Paused

img via Refinery 29‘s get well guide!

This past week was like some sort of roofied timewarp ya’ll.

On Tuesday the school called to say Sam had a low fever, an hour later it was almost 102 then by bedtime 103 and overnight 105! 104 temps stayed with us for two days after that. Headaches, Nausea, Body Aches & Brutal Chills, poor little lamb had it all! We made three different trips to our heaven sent pediatrician’s office over the course of the week. All of the flu tests kept coming back negative, chest x ray was clear & we were just about out of guesses when miraculously she woke up Friday with no signs of fever or illness AT ALL! It seemed to have left as quickly as it came. Go figure! Prior to her divine recovery I was quite willingly tied to Sam 24 hours a day all week long. It was exhausting but also mommy need at it’s finest. Here’s the part however that I wasn’t expecting to feel…

Disappointment.

It had been the first week after my big ‘A-HA!’ & things were already delayed. So quickly back to paused. Let me explain…

I had a bit of a revelation a week ago. I actually had a night to myself which gave me some time to think. Like really think. Not the fleeting idea of a thought which is promptly interrupted by someone needing to have their butt wiped & then just as promptly forgotten. This was soul searching thinking. I thought about why I wasn’t happy. Now this may sound confusing but I’m actually not UN-happy, I’m just not totally fulfilled & content with my life happy. I’m something’s missing unhappy. To be honest, I’m not sure if I will ever get to a point where I go, “Whew, you know what, there is nothing more for me to do, I’m completely & utterly content with my life.” Maybe that’s just a fault, or perk, of my personality. Regardless, I’ve somehow found myself, right here & now, in a part of my life where I feel ‘paused’. I think it had been under the surface for awhile but getting sick made it all halt full force. I was too tired to have any goals much less achieve them. It was all about getting through one day at a time. Which, to be honest, wasn’t a bad thing for me to do. It’s a good thing to slow down & appreciate each day for what it is. It is not a good thing however to find an excuse to put the things you really want in your life on hold. After awhile you’ll notice a void whether you had a good excuse for pausing them or not.

So while I was having this zen moment of self reflection I realized the only thing that can take my life off of pause is me. The surgery didn’t solve my health issues, it certainly helped some things but the rheumatoligist & I haven’t found a diagnosis yet for my other symptoms, & from some of the personal stories you’ve shared with me that day may not be anytime soon. I realized I was waiting to get better to do what I enjoy and that is a dumb way to live life. There will always be *blank* to get done first. Whether it’s waiting for the kids to be in school full time, waiting for the money to take classes, waiting for an illness to pass or waiting for the sky to turn purple it doesn’t matter. They’re all excuses. And I realized that for me, they were are all a product of fear. I have a massive, colossal, beast of a fear of disappointment. I’m terrified that if I really go for it, like completely & utterly throw myself into doing what would be ‘success’ for me what happens if it fails. What if I try my best & I fail. That fear is precisely why I clung on to having the excuse of being sick. I was stalling.

Perhaps a carefully drafted visual demonstration would help to accurately portray my thought process:epicIt’s epic, I know.

You know what though, recognizing what was keeping me ‘paused’ was a huge relief. It is the worst feeling to not be content & have no idea why. Now that I know, there’s only one thing to do, conquer that fear. I’m inspired by a great work in American cinema. A beautiful film of determination, loyalty & unconditional support. It’s An AMERICAN GIRL: McKENNA SHOOTS FOR THE STARS.51XOFuWhrCL._SX500_

Here’s the thing though, & if you bring this up in public I’ll totally deny it, that movie was good ya’ll. I put it on for Sam while I started writing this & found my eyes repeatedly drifting to the TV. I’m also a sucker for anything with Nia Vardalos. Long story short this adorable, perfect haired little girl is a great gymnast. She’s fiesty, she’s fearless, girly goes for it in a major way. Until she disobeys her coach & attempts a back handspring dismount from the beam. Predictably she breaks her ankle. I know. The next hour is all about her making friends with her wheelchair bound tutor & the lessons she learns about what’s important in life & the true meaning of friendship. Whatever. I learned absolutely nothing from that part. What did give me an ‘ah-ha’ moment however is when her cast comes off & she has one last chance to do great in this ultimate competition she’s been training for her entire life. She’s on the beam & suddenly realizes she can’t attack things like she used to, now she has fear in her. Her foot is healed but mentally she’s still bruised. How do you find the strength to really truly throw all you have into something when the fear wants to hold you back? If you just play it safe & go for it half-hearted you won’t win. It’s basically a waste of time. Of course she looks deep into the eyes of wheelchair girl & finds the strength to go for the gold! And wins. Of course.

My point is that it doesn’t matter that this movie is for 8 year old girls the lesson is still the same. You can’t let fear hold you back from your goals. I also think, and you may not want to hear this, that you can’t let your kids hold you back from them either. I want my girls to follow their passions, to be the type of women who see what they want & make it happen. Who don’t settle because it got hard. Because they were tired. Because they’re ‘paused’ in the world of diapers, carseats & Dora. And the best way to teach them that is by example. I could tell them until I’m blue in the face but how much better will they learn if they see their mother doing what makes her happy.

So let’s take a little visit back to where we started, a sick child who needed her mommy. That will never stop being my number one job. I committed to these girls when I brought them into this Earth & that will always, always come first. But the truth is Soph is in pre-school a few mornings every week & beginning this Fall my sweet babygirl Samster will be in Kindergarten! ((slow tear))

No more excuses, I have some time now to at least start laying the pavement. There will be blips, & set backs because I already have a very demanding full time job that I adore but I want more now & you know what? I’m officially un-pausing my reasons not to.

Have any of you had some luck taking online business courses? Do tell!

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  1. First of all, I can’t even get over how deep that was. It actually hit close to home though, I need to take that advice/wisdom and apply it to myself. Secondly I have taken A LOT of online courses. I only preferred being in a classroom but that’s ONLY because I’m a social person. Though even online classes have group discussions and private “instant messaging” features so you can interact with each other. However who has time to go to a class? I highly suggest them, as long as you have the time. You have to teach yourself more of the material than in a classroom setting but it’s worth it. I took online classes at both a community college and UMUC. Both were phenomenal, you should go for it :)

  2. Wendy

    No help about the business courses, but, seriously? Do you live in my head? Peep thru my windows? Because (whispering) I LOVED the McKenna movie, and also found it to be inspiring. And hello? Steve Sanders as the dad? I feel old. Let me know if you wanna hit the American Girl bistro in Tyson’s… I am so there! I am so jealous that my own little rising kindergartener has the American Girl franchise. So much better than Cabbage Patch Kids.

    • Natasha

      Since it’s just you and I…you know, in your head, I’m gonna tell you that I am WAY more into the American Girl stuff than Sam! I was literally shushing her so I could hear the end of the movie. And hello, Ian whatever his name is in “real life” creeped me out! Was Brandon Walsh just a bit too out of the movie’s budget??

      • Michele

        I’m dying at your Brandon Walsh comment! And not to be weird but if you have a meet up at American Girl I really want to go. I was 9 years old when I got my Samantha doll for Christmas, and cannot even explain my screaming excitement – though it is on home video somewhere. Now at 30, I’m still secretly loving American Girl. At Tyson’s last weekend, I was slightly jealous of all the little girls and their dolls going to the store.

  3. Melissa

    Wow, the crazy thing about this post is that it happens to so many people, not just parent. My struggle is that I have been on pause for so long, I’m not even sure I know what I want to do to move forward. Somewhere along the way, I forgot what my dreams and goals were, or maybe I never really knew what they should be to begin with. The last two years have stopped me in my tracks. Since I lost my job in 2011, my life has been about job hunting and strectching every dollar. Micro managing every penny that comes in and goes out. I just feel beat down and hopeless sometimes and have let that prevent me from figuring out what my dream is. Thanks for once again voicing some of the thoughts we all share but are often to ashamed to bring into the light.

  4. kelsie

    I can’t even tell you how much I can relate to this post (minus the sick kiddo part – poor baby!). I had my “ah-ha!” moment a few years ago & *finally* figured out what I wanted to do to fill that empty feeling that had been haunting me. I decided to finish my degree & graduated 2 years ago (at age 29) – was able to it completely online through ODU’s distance learning program. Can’t recommend it enough. Unlike some online schools (like University of Phoenix, which is for-profit and essentially a business), with ODU you’re taking classes with the same professors you would if you were on their campus. I didn’t feel like I was getting any less of an education than I would’ve been in one of their physical classrooms. Feel free to email or DM me if you want info on their program.

    Sometimes when you’re so wrapped up in taking care of others, worrying about your own health (I have fibro & completely understand the frustrating search for the DX that seems to never come), or just caught up with life in general, it’s easy to put yourself last…before you realize it, you’re left wondering where this giant void in your life is coming from. Taking the leap of faith can be scary, especially when there’s a risk of failure – but there’s something very freeing/empowering about believing that you deserve a chance! I’ve gone from finishing my degree to finding a whole new dream to pursue. The sky’s the limit once you believe :) Go for it! You have more talent in your little pinky than most people could wish for in their lifetime.

    When doubts creep in (as they inevitably do for us all), I refer to this Winston Churchill quote: “Success is never final, failure is never fatal…it is courage that counts.” Hopefully that will help you stay inspired. You can do it!

  5. Jacquie Ramirez

    This SO hit home… Almost if you we’re inside my head when you were writing this. I too have used the ‘pause’ button in my life because of my fear of failure! Thanks for sharing this…there’s a lot of wisdom and great advice that I plan on applying to myself.

  6. Christina

    Another vote for UMUC. I received my degree in business from UMUC’s online program. I loved it. You definitely have to be able to teach yourself, based on your blog I don’t think that will be a problem for you :)

  7. christa

    You just have to go for it. I decided when I was pregnant with my second child to go back to school to become a nurse ( I already had my BSN in business and MBA), I realized later in life I really wanted to be a nurse. I started pre-requisites 2 weeks after having my baby and started nursing school 3 months after I had my 3rd baby. ANd I sit here today, one month away from graduating nursing school:) There is never a good time or perfect time, you just have to do it. Your smart & funny, dont let anything hold you back!

  8. Angela

    It is so true. I struggle with a nearly debilitating fear of failure. If I talk myself through it logically, failure is an excellent way to learn. I don’t want to learn that way. It is such a strange, self-sustaining cycle. :) So much wisdom in your musings. Thank you for sharing. Here’s to peace and courage.

  9. Bonnie

    Some food for thought: you just writing about something that is so strong in so many women/people is the complete opposite of failure. It shows courage. Look at how many women can relate to this topic that is virtually NEVER touched on, and makes us feel so alone. Maybe that is your start to your success. Bringing tough subjects to the surface so all these women (myself included) don’t feel so trapped in the life they didn’t dream up.

  10. Wow, this totally hit home for me. I’m also struggling to figure out my “life’s purpose.” I’m in my thirties now and still trying to figure out what I want to do (what I was meant to do) with my life. A big part of that is fear of failing. It’s such an internal battle sometimes. I focus too much on being a perfectionist that I always talk myself out of doing something because of the “what ifs”. So I can totally relate. I don’t have kids yet, but my fiance was diagnosed with renal failure last year and is on dialysis until he can have a kidney transplant. So I’ve been very focused on him and trying to do what I’m supposed to do and putting my wants on the back burner. But you’re right, there is always going to be something that life throws your way that you can easily turn into an excuse for not going after what you want…it’s knowing how to push through and stay focused on your goal that is the tricky part. Still trying to figure out how to accomplish that!

    As far as the online classes, I say you should go for it. I completed a second bachelor degree at UMUC, completely online. If you already have a bachelor degree, you only need to complete an additional 30 credits to earn a second bachelor degree. They also offer certificate programs and master degrees.

    UMUC is nice because all of their classes are asynchronous, which means that you can do the classwork at any time. You don’t need to be online at a specific time. You can do the work when your girls are in school, or while they’re napping or asleep for the night. Whenever it’s convenient for you. In my opinion, it does require a bit more time than a traditional class, especially with the online discussions that you are required to complete each week. I thought it was great, though, because there are a lot of military students enrolled so you will have people living all over the world in your classes that you get to exchange ideas with.

    Let me know if you want any additional info or have any questions about the online classes there. I have also taken online classes at MC and the teachers have been awesome. MC is cheaper that UMUC, so you can always start there with an intro business class and then pursue a degree at UMUC. Either way, I think you will do great.

    Thanks again for being brave enough to share this post. You’ve inspired me! I wish you all the luck with your classes! Can’t wait to see what the future holds for you! :)

  11. Angela

    I go to school full time and the only way I can do that with my two kids and job is to take three of my five courses online. For the most part, I have had great experiences, but it really does depend on the professor. I have had two or three classes that were completely uninvolved and I had really no idea what was expected of me. But my best class ever, including on campus and online, was a Women’s Studies class I took online. It was amazing and the professor really made it feel like we were in a classroom. I never felt lacking for communication and it really felt like I was having great discussions/debates with my classmates. I would suggest checking out the professors on the rating sites and see what people have to say. You will get some “I hate this person, they failed me” but if there are a good amount of reviews, you will get a fairly accurate description of the professor. Also, I would recommend taking a class or two on campus. It really makes you feel like you have those two or three hours of being “not a mommy”. You are in this atmosphere of learning and when you get a class that has a great professor, it is invigorating. I would recommend Montgomery College. They have a wide selection of online classes and they are inexpensive. (I am an alumna, so I’m a little biased, though.)

  12. claudia

    Natasha u always hit home with sooo many people. I understand fear and it sucks and unknowingly we do pause our lives and like u said were not UNhappy were just missing something. Thank you for always having the courage to vent and talk to us for being a real person that we relate to :)
    as far as online classes, i take them and im a mommy of 3 and its hard but worth it. u do have to teach urself more but u appreciate the material and actually learn cuz well u have no choice but to lol

    • Natasha

      Thank you so much Claudia, you truly made my day with your sweet words. ((virtual hugs!)) I’m totally going to look into some basic online classes, if you can do it with 3 than I can do it with 2 right?!? (;

  13. Alexandra

    I am so sorry to hear that you are still not feeling well! Have you looked into holistic medicine? I had HORRIBLE migraines for year. Literally years. Just when I was about to accept the fact that I would have those headaches forever, a friend recommended that I see a chiropractor. Within a couples of weeks I was feeling so much better. It was absolutely amazing and if you are feeling like you are at your wits end (which is exactly how I was feeling), you should give it a try! You have nothing to lose right?! I know a few really great doctors in the DMV! Let me know if you want the contact info!!

    • Natasha

      I am totally at that point that I have nothing to lose! Although I did try a chiropractor a few year back & it actually gave me a migraine everytime I got adjusted, I’ve been scared to go back since! I’d still be totally open to other holistic medicine though…would love any ideas you have!

  14. Another gal in a rut here too…I was trying to emplain it to my husband the other night and the only way I could describe it was being in a holding pattern…just kind of exisiting and knowing that I am really not fulfilling my full potential. My kids are a little older than yours, so they are both at school and for the first full year that happened, I felt guilty the whole year! The next year I threw myself into anything and everything anyone wanted me to do (not the best move!) and this year i’m attempting to ‘be still’ and suss out my calling. I can’t work for at least another 3 years when our green card comes through, so for now I wait…and whilst I wait I make quilt blocks, of quilts I don’t particularly like! (makes sense no?!)…and wait…

  15. Totally random, but may I ask what program you used to create your visual demonstration of your thought process? I am trying to do something like that for my office and can’t seem to find fonts, etc that I think are cute enough. Sorry. Random.

    • Natasha

      Haha, no problem. I use picmonkey to make my graphics. I VERY easy to use and mostly free, although I pay like $5 or something to have a premium membership and use of all functions & fonts. Hope that helps!

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