Raising Humble Humans

with Michelle Tate

Dear son please don’t ever stop…

Reaching for my hand.

Climbing in my lap.

Hugging me in public.

Smiling so big when I walk into the room.

Asking me to snuggle you a little more at bedtime.

Wanting to sit by me.

Holding my hand while you pray.

Kissing me before you leave me.

Greeting me with a hug.

Running to me excited to share your successes.

Confiding in me when you’ve made a mistake.

Asking for my help.

Apologizing when you’ve hurt someone.

Sharing your popcorn with me in a movie.

Dear son, please don’t ever stop loving me like you do today.

I’ll hold you.

Even before I knew of your existence, I’ll hold you.

I’ll hold you in my heart and in my womb. I’ll hold your weight as I watch my body grow. I’ll hold you through morning sickness and shifted organs. I’ll hold you through food aversions and while I prepare a nursery for you. I’ll hold you through doctor appointments and sonograms. I’ll hold your health and safety in the safest place of my heart.

I’ll hold on tight to bed rails as the pain shoots through my body. I’ll hold you until the doctor says push. I’ll hold your Daddy’s hand as I meet you. I’ll hold you during midnight feedings and as you fall asleep.

I’ll hold you while you kick and scream in all your sweaty mess. I’ll hold you while we both cry tears of frustration. I’ll hold you when you’re angry at me, and even when I am angry with you too. I’ll hold you when you’re sad, and I don’t know how to solve it. I’ll hold you when I have the answers, and even when I don’t.

And even after my tiny frame buckles under your weight and I can’t physically hold you any longer, I’ll still hold you.

I’ll hold you to the highest standards and I’ll always hold you accountable. I’ll hold your secrets and your fears. I’ll hold your worries and your insecurities. I’ll hold it all if it means you don’t have to. I’ll hold your feelings, your well-being above all else. And I’ll always hold your hand if you’ll let me.

I’ll hold off on my dreams, so that you can chase yours. I’ll hold off on meals and showers so that you can have yours. I’ll hold off on a clean house so that I can make memories with you. I’ll hold off on my timelines so that you can go at your own pace. I’ll hold off on the lesson so that you can learn on your own. I’ll hold off on speaking when you really need me to listen.

For you, my child, I’ll always hold you.

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An afternoon of screams and fits from my sassy toddler.

“What can I help you with?” I ask him.

Fit continues.

“What is making you sad?” I ask him.

Still crying.

“What do you need?” I ask him.

Screams continue.

“What’s wrong?” I BEG of him (starting to lose what is left of my patience).

“Mama, hold me!” He yells (still crying).

And then….

There was this moment…

And complete silence.

The only movements, his labored breaths trying to catch up from the sobs.

I still don’t know what was wrong. I still don’t know what made him so upset. But what I do know is that he couldn’t put into words his anger or frustration.

But the thing that he needed the most…

The thing that calmed him completely…

the one thing, the ONLY thing he knew to say was “hold me.”

And then all was right in his world.

God knows it won’t always be this simple to solve the problems in his world.

But while the moment lasts, I’ll hold him.

Every chance I get.

@raisinghumblehumans

Yesterday, I had the honor and privilege of sharing my heart with 515 students.

  1. 515 kids were told they were accepted. Not in spite of their uniquenesses but because of them.

515 kids were asked to be courageous enough to chase big dreams.

515 kids were inspired to always look for ways to be helpful to others.

515 kids were told they could be artsy or athletic or both, and it didn’t matter their gender, race or diverse abilities to do so.

515 kids were encouraged to be the best versions of themselves.

515 kids were given permission to stand up for themselves and others.

515 kids were told that laughter is so good for the soul.

515 kids were inspired to love fiercely and forgive that way too.

515 kids were encouraged to write thank you notes with a happy heart.

515 kids were told they could be anything they wanted when they grow up, but that being helpful, accepting, and grateful were more important than any job title they could choose.

515 kids were told that they can be strong and brave and gentle all at once.

515 kids were encouraged to be thoughtful, kind, and humble humans.

  1. Inspiring change….one young reader at a time!

Raising Humble Humans

For months we’ve dealt with the fits that come with raising a 4 year old. Having raised a 4 year old before, I feel experienced enough to say I’m raising a strong-willed 4 year old. Yes, I know ALL 4 year olds can be strong-willed at times, but mine has some stamina. We’re in for the long haul when these moods strike him, and they strike him just about every day lately.

We’ve battled and butted heads. I’ve held him in all his screaming, crying, sweaty mess. I’ve tried all the tools in my tool belt with no success. So I lay in bed at night and cry as my mind races as to what tools I can possibly invent next.

Sometimes their fits are a direct reflection of my frustration.

My exhaustion.

My distracted inability to do it all.

I realize that as much as he screams and fights me. At the end of the day, he just wants me. He wants me near him. Holding him, singing to him, reading to him. Just being close to me is all he really wants. And so I made a silent promise to him as I watched him sleep. A promise to focus more on him. Give him more of my undivided attention that he so craves yet rarely gets as a middle child.

I made a plan for a day of just him. A day of just his mommy. No siblings. No screens. And lots of ice cream.

And guess what? We didn’t battle. We didn’t bicker. And we didn’t cry. We were both all smiles.

No this won’t solve everything. No this isn’t a quick fix. And no this can’t possibly be our daily reality. But it’s a start to a better attitude and a stronger bond between me and my little mighty. It was meant to be a reboot for both of our hearts and mind.

There are days when we both need space. Distance to make the heart grow fonder. And then there are days like this. Where we just needed each other.

Sometimes they push us away with their battling but all they really want is to be close. Sometimes you need to run and dance in the rain. Sometimes you need to put off the responsibilities of the day and just…play.

And sometimes, you just need a LOT of ice cream.

Raising Humble Humans on FB & IG

Someone happened to snap a photo to document us all fancied up. This photo made me smile for so many reasons. One because fancy is a rarity for us these days. Adult nights are a rarity too. And sometimes it’s fun to get all fancied up and have a date night with your husband.

But even though we were all fancy the night this photo was snapped, when I look at this picture of us. I just see US. The real us. The unfancy version of us.

The funny thing about social media is that we get to hide behind whatever version of perfection we choose to share with the world. I’ve never been good at keeping secrets. I have always had my thoughts and feelings written all over my face. I have a big personality and I don’t hide that well, even if I wanted to. I’ve never been one to sugar coat much of anything except my desserts. My life is usually bare and raw for all the world to see. Not much embarrasses me. Not much is off the table to discuss.

I’ve never really preferred fancy over comfort. Although fancy is fun sometimes, I’d gladly pick sweatpants and flip flops over fancy shoes.

But no matter how fancy I felt that day, this man looks at me with this same look even on my unfancy days. No matter my old, comfy clothes or my three day old post shower bun, he does THIS just about every day.

So when I look at this photo, I see the real us.

The real, the raw and the unfancy.

Just the way I like it.

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My kids share a room, not because they have to but because they want to. And because it was a choice, not a have to, there are times that I question if they’re still happy sharing.

There are times when I wonder if we made the right decision cramming them in one room. Creating little to no personal space or alone time for either of them.

But then I check on my sleeping babies at night, and I find them in one bed. Together.

Sure, there are two beds in their shared room, but only one ever gets used. Because beds side by side isn’t close enough for them. They prefer to be sandwiched in tight in one bed. Snuggling. Talking. Giggling.

So would they sleep better in separate rooms?

Probably.

Would they go to sleep earlier and sleep in later?

Probably.

Would there be less sibling battles?

Most likely.

But oh, all the memories they would miss.

They’d miss all the giggles about smelly sounds. All the books read together under the covers with flashlights. All the plans and adventures they dream up together. All the problems they solve together.

Apart, they may go to bed angry, but they never do when they’re together.

This is where the memories are made.

Right there in their room.

This is where the inside jokes are created. This is where their love for each other grows. This is where they answer each other’s questions. This is where they help each other without me instructing them to.

A mother can only wish for such a bond between her babies.

So when I ask myself if it’s time to separate them, I go up to check on them while they sleep, and there they are. Holding hands.

So yeah, my life might be a tad bit easier having them sleeping apart.

Bedtime routines might go a little faster.

They might drift off to sleep a little sooner.
They might sleep in a bit later. But my heart wouldn’t be nearly as full. And neither would their’s.

They are each other’s comfort and security. A built in safety net sleeping right alongside them. They have each other, and I rest easier knowing they watch out for each other.

They love each other so much, they aren’t even bothered with a foot in their face while they sleep.

Now if that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

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There are things that make his mind race and keeps him up at night. He can make something out of nothing. In the biggest way possible.

He’s a stay inside the lines, rule follower through and through. Which I have a love hate relationship with. I love that he values structure and respects authority and the rules. BUT, I also know that structure gives him great anxiety. He strives to meet expectations so much that he’s exhausted from trying so hard. Even with my best attempt to tell him over and over that when he gives his best, I could never be disappointed. Even with my constant reminders that nothing he could ever do could jeopardize my extreme love for him, he worries.

He worries about failing. He worries about approval, and being liked, and is extra sensitive when kids laugh. He worries about forgetting things and missing out. He worries about his family and their health and safety. He takes words so literally and to the extreme sometimes. So much so that it makes his mind race a marathon and brings him to tears. And although it rarely happens, he worries about getting in trouble.

As much as I want him to follow rules, have good manners, and achieve greatness; it has never been in my mama heart for any of that to cost him his happiness and contentment. So I continue to speak softly and calmly in hopes that those vibes transfer to him and bring him peace. I continue to practice self-talk with him and teach relaxing strategies. I continue to provide the tools to problem solving so that he’s able to work through struggles on his own.

And then, in the quiet space of my own mind, I lay the mom guilt on thick.

Could I have protected him better?

Could I have made him feel more at ease?

Did I say too much and put ideas in his head?

Did I not say enough to comfort him?

Did I give him the right tools to problem solve and recover on his own?

Parenting is hard sometimes because we often have to step back and let them process, learn, and work through problems on their own. As hard as that is, those are often the most important lessons.

We give them the tools to work through the struggles and the messes in their lives. We can model and show examples. We can offer problem solving tips and pass along encouraging thoughts.

But the heartbreak of a mama’s heart is that it’s ultimately up to them to process and to overcome.

And so, my kid is a worrier.

And his mama’s heart breaks whenever he is stressed.

For more raw motherhood stories like this, follow as we are all Raising Humble Humans.

Facts you should know about this book

  1. This book would not have made it to the print form had I not traveled to Nebraska this summer to meet the most inspirational group of writers at Her View From Home.
  2. My family and friends believed in me and my passion long before I did.
  3. My kids watched a lotttttt of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so that I could get this thing done.
  4. Zero. The amount of dollars I need to make off this book to make it worth it. My kids are holding it in their hands. It’s on the bookshelves in their room and reading it makes them smile. No amount of profit can make me feel better than that.
  5. It’s here! It’s done! And it’s something I’m so so proud and honored to present to you!

I can do this life without him but I really don’t want to. 

My husband travels. The lengths go in waves. Sometimes it’s just day trips. Sometimes it’s weeks at a time. But each time I’m running our home solo, I’m reminded that I can, in fact, do this without him. 

The world still turns. 

The kids still throw fits. 

The kids still do their amazingly cute things. 

I can do all of this without him. 

But I really don’t want to. 

Not only are my hands fuller, my bed emptier, and my head more exhausted when he’s away, but life just isn’t nearly as sweet either. 

You see, he makes the bad days not so bad and the good days even better. We do not always see eye to eye. We do not have the perfect marriage (is there even such a thing?). But life sure is better with him by my side. 

Sure, there’s one less person to clean up after. One less person to cook for. One less person’s laundry to fold. But I’d gladly take on those extra tasks to have his bright light in my every day life. 

There are just some people that build you up. My husband is one of those special people that just make life better by being around them. 

So yes, I can do bath time on my own. I can wrestle the alligators that are my toddlers to get pjs on at night. I physically can do it all on my own. 

But I really don’t want to. 

Because it’s much more bearable with him to laugh about the mess and the chaos of life with. 

Yes, I can get the lunches made and the backpacks packed. I can make it to all the carpools lines and after-school activities just fine on my own. But man, it’s so much nicer to share that with him. 

So when he’s gone, life just isn’t as sweet until he returns.

I can do this life without him, but I really don’t want to. 

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