Balancing Being Selfish and Selfless

I spent my entire summer absorbed in my own mess and conflicted dilemmas.  I stopped working on all of my projects to focus on studying for the Maryland Bar and barely took a moment to even think about anyone else and their feelings.  I shut myself off from the rest of the world, because the only important thing to me at that moment was passing the Bar exam.  Looking back on that time, I cannot decide if that was a right or wrong decision.  I thought I was making the right decision at that time, but in hindsight I became someone who I never wanted to be; completely self-absorbed in myself.

From the end of May to the last week in July, I only had enough space in my head to think about myself.  Honestly for the past 11 years, some of my family members feel as if I have only thought about myself.  I went off to college and rarely came home.  I spent more holidays and summers with friends instead of planning activities with my family.  Coming home was always a chore and being there wasn’t always an enjoyable experience, so I kept it short and sweet.  Although I did not think I was being selfish, some feel that way and today I can start to see why.

Being selfish is always looked at as a negative thing.  It is viewed as a character flaw instead of a strength.  After having a 2 hour-long conversation with one of my favorite cousins, she said to me, “I finally understand why you left here and never looked back.  You have to be selfish sometimes to get where you want to be in life.”  She gets it.  Although she is my favorite cousin, we have not had the best relationship over the past few years.  We always seemed to be on the same side of things until recently.  Suddenly I was enemy number one and she became the voice that was going to bring me back to reality.  She learned that I don’t allow those type of relationships to burden me and I silence voices that aren’t here to help or encourage.

During our last conversation she finally began to understand that being selfish is not a character flaw, but a calculated decision to be focused enough to get to the next level instead of being stagnated by the opinions of others.  There are times in your life where being selfish is a form of survival.  Many people give until they are empty and have nothing left for themselves.  Being self-less can be a greater character flaw than being selfish.  Your emptiness can be more detrimental than being fully focused on your goals and dreams.

I can finally admit that I am selfish.  I can finally admit that I can be self-less at times, but I am mostly selfish.  I am learning to accept that as an asset and not a flaw.  I am doing what I think is best to be balanced, but you cannot always stop and explain to people why you do what you do, but most importantly you just have to know that what you are doing is in your best interest.

Right now I am in a self-less mode.  I am trying to change the world.  Literally.  I am still working on my own personal ventures, but most of my energy is going to initiatives that are greater than just me and mines.

Being balanced is hard.  It is truly a constant process.  I am a work in progress.  Pray for me on this journey. Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

To Do List: For Parents Looking for Things to Do with Children Under 2 (DMV Edition)

In a few days I will transition into being a full-time stay at home mom while I continue my search for a job.  Despite this being one of my biggest fears and something I did not expect, I am welcoming this opportunity with open arms! I will finally be able to spend guilt free moments with my son, without work, school or any other major responsibility looming over my head.  Although I hope this is only temporary, I want to make sure I make the most of this hopefully rare moment in our lives!

I started to get excited and started looking for things to do with my soon to be two-year old.  I began at the local recreation center, but they did not have anything for his age group.  I know of a few other child friendly places, but they were pretty expensive, and we are trying to have the most fun, using the least amount of money possible.  So, I did a little research and found plenty of inexpensive things to do in the DMV area with children 2 or around that age.

1. Your Local Library

Many of us remember going to the library as a kid, but as we grew up and the information age expanded to in home computers, iPads and endless cable channels, we forgot about this FREE gem that is the center of many communities.  Check your local library for age appropriate weekly events for your child and some may have special events that make spending time at the library even more fun.

We will be attending Toddler Story Time and a special event with a magic show and balloonery coming up in early August!

2. The National Children’s Museum at the National Harbor

The National Harbor is a work in progress, but one thing that they already have that is perfect for young children is the National Children’s Museum.  This museum focuses on engaging and educating children 8 and under through activities and programs that spark the imagination.  Although it is not free, it is moderately inexpensive with $10.00 tickets per child and adult.  For those who are local and may find themselves there a few times a year, a yearly membership for one adult and one child is $75 and $155 for a family of 6.

Thinking of investing in a yearly membership to get the most out of all the events that they have to offer.

Link: http://www.ccm.org

3. The Carousel and Playground at the National Harbor

There is more fun to be had at the Carousel and Playground at the National Harbor.  This activity is only $5 for your child and free for the accompanying adult.  Your child can enjoy unlimited time on the carousel and even more fun at the newly built playground that is bound to wear them out.  This site also has a nice set of picnic tables, if you want to pack a lunch and make it a full day at the Harbor.

This is high on the list of things to do when I need him to take a good nap for the day, so that I can get a few things done around the house!

Link: http://nationalharbor.com/things-to-do-in-dc/carousel/

4. To Be With Me Playseum

This amazing and interactive place was created by a mom who could not find places to go with her young children where she could stay and be involved.  Out of her void came a unique place where children can create, play or read and parents can connect or read books while their children are nearby.  General admission is only $7 per person, but they have a daily happy hour full of deals that fall within everyone’s budget! There are two locations, one in Barracks Row and another in Bethesda.

We will be frequenting this place with our DC friends and saving money by using a Happy Hour special!

Link: http://www.playseum.com/calendar.html

5. Great Waves at Cameron Run Regional Park

Who knew that there was a water park in the metro area?! I have never heard of this place, but I am super excited to get in at least one day at a fun water park with the kid! Especially since I heard he was uncomfortable this summer when our family took him to one down south.  Well, here is my chance to introduce him to the fun in the sun and water at Cameron Run! They have an age appropriate Kid Zone and the prices are not out of this world, $11.50-$15 for weekday or weekend passes.

We have to get one day in here just to say we went!

Link: http://www.greatwaveswaterpark.com/features-attractions/the-lagoon/

6. Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake

Annapolis is a unchartered territory for many of us DMV transplants.  Even with a car, we can’t seem to find a reason to go “all the way” to Annapolis for anything.  But from what I hear, the food is amazing, the views are priceless and they even have fun things for the kiddies.  Jake and the Neverland Pirates is one of my son’s favorite shows and this would be an awesome adventure for him to experience.  Although I would love to say I went to Annapolis this summer with him, I think I am going to save this experience for his 3rd birthday party! Great location,  decorations provided, perfect theme and a moment he will hopefully cherish through memories or pictures.  (I will take it either way!)  This activity is a little more on the pricey side, but not completely out of reach.  General admission is $20 and $12 for children under 3.

Link: http://www.chesapeakepirates.com/party-room-update/

7. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo

The Zoo is an interesting place, but I am not sure how well a 2 or 3-year-old will do in such large crowds, mostly outside and around animals they may have not been introduced to yet.  Some parents may think this is a great idea, but I am going to lean towards waiting a little while longer before we experience the Zoo.  The admission into the Zoo is FREE but the parking costs $22.  There are two metro locations that are within a 1/2 mile but taking the metro with a child in a stroller is an adventure.  An adventure worth taking is up to you to decide.