Look Up.

Look Up.

Disclosure. I love what I do. There are hard days, not many easy days and a handful of challenging days. Through it all, I love everything I do. I laugh, I think, I cry, I vision and my favorite part, is that I am surrounded by amazing individuals that make up our work place at Imani Collective.

Another beautiful part of my job is that I get to have a morning and late afternoon walk with my little boy because our childcare is in the same building as my office (just a room over). I remember when I first introduced childcare in 2015. I did it purely for the sake of my women. I wanted them to be close to their kids and be poured into. I wanted them to be able to bring their babies and kiddos to work as well as make a living to provide for them. I wanted to create a fun and safe environment and completely empower our mothers. Fast forward 3 years, I had no idea how much this program would affect my own life. My childcare directors are top notch and they love my little boy very much and guess what? He loves them! He loves singing, reading and absolutely loves his friends.

Every morning, after our typical routine of eating, a few cartoons and running around the house like crazy monsters, we head out the door through the alleyways of Old Town. The walk takes a mere five minutes, but that time that I get with Jadon is priceless. He giggles as he moves his little legs and arms as fast as he can, running through the narrow alleys. He knows the path to and from “school” and he leads the way most days. Some days I am lucky enough to have him want to hold my hand, but many days he has the adventurous and independent soul of both of his parents. He runs, giggles, runs, giggles and jibber jabbers the whole way. He is very polite too. He makes sure he stops and high fives or shakes hands with every passing soul. He is a true Kenyan and greets all his neighbors with a hello. I love seeing him grow up in such a beautiful and vibrant culture. He embraces the love that is sent his way and returns it quickly back. He loves deeply even at such a young age.

Then when the day comes to an end, he runs out of his classroom and into my office. He typically grabs my bag and starts dragging it across the floor towards the door. He reminds me daily of my boundaries with work and family always keeping his mama’s priorities in check.

The other day, I was trying to meet a hard shipment deadline and in comes my boy. At the moment, I was a little taken a back that the day was already finished and knew I had so much more to do. I was impatient and did not greet him with my normal hug and kiss. I packed up quickly and followed his little footsteps out the door. As I still had work on my mind and was running through the to do list, in the background I could hear Jadon’s “mamamama” in between the giggles. He was telling me all about his day in his little language of course and I was preoccupied internally through the cranking of numbers and scrolling through endless tasks. It was in that moment, I looked up and took a deep breath. I kneeled to be at his eye level and gave him the biggest hug and kiss that he had not received from me a couple minutes prior. We stared into each other’s eyes for a good minute.

Fact: My boy can smile with his eyes and in that moment, he was smiling into my soul.

As Brandon Rhyder says, “Freeze Frame Time.” I wish I could have done just that.

I have been running fast through this life and it is my little boy that reminds me daily to slow down. His innocent look on life reminds me to take in every little moment because they are fleeting. He reminds me to look up and truly take the deep breaths of the ocean air that surrounds me. It revives a soul when you actually, for once, not only look up but open all your senses to what is happening around you.

Thank you, Jadon, for teaching me to be present.

Love your mama.

Priorities + Leaving Boxes Unchecked 

Priorities + Leaving Boxes Unchecked 

As a mother you have to make sacrifices. To be honest, you do not have to be a mother at all to be faced with decisions that cause loss or pain. We all come to a point in our life where we have to make a shift in our schedule whether big or small, permanent or temporary. This was my last week.

Last week I poured a lot of time and energy into listening to my Imani Collective team both in Kenya and stateside, so we could figure out our priorities in the next coming months and years. When your schedule shifts just a little bit there are things that suffer because of it and your “balance” can seem off for the given time.

Overall, I would say, I am a pretty balanced person, but I also am a high capacity individual, meaning I can give a lot more on a daily basis then the average. I am able to run efficiently at high energies for a long duration of time without burn out, but last week was a very different story.

Along with shifting my time to focus on internal operations and caring for my people, I developed a little cold, have been extremely fatigued, and was studying for a midterm. (I am currently pursuing my doctorate, another little fact!) To say the least, I dropped the ball on a few things that daily consume my time. The first thing that suffered was my family. I have an amazing husband who I described to you in my last post, The Role of a Father in Motherhood, and he helped carry the weight of last week, but that still did not discount that my little boy was missing his mama. On top of that, you, my readers missed two amazing blogs that I had planned, but never executed. (These are being rescheduled, so do not worry!)

My first response, was disappointment. For the first time since starting my doctorate, relaunching my blog, running Imani Collective as well as being a mama and wife, I did not get it all done. I missed the mark. I was sad, but also upset because I know I could have done it all, but subconsciously chose not to.

WHY?

After spending Monday-Wednesday focused on my team and studying for my midterm, I woke up Thursday to take my midterm and then spent the whole day with my husband. Then Friday (being a holiday in Kenya), I took my little boy to the beach and spent the night at a hotel with him. I rested. I was still a little sick, but spent time building sandcastles on the white sands of Mombasa, playing in the dirt under the palm trees and laughing by the poolside as we dumped water in and out of his construction trucks. I let my mind go and I gave it all to him.

With that, emails got unanswered, instagram was not engaged and my blog was not viewed for the first time in a very long time. Statistics of my social accounts had plummeted for the week and I had to learn to be alright with it.

Priorities. With the help of my husband and the little voice from within, I gave myself grace for not “doing it all” because if I would have done it all last week, I would have been consumed behind my phone, engaging with instagram and completely missed the sweet smiles Jadon gave me as he pitter pattered across the sand. In actuality, we probably would have just stayed at home, missing all our fun moments from the weekend. I also would have missed the spontaneous lunch date with my husband because I would have been to busy answering my long list of emails. I would have checked everything off my box and know I would have had a sense of accomplishment even through the exhaustion, but in the end I would have lost the precious moments that were so organically created over the past couple of days.

We live in a society that gives a lot of pressure to perform especially in the social media realm. My hope is that my blog posts are encouraging, motivating and life-giving. My dream is for my instagram to be a shared space of strong women who come together and share their stories through my takeover Thursdays and daily posts. I want the guest who come on this blog to also motivate and create change in your lives.

I aspire to be a speaker, an author and daily INSPIRE.

With all that, I hope that through my missed blogs and lack of communication from last week, I can inspire you to find rest and prioritize correctly. My family is priority and definitely took my top priority shelf of last week. In return other things lost importance and were left undone.

Today, I can honestly tell you. I am feeling satisfied with leaving boxes unchecked and learning to daily give myself a dose of grace for not getting it all done.