Friday, January 15, 2021
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Cassan Ferguson

The Dangers of Mom Comparison

We can often very easily slip into comparing ourselves with others and let the disappointment of what we don’t have influence our emotions, our outlooks, to our behaviour.

We as moms have moments where we compare ourselves with other moms, and we can get caught up in it. Which often distracts us from the truth of who we are and what we called do. We then start to play “The Mom Comparison Game “. You know, that ruthless game we play with each other that kind of looks like this:

The Mom Comparison Game:

She seems to have it “all together”!  – if only.

She is so lucky to have an au pair, AND a full time nanny to help with the kids! – if only. 

She is so lucky that she has the balance of working full time, and being a great mom , that ALWAYS looks so beautiful! Is she mythical, surely she can’t be real! – if only.

She is so lucky to be at home with her child all day! – if only.

She is so lucky that she has a husband to help father her children! – if only. 

She is so lucky to be able to afford to send her kids to private schools! – if only.

She is so lucky to be able to afford to send her child to ANY school! – if only.

She is so lucky to have a house, to have furniture, to have warm food and clothing to provide for her children! – if only. 

Followed by a BIG SIGH of “IF ONLY “. Can anyone relate?

Maybe your comparison list looks a little different, and you feel a bit down or disheartened about yourself and your situation because you are comparing it to someone else’s way of living. The truth is, when we entertain the very thought of comparing our lifestyles, or families, to our parenting abilities, we become distracted, resentful, and disheartened. Comparison causes us to become envious of others. One of the best ways to root out the cause of envy is to change our perspective, and to change the way we look at things!

Don’t look left or to your right

When we get caught up looking to the left and to the right, and get distracted in what others are / aren’t doing we tend to lose our focus on the here and now. If our gaze is constantly on others, we take our eyes off of our destination, because we are distracted and consumed by what we think we are lacking. If our focus is ahead, and we look forward to what is in front of us; we are focused, we are driven, we are purposeful, we are in the moment.

Be grateful for what you do have

A heart that is filled with gratitude becomes a heart that is filled with; contentment, happiness , thankfulness, and feels blessed. Sometimes we forget that what we have, someone else is desperate for, like food, water, and shelter. Don’t overlook what may seem small and insignificant in your life, it is a blessing!

Celebrate who you are

The truth is no one can do what you do quite like the way you do it! You are unique, you have certain strengths and skill sets that no one can embody or replicate. When you have a sense of knowing who you are, and owning who you are and what you bring as a mom, you will celebrate that by bringing joy into your home. You were created to be the right kind of mom for your child! Be confident in that!

When you focus on wanting to be the person that God has called you to be, you will find purpose, meaning, satisfaction, and fulfilment. You can’t focus on your purpose, while getting caught up in what others have or are doing.

If your heart feels troubled at the moment, and you feel like you can relate to this post, and you want to move forward as mom on a mission filled with passion and confidence, please may I encourage you to click on the link below or to share this with someone in your world.

 

Mom Guilt

The first time I truly experienced this “Mom Guilt” was when my son was just a few days old. He had spinal tension and full blown colic. Therefore he was constantly screaming, and because I was anxious and still recovering from my C-section, I was a nervous wreck. Which made things worse, for both mom and son.

Malakai was in pain, I was in pain, and I felt very helpless, as I felt like I was not getting this “mom thing”. Have you ever felt like this? Like you weren’t getting this whole mom thing?

I used to feel that no matter what I did, or how I did it, it just made things worse. The crying from 12 till 6 am EVERY NIGHT. Then crying throughout the day for four to five hours, was killing me. It was soul destroying, and what would make it worse, was when other moms would say “Trust me, you will know what every little cry means, and you will know exactly what to do”.

NOPE! That did not happen! I felt like I was constantly trying to play baby charades with my son. And I felt like the worst player, because it felt like I was getting it wrong ALL THE TIME! The moments where I was totally alone with my son, were the scariest for me, as I felt vulnerable, and very fearful of my son.

How strange is that? To feel afraid of a new-born baby? I was meant to be the mom! I was meant to make my son feel safe and secure, but I didn’t even feel safe myself! I felt these waves of guilt knock me down with its weight. I felt overwhelmed, I felt disappointed in myself, I felt like a failure, I was frustrated, angry, sleep deprived and I felt like the worst mom on the planet, which in turn made me feel very guilty!

Hello Mom Guilt!

Mom guilt can be a vicious cycle. It comes and it goes, then it comes and then it goes, like waves.

Here’s my mom guilt confession list:

I felt guilty when

I thought about leaving my son at my mom for the first time when he was still a new-born.

I felt guilty when

I put him down angrily in his cot after him screaming non-stop.

I felt guilty when

I stopped breast feeding and expressed milk into bottles when he was only 10 days old.

I felt guilty when

I introduced formula milk at seven weeks old.

I felt guilty when

He fell off the bed.

I felt guilty when 

He slipped in the bath.

I felt guilty when

I had no choice but to go back to work when my son was only four months old.

I felt guilty when

Malakai had to stay over in hospital not once BUT twice under the age of one due to health reasons.

I felt guilty when

We found out he had allergies, and most of the things we fed him were things he was allergic to.

I felt guilty when

I missed his class year end function because I had to work.

I felt guilty when

I yelled at my son out of frustration because I ran out of patience.

The truth is, that Mom Guilt comes and it goes, it is inevitable, and it comes with the territory! But how do we deal with it? How do we move past it without letting it consume us?

Then He said to me

I remember a moment so clearly where I was desperately trying to rock my son to sleep. I was angry, I was tired, I was frustrated, and I felt guilty for feeling all of those things. I said to God, “Why, did you do this to me? Why do I have to have it so bad? Why can’t I just enjoy this season? ”

There was quiet for a moment. Then in that silence, I heard this response in my heart:

“My daughter, it will never be easy when raising a legend, chin up!”

I burst into tears. I realized that I let guilt enter my heart, I let it settle and make a comfortable home in my heart. I realized that I let the hurt, the fears, the failures, the disappointments, and the guilt control and consume me.

God reminded me:

1) Daughter

God reminded me that I was His daughter, I was still His child. Therefore I still need Him to guide me, to parent me in a lot of ways. He reminded me that I don’t need to have it “all together”, all of the time, that’s His job! Because I am His daughter, I can come to Him, I can feel safe in Him, I can find rest and solace in Him.

2) We are raising legends.

There will be seasons of joy, ease, and celebration. With greatness there is challenge. Challenges can refine our character, and it can inspire and strengthen those around us, and those in our care. Sometimes we need to embrace the crazy that motherhood brings, and remind ourselves that it is normal to have “those days”, but don’t let “those days” swallow you whole!

3) Chin up.

When our focus is down cast, we look at the immediate, and we become overwhelmed by our circumstances. But when we look up, and focus our gaze heaven ward, we place our eyes, our concerns, our hopes to the one who believes in us, who has confidence in us.

Chin up beautiful mom, you’ve got this!

Beautiful friend, please know and trust that you can do all things with the help of Jesus. He will strengthen you when you feel like you have nothing more to give, He will guide you when you need to make tough parenting decisions. He will refresh you when you feel empty and a bit lost. The best part with doing this parenting gig with Jesus, is that we can click “RESTART” button daily if not hourly, especially when we rely on him to help us through it!

You are not alone in this! Your best parenting days are ahead of you! If you would like to click the restart button, why not click on the link below to help you get started!

 

The Distracted Mom

Distracted defined as:

Unable to concentrate as one’s mind is preoccupied.

Have you ever felt like there was a lot going on inside your mind which in turn made you feel a bit disconnected emotionally and mentally because your thoughts way heavily on you?

You know those normal day to day thoughts:

Deadlines -Projects due for the same week or for the same day.

Work schedules – Do you have to run a meeting, do a presentation, sit in on a meeting, take notes at the meeting, send the minutes of the meeting, and maybe read through the minutes so you don’t miss out on anything.

Family schedules – Know if your child has outings, or special dress up days for school, plan their meals for the week, doctor visits, family visits, fun family outings. Grocery shopping, menu planning for the week, and family budgeting.

The Distracted Mom

I find myself in a season, where I am desperately trying to hold on for dear life. I have projects upon projects that keep piling up, with due dates looming in the back of mind, whilst trying to balance a normal family life!

If I had to be honest with you, it feels overwhelming, and it feels exhausting. My body can’t keep up with my mind, and my mind can’t keep up with the pressures of life. My “to do” lists continue to grow, for every tick off my list, another “to do” goes back on it.

These thoughts, become anxious thoughts. When I feel anxious, I start to feel like I withdraw inside myself emotionally. I feel continually distracted, and I don’t know where to place my focus entirely.

Because of these anxious thoughts, I become a distracted mother to my son. I feel like I am there physically with him reading to him, playing cars with him, but my thoughts are pulling me in a different direction.

I am the distracted mom!

These distractions are stealing precious moments from my son, as well as from me. It burdens me because I know that time with your little ones are so precious, and you will never get them back. Therefore I intend to fight for them, to protect them, honour them and to savour them!

When my thoughts become anxious thoughts, I love how God steps in and says to me:

“Be still and know that I am God ” – Psalm 46:10

God tells me to stop, breathe, and have a moment where I can just be still, be quiet in Him. I find that when I am still in his presence, He drowns out the anxious noise with His love and with His peace.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, in prayer and in petition, with thanks giving in our hearts make your requests known to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds In Jesus Christ ” – Philippians 4 -6 & 7

God says to come to him and ask him, and to ask him with a sense of gratitude in our hearts. God already knows what our needs are, He wants us to bring it to him and surrender it to him. When we do so, we give over our sense of needing to be in control of everything by letting Him be in control. When we surrender our cares and concerns to Him, He then fills us with his Peace.

Friend, if you are feeling anxious and distracted due to the overwhelming pressures of life. Just know that God wants you to live a life that is filled with His peace, His joy, and with His unconditional love. If you are wanting to know more on how to live an “anxious free” life, then may I encourage you to click on the link below.

 

Broken crayons still colour

Broken crayons still colour.

I stumbled across this quote over a year ago and saved it to my phone! Do you ever do that? See a quote , then save it to your phone or post it up onto social media because it speaks so loudly and clearly to you?

Well this quote resonates with me, because once upon a time I felt very broken and I did not see that in my brokenness I could be used for greatness. I knew I was a big mess, and I used to believe that my life would always be one big mess, and I did not think that I deserved greatness!

Broken defined as :

Reduced to fragments; fragmented, ruptured; torn; fractured, not functioning properly; out of working order.

Ever felt like that?

There was a stage in my life where I used to feel extremely empty, unfulfilled, and very lonely. Therefore I would go out most nights, get completely intoxicated, and date who ever I wanted, whenever I wanted. But none of those things satisfied, filled me, or made me feel whole and content. They were more passing moments to fill a quick fix, to numb the real issues, to numb the real pain that lingered in the background.

There is only so much a person can do to fill this kind of pain until it all catches up with you, and you’re left overwhelmed by all of your brokenness.

You have two options:

1) Keep running and numbing the pain.

OR

2) Face it and deal with it once and for all.

But how does one face it all?

1) Know that you are not alone
The good news is that we don’t have to face it all by ourselves. A very comforting and freeing moment for me was when I learnt to leave all of my pain into God’s hands.

“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” – 2 Timothy 4 : 17

2) You can trust in Him
I knew I could trust God with my very deepest hurts and mistakes. I understood that he loved me even in my darkest season, and that he wanted to see me restored, happy and well on all levels.

“I have made you. I will carry you; I will sustain you, and I will rescue you ” – Isaiah 46 : 4

3) Surrender
I remember on one particular afternoon where I just sat down on the couch and said to God, “Okay God, I’m not sure how to do this, but I am tired of carrying it all by myself, and I am tired of feeling this way, please help me!”. I then felt this deep sense of freedom, and peace, and I just began to cry, and I let it all go.

“When we out our cares in His hands, He puts His peace into our hearts”

4) Forgive yourself and others
Whilst on this journey of restoration and healing I became aware of forgiving others that had hurt me, and I became aware of actively forgiving myself for hurting others.

“When a deep injury is done to us, we never heal until we forgive” – Nelson Mandela

5) Journey of Grace
It was a journey, and it took time to sift through everything, but God was there all the while, holding my hand, cheering me on, showing me how to forgive and how to let go. You can never rush the process, and everyone’s healing process looks so different to that of someone else’s.  Be gentle with yourself, and take each day as it comes.

“My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” – 2 Corinthians 12 : 9

Broken crayons still colour

You may feel overwhelmed by the brokenness in your life, and you may not even see the potential of what lies within you. But know that your past, your hurt, your brokenness does not define you.You were created in the image of a living God, who is wanting to help carry your hurt for you, a God who wants to see you healed and restored. If God could do it for me, he most certainly can and will do it for you!

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny” – C.S. Lewis 

If you feel that this is something that you need to do in order to move forward out of a broken space and into a life filled with hope and purpose, then may I encourage you to click on the link below to find out more.

Subtext – reading between the lines.

Have you ever had a moment, where you are happily glancing through one of your (many) online social media apps, and you read a Tweet or a status update and immediately felt like;

“Wow , what is he trying to say?” , OR, “I can’t believe she tweeted that, especially when she knows my circumstance”, OR,“She didn’t like any of  my social media updates, something is up “.

With that you start to feel this sense of betrayal, disappointment , and hurt. You feel the need to defend yourself and to say something back! But not directly to them of course, because who says anything that direct and honest these days online? Everything is filtered, everything is vague, nonchalant , everything is in-between the lines, waiting for you to figure it all out.

WELCOME TO THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF SUBTEXT!

Subtext Definition : “Subtext is content underneath the dialogue. Under dialogue, there can be conflict, anger, competition, pride, showing off, or other implicit ideas and emotions. Subtext is the unspoken thoughts and motives of characters—what they really think and believe.”

Those all consuming thoughts propel us to react emotionally. Because we start assuming things, then we start subtweeting or subtext our updates online as a means of “getting them back”. 

Now some of you may be reading this and may think “What on earth? Who has time for this? “. Then there are others of you who have experienced this, and have been hurt by what people (friends,trolls) say online or are doing online.

There are people who intentionally go out of their way to “discretely” hurt you by what they say and how they say things online.

I have witnessed it myself on many occasions. Especially when people “forget” that you have mutual friends online, and if one friend has a fall out with another friend, then you witness odd outbursts online, OR,  when a couple breaks up and you read all of their “I don’t need him” quotes, followed by his quotes ; “The truth will set you free”. Then all of us innocent bystanders have to lay witness to the mini subtext wars!

Then there are moments where we think something was subtweeted / sub-status’d for us, when in actual fact maybe it wasn’t! Maybe it was someone’s honest ramblings, someones thoughts, someone just saying something online for the sake of being present online. But we take their words to heart. We try to look for things that aren’t even there, because we are insecure, too scared to maybe confront the person, and hear the truth.

We are so fearful of someone trying to hurt us that we start  to react emotionally, as a means of protecting ourselves.

WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING:

PAUSE : Pause for a moment, and ask yourself; ” Is this tweet / status update truly about me? ”

CHAT : Chances are that it’s not about you, however if you maybe suspect that it is about you – then chat to the person, IN PERSON!

REFLECT : Ask yourself : “what are the root causes for your insecurities?”. Especially when it comes to reading things that other people post online.

REMOVE : Once in awhile you should remove yourself from online social media – especially if it causes you to emotionally react online. How much time do we waste getting caught up in what other people are saying online?

KNOW : Know your sense of self worth, you do not need affirmation from any online source, or from any person. You should feel a sense of worth by knowing how dearly loved you are by God. When you come to know that peace and love that only He can bring, you start to feel confident, empowered, brave, and you start to feel secure, secure in yourself.

Friend, if I may encourage you, don’t get caught up in the “Subtext” . Life is far too short to worry about what others are saying online. True friends won’t feel the need to subtweet or subtext things online about you, if you have friends who you know for a fact are behaving that way, you have a choice to walk away, or you can confront them about it. You deserve an amazing life, a life that is meant to be enjoyed with the people you love.

My life has truly turned around (in all areas) when I made a decision to get to know God, and do a journey of Faith with Him. Over the years, I can truly say that He has helped me to know my worth, my identity, my sense of belonging, and to know a deep sense of unconditional love! Which in turn has helped me to take action through a secure loving space. If you want to know more about this unconditional love, then may I encourage you to click on the link below.

Called to Dream

I have the honour of teaching little ones Drama, and what never fails to inspire me, is watching them create, conceptualise, role play, and dream without hesitation. They have the ability to create with passion , enthusiasm, and with confidence.

For us , as adults , life happens. Things happen to us that start to shape and influence the way we behave and live going forward. Life starts to weigh on us, we tend to think more logically or react out of a fearful space, we become inhibited, we start to dream less, because dreaming requires bold action.

Do you ever have moments where you think to yourself:

“This is it. This is my life ; to remain stuck, to remain in this situation, job or circumstance.”

What if we have been created to dream? Not just a once off dream, but a dream that continues to grow as we allow it to?

What if we have been called to dream? Called by our creator. Dreaming always seems bigger than us, bigger than ourselves, our situation, and sometimes dreaming feels way out of our reach. May I just encourage you that there is a God who thinks the world of you, who wants you to come alive in Him, and wants you to live a life that takes your breath away!   

Imagine

Imagine the idea of allowing yourself to dream of what could be. Imagine living a life that was birthed from a God given dream! Imagine if you had the boldness and the faith to step into that dream, trusting that God would guide you through the process! Imagine living a life that is filled with passion , and purpose because you were living out your dream!

How do we start dreaming?

ASK : Ask God to show you the dream that He has in store for your life.

FAITH : Have Faith, that you have been called to dream!

COMMUNICATE : Once you’ve discovered that dream in your heart, ask God for wisdom regarding how to go about taking bold actions into making it a reality. Speak with family and close friends about your dream, allow them to encourage you on this exciting journey!

Called to dream

Lastly, fan those dreams into flame.The ones that have been laying secretly in your heart. God wants you to dream in Him, He wants you to dream significantly. Why not step into a God breathed life by stepping into a dream that will set your soul alight!

See your world start to change around you , because of what God can do in and through you, if you just allow him to. Have Faith in him, you can trust in Him. Start to dream in Him.

If you are unsure how to go about making that connection with God or even just starting the journey of trusting him with your dreams, may I just encourage you to click the pop-up or banner below.

Mom Bullies

I find myself in the mom-sphere of life, and with that comes a whole new world of things that can leave one feeling very overwhelmed at times. You are bombarded with information on “How to mom, how to kid”. Some of these books, websites, blog posts can help at times, but it can cause you to doubt how you are doing things as a parent.

I remember I got to a stage, where I thought to myself; “ I will read, research what I need to, but I will define and use what is useful and necessary for the needs of my family”. It was so freeing and so liberating getting to that stage in those very early newborn days with my son.

Every child and family situation is unique. Therefore we need to adapt the rules of parenting to what will work for us, and most importantly what will work for our children. However, not everyone thinks like that, and they will insist that you know that too!

The confident mom

I belong to a couple of mommy groups on Facebook, and there are elements about it that I absolutely love. I find it encouraging, and helpful as women exchange tips, advice and celebrate those parenting moments with you. They are what I like to call the “pick me up, I’ve got your back moms”. They are confident in who they are, and encourage and celebrate mom milestone moments with you.

The mom bully

Then there are the other moms that like to burst your bubble, they feed off the negative, and pass judgment after judgment along with their opinions and criticism. You walk away from those online conversations feeling like the worst parent in the world, like an absolute failure.

I have encountered these moms, who have said things in passing without knowing or wanting to know the reasons behind the decisions I made with regards to the birth of my son, to eventually moving onto formula feeding. From the disapproving eyes, to the cold hearted remarks that leaves one feeling shocked, disheartened, to doubting yourself as a mom.

Topics that lure mom bullies :

C-section births.

The bully : “ That’s the easy way out!”
Reality : What if the mom had to have an emergency c-section?

Formula feeding.

The bully : “ If you gave up breast feeding, it’s because you didn’t try hard enough and persevere!”
Reality : What if her milk supply dried up?

Daycare for babies.

The bully : “ How could you put your baby’s health at risk like that!”
Reality : What if financially she had no choice but to go back to work?

I find that those topics bring about heated opinions. What I don’t understand is how some women feel entitled to bully other moms with the words that they speak. Especially when they don’t even know that moms situation as to why she chose the above topics?

Sometimes women can say things (especially moms) without thinking and can leave another mom feeling like a failure.

As moms, we need to listen to one another, encourage one another. It’s not easy being a mom, it’s hard work, and with this season of being a mom comes mom guilt. Therefore we need to have each other’s backs, and speak life, courage, and faith into the hearts of moms.

In the Bible it says in Proverbs 18:21 :

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

There is power in the words that we speak over ourselves and over the lives of others. What words are we speaking over others and over ourselves? What words are we allowing to shape and influence the way we think and behave?

If you have had words spoken over your life and situation; that has left you feeling like a failure, or may have caused you to feel despondent, and doubt who you are, just know that there is a God who thinks the absolute world of you, who called you by name and created you with such love and detail – a God that called you for greatness!

Let God affirm who you are, by getting to know him more intimately. If you are not sure about how to go about doing this, allow me to encourage you to click on the pop-up or the banner below.

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