Dear Friend

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

                                                                      Benjamin Franklin

 

It has been a couple of months since my last blog. My goal was to post at least once a month. Things have been kind of crazy for me. I am in the process of selling my condo (my first home) and there are so many things to do to get it ready before I list the place. Therefore, I have been super stressed out. I keep telling myself not to, but it’s so hard not to stress. I am trying to manage a lot of the work for this project with the handyman while I am working my full-time job. So many things to do and so little time, how do you prioritize?

Yesterday, one of my good friend that I have not spoken to in a while reached out to me and mentioned that he always use me as an example of a success story and that he respected me. He wanted to know what does it take to live a quality life without being broke from paying rent and raising his kids. He feels like his whole life this issue has been a vicious cycle that he can’t seem to break out of. He further asked how do you mentally get yourself out of feeling this way. I thought wow this seems like an easy question to answer, but yet its a bit more complex to answer in a text message. I am not in anyway a subject matter expert on this. I think that it starts with you sitting down and being real with yourself. Take out a notebook and jot down notes. First think out loud to yourself:

  1. What would a quality life look like to you?
  2. If you could live any life you want, how would you describe it?
  3. What financial situation is making you stressed?
  4. Do you have a budget?
  5. Create one if you don’t have one.
  6. Once you have a budget, do you see trends in your income or your expenses?
  7. Do you have daily routines?
  8. Do you feel positive, energetic and productive daily?
  9. Do you exercise?
  10. Do you have access to healthy food options? If so, do you eat healthy food?
  11. Do you drink 8 glasses of water in one day?
  12. Do you care a lot about a pair of Jordans or money in your pocket?
  13. What are your fears in life?
  14. What are your successes?
  15. What are you most proud of?
  16. What makes you insecure?
  17. What makes you happy?
  18. What makes you sad?
  19. What are you grateful for?
  20. Do you set goals (short and long-term)?
  21. Do you have personal time to relax without the kids?
  22. What are your favorite activities?
  23. If you could travel the world where would you go?
  24. What is an important cause to you?
  25. What is your long-term dream?
  26. If you could do anything for a living/career, what would it be?
  27. What do you want to change about your life? Be specific.
  28. Are you a lifelong learner?
  29. What are you learning now?
  30. What book are you reading?

These are some of the questions I would ask myself and I would ask others who want to try to establish some plan for their future to think about them. I understand everyone may not have written a plan down before or even thought about these questions out loud, but you should always start somewhere. Success is a result of planning. 

Staying Focused

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building new.”

                                                                                                        -Socrates

Back in October of 2017, I shared with everyone that I will work on learning to love myself. I started hitting the gym and changing my diet. I organized my schedule as much as possible so that I can go to the gym during my lunch breaks at least three times a week. As a busy working mom with three babies, staying focused is always a challenge.

 I was so afraid of failing, but I knew if I did not take that first step I would never get there. I started my workout with a lot of cardio. I felt like the “Tin Man” from the Wizard of Oz with no oil. I was rusty. I started walking on the treadmill for 45 minutes the first week. Then I started incorporating jogging and on days I struggled I just power walked at a higher incline. A month later I started introducing myself to weights and made it a part of my routine. I noticed I felt great, but I was not dropping the weight I wanted to see so I joined a fitness club that had an intense workout program. It helped me break up my workout routine and pushed me to challenge myself. I felt my body getting stronger over a few weeks and I was so proud of myself. However, I still did not see the weight loss result I wanted and this made me think hard about what and when I was eating.

 I am not perfect and I am still struggling with my food choices today because it is so much easier to eat the bad stuff. I make sure I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. I use to skip meals depending on my crazy work schedule or binge on coffee. I eat cleaner meaning I eat less red meat, no fast food, a lot of baked chicken and salmon, fresh vegetables, substituting jasmine rice with sweet potatoes or quinoa. I also intake more water now because I realize that water is what flushes out the toxins in your body.

 My struggle is eating right on the weekend because I keep wanting to reward myself by eating badly. This is not an option. I don’t want to deprive myself, but I want to make a lifestyle change so I don’t have room to eat badly. I am still working on this. I just have to find ways to eat out at healthy places and stay away from Dim Sum and Pho restaurants.

 It has been a total of 4 months now and I’ve lost 24 lbs. I am so proud of myself. I feel great, but I still have a long way to go to reach my weight goals. I celebrate in increments of 5 lbs this way I don’t forget to pat myself on the back for my progress. Many of my friends ask about my routine and honestly, it is nothing magical. You need to just be honest with yourself and commit to a plan, be patient, challenge yourself and don’t give up.

“Oh shit, I can’t find my handbook”

Many folks usually say to me that parenting should be easy since I have three kids. However, being a parent is not easy. Each time I was pregnant, I felt like I had to do it all over again. My morning sickness affected me differently each time, that was something I will never become an expert on. It was emotionally and physically draining; my body was going through all of these changes and I had no control over it. I would have different types of food cravings and no control. As parents, we all have stories to tell about how we made it through those tough days and nights. We all struggle to find our way to be the best parent that we can be for our child(ren).

Society puts huge pressure on us to get everything right because we don’t want to be labeled as awful parents. From the day my kids were born, the struggle continued; I remember being challenged with breastfeeding because I felt the need to get it right. There were times that I cried because I couldn’t get my child to latch on. My breasts would be sore, but I still focused on getting the job done and couldn’t give up. My mom was there to support me, albeit from afar. She would just say it’s not that hard, just do it! I don’t think it was a result of her not wanting to help me, but sometimes I don’t think she understands how to give advice like American moms.

As a result of the war in Cambodia, she was separated from her parents at about 14 years old and had to fend for herself. My mother had me on a refugee camp in Thailand and there was no one there to coach her or stay up at night with her. She raised all 7 of her kids by herself and we were all fine… I guess. She didn’t understand why it was so hard for me. I guess us Americans are more emotional beings because we like to express our feelings. My mom doesn’t cry, she doesn’t confess her emotions, she is just a tough lady who just deals with it. I mean, she lived through a war.

My three kids are all going through different stages and I must adapt and try to meet them where they are and support their growth. My oldest is 11-year-old, and he is going through this weird pre-teen stage where he wants to keep to himself. He doesn’t want to do much and is lazy. He wants to play his video games and be left alone. He does well in school, but I have to say things over and over and its pretty annoying.  My 4-year-old, is the middle child so he is full of energy and craves 110% of my attention. He talks a lot and make up stories in his head. He confesses his love to me all the time, but then throws a fit when things don’t go his way. My 10-month-old baby girl is so precious and adorable. She is always happy, but she wants to have playtime all day long. She cries wolf when it’s time to get in the car seat and wants to listen to toddler songs on repeat in the car. Once again, so annoying, but I love them to death.   

I wish I can say that being a parent is easy and that I read the best handbook that prepared me for every aspect of parenting, but, there is no such thing. We just figure it out as we go. Our love for our kids is so strong and unconditional no matter what they do we still love them. Even when we don’t agree with them. We grow to learn how to be more supportive and patience. We make life seems easy so that they never have any worries or stress.

I look forward to sharing many more stories with you about my family and kids. Just remember “parenting does not come with a handbook and it is not easy, but it’s the best feeling in the world.”