This blog, like many creative things inspired by my daily life (let's not forget The Story of ME baby book appeared in a dream), came at night while desperately trying to fall asleep, running through my mind the 20 million things I needed to remember for the next day. I’m consistently haunted by not reaching a deep sleep because I’m stuck in dream mode, or trying to practice meditation to train my racing mind.
The inspiration was really not a positive experience of - “Brea, you're doing a fantastic job.” In fact my desire to share successful parenting tips and organization strategies came from a derogatory attack on my character. Someone said to my husband, "Who does she think she is, she doesn't have a degree or anything,” in reference to my (turned out to be correct) assessment of how his daughter’s behavioral rage was impacting our family. Stephen’s rapid-fire response (Gosh, I love him for that, he's always on his toes) was, "XYZ, she's a phenomenal mom to our four kids - of which three of them are extremely challenging. She shows more love & compassion than I've ever seen from a mother, let a lone a step-parent, and the things we enact work."
Like so many of us moms (because the human brain focuses on the negative unless we teach it otherwise through mindfulness training), that night I was angry, deflated and I felt robbed of that “You’re doing an amazing job keeping your head above water despite an extremely challenging environment,” validation I so desperately needed. So, once again while trying to reach peaceful slumber, my mind raced on all the things in life that keep me going, tie me down, and what I’ve learned by raising my own two children through tragedy, loss, depression, chronic illness, injuries, academic success, disorganization, and the like. Then, as I was finally establishing my groove, I became a maternal role-model to two step children who brought their own opportunities and challenges to our lives.
From the hundreds of thousands of parenting books, dramatically varying therapist recommendations, playground mom chatter & advice from our parents, it's no wonder we're left deflated constantly looking for the grounded feeling we long for. Being a mother is tough. Period. My husband always says, “Parenting is the most enjoyable beating you’ll ever take.”
Credentials, degrees and certifications aside, we're all parenting how it works for our families - seeking guidance and reassurance where we can. At the end of the day, it's our family, our choices, and we're the only one who has to lay our head on the pillow at night. So nay-sayers, it doesn't take that degree to be a wonderful parent.
Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, chances are the last thing you have in your day is to enact more complex organization systems, reward charts, chores & responsibilities lists (and heaven forbid figure out if you should pay them or expect them to assume accountability as part of a household), food menus, carpool schedules, and so on….
So, amongst my friends, I’m known as the master organizer and woman who seems to be able to do it all (it’s a facade, of course!). It’s my privilege to bring a little sanity your way. Read on, chime in, and feel the love. We may not always get it right. But our decisions are based on the information we have for that moment.