Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Double Standard of Motherhood

Actual Conversation: "They are great parents." Response: "They are. When they are there. You know they BOTH work right?"

How did we get here? To this impossible double standard? We raise our girls to be all, do all, and be anything they want to be but we never intend to let them. Not REALLY. The reality is when our girls do speak up and are bold and are leaders they are seen as "bossy". When they do grow up and pursue their dreams, we tell them that they can be a CEO, a stay at home mommy, a artist, a engineer or serve our country. We tell them their voice is valuable but the true message they hear from their mothers, from their peers, from their school, from the media, from society, is:  Be bold but not too bold. Be pretty but not too pretty. Be confident but not too confident. Be strong but not too strong. Girls have a voice alright but they have already been taught to apologize for it, justify it, or downplay their talents. Again, we tell them they can be anything they want to be but never intend to let them. I could go on a billion rabbit trails like inequality or unequal pay but I'd like to dig dipper in regards to the labels we give our girls and the roles of motherhood that are often drilled into us so much that we don't even realize there is a discussion to be had.

I know. I know. I sound like a feminist. . . I am. If I was raising boys I would be looking at the injustices they are also facing.

But I'm not. I am raising three daughters with my husband and navigating what message I want to portray to them. How I want them to have a healthy outlook when it comes not only to their bodies but when it comes to who they are and the roles they will find themselves someday choosing. How someday they may choose motherhood and what that looks like.
I've been extremely purposeful about how I talk about my own image in front of my girls. They have NEVER heard me putting myself down in terms of how I look, weight, how my clothes fit, how my hair is, how I don't like this or that about myself. Not once. What they do see is me criticizing myself in terms of being a mom. A working mom. They see me in ways apologize for it and defending it to other moms, to friends, to family, to the church, to strangers, and to them. And you know what? It's NOT OK. It's hypocritical  and it's contrary to the very message we have been instilling in our daughters.

We don't question a Father's love or dedication to his children when he is a working dad. In fact, we don't even use the term working dad. We wouldn't even use it as a way to describe him. He works. He is a dad.

When a Mother works, she is labeled as a working mom. It's part of her identity. Inadvertently, her level of dedication and commitment to her children and her family is also questioned.

Picture this scene:

A woman is in the kitchen making dinner. The kids are running around the living room and she has a toddler strapped to her leg. She receives a call. Dad has to work late. Would you find it surprising? Saddening? Alarming? Would you think that the dad is being selfish or feel sorry for the kids? Or would it be a non-issue?

A man is in the kitchen making dinner. The kids are running around the living room and he has a toddler strapped to his leg. He receives a call. Mom has to work late. Would you find it surprising? Saddening? Alarming? Would you think that the mom is being selfish or feel sorry for the kids?

If this scene was in a movie it WOULD be portrayed differently and the audience would also feel that. Either the mom is a do-it-all-be-home-in-time-to-bake-the-pie-for-the-school-fundraiser or the cold mom in a business suit who is putting work first and is unattached to her family.

I'm passionate (obviously) about this discussion. I'm excited about looking at motherhood differently and not unfairly placing labels and stereotypes into the category "working moms" or "stay at home moms". We are moms and we love our children. Period.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mermaid Birthday Party

Better late than never! In the Spring (ignore that we are now entering into Fall), Ruby kicked off her 5th birthday with a mermaid themed birthday party. I still remember her zeal after the party AND her sugar high. It looked like this:

Because what's a party without a treasure chest full of chocolate coins, gems, and jewelry?!?
The hope chest normally stores the girls dress up clothes but ended up working great as a treasure chest. All it needed was a pillow to prop up all the treasure and keep it from sinking to the bottom! The last touch was a piece of scrap gold fabric to give it some flare.
We gave the girls a map that big sister made and hid the chest in some bushes outside. It was quite the hit with the ladies.....


I have to say that this was the funnest activity not only for the party but something that our girls did OVER AND OVER. Hide the treasure. Find the treasure. Hide the treasure. Find the treasure. Fight over the treasure. Truce.

Before the guests arrived, Nevaeh helped me bury a grip full of diamonds (craft warehouse find) and gems (from the dollar store) in our sand box to have guests dig for treasure.
With all the goodies hidden, the kids spent forever tried to find their treasure and each had little bags to put them in to take home. The only thing missing was a bigger sand box!!!!
PEARLS (chocolate covered raisins)
 This cake cracks me up! We added shell rings around the rim to try to help this poor cake but there was no helping the mermaid. She looks like she has seen better days lol

For the wall back drop I used two sea table cloths (dollar store) and mounted them on the wall. I'm a big believer in using hall ways for art projects!
Each kiddo had a mermaid to decorate & a cup of sticker jewels to decorate their sea mural
The gigantic jewels were actually wall decals that and came on sheets (12+ to a sheet from the dollar store) that were cut out individually. They went for it until the wall was covered. We may have left it up for a week. . . or two.
And of course what's a party without a tan mermaid? Ha!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dear Mamas. You are enough.

It's Friday night and I'm beat. Burnt toast but in a good way. Yes there is such a thing. The girls are sleeping and I'm sprawled out curled up with a small glass of wine reflecting on how to keep my brain from being mush. At the end of the day, I find myself internally going through what I like to call the mommy grading checklist. Do something awesome, you get a plus. Hooray, you are a great mama. Do something crappy and you get a negative point. Let's see. How was today? ...Got the little kiddos dressed. Plus. Made breakfast that took less than 4 min but was still healthy. Plus. Told Nev to get hot lunch. Minus. Girls didn't kill each other. Plus. Ruby wanted to play a game and I didn't have time before work. Minus. Forgot to give Jasmine her tylenol. Minus. Came home late. Minus. Snuggles. Plus. Plus. Plus. Jasmine got ahold of mommy's wine glass because she wanted to "dip" her finger in it and spilled the entire glass. Minus. Minus. Minus...her new outfit is now in the wash machine.

Why do we do this to ourselves? The grading. The checklists. The your'e not good enoughs. I really have been challenged with this lately. Challenged with seeing myself through the eyes of how Jesus sees me AND believing it. That His grace is sufficient. That I can give him what I deem to be unworthy, unlovable, or inadequate and He can transform and make anew.

"My grace is sufficient for you." 
2 Corinthians 12:9

So for the mama that kissed your child's boo boo today, You are enough. To the mama that forgot your kiddos back pack, You are enough. For the mama that bought delicious twinkles instead of baking pinterest shenanigans that never turn out, You are enough. To the mama that is exasperated for telling their toddler not to eat bark chips for the millionth time, You are enough. To the mama that lost her cool and went ape on your teenagers, You are enough. To the mama that just needs a bath without little fingers under the door, You are enough.

Dear Mamas. You are enough. You are MORE than enough.