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The Making of a SUPERmom– How I Discovered My Cape

The Making of  a SUPERmom– How I Discovered My Cape

What makes a SUPER mom? I can’t say I know completely, but the perception is a woman who is able to do super human feats, above and beyond the norm. Ah, if that’s the case, I remember exactly when I discovered my “SUPER mom powers”.

Imagine this—I was a pregnant, twenty-one year old, recently married woman, enrolled as a full-time college student with my heaviest course load of 17 hours. Not a huge deal since my baby was due mid-May, just as the semester would be ending.  Everything seemed to be in sync until one day I experienced unusual pain. Through a series of fast and traumatic events, my husband and I found ourselves at a hospital that night making serious life and death decisions over the future of our unborn daughter and me. Trying to stop my labor posed as a major health risk to me and her due to other complications. At the same time, our daughter was a few weeks shy of being in the “safety zone” if we allowed her to be born then.  It seemed nothing was certain. Through a brief time alone together in prayer, we sensed the undeniable peace of God nudging us to allow her to be born right then. Fearlessly I went into surgery under a complete anesthesia.  I awakened later and learned that our 3 pound baby girl was here, but not without some complications that would keep her hospitalized for several weeks.

Before I ever laid eyes on her in that hospital, I was forewarned by the doctors and my husband that she probably didn’t look like what I expected. I didn’t care. I had already set my heart to love her anyway. I just needed to see her. I made the slow walk down to the neo-natal ICU and there she was. I was so unprepared for what I saw. I broke down in tears at the sight of my tiny little baby with tubes disguising her face and body as she lay on her back…fighting for every breath. I wanted to stay by her side and help her get better any way I could.

After a day or so, I was released from the hospital, but my daughter was not. How was I supposed to leave my new baby in the care of nurses and doctors while I went back home? Was I supposed to resume life as usual? How could I continue my hefty class load, along with its assignments and tests while constantly pumping breast milk for storing up and making frequent trips to the hospital? How could I balance this with my “regular” home life of paying bills and cooking dinner? To be honest with you, I didn’t know how; and I never gave it much thought. I knew I didn’t want to quit college mid semester, and there was nothing else left to take off my plate. So I just did what I had to do. I believed if my baby girl could fight every breath in that hospital, surely I could fight to finish that semester by the grace of God.

God harmoniously worked everything out for our good. Our daughter got out the hospital a little earlier than we anticipated. Most importantly, she was discharged much healthier than expected! No major medications or surgeries were needed. My grade point average was the highest ever during my time in college, nearing close to a 4.0. Although we lived a few hours from our biological family, our local family which consisted of friends from church, work, and school all helped by giving their sincere prayers and precious time to us. Looking back, I can see how God put his SUPER on my natural MOM abilities.  I stretched further, reached higher, dug deeper, and came out on top with His help. There is no way I could have done that on my own. Jesus Christ’s strength was made PERFECT in my weakness.

And that’s my SUPERmom story….well, part of it anyway. That experience changed my perception about what I could really handle. It would have been much easier just to quit school or at least drop some classes. By pressing in during that challenging time, I was able to graduate from college the next year. Oh, and today my oldest daughter is a smart and beautiful young lady.

I know that you have your own unique story. Many of you have so graciously shared them in the comment section of my previous blogs, and I love reading them!  Some of you are single moms, others are married moms, some of you have children with health challenges, and others of you are overcoming your own challenges. Regardless of the circumstances, I think the lessons in this blog applies to us all. What are that lessons? They are simple— Don’t quit. Trust (lean, rely, depend on) God. You can’t be super and sane on your own. He is the SUPER in SUPERmom.

Do you know another mom that could use this encouragement? Maybe she has her hands in a lot of things right now. Maybe life has dealt her some unexpected circumstances. Maybe challenges have caused her to give up on pursuing some personal goals. If you think someone else could be encouraged by this blog, please share, post, or tweet it. Thank you. Also, please leave your comments about when you “discovered your cape.” Your comments are so helpful to me and everyone that reads them. God bless you!

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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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10 Mother & Daughter Bonding Ideas Under $10

10 Mother & Daughter Bonding Ideas Under $10
Looking for some great ways to strengthen the bond with your daughter? Face to face interaction with your child is one of the best ways to bond with them and to create lasting memories. Studies show that the time you spend with your kid makes a much more lasting impression then what you buy for them. So, regardless of your level of income moms, here are 10 ideas under $10 that you can do with your daughters. HAPPY BONDING!
  1. Bake Something NEW–  Open a cookbook, magazine, or go online and select a new dessert recipe and go for it! Be sure to select something with inexpensive ingredients. Even if your new dessert does not turn out perfect, the time you spend trying will be worth it!
  2. Manicure & Pedicure– Gather all your manicure and pedicure tools and have a party! Play music softly in the background and talk while polishing each others nails. Take small risks by choosing a nail polish color against your norm. Try creating designs to add even more fun to it. Nail polisher remover can easily get rid of anything you don’t want to showcase in public.
  3. Pajamas – Buy matching pajamas sets and designate a certain day of the week or special holiday to wear them. Take pics for your scrapbook or to share with relatives and friends.
  4. Fashion Show– Go right into your closets and create new looks for each other out of clothes you already have. Start the music and walk the “runway” in your home. Don’t be too serious when creating the looks. The more absurd, the bigger the laughs!
  5. Talent Show– Discover your inner poet, musician, or singer by hosting a talent show in your home. Forget over rehearsing, make it spontaneous!
  6. Movie/TV Night– Camp out on the sofa and watch a chick flick or a Lifetime movie marathon. Be sure to let your daughter choose something she likes. Even if it’s not your favorite thing to watch, it will mean so much to her to have your undivided participation.
  7. Book Club– Pick a great novel from the library to read together.
  8. Vision Boards– Grab some old magazines, poster boards, glue sticks, and scissors and create a vision board. What a great way to find out what your daughter dreams about doing someday!
  9. Talk Time– Go to your daughter’s room and just chill out. Turn off the cell phones and TV. Just be in their presence and the conversation will begin to flow. You might be surprised how much she’ll open up and share with you.
  10. Outdoor Fun– Be a kid again mom. Get on your bike or roller blades and go take your daughter for a spin around the neighborhood. Play outdoor sports, go for a walk, or swimming together if possible.

I have done ALL of these ideas and more with my girls and they loved it! Do you plan to try any of these ideas? Do you have some other fun inexpensive ideas to add to the list?

Supermom Tip: Remember to make the time to bond with your daughter. It does not take a big financial investment, only an investment of your time. The payoff is SUPER!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Fire the MAID, Hire the COACH- Making the SHIFT

I confess I was sort of late learning to ride a bike. I was so girly, I didn’t want to fall off a bike and scar my legs (don’t judge me). By the time I got the courage to learn how to ride a one speed bike, most of my cousins I wanted to ride with had moved on to the ten speed bike. It was bigger and better, yet a little more complicated. The ten speed bike came with gears that I could shift to adjust the bike, making for a much easier ride up or down a hill. That feature alone made the ten speed bike better than the one speed bike. If you have ever had to walk alongside your one speed bike instead of riding it while going up a hill, you know exactly what I mean!

Moms, can you imagine life in one speed? I can. I did one speed for a while, but the journey got hard. Living life in one speed wasn’t intentional. It was subtle—very subtle. I imagine I was like most moms. My husband and I brought that beautiful bouncing baby girl home from the hospital and I went into action—feeding, changing diapers, bathing, changing clothes, combing hair, doing laundry, packing baby bags, and on and on and on. I did it day after day, month after month, year after year, and I neglected to shift. It just became natural for me to do it all, even after I had my second child. I was too exhausted as the mom of two young girls, only 18 months apart (yeah, almost twins). I did manage to make some minor adjustments along the way, but I can’t say I had actually shifted gears. I didn’t even realize I was supposed to shift gears. The realization came when my 7-year-old niece came to stay at our home for the weekend. She was about the same age as my girls, but she was extremely independent. She took showers (not 30 minute baths with the perfect water temperature, bubbles, and toys). She had selected and packed her own clothes, managed her own hair fairly decently, and much more. I was SHOCKED! It had never occurred to me that my girls were at the age where they could do more for themselves. Somewhere along the way, between the hustle and bustle of life, and the longing to just get things taken care of, I had become like a maid, an unpaid maid I should add.

That day I did what any good mom would do- I FIRED the MAID, and HIRED the COACH! This revelation did not mean I would no longer serve my kids, it just meant I would start training them as well. I honor and respect the position of a maid, and in no way am I putting it down, but in the life of a mom, the maid must be a seasonal position. You must know when to shift gears and start coaching instead. A maid does everything for you. A coach trains, instructs, and prepares you. Prepares you for what? They PREPARE you to WIN the upcoming game (of life). Once the game begins, the coach isn’t allowed to get in the game and play for the player. At best, the coach can give guidance from the sidelines. A great coach uses practice time to show the player what to do, watches them do it, and then gives them any needed correction or further guidance until they can successfully do it on their own. The coach is satisfied from seeing the player use the preparation he or she taught them, and score big during the game! Just like game day comes for the player, the day will come where your child will be on their own, putting all your instruction into action. Prepare them NOW to WIN when that time comes. But keep in mind, WINNING TAKES TRAINING!

That ten speed bike I mentioned earlier is much like the life of a mom. As our children grow, we have to make the necessary adjustments for a much easier ride. I have seen it time and time again, you know, that burned out feeling you get when you don’t shift gears. That is because LIFE IS NOT MEANT TO BE LIVED IN ONE GEAR. Most of the time when the moms I know get burned out I ask them what are their responsibilities and what are their kid’s responsibilities around the house. I have usually found it’s the mom doing it ALL! Some moms do it all because they got in one speed and stayed there. Due to a lack of knowledge, they missed the shift. Other moms do it all because they don’t want to teach and train. They figure it will save them time and frustration just to do it themselves. That way they know it will be done right. Then there are some moms who have a need to be needed by their child. They attach what they DO for the child with their VALUE to the child, so they joyfully do it all. Moms, please know you are an invaluable treasure simply because of who you ARE, not only because of what you DO for your child. You are valuable just because you are their mom. Remember, when you do it all, you rob your child of the benefit of being responsible and knowing HOW to do things. If the President and First Lady of the United States make their daughters have responsibilities in the White house, why can’t our kids have some responsibilities in our house? Let’s evaluate where we are now so we can make the SHIFT!

Evaluate What – Make a written list of what your household responsibilities are. The best way to get a complete list is to write down every household related thing you do over the next seven days. Seeing it in writing will give you much more clarity than just thinking about your responsibilities in your head. If you’re exhausted just looking at the list, you probably need to shift!

Evaluate Why– Look at each task on your list and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” Is it because your kids are infants? Is it because your kids are too busy (this busy kid thing will be in an upcoming blog)? Do you pity your kids, and think giving them responsibilities is unfair? Be HONEST with yourself. There may be some good reasons. There may also be some not so good reasons. It’s okay, that’s why you are doing this evaluation.

Evaluate Who & When– Who can do what you are doing? When can they start? This is about establishing age appropriate duties for your kids. If your toddler can take toys out the toy chest, they can also put toys back in the toy chest. Have you ever observed all the duties a child has at their school? Even the kindergartener has to empty their own lunch tray. Why can’t they empty their dinner plate at home? Can your 7-year-old access the cabinets? Have them help put away clean dishes. Maybe they can put canned goods neatly in the pantry. Are you still waking your kids up every morning? Why not get them their own alarm clock without a snooze button? Are you still telling them when to get in and out the shower? Put a timer in there; let them set it to 10 minutes before they get in the shower; when it goes off, they have to get out the shower. Can your child fold towels, move clothes from the washer to the dryer? Do they know their colors? If so, get a dark, white, and bright-colored laundry baskets and have them sort the clothes accordingly. Teach them to make their bed correctly, instead of you doing it for them. You get my point, right coach? Show them how, do it with them, watch them do it, make corrections as needed, and then let them have it. You will always OVERSEE everything and hold them accountable, but you don’t have to DO everything.

SUPERMOM Tip– Making the necessary shifts can help you not to burnout quickly. It’s not about making lazy moms, but making responsible kids! Coach your kids on how to do things for themselves. When game time comes, they will be ready, and you will be proud to watch them WIN!

What are your thoughts? Have you been the maid for too long? Do you plan to implement these steps? I enjoy your feedback and comments.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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PREP(aration) SCHOOL

PREP(aration) SCHOOL

Frustration and tension you could cut with a knife…..These were not feelings of a woman that had just found out some heart wrenching news. Oh no. This was ME getting my two beautiful little girls ready for church every Sunday morning– alone. My husband would leave early to play in the band at church, and I was left to myself to find tights, dresses, bows, shoes, and all the other things little girls wore. (Insert sympathy here). Oh and somewhere along the way I was supposed to get myself together and show up at church on time, looking fabulous, feeling refreshed, and ready to worship! This was NOT my reality however. While I hoped and wished it would all work out, every distraction imaginable would come up. The tights I thought they would wear had a huge hole right in the knee area. The hair bow that matched the dress would be missing in action. I would manage to locate the right foot dress shoe, but what happened to the mate of that dress shoe when I needed it most? The ticking away of my precious time made it more and more apparent that my desired departure time was NOT going to happen. The tension would mount as I came to the harsh realization that I would be late…..again. Arriving late to church also meant there would be no space left in the nursery for my kids, and no seat left in the sanctuary. I felt defeated before I even left my home. Oh happy day……
During one of these Sunday morning drama filled episodes, I threw myself a pity party and invited the Lord to join me. I needed Him to tell me why this was so difficult for poor me to get to church on time. With tear filled eyes, I heard Him speak this within me clearly, “YOU are in control of your time.” What???? Did I misunderstand something here God? How is it that I am in control of my time when all these unexpected situations keep getting thrown at me? I mean, I AM THE VICTIM HERE, right? He said, “Everyone gets the same 24 hours.“ Finally, I got it.
You see, I felt like nobody had circumstances quite like MINE. I thought my available time was shorter than everyone else’s. I started to believe I was the only person in the world who had the horrible plight of getting two kids ready for church alone. Those, my friends, are the thoughts of a VICTIM, and a VICTIM never gets VICTORY, only SYMPATHY.
Once I recognized that dark evil forces were not congregating together every Saturday night to plan my Sunday morning demise, I saw who and what the REAL problem was. It and she could be found in my mirror. It was ME. Understand this–the mother of ten kids, the surgeon that spends 14 hours in the operating room, the pastor of a mega-church, the single mother that works full-time while working on her college degree, the elementary school teacher with the overcrowded class, the single father of a special needs child, the business owner, and I were all on a level playing field when it came to TIME. Each of us were dealt the same 24 hours to make it happen, regardless of our circumstances. Suddenly the tears dried up, the tension left, and I went from being powerless to powerful in an instant. Now all I needed was a STRATEGY. After I accepted the responsibility over my use of time, it was instantly clear what I had been doing wrong. I had not PREPARED. I was getting up every Sunday morning rolling the dice, hoping and wishing I would win, instead of planning to win. A WISH is NOT a PLAN. There is a great saying that says, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Use the following tips to make your plan and WIN:


1) PREParation– Decide the night before EXACTLY what you and your kids will wear, and then do a dress rehearsal to identify any issues. Are the tights free of holes and do they still fit? Do their clothes have any missing buttons, stains that were not removed during the washing process, etc.? Inspect everything and address any issues. Once each piece passes inspection, put it all together on a hanger. Place smaller items such as jewelry, hair bows, socks, bow tie, etc. in a small bag, and place it on the neck of the hanger. This may not seem like a big thing, but it is. It is those little details we overlook that snowball and eat away at our time.

2) Plan– Write the vision. Write out a schedule and allot a certain amount of time to it. A written plan increases the chances of it being an accomplished plan. If your kids can read, give them a copy. Both time and money must be given a specific assignment upfront, or they will aimlessly wonder everywhere, accomplishing nothing. Write each task that needs to be accomplished and delegate a frame of time to it. What time will you be in the shower? How long? What time will you comb their hair, feed them breakfast? How long will each task take? How long does it take for you to get ready? Is it better to do that before you wake your kids up or after? Be very specific and don’t leave out even the smallest of details.

3) Delegation– What are you doing for your kids that your kids could do be doing on their own? (We will discuss this more in a later blog). Is there anything you can delegate out? Can you put premeasured cups of milk in the refrigerator and covered bowls of cereal on the table and let them take it from there? Can they dress themselves? Make their own bed? Can the older child help the younger child with some things? Sometimes we think we have to do it all, when we don’t really have to.

4) Organization– This is a blog subject within itself! Elimination and organization will make all the difference. Organization involves creating a systematic place to put things, and a systematic way of doing things. Why didn’t I make this step #1? I did not make it step #1 because getting organized is a project that can take time. You can make a lot of progress by doing steps 1 & 2, even though things are not quite organized yet. Designate time to get everything in order. You won’t regret it!

5) Celebration– You finally got it right so celebrate, and get the kids in on it! Create a special little dance, handshake, or facial expression with your kids when you all accomplish a goal. That celebration will create a special memory between you and your kids. Celebration creates motivation. Motivation helps create repeat performance!

SUPERmom Tip: Super moms don’t have to be stressed out moms. Eliminate the stress, strain, and frustration that come as a result of improper planning. Creating a winning plan will help you enjoy the life you deserve with your family!

Do you plan to implement any of these steps? Do you currently implement any of these steps? If so, how is it working for you? I would love to hear back from you!

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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