Are you happy at the moment?
At this moment, I am sitting in my quiet kitchen waiting for the rest of my family to wake up. There is coffee brewing. Yes, I am happy. I have many happy moments each day. But I also have many frustrated, questioning moments and I am finally accepting the fact that I am ok with that. Happiness is fleeting, but real peace is found when you can weather the storm and come out in one piece. I feel very fortunate to know in my heart, that with help I can weather the storms life throws my way.
If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?
This question always perplexes me. Would I tell her to change? I don’t know that I would, because I am truly thankful for the life she led me to. I’d love this answer to be profound, but honestly that girl needs to put down the cheeseburger. Not the first one, the second one and go ahead and skip the milkshake while she’s at it. A salad never hurt anyone either.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
Without a doubt, the most important lesson I am learning is to have boundaries in my life. Each step I take toward creating and strengthening my personal boundaries has been life-giving. It’s okay to say no.
What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I’ve done a lot of growing in the past year. I have taken risks like never before, but I also overextended myself. In the next 12 months, I hope to say yes to the best, even if I have to say no to the good. I don’t need to do everything. But I want to do what I do really well, whether it be parenting, life or work-related.
What’s your secret to happiness?
My secret is that there is no secret to happiness. Happiness is not my end game. I am learning to be at peace with the happy moments as well as the sad and trying not to be ruled by every emotion that flies through my brain.
What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
I rely a lot on my faith to get me through each day, be it a little prayer or an inspirational verse or quote. This year, however I have started talking to a professional counselor for the first time and I highly recommend it. There is something so freeing about spilling your guts to a stranger. Try it. I bet you’ll be hooked too!
What’s your biggest regret?
In life? I regret believing the lies that tell me I am not good enough or that I am too much to handle. I regret not owning my strengths and being proud of them because they are unique to me and I work hard. Thankfully, this regret is only temporary because I am turning that bus around!
What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
My kids know that they are loved absolutely always and without question, unconditionally.
What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
Looking at my phone whenever I have down time. I need to lock that mess up!
Aside from motherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I am so proud that I put myself through college later in life. After a divorce at a young age, I could have given up and simply started working my way up the chain. Instead, I knew I wanted a college education and I made it happen. It was hard, but so worth it!
Who is your favorite Disney princess and what has she taught you about parenting?
I am a big fan of Belle as a princess. But I have to say when it comes to myself, I really identify with Rapunzel. Thankfully, I had a lovely childhood. But I was very independent and self-sufficient from a young age and like Rapunzel, had a crazy relationship with my hair :). In terms of parenting, I suppose all of the Disney princess movies have taught me the importance of keeping the lines of communication open with your children no matter what. I want them to know that I will always be here for them and while they may face consequences for their actions, I will never walk away or stop loving them.
What ten words best describe you?
Loyal, funny, honest, loving, passionate, optimistic, intuitive, smart, sassy, and careful.
Andrea Updyke is a freelance writer and founder of the parenting blog, Lil-Kid-Things, where she seeks to connect with and inspire other women in the fog of the early years of Motherhood. A lover of coffee, Disney, and YA Science Fiction, she knows she can’t take herself too seriously. You can also find Andrea sharing proud mama moments about her sons Oscar (4) and Calvin (1.5) on Google+, Twitter and Facebook!