Finding Your Identity in a World of Fear and Dreams

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“Fear and dreams go together.

They are pieces of your own identity.

They are part of who you are.”

 

Identity

noun  iden·ti·ty  \ ī-ˈden-tə-tē , ə- , -ˈde-nə- \

Individuality: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual

 

If you are a living breathing human, which I am assuming you are since you’re reading this,  identity might mean something different to you than me. Maybe you feel your identity is solid, maybe you realize like I do that it is fluid and changes over time. Maybe you are the same 4-year-old who wanted to be a superhero when you grew up and still want to be that hero at 65. Or, maybe you are realistic and that superhero dream turned into being an accountant. Either way, your own identity is the way you see yourself including how you feel, your personality and beliefs, your looks (because lets face it, looks are a part of who you are) the self-image you project in others, and the qualities and values you hold after years of learning and failing in life.

I know that my individuality differs greatly from when I was a 6-year-old girl writing my first story—about a deaf and blind girl whose mother slaps her in frustration over her inability to hear and see–to the almost middle-aged me. Get ready as I take you on a random roller coaster ride with this piece…I haven’t a damn clue what the point is yet. Hopefully, you’ll hang in there with me as I figure it out.

Just as my imagination changed from the little girl who wanted to be a writer, it’s also changed from the 22-year-old who thought being a writer was a pipe dream. I liked to write, but I needed to work and build a career to make money. After all, money mattered most. Especially coming from poverty. I would have done anything to flee the poverty monster and find a place in this world. But, that didn’t include being a starving artist.

“I always wanted to be a writer…

I mean a real writer.

You know like one with people who read their shit…

When you were young, figuring out your identity might not have crossed your mind. Like me, you probably just wanted to live life and survive—whether that was working, partying, studying or all of the above. At 22, I just knew I needed to earn a living, be a responsible person, and figure out how to survive in the real world. Looking back now, I didn’t have a true identity. I didn’t have individualism as I ran the expected rat race with everyone else. Now I know there is no true identity. It’s a fluid idea that changes over the years. Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” But, what if you don’t know who you are, or worse, how to be you?

All these years, fear sat in my driver seat. Not the basic fear of failure–since I’ve always believed if you put your heart and knowledge into anything you can make something great of it—but fear of surviving, fear of poverty, fear of being found out, fear of living my true self.

Growing up in poverty meant I always had people looking down on me because my mother and I were poor. It also means I always had something to prove. Poverty and proving myself were both so much a part of my identity I didn’t realize I was living the Impostor Syndrome and that was what kept me from sharing my writing with the world. You can learn more about Impostor syndrome here, here and here.

Can you relate too?

I always wanted to be a writer…I mean a real writer. You know like one with people who reads their shit and gains some kind of recognition. As my identity changed as I grew as a person, I went from wanting to write to wanting to be a writer to being an actual writer. That not only includes the few small pieces I’ve published but also this horribly maintained, terribly long-winded blog full of adverbs—that as we all know pave the road to hell. Thanks, Mr. King!

“Then new fear surfaced in my identity:

The fear of dying before I’ve actually lived.

Yes, fear is apart of my identity as is impostor syndrome. Both kept me from being what I wanted and from seeing what  I was.. Being a starving artist was once my biggest fear. Not that I thought I would jump into the world of writing and instantly feel the love but that I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills and would be forced back into a life I desperately wanted to run from.

Then, when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, a new fear surfaced in my identity: The fear of dying before I’ve actually lived. I never worried about this. But as middle age approaches (Yikes!! I can’t believe I am even writing that) people I love and care for fall prey to disease, sickness, and death. I am, at a young ripe middle age, aware now that life is shorter than I can see while living it. A short life not well lived is no life at all. If there are things I want to do in this life, I have to do them now.

“Yet when I first jumped into the world

I most wanted live, I lost myself.”

So I left the gray cubicle behind for the life of the starving artist I once feared and I left that fear behind too, changing my identity. My 22-year-old fear dissipated over the years of rejections and insecurities. I  learned to survive and depend on someone else to keep me alive. P.s. Thanks to my husband for working hard and supporting us while I “house mom it” for a while. Yet when I first jumped into the world I most wanted live, I lost myself. I lost myself in the death of my mother. I lost myself in letting go of the purpose in my fear that drove me into a career I hated. I lost myself in having time to be who I wanted to be and not even knowing who that was or how to get there. I lost myself in the walls of my house instead of the walls of my cubicle. I lost myself in being a mom and wife and not understanding why it kind of sucked to just stay home and take care of your family. Sorry guys, I love you. I do! But…my identity was gone. I just didn’t know who I was anymore.

There is a video from motivational and lifestyle vlogger Jay Shetty. It’s about doing things in your own time and how everyone has a different clock. You should watch it. No really, you should definitely watch it. Right now. I’ll wait…

While you are there, watch this one too since this post is as much about fear as it is identity.

I am doing things in my own time, according to my own clock and just like there is a 6-year-old girl who is self-publishing her own stories with goals of becoming a multi-millionaire by 9 years old, there is also a mom—a wife, a single women, a dad, a single man—nearing middle age or not that is working according to their own clock, finding their old/new identity, and carving out a place for themselves in the world after all their years surviving and living.

“Fear and dreams go together.

They are pieces of your own identity.

They are part of who you are.”

Impostor syndrome gives me the idea that I will be found out and forced down into a fiery pit of lava to burn for all eternity doing the one thing I hate most because I suck at what I want to do. For me, that is filing and paperwork. Though I haven’t been a file clerk since I was 20 years old, I’ve had the nightmares about never amounting to anything more. I’ve also the fantasies sitting in my screened in summer porch with endless hot coffee creating next great big hit. Stephen King will recommend it on social media–even if it’s not a horror story he would recommend it anyway—and everyone falls in love with all my words. Fear and dreams go together. They are pieces of your own identity. They are part of who you are.

Do you have impostor syndrome too? Has it taken hold of your identity? It’s ridden the fear wave long enough. It’s time to let go of the idea you aren’t good at what you do and you can’t be what you want. If you don’t have the confidence, yet, then at least pick up the “don’t give a fuck” attitude to carry you until the confidence follows.

That is my favorite part of my identity now. I don’t give a fuck anymore about the things once drowning me in fear. I am bound to insult someone, hurt someone, piss someone off, make someone disagree with me and any and all of the above that will give me the dirty looks or lose friends. So be it. Like the quote that Dr. Seuss did not actually say, “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

What is the point of all this…fuck if I know! But thanks for reading my long-winded spew fest.

Tell me where your identity trip has taken you in the last 20 years…Do you wish you spent more time with your parents? Did you learn a lesson that changed your entire perspective? Did you lose yourself after giving up a life you hated because it was all you ever knew? Give it to me in the comments. Chances are I will relate and if not me someone somewhere reading this will!

 

Letting Go and the First Day Of School

I could be doing anything other than watching Netflix right now. Finishing up my nonfiction book for my deadline this weekend. Writing for one client. Editing for another client. Pitching articles. Cleaning. Yes, even cleaning.

Who wants to clean, though?

My middle child just started Kindergarten. We’ve been waiting for this for five years. She was difficult, tough, independent and dominate from birth. We butt heads, her and I. I couldn’t wait for Kindergarten to come and it couldn’t come fast enough. It was an easy transition to big kid school when my oldest started. I expected nothing less for her.

Then the day finally arrived. I thought I’d dance and get straight down to work. Looking forward to putting the baby in for a nap and having quiet in my house for the first time in five years. I didn’t expect the myriad of emotions that hit me the minute the bus pulled up.

All at once I felt immense love, sadness, happiness, and bittersweet joy. I felt lonely.

Wait back up a minute. I have been waiting to be alone (er…sort of since I still have the baby) for a long time. I’ve been waiting for time to focus on my career with my demanding child off at school for six hours a day. And yet I felt lonely?

I didn’t feel that way sending my first off to school. I put him on the bus many years before and went off to work without a second thought. I knew he was ready and so wasn’t I.

This time it hit me harder. I’ve spent every day for five and a half years with this little girl—Minus the less than handful of times she slept over an aunt or uncles house—and I missed her. I never expected that. I didn’t cry, but my throat swelled up and my eyes grew heavy watching her get on that bus yesterday, and again today.

She’s a big girl now, out in the world without me. I am proud and excited for her. But, I am also sad to let go of the little girl she used to be. The one that looked to me for all the answers.

So what did I do on my first day home—sort of—alone without her? You guessed it—well I already said it—binge watched Netflix while the baby napped. I couldn’t focus on my writing during that time. I needed to veg.

The truth? I did it guiltlessly. I want to do it again today, but I’ve got work to get through. I don’t mind the work. I love my work actually. I just, like most people, would prefer to veg out during this alone time. I cannot do that forever.

When do your kids go back to school and did you experience all the emotions you never thought you would?

Happy September | Happy Fall

*Note—This post was only edited for spelling and structure. It’s a blog post, lighten up. If I took the time to edit all my blog posts for perfection, they’d never get posted. If you find an error, sure please tell me. I might have even noticed it already and not cared. Maybe I’ll fix it, maybe I won’t. I’ve stopped striving for perfection in honor of just getting it out of my head! Have a nice day.

 

Top Three Reasons Why Kids Should Wait to Use Social Media

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My son and I recorded a new podcast on our TaP – Teens and Parents Podcast show; episode 3 The Social Media episode.

We started this series a few months ago through our local community television company. They’ve got the cool setup with the sound proof podcasting booth. It’s so much better than recording at home with my kids younger screaming and dogs barking in the back ground.

TaP is all about teens and parents learning to connect and understand each other in this digital world. I speak with a lot of parents, friends, family and strangers. And many tell me that their kids just don’t talk to them. They don’t ask questions, they don’t get into the nitty gritty of life sometimes. This is why we started TAP.

In this month’s episode we discuss the dreaded social media. Yes, social media I am using right now to promote this blog and the podcast! The difference is, as a grown up I should know my limitations and understand how to use social media to benefit me and my business through networking, being kind, having fun, and not overusing it. But, do kids and teens have it in their still developing brains to understand all that, as well?

Research says, No.

Depressed girl lying down on a couch in the dark while using her smartphone. The light from the screen is illuminating her face.

Connor and I battle it out a little on this front. He wants Instagram and snap chat and all the fun stuff many kids use today. I might be going out on a limb here, but just like cigarettes once were not marketed to kids so isn’t social media. Snapchat has those silly filters, instagram lets you share your awesome and funny photos. Tick Tok gives you 10 second videos to laugh at and mimic. I could go on and on.

7.5 million kids under the age of 13 are already using Facebook

But that does mean teens should be using it. I’m one mom who thinks 13 is too young to sign up for social media. However, 7.5 million kids under the age of 13 are already using Facebook. Am I alone in this idea that social media is dangerous for kids?

Listen to the podcast, let me know what you think. Do your kids use social media? How old are they and how to do you monitor it?

 

What are the top reasons we discuss in this podcast why kids shouldn’t use social media too young?

  1. What they see on Social media doesn’t is glorified. It doesn’t always indicate real life.
  2. Bullying and we’ve all heard, read, or seen the stories on this one.
  3. Social media use can lead to or exasperate depression
Pre Teen Girl Being Bullied By Text Message

Pre Teen Girl Being Bullied on Smart Phone

At the end of this post are some great resources for when your kids come running to you with the dreaded social media question. They will beg, they will plead and they may even lie to get it. Having knowledge ahead of time will make the decision easier.

Social media has its advantages. But it also has its disadvantages. Don’t take my word for it. A quick google search of “social media and [fill in the blank] pops up a lot of questionable options (and we didn’t even touch upon the last two on this list in the podcast):

Social media.JPG

And when I search with kids as the subject:

Capture

Social media has its benefits, but also has its hurdles for adults. Imagine the impact on our children. Can we stop them from using it? Should we stop them? And how do we control it? We discuss this in my podcast, but I am interested in your thoughts too. Leave a comment below and tell me.

Resources:

Is social media smart for middle school kids?

Parent ultimate guide to Instagram 

Is Instagram safe for kids? What parents need to know.

Parents ultimate guide to Snapchat 

Parents ultimate guide to Tik Tok

What families need to know about Tik Tok.

Smart Phones and kids mental health

Is social media an obstacle to my child’s mental health?

Cyberbullying and Social Media

 

Have questions you want answered on our podcast? Introducing the lightening round where Connor and I answer your questions, as many as we can, in a few minutes at the end of each podcast. We need questions! Send us some.

Hope you are having an awesome summer!

When I Dream, I Dream in Color.

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I had such an odd dream last night. When I dream, it’s usually in vivid details with colors, people, scenes and discussions. I wake and remember the colors, intentions and actions, and sometimes even dialogue.

Last night’s dream started out grand. My husband hired someone to clean the yard! (Side note, the yard is my personal nemesis and is difficult to manage). This person, dressed in red shorts (telling me it was a hot summer day) pulled weeds and cut down bushes and raked and mowed and planted grass and in the span of the five minutes in my dream the front became a beautiful brown bed of mulch and the green grass, pristine. He even added a kids play spot.

But the weird part…he unearthed some grave sites of people who died long ago.

When he showed me the yard there were grave stones in place already. The town wouldn’t let us move the graves, but made us put up stones in honor of the dead. We became a mini cemetery.

From there I jumped to having a funeral for the already in place graves in my yard. Old people showed up dressed in black. I think there was a rabbi (I am not sure why). White chairs lined up under my full in bloom maple tree.

The neighbors congratulated me on how beautiful my yard turned out.

Most people don’t have faces in my dreams but sometimes they are people I know, people I see all the time or people I haven’t seen in years.

Mostly, no one had any faces in my dreams. But I knew one was a rabbi, another an old frail woman, and a few others were my neighbors.

I have interpreted my dreams before. So I know I colors represent specific meanings. As does the presence or lack of presence of specific elements.

Such as green being the color of not only envy, but prosperity. Green shows up a lot in my dreams. And like most superstition I interpret how I see fit. I see it as a sign of prosperity because the old people in my dream make me think of a future far far away. Prosperity in the future.

Something here tells me not to worry.

The yard is something that is always on my mind. That I’ve had difficulties with since buying the house. Is my dream saying don’t worry? Someday it’ll be beautiful? Let go of things out of your control. It isn’t worth the heartache?

But then, why the graves? The black robes and white chairs and the red shorts on the landscaper?

Now that I’ve written my dream out I’ll go and interpret the full meaning and let you know what I’ve come up with.

In the meantime, what do you think it means?

October, Halloween, Candy, and Kids

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trick or treat halloween themed illustration

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Happy October! I don’t know about you, but this is my favorite month. No, it’s not just because I am from Boston and it signifies–officially in my book–that it’s fall, even if only for a short while. Not because pumpkin spice everything (although I do like pumpkin spice some things** as long as they are gluten free), but I love October because. . .

Halloween

Halloween everything. I love horror, I love scary, I love pumpkins and decorations and Halloween stores. I love dressing up and designing the kids costumes with them. I love everything about Halloween, except the huge surplus of candy we have on November 1st.

When my oldest son was young we were able to control it and give him a piece here or there. He would soon forget about it and we would donate or toss most of it as it got old.  Now he’s almost a teen and I’ll find the bag in his room half empty before the first week of November is over.

Kids don’t like candy?

orange plastic bucket

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

My youngest daughter (soon-to-be middle child), she never, ever forgets the candy exists no matter how much time is passed. She’s still talking about her Easter Candy! Despite what this New York Post article says, my kids LOVE candy.

What do you do when your kids love candy, can find every hiding spot, and nag you about it constantly? Everything in moderation I say. But, how do I get them to listen. I start by preparing them in advance. “You cannot eat all the candy!” Way in advance.

And when they want to buy all the candy in the stores, I remind them of all the candy we will soon have. “No, I am not spending $40 on two big bags of mixed candy for fun!”

What to do with all that candy?

In years past I’ve thought about donating to different events or charities that collect candy for service members. But I’ve never discussed it with the kids. So this year I think I’ll do that as well.

I also need to find some better hiding places! Not only from my kids, but from myself.

Now, time to focus on the homemade Halloween costumes straight from the kids wildest imaginations. Last year I started a little earlier.

Do you love Halloween as much as we do? How do you prevent your kids from eating ALL THE CANDY!? Do you make or buy your costumes? Tell me in the comments.

**Confession, I did indulge in a 6 pack of pumpkin spice whoopie pies from Something Sweet Without Wheat to celebrate the season. If you are gluten free and you haven’t been there you must. Be careful, it is dangerous! I try to limit myself to one a week! I’ll see how that goes!

Hunger Pains, That Dreaded Third Trimester

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Erica Marchant Logo
Today I am working on my brand portfolio, building my website, creating my logo, updating all my stationary, business cards, social media images, etc. when I got the hunger pains. The only problem was, I had hunger pains an hour before, and ate breakfast hour before that. I pushed it as long as possible before reheating an early lunch, zoodles with carrot based sauce and chicken from dinner last night.


Right on schedule, an hour passed and I am hungry again.


*Insert aggravated emoji face*


It appears I’ve entered that stage in pregnancy symptoms where I’m hungry all the time, but can only eat small portions. Twenty-six weeks pregnant down, fourteen weeks left to go, third trimester. If I eat too much, the pressure on my internal systems causes extreme GERD and forces me to reconsider why I eat food at all.


So here I am working on my branding and reaching out to potential new clients when BAM! I have to stop and find food.


Under normal circumstances, I’d grab anything and chow down on it. That is what I did with my first two pregnancies. That was also before I learned about my gluten allergy, dairy intolerance, and many other foods that make me ill and wreak havoc on my GI system.


TMI I KNOW!
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash


But, if you’ve been there, then you know how hard it is to grab food and eat it. Especially when you run out of prep and leftovers…especially in a house full of non-food sensitive people, i.e. they can all eat whatever the hell they want, and no qualms about making me feel bad.
On top of this, I had ICP in my second pregnancy. There’s between a 70 and 90 percent chance I will get ICP again with this pregnancy. I am at that stage where symptoms will present themselves. And the food I eat makes a huge difference in those symptoms. Anything with sugar is more likely to cause intense itching than foods without sugar.



Staying away from sugar is a huge plus in keeping these intense night time itching horrors at bay.



In fact, I’ve already experienced this. Staying away from sugar (or too much sugar) is a huge plus in keeping these intense night time itching horrors at bay. I know because I’ve experienced it. I’ve experienced it because this baby LOVES SUGAR! He wants all the cookies and the cakes and the candies I never ever eat. Not just to avoid sugar, but because I have those pesky food allergies too.


This isn’t such a bad thing. It not only keeps my weight down, but it keeps me from getting sick. And, after being sick every day for over two decades, I’ve had enough.


Queue all those gluten-free carb products. They are higher in fat, with less sugar. I’m eating more carbs than usual, but the baby still wants those sweets—yes I am blaming it on the baby, ha—and now I am hungry ALL THE TIME.

There is only so much salad and eggs a prego lady can eat in one day!



HELP!


There is only so much salad and eggs a prego lady can eat in one day!What do you do to curve those hunger pains, especially during pregnancy? I need suggested recipes and quick food ideas stat! This Udi’s gluten-free bagel with peanut butter will only tide me over for the next hour or two!

Comment below with your help and ideas! How did you overcome the pregnancy hunger in the third trimester?

From Anxiety Queen to Meditation Fiend

Hey there! It’s been a while. I haven’t confessed recently but I’ve got plenty to confess.

I write every day. Even on the days when I think I am not writing. I am. It’s just happening in my head.

I write about many things and love learning about almost everything. No labels, no designs, no custom made conformity.

Okay so blog posts are a standard format, but moving on.

While I am working on my first full-length novel, I freelance, participate in an awesome local writing group, and kick back in the chaos that is parenting, marriage, friendships, and life.

But, I wasn’t always here kicking back with confidence in my writing.

When I left my full-time career, it was natural for me to carry all that I’d accomplished in corporate America to how I approached my self-employed business model.

However, as it can happen, I made a mistake.

When I launched my content writing business full time, it was about the hustle and the paycheck.

It didn’t take long before chasing clients and melting down over impossible deadlines drummed up misery and anxiety every day. The more I chased the more unattainable my real dreams became. It wasn’t supposed to be that way.

What didn’t I realize? What was I missing?

I hit pause because it was me. I was missing. It was time to figure myself out again–who was I navigating this life as a new stay at home mom with no career, no deadlines, and no mom to turn to during the toughest times?

It’s kind of like that book, Eat Pray Love, except I was house poor and housebound with kids and no personal income. I opened up to understanding mindfulness and using meditation. I let my fears take a break for a while and just stopped to enjoy life in the moments. Even while grieving for my mother. The grieving never goes away. I suffered setbacks and meltdowns. But I kept searching.

How did I get from anxiety queen to meditation fiend?

With a lot of late sleepless nights, forgiveness of myself and others, and letting go of everything that weighed me down with negativity and no longer served the life peace I was looking for.

  • I took a long social media vacation. It was freeing. Breaking up with social media gave me time in my own head where I started to figure things out.
  • I learned to live in the moment and put my phone down. Less pictures meant more joy.
  • I found my heart again, through all the heartbreak. And it’s still beating.
  • I found my voice. It’s been inside my mind all along dying to break free.
  • I found my drive and the reason I’m writing this piece today.
  • I found my path and this time I wasn’t afraid to walk it, money or not.

I realized I made a mistake when I first set off on my writing career full time. I tried to run a content business rather than focusing on what I loved most: WRITING.

Once I accepted that mistake and I learned how to change my focus, exciting new adventures appeared along with a few great ideas. I’m a freelancer without a label, I’m a poet and songwriter, and I’m an author finishing my first novel, One Way Ticket. I’m traveling my path even after making all those mistakes.

Who are you?

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Spotlight Confessions: MOMpreneur Jacqueline Gabriela

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Confessions is doing something different. As much as I love writing about myself, there are so many other amazing women deserving this spotlight. In my new monthly series, Confessions Spotlight: MOMpreneurs, I am going to share their stories too!

The first in this series is dedicated to Jacqueline Gabriela.

Jackie.jpeg

Jackie rocking on stage. Photo courtesy of Rob Maloof Gauntlet Studios. Hair design by Jenna Bernardo.

I met Jackie when we were newly adulting, working as servers, and long before “mom tired” became the norm.  Back then, our lives were about taking orders, partying, and dreaming. A younger Jackie dreamt about a music career while the younger me dreamt about a writing career. But, when you are worried about just surviving and paying bills, that all felt like PIPE DREAMS!!!

Jackie eventually left the serving industry, like many of us, for a steady sales job and found herself excelling in that career. But, something was always missing and her dream persisted.

One day she realized it was time to quit dreaming and start doing.

“When I took a risk and left my sales career, I didn’t know how I was going to find success in the music industry. I believed in my abilities and knew, no matter what, I could always go back [to sales], but that if I never tried [to follow my dreams] I would spend the rest of my life wishing I had.”

Even if that meant failing, she had to try!

A woman who builds up and supports other women, Jackie’s positive and upbeat spirit draws you in and makes you feel like you can do anything, be anything, and it will happen.

“When! Say when not if!” She always says to me. After a day with Jackie, I’m more creative and drawn to my passions because her passion and love for what she does is contagious.

Jackie is an active musician and performer. She spends her days juggling two small businesses and two adorable toddlers. Somehow, she also makes time for her health–knowing it’s important to stay healthy and active to keep up with her days–and her friends! And she makes it look easy.

One day, on a particularly tiring and difficult day for me, she showed up at my house with her toddlers in tow and I asked, “how do you get up and out so early! I just don’t have my shit together like this!!” She laughed at me! Because, like many moms, she felt the same way; just organized chaos full of love, hopes, dreams, and wishes.

Between performing on stage with her fiance Jeff, running an open mic every Wednesday, encouraging other musicians, and caring for her family, Jackie runs Next Generation Concerts and is a co-founder for The All You Got Tour with Patty Duffey of the Young Performers Club.

The All You Got Tour combines live music and art with a positive message. “We are dedicated to supporting young musicians as they find their place in this world. It’s rewarding to watch passions come alive and see kids reveal their future in the brightest of lights.”

So how does she balance family time with her music career?

“Balance? What’s that?” Jackie laughed. “My life is a tornado of baby kisses, emails, laundry, and finger painting. It’s a beautiful disaster I call being a momtrepreneur!”

And that’s exactly what it is!

Jackie said when she decided to have children she made a promise to herself to keep fighting for her dreams because she wants them to do the same. “Seeing their mom working hard to build a career and life for all of us, shows they can also do anything in this world.”

When asked what else contributes to her success…

“My fiance!” She said. “We started Next Generation Concerts together and while I’m off booking shows and promoting bands, he’s home wrangling the kids after a long day at work.” Jeff works hard to support his family so Jackie can follow her dreams. Having a support system at home, as a mom, is huge (I would know)!

“He’s my support, my rock, ideal man, band mate, and my sound guy,” she said.  “Without him out team wouldn’t be complete.” A musician and singer too, Jeff helps run their weekly open mic nights and shows for Next Generation Concerts. Together they make open mic and their performances a success!

What does Jackie have to say to other momtrepreneurs?

“Take it day by day and prepare to be overwhelmed. Working for yourself is just as rewarding as it is stressful, but someday soon your sacrifice will pay for itself. Your business will flourish on your own terms.”

I asked her if she could go back and give her younger self one piece of advice what would that be. She said, “be yourself and be unapologetic about it.”

Today, 15 years after we first met, she’s running her own business, changing lives, and striving for something better for her families future.

Jackie defines the story of never giving up and persevering even after the door has been slammed in your face. She’s learned that “time and work are equally important. When you spend every day working towards a goal, eventually time will pass and you will surprise yourself with what you’ve accomplished. When you think you can, you can, and if you think you can’t…”

We all know the end to that statement. Way to go Jackie! I get goosebumps whenever I see the work she’s putting into helping others better their lives.

Follow Jackie at Next Generation Concerts and The All You Got Tour!

I want to write about you! Many women work hard to better their lives for themselves and their families every day.  

Are you a mom starting a business from home with toddlers running around, a mom returning to school fighting the fear to change while your teenager fights her algebra homework or a mom who’s already successful with some advice to give. Tell me about it! Because you’re a mom who understands perseverance in the face of discouragement and exhaustion and I want to write about you!

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Never Believed This Would Be Me!!

It’s crazy, I was featured in a weight loss article. I never believed this would be me. I’ve ready plenty of these stories in my life about other moms and always saying “No excuses!” Hey, I still have excuses, I just made them second to my health. I didn’t mention in this article that my life was a mess for a long time. I had to leave my full-time job, my mom was diagnosed and then passed from cancer and my husband lost his job twice in two years. It was a stressful time, but I knew how important it was then, more than I ever have, to get my health in check. Life is short, life is fleeting, life is meant to be lived!!!!
Read on for the full article…

When you have errands to run, homework to check, meals to cook and kids to kiss, taking care of yourself easily slides down to the bottom of your list of priorities. You recognize that it’s important for you to stay slim and fit, but it can be challenging to find time for workouts and healthy […]

via Erica’s Weight Loss Journey — Health Nutrition Fit

6 Tips to Stop Sucking At Life…Sometimes.

Lost CreativitySome days, I am a rock star. I slide out of bed with light pain (Fibro warriors unite!) and the stiffness subsides rather quick. I find myself ready to face the day, work on my businesses, and chase my two-year-old all over the house as we run and hide from Dinosaurs! (Ahh, I said businesses and not “day job”).

I’m productive! I answer emails, make plans, turn in assignments, write my blog post (like this one), get all my dishes done, floors swept, exercise crushed, goals met, and generally have a good productive day.

Other days I literally suck at life or just plain suck period. I wake up sore, stiff, and tired. It doesn’t subside and I am still zombied-out on the couch with my two-year-old after the fourth Episode of Paw Patrol (who am I kidding. I lost count). My dishes pile up, my floors aren’t swept, the house feels trashed, beds aren’t made, and my bathrobe hasn’t left my body since stepping out of bed…2 days ago!

Sometimes I flat out suck and cannot get my shit together. I literally scream at the world why can I not get my shit together?? What’s wrong with me?!

I’m shaking my head at myself now because there is nothing wrong with me. Life is just hard and tiring sometimes. And sometimes I need to give myself a break!

And you do too.

1. Stop beating yourself up when you have an off day, week, month, or even year (I can tell you about my straight 2 years of awfulness, I never thought I would get through, in another post). It happens to even the most productive “got their shit together” people.

Nothing in life is easy and the more you want it, the harder it feels to achieve. Except it’s not. The more you want it, the less those off days and weeks hold you back. Take them for what they are and rock on when the good days come!

2. Give yourself a break. If you have Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, illness, if you are grieving, scared, lost, confused, if you are stuck in the predictable and unpredictable world of motherhood (or fatherhood), just give yourself a break and manage those feelings. It’s okay to take the time to nurture yourself if that is what you need right now. And it’s okay to just be a mom (or dad) today.

3. Yes, you will be a Rockstar again soon! Don’t dwell on the days that you really, really sucked at life and just move forward with your goals.  You will get it done and not feel so bad on your next off day.

4. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals and aspirations. They will motivate, inspire, and encourage you when they don’t even know they are doing it!

5. Stop feeling guilty. Something is always sacrificed and this isn’t a bad thing. No one thing or person deserves all your attention every day except the one thing or person you want to give all your attention too.

Working mom’s feel guilty for not being home. Stay at home moms feel guilty for not working. We all have the guilt. We all put something ahead of someone else. Make your sacrifices worth it.

6. Use your off days for other things. Think and reflect on what you can do on your next Rockstar day and build a plan (this is personal and unique to you). Read a book; fiction, non-fiction, personal development…reading encourages thought and helps your mind grow. A day spent reading is never a day wasted. Do something creative like paint, draw, listen to music. Art and music enrich your mind and soul.

Some days I’ve got it and everything is clear. Other days I suck! What can I say! This life is a two-step forward, one-step back kind of process and I am just going to keep moving forward because it’s the only life I’ve got!