Great Moms
Mom of Boys, Mother's Day, Motherhood, parenting

To The Great Mom Who Doesn’t Feel So Great

Before I became a mom, I never really understood what being a mom meant; because honestly, how can we? We grow up watching our mothers be moms and making it look easy…and I guess we just think it all snaps into place the second we give birth or adopt. But I don’t think that’s how it works. At least, it didn’t for me.

Sure, some of it is natural, but a whole lot more of it is learned; and I wish I had known that from the beginning. I think I would have cried far fewer tears and felt a lot less guilt.

But there is one thing we don’t have to learn as moms, and that is how to love.

I will never forget the time I was playing for a softball team in Chattanooga, TN, when I was 7 or 8 years old. We didn’t have much money at the time since my mom was a single mother & a Christian school teacher who made very little, but she always made sure I was able to take part in extra activities even though I’m not quite sure how she did it.

One particular day, we were playing at a ballpark that required her to pay to enter and watch. Not having the extra money to spare, she dropped me off at the gate; and instead of entering, she sat outside the fence surrounding the outfield watching from a blanket under a tree. I’m sure she never gave it a second thought and probably has long since forgotten, but the memory has stuck with me even after all of these years. She could have easily gone to the car and waited, ran errands, or gone home. But nothing was going to stop her from being there. Nothing was going to keep her from cheering me on; and believe me, she most certainly did that. I could hear her all the way from home plate.

Did she always do everything right? No, she probably did a lot of things wrong. We all do. And I’m sure there were events she had to miss. The point is that when I think back on my childhood, it’s moments like this that I recall. I remember her being there, loving me, cheering me on no matter what the occasion may be. It wasn’t important how much money we had…or didn’t. It didn’t matter that she was doing it all on her own for a while. She did what counted, and those are the things that stand out in my mind.

Pinterest birthdays and all of the things we think make us good moms? They don’t amount to much in the long run.

It’s the hugs. It’s knowing when to swoop in and save the day and when to let them learn how to do it on their own. It’s the long talks, or just listening, dreaming about the future and all it holds. It’s showing up when it really matters…and sometimes even when it really doesn’t. It’s believing in them, loving them even when they mess up.

Because when it comes down to it and they are old enough to be parents themselves, those are the things they will remember. Those are the things that will matter. And we didn’t have to learn how to do them. We just did them because that’s what moms do.

So the next time you want to beat yourself up because you didn’t check all of the boxes, made a mistake, or even forgot…give yourself a break. Then do something that’s unforgettable. Give your kid a hug and tell them you love them. Listen to them talk about something they think is cool, whether you think it is or not. Be there. Engage. Simply, do something together.

We aren’t going to get everything right all the time, and we certainly can’t kill ourselves trying, but as long as we get some of it right most of the time…that is what they will remember.

I know, because I did.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!!

Kids, Mom of Boys, Mornings, parenting

Mornings Are Hard. Parenting Is Harder.

Have you ever had one of those mornings that grabbed a hold of the song in your heart and every good intention, crammed it down the toilet, threw in a few unmentionables, and flushed…repeatedly…?

Asking for a friend.

No? ok then….

Well, mornings around our house are typically borderline mayhem. People shouting, clothes flying, dog barking…the works. If you happen to be walking past our house, just keep on truckin because there is nothin’ to see here!

Every school year, we vow to be better; and every year, the first week is all cupcakes and daisies then it’s straight downhill from there. And although I consistently try to do everything I can the night before to make things more manageable, it always seems to be next level. It’s a wonder we make it to school on time.

But every now and then, mayhem isn’t good enough.

No…no, we are overachievers and have to amp it up a notch.

Or ten. And by the time we leave for school, the dog is hiding under the bed, somebody is crying (or somebodies), and we’ve made fourteen trips back into the house for things forgotten.

Bless.

Unfortunately, this morning happened to be one of those. The really bad ones. It’s been a while since we’ve gone down that road; and frankly, I thought we were past it. So this one blind-sided me. Threw me for a loop. Drop-kicked my fresh devotions and prayer time right out the window, and I spent the rest of the day trying to climb out of the funk it created.

It all started with an outfit.

Yes, an outfit. Yes, I have boys. Are we sufficiently confused yet? (some of you may remember the last time I wrote about this involved an outfit as well. When Mornings Suck.)

Jesus take the wheel.

But this wasn’t about just any outfit. It’s Spirit Week at school, and I have to say that I like Spirit Week even less as a mom than I did as a teacher. We spend the whole weekend before trying to plan out the attire for each day, and then I try not to spend a million dollars in the process. Hard to do when you have little ones with big ideas, but somehow we managed.

So my 9-year-old had his outfit all set out the night before, ready to go, and he was pumped.

And although he usually struggles with mornings and tends to be a grouch, I was hoping the excitement of Spirit Week would inspire him to be more pleasant. A girl can dream.

BUT…

Nope. Wrong. Not even close.

In fact, it was so bad that I think it wins for the all-time worst. And that’s quite an accomplishment for us.

Mr. Sunshine finally woke up after numerous attempts, copped an attitude because how dare we wake him….and suddenly the outfit wasn’t good enough, he didn’t want to wear it, and threw a fit.

And what did I do?

Of course, I calmly reminded him that….psh…yeah, right.

No, I lost it. For real. Even broke a hairbrush on the bathroom floor. You can judge me now because I deserve it. 

Back and forth we went, a battle of wills, until I finally told him to go change into normal clothes, because I was not going to drop him off at school in tears. (We moms have an image to uphold, you know.)

So here’s the thing. Was he wrong? Yes. Absolutely. And he lost some privileges and earned an earlier bedtime as a result. Something I should have done a long time ago.

But I was wrong too. Not only for losing my temper but for letting this morning routine go on for as long as I have.

What you allow will continue.

Rather than nip it in the bud, I have just dealt with it and picked up his slack all in an effort to get out the door and to school on time. Then by the time we return home, I am too tired to rehash the wreckage that was better off left behind. But that’s not fair to anyone, including him.

So why do I do it? 

Because consistency and enforcement is hard work. But if you think about it, so is this. We do no favors by being inconsistent. In fact, we create more work for ourselves in the long run and ultimately produce children who cannot face real life.

Contrary to what we may feel at times, children crave boundaries and consistency. There have to be consequences for their actions, even if it inconveniences us at the time. This creates a secure environment in which they know what to expect.

And if we are honest with ourselves, we already know this deep down inside.

Hey, tired & stressed out mama. I see you. I hear you. I AM you.

Being a parent is hard. There is no greater challenge and no greater blessing than being a mom.

We are going to mess up. A lot.

We are going to yell, and cry, and sometimes break hairbrushes.

We are going to ask forgiveness…from our children and from God. Many times over.

But we are going to be blessed for our faithfulness. 

We are going to be rewarded for our consistency.

We are going to be loved by our children in spite of it all.

So hang in there. Don’t give up. Keep being consistent. Don’t be their “friend.” Know when to give tough love and when to extend grace. Surround yourself with mamas both in your season and in the season ahead of you. Learn, read, ask questions, PRAY. Be willing to admit when you get it wrong and celebrate when you get it right.

We are all in this thing together, my friends. So just keep swimming.

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”  ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭

Monday: Before healthy boundaries. (The outfit that launched a thousand tears.)

Wednesday: After healthy boundaries.

Now to keep it going. 

We can do this.

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