Introducing Me as a doTerra Rep!

do-terra You may remember this past March I wrote about my exploration of essential oils and natural health. So for the past few months I have been really delving into natural healing methods for our common ailments in our home…allergies, headaches, sore muscles, bug bites, etc.  And we’ve had tremendous results.  In just a few short weeks, my children stopped asking for allergy meds, Tylenol and muscle rub and have replaced those requests with Breathe, Peppermint and Deep Blue.

Even when packing for camp the kids asked if they could take the oils to prevent bug bits and in case their allergies.  So I think you get the point here, I’m sold!  And as a result, I’ve put my money where my mouth is and signed up as a doTerra Essential Oil Representative.

So do you want to learn more…I would love to answer your questions and share my experiences.  Very low pressure, it wasn’t that long ago that I was just starting this curiosity journey.

Click on the image in this post…or over in the right hand sidebar to visit my doTerra Store.

Where are you, Mom?

“Where are you, Mom?”

I don’t know exactly why this question rubs me the wrong way but it does.  I can be gone for 10 minutes and the phone will ring with one or another child asking me where I am.  My typical response is “I’m across the street” or “I’m in the car.”  In my head I’m going, can I please just have 10 minutes without a “Mom, mom, mom” moment.

Then this past weekend, I got to spend a good amount of alone time with one of the twins as he drove me to one of his summer camps. (Yes, he drove!) Anyways, we had some really good talks during that time, between my miniature heart attacks as he navigated the 3 1/2 drive.

Here's History Buff driving the 3 1/2 hours to his camp.

Here’s History Buff driving the 3 1/2 hours to his camp.

I’ve always been very upfront and honest with the twins, coming to me at the age of 12, they had already experienced alot of life and I felt it was always important to be transparent and open with them. But this time, with no little ears to protect and no twin brother to defend his opinions against, I felt like I really got some honest to goodness History Buff time.

We talked alot about his past, things he wishes were different/had been different as he was growing up, and how those differences might have impacted the man he is becoming and wants to be.  It was a really good positive talk.  Then we got onto marital/relational discussions…

He opened up about his birth parents relationship and how he felt about it.  What faithfulness means, and why/when it counts. I am not going to reveal the details here of the conversation, because I do respect their privacy and this is really his story to tell, but I did get some personal take aways from it.

When you grow up in a family that is constantly in transition and not very regulated, knowing where a parent is, is important.  I now how a much more thorough understanding of why I get the constant, “Where are you, Mom?” from the twins, and as a result, feel like I will be able to change my mindset and tone when that question is asked.

When the boys first came here, and especially as we began the transition from foster to adoptive placement, there were a lot of high emotion moments, testing the boundaries and determining 1) who was in charge and 2) what could they do to push me.  It got really fierce around here sometimes. (Okay, sometimes it still does, but not even close to how it was then.) The point is, that I told them then, and I continue to tell them now…”I will always be right behind you…supporting you, carrying you or just pushing you along. Everything I do is to make your future brighter, show you the way. I’m not perfect, but I can tell you this, no one will ever love you more than I do.”

I mean every single one of those words, and I think, after our discussions, that maybe, just maybe, my History Buff son is beginning to trust them and know that he is not alone and every time he asks “Where are you, Mom?” I will always answer and always be coming back.

What are You Teaching Your Children

Every parent knows, or find out very quickly that their children do not learn so much by what they say as what they do.  Modelling and mimicking, these are the teachers that children learn from the most. (And no, I did not need to conduct a study or read the research, I have four children with me all the time and this is just a fact.)

With that being stated, have you as a parent sat down and really taken inventory of what you are teaching your children?  Have you thought through how you react in stressful situations, when you are sick, when you have money, when you are broke, on good days and on bad?  It’s important that you do, because whatever your behavior, your temper, your tone, your children are watching, listening and learning.

This has recently come to mind as I have been really sick for several weeks.  All I have wanted to do was turn over and stay in bed. But what would that teach my kids?  I certainly am not a coddler or a nursemaid, I push them to keep going when they are sick or injured, to not give up or let things fall through the cracks.  (Ok, I cut them a bit of slack but I am certainly not a coddler.)

With that being said, I’ve begun to make a list which I have sitting on my desk to remind me every morning of the lessons I want to teach my children and thus model to them.  I hope you will do the same and to encourage that, I though I would share a few of my own (in random order.)

  • When the going gets tough, the tough keep going – I know this is an oldy but goody and I did change the end a bit from “get going” to “keep going” as I ask them every day in every task to give their best effort.  If they do that, it’s all I’ve ever ask of them.
  • Do unto others as you would have done onto you – In my family growing up, this was called the Golden Rule.  Essentially, always treat others as you would like to be treated, even if the other doesn’t reciprocate.  This is a tough lesson to teach, but modeling it is even harder, especially when you just want to shake your fist or throw up some fingers or spout off some choice words, but learning to turn the other cheek, give respect and control yourself are imperative to success in life.
  • Life is a roller coaster, enjoy the ride – Life comes with good times and bad times, and sometimes you don’t know when the rough patch will end.  It’s especially important during those tough times to find something to hang on to, the silver lining per se and never give up. And of course, when life is good, enjoy it, don’t always be waiting for the floor to drop out.
  • Be generous – Chances are that you will go through times of affluence and times of poverty, always remember that they is someone out there worse off than you, no matter how dark it seems.  Be generous with not only your money but your time, your gifts and your talents.  In doing so, those down times will seem a whole lot lighter.
  • Value others - It’s really easy to cut yourself off from others and focus on the me, me, me, espcially when the world seems against you. But taking one step towards another person, reaching out a hand or just a smile can change not only another person’s life, but your own in a quick second.

No one is perfect, we will all have those moments of despair and fall down, but the important thing is for our children to see us get back up, dust ourselves off and take another step forward.  I hope you will be encouraged to make a list of traits you would like to see your children emulate and then make it a daily goal to model those in your own life.

Calling Yourself Mom : A Foster Parent Lesson

adoptionIt’s so easy to be mom when you bring your child home from the hospital as an infant. You’ve always been mom to them, and neither of you could fathom anything different. Fast forward several years, say to the age of 12, and bring your child home then for the first time.  Who are you then? The child is almost as tall as you, starting to change from child to young adult and has spent a number of years with a mom, and maybe a couple if they’ve been in the foster care system for a while. What do you call yourself then?  What does your new child call you?  And not only what do they call you, but how does that relationship work – are you mom, a aunt figure, a friend or just a complete stranger who they’ve gotten straddled with?

Are you getting the picture? Can you relate to the new child in the home?  Can you relate to the new foster mom? It’s important that you be able to see both sides. Very important!

I don’t have all the statistics. I’m not going to give you a lecture on child psychology, but I am going to speak from my heart and tell you what my experience has taught me.

Through the years as a Foster Mom, I’ve introduced myself as Ms. Hope.  I did this deliberately for two reasons:

First, foster kids come and go. As a foster mom, I never knew how long a child would stay and they didn’t know how long they would stay. I used my first name as we weren’t in a formal relationship, it was very casual.  For the time, they were here, I was acting as mom, dad, chauffeur, chef, playmate, educator, drill sergeant, concierge and disciplinarian.

Second, I added the Ms. to force a level of respectability. Foster kids have been through the wringer, there is absolutely no doubt about this. As a foster parent I have NO IDEA what they’ve had to deal with (remember when my twins showed up, all I knew was that they were identical twin teenage boys who were being removed on an emergency removal.)  Most likely, they have not been respected themselves and thus can have trouble respecting others.  The Ms. is my way of starting off with a little bit of respect.

I remained Ms. Hope for one of my twins until just this year, after over two years in our home, a finalized adoption and the general roller coaster of life. Now I’m Mom.  (Remember when your child started talking and then you just wanted them to be quiet sometimes, that was me with my new name.  I was ELATED when the twins started calling me Mom, but soon thereafter, with four mouths constantly calling Mom, I was sure ready to change my name and run away sometimes. Ah, the joys of motherhood!)

But here’s the kicker, there is another mom.  Not a step mom, not a dad’s girlfriend who acts like mom, not an old foster mom, but a true mom.  She birthed the child, raised the child for some time, loved the child in her own way and to an older child, a true mom.  So walking the line of being Mom to children who were older when adopted can get tricky.  I recently had a chat with a current foster mom about to enter the adoption process who was struggling with this so I thought I’d share my tips about becoming and being Mom:

  1. Choose your foster parent name before they show up, be deliberate and consistent.
  2. During foster time, ALWAYS refer to their mom as Mom and their dad as Dad. (I didn’t realize this until we got to the parental termination phase but in the state of VA, a child can have several dads but just one mom for termination purposes, think about that.)
  3. After the termination hearing, start transitioning to the term Birth Mom for mom and an appropriate name for Dad. (Because I’m a single mom, there was no other dad coming into the picture so this didn’t change for us especially since the twins Dad is still very involved in their lives as he can be, so consider your situation on a case by case basis.) Whether you are adopting the child or not, hopefully, there will be a new Mom coming into the picture.
  4. Be honest, there have been several occasions when I had to share disturbing news. Be transparently honest while being age appropriate because whatever the judge has said, the Birth Mom and Dad are still their family and always will be.
  5. Once the status change (you are moving forward with permanence/adoption,) start talking about find a more suitable name for the child to call you. I stated this upfront to my boys and then later on used this example to push my point home: “I can tell you are uncomfortable when I tell our story all the time, but I often feel obligated too when I introduce the four of you as my children and then you turn around and call me Ms Hope.  I feel I must explain why you call me that thus the foster/adoption comes up.”  I did not force the name Mom, they chose that. But if they had found something else, it would have been okay. (Okay, I’m really glad they chose mom.)
  6. Respect the Birth Mom. I’m not sure the twins call me anything when they have a visit with their Birth Mom.  They may just call me “she” or revert back to “Ms. Hope.” That’s okay.  I can never replace their Birth Mom, I would never want too. Respect her feelings and the child’s and don’t make an issue of the name.
  7. Respect Yourself. I am still working on this. But when you are talking to others and the topic of their Birth Mom comes up, don’t call her Mom, call her Birth Mom.  You are now Mom, you are doing that role, you have chosen that role in giving the child a permanent home.  By calling her Birth Mom and yourself Mom (or whatever name the child has chosen) you put yourself on equal footing, neither regulated to a less then position.

With all the blended families out there now, there are lots of kids with multiple moms and/or dads.  You are not alone on this journey.  But while a name is important, especially that word Mom, what’s in your heart is the key. The child will come around, just give them time. But know that you are Mom and as a foster/adoptive mom, it is our job to be the absolute best Mom we can be.