And out of nowhere, like a dreaded cold that chills your bones, The Months of Ber have fallen upon us, signalling the time to check on our affairs and tie up loose ends wherever we can.
With summer wrapped up but a wealth of work still sitting on my plate, I looked at my desk and didn’t even know where to start. When I added cleaning my desk to The 2014 100 back in January, it was no joke — the pressed wood of my 2% stake in my home has long vanished under piles of unfinished ideas, half-read books, and a plethora of resources I got with good intentions, but ultimately used them so seldom that all they do is take up space.
It’s time to figure out what really needs doing in my life, and with luck, I can enter 2015 much farther ahead than I was a mere 9 months ago.
These past months with the SodaStream Source have been fun — with summer afoot, I’ve thought up other places I could include the ultra-portable carbonation machine — days out at the park, trips down to the Toronto Islands, parties, hydrating garage sale customers, or even just on more nights out on the patio. Since it doesn’t need to plug in, uses no batteries, is fairly lightweight and pretty compact, there’re many places I can get my Bubbles My Way — I just need to use a little imagination!
For this month’s post, SodaStream asked: “What empowers you?”
What keeps me going more than anything else is knowing I’m making a positive difference in the world. Whether through covering things people wouldn’t consider otherwise; raising a son that’ll know the key to a successful life is the balance between being respected, respecting others and respecting oneself; or even little things like holding doors, giving up seats, or donating my loose change to someone needing it more than me… I long for a world better than the one we have today.
But much of that positive change has to start from within, and that’s what I hope to show my family this May.
Mother’s Day the Palmer Way
You see it around Christmastime: when people look at the lengthy lists of gifts to buy, wondering how they’ll afford it all. Dinners to plan and parties to attend — you have countless competing priorities crashing together, and only one you to pull it all together!
In some ways, that’s how I feel about May.
For 30 years, I’ve spent Mother’s Day in Mississauga celebrating my mother and everything she’s done for me. But now, with a family of my own it feels… different. I still got my Mom a card (and my grandmother too, as she was up visiting from Jamaica) and braved our rotten Toronto traffic to stop by and say “Hi”, but after years trying to top the gifts from those before, I don’t think anyone can beat what we gave her last year….
This May, we’re celebrating Sarah’s 1st Mother’s Day, our 3rd wedding anniversary, and her birthday (I’d tell you the number, but sometimes you need to value your life more than you do accuracy!) With so many milestones afoot in the span of mere weeks, I want to give her the world without the disposable income or time that we used to have. Parenthood is by no means a light undertaking, and I want to use this month to remind Sarah that not only is she a great Mom, but also a great wife and great woman as well. We’re both trying to figure parenting out daily, but she bears the brunt of both great experiences and bad as she spends her days with the little guy, so I wanted to do something to really show how much I appreciate it. With cards from myself and the little guy, a few little gifts and some time to relax on our patio while I kept him entertained, I think we were off to a good start.
So with a foot in your old life and another in the new, what do you do? Celebrate the woman who gifted you with life or the one who blessed you with a child of your own? Obviously, the answer is both, but it’s not an easy balance to keep. Though you’ve got a kid, you’ll never stop being someone else’s — a reality you’ll need to constantly revisit through your entire parental journey. Though reconciling this is my battle to face, Sarah has a journey as well — and not only her own, but that with all the other mothers she’s befriended in such a short time!
What REALLY Empowers Me?
This past weekend marked six months since we became parents. Over that time, Sarah’s not only excelled as a mother, she’s also been honing her innate community manager skills as the admin of a self-created Facebook group 150+ members strong for Moms with kids born in November 2013! Those bonds have translated over to our lives as well in our East York baby boomtown, with plenty of new Mom friends in our neighbourhood to share walks, parenting programs, coffee visits and dinners.
Through this group, we discovered that some of the other Moms use SodaStreams, too, using their machines to customize the drinks they have daily, which is important, because as new parents, we need to model better choices for our children, whether it’s what we put in our bodies, how we treat the environment or how we spend our money. I’ve gotten many questions about the SodaStream since the first blog post came out, so it’s good to know that I’ve got some real-life examples to point out if anyone ever needs to discuss how it can affect their life.
So thank you, Sarah — my other half, my BFF and mother of my child. I’ll try to make this month — and this life — as special as I can for you. It’s a long road ahead, but I think we’ve got what it takes to make it work. You and our son are what empower me, and I hope I never forget that.
Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with SodaStream Canada and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own. You can connect with SodaStream Canada on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their website!
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
I know, I know it’s been a bit, but when you’re balancing three competing yet utterly important parts of your life, they don’t always play well together!
But while I’m weeks behind for my monthly wrap-up, there’re tales to be told before I get there, starting with a celebration for my (not-so-) little guy and how we quench the thirst of dozens with as little fuss and muss as possible!
Baby Dedications: Because Little Guys Don’t Stay Little FOREVER
Do you know who had his baby dedication this past weekend?
It’s kind of ironic that Baptist Christians do baby dedications instead of child baptisms, but with a Dad who slipped and splashed into the baptismal tank back when he did his in ’09, I’ll take what I can get.
When Sarah got me doing the #100HappyDays, I thought it’d be a good exercise to teach me how to write shorter posts, giving my readers a break from the lengthy novellas I usually write. A daily picture with a short description — not that hard, right? Except that all too soon, I’d lapse back to my old habits, and contextualized them with lengthy stories instead of posting pictures that simply spoke for themselves (a thousand words and all)!
It worked well enough until I just didn’t have the energy to keep it up.
With enough real-time stuff to keep me busy (visiting my parents in Mississauga, celebrating a friend’s birthday and having company over); side projects to work on (archiving old drawings at 1200 dpi so I can resurrect my Fish ‘n’ Chimps webcomic, marathoning through Seinfeld and playing this stupid game); and of course, the stuff that pays the bills and keeps my family flourishing (spending time with Sarah and our son, writing for The Hooray Collective, PTPA and other clients, and — of course — the 9-5), the weekend got away from me, the blog posts I planned to write fleeting with it.
But stumbling blocks only last forever if you let them win, and my blog posts won’t write themselves!
Welcome back, Mr. Palmer — it’s time to get your blog on!