I’ve been reflecting on what got me through that critical first year post-divorce and after talking to a few other single moms, decided that these two things are essential. I needed peers: I cherished times that I could be with or talk to other moms who were going through divorce too — who better to understand, in a truly visceral way, what I was going through? Who could cry AND laugh with me? These women and I share a unique bond, one rooted in our shared stories. [Read more...]
I said to a friend the other day, “I’m having my demons over for lunch. Would you and yours care to join me?”
I figure if I’ve got them, demons I mean… and I do, I might as well get to know them better. My friend couldn’t make lunch that day, but it sparked a great conversation and ultimately led to this post.
All this focus on examining my demons started after a soul searching night spent listening to Paul Coutinho speak in St. Louis, Missouri. Paul is an incredible speaker, the author of How Big is Your God, Just As You Are… and lucky for me, spends half his time in his homeland of India and the other half teaching theology at St. Louis University.
What was the topic of his talk you ask? For me, it was all about l-o-v-e. Paul shared a number of compelling ideas, but the part of his talk that intrigued me the most was when he encouraged us to make friends with our demons.
On this night, I had an ah-ha moment. In his simple way, Paul’s words brought home to me the idea that we, each of us, are mystics NOT in our strengths… but in our weaknesses. [Read more...]
… is that it’s one of those topics no one wants to talk about — like Suzanne’s miscarriages, like Heidi’s Postpartum Depression (or any sort of depression). It’s hidden under shame. It’s filed under F for failure. It’s a blemish on your permanent record — broken marriage, broken family, broken home.
Here I am, a blogger, writing and sharing for and with other moms for the last three years and not once have I addressed the subject of my divorce directly! I’ve often thought that I don’t want to use this space to throw myself a big pity party but instead, focus on the ways that my experiences can be helpful to other moms. For this reason, I’ve shied away from the subject, because I just didn’t trust myself to bring both honestly and growth to it until now. And to be honest, there were times when either the circumstances or the things I learned about myself through them were just too raw and painful. [Read more...]
There is nothing like parenting to hold that mirror up to a grown person’s face (to my face, to your face…) and show us where we get to grow. Apparently I get to grow in patience and acceptance because these two keep showing up in my dang mirror. They were there yesterday, staring out at me. I recognized them right away.
My eight year old walked into the living room and saw it first. Instead of screaming at the horror she alone was witnessing (which, thinking back to being eight, could have been a fun thing to do) she ran to find me in the kitchen and broke it to me gently.
With big eyes and a shocked look on her face she said, “Mom, you are NOT going to like this.” She paused for dramatic effect. I froze and braced myself for impact.
“You are really going to freak out.”
When our friends at Baby Kid Expo asks us to partner with them gain on the Cutest Baby Contest, we couldn’t possibly refuse. Last year’s entries were beyond adorable!!!
We want to see your cutest baby pics… and share them… and gush over them… and have everyone else gush over them too!
The most-gushed (a.k.a. most voted) will win:
1. On Location photo shoot from Rhonda Jean Photography valued at $100
2. A Basket of Goodies from Tender Tushies
3. Cuddle Bear Book and Stuffed Animal from Sharman Mitchell with Usborne Books
4. a copy of Cool Party, Mom! The Other Three Words Every Mother Loves to Hear by Marnie Ann Pacino
… and more!
1) Post your pic on our Facebook Wall (yes, you have to Like the MMM page and the Baby KId Expo page) between now and midnight CST on March 15.
2) Go back to the MMM Facebook page between March 16-23 to see if your cutest baby made the 15 finalists and VOTE! The poll will be live by NOON CST on March 16.
3) Winners will be announced on the main stage at Baby Kid Expo on Saturday, March 24 at the St. Charles Convention Center to find out if you won!
*Kids have to be 24 months or younger and they cannot have been finalists in 2011.
Much ado is made in February over your romantic relationships but that’s not the only kind of love that makes the world go ’round. For me and for many women — the relationships we have with our girlfriends are the ones that keep the day-to-day wheels spinning. After all, when you’re sick, or say… having a baby… who picks up your kids from school, makes sure your family is fed? It’s your posse that just magically knows what do to, many times without you even having to say anything, right?
My girlfriends have nurtured me – not just in those physical ways. They’ve been there to support me emotionally and spiritually too. It’s my girls who can most often call me on my B.S. – pointing out (always gently, of course) when I’m being self-absorbed, ridiculous, judgy, or not asserting myself enough. I know who to call when I’m in the middle of a shame spiral. Or many times, they call me.
It’s great having that psychic connection! (Ahem, @ZenMommy!)
One of the things I most appreciate about my very best friendships is the fact that we create safe places for each other. I feel safe to be who I am — not who I aspire to be or who I hope to be — but whoever I need to be right now, which may not be my “best.” I can be unshowered, frazzled, in the middle of an emotional breakdown– and that’s okay. My bff’s give me permission to be myself. Even when I’m guilty of the worst offenses — like neglecting our friendship — my true friends are going to let me off the hook… because, as one of my soul sisters likes to say, “I know your heart.”
In this way, we are all alike: kids and grown-ups. When we feel safe and accepted, we feel we can push ourselves into growing and learning, discovering aspects of ourselves that would be way too scary to explore under other circumstances. That space of vulnerability is where connection and magic happens. It’s why, at the end of the day, the only friendships/relationships with any real staying power are the ones where you can open up.
So as we close the “Valentine’s Month,” take some time to reflect on the women you love and appreciate, who “know your heart.”
Thank you, @ZenMommy for being an amazing mentor, teacher and guide as well as being the very best friend evah! Thank you for knowing my heart and sharing yours! Xo
I’m on Great Day St. Louis on Wednesday sharing ideas on creative ways to connect and nurture the other “siginificant others” in your life.
Hat tip to Monnie Brodbeck and to her Women’s Adventure Group, who are committed to their friendship and pushing each other out of their comfort zones!
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I’ve been unapologetically absent here in 2011. Since November/December of 2010, when I was challenged to examine the way I work and live in the world, it’s been a process of letting go of old patterns of behavior. The way I was engaging here was clearly off — not in the outcome because I truly believe in the community we are creating and supporting — but my process.
Let me tell you how it was… like many bloggers I know, I was burning the candle at both ends. We had way too many commitments for the number of hours in the day: TV appearances, guest columns/posts, events… and as much as we loved creating content and providing resources for our moms and partners, I came to the realization that regardless of how successful we are, I just could not maintain this pace.
I actually had to “walk the walk” and listen to my intuition, which was saying that I had to put this down and allow the Universe to guide me to a new way of “doing,” one that is actually sustainable.
That’s where I’ve been for 2011. Learning a lot about boundaries, about grace, about relationships, and about humility. That is a big lesson: humility — that I can’t do it all, that whether or not I work an extra five hours that day or work at all that day makes not one iota of difference in the grand game of life on this planet, that if I hang on stubbornly to the belief that the only way that things get done is if I DO IT MYSELF, I am limited by the capacity of my own effort — which is not all that much.
That ego-driven thought is a tough cookie. It was born out of my need to survive my childhood but I know in my heart that to achieve my life purpose, it’s a way of being that has to end.
I’d love to say that here I am, a brand-new me in 2012. But in truth, it’s with tentative steps that I dip my toe back in, knowing more than ever how little I know about life and mothering but with a much more open heart to receive guidance from that still, small voice.
I hope you’ll join me on what I hesitate to call a “journey” as much as a stroll… to rediscover an honest and humble place in the family of things.
“Where love is, so is transformation.
…because love is transformation, moment to moment.”
We are now well into the second week of 2012. How’s your New Year’s resolution going? If you’ve all but given up on resolutions, you are not alone. Zen Mommy talks about why most resolutions leave us feeling guilty and looks at the difference between “change” and “transformation” with Carol on Great Day St. Louis.
Maybe you set a New Year’s resolution and are still rocking it; eating better, exercising more, clearing out the clutter that has somehow successfully taken over most every nook and cranny of one’s car, home and office since it was reined in, January of last year.
Maybe you set a resolution for 2012 and have already broken it. If that is the case you now get to decide, is it worth reviving?
Or maybe you resist the idea of resolutions all together. You’ve watched them come and go in years gone by, each time largely failing to truly help you reshape an area of your life that you hoped to change, alter or in some way improve, and this year you’ve just chosen out.
If you are in any one of the three above categories, I invite you to join me in setting an empowering resolution for yourself and your life for 2012. What will make it powerful? One simple word. Love. Creating our resolutions from a place of self love and acceptance verse change, i.e. wanting to make something better, more or different (which is where most resolutions come from) makes all the difference in the world.
Let’s look a bit closer at how this works.
Setting Powerful Resolutions in Four Steps:
1) Write down your resolution.
It can relate to any area of life or be specific to parenting:
- “I’m going to get more organized at home and/or work…”
- “I’m going to start exercising more”
- “I’m going to be more patient with my kids”
2) Now, take a moment and reread your resolution.
As you reread it, look for any negative beliefs you may hold that might be driving your resolution. What is behind your desire to change this area in your life? Many times, our desire for changes comes from an underlying feeling of not being enough.
- “I’m going to get more organized at home and/or work…” (I am so unorganized – life is out of control – there are not enough hours in the day)
- “I’m going to start exercising more” (I am out of shape – I’m fat – I hate my body)
- “I’m going to be more patient” (I am a bad mom – I wish I was more like so-and-so – I’ve probably permanently screwed-up my kids)
3) Next, write down and re-read the negative belief(s) behind your resolution.
Realize that any resolution born from guilt, pain or fear will most certainly set you on a course for failure, leading to more guilt for eventually breaking your resolution. This step is very important.
Before you go to “change” any area of your self or your life, spend some time with it as it is. Breathe and see if you can let go of the story you’ve made it mean… the drama… and just be with the facts of the story. (Ex: The fact behind the negative belief “I’m fat and ugly” could be “I am 20 pounds over weight) Breathe.
Sit a moment with things exactly as they are without judgment. Accept them. Accept yourself exactly as you are right now. See if you can hold love present even as you think about this area of your life exactly as it is.
From this place, where love is present, you can create your life, not just react to it. From this place, where love is present, so too is transformation. If you feel this shift to love, move to step four. If you have any difficulty here and want to move deeper in transforming the negative belief you hold, there are some wonderful tools for forgiveness on this site by Dr. Michael Ryce that will assist you including his forgiveness worksheet that I invite you to check out.
4) Begin again.
Think about your resolution in new words, declaring what you would like to create in any area of your life by completing this sentence:
“The possibility I am creating for myself and in my life is _____________.
After going through this final step, the EXAMPLES from above might read instead like this:
- “The possibility I am creating for myself and in my life is structure and order.”
- “The possibility I am creating for myself and in my life is time for myself.
- “The possibility I am creating for myself and in my life is peace.”
Make sure to write what you are creating, not what you want to avoid, like “to not yell, to not eat bad foods…” If you are still saying what you DON’T want — that is exactly what you are going to get.
Use positive, creative words. Write them down. Post your new resolution all around you on sticky notes to remind you of it throughout the day. Say your resolution to yourself each morning you wake up and every night before you go to bed. The possibility you hold for yourself and your new year WILL begin showing up in your life.
Happy New Year!!! May 2012 be filled with joy, self-love and acceptance for you and your family.
I hope you will share this exercise with your kids. What a BEAUTIFUL gift for we as parents to give our children.
Suzanne Tucker, aka Zen Mommy
In addition to mommying to two magical girls born in 2000 and 2003 and twins born in February of 2010, Suzanne co-owns a holistic health center with her husband Shawn in St. Louis, Missouri where she practices as Certified Educator of Infant Massage and health education teacher. Certified in a number of healing and life education approaches, Suzanne offers parent coaching and is the co-creator of the Yoga Parenting approach to positive parenting.
My mom suffered from postpartum depression. And it altered the course of her life and mine forever. I’ve had dear friends whose relationships with their children and partners have similarly been affected in a deep and defining way by PPD. One of them is my friend, Katherine Stone. Babble included her blog, Postpartum Progress in the Top 10 Mom Blogs of 2011, naming it as a groundbreaking resource for moms and moms-to-be.
I happen to agree. If you are a new mom and are struggling… please check it out. And if you or someone you love need some pre- postpartum support, I have another great resource.
Katherine, in conjunction with me and Jen Lemen, just completed a project specifically designed to provide gentle guidance and promote maternal mental health. It’s called Daily Hope and is delivered every weekday for a year directly to your inbox.
It features quotes and messages from Katherine, accompanied by the breathtaking images of British photographer Xanthe Berkeley. Katherine has been piloting this program for a year and is one of the ways she has been invaluable to the PPD community.
So for just $49, you can give the gift of a year of Daily Hope this holiday season, a light in the middle of the night of darkness that I know we sometimes feel as new moms.
Hugs to you,
It’s Stuff-itis season… the season when we are bombarded with messages of all the STUFF we deserve ourselves or need to gift to other people to show them we love them. We experience it every year, this idea that pervades our consciousness – in the malls, in our media, and in our culture – that with all the giving of stuff comes joy, love and connectedness. And yet, every year after all the wrappings and bows are stuffed in the trash and we’ve collected our stuff in a pile, after they join all the rest of our stuff, we don’t feel any different than we did before. We go back to the disconnected, running around we did back in September that was necessary to fuel this culture of stuff. We go back so we can do it all over again.
What does it all mean?
And there it is. The thing that we are really searching for: meaning. It turns out that The Grinch was right… Christmas doesn’t come in a box. We all know this. We just need reminders.
So how can we infuse our celebrations with meaning? Are there gifts that are more aligned with what we really want to share with our families and friends? – that we see them, that we are grateful for who they are and the moments of life we share with them and that they share with us.
So here are some ideas on ways to capture and share – not just pictures – but moments. And apropos of Thanksgiving this week, reminders of moments of connection that we can all be grateful for.
Picking one thing every day to be grateful for and noting it in some external way is powerful. Write it in a journal, or post it on your bathroom mirror… doing something every day for 30 days is a great way to create a pattern or a practice of gratitude. You could join the thousands of other people who are doing this online on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #30daysofgratitude.
Here’s an idea: collect your 30 days of gratitude and have a personalized book printed… there are any number of online services that will do this for you: Shutterfly, Paper Coterie, Blurb… and then you’ll have a tangible thing to remind you throughout the year of the things you already grateful for… and because gratitude is viral (so to speak), it’s that much easier to find more things to be grateful for.
Get your kids in on the fun too! You could do a gratitude book for your family or your kids could do books for themselves… and if you start today, you’d still be done before Christmas! If you add pictures, it’s even more powerful!
Along the same lines, you can share gratitude with your family. Picture calendars are a staple gift for the grandparents, right? How can you infuse it with the spirit of gratitude? Ask your kids to help you pick twelve things that they are grateful for and find pics to match.
If all of that organizing seems like too much, just pick one picture and make a memento box. (THIS is totally my speed). Then throughout the year when your child brings home an art project from school or leaves you a sweet note, you can put it in there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself all weepy when I stumble across these little treasures. The keepsake boxes also make great gifts.
Okay… maybe Christmas can come in a box.