Posts tagged encouragement
Do You Need a Little Hope?

Hope.

There’s nothing like it. Sometimes it’s all we have and sometimes it’s all we need.

That was me this past Monday morning. After a fun, but full week at Disney, then coming home to settle back in and the girl child getting the flu, and then her daddy getting the flu, I honestly didn’t think anything wonderful could come from our quarantine as I watched my productivity slip through the couch cushions.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

 
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Our time in Disney and the few days after transitioning back into real life was just crazy enough to put me over the edge with Josie (4 going on 16). Just crazy enough that I ordered a book on parenting. A book. Me. (For those of you who don’t know me, I can tell you that unless it’s the Twilight Series or Hunger Games, I’m probably not going to read any books. And I haven’t touched those since Josie was born, so you do the math.)

And my time in basement quarantine with a flu-ridden Josie watching animated movies dawn till dusk was just crazy enough to make me actually want to read the book. You guys, I read a book. Well, not the whole thing…yet. But stay with me.

I started reading this book Sunday afternoon while I plopped the kids in front of the TV (#iammotheroftheyear) and made trips up to the bedroom to make sure flu-daddy Ryan was still breathing (#iamwifeoftheyear). And I was caught up in something so amazing that the only word I can use to describe it is HOPE.

Everything this guy said was making sense to me. My brain and heart were consuming it at an amazingly powerful depth and speed. I pulled myself away from it to feed the children (#iammotheroftheyear) and throw them into bed before diving right back into these pages that were filling me with life. I saw a future for my family come alive on the pages that I want to sprint toward. Peace. Freedom. Confidence.

Victory was so sweet that I woke up the next morning ready to take on the entire world. My posture was changed. My demeanor. The way I interacted with my girl child. And here’s the important lesson in this for us. I hadn’t even gotten to the how-to section of the book. I merely read the heart behind the book and let it cover me in hope. And that hope was so tangible that it changed me. Motivated me to love better. Think deeper. See more clearly. Hope did that for me.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness..png

So what’s in it for you? Hope:

  • Cling to Hope: No matter what you’re going through, when you feel even a shred of hope, cling to it. Soak it in. Remember it and keep looking back on it as often as you need until the next piece of hope comes along.

  • Bring the Hope: Whether you’re waiting on hope or have it in full supply, you can be a hope-giver to someone who needs it. Never underestimate the power of sharing a smile or kind word with a stranger. Mailing a sweet note to a friend. Buying the cup of coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru. Giving another mom a Mother of the Year Award Sticker. Bring. That. Hope.

Remember, hope isn’t the end result. Hope isn’t a plan. Hope is the momentum to take us where we need to go. I still haven’t gotten to the how-to section of the book yet. But I have remembered the feeling of hope I had waking up on Monday morning. I remembered it as Josie lost her ever loving mind over me trying to tie her shoes. Losing her mind over the wrong color toothpaste. Losing her mind over you-name-it-and-she’s-lost-it. That sweet Monday morning was as close as I’ve come to living the verse that says, “His mercies are new every morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

If you need hope like that, I have faith you’ll find it. I’ll pray you see it when it arrives. And if you’ve got all the hope you’ll ever need, let it spur you on to what’s ahead with confidence. And do me a favor, share your hope with another. Seriously. Be a hope-giver. We really need you out there!

Need some amazing inspiration to GET IN ON THE Mother of the Year Award Sticker Hope-Giving? Check THESE out!!!

 
 
If You Aren't Using This ONE SURVIVAL TACTIC When You're Sick, Are You Even a Real Mom?

I’m sick. I mean, it’s just a cold, and I don’t mean to be a whiner, because I get that people, maybe even you, are receiving health news much worse than “looks like you’ve got an endless amount of snot that keeps pouring out of your nostrils no matter how many times and how long you blow your nose.”

I mean, where does it all come from? Lord have mercy!

But I digress. And I’m here to tell you one quick thing before I go to bed at 8:30 p.m. for the 6th night in a row (thank you, Nyquil…you’ve never let me down, even after all these years).

 
 

There is ONE THING that all sick (insert: pregnant, lazy, busy, stressed, and actually sick) mothers use when they bite the dust. And how do I know this magical thing, you might be thinking? Well, of course, I took my woes to the I Am Mother of the Year Facebook groupand this ONE THING kept floating to the top of the list.

So listen here, mama. If you aren’t yet employing this miracle, life-saving strategy, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

You guys. This. Is. Genius. And I can say that because I didn’t come up with it.

It’s called (drum roll, please………………………………………….)

THE PANTRY RAID:

If you’re a sick mama (that means anything from having the sniffles, to barfing, to being overly or newly pregnant, or had a bad day at the office, etc.) you do not have to feed your children dinner. Instead, your employ the good ole fashion pantry raid, whereby your kids get to eat anything from your pantry that is within reach. And you call it dinner. And you call them fed. And you call yourself a hero.

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Don’t believe me? Just check Section 9, Page 1,387 of the Parenting Handbook, where mothers from around the country have chimed in on this very matter:

  • Jessica: Whenever I bite the dust, it’s a pantry free for all. Popcorn, pop tarts, granola bars, chips, cereal (dry of course)... whatever you can reach, you can eat.

  • Cassidy: TV all day. And eat what you can find/reach!

  • Katie: Candy and chips only for food.

  • Tiffany: Anything within reach - Cheetos? Sure! Animal crackers? Fine! M&M's? Go for it! Just eat at the table.

  • Victoria: Sat on the couch all day while instructing my 2.5 year old how to feed herself. “Push the chair to the pantry. Open the door. Get the goldfish... there’s lunch!”

Apparently, mothers for GENERATIONS have been using this exact same tactic.

  • Emily: My mom just shared with me that she was laid up on the couch with a terrible cold when I was about a year old. She brought the box of Cheerios with her and kept throwing handfuls onto the living room floor for me like she was feeding birds!

Not so sure about this whole Pantry Raid idea? Not a problem.

Some honorable mentions include survival by:

  • TV. All day ‘er day.

  • Goodbye Diapers. Seriously, if you don’t have energy to change them, why put them on? As a bonus, it induces some extra incentive to have your carpets cleaned.

What’s the point? When mama’s down, mama’s down. The quickest way for mama to get back up again is to soak in All. The. Rest. And that means employing some tactics that probably wouldn’t fly on a regular Tuesday. But listen, not ONE of these moms talked about feeling guilty for doing the absolute bare minimum. Mom guilt won’t help you heal any faster. No one’s snot is disappearing overnight because they felt guilty for throwing Cheerios on the floor and calling it dinner. No one’s vomit has spontaneously vanished because mom guilt made them feel like a complete loser of a human being for allowing their kids free reign over the TV for a few days (or weeks). Mom guilt is a dumb liar.

Thanks to all the moms who helped me feel better for scraping by in my time of sickness. We don’t need to thrive all the time. If we did, we’d never appreciate our own awesomeness, and neither would our families.

So raise your class of Emergen-C for a toast. “To you, mama. For being who you are in sickness and in health and in all the days between. Your sanity, your creativity, your love is unparalleled. And your kids, your family, and your community are better because you are in it. Snot and all.” *Clink clink* And goodnight.

P.S. If you need some practical self-care steps, download your FREE Self-Care Guide here!!!

 
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To the Mom in the Ikea Cafe Who Saved Me From Breaking Down...

What if we all took the time to really see each other? I’m not saying this just to sell more stickers, (although that would be a welcome response to this post.) I’m saying this because I’m just as guilty as you are of being so wrapped up in my own thoughts, worries, and to-dos that I don’t lift my eyes to those around me enough.

And then we complain, or at least I do, about this world and how bad things keep happening and how scary it is that our kids are growing up in a world with no moral compass and the pressure of perfection. And as all of that swirls through my brain, I tend to see the negative in myself and the negative in others. Ugh. I don’t want to see the world that way, nor do I want my kids to catch that bad habit from me.

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This story, shared in the I Am Mother of the Year Facebook group, gave me ALL. THE. FEELS! This is why the Mother of the Year movement exists!

To the mom in the Ikea Cafe who saved me from breaking down yesterday, thank you.

Thank you for taking a moment away from lunch with your kids to offer support, encouragement, & this #IAmMotherOfTheYear sticker. To say that you've been in my shoes and to say that I was a great mom was so greatly needed. Because in that moment, I felt the furthest thing from being a great mom...

You could have seen my tantrum-throwing, banshee-shrieking toddler and glared like so many did. Or offered the mean commentary that I heard a few people saying, as I tried multiple times to remove her to a quieter corner and calm her down.

You see, my very strong-willed 1.5 year old had refused to take a nap in the car on the way to our Ikea lunch and shopping date with GrandMaMa. So of course, this would be the day she notices "Småland" in Ikea, an awesome resource for families, that she's unfortunately not old enough to use yet. But she didn't understand that, all she saw was a room full of kids and toys, and we wouldn't let her go play. To add insult to injury, she wanted to try to lay on EVERY bed in the model rooms and in the showroom (reference previously mentioned skipped nap), and we simply didn't have time to let her try out more than a dozen. So by the time we got to the cafeteria, she was miffed-off and on-edge.

Which of course would mean that the Ikea cafeteria was busier and louder than I've ever seen it, and the line for food was impossibly long.

She's a tiny person who is still learning to deal with big feelings. She's fiercely independent, incredibly bright, and thinks she's 5 years older than she is. Those traits will serve her well later in life, but can make things pretty frustrating for her right now (and for me too, as a result). It always amazes me how unsympathetic people can be to these little developing minds learning to cope with everyday life. We live in a world that is quick to judge, shame, or tear each other down. To experience the opposite for once, was so greatly needed!

So thank you for taking a moment of your time, a moment that reminded me to breathe, and a moment that reminded me...I've got this.

The sticker is now placed on the side of my fridge, by my coffee maker, to serve as a daily reminder for the tougher days. I'm excited to find such a supportive, amazing group of women in today's harsh world. Thank you.

(I'll soon place a sticker order so that I can help encourage and support other moms, too!)

I mean, wow. I don’t know what else to say, except thank you to the sticker-giving mamas who do see others. Not just to see them and look the other way, or roll their eyes in judgment, but see them for their humanity, their needs, and their hearts. Who see their children as tiny humans with sometimes-too-big emotions, not annoyances or disruptions.

We will change the world with our kindness, love and empathy for one another.

If you’re ready to get in the sticker-giving game, YAY YAY YAY! If you think you could never approach a stranger, even for a good reason, read this.

Now it’s your turn to sound off! Share your sticker stories or moments where you wish another mama could’ve reached into your bad moment to offer some encouragement.

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