I wrote this a few years ago … and as I was rereading it, I was weirdly blessed by it (I promise I’m not narcissistic). It was just kinda fun to go back down memory lane. So I hope you enjoy this little blast from the past!
I was texting a sweet friend of mine yesterday, and we were discussing kids (seriously though — is that all I talk about these days?). We each have a few. And she told me that she would love to have another baby, it’s just that some days she feels so much like a “momster” she’s not sure she should. Then she asked me if I ever feel that way. Y’all, I just laughed. Errrrrrrday. For instance, I just lost it on my 4-year-old and started yelling, “STOP IT!” because she was crying and carrying on a little bit too much for my fancy as I was putting her down for a nap. Never mind that she had been to three church services this weekend and missed her nap yesterday and was out all morning with me shopping. Never mind that. I just got frustrated that I had to deal with a weepy little thing when I felt exhausted myself. And I yelled. And then my heart broke. And a little voice started whispering that I was going to ruin her and that I’m the worst. You guys, I have a terrible time telling that voice to shove it. But I need to!
Here’s what I think. …
If we truly LOVE Jesus, then we will love our kids deeply. That’s what 1 John 4 is all about. The overflow of our love for Jesus spills out onto other people. And if we truly KNOW Jesus, then we also know that we are just stewards of our children. They are actually Jesus’s. He specifically chose you and me for the kids we have because He knew we would be the best equipped to care for them. Let that sink in. I don’t have your kids because I wouldn’t be the best mom for them. And you don’t have my kids for the same reason. Wild. It’s like He’s sovereign or something (I write that sarcastically, of course). The Psalms say that our heavenly Father also knows we are completely human, and more often than not we are going to get it wrong. And this is the part that’s the most strangely comforting to me: I truly believe that Jesus will fill in the gaps, however gaping they may be. And that doesn’t mean I cop out. Nope. I do what I can to the best of my ability and then I trust Him to flow the grace over what I get wrong.
I love Psalm 4:5 (ESV): “Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.” I do what I know is right and what I know He’s called me to. And then I trust Him. I trust Him that He will finish the good work He’s started in my life and in my kids’ life. I’m not going to get it right all the time. More often than not, I’m going to give my kids a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal after a morning of TV so I can make some phone calls and a day of running errands all afternoon with no naps and forget to brush their teeth for the third day in a row just to get them to bed somewhat on time with very little crying (from me of course).
So here’s a thought for us young mommas:
Don’t fret the small stuff. If you need to eat out and order in more often than not during certain seasons, y’all, just go with it. I don’t think there is any reason whatsoever to feel like a failure. We have three under 4,and there are stretches of time where home-cooked meals at a certain time just aren’t feasible. But you know what? Our kids love to eat out! And we love to invite their grandparents to join us. We’ve just started a “No Phone Till After the Meal” policy so we get some time to be together. I’m not dismissing the importance of mealtime. Especially as your kids grow up. I’m just saying that we tend to put unrealistic expectations on ourselves, and in the attempt of trying to create the most perfect family times, we run ourselves ragged and are spent and unable to truly enjoy our time together.
Don’t get so caught up in what needs done that you forget who you are doing it for. We try to carve out 15 minutes of alone time with each of the kids every day. It doesn’t always happen. Sometimes it’s more. Sometimes it’s less. But it’s a goal that keeps us accountable and forces us to slow down. I’m a task-oriented person so adding this to my to-do list may sound cold. But it’s honestly a great way to make sure I stop and BE WITH my kids.
Take a break from social media. Really, does this need an explanation? And here’s another thought: Be real about what you post. And maybe use some discretion? Sometimes, we have an awesome day and I just choose not to post about it. Why, you ask? Because this awesome day was sandwiched between two horrible days that I also didn’t post. And when you scroll through my feed, if all you see is the awesome day in the midst of your horrible day, well, how are you going to feel? So, that’s why. I think we need to keep each other in mind. And just remember, the grass always looks greener on the other side. Doesn’t mean there aren’t anthills.
Take a break from the books. I love reading. And I read 38403820394 books before Brooke was born. And they were helpful. But then they started getting in my head and messing with me and making me feel like a failure. We need guidance. We need wisdom. But every once in a while, we also need to trust the God-given instincts He’s given us and take a deep breath and rest.
Get into counseling. We went through one of the toughest seasons we have ever had with Brooke after Braxton was born. We were honestly at a loss. So we got our butts into counseling. And oh my gosh, you guys. It was so helpful! The counselor met us right where we were and gave us some incredible, practical things to do. We’ve weathered the storm and are on the other side of it. But we have realized how smart Brooke is (she can process things faster intellectually than she can emotionally, which can cause some crazy outbursts). All our children are unique. And some are a little more difficult to deal with than others. NEVER EVER be ashamed to seek professional help. Don’t be embarrassed. Realize that most of the baggage you have is from someone who didn’t quite know how to reach you where you were and help you. What if we could do that for our children? Why wouldn’t we?
Take a nap.
Make some time for yourself.
Get some exercise.
Get in the Word. Y’all, this is the hardest for me. I have battled with guilt for a few years over this. My husband and I were talking about it, and he challenged me to read the verse of the day from YouVersion every morning and then to pray it over my heart. That seemed easy enough. And so I’ve started doing that and it’s made ALL THE DIFFERENCE! I read it, pray it over my heart, and then I actually REMEMBER it because it is one verse. What a blessing this practice has been to me!
Have fun. Remember, you will never ever ever get this time back. So embrace the crazy. Stop caring what everyone else thinks. Stop trying to be in control. Be in the moment.
And older mommas:
Love on us. We need hugs, coffee, chocolate and encouragement. We need you standing on the sidelines cheering us on. We need to know you’ve been there. You get it. We are going to make it. It’s just a season. And that we are doing great! We need your prayers, cards, love. And we need the GOOD stories. Please try never to start a story with, “Just wait till they are …” We don’t need any more anxiety. Give us the “You are going to miss this” stories. Leave us in tears wanting to rush home to hold our babies.
Don’t ever forget. Don’t forget what it’s like to live off three hours of sleep. To have not spoken to an adult for 10 hours. To have a messy house and to be running off caffeine and a stray Cheerio. To struggle through the grocery store with multiple tired, hungry, greedy toddlers. Just please don’t forget. ’Cause we need you in our corner when we feel like the world is staring and judging.
Give us your wisdom. But when the time is right. Some of us feel like failures 95% of the time because we are so tired and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. We want your wisdom. We need your wisdom. But some days we are better at receiving it than others. So just watch and wait. And then give it to us!
Love you all! Remember, as “High School Musical” said it best, “We’re all in this together!” Happy memory making!