(All photos are from when we were together in Texas recently.)
I can do hard things.
While I was little my mom worked full time and earned a graduate degree while still fulfilling her motherly duties at home. When I was 12 years old my parents divorced. When I was 14 my mom lost her job. We had no income for a year; she was the main provider for the four youngest kids still living at home. When she wasn't diligently searching to secure employment she volunteered and helped teach young mothers, who had been addicted to drugs, how to mother to their babies. When she finally found employment she had to secure 3 different teaching positions in order to pay the bills.
My mom can do hard things. She works hard and she figures out how to make it through life's challenges.
Although my challenges right now are very different from what I saw my mom experience when I was a child I am reminded that I, too, can do hard things. When I stand fearful, or feel like I am failing at all that the Lord has handed me, I stop and remind myself, "I can do hard things." It empowers me to continue to work hard and be the mother I want to be, especially when it all feels too difficult.
Stay close to your sister(s).
My mom has 3 younger sisters. I love my aunts and adore them. One of the reasons is because I feel like they adore me. But the main reason...is because they bring my mom so much joy. Growing up I would wake up Saturday mornings to the sound of my mom's laughter. Many an early Saturday morning my mom spent chatting with one of her sisters on the phone. She was always in a good mood those days. My mom is happiest when she is in the company of her sisters.
I love and adore my older (and only) sister. Even though I don't have the opportunity to call and chat with her early Saturday mornings I am always uplifted when we do chat and love the frequent texts and love sent to my phone. She makes me laugh, she offers good advice (even if unsolicited at times...she is my older sister after all :)), and she offers a different perspective on life's challenges. I am a better mom because of my relationship with my sister.
Use peanut butter when necessary.
When I was bouncing off the walls, as was common in my rambunctious youth, my mom would make me sit down on a kitchen chair and hand me a spoonful of peanut butter (all natural, of course). I was not allowed to get out of that chair until the spoon was clean. It never felt like a punishment, just a cool down time.
I forgot about this perfect "calm down" gem until recently. What an amazing trick! It takes my kids so long to work through that spoonful of peanut butter that they calm down. It's slow and methodical. It's a diversion rather than a punishment. Simon likes it so much that he usually asks for a spoonful of peanut butter whenever I pull out the jar.
Often, it's the simple things that can make all the difference in a child's (and mama's) mood. How much happier we all are when a spoonful of peanut butter is consumed rather than yelling, "Stop doing that!" or "Calm down!" Motherhood is about creativity and finding uplifting ways of discipline rather than constant threats of punishment.
Mom, I love and adore you! You have taught me so much and are such a strong, awesome woman. Happy Mother's Day to THE most amazing mom in the world!!!