Tuesday, May 6, 2014

When You Hurt My Baby's Heart, You're Breaking Mine.

How do you explain to a five-year-old that some people are just mean?  That they will say things to hurt you, just to make themselves feel better?  How do you look into those big, brown eyes that are fighting back the tears and let her know that she is amazing?  I knew it was coming, but I hoped it never would.

"Look, Mommy!  Ariel gave me a friendship bracelet!"
"Ooo!  Pretty!  That was nice of her."
"Yeah.  She gave it to me so I wouldn't be sad."
"Why were you sad?"
"Because 'Sarah' was saying mean things to me.  She said I was just a little girl and that I was the worst kid she had ever seen in the world."  Eyes are now downcast and I can see tears sprinkled in her lashes.

Now, I know that this is by far not the cruelest thing that has ever been said by one child to another.  This is not going to turn into a huge rant about bullying and the state of our country and children today.  I am not going to be calling the bus driver demanding to know the child's parents' phone numbers so I can call them up and chew them out.  I was just struck anew this afternoon by how much I love my children and how I wish I could shield them from everything bad in this world...even something as simple as an unkind word.

When we take on the roll of parent, we know that we will eventually have to deal with things like this.  Children all say and do things to each other that are hurtful.  I am doing my best to teach my girls that they should not treat others unkindly, but I am not naive enough to believe that they will never be the ones dishing it out (I've seen them do it to each other!).  All I can do it try and instill in them a sense of empathy, a healthy dose of respect and compassion for others.  But knowing this in my head does not dull the ache I feel in my heart as I see my daughter dealing with one of her early encounters with an individual who chooses to pick on her for no apparent reason.

I know I cannot protect her from  every verbal assault.  I know that it would not be wise to do so even if I could.  I will not be around forever.  She needs to learn how to deal with people who are unkind, people who want to hurt her so they can inflate their own ego.  She needs to know when it's appropriate to deal with it herself and how to do so, and she needs to know when to find an adult who has the authority to make it stop when it crosses the line.  I need to let her fight her own battles with poise and dignity.  She needs to learn how to maintain her confidence in herself so that cruel insults don't bite so deep.  I'm learning that one of the most difficult things I must do as a mother is allow her to find her own way through the minefield.  I can offer counsel and guidance, but I cannot walk through it for her.

I can be grateful.  Grateful for an older girl sitting on that bus that recognized a little girl who was being picked on and who took it upon herself to cheer her up.  A girl with a cheap elastic bracelet bearing the word "courage."  I hope my daughters become that girl.

I can be grateful that I began building a foundation of confidence and self-approval months and months ago that I can now call upon when her spirits are down.

"You know that none of the things that 'Sarah' said are true don't you?"
"Because you remember what you are, right?  You're a Konen girl!  You know what a Konen girl is, right?"
A big beaming smile, "Pretty and smart!"
"That's right!"
"I guess 'Sarah' didn't know I was a Konen girl!"

I suggest all you parents of daughters begin brainwashing them all right now so they answer this question like a parrot, "What is a insert last name girl?"  Answer: "Pretty and smart!"  Starting this months ago, I had no idea how powerful it would be when her confidence was shaken.  Seeing that smile on her face helped heal my heart as much as saying the words healed  hers.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Closet Purge = Fashion Upgrade for this Mommy!

It is FINALLY is starting to feel like spring!  I want to pull out the capri pants and the pastels and feel as fresh in my look as the breeze feels upon my face.  I go to my closet and I am immediately crestfallen for I realize that I am in desperate need of a fashion overhaul.

I find myself staring at a closet that is bulging with clothes that I either haven't wanted to wear for at least three seasons or clothes that I would love to wear, but can't due to my current scale status.  Listen!  Can you hear that?  It is the malicious laughter of shorts and t-shirts that are mocking me for they know there is no way they will be doing any work for me this summer :(

I have finally come to the decision that it is just not worth it to hold on to items that I cannot wear right now.  If you are anything like me, you may have a whole dresser dedicated to all of the clothes you know you will be able to wear again because you are determined to make it back to your pre-(you-fill-in-the blank) size.  I finally realized that letting go of all those items is not admitting defeat.  It does not mean I will never reach my weight goal.  It is allowing me the peace of saying, "I might not ever make it all the way back, but that's ok.  I can still look and feel great!"  It is time to give myself the gift of a wardrobe that works for me just as I am and I hope I can inspire some of you to do the same for yourself.

I wish I had thought to take a "before" closet picture, but you can get an idea from the empty hangers and free space visible in my "after" pics of how much I ditched.  I was not about to hang it all back up in order to stage a photo!


I finally have some space in my closet and I can look at what is in there and only see things that I would actually be happy to wear!  I don't have to dig through layers of ill-fitting crap to find something that will look nice.  I cannot pull out something cute only to try it on and be filled with disappointment (again) when it still doesn't fit, despite my best efforts. Now the closet purge is over so I move on to my drawer full of jeans.


Here I did think to take a before and after.  My drawer was absolutely stuffed with jeans!  On those rare days when I am completely caught up with laundry and all my pants are clean, there is no way in this world that I am able to fit them all in the drawer, let alone come anywhere near to closing it.  I would employ the method of cramming pants into it and then leaving the drawer halfway open with the extra just sitting on top, but of course you've never done that :)  When I pulled jeans out, trying some of them on to be sure, I realized that more than half of them either didn't fit or I deemed them unflattering.  Why have I been holding on to them?!

So now I have a giant pile of clothes.  Do I bag it all for Goodwill?  Not necessarily.  I recently discovered a website that sells consignment clothing.  One of my favorite finds of 2014!  It is called ThredUp and it is so easy!  You can request a "Clean Out Bag" like the one I have pictured below and fill it to bursting with your "no longer right for me" clothing (they accept women's, juniors and kids clothing so you don't just have to stop at your own closet).

Choose only items that are brand-name and like-new quality for your Clean Out Bag.  Once it's full, you drop it off at the post office or your local Fed Ex at no cost to you (you can see the shipping labels come already affixed to the bag).  Once received, your items are sorted and you can choose to be paid through PayPal or opt for a credit to spend at thredUp.  I have done some shopping on this site as well and scored some really great deals!  If you are interested in shopping, you can click HERE and receive $10 off your first order :)

So, I have done my sorting and you can see that I am going to need to request another Clean Out Bag!  I also have a couple of bags of clothes that either were an off-brand that thredUp won't take, or they are showing more wear than would be acceptable for consignment.  Those bags are heading to a local thrift store that benefits Easter Seals.

I still have some work to do.  I have a large plastic tote that is full of summer clothing that I put away for lack of space last fall.  I have a feeling that most of it is going to head strait to one of these piles when I get to it and not back into my closet :)

It is amazing how freeing it feels to let go!  I now feel no guilt about going out and purchasing a few quality items that will look great on me, feel comfortable and be incredibly versatile in my wardrobe.  I am finally learning that a few great pieces can be a wonderful investment if they are flattering, timeless, and versatile!  Along with a couple new pairs of capri pants and shorts for the summer, I have also purchased a great skirt that is quite possibly the new favorite item in my closet.

I'm not sure if I have ever owned anything that I can wear so many ways!  This is called the "Seasonless Skirt" and it is available exclusively at Seamly.co.  I was just recently introduced to this clothing company and I am in love!  Kristin Glenn is the owner and designer and it is her mission to create sustainable clothing from deadstock fabric and create it all, from start to finish, in the gool ol' US of A!  

Not only is everything lovely, it is super comfy (this is coming from the self-proclaimed "Queen of Sweatpants" so you can take that to the bank)!  I couldn't stop at the skirt, so I am also the happy owner of the "Wrapped Cardigan."  I think I now have a problem because I am currently anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new "Versalette," which is currently out of stock on the website, but I was able to purchase one from someone else who decided it wasn't for her.  Talk about versatility to the extreme!  Click on the links to find out what I am talking about.  I'll try and post some pics of the cardigan and the Versalette later.  

Well, I hope I have given you some inspiration or at least some food for thought.  Perhaps it is time to attack your closet with a critical eye and purge it of everything that doesn't make you feel fantastic.  My closet was holding me back from making some long overdue style changes.  Is yours?