ATTENTION: If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the latter statement. It applies to a couple different situations in my life.
The first one being: I like friends who challenge me to become a better person. I don’t want superficial friendships, where my conversations are merely floating on the surface. I want to sink deeper. I don’t want friends who only tell me things like, “That’s a cute outfit.” Sure, it’s nice to be complimented, and I’m not asking my friends to stop being sincere in that sense, but I want more.
If you are my friend, whether old or new, I want you to challenge me. I want you to help me be a better person. I love having conversations with people where I stop to say, “Wow! That’s so interesting… I never thought of it that way before… Thank you for teaching me that… Thank you for sharing your knowledge with me… What a gift…”
I have come to realize that sometimes I may come across as–I dunno–strong? (…overpowering, maybe??) in conversations, but that’s because I like to challenge my friends, too. Not in a Ichallengeyoutoadeathmatch sort of way, but in a I challenge you to be a better YOU sort of way.
(I’m sorry I’m not sorry.)
I’ve also come to realize that some people just aren’t ready to be challenged and make life changes; and try as you may, there’s just nothing you can do about it. Man, this really saddens me. When I see people slipping down a path that is dark and scary, I become anxious, and my passion rises.
I have been in a dark place. I know that you don’t initially think it’s a dark place, because you can only see one step in front of you. But then things start to unravel. And that’s when it’s harder to get out.
It’s like running in the mud. On the surface you see a shallow puddle and think, “This will be easy to cross. I don’t need any help.” But as soon as your feet hit the mud, you start sinking. You realize that it is a lot harder than you ever could have imagined, and you wish you would have come prepared. You wish you had a plan. You wish you had a support-system in place. You wish you had the right equipment and gear to help you through the tough spots.
Are you going through a rough time in your life? Do you want to know why things aren’t getting better? It’s because you are not making changes in your life. You’re only planning to get through a puddle, while you should be preparing for a mud run.
Yes, it is hard to make changes. There’s no doubt about that. But if you want to have a better quality of life, you have to take the first step. It’s scary. I know. I know... But I promise you it’s worth it. I cross my heart to you that it’s so worth it.
I challenge you to make the changes you need.
What is something you want to change in the near future? Do you know what changes you need to make to get there? Do you have a support system in place?
I have a favorite child. There! I said it!
If you don’t have any kids, or you have an only, you may be saying to yourself right now: How on earth could she say such a thing? She’s a terrible mom…
But, if you have multiple little ones running around 24/7/365, then you may be singing: Yes! Yes, me too! I’m not the only one! Finally, someone said it out loud. I’m not crazy…
Do you want to know who my favorite child is?
My eight month-old.
Because she doesn’t sass me. She doesn’t leave a mess all over the floor for me to trip over. She doesn’t scream in my face when I tell her she cannot have eleventy more crackers. She doesn’t throw herself on the floor when I tell her she cannot watch four more hours of Sheriff Callie. She doesn’t say things like, It’s all your fault! or I don’t want to brush my teeth–stop touching me! or my favorite, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
Nope. My eight month-old doesn’t do any of that.
Instead, she’s sweet and smiley and cuddly and laughs at all my jokes and animal noises. And she doesn’t run away when I sit her down on the floor.
But. Then comes nighttime, when my eight month-old is tired and fussy and plays The Don’tYouDareTakeMeOffTheBoobOrIWillScreamEvenLouder Game. Oh you know it? It’s a Classic.
That’s when I pass her off to Daddy and climb in bed with my SassyPants (a.k.a. my four year-old) and read books to her. That’s when she gives me butterfly and Eskimo kisses and says things like, Today was the best day ever! or Daddy and I are getting married ‘cuz we’re in love! or my favorite, I love you the biggest much of all, Momma!
And that’s when my four year-old is my favorite child.
My emotional well-being is important to me, and I’ve come to realize that in order to take care of my family, I have to start with me. I cannot let myself become an afterthought. If I don’t take care of myself, how the heck am I suppose to take care of anyone else? I’m not just talking about eating healthy and exercising frequently, but about A Mother’s Sanity.
Do you find yourself being pulled in many different directions? Do you feel obligated to make beautifully homemade and hand-crafted cupcakes for your child’s birthday celebration at school, to be the Room Mom, the coach for your child’s basketball team, and the first to volunteer to go on every field trip?
Why? Why are you trying to do it all? Is it so you won’t look bad to the other mothers? Are you worried about disappointing people?
Let me ask you this: Who the hell cares?
No one–that’s who!
The only pressure you feel is the pressure you put on yourself.
Do you want me to tell you what trying to do it all will look like at the end of the road?
SPOILER ALERT: It doesn’t end well. It ends with gray hairs, wrinkles, and dark circles under your eyes. It ends with missing out on enjoying the small things in your child’s young life. Or even worse: stress-related symptoms such as depression, constant colds, and rage.
YOU matter. Homemade cupcakes don’t.
YOUR sanity matters. Being Room Mom doesn’t.
Buy the store-bought cupcakes. I guarantee the kids will be just as happy. They totally don’t care that you spent hours searching for the p e r f e c t picture on Pinterest, then spent an hour or more meticulously putting them together.
Why are you trying to make your life more difficult than it already is?
Let me ask you this: If you say YES to something, what are you really saying NO to?
If you say yes to spending over an hour baking and decorating cupcakes, what are you saying no to? You are saying no to spending an hour playing with your daughter’s new doll house. You are saying no to an hour of quality time with your husband. You are saying no to an hour of sleep.
Isn’t your emotional well-being more important than trying to impress other people?
Let me answer that for you: YES!
Quit making excuses for not taking care of yourself.
Your sanity is more important than pleasing other people. I know you’re having a hard time letting the guilt go. I know you want to be there for everyone who could use a helping hand. I know you want to do it all. But the truth of the matter is, Is it worth your own sanity? Is it worth your own health and happiness? Is it worth missing out on time spent with your kids? If it is, then by all means, drive yourself into the ground.
The saying, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” is a bunch of croc, if you ask me. Do you know what no sleep does to a person? Crazy things! Your body needs sleep to fight off illnesses, to have a clear mind for making critical decisions, and to stay healthy overall so you can be your best you.
So stop trying to be a martyr. Stop trying to impress other mothers. Stop worrying that you’re letting other people down. Because you’re not.
You are taking care of YOU, which in turn, is taking care of your family. And that’s the most important thing there is in life.
When you share a story of struggle with a friend do they ever respond with, “I’ll say a prayer for you.”? Do you ever wonder if they really do say a prayer?
I often ponder this. Sometimes I think, Don’t tell me you’re going to say a prayer if you’re not really going to say it. Then I started thinking maybe they don’t think I actually say a prayer if I promise to keep them in my prayers.
But I do. I really do.
If I’m having a conversation with someone, perhaps via text, and I write, “I’ll say a prayer for you,” I literally pause whatever it is I am doing and say a prayer for that particular person.
If someone asks for prayers over Facebook, I don’t scroll on by. I pause and say a prayer for him or her.
If I can *waste* time watching a funny cat video someone shared, then I most certainly have time to pause for prayer for a friend in need.
How many of us actually do that? Do my friends do that for me? I used to throw out the phrase, “I’ll say a prayer…” and then had the best intentions on doing so later in the day, but let’s be real: my day would get busy, my mind would get busy, and a lot of the time I would end up forgetting to pray for whomever I said I’d pray for. Sound familiar?
I realized this was happening frequently so I decided that whenever I told someone I would pray for them, I would. Right there, in that moment.
I challenge you to do the same. No doubt our lives are busy and chaotic, but anyone can take sixty seconds to pray for a friend in need. If you are not in the right frame of mind to say a prayer in that exact moment, then write the person’s name down where you know you’re going to see it before you lay your head down for bed.
And if prayer isn’t a part of your life, at least stop to send them good vibes. Every bit of positivity is powerful.
When I tell a friend I will pray for them, I feel like not only am I making a promise to them, but a promise to God, as well.
I pray all my loyal friends, family, and followers have a safe and blessed Thanksgiving.
I really do.
My little Adelaide is six months old! Say it isn’t so! A whole half a year–WTF?! Seriously. It’s too much for this momma…
Adelaide is such a laid-back baby. I guess she doesn’t really have a choice, being the second child. She basically follows along whatever her big sister’s plans are, and is happy to do it. (Although I cringe every time I have to wake her up from a nap to pick Emmalyn up from school.)
There have been many “firsts” over the last six months:
-Trip to the library
-Three trips to Disney
-Rode It’s a Small World (twice!)
-Fireworks on The 4th of July
-Met tons of family
-Ballet class with mommy
-Science Center, Children’s Museum, & Aquarium
-Kid Zone at the gym
-Traveled to: Orlando, Tallahassee, Tampa, Satellite Beach
-Toes in the sand
-Met the Blue Angels
-Halloween (you were Anna from Frozen)
-Sat up in a shopping cart
-Swinging in a swing
Whew! That’s a lot for a little baby!
Adelaide’s first food was an avocado, just a few days ago. I love the faces babies make when trying food for the first time. I’ve let her little baby gums gnaw on a tangerine and celery stick. She has sucked on a watermelon and apple, and has tried a banana. I haven’t pushed food yet because she isn’t quite sitting up by herself.
We are still exclusively nursing, and to be quite honest, it amazes me that we still are. Six months was my “long-term” nursing goal. Back at the three-week mark, six months seemed like a lifetime away. Now that we are here, I don’t have any urge to stop. I am just going to follow Adelaide’s cues.
I am having so much fun with Adelaide! She is delightful 95% of the time. She loves getting a bath, letting the water trickle down her face, and laughs hysterically when people make funny faces and noises. The only time she cries is if she’s hungry, wet, or overly tired. She is very easy to bring with me wherever I go. She is still waking up a few times a night, but at least she goes right back to sleep after nursing. I look forward to the day that we are both sleeping through the night, but I know this is only a short phase in the long-run.
My favorite part about having another baby is seeing the interaction between my two daughters. Emmalyn is obsessed with Adelaide, and Adelaide just admires her big sister. Emmalyn loves to hold and make her laugh, and it melts my heart every time. I wish I had a permanent videographer following me around to capture these precious moments for me!
Six months has gone by way too fast. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s the truth. Adelaide makes me so happy, and I can barely remember life before her. She’s a blessing to our family, and I love her so much!
You are four years old.
I am in awe of the little girl you’re growing into.
My favorite moment over the last year has been watching you become a big sister to Adelaide. You jumped into your new role seamlessly, as if you were always meant to be a big sister. Sure, there have been trying times, where you poke her in the ear or pull her socks off. But mostly you just love too hard. You squeeze her with hugs and suffocate her with kisses, but I know it’s because you love her so much. I know this because nearly everyday you make up songs about loving her “sooooo much!” She is quite lucky to have you–to look up to you, always, for life.
Three was both fun and difficult. It was trying because you learned how to push my buttons and polished your tantrum skills. There are things you did and said that I never imagined my own child saying. But you served me up some fresh humble pie and taught me to never judge another yelling mom at Disney. I’m excited to see what interests you develop over the next year. Right now it’s pretty clear you don’t like soccer, but love gymnastics and dance. You love putting on nightly dance recitals before bed for Daddy, Adelaide, and me, and it warms my heart every time.
You are super girly and say things like, “Shirts are ugly. Dresses are beautiful.” I swear I didn’t push you to be stereotypically girly. It’s all you, baby. You had your mind set on a Frozen Tea Party for your fourth birthday party with your girlfriends (and best boy friend) and there was no stopping you! You do jump on opportunities to get dirt under your nails, too, though!
You have gotten super close to your daddy over the last several months, and it’s incredible to watch. At such a young age you already exude kindness towards others, and make me laugh multiple times a day, every day.
I know without a doubt you were born into this world to make me a better person. Before I had you, I was repeatedly stressing over small stuff; I could never just “go with the flow”. But you have put things into perspective for me. You have made me realize that dirty dishes and laundry rank very low on the To-Do list when there are much more important things like saving the princess from the scary dragon in the castle.
Yesterday you told me, “Mama, you’re a good teacher for teaching me.” Emmalyn, I know it’s the other way around.
I love you so much, sweet angel baby. More than you’ll ever know…
Have the happiest fourth birthday!
It was the day after Halloween. I kissed my husband goodbye as he left me to deal with two kiddos who had just been out Trick-or-Treating and full on candy. He was going away for the weekend–about two hours west, to participate in his monthly Navy Reserve drill weekend, like he had for one weekend a month, two weeks a year, for the last eight years.