there’s more

The one thing I was intentional about this weekend was being a woman and spending time with my friends was also a must.

Two things I rarely do!

Feeling like a woman meant nothing more than dressing & spending time the way I wanted to without have to prioritize my kids in my attire. That meant girly, flowy, non-kid friendly. And, I loved every second of it.

I don’t prioritize myself. I don’t make time for myself. And, I take care of everyone & everything before even I even consider (or go through with doing anything for) me.

So this weekend was all about me. I had a ton of fun and spent some gooooood quality time with friends.

and, it was so worth it.

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What we mean by ‘alone’

So a couple of things before we get started…… lol…. this is a post written by Brutally Honest Alaina. I only have a couple single mama friends I’m close enough to to share deeply, but I am aquatinted with plenty and what we share is a little deeper than surface level that touches the surface of what I know is much deeper. And harder.

This isn’t a “hate letter”, it’s truths that I hope will really help you understand how your genuinely well meant comments can come off. Also, not going to preface or disclaim before/after everything I say because we all know that everyone is dealing with something….. I’m just speaking for a group I’m a part of. I know other people in other groups can deal with similar issues. Don’t Black Lives Matter/All Lives Matter me.

also, these pictures….. the next time I take photos of these 3 or we [finally] have photos taken- ignore the flask. Because behind every photo of kids is a mom……. (you know the rest either by the meme or experience).

This may need to be titled, A Few Things You Need to Know About Your Single Mama Friend.

That’s too long, but I do want to list a few realities to help clarify what we mean when we say we are alone.

1. We are SO grateful for your help, but when we say we’re ‘alone’, don’t correct us.

We meant what we said. We are alone in parenting these children most of the time, half the time, or all the time. You go home to your family where there are many hands to lighten the load, we go home (alone) to ours where ours may be the only ones that are actually improving & maintaining things. There is no help during bath time, dinner, bedtime, etc. So, yes…. you come over, you take the kids, you enjoy a dinner out with us and that’s so stinking helpful, but we still have to go home and tackle the rest of the night and still try to wine.. excuse me, wind …. down and decompress while we read, build a business, complete assignments, etc after everyone is asleep so that we are functional the next day.

2. When you say you’re so exhausted, we chuckle a bit.

Not because we don’t believe you or that you’re tired isn’t real……… we just know there’s an entirely different level 3 levels above that level that we operate on daily. So, when we just smile & silently sip our glass or check our phone…….. just know that as real as your tired is, we were that tired 3 days & 12 hours ago.

3. “I don’t know how you…..”

We don’t either. Honestly. But, it’s hard as sh*t and we appreciate you recognizing how much work goes into being on time (or on time-ish), looking like we love ourselves & our children, and having it as together as it is. [I mean, no one has it together so let’s all just pat ourselves on the back for getting into the building.] but, is that a compliment? Sometimes I can’t tell. Yes, we have the same responsibilities as you AND your partner/spouse. Likely have multiple jobs and are needing to manage a lot emotionally/mentally/physically/ financially but can’t in the ways we need/want to because we don’t have the time. Literally.

4. We really appreciate you taking our kids.

Seriously. You can have them an hour longer or even a whole ‘nother day. But, if we hang around a little at drop off or hesitate to say “Yes” to an invitation to give us a break…. it’s also because we miss our kids. Between school, jobs, weekends/days/nights with their other parent…….. we don’t get as much time with them as we’d like. It’s tough. Keep asking, we appreciate you wanting to step in, we just have a hard time giving up even more time away from our babes. Even though we need it. If you’d come out to dinner with us and come back home with us to help with the evenings would be the bomb. But we know you have your own families which is why you can’t so … we get it.

5. You may never understand the choices we have to make, but please respect them.

Judgment about what you don’t understand or what makes sense to you is isolating. and wrong. and, insensitive. I’ve been a married mama & I’ve been a single mama, and I will tell you no mater what your marriage looks like (scroll back to 2014/2015 & you’ll see mine was a shitshow), that there are mindset & mental shifts that must happen in order to be able to be the one person doing the job of at least two. I can bet that that other person is doing something regularly that is helping with the day to day function of the house or provision for the family. Imagine that gone. There are choices in how we prioritize what needs to be done every night (sorry but coloring 5 apples for pre-k hw isn’t always <likely never> at the top of the priority list) that may sound insane to you. Like me not prioritizing “education”. You likely think “It only takes 15 minutes” … Well, have you ever colored with a 4 year old? … two of them…. with specific instructions? First. And second, we don’t have an extra 15 minutes because of the chaos happening right now. Imagine how tight your evening schedule is & you have help. Yea. We don’t have 15 minutes. Or why I choose to do M or T first (or at all) when it’s “clearly logical” to do A. Our choices are the lesser of two evils and when you have the benefit of an extra set of hands or eyes or feet to do _____ for you “really quickly” …. you won’t get it. Logically or theoretically. And, even if your mama was a single mama unless you’re also a single mama, you don’t understand what she went through to do for you what she did. You weren’t the one who had eyes looking up at you with needs and wants and must haves that you were responsible for providing and possibly no idea how you’re going to do it. And, that’s a whole new level of responsibility, stress, anxiety, pressure, and solitude that there isn’t anyone to share it with.

6. We are alone.

We do a helluva lot. We’re uncertain about how it all gets done, somehow we check quite a bit off of our lists. We do all of the things every single day for every person in our homes, we do ministry, we serve at the school, we work, we are visible in life as the next mama. Alone.

There is no one after a long day telling us that they will take on “our” task so that we could unwind or take a shower in peace or _____. No one we’re serving is affirming us or encouraging us. There isn’t anyone to have dinner or a glass of wine with after the kids go down or mindlessly watch a show with cuddled on the couch. Who do I share this great news with? Who can I go to after I’ve had a fight with a friend or a hard day at work? You may think a girlfriend, your mom, your _______. But we are also all very well aware of the fact that there are things you only want to do with your man, with your partner. That there is certain information and “first, second shares” that are made even more special as they are shared with a special person in your life.

Lastly, we don’t always need our situations fixed or the bright side “revealed” to us….. just acknowledge the reality & truth. And, understand. Being a mama is an incredible gift. A single mama is so special and an honor to be able to do all of these things in a healthy way. And, trust me…. we aren’t always ‘healthy’. The struggle is so real and the responsibility is so heavy. BUT, the Lord is so good and faithful to carry us when we are carrying these little people. I don’t apologize for being late, I don’t apologize for not doing what others think I should be doing. There is no shame in taking breaks, giving myself space, or taking longer to do what typically takes a shorter amount of time.

We aren’t martyrs. Not looking for handouts or sympathy. But, understand that there is a difference in what’s required to function outside of your intended role and lead a family, instead of support and follow.

Like all mamas, we are passionate about our families and provide the absolute best life for ourselves and our children. We just have different road to walk with hurdles in front of us that some mamas don’t have. Thank you for supporting us and if you aren’t sure, ask us how we beat feel supported an d empowered. Not to be the savior or “fix” but to come alongside of us, if that’s what you want to do.

And, yes. We are incredible. We do kick ass. Thank you for acknowledging that.

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so precious

Hey y’all!!

The concept of worthiness and value has been one lesson that has needed to be learned but one that I could never seem to grasp- until now. I wanted to share my thoughts with you about how I came to finally get it and the impact this has made on my relationships and how I mother my girls. Hope you enjoy it and glean something good from it!

When I look at my daughters, so many words come to mind that describe them. They are all very caring, strong willed, and love to have fun. (The makings of great leaders!) I can go on for days describing their character and personalities; I love them so much and want them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are loved, celebrated, and capable of doing anything they want to!

But, most of all, I want them to know that they are precious. Literally meaning that they have great value and aren’t to be wasted or treated carelessly. They must know that they have value and therefore are valuable. Not only because they are a person, but specifically, a child of God.

You guys have been around a really long time; so many of you have been right along side of me during my years of infertility, fertility treatments, adoption, marriage ups and downs, divorce, and now single parenthood. Woven through each of those seasons of life has been leaps and bounds of personal growth and major spiritual maturation….. you’ve also seen how over the last few years I’ve built a business that has sustained us financially and on the surface is about supplements to address physical and emotional health issues so that we are healthy head to toe. It does that.

But, equally important, building a business in the way that I am, has required me to grow and develop a skill set, discipline, and a mindset that I didn’t have before.

Through the leadership development and the personal growth I’ve experienced, I finally grasped a concept and truth that I didn’t have.

I am valuable. Precious. Worthy.

Honestly and to many GOOD relationships gone awfully bad and AWFUL relationships held onto for dear life (bc I’m no quitter! Lol); heartache, books read and deep chats with friends, and a few years of weekly counseling sessions later, I have learned that I am, by their very definitions, worthy, valuable, and precious.

To God, first.

To myself, second.

Understanding who I am in Christ, I can readily see & stand in my value and worth……. then, walk, live, speak, and engage with the world around me with a solid foundational knowledge of who I am and why.

The personal growth I’ve experienced over the last few years is invaluable to me because now I have even more to pass down to my own daughters. One of my prayers when I first found out I was expecting was that my children would see in me a woman who could add value and contribute to their life in many ways. And, I’ll add to that….. the wisdom and information I would share would be spoken out of a place of confidence, healing, bravery, vulnerability, & maturity versus fear, insecurity, scarcity, or inadequacy.

Learning this lesson at 36 means that I, sadly, wasn’t taught my value.

There was no positive self image or deeply rooted belief that I was “somebody” instilled in me as a little girl.

I had NO CLUE that I deserved the good things my heart desired, no clue that I could achieve (or even set) big goals. No idea that I could not only experience a love or deep care/concern that would lead me to be prioritized, protected, & sacrificed for….. but that I had those things to give to others. That “AHA!” moment alone has made me a better mama & leader. I have something of value to share with others that they not only need, but want!

I saw others received those things and I always wondered, “What do I need to do in order to get that?” Love, acceptance,a feeling of belonging and being wanted was something I craved but I never felt I had it or could have, but when it was offered to me……. I had no idea what to do with it.

The answer I learned is that in order to be valued, there was nothing to do but recognize that I am valuable period. Without achievements, beauty, a specific skill set, or creativity level. I am because that’s how I was created. Praise. The. Lord. But I struggled with that truth; it hardly makes sense to me and let me explain why.

Have you heard of the Enneagram? It’s a very OLD and ancient personality profile that is very popular right now and I’m completely obsessed with it. I’ve read one book (suggested by my friend in my company), and am in the process of reading another (and stalking enneagram focused Insta profiles) because I am completely obsessed with how accurate these 9 profiles are and how I can see so many people in them. I am an Enneagram 3, to my core. (I’ve linked the books I’ve read if you’re curious! …. you’ve got to check this out.

And, as an 3, we hustle. I am a hustler. I would literally work myself to the bone to earn the acceptance of love for others. As a three, we feel “okay” and safe, valuable by our successes, appearance, achievements, and others’ responses to us. Failure is not an option because if I fail (in any way) ……… what will you think of me? Yikes.

The truth?

I don’t have to preform well to experience acceptance, love, and trust. Achieving doesn’t make me valuable. Achievement is just one form of success. And, that’s fleeting. There’s always something else to earn, another goal to hit, and another something to shoot for …….. but really grasping that “I am who I am because of who created me therefore it is never changing because He never changes” has freed me from the hustle of perfection and the work to “earn” what I already have.

It, also, opens my eyes to those who do value me and those who don’t. My heart is guarded in a new way that allows me to “go where I’m loved”, where I’m valued and makes it so much easier to walk away from who doesn’t. Without excusing behavior or hustling.

What a world changing lesson.

No more hustling for worth.

No more working to earn (anything but more trips and incentives! Lol).

No more searching in others what I already have.

Now.

As a mama to three little girls, I have one of the most amazing gifts to pass onto them.

Value.

Self love.

Self respect.

Esteem.

And, worthiness.

All rooted in Christ Jesus for his glory.

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