Amber tackles

small, simple steps towards a bigger, fuller life

Month: January 2016

Motherhood Mistakes

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Welcome to week four of The Mother Blog‘s #MotherhoodMonday series.

After reading my take on things make sure you check out all these participating ladies’ posts: Lisa, Farrah, Christy, Rebekah, Amber Joy, and Sarah.

This weeks topic is “Motherhood Mistakes.” (Does Lisa have a talent for picking deep topics, or what?) And the truth is I could name a long list of mistakes that I’ve made as a mother…

But I’m not going to. I am not going to talk about the should have beens, the missteps, and the things I did wrong. I refuse to dwell on things that I can not go back and change.

And I encourage you all to do the same.

As mothers we are constantly bombarded with conflicting options, the newest research, overwhelming piles of to do’s, and should do’s, and could do’s. So many chances to make wrong decisions. We can not do everything right. Let me repeat that…We can not do everything right! Mistakes are inevitable, but usually not overcomeable (If that is not a real word it should be.)

If you find out that you have been doing something wrong or realize you have made a mistake –

Admit it. (Even just to yourself)

Apologize (If need be.)

Change what you are doing.

Let go of your guilt.

And move on, while striving to do your best going forward.

That is the best that any of us can do.

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” – Maya Angelou

With love, Amber

 

Overcoming a Fear of Scoping (Periscope)

Hello all!

In case you missed it, last night I did my third scope on the new-ish Twitter app called Periscope. (You can catch the replay HERE)

For those of you that don’t know what Periscope is -it’s an app that let’s you broadcast live and your viewers can comment during the streaming video. It is a great tool for really connecting with people as they can see your face, hear your voice, and have you answer their questions in real time.

It is also SCARY!

Especially for an introvert like me that is terrified of public speaking. But my word for the year is “Courage” (yep, I jumped on the word of the year bandwagon) and after watching many encouraging women on Periscope, most of them mothers and bloggers like me, I wanted to try. I wanted the women I had been connecting with online to see my face and really know who I am outside of just a screenname or a profile. So I made the decision to be brave.

And then I waited a week…(okay maybe two), before trying my hand at this thing called “scoping.” In the time between my decision to try and my actual first scope I did 3 things:

1.PRACTICE, practice, practice!

The bulk of my public speaking was done 12-16 years ago in my required school presentations. Since being out of school I have avoided any and all situations where talking in front of a group was required or expected. Social media is the extent of my public sharing nowadays. So I started there, sharing tidbits on Instagram and Facebook that I normally would hold back. Things that were safe from a privacy stand point but let my feelings be known a little more than I was usually comfortable with.
Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Brian Tracy

After my relative small victory of personal sharing, on a platform that is literally made for personal sharing. (Hey, I call them “small” steps for a reason.) I moved on in my practicing to recording myself on my video camera and then watching the videos back.

After my first video I quickly understood what my husband has been telling me for years – I have an ridiculously quiet voice! So I practiced speaking up/out despite feeling like a fool yelling at myself on the screen. But you gotta do, whatcha gotta do.

I went into the broadcast tab before my first scope and looked at all the functions to try to get an idea of how it all worked.

If you want to try your hand at scoping I would also suggest actually doing a private scope with a friend or 2 so you can get use to the way Periscope functions before doing your first public scope.

2. Seek Encouragement.

I have a few women in my circle that are kind of my sounding boards/encouragers when it comes to blogging so I told them that I was going to be trying periscope and asked them to come join my scope so I wouldn’t be alone! They have been there for me during the actual live scopes but also encouraged me behind the scenes, giving feedback, and being my cheerleaders. This has helped me TREMENDOUSLY.

I definitely recommend that you search out people that you can trust and bounce your plans off of them, have them join in your first few scopes, and hopefully, if they are like my friends, they will cheer you on!

3. Preparation.

If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw my “behind the scenes” of my 2nd scope where I had like 5 stacks of books, a water bottle, notes, pens, my Kindle, my phone, my extremely fancy phone stand (a.k.a. a bowl of oranges on top of another bowl).

I didn’t use all of these things in my scope but it really helped comfort me to know I had all these preparations ready as I was going into my scope. I had jotted down the main points that I wanted to talk about, and even the name of my blog, just in case my mind went THAT blank. (You never know!) I knew I had physical objects to pick up and show my audience if I felt overwhelmed about having my face up on the screen. And after setting up my “tripod” I checked to make sure both my camera angles were correct.

You may also want to check that your background, lighting, and clothing/make-up look decent on video before starting your own scope.

 

So, although it was by no means easy, after practicing, seeking encouragement, and preparing I worked up my courage, took a few deep breaths and pushed the “start broadcast” button. Now after doing each scope I repeat those steps again. I practice doing (or NOT doing in the case of my nervous fidgeting) things that will improve my scopes, I get feedback and encouragement from my scope buddies, and I prepare for the next scope by writing out my notes and gathering my scoping “supplies.”

SCOPE NOTES 

Scope #3 – JANUARY 21st, 2016

In addition to sharing all the tidbits above ^ here are some other notes about my scope:

*Some of the links in this post  are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I personally use and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

  • I mentioned how much I enjoyed the book The Scoop on Scope and how I thought that it was a great overview of all the need-to-knows about Periscope. It was written my Kristi clover who blogs at Raising Clovers and scopes under the name @raisingclovers. I wish I would have read her book before my first scope, even so I still found a lot of helpful information in her book to take me forward in my scoping.
  • A  big supporter in my scoping endeavors has been Rebekah who runs the site My MSPI Baby where she blogs about healthy living for sensitive families and especially those dealing with food intolerances.
  • My other big supporter is my friend and Beachbody coach Hannah who scopes as @olthoffh and if you are at all interested in being inspired and motivated you should definitely follow her HERE on Facebook.
  • Two scopers that have been especially inspiring to me are Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom, Periscope name – @moneysavingmom who often talks about being brave and stepping outside your comfort zone. Crystal is also the author of 2 books that I just love : Say Goodbye to Survival Mode and Money Making Mom, both of which I mentioned in a previous scope.
  • And the writer Cara Grandle @caragrandle who has a Periscope show called The Writers Encouragement Show and also runs a Facebook group dedicated to encouraging and supporting writers and others in their creative endeavors.

 


Motherhood Misconceptions


Good morning, and happy Monday! Today I am excited to take part in a great series called #MotherhoodMonday which was started by Lisa over at The Mother Blog.

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I had big plans for today’s topic, “Motherhood Misconceptions.” But, as anyone who follows me on Instagram knows, my family has been dealing with a nasty sickness all week and unfortunately I have also succumbed to it. So please forgive me if my fever addled brain doesn’t allow me to convey my thoughts as I had hoped!

The misconception I want to tackle today is this –

Children will look like their parents.

We all know that this isn’t true. There are so many reasons why kids wouldn’t be little copies of their parents: adoption, foster care, biracialism, the randomness of genes in general, and in the case of 2 of my kids – a variant in their MCR1 gene. But despite logically knowing this, when I was younger I still often imagined my kids round faced, white/blonde haired, blue eyed, and fair skinned just as I was as a child. Not exact copies of me, but very similar.

Despite the fact that my Mom has very dark/almost black hair, sharper features than me, and was oftened asked if her kids were actually her kids, I still had this idea of mini-me children in my head.

clockwise - my grandma, my great grandmother, me, and my mom.

clockwise from middle – my grandma, my great grandmother, me, and my mom.

I never envisioned that after having kids I would be asked questions and hear comments like “They must look like their Dad.” “Their Dad must have that feature.” and “Where did they get ____ from?” And here is the thing – my kids DO look like me. There is a strong resemblance. It’s just that my oldest son and youngest daughter have that aforementioned variant in their MCR1 gene or, in other words, they have red hair. BRIGHT red hair, pale skin, and the tendency to develop freckles. Because of this and people’s misconception that kids will look like their parents I am asked about where their looks come from, everytime I leave the house.

And here’s another misconception that comes into play here – the misconception that these small, innocent remarks don’t affect the kids they are said in front of.

My kids are biological mine. There is no baggage associated with them having dissimilar hair. They do strongly resemble me in a lot of ways. They come from a family where red hair is part of the norm. They have always been loved, and cherished, and overall their looks are spoken of positively. (We have heard a couple not so nice “ginger” remarks as jokes, but I’m quick to shut them down) And despite all the positivity about their hair color there has been times that their differences have caused hurt feelings. The redheads have dealt with unwanted attention, my other 2 kids have dealt with feeling left out because they don’t receive the same attention. There has been comments made by them about wishing they had different colored hair.

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my kids playing piano together

Each small public comment is usually a gesture by the person to make conversation or compliment my kids, and to that person it is just a little thing but to my kids that hear “red hair this, red hair that” multiple times, every time we go out, it can build up.

I try to be gracious and explain how my kids came to be blessed with such unique hair. (I strive to be a good example like Sharla from The Chaos and The Clutter talks about.) I am not the speech police. I don’t try to teach people a lesson about commenting on appearances.

I instead focus on MY job. My job is to teach my kids how to deal with these situations. It’s the reality that 2 of them are part of only 2% of the world’s population that has red hair and 2 of them have dark blonde hair “just like mommy.” I teach them that there is more to them than their looks.

People will sometimes say nice, thoughtful things. People will sometimes say mean, hurtful things. People will sometimes say careless, insensitive, but not purposefully malicious things. I teach my kids that they are in charge of their reactions no matter which category the people speaking to them fall under.

But sometimes kids don’t get the guidance my kids receive. Sometimes there is deeper feelings about a family not looking like each other. Sometimes adoption, foster care, remarriage, or biracialism come into play. This is why I try to avoid making comments about children’s apperances or asking questions about why a child looks different even if I am genuinely interested in hearing that family’s story.

As my friend Jessica, who grew up in foster care, told me “It shouldn’t be a concern…they’re family.
Differentiation should be the last thing in people’s minds. Kids just want to feel accepted, and loved or liked by others.”

And I don’t think there’s much more I can add to that!  – With Love, Amber

For more information on when children don’t look like their parents check out The Almost Indian Wife’s post titled “Mommy, why don’t I look like you?” It was a major part of the inspiration for my post today.

And definitely don’t forget to CHECK OUT all the other Motherhood Monday contributors to read their takes on other Motherhood Misconceptions! –

Lisa @ http://www.themotherblog.com/

Alexis @ http://www.mrsmombie.com/

Lindsey @ http://www.moderatemomma.com/

Farrah@  http://www.newandnaturalmom.com/

Christy @ http://www.engineertosahm.blogspot.com/

Racheal @ http://www.mommieisntmadeofmoney.com/

Rebekah @ http://www.mymspibaby.com/

Amber Joy @ http://www.simplythewildside.net

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