Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sometimes it Just HITS You

Scene of the Crime:
Church. Sunny Sunday morning.

The kids had been heinous getting out of the house that morning. There were tears about the clothes I made them wear, foot stomping over the fact that I insisted they comb their hair, shrieks at the audacity I had shown in demanding they wear shoes. Outside. In January. In MINNESOTA. It was a rough enough morning that I sent the older 3 across the parking lot by themselves while I sobbed my eyes out in the bathroom while TJ safely played in his crib, unaware of my breakdown occurring in the next room.

I sobbed to God about how frustrated I was. How I couldn't understand how in the WORLD He thought this path of living in an apartment with 4 kids was a good idea. How sad I was that our world was off its axis and I didn't know what to do to make it better. AH! And HOW could I make it better when I couldn't even get my kids out of the house!?! I'm sure you've been there...when the first complaint leads to the next, to the next, to the next.... you get the idea.

I finally pulled it together as I realized I was going to be late for teaching Sunday School...yup. Sunday School. As I gathered TJ and started to walk over, I giggled crazily to myself...ME? Teach SUNDAY SCHOOL? Lead kids to Christ? When I was bawling my eyes to Him just minutes before? Awesome.

I got through Sunday School teaching just fine. Somehow the same daughter who had spat that she "woved" Daddy more than me was an ANGEL in class...typical. And following classes I herded my brood into the sanctuary for worship. I sat in my chair exhausted and emptied. Then it happened.

The opening prayer.
"Let us be JOYFUL in the path you've given us."

You gotta be kidding.

Then the lessons. WHACK!
Then the sermon. SMACK!
Then the Prayers of the People. THUD!

Every stinkin' one about being joyful in whatever path God calls you too. During the prayers of the people we even asked God to give us an even GREATER desire to do His will! I gotta admit I barely choked it out.

I felt like I'd been slapped. Then kicked. Then whooped over the head with a 2x4.

I wanted to shout, "I GET IT ALREADY! NOW LET ME BE!!!"

Clearly, God knew that I wasn't getting it. So He kept sending me the message and has been working on me these last few weeks to actually MEAN it when I ask Him to make me joyful in His call. To TRUST that He equips those whom He calls...that He will not call us, then leave us. And I'm nearly there. Nearly...

Now, if He could just help me get the kids ready for church on Sunday morning....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What Do YOU Want?

I'm going to be honest. I LOVE reading blogs.
Love, love, LOVE them.
The ones that are super professional, the ones that are really basic, the ones where the woman has only posted three times in her life. Love them. I appreciate these glimpses into other people's lives, opportunities to connect with someone and understand their struggles and join in their joys on this path of life.
I do admit, however, that often when I read blogs I leave with a lot of questions. Like, "When does she do all this blogging? Where are her kids?" or "I wonder what sort of curriculum she uses." "I wonder what she did before blogging." "Where does she get her ideas"...or I want more. I wish that she would provide more tutorials...she has the best ideas! I wish she'd tell us how she took that photo.

So, my question for you is...what do YOU want from Enjoying Motherhood in 2012? Do you need encouragement? Giggles? Projects to do with the kid's? Homeschooling info? Sure, I'm planning to do a mix of those things throughout the year, but, as I've said from the beginning, I'm in this to enjoy motherhood/parenthood WITH you...how can I help you with that?!

Looking forward to your thoughts!
Comment below or send to stacyathope (at) yahoo (dot) com

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We're Doing Our Best

Don't you love his face? He is clearly thinking,

"Great. A duct-taped snowsuit. Don't they realize how much harder I'm going to have to work to be cute now? Ugh. I cannot believe you are my parents."

The truth is the next sized snowsuit is in storage. This one is FINE except that the feet fall off. Well, they used to, that is. I'll get to sewing them on; I promise. But for that one night this was what we had to do to get out the door.

I wish I didn't, but sometimes I get down on myself for these sorts of things. For the things I do as a Mom that I wish I didn't....for duct-taping my child's snowsuit together, for skipping baths and just wetting my kids' hair to get it to lay down, for saying, "yes" to pretzels as an option for breakfast because the milk for cereal is gone and Dad has already left for work and I don't want to go to the store with 4 little ones before 7 a.m.; basically for not being the "perfect" Mom. Heck, some days I'd go for "average" Mom status! So often I justify my short-comings with "I'm doing my best!".

But later, when the kids are in bed and quiet has fallen I'll think to myself, "Was it REALLY my best?" And I'll start questioning and cajoling; "You COULD have gotten up before The Spouse left and gotten the milk. You were just being lazy." I know, I know. It's terrible. It's not kind. I'm not being fair.

Sure, we could ALWAYS have done something else...worked harder, stayed up later, planned ahead better. But isn't there something to be said for just letting ourselves do our best IN THE MOMENT...and then learn from the moment?

Every week when I send Kiki into dance class I tell her the same thing, "Have fun and do your best." Those aren't just empty words. I want her to ENJOY what she's doing. I want her to give the activity the best she has to offer that evening. Do I expect perfection? Of course not.

So, why, as her Mother, do I expect perfection of myself?
And, dear Mom's...I have a feeling I'm not the only one who does this. Am I right?

How do we get out of this mind-set? Out of this ideal society has about the "perfect" Mom who has it all together? Sure, we "know" it isn't possible, but don't we all strive towards it anyhow?! Here's my plan...

I'm going to do my best in the moment. I will not strive for "my best when no other factors play into the scenario"...let's face it, schlepping 4 kids to the grocery store to get milk before 7 a.m. is ludicrous...and being in the moment takes those limitations into account.

Then, when the moment is passed I will learn from the moment. I will examine what I should have done differently and make those changes next time. More over, I will remember that my best is not the same as YOUR best, or HER best, or THEIR best...it is MINE and I am the only one I must measure myself against.

Well, I'm off to sew up a snowsuit...sure, he's cute enough to pull it off, but, if I'm being honest, that isn't quite "my best". :)