Category Archives: Inspire

Exploring The Rubin Museum of Art with mindful intention

Editor’s note: This post is about my experience attending Mindfulness for Families at The Rubin Museum of Art. My family’s visit was compensated by the museum. All views expressed are my own.

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My two boys and I are exploring The Rubin Museum of Art, absorbing the various paintings, sculptures and architecture. We are tasked by mindfulness expert, Archimedes Bibiano, to move through the space, sans electronics, and take mental snapshots of whatever inspires us in the moment. There are no rules — only a time limit — and everything from the chairs in the cafe to the color of the walls is worthy of consideration.

My six-year-old wants to discover the sixth floor, so we ride the elevator up, anticipating what exciting treasures me might find.  We walk out on the floor, and we catch a glimpse of the floor below, which is visible from the top of the spiral staircase, which climbs up the center of the museum. From this perspective, my son notices a pool of water with wooden cut outs floating inside. He sees some visitors stepping from piece to piece and is eager to try this himself. Continue reading

Reading to NICU babies inspires foundation full of heart

My baby doesn’t belong in the NICU.

At least, that’s what I thought while I held my seven-pound, full-term newborn in a room surrounded by tiny preemies tucked away in incubators, fighting to survive.

My baby doesn’t belong.

Or, maybe, I don’t belong.

My NICU experience was fraction of the time other parents endure. I came to the hospital with a baby born under emergency conditions and left two days later with a healthy child. This is not a typical NICU story, and I often feel wrong putting myself in that club.

I have friends whose children spent weeks, even months in the hospital, their contact with their precious babies reduced to supervised hours and minimal privacy. I have friends who spent days watching their tiny miracles give their all to survive, only to succumb to the will of G-d. I witnessed other parents during my visits to the NICU, whose bravery never wavered in the face of uncertainty.

Even though, my child wasn’t in the NICU for long. The time I spent with him there taught me just how valuable a caring and supportive environment can be for both newborns and parents. As I sat there in that uncomfortable hospital chair, awkwardly trying to nurse my child without detaching the numerous wires affixed to his body, I listened to the sounds of nurses tirelessly rushing from incubator to incubator, checking vitals and comforting bewildered parents. Because I was able to spend time with my child alone, I had the unique opportunity to observe other families and empathize with their hopes, fears and dreams.

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Because I (article author) was able to spend time with my child alone, I had the unique opportunity to observe other families and empathize with their hopes, fears and dreams.

One common connection between all NICU families, as this immense feeling of gratitude. Even those who’ve experienced the greatest of loss, still find meaning and purpose in the midst of tragedy. These parents are an inspiration and a reminder how hope can shine through the darkest of moments.

One such mother is Stacey Skrysak, a journalist and writer who, along with her husband Ryan founded Triple Heart Foundation in honor of their premature triplets, Peyton, Parker and Abby. Born in 2013 at just a little more than 22 weeks gestation, only Peyton survived, with Abby passing shortly after birth and Parker passing in the NICU at nearly two months old. Continue reading

Top 8 things to know about Channukah

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Jewish families like mine are scrambling to get ready for Channukah, the festival of lights. There are presents to buy, latkes to fry and menorahs to polish. Although Channukah is a favorite holiday of my people, and gets a good deal of mainstream attention, there is still some confusion about this eight-day celebration.

Why is it eight days?

Is this the “Jewish Christmas?”

Who’s this “Maccabee” guy?

To shine a light on this Jewish festival, here are the top eight things to know about Channukah Continue reading

One More

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This poem originally appeared on the Maybe I’ll Shower Today Facebook page

One More

One more kiss
Before you go down to sleep
My sweet little baby
My heart you keep

One more push
On the swing my love
My spirited child
Soar, soar above

One more wave
As you board the bus
I promise to not
Make much of fuss
One more lecture
Before I hand you the keys
Tell me once more
You’ll be careful, please?

One more hug
At your college room
How did this moment
Come so soon?

There will never be enough “one mores”
So, I will savor the few
And be thankful for the blessing
Of raising you.

Blogging for Better: The Voices and Faces Project

As a writer myself, I can vouch for the power of words, which is why I am honored to introduce our next Blogging for Better charity:

The Voices and Faces Project

Gender-based violence impacts the lives of millions, forever changing how they experience the world. We hear about the suffering they face, but, far too frequently, those stories are told through the eyes of the legal system, the media, the general public, and not through the lens of the survivors themselves. Fear, shame, anger and resentment often prevents these survivors from sharing their stories; stories that need to be heard; stories that need to be told.

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Enter the Voices and Faces Project, a nonprofit dedicated to helping survivors of gender-based violence put their stories into words. Through writing workshops, trained advocates help survivors create memoirs, short stories, poetry and more to articulate their experiences. These creative works not only serve to heal, they bring a humanity to the often cold, statistical experience of gender-based violence. These survivors are not just numbers, they are humans with stories we all need to hear.

“Many survivors of sexual violence, myself included, find that sharing their stories can help them heal themselves, and heal others,” says Lea Grover, Special Projects Associate for the Voices and Faces Project.

“The Voices and Faces Project’s testimonial writing workshop, “The Stories We Tell,” connects survivors to each other and helps them develop the tools to turn their experiences into action. It opens doors to advocacy and activism in many forms, and graduates of the workshop have gone on to write books, found their own organizations, and do the work of making the world safer for both those who have survived sexual violence and those who are at risk of experiencing it.”

The Voices and Faces Project covers the cost of the workshop for everyone who is accepted, which is why contributions to this worthy cause are so needed.

Throughout the month of November, as part of our Blogging for Better efforts, myself and others will be promoting the Voices and Faces Project, bringing attention to and raising funds for this worthy cause.

If you are blogger, writer or social media influencer interested in learning more about Blogging for Better, please email me at maybeillshowertoday at gmail dot com. You can also request to join our private Facebook group here.

 

 

Our Columbus, OH trip (with some PA in between)

My husband is an alumnus and avid fan of The Ohio State University (I hope this won’t deter any Michigan or Penn State supporters from reading on), which means every couple of years or so, he longs to return to the banks of the Olentangy River to cheer on his beloved Buckeyes. While we have gone as a couple before, we had never gone as a family, so we decided to take the brood back to Columbus for OSU’s homecoming weekend.

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My husband and I agreed driving would be the best option for our family. Flying with young kids can be tricky, and we felt stopping midway in Pennsylvania from New York to Ohio would make the journey more comfortable for everyone. We chose the Holiday Inn Express in Dubois, Pa., for its convenient location and high recommendation. The hotel met all of my expectations for the Holiday Inn brand and was a great choice for an overnight before we continued on to Columbus. Continue reading

I’m a mom who pushes her kids to succeed

Like many other little girls, I spent a brief moment of my childhood enveloped in the world of tutus and ballet shoes. I recall the early days of joyfully jumping over fake puddles and not worrying about technique or having any real skill. Then, I started taking classes with a serious instructor, a strict disciplinary with a thick Russian accent and no time for foolishness.
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That wasn’t me. I had no desire to train hard and suffer through endless criticism. I also wasn’t all that good, which may be why when I said I wanted to quit, my parents didn’t put up a fight. And, when the teacher questioned my decision, and wondered why my mom wasn’t forcing me to continue, my mom just shrugged it off.

I went on to attempt many activities from gymnastics to ice skating to piano. Some lasted a few years, others barely a few weeks. My skills in each varies from decent to not terrible, but no matter how well I did, I was never pushed to continue if I wanted to stop.

I am so appreciative of my parents for not pressuring me to keep doing something I didn’t love. I had to prove nothing to no one. I could just be a kid.

I always thought I would model this example as a parent. I would let my children try many things, and be ok if they want to stop. I wouldn’t be a “tiger mom” pushing my kids to succeed at all costs.

Yet, I find myself close to doing exactly that. Continue reading

Nature vs. Nurture: Nature (slightly) wins

I took an advanced placement course in developmental psychology, during my senior year of high school. Although, at the time, I was a long way from having children of my own, I was fascinated with how the human psyche is shaped over time. We studied various views on personality and behavior, including the long-standing debate of nature versus nurture.

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Reading the works of the likes of John Locke, I was convinced that our behavior and character was almost exclusively shaped by our environment and that we are truly “blank slates” when we first enter the world. This view made me regard every future child I encountered with a certain level of judgement for their parents. If their kid was awful, it had to be because of something they were doing wrong.

Then, I had my own kids. Two boys, being raised in similar circumstances, but who could not be more different. And, this difference was apparent from the moment my second son was born. Continue reading

“This Is Us” and the lens of loss

This post contains minor spoilers.

Right before the infamous slow cooker ignites and starts a chain of events leading up to the demise of Jack Pearson, we see the family patriarch loading the dishwasher, cleaning the kitchen table and sweeping the floor. All while his wife and two of his three children rest upstairs. There is nothing inherently special about any of these mundane tasks, except, for the audience, it is one more reminder of just how great a husband and father Jack had become.

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And just as the end of the epic Pearson romance is marked by Jack’s unending devotion, so too is the beginning. As we all saw in the season premiere, a hopeless romantic manages to charm the beautiful Rebecca with just $9 in his pocket.

For many viewers, Jack Pearson is just a little too perfect. He sweeps in with grand gestures and always seems to have the right words for every moment. He is an embodiment of an ideal we find impossible to attain. No matter how great the men of our lives are, they are no Jack.

We can never compare Jack to our own partners for two reasons. One, he’s a fictional character, and Hollywood has a long history of creating impossible standards. Two, he is dead. Continue reading

Blogging for Better: Sanctuary for Families

I started this blog five years ago as a way to share the joys and hardships of parenting with others who can relate to my experiences. One of my goals was to build a big enough platform to reach those whose needs go beyond what I can do with words alone (not that words aren’t important!) About two years ago, I tossed around the idea of promoting different philanthropies each month, and growing a network of bloggers to support them. For some reason, I never did anything.

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Today, that changes. Today, I am launching what I hope to be the first of many in a monthly series I am calling, “Blogging for Better.” Each month, I will feature a new charity, often one that is not a huge national philanthropy, which dedicates itself to serving children, families, mothers and other vulnerable groups. I pledge to only feature charities that I have personally supported.

With that, I would like to announce my first “Blog for Better” cause:

Sanctuary for Families

Violence against women and children impacts thousands of families every year, which is why I am supporting Sanctuary for Families.

From the Sanctuary for Families website:

“Sanctuary for Families is New York’s leading service provider and
advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related
forms of gender violence.”

This incredible organization helps victims of abuse escape from a life of pain and suffering by providing shelter, legal counsel, career training and more.

If you would like to support Sanctuary for Families, please click here.

To learn more about Sanctuary for Families services, click here.

(Note if you are a New Yorker in immediate danger and need to take discreet action, Sanctuary for Families offers a secure option for you. Just click on the “Escape” button found on the web site.)

Thank you so much in joining me in blogging for better. If you have a blog, please consider joining me in building a network of bloggers supporting wonderful causes. E-mail me at maybeillshowertoday@gmail.com with the subject line: Blogging for Better.

Let’s make the world a better place, one blog post at a time.