This weekend I had the honor of attending the Faith Hope Love Mom Conference in Atlanta, GA and I could not have needed it more. The conference opened with this following video:
As I listened to the job description of “Mom” given by someone else, I couldn’t help but tear up. There were tears of appreciation for my mom as I thought about all she had done for my brother and I growing up and even still now. There were tears of accomplishment because this is what I do day in and day out. But there were also tears of overwhelming because being a mom is the hardest job I’ve ever had and everyday isn’t one of those “Motherhood is the greatest job in the world” days. There are a lot of hard days but they are harder because I don’t take my own advice and take care of myself the way that I should be.
Diana Watley kicked off the conference and she has an amazing energy about her. She spoke to really celebrating the woman in you and not condemning ourselves. One of the things that she said that really resonated with me was “Stop talking yourself out of your next level”. So often I’ve heard women talking about the places they want to be going and the things they want to be doing AND all the reasons why they can’t do it.
At the end of her presentation, she invited all the ladies up to the stage to leave their mental, emotional and spiritual baggage at the stage and to REALLY just leave it there. It was so moving to see all of the ladies get up there. I don’t know if they left their baggage there but I think there is so much power in taking the first step.
Tracy Nicole spoke next and she left me so humbled and awed. She’s a soft-spoken woman but her words were incredible. She shared a story of her upbringing that was so intimate that it was virtually impossible not to feel close to her. There were so many important things that she shared that I feel pressed to share them here because I know someone else needs to hear them:
- Smile through your pain–it gives you strength
- What you’ve gone through doesn’t determine where you’re going.
- We don’t choose the situations we’re born into but we do choose our responses.
- The biggest lie is that time heals all wounds. It doesn’t. Time without talking causes the wound to fester. When you talk, you heal.
- When you grow, it doesn’t mean you’ve changed. It means you’ve allowed yourself to become the person God intended.
- It takes one person to believe in you and that one person is you. Once you believe in yourself, no one can take that from you. You become unstoppable.
Listening to her share her story about coming up from her past and using that to elevate herself was so inspiring.
Dr. Joyce Irons spoke to my spirit as she discussed the challenges that moms face in our pursuits of self-care. She discussed the mommy guilt that we experience while we’re sacrificing ourselves to take care of everyone but us. We tend to lose ourselves when we become moms because we’re so busy taking care of our new little person and family that we rarely say “no” so that we can take care of ourselves. She spoke to the challenges we face in setting priorities–we know and understand the importance of self-care but still wonder how to fit it in an already stuffed schedule. I feel like this is where I am as a mom, wife, and entrepreneur. Often times I see that I need some time to myself but in between mommying, enjoying my husband, and growing a business, there just isn’t time for me!
The great thing about Dr. Irons is she didn’t just acknowledge the challenges that we were facing. She gave us solutions too:
- meditate/relax ON PURPOSE
- do not procrastinate
- eat well
- be creative
Egypt Sherrod (yes, from HGTV!!!) was our final speaker. She share her story about becoming a mother which everyone in the room could relate to. When I met both of my daughters, it was pure love at first sight–I get teary just thinking about the moment I finally met my littles. But after that, she made it clear that she was here to inspire us. She reminded us that as moms, we are supernatural beings put here to give life but just because we give life, that doesn’t mean that ours has to end. I loved how she talked about the metaphysical aspects of life and how we attract whatever energy we are putting out into the world. But the main thing that Egypt talked about was accepting the truth about our greatness. She encouraged us to be authentic with who we are not try to be someone we aren’t.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Maria Barnes, one of the panelists, after the conference was over. This woman has her own personal gun show and spoke about the importance of making the time to take care of yourself physically. As someone who is really working hard to banish the fluff, her message really hit home for me. So often we hear moms talking about not having the time to workout or eat or sleep. But we really have to be intentional about making the time.
This was the underlying theme throughout the conference–be intentional about taking care of yourself. We are always so intentional about taking care of others, but when it comes to taking care of ourselves, we put it on the back burner and rarely follow through with it (yes, I’m speaking to myself and the trip to the spa that is now 3 months overdue). I can’t even fully express how I needed to be present for this conference. Cynthia Harbor, the woman behind the conference, saw a need for this information and this gathering and she put it together. Being surrounded by women of all different backgrounds in a judgment free zone was so empowering. When I left the conference, my cup was full and I felt empowered to be intentional about keeping it full.