Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bleeding in Silence

If it were even possible to convey to all of you just how much I have learned over these past 7 years being a mother, it would take a lifetime to share it-truly. Every day I become more & more convinced that a mother is one of God's most extraordinary & complex creations of all time. The amount of respect I hold for mothers, based off of the personal experiences I have now gone through firsthand & the ones I have heard secondhand through some of the many mothers I have been so blessed to come in my life over the past few years-I am just astounded with complete admiration & wonderment. Their strength is so inspiring, even in their very weakest of weak moments they are still some of the strongest people I have EVER seen. The level of admiration I now have for my own mother....through the roof.

That is what I want to dive further into tonight, many mothers are silent bleeders. I'm not sure if this is deemed a strength or a weakness to be honest. Recently, I have gone through one of the greatest personal struggles of my entire life, I mean entire life, & I guarantee maybe three people knew...If that. I just kept on, pushed on, handled my business, while inside I literally felt like I was bleeding & everything in me felt like it was on the brink of implosion. Over the years I have been absolutely shocked to learn of some of the struggles other moms have silently fought through, not shocked by disgust or judgement, but more of an absolute AWE that they made it out "alive" & got through it. Some struggles I just never would have guessed in a millions years. I almost wanted to scream at them & pull them in close after hearing-"You didn't have to go through that alone!", "How I love you & wish I would have known you then. I would have been there for you!".

So often mommas put themselves on the back burner, so often they are so busy helping out everyone else around them that they suffer in silence. If we only knew half of the stories, struggles, tears, that the mothers we pass by every single day have experienced or are still carrying with them...It would be overwhelming. So many silent slices & dices to their very hearts' core-so many pressures, unknown miscarriages, battles with depression, crippling anxieties,  abortions, cases of adultery, money struggles, battles with kids, health scares & I could spend hours upon hours listing so much more. Mothers carry it all, not only their own burdens, but the burdens of all whom they love & care for as well. Its astounding! Its overwhelming! I remember the moment I held my 1st baby, my heart literally hurt with how much love I felt for this lil' thing. It was that moment it became so real to me that everything she ever felt in her life, I would be feeling too-the good & the bad. Here I am now 5 more children later.....It is so real...too real at times just how much I love & care for them beyond myself.

This all being said, I have also come to realize, now more than ever, how important it is to not carry all of that stuff alone. Mommas are truly the strongest beings in this entire world I believe, but even the strongest need help too. As mothers YES we can do it all on our own, but we don't have to. It can just be too much to bear. At this time in my life being someone who struggles so much with asking for help or opening up to people, I am slowly coming to terms now that I am just going to have to learn. They say "Let go & let God" so casually, but it is the honest truth. Matthew 11:28, 1 Peter 5:7, are just a few of the scriptures that explain just how important it is to not carry it all on our own.

I've also been learning as I get deeper into mommy-hood & just being a woman in general, how important it is (especially as mothers) to reach outside of your own "bubble". I can barely balance everything on my plate now being a family of 8 (not many understand this, but let me assure you at times I feel like I can't possible fit in one more thing or person). If I wanted to find an excuse to not reach out it would be so simple, but its not right and I have to learn to. We need each other, we weren't meant to do life alone. Its not always easy to put yourself out there, to reach out of your comfort zone & reach out to others. But we need to. I am not saying to become the town crier and let everyone in the world in on your business, NO, but living on an island is not right either. 

I use to always think I wasn't a "real girl". Let me explain that, I met so many different women as I was growing up that could not have been further from the way I am & my personality & priorities. Hair always impeccable, clothed to the "t", & into many things that I honestly could not relate to even if I wanted to.... No judgement towards them at all, but I found myself being completely polar opposite from the main stream of women. But over the years as I have been exposed to more & more women & mommas specifically, I have realized that I am not an "oddball" & there are some people out there I can relate to as a woman & as a mommy-People who are a lil' more like me. It takes all flavors, no one is better than the other, I was just kind of excited to realize I was not alone. There is a group of women & mommas out there that roll like me- that I can relate to & that can relate to me a lil' more easily. Variety is good.

Now, I still have a ways to go when it comes to completely opening up & casting my fears & cares, but I am getting there. I am realizing that the things I have gone through & am still going through can help others & just being there for others & hearing what they have gone through or are going through can be such a help & support for me too. I just have such a strong passion for mothers, it grows stronger daily as I get deeper into mother-hood myself & get to know more & more amazing women.

My hope is that mothers stop bleeding as much in silence, I know how painful it can be. I hope we can all work harder at trying to lay down those loads & finding some peace. Life is beautiful & too short to spend overwhelmed & constant pain.

-M&M Momma


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The "Performer"

I think it is a very easy thing to raise kiddos to be "performers". Their primary motivation for decision making being based off of not disappointing those who are around them-parents, school teachers, coaches, dance teachers, etc. While it probably is somewhat important that they do care somewhat about what those special people in their life think about them & the decisions they make, I think it is very important that we teach our children to not just be "performers". We need to teach our children to be "thinkers", before making decisions encouraging them to stop & think it through. What could be the possible outcomes-consequences or benefits? Thinking beyond just immediate gratification & thinking even further into the future. We can encourage our kids daily to think about what type of person they want to be, what type of character they want to have. Teach them empathy & to think about how they would feel if the shoe were on the other foot. "How would I feel if someone treated my toys that way? "How would I feel if someone treated me like that?".

Many times people think its too early to start implementing things like this, but children are WAY smarter than we often give them credit for. I already see Zane stopping before he does stuff some times, processing: "Last time I tried "this" I got a consequence...Should I try it again". Its amazing to watch, he's 9 months old!?! Of course there are other times where he definitely doesn't stop & think or empathize with others, but baby steps. But I have definitely begun to see the fruit of my labor start shining through more & more with Him.

How do you start teaching these things? I think its all about how we choose to communicate to our kids before & after making different decision and I also believe modeling behaviors is HUGE. A few examples, every time before we are about to leave somewhere like a restaurant we have just eaten at or someones house, we have always told & shown our children that we need to leave places even better than the way we found it. This is good character, this is treating other people & their property how we would want to be treated. By instilling this kind of mentality while they are young, I hope that when they are by themselves & about to leave somewhere they will stop & think about how & why they want to leave a place even better than they found it-Whether its just straightening chairs, throwing some trash all the way away or whatever. Again, not so much for the other person directly, but because they want to be a person of character & excellence.

As far as their extra curricular activities go, before each lesson/practice/game we challenge the kids to set goals for themselves on how they can personally improve each time & to think of steps on how they are going to get there. Yes, does it feel good when the teacher says "Great job!"? Absolutely, but if that is their only motivation for trying hard, they aren't going to go very far in life because people aren't always going to be right there to help drive you & push you forward. YOU have to want things. The people in life that are battery-powered (you power you up) are just going to go much further than the ones who are only solar powered (always depending on someone else or socialization to feel encouraged or empowered). My husband & I are constantly asking our children, "Are you proud of yourself?". Its just a huge key in building their self confidence & again encouraging THEM to be the reason they want to try harder & be ALL they can be!!! Many times in their lives people will try making comparisons of them against others, they may even be tempted to make these comparisons themselves, but by encouraging them to build/strengthen that inner fortitude & drive it will hopefully decrease the weight of those times.

Ultimately, YES our children are going to care somewhat how we feel about who they are & the choices that they make on a level. Yes, that is a good thing, but "performing" should not be their only source of motivation. We need to raise children who also take pride & care in who they are & what they believe in-Kids of character who truly show concern for others. Children who are "thinkers" instead of just acting aimlessly without a care of what the possible consequences could be. Children who are battery powered instead of people who are solely motivated by outside sources.

Have a great night!

MnM Momma

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