Sunday, January 29, 2017

Raising Men in a World Full of Boys

I had finally put our Walmart trip off long enough, all week actually, so off we go down the mountain to pick up a few necessities ( you know brownies cause I'm craving chocolate and too lazy to make some, and other "needs") We start the process of venturing in after all the parking spot searching(closest spot to the store and near a buggy return).  I unfold myself out of the car and sling the car seat over my arm and then lift the toddler up onto my God given baby seat(my hip). We grab a cart and make our way in. Lots of avoiding certain aisles and budgeting in my head if we need this now or if it can wait until payday. Finally, we make it out alive. A lot of emotions go into a grocery trip, excitement(yay! other human beings!, anxiety(hoping the baby stays asleep and no upper or lower eruptions occur), sadness(maybe one day I can buy all this junk food and not gain weight), and then impatience and anger(Self Check out machine that has a mind of it's own + a crying baby and whining toddler). But we made it back to the car with everyone still alive. I get the boys in the car and get so excited that there isn't a car on my side, so I can get in with ease! I push the buggy to the cart return and BAM! A car had pulled in and now I have to wait until they get out so I can get in. So I stand there. An older gentleman steps out of the drivers side and apologizes for me having to wait on his wife. I reassure him that "it's totally fine". He walks to his wife's door and instead of opening her's he opens mine. My jaw dropped. He looks at me with a smile and says "here you go dear, after you" I was in such shock. I can't remember the last time a (car) door had been opened FOR ME. I thanked him and hopped in. I was glowing! I then watched as his wife sat patiently as he opened her door next. Such a sweet man and it absolutely made my whole trip worth the headache! 

This action had me thinking about how it's so sad that chivalry is not dead, but it sure is dying. How sad that many women don't get to experience these sweet actions. We women and men have begun such a battle of the sexes with comparing each other and trying to be equals. We have come across like we are too good for such a treatment or "I can get the door myself! I am capable", I'm guilty of this. Growing up with four brothers I always had to be on my "A" game and kick some butt ;) It always felt weird when a door was opened for me. I guess now that I'm older and have boys of my own I realize it is a sign of great respect and not belittlement. 
Now, entrusted with raising two boys, I want to instill in them the great respect of women. Here are a few things that come to mind. 

• Respect for Adults
They will always refer to adults as "Mr., Ms., and Mrs." And answer with "yes ma'am and a yes sir" 
Please if my child refers to you with any of these do not discourage them from doing so. In our world today too many kids have lost the respect of adults and many parents have allowed their children to be on the same level.  I have found that this results in disobedience and much lack of respect for authority. I grew up referring to adults as Mr. Ms., Mrs, Yes ma'am and sir, and I can't tell you how many times people asked me not to refer to them as such because it made them "feel old" well you are "older" and it is a sign of respect, so please take it as such. 

• Respect for Meals Provided
(The Dreaded Supper Struggle)

Man cannot live on chicken nuggets and pizza alone, hence why he created women. You may not be the best cook in the world but you do cook a meal for your family, whether it's running to bojangles and waiting in a long line of other desperate last minute meal mamas(guilty, yes me!), crockpot prep bright and early in the morning, or slaving over the oven most of the day. That meal took time, effort, and much patience as you juggle kids and prepare yourself for the picky eaters to come. Too many times men take for granted their wives and all that goes into a meal for the family. I was taught that whoever prepared the meal everyone else had the cleanup detail. As my boys get older, I want to strive to instill in them the attitude of appreciation for whatever meal is sat before them(whether they like it our not) their meal will end with a "thank you" and "let's start the dishes". Of course it may not sound that chipper, but you get the picture. The most attractive thing to a woman is a man in the kitchen! I'm all about raising a boy to be proud to be a man in the kitchen one day! 

• Respecting Himself and Working Hard to be a Man Worthy of Respect. 

We want to raise our boys to be hard working men willing and able to provide for a family some day. If the wife were to choose to stay home with the kids, she would be more than able to. I want them to know the worth of a dollar and how sitting around playing video games won't get you anywhere. We as a family don't own any sort of video game devices. My child is addicted enough to the iPad I hate to see how he would be with video games 🙈 So, I have instigated the "no video game devices in our home" rule(don't worry I won't judge your family, different rules for different households).I know though, you are probably thinking "well that's really mean, what kind of mom does that?!" "I bet she will take the tv away next!" Well it's been a thought 😉 With educating my kids at home, It would get rid of any distractions for both my children and me. So don't be shocked if it happens! My husband may die but, I think he'll live to appreciate it. It will encourage more creative thinking for the kiddos and better family bonding. In this tech savvy world today family bonding is needed. 

• Respect for Women in General

Opening doors, giving up a seat, flowers "just because", and random acts of kindness and love shown to women are the greatest encouragers to us women to remind us to be the best we can be because we are loved, respected, and deeply appreciated. As a mom of boys, I want to raise this next generation of men to be just that, men. It may be a lot of unreal expectations but we are up for this challenge. God did not give us these boys for no reason. As I said before in my last post. I'm raising my future. I'm doing this for the future women they come in contact with whether it be random strangers or their wives one day. May they be as blessed as I was when that elderly man opened my door. Change starts with you as their parent. 

I'm honored to say that my boys have many men in their lives who are excellent role models. From many uncles, to grandpas, to a hardworking father. My boys will know what hard work and provision for family, looks like. I am superbly blessed to have a husband who provides just enough for me to stay home with our boys and who is an active role in raising them to be great men. It's time more men stood up and realized the treasures they have in their wives and the legacy they want to leave behind. It's time for boys to become men. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Finding Equal Ground and Respect as Moms

I am a Stay at Home Mom, I was not robbed of my dreams, my future, or my goals in life. I am daily living them out and watching them soar. 

"Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see." Neil Postman, The Disappearance of childhood

The world tells us to live our dreams, achieve our goals, and the measure of a person is that of their achievements and of their successes. "Children will just slow you down." "Make the most of your life without kids because when you have them, your life is over". I hate to break it to you, but having a child is the beginning of the best life you will ever have! Exhausting yes, and self sacrificing, yes, but oh so worth it!

I am a stay at home mom(SAHM). I may not have the most money in the world, I may not have seen a great majority OF the world, I may not be able to sleep in, stay up late and party the night away, I may not have gone to college, I may not have experienced all the world has to offer, BUT, I get to hold my whole world in my arms each night and wake up to my future each day. My children are my greatest achievement, THEY are my future, THEY are the message I want to send to the rest of the world that I may never see. 

Does being a stay at home Mom make me feel like a lesser person? Some days, yes. The world has yet to realize the blood, sweat, and tears that go into being a stay at home mom. We are beaten down and made to feel lesser of a woman because we aren't out working and adding to our family's income. We are beaten down and made to feel lesser of a woman by those that think we aren't able to educate our children properly and socially. We are beaten down to feel lesser of a woman because we have chosen to forsake our careers and raise our children. This is the part that most working mom's do not see and the truth that many working mom's do not hear about being a SAHM. Being a SAHM is not only physically and mentally draining but also emotionally draining. We daily have to battle the definition of a Mom in the world's eyes. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against working moms. I have the utmost respect for them. I just wish the world had as much respect for SAHMs as it does for working moms. We have chosen to swim against the current and the harder and harder it gets as the journey goes. 

This subject has been heavy on my heart, so I decided to tweak my original blog from one dedicated to my son and his special journey to one of our whole family's special journey as we raise our boys and travel down this ever winding road of parenthood/motherhood. It is meant to be an encouragement to other fellow SAHMs, special needs moms, and mom's in general because motherhood is hard, but we moms are strong enough to handle it most days and we do need encouragement and need to stick together. We all need to know that we are loved, respected, and important.  

To you SAHM, I say this, we may be beaten down for our choice of forsaking our careers or not going to college and pursuing being a stay at home Mom as your dream job. You are not lesser of a woman. You are raising your future. You have one of the most important jobs in the whole world, considering it is the hardest job. Don't be beaten down by the worlds standards of a Mom. Be encouraged by God's great calling on your life. 

To you working moms, don't be discouraged and feel like a lesser Mom because you have to work to help provide for your family. You are important! I respect you and know it is heart wrenching to have to leave your child each day and to miss out on many things, but know that what you are doing is respected. I wish that everyone that desires to stay home with their child could, but I know that in many cases that isn't possible. I don't take for granted my being able to and I'm thankful that I can. It does not make you any lesser of a Mom in any case. Motherhood is a hard road with many different twists and turns but we are all headed in the same direction, that of raising our children to be the best they possibly can be. May we all respect and encourage each other on this journey. Much Love to You All!