Hints

Holiday hints from Krissy Claus.
First the easy stuff….Do not count calories. Do not wear a watch. Try doing what other people feel like doing rather than being compelled to always make the plan. Stay in pj’s as long as possible each day. Getting coffee, bagels, donuts or tacos in pajamas is not only socially acceptable, it’s encouraged. Get down and look at your children when they talk to you. Or if they are getting taller than you these days, look up. Make eye contact. Cook someone’s favorite meal. Or cook your favorite and deliver to some friends. Sit by the fire and leave your cell phone in another room. Let the kids frost the cookies, trash the kitchen and get high on icing. Watch Christmas Vacation. Make pancakes with holiday M&M’s in them. If it’s not a hassle to make a fire in the fireplace, it’s an invitation. Pet your dog, especially right behind the ears the way they like it. When you grab your last minute stocking stuffers from the drugstore (admit it, I’ll see you there), pick up a couple scarves, socks, or fleece blankets to hand out to homeless people when you drive by – you can even let your kids do the honors and feel warm inside.
Now these are a bit more challenging but Krissy has faith in you! Put away your politics for a while and just love on people. Be kind …..especially to those “sandpaper people” in your life. The people who bug you are in your life for a reason, you may as well love them because they have something to teach you (as my friend says on the subject of judgment, “You spot it, you got it.” THAT makes you think twice). Don’t assume people know you love them, be clear. Ask questions and LISTEN to the responses. Active listening is a form of love. Accept people where THEY are right now…not where you want them to be or where you are in your comfort zone….you don’t have to step all the way out of your box but perhaps take down part of a wall. Think of someone you know (maybe not even very well) who has had a tough year this year and pick up the phone or put pen to paper and wish them a happier new year. Go for an evening walk and take in all the lights. Turn off all the lights in the house except the tree and sit there, at least once, late at night and recall what you are grateful for. Try to make peace with (instead of sense of) the things you don’t feel as grateful for. You are not too old or jaded to believe in magic. Everything you need is right here – every day, and especially at the holidays.
Peace.
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Advice

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

Addiction

Back in early March I was asked to speak to a group of women. All the women in the group were in addiction recovery. The women I met were so amazing and strong. They were real warriors who, after hitting rock bottom, were fighting to climb back up the mountain of sobriety. After I spoke to the group, I listened. I listened as they told me their stories and showed me photos of family. We each became social media friends and I prayed daily for them on their recovery journey. I drove home alone that night knowing the time I spent with them changed me for the better. For two of those women, the pull of addiction was too strong. Last week one of the women overdosed and died. For the rest of the women, I know that the fight and the climb is not over….and may never be over.
Addiction is a crisis. Mental Heath is a crisis. In the past month alone I have supported 3 friends entering mental health treatment facilities. I have witnessed 2 different women return to addiction and one overdose. I have read and seen so many people posting about coping with stress and anxiety using alcohol and other unhealthy methods. Fear, Pain, Inability to cope, societal expectations, and many other factors all play a part in this crisis.
I’m not going to claim to be an authority, spouting facts and figures on addiction and mental health. What I am is a woman who has struggled with her own demons. Fortunately, and with support, I have learned to manage my mental health.
Addiction and mental health struggles are horrible masters but there is always help. There are people and places that are professionals at battling these monsters. There are people and places that are willing and able to support your recovery journey. All you need to do is reach out. It is going to take a great deal of bravery and I can’t promise it will be easy but it is going to be worth it. You are worth it! I am always here to listen, to help, to support you and to walk you in if needed. You are stronger than you realize and loved more than you will ever know.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Elephants

David Yarrow Photography

A few years ago I read a story shared by Jen Hatmaker and Nicole Nordeman. It was a story of female elephants. When I read it at that time, I thought, “Huh….that sure is interesting. I am so glad she has a tribe like that.” And moved on with my life.
This past week, Jen made the announcement that she and her husband were getting divorced, thus the story surfaced again. This time when I read the story, it really got me thinking about women, support and how we show it.
In summary, female elephants are amazing badass creatures. In the wild, female elephants travel in packs. When a female elephant is giving birth, she is surrounded by a tribe of female elephants. They back in, closing in so tightly around her that she can’t be seen. They stomp and kick up dirt in order to fiercely protect her. The females surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they’ll have to get through tons of female aggression first. Female elephants only take this formation while under attack by predators, or during the birth of a new elephant.
Since Jen’s announcement of her impending divorce, the women that follow her have closed ranks around her. Hundreds of people have sent messages of love and support to this woman. So I thought, what if that happened to all women? What if, when a woman announced something such as a divorce or difficult life change, we surrounded her with love and support instead of pity and judgement? What if, rather than gossiping about the why of it all, we discuss ways we can assist her? What if, rather than asking questions, we listen….better yet…just sit with each other in the discomfort of it all?
We women all have our own insecurities and worries that often get the better of us. However, instead of playing into the stereotypical drama that so many expect, why not be more supportive of one another? We should be celebrating the success of other women, and helping to carry their load when it becomes too heavy to carry alone. We need to commit to one another that when things get tough, that we will circle up to protect each other. There is enough love, success, and prosperity for all of us.  Every woman needs female friendships. Every woman needs women she can depend on and be vulnerable with. Let’s be women who love, protect and encourage other women keeping our eyes and hearts open for women who need us. Let’s protect and support one another following the example of the badass female elephants.
Peace,
#tutulady
#forwardisapace