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

Encouragement, Faith, Goals, Lifestyle, Parenting

Not A Mini-Me, Rather, A Little Her

Happy New Year Y’all!

Like most people, the holidays and end of the year bring about a season of self-reflection. My season lasted most of the fall and winter of 2018 and at times was absolutely brutal. I mean, if you ever ask God to show you the true you. The weaknesses, shortcomings, and truths of what makes you who you are…be ready to see a not-so-perfect picture. As I tip-toes into the traumas and truths of my childhood and young adulthood, I was swamped with thoughts about how to pick up the pieces and start fresh even though I have a husband and daughters who need me (so checking out or running away aren’t viable options). And while I am still sorting through a lot of that (story for another day), I did have a lightbulb moment in relation to how I parent.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, children inherent their looks and some personality traits through genetics but what I am talking about is the nurturing of our children. Not those things which are out of our control, but rather, the things that are tangible. One of these areas was the idea that our oldest, my Sug, was a “Mini-Me.” I had heard family, friends and acquaintance say it so much that I started to believe it myself. Here is the problem that ensued, I began to respond and reactive to our six year old as if she were just that, a miniature version of myself. At her age, life was different for me than it is for her and the experiences that I traversed in childhood shaped the person I am today. But she has not known the loss, lessons or hardships. She has not witnessed some of the things that I have, both positive and negative. And her perspective of the world around her is different if for no other reason than she is growing up in a time, region and space where things are different. So to treat her as a “Mini-Me” has been a detriment to my parenting.

I was holding her to standards she couldn’t meet and expectations based on what I felt was appropriate because of what I was able to do at her age/stage and the reality was I have been missing out on learning who she is because all I saw was my “Mini-Me.” Friends, parenting at easy nor is it for the faint of heart. I quit in my head a few times a day and when the truth of this revelation hit me it felt like a ton of bricks. I felt like I had failed her, like I had failed as a mother and like I had failed to glorify the God who blessed us with this healthy child. You see, He has trusted us to care and raise this amazing Little Person to become a warrior to do His will but I got caught up in creating an attitude in her that served my will instead.

So while dressing alike and cute social media posts brag about mothers and their “Mini-Me’s,” I have had to take a step back. I am thoroughly flawed and in a perpetual state of self-awareness and personal growth. I want to raise daughters who aren’t seen as small versions of myself (be it in their clothing, attitude or personality) but instead are recognized as individuals in their own right. Not trying to measure themselves to meet the standard set before them by anyone (self-included) but striking out in their God-given talents with boldness to be comfortable and free in being themselves. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is acceptance and unconditional love for who  they are and were created to be by their Heavenly Father.

Much Love,

Q

Encouragement, Lifestyle, Parenting

Our External Hard Drives

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Okay, so we may be like half a month into 2018 but never-the-less, it’s always nice to start out with a celebration, right? I think we can all agree that ending out the year is a mashup of emotion, contemplation, hectic schedules, cold weather and anticipation all rolled into our daily lives and obligations. Sounds like enough to make anyone anxious or driven to hide at home in a onesie with hidden snacks (or maybe that’s just what I did). I didn’t want to face the fact that 2017 was coming to a close because it didn’t seem like I had been able to truly enjoy it. It was as if the days were moving faster than I could grasp the concept of time and the seasons changed before I could become acclimated with the last. It was a year of great change in many ways and somehow I looked up and the reality that my newborn had become a tenth month-old crawler and my five year old could fluently read hit me like a ton of bricks. I cried, like ugly cried… a lot. Heck, I’m shedding a few tears just typing this. And according to a long-time sister-friend who is in counseling and allowing me to live vicariously through her sessions, this excessive amount of tear production is healthy and even good for me-so I let them pour out like water from a fireman’s hose.

As I have come (more like “am coming,” cause I’m walking this thing out day-to-day) to grips with the pace and change of life, little things happen to guide me along. I joined the launch group from a new book, “In Bloom” by Kayla Aimee. It felt like she was living my life in her words and it was a relief to know I wasn’t neurotic or alone in my struggles. But then one of the worst moments in technological advancements occurred as I was preparing for church this week…my cell phone, which had been acting funky since the latest update shut itself off. They need press releases to tell us to avoid the updates or make an update to fix the update, something! Any who, after it had reset itself, I was trapped with only one option…factory reset. I don’t remember exactly what the screen said because in my mind all I heard was “NNNNOOOOOOOOO!” And because I still had to finish getting myself ready and our girls to brave the cold and head to church I couldn’t dwell on the impending doom. It was at that moment I realized I hadn’t backed my phone up since I was like 32 years old! Granted, that was like three months ago, but still, you understand the gravity of what happens in that amount of time. I couldn’t focus on the pictures and memories that were being erased or the phone numbers for new acquaintances and references that I needed and barely could remember even existed let alone recall during a time of distress such as this. So I did what I am good at-I cried. Then I talked to myself to keep from going over the edge, by literally talking to myself.

Y’all, it must have sounded intense through the door because my sweet husband came in to check on me. I explained to him what had happened and right before I felt the flash of fire caused my complete frustration rise up, I stopped. I spoke out loud and with boldness rebuking the devil for trying to push me into fury or depression over things that can be replaced (like phone numbers and pictures). I bound every spirit and feeling of anger, depression and resentment because really, my phone doesn’t care how I feel about it and the reality is I am not going to get rid of it. I had to let this go or it would have consumed me quickly and completely. I made the decision to leave the girls warm and tucked into their beds and ventured out to church solo, for the first time in a long time.

That drive was like water to my burning soul. It quenched the blaze of angst in me and gave me the basis for this story/lesson. See, I was upset that my pictures were gone but I had the same beautiful muses of those pictures available to me still, live and in living color. And those contacts, yep, people I could still reach out and touch (or connect with through social media). So in that moment, what felt like a defeating and life-altering occurrence in that factory reset was really a reminder to focus on the tangible. I realized how much time I spent looking into my phone to record memories and may have missed the chance to live in them. That’s not to say we can’t both record and enjoy special times but how often in our technologically-driven society do we stop long enough to take it all in? To see our children play, practice a new skill or just be adorable without needing tangible evidence on our devise that it actually happened? Because then, when it fails us (as machines all do at some point), then what? What do we have to hold on to?

I miss the days when I had all of my friends phone numbers memorized and tucked away in the part of my brain that easily recalled them when some newsworthy situation happened or it was time to hang out. While phones and gadgets get smarter, we humans seem become more dependent and need I say…dumb lazy. I don’t want a life proven only by the full SD card in my phone or a cloud full of digital prints and videos. I want my mind’s eye to be the bank for which my greatest and most precious moments are stored. The more we harken to the pull of trusting our devices to hold what we consider precious, the more we outsource that part of our brain meant to keep those things we treasure safe. We’ve allowed technology to be the external hard drives in our lives and while we may not notice it, we create a vulnerability. While memories can fade, we were made to be active participants in our lives and not just so that we can tell others to swipe left or to post the best filtered optic from the eight or nine attempts to get it just right.

I encourage you, as I am walking through the process myself to be more aware of living in the moments instead of just trying to document them. An instant well lived is better than any full photo gallery or timeline scrolls!

Much Love,

Q

Encouragement, Lifestyle, Parenting

Never Say Never

Ya’ll…really, bare with me for a minute. This parenting stuff is HARD! In my mind before I became a mother I (thought) I knew all of the things I wanted to do, teach and show our children. I just knew what things my mother did and didn’t do that I would bestow upon the little people entrusted to me by God. And I was HARD SET on a few things like education, biblical instruction and concepts of work and earning in relation to money. No spoiled, uneducated brats over here. Nope, not having it!

Now, four almost five years and two kids into this adventure called parenting and I feel like I have betrayed myself and standard in so many ways. But before I go into that let me stop- for those who may be where I am or understand how this feels and say, parenting is NOT ABOUT US. Ugh, I loathed typing those words almost as much I struggle coping with them. Why? Because society has bred in us the idea that we are our children and our children are us. They reflect our level of parenting and thereby are the living examples of all of our handwork and dedication. Guess what, that’s a lie! The older Rylie gets the more I realize that she is her own person and while I can guide, teach and correct she is ultimately going to act on her own accord. That doesn’t mean I didn’t give clear instruction or warning as her mother, it just means she made a choice.

We cannot be so caught up on the “I would never” that we forget that parenting is about what is going to be best for the generation we are brining up and not what best suits us as parents. I would love to be the homeschool mom who plays with her children, prepares healthy meals during the week and who also maintains her two part-time jobs without crying or losing it by bedtime some days. Oh and who serves her husband and tries to make his life less stressful. Volunteers and works out faithfully. Teaches Sunday School. Gives to the homeless. Have lunch dates with girlfriends. Read a book or shoot, just enjoy a slew of crafting hobbies and ventures all while looking put together. That’s not my reality. I am coming to grips with the fact that for  me to make my priorities things I can do faithfully and with joy means changing.

It means some of my “nevers” are now more like “maybes” and “probablies” (I know that’s not a proper conjugate for probably but it has a flow I like so we’re going with it). Point is, parenting is like boot camp, very physical at times but always more mentally rigorous. And one day at a time we get through the battles to fight another day. But be willing to erase the nevers, which in turn seem to mostly eradicate the shoulda, coulda, wouldas that follow. What have you said you would never do as a parent and had to be flexible with later? I would love to hear how you overcame or are currently pushing through!

Much Love,

Q