Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quotes & Mantras that Get this Mother Through

Dear Diary,
They say good stress can be just as tough on the body and mind as bad stress.  In the past 2 months, I have had my share of it. I resigned from a job I love, started some new work, 3 funerals, 5 birthday parties, 2 new babies born, a baby shower (60 people) and a big NSA Event (150 people) and more!  A few of these events, I was involved in as an innocent bystander but for the majority of them I played a leading role.  Why? Because I am the “oldest” and apparently I will never outgrow that title.  I grew up in that role and I love be in charge.  The more sincere reason that I am involved is that I love family and “The time we spend together makes a difference.”- (recent quote by my husband Freddy)  So, I have a lot of things I want to blog about…  just haven’t had the time.  Below I list these events (for my own entertainment and as recorded evidence) and then we will get to the good stuff! 

Feb 13th- Resigned from my position at the National Stuttering Association (an organization I love!)
Feb 18th - Mea & Eva’s Birthday Party
Feb 18th - New niece Cora was born
Feb 20th - Signed up as a Thirty-One Consultant
Feb 27th - Kat and Layla came to visit from Boston (for a few weeks)
Mar 4th- our 6th wedding anniversary
A few other “private” family events took place
Mar 6th- Parent meeting for Mea’s kindergarten
Mar 10th- Worked our mom to mom sale- (Kat and I)
Mar 12th- Vince Andrew (my new nephew) was born (Vince was in ICU for 5 days)
Mar 14th – my first Thirty- One party (at Teri’s)
Mar 17th- Ricky’s 1st Birthday
Mar 18th – Kat’s Thirty-One Party (my 2nd one)
Mar 23rd- Funeral – Billy Ray’s Dad died
Mar 27th- Funeral- An old high school friend died unexpectedly leaving his wife and 2 kids
Apr 7th- Baby Shower (lead the planning team)
Apr 7th- Lexa’s Birthday party
April 7th “Spring Fling” argument with husband (that's what he called it)… wonder why we argued? Maybe all this “good and bad” stress?!... maybe cause we were due for a fight, maybe because we should slow down a tad or maybe we just wanted to make up.
Apr 8th- Easter
Apr 11th - My uncle Vinny died (56 years old) unexpectedly
Apr 14th – NSA Family Fun Day (I lead the planning team)
Apr 15th- Mom’s Thirty-One Party (my 3rd)
Apr 20th - GOING ON A WEEKEND VACATION TO CHICAGO WITH MY HUSBAND!!!!! To celebrate my coming birthday… and life and love and family!

(Look forward to posts about some of these things that happened :)

Now that is a heck of a list... for 2 months.  But as I mentioned, I have some mantras that play in my mind.  These are some of the things I have heard keep me afloat.  These quotes are all by people who are famous in my book!
 “Busy, busy, busy…  just like I like it and I’d have it no other way.” –me, Sarah D’Agostino
I find myself saying this quite a bit… usually to explain why I am a little late in responding to an email or sending a thank you note or why my craft room is a bit unorganized.  It is why I am wrapping the gift in the car as I pull up to the birthday party and why there are banana peels in my car door and peas under the kitchen table from a few nights ago.  It is almost like an apology but without complaining and I am really trying to embrace it all since all a choice that I have made.
“Pretend like you are hosting a party and you want everyone to have a good time.” – my mom, Tess Dowgiallo
My mom gave me this advice when I got a job as a cocktail waitress out of college at Second City Detroit.  If you’ve ever been to a show, you know that it is a really great night out and people are usually really excited to be there.  At the Detroit theatre, we waitress people had a few additional obstacles to overcome: it was dark, there were stairs, the tables were very small and hard to get around and we had to whisper during the show.  At the time I got the job, it was a really big deal for me to take this position especially because I stuttered.  I was so anxious about the question “What beers do you have?” After one of my first nights on the floor, I was talking to my mom about how stressful it was. She gave me this advice: “Pretend like you are having a party and everyone in your section is a guest.  Just have a good time and try to make everyone else have a good time too.” Shifting my mindset for this cocktailing job was so KEY! For me, this advice has moved beyond that job and is referenced on a more broad sense.  It applies everyday and everywhere I go…  since I feel as though I am always at a party- and I might as well be a gracious host!  Thanks MOM! I passed that advice along to quite a few people over the years.
 “Good enough is good enough.”  - my friend, Amy Goward (pictured below)
This quote reminds me that having things “perfect” is not usually achievable or even worth the effort/anxiety.  For all the these events, I have so many ideas of what I’d like to bring, or cook, or make or get as a gift, or a special touch I want to on this or that.  Frankly, there are not enough hours in the day! So my friend Amy told me that she used to obsess over things running according to plan until she realized that with 3 kids that it’s just not how it is gonna be. Moreover, it’s just not how it’s meant to be or how it should be. Good enough is perfect!

“Change is the only thing that is Constant.” – (not sure who said it, someone smart… and I quote it often!)
“This too shall pass.” –Bible (but often uttered by my sister in law, Maria Duppong)
My sister in law is now a mother of 2. Just like most of us, coming into the role of motherhood has forced her to change. We become a mother and is anything the same anymore?! We change our bodies, our schedules, we change our cars to a minivans, and we change our clothes to shirts with easy access to the boob and we especially our minds.  We have a new way of thinking, altering our attitude and changing our relationships with the world.  Pre-baby, Maria was a “super planner”- very goal oriented and straight forward on her path to that goal.  When she was pregnant with her first, she had a plan for almost everything that would happen during pregnancy, labor, birth, into the first year (work-wise, daycare-wise) until he would be 5 years old, or maybe even 18.  Her plan was circumvented when she realized that you just can’t plan as much with kids.  You just never know what the world will throw at you and how your child will react.  The 2 quotes above, she and I share with eachother when we need the reminder!  These sayings goes for times of trouble (so that you know it can’t last forever) but it also applies to the good times (you know it can’t last forever). We need to relish the moments as they pass by.

“Do what you can do. One day at a time. Whatever works for you.” –my best friend,  Kristen Tobias    
My best friend became a mom a couple years before I did and when I first had Mea, I looked into her eyes with a whole new respect.  I knew I loved her before but I had no idea what she had gone through (in pregnancy, labor and being a first time mother) and all… without me? I wondered if I was a good friend during that time. Could I have been a friend if I didn’t understand the magnitude of it all?  As things came up and I went to her to vent or for advice, it was almost always the same answer…. “Do what you can do. One day at a time. Whatever works for you.”  She knew that I was usually just putting too much pressure on myself to live up to some standards.  Most importantly, she is the best listener I know.  Even now with 5 kids running around us, she can still sit still and listen.  She cocks her head to the side concerningly and asks just the right questions. At the end, her advice is always simple and easy. I just love her.

A few other pieces of advice for busy times... 
“Put it in the schedule and just focus on what’s next.”
“If your mind is racing (and you can’t sleep) write it down on paper to get it out of your head.”  
All of what has happened every the last 2 months came in stride.  The girls were with me every step of the way- they are so resilient and social and I can attribute some of that to our busy schedule.  Most of it was a lot of it was FUN and quality time with family! Thank goodness for our health! Let me say that again: 

Some of the more stressful things were unavoidable or unexpected.  I want to say that everything has come to a head and I feel calmness about the weeks ahead… BUT I am sure that we will fill up that schedule quickly. When I commit, I fulfill- which is why they say, “If you want something done, ask a busy person.” (SO TRUE)  My goal is to take it a notch down and be careful what commitments I make for the months ahead.


  1. i love reading what's going through your mind. i like to fit my life into the peramaters of your perspective and compare and contrast. i haven't come to terms with "good enough". i recently broke it down to the bottom line of my family having our health. it's comforting to know if we haven't got much, at least we've got our health, and actually, that's everything. now, i'm going to look up thirty-one.

  2. Nice collection from various please. Nice innocent babies with awesome environment is really wonderful. Thank you so much for writing on this sister quotes topic.