Stay at Home Mothering

I Would Like . . . to Be a Living Sacrifice, Not a Burnt Offering: Five Minute Friday

“I would like . . I would like a trip to Europe”

My husband often quotes this clip. (Please ignore the cartoon gun violence in the clip.) So whenever he asks me what I want, this is what I imagine in my head.

Because as a mom, rarely does anyone ask me what I want. I kind of knew and expected this. Motherhood is a thankless job and materially I have more than many if not most in the world. But at the same time, needs are a real thing. As moms we can’t just keep putting every need, desire and passion on the back burner (especially when it comes to our marriages) until the kids are eighteen. Plus, we don’t ever really stop needing our moms; just ask mine.

After every ill-fated attempt to have a conversation while our children are still conscious, I look at my husband and say “So I’ll see you in 10-15 years.” It makes it sound like a prison sentence and a great way to ruin a marriage. One of the great things I got out of the book His Needs, Her Needs was that it’s OK to have them; needs that is. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a weak person. Some people have an innate need for the company and conversation of others and a lot of it. Those people are often called extroverts. Others require time alone to recharge, (the amount of time and level of quiet required for this varies depending on the person). Those of us who function like this are sometimes called introverts. (Just to clarify, being introverted and quiet or shy don’t necessarily go together. They certainly don’t in my case).

We are called to serve our families, but that doesn’t mean that we become martyrs or worse, burnt offerings. Last winter I got to hear fitness instructor and owner of fitness site Fit2B Studio, Beth Learn speak. One thing she said stood out.

“We are called to be living sacrifices, not burnt offerings.”

Now she was specifically addressing women meeting the needs of our physical bodies; that pregnancy and childbirth were never meant to break us forever and keep us from living our lives and serving God and our families. It’s OK to prioritize your physical need for exercise, rehabilitation or recovery. That’s not being selfish. It’s enabling and empowering you to move forward with what God has called you to do, strong and whole. In Jesus, we have been released from that curse.

But I was thinking more in terms of other needs and even *gasp* the occasional want. Because if a quiet moment to collect my thoughts, reading a good book or time spent alone with my husband (whether conversational or romantic in nature) makes me a better wife and a better mom, enabling and empowering me to serve my family, then it is a good and important thing.

I’m not talking about indulging ourselves as a point of selfishness or to the point of completely neglecting our families. I’m saying that we are called to live for our families, not necessarily to die for them, and certainly not to slowly kill ourselves for them. God made us to have needs and desires. Yes, desires, which sounds (and looks) and awful lot like wants sometimes. Want isn’t necessarily a dirty word.

Psalm 37: 3-5 (NASB)
Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”

(Sorry, this went on much longer than five minutes. Apparently I felt more passionate about this topic than I thought.)

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Categories: Five Minute Friday, Stay at Home Mothering, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sometimes I Don’t Want To: Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: nick see via Compfight cc

Sometimes I don’t want to share. From the time they are conceived they share my body.  Even now, they want to cuddle, hug and hang on me at the most inconvenient and uncomfortable of times. I deal with way too many bodily fluids that are not my own. Sometimes I would just like some time and space to myself.

My time isn’t my own either. When I’m not nursing or pumping I’m reading, assisting with writing or cajoling our way through math. When my husband comes home, I want his attention, his affection but I also want my children to feel bonded to him, to feel loved. Spring has arrived and my daughter reminds me that we didn’t have a garden last year, which made her very sad. Sometimes I feel at the constant mercy of the tiny, quick changing feelings.

Because the truth is, I want to share life with them. That’s why I made the choices I have, to be home, to homeschool them. But sometimes it’s hard not to feel like I’m crawling out of my skin. Because the moment I realize my almost-four-year-old can read and my six year old is starting to do math without having to count on her fingers (though she continues to claim she can’t), I live for those. But I could do without the bickering, hurtful words and constant complains. I feel as though I will never be good enough.

It’s a wonder that the Son of God was willing to come and do life with us; with all our frustrations, impatience and ingratitude. Because we are children too, who make messes we want him to clean up for us, filled with whining and complaining when we don’t get our own way. He gave his life for me, and them and you.

So what choice do I have, but to pray for strength and soldier on; knowing that because of his sacrifice I’m not alone.

 

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Categories: Five Minute Friday, Parenting, Stay at Home Mothering, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

I Say “Forget it” But I Really Mean . . . Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: threephin via Compfight cc

“Oh, forget it!” I say. But what I really mean is “I can’t muster the energy to repeat myself again.”

“Never mind.” I grumble. But I really want to say “It isn’t fair that I have to do all of this work on my own. Listen for once and come help me.”

“It doesn’t matter.” But it does matter.

Deep in the trenches of the crazy season of an active almost four year old (how can he be almost four already?), a sassy, six year old and a five month old who’s needs are changing daily; it’s easy to feel alone.

Because the buck always stops with mommy. Yes, I have a loving and supportive husband who is an involved dad. But he is only here a few hours a day. I am the default parent. The twenty-four hour kin keeper.

Sometimes it takes too much energy to repeat myself again and I just give up trying to communicate. When no one else (by which I mean my children) can be motivated (through encouragement, cooperation or punishment) to help with the daily tasks needed to keep the house going, it falls on me.

I am neither happy homemaker nor bitter martyr, at least not yet. I’d rather toward being the former than the latter. Because, yes, I want to train them up so they can care for themselves and their households one day. But other times I don’t want to referee one more fight over whose turn it is to use the toilet brush or threaten removal of privileges just to get clothes put away and toys picked up.

I say forget it, but what I really mean is “Remember me? I don’t need a parade or a medal, I’d at least like appreciation and respect, or perhaps a little cooperation. I know I’m not owed it, but it would certainly help make these long days a bit easier.”

 

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Categories: Five Minute Friday, Parenting, SAHM, Stay at Home Mothering, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

No Mom Alone: Five Minute Friday

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Photo Credit: Arsh_86 via Compfight cc

For a long time I thought I was the only one. The only one who lived for nap and bedtime. The only one who cringed at the pounding sound of little feet running through the house and the inevitable crashes that followed. I would look at them at as they slept at night and wonder how children so beautiful could produce such anger, frustration and resentment during their waking hours.

Now child three is on the way. Another boy, and likely, I fear, to be as wild and crazy as his older brother. As I share my body daily with this little one, I long for the occasional moment of solitude. Because the truth is I haven’t been alone for the last eight months, (though I’ve probably only been aware of that fact for the last three or four).  After this little one joins the world, he’ll be attached to be almost as often as when he was in utero so I can’t anticipate too much time alone, except for the occasional shower.

But since my first child, I’ve discovered the truth. I am not the only one. Lots of moms feel the way I do and we are not bad moms. We can debate how the pioneer women survived or why moms in the fifties seemed to have it all together. (Personally, I think it was a combination of cocktails and sending kids out to play all day long from the time they could walk). We can only figure out how to help each other now, in the world we live in. Whether it means encouraging healthy use and attitude toward social media (especially Pinterest and Facebook) or looking for ways to get each other out of the house without the kids whenever possible. Rejecting comparison in favorite of connection. We don’t have to do this alone.

 

I want to take this moment to encourage you to find a support group of moms near you. If you haven’t heard of MOPS, check it out and see if there is a chapter near you. I’ve been involved with my local MOPS group for six years, from the time my daughter was three months old. I’ve been a leader at times and right now I’m just an attendee. But the group has been a source of support for me in my years as a mom and I can’t imagine continuing on without it and the relationships I’ve built through it. 

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Categories: Family, Five Minute Friday, Parenting, Pregnancy, SAHM, Stay at Home Mothering, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Mindset for Moms 2.0

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So after the nearly a year it has taken me to finish Jamie’s book, do I find myself transformed? That’s a hard question to answer. Yes, my mindset has changed due to many things. I’d like to give this book credit at one of those sources. In some ways taking so long to get through it has really helped. Trying to do one chapter a day (short as they are) would have been too emotionally draining. I needed to give myself time to really mull these things over and decide how I thought they fit into my life.

My life is different now from how it was a year ago, and will likely be very different this time next year, with a seven month old. But I hope I’ll carry many of these insights with me. Motherhood is meant to be a joy not a curse. This doesn’t mean every moment is magical and anyone who tells you that is either lying or has a poor memory. But we don’t have to focus on only the bad. Telling new moms horror stories won’t make those difficult days easier. But we can be there for them when the bad days come, encouraging them that there will be better days ahead. But we also owe it to them to rejoice in the wonderful moments and not bring the cloud of “Oh just wait until . . .”

I can’t control what happens to me, or how my day will go, but I can choose how I prepare and how I react. I hope that as I move forward my choice of preparation will be one of hopeful realism and my reactions more loving and filled with peace. Yes, I will fail. But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to stop trying. Because maybe this motherhood journey isn’t just about raising kids, but about transforming me into a better, stronger person, prepared for whatever else God has for me to do, in addition to my role as mom.

Mindset for Moms From Mundane to Marvelous Thinking in Just 30 days

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Fake It: Mindset For Moms

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Discover Your Mission

Tell Your Kids What You Want

Request a Do-Over

Move Away From Competition & Comparison

Give Your Time, Give Your Money, Give Your Stuff: Mindset for Moms

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Survive as an Introverted Mom

Surround Yourself by Great Thoughts from Great Minds

Conquer the Myth of Not Enough Time

Remember Kids Are People Too, Just Smaller Ones

Do What Comes Naturally

Live Above the Details

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Categories: Mindset for Moms | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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