By Momivate's Cultivate Leader, Ericka Moore
February is American Heart Awareness month. The CDC and American Heart Association websites contain important, thorough information on ways to prevent heart disease. Listed below are some helpful tips for a healthy heart:
By Esperanza DeLaLuz
I have been thinking about two quotes lately. The first, by E. M Forster, says, “I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.” It could be true. . . . If mothers could put nations on time-out, we would have a different world.
But then, dedicated mothers are usually too busy to be running the world.
Poet William Ross Wallace discussed the same theme when he said, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” To me this is the heart of the matter. Women who raise children who will seek peace, serve others, be positive and productive citizens of their countries and the world, can have an amazing and vast influence on the world scene. They deserve to be lauded, supported, encouraged.
But there has been a trend in the world to minimize the value of choosing to be a mother. Nowadays, motherhood is often seen as an adjunct—something less important than a paying job outside the home; something a woman does once the “real” work of life is well established and she can now afford to indulge in the luxury of taking time to have a child. By some of the prevailing philosophies, women who choose to spend most of their time as “only” mothers are not given the respect they deserve.
When I was a young mother, I went shopping one day with several little children in tow. Someone commented about how many children I had and how little I was contributing to the betterment of the world. (This was during the time when “zero population” was being popularized and politicized). It did hurt, but I said to that person, “My life work is to create and raise several people who will grow up and be contributing members of society, who will work to support themselves, serve others, obey laws, vote, and be productive members of society. What could anyone contribute more?”
And, you know, that person just clammed up and walked away.
I may not rule a nation, but I can teach my children how to govern themselves, and that is a priceless gift to the world.
By Esperanza DeLaLuz
I hate to hear someone say that! Mothers do the most important job on earth when they raise healthy, happy, productive children. Abraham Lincoln, our great president, said, “All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
What not everyone knows is that the angel mother to whom he refers is actually his stepmother. His birth mother died when he was nine and, the following year, his father remarried. Sarah had children of her own, yet she was a loving and devoted mother to all of the children, and she especially nurtured Abraham in his desire to learn and read.
This is a comforting thought to those of us who are stepmothers, aunts, foster moms, and grandmothers, or who are in other positions of nurturing. The task of mothering is not only the province of those who give birth. To “mother”—which is defined as “to look after kindly and protectively”—is incredibly demanding, and just as incredibly—and critically—important. To mother is a noble task and those who participate in it, to any extent, are doing a great and valuable work.
However, in the midst of diapers, tantrums, mischief, and defiance, it may be a challenge to feel that one is engaged in a noble task. Often it feels like we are in “survival mode.” Roseann Barr once joked that if her children were alive at the end of the day, she had done her job as a mother.
I know for every mother there are days which feel like that. On those days, it can help to remember Abraham Lincoln’s feelings about his “angel mother,” and recognize that someday it may be your influence that sways the world.
The next time you are deciding whether to scrub the crayon mural off the wall or frame it, remember Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln, and mother on!
By Momivate's "Atmosphere" CouncilMom, Annette T. Durfee
UGH! The dishes aren't done (again!), the laundry is ludicrous, and you sit defeated on the couch. You have a mile long list of things to do, but honestly, the motivation to do it just isn’t bubbling to the surface!
Do you ever feel like that? I surely have. And perhaps it’s because I’ve felt like this SO often that I have developed a list of go-to-strategies to help me bite the bullet and turn miserable mayhem into magical motivation.
I thought I’d share a few that have helped me, in hopes that they will help you too!
1. Make it fun! Maybe I’m just a kid at heart, because although I know I could just power through and get the job done, a big part of me says, “why not make it fun?” This is where your creativity comes into play and the sky's the limit, ladies! What would make this task A LOT of fun for you? Turning on the music and dancing while you go at it? (Yes, even if your children laugh at you!) Listening to a podcast while you work away? Or how about making it into a game? A few other ideas: I purposely buy my favorite scents for cleaning so I can relish the process more. And I’ve been known to let my mind wander as I work while planning a fun family frolic for the future.
2. Better with a buddy – Whether this is your husband, a child, or a really good friend, sometimes it is just easier as well as a lot more fun to tackle the work or a project with a friend in tow. While they help to shoulder the burden, you both enjoy conversation and even a few good laughs. Not only do you get something done that needs doing, but somehow, it seems less of a chore. And of course, the added bonus is that you simultaneously build a stronger relationship. When all is said and done, remember that turn around is fair play - you can offer to help them with what they need as well!
3. Set the timer – Sometimes the main problem is that I am overwhelmed. Have you been there? It just seems like there is too much to do, and where in the world do I start? So, instead of procrastinating, I tell myself, “I will only work for ten minutes at top speed, and then, if I feel like it, I can stop.” And sometimes I do just that and I honestly feel better because the task at hand is now significantly smaller and easier for the next time I have to face it. Other times, however, just rolling up my sleeves and really digging in produces momentum and my motivation soars. (Super Mom powers activate!) I find my mind actually enjoying the process and I don’t want to stop!
4. Reward yourself – I know that some people might look at this as “bribery,” but somehow, I don’t mind doing something if I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel: What sounds inspiring to you? bubble bath? a short nap? a few minutes with a good book? Or maybe a little snuggle time with your child? Make yourself a deal you can’t refuse, then follow through with it! A word of caution: While I have to admit I “love me” some chocolate, I would suggest steering away from food as a reward (at least on a constant basis) as we all know that would be trading one problem for another. And if all else fails, remember YOUR WHY! Think of the faces of your beautiful family and what they mean to you. You are worth it! They are worth it! Therein lies a reward in and of itself!
5. Reach out – If you find that your motivation is low for extended periods don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Goodness knows we ALL need it from time to time! What might this look like for you? Are you lonely? Who could you call for a good old-fashioned chat? Do you feel overwhelmed? Could you arrange for a sitter so you can hit your list head on? And what if you feel like sitting in bed day after day for weeks? If so, there is no shame in scheduling a trip to the doctor to help rule out or treat depression. Believe me, I’ve been there and I can assure you that there is help for you. You are not alone!
No matter what strategies you decide upon, I have faith that you WILL find a way. You can do this! You are enough and that magical motivation you need is waiting just around the corner. . .
By Esperanza DeLaLuz
Today when this world is so often in chaos, it is critical to remember what is important and what lasts. Too often the world, in general, demeans the role of homemaker. It seems to say that being a homemaker is what you do when you aren’t smart enough, strong enough, driven enough, or educated enough, to work outside the home. And that is clearly not the truth.
Making a home is much more than cooking, cleaning, and washing—you can hire those things out, if you have enough money. But you can’t pay someone to be your child’s mother. You can hire a babysitter, even a nanny who becomes devoted to your child—but that is still your child, and no one can love that child as you do, with love that is visceral, concrete, and unshaken.
Homemaking is mothering, too--making an environment where the people you love are able to grow and dream and feel safe. Homemaking is creating a haven, a breathing space, and a refuge from the world. Homemaking is helping children build a relationship with God.
Being a mother has challenges; it is not a job for the weak or the lazy or the selfish. But even if, like me, one has tendencies towards those things, it is amazing how much one improves when those tendencies interfere with the well-being of your child. Suddenly, selfishness becomes getting and doing and being whatever your child needs. Laziness is converted to opportunities to cuddle and sing, read stories and rocking your little one. And weakness—well, turning weakness into strength is something we model for our children. Inspired by our children's needs, we gradually become less weak, lazy, and selfish.
So, making a home for your children—your family—that is comforting, safe, and clean is nice, but it’s secondary to the love you have for your family. You do it because your family needs it—and hopefully they appreciate it (and learn to help)—but loving comes first. So, when you stress about how little housework you have managed to get done because you have spent your time mothering instead of cleaning, think of this charming little poem:
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait ‘til tomorrow,
For babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.
-- Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
By Momivate's "Energy" CouncilMom, Ericka Moore
According to the CDC, “34.2 million US adults have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t even know they have it. In the last 20 years, adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled.” These statistics are sobering and should serve as a call to action to improve our health.
What is diabetes?
The CDC notes it is “a chronic condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.” It is apparent because blood glucose or blood sugar when measured is too high. Glucose is a source of energy from food. When your body needs to break it down, insulin (a hormone) is secreted from your pancreas and allows the glucose to get into your cells to use for energy. If your body does not utilize insulin well (or does not make enough), sugar stays in the bloodstream instead of going to the cells leading to a plethora of health issues. These health issues include: heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems, dental disease, nerve damage and foot problems.
An individual can be diagnosed as:
Prediabetes is “when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.” (CDC). This diagnosis can be turned around through a healthy diet and lifestyle change.
If diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to work with your healthcare provider in order to establish an effective healthcare plan which may include medication. Lifestyle changes such as increasing daily activity (exercising), quitting smoking, losing weight, and choosing a healthy diet with fruit and veggies and minimal processed foods are keys to success.
Also, knowing your ABCs is vital to maintaining your health when diagnosed with diabetes:
By Sam Allred, Momivate's Music, Inspiration, and Laughter CouncilMom
Anyone who has spent an entire day with kids knows that it can be overwhelming and difficult. Many days are full of laughter, playing, and joy. But some days are full of tears and tantrums - all day long.
On those bad days, it is easy to start down a spiral of stress and frustration and those emotions have a huge impact on our kids. That’s why it is important to know how to change your bad days into good days.
Here are a few tips you can try the next time you’re having a rough day at home with the kids:
1. Get Outside!
If you're cranky, then the kids are probably cranky too. Dishes and laundry can wait for an hour while you take the kids on a walk or to the park. Let your kids run, soak up some sun, and explore. Being outside is a fantastic mood lifter.
2. Set the Timer for Ten Minutes
If you are feeling overwhelmed with a to-do list a mile long, tell the kids you are setting the timer for ten minutes, invite them to help, and do everything you can before the timer goes off. Do the dishes, tidy up, switch the laundry over, take out the trash, sweep the kitchen, or whatever else is an immediate need. You will be surprised at how much you are able to accomplish in a short amount of time. When the timer goes off, stop your chores and focus on your kids. In a few hours, set the timer again. After a few ten minute sessions, hopefully you will have most of your chores done.
3. Talk to Someone
Adult relationships in motherhood are so important. Talking to a friend about life can be a great stress reliever. We all require connection to thrive and it can be hard to feel connected when you only talk to tiny humans all day. Make sure you can talk to somebody about your struggles, your hobbies, your current favorite TV show, or whatever else you want! Consider joining a facebook group or a support group for mothers in your area.
4. Listen to some Mood-Boosting Music
Music has been proven time and time again to distract us from fatigue and exhaustion, elevate our mood, lessen anxiety, and even improve our health. Play a favorite album, find some fun action songs to get the kids moving, or have an impromptu dance party in the kitchen.
5. Give Yourself Grace
Remember that you are a good mom. Having a bad day as a mom does not define you. You are allowed to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Everybody has bad days occasionally. Let your kids see you practice the important skill of turning a bad day into a good day. If you find yourself having bad days more frequently, make sure you make yourself a priority by taking a break and practicing self care. You cannot pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first.
By Momivate's "Energy" CouncilMom, Ericka Moore
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped organ located within the neck. It distributes thyroid hormone which controls metabolism, even the pace of your heartbeat.
When issues with the thyroid occur, it feels as if your entire world is coming to a stop.
Symptoms of potential thyroid issues (from Office on Women’s Health, “Thyroid Disease”):
When experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to consult your healthcare professional to begin nutritional and/or medical care.
By Momivate's "Energy" CouncilMom, Ericka Moore
I can be changed by what happens to me.
To say that we have experienced change these past few years is an understatement. Covid has impacted every marker of stability we have relied upon. Some of us have handled this change better than others and have become sources of inspiration to those who need it. Families have struggled to continue normalcy and children sensed this interruption. As mothers, we are sensitive to the needs of our children and this global impact brought out the need to protect and screen our children from its harsh realities. At times, shielding our children is necessary, but sometimes, during moments of change, it is good to teach.
Change is certain to occur and the way we respond can be the difference between learning a tough but difficult lesson or sowing seeds of anger and bitterness. I believe it is the key to navigating and overcoming any mountain. Oxford Dictionary defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Toughness.” It takes fortitude to continue a journey when met with obstacles. In order for a caterpillar to become a butterfly, it must struggle against the cocoon shell, then push its fluids down its wings so that the wings are strengthened to fly. That is the perfect picture of growth through resilience!
Listed below are five principles to improve resilience during moments of change. I am not a life coach, but I offer these principles as possible suggestions:
1) Understand you cannot control everything.
Control means safety and the lack of it can mean chaos. However, it is impossible to dictate and manage every detail of every situation in your life and the lives of those you love. It is okay to let go and prioritize the situations that need management. All situations do not need your influence.
2) Recognize that yours is not the only path.
Your knowledge and experiences impact the path you take in decision making. However, it may not be the correct path for another. Your way is not the only way. Do not be afraid to see another point of view.
3) Seek wisdom. (Accept that you may not know the answers.)
We like to think we know it all but we do not. There is no harm in seeking wise counsel. Speaking to a trusted friend, family member, or counselor is smart. It may save you time, money, and heartache.
4) Remember, this is only temporary.
Change is awkward and does not always happen on a schedule. It does not stay awkward forever. Eventually, change becomes routine, and routines bond families and help children feel safe.
5) Take care of your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical body.
It is vital to address mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical arenas in your life. Getting plenty of sleep, eating well, addressing stress, and nurturing your relationship with God is important. You are no good to anyone else if you are not being good to yourself. Remember to facilitate this for your children, also.
Growth and maturity are what keep us from becoming stagnant, and every experience teaches us more about the world and ourselves. Though some changes are forced on us, we can become stronger through them and see them as a chrysalis, enabling us to find new wings.
By Momivate's "Atmosphere" CouncilMom, Annette T. Durfee
Mom must have been magic!
Really! Everything she touched in the kitchen tasted like gold in your mouth! (well, except for liver and onions – but hey, I’ll forgive her for that!) But seriously - melt-in-your-mouth rolls, warm creamy soups, comforting casseroles, tantalizing roast beef dinner, savory shepherd’s pie…I could go on and on!
Just what is it that made Mom’s cooking so great?! Was it the splendor of eating in a palatial hall on bona fide China? Was it that she served a 7- course meal made purely from scratch? Or was it that she spent the entire day slaving away in the kitchen?
Hardly! Mom was -- and still is -- a fantastic cook and hard worker to boot, but practicality has always been a quality that was surely at the forefront of her mind. You and I both know the real reason for that mouth-watering taste of home: Mom served every meal with a heaping spoonful of her secret ingredient . . . LOVE.
Yep! I knew that she loved me when I ate it. I’m quite sure that I didn’t fully recognize it then -- in fact, I probably underappreciated her efforts. Regardless, her secret was there - sort of an underlying message that would waft through the kitchen and down the hall, whispering for us to keep coming back – back to the kitchen, back to the table, back to the warmth of her influence – sign, sealed, and delivered with a kiss.
So how do WE do that, Moms? How do we, with limited time and means, and sometimes limited skills in the kitchen, infuse as much love into the process so that even if it’s not their favorite dish, our families KNOW that we love them when they eat it?
Here are a few ideas to add to a list of your own fabulous ideas:
Plan ahead – Nothing says “stress” in the kitchen quicker than not having a meal ready when hungry tummies come calling. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the “hangries” and that doesn’t even come close to that warm feeling we are trying to create. So, what can we do to avoid this? Mom took a few minutes each day to prepare the meal – taking the meat from the freezer to the fridge the night before or squeezing in a few minutes in the morning to start the crockpot going. Many moms also plan out meals a week or so in advance so they can add items to the grocery list for a one-stop trip. Let’s see, anything special this week? Andrea’s birthday cake on Friday and the potluck social on Saturday. And of course, we’re really busy on Tuesdays and Thursdays so we need a quick and easy option for those nights. Some families choose to make it simple by assigning a theme to every day – something like: Mondays – Italian, Tuesdays – Taco Tuesdays, Wednesdays – soup or salad, Thursdays – crockpot dinner, Friday – pizza night, Saturday – leftovers, Sunday – sweet and simple. What kind of plan would work best for your family?
Bring along a helper or two – If you’re like just about every mom on the planet, you don’t have a lot of time to spare, so why not engage your mini chefs? That seemed to be the way it was with Mom. We not only felt her love with the delivery of the meal, but she infused an extra sprinkle of love into the meal by including us in the very process. There we were, side by side, where she gave one-on-one instruction on peeling the carrots, shredding the cheese, chopping the bananas, and browning the hamburger, all the while sharing stories and building trust. When my children were small, I tweaked this a little bit. I found it to be more than a little chaotic and unsafe with everyone “helping” in the kitchen all at once. So, I capitalized on their interest and willingness to help at a young age by assigning one child per day to help me with meal prep. With only one child to focus on, I found it was a lot of fun. And if my children made it, they usually ate it too! After a few years, I put them in charge of making one dish for the meal and eventually the entire meal with me there to supervise if there were questions. When time came for them to walk out the door to go to college, they had become great cooks and could really fend for themselves! Now that’s love in your pocket!
Eat together as much as possible – Thinking back to those growing up years with Mom, I realize that it wasn’t so much WHAT we were eating as that we were eating together. Mom not only took time to make it just for us, but then she ate WITH us. That fact helped us feel that we were the most special people in her life. She had time for us. Dinner became a time to linger longer and talk it out. What was funny? What was hard? What did we do when we were little? What did we learn in school? What was important to us now? She learned from us and we in turn learned from her – manners, values, attitudes, beliefs, her life lessons, how to laugh at life, how to get along with each other, and how to tackle the hard stuff that life threw at you.
These are just a few of the little things that strong families are made of and can create a bit of heaven in our homes. In fact, that idea reminds me that one time in her late teens, my youngest sister said, “Do you know what heaven is going to be like? It’s going to be just like this – all of us sitting around a table and visiting and laughing while we enjoy good meals.” Well, I’m all for that – especially if it includes a little homemade pie with ice cream! So, whether it’s a fancy night of chicken cordon bleu or a simple PB&J sandwich, trust that you’ve got that special ingredient right up your sleeve, ready to make any meal a magical memory.
by Meagan Waite, Assistant Director - My Discovery Destination!
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and the world is all-aflutter with overpriced red roses, paper hearts, and boxes of chocolate. I am also aware of the fact that some people refer to February 14 as Singles Awareness Day–I am in that demographic myself. Now I’m not down on romance just because I am currently footloose and fancy free. Just because this is the month of “amore” doesn’t mean that it is only referring to fairytale love.
English is among the largest languages by word count. That being said, we native English speakers don’t have nearly enough for the word “love.” Now, the Greeks…they know about words of love.
Eros means passion. Philia is a deep friendship. Ludus is a playful love. Philautia is the love of self. But, it is agape, the love for everyone, and pragma, long standing love, that I wish to talk about.
I believe that the love of a parent for their child falls into a combination of agape and pragma–an all encompassing, lasting love. And when you love someone you want to wrap them up, hold them tight, and protect them from the world. But, it is the nature of children to grow up, become adults, and have children of their own (and in case you aren’t yet there, grandchildren are the BEST!).
Once you find yourself in the phase of life with adult children and grandchildren, you can no longer safeguard your babies from everything because they are no longer babies. Take my advice–while your children are young, wrap them up in the protective bonds of family, proven to be the best prevention for risky behaviors.
We are all busy so make the best of the limited time you have. The Discovery Family Adventures are fun, fast, flexible, and free. The Teaching Important Parenting Strategies (TIPS) that are built in make interactive, deliberate parenting effortless.
Show your children you love them. Give them experiences that will protect them for adulthood, parenthood, and beyond. Give them something they can pass down to those grandbabies.
by Alexandra Davis, an attorney who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband and two sons. This article is reprinted in part with permission from The Public Discourse. Please visit their website to finish reading (link after the first few paragraphs!)
“Will you have more kids?”
I’m a mother of two, and this is a question I often field from friends and strangers alike. But my answer isn’t relevant. What matters is what the question implies.
Among my millennial peer group, particularly in secular circles, there’s reluctance to bring children into “this world”—a world that, to millennials who until recently have lived generally free from significant sociopolitical upheaval as adults, now feels exceptionally tumultuous. We are approaching year three of a lingering global pandemic, facing unmatched levels of animus across the political divide, and grappling with renewed fears about the long-term dangers of climate change. At the core of this hesitation to procreate is a reigning sense of moral responsibility--a responsibility not to have more kids. To whom exactly we are responsible is unclear. To the children themselves? To society? To the earth? To all the above?
I don’t know, but one fact is plain: My generation feels obligated to constrain our footprint in the name of some vague notion of social justice.
I reject this.
This is not a judgment on those who long to have children but can’t, or on those who choose to have only one or two due to personal limitations—not everyone can (or wants to) have seven. Rather, this is a reflection on why any family planning philosophy that hinges on “the state of things” springs from deeply flawed logic.
...keep reading at: https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2022/01/79787/
This article is provided from Meagan Waite, our My Discovery Destinations! partner on the Discovery Family Coalition
With the enchantment of the holidays in the rear view mirror, many of us are looking through the windshield at a new year. We make resolutions and even keep some of them. Sadly, many of them fall by the wayside within a few months, weeks, or even days. I’ve already eaten some of the chocolate I got for Christmas–I guess I should have finished it off by New Year’s Eve.
The best way to tackle those good intentions that come with a new year is in baby steps. If one of your new goals is to spend more quality time with your family and to be an interactive, intentional parent, My Discovery Destination! and the Discovery Family Coalition have got you covered. My Discovery Destination! makes interactive, intentional parenting easy.
The Discovery Family Adventures are chock-full of free, flexible, fun activities that help parents really connect with their children and do it with a purpose. While some are more involved, even long-term projects, most can be done quickly in a short time-span. All of them are go-at-your-own-pace and designed to fit around your family schedule. One of the most valuable components of each Adventure is the TIPS section (Teaching Important Parenting Strategies). These brief reminders help you remember to be intentional and be a consciously supportive parent. I mean, you already are a great parent–the Adventures are just here to remind you of what you already know!
The Adventures are available to anyone, anywhere at absolutely no cost on the GooseChase app (use code “ADVENTURES”) and online at DiscoveryFamilyAdventures.com. You will also want to stay informed about updates and announcements by texting “family” to 888-403-4140 and/or connecting with your local Facebook community at DiscoverFamily.Fun
By Diana Duke, Secretary on Momivate's MotherBoard
They say that patience is a virtue. Sometimes I wonder if it's a virtue I once mastered and then lost somewhere along the way. I think back to a time before I was a mother, when I had all of the patience in the world. I worked at a group home for children with disabilities and quickly found how much I loved it. As time moved on, I started a family and found myself venturing into other fields. However, at the top of my priorities was being a mother to my children. I had an amazing husband and, although we had our struggles, life was good.
I wish I’d had more time to be the wife I always wanted to be, but things took a turn for the worse and I found myself widowed at thirty-one. I completely fell apart for a while. I lost my sense of self, and that patience I’d had was now something that I was searching for. I feel that it is something I am really struggling with, yet all of the time everyone around me is telling me, “You have so much patience—I don't know how you do it!” I am constantly being told what a good mother I am and, though I am grateful for their kind comments, it leads me to wonder who I am.
I don't feel patient. I don't feel so wonderful all the time. I think we as mothers are often our own hardest critics. However, I am pretty competitive, so I have to believe that the bar that I set long ago for myself has to be attainable or I wouldn't have set it in the first place. I want to be happy, and I want my children to be happy. I find that getting back to the basics makes life so much easier. Being patient with ourselves, patient with our children, and being patient with those around us makes us kinder and more gentle.
I know that it can be hard when you don't know where to start. But you just have to start where you are. So that is what I'm doing--jumping in and starting where I am. Even as I write this, I have found myself worrying; not knowing what to write about; stressing out that nobody wants to hear about my chaotic struggles. But we are human and we all have our own challenges. We need to be patient with ourselves.
Right now one of my challenges is the never-ending laundry pile--I never get to cross it off my to-do list, so I never get the satisfaction of completion. However, what I can do is set a goal for how many loads I can do today. That way I am able to cross something off my to-do list with satisfaction. I can go on and on about the steps I have to take to be patient with myself. We are all different; what works for me isn't going to work for everyone else. But each of us can do something to quiet those negative, self-defeating thoughts in our heads. What are some things you can do to be patient with yourself?
Written by Diana Duke, Secretary on Momivate's MotherBoard
What is Koah?
It wasn't until recently that I stumbled upon Camp Koah, a camp for children who have lost a direct family member. The word Koah is derived from a Hebrew word that means "strength." This is fitting since their mission is to help kids find strength together as they navigate the devastating loss of a loved one. They focus on educating campers on how to move through the stages of grief as they create memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.
I feel so fortunate to have found this camp to help my children understand their grief as they learn to live without their daddy. I love that it is a safe place where they can gather together and share with others something so terribly heartbreakingly personal, and be able to find “Koah.”
I have pondered what having strength means to me. On numerous occasions, I have shared with others an important phrase that my late husband used to always say: “Kia ka ha,” which, in Maori, means, “Be strong.” This is even engraved in his grave marker. I found it so fitting that the name of this camp coincides with something so personal to our family, something that we share with my husband. It was definitely a tender mercy to me.
My children are ages seven, nine, nine, and eleven. My eleven-year-old was not sure about going, so I did not press him any further as everyone grieves differently. However, my two nine-year-olds wanted very badly to go.
Grief is something that I, as a new widow, have struggled with. Just when I think I have a hold on my feelings of grief, somehow they find a way of resurfacing. If I experience this as an adult, it must be exponentially harder to deal with in their childlike minds. So, of course I jumped at the chance to send my children to Camp Koah.
I eagerly applied, and was sad to find out that all of the slots had been filled. I saw that there was a place I could submit their names for the waiting list. A few months went by and I figured I would just be sure to apply earlier for next year. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I received a message asking if we were still interested. I quickly responded that we definitely were. They let me know that one slot had opened up, but they felt that they could make room for one more since they were sisters. I was thrilled to let the girls know.
The day came that they were finally able to go. They were so excited. They had never been away from family like this before, and for this long. But, I knew that they would be in good hands. Normally it is a requirement to have lost a direct family member in order to be a counselor. My girls had two young women as their counselors, who were also sisters, and had lost their dad just a year prior, which made relating to them even easier.
While attending camp they were able to listen to firesides, participate in art projects, and service projects. They talked about their loved ones, did meditation, sang, danced, braided each other's hair, played pranks on each other, and played in the water with a giant Slip ‘n Slide. They learned that it’s okay to laugh and enjoy life, even when you’re hurting. They were surrounded by all these kids who had gone through tragedies, and they were able to find this “Koah” together.
Just in the few hours that they’ve been back, they seem so much older, perhaps because they’ve been surrounded by older kids. Or, perhaps parts of their little breaking hearts were able to be healed a little bit more. They can not wait to go next year, and are already making plans with their older brother who wishes that he had gone after hearing the excitement of their week at camp. The girls got phone numbers of their counselors and (parent-permitting) they can keep in touch and text with them. There will even be follow-up events throughout the year, and a larger gathering at Christmas.
What a wonderful experience for my children. Thank you, Camp Koah. You have brought so much joy into our lives. I, as their mother, am able to find strength in knowing that my family is okay as we are able to find balance and continue on, putting one foot in front of the other as we move about our journey in life.
If you would like more information on attentending or donating to Camp Koah, please visit their website at https://www.campkoah.com.
One for the Money
Two for the Show
Three to get Ready
Four to go
This past week I began listening to Every Day Millionaire by Chris Hogan, a book my daughter recommended from her Finance class. In it, Hogan corrects some myths many believe make a millionaire. Using the old nursery rhyme, here is a little something I have taken from what he said:
One for the Money
Money is a tool, not the means, to becoming financially successful. DISCIPLINE and CONSISTENCY are the key ingredients.
Two for the Show
The purpose of having money is not showing off what you have. Money is for spending wisely on your needs, not trying to keep up with the neighbors.
Stay out of debt. Don’t get loans.
Three to get Ready
Hogan says, “We are only young once, but we are also only old once.” Preparing for the future starts today. You do this by saving wisely and not spending everything you get.
These are some other things to remember:
1. Take advantage of any matching funds your employer offers.
2. Most people don't earn their money by taking high-risk investments; most people lose money by taking risks.
3. Know what your net worth is. Take all your assets and add them up. Being a millionaire does not mean you have millions in the bank.
Four to Go
Know what you want when you are 50. Do you picture yourself working, or spending time with your family and doing things for others? Make a plan and set some financial goals. Having a plan makes it possible to reach your destination.
The next book I plan to read is The Cheapskate Next Door by Jeff Yeager.
By Cindy Thomsen, Momivate's Leader over Schedules & Systems and blogger at ResilientMotherhood.net
Summer break is here and it seems when kids are bored they spend their free time on a screen? There are so many fun electronic resources as well as so many distractions! What do your kids like? Youtube, streaming movies, playing games all day! How do we stop that from happening and help our kids get the most out of their Summer?
I started researching ways to help my kids put down their electronics and find more productive ways to spend their time. There are so many great ideas out there. Here were a few that stood out to me. Hopefully these can help you too to have a fun-filled Summer together with fun activities and a more focused and planned screen time.
... to read the rest of Cindy's post, visit her blog at: resilientmotherhood.net/tips-to-reduce-screen-time-this-summer/
My twin daughters are in a kickboxing class at the local community college and this video was assigned to them as homework. It struck me as so simple that it is well worth the couple of minutes to review information we likely are already aware of but need continual reminders about. Moms, this is what we do -- we are the reminders, the repeaters, the consistent, kind, and friendly reviewers and encouragers!
From the YouTube Description:
Wellness means overall well-being. It includes the emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual aspects of a person’s life. Incorporating aspects of the Eight Dimensions of Wellness, such as choosing healthy foods, forming strong relationships, and exercising often, into everyday habits can help people live longer and improve quality of life. The Eight Dimensions of Wellness may also help people better manage their condition and experience recovery. This short animated video explores the Eight Dimensions of Wellness and helps people understand the practical strategies and ways they can begin developing healthy habits that can have a positive impact on their physical and mental health. To learn more about SAMHSA’s Wellness Initiative, click here.
Some houses try to hide the fact
That children shelter there.
Ours boasts it quiet openly,
The signs are everywhere...
For smears on the windows,
Little smudges on the doors.
I should apologize, I guess,
For toys strewn on the floor.
But I sat down with the children,
And we played and laughed and read,
And if the doorbell doesn’t shine,
Their eyes will shine instead.
For when at times I'm forced to choose:
The one job or the other,
I’d like to cook, and clean, and scrub...
But first I’ll be a MOTHER.
If you want to know the value of...
ask a teenager who's been grounded.
ask a student with a research paper due.
ask a substitute teacher.
ask a guy getting bombarded with questions by the parents of the girl who is still upstairs getting ready for their date.
ask a basketball player, down by 1, in possession of the ball.
ask a gymnast.
ask a running back at a football game.
ask a bungee jumper.
ask a teenager who buys his own gasoline.
...a phone call...
ask the person who just put in a job application.
What would you add??
Too often we are scared.
Scared of what we might not be able to do.
Scared of what people might think if we tried.
We let our FEARS stand in the way of our HOPES.
We say "no" when we want to say "yes."
We sit quietly when we want to scream.
And we shout with the others,
when we should keep our mouths shut.
we do only go around once.
Try something you've never tried.
Enter a triathlon.
Write a letter to the editor.
Demand a raise.
Call winners at the toughest court.
Throw away your television.
Bicycle across the United States.
Speak out against the designated hitter.
Travel to a country where you don't speak the language.
You have nothing to lose.
EVERYTHING to gain.
JUST DO IT.
By Cindy Thomsen, Momivate's Director of Schedules & Systems
Laundry is one of those things that never goes away. Just when you have all the clothes washed and your hamper is empty, you put the clothes you’re wearing back in and the cycle continues. So how can we simplify and make the process less painful? To find answers I asked some of my friends on social media to share their tips for getting their laundry done. They had so many great and unique ideas. The goal is to find the best solution for your situation.
FOR ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS...
...AND OTHER LAUNDRY TIPS...
In each passing mortal hour
All around me there is need,
There are hearts that yearn and tears that fall
And hungry souls to feed.
I must seek the Spirit's wisdom,
Learn compassion's gentle art,
For I cannot give with empty hands
Nor love with barren heart.
If I would bear my brother's burden,
If I would share my sister's grief,
Extend the hand of sweet compassion,
Offer the weary ones relief,
If I would ease the thirst of strangers,
And serve His children heart and hand,
I must drink of Heaven's wells o'erflowing,
I must learn to fill the well within.
I will serve my Savior gladly,
Seek his little lambs who stray;
But if I would lead them safely home,
I must know the way.
I must seek for understanding
That I may teach His children well,
If I seek to fill the soul athirst,
I must first be filled.
That I may bear my brother's burden,
That I may share my sister's grief,
Extend the hand of sweet compassion,
Offer the weary ones relief,
That I may ease the thirst of strangers,
And serve His children heart and hand,
I must drink of Heaven's wells o'erflowing,
I must learn to fill the well within.
By Sally DeFord
I have enjoyed the privilege of being a mother to over a dozen foreign exchange students over the years! My Hindu son from India openly and enthusiastically shared his religion with our family. Some of the stories are quite meaningful -- I've included one below.
After reading it, consider how this perspective might influence how we treat ourselves? Our husbands? Our children? It gives depth to our relationships when we believe in the dignity and potential of each individual.
At one time, all men on earth were gods. But they so sinned and abused the divine powers that Brahma, the god of all gods, decided that the godhead should be taken away from man and hidden some place where man would never find it to abuse it again.
"We will bury it deep into earth," said the other gods.
"No," said Brahma, "because man will dig down in the earth and find it."
"Then we will sink it into the deepest ocean," they said.
"No," said Brahma, "because man will learn to dive and find it there, too."
"We will hide it on the highest mountain," they said.
"No," said Brahma, "because man will some day climb every mountain of the earth and again capture the godhead."
"Then where can we hide it where man cannot find it?" said the lesser gods.
"I will tell you, said Brahma. "Hide it down in man himself. He will never think to look for it there."
Being empathic -- able to feel the emotions of others -- can be a gift, showing compassion and wanting to ease sadness. It might also be stressful, since the other person is the one in charge of whether their complex emotions get resolved in healthy ways or not. Being able to "LET GO" is a skill that empaths must learn and practice! But what does it mean?
In high school, I took a class called Peer Facilitation, and it taught us how to keep ourselves emotionally level while reaching out to those who were off kilter. Here is one of the handouts from that class, which I've kept almost 30 years! It describes both what "LET GO" is AND what it is NOT.
May it help you in your journey as a mother, definitely a position of empathy! Also, a position with the temptation to try to control another person. Gaining this perspective, this ability to LET GO will make motherhood a much more enjoyable journey -- full of love instead of fear.
To "let go" does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can't do it for someone else.
To "let go" is not to cut myself off,
it's the realization that I can't control another.
To "let go" is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.
To "let go" is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.
To "let go" is not to try to change or blame another,
it's to make the most of myself.
To "let go" is not to care for,
but to care about.
To "let go" is not to fix,
but to be supportive.
To "let go" is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.
To "let go" is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcome,
but to allow others to effect their own destinies.
To "let go" is not to be protective,
it's to permit another to face reality.
To "let go" is not to deny, but to accept.
To "let go" is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but instead to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
To "let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes, and cherish myself in it.
To "let go" is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.
To "let go" is to fear less and love more.
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