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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bjfkadgbjkb

Entering 36 and the upcoming journey…

Three weeks ago I turned 36.  I remember being a child and honestly feeling like a new, more mature person with each birthday morning.  Now- not so much.  I never mind my birthdays. The idea of getting older is actually exciting to me. I don’t tend to look at getting older as something cringe worthy.  It actually excites me- well, at least for now.

I woke up that morning and felt good. Well I was still a little sore from a yoga class I took 2 days prior… but all in all… I felt great!  And now three weeks in, I still feel great. I am confident that 36 will be just as enlightening that 35 was.  As we were getting closer to this particular day, I did start to think about the past 365 days and how I have grown through them.

My mindset has certainly shifted. Entering my 35th year, I was still living for other people.  Saying the things that people want to hear in order to not hurt them. Supporting things that I did not believe were right, because I felt that is what I was supposed to do.. Not moving forward towards opportunities or towards the things I want because I knew they would be difficult or I didn’t want to hear from naysayers.

Over the past year, I have slowly began to just be honest- not the brutal honest kind that is hurtful and disrespectful, but just gentle honesty that most people respect and some people just need.  I no longer support things (financially, emotionally, etc) that I do not agree with. This isn’t to say that I wasn’t honest before… It was more that I didn’t say certain things because I knew that they weren’t what people wanted to hear or because I knew that it may hurt them. 


I want 36 to be even more different. I want to be more adventurous and more myself. For years I had been an impostor- like my true self had been hidden because I was busy trying to fit in to little groups and be the right person for each group that I was a part of, work-family-friends, etc.  That is a scary realization and one that I worked hard on fixing over the past 2-3 years.  I don’t think that we are ever just one thing and that is what makes humans amazing creatures.
I want to experience life this year. You know, really experience it. Try something new once a month. Whether it be a new book, a new place, a new food. The world is full of so much and I want to take in all it has to offer. 

I started school AGAIN(for the 3rd time) at age 35 therefore for 36, my only goal related to this is to not quit. (We all know I am a chronic quitter- they really should make an award for this) I am not due to get my Bachelor’s degree (finally) until well into my 37th, so it is imperative that I work hard through 36.   I don’t want to float through this age, but to sashay down the runway that is age 36. I will put more focus on writing and less focus on talking about writing while not actually doing it. I will say NO when I don’t want to and begin to follow through with my YES’s. I will honor myself by taking time for me and not feeling selfish for it. I will no longer look for validation from the outside but instead from the inside of my soul.

36 will be the year that I will recognize my POWER. My power as a woman, as a mom, as a wife, as a student, as a writer, etc. And I will use that power to rise above my fear and my inconsistencies.

I am going to work hard to not compare myself to others as often as this is something I do always. I am not as disciplined as this person, not as motherly as that one. I am not has organized as so and so. I will work hard to eliminate these thoughts and to understand that in my power, I find my strength and my worth.

I will no longer tell myself that it is too late to change  my parenting tactics and just begin to make the necessary tweaks to help my family and my relationships with my kids stronger, regardless of my children’s ages. I will hold certain expectations for my home and how my home is run and I will no longer allow others to impede on these. 

I will focus on using my voice and words to build others up and stop tearing people down. I am going to work hard at making my conversations be less about criticizing other people and more about praising them instead. When praise cannot be found, I will simply stay quiet if my words cannot be beneficial. 

My theme for 36 will be INTENTION. I will aim to be more intentional. I will make decisions rationally and boldly. I will be confident in who I am. I will honor myself and my family and focus on teaching my kids the importance of being confident and true to your word.

I am beginning to realize that while age 35 was the year of realization, age 36 is going to be the year of execution. Let’s get this party started!!

In all things find beauty, 

MRC

 

 

Show the hell up…

Just show up! This is what I have to tell myself daily. Show up for my kids. Show up for my husband and other family. Show up for my friends. And damn it… SHOW UP FOR MYSELF!

Such simple words. Yet it is not a simple notion for me. I am known for not showing up. It is a sad fact and breaks my heart that many see me in this light.  My intentions are always good- but life is hard and people are sometimes just way to much for me. I love telling people yes and being there for people. I don’t like having to leave the comfort of my home sometimes, my safe place.

When I talk about showing up, I mean the term in many different ways. I mean being there for the people who are important for me.  Being there through their roughest moments as a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, or just someone to sit in silence with. Being there during their accomplishments as one of their biggest cheerleaders. Being there just to be there to hang out, talk, be crazy, catch up.  This goes for family(and not just those related to me by blood), friends, coworkers, other adults or children in my life that just need someone to be there- to show up for them.  This is my goal, but this is not yet my reality. I back away and do not always show up because … well… mainly just be because I am afraid.  I am afraid to be there for one person more than another and then upset someone else. I am afraid to not be there in the right way for someone and then I end up hurting them more. I am afraid of letting myself out of my comfort zone and then what?  All the what ifs start to creep in at theat moment.  And don’t get me wrong- I do still show up… sometimes.  And when I do, I give my all. My biggest problem is aggreeing to show up before knowing if I truly can. That is where I get into the most trouble and I am tired of doing that. And then that makes me afraid to commit at all.

I talk a lot about my fears when I am writing because that is the emotion that has the most control over my life currently. Who am I kidding, this is what has controlled me for the better part of my 35 years.  But the thing that fear has most controlled when it comes to showing up– is me showing up for myself. I mean really- I am probably one of the most selfish people I know (listen, I am just being honest here- this is my safe place)- so why on earth would it be so difficult to do things that benefit me?  Now don’t be confused, yes I take plenty of time to binge watch my favorite shows, to eat the crappy foods I enjoy, to drink too much at times, to speak in ways that are not always becoming- but I cannot seem to show up for myself when it comes to making healthy decisions,  working towards MY goals, and doing things that truly excite me…yet I cannot seem to figure out why?

I have been thinking about this so much because I have been a part of a workout/healthy eating challenge through a local gym.  And one of the things I have been focusing on is SHOWING UP FOR MYSELF.  This requires discipline  in showing up for at least 3 workouts a week and focusing on getting the “correct” amount of protein and water in my daily “diet”. Oh my word- I SUCK at this.  I always have. Being disciplined is hard for me.  A lot of people think that it shouldn’t be this way since I served 8 years in the military– but boy are they wrong.

I still don’t get why showing up for myself is hard. Like, shouldn’t being there for myself be a priority? Shouldn’t I want to love on myself and take care of myself so that I have enough to give back to others? Shouldn’t I feel that I am important enough to show up for? The answer… HELL YES!  It is time to show the hell up for myself.  Stop with the excuses for why I cannot invest in myself. I am in a constant battle in fighting what I want to do versus what I need to do versus what people expect me to do…  The fight is over…..I am no longer going to worry myself about what other people feel I should do.. as long as what I want to do and  need to do align..then, the only thing that I am going to hold myself accountable for over the next 380 days is to just show up for myself!!  It will be challenging, scary, will piss people off, will push some away, will draw some near… but will continue to be worth every moment!

WISH ME LUCK

In all things find beauty,

MRC