Pushing past discomfort

Uggghhhh…. I cannot stress how much I cannot stand pushing past the discomfort. This is the concept that tends to stop me from so many things. Let me try to explain.
Comfort is important to me. It is safe. It is not judgmental. However, in my comfortable space, I feel stuck and I judge myself. I think about the events I cancelled on. The people I let down, the experiences I miss, the opportunities I have lost. That overwhelms me and makes me feel inadequate at the same time. In my mind, it is just easier to say “NO” and decline all that makes me uncomfortable. In my heart, it feels like the patterns in my life have proven that pushing past the discomfort is where all the experiences really live. And I want experiences.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to spend the day with some ladies that I had met in a group I was a part of. One of the women is my life/career coach, so I am already comfortable with her. The other ladies were women that I had been interacting with for several months as we supported one another on social media and spoke during live phone calls. These women have become a part of my life. So, when the opportunity came about to meet up with them, I immediately agreed and blocked my calendar. I talked about it to friends and family. I hyped myself up… right up until just a few days prior. Just days before, my anxiety kicked in and every possible excuse presented itself for why I shouldn’t go- I was tired, had planning for a birthday party, needed to clean, my car’s brakes were acting up, and the list goes on. However, lucky for me, my oldest daughter is tough, my husband is supportive, and I have some motivating friends that pushed me to suck it up, move past the discomfort, and show up anyway.
And boy am I glad I did. I met up with 4 other beautiful souls and had a great day. We talked about nonsense, about life, about our “passion projects”, about things that scare us, things that we are struggling with, the moments we are celebrating, and moments we are dreading. I wore a bathing suit- which I almost NEVER do, went to the beach- which I almost NEVER do, had shrimp tacos- which I had NEVER had before, and drank Rose- which I DON’T normally do. There was talk of sage and tacos, journaling, meditation, and so much more. There was bonding. There was discomfort and I felt like a warrior as I worked through it.
The following day, I spent a lot of time thinking about the what ifs. What if I really hadn’t gone? What if I hadn’t been honest about my feelings? If I chose to just not show up, I would have missed out on some firsts in my life. I would not have been able to have some extremely raw moments, that brought me to a belief that I have needed. I would not have realized that I have been hiding behind a person that I have come to feel that I need to be instead of just being myself. I would have been disappointed in myself. Instead, I was honest with how I was feeling, and I was greeted with grace. There was no pity for my emotions, but there was respect. Me opening up, created a dialogue about safe spaces and moving forward. I experienced raw emotions and allowed myself to be vulnerable around people I was meeting for the first time. I learned a great deal about myself in 7 hours that may have taken years to learn if I hadn’t gone. B pushing past some discomfort, I was reminded again of the importance of showing up for myself and being true to my word. And these are life lessons that I need.
I don’t think the discomfort will ever go away; I don’t even know of I truly want it to. I do think that it will decrease in intensity each time I work through another situation that is not comfortable to me. I feel that it helps me grow as a person and strengthens my spirit. Your area of discomfort may be different from mine, but it is just as valid. I have learned over time, that the events and circumstances that make me uncomfortable do not define who I am as a person. They are merely a part of who I am and who I am becoming. They are yet another obstacle for me to overcome on this never-ending journey of life. I am becoming a braver woman daily. I am learning to be vocal about my discomfort and being able to be gracious with myself as I work through them. I do not ask people to understand, but to hear me when I am expressing these feelings. I do not ask you to agree with me, but I will ask that you respect them. I am growing and it is a process and it is still new to me, even at 36 years old and if you could be gentle, I would appreciate it.
I will leave you with this. Just little things I am learning along the way. Life is not made to be full of ease and comfort. We can experience things that will be both wonderful and not so great. Both kinds of moments help us grow and to come into the lives we are meant to lead. For me, many of the greatest experiences have simply come from pushing past the discomfort…. for you, I don’t know if your story will be the same. But, just maybe- you could give it a try. And be ready and willing to accept the outcome. If it makes you weary, know that I am here and am willing to take your arm and guide you through it. That is what has worked for me, so I only want to pay it forward. You are a warrior- the uncomfortable is just a minor feat amidst the major greatness lying in wait for you! You got this!! Push past the discomfort my dears…
In all things find beauty,
~MRC

I am not ashamed

20190518_183614_0000.pngThe topic of abortion and women’s reproductive systems has been a headline topic quite recently.  Lots of politics surround this topic lately and I tend to steer clear of politics.  I don’t know much about politics, laws, government and that sort of thing, so I don’t normally feel “qualified” enough to discuss.  Not to mention that I almost never have a cut and dry opinion about topics and the fear of not having enough knowledge keeps me quiet.

However this topic is not at all political to me.  The topic of abortion runs deep in my soul and writing about it has just been eating away at me.  It is personal and I am not ashamed.

This topic is a sensitive one.  It gets people riled up and is highly controversial.  It is not a topic that many women want to discuss and men get “iffy” about whether or not they should discuss it.  But, since I am comfortable talking about myself and things that I have experienced, I am going to touch briefly on my experience with abortion.

Let’s get right to the point here.  I have had an abortion and I AM NOT ASHAMED!  Does this mean that I am proud of my decision? Not necessarily- it just means that I am not ashamed and that I am confident enough with myself to not hide behind it or to lie about my experience.

Please make sure that while you are reading this, you are truly reading the words and not just reading INTO them.  I do not feel that every woman that has had an abortion should share their story or feel like they must divulge the information at all.  This is a personal matter and not one that someone must feel obligated to share.

And please remember as you read, that I can only share about my experience, not anyone else’s.  I have come to terms with decisions that I made.  I am at a point in my life where the more open and honest that I am, the freer I feel.  I also understand that many people reading this right now, that know me personally and haven’t read some of my other blog posts, may not have realized that I have had an abortion before.  Some of these people are my family— my cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers in law, sisters in law, extended family of my husband.  Some of these people may be friends of my children, parents of friends of my children, friends of mine, coworkers, acquaintances, etc.  There are people that may read this that may change their opinion of me, be angry, and judge.  And that is their right.   And I will respect it fully.

With a situation so sensitive, it only seems right that people have such strong opinions about it. It makes sense.  The belief that it is murder, the belief that it is wrong, the belief that it is a woman’s right, the belief that it is the governments choice. These are all very real beliefs and opinions that are bound to cause some drama.

I am not looking to cause drama, but am aware writing about it may do so.  As a 19 year old, I found myself in a position where I felt confused and scared.  Not confused about how I got pregnant, not confused about who the father was, but just confused.  Scared about what to do next and scared about what may come in the future.  Getting pregnant is the easy part.  And to many, the moment of conception means that your future is already determined- you will be a mother.

I didn’t feel that way.  I had a choice.  I did not make the choice lightly, and I struggled for a little bit.  Especially when I went to the doctor the first time thinking that the procedure would be done and they told me that I was too early and I would need to come back.  I then, had to make a choice again.  To come back and go through with the procedure a week later.  I remember that at this point in my life, I honestly never wanted to have kids. I was on birth control, although I had clearly missed some pills her and ther, and had only recently lost my virginity. I made the choice to return and then experience what comes after.  Many people reading this (if they have continued to read this far) are probably expecting me to now right about the guilt and shame that I felt after.  I can’t give that answer though.  I don’t remember exactly what I felt right after.  I know it was Valentine’s Day, a Thursday or Friday, and I was tired.  I bled and cramped like they said I would after and then went back to UCONN the Monday following. I didn’t talk about it with anyone and just continued to live my life.

It wasn’t until my mother called me at work one day after an ex of my “boyfriend” at the time had called her and told her what I had done that I thought about it again.  And in the moment of talking to my mother, I am pretty sure what I felt was shame.  Shame for making a decision that seemed to disappoint so many people, shame for being secretive, shame for doing something so controversial.  My mom wasn’t happy- and I think it is because it is not necessarily a decision that she would have liked me to make.  And yet, I know my mother believes in the right to choose.

This is something that I feel is important to note because many people feel that just because you believe in the right to choose, that this means that you would automatically have an abortion.  And I KNOW that this is not true for everyone.  I know that I believe in the right to choose and I have made the choice to terminate a pregnancy.  I know that I believe int he right to choose, but I have no idea what choice I would want my own daughters to make if they felt they were at a crossroads.  I do not know if choosing to have an abortion would be something I encourage, but I can tell you that I pray that I would have the ability to support them in whatever decision they made.  I cannot tell you what my advice would be to my son if he and a female found themselves in a situation that they were unsure about about other than that I hope he is just willing to support whatever decision that young woman chooses for herself.  I feel that conversations would need to be had, but the ultimately the decision would be on the person with a missed period,  peeing in cup, or on a stick.  I know that I chose to have an abortion, but I also chose to have 3 amazing children. I know people are pissed by my words.  I understand the anger that people feel surrounding this.  I truly do.  I am very close to people that I have shaken their finger at me and spoken their beliefs and scolded me for the choice I made.  I also know that some of these very same people came to a point in their lives where they felt that needed to make a choice and they chose the same path I did that Valentine’s Day.  And maybe they wish that the choice wasn’t an option because they feel shame and guilt and I understand that also.  And I also know some of these same people that would never even consider it an option regardless of having the right to choose or not.

Ultimately- this topic makes us go around and around.  It is wrong. It is right.  It is murder. It isn’t murder. You are selfish. You are not selfish.  You don’t care about human life.  You care enough to think it through. You are a slut. You know how this happens, be mature enough to live with the consequences. Don’t sleep around. My body, my choice. Pro-life. Pro-choice. F*** your abortion ban. People who abort are criminals.  It should be a choice if you are raped. It doesn’t matter how you became pregnant, a baby is a life. The battle words are endless.

I don’t think for one minute that these conversations should fade. I DO think that we need to respect one another. We don’t need to understand where someone else is coming from, but we need to understand that people are allowed to think differently than us.  I think the issue is far greater than females versus male, religion versus non religion, entitled white rich humans versus everyone else.

I do believe that we must understand that just because someone believes in a woman’s right to choose does not mean that they will automatically choose themselves to get an abortion with their next pregnancy.  I do believe that this topic is so extremely sensitive that the shame surrounding it causes many mental health issues among women.  I do believe that some people use abortions as a form of birth control, I mean, many people would feel that that is exactly what I did and maybe they are right. I do believe that this subject will be one that causes us to fight one another for a very long while if not forever. I do believe that abortion bans will NOT stop abortions, they will only make them more secretive and very dangerous.  I do believe that abortion bans will decrease the amount of abortions being done that are public knowledge.  I do know that just because abortions are legal in many places that not all ob/gyn providers will perform them and not all ob/gyn nurses and anesthesiologists will scrub in for them.

Again, I don’t write a single one of these words to downplay anyone’s opinion surrounding this issue.  I write them for the complete opposite reason actually.  I write them for those people that have such strong opinions regardless of what side they are on.  I write these words as a safe place for people on both sides. I write them for people to feel comfortable sharing their opinions. I write them for those that are so full of judgement, because I know there are many.  I write them for the scared who feel they have no choice.  I write them to be read, to be thought about, to be responded to.

This issue is sensitive. This issue is personal. This issue was mine once and will continue to be mine while I raise young women and a young man and they go one to grow their families if they so choose.  This issue is scary.  This issue is deep.

But I write about  it because it needs to be addressed- over and over and over again.  It isn’t just going to go away.  Rules are changing, laws are being made, rights are being taken away. People are angry. People are scared. This is huge. And while I will never have to make the choice for myself again, I am so very grateful that when I found myself scared and confused, that I had the ability to make the choice. The choice I made didn’t necessarily take away the fear or the confusion, but it gave me options that I am confident would have been different had I not had the ability to choose. And yes- I chose to have an abortion and I am not ashamed.

MRC

Mother’s Day YOUR Way

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(Photo courtesy of http://theeverymom.com

Happy Mother’s Day 2019— Even if you are not a mother or do not celebrate mother’s day for any reason, this post may be an important one for you.

Mother’s Day comes every year.  No surprises. In May on a Sunday there will be a mother’s day.  A common question to mom’s is, “How do you want/plan to spend your mother’s day?”  This question always makes me antsy at first.

For starter’s, I do not always go and visit my mom.  She lives 10 minutes from me and somehow, most often, I do not take the time to go over to her house to see her.  Sometimes the day falls on her wedding anniversary, but her and my dad are homebodies, so they are normally home.  This means that I really do  not have much of an excuse.  And a lot of people seem bothered by the fact that I don’t always have that in my plans for the day.

The second is that I almost always say that I want to spend the day without my kids.  Yup- I said it.  I don’t normally want to spend my Mother’s Day with the 3 reasons that I even “celebrate” the day.  And while it sometimes makes me antsy to say it to people, I have decided that from now on I will no longer feel guilty for that.  I completely understand that I should probably want to spend the day with them, but I don’t.  And I don’t apologize for the way that makes other people feel anymore, my children included.  Sometimes my kids don’t even want to spend the day with me.  OR rather, they are okay that I don’t feel we need to spend the day together,

And third is, I normally only want to have my house entirely cleaned by someone that isn’t me, . And for the past 14 years that I have been “celebrating”- I can tell you- that has never happened, even though it has been on my “what I want” list since Mother’s Day 2008 after I got married and had someone else living with Madison and I.

I think a lot of people assume that my not wanting to spend the day with my kids means that I must not love them as much.  I know this assumption to be true because it has been said to me. Although, Not true!!

I love all 3 of my kids.  I think the cards and gifts they make at school are adorable.  I love hearing them say Happy Mother’s Day.  I love when they sometimes make breakfast for me with or without the help from their dad.  All of those things are priceless and I am grateful for them.  I don’t want gifts that need to be purchased or are given just because it is believed that you should give your mom something.  I have them and that truly is enough (sometimes, too much to be quite honest)

And still, I would prefer to have the day to myself.  Binge watching my shows, showering and putting back on pj’s, writing, reading and listening to books/podcasts, cleaning, and sometimes even taking myself out to get something to eat if I want, etc.  Now, let me explain this further… I do these things anyway.  On any day that I really feel the need/want to. My kids are a little older so they do not need my attention 24/7 so it has become easier and easier to do them when time allows.  The difference between doing them any other time and doing them on Mother’s Day is that I feel less guilty doing them on Mother’s Day, so I crave this even more.

This year, Madison asked what I wanted. I told her for the house to be cleaned, she even told me that she knew that is what I was going to say.  It never got done.  I stopped expecting it to , but will continue to answer this way for Mother’s Day, my birthday, and Christmas.  I am optimistic that one day it will get done.  Damian asked me if I wanted the day with or without  kids.  Without kids was my response, of course.  So his plan was to take the 3 kids down to see his mom and Grandma.  And I thought that was a lovely idea.  They would get to see most of the members of that side, hang out, and definitely well.  However that did not happen.  Mayci was refusing to go because she felt very strongly that because it was Mother’s Day, she must stay home with me and hang out. This is the first time this has ever happened with any of my kids.  Madison, a typical teenager, decided last minute that she didn’t want to go and was going o stay home as well.  Now, I know that decision had nothing to do with spending time with me and that is perfectly okay.  Myles woke up super late and ended up going with Damian- he didn’t even wish me a Happy Mother’s Day, he just simply rolled out of bed, brushed his teeth, got dresses, grabbed his electronics bag, and left.  Again, I wasn’t even bothered by it.

I will tell you that Madison and Mayci completely surprised me by baking a cake for me and making me breakfast this morning.  I was up pretty early, so I made some coffee and then headed to my desk to work on a project that’s deadline had already passed and I didn’t even realize they were upstairs working on their own project.  20190512_091927.jpgI love how they decorated the cake with cut up strawberries, because then it became a healthy cake for me haha.  Myles didn’t participate because he has had some pretty late nights and did not get up after the several times that his sisters told him to. (Perfectly okay with me).  So the girls and I had a nice quiet day at home each doing what made our hearts happy while the guys went and filled their hearts with joy.

I think the reason I chose to write about this is because I feel that we need a reminder constantly that what works for us does NOT work for other people.  And we need to be reminded consistently that this is OKAY!

I understand that there are mommas out there that would give anything to spend the day with their child that they lost, or gave up, or don’t have this weekend, or have longed for but cannot conceive, etc.  I know there are people out there that would give anything to see their own mom again or for her to be closer to them so they could see at all.  I also know that this feeling doesn’t come and only stay for the day for them but that it is in their heart daily and for all time and on a day like Mother’s Day, it stings just a little worse sometimes.  I know there are moms that have lost children, are longing for children, are estranged from their children, are exhausted raising their children, are loving their children, are struggling with their children, are praying extra hard for their children, and the list goes on and on and on.  I also understand that it may just seem that I am not grateful for what I have been blessed with. I no longer feel the need to justify why this is how I prefer to spend my day, it just is what it is.  And I am grateful that I have a husband and children that understand and respect my feelings when it comes to this.

Regardless of your status on this Mother’s Day— please be kind to yourself!  Allow yourself to spend it in a way that makes YOU feel good, not in a way you feel obligated to.  Make sure you allow yourself to honor your feelings and allow them to show up in whatever manner they may.  If the title of mom is one you hold dear than this is YOUR day for sure-but honestly—— so is every DAMN day.  Celebrate yourself today and EVERYDAY and do not let titles or “holidays” dictate your moves, wants, needs, etc.  If gifts and spending time with your children and/or your mom is what makes your heart happy than raise your children that way and be that example to them.

Most importantly- just remember to be gentle with yourself and others.  Days like these are sometimes extra hard for some however that does not mean that you need to feel guilty if it not that way with you.  It’s all about finding ways that make the day be about what it is meant to be.  Celebration of amazing woman- regardless of their status within the “mom” role.

Happy Mother’s Day.  Now let me get back to doing nothing….

In all things find beauty,

MRC

 

Parenting & “shades of gray” thinking- and no I am not referencing the movie

Screenshot_20190425-130431_Instagram.jpgSome parents see things as black or white. It’s either this or that.  No in between.  Others see things as gray.. a little blended area where both can be “understood”.

I am more of a “seeing things as gray” parent. I used to think that was my superpower.  I believed that I was kinda special because I could see both sides of most stories so I was able to understand where people on opposing sides were coming from.

I still think it’s a pretty good quality. I really do— but sometimes, I wish I could just be ” a black or white” thinker.  Especially most recently and definitely when it comes to my role as mom and decision maker for my children. Does this mean that I am going to change who I am or change my thinking? Not necessarily- just stay with me here as I try to explain.

I am a truster. I trust everyone immediately until they give me a reason not to. And then sometimes I still trust them. Yup, I am that fool.  As a parent, many moms think I am crazy. And maybe I am.  I know that times have changed. I know we no longer live in the days where parents sent their kids outside to play right after breakfast and didn’t see them again until the streetlights were coming on and it was time for dinner.  I know this. And I know that even when I was growing up, some kids didn’t experience this kind of ignorant, naive freedom or have parents that were extremely liberal with things like playing outside. I don’t necessarily feel that because the world has changed, that I have to change my thinking. So– I send my kids to the park that is down the corner and out of my view. And these kids are 7 and 9.  I do not worry that someone is going to snatch them up in plain sight, but I am aware that it is possible.  I just struggle with feeling like I can’t give my kids the sense of some “freedom” because of fear that I have.  They know the rules about strangers and what my expectations are so I try to let them spread their wings.

I allow my kids to attend sleepovers.  Yup, I know- that is something that a lot of people disagree with and I know exactly where those feelings come from as well.  And while I respect them, I don’t follow those same guidelines.  I am not afraid that by letting my child sleep at a friends house or play at a friends house that a parent may be inappropriate towards them . Do I know that this is possible? Do I know that many frown upon this? Yes I do— and does that change my way of thinking? Not in the slightest. And when my children have friends that have parents that believe this way, I make sure my children understand that these beliefs MUST be respected always even if they do not understand the reasons behind them.

I do not assume that every adult male is out to do something horrible to my daughters so I allow my daughters to go places with their friends even if only the father is present.  Am I possibly setting my children up for something bad to happen? Possibly, but I will not stop doing what I believe is right.  Am I putting my child in harm’s way? I sure as hell hope not, but understand the risk I am taking.  Will people frown upon my decisions? Abso-freakin-lutely! And are they entitled to? Abso-freakin-lutely!  And because of that, I understand why, if I am not home and my husband is that they may not allow their child over to my house or to pick their child up even if my daughter is in the car as well.  I may not believe the same way, but I respect the different way of thinking.  And I would never shame another parent because of their beliefs or rules in parenting.

I respect and understand the notion that my way of thinking surrounding being a parent and how I raise my children may cause some to not want me to look after their children. And believe me when I tell you, I get it and chances are, I don’t want to look after your children anyway.  And I understand that because of my actions and beliefs, you may not want your child to interact with mine… and you know what- that is okay also.  Hopefully you don’t think my kid is a jerk, but if you do- you are entitled. I think they are all jerks sometimes too.

Because of this,  well- I feel like I may have always known this, but neither one of us thinkers are wrong. I may be more conflicted, because I DO understand both sides- yes, but not necessarily wrong. I may be a complete whack job and naive according to your beliefs, but not necessarily wrong. My thoughts and views may not fit in to someone else’s lifestyle, but not necessarily wrong.

I want my kids to grow up understanding that people have different thoughts and opinions.  I want them to know AND understand that when they are with their friends and their friends have different thoughts or rules, that these all need to be respected. I want them to understand that their friends, while possibly different thinkers, are not wrong. They do not need to be changed.  They need to be heard and honored for their beliefs and staying true to them.  And I want them to expect the same back from the people they spend their time with.  I have no clue if I want my children to be black and white thinkers or shades of gray thinkers.  I guess it isn’t my decision at all anyway.  I want them to use their experiences, research, and knowledge to lead their thought process in all areas of life and to stand true to what they believe is right… even when others disagree.  And I want them to be honest when they are feeling conflicted and express their concerns in hopes of gaining more insight in making a more knowledgeable decision.

I want to have this same method of thinking as a parent.  Parenting is already a hard and not always rewarding job.  It is something that I do not take lightly.  I think it is even harder, when other parents feel that they are doing everything exactly right and assume that anyone not doing it the same way is automatically wrong.  Us parents, we are a judgy group of people. We all have the same goal in raising our kids to be decent people(or so I assume) but our methods of doing it can often clash.

Let me be clear— there are certainly some things that I have more of a “black and white” approach with.  Things like being disrespectful, my thoughts on bringing home decent grades, doing what I say the first time you are told, etc. And let me tell you- my thoughts behind these things are STRONG and I expect what I expect, no questions asked– something that has made people look at me like I am the worst mom ever

Please know that I say all of this as someone who has been called a horrible parent and a phenomenal parent by some of the same people. To my face and behind my back at times.  I am known as Satan by one of my own children and one of her friends.  It is what it is.  I am not out here trying to win mom of the year- I am strictly trying to just survive parenthood and make it through only mildly bruised. Many times I am definitely NOT making the best parenting choices and other times, I KNOW I am killing the parenting game.  I don’t really think that I need validation on my parenting any longer– I really just need for my kids to grow up and not be assholes….

See what I mean about the shades of gray thing?

In all things find beauty,

MRC

Finding my power in parenting

I went out for breakfast with a dear friend at the end of 2018 and as we were catching up with each other’s lives, she spoke to me about my “power”.  You see, she was breaking down for me my “power” as a mom.  I am in a constant struggle with finding my place as a mom which I know sound so weird since I have been a mom for over 15 years.  But for me- being a mom has never felt natural. It has never felt like a true calling.  I know that for many people that just doesn’t seem right, that I could feel this way. But it is in fact… the truth for me.  Let me explain why this one conversation and this word has had me thinking all sorts of things… and since it is me, you know it will be a LOOOONNNNGGGG explanation.

Because of this, my parenting style is quite different. I am all over the place with my kids and any given time. My love for them is real, my confidence in parenting- not so much. I do not parent each of my children the same way. What works for one, may not work for the other two. As they change in age, their needs and my requirements shift. Unfortunately these shifts do not always match their needs and can sometimes be excessive, but again, this is my truth.

D and I have a lot of help with our kids. With my steady work schedule and Damian’s not so steady schedule, we need the help. This is where things begin to get tricky.  I am so darn grateful for all the help that I receive.  My older sister, who is like the world’s greatest aunt, will almost always be willing to help out with driving and babysitting if necessary. She works full-time and some of the only times she is unable to help out is due to prior work commitments. My parents will almost always be able to help out on the weekends if need be. I tend to not ask them for weekday help because of their full time work schedules and I know they help out with my niece as well.  My in-laws are almost always available for the day-to-day help. Picking kids up from the bus, from school if they are sick, weekends if possible.  They are becoming more and more busy and in demand as they are gaining more precious grandchildren and they try to make themselves available for all of them.  And again- I am so grateful for ALL of the help that my entire family receives.

And yet, oh dear- isn’t there always a contradiction with me?  And yet, sometimes the help becomes too much for me. I have an issue with boundaries. I either have far too many and don’t allow people to even scratch the surface or I allow people to have no respect for them whatsoever and get all up into my space.  This is where the trouble lies.

I need help and I appreciate help. I sometimes don’t ask for help because of my pride, but I  need it almost all the time. I will never get a mom of the year award. (I wouldn’t really want that piece of junk anyway- I mean, I wouldn’t even know where to put it)  My children probably won’t look back at their childhood and remember many family game nights or amazing family vacations – and I am okay with that. However, I don’t want them to look back and only remember the crappy times and the arguments.

Okay— so I got into all of that because this is what made my dear friend start to talk about my “power”.  As I have been navigating through these various thoughts surrounding self-care, self-love, finding myself – I have been pulling away from many people. One of these people would be my husband. I notice that as I begin to change in some areas of my life, some areas stay the same and sometimes these are the areas that need the change the most. The biggest area is my relationship with my immediate family- Damian, Madison, Myles, and Mayci. These past couple of years have been the roughest. Damian and I have drifted apart, my relationship with Myles and Mayci is not nearly as I strong as I would like it to be, Madison and I have been the worst we have ever been. So it has been quite a relationship mess in our little Curtis household.

Without going into all the nitty-gritty details, in speaking with my friend she started to tell me that as a mom I have a “power” that no one could take from me in that I am my children’s mother. I am their mom. I carried each of them for at least 37 weeks in my body and I physically brought them out into the world.  I have held them while they are upset, nursed boo-boos back to health, cheered them on during their successes, scolded them for their wrong doings… But this still didn’t seem to sit with me well. I do love my children. My love for them may be displayed in ways different from other mommas out there.  I have done all of those things mentioned above– but there are other people in their lives who have done the same for my children(and at times even more)- that my children have bonded with more. And because of that, more often than not, I feel inadequate as a mom. Especially for Myles and Mayci. I believe that in my absence, they would not look for me or feel as though they need me for anything. I do not feel like I have that “power.”

My friend insists that this is not the case. That among all of my insecurities surrounding parenting, I still hold a position in all 3 of my children’s lives. And I am starting to realize how true this is over the past several weeks.  About a month ago, my father in law brought something up to my husband.  He informed my husband that Myles (my 9 yr old) told him that he didn’t think that I loved him because I never want to spend time with him.  I did speak with Myles and got the whole story, but we won’t even get into that today.  Regardless of the “actual story”, this situation got me thinking.  I started questioning even more so about my relationship with my kids and where I stand with each of them.  From that moment – I began to realize my impact on my children’s lives. I spend time with my son watching basketball or talking about school, cherish my girly time with Mayci speaking of princesses and goals, and am starting to actually enjoy my more “grown up” teenage talks about all of those coming of age topics with Madison.  What I haven’t done to be honest is change anything about my parenting, I have just made the time I am with my children more intentional.  I don’t even know if I have truly increased the quantity of time that I have spent with my kids,  but I sure as hell am focused on the quality of that time.

Have I fully embraced my “power”? I have no freaking clue.  Do I feel that my power is diminished by others? Yeah- I think I may still feel this way a little.  The thing that is different– I am  no longer allowing the bond that my children have with other people(grandparents, friends, other family members, etc)- to make me feel like less of a mom.  I am beginning to understand just how lucky my children are to have even more people they feel bonded to and how their worlds do not begin and end with me.

YES- as I always like to remind everyone…my relationship with my children is different. Many other moms would frown upon it- but I think that makes my dynamic even more special.  My children will have their own stories to tell. And while I hope that these stories are fun and light, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tell of the meltdowns,scary moments, and hard times.  Those times aren’t a secret.  They aren’t anything to be ashamed of.  They are a merely just another dimension of my phenomenal power!

To all you mommas out there (and daddys too)- I will not give you advice. I have no advice to give. I have no magic tricks, no mommy win stories, nothing… just words from my experience that I would hope you wouldn’t judge me for.  And if you do…that’s cool also.  What I will tell you is this: your relationship with your kids is just that. It is YOUR relationship with YOUR kids. NOT ONE DAMN PERSON can take that away from you.

Find your power! Own your power! Embrace your power! Cherish your power!

 

In all things find beauty,

MRC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Michelle,

20190320_122634.jpg**Let’s take a peek into a letter that I wish I could have received from future self when I was 19/20, pregnant and scared as all hell!**

Dear Michelle,

Oh dear, I hope that you are doing okay as you read this letter. At 19/20, pregnant, and scared… there are not many words that I know that can ease any worries, however, being your future self at 36– let me talk to you for a minute.

Things are about to get super real and you need to hear some things that you are not going to like. You and your baby’s father are over. You are done, no longer together.  This will feel like the end of world, but believe me when I tell you it is not. It is the best thing ever. Him walking away will save your life. SAVE YOUR LIFE!!  I can tell you a million times over that this will leave you broken, but you will NOT stay that way. There will be a piece of you that he takes with him forever, but you will not need it because in the end you will receive something even better.  So allow yourself to break down and collapse, it is not the end girl- you are truly at the very beginning. In fact, let’s talk about what is about to happen.

This pregnancy is going to suck. You will be tested in ways far beyond what you have seen and you will surpass each and every test. But listen to me girl- You are a f****** warrior! This pregnancy and experience could seriously break you down to nothing- however, you will not let it. You will cry, scream, yell, hide your feelings, feel as lonely as ever but will come out of this stronger than ever. You will lose friends and will piss people off because of some of the decision you will make, but trust me- it won’t matter.  First- you will experience some things throughout your this pregnancy that will cause some danger to both yourself and your baby. Stay calm, there are some people who are going to want to see you at worst and are going to try to make that happen.. and you WILL let it happen and will hate yourself for it, but again- keep moving forward. I still cannot tell you what made you decide to keep this pregnancy as opposed to terminate as you had done before but I think you made the perfect choice and on June 27th, 2003 you are going to give birth NATURALLY and CALMLY to one of the best individuals ever and it will be THE MOST POWERFUL moment of your life. And I mean that with all of my soul. I mean- trust me- it has been over 15 years and that precious child is a damn rock star human being!!!!

One of the other things that I want to talk to you about is your self-doubt and your  lack of confidence. I know that people think that you are the most confident and outgoing person of life. I also know that these thoughts about you is so freaking far from the truth. I know that you currently sit in your room alone scared to death of the life you are going to bring into this world. I know that while you are sitting there you have cried buckets of tears because you are nowhere near where you thought you would be. You never made it to NYU-nope. You never moved to New York and chopped your hair off-nope. You aren’t on your way to become a criminal psychologist- nope. You dropped out of college- yup. You passed on an opportunity to move to Chicago and start over and have no idea why- yup. You feel like your parents are so disappointed in you- yup, they probably are. You feel like you are alone and I stress that because this is going to follow you, but you will embrace the “alone” differently as you age.

I will tell you that over the next 16 years or so those same feelings and thoughts will continue to be ever.  You are going to still feel that self-doubt and have that lack of confidence. What I am going to say is that you are going to come so far.  But let me tell you about some of your feelings.  By the time you turn 36 you still won’t be where you thought you should be… your entire life will have changed. You will decide not to reenlist in the military. You will get married at 24, have 2 more super amazing kids before turning 30, live on your own, live with your husband’s parents, and then purchase your own home at 28.  These are all big events and you survive them all. Not all of them are easy but they have all been worth it.  You will haven’t made it to NYU, but your oldest daughter hopes to go to a school connected with NYU for dance. You did chop off your hair after you turned 36 because by then you were finally brave enough and confident enough to not give a shit about what anyone else thought.  You go back to college a couple of times and are currently active in school hoping to receive your Bachelor’s in Criminal Psychology by the time you reach 38.  You still never went to Chicago and that desire and want is since faded.

So, no I cannot tell you what life would have been like if those things worked out different, but I can tell you how life has been.

It has been a roller coaster. You are on a “never-ending” journey of self-love and you are really working your ass off.  You struggle with being a mom, and know there is a shit ton of room from improvement- but have finally understood that parenting is a challenge. And while it was originally never in the cards for you, it is probably one of the reasons why you are not homeless and addicted to drugs.  You are thankful for each one of your kids and the special gifts you bring to your family. Your husband and you have ALWAYS had to work double hard to maintain your relationship- but neither one of you has yet to give up.

You are resilient, loving, empathetic, kind, sensitive, and a bad ass all rolled into one.  You can’t stand people just as strongly as you love them.  And this is all because of the person you are right now as you read this letter.

DO NOT GIVE UP! KEEP MOVING FORWARD! KEEP DOING THE HARD THINGS! Write as much as you possibly can. Talk to anyone that you can. Continue to build relationships with people. Do not be afraid to trust. Be honest and open and raw and real- even when it makes you or other people uncomfortable.

You got this Michelle!!!  Keep hanging in there… maybe one day when you are in your 50’s you can write a letter to your 36-year-old self…. I can only imagine what that letter will say….

In all things find beauty,

MRC

 

Becoming a confident woman

*WARRIOR * This is NOT the body of a supermodel. Or a non super model. Or model of any kind in that case. Well maybe the model for real life flaws and the journey to body confidence. Okay, I’ll take that one😃
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This body has seen many shapes and been many things. It has been fit, heavier, exhausted, battered, strong, bruised, beautiful… however, it was/is very rarely
confident.
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We need to love ourselves and that goes so much deeper than our physical body. This does not mean that there is shame in wanting to lose weight, be healthy, look “good” in certain clothes. This just means that we need to be respectful to ourselves allow for mishaps on occasion throughout the process. We deserve to love ourselves first. Lately all across our social media pages we see posts of all kinds of bodies: thin, not as thin, fit, not as fit, loved, not as loved.  None of these is wrong. None of these is right. We are not in a position to judge anyone else’s bodies and/ or their perception of their body. That is a personal thing,  one that I happen to not mind talking about.
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My current body is not my favorite, and yet I will honor it while I put in the effort to switch up a few things. I will honor my body for the fights it has had to go through as well as the accomplishments it has survived with me. This is the same body that carried and birthed 3 babies naturally and un-medicated. This is the same body the pushed itself past many physical limits during boot camp and my time in the Army. This is the same body that endured physical abuse from someone who I cared about. This is the same body that trained and completed many 5Ks and a Half Marathon. This is the same body that has held my children and friends in her arms while they struggle with life. This is the same body that participated in an adult hip hop class for 5 years even though I looked a hot mess. (Trust me, it was so fun that it was worth it). This is the same body that walks into yoga classes and walks out feeling slightly more powerful.This is MY body. This is MY temple.
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*CONFIDENCE* This is NOT the body of a model. This is the body of a WARRIOR. And this body is no longer fighting a battle. It is not fighting any enemy. This is the body of a woman who has learned her worth and is working to have that worth shine out of every pore. This is the body of an up and coming CONFIDENT WOMAN.