mater mea - Celebrating Motherhood and Women of Color

Meet Samantha Caruso, A Mom Learning To Fall In Love With Herself For Her Children

  Photo credit: CreateHER Stock

Photo credit: CreateHER Stock

Meet Samantha Caruso, A Mom Learning To Fall In Love With Herself For Her Children

Words: Samantha Caruso

Step one in creating a positive home environment for your family? Loving yourself.

On mater mea's Instagram page, we regularly have moms from around the world take over our account to give us a sneak peek into their lives or to drop some knowledge about a topic that matters most to them.

Samantha Caruso is a vocational support specialist, wife, and mom to Norah (3), Gideon (2), and a baby on the way. Samantha took over our account to talk about how she makes her home a positive environment for her family.

* Captions slightly edited from original post.

Good morning, mater mea family! I’m Samantha, also known as @houseofcaruso and I’ll be taking over today! Thank you for following along as I share a tidbit of our journey to creating a positive home environment for our family.

A little bit about myself:

• I was born and raised in Rochester, NY.

• I have two toddlers—Norah, 3, Gideon, 2—and a baby on the way!

• I met my husband online and we have been married for three years.

• I work full time supporting adults with intellectual disabilities work on skills to gain community employment.

I have 6 chickens!

Things that I’m working on everyday:

Presence: Presence with my children, husband, and friends. Being available when they need me and willing to shut everything out other than the person in front of me.

Grace: Grace for myself because I am imperfect. Grace with my children and husband because so are they.

Peace: Creating a home our family and friends are at ease in when they walk through the door.

Discernment: Caution with who and what we surround ourselves and our children with.

Joy: True joy that radiates and speaks of Him. Not just in words, but in actions.

Life is a process; a precious one. Never stop seeking growth.

Keeping up with a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old isn’t for the faint at heart, especially when growing another human being.

Having one-on-one time can be so refreshing and I need to find a way to make it a regular occurrence. I find that when I dedicate more time, especially to Norah, we can converse without meltdowns, we listen to each other, and she can feel that she has my full attention.

I soak up those moments when I can and I can tell she enjoys them just as much.

What are some ways you dedicate one on one time with your kids?

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I fell in love with myself. I was trapped in that web of imperfection, listening to those lies that I’m not good enough, skinny enough, light enough, smart enough…

Even at 32 years old, they creep up on me from time to time, reminding me of these stretch marks or the extra 60 pounds that i’ve gained.

And as I speak about these imperfections, God quickly reminds me of those tiny ears, running amok.

Ears that will soon repeat these same words. Eyes that will view beauty as society sees it, if I continue speaking these thoughts.

I then realize that Norah doesn’t have to be caught in this web and Gideon’s judgement doesn’t have to be impaired when it comes to a women’s beauty.

Instead, I embrace this body that was able to carry soon-to-be three healthy babies.

This body that my husband loves.

Skin that’s always been soft, supple, and BEAUTIFUL.

I can go on and on…

She needs to hear that. She needs to know that.

And soon enough, words that carry life, will carry into their daily speech, which will carry into their behaviors, then into their self-esteem.

@dellahickswilson has a quote that I absolutely love: “To my daughter, I will say, See your beauty without a compliment or a mirror.”

What are some ways you are incorporating positive speech/self love through your parenting?

During the week when we all get home, it is a no techno zone: no TV, no cell phones, no iPads.

We have found that our kids adhere to their bedtime routines better, which is a plus, but gives us much-needed quality time.

It gives us a chance to fully engage with each other and, to me, encourages more meaningful playtime.

As parents, we want to be fully available to them and let them know we are there for them.

What are some routines that you implement to be more present as a family?

@lisabeelisa asked how to create a positive environment while living in a large urban high rise?

From personal experience, there are two things that come to mind, that I think would fit for either a apartment or a big/small house:

1. Declutter! I felt like I spent my days working and then coming home or spending my weekends cleaning; picking up toys, washing dishes, doing laundry...almost every single day!

I was starting to think that was what motherhood was all about and felt worse while trying to battle depression.

Once I started donating all the toys the kids don’t play with, simplifying our dish-washing routine and laundry routine, you name it, I was able to enjoy my kids and be apart of their childhood...not to mention, I was able to start enjoying motherhood and take care of myself.

I spent less time trying to make my home feel like home and only kept things that mattered to us, which leads me to my second tip: Fill your house only with things that bring you joy.

My walls are styled with family photos or quotes that mean something to us. We keep pieces of clothes that mean the most to us. We only buy things that have true meaning.

More space for those who mean the most ✨

What do you guys think? What makes your home environment positive?

@morgan_themrs_ asked, “How do you keep the positive, loving vibes in your home when there is family drama?”

From personal experience, what worked for me was creating boundaries; I’m a firm believer that you can create healthy boundaries when it comes to family.

Identify what about the situation is stealing your joy or what you don’t want to be around your kids.

If family is staying at your house, let them know what you will and will not allow.

Then comes the crucial conversations. I find if I say something good, then share the problem, and end with something good (I think it’s called the sandwich method), it has worked for me and there is some understanding at the end.

However, if that doesn’t work, I then would identify if this environment will be healthy for my kids and myself and make accommodations if necessary.

Ultimately, you have to do what’s best for you and your family.


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