Tag Archives: Parenting

Grace: Mom Grace…

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That kid…she’s pretty cool…most days (we all have our moments, right?!)

She calls me mom.
We call her Olivia, Livi, Liv, Livi Grace, and “The Giggler.”

She’s almost always smiling.
Everyone comments about her giggle (hence the nickname “The Giggler”)

She loves school.
She loves to read.
She loves that she can tie her shoes.
She loves her teacher.
She loves getting on purple (the best behavior color).
She LOVES art.

She loves to color, draw, paint, craft, use scissors, make messes, and not clean up!

She loves her brothers (aka “Stinky” and “Smelly”) sometimes.
She loves her friends.
She loves soccer.

She has her own “style.”
She loves bags, paper, pens, stickers (she gets that from me!).

That kid is full of energy, joy, and fun. She makes me laugh daily. And best of all, she calls me mom.

But some days, I let myself go there…you know the place…that ugly place where I feel sorry for her that she *has* to call me mom. That place where I think she got “the short end of the stick,” “the raw end of the deal,” etc.

Why do I do that?
Why do we, as moms, do that?
Why do we beat ourselves up when we don’t feel we are up to par?

That picture up there…that was from last week. The kids had silly hat day and together, Olivia and I came up with a crown, covered in shiny owls, shamrocks, gold washi tape, and more. She loved it! She called herself the “Cloverleaf Queen.” And of course, we captured the moment with a photo. I was the best mom ever!

For weeks now, all I have heard her talk about is Letterland day. She had this grand plan to be “Golden Girl.” She was excited, I was excited…but being me, human that is, I completely forgot about Letterland day. I even had a reminder from a friend just a few days ago, and still, this morning my little sunshine, my “Golden Girl,” headed off to school in her normal “style” without a pretty “G” or anything fancy and “golden” going on.

It was a mom fail.
Fail #2,345,678 or something like that.
The two boys ahead of her racked in most of those mom fails.

Being blessing #3 has it’s ups and downs. The fact that she is THE GIRL, gets her bonus points…especially after two boys. I never cared much for pink and purple until I was sooooooo tired of blue and red. That girl…yep, her room is PINK AND PURPLE (and I love it)!

And being THE GIRL who also loves art and crafty stuff gets her more bonus points with me because I love those things too! We work on our planners together. We color together. She crafts while I draw or read. It’s a wonderful life. Ahh, bliss!

Then there’s the part where I’m so over the whole mom thing, like PTO/PTA, classroom helper, snack provider, etc. See the boys got the best of it. Actually blessing #1 got the most because way back then, I was even on the PTA with a title and all (don’t remember my title now…I’ve blocked those memories…or they were just that long ago, LOL!). Blessing #2 got a few classroom party visits from mom, a couple of birthday lunches here and there, and the occasional cool points for dress up days. Blessing #3…well, I thought that because she’s THE GIRL and the fact there’s no babies on her heels, I’d be the coolest mom with her…you know, the one that’s always around, always helping, always seen, always available, always perfect?!

Well, guess what…that perfect mom DOES NOT EXIST!

You can argue with me on that, but I am 99.9% sure that mom is nowhere to be found. If you are her, then come give me lessons! Otherwise, stand back, smile, and give me grace! I’ll do the same for you!

Grace is a hot topic in this house lately. See I’m teaching a Bible study on Grace…but you know what? I think it’s really the other way around. It’s teaching me…God’s teaching me. God knows I’m stubborn…so stubborn. And He has to drill things home for me to get them. He knows I’m much more likely to teach others than to teach myself but by teaching others, He teaches me way more than I ever imagined I needed to know. So, He’s teaching me grace.

And today, I’m giving myself “Mom Grace.”

My girl was not “Golden Girl.”
I slept in (and enjoyed it).
It didn’t even cross my mind.
She will survive.
I’ll tell her, “You’ll always be my golden girl.”

And I’ll tell her, “I’m sorry.”
I’ll tell her, “I love you!”
I’ll ask her to extend grace.

And when I see other mom fails, I’ll remember this day…and I’ll extend “Mom Grace” to them!

Take it easy on you…this whole being a mom thing is tough. Don’t compare because there’s not a single other mother out there doing a better job than you! Just ask your kiddos! (but catch them on a good day and preferably not during puberty or the teenage years…because their brains don’t function properly at that point and you most likely will not get the right answer. Catch them before they’re a tween or after they’ve got their own kids!).

Grace, people. Grace! Today, extend mom grace!

 

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Being made new…

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First off, I want to give a big shout out to all the moms out there – new moms, old moms, want-to-be moms, stepmoms, adoptive moms, foster moms, fill-in moms, angel moms, and any other moms.  Praise God for giving you hearts filled with joy in the midst of trials, minds filled with strength and hope in the midst of chaos and panic, courage and faith in the midst of worry and fear.  Thank you for doing the best job you could do – a job only a mother can do!

Now that you’re feeling like you’ve accomplished something, many of you are really a mess, right?

You’re tired.
You’re worn.
You’re not just worn, you’re exhausted.
You’re overjoyed.
You’re emotional.
You’re desperate for a potty break alone.
You long for a phone call that doesn’t sound like an all call to the screams and cries of toddlers and teens.

You’re heart is full for your babies and children but is it full for you?  And I’m not just talking to the younger moms.  I’m talking to you older moms who’s kids are either soon to move into adulthood or perhaps already there.  Your hearts are full too.

Full of worry.
Full of questions.
Full of doubt.
Full of concern.
Full of hope for their future.
Full of love.

I’m figuring out, this being a mom thing brings on a whole world of emotions all on its own.  As if we women didn’t have enough emotions already?!  Thanks, Eve ;)

Listen up, moms.  Stop.  Right now.

Stop the worrying.

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  Matthew 6:27

Think back to when you were younger.  Did YOU make any dumb decisions?  Do YOU make any bad choices?  I doubt anyone can answer that truthfully with a, “No!”  Did you learn from your mistakes?  Did you grow through them?

So will your kids!

The message I want to share with you today is to stop worrying and simply love them, unconditionally.  Support them.  Encourage them.  Believe them and believe in them.  Talk to them and listen to them.  Share your faults and failures and let them know that we are all human.  Tell them it’s okay to make mistakes.  Remind them that you will love them no matter what.  Let them know that God will love them because He wants to, not because of their good deeds or perfections.  Teach them that’s no excuse for sin, but to seek God in their sin, to turn to Him in the midst of their failures, in the middles of their storms, to seek Him with all their hearts.

And, if they aren’t there yet, be patient.  How patient has God been with you?  Don’t judge them or turn away from them.  Love them.  Pray for them.  Let them know that a mother’s love is only second best to God’s love.  Prove to them that you are their biggest fan, that you will love and protect them at any cost but also let them know that God is first in your life.  Lead by example.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

And moms, you’re going to fail.

You’re not always going to make the right choice or the best decisions, either.  And just as you’re patient with your children, God is patient with you.  He understands we make messes and He’s ready to help clean them up.  Let Him.

Stop trying to write their story.  Give the pen back to God.  He’s writing your story and theirs.  Let Him work in their lives and instead of trying to write their story, simply be a part of it…a good part, the part God intended for you to be.  He intended for you to shower them with love and praise, to encourage them, to protect them, to support them, to believe them, to love them.  Do your part and leave the rest to God.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

You are being made new and so are they.  Every day is another part of the story.  Every triumph and trial is another part of the story.  Let Him be your author and theirs.  It won’t always be easy but it will be worth it!

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The reality of choices…

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Of the three little people who call me mom, the oldest and I tend to butt heads sometimes most of the time.  We always have.  That’s probably because we’re pretty much made from the same mold – too much alike.

Lately, I’ve been trying to think things through a little better, really think about what I’m going to say and how to handle situations with him and the other two little snuggle buddies that have free rent here.

Well … that’s not working out so great.

I harp and preach to the three about choices and yet I fail to listen to myself.

Thing is, maybe I feel I’m exempt?  Perhaps I think because I’m the parent, I have a right to my feelings or can justify my actions?  Why wouldn’t they have that same right?  Because I’m the parent?

My point is, we all have choices, yep, even me.  Well, this isn’t quite going the way I intended it to – I really thought I’d blog about how I’m wisely teaching the boy to be aware of his choices and how to make the right choice.  Hmm…

Instead, I’m learning, even through this blog post that we ALL have choices.

Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

When I react towards them, their mistakes, their whines, their annoying kid moments, out of anger, I’ve made a choice.  I’ve chosen to put aside a loving mother reaction and instead, chosen to allow the stresses of life to get in the way of a proper response.

I’ve been trying to encourage my kids to make good choices and to understand that bad choices have consequences but what kind of example am I setting for them when I make bad choices with how I respond to them.

So today, I walk away realizing that if I want to teach them, I can’t just preach it, I have to live it.  I have to learn to control my own responses and make good choices with my reactions and responses.

Do you struggle with this?  Have you found something that helped or worked for you?  Please share :)

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Who Made This Mess?

MotherhoodMessy

Motherhood is messy.

Goldfish in the bottom of your purse.
Army men in the toilet.
Snot on your shoulder and maybe in your hair.
Toilet paper on the floor and none to be found on the roll.
Dog hair in YOUR brush.
Bubble gum on their shoe, and yours.
Up the back diapers – you know what I’m talking about?!
Scribbles on your checkbook, your wall, and that one of a kind painting.
Splashes from bath time all over the floor.

Did I mention motherhood is messy?

Not only do we face sticky situations like the ones I mentioned above, but we also face challenges with knowing what to teach our kids, how to teach them well and how to help grow them into responsible, intelligent, compassionate adults.

Having an unstable family growing up, I never really felt mothered like I imagined it was suppose to be.  When I became a mom, I had no idea what that meant, how I was suppose to act or treat this little person, other than to simply love him and even that came with difficulties.

I didn’t really understand love.  I had never really felt loved.  I knew in my head that my grandpa loved me with all his heart.  There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that he loved me.  He was always there when I needed someone.  He was the one decent father figure I had after one had abandoned me and the other abused me.  He was always kind.  He was my best friend.  But, he was all I really knew about love.

What I thought I knew about love had been all wrong.  Every.single.person shy of my grandpa, that I thought loved me, had hurt me tremendously.  Love meant they left me, hurt me, used me, made fun of me.  Most of what I thought I knew about love was painful, hurtful and lonely.

So here was this new little baby boy, beautiful, innocent and fragile.  He needing nothing more than protection, nurturing and love but I didn’t know how to give him that.  I had not been protected.  I had not been nurtured.  I felt unloved.  How could I give him what I knew nothing about?

My role as a mother became hell.  I felt myself growing further and further from him.  While I knew in my heart that I loved him so dearly, I did not know how to show that or accept his unconditional love for me.  I pulled away, distanced myself.  I sunk into a horrible, deep, dark depression.  I spent my first mother’s day, alone.

It took a long time to move past that.  It took giving up, not on life, but on controlling my life.  It took a breaking point, a vision of the own abuse I had suffered through, to change me.  In a moment of sheer desperation, I cried out to God. 

“I can’t do this anymore.
I can’t do this alone.
I don’t know how to love.
I don’t know how to be a good mom.
I don’t want to hurt him like I was hurt.
He deserves more than that.
He deserves a good mom.
He deserves to feel loved.”

And in that moment, I let go of the reigns and gave them to God.

Things didn’t change over night.  In fact, if you talked to that little boy today, who is now a thirteen year old teenager, he would probably say I’m an okay mom but I’ve had my moments and many of them at that.  He would say, “Yeah, she’s okay.” or “Yeah, she yells a lot.”  But I’m pretty sure he knows that I love him.  And there’s no doubt in my mind that I would do absolutely everything in my power to protect him, to show him love and to make sure he knows that I am here for him, through anything.

So, this whole mom thing is pretty messy.  Much of this mess, I created myself.  Add in two other kiddos and there’s a whole world more of messiness around here, LOL!

The thing is, it’s good messy.  It’s fun, it’s happy, it’s hopeful.  And while there are still times of frustration, while there are still times when I fail horribly, I have learned to accept my faults and to apologize.  I have looked at my children, after yelling at them over something silly, realizing my anger was really from my own issues and not theirs, and had to apologize.  Learning to apologize for our shortcomings and our faults is not easy, especially to the people we want to respect and obey us, but it is so importantThey need to know that it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s even better when we can admit them.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8

That’s my messy mom stories for today.  What’s yours?

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