Am I A Good Mom?

How many times have you asked yourself, am I a good mom?  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my abilities as a mom. After getting laid off I can no longer include my occupation in my self-identity. I now must rely on my abilities to be a good mom, loving and devoted wife, supportive friend, and positive contributor to society in whatever way I can.  And unfortunately, I also feel like I must up my housekeeping skills since I can no longer blame my job for taking me away from them. Ah yes, the joys — and pressure — of being a stay-at-home mom.

For the first time in almost 17 years I find myself in a new role of being a stay-at-home mom. I’ve never had the desire or privilege to dedicate my focus and identity to solely being a stay-at-home mom. I felt working from home for the past 8 years made me a semi stay-at-home mom since I could still take my kids to school, pick them up, and sneak away to do mom-essential duties of taking kids to appointments and volunteering occasionally in their school.  Plus I didn’t spend hours each week away from them to commute to and from my job. I had the perfect balance.  Or so I thought.

So now that I’m in-between jobs, I’ve been forced to look in the proverbial mirror more and ask myself if I’m the type of mom I want to be.  Plus being up for the next Verity Mom, I of course question if I am the kind of mom that can and should represent other moms.  If I have my own self-doubts of my ability to be a good mom, does that make me not qualified?

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I watched a video online the other day that is going viral that shows moms being interviewed about their parenting (prepare yourself, it’s a tear jerker!).  Most of the moms stated all the negatives they see in their parenting and the things they wished they were better at.  After all the moms were interviewed, they sat each of them down to watch the videos of what their kids said about them.  The kids listed all the positive things about their moms and all the reasons why they loved their moms.  To watch the moms’ reactions to all the amazing things their children were saying about them just reconfirms every mom’s existence once becoming a mom — to know our kids know how much we love them.  It’s to hear that even though we may not be perfect, we are perfect for them.  Even through all the doubts we have of our ability to be a good mom, our kids love us unconditionally.  They don’t focus on all the negatives.  So why then, as moms, do we?

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Yes I question my parenting abilities.  Daily.  But I think it’s important to stop doubting ourselves.  Stop the constant negative commentary going on upstairs about our abilities and focus on being the mom our kids already think we are.  Our kids deserve more and so do we.  And to answer the question if I’m the type of mom that can represent other moms, my answer is officially yes.  I’m just as imperfect, vulnerable, and filled with self-doubt as any other mom out there.  But my kids know I love them so I must be doing something right.

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Could I be the next Verity Mom??

The applications, videos, blog submissions, and votes are in from the top 15. The Verity Mom Meet-Up is over (and was amazing by the way), and the Verity Mom Team has made their decision. The top 3 have been decided upon, and lucky me, I’m one of them! It’s been a long process — I submitted my application on September 3rd! — and it’s still not over. But I would have to say the hardest part is behind me. It started out with 35 amazing moms, then narrowed down to 15, and now down to the final 3. I feel lucky to have been a part of such an unbelievable journey with all 35 moms, let alone end up in the top 3.

I woke up at 5:00am yesterday morning anxiously awaiting Verity’s decision on who they selected for the final 3, as were all the final 15 candidates. We spent several hours on Monday at Verity Credit Union’s headquarters in North Seattle meeting with the final 15 candidates and the incredible Verity Credit Union team. And when I say incredible, I mean incredible. From the moment you walk in their doors to each moment we spent during the intense “stations” and camaraderie-filled break room conversations, we were treated with enthusiasm, excitement, and the genuine respect you can’t fake or force — it’s something that emanates from people who are genuinely happy with where they work. This is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about this organization.

Being in the top 3 leaves me with mixed emotions including pride, excitement, determination and a little bit of sadness. I know how much I want this opportunity and the hours I’ve spent dedicating myself so that I represented the best possible me I could. But I know each of the top 15 put just as much of themselves into this opportunity hoping for the same result. So with that I feel sadness.  I am proud of the company I held, and still do with the final 3.

But now that it’s down to 3, I need your votes! In case you need some reasons to vote for me, I put together a video of the reasons why I would make the best Verity Mom and why you should vote for me.

Click Here to Vote for Mollye

Those “Other” Moms

IMG_3466[1]I’m going to start off this post by admitting I’m not perfect (shh, don’t tell my husband).  As a mom, I have my good days and then there’s those baaaad days.  Now keep in mind I’m just coming off a full week of being a single mom while my husband has been hunting.  So this past week those bad days may have outweighed the good.  This week and this week only.  Until next week.  Hey, I give it up to single parents!  I was one once and it’s hard.  And a third of the time I’m still one when my husband is on duty.  Mad props to single parents!

So have you ever been at the grocery store and you see a mom yelling at her kids?  Or maybe see her bending over and grabbing her child’s arm firmly with the look of a possessed demon in her eyes?  Did you judge that mom’s behavior toward her children and felt bad for the child, and then smugly prided yourself in your parenting skills?  Have you ever thought you would not act like those “other” moms?  I assume you answered ‘yes’ to all of the above.  I’m guilty.  So now here’s another question for you.  Have you ever been one of those moms?

Maybe you answered ‘no’ to that last question.  But are you really being honest with yourself?  I promise you don’t have to tell anyone.  Remember when I said I wasn’t perfect (we’re still not telling my husband by the way)?  Well I answered ‘yes’.  I think all us parents would have to admit that our social parenting skills can differ quite drastically to our at-home parenting skills.  I think maybe the difference is, most of us have mastered in which situations we should use each.  I wouldn’t dream of screaming at my kids in the middle of aisle 4 when they’re on the ground rolling around in a full-on wrestling match.  But if we were at home, you bet your bottom I’d be screaming my head off!  Usually the screaming is reserved for 7:00 at night after the 18th WWF match that day.

But I’ve been in the store before where maybe I was having a bad day, or the kids were particularly ornery that day, and their listening skills were a little lacking on this trip, and I’ve bent over, grabbed their arms firmly, and the demon literally entered my body and possessed me, and I yelled at my kids.  I say I was possessed because that couldn’t possibly have been me that just did that to my kids.  In public.  In earshot of others.  And then all of a sudden I realize what I must look like to others around me.  I was one of those “other” moms.  I completely forgot the rules of “social” parenting.  I’m a horrible mom and now others know it too.

But why did I feel worse about my behavior because it was in public?  I wouldn’t hesitate at home to discipline my children that way.  I mean, I’ve never spanked or hit my kids, but I don’t hesitate to yell at them or grab their arm firmly and set them straight.  I have four boys for crying out loud!  I’m not perfect (okay fine, tell my husband!).  I guess what I’m saying, is none of us are perfect.  94.58% of the time I think I’m doing a pretty good job as a mom.  The other 5.42% is what we call mother’s guilt.  We’re always hard on ourselves even when we’re doing the best we can and our intentions and actions come from the heart.  Those “other” moms are probably just like you and me and are just having a bad day.  Don’t worry, we don’t need to judge them.  They will have enough judgment and guilt for all of us.  So let’s give ourselves a break and the next time we’re having a baaaad day, remind ourselves we can always start over tomorrow.  Let go of the guilt and forgive ourselves.  And then pour a glass of wine.  Maybe two.

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Introducing Logan

This week I chose my oldest, Logan, to feature on my blog.  Logan is 17, a senior in high school, and in no hurry to grow up.  And I love it.  Logan tells us all the time that he doesn’t want to move out and wants to remain a kid.  He says this jokingly of course.  I think.  But as a mom, it’s music to my ears.  It also makes me think we must be doing something right if he doesn’t want to leave, right?  Plus, it’s motivation to stay in school through college graduation.  He knows if he stays in school he can continue to ride the gravy train of Mom and Dad.  Either way you look at it, I get to keep my baby home longer.

I had Logan when I was 20 years old.  I do NOT recommend getting pregnant at 19 and having a baby at 20.  Although I would not change a single thing about my life because it’s led me to where I am now, I still don’t recommend it.  Since the day Logan was born, I was a changed woman.  All women are when they enter motherhood.  Logan gave me a whole new outlook on life and what I wanted out of it.  When that baby was placed into my arms I no longer lived for myself.  I had a purpose.  It was to protect and care for this child.  In many ways, Logan and I grew up together through the years.

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Logan is one of those kids who’s easy to like, easy to love.  People are drawn to Logan.  If you could use the word charismatic for a person as young as an infant, then that is the word you would have used.

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Now at 17, he’s just as much the charismatic kid as he was as a baby.  He has an easy smile, an easy laugh, an easy way about him.  I always refer to one’s “energy” (which Logan hates by the way), and when describing Logan, you would say he has good energy.  You just know these things about people.  It’s immediate.  We don’t sometimes know why or why not we like someone — I call that energy.  Logan’s got the energy you want and seek.

I’ve always had people tell me they think Logan is a neat kid.  I mean I’ve always known that too, but I’m biased.  But when you hear from those who have known Logan for awhile, or even those who just met him, that you have a neat kid, that says something.  If you don’t have a neat-worthy-mentioning kid, people don’t say it.  At least I don’t.  You just don’t say anything at all.  But with Logan, I hear it.  And I know it.  He will converse with just about anyone.  He’s witty, smart, socially on-point, and his sense of humor is seriously off the hook.  Wait, do people still say off the hook?  Well it is.  He’s seriously funny.

Logan is also one of the most laid back kids you’ll ever meet.  I’m obviously female, but I remember being 17 and I was anything but laid back.  I was a hot mess full of piss and vinegar, hormones, attitude, and anything else you don’t want your teenager to represent.  I know my parents were waiting for this time to come where they could secretly revel in the sweet justice they would have when my children became teenagers to repay every single gray hair I gave them.  Well guess what?  It hasn’t happened (don’t worry, I just knocked on wood).  Logan doesn’t party, comes home on time, surrounds himself with good people, rarely gives attitude (even when he does it’s easily nipped in the bud with just one look from Dad or a stern voice and not-gonna-put-up-with-it tone from Mom).  I mean as far as teenagers go, I’ve hit the jackpot.  Now, I do realize I have three more kids to go so I’m not getting too excited.  Levi’s concerning.  I’ll just say that.

Logan has given me joy, pride, vulnerability, laughter, a purpose beyond my own selfishness, and a friend in the making.  I’ve always kept the fine balance between Mom and friend, but when your child approaches 18, you see that friend you always knew would appear in your child you’ve raised since he was a baby.  I will look at Logan and sometimes see a man, yet still see that little baby I fell in love with so many years ago.  I am honored to be this person’s mom.  I have all the memories of every milestone, every year, the ups and downs, and everything and anything in between.  Like I said, Logan and I grew up together.  I will be forever grateful for everything he taught me.  And still does.  I am better because of him.

Oh, did I mention that he’s gorgeous?  (sigh)

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I hate cancer.

I hate cancer. Cancer is something we all hear, probably daily, through conversations, all forms of media, daily existence, those we love suffering from or close to those suffering. Cancer is everywhere. Cancer raids our bodies, lives, emotions, and daily existence. I hate cancer.

My first personal experience with cancer was with my Uncle Mike. I was only a kid and not quite able to understand exactly what was going on. Or the gravity of the situation. I do remember hearing that he was sick and cancer would kill him. I remember crying for hours in bed one night after my dad came in and told me and my brother how serious it was. It came on fast and took him fast. Since then I’ve lost my Uncle Pat to cancer a couple of years ago. It came on fast and took him pretty fast as well. I guess if cancer is terminal and is going to take your life anyway, it’s best that it’s fast.

My mom and brother have skin cancer. Although it’s basal cell cancer and treatable, it’s still cancer. It’s still scary. You have to monitor your skin all the time. And surgery is the only cure. No one wants their close ones to have to endure a lifetime of cancer and surgery. Although a lifetime is better than no time. I constantly worry about them. I hate cancer.

Our dear friend Kenny was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer 4 years ago. He was told he didn’t have long to live and he lived 4 years. They weren’t 4 good years. But he lived and we got to be with him longer than we thought. Kenny was a good man and cancer took him. I have had other good friends, family members, family members of good friends, and countless other people diagnosed with cancer. Some survived, some didn’t. I think about each of them all the time. I think about those they have affected or left behind. I feel for each of them. I hate cancer.

My most recent experience, the one that shook me the most due to its severity and the person, has been with my sister in law. She is young, vibrant, an amazing wife and mother of two young kids, and it honestly pissed me off that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She should not have cancer. No one should have cancer. I know life is not fair. I know no one can know the fate of their life, their health, their future. Cancer has hit people I know. But when Angie was diagnosed, I was pissed. She should not have cancer. She is too wonderful. She is too important to her husband, her kids, her parents, her sisters, her family. To me. I hate cancer.

I remember the text I received from her telling me she suspected she had cancer and they would find out next week. I remember going to the gym and getting on the treadmill and running faster than normal, running with conviction, running and thinking how pissed I was that she could possibly have cancer. My emotions of being so angry were so vivid as I ran, yet so foggy with confusion and sadness. I remember thinking selfishly how fortunate I was to not have this diagnosis. But then I thought I could be diagnosed next week. No one knows their fate. No one should have cancer. I hate it. I hate cancer.

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It’s been almost a year since she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s endured a mastectomy, 16 weeks of chemo, 6 weeks of radiation, and is considered cancer-free. But she’s not cancer-free. Cancer will live with her forever. Cancer will live in her kids’ minds as they think about what their mom has gone through. Cancer will live through her husband who supported her and rubbed her bald, beautiful head every night. Cancer will live through her parents who lived with the nightmare of losing their daughter. Her sisters will forever be haunted by their sister’s tireless year-long fight and unwillingness to give up on all that she’s built in this world. Cancer will live through all those who supported and shed a tear for her un-wavered strength — even when she felt at her weakest.

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She has fought an uphill battle and is here with us now. She is not just a statistic. She is not just a number. She is not just someone who was diagnosed with cancer. She’s more than that to me. She is my sister in law. She has a name. Her name is Angie. She is a person who was diagnosed and fought breast cancer. She is a hero to me. I can’t imagine what she’s gone through. Cancer is something we all hear. Cancer is everywhere. Cancer raids our bodies, lives, emotions, and daily existence. I hate cancer.

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Isn’t she beautiful?  I wrote this post in honor of Angie and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Please make sure you do your monthly self breast exams and get your mammograms.  It could save your life. And you have people who love you and need you here.  I think it’s safe to say, we all hate cancer.

First Guest Post!

I get the day off today (sorta) from writing a post on my own blog.  Today my good friend, fellow blogger, amazing mom, wife, and business woman (all of which I admire) was so very kind to feature me on her very popular blog.  She is someone I adore, which makes it that much more special to me.  If you like witty, smartass, talented, stylish people, you should get to know and follow Kendra as well!

Check it out!

Kendra Kay Pahukoa

Oh, and she’s a mean scuba diver.  That’s a story for another time.

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Is that just me?

So here I go… putting myself out there.  Making myself vulnerable.  Going after something I am so absolutely passionate about but at the same time doubting my abilities of accomplishing it.  You know that feeling?  Wanting something so badly that it makes you queasy with excitement but also feel nauseous with the notion you might not succeed.  Oh, is that just me?

Well I’m in that moment.  I am in a vulnerable state of not sure of what I’m doing, but also so driven with the vision that nothing can stop me, but also paralyzed by not being able to accomplish it.  Again, is that just me?

I’ve told pretty much anyone when asked what would make me happy career-wise, and passion-wise, it’s to write.  I’ve written a newsletter for family and friends, resumes and cover letters, newsletters professionally, contemplated writing a book, and most recently I’ve been writing my blog.  When I sit down to write my blog I get excited, feel empowered, feel alive, validated, and important.  Why does writing 500-600 words a week about my life and family provide all these amazing affirmations?  Because I love it.  I love everything about it.  I love to write, and I especially love to write about my family.

So today a friend texts me about this new blogger opportunity that came open.  I’ve read and followed this blog in the past.  There have been two so far and the reigns are being passed on for a third time.  What I wouldn’t do to have this opportunity.  I know I would be great.  I know I would represent this organization well.  So I did the unthinkable (unthinkable only in my mind) and I recorded and edited a video and submitted my application for consideration.

I put myself out there.  And for some odd reason, I’m not completely terrified.  I am not one who likes to be on video putting myself out there.  At least not until now.  Something about this new opportunity speaks to me like I’ve never felt before.  Ever feel like you are compelled beyond something outside of you and you look at what you’re doing and have no idea where this inner strength came from?  It’s as if it wasn’t you who is accomplishing this tremendous feat, but it really is.  I have these moments from time to time.  I don’t plan them nor can I predict them.  All of a sudden my self goes into autopilot and what I can accomplish amazes me.  Is that just me?

Well here I am.  Putting myself out there.  Even on video!  And I will admit, if it doesn’t work out, I will be bummed.  But I’m proud of myself nevertheless.  I’m proud of my feat, autopilot or not.  Here’s to those rare moments where you go for it and don’t look back.  Here’s to living outside your comfort zone.  Here’s to hoping it’s not just me. #veritymom

Check it out!!

When I grow up ……

Well here I am. 37 years old, 4 kids, a husband, a dog, and I just lost my job. Ever wake up in the morning and think to yourself that your real life you just opened your eyes to cannot possibly be yours? That’s the way I felt, and still do, since getting laid off a month ago. I’ve been through trying economic times with my previous employer over the past 8 years, watched countless co-workers, some very close and dear to my heart, get laid off. But not me. I just kept on truckin along comfortable in my job with the miss-placed arrogant notion that I would not and could not get laid off. I was too valuable. Too much of a team-player. Too liked by too many and too good at what I did. Apparently not everyone shared this notion alongside me. So here I am, 37 years old, 4 kids, a husband, a dog, and unemployed.

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It’s been too long since I wrote my blog. I love to write but I never made time for one of the things I love. So now that I have some time on my hands I can sit and ponder this. And while I ponder it, I can write, or type, my ponderings. I find myself in a position I haven’t been in for quite some time. I’m asking myself, why am I not doing what I love? I mean, my previous position I did find enjoyable occasionally. I got to work from home, worked with some amazing people, gave birth to two babies while working there, made some everlasting friendships, made really good money, and increased my skill set that I now must depend upon to find myself a new job. But did I love my job? The answer is no. Sure I’ve told people I love my job throughout the years when asked if I liked my job. Who wants to hear someone go on and on about how much they hate their job? I don’t. I wouldn’t ask someone if they liked their job if I thought I would be subjected to 20 minutes of them complaining about just how much they don’t like their job. But the fact remains, if I was being completely honest when asked, I would have been that person.

I’ve always been jealous of those who love their job. And not just because they make good money or it was their childhood dream job, but because theytruly from the deepest part in their soul, love their job. You can tell the difference when someone truly loves their job. There is passion and conviction in their voice and their eyes light up with excitement when talking about what they do. Sure Confucius said, “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life,” but is Confucius right? If you love what you do for a living, is it no longer considered work? You just receive a paycheck for doing something that fulfills you internally and makes you happy? It’s that easy? I may have to give this one to Confucius. I believe this to be true from the deepest part in my soul. I truly just want to do what I love. I may still consider it work, but at least I would be happy doing it and I could finally answer people honestly when they ask me if I love what I do.

So here I am, 37 years old, 4 kids, a husband, a dog, and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. So for now, I’m starting up my blog again. I’m claiming one piece of happiness back into my life.