Did you ever think you could literally go back towards your future? Sometimes taking two steps back helps you move forward. Let me explain.
Two years ago I took a leap of faith and accepted a job offer I couldn’t refuse. I was not planning to leave my current job that I absolutely loved. I had a flexible schedule, supportive co-workers, and I was valued there. What made me really appreciate my job was my family came first and upper management never questioned that. I was always provided a healthy balance of work and taking care of my son.
I was not looking for a new job at the time, but this new offer came to me so quick that I didn’t have that much time to think about it. This new job offered job security, a pension and opportunity to move up. I knew I needed to accept this opportunity because it would help my future significantly.
HOWEVER, I DIDN’T REALIZE SOMETHING THAT COULD BENEFIT MY FUTURE MIGHT NOT BENEFIT ME RIGHT NOW.
Leaving the job I adored was very hard for me, so I decided to not cut ties entirely and stay on per diem. I always knew I was welcomed back there if I ever needed to come back full time.
My new job was definitely an adjustment and I had a hard time getting into the groove of things. It took me close to a year to finally get a grasp on my position but as a result I spent less time with my son. Previously, if my son got sick at daycare I was only a 5 minute car ride away. With my new job I would have to take a bus home so I could get my car and then go pick him up. Sometimes it just wouldn’t be possible and my husband would get him instead. I was no longer able to drop him off or pick him up from daycare daily so my husband also took that on. As much as I appreciated this, I missed that quality time we had together talking about our day and what we plan to do when we get home. It was frowned upon when I needed to be home with my son whether he was sick or if it was a snow day so once again I would rely on my husband to do this. I felt guilty for not being able to take care of my son when I felt like he needed me the most.
A year later the pandemic hit and things became much more difficult for me as it did for every other parent across the world. I was working from home with a four year old who was used to going to preschool everyday. He needed my attention and it killed me not being able to give him 100% of me.
A few months into quarantine I got a call from two of my supervisors unexpectedly and it caught me off guard. They told me upper management was concerned with my productivity and they wanted to know why I was not meeting expectations. I started to laugh thinking it was a joke but quickly realized they were serious. I told them that my work environment was not ideal which caused some distractions, I never received proper IT support, I have a four year old who needs my undivided attention and WE ARE IN A GLOBAL STATE OF EMERGENCY.
None of my reasons were good enough and quite frankly they didn’t want to hear it. They proceeded to tell me my tasks are not hard and if they can get this work done so can I despite any barriers. I was then informed if I do not produce more work within next week further discipline would be taken. As they were telling me this my son was yelling from the bathroom for me to “wipe his butt”. I was able to keep myself composed despite the tears filling my eyes but as soon as I hung up the phone I lost it.
I have worked so hard despite my barriers and still was presented with threats and possible retaliation. I was never asked if I needed any support and they completely ignored the fact that I had a child I needed to take care of. After that phone call I worked in fear of losing my job. I spent less attention on Franco and became obsessed with my work. Despite all of this, I continued to be threatened of being disciplined and being transferred to an office 4 hours away if I couldn’t reach expectations.
I WAS COMPLETELY STRIPPED OF MY CONFIDENCE AS A WORKING PROFESSIONAL AND AS A MOTHER.
My self esteem declined all while being feared by the pandemic. Since March, I lost a family member, my psychiatrist dumped me and my husband lost his job. I was unable to cope because all of my focus was on my job. After 8 months of going back and forth I knew that I could no longer do this and decided to seek other employment.
I always stayed in touch with my previous supervisor since I still worked per diem and I opened up to her about how my job was affecting my mental health significantly. I always valued our relationship and her honesty with me. Ironically while all of this was happening my previous position had an opening. I was offered this position again but this time with more pay and benefits.
I wanted to yell ‘Heck yes!’ but I know it wasn’t a black and white decision. Although my salary would be significantly increased, was going backwards the right thing to do? Should I continue to go on interviews and completely start over on a clean slate? In all honesty, I wouldn’t be able to do that right now, not during this pandemic. I needed to go back to what always made me happy and value the mission of my work.
So that is what I did and it was an instant relief. I am able to take care of my son and efficiently get my work done because there is a healthy balance. Do I still struggle with guilt and feel like I am less of a person because I went back to my old position? I do, but in order to overcome this guilt I need to build my confidence and self esteem again.
If that means taking two steps back to help better my future then I will do just that.
Making school lunches are new to me since Franco is starting Kindergarten this year. I love seeing all of the creative ideas parents out together to make kids smile at lunchtime.
As a full time working mom I know I am not going to have the time to make elaborate lunches. I will even most likely have him buy lunch at school, but the days I will make him lunch I will be sure to make them fun and delicious.
Favorite Lunch Box
I love this bento box! The quality is great, it’s easy to clean and perfect amount of compartments. I labeled it using my Cricut.
Favorite Drink Bottle
I got this for Franco over the summer and he loved decorating his own water bottle. There are many stickers to choose from to make it personalized.
Not only are these granola bars delicious, but they are free from common allergens and safe for schools.
Favorite Lunch Ideas
Stumped on ideas on what to make? Check these books out! There is a combination of 232 ideas.
Favorite Way to Make a Sandwhich
This thing is a lifesaver! Forget about buying Uncrustables in the freezer section at the market. These are so easy to make and store yourself.
When They Buy Lunch
Let’s face it, there will be times your kid will need to buy lunch- AND THAT IS OKAY! Make sure the money they bring to school is safe with their own wallet with a zipper coin purse.
A Little Something Extra
Lunchbox notes were always my favorite. Little notes on fruit or little drawings were always my favorite, but I made these printable notes that have adorable puns. Click here for their printable.
My favorite season is finally here and I am so excited to see this years style. It is crazy to think that straight leg jeans are out and wide leg is back in. It was hard to get out of my comfort zone but happy to have some of my favorites like chunky cardigans and crossbody bags.
Neutral colors are still my choice and found some great pieces in all different shades of tan and brown. The best part is that everything is so affordable!
Just imagine, you spend all day at the beach having fun with your family. Laughs, snacks and memories are being made. This makes everyone happy. You can’t help but live in this moment and hold off on leaving for the day. It is time to go home and you all enter the house with the air conditioner blasting. The sun took all of the kids’ energy and put them to sleep for an afternoon nap. The house is finally calm and quiet. This is your chance to leave the mess so you can sneak up to the bathroom. You run yourself a bath to help relax and cool your sun kissed skin but still have enough energy to make dinner afterwards. This DIY citrus lavender milk bath is the perfect way to unwind after a family filled day.
Sometimes a shower doesn’t cut it. This smooth and milky bath with a burst of citrus and lavender will leave you or your little ones with the softest skin.
It is so easy to make this DIY citrus lavender milk bath even your little ones with love it. Luckily, this recipe will make an abundance amount.
In a bowl, mix together Epson salt, Himalayan salt and lavender buds from the sprigs. Add as much as you want depending on the strength of the scent you prefer. Drop in the essential oils and stir until everything is well blended. Add to the mix to glass jars and glue stick the printable label on tightly. Make sure to store in a cool place.
When ready to use, pour two cups of oat milk in a warm running bath. Scoop one cup of the bath salt mixture and add lemon slices, orange slices and lavender sprigs. This will make the bath look beautiful.
This DIY citrus lavender milk bath is the perfect wake up in the morning or to get your little ones relaxed and ready for bed at night. Either way it is a win for you!
Who would have thought I would be on TikTok, but it has this grasp that I do not think anyone can control. We get sucked into watching videos of viral dances, challenges and teachable lessons in just seconds. What I really enjoy are the easy recipe trends because it makes me feel like I know how to cook. I now have easy recipes on rotation thanks to me favorite TikTok recipes of 2021.
1. Favorite TikTok Recipe of 2021- Pasta Chips
This viral TikTok recipe of 2021 is just too good not to try! It is so easy I keep asking myself why haven’t I tried this?
Cook a box of pasta of your choice until al dente.
Drain pasta and add to a mixing bowl.
Drizzle some olive oil, Parmesan cheese Italian spices and garlic powder.
Mix together until pasta is evenly coated.
Air fry at 450 degrees F until crispy, check and shake in 15 minute increments.
Remove and fully cool so you can serve with some red sauce.
2. Another Favorite TikTok Recipe of 2021- Baked Oats
Since working remote I had to get creative with my meals at home. I was blown away that I could actually bake oats! Here is a previous blog post on three different types to make your baked oats. My favorite recipe is the banana bread .
3. Fun TikTok Recipe of 2021- Oreo Cookie Mug Cake
This is the coolest hack ever because I never would have thought of it! I love mug cakes to begin with but this takes it to a whole other level.
4 vanilla Oreo Cookies or flavor of you choice
1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla milk
1 tbs whole wheat flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
Place cookies in mug and pour oat milk over them. Crush and mix until it turns into a batter. Add flour and baking powder and mix all together so it is nice and smooth. Microwave for 90 seconds or until fully cooked through.
Top with vanilla yogurt of your choice with marshmallows for some added sweetness.
4. Best TikTok Breakfast Recipe of 2021-Pancake Cereal
I have been wanting to try this recipe but unable to find a brick of feta. I tried it with crumbled feta and it tasted delicious! It has been said using the brick will make it creamier than crumbled but this was a hit in our home just the way it was.
1 lb pasta
½ cup olive oil
2 boxes cherry tomatoes
1 block feta or 12 oz. of crumbled feta
4 cloves garlic minced
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch red pepper flakes
In bowl, mix tomatoes, olive oil, red pepper, garlic, salt and pepper and then pour into a baking dish.
Put all feta in the middle of the baking dish making to tomatoes surround it. Drizzle olive oil and bake for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees F.
While baking, cook pasta according to instructions on the box and thneDrain and put aside
Once feta and tomatoes are cooked remove from oven and add pasta. Mix vigorously until all is blended evenly and serve immediately.
Let me know! What is your favorite TikTok recipes of 2021?
I was gifted Coloray Wallpaper in exchange for an honest review. There are also some affiliate links that I may earn a small commission from.
Franco’s room is one of my favorite rooms to makeover. He is always down for the adventure and he makes the biggest deal when it is finished. He is my number one fan. That is why I couldn’t pass up doing a cool boys bedroom makeover just in time for kindergarten.
The theme was embracing where we live in New York. I was born and raised on Long Island and Franco will be a born and raised ‘upstater’. I wanted to combine the two by adding some locally made decor with some vintage pieces of my home from when I was a kid.
Black, white and gray was part of the vision board. There are a few colors that pop out from the vintage pieces I chose but it all came together at the end.
In order to make this a cool boys bedrooms makeover, I had to find the best wallpaper. Thanks to Coloray, I was able to easily find the wallpaper I was looking for on their website. Geometric Shapes Removable Wallpaper in the size of 8’ x 11’ was the design I chose and is very happy with it! The peel and stick option was best for me because I am not the best with all peel and stick wallpapers. The fact that I can just peel and apply without having to spray with water to activate the adhesive was so much easier. The best part is it is removable so when I am ready for the next cool boys bedroom makeover, it will be easy to remove.
This year my parents sold my childhood home after 40 years and moved down south. As much as I was excited for them, I was so sad to say goodbye. Luckily I grabbed things from the house such as this street sign, Super Nintendo and wicker stool that brought back memories being in my house. Little touches of my home are in here and I just love having the feeling surround us.
Imani Collective has the best banners so I finally the opportunity to hang some. This pillow is from a local shop Bluebird Home Decor. This kids mat from H&M is perfect for imaginative play. Then my favorite purchase has to be this stuffed animal beanbag storage. This is the best way to keep all of his animals but without the mess.
It is National Ice Cream Day and what a fun day to celebrate! I don’t know about you, but ice cream makes me so happy. I don’t think I ever met anyone who didn’t like ice cream. There are so many ways to eat ice cream, but my favorite is an ice cream sandwich. I am sharing 3 easy and delicious ice cream sandwiches that will make you happy. The vibrant colors with a sweet and crunchy taste will be a hit with children and adults.
1. Easy and Delicious Chocolate Samoas Ice Cream Sandwich
These cookies are one of my absolute favorites. I loaded them withe chocolate ice cream and let the sandwiches settle for a few minutes in the freezer. This will help make the sandwiches less messy, but that really doesn’t matter!
2. Easy and Delicious Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich
My favorite chocolate chip cookies are Chips Ahoy, so that is what I used. Any type of vanilla ice cream will do. Assemble your sandwiches and have them settle in the freezer for a few minutes, this will give them the perfect texture. This easy and delicious ice cream sandwich is Dan’s go to, he is always asking me to make them.
3. Easy and Delicious Oreo Strawberry Sorbet Sandwich
Remove the cream from the Oreo and replace with strawberry sorbet or flavor of your choice. Roll in some fancy sprinkles and settle for a few minutes in the freezer, this will make the sprinkles extra crunchy. This ice cream sandwich was Franco’s favorite choice and was sure to put a smile on his face.
Like I said, these 3 easy and delicious ice cream sandwiches will make you happy but there are so many ways and varieties to make your ideal ice cream sandwich! Since it is National Ice Cream day, I found so many ideas and curated my vision to my family’s liking. Ice cream sandwiches are the best because you can choose any cookie and any ice cream flavor of your choice, so the possibilities are endless!
There are so many Nutella recipes to choose from I decided to search for some and get inspired to make my own. With ingredients that I already had in my kitchen I decided to make these delicious Nutella cheesecake hand pies.
This Nutella recipe is a fun snack that is filled with creamy whipped Nutella filling wrapped with a golden flaky crust. The hazelnut drizzle adds the perfect amount of sweetness.
School is out, so that means road trips, summer learning and later bed times.
Franco and I compiled our favorite children’s podcasts and they are all Franco approved. They are great for any time of the day and keep kids away from the screen. Podcasts help improve kids attention and memory, and keeps their imagination running; not to mention the improvement of listening skills. I have also found that when Franco listens to bed time stories at night, he has a better nights sleep with no nightmares or night terrors.
Some of the podcasts only have a few episodes but they are so good! We added a bunch of different shows to give variety so you can go back on the other ones when ready.
My name is Nicole and I am a full time working mom to my toddler Franco. I love creating and sharing ideas. You can find me rummaging at estate sales, binge-watching The Golden Girls while chugging Diet Coke, listening to old school hip hop, supporting small businesses and being an advocate for maternal mental health.