All You Need is Love

You probably didn’t know this, but this week (being the week before Valentine’s Day) is celebrated as a national holiday week known as “Dump Your Significant Jerk Week”. A day that I feel deserves more attention. But first, let us nail down what a jerk is. I am referring to the insensitive, selfish, controlling, manipulative, abusive and arrogant person who is just down right inconsiderate and does stupid things. Now that we know what a jerk actually is, if you’re in a tango with a jerko, Dump ‘em o! Ain’t nobody got time for that… for real! And CELEBRATE it!!! Celebrate your independence. Celebrate the wide open world of opportunities awaiting you now. As an overcomer myself, I celebrate with you!

[No abusive relationship is good enough to stay in. Staying, is not thinking of the kids, or the vows or your security…but in fact, just the opposite. On a very serious note, if you need help, The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or hotline.org]

Sometimes, when we’ve been wronged, it’s difficult to forgive. Instead, we tend to harbor that hurt. All we want to do is sit and sulk. But holding on to hurt over time it will manifest into bitterness. That bitterness can only be dormant for a while before it affects our outside appearance. Who wants a permanent sour puss face? No thank you! Instead, I want my innards emptied of all of yesterdays hurts so that my outwards appearance resonates a glow of pure joy and love. Like the Beetles song says, “All You Need Is Love”, it is true. Love is truly the cure all.

I was raised to be thoughtful and considerate, always putting others first and myself last. I think it is healthy, to not be so self absorbed, but these days I am learning that to truly have love for others, I must first love myself. And it’s okay to do so. It’s not selfish to love ourselves. In fact when we learn to love, appreciate and accept ourselves, flaws and all, we can actually love other people better. Finding a delicate balance between accepting the different parts of ourselves that may not be so perfect and loving the good qualities we carry too, is a healthy self-love. When we find this balance in our life, it is then the window of tolerance for others and their differences, broadens.

So yea, okay, Valentine’s didn’t originate in such a lovely or romantic way, but today, it’s all about giving kisses and flowers and chocolates to express our adoration. And if you’re like me, you look for easy and budget friendly ideas to uniquely show your love to those close to your heart. Since it is so pertinent that we must first love ourselves, here are a few simple suggestions to add a little pep to your step for the upcoming heart day.

For yourself:

-A new hairstyle just might be what you need to make you feel new. Okay so maybe you’re not as brave as I am to use my 16 year old daughter and a $5 box of dye, but try something different. How about hot rollers for a change or the flat iron? YouTube a fun and sexy updo or maybe just letting down that overplayed mom bun for a couple of hours will feel like a new do. I’m guilty of the usual, do nothing with hair, that when I do, my husband treats me like I’m the new girlfriend.
-How about something new for the wardrobe? Splurge on a whole new look if you like but keep in mind a new outfit doesn’t have to break the bank either. Hit the thrift shops up. An entire outfit isn’t necessary even. Something as little as a new scarf and bracelet can be just enough to make an old dress look new. Or maybe you’re like me and just replacing your yoga pants with ANYTHING else, will turn heads!
-A new fragrance helps to spice things up a bit. Try a new perfume, a candle, incense, new shampoo.. any new aroma to perk up your senses. A little longer soak in the tub with a new smell good body wash just might be all you need to make you feel new again.

So, once we’ve taken care of ourselves, we not only feel happier and lovelier but we have a clearer mind and heart to swoon our partner and make them too feel a little more loved. We simply love better. You know the saying, “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? Same goes for Daddy, or big brother or little sister. The truth is, that all of our moods are in fact contagious. Very. A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear. So put on a happy face and make them feel loved. Here are a few economical way to Juliet your Valentine.

For your partner:

(or if you’ve just dumped your significant jerk, grab up your single friends instead and keep celebrating!)
-Have a cook off. Cook a meal together. The focus goes from funding the meal to the time together. Candles and flowers are a nice touch to dress up the dinner table. Save the money to splurge on a dessert or cocktails for after your meal at home.
-Take a stroll at the park – Whether you just find a bench to park it at and sit quietly people watching (which is a deep down passion of mine) or you take the dogs for a jog, do it together. Carry along a picnic basket.
-Make it a night out on the town walking the downtown streets, window shopping, just talking and holding hands. A pit stop by the ice cream parlor or stop in to chill at the coffee house is a nice way to wind it down.

So now that you’re feeling more lovely, and exuding that onto your partner…. Wait what kind of mama blog would this be without any mention of the kiddies? Considering all of us here share the common ground of motherhood, I couldn’t dare leave them out. Raising loving children is one of this SAHM’s priorities in life. But I can’t take all the credit. For 6-8 hours a day, 5days a week, their next greatest influence is found to be our children’s teachers. Next to the stay at home mom who gets zilch, a teacher position is the single most overworked and underpaid position on the planet. Don’t get me wrong, there are some doozies for teachers out there, but when you’ve been blessed with a good one, let them know you think so, and often! Sometimes the teacher passion can be crushed from the political strings that come with the job, so showing your appreciation is often the fuel to keep their fire going. So, because we all love our children and want them to be loving people and we want their teachers to feel loved too, here are a few teacher gift ideas that again are easy on the pocketbook and easy enough for your little one to have a hand in making.

For teacher from child:

-Bottle of hand sanitizer or smell good hand soap and attach a cut out handprint card that reads: “HANDS DOWN You’re the best teacher around!”
-Make homemade muffins and attach homemade card that reads: “Muffin to do but appreciate you!”
-Make homemade cookies and attach homemade card that reads: “I’m going to be one smart cookie because of you!”
-Wrap a ribbon around dry erase markers and attach a homemade card that reads: “I can never erase the mark you have left on me. Thank you!”
(and my personal favorite)…
-A bottle of fingernail polish with card attached that reads: “Teachers like you PAINT bright futures!”

So in closing I wanted to look at the following verses from the Love chapter in the Bible.
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

-Love is patient-be patient with yourself. Learn to love yourself. Be patient with your partner. Be patient with your children, with your neighbor, with the slow vehicle driving in front of you, who just might be my “driver in training” and your rude pushiness is the last outlet I want my child to emulate. Patience is truly a virtue.
-Love is kind. Be kind to yourself, to your partner, to your children, to your neighbor, to the strangers you pass down the grocery isle. Don’t be fake. Be genuinely kind. Offer a hand. Give more than take. And if they aren’t kind in return, crush them with your kindness.
-It does not envy. Don’t hate, appreciate. So your buddy lives a lavish and lush life…but are they actually happier because they have more? You know when the grass looks greener on the other side, it just might be a bigger septic tank, if you know what I mean. Don’t be jealous but rather happy for them and content in what you have.

I won’t insult your intelligence with dissecting the complete bible verse, but you get my drift. It’s a simple Golden Rule set of instructions. Didn’t your mama ever tell you to play nice? Well, I’m encouraging you to drive that home and exude pure joy and kindness in every direction. This planet really needs it right now.

Written by Rebecca Anandan

Rebecca Anandan is a Stay At Home Mom of two teens, one tween, one toddler, eleven leghorn hens, one fat cat and with one pretty incredible husband that is the anchor of it all. They’re planted in the one place she’s always called home in Anderson, South Carolina. With sixteen years under her belt as a mama, fourteen of them were spent in the workforce. For four years she was a personal weight trainer and dietitian and ten years were spent sitting behind a computer desk of a government office. Now, two years and two months into staying home, she is finally able to live the life she always dreamed of, balancing the blessings and the struggles, equally the same. With God’s guidance and her husband’s assistance, together they are raising hardworking and compassionate young men of chivalry and a young lady of grace. She dabbles in essential oils, trusts strongly in homeopathy, organic farming and clean eating to handle the family’s severe allergies. As a writer by day and a reader by night she is here to learn as well as to offer encouragement and assistance on to other mama’s.

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