Ever sat down to lunch or dinner with that person that knows you better than you know yourself? If you haven’t, then you are depriving yourself.
In my case, I have a great group of friends that like to shake their finger at me from time to time. Does that sound familiar? You know that moment when you’re chit chatting about the kids, good times, work, and all the events that you missed out on because you were too busy to attend. Then, somewhere in the conversation one of you brings up something that has happened that they might be struggling with. It happens to us all. The best part of that is, you get an outside opinion or take on what you should do. Sometimes it can be an ugly opinion. Yep, that one. The opinion that you didn’t want to hear but needed to.
I can’t tell you how important it is to have a friend or family member that will set you straight. The funny thing is, you both get an opportunity to help each other. We can’t do ‘life’ alone. It takes a village to raise even ‘us’ as adults. Think about it- We have these preconceived ideas of how life should be, how others should treat us, and how much we are the victim. It is only human. Also, keep in mind that your perspective is almost always tainted by your own feelings or fears. We need each other in order for us to be great versions of ourselves.
With all that being said, remember that an outside opinion is always ‘gold’. Don’t waste another day trying to figure things out on your own. Pick up the phone or send a text to that certain someone that truly knows you and meet them for lunch or dinner. And if you don’t have that support system yet, take the time to invest in and be there for someone else first. The next time, they will do the same for you. Trust me, it is worth the effort. Something as simple as this will undoubtedly make you a better ‘you’.
The other day, I was eating lunch with a friend at Logan’s in Houston discussing all the things I’m up to now. Her response, “Jackie, how do you do it with kids? You have a full time job at the school, a book out, another book in the making, you’re blogging, coaching kids in soccer, you run everyday, and now I hear you are shooting motivational videos!” I was flattered but not surprised. I got this a lot. My answer? I don’t give one. I just shrug and smile. Heck, I don’t even know how I do it. I just do. I’ve just always been like that. But I can tell you I learned something important from a very smart lady years back before I had kids. I learned how to be a mother and have it all too as the saying goes.
My story goes back to my teenage years sitting in Piccadilly at the Prien Lake Mall in Lake Charles, LA. My grandmother, who raised four kids while working as a librarian at the local college, used to give me pointers on raising kids long before I ever knew I wanted any. She would look around at all the mothers and grimace. Then, she would complain about how these moms would do everything for their kids. She would say, “Look, Jacqueline (she was the only one that called me by my full name), isn’t it sad how these moms do everything for their kids? Not only are they not teaching their kids anything, but they are also wearing themselves out. You know kids that age do most of the labor on country farms.” I would tear into my crab salad trying to get her to change the subject. But she would continue on and on about how she raised her kids to be independent, and how I should do the same from the very beginning unless I wanted to give up all I worked for to be their handmaid. I wanted so badly to roll my eyes, but I wouldn’t dare. Grandma was a face slapper!
Before everyone criticizes her, I want to point out that that was the same woman that graduated high school early at fifteen, graduated from LSU with a Master’s in Chemistry, and then tried to get a job working in a science lab only to be repeatedly turned away because she was, take a guess, a woman. Which was typical back then, it was the fifties. She just wanted me to embrace the opportunities that I had that she didn’t.
Well, I had my babies, three of them, and decided to do the one thing I thought I’d get disowned for: ‘be a Stay at Home Mom!’ The day I told her, she just stared at me for a second and asked, “Jacqueline, you have a business degree and a great job as an Accountant. You can still work and raise them too. You can do it all, so what is the problem?” After I explained to her where my heart was at the time, she actually smiled. She told me it was the right thing to do because a woman’s heart always prioritizes the most important thing in their lives, their children. SHOCKER!
So, I followed my heart and sacrificed my career for what I thought was important. However, I still taught my kids to do as much for themselves as they could like she instilled in me. They had chores, helped with cooking, yard work, etc… So much so, I got incredibly bored. What does a career woman do when she is accustomed to being busy and finds herself not so busy anymore? She starts a business from home. I started a cake business. By the end of the first year, I was baking twenty five cakes a week for birthdays and weddings. And guess what? I taught my kids the ropes too. My kids learned how to bake, decorate, and help with wedding setups. It was a family affair. I continued to stay home with them for another seven years before I ventured back into business.
I don’t regret my time home with my babies, at all. But I did learn a thing or two about how working moms pull it off because of what my grandmother taught me back in that Piccadilly over a crab salad- That we need to teach and expect our kids to help the family too. However, the biggest lesson I picked up from her then and through the years, was that a woman can do it all as long as we don’t sacrifice what is really important and what makes us happy-our hearts and our dreams.
I do juggle a lot, but it is what makes me happy. When I’m happy, my family is happy. On top of all that, I’m instilling the same values in my daughter.
Whether you stayed up late wrapping/putting gifts together or you had a few too many glasses of the good stuff Christmas Eve with family, I hope you are well rested to enjoy your Christmas Day now. For me, it was the latter. However, I planned everything for this holiday season down to the very last detail so I could enjoy this day for a change. In fact, a local gift store helped Santa wrap all the gifts ahead of time, with a little extra coin, but it made it easy. Meal prep for today was done Sunday, and the kids were required to mop, vacuum, and dust for me as part of their chores. Oh, and I allowed them to shove unfolded clothes into their drawers this time, because we had no time to actually fold them. But that’s okay, at least the guest room is officially uncluttered for our arriving guests. That’s a good thing, right?
So I woke up, watched the kids open perfectly wrapped gifts, drank coffee to ease the headache, and then headed to the kitchen. I thought cooking was going to be a breeze. I was wrong. My turkey was still frozen, because I misread the label stating how many pounds that darn bird was. It wasn’t twelve pounds. It was a twenty-one pound turkey. And I swear, I am not dyslexic. But dang it, no way! This was a problem because my parents would be arriving in less than four hours for lunch. Epic fail. Ugh!
So the lesson is that no matter how much planning you do, something is going to go wrong. My solution this time was to pour more coffee, think to myself, “Such is life”, and call the parents. Looks like lunch has become dinner and Ho Ho Ho, now wine will be the beverage of choice.
Shirley S. (Amazon Review 5 out of 5 Stars!)
Phoenix: Field of Mars was better than I expected. The genres listed were Romance, Inspirational, Historical Fiction, and a bit of Science Fiction. I am not a Sci-Fi fan and the title almost made me change my mind, but I ready anyway. Needless to say, the planet of Mars has nothing to do with this story. The title referenced the god of war, and you’ll have to read to see why. I was also iffy on the genre combination, but the story delivered all of the above in such an entertaining way that I couldn’t put it down!
The story starts out with Kyla traveling back in time to land right in the middle of a very important mission to save the human race. She tries her best not to stand out in Ancient Rome with the help of the special ops soldiers that decide to take her along instead of leaving her to her possible fate. Romance begins surprisingly during the mission between her and one of the soldiers in a way that had me almost in tears at different points in the book. The story also had a realistic feel in how the characters handled the situations, yet there were some hidden inspirational points behind much of it that really was refreshing to read for a change. However, the author was not overly pushy with any faith. This author actually touched on many different faiths without any biases.
The action was paced well, and the historical facts were very accurate.
Although this novel could stand alone, I look forward to seeing where the story takes us in future installments.
Phoenix: Field of Mars was released into the world Dec. 14th making my dream of reaching the masses with a positive, inspirational message possible. These are exciting times! Get your copy by clicking the link below!