the first (and limited edition) finding joy teeshirt is here!

Last week, on Facebook, I posted this simple and fun question for our awesome, and I mean encouraging real mom kind of awesome,  Finding Joy Community

 

Simple, right? But look at the comments and likes. You all were awesome. Suggestion after suggestion after suggestion for the first official Finding Joy teeshirt came in. And I was blown away and filled with gratitude. For real. Not only did you encourage me with your words, but you gave me tremendous direction.

And now? Now I’ve got the teeshirt ready. It’s made. It’s the first limited edition of Finding Joy teeshirts. (That’s fun to say – first edition – especially since we’re going to create a series of awesome shirts.) So I’ve got it ready to go and we can get it printed. It’s only available for six more days. And this is the only time this edition shirt will be available.

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Here’s where I need your help.

One. Grab a teeshirt. This will be the only run of this style of teeshirt. I have an amazing list (200+ comments deep) of teeshirt ideas. So if you love the Finding Joy #littlethingsmatter teeshirt now is the time to get it. There are three different cuts and colors available. I happen to be quite partial to this red one. Bold, really.

Here is the link -> Limited edition awesome teeshirt

Two. Help me spread the word about the teeshirt. You guys keep Finding Joy going. For real. Every share, like, comment, email, and all of that makes a difference. It helps create time for me to write, time for me to learn, and time for me to share my passion for motherhood with you all. So from me to you – truly thank you.

Three. Continue being awesome. I know, I know, I know…not about the shirt. But I couldn’t help it.

So that’s it. Three things. And I think I was going for a record in using the word awesome in this post.

You all mean the world to me. For real.

~Rachel

p.s.  here’s a closeup. Because, let’s face it, we all need closeups of things sometimes.

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“i am enough” – the power of moms

It’s been a year.

One year since I sat in the Rogers, Minnesota, Starbucks and typed out the words about being enough as a mom. I remember the morning, a morning where I really didn’t know what to write about, and I was simply feeling a bit overwhelmed. So much to do, so little time, but not knowing how to start. I was chatting with my business partner and he sent a message to me. Simple, yet profound. He said, “why don’t you just write about why being a mom is enough?”

So I did.

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I’ve pondered that phrase, that I am enough, phrase over the last year. I’ve watched it grow from a phrase to a movement. Those little words ended up getting viewed 2.5 million times. I ended up talking on television about being enough. It’s been translated into many different languages. And today? Today I believe in the truth in those words more than ever.

I am enough.

How many times did you go through your day questioning if you’re doing enough?

How many times did you go to bed thinking that you fell short again?

How many times did you look at others and compare and feel like you need to do more?

How many times did you apologize for not seeming to measure up?

How many times did you let expectations of what you think you should do overwhelm?

Enough.

You are enough.

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Being enough doesn’t mean being perfect. Nor does it mean sitting around doing nothing. Being enough means being willing to embrace you in the midst of your life, whether it be roses and rainbows or the messiest stickiest place, and seeing the value in you. It’s about understanding that at the end of your days that your children are probably going to remember you for the amazing little unique things that only you can do.

Listen: Only you knows how to comfort your child in the midst of a thunderstorm. Only you knows the exact gift to buy at Christmas or birthdays or just because. Only you knows the secret phrases to put on notes that are tucked into lunch boxes. Only you knows what it feels like to go to bed with that ache in your heart because your child hurts and you don’t know how to fix it. Only you knows the joy of wrapping your arms around your little one and giving them sweet hugs in the morning. Only you knows how to mother your children in just the right, you are enough, way.

Sometimes it’s easy to look at the world filled with expectations and to attempt to derive value from the never ending have it all together to-do list of motherhood.

The world missed seeing the uniqueness of you.

It missed seeing how you know to kiss owes in just the right way. It missed out seeing you staying awake late waiting for the washing machine to finish so you could put your daughter’s soccer shirt in the dryer so she’s ready for a game. It missed out on the moments when you rearranged the budget again and again and skimped out on something for you so your child could get what they needed. It missed out on you standing in your room, gathering your resolve, and trying to negotiate with an overly tired not wanting to wear anything you choose toddler. It missed out on seeing you fight for what is right even though it’s harder than anything you’ve ever done.

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And now?

Now we live knowing we are enough.

You need to know it on the days when you’re ready to quit. You need to know it on the days when you feel like you’re failing. You need to know it on the days when you watch the other moms and compare your life with theirs and feel like you’re falling short.

For a year I am enough has been our rallying cry of motherhood.

And now?

We’re going to live with intention and purpose and joy. We’re going to live loving our friends and other moms and we’re not going to turn a blind eye to those in need. We’re going to live knowing that our value isn’t derived by doing more, running ourselves exhausted, and racing to keep up with the hypothetical Jones’s.

That is powerful.

Imagine the community of strength we will become.

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There will be days that we fall. Days where we doubt. Days where we want to throw our hands our hands in the air and yell I quit. They’ll still be there. But our worth, your worth, is never dependent on those days, those things.

So today, today, look up, look in the mirror, look at you and without a critical eye I want you to tell yourself one thing. And not only tell yourself it but live it.

I am enough.

That’s our journey now.

You and me.

And the millions more joining in the I am enough cry.

Onward powerful brave giving real and I am enough mom.

We have awesome to do. 

******

Read: Why Being a Mom is Enough

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all pics, except the selfie in Target, courtesy of Hannah Nicole Photography

Dear Mom Letters Flash Give Away

Hey friends! I’m in a celebratory mood right now as I’m getting super close to finalizing all the details on my Dear Mom Letters book. So, to celebrate I’ve decided to give away twenty copies of my Dear Mom Letters ebook. Yes, yes, yes…twenty…the more the merrier!

Want to win a copy? It’s easy. There are two ways to enter to win. Follow the Rafflecopter widget thing-a-majig for help. And it’s easy. Join us on Facebook to chat about real motherhood and/or leave a comment to the question asking you to describe motherhood in one word. That’s it. Easy peasy.

The giveaway is until Monday night at 11:59. Feel free to share away. In fact, I’d appreciate it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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why value isn’t based on the past, the things you do, or how others treat you

I learned to hate myself in childhood.

I learned that I was the girl who was spit on in the hallways of the high school. I learned that others could write nasty things about me and paste them on my locker or in my schoolbooks or on the wall. I learned to be afraid to come home at night because my house would be vandalized. I learned in fifth grade what it was like when no one talks to you for many months and you don’t know why. I learned that somethings we never talk about even though they should be talked about. I learned that most people wouldn’t fight for me or stick up for me.

I learned how to live in my own head and to chant the mantra I don’t care over and over again.

I learned how to live in a world of pain and hurt and how to fight.

I learned to place my worth on how others treated me.

I learned.

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There might be a reason I write about learning from the past and not letting it define you. Sometimes I think it’s due to the codependency in which I’ve lived for so many years. Even as an adult I’ve lived in a way that looks for worth on externals – it’s the do more, be more philosophy of hoping to please other people with the hopes that they will value you.

You see I learned in those young years that I wasn’t valued.

At least that’s how it wrongly translated and morphed and shifted into adulthood.

I began to think my value was based on being the best all the time. I stopped resting or doing things that were fun. I became afraid to speak my mind in fear that others would be mad at me.

At the deep level – I feared, and still fear at times, the being alone.

And that’s what makes me write today.

That’s what makes me a passionate voice for the words you are enough and I am enough. It’s what makes me tear up when I read about moms just like you who feel alone and that they feel as if they don’t measure up. I’ve had to fight to let the demons, the patterns of childhood and worth, not taint myself today. It’s not as easy as one would think. There are so many that just tell me to simply let it go as it’s in the past.

Logically I know that. Convince my heart of it sometimes as well. Sometimes I’ll slip back into that mindset – the mindset of overachieving to feel valued – and I’ll run myself ragged. I’ll let my emotions taint the present.

But I’ve discovered something that I want to share with you. Maybe in living a life where I’ve felt inconsequential because I derived worth and value from the wrong places for so many years has finally taught me wisdom 39 1/3 years later.

Your worth is never dependent on how others treat you.
Your worth is not dependent on everything that you do every day.

You are valued because you are you.

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It’s a hard truth to realize sometimes. It’s hard to let go of those labels that stick tighter than the gorilla glue to our hearts. It’s hard to remember it when it feels like the world is against you. It’s hard to define yourself not based on the things you do. It’s hard to speak up and fight and to love. It’s hard to appreciate yourself.

So I am here to remind you.

You are awesome, amazing, beautiful, funny, lovable, valued, and enough even if for most of your life you felt otherwise.

You are enough.

Today I want you to have a moment where you simply love you for you. For all your imperfections and mistakes and all of that. Let go of those mistakes.

The past is in the past.

You have now. Today. This moment.

Fill your life with things that are good. Have friends that love you for you and stick with you even when you make mistakes. You will stumble, fall, trip, and have times where you want to quit. You will have people not like you or respect you. Don’t let all of those moments, those things, the past, or others define your worth or value.

Embrace you.

Yes, you.

You are absolutely worth it. You are worth it. You are worthy of love, joy, happiness, and wonderful. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have the Hallmark past to have an amazing future. You don’t have to have a life of roses and rainbows and sunshine to be valued and loved. You don’t have to have a bank account bursting with extras. You don’t have to do all the things that you think people need to do.  You don’t have to live in fear of what others think of you or how they treat you.

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All that childhood stuff? I’ve let it go. I was a kid. I didn’t know the truths about life that I know now. What I do know is how important it is to love yourself for you and to not allow the past to taint today. I have learned how to fight for me and my family. I have learned to give myself grace for the times when I slip into old patterns of thought. I have learned to look at myself and to accept the journey that I am on.

So from me to you, my words today, while a bit different than normal are these:

You are wonderful and amazing because you are you.

Don’t let others define your value.

You are valued because you are you.

And in it all you are enough.

~Rachel

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Oh yes, one other thing – bullying in childhood is a serious thing. A child should never be forced to tough it out, look the other way, or deal with it. Children in situations like that need love, support, and a solution. They need an advocate.

why time is more important than stuff

The other day I received a sweet comment from a mom who wished she was able to purchase extra things for her kids and then wrestling with this feeling about not being able to give her kids what she thought they needed and deserved – when she couldn’t budget it in. Well, first of all – I get it. I’ve lived in this crazy fiscally tight world for most of my motherhood journey. So tight that I’d be tallying items purchased while going through the grocery story and putting things back and lamenting when I couldn’t even buy a small item at the checkout.

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But, here’s the deal – even though the stuff is awesome time matters way way more.

It’s the giving of ourselves that our kids really need. 

Sure it is super fun to give them all the things that we think culture says they need – the toys, electronics, trips to Disneyworld and so on – but listen – those things don’t make or break a childhood. Really. I know that it almost seems to be expected that their youth is full of all of those things, but truly they aren’t part of parenting success or what all kids need.  It’s stuff. Extra stuff.

Your kids need you. Loving them when they feel lost in a world of things to do and expectations. They need you sitting next to them at night trying to convince them that someday they will really understand long division – as you try to convince yourself that someway you, too, will understand the new way of teaching it. They need you willing to wake at night when they have a bad dream and to sit by them and get them something to drink. They need you to listen to their stories and to cheer for them when they do great and to tell them I believe in you when they stumble.

Stuff doesn’t give them that.

Stuff is just stuff.

You’re their mom. The one that they write on little notes and pick flowers for and hold your hand. You’re the one that has loved them from the day they entered your life and will continue to love them even when they drive you just a bit crazy. Or a whole lot of crazy.  You’re the one that works so hard for them and oftentimes it feels like it goes unnoticed. You’re the one who washes those clothes, gets the stains out, and searches for a matching pair of socks.

That’s giving. Loving.

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That’s not stuff.

It’s real. Life. Breathing. Loving. Mothering.

At the end of our days we’re not going to remember all the trinkets and gadgets and stuff that we had to manage. We’re going to remember moments together. Simple, loving, beautiful, sticking together, wiping tears away, real life moments.

That’s why time is more important than stuff.

So if you’re at Target or Walmart or wherever and you’re wishing you could just get them that next thing, step back, and look at all you give. You’ll be amazed.

They need you way way more.

For more reminders about why motherhood matters check out my my dear mom letter ebook - it’s full of letters reminding you why you matter and why you’re not failing and honestly, why mothers are absolutely amazing.

why you need to let go of mom guilt

This is why:

Listen. We all have those moments where we mess up. We drop the ball, we yell, we get short tempered, we mess up, and all of that. We have moments where we wish we would have done something or responded differently and all of that.

Don’t let those moments define you.

Instead. Let it go.

You can learn from it. I’ve learned that I make a big deal out of things that don’t matter. I’ve learned that sometimes I just need to slow down and listen. I’ve learned to have extra patience. I’ve learned. But I’m not hard on myself for the mistakes and all of that. Or at least I’m not as hard on myself.

So my challenge? Work to let it go. You see the mom guilt keeps us stuck. It makes is so that we don’t see the awesome in the moment. It makes us worry and wonder if we’re enough. Trust me, you’re enough. What you do everyday makes a difference. A life changing, kid raising, loving your family difference.

There is freedom in letting that mom guilt go by the curb and you instead just focusing on today.

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So today? Today the challenge is to let go of that mom guilt. And to just be awesome.

Carry on brave mother.

Carry on.