Never In My Wildest Dreams...
Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined the last 3 months of my life going the way they did. About a year ago I started to feel restless in my days…frustrated that I was super pregnant with very little emotional and bladder control (although, to be honest, that hasn’t changed much), trying to love well a strong-willed toddler who, for whatever unknown reason, began screaming at bedtimes as I sobbed on the other side of her door. Feeling trapped in motherhood despite my deep love and desire to be a mother, all while living out these wonderful opportunities through blog and radio to feel really alive.
What could be missing?
It was this movement. The Mother of the Year movement -- a tribe of mothers who are encouraged, celebrated and committed to helping other moms feel the same way. As the founder of the movement, I’m not sure who needed it more – me or the now almost 1,600 women in our Facebook group sharing small victories and struggles and hearing not only words of encouragement, but also words of empathy and compassion.
In following God’s lead, step by step, I truly feel like I was able to criticize by creation, not by finding fault. (A friend told me that fancy philosopher Cicero said those words, and I confirmed it through my BFF, Google).
Through the creation of this grace-filled, give-yourself-a-break, you’re-doing-the-best-you-can movement, I began criticizing the way I was beating myself up for mistakes, internalizing my shortcomings, and wrestling with guilt over not measuring up. And best of all, in sharing my own struggles – some humorous and some heartbreaking – other mamas are feeling less alone. What a gift. I mean seriously.
I’m blown away. BLOWN ALL THE WAY AWAY. That an idea that sparked in a quick conversation turned into the most exciting and vulnerable experience of story-sharing. Mine. Yours. Man, all of ours. A group that started with 40 of my own friends has grown every single day, and I can’t even keep up with the numbers to make a proper graphic. From Alaska to Australia. Literally.
So, thank you to all the mamas in the group who share, support, and encourage. You guys are amazing! Thank you to those who are actively awarding stranger-mamas and friend-mamas the Mother of the Year award stickers. You are making a difference. Thanks for rocking the t-shirts, sharing the blogs, and inviting your friends into the tribe.
If you’ve been in church for a while or grew up there, you’ve probably heard talk of salt and light. The Message version is my favorite. “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world...Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
So that’s what we’re doing. All of us together. As you encourage another mama, you’re being light. As you are honest in your struggles, you are being generous with your life and prompting others to open up as well!
Keep it up, mamas! Keep posting, keep inviting, and keep awarding with stickers and t-shirts. Keep on growing this tribe until every mama in the whole wide world knows she’s got a safe place to be herself. We’re making a real difference here.
I’m not sure exactly what’s coming next for this whole thing, but I’m full of dreams, anticipation, and sincere gratitude for this opportunity!