In a World Where You Can Be Anything…

Be yourself.

Sometimes we just need a breather. We need to recharge, but more importantly we need to be ourselves. If you’re anything like me, every now and then there comes a time when we forget to do things for ourselves.

I am known for having too many projects in the works. A few weeks ago, things started to pick up for the better. The problem is that while they were taking off, for everything I was working on; my children were seeing a reverse effect at home. I became short-tempered and “cranky”, this is something they did not deserve.

I am a go-get’r. I will NOT stop until the task is complete. Even if that means countless nights without sleep, forgetting to eat, nodding my head in agreement with my daughter to something she probably shouldn’t be doing. You get the idea.. It’s not a case of poor parenting and not caring, I simply zone out when I’m focused on a task. Because of this, I have learned it is better to work while they are sleeping.

Another thing I have learned. Remembering to find my voice and my backbone. This is where part of the “be yourself” comes into play. It’s also part of what makes an advocate, an advocate.. If you are too afraid of what others will think, nobody is going to listen to you. If you can’t find a way to be LOUD and make them listen…NOBODY is going to listen to you. If you can’t seem to find the backbone God gave you, to stand up for what you truly believe in; there is absolutely no point in trying to get others to follow you.

On the flip side, people do not want to listen to a broken record. They are not going to want to see me send the same Tweet out 100 times, to 100 different people. They are not going to want to see the same video, or links reposted and forced upon them. There is no heart, no originality. What makes you any different from the next person asking for their support?

So, why did that No Kid Hungry girl just disappear? Every child in our house was hit with the flu bug at one point or another, and naturally only one child can be sick at a time. Eventually it made its way to me, which isn’t a big deal..had I not ended up with a fever of 103 and felt like I was going to die. (A bit of an over exaggeration but still). I started a new job last week. My best friends along with my step children, who we all lived with; moved 800 miles away. The latter of all the information given was the greatest change. This meant moving things in, moving things out, starting over… The kids and I needed this recharge.

Tonight as I write this, it is actually the first time in nearly a week (which if you know me is a HUGE deal for me) that I have been on social media at all. There has not been a single Tweet, nothing posted to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, nothing….. I took this time to try to see if I could “be myself”. Would I even know how?

The phone I have is Wi-Fi only and I never thought I would find myself saying this, but it has been the greatest thing ever for myself and my kids. The power of the internet distracts us from being ourselves, from everything. While waiting in line to pick my kids up from school, you could often find me checking my email. Once they got in the car, anxious to tell me about their day (or sad and needing to talk); they would have to wait as whatever I was doing was more important. Looking back now, was the email for a potential interview really THAT important? Did that tweet HAVE to be sent right then, it couldn’t have waited 5 more minutes until I got home?

How can I tell if this weeks’ unplugging had a positive effect on them? The kids have played together, fighting has been nearly non-existent, homework has been done, papers have come back with good scores on them, they have not missed any school…the list goes on. When I pick them up we laugh, we dance, we sing (completely out of tune..don’t judge). You get the idea. It’s not perfect, I said the fighting is nearly non-existent, I did not say it was gone for good.

Remember that part I mentioned earlier about having a voice and a backbone? I became so focused on trying to get people to buy the End Hunger Challenge T-shirts, to nominate people for interviews, and to drive attention to my good friend Matt Williams, that I forgot about everything else. Here is my nasty confession:

I felt that if my name, my face, my “brand” was not out there in front of everyone all the time..that they would not see me as dedicated. I have a terrible uncontrollable desire to succeed at whatever I do. Be it as a parent, as a “clean freak”, baking, the End Hunger Challenge for No Kid Hungry, or helping with Matt Williams success…it doesn’t matter. I felt that the moment I stopped tweeting, stopped commenting in fan pages, if I didn’t respond to an email right away, I was letting everyone down.

The ugly truth is, that by putting all of that first; I was ultimately letting down those most important to me. I was also letting down those, who drove me to fight for what I believe in. As much as I support, and will continue to be a very vocal advocate for No Kid Hungry.. the moment I stopped reaching out to the kids in need locally as well, I have already failed. As much as I admire, have respect and love for my friend Matt; the moment I turn my back on the vets in need, in my area…I have failed. The most important of all, the very second that I let any of that become more important than the child sleeping on the couch next to me, is the greatest failure of them all.

I have heard the phrase “There is always a calm before the storm” quite often. As I sit here tonight, I have to wonder if they got that wrong. We already had our storm, and it was a hurricaine sized one. Now we are in the calm. With Easter weekend approaching, this is the perfect time to re-evalute the best way to effectively help everyone.

If after reading this you thought I was no longer supporting or focusing on No Kid Hungry, go back to bed, get a cup of coffee and try again. If you thought I was going to stop promoting Matt Williams work, after all he has done for us (my kids and myself) you’re crazy.

Don’t be afraid to change…. As long as you also remember to be yourself.

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Originally published at on April 2, 2015.

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