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KINDNESS: Day 22-24/30 – Being A Nicer Mom

Being A Nicer Mom

Being a parent is hard. You’re not supposed to say bad words in front of your kids, but they’re usually the source of frustration.  On days 22, 23, and 24 of the 30 Day Kindness Challenge I found myself adding kindness into my role of mommy. It was a win-win all around.

30DayChallengeAccepted Kindness

Day22
“Say thank you to someone who does a hard job that not many people would take.”

This isn’t a cop-out, but today I said Thank You to myself. I do a hard job that not many people would/could take.  I am a stay-at-home-mom.  Everyone has their opinions on it, but I will hands-down tell you it’s the most under-appreciated non-paid job.

How did I thank myself? I never shop for just me, so I treated myself to a little online shopping and took advantage of an end-of-year sale and got myself two pairs of jeans. (PS. best skinny jeans: old navy, rockstar. Currently 50% off!)

Day23
“Bring food and water to someone in need.”

It’s not nearly has philanthropic, but at the playground I pretend-played with a kid and we gave each other ice cream, milkshakes and smoothies. I do it with my own kids all the time, but I’m weary about playing with other people’s kids (you never know how psycho other parents can be).  But this little boy joined my kids at the pretend storefront and I couldn’t ignore him.  At first his parents didn’t seem ecstatic about him shoving his hands into the wood chips and making small piles, but when they realized that it was all harmless fun, they started to play along too.  Then it became a lesson of sharing and manners, and of course – kindness.

As an aside, I was proud to see my kids so welcoming to this little boy.  Their openness to include him led the way to fulfill today’s task.

Day24
“Make a personalized playlist for a family member or friend.”

Do you have kids that have opinions? Especially about music? In the car this past month my kids insisted that we keep it on the radio station that was only playing Christmas music – my ears are still ringing. The rest of the year, my two kids have the same taste as their dad – either 80’s pops and ballads or current kids’ bop. Meanwhile, my vibes are more 90’s hiphop and R&B. And it’s tough, because we have Sonos playing all day long at home.

So today, instead of making an actual playlist, I let my kids listen to what they wanted – Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, One Direction, Justin Bieber, etc (although I have to admit that the latter two have some catchy tunes). It was killing me not to switch stations or fast forward through songs before they realized what I was doing.  But now that they’re asleep I’m restoring my ears with some quality Bruno Mars and The Weeknd.

As a parent you’re constantly trying to teach your kids how to be the best version of themselves.  But the best way to teach them is to practice what you preach. The past three days I was was more conscious about being kinder, and as a result, I felt happier.  And so were my kids.

Happy mom = Happy home


Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 19-21/30 – Doubling Up

Doubling Up

From the beginning of this PopSugar 30Days of Kindness Challenge I was afraid that it wouldn’t be demanding enough.  On Day16-18 I found that the tasks were actually a bit more difficult that I assumed.  Then Day19-21 I was at the other end of the spectrum and felt like I should be doing do more.  So over the next few days I doubled-up and challenged myself to do two acts of kindness, as small or big as they may be.

30DayChallengeAccepted.com Kindness

Day19

“Write a letter of appreciation to someone who positively influenced you.”

I felt a little awkward about doing this one, but once I decided on the person, the words flowed easily.  The person I chose is a former colleague, technically my superior when I started my career.  We got off with a rocky start, but over the decade we worked together, everything changed.  I learned a lot from her and am proud that even after 4years since I’ve left that job, we still reach out to each other, professionally and personally. It’ll be interesting to see her reaction to my email when she returns from her trip.

Adding to today’s challenge, I wanted to leave a token of thanks to our mailman.  But instead of just leaving an envelope addressed to “Mr. Mailman”, and decided to call the local post office and find out his name, and wrote out a card for Robert too, thanking him for his services.  Sometimes words carry more weight than money.

Day20

‘Volunteer at an animal shelter, soup kitchen or nursing home.”

I would love to do this, and what better day to volunteer my time than during the holidays.  However, I’d like to bank this for another time during the years when volunteering is at a lull.  I’m not much of an animal person, so I started looking into soup kitchens and nursing homes to see what my options are locally.  And hope to get my kids involved with this too.

Instead today, I decided to agree to be my friend’s date to a dinner of which neither of us knew many people besides the hosts.   I’m fortunate enough to have a non-mommy friend who makes sure I get me-time, and going out sans kiddos is something I need more than I realize.  Spending time with her and being around other adults without being distracted by one of my kids was a relaxing evening out. Also, made sure to bring a bottle of wine for the host. Mama taught to me never go to someone’s home empty handed.

Day21

“Give up your seat for someone else.”

Ever been to dim sum? How often do you get a table right away? Never. So while our party of 6 waited for our table in the tiny waiting area, I was surprised I was able to get a seat and offered it to my youngest child, until I saw a elderly lady and redirected my son and we offered it to her instead.  My small attempt at teaching by example.

This task felt minimal though. So for dinner, instead of trying to manipulate getting take-out since we had my cousins over, I decided I wanted to cook for everyone instead. I feel like family dinners are so important.  I grew up having dinner in front of a TV so when we built our house, I made sure there was no TV in the dining area.  I also have a ‘no devices at the table’ rule, and my kids are the first ones to remind anyone who has their phone at the table to put it away.  Tonight we enjoyed a BlueApron meal of chestnut fettuccine and a side of acorn squash, grilled lamb chops and Ahloo Quay (burmese chicken and potatoes), as well as each other’s company.

Kindness and courtesy are synonyms, and I think that’s where I feel torn. I’d like to do more acts of kindness that aren’t also acts of common courtesy. Writing a heartfelt letter is definitely not common, while offering your seat is. So some days, I will want to double-up.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 16-18/30 – Stop Overthinking

Stop Overthinking

They didn’t seem so out-of-the-box, but they actually were.  I thought Day 16, 17 and 18 of the PopSugar 30Day Kindness Challenge were going to be a breeze.  I go into it oversimplifying the tasks then upon execution I start to overthink it, so instead of just enjoying it I’m making a bit of a mess.

30 Day Challenge Accepted Kindness

Day16
“Leave a funny note or a little bit of cash in your favorite library book.”

The note I left wasn’t that funny, but it was fitting.  I enjoy reading and am lucky enough to have a library that carries the latest releases in a section called Star Readers which only allows you to borrow a book for 7days.  Coincidentally today is the day so I’m supposed to return this book.

This week’s read is by my favorite author, Jodi Picoult – “Small Great Things”.

Here’s my review: Read It!

And here’s the non-funny post-it note message I left in the book for the next reader:

Loved this book’s message.
Sharing one of my favorite quotes:
“The one thing we all have in common is that we are all different.”
Enjoy the book!

Day17

“Put stray grocery carts back where they belong.”

I tried, but those Costco employees are so efficient!

Instead my act of kindness today was, again, through one of my kids.  My younger one has been doing soccer for a few seasons now. He’s still preschool age so I don’t expect much, but he loves this weekly intramural activity and his coaches do a great job with the crazy munchkins. As a gift for a holidays, we gave the coaches lottery tickets.  It took a lot of self-control for my little guy not to do all the scratch-offs himself!

Day18

“Let a car merge in front of you and give them a smile or a thumbs-up.”

Today I meant to complete Day13’s task – to bring treats to the office – since today is the last day I’m scheduled to go in this year, but I didn’t have a chance to get treats.  Ironically, when I walked into the office there were brownies, candies, nuts, cookies and more already laid out.

So I decided to go with today’s assigned task, although it seemed so mundane.  I’m an aggressive driver, but I am also courteous. Today I didn’t have much of a drive – just the 1.3miles from my house to the train station, and back.  So, I let whoever needed to merge, merge. I pulled to the side to let cars coming the opposite way down our narrow streets pass. I let pedestrians cross.  All with a happy wave.

 

These past three day’s tasks seemed easy peezy, but they weren’t because I kept feeling like I waa going about them all wrong. I was scared to leave that note in the library book – worried the librarian would see it when I returned the book and scold me for “vandalizing” (it sounds silly now that I said it aloud).  I tried to put the grocery carts back, but I went at the wrong time (in the morning, when the carts aren’t hapharzardly scattered) and with my little guy in tow, chasing down stray carts in the cold didn’t seem as fun in real-life. And I thought I was a nice driver already, but purposely being extra-patient nice driver was actually difficult! I have places to be!

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 13-15/30 – Half Way Because I’m a Cheater

Half Way Because I’m a Cheater

I feel like a cheater. This 30 Day Kindness Challenge by PopSugar has been easy, but because haven’t been following each day’s challenge to the T and still counting it as ‘completed’.  I’m going to prove it again right now with Day 13, 14 and 15…

30DayChallengeAccepted Kindness

Day 13
“Bring treats to the office and share with all your co-workers.”

Definitely going to do this, but not today because it’s the weekend.  It’s also my birthday and fulfilling my old-lady wishes, my husband, kids and I are staying home in pjs, all day, doing absolutely nothing. I’ve never been one to plan a celebration for myself or enjoy the spotlight, regardless of what day or milestone it is. I’ve even hidden my birthday on my social media profiles.

I would prefer to be a complete hermit and go device-free for a day, but I can’t ignore the well wishes from family and friends who remember.  So while it sounds effortless, my act of kindness was to thank each and every person who sent me a happy birthday message via Facebook, Instagram, text, etc. because while I don’t want the attention, I appreciate it.

Day 14
“Donate blood, or sign up to be an organ donor.”

I haven’t donated blood in so long. I used to do it all the time in my 20s, so I’m very happy to do this.  I easily found a local donation center and set up my appointment for Day15. I’m so excited. Wish I looked into this before!

Now onto Day14’s act of kindness.  It was through my daughter and comes with a little story:

Her martial arts school was having an Nerf War event and admission was one toy – a donation towards their toy drive. She wanted to go and I wanted her to go, but I was also nervous because she would be on the small side compared to the big kids from the older classes. Unfortunately I let my fears get the best of her. The morning of, she decides she no longer wants to go and it broke my heart. I felt like the worst mom in the world.  Then she quickly mended it back together when she asks if she could still go to at least drop off the toy for a kid in need. This happy ending continues…

I said we could go only if she could try to participate for at least 5 minutes and if she felt comfortable to give me the thumbs up and stay. She never gave me the thumbs up because as soon as she got on the mat, she was off having fun with her (taller) friends.

Day 15
“Help someone carry their bags.”

Found no one to help carry bags for, but I went for my blood donation this morning and also scheduled myself up for a plasma donation next month. I’m so happy to know this center exists because now I don’t have to wait around until I see a sign for a blood drive.

I mentioned on Day 0 that I was afraid this challenge wouldn’t be much of a challenge. I mentioned on Day1-3 that I was already cheating on the challenge. I mentioned it on Day7-9 that perhaps because I’m a mom, some of these tasks are standard operating procedure.  I mentioned on Day10-12 that some acts of kindness are on rotation. Now here I am, halfway at Day 15, still cheating away.  But what this challenge has done so far is made me aware of the day going by and realizing that I haven’t thought about someone else’s needs or feelings (beyond acts of common courtesy). That in itself puts a drive in me that I feel I’ve been missing. That I’ve needed.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 10-12/30 – What Comes Around Goes Around

What Comes Around Goes Around

Day 10, 11, and 12 of the 30 Day Kindness Challenge were fun.  They weren’t out-of-the-box acts of kindness, but each brought me back to a memory of someone doing this to me. And what goes around, comes around and goes right back around again – because I’ve paid it forward time and time again.

30Day Challenge Accepted Kindness

Day 10
“Offer to babysit or pet sit for someone for free.”

Offering to babysit for free is part of being a mom. So, been there, done that.  Especially when one of you children is a social-butterfly and babysitting is more like a playdate.  It’s a win-win for everyone – moms and kids.

The first time someone offered to take my daughter for a playdate, I hesitated.  Not being a kid-person myself, I never thought people did that.  Now, it’s common practice within my mommy-friend circle. I am happy to watch their children whether planned or last-minute, regardless of who initiated.

Today I supported another mom in a different way, by supporting her small-business.  (Disclaimer: I would’ve done this even if I wasn’t doing this challenge.)  Earlier this week while running errands I remembered I should pick up holiday cards for my kids’ teachers, coaches, etc.  but I didn’t like any of the selection.  Then I remembered about LemonDropPapers.com, a line of beautiful stationary created by a mom I met this year. So I reached out to her today and within an hour placed an order for cards directly via text picked them up from her home later that evening.

LemonDropPapers.com

Day 11
“Call a loved one you haven’t spoken to in awhile.”

I’m a true Sagittarius. My group of friends is quality over quantity. So any chance I get to spend quality time with a quality friend, I take it. That’s why whenever a friend asks me to do something, I say ‘yes’ before even thinking ‘no’. This tasks works for me.

I’m not much of a phone-chatter.  I’m awkward on the phone, even worse with Facetime.  I’m more of a text’er/emailer or talk in-person.  For weeks I’ve had a dear friend on my mind that I hadn’t talked to in too long. Both of us are now moms to two. Due to both of us moving, our homes are separated by two rivers and an island.  It’s too easy to let time and space allow you to drift apart. Today I texted and emailed her, and she responded right away saying she was happy to hear from me and we made sure to set up a dinner date for next month.  😊

Day 12
“Give someone an unsolicited compliment.”

All day long! I’m happy to do this.

Years ago, in my 20’s, when weekends were about going to clubs/lounges and frolicking amongst strangers, I remember this life-changing moment:

I felt the girl next to me at the bar looking at me.  I prepared to receive a catty remark, but instead she says to me, “you have beautiful hair.”  She immediately erased by RBF, and together we flagged down the bartender to finally get our drinks.  I’m pretty sure she wasn’t hitting on me and she didn’t seem drunk.  But regardless, her simple kind words lifted my spirits.

Since then, I’ve found myself less hesitant about genuinely complimenting someone, friend or stranger.  Whether it’s telling the librarian her nail polish worked great with her skin tone, letting my friend know that her jeans are a great fit on her, or reminding my husband that he’s handsome.

Today I didn’t get out much because my older came home early from school sick with a stomach bug. So she was the receiver of all compliments today.  (Today and every day!)  Even after puking and running a fever, she truly is beautiful and kind-hearted.  She is a cooperative patient and I’m so lucky to have her as my daughter.

I loved the Kindness tasks for Day 10, 11, 12. They remind me of the principle of karma – cause and effect.  Once someone was kind to me, as a result I wanted to pass along those positive feelings.  I hope that I’ve touched someone with my simple offer to watch their kid, with my belated hello, or with my uplifting compliment so that they felt inspired to do the same to someone else.

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 7-9/30 – Be Kind To A Mom

Be Kind To A Mom

Day 7, 8, and 9 of PopSugar’s 30 Day Kindness Challenge were difficult.  I didn’t know how to make it more challenging than it needs to be.  Being a part-time stay-at-home-mom, these are things that I do normally. I had to remind myself that for these 30Days it’s about keeping the kindness going, even if its not novel, because the effort is not wasted.

Day 7
“Go out of your way to make a new friend.”

Huh???  How am I supposed to do this? I’m with my husband and kids most of today, then going to a birthday dinner with people I already know.  And how do you make a new friend anyways?

Funny – a few days ago I Facebook-friend’ed a person I never thought I would (a friend of a friend who was chatting with me via facebook messenger).  Does that count?

Things got both harder and easier when I became a mom. Through mommy-and-me classes and playdates I inevitably made new mommy friends (Read my Random Ramble: Five Types of Mommy Friends).

So I adjusted today’s task a bit different.  At dinner, I decided to be “more friendly”.  I’m definitely one of those people you say “I totally thought you were an absolute bitch before I met you”. My resting-bitch-face never fails me.  But once you get to know me, I’ll be your most favorite bitch to bitch with.

Day 8
“Run an errand for someone.”

I’m a housewife. My job is to run errands for other people. Errands they don’t even realize they needed.

As a mommy-friend, helping out other moms with random errands just happens all the time. Whether is helping pick up their kid or returning a library book before it’s overdue.  Both of which I’ve already done this week.

Today I noticed a haphazardly thrown shopping bag on the floor with a resealed box inside – which I can only assume to be a store return.  Instead of waiting for my husband to ask me, I kindly volunteered myself. So while on an errand to find in-season boots for my daughter, I went into a techy store to make a return for my husband.

Day 9
“Pick up any trash that you see.”

Again, I’m a housewife of a man-child and two kids. I’m always picking up trash!
But today I did one better. I took the trash bin out to the curb.

None of these were out-of-the-box tasks.  Is it because I’m a mom? So here’s a challenge for you if you’re following along – today, be kind to a mom.  They do so many things all the time that go unnoticed and unappreciated.

30 Day Challenge Accepted Kindness

 

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 4-6/30 – Kids Can Be Kind Too

Kids Can Be Kind Too

Days 4 to 6 of the 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge by PopSugar was easier than Day 1 to 3.  This time I actually completed the tasks set forth. For the one challenge I didn’t complete, I like what I ended up doing better than what was asked for, because I got my kids involved. And like my husband, they don’t know I’m doing this challenge.

Day 4
“Leave a nice note or flowers on the windshield of a car.”

Wasn’t raining today, so the perfect day to leave a post-it note on a stranger’s car. On my train ride home I scoured Pinterest for the perfect quote about kindness. I love quotes. I subscribe to instagram quote channels. I quote quotes. Yet, today I was coming up empty handed. I don’t love it, but here’s what I left:

In a world where you can be anything, be kind =)
Hi Stranger – Wishing you Happy Holidays!
.Day4 of 30 DAYS OF KINDNESS.

Day 5
“Give a very generous tip to your server.”

I decided to skip this.  Not because I don’t want to give a hardworking under-appreciated person a little extra boost of morale, but because I wasn’t planning on eating out today – breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Originally my plan was to be extra kind to my kids, since both had school closed today and I was looking forward to spending the day with them.  While searching for “random acts of kindness towards kids” to find something novel I came across the idea for kids to do – send a letter to a soldier. So while also trying to figure out how to keep them busy on this cold day, I decided take something they do – making cards – with a little twist.  I found and shared with them a video of soldiers saying why getting a holiday note from a random child means so much:

When I get these letters, they tell me that they’re too small to help. But they actually do really help me out. They bring up the morale for me and my soldiers. While we’re away from our families, it helps to know that someone somewhere is thinking of us and praying for us.

They were sold.  We’re sending our cards through https://www.facebook.com/CaringKidsCards/

30 Day Challenge Accepted Kindness

Day 6
“Pick a good cause and donate whatever amount you can to it.”

Going into the 30 Day Kindness Challenge I wanted to do things that didn’t require money. I’d rather volunteer my time or my mind than my money. But this is an organization I’ve always thought about donating to because of the impact lupus has had on my life, so what better time than now.

Thanks to the commitment of dedicated supporters like you, the Lupus Foundation of America works year-round to support research into safer, more effective treatments, educate doctors and health professionals about this devastating disease, support the 1.5 million Americans living with lupus and their families, and advocate to government and business leaders on their behalf.

The wonderful thing about this challenge is knowing that doing one small thing can end up being something bigger to someone else.  “No act of kindness is ever wasted.” Like that quote?

 

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE

KINDNESS: Day 1-3/30 – Oops

Oops

I didn’t complete any of the Days’ challenges. But I tried…

Day 1
“Put extra change in a meter that’s about to run out.”

Maybe it’s because I live in a major city, but “putting change into a meter” doesn’t exist here anymore. I wish it were that easy, because I’d cover a whole block.  Alas, I had to let today’s task pass because it wasn’t a possibility.  Surely, I could’ve found a way around it, like buying a parking ticket for a stranger as I saw them pulling into a spot.  Or pass my ticket on if I had time remaining – which I’ve done many times before.

However, today gave me other opportunities to be “kind”.  While on the subway, a blind homeless lady asking for change was approaching us. My husband saw me watching her and then asked if I had any quarters.  Instead, I pulled out a bill.  With that he proceeded to pull out his wallet and gave his own money instead.  Not hearing a clink in her cup, she smiled and gave such a grateful ‘thank you’. (PS. He doesn’t know I’m doing this challenge.  This goes to show – kindness is contagious.)

Day 2
“Pay for the order for the person behind you in line.”

I would’ve done this, but I knew the guy behind me on line and and could foresee the side-eye looks I would get from his wife at our kids’ pick-up in the future. Instead, I bought a gift card and planned to leave it with a note on a stranger’s car.  However, I didn’t see it happening today because 100% rain was in the forecast. So, in an attempt to fulfill today’s task I offered to cover my coworkers lunch. She declined, as usual.  So, while today’s kindness act didn’t happen, the intention was there.  Twice. That counts, right?

Day 3
“Sit with someone who is eating alone.”

Simply said, this is impossible task for today.  Breakfast I ate at home. Today’s lunch was a holiday party with the company I used to work with. And dinner was our weekly family dinner at the in-laws.  Honestly though, I probably wouldn’t have done this anyway unless an obvious comfortable opportunity presented itself – like someone looked lonely and seemed to want company.

In other ways I showed “kindness”, which I’m a bit confused about because I also perceive them to be acts of common courtesy.  Examples – holding the door for someone, letting someone merge in front of you on the road, saying thank you for a menial task, smiling when making eye contact with a stranger – all things I did today, but also do every day.  The only thing out of the norm that happened was that I put the gift card on the car parked behind me with this note:

Have your next coffee on me!
Day 2 of 30 Days of Kindness
Happy Holidays.
Enjoy!

30 Day Challenge Accepted Kindness

Following the PopSugar 30 Days Kindness Challenge exactly has been tougher than I thought. Notice, I didn’t complete any of the tasks! However, I was more aware of opportunities and slowed down to think, ‘how can I make this person’s day a little better?’  There’s a moment in the book 29 Gifts where Cami Walker says that she purposely doesn’t follow a guideline or checklist because wants her gifts to be organic:

When you give from a place of service, honesty and fullness, you are left feeling revitalized.
When you give from a place of responsibility and obligation, you negate the gift and nothing changes.

This is why even though I didn’t do exactly what this challenge is asking of me, I consider my tasks completed because my heart is in the right place.

Want to read all 30 Days of the Kindness Challenge?  View the Overview page HERE