Monumental Mondays – Honesty

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18

Meriam-Webster defines honesty as:
“the quality of being fair and truthful.” How many of us are truly fair and truthful on a daily basis? Honesty sounds so simple, but is one of the most difficult things for many of us to do. Sometimes we are dishonest by mistake, our mouth moves faster than our mind. Other times we are dishonest to spare another’s feelings. And, there are also times that we are dishonest simply for the pure gain of it. Reality is that no one likes being lied to or treated unfairly. People have a hard time respecting or trusting dishonest people no matter how good their intentions are. Honesty is very important to each of our lives. We all need people that are honest with us. Even more importantly we need to be honest with ourselves as well.

Being dishonest is not always intentional, but is still harmful regardless. We each have to stop allowing ourselves passes to lie for any reason. This week, I ask that we start addressing our own dishonest moments along with stopping others from being dishonest with us. No matter how arkward it is this week, when you have a dishonest moment immediately correct it.

“We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters…….. that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules…. and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.”

Michelle Obama

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Tantrums and Toddler Meltdowns

When your baby turns about 18 months, they call it “the terrible two’s”…now I know why. Before I had my son (Kodie), I would see toddlers in public misbehave all of the time. Sometimes I wouldn’t think much of it, but there have been times when I’ve witnessed them scream and cry and I would think “wow that kid is a brat!” LOL. I’ve  seen the frustration on their parents’ faces. Some parents would even have to physically discipline their toddlers in public!
Well now that I am a mom, I’ve experienced the toddler meltdowns more times that I can count! Now I can relate to what other parents have been going through! Unfortunately, toddlers don’t care if people are around or if he or she is too loud. They don’t care if you are at a restaurant eating or just out running errands. All they know and care about is that they didn’t get their way or they are tired and or hungry.
My son Kodie first started having tantrums around 1 1/2 but they fully reached their peak by 2. He has fallen out on the floor and literally kicked and screamed because I wouldn’t let him take his favorite toy to daycare or have his way. Sometimes his reasons aren’t even logical at all, LOL. Toddler meltdowns can’t always be avoided and sometimes they will happen at the most inopportune times. I literally have been in restaurants and had to walk outside because Kodie turned into Mr. Lungs, the screamer! Here are 4 simple tips to help minimize those terrible tantrums when possible:

1. Try not to over schedule your child’s day. ⚽️⚽️⚾️⚾️🏉🏉🏉🏀🏀🏈As mothers, we have so much on our plates and only a little bit of time to get things done. For me, Saturdays are typically when I go grocery shopping for the week and run errands. I might also have an activity planned or a playdate for Kodie. I have learned that every child is different but for Kodie, if he is out running around all day and he hasn’t had a nap then 9 times out of 10 he’s going to have a meltdown! There have been times where I would have to either eliminate an activity or leave him home if possible while I’m out running errands.

2. Know your child’s personality.  Some toddlers will go with the flow and they don’t need much of a schedule because they are very adaptable, but this is not the case for Kodie. He needs a routine. During the week his routine is pretty standard. He wakes up around 6:50-7am, gets dressed and goes to daycare. In the evening he plays, eats dinner, has a bath and story time and he’s in bed and sleep by 8-8:30. During the weekend, however, things can sometimes get off-track. Unfortunately, 8pm for Kodie is bewitching hour, LOL! Typically, if I’m out past 8pm with Kodie, he’s going to turn into Mr. Lungs! He’s a child that is used to his routine. He may not go to bed on the weekends at 8 or 8:30 but he prefers to be home relaxing in his PJ’s around that time. If he is not, then he has no problem letting me know that he’s annoyed LOL.

3. Make sure your child is full and napped. Sometimes Kodie refuses to take a nap but it’s essential that he eats. He’s not the kind of child that I can happily run errands with when he’s hungry and tired. Hunger and fatigue are two of the biggest pitfalls for toddler meltdowns. If you’re in a rush, pack your child’s lunch or a snack and take it with you until you can get somewhere to feed your child.

4.  Sometimes you just have to cry/ride it out! 😰😰😰😰😪😪😪😪When dealing with a toddler tantrum sometimes you just have to ride it out. The trick is to not give in. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do and a full on tantrum is going to occur. Yes, it’s embarrassing when you’re out and it’s not fun when everyone is looking at you when your child is the one having the tantrum, but it’s important to be as relentless and these little guys. If your child knows that kicking, screaming, and acting like a fool will ultimately get him or her their way then guess what, that’s what they will do. If calmly talking to your child doesn’t work and they are irrational to the point where words are useless then ignore them. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but your only other option is to give in which just reinforces to them that this behavior is effective.

-Kristle, Kodie’s Mommy.

 

Monumental Mondays – Friendship

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Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

Proverbs 13:20

If we stopped and evaluated those around us would we be able to truly tell friend from foe? Are our friendships adding or taking from our lives? Are we a better us because of them? If the answer is no, it’s time for change. Friendships are important to our lives. They provide laughter, opportunity for growth, and adventure. As women, wives, mothers, and those of us with stressful jobs we need positive friendships. Friendships keep us going and give us encouragement. However, it’s not just about having a good friend it’s also about being one. Every day we should strive to be the friend that we want. We often get so hung up in what we need from friends that we forget what they need from us. Be open, understanding, and positive. Friendships are important relationships to each of us.

This week take some time to think of the people you call friends. Are you surrounding yourself with the greatness that you deserve? Are you being the friend that your friends deserve? Now is the time to sever friendships that harm you and to strengthen those that help.

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”

              Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Monumental Mondays

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

                                                     Psalm 37:4

“People who put their trust in material things don’t own their possessions, their possessions own them.”

   A Pathway to God’s PRESENCE

So often we see people unhappy with their lives, because they don’t possess what another has or what they feel that they deserve. As a woman, there are so many things to compare to other women! We compare our cars, bags, shoes, hair, jobs, and the list could go on and on. Yet, we never stop to think that none of those things truly are what make and keep us happy. We are far more special than our possessions. We each have something uniquely beautiful about ourselves that should be appreciated and acknowledge. Being unhappy because we can’t purchase a $1,000 item or because someone has left us, shouldn’t be what gets us up in the morning. We each have to learn that happiness lies in us. No one and nothing can take that from us. We create our happiness. Some of the highest paid people are the most unhappy. People that appear to be surrounded by so many others, often feel the most alone. Where some of the simplest people, live the best lives. You control your own happiness!

This week, I hope that each of us can take the time to determine what truly brings us happiness. That we dig deep to find the desires of our hearts and write them down so that we don’t loose them again.

Be happy ladies!! Kisses and Smiles

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It’s what you think about it!”
                                                     Dale Carnegie

The Right to Choose

Raising children is hard. Especially when they are young and rambunctious. What’s even harder is the sifting through 50 million pieces of advice you get. What makes that advice so difficult is that it doesn’t always match your beliefs or style. Yet, as a new mother you know that you don’t know it all. Shoot, you barely know the basics! So, when a 10-year veteran says spank him, you consider it.

Story:

Kris was having one of those days. You know, the kind where they are bouncing off walls and playing too hard to hear your stops, no’s, and leave that alones! When I did get him to listen, he decided not to. I told myself, he just wants to play a little. However, as time moved on and his energy increased, I grew more tired. And, just as I felt it couldn’t get any crazier, he pooped. Now it was time for Wrestling 101. And, trust me, I’m the rookie!!! Kris had made up his mind that once the pamper came off, he was out of there, and he was. But, that’s not what bothered me. What bothered me was that when I instructed him to stay still, he became what appeared to be angry. He tossed the powder and lotion off the bed and anything else that was in his way! That angered me.

It’s in this exact moment that you begin to wonder if you’re an effective parent? Every piece of advice started echoing through my head, but I knew deep within that I was not a spanker. I hate hitting my child. It truly makes me feel like crap. I’m not judging mothers who spank, I’m just saying that it’s not for me! That doesn’t mean that I never pluck his fingers or tap his hand or leg. It just means that I hate having to do it, and it’s usually my last course of action. What I have learned to do is to create my own way of disciplining my child. I listen to all of the advice I’m given and keep what I need, while disregarding the rest.

Back to the Story:
That day, I just took a breath and walked away. He was left puzzled. Not even two minutes later, I heard him say…. “Mommy change me!” I quickly told him that he was misbehaving, and that I was leaving and he couldn’t go. He doesn’t like to be left behind, and immediately laid down to be changed. That day, I won.

I’m sure you’re wondering what I do, since I don’t like spanking much. For correction and in efforts to quickly gain his attention, I use other methods such as; giving him the eye, raising and deepening my voice, taking toys, stopping activities, time outs, and redirecting. Surprisingly, I’ve found these methods work for he and I. He seems to understand these better then just spanking him. Agression toward agression builds more agression…… especially if your little one is as stubborn as my Kristopher. If I do resort to plucking him, he makes sure to tell me that hitting isn’t nice and that was mean of mommy! LOL. What am I to say to that? Hitting isn’t nice and it IS mean. He’s learned to tell me that, because it’s what I tell him when he hits.

I believe that a lot of what our children learn, they learn from watching their parents and others. So, I’ve learned to be more cautious with my behaviors around him. When something doesn’t go my way, I don’t curse or get angry, I try to calm myself and move on to something else. It teaches him to remain as calm as possible in situations as well.

I also believe that many parents, especially moms, aren’t naturally spankers. However, they spank because others tell them they should, because they were spanked as child, or out of anger. My response to each of these reasons are:

1. Spanking because of others: Every parent is different and has their own way of disciplining. Every child will respond differently to certain actions. It’s your job as your child’s parent to tailor your choice of discipline to what best fits the both of you, and teaches the greatest lesson to your child.

Everyone else is not you! Your child is not everyone else’s! What works in one household may not work in yours. What worked for a cousin, or even an older sibling, may not work for this particular child. Don’t spank out of mommy pressure!

2. Because I was spanked: I wasn’t spanked a lot as a child, but I received my fair share. Most of my spanking were administered from my mother, because my father wasn’t a spanker. Yet, I listened to him much more than my mother. Truthfully, I preferred her to spank me. It hurt, and made me stop in my tracks, but it didn’t last long. I preferred punishment that was over quickly and didn’t make me acknowledge what I did. However, when I was told to sit in my room and not allowed to play with anything, it was torture! LOL. I had no option (I need options), but to acknowledge my wrongdoing, so I would typically form an apology. In that room, I always made my mind up not to do that again, because I had time to figure out that it wasn’t worth the punishment.

3. Spanking because you’re mad: This really bothers me, because it’s how abuse sometimes occurs, and it teaches no lesson. Your child did something at a time that you were already frustrated. The action may not have even been that bad, but because you were angry, you reacted quickly and harshly. This can quickly cause fear in your child and teaches them no lesson. All they know is that their plate slipped and mommy beat them.

Being a parent isn’t easy. There are no manuals or perfect ways to do things. When you are faced with determining if you’re effective or not, remember that being effective doesn’t mean that they will understand at that moment, but know that it may make sense to them later. Trust in yourself and do what makes you feel okay. If you walk away beating yourself up about it, you haven’t helped anyone.

I’ll end with this, I work with clients who often share how they were beaten as children. I work for the legal system, and from this I’ve learned that those spankings didn’t positively shape their future. Spanking may stop the behavior for the moment, but usually doesn’t teach a lifelong lesson.

Children -like all humans- should have the right to decide who puts their hands on their body, and when, and how, and for what reason. Your right to parent how you choose does not superseded your child’s right, to feel safe from harm in his own home”  

         -Human Rights for Human Children

Kristopher’s Mom (Kristina)

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Monumental Mondays – Judgment

Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

                                                           Galatians 6:2

Too often we as women, ignore our own faults. Yet, we will gladly point out the inconsistencies of others. How quick do you often jump to judge a friend or condemn a stranger? Yet, we go home everyday and lay in our own mess as if it doesn’t exist. We have have to stop being so critical of the lives, decisions, and actions of others. Because at the end of the day, we are all human.

This week, I encourage each of us to compliment, support, and encourage someone else.

“When we judge or citizens another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical”
                                                                    Unknown

Top 12 Things That I Love About Being A Mom

Screenshot_2016-05-08-00-57-191. Endless Kisses

It’s impossible to feel unloved or unappreciated with a toddler at home. They will kiss and hug you for no reason at all! Just random kisses throughout the day, that often include the last snack they ate. But, are always followed by the cutest smile ever.

2. New Adventures

I love doing new and exciting things with my son. I originally thought that I was introducing him new things, but quickly learned that I was experiencing new experiences as well. Being able to see the world through the eyes of a toddler is amazing.  Their laughter, excitement, and smile just captivates you. The simplest things are magnified when a 2 year old is involved. And, life somehow gets excitingly messier!

3. Unconditional Love

I’ve loved many people: parents, significant others, friends, etc. But, no love compares to the love that my child and I share. It is unique and mindblowing. It’s a bond that words can’t really describe. I mean, who else follows you to the bathroom? Lol. I see him and my whole word lights up. There is no other love quite like it.

4. Being able to care for someone

It’s seems like I’ve been caring for children all of my life. However, none of it adds up to the joy you get from caring for your own. I take pride in doing the smallest things for my son. It makes me feel alive and gives my life so much more meaning.

5. Becoming a better me

Motherhood, has taught me so much about myself. Waking up and seeing him every morning, pushes me to want more for not just myself, but for him. Being his mother has also taught me patience, gentleness, and given me strength. Oh, and how can I forget that I’ve learned how to be a superhero! I catch plates before they’re thrown off highchairs and my kisses heal boo boos! Who would have known that?

6. You smile even when you don’t want to

When I first had Kristopher, I was in a tremendous amount of pain. I had an emergency cesarean and a week later was back in the hospital for an additional week, having tubes placed into my stomach. Not to mention, I was hell bent on exclusively breastfeeding. Needless to say, pain was my daily friend. But, no matter what, when his little eyes met mines, I smiled. On rough days when I just want to kick and scream, the moment I see him, I put my mommy pants on and let the stress melt away.

7. Blessing of being able to watch him grow up

Everyday, I thank God. I have been blessed with the opportunity to watch my son learn something new, conquer a new fear, and overcome a past challenge. Watching children grow up, gives life meaning and hope. You know that through them, the world will be different, maybe a little weirder, but still different.

8. I’m on time more

Somehow, having an extra little person to take care of has made me a more timely person (crazy right). The before motherhood me was guaranteed to be late, no matter what! Yet, now I’m rarely late and somehow on time. Schedules, truly change lives!

9. Parties/creativity

I have to admit, I love to plan! I was a planner at heart before motherhood, but now I have the perfect excuse to plan… Kristopher! Yes, I will probably be one of those parents who throws a party every year! Call it over kill, call it excessive, call it what you want, but I love to party plan and there’s no better party than a kids party! Creative themes, bright colors and fun games.

10. There’s always an excuse to shop

I was worried about having a boy at first. Not because I wanted a girl, because I’ve always wanted a boy. But, because I didn’t think shopping for a boy would be fun. Boy, was I wrong!!! I love shopping for my little guy. And, despite what people say, there is plenty to buy….Hoodies, graphic tees, sweeters, cardigans, shorts, pants, and soooo much more. I love being a mommy, because I have a completely understandable reason to shop!

11. None Stop Laughter

As a mother, you laugh all the time. Sometimes, even when you shouldn’t. LOL. Since I became a mother, my life has been full of laughter, from funny faces, to hilarious sounds, and crazy dances. Through laughing with him, I believe that I get younger everyday.

# 12. My absolute favorite!!! Mother’s Day

I love being a mother, because I am finally able to be celebrated on Mother’s Day!! Yay!!!!!  For years, I questioned if I would be able to have a child, so I was unsure that I would ever be celebrated on Mother’s Day. I’ve dated men with children and married my husband, who has kids. However, I’ve never really been considered on Mother’s Day. I would be a liar to say that it didn’t hurt and that I wasn’t a little envious of other moms. However, when I had my son, it was offical. I was finally a mom and free to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day Monumentals!!

Helpful Tips for New Mommies

“How beautifully everything is arranged by Nature; as soon as a child enters the world, it finds a mother ready to take care of it.” -Jule MIchelet

Since becoming a mom, my life has changed DRASTICALLY! The first few weeks were a whirlwind of emotions. I was so ecstatic to no longer be pregnant…… I literally felt like I dropped a load, LOL. I was overjoyed with my precious newborn baby boy but simultaneously, I was beyond exhausted but too amped up and anxious to really sleep. I was so scared that he would stop breathing in the middle of the night (Yikes!) so even when he slept I was awake. I was beyond anxious and even scared to leave him in a room unattended even for a few minutes. I remember that I was so nervous to give him his first bath because he was so little and I didn’t want to drop him! One day, my sister was holding Kodie and she smelled him and said that he didn’t smell so good and that he needed a bath ASAP LOL. I learned that night how to give my baby a bath and I overcame that fear.

The first time that I took my son out of the house by myself was such a struggle, but the baby needed to go to his doctor’s appointment and my husband (Keith) had to work. I remember thinking that the people were driving way too fast and the road was just not safe enough for a newborn, LOL. After I safely got us to the doctors, I then struggled with how to get the car seat out of the base! I called Keith and he told me what to do, LOL…that day was such a struggle. I say all of this to say that as a first time mom, all of these tasks were overwhelming initially; from bathing the baby, to breast feeding, to leaving the house for the first time with the baby.

After I became a mom, I felt as though other women had sugar-coated what life is really like after the baby is born and I didn’t really know what to expect. Women would often tell me about all of the fun and cute stuff regarding their babies but not about the real and disgusting parts! That’s why I thought it might be useful to compose a few tips for new Moms:

1. Babies are cute and adorable. They are soft and so cuddly and you just want to snuggle with them! That new baby smell is awesome, but don’t be fooled! They are disgusting little creatures, LOL! Be prepared to get peed on, pooped on, and vomited on! These little creatures are uninhibited and they don’t care anything about your nice outfit! I strongly suggest that before leaving the house, take a minute or two to look in the mirror and look for any hidden throw up stains on your clothes and in your hair! Trust me, I learned the hard way and was at work already when I noticed throw-up in my hair and stains on my sweater (SMH)!

2. Don’t go overboard with expensive and high end label clothing. It’s so much fun to dress your little one up, but let’s be real; before you can even get them out of the house and to your destination they will most likely have spit up, spilled food and/or milk, and peed or pooped his or her clothes out! Plus, you spend all of this money on clothes to dress them up and to sit in the house. I mean really…where are they going besides doctor’s appointments and to run errands with you? LOL. Sometimes I would just dress Kodie up in his clothes before he outgrew them and would take pictures in them, LOL. These little babies grow sooo fast it’s crazy!! Before you know it you will be donating or giving away an entire wardrobe that your little baby has outgrown in a matter of months.

3. You will never eat in peace AGAIN (unless the baby is asleep). Kodie could have just finished eating but if he sees me eating something then he will bug for my food. There have been times that he literally climbed up me for my food, SMH! These little people have super hearing and it’s as if they hear you chewing from far, far away! You can be eating something and all of a sudden they will stop everything to get whatever you have! Sometimes I have to hide in a corner to eat a quick snack, LOL.
4. You will never sleep Again!!! Well maybe you will once your little one sleeps through the night; however, I still don’t know what that’s like (SMH) but that’s another topic for another day, LOL. For me, this was the hardest transition of all because I love to sleep! Even if you happen to have the luxury of finding sleep, you will sleep with one eye open! It won’t be a restful sleep. Once you become a mom, you develop super hearing and any kind of sounds of discomfort such as coughing, sneezing, or just plain old loud breathing will instantly wake you. As a mom, you are on the clock 24-7 and you are always on guard, even in the middle of the night.

5. Babies get sick all of the time! You can take vitamins and breast feed to build up their immunity….that’s great, however, unless you can keep your child in a bubble, they will get sick often; especially if they are in daycare or around other children. It may be a common cold or virus, but none the less a baby with a cold is still quit miserable. As soon as my son is getting over a cold another kid in daycare is coughing and I just say noooooo to myself because I already know that he will have another cold again. I guess it makes sense that babies and toddlers stay sick because everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) goes into their mouths!!! One time I caught my son trying to lick the trash can SMH! I mean really?!!! These babies have no boundaries when it comes to putting objects in their mouth….it gives me chills just thinking about it.

6. Don’t be so hard on yourself Momma. These little people don’t come with instruction manuals, although they should LOL. Just try to stay in the hospital after giving birth as long as you can (I’m serious) LOL. The nurses in the hospital are great and really helpful but once it’s time to go home they will send you on your way and wish you well and before you know it your home with a baby! As a new Mom you have to be able to think on your feet! Babies typically don’t tell you when they are going to have a blow-out in public. This happened to me when Kodie was a couple months old. We were waiting to take pictures and all of a sudden I smelled something. When I went to change him I saw that his entire outfit was ruined! Luckily, I had another one but it wasn’t the one that I wanted him to take his pictures in.

7. Your instincts will kick in! Being a Mom is trial and error; there is no right way or wrong way. All that matters is that you and your baby are comfortable with your decisions as a mother. You will mess up and make mistakes along the way but it’s OK. Everyone from your mother to your grandmother to your spouse’s mother’s mother will have advice and try to tell you what to do with your baby. At the end of the day, this is your experience as a first time mom. After all, you grew your baby inside of you and took care of him or her for 40 weeks so you definitely can take care of the baby once he or she is born. All babies really need is love, milk, sleep and a dry pamper.

~Kristle (A Monumental Mommy)

Mom-A title just above Queen