This is how I can help you

Are you one of those charming people who never says ‘no’ to anyone? Are you one of those well-meaning, eager beavers always ready and willing to say ‘yes’ to help requests? I am. I am also one of the crazies who ends up strained and stressed trying to figure out how to deliver on my many commitments.

Karol Hernandez

A helpful soul


Why do I say ‘yes’? 

Very few things on earth bug me as much as a person with “alligator arms”; you know, the ones whose hands go slightly up in the air and are quick to say “that’s not my job”. Seriously, that behavior is so against my core I consider it borderline offensive.

I love the feeling of being helpful and to be honest, I love the feeling of being needed. I also understand that in the economy of interpersonal relationships, help and favors are a currency. We make deposits and withdrawals. We make investments, some yield good results, and in the best cases some give way to great friendships. 

I always say ‘yes’ because I like to be liked, and we can all agree that most reasonable people like a helpful person. And here is reason #1: I like to say ‘yes’ because more often than not, helping leads to learning.

-El acomedido come lo que está escondido-

I grew up hearing this Spanish saying all the time. The helpful person eats what’s hidden. Translation reads funny but it means that special treats are reserved for those who go out of their way to help…there are delicacies only a helpful soul can savor. 

Oh, but we must learn to say no. 

What good are treats and delicacies if we are too overwhelmed to enjoy them? A person who likes to be liked can struggle with uttering a certain tiny word: no. We feel like we are letting someone down, or worse, we are missing out on the opportunity to razzle-dazzle. 

In order to retain my sanity and for my ‘yes’ to hold its value, I’ve had to say ‘no’. This is important, we can say ‘yes’ all we want, but that little word can be devalued if we fail to deliver. If saying ‘no’ seems uncomfortable, imagine saying a ‘yes’ no one has faith in, ouch! 

I have found a happy medium. Sometimes I can help, just not to the extent the requester is expecting. In these cases I don’t say ‘no’. Why would I? There is some currency at stake and honestly my inner helping hand wants to be raised high in the air like it just don’t care. 

I take inventory of my ability to commit and simply tell the requester a magic and mighty phrase: HERE IS HOW I CAN HELP YOU. 

It is a thing of beauty. Most reasonable people respond well to this offer because there is clarity, it tells them their request is not an inconvenience and I am very interested in being accommodating. Win-win. 

Knowing how I can help others and being able to articulate it clearly has enabled me to be helpful in meaningful ways. I still over extend myself on ocassion but definitely a lot less than I used to. Time is a luxury, one we must enjoy and share intentionally, deliberately. 

I am off to enjoy the two most beautiful creatures on the face of my earth…my kids. 

PK 

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I love you in the valley

Love, the force that makes the world go round. Love, with its impetus lives collide and become one. Love, its fruit takes flesh and bones in our sons and daughters. 

Love is more than moons, stars and promises. Love is blue, thorns and cloudy skies. Love is covenant through pastures and valleys. 

I have loved and been loved through high and lows. I have roamed freely on foreign lands hand in hand with my beloved, blissful love. Yet nothing makes me feel as grounded as loving through the valleys.

In the valley I have found true friendship, encouragement, stillness, compassion, hope, resilience, truthfulness, freedom…your hand and embrace. 

In the valley, I have felt your love like a thousand waves washing over me, I don’t walk alone. In the valley, I have drank your silent tears, you are the salt of my earth. In the valley, I have heard the song of your dreams, even in hopelessness we can dance under the stars. In the valley, I have seen your eyes, free from pretense and agendas. I have stared into your vulnerable soul and found myself right there…tucked so close to your heart, we beat as one. 

Your pain is my pain, your gain is my gain, your valley is my valley, this is our love. 

I love you in the valley, this is my fortune. 

PK

Women who pump

Karol FeldmanI am still getting used to the word kids. Kids. I am now the mother of two amazing kids, 2 kids under the age of 2. Not for long though; Ava will be 2 in exactly 7 days. Elliott just turned 3 months which means many milestones have been achieved. One of those milestones is my return to work.

I am now a working mother of a toddler and a nursing baby. Days at the office are busy, meetings fill up the calendar and to-do lists grow with merciless speed, yet I have to find time to pump. Pumping is a hassle; hoses, breast shields, bottles, the incredible pressure of producing enough…oh the pressure. But I make time.

I make time to pump because breastfeeding is important to me; it gives me something to look forward to after a long day at work. I love feeling Elliott’s warm hands on my skin while he feeds, we reconnect, we nurture each other.

There is an incredible amount of guilt associated with ‘choosing work over your baby’. As a second time mom I have learned to not let guilt get the best of me. I love what I do and think that working makes me a better mom. All moms are different, there is no right or wrong way to handle life after a baby, there is an ideal fit for each woman and her family. In my case, the ideal fit involves a daycare for our toddler, a babysitter for our little man, and a job that allows me to be the mom I want to be.

I found that pumping is a great way to nurture my baby while I work, a great way to love him and stay connected. Sure, the process is a hassle, staying on top of my pumping schedule is not easy, trying to break away from long meetings for a pumping break can be awkward…I tell my male coworkers that I need to meditate, they must think I am really spiritual.

Pumping while I work makes me feel like super woman, more like super mom. People say women can’t have it all; let’s face it, no one can have it all.  I have a pretty sweet deal and feel really grateful for the gift of loving my baby through the act of pumping while we are separated.

I salute all the women who work and pump, it is not an easy task, it’s not sexy nor convenient; but to us it means the world. Proud of to be one of those women who pump.

PK


Related: Early motherhood lesson


 

Growing up is hard to do

Life has changed drastically for us in the last 3 years. Changing states, starting new jobs, buying a house, getting married, adopting two pups, nurturing a garden, becoming parents…so much to fit in a short sentence broken up by commas.

Growth has been chaotic. We have experienced growing pains as individuals, as professionals, as a family and as parents. Growth is wonderful but a price must be paid. 

We have lost the simplicity of our DINK (dual income no kids) days, and been rapidly consumed by the intricate logistics of child rearing. Our morning routine revolves around a little human whose bath is incomplete without a rubber ducky. Our house is a giant playroom where dogs eat toys and our kid eats kibble. 

Growing up: One day she will go in search of new adventures.

I feel like a creature emerging from a cocoon. I am this new version of me. A mom, a wife, a professional (who takes her job way too seriously)…a less charming and sociable Karol. A more focused and intentional person; I have changed. I guess this change is growth. 

When you are little, like Ava, you grow without any awareness of it. This is the first time in my life where I feel aware of my growth (change, whatever), and it feels so weird. I am aware of what is being left behind and don’t know what to think about it. 

Here is what I do love about where I am today: 

  • Itsy bitsy spider (genius)
  • Garrett
  • I like my job
  • My dogs are clowns that still make laugh…and don’t destroy as much stuff anymore 
  • Confidence…that sucker takes time and experience to build up
  • My best friend’s beverage of choice is whole milk…that will never go out of style 🙂

I miss my family and the few great friends in life who reside in the promised land (South Florida). 

I don’t think I miss the “fly by the seat of our pants” Karol and Garrett…those have not been lost 🙂 Our luggage has gotten heavier but now we travel with the BEST sidekick on earth: Ava. 

Growing up is hard to do…I suppose that is why some people decide to skip it all together. I have decided to grow up before I grow old…even if a few aches are involved. 

PK…still living in the country. 

Little sunshine

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Just love. That’s all I feel for this beautiful little person. It amazes me to think that at some point in time we all were THAT cute.

I wonder what goes through her mighty mind, what she thinks of us, what she wonders. Her eager eyes are consuming the universe around her at a speed only matched by light. Little babbles have turned into sweet “mama” and “daddy” (I melt). Her fingers try to imitate mine as we sing itsy bitsy araña…she applauds her own effort prompting the same response from her audience. Does she know just how adorable she is?

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It will soon be a year since her arrival into our world (weird expression since she was so real in my world long before her birth). A year that feels like a year and a half because of its many long nights…yet, it has gone by so fast. A year in which I have slowly grown into the woman who lovingly answers the call when she says “mama”.

I am Karol, mother of Ava, mother of two crazy puppies, wife of the awesome Garrett Feldman. I am blessed and content…I am in love with my little love…soon to be one year old.

PK

3 years of life in the country.

A little trip to the Virgin Islands

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Beach day with my love

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Wish you were here

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Afternoon with my baby

Family vacation officially started 24 hours ago when we all met at Saint Thomas’ airport. Sun, beaches, green hills…the contrast with the below freezing temperatures and snowy days we left behind is rather brutal.

We are staying in a beautiful villa in Caret Bay. The views are stunning! Making our way up the windy, poorly paved roads…not so fun. Thankfully Garrett has taken up the challenging job of driving out car, which by the way has to be done on the other sign of the road. As if not being able to tell my right from my left wasn’t bad enough.

The island itself is not as pretty as I expected. It’s pretty, but the roads are in poor condition, the way construction is laid out takes some getting used to and some of the areas of town we have seen appear to be very ran down. a

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Our deck view

Our first adventure led us to Coki Beach. Beautiful place! The crystal turquoise water made it one of the best beaches I have seen. Ava got her feet wet a few times but overall seemed more interested in hanging out with me than playing in the water.

The issue with the beach, sadly, are the endless and spicy quarrels amongst the people serving tourists. They fight over customers with very salty words and loud tones. It got to the point where we did not want to order anymore because things escalated very fast.

We are done grocery shopping, expensive, and heading back to our villa to have dinner and more rum…rum is so cheap, we might be better off drinking rum than drinking milk.

Hope the night sky is as beautiful as it was yesterday.

I don’t have to dwell in the future

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January 1, 2016…the new year had just rang when my angel said ‘mama’ for the first time. She said it in front of 3 people, daddy included. There was no denying, I was starting 2016 with my title officially announced by my baby. Talk about joy!

Parenting is a lot of things (in my short experience), but perhaps the three that I think about the most are: awesomeness, responsibility and reward. I am baffled by the speed at which my baby has grown. Whatever happened to my little sleepy kitten?

Ava is barely 7 months old and already sits, stands, crawls and takes steps while holding onto objects. When did this happen? It is awesome and rewarding to see this little human cub become a person of her own…one who calls me mom.

I am always thinking of the future…it keeps me going. I need to envision, visualize, dream, plan, device the future then talk about it, then make it happen. That energizes me. That keeps me going. I need to be in the future at all times.

Not too long ago something struck me. I don’t think too much about Ava in the future. I think about work in the future. Garrett and me in the future. Life in general in the future…but not Ava. I worried. Was this a defense mechanism in case something happened? After all, raising a human is a task you embrace a day at a time. Was I afraid of dreaming up a future that might not come? Where was my faith? Did I not want that future? Then the answer came to me.

I don’t think too much about Ava in the future because for the first time in my life the present is overwhelmingly perfect…and I want to enjoy it, savor it, make it mine. I want the present to slow down, I want the past to come back and hang out for a while. I want the present to linger, because it’s perfect.

For the first time in my adult life the present is where I want to be. She keeps me going. I am in love with that little one who calls me mom.

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PK

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