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Hope Unfolding:A Book Review

As if sitting for a cup of coffee with a dear friend, opening the first pages of Becky Thompson’s book,  Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart is reminiscent of a soul- baring conversation, a true dialogue of motherhood and faith. Becky, who originally began a blog under the name Scissortail Silk, began sharing her heart and her walk with God on her blog page, inspiring and encouraging millions of mothers in the process. Becky’s heart is evident on each of the 224 pages within her book, detailing her journey from a 19 year mall employee to the wife of a pastor and author she has become.

Becky outlines her grace filled journey within the trenches of motherhood, illustrating how through piles of unfolded laundry, nights with sick children that seem to extend to an eternity and mornings where a lunch has been forgotten by mistake, she finds God in every moment. Becky explains how He is our anchor in every situation, guiding us back to Him in the moments that we feel that we are failing not only as mothers, but as women as well. As we read through her words, we feel as if we are sitting with Becky in her kitchen, with the white ceramic pitcher in the window, our hair in messy ponytails wearing the previous evening’s sweatpants as we exchange our stories of motherhood, marriage and life as a woman.

God guides us through her warm storytelling, truly using Becky as His vessel for His word. Reading her book, the grace filled woman or mother can relate to each story she shares, from the moments she found herself doubting her purpose and questioning if the path she had been lead on was the correct one for her, to tales of diapers accidentally run through the washing machine.

Becky’s book, Hope Unfolding: Grace-Filled Truth for the Momma’s Heart is a wonderful read and one I would highly recommend to my mother and other women friends. This book is a beacon of light in moments where we feel overwhelmed, reminding us that even in our most vulnerable states, God, and the grace filled momma, have the right words to guide us home.

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Becky can be found online at beckythompson.com. She can be followed on instagram at https://instagram.com/scissortailsilk, and on her Facebook page Scissortail Silk.

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The Journey

Many tears have been shed today. Yet I am not angry or sad. There is nothing within me that is causing me to feel the need to cry, and still I find myself weeping at random moments. I am not depressed, or hormonal. By all definitions, absolutely nothing is wrong.

So what is prompting these tears?

Have you ever felt a barrage of emotions at one time, uncertain of how to distinguish exactly which is most prevalent? I have. Today I am feeling everything deeply, and I am overwhelmed.

I feel blessed, for the children God has entrusted to my care. He has determined that I am the person most fit to raise their contrasting personalities and varying needs. He has gifted me with two beautiful children, who while at some times can be very demanding or incredibly frustrating (as I type, I can hear my children argue over the same toy among a sea of other toy options. This is the way most days function…no one is interested in the toy until everyone is interested in the toy).

I am also overcome with gratitude, not only at the ability that I have to be able to  write full time, but that these words that I am sharing upon my computer screen are not only being read, but received and shared on other pages. When I started this journey, as a letter to myself, I had no idea I would be sharing my story with others, and I could not begin to express how truly rewarded I feel.

I am thrilled, as well, that I am able to encourage others. In a world and specifically society overwhelmed with darkness, we all need reminders of how we are loved, appreciated and needed. Too often we become engrossed in others’ perceptions of who we are, that we forget our worth, and forget what we should mean to ourselves. I am grateful that I am able to share words with others that I hope are reminding them of their self worth.

I  am also at peace, and I am filled with a sense of calm so powerful that I am brought to tears by the true transformation that has occurred in my life in one short year. Last year was filled with strife, anxiety and negativity, to the point where every moment felt as if the pre-cursor to the figurative shoe dropping. I was on edge, waiting for the next painful situation or event to occur and felt hardened by the bitter shell I had become. This year, I am thankful that I am able to wake each morning feeling the presence of God and trusting in His journey for me, understanding that I am not alone upon my walk.

So while many tears are shed, they are not tears of pain, nor tears of anger or sadness. They are tears of acceptance, and faith, for a journey that is not complete, but one that I am not walking alone.

 

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To the mother who dares to hope after miscarriage

One in four women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime. To many, this is a mere statistic. It will never happen to me we think.

Until it does.

A pregnancy loss, whether early in the pregnancy, before a heartbeat can be detected on an ultrasound, until the final week of pregnancy, can be incredibly devastating.

I am one in four.

I remember the joy and trepidation I experienced when I saw two pink lines appear on the pregnancy test I decided to take after experiencing several symptoms that I felt may be indicators that I was expecting. At that point, I had not been pregnant in two years, and while I had carried two other children to term, I didn’t remember the exact nuances of every pregnancy sign. I made the trip to the feminine care aisle of the grocery store near my house, discreetly tucked the two tests I purchased under other items within my cart, and made the trip back to my house to determine if we were going to be adding another member to our family.

Fear overwhelmed me as I questioned myself. How was I going to be able to raise three children? I considered myself to be a good mother to my  two boys, but could I possibly handle a third? What about my two living children? Would I be putting them at a disadvantage by adding another child? A silly question considering that I was already pregnant, but this doubt and similar thoughts raced through my head, as I Googled the term, “raising three children” and read multiple articles from parents detailing the struggles of raising more than two children. I cried for the remainder of the evening, and in to the following morning. I was stressed, tired, and wondered how in nine short months I was going to become capable enough to mother a third.

One short week later, I stood in the restroom at my office, horrified at the sight of blood. When we are not trying to conceive, we welcome this sight, knowing that our bodies are functioning as they should. When pregnant, blood is the last thing we want to see. I instantly went in to a panicked mode, and as I dialed my doctor’s office, the noise of others preparing their lunches in the break-room filling the silence within me, I ventured towards the dark place.

The space in between fear and hope that makes us question everything.

I instantly assumed the worst, knowing that even though, by medical standards my pregnancy was still considered a fetus and not a baby, that my BABY was dying. As I followed prompt after prompt to finally reach a live person, I rehearsed what I would say. This is how many weeks I think I am. No, this has never happened before. I’m not sure why. I sputtered these words as I bombarded the receptionist with my information, and drew in a deep breathe when she instructed that I come in immediately for a blood and urine test.

I called my husband, and waited as he arrived at work, to drive me to the doctor’s office. On the ride over, I held my breath, until the pressure of the  air building in my chest made it feel as if my ribs were going to shatter. After all, my heart already had. I followed the motions, offering my arm for the blood draw and my urine for the sample. I waited. I waited until the photographs of newly born children and the newborns walking in to the building with their mothers became too overwhelming, and I had to leave. I was instructed that I would receive a call shortly.

The line is faint. The nurse stated, when she called me what felt like a lifetime later. I asked what this had meant. Was it too early in the pregnancy, and I didn’t have enough of the hormone? Or were my worst fears realized? Was it faint because I was losing the baby? She tried to reassure me, stating that it was likely too early, and that if I continued to bleed, I should come back in to the office. She also handed me a sheet to have lab work done. I was to have blood samples taken on that day and then again after 48 hours to see if my levels were increasing. From those results, we would determine my next steps.

I spent the few days between blood draws laying on the couch, foolishly thinking that if I were to relax and remain in a stagnant position that I could stop the bleeding. Yet it continued, and my anxiety mounted, as I waited for Monday and my final blood test to arrive.

On Tuesday afternoon, one day after my final blood draw, I received the phone call that my baby had died.

These things happen. Based on your medical history, we aren’t sure why, but you can start trying again after two cycles.  The nurse repeated this information to me as if reading from a script, and in my anger I disconnected the call, cutting her off mid sentence. I could not even begin to comprehend what was going on. I had two successful pregnancies and two living children. I always felt superior, annoyingly so, in the fact that when I filled out forms, I could enter next to number of pregnancies 2, number of living children 2. Now, I could no longer say so. The very body that had allowed me to conceive had caused me to lose the pregnancy. It had betrayed me.

After my pregnancy loss, I suffered an emotional breakdown. I was bitter and angry, not only at myself and my failure of a body, but at God. I was angry at a God that I had trusted and believed in, who I believed had allowed me to suffer such pain for no reason.

Rather, it was a reason I didn’t understand at the time.

Five short months later, I was blessed for a small period of time, to be able to receive another positive pregnancy test. This test felt like a light in a haze of overwhelming darkness, and I felt hopeful. After months of pain, I  was ready to be happy, ready to embrace the second chance I felt I was being given at being able to raise three children.

Yet six days later, my first experience repeated itself. I was one in four. Twice. I wanted so deeply to pull myself from the anger I had felt upon experiencing my first miscarriage. I vowed to myself that this time, rather than being angry I would allow myself to be thankful for the ability to become pregnant again, knowing that while my body was capable of becoming pregnant I could no longer sustain a pregnancy. However, I found myself spiraling back in to the darkness, returning to the bitter shell I was.

I was not able to carry a third child to term, and at this point in my life, I have no intention of attempting another pregnancy. However, if I did, I would want to write these words to myself, and to any mother who dares to hope after suffering the pain of a miscarriage or pregnancy loss.

Dear mother, in this moment, embrace the life that is growing within you. I know that fear resides in the depths of your heart and in your mind. After all, we have been here before, and we know what the end result yields. We understand that at any moment, our lives can change, and we know the pain that loss brings. We celebrate each milestone with hesitation, questioning at which point in our journey these milestones will stop. Each trip to the restroom is filled with anxiety, as we check our toilet paper and wonder if this trip will be *the one*. Ultrasounds will no longer bring joy, at the sight of our children, but will be markers for relief when we see that the child growing in our belly is still moving and growing. Doctors appointments will become chores, things that we dread, because we fear that our doctor will provide bad news. We will question each symptom, wondering if we are tired enough. Nauseated enough. Pregnant enough. We will wait to purchase baby items, or tell family or friends because we have done so before, and we have then had to explain why we no longer “look” pregnant.  Fear will be the one emotion we will feel at all moments. But mother,  who dares to hope, attempt to remain faithful. Pain doesn’t make sense, nor does loss. The darkness will try to swallow you, engulfing you and convincing you that this will happen again. And it may. But in these moments, while you are pregnant, try to enjoy the life that is yours and yours alone. Be still in this moment, and understand that while your path may not clear, things will begin to make sense.  Dear mother, you are strong, and your body is strong. Trust in this above all else. 

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A series of “bad” birthdays

Tomorrow is my birthday, which means that today, I am on the eve of turning 29. 29..wow, where have my twenties gone? It feels as if just yesterday I was celebrating my 21st birthday with my sister and a group of close friends at a downtown bar (my sister celebrated a little more than I did ;). and now, I am one year away from turning 30!

In these 29 years, I have experienced the births of my children, and the deaths of several close family members and friends. I have met and married my husband, with whom I will be celebrating 8 years of dating and 4 years of marriage this year. I have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, changed professions, and questioned my life and my faith.

I have also experienced what I, until this year, would have considered to be a series of “bad” birthdays.

To be honest, for the majority of my life before I became a mother, I was very self-centered. My concern lay primarily with if my needs were met or satisfied, and I often damaged other people’s feelings in the process. The person I am now sincerely and genuinely regrets who I was before. Those who encountered me as I walked my path through life during these years when I was discovering myself unfortunately formed an impression of me that was very accurate..a portrayal of a person whose world revolved only around her. This applied to my birthday as well.

Every year, on the days shortly before my birthday, I recall counting down the remaining hours until the day finally arrived. It was all about me, and I couldn’t wait to remind others of this. In the moment, I was excited, but I realize now that in fact the only thing that I was being was irritating.

I can still remember the first of what I considered to be what would become a string of bad birthdays.

Several days before February 10th, I awoke with a piercing pain in my stomach and immediately felt nauseated. I presumed that I had likely reacted to something I had snacked on before going to bed the night prior, and wrote the pain and other symptoms off, assuming they would subside after I began to remove around. Unfortunately, these symptoms were the pre-cursor to a stomach flu that would last until Valentine’s day, affecting my annual birthday dinner and confining me to bed. I remember, as I laid with a glass of chilled 7-up on my nightstand and my comforter pulled to my chin to fight the persistent cool that was taking over my body, thinking that my birthday had been ruined. I was upset, but hopeful that the next year would be better.

It was, and for several years, I had what would by any standards be considered great birthdays. I was surrounded by friends and family who loved and supported me, even as the person I was during those times. By any measure, I was blessed. Yet I felt empty, and the only thing that I considered to be fulfilling was celebrating myself, as shallow as that may sound.

And then, in 2011, my grandmother died. She suffered an extremely long and painful few years as her body deteriorated with the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. My grandmother was transformed in to a shell of her former self, and her spunk, energy and outgoing personality was reduced to a woman who did not recognize her family nor herself. We all ached for her, and we knew she was in pain. She began a rapid decline at the beginning of February, 2011, and just a few short days before my birthday, we weren’t certain if she was going to survive to see the 10th. Our family sit vigil by her bedside, and we waited, our hearts trapped in our throats as we monitored her condition.

On February 11th, 2011, my grandmother passed away.

At the time, overcome with emotion, I did not know how to respond to her passing. I was frustrated, that the disease had stolen her from us, and sad that she was no longer with our family. She was the center, the very core of who we were, and without her physical presence, we were all left scrambling to determine who we would be going forward. I remember thinking too, how upset I was, because it was the day after my birthday. That time frame would be forever associated with this devastating event.

How incredibly awful of a person did that make me? I was so selfish that rather than realize the pain everyone was in, I only thought of myself. It was something that I would not realize until years later, unfortunately, but at the moment, if I had been the person that I am today at that point in time, I think I may have realized just how ridiculous I was being.

Then, in February of 2015, I would have what would be considered one of the worst birthdays, to date.

I felt nauseated for many days leading up to the 10th, yet knew that unlike in previous years, this was not a stomach ailment. I assumed that it was my monthly visitor, and also used that presumption to justify my erratic and emotional behavior. I stood in the Apple aisle of Best Buy, in tears and feeling utterly sorry for myself, and remembered thinking that like many of the others, this was another bad birthday.

At the time, I was pregnant, and did not yet know I was expecting.

With a baby who would never be born.

I miscarried just one week later, in a restroom in my office at work. I could not even begin to comprehend the incredible devastation my heart felt as I suffered painfully through labor and loss. I had a complete mental, and emotional breakdown, but most of all, I was angry. I was bitter, not only at the world, not only at my birthday and it’s penchant for having negativity surround it, but at my God, for what I believed He had done. I believed he had failed me, and I vowed, in my broken state, that I would forever hate my birthday.

It is now February 09th, 2016. My birthday is tomorrow, and I look forward to it with joy. My heart has never felt as content, nor my soul as peaceful, as it does on this day before the “big” one.

How can such a drastic statement be made after what I have mentioned above, you may be wondering?

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Rather than be angry if things do not go my way, I am accepting that these are not the things God planned for me at this season of my life. Instead of feeling sorry for myself if something comes up and detracts from me, I realize that the world does not stop simply because it is my birthday. Instead of being selfish, I’m vowing to be selfless, and thankful.

Even after I became a mother, I will admit, a portion of my self-centered ways still lived within me. But after a true devastation occurs, one that shakes you to the core and changes your entire world, it’s hard not to look back on who you used to be, and realize just how silly all of those things were. I couldn’t change the world around me, but I could change myself.

So this year, the best birthday gift I am getting is perspective. I am thankful to be given the opportunity to celebrate another year, with my children, my family and my God. 12f3480ecf6777e6ca81d8b07ecd8446

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Lessons from my littles

The greatest teachers that I have ever encountered in my near 30 years on the planet are my children.

I will be the first to admit that parenthood is not always easy. The things that we are told we will take for granted, the times that countless songs and articles promise we are going to miss? Certainly we will miss these times once our children are grown, but when little ones are screaming, usually at each other, and milk/juice/other liquids are spilling on to your brand new carpet, it’s a lot more difficult to think to yourself, “these are times I am going to miss.” Rather, the first thought that enters our head is usually, “is it bedtime yet?”

Whether we are stay at home parents, or working parents, the challenge is the same, and the truth is this. We are all tired. At the end of the day, there are still clothes that need to be folded, more loads of laundry that need to be done. There are still dishes that need to be washed and trash that needs to be discarded. As I type this, I am currently sitting next to a laundry basket of clothes that need to be folded..and that is only one of three baskets..yikes.

While we love our children in spite of their tantrums, and the many hours they can keep us up at night refusing to go to bed, we as parents also need time to recharge our own batteries. Knowing this, I want to offer some lessons that my children have taught me in my six years as their student..perhaps these apply to you too.

Parent the child you were given, not the child that you thought you should have-  When I became a parent for the first time, my lack of experience raising another person was apparent. I knew my little boy was a bundle of energy, as I had been advised boys would be, but I didn’t realize how spirited he truly was. My big man would not stay still. He would run, jump, scream, throw toys..I thought he was out of control and I tried to force him in to a box of perfect manners and well behaved interactions..and he was miserable. What I didn’t realize at the time was that my son was not spirited in the sense that he would not listen. He is this way because he is incredibly intelligent, funny, outgoing and sensitive. Once I realized that I should parent him as the person he was, and not the person I thought society wanted him to be, we were both a lot happier.

Embrace the mess- I crave order, and cleanliness. I attribute this to my mother, as she instilled in me when I was growing up that I should maintain a clean room. That is why, when realizing exactly how much of a mess two children can produce, I nearly had a heart attack. Toys were strewn across the expanse of carpet in the boys’ room. Clothes were thrown haphazardly across the tile floor of the bathroom and socks were tossed absentmindedly behind the couch and under the cushions. Seeing the figurative tornado before me, I was overwhelmed. The mess had consumed the house, and I didn’t know where to began. I set off in a cleaning frenzy, and at the end, found myself not only exhausted but resentful of the toys..the clothes..the mess. It was then that I realized this (with the help of my husband, for pointing it out). As long as children live within our home, it will never be completely clean. Real life does not look like an immaculate magazine spread of a home. Real life looks lived in. Real life equals toys in places other than the toy-box, clothes that will always need to be folded (if your laundry baskets are empty and all of your clothes are folded, please come to my house), and dishes that will always need to be washed/put away.

Don’t cry over spilled milk- Literally. I can recall one particular instance, when after walking my large black Lab, my son asked for a cup of milk. I willingly agreed, certain that I could handle both tasks with ease. With the lip of the collar handle wrapped around my wrist, I pulled a cup from the cupboard and retrieved the gallon of milk from the fridge. As I gingerly began to pour the milk in to the awaiting cup, all 65 pounds of my dog decided to pull on the leash, and the cup, lid and milk tumbled everywhere, covering my kitchen floor, legs and feet. I could feel the familiar lump of impending tears well in my throat when I saw my toddler standing at the edge of the kitchen, watching the scene unfold. Watching to see how I would react. When I saw how this very moment might be defined in his eyes, I choose not to cry. We laughed instead, and then we let the dog lick the milk currently forming separate puddles on the floor.

Know it will not always be easy- If parenthood were easy, and fit in to a tidy box, articles upon articles would not be written about it. Moms and dads would always be perfectly dressed, houses would always be clean and children would always be happy. Meltdowns would never happen, and trips to the grocery store would feel like vacations. Outings to restaurants would be enjoyable, and no food would ever end up on the floor.

Great image right?

But completely unrealistic. Because parenting is messy. Parenting does not come with a manual..there are no instructions for how to raise children. As long as we are ensuring our children know they are loved, we are doing the best we can. If at the end of the day, you don’t feel like crying, that’s always a bonus ;).

Parenthood is forever evolving. I will not claim to be an expert. I too, am learning as I go along. The course that we call life is a never ending test, and we aren’t always given the material ahead of time.  I can however, promise you this. The greatest lessons we learn are from the most unlikely of teachers.

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Why this mom is choosing to not stay home

I absolutely love this raw and insightful look in to why one mother choose not to stay at home with her children.

I am not a stay-at-home mom.

I wanted to be, once upon a time. Before I knew my kids and before I knew myself.
When I married my high school sweetheart, I had no idea what direction I was going with school, and no real inclination to finish. I was content with the simple things of life and assumed that stay-at-home mom-hood was my calling. After all, my own mother had done it for a time, complete with homeschooling and frequent family activities, and I turned out phenomenal (she wrote naively). At 20 years old, my newlywed self could not wait to start having babies and spending every waking moment with them.
My first son was born when I was 22. I was still attending community college classes, chipping away at an Associate degree that was by now 4 years in the making. When I mentioned to my husband that I planned to finish that degree, just to have it, and then I’d really just like to stay home, I was met with a discouraged look. He was not a fan of the idea. My husband has always encouraged me to follow my dreams, so I was disappointed that he was not supportive of this one.
But I think he knew me better than I knew myself back then. He knew that I would not enjoy it. His first clues were probably plain-site hidden in the terrible habits I had, even early in our marriage. I was a pretty messy person on my days off – not productive at all. I preferred couch-lounging and web-surfing to laundry-folding and floor-sweeping. If we had a kid that I stayed home with, those messes would increase and my ability to do them would decrease. And he was having none of that. I think he also recognized in me something I hadn’t yet realized about myself: I enjoyed being around people. Talking to them, helping them, working with them. I think he knew that staying at home would leave me feeling lonely and shut-out from the outside world.
And don’t you hate it when your husband’s right?
I kept going to school, even decided on a career I felt I would truly love, and continued to work part-time in the process. So I never got the real feel of SAHM-ing outside of my maternity leave, which I found to be quite enjoyable.
Then, in the middle of my first class in my chosen degree plan, we were given notice that we had to move to a new state. At the time, I was pregnant with our second son. It came as a relief that I would be taking the Fall semester off of school and work as we settled in to our new home. I also hadn’t been looking forward to delivering a baby over Thanksgiving break and going right back to classes just a few days postpartum. (Yes, that was my original plan and I realize now how crazy it was.) I was finally going to try out my mom-chops and stay home with my two babies while my husband worked. What a wonderful, meaningful, time I was going to have!
Let me add here, that my expectations where not all that high. Since having my first son, I was deep into reading the entirety of the Mom-Blogosphere, and I knew that it wouldn’t be sunshine and roses every day. I was prepared to meet the physical and emotional needs of my children with patience and lots of grace, even and especially for myself. But I knew there would be days I would want to pull my hair out. My expectations for a clean house, clean children, and a clean, set dinner table were very (very) low.
My husband, on the other hand, was not as familiar with tales of other stay-at-home moms. He was not as sympathetic to the “grace” that I had read so much about. Simply put, he fell into that delusion, that perhaps many men do at first, where me being home all day meant that I had time enough to clean and cook and look half-way decent (read: as if I hadn’t been stress-crying for a small majority of the day). He didn’t care so much about things like whether or not I wore make-up, or whether dinner was on the table by the time he got home. But he did expect a certain level of me taking initiative when it came to making sure there wasn’t jelly stuck to the counters and the table… and the walls; he did expect that I had at least THOUGHT of something for dinner and maybe gone grocery shopping, or told him to before he made it all the way home; he did expect the boys be fully clothed and if the weather was nice that they had gotten out of the house for a while. It wasn’t so much to ask.
Truth be told, his expectations were only slightly higher than my own. And he tried his best not to grimace every time he walked through the door to total chaos. Bless his heart, he TRIED to give grace.
But let me tell y’all something. It was bad. As much as I had hoped that my stay-at-home days would be full of fun and learning and crafts and cookies… I spent more time half-way reading about these things on the internet and half-way ignoring my children’s cries for more bananas crackers than I did anything else. I hated being cooped up inside all the time, but hated more to get out. I hated that there were always dirty dishes in the sink, but hated more to clean them. I hated the thought of dinner time. I hated the thought of grocery shopping. I even hated the thought of bedtime, because even at bedtime, there was no reprieve.
It may be worth mentioning that I was dealing with a brand-new case of postpartum depression. That certainly did not help matters. But all I can remember from my time of strictly staying at home was the loneliness, the inadequacy, and the anger that I seemed to constantly feel.
That’s when I decided it was most definitely not my calling. I wanted to work.
But more than that, I wanted my kids to remember a better childhood. I wanted them to spend their days in the care of someone who was going to take the time to teach them new things and give them opportunities to grow from and experiences to share with others. I wanted them to thrive in their development, in their talents, in their interests.
To be fair, that is why many parents choose to stay home. And I applaud those parents, moms and dads alike. I envy them, even. Some parents are so, so good at it. For me, those are just some of the reasons I chose to put my kids into a wonderful daycare and go back to work and school.
I wanted them to remember a better me. Sure, my mother was a great stay-at-home-mom, with a set of systems and curriculums and disciplines and activities all ready to go when called upon. But all I could do was struggle to keep my head above water. And that is not the mother I want my boys to remember.
I want them to remember a mom who was excited to see them at day’s end and hear about all the wonderful things that they learned, the people that they met and played with, and the lessons we might expand upon together. I want them to remember a mom who knew who she was and had interests that belonged all to herself and that made her interesting and happy and approachable. I want them to remember a mom they can be proud of, who is also proud of them.
Some moms can be that mom from home.
I am not one of those moms.
I wanted to be, before I knew my kids. Before I knew myself.
The author, Gabby, a dear friend of mine, can be found at throughsaltandhoney.com.
On Instagram @gabbyclarkblog
And on Facebook, at page name Through Salt and Honey.
Gabby is married to her high school sweetheart and is mother to the two most handsome, hard-headed toddlers you’ve never met. Her days are filled with work and studying and trying to find just the right balance between a part-time job, exam-taking, potty-training, baby-cuddling, and wife-ing. 
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Know your worth

He burst from the belly of the yellow school bus, a bundle of energy confined to a tiny package. His hazel eyes sparkled as his gaze met mine, eager to share the details of his day. He sprinted in to my waiting arms, and together we embraced in a hug, sealed in our own private moment as children poured from the bus behind us.

We emptied the contents of his backpack meticulously as he shared with me that in gym that day, the children raced each other and he won. His sandwich container was immersed in warm, soapy water as he shared with me his favorite subject, math, and how the teacher was currently teaching them how to count by tens. Pieces of a half eaten granola bar and an empty fruit snack package tumbled in to the mouth of the trash can as he explained to me how a boy, a child who he thought was his friend, ignored him on that day. He explained that at recess, when the children were set free by their teacher to play, the boy in question ignored the calls of my son, who trailed behind him. His voice was noticeably uneven as he described his confusion. My hands immediately discarded the task at hand, setting down his lunchbox as I heard my son say that this boy, along with another boy in their class, began to call my son names, before running to another part of the playground, leaving me child broken and alone.

I grabbed him in an attempt to soothe his heart, to repair the damage these two children had inflicted. Sensitive by nature, my son is the first person to offer a compliment on a day when he can tell another person is so desperately seeking affirmation. He has rubbed my back and consoled me many times when the stresses of the day have proven to be overwhelming, and held my hand as tears have traced my cheeks. I have always loved how sensitive and gentle he is, and yet, the same quality that I so much admire in him others, such as this child and his friend, have taken advantage of.

As we hugged, my son breathing in the freshly laundered scent of my shirt, I explained to him a truth that I wish he did not have to learn this soon.

In life, we are not going to be liked by everyone we encounter. Certainly, we can try our best to be individuals that in our interactions with others leave the people we come in contact with enjoying our presence, yet even the best person cannot be liked by some. We have different life experiences that mold and shape us in to the people that we become, and since these experiences can be so vastly different, there is the potential that our experiences, opinions and beliefs do not always agree with each other.

He nodded as I explained to him that unfortunately, the boy who he wanted to be his friend may only be another classmate, and smiled when I gently ran my hand across his blond hair, letting him know that in my eyes I thought he was perfect.

I saw her post on social media today. I did not hear her voice, and yet I could tell in the words she choose to accompany the post that sadness weighed heavy on her heart. I have seen many of her posts over recent days, and I can tell that she, like my son, is feeling left alone, confused as to why her efforts are going unnoticed and under-appreciated. She feels as though she extends so much of herself for others, and I can tell in the way that she speaks of her present situation that her worth is compromised. She is questioning if there is an aspect of herself that makes others feel as if she is not worthy of their acknowledgment.

A familiar lump formed in my throat as I explained to my husband how that particular encounter I had with another individual made me feel small, a meeting that at the end had my brain reeling in a tornado of aggravation and self doubt. I had tried, so many times before to ignore the behaviors of others that I knew would affect me personally, and yet, I found myself again being brought to tears by someone who made me feel less than.

Friend, it is so difficult when we are faced with a situation that makes us feel that we are not worthy of love or proper treatment to believe these words and feelings. We feel as if we are not capable nor deserving of love, attention or acknowledgment.

Friend, I want to remind you, with the words I used to comfort my son, of this.

You are worthy.

You are worthy of surrounding yourself with others who appreciate the type of person you are, and love you for the qualities you possess.

You are worthy, of acceptance. You are worthy of being treated as an equal. You are worthy of having your efforts not only recognized but applauded.

You are worthy of being treated as a person, and not as a child. You are worthy of your opinions. You do not have to explain yourself to others who would rather not hear your words. You deserve to be happy.

Friend, in those moments that you find yourself questioning your worth, remember this. God created you in His image, perfectly flawed, and He loved you still. Even when you feel as though others do not love you, remember to love yourself. That is the greatest gift that you can ever receive.

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