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  • Wed, June 24, 2020 9:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nothing says “American” like family photos taken to preserve memories we hope to carry in our minds and hearts forever. And with these pandemic days encouraging physical distancing and staying home, family photos and newborn photo sessions offer safe havens for fresh-air photo fun. Photographers who would typically be quite busy capturing family milestones at spring and summer celebrations have found their professional lives on hold, too.

    When you are searching for a vetted, skilled photographer to help you achieve special pictures, look no further than Stephanie Renee Photography, a dedicated FWMoM Silver Sponsor. Stephanie is a fine art photographer specializing in portrait, family, and maternity photography. I remain deeply impressed by her talent, inspiration, and unique work commemorating special occasions so I thought it would be fun to get to know her a little more intimately. Read along to get a glimpse behind her lens.

    Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples: How did you decide to become a successful female entrepreneur?

    Stephanie Renee Photography: It took me a while to get to this place. In high school and college I took photography courses and loved them. I loved the idea of majoring in Photography in college but I could not see how it could be a real career. Years later, after I had my girls, I was my sister's photography assistant. (Yes, my sister and I share the same passion.) In 2015, after watching her, I had the courage to step out on my own. My sister and I now share a photography studio in Fort Worth and we are each others’ biggest cheerleaders.

    FWMoM: What is your favorite part of being a photographer?

    SRP: I love so much about being a newborn and family photographer in the Fort Worth area. I love creating art, watching little return clients grow, and I loves seeing the reactions of a mom and dad viewing their images from their session for the first time. Oh and the newborn sessions! There is nothing better than snuggling a brand new baby and posing them in the most adorable outfits. The quick little baby fix helps to keep away my baby fever.

    FWMoM: How has your business been impacted by COVID-19?

    SRP: Sadly, COVID-19 has negatively impacted Stephanie Renee Photography. The hardest part for me was that the shut down happened during the time the Texas bluebonnets were blooming. Typically spring is a busy time of year for my business. The weather is warming up and all of the flowers are out. But this year I only photographed my own children in the bluebonnets. Also, photography is a luxury service. If my clients are not in a good place financially, they will not be able to purchase photography.

    FWMoM: Have you planned any front porch sessions or other creative ways to engage with your clients during this trying time?

    SRP: Yes, I did a few different things to engage with my clients during the shut down. I have offered free "Basic Camera Class" videos to all of my clients in my Facebook group, I sent my 2019 clients color pages from their last photo session, and I sold digitally created portraits for people to purchase in time for Mother's Day. I did not offer front porch sessions. I thought the idea was clever but was worried that it was not following the "stay home" order that was put in place for all of the "non essential workers". So for a month and a half my girls and I stayed home and did their distance learning. Now that the orders have been lifted and business owners have been told that they are able to operate again I am willing to offer these sessions. Contact me to schedule!

    FWMoM: Why do you sponsor FWMoMS?

    I am not a mother of multiples but I am a mommy to two girls. I quickly learned the need of mommy friends and I joined a local MOPS group. This helped me through the rough times. Any kind of group that builds relationships and supports mothers is a group worth working with.

    FWMoM: What is your favorite thing about the Fort Worth area?

    SRP: I love that Fort Worth is a little bit country and a little bit city. I have every store I need nice and close to me but I do not have to go far to find beautiful nature. Outside in nature is my happy place.

    Stephanie would be thrilled to serve as your photographer. She will consult with you before your session to ensure you know every detail and have an opportunity to ask questions. Contact her today! www.stephaniereneephotography.com

  • Wed, June 17, 2020 9:40 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I get the feeling that the world is spinning a bit off kilter since the start of 2020. I have frankly lost track of the number of historic events that have happened this year, but I’m very aware how they have affected my family and community. The uncertainty of a global pandemic, the canceled events, job changes, and the loss of a perfectly good school year have weighed on us in a way we were not prepared for. Now with increased turmoil across our country, something very bizarre going on in Seattle, and an election year on the horizon, we can sense the storm continuing to brew... and it’s scary.

    Our community, FWMOM has been greatly impacted as well. This has been a challenge and an adventure as we all have had to find creative ways to continue to function and connect. I believe it has made us stronger as an organization, as a squad, as mothers.

    What a year to focus on overcoming fear and living a fearless lifestyle! Nobody could have predicted how timely this topic has been for us. We are now looking face to face into a storm of epic proportions and uncertain future and the opportunity to fear is most definitely here. It is time to live a Fearless Lifestyle, friends!

    Let’s wrap up this series with an action step. Rise above. If there was ever a group of mothers who understands what it means to rise above challenges, it’s mothers of multiples! It is what we do. When it comes to rising above fear we have to start with our focus. Like mentioned above, there are plenty of things going on around us to steal our attention and peace. Being intentional about what has our attention has a great impact on our ability to combat fear. I’m often reminded of that little Sunday school song:

    “Oh be careful little eyes what you see. Oh be careful little eyes what you see.

    For the Father up above is looking down in love, oh be careful little eyes what you see.

    Oh be careful little ears what you hear. Oh be careful little ears what you hear.

    For the Father up above is looking down in love, oh be careful little ears what you hear.”

    The essence of this simple song is key to overcoming fear. We have talked about the concept that what you feed will grow. If your diet intake consists primarily of reading every post about COVID, BLM, President Trump, China, Russia, riots, police reform... it will erode at your peace in a way that is difficult or even impossible to remain positive and removed from fear. To rise above fear, we must choose to turn it off. I’m not saying be uninformed, but not making it our largest portion of intellectual intake.

    When Peter in the Bible was walking on water towards Jesus, literally participating in one of the most famous miracles ever recorded... he was FINE until he put his attention on the storm. You as MOMs are walking out miracles every day (keeping all the children alive, miraculous). If you take your attention and place it on the chaos and the storm around you it can be disastrous. Fear and worry steal from your ability to participate fully in the lives of the little Wonders at your feet. None of us want that.

    Take action. Rise above the storm and choose not to feed the fear.

    But. How? Feed on the right things. Colossians 3 tells us to set our mind on things above, not on the things of the earth. Spend more time taking in the great things happening in your life and the lives of those around you. Set habits in your life that uplift and encourage you, however it works for you. Notes

    on the mirror, reminders on your phone, finding a few moments of quiet... and using them to fill your mind with goodness (not Facebook).

    Let me share this final scripture with you. This is how you rise above:

    “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious- the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you have learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:8-9 MSG

    What an action list! I pray that you can take this as a challenge to adjust what has your attention. Rise above, Fearless MOMs!

    Tonya Flowers is mother to Lucas 9, and twins Wyatt and Timothy who are 4. She's a wife, nurse, and minister, and currently serves FWMOM as our chaplain. 

  • Thu, June 04, 2020 8:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Extremely large breakfast, snack, snack, lunch, 2nd lunch, popsicle, snack, 4 course dinner, dessert, snack, and snack. Does this sound like something out of a Hobbit movie or is this your reality now that summer vacation has officially kicked off? For some of you this has been a reality since your kiddos didn't go back to school after spring break due to the pandemic. Thank you very much, COVID-19. That summer mentality started early since most kids and parents heard the words “distance learning."

    Normally summers mean ballparks, festivals, cookouts, water parks, theme parks, and everything in between. However, these aren’t our reality this summer even as Texas begins to open things back up stage by stage. One thing that is universal and will not get shut down this summer is the essential necessity of eating. Let's admit it; summertime has some of the best foods but not necessarily the healthiest and as parents we still need to focus on our children’s nutrition just like during the school year. So the question remains; can kids eat healthily and still enjoy their favorite summertime foods? The answer is yes, if you manage it right.

    For summertime here are three basic rules that can help you with this goal:

    ● Yes, you can still let them eat sweets! It is important to treat sweets like any other food; it’s okay to have a little bit each day. This is how you teach your kids to have a healthy relationship with sweets.

    ● During the summertime make sure they stay active and burn off those calories. If your child does go for an unhealthy choice when you are at a cookout like something sugary or fried, it's okay. You don’t want to deprive them; just increase their activity level that day or week.

    ● Set a good example. Let your kids see you eating healthy foods or “healthier” versions of their favorite food. Research shows when kids see their parents eat healthy foods, the kids are more likely to follow suit and eat healthy foods as well. As I have said before, if you eat them, your kids will eat them.

    Let's go ahead and tackle some healthier versions of your kids’ favorite summertime foods.

    This being Texas and all I can start by acknowledging the fact that we all love our Tex Mex and Mexican foods. They are always a must but managed right, these foods can be very healthy, too. For example, with quesadillas or nachos, there are so many opportunities to sneak in healthy alternatives. Substitute a wheat or veggie tortilla for a flour one. This goes for chips as well; sub in those multi-grains. Black beans are great for fiber with plenty of veggies, like red or green bell peppers, to choose from. Add chicken for protein. Don’t forget those toppings like low fat cheese or sour cream (or plain greek yogurt works too), salsa with all of its vegetable goodness and the awesome power of omega 3 fats you get from guacamole.

    Though Memorial Day is behind us, this still leaves so many crazy, lazy, hazy days of summer to enjoy a good cookout. Hamburgers and hot dogs are always a staple and another opportunity to eat healthily. You can start by switching out 90/10 ground beef for ground chicken or turkey. Add in seasonings and your favorite veggie toppings, then voila, still a delicious and satisfying burger. The same goes for hot dogs. All beef hot dogs are great but you can always switch gears to a turkey or chicken hot dog. Just add in those favorite toppings. You can even sneak in a whole wheat bun for both.

    It gets hot in Texas and ice cream is always a great treat to beat the heat. You can still make great choices with this. Ice cream is around 15 grams of fat per ½ cup serving. The great news is that you can still stick with your favorite brands, just swap in their light, slow churned options. Fudge-sickle and Popsicle both have fat free, low fat, and no sugar versions that taste great and still satisfy that sweet tooth.

    Let’s not forget about some favorite summer breakfast foods like eggs, pancakes, and waffles. Whether you prefer frozen or homemade, you can use a whole grain version of pancakes or waffles and pair it with berries, bananas, or a light syrup. Eggs are always a great way to start and fuel your day with protein. Scramble them up with a low fat cheese and sneak in some veggies for good measure.

    What kid can resist that ooey, gooey goodness of a toasted marshmallow? Four large marshmallows typically contain 90 calories but you can even give them a healthy boost by making a fun fruit kabob with fruits like pineapple and strawberries. Now I am not overlooking the good ol’ standby of a s’more. Even these can be healthier with a whole grain graham cracker and dark chocolate.

    I know theaters are still closed but it doesn't mean you can't give popcorn as a snack to your kids. Mine personally would ask for popcorn every day as a snack if they could. Surprisingly, popcorn counts as a whole grain and whole grains are so important to a child's diet because they keep children from gaining weight. Popcorn even gives you a fiber boost. Air popping is the healthier method since most microwave brands add in extra fat. Do remember moderation is key and watch the portion size you give your kiddo.

    I don't know about you but watermelon is king during summer when it comes to fruit. While it is healthy, it still contains sugar. Make sure to throw in other fruits such as cherries, peaches, strawberries, and blueberries. You can even offer a smoothie version with some veggies snuck in. Granted, a child is more likely to eat a piece of fruit versus a vegetable but veggies can still be so good and fun too. You can cut them in fun shapes and give your kids a rainbow of colors to eat. Plus you can entice them with a low fat dip or hummus.

    I swear every time you go anywhere whether it's a restaurant, cookout, or a party, the options for kids to drink are always soda, lemonade, or fruit punch. While soda and lemonade do contain added sugar, having them once in a while won't kill your child either. You can always give them an option: would you like a soda or a few cookies later? Let them choose how they spend their daily calories. Of course there are always healthier options like good old H20. That may seem boring to kids so try adding a powdered flavor additive or sparkling water with some fruit juice to make a fun spritzer.

    All of these healthy options can help in the summertime battle for your children’s nutrition but one of the best ways to help yourself with this issue this summer is to make healthy eating a family affair by committing to meal times. Children who sit down for family meals even just once a week eat more vegetables and fruits compared to children who have never sat down for a meal with their family.

    At the end of the day, fed is always best. You know your child better than anyone. You never have to deprive your child but rather steer them in a healthier direction. Give them the options you would like them to choose from and make it fun. Now if only I had a cure-all for the phrase, “Can I have a snack,” a million times this summer...Unfortunately I don’t, so good luck and Godspeed this summer, mamas.

    Jennifer Beckom is mom to five year olds twins Clara and Elizabeth. She is a wife, chef, and child nutritionist. She has served on the board in the past as Secretary and Programs VP for FWMOM.

  • Wed, May 27, 2020 9:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    When life gives you a global pandemic…have a QuaranTEAne!

    This year the Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples did just that with our annual Celebrating MoMs event. Each year FWMoM throws a special get-together to honor and celebrate our MoMs with dinner, drinks, and raffles galore. Even though this year required some modifications in planning, the event was able to move forward.

    With the support of our phenomenal sponsor, Fort Worth Fertility, the FWMoM events team was able to assemble “swag bags” for each member filled with products and gifts fit only for a QuaranTEAne. From handmade FWMoM face masks to the supplies required to make a much needed cocktail, the bags were packed up and ready to go.

    On the morning of May 16th the dedicated volunteers assembled with responsible distancing wearing the proper attire to pass out these special bags and say hello to all who came through our drive-thru service. Even the rain that morning could not stop 89 MoMs from loading up the families to join in the drive-up celebration.

    On May 17th , our members logged on for a Zoom meeting for a chance to win over 30 raffles donated or purchased by FWMoM. It was so great to see everyone’s beautiful faces even though we could not meet in person.

    Although the Celebrating MoMs event was not exactly what had been done in the previous years, it was very clear by the number of participants willing and able to join in our socially distanced activity that it was what I would consider an “essential service.”

    I think we all appreciate the hard work and creativity that FWMoM has brought forth in keeping us moving forward as a community and bringing us together, even in times that we cannot actually be together. This event was a true testament to our desire to bond and stay connected.

    Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped put this event together, sewed the masks, filled and passed out the bags, and to all of the MoMs who drove up to join in the celebration. We were able to keep the tradition going even in times like these.

    Author Janae Huffman is a twin mom to Audrey and Eleanor, age 5. She is the VP of Special Events for FWMoM and an Occupational Therapist in Granbury now that her kids have entered into school.

  • Wed, May 20, 2020 9:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sponsors are critical to the success of our organization.   Most of the interaction and communication with sponsors is done “behind the scenes” so I wanted to take a moment to share with you how FWMoM’s sponsorship opportunities are structured and who is participating in our program.   

    There are currently 3 different levels of sponsorship.  Each level is a set financial donation from the sponsor and comes with different “perks” that we provide back to the sponsors.   

    Please know that sponsors (many times) come about after a suggestion from one of our members.   If you know of a business that you think would be interested or would possibly be a good partnership for us, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a note and I will reach out and try to make a connection.   I always appreciate suggestions and ideas……so hit me up. Fwmom.sponsor@gmail.com  

    Below are the levels and the associated benefits for each level.  

    SILVER LEVEL: $299

    • Listed on our web-page and social media.
    • Featured month as "Spotlight" on our website.
    • Business Material at every meeting.
    • Invite to our Annual Sponsor Appreciation Dinner. 

    GOLD LEVEL: $499

    • All the above AND opportunity to speak at our general club monthly meeting.
    • Listed as sponsor in our welcome packets for new and prospective members. 


    • All the above AND Sponsor logo displayed at events/exhibits/shows.
    • Exclusive Naming Sponsor at one large FWMoM Events. 

    I am so proud of the growth of this organization.  Three years ago we had SIX sponsors…..today, we have 21 (…and counting!)  They are CRITICAL to this organization, and it is an honor to work with them. 

    Let me introduce you to our sponsors, by level.  

    Additionally, I’d like to mention that many of our sponsors offer discounts to our members.   Check out the “members only” section of our website to learn about the ongoing discounts.  




    DON’T FORGET THESE BUSINESSES….. they are TRULY essential to our organization.   We are incredibly lucky to have such a phenomenal (and varied) group of support/sponsors and we certainly wouldn’t be what we are without them!   

    If you need any services listed above, I cannot encourage you enough to check out our sponsors first……you WON’T be disappointed.   Promise. 

    Author: Beth Wangerin is a mom to a 5 year old boy, 3 year old twin girls, and a Bernedoodle puppy. She currently serves as the VP of Sponsorship & Fundraising for Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples.  

  • Wed, May 13, 2020 9:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    When our boy/girl twins were infants and toddlers, I don’t know how many times we got the strange question from people, “Are they identical?” Depending on who was asking and what mood I was in at the time, I could explain that boy girl twins are, with rare exception, not identical. When I was feeling especially saucy, I would answer with, “No, he has a penis and she has a vulva.”

    Other parents of boy/girl multiples want to know how we addressed these differences with our twins. Every family is going to be different based on your personal level of comfort with the human body and modesty. We never made a big deal about nudity. They bathed and showered together until they were in grade school and were naked in front of each other on a regular basis probably until middle school. Now they are completely grossed out if they see their sibling nude, and that seems developmentally appropriate. We let them lead the way in determining what was comfortable for them. We never wanted them to feel that there was anything to be ashamed of about their bodies, but we also insisted they were covered appropriately in front of people who are not our immediate family of four.

    In our family, Dad is a doctor and Mom, a biologist and teacher so to us, parts are parts. We always have named the body parts their actual anatomical names. It wasn’t until grade school that they started using other names for them that they learned from friends. To us though, boys have a penis and a scrotum with testicles. Girls have a vulva and breasts.

    As my daughter turned 9, I started to be concerned about how early some girls were starting puberty. In my family, girls develop later, but in my husband’s family, girls develop early. I wanted to be prepared to talk with her about the changes some of her friends were experiencing and what she could expect in a way that felt natural and not at all scary or shameful. I spoke to moms from this group with older daughters and other friends with older daughters, and then decided to order The Care and Keeping of You 1: The Body Book for Younger Girls 1 . This book focuses on the changes your body goes through during puberty and does not address how babies are made. I intended to read through it myself, then sit with Savannah and read it together, answering any questions she may have. I also planned to order a book for my son on boys’ bodies and do something similar. My plan was then to swap the books so the kids would know what to expect would be going on with their sibling.

    Apparently, I did not clue Dad in on this plan. I ordered the book, promptly forgot about it, and went on with life. A week or so later, I was working intently on the computer in my small home office preparing for a meeting of the school board, of which I was a member, when my daughter comes in and asks me a question about how developed her ‘boobs’ were on scale of 0-3. I thought it was strange and answered, “You don’t have boobs, but your breasts are exactly the size they should be for a girl your age. Mom is busy, let me finish up.” She then shoves the book in front of me that shows stages of breast development drawn in and demands I help her determine where she is on the scale. I was a little shocked and asked where she got the book. Apparently, Dad opened my Amazon package, saw the book said American Girl, and handed it to her without having any idea what it was. She had already read it from cover to cover and wanted to know if she would wear “tampoons” when she got her period. To say I felt wholly unprepared and blindsided was an understatement. The room shrunk to about 2 feet square. The temperature rose about 200 degrees. I started to sweat and to stammer. This was NOT how I had expected to have this conversation. I wanted to kill my husband, but that would have to wait because the next thing I knew my son walked in and said, “Are y’all talking about tampoooooooons?” I died. For real died. There should be a death certificate filed somewhere.

    After my heart restarted, I took a deep breath. I asked them about reading the book. They both said they read it. I asked what they thought about it. My daughter loved it. My son thought it was good to know what girls would go through, and he was glad he was not a girl. I let them both flip through and show me things they thought were especially interesting or troubling for a few minutes. I then told them that not all families were ready to have these conversations and that they were not to share what they had learned with their friends. There is nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s important that Moms and Dads make sure children know the right things about their bodies and are able to answer questions if anything feels scary. Thank the good Lord, we did have to leave soon so we could make this a short introduction. Short and sweet is always best when having important talks with younger children. Letting them lead the conversation with their own questions is another way to reduce their anxiety, providing them a sense of agency in the matter.

    Though I initially thought I had blown the whole thing, it was a blessing in disguise. Instead of some grand plan I put in place, this worked out to be just the right way for my two to be introduced to puberty. They are very high-level readers, and not easily perturbed. Some kids might need a gentler introduction like my original plan. You will know what is right for your kids. Not long after, I ordered the Body Book for Boys 2 which handles male puberty in a remarkably similar fashion as the American Girl book. I gave it first to my son, then he passed it on to his sister. They asked me questions separately, then we talked together. We kept both books for several years and referenced them as needed.

    We want to raise children to feel like all the functions of your body’s reproductive system are just as natural and normal as any other part of your body. We do not want our daughter to feel shame when she has her menstrual period, and we want our son to be the kind of boy who would go to the nurse and get a pad or tampon for a girl who needed one. We want him to buy feminine products at the store for his wife and help her in the hospital when she has a baby without being weirded out. So far, it seems they are both fairly comfortable talking about body stuff. My daughter, more than her brother, but he is not at all bothered by it. And us girls still jokingly call tampons, “tampoooons.”

    Schaefer, Valorie, and Masse, Josee, The Care and Keeping of You: The Bod Book for Younger Girls, American Girl, 2012.

    Paley, Rebecca, Norwich, Grace, and Mar, Jonathan, The Body Book for Boys, Scholastic Paperbacks, 2010.

    Linda Kennedy is a former teacher who is passionate about children and learning with a special love for kids in middle and high school, a community volunteer and wife of 25 years to Shane, mom to twins Shane and Savannah.

  • Wed, May 06, 2020 9:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Y’all, so I realllyyyy wanted to do this 3 step process to get the twins potty trained as fast as I could, but honey, having twins is a monster when it comes to potty training, along with actually being present with everything else God has called you to steward.

    But I’ve realized that what works for everyone may not work for my family. I’ve also learned that motherhood is not a race. Motherhood isn’t an opportunity to perform and dress your babies in this facade that you have it “all together”.

    Using your children in that way is sooo unfair to them because to you, they’re just a puppet in your show that you use to prove that you're good enough.

    My advice: Some say that babies can potty train in a weekend, or in one day or in 30 minutes. But just like motherhood, I’m taking this thing one day at a time. It’s not a rush, and we can set the pace however we want it to go. Not based on what everyone is doing, but based on the grace that God has given us. And I’m okay with it.

    I’m not ashamed to be at my own pace and you shouldn’t be either, mama. Don’t compare your mothering with someone else's. How they mom is different than how you mom and that’s okay. Set your own pace, do what works for your family, and rest in God’s grace, knowing that you are more than good enough.

    P.S. If God wanted someone else to be your children's mom He would have chosen them, but instead He chose you. Prayers & Hugs

    Author: Taylor Simon: I’m a wife, mom of miracle twins, Speaker, Author, YouTuber, and Entrepreneur. I am obsessed with Jesus and passionate about faith and biz, dreams, journals, popcorn, and helping you maximize your potential in every area of your life!

  • Wed, April 22, 2020 2:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There has been an interesting phenomenon going on recently with the COVID-19 situation and it’s got me thinking. It’s trendy right now to recognize first responders and “front-line” healthcare workers as modern-day heroes. Crowds of people cheering outside hospitals, social media memes, entire communities sending food, drinks, goodie bags to nursing units all over America. As a nurse myself, I have yet to work a shift that I haven’t received something as a free gift or been applauded as I’ve left by strangers holding signs reading “Thank you to our super heroes.” We collectively are so grateful for the kindness and gifts, and I am most definitely going to gain some pandemic weight, however it all is a bit unsettling. Me, a Hero?

    I would never call myself a hero for doing exactly what I’ve been trained to do. The hero award DOES go to the medical teams in places like New York doing their very best in the very worst of situations. They are, without a doubt, heroes in my book! Give them all the credit, they are in a battle unimaginable to most and feared by many in this country. But little ole me, with all the PPE I could ask for, supportive managers, and ample staffing grids, performing care with the risks of exposure mitigated... I have a hard time seeing that label fit. I have cared for critically ill, highly infectious patients for 12 years; COVID-19 is just the newest punk on the block. Heroic, that’s hard to swallow.

    In my thoughts, however, I began to see a parallel. I heard a quote that said “a hero is someone who responds when others are unable or unwilling to do so.” As a mother of multiples how often do we hear the phrase, “I could never do what you’re doing!” or, “You’re such a supermom.” Truly in the mom stratosphere, a title unchosen by us but always applied, is that of the super-hero mom. Many people cannot fathom more than one baby at a time, more than one toddler at a time, and survive! We hear it and know they too would, of course, rise to the occasion if multiples dropped into their world. But many mothers out there see you (ok, maybe not the mom of 12) as the epitome of what they desire to be. You are a hero in their eyes. And perhaps that’s what the general population has awakened to, things medical staff face daily. I'm not sure... but for both, in someone's eyes, a heroine is found.

    On an average day, mothering our crews may not seem that heroic: washing dishes, refereeing disputes, putting in the 14th load of laundry, wiping away tears, holding little hands, wiping poop off the walls (just me?)... all in a normal day. We strive to instill things like integrity, servanthood, compassion, identity, and spiritual teachings, but we certainly do not see ourselves as heroes. It’s not all mundane. At times we must choose to love in the face of defiance, teach despite rebellious attitudes, guide lagging steps, and encourage discouraged hearts. Yet even in those moments we would not call ourselves heroes. We do the work of motherhood not for any award or title, but because it’s woven into the very fiber of who we are. We are a nurturer, comforter, guide, and yes, a rescuer. To those little eyes looking up at you, you are, in fact, a hero.

    Andy Stanely said, “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.” Think about it for a moment. As much of a struggle life with littles can be, you are heroic in the eyes of your children. A simple word of encouragement to not give up, to make the right but hard choice, a silent moment with a hug during heartbreak may not make the news cycle, but it will for your kids. Famous people like George Washington, Noah Webster, and Theodore Roosevelt all performed great exploits that are forever recorded in history. Each one started as a small child who needed to be encouraged to take their first step, nursed back to health, needed their questions about life answered, their gifting's cultivated, their faith nourished. You know who did it for them; their hero, their mother. Who’s to say that the character they needed in the defining moments of their life is not a direct result of their mother’s care?

    I’ve said many times, you can’t pour out what you don’t have in you. If that is the case, then the spirit of heroism is already residing in you! In fact, I did some searching into characteristics of heroes, and not just some anecdotal lists, but tried and true, research-based evidence of what makes up a hero (yes, I fully identify as a nerd, and I’ll link my source here). This is a list of traits I see radiating in each of you... yes you... the mother of your crew.

    • Researchers found that people who engage in one-time acts of bravery are not necessarily that much different from other non-hero types. By contrast, those who engage in lifelong heroism share a number of personality traits like empathy, nurturance, and a need to live by a moral code.
    • Heroism is defined by actions that are done in the service of others who are in need, whether it is for an individual or a group. These actions are performed voluntarily.
    • These individuals recognize the potential risk or sacrifice they are making, and willingly accept and anticipate the sacrifice.
    • Heroic individuals engage in these actions without any expectation of reward or external gain, only to benefit those whom they serve.
    • One study gathered traits that make up heroism; here are a few: conviction, courage, self-sacrifice, selflessness, determination, helpfulness, and protectiveness.
    • Heroes live by their set of values, and are willing to endure personal risk for protecting those values.
    • Heroes tend to have above-average coping skills and abilities to manage stress.
    • Researchers found heroic individuals were more likely to put a positive spin on a negative situation, and focus more on the good that might come out of the situation.
    • Heroic individuals tend to possess an ability to overcome fear, and have a higher tolerance for risk. HA!!! #fearlesslifeystyle

    Change the word hero to mother, and the validity of these facts remains true! To your children, to others around you, and even though you would never choose it for yourself, you are a hero. Hold those little hands tightly and teach them how to be what you are. Teach them that a hero isn’t always in a cape, or rushing into a burning building. Pour the best of you into them. You’re a hero. Someday those who call you mom will do great exploits on the earth and touch many lives, perhaps save some... like the hero they were raised by.

    “Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her saying: Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well (with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness) but you excel them all!”

    -Proverbs 31:28-29

    Author: Tonya Flowers is mother to 3 sons, Lucas who's 9, and twins Wyatt and Timothy who are 4. She is a nurse, and serves FWMoM as our Chaplain. 

  • Thu, April 16, 2020 8:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    About fifteen years ago I was given what I thought was the most devastating news I could have ever received. I was told that my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Not only am I the baby of the family and the only girl, but I have always had a special relationship with my father. He was and will always be the toughest, smartest, most practical, no nonsense man I have ever known. My grandfather passed away from Parkinson’s disease almost 30 years ago so the thought of watching my tough-as-nails father deteriorate and weaken in the same manner was terribly upsetting and scary. Little did I know that another blow was about to come. About 3 years after my father was diagnosed, we began noticing changes in my mother. She was stressed in her job and had always suffered from some level of anxiety, but this was beginning to look a little more exaggerated than just regular stress. The fears that she would talk about with home and work were beginning to sound irrational and once while visiting us in Pittsburgh I awoke to her yelling out in her sleep. It wasn’t until talking later with her and my father about this observation that they told me she was having night terrors and of a few recent incidents of forgetfulness. They explained that twice when my mother was at the grocery store and it was time to pay for her groceries, she suddenly froze and couldn’t remember how to use the credit card machine. I was completely blown away. My mother was 64 years old, about to retire from her counseling career in the school system, and she was forgetting how to use a credit card machine. We were devastated and my mother was soon diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’s dementia. How could this be?

    As soon as I could digest the information I put on my occupational therapy hat and got to work assisting my parents with this journey. A few years later Justin and I moved back to Texas and found out the fantastic news that we were pregnant with twins. Our lives changed overnight. One thing became clear very quickly; that this Gen X’er was thrust into a new generation, the Sandwich Generation. The Sandwich Generation original construct refers to younger women in their thirties and forties who were taking care of their children, but also having to meet the needs of their aging parents. This was me. I wasn’t expecting to be in the space this soon, but here I am. We will all find ourselves here sooner or later (and for you I pray it is later), but it is never too early to start the conversation. I have not lived through all of the ages and stages of this process, but here is the advice that I can offer to those moving in this direction:

    •  Maintain frequent contact. This may not be an issue for any of you, but regardless it’s worth saying. Not only do our parents give us their love and their sound advice on parenting and life but they also offer us a window into their daily routines and lifestyles. I don’t know about you, but when my folks retired and they started their new life with the kids grown, I was really able to see their likes and dislikes and new found interests. They wanted to travel more, socialize with friends, and relax. This, for me, was a wonderful time to witness but I was also able to notice the changes in both my parents prior to their diagnoses. I could see the amped-up anxiety turn to irrational fear in my mother and the physical changes in my father. They started slow but because I had begun to watch closely, I realized my parents’ changes over time, therefore my brothers and I asked the right questions and got them in to the doctor.
    • Keep your parents up to date and teach them modern technology. Take it from me, there is nothing more frustrating than trying to explain to aging parents the step by step instructions of how to check their email, how to use their cell phones, or google anything in person, much less over the phone. My advice is to try and introduce things along the way as technology changes and encourage them to update accordingly so that they are and stay familiar. This day and age we are able to communicate in the most efficient and instantaneous ways. I know that we have all benefited with this during the Covid-19 situation. However, if people are not familiar with this technology, it serves no purpose. The devices are there for us to communicate so I encourage you to make it familiar to those in the previous generation. It’s difficult to catch them up later.
    • Don’t be afraid or wait too long to have difficult conversations. We all feel like our children are growing up too quickly. People will always tell you “enjoy it while you can because before you know it they will be in kindergarten.” (Cue the eye roll) Well, I am here to tell you that that is stinking TRUE. Ugh! Just as fast as they are growing up, your parents are aging at the same rate. So take the time to talk with them about the hard subjects. You will be surprised at how easily the conversation will happen. Just bring it up. In a conversation my mother had with my youngest brother a few years ago she was able to state that she wanted to live in her own home until she was unaware that it is hers. Just writing this makes me teary. One reason is because I am not sure today that she could make that assertion as clearly, but the second is for a wonderful reason. We have worked as family to make this desire a reality for my mom in providing caregivers for them at home. We are all so thankful that this strong desire of my mother’s was made clear because my brother took a chance on having a difficult conversation.
    • Involve your children with the appropriate amount of information. It is easy to shelter our children from information that you feel that they won’t understand or that you think might scare them, but they are more understanding and can adjust to change much better than you think. I never addressed the fact that my parents were sick with my girls, even when it was obvious. They were taking pills left and right and using walkers around the house. Instead of just telling them the truth I would shield them from it and I don’t really know why. Someday somebody smart will analyze this and explain it to me, but until then I will say keeping them in the dark is not worth it. Your kids see everything going on, they see the changes, and they deserve some explanation. The funny thing is that kids ultimately don’t care. My girls still crawl up in my parents’ laps, they listen intently as my mother reads them a story (even if it’s not exactly correct), and they cannot wait to go back for another visit.
    • My final bit of advice is for you. Take care of yourself. You might find yourself in the role of a double duty caregiver (my made up term) one of these days. Just remember to give yourself some grace because you cannot do it all, you cannot see it all, and you cannot solve it all. Remember to forgive yourself when you get frustrated because first you are the daughter and that how daughters react sometimes to their parents – frustrated. That is okay. Trust professionals and don’t forget to take time for yourself.

    I hope that this blog describes a situation that is far from your reality and that you aren’t in this Sandwich Generation anytime soon. In the meantime, you might benefit from these simple bits of wisdom, if not for you, for someone else.

    Author Janae Huffman is a twin mom to Audrey and Eleanor, age 5. She is the VP of Special Events for FWMoM and an Occupational Therapy in Granbury now that her kids have entered into school.

  • Wed, April 08, 2020 2:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I joined FWMoM in February 2015 when my twins were four months old. I showed up to a monthly general meeting, excited to meet other MoMs and clueless as to what this organization would have in store for me over the next few years. Five months later I was encouraged to take on the role of Vice President of Programs, co-chairing it with fellow MoM (and now one of my best friends) Janae. We had so much FUN during those two years – brainstorming and planning and cooking and setting up and cleaning up. It was a blast. After that term was up, it was onto VP of Special Events, then State and National Rep, Newsletter Editor, Playdate Coordinator along the way and Webmaster too! Over the years I’ve worn many hats with FWMoM. Below are just a few of my take-aways from my years of service to this organization.

    • Friendships. This one is first on my list because it is the absolute most important and valuable thing I have gained. Over the years, the members of this group have become my absolute best friends and confidants. Being on the Board together creates a connection that you won’t get by standing on the sidelines. (pro tip: if you’re nervous about stepping into a leadership role, talk one of your FWMoM besties into doing it too.

    • Leadership. After having my twins, I made the decision not to go back to work. Leaving the workforce also meant leaving behind opportunities for leadership. FWMoM gave me back that opportunity. I have gained leadership skills that have directly benefited me in other aspects of my life, and I know they will continue to serve me for years to come.

    • Skills. Another aspect of myself that was “lost” when I stopped working was the opportunity for learning and personal development. With FWMoM, there have been so many opportunities to learn and grow. Event management, marketing, and website development are just a few of the skills that I gained through service to this organization. Heck, I even get to bust out some spreadsheets now and then!

    • Connections. Connecting with community is just part of the job when you take on a leadership role with FWMoM. Meeting with the owner of Chimy’s to iron out the details of an event, negotiating an event space at CERA, or chatting with a potential sponsor – I’ve formed meaningful and lasting relationships throughout our community.

    • Time management. I bring this one up not to tell you I’ve become great at time management. I mention it because it’s the first thing that comes to mind when considering a leadership role with FWMoM. Do I have time for this?! I’m not going to say yes (I don’t know what your schedule is after all). I will say having something to focus on besides feeding schedules and potty training saved my sanity on many occasions. Also, you’re not going to find a more understanding group of people than a group of MoMs!

    Looking back on the last five years, I wouldn’t change anything about my time spent in a leadership role with FWMoM. I hope you’ll consider leaning in and serving!

    Author: Tyler Wright is mom to four-year-old twins, Audrey and Juliette. She is a CPA, yoga instructor, Moms Group Coordinator and Public School Liason for her neighborhood association. She currently serves FWMoM as our Webmaster and Newsletter Editor.

Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples

P.O. Box 123874

Fort Worth, Texas 76121

Fort Worth Mothers of Multiples is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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