Sunday, March 30, 2014

Help for the Introverted Mom... who feels like she's losing it...

*Please take one second to answer my poll question above. Thank you!*

This one has been a while in the making... researching (i.e. sneaking in reading during meals, naptime or whenever I can/ thinking/ lost sleep/ extra trips to the library/ thinking/"writing" this post in my head/ thinking/ you get the idea...) If you're an introvert, I'm sure I've got your attention already, and if you're an introverted mom who chooses to homeschool her kids and stay at home with them then this post is for you! I wrote (and composed) it for me, and that's where I'm at. If you happen to get anything beneficial from it, I consider it an added bonus.

saw on Pinterest
Perhaps I've known that I was an introvert for many years now. However, being married (to an introvert) for the last seven years now, and being a mother for five has shown me how much of an introvert I am. If you wonder whether you're an introvert or not, it has little to do with being "shy" or "reserved" and everything to do with needing alone time to recharge. You can definitely find an introvert/extrovert test online if you really don't know whether you're more introverted or extroverted, but everyone leans to one side or the other (while possessing qualities of both.) I would recommend you find out, because knowing what an "introvert" is has helped me tremendously in my personal life. In the past several years (and certainly months!), I have learned more about myself than ever before (and I'm 32!) Knowing that about myself has made me much more comfortable with who I am, and around other people. Here's a short and sweet blog post you can use to identify yourself as an introverted mom: 6 Signs That You're an Introverted Mom


The bestselling book, Quiet by Susan Cain , has really made conversations about introverts more common. My husband heard about it from one of his professors who was married to an introvert, and then one of my introverted friends raved about it (and also lent me her copy.) Truth be told, I have yet to finish it, but I do love what I have read so far. I searched for other books about introverts, and found a couple at the library that hold my (limited) attention better.

The topics that I blog the most passionately about are topics that I have experienced myself, and are dear to my heart. I am currently a stay-at-home mom who has started homeschooling my five year old daughter, so most of my posts are about either homeschooling or other adventures in motherhood (I also have a two year old son.) I started thinking to myself (introverts do this a lot) that I should write about introverted moms (like me) who maybe feel like they're either not cut out for this motherhood thing (kids can be annoying) or there is really something wrong with them (because their own kids are annoying them and they feel guilty about it!) In trying to find some good books on the topic, I didn't see any that were written specifically for moms.

 The Introvert's Way by Sophia Dembling has been a great read, humorous and casually written. Cute book, and a little colorful language I might add. She has an magnificent chapter on the weaknesses of the introvert mind, i.e. easily distracted, "checking-out", etc. But where are the screaming kids in your vacations that you take by yourself even though you're married, Sophia!? 

What, there aren't any?!   

Exactly my point. 
I'm pretty sure that Susan Cain has at least a chapter on raising introverted children, but I don't know if she has one on introverted moms. Then it hit me. Introverted moms with young children don't have the time or the energy to write books for other introverted moms! Oh yeah. They're just like me, just trying to survive the daily, emotionally draining, socially demanding, difficult-for-anyone task of being surrounded by kids all the time. Yeah, that makes sense. ;) 

What I failed to consider, however, was that there were other mommy bloggers out there like me who would at least write helpful or encouraging posts about what life was like for an introverted mom. Thankfully, before I set out to write this much-needed, even ground-breaking! post I have been thinking about for weeks, I did a simple google search for "introvert mom" and the results (pleasantly) surprised me! At least 35 articles and blog posts popped up, and I was dying to read them all! 

If you're an introverted mom looking for useful information and encouragement without having to go through all these, here's the best of what I found: (Hey, my kids are asleep and my husband is out of town. There's nothing I'd rather do at the moment!) ;)

First thing that caught my eye was the website and Facebook page entitled "The Introverted Mom" and after reading these two moms' bios that manage them, it could prove to be a good source of encouragement (and humor!) Their website logo is "We love our kids. We need our downtime." Enough said, ladies.

The title I fell in love with right away was "I gave up by noon: For the introverted mother" and her blog post did not disappoint! She hits the nail on the head when she describes the daily introvert struggles (comparing yourself to extroverted moms, mental exhaustion) and also does a great job of detailing the progression of your child growing older affects you and how it gets harder with each additional child: 

"When I first became a mother, it was still easy to meet all my introverted needs. In the beginning, the symbiosis between mother and baby is so great that being around them feels like being alone. They are simply an extension of yourself. They don't talk, they sleep a great deal of the time and they can be put in a stroller or carrier for long walks whenever you feel like it. It becomes harder when they start walking and talking, but even then the afternoon nap is sufficient to get that time you need.
My oldest daughter stopped napping altogether when she was 2 1/2. I was 6 months pregnant at the time. I managed to make things work for the next year with a combination of 'quiet time' in her room and part time preschool, but things started to unravel when my daughter decided to fight quiet time with everything she had. I was already physically exhausted, but it was the mental exhaustion that was really killing me. I was giving and giving all day every day, but without any peace and quiet I had nothing to fill me back up."

Yes, Lulu. My thoughts exactly.

In this post, she also has a list of ways to try to give yourself quiet time, which I thought was very helpful.These resonated the most with me:

#1. "Get your 'stuff' done while the kids are awake.
In the early days I used to spend nap time or time when my husband took the baby out to cook and clean and do laundry and then wonder why I felt so exhausted and miserable about it. Now unless I have a burning desire to do housework (which almost NEVER happens), I make sure I get things done when the kids are present. I get them to 'help', I speed clean the kitchen while they sit eating their afternoon snacks or breakfast, I run and throw in a load of laundry when they are mesmerized by a toy. The second they are asleep or not home I am OFF duty and I am only allowed to do something I find relaxing, which in my case is usually reading a book."


 #5. Be clear about what you need and negotiate.

My husband now understands that while he wants to spend his free time playing music or soccer with his friends, I want him to take the kids out for the afternoon so I can have a totally silent house. You have to let the people in your life know what you need the most and work out exactly how and when you can get it.

I found this to be an awesome post, but her oldest grew up and went to school moving right along... :)

For the next one, if the title doesn't grab you, the visual sure will!

The blog: Diary of a Bewildered Mother (and Facebook page)
The post: Grace for the Introverted Mom

She begins with this food for thought: "Being a stay-at-home-mom is the most unnatural thing in the world if you look at the historical order of things. Humans once lived in tribes, clans, family units, villages. Children were raised by their mother, plus any other number of matriarchal type persons. Fathers and other men were involved in the education and nurturing of their children as well. Mothers had help in the form of relatives, wet-nurses or nannies. These days, we tend to fall into one of two extremes: we are the sole caregiver of our children during the day, or else we leave them in the care of educators and coaches and have little time to interact with our own kids. Hopefully you fall somewhere into the middle! Anyway, this isn’t about societal norms or a call to action. It’s about introverts. Introverts who are drained when they are sole caregivers to one or more children."

She goes on to give four tips for introverted moms, the first of which I can definitely relate to:

"Tip #1—Favor reflection over distraction.

We introverts need time, alone, with our thoughts. If I don’t get time alone just to think, or sort out my thoughts, I end up distracting myself with the internet. (As a teen, I used to distract myself with endless hours of TV. As an adult, I don’t have cable, but I have my own laptop.)
I’ll spend hours and hours on Pinterest or YouTube or clicking on random Wikipedia articles to distract myself, when a 20-minute shower would be so much better for me, because I spend only 3 minutes cleaning myself, and the rest of the time, I just let my mind wander and sort and think and rest.
Right now it’s 2 am, and I should be in bed, but I’ve just been putting off my time of introspection all this time, and now I won’t be able to sleep until I think about it."

Distraction and not enough sleep are the story of my life right now! When my children can't find me at any time (because I'm actually hiding from them!) they know to check the computer desk first, and then proceed to knocking on the bathroom door. And while it's not 2 a.m. (yet), I know exactly what she means, although I haven't considered emailing myself before..  hmmm...  The other tips are good ones, too, so read the whole post! She and I seem to have much in common, as she wrote this post while her husband was away for two weeks (ditto) and he is also an introvert.

In the post "I Just Want to Be Alone: Confessions of an Introverted Mom," (ooh, sounds good) she begins with "I love my husband and daughter dearly, but sometimes the sights and sounds of them make me want to scream." (ooh, sounds even better!) This is a short post, but that quote alone made it worthwhile reading, especially when she talks about wanting to kick them out. ;)

Saw on Pinterest, and then doctored it up a little :)
 I just returned to my desk after being interrupted by my ever-so-clingy toddler who woke up wanting me to lie down with him in his bed so he could go back to sleep. I won't say too much about my lovely children here, but my baby boy has literally been attached to my hip for over two years now. He needs my presence to help him sleep, poop, and just about everything he does. He falls asleep squeezing my thumb, which kind of hurts. He melts my heart with his big blue eyes... which is a good thing, because my hip is starting to hurt and he drives me absolutely crazy sometimes! The good news is he is beginning to venture out of my shadow more and more, and he enjoys playing alone more than his five year old sister. I suspect he is an introvert, and we will be good friends one day. My little princess is intelligent, talkative, energetic, emotional, inquisitive, and creative... in a word, exhausting. She's also so observant and highly sensitive, that she requires a lot of sleep and down time (phew!) so that balances it out I guess. I highly doubt that she's an introvert. We will also be very good friends, and I suspect that when she's out on her own, she will call me every day, at least once a day, forever. They are so young and precious, too young to understand my need for alone time. Too young to be away from me for very long. I understand this, and try my best to put myself on hold. Self-sacrifice is what motherhood is all about when they are this little, but I secretly look forward to the days when they want their space (so I can have mine back.) I truly love these "little years" though, and wouldn't change them for anything. I try to enjoy them, chaos and all. Oh wait, did I mention that my daughter was talking in her sleep a few minutes ago....


Speaking of children, the mom at has several posts about telling kids what an introvert is, and her own list of confessions here. I'll warn you that she's a little edgy, but I did find the information helpful.

Now here is a really helpful post! This mom gives some more practical tips for being a "happy introverted mom"and she has four children, and she homeschools! Yay for her! :) Find her post here. Like me, she also loves Charlotte Mason's educational methods. CM is actually very introvert-friendly now that I think about it. I am still trying to implement more and more of her wisdom into our homeschool, which has been a little difficult while living in a big city instead of the English countryside... but I'm not giving up! ;)

I know this post is getting too long (but you should expect that from me by now!) I definitely have to share this one, which is excellent and covers the bases the others may have left out. In Motherhood: The Introvert's Challenge, this mother of five not only talks about the needs of the introvert, but also the weaknesses and sins of the introvert (of which there are many, so I'm glad she puts it out there!) To sum it up, she divides this post into The Tug (to be more like extroverted moms), The Guilt (from wanting to get away from your children), The Temptations (making excuses for sin, laziness, not making time for your spouse or G-d, self-pity) I don't know about you, but I'm guilty of ALL OF THOSE! That's what has driven me to compose this post in the first place. Thankfully, she doesn't stop there. She also gives The Solution ("recognize your weakness and remember the Gospel") which is beautifully stated:

"There is no quick and easy solution to the introvert’s challenge in motherhood. But the main thing is learning to accept that God really is sovereign. Knowing God is sovereign, means that you can accept and embrace the way God made you. You do not have to become an extrovert to please God or love people well. He thought making you an introvert was the best thing for you and those around you. It was freeing for me to ponder the truth that God made me to be the right mother for my children and that my children are the right children for me, because God foreordained them to be a part of my life. The Gospel frees me to embrace who I am while not using my weaknesses as excuses for laziness. God’s Spirit will use me, introversion and all. My identity in Christ has got to be the foundation upon which I build my personal identity, regardless of introversion or extroversion. He has promised to perfect me, yes, even use my weaknesses in His service. That helps me relax, accept myself while not giving in to my natural sins and expect change as the Holy Spirit works in me, through all circumstances.  Sure, there will be challenges, but that is how God intends to grow me and make me more conformed to His image.  You will be stretched to your limits. Every time you fail or sin against your husband and children in your introverted way, is an opportunity for you to receive grace from God and to live out the gospel: repent, ask for your family’s forgiveness and let the Holy Spirit transform you. It is a hard but beautiful process to which your kids are privy. It is the story of redemption playing out before them."

I didn't mention all 35 but that last one, I think, is a wonderful stopping place in our google search journey (thanks for reading this far!) Despite the challenges, I wouldn't trade introverted motherhood for the world. While I don't think that introverts are better than extroverts, I also wouldn't trade being an introvert for the world. All the reading I have done on introverts actually helps me understand and try to sympathize with extroverts more. I find it fascinating that G-d created people so differently, yet we can be compatible if we first understand who we are (and who He is!) 

I may be a great introvert, but I know I have a lot of work to do in order to be a better mom and wife despite the challenges I face. I'm realizing those challenges now more than ever, but I also realize the advantages that I have been blessed with. Having a wonderful husband, two precious kids, and writing to keep me sane, I am hopeful that we'll be fine. I have a sneaking suspicion that you will be, too.

To summarize what I have gathered in my search, here's a list of how to survive (and thrive) as an introverted mom:

~Pray! (and remember that time with G-d can be even better than "alone" time, since He's there when you're alone anyway. Talk to Him. He knows you're losing it. He made you! )
~Make time to be alone without sacrificing all your family time (and for me, that seems to mean getting up earlier than I already do...oy!)

~Be honest with yourself, your husband, and your kids (Know your needs and share them with your loved ones. I'm sure they'll understand.

~Be present... in the present. (This one is tough for me. I'm usually thinking about the past or preparing for the future.)

~Give your kids (and husband) some special one-on-one time (which means giving them your undivided attention without the usual distractions in your mind)

~Implement mandatory "quiet time" (thank G-d my toddler still naps, but my kindergartner doesn't. We sometimes do schoolwork during naptime, but I really want to change that.)

~Don't feel guilty about your need for "me" time. (Everyone needs it. You can't be awesome all the time!)

~Give yourself grace. I can't finish this post without linking to this one, which I read a few months back while I was thinking about writing on this topic: 15 New Year's Resolutions for the Introverted Mom. I was encouraged by every single one.

~Never underestimate yourself. Push yourself out of the nest a little (while not overdoing it). Get out with your kids. Befriend a mom or two. Join a small mom's group. I have been a part of one for over a year now, and I love it! I didn't seek one out, however. It was more like an answer to prayer from a lonely mom (at the time). I took my kids to the park when we were supposed to be doing school at home, and a wonderful thing happened. A sweet and outgoing little girl befriended my sweet and a bit shy little girl, and the rest is history. Those two moms I met at the park that day have become cherished friends of mine. All I had to do was leave the house! ;) That may be all you have to do as well.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Raising our Daughters, Raising Ourselves: Emotional Awareness I've Learned from My Daughter

"We tell our girls that their feelings are like horses-- beautiful, spirited horses. But
they are the riders. We tell them that God gave them this horse when they were born, and they will ride it their whole life."

from "Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches"
by Rachel Jankovic

The mom's group I am a part of recently started reading  and discussing this short, but profound book, Loving the Little Years. The fifth chapter is entitled Spirited Horses. It's a sweet and simple suggestion of teaching little girls about their emotions by comparing them to a "spirited horse." Beautiful, powerful... but in need of some training and control. Early one morning last week, after some silly sibling squabble over something, my five year old daughter proceeded to slap her brother and then turned to me, with anger and frustration in her beautiful hazel eyes... and said "And you, you shut up!" Sure I was taken aback for a second, because this was the first time she has said this to me, her own mother! In fact, I don't think she's said it to anyone. Thank G-d that my husband had gotten up before me that day, and I had been greeted with hot coffee and fresh pancakes! Another morning, under different circumstances, and perhaps I would have taken this affront personally or gotten angry (which happens frequently), and my response could have been very different. On this morning, however, I calmly told her to go calm down in her room, and that I would be in soon to talk to her. With this little book in hand, I went into my daughter's room, because I knew it was time. Fighting back tears (because we mothers are still riding this horse too!), I read her the story about the spirited horses, and why she had to learn to control her emotions. So...yeah, I could not have discovered this book at a better time than the present

I've been a mother for five (loooong) years, and I've found that parenting is "a lot of on-the-job failure and correction. Repenting and forgiving. Laughing. Lots and lots of laughing"...(at yourself, that is) as Jankovic says it is. I had taught my daughter about emotions in Pre-K, and we made some cute "emotional eggs" and everything, but now I am witnessing such complex emotions in her little self, and she (and sometimes I) have no idea what to do with them. It can be scary. That's why I'm so grateful for this mom, (mother of four daughters) and how she can help me (mother of one daughter.) Without the emotional outbursts my daughter has been experiencing lately, I wouldn't have been driven to research for this post.

I see her frustration. I hear her whining. I have experienced her moodiness. I've been angry with her for her behavior.
But now, perhaps for the first time, I feel her pain and want to help her. 

I think sometimes we, as mothers, are expected to know how to deal with little girls and all their "issues," because we were once little girls ourselves. I have found that raising a daughter actually shows me everything I don't know about little girls (or myself), and has motivated me to get to know myself better, so I can help her know who she is. I don't even remember what I was like at age 5, besides really quiet and shy. I was a tomboy, the only girl in the family, had two (much) older brothers, my father was a former drill instructor in the Marines, and my mother was pretty quiet, too. Sounds like the ideal family to raise an expert in expressing emotions, doesn't it?

Yeah, not even close.

I'm still quiet, and an introvert through and through, but I'm pretty confident that I know who I am. But I'm thirty-two. She's five. One thing I think that everyone recalls from their childhood and adolescence is that it took years and years to discover who you really are. We all go through those awkward stages to find ourselves. Now, after all that, we must help our children through them. At times, it feels like the blind are leading the blind. The good thing about mothers, however, is their willingness, even eagerness, to learn from other mothers. We yearn to experience motherhood, we learn from the good and the bad, we try suggestions as easily as we give them out, and we share stories with other mothers... every.chance.we.get. It never gets old, and there are always new things to share.

That's why there are "mom's groups" in the first place!
That is why I blog. 
To share, to encourage, to connect...

Girls of all ages long to connect with other girls. It's how we were made. We're relational. Sometimes moms and daughters have times of disconnection, and it's almost always because of emotions (on both sides.) When best friends stop talking to each other, when wives give their husbands the silent treatment, when little girls tell their mothers to shut up... it's always emotions. Your sweet little princess is growing up, and on her way to becoming a passionate young woman! Exciting and terrifying at the same time, isn't it?! Especially when you get those little glimpses of her acting (and reacting) JUST LIKE YOU! If that doesn't make your day, then I don't know what will! :) I don't know about you, but the last thing I want for my daughter is for her to be just like me! No, I want her to be better... a better mom, a better wife, etc. In reality, she will probably be dealing with this issue with her first daughter (B"H) many years down the road. If I accomplish little else, I definitely hope to teach her (allow her) to better express her emotions. 

It's been an emotional couple weeks here at home. Since she badmouthed me in the kitchen last week, I have had to turn around, (after successfully getting the two kids winter-ready and down the elevator) because she was crying hysterically and (I thought) making up excuses for not wanting to go anywhere... she was too tired... her foot, then her belly was hurting... And I really wanted to get out of the house, (we were heading out to her best friend's house for a playdate, not the dentist or something!) so I was not at all happy with her meltdown. As she was lying in her bed, still crying, I was in the kitchen trying to calm myself while texting my friend to say that we were not coming. And through the crocodile tears and whiny cries of "mommy!," I hear her say "Can you pray for me?" Those five little words immediately softened my heart, and told me that she really needs my help with this. Once again, with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I go into her room to sit with her and talk about those spirited horses. As my tears flow, I have to assure her that she is not making me cry. I tell her that mommies have emotions, too. She looks over at her two-year old brother, who is staring at both of us with wide-eyed wonder, still in his coat and boots wondering why we're not going "bye-bye" and she asks "Do boys have emotions, too?" I say "Yes, but they don't cry as much as we do." We both smile. I convince him to bring me a tissue, which in his mind is a square and a half of toilet paper, and we dry our eyes.

I love the fact that along with the four girls, Jankovic also has a two-year old son. She calls him "simple-- just right up the middle and easy. He either disobeys, or he doesn't. Sometimes, when he feels really complicated and deep, he fusses." This describes my son pretty well, except that when he feels complicated and deep, he imitates his big sister (which is quite hilarious). I try to put his sock on, and in his best whiny voice, he'll say "owwwww" or if I tell him to do something, he'll let out an exaggerated "noooo!"... but if I just wait, and look into his face, I can read behind his little smirk and it screams "I saw my sister do this, so I thought I would try it!"...and our eyes will meet, and we'll both smile. Then, he is himself again.

"I caught her on the kitchen counter getting into something. Surprise was my first response -- "What are you doing?" Her immediate response was to throw her hands up over her eyes in shame. It was at that moment I realized that she didn't know what was causing it either! She was just as surprised as I was to find herself being so delinquent. It wasn't any kind of deep malice that got her into those cupboards looking for chocolate chips-- it was just a simple lack of control."

from "Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches"
by Rachel Jankovic

Realizing that my daughter's emotions are kind of outta control right now, I started looking for resources to help us both learn how to manage them. Not to ignore them, or condemn them, but to understand and manage them. I found this great post here called "Resources to Teach Kids about Emotions, and How to Handle Them."   It was written by a mother of seven, including several adopted children with emotional/sensory issues, and contains a long list of books and games dealing with emotional awareness. I searched for some of these books at my local library, and found some good ones. I put others on hold, and am waiting for them to come in.

To give you an idea of just how many resources she lists:

And those are just the book! She also has games and cards, etc. So visit her blog and check them out!

I made a new Pinterest board on raising girls, but right now it's all resources for emotional awareness that I want to look into. To see it, click here

Being aware of your child's emotional struggles is the first step to helping them deal with them. It's like a puzzle that is coming together for me. I've known about the jealousy she feels for her little brother sometimes, and the sadness that oftentimes comes over her when her father is traveling and away from home (I'll save that for another post!). But I didn't see and understand how anxious she gets. It is widely known that anxiety and worry are actually bad for your health. Worry can cause bellyaches, especially in small children who don't know how to deal with it. For months now, my daughter has had the tendency to complain that her belly is hurting if we are in the car. Sometimes it comes and goes, and sometimes it gets to the point where she is crying out or ripping her seatbelt off while I am still driving. I was trying to figure out why it was happening, but I thought that she must have some mild form of motion sickness like my mother has. I would try to offer to put peppermint oil on her belly, but she hates the smell of it. I would make sure the seatbelt wasn't too tight, but that wasn't the problem. Now I'm wondering if it has more to do with her having anxiety about being in the car than anything else. Now that I'm intentionally aware of her struggle, I see how worried she can get. I sometimes wrote her off as being dramatic (which she most certainly can be) all the time. I see now that her anxiety has been building up, and I am capable of easing it for her. 

Probably the most helpful of the books I found at the library is What To Do When You Worry Too Much by Dawn Huebner, MD. It's in a workbook format, having text that I can read to her and then a page for her to draw something to express what she worries about, etc. It was great going through this with her (she keeps requesting that I read it again!) and it has helped to ease her worries, mostly by letting her know she's not the only kid who worries, and by giving me the understanding I needed to not allow her to dwell on her them and make her feel worse. The book mentions the bellyaches and other side effects of worry, a "worry time" for each day, and does a good job of equipping parents and kids with tools to deal with this troublesome tendency. In addition, it has helped my husband and I to be much more mindful of what we say and do around her. It also makes us more aware of our own anxiety, and how and how not to express it in her presence. If you have children who worry, this is a great resource for the entire family.

Another wonderfully helpful idea from my new friend over at is a homemade "anti-anxiety kit" for children. Inspired by her ideas, I put together a "Worry Kit" for my daughter. Hers included some homeopathic stress relief drops, so I tried to offer some essential oils to my princess, but it turns out that every one I have smells "disgusting" to her. Lavender and Vanilla are said to be soothing, so I ordered some vanilla oil for her (she doesn't like lavender), which I plan to add to her little felt elephant pillow she helped me sew in school this week. (Got the idea here.)

Our Worry Kit also includes flour-filled balloons (much easier than filling with playdough) for a relaxing sensory sensation, and a large plastic egg filled with "worry cards" which I typed up and added clip-art to so she can "read" them to herself. They are all ideas that she can implement when she is worried to make the anxiety go away. Some of the ideas are from the website above, and some are from the "Worry Too Much" book. I also printed out a little card with a multitude of emotions (faces) on it for her to look at, and ordered the book "The Way I Feel" by Janan Cain. The cards say things like Pray, Take Deep Breaths, Count to 10, Hum a Song, Talk to Someone, etc. (Email me at why_b_messianic{at} if you would like the Word document to print at home.) So far, she has used the kit a few times, and she loves it (even shows it off to friends!) The best part of it is that we have not had to cancel any more playdates because she was too upset to leave the house! Yay! {By the way, in the process of writing this, we also missed the mom's group meeting that discussed the "Spirited Horses" chapter because of her emotional crisis at home. Disappointing, but at least now I have the knowledge to help her in the future!}

Raising a daughter has proven to be an amazing adventure, spirited horses and all. She has taught me how to laugh, and oftentimes reminds me to cry, too. She has pointed out all my weakness, but she also glorifies my strengths. She is my biggest fan, and my toughest critic... and I'm convinced it will always be that way. She is my constant companion, and sometimes a walking mirror of myself (scary)... Most of all, she is "G-d's Solemn Promise," and has taught me more about myself than anything else....

**As always, comments are appreciated. Moms of little worry warts, feel free to share additional resources and ideas not mentioned here. My research continues, so I will add any really good ones that I find!**

Be blessed!