What I wish I knew about…

What I wish I knew about…

Motherhood! Oh if I could go back and talk to me before I had kids. This is not a post to complain about how hard parenting is or the joys of parenting and how my kids complete me. Most women who are moms have all the same complaints or very similar ones. Most moms love being a mom even with the ups and downs. All moms love their kids and want the best for their kids.

This post is about how I wish moms felt more comfortable talking to other moms about the realness of being a mom. Not the realness as in no time to yourself, how kids constantly mess the house up, or how you spend all of your time carting them around from place to place and catering to the million of things that they have going on in their busy little lives. We all know how much as moms we have to sacrifice for our kids. We all know that having children is time consuming and often it’s thankless. We can relate to one another when we talk about how we were up all night with a sick child or  how our toddler just wouldn’t go to sleep. We can understand each other when our teenager is driving us mad because they won’t pick up their room or they are getting smart with us and it’s taking everything in us not to throat punch them!

What I mean by the realness of being a mom is how sometimes you don’t want to be one! There are those rare moms I run into who revel in parenting and just want to spend every waking minute with their child (what is wrong with her and what is she taking?! LOL). But there are us other moms who have moments where we want to quit, run off to a deserted island and just mentally check out. We don’t want to have to think for another person outside of ourselves. We are done with school, school lunches, school programs, extracurricular activities, play dates, birthday parties, homework, reminding kids to do their chores, reminding kids of the same simple hygiene practices they’ve been doing for years (Like why do I have to remind you to put on deodorant or to brush your teeth? Seriously?!).

I remember before I became a mom I had this idea of parenting being fun and cuddles and play time with my baby. I had this image of just always enjoying it. Every person I ran into that saw me when I was pregnant all said the same thing “Oh you’re going to love it! It’s the most special thing in the world. You’re going to love bonding with you baby and they’re so cute when they start crawling.” Which those things are true. I loved the time I got with my kids when they were small and being able to bond with them. I loved watching them meet their milestones and even now with my soon to be one year old, I am once again enjoying those things. But what I wish someone would have said is “Being a mom is hard. There are days where you will not want to do any of it. You’ll do it anyway because the love for your child pushes you to do so, but you will not always love being a mom.” I think sometimes as women we feel like if we truly share our deepest, darkest feelings that other moms will look down on us or think we are not a good parent. But if we are all honest, I’m pretty sure almost every mom has had moments where they felt this way.

If we spent more time being real about how we feel with other moms instead of comparing ourselves to other moms and how great we think so in so is doing it would go a long way towards encouraging each other instead of condemning each other. In reality you are the mom for your child that God knew your child needed. If your child needed a different mom then God wouldn’t have given that child to you. He knew the make up of your child and He knew you had what your child needed in life  inside of you because He knows your make up as well. There is no perfect mom. There’s just a perfect mom for each child you’re blessed with. We have to stop being afraid of how people will think of us when we have those moments where we want to quit parenting and just be a woman. Not a mom with 8 arms trying to do 20 things but just a woman trying to navigate life.

My two oldest kids go away for the summer with their dad every year and around the month of May I am done! I am over it and I can’t wait to get them packed up and on their way so I just don’t have to think about them and every individual need they have. I used to feel guilty about that, but I don’t anymore. It’s ok to sometimes feel like you’ve had enough and that you just need some time to recoup. It’s ok to not want to be a mom….it doesn’t take away from the fact that you are an awesome one and that above all else, you value your kids happiness. We know this to be true otherwise why would we wear ourselves out day in and day out doing everything to ensure they are well rounded, respectable, happy human beings?

So don’t feel bad. Embrace those moments and then continue moving forward, killing the  mom game like the beast that you are!

You Don’t Have To Explain

I’m a justifier, ok? I feel like I have to explain most of my thoughts or decisions. Even as a grown woman when I do things I feel the need to, at times, justify or explain my actions. Let me explain…LOL! If I decide to do something at work and it doesn’t make sense to those around me, I feel at some point that I need to justify my decision. My decision could be perfectly reasonable and may make perfect sense to me. But when it doesn’t make sense to other people I tend to wonder if I made the right decision. Or in parenting, I tend to feel the need to explain to people why I made certain decisions or why I respond to my kids in a specific manner. In friendships I often remain in friendships that I should move on from because they aren’t healthy or make me feel like I’m constantly doing something wrong, but I am a loyal person so I stick it out. Then I  try to justify to my husband or who ever else why I am still friends with this person. I know, I know it’s silly but I know I am not the only one.

I am getting better about it and learning that it is not necessary to explain any of my decisions or actions really. It’s still a process that I am going through but bit by bit I am learning to just let go and move on.  I think the reason why I feel this way is because of my own insecurities about who I am as a person. I don’t want people to think I’m not smart or that I’m selfish or unreasonable or,worst of all, unlovable. What I am learning, though, is that none of that really matters. What matters is what I tell myself day in and day out. Sometimes second by second. While it is great to have people around you confirm that you are great and that they love you, you really have to learn to love yourself. When you learn to love yourself you become more confident in the decisions that you make. When you love yourself you feel less obligated to explain yourself to others for their approval or justification. I mean who are they to judge you anyway?!

Whether people around you think your decisions are smart or not is not a reflection of you and really isn’t your concern. Of course we want people in our lives to be honest with us when they see us heading down the wrong road or if our lives are out of control. But really if I decide that instead of being productive and cleaning the house to do nothing, I don’t have to justify that. If I let my kids walk around in miss matched clothes, I don’t have to explain that. If they don’t like the way my kids clothes look tell them to close their eyes! LOL. Whether people question your actions or sanity, for that matter, really is of no concern to you because they are not walking in your shoes. They are not dealing with whatever it is that you are dealing with. And even if they do understand your experiences they may have handled things in a different manner because they…aren’t…you. Everyone handles situations in different ways because we all have free will and different perspectives. God made us different for a reason. We aren’t meant to all be alike and we definitely aren’t meant to be walking around stressed out about what someone else thinks of us.

Let people think whatever they want. Let them draw whatever conclusions they want. Stand firm in your decisions and your rationale. Be confident in what God has told you about your life, your kids, your home, your job, your decisions. They don’t know how you have prayed for that answer and now you are acting in obedience. They don’t understand how you’ve stressed over something and finally God has lifted that burden or He has given you peace and now you just aren’t worried or stressed anymore. Stop feeling like you have to tell people why you did what you did. Just live your truth, trust God and watch Him do amazing things in your life. I’m encouraging myself even as I write this. He wants us to live free and in that freedom we can move forward to be who He’s destined for us to be. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we may not have it all together but neither does everyone else…so why are we worried about their thoughts in the first place?

Our goal should be to please God, not people. The sooner we grasp that concept the easier life would be.

The next time you feel the need or the urge to pull out that explanation just delete like you’re typing on a key board and replace it with “I don’t have to explain.”

Be You!

Be You!

So I know everyone has probably heard this like a million times over! But it’s so fitting and never gets old. In a world where everyone is always trying to be a better version of someone else or constantly comparing themselves to other people; it’s important that we are reminded to be ourselves!.

Growing up a military brat, moving from place to place, I learned to quickly adapt. There’s nothing wrong with adapting to your surroundings. It’s a great trait to be adaptive. But what happens when you’ve adapted so much to the people around you that you don’t even know who you are? What do you like? What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? We often get so caught up in what people will think of us that we forget that we will be judged no matter what we do. I don’t know about you, but I would rather be judged being and loving the person that I am.

I struggled with being me for a very long time.  I didn’t think that people would accept me for who I was because in my family when I was myself there was criticism attached to being who I was. I was criticized for acting “outside of” my race-Let me explain!

I have always spoken proper English and in complete sentences (I don’t know how that’s a problem but…..ok). I love a variety of music. I mean every kind you name it. Even in other languages (German, Spanish…whatever). I love different people from different backgrounds. White, black, Asian, Hispanic-everyone!. But being a black girl with a family from Atlanta this was kind of frowned upon. I was considered weird or accused of trying to “act” white. (Does anyone know what this means? I don’t think only white people speak in complete sentences, have a large vocabulary and listen to all types of music). So because of all of the backlash, I struggled with being who I really am. I struggled with embracing and loving myself for many years.

It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that one day I got a clue. My spiritual mother is awesome. She taught me a lot about serving God and putting Him first in all areas of your life. She came along at a time in my life where everything was falling apart. I was a single parent, going through a divorce, no money, trying to find a job, trying to learn how to serve Jesus and I was making really bad decisions. She just kind of gently nudged me along and encouraged me in several different ways.She is so awesome! She did it all in love. Even down to how I dressed. She helped me get a better fashion sense and learn more about what type of clothing fit my body type. So much so that when I would go shopping I would look for things that “looked” like her. Or I would take pics and send them to her.

One day I liked something but thought to myself “She may not like it.” and in that moment I was like “Ok wait…..something has got to change. You are not her. You are you! And that’s ok. You can take a little of what she’s taught you and mix in with a little of what you like and still look great. You don’t have to get everything she likes or do everything she likes or say everything she likes. Who are YOU?”

This moment made me really step outside of myself and think about who I wanted to be- A version of someone that everyone liked or me? Weird, quirky, funny, easily irritated, sometimes loud, loving, caring, loyal, dedicated, easily stressed out at times, needy, whiny, crying me. See what I did there? I’ve got great characteristics and then some not so good ones. But that doesn’t matter. God made me this way. He loves me just as I am. He cares for me. He adores me. He values me. So if God loves me just the way that I am, why can’t I? Why am I working so hard to be different or to be like someone else because society only deems certain things acceptable?

Why are you letting someone tell you that because you are loud, or irritating or clumsy, or silly, or struggling through life, or making bad decisions; whatever the case may be, that you are not ok to be you. Yes, we all have things to work on to be better people. But don’t lose yourself in the process. Own who you are with confidence. Love who you are. The people in your life who love and value you will still love and value you no matter what. So I say again my friend. BE YOU!