For My Daughter and For Yours

Yesterday, I took a picture with my daughter and posted it to Facebook. In the caption, I wrote:

“She thinks you’re beautiful momma. You are just her favorite.

They say that the relationship between a girl and her momma changes over time. They warn us that one day our little girls might not be our biggest fans. They might not listen as closely.

But for now? While she still cares about what you have to say? While she wants to spend time with you as you get ready… while her heart and her ears and her eyes are open wide?

Be careful especially now with the words you say about yourself… with the way that you treat yourself… Because you aren’t just painting a picture of how you see you… you are putting a brush in her hand and teaching her how to paint a picture of herself… You are teaching her how to see her beauty… by learning to see your own.

I want to see your selfies with your girls! Post them with the hashtag ‪#‎ForTheSakeOfOurDaughters

I cried all day as I scrolled through the comments on that post.

Hundreds of women took my challenge and posted photos with their beautiful daughters. Hundreds of beautiful faces of moms just like you and me with daughters just like yours and mine all raising their hands saying, “Yes. We will remember to love ourselves. We will remember to be kind to ourselves. We will remember that little eyes and sensitive hearts are watching us always.”

You know, sometimes, we forget how connected we really are. We forget that we are each doing our very best to raise up strong, smart, confident daughters in a world that wants to tear them apart.

We forget that we are swimming against the currant that tries to sweep all of us into an ocean of insecurities.

And we forget that we are doing our best to fight against the tides… together.

As I scrolled through all of the photos of mommas with their girls, I was reminded that all of the things that separate us as moms are nothing in comparison to the unifying heartbeat of motherhood that pounds within our each of our chests.

Friend, just as our daughters learn about their beauty by watching us embrace our own, we have the opportunity to teach them something even greater. We have the opportunity to teach them how to accept grace for themselves so that they can turn and share it with others. We can show them how to look for and find the beauty in others.

If you haven’t yet, I hope that you would scroll through the photos that were shared on that post. (It is currently pinned to the top of page if you click here.) Look at the hundreds of other women just like us, and remember that we are all on the same team. We are all in this together. And we are going to fight to build one another up and not tear one another apart as we love one another on purpose #ForTheSakeOfOurDaughters

 

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The Best of Me

 

Well, the day is over. The kids are in bed, and I’m sitting here knowing that tomorrow pretty much looks just like today. Because while the details might be slightly different, the pattern of endless giving and caring and pouring my heart out won’t change.

This… is my day. (Maybe you can relate.)

Wake up

Get baby

Feed baby in highchair

Feed kids

Clean up breakfast with baby on my hip

Put baby on the floor to crawl because he doesn’t want to be on my hip anymore

Chase baby

Put baby in pack-n-play while I race through cleaning up the rest of breakfast

Think about folding clothes – check email/facebook instead

Get baby out of pack-n-play

Chase baby all over the house

Close all the doors and try to corral baby

Fold 3 items of clothing

Help my bigger kids with… life (opening juice box, fixing toy, taking armfuls of toys upstairs)

Try to fold again

Remember it is trash day

Race outside in my pajamas with a baby on my hip (hope the neighbors don’t notice)

Take cans to curb/wave at sanitation workers as they pull up to my house (wish that I had put on appropriate clothing)

Settle an argument between the big kids about something important like who touched the toy first

Try to fold again

Baby is ready for a nap.

Rock baby, feed baby, baby asleep…

Warmly remind big kids of the importance of NOT WAKING UP THE BABY OR SO HELP ME.

Try to take a shower

Get halfway through shampoo when a snack request comes from the other side of the shower curtain.

Promise snack momentarily.

Hear fighting from the play room about promised snack

Speed through rinse cycle and race to remind fussing children of certain siblings resting DON’T WAKE UP THE BABY!

Dress

Make snack

Clean up snack

Open emails – reply to two

Think about folding laundry

Pay bills instead

Help kids begin large craft/play project like beads or play dough

They play nicely – for five minutes

Decide to turn on the TV so fussing doesn’t wake up baby

Baby wakes up anyway

Lunch time

Feed the baby

Feed the kids

Clean up lunch with baby on my hip

Put baby down

Chase baby all over

Give up on cleaning

Remember that I haven’t eaten all day.

Treat myself to gourmet “Sandwich Stix” (aka the leftover sliced crusts)

Think briefly about dinner plans.

Investigate suspicious giggling.

Find the big kids “making a fort” out of all of their clean bedding.

Praise the Lord that they are entertaining themselves.

Gather laundry and begin a load.

Make a few phone calls.

All hell breaks loose – because – I’m on the phone and of course.

Load everyone up in the car to run errands.

Stop at the grocery store.

Regret not going earlier when it wasn’t naptime.

Put ground beef, bananas, milk and some spaghetti sauce in my basket – hope that I can make dinner using these things at home.

Drop grocery bags in the kitchen next to left over lunch.

Make snacks.

Feed baby.

Put away groceries.

Unload the dryer (add to pile on the couch)

Move clean clothes to dryer/start new load.

Think about folding laundry.

Decide to spend a few minutes with the big kids.

Keep baby from eating everything small off the ground in playroom.

Pick up my phone/check Facebook/feel guilty/put phone down/engage with kids… repeat.

Put baby in highchair with a snack while I start dinner.

Survey the damage of the day – clothes, dishes, groceries, wrecked beds.

Call kids and have them help me do the “Daddy dash” – 15 minute whirlwind clean up.

Finish making dinner with baby on my hip.

Greet husband.

Feed family.

Feed baby.

Clean up baby.

Pass baby duties to daddy.

Clean up the kitchen.

Give baths.

Make beds.

Put baby to bed.

Read big kids books.

Remind them of sleeping baby.

Put them to bed. Pray. Give them final drinks of water. Hugs. Kisses. Stay a minute. Hug again. Blow kisses from across the room as I turn out the light and rejoice that I’m off duty.

Sit down, check Facebook, unwind a minute, and regret not spending more time with my kids.

I wrote this note and hung it in my kitchen about a week ago. It simply says, “Choose them.” It’s a reminder that the dishes and the laundry and all of that other stuff is far less important than spending time with my kids. But no matter how many times I see it… no matter how many times I choose my kids over the other things on my list… I can’t help but feel like they have had me – but they haven’t had the best of me.

Do you ever feel that way too? Do you ever feel like you were there, but you weren’t really “there?”

I know that is such a heavy feeling, Momma. You wonder if there’s enough of you to go around. You wonder where you can take so that you can give where it really matters.

Tonight, as I sit and think back over my day, and as I plan for tomorrow, I am keeping this one thing in mind…

Tomorrow, I will give them the best of me, and I will have grace to remember that whatever that looks like is okay – because I’m doing the very best that I can. And I bet you are too.


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“Let Me Hold the Baby” & Other Sexy Things My Husband Says

He came in from a long day of work and took his boots off by the front door. I was standing in the living room trying to fold the clothes with one arm while holding a baby with the other. Our oldest two had abandoned the Disney Junior show that they were watching, and had decided to run circles around the couches shrieking as they tried to catch each other.

I was in that hazy space between fully functioning adult and zombie mommy – staring blankly at the mountain of clothes and wondering what year it was when I slept last.

He walked over, placed his hand on my back and whispered five beautiful words, “Let me hold the baby.”

And he was never more attractive than in that moment.

It’s true that marriage often changes once we have children, but I have noticed that my husband whispering a few words like he did that night can make or break our evening (or week.)

So, men, here is a list of proven effective phrases that are guaranteed to change your evening and or rest of your life. (You’re welcome.)

1.) “Can I hold the baby for a while?”

2.) “No. I’m going to give them baths and put them to bed tonight. You should go rest now.”

3.) “Honey, I called in a pizza for the kids, and I’m stopping for some wine for us. Should I bring chocolate or ice cream?” (Actually, just get the pizza and surprise her with the rest.)

4.) “I’m taking the kids out for a few hours so you can have the house to yourself.”

5.) “I think I hear the baby. Don’t get up. You need your rest.”

6.) “Kids, mommy needs some alone time. Let’s go play in the other room while she takes a bath.”

7.) “I’m not sure if you have plans, but I was thinking we could go out tonight just the two of us. I arranged a sitter.”

8.) “Sweetheart, why don’t you go take a nap, I’ve got this.”

9.) “I unloaded the dishwasher and rinsed the dinner dishes while you were changing the baby’s diaper. I hope you don’t mind.”

10.) “Hey honey. I was thinking that after the kids were in bed… you and I could… you know…watch “Fixer Upper” on HGTV while you browse Facebook.”

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list. Ladies, what would you add? And fellows, which are you going to try out first?
(PS – this is just for fun. I recognize that the roles are shared in many homes and that daddies often do just as much as mommies. Thanks for not taking this too seriously!)

 


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