Throw a Floatie to a Mommy…Please

woman floating in pool

Have you ever felt as if all that you do is try to keep your head above water? 

I dare to say that most of us have experienced this precise feeling at one time or another. If you have not, CONGRATULATIONS! You are superhuman. NOW, do yourself a favor, immediately close out of this link, and ride away on your magical unicorn. If this topic is relatable and like I, you do not have a magical unicorn to ride away on, please continue reading. 

I work very hard at trying to avoid the dreaded feeling of being underwater breathing from an eco-friendly straw. A straw only meant to save the turtles (really just the turtles?).

The reality is that life is complex by design. It is not a linear journey and it should not be. How boring would that be? Often, we are blinded by our task of staying afloat, and can’t recognize the beauty in all of these complexities. 

Opportunity is the Name of the Game

I try to keep myself organized as much as I can but calendars are just as good as the information WE put in it. This school year I forgot my oldest son’s project for his 100 days of school event. I became overwhelmed with the feeling of total failure. Seeing all the amazing pictures on social media of other children’s amazing Pinterest wins did not help my morale and mommy confidence. His sad face, and the question “Mommy why was I the only one who got forgotten?” certainly put me into a panic mode.

In the following weeks, I was haunted by I could have, I should have and I would have. Then, I shifted my thoughts from the negative to the positives. What else have I done that was right? When I went through the list, the mom wins outnumbered the mishaps. Even in that exact mistake, we found a win the next day when he was the only one with a 100 day T-shirt made of balloons in his class. I missed the event. But, we made a shirt together that night, shared the fun in that process, and he got to be the “star” the next day. His beaming face that day after school, and his comment, “Mommy I was the only one with a balloon shirt today, and everybody wanted one just like it” proved to me that my mistakes are just opportunities.

When in Doubt Just Float To Keep Your Head Above Water!

I realized that raising children is not going to be perfect all the time, or even most of the time. There will be days we cannot make it to baseball practice on time or at all. We will forget assignments, leave school shoes at the house and show up late to work with yogurt stains on our shirts. This is just part of being human and the parenting rollercoaster. It would be nice if parenting books helped set these sort of expectations when you first learn of becoming a parent. Until then, the best floatie is the embracement of these “mishaps” as growing pains and not as defining moments in the mommy journey.

Staying afloat is easier when you realize that the pool is shallow. And that all you need to do is reset your feet and stand up. Our children will remember the times we laughed, and moments we shared fixing our mistakes well more than the mistakes themselves. So I say, bring on the many mistakes that I will be sure to make…I welcome the OPPORTUNITY to find my feet and stand up. If you need more tips about breaking out of survival mode, take a look at Rachael’s post


How do you keep your head above water?


Helen Pastrana was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She completed her undergrad degree at the University of Central Florida in Psychology and received her master’s degree in Human Resource Development from Villanova University. She has been married to her husband Chris for 9 years. They have two very energetic and handsome boys; ages 4 (Noah) and 5 (Christian). They have been living in the Tampa Bay area since 2014 and are always searching for fun places and things to do. Helen is a full-time mommy and full-time employee for a professional services firm. She believes you can have your cake and eat it too; this is why she is a big proponent of work-life balance. Helen is a Gemini and in true Gemini fashion, she has an eclectic array of interests and is open to everything and anything. GAME ON!