(Imagine a dreamy young girl, twirling hair, popping her bubble gum)

Dear Diary,

When I grow up, I am going to be the perfect mommy and I will have happy, talented and good-hearted children.  I will always have a smile on my face and look “pretty.”  I will be a great cook and my kids will happily devour everything I make for them.  My children will play with each other and there will be no sibling rivalry.  If they do have a misunderstanding, we will all sit down together and “work out the problem” as a team.  They will listen to me and always do what I ask of them.

On top of all this, I will have an important job.  I will work hard and have fun and never be too tired at the end of the day to play with my kids.   I will win lots of awards for what I do and be interviewed by Jane Pauley on the Today Show.

And, let’s not forget, I will have the hunkiest, dreamiest husband to share it all with.  He will have a good job and be a great dad.  He will share responsibilities in the house and always be in a great mood.  We will love each other forever.

Yours truly,

Jamee (age 16)

Before we experience something, we have an idea of what will happen.   We create the idea out of what we see around us.  If it is a positive idea, it is empowering.  You might even say that we could create our reality out of certain very vivid ideas.  But, at some point, reality may not match the experience we are having.  It is what we do in that moment – when our idea is not matching our experience –  that makes all the difference.    In other words, we have a choice.  If reality doesn’t match expectation, we can be upset , happy, curious, confused, alarmed, delighted or, name your emotion of choice.

As often as possible, when my reality is not matching my “idea,” I try to find the humor in the situation.  Not because situations always warrant humor, but because finding the humor in things helps me to feel good.  It’s as simple as that.

Here’s the reality:

When I grew up, a few of my ideas came true.  For example, the part about the happy, talented, good-hearted children came true three times!   So, clearly, I am now a mommy – but, I am far from perfect.   I often smile, but I also grimace, frown, hold my nose, have my hair stand on end and stare in disbelief.  I am not always “pretty.”  I know this because, when I do put on make-up and “do” my hair, my daughter will look at me with pleasant astonishment and ask “why are you pretty today mommy?”

I am a great cook when I feel like it.  The rest of the time I am just “o.k.”  And the greatness of my cooking has nothing to do with whether my children will eat what I give them.

My children play with each other and they also fight with each other.  Sometimes we try to get to the bottom of an issue, and at times, they are all banished to their separate corners while mommy takes a nap and tries to get rid of the raging headache she has from listening to them argue about which one was “first” or who “called it.”

My children do listen to me when I ask them to put a toy away, stop using the couch as a trampoline or turn down the TV.  I just didn’t realize that they would happily listen to me say the same thing 12 times, before actually DOING it.

I do have a wonderful job.  And there are days that leave me tired and stressed out.  On those days, I am not able to give everything I want to both my work and my family – but the good days well outweigh the bad.

I haven’t won any awards and that doesn’t matter.  And I think Jane Pauley is retired, but if Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera want to have a chat, I’m available.

That brings me to my hunky, dreamboat, Husband.  That’s another “idea” I was right about.



  1. Write an entry in your diary as if you were 16 years old.  What did you think would happen?  What were you hoping for?
  2. Where are those ideas matching reality and where are they different?
  3. Where is reality better than the idea you had?  Celebrate those items.
  4. For the places in which reality does not look better than your idea, how can you view it from a different perspective?  Where can you find the humor or some learning?
  5. Share your responses with someone close to you and learn what their perspective might be.
  6. Find things to appreciate about your reality.