Posts tagged random acts of kindness
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.

 
hope
 

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!!!

 
 
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.

To the Mom in the Ikea Cafe.png

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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It's OK to Do THIS When Your Kid Rips Your Heart Out (But Are You Brave Enough?)

Spoiler Alert: This starts happy, and maybe even a little mushy, but doesn’t end as flowery. Read on, and pretty please take a moment to share your wisdom at the end.

ITS OK to do THIS when your kid rips your heart out.png

The Scene: Indianapolis Airport Terminal B, 9:00 a.m., a mother and daughter (Josie, 3.5) are killing a half hour before boarding a plane for vacation.

Me: Josie, let’s go see if we can find some moms to give stickers to!

Josie: (Spots a mom, runs with Mother of the Year award sticker in hand to said mom) You’re a really good mommy!

Mommy: (Tears up) Awww! That’s so sweet! You made my day!

Repeat this 10 times. Heart full, pride overflowing.

 

The Scene: Kroger. Same mother, same daughter.

Josie: Mom! There’s a Mommy! Let’s give her a sticker!

Me: Ok! Here ya go!

Josie: (To mommy) You’re a really good mommy!

Mommy: (Tears up) Awww! That’s so sweet! You made my day!

Repeat this per number of mothers in Kroger at any given time. Heart full, pride overflowing.

josie baby mommy sticker.JPG

The Scene: The playroom at home. Same mother, same daughter.

Josie: (wearing baby doll in baby carrier) Look at my cute baby!

Me: Wow, Josie, you’re such a good mommy!

Josie: I need a Mommy Sticker!

Me: Of course! (I get her a Mother of the Year Award sticker)

Josie: You wear the baby and I’ll give you the sticker!

Repeat this several times. Photos taken. Heart full, pride overflowing.

See, my girl has always been an encourager. She’s naturally empathetic and loves to use her words for good. She’s complimentary to everyone around her, noting pretty dresses and new skills (baby brother crawling, walking, etc.) She is instantly your biggest fan.

Until she’s not. Until the threenager in her not only emerges but takes her over completely. Until she doesn’t want to be buckled in her car seat or she doesn’t think she needs to use the potty before bed.

Maybe other kids do this too (do yours?), but I feel like I’m alone in this. She throws the tantrums that turn to meltdowns like other kids her age, but she also takes those sweet words and knows how to twist them into your soul like a sharp knife. Cutting you all the way down in an instant. At 3-years-old.

See, I like to think I’m pretty good with my words too. I’m a natural empathizer and a storyteller. And I learned (and was taught, thanks Mom!) that my words carry weight. But at 3?

The Scene: Mother attempts to place daughter in her car seat so they can head to daycare.

Me: Josie, I need you in your seat now.

Josie: (Instantly passed the point of reason) Noooooo!!!!!

Me: This wasn’t a request. (Buckles child in and slides into driver’s seat)

Josie: You are NOT a really good Mommy.

Blow to the heart. Instant tears. Sure, it wasn’t all the weight of that comment, because part of me feels like she doesn’t understand what she’s saying, but more so knows that saying it will hurt. It was the stacking of stress from returning from vacation, catching up on work, comforting the boy child who got Hand Foot and Mouth disease for the second time in 3 weeks. All of that boiled over in me when I heard those words. And I just sat there in the driver’s seat, car running, and clock ticking and bawled.

I also battled internally because lots of “successful” parenting techniques and, admittedly, moments I’ve had myself in parenting have come from showing little to no emotion in response to your kid’s behavior, but firmly and calmly administering the consequences. I like that idea. But not for every moment. And frankly, because I feel everything, it’s not possible. Crying is my medium response to almost every emotion and situation. From fatigue and hunger to fear and anger.

So I went back and forth in my mind while I bawled on whether or not I was doing the right thing in the moment. And here’s where I landed.

It’s ok to be vulnerable with your kids. Josie may understand a little bit when I tell her that her words hurt people’s feelings, but she’ll understand a whole heck of a lot more when she says something horrible to me and I’m in instant tears.

Instead of lashing out in anger or fear or skipping straight to the punishment, I allowed myself to feel the weight of the situation instead of locking it up. I felt it and I grieved it in that moment.

Watch the way you talk. Say only what helps, each word a gift..png

And she knew. Of course I’d argue that she knew what she was saying was wrong before she said it, but when I glanced back at her between my blubbering, she was serious and seriously sad, and said without being prompted, “Mommy, I’m sorry I said mean things to you.”

So what about you? Do your young kids have the gift of words, with the potential to be used for both good and evil? How are you guiding them in the right direction?

Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable with your kids, or do you bottle it up and release it later as anger or frustration or self-medication?

Help a mama out.

(And because I do think I'm a great mom and am doing something right, I will take a tiny second to brag about how awesome this girl is at giving out stickers! I LOVE that it's become part of her regular day! She's learning from me that it is important to spread love and kindness to others. If you want to get in on that with your kids, buy some stickers and get out there!)