This weekend I had the honor of attending the very first Faith Hope Love Mom conference here in Atlanta, GA! It was designed to be a day of encouragement and rejuvenation for moms who give so much of themselves daily and it far exceeded my expectations. You immediately realized the courage and power that filled the room was beyond measure and the takeaways that we all left with were invaluable.
One particular topic that was somewhat of a recurring theme was the necessity to overcome your fears. Well, ironically, I had the chance to do just that when I was asked to join the speaking panel where I would share my thoughts and personal testament.
Immediately, here was the dialogue going on in my head:
“What? They want me to speak…like in front of a room full of people? But I’m a writer. I “speak” through my laptop, my blog. I don’t know what to say. I’m not at all qualified compared to these other amazing women on the panel. I don’t….wait…I’m making excuses. Stop making excuses!”
And I said yes. And I spoke to the crowd. And I shared my story. I was honest and candid and at the end, I was fully supported and appreciated by the crowd and I felt more proud of myself than I had been in a long time. It was the first time I truly stepped out of my comfort zone and believed in myself enough to just go for it.
Finally, the speakers were nothing short of amazing! It was truly a great feeling seeing these well-accomplished women be so humble and transparent and truly uplifting others. One of the speakers in particular, Diana Watley, described how the other women in your lives should fall into categories 1, 2, and 3. Category #1 being those women who you aspire to be; #2s are the women on your level; and #3s are those you are privileged to uplift. I can honestly place each of these women in my #1 category!
Diana A. Watley- Founder of the Under New Management Women’s EmPOWERment brand
Tracy Nicole – Founder of Tracy Nicole Clothing
Dr. Roxanne Donovan – Therapist and Professional Coach
Maria “Dr. Bee” Barnes – naturopathic doctor, fitness trainer, public speaker, and educator of the human temple “body, mind and spirit”
Egypt Sherrod – Host of HGTV’s Property Virgins
They all did such a wonderful job and sharing their very inspiring stories and experiences and left the crowd with some powerful takeaways to guide every mom through her journey.
Here are the 10 things every mom needs to remember:
1. Good enough is good enough.
“Good enough is good enough. I’m done being perfect!” This was among the opening quotes by the lady behind this whole thing, Cynthia Harbin.
We all know about this right? We want to give our families everything and be that perfect mom, that perfect wife, that perfect homemaker…and we beat ourselves up for falling short of perfection. No more of that! Remember my post, “10 things I’m doing right as a parent?” Sometimes the kids will eat crackers and grapes, but at least they’re eating!
2. Your children should know who you are.
This was actually discussed on numerous occasions, not through the speakers and through side convos with other attendees. Let your children see your imperfect side. Let then know your weaknesses as well as your strength. Seeing you as human allows them to be themselves as well.
Those of you who’ve followed this blog know that my daughter Leila is sometimes a fearful child. When it’s something out of her comfort zone or remotely challenging, she tells me she doesn’t want to do it because she’s scared. We have this pep talk where I remind her that she can’t let fear keep her from trying new things.
So when I got home after my first speaking experience, the first person I shared this experience with was my daughter. I told her “Mommy was really nervous and scared, but she overcame that fear…” with the hope that she will someday do the same.
3. Get your team right.
Who are the people on your team? Do they encourage you? Do they uplift you? Do they support your dreams? Diana Watley led this discussion and had us all reconsidering these toxic relationships we maintain in our lives and reminded us that these are among the first things we need to eliminate in order to grow.
4. No is a complete sentence.
Why do we feel so guilty saying the word No? It is one of the first 3 words in a child’s vocabulary, but yet, as adults, we have the hardest time saying it!
Until just a few months ago, I only had 2 responses to when asked to do something – “yes” and “I’ll try.” The “I’ll try” would get guilted into a yes, and before I knew it, I’d become completely over-committed, stretched way too thin, and beyond stressed out. As a result, the million and one things I’ve committed to simply cannot get the attention they deserve, despite my best intentions. That makes nobody happy and I’ve learned this magical word that others don’t like to hear, but is the most important thing you can say sometimes for your own sanity.
5. Self care is not a luxury. It’s a must.
The 2015 Inspiration Award recipient, Dr. Joyce Irons, reminded us of this: Self care includes intentional actions one must take toward the spiritual emotional and physical well-being.
As moms, we never seem to have time for ourselves. Go ahead and put that spa day or mani/pedi on the calendar, maybe after that parent teacher conference!
6. You have the right to remain powerful.
7. There is a difference between being nice and being good.
This was another classic from Dr. Joyce Irons. She reminds us that even Jesus was not known for being nice. He was known for being good. Being nice can lead to us overextending ourselves and we as moms need to get it out of our minds that we can be all things to all people.
8. Loving yourself unconditionally doesn’t mean that you love anyone else any less.
Egypt Sherrod shared a story about her experience of feeling like she was losing herself after becoming a mother. This is a story I think almost every mom could relate to. When we become mothers, it can certainly feel as though we let go of a piece of ourselves as we attempt to fill this supernatural role. Egypt reminded us all that it is possible (and necessary) to regain that piece of your life and you can still be a wonderful mother.
9. Let your fearless alter ego have reign in your life.
This was one of those statements that quickly led to a big “Aha” moment in my life, personally. With this new transition in my life, I so needed to be reminded of this.
10. If you don’t esteem yourself, others won’t either.
We give to our children. We give to our spouses. We give to our families. And we do it selflessly. Let’s be sure to not neglect ourselves in the process.
Finally, we were given one special task to move forward with and pay it forward with love to others that I want to challenge you all with:
Find another woman, a mom, and ask “How are you?” Then just listen to her.
Trust me, you will be amazed at what happens next…