Tomorrow begins the 14 days of love challenge. For the next 14 days I will leave a note (we’ll now I create images and text them!) for each of my kids with “I love you because…” with a different reason each day. It gets more difficult as the days progress as I try to find reasons I love them that they don’t think I see. Try it with the people you love. Challenge yourself.
We all need it sometimes but admitting that to ourselves and others is no easy task. I grew up with the understanding that asking for help was a sign of weakness. So….. I never asked for help. I learned to figure shit out on my own. I grew up BI (Before Internet). The library, Encyclopedia Brittanica, Dear Abby and late night TV were my go-to help advisors. I love to help others. Helping people fills me up and I love when I can make life better/easier for another human. In the past few years I learned that asking for help is not weakness but a sign a strength. What I also realized was that I needed to give people the opportunity to help me… especially my kids. I used to get angry that my kids didn’t help around the house and when/if they did, it was not good enough for me or the way that I would do it. I have realized we all do our best and can not assume anything. My children and friends are not mind readers. If I can be vulnerable and brave enough to ask for help, others are more than willing to step up to assist. I have also had to let go of the notion that my way is the only way to do things. My children and my friends have great ideas. They are all thoughtful as well as generous if I let go of my ideas of perfection. I have even learned some things along the way! I am grateful that I am growing as a human. I am proud of myself for stepping out of my comfortable, albeit lonely, space allowing others in to help me when I need it…and even when I don’t realize that I need it! Love yourself enough to allow others to help you once in a while. It will benefit all involved and you will all grow closer together. Peace #tutulady #forwardisapace
Advice. We give it and we get a LOT of it…especially when it comes to parenting. Moms get so much advice from the moment they disclose they are in the process of becoming a parent. No matter how a women chooses to become a mother, there is plenty of advice(and criticism) to be given. As children grow, so does the amount or advice…and criticism. Over 5 years ago, I chose to leave a toxic, abusive marriage. It was a horrible process during which I lost my way many times and almost lost my kids. I was grasping at straws, fighting tooth and nail to hold on to my sanity as well as my kids. In the midst of it all, I received one of the wisest pieces of advice, one I will live by for the rest of my life, from the most unlikely source….the court appointed child representative for my kids, Beth McCormack. “Just be their mom……” she said and continued, “They know you love them but they are hurting too…..just be their mom and keep loving them…..” She repeated, “Just be their mom…” many times through the course of my very messy divorce. At first it frustrated me when she would say it because I was so angry and confused. I thought I was being their mom. I thought I was loving them. And I was….but I could not see it. I wanted her to tell me exactly what to do…..and she was. But I did not realize it. “Just be their mom……” I may not have always been the best mom, the mom my kids wanted or the mom my kids needed but I have, and will always, love them. What I needed was help to refocus and trust myself. “Just be their mom……” As moms we really do know our children best. I have often spoken to women over the years about trusting the “mom gut.” Trusting that intuition takes strength and support. Moms are often overwhelmed and afraid. We worry about the criticism and judgment of others when what we need to focus on is our children. “Just be their mom……” When we mother, and not smother, we love our kids. When we mother, creating reasonable boundaries, we love our kids. When we mother, setting individual expectations, we love our kids. When we mother, creating opportunities for failures, consequences, successes and celebrations, we love our kids. When we mother, accepting each as a unique human, we love our kids. When we mother, trusting our own intuition and gut, we love our kids. “Just be their mom……” Now, more than ever, women need each other. We are all struggling in one way or another. Women, in general, have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Moms are making choices that are right their family and already doubt themselves enough. We need to lift each other up, help and support one another rather than criticize each other for the difficult choices we are having to make. So when another mom asks you what to do, respond with the best advice ever…… “Just be their mom……” Peace, #tutulady #forwardisapace
I am so honored to be featured on the Moms Who Rise website! What a priceless blessing to have the opportunity to share my story with others and raise awareness! To read more, check out the complete article here: Meet Kristine Be sure to read the stories of other inspiring Moms Who Rise too!
Money. The cost of things. budgets. Math. Numbers. Money. Money. Money. Cost. Cost. Cost. Money has always been my kryptonite. Money causes me more anxiety than anything else in my life. Money has been used as a means of control and ‘forced’ love for as long as I can remember. The cost of things in my life has always been high. I learned as a young kid that nothing was free. Even gifts came with strings attached. As I grew older, I thought I outgrew it as I became more independent…. I was wrong. The connection between love and money just became more entangled and more complex. Throughout my marriage, my insecurity with money was exploited until it was no longer an insecurity, it was a disability. I was told over and over that I was “bad with numbers” “horrible with budgets” “didn’t know basic math” “bad with money” until I believed it to my core. For over 20 years, I turned over my paycheck every month to my family and lived on $100 a week to feed my kids and me. When the utilities were disconnected, time and time again, I was told (and I believed) that it was because I was spending all the money and we were, in fact, broke. This was not the truth. When I had my first meeting with a divorce attorney, I explained my financial situation. The look he gave me is seared into my memory. Then he said….”You work full time. You have money that is yours. You are not broke. You are in a financially abusive marriage.” I will never forget that moment. It was then I realized that my marriage was costing me more than money. It was costing me my sanity. The days, months and years that followed that moment have cost me so much more than money. DO NOT get me wrong….Divorce is NOT cheap nor easy. However, it is WORTH IT! The additional, ancillary costs are what people do not count on nor realize until later. My divorce has cost me dearly over the years. It has cost me my children. My children have been hurt deeply by the divorce and me….because I could not be the mom they needed or deserved for a while. It has cost me friendships and relationships. Friendships and relationships that I realized were not built to withstand something as devastating as divorce. It has cost me jobs. Jobs that I realized were not meant for a lifetime but meant as a stepping stone to something better. It has cost me my sanity and patience at times. My sanity and patience have been tested over and over during this process leading me to be more self aware, self confident and tolerant of myself and others. While the past few years have cost me a great deal, they have also given me so much. I have gained so many things in this process. I have gained new, and stronger, friendships that I know can withstand any storm. I have gained newfound confidence in myself and my abilities. I have gained new, more adult, relationships with my kids. I have gained the realization that I always knew math, I just needed a deeper understanding of finances and financial literacy…something that no one ever teaches you. I have gained the knowledge that independence is priceless and it is something I will never again give away freely. My new life cost me so much. It cost me my old life with interest. However, each day I am thankful I made that investment. I made an investment in me because I realized I was worth considerably more and deserved far better than how I was being treated and where I was…in a miserable, abusive marriage. The benefits from that investment far outweigh the costs. Each day that investment pays off in spades! How much do you value of your life? What investment are you willing to make? What are you waiting for? Invest in yourself….it is an investment that ALWAYS pays off! You are WORTH IT! Peace. #tutulady #forwardisapace