Wednesday, March 21, 2018

HOW TO BE A GOOD MOM



Today when I picked my youngest up from her day care, she was looking out the window as I walked up the steps on the porch.  Her enormous smile and utter joy at seeing me nearly undid me.

I haven't felt like the greatest mom as of late.  I've been distracted by some things, been snappy and raising my voice far too often, been having too many take out nights, because I simply cannot get it together to make dinner.

I don't measure up to the ideal we mamas tend to compare ourselves with.  I don't make gourmet snacks.  Heck, it's all I can do to get dinner on the table most nights.  I don't have the perfect house, and you can bet that on any given day, there are three loads of laundry waiting to be folded and put away.   I don't play with my kids enough.  I don't know the best way to positively discipline my child or how best to handle the never-ending sibling fighting.  I don't want to spend every waking moment with my kids.  I don't always make them brush their teeth or care what they wear to school.  I don't have any of the answers and I certainly don't have it all together.

But mama, that smile told me everything I do.  I love that girl with my whole heart and to her I am the greatest person in the whole world.

Even when I got frustrated with her the other day when she refused with a capital R to get into her carseat.  Even when we are battling it out over the terrible twos (or forty-ones).  Even when she breaks my new chair.  Even when I feed her cheerios day after day for breakfast because we are in a rush.  Even when she makes me so mad that I see red.

To her, I am her stability and her safe place.  I am her comfort and her joy.  I am a good mom,  because I love her unconditionally, and she knows that and loves me back.

Mama, we beat ourselves up so much and feel like a failure way too often.  But that's on us, not them.

The ideal mom doesn't exist.

She is a conglomeration of many, many women we see and no one person can do all that she does and do it well.   Why in the world do we measure ourselves against a fictional being?  She's not real, and her ideal is completely unattainable.

Here's what I've started telling myself. That mom that makes homemade organic everything?  Maybe her house is a mess.  That mom with the gorgeously decorated and immaculate house?  Maybe she doesn't spend much face to face time with her kids.  That mom that is always taking her kids on adventures?  Maybe she goes through the drive-thru on her way home because she's too spent to make dinner.

I think that everyone just has to choose where they most want to spend their time and what they're most passionate about.  One is not more right than the other, but we just can't go around thinking that everyone else is perfect at it all.  That is a complete and total lie.

So mama, that little boy or girl doesn't care one iota where you grocery shop, if their room is Pinterest-worthy, or that you screw up sometimes and have to apologize. They don't care if your body bounced back after having a baby or if you are a size 4 or 24.  The dimples on your thighs don't mean anything to them, but they sure do notice the dimples on your cheeks when you smile at them.

We think we are failing them, and they think we hung the moon.  

There's quite a disparity there, don't you think?

I asked my 8 year old yesterday what makes her feel most loved, and I'm just going to go ahead and say that I think her answer is a pretty fail-proof list for your child to feel like you are a good mom:

  1. When you spend time with me, especially one-on-one.
  2. When you snuggle me in bed at night.
  3. When you read to me. 
Then I asked her if there was anything she'd want to change about my parenting.  She quietly said, "You yell a lot more than you used to."  Mic drop.   She's so right.  You know what makes me yell?  Unrealistic expectations of myself that then get transferred on to my kids.  I'm yelling because I feel like a failure and a fraud and them fighting or being late for school or making a mess while they build a fort in the living room feels like a confirmation to me and highlights the fact that I can't meet the expectations I place on myself of having perfect kids, perfect image, perfect home.

They don't want perfection, they just want more of us.  They want us to spend time with them and cheer them on in their first steps and comfort them in their first disappointments.  They want us to read a book and cuddle them a little longer.  They want to see joy on our faces when we see them first thing in the morning.

My guess is that you are probably doing all these things already, but just don't realize that what feels insignificant and simple impacts their world the most.  We are allowing our fear of getting it wrong to overshadow the amazing things we are doing right.

Mama, you are doing a good job.  You are loving with your whole heart and you are lighting up a little one's life.   You are doing your very best with what you have to raise them well.  You are giving your all.

Will you give yourself grace in all this?  Will you watch their face light up when they see you?  Will you notice that you are the one they come to when they've scraped a knee?  Will you recognize when they want to be picked up for the umpteenth time today it isn't to annoy you, it's because they feel best when they are close to you?  Will you let go of your unrealistic expectations of yourself?  Will you discover that you are the meaning of home to them?

Will you understand that the only viewpoint that matters in your worth and value as a mom is that of your child's?

What is the true measure of a mom?  The look of joy when they see you through the window. 

Today I felt like a good mom.  A really good mom.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

TINY UPRISINGS RETREAT INFO AND DETAILS 2018



Friends, the time has come!!!!

The Tiny Uprisings Retreat is back for another round.  Well, actually two!

The response was overwhelming last year, and it is so apparent that there is a clear need here for women to have a weekend like this.  So, I've decided to open both a spring and fall retreat this year, 16 spots in each.  They will essentially be the same retreat - same program, same place - just basically an opportunity for more women to get to come.   32 women instead of just 16?  Heck yeah! 

Women are constantly taking care of everyone in their lives and putting themselves in last place. That's just not good enough. You know how on an airplane, the flight attendant says to secure your oxygen mask first before helping someone else with theirs? Here's your oxygen mask, sister.

I'm carving out space for you that is so desperately needed, and taking all the legwork out of this for you.  All you have to do is show up.

This retreat is created simply to be a restful place for the weary mom just needing a break and a full night's sleep, the busy woman who hasn't had any time to reflect and process, the girl who desperately needs some love, a glass of wine, and Jesus all meshed into one weekend. It is created to be a place where you are served and lifted up, where you don't have to lift a finger, where beauty surrounds you, where you are celebrated and encouraged, and where you are given some time to learn and reflect and figure out how to apply those insights to your life.


I asked the women last year (in an anonymous survey) to describe the retreat in one word.  These were their responses: 

VALUABLE : AMAZING : CENTERING : REFRESHING : LIFE-GIVING


And here are some comments (also from the anonymous survey) from two of last years participants:
This was exactly what I wanted...a retreat with Christian women that was more intimate, more vulnerable, easier to make solid new relationships and build on the old ones, more fun and less scheduled, but still left me with my bucket and my toolbox filled. 
I loved the workshop + time to reflect. It really really really helped me understand myself in a way that gave me strength and courage I so desperately needed right now. And I feel like the quiet time and strength has lasted...
In case you are wondering what this actually looks like in real life, you can see pictures and read my post about last year's retreat HERE and a few more words from last year's participants HERE

If you need some of that in your life, sign up!!  

Registration for both sets of dates opens Wednesday, March 14th, 2018 at 9 pm Pacific.  

Just choose the dates that work best for you and click on that through the registration button at the bottom of this post starting at 9 pm on the 14th.  Things went down fast and furious last year (the event was totally booked in a matter of hours), so don't wait.  Get those kids in bed and get after it!   

I hope to see you there!
xoxo,
Amy

 



TINY UPRISINGS RETREAT
May 4-6, 2018 or September 28-30, 2018
Orondo, WA
$220.00


DATES and TIMES
The retreat will officially kick off on Friday at 7pm and come to a close on Sunday at 11am. 

LOCATION
Y'all.  THIS is where we will be staying.

We will be retreating to Orondo, WA, roughly 3 hours from Seattle but so worth the drive! Sunken Acres is absolutely beautiful. The house has 4 bedrooms (one of which has an additional loft with a queen bed), as well as a bunk room with 6 twin bunkbeds, and 3 and a half bathrooms. It boasts a warm swimming pool and is lakefront with amenities such as stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. There simply isn't a better place to be!

You can check out more photos of the house HERE.


COST
The total cost for the retreat is $220. 
That includes a two night stay at this gorgeous house, as well as food for the weekend - appetizer/snacks, drinks, 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 1 big glorious dinner party, all prepared for us by the amazing Kelsie Crozier.  You won't lift a finger here, I promise.  It also includes two morning sessions, a workshop, retreat take-home materials, and all the amazing stuff we are going to do!
Cancellations (with a full refund) must be made at least 30 days prior to the retreat. 
And if cost feels prohibitive to you, but you would really like to come, please email me at tinyuprisings@gmail.com BEFORE registration opens. I may be able to provide you with a discount code for a subsidized cost or scholarship.


SAMPLE SCHEDULE

FRIDAY EVENING
You will be welcomed with open arms, handed a yummy beverage, served heavy appetizers and dessert, and basically given the space to just exhale after arriving and leaving behind the craziness that probably ensued as you left your house. Once everyone arrives, we will have a group introduction session and opening encouragements for the weekend.

SATURDAY
We serve breakfast on a rolling basis, so whether you are an early bird or a late riser, breakfast is waiting for you. We start the day with a morning devotion/speaker, linking into a workshop. We value both social and solitary time at the retreat and provide space for quiet reflection time after the workshop, as well as encourage you to take it as needed. Lunch is served, and then after lunch, everyone has free time to do whatever they want - relax by the pool, continue reflection time, play on the lake, sleep in the sun, go for a run, read a book, etc. At 7 pm, we will come back together to a big, glorious dinner party with amazing food, drink, laughs, and conversation.

SUNDAY
Sunday morning again starts with a yummy breakfast and a short lesson followed by group discussion time based on yesterdays workshop and reflection time. We will finish up around 11 am and send you on your way hopefully feeling rested and empowered to dive back into life.



Here is last year's schedule for reference.  We may have a few tweaks this year, but the general flow of things will remain the same, and as always, I encourage each woman to make this retreat exactly what they need. 




JOIN ME

So, who's with me????   I have spots for 16 people for spring and 16 for fall.  It's first come, first served, so set an alarm or reminder for yourself and sign up as soon as registration goes live!  The link will not work prior to that time. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 9 pm Pacific  

The direct link to register is https://tinyuprisings.eventbrite.com.  I'll also post the link on Instagram (@amysteingard) and the Tiny Uprisings Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/tinyuprisings/). 

Hope you can come!! 
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

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