You Are Wrong

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There are days I get so angry that I don’t see in myself what I so readily see in others. I preach about building others up and at the same time I fail with my own child. How often do I tell him what he gets wrong? How often do I bring up a conversation about something that has resulted in his failure?  How many times can a kid hear, you are a screw up and you can’t do anything right? How many times can you beat a kid down before he just stops trying to get back up? How many times can you say your best is never good enough? Is this the only voice he ever hears? Could it be? Here is a perfect example in this email that I received yesterday from his teacher.

On Quiz #3 Chase didn’t include the reasoning and evidence part of the explanation. He touched on one of the three but did not explain why those results occurred due to molecular level interactions (which is the standard). On the second question he did a great job at explaining why water had a stronger surface tension than ethanol however that is not what the question asked; the question was about why ethanol had a weaker surface tension than water. 

 The result? A 45. Call me crazy but isn’t explaining why water has a stronger surface tension than ethanol the same as explaining why ethanol has weaker surface tension than water? 

Am I like this teacher too rigid and closed off to see his right in this so called wrong? Am I more focused on proving myself right than allowing him the opportunity to be right?

So many questions. So much guilt. So much struggle with trying to be a decent parent. Maybe I am too hard. Maybe the teacher is too hard. Maybe the world is becoming hard. Maybe parenting is too hard. 

Lord, help me to remember how important my voice is and to use that voice to make my child feel good about himself. Help me see more opportunities to commend him and hold my tongue when I have the urge to criticize. Please help me make him feel more like an A instead of a failing grade. Take my hand and guide me in raising this child and elevating his self esteem. I know I cannot do this alone.

Amen

Mom, Is An 82 Okay?

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I am super hard on my kids. I expect a lot but I no longer expect more than their personal best. This push for better, brighter, smarter, perfect is becoming an inner battle I must fight from the inside out. I cannot tell you the number of parents I know who absolutely freak out over anything less that an A. Newsflash everyone! Not every kid is capable of A’s. As a parent who is more involved with my child’s schoolwork than most, I can honestly attest that sometimes the amount of information taught in class is not enough tobe successful on tests. This expectation that you can give kids an overload on informationin a short time folllwed by an exam where you are expected to APPLY what you learn is setting these kids up for failure. Not everyone can make those connections that are obvious for a select few. All I can say is, yes Chase, an 82 is just fine. 

Sometimes Being Mom Hurts 

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This is the last unfortunate story I will share about my week. I will start by saying every day is a new day and every week, a new week. What does not completely destroy us will have to make us stronger. Life gives us no other choice.

After getting some difficult news earlier in the week, I pulled myself together to go to Kayleigh’s volleyball game. That’s what parents do, no matter what they are going through on the inside, they stay strong and steady on the outside. The season is practically over and I have seen my daughter play in one game. I could see the pain on her face as she sat on that bench. She was the only girl not subbed in the entire game. Her posture said it all, defeat. She lost so much more than just the game that horrible night. I could see her fighting back the tears as I tried my best to hide my own. I can’t for the life of me figure out why this coach has been so unkind. I am so honest when it comes to my kids strengths and weaknesses and she really is just as good as any other girl on the team. She has given up so many hours of her time, sometimes going to three games a week and forced to sit there while freshman, and varsity play as well. Did I mention staying up until one in the morning to do the work she was not allowed to do at the game? Has it been worth it? Nope. Not to sit on the bench game after game trying her best to high five her teammates and put on a happy face.

She came to us after the game and told us she wanted to quit. I know there are some parents out there that are firm believers, if you start something, you should finish it. I used to feel that way too. As the years have gone by, I realize how important it is to make sure the activities and people around her build her self esteem, not rip it away. There comes a time when you say, this isn’t fair and you do deserve better, your time is important, you’re important. There comes a point when you don’t allow someone to take away what isn’t theirs to take. Shame on anyone who would purposely do this to any child. Sometimes I think people working in any capacity with kids need a thorough mental exam before we entrust them with the most precious thing in our little world. 

Volleyball meant so much to her. She was so excited to get back on the court and I was thrilled to see her follow her heart and do what she really loves. Such a shame. Needless to say, she went to practice the next day and told her coach exactly how she felt and what did her coach say? I understand you not wanting to be on the team anymore, finalizing the decision instead of having a conversation. Once again, she walks away from another sport, another coach who clearly sends the message, I don’t believe in you. You are not enough. What can I say except my heart still hurts. Two difficult lessons in the span of a week and another part of my heart broke watching her in pain. The toughest job in the world is being a mom. I am more than her mom. I am her advocate, her cheering squad, her shoulder to lean on and the one person in the world who will always be here for her, believing in her. I pray loving her will be enough. 

 

Do You Accept The Challenge?

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How come it’s so easy to tell someone what is wrong? Your lipstick doesn’t match your shirt. You need to be a better parent. You shouldn’t have done that. You should be working. You should cook dinner for your family. Seriously, the list goes on and on. It’s no wonder there is so much depression and unhappiness walking around disguised by a half- hearted smile on a really sad face.

Imagine if we made a commitment to point out only what is good about someone? You look beautiful. You are so smart. I love the way you interpret that. That lipstick is amazing. You are a really great parent. This meatloaf is delicious.

All I ask, is that you become aware of what you are saying to others. Make an honest effort to compliment everyone and be on a mission to make everyone feel good. Anyone can spit out an insult but not everyone can make someone feel like someone special.

Do you accept the challenge?

Build self esteem, don’t destroy it.

How Did I Get It So Wrong?

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If you like my warm, fuzzy inspirational posts, do yourself a favor and stop reading here. For those of you brave enough to read on, I would like to share with you how I would raise my kids differently if I could do it all over. At least what I would teach them anyway. 

I grew up in a little bubble where life was perfect and everyone was wonderful. Seriously, looking back, I know now that I was so naive. I respected and trusted every adult. I expected the best from everyone. I had a great run of my childhood years. It wasn’t until I became a parent myself that I learned some of the most painful and surprising lessons of all. If I could write my younger self a letter I would tell her, a long with my two children this.

Life is unfair. Every single day you will witness something that just doesn’t seem right. People will not speak out. Don’t expect them too. They are weak and scared and care more about how they appear to everyone else than to ever stand against something that is wrong. Never take anyone at their word because it is actions that speak and never the words. Expect the absolute worst from everyone so you are never disappointed when that is what they hand you. No one and I repeat no one will ever have your back. You may think they will, but when it comes down to your back or theirs, they will choose their own every single time. Trust no one. Expect people will let you down and if they don’t, be grateful. Be your own best friend, your own best advocate and always be your own self. The crowd is overrated. Don’t get lost somewhere in the middle of it. You will suffocate, never find your way out. Know too that there is good in this world. There are good acts and good people and a handful of honest ones. You won’t know which is which until it’s far too late. Trust your instincts and rely on the only person who will never let you down, YOU.

I had a rough day. The amount of people who do harm gets to me sometimes, especially when it comes to my kids. When I place them in the hands of someone who could make or break their self esteem and more importantly, their spirit,they seem to destroy them every single time. 

Everything you do affects everyone else. Every word. Every action. Your good mood or bad mood. We are all connected. We have to stop being so damn selfish and heartless. Be better than the crowd. The world needs you to. I need you to.

Can You Answer This Honestly ?

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Jennifer Pastiloff posted a question on Facebook. What’s one old/ bad story you tell yourself that you want to get rid of ?

Believe it or not there was a common theme in response to this. I was amazed at how many people chose the same two beliefs.

I am not good enough

I don’t deserve to be loved

Isn’t it amazing how alone we sometimes feel when there are so many people who feel exactly the same way we do? Why is it we don’t feel like we are good enough? Why do we feel we have to be more than who we really are? Why can’t we see how unique and special each one of us really is?

My next question is how in the world do we come to the thinking that we are not worthy of love? What happens to our self esteem that makes us feel so unworthy, so unlovable? The truth is, the capacity to love is endless. There is so much to give and so much to take. Just reach out and grab a hold of it. It is right there waiting. You are worthy of love, we all are.

Just Don’t Say It

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If you can’t be kind, be quiet. I refer back to this quote often when I have the choice to say something ugly or keep it to myself. One thing I learned recently is that too many ugly words from too many people can be a precursor to depression somewhere down the line. Words hurt. They scar, especially ones you don’t really mean that you say in jest or out of anger. Someone on the receiving end could be taking those words straight to the heart until slowly over time they finally crack that heart in two. 

Why I am bringing this up now? It’s simple really. I had a few people over this past weekend to watch the fight. I take great pride in keeping my house pristine but I have one small sink in my kitchen island that serves as a junk drawer. Everything I need to find but have no place for gets thrown into that sink. One particular person took notice and let me know it in her play of words that my sink is pretty disgusting. I have a beautiful home. I am very proud of it and the fact that I do my best to stay on top of it and keep it looking nice. I can’t help bet wonder, of all the compliments she could have given, why choose to insult someone? Seriously, almost nine times out of ten, the insult is the drug of choice. So, back to why I’m writing this blog post, say something nice. Choose words that build someone up and not ones that tear them down. Think of the person on the other end and remember they have feelings. They want to hear they’re awesome rather than be reminded of even a single flaw. Your words have great power. The question is, what will you do with that power?

And The Question Is….

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The Daily Post featured this prompt today, What question do you hate to be asked? Why? 

I guess for me, this didn’t require too much thought. Ready for it, WHAT DO YOU DO? I used to find the question offensive since I was a stay at home mom. I would think to myself, what does it matter what I do? Does it change the opinion someone may have of me? Will they think less of me because I have chosen to give up my career to sit home, nap with my kiddos and eat Bon Bons all day? I struggled with self esteem for quite awhile and not only did people have the nerve to ask me that question in the first place, it would come up in conversation over and over again. It went from “what do you do” to “when are you planning on going back?”

It took me a long time to have the confidence to stop making up silly stories and to stop explaining myself. It was because I made the choice to take the main responsibility for the care of our home and kids that my husband was able to successfully climb the corporate ladder. I didn’t give up my career, I put it on pause while I watched the little moments of my kids lives. I heard their first words, saw their first steps. I laughed with them. I cried with them. I smiled for hours listening to my daughter sing Barney after Barney song. I sat in amazement watching my sons fixation playing with trains. I saw every detail and I have no regrets. I watched them step on the bus in the morning and I was the first one they saw when they stepped off in the afternoon. 

So, what do I do? I guess if I had to put words to it I would say I am the CEO of this family. I hold it all together, I keep it running smoothly and once in a while, if I am feeling a little extra motivated, I bake some cookies. I am important and necessary regardless of whatever I do and honestly, to all those people who had the audacity to ask, it was never really any of your business anyway.

A Humbling Lesson About Humility

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There are times when self discovery can influence us in such a way that the experience can absolutely transform the person who we are. It’s tough to change. It usually happens gradually over a long period of time and requires overcoming an enormous amount of resistance. But sometimes, the lesson is so eye opening that it brings about immediate change. I am hoping that is what comes from my lesson today.

I started my day in a yoga class with an instructor who prides herself on perfectionism. She is critical and really grows frustrated with anyone who has less than perfect form. She expects it from everyone in the room without taking into account how long someone has been doing yoga, individual physical strengths or limitations, and whether or not it’s even a goal of the student to have perfect form and alignment. She pushes her expectations on everyone and I have to admit, I dreaded every single minute of the hour and a half class. I don’t like her comments, I don’t like her attitude and I certainly do not walk out of class looking forward to going back. I decided today would be my last experience with her. Sometimes we think we have to challenge ourselves to prove something to someone. It’s just in our stubborn, competitive nature. But today, I realized people who are perfectionists are impossible to please. In their minds, there is only one person that can do something completely correct, and that is the perfectionist herself.

Unfortunately, this whole experience forced me to have one of those AHA moments and take a good, hard look at myself. I am a perfectionist too. If someone tries to do something for me, it is never good enough and often I will redo it because I will do it better. It’s disgusting, it’s shameful and it is going to change. It is hard having these traits, because as hard as you are on everyone else, you are that much harder on yourself. The truth though, is that it feels awful for the person on the receiving end. It is degrading and condescending and harmful to someone’s self esteem. Why on earth would we want to make someone else, or even ourselves so uncomfortable or fearful that what they do will never be good enough?

It’s easy to see something that absolutely disgusts us about someone else. The truth is, what disgusts us more than anything is seeing our own reflection in the very thing we despise. Some look the other way and pretend there is no connection. The brave look it right in the eyes and commit to change. I hope that change starts today. I would never, EVER intentionally want to make someone I know or love feel that bad. Hopefully I can say lesson learned. I was truly humbled today and grateful that I was able to make the connection. And, I am never going back to that class. I enjoy yoga. If I am proud of what I do and it is good enough for me, than someone else’s standards will never define my self worth.

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