finding time.

I was raised in a home where my parents constantly taught me and my siblings to give 110% of ourselves to whatever job/career we chose. I started babysitting at age 11 and took my job as a babysitter very seriously. Not only did I actually love and care for the kids I watched, but never, not ever, did I leave dirty dishes in the sink for the parents to wash when they returned home from their date night. Word spread like wildfire, and soon I was a regular babysitter for everyone in the neighborhood.

At age 14, I took my first real job. I'm sure I wanted some high price clothing item (something one couldn't find at Kmart) so my mom told me to get a job, and I did. I worked as a receptionist at a hair salon--Salon 7000. Even at such a young age I was entrusted with big responsibilities such as managing the cash drawer, making appointments and ordering product. I worked 5-6 days a week throughout high school.

Not to give you a complete work history because who really wants to read about that, but I have had close to twenty different jobs in my life. I know what you're thinking--my resume must be a mess. It's not, don't worry. I am still an English major and know how to work a resume to fit my needs. The point of all this is that in every job I've ever had--with the exception of one--all my employers begged me to stay with them as long as possible. I always left my workplace better than I found it. Always. (If you're wondering about that one exception, well, let's just say I had to put an employer in her place and I don't think she liked me much after that, but I was right and she was wrong, and she knew it. I quit days within a matter of days.)

The work ethic my parents instilled in me has remained all these years. It is, perhaps, why I give all I have to my family. I believe being a mom to the three little souls I have helped bring to earth is the biggest job--second only to my job as a wife--I will ever have. Ever.

I'm not going to lie--being a mom can be damn hard. You give up a lot and get very little in return on a day-to-day basis. Of course I know that I will be rewarded in the future, and I know that I am already beginning to see the fruits of my labors from time to time, but there are moments when this job takes me by the shoulders, shakes me up a bit, slaps me in the face and very firmly reminds me how much I have to learn.

Being a mom is being a quick decision maker. Being a mom is being a meal maker. Being a mom is being a stain-getter-outer. Being a mom is being a hair stylist. Being a mom is being an artist. Being a mom is being teacher. Being a mom is being an enforcer. Being a mom is being a "meanie." Being a mom is being a hugger. Being a mom is being a cuddler. Being a mom is being a tent maker. Being a mom is being a diaper changer. Being a mom is being a judge. Being a mom is being a house cleaner. Being a mom is being a technology guru. Being a mom is being the best chocolate milk maker.

As a mom, I am constantly learning about faith, patience, understanding, forgiveness, anger, flexibility, determination, kindness, and most of all, love. I am learning so much about love. I make so many mistakes everyday, but my girls still love me.

No matter how many times I scold V for writing with pen on the wall or dropping Elle on the hard tile floor and no matter how many times my scoldings make her cry, she always comes back to me. She curls her growing body next to mine and twirls my hair until it is knotted in 20 different places. The other night she whispered, "I wuv you mama" as she traced my face with the soft tip of her index finger.

And the same goes with my other girls. Mya and I can fight. You may not believe it because I mean, c'mon...neither of us is really all that stubborn, but on occasion, we can really hash it out. In the moment, fighting feels dang good because gosh darn it...I will not let a five year old win (perhaps I should??), but after each fight I just look at her sad golden eyes and feel like the biggest twit. She'll never admit to it, but I know she feels the same because she is me, you know. We hug and make up and she holds my hand and tells me how much she loves me. Most times she says, "Mom, I love you more than...and the list is always different. Just the other day the list included: I love you more than...all the stars in the sky, all the dresses in your closet, all the cars in the parking lot, all the planets in the sky, all the bumpies on the ceiling, all the people in San Diego, all the sparkles on my backpack. And there are a lot of sparkles on that Barbie backpack of hers so I know it must be a lot.

Elle doesn't say much, but I know she loves me. She loves me even though I tell her 100 times a day how much I loathe her screaming. I really do. I'm trying to learn patience, but her screaming really isn't helping. She squeals with delight each time I return from a run, and my favorite thing she does is when she rests her head on my shoulder throughout the day and tickles my face with her chubby little fingers.

Love is what keeps me waking up at 5, 5:15, 5:30 in the morning when the girls decide to pounce on me. I may not be the most loving person before 6am, but at least I'm up. Love keeps me motivated to play throughout the day because let me tell you, life would be so much easier if I just let V watch the iPad every time she wanted. Love keeps me making health-ish meals (with an occasional McDonalds run) day in and day out.

But with all this love I'm doling out to my sweet little family (I have not mentioned how much love I give to Tim...and it's been a lot lately ;)), I have had very little time to love myself. A week ago I spent a wonderful couple of days with my best friend Ashley and her family. While I was in their company, I realized that I too need to love myself. I need to make time for myself. Making a little bit of time for myself doesn't mean I won't fulfill my job as a mom any less, perhaps it would enhance it. There is so much I want to do but don't because I figure I'll worry about all that when the kids are gone. But we aren't done having kids and my oldest is only 5 and well, I wasn't a math major but I'm pretty sure I won't get around to anything on my list for nearly 20 years. And by that time, I'll probably be too old and out of shape to accomplish anything on my list.

So with Bryan and Ashley's encouragement and the support of my very trusty sidekick, I am going to start taking some time to develop a new me. A me that I can be proud of. A me that has real interests and real hobbies outside of chalk art and running.

I am currently in the process of developing a new schedule for my kids (remember being a mom is being flexible), and I am going to make a 30 minute break each day to do something for myself before Tim gets home. I am anxious to begin.

I've had a week to think about this, but I don't think taking 30 minutes a day for myself is selfish. It was hard for me and my deep-rooted work ethic to come to terms with, but I really want to be healthy mentally, physically and emotionally. I've got the physical part down, but the other areas remain hazy.

I have these words written in a special spot to always remind me of my not-so selfish goal: I hope you're finding some time for yourself these days/ Be selfish.

If you are need of some great encouragement on being creative, please visit my friend's site. Ashley truly is an inspiration to me. Not only does she take time to cultivate her own desires and passions, but she also takes time to make sure I'm doing the same. You can find her here: Fade to Black 


  1. Oh Janine, I am convinced that one reason I met you was so I could read your amazing writings and be inspired and "picked up" just when I need it. I had a LONG day yesterday with my kids. Yesterday was our first day back to "real" life after a 15 day vacation in Utah followed by a 5 day visit from Richard's parents. I was used to more help, the kids were used to more attention, and we were all crabby from lack of routine the last three weeks. I vowed to do better today and reading your last two posts has been encouraging. You are an amazing mom and in incredible person. Thank you friend.

  2. Miss Janine,
    This was such a wonderfully written post. I love it. And you for that matter. You are amazing. And I think you are doing such a bang up job. You rock. Sincerely.


  3. Let me know if you want more than 30 minutes and I would be happy to watch your girls!


"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley