Motherhood; Costly But Strategic: Five Minute Friday

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photo courtesy of Twinkle Photo

I was recently able to share with my MOPS group some of my thoughts on motherhood and my inspiration came from a strange source; the story Biblical story of Abraham burying his wife. Surely, not an obvious connection.

But the part that spoke to me most was when Abraham insisted on paying full price for his wife Sarah’s tomb, before knew what that price was. This, to me, is a picture of motherhood. Some of us dreamed and planned for years before becoming mothers. For others it was a surprise and perhaps not an entirely welcome one. Yet none of us could be prepared for what becoming mothers would cost us. Motherhood is expensive not just financially but in terms of time, energy and often dignity

For me, it meant difficult pregnancies and deliveries. When I choose to stay at home that meant, culturally speaking, I lost my individual identity. Without a product to provide or a quantifiable service, or drawing a paycheck; I suddenly became ill defined. I was “just” a mom. Forever more I will be recognized, at least in part if not in whole, as a parent rather than a person with goals, dreams and aspirations of my own.

I had no idea all that being a mom would cost me and yet I agreed to it gladly and I would do it again (at least most days). But I am also working through the process of recognizing how my motherhood is a tool for my growth rather than a barrier to my development.

Another detail I love from Abraham’s story is that he buried his wife facing the land of the promise, the land where his descendants would thrive and become a great nation. He made a strategic choice, looking to the future. I believe parenthood is a strategic thing as well. Some of it is our own strategy, to carry on our values, culture and genetic material. But I believe that much of it is an act of God.

 

The Bible says God places us into families and I firmly believe that our children are part of God’s strategy. No matter how our families are formed, whether through birth, adoption, blending with remarriage or otherwise; it is part of God’s deliberate plan. Our children are not ours by accident. But rather with great intention, both for us and for them.

On those days when I feel most ill equipped, I try to remember that as hopeless as I feel at this job, I was intended to be their mother. That as the Lord Almighty was numbering my days, he saw fit to give me these children. Which means he will also provide me the strength I need to bring them up and help them to become who they are supposed to be.  They are also part of my own redemptive process as I am molded and shaped into the person I am supposed to be. Because I am never “just a mom” but being a mother can be a crucial asset for growth in all the other parts of me and reaffirm to me who I am.

(Full disclosure: I was on a roll today and wrote for longer than five minutes. I hope you enjoyed it anyway).

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Know What You’re About: Blog Like a Pro 7-Day Challenge Day 1

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Photo Credit: Bushman.K via Compfight cc

What am I about? What is my manifesto? In some ways, the post I published this morning (and incidentally wrote weeks ago) says it best. I want to be honest. About my faith, about my parenting, about the joys and difficulties I’ve encountered in my life. Because being a mom, wonderful as it is, isn’t the glory it appears from the outside, at least not for me. The laundry, both clean and dirty are often piling up, there as are many arguments as there are hugs. But I’m not just a mom, I’m also a writer. So somehow in the daily crazy that steals my brain cells and makes me wonder how I ever managed to string more than three words together, let alone write a book.

When I first became a mom I discovered that the internet was a wonderful and terrible place for parents. Because you can sometimes find the answers to your questions, and other times just more of the same question with some or a dozen different solutions. I decided I didn’t have to have all the answers. Yes, I still give tips, advice but I wanted to focus on encouragement. I love providing solutions when I can. (Thus my great love for review and comparison posts on topics I feel passionate about. If you see a review post, it’s probably because I couldn’t find one I liked when I was doing my own research).

I’ve fought hard since my daughter was nine months old to make sure I didn’t give over my entire identity to motherhood. While I believe it to be a holy calling, it isn’t all that I am. Two kids later, for a total of three, I’ve gone through varying periods of success on that front.

I’ve read the accusations that the internet leads to dangerous levels of oversharing. I concede to this. But I also know that I want to build community where we can be ourselves and talk about the hard things. Because I’ve had those things in my life: depression, miscarriage, hard to handle kids. Faith testing kinds of events. There has been enough silence and shame on those topics and I won’t be part of it anymore.

I called my blog the Laundry List because that’s how I felt about the life; a list of things to do, but also what I am. I cannot be defined by a single title: Mother or Writer. Neither can any of us. We need room to explore who we are and who we might be.

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

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A few weeks ago my husband and I had another long conversation about my mood and my attitude. He was concerned that I seemed unhappy and unable to cope with the basics of our daily living. Just getting through the laundry, cooking, dishes and general household cleanup was overwhelming. I was on my feet all day and yet so little seemed to get done. I had recently left my part time job when my child care swap no longer worked and yet I didn’t seem to have anymore time. We had one of those discussions/arguments that lasts until much later at night than it should, and yet nothing seemed to be resolved.

The next morning this book appeared in my Facebook newsfeed. It was being offered for free in honor of Simple Homeschool reaching 100,000 likes. Since I like Jamie Martin very much I decided it was worth a try. It immediately spoke to me. I realized that Jamie and I are very much alike. I am just beginning my homeschool journey, while she is well established in hers. We are both introverts and have a passion to write. When I read her words, I often feel as though we share many of the same thoughts. Within a day or two of skimming the first few pages I began to see an improvement in my mood.

This book recommends taking 30 days. I’m going to take longer because I want to do more than read it, I want to meditate on it. The truth is, I know I need an attitude adjustment. My children are not easy by any means, but when I start my morning with a negative mindset, it doesn’t make things easier. No this is not a miracle book. It’s short, making it attainable to the limited moments of free time I have in my day. It says what I need to hear, but don’t always want to. Yet with such a gentle manner of humility and genuine transparency that it makes it easier to take.

I’m looking forward to this journey. Mostly because I’m about as sick of my attitude as everyone else at my house. But also because I want to feel better. I’m tired of feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and discontented. I want to seek a level of satisfaction with my life where it is right now rather than constantly looking ahead to the next thing and hoping that things will get better.

Won’t you join me? As the MOPS motto says “Friends don’t let friends mother alone.” We are all in this together. Rather than trying to fix each other with the latest advice and methods; maybe we can just empower each other to make the chances we each need.

We Are All, We All Aren’t: Bad Mommies

I sat at the park today with other moms. Some with one child; others with two or another on the way. We admitted to watching way too much TV or eating meals alone just for the privacy. We shared our worries about being judged for giving our kids white bread or watching old reruns of Dawson’s Creek. We each worry, almost daily that we are bad mommies. That we yell at our kids too much (or at all). How “other moms” always seem to have it all together. Except us. We each think we’re the only one. The bad one. The imperfect one. The one who feeds her kids boxed macaroni and cheese and then eats candy while they’re sleeping. The one who counts down the hours until bedtime. The one who loves her children desperately and still wants to sell them to a zoo. It was like group therapy except with babies hanging from our hips and toddlers clinging to our knees. We are all that mom. And none of us are bad moms.