My Goal: “Mom & Wife Extraordinaire”

Mother Helping Toddler WalkI can’t believe I said it out loud, to a group of 40 people nonetheless. I shared my secret goal in public. As I facilitated a workshop this week, I shared with the group who I felt I was created to be. The class focused on life mapping. As I helped individuals uncover their life’s purpose, I also shared mine. During the creation of the life mapping exercise each person had to begin with their center, who they believed they were to become. I reassured them by stating it’s okay if you haven’t arrived there yet, it’s about discovering who that person is. The next step was to create goals for the other areas of their lives. These goals would assist them in becoming whoever they put in the center of their personal life map

The title on the center of my life map was “Mom & Wife Extraordinaire/Motivational Speaker and Life Change Leader”. Whoa, right? Not only is that a huge title, it’s a tremendous amount of responsibility as well. After I shared this with the group, I immediately wondered, now how in the hell am I going to achieve this?

Sometimes people get overwhelmed by the idea of their goals. We don’t often realize how the achievement of goals actually works. We have to begin with smaller goals first. As a prepare to take on the challenge of living up to my truest potential I have to be honest and face my limiting beliefs. For far too long I held back and maintained a low profile. I typically took the easy way out. Today, the easy route won’t work for me. I have two daughters and a spouse who expect greatness out of me.

In order for me to be the Mom & Wife Extraordinaire/Motivational Speaker and Life Change Leader I plan on becoming, I have to step up and be bold! I have to be giving and driven all at the same time. I have to make sacrifices and get busy networking. Things won’t happen for me unless I make them happen. I have to be spiritually connected, study my bible and maintain my relationship with my heavenly Father/My Creator. This is His plan and I am ready to live it out. I have to also always be in learning mode! We should never stop learning.

When we really want something, even if it is a big crazy goal, we have to go for it, and I’m going for it!

Married Mommy Family, please share your big and crazy goal?

Their Happiness Makes Me Happy

A bedtime story

 My job as a mommy has brought me many surprises. I never knew I could feel the way I do about a person. This love is stronger than I have ever known. It makes me want to do everything differently. Putting forth greater effort, pursuing my dreams, and being bold and daring are all significant to me now that I am a parent. Because I know my children are learning how to navigate through life by watching mine.

My role as a mom has also brought a ton of worry. Almost every time my children aren’t in my presence, I’m praying they are ok. My daily prayer includes asking God to put a shield of protection around them. I ask that God protect their minds, body and spirit.

Every emotion my children experience I also experience. When they cry, I cry. When they hurt, I hurt. If I could limit the amount of pain they experienced, I would do it in a heartbeat.

On the flip side, when they smile, I smile. Their laughter makes me laugh. When they experience wins, I am their biggest cheerleader. I want the best for them in all things.

I live for their happiness. I want them to experience consistent joy. Even the small things matter.

For example, when my oldest daughter ordered and received a new Poloraid camera, her excitement was contagious. It was all she talked about. The moment it arrived, she couldn’t stop talking about it. And after she took her first picture, she talked about it a little more. She was giddy, enthusiastic and just stoked. She actually talked about it as I typed this article.

“This camera is the best thing I’ve ever done”

and

“didn’t I get a photo album from Granny”

and

“What should I name this camera?” were all quotes from my child about this new item. I have honestly been too  tickled. Although it may be just a camera to some, it was pure excitement for her. And excitement for her, means joy for me. It’s what mommyhood was intended for. It’s the ups and downs that make this role so fulfilling.

As a mom, I’m confident I’ll make it through the downs. It’s a learning process. But those ups, have become what my life is all about. I wouldn’t trade this role for the world.

How Much “Grown Folk” Business Do You Share With Your Children?

 

Pregnant mom and son.Children should grow up in a home which teaches morals, values, and demonstrates what healthy love relationships look like. This type of environment ensures that our children will carry those ideals on into their own families. And a healthy cycle of such a solid foundation will begin to travel through to future generations.

I recall back in the day not really discussing love relationships with adults. I am sure most of us have been told as children to stay out of grown folk’s business. But today it seems more and more parents are involving their children in adult conversations and matters of the heart. The question becomes, how much is too much? Should we disclose our financial realities, the difficulties we are having with our mate or any health challenges that will affect us long term? We never want to give our children a false representation of married or family life. Having them think that relationships and life will be perfect and there won’t be any challenging periods is setting them up for failure. They need to know there will be disagreements and couples won’t always see eye to eye. We must inform them that their relationships will be a direct reflection of the amount of effort they put into it. Instructing them on how to have healthy conflict is critical. Some may think marriage and relationship conversations are grown folk’s business, but our children are watching anyway, so we may as well use it as a teaching moment.

Even with all of that being said, there needs to be a positive way to deliver information, especially when we are heated and frustrated. Because they are like sponges, our little ones watch, listen, and repeat most of the behaviors they witness. We have to be careful that we aren’t sharing grown folk business in a way that will impact them negatively. Bad mouthing mommy or daddy is counterproductive. We should not allow our hurt feelings or broken heart to ever cloud our parenting judgement. We must consider our motives when we decide to share certain details with our children. I’m sure you have heard or know of a parent who is quick to criticize the other parent to their children. Statements like “I hope you don’t grow up to be like your daddy” or “Your Mommy does some really stupid things sometimes” are definitely not going to benefit the child.

We are human and occasionally our emotions get the best of us and we react without thinking. We say what’s on our minds because we feel it just had to be said out loud. So whether that’s to another adult or our children, it doesn’t matter. This is harmful. What we fail to realize is how it will affect the relationship and expectations that child has of the other parent. We are also giving our child permission to find a mate with the qualities and negatives we find ourselves complaining about. Before we choose to use our next disagreement with our significant other as an opportunity to school our children, we must consider the end result. Two very important questions must be answered before we proceed: What information do we want this child to know and how will it benefit them later? We want the grown up business we do share to be of the greatest value to our children.

What Unspoken Messages Are We Sending to Our Children?

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I am currently reading an amazing, life-changing book titled “The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson. So far, this book has altered the way I look at my life and examine my dreams. It has been an eye opening experience. The book highlights the significance of pursuing your dreams, no matter what. In one chapter the reader is challenged to discover who or what has prevented us from pursuing our passions. “Dream Giver” asks whether or not family or friends were responsible for extinguishing the ideas and plans we have for our lives; telling us we weren’t going to make it or that the dream made no sense or was unrealistic. This one particular statement stood out most to me, “maybe your family made it clear, without ever saying it, that you’re not expected to accomplish much”. This sentence of course immediately made me think about my role as a parent. I am pretty confident in the wisdom I verbally share with my daughters, but I have not considered what I don’t say and the affect it has on my children.

I nearly cringed just by reading those words. That simple statement immediately created a small panic in me. We push our children academically by sharing our expectations regarding the types of grades they bring home. But I don’t know that I stress enough just how much I truly expect them to accomplish with their lives. I highlight the future in terms of continuing on to college and performing well there, but unfortunately that may be the extent of it. I hope we aren’t, without ever saying, that they are not expected to accomplish much.

I am realizing this parenting job is so much bigger and deeper than I sometimes acknowledge. Not only are we responsible for the lessons and discipline we share with our children, but also the actions and non-verbal communication we display. My children need to hear, feel and know from me that I expect them to excel in everything they do. I must make it clear that they are never to let anyone, including me; tell them what they are incapable of. Their dreams are real and attainable and my biggest expectation is that they pursue them with everything they have. So if I ever forget to say it, I must express it with every smile, expression, and embrace we share. I want my unspoken message to my daughters to match the words I verbalize.

How I Will Keep The Fire Burning in My Marriage

flame

 

I will be celebrating 15 years of marriage this August. And while I am grateful and looking forward to the celebration, I want to make sure I keep in mind what it took for us to get here. A lot of our challenges surfaced in the beginning when we both had more growing to do. My bad habits and selfishness along with his struggle to communicate the way I wanted/needed him to were an interesting combination to say the least. Once I got over myself and he started opening up a little bit more, things improved. Now that we are in a good place, I don’t ever want our flame to fizzle. Here’s my plan:

I will energize myself in order to energize my marriage. Taking care of children and home all drain me at times. There are actual things I can do including taking vitamins, getting the proper rest and asking for help when I feel worn out. Trying to be a superwoman is going to cost me special intimate time with my superman. My children are at just the right ages to have more responsibility so I don’t feel so overwhelmed. When I feel rejuvenated and rested, everyone in the home benefits, including the relationship.

I am determined to stay focused on my goal of peace and joy. With this, I know I have to humble myself, choose my words carefully, be in tune with my intentions and practice love in everything I do. My love for my husband should always be evident in how I treat and speak to him. My responsibility as his wife is to never do anything purposely to hurt him.

I will not bury the greatest parts of me, even when I am upset with my husband and feel he doesn’t deserve to experience the best of me. I will always work at looking and feeling my best. Bringing out the spirited side of me and not allowing the stress and pressures of the world alter who I truly am, especially in my marriage.

Another part of my plan is to simply put forth a greater effort. Knowing that I am only responsible for my own actions and reactions helps to relinquish any needs I may have to control my spouse. I will express myself honestly and lovingly and allow him to do the same. Anger, chaos and confusion are not welcome in my marriage. I pledge not to be too sensitive, nor take everything personally and I will be solution focused. I promise not to play the shut down game and keep the lines of communication open.

Yes, marriage is challenging. Some days are easier than others. It’s easier to go through the motions than to put forth a greater effort in keeping our marriages thriving. I am personally not willing to allow my marriage flame to fizzle. I am going to do my part and effectively manage my half of the relationship. It is my hope that other couples will join me in the fight to keep our marriages alive and well.

Married Mommies, what are you doing to keep the marriage flame burning?

5 Parenting Mistakes I Will Never Make Again!

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Yes, I’m only human and no, I wasn’t provided a parenting handbook when I had my children. So the mishaps I have made along the way should be understandable, right? My parenting journey has included a little trial, some error, and a ton of advice from my older and wiser loved ones. But in the end, the raising of my daughters completely falls on the shoulders of my husband and me. To break it down even further, between the two of us, we each have our individual roles in our children’s lives and have to be fully responsible for the actions we take in our rearing.

If I had to start all over again, plus knowing what I know now, there are a few things I would do entirely different. There are certain consequences that will come directly from the actions I take or don’t take today. With their future being my top priority, here are the parenting mistakes I will never make again:

Mistake #1: Not being tough enough. Somehow I found myself as the soft/easy parent. My husband became the parent our children were nervous about delivering bad news to because there would be more serious consequences with him. My wake up call came one day as I reviewed my daughter’s homework. As I gave her the thumbs up and told her to have her father look it over too she immediately began erasing and rewriting the work. I asked her why she was changing things and her response was that the current work wouldn’t be acceptable for daddy. It not only saddened me it also embarrassed me. But it was also exactly what I needed to hear to step my parenting game up big time.

Mistake #2: Not pushing my children out of their comfort zones more often. This was one of the biggest lessons I had to learn. By only giving them a gentle push and accepting C level grades allowed them to get a little too comfortable. If we as parents are not setting higher expectations for our children they are going to live and show up well below their potential.

Mistake #3: Attempting to be the fun parent. Growing up, my mother was always the coolest parent on the block. She always made sure we had a good time. But she was also a great disciplinarian. My mom was no nonsense. Somewhere along the way I wanted to keep the fun part of parenting and got a little too relaxed on the discipline side. My being the fun parent was no good for anyone. We can have a good time, but it has to always be clear the discipline is what shapes them into responsible adults.

Mistake #4: Assigning more responsibility early on. Here I was trying to be superwoman by taking care of the majority of the household tasks. Then one day it hit me, these children are not only old enough, but it is also necessary that they learn how to take care of a home. My only regret here is not introducing chores even sooner.

Mistake #5: Protecting my children from disappointment. As a parent our goal is to always ensure our children are happy. So going out of my way and even sometimes inconveniencing others to make sure my daughters had what they wanted was just irresponsible. It came to a point where their expectations became ridiculous. It was time to nip this behavior in the bud. It is healthy for our children to experience disappointment. Again, this is another one of those life lessons that will benefit them greatly as adults. The sooner they learn and accept that sometimes life isn’t fair the better they will be able to adjust and move forward.

I am grateful to have caught these errors while my children were still young enough. My girls will be better off as a result of these tough love parenting techniques.

 Married Mommies, what parenting mistakes have you made?

What Will Your Children Say About Your Marriage?

Happy family of five together at home

I enjoy the reactions of my daughters whenever my husband and I embrace or share a quick smooch in their presence. Their overly dramatic shrills of “yuck” and “gross” are only surface responses. I know deep down they appreciate having two parents who love each other and show it. It’s usually obvious by the smiles that come along with their fake disgust.

What our children witness and experience while they are being raised is important to both my husband and myself. I have to consider the impact every decision I make will have on their lives. They are going to develop into grown women who will mirror what they saw coming up. In addition to happy childhood memories, I want them to remember seeing a marriage filled with joy, love and trust. As a parent, I know my girls are worthy of the best life has to offer and being in a relationship that honors and respects them demonstrates that.

Handling conflict, being respectful in a partnership, and making our spouse a priority are all things I want them to learn. If my girls see us fighting and failing to communicate effectively that becomes their normal. It gives them permission to seek a relationship just like that. Or even worst, it has them growing up worrying about the staying power of our marriage.

As I imagine my girls, years from now, describing their parent’s marriage I hope they will be able to say:

“Mom and dad enjoyed being married”

“Our parents never disrespected one another”

“Our parents always made the other feel important”

“Dad and Mom put God first in everything they did”

In order for this to become a reality, we must make our marriage one that is easy to enjoy. Creating a partnership by communicating, sacrificing and doing what leads to peace is key. My husband and I have an understanding that we always speak to each other with respect and make the other a priority. Without God as the head of our lives, we both know our marriage would fail.

Having children makes us more committed to our marriage. But even when our children are grown and gone with their own families, I still want all of the above statements to be our reality.