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Lessons I want my child to learn this summer

Learn, the word my 7-year old doesn’t care to hear this summer. At the conclusion of every school year, children across America look forward to unplugging from school and having fun. Words like book and work become foreign in their minds. I agree, they work hard all year long and deserve a break from early bedtimes and even earlier rings of the alarm clock, and the pressure of homework and test. Summers are supposed to be fun, laid back, and not as strenuous as the school year, but if I can be honest as parents the summer also gives us a break from the strict schedules we also face during the school year with helping with homework, projects, and activities. It’s up to us to make sure they have adequate learning opportunities during summer break. According to the National Summer Learning Association, “most students lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.” I don’t know about you, but my girls can’t afford to lose any skills, we work too hard to allow the summer months to steal their precious capacity for growth. There are some lessons I would like our daughters to learn this summer, not only academic skills they can use during the school year, but also life lessons we don’t necessarily get a lot of time to focus in on.

Here are five lessons I want my kids to learn this summer. I hope some of these lessons you can incorporate into your child’s summer learning.

1. LEARNING JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN AT SCHOOL OR DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR.

Every parent would like for their child to take an interest in learning. This summer I think it’s important for it to be instilled into our children, that learning isn’t just something that happens in school or during the school year, but a lifelong activity. There are some adults who still need to grasp this concept, there are people who haven’t picked up a book since they were in school…but that’s another post. I don’t want learning to feel like a chore or something we make them do, but a choice to grow and develop new and existing skills.

2. TO HELP AROUND THE HOUSE.

During the summer months, we are on a more relaxed schedule and spend more time at home especially during the day. I would like to take these opportunities to help develop and grow their household responsibilities. We always tell the girls we are a team and as members of the team it’s important for them to feel responsible for taking care of our home as we do. For them, it means cleaning up their room without me having to scream my head off and picking up after themselves.

3. LEARN SOMETHING NEW.

When kids learn something new, it builds their self-confidence. I want my girls especially my 7-year old to learn something new this summer. The older children become, the tougher it is to keep them motivated through the many outside influences. Learning something new is a valuable life lesson, it gives the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. This summer I would like them to begin learning a new language, grow a small garden or even indoor plant, and for my youngest to learn to ride her bike without training wheels.

4. DEVELOP THEIR TALENTS AND INTERESTS.

On a good day, my oldest daughters mention 5-6 times a day that she wants to be five different careers when she grows up. As parents, my husband and I are always thinking about how we can develop those talents and interests. When you notice what your child is good at or take an interest in an activity, it’s important to develop those skills and give them the support they need to learn. Summer activities are very expensive; most park districts have summer programs taught by the industries best at lower costs. This summer our girls will be moving from doing handstands on my bedroom wall to taking gymnastic classes at our local park district.

5. JUST BE KIDS.

The pressure is constantly on children to grow up and to be responsible. This summer I want my kids to be kids. I want them to be free, to laugh, to run, play, do handstands on my wall and let their imagination run. They have all of their lives for pressure, stress, and responsibility. I believe as adults we can take a page out of our children’s books and just be free, willing to learn, and to relax and have fun this summer.

As a parent, what lesson would you like for your child to learn this summer? Leave me a comment below.learnSummer-1

5 tips before talking to your child about racism

There are some tough conversations as parents we wish we never have to have with our children. Racism is one of them. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve seen the countless stories and the racial tension that is brewing in our country. As parents, it’s important that our children learn from our voices. My husband and I are firm believers that certain first-time conversations shouldn’t be had with our children at school, amongst their peers, and if I can keep it real…out in the streets. We want our kids to know our voice and views on particular issues. From the pool incident in McKinney, TX to the Massacre in Charleston, SC conversations about racism with our children are more important now than ever. Being prepared for the discussion is almost just as important as the conversation itself. Have you ever had your child ask you a question you totally weren’t ready to answer at the time? Exactly, I can see your face because my face had the same expression. It’s not fun…you began to stutter, you either dismiss them or give them an answer you weren’t sure about. Be prepared.

Here are five things to consider before talking with your child about racism:

1. Just do it

Most people think there are children are too young to have a conversation about race. Between the ages of 5-8 years old is when children begin to notice the differences between themselves and other children. Speak age appropriately. It’s important to have a different conversation with an 8-year-old than you would for a 15-year-old. Certain events or illustrations may be too much for younger children. The last thing you would want to do is cause your child to be fearful or nervous about certain topics that will cause a breakdown in the communication. This won’t be an easy or one of those light-hearted conversations, but it will be worth it later.

2. Anticipate questions

Your child is going to have a ton of questions, so why not anticipate them. Take some time and write down questions that could come up and think about your answers or stories you could tell to help them understand. Do your research on the subject, be sure you support and clear on the information you’re giving. Another important thing is to not to worry about saying “I don’t know” or ask to revisit the question later. Your kids know that you aren’t an expert or Wikipedia, so it’s completely fine to come back later and give an appropriate response.

3. Foster their curiosity

Give your child room to be curious about the issues. When you hear the word curiosity, your mind automatically goes to younger children. Curiosity isn’t solely linked to younger children, but also prominent in teenagers, most of the time we don’t give them room to be open enough to share and ask honest questions for fear of disagreement, embarrassment, or just plain ole not wanting to know.

4. Think about how to start the conversation

Depending on the age, how you bring up the conversation can cause a break in communication. Time the conversation when you’re not tired, hungry and don’t have the time to give your full attention. The worse thing in starting a meaningful conversation is starting it and not having the time to fully complete it and to answer any questions that may come up.

5. Give homework and plan to have a follow-up conversation

Give your child homework and follow up with them a few days later. It’s especially important for parents of teenagers, don’t be pushy if they say “I’m good. Give them a little space and allow them to come to you. One of the best ways to get your child invested in what’s going on in their community or the world around them is to allow them to be a part of the solution. Ask them questions to get their input and assist them in making small strides towards a goal.

Bonus: Be an example

One of the best conversations you can have with your child no matter the age is through your actions. Be a role model and look for teachable moments every day.

Haute Mom’s Have Purpose + Christine St. Vil

Christine St. Vil-HMHP

Haute Mom’s Have Purpose is an interview series that features “Haute Mommi’s” who are not only experiencing great success in their careers, but also are present and active in their homes and personal lives. Let’s be inspired by the stories and advice by Moms who are just like us, Haute Moms with Purpose. 

I met Christine through a bloggers group we are both a part of. She is such as inspiration not only to mothers like myself but has a wealth of knowledge as a business woman when it comes to entrepreneurship, blogging, purpose, social media, and empowerment. Christine’s vision is similar to mine, she wants to change the face of motherhood through helping women take charge of their lives by defining and igniting their purpose in both life and business. She is a dynamic speaker, social media guru, author, and best of all a wife and mother. Read more about Christine below and be sure to check out her website and her highly acclaimed book Whose Shoes Are You Wearing? 12 Steps to Uncovering the Woman You Really Want to Be. 

|Briefly introduce yourself and your passion/purpose.| 

My name is Christine St.Vil and I’m the Founder/CEO of Moms ‘N Charge™, a division of Purpose Driven Media, LLC. My passion is helping moms pursue their goals and dreams, in addition to being a great mom. I’m also passionate about teaching and training, and love helping women in business (especially moms) create a social media strategy that aligns with their life vision/purpose.

|What’s your favorite quote or saying?| 

One of my favorite quotes is: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” It’s a great reminder that we don’t have to always have every detail in place, and every check box marked off. The key is to staying in action and doing what you can with what you have.

HMHP-Christine St. Vil

|What’s on your iPod?|

Ha! A mix of everything. I mostly listen to gospel music, love Mary Mary, Tye Tribbett, Yolanda Adams, William McDowell and others. But I also have Kelly Clarkson, Janet Jackson, Usher and everything in between. My most recent and current favorite download is the “Beyond the Lights” soundtrack and Annie (for the kids, or course lol).

|What are you reading now?|

I just finished Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success (GREAT book). And I’m now reading Angel’s Laws of Blogging (Founder of Concrete Loop.com).

|How many kids do you have and what are their ages?|

I have 3 beautiful babies, one boy (age 7) and two girls (ages 5 & 3).

MomsNCharge #kidsdreamingbig 2

|How do you find balance?|
I actually cringe when I hear “balance”. I honestly don’t believe that there’s a such thing. But I do believe that I juggle things well. As I stated in this previous article, you can’t give 100% to everything at the same time. If you’re rocking it out in one area of your life, another area is probably not as stellar. And that will probably change from day-to-day, week to week. And guess what? It’s okay. Some days I’m killing it with homeschooling and some days I’m not. Some days I’m killing it in my business and some days I’m not. And I’m okay with that. (if you want to link to my full article on this topic, here it is: Motherhood and Balance Don’t Mix & Here’s Why)
|Was there ever a moment where you felt lost in motherhood?| 
Absolutely! I talk about it all the time, especially because I know so many other moms can relate. I definitely became a “victim of identity theft” due to motherhood after I had my third child and became
Absolutely! I talk about it all the time, especially because I know so many other moms can relate. I definitely became a “victim of identity theft” due to motherhood after I had my third child and became an SAHM (Stay at home Mom). I didn’t realize how much I had allowed my corporate job to define who I was, and how much I enjoyed that part of my identity until I no longer had it. At the time, going to work gave me a sense of purpose. But becoming an SAHM, I struggled to figure out what that was. I struggled with postpartum depression after I had my third child and a lot of it, I believe, had to do with not really knowing and loving who I was deep down.
HMHP-Christine St. Vil #2
|How important is having support?|
I can’t stress enough about the importance of having a support system. When I coach my clients who say they don’t have family or friends close by, or who support them, I encourage them to go out and create their own support system. When I was going through PPD, I found support in online communities, from complete strangers that could relate to exactly what I was going through. I also looked for mommy support groups in my area and ended up joining my local Mocha Moms group.
|How did you discover your purpose?|
When I started my company, I knew that I was on a mission to help moms discover their own purpose, and not allow the mom guilt to keep them from pursuing their goals and dreams. But when I co-authored my first book with my sister last year, I think that was the defining moment that I was on the right track. The testimonials we’ve received from people who have been able to forgive themselves for nothing they had control over, or from those who needed to hear exactly what we shared, has been humbling. It’s made us push even more to help more women to uncover the woman they were truly meant to be.
Whose shoes FINAL book cover
|How important is it for mothers to find their purpose?|
 I truly think it’s so important. I wrote an article about this and someone made a comment that they wished their mom had followed her own dreams, because years later, she felt cheated as her daughter. I believe we have to set the example for our children. How can we encourage our children to go after their dreams, and to encourage them that they can do anything and be anything they want, but yet, we’re not doing the same? I want my children to be inspired and see me as that example to go after what they want in life.
|What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?|
I’ve received so much great advice over the years, especially since starting my business. But one of the best pieces of advice, when you’re pursuing your purpose and passion in life, is that it’s not about me. It’s not about you. Fear will creep up. Anxiety and stress will set in. But when you take the focus off of you and on to the person/people who are waiting to hear your message, it makes things much easier.
|How do you stay inspired?|
By connecting with people like you who have a similar mindset and drive. I listen to motivational podcasts and YouTube clips almost daily. I read inspirational quotes daily and as much as possible, I try to eliminate the negativity that I engage with.
|Have you ever experienced Mommy Guilt?|
I definitely have! I think it’s a requirement of being a mom 🙂 But one of the things that has helped tremendously (since my mommy guilt stemmed from trying to build my business and trying to start homeschooling and spending time with the kids) is involving the kids. I talk to them about what I do, the classes I teach. They know all about my book, Whose Shoes Are You Wearing? They can tell you about Moms ‘N Charge. When I tell them that I’m teaching class or that I have to travel to speak, they get excited. They think I’m a pretty cool mommy so that makes me happy 🙂
|What is some advice you would like to share with other Moms?|
Do what works for you. There is no one–size-fits-all when it comes to motherhood. There’s a lot of great advice out there. Take it and tweak it to work for your family. Don’t allow yourself to get flustered or overwhelmed because you feel you should be doing all of the twenty things a week with your children that you see another mom doing.
HMHP-Christine St. Vil #1
Connect with Christine | Twitter | Facebook | Website 

 

When people don’t support your dream

when people don't support
Isn’t this what we all want? LOL
downloadOn a more serious note…Believe it or not, I started writing this post in July 2013. I added to it several times but never pursued completing it because I didn’t want to sound as if I was resentful. Earlier this week a conversation between fellow bloggers on a network I’m a part of led to a nudge in my back and awakened these words from my safe place. Most of my posts begin like that, I go back and forth, I’m going to share this, nope not sharing that, and eventually I share and it never fails…someone reaches out to me and says thank you that was for me. So here I am again…if you’ve chosen to follow your dreams, start a business, write a book, go back to school, quit your job, and support is lacking…this is for you. Be Encouraged.
What to do when people don’t support you?
When you make a huge ginormous decision to do something great the first people, you will assume to help or support you would be the people closest to you, your friends and family. Unfortunately, this is not always the case! You send out a mass text, emails, bring it up at family gatherings and the people closest to you still don’t give their support. When this happens it’s easy to think, what is wrong with me, am I really walking in my purpose, and you begin to doubt your gift and decisions.I have a great support system, but even I have friends and family members who have probably never read this blog, commented, liked, or shared one post, and I’m okay with that. I have people who are invested, who read almost every post, comment frequently, call, and send me inspiring text messages and emails. I’ve learned over time, that’s what matters most.
Here are three things you need to do when people don’t support you:
1. Don’t take it personal, It’s not about you!
Unless it’s some true hateration going on, it’s not about you. Your friends and family aren’t necessarily setting out to not support your dream or venture. It could be that they don’t understand what you’re doing and don’t know how to help you. Personally, I think that silence from some people is golden. I would rather have someone not say anything at all than to give me all of the reasons why I shouldn’t do something and show opposition.
2. Support someone else’s dream.
You want support, giving support is the best way to get it in return. Instead using useless energy focusing on what someone else isn’t doing, turn that energy into the fuel you need to push someone else further. Many times we freely tell people what our dreams are, but we fail to inquire about theirs. Simply ask someone “What’s your dream and how can I support you?”
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 3. Be too focused to notice.
Don’t pause for the applause. Your purpose isn’t tied to support, it’s linked to investment. Find a network of people who will support you and invest in your dream, these are the people who will assist you in taking your dream or business to the next level. Don’t allow who you don’t have to, to make you feel like giving up. Stay focused on your goal.
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I saw this quote awhile ago “Friends won’t start supporting you until strangers start celebrating you.” Do you think this is true? Leave me a comment below.
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Choosing love over Criticism

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We’ve all heard this saying “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar” in other words as human beings and even animals we respond better to love. In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) says And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. Everything we are is based on love, so why shouldn’t our discipline.

This week I read a quote that literally changed my life in regards to how to deal with people and I felt convicted in my relationships and mostly how I choose to raise my children.

Choose Love Quote #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already.”

― Dave Willis

I read this quote over and again, I wrote it twice, once in my notebook, and once on a purple sticky note that to this day is still on my car console. Love is just that important, and I felt it was important and something I needed to be reminded of daily.

How many times do I choose love over criticism?

Do I criticize more than I compliment?

Do I acknowledge more of what people do the right way or give more life to what they do incorrectly?

Last week my Grandmother surprised us with a visit on her way back home to Chicago from visiting my Aunt and Cousin in Arizona. We went to Chick-fil-A for restaurant night to support my daughter’s school and as we sat across the table from one another eating chicken sandwiches and kids meals she blurted out…you’re a really good mother, you’re very patient and you don’t do a lot of fussing. It felt really good coming from a woman who raised 7 children, grandchildren and lived in an era that said you do as I say and not as I do and when I spank you I do it because I love you.

While the complement felt great, I still couldn’t help but think about that quote and how in more areas than one I could stand to be more of an encourager and less of a critic. As a parent, there are two areas that get under my skin, and I haven’t even made it to the teenage years yet…disrespect and ungratefulness. When my kid’s behaviors venture over into those two categories, you can forget it…criticism comes first and encouragement last.

What would happen if I chose encouragement over criticism? What would that teach my child about conflict? What would happen if in most situations I chose love over punishment…punishment, not discipline? I can think back to plenty of cases where I gave punishment when I should’ve given love. Does it mean that I won’t punish my children…Absolutely not! It just means I will be more conscious of the times I use punishment and the times I just need to show extra love and attention.

“Parenting is not about being the perfect parent, but finding the perfect method to raise your child.”

Choose Love Quote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Listen. Sometimes children just want to be heard and understood. Whether they are 5 or 45, they just want to know that someone is this enormous and sometimes unfair world hears them.

2. Choose your words. Words have power. I can remember most of the negative words that have been said to me over time more than the positive ones. Alter your language and tone, many times it’s how you say something versus what you actually say.

3. Be open. Could it be that our kids lie to us because they are afraid of the criticism that comes along with telling the truth. Punishment creates fear and closes the door to future conversations.

Love is an open language, criticism closes the door and stops up our ears and clouds are hearts. Encouragement breathes life. What am I teaching my kids about love? How am I teaching them about love outside of what I say, but in my actions?

Choose love.

Choose to uplift.

Choose to see the best.

Choose to accept.

Choose to listen.

Choose to find the good.

Choose happiness.

Choose kindness.

Choose to speak life.

Choose to encourage.

Choose to love.

Love could be the difference maker in a parent-child relationship, it could be the difference maker in a broken marriage. It has the power to mend a friendship. Love could make someone’s day and cause them not to give up. There are enough critics, be an encourager.

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Jump Series: 2014, The Year I Jumped (Part Two)

JUMP SERIES
(Click here to read Part One of the Jump Series)
In almost every language imaginable, the word quit is seen as a negative connotation. It means you gave up, said forget it, or even to some shows a sign of mental weakness, but not so. In many cases, quitting is a sign of strength, obedience, and necessity for many.
In my culture you find a job, you work, and if they will have you…you retire. You don’t quit. Who leaves comfort for uncertainty and familiarity for the unknown…. I did.
From early on in my childhood I can vividly remember knowing where I wanted to be, but wasn’t too sure about the middle part. Have you ever had the perfect sleeping situation set up? You had the perfect pillows, the mattress was comfy, your blanket was nice and soft…but you couldn’t sleep. I’ve had many moments like that in my life…the setup was perfect…but I could never clearly get comfortable in the middle to get to my ideal end.
 JUMP SERIES QUOTE
 In high school I was a below average student, I was accepted into college through a program who gave students with below average grades and low test scores a “chance”. I took this chance and throughout my college tenure I received several dean list awards and graduated with honors. In college, I immediately declared my major in Marketing, I had always been fascinated with advertising and how it was connected to various brands, but soon changed my major because I felt like the business program was too difficult and I became distracted and decided to take a different route.
The day after my college graduation, I interviewed for an Admissions Advisor position at an online University through a staffing agency. After the interview I received a call back from the office manager stating they didn’t choose me for the position, but would like to hire me for a different position within the agency itself. I worked there for almost 3 years, and I was fired. I was devastated, I remember crying thinking who would fire me?? I later realized God was trying to take me somewhere else, but I couldn’t get there unless I let some things go. That summer after I was fired, I looked for job after job, had interview after interview and nothing. I decided to make the most of my time and signed up at my church to volunteer. A volunteer opportunity turned into a temporary opportunity that turned into a full-time position. I couldn’t deny that God had a plan for me, but I just wasn’t quite sure what that plan was. Throughout those years I learned so much and was exposed to a wealth of opportunities and resources. One day I had the opportunity to sit in a branding workshop and a light bulb went off in my head and in my heart. It was as if I was reunited with my natural instinct. I had been reunited with a passion I had totally buried with life and forgotten about. My middle was finally clear! Part of me felt revived and ignited, but another part of me felt like a complete idiot for wasting so much energy focusing my career in directions I wasn’t meant to go in.
Proverbs 3:5 (NKJ)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
My life has been filled with these different moments and many different paths…paths I didn’t choose for myself, but ordered by God. I prayed, fasted, and seriously sought God’s plan for my next path and when he brought it to me, there was no way I could step back from the edge. Many times on your way to your next level you will have to separate from something and an old part of you has to die. For me it wasn’t just a job, it was a family. To leave was one of the hardest decisions I think I’ve ever had to make, but I had to be true to myself and open to where God wanted to take my family and I.
One night during dinner, my seven-year old said grace at our table, and after grace she asked if she could add something. She continued, “Thank you God for this beautiful house, thank you for Mommy’s new job, and thank you that she is following her dream that she dreamed of since she was a little girl. Amen.” That’s why I quit.
I hope this post inspires you to jump and to step out on faith in some areas in your life, and to also revisit areas you may have forgotten about. My word for 2015 is Again. I believe God is going to use us in some areas we have forgotten about or that have become buried by life. Many times it’s easier to come up with something new rather than to finish what we started.
Leave me a comment, what have you started in 2014 or previous years that you need to finish in 2015? What’s your word or phrase for 2015? 
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Planting Positive Seeds in our Children

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Raising daughters is complicated. There is so much at stake. The seeds you plant as children have direct effects on the woman they will become. During my 7 years of parenting, I’m still learning the difficult lesson of what I call “parenting by personality”. Each of my daughters has two individual personalities and these personalities need individual methods of discipline, tone of voice, and love. Lately I’ve noticed. my oldest daughter, who just turned 7 a few months ago has been seeking attention from me. If I compliment my 4 year old, she asks why didn’t I compliment her, if I lay down on the couch there is a constant battle of who will takeover the 80% or 20% of my small framed body. The other day my daughter yelled out words (I didn’t think I would have to hear until she was a teenager) “You don’t love me, as much as you love…”. I started to get angry and I blurted out “If I didn’t love you I would not…” Then I thought to myself, why am I trying to explain the infinite nature of a mother’s love to a 7 year old!

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One of my good friends, Wendy, introduced me to Joel Osteen radio on Sirius XM radio (Channel 128 if you’re interested in checking it out). I spend almost 3 hours a day in the car on my commute to and from work, so a quality mix of music, talk, and inspiration is very valuable to me. As I listened on my way home a message “Seeds of Greatness” started to play. In the message Pastor Joel began to speak on planting seeds of greatness in other people and how this has a direct affect on how far they go, how they feel about themselves, and ultimately drowning out the negative voices within themselves and the negative words spoken over them by others.

That night on my drive home, I began to reflect and it constantly lead me back to love. Most times instead of scolding our children or attempting to correct their behavior, sometimes they just need our reassurance and love. I decided to send her a message on my way home.

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This year has been a year of change for my family, but especially our children. They moved away from their family and friends whom they have great relationships with, left the only school they have known and have had to adapt to a totally new environment. So a little crying is ok. The world is a scary and judgmental place even at the age of 7. So as parents it is our job, to plant and water positive seeds in our children to outweigh the negative seeds the world will attempt to plant in them. It’s funny how kids totally operate from instinct…as I planted seeds in her, she turned around and planted positive seeds right back into me. Thanks baby 🙂

As a child its natural to compliment and to build people up, somehow along the way as adults life tends to make us callous and afraid to be vulnerable to other people. Thus, it can be easier to name all of the things about people that we don’t like versus writing a list of what we do like.

Homework assignment: Identify 5 people in your life and practice planting positive seeds in there lives. Tell them what you love about them, share with them future potential, and encouragement. What do you have to lose?

Let me know how it goes! I would love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below or send me an email to info@onehautemommi.com.

My hope for US on Mother’s Day

 

mothersdayNo one likes Sad Mommy, Mean Mommy, Scary Mommy, Distant Mommy, Withdrawn Mommy, Distracted Mommy, Overwhelmed Mommy, Angry Mommy, Resentful Mommy, and Anxious Mommy…Including YOU!

These are real emotions mothers like you and I feel everyday. It doesn’t matter if you’re a brand new mom, a professional mom of multiples, a mom of toddlers (or stair steps), a mom of teenagers, an empty nester mom, married mom, single mom or a teenage mom who got received her cape slightly early. All of us at some point in our parenting have felt or are feeling these same emotions. Many times we keep everything inside never sharing it with our spouses, family members, friends…. anyone. Why? I’m a Mom, I’m supposed to be strong, don’t let them see you sweat, do everything…. and look cute doing it! NOT!

If I can be very transparent, there are some days even I don’t feel so great, I’m still learning to be the best Mother I can be. I have my moments of frustration and impatience, hold my children to unfair standards of perfection, and some days I totally miss the mark.

“The two most powerful words when we’re in the struggle; me too” -Brene Brown

You are not alone in your feelings! Mother’s everywhere are waking up every morning putting on their Super Mom cape and attempting to juggle way more than we can handle. Since the beginning of time women have been known to be the picture of strength. We’ve all seen or used this quote “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water”-Eleanor Roosevelt

As I began reading this quote and thinking about the attributes of a tea bag, at our healthiest state we resemble a tea bag…resilient, giving, and productive. When we’re at a low mental state it’s difficult to be everything to everyone. Most of us play dominant and very active roles both in and out of our households and have a hard time saying no to everyone and yes to our needs and ourselves.

Here are five attributes of a tea bag I feel we as moms should seek to adapt as the beginning to saying goodbye to mean, stressed, depressed, and tired mommy.

1.  A tea bag is Transparent.

As a mom, being transparent is hard. We like to wear our “everything is ok face” 24/7 365 days a year. We don’t want to appear weak or if we aren’t worthy to wear our supermom cape. It’s alright to be transparent, to say I need help, I can’t answer that right now, I need a moment, a break, and 5 minutes alone in the bathroom.

2. A tea bag is Filled with leaves.

What kind of tea can an empty tea bag produce? Exactly, nothing. What can an empty Mom produce? Exactly, nothing. What am I being filled with? Am I fulfilling my purpose? As a mom when you pour out to your family, allow your family to pour back into you. It is very important to find ways to be filled whether it’s through a personal bible study, reading a book, prayer, or girl talk with a friend…you’ll be surprised how much better you feel.

3. A tea bag Preserves.

The tea bag is strong has the ability to protect its leaves against even the hottest water to produce the best tea.  Mothers have perfected taking care of everyone beside herself. If we want to be around to watch our children grow and to see their children and children’s children we have to preserve our health, both mentally and physically.

4. A tea bag is Strong, but only within its limits.

A tea bag is strong but not strong enough to withstand being run over by a car. Know your limitations! It’s ok if you can’t wash, clean up, cook, read, work, fly a plane, and heal the sick all in one day!! No one expects you too and if they do…check your circle!

5. A tea bag Alone can’t produce tea.

It would be nice if alone a tea bag could make you a bomb cup of tea after a long day. Wouldn’t that be nice! The tea bag needs the bag, the string, the tea, YOU, hot water, a nice cup, sugar, lemon, honey…you get the point. You alone are great, but what make us better is the people we surround ourselves with! Appreciate those people and allow them to make you better.

My hope for us on Mother’s Day is to be Happy Mommy, Patient Mommy, Fulfilled Mommy, Attentive Mommy, Present Mommy, Balanced Mommy, Loving Mommy, Understanding Mommy, Supportive Mommy, Relaxed Mommy, and Ambitious Mommy…. everybody likes her…. including YOU!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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How not to kill your child’s dream. What I Learned from The Gabby Douglas Story.

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**Spoiler alert** the post below contains information regarding the Gabby Douglas Story. I understand if you prefer to watch the movie before you read this post, but please come back and read it! Thanks 🙂
This past weekend I watched The Gabby Douglas story on The Lifetime network. It was a great depiction of Gabby and also gave us an inside look into her family life and the sacrifices that were made in order for her to get to the point of winning a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics in London. I would recommend this movie as a great one to watch with your family and especially young girls. It shows them sacrifice, handwork, how to be champion, and to never give up on their dreams.
I have to commend Gabby’s mom Natalie, without her sacrifice, selflessness, and her willingness to push her children to follow their dreams Gabby wouldn’t be the champion she is today. She is a great example of a parent not willing to kill their child’s dream even though it might not be the dream she envisioned for them or uncomfortable.
At one point in the movie Natalie (portrayed by actress Regina King) became angry when an excited Gabby came home and stated she wanted to be trained by Olympic Trainer Liang Chow which meant she would have to move to Iowa to train for the Olympics and be away from her family for two years. She had no family in Iowa and limited money and resources. In a conversation with her Mother, Natalie asked God why her daughter? Why was she blessed with this amazing gift and  dreams as big as the sky? Her mother then reminded her that she too had dreams at one point in her life to be a great lawyer, and once she began having children and the trials of life detoured her dream. Natalie’s mother then stated this powerful and oh so true quote.
“It’s nothing worse for a mother to see their child’s dream go unanswered.”
This movie was a great example of how to support and push your children to follow their dreams and as parents we have to do our part even though it might be tough at times to not kill the dream because our own limitations.
Here are my thoughts on how not to kill your child’s dream.
1. Cultivate the dream. At a young age Gabby was doing one-handed cartwheels, flipping, and tearing up her mother’s house! Her mother saw something special in her gymnastic skills before she had her first class. Once she realized this, she enrolled her into gymnastics classes and began cultivating her dream. What classes or workshops should your child no matter what age be taking to cultivate a gift you already recognize in them?
2. Exposure. I feel like it’s a parent’s duty to expose their children to what’s right and also to new areas of success. Many parents think their child’s only successful if they are a teacher, doctor, or lawyer, but success can be found in many different careers. It is up to us to make sure our children know all of their options.
3. Know they will face opposition. Opposition comes along with the dream. There will be peers who will find negative things to say about your child and family members who don’t agree or support the investment you’re making into your child’s future. While in gymnastics training many times Gabby was the only African-American girl, she was teased about her nose, hair, and height, but her mother had instilled into her at a young age to trust in what she knew about herself and not to listen to the criticism of others.
4. Your child’s dream could hurt. In the movie, Natalie continuously made hard sacrifices for Gabby to be in the best gymnastic classes which included traveling, uniform costs, and time away from school, but one of the hardest things for Gabby’s mom to do was to let her move to Iowa for two years to train. She didn’t know anyone there or have the means to support her, but she had to trust and believe this was the plan for her life and to do what she could to support them.
5. She didn’t let her quit. As driven as Gabby was she had a moment when she wanted to quit, she told her mother “Gymnastics is not my passion anymore”. Many time as parents we can allow our kids to quit too easily. If things become a little too difficult or problems arise, we give in to their sad faces and say that’s ok, you can stop. NO! If Natalie allowed Gabby to quit and come back home before the Olympics, her future would’ve been much different as it is today.
Want to quit, consider this.
Quitting is harder than trying.
Quitting is not an option.
Quitting affects not only you, but also your family and everyone who made sacrifices for you.
 Gabby stated she wanted to just be normal. How many times has an exceptional child said this to a parent? Her mother poured right back into her. “You weren’t made to be normal, everything you’ve done in your life has been exceptional. Why settle now? “
 6. Give encouragement. Regardless of the stage of dream your child is in, they need our encouragement. They need to know they can do it, they were made to be exceptional and above average, it’s ok to experience loss, and most of all they need to be encouraged to have fun and enjoy every moment.
7. Teach your child to speak things into existence. Another part of the movie that really stuck out to me is their family motto, “Today should always be better than yesterday”. They lived and formed their lives around this statement, even though things got really tough at times, they always knew that a new day was a new opportunity. What’s your family motto, quote, or scripture? What can you teach your child that will stick with them throughout their lives?
The real Gabrielle Douglas in the beginning of the movie stated this statement and I feel like this is key for anyone who wants to be a champion in any arena in his or her lives child or adults. Read it, print it out, post it, and let your child read it, or read it to them.
“You want to know how to become a champion? It’s easy. Turn your dream into your goal, plant it deep in your heart and then for the next ten years eat, sleep, breathe, laugh and cry without ever taking your eye off your goal not even for a second. You want to know how to stop becoming a champion? I actually tried that once. Believe it or not that was a lot harder. “–Gabrielle Douglas
Don’t let your fear as a parent, put fear into your child. Be their biggest cheerleader whether they are age 5 or 45. Their success depends on it.
Be encouraged.
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10 Things you to took for granted as a kid you wish you had as an adult

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Now that I’m an adult looking back on childhood, being a kid was much easier than I thought. My only responsibilities were to go to school, clean the bathroom, and play! Oh those were the days! As most kids, I couldn’t wait to grow up, that’s all we talked about, when I’m grown I’m going to do this, when I grow up I’m going to have! Can I go back? LOL!
So I compiled a quick list of things we took for granted as kids, we wish could do or have now that we are adults.
1.Naps. I didn’t fully want to take advantage of naps as a child. Maybe I thought I was going to miss something!
2. Falling asleep in the car or on the bus. There wasn’t a car/bus ride where I didn’t fall asleep! A car/bus ride for
me was an instant sleeping aid.
3. No Worries and stress.
4. Not having to pay for anything. You went everywhere and did everything thing and always wanted to spend those few dollars you had! Now that I’m an adult can we go back to the way it used to be!
5. Chores. I hated chores and got paid an allowance to do them! Now I get to clean the entire house for free!
6. An in-house cook. My mom prepared home cooked meals every night but of course liver and onions never sounded good and still don’t!
7. School was your job. I couldn’t wait to get my first job and have responsibility, now I wish all I had to do were to go to school.
8. Blissful ignorance. When I was growing up I thought everyone was middle class, grew up and found out, we were all struggling!
9. Creativity and Imagination. I made a car out of a couch, a stage out of a radiator, blankets into a house, and turned a closet into a bedroom. I wish creativity flowed so easily now.
10. What’s one thing you took for granted as a kid that you wished you had as an adult? Leave #10 in the comments.
Be encouraged.
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