“You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people.”
I’ve spent a lot of my time here on earth re-learning what I was naturally gifted at birth- the knowledge that I am loved. My little one entered this world fully and unconditionally loved as well, we all did.
I watch Miles dance and laugh and scream and eat and talk without concern. Little ones do not care what others think of them, they know how incredible they are. It’s us, our world, that teaches them to be concerned.
We shush and we scold. We reward quiet, obedient behavior. We tell little ones they are “good” when they are quiet and small. We are ripped away from the inherent knowledge that we are loved unconditionally, and shaped by the world into something else. We are told we are not pretty enough, young enough- not good enough. The world, and often the way we are told to parent, shames us into shapes unrecognizable from the bouncing, joyful form we showed up in.
Ask any parent what they want their child to grow up to be and you’ll hear the opposite of quiet, obedient, and small. We want our babies to be resilient and strong. Wise and kind. Creative and successful.
Our long term goal of raising wild, passionate, intelligent creatures (and being wild, passionate, intelligent creatures) does not match the way we parent short term. Time outs and sticker charts do not create a generation of free thinkers.
Unconditional love and parenting is possible and I believe it starts with the self. If we do not love ourselves fully- if we cannot recognize the parts of ourselves we are working on- how can we parent unconditionally? After all, we know little ones learn through role modeling. It does not matter how many times you say something, little ones learn by watching you. Others learn about you by watching you.
If you stand in front of the mirror picking yourself apart and shaming your body, your little one will too. If you yell at your partner and solve conflicts with violence, your little one will too. If you gossip and shame others, your little one will too.
If you celebrate your body and women’s bodies everywhere, your little one will too. If you treat your partner like your best friend and work everyday to see the best in them, your little one will too.
I’ve been honored recently reading your messages and comments about what a wonderful mama I am, and while it is very kind, at the end of the day it does not matter. I don’t mean that you don’t matter or that I don’t appreciate your kindness. What I mean is that I already know. I know that I am an exceptional mama and an awesome wife. I know what I bring to the table at work. I know this because I know I am loved.
Unconditionally, I am loved. Not by any one else, but by myself.
I am not defined by the world around me, by the people that love me, or by the people that don’t love me. I am loved fully and completely and messily all on my own. I am not defined by past decisions or mistakes, I am defined by the next decision I make.
This superpower of loving myself means that my relationships with my baby, my husband my family, and my friends naturally improve and grow because I am no longer doubting myself. I do not rely on external validation to tell me what I already know- that I am loved. And so are you.
The more you love yourself, the less toxic nonsense you will tolerate. The more love you pour into yourself the more your cup will fill, and eventually, overflow and spill on to the people in your life.
You can be the love you never received.
You are not defined by your childhood, by your job title, or by your roles in life. You can examine these things to unpack your bad habits or the mean things your subconscious is telling you- but you are in control here. You can change your life and it all starts with reminding yourself that you are loved.
If you want to change your life, your country, your world- start with yourself.
Hey y’all- I’m late. Friday comes fast, doesn’t it? This is more of an observation than an excuse for missing these past two weeks.
Sunday nights are my new me time. My time to reflect and reset before the week to come. So I’m moving my “Better” series to Sunday evenings, I hope that’s alright. Maybe this is your quiet time too.
Here it is, my list of ten things making our world better this week.
1. This blog post. YES this is the same Rachel Hollis that wrote the life changing book Girl, Wash Your Face.In this post Rachel shares 5 documentaries you can watch on a rainy day, or any day. I love documentaries- a few have quite literally changed my life. Maybe put one of these on after your Thanksgiving dinner!
2. Farm Sanctuary’s celebration for the turkeys! Listen. I know meat tastes great, I know that- but it is messing up our planet bb’s. And oh boy is it heartbreaking watching those turkey slaughter trucks go by on my way to work each day. Each year, farm sanctuary hosts a vegan feast for their beautiful rescued turkeys. 1. Watch this video. 2. Smile, laugh, cry. 3. Then try a tofurkey or nut loaf this holiday season. Your body, our planet, and the turkeys thank you.
4. This song that I’m 100% sure Gaga and Bradley wrote just for me and my husband.
5. This podcast. Jonathan Van Ness is a gift to this world and everything he does is perfect. This particular episode was fascinating to me, I recently got back from Colorado where weed is legal throughout the state and it’s really something we need to be doing countrywide- the possibilities are endless and it was only outlawed because of some white man BS back in the day- give it a listen.
6. This breast pump. I can’t believe a pump like this didn’t exist before. Cordless, wireless, rechargeable, and pump straight into the bag. It’s an investment at 479 dollars but oh my goodness this is a game changer. Run, tell the other mamas.
7. This cup. Stojo is on a mission to drastically reduce disposable cup use. Americans toss an estimated 58 billion disposable cups annually. The global estimate is 500 billion- this collapsible, pocket to go cup is genius.
8. These baby shoes (pictured above). As Miles learns to walk in these winter months we wanted to protect his feet without hurting them. Many baby shoes can make walking harder for little ones, or hurt their little growing feet. The Surprize by Stride Rite (we found ours at Target) are affordable, adorable and won’t hurt or inhibit little one. (We have the cute snow boots too.)
9. This instagram. A beautiful reminder that you don’t need a lot of space to live well (even with two little ones).
10. This video. If you haven’t heard, Steve Carell hosted SNL and it was amazing. He even poked fun at Grease- The Office and Grease combined!? I ask you, what could be better?
That’s all for this week. Remember- good things happen, love is real, and we will be okay.
Another week, another list of ten things making our world better.
1. This instagram. Jen Winston of girlpowersupply is a beautiful mixture of inspiration, laughter, joy, sorrow, anger and love. Her posts wake you up to the realities of the world and allow learning without shame. All of her posts are important.
2. This vegan creamer. November is here and the leaves are finally starting to change in Virginia. This vegan pumpkin spice creamer is just the best. I’m not a hard core pumpkin spice fan but oh baby this stuff is good- I may have waited 30 minutes for a very kind, patient Target employee to find it in the back for me because I refused to go through the week without it.
3. This playlist. In my new open workspace it can get very quiet. Sometimes I appreciate the gentle silence but other times I love a bit of background noise. This playlist is beautiful and soothing. It acts like white noise, just more calming. I play it in my headphones when I need to focus. I’m playing it now, as I write.
5. This podcast. An amazing friend mentioned this podcast and I’ve fallen in love with it. Arianna Huffington sits down with notable leaders, celebrities, athletes and influencers to learn how prioritizing well-being — instead of burnout and overwork — has made them happier and more successful. Chelsea Handler’s episode is my current favorite.
6. This youtuber. Estee Lalonde is a Canadian youtuber living in London. She is creative, refreshing and fun to watch. Her podcast and her instagram are beautiful as well.
7. This blogger. Heather is a plant base, Canadian, millennial mama to the most adorable little one. Her blog and instagram are so bright and beautiful.
8. This book. Brene Brown’s new book- need I say more? Brene is answering questions about the book on her LinkedIn each week as well. She is brave, smart, kind and challenges me- lovely.
9. This charity. Glennon Doyle is a human empathy machine. When I don’t know how to help or what to do I turn to her.
10. This mama. Kitty Cotten is mama to little Harriet. I love literally everything about her.
“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” Maya Angelou
Our country, our world, is divided right now. I’m so tired of it. We are happier and healthier when we are full of joy and love and when we connect with those around us. We are stronger together.
This is not to say we should ignore the bad-no. We should be angry and fighting and working hard. But some days, we need to rest. We need to fill up our cups so we can be there for others. Put our own oxygen masks on first.
In an attempt to bring some light and love into our world I am starting a new series called Better. Each Friday you will find a post here with ten things that are making my world, our world, just a bit better.
Ten things making life better this week.
1. This Book. Scott Harrison is incredibly inspiring, 100% of the author’s net proceeds from Thirst will go to fund charity: water projects around the world.
2. This Podcast. Mamrie Hart and Grace Helbig are hilarious, intelligent women just trying to make you laugh. This week? They talk about the time they got too high and watched Planet Earth II- just writing about it is making me smile.
3. This instagram. Thomas Middleditch is so hilarious I don’t know what to do about it. Scroll though his instagram for videos that are so weird they’re guaranteed to make you giggle.
4. These jeans. I’ve worn these jeans four times this week and they make me so happy. I have realized that skinny jeans are my worst night mare so I have let them go from my life. Hello “boyfriend” jeans- which is really just a term for jeans with real pockets that don’t squeeze all your lady parts and thighs to death.
5. This baby. LISTEN. My little chickens makes me so darn happy. Please feel free to stare at pictures of him, or of your kiddos or loved ones. Turn off the TV, close all the apps, look at your people. Look at pictures of them, pick up the phone to call them. It’s so tempting when we pick up our phones to open Instagram, Facebook or another app. Call someone you love instead. Stare at your little ones, your loved ones. If you don’t have someone you want to stare at or call? Do something today that will get you one step closer to finding your people.
6. These food pouches. Sometimes, mama needs a break. Sometimes mama doesn’t want to steam more pears or sweet potatoes or beets. For those times, these wonderful pouches are full of the good stuff. Most store bought baby foods (even the organic ones) have hidden sugars. “Apple puree”? Yeah, that’s just another word for sugar. These pouches can be found in the dairy/refrigerated section of your local Kroger- or online. With different varieties for babies, toddlers, and kids. (Thank you Auntie Rochelle for finding them.)
7. This Ted Talk. Laughter connects us. In a time where I want to know more about what brings us together than what drives us apart? This is too wonderful.
8. This yogi. Anne Evers is 97, vegan, and a yogi. She’s still growing, learning and working to make our world better for the people coming after her. The world needs more Anne’s. Also, she inspired me to get my butt back on the mat.
9. This relationship podcast. Days are short. Life is full. Weekly reminders to love my partner are necessary. Rachel and Dave Hollis remember to love each other well. I bring all of their advice into my relationship because my husband is my very best friend and I want to invest in him and love him well. We can have exceptional relationships even when life is full.
10. This phone accessory. I fought the Popsocket for a long time y’all, but I have tiny hands and it’s so darn convenient. If you have a large phone these puppies are worth it. They also have a Popsocket stand so you can situate your phone in your car- “insert praise hands”.
That’s all for this week y’all.
My new company has a beautiful tradition of starting each morning with a thought of the day, today’s thought? “Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.” Erik Erikson