Fists of Fury

“5 Activities to Help You Be A Good Mom”

That was the caption under a pin on Pinterest I scrolled across a few days ago. No sooner had I read those words, an intense rage boiled up inside of me. Not just normal rage- “Momma Bear” rage. My husband likes to joke that I am sweet until someone brings out the “Philly Fire” in me and then people better watch out! And nothing stokes that Philly Fire more than my momma bear instincts. Why was this stupid Pinterest pin making me so angry? I wanted to punch the fake smiling mom in the photo in her face. Okay, that’s a tad violent, but who is she to tell me I’m not a good mom? And why would her activities ensure I was a good one? She doesn’t know me or my life!

I truly believe this is why so many women feel like they aren’t good enough. There’s this constant flow of ads on tv, magazines, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram making us feel like we are falling short. Social media in general can make one feel extremely bad about themselves if they are not careful.

Mantras For Mommas

Repeat after me ladies: I am NOT a bad mom!

Whew! Doesn’t that feel good to say out loud? Take it from my own experience: I hear at least once a day from one (or all) of my darling children that I’m “stupid” or that “I’m ruining their life” or that I am the “worst”, etc. etc. – you get the point. Normally these just bounce off of me because I know they don’t mean those words, but on those occasional bad days when their words do cut me down, actually saying I am NOT a bad mom out loud to myself helps! I’m serious! Next time you are feeling pretty low about your ability to parent, just repeat those words to yourself (or any personal variation) and you will feel better.

Some other popular mantras I like to repeat to myself are:

It’s Almost Bedtime

Mommy Is Not A Maid

Tomorrow Will Be Better

Mommys Need Time-outs Too

They’re All Alive So I’m Calling It A Win

I mean, this list is pretty much endless, and yes most of these are supposed to be funny! I would not get through most days without a little humor (and caffeine!)

If you’re day is going south fast, just take a few minutes to yourself. Take a breather, take your caffeine source of choice, sneak one of those treats you hide from the kiddos, repeat a good mantra to yourself and head back in there! It will all be okay.

The Year of No

By May of this past year I was feeling extremely burnt out. Between my kids sporting events, art classes, my sporting events, our church callings, Scouts, traveling, Jess needing to leave for Boise in April until September, my work with the American Cancer Society and with the Rape Recovery Center I was feeling at the end of my rope. We were just TOO busy! I felt like we weren’t spending enough time as a family unit, and it was starting to show. Not in any huge obvious way, but as a momma I could tell my kids were struggling with it.

In June after the Hope and Healing Gala I helped with for the Rape Recovery Center, and my epic trip to Rwanda with my Grandpa, the kids and I made our way to Boise to spend the rest of the summer with Jess while we worked. After the first week of pure summer fun and no plans whatsoever I felt so recharged, happy, and steady. I decided I needed more of that in my life; this coming school year, we would start saying NO!

This means that other than the things we have to do, we will not add more to our load. If we don’t need to commit our precious time we could be spending together, then we won’t. Our kids actually WANT to be with us, and who knows how much longer we can enjoy that? I really felt like we as a family needed some time without extra responsibilities and stress. We are going to focus this time on spending it together and strengthening our family unit while the kids are still little. I stepped down from helping with this year’s event for the American Cancer Society because frankly I was feeling so burnt out, and I needed to spend that quality time with Jess in Boise. Coming home only after a week or two would have not been a good decision.

Without any prompting, our kids have started saying no as well. Calvin after much debate decided he didn’t want to play football. I was proud of him for making that decision on his own, because I knew it was hard for him. Jess and I did not put any pressure on him to play or not, and he felt like it was not something he wanted to pursue this year. He has many years ahead of him left for sports, so I am not worried at all about him “falling behind” or any of that mumbo jumbo. Him not playing  has been a huge change for us from last fall in a positive way. He had practices every day and games every Saturday and by the end of the season he, and us were exhausted! It was fun, but a lot of time commitment. It was also a time commitment that Memphis and Shay had no say in.

So far this school year has been easy peasy. Our days aren’t as hectic and full as they were last fall, and it’s just what we needed right now.  I’m sure next year we will pick right back up and be busy with activities, but I am glad I listened to my gut and decided to start saying no.

Put Up Your Dukes!

As a mom it’s extremely easy to get offended and defensive when it comes to our kids and our ability to raise them. A prime example is me and that pin that made me so angry. I mean really, I have no reason to get so riled up by 9 words, I already know I am an amazing mom to my kids. The word that sticks out in that sentence is MY. These children are mine, and I am the only one who knows them intimately, and know how to cater to their individual needs. No one else would be able to do that! Each child is different, and each family is different.

All I know is, that I love my children fiercely, and I try my darndest to do my very best to raise them right. I make sure they go to bed every single night with kisses and knowing that they are loved. My husband and I parent together with what we feel is right for our family, and what’s right for us isn’t right for the next family- and that’s okay! Every family has unique challenges and beliefs and that’s what makes this world so diverse and beautiful. Our differences and acceptance of those differences is what makes a community better.

So keep doing you moms of the world, cuz you’re doing great!

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

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Remember to Never Forget

“No, my Mom is dead.”

I had to flat out say that to someone a few weeks ago, someone who KNEW she had passed away, but forgot for some reason. It made me cringe to say those words and watch the realization and horror cross their face. They apologized profusely and really, it was fine. It’s not like it was news to me or anything.

Unlike them, I haven’t forgotten and never will.  Even coming up on four years of her being gone, I still think of her daily. It seems impossible for such a huge loss in my life to be forgotten.

You would think the same would apply for huge world events to never be forgotten, but every year when September 11 rolls around it seems like on Facebook and other social media that everyone has to let the world know they haven’t forgotten what happened. Obviously any of us who in some form witnessed that horrible day will never forget any of it. But we have all forgotten in a way, haven’t we? What I mean by that is on September 12, 2001 American pride was booming. Flags were flying off the shelves and were literally everywhere outside. Whether you agreed with your neighbor or not it didn’t matter anymore. Your sexual preference, race, religion, social or economical status, what kind of car you drove, and how big your house was no longer mattered. We were all Americans and proud of it. The coming together of the people was so inspiring to witness, but the news these days shows a much different America.

17 years later, and America seems to be filled with so much hatred, violence, and death.  I think the Black Eyed Peas said it best:

“Where is the love?”

Well, I could go into what I think happened, but honestly, that’s not the point of this post. The point, is what I think we should do to be proactive in mending this broken country in our own little way. Obviously, I’m a stay at home mom in Utah who doesn’t have a huge impact on the world, so starting small seems logical to me! Small and simple things can make big changes too.

Today, for instance I sat down and hand wrote out five cards to people that I haven’t seen in a while that I love dearly. Writing out these personal notes became very emotional, and as I sealed and addressed them all I felt accomplished. Maybe it’s not much, but for me, receiving snail mail is so thrilling because in the days of email, a hand written note seems like a relic. It’s also more intimate and heartfelt. I hope those 5 people get the same amount of love and joy I felt writing them.

We get sort of deceived by social media that we are in touch with the people we love and care about, but it’s all kind of a counterfeit relationship. Social media is sort of  smoke and mirrors effect of the good, which I mentioned in my post here. As we scroll through our feeds we feel like we are in touch with people, but really it’s just a small portion of their life. It’s scary sometimes to think of the impact social media and smart phones has had on people and relationships.What should we do then? If they live close, go see them! Not close? Call them! Really catch up with people and keep your relationships strong.

Speaking of smartphones, put it down! Our phones seem to have become another appendage on our bodies. My four year old the other day called me out and said:

“Momma put down your phone and look at me!”

I listened and put my phone down and focused solely on him and we had a great afternoon together of play-doh and transformers.  So maybe once a day, or at a certain time of day, put down the phones! It’s amazing how much fun you can have when phones aren’t involved. Good, old fashioned fun.

Another thing I suggest is to get to know your neighbors, all of them! One thing I love about the city we live in is that every September 11 we have an emergency drill. Each neighborhood has a “block captain” and when the drill happens we all have to check in with them. If we don’t show up, they need to call us. This drill is to ensure if there was a real emergency that we would know where everyone was in our block, as well as have a record of specific tools and supplies we all have on hand. I love it because we are all taking care of one another, and isn’t that how it should be? I know all of my neighbors in our cul-de-sac and can rely on one or all of them if I’m in a jam to help watch kids or anything else. We have had help shoveling snow without being asked many times, had food brought when tragedies have occurred, and treats for the holidays. I feel very blessed for the great neighbors we have.

Its hard sometimes to see the good when watching the news and hearing story after story of injustice, racial profiling, murders, hate crimes, and the chaos that is Washington D.C.. Sometimes we have to be the light when there is none to be found. Spread a little love, do something kind for someone else, be that good example that people need to see. I have always loved this quote:

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” -Dumbledore

If you can’t see any light around you, be that light. Others will notice- believe me. So on this September 12 let’s all try a little harder to be that light we need right now, so people can be reminded to never forget.

XoXo

Heather

The Raw Brunette

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Photo by Christine Todd Photography