The Not-So-Perfect Side Of Motherhood We’ve All Been In

A frustrated mother shares her frustration on raising young children as a single parent.

The comments in response to this overwhelmed mom were brutal! As women, as sisters, we need that village around us to help us stand strong when we feel weak. We ALL feel weak and overwhelmed from time to time, and most, if not all of us have broken down in tears at some point during raising our children.
Raising young children, this mom may have undiagnosed Postpartum Depression, or simply be overwhelmed with her current situation. My heart goes out to her as a mom because I know how hard it can get sometimes.
Stay strong mama! You can do it. Reach out for the help you need. Reach out when you’re having trouble. It won’t last forever. It’ll get better.

Moms, where is your village? Are you part of another woman’s village?

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Why I Refuse To Let My Kid Have A Participation Award

Nowadays it seems competitive sports have changed and the winning players or team no longer gets the award, but both teams get an award.  The losing team gets a “participation” award.  The concept behind this is to boost the self-esteem of all children involved and remove the focus on “winners” and “losers”.

My son played on a soccer team last season.  Their team did great even though most of them were first-timers.  They made it to the Playoffs, and their opponent was a very experienced team who had been playing together for a few seasons already.  As the game went on, emotions ran high on both sides.  The players on the field gave it their all.  They left their hearts on the field.  The game went into double overtime and finally ended with a win for the opposing team.  They won by 1 point!  The players on my son’s team, including my son, either cried or fought back tears.  This was so important to me to see because what it showed me was that they all gave everything they had to attain a victory that was important to them.  For that time they played as one unit on the field.  They were brothers (and sisters) for that time on the field.

When it came time for the teams who had made the playoffs to get their trophies and awards, my son’s team was awarded the 2nd place medals.  Only the first place team got the trophy.  At the time my heart ached for my son who was still processing the loss.  In his mind, if he played his hardest, he would win AND get a trophy just like the other team.  The fact of the matter is the other team was more experienced, and in the end, earned the victory.

I only saw the top 2 teams in the playoffs earn any award for playing.  I heard some parents grumble that their children should have received awards for playing on the teams during the season.  Here’s why their children didn’t need to receive awards:

1-I understand you feel it builds confidence in your child, but it also builds a sense of entitlement to things your child has not earned.

2-Now your child has a tangible goal to say ok, if I study harder, practice more, build up stamina, etc. Then I can attain that goal too.

3-The victory once they do attain that goal will be appreciated more than if they were just handed an award to pacify them.

4-The world will NOT give your child anything they have not earned.  While you don’t have to teach them that the world is hard, you do have to teach them to be realistic in a world where even if they deserve it, sometimes they won’t receive it.

5-This deprives your child of getting the full satisfaction of earning something they have truly worked hard and given their all for.

6-This teaches your child that anything is attainable if they put the work in.

7-This teaches your child to hand down the lesson to their children that they won’t have to work hard to earn anything.

As for my children, I don’t want them to receive any participation award they have not earned.  They won’t understand the true value of what it takes to grind and to reap the benefits of that grinding.  Our kids have to know that as minorities, the deck is already stacked against them. Handouts come at a cost and I want my kids to be able to stand on their own two feet and proudly say they earned what they have received.

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8 Ways To Beat The Holiday Blues

The holiday season should be a joyous and celebratory time for families. It can either bring out the best in people or the worst. During the holiday season is when the suicide rate increases, not only for the military and those deployed away from family, but also with those who suffer quietly from depression.  If you suspect someone is depressed, reach out to them. Let them know they are loved and cared for. If they are threatening or attempting to harm themselves or anyone else, call 911 for their safety and your own.

Here are 8 ways to beat the holiday blues:

1. Create your own image of what Christmas looks like to you:

Sometimes we think of the “image” of Christmas that we have in our heads.  Depending on our situation at the time, we may or may not be able to bring that image to life.  We may remember growing up with tons of decorations, presents pouring out from under the tree, tons of food, etc.  What if your finances don’t allow you to recreate that? Will that ruin your holidays? It shouldn’t. Do what you can, don’t try and keep up with the Joneses. If you can only do a simple meal, do it. If there’s no Christmas tree, fine. If presents aren’t pouring out from under the Christmas tree like the floor threw them up, that’s okay too. Do what works for you and your family, and celebrate each other. After all, the important part is quality time with the family and making new memories.

2. Pour into a hobby

Is there a hobby that you’ve been putting to the side, or haven’t had time to indulge in? The holidays usually slow down a little and give people much needed time. Use that time to indulge in your hobby(ies).  Enjoy the things that interest you, and you can even spend time with the family doing it. Do you enjoy scrapbooking? Get the kids together and make scrapbooks. Enjoy music? Grab some instruments and make music together. Spend that time enjoying yourself and your family.

3. Give back

Instead of focusing on ourselves this holiday season, which we often do, we can use this time to give back to those less fortunate. Normally I have my kids choose toys they no longer play with, but are in good condition and pack them up to give them to kids who don’t have everything they have. It reminds them that they are indeed blessed, and not to take it for granted. They feel good giving back as well, and it becomes a habit.

4. Spend time with family and/or friends

This one should be self-explanatory.  If possible, spend time with loved ones and enjoy each other’s company.  For many, they are far away from family.  If you can, spend the time with close friends.  If neither is around you, then honey, enjoy and celebrate yourself! You are important as well!

5. Get some fresh air!

Yes, it’s cold! Bundle up and get some fresh air and sunshine. Staying indoors can contribute to the holiday blues. Getting outside for fresh air and good old Vitamin D from the sun is important even if it’s just a walk around the neighborhood. It’ll change your mood.

6. Holiday favorites in effect

Put on your favorite dresses. Play your favorite holiday songs. Cook your favorite meals. Celebrate the way YOU want to celebrate. Take the time to focus on you.

7. Don’t spread yourself too thin

Of course wanting to spend time with your family is a good thing, but sometimes trying to do too much of a good thing can backfire as well. Running from one family’s house to another can be a lot, especially when there’s a time frame you’re trying to stick to. Be ok with only being able to make it to what you can without adding the extra stress. The holidays are about being able to enjoy yourself, not stress yourself out.

8. Shift your perspective

Focus on the good of the this holiday season. Don’t focus on splurging and going broke, focus on family, friends, giving back to those less fortunate, and just enjoying this season.

If you find yourself struggling, please seek professional help.  There is no shame, you are too important not to. If you feel like hurting yourself or someone else, please seek professional help.

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The “No Homework” Trend Schools Are Adopting

Do you remember coming home after school only to have to start on your homework which usually lasted well into the evening. Once you were done, you only had time for dinner, a bath, and then bed time? That’s just how school went right?

With mixed research coming in, and an increasing amount of information showing that homework doesn’t have the intended success rates once thought to have had among students, some schools have decided to do something completely different and opt out of homework altogether.  Several letters have been sent home from various schools informing parents of the decision. Some have even instructed that family time be spent together instead of homework.

The majority of parents have been pleased with this arrangement.  Not only do they not have to fight with their child to get homework done in a timely manner, but they also get to enjoy time usually spent on homework with the child. Have you ever had to do math homework with your kid? It’s brutal!

With this being so new, the results are not in yet as to how negatively or positively this will affect families. I can’t fathom how it can affect them negatively unless that family time is used as solo screen time instead. This is only if they are getting the adequate education during class hours though. One must ask, however, in a classroom with over 30 children and only 1 teacher in most cases, will this work for against the children’s education.

Is your kid’s school still assigning homework? Have they switched over to a no homework model? I’d love to hear from a parent whose child is in a no homework school. What are the pros and cons?

 

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Silence Increases Teen Pregnancy Rate

Over the past 20 years, the United States teen pregnancy rate has continually declined. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, the U.S. teen birth rate was 61.8 births for every 1,000 adolescent females ages 15-19, compared with 26.5 births for every 1,000 adolescent females in 2013. This is the lowest it has been since 1986. Some special interest groups, like Planned Parenthood, may attribute this decline to their distribution of birth control. Feminists groups may say it is due to young women taking control of decisions concerning their bodies while politicians may boast their advanced abortion policies not requiring parental consent. Even still, school boards may proclaim increased sex education classes are the source of the decline. I do not dispute any of these claims. However, I do offer another for consideration.

One understated reason why the teen pregnancy rate has declined is due to an increase in information. This is not just any information from academic or governmental sources. But it is, rather, increasing numbers of mothers who, having learned lessons from their youth, are having candid conversations with their daughters.

There were a lot of mistakes I made in my youth. Those mistakes had consequences; some serious and lifelong. What I noticed, as a single mom of a teenager, was when I was completely transparent with my daughter about certain topics, even offering my personal experiences as support, the information and openness, relieved her of the mystery, curiosity, and ability to be influenced or misinformed by others. The areas where I was silent, her curiosity and anxiety increased, and I heard more and more about what her peers suggested. It was the blind leading the blind.

Silence is dangerous and can be considered a risk factor of teen pregnancy. Often mothers do not share their experiences because they fear the judgement of their children or worse, have not moved from a painful point of their past. Even more, sometimes moms hold on to an unrealistic belief that it is “not my child.” But it can be if you are not an active parent willing to have the difficult conversations with your child; sons and daughters. Do not let your silence contribute to choices that yield consequences that may affect your child’s future success. This Family Circle article offers insight and suggestions on how to talk to your teen about pregnancy and may help.

 

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Kelly Rowland Opens Up On Balancing Motherhood And Career

Kelly Rowland, former member of Destiny’s Child, now solo artist has opened up to Ebony magazine in an intimate interview about how she balances motherhood and her career.  Kelly has a 1-year-old son named Titan, is newly married, and is still in the studio recording hits. Just how does she do it? Here are some of the things Kelly had to say about her balancing act:

“My challenges are just really learning the balance of it all for myself, for my husband, for my baby, for my career. Making sure that everything gets the balance,” Kelly tries to ensure her family gets everything they need, but is careful not to neglect herself.  “Because how am I supposed to be filled and I have to pour so much of myself into everything?”

When asked how she finds the balance between Kelly Rowland the Entertainer vs. Kelly Rowland the wife/mother, she says: “I’m still learning it now,” she says. “Because now things are starting to pick up again, so I can only imagine when I have to go overseas and tour and things like that. I want Titan to come with me, but I also don’t want to wear his body out. And I want him to feel what stability feels like since my mom and I moved around a lot when I was a kid.”

Like most mothers, Kelly educated herself as much as she could on motherhood, but still says she wasn’t fully prepared, like all of us. Kelly says “I felt like when I brought Titan home I knew everything, and I didn’t. And it was so wrong because my husband would figure out what would make him calm immediately,”

Kelly gushes that the good parts have been “watching him, watching my husband, watching my marriage and learning so much behind that story alone. My husband is the greatest man on earth, he really is. And he’s the greatest dad. I’m so happy I thought enough of myself to choose a great man.”

Although she’s now a mother, she has hardly taken a backseat in her career.  She’s back in work mode. She landed a reoccurring role on Empire and recently dropped the club banger “Dumb.” While the song has a young party vibe, the lyrics are about being grown and sexy.

For the full interview with Ebony magazine:

Kelly Rowland Interview

Photo courtesy of

Matt Sayles/AP/Invision

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Why I Hated My Postpartum Body

As I got undressed to take a shower, I looked in the mirror at my 4-day postpartum body and my first thought was yuck! I didn’t like the still swollen stomach, and the changes in my body. It was in that train of thought that I asked myself why did I think this body was ugly? Why was it foreign looking to me? I had just pushed a child out 4 days prior after a 34 hour labor. Why wouldn’t my body still bear some resemblance of the trauma it had been put through?  Why would I expect my body to snap back to looking exactly the same when it took a 9 month process to go through all of the stages of change?  I had to ask myself what was I allowing to shape my opinion of how my body looked? Was I comparing myself to these celebrities who show no signs of having just had a baby? Did I have an unrealistic expectation? My resounding answer was yes!

While my husband reassured me that I was still beautiful, and each stretch mark was a reminder that I gave him 3 children, in my head my body still was not beautiful to me. When I realized just how unrealistic I was being, I decided to embrace my postpartum body. After all, my body had gone through a battle to bring forth a new life.  A little person that would amaze me as he goes through each day, just as his sister and brother have.

I looked in the mirror and embraced every part of me. I embraced my face, the sleep deprived eyes and messy hair.  I took care of my babies, pouring everything out of me into them. I embraced my breasts that now sat heavy and full of milk to nourish my new baby, just as I had with my other two. How could I expect them to still look the same? I embraced my still swollen looking stomach that had housed and protected 3 babies until their births. This belly that had kept them close and listening to my heartbeat for 9, actually 10 months. I embraced my hips and thighs that were now swollen and had some extra dimples that weren’t there before, but they’d held up the ever growing weight as I carried these babies. I embraced my swollen legs and feet still showing very clear signs of Edema. I embraced the stretch marks on my stomach, hips, and thighs as reminders of having been blessed to carry 3 children, and not taking it for granted, as some never get the opportunity.

As I embraced every inch and curve of my body, I was reminded that these changes would be continual and ever-changing. If it wasn’t from having a baby, it will be from getting older. I am what a real woman looks like. I am what a mom looks like. I am what a sexy mom looks like. I take care of my body, and I embrace the changes that will continually come. So while the title may be a bit misleading, it was in that brief moment, I hated my postpartum body. Yet in those following moments, I learned to love and embrace it.

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Why I Stopped Caring What Other Mothers Think

Mother's Love

I used to be the mother that would try and glean from the wisdom of the other mothers I knew.  I mean ALL of them! All of them had completely different parenting methods and many that differed from mine, which left me completely confused. Even more, none of those other parenting methods worked for me and my family.

I had to eventually learn what worked best for me. Some parents spank their kids, some don’t. Some parents let their kids get away with murder, while others are beyond strict. Some parents give their kids privacy, some don’t. My point is none of their methods worked for my family.  What worked was taking what they said and learning from it. Applying some of this and some of that until it was a good fit for my family.

I’ve also learned to stay away from those mommy message boards when they get too intense.  I’ve learned not to take every piece of “advice” and criticism to heart. I’ve learned to brush off the comments from those “perfect mothers” who have to look down on us imperfect mothers from their pedestals. There will be people that no matter how hard you try, you’ll never please them. Finding the place where you’re okay with not caring what everyone else thinks is vital.

The most important thing to keep in mind is as a mom, you need to do what’s best for your family.  When it comes to debates like vaccinations, circumcision, discipline, etc. there will always be judgment, there will always be opinions. There will always be strong feelings one way or the other.  As a woman, and a mother, you have to block out the naysayers and decide what works best for your family…no matter who the naysayers are.  Sometimes that includes our families too.

While our families may love us, they may not always know how to support us.  When I decided to homeschool my kids, not everyone in my family was on board with that decision. My children, however, have flourished and are incredibly bright, and well advanced.  The family members who were not on board, in the beginning, are now on board with that decision.  They have been able to see the fruits of our labor.  Had I let the opposition change my mind, my kids would not be at the point they are.  So this works for us as a family.

Learning to be confident in our own skin, and be confident in the choices we make for our family will help us in the long run from feeling like a yo-yo in trying to please others. Someone once told me when it came to messages, sermons, advice, etc. “Chew the meat, spit out the bones”.  In other words, take what works for you and your family/situation, and discard the rest. There are no perfect mothers, no perfect parents, and no perfect kids. We do the best we can with what we know, and we strive to improve ourselves always.

What are some lessons you’ve had to learn to become that confident mother?

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25 Things I Never Thought I’d Say…Then I Had Kids

I’ve been a mom for 9 years, and in the last 9 years I’ve said many things I never thought I would ever, ever say. I mean EVER!  So I thought I’d share some of the highlights with you to bring you some chuckles.

1. To my son: Get out of the dishwasher! You can’t take a nap in the dishwasher!

2. To my son: Walking to the bus stop this morning with my son.
Me: I should’ve grabbed an umbrella.
Drew: Why mommy? Cause the sky is drooling?
Me: *cracking up* Drizzling baby, it’s drizzling. The sky doesn’t drool.

3. To my son: Him: I hacked daddy’s computer. When he wakes up and sees it, I’m going to laugh. 
Me: You can’t hack daddy’s computer! Wait, you’re 6! How did you hack a computer?!

4. To my daughter: You got the floor wet with the dishes. I need you to grab the mop and clean it up.
Her: *Starts singing “It’s a hard knock life”*
Me: Really? Hard knock life though?

5. To my son: As we walked to the bus stop this morning, my son sees a dog behind a fence barking at us. He’s offended and says:
Him: If that dog keeps barking at me I’m going to body slam him all the way to Wrestlemania.
Me: Ok my tough muscle man
Him: Yeahhh, I’ve been working out.
Me: I don’t even know what to say right now.

6. To my daughter: She asks “Mommy, what are some of the bad things you’ve had to go through in life?”
I said “why focus on the bad when there’s so much good in my life? The good greatly outweighs the bad.”
Her: “True. And while God hasn’t given us everything we want, as a family, we have everything we need.”
Me: “You’re absolutely right, and I’m speechless”.

7. To my son: Him: “My girlfriend is Danica Patrick.”
Me: “Why? And who’s that?” Him: “She’s a race car driver. We’re going to get married and race cars around the world.”
Me: “Ummm, I’ll check in again on that plan in a couple of years.”

8. To both my kids: “No you can’t swim in the tub with your clothes and pamper on”.

9. To my daughter: “No, the tooth fairy doesn’t pull you teeth out of your mouth. Your teeth are safe in your mouth. There is no tooth fairy.”

10. To my son: *Struggling with homework* Him: Can you just do my homework for me?
Me: No, this is your homework. I have to do my own.
Drew: Well, I’ll help you if you help me.
Hubby: I know that’s right!
Me: Really?! That is not helping!

11. To both my kids: Her: If you had a country named after you, what would the name be? The country food? And the signature scent? Mine would be Jaydonesia, cupcakes for the food, and it’ll smell like baby ointment.
Me: *cracking up *
Him: Mine is Drewtopia, our food is vegetables, and the smell is monkey farts. (Monkey Farts is a soap smell that smells like pineapple, mango, and coconut)
Me: “If only people could hear the conversations we have”.

12. To my daughter: Her: “Mommy, we were freed, but so many of us still aren’t free. We’re still slaves.”
Me: “Wow…that was so much more powerful than you know.”

13. To both my kids: Her: They chose another American Girl doll, and they didn’t choose Kaya. They keep choosing dolls that look the same, but don’t look like me.
Him: You don’t like the other dolls?
Her: I do, but their favorite dolls don’t look like me or most people I know. I get tired of seeing the same old dolls picked for favorites.
Him: Well Jay, I still choose you as my favorite.
Me: I still choose you both as my favorites.

14. To my daughter: *She’s watching the Grammy’s with us*
Her: Ahhhh, I can’t get that image out my head of this grandma showing off her old boobs and butt! How old is she?
Me: She’s old baby. She’s been around for a long time.
Her: Can she put some clothes on then?!

15. To my daughter: Her: Mommy, did you know beef is good for your iron?
Me: Did you know beets are even better?
3rd party who will remain unnamed: Like the headphones?
Me: Umm, no, do you eat headphones?

16. To my daughter: *Got some news that completely frustrated me, and this conversation ensues*
Her: Mommy, you need to do Tai Chi with me to calm back down.
Me: Baby, I don’t feel like it right now. Just give me a hug.
She gives me a hug and says:
I give you permission to squeeze me like a stress ball.
Me: That made me laugh. I feel better now.

17. To my son: Me: Come on son, eat your dinner.
Him: I don’t want to eat. I’m not hungry!
Hubby: Eat your food so you can get muscles and grow.
Him: I don’t want to get muscles. I want to have noodle arms and a platform head.
Hubby: Well I’m not going to let you have noodle arms and a platform head!
Me: I don’t even know what to say about that.

18. To my son: *A commercial comes on with a woman announcing she’s pregnant.*
Him: Mommy what does I’m pregnant mean?
Me: It means she has a baby growing in her belly.
Him: Can you grow a baby in your belly? You just need soil, sun, and water.
Me: No son, it takes a lot more than that.

19. Random guy to my son: Are you excited for Santa to bring your presents?
Son: Santa’s not real.
After guy recovers from the shock he says: So who brings your presents?
Son: My family does.
Guy: You don’t think Santa will come down the chimney and give you presents?
Son: We don’t have a chimney. Mommy and Daddy hand us the presents.
Guy: *Blank stare*
Me: We choose to teach them the truth.
Guy: Doesn’t that kill the magic of Christmas?
Me: Is he any less excited about celebrating?

20. Apparently my kids understand elections, protests, and democracy. They held an election on “bedtime reform” (their words). They proposed cancelling bedtimes, but would settle for a later bedtime. They even tried to stage a protest.
Me: What you both didn’t realize is the power of the Veto. You both got vetoed. Bedtime still stands. Good try though! Proud of you both for using what you know.

21. To my daughter: Her: Please have another baby.
Me: Hah! Bye Felicia!
Her: Wait, who’s Felicia?
Me: *Cracking up*
Her: No, seriously. Who’s Felicia?!?!

22. Conversation with my daughter:
Her: Mommy, I’m tough because I was in your belly while you were in the military.
Me: Oh is that why?
Her: Yup. Come on, you gotta give me something here. You’re tough, so you passed it on to me. I’m tough too.
Me: Ummm, if you say so.
Her: I do! I’m tough like my mommy!
Me: You make me laugh!

23. Conversation between my kids:
Son: I put on “happy”.
Daughter: He knows I hate that song.
Me: So cover your ears.
Daughter: But that doesn’t work.
Son: Then go dig a hole somewhere.
Me: What?!?! Where did that come from?

24. Conversation with my daughter after seeing a Leukemia commercial:
Her: I wonder when they’ll find a cure for Breast Cancer.
Me: There are cures. Natural is always best. I know of a few.
Her: Did you know that they’re using Bioluminescence to diagnose and treat it now?
Me: *blink blink* I did know that, but how did YOU know that?!
Her: I read everything!
Me: You are your mother’s daughter.

25. To my son: Him: Why can’t I run around naked?
Me: Because we wear clothes in this house. No one wants to see you naked.
Him: But I like the air
Me: I can’t…

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Family Stages Kidnapping Of Child To Teach Him A Lesson

If you have been following the news, you might have heard about the family that felt their 6 year old child was too nice to strangers and decided to stage his kidnapping to teach him about stranger danger.

According to reports sometime before February 2, 38-year-old Denise Kroutil approached a co-worker, 23-year-old Nathan Firoved, and asked him to kidnap her nephew to “scare” him. The victim’s mother, 25-year-old Elizabeth Hupp, and grandmother, 58-year-old Rose Brewer, agreed with the plan to kidnap the young boy to teach him a lesson.

On February 2nd, Firoved parked his pickup truck close to the boy’s bus stop, and once the boy was dropped off by his mother, he lured him into the pickup truck and drove away with him. Firoved told the boy he would never see his mother again and that he would be “nailed to the wall of a shed.” The boy began crying, and Firoved pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot the child if he didn’t stop crying.

He then bound the boy’s hands and feet with plastic bags, and covered the child’s face with a jacket. Firoved drove the boy to his own home, carried the child into the basement, and left him there, where the boy’s aunt arrived and pulled the boy’s pants down, and ridiculed him saying he could be sold into sex slavery. She also allegedly chastised the child for not trying to resist her or Firoved.

The boy was kept in the basement for a few hours longer before he was finally unbound and allowed to go upstairs, where his family was, and there they lectured him about stranger danger. Family members and Firoved kept in contact via cell phone during the whole ordeal, which lasted about four hours.

The boy went back to school and told school authorities on Wednesday, who then contacted the Missouri Division of Family Services. The sheriff’s office was called to the home and he was placed into protective custody. The family members told investigators their intent was to educate the child and felt they had done nothing wrong.

Firoved, Brewer, and Kroutil were charged with kidnapping, felonious restraint, and abuse/neglect of a child. They remain in custody at Lincoln County Jail on $250,000 bond. The boy’s mother, Hupp, is charged with kidnapping and abuse/neglect of a child. She remains jailed on a $250,000 cash-only bond.

What do you think? Was this going too far to teach a little boy the “stranger danger” lesson? Is 6 years old too young to truly understand “stranger danger”? Do you agree/disagree with what the parents and family members did? Let us know your opinion.

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