This is what this morning felt like. I am on top of my “tasks” BUT I need a bit of time, kinda morning. Time to wake up my mind. Time to feel like today is a new day. Time to just find some joy in the great privilege to stay home. Time to accept being on call for their “I forgot my lunch days”, or “I’m not feeling so good days”, the “I just needed to hear your voice days”. The no activites planned, pj wearing, coffee reheating and no visitor days.
If I can be honest, some days finding joy is too time consuming. It takes up energy that I know I’ll need to encounter THE actual day. Knowing that we WILL have tantrums or that at some point today I WILL be frustrated, is exhausting. That was this feeling. I needed to capture my emotion of the day because it’s something that I war with. Wanting to shrug it off, raise the blinds, return text, have a plan! When it’s really a keep the blinds shut and just sit on the couch kinda day. Where I am emotional and God only knows why, but I wanted to capture this picture to remind my self it’s all OK.
I love this shirt. The comma after OK means pause. It means that whatever I am about to encounter requires me to “wait”. To first take control over my emotions. To sit and embrace my exhaustion, to acknowledge it. To just breathe. It’s OK, to embrace the taxing emotions that come with being a mom and all the things that you have to conquer daily. It’s OK to want to hide from the world for a day to limit the meltdowns and tantrums. It’s OK to cancel plans, or not return a text so that you can just enjoy the quiet. So you can just not have another thing to do or another person to host. (Hosting as a mother is another blog)
I’m OK with sharing this photo because I am honest about my daily wars. My fight to remember it’s OK to take a “day off”. To enjoy the emotional days. To listen to your body and not fight against it. If I am feeling exhausted, to do myself a favor and just take a day. It’s OK.
I challenge you to be OK with the passing emotions. To be OK with the exhaustion that life brings. Take it as a hint that your body and mind need a day off. Grab a cup of coffee (or whatever you like to drink) and just “pause”. It’s OK.
Today, as I got comfortable in my Monday routine it got me thinking about my husband. And, how thankful I am for him.
He handles the mornings. He takes over getting the kids ready for school. He packs their snacks. He makes their cereal. Mediates morning fights. He washes the dishes. If I wake up in time, he’ll even pour me a cup of coffee before heading out to drop the kids off to school. Anytime he can, he does the grocery shopping before work and he even takes Jax.
He helps me where he can. He fits a little of me in his schedule, the best he knows how…and in his intentional gestures, to me, it was just routine. But it isn’t. It shouldn’t be “just what happens on a Monday”. I shouldn’t get comfortable in my thinking that, that’s what he’s suppose to do. He does this as way to balance the load and to be present in our relationship.
We sit down on Mondays to restart the week, to plan, and to reevaluate, what went well or didn’t go so well last week. We should constantly be doing this in our marriage. Constantly checking our own progress as wives and husbands to see where we could step up, or what we did that is considered a “win” in our relationship. Marriage is just a term, what we should value is the building aspect of it. What keeps it healthy and growing? I am in no means perfect or have the right answers. We are 12 years in and I plan to see forever with him, even on the hard days. Since I am planning forever, I must begin with now. Reevaluate. Readjust. Change my thinking.
So where do you begin? Jot down things you appreciate about your spouse and you’ll begin to see a shift in your prospective too.
This morning Jax wanted to see the birds. We walked across the street and there was this eagle flying over us. Jax was so intrigued. Of course when it flew away Jax went into a full on tantrum because he couldn’t “fly” with it. Screaming and crying. Quite embarrassing…so I lost my patience and said, “You’re NOT a bird and can’t fly”. “Lets go!” It didn’t help anything, made things worse actually and then the joggers were looking at me…. So we left.
Well, while running our errands, we “had” to stop by the toys and guess what was sitting right on the shelf near his beloved dinosaurs? An eagle! It was the only one. It was sitting there perfectly waiting for us….His little eyes lit up and he screamed “biiiiiird”. I have a feeling God didn’t plant this eagle their for Jax. He did it for me. To remind me to be VERY careful of my words. It’s not about what I said. Its how I said it. My tone. My irritation. My impatience. Intolerance of my 2.5yo. Being a mom of “that kid” is hard but today I needed this reminder that it doesn’t have to be. He is just “a kid”. Not some bad definition of a kid.
I have to challenge myself to remember he has emotions that I can’t and won’t fully understand. That his defiance isn’t to drive me insane or to give me a hard time, he really is just trying to navigate his own…. thoughts, feelings, and reality vs. dreams. His communication is getting better but even as he searches for the words, it never comes fast enough… Its frustrating to be 2.5.and not understand why he can’t fly with the eagles or swim in the ocean, when people on T.V can. To not know how to ask me why he can’t fly or why I can’t fly with him . (In his mind, mom can do everything) So today I got a new perspective. I have to, in every effort, be available in his frustrations and not ignore them. All in all, I bought him the bird. He has been flying ever since.
“Life is really simple but we insist on making it complicated”. -Confucius
I have this passion planner where I can set my goals and have time to write out my vision and weekly am encouraged by some of the great quotes that are written. But today, I rolled my eyes out of agitation when I read this one. I am met with the question: If life is so simple, why has mine become so complicated? Am I insisting on complicating it? So I sat and thought about a few things but realized I need those complicated things to help me get thru life because I have anxiety.
Yup, I suffer from anxiety. My brain doesn’t work the “normal” way. I operate in high intensity, worry, stress over things that might not seem worrisome to the “normal” person, and operating in this flight or fight response can end in panic. You might not ever really see it, because it’s something that I work hard to control. My mind is always going, worrying, thinking, planning, and organizing. Not just basic organization, I’m talking full detail, strategic planning. Day after day. I plan for success, failure, and mistakes. I organize room in my own calendar for rainy days, sunny days and days where Jax is just not having it. I plan my future just as I plan my today. As you can imagine, it takes so much energy to be me and not because of my life, but because I live with anxiety. Controlling it takes such an element of details, which are complicated.
I want this simple life without complication to be true for me. I want to know how it feels to just go on a trip without having a detailed agenda or itinerary. What it feels like to go to an event and not feel the walls caving in because there’s little to no room between you and the next person. I want to know how to uncomplicate navigating my kids growing up and being alright with not knowing every move they make. It’s so hard living with anxiety as a single person and then you mix it with being a mom and you’re sure your heart will explode. How can I live my life simply, without inserting all my complications?
I rolled my eyes at this quote because complicating life isn’t something that people want to do! I mean, I’ll speak for myself, it’s not what I want to do. It’s not fun for me. It’s exhausting, time-consuming, frustrating and sometimes discouraging. But hey, it’s something I have to do to function. Have you ever seen someone with anxiety lose their ability to control their breathing? (It’s not a pretty sight) These complicated techniques, such as but not limited to, knowing Jesus, reading the bible, praying, leaving all types of scriptures and affirmations around the house and car, in my phone and planners, help me. Being detailed, and having organized plans in EVERY area of our lives (its six people in our home) helps me get up out of bed and participate in my children’s lives. It keeps me from not going insane and locking myself in my room when again my husband has to work late. It helps me with the constant change of life as a 30 year old woman, who is also a full-time mom, wife, student and pursing her own dreams trying to not get pulled down by the worlds pressures! It puts my life in perspective and reminds me that things can be worse. It lifts me from depression and the ugly battle with self worth. Life, although “simple” it can be overwhelming at times, and it’s ok to feel that way, and it’s comforting to recite daily that this isn’t too much for me to bare. My thought-out techniques keeps my mind in check and my brain functioning the way it should, without debilitating medicines. My ability to self-control, in all its complication, gives me strength and when I can’t seem to remember how to catch my breath, it reminds me how….
My challenge today is to take this quote, rewrite it and hang it on my mirror. Why? So that I can remember to embrace my complicated life and enjoy any simplicities that may or may not come. I am learning how to live my anxiety, not fear it, and use it to keeping me going forward. Challenge yourself to find value in life’s complications and use them as tools to be inspired.
It’s like I am a meal prepping, calendarizing, cleaning house on a schedule, knowing where all lost toys are ninja. I have stopped fights from just a look and redirected “back talk” by simply breathing. I can change the loud volume that my children operate in by walking out of my room. I have learned how to support my adolescents “on and off again” friendships. I listen to my middle child talk sports and act like I understand what he is saying. I can play barbies with my 5 year old and “totally get surprised when we have a visitor” and I have learned all and everything there is to know about my 2 year olds favorite creatures, dinosaurs.
I am a mom. I support and encourage my children. Learn their needs and supply them. I work hard at understanding their cues and stress over every detail of their little lives. I’ll call the advice line, post on mom forums, talk to family members, try to get my husband to worry like I do, so I’ll end up doing a google search and cry. Only to feel silly the next day because whatever it was, they survived. This mom position is one of the hardest positions I’ve ever been in and it’s in this position where I have doubted myself the most.
It makes me strive for excellence and when it doesn’t meet my definition, I am met with fear, anxiety, inadequacies and verbally abusing myself. I compare, contrast and research my “why” against what society says. Positioning myself back to back, side to side, arm length to arm length to see how I measure up. It’s a weakness of mine. I am a perfectionsit. I see only black and white, there is no in between so I either have mastered it or have totally given up. And in this position, giving up is not an option.
Here are my insecurities: Often called a superheroe but can not see it for myself. Somedays what my reflection shows to me isn’t what I believe. Even when I am trying to find myself in alone time, guilt is often present. I wonder why God has given me this position because there are some days where I feel like I can’t get it right. Weekly I find myself on the verge of locking everyone out the house (I wouldn’t do that) but instead I close my door. Meals have become less about what I would want to eat and more easily prepared beause my 2 year old tortures his siblings when I am away for too long. I stay inside because I fear leaving another full cart at the grocery store due to toddler meltdowns. And daily I wonder if going back to school is worth the extra stress, if a career is really all that important. Does God change his mind on our callings? I often ask my self that, wondering if he sees my struggle and will say “Ok, let me draft something new up for you”.
Here also are my securities: That I can do all things through Christ. That I am valuable to Him, and therefore have been chosen. I have been set free (from all my weaknesses) There is no condemnation and therefore my failures aren’t stacked up againist me. God saw me here in this position way before I got here (I am qualifed) and I am encouraged that he will see me through. No measuring is required because I have been accepeted by Christ. My mind is constantly being renewed so when I fight with myself daily, I remind myself that I am a child of God. That I have confidence in who I am, where I am going and what I am called to do. This position isn’t swallowing me whole and I will do all that God has planned for me, in addition to this motherhood gig.
So here’s the challenge. Refute your insecurities with all that you are secure in daily. Second, realize that there is no one better fit for the “position” than you. Lastly, where ever you find yourself, know that God is guiding you.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaish 30:21
Story time was a disaster today. Jax just wasn’t feeling it. He knew where we were and lost his mind as soon as the door opened. People turned and looked at me. We so happened to be early so it was still very quiet, unlike the times I’ve gone prior to check out books and there are tons of kids loudly chatting and playing. (Just my luck) His crying is worsening as we walk further in, so I turn and Thank God, there was this lady ( hopefully the librarian) standing off to the side, so I quickly handed her our “returning books,” and we backed out as quickly as I could. Feeling like everyone was looking at me! Goodness, I hate that feeling…
Walking back to the car, Jax is still crying. More like scream whining, the annoying sound toddlers make when they are having a tantrum. I pull the stroller over and say “Jax, what is it?!” And finally I make out the word “park”. The “park” that he was crying and at this point reaching his hands out for was just a grassy area. Trying to explain this went even worse, so I loaded his tantruming stiff body back into the car, fought him into his seat harness and off we went to the park. Our ride was full of crying and me repeating, “we are almost there, Jax”.
We pull up and unload for the fourth time, and when I put him down, he rejoices. I mean pure joy comes over his little 2 year old body and he runs! (It’s crazy how one minute he is full blown miserable, with the world hates him tears and I am his worst enemey to being SO happy. Like where does the emotion go? It just subsides?!) Anyway…he jets towards the play stucture. Up and down the slides. Running free in the grass. At some point the shoes come off, he uses his socks as bags for sand, and I am his audience. Every time he found something he would want my full attention “Ma this and ma that,” I just sit and watch him. (Emotionally exhauasted) He digs, pulls, searches the sand for objects. I watch as he examines rocks and gets excited about sticks. He even tried to write in the sand with his finger! Together we talk about the sand and all his treasures that he puts in his socks. I, finally am at peace because he is at peace.
The sun is beaming, his face is happy and… I understand. Just as I have plans, he does too. He has ideas and things that he wants to do. I ultimately am in charge but really he is the one who sets the tone for the day, not me. My planning is for him anyway, it’s for him to be entertained, to learn, to be social. He jumped, climbed, went up and down stairs, threw sand, made friends and ate snack happily today. (It wasn’t my exact idea, but hey, it worked out) He had an idea in his mind, he saw a park and had his own plan and we were able to explore it. I was able to embrace, to just go with it. Sure I was frustrated, I actually felt like just going home after I reveresed out of the library. So happy that I pushed through the day! So happy that I didn’t miss out on his joy.
I took my phone out and tried to capture the brillance of today. The pure joy that came with giving up my plans, my frustrations. Not every day can I let the embarassment go, not everyday can I pick up my failed plans and move on, but TODAY I did. I want to use this as a reminder of these adventures. My toddler adventure, where my fails turn into success. I’m having faith that days like this will be short. But for now I’m counting it all joy.
Jax had bacon and a cup of rice. A few pear slices. A handful of cheerios. Lastly, a bowl of left over pasta with spinach! It was only 9:30am and he had eaten all of that. I could cry. I literally felt like I wanted to sit and just cry. I know, he ate, something everyone does, but for me, today, I celebrate feeling victorious because tomorrow may be different. Tomorrow he may only want to eat white rice and almonds. To anyone else, this may not be important, but to me, this is something that has been so frustrating. Trying to get Jax to eat food has been my main priority the last several weeks. My main focus somedays is just to have him eat his vegetables, just for him to TRY a little of his dinner.
Doctors, moms, friends, family, they all say “It’ll be OK, wait it out, he will eat when he is ready, don’t worry about it, he is big anyway!” What I would hear is, “Keep going insane.” Then I would get those emails about milestones, you know the ones they send from BabyCenter that track growth, development and send cute things like “What your 2 year old should be doing” or “Foods your 2 year old should be eating,” and I begin feeling like crap all over again. I would read those little blurbs and think, “Well he isn’t doing that, or eating that. Well, I haven’t even thought of that or maybe I can do that better,” until today, today I saw a little email and hit UNSUBSCRIBE.
Let me tell you something. It felt GOOD. It feels freeing. Free from the status quo of motherhood, of parenting, of living in another lane, when this is the lane given to me. I am tired of comparing my child or children for that matter, to what society says they should look like, be like or what they should be doing. Tired of trying to be anything other than who I am as a mother, and some days I am that mother who gives their 2 year old M&M’s because I have tried ALL day to get him to eat a meal. It just so happens that I felt God’s presence so heavy on me as I sat and fed Jax his pasta. (Yes, no worship music or prayer closet, I felt the presence of God right on my couch, with Jurassic World playing in the back ground and Jax chopping away) I felt comforted knowing that I am doing everything I can, that I am using wisdom, that I am researching and meal planning, and because of that I was ready to feed Jax when he was ready to eat. I was prepared.
See, sometimes we miss the planning and preparing of things when we are so caught up in what is not happening in our lives. We are SO overtaken by what everyone else is doing, what people are saying WE should be doing, that we forget to first consult God and second to prepare. To get things in line so that when God moves, we are ready. I took something as little as me having all these foods on hand as being prepared for Jax when he was ready to eat, and today, thank God, was the day he sat down and ate! With God, I am trying to do the same. I am trying to be fully prepare so I won’t miss out on my chance with God, my chance to experience Him fully. I had to unsubscribe to some things causing me to doubt my ability. The very things that were doing harm to me, not helping me prepare for the day when he actually would eat!
For you, what are you subscribing to? Are you subscribing to so many things (people, T.V shows, Bloggers, Authors, etc) that you can’t prepare because of the overwhelming white noise of advertisements and false standards in which you keep entertaining? What is causing so much distraction that you are faithfully unprepared?
This parable came to mind:
Matthew 25 “3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
I challenge you to hit UNSUBSCRIBE. Get prepared and be ready to witness God in whatever your situation may be, large or small (such as Jax eating breakfast).
Yup, we’re all alive.
This is the first summer I didn’t have to find programs for my kids, figure out who would watch them or have to pack them up along with toys, books, and games while they sit in my office as I work 6 to 8 hour days. This summer I look back and find that there was so much that we did and very little of it came from what I actually planned on doing. On most days, the plan was to watch movies and cuddle. For my pre teen, she planned days where we’d make YouTube videos and I was the producer. I learned very quickly that my boys plan was to be left alone with their game system and eat bowls upon bowls of cereal. With that, I also learned that breakfast is an appetizer during the summer and “real” breakfast comes minutes later. So meal planning, was MY plan, daily.
Trips to museums and exploring the city were quickly replaced with trips to our living room where I sat many hours wondering how they were SO happy playing with old toys. I was constantly stepping out of the bedroom wondering how my entire living room was full of blocks which became buildings, eventually becoming a city for Barbie, her friends and all their friends, before 9am. My kids all got new hobbies, compliment of the Olympics. Power walking around our complex, running up and down stairs, running (yes, running) laps from our kitchen to couch, followed by flips and rolls. I’ve cleaned more little cheese puff hand prints this summer than in my entire life span! I’ve run to the store so many times that I began knowing the sales associates days off! I sat many days in my room with the door closed because there was no way to escape the chatter, the screams from pillow fights, wrestling matches and the booms and bangs from the very popular dance classes, courtesy of Comcast.
Days turned into weeks of me waking up and deciding to just “go with the flow” and to let my kids have a choice in what their summer looked like. I would lie in bed thinking “Oh Lord, here we go again. No plans. No controlling the day. Ok.” I’d wake up asking myself “How’d I get here?” “Is it too late for a summer program?” Most of the time though, once I got over the initial shock of “Oh, we’re staying in, again,” the day went by perfectly. Kids were happy, so my attitude would change. My “go with the flow” prayers really worked!
So what did I do this summer, while my friends travelled, worked, went to summer school, while they took fabulous vacations? Well, I took hundreds of pictures, occasionally fed my kids “real” meals, went on walks, talked about everything and anything, played games, was an actor and pretend judge on their “Chopped episode. I helped my daughter apply for a scholarship, bonded with my middle child who sometimes I forget needs “Mom time.” I talked to kindergartner about school and assured her she’ll make friends. I read to my toddler so much that he reads along with me! Oh and I sat alone for hours, somedays. (yup, hours!) They were so caught up in hanging out in their room together that they wouldn’t come out.
As summer began to come to a close, I realized that I hadn’t gone insane! I survived weeks upon weeks at home with kids. It was a worry of mine that at least one child would have offered their opinion on if I should go back to work, with my luck, none of that happened! (They like me, they actually like me)
I challenged my self to let go of controlling everything (and everyone) and in return I found joy and peace in mist of chaos. Funny how that worked! My task was making it through summer and I accomplished so much more, I lived and made memories. What’s your task? What’s something that you can challenge yourself to get through, to overcome? I challenge you to overcome it, get through it, to face it, to survive it.
13 For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13
My daughter who is 4 requires much grace. Thankful that God had given me the name Kailah Grace, because every time I say her name, I am always reminded of His grace. This week was challenging because Kailah Grace has started associating things that doesn’t go her way as me being a “Mean mom” and when things go her way, a “Nice mom.” How convenient.
I ignored it last week when we were at Target when she was so upset that she couldn’t buy all the cookies, literally every cookie we walked by she wanted. She said, “When I am a mom, I will give my kids all the cookies they want, like a nice mom.” And Tuesday when I was “SO mean” because I told her it was quiet time (a time that we have EVERYDAY) and she needed to read a book or relax in her room while watching a movie. But on Wednesday, as the week progressed and got more and more overwhelming, as we finally got out of the house for our weekly walk (after chasing Jax, who at 19 months has figured out that diaper changes are way more fun when he runs away from me, the pressure of being a “nice mom” was getting to me. The pressures, that I mostly put on myself to be everything to each. one. of. my. kids. was starting to GET to me. Four kids, being everything to each of them was starting to rise around me like water…Drowning me.
Kailah said, “You’re a nice mom.” I literally lost it in the field of grass and flowers, the evidence that spring is here. When we were suppose to be enjoying our walk, enjoying looking at the flowers, when I was letting my mind focus on the endless water that surrounds our view. I lost it- my patience, the self control I had, my ability to not raise my voice at my 4 year old!
“You know Kailah Grace, I don’t care anymore. I don’t care if I am a nice mom or a mean mom. I don’t care. I am here, just being YOU’RE mom. I am getting by daily. So stop it with the mean and nice mom. We are winging it. I am winging it. Somedays you’ll be happy. Somedays you won’t. Its life. Its not mean or nice. It is what it is.”
I shut her down. She was so confused. We walked in silence. She walked, trying to wonder why mom was so upset about being called “nice”. I walked fuming that I had raised my voice at her, my 4 year old who was just happy today. Trying not to cry, I walked realizing two things : One, I needed to apologize for being so harsh. Two, I needed to stop feeling guilty about this mom thing.
This #momlife is real. It’s corners us, smacks us in the face and literally takes over our minds. It encapsulates us with all this information and gives us this box with all these choices, with an audience of critics and judges to condemn us. Organic, GMO’s, food additives, T.V time vs no T.V time, Breastmilk vs forumla, sleep training vs crying it out, staying home vs working, us moms have the hardest job at trying to be it all, to know it all, and do it all. We make some of the hardest choices and hope, like really hope, pray and cry that it’s right. We (or maybe just I) sit up at night thinking “Am I doing this mom thing right.” “I could have done that better today.” “Oh man I wish I didn’t say that.” It’s the rising of the water. The anxiety of it all being out of my control…trying to keep my head above it.
So in the field, I got down to her level. I looked her dead in the eye and said “Mommy is sorry. I love you and I hear your words. Today I made you happy and I am a nice mom. Tomorrow I will try to make you just as happy, but if I don’t, know I love you.” Then we kept on walking and enjoyed our snack overlooking the water.
Be assured that you can control the pressures in your life. You have to look it straight in the face and conquer it. Be honest about it and know that you can do this, whatever “this” is to you.