Hallmark Holidays Are Emotional Triggers

IMG_5310.JPG*This post was originally written the day after Mother’s Day.

I did not want to be a Debbie Downer yesterday, but that’s how I felt. 

When everyone is professing their love on Valentine’s Day, I either have to ask for flowers or we probably just had an argument in the days leading up to it. Okay, that’s an exaggeration but you get the point. 

My husband thinks flowers are useless. One year for our anniversary, he surprised me with an overnight stay at a garden resort, since I kept nagging him for flowers. 

I love Christmas but can’t stand the pressure society puts on families. Early on, children don’t feel loved if they don’t receive the same amount of gifts their friends do. Easter and Halloween is no longer fun, because I find myself defending my decision to participate or sit out of said holiday. “Pagan” holidays cause ridiculous debates about their origins and friends/families become divided in the name of what they believe. 

Back to hubby. From the outside looking in, he is not always the most romantic person. In this day and age of overly publicized intimate moments and the rise of #relationshipgoals, our special moments are usually shared between just the two of us. He does sweet things on a regular basis, but he ain’t hardly trying to do stuff just because everyone else it doing it (hence, Hallmark holidays). Don’t get me wrong-he buys me gifts on holidays, but he isn’t about to pull out all the stops. That’s usually on a random day & the funny thing is…it means more to me.

I know that this year is difficult with his mother being hospitalized. She has been on life support and we haven’t been able to speak to her for over a week. I had to remind myself of this when I noticed he was cranky and confrontational. Instead of engaging, I prayed. It takes so much more strength to hold your peace.

I had to remember that he regularly shows his love and affection for me in other ways.  We have completely different love languages and that’s okay. I don’t want to seem selfish knowing what he’s dealing with, so I sucked it up and kept it pushing. I chose to be his strength and not another burden.

When mamas are to be celebrated, I am sometimes left seeking validation. Feeling depressed. But I put on a brave face and graciously face the day every year. Wondering if I did anything wrong beyond repair. Then it dawned on me. These feelings are NOT about my husband. It’s not even about past relationships. It’s about the need to forgive myself. To offer myself grace. Motherhood is HARD. I’m not perfect, but I AM a work in progress. 

I try to pick my head up and repeat affirmations. Practice routine self care. Pray. Pour into other women the things I need and would enjoy myself. But it’s never enough and never will be. Because as long as I have that void of unexplained “why me, God” moments, I won’t be fulfilled. No mass production of greeting cards or flowers can fix that wound. You can’t place a band-aid on something that runs as deep as your soul. Yeah, that’s what it is–a soul tie. I realize that these feelings probably even go back as far as my great grandmother’s childhood. There is a curse that will be broken.

 I initially thought Mother’s Day began with disappointment, but it led me to the realization that I have work to do. Marriage does not make you whole. That is an inward assignment that only you can achieve.

I became a mother at the age of 19. While the pregnancy may have been unplanned, my son’s birth was intentional.* (Jer 29:11) His life has purpose. I may not have known at that time, but God knew him before he was even formed in my womb. Then, my daughter came along and became a little mirror. Ciara, version 2.0. As I watch her walk around the house in my shoes, I’m reminded to journey carefully. Try my best to ensure I leave footprints that I don’t mind her following. To build her up so well that she never feels inadequate or the need to compromise her morals for attention. 

I went to church and began cleaning my house when I got home. I’m reminded of an epiphany I had while sweeping the floor. I was thinking about how I normally despise cleaning but it felt therapeutic this time. Then, I pictured Martha. How frantic she was trying to get her house together. Jesus was in her presence, yet she gave priority to chores. (Luke 10:38-42) I gave the broom to my son, a little bothered by the fact that I had to tell him to take over. Started setting up for my brunch then decided to stop and spend some time with God. He gently reminded me that this day was for me, but everything is not about me. 

I don’t know your story. You may have children, or lost one. Maybe you’re battling infertility or just trying to make ends meet as a single parent. You may be a mother figure or pillar of support for the mothers in your circle. Maybe you don’t have a great relationship with your own mother. Pause. Release that toxicity today. The gift of forgiveness is the greatest thing you can give yourself. 

Know that you are appreciated. If your family does not recognize your hard work, I see you. I honor you and I love you, mama. 

“If we are going to heal, let it be glorious.”

*God’s plans are ALWAYS better than our own plans for our life. What you may consider to be a detour or setback, it could be the very thing that propels you towards your destiny. 

OG Mamas Need Love Too: What to expect while you are raising children

I’ve been searching the web for years to find a motherhood blog that I can relate to. I’ve only come across blogs for expecting mothers or blogs written by newbie moms with babies and toddlers.

I might find something for school aged children, but nothing for tweens and teens. I always feel left out. What about the OG mamas? Ya know, the mommies that have been around the block and back. The Veteran moms that can use a little support from time to time. The moms that are not privileged enough to stay at home or work from home.  The moms that were once trying to figure out what to expect while they were expecting and are open to advice long after childbirth.

Parenting plans, just like birthplans, often fail. You may have an idea for discipline, but every child (much like every pregnancy) is different. You simply cannot have a one-sized-fits-all approach to parenting.

One day, I had an epiphany that maybe I need to create what I am looking for. I have no idea what this will look like in the long run, but I sure as heck will try to make it work.

I know that I can’t be the only one that experiences some of the joys realities of parenting. It’s all fun and games while you’re staging monthly photoshoots to capture your baby’s first twelve months of life. And then they grow up and stuff just ain’t that cute anymore. No one tells you how to deal with a five year old that lies. Or that raising a teenager can be both fun and challenging. Add in a blended family from different cultures and that’s a whole lot of mixed emotions.

Sure, my children are my biggest blessings but it does get hard at times. I would love to hear the stories behind the highlight reel as one of my favorite bloggers often says. It takes a village to raise a child, but I spent a lot of time feeling like I let mine down.

Two halves of my heart

After years of trial and error, I am ready to help other mothers cope with different parenting styles and techniques. What are some of the things you wish you knew before you became a mom?  Sound off in the comments.

Mommy Duty

Us mommies have super powers. They are given to us during pregnancy allowing us to grow and nurture a human for months. But when our kids are sick, we have to bring out the big guns and channel some assistance.
Last night, my daughter tossed and turned for a few hours crying intermittently because of an earache and cold. I am still sick as a dog from her cooties being transmitted to me the day prior. Hubby is sound asleep after a long day at work that began at 2am, so he occasionally rolls over and rubs her back.
“Don’t fret,” I tell myself.” You’re a pro, you’ve been doing this for over a decade… you got this.” I tried to close my eyes hoping that she would eventually fall asleep but I just couldn’t rest with her being in pain. Mama bear doesn’t like feeling helpless.
I tried giving her Tylenol and she refused. I confirmed what was hurting and called on the great physician. [Jesus on the main line, tell Him what you want]. “I can’t do this without you. I need you to take this pain & sickness away from my baby that seems to be getting worse. Let my hands be soothing to her and send down your healing virtue through my touch…Amen.”
After receiving my supernatural powers, I picked her up and rocked her to sleep praying the whole time. Shortly after, she was out in a flash. Her congestion started to clear, she began breathing deeply right away and I could feel her body sinking into relaxation. All she needed was for me to rock her to sleep?! Kind of like when we just need God to wrap His arms around us, huh?
Sidebar: I thought of when my mom and I were both sick when I was ten years old. I had the flu and gauze in both nostrils from a broken blood vessel (horrible nose bleeds as a child). She had pneumonia, but since I had to sleep upright and breathe out of my mouth, she stayed up with me all night. Kind of funny how moms forget about their own “owies” when tending to their kid’s.  
 
Of all the times I’ve felt like I was failing or at least not doing a very good job at parenting, I am extremely grateful for growth. I’m not saying I’m perfect or even the best woman to ever do this but what I am saying is that in their eyes I am, and that means the world to me.
I’m a superhero that fights off bullies and monsters under the bed. I am the hour nurse advice line diagnosing and caring for babies since 2003. I make fun arts and crafts. I’m not too prissy to get on the floor to play. I am a storyteller and bedtime tucker-inner. I am a negotiator or dictator depending on the day. I’m a stylist and hairdresser. A chef and dessert extraordinaire. I mold future leaders and lift self-esteem. I’m an encourager and motivator. I’m sweet but also stern when necessary. I’m the boss, I just let daddy think he is. I’m a protector and provider and most importantly, I’m a mother.
It’s not for show or some ulterior motive. I don’t do things for my kids just to look cool on social networking. I do things from the bottom of my heart to leave an imprint on their hearts when I’m long gone. You can’t put a price on what I do. It’s hard to itemize doing things that’s second nature. Much like breathing, being a mom is essential to my life because it has molded me into a woman. Motherhood is certainly not a 9-5 or seasonal job. The benefits are priceless and it’s the best position I’ve ever held. Of all the things I’ve been called in my life, Mommy, has to be the most rewarding. 

~Forever grateful for my blessings <3