We can all think of a time when we wanted to isolate ourselves from the wOrLd. We believe if we didn’t have jobs, we wouldn’t have to deal with stress or deadlines. If we could disconnect ourselves with people—family, friends, strangers—we’d never have to deal with awkward moments or conflict. If we didn’t have to run errands, we could avoid being reminded of how great everyone else “has it” when we are out and about.
As the year of 2012 wrapped up, I found myself thinking a lot about all the awkward, uncomfortable, stressful and difficult moments of the year. And you know what I realized? If I was able to erase those moments of my life, I would have been missing out. If I would have quit my block business after making some stressful mistakes, I would no longer get to experience the J O Y I receive when customers send me thank you notes after their blocks arrive. I could have avoided an awkward moment by not talking to a stranger on a plane, but I would have missed out on an aMaZinG cOnVerSatiOn about his faith journey. Not to mention the moments with friends and family through the year that involved moments of frustration, confusion or discomfort. If I never had those interactions, our relationships wouldn’t be as close as they are today, let alone the sPeCiaL mEmoRieS we made together. And as you know, sharing the move of our house last summer required a major gulp of humility, but I would have missed out on the sense of FREEDOM I felt by sharing my real life…just how it is…and knowing that you accept me…just the way I am.
Wearing your heart on your sleeve, doing things out of your comfort zone (looking for a new job, trying a new hobby, meeting new people), and standing up for what you believe in are all very hard things to do. Many times they don’t even seem worth all the effort they require. But let me assure you, they are. Your life is richer, more meaningful, and above all, impacting more people, all because you are willing to face your fears, deal with hurt, and conquer challenges by moving on despite the outcome.
So what will 2013 look like for you? This year I am welcoming more embarrassing moments, uncomfortable conversations and feelings of defeat as I work toward new goals. You are going to have to deal with these weird feelings/emotions regardless (because we are human!) so why not do them while enriching your life?! I don’t want to MiSs OuT on the best life I can have….do you?
I got up this morning with a mission to help my daughter. As a homework assignment, she was asked to gather pictures of herself which capture her favorite things. As I began skimming through files of photos on my computer, you would have thought I was spending most of my time smiling and reminiscing about the past. To my surprise, recalling those days turned into feelings of discouragement as my role as MOM.
You see, after I had my first daughter, ten years ago, I did a great job taking lots of pictures and getting them into a scrapbook in a timely matter. As life got more hectic and our family grew, I didn’t capture the same moments by photograph with my other two kids—probably because I usually had one kid on my hip and a basket of laundry in the other.
The reality is, life will always be hectic and I CaN’t Do iT ALL. As soon as I had those sunken feelings this morning I could see how this day was going to pan out—feeling guilty ALL day about the numerous things I should be doing better. Like how I should plan meals ahead of time instead of pulling meat from the freezer at 4:59 every afternoon…or logging our monthly expenses in a spreadsheet every month instead of staring at a pile of receipts from the last 5 months. The list is never-ending, isn’t it?
Instead, as soon as my daughter left for school, I shut those feelings down by thinking to myself, “I’m not going there”. I’m not going to spend the entire day beating myself up about my areas of weakness as a mother. To help, I tried to imagine what our seven-month-old would say to me when he becomes an adult. If he knew how terrible I felt for not taking pictures of his sweet feet when he was only a few days old, he would say, “Mom….really? That’s what you’re worried about? It’s not a big deal. Really.” And then he would go on to remind me how I would play tractors with him on the living room floor and spontaneously make him a farmyard out of old oatmeal containers and cereal boxes. Ahh…thank you, my sweet kiddos, for loving me for my imperfect self. And Leanne, make sure you remember this if you become a Mom some day. Don’t be so hard on yourself :)
So if this is you today, pick yourself up and start focusing on the things you do well. You simply can’t do it all. Don’t let special moments (like scanning through years of pictures and reflecting on the past with your kids) pass you by because you are beating yourself up, wishing you’d done better.
From one parent to another, I think you are doing just fine ;)
Every now and then I find myself focusing way too much on areas of my body that I don’t like. Do you ever do that? Often times it is the skin spots that keep popping up with age or the way my body has changed after having three kids. *Sigh*.
Well today I got an email that included the video I have posted below. Talk about impeccable timing. I am glad God put it on someone’s heart to pass it along, because I needed this reminder. Just in case you needed it too, I decided to share it with you!
This video is an eye-opener in more ways than one. Not only does it make me think twice about nitpicking areas of my physique, but gave me a kick in the pants for when I get down about life or complain about a task being too difficult.
Attitude is everything. Don’t deprive yourself of a good life just because everything isn’t perfect. And I love what Chris says, “If you are worried about how you look, you are cheating yourself out of opportunities.” Needed to hear that. So true.
I hope this touches your heart like it did mine. Enjoy…
Every once in a while Doug and I will catch ourselves wAsTiNg a lot of time rehashing an upsetting incident, discussing something negative, or spending way too much time on something that we shouldn’t. Do you ever do that? Recently, we have done something helpful to avoid these ongoing situations. We “make a pact” with one another to no longer waste another minute on that specific topic. When we catch ourselves in a conversation that makes us feel sour, one of us may say, “Okay…for the rest of the month we need to work on not bringing up_______.” From then on we hold each other accountable by giving “the look” or a quick reminder when conversations head the wrong direction.
Is there something that you are doing, saying or thinking about that you need to nip in the bud? By regurgitating the same negative conversations you are adding unnecessary depression to your day AND to those around you. Doug and I always have to remember…the kids are aLwAys watching and listening!! Whatever we talk a lot about, they will believe!
What conversations can you remove from your life by mAkiNg a pAcT to stop? Don’t forget, with the help of someone else, you can achieve this goal much easier and catch old habits before they creep back in your life!
As I’m sure many of you can relate, shopping with kids in NoT exactly my favorite thing to do. There is always the fighting over who sits where in the cart, then the whining that I’m taking too long, and of course the dreaded tantrum over the desperately needed toy they just HaVe to HaVe! My kids can turn a 5 minute trip to Home Depot for light bulbs into a disaster. They will manage to find something they need…such as the Tinker Bell and Lightning McQueen flashlights that are placed just at their eye level so they can pull the, “Oh wait, we need this!”
Thanks to the ease of online shopping and the availability of coupon codes, (read our post on how to get coupon codes) and free shipping, I try to avoid going out to the stores as much as possible. I was recently introduced to an online shopping opportunity even better than coupon codes! EBATES! Ebates is a company that gives you cash back if you shop through the links listed on their site. They advertise for the stores and you make money back by shopping through their link. It is a WIN WIN for everyone! At first I thought it was too good to be true, but I did my research and have been a member and shopping with them for a month now and earned over $30 back on purchases I would have made whether I ordered them through the Ebates site or not. You can track sales, coupons, and percentages that stores are giving back on their site. The money you earn from shopping is either mailed to you in check form or can be deposited directly into your paypal account. You can still use coupon codes and free shipping codes and get whatever percentage that particular store is offering back on the day you are shopping.
Here’s a link to get you started!
Happy Stress Free Shopping!
~Robyn (Jersey Girl)
Tis’ the season for trying to capture that PeRfEcT photo for the annual Christmas card! You know the one I’m referring to that gives the illusion that your kids never fight, don’t play in the mud, and wear matching outfits daily. First there is the decision over whether to go to a portrait studio, hire a photographer and do an outdoor family photo shoot, or take the pictures yourself. Once that is decided the planning of the outfits can begin. The ridiculous part about this is that stores start putting out their holiday lines in October so if your kids wear a popular size you better be thinking ahead. Ok, now you know who is taking the picture and what everyone is wearing, but here is the hardest part…getting everyone to cooperate!
I am sure many of you moms are going through this torture over the next few weeks so let me share my Christmas card 2013 attempt with all of you. Before I start getting all sorts of complaints from dads, I chose to write moms because maybe there are one or two dads out there who break the mold and take the kids for the Christmas photos, but in MY experience, there is NO dad who wants to be anywhere near this unprecedented madness EVER!
This year I was going to have a friend who is a professional photographer take photos in our yard. Well that idea went down the toilet when I had to cancel the session because it had rained the night before and the grass was soaking wet. I know my kids would never have cooperated if their feet were soaking wet from the grass and we wouldn’t have gotten the photos that I wanted to get. My second attempt pictured above was yesterday. I thought I could take the bull by the horns and take the photos myself. I’ve done it before so why not? Here’s why not…apparently I bought my son “handsome” clothes instead of “cool” clothes and he refused to put them on. In a desperate attempt to move forward with my plan I decorated a tree with candy canes and figured I would at least get my daughter’s picture done since she was all dressed and loves getting her picture taken. I figured my son would get jealous and cave once he saw her getting all the attention and put the cute plaid shirt and sweater on, but boy was I wrong. What erupted was like a scene out of a Christmas horror show. While my daughter was standing on a chair smiling my son took one of my giant candy cane props and started chopping down the candy canes one by one out of the tree faster than I could grab him. Candy was flying all over the place, my daughter was wobbling in a chair in her Christmas dress, and all I was thinking was, don’t react like Clark Griswold when his lights don’t light up in Christmas Vacation!
Needless to say, we marched back in the house after picking up all of the broken candy canes and I am left with this fantastic picture that I share with all of you. Please keep it in mind when you are stressed to the max this Christmas season. As you receive your mail full of smiling faces each day remember a lot more goes into those cards than you think and don’t be too hard on yourself if your journey to whatever your PeRfEcT card is isn’t so PeRfEcT!
~Robyn (Jersey Girl)
I am hard on my kids. Too hard, a lot of times, which always makes me regret it once I stop and think about how I’m treating them. Instead of choosing my battles, I decide to take on every battle! That is what SUPERMOM is all about, right? Keeping a tight leash on your kids and setting the bar super high? After some ReFleCtioN this week, maybe I should start looking for a new role model…
As Christians, we know how miserably we fail at numerous tasks and actions throughout our day, yet when we glance up at God we are reassured that He forgives and loves us no matter how much we are being a disappointment. It is so comforting to know that when I make mistakes, at least someone still has my back…because HE knows we are human and are far from pErfeCt.
Yet WHY do I hold my kids to a different standard? When they don’t do what I ask, or spill a cup FULL of pop on the floor, I repeatedly get on to them and ask why they didn’t listen or be more careful!! Not only that, but I bring it up AGAIN when their Dad comes home and maybe even AGAIN before they go to sleep, in hopes that I am getting my point across!
When I make the same exact mistakes (just in adult form!), does God TrEaT me like that? Never. I always feel Him looking at me in a calm way, his eyes telling me that I need to pick myself up and go on. I know I let Him down but I also know that once I acknowledge my weaknesses to Him, He moves on and doesn’t keep throwing it in my face. I really appreciate that about Him.
So why is it okay for me to fail God but not okay for others to fail me? As cHalleNgiNg as it will be, I am going to try to be as understanding and calm with my children as He is to me. Sure, I’ll still get on to them and discipline when needed, but then I need to let it go and hope they make a better decision next time. We know that kids won’t always do the right thing, but thankfully God doesn’t give up on us adults either! With every year I get under my belt, I can see I’m going to need all the help and forgiveness I can get!