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Mom Crush Monday: Self Love by Example {Guest Post}

Hi friends! I really hope you have enjoyed the #momcrushmonday series. I am sad today because this post will be the last guest post for this series! I learned so much from all the other amazing mamas who have posted so far, and my hope is you have also! Although this series is ending, I would love for you to keep up with the Wednesday Devotional series here on the blog on Wednesdays, everything else going on here on the blog and make sure you are following along on social media as well! Today, Renee is going to share about self love and how it is so important us as moms! Follow her on social media (all links at the end of the post) to see all her other wonderful posts too! Enjoy the post and thanks for reading!

Self Love by Example
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Self Love by Example

My mom always used to tell me, “I hope you grow up and have a daughter just like you.” This statement, was of course, always said when I was being snotty or rude, and just her way of letting me know she someday hoped I would be in her shoes. Hoping I would understand the sacrifices she made and just how much love she put into everything.

As you may know, wishes do come true. I did have a daughter just like me. Three daughters to be exact. All with different personalities and each one is a little like me. Two of them, (we’ll call them bonus daughters) came to me when I met my husband. Their mother had left, and I stepped into big roles in both of their lives.

Not too long down the road I gave birth to a daughter of my very own. It was love at first site. In an instant, I knew I was hers and would do anything to ensure her happiness for the rest of her life. This fact is what my mother meant. The overwhelming love for another human being, it was my payback.

I wanted to give her the world. Of course, it was crucial to teach her to walk, read and ride a bike. All of these things are common knowledge. So how would I teach her to live? How could I show her to be her best self when I hadn’t even figured out how to do it myself?

I struggled with self image and self love personally my entire life, even into adulthood. Now having three girls to influence, I had to put a lot of thought into the matter. I could tell them they’re beautiful and smart every day of their lives. It still doesn’t stop some smug thirteen year old from making them believe otherwise. Words hurt and they are powerful.

How could I beat words? What would it take to teach these girls to adore who they are? Example. I would lead by example.

One thing I will always remember is how much I adored my mom when I was younger. She was my role model, the person I looked to for everything. I also remember her telling me how ugly she was because of how fat she looked. I loved her so much and couldn’t understand how she didn’t see in herself what I saw in her?

She always told me I was beautiful. She told me I could do anything or be anything I wanted to be. Yet, somehow, as I turned into a teenager I found myself thinking I was ugly. In the same way, calling myself fat. I didn’t see in myself what she saw in me.

After my daughter was born, I knew I never wanted her to think of herself as I thought about myself.

Besides building her up, I wouldn’t cut myself down. She is an extension of me after all, and if I could create something so perfect, I must be more beautiful than I thought.

From that day on, no matter how I felt on the inside, I wouldn’t say a word about my body’s outward appearance. I would let her see the stretch marks, the parts that had lost their perk. I intend to talk to her about all of them with honesty and grace. Right then and there I made the choice to be more comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t want her growing up and expecting to look like the women on TV. I wanted her to know that growing up and having children means her body will change. It means she won’t look perfectly air brushed and that’s ok.

When I made the choice to stop cutting myself down, I made the choice to stop cutting down other women as well. I wouldn’t call another woman too fat or too skinny. When I would say something, it would be complementary and not always about her body. There is more to women than those things.

I still tell my daughter she is beautiful. I make sure she knows she’s smart, feisty, brave and strong. I teach her how to care for her body. How to nurture it and love it. Teaching her eating well and exercising are just forms of self love, and they shouldn’t be seen as punishment.

It’s crucial as moms today to teach our girls to grow up strong. As a result, we should teach them about self love. Rather than just tell them, we must absolutely show them. If you think you’re ugly, if you constantly find yourself saying you need to lose weight or you have to diet, they will grow up believing these things about themselves as well.

Just as parents who smoke couldn’t expect their children not to pick up the habit; as mother’s we can’t expect our children not to follow our example.

If you struggle to find beauty in yourself, take a look at your children. They are beautiful; they are perfect. They could have only come from something beautiful and perfect. That’s you, Mama. If you have a daughter right now you love and adore, that you think is beautiful and perfect in every way, then it’s a guarantee that you indeed had a daughter just like you. Make sure she knows how amazing you both are.

Self Love by Example
Renee

About Renee:

Renee is a holistic, nutritionist living in Minnesota. She is a wife and mother to four. Her blog, Heart, Soul and Whole Foods, was started to inspire and encourage anyone who may be striving toward better health and self love.

Don’t forget to check out her Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest too for more fun from her!

Mom Crush Monday: How NOT to Raise a Mean Girl {Guest Post}

Hi! I’m so glad you are here today! I really hope you are enjoying the Mom Crush Monday series! Don’t forget to share it on social media if you do! Follow along on Instagram and make sure to follow the hashtag #followthedyers too! Feedback in the comments is always appreciated too! Now, let’s see what Elizabeth has to say about being a mean girl. I really think you are going to enjoy this guest post! Give it a read and make sure you get all the way to the bottom to read her pledge against raising a mean girl. Don’t forget to join in on Wednesday for a short devotional and next Monday for another guest post. Next week will likely be the last guest post for this series, so please don’t miss it! Lots of love to ya!

How NOT to Raise a Mean Girl
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How NOT to Raise a Mean Girl

The other day, my three year old came home from daycare with a note.

Ever since our littlest has been old enough to walk and play, Anabelle, older by only a handful of months, has been a terror. Grabbing away toys for no reason, shoving the baby, shouting at her; in essence: being a bully. The professionals have all told us it’s normal. As long as she shows signs of affection too, which she does, and doesn’t do anything excessively violent, which she doesn’t, it’s okay. Still, some ideas have begun to form in my mind about Anabelle. Nothing solid, not yet manifested into words or actions, but a feeling, phantasmal, in the back of my mind. Like an aftertaste when I think about her: My daughter might be a Mean Girl.

When the note came home from daycare, I’ll admit it; I thought it was to tell me Anabelle had done something wrong.

“Anabelle was kicked in the head by another student,” the note read, “She has a small cut on her lip, which we treated with ice and a towel.”

That was it, but it was enough to make me feel ashamed for assuming that my three year old had been the mean girl. My husband and I tended her lip, hugged her, sat her down, and asked her what happened. At first she was quiet, but soon a shift happened. I’ve seen it in her before, when she becomes overtaken by storytelling; when something really needs to come out. Her voice lifts, her body posture lightens. She begins to gesticulate, and her chubby limbs become almost adult in their motions. Her eyes lose focus. She’s deep in there, in the event she’s telling. When this change happens, the story just flows out, sometimes so quickly not all of it makes sense, and it doesn’t take long for us to recognize events have become jumbled. Anything that was big or scary for her gets puzzled into the story. Her hospital stay, when she had pneumonia. The time our neighbor got too drunk and tried to open our door instead of his. Last week, when I lost my temper and yelled too loudly. But we get enough, before all of these other events start getting processed, to get an idea happened at daycare.

The kick came from Leila, a classmate of hers, who also rides in the vanpool with her. We don’t know much about Leila, have only caught glimpses of her on the van, but in the next several months she will practically become a member of the family in absentia. Leila will get blamed for everything; from every scrape or bruise Anabelle brings home, to the mess of paint on her clothes, to her nightmares, to the person who pushed her sister.

This is how bullying, real bullying, the kind of bullying that can end a life, begins. The teachers have told us, without actually telling us of course, that Leila has a troubled past. She has impulse control issues; she’s taking her hurt and pain and mirroring it in the classroom, transferring it to my Anabelle, and other students. Now Anabelle is coming home and mirroring it here, transferring it to her little sister.

I have a very personal relationship with the beast known as Girl Bullying. I was bullied in middle school, body shamed first for being too fat, and then, after I became anorexic and dropped to 89 lbs; shamed for being too skinny. I grew to hate other girls, especially the ones I deemed “preppy.”

“I like boys better; most of my friends are boys,” I’d say, when asked about my girlfriends. Then I’d feel perplexed when my girlfriends echoed the sentiment. Well, aren’t I their friend? I’d think, not recognizing the hypocrisy. It was like we all had this idea of what “Girl” meant and it was something we all disliked. That is the effect of Girl Bullying. We somehow get this idea that we are “different,” that other girls are something to be bugged by; something to compete against, and then we do it. We split into subtypes and demean anyone who falls outside of our group or threatens our own self image in any way.

When I was sixteen I entered into an abusive relationship. Like all abusive relationships, the abuse was slow and insidious, and before anything I could really grasp and name as abuse occurred, I was in love with him. Which meant that I stayed for four years, and during those four years he would commit every form of abuse against me, including cheating. A lot.

I should have been angry at him, but instead I turned my rage and hurt onto those women; women who were victims themselves, who could have been my allies, but who I instead turned to enemies. That mentality stayed with me for years, even after I left him. Ten years distanced from my abuser, and many more between my middle school tormentors, I still fight the effects of Girl Bullying and domestic abuse.

I did not expect to be dealing with bullying in my daughter’ lives so soon. I’m not sure yet what to do, how to handle this situation. But I do know one thing: I want to teach my daughters, both of them, to be girls who like other girls. Who respect girls who are different from them. Who show compassion to girls who are hurting, and who serve as allies for girls who are picked on. I want my girls to befriend girls, all different types of girls and proudly!

Talking only goes so far. I can tell Anabelle to be nice to Leila, even when she’s mean. I can direct my daughters to share toys with each other, to fairly distribute treats instead of hoarding them. I can tell them to be proud of what makes them unique and special, and to celebrate the differences of their friends and classmates too, but I also have to show them.

I have PTSD because of my abuse. That means a lot of anxiety-especially social anxiety-self-esteem issues and trouble communicating. Friendship is not easy for me. Some of the lessons I hold dear are easy to model. Compassion, fairness, love for family; I demonstrate these to my daughters every day, but showing my daughters to respect girls and women who are different from them is a feat. I still have my jealousies; those negative associations my ex’s cheating grooved into my brain, and I have my trauma symptoms to combat. It’s important, and I have to try.

My 3 year old has it in her to grow into a Mean Girl. I see it when she gets angry. I see it when she doesn’t want to share a toy. I see it when she just feels jealous, for whatever random reason, of her sister, and does something spiteful and pointless to show it.

However, she also has it in her to be sweet, and generous, and funny. She’ll be a leader, I guarantee it. It’s on to me to help shape what kind of leader she will be. So I work through my problems with other women. I write about them. I talk about them at therapy, and I intentionally interact with other women in front of my daughters. Not just the women who dress like me, but the ones who don’t, too. The ones who I probably would have hated, or ignored, or feared, if we were fourteen again.

When Anabelle comes home complaining about Leila, I tell her to try being nice. Invite her to play. Tell her to stop if she hurts her, but don’t hurt her back.

I think all moms secretly wish we could control the world, but we can’t. We can’t protect our children from everything. What we can do is teach kindness and inclusion. The “Mean Girl” phenomenon doesn’t have to happen. We have the power to stop it.

I invite you to join me in a pledge to raise daughters who include all kinds of girls in their friend circles. Start simple: Next time you come across a type of woman you would usually ignore, say “hello,” instead.

How NOT to Raise a Mean Girl
Elizabeth

About Elizabeth:

Elizabeth is a speculative fiction writer, award winning poet and playwright, feminist blogger, DV survivor, vegan, and mama times three from the Pacific Northwest. She writes about living and parenting with PTSD on her blog, Betty’s Battleground, where she has an open guest post call. You can join her Facebook Page, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter to see more of her story.


Let’s make a pledge together as mother’s to stand united in NOT raising a mean girl.

How NOT to Raise a Mean Girl
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Mom Crush Monday: 3 Parenting Books Which Will Change Your Life {Guest Post}

Hello Monday! I am excited for you to join me today! Are you enjoying the #momcrushmonday series? I would love for you to share it on your social media accounts if you do! Are you are following along on Instagram too? Share any feedback in the comments and make sure to let me know however you can if you like the series! I am excited about Bethany’s guest post today as she shares 3 parenting books that change her life and will change yours too! I hope to see you right back here next Monday too! Have a great week!

3 Parenting Books Which Will Change Your Life
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3 Parenting Books Which Will Change Your Life 

When my first-born daughter was born, I was a rookie mom just like everyone else. I definitely am not writing this post as the perfect parent. I struggled through many days of the huge responsibility of keeping a human alive. Today, I want to share 3 parenting books that will change your life as they have mine.

As an educator and a mother, there are times where you come home so exhausted from little people questions and needs all day long that you have nothing left to give to your own children. Lucy Calkins says, “No job requires more intelligence, knowledge, and energy than the job of parenting.” There have been, and will be days, where I did not engage my children in speaking and listening, much less reading.

“Crying is all right in its own way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.” – C.S. Lewis

The reason I kept going at all on those difficult days was largely in part due to these three fabulous authors and parenting books I want to share with you today.

Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina

This book was given to me by my sister in law (an early elementary educator like myself) when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter.

There are fancy programs and “reading shortcuts” advertised everywhere. However, Medina’s book shows you scientific proof the magic is in the fundamentals. In this book, we learn that your child’s brain is 80% developed by the time they are 2 years old. It is imperative your child’s language development needs to begin at birth through reading, singing, speaking, and listening.

Medina also lays out clear evidence in his “rules for baby” on topics such as screen time, sharing household responsibilities equally with your partner, sleep training etc.

“Kids come into the world before their brains are fully developed. The result? Parenthood.” 
― John Medina, Brain Rules for Baby

The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

I was first introduced to this book in my Teacher Education undergrad courses. Since then, I have worn out many copies of his book. He is the KING of read-alouds for decades now. If I were going to be a groupie, Trelease would be my man.

In The Read Aloud Handbook, he makes the case that reading aloud is the single best investment of parental time and energy. If Jim were to write a sequel to his book here in 2017, I think he would be even more sure of his stance. As a young student, I wanted to go and teach in countries around the world which did not have the resources I had while growing up. When my husband was growing up, books were the only way he could afford to travel. He and some of my students learned about geography, religion, food, etc. from a book. Reading in turn made them into more globally-minded, tolerant and empathetic individuals.

“Children whose families take them to museums and zoos, who visit historic sites, who travel abroad, or who camp in remote areas accumulate huge chunks of background knowledge without even studying. For the impoverished child lacking the travel portfolio of affluence, the best way to accumulate background knowledge is by either reading or being read to.” 
― Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook

Besides reading aloud, one of the biggest takeaways from his book in my own parenting methods was his view on screen time.

In his book, he explained how the country of Finland has successfully used closed captioning and subtitles to promote literacy. Finnish children do not begin formal reading instruction until they are seven years old. However, they consistently score the highest in the world in standardized reading tests compared to other countries.
Finnish families are some of the highest users of closed captioning. It is attributed to be the reason for their high literacy rates. In the book, Trelease explains the 30:1 ratio of visual receptors over auditory receptors in the brain. Research shows that the chances of a word (or sentence) being retained in our memory bank are thirty times greater if we see it instead of just hear it. Trelease calls it the “sponge effect”.

I use this fabulous sponge effect to reinforce language learning with my kids. For example, to distract my daughter when I do her hair, she is given a quick lesson by watching a show in Spanish or French with English subtitles.

Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to our Children Will Change their Lives Forever by Mem Fox

Another amazing reading guru (and fellow Trelease fan) is Mem Fox. I have read her book many times over again for it’s simple and engaging writing about the number one thing parents can do to help their children academically for the rest of their lives: reading.

She talks about how to connect with your children on an emotional level through books. Mem walks you through how to build self-confidence through your children finding book characters who look like them and have similar experiences. Fox’s book champions giving children the power to be who they are and be unashamed of being different. When my daughter came home from pre-school in tears because of a remark someone had made about her hair or her skin color, I used the stories of other girls and women like her, who have risen above and changed the world to comfort her.

“Books don’t harm kids; they arm them.” 
― Mem Fox

She weaves in the statistics of the benefits of reading in a way which will not give you a guilt trip. However, she inspires you to try these different strategies. She is a literacy expert, but her humble approach to teaching others about reading with children is very approachable. No parent wants to read a condescending book or be given impossible standards. Fox’s book is the opposite. She has you thinking you are a superhero right from page one. Most importantly, she gives you advice for helping your children love to read instead of just tolerating books. She promotes a healthy attitude towards books that stays with children for the rest of their lives.

“When I say to a parent, “read to a child”, I don’t want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate.” ― Mem Fox


______

I have read these three brilliant authors over and over again. I give these parenting books to each one of my friends when they have a child. These parenting books have answered so many of my own questions and given me life-long tools to implement with my daughters. I am consistently challenged by them. Even when life is at its craziest, reading is our beacon of calm in the storm.

3 Parenting Books Which Will Change Your Life
Bethany

About Bethany:

Bethany is an elementary teacher/reading specialist from California and has lived overseas the past 8 years teaching in international schools. She has two girls: a 6 year old and 3 month old.  On her blog, Biracial Bookworms, she empowers and arms families and teachers with the tools to give children the world through reading, learning languages and traveling!

Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter for more great info!

Mom Crush Monday: Motherhood Reveals God’s Love for You {Guest Post}

I am glad to have you joining on this Mom Crush Monday! Come back again every week for another mommy blogger sharing her wisdom on what motherhood reveals! I hope you are enjoying this series. I sure have! Please let me know in the comments if you have enjoyed it. Also, if you want to see anything change or any suggestions, please make sure to let me know it in the comments too! I am excited for Rebekah to share about how motherhood reveals God’s love for us in her guest post today! Follow us on Instagram to keep up with Follow the Dyers and feel free to use the hashtags #momcrushmonday and #followthedyers too! Stop by back again next Monday for another amazing mom blogger guest post! Take care!

Motherhood Reveals How Much We Are Loved by God
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Motherhood Reveals How Much We Are Loved by God

I thought I knew how much God loves me. I had, after all, grown up in church (our pastor at the time even announced my birth from the baptistry that Sunday night!). I was raised in a Christian home. I became a Christian myself at the age of 7. At that time, I thought I understood how much God loves me, because I knew all the theology of how He sent His one and only Son and intentionally sacrificed Him on my behalf. Yet, I realize now that I didn’t have a clue growing up as to the actual immense depth of God’s love.

When our firstborn arrived in January of 2015, and I became a mama, I remember being absolutely blown away by the immense depth of love I felt for my newborn daughter. I stood in her closet about a week after her birth overtaken by just how much I loved her. The realization washed over me in that moment that I would so willingly die for her. I would do whatever it took to protect her, guard her and keep her from pain.

Then, it hit me.

That love is how God feels about me. He sent Jesus to die in my place and to make me His child, adopted into His family. He loves me so much that He willingly crushed Christ so that I might be protected, guarded, and kept from pain eternally. 

While understanding the fullness of God’s love will be a lifelong journey, culminated at the time I reach Heaven, I nevertheless know without a doubt that I understand the love of God for me, His child, much more now that I have children of my own.

Mamas, I know that you can relate today to that kind of willingly sacrificial, all-consuming, heart-tugging love we have for our children. Today and every day, as you carry that feeling in your heart, let it point you over and over and over again to the Lord. Allow it to serve as a tangible daily reminder of how much He loves you, His own dear child. Motherhood reveals God’s love for you. While we may be willing to die for our children, Christ, the second person of the Godhead, actually did for us. He loves us infinitely more even than we love our own children, nevertheless, contemplate on the love you have for your little ones. Remember, it is a glimpse into the heart of God for you.

Be encouraged today. Rest in the love of your Heavenly Father. When you feel today like you have failed His standards yet again, remember just as we love our children even when they make mistakes, so much more so the Lord loves us! His love is truly unconditional, unfailing, and unending.

~~~~~

Motherhood Reveals How Much We Are Loved by God
Rebekah

Rebekah is a wife, mama of two kiddos 2 and under, home business owner, podcaster, and blogger residing in TN. Her passion is to bless fellow Christian women through her writings on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearthwhich exists to edify, equip, and encourage women in their everyday life for their journey of Biblical womanhood.

Make sure you are following her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too!

Mom Crush Monday: Don’t Argue in Front of the Kids: {Guest Post}

Hello and welcome to Mom Crush Monday! Each Monday you can join me here to find a guest post by a fellow mommy blogger! This series has been so much fun! Have you enjoyed reading these posts as much as I have? Chioma describes why she will not argue in front of her kiddos in this post! Look me up onInstagram to see all the happenings with Follow the Dyers. See you again next Monday for another guest post!

Why I Won't Argue in Front of My Kids
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Why I Won’t Argue in Front of My Kids

“I love you too honey” read the message. I just woke up from an afternoon nap and was quite perplexed at the new message on my phone. The message was sent by my husband so it was not what surprised me, but my confusion stemmed from the fact that he used the word “too”. I had no memory of sending him any messages that day…or so I thought. I checked the sent messages on my phone immediately, and indeed I had sent him a message thirty minutes earlier. “I love you so much honey and always want us to be close.” I was even more confused. Did I send a message when I was half asleep?

A few seconds later it hit me…”Daniel!” I called to my then 11 year old son. “Did you send a message from my phone?” Daniel came into the room with a sheepish grin and explained indeed he had sent that message from my phone to his Dad on my behalf. When asked why, he then explained that we both seemed rather frosty that morning, and though we did not argue or anything, he wanted to make sure we stayed happy and did not fight.

I felt a tinge of regret…you see, he had overheard us quarrel in the past and this was his own way of making sure things stayed nice and peaceful.  I felt bad that he ever heard us quarrel at all, and I resolved more than ever no matter what differences I had with his Dad, they would not result in raised voices or us to argue bitterly.

In most marriages, disagreements will come, but how you handle them makes all the difference. It is our duty as parents to ensure our children are protected from any situation which will cause them pain or discomfort. While some pain, such as the emotional hurt of disappointment over a broken toy or the physical hurt of a fall is inevitable, no child really needs to deal with the pain of seeing (or even hearing) his or her parents hurl unkind words at each other or pummel each other with their fists. The collateral damage children face as a result of parental conflicts can last a very long time and can have far-reaching effects.

I remember only ever seeing my parents exchange words once as a child. Boy did I feel awful! It was not a nice feeling. Though it happened over 30 years ago, I remember the incident like it was yesterday. I also remember a child in my neighbourhood who was really aggressive. I found out that his father and mother were always fighting physically. Perhaps he was just mirroring what he had grown accustomed to seeing.

It’s not always easy, but, like I mentioned earlier, we have a duty to protect our children as much as we can to ensure they have a childhood full of joyful memories. No matter how young they are, let us not forget that our precious gifts from God-our children-are like sponges. When they grow up with the baggage from negative memories, they may end up having a negative impact in their marriages and other relationships. Studies have shown children who grow up in conflict-ridden homes easily end up depressed and angry. This, in turn, affects their school work and more. When elephants (parents) fight the grass (children) also suffer.  When children grow up in a healthy loving family unit, they are more confident, secure, happier and are able to practice what they have seen over the years-love!

 

Why I Won't Argue in Front of My Kids
Chioma

About Chioma:

Chioma is lawyer, public servant, writer and blogger.  She is a mother of four and is the author of the children’s book “First day at the Big School” and also contributes to HuffingtonPost, BellaNaija, Guardian, TW and other print and online platforms.  Chioma is passionate about seeing women become all God has called them to be despite whatever barriers they may face. She is also passionate about proper policy making and implementation, especially with regards to its role in good governance and nation building.  Visit her at Chiomah’s Blog and follow her on Twitter too!

If you love these posts, don’t forget to follow along on Facebook, so you won’t miss them in the future! Have a great week!

Mom Crush Monday: 11 Quotes Every Mother Needs to Hear {Guest Post}

I am glad you are here on this Monday! Today’s post is so inspirational! I hope you will enjoy it! McKayla is sharing 11 quotes every mother needs to hear! After you read these quotes, head over to her page for more inspiration! Also, make sure you are following along on Instagram too! I’ll see you back here next week for another great guest post!

11 Quotes Every Mother Needs to Hear
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11 Quotes Every Mother Needs to Hear

Motherhood is such a wonderful journey, I think sometimes we forget how blessed we truly are. Every mother has a different experience, but I think we can all agree that these are quotes every mother needs to hear, and they explain motherhood perfectly!

Children learn more from what you are than what you teach. 

-W.E.B. Dubois

Children Learn More From What You Are Than What You Teach
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I think some parents try their hardest to tell their children what’s right and what’s wrong, but they struggle to SHOW them right from wrong. Children learn from example, so the most effective way to shape our children is to be who we want them to become. If we want them to be polite, we need to use our manners. If we want them to have faith, we must show them what faith is. Be the best you can be.

The days are long, but the years are short. 

The Days Are Long But the Years Are Short

Most nights, every mother takes a deep breath and thinks… what a long day! It happens over and over and over again. Then, on your baby’s first birthday… on your child’s first day of school… on your daughter’s wedding day… you think, where did the time go? How did every day feel so long, but the years have flew by? When I’m in a hurry, trying to get things done, and my toddler is hanging on my pants, crying, just wanting to be held, I stop and remember that it won’t be like this forever. My baby won’t always want to cuddle or give me kisses. So I stop what I’m doing, and we watch a movie and snuggle, and I enjoy every second of it. Every mother needs to remember the days are long, but the years are short!

Silence is golden…unless you have a toddler. In that case, it is very, very suspicious. 

11 Quotes Moms Need to Hear

Silence sounds so peaceful. Until you realize that young children aren’t silent for no reason. You sit there and think… what could they be getting into? Should I let it happen so I can enjoy these few minutes and deal with the repercussions later, or should I stop it and endure the screaming that will happen when I stop them from doing whatever they’re doing…? Every mother needs silence, but remember it can be dangerous.

To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today. 

-Barbara Johnson

To Be in Your Child's Memories Tomorrow, You Have to Be in Their Lives Today

People are so sucked into their jobs, their phones, their friends… that they leave little time to be spent with their children. A lot people honestly believe the best thing they can do for their child is to work a lot and make a ton of money so that their child can have everything they’ve ever wanted, but that’s just not the case. Your time is so much more valuable to your relationship with your family than money will ever be.

Parenting is an impossible job at any age.

-Harrison Ford

Parenting is an Impossible Job at Any Age

I am a firm believer that your parenting skills are not based off your age, and this is a quote every mother needs to hear. There are young mothers who are outstanding, and there are older mothers that are wretched. It is a mother’s responsibility to gain maturity and selflessness, no matter their age. I myself am somewhat of a young mother, and I can promise you that my daughter gets the absolute best care possible. If you want to be a good mother, you will be. You will work hard to be the best mom you’re capable of being, at ANY age.

While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about. 

-Angela Schwindt

While We Try to Teach Our Children All About Life, Our Children Teach Us What Life is All About

How can it be that we learn just as much from our babies than they learn from us? They teach us who we are. They teach us how strong we can truly be, and just exactly how much we’re capable of. Most importantly they teach us what true love really is. A kind of love you were never able to feel until you held your baby in your arms for the very first time. We need them just as much as they need us. For this reason, this is a quote every mother needs to hear.

I don’t want my children to follow in my footsteps, I want them to take the path next to me and go further than I ever dreamt possible. 

It’s every parent’s dream is for their children to succeed. We want our children to achieve all of their goals and then some. It’s our job to help guide them onto their path, and when they get off track, we help them to find their way again. Whether or not our lives were good or not, we want our children to have better.

The way we talk to our children, becomes their inner voice. 

The Way We Talk to Our Children Becomes Their Inner Voice
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Even from a young age, the way we talk to our babies affects them. Sometimes it’s hard to have patience and use kind words, but it’s so important. We need to use encouraging words, and a respectful tone when we are speaking to them. This will help them to learn how they should be talking to others. If you talk harmfully around or about your children that is what they will be thinking, which can be so hard for their self esteem, and for their ability to build relationships with others.

As a mother, my job is to take care of the possible, and trust God with the impossible. 

-Ruth Bell Graham

Nothing is more impossible than trying to control things that are not in your control. Stressing over things that you cannot change is just making things harder on yourself. Your job is to change the things that you can, and to have faith that everything will be okay. It’s not good for you or your children to be stressed out constantly, so do what you can, and just take a deep breathe.

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. 

-Theodore Hesburgh

It is a father’s job to protect his family and, most importantly, love the mother of his children. When a mother feels love and support, she is much less stressed, resulting in better care for her babies. Mothers NEED a strong support system. We just do. For our health, and for our relationship’s health. Also, a father is a child’s first example of how a man should treat a woman. For his sons, he should be their example of how grateful and appreciative he is of his spouse, taking such good care of his family and his home by showing her love and respect. For his daughters, he should be an example of how they should be treated by a man, and they should know not to accept any less respect than their mother gets from their father. This also goes for divorced or separated parents. There should still be respect for each other, whether or not you are together. Children learn by example; OUR example! Remember, every mother needs their children’s father to love them.

Life doesn’t come with a manual…it comes with a mother.

When life gets hard and you don’t know what to do, you should be able to turn to your mother. Every mother should aspire to be their children’s safe haven. We should continue to strengthen and build our relationships with our children for the rest of our lives. If there is one person your child should be able to trust with anything or come to for any reason, it should be you. This doesn’t mean we come to their rescue when they make bad decisions, and enable them to make poor choices. It means we uplift them to do better, we give them advice, and we encourage them to carry on. We will always be an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. 

Thanks for reading!

11 Quotes Every Mother Needs to Hear
McKayla

About McKayla:

McKayla is a young wife and mother. She has always had a passion for 2 things: writing and researching,so her dream has always to become a successful blogger. She is constantly researching something interesting and wanting to tell the world about it, so make sure to check out her blog: Motivation for Mom. Also, make sure to find her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

 

Mom Crush Monday: How Television Looks to This Mom {Guest Post}

Hi! I am so glad you decided to join me today for this Mom Crush Monday post! I love Tavia’s post today about children and television. She explains why she’s not a television mom! She has similar posts on her blog, as well as other great posts too, so make sure you check out her links at the bottom! I hope you love today’s post as much as I did! Join me right back here next week for another amazing guest post, and don’t forget to follow along on Instagram!

Why I'm Not a Television Mom
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Why I’m Not a Television Mom

Our culture seems to be obsessed with television. I get it, really I do. It’s a box that plays segments of highly entertaining stuff. There are so many options. There is literally something for everyone these days, including kids. Many shows geared towards young children even brag about “making your baby smart” or “helping brain development.”  However, those shows will never replace real, hands-on experiences in the world. For this reason, my husband and I made the choice to approach television a little differently than most families in America today.

Let me put this out there first. I love to watch TV and movies! I am excited for the day when my daughter is old enough to have a little bowl of popcorn and snuggle with us under a blanket and watch a movie. Will I get to a point in life where I need to turn on a show to distract my child so I can get something done? Of course! However, I see important reasons to limit the amount of TV a young child watches.

You see, television is passive. A child sits in front of the TV and just zones out. We’ve all seen it-that blank stare kids get when focusing in on a show. They are not truly engaging in an activity, but instead are being stimulated in a sort of “false” way. I know that kids can learn something from a show, but it doesn’t compare to what they can learn from being truly active in their environment. It’s simply proven to not be the best activity for kids.

I can count on one hand the number of times I have turned on a TV show or video for my daughter (okay, I just counted. It’s literally five times). I’m just not a fan of all the technology that kids have access to these days, and I have a special concern when technology is overused on the littlest ones. Young children are in some of the most important years of their lives. It is important to give them as much experience and active learning as possible!

So, instead of flipping on the tube at home, we want our kids to be able to interact with others, enjoy playing outside, use their imaginations and do those things well. We know that sometimes, too much TV can hinder those objectives.

For us, we want to encourage our gal to play with different toys-to build, create, and explore things around the house. We want her to play outside and get her hands dirty in the mud. We want to let her pick flowers (weeds). We want our daughter to look at books and be read to over and over. These activities are mentally and physically active and stimulate her brain, rather than passively entertaining the way watching TV does.

It is important for each family to decided how they want to approach TV with their kids. A baby comes into the world literally unable to do most things and knowing nothing! There are so many wonderful, amazing things for a little one to learn and experience in those early formative years. We wanted an importance to be placed on play, interaction, exploration and outdoors time rather than television. As such, my husband and I don’t even turn the TV on around our daughter. Simply because we want her to focus on playing, and so she doesn’t see us distracted from her. Again, hear me say, our children will watch TV and movies sometimes. I’m sure I will occasionally use Saturday morning cartoons as a way to let me sleep in a little bit longer and a family movie night will be one of our regulars, but in our household, you will not see the TV on for our kids routinely.

I challenge you to rethink how your family does TV and to consider if maybe it’s time for a change.

Why This Mom Limits Television
Tavia

About Tavia:

Tania is a woman saved by grace, a wife, new mom, and lover of coffee and donuts! During the week, she’s a hustle and bustle fourth grade teacher (soon to be a SAHM!), and in her (limited) spare time, you can find her working on her blog Everyday Smith. She is a homebody by nature. If she could, she would spend all her time at home with her husband, little girl and their two dogs!

Follow her on Facebook and Instagram for more of her life and parenting adventure!

Mom Crush Monday: 3 Ways to De-stress Amongst Mommy Chaos {Guest Post}

Welcome to another fabulous #momcrushmonday ! Another mama blogger, Laneic, has some great words on how to de-stress amongst mommy chaos, and we can all use some of this advice! Check her out on social media (listed below) and follow me on Instagram! I hope today’s guest post helps you as much as it did me on this wonderful Monday! See you back here next week!

3 Ways to De-stress Amongst Mommy Chaos
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3 Ways to De-stress Amongst Mommy Chaos

You’re a mom so you know there are times when things can get a bit…well, crazy! From shouting kids, to a huge mess that appears to be growing, crying, cooking, errands, and everything else, it makes sense that sometimes the chaos of motherhood can downright stress us out.

Before you wave your white flag in surrender (aka the towel from the pile of laundry you promised to get to eventually), here are 3 ways you can de-stress, right in the middle of the mommy chaos.

Check Your Body Language

The human body is an amazing self-preservation machine, so when things start getting overwhelming, your body starts firing up warning signals and gearing up to protect itself, mentally and physically. A great way to ease stress is to convince your body to chill out and stop sending those panic signals to your brain. You can do this by simply stopping to take a few deep breaths. You want to focus on your breathing, not the reason why you needed to stop and do it (this means while you’re breathing, instead of thinking “these kids are driving me nuts”, try thinking “inhale, exhale” instead). You can also do a quick body relaxation exercise. Start at your toes and slowly relax all those muscles that have probably built up tension, working your way to the top.  

Do a Mental Check

Sometimes things have piled up mentally, and it tends to exaggerate everything else. If you’re feeling particularly stressed, stop and list out why you’re stressed. Then determine if it’s really even such a big deal. You might find the kids are being loud, but they’re actually not doing anything destructive. Sure, the dishes could be done, but it’s only been a hour since you’ve all had breakfast. The source of your stress might very well be unreasonably high expectations of yourself and your kids. It can relieve some pressure to be mindful of that fact and lower those expectations.

Change of Scenery

Yup, get out the house. Just leaving the area can help. It can be a quick walk by yourself, rounding up your kids for a walk around the neighborhood, or a 5 minute drive to the gas station, but changing up your environment can help dispel stress. If you can’t actually get away, just a step outside of your front door. A few minutes of breathing can do wonders.

Try these out next time you feel stress bubbling up. When all else fails, never hesitate to join in on the chaos. If your kids are being rambunctious and there are a million things to worry about, sometimes the best thing you can do is let it go for the time being and play. If you can’t beat em’, join em’!

3 Ways to De-Stress Amongst Mommy Chaos
Laneic

Laneic is a self-care and wellness coach for busy mommas and blogger at Make It 218. She spent her first year trying to be and do everything under the sun, and she was forced to take a step back and start making self-care a priority. Her mission now is to help other mothers who are burned out, or well on their way to being stressed, to making self-care a regular part of their lives, reconnecting with who they are separately of their children, and pursuing their happiness without guilt.

Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest for more great tips like the ones above!

 

Mom Crush Monday: Why Learning With Senses is So Important {Guest Post}

 

It’s another Monday and another day for me to share with you another fabulous mom blogger! I am excited to share Amy’s post today about why learning with one’s senses is so important for children! She also gives some great examples of how it works too! Follow all of her social media handles below to get more great ideas too and follow along on Instagram with the #momcrushmonday and #followthedyers hashtags as well! Enjoy today’s post, and I look forward to seeing you next week!

 

Learning Why Sensory Play is So Important
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Why Learning with Senses is So Important

So what’s sensory play? Playing with your senses, of course! It gives kids the freedom to explore and learn using their senses. Research shows that sensory play develops nerve connection to brain pathway. This leads to a child’s ability in complex learning, and it starts with birth. When babies enter the world, they immediately start learning using their senses. As they grow, children’s senses are their most familiar and most basic way to explore and process new information. Sensory play enhances learning through hands-on activities that stimulate the child’s senses. This is a great way for children to explore the world they live in! There are many more reasons why this type of play is so essential.

Why Learning With Senses is So Important
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Sensory Play is Where Kids Learn Senses Attributes

  • sight: seeing different colors, shapes, textures, etc
  • touch: feeling temperatures (like warm water or cold ice) and textures (like grainy sand or slimy playdoh)
  • taste: sometimes that’s not a good thing when you don’t want them to eat something like paint (yuck!) haha
  • hearing: like hearing the water splashing or rice clicking as they pour out from the container.
  • smell: smelling the soapy shaving cream or lavender if you add the essential oil to the water sensory play

Sensory Play Helps with Kids’ Development

These skills are what your kids will develop as they do sensory play:

  • fine motor skills
  • gross motor skills
  • coordination
  • concentration
  • collaborating
  • exploring their environment
  • developing imagination
  • enabling creative thinking
  • problem solving
  • experimenting with solutions
  • language development
  • enhancing memory
  • calming technique for anxious or frustrated kids

Sensory Play is Messy

Sensory play can get messy. Real messy. Many of mothers (and me, ahem) hate messes because we have to clean up. Right? I hate to tell you this, but… MESSY IS GOOD! Messy play gives kids endless learning and encourages them to create and explore using their senses. So, let your kids be free with their mess. 🙂

Kids learn new things through sensory play

Sensory play is essential for kids’ learning and development because kids are introduced to new things such as: colors, sand, food, words, numbers, and much more! My 20-months-old daughter learned how to count St. Patrick’s coins because of sensory play!

Too Much Work? Too hard? Don’t have the supplies?

Some parents may feel overwhelmed with sensory play because they don’t have the time or the supplies. Most sensory activities need objects you already have around your house. Bins, kitchen utensils, water, cooking ingredients, pom poms, rice, pasta, craft supplies, and the list goes on. After you gather the things you need, it should only take less than five minutes to set everything up. Your kids will be entertained long enough for you to sit down and relax. Below you will find five easy sensory activities.

Top Five Sensory Activities

  1. Shaving Cream Sensory Bin
  2. Finger Painting
  3. Rice Sensory Bin
  4. Cotton Balls Sensory Play
  5. Make DIY SNOW!

Have fun and get MESSY! 😉

Why Learning to Play With Your Senses is So Important
Amy

 

About Amy:

Amy blogs about these activities and more on her website KidsivityTo find more fun activities for kids AND mommies (DIY crafts, home decor, traveling, and fashion) follow her on her blog and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter

Mom Crush Monday: The Small Things {Guest Post}

It is Mom Crush Monday here on Follow the Dyers! Meghan is talking about savoring the small things in mama life today on the blog. Enjoy her post. Also, make sure to follow her on all her accounts listed below, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. Keep up with all the fun with the hashtags #momcrushmonday and #followthedyers on Instagram! See you next Monday with another amazing guest mama blogger!

The Small Things
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The Small Things

I am not Pinterest mom. I have about 1,000 pins of DIY memory making picture saving projects. I admit to having no intention of ever creating them, and while creating is out the question I have learned the importance of documenting.
As a working (outside of the home) parent, who is also a single parent, it can be hard to manage time and savor the little moments when your to do list is a mile long. However, I’ve found that making sure each day I document one small moment to remember through a photo helps center myself.

It forces me each day to remind myself of the blessings God is pouring onto our family even in seasons of suffering or uncertainty. Living overseas apart from family creates a physical gap that on hard days can seem unmanageable. It helps me center myself back to God’s calling when I can reflect on a small blessing from the day. Documenting those moments, usually with photos, but also with a bullet journal, has benefited my relationship with God. Not only do I get to share some of those moments with friends and family, but I also get to put together more accurate time lines and watch my kiddos grow with their memories. Accepting scrapbooking and creative DIY’s are not my talents has given me the freedom to not try so hard to be a Mom I am not, but to focus on being the Mom God has created me to be.

Being a Mom can be overwhelming sometimes. As a Christ follower at the end of my day, sometimes my prayers struggle to be coherent. I blubber, interrupt myself, exhaustion over takes me, but I find being able to reflect on a specific moment allows the spirit to move. It opens the floodgates of communication with a starting point of worship for God’s presence in the small moments.

The Small Things
Meghan

About Meghan:

Meghan is a millennial, single parent and Christ follower, who serves God with her family in Ghana, West Africa. She runs an organization that supports families of children with special needs to get the proper therapies and medical care they need.

Follow her blog, Lemons, Limes & Laughter and follow her on Twitter and Instagram!