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Correction, Encouragement, Parenting

E is for Entitlement

No one can do everything, but social media and the internet will portray parents flawlessly doing all the things. Don’t believe the hype! We can only do what is in our ability, what is necessary, and relax. Our inabilities to fall into the hands of God who can do it all is what is wearing us slap out. Our kids will want snacks, playdates and their favorite show on repeat 24/7 and if we aren’t careful, we will become the provider’s of their every desire. That is how we begin to nurture the spirit of entitlement that so many of us loathe. It is not only okay to say no, it is necessary. Our sanity depends on it but so do our children’s characters. But for certain, the boundary needs to be in place to protect our sanity and potentially financial security.

When we had to earn that which we most desired, it brought with it a better appreciation for what we gained. Our children need us to help them put their minds and bodies into the effort of earning. By neglecting to do so, we set them on a path of entitlement that leads to a painful reality in the future. How old were y’all when you learned that nothing in the world revolves around you and the level of importance your the parents placed on your personal value was not shared by the rest of humanity? Cause let me tell ya, I was 25 and pregnant with my first child. I had hints of it between the ages of 18-23 but I was mostly well liked and hadn’t been confronted head on with that truth. IT. WAS. ROUGH.

And as an expectant mother, having that very real emotional epiphany while also recognizing something needed to change so my child didn’t have the same earth shattering revelation (a bit dramatic but that’s how it felt back then, some 10 years ago).

Brene Brown

Life is expensive, and so is my taste in just about all things from food, to clothes to vacation locales. But I want our children to know that their blessings are not to be expected. I’ve said it before and it’s the truth, if our girls are waiting on us to die to live off our hard-earned dollas (inheritance)…well then they gonna have to wait until they get their rewards in Heaven, cause it ain’t gonna happen! They will need to know what it means for their effort and work ethic to match their desired outcome. I know I’m not alone in wanting to raise up children who know their value, desire their worth and will put up the effort to match them both. One day at a time, we can do this friends and in the end the “no’s” and “not nows” will all be worth it. Providing opportunities to share and feel uplifted by giving to those who could never repay them will also help hinder the spirit of entitlement as they grow up. We will get through this one day at a time y’all cause parenting + adulting = hard, but His grace is sufficient!

Much Love,

Q

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You’re Doing Enough

We have all fallen into the trap of feeling like, even when we manage to check off all of the things on our list of things we need or want to do, it’s just not enough. Okay, so the house is pristine but we haven’t “engaged or played” with our children. Yes, dinner is ready but laundry has piled up like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Or just maybe we managed to navigate appointments, have a successful playdate, get everyone fed and down for naps on schedule, all chores completed and we looked cute conquering the day but forget to return a call and our coffee wears off before bedtime and “mean mommy” shows up…the day feels like a total loss.

Friend, I feel like I am stuck in that cycle of ridiculous personal expectation sometimes and have to be conscious to step back and say, “Girl, cut it out.” And it’s not always easy to get myself in check but here is the truth, you…me…WE are doing enough! It is funny how I came about this realization as it relates to our homeschool days. With a second grader and toddler under foot, I often felt like we weren’t doing enough. To help instill independence in work and initiative, I ordered a student planner from Not Consumed ministries (check below for link) and it’s great! It requires that each week the student write in activities they have and list their subjects so they can check off daily as they complete them. Great personal accountability tool for our seven year old. Y’all, when I started preparing the list of lessons we do for her to copy into her planner I had a WHOLE reality check. WE. DO. A LOT! I mean, look for yourself:

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what our immediate surroundings or results look like and the measuring stick we have isn’t properly calibrated. If we are gonna be totally honest, that last part may be the biggest issue. Where are we drawing our expectations and truth is a lot of it comes pressure to perform and compete. Whether we admit it or even recognize it, we are heavily influenced by what we see. And IG and Facebook don’t make being who we are seem acceptable. Instead it feels like living in our own strengths and personalities feels like being mediocre and one thing this girl has been taught her WHOLE life was “be better, work twice as hard, average is not acceptable.” So, as I am unlearning, redefining and building blocks for a foundation to a life I love, I am giving myself permission to live in my “enough.” Some days that means dinner isn’t mostly fried carbs and sometimes it’s checking off every box.

As we curate our own versions of unconditional lives, that also includes unconditionally accepting who we are and allowing that to guide how we move in this world. Give yourself permission to be greatly average so that you can ensure you are available to do your best work with and for those within your home first and foremost. Now, I gotta go get started on the list of lessons at hand because while we are doing enough, I’m ready to get it done and out of the way for today!

Much Love,

Q

**http://store.notconsumed.com?aff=51

I will only recommend products I use in real life and enjoy. That said, if you choose to purchase an item using the link above, I will receive a commission as an affiliate. No pressure to purchase, I promise, and as we begin to grow you will see affiliate links to products I find useful. Purchasing from these links helps support the mission of bringing encouragement to more mamas!

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Almost Made It…Again

Hey Y’all!

So listen, how many of my fellow parents (cause I’m sure there is a father or two out there who might feel this deep down to the ankles like I do) have managed to harness the urge to yell and swallowed the words before they escape your lips all day, only to fall short at bedtime? Anyone? I know I’m not alone. I hope I’m not alone. Can we just have a moment of silence for all that follows our epic tantrums though? *bows head, le sigh*

But for real though, today I missed it and it wasn’t the first time. I hope it’s the last but I know deep down it may just happen again. Why you ask? Because, foolishness is bound in the heart of a child (that’s what God said, so I know it’s true) and if you’re like me, parenting the younger version of yourself, the potential for your nerves to be tap-danced on like an encore performance by Savion Glover can happen at any moment. I acknowledge and accept this truth and while I am working on myself to lower expectations (the goal is to remove them completely, but baby steps) of how situations should go, I fall short sometimes. It is nights like those that make me thankful for grace. So what happened that set me on the course of a Cruella De’Vil-esque meltdown at bedtime? Pull up a seat.

So, after a LOOOOOONG (rather hectic and HOT) day, the girls were fed, bathed and in bed. I read aloud for almost 30 minutes from a chapter book a we recently started. I did voices, inflections, the WHOLE NINE Bruh. All was well aside from the occasional attempt of the Little Child to roll out of bed. We were smooth sailing. So, I’m reading and again, not a complaint to be heard. As SOON as I turn off the light and start the tucking-in process, my Big Girl says, “Ughhhh, my nose feels funny and I keep trying to blow it but nothing comes out!” Not only was she loud but the wording of her complaint caught me off guard because for 30 minutes she has been laying in her bed…CHILLING! You hear me? She wasn’t reading. Moving. Running back and forth for tissue. No mention of this sudden nasal emergency. So, I gathered myself and moved in close to whisper to her since the Little was quiet in her bed. Y’all, then she started to cry. For those who don’t know me, I can be sensitive but “unwarranted tears” by anyone confound me.At this point, I lean in close to her to speak. Now, in hindsight she probably thought she as about to get snatched but I was merely trying to keep the noise level to a minimum. I start to whisper and she starts to wail. Full. On. Hollering (insert palm over face)

I. LOST. IT…no other way to put it. I turned on the light that illuminates the entire room and start yelling. Now, the Husband who had fallen asleep on the floor next to me as I read was woken up, the Little got out of her bed, the dog was making noise and I was livid. Why? Because I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel that said I can complete a thought or just sit down for a bit and the blatant attempt to block that in the moment with this “scratchy nose” complaint felt like a personal attack. Ever been there? Now, I grabbed nasal spray (which the kid loathes by the way) and administer it as the only means of resolution to her new nasalitis symptoms and walk (okay, storm) out. I felt so bad by the time i made it to my room. I mean, who can rest after being yelled at? Was she faking? Maybe. Was she trying to get my attention? Clearly. Did I model how to respond instead of react? Absolutely not.

I’m not above apologizing to the Kid and after some processing will sit down with her. Let me tell ya though, tonight, I was done. Want to hear the funny part? About an hour later (yea, like a full hour after bedtime), she walks out of her room whining that her tooth fell out. I just so happened to be sitting on the couch because I am sleep training myself (another convo for another day) and out she walks, wide-eyed until she saw me in the darkness. A little preface to this new announcement, the tooth was loose but not ready to depart just yet. So, that tells me, all that time AFTER the original shenanigans, she basically pulled a tooth out and then said, “I don’t know if I will be able to sleep with this pain from my tooth.” HUH?!? Oh, little did she know not only was she going to sleep but her peace and potentially my freedom needed her to do so ASAP-tually. But all I could do was laugh. I laughed at the barely-bloody tooth, the gap in her mouth and the reality that this season of life is but a moment.

So, I will apologize. I will try to do better next time. Most importantly, I will forgive myself, again, for spewing the pent up frustrations of the day out on my kiddo because she was being human and foolish a child. Grace is given to weak and I can admit that is me, weak. We all want the chance to try again but the important thing is to recognize when we are wrong and being willing to change (see, therapy works, but that’s yet another conversation). Maybe you’ve missed it all day long or perhaps every day this week, been there and done that too. All we can do in the aftermath is stop, assess and ask forgiveness of ourselves and from our babies. Let’s show them how to comeback from mistakes in relationships while we work on ourselves in the process. And now, I gotta go ’cause we don’t do the tooth fairy but we are big on “growing up giftage” and I need check my stash so we can celebrate this latest lost tooth. Until next time!

Much Love,

Q

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Intent vs. Impact

Hey Y’all!

So yesterday as I was sitting in evening service at church waiting expectantly for my afternoon dose of caffeine to kick in, I was struck by the phrase, “…as parents we have to balance intent versus impact. Because the old way of ‘do as I say, not as I do’ doesn’t work…” Needless to say my attention was peaked and I was all ears at this point. I was reminded how great our witness and lifestyle in our own lives can affect how our children make choices.

Growing up, I remember all too well the frustration of being told not to make certain choices but then witnessing those very things being done under the guide of “I’m grown…I’m an adult…do what I say, not what I do.” The only seed those nuggets planted in my heart was the desire to grow up faster so that I could get to adulthood and make those choices. So now, as a parent I was struck that our actions not only have an impact but that the impact we create may not be what we intended. WOW, WOW, WOW! Granted, children will have to understand that there are some things they are just not able to do because they are children. But it made me question what I am modeling adulthood to look like.

Am I showing our girls that being an adult means just being able to stay up late, have money and do things they constantly get told no when they inquire about (ya know, like staying up late, eating candy whenever you want or watch movies we as adults save until after their bedtime)? Or, do our girls see adulthood as a time of misery filled with endless days at work, complaints about people and the heaviness or daily life and obligations? My hope is that neither of those are so but rather that we are modeling adulthood as enjoyable and intriguing while offering plenty of opportunities for failure, growth and accountability.

Even as I sit here and type this out next to the the Firstborn who is engulfed in a learning app on her tablet I can see that my influence and impact are in full swing. Which begs the question, how does one balance this concept in other areas of life and are we mindful of it? I don’t know about y’all but it definitely hit close to home yesterday and as made me more aware of my interactions with the Little People in our home. I pray my intentions lead to a positive everlasting impact most importantly in our home but also in the relationships I have and will build outside of my full-time jobs (motherhood, homeschooling and homemaking). Until we meet again on the couch, take a minute and ask yourself whether your intentions are matching your impact!

Much Love,

Q

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No More Pressure To Perform

Hey Y’all!

Long time no write! I could give the standard, “life happens” motto or apologize for the ghosting and ask that you ride with me once more as I begin again (again). But this time around I just want to get some words out in my space. A space I originally created to speak to and encourage others while serving as an outlet for the thoughts in my brain and lack of adult conversation. Truth is, the pressure to perform: to post at regular intervals while feeling like I didn’t know what to say, not being able to narrow down who my target audience was and trying to convert my words into earning an income was EXHAUSTING! And it was defeating because I lost my vision somewhere along the way.

I went from wanting to use my words to inspire, encourage and lead people closer to Christ to trying to build a brand that somehow earned five figure a year income and made me feel “accomplished.” And when we walk out of step with God and try to manifest our vision without being diligent with the tools and timing He has given, the way gets cloudy and the destination further away. So, with that said, for those of you who subscribed many moons ago and who actually read the words I put together in these posts, lets get on down the road. The way is narrow and the people few when you are choosing to follow Christ and the direction God has prepared. I am no longer focused on following the footsteps that lead to financial gain or followers but rather just going to embark on the journey and let those things be added in time.

I’ve missed this space, y’all and our time together. Oh, and one more thing. I have decided to officially rename the blog “Mommy Couch Confessions.” While I am working to curate my unconditional life, and want to encourage y’all as you do the same, the reality is that motherhood is where I live and sometimes my address is 411 Make It To Bedtime Lane. I may not touch everyone but I desire to create a place of respite for women who know all too well the struggles of motherhood, life and all-the-things. Hope to have you with me again on the couch soon. Be sure to wear your comfy clothes ’cause I will probably still be in my pjs from the night before!

Much Love,

Q

Encouragement, Faith, Lifestyle, Salvation

Degrees, Domestication & Discipleship, Oh My!

Hey Y’all!

Not that it matters in the grand scheme of life (and truthfully living in my accomplishments is difficult, another story for another day) but my “day job” is as an adjunct professor. I spend hours each week instructing, interacting and hopefully sharing information with my students that they can apply to life and their collegiate journey. What I have recently found interesting is how much more capable I feel plugging away teaching virtual students than I do taking care of our home and sharing salvation. I pondered on what was behind the false idea that I was not fulfilling my duties in our home or practicing discipleship and a lightbulb moment occurred. The reason I struggle with knowing I am doing well is because there is less praise given for the latter two. Very seldom does anyone other than my family (or sisters-in-life) compliment the impeccable manner in which I organize and sanitize our home. Although, I do appreciate it when it comes, I ain’t that great or consistent at it to have a steady flow of praise, just sayin’.

Now listen, other people-pleasers (“You down with O.P.P? Yea, you know me!” Random Naughty By Nature reference, I digress) of the world, y’all know we thrive on the accolades and encouragement that we are the best and most excellent-est of them all at whatever the task at hand is. But when the praise isn’t present and the glory isn’t ours for the taking, it can create almost an insecurity of sorts. Sound familiar? How can you tell if you are making progress, creating change or even being productive if there isn’t a constant end result or external affirmation? Maybe I am alone here, but in case I’m not, let me tell you the secret whispered to the deepest part of my heart on this topic. Ready? Here is goes:

“You aren’t special because of what you have accomplished that “they” notice but rather for you you were       created to be and the way you use those gifts to encourage others in theirs.” – The Holy Spirit 

Now, your level of faith or belief system may differ from mine, but my Heavenly Father speaks to me. And not only does He speak to me, but he speaks to me in the same sort of tone and conversation that I use with other people. And honestly I appreciate that because if he didn’t I would probably write off a lot of what He is trying to say to me as random thoughts or background chatter. But that little tid bit stung like a mosquito bite in July after a week of rain because being acknowledged mattered so much to me at one point that it was literally my motivation. And as I have matured and grown beyond that part of life, there are always a few remnants that hang around like loose threads on sweater waiting on the right thing to snag them so they whole thing can unravel.

Yes, my collegiate accomplishments allow me to teach at a level that a small percentage of the population achieve or even aspire to, but so what? I can finally, comfortably say that having a great title and multiple degrees (with a nice note from Navient by the way) doesn’t fulfill me like days of completely finished laundry, read aloud with our girls and sharing the gospel with someone. There will be many who say you must hustle, achieve, earn and sacrifice whatever it takes to have initials behind your name and credentials that show the world who you are. And there is nothing wrong with those goals, but also recognizing that those things are not the end all be all can be harsh yet humbling.

I have to make decisions all day long that keep two small humans alive, a husband supported to face a world that inherently is against him and a culture that says to be better equates to doing all the things on a Pinterest worth level. Nah, B, ya girl is tired of all the things (insert clapping hand emojis). So, if all I do is wash, fold and put away the laundry in one day-which we all know is like the domesticated version of a triathlon event and complete a page in the devotion we started as a family, then so what!?

I don’t need attention or glory to be fulfilled because the more I am intentional with the choices that honor God through my many roles, the more peace there is in my home and the better I feel. When the end of my day comes, my girls don’t care what class I am teaching or if assignments were plagiarized. We are called to be a living witness of the God who created the heavens and the earth. And even on the days I fail miserably (which have been at an all-time high the past few months) it gives me a chance to walk them through correction that makes me stronger. To bring it back full circle, when we stop focusing so much on achievements of a personally gratifying nature and instead forge a path that allows us to light the way for those behind us and encourage those in front not to quit, then our lives can create a butterfly effect more powerful than any title or job description. You can do it all, or you can do what’s best, what do you choose?

Much Love,

Q