Be Careful Little Mouth

Maeve has this Sunday school CD and it's on repeat. Every song is stored well in my brain and I can't help but wince when I hear the opening farm animal noises, signaling the start of "Noahs Ark" song. Not that I don't like the Noah song. It's great- and I love hearing my kids praise their King with their voices. There's another song on the CD that we listen to quite frequently: O Be Careful, Little Eyes.

It goes like this:
"Be careful little mouth what you say. Be careful little mouth what you say. For the Father up above is looking down with love so be careful little mouth what you say."

The song goes on to include your eyes, ears, hands, etc. It really has a great message.

And though the song is targeted at children, I think that we as adults need this lesson- if not MORE than our kids.

I know I do.

I so desperately want people to like what I'm saying, especially when its coming from my heart. And I think most of us want this. Is there anything that feels better than having your deepest thoughts and feelings validated? It's like a pat on the back, saying "You are OKAY! You have a right to think this! You have a right to feel this!"

I think that's one of my favorite parts of keeping a blog. The support that is extended from fellow mamas, letting me know that I'm not alone on my quest in raising awesome kids, while maintaining my sanity.

I don't get a lot of comments directly on this blog. Rather, they tend to come in the form of Facebook messages, which is totally fine- I love getting (friendly) messages of any kind! There are a few people that deserve some major shout-outs for writing me the most sincere, heartfelt messages, offering encouragement and support. And excuse me while I name drop for a hot sec- Off the top of my head I'm thinking of Angie B, Emily H., Becky- my mother in law, my aunt Trish, Karen G..... oh gosh- and I'm sure there are a TON more.

A few months ago I posted a status about hating to see my kids get their shots. After a few comments, the pot was stirred and there was a bit of debating going on. A fellow facebook friend stepped in and said SOMETHING like, "We're all mom's trying to do our best. I think we should just support each other." (that was Jane D. ;) It virtually slapped me in the face, and its so true.

Essentially, we are all out here standing deserted and naked in the middle of a desert, waiting for someone, anyone- to shout out directions.

Our kids don't come with instruction manuals. There is no fool proof way to ensure you're giving your kids exactly what they need. It's a learn and go process. A test and reassess kind of deal, that will constantly give us a run for our money.

Was it the right thing to do to give my kids vaccines? I don't know. I feel like it was, but if it wasn't, who are you to tell me that?

Breastfeeding has sparked such an angry fire in many of us; yes I understand that "breast is best." But there are some women who simply cannot do it. They can't do it for a plethora of reasons, none of which are my business nor are they yours. Personally? My breastfeeding story goes as this: Maeve, I about killed myself trying to get her to eat. I wasted the first six months of her life pumping and popping pills to ward off mastitis. I have no idea why I couldn't get the breastfeeding down with her, I just couldn't. Henry was a little easier. I still had several cases of mastitis with him, but I did manage to get in a few good months of breastfeeding. Stella is totally different. I have had mastitis two times, but I am still breastfeeding, going strong, and not planning on stopping any time soon. ((She'll be a year in two more weeks!))

So does that mean that I was a better parent to Stella than I was to Maeve and Henry? Did I give her more than I gave my other kids? Again, I don't think so, and you might feel differently, but do I really need to hear your opinion on it? Will your opinion better me as a mother? Is it constructive? Or is it a comment that's meant to inflict some kind of wordy wound?

I am totally at fault with this. My hand is raised so high in the air, I wish you could see it.

I am an incredibly opinionated person with some super strong beliefs. Much of the time my mouth shoots off before I can reel those stinging words back in. There is no processing of what I'm wanting say and rather than filtering, sorting through and figuring out the best way to get my point across, words just come crashing out, flipping over each other like a line of domino's. The next thing I know, I've left a comment, written a message, or said something that could have been communicated with much more grace.

The reason for this post tonight? Maybe its this past week and the crazy "Chick-Fil-A" posts that have been clogging up my news feed with so much bickering and hate. Or maybe its because when I typed in "MckMama" in the Yahoo! search engine a whole list of "MckMama" hater sites showed up. (Poor woman). Or... it could be that I just logged onto my blog and found a comment about our family using the WIC program. A comment left by, you guessed it- "anonymous."

Oh sigh. (I think you know the reason for writing this post tonight, eh?)

I'm not sure if it was lost in the shuffle or what not, but the Disney trip that our family will be taking in September has been paid for with gift cards and checks given to us by family members for various special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc.). We have chipped in the occasional extra 20 bucks here and there that Ryan has earned in working overtime, but the bulk of the vacation was my grandma's $500.00 gift card she gave us for Christmas last year. We are on WIC and most definitely do NOT have the funds to pay for a vacation of any kind. I feel ridiculously stupid for even talking about this, having to defend it, but I suppose it needs to be addressed. I wouldn't want "anonymous" or other people thinking that we use the system. We certainly do not. I guess I should have/could have asked my grandma to turn that Disney gift card into a Publix gift card? God forbid we use our gift cards on something enjoyable. So there's the huge scandal. That's it.

Can you tell I'm at the end of my rope with the elementary cut downs? I am DONE with the venom spew that flows continuously between us women.

And don't think for a second that I am lecturing because I am guilty as charged. I have been the venom spewer. I have talked my fair share of smack. I have succumbed to jealousy. I have taken part in gossip and I've most certainly let my mouth speak before letting my mind think. And I'm pretty sure I'll do it again, and so will you- because no matter how good our intentions, we're all in the same filthy bucket.

I'm just crying out for the slightest of change. And I'm going to let it begin with me. There are so many things I'd love to say back to "anonymous." I have some witty retorts circling around like a shark in my head. But there they will stay.

I am refusing to give this issue anything but a positive spin.

So I will proudly take my place at the beginning of the line. I've got my hand raised and my confession is taped: Hi my name is Ashley and I have a word vomit problem. But as Jane D. said, we are all in this and on this journey together. We are raising our kids, leading our families and doing what we think is right. Trying our hardest to make the best decisions in an incredibly hard economy. We're constantly weighing options, and sorting out bombs that are thrown our way. And the last thing any of us need is to knock down a fellow mama. It's just unnecessary.

My goal as I grow and continue on this journey through motherhood is to think before I speak.

Before taking a swipe, just give it some thought.

Perhaps, instead of raining on one's parade you could join in, marching along and holding a hot pink umbrella?

Thanks for reading...

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