I Am the Mom My Kids Need

I Am the Mom My Kids Need

Gabe and I went away this weekend. It was our 10 year wedding anniversary and I told him we needed to do something. Anything. With three small children (7, 5, and 2) you can imagine how difficult it is to have any alone time. Add in the fact that both of our families live in different states and well, you’ve got a recipe for a marriage that gets put on the back burner.

We started talking about our kids on our way to Eureka Springs. Gabe shared with me that he thought I was too hard on Hannah, our middle child. I immediately went into shaming myself for not seeing it how he saw it. I started beating myself up in my head about the many times I had yelled at her or lost my patience with her. I sat silently in the passenger’s seat and prayed that God would take the heavy weight of my guilt from me right then and there. Sometimes it’s so heavy I feel like I can’t breathe. Gabe reached over and held my hand. “It’s okay. I’m guilty of it too,” He said.

I envy how guys can move on from one thought to the next without getting hung up feelings. I was still stuck in the moment of feeling like a really bad mom; one who doesn’t always see the goodness in my kids. One who doesn’t always love getting on the floor and playing dolls. One who doesn’t feel like watching a kids’ show. One who knows it’s dinner time and the kids are hungry but cooking is the last thing I want to do. Even if it means just making a sandwich. “What is wrong with me?” I thought. I prayed for each one of these children and God gave them to me. He entrusted me as their mother so why am I beating myself up about making mistakes?

Well, the truth is, sometimes I am too hard on Hannah. Sometimes I am too hard on all of my kids. But you know who I’m the hardest on? Me. Myself. Meagan.

Grace, Moms, Parenting, God

This quote popped into my head today. When it did, I knew I had to share it. 

So if God’s mercies are new every day…why do I have such a hard time accepting them? Believing in them? And allowing myself to be human and imperfect? Why do I feel like crying the moment someone says something to me about my parenting? Even if that comment is coming from a loving, caring man like my husband. Well, it’s because I cannot do this without God. I am the mom I was designed to be for my kids just the way I am.  I have flaws. I have moments. But I love these kids fiercely and uninhibitedly without any apologies. Simply put, I am the mom my kids need.

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My 5 Year View…

My 5 Year View…

Today is the first day back to school for our family and for a lot of you, too. I’m mixed with emotions. On one hand I’m excited to see Dylan growing and entering second grade. On the other hand, I’m baffled out he’s old enough to be in second grade. Why does it feel like I was just holding him in my arms and rocking him to sleep as a baby not too long ago?

It’s a different season of life we’re entering right now. Dylan will be going to school every day. Hannah will be going three days a week which means Ellie and I will have three days to ourselves. Thoughts and ideas about what we will do together run through my mind and then I stop to think about when it was just me and Dylan. Next year, Dylan and Hannah will both go every day, all day. The year after that, Ellie will start preschool. Have you written down or thought about where you will be in five years? I encourage you to do it. It’s kind of scary but worth the doing.

In five years I will be 39-years-old. I will have a 13-year-old, a 10-year-old, and an 8-year-old. Five years is not that far away. Will I still be a stay-at-home mom who writes in her free time? Or will I go back to work as a full-time mom? I have no clue. I’m open to anything. Will I write more books? Will my current book be a best-seller? I hope so 🙂

I do know this. I know that I want to continue to encourage moms. And I know I want to continue using my platform as a journalist to share my thoughts and struggles, sorrows and joys, and tips and tricks with other women who might find just the tiniest bit of hope in my words.

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3 Things I’m Loving this Week!

3 Things I’m Loving this Week!

Have you seen those posts buzzing around Facebook that say, “5 Things I’m loving…, etc.”? I have been meaning to make my own list for the longest time now but just kept putting it on the back burner. Well, today I start the “3 Things I’m loving this Week” series. Take a look!

  1. Aveda. It’s no secret how much I love Aveda. I’ve been using it for about 10 years and can’t stop. My favorite product of theirs? The Toning MistBotanical Kinetics™ Toning MistIt feels great on your skin and I just can’t start my day without it.
  2. I love chapstick but my all-time favorite is Burt’s Bees. Nothing else compares. I like just the regular kind…nothing fancy. Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm, 0.15 Ounce
  3. I got this Soy Face Cleanser as my FREE birthday gift at Sephora (if you’re not signed up for their free birthday program…you need to be. They give out great gifts each year). I really like it because it’s thin and airy and yummy smelling when I wash my face. Since I wouldn’t normally pay $38 to “try” a new product…this sample was the perfect size for me. SOY FACE CLEANSER

I will add more favorites as time goes on. I have lots and can’t wait to share with you. Leave me a comment and tell me what some of your favorite things are. For some reason I wrote about all skincare products today but I have lots of other things that I love too!

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It’s Back to School Time!

Happy August!

This is our last week before school starts and I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m ready for my kids to be somewhere else for part of the day. On the other hand, we’ve all had a great summer together and have fallen into a new, go-with-the-flow type of routine that I’ve come to enjoy.
Can I say that I am a little nervous about how this earlier bedtime thing is going to go? My kids have gotten used to staying up until 930/10pm. I’ll be pushing  that way up to about 8pm starting tonight. Ouch! However, I have started doing a few things that I think will help in the long run; with much less resistance from the kiddos, less stressful mornings, and a much happier household. Want a peek into some of my easy tips for going back to school this year? Here you go!

1. Start with an earlier bedtime a few days before school actually begins or even, a week before. This will help get your kids in the mindset of having to slow down and settle down quite a bit earlier than they’re used to. To soften the resistance this might cause…pick out a special book you can read with your child right before bedtime. I like to pick up a new book that is geared specifically towards the grade he/she will be going into. This helps with easing fears, worries, and anxieties about going back to school.

2. Lay clothes out the night before. I’m sure you’ve heard this one many times…I have too. But I must admit, I’ve never actually done it. Having a son with ADHD has changed my mind about this one. Tonight, we will start laying his clothes out the night before to avoid anything that might set him off in the morning. This will help with so many avoidable tantrums…where are my clothes? I can’t find my shoes! I don’t want to wear that! This doesn’t fit! Etc. You get the idea 🙂

3. Wake your children up like you would on the first day of school. Eek. I know. This one is going to be hard but you can do it! I know you love your few minutes in the morning before everyone gets up and you’ve gotten used to your kids sleeping in but trust me (!) it will be worth it to do a ‘mock’ morning to work out any wrinkles that come up. The first day of school has enough worries – make it that much less stressful by preparing yourself and your kids for what the actual day will be like. Go through the entire morning routine as if it were the actual day…wake up, breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, etc.

4. Get your lunch plan in order. I send both of my kids to school with lunch from home. Why? Well, it’s cheaper and once I found out my son was racking up quite a bill at school…I nixed that right away. I can laugh at that now but I wasn’t laughing about it when I found out how much money he had accumulated in ‘buying’ chocolate milk. I’ve come across a few sites that have made it pretty easy to follow their lunch box ideas. I’ve got these plans ready to go and I will start making them tomorrow, as if school was really starting. I may even post a few pictures of the lunches if I get around to it 🙂

5. Nix the electronics. Ugh. This one is going to sting. But seriously. Nix the electronics during school hours (8-3 or so..) If you can’t commit to getting rid of all electronics just yet – try and scale back a little bit the week before. Give your kids plenty of time to play outside instead or give them some arts and crafts. It will help them adjust to what the first week back at school will really be like. If you don’t want to do the entire week before hand, try a few days prior to the actual day. It will be an easier transition for everyone.

Like what you see? Great! Subscribe to my free parenting newsletter and be the first to receive helpful tips like this! You can sign up right here on my website 🙂 Feel free to share this link with a friend. Or all of your friends!

Happy August!

xoxo, Meg

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Mommy Guilt 101

Happy Sunday! No really, it’s a Happy Sunday in my house today because it’s quiet time right now and that means I get (me, by myself, no kids, just me) to do whatever I please for the next 2 hours. Nice, right? Well, hold up. It took me several years to get to this point. I had to put my dues in with little ones and feedings and potty training and no naps and well, you get the idea. So, I like this season of mothering that I’m in right now. It works for me and heck, it looks good on me. If you’re not there yet, that’s okay…keep reading 🙂

I suffer from Mommy Guilt. Do you? This is my own, personal definition: “to enjoy doing something for yourself but at the expense of an overwhelmingly, obligatory, nudging, selfish, can’t stop-thinking-about-my-kids mindset that is so powerful that it consumes the mother with intense amounts of worry, burden, and doubt”. That’s me at times. I like to consider myself a mom-in-recovery-from-mommy-guilt, though. I’m getting better at pushing those thoughts aside and allowing myself the room to breathe, rest, and relax as any human being should be allowed to do.

Off the top of my head, I can think of several things that I put off because I feel guilty for doing so:

  1. Going pee when my kids need something.
  2. Working out when my kids tell me they don’t want to go to childcare at the gym.
  3. Getting a babysitter for 2 HOURS when my little one cries for me to stay home and hold her.
  4. Telling my children to go back upstairs when they come down to sit with me during the designated quiet time in our home. (Obviously, I let them ask/tell me whatever they need to but if it’s something that can wait, I gently remind them that this is quiet time in our home and they can go back to their rooms to play and/or watch a movie).
  5. This a BIG one for me…listening to my daughter cry and tell me she’s hungry AFTER I have offered her two different dinner options and reminding her that she WILL be hungry if she doesn’t eat. It’s when the kitchen is ‘closed’ and we’re in our pjs getting ready for bed that she begins telling me she is starving. Truth: sometimes I give in :/

Can you relate to any of these? Let me remind you that we all need alone time. It’s important. It’s vital. It’s necessary. It’s for our own good. Take the first step of letting that guilt go and do something nice for yourself. Post a picture and show me what you did for yourself. I will enter you to win a tshirt from Peekaboo Apparel, a subsidiary company of Peekaboo Magazine in northwest Arkansas. The winner will be picked at random and will be allowed to pick out any shirt she would like from those that are being offered on the site. Winner will be announced Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at 6pm.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of Peekaboo Magazine. 

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An Open Letter to Moms

An Open Letter to Moms

Dear Moms,

I have met so many of you lately – mostly through social media – who seem to be struggling with the same things that we’re all struggling with: loneliness, hurts, habits, hang ups, communication, friendship, marriage, family, children, and so on. I’ve thought quite a bit about what I could say that would be enough to tell you how much I care and how many times I want to say, “Me too.” Can I start by saying, I get it? I know I don’t have all the answers. Heck, I might not have any of the answers you’re looking for but I do have compassion, love, understanding, grace, and a whole lot of experience surrounding so many of these issues.

Over the past week, I’ve had several women contact me through private message about specific things going on in their lives and wanted to know, Had I been through that too? What did I do? I wanted so badly to reach through the computer to hug them and tell them yes, I have been through that and it’s tough or actually, I’m going through that currently. Sometimes I did say that. But mostly, I just listened. When I was going through my first few years as a new mom, I found some of the most helpful women to be those who just sat and listened to me. Who gave me their time and invested in me as a person. I hope I’m doing that for some of you right now.

I’ve realized and have understood this fact for many years now, that we’re all so similar. When we feel like we’re the only ones; we’re not. When we feel like our kids must be acting out more than others; they’re not. When we feel like someone else’s marriage is perfect; it’s not. When we feel like we’re failing at this mothering thing; we’re not. The truth is, we share so many of the same hurts. If we will be brave enough to let down our walls and say, “Me too,” our motherhood circle becomes that much smaller, closer, and truer. Be that friend if you can. Be that light to someone’s dark moment if you can. Be that positive thing to someone else’s negative thing. I promise you will see amazing things happen. You will make friends. You will gain confidence. You will walk with more oomph in your step. You will realize you are making a difference in another mom’s life. And when you do, your heart will want to burst with joy. For the next time you find yourself in a lonely moment, a hard choice, a tough time, or a new season in your life, you will have a tight group of friends who will be their fill in the gaps, wipe the tears, and walk alongside you.

 

xoxo, Meagan

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Slowing Down In the Midst of Raising Toddlers

I seem to be in a season of slowing down. Not every day – but most days. I know I’m cramming too much into my day when I’m short with my kids and my husband. Or when I forget to pee. Well, I don’t really forget to pee – but you know what I’m talking about…you know you have to go but you hold it because someone’s asking for this and that and you just figure you’ll go later. That might be too much information for me to share but it’s the truth and it’s a personal red flag for me that I’m doing too much, I’m too busy, and my priorities are out of whack.

It might like different for you. What happens when you get too busy? Do you forget to do things? Do you lose sleep? What is it in your life that causes you to stop, look in the mirror and say, “I’m stressed out. I’m overwhelmed. I need to slow down.”

If you’ve been following me on Facebook you’ll notice that I’m traveling right now. I’m back in Massachusetts which is where I grew up. The kids are back in Arkansas with their dad and my mother-in-law and while I miss them, I am relishing and enjoying in the slowing down of my life this week. Things certainly move at a different pace when there aren’t any kids around. We took a drive through Heath yesterday and it’s one I’ll remember forever. My sister took the driver’s seat while my grandpa navigated from the passenger’s seat. Me and gram sat in the back of her Trailblazer and we both stared out our windows taking in the beauty of the country.

We had only intended to take a quick drive up to a family member’s house to take a look at the view from their barn but our excursion turned into a family history lesson that I could have never anticipated. Grandpa pointed to different one-room school houses along the way. He told us about who went where and who lived here and there. He told us about the red building where he started his job as a plumber and almost every home, business, and building he’d say, “Yep. I worked in that one too. I did the plumbing there.” It was a rare glimpse into his past and my grandpa, who is a man of very few words, talked more than I’d ever witnessed before. We wound up eating lunch out on the back deck of Charlemont Pizza. It was the first time and most likely the last, that the four of us had ever been out to eat together. Emotions started to whirl around in my heart and in my head.

Grandma looked over at me and said, “You having a good vacation, Meg?”

“Oh grandma, this is the best vacation I have ever had,” I squeaked out. And with that, I fell to pieces. The tears came without permission and I crumpled into her embrace. My sister moved her chair around to hold me and it was in her arms that I felt safe enough to let it all out. The reality of having grandparents who are undoubtedly, getting older right before our eyes is hard. I wanted to stop time yesterday. I really did.

Have you ever been so completely overwhelmed by an overflow of love? That’s my family. That’s me, out here, right now. It’s almost impossible for me to capture these moments when I have my children around me. They are my priority, of course, but this trip is an absolute reminder that I must be intentional about slowing down in the midst of raising toddlers. I don’t just want to save the bird watching, blackberry picking, and coffee morning chit-chats for once-a-year visits to Massachusetts. I want to take those traditions and bring them back home with me so that my children can taste a little bit of what it’s like to slow down and embrace rest.

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