Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Im Back!

As I have been reading The 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know, I have learned that I am extremely OCD...can you tell?? Hopefully its not too obvious, but several things have happened to me lately that have caused me to just stop and ask myself what on earth I was doing. For that reason, I have decided to slack up on the intense 12 simple secrets study that I was posting on every single day. In my typical OCD style, I want to tell you every single thing that there is to know about this book and the heart change I am having in my own life. But, the truth is you may not be having this same emotional change in your own...again, did I mention that I am very OCD. So here is where I am... I am finishing up building a house that turned out to be much bigger and much more of a struggle than we originally anticipated (shocker?). I am still living with my parents (brutal). I am eyeball deep in my kids' wonderful school that is experiencing financial issues because of our current economy and was facing closure. But, the good news is that all of our families really joined together because we love this school so much and decided that we would fight for it and that is exactly what we are doing and you just wouldnt believe the blessings that are falling on this school. Its amazing, it truly is. But because we have all joined together, now there is work to be done, and I am the Parents Association president, so there I am...and with my typical OCDness I look like a dog after a bone. RIDICULOUS! Not to mention that its the end of the school year, field trips, parties, book reports, and all of those shananigans that go on this time of the year, I am still running on that hamster wheel and never seeing the end! IT HAS TO STOP...really it does. All Im reading about and learning about is just slowing down and it seems (just like in the book) that the more you try to slow down the faster you go. That is why I am going back to how I was when I first started blogging. I will just be back to sharing with you my day to day stuff when I find it and creating lasting friendships and seeking encouragement from other ladies out there just like me. I have missed yall, and hope to chat soon! Kellye

Friday, April 17, 2009

Show and Tell Friday

Its "Show and Tell Friday". I want to know how you are doing with our secrets. Each Friday, we will reflect on how each new secret fits into our lives and what we have learned about our parenting through the week's study. It is a time of reflection, but also a time for encouragement, strengthening, and holding each other accountable. If a REAL relationship with your children is something that you desire, please consider joining us on Fridays to tell how you are doing on your journey.

So here are some questions that Dr. Borba asks for this week:

  1. Did you identify with our story of the young boy who felt unloved and misunderstood that we read about on Monday?
  2. If so what are your plans to change that part of your parenting and how do you plan to strengthen the communication with your children?
  3. What will you be doing this coming week and the rest of your life to show your children that you love them with no strings attached?? Remember those 5 steps to boosting sensitivity? Which ones fit into your lifestyle?

Here is what struck me and really hit home with me from this chapter...

As I read that story of the boy who felt completely unloved by his mother, I absolutely felt as though I could not relate. I mean, we have dinner together every night, we talk about our day with our kids, we tell each other "I Love You" a gazillion times a day. Surely, my kids know I love them. Boy what was that mom in that story doing something really wrong!!

Then I got to the self-check part and that is when it all came crumbling down. Ya know, I think this is a prime example of how things go so bad for moms. We don't realize anything is wrong. Once I began to read through and ask myself those questions I began to realize that I am stressing my 8 year old out. And there is a good chance that she may not realize how much I love her, but just doesn't know how to tell me. Well, except for this one little problem...she does tell me and I don't hear her!! She asked me a few weeks ago if I loved my 6 year old more than her. I was shocked. I told her absolutely not and then she went into hysteria, rattling off her little list of everything Ive ever done to prove otherwise. "Well, when she gets hurt you do this, when I get hurt you do that. You always hold her and just ask me to go get things for you. I want to be held too. Just because I'm not little anymore doesn't mean I don't want you to hold me." WOW, what a reality check. Then to go through these questions and see that maybe I'm not doing all that I can gave me the reality that she could very well be crying out and I don't hear her.

One question though, really hit home to me. Dr. Borba asked, "Has your kid or anyone else ever wondered out loud if you're being sensitive to who your kid really is?" I immediately wrote down that nobody has ever questioned my sensitivity, but then as I sat there realized that yes they have. No, nobody has ever asked me if I love my kids, but I have been questioned by my mom, my husband, and even my kids. Plenty of times, my mom has told me I'm too busy or that I wait until the last minute to do things and that is not how a mother behaves (my mom's words not mine). Waiting until the last minute makes my 8 year old a nervous wreck and I have been completely in-sensitive to that need of hers. To elaborate for you a little bit... My 8 year old has trouble making decisions. She has a book report due in 3 weeks and had to have her book chosen by today. All week, she has been saying that she needed to pick a book. Well, I wanted her to choose "Little House on the Prairie" because she just finished reading it and I just envisioned her in her little Laura Ingalls outfit. She was emberassed though to dress that way, and instead of understanding her concern I just didnt bring it back up. Well, last night she broke down because she was the only kid in her class to have not chosen her book. She was devastated and cried and cried. I couldn't believe it because all along I just thought she was okay with Little House on the Prairie. Why I thought that I don't know. But since reading this chapter of the book, I immediately picked up on the fact that she thought I wasn't hearing her or BEING SENSITIVE to her needs. And the fact that it was 7:30 the night before the final day had her in a complete frenzy. That is not fair to her and the fact that as much as I love her I couldn't see that, really scares me!!

Completely out of character for me, I told her to put her shoes on (with her pajamas) and just the two of us were going to the library to pick her a book. Yall, you cannot put a price on the look on that beautiful little girl's face. She said, "Just us, momma? What about sissy? What is she going to do?" When I told her she was staying behind, I thought my 8 year old was going to do a dance right there in the living room. Her and I, just stopped what we were doing, forgot about bedtime, got in the car in our pajamas and went to the library. And we had the best time. We bonded more in that 30 minutes in the library than we have all year. It was wonderful. She chose her book and she could not be happier. She will be reporting on Samantha the American Girl and she looks just like her so she is very excited about dressing up. She will also bring her Samantha doll as a visual and is on cloud nine about that.

The point of my story is that the usual Kellye, would've just told her that it was too late and she just needed to do Little House on the Prairie. That would've left her feeling defeated and with a huge lack of confidence, but she would have just said 'yes maam' and never brought it up again. It felt so good to guide her and let her make the right choice for her and be sensitive to her needs.

I commit to the next 30 days to do something with just her, every day...even if its walk to the mailbox, because she needs that right now from me. We will talk for at least 5 minutes, just her and I, and I will hold her as many times a day as she wants to be held. This chapter really opened my eyes and set me free all at the same time!

So my question for you is, "What really struck you in this chapter?"

Post your comments and tell us all how you have done this week, the good the bad and the ugly!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Mother Who Loves Teaches Worth Part 3

Wow!! What a soul searching lesson yesterday!
So now we all know what areas of unconditional love we are weak, so how do we fix that?? Well, I'm so glad you asked. Today, I'm going to give you 5 steps to boosting your sensitivity and we will meet back on Friday to share how we did!! Remember, that we are all in this together, but this is an individual journey. This is not a how-to parenting book, but instead a guideline to getting REAL as a mom, with lots of heart talk that all mothers truly need to make sure they hear. Get the journals ready, here we go!! 5 Steps To Boosting Your Sensitivity

Step One: Match Your Expectations To Your Child's True Self. To make sure that the expectation you set for your child are ones that stretch her potential without unintentionally zapping her self-worth, ask yourself this: "Are my expectations"...

  1. Developmentally appropriate. "Is my child developmentally ready for the tasks I'm requiring, or am I pushing him beyond the limits of his internal timetable?"
  2. Realistic. "Is my expectation fair and reasonable, or am I expecting too much?"
  3. Child Oriented. "Is what I'm expecting something my child wants, or is it something I want for myself?"
  4. Success Oriented. "Am I setting the kind of expectations that tell my child I believe he is responsible, reliable, and worthy?"

Don't get so wrapped up in your hopes and dreams for your child's future that you lose sight of what matters most in the here and now. After all, what could be more important than your child's knowing that you love and cherish her for who she is - not for what you hope she will become?

Step Two: Tune In To What's Really Going on With Your Kid. Put down that cell phone. Don't worry about the dust. Be intentional. Take time every day - I'm not talking hours, just a few minutes - to take a good look at your child's life and how things are going.

Step Three: Check Your Kid's Vital Signs. First the face: Are his eyes sparkling or flat? Is he scowling or smiling? Next the body language: Is she relaxed or stiff? Slumped down or coiled up? Finally, the voice: Is it tense and edgy or warm and resonant? Are you hearing whines or laughter? Any sudden changes in behavior: Clinginess? Anger or temper tantrums? Avoidance of situations? Negativity? Loss or big increase in appetite? Too little or too much sleep? Remember, your child isn't going to come up to you and say anything outright...but there are many ways, if you're sensitive, that you can see it for yourself.

Step Four: Identify the Specific Misfit Between Expectations and Reality. Is that accelerated class too hard? Is the coach too demanding? Are you too critical of your kids' grades? Is that clique you've encouraged her to join too upscale? Talk to your spouse, the teacher, or your best friend.

Step Five: Take Action to Remove the Mismatch Between Your Expectation and Reality. Find a better class. Take a break from soccer. Back off from stressing over grade point averages. Let your child choose her own friends. Remain vigilante and sensitive to your kid's needs. Never stop checking for stress and overload, identifying the potential causes and taking action to provide the remedy. (p. 72-73)

WOW!!! Just typing these steps, I can hear a little voice inside my head telling me what is not working in our family. When you read these, please be tuned in to your true self. That is such a huge problem for us I think. We really like a certain mom so we force our kids to invite over the child so we moms can visit, and what ends up happening is that we are compromising our children. Or, we really really really want our little baseball star to shine so we get on the most competitive team around and maybe the practices are just too much and if we would have chosen a less strenuous league our sons may not feel so drained. Listen to that little voice and do what is in her most natural mothering instinct to do.

Lets take the next two days to implement these steps into our daily lives and truly give 100% to being more sensitive to our kids' needs and to intentionally reading into everything they do. And, lets just see how we fare.

Remember, we will meet back here Friday for "Show and Tell" where we will share our struggles and our strengths to encourage each other and hold each other accountable as good buddies do. Our giveaway begins Friday so be sure to join us!!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Mother Who Loves Teaches Worth...

Yesterday, we read the story of the boy who was a complete wreck and his parents could not even see it, and I just wonder this morning how many more children are in that same place. No, maybe they aren't in a creek bottom with a rifle to their chest, but how many feel what that boy felt. How many of our kids, that we think are spoiled and have it all, really feel unloved? It is crazy to think that, and I often look at my kids and think about how spoiled they are and how much they have, but are their any "red flags" in our lives that make us feel like even with all the STUFF there seems to be something missing??
I think at one time or another all of us have been guilty of looking at our children when they are whining or fussing and think, "With all that you have and all that I do for you, you can't even be happy for just a few minutes. Not even an hour goes by without yall fighting." I know I am guilty of that. Well, this morning and tomorrow, I would like for us to see just how well we are doing in the unconditional love department. Are our kids crying out? We will soon see. We are going to look at this secret and see how well we are doing with it in our own lives. Get your journals ready, gals! I encourage you to write your answers down so that you can reflect on them later.
Is This Real Mom's Secret Part of Your Parenting?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
1. How well do you really know your child?
  • What are your child's real passions, the things he loves to do? What are his interests, his hobbies? What does he tune in to or seem fascinated about?
  • What are her true talents? For instance, does she draw well? Does she have great rhythm, incredible grace, endurance, a kind heart? Does she think in numbers, have an amazing vocabulary?
  • What are his academic abilities? For instance, does he remember things quickly, enjoy reading or listening, like to write, have a knack for numbers, have a long attention span?
  • How does she handle social settings? Is she more of a watcher or a joiner? Does she lead or follow? Does she buckle to peer pressure or stand up to it? Does she prefer to be around lots of people, a few, or none at all? Does she make friends easily or need guidance? Is she more of an extrovert or an introvert?
  • How well does he handle pressure or criticism? Do deadlines stimulate or paralyze him? Does he need reminders, or is he self-motivated? When he fails, does need encouragement, or does he pick himself right back up? Does criticism shrivel him or help him? Does he welcome competition or wither? Is he laid back or intense? Does he have positive or negative self-esteem?

2. Thinking now about the profile you've just created for your child, you need to ask yourself whether your hopes and dreams for her are based on who she really is on or on who you want her to be. Are your current expectations - the ones you've more recently crafted for your child's life - matching your kid so that they enhance his self-esteem? Are your dreams in line with your kid? What would need altering? Here are some things to consider: Would you say for the most part that your child is thriving or barely surviving? Loving the competitive pace or dreading it? Jumping out of bed each morning with an "I can't wait" attitude for practice or playgroup or violin, or using excuses to get out of it? Is she talking excitedly about gymnastics or that new chess club you've enrolled her in, or is she feigning headaches? Is your kid really capable of taking the accelerated class, doing the chore, participating in soccer or the playgroup? Are some of the tasks above his level of ability? Is he mature enough? Is this something he really wants to do, or is this your dream? Does he have the skills needed to succeed? Write a list of your concerns. Doing so will help you develop a plan to deal with them.

3. Has your kid or someone else ever wondered out loud if you're being sensitive to who your kid really is?

4. If you're sitting in a room and your child walks in unexpectedly, do your eyes light up with joy no matter what's the latest manship?

5. If there is one thing you could do to be more sensitive to your child and show your unconditional love, what would it be? Write it down in your journal. Then get ready to learn the secret and use it with your family. (p. 69-70)

So, now that we've written down all of our answers in our journals to see how sensitive we are to our children's needs and how well we are doing in the undconditonal love department, here is one more activity for you to think about. You may even want to try it out and jot down the results in your journal. It really brought things into perspective for me.

The Rubber Band Test

Pick up a good, strong rubber band. Hold it firmly at both ends with two hands. Now consider your own list expectations for your child. For everything that doesn't appear to be a good fit (such as your expecting him to be a great defensive cornerback, and he's more into playing chess), pull the band more tightly. For everything that seems more natural (for example, your daughter loves to sing, so you bought her a guitar), let the band relax a little. Think of every expectation you're placing on your child. If the bands gets so taut that it's in danger of snapping, you and your kid are in trouble. Your goal is to be sensitive to ensuring the necessary match of who your kid really is to what you want him to be. A good measure of your sensitivity as a mother is for you to be able to set expectations that gently stretch your children to become their best without snapping their spirit. (p. 71)

The rubber band test made things very clear to me as to how a child can seem to have it all, be completely loved by his parents, but be smothering on the inside. Do you now see how this yearning can be missed by parents, and is being missed by parents all over our country and the world, for that matter? It really brings our story that we read yesterday into perspective doesn't it? Let's make sure that we don't end up like the mother in our story and let the unconditional love that we have for our kids go unnoticed.

Tomorrow we will look at simple and natural ways to boost your sensitivity toward your children to help get us back on track in case this secret seems to be one in which we find that we may need a little help. Don't forget that Friday is "Show and Tell" day and our very first giveaway will kick off. And as always, if you know someone who would benefit, send her our way!

See you tomorrow!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Simple Secret #1 - A Mother Who Loves Teaches Worth

I'm so excited to begin our study with you this morning! This book has totally set me free and I just know it will do the same for you. Just to give you a quick run down on how each secret will go, I will introduce each new secret to you on Monday mornings. We will reflect on that secret throughout the week and will learn how to boost that particular part of our mothering plan through individual soul searching tough questions. On Fridays we will work on our Mother's Promise for each secret and work to create that "lesson plan" for parenting that we will hopefully use with our children for the rest of our lives. Fridays will also be "Show and Tell" day! We will share with each other our struggles, weaknesses, strengths, triumphs, and experiences pertaining to each secret to encourage each other and hold each other accountable on this journey...remember Dr. Borba says that we need a buddy!! Hopefully through this experience, we will have quite a few!! I also have a few surprises for you along the way, including a giveaway that you can begin registering for on Friday!! This should be lots of fun and a great learning experience for all of us and I could not be happier to walk this path with all of you. So grab your journals, and let's get out of the fast lane girls...slow this train down and LET'S GET REAL!!!

Real Mom Secret 1

A Mother Who Loves Teaches Worth

What Real Mothers Know: If Your Children Have Unconditional Love, They'll Be More Likely To Thrive

What Really Matters Most for Mothering: Be Loving with No Strings Attached

The Real Benefit for Kids: Authentic Self-Esteem

The Lesson a Real Mom Teaches: Of course mothers love their children, but unconditional love goes deeper and is far more complicated. This is about our complete, unequivocal acceptance of our children's true selves - including all their little quirks, bad decisions, tantrums, weaknesses, and flaws. The lesson love teaches is profound: "You are a person of worth." "I believe in you, so you should believe in yourself." We convey our feelings through our everyday words and gestures: our excited voice, wide-open arms, eyes lit up just because our child is in our presence. This doesn't mean doing more, trying harder, being self-conscious. No, it just means staying in touch with our deepest instinctive feelings for our own flesh and blood. You don't plan these reactions: they just bubble over spontaneously in the natural ways we respond to our kids in the moment. Make no mistake - we do influence our children's opinions of themselves. The lesson our children learn from how they are loved by us will last long after we're gone. (p.61-62)

Welcome Mom Secret #1. I'm sure you have many, many thoughts on this introduction, as I do. What really struck me about this first secret is the words I have in bold above. Y'all, it hit me like a truck going 100 miles per hour. What we do on a daily basis with our kids, our body language, the looks on our faces all tell our children how we feel about them. YOU DON'T PLAN THESE REACTIONS: THEY JUST BUBBLE OVER SPONTANEOUSLY IN THE NATURAL WAYS WE RESPOND TO OUR KIDS IN THE MOMENT. No parenting book will teach you how to show your kids you love them and it be REAL!! It has to come from you, naturally. So, basically, we can say "I love you" a gazillion times a day, but unless we are GENUINE and SHOW it to our kids, they don't believe us.

Take a few minutes to jot down this secret and your thoughts about it in your own personal life and then we will take a look an actual situation to help put this in perspective.


I do not love him because he is good. I love him because he is my child.

"She Learned to Show Her Unconditional Love"

Everyone loved this boy. You just knew he had a great family life and his parents were so proud of him. He as popular 9th grader in Northern California. Very smart, well mannered, top of his class, best soccer player on the team, destined for a music scholarship, and most of all just wanted to make his mom happy. He had it all!!
His parents were well known in the community. His mother a pediatric surgeon, and his dad a businessman who traveled alot. His mom was very humble but everyone knew she was a Rhodes Scholar and in the top of her Harvard class. She did everything she could to make sure her son could become a successful doctor too. Everyone in town admired this family.

Wow, to have a mom like that, she loves him so much. All that would soon change though, and not for the better. One spring afternoon, the 911 call came in from a jogger who had seen a boy sitting in a creek with a rifle pointed to his head. Immediately 2 officers and a K-9 who were training nearby jumped in their patrol car and headed for the scene. Once they arrived they stopped dead in their tracks. Sitting down below in the creek was a young boy with a rifle clutched between his feet and dug into his chest. And the worst part...THEY KNEW THIS BOY!! Not wanting to startle him and cause an accident, they contemplated what to do. One of the officers knew that his dad was out of town and so they needed to dispatch his mom at the hospital. As the boy looked up and warned them to stay away, one of the officers let him know that they were calling his mom. He didn't seem affected at all by that and simply said not to bother that she would be too busy. And he was right. The hospital said that she was in surgery and could not be interrupted. As the boy began to look agitated the officers knew they needed to make a move, but didn't know what that move should be. Finally the officers decided that maybe sending the big German Shepherd K-9 dog down might be safer and could distract the boy and calm him down. With an uneasy feeling of waiting any longer they released the dog. The dog started down very cautiously towards the boy. As the boy looked up at the dog, the next few seconds seemed like an eternity as they didn't know what this boy's reaction would be to the dog. The next few minutes would remain a vivid memory in the officers' minds forever. The dog knew exactly what to do. He jump into the boy's lap and began licking him. Within minutes the boy returned the affection and totally surrendered to the dog's affection. As tears streamed down the boys cheeks, he held onto the dogs thick coat for dear life and hugged him close, stroking his fur over and over. The officers went down to the boy and the dog, who was very tuned into to the boy and wasn't moving an inch. As the officers stood silently, they just couldn't figure out how this could happen to this boy of all kids?? When the officers asked the boy what had happened, he replied that he was a loser and began to gradually tell his sad story. He studied and studied for his PSAT's that he was taking 2 years early to give him an edge when entering college, but he had only placed in the 98th percentile. This was not acceptable for his mom, who told him that he had to do better, but he said that he had done his very best and that there was no way he could have done any better. He went on to explain that she didn't love him they way he was and that he felt he would never be good enough for his mom, so what was the point of trying anymore. He was doing his mom "a favor." He then explained that the dog changed his mind. He said, "Don't you know that as soon as he saw me, he jumped in my lap and started to lick me. I didn't have to do a thing. He was happy just to be with me."

How could such a wonderful kid feel so worthless and unloved? And how could a dog figure out what he desperately needed when everyone else-especially his own mother-had missed it?

The next day when the officers sat down with the family, his mother had no idea her son felt this way. She was so upset that she had missed this. She just wanted him to have everything he could ever want. (paraphrased, p. 62-68)

What Can Real Moms Learn From This Story?
WOW!! Can you imagine if you were to ever be faced with this situation? I hope and pray that I am never faced with this kind of situation with either of my girls, but the statistics show that this is far more common that most parents know. The suicide rate in teens has increased 30% since 1970 and has tripled from 1962 to 1995. That is a very scary statistic. We have to find out if our kids know how much we love them. And, we have to show them unconditional love and teach them worth. It is not a maybe. It is a must!!
Dr. Borba says that the mother we just read about's love was never in doubt. The problem was that her son didn't know she loved him because she was so insensitive to his present day-to-day struggles and only focusing on his future. He was trying to earn his mother's love!! And what she missed was his need for her unqualified affection and approval, regardless of how he was performing.
The essential secret for real mothering here is that unconditional love doesn't have to depend on performance (or anything else for that matter). Unconditional love is your total, absolute commitment, devotion, and tender affection for your children exactly as they arrived to you and have developed so beautifully over the years. The basic foundation for all good parenting is the ability to convey this unconditional love and sensitivity to your child's needs. (p. 68)
So, how are you doing in your home at showing unconditional love? Do your children know that you love them, not because they are good, but because they are your children?? How would they respond to this same question?? Hmmm...that is the question, isn't it? Is a tune up in place or do you think you need to commit to a change in you with this particular part of your parenting plan?? Start today. Don't let another day get away from you and away from your child. Let's reflect on this story and this mom secret today and journal our thoughts about it. Tomorrow we will look at some questions to ask ourselves to see how we are doing at showing unconditional love in our own parenting.
As always, remember if you know of someone who may benefit from our study or if you know of a mom, who like the rest of us, is desperate to get out of the fast lane and back to the basics with our kids, please encourage them to join us on our journey!
See you tomorrow!! Have a great day!

Friday, April 10, 2009

12 Simple Secrets Every Real Mom Knows

FINALLY...here is the list of our 12 simple secrets!! Im so excited to get started!
12 Simple Secrets Every Real Mom Knows
Real Mom Secret #1
A Mother Who Loves Teaches Worth
Real Mom Secret #2
A Mother Who is Firm and Fair Gives Her Children a Moral Code to Live By
Real Mom Secret #3
A Mother Who Listens Shows Her Children They Matter
Real Mom Secret #4
A Mother Who is A Good Role Model Gives Her Children an Example Worth Copying
Real Mom Secret #5
A Mother Who Teaches Values Inspires Character
Real Mom Secret #6
A Mother Who Supports Her Children's Strengths Builds Their Confidence

Real Mom Secret #7 A Mother Who Encourages Independence Cultivates Self-Reliance

Real Mom Secret #8 A Mother Who Applaudes Effort Nurtures Perseverance

Real Mom Secret #9 A Mother Who Accepts Her Children's Shortcomings Nurtures Resilience

Real Mom Secret #10 A Mother Who Takes Time for Her Children Helps Them Build Strong Relationships

Real Mom Secret #11 A Mother Who Laughs Teaches Joy

Real Mom Secret #12 A Mother Who Takes Care of Herself Holds Together Her Happy Family

So...How do you feel about those simple secrets?? If you are anything like me the first time I heard them, I thought I was doing pretty darn good. I even felt like I had most down pat. Thankfully for us Dr. Borba uses actual stories from REAL live, actual moms who have alot to teach us, even those of us who may not be off the deep end psycho crazed and frenzied Motherhood Maniacs!

Ladies, face the facts...we have alot to learn to be where we want to be as mothers and Dr. Borba is here to help. In each chapter of Part Two, we will learn a secret and hear a story of an actual mom with an aside from Dr. Borba of what we can learn from each story. Then, ***and this is the best part*** Dr. Borba asks if this is a secret that is part of our parenting. She then offers some questions for us to ask ourselves to help us see, individually, how we can do better or to show us that we are already doing well with this particular secret! And if that is not enough yall, she then gives steps to getting us to mastery level of REAL MOM-NESS for each secret!!! Its AN AMAZING SOUL CLEANSING...to say the least!! And if that is not enough, she brings in her Custom Mothering Plan that she calls A Mother's Promise. We will work in it each week making promises to ourselves and to our families. WOW!!! And if that is not enough, she offers A Real Mom's Resources in each chapter which is a list of books upon books on each particular subject that you can read if you feel this is a significant weakpoint in your relationship with your child. She doesn't encourage a "how to" parenting style, but if you need more help, she can certainly point you in the right direction!

Are you interested in that custom mothering plan that Dr. Borba calls A Mother's Promise?? Here is how it works.

Read each story and then take a few minutes to reflect on whatever the secret is one you would like to you with your children. If so, continue reading the tips, strategies, and advice other moms give as to how they've incorporated the secret into their lives. Then ask yourself the most important question: How would I use the secret in my own parenting? But don't just think about it - if you really want to use the habit, then plan exactly how you will use it with your children. After all, the more you think through what you want to do, the greater the chances you will succeed. Finally, I urge you to write your plan and title it A Mother's Promise. If you take just a few minutes to jot down your promise at the end of each chapter, you will have created your own unique mothering plan for your family. (p.53)

Each week we will look at each secret on Monday, elaborate on it throughout the week and finish with our Mother's Promise on Friday.

This is such a starting point for all of us to see how we stand with our kids and on our same track, where we will be when they all grow up and move away. Don't you want that lasting connection and that love that "lasts for always"??? I truly think that this book will show us how to get there.

I look forward to starting Monday morning, and remember if you know anyone who could benefit from our study, please send her our way!! LETS GET REAL!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know - Chapter 4

Can Our Kids Make It On Their Own? That is the title of Chapter 4 and what we all really want to know right? Dr. Borba quotes Mel Levine, author of Ready or Not, Here Life Comes. He says, "These parents are trying to create a really terrific statue of a child rather than a child." And he is right! Once we do all that we are going to do for our kids, and they are ready to meet the world...what happens?? What happens to these little statues that we have molded into exactly what WE think they should be?? Well, it certainly doesn't seem good. Right now there are studies being conducted on college grads to see how well they are doing now that they are out of the nest, and it seems that they are having lots of trouble. As loved and pampered and well educated as they are, they seem to be living in Peter Pan Land. You know where you never have to grow up? And we all know those folks don't we? They 35 year old that still goes to the bars with commitment phobia like you have never seen. The 28 year old that still lives at home. The 23 year old that won't go to college, won't get a job, and is bleeding her parents dry all while dragging them into the nut house. So, Dr. Borba asks, What went wrong? Could all that immediate gratification have backfired? Too many unearned trophies? Too many carpools? Did we raise our kids with such high expectations that now it's hard for them to get things just right? Did we micromanage their lives so well that now they can't live on their own? We can hypothesize and theorize ourselves to death, but the fact remains that a whopping 36% of today's college graduates readily admit they're not ready for careers. (p. 46) So Do Our Kids Live Happily Ever After, or What? That's what we all want to know isn't it? And I am just going to quote the book on this because it really explains it so well. Here is what Dr. Borba says, So the hurried children grew up. Many appear to have immature coping skills, they're often stressed, anxious, or depressed, and may even lack a spirit or tough inner moral core. Researchers point out that the critical piece called character - integrity and ethics - seems also to be somehow amiss in this breed. And self-reliance - a quiet, inner confidence, the skills to bounce back and or make tough decisions alone - appears weak as well. The reality is that too many of these hurried kids are struggling as adults. They're smart, but they are also sad, anxious, and unfulfilled. But it doesn't have to be like this. In fact, our kids will be the first to tell us that our current frenzied and competitive mode of compulsive parenting is not working and that something has to change. Obviously we need to get rid of this Motherhood Mania and zero in on what really matters for our kids. That's where I can help you, Dr. Borba adds. And why me? Who am I? I'm a mom with three kids, one of those parenting experts who's written twenty books you've never read. But also over the past two decades I've done hundreds of workshops in front of over a million parents, teachers, and counselors. After seeing all the stress and guilt brought on by the need to be this Sacrificial Mom over the years, I began to ask each group systematically the following question: "If you could give one piece of parenting advice that would help moms raise happy, confident, self-reliant kids, what would it be?" I collected over five thousand answers and discovered that many of them kept repeating themselves. The fascinating thing was that these parents' responses were almost identical to what child development researchers and clinicians have been telling us for years. These answers were a wonderful gift: the collective wisdom of hundreds of real moms about what matters most when it comes to raising good kids. Their answers have provided us all with twelve simple secrets that produce kids of solid character, caring hearts, and the strength to make it in our tough world today. The good news is that we can use these secrets to make our lives much simpler, easier, and more fun. The best news is that once we start using these simple secrets of real mothering, our children and our families are going to enjoy terrific benefits. (p. 48) I know you, just like me are ready to begin this journey. By now we all know that it is necessary, we are all ready for a change and we want out of this fast lane. All of our groundwork is done and tomorrow morning, we will finally see the 12 Simple Secrets Every Real Mom Knows. We will begin our study on the first secret Monday morning and will take one secret at a time, most likely one per week. I look forward to sharing these secrets with you, and I really feel that you will see that they have such depth to them, and have so many application tools to help us along the way. I just can't wait to begin. I would also ask you, if I may, to please be in prayer for my family. We were hit with some devastating news regarding our children's school which is also the same school that I went to and graduated from. This is a school like no other and is so much more than just a classroom and a gym and a football field to so many families. We have been competing with an improving public school system in our community and are losing more and more students to the free education down the road. It is obvious that in this economy we will struggle, but the board of directors is having to make some very tough choices regarding the school's future. Please keep us and our school in your prayers as we try to sort this out and seek the Lord's will for our kids' education. Thank you!! See you Friday morning!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

12 Simple Secrets Every Real Mom Knows - Chapter 3

Hey Ladies! I think by now we have all figured out that we want a change right? Even if we aren't the completely out of control extreme women caught up in Motherhood Mania, I think that it is safe to say that we probably aren't exactly where we would like to be either, right? I hope that through what we have learned so far, we have all seen that there is a great calling in this country to just STOP!! I just want to slow down, get out of the fast lane, and really begin to enjoy my family and nourish them the way that I know I am called to and deep down want to. Today we will look at more startling statistics and see just how our kids are feeling, how this "hyperparenting" has such an impact on our lives by increasing our stress levels, as well as see how this is taking the place of teaching responsibility and character. And finally, we will see what happens to the products of hyperparenting when they go off to college. Dr. Borba is no spring chicken and as you will see, she knows her stuff when it comes to being a Real Mom!! Lets get started by seeing some numbers that will just shock you:
  • 13% of kids between 9 and 17 experience anxiety disorders.
  • In one survey, 43% of 13-14 year olds say they feel stressed every day, by 15 it jumps to 59%.
  • Of the parents responding in one survey, 46% said that their children's' biggest emotional issues were coping with stress and dealing with depression.
  • One third of adolescents say they "worry a lot"...and nearly half say that they have trouble sleeping due to stress.
  • In the same poll, 83% of kids say they are stressed about homework and pressure to excel; of those kids, 57% say their relationships with their parents is what's causing them stress.
  • The suicide rate among American teens ages 15 to 19 has increased by 30% since 1970. In fact, suicide rates for children and teens tripled from 1962 to 1995.
  • In a recent national survey, college students reported feeling so depressed that it was difficult for them to function over the past academic year. College counselors tell us that there are more students than ever before on their campuses who are suffering from not only depression but sleep disorders, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, impulsive behaviors, and suicidal thoughts. (p. 34)

What do the Kids Say?

If that wasn't good enough for you, let's look at what our kids saying. Is everything that we are doing for them paying off? Are we going to see the fruits of our tireless labor trying to make sure they have all they need to be happy, and confident? I don't think so.

  • 60% of kids ages 12-14 want to spend more time with their parents.
  • Kids do want time with us, more time, but they are picky about the kind of time - not just this "quality time" stuff. You get a higher grade from them in your mothering if the time you spend together is not "rushed, but focused and rich in shared activities."
  • More than 2 in 5 kids feel like their time with us is rushed.
  • A survey of 84,000 kids in grades 6-12 told researchers they do appreciate all that we do. They do enjoy spending time with us. But what they really would like is for the time that they spend to be more relaxed time. (p. 35-36)
So now we are faced with the tough question. Is what we are doing in our house working? The research says that kids just want to spend time with their parents, REAL time, not rushed, not fake time, REAL time with their families. And according to Dr. Borba, this research is nothing new. She says that the evidence has continued to warn parents over the last decade that we must slow down, but instead parents have just picked up the pace even more. She says the only thing parents have cut out of their kids busy schedules is any unstructured time that they may have once had. She also shows us how things have gotten worse and more busy over the past 2 decades:
  • Home increased almost 50 percent.
  • Unstructured activities declined by 50%.
  • Family dinners decreased by 33%.
  • Family vacations decreased by 28%.
  • Children's free time decreased by 12 hours per week.
  • Playtime decreased by three hours per week.
  • Many school systems have abolished recess. (p. 37)

The Impact of Stress

All of these statistics are just shocking to me, as I am sure they are to you too. And what affect is this having on the kids is what I want to know! Well, for starters, Dr. Borba tells us 1 in 3 American children currently suffers from stress-related symptoms, such as headaches, stomaches, and between 8 and 10 percent of American children are seriously troubled by anxiety. Pediatricians tell us that stress symptoms are now showing up in kids as young as 3 years of age. Childhood depression and suicide rates continue to escalate: more teenagers and young adults now die from suicide than from all medical illnesses combined. (p.36)

WOW!!! That is startling numbers. Absolutely STARTLING!!! Did you ever think that the day would come when more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from all medical illnesses combined??? UNBELIEVABLE!!

The Birth of Hyperparenting

And so, the new modern day momma has emerged...Welcome Hyperparents!! Teachers know them, sports coaches know them, dance teachers know them, and certainly the t-ball umpires know them. To teachers, they are the parents who are always available. Having been given the name "helicopter parents" these would be those moms who NEVER GO AWAY! They always seem to just be hovering around. Teachers will readily admit that they love their students but the parents drive them nuts!! Who are these moms, well I will tell you. Please take no offense but it is those of us who push too hard, defend the bully, pay the fine for the missing library book, and bring the forgotten homework, just to name a few. Make no mistake, her child will be on the honor roll and will have perfect attendance, but everything else takes a back seat. And because of their absolute obsessiveness to have that perfect all around child, of course you will find these parents at the ball fields. "My child didn't get enough play time...That was an unfair call." Can't you just hear them. You know who they are, don't you?? Because of this crazed hyperparenting, Dr. Borba tells us, 163 cities have required parents to sign a pledge of proper conduct in order to be allowed to attend their kids' games. Some have asked parents to watch a 30 minute video on sportsmanship, and others have gone so far as to have a silence day, when any parent who even opens their mouth at the game is ejected. (p.39)

Do you know any of these parents?? There is always one in the class or on the ball field isn't there? And guess what? Much to the shock from all of their failed efforts, 70% of children who participate in sports drop out by age 13. Why?? Because "its just not fun."

What About Responsibility and Character

So where in all of this madness does responsibility and character fit in? How on earth do we find time to teach our kids to grow up to be productive citizens?? And what about a spiritual upbringing, one that shows our children that we love our Lord God and die to ourselves every day to follow Him? Well, its no surprise all of that gets thrown to the way side as more and more parents are doing more and more to lighten little Tommy's workload, because little Tommy deserves it you know. Doing science projects, finding those misplaced library books, typing the papers, and the list goes on and on. And don't worry, if by some chance its not good enough...CONFERENCE TIME!!

Everybody gets a trophy these days, everybody is a winner, everybody gets an award, everybody gets a plaque, and everybody gets a ribbon. What are we teaching our kids??? Cutting them a little slack, helping them carry that heavy load, building their self-esteem. Is that really what all of this is doing? I beg to argue that what it is doing is telling kids today that they are better than everyone else and to never let anyone tell them otherwise.

Dr. Borba says, After all, the Sacrificial Mom will do anything to make sure that the kids have whatever it takes to get ahead in life. Their lives revolve around these children, who are given everything they could possibly ever want or need. Harvard psychologist Dan Kindlon, who wrote both Raising Cain and Too Much of a Good Thing, contends that all this parental indulgence is actually smothering the development of our children's character and sense of responsibility.(p. 41)

The body, explains Kindlon, cannot learn to adapt to stress unless it experiences it. Indulged children are often less able to cope with stress because their parents have created an atmosphere where their whims are indulged, where they have always assumed...that they're entitled and that life should be a bed of roses. (p. 41)


What Happens When Our Kids Get to College?

Unfortunately, the helicopter doesn't land just because Johnny has gone off to college. No, far from it. The helicopter just hovers over the university now, making sure that everything is perfect there just as it has been in every other aspect of his life. From which school the grad chooses, to writing the admissions essay, to asking all of the questions at the interview, to filling out the forms, the parents are still hovering!!

Would you believe that Dr. Borba states that some universities are having to hire staff just to deal with the parents?? So what does this tell us?? To me it gives a terrible message to our 20 year old children. MOMMY DOESN'T THINK YOU CAN DO THIS ON YOUR OWN.

Dr. Borba agrees and adds, it may not be the message we want our kids to hear, but chances are it will be their interpretation. And its the same exact message we've been sending with all our overinvolved ways all along: "Your homework isn't quite right, let me help." "Your science project could use more data, I'll get it." "This letter won't make the admissions cut, I'll rewrite it." (p.43)


That is scary!! And what is worse is that the parents will be thinking, "What on earth do these kids have to be stressed out about...they've got it all!!"

Let's get REAL yall, while we still have time. This is more serious than we first thought. We must save our kids from this broken world and we are about to learn how. Chapter 4 tomorrow Can Our Kids Make It On Their Own, and then on Friday we will finally learn the 12 Simple Secrets and begin our change!

Im so excited that you are joining me on this very eye opening journey. I consider myself to be extremely sheltered, so most of these things are so foreign to me. But, I can see how the world is turning into utter chaos and at the center of it is a bunch of mommas crying for help!

Its time to get REAL!!

Please remember if you know someone who may benefit from this, send her our way!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

12 Simple Secrets...Chapter 2

So what did you learn about yourself and your current parenting situation yesterday?
After looking over my journal and reading over and over that list to help us realize
it's time for a change, I learned that I am VERY critical of myself as a mother.
I am constantly comparing myself to other moms and set myself up for
failure every day of my life. What a huge realization!!
Today we will jump right into Chapter 2, and, for me, Chapter 2 was where I first really understood what Dr. Borba was trying to say. Up until this point we have learned
so much about her core philosophy but this is where it really hit home for me.
Get your journals ready and lets dig in!!
Chapter 2 - What IS a Real Mom These Days?? We talked briefly yesterday about motherhood changing so much...even from when we were kids. I gave the example last week of what my mom tells me when I come to her super frazzled, but just a little more of a background is that I can never ever remember our TV being on, except for 2 reasons. #1 it was dark outside and my dad was home from work or #2 we were "resting" in our rooms and my mom was watching her soap operas from 1:00-2:00 every day!! The rest of the time, the TV was off, the lights were off, the windows and curtains were open and all was well in our little 1200 sq.ft home that fit us just fine. My sister and I played by ourselves all day every day and life was GOOD!! So different from today, huh?? Dr. Borba has interviewed dozens of moms and researched hundreds and she is very confident, as I think we all are, that there has been a shift in parenting...and not for the better. And, I am just as guilty as the next mom. What Happened to Pat-A-Cake and Peek-A-Boo Dr. Borba tells a story of when she had her first "ah-ha" moment regarding this shift in mothering. She tells of a baby shower that she went to once for a friends daughter. Instead of burp cloths, bibs, and rattles, the registry and baby store was filled with brain development, brain stimulation, baby sign language (so you can communicate with your baby before he talks), and baby paraphernalia that sure gave her a difficult time choosing the perfect gift. She said, I even felt a tad guilty asking the salesclerk for something as old-fashioned as a copy of Goodnight Moon. (p. 25) She also said that it gave her the first sense of this overwhelming responsibility that moms today must feel about making the right choices for their children. When Did Mothering Become a Billion Dollar Profit Center? Dr. Borba also tells of a woman on a flight that she was on who found her seat with her little daughter and no sooner than the seat belt light had gone off mom had pulled out a bag packed to the brim with items: from flash cards to workbooks to beginning phonic books to markers and paper-she even had a DVD player with a National Geographic movie about zoo animals. Heaven forbid an unplanned spare moment for the child, but what about her mother? I was exhausted from just watching her try to make sure her child was never bored. Just when did mothering get so difficult, so draining? (p. 26) Mothering has become a billion dollar money maker and we are all filling the pockets of the people who are making us insanely crazing trying to keep up and do a good job as a mom. Building blocks, sand boxes, and imaginary forts have been replaced with electronic vocabulary builders, magnetic alphabet games for our little geniuses, and products guaranteed to give little Tommy that jump start to Harvard all before he can walk!! WHAT ARE WE DOING?? How Did We Get From June Cleaver to Motherhood Mania? Dr. Borba describes June Cleaver as always calm, neat as a pin, never without her pearls, smiling, loving, and always available. When Beaver came bouncing down the stairs for breakfast, Mrs. Cleaver was always in the kitchen in her spotless sparkling white apron, busily making bacon and eggs. And when Beaver came home from school, she was always at the door, still smiling with her pearl necklace on, greeting him with a freshly baked batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Okay its corny, but the thing about it that I'm remembering fondly is the feeling of warmth, of being always welcomed, and the strong connection between mother, her children, and their friends. (p. 27) Ok, now lets compare that with motherhood today, shall we? Dr. Borba does it for us and you can't help but laugh at her illustration but at the same time it makes you want to cry! See if you can relate to this modern day mom...
Calm? Neat as a pin? Smiling? Always available?
Homemade chocolate chip cookies? Get Real!!
A typical 24 hours in the life of a mother today includes an intense schedule
of constant activity, stress, and pressure. Feeding and dressing 2.3 kids.
Carpooling to school. Shuffling countless after-school activities -
skating, gymnastics music lessons, special academic coaching, soccer practice,
scouting, dance class, play rehearsals, Odyssey of the Mind playgroups.
Then there's helping with homework, science fair projects, PTA meetings,
school events, making and cleaning up from dinner, then dashing off to another crazy
activity, not to mention mending, cleaning, dusting, picking up after
everyone, vacuuming, scrubbing, mopping, and madly trying to find that
darn missing library book. If there's by any miracle 30 minutes of unscheduled
time at any point during the day, Mom is likely to hop on a home exercise
bicycle of dash of to a quick palates class. And that's just a weekday. If you think
Saturday or Sunday is going to be any different, forget it. With soccer games, dance
recitals, school debates, theatrical and musical performances, slumber and birthday parties,
and a host of other frenzied activities, it's a nonstop mad dash with never
a moment to spare. (p. 28)
She goes on and on even more than this talking about part time jobs, careers, relatives, appointments and a love life between you and your husband. Then she says, lets not forget that many moms are single, many have to work outside the home, ALL are exhausted!! And then there is the million ads and commercials about how we are supposed to eat, what we are supposed to do to look good, stay healthy, keep smiling and moisturize - because we're worth it! (p. 28)
Y'all it is truly insane!! And to hear it like this makes it sound even more insane, doesn't it? Do you relate to this modern momma? And if you aren't this extreme, I am sure you can relate to at least some of it. Our moms, and June Cleaver, never had these choices...there weren't even car seats for crying out loud!!! So do you get it that the WORLD is making a killing off of our love for our children and our desire to do the best we can for our kids?. They are filling their pockets on our anxiety to be the best mom ever and the steady feeling of not being good enough!! Do you see that most, if not all, of this nonsense is just a money maker that we are feeding by jumping on board with all that we've got!!
God tells us that we are fully equipped with everything we need to be a mother. How do I know? because He created us to be mothers and He doesn't command us to do anything that we cannot do. He has been in the business of creating mothers for thousands of years, all with only 24 hours in a day, most with a fraction of the modern day conveniences we have, and somehow those children turned out way better than kids today are!! How does that happen??
The Urge to be Supermom
The result of all of this STUFF that the WORLD is pumping into our heads is that we are suffering today in a full fledged frenzy - an abnormally high level of busyness, tension, stress, speediness, anxiety, heightened awareness, and even panic. Many moms can't get enough sleep, the can never keep up or do enough for their kids and they feel feel guilty or inadequate about it. They're overwhelmed trying to be Supermom, to fulfill the expectations placed on them. They are in a state of Motherhood Mania. Isn't that what a good mother does??
Don't believe it?? Here are some disturbing statistics for you:
  • 70% of moms find motherhood stressful.
  • Depression affects 30% of young mothers and children.
  • 1/3 of parents in one survey said that if they were to do it all over again, they would not start a family.
  • In that same survey 53% said they felt significant resentment in making sacrifices as a parent.
  • Of the 1,306 moms in one survey, 95% said they experienced guilt and almost half said that the guilt got worse as the kids got older. (p. 29)
There are more, but for the sake of time, I just chose a few. Here are 11 issues that Dr. Borba says should be considered as to why we have morphed from apple pie to full fledged motherhood mania:
  1. New knowledge about child development.
  2. Competition.
  3. More options. Entrepreneurs are very smart and have made endless amounts of choices for parents today.
  4. More media. Over 800 books on the concept of motherhood were published between 1970 and 2000, of those, only 27 between 1970 and 1980.
  5. Financial pressures.
  6. Guilt.
  7. Wanting to be liked. Many moms want to be their child's best friend. Does "you're mean mom strike a chord with you?
  8. Outdoing their own moms.
  9. Lack of confidence. They lack confidence in their judgment are constantly second guessing themselves.
  10. Wanting a trophy child.
  11. The test craze. With all the tests today, they're making us crazy worrying that our kids will not be good enough. (p. 31-32)
Do you think that any of the above reasons contribute to why we all feel so exhausted in our parenting efforts and NOTHING IS WORKING?? Dr. Borba ends this chapter by saying,
And is Motherhood Mania worth it? Is it worth all the time and energy and
money we're spending? Do our kids really benefit from all these
splendid extracurricular activities and stimulating experiences? (p. 32)
I wonder if all these things will be what our kids will remember about us? Will they describe us as the best mom ever who drove them around to each practice and rehearsal and who bought them everything under the sun? Or will they say that we were always busy, wishing they could've spent more time with us, wanting a "love that lasts for always"?
We will see what the kids are saying in the next chapter...STAY TUNED!!
For today, look over Dr. Borba's description of today's crazed mom and really think hard to see if that fits where you are right now? Then look over those reasons that Dr. Borba gives as things that could be causing this craziness and see if any apply to your life. We will meet right back here tomorrow for Chapter 3 - Why Being a Sacrificial Mom is Bad for Your Kids.

Monday, April 6, 2009

12 Simple Secrets Every Real Mom Knows - Chapter 1

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Did you do some digging in your heart about how you want your kids to describe you? I know I definitely did, but wasn't that such a tough question? For me, as I told you last week, I was visualizing certain moms that I admire or that have made a difference in my life. But the hardest part, I think, is realizing that I could potentially NOT be remembered the way I want to be. I mean really, we only get one shot at this and then they are grown and we shall reap what we have sown. Good or bad. Then when you think that God has given these children to us and that it is our responsibility to "train a child in the way he should go" I really feel like I have so much to learn. I don't know about you, but I have been only seeing the "long term dividend" or the way that I thought it would all end up when my kids were grown, but the amount I am putting in and the consistency of my deposits just isn't going to get me what I so desperately want.
If you feel the same way, we have lots more to cover today that will help you. Hope you are ready for some more soul searching!! This week we will begin on Part One of the book, which is composed of 4 chapters and is entitled How Can a Real Mom Give Her Children Love that Lasts for Always...remember the Velveteen Rabbit?? We will work on a chapter each day and then on Friday we will learn the 12 Simple secrets and also create our Mother's Promise which we will work on over the course of the next few weeks as we learn how to implement these secrets in our lives...one simple secret at a time!! So let's get started!!
Chapter 1 is entitled From the Sacrificial Mom to the Child Who Can Thrive Without You and it begins with that oh, so difficult question..."Just how satisfied are you right now with your own parenting? Seriously."(p.20) YIKES!! So are you satisfied?? To help us decide she also asks,
Have you ever said to yourself, "I wish I knew how to be a mom who raises kids who have what it takes to be happy and successful. I feel like I am always spinning my wheels and knocking myself out trying to do so much for my kids. What really matters when it comes to being a good mom? What do my kids really need from me, and can I really make a
difference in their lives?" (p. 20)
To answer that question Dr. Borba tells us, YES!! You can and do make a difference in your children's lives. Every one of us does. But the reality is, as she puts it,...mothers have gone way overboard. Many of us have reached the point where we're tired and anxious but still trying to do more and more for our kids.(p.20) All of this super sacrificing is completely unnecessary and is causing more harm than good. Don't you agree? We just keep on doing and doing and giving and giving and going and going and we are literally at our breaking point and we just keep on...but WE ARE GIVING THE WRONG THING!!! What our kids really want from us is a LOVE THAT LASTS FOR ALWAYS.
Are You Ready to Make a Change
Dr. Borba explains that REAL mothering doesn't have to be as hard as the 2009 mom is making it, but we have to be willing to CHANGE! Then she gives these questions to help us realize that it's time to get out of the fast lane. How do these settle with you (you got that journal???)?
  • Do you feel guilt about not living up to your own image of the perfect mom? Do you second guess your mothering or think you're not doing a good enough job?
  • Do you worry about your child - about whether his workload/schedule is just too much?
  • At your parent-teacher conference, do you find yourself asking more about your kids' grades...than how he gets along?
  • Are you frequently stressed or exhausted or impatient with your family? Does the littlest, tiniest thing get under your skin? Are you quick to anger? Are you yelling more?
  • Are you on the coach's case complaining that your child isn't getting enough game time?
  • Has success become such a huge commodity in your family that your kids are afraid to let you down or disappoint you with a poor grade?
  • Do you worry that you kids seems really anxious or depressed?
  • Do you worry when your kids seems to have nothing to do, and feel as though you have to educate or entertain him every second of the day?
  • Do you always compare yourself frequently to other moms and worry that they're doing a better job than you are? (p. 21)

Okay, if you answered yes to ANY of the questions, it's time to make some changes!! YES TO ANY OF THEM I SAID...that was not a typo!! WHOA!! Which ones do you relate to?? Are you ready to change?? This book will help you. This was a hard test for me because it really showed me that I have gone overboard into Motherhood Mania land which is light years from where I want to be in June Cleaver land!!! I have all of my "yeses" in purple so that you can see where I struggle.

Back it up just a minute though, I mean really whatever happened to June? I could have so been June's next door neighbor. Me with my little white apron and my big blue Cadillac. SO ME!! You know that perfect kitchen with the warm cookies and a mail man that knows you! I could so be there. So what happened to that MOTHER?? Its what we all want isn't it?? Look how much mothering has changed just since our moms were raising kids?? Light years, huh??

That is what we will talk about tomorrow as we begin Chapter 2. Here is a teaser...

What Happened To Pat-A-Cake and Peek-A-Boo?

When Did Mothering Become a Billion-Dollar Profit Center?

How did We Get From June Cleaver to Motherhood Mania?

The Urge to Be Supermom

All that is tomorrow, so please reflect on what you have written in your journals and have some quiet time looking at being ready to make some simple choices that will help us to give a love to our children that will...last for always.

See you right back here in the morning and remember if you have a friend that you think will benefit...send her on our way!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know - Intro Part 2

I really hope you enjoyed our first reality checking, soul searching part of Dr. Michele Borba's book, 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know. I truly hope that some of you have managed to get your hands on the book, if not that is okay. I have set up a category for it on the right and you can go to it any time you would like. This should also help if we are moving too fast for you, but we will talk about that a little bit later.
Today we are going to begin by going over what Dr. Borba says are the benefits of being a real mother. Then we will look at the 6 core principals of being a real mother and learn how to use this book to get the most out it. Wow, we have a lot of ground to cover, but remember this is your individual journey, so go at your own pace and make sure you are taking notes along the way in your journal. This will all make more sense later and you will want to reflect back on these foundations. Welcome back, lets get started right away!
The Benefits of Being a Real Mother

Sometimes I think we want immediate gratification and instant results, which is why I believe we are jumping on every new wagon that drives by. For us 2009 moms, its hard to see a week or 2 pass and no change in our kids. We think that what we are doing must not be working and off to the next thing we go. But, Dr. Borba, shows us 7 LONG TERM DIVIDENDS as she calls them to being a REAL mother. I love how she calls them "long term dividends" because isn't that exactly what parenting is? You don't put $100 in the stock market today and have a million tomorrow, right? But over time with consistency you will end up with lots of money, right? Parenting is the same way. We must look for the long term dividend and stop worrying about the short term outcomes that change with the wind! We don't look at our stock market account and check the balance every day thinking that what we see is the ending balance do we? What a great way to look at parenting!!!

Here are Dr. Borba's 7 Reasons She says that moms today need to get REAL:

  1. Real moms can help their kids buck peer pressure because the certainty and firmness of their conviction strengthens their influence on their kids.
  2. Real mom' children are more likely to adopt their mother's values because their mother hasn't watered down her beliefs with the latest trends or moral compromises.
  3. Real moms are likely to be better models of patience and self control because they are being themselves and are at peace with who they are.
  4. Real moms are happier and have more joy in their families because there is so much less pretense and putting on to keep up.
  5. Real moms are less guilty and anxious because they are not trying to be perfect by other people's standards.
  6. Real moms are more appreciated because their kids have had a chance to know their interests and passions.
  7. Real mom have more energy for their families because they don't waste time doing things that don't match their priorities and beliefs. (p.8)

The result of all these wonderful benefits is that real moms enjoy a powerful connection with their children that "lasts for always." (p.8)


Because isn't that what we want? Isn't that the legacy that we all want to leave? It definitely is for me. Those 7 reasons spoke so loudly to me that I wrote every single one of them down in my journal and I am sure that you are just a writing too. It is important to see these long term dividends and keep them fresh in our minds as we press along in our journey to getting back to the basics of mothering. I typed them up and printed them out and have them posted in my office. I see them every morning!! I want to see them all the time because I am tired of this fast paced world that expects us to behave in a certain way and conditions us to completely turn away from the God who created us in a quest to be recognized and built up by earthly standards that ultimately mean NOTHING!!

Dr. Borba refers to this way of "modern day parenting" as being "like a hamster wheel." How fitting huh? She says that moms today feel like they are running and running on one of those things and never get off. I'm sure at some point or another we have all felt like that. It's that continuing "busyness" or that feeling of "always doing" that Dr. Borba says is how moms today define themselves. Here is what she says,

"I've come to realize that real mothering, the stuff that makes up the true natural essence of being a mother, hasn't changed and never will. But the society we're living in here in the good old 21st century USA does have a new and different expectation of what it is to be a good, responsible, conscientious mother. These days the central expectation of a "good" mom is for her to be a "doer" (volunteer, tutor, coach, carpool driver, PTA enthusiast, social secretary, hostess with the mostess, and on and on - very complicated!!).

A decade ago, the main expectation was that she be a "nurturer"(supporter, listener, guider - simpler, and REAL). That little switch has had a dramatic impact on our lives as well as the lives of our children." (p. 10)

IT IS SO TRUE!! When I am feeling overwhelmed and inefficient and I go to my own mother (how about that...that would be benefit #2...guess my MOM was REAL), the first thing she always says to me is, "Baby, I just wasn't as busy as you are. We didn't go anywhere. We got up, had breakfast, got our work done, and the day was ours." I could really just cry right now thinking about it. THAT IS WHAT I WANT...I'm yelling!!! But just like Dr. Borba says, the more we try to simplify, the more complicated things become.

Why?? Why do things get complicated when we try to simplify?? Well, Dr. Borba has this to say,

"Ask a woman to describe a GOOD mother, and you will get a resume: "A room mother." "The play group coordinator," "The soccer coach." "A scout leader." "The PTA president" "A booster club officer." "A school volunteer." This list of roles goes on and on. Mothering is a to-do-list and we are exhausted just trying to keep up. The more mom does, the better her chance of making it into the "Mommy Hall of Fame" (at least in the eyes of other moms).

Interestingly enough, the kids describe their moms as "always involved," "busy," teens say that their moms "don't have a life." Those same kids say their moms are "usually tired," "impatient," and they "wish they could spend more time with them." But how could they, when their schedules are so filled? (p. 10)

The reason that things get so complicated when we try to simplify is that we haven't changed our standards. Our worth, whether we would like to admit it or not, has been measured by how other moms view us and how much "good" we are doing for our kids. We may not feel like this all of the time, but if we depend on the latest parenting technique or continue to strive for the "Mommy Hall of Fame," our standards are way off. Do you find yourself measuring other moms by what they do and how much they do? I think have all guilty been of that at some time or another. Every knows of the yearly fight for ROOM MOTHER status right? You know Open House night when all of the moms show the teacher how available they can be and how they would make the best Room Mother. That is an easy trap to fall into. That is desiring to be measured by someone else's (who has only met you maybe once) standards at its finest. I fell into that trap when my oldest was in Kindergarten. I wanted to be as involved as possible, so I volunteered for everything y'all...EVERYTHING. My husband said that I walked around school with a big sign that read, "Hi, I'm Kellye the door mat. If you need anything, anything at all, it doesn't matter what just ask me because I have NOTHING ELSE TO DO." Of course I had other things to do, but I fell into the trap of wanting to make the good mommy cut. It wore me slap out though, and I just couldn't do it anymore...So you know what I did instead??? I became the PTA President. Y'all really, I'm serious. I'm laughing at myself and I know that y'all are laughing WITH me, but seriously that is what I did!! How sad is that?? Does any of this relate to you? If it does jot it down in your journal.

We have seen how kids described their modern moms, now let's see as Dr. Borba gives us some kids who described their REAL mothers. Here is what they say,

"My mother was such a great listener." "She was always there." "My mom was so patient!" "All my friends used to tell me how nice my mother was." "Mom was so funny, we just laughed and laughed."(p. 10-11)

I realized during these interviews that what we all remembered was not what our moms DID, but who they WERE and how strong (or not) was the connection between mother and child. We remembered the woman herself, or simply "THE MOTHER." (p.11)

These women influenced us by being real: with their own lives, their personal example, and their genuine selves - not all the things they did for us. They knew instinctively how to connect with us and form a lasting attachment. These moms didn't rely on parenting gurus, use flash cards, learn the latest gimmicks, and read the child development charts. They used their natural-born instincts to mother their children, and because they did, their mothering was more authentic, far simpler, and more effective in influencing their kids' lives for the better, because they set their children a terrific example. THEY WERE REALLY REAL!" (p.11)

Six Core Principals of Real Mothering

So, here is what Dr. Borba says are the 6 core principals that Real mothers know. A responsible caring woman:

  1. Loves her children deeply and is committed to raising them to the best of her ability
  2. Knows the essential and proven parenting principals
  3. Maintains a strong belief that no one understands or knows better what's best for her child than herself
  4. Recognizes her child's and her own unique strengths and temperament, and customizes her parenting to fit it
  5. Has the confidence to act on these beliefs
  6. Knows, above all else, that it is the connection with the child that matters most (p. 11-12)

So now that we have taken in a whole bunch of information, lets take a little break and do some journaling. Review what we have written so far and what we have learned, think about it for a few minutes and lets all answer this very simple, yet very difficult question.

How do you want to be described or even remembered by your children?

Lets each write on this for a few minutes and then we will continue. While you are writing though, imagine that your children are all grown up. What do you want them to say about you??


Okay, lets wipe the tears, gain our composure and see what Dr. Borba has to say about that very question of how we want our kids to describe and even to remember us. She says,

"I would be willing to bet it would be as the type of woman who influenced your life." (p. 13)

Okay is she reading my mind??? When I close my eyes and look at my kids all grown up and talking about me certain people stick out in my mind. So, I jotted the characteristics of that person that mean the most to me down. They are mostly good memories I have of that person. Things that just stick out to me, you know the person who teaches you that you are worth something, the one who teaches you the value of a dollar and shows you how to have a work ethic, and that person who believes in you and is there for you anytime. Sometimes even a saying or a quote that a certain person says often will ring in your mind and mean so much. I had a very dear neighbor about 5 years ago in a house that we rented while we were building. I often called her my "adoptive mom" because she really took me in and literally taught me the ropes of life that I never knew. So many things we talked about mean so much to me still to this day and the way she was with her grand kids has always been something I admire. I still call her for advice and still very much look up to her as a mother and grand mother. Even as I sit here and think of what kind of mom I want to be RIGHT NOW TODAY, not when my kids are grown but right now, certain moms stand out to me. WHY??? Dr. Borba says it is because those women are REAL mothers. WOW!!!

She continues by saying, "If that's the kind of mother you want to become for your children, read on. It will be the woman your children describe years from now if you follow the plan in this book....Your children really do grow up all too quickly, but your connection to them will last an eternity if you learn to use the twelve secrets in this book, follow your instincts, and keep true to yourself. Enjoy!" (p. 13) Okay so are you ready to embark on this journey together?? I feel like I have learned so much already and we really haven't even begun. Next week we will look at Part One of Dr. Borba's book 12 Simple Secrets Real Moms Know which will give us an understanding of why this is so important and how we can beat Motherhood Mania. Then we will get to Part Two which is the 12 secrets, 12 true stories of women each with a simple secret, each accompanied by ways to use these secrets in our own life.

She says about these 12 secrets, "Time and time again, I've seen the audience laugh and cry as I told them. They seem to strike a chord. Over the years I've realized that each of them depicts an essential secret of real mothering. And years later, people tell me how much these stories have influenced their lives." (p.14)

There are also guidelines and tips of how we can use each secret in our own life (BRUTAL...hope you got a big journal!!).

She says, "This is not a 1-2-3 method of parenting. This is about creating a life mission. This is about creating a Mother's Promise that you will use forever." (p. 14)

Dr. Borba takes this very seriously and does not want to be compared in any way to the latest parenting method or newest idea on the block. She even gives these rules to follow when reading the book:

  • Create your own Mother's Promise. (More on this coming later, but we will do this)
  • Form a book club. Read the book together and discuss a secret each week.
  • Start a journal. The point of this is to express your thoughts about parenting and your concerns about your own kids and to keep track of specific ideas, strategies, and stories you want to remember.
  • Find a buddy. Don't try to go this alone. Find other moms who you can share your joys and concerns and the progress of your efforts with.
  • Go one secret at a time. Please don't overwhelm yourself by trying to take on too much. (p. 14-15)
I think we've got all of our bases covered and we are ready to go! Think over these things this weekend. Really spend some time wrapping your mind around this info if you get some quiet time. We will begin on Part One Monday. And to just give you a little teaser...the first sentence of Part One, Chapter One is this:
So let me ask you something: Just how satisfied are you right now with your own parenting? Seriously. (p. 20)
Wow! I cannot wait to get started. I hope to see all of you bright and early Monday morning!!
Get ready because ITS TIME TO GET REAL!!!

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