How Cheerleading Tryouts turned into a discussion about self love

My daughter tried out for the Cheerleading Team at school this year. I was proud of her for the courage to try something new. There were only 20 spots available. I made it clear to her that even if all the girls who tried out did well, people were going to be cut.

While I always speak greatness into my children, I am not the type of mom that’s irrational. I would be doing them a disservice if I did not prepare them for the real world. They will be faced with rejection and disappointment. They will have to navigate certain paths alone; I will not always be able to hold their hand through difficult times. Failure is inevitable. Steph Curry makes less than 50% of his three pointer shots, but the point is he. kept. shooting.

We had a discussion about her expectations beforehand. She said that she did not care either way, because she could always try again next year. It was a three day process. She felt super confident the first two days, but the last day was a different story. The next day at school, she received the dreaded news. She said, “Honestly, I was not expecting that. I really didn’t think that I would be one to NOT make the team. I had a little melt down because it caught me off guard.” Immediately, I had to validate her feelings.

I knew she was feeling disappointed and probably even embarrassed. The majority of her friends made the team. I knew she felt like she was not good enough. In that moment, I had to be HER cheerleader.

In sports, the cheerleaders literally improve the morale of the entire team by their positive attitude. Cheerleaders instill hope in the players even when they stop believing in their own ability to win. The football team can be losing and the basketball team can be trash, but the cheerleaders will show up to every game cheering them on no less. We have to remember to do that for our kids.

I made sure that even at eight years old, she understands that her self worth should not be based on what someone else thinks of her or a title that she has. Losing and failure is apart of life. It builds character and makes you work that much harder next time. It also makes you appreciate victory. While making the team would have been great, it does not add to nor take away from who she is as a person.

Of course, I had to throw in the “You are one of the very few students in the Talented and Gifted program. That shows that you stand out from amongst your peers. That in and of itself proves that you are a distinguished student. Try again next year. Be more fierce and make them regret not selecting you sooner. Bring it on!”

I’m not always sure that I’m doing this mommy thing right. I know I can stand to have a lot more patience and should probably retire from being the female version of Major Payne. But, when it comes to building my babies up and speaking affirmations over their lives? Oh, I got that in the bag.

We don’t run from challenges or crumble from defeat. Failure and disappointment does not define you; how you respond to it does. Chin up, shoulders back, and try again.

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.

Never Give Up

 

In honor of the close out of 2015 and preparation for 2016, I have been reflecting. Things that were not so clear in the moment makes perfect sense in retrospect.

Last month, was my six year old daughter’s fun run at school. I won’t disclose the distance but know that it was not fun for me lol. She started whining about
being thirsty and tired because she took off too fast. So, I had to suck it
up and act like I was okay in order to keep her encouraged. My husband ran
like it was a walk in the park-it’s gotta be the Jamaican in him haha.

This brings me back to school again. I have all of my kids looking up to me to finish. While the final stretch is the hardest, though I assumed it would be
the easiest, it doesn’t make sense to come this far just to quit. I may as
well push through the exhaustion and finish it. I can rest once I cross the
finish line.

“It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to finish the race, as long as you

finish.” ~Danielle’s uncle

I remember one of my late patients motivating me when he found out I was pursuing a degree in Nursing. Although, he passed away, his words will forever live in my  heart. A couple of years ago whenever he came for an appointment, he tried to convince me to be a Doctor or at least Physician Assistant. In his efforts of persuading me that I had what it took to succeed, he dropped the following bomb: “I’m not super smart, or a genius. I just kept at it and every semester I registered for classes until I finished. Before I knew it, I earned my PHD.” He did not receive great grades, but what he did earn was more important-his degree along with a lifetime of lessons. Aha! You mean I don’t have to be perfect?!

There will be times when you cannot remember why you started in the first place and it just does not seem to be worth it anymore. You will feel tired, discouraged and defeated. Moral: JUST KEEP GOING.

 

 
We finished! Not in last place, which was my secret goal 🙂