Posts tagged toddler mom
Do You Need a Little Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo?

Once upon a time, ahem, last week, Ryan and I hopped on an airplane with our princess-obsessed 4-year-old to take her first trip to Disney World with her Gigi and Papa. Our trip, in short, was everything you would expect it to be – a welcome break from the icy-cold weather, a magical experience, and a minefield of tantrums waiting to happen. But most of all, (meltdowns aside), it was a privilege watching the magic through Josie’s eyes.

One moment in particular took me by surprise. I expected to feel giddy watching her meet Princess Rapunzel, and I did. I knew I’d be proud of her adventurous spirit as she took on her first roller coaster, and I was. But I didn’t expect to feel challenged by the moment that made her come alive, and I just can’t stop thinking about it.

 
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I present to you – Princess Josie after her Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover.

 
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Man alive…what a place. Disney sure knows how to do it up big time. If you’re unfamiliar with this, a fairy godmother transforms little girls into their favorite princesses for a rather large chunk of change (thanks Gigi and Papa!) But it wasn’t the hair, the makeup, or the pixie dust that made Josie come alive – it was standing in the mirror taking in her new, princessed appearance. I wish I could describe this moment to you in such perfect detail that you would understand the magnitude of the moment for us both.

Something changed in her countenance, in her posture, in her spirit as she stared and smiled at the Cinderella-dress-wearing girl in the mirror. It was like she knew that’s who she was meant to be all along. This beautiful princess -- adored, cherished, and so unbelievably loved -- that she stepped into it with such grace. Not a spoiled brat, but one who saw her own worth in the mirror, and then channeled that identity as she waved to passing babies and told her stories to adults in line.

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Women, mothers: We were meant to feel this way all the time. We were created to be captivating! Not because of our fancy dresses, our makeup, or outward appearance at all. But because of the uniqueness and creativity that God Himself poured out when He gave us life in the first place. And if you’re anything like me – sort of hot mess-ish, mildly scatter-brained, trying to do the best that I can without losing my mind too often – you may not really remember the last time you walked into a room ready to captivate.

But here’s what I know to be true. We were created to be captivating – breathtaking – and beautiful! We were meant to make our mark on our worlds and leave a legacy of love and grace. In the chaos of raising those babies, it’s super easy to forget that. It’s entirely too easy to lose our identity in our children, allowing their accomplishments and failures, their futures and their plans to become who we are. But your world needs YOU. The most captivating, confident, graceful YOU.

It doesn’t just happen, though. It takes work, consistency, and lots of punching fear in the face. If you’re a mother who’s already trying to juggle it all and wouldn’t even know where to start, I’ve got a couple ideas:

  • Chase JOY: You’ll need to figure out what brings you even the smallest moments of joy in your days and fight for those. It could be as simple as drinking hot coffee from a real mug or hitting the gym for a quick workout. But whatever it is for you, find it and chase it down consistently! (Action step: Download this FREE Self-Guide for some practical ideas to make self-care a reality.)

  • Understand your WORTH: You were created on purpose and for a purpose. Your life matters, inside and outside of your family. When you take steps to get to know yourself and God better, you will be able to see yourself more clearly and bring what only you can bring to the world. (Action step: Register for Spiritual DNA, an online course and live workshop that helps you move from feeling insignificant to really understanding your worth, and join other Mothers of the Year in Indianapolis on May 4th for the next live event.)

  • Fight FEAR: Oh that pesky fear. The more you take steps to grow into who you were born to be, the more you’ll be faced with fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of not measuring up. But you’ll also be more equipped to replace those fearful lies with the truth. (Action step: Use the What’s True About You Journal to get into the practice of replacing lies with the truth.)

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I believe if we make these steps, we may as well put on our glass slippers and head to the castle! My hope for you (and for myself too) is that you are so full of confidence and peace that you do captivate every single room you enter. That you discover your uniqueness and bring that into every interaction you have. That you quit hiding behind your kids, your schedule, or your fear. Show up, mama. We need you out there. And we need you dressed for the ball!

Need some help? Some encouragement? A little boost? Talk to me, mama!

To the Mom Counting MISTAKES Instead of Sheep

Numbers are not really my thing, but tonight…tonight I got really good at counting. And you know what I counted? My mistakes. I soaked in a hot bath of guilt, shame, and fear, and literally counted the number of mistakes that I could remember from the past week or so. I counted the number of mistakes that I’m still carrying from who knows how long ago. I’m counting…counting…counting…

  • I was late every day last week to pick Josie up from pre-school. Gives new meaning to the pre-school walk of shame.

  • I turned in Josie’s eye exam form 3 weeks too late. She’s probably about to go blind.

  • I didn’t realize that Josie’s Halloween parade, party and class chapel were not only happening this week, but parents are welcome…as is her Halloween costume. Insert a 35-minute round trip drive home to frantically search for said costume in a mountain of princess dress-up clothes in the world’s messiest playroom.

  • Despite my best efforts to remain consistent in discipline, Josie has gotten off too easy with a few too many sassy comments.

  • After a long evening of yelling, feeling lost, and ready to walk away from the motherhood game altogether, I shoved a wailing Josie in bed at 6:17 p.m.

And those were just a teeny tiny sampling of the Josie ones. I probably don’t even have the emotional capacity to go into any of the other mistakes I’ve made a mom to a beastly boy child, a wife to a hardworking husband, a co-worker, a daughter, a friend…

Sounds like a nice little Tuesday night, doesn’t it? Let me tell you, it’s not.

Earlier today, I had some friends affirm me, and specifically affirm the mission of the Mother of the Year movement. They said that I’m good at empathizing with moms of all ages because whether our kids are in diapers or in dorm rooms, we all want to be better at giving ourselves a break. They said that I’ve given us all a rally cry. A cry that says that our best is enough for our families. A cry that says we don’t have to live the lies that we believe about ourselves. A cry that says no matter what, we’ve got great moments in each and every day to celebrate and we can stand tall in that victory.

Ummm, wow.  But guess what I forgot today? The rally cry. The mission. The words that I often write to you. And the words that I truly believe with my whole heart. I’m a good mom. So are you.

So in case you’re having a night like I am right now…a night where instead of counting victories, blessings, or even mediocre success, you’re counting all of the ways you’ve failed. Let’s talk.

  • Replace the word should. “I shouldn’t have yelled at her.” “I should have put her Halloween party on my calendar.” “I shouldn’t be sitting in the bath right now being mean to myself.” Instead of using the word should, use the word could. It’s a lot more empowering and creates space for making some changes. “I could have controlled my temper. Next time, I’ll try to walk away for a brief cool-down.” “I could have put her Halloween party on my calendar. In the next 2 days, I’ll find her school calendar and add every event in so I’m prepared.” “I could allow myself to feel some grief over my mistakes, but then I’ll forgive myself and move on.”

  • Tell yourself the truth. It doesn’t take a genius to read through my list of mistakes and figure out what lies I’m believing about myself and my situation. And you know what lies do? They steal our joy, our confidence, and our peace. Replacing the lies with the truth, one by one, will send a new wave of peace and clarity our way. This is something I’ve been practicing (and am soon to reveal an AMAZING tool that can help us master this!)

  • Invite Jesus and someone else into your mess. Maybe don’t invite a friend into the literal bathtub with you (#awkward), but the quiet moments are perfect to have a little chat with Jesus about how you’re feeling and ask for His wisdom. Ask Him to tell you the truth about who you are. And then find a time to share your struggle with a trusted friend. Nothing makes you feel more alone than keeping your mess to yourself. Be brave and bring someone in who can speak lovingly to your pain.

Hey, mama. Take it from me, a mama who just wasted an entire evening in a shame spiral…it’s not worth it. Count the good stuff instead. Say out loud that you are Mother of the Year. Shout the rally cry that your best is enough for your family! You’ve got this.

If you need reminders of your awesomeness, sign up for my email list and be sure to join the Facebook group!

You'll Never GUESS What This Foster Mom Did!

Can we just give 10,000 shouts to all of the foster parents? I mean, WOW! You guys are amazing! Consistently giving of yourselves in the most important ways. I’ve always known this was a humbling and noble thing to be a part of from watching others do this, but recently, in the I Am Mother of the Year Facebook group, a mama shared her story with us and I was just absolutely blown away.

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A on the left and J on the right!

A on the left and J on the right!

This afternoon, as we were on our way to South Bend for my oldest biological child’s color guard competition (all 7 of us in the car, with one empty seat) I get a call for a little one in need. I explained I was in a small town about 30 minutes from home and on my way to South Bend. I said I was unable to help out today, but I could pick her up tomorrow or worst case, turn around then and get her quickly, depending on the need. She laughs and tells me “She’s in ____.” Literally, a town 10 minutes from where we were, in the county we were in (not our own county we typically foster in). Luckily, I look over, and there is a Walmart right next to us. We stopped in, grabbed a car seat, picked up A (the newest little), and continued on our way and watched Emily’s competition (arriving ahead of the performance). Little A settled right in like she had known us forever. It’s never a dull moment in this life of mine, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this story since she posted it a few weeks ago. Here’s what strikes me the most about this, which are lessons for all of us whether we foster or not.

  • Make Yourself Available: This is so hard to do as we are running around our own lives, keeping ourselves and our families together. This is a challenge to me to lift my eyes out of my own life and be on the lookout for ways I can practically love and encourage others.

  • Welcome the Interruption: Loving those around us means opening ourselves and our schedules up to interruption. That’s so hard to do because as busy moms, our schedules are kind of what keep us relatively sane! But it is so worth it when we choose relationships over our to-do lists, inside and outside of our homes.

  • Watch God Work: If you’re making yourself available and welcoming interruptions into your life, then God will most certainly bring opportunities to show love and compassion your way. He needs His work to get done, and if you’re looking and asking for ways to get in the game, He’s going to show up in the unexpected. Like on your way to a color guard competition, you’ll suddenly be 10 minutes away from a little girl in need and 1 minute away from a Walmart, with one extra seat in your car. I mean, YES! That was not coincidence!

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I truly believe if we can focus on the 3 things above, our lives will be so full and rich. We will know love in a such a real way that we’re then able to keep giving of ourselves.

What’s one thing you can do today to make sure you’re looking around for ways to love your kids better, your spouse better, or your neighbor better? Share your stories in the comments or email me! I’d love to hear from you! And in case no one else tells you today, you’re a really great mom!