Posts tagged mother of the year
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!!!

 
 
How You Talk to Your Kids MATTERS!

The scene: I’m cuddling with Josie in her bed.

Josie: Mommy, you have stripes on your face!

Me: (dying inside) Yes, babe, those are called wrinkles…

Josie: Why do you have those?

What I was thinking: I have those because of you and all of the sleepless nights and the stress that you cause me. And because I’m getting old and I didn’t inherit flawless skin and you won’t either, so there!

What I actually say: These are from laughing and smiling so much! You’ll have these someday, too, because you’re such a fun and joyful person!

When it paid off: A few weeks later, Josie ran to me and proudly pointed to the “stripes” she gets out of the corners of her eyes when she dons her biggest smile. “I have stripes because I’m such a happy girl!” Victory is mine.

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The scene: My bathroom vanity, while applying 47 coats of mascara.

Josie: Why do you put make up on?

What I actually said (and instantly regretted): Because it makes me look pretty! (WHAT?!?!!!! Oh. My. Gosh. I just singlehandedly ruined my daughter for LIFE! I am Mother of the Year!)

What I said the next time she asked: See how my eyelashes are really light blonde? Well, I just LOVE how mascara turns them black because then it makes my eyes POP, and then I feel prettier.

The payoff: Josie giggles. Thank God, because I definitely don’t want to raise a daughter with self-esteem issues thinking she has to have make up on to be pretty! Help me, Jesus!

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The scene: Josie is in the bathtub a few hours after her “cracked” front teeth were pulled. (You’ve got to read the full story here).

Me: (realizing she hasn’t seen her new gummy smile and thinks the dentist fixed her cracked teeth) Hey Josie, want to see your new, cool spaces? You look so cute!

What I was thinking: Remember how cute your smile was when you had front teeth? Oh gosh, I hope the kids don’t make fun of you when you get to school. I mean, you’re still cute, but remember how cute your smile was with teeth?

Josie: I do look cute!

When it paid off: The next day, and every other day after, when she shows her friends (or perfect strangers) her “spaces” and beams with pride, as she tells them how she tripped and fell on the sidewalk on the way into a baseball game.

It matters how we talk to our kids. Now, that may sound like it adds a lot of extra pressure, but don’t worry! If you ever say something you didn’t really mean or that came out wrong, revisit the subject with your tiny ones and explain. The important stuff will be talked about in continuous conversations anyway, and it’s good for our kids to see us make mistakes and own up to them.

When have you nailed it? When have you blown it? Share that story below, or drop me an email!

Have You Ever Had a Trip to the Grocery Store Like Jen's?

Have ya ever had a trip through the grocery store like Jen’s?

“I left the baby home with my hubby and took the two-year-old grocery shopping this morning. All was well until I got done unloading groceries onto the belt. That's when I realized that the entire time I was doing that, my darling boy had been cracking eggs, one by one, against his chest. Thank God for understanding cashiers and fellow customers! The guy behind us even sent his daughter to get me a new carton of eggs while I was cleaning up.”

I mean, I don’t even know where to begin except to say that two-year-olds are some of the most creative people I’ve known. Who else do you know that, in any social setting, would even think to grab eggs from the carton and crack them one-by-one onto his chest? It’s brilliant!

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But what I really love about this story is that we can all identify with it. With a simple shopping trip gone awry. A breakfast ruined because the toast was cut into squares instead of triangles. A fun playdate that ended up in time-outs and tears instead of sweet goodbye hugs.

Toddlers (and maybe kids in general, but for now I can only speak from experience) have the unique ability to challenge each moment of the day in ways we couldn’t even anticipate! And if we’re not careful, we may start to resent these tough moments and even these kids.

Gosh, of course we love our kids more than life itself. I’m serious. Sometimes I look at my kids and I can actually feel my heart bursting from the inside out. Other times I look at my kids and can barely keep from exploding with anger and frustration. GO TO SLEEP! QUIT STALLING! GO POTTY FOR. THE. LOVE. OF. EVERYTHING. GOOD.

So how do we keep ourselves from resenting these moments and resenting our babes?

1. Keep some perspective. If Jen’s day didn’t get any worse than the eggs-on-the-shirt incident, she still had a pretty good day. Plus, it makes for a really great story!

2. Laugh it off. If you don’t laugh you cry, that’s what they say. And I agree, although usually I laugh and cry. And cry and laugh. It’s a very fine line for me. Laugh when we need to and cry when we need to, but then let’s take our cue from Elsa and let it go…

3. Name the good. So the grocery store wasn’t a success, but you survived it. Say that out loud. Then look for the next thing, and the next and say those wins out loud too. It’s so important to keep our eyes on the good. There’s so much good in our days that we can miss when we’re caught up in the bad.

4. Don’t forget you were made on purpose and for a purpose. You’re raising babies and there is no more noble cause. You’re also a friend, a spouse, an employee, a neighbor, and the list goes on. You’re on this earth to love others well in ways that only you can. And if you’re buried in the weeds of motherhood you may forget this. But don’t.

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What’s also cool about Jen’s story is that after she posted it to our awesome I Am Mother of the Year Facebook group, she was cheered on by an amazing community of moms who totally get it. She even jumped back into the conversation to share the fact that it turned out better than expected because she found an extra outfit and some wipes in the car to clean him off with. Mother of the Year!

Jen, thanks for sharing your story! Mamas, thanks for being the best online community we could ask for! You. Have a great day. The best one ever. And if you’ve got any advice on how not to resent our kids, our situations, our long and hard days of motherhood, pretty please share it! We need all the help we can get!