We moms can really do a number on ourselves. We pile on unrealistic expectations, sprinkle on a little comparison and competition, and then criticize ourselves when everything is not perfect. We also take ownership of things we have very little control over. As moms, we need to give ourselves a break.
My teenage son wears braces. He has been wearing them for almost a year now and I have been in a constant battle with him about his oral health. You must be extra vigilant with braces as bacteria and lurk around in those hard-to-reach places. I bought him a water pick, special mouthwash, special picks, and special floss. Each time I would take him to get his braces tightened, the orthodontist would tell him to work on his brushing. I would hear that and take that as a personal hit. I felt I should be doing a better job of making him floss, pick, swish, and brush. So each day after each tightening, he and I would go into the bathroom to practice flossing, picking, swishing, and brushing. Each time my son promised to do better, but at his next cleaning he was told the same thing by the hygienist. As she grabbed the mirror to show him the results of poor oral care I hung my head in shame. Although he had no cavities or any other tooth decay, there was visible bacteria buildup around his gum line. Then something else happened. The hygienist then told him that his mother was not responsible for making sure he brushes his teeth properly. Deep down I knew this, but it still did not stop me from feeling like a failure as she scraped away the ick from his teeth. I felt relieved that this nice hygienist took the time to say those words. It made me feel better having her let me off of the hook I had painfully placed myself on.
I intend to call back to let her know how much I appreciated her acknowledgment of something that I should be more conscious of. Certainly as mothers we will continue to attempt to pick up our children’s slack, but we must realize that we aren’t responsible for doing all the things they are capable of doing themselves.
No matter how one feels about monarchy, one must admit there continues to be a fascination with royalty. We use it in our everyday speech as a compliment. I often hear “Good morning, Queen!” from a nice young man when I am dressed fashionably or a “I hear you, Queen!” when I say something intelligent or witty. Last week, my cousin used “Queen” to describe me. I then told him my crown was bought and paid for. I just had to start wearing it. In my reply, I realized that although I was in possession of a crown, I had not been wearing it. This caused me to examine why.
It has been always been my belief that we all have crowns. I think deep down most people feel this is the case, but do we walk around on a daily basis like royalty? I didn’t. People were seeing it in me, I feel it is there, but I was not wearing my crown. When I was younger, I was known as the smart kid, teachers pet, and all those things that go along with being a bright student. Although it was a good thing, this caused me to be teased by other students. Being the smart kid wasn’t the popular thing to be. So I took off my crown. It started with self-deprecating humor and dumbing myself down to be what I thought to be more acceptable. As I got older, being smart was cool again. I reached for my crown and starting wearing it proudly. Then there were other times I felt undeserving of the crown upon my head. I would respond to a compliment not by simply saying “Thank you”, but by pointing out a flaw in myself. I wanted to let people know that although my royal blood is evident to others, I doubted it. I am ready to start wearing my crown at all times, at all functions, and in front of all people. Are you?
Some of us are afraid to touch it, some of us are intimidated power and responsibility that comes along with it, and some of us don’t feel worthy of wearing it. We all own one. Start wearing it!
We are all building something. It is up to us which materials we choose.
As like all people, I have had ups and downs, highs and lows. During the downs and lows, I felt stagnant. I felt as if I was stuck in mud, marinating in gloom and doom. What I did not know was that even in those down/low times, I was building. I was building with inferior materials of guilt, self-pity, anger, and insecurity. Those things are flimsy and degradable. Once I realized those things were not going to improve my position or outlook, I had to first get out of the mud and that required some help. Sometimes you aren’t capable of getting out of the mud on your own. You need something to grasp onto. I latched on to my faith in God. I realized I had sank so deep in the mud that I allowed my hands to get stuck as well. I had stop reaching for help. Wiggling my hands free from the mud was a choice I had to make and I made it. That was one of the best decisions of my life.
Once I reached out my hand and let faith lead the way, I was given the materials to construct an abundant life. I did not find them! I did not purchase them! THEY WERE GIVEN TO ME!
It had to be my choice to wiggle my hand free from the mud, reach out and believe. That was all I had to do. God took care of the rest. I made a choice to accept that I could not build on my own. I had to get rid of the inferior materials to make way for the premium-grade.
I would like to challenge all of you who feel you are stuck in the mud to at least wiggle one hand free. Have faith, reach out and believe.
As I mentioned in my last post, I am very open to new experiences. The most recent new experience has been with Instagram. My cousin loves to cook and so do I, but cooking was one of the things I stopped enjoying when during my season of unfortunate events. Fortunately, with some inspiration from the culinary artistry of my cousin, I revived my joy of cooking.
Recently, my cousin has also been challenging me to learn more about social media. I had opened several accounts in the past, but rarely attended to them. One social media outlet neither of us had tried was Instagram. So, we both opened accounts and began learning what it was all about. I can’t speak for him, but I was hooked. He suggested that I post some of the food I was cooking on Instagram. I couldn’t wait. So I posted my first dish. I made sure that every morsel was placed perfectly, that the lighting was just right, the plate was attractive, but not so much that it over shadowed the food. Then I posted my culinary masterpiece. The whole staging process took about 15 minutes. It was beautiful and I was so proud of it. The portion was adequate, but not too much. There was a lot of greenery to make it pop and the presentation was lovely. Then I ate it and was satisfied. Now the amazing thing was the portion size. The portion I staged for the photo was about half the size I would have chosen for myself had I not planned to photograph it. Also, from plate to mouth there was at least a 15 minute time span. As I mentioned, the portion was adequate and I was satisfied after eating it. I took time to really savor the food before I ate it. I took in the beauty of the creation before consuming it. Taking that time quelled my appetite and I was able to enjoy and be satiated with a much smaller portion. I supplemented part of my desire for the food by taking the time to prepare and admire it. Additionally, the need to add color and visual interest to the dish caused me to add more vegetables. In a sense, Instagram is helping me eat healthier.
So far I have only posted two dishes to Instagram, but I have still been preparing my meals as if they are going to be posted to Instagram. I take time to prepare it, admire it, and eat it. Taking to time to truly enjoy the experience satisfies me. A larger portion of food only filled my belly, but savoring the experience fills my soul.
I would like to challenge all of us to stop, admire, and savor all of our creations. Use all of your senses. Allow your soul to be fed.
New experiences is the first thing I say to may son when I wake him up in the morning. He is not a morning person like his mother. He needs a little extra encouragement. Actually this practice didn’t happen intentionally. I was saying, wake up little Nigel. So the next morning after the first day of school, I said it again. Then Nigel said, “Mommy, I want you to say new experiences like you did yesterday.” Actually, that wasn’t what I said, but it was a good practice to start. Now I say it to him every morning when he wakes up.
I have been putting that practice into action in my own life. I am very fond of rituals and routines and I think that is just fine, but there are times when you need to give new things a chance. I recently started drinking coffee. Now I love it! I don’t drink it every day, but I enjoy a good cup of coffee. I don’t use it as a stimulant as I have been accused of being caffeine personified, but I drink it for the taste. In the past I refused coffee because I felt that I had no use for it. I viewed coffee as a means of staying awake or jolting one from a groggy morning, things I never had an issue with. One day I decided to give coffee a try. It happened in a very strange way. I was watching an episode of Satisfaction on Netflix and I saw one of the characters making a cup of coffee with a french press. The whole process looked interesting and I wanted to try making coffee that way. That particular way of making coffee appealed to me for its simplicity. So I purchased a french press, a hand-crank ceramic burr grinder, bought a bag of coffee beans from a local coffee shop, and made my first cup of coffee. I enjoyed the process of heating the water, grinding the beans, and waiting patiently for the coffee to steep. I found the experience to be therapeutic. It is nice slow down and savor an experience, and now I have a new ritual. It forces me to slow down, take my time and really enjoy the moment.
I would not have gained this new ritual had I not been willing to try something new. I have learned to let go of feeling that I cannot benefit from something that is not necessarily marketed to me or the identity I have assigned to myself. I must remain open to new experiences. We all must let go of notion that something is “not for you” or “you are meant for something like that.”
I would like to challenge all of us to try something or experience something new. Try a new food. Visit a different place or just take another route home from work. See what’s out there!