A Response to a Bizarre View of Motherhood

A Response to a Bizarre View of Motherhood

A Response to a Bizarre View of MotherhoodI had to share A Response to a Bizarre View of Motherhood written by a longtime friend. Harper’s Bazaar recently published an opinion piece regarding the media response to Amala Clooney’s appeal to the United Nations on the genocide committed by Isis. Jennifer Wright authored the article entitled “Motherhood is Not a Woman’s Most Important Job”. Her article includes jaw-dropping gems like “The most important jobs are the one that comes with the most respect and power.”

I am not reposting my friend’s words to tear down Jennifer Wright, but rather to lift up the women who power through each day with love and dedication. Anyone who has left a professional job will find that job to continue on quite nicely without you. Supervisors who praised and adored your work will find your replacement.

Mothers are not replaceable. Their absence is missed at so many moments in life. Big moments, little moments. I have won the most prestigious award in my professional industry and yet I am not missed in my previous profession nor am I surprised. I suspect I would be missed if I was no longer around for my children.

Mallory Even is a long-time friend who sent Jennifer her response below. I loved her overall point that if a mother, then motherhood is the most important job one can have.

A Response to a Bizarre View of Motherhood

This letter is in response to the article you authored which was posted on March 17, 2017, entitled, “Motherhood is Not a Woman’s Most Important Job” (http://www.harpersbazaar.com/…/amal-clooney-motherhood-wom…/).

If the title was meant to be jarring in order to grab the attention of more potential readers, it worked. A dear friend of mine sent me the link to the article, and I honestly had a hard time reading it at first glance. I was so offended so deeply, so early into reading that it took me a few passes to get through it.

My understanding is that feminism’s overarching theme is to support a woman’s right to choose – to choose who they are, how they spend their time, what they wear, how they live, where they work, if they choose to work, who they marry, if they want to be a mother – not to only support women who choose to think and live their lives the same way that you do.

I do agree with you on one matter here – who cares what Amal Clooney was wearing while addressing the UN? We have much more important matters going on in our country and globally at the moment – some of which Amal was touching on in her speech. She can wear whatever she likes, and the media should not have been focusing on her choice of shoes. A waste of ink or air time, in my opinion. However, the irony of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, a women’s fashion magazine, reporting that media outlets had no business commenting on what Amal Clooney was wearing while addressing the UN, is not lost on me.

This is an opinion piece, and your opinion was stated very clearly in your writing. I see the world through another lens, and I have to say that I wholeheartedly disagree with you. Simply put, if a mother, then motherhood is the most important job one can have.

As a strong woman who was raised by a strong woman, and who is raising a strong daughter and son, and as a college graduate who has been a business owner for 10 years, I take offense to the fact that you call what I consider my most important job – motherhood – simply a volunteer position that is not nearly as important as my career. Please note that I am not saying that all women should only be, or can only be, mothers. But the minute that you begin to say that women should value one title over the other because one title is more important than the other, is the same moment you begin to insult the very foundation of feminism, is it not? Do you really want women to have the power of choice or just the ability to choose what you prefer?

Belittling motherhood belittles the child itself; whether that child is still in utero or is walking here on earth with us. You see, if you belittle motherhood to the point of calling it an unimportant volunteer position, you can easily make the leap to then consider the unborn child to be somewhat of a hobby; one without life just yet; one that is insignificant; one that is expendable. You may find this point irrelevant to your article; I find it very closely related.

In my career, I have worked with countless children who have been traumatized, abused, neglected, and hurt. When a child is told – whether verbally and directly, or non-verbally and indirectly, that they are not important, they begin to believe that lie and live it. I assume you would claim that every life is deserving of respect, has worth, and should be treated equitably – women, children, refugees, those with different religious beliefs – another matter on which we would agree. However, your message here is that shaping the minds and hearts of children while raising them should be seen as the equivalent of an unpaid, unimportant volunteer position which should always be trumped by a career, which directly translates to the idea that children have less worth. Children can’t be equally as important as everyone else if you name the task of raising them merely a secondary hobby.

What volunteer position do you know of that is present in your every thought, every moment of the day while awake? What volunteer position wakes you up three times in the night for a drink of water, or to be consoled after having another bad dream? What volunteer position takes the very essence of who you thought you were, and tips that idea on an axis that you didn’t even know existed? What volunteer position changes you and pushes you to the point of seeing the world in an entirely new way? What volunteer position affords you the extreme privilege and equally terrifying responsibility to influence minds, hearts, and decisions from the very beginning of their life until yours or theirs comes to an end? What volunteer position requires cooking, cleaning, wiping bottoms, wiping noses, and wiping tears all within the same hour? What volunteer position requires your time, dedication, energy, thought, and love 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the rest of your time here on earth? What volunteer position promises you the hardest days of your life? What volunteer position promises you the best, most fulfilling days of your life? What volunteer position requires sincere and brutal honesty with self and others? What volunteer position calls you on your b.s. and takes you down at the knees every single day? What volunteer position allows your legacy to live on long after you are gone? What volunteer position holds your hand and tells you it loves you, over and over again? What volunteer position allows you to realize that any love it shows you is a direct reflection of the love you have invested in it?

When asking some of these questions in isolation, you may find some volunteer positions that do fulfill those roles. But there is not one career, volunteer position, or secondary hobby which fulfills them all.

I also need to add that, my husband’s most important job is fatherhood. He is a brilliant engineer who works hard to support our family, and ensures the well-being of the American people by regulating the safety of nuclear power plants. But even more important than that is his job of giving our children a positive, loving, male role model. His most important job is coming home every night to kiss them fifteen times on the forehead, give them one more drink of water, and to read one more story before they go to sleep. His most important job is to tell our son and daughter that they can be anything they want to be if they work hard for it. His most important job is to tell our children how important they are. That they are worth his time. That they are worth being his most important job.

There is no trial period for parenthood – no dipping your toe into the pool to test the water. The second you become a parent you are fully immersed in the stress, anxiety, worry, fear, joy, comfort, and overwhelming love that accompanies the title. In parenthood there is no turning back, no career change, no retirement. There is no other job on earth that promises you more hardship while expecting and demanding more from you. There are no breaks, no time outs, no do-overs, and no opportunities to turn back time. Parenthood is not for everyone, and if not a parent, then a career could easily be considered a person’s most important job, should they choose for it to be. However, when one chooses to be a parent, there is an importance that is automatically and immediately inherited that is unlike any other.

Motherhood is the most mind-numbingly difficult, and yet the most rewarding job I’ve ever had. And without a shadow of a doubt, it has been and will continue to be my most important job. One day I will close the chapter of my professional life and retire from my career, and then what will remain? What has always remained – my family.

Sincerely,
Mallory Even
Mother; Business Owner & Entrepreneur

Read next: Mother’s Day With Young Children

Tips and Tricks for a Disney Trip

Tips and Tricks for a Disney TripIt’s officially summer in Orlando and it’s a great time to start thinking about a trip to Disney World. Who am I kidding? It’s always a great time to think about a trip to Disney World! I’m going to share something with you that even I – an Orlando native – didn’t know about: there are free Disney travel agents. Seriously! I’ve always thought that if you used a travel planner for a trip to a place like Disney you had to pay an extra cost. Well, you don’t. And they have the answers for all your questions. Can I bring a stroller? Is the meal plan really worth it? Are there any good deals for resort stays going on right now? To tell you more about it, I’ve asked my friend Amber Wilkerson from Middle of the Magic Travel to share about her Tips and Tricks for a Disney Trip.

Falling in Love with Disney

When Olivia asked me to write a guest blog on tips and tricks for a Disney trip, I just didn’t know where to begin!  I could easily spend all day talking all things Disney. So, I decided to just give you a little bit of my Disney background, why I love Disney, and why it is so useful to use a travel planner to plan your next trip to the Disney destination of your choice!

My first Disney World experience was when I was five years old. I can remember walking into the Magic Kingdom and being in absolute awe of the sights. The teacups! Dumbo! Mickey! Minnie! Everything was coming alive right in front of me. Epcot seemed to be the coolest place in the world!  And the water parks…so much more fun than the one in Atlanta I grew up going to. I will cherish those memories forever.

I was able to experience Disneyland at an early age, too.  I can remember on this trip learning more about Walt himself.  This trip really opened my eyes to the dream of one man and what all can be accomplished. Even now, I like to remind myself that everything I see while at a Disney park was a dream and it all came true!  As the saying goes, “dreams come true!”

Tips and Tricks for a Disney TripAs I got older, I continued to appreciate all that Disney had to offer.  Every vacation was different. In high school, it was fun to explore the parks with friends, ride the “fast rides” late into the night, and experience different special events and concerts.  And not to mention, seeing where the “new” Mickey Mouse Club was filmed!  A 90’s girls dream come true! In college, it was all of a sudden “cool” again to hang out with my parents. It was so much fun to have a grown up Disney experience, stay in a really nice resort, eat great food, stay out late, and to enjoy all the firework shows.

After college, I had the opportunity to participate in the Disney Institute with my colleagues from Lipscomb University. This was such a fun team-building experience and one of the best memories of Disney that I have. Our classroom experience was in an upstairs room in one of the countries at Epcot.  Our group broke into teams and had to complete a scavenger hunt throughout Epcot before the park opened.  It was absolutely one of the best memories to run around Epcot on a wild goose chase with no one around!  It was also during this trip that I had my first backstage tour of the parks. This is where I really began to have a deep appreciation of all the work that goes in to making every day magical for every visitor!  The costumes, the floats, the decorations!  It was truly eye opening.

And now…as a mom.  It is truly remarkable. I will never forget the feeling of being with my husband and daughter early one morning waiting to enter the Magic Kingdom. We arrived early just in time for “The Welcome Show”.  As we were riding on the monorail, out the window we saw the train with the characters waiting to go just sitting on the train tracks. They sat on the train waving and smiling and I sat on the monorail doing the same. Then once we went through security, the show started.  I was so overcome with emotion that I began bawling!  My daughter’s face lit up and I kept thinking “this is what it’s all about”.  It was pure joy to see Disney through the eyes of a child!  It was also a lot of fun to follow the road down Main Street USA all the way through the Castle and then to an open park.  All-time best memory!

Over the years I have become more and more passionate about all things Disney and I look forward to continuing to make memories for my family.  My family has lived in Orlando for a little over 3 years and the best thing we have ever purchased is our annual passes to Walt Disney World. This is what has lead me to become a travel planner, specializing in Disney destinations.  Disney destinations include Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and Adventures by Disney. There will always be something new to do throughout the years and I can’t wait to see what all Disney has up their sleeve. I want others to have the memories and to feel the excitement that I have had over the years and not to be overwhelmed by all the options in front of them. There is always something new to see, somewhere new to explore, and somewhere new to eat!

Tips and Tricks for a Disney Trip

Planning your vacation to a Disney destination can be extremely overwhelming. Where do you stay? Where do you eat? What do you ride? What is the best way to see my favorite character? Is my child too old/young? The questions go on and on. This is where I come in as your travel planner and become your Disney best friend…all at no cost to you! You see, anyone can plan and book a vacation to Disney, it costs exactly the same to book the trip yourself or to use a travel planner. But, by using a travel planner, you get your very own personalized concierge service and the expertise of someone who spends time to stay up-to-date on all of the special offers and the latest happenings that Disney has going on. Here are some great reasons to use a (me) travel planner:

  • I specialize in Disney destinations. This is my first love and the first love of my agency. You see, I go to the parks regularly and the owner of my agency lives here, too (she can actually see The Magic Kingdom fireworks from her upstairs window!). We literally LIVE Disney!
  • Don’t like comparing prices and spending hours looking for a good deal? I do that for you. You simply tell me your budget, what you would like to experience during your trip, your travel dates and voila! I’ll put together a customized quote for your family so that you can see the different prices and offers and you simply pick what you like the best!
  • As your travel planner, I will get up early for you and book your advance dining reservations and FastPass+ selections for rides and attractions. I’ll consult with you beforehand to get an idea of what you would like to do on your trip (and make suggestions and offer my expertise) so that you can get the most out of your vacation. The booking windows open very early so let someone else do the work for you!
  • As part of my services, I will prepare a personalized itinerary for your trip. I include all of your reservations and confirmations but also helpful tips like how to get from point A to point B, where to grab a quick bite, what to bring with you in the parks, and all the “little” things that you might not think about. Every vacation is different so this is something special that is put together just for you!
  • When Disney announces a new special offer or promotion, I will always check to see if your trip qualifies and if it does (and saves you money), I will apply that offer or promotion to your trip. No need for you to have to worry about this!
  • And…you know what the best part of using a travel planner is? My services are completely free to you! Yep, that’s right. You will not pay a dime for my services. That’s a pretty good deal!

So, what are you waiting for? Have you always dreamed about going to a Disney park or saying bon voyage as you set sail on the open seas? What about a European vacation with a tour company that is known for their excellent customer service? Or, are you itching to get back to a place where your dreams came true and all your cares seemed to float away? Now is the time to for the planning to begin!  I would love to help you plan the vacation you have dreamed of and would love to hear from you, soon!

Amber Wilkerson is a Travel Planner, Specializing in Disney Destinations but most importantly a wife and mama to two young kiddos. She and her family have lived in the Orlando area for over 3 years and as Platinum Plus Annual Pass holders they try to get out to one of the parks at Walt Disney World at least once a week…sometimes more. She is affiliated with Middle of the Magic Travel, An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner located right in Mickey’s backyard. You can contact her to book your next vacation by email at amber@middleofthemagictravel.com. And, be sure to like her Facebook to stay updated on the latest happenings, offers, and special tips that she has to offer!

Crazy Lies | Trustworthy Scriptures

Crazy Lies | Trustworthy ScripturesCrazy Lies | Trustworthy Scriptures

A couple weeks ago, I found myself stomping through the house with some crazy lies screaming through my head. It took a few days and some serious introspection to figure out I needed some crazy truths and trustworthy scriptures to go with them to be ready for this daily battle.

This isn’t really a new development. I became very negative when Little Brother (LB) was about six months old. I’m not sure what triggered it, but I remember having one negative thought after another constantly running through my mind. It was exhausting.

And I believed them.

Ty is Mr. Positive so he tried to combat the lies I was believing with truths. However, my mind had become so embattled that I genuinely didn’t believe any of the positive things he was saying. To help, he gave me a little trick that I still use today when my mind is spinning out of control and all I can hear are thoughts like “I’m so stupid”, “This house is a complete disaster” (and this one is really crazy) “My kids hate me”.

That was the lie that stopped me in my tracks last week. The idea that my kids hate me made me stop and say “well that is completely ridiculous”. I started examining the other negative things I was thinking and realized I needed to bring back the trick.

Ty’s trick is to examine the crazy lie and then respond with a rational truth. I am not stupid, I have a degree from the University of Florida and more than a decade of experience in my field with a few awards to go along with it. My house is not a disaster, I just have laundry to fold. The house is lovely, it keeps us dry and is a nice place to live. And my kids certainly do not hate me. They love me like small boys do and they bring me flowers every day.

I also thought it would be even more helpful to come up with some trustworthy scriptures to go along with my positive responses. Especially since the craziest lie that my kids hate me was understandably plaguing my every minute.

I figure I can’t be the only one who has felt this way and while I don’t have it figured out, I made some changes last week that have made things a little easier and happier that I thought I’d share.

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways (Proverbs 14:8)

The lie about my relationship with my kids usually got very loud around nap time…which happens to be the time that I got very loud too. I was miserable I’ve been so frustrated because my boys share a room now and have been acting as though 1:30 p.m. is the time of day to act like monkeys. I felt very disrespected and wasn’t getting anywhere with them.

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. (Proverbs 15:1-2)

Somehow I came across this scripture (who am I kidding, God shoved it in my face) and I realized I had been escalating every situation by raising my voice. The lie that my kids only listen when I yell had disguised itself as a truth in my mind. And while they certainly respond, they aren’t actually listening. In the last couple weeks, their responses altered in ways that were, shall we say, upsetting to me. I will not go in to details because my kids are truly wonderful. This isn’t about their struggles, it’s about mine.

I decided I would only respond calmly and not raise my voice. What a novel idea, right? This is ground-breaking stuff.

I also decided I would give my eldest the option of taking a nap. I’m pretty sure he’s the only four-year-old in his class who still naps, but I kept at it because he will sleep for two hours every day. I was also fearful that my two-year-old wouldn’t nap if his brother didn’t have to sleep either.

It’s still a work in progress, but telling my eldest that he doesn’t have to nap every day has definitely taken the tension out of nap time. We have days where I tell him he has to lie down because the day before was a holiday or we have a long day planned for the next day and then he lies down with no issue. He seems to appreciate this new independence.

They also need an example of how to respond to not getting your way (like when the kids don’t nap) without having a complete meltdown. Soooo, I should probably stop having meltdowns.

There are so many lies that Satan whispers to us all day long. No one understands. There’s nothing in the Bible to help with this situation. I’m ruining my children. I have no friends. I have no idea what I’m doing. My hair makes me look like a lion. The list goes on and on and on.

Here are a few more trustworthy scriptures I dug up to help me through the day. Do you have any scriptures or other tricks for staying positive?

For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:20)

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. (Isaiah 50:4)

Mocha Mommy Designs | An Etsy Shop Review

Mocha Mommy Designs EtsyIf you’re looking for fresh, clean art to spruce up your home, check out Mocha Mommy Designs on Etsy. I’ve been following this artist since she opened her online store in 2016 and am thrilled to have one of her pieces in my newly remodeled home.

I got a little too excited when Jesse Klickman asked if I’d write a review of her Mocha Mommy Designs Etsy shop. Kind of like when you buy a second-hand purse and find a twenty dollar bill inside. Ummm, yes please!

Jesse Klickman is the artist behind Mocha Mommy Designs and I know her personally. We church together. As in, she attends my church at a completely different time and I see her sometimes in the parking lot.

So, this will be a positive review. (Besides, I wouldn’t agree to review something if I didn’t like it. This is a positive corner of the internet, remember?)

The pieces you’ll find on the Mocha Mommy Designs Etsy store are fresh, modern and clean which is perfect for our home. Each print is available in up to 5 different sizes and can be printed from home, or from your favorite print shop. I love this because it means one less trip to the store and it’s super cheap (there, I said it). Most of her art pieces are under $5!

However, if you’re like me and want to be sure your purchase is going to print beautifully on nice paper (without yet another trip to the store), you can have it printed for you and shipped right to your door. This was my preference, and it worked perfectly. Everything was packaged carefully and I got my art in just a few days.

I really enjoyed browsing through her shop to pick my favorite piece. She has a collection of photographs featuring pineapples which are very “in” right now. I see them everywhere (lookin’ at you, Target).

I love my art piece, I had a very blank wall that I had no idea what to do with. It makes me happy every time I look at it and it matches my modern/antique style swimmingly.

My brother-in-law has a thing with pineapples and since it was his birthday, I decided to order him one as well. He loved it as I knew he would. He was so impressed with the photograph and kept coming up with new places to hang it.

Mocha Mommy Designs Etsy Store

A Few of My Favorite Things

The first piece I saw Jesse post last year is a design of coffee rings. I haven’t seen anything like it and it definitely caught my eye.

If inspirational quotes are your thing, you can find several pieces for your wall, your coffee or your wallet.

She also has a collection of children’s art. I almost decided to get some of these pieces since we really haven’t done anything to the boys’ room since they started sharing a room, but my commitment problems flared again. I can’t decide on a theme for them. I’m pretty sure Big Brother wants a fireball theme (no joke) and Little Brother wants a dragon theme. These are really conducive for night time, right?

Follow the Mocha Mommy Designs Facebook page to get updates on new pieces in the store and special promo codes for discounts. She has a special going right now for 20% off your order when you use the promo code SAVE20. If you need more than my word, check out her Etsy reviews. She has nearly 60 5-star reviews and I’m pretty sure they’re not all friends from church. 🙂

Hanging In There

I doubt anyone ever looks at me and thinks “wow, how does she do it?” Rather, I’m pretty sure I’m the poster mom for “hanging in there”.

I bought new socks so at least part of my outfit would match when I was at home and they immediately got divorced in their first wash, so I’m back to mismatched clothes AND socks.

I got an Urban Decay eye shadow palette for my birthday so I can look like a grown up. Now I fear I always look like I have two black eyes. I asked Ty how my eye shadow looked and he said I needed more on the lid but I should even out the eye shadow under my eyes. I explained those were dark circles.

I have started using concealer under my eyes.

I gained less weight with this child than either of my boys by about 10 lobs. However, I still cannot wear my jeans. Instead, I may never retire my Jessica Simpson jean shorts because they are faded just right so I don’t look too old but not too young and they don’t give me a muffin top. Long live the elastic belly band.

I’m going to leave out my commentary on the struggles I’ve been having with my sons because what happens on the internet stays on the internet and I love them. I’ll just say we are having lots of talks about self control, obedience and good attitudes. I’m sure you know just what I mean.

My newly remodeled kitchen is always messy. We have fruit flies that never seem to go away and I can’t blame them for hanging around. There’s usually always food out because I am constantly making someone a snack.

Sometimes I just want to scream or cry, but I don’t even have the energy to expend the emotion. If I find myself in a rare quiet moment, I just stare stupidly in to space trying to absorb the silence.

But my kids are fed, I am (generally) nice to my husband and…well, that’s it. Those two things are about all I can handle right now*.

So when you see my unpolished toe nails, please know that I’m aware they look terrible. I probably intended to update my foot look the previous night, but instead I chose to brush my teeth and fall asleep the moment my little people gave up on pulling an all-nighter.

Priorities.

*Authenticity Check: This post was written on my phone while a newborn slept on me, not in the dewy dawn overlooking a grassy field while sipping hot coffee.