MomViews: Helping Other Families

mommy blog, motherhood, motherhood through my eyesProject Lead Kindly MomViewsDealing with the struggles of everyday life is tough, but what can you say about the struggles of the less fortunate? To help combat poverty and assist victims of domestic abuse, Pamela and Scott Macdonald have put their heads together to create Project Lead Kindly. Pamela is also a blogger at Macdonald’s Playland. 

MomViews: You and your husband recently announced a project to assist mothers and families out of homelessness and domestic violence. What inspired the two of you to focus on such important causes?

Pamela Macdonald: It honestly started with a conversation between us. The conversation involved one of our biggest priorities: our children. We started talking about how the world is changing and how the challenges for children are increasing each day. We were discussing how we could possibly encourage them to make the right decisions and to be good examples, despite a world that will at times try to drive them the other way.

As we put our minds together, we realized we had a singular and sincere desire to tell our kids this: that everyone possesses the potential to do real good and to be an example. All have the chance to use the skills and talents they possess to make their lives, families, and the world a better place. All have a light within them to lead more kindly, no matter their present circumstances.

Eventually we realized we wanted to spread this message to all around us, especially those going through difficult trials (our hearts then turned to wanting to assist the mothers & children going through some of the harshest realities of life – homelessness and domestic violence). We want to help our children & others see that light and to utilize it to overcome challenges, and have a positive influence on others and their future.

Our kids were definitely our initial inspiration. So you can thank their cute, chunky, sweet, life-changing little selves for all of this! :)

MV: Making family a priority is top of mind for most parents. Now that you have launched this nonprofit, how do you and your husband involve your little ones in the project?

PM: My daughter is almost 3 and my son is 6 months old. Any time we are out to go do something for someone else, we say to them, “We’re going to go help people right now.” If we’re able to, we try to take them along to whatever it is we need to do to help someone (i.e: bringing a family a meal or visiting someone). We hope this will help them to witness their parents trying to do good, not just through a nonprofit, but in daily life. Hopefully we can lead by example for them.

Also, every Monday night is designated to something called “Family Home Evening,” where we get together as a family and learn, talk, and play together. During that time, we try to teach our daughter (and eventually our son when he can understand better) ways to be kind to others, amongst other things. Just simple principles, but definitely important ones. They are principles that ultimately create the foundation for how we want to be as a family and the work we try to do through Project Lead Kindly.

 
MV: Helping someone can make you feel overwhelmed, especially when you feel as though the other person is not putting in the effort. What do you do when this happens?

PM: I try to tell myself that if we didn’t try to help or be kind, we never would have that opportunity to show that person someone else cared. You don’t know how your positive actions can affect someone down the road. One of my favorite quotes is: “You hold in your hands the happiness of more people than you can imagine.” ~ Henry B. Eyring

So I try to push aside thoughts about if every single person will use my help in the right way, or whether or not they deserve it. I believe we are here to learn to love and to show true charity and regard for others. I think giving helps us, just as much as it may help another. To learn to give because you truly feel in your heart a genuine desire and care to help this person, with no thought of what you’ll get in return or how your kindness will be used, is true greatness.
It’s definitely a learning process, one I am certainly nowhere near perfect at yet. But it’s ok for all of us to try.

And in all honestly, when everything really becomes overwhelming or I have a bad experience that gets me down, I pray for help. Prayer has gotten me through everything :)

 
MV: What is your ultimate goal for Project Lead Kindly?

PM: We have a vision for Project Lead Kindly, and hope to accomplish the following:

  • To provide resources that assist in getting more mothers & children off the streets and/or away from violence & into more stable homes & lives. Through our grants, we help them obtain educational or professional dreams & more stable/safe & permanent housing.
  • To break cycles of homelessness and domestic violence within families.
  • To provide opportunities for mothers to be examples & for children to see examples of kindness.
  • To help ensure that future generations can have individuals who will be kind leaders and good examples.
  • To uplift the needy, brokenhearted, and discouraged.
  • To inspire kindness amongst people by being kind.
  • To spread the message that we all possess a light and a great potential to serve, to do good, and to positively influence others, no matter our circumstances.

The more people we can reach and uplift with our message, and the more mothers & children we can assist out of the cycle of homelessness & domestic violence, the better.

MV: What advice would you give someone who wants to help a cause but does not know where to start?

PM: If you find a particular cause or organization you believe in and want to support, I would suggest:
1) SHARE: Sharing their links on social media or in person with otheres, and telling people how awesome you think they are. Word of mouth and social media is so helpful in spreading a message.
2) GET INVOLVED: Checking out the cause’s website. There are usually clear ways to volunteer, help from afar, or to donate. On the Project Lead Kindly website, we clearly list the ways people (near or far) can get involved: http://www.projectleadkindly.com/p/volunteer.html
3) LEARN: Look up the cause’s “mission” (most causes have a mission statement) and then find out how they carry out their mission (that way you know where donations go, how they’re used, and what work the nonprofit actually does to accomplish its mission). Here’s how Project Lead Kindly tries to accomplish its goals: http://www.projectleadkindly.com/p/how.html
4) UNDERSTAND THE CAUSE: This goes along with number 3 above, but educate yourself on the cause. Find out what they do and why they do it. Ask yourself what problem is going to be solved if they were to be successful? This way, you can tell others about it and be able to clearly describe what the organization is about.
5) GIVE: If you’re able to donate, do so. Many causes function solely because of the generous donations of others. For Project Lead Kindly, we offer shirts (www.projectleadkindly.storenvy.com) where 100% of the profits go towards providing those grants for mothers & children. We also have the donate page for other ways to help.


Thanks for joining me this week. Stop by next Wednesday for more insights from moms like you. Also, don’t forget to check out last week’s post on Tohni Jean’s experience with creating a family before saying “I Do.

Stop Asking Stay-At-Home Moms What Do They Do All Day

stay-at-home moms, sahm, sahms, parenting, motherhood,

Since becoming a full-time mom, I have been asked several questions about my personal life, my goals, etc. I do not mind those so much, it is when someone asks, “What do you do all day?” Followed by, “Do you ever get bored?” that really gets to me.

“So, what do you DO all day?”
Most of the time, I am caring for my son. Once he takes his naps — yes, plural (2)– I escape to tidy up, work on my blog or other projects. I really do not have time to sit and think about whether or not I am bored. However, I do sometimes question what I plan to make for dinner or what to munch on.

Growing up, whenever I was bored my mom would say to pick up a book or do something around the house because there was always something that needed to be done.

And she was right about that. The cleaning never ends, the laundry always piles up, and most importantly, the laughs are constant. I would not trade it for anything in the world. <3

I will admit that I spend a lot of my down time checking my social media sites and planning ahead, but can you really blame this millennial mommy? I do wish I read more. I have a couple of books I have started to read in the last two years and I cannot seem to get through them. Something always comes up. In the next couple of weeks, I am hoping to finish Martin Lindstrom’s “Buyology” — I know, he’s written another book since this one was published. Ann Handley’s latest, titled: “Everybody Writes” came in this week, so I really want to get through one before starting the next. Oh, and not to mention Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” that I keep skimming through for new ideas. Sorry, Gary. I promise I will eventually read it from cover to cover!  

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week.

Motherhood Through My Eyes Signature

Teachings Tuesday: Love Wholeheartedly

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 7.36.33 PM

 

There are not a lot of photos of Jeff and I, and I kind of like it this way. Why, you ask? Because the happy moments should be the ones you treasure in your heart. You do not need to tell the world you are happy, you just need to feel it.

This photo was taken after I told Jeff we really do not have that many photos together, and I was having one of those “girl days” when you feel unloveable. He took out his phone and snapped a couple of photos. This one was my favorite, so I sent it to myself and used it as a background image on my phone for those moments I feel “unloved,” and they keep me smiling.

I do not post much about us on social media because at the end of the day, I just like to treasure the moments we have together as a family. Jeff means so much to me, and I like to show him in other, more private ways. I send him text messages about how much I love and miss him, and cannot wait for him to come home. I leave him random notes thanking him for the things he does for our family, and more. I love everything about him, even the things that I probably would not find attractive in someone else, such as his smoking habit, but it makes him “Jeff,” and I would not be able to genuinely say I love him without loving his not-so lovable habits. :)

Okay, I am done with being all mushy. I hope you are enjoying your Tuesday.
Motherhood Through My Eyes Signature

Motivation Monday: Dismiss Negative People

happy people, let go, negative people, happinessIt is so easy to get caught up with the wrong crowd, and because of this, so many people find it hard to reach their goals. Just like this image, once they go away, go will come your way. Some people find this difficult to do because the negativity usually comes from people they genuinely care about. Family, friends, and in some cases, significant others send their negative vibes your way. When it is someone this close to you the best thing to do is hear them out and go about your day. Do your best to help them see the brighter side, but do not try to shove it down your throat. They may not want to hear it.

I hope you are having a wonderful Monday.

Motherhood Through My Eyes Signature

Havana 1957: Great Portions At A Good Price

Havana 1957 If you are looking for a great place to have dinner with your family or even brunch on the weekends, I highly recommend Havana 1957I fell in love with the atmosphere the first night we visited this place. I was looking to try a new restaurant that was both inexpensive and had a live atmosphere. The employees are happy to serve you and are attentive to your needs.

We ordered:
Croquetas – yummy and cooked to order (and super cheesy!)
Ropa vieja – delicious, great portion
Plancha – Jeff really enjoyed this
Mango juice – fresh and delicious

Specials:
pembroke pines happy hour, havana 1957 pembroke pines, family dining, restaurants, south florida,
We have visited this place again since our first visit, and now it is one of Jeff’s brother’s favorite places to dine. Winning! ;)

How A Paranoid Mom Deals With Co-Sleeping

IMG_6274-0.PNG

Co-sleeping has several benefits for newborns and infants alike, but there are risks parents take when allowing their child to sleep with them.

For starters, there is the suffocation factor. Doctors say this is one of the main causes for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, commonly known as SIDS. This was one of my biggest concerns when we first decided to share our bed with Sebastian. This was not a tough decision. We knew it was the only way he would sleep throughout the night. So, being the exhausted first-time parents we were, we allowed it.

I woke up several times the firs few nights just to make sure our son was still breathing. To calm my nerves, I developed a mental check list that would allow me to worry less about whether or not Sebastian was okay at night and get some sleep. After all, I was exhausted from breastfeeding most of the day.

Here is what that check list looks like:

1. Dress him in comfortable, yet fitting clothes.
2. Place Sebastian in the middle of the bed.
3. Level myself with his head and chest to prevent the covers from coming over hi face.
4. Remove any excess pillows.
5. If he fell asleep during a feeding, I like to make sure his hands and legs are properly positioned so feels comfortable.

Are there any tips you or someone you know can offer to a parent looking to co-sleep?

MomViews: Marriage After Starting A Family

mommy blog, motherhood, motherhood through my eyesTohniStyle TV
Juggling a career and a personal life can get a little crazy at times, just ask Tohni Jean, Creative Director of TohniStyle TV. Although she always dreamed of having a fabulous wedding, Tohni knew there were more important things in life. Meeting  her prince charming and starting a family while still keeping her foot in the corporate world was top of mind for Tohni. In this week’s MomViews segment, Tohni shares her experience with creating a family before saying “I Do.” 

MomViews: For most women, life is all about having a career, marrying their prince charming, and starting a family. But for you, things were a little different. What was it like walking down the aisle and seeing your boys?


Tohni Jean:
Seeing my boys all dressed up on our wedding day was like a fairytale. It was magical!

MV: Did anyone ever question whether or not you and Richard were ever going to get married after having your sons? 


TJ:
Actually a few of my friends did, my dad asked Richard what his intentions with his daughter and after they spoke my dad was no longer concerned. My father said stay patient he is going to marry you.

MV: What is your favorite memory with your boys?
 TJ: Josh and Pax giving me hugs and kisses after school.

MV: How do you manage to take juggle your marriage, motherhood, and a career all at once? (I’ll link up to the article we’re working on) 
TJ: It can be challenging, but I make my family a priority and have a to-do list daily. I balance all by staying focus and limiting the time I am on the phone and online.

MV: What advice would you give a woman that is expecting her first child, but isn’t married to her boyfriend/fiance?

TJ: My Advice is your priorities should shift to the best mom you can and prepare your mind, body, and soul for the challenges of motherhood but never lose sight of your dreams and becoming a wife. It is the ultimate completion to a family’s bond.


Thanks for joining me this week. Stop by next Wednesday for more insights from moms like you. Also, don’t forget to check out last week’s post on how one mother has encourages her 12 children to live a healthy lifestyle.