That habit is, I need to take better care of my skin, specifically at night. I need a better nighttime routine both for my hands, my neck, my shoulders, my face. I'd like to look at ways to implement pairing which Gretchen talks a lot about.  My thought is, I put on my pajamas, I do my face routine.  Now, this won't necessarily work, because sometimes I run upstairs after work, and I throw on my pajamas, and I have to run downstairs because the kids are doing who knows what. The other possibility is that when I leave the boys' room, after putting them to bed, I automatically go and do my face. Whatever it is, I need to figure out some way to pair this need with something that is already happening.

That is a pretty big takeaway that I'm excited about. Like I said, I'm excited to implement this. Now, I'm excited to really listen to her podcast and partake in some of the online quizzes that she makes available because I have a better understanding of the four tendencies, as well.

What are you reading today?

XOXO