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A Fearless Ghost Zapping Mom

According to Boston:

On the train to nyc

On the train to nyc

My Mom is a Fearless Ghost-Zapping Mom

I struggle. Every single day. I wonder if I'm good enough, smart enough, fast enough, talented enough. I doubt myself ridiculously in everything I do. Especially this past year. I'm in this transition in my life that often has me questioning my worth. My value & even my sense of humor.

I have the tendency to internalize all my struggles. And when something goes wrong I immediately think it's all my fault. In fact, this past year a few things happened where I had to make pretty significant changes in my professional life. Business relationship didn’t turn out the way I thought it might. It can be difficult to mix business and friendship, and that’s a lesson I learned the hard way. In the end, though, we are all moms just trying to do the best we can for ourselves and our families. We’re all unstoppable in our own way, and there’s a sense of peace that comes in recognizing that.

When you work for yourself the ebbs and flow are all over the place. There are so many times when I'm unsure of what I'm doing. But every time I learn something new that I was approaching all wrong - I focus on what I learned from that moment. But boy, as a business owner - those face plants HURT when they happen! 

Every single day I have doubts. But there is one big thing that I will NEVER doubt. I may not be able to control the actions of others - but I am 100% in control of my own. 

So what do I do to keep myself up when I can easily crawl into a hibernated state of self doubt & misery?

I wake up. I put one foot in front of the other and I FAKE IT till I MAKE IT. I don't claim to have all the right answers. In fact, 99% of the time I GOOGLE it! I am the first to admit when I did something wrong. I'm always the first to apologize because conflict gives me anxiety. 

My friend Cindy Simmons lives by ‘just be kind’ mantra like I do. She's a smart mama for sure & she too has had significant struggles in life.  Hence, Surviving Mommy is her digital home.  There are so many GREAT women in this world like Cindy who thrive on building other women up. And I got the chance to experience that while in New York in September. Not only by the other women in the campaign but from Kelly Ripa AND her daughter!

Truth be told, the opportunity to take part in this campaign with Children's MOTRIN® couldn't have come at a better time in my own life. I am often asked how I get these amazing opportunities like meeting Kelly Ripa and watching my son light up the universe with his charm.  Know what I say? 

I have absolutely no idea. 

But ya know what I have to remind myself?

This opportunity was afforded because I AM unstoppable. 

Motherhood has given me this superhero strength that only God can really create.  And when I doubt myself I look at my boys and see what genuinely caring kids they are. When they see someone hurting? They both RUN to them to cheer them up. They got that from me, I suppose. A characteristic in a human being that isn't so bad after all. Compassion. Go figure.

I'm going to continue to use myself as a platform to help others. I have a story to tell. And an opportunity to shines some light in a very dark world.  Not to mention, I have four eyes watching my every move. Two very important people growing up in this world need me to be fully aware & engaged. They need to see the difference between right and wrong. They need to see me fall but they REALLY need to see how I get back up and go for it again. 

When I first told Boston about this fun getaway in September, I knew that I wanted him to LEARN something aside from how cool he was going to be after doing an ad campaign with Children's Motrin® & Kelly Ripa.  Did I know what kind of 'teachable moment' this whole experience was going to be? Not a clue. Boy am I grateful though for seeing those teachable moments for what they are.

This experience with Children's Motrin® happened for a reason. Everything happens for a reason. I am on a mission in 2016 to focus on the positive. The raw, unedited - yet polished - part of living. During this video shoot, Kelly Ripa was a shining example. Funny story... so she was shooting with Boston and her crew was sitting in seats watching the shoot and I leaned forward and asked an adorable woman to snap a pic of Boston's smile for me because I couldn't see She was all over it!  She smiled, was attentive to my questions and even commented on what an adorable boy he was. I didn’t know it at the time but guess who that girl turned out to be? KELLY RIPA'S DAUGHTER!! 

So if Kelly Ripa, one of the brightest stars in television can raise amazing kids that are kind, thoughtful and genuinely GREAT people? We ALL can do this. This world is giant. There is plenty of room in it for all of us to live. 

And ya know what else? 

WE CAN ALL BE UNSTOPPABLE. 

 

Meet my amazing mom friends!  Becky, penelope, kristin, amanda, heather & kelly!!!

Meet my amazing mom friends!  Becky, penelope, kristin, amanda, heather & kelly!!!



MY FEARLESS GHOST-ZAPPING MOM

I have been compensated by, and received information and materials from, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division, the makers of Children’s MOTRIN®. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post.

Visit www.MyUnstoppableMom.com to create your own My Unstoppable Mom book cover with your kids and celebrate your unstoppable power as a mom seen through the eyes of your kids! Also, visit #MyUnstoppableMom to learn more about how the makers of Children’s MOTRIN® are supporting literacy for those in need. 

Also, hop on over to Twitter, December 3 at noon ET for a twitter chat with #MyUnstoppableMom & the other awesome moms who experienced this journey with me. 

Belief in 3 Words:  #LiveYourTruth

Belief in 3 Words: #LiveYourTruth

Hello there gorgeous. 

I am sitting in the Charlotte airport awaiting my connection to one of the most beautiful places on Earth.  Turks and Caicos.    This is actually my 2nd time heading to this gorgeous land and really the first time I'm coming with set intentions.  

This year has been an interesting year to say the least.  I put my business on hold because I wanted to be apart of something bigger than myself.  So I committed wholeheartedly to a conference in NYC. Needless to say, it wasn't anything what I signed up for and I knew it wasn't what I wanted to be doing with my time.  And honestly, it wasn't giving me that real life experience and ability to give more of myself to something bigger than myself, ya know.  So, I resigned pretty quickly after the event was over.  From the end of July on, I really took some personal time.  I picked up some hobbies that I totally missed out on and really thought about what it was that I really want to get out of my life.  And really the type of people I want to surround myself with. 

After about 6 years of trying my hardest to help other women use this blog medium to grow themselves and their lives, I decided to walk away from them.  Most of them, that is.  I found myself not able to enjoy blogging anymore and very jaded by many of the so-called 'mom blogger' behaviors and honestly, I wanted nothing to do with it anymore.  Nothing.  NOTHING.  Stealing products from brands at conferences (off their tables) was a bit of a tipping point for me.  Yes. That happened.  At the conference I produced.  And honestly, it is rather embarrassing when someone asks me if I'm a mom blogger and when I tell them NO, they start in on what kind of entitled - annoying - selfish people are in the mom blog space.  

And that's enough for me.  Totally enough.  In fact, I heard it yesterday while on a call with a brand I work with.  For many years I stuck up for them.  Told brands that mom bloggers are clearly just misunderstood.  That there really are amazing women in the influencer space that can really dig deep into the growth of a brand when they are used in conjunction with their digital plan. 

And here I am... Six years later already DONE with that.  After paying them nearly $50,000 for campaigns over the years - I won't pay them a dime outside of managing a traditional blog ambassador tour that they have to sign a contract to participate in.  I realized I was freaking nuts chasing my tail to pay women who only want to hurt me and not grow to be a better person within themselves.  

This year, I had a cartoon written about me by a blogger (if THAT's what you want to call her. She has posted TWICE in a year - one of them a full blog post blasting me in a cartoon she really actually drew.  Yeah.)  Others actually STEAL from me not once but twice.  The first time, I saw it happen and I internalized it as if I deserved it.  Yeah - NO.  The 2nd time, I knew that she had to go.  And a few others apart of their posse-who totally got off slandering me.  Making me feel like I was a horrible person. 

And I ACTUALLY worked my ass off for these pathetic women to totally torment me?  AND I PAID THEM MONEY TO DO THAT?  Yeah... NO.  No No no NO NONO. Never. Ever. Again.  I will not let another human being bully me into feeling like I deserved the pain and sadness that they gave me.  

I actually made that decision in July.  Right after that conference I resigned from.  And can I tell you since making that decision - my life has been filled with such joy.  SUCH JOY.  Happiness that I haven't felt in MONTHS.  Hell, years if I want to really go back in my mind.  I stopped chasing my tail for others and focused on ME.  On what really is important and what I HAVE to live with in my heart.  I WILL LIVE MY TRUTH.  I will be who I really am and not what others want me to do. I will forever not allow another person to dictate my heart.  NEVER.  I will not allow another person to bring up the past and use it against me.  It doesn't matter if it's my real life sisters or some evil wanna-be-bloggers who have hate in their hearts.  NO ONE WILL EVER MAKE ME FEEL THAT WAY AGAIN.  

So, my awesome and amazingly talented friend Meredith Sinclair who is one of those 'behind the velvet rope' friends has been such an inspiration to me in so many ways.  We've been friends for years and I've just watched this woman take off in everything she does.  She's a star contributor to the Today Show and she JUST so happens to be married to Jon...one of the amazing star producers for Oprah and the Own Network.  She posted something last week that really came at a perfect time.  She was sharing her proud wife moment with her talented hubby in NYC at the premiere for the show Belief.    Meredith is such a class act. And she really does have such an awesome story.  Be sure to grab her book that comes out VERY soon and visit her site where she talks about ways in life to live well played. 

“Belief” narrates this often-ignored but startling story: The age of top-down religion is over. That age is being replaced by an age in which even people who faithfully maintain distinctive religious identities are engaging in do-it-yourself spiritual journeys that often lead in remarkably similar directions of love, healing and justice toward a God (or gods) close at hand. *The Washington Post

You just read that quote, right?  That is exactly what I have done to move into this 'post-babies' life that God has given me.  With all the adversity God has given me - One thing has been consistent.  My JOURNEY.  And the truth in it.  

You see, I started this blog RIGHT after having Boston who is now 7 years old.  I blogged through the scariest time in my life.  A time when truth be told.... I wanted to die.  I didn't want to live.  And I went through the days begging my life away.  Waiting for night and darkness to set in.  This went on for almost 2 years, sadly.  Those two years trying every kind of drug on the planet till I finally said to my husband 'I have got to get back to the basics.  I want to go somewhere that makes me feel whole.  Gives me time to look at my journey to death and make it my journey to live.  

And that was the awakening for me.  That journey to a place in middle of nowhere Tennessee where I talked to cows on a ranch, colored like a child, got massages and mental exercises till that crazy-brain of mine was awaken.  And from there - I started to Live My Truth.  

Today I'm sitting in an airport waiting to visit a land that changed my thinking a year ago.  And I can't wait to see what this trip brings.  Aside sitting next to my crazy girlfriend Sandy who became my 'Mandee' in my adult years.  It's gonna be a trip.  

I promise to share here as I go along and remind you AND me to #LiveYourTruth.

Nickelodeon Suites Hotel

Nickelodeon Suites Hotel

 

Do your kids have a massive obsession with Nickelodeon?  Sponge Bob?  Dora?

Then pack your bags, friends because I have the PERFECT FAMILY HOTEL for you to visit in Orlando!

Nick Hotel - the ULTIMATE Nickelodeon Getaway is probably one of the most fun hotels I've ever stayed at with my people!!

Remember the show, years ago called Double Dare?  The host was the legendary Mark Summers, right?  Yeah.  Let me just tell you that Double Dare is ALIVE & WELL at Nick Hotel!

Another parts of the hotel that totally rocks are the pool.  Where everyday at 4:45 they bring out the crew and they get everyone all riled up and then the dump that INSANE bucket of green slime on everyone!  

We had the best view for sure. ha.  I got to watch the whole thing on the 5th floor corner checking out the entire-gross-sliming of my husband and my son on at LEAST 3 different occassions! ha. 

It was actually pretty cool.  I'm still dying ot know what your slime mixture is made of. 

Boston, my 5 year old who LOVES Spongebob stayed in a fun room off the dining room that had the walls COVERED with a huge Spongebob wrap.  

What I love about the rooms is that they are more than just a 'room'.  There is a kitchenette, bathroom with decent space.  Then there are 2 bedrooms.  The master bedroom with a nice sized closet and then a kids' like bedroom with two twin beds. 

The hotel is amazing even outside the rooms.  There is a 'mall' which is unlike the traditional 'mall'.  Inside they had a Subway, icecream & coffee shop and a few other amazing little things.  There is the character dining restaurant, gift shop, pizza place and even an awesome arcade!

I have to tell you, though... I was MEGA disappointed when I went to the arcade to find out that COTTON CANDY MACHINE WAS BROKEN!!!  Yes.  Broken.  I was devastated. Yes.  But I did survive. ha

Another spot in the mall is their front door area.  There is a studio on one side where you can enjoy nightly Double Dare games which was one of the BEST parts of Nick Hotel!  I loved it.  Remember that bizarre gigantic nose in the old school game where contestants have to reach up the nostril and grab the flag to get to the next person??? IT WAS THERE!!!  I totally kid you not. ha

Such a great time all the way around!  I highly suggest this hotel to any family who wants to get away from the major theme park resorts and need some 'down time'.  There are definitely plus & minuses to staying off the major theme park properties and Nick Hotel was a perfect fit for me and my family!

Want to travel to Orlando with toddlers?  The best time to do so is in MAY!  There are amazing buy one adult - get a child in free deals.  Be sure to check out www.VisitOrlando.com/May for more details!

Have you ever been?  What is your favorite part of the Hotel?

And if you've never been - ask away!!  Love to help you plan a fab Visit Orlando vacation!

 

_______

DISCLOSURE:  We were invited by Visit Orlando to experience the great opportunities for families with young kids in Orlando.  Yes, my family all attended - and we were given special media opportunities to facilitate this review.  Traveling with families are hard enough!  Real Mom Travels are here to make your family travel easier!

Happy Birthday Hudson

Yes, I know.  

His birthday was almost a MONTH ago. 

But today as I sit here I realized that the past month was such a bizarre state of life that I completely didn't post about my little love.  

I swear.  I have been slacking on this blog.  I've been so wrapped up in the must do - must be - must all - I have skipped the moments where I should have been documenting the life that I did 5 years ago when I started this blog. 

Don't get me wrong.  I actually HAVE been scrapbooking again!  That is a huge bonus.  So much so, that even though I haven't shared it here - I've actually got proof that I have been keeping up with my #2 and his little life. 

Have you seen my facebook page?  Twitter?

So.... I may not have shared it here - but he's out there.  The love - warmth - growing obsession with this little dude is out there.  And what's great about it?  I'm so present when I'm with him. 

So, here is my little message for my little dream boy, Hudson. 

Dear Hudson, 

You - my darling, have been such an amazing blessing to our family. You have been a constant reminder to slowwww down.  To live in the moment.  And to capture as much as possible every day!

One year has passed.  (Well, a year and about a month but who's really counting?)

You just started crawling while we were away in Florida.  And can I tell you how much work you are now? ha.  So many people ahem-your grandma- were constantly questioning your growth.  They were worried about you not crawling or hitting other milestones.  Well, your brother didn't start walking until he was 18 months old.  So I knew, it would happen on YOUR time.  

And, I'm glad it did! ha.  Cause if you were crawling like this anytime sooner???  OMMGGOSH!

Oh how I can't wait till you start running walking.

Be sure to check out your scrapbook little dude as you get older.  I promise to truly capture every funny moment.  Oh yeah-and the Childhood Biography book that I'm always filling out.  Funny, funny things - kid.  

May your 2nd little year of life be filled with moments that help you grow.  Moments that your brother remembers with you.  He sure adores you Hudson.  Boston kisses you everyday.  He calls you 'Little Legs'.  He reads books to you sometimes.  And he's starting to get annoyed at you for going after and wrecking his Legos.  Oh how he'll learn though.  (BOSTON - PICK UP YOUR LEGO'S!!!)

I can't wait to take you to the shore this summer, Hudson!  We'll make sandcastles.  Or, we'll tear down your brothers. hee hee.  Pay back big dude.  Pay Back.  We'll get ice cream every.single.day.  We'll play ball.  You can make messes, Hudson and at the shore - I don't get crabby!  =)

May this next year God give you good health. May you smile instead of frown.  May all your dreams come true, Sugar Bear.  

And yes.  You are Sugar Bear.  And you will still be my Sugar Bear when you're 16, ok?  

Love, 

Yo Mama

Life in Motion

My Life in Motion

Here I am. Monday morning after a week away.  

I've been in this limbo place for some time.  In a place where I'm not really sure  what I want to do when I grow up.

Hudson was born February 20th.

And today is October 7th.

Ask me how much I remember from the past 7 months?

Yeah.  That's really how I feel right now.

I went from being pregnant.....to putting my oldest in kindergarten in the wink of an eye.  

The month of September was a big month for me in coming into who I am.  

After my 5 year old was born I went from major market radio personality to an ordinary mom.  I fought so hard and hurt so badly on the inside trying to really find my identity that it took its toll on me.  And those around me as well.  I hated the town my husband 'made' me move to, I was hateful towards everything that came my way.  I was a miserable person and couldn't for the life of me figure out why.  

I had always been this fun, outgoing, loving, jovial person.  And here I was with so much going on in my head that it was affecting my life.

Here I am, another gorgeous baby and 5 years later and gratefully I'm a completely different person than I was then.

I battled myself so badly that it left me bruised and torn for years.  I struggled with my identity and in 2012 I knocked the socks off myself and everything I'd ever done.

I was on the Today Show, Good Morning America... Heck, I was even voted as one of Philadelphia Life Magazine's Superwomen of 2012.

I was at the top of my game last year.  And it all rolled into this year.  My company nailed it out of the park. I was able to do more than ever before with my new 'identity' that I created for myself.  Everything that I had set out to achieve-I did it.  And more.  And it all started from this little old blog I have right here.  My conversations of the heart....with you.

But as I sit here, I have a confession to make. 

After battling postpartum depression that wasn't accurately diagnosed until my oldest was almost 2 years old....I knew that I had to be very aware and honest with myself when I found out I was pregnant again.  The first person I told wasn't my husband.  It was my therapist!  I was over the moon about having another baby.  But I was also scared out of my mind about what happened to me after Boston.  

You see, PPD is more than just the 'baby blues'.  It's a chemical imbalance in a womans brain that fogs their thinking.  And for me..when my brain was 'broken' ~ my heart was too.  I did things that I wouldn't have normally done in my 'right mind'.  I had more self hatred than any one person should ever have for themself.  I had all these amazing things in my life that I just couldn't find the good in them.  It was so puzzling to me how I could go from this happy person to deep sadness that physically made my body ache.  I was great at hiding it.  Mainly because I didn't want anyone to think I was 'nuts'.  You know-that pathetic stigma that is put out there about depression and mental illness.

I did amazing when I was pregnant this time around.  Everything was euphoric!  I was on a pink cloud the whole time even when things happened to me that was out of my control...I was able to shrug it off. 

Fast forward to baby born #2.  I was answering emails within the hour of having a C-Section. Who does that insanity??? Me.  A woman determined to not get tagged by PPD again.  I had to keep pushing forward.  Hard and fierce.

But slowly the reality came creeping up on me.  Right after I came home from the hospital - i stopped taking pain meds and stopped nursing both in the same day.  Yikes.  NOTE TO ANY woman after having a baby...wean yourself slowly on both medicine and nursing.  Cold turkey was not good for my chemistry and I tanked.  

But no one on the outside knew it but my husband.  I kept saying give me some time...just let me grab ahold of this.  I knew exactly what was happening.  And once again, I beat myself up over it.  

I remember one day this past spring, right after I had Hudson thinking to myself 'I would never talk to any other person the way I talk to myself.  This has to stop.'

So I of course did what I've done my whole entire life.  Put my focus into something other than myself. 

And well...it didn't work as good as I had hoped.  I had some slips along the way and a few busted eyes and egos...but in the end, my biggest life lesson was confirmed to me again.

Slow down.  Focus on what is really the most important.  

I can't tell you countless times I've gotten tweets or facebook messages saying 'you always are having so much fun' or 'you have the best job' or 'you have the luckiest life' and so on.

What wasn't really known was the aching going on in my heart.  I came across as a light in so many lives - when all I wanted was to see the light at the end of the tunnel....

I beat myself up everyday about my weight.  I have had to take down wedding pictures on the walls because when I'd see them they would make me cry.  I even had to switch out pictures from when Boston (my oldest) was a baby cause when I'd see them they would trigger this guilt inside of me that was crippling.  

For YEARS I had to do this.  Getting healthy after Boston was rough.  (Hence, why we waited so long to have another...)

Now?  Those images are back on the walls.  Back in plain sight.  In my heart with a different feeling.

I guess what I'm saying is - after doing everything for prevention when I fould out I was pregnant with Hudson a year ago - I still managed to stumble.  It wasn't even 1/10th of what I battled when my oldest was born...but I'm human.  And as a human we aren't perfect.  We do things that may or may not be healthy or helpful to ourselves and those around us sometimes.

But what is great about all this.... I struggled really bad for 4 months after Hudson was born.  And this past July i NAILED it.  I put everything I had into 'getting well' and loving myself without judgement.  I started taking a DBT course - which has been amazing and so awesome for my sabotaging self habits that I've had my entire life.  The past 3 months I've been able to look at a situation with my WISE MIND and not react from my emotional mind.  

It doesn't matter what you may think about a person.  They may look like they've got it all figured out on the outside...but we have no clue what is really going on in their hearts. 

Since I've had to 'be in this mom moment' more often since mid August - I've had the opportunity to enjoy more time with Boston.  (We hit the beach and Hersheypark all before kindergarten started and it was FABULOUS!) I am able to take him to the bus in the morning and pick him up in the afternoon.  I got closer to him and love every second of it.

And with baby Hudson.  Isn't he the sweetest thing?  My husband and I were convinced that since Boston was the best baby on the planet we were in for a doozy.  But we were both wrong.  Hudson, dare I say, is even BETTER than Boston was as a baby!

The blessings in my life are beyond apparent.  I just wanted to rush by them for so long that I never allowed myself to really feel the moments.  I was off to the next thing.

Well, not anymore. 

After this past week with my adorable baby in the best little town in the whole world...I am recommitted to what is most important.  And that is being present in my kids' lives.  It's great to have 27,000 facebook 'likes' ~ over 20,000 twitter followers ~ a business bank account that is positive cash flow and not negative...it's all amazing to know that it all started RIGHT HERE.  From this 'little old blog' and a 'big leap of faith'.

But - i got here from being me.  Living life & sharing my truths.  And that is where I need to be.

I've slowed down so much...that I can actually take my dog for a walk.  Clean my BATHROOMS even!  

Life is good.  And the memories I made last week with not a soul on the beach in Cape May but me and my little human is priceless.  Words can't express how awesome it was to see his smiles.  To feel his heart beat while snuggled under an umbrella in my lap watching dolphins swim by.

What is most important in your life?  Can you honestly say I'm glad I did this or that?  

I can assure you - when we go - we won't be saying 'I wish I would have tweeted more' or 'I'm bummed I missed that event or conference call.'  I know I won't be. 

I worked my tail off to find a purpose when all along that purpose was right in front of my face.  I just needed to feel the feelings and live in the moment long enough to see it.

Happy week to you, friends.  xoxoxo ~ Joey