#parenting

Manchester In My Heart

Manchester In My Heart

Yesterday I spent a few hours at my son's middle school in Brooklyn, NY. He's in the sixth grade and was selected to participate in their version of the Junior Olympics. Twenty seven kids (out of almost 500) competed in sporting events in front of their entire grade. They were separated into two teams, the red team and the white team. After almost two hours of high energy, lots of activity and some fancy footwork, the red team prevailed by a small margin. I was later told that this was the first time the red team has won the competition in all the years they've been doing the Jr. Olympics at their school, needless to say Wyatt was very excited about that! It was a great day. The kids were excited, there was a DJ spinning all kinds of great tunes and the teachers and staff were dancing around with lots of energy. The parents of the kids competing were invited to watch the festivities, and I was elated to see so many parents show up on a Monday afternoon to support their kids. It reminded me of the pep rallies we used to have in high school on Friday afternoons before the football games. Lots of chanting and singing and cheering. My heart was full.

Call Your Mother.

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You guys, it's 10:30pm, I've been in Florida since Wednesday, it's Mother's Day and I'm tired. I spent the earlier part of my trip at a conference - which I will write more about in a different post - and the latter part visiting my Mom for her birthday (she turned 70!!!) and Mother's Day. This year is different. My Dad is not here. It's the first birthday celebration she's had without him since she was fifteen (let that sink in). The first Mother's Day without him since I was born twenty something...just kidding, forty four years ago. It's been an emotional and celebratory weekend filled with well wishes from friends and family. She's still trying to figure out her new normal, I have no idea how long that's going to take. We spent the afternoon at the pool where I had the opportunity to listen in to several different conversations between a few groups of women. The recurring theme of them all was whether or not they had heard from their children for Mother's Day. I myself got my phone call during breakfast since my boys are not with me, they're off the hook this year! As I sat and listened one woman was talking about how she had yet to hear from her kids, and another told me that her daughter had to call her son to remind him to call their mother, I looked at the clock and it was well into the afternoon. Wait, what? You haven't heard from your children yet? Are they incapable of picking up the phone and making a call? What's going on?

Here's the thing people - call your mother. It's that simple. She's not looking for anything extravagant, perhaps a card in the mail as an added surprise, but the very least you can do is make a phone call. TO YOUR MOTHER. You know, the woman who brought you into this world. The one who, regardless of what you think, loves you more than anyone else on the planet. That one. Her. Mom. And don't wait until the day is over - especially on Mother's Day. Call her first thing, this way she can have a smile on her face all day long instead of having hurt feelings until you do get around to it. Make her a priority.

I have a friend who calls his mother every day. Even if it's for ten seconds to say hi, how are you, he calls. Every. Single. Day. I've heard him tell his friends to call their mothers. His reasoning is this: why not? Why not call your mom every day to say hi. To check in, see how she's feeling, find out what's new and all that stuff. Sometimes the call will be longer than others. Sometimes she won't be available to take your call, so leave a message. I promise you every time it will be appreciated.

I call my mom every day - has it always been this way? Admittedly, no. Prior to my dad passing away, I would speak with my mom once maybe twice a week. We have a standing call on Saturday morning at eight o'clock. Now that my dad is gone, I make the effort to check in with her every day. To hear which friend reached out to her, to see what she had for dinner the night before. To find out when her next visit to the doctor is. Sometimes she tells me the same story she told me the day before, and that's okay.

My kids are still young. They want to talk to me (well, maybe), they have to talk to me because they live with me and I'll harass them until they do, but for those of you who don't, give your mom some consideration and love. Give her a call. Tell her you love her. Make her day. All the things you remind your kids to do for their mom, you should do for yours.

Being a mother is the most thankless job - our kids want and take from us every day and we comply without complaint (for the most part). We anticipate, we organize, we facilitate, we comfort, we nourish, we teach, we love without expectation of receiving anything in return. It won't kill you to form a new habit and call your mother.

So to all the mom's out there I hope your children did right by you and made that phone call. And that you got to do exactly what you wanted to do today - because you deserve all of it and more. Happy Mother's Day!!

xo

Go Big Or Go Home

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I have a few mantras that I live by - guiding principles if you will - for when I feel like the going is getting tough or if I need a dose of optimism. "Go big or go home" is one of them. I don't remember the first time I heard it, probably during my childhood if I had to guess, but it's been a phrase that comes in handy in a lot of situations. For me it means to rise up, focus and put in all I have to whatever I'm doing. It means there's nothing I can't accomplish. You see, I wasn't always like this - optimistic, driven and unafraid of what was ahead in my journey. I was thinking about it the other day, when did I become this person? HOW did I become this person? The answer didn't magically appear for me either, I had to do some digging until I could remember back far enough.

I can remember being in my 20's and having ideas about what I wanted to accomplish in my life. Things like travel the world, be a successful businessperson, and help others in need. I can also remember people telling me things that made me doubt those ideas. Things like "you don't really think you're gonna do that, do you?" or "that sounds impossible." Until I realized I was responsible for making the choice to rise up to live my own life, I was going to be limited by what others said or thought of my abilities.

The day that all changed was the day I decided to throw caution to the wind and change the course of my life. The day I decided to pack my bags, get in my car and drive over a thousand miles to a new place because I knew it was where I was supposed to be. It was October 1997, I was living in Florida and six months earlier I had met the man I was going to marry. He lived in New York City (I'm originally from NY and always knew in my heart I would move back), was the exact opposite of every other man I had ever had a relationship with, and I knew in my bones from the day I met him that we belonged together. Against all of the naysayers, I did it. I got in that car and I drove to be with him, I left my entire life behind, except to me, my entire life lied ahead.

I realized then, at the age of 24, that I was the one calling the shots - ME. I was the one responsible for my happiness, my well being and my future. It was a valuable lesson and one that I use every day in my work and with my family. I wasn't going to fall into a life I didn't want because it suited others and made them happy. I was going to create the life I wanted with the people I chose.

My story to rise isn't about overcoming a major challenge or a sickness or a difficult parenting situation. My story to rise is a daily reminder that I have a choice. That's something I preach to my children every day. We always have a choice, no matter what the situation. My story to rise is one of strength in believing in myself that I could make it in a new place with a new person. That even though it wasn't always easy, that the bumps in the road would be more difficult than I ever anticipated, I would be able to navigate them and create a life that I WANTED to live.

Have there been days of doubt? You betcha.

Have there been times of trial and tribulation? Absolutely.

But there has never been one day where I thought I was making the wrong decision.

It's 20 years later, I married that guy, we have 2 beautiful boys and a life that hasn't always been easy to manage. I started a new business not that long ago. It's tested our limits in more ways than one, but it has strengthened our resolve to one another and to my belief in my choices.

I tell my kids four things every day:

  1. Be happy
  2. Be kind
  3. Make good choices
  4. I love you

I see them observing how we choose to live our lives to the fullest through example and experiences. I notice them watching us make decisions for our future. I listen to their concerns and answer their questions. Every time my answer is directed toward one of the four things I tell them every day.

Go big or go home - do your best and consider your situation and you will surely rise up to the occasion.

Pay It Forward Friday - The Power Of Forgiveness

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Happy Love Week you guys! I hope you all had a fun, sweet filled, candy covered Valentine's Day!! I started my day with a brand new head cold that's still lingering, but managed to salvage it by having brunch with Will, getting the boys some new books (thanks WORD Brooklyn), balloons and heart shaped sprinkle donuts. It was a good day. And now it's Friday - already - again!! I swear, I will never get over the speed in which time flies. I've been thinking about my pay it forward this week, I was tossing around a few ideas in my head but after doing the #WhyAmIYelling? LIVE! yesterday with my guest, Emily Hooks, I cannot get the topic of forgiveness out of my mind. We had a powerful conversation about the art of forgiveness that I think just about everyone in the world could learn something from. It's a funny thing, forgiveness. It's empowering and emotional. But one thing's for sure, it's necessary - every day. Emily and I talked about learning how to utilize forgiveness in our daily lives. By incorporating it into your daily gratitude or affirmation practice (you do that right?), it can really help you release any kind of negative energy around a person or situation. The key is that you have to learn how to forgive yourself first, then you can forgive the rest of it.

You might be reading this right now thinking to yourself "Krista, you're nuts, I don't have enough stuff to forgive to acknowledge it every day" and my response to that is, yes, you probably do and if not, then good, take a day off. But if you really think about it, even the smallest thing that hurt you today requires forgiveness. For example, my good friend was in her car after picking up her son from school today. While sitting at a stop sign, a group of teenage boys were crossing the street in front of her car and one of the boys decided to do a WWF wrestling move and slam himself onto the hood - FOR FUN - um, what? Leaving a human teenage size body dent on the hood of her (very nice) car. It scared the shit out of her and her son.She called the police and filed a report and is beyond mad at the whole thing. I would be the same way!! But, in order to let it go and not allow it to consume her, she needs to forgive the situation and send some love into the universe for those boys. Easier said than done sometimes, but after my discussion with Emily, necessary to be completely at peace within yourself.

I could go on and on with examples of reasons to add a forgiveness practice into your daily life, but I think you get the idea. By now, you probably know I'm a big advocate for doing mindset work every day. Positivity is something I try to project to the world consistently - yes, of course I have crappy days, that's life, but for the most part, I try to find the silver lining. Forgiveness is an essential part of that, and after my enlightening chat today I am making it a point to use it in my daily routine.

So this week, instead of paying it forward with good deeds, (you should still do that), pay it forward to yourself and forgive. Forgive yourself for anything your harboring and forgive the people or situations that show up from time to time in the back of your mind from years ago, from days ago, from this morning. Forgive your kids for not listening and making you feel like the bad guy for yelling at them. Forgive the nail tech who cut your cuticle and made it bleed. Forgive the guy who cut you off on the highway. That stuff sinks in, even if it seems surface and like it should roll off our backs, a lot of the time those small incidents snowball into larger problems. Forgive them all.

If you want to check out my interview with Emily Hooks, founder of The Forgiveness Academy, click here: https://youtu.be/UbEypwnjU2U

Happy Friday!

xo

 

Fighting Autism - Year #2

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Kicking off love month by spreading some LOVE! it’s time to Pay It Forward!! This week's post is a follow up from last year. I have a good friend who’s 7 year old grandson, CJ was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and they are on a crusade to make sure he receives as many resources as possible to help him reach his goals and dreams. Now, I’m sure most of us know someone who has some form of ASD, the spectrum is vast. In CJ’s case, his mom, Janita was on top of it as soon as she saw signs of a developmental delay. CJ has an older sister, Mya, and he wasn’t keeping up with hitting milestones the way she had as a baby. Janita and her husband Chris have been committed to making sure CJ gets all the help he needs when it comes to schooling and advancement. They will jump through any hoop, fight any denial and bust through any road block when it comes to CJ. Quite frankly, every parent I know that has a child with a form of ASD deals with hoops and road blocks every day. It’s exhausting, frustrating and time consuming. It’s a full time job making sure your child is cared for, is learning, thriving and growing without a stigma associated with it. It’s a constant worry when your child isn’t in your line of site, wondering if they’re okay, if they’re making it through the day without incident. It requires medication sometimes. It requires additional teachers and para professionals to help not only your child but the parents to navigate uncharted waters. It takes dedication, it takes money and it takes perseverance. I am in awe of the parents I see in our schools and neighborhoods advocating for their children and their needed resources.

I’m writing today to raise money for CJ and his quest to help others like him get the resources they all need and deserve. Last year, CJ and his family raised $14,000 for this cause!

This year they're at it again raising money for QSAC, a New York City and Long Island based nonprofit that supports children and adults with autism, together with their families, in achieving greater independence, realizing their future potential, and contributing to their communities in a meaningful way by offering person-centered services. Their goal this year is $15,000!!!

QSAC pursues this mission through direct services that provide a supportive and individualized setting for children and adults with autism to improve their communication, socialization, academic, and functional skills.

QSAC offers programs and services for both children and adults with autism. Programs for children include early intervention, preschool, school, after school, and in-home educational and support services. QSAC’s adult programs include supportive living, skill development programs, and in-home services. All of QSAC’s programs provide supportive and trained staff, high-impact services, and a commitment to quality.

In support of its direct service programs, QSAC works to be an innovator in the field of developmental disability providers by implementing new technologies to best support the children and adults in our programs. In addition, QSAC’s clinical and educational leadership teams regularly embark on research projects that seek to further unlock new and innovative strategies and methodologies for best supporting the learning outcomes of the individuals we serve.

To extend its impact, QSAC offers parent and sibling support groups, trainings, an annual conference for parents, and other programs that expand the community’s awareness regarding autism and access to services.

CJ will be bowling for dollars on March 18th and he’s also taking donations now. So what does your donation mean?

  • $25 = Support services for children and adults with autism
  • $50 = Sponsor supplies for one of our classrooms
  • $100 = Sponsor art supplies for one of our classrooms
  • $250 = Sponsor a physical education class for students with autism
  • $500 = Sponsor a tablet for a child or adult with autism
  • $1,000 = Sponsor a recreational activity for adults with autism

Today’s pay it forward is for CJ and all of the other families I know who are living with ASD. Give up today’s latte and give it to CJ and his crusade. Here’s the link  http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/doris-sanchez-1/2017bowling3

Thanks for your generosity and kindness! Happy Friday!!

xo

Why I'm Bringing My Son To The Women's March.

T-minus 4 days and counting until one of the largest rally’s in the country takes place and I for one could not be more proud to participate. I‘ll be in New York City sharing the experience with many friends and most importantly, my eleven year old son.

 

I know for a lot of us the last few months have been hard. Hard to digest, hard to explain and hard to navigate.

 

Especially with kids.

 

Especially with boys.

 

I’ve chosen to include my son for a lot of reasons but mostly because I want to expose him to knowing what it feels like to use your voice to stand for your rights. Yes, I know there are naysayers out there rolling their eyes saying this is all futile and ridiculous. But I disagree. I coach people every day on how to use their voices through effective communication, it works.

 

In an effort to find the optimism in this message, I’ve decided to not call the march a protest. As I was explaining it to my big guy the other day, I told him we’re not going there to call anyone names and be mean ― that would be counter productive and wrong. We are going there to support the causes we so strongly believe in. So instead of protesting against the establishment, we’re going to support the people who believe deeply in their rights ― rights that quite frankly, as a young man, he won’t have to fight for. That’s the beauty of democracy ― using your voice for good.

 

My husband told him as much a few weeks ago when he was questioning the election outcome. We explained to him that women don’t have it as easy as men do ― our healthcare, paychecks and general equality hang in the balance. We have to do everything in our power to make sure that stops. It’s important that he knows the impact of these decisions.

 

He was genuinely upset that in 2017 this is a topic of discussion. Just like he doesn’t understand racial divide because he’s lucky to live in a place where diversity exists peacefully (for the most part), he doesn’t understand why his female friends should be treated any differently than his male friends.

 

“That’s so dumb, Mom”...yes son, it is.

 

Would I rather be spending a quiet Saturday with my family not having to think about these things? You bet your ass I would, but unfortunately that’s not where we need to be. Our voices are too important to sit this one out. Our voices need to be heard for all the voices yet to speak. Our voices are speaking for our friends, mothers, sisters, nieces. Our voices are speaking for ourselves, for our integrity, for humanity.

 

We’re taking part in the Women’s March on Saturday in NYC in SUPPORT of women’s rights ― we will have our signs ready and our chants prepared. We will walk peacefully along side women and men of all ages. We will make new friends along the way. We will wear pink in honor of women everywhere. We’re ready, and we can’t wait!