Hi, I’m Panda…
Mom and I are on a Journey and we would like for you to join us on our adventure. On this Journey I lead the way while my momma bear guides me. In the year of 2017, together we will be traveling by foot 1,000 miles – that’s a lot of miles for my tiny one and a half year old feet – and we are doing it all with love for momma’s just like you! To help inspire moms worldwide to become more human, finding strength within your journey and using that strength to guide little panda’s, like myself! We want to shake social norms that moms every where feel they HAVE to live up to. We hope to give you the light that guides you on a path towards a motherhood the defines beauty, confidence and courage in its own unique and bold way. Moms are amazing and who doesn’t love a cute panda like me! —Panda
I won’t ever forget how pathetic I looked as I glanced at myself in the mirror, while hyperventilating, sobbing uncontrollably, feeling completely sorry for myself. Every last ounce of sheer emotion was pouring out of me. I had had enough. I was depressed and if any doctor would have seen me in the condition that I seen myself in, within that mirror, I am sure I would of been prescribed a heavy dose of antidepressants faster than I could have said smile.
My life seemed to have grown silent. I found myself earlier in this day walking across Publix parking lot, as I always do, listening to every thought that ran through my mind. But one thought inside of my head really bothered me. I know many busy moms can relate, the thought of how silent my life had become. As I watch people leaving and entering the store, as the guy ask me if I was finding everything I was looking for, as the lady at the register made small talk and sent me on my way with “have a great day”, as I walk back across that silent parking lot, hopped back in my silent car, I found my self staring in the rear view mirror – still holding the thought in my head of how silent my life seemed. Realizing that I have completely isolated myself from interacting with the world. I just left Publix for goodness sake – the store where you have to beg to walk your own cart to the car. Staring at myself in the mirror I silently began to wonder “who am I”?
Who am I? I am a twenty-seven year old mom to five. I am a wife to an amazing husband. Other than this there was not much more I could say. I was bothered by the fact that over the last three years – some how some way – I managed to isolate myself. My circle were my kids and my husband. No one else really knew me. I am not even really sure if my husband and kids knew the real me. I am completely guilty of falling into the depths of the monotony of motherhood. I have had the mindset of living solely for my children and knocking out each day, day by day, counting down the days to when each of my children crossed that 18 year mark. I truly began to believe that every hope, wish, dream and desire I had for myself was so far out of reach, that there would be no point even looking in that direction.
After my pathetic emotional breakdown and regrouping after a few days, I read a quote and I am not sure who it was by, but it said, “If you live solely for your children, your children will grow up to think of only themselves.” I literally felt the hands of the universe slap me across the face, I woke up. I wasn’t the only one who was a victim of my own monotony. My kids have all been affected by the way I was riding out this motherhood rollercoaster. What were my children truly learning from me within the midst of this monotonous life. To truck through each day, counting down the days with no real value. My isolation is their isolation, they live in it. I needed to get them more involved and I desperately needed to be more involved in this world also.
Counting down the years until they were all eighteen … yes, I know this is wrong in so many ways. So I decided to do something about it. Not just for myself, but for my kids, and for every other mom out in the world who secretly counts down those years as well. This is where 1000-Miles-with-Panda was birthed into existence. Panda is my one and half year old son. He has always been deeply invested in spending as much time as he possibly can “outside” since the day he could push out the word outside. One morning, he woke up with the word “outside” already vomiting out of his mouth . He lead me to the front door, then out the front door, and I couldn’t bring myself to stopping him because I was captured by how intensely he wanted to be outside. As I trailed behind his little bare-feet, still in our p.j.’s, letting him lead the way, only guiding him away from dangerous situations and lifting him up when he had fallen, I became passionately invested in how he roamed and explored. He would only stop walking to check out something he had never seen before, or he would change paths in the opposite direction because he would gain the idea that he could climb the big hill before him and nothing else mattered in the world until he conquered getting to the top of that hill. Once conquered, he would set off to see what was next. The beauty within, was his confidence in choosing what he would experience next. I find myself two hours later arriving back home – I followed a one year old for two hours and I learned within those two hours how I was doing this mothering thing completely backwards!
What am I hoping to accomplish? First, to break the monotony I am living in and dragging my family through. Second, I want to bring awareness to other moms that motherhood is not suppose to be this routine monotonous boring ride that leads us to count down the days to when our kids turn a certain age, because in the end, we will always be their mom no matter what age they are. Every season of motherhood is different and it is meant for us to embrace and live out our motherhood’s – boldly, confidently and courageously – loving the woman, mother and wife we are along the way.
This walk will represent every mom who walks through motherhood, feeling less than the mother they desire to be. This is for the moms who struggle to live healthy due to falling victim to the latest health trend. This is for the moms who feel they fall short in the beauty category. This is for the moms who pick apart their self image. This is for the moms who may be a teen mom, single mom, or a mom who holds the scars within their hearts of being domestically abused. This is for the moms who consistently find themselves asking “why me” with every life inconvenience. This is for the moms who ponder upon life’s stillness asking over and over again “what’s next”. I am shaking the monotony and I am representing for every one of you that it is up to you “what will be next” and it is up to you to choose “why you!”
You are already Bold! You are already Strong! You are already capable of being the mother, the woman the wife that you desire with every ounce of your heart to be. Walk with me, to help discover the beauty you already hone, give life to the strength you endure, and hold the confidence and courageousness you deserve.
I hope to find that many moms, such as yourself, join Panda and I on our adventure. I will be sharing every passionate detail from every step of the way that I obtain within every mile we travel through. I am learning that sometimes in life we need to just slow our roll, stop rushing, stop living beyond our means and to pay more attention to the small natural details of life – of motherhood. Within this journey, I am deciding to be an open book about my past, my present, and my future – of my motherhood to five and of my marriage. With the hopes that it helps at least one mom out in the world find the light to guide her down a more fulfilled path that is designed by her. As Panda and I begin our walk starting on June 1st, I ask for you to add something adventurous that you can share with your children and family to your life. It doesn’t have to be 1000 miles but make it something that when your kids look back on their childhood they can say “my mom did this with me every year, every week or every day.” It can be big or small but whatever it is make it consistent and make sure it is an experience that you all can gain something from. Share in the comments below what adventure you will be embarking on! I would love to see all of you embracing the courageous mama you so naturally are!