The key to my history, who taught me how to love with all that I am; I wonder sometimes who I would be without them...I'm glad I'll never know. My family. They showed me what unconditional love looks like and showed us all that choosing someone for better or worse is neither a fairy tale nor a myth. My parents.
The people who I can be completely me with, who love me no matter what, who I have treated like crap and vice versa - yet we'll have each other's backs for as long as we live. My siblings. The man who knows me at my very best and my very worst, who has grown up with me...Who makes me laugh and drives me crazy, but has become a person whom I can't imagine life without. My past, my present, my future. My husband. As they came along one-by-one, I was overwhelmed and amazed at how immediately you can fall completely in love with someone in the space of a single breath, heartbeat, cry. I'd never known a love quite like it...Couldn't imagine a greater love that wouldn't shatter my heart to pieces at its fullness. My nieces and nephews. The greatest love I have ever known. A love born before ever even seeing a face. The moment I felt that first movement in my belly, I was hers. Before she was even born, she became a person I couldn't live without. She is our everything. My daughter.
Weeks ago I applied for another online writing position with MomSquawk.com. I hadn't heard anything back over a week later so I thought I'd just send out another, 'hey I'm still here and I'd really like to write for you, e-mail,' (striving to leave out any vibes of desperation, mind you). A few days after that I heard back from them saying they had received an overwhelming response to their call for a Motherhood / Parenting writer and they had come up with a little something to spice things up a bit. What might that be, you're wondering? Well let me tell you because this is where you come in. We were given the option to write a short essay about a parenting lesson we'd learned, from there our essay would be posted on the MomSquawk Facebook page and the competition would begin. Competition, you say? Do tell...The writer whose essay collects the most comments between now and midnight on April 20 gets an automatic offer to write for MomSquawk. What to do:
Thanks so much for helping a girl out! I hope you enjoy my essay.
- Go to the MomSquawk Facebook page and 'Like' their page. (Without liking their page, you can't comment or like anything). Not quite sure what I'm talking about? No worries MomSquawk hooked us up with a screen shot to help us out.
- Go to my essay: Being Abby's Mom and leave a comment.
- Share it with your friends with these instructions.
- Give yourself a big, virtual super hug (or super squeezie as I would say to the little loves of my life) on my behalf.
“Just tell me the truth,” is a phrase any parent anywhere will at more than one point utter to their children. Yet when the child you’re saying this to is a mere 3 or 4 years old, you realize you’re not quite sure how to define “being honest” to him. On top of that, you have a dawning realization that this is a crucial moment in your parenting journey. It’s no longer just about fulfilling basic needs and oohing and ahhing over this sweet baby, but helping to shape the person your child is going to become. (Gulp).So that begs the question, how do you explain the concept of truth and honesty to a toddler/preschooler?
If you'd like the answer to that question, I direct you to my latest article. The truth about teaching honesty to kids. I vividly recall the first time I had a conversation with my daughter, urging her to tell me the truth. For the most part she's an extremely cautious girl and this translates into almost every area of her life, including things that have the potential to get her in trouble. However, in this instance the 'kid' beat out the 'caution.' She had colored on her closet doors. Wanting to give her the chance to tell me the truth, I asked her if she had done this. I could see the wheels turning as she weighed the consequences of admitting she had done this versus pretending she had no idea how those crazy scribbles had wound up on her closet door. She tried to talk her away around it at first claiming ignorance...You know, in the way a 4-year-old might. At that point I was throwing around this unknown word, "truth" at her. "I just want you to tell me the truth honey. I won't be mad if you tell me the truth. I just want to know what happened and then we can talk about what to do." She still wasn't quite sure what road she wanted to take, but eventually told me what happened. We had ourselves a nice conversation and she got the task of attempting to clean it up, but it left me thinking...How do you explain truth and honesty to kids in a way that makes sense. Obviously it's something that needs to be taught, but how...Only after I saw an episode of Special Agent Oso, which talked about breaking down honesty in three simple steps did I dust off this thought and decide to put it into an article. So there you have it, our first venture into truth telling and honesty and what led to a breakdown of keeping it real for your kids in having these conversations.
When I was in college I went through a whole series of different majors before finding the right fit. After all those missteps, I found my home in the Human Services field. My first internship was for an agency whose mission was Child Abuse Prevention. That first internship and subsequently, my first job in my field, was a real eye opener. I had genuinely lived a fairly sheltered life, and it was heartbreaking to see the results of abuse shattering the perfect innocence of a child. Even more so knowing there were children resting on that imperfect bubble - where you know their life is being touched in some way by abuse or neglect, but not enough to substantiate and bring in the help their family needed. Too many children fall through the cracks. April is the month designated to raise awareness and provide people with tools to help in the fight to prevent child abuse. In March I started my coverage on raising awareness with an article about preventing child sexual abuse. This topic in particular is one I feel like we, as parents, need to start talking and keeping talking about with our children. The statistics I uncovered while doing the research were terrifying. It might not be a comfortable conversation to have with our children, but it's one we have to have. To kick off the month I wrote a piece about how we can all be a part of the solution. There are things we can do that might seem small, but if it has the potential to make a difference in the life of a child...Why wouldn't we do it? Additionally, I'll also link you to a piece I did in 2010 that will provide you with suggestions about volunteering or donating to specific organizations. I have a few other things planned for the month including a guide to any activities going on locally for Child Abuse Prevention Month. Ironically, when we were at the library last week, the book I checked out was about the impact child sexual abuse has on one family. I really hadn't looked at what the book was about; I grabbed it because it's an author I really enjoy and hadn't read the book yet. So look for a review to come on that book some time this month. If you want to show your support for this cause, consider donning a blue ribbon, as that's the symbol for Child Abuse Prevention.