It’s not as hard as it sounds. Just reach out your hand.
I know that may sound absurd, but I know that many people understand this concept. I know, as many of you do, that there is always something to give. Time, energy, a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, a pat on the back, a kind word, a kiss or a hug. Giving of yourself is truly the best gift of all. It doesn’t cost any money, and it keeps the energy flowing. Since the universe works in full circle, you must give in order to receive.
Over the past year, while in the infancy stages of my business, I have been faced with many obstacles, opportunities, whatever you would like to call them. And, I know that they will keep coming. The difference between now and then? The way I look at life. It’s not a chore, it’s not “hurry up weekend”. It’s a journey.
I have always been told that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. It is amazing when you change your focus, decide to maintain positive energy, and focus on what “really matters” the people that come into your life. And, unfortunately, the people that make their way out of your life. What happens when you welcome these “new” people into your life? They bring the gifts to you, like you have brought to others. You become surrounded by the people that make a difference. Here comes your pat on the back, your listening ear when you feel down, your shoulder to lean on when you think you’ve had enough, and the kind word you’ve waited so long to hear.
What are you going to do the next time you feel like you have nothing?
Lisa Lange, Owner of Reading About Me is a friend of the Our Milk Money organization, and a very generous support to parents and families around Arizona and all over the online community.
There is going to be times where we lose the momentum and we forget what we were working for, but right now we have it, and we feel the energy from all of you. It’s feeding itself. We can see very clearly what we are able to accomplish. This takes everyone’s support. We are giving memberships for only $25 for the year, because right now your passion and excitement is worth more than any amount of money. We will lead you in anyway that helps you stay committed to the over all goal, and your faith in us keeps us accountable – so we thank you for that. We need you just as much as you need us. If everyone does there part, we will succeed as a team. We’d like you to do what you can to adopt our philosophy and our way of thinking. In this virtual world of intra-personal communication, we need to believe that there is a force that binds us all together. I believe it’s the love we have for our children…because, let’s face it, none of knew this kind of love until we became parents. It changed everything about who we are as people and what is ultimately important in our short time on this planet. No matter what you personal goals are for your family, what kind of house you want to live in, the monetary limit you’ve put on yourself to feel successful, we all have our children in common, and no one should ever be able to tell us how much quality time we are able to give to our families. No one’s priorities are more important than yours and your children’s. Sometimes we get confused by what we have to give up in order to have the things we need for our families. “I need to keep working at this terrible job because it allows me to pay for food and clothes for my children.” Throw out that way of thinking! You are in charge of your achievements. You are not in this alone. There are others just like you who are passionate about a real network to give you the support you need. Your team won’t let you down, because you are one of us, we know that you won’t let us down. By helping others, you will be helping yourself. It is your responsibility to recognize the opportunities in which you can contribute, and act on them. Then you can trust and know for certain that when you are in need, someone will be there to help you, too. So many of you have already done exactly that, and we are incredibly grateful to have found you. You’ve told us how excited you are about our mission, you’ve put your faith in us by asking to be a part of a website that doesn’t even exist yet, you’ve written blogs about us, you’ve passed out our fliers, and you’ve referred new members to us. You wouldn’t believe how it’s transformed us, every little thing you have done for us, we’ve noticed and taken it to heart. We are more excited now than even the day we came up with the concept for ourmilkmoney. You helped us bring our idea to reality and we will never forget you for it. It’s the yin and yang, and the balance of the universe. We believe that we can create any environment that we want and the more positive it is, the more inspired we will all be. You have already pushed us beyond what we thought was possible with ourmilkmoney, and because of that we can’t contain our excitement for what lies ahead…whatever that may be. We haven’t bound you to any contract, you don’t HAVE to contribute in anyway, but we trust that you’ll bring something to the table when the time is right. You believe in us, and we believe in you. That is what sets us apart from other organizations, and that is why we will succeed beyond anything else.
Help us to show the world that it is possible to belong to a network that is based on a common goal, and trust in each other. We know that we will be rewarded for our integrity and our commitment to our families and each other. Your success means our success. We can’t do this without a team. YOU are our team. Congratulations on becoming a part of something that matters and may shape the world into something we can be proud of giving our children.
I am grateful to have a roof over my head. I am grateful that we have 2 cars, and even if they are older than the city we live in, we no longer have payments, and we somehow they always get us from point A to point B. I am grateful for who I am, and who I’ve become over the years, and the road I took to get here, no matter how treacherous it may have seemed at the time. I am grateful for my 2 year old son, who took 2 years to be conceived. I am grateful for those 2 years of trying to conceive, because if it was any easier, I might not appreciate every moment I have with him the way I do now. I am grateful that I am able to be my own boss, and to never have to make someone else’s priorities more important than my own ever again. I am grateful that I am able to share my experiences to benefit others, and I am grateful for those who continue to share their experiences with me. I am grateful for the friendships I’ve made through the years. Although some friends have come and gone, I’ve learned amazing things from each unique soul that I am happy to never forget. I am grateful that my husband supports my need to stay at home with our son, even though it meant giving up my once very large corporate salary. I am grateful to see how my son has flourished since I came home to take care of him. I am grateful for the internet, for it has allowed me to connect with so many others just like me who want great things for their children. I am grateful to have met so many wonderful parents across the country who believe in my mission, have joined me in this ambition, and are willing to give what they can to make a difference. I am grateful that I am imperfect, because learning is half the fun, and each day I am able to grow wiser and more knowledgeable. I am grateful for my health and the health of my friends and family. Even when we are sick, we find ways to heal, and each illness makes us stronger. But most of all, I am grateful for the life I have yet to live, for each day brings new lessons, new reasons to laugh and cry, and new insights to the mystery of my purpose on earth.
The storm did stop, but it rained on and off for a few weeks after that- the kind of drizzle that makes you feel like you can’t get out and accomplish anything, and the moment you try, it’s such a big dramatic event, you decide not to attempt it again until there is the slightest bit of sun poking through the sky. These dark and dreary days were the days I realized I was turning into a hermit in my house. There was only so much conversation I could have with my 15 month old, the house was cleaner than a hospital and my laundry had been folded and sorted by color 15 times since breakfast, and it was only noon. I was bored. I didn’t miss work, and the stress of leaving my son in that awful daycare, or the boss who wouldn’t let me leave 30 minutes early to go pick him up. But I did miss my friends. I missed the excitement of the day to day, and the gossip, which surrounded me on a daily basis working at a network television studio. I needed friends. Although I had lived in my house for 4 years, I’d been commuting into the city for work, and my social life. I didn’t know a single person in my community. I decided to join a play group. As selfish as this may sound, this group was more for me than for my son, and with every outing we made, you could probably tell how desperate I was. You would have thought I was a teenager starting in a new highchool mid semester. Every day I woke up excited of all the possibilities. I spent time researching our local paper and internet for activities and made a list of all the things we would attend together. Every morning I got us both dressed in our cutest baby and mommy outfits, paying extra attention to details such as dressing down enough to be the perfect stay at home mom, while applying my make-up flawlessly and practicing my “friendly smile” in the rearview mirror while in the car in route. Although the rain and stopped, the clouds were still following me around as I desperately tried to attach myself to a group that I could connect with. I was still used to my friends and colleagues at work, the artsy entertainment folk, most of whom didn’t have kids, or if they did, left the raising of them to a nanny or a relative. Perhaps I seemed too eager to make friends. I’d sit in the mommy and me groups participating, singing, laughing, commenting on the other children, and rarely got much response from the other moms. I imagined them going home together, getting on their cell phones and laughing about the “new mom” who was obviously trying to hard. Perhaps I’d seen too many movies and TV shows about Desperate Homemakers, but since I wasn’t yet at ease in this new culture, those fictional stories were all I had to draw from. I began to wonder if I’d been living in a vacuum for 4 years, and since I’d been commuting, I hadn’t noticed the zombies that were living next door. I couldn’t imagine myself ever being this cold to another human being. No matter what group I belonged to, I’d always made the newcomer feel welcome, and most of the people I’d known up until this point all would have done the same. What was wrong with these people? Did the koolade in this town turn stay-at-home moms into Babylonians? Would I eventually become one of them? I imagine a modern day version of Stepford Wives, except that our only form or communicating with one another was singing, “Come on everybody it’s parachute time” to the tune of “the wheels on the bus go round and round.” Everyday while getting my infant son and I ready for the day, I’d remind him, “today, we are going to go out and make some friends today!” I was determined. Finally after 2 very long months of wondering if I’d ever fit in to any of the mom groups, I broke down and asked one of the teachers at a Mommy and Me class we’d been attending. Actually, it was just after she approached me to thank me for always being so smiley, upbeat, and participating in all the songs and activities, despite the obvious fact that I was being so rudely ignored. I hugged the teacher her with such relief and thanked her for noticing what a struggle it had been for me to fit in! “Please,” I whispered, “Tell me where all the ‘cool’ moms are!” She put her arm around me and said, “you didn’t hear this from me. Show up to the music class 9:30am on Friday.” It was as if I was getting a secret tip in Vegas to take part in an underground operation. I was so excited I could hardly wait. Friday arrived, and I discovered exactly what I’d been looking for. A group of women just like me- just my age, first time moms, incredibly happy to be right where they were in their lives, and thrilled that I wanted to “play” with them. That day, the sun burned through the clouds for good. And it didn’t rain for the rest of the summer. Now, when it does rain, I have a nice cozy group of mommy friends to spend time with, and our kids all get along great too. This rainbow was definitely worth the storm that created it.
Becoming a stay at home parent is like culture shock. At least, I believe it is after you’ve already been a working parent in the corporate world. Had I gone straight to staying at home when my maternity leave was over, it may have been easier to adjust, but for me, it was culture shock. Culture shock isn’t such a bad thing. We adjust, we always adjust, and most of the time we realize AFTER the adjustment period that every electric zap to our system, no matter how painful, was worth it. Infact, I am beginning to see after everything I’ve experienced in the past 3 years, that in order to reach a cleaner and clearer destination you have to wade through waters of muck and filth. I like to call it the storm before the rainbow. I’ve been using that analogy very often these past few years. We had a “storm” before the rainbow while trying to conceive my son. You can read about my husband’s perspective here.
There was a storm when I and found a less than warm welcome back to work upon my return from maternity leave, but then the rainbow appeared as I got back into the swing of things and was recruited to a new department. There was a new storm when my new department laid off our entire team just 2 weeks after recruiting me. The wind and rain were fierce with fear and horror as we tried to figure out how to exist without my corporate income, and once we realized we could subtract daycare expenses, and survive on severance and unemployment, the rainbow emerged. I had a #$^(*$ storm when I started my stay at home status and realized I didn’t know how to care for my child because the terrible daycare I had him in refused to tell me anything about the details of his day, his schedule, what he ate, or when he slept. That was much like going through a 2nd post-partum. My husband received many panicked calls from me that first week sobbing, “We should just give him back to them. I can’t even take care of my son as well as that awful daycare.” What I didn’t realize is that the rainbow had already begun to form. As the days wore on, I began to settle into this new culture. It began to fit me so well, I wondered if I ever truly fit into the old culture of being a working mom. My son and I began to bond more than ever, and I was amazed at how he began flourishing. He never battled me on nap time, and it almost seemed as if he was happy to go down, knowing that I would be there when he woke up. My husband came home to a full cooked meal every night, a refrigerator filled with food, and his laundry done. So the only thing left for him to do was spend quality time with us until bedtime. This was the culture I belonged to, and I decided that I was going to stay. The rainbow that has filled our lives has burned so brightly since then, that no storm has every come close to washing it away since then. I wonder sometimes if others have this same rainbow in their lives, but they forget to notice it because it’s always been there. Or maybe, there truly does need to be a storm sometimes before the rainbow can exist. If we hadn’t struggled to get where we are now, how would we know that it’s better over here? It’s times like these that I am glad for the dark times, as much I am the bright sunny ones.