For the Love of Moe

Welcome to the I Love Me! Carnival!

This post was written for inclusion in the I Love Me! Carnival hosted by Amy at Anktangle. This carnival is all about love of self, challenging you to lift yourself up, just for being you.

Please read to the bottom to find a list of submissions from the other carnival participants.

In the last six years, I gained and lost 40 pounds, and watched my midsection balloon and flatten, three separate times. I have given birth to three babies.

Two-day-old Agent J
My body changed, but it accomplished much. My tummy may be a little stretchier, my hips a little more, um, vast, but it's been a beautiful vessel three times over, and our family is now complete

What I remember the most fondly of those early, wiggly, newborn days is the time I spent feeding each of them, even when I had no idea what I was doing.

Breastfeeding, more than anything else, forever altered my perspective of my body, my abilities, my calling as a mother. I love that I fed my babies my milk. But I also love that I can reflect that sense of joy to my daughters. I know that when they hear me speak of my body, it's not to disparage or to wish for my old self, but to beam about what great things our bodies can do. 

I don't think my girls really remember breastfeeding; they stopped at 3 years and 2 years, respectively. (Something I was never going to do.) But they still have an innate affection of sorts for my breasts. When J sees me with my shirt off, she says, "Mommy's Moe! Two Moes!" (Anyone want to guess what her word for nursing was?) Sometimes E gently pats my breasts when she hugs me, and talk softly to them, like an old friend.

Agent E holding five-day-old Agent A
And of course they witness me caring for their little brother, which includes lots of nursing time. My baby boy turns one this coming week. When their little brother breastfeeds, the girls watch, and ask questions, and imitate with their dolls. When he wakes up in the morning, they greet him with enormous love. When he is sad or hurt, they comfort him (and tell me, "Mommy, he needs some love"). They do these things because they have seen me do them. And for that I am most thankful, and proud.

I love that my girls see and hear me speak of my physical self not in terms of size or shape or weight, but in respect and awe of its purpose. I love that they think Mommy is beautiful as is. I hope they carry these memories with them as they grow into the awesome women I know they will become.

Thank you for reading this post from the I Love Me! Carnival. Please take some time to read the contributions from the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by the afternoon of October 28th with all the carnival links.)

  • The Art of Being Thoughtful – Becky at Old New Legacy likes that she is mostly thoughtful but wants to become more thoughtful. She shares a story that demonstrates that giving gifts doesn't have to be expensive.
  • I love me (and running)! – Sheryl of Little Snowflakes writes about her new love of running and how it has helped her learn to love herself!
  • For the Love of Moe – Valerie at Momma in Progress shares her thoughts on a body forever changed, but forever loved.
  • Where I Find My Worth – Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares how finding her worth in worldly things always falls short.
  • Oh Yeah, I'm Cool – Tree at Mom Grooves shares her very favorite gift and the thing she most wants to pass on to her daughter.
  • Loving – Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about some of the things she loves about herself - some easily, and some by choice for the sake of healing.
  • caught in a landslide – jaqbuncad of wakey wakey, eggs and bakey! shares a list of reasons why zie loves hir body.
  • I Love Me! - A Rampage of Appreciation! – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle stops waiting for anyone else to tell her she is wonderful and goes on a rampage of appreciation for herself!
  • Raising Healthy Daughters – In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Kate Wicker offers tips to pass on a healthy self-image to the young ladies in our care.
  • Unexpected Benefits of a Healthy Pregnancy – How does it feel to have a healthy pregnancy? Dionna at Code Name: Mama discovers that making positive choices can be empowering.
  • Filling Up Our Watering Cans – Nada at miniMOMist believes that practicing Sabbath is the same as being a gardener who lovingly tends to the flowers in her garden. She needs to fill up her watering can first.
  • Better Body by Baby – Jess from Mama 'Roo and Family Too! shares how having her first baby makes her feel even more beautiful and confident about her body than ever before.
  • These Breasts Were Made for Nursing – Becoming a mother helped Mandy from Living Peacefully with Children to embrace her womanhood and improve her self image.
  • Yeah, I'm Pretty Cool – Amanda at Let's Take the Metro writes about her own self love and how she hopes to foster the same self-respect in her children.
  • Who I've Become – The future is bright with That Mama Gretchen who shares her past and present perspective on body image and how she hopes to become a change agent with her daughter.
  • Ever-Evolving Me – Joella at Fine and Fair writes to her daughter about her innate drive to continue learning, growing, and evolving.
  • I love you for your mind – Lauren at Hobo Mama turns a dubious phrase on its head with a little self-loving slam poetry.
  • Stop Think of Love with Your Body – Amy of Peace 4 Parents shares an exercise to gradually transition from hating to loving your body - stretch marks, sags, imperfections, and all.
  • I Love Me! – Jenny @ I'm a full-time mummy shares the things that she loves about herself!
  • First, I'm Superwoman. Later, I'm SupperwomanPatti @ Jazzy Mama explains how she loves taking care of her amazing body. It birthed 4 children, after all!
  • Baby Strikes A Pose – Emma from Your Fonder Heart writes about her family's decision not to let their 7 month old model, and uses the opportunity to think more deeply about girls (young and old) and how they determine their self-worth.
  • Love Your Tree – How do you picture the ways your body and mind change? Amy at Anktangle writes about how trees help her have perspective about her own growth over time.
  • Pumpkin Butt – Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes about how birth and pumpkins are the way to accepting her body
  • I do love me – Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the lessons about loving herself she wants to pass along to her daughter.
  • Appreciating Who I Am – Linni at An Unschooling Adventure describes the things she likes about herself and the way she appreciates who she is as a person.
  • I love me! : A journey – Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares her journey on arriving at the point where she can say: I love me!
  • My Daughter Doesn't Care So Why Should I? – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama calls herself on the carpet for the image of self love and beauty she portrays in front of her toddler.
  • Finding out who I am – Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares an exercise that helped her identify positive qualities she possesses, and how that has helped her learn to love herself.

Playground Chatter

Agent E is very much like her Momma. She is a planner. She makes lists. (Yes; at five. Obviously my influence.) She is somewhat (okay, a lot) introverted. Some would probably label her as shy. (Don't get me started on that one.) She is generally quiet in social gatherings until she has a chance to get to know people. Sometimes she cautiously moves behind me when overwhelmed by unfamiliar surroundings.

But when she is at the playground, she is like a dancing butterfly.

Agent E, striking a pose
Eva will walk up to anyone at the playground—adult or child—and start a conversation. Usually it involves introducing her sister and pointing out me and her baby brother sitting nearby. She is clearly comfortable in this environment . . . more than any other. I don't want to stifle this with my own fears and worry so I sit back and watch.

But what about danger? What about predators? What about strangers? 

How many "strangers" (a retail clerk, the bus driver, a new neighbor, etc.) do you exchange words with each day? Are these situations dangerous? Are uneasiness around new people and uncertainty in new situations really qualities you wish to instill in your children?

We want to promote a view that the world is a mostly pleasant, safe place. Of course we talk to them about safety. However, we prefer to err on the side of assuming the good in people. (And, yes, I am always Right There With Her to intervene in the rare case that might be necessary.)

What is your child's playground personality?

Weeks Five and Six: What the Heck Happened?

Six weeks into this homeschooling journey and I have come to a conclusion: I need to be more organized. (I know, shocking revelation, right?) I couldn't even get it together last Friday to post a Week Five . . . I had to combine it with Week Six. And I'm posting this Friday Weekly Wrap-Up on, um, Sunday morning. Sigh.

What happens when Agents J and A are left unattended
A while back I got on a roll about getting all my ducks lined up but only a few of my grandiose ideas ever came to fruition. If I am going to make this home education thing work long term, though, I'm going to have to come up with a routine that I can follow and stick with it

Some days I wish I could fast forward out of the growing pains of learning how to make this new lifestyle flow seamlessly for every family member, but alas, my magic wand seems to be missing. (I think Agent J threw it over the balcony.)

The last two weeks  we've done a lot of interesting "school" work, of course, but it's beginning to morph into simply our new normal everyday life. It's not about imitating school, or replacing school, or improving upon school, or even about the specific tasks and schedules and goals (oh, my!) at all. It's a whole new way of looking at life and how I (We) teach our children, interact with our children, and fundamentally parent them. I know if any veteran home educators read this they may be thinking, well, yes (duh). But, for me it was (is) truly an epiphany that has the potential to take our lives in a whole new direction. 

As usual, this post will be linked at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Week Four: One Month Down and We're All Still Alive

Well, we just finished off week four of this homeschooling experiment and everyone survived. I guess we'll be doing this again next month :-)

If you are interested, you can read here about our Week OneWeek Two, and Week Three.

That inquisitive little monkey sure is captivating
Our big "new" thing this week was introducing computer games. Agent E loves them . . . her faves so far are Curious George, Word World, and Super Why (all from PBS Kids Go!). I don't know why, but I really thought it would take her longer to get comfortable with the computer and learning to navigate. In reality it took about 14 seconds, give or take, and most of that was me talking. Agent J is fascinated as well, but she just watches while E controls the mouse. 

I have a fall break planned, but honestly I don't think Agent E is going to go for it. She has asked to do school every weekend and I think if I tell her we're going to skip an entire week she will look at me like I'm nuts. 

How do you handle "time off" in your homeschooling calendar? Regular intervals or only when necessitated by going out of town, illness, etc.? Planned or spontaneous? Something special (e.g., family vacation) or just *not* the daily grind? Do your kids look forward to it?

As usual, this post will be linked at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.