It’s been quite some time since I have sat down and made time to write out my thoughts. It’s been so long, in fact, that I almost lost touch with my greatest passion. There’s a long list of reasons why I took a break from writing. From moving across the country, to being pregnant, to having some scary moments in my pregnancy, to embracing a season of undivided attention to my family, to moving again, to my husband starting a new job, to having a precious baby— these things all contributed to my desire to take a break.…
5 Ways To Keep The Spark Alive In Marriage
Marriage. It’s the most wonderful and most difficult thing ever. I remember being told that it would be difficult, but I underestimated the weight of those statements. I feel like nothing can truly prepare you for marriage… You pretty much have to rely on the grace of God to guide you through. And each time you make it over a hurdle, you are exponentially stronger. Not only are you stronger, but you come to the other side with more tools in your belt. One of the areas of our marriage in which we are actively jumping hurdles is the whole “how to keep the spark alive” thing.
Why Valentine’s Day Isn’t Overrated
Valentine’s Day. People either love it or they hate it. I honestly can’t think of another holiday with such extreme feelings. I recently read an article titled “5 Reasons Why Valentine’s Day is overrated.” Y’all, I laughed and cried at the same time. Because first of all, it’s funny how strongly people feel about it. And usually the people who feel the strongest are the ones who hate it. But also, it’s sad to me that a holiday meant to celebrate love could be so hated.
So, friends, I want to attempt to share my feelings on why Valentine’s Day actually isn’t overrated at all. And maybe by the time you are done reading I’ll have you convinced to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year….
From The Desk Of A Helicopter Mom
Yep, you guessed it. I am a helicopter mom. But before you judge me, let me explain a few things. First of all, I never thought I was a helicopter mom until I recently read an article called “10 Signs You Might Be a Helicopter Mom.” I met 9/10 on the list. And then I thought, “hmm, if these things make me a helicopter mom, then I fully embrace that title.”
Second, I think every single parent has a different upbringing, different experiences, and different motivations. So to say that “these ten things” make you a helicopter mom is a ridiculous blanket identification that is unfair. It also neglects to consider that every single child is different and has unique needs as they are guided through life.
So, now that I got those things out of the way, let’s talk about this a little bit.
The tem “helicopter parenting” was coined in Dr. Haim Ginott’s book Parents and Teenagers in 1969. The term was used to describe parents who hovered over their children like a helicopter. Essentially, it is used to describe parents who take too much responsibility for their children’s experiences and, specifically, their successes or failures. Even more specifically, the term was used in reference to school aged children. Now, I don’t think that means parents of toddlers can’t be helicopter moms (because clearly according to someones extremely scientific blog post— I am one), but typically, this term has more to do with older children.
And I get it. The textbook helicopter mom is one who takes responsibility for a child’s schoolwork, grades, and school schedules, and one who often makes it their responsibility to take care of their child’s conflicts and failures rather than allowing them to learn from those things.
The term, as it was initially coined, is one I agree with.
But the problem is, that term has been taken to mean a million other things over the last thirty-something years.
And it seems that now you can’t protect or guide your child in much of any way without being labeled a helicopter mom.
But what may seem like drastic hovering to one mom could actually be very loose parenting to another. While one mom may be teaching one lesson, the mom next to her could be working on another. Therefore, the parenting styles of each will be reflected in that and could be very different.
So that’s where we have to come to some sort of agreement that being a helicopter mom is entirely subjective. Because, again, every parent is different, and the needs of every child are different.
Interestingly enough, there may be moms who think I am totally careless with my child, while a whole group of other moms think I am a total helicopter mom. It’s just so subjective in nature that, unless we only use the term how it was originally intended, we can’t just go around assuming that protective parents are helicopter moms. And I don’t think we can label first time moms as helicopter moms just because they are first time moms. Everything is so unique to each parent. One mom may change drastically from her first child to her second, and another may be exactly the same.
We simply can’t assume and label people in their parenting styles when we have no idea what’s really going on.
And we need to start respecting that boundary, and stop it with that labeling.
And as for me, if I am a helicopter mom, I am not ashamed.
Because if being protective of my child at one year old makes me a helicopter mom, then I want the hat and T-shirt. And if spending more time playing with her than having her play independently makes me one, then I embrace that. Because these are the good ole days and I don’t want to miss out. If following her on the playground makes me a helicopter mom, then again, I accept the title. Because I would rather keep an eye on her than rush her to the ER for stitches in her forehead (that was me at two years old).
I think there’s room to let your kids get hurt and experience the consequences of things. But I also think there is a line where wisdom takes over and we do what is best for our kids, regardless of how people may label us.
How Social Media Influences Us
I don’t always make New Year’s Resolutions, but I do always set new goals. One of my biggest goals this year is to be a bit less involved with social media. And I know that might seem confusing, considering that my entire business is online. But I think it’s entirely possible to be completely engaged with my business while also being less involved with social media. But how? I think it’s all about how we approach social media and what role we allow it to play in our lives.
Chances are, you found this post on social media. It’s the primary avenue of not only communication, but also news, politics, and all sorts of other information. Social media is how we stay connected to the world, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing—but it certainly can be. Social media has influenced society in so many areas over recent years, and it’s important for us to recognize how we are being affected, and how our children are being affected as well….
New Year, New You
Everyone loves a solid New Year’s Resolution, am I right? It feels good to set goals. And there’s something about the new year that gives us motivation to do it. But here’s the thing— the whole “new year, new you” thing only works if you truly set your mind to it. Because the change of the calendar year doesn’t change our habits, our mindsets, and our beliefs. If you want to stick to a New Year’s Resolution, you have to be determined. And once you are determined, you have to make your goals seem realistic. Because an unrealistic goal is the number one recipe for goal failure.
If you want to ring in the New Year as a brand new you, here are some valuable tips and tools to help you do so.
Set goals within reach.
If you don’t set goals that are attainable, you are more likely to give up. Not only that, you are likely to get frustrated and even angry. If you want to lose sixty pounds, that’s great. But you’re better off to give yourself a goal of losing ten. When you lose five, you’ll be halfway there. And then you’ll be all the more motivated to lose five more. Let’s say you have a goal of finishing a publishing a book. Set smaller goals to finish chapters or prepare proposals. Want to clean up your diet? Set a goal every two weeks to eliminate something (if you are like me that could be your sugar addiction or desperate need for cheese).
Whatever your goals are, make sure they are actually possible. There’s nothing worse than feeling like something just isn’t possible. And on the other hand, there’s nothing better than far surpassing your goals. Give yourself an added boost of encouragement as you make your New Year’s Resolutions. If you feel like you can meet your goal, you probably will.
Don’t get lazy.
I know that is easier said than done. But seriously, we all do it. We set HUGE goals and go head on with our tails lit… for a week. Then we relax a bit and start eating hamburgers and French fries to reward ourselves. Before we know it we are right back where we started. Give yourself daily reminders of your goals. The more we can remember why we are making changes, the more likely we are to pursue the end result. Some would say to not be strict, but I disagree. When I have a huge goal in mind, it helps me to be pretty rigid. I stay on top of my goals, and that brings results. When I relax, I tend to let things slip.
Now, this brings us back to number one. When you set goals that are within reach, it doesn’t feel so harsh to be rigid. When you have mammoth size goals, it feels like you are punishing yourself. To eliminate sugar alone is not so terrible. But if you tell yourself you can’t have sugar, dairy, meat, grains, or fun— you are likely to feel like you are in prison. And when you feel that way, you are more likely to just quit. Having goals that are attainable makes it so that you can be strict in those areas, but still feel like you are enjoying your life.
Reward yourself appropriately.
Alright, hear me out on this one.
I think it’s so great to reward good behavior. But I think rewards need to be appropriate. When you set a New Year’s Resolution (or any strong goal), the last thing you need is to treat yourself with the very thing you are trying to eliminate. This obviously up for debate, but I know that when I am eliminating sugar, that’s the worst possible way to reward myself. If I go a week with no sugar at all, I am usually starting to feel pretty good and like I don’t need it. If I reward myself with a big rocky road ice cream cone, nine times out of ten I am going to start craving that all over again. What’s the point in that? When I am trying to eliminate sugar, I need to reward myself in other areas. Maybe it’s a popcorn and movie night with my husband, or maybe I need to treat myself to a sweater I have had my eye on. But the last thing I need is to intentionally walk head on into the very temptation I am battling.
We can all use rewards to motivate us, but just need to make sure the rewards don’t cause us to go one step forward and two steps back. Reward yourself wisely and appropriately.
Be kind to yourself.
Seriously, y’all. I really mean it. I think more times than not we have this idea of eight million things we want to change about ourselves. We use the New Year as a solid explanation for those changes— because everyone makes a New Year’s resolution. But it really has nothing to do with the New Year. It has everything to do with all the things we don’t like about ourselves or our lives. And yes, it’s good to better ourselves. But it’s not good to beat up on ourselves in the name of “goal setting.” As strong as any of us may be, we still have our weaknesses. And we are likely to struggle with things we want to improve.
There’s nothing worse than going into a New Year with bad motivations. If we can set our New Year’s resolution with a sound mind and from a place of self-love, we are far more likely to succeed. So be kind to yourself this New Year. Set goals because you love yourself. Set goals because you love your life and want to improve it. Don’t set goals because you hate your body or your house or your relationships. Because no amount of goals will make you love yourself anymore than you already do. But loving yourself just might help you reach your goals.
Happy New Year from my family to yours!
Ps.. need some more goal setting tips? Read this article!
Don’t Lose Your Identity In Motherhood
Anybody else out there spend your entire life dreaming of becoming a mom? For as far back as I can remember, I looked forward to having babies. I had very vivid dreams of my life as a mom, and longed for the fulfillment of that dream. Even still, I had equally vivid dreams of other things in the midst of parenthood. While I never wanted a “career” in the conventional sort of way, I knew I wanted to “do something” with my life beyond being a mom. And if you are reading this and thinking that being a mom is doing something with your life, you are right! My point today isn’t that being a mom isn’t enough, or that it cannot be your identity. My point is that too many women lose their identity in motherhood, and it doesn’t have to happen.
You see, when I was a child, I loved all the babies. I wanted them all. I imagined my life as a mom, and I loved everything I saw. I wanted nothing more than to raise children. But I also saw so much more than that. I didn’t see myself as a mom who just stayed at home and cleaned the house all day… and I certainly didn’t see myself folding piles of laundry and ironing my husband’s work shirts all day every day (because that wouldn’t be a dream, it would be a nightmare).
I saw myself continuing to dream even after my dream of becoming a mom was fulfilled.
I saw myself continuing to be my own person rather than living through my children. And I never dreamed I would lose my identity in motherhood….
A Letter To My Daughter
My dearest Sadie,
One year. 365 days. 8760 hours. That is the amount of time I have known you on the outside. But the amount of time I have truly known and loved you is far greater. From the moment you were conceived, I knew you carried a spark that would bring light to dark places. I knew you. The way you danced inside me was magic to my soul. The way you kicked with such strength and power was such a beautiful indication of the strength and power by which you would live. Before you even took your first breath, I saw you. I saw you, my daughter.
And then you came. And you did not disappoint. You entered the world with such beauty and grace, and changed my heart as you came, reconciling me unto the Lord.
You, my daughter, changed my life. You will always be my first born, and you will always be the one who made me a mom….
The One Thing I Never Want My Daughter To Hear
This is likely the most raw thing I will share for quite some time. It’s something I play with talking about, but never find the courage to follow through. And while I do often share “personal” things, those things still remain quite vague for the most part. Sharing something like this requires a level of clarity that goes beyond a vaguely referenced yet highly personal concept. So what is it? I want to talk about the one thing I never want my daughter to hear. And I can’t just talk about the thing itself, I have to talk about the reasons why.
But first, let me share a little back story with you. I have always been a bit of a perfectionist. I truly hate admitting that, but I also hate lying. I have a bit of a self critic that likes to thoroughly examine my every decision, my every move, my every everything.
To be real, we’ve become great friends over the years—my self critic and me….
Dear Millennials, I just want you to know a few things. But before I share those few things with you, I want you to know that I am one of you. I am standing with you. In a world where humans can literally find any possible reason to divide and create barriers, I want the opposite. I want unity. So as I share this, know that I am for you. I am for us. Whether you are part of Generation Y (like me), or you are part of Generation Z, the reality is, they call us all “millennials.” And the thing is, while they have many negative things to say about us, there is more to us than that.
As millennials, we have heard one too many times that we are lazy, entitled, and a handful of other hurtful things. But I don’t believe it. I mean, sure, in every single generation you can find lazy and entitled people. I know plenty of those in my parents’ generation. But that’s just people. People, by nature, are prone to laziness and can feel entitled to the nth degree. And I don’t really resonate with that being a generational thing. I think that’s cultural. Some kids are raised to believe that they can have anything they ask for, and others aren’t. And who is to say which way is right or wrong, anyway? My husband and I are the exact same age, and he and his brother were given a brand new car in high school, and his college education was paid for. I wasn’t given any of those things. We are the exact. same. age. You cannot look at us and say “your generation…” It isn’t that simple. And even still, my husband doesn’t believe he is entitled to those things.
Our generation has also been criticized for aiming for the very best and waiting for the best opportunities, yet we were raised to think that way. We have also been blamed for much of the economic and political crisis over the last ten years, and I am here to say that is nonsense.
I am here to tell you the truth.
You, millennials, are strong, wise, and highly capable. And you are innovative and creative, and determined to do something about the mess that is our world. You see, the world we live in today is the fruit of what our parents’ generation has sown. My pastor in California once preached on the cycles of sowing and reaping, and it was one of the most powerful messages I have ever heard. Why? Because that one message summed up the reality of seasons in life. We are never living in the fruit of the moment, but rather we are living in the fruit of the previous season of sowing. To think that the total chaos of our world today could be because we are bat-shit crazy and turned the world upside down the moment we turned eighteen is just insanity. The reality is, our “today” is the fruit of yesterday’s sowing. We are reaping what others have sown. The economic and political crisis that we are in did not happen overnight when we were suddenly old enough to vote and go to college. The crazy recession of 2009 could not possibly be the fault of generation Z, seeing as most were still in high school. And Generation Y wasn’t that far ahead either. That crisis started way back in the 80’s (maybe even earlier) when most of us were either tiny babies or not even born.
And the political crisis? Seriously, in 2008 when Obama was elected, more than half of us were not even old enough to vote. (Not a statement about about whether or not he was a good president, just a fact that most of the “millennials” didn’t contribute).
Sure, our children and our grandchildren will have to deal with whatever world we create for them, but right now, in this moment, we are not living in a world we have created. Instead, we are looking around at the world we have been given, scratching our heads, and saying “now what?” We are trying to navigate these waters with every bit of strength we have, all while being shamed and labeled every negative term in the book.
And while it’s not fair— the name calling, unfair blaming and shaming, and misplaced responsibility of all the crap we are dealing with— we can’t control the need of another generation to find someone to blame for their errors.
What we can control is how we respond and how we move forward. And we can prove them wrong.
And I believe in you. I believe in us. Why? Because we are strong. We are some of the most creative individuals on the planet, first of all. And second, contrary to popular belief, we are more willing to come together for a common cause than any other generation. What else? We have been known to be the most charitable of all the generations. We have big hearts and huge capacity to get things done.
We care. We care about our health, we care about our environment, and we care about our rights. That doesn’t make us selfish or entitled. It makes us smart. Sure, they might say we over research things and that our accessibility to knowledge makes us greedy, but I think it contributes to our success.
So, dear millennials, I see you. I see your efforts. I see how you strive to do the very best. I see how you always fight for a better solution and use every bit of creativity to do so. You know what else? I see the sacrifices you make. I see how many of you work four jobs just to pay for overpriced rent. I see how hard you work, all while being called lazy. I see how you have a four year degree but can’t find a job other than the late night shift at the bar.
And I see how you just keep doing it because you don’t have any other choice.
I see how you come home from that job and frantically work on your side hustle. Not because you think you are entitled to “silly dreams,” but because you hope to not only create an opportunity for yourself but for others as well.
I see you trying, and I know that you will do something crazy. Because if there’s one thing they say about us that’s true, it’s that we are crazy— in the best way.
And while I see you, I want to also challenge you.
I want to challenge you to remember what this feels like. Remember how it frustrates and angers you every time we get labeled and blamed and shamed… Remember that. And know that every generation has been blamed for the world that the previous generation has created. Every single one.
And let it stop here.
We can’t change what happened before us, but we can create a new standard.
Let’s be the generation(s) that drive change in every sense of the word.
Let’s be the generation that not only finds a clever and strategic way to overcome what we’ve been handed, but also the generation that never holds the future generations responsible for whatever we hand them.
Let’s be the ones that rise above.
We are the millennials, and we can make the change.