Sunday, January 18, 2015

I am a good mom. And so are you.

Are their any other mama's who are just weary?  Weary of believing the lie that we are failing at this motherhood thing?  Believing that we are a bad mom?  Just because our every-day-real-life doesn't live up to the pinterest worthy lives we think we should be living?  Or maybe it's because your kiddo isn't in enough extracurricular activities or you yell too much or get frustrated too easily or don't care that their homework is late or you let your baby cry it out or they never cry it out.  You wear them or you don't. Too much screen time. Not enough play-on-the-floor-with-them-time. You co-sleep or you don't even know what co-sleeping is.   Whatever it may be we might laugh & shrug it off  yet we buy into it.  We whisper to ourselves in the quiet of our hearts"I am a bad mom."  We laugh with our girlfriends "I am such a bad mom!" Yet somewhere along the line we started believing it.  We started holding ourselves as a mama up to a mirror that someone else held & no longer was it enough that we were given these kiddos to do something no one else could do for them.  No longer did it matter that they were our hearts walking outside of our bodies.  No longer did it matter that we were trying our best.  What mattered & what reverberated around our heads & our hearts were that we were  failing.

The other night as I was making a birthday cake for my son & I use the term cake loosely for what constitutes as a birthday cake at my house is a pan of chocolate chip cookie bars topped with frosting.  Pin that.  No crumbs & no weird soggy leftovers. Even though my kiddos love it & even though I love it for the lack of pressure & the presence of ease I felt inadequate.  Making the cake at 9 pm was the last thing I wanted to be doing anyways.   (Parenthood was going to be on later so as you can see I didn't even have a choice about going to bed early.)  It suddenly occurred to me as I was memorized by the blenders going round & round that my "cake" as ordinary as it was did in fact not make me a bad mom.   I don't have the gift for making elaborate character themed cakes.  Does that make me a bad mom?  Nope.  Not even a little bit.  Pretty sure no kid ever looked back over their childhood thinking that only if their mom had made them a millennium falcon cake for their 7th birthday than then everything would have been better.  Actually I realized that I'm not even a bad mom when I use my outside voice or my kids don't make their beds.  What is a bad mom anyways?  And if you were a bad mom would you even care?

How dare we cheapen this experience as being a mom with feeling lousy & thinking we aren't doing a good enough job.  How dare we belittle ourselves by thinking that other people would do it better.  How dare we lessen ourselves even a moment longer by thinking that by not doing insignificant things perfectly that it is somehow reflected in the kind of mom we are or the kind of children we raise.  Isn't that when we beat ourselves up the the insignificant?  Being tardy to school.  Birthday parties.  Acting out in public (not us our kiddos) whether or not the excel at a sport.

What if we stopped talking to ourselves in such a way?  What if we said aloud " I am a good mom!" in order to replace those lies with some truth?  Simple, right?  What if we whispered it to the inmost part of who we are?   If we said it over & over would we begin to believe it?  Would we be able to reach out more & encourage each other more if what we saw in ourselves we recognized in others? Wouldn't that be something?  Would we be able to laugh at our messes?  To realize that the messy kitchen is actually something that no one else on the planet cares about?  And if they do then that's their issue not ours,  What if we just gave ourselves the grace we so desperately want to be able to extend to others?  Would we stop trying to create an experience for our kiddos & instead live the life before us?  These kids we have are not commonplace.  How much time have we wasted focusing on what's gone wrong instead of rejoicing on what's gone right?  Anyone?  May not change the world but it just might change our lives & the lives of those who call us mom.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


What are we the 6th day of the new year & already my "word" of the year is showing me up.  I decided a few years ago I was done setting myself up for failure so I would no longer do New Year's Resolutions.  They were so 90's to me.  I love hearing about other people's resolutions & rooting for them but as far as resolutions & I went we were just done.  Enter in a "word" of the year.  This seemed doable & there was less pressure & less disappointment if that one word didn't seep into every aspect of the new year.

It's gone fairly well the past few years.  Words have come & gone & admittedly I have even forgotten some years what my word was halfway through.  Other years I have been on top of it & kept a journal highlighting how the word was challenging me.  This year I chose the word "intentional."  I wanted to do everything with a purpose.  To not do actually do less but that what I do to do with great intention.  I had hopes it would infiltrate many aspects of my life from my walk with God, to spending time playing with my kids & exercise.   Alas here we are on day 6 & yesterday I was too busy to eating an entire bag of Juanita's Tortilla chips to play with my four-year-old (but seriously have you tried those?!)  The other day I had a giveaway for a side business we have. Sounds awesome right?  Unless you consider the item that was up for giveaway we no longer had.  Who does this?  It had sold in June for goodness sakes.  Earlier today I asked people to follow my blog without ever having a "follow" option set-up.  Again, who does this?  I also poured the entire bag of triops into the tank instead of 1/2 like the directions clearly state & my eldest reminded me of just before I poured the entire bag in.  What are triops you say?  They are 200 million-year-old shrimp that eat each other & we get to watch.  My boys think it is the best Christmas present ever so thank you, cousins!

Aargh!  How difficult can it be to be intentional sometimes?  I think of how easily I can get frustrated with my kiddos by their lack of anything with intent & who am I to do that?  I clearly am not leading by example as I flit from one thing to the next.  Never really settling until one thing is finished.  I sometimes unload only part of the dishwasher at once.  I come back to do the rest later.  For real-life.  (a saying my 4-year-old has taught me by the way.)  I get laundry out.  It comes to rest in the basket in the living room or kitchen.  Sometime later I pass by it again & fold it.  Sometime later I will take it to the appropriate room.  At yet another time I will put said laundry away, maybe.  Is this just the life of a mom or that of a crazy person?!  How much more efficient & effortless life must be with a little intentionality sprinkled in there.  

The thing is maybe I will never do the laundry all in one sitting.  Maybe I will continue to do the dishes in multiple steps just so I can show the dishwasher it isn't the boss of me.  Is that the worse thing that can happen?  Certainly not, but would it be so bad to try something different?  To see if it frees up some more time for doing things I can get joy out of or to just spend with my people?  What if these people who do certain chores each day of the week & have charts & checklists what if they really have it going on?  What if in their being so intentional about what has to get done they are unlocking a sort of freedom that I'm not even aware is out there?  That is what is so great about new starts like having a "word" for the year.  Even though it's showing me I have a lot to learn on only the sixth day in it is also saying I have 358 more days to try again.  

Do you have a "word" for the year?  What's 2015 saying to you?