Ashamed of My Past and Afraid For Their Future

On Saturday, November 11 2017, I attended the Premiere and Day Retreat for StrongHER.

StrongHER is an up and coming non-profit passionate about empowering women in their real relationships with God everyday; encouraging and equipping them with relatable and user friendly tools and testimonies to inspire confidence and creating warriors for Christ.

Two of the speakers at the​ retreat covered the topics of shame and fear. While I didn’t think about it while I was listening to their message, I’ve had to overcome a lot of shame and fear in one particular area of my life.

In this week’s video, I talk about that shame and fear.

My apologies in advance for all the background noise. I was talking quietly so as to not be super loud in there. As it turns out, their noise overwhelms my speaking. And I have zero video editing skills, so I got as far as clicking “remove background noise,” so that helped…like…not much at all. You can hear me, just try reeeeally hard to ignore the talking and tables being collapsed in the background.

What is one area in your life you’ve had to overcome shame or fear? Share with us in a comment below.

I Thought I Knew What Love Was

I always wanted to be a mom. I distinctly remember thinking around age 13, “I want to have a daughter that loves me the way I love my mom.”

…because that’s not at all self-serving…

What I didn’t understand before becoming a mom was that real love is sacrifice. Yes, I loved my mom growing up, and we are still very close. I love her dearly. [Insert “awwwww” here].

Still, up until a certain age (definitely older than 13), I wasn’t making regular, deliberate sacrifices for my mom’s wellbeing. She was making sacrifices for MY wellbeing. I felt love towards her because of the love she showed me through her actions. I loved being loved.

As I’ve grown older (Am I even allowed to say “grown older” at age 29??), I’ve made more regular, deliberate sacrifices for my mom. Although, I wouldn’t always call my actions “sacrifices.” Sometimes it’s as simple as showing her around a new function on her iPhone. Seriously, I love that all generations are now using emojis.

Anyway, I’m reciprocating love by choosing actions that show my mom love. And because she has shown me unconditional love for all these years, I am even more eager to return that love.

I want to raise children who respect and love their parents the way I do mine. (Hey, Dad!!). It’s no accident that I feel towards my parents the way I do. That I treat them the way I do. They worked their tails off for many years (and still do). They taught me the importance of showing love and respect towards others.

While it certainly is challenging to put so much time and effort into raising my children, it has been much less daunting than it would have been had I not had my parents’ love and direction for all these years.

So, here’s my question to you—

How will you teach your children to show love?

This isn’t something to start thinking about once your kids are a little older, because “a little older” will be here in a hot second. Start thinking today how you will consistently show love to your children and teach them to show love. Consider how you want your children to show love to you and others 5…10…20 years down the road.

What is one thing you can do that will make deposits into your child’s character so they may grow to be an example of love and sacrifice for others? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

I Took All My Daughter’s Toys Away…and She Didn’t Care.

I don’t remember exactly why I did it.

I think I may have said, “Margaret, if you don’t clean up your toys, I’m taking them all away.” (I don’t like taking things away as punishment, but I apparently wasn’t too patient that day). She said to me, “Take them away!” Begrudgingly, I began to pick up every little thing. I wasn’t thrilled about cleaning up her mess, but I had to follow through. (Okay, to be fair, I didn’t take ALL of her toys away. She still had her blocks, coloring books, and a few little trinkets).

As I began picking up her toys, she didn’t seem to care. Then I found her on the floor in her room, sobbing, “Don’t take my gym shoes away!!” That kid. I said to her, “Margaret, your shoes aren’t a toy. I’m not going to take them.” She continued to fuss for a bit, terrified that I would take her precious gym shoes away. It was adorable. No really, it was pretty cute. Of all things—gym shoes.

When Margaret finally comprehended that I wasn’t going to take her shoes, she set them down and began handing me her toys to take away. Not putting her toys away— giving them to me so I could take them away. “Here, Mama, take this.” “Mama! You forgot this one!” What??

So this was…over a month ago. I had tossed the toys into a toy bin and put it in my husband’s and my bedroom. I figured after a few days Margaret and I would have a little chat and then I’d give the toys back. But she hasn’t asked for them. Every once in a while when she comes into our bedroom she’ll see something and ask for it, so we’ll give it to her. But other than that, she doesn’t care. She probably doesn’t even remember what’s in there. I certainly don’t.

So what have I learned from this?

Even though we had already purged a lot of her toys, Margaret still had more than she “needed” (wanted). It kind of makes me want to just toss that whole bin without looking at what’s in it. Her blocks and coloring books are plenty to keep her perfectly happy. (Just kidding, Jeremy!). I’ll be putting some of it back, but definitely not all.

It has been amazing to see how my daughter’s interests and her play have changed since we cleared out a lot of her stuff a few months back and recently when we chose to stop watching TV. She is more active during the day and is more engaged with her brother (1 year). Her favorite thing to do is play in his crib with him. And he adores her. I love hearing the shrieks and giggles coming from his room.

I encourage you to take some time to evaluate all the “stuff” in your house. Do your kids really need all those toys? Books? Clothes?

If you’re ready to clear out and clean up, check out my course “Clear Your Kids Clutter: How to Ditch the Mess in 3 Hours or Less.” This course will get you results crazy fast. Click here to check out the promo video. Even if you have no intention of buying the course, go watch the video. Margaret is in it and it’s pretty stinking cute.

What are your thoughts? Do your kids have too much stuff? What’s one action step you can take to eliminate some of the clutter in your household?

How Are Your Actions Affecting Your Relationships?

Do you ever find yourself fuming over something your kids did, only to lash out at them with biting words and drastic punishments?

In these moments, it can be challenging to take a step back and see the situation for what it truly is. Chances are, it’s not that big of a deal.

We may get angry, but we can’t let our anger determine the severity of our punishments.

I frequently remind myself of the words of Viktor E. Frankl. Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. He said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

When you find yourself in a frustrating situation with your kids, ask yourself, “Is what I’m considering doing right now an appropriate response to their actions?”

Consider also how your reactions affect your relationships. If we are angry and hateful in response to our kids’ disobedience, what is that doing to our relationship? Are we “beating them into submission” at the expense of fostering a safe, loving, and secure relationship?

Let’s go back to Frankl’s words. We have the power to choose our response to any circumstance. In our response lies our growth and freedom.

Are you choosing responses that are growing your relationships with your kids and freeing you to be a kinder and more loving mama? Or are your responses crippling those relationships because you’ve become a slave to your emotions? Take some time this week to make use of the space between the stimuli of your life and your responses.

How do you handle your emotions in regards to your responses to your children’s behavior? Share in the comment section below!

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