I get it right… sometimes

There are people out there that think other people are perfect. They (and I include myself in there) see other people with their lives all together and think to themselves, “They must be perfect.” They try to compare the perfect mom’s kids to their own. They start to wonder why the perfect mom has perfect hair while their hair can never even look combed in comparison.

Well, my confession today (and if you’ve been following, you can find the previous ones here, here, and here) is that there are days I actually do things right. In a world where Moms just have to speak negatively about themselves, this is a big deal. I’m not saying I’m perfect, I’m just saying there are days when I wake with a good attitude, I get my shower in, I teach the kids (ALL of them), no one goes bizerk, I stay calm, I get my housework done, I get my check list done… and I get to bed on time. It’s a miracle, it’s rare, and it’s WONDERFUL. We don’t like to share these kinds of accomplishments because other moms feel judged by our boast. They feel like you are telling them they don’t measure up. And that’s just the wrong way to think about it. The Bible says to rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn. Never rejoice as someone else is crying over the horrible day they had. But it’s okay to thank God for giving you a great day.

This was NOT one of those “just right” days. I tried forever to get a group shot, and settled for one where it only appeared that the baby was smiling… he’s not, he’s VERY upset! But, hey, I look like I have it all together, don’t I? 🙂

Lesson Learned? Not to boast in myself, but in the Lord. Those days where I felt I finally did it all right that day (not saying I was sinless, I’m saying I did a good job being a mommy) Are the days I started with a devotion, I started praying before planning. They are the days I gave over to God instead of waking up saying, “TODAY I CONQUER THE WORLD”. These are the days where I took deep breaths instead of took deep offenses. I spoke blessings over my kids instead of overflowing negativity. The days where I felt I did okay are days I only cared how God saw me, not how the mother next door viewed my parenting. It didn’t mean my hair was perfect, or that my clothes were designer, it didn’t equate to having the perfect combination of vitamins to minerals, but the right amount of me with an over abundance of God. I look back to these days to remind me that it is possible, that God does desire for me to succeed. And if I include Him in each aspect of my day, I have a better chance of getting it right. I learn from my mistakes, but I also learn from what went right. And on these days when things go just right, take note and try to do it again. It’s my motivation on my very very bad days when nothing seems to go right.


When is full too full? Another confession…

I’m doing a number of Mommy confessions over the next few days, if you’d like to read the previous ones, go here. Today’s is pretty bad… 😉

I remember when I had my first child, my husband’s sister would come over to babysit, or to just visit and she’s pick up my little one and say, “I think he peed.” I’d reply with, “Oh, I just changed him 10 minutes ago, he’s fine.” She looked at me like I was SO disgusting. I swear she had a nose of a prime hunting dog. We would change him every 2 hours unless there was a real mess in there. (Plus, the diapers draw moisture away, he didn’t feel it, and let’s face it, DIAPERS ARE EXPENSIVE).  So, I’d love to stop here and tell you that my confession is that I didn’t change my kids diapers every time they peed, but it gets worse!

Confession #3… There are times, multiple times to be more accurate that my husband (I’m including him in this one!) and I would just plain forget to change diapers and they would actually bulge, sag, and even at times explode. Most of the time it was when I thought he did the changes, he thought I did.. and there were other times with the last couple of kiddos that I simply forgot. I missed them at the one diaper change, and then totally forget the next time… either way, they would explode leaving little diaper crystals all over. Unfortunately there were times with #3 when I’d see those little crystals and wonder, “What is that” way before it actually dawned on me that I hadn’t changed her diaper yet for the day… at 10:30am! Poor babies… Poor, poor babies!

Lesson Learned? They lived! life went on, they never even complained, and I tried to do better for the rest of the day. Things happen, mom’s forget, and we move on. There is no need to dwell on minor mistakes. Diapers are made to be changed. Change them… but if you forget, laugh it off and do better next time.

This “anonymous” child, although fully potty trained now, has had the most over full diapers. I guess it’s easy to let #3 slip. Or maybe it’s because she’s the most active.

Confessions of a “Cry it out” Momma

This is part 2 of my “confessions” blogs. To see yesterday’s click here.As a new mom, people give all kinds of advice. I was told with my first that he was hungry EVERY TIME he cried. Even if he had just eaten an entire meal, if he was fussy, everyone said he was hungry. With my 2nd, I was told she’d sleep better if I held her more during the day. The more I held her, the more she wanted to be held. With the 3rd, I got no advice, because, well, in everyone elses mind (nurses included) a 3rd time mom must know EVERYTHING (and they don’t… or may have forgotten, or may even have a child completely differently than the previous 2!). And here I am with my 4th and I am still asking advice. (we’ll get to that confession on another day).

I am not planning on having anymore kids, so this 4th one is my last. I love that he snuggles and I soak in every bit. Sometimes to a fault. My confession… I rocked my 13 month old COMPLETELY to sleep! No sleep training. If he cried when I laid him down, I snatched him back up, and rocked him again. He wasn’t an “Up-all-night” kind of kid, but then again, he didn’t sleep through the night until 11 months old, either. But, I just couldn’t bring myself to letting him cry it out. I tried once. I let him cry 20 min, then went in rubbed his back, told him I loved him, and he’d still scream for 20 more minutes. This went on for 2 hours while I sat outside his room and cried. I prayed about this “CIO” method (cry it out) and realized he just wasn’t ready for this. Or maybe I wasn’t. Who knows, I just know it didn’t feel right. He needed that extra touch. He needed that extra snuggle. And he wasn’t calming down. This method just wasn’t for us. I did let my 2nd cry it out (had to when she reached the 18 times a night wake up quota), and I even had no problem letting my 3rd cry in the night until she went back to sleep. But this little one was a different child. HE  wasn’t ready for it, I wasn’t ready for it, it didn’t fit our family.

The lesson? Not every child has to be raised the exact same. Each child is different, Family dynamics are different as you add kids to the family unit. Every technique does not work on every child… and when they do, they do in their own time. Now that the baby is older, I tried it again, knowing that I didn’t have to commit to it indefinitely. This time, it took 20 minutes the first time, 10 the next. That’s the way it should work, not 2 hours worth of crying. I feel better about it, and I know he’s fine. Sometimes we, moms, just have to go with what we know our kids need instead of sticking to a technique that works for everyone else when it’s not working for us.

Mini-confession: I still rock this cutie patutie for at least 15 min before putting him down awake, and I will for as long as he will let me!


I confess!

My friend, Jenn, has been posting her Mommy Confessions on her facebook for the past 10 days or so. I love them so much that I decided to steal her idea. Jenn is a mom who I’ve always looked up to. Her 3 girls are very well behaved, even tempered, and fun, and since Jenn is a veteran, I enjoy seeing that she isn’t a “by the book” kind of mom either.

I do read a lot about parenting. But I disagree with probably 1/2 of it all, the other half I piece together and adapt to fit my kids. I have learned that every child is different, and that every discipline is not equal. I could make a list a mile long of confessions, of things I’ve tried that have had horrible results, or things I should try, but just don’t want to. I’ve finally reached a point where I feel some what confident that I am a good mom (that comes and goes some day). So I don’t really CARE if people judge… I’m still mothering, still raising, still have challenges, but right now I feel confident enough to share some Mommy confessions… Are you ready?

Confession #1.

I’ll start with a big one… I have once stood in my kitchen and screamed at my 3 month old, who was back in her bedroom, “SHUT UP!!!” It sounds worse than it is… well, no, I guess shouting, SHUT UP at anyone is bad. She was safe in her bed, I was a few rooms away making her a bottle at 4:30 in the morning. She was up for the 18th time that night. Oh, and I do exagerate on occasion… this is not one of those occasions. Night after night she was waking multiple times, so this particular night I started counting how many times I was awakened by this tiny baby. this was the EIGHTEENTH time. I was exhausted,(the night before had a count of over 10)..

My husband asked me when I returned to bed, “Did you just tell our baby to shut up?” I laughed a tad and went back to sleep. I’ve heard people say, “I didn’t mind getting up with the babies in the night, it gave me time to cuddle.” yea, I would much prefer to cuddle during the day, a well rested day. To tell the truth, I really don’t mind getting up ONCE. And I do enjoy that sweet encounter… ONCE. 18 times just must be my breaking point.

Lesson learned? Ask your husband for help. (or accept it when he offers). I was plagued by a husband who had just started a new job, and a child who needed to be held ALL.THE.TIME. At one point my husband said in a sleepy haze at 2am, “I don’t want anymore kids.” This was my 2nd child and I really wanted more, so I would go get her at the first little wimper so he would never hear her. MISTAKE! He was a reasonable man, I needed his help. Looking back I would have let her wimper more, asked him to at least take 4 of the 18 night calls, or maybe would have even brought her to bed with me instead of standing my ground so firmly until I broke down. But I definately needed my husband’s help, and he would have been gracious enough to give it. And he would have just gotten over it!ImageShe still wakes up in the night, but I’m calm and sweet with her, and she is independent enough to do things on her own. And we went on to have two more beauties! We all survived… and she doesn’t even know what I would scream at her way back when…

I’m so tired of myself.

I recently read a book called Simply Jesus by Joe Stowell. It was a simple read, had simple concepts, but made a HUGE impact on  my life. I’ve lived many years in ministry feeling frustrated with all I’ve done behind the scenes only to be treated disrespectfully or as if I was a “no one” in church. I’m sad to see that most pastor’s wives feel this way. They spend so much time praying, supporting, working when no one sees, yet they get most the complaints, most of the disgruntaled phone calls, and the most criticism. Yet, in the grand scheme of things, its not about me! It’s not about all I do, or all I pray, or all I endure. My role in my husband’s ministry is not to get the highest praise, the most appreciation. I don’t spend time on my knees, or my quiet time making phone calls, or the hours I spend behind closed doors so that my congregation ooohs and ahhs, or so they hold me high… My job as God called me into ministry is to put HIM first. And to take it all to HIM, good or bad. I’m tired of myself. I just simply want Jesus.

“Jesus intends for you to experience the pleasure and reassuring peace of His presence at the core of your life. He wants to be more than just another volume in your encyclopedia of Biblical facts. He didn’t die for you to simple strike a deal guaranteeing heaven. He died for you to make you His own and to grant you the unspeakable privilege of experiencing Him personally.” And Simply Jesus by Joe Stowell tries to show you how to get to the point of experiencing just that. Stowell puts things in simple facts drawing you to realize things you maybe already knew, but never really applied to your life. Putting Jesus first may be a known concept, but we rarely do it. In this book Stowell gives ways to meet Jesus in a real way so that we want to put Jesus in front of ourselves.
“It’s time to stop rejoicing in ourselves and start rejoicing in Jesus.” The world tells us to pamper ourselves, to puff out our chest, to toot our own horn. But in reality, we are nothing without Christ. And it’s actually freeing to put Christ first. Simply Jesus helps put that all in perspective. It takes us on a journey through Joe Stowell’s experiences, and stories to bring us to a point where we can and WANT to make changes in our lives to start putting Him ahead of ourselves.  It’s freeing to not have to worry about being recognized, affirmed, or appreciated. Our egos feel they need to be stroked on a regular basis, but when we praise Jesus for all we have, for all we get to do, for the wisdom He gives us, the joy is unspeakable. There is FAR more to brag about in Him than the best of what any of us could ever hope to accomplish.
Simply Jesus by Joe Stowall is written in a very simple, easy to read way. I highlighted so much as each page jumped out and gave me those “a ha” moments. I highly recommend this read for everyone. Even when we don’t think we focus on ourselves, there are times when we aren’t focusing on Him. Since reading this book, I’m living more aware of where I put my focus. And for me, I simply want Jesus. Great read, can’t wait to have my husband read it as well so we can help each other in making changes in our “ME” world and make it our “Jesus” world.

If you’d like to read this book, I’d be interested in discussing it with you. You can get it here.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I don’t feel like I’ve made lots of MAJOR decisions in my life with much angst. I mean, I knew what I wanted to do in college, went to where I could afford. I prayed hard about the man I would marry, when I met Dave, it was not much of a hard decision, more of a no brainer… and a GREAT choice!

Then I had kids. Decisions, decisions, decisions! Bottle feed, or breastfeed? Sleep train or let them decide the schedule? Daycare or stay home? The decisions were happening on a regular basis. I found when I became a mother, my prayer life improved drastically. However, for me, nothing was more grueling than making the decision to home school or not.

I’d always wanted to, but when I was actually at the point where I had to decide, I went back and forth. I was terrified I’d be a horrible teacher, that they’d not learn anything. That I wasn’t smart enough to teach them. That it really wasn’t the BEST choice of education. I agonized over the decision. I researched, I prayed, I questioned, I cried! One week I’d say to myself, “They’ll be homeschooled”. I’d maul over that for a bit. Think of everything that could go wrong (the list was long), pray over each one, sit in a puddle of terrified tears, then say, “I’m committed to one year, then I can change my mind.” The next week I’d say to myself, “They’ll go to the public school”. I tried to live with this decision for the week. I thought of all that I didn’t like about it, all I did (having a little less chaos is a plus).  And I prayed… I walked up the street stared at the school building and prayed… The decision was made. My life would never be the same. I was going to be a home school mom. The weight was lifted, the decision was made.  This does not mean i was not still fearful. But I KNEW that I was to make this choice for my family. (Dave was involved in all of this!). I still was not done praying. I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to teach them how to read, how to add, to subtract, to be social. I knew I could just learn science and social studies right along with them, but reading was fundamental and HAD to be taught to ensure a good education.

I read every book I had on the subject (I did go to school to be a teacher). I prayed, I stayed committed to my decision and we pressed on. This morning my son, my first home schooler, who is in 2nd grade, read me a chapter from a 4th grade reading book. He did not struggle through even one word. He read with such great inflection, drama, and enthusiasm. He acted out parts as he read and when he finished his chapter, he begged to read one more!

When my daughter was 4 she sat with her brother at the home school table and did things right along with him. Many times answering the math problems before him. I had to decide whether to begin Kindergarten with her a year early, or hold her back until she was 5. I prayed, sought advice from many… teachers, home schoolers, family members… but when I prayed God made it clear to me that my committment to homeschooling was a long-term committment and grade levels weren’t as important as education. She had a rocky start, at the midway point I thought maybe she’d redo the Kindy work, but then things just clicked and she was clearly grasping every concept her brother had done the year before. Today, sitting next to me a young 1st grader (still only 5) she read to me a book considered at the end of 2nd grade level. She struggles with wanting to read quickly, so she skips over words, but has learned to go back and reread until it makes sense. She reads most of the time, knows how to find her favorite books in the library, and has made great friends with the head librarian (her social skills at work!). I no longer even question whether I’ve made the right decision for my family. We have our struggles, but I am confident we’ll overcome them!

I share all this to say, decisions can be a hard time in life. We all have to make them… but when God is in the equation, He will guide you. And once you’ve committed to following the decision God wants you to make, the rewards are too numerous to count! There is nothing more joyous as knowing you’ve made the right choice. And then to sit back and let God bless you for obeying Him. I’m not saying Homeschooling is all rainbows and white shimmery linen (one of my happy thoughts), it has some MASSIVE stresses, and frustrations (try teaching a distracted boy how to multiply while the 2-year-old pours a box of cereal all over the floor, and your 1-year-old is screaming because he’s not getting every bit of mom’s attention… oh and there’s that other kid that excels at math and makes sure her big brother knows it!!!) But I know at the end of the day, that I’m right where God needs me to be. The frustrations, stresses, fears (yes, they are still there) are all ways God points me back to himself. I can’t do any of it alone. And neither can you. Life changing decisions are not only made with God through prayer, but the committment also involves maintaining an active prayer life.

What are you facing today? Are you adding God to the decision-making process? He’ll make all the difference! Can I pray with you? Leave me a message (click on the blue box at the title of this “Decisions, Decisions, Decisions”)