Inspiring mothers and being inspired by them on our motherhood journeys
My name is Ana Rubenstein. I am a mother willing to inspire other mothers and to be inspired by them. I have two children and I often feel just like an octopus with its 8 tentacles multitasking and juggling the many hats I wear in life. Wife, daughter, sister, friend, Zumba instructor, and motherhood blogger. Nice to meet you, I am the Octopus Mama.
Dear doctors and nurses that are caring for COVID-19 patients:
Thank you for your hard work and your courage. Thank you for putting your lives at risk trying to save the lives of others. Thank you for trying to save my mother’s life for a whole week before she died. One month has passed and I am here left with a grieving heart and a special request: please, hold the hands of the COVID-19 patients when they are dying. Please, tell them how much they are loved and whisper a “go in peace”. Do it as your biggest act of compassion for the families that just like mine were not given the right to visit their loved ones at hospital isolation areas and never had a chance to say a proper goodbye.
Dear doctors and nurses that are caring for COVID-19 patients, hold the patients’ hands for all the daughters who like me have their hearts aching, wishing they were by their mom’s side while they were still alive fighting this virus. At a time when they were so fragile and could not breathe on their own. How we wished we were there holding our mothers’ hands. The same hands that always held ours when we needed. The hands that first held us when we were born, the hands that held ours when we were learning how to walk, that cleaned tears off of our faces so many times, that magically healed parts of our bodies just by kissing them, that made so many wonderful meals, that held our faces with so much love, that cared for our families for all these years.
How I wish I knew that one of you was holding my mother’s hand when she was dying. How I wished somebody told her. “Go in peace, Felomena, your family loves you and will miss you forever!”. I don’t know if anyone did that for her, but I like to believe that somebody did.
Do you ever look at your kids and wonder how their life will turn out or how they are going to be when they are your age now? Every time I do it, I deeply wish they could be as happy as they are now for the rest of their lives. I also wish I could condense all my experiences, discoveries and lessons in life in one “happy recipe book” they could inherit. But then I think what if my recipe for happiness might never fit their own? After all, a happy life can mean so many different things to all of us. Don’t you agree? This reflection inspired me to write a letter about happiness and the choices we make in life for my 5-year-old daughter. I am not sure when it will be the best time to share it with her, but I feel this is the best time for me to write it. I hope it inspires you to reflect on your own “happy recipe” and the expectations you have for your children. Perhaps it will bring you an inspiration to write a letter to your kids about this subject? Continue on reading
Almost every day, somebody will ask me how I taught my first language – Portuguese – to my children while living in the U.S. I always answer to them that I didn’t. So how are they bilingual? Well, from the day they were born, I spoke to them exclusively in Portuguese inside the house and everywhere we went. Now, at the ages of 4 and 5, my little ones can speak English and Portuguese with fluency and no accent. Pretty impressive but not as simple as it might seem. Continue on reading
Last Sunday, I was pretending to be a dinosaur chasing two cheetahs inside the house. My children and I were having a wonderful time when suddenly my son and my daughter collided. His front teeth managed to hit her face and open a cut that I was scared to look at. I rushed to stop the bleeding and drove to the hospital emergency room where she got 6 stitches.
After my adrenaline settled down, I dove into guilt. I blamed myself for chasing them inside the house. Why was I not more careful? Why were we running inside the house knowing it is not safe? The blame went on as I kept asking myself: “Why did I not predict that could happen? I pointed the finger at myself and said: “You failed!” and all I could think about was a scar on my daughter’s face. Somehow I woke up from the nightmare I was in and noticed how I have been so hard on myself not just on this occasion but so many others in my motherhood journey. How many times I have been my worse enemy? Continue on reading
I wished this Mother’s Day I could receive a lifetime supply of Patience with my children! Can you imagine something like a Patience Spray that we mothers could use at the first signs of irritability, frustration, disappointment, or anger? A charming bottle with the following instructions: spray twice every time you feel like yelling at your children or impulsively react to them just to regret later. Side effects: start to respond calmly and respectfully to any daily adverse or upsetting situation. Continue on reading
Have you ever thought about leaving everything behind and becoming a full-time traveler with your family? I personally fantasize about it sometimes but not sure I have what it takes to live this lifestyle. Brittany Kirby and Chris Horn though are two of these courageous human beings. Since October of 2017, they have been traveling full-time around the USA in their RV and so far they have covered 18 states along with their three little explorers Fisher (6), Boden (3) and Miles (8 months). Brittany recently shared with me a little bit about this experience, and I hope you enjoy learning about it as much as I did. Maybe you will even feel inspired to join this lifestyle? Continue on reading
At the beginning of 2019, I made the commitment of bringing organization to my life but I had no idea how to start. At first, I was overwhelmed and even afraid of telling people in my life about what I was up to. “What about if I fail again or can’t keep up?” This thought was always in the back of my mind. I finally found the courage to share my 30-Day-Decluttering Challenge with my friends and family, with readers of this blog, and with my followers on social media. As I did it, some of them became my accountability partners by asking me how my project was going, and, most importantly, by sharing how I inspired them to organize and declutter their own houses. Wait? What? Me? My mother would never believe this actually happened. It did and my community keeps encouraging me to become what I always wanted to be but never thought I could: an organized person with a house that sparkles me with joy. Continue on reading
I am not naturally an organized mother. I am not an organized person. Are you? I wonder if organization is a skill you develop over time or something you are born with? I think it is something you can learn, but, honestly, I have been too busy with other things in life that I skipped this subject altogether. Shame on me as I have been called disorganized many times over the years and even felt bad about it. After I had kids, disorganization reached its peak and I started to justify to whoever wanted to listen. “I have no time to organize the house. I am always chasing the kids around or they are always taking everything out of place.”
If you entered my house right now, you would find clutter, things out of place, unfolded laundry sitting on my couch, my kids’ toys laying on the floor, dishes in the sink, and, honestly, an unmade bed. If this sounds familiar to you and resonates somehow, stay with me. Should we keep accepting the “disorganized label” and feeling overwhelmed by the clutter in our house or should we do something about it? Continue on reading
I am starting my year doing something that I love, writing, and something I often feel uncomfortable doing, making requests. So, here it goes, today I request you make time to do something that you love or that brings you joy, and something that scares you even just a little bit. Are you up to it? The second request is that instead of using the expression “I want 2019 to bring me….”, you start sharing with people in your life what YOU are bringing to 2019. Maybe more patience with your kids? More organization to your house? More time for yourself? Better relationship with time? Better nights of sleep? Passion to your relationship with your partner? You name it! The sky is the limit. Continue on reading
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” Dr. Seuss quote
While everybody else has been so excited about Christmas, decorating their houses, shopping and wrapping gifts, baking cookies, building gingerbread houses and getting prepared somehow for this holiday season, I am still here asking myself what is so special about Christmas? I know there is religious significance, but still feeling left out, I started to ask myself why I cannot get excited about giving and receiving beautifully wrapped gifts, happy about decorating plastic pine trees, looking at colorful lights, singing carols and even moving that Elf on the Shelf around my house? Continue on reading