Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Encouraging Others in Parenting: Another 2014 Resolution

We chose to parent how my husband & I feel and believe is best for our family. Doesn't mean we think we are better or can do better than YOU. I believe if you are doing what you believe is best for your family, then our way shouldn't offend you or make you feel inadequate. We should encourage each other as parents, not break each other down. Today the Mommy Wars run rampant! Snide remarks and underhanded insults are common place. It breaks my heart that we can't encourage one another more often. I've had to explain again and again that I post as an accountability to myself and to inspire others. How can I truly believe in caring for my health and the health of my family if I feed my children junk? Why do I even need to explain wanting to feed my child only the best? Is it easy? NO! Is it affordable YES if you are willing to make sacrifices! I have given up much for my child's health and wellness. Giving up certain luxuries, such as cable, bi-weekly hair or nail appointments, etc, is not as terrible as it sounds. You CAN live without them. There's always something you can give up in the pursuit of your child's ultimate well-being and health. In the end those sacrifices are not missed. Sacrifices we have made include: no cable, no going to movies, no pampering like mani/pedi or eyebrows at a salon, my husband rides a bicycle or walks to work, I walk down to the store with my toddler in her stroller and insulated thermal bag for groceries. These are just a few of the things that can be done to make it affordable. If there's a will and desire, there is always a way. Do I think you are the worst for feeding your kids goldfish? NO! I think our food industry is shameful for making a profit off of endangering the health our children.

My first daughter at only a day old. The light of my life!
As a Personal Trainer and ZUMBA Fitness Instructor I promote health and wellness. I do so because I believe that as a Christian I should respect and treat the body God gave me well. I am heartbroken when accused of being a skinny-minny or that I have an eating disorder or that REAL MEN don't like skin and bones. I am here to encourage and motivate YOU to live cleaner, not to look like me. If you are offended by my appearance then I don't know what to tell you. I look the way I look. I am a healthy girl, who eats more than I grown man. I love REAL food like fruits and veggies, but I also have my guilty pleasure foods. I'm not perfect, but I am responsible for what God gave me. I am responsible for my body and the bodies of my children and even my husband. It is as simple as that. When we married, we became one another. He belongs to me and I to him. There is no individuality in marriage. We are one. We operate as one. Does that mean we are slave to one another? No. It means that we are to love and care for the other as if it were ourselves.

But I digress...

So I read this here and it got me thinking. Why do we judge each other so harshly? Why should my way make you feel inadequate? I don't go around telling you what a bad parent you are for not doing something the way I would. I share how I do things and half the time if not most I'm saying I hope I'm doing it right. The only one I criticize is...ME. I'm very hard on myself and I expect only the absolute best from myself. When I fail it hits me hard. However, I know that I am human; therefore fallible. Making mistakes is just part of this life. I just gotta regroup my efforts, refocus, pray that the good Lord gives me wisdom and grace for myself as I try again.

Baby-wearing while on a family outing. She's only 3-4 weeks old here.

This New Year...make an effort to help a struggling mama or daddy. You know they're out there. I'm one. You are probably one.  No one has it figured out and no one ever will, but tearing down and being cruel is not the answer. Being offended and hurt over someone else's social media post or parenting lifestyle choice is a personal issue that needs to be looked at. I'm guilty of this too. Pinterest makes me feel inadequate at times. I'll spend hours a week wishing I could be like those mommies who post on Pinterest. The reality is I can't. I can only and should only want to be me. It doesn't hurt to try, but if you aren't as successful, it's okay. Try again or move on.

So this year will be the year we can encourage one another in parenting. Choose someone you know and pay them a compliment. A SINCERE compliment. Find something you think they do well as a parent. Send them a private note via mail or text or Facebook Messenger. Call them and ask them to coffee or lunch (your treat) and tell them about what you've noticed. Encourage them and tell them that you wish only the best for them in their parenting endeavor. Trust me, you just may make all the difference in the world to the worn out, beat down, given up parent, who wears a mask of "I know what I'm doing and I don't need help, support or encouragement". We forget that those who "have it together" are human too and feel the same as every other humans does. Affirmation is not feeding into the ego. Also, who are you to judge whether their ego needs inflating or not. The Bible doesn't say encourage one another, unless you think that person's ego is too big, then you can just skip that one. Again, you make assumptions and judgments. Don't mistake someone being appreciative of their blessing and wanting to share them as a sign of boasting. It's not always the case. You don't know the whole story or how much that person needed it or the pain they were going through before or during that blessing. Life is terrible and rough, but we have a God who is just and merciful and full of grace. During the darkest hours He can and will give us great blessings. And if we chose to share those, leaving out the bad, we shouldn't be cut down for it. Don't assume you know everything about another person. Don't assume you know another's heart. You don't. Only God knows the heart. Only God can judge.

Nursing my 15 month old at the Dallas-Ft Worth Zoo.

Make this year about uplifting and encouraging without bias. Choose someone you aren't particularly fond of and start with that person. It's easy to encourage and affirm or faves. The real challenge is being unbiased!

This is another one of my resolutions too. I'm all about praising those I admire and are nice to me. I'm changing my thoughts from "Why should I say something nice to them when all they do is put me down" to "They probably need this more than I do." I don't want anyone to hurt. Even when being vindictive I think about how I should be nicer. I'm terrible at revenge and I think it's 99% my own doing or fault. I put up a good front, but in the end I feel it's me. And because of this mentality I tend to get hurt when in a situation like this. So, This year I will concentrate more on dishing out the same grace, understanding, and mercy I desire and seek for myself.

Thank you for stopping by and enduring my inner thought rambles!
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