Good Mom, Bad Mom

Single moms are SuperHuman. I don’t say that because I am one. I say it because it’s indisputable FACT. Being a single mom means that we get to have all of the jobs. We get the good jobs, and the bad jobs related to parenting. In the days, weeks, and months preceding our becoming a mother, we make silent promises to our children and pledge our hearts and our protection to them for always.

We vow to provide unconditional love and support for all eternity. We promise to be there during their health, and the innumerable sicknesses. We take an oath to stay when our children are giving us all of the attitude. We commit to try not to lose it when the tear-producing overwhelming “I maked you a Vamentimes” (with seven pounds of pasta and four pounds of glue) gratitude arrives. We even remain steadfast and gracious, when the gratitude is forgotten. We do our best not to roll our eyes or swear when our children take us from richer to poorer. And then poorer. We hold their tiny hands through all of the joy and even the unavoidable, oh the unavoidable pain… We are on-call and available for all of the hours in all of the days from forever ago until never. We love our children from before time and until the end of infinitude.

Included in all of that is also those times we have to say “no”, or “not this time”, or “we’ll see”, and occasionally “not in this lifetime”. We are both the bearer of good and bad news. We get to plan, execute and surprise our Darlings with excitement and joy. But we also have the privilege of  crushing the dreams of a teenager hoping to go to a party where no parents are home, or to a sleepover at their boy/girlfriend’s house.

Being both the good mom and the bad mom can drive a woman crazy. We are often seen planning while talking to ourselves. We have to come up with a battle plan, and a back up plan. We are strong enough to give the bad news, deal with the mouthy backlash, and the clean up afterward. Sometimes we don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, or have to say “no” again. Sometimes we want to be the Hero that comes in and saves the day.

That need, to not always been seen as the hateful law enforcement of the home has led to moms everywhere changing the way they parent. We do our best to say “yes, yes, of course, always, and yes” as often as possible. When we have to say no, we try to make it as soft as possible. Now, that’s not to say that we let our kids slide on manners, or responsibilities — we just really creative and take an extra step or two to ensure that we the joy outweighs the pain.

My personal saving grace (at this financial juncture) is Dollar Tree. I can spend a few dollars, and my kids are through the roof happy for a brief moment in time. And, honestly, that’s all any of us need. Just a few moments to catch our breath, sneak a cookie, read an email, order something online, or just enjoy the non-argumentative silence. Our favorite thing to do these days is “have a party”. It consists of two things: blown up balloons, and music. Seriously. That’s all. I blow up the balloons (all 10 of them) and turn on 1970’s disco. And for the next sixteen minutes, my household is free of yelling, screaming, fighting, arguing and crying. We dance, we laugh, we love. The HappyHousehold trifecta!

At other times, I make a ton of tiny pancakes. Or cut the sandwiches/ into shapes. Top the brownies with marshmallows. Pinterest is a great place for HappyHousehold resources, but don’t dig too deep. You can easily lose your MamaMind comparing your current snapshot to another person’s highlight reel. Bath time fun is amplified by thousands by simply adding a one dollar ($1) 8-pack of glow-in-the-dark bracelets. Us Mamas have to find a way to sneak the good times in because it won’t be long before we are enforcing the rules again.

Single moms are strong, resilient, and resourceful. We take on the world, with our kids in tow. All the while we are finding teachable moments, creating new ways to spruce up leftovers, make Halloween costumes, preserve the Advent, give back to our community, support our Sisters in Christ and in Motherhood, while nursing a baby, going back to school, starting our own business(es) and working a full-time job. Everyone wants to be the Good Mom. But we aren’t just Good or Bad Moms — We. Are. Great.

http://www.everydaypeoplecartoons.com/cartoon/122

 

 

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Cast Your Cares

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-7‬ NLT

(Note: I started this post on my phone, and mistakenly hit “publish” before anything had been written).

Has life ever weighed you down? Have you ever been hit by so many things at once that you have to just sit down? Do you have times when the struggle is so real that it seems unreal? Me too.

I am in the crux of all of those things. There are so many different things swirling around me that I can barely differentiate one from another. It’s just a blur of life passing me by. It feels like I am sitting in the eye of the storm… “criss-cross applesauce” parked in the calm center of a tornado that contains every precious part of my life.

I have SuperSonic thoughts. My mind travels at the speed of light — when I’m asleep. And as you may have guessed, at times it can be exhausting. So I’ve set myself into a mode of mindfulness. Taking time out each day to breathe, to quiet my mind, and to take intentional steps to being present. I’ve set the “Do Not Disturb” on my phone hours before I go to bed. I also returned to the phenomenal practice of yoga. And I’ve let the dishes and laundry and homemaker concerns fall (a little further) by the wayside so that I can better love and enjoy my children… with all of my heart, all of my soul, and all of my mind. ❤️

More quintessential than mindfulness is the power of prayer. The. Power. Of. Prayer. Do you pray? I do. And as much as I do, I don’t pray hardly enough. I realized this when I received some bad news. Much to my dismay, I don’t often pray in praise and gratitude, but in despair. The truth is that God wants our praise, our requests, our questions, and our sorrows. He wants to have a genuine heart-to-heart relationship with us. He wants us to come to Him first. And always.

I have found tremendous solace in the bronze statue grouping that adorns the front entrance of the hospital I work for. It is a scene named “Come Unto Me” and is a beautiful depiction of a small crowd gathered around Jesus. I have made a regular practice of taking a route out of the hospital that sends me directly to it — I always stop and pray.

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The shiny spot on the bench to the left of Jesus is worn and buffed due to traffic. People are often sitting there — sometimes eating lunch, praying, or updating family members on their loved ones and the related hospital situations. There is a small garden surrounding the scene with soft meditative music playing in the background. It is picturesque and beckons to anyone passing by to: please pause, please stop, please“Come Unto Me”.

The magnetism of the statue also solicits touch. It is evident that many people are drawn to the hands and feet of Jesus. The most common areas are discolored, shiny, and smooth. I know that this statue is not the resurrected body of Jesus Christ, but it demands the same level of respect and adoration as would the living, breathing, Son of God. It is amazing.

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As of late, I have needed the solace of this bronze representation of my Lord and Savior. I have made special trips just to be able to pray at it’s feet. I have felt the figurative relief that comes from laying my cares at His feet. And I can honestly say that some of my prayers have been answered. I took these pictures on November 3rd. It was the first time I sat down, and I was unable to resist the urge to place my hand on this likeness of His.

Though this representation of Jesus’ hand is made of bronze, and is unaccommodating to the touch; it is the sentiment, the mere idea of sitting alongside Jesus that is so endearing. I can only imagine what it was like to be in His presence.

Three of the Gospels of the New Testament (Matthew 9:21, Mark 5:27 and Luke 8:44) share the story of a woman that knew that she would be healed if only she were afforded the opportunity to touch His robe. She had only heard about Him, but she seized her one opportunity and as surely as she touched His robe, He knew. He healed her, because of her faith. He healed her because she believed.

All of our troubles, trials, and tribulations are God’s way of calling us to Him. He wants us to lean on Him and trust in His timing and His will. When we suffer through without leaning on Him, we are merely suffering. SUFF. ER. ING. Without Him, our suffering is truly immense and immeasurable. But with Him? WITH HIM, with His grace, mercy, guidance, and love, we can power through our suffering and reflect with reverence and gratitude. Without Him, we are mere mortals — attempting the impossible (and all of it will seem impossible). With Him, we can do anything for we are his beloved children and He made the greatest sacrifice just to show us that there is nothing, nothing that He wouldn’t do for us.

Philippians 4 13

 

 

Identifying Narcissistic Triangulation *NEW POST*

MakeItUltra™

What does it take to have a healthy relationship? Whether it is in love, friendship, work or family relationship, they all need mutual respect in order to thrive. One of the reasons narcissists are not able to have healthy relationships is because they do not respect people. To the narcissist, people exist solely for their benefit. They need a steady and constant supply of attention, approval, admiration, adoration and worship to feel alive and to prop up their weak egos and unstable self-worth. In a sense, they are addicted to being the center of attention. Their fragile egg shell egos are only held together by a steady and constant narcissistic supply. The narcissist needs people to feed on in order to exist. Individuals are interchangeable and easy to replace, like a pair of shoes. When the narcissistic supply from one source drys up they will easily move on to the…

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no home training

people are rude. people are rude AF (as f***)! I apologize to my readers who are of a more conservative nature, but some things really get under my skin. rudeness and lack of “home training” is at the top of the list.

you know what home training is right? it’s basic! it’s almost innate… well it WAS innate. but now with the world closing the gap electronically there seems to be a severe lack of etiquette.

let me give you my first example: i am in a service office, the office of my cable company. there are 40+ people in here and it’s already after closing time. only three employees are still working. when i walked in i was 27th on the list. i’m currently #10. it’s the after-work hour and there are lots of tired and hungry children in here. there is a young lady (she’s really not a lady). she’s wearing slippers, pajama pants and certifiable bed head. she walked in on her phone and left without ever getting off the phone. the problem is that while on the phone she proceeded to get louder and louder (and louder) while explaining her very personal story and flagrantly cussing. she was no more than 2 feet away from someone’s child and she exercised zero filter, zero cooth, and zero maturity.

i cuss. mm hmm, it’s true. i know plenty of people that do. but I do my best to lower my voice and control myself in public. especially within whispering distance of someone’s child. like i said, i cuss. my kids have heard it and hear it. my toddlers have told me to stop. my nine year old (he’s ten now) has asked me to stop. but my occasional slips are nothing like the run-on sentence of expletives that girl was spewing.

my next observance was of the greeter. this was my second time at this office and my second time seeing him. while polite, he seemed to be low-key racially profiling the customers. for the Hispanic people that came in behind me, he greeted them in Spanish. with me he was rather generic. with the young Hispanic couple that was there before me he continued to call the guy “homie”; and for the two black guys that came in three minutes before closing he only referred to them as “dawg”. hmmmm. is this the 2017 approach to customer service? poor choice if you ask me. poor on his part, but much poorer on the part of his supervisor, and manager.

my next observance was literally set out before me. i didn’t ask or prompt anyone for it:

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what has to be said about this? anything? anything at all…?

someone was eating (i’m going to guess that this is stolen fried chicken from the deli), while shopping, and was just flabbergasted by the distance to the nearest trash can so they just laid their partially eaten fried chicken drumstick on top of this box… and they also chose not to purchase the two overturned greeting cards (probably because of the chicken grease stains would be my guess). i mean, seriously.

what is this the result of? why are people so flagrantly disrespectful to everything?

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if anything is clear, it’s that Walmart should really tighten up their security.

how many people are walking around eating chicken, and donuts, and opening packages of …. peanut M&Ms? teddy grahams? or whatever that piece of yellow packaging belonged to. trust me when i tell you that i understand there are some families that aren’t able to afford much. perhaps this is the result of a food-poor residence and one too many cries of “mama, i’m hungry”. my observance is simply of the trash left around. it’s a sad world that we live in when there isn’t enough food to go around, but at the same time a stale donut can be discarded on the nearest shelf. you don’t have to be a pig. you just don’t.

it’s not just the fabulous shelves of Walmart that are covered with litter. this is a photo just outside my front door.


it looks like this all of the time. someone in the complex has a “store” in their apartment. they furnish the kids with all sorts of “hot chips” and “poppers”. in other words; unadulterated and unlimited amounts of sodium, MSG, food coloring, food dye, hydrogenated this and that, a plethora of preservatives and artificial flavors, and sweeteners and the ever present HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. the end result (besides the overweight, hyperactive, pre-diabetic juvenile population) is all of this trash where trash shouldn’t be. i’ve complained. it didn’t help. NOT ONE SINGLE BIT.

i got an evil stare in a parking lot yesterday because the other driver was backing up and i guess they got offended that i didn’t just readily stop for them … as they were in the wrong. i’ll stop, i’ll wait — because you’ve clearly got more important business than i do. i got a strange vibe from the lady in front of me in the grocery store because i moved the divider that she’d placed between her groceries and mine. really? you’re mad because i moved the divider closer to your food? ok. weird, but ok.

i could go on, but i think you get the picture. there’s entirely too much selfishness in this world. everyone just droning on about their own lives and not showing an ounce of care, concern, or love for their neighbor, their neighborhood, or their environment. it makes me sad. it’s always made me sad, but it weighs heavy on me as a mother. i can only hope that my children will pay attention to my words, my actions, and my prayers that the world changes for the better — and that it starts with us.

memories to last a lifetime

my son went to summer camp. he returned today after five whole days and nights away. this was his third time attending (last summer, and this past winter) with our church. he had such a wonderful time. he's sitting on the couch reminiscing and researching some of the songs he heard and shared with his camp family. he shed a tear (a huge alligator tear) for the friends that he made, the times they shared, and for the overwhelming good time.

i explained that his feelings were normal and a sign that camp did everything it was supposed to do. these are memories that he won't ever lose or forget. camp is a memory that lives in perpetuity. it lingers on and on always bringing a smile.

we are fortunate enough to live just a half hour away from the mountains and the grand hospitality of Forest Home. the staff and facilities are top notch and geared to make a ten year old boy wish for camp — just minutes after having arrived home.

the three pictures above are courtesy of the Forest Home site. they do not allow electronic devices or phone calls (unless an emergency of course), which allows the kids to completely disconnect and take in the beauty of the world around them. the camp is faith focused and shifts the children's understanding of Our Savior Jesus Christ into a deeper yearning and learning. my son is already discussing his future as a counselor.

what more could a mama ask for? his prescription medication was loaded electronically into their site and administered daily by a nurse. their app: Forest Home Adventure Guide allowed me to receive updates; including when medications were administered, the plan for the day, the focus of the lesson shared, and my son's "camp store balance" (as cash is not accepted).

a faith based focused dedication on the Majesty of the Lord!! three allergy-free meals a day. mandatory hydration is required at all meals (drink two glasses of water). a safe yurt-like structure to share with his camp mates. a camp store in which to spend (his whole $15) frivolously. clean and accessible restrooms and showers. and all of the chaperoned and safe fun a ten year old can handle for six days. i am forever in debt to our church Immanuel Baptist, our children's ministry director, numerous dedicated chaperones, and the capable and trustworthy staff of Forest Home.


that picture and the gravity-defying toss are courtesy of our children's ministry director: Jaime and our church orchestra leader/director: Mr. Mike. thank you!

a (hundred)thousand thoughts

sometimes i wonder just what exactly goes through my head all day. there are moments where i feel that i am brain-dead because nothing that is filtering through makes sense. it is a simple flooding of random ideas, notions, thoughts and feelings. nothing is discernible. that feeling is immediately followed by the complete opposite notion that i am utterly and completely insane because of the sheer number of thoughts going through my head all at once.

i just spent at least half an hour trying to track down “the average number of thoughts in a day”. there is no factually comprehensive answer with scientific data provided as proof or foundation. in fact, every article, blog post, and entry found on the topic was followed by a barrage of comments about the validity of the information and the qualifications of the definition of thought, idea, and consciousness. it made me light-headed. but the overall concept is that our minds are so filled with “thoughts” that we have a separate one almost every second (tandem with the idea that we are capable of having multiple layers of thoughts at one time). whoa.

as stated by Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now, “Thinking has become a disease”. i’ll say! a thought every second? on top of a thought at the exact same time..? one of which will draw our attention while another exists unconsciously on a plane that we aren’t even cognizant of? can you think of anything more elaborately constructed than the human mind, it’s psyche, and the intricacies of consciousness??? i cannot. the fact of the matter (in my humble opinion) is that the thoughts are not the disease. the disease is our human desire to validate every thought with feeling and action.

every thought doesn’t need acknowledgement. every idea doesn’t need validation. it is this neuroses that has brought MINDFULNESS to the forefront of “self-care”. we are so powered on, so consumed, so involved with every little thing that we have had to remind ourselves how to slow down and breathe. literally. mindfulness is centered around ignoring the tsunami of thoughts, following our breaths — in, down, up, and out, and actually being PRESENT in this place, in this space, in this time — right here, right now.

sometimes i dream about conversations i’ve had or want to have, letters i’ve written or will write, or even future blog posts. i have my best work related a-ha moments in the shower (when i’m not at work), or as i’m drifting off to sleep — prompting me to send myself an email at work. i do my best dinner recipe research during my lunch break (when i’m not at home). and i write best when i’m too tired to finish (as there are always more than a dozen “draft” posts in my cue — this will be the third post published today that was started not today; a feat i have never accomplished before). i secretly dream of and plan my children’s futures on the nights when i’m restless and cannot sleep. and i peruse memories of my grandmother when i’m home, in my kitchen, preparing a meal.

everything that i listed in the paragraph above takes place when i am not there (except thinking of my gramma). my whole thought process is void of mindfulness. i’m thinking about work when i am at home. i’m thinking about home when i am at work. i am seldom thinking about what i am doing when i am doing it. i have actually thought it through hours or even days before… making my mind available to obsess (TO OBSESS) about the next task while i am still trying to conquer the task at hand.

i put forth a conscious and concerted effort to be present when i am spending time with my kids. it’s hard to not give children all of your attention. as a single parent, i do have the task of planning ahead for most everything. particularly meals and outings. we have a pretty solid schedule through the week and on the weekends we throw caution to the wind and let the chips fall where they may. but as of late, i’ve been making a point to not plan ahead. to just sit down and let them clamor over me. to lay on the floor and play with them. to let them pick the books i read, and to turn the pages. it allows for so much more conversation and interaction. they grow so fast…

i try to track my thoughts. when i’m at work i make endless lists to assist me with task completion. i actively use Outlook, and Evernote. i also use Notes, and Reminders on my phone. for a few months, i was also using a bullet journal, which i’d like to get back to, but requires a little more time than i have readily available. and with all of that, i still forget things. sometimes big things. perhaps if i just slow down, breathe, and focus on the current project i’ll be more productive. i mean, what good is an unchecked task list?

here at home my dishes are piled up. the laundry, both clean and dirty is also piled up. the storage closet is filled to the limit with clothes and shoes that are too small and need to be donated. the refrigerator could use a good cleaning. and the pantry could use a purging. at least the beds are made and the bathroom is clean. my eyes wander about the apartment looking at the flaws and problems. then i see this knee high stack of books. library books. that is where i will let my thoughts settle. we check out 33 books from the library two weeks ago. we read them all. i read them for, with, and to my kids. it was time and laughs that we shared together. those are the thoughts that mean something. those are the thoughts i will validate. this is where i will let my obsession rest… in the gaze of my beloved children.

a life better than what we had

isn’t that what we always say? especially when we are accused of doting on or spoiling our children? we want them to have a life better than what we had. we want to give them more than what we had. we want them to want for nothing because we wanted but couldn’t have. if that’s truly the case…when do we stop? which generation will be the ones to say “i struggled, i wanted, i craved, and i never got… BUT i’m just fine”!

i know i’ve said those words. i know i’ve held (and hold) those very feelings. but is that a founded desire? are my children lacking in anything? their recital every single night of our three stanza prayer will tell you no. they are not lacking in faith. their smiles, size, clothing, hair, and shoes will tell you no. they aren’t lacking. not in love, food or hygiene. their desire to read book after book after book at bedtime will also tell you no. they are not lacking. not with reading, not with mother-child interaction. in fact, i don’t see any position in which they are lacking. they’re all very well cared for. they’re safe, happy, loved, well, and thriving. what more could I be looking for?

i think that’s the question that fuels parenting. i think wanting for them, and living vicariously is what makes the next generation the “leaders of tomorrow”. if we didn’t want for them, push them, challenge them… where would we be? not we as in us the parents, but we as in society. where would society be if there wasn’t a newest youngest brightest on the verge of something spectacular?

but do we honestly have to give them more or better? in all honesty, we turned out fine… with less. is giving more what we what? i don’t, not really. i don’t want to provide more. i want to provide better. better quality. better substance.

i want my children to have a strong faith in God. i want them to see and believe His purpose for them and their purpose for Him. i want them to exhibit honesty, confidence, grace, generosity, and kindness. i want them to stand out among their friends, among their classmates, and in the world. i want them to be better than me… in all ways. i want them to have character, be characters (they’ve already got that one checked off the list), and be utterly unforgettable.