Are you a Brave Mom? Brave Mom Blog Tour
Fear. Anxiety. Panic. Trepidation. Dread. Should I go on? Think I'm crazy?? I'm pretty certain I am at times. All these crazy feelings just because my friend asked me to go to a meeting with her. Looking back, it seems insane. But after reading Brave Mom: Facing and Overcoming Your Real Mom Fears by MOPS CEO Sherry Surratt, I realized I may not be as crazy as I thought.
Ok, confession......I have had a long time struggle with anxiety. I've dealt with this for as long as I can remember. As a child, I would sit for hours, pondering what I should say in a situation. A friend would be talking about something, or my parents would be having a conversation, and I would respond quickly, and then sit and think for hours, sometimes days, about what I would really want to say, too nervous, too anxious to ever say what I really wanted to say. Always fearing what they would think.
See, fear has ruled my life for a long time. And now as a mom, fear is around me all the time. I fear for my kids, for my husband, for my dog, for my home, for my family. I fear what others think when they see me, or what they think about what I say. I fear that I won't be able to hold my tongue when I really need to, or that I will sit frozen, unable to speak when it really matters.
Brave Mom talks about all of these things. I will be honest, it is refreshing to read that other moms in the same season of life as me, have these exact same fears. It is comforting to know I'm not alone. And the best part is that this book doesn't just say we all have fears, it's ok, just keep on keeping on and you'll be fine. No, it breaks your fears down, it give you the tools to step back and think about where the fears are coming from. It helps you stop and breathe and deal with your fears. It helps you be the brave mom you really want to be.
I don't know about you, but I so badly want to be the mom that others see as put together, that I look like I've mastered being a wife, mother, all around awesome person. And I think it's ok to want that, but we also need to be ok with being who we are, and not fearing that what we are isn't good enough.
Sherry Surratt shares her own fears and struggles, as do many other moms in this book. It is interesting to see how different we all are. Our fears, while many are about our children and family members, can be so different. And the way we deal with these fears differ vastly.
Sherry talks about how she wanted her husband to think of her as strong and not needing help. I on the other hand, often feel I lean on my husband way too much, often calling or texting him, telling him I'm struggling, that I need a break, that I'm going to scream if the kids don't let me pee in peace!
While I was reading this book, highlighter in hand, because yes, that is how I read, I felt I was constantly having that "aha moment". You know the one. You're sitting there and then something just clicks. It's like the missing puzzle piece is finally put in place and you can see the whole picture.
This one quote continues to stick with me. Sherry says, " I wasted days beating myself up, only to realize that to be the best mom I could be was the best mom for my kids. They needed me, imperfect, uncertain me. And what was really interesting to discover was that the so-called perfect mom next door wasn't so perfect. She had doubts and struggles and times when she felt like she had no answers at all either. Just because I couldn't see them didn't meant they weren't there."
"Aha moment" am I right?!?! For me, I become so consumed with what I look like to others, or what others think, allowing the fear and uncertainty of that overcome me, I forgot what my job is. I chose to have this life. I willingly and happily chose to have three children, to marry my amazing husband, to live in the wonderful town I live in. Why am I so fearful of others and what they think? What I need to focus on is that to the people who really matter in my life, I am everything they need. I was given my amazing kids because they are exactly what I need. And I am exactly what they need!
After three kids, my parenting style has changed. I'm sure this is true with every parent, you are constantly evolving, learning, figuring out works and doesn't work for your kids. Sherry talks about this as one of the things better moms do. They constantly educate themselves. I find myself doing this. I am always interested in learning and reading about parenting, new techniques, new studies, anything that will give me more tools to better parent my little humans. Because someday these little humans will be big humans, and goodness I hope I am doing it right!
Talk about the biggest fear ever. How do we get these little beings to become amazing productive members of society, who are not only hard working and intelligent, but kind and compassionate? Who understand the world is much bigger than just them and they are here for a reason?
I think this is a very common fear among moms. We fear about who our children will become and what kind of life they will live. But as Sherry points out, us moms very often fear these things that are out of our hands. Sure, we can make sure we love and nurture our kids and model what good people should do, but in the end, we all have free will, and our children will do as they please. We can't control what happens years down the road. So instead of worrying about what kind of adults our kids will become, we can focus on the now. Modeling good behavior, talking with our kids about making good choices, and enjoying life.
I learned a lot from reading this book. The biggest thing I learned was that my fear is based on control. I enjoy being in control. As a kid, I had control over speaking or not. I now have control over how I look or what I say to others. I have control over my reactions, although in all honesty, this is my BIGGEST battle! I crave control, and in this world we live in, there are many things that are just not in our control. I cannot control the choices my kids make, the way someone views me, the reactions of others. I can, however, control my reactions, my behaviors, my words, my actions. If I spent more time on what I can control, and less time on fearing the uncontrollable, I'm certain my life would be more fulfilling, more rewarding, more enjoyable.
Truth be told, I fear a lot of things, and I fear all the time. I am a worry wart. I lay awake unable to turn my mind off, thinking and worrying about what might happen, what I know will happen, what I know will never happen. I am full of fear. But as moms, aren't we all? Don't we all fear that our child will be the one to get into the car with the stranger? That our husband will get laid off not once but twice?(been there done that!!) That a family member will get sick and we won't be strong enough to take care of them? That our children will grow up to hate us? That our kids will get bullied in school? That one day all of our fears and anxieties will eat us alive? Because at this rate, that's exactly what is going to happen. We are worrying ourselves sick.
Brave Mom sparked something in me. That not only do I worry about way may than the normal person should ever worry about, but that I am the only one who can change my fears. I can pray, I can educate myself, I can confide in friends, I can just breathe. Breathe.......sometimes that's all we need. A minute to breathe. A minute to center ourselves and come back to reality. To realize that God gives us what we can handle. No more, no less. And that our fears will be ever changing and evolving as we change and evolve. Fear is ever present, but we have the control. We are the ones who decide how we handle it.
It's 10:10pm. My husband is at his "fun job" as i like to call it, and my kiddos are sleeping. And here I sit. Still full of fear, but hopeful that maybe things can be different. That I don't have to be full of fear. If you struggle with fears and you'd like to learn more about being a brave mom, pick up your own copy of Brave Mom here. If you'd like more information on MOPS, visit here. You won't regret it. I know I don't!