Last weekend I had the good fortune to attend a Hearts at Home National Conference. If you aren't familiar with Hearts at Home like I was last year, here’s what their website says about them:
Hearts at Home will help you...
• Feel refreshed and ready to embrace the challenges of motherhood.
• Experience a sense of encouragement and camaraderie with other moms.
• Improve your time management and run your home more smoothly.
• Make proactive parenting decisions, rather than “knee-jerk” reactions.
• Remove the guilt of not being a perfect mom.
• Experience a newfound strength through a deeper friendship with God.
Basically, it’s a chance to reset your attitude, parenting style, and thoughts about yourself and other moms, no matter what season you are going through in your life. And apparently makes you start saying things like “good fortune” and “season.”
I signed up for this conference a few months ago and told the kids on Friday night that I would be gone all day Saturday. They said they wanted me to stay home instead and I said, “Don’t you want Mommy to go learn how to be a better mom?” Sam replied, “No, I want you to stay being a bad mom!”
Grrrr… Almost made me feel like the time she wanted her favorite snack to be called Eda-daddy. Funny… but kind of sad.
The conference was great. It was packed, with 5,000 moms in attendance, and very faith-based. Since I’ve only recently gotten back into a religious frame of mind, parts of it made me a little squirmy, but the sessions I attended were all great. Some of the key points I took away:
• Stop comparing your INSIDES to someone else’s OUTSIDES. We moms do that constantly and it’s not fair.
• No mom is perfect. And watching the other moms cry, nod, and smile during the presentations proved we’ve all forgotten our kid at school or said something we didn’t mean to. Even the skinny ones screw up sometimes.
• We all need time to reset and recharge. It makes us better parents.
• Listen to the words you say to your kids and compare it to what you wanted them to hear. If you say, “Ugh, you are driving me crazy!” you are trying to say that you are frustrated, but they might hear “I’m a burden and a bother.”
None of this is rocket science. But sometimes you just need lifted up and set back down a little to the left. And even though my dad and Jay made fun of me when I came home, I’m trying to use this reset to make me a better mom, maybe a tad bit more patient with Sam whining or help me choose the right words with Addi.
At dinner last night, I asked Samantha, "What was the BEST part of your day today?" She replied, "When YOU picked me up from school. Because I love you so much!"
That comment reset me a little too. And it didn’t take a whole day to hear it!
Back in the day, Saint Patrick's Day was a time for a party for Jay and I. We dressed in green, hit the bars, and usually woke up hung over. Even after Addi was born we would get a sitter and still go out - after waking up to see what the leprechaun had perhaps left for the family. Green milk, anyone?
Today proved to me just how different our lives really are. First of all, I woke up to sounds of the girls running around the house, looking for signs of a short green guy who may have visited during the night. And had a quick moment of panic when I realized that I totally forgot all about St. Patrick's Day. Oops! Luckily my dad was staying over, so I think the dogs ran off any leprechauns. Problem solved.
We were signed up to walk in the St. Patrick's Day parade with Addi (and next year, Sam's) school. We sported our spirit wear and warm clothes and went downtown. We were cold, we were sober, and we were throwing mardi gras beads for an entirely different reason that we may have before, but it was an awesome time.
Our pee may not have turned green from the food colored beer, but it was a great day.