Category Archives: Fostering

Finding the Words

This week, I’ve really been struggling with words. I’ve needed to respond to some things and just couldn’t figure out the right words to say. I’ve had to redirect, change the subject and sometimes flat-out ignore what was being said to me. And I hate it.

I can’t stand the idea of not being able to help someone through something and having to leave them in a place of questioning. I’ve felt lost and confused before, and I don’t want anyone to have to go through that. I want to help them, but the words just seem to be escaping me.

I need to find the words to help my little’s find their way but I don’t know how to say that your Mom was wrong, without actually saying that. I don’t know how to tell them that abuse doesn’t equal love without bashing all that they know. I don’t know how to be a good Mom without making them feel like their Mom is a bad one. I don’t know how to reach them without screaming, when screaming is all they know.

I need to find the words to reach a boy who is intent on pushing people away. I need to find a voice that he can hear, and trust and believe. I don’t know how else to say that you’re amazing exactly how you are, stop trying to be something else. I don’t know how to say that you can still love your Mom, even if you want nothing to do with her. I don’t know how to honour her when all I really want to do is rip her to shreds.

I need to find the words to help a friend see herself in the way that I see her. I need to find words that will help her take her focus off the world and to stop putting walls up to keep people out. I need to not hurt her but be able to answer her questions of “why”? I need words so full of grace that she won’t feel judged but will find freedom.

I need to find the words to still the negative voice in my head. I need to figure out how to be proud of myself and the amount of weight that I’ve lost already, and not think it’s not good enough. I need to find the words to remind myself that I’m in a better place today then I was yesterday.

I guess that as I sit here trying to find the right things to say, maybe I just need to quit trying and let the words find me. But how do I do that? I’m so not good at waiting.

Heaven help me.

This is Day Three of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. If you want to follow along with all of us “challengers”, click on their links below.

Liam ~ Natasha ~ Zita ~ MagzD ~ Peter ~ Christine ~ Cliff ~ Hethr ~ Tracy

To Medicate or Not to Medicate … That is the Question

The story of one of my worst days ever ….

Dr.: He needs to be on medication to make him sleep and take away his anxiety.

Me: He’s only 18 months old.

Dr.: He needs to sleep, you and your husband need to sleep. This will help him.

Me:  He’s only 18 months old.

Dr.: When was the last time the two of you slept longer than 30 minutes at a time?

Me: 6 months ago.

Me: Will he be on them forever? Are they addicting? Do people actually give their “babies” drugs like this? Are you sure this is okay?

Dr.: Please trust me.

Me: OK.

That day, by far was one of the hardest days of my life. I was being faced with the decision of putting my little boy on a drug that was normally used on adults in psych. wards. He was 18 months old and something was very “not right” with him, but this was terrifying.

When I left the office with a prescription, and had a few minutes to process my decision, I can distinctly remember breathing a sigh of relief. I knew that my boy needed help, and was hopeful that this would make a difference. That night, for the first time in 6 months, he slept for 6 hours in a row. It took me a few nights to trust that he would actually sleep and stay in his room and not wander my house, or escape or hurt himself or whatever else “awake” toddlers did. But it worked, it actually worked.

That day changed my little boys life and mine. It was our first step into “real change” and our first try at correction with medication. It was terrifying and life saving all at the same time.

5 months later, we were back at the doctors office, as my son had taken a turn for the worst. He had stopped talking, stopped walking, and was in an anxious state of “craziness” (for lack of a better word) all the time. Just being at the doctors office was challenging as he threw himself around the room, crying, yelling and refusing to sit still. I explained everything to the Doctor, and he said the words again. Let’s try some medication. Ritalin. As soon as he said that, I froze. Ritalin for a 2-year-old. Really? He proceeded to tell me that he felt like my little man was a perfect candidate and that it would make a significant difference in his life. He told me that if Ritalin works, the changes are obvious within a day, so if it doesn’t work, we stop. That gave me an “out”, and I agreed to give it a try.

At noon, I gave my boy his first dosage. He was 23 months old. By 6:00 pm, I had a different child. It was the first step towards “calm waters”. He was walking and talking normally, and he was happy. He was letting us touch him and hold him without lashing out. It was amazing.

The next morning, I called his doctor and we had a telephone party. He was just as thrilled as we were, and had only ever heard about the miracles that Ritalin could accomplish, but had never seen it before. He was “the kid” that this drug was developed for, and I’ve never been so thankful for something in all my life.

As the boy got older, his needs and issues grew and/or changed. Over the years, we’ve tried many different drugs, dosages, and therapies. Many, I flat-out refused, and many we tried. For every one that worked, 2 didn’t. It was a very long and trying process, but it was worth it.

He’s almost 13 years old now, and still takes 5 different drugs every day. His dosages are less than half of what they were though, which we are thrilled about.  My goal is to get him off them completely, but for now, he’s doing incredibly well, so we will maintain this course. For now.

I can say 100% without question that if I hadn’t agreed to that first step so many years ago, that I would not have the boy that I have today. These medications changed his life.

Lots of my kids have been on medications for some reason or another but 2 of them stand out in my mind to this day. I will never forget when one of them came home from school and asked me “if I knew that his teacher had brown hair”?  It was February. She had been his teacher the entire year, and he had never noticed her hair colour until he was on meds. The other boy also came home from school and told me that “his teacher has a really squeaky voice”, again, it was 6 months into the school year.

I asked them what it felt like to be on the meds, as I truly was curious because my little 2-year-old couldn’t tell me. Their words were simple, but very insightful. They both said that they felt like they could finally focus and actually see things. Words and faces and sounds were no longer jumbled about and just “bouncing off of them”. They felt normal, or what they thought normal should feel like. They felt free.

At that moment, I knew that these medications weren’t about me, and whether or not they were right or wrong to take, but about them. They needed some success in their lives, and that became my focus.

I’m not saying that all kids should be on meds, NOT AT ALL. In fact, I believe that many children are over-medicated or improperly medicated. I think that pills are many doctors’ first response as opposed to real diagnosis or treatment. BUT, I do believe that medications can truly change their lives, if handled correctly.

Meds shouldn’t be seen as a way to make your child be good or quiet or turn them into little robots. Instead, look at them as a way of giving power back to your child. If he can feel even a tiny bit of success or peace, he’s able to focus more and work on what he needs to work on. Imagine that your head is spinning out of control and then someone asking you to read a book or do some math. Imagine that the sounds that we hear have been amplified 25 times and being expected to sit in a desk and focus on your work. Imagine what it feels like to always be in trouble for acting out, not sitting still or bouncing around in your desk. Now imagine spending your days being confused, scared, anxious, embarrassed and isolated and being expected to somehow be “normal”. As adults, that would take many of us down, but those are expectations we put on our children all the time because we refuse to “put them on meds”. No, pills are not the be all to end all, but they should be an option.

If you are presented with putting your child on medication, my challenge to you is this. Do not immediately shut it down. I’m not saying you go blindly into an appointment, and just put your child on whatever pill is handed to you. What I am saying is to listen to your doctors words, do some research, ask friends that are dealing with similar things and then make a decision. If you’ve tried meds and they’re not working, try a different one or switch up a dosage. If you feel like they’re making your child worse, or giving them horrible side effects, take them off. But most importantly, be prepared to change “you”. Do not expect medications to make you a better parent. Kids with special needs, learning issues and challenging behaviours need a different kind of parenting. You MUST change and you must do better as well. Pills or no pills.

If you’ve started your child on meds, do not feel guilty about it. Ignore the judgemental words and ignorant comments. Only you know your child and what they need. Watch them and see if they’re actually helping, watch for side effects, take note of changes. Ask them how they’re feeling, do they feel better or worse, happy or sad? Ask teachers, caregivers, family members if they’ve seen changes. Make sure that you are very “present” in their therapy and treatment. Don’t just hand over a pill and wait for a miracle. It’s going to be work.

If you are the friend to a parent that has chosen medications or some alternative type therapies to help their children, be gracious. Ask questions but respect their choices. I can guarantee you that they’ve already struggled and wrestled with their decisions, and don’t need any more guilt thrown their way.

Look at your child’s face. If they need help, get them help. If you’re given a scary diagnosis, it’s okay. Look at that as the first step to something better as knowledge is always power. Our kids deserve to have us fight for them, and give them the best of everything that we’ve got. If that “fight” involves meds, so be it. If you choose a different path, that’s okay too. Just please know that there are many, many healthy success stories that involve prescription medications. Not everything you’ve read about or heard about is bad. My son is living proof of that.

Want to stop bullying? Then stop it.

I’ve written a couple of different blog posts about bullying … one explaining my take on the situation and another one showing how I’ve tried to deal with it in the past. In both of them I talked a lot about building our kids up so that bullies don’t have to power to take them down. I still wholeheartedly believe in that but I think it’s time that we as a society stand up and take responsibility for our part in perpetuating this insanity. Children look to us to lead them and guide them. They copy what we do. We are their guides and leaders. We need to take that more seriously. Now.

I’m thankful that people are finally really acknowledging bullying and the horrific ramifications that it brings about. What makes me sick is that it took the death of a young girl to make people take notice. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first death as a result of bullying. We should’ve taken better notice a long, long time ago. My hope is that these same people who have jumped on the “bullying is bad bandwagon” will actually do something to make a change and not just use this event as a way to make themselves look righteous. Please let that be what happens.

If you want bullying to stop, we as a society need to stop bullying. Stop telling and laughing at fat jokes. Quit pointing out “gingers” and making ignorant comments about them. Stop commenting on buck teeth, freckles, greasy hair, pimples, etc, etc. Quit pointing out the faults of everyone around you and/or laughing along when someone makes ignorant remarks.  Next time you get the urge to call someone fat or ugly, picture your daughters face on their shoulders. Not so appealing now is it? Grow Up.

Don’t post on Facebook how upset you are by bullying and how awful it is, and then go and post ignorant “jokes” or pictures. Don’t say that bullying is terrible and then start all of your sentences with “I don’t mean to be rude”, or “no offense”.  Don’t shove people out of your way in the grocery store, don’t butt in line, don’t belittle people in lower positions than you. Be respectful. Be polite. Be a decent human being.

When your children make ignorant comments about peers or people in their world. Correct them. When they tell inappropriate jokes. Correct them. When they comment that someone is poor or stupid or ugly. Correct them. Please don’t agree or laugh with them. You are their example. When the opportunity to teach your children arises, use it. Talk about how we’re all different and that it’s okay. Discuss how some people look different because they can’t help it. Teach them about money, and how not every has as much or has more than your family. Explain to them why they’re being corrected. They’ll get it sooner than you think, and their bad habits will be replaced with kind and compassionate ones.

Really teach your kids their worth. No one should ever think that they need to lift their shirt and bare their breasts to make someone like them. Teach them that they don’t need the approval of others to be valuable. Show them that they don’t need to be “sexy” to get attention. Teach them that the number of friends they have on Facebook or the numbers of TBH’s they participate in, is in no way reflective of their value. Kids need to be built up and reminded DAILY of how awesome they are. If they are getting approval and encouragement at home, they’re not going to seek it out everywhere they go. Kids still want to fit in and belong, that’s never going to change. But if they feel secure and “know” their worth, it’ll be a lot tougher for someone else to take advantage of them or beat them down. Period.

Teach your children that they don’t need to share every little piece of themselves with others. Facebook , Instagram and Twitter are not diaries. Pictures and words are forever, help them understand that. Talk to them about online predators, and REALLY talk to them. If you’re going to allow your children to use social media, take the time to figure out how it works. Learn what texting shortcuts mean. Never assume that your child is smart enough to know when they’re being lied to or scammed. And on the flip-side, don’t assume that your child would never behave inappropriately online. Kids that are normally shy or quiet will quite often open-up online because it’s so anonymous. They can hide behind a fake persona and become anything their minds can imagine.

Consider setting up a “fake account” with a picture of someone cute. Pretend to attend another local school, pick common “likes” to your kids – food, sports teams, video games. Then send your child a friend request and see what happens. If they don’t initially accept it, try again. Add a note to your request saying something like, “we used to play ball together” or whatever.  Once they befriend you, starting asking questions. Will they give you pictures when asked for them? Will they tell you where they go to school, share their phone number, address, etc, etc? If you invite them to an awesome party, will they agree to go? Maybe your kids will surprise you and will never accept your request but if they do, use this to show them just how easy it was to get them talking. Predators do this EVERY DAY.

We need to change what is normal. And what is expected. Children aren’t sexy. Physical appearance doesn’t determine your worth. Money does not equal power. Domestic Violence is not cool and should not be ignored. Movie stars, pop icons and their lifestyles are not reality. Please figure out a way to help your children see that and believe it. We need to set higher standards for our children and ourselves. Stop accepting wrong behaviour as normal.

Frankly, we as adults also need to recognize the power that we have. Our words bite just as much as those of a teenager. We are just older and “smarter” and a little bit braver. We somehow find ways to justify our behaviour because we “know” that we’re right. We’re educated, churched and have lots of life experience. Quit mistaking those things as “rights to abuse or bully”.

Politics, religion, ideals and opinions will always be fodder for bashing. Instead of joining in on the bandwagon of crazy behaviour, listen. Hear what people have to say, and then agree or disagree. If you have a concern or you don’t understand something, ask about it. So many of our “fights” are a result of mis-information or blatant gossip. Before you make a judgement, make sure you have all the facts. Agree or Not, doesn’t really matter. Your response is what’s important. Hatred should never be an option.

Bullying is a horrible, horrible thing but it’s just a symptom of something bigger. As we all move forward, working towards change, please think of this one simple word. Respect. Respect for yourself, and respect for the people around you. If we could all just focus on that, the world would be a much happier and safer place.

M is for Mine

I read a post by the fabulous Redneck Mommy yesterday and it struck a chord with me. I encourage you to go and read it here. In fact, while you’re on her page, read her story. This is a woman and a family that have endured some unthinkable things and still continue to press on.

Tanis said things that I think about all the time. She’s adopted her child, so her story is different from mine. But I too struggle with the other Mom’s in my life.

I’m a foster parent. I have the honor of raising children that have been pushed aside or had to take a backseat to addictions and abuse. They quite often are a product of tragedy or terrible circumstances. They don’t have other family able to care for them anymore or their “issues” are too scary for people to take on. Whatever the reasons are,  I’ve come into their lives because there’s no other options available. I am their 2nd or 3rd or 15th chance at a normal life.  But, I am not their Mom.

We’ve had dozens of children live with us, and every single one of them still had involvement with their real Mom’s. On one hand I’m happy that they have contact with their bio-parent because that’s important, but it also makes it a lot tougher for me. I’m the one that “goes against” their real Mom … not because of what I do, but because of the place I’ve taken in their life. I am always the other parent,  even though they’re in my care 99% of the time.  I am everything they wish their real Mom would’ve been. They want their Mom holding them and loving them, they don’t want me.

I’m the one that parents them, sets rules and gives them expectations, all things that they know nothing about. I’m the voice that tells them things that they’ve never even heard before. “You are only a child, you don’t have to take care of yourself. You may not go for a walk at midnight, you can’t spend the night at your girlfriends house because you’re 11, drinking and smoking do not make you cool, and neither do drugs. Yes, you need to wear socks and underwear and no you can’t just steal something because you like it. I’m sorry that’s how you used to do things, but we’re going to try something new now”.

I’m the one that wakes them from their screaming nightmares. I’m the one driving them to counselling appointments in hopes of repairing some of the damage that’s been caused by others. I’m the one fighting for justice for them. It’s me listening to their stories of abuse, horror and betrayal. You’ll find me sitting at doctors appointments, or waiting in the lobby at the dentist or optometrist. It’s me begging teachers for a second chance or going to court to learn the terms of probation. But still, I’m not their Mom.

Some of my days are so incredibly difficult and trying that I can’t even put them into words. My heart breaks for them and what they’ve been through, but somehow I still have to reach them. I spend hours and hours trying to piece together their past and figure out the reasons for what they do and how to help them work through it all. I fight everyday to teach them a new way of thinking and to show them a better way of living. I struggle with making them feel safe enough that they’ll let their past experiences go.

Then there’s the weekly visits with “Mom”, and everything that I’ve worked so hard for is questioned. My parenting style, my rules, my choices for them are judged and quite often ridiculed. They end up being showered with candy, and treats and zero expectations. I quickly become the bad guy again, and again, and again.

But I know that this is all that they have with her and that’s all she has to give them. I know that her heart breaks for all that she’s lost with them, and I hope that if she could go back and choose differently, that she would. I also know that it’s easier to make me out to be the bad guy instead of taking all the blame for herself. And well, I guess I’ll take that.

While you live with your regrets, bad choices and the ability to bash me, I’m raising your babies. I’m watching them grow and change. I’m seeing breakthroughs and changes that I once never dreamed were possible. I’m watching the child that didn’t hardly speak for 6 months now sing and talk so much that we have to bribe her to just shush for a minute. I’m at their award ceremonies and cheering them on at sporting events. I’m telling them that they don’t have to love me, because it makes them feel unloyal to you. I’m encouraging them to forgive you and all your mistakes. I’m giving them permission to not call me Mom because they already have one.

So, I give you that. You can be their Mom. Please know that I will never disrespect you to them. I will love them like my own and I will raise them to the best of my ability. I promise you that they will leave me better than they came.

I will honor you as their Mother. But while they are with me, they are MINE.

*I must say that not all of my experiences with Bio-parents have been bad, and I’ve also had kids that have amazing extended families. This was just me clearing my head of 13 years of being Mom Number Two.

This post is Day 15 of the Summer Blog Challenge – 31 posts in 31 Days

Please visit my fellow challenge bloggers and read their stories.

Meaghan at Magz D Life
Tam at Tam I Am
Liam at In The Now
Jessica at2plus2X2

Parenting done Right?

Parenting Styles, there’s many to choose from and all of them have some valid point or ideals. Permissive. Attachment. Helicopter. Authoritative. Indulgent. Etc. Etc. They’ve all got fancy names and good ideas but something is still missing. So, I’ve decided to come up with my own and just know that it’s going to change the world. 🙂

I give you the B.A.M. method.

First off, give yourself permission to mess up, do the wrong things and/or change your mind half way through any given “plan”. If you have your heart set on breastfeeding, and it goes horribly wrong, it’s okay. Try something else. If you swear that you’re never going to let your baby sleep in bed with you, and you later figure out that your little one or you sleep much better that way, just do it.  If you buy cloth diapers only to discover that once you started having to actually wash poopy diapers that it really isn’t your thing, oh well. Do not set your mind and your heart so strongly on an ideal that you can’t recognize when it’s no longer “right”.  Things don’t always go as planned, and that is SO okay.

Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong to you, that’s a good enough reason to not do it. Period.

You know your child and yourself better than anyone else. Never forget that. If you truly believe that you’re a better Mom working full-time while your child attends daycare, that’s your choice. If you and your child have your best “times” together at 11pm, who cares what all the books say about schedules?  If your child needs a soother to go to sleep, give them the stinkin’ soother. I can promise you, he won’t take it to kindergarten. Listen to your child first and foremost.

Don’t coddle your children but don’t always make them cry and scream and work things out for themselves either. You CAN teach your children how to self-soothe and how to entertain themselves without ignoring them, and letting them scream until they’re blue in the face.  Be a present reassuring voice and your child will feel safe. When kids feel safe, they can do anything.

You are not your child’s best friend, you are their parent. Don’t be afraid to stand up to your children and be their boss. Sometimes the strongest love is found in the word “No”. Children need to get used to authority figures in their life from early on, as they will have them at school, in work, and in their marriages.  🙂  Why not make their first exposure to that healthy and normal?  You can still be in charge, and be able to laugh and play and enjoy time with your kids.  They just need to know that when Mama says “enough”, it’s enough.

Give your children choices, but do not overwhelm them with a huge number of things to choose from. There is nothing wrong with offering red or blue, ice-cream or slurpee, shorts or pants. You do not need to open the closet doors and say “pick your outfit”.  Give them options so they feel a sense of control but don’t offer them the world. Their little brains easily get overwhelmed, so make their choices simple and clear, and you’ll both be happier for it.

Do not turn your kitchen into a restaurant.  Give your kids lots of different foods to try, and even set a one bite rule. But do not make a separate meal because someone doesn’t like something. Once you begin this, it is almost impossible to stop. Children will not starve themselves, they will eat when they’re hungry.

Set expectations for your children. Kids thrive when challenged.  Give them many opportunities to “achieve” something and watch them flourish. If they know that they can do the little things, the big stuff won’t seem so scary.

Teach your children manners. Not just please and thank-you, but things that we don’t always think about. Respect your elders. Speak when spoken to. Don’t butt in line or push people out of your way. Look people in the eye when you speak to them. Give without expectation. Be the bigger person.

Tell your children how fabulous they are. Speak words of encouragement and positivity over them all the time. When they say, “I can’t or I’m stupid”, correct them immediately. Do not give insecurity any opportunity to creep into their lives.

Teach your daughters their value. Make-up, revealing clothes and a boyfriend does not a woman make. Teach your sons to treat women the same way they’d treat their Mothers. A strong sense of self-esteem and self-worth is one of the best gifts that you will ever give your children.

Help your children see the good in things. Whether that be in circumstances or in other people, there is always something positive to focus on. Make sure that they know that it’s okay for people to do and believe other things. Show them it is not their place to judge but to treat others with kindness and respect. Do not raise a bully, be the example that you want them to follow.

Teach your kids right from wrong. Don’t assume that they’ll figure it out on their own. There are opportunities to teach all the time, don’t let them slip by.

In case you didn’t notice, I haven’t really come up with any new or fancy way of  parenting. I’m just asking you to consider the bigger picture while you’re raising your children. Look ahead to the future and what you want them to become. How fast they potty train, learn how to walk or say the alphabet will not matter. If they know their colours but have no self-confidence, who are you really helping?  Morals, values and ideals will always be more important than the stuff that everyone seems to brag about and compare.  Do not make the mistake of following a crowd, follow your heart instead.

Breastfeeding. Co-Sleeping. Babywearing. Natural Consequences. Spanking. Yelling. Time-Outs. Grounding. Etc, Etc, Etc. Do what feels RIGHT TO YOU. Make the choices that work for your family, and do them. Don’t get caught up in other people’s passion or battles if they don’t affect you. Do not feel guilty or less than worthy if you are not doing the same things as your peers. Who flippin’ cares? Your kids don’t, so why should you?

Enjoy your children, laugh with them, cry with them but always lead them. Let common sense rule your decisions. Don’t over think things and don’t go looking for problems that aren’t really there. Some kids develop really early, and some take a really long time to find their way. Does it mean that you’re doing anything wrong? Absolutely not. What it means is that you are raising a unique individual that isn’t like anyone else in this world. It’s up to you to figure out what is best for them. It’s not for anyone else to decide.

When people ask what parenting method you follow, just say BAM and give them a smile. Be. A. Mom. That’s all that matters.

Be sure to check out my blogging sisters and their Day 2 posts. You’ll love them.

Natasha and Meaghan

So tired. So very, very tired.

I have never felt so lost and confused as I have over this past month. I’m in the middle of a horrible situation that is totally breaking my heart. I can’t talk about it and I can’t share all of the details of it with anyone but my husband. I can’t escape it and I just need to watch it all play out and wait. It’s a situation that I can’t fix, even though I’ve tried and tried. I am so tired. Tired of worrying, tired of wondering and tired of waiting.

Why does life have to be so tough sometimes? Why don’t things always go exactly like they should? Why is it that when you’re doing everything right, it doesn’t end well? Why?

I’ve asked myself these questions over and over and I’ve got nothing. I guess that life is just that, life. There’s ups and downs and crazy turns. There’s new relationships and broken ones. There’s sickness and health. There are good times and bad times. There’s always a beginning and an end.

For now, I wait for an end to my situation. I am going to be at peace, and I am going to get through this. If you’re in a similar place, please know that you’re not alone. There’s a light somewhere, find it and hold on. We are going to be okay.

Just a Mom.

I was 20 years old when I met my future husband. I had never lived by myself or with friends, and in fact, still lived with my parents. I’d never attended college or been anywhere farther east than Saskatchewan. I was a daughter and a sister, and most certainly not even considering becoming a mother.  Almost exactly one year later, I married my best friend. I was now a wife.

We moved to a new city, 5 hours away from everything I knew. I had no friends, no job and no idea what I was going to “be when I grew up”. I can remember the quietness of my new house and it made me insane. I had left a household of 8 people and had become a family of 2. I had to leave the TV on all the time just so I could have background noise and didn’t have to talk to myself. I was young and in love, a little unsure of myself and kinda lost, but I was happy. And then I was a Mom.

I fell madly in love with this little person. She filled my days with joy, smiles and giggles. She made my nights sleepless and seemingly never-ending. She made me happy and I was so proud to call her mine. As she grew and my life changed, something inside of me was awakening. I was surrounded by children, some mine, and some that were loaned to me to parent. I was still happily married to a very good man. I had a very good life, but something was missing.

I can remember sitting there and thinking about all of the things that I hadn’t done in my life. I hadn’t lived on my own. I’d never gone to school. I’d never gone off to see the world and experience fun and exciting things. I had never just been “me”, as in me, myself and I. I had become someone else. I was Just. A. Mom.

For some reason that terrified me. Was that all I was ever going to be? Would that be the only thing people remembered me for? Why wasn’t that good enough? Why did I “need” to be more than that? Suddenly I was questioning everything about myself and all that I knew, and then, I woke up.

Yes, I am a Mother, but I most certainly am not “Just a Mom”.

I am responsible for helping little people become all that they think they can be, and then a little bit more. I am quite possibly raising a future world leader. I am teaching my children about equality and respect and grace. I am showing them that nobody is better than anyone else. I am giving them the confidence to stand up for themselves and the people around them. I am lifting them up when the world beats them down. I am rescuing children from horrible circumstances and giving them a brighter future. I am making promises to love them and support them in whatever they choose to do or wherever they choose to go. I am preparing them for the hard decisions that they will have to make. I am giving them my words when they don’t have their own. I am molding and shaping the gifts that God gave me. I am changing the world.

I have the hardest, scariest, toughest, most exciting, fun and fulfilling job ever. I get no pay, no vacation or sick days. I have many awesome days and just as many horrible ones. I witness life changing moments. I am unconditonally loved even when I don’t always deserve it. I get to laugh and cry and tell stupid jokes.  I have been blessed with something that many women will never get the joy of experiencing. Who am I to question the value of what I do? I am a very blessed woman and a darn good Mom.

So, to all the “Just a Moms”, the Mom’s to be and the Mom’s that want nothing more than just have the opportunity to try. Never, ever doubt your worth. Never, ever question your role and the importance that it carries. Never look back and question “what if”? You are exactly where you’re supposed to be, cherish it and enjoy the ride. Happy Mothers Day to all of you!