How This Mama Chooses Her Extra-Curricular Activities

How This Mama Chooses Her Extra-Curricular Activities

- in Parenting

“Where do you find the time?” is a question I am often asked, accompanied with a rather quizzical, but impressed expression on the asker’s face.

Here are my stats:

1. I am the mother of 3 daughters, ages 7, 4 and 4 years old (yes, two are identical twins)

2. Like my husband, I work full-time outside of the home (by choice, I love being a working mom).

3. I also write for Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine and blog for Northeast Ohio Parent online,, and my own personal blog Emailing With My Girlfriends.

4. I love helping new moms with breastfeeding support as a Certified Lactation Counselor (side passion) with the mentorship of my favorite IBCLC.

5. I am a yoga devotee and attend a weekly class with my all-time favorite teacher (and soul sister), Juli Hicks, who takes yoga to a whole new level. She turned my time on the mat into a mental wellness practice of spirituality.

6. Travel is in my blood and I am usually planning at least one vacation or international getaway with my family at any given point (Ireland 2018!)

7. I recently started volunteering at my local library branch.

8. This summer, I will ride my bike 320+ miles during a 4-day charity bike ride for the American Cancer Society with one of my favorite soul sisters.

9. I volunteer for Jewish Community planning committees and events and Co-Chairing a Task Force with a soul sister friend.

10. I serve on the leadership team for my favorite pop-up children’s consignment shop, Rhea Lana’s of Medina (next sale is March 3-9, 2019)!

So yeah, I like to get involved and keep busy outside of work and wrangling my three kids. But why? How?

There is a theme.

I say yes to anything that makes my stomach flip with excitement and simultaneously twinge with fear. Like a little kid, I hear about something cool and I go with my first split-second reaction of “Oh I wanna do that!”  I don’t let the fear overpower my decision or unbridled desire to try something different.  I acknowledge the fear, but remember that when I “go for it,” I achieve awesome results. Rather than question how I’ll do it or map out an elaborate plan, I jump into the proverbial vortex of “I’ll figure it out” and trust.

Everything on my list above is something I love to do and I am passionate about. How I choose what to do really hinges on how it will benefit my life and bring me more joy and happiness.

My biggest endeavor making my stomach do flips these days is signing up to ride my bike for over 320 miles in 4 days this summer.


Girl, you’re crazy.

Yeah, I know.

How did this happen?

I got into “cycling” (what the cool kids call it) last summer when I told my tri-athlete friend, “I like riding my bike.” This quickly turned into training for a 100-mile ride, because “go big or go home” is how I roll.

A few months ago, I told a coworker about my love for riding, and he suggested I look into this charity event.

Whoa. Four days of riding 80+ miles a day? PAUSE – breathe – stomach flip. I wanna do it.

Yes, this ride is going to be a doozy, but I cannot ignore my gut. This will require major help from my husband while I train. My hubby will also be flying solo when I take my 4-day “bike vacation” this summer. Still, I signed up.

How this will bring joy and happiness:

The training and riding will be a good meditative practice. My biking buddy and I will need to log a lot of miles before the 4-day ride to prepare. This will physically push me in ways I have never pushed myself before. I like the physical challenge and I’m certain my cholesterol will benefit, too. Most importantly, this is to support a great cause for the American Cancer Society. I doubt anyone can say they haven’t been impacted by cancer in some way. The fundraiser goes toward Hope Lodges (grown-up version of Ronald McDonald house), which keeps families together while battling cancer. I think everyone can support keeping families together when tragedy strikes.

Click here if you’d like to support me during this next adventure by making a donation — and stay tuned to see how it goes!

About the author

Michelle Dickstein is a Midwest transplant from the East Coast with her husband. Michelle has her Masters of Public Health and works full-time outside of the home. Michelle writes about her adventures in life as the mother of three adorable and curly-headed young daughters, two of which are identical twins. In addition she writes for Northeast Ohio Parent magazine, blogs (Emailing with My Girlfriends and Kveller) and has made appearances on CBS 19 and Fox 8 news as a lifestyle and parenting "expert" (whatever that means)! Michelle is co-authoring a book (and looking for a literary agent and publisher)!

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