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Sometimes You Just Have to Be Ken

Y’All! As a Girl Mom, there are some things I just have to do every now and again. Even the Boy Moms out there can relate to what I am about to say. Sometimes, we have to play their games…their way…when they ask. No, I don’t want to be Ken while she plays Barbie. No, I don’t want to be the cats while she is the veterinarian doing the slowest physical check-ups this side of the Mason-Dixon line. And I certainly don’t want to be the child in the family while she pretends to be the mom and attempts to use on me what she perceives I do to her. Cause really, if I have to endure one more “beauty hair appointment,” I just may shave all of our heads and throw the brushes out of the window! 

For real, when I have a spare moment I like to finish a thought or sit still. How many of you can relate to actively ignoring your child’s request to play in the interest of just going to the bathroom alone or finishing that other half of your favorite snack hidden on the highest shelf in the pantry/ C’mon, don’t leave me hangin’, I can’t possibly be alone in this! The reality is as much we may not want to, sometimes, the little humans we are called to rear need us to get on the floor (cracking knees and all) and indulge them in a few hours of imagination.

Of course the rules will change without warning and it may become boring (I’ve fallen asleep many time during a play session and my sweet child just played around me as I was sprawled out in the middle of her bedroom floor). But she thinks that I feel asleep because we were having so much fun, like she does after leaving Grandma’s house. With the way that time is running faster than Roadrunner chasing Wylie Coyote, if we don’t slow down to enjoy a few moments with our little people, we won’t have the memories to look back on when they are no longer interested in us. What can you purpose your heart to do in order to not only engage in the play request but actually enjoy the process?

Much Love,

Q

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I Mean, Who Needs Oxygen?

Hey Y’all! I don’t know about you, but when I become a parent everyone talked about pregnancy, labor & delivery and the late-sleepless nights ahead. Oh, but there is so much more that goes unsaid. Some of the queues we receive in society seem to be in direct competition with truth, so let me hip ya to some truth real quick. That whole “put your air mask on first before helping others” spiel we get before flights applies to daily life also. If you are drowning (in debt, work, toxic relationships, or just generally overwhelmed) and you try to help others, eventually your air runs out. 

When we are honest with ourselves, we know that when we get to the point of overload because we feel used and depleted. Even worse, sometimes it doesn’t show and the need for our help doesn’t get acknowledged which triggers feelings of abandonment and loneliness even when we are surrounded by people. Can I get an Amen? Then we go from depleted to sucked dry which leads to a nasty road called resentment. Don’t go there, it’s a trip that gets harder to turn away from than a toddler covered in vaseline.

It’s okay to ask for help. Sometimes it is necessary! Granted, the world is full of judgmental people and other moms can sometimes be the most mean spirited but requesting assistance may be the key to avoiding 18the pit of depression that seems to loom over the every-busy mom. Self-care is a term I learned while earning my degree in counseling and (in my own words) refers to intentional mental, physical and emotional care of one’s self. While this term is used more often in “helping professions,” I cannot think of a career that requires helping others more than being a mother. For many of us we juggle not just the need to care for our children, homes and families but also friendships, relationships and work places that seek to challenge and pull on us everyday.

In the multi-faceted world we live in and the constant movement of our days and duties, slowing down is necessary. I once heard a quotation that said, “A job worth doing, is worth doing well.” Since parenting is the occupation we share as parents is important not only for our few but for the future generations to come, I’d say pausing to reflect before we react or respond is the healthiest thing we can do for our families, acquaintances and most importantly, ourselves.

Much Love,

Q

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Managing Expectations

Hey Y’all! A bit of advice I received when my husband and I first got married was not to start any habits that I didn’t want to maintain. This golden nugget of truth also applies to our households and  children.We have all done it at one time or another, created an internal expectation for ourselves or others and then felt the harsh repercussions of disappointment. How does one manage to stay grounded when the fiery flames of things not done seek to burn our inner peace to ashes? A few points to consider:

     A. Don’t create a standard that is difficult to consistently maintain. Meaning, that man of yours may love warm socks and your kiddos desire three hot cooked meals but if it’s got you growing gray hairs faster than you can blink-STOP! It’s great to do special things or even set a high personal standard but the only place that sanity comes after perfection is in the dictionary.

     B. Recognize where the expectation is coming from. Personally, I’ve felt the desire in times past (more like last week), to be Betty Crocker, Susie Homemaker, Helen the Hustler and every other pseudonym for a woman who does it all only to realize no one else in my life cared or even considered those things as being important. These self-imposed duties can create a level of discontentment and personal disappointment that no one else can help ease because they probably don’t realize they even exist.

    C. Be honest with yourself and those dearest to you. The greatest multiplier of fear can be secrets. The more you hold in feelings of failure, defeat or general inability to achieve that which you desire, the more those things own you. Let it out, so you can let it go! There are people in this world who need us to function at our best and healthiest and if there are things that compete with out ability to do so, then we have some tough questions to ask ourselves. There is more important than inner peace, and only one place we can find the peace that surpasses all understanding. Without Him and it, we will be engulfed in the worries, duties and “should” and we create unattainable expectations for ourselves and others when we are trying to create peace on our own.

Much Love,
Q

 

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Sometimes Ya Gotta Cry (or Scream)

Life can be hard! If we aren’t careful, the repetitive nature of our days, duties and demands can be enough to wear us down. Throw in a significant other, financial obligations, kids, pets, friends, parents…see, you’re tired just reading that right!?! Such is the course of life at times, but it doesn’t have to lead to a public tantrum (unless you want it to). When you feel your face getting hot and you just can’t hold your tongue (or tears)-separate yourself. Why is this moment of solitude important and truly as basic necessity? Because, when you do start to let it all out, you can be sure that you aren’t directing it to a person you may have to apologize to later. And when that person is your child, the unassuming little heart that knows mommy is mad but not able to understand why, apologizing cannot always heal that wound.

When we do have our meltdowns, it will happen even you have yet to experience it, forgive and ask for forgiveness. This one is huge! So often we forgive others but then hold internal grudges against ourselves. Once we have truly forgiven ourselves, we are more open to ask and receive it from others. If the offendee of our tantrum was our kiddo, that’s even more reason to apologize. We not only teach them the power of taking responsibility for our actions but also the fundamental view of humility. It can be painful to apologize and admit we were wrong. It goes against human nature and as mothers, we are used to being the leading authority so taking the position of apologizing can feel like defeat. 

That’s when we must ask ourselves what is more important, being right or doing what’s right. The release of pressure, however we choose to do it, is not wrong by any means. But if the way we proceed negatively affects others, than we must deal with it. So, now do you see why I say hiding in your closet or sitting in the car in the dark garage (because what kid is going into the garage-especially in the dark) is helpful? We all process things differently. Some of us cry. . . a lot. Others of us scream. There are even a few moms that need the physical release by throwing that thing that breaks (as long as it can be replaced and not being hurled directly at someone I see no issue with this and definitely have no judgement!). And even better, if you’re outside, the clean up doesn’t have to be immediate. 

Seriously, the point is, we spend so much time catering to the needs of others that we forget that our children learn many of their behaviors from us. We don’t want to show an outward picture of perfection and be imploding internally. They need to know we are human and struggle sometimes too. It’s cool, we all lose it and the healthiest moms admit to it. On any given day I am screaming into thin air over things like lost keys when I’m already 12 minutes late. Release your body of those feelings and then move forward as if it never happened-if our kids can do it, so can we!

Much Love,

Q

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Slow It All Down

Friends, have you ever gotten tired of feeling like you have to hurry up and do everything? Do you get tired of telling your kids to hurry up, come on or whatever other battle cry you use to get some wind under their feet? I know I am! It has seemed for most of my life that when I start early to prepare and get things done, I look up and realize I’m about to be late because that extra time gave me the space to start a project I really couldn’t finish in that time and the cycle of rush starts all over.

The past two days I have been overloading my body with vitamin C, probiotics and hot liquids in an attempt to ward off the cold that’s attempting to take over. In that time, rushing or moving quickly has not been in my vocabulary. I literally did not (and still pretty much don’t) have the energy for that hugabaloo (not sure if that’s how it’s spelled but you get my drift). What has been interesting though is how, despite my inability to move quickly, I still in some ways expected it from my family. In my mind, me not feeling well only affected me and everyone else could go about their daily happenings-WRONG!

As I pondered this phenomena from the darkness of my room and the warmth of my bed, I realized, maybe they enjoy when I move slow so then they can too, especially the Kiddo. And then, my heart sank a bit. At the ripe and tender age of five, she wakes up for school every morning and because I try to give her more time to rest, she often starts her days hearing, “Come on. Let’s go. Get moving. Go faster. Hurry Up.” and so on. That sounds pretty sucky and yet she doesn’t complain, instead she complies. Usually without a tantrum but still, I would be a ball of bad attitude if I had to start my days that way. Our children need to learn what time management is and I get that, I do. I also understand that while the kid and I are very much alike, she is her own person. You ever forget that about your Littles?

Just because I did or could do certain things by her age, doesn’t make it okay to judge her milestones by it. Our children live in totally different worlds than what we knew growing up. Technology was cordless phones and cable boxes on televisions. You were advanced if you knew to blow into your Nintendo cartridge to make the game work and fix the tracking. This generation is learning computer coding in elementary and use tablets the way we did crayons and chalk. And in a culture that is working overtime to over-expose them to the realities that await in the world, we as parents must make time to slow it all down.

Maybe that means, less screens and more family time. Maybe it means waking up earlier and having time for a routine minus the constant nagging (this idea wounds good but I struggle with sleeping so getting up earlier sounds like it would suck, I get it). Whatever it is you choose to do, stick with it and I bet we will all see changes in our children, families, and most likely ourselves. Life is short and rushing through the days is like scarfing down your favorite meal-you miss the chance to enjoy it!

Much Love,

Q

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Et Tu, Brute?

Anyone remember this infamous line from Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar? When Caesar is being stabbed to death, he notices that one of the people who have participated in his impending demise is someone he recognizes. Actually, it was his “friend,” Brutus. The line translates in English to “you too Brutus?” It was definitely a heavy moment in the play and definitely one that stuck in my memory from my high school AP Literature class because that was the first and last time I watched the play but I have never forgotten that line. The betrayal and disappointment Caesar must have felt, like, talk about the wrong time to realize you made poor character choices. Seriously, it’s tough.

Here’s the reality, this is a tale as old as time. For Caesar, it was Brutus. For Jesus it was Judas. For Mitch it was Rico (hint: this is a 2002 movie reference, just google it if it doesn’t sound familiar). The point is, sometimes, even as adults we choose individuals to make a part of tribe. To attach ourselves to and do life with and because they are “our people,” we don’t think twice about who they have the potential to be against us. We trust them with our lives, secrets, families-whatever. But, what happens when that relationship has died or is cut off like a cell phone out of range? No warning. No signs. Just gone.

In my thirties, I must admit, I wasn’t prepared for this occurrence. I thought that my people at this point are my people and we were basically going to die of old age together. But the reality is the chronological time is not indicative of the quality of a relationship. Both parties change and over time, it’s safe to say that the growing process could lead to different paths. Let me be honest, I was definitely NOT okay with that realization when all of this first came about for me. Truthfully, I mourned. It felt like someone I loved had died and the space they once had in my life was gone. I went through all of the stages of grief and added an extra stage that consisted of high levels of pettiness and shade. My screenshot folder in my phone was like I had a consistent diet of spa-petty and meatballs but I made it a point not to publicly act out. I didn’t want to hurt the people or myself in an open forum.

Now, as time and refocusing has helped to heal some wounds and mend some of the gapping holes caused my those events, I can’t help but to truly be saddened by ole Julius Caesar. See, I get the opportunity to move forward. Analyze and observe new and old relationships with fresh eyes and most importantly, live. He, died looking at his assassins, the company of which included a trusted friend. What’s the point you ask? Yes, people change and circumstances can hurt. People, all of us are human. But, there is always hope. There is always love to be given and received, even when it seems to have been taken away unwarranted. And even in the darkest moments, we are never alone. Because The One who gave us life and love also promised to never leave or forsake us!

Much Love,

Q