Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Start of Mother F'ers! Strong Mothers, Strong Ninos.....

As 2016 kicks off so does a new chapter in the world of the Justifying the F Word! From time to time I am going to feature guest writers of the woman kind, these Mother F'ers (get it???? Mom's near, at, or past 40) are going to help show the world that life just keeps getting better with age. If you are of the female persuasion and would like to be featured on the F word please email me! Sit back and enjoy the inaugural Mother F'er Post from Just so happens the author is my wife! Please check out her blog and subscribe to her email list. Even though this post curtails to Moms, we all can gain some perspective from the words below. By way the Baxter, if you do not speak Spanish Ninos means kiddos.

When we hear the word “strong,” usually the first thing that pops into our minds is someone with muscles on-top of muscles and not only does that specter of your imagination don 6 pack abs, but Babs (Back abs…thank you Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated for the reference).  Yes, by definition this would define strong but I want to dig deeper into its meaning.

The definition of strong in the Webster Dictionary is as follows: not easy to break or damage.  We all have a complete understanding of the first definition of the word, but I want to delve more into how I can impart this to my offspring.

Over 9 years ago, I gave birth to by oldest daughter Sienna.  Saying that moment changed everything would be an understatement.  Any mom knows the indescribable feeling of having their child placed in their arms for the first time.  They are bigger than your life, and from that moment on they are your life.  When Sienna was 6 months old, my husband and I went mountain biking with our good friend, “Dan the Man.”  At the time, Dan was married without children or what I like to refer to as a DINK (Double Income No Kids).  We hit the top of the hill climb and chatted for a while catching up on things.  He asked both my husband and I, “What is it like having a baby?” I remember my answer came without hesitation, “Put it this way Dan, if Sienna couldn’t walk I would give her my legs knowing that I would never run or walk again.” As moms, we strive every day to give our children every opportunity and experience with the goal of molding them into “strong” adults. 

When I found out I was having a baby girl, I was intimidated.  When I found out my second child was going to be girl I was absolutely frightened.   I grew up in a family with 4 children.  Three boys and I happened to be the estrogen toting caboose.  Growing up I idolized my brothers and wanted to do everything they did… but I wanted to do it better.  Everyone I know that is an only girl in a boy family seems to have the same feisty personality as myself.  I would refer to it as “Survival of the Fittest” in our house growing up.  If you wanted seconds at dinner time, you would have to out eat and out fight the others. Everything to me became a competition.  If I wanted to ski with my brothers, I had to keep up.  If they skied off a 25 foot cliff, so did I. To say that I was a “Tomboy” would be an understatement.  For example, one of the biggest fights I had with my parents was in middle school when they wouldn’t let me try out for the wrestling team (looking back I appreciate my parents holding their ground on that one). A good friend nailed my persona when she said, “You are a Chick-Dude.” That does not mean that I am Bruce Jenner, but a chick that’s personality is more like a guys.  I get guys, they are simple so when I found out I was going to have two girls I was shocked.  I always imagined having a house full of boys that I could rough house with.  I was intimated because I felt inadequate teaching my girls how to become a “strong women.”

As the years pass, I have continually struggled looking at other moms and their mad mom skills.  Let’s be honest: I do not sew, I am not crafty, I hate going to the mall (I would pick anything outdoors over the mall any day) and I always look like I just worked out.  It took me years to realize that my lack of self-confidence of having the same skills set as others would rub off on my girls.  Through my episodes of self-doubt I realized if I wasn’t open to trying new things and lacked confidence, my children would grow up with the same struggles.  Even though we at times don’t want to expect the fact, our offspring will mirror our behaviors.  Nothing stops me in my tracks more than when I see the same behavior (not always for the better) manifesting itself in one of my children.  I had to stop comparing myself to every other mom and look at what I can and want to teach my children.  I had to open my eyes to see that I have my own unique skill set that I could teach my kiddos.  All of this was based around the desire that I want my children to be confident, well rounded, and not easy to break, “strong!”
As much as I hate to admit it (or maybe it is because I don’t have teenagers yet), our children will grow up to be adults and one day leave the nest.   I would like nothing more than to protect them from every hard thing in their life’s….but I can’t.  I know there will be heart break along the way.  I know they will not be unbroken, but I want to teach them that when they fall they are “strong” enough to get up every time. There will be trials faced, and lessons learned at home that will help them stand back up. During the Sochi Winter Olympics, P&G aired the following commercial that evokes this emotion and desire.   

For our children to be “strong,” we need to start with ourselves.  This mantra doesn’t give you the excuse to spend every waking minute on yourself, but remember it is critical to take a little time out to develop our own strengths.   Learn what it means to YOU to be “strong.” I am always encouraging readers to get outside of their comfort zones.  Do it! Show your children you are willing to do things outside of your current skill set.  This is not just for those moms that have girls.  This applies also for moms that have boys too.  You want to be an example of what your boys should look for in a woman.  Getting outside of your comfort zone means doing things you may not enjoy or may even loath, but try it!  The funny thing about it is you might just like it. For example, if you hate camping and never take your children, they will hate it too. If we constantly turn away from the things we don’t like or make us uncomfortable, what does that teach our children?  Why is it that little kids love to ride bikes and play outside but at a certain age it is turned off and that door shuts?  Be that mom that not only crafts with your children, but takes them for a bike ride.  For me, the Chick-Dude, I have had to get out of my comfort zone and spend time at the mall with my girls as well as a many other “chick” activities that are not my cup of tea…why, because I want them to experience all that life has to offer, and not just my bag of tricks.  Are these my favorite things?  No, but I do it because I want them to see me doing things outside of my comfort zone.  What’s the goal? To open their eyes to see everything the world has to offer, thus helping them choose their path in life. 

I am not saying that going camping and crafting will make a “strong” adult but it will give them the confidence to roll with the punches that life will surely hand them.  My hope is, when life asks them to step outside of their comfort zone, they will be up to the task.  Michael Jordan said, “My mother is my root, my foundation. She planted the seed that I base my life on, and that is the belief that the ability to achieve starts in your mind.” As strong mothers lets be that root!

How are you going to make yourself “stronger” in 2016?  Let’s plant the seed and watch it grow!   

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