15 Signs You Aren’t A Morning Person Mom

 

1.  If you’ve ever gotten up and turned on the t.v. so that it would be on when they woke up…  Surely if they see Doc McStuffins, they won’t come into your room for a good 30 minutes.

2.  If you have to be somewhere to be at 9 a.m. and while looking at the alarm rationalize  that you can get all three kids fed, dressed and out the door in under thirty minutes.  “Well, I’m convinced,” you say as you roll back over at 8:15.

3.  When it’s 8 in the morning and you are already planning for a nap.  Yours…not theirs.

4.  If you have ever let your kids go to bed in the clothes you plan on them wearing the next day.  Don’t judge me. The girl likes sleeping in dresses and dresses are clothes and you can wear clothes in public.  I win.

5.  If the first person up in your house gets death threats if they wake the others, you are not a morning person.

6.  You might not be a morning person mom if you call to make a last minute appointment at the doctor and they say, “We can see you at 8.” And you think, “Heck no, you can’t!”

7.  If the first word you say in the morning is crap when you hear a kid wake up.

8.  When you read someone’s Facebook status and see that they have “watched a show, made breakfast, and done laundry” all before 8 o’clock and instead of feeling impressed, you are really glad you aren’t them.

9.  When you know if you don’t get up, you won’t have enough time to eat breakfast but starving sounds more delicious.

10.  If you feel put out by having to put on sweatpants and consider that “having to get ready”, you might not be a morning person mom.

11.   If someone calls you from a doctor’s office, family member, or friend before 9 in the morning and your first thought is, “It’s early!  Why are they calling me?”  Oh…because most moms have been up for two hours by then.

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12.  When you spend the night at your in-laws and send your kids to their room in the morning, you might not be a morning person….or your in-laws favorite.  This is real life.  Except my in-laws love me anyways.  That’s good because I hadn’t planned on stopping the whole send my kids upstairs thing.

13.  Every morning you lay in bed and have a moment where you consider cancelling all appointments and educational experiences for your kids for the day.  Let’s just lay around and not have to be anywhere and give ourselves sweet time to wake up gently.  In all seriousness, I don’t have a kid in school yet but thought while doing my make-up yesterday that one day a year I think I will just keep them home for fun.  Don’t push me on this because I already went through all the imaginary conversations I’m going to have to have with staff for why they weren’t at school that day.  I’m ready.

14.  When you hear your first child wake up and pray with all seriousness that they will go back to sleep.  It’s a real prayer and you pray it daily and you have no shame to pray it over and over again.  “Dear God, I’m still serious today like yesterday at 7:30.  Please, if there is anyway they can go back to sleep….”

15.   If your face lights up when you find a morning show for them on On Demand that is a double or triple episode.  Oh, thank you sweet, sweet Disney for combining too many shows continuously.

 

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The Straws That Break Momma’s Back

 

Poop in the bathtub.  Most of the time, it’s very likely you put your children in the bathtub for entertainment or confinement rather than cleanliness.  Thus, when they have the nerve to poop in it, you think of running away.  It’s one of the grossest mom clean-ups you do, next only to barf.  That is why I clean up by leaving it for my husband.

When you are about to walk out the door and you notice, your child had the nerve to undress themselves.

Walking through the house ticked off and then stepping on a painful toy like a lego, tiny figure, etc. or having food crush under your feet while you walk on your dirty kitchen floor.  It’s the bravest Cheerio I’ve ever seen to be there in that moment.

Making it through the whole grocery store, getting finished at the checkout and realizing in slow motion, you left your wallet in the car.  It’s painful even typing that.

Getting everyone ready after what felt like experiencing a natural disaster and having one of your kids spill something all over themselves seconds before leaving.

Any moment you think of how any pictures you need to have printed.  When a mother realizes she is three years behind of pictures on two children, it’s cause for despair and hopelessness.

When you have had a long and exhausting day at 5 p.m. and remember you forgot to put the food in the Crock Pot or even worse, remembered to put it in but didn’t to turn it on.

Going to get your kids out of the car and realizing they took off their shoes and socks. Convenient.

The pace at which you watch your kids get out of the van while you are standing in the rain/wind/cold/heat in the parking lot.  Sloths would evacuate faster.

When you have heard whining all day and that one last bold confrontation between siblings that pushes you into the spirits of a prison warden.  You tell them they are never allowed to speak to each other again.  For a moment, it sounds logical.

Needing desperately to get your hair done, doctor’s appointment, etc. and forgetting your appointment.  Oh well, I guess I’ll grow out this matted mane for 4 more weeks until you can actually get into your stylist again.

After three days quarantined at home because your child is sick and then another one of your kids comes up to you and says the dreaded words, “I don’t feel good.” Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

On day when you are really exhausted and short on patience and your children are whiny about major issues such as:

My socks itch.

I don’t like pb&j. (All of the sudden).

Sissy is looking at me.

I don’t want this cup.

She has my toy!  (Oh, you mean the one you don’t want to play with EVER.)

Finally making it to getting yourself ready for church, party, wedding, etc with little time to spare and standing in front of the closet with NOTHING to wear.  I hope that rhyme didn’t distract you from how frustrating that really is.  It makes you feel crummy and stinks so hard.  Everyone else in the family will look like a model and you will look like a low end consignment store commercial.

Scrambling to get dinner together, mixing everything up and going to get the last ingredient…you don’t have.

When anything in the animal kingdom or human world wakes up the baby you desperately need to sleep.

Your children attacking you like a verbal paparazzi when you are talking on the phone.

Unsolicited parenting advice.

Your child going noodle body in a store when you try to pick them up.

Having a bad or hard day and walking back into your house that is an utter disaster.

Leaving any store without the one thing you needed…which hits you ONLY once you have loaded the kids back in the car.  We will use napkins for toilet paper.  It’s fine.

 

What drives you batty?

 

 

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What?  What did you say?  This animal in this image isn’t a camel to play off of the straw that broke the camel’s back?  Did you ever stop to think that you aren’t a camel?  (Shakes her head…)

Reasons To Be A Parent

 

Parenthood is available to everyone either via your body or adoption.  Here are some of the greatest reasons to choose parenthood.

 

Smells

For the price of one small baby, you can have a bathroom in your house smell like pee for the next 15 years.

Life Goes Beyond Yourself

Life, for the first time, goes way beyond you and your plans.  Your perspectives and priorities change in the best of ways and you have the ultimate thing to invest in:  your children.  You get to give your life, self, and time to something much greater.

Experiencing The World Through Child’s Eyes Again

Never again did you think you could be so excited to buy a brand new lunchbox, celebrate Christmas, or spot a school bus while driving down the street.  When I had my first child who went through a “school buses are awesome phase”, I would catch myself gasping in jubilee when I spotted one out….even when I was alone.  The world simply becomes fresh.

Truth Machines

With kids, they will call you out on being impatient or on singing the wrong words to a song.  They will spare you no truth.  You don’t even have to wonder if you look pregnant in that shirt you just bought, said my real life.

Being in Awe Of Life

Watching a child grow and hit milestones is an amazing thrill.  Seeing a child learn how to walk, write, or read is something you never knew could be so fascinating and such a thrill.  Humans are amazing creations.

Grandparents

Children are a gift you give your children so that they have each other for life and a gift you give your own parents. I love seeing my parents and my husband’s parents with my children.  It’s a glimpse into what your childhood was like, a look at all the wonderful strengths of your parents, and sheer joy to share the deep love you have for your kids with your own parents.  Not to mention, grandparents, the good ones who are close by at least, help carry the load and save your tail a few billions times while you fumble through your own parenting journey.  Also, rumor has it that being a grandparent is better than being a parent but sorry, you have to have the kids first to test that theory.

Growing As A Person

If you want to be challenged to grow, change, and become better in your own right, parenting will push you to your limits and give you a chance to take a good hard look at yourself, who you want to be, who you want your kids to see, and what kind of parent you want to be.  The journey of parenting will work out the kinks in your spirit if you are willing to be honest, do the work, and take a good hard look at yourself.

Children Are Reminders

Children remind us the same thing we are trying to teach them:  The world isn’t all about you.

Call Your Beliefs To The Carpet

Little ones ground you in your beliefs because you can say what you want and tell people what you believe about this and that, but when you have children and have to start teaching them the rights and wrongs, you are forced to put your money where you mouth is.  What do you really believe?  What are you going to teach your children about God and the world?  All of the sudden those questions mean even more when you realize you are in charge of instilling truth into your child.

The Awesome Unfolding

Watching them develop into who they are becoming and seeing that they inherited your love of singing, your husband’s love of books and traits all their own that you never imagined they would have.  A child that excels at math?  What?  From me? Yeah right and 5 times 10 is 50.

They’re Are Caring

Children care big time about the romance between you and your spouse, your free time, if you are sick, and what you want to eat, listen to on the radio, or when you want to sleep. Children really care about your needs and how easy your life is.  Tons.

Parenting Comes With Simple Rich Blessings

True laughter, innocent questions about birds and where babies come from, an unsolicited “I love you”, cuddles in the middle of the night, a scribbled picture for your birthday, and the sound of their little voices and feet running and playing in the halls.  In simplest of ways, being a parent is the grandest of things.

Teacher of Trust

With such a great love comes more concern and worry then you ever imagined and with that, the chance to learn how to trust God with your children.  It ain’t always easy, folks.

Commonalities

When you become a mom, you can suddenly relate to most any mother on any corner of planet earth.  You all know what it’s like to be up all night, feel like your kids will never learn what you are teaching them, share a family stomach virus, hold your baby’s tiny hands and have the world stop, and intimately understand the joys and struggles.  You suddenly find yourself in Target when a woman’s kid bumps into your leg that when she apologizes, you just smile and say, “It’s okay.  I have three kids.”  That is all you had to say.  Moms are universally and internationally bonded and on the same wave length.

Questions

Why did the bird fall over when the cat played with him?  What does 7-A-Y-4 spell? Where do babies come from?  What are those dark lines on your legs?  Will I be older than you someday?  Will I have fun yesterday?  You get to answer some of the best questions as a parent.

Knowing A One-of-A Kind-Love

There is no love like the one a parent has for a child and experiencing something so powerful is wonderful, irreplaceable, un-explainable thing. You will never love anyone else in the same way you love a child.

It’s Worth It

We all give our lives to doing something and if you become a parent, there isn’t a more important or worthwhile thing you will do.

Fun

For all the jabbering parenting gets about being hard, and yes, it really really is, it is also a blast!  There are so many fun things to celebrate and enjoy as you go through life with your children.  Kids are ridiculous, spontaneous, adventurous, curious, and hilarious.  Being a mom or dad to such creatures is SO much fun.

They Are A Blessing

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.”  Psalms 127:3   See, it says so.

Affordability

Sometimes I just lay around at home and roll in piles of dollar bills.

Gives You Perspective

If being a parent does anything, it gives you grace and understanding for the mistakes your parents made and what all it took to get you from newborn to 18.  It wasn’t as easy as you thought and they start to look human, just like you.  I think this is big blessing of becoming a parent yourself:  seeing your parents as people and more like yourself then you ever knew.

Greatest Adventure

When I hear people say, “We want to wait to have kids because we want to (insert activity etc.).” While I know what they mean and many people do what they wish first and then have children, already being a mom myself I think, “You would never regret having them now.  Your children will be your wildest and hands down, most fascinating adventure.”  Having children will always be the best thing you and your spouse did together.

Humblers

Your kids will embarrass you publicly.  With kids, you can never get too big for your britches because they will yell “I’m tooting” in the store one day.  It’s good for the soul.

 

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Photo Credit: Shelly Griffin Photography

Parenthood: No Shame In Surviving

 

I have three red Solo cups in my car.  I put them in there around Christmas time so that my kids could use them as a container for their candy from the Christmas parade.  It was a smart idea.

Do you know why they are still in there?  My husband doesn’t.  He doesn’t understand why so many things get left in my car and procreate like trash children.  It’s because when I have been out with three kids at two different grocery stores for 2 hours, when I pull back in right at lunch time and have three kids to unload, groceries, and lunch to make all before nap time in 30 minutes….yeah, Solo gonna be hanging solo in the side door until next Christmas.

I will say that I am down to only one cup now.  Do you know why?  My kids have peed in them twice in the van when no bathroom was readily available.  They are accommodating to both children and adults.  Gross, you say? Weird, you say? I say inventive.  Case and point, when I’ve just run through the parking lot of the mall with two in a double stroller, a 4 year old blowing around in artic winds, get them loaded, the double stroller in the back, get myself in and buckle and one says they have to go?  Oh yeah, you are totally peeing in the cup because I am not going back in and undoing all of that hard work I did to make it to this vehicle.

I hear some of you laughing at what I just said, some “amen-ing”, and some of you, I see are silently in their hearts knowing that this idea will never leave your mind and that if you are honest with yourself….you know one day, a cup with be in hand when your van child says, “I have to go”.  You already know what happens next.

When you are mom, you do what it takes to survive.  A common mom cliche is, “Hey, whatever it takes.”  Give your 3 1/2 year old a pacifier covered in dust that you found on the floor by the headboard if the new discovery will keep her quiet and in bed. Let the kids dump out all of their clothes from their drawers if it means you can sit on the couch for .5 seconds.  We all do it.  We all just do what it takes and sometimes that is funny, at times relate-able, and other times, the source of your guilt.

You didn’t tell her a bedtime story for three nights in a row because you were too tired and had work to do.  You forgot to brush their teeth all day because you were too tired and your mornings are falling apart.  You gave them Pop-tarts for breakfast for a week straight because it prevented any morning squabbles but when you think it over, you feel bad for how bad they’ve been eating lately.  You put on three t.v. shows that day instead of one because you needed to get stuff done but then you reach the end of the day and feel like you were productive but weren’t really engaged with your kids that day.  You look at your house and it’s a wreck but you had to prioritize your schedule and your house didn’t make the cut.  Why can’t you just keep it all together?!  “I’m just surviving,” you say.  But this time, you feel sub-par by your survival and a little less comedic than the awesome mom letting her kids pee in vehicle cups.

I started thinking about how so many of us feel like we are in a cycle of killing it, drowning, treading water, thriving, and a lot of times, just surviving.  Standing in my shower tonight I had the revelation that, there is no shame in surviving.  When life or seasons of life are hard, that is what you do and surviving is, at the end of the day, persevering.

I also started to think about how we tend to perceive other moms as doing better than us and that they are doing motherhood with more ease and grace.  A few mom friends and myself were swapping battle stories at a Valentine’s party this past week and I was talking about how I was bombing in the patience department.  Bad.  I don’t feel like how patient I have been since Christmas is good enough and truly, is isn’t good enough.  Another mom said, “You always seem so patient and calm anytime I’m with you!”  I will say, I do tend to do fairly well with patience, but not lately.  By not lately I mean “not for several months lately”.  When she said that to me, I realized that we often have a mis-perception of other moms, even an imbalanced perception of what we know are their strengths.  No one has it always together, all the time.  No one is always on point.  We may do some things with more ease than other moms and they may do some things with more ease than us, but when we take into account we all have both parenting strengths and weaknesses, it’s all a wash.  We are all left in the same boat with the good and bad, the successes and struggles.  It’s a lie to think that in the grand scheme of things, “other” moms are getting by better or with less struggle than us.  We all shine and struggle in different ways.

All of that said, everyone is surviving and that is admirable. It means you are getting by despite things being difficult and that you continue to do so day after day by whatever means necessary. And, if everyone is surviving, then maybe it isn’t survival at all, maybe THIS is what parenting really is.  Losing our tempers, red solo cups and all.

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Photo Credit:  Joel Ham Photography

The S-Word, U-Word, and F-Word, Oh My

 

So I have a bone to pick with children’s book authors.  Are you ever reading a book to your child and have to “edit” what it’s really saying? Maybe it’s a child calling another kid stupid.  It can be as simple as a child’s board book of opposites and there on the page is the skinny/fat contrast.  Yes, they are opposites, but I don’t really want to teach my children what a “fat” person looks like.  I don’t want them to call anyone fat ever, including themselves.  Isn’t up/down, long/short, open/closed, a good enough lesson for the day?  Stupid, ugly, fat, hate, dumb…there are so many words I feel like I’m skipping over in children’s books.

Sometimes it isn’t just the specific words but an argument between characters where they are being rude to each other in the story.  Yes, it can be teachable but sometimes, it’s just unproductive script like, girls hate boys themes, for example.

Look, I get it.  They will go to school and hear and learn what fat is and they will hear words much worse than stupid.  At a certain age, I realize that books are good tools for teaching kids how to work out friendships and how to handle dilemmas but sometimes, I wonder what authors are thinking?  Even more so, I wonder what T.V. show developers are thinking!  Who on EARTH would want their child to talk like Calliou?!  Whiniest child ever.  The show Calliou is a great example of something a child could pick up on, even when the over arching theme of the show/book is good, but the choices of the behaviors or tones of the characters are not.  I don’t want my child to whine and complain like Calliou…not even for a good lesson in the end. The list of bratty characters on children’s programming could go on and on.  It confuses me why someone authored the scripts that way.

The world will come to our kids much faster than we want it too, but I still think it’s pretty ridiculous to have to edit a book to a 3 year old because if you read it all, they might go to preschool and use the word “stupid”. Give me a break.

 

Encouragement For Mothers, From Mothers On Leaving The Baby Years Behind

 

Though known as one of the hardest stages, the baby/toddler years are forever thought of lovingly by moms. Those are the years of precious firsts and the crazy bliss of a baby on your chest and a toddler running down the halls in a costume, are prized as the glory days.  Once you have closed down the baby factory, it can be a sad farewell to a time in your life that you will always treasure.  What’s left?  The teenage years?  Oh brother…

I recently had that one grand finale baby and wondered what all I had to look forward to in the next phase of growing kids.  It’s sad moving on but there is always some special about each stage so I asked some mom of older to grown children what great things lie ahead, and this is what they said.  No one writes about these years and they should!

“I love a ten year old! They have stories and opinions. They are interested in so many things. It just seems to get better. My son loved baseball and soccer. The girls started in dance team and basketball, a little track too. It was wonderful going to games and competitions. But the part I loved was just the everyday talking with my daughters and son and finding out what they were interested in, what they were watching or reading. We would sometimes share a book and then talk about it and it was amazing to hear their perspective and they liked to hear mine once in awhile. To see them enjoy music and have teen band crushes, to introduce them to some old music that they actually like, Grease anyone? It’s all fun for you to relive, too. I think babies are wonderful and sweet. But to watch your children grow and turn into the most terrific, wonderful people that you want to be around all the time is a true gift and blessing. The best is yet to come.” -Bonnie, mother of three grown children

 

“I am the Mom of a 33, 31, 29 1/2, 27 1/2, and 26 year old. The adult years with my children have been so precious to me. They are grown and most of them have children of their own and I am getting to play a big part in the lives of my grandchildren as well. Some days are a challenge and I wonder what in the world I am doing at my age, but then there are some pretty amazingly fun and joyful moments that make up for the hard moments! I love each of my children and grandchildren and they are so much fun to be with now that they are grown. They enjoy teasing and laughing and remembering together. We have a very unique family that has remained very close and for that, I am so very thankful! We share like precious faith in God and even though things aren’t always perfect in each of our individual lives, we care for one another and lift each other up. We just had a wonderful Christmas together and took some time to reflect on what 2014 had meant to us in our lives and what we could be praying for each other about in the new year. Needless to say, I feel that it brought us all closer and helped us to love each other even more. I believe that my children love, respect and honor me and that truly brings great joy.  One thing I know is, that the growing up years pass all too quickly and each moment, no matter how challenging, is going to be worth it all!”  -Judyth, mother of 5

 

“There’s lots to look forward to when the kids get older, especially if they’re involved in cheer leading, dance, sports, etc… Recitals, games, and competitions create opportunities for the family to get together and create memories by attending all their practices and events. Plus, you get to see your child shine, publicly cheer your child on, give them positive strokes for their efforts/performance, and get to know the parents of their friends. And there’s the driving permit and license to look forward to. I really enjoyed that time with both of my kids because it gave me an opportunity to be an expert about something they wanted to learn about! They actually listened to me and wanted my help. During that period of time they seemed to develop a new level of respect for me, like they realized I’m not a complete idiot and I really do know a thing or two! And the best thing is, they wanted to know what I knew! I also enjoyed the time before they got their license because I was the one driving them to all their practices and events and that gave us lots of drive time talking and just being together. And one final thing for now is the traditions we developed as they got older, such as going out to a restaurant after church and letting them take turns picking the restaurant, gingerbread house making contest at Christmas time, shopping for new Easter outfits, & going out to eat on their birthday. These are some of the things they expressed a desire to do so we made them into traditions. The great thing about traditions during the teenage years is they will want to continue them as they get older, especially when they go off to college.” –Jan, mother of 2 children, one married and one in college

 

“There are so many things to look forward to when they get older.

1. Their first real crush. The look on their face when the ‘special’ boy talks to her for the first time. How excited she is to tell you every minute of their discussion, down to the last second.

2. Bonding over girl stuff. Teaching her how to fix her own hair, polish her nails, put on makeup, shaving for the first time. Be prepared for some giggles, lol!

3. Sports or other activities. I love watching each of my girls really glow with their love of their own talent. Payton loves cheering, Ashlyn loves piano, and Hayden, dance. I enjoy watching them each light up like Christmas when the are on stage knowing we are out there watching them.

4. Talking to them, I mean, REALLY talking. For them to ask thoughtful questions and that they still look to me for the answers.

5. Seeing with my own eyes, that I am really raising an amazing person. That the things I have been teaching since day one is taking root. And I am so proud of who they are turning out to be.” -Heather, mom to 4 girls middle school and under, step-mom to two boys who are grown

 

“One thing I love about the older years, and by that I mean even elementary school, is the re-birth of spontaneity.  If you want to jump in the car and go somewhere, go.  You re-gain a freedom that is pinched a little bit when there are naps, nursing, early bedtimes, and so on in the very early years. In some ways there becomes a new ease.

Another thing I love about having grown children is seeing them settle down, become settled into themselves and have their own families.  I see them with their own kids and I get a sense of that this is how it’s supposed to be…the full circle of life.  It gives me great peace to know that when I’m gone someday, they will be taken care of.  I find a lot of comfort and fulfillment there.”  -Joan, aka my mom, mother 0f 8: 4 grown children 32 and up, 4 growing children ranging 10-14

 

“After years of telling them things to say and not to say, to do and not do, with little to no fruit or evidence that it will ever sink in, one day, all of the sudden, you start to see them live out all of the things you worked so hard to ingrain in them in the early years and it’s very rewarding.  Another thing I love is that as I watch my 13 year old grow, I can see the friendship we will have in the future.  Right now, I am still her mother but I see little flecks in who she is and who she is becoming and I can picture how we will have a really beautiful friendship when she is an adult.” -Cara, mother of 3 ages 5, 8, and 13

 

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Dear Defeated Mom & Your Misconception About Discipline

 

Dear Defeated Mom,

If you spank or time-out your kids one more time this week, you might go crazy.  You have followed through and stayed the course through private and public fits, blatant disrespect, the food thrown on the floor on purpose, and the unrelenting sound of hearing your children squabble over the Frozen dolls.  You sit down in the pajamas you should have taken off ten hours ago and wonder, what is going wrong?  How did it come to this and where on earth did it come from?  Your kids are acting in ways you swore pre-kids your kids never would.  It must be you…your lack of parenting skills, a result of  you breaking down and yelling, or because you just can’t figure out the right way to get your message across.  Exhuasted at the end of the day, you lay down and face the facts that you are a bad mom and you have failed your children somehow.  Good kids with good mothers just don’t act this way.

But you are wrong.

Some of the most difficult kids are being raised by some of the best parents.  It is a lie to believe that perfect discipline creates perfect children.  I don’t know what belief system you subscribe to but in my book, we are ALL sinners, defiant children and impatient mothers alike.  You cannot spank a child’s temperament out of them.  You can’t yell or even very patiently strip a child of their sin nature to simply defy you.  Disobedience is in our bones. ALL of our bones.  God changes hearts, not the flawless consistency of one’s parenting abilities.  He uses us to mold our children and to teach them to obey and we should do that daily.  However, the belief that if you could just get your act together enough….just pull yourself up from your bootstraps enough on those knock down drag out days, that you could rid your child of their flaws and imperfections, it’s a lie that leaves you defeated and being certain you, mom, are both the problem and the solution.  Ultimately, you are neither.

I know what it’s like to do everything you know to do for days that turn in to weeks and months with little to no fruit. I use to help parents with their children’s behavior issues FOR A LIVING.  I know “what to do”.  But in my pursuit of trying to mold my strong willed child and my toddler rounding the terrible threes bend, I have learned that I have lied to myself, just like you and a million other moms have too.

I know moms who do everything they can and their child still hits at daycare.  I know mothers who have cried and worried about what their children will say in front of other parents, even though they model patience and kind words at home.  And these moms?  Don’t blame them.  Don’t pass judgement.  They keep plowing through in love, discipline, and consistency.  If you do blame them, you have also bought the lie that you can cure humanity with impeccable parenting. Among other things, that is purely un-biblical. It’s hard for me to believe that someone can be a parent and believe that a mother or father isn’t doing something “correct” enough if their kid screams for a sucker in the checkout line one afternoon.

Like all lies, they lead you down a path of second guessing, hurt, confusion, and discouragement.  You, defeated mom, are not a bad mother when you break, and your children won’t go on to be serial killers because they told you they hated you when you turned off their favorite t.v. show.  You have to understand Who brings about the ultimate change and victory in you both.  As one pastor said, “No one has ever been scolded out of sin.”  You can love them, teach them even when they seem unteachable for months, but you can not scold, spank, ground, or sit a child in the corner enough to make them NOT sinners.  You can’t say enough bedtime prayers or read enough bible stories to make them not be sinners. You can guide them with your discipline.  You can teach them the value of respect and obedience and what consequences come from rebelling against your rules and God’s.  Your parenting can lead them into change and into the right direction but you can’t finish the deal.  The fact that they are sinners and that your parenting isn’t enough to save them from that will show through on a regular basis.  It is not all about what you are or aren’t doing.

So, weary mother, this too shall pass and on many days, not soon enough it feels.  You ache to see your kids be shaped by your labors to make them listeners and respectful little people.  But when you don’t see transformation and the fruit trees are bare for seasons on end, remember that this is all a journey with failing parents and stumbling children. God never intended for you to be responsible for their full heart and character.  God changes the heart, we set the stage.

You are a good mom and good mothers feel like they are failing only because good moms are striving. If you aren’t striving, there is nothing to fail at. Your difficult mothering days that leave you broken and despairing aren’t because you are lacking the right techniques. Don’t believe the lie.  God equipped you for your children and His plan for each of you includes you both being sinners and both fumbling the ball.  He will redeem the heart of your child, just like He did yours.  Put the burden of shaping them on His shoulders and not on disciplining out of them what only God can truly transform.  Let your discipline point them to Him and let Him do the redeeming.

Love,

A Mother Just Like You

 

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Photo Credit:  Shelly Griffin Photography

Now I Know: What Being A Mother Taught Me About My Own

 

When you become a mom, you clearly know you will have kids.  Clearly.  You think everything you learn will be based around children.  But, one of the neatest blessings of becoming a parent is that it helps you in understanding your own.  Being a parent gives you grace for your own mother and father and it gives you a whole heap of understanding for the who, what, and whys for what and how they did things concerning you.  It also gives you a grasp on what all they went through and experienced that as a child, you just couldn’t have known.  Here are a few things I know now about my mother simply by becoming one myself.

She Cried

She cried when you left your blanket behind for good because you didn’t need it anymore.  She cheerfully pumped you up for your first day at school, walked you in with a smile and then cried the whole way home.  She encouraged you that things would be better after another child was cruel to you and let her heart break when she was alone.  She choked up over the look of your sitting over your first birthday candle and she will cry all over again when she sees the pictures 25 years later.  You always thought she was so strong and invincible and she was….but just for you.

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She Saved

Every time my oldest child comes home from pre-school with a precious piece of art work or homework where I can see her little handwriting blossoming, it’s just hard to part with.  Now I understand why my mother saved my schoolwork. They are representations of a time when we were their little baby girl or boy and your mom saved them because she knew we wouldn’t always be.

You may never fully appreciate the old scribbly art that your own mother tucked in a faded folder and your child may never fully be endeared to that first sentence she wrote that you put in an album.  That’s okay.  Sometimes we save so that we can remember a time they were too young to really remember in the detail we could.  We save for the same reason she did:  because they are pieces of the children we never want to forget. It was never really just homework.

She Laughed

When she spanked your butt because you called her a booty old lady, she secretly thought it was funny and turned her face so you couldn’t see.  Turn away to smile.  Turn back around with a serious mom face.  Punish.  Call your best friend and laugh about it 20 minutes later.

She Was Rightfully Peeved By Things

Until you are a mom yourself, you don’t understand the value of silence.  As a mother, I know now why she hated the sound of the T.V. playing with no one watching it (especially the commercials) and when the music was too loud in the car on a busy day.

The sound of you and your siblings fighting. This put her near insanity.

I know why sometimes she simply didn’t want me to have the neighbor kid over or a friend spend the night. She would answer with what I felt was a patronizing, “Um, not tonight.”  I would get frustrated because I knew we would just sit at home and do nothing.  Why couldn’t I have a friend over????!!!!

Oh. That was the point.  Do nothing.  Life is crazy busy with a family and crazy for the parents of the busy family.  Let’s do nothing.  Yes.  Sounds good.  No, sounds great.

She Meant That It Hurt Her More

When someone makes you mad in life, it’s easy to imagine jerking a knot in them.  You want to ring their neck because they are ring neck-able.  So, when you are a kid and your parents are angry and then go on to punish you, you can only imagine them enjoying the act down to their bones and back up again spewing it out in words of “time out” and “You’re grounded!”

Then you raise your own kids and sometimes, it hurts you to see them lose a privilege that hits them where it hurts:  the party they can’t go to now or the special treat they had to return.  Family doesn’t like disappointing each other and that swings both ways.  I’ve even found myself thinking, “Please, just obey.  I don’t want to have to punish you/take this from you etc.” Albeit a necessary evil, it’s definitely not fun to do and sometimes, hurts you, too.

I’ve even learned that sometimes disciplining them is like disciplining yourself.  “Dang it, child,” you say in your mind, “I really wanted to go to pool today, too!”  Sometimes in parenting, you are all losers. Just like sending your kid to school in winter without a coat (nervous laugh).  We can lose lots of ways.  All the time.

She Was Overjoyed

She was overjoyed when they held you up in the delivery room.  Overjoyed when she saw you apologize to another child when she didn’t know you were looking.  She beamed when she rolled that new surprise bike in for you on your birthday and maybe even more excited than you to give you your first kitten that afternoon.

When you made the team, met “the one”, passed the class you struggled through with a meager “C”, when you made that right choice that made it feel like all your hard work paid off, when you comforted your sibling, when you chose someone else over yourself on a regular day, and when you broke up with the wrong guy even though you loved him.

She swelled with more joy and pride in mothering you than you knew possible. She took joy in you and shared it in a way that you didn’t know could or was being shared that equally….

That is until the one day they hold your own wrinkly crying baby up at a hospital on a day she knows is not too far away.

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She Was Nervous

Mothers are the master’s of, or at least try to be, master’s of braves faces.  When you stuck your neck out and tried something new.  When you got your license.  When you were the new kid at school and went in on your first day.  When she told you not to worry about how that kid would treat you at school today.  When you were sick.  When you picked that boy/girl to date.  When you went out of town alone for the first time and drove there yourself.  Picked the college 4 hours away.  Wore the crazy outfit to school in the 2nd grade that she let you pick out knowing others might be mean…she was nervous.

She Didn’t Always Know

There is no textbook to parenting and dang it, you sort of figure it out with one and then you have a child that’s totally different!  You saw your parents make all of these choices so confidently for you when you were a kid:  where you would go to school, how to discipline you day to day, how to handle insecurities they saw in you, how to talk to you about your feelings, how to teach you to navigate all of the social facets of your young years, etc.  Then, by golly, you have your own and you realize that a lot of times you are making choices and hoping you did the right thing…hoping you did the right thing to yield the result you are going for.  Until you are a mother, you don’t really know that sometimes, she was guessing.  She had to be.  Just like you.

She Knew

She knew you were going to get hurt because she knows that 5 year-olds fall off of beds when you were certain you wouldn’t as you sprang into the air.  She knew that it hurt to be left out or feel “un-cool” but you were positive she “didn’t understand”.

“That was forever ago, mom!  You don’t understand.  It’s not the same!”   Becoming an adult yourself lets you see, growing up overall is pretty universal.

She knew you peeked at the gifts but let you get away with it. She knew you didn’t still believe in Santa anymore but you both silently accepted to keep playing along. She knew you tried to clean up the nail polish you and your friend’s spilled on the carpet but she let it slide.

She knew he wasn’t right for you and that she wasn’t a good friend.  She knew those mean girls were jealous and you thought she was crazy.  Many days you thought SHE was, in fact, the mean one.  And she knew you would feel that way, too.  Why?  Because she had a mother and was someone’s child.

And in all of this, more than anything, she knew that one day you would be typing on a computer somewhere with three girls stair stepped in age sleeping quietly in rooms around you and that you would sit down exhausted and know that she was right.  Even when the trying years of raising you were in full throttle, she knew that one day, if you were lucky, you would know the depth of the joy, the hurt, the hope, the laughter, the weight of welling tears in your eyes, the heartbreak, the pride, and the sound of little ones playing in your ears that turn into the thudding footsteps of a grown child in the halls that is up way too late.  She knows that your day will come when you will live what her heart always knew and she desperately wants this for you.  Because now I know that the greatest gift she ever had was being your mom and I know that because I am one.  Thanks, mom.

 

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