The Dead Sea, Clogged Toilets and a Spelling Bee Champ

Life is full of ups and downs. Dark days and bright spots. Days when you feel alone and like the worst spouse/parent on the planet and days when you feel like it’s all rainbows and green lights.

When I was in the 5th grade I won my school spelling bee. I remember it clearly. The winning word was puce. More importantly, I defeated a 6th grader. That was a big deal. When I went into the school gym later, the kids cheered for me. That was a good day.

Then there was  hard day when someone thoughtlessly made a hurtful comment about one of my kids and their behavior/character. It was unintentional; but I still went into a bathroom stall and cried. I felt like the absolute, worst mom ever. That was a bad day.

Good days, bad days. We all have them. An amazing day can quickly be followed by a day you’d rather just forget

A few months ago, (Though now it seems like forever and a day ago.) The Hubs left on a  a 12 day trip to Israel. (I say two weeks because it’s sounds much more dramatic than 12 days. ) When your other half is gone and you are parenting solo for that long, there is bound to be some bad days.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize him being gone for 2 weeks is a drop in the bucket compared to those moms who are actual single parents. They do it alone day in and day out, every day. How about those military spouses whose partners are gone for months at a time? I am most definitely not you. You guys are amazing. You are strong and brave. My hat goes off to you.

But The Hubs had never been gone this long and definitely not while we had kids.

So as I said, The Hubs spent 2 weeks in Israel. When the opportunity came up several months ago it was a no brainer. Of course he had to go. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

As the trip drew nearer, I began to get more anxious. I  began to second guess my decision. Why am I such an amazing and selfless wife to let him leave me for two weeks with two kids and two dogs?!? Amazing and selfless were his words, not mine. I was not feeling so amazing or selfless, instead I spent the days leading up to his departure fighting back tears.

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//The Kiss Jar. One kiss for each day dad was gone. When the jar was empty,

dad came home//

The first week he was gone was hard. Just hard. It sucked. The calendar was full of commitments I couldn’t change. There was a lot of running around and finding sitters (or arranging drop offs with their Mimi) and just doing things alone. While the busyness of those days made the days go faster, it made for one stressed mama.

And I just missed his face.

Yes, there was a major meltdown (from child and me); the likes of which we hadn’t seen in quite some time. But what pushed me over the edge was the clogged toilet.

First, let me explain to you how often I deep clean my kid’s bathroom. Not often is the correct answer. Admitting that is really gross; but essential to the story. Well, I decided to clean that bathroom top to bottom. I scrubbed that toilet and sanitized every surface in sight. The floor was mopped and sink shiny.

And then one of my kids clogged the toilet.

And then I tried to flush when I should have plunged.

And then the toilet overflowed.

Thankfully most of the nasty stuffed had been flushed; but this murky toilet water gushed all over my newly cleaned floor.

Earlier that day The Hubs had sent me a picture of him floating in the Dead Sea. (Trust me. I see the irony here.) When I stopped to soak in how truly amazing that picture was and what a surreal experience that must be for him, for the first time I felt jealous. Up until that day I had felt nothing but happy for him.

I was holding down the fort and he was floating in the Dead Sea.

I was on my hands and knees cleaning up poo water and he was seeing and experiencing things I would have loved to see and experience.

The next day was church and though it may seem like it can’t get any worse than wading in poo water, it ended up being the worst day yet. I was just having some bad days.

One week down, One more whole, long week to go.

Monday, though, was a good. day. My girl was participating in the Spelling Bee. We had studied hard, she was stepping out of her comfort zone and we were both excited and nervous.

As we went through several rounds of words I thought, “Why are all the third graders such dang good spellers?”

The group started to thin out and it was down to one boy and my girl. At this point I was beyond proud of her. I knew she probably wouldn’t win and I was just giddy she  had made it this far.

Now don’t get me wrong. I believe in my girl 100%; but this other kid was a spelling machine!! Remember Drago from the Rocky movies? He was like the Drago of spelling. He didn’t hesitate. He didn’t pause. Nothing was stopping this guy.

Did I mention I won the spelling bee in the 5th grade? I loved watching these kids spell. There is nothing like a good spelling bee!

There is something so heart filling about seeing your kids work hard at something and succeed, even if it’s not first place.

She got second place. (There was  no stopping Spelling Drago.) We were both so excited. Her huge smile said it all. I think mine was bigger.

My string of bad days melted away. In fact, as The Hubs return came closer, ( I could count the remaining days on one hand) the days slowed down and got better, easier. I thought, “I can do this.”

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So, I took away 2 pretty big lessons from my short stint as a solo parent.

First- If you think marriage is 50/50 you need to redo the math. It’s really 100/100. Sometimes, it may feel off balance like I’m going 30% and he’s doing 70% and vice versa. The Hubs has been very thoughtful and has been trying to “pay me back” for letting him go. And yes, I needed some alone time and I’ve been on a girl’s weekend since then. But marriage isn’t about keeping score or making sure things are even. He went because it was a great opportunity and he would have done the same for me if the tables had been turned. There will be times when he picks up the slack and does more in our partnership and then there will be times when I will do more. That’s called balance.

Second- I realized how I need to get away and recharge a little more. There are times when “Me Time” seems virtually non-existent. There is nothing like spending 2 weeks without a break to realize that taking some time out for yourself each week (or even each day) is not too much to ask. In fact, it’s essential. I would take time for myself and then feel guilty that I had been gone from the house for too long.

If there is something that brings you joy and fills your bucket, then do it. I’m trying to do that more. What can I give my family if my own bucket is empty?

I feared my post would come off whiny and complaining because yes, we all have bad days and we deal with it. I’m not the only one with kids who melt down, toilets that overflow or have to do bedtime alone.

I guess that’s the point, though. You aren’t alone. If you are having a really bad day or a never- ending string of bad days, you aren’t the only one. There’s another mom out there who is cleaning up poo water, too. It might just be me.

 

 

 

 

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Flabby Arms and Taco Salad

Ok, truth here. My first couple weeks of 2017 were not my favorite. I felt tired, impatient, was dragging my feet to start school with the kids, and feeling a general malaise.

There was non-stop rain. Kids and pups had been underfoot 24/7. My patience wore thin.

And then people started to get sick. Blurg!

The whole family, but especially The Hubs and I, had started a plan to eat better. We’d begun to cut out sugar, carbs and soda (Soda gets it’s own category because we are kind of addicted to Pepsi and Mountain Dew.) So my body pretty much revolted against me because I refused to give it all the things it was craving.

I had not been crushing my New Year’s goals like I envisioned. (Good thing it’s only January. There’s time to turn things around, right?)

I wish I was a glass half- full kind of girl. I tend to lean towards the half-empty crowd. I’m working on that. As I said in my previous post, God and I are working on the Worrier that is me!

As you can see, I was already in a funk. I was a prime candidate for negative thoughts and worry to take root.

But one night, a couple of weeks into the new year, God taught me a great lesson about Worry and how our thoughts are so powerful. And it all happened during the 5 minutes it took to brown hamburger meat for a taco salad.

I usually crave a quiet house because I hardly ever have one. Completing thoughts just isn’t a regular occurrence these days. I’m often grasping for simple words like “knife” and “shoe.” I just end up calling everything a “thingie” and somehow the kids and The Hubs know what I’m talking about.

But sometimes, when I do get those quiets moments, they lead to no good. You know those moments. The ones in the shower (That’s where all my most brilliant and worst thoughts occur.) or while I’m folding clothes in the garage. (And no one has figured out where I am yet.) That night my quiet moment happened while I was browning meat for taco salad.

Everyone was occupied (H had fallen asleep on the couch.) and I was happily standing at the stove browning away. As I vigorously whisked my wooden spoon, I noticed how much my arm flesh jiggled. I was taken aback and little disgusted.

“Geeze, my arms are jiggly. I really need to work on that.” Note to Self. “I’m just barely getting started on this healthy eating thing and now I have to work in an arm workout?!?  I can’t even remember the last time I walked around the block. Ugh…. I have so much to do to get healthier!! I’m never going to be able to do this.”

See what I did there? My thoughts spiraled into that deep, dark, defeated place in about 30 seconds.

I then whispered to myself, “Take it one day at a time. One meal at a time. Forget the jiggly arms, for now.”

But it didn’t end with the Jiggly Arms. Then my mind jumped to Little H.

He’d been having a tough time in Sunday School the past couple of weeks. This is not our first rodeo in having “tough days”. We’ve  had lots of “tough days” at Sunday School, Awanas, Target, you name it. But he’d been doing so much better at church. Our first week back at our church’s weekly club for kids (Awanas) was that night.

Inner monologue number two.

“What is going on now? Why won’t he just listen? We are going back to Awanas for the first time after a long break. Maybe I should talk to his teacher and let her know he’s been struggling. He’s been so tired and taking extra naps lately. Is he growing? Is he coming down with something? Should I give the teachers a heads up?”

This is 4 min. and 30 seconds into browning the meat.

I had a choice at that moment: To let the worry take over and try to fix things myself (Just like I had a choice to let the negative thoughts about my arm flesh discourage me from my eating plan.) or to not worry and take things as they came.

Don’t borrow tomorrow’s worry.

Don’t go down that road of “The Worst Is Bound To Happen.”

Maybe H will have a bad night. But maybe he won’t!

I commanded my thoughts to not assume the worst. Yes, I said Commanded. I told the Worrier in me to not try to fix something that hadn’t even broken yet.

I decided to not jump in and talk to his teacher. I just prayed that God would give him a great night or give The Hubs and I wisdom if he didn’t.

The meat was browned at this point and I was adding in the seasoning. I began to set the table and The Hubs gently woke up H and called Lily to dinner.

My mind and my thoughts are the most unruly part of me. They take me from  zero to  freaking out in about 30 seconds.

God has been challenging me to not let worry control me and take me down paths I have no business traveling.

I’m doing a Bible study called Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. She talks about taking our thoughts captive. This is a proactive word- Captive. I am going after  and chasing down those unruly thoughts and putting them in their place. It takes effort. It takes work. And more often than not, I fail. But God is so good and His Word is so powerful.  It tells me to focus on what is true.

Philippians 4:8 Finally Brethren, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.

When I read this verse and then actually started to do what it said, I began to experience little victories in this struggle with worry. Most of what I fret over is not true and it’s definitely not lovely. And it wasn’t until I started doing this Bible study and really started to pay attention to my thoughts that I realized how much worry overwhelmed me. I’m an internalizer- big time. It so easy for me to pack those fears quietly down within me without even realizing I am doing it. I know I have so far to go; so I have to read and meditate on this verse often.

But that is how powerful God’s Word is. It sheds light on the dark places and gives us a way to be victorious, to make the right choices.

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You may ask, you got all this while standing at your stove for 5 minutes?? Well, the mind is a powerful thing!

And while my arms are still jiggling away, H did just fine that night at Awanas. He’s still five and  can give Tigger a run for his money. But he did just fine.

 

 

Notches in My Mommy Belt:: The Nine Inch Haircut

So, if you want the gist of this post in one sentence, here it is: Mamas, get in the habit of counting your victories, big or small, instead of always focusing on your failures.

Ok, technically you can stop reading because that’s what this whole post is about. But, you may want to read about how after months and months of asking I finally let my daughter get 9 inches of her hair cut off last week. I thought so. Read on.

There are two things, well actually there are several, that no one tells you when you have a baby and become a parent.

One is that letting those once little, helpless, needy people start to grow up and do things independently is hard.

Hard. Nerve wracking. And full of second guessing. It starts off with little things (Which is where I’m at right now.) like spending time at a friend’s house without you being there, driving in someone else’s car, and the first sleep over.  Before you know it, they are operating dangerous vehicles (driving) and kissing boys on the mouth (Not until she gets married I hope.)!

Second is that everyone tells you what a great mom you’ll be. Yet, you spend so much time feeling like MOM FAIL should be permanently stamped across your forehead.

I get it. I’m in the trenches of parenting right now. Half the time I have no clue what I’m doing. I ask God for wisdom. I pray and seek the advice of wiser women than me. I do  A and B and then my kid does Z, not C. He (or she) does not fit the mold. I feel like I fall short, so short.

I’m here to tell you and really myself: Failing is part of the deal. Though, you are probably not doing as bad you think you are doing. (Moms, we can be the hardest on ourselves.) But failure is going to happen, so you have to take and celebrate those parenting victories when they come.

Parenting is all about getting to the heart of your child. And thankfully, I don’t have to wonder if that is a good parenting strategy or not. (“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). ) Every child is different and the journey to get to their hearts is going to be different. God is faithful and when I’ve done what I know to be right as a parent and it doesn’t work, He picks me up and we try again. And when I haven’t done right by my kids and have not done what is best, He picks me up and we try again.

So when those parenting victories do come, celebrate them! And here’s my little victory.

Lulu has been asking, no begging, me to let her cut her hair short. Kit short. (American Girl doll reference.) This has been going on for more than 6 months.

At first it was an adamant, “No. Your long, beautiful, blonde hair? I don’t think so.”

After awhile it became, “When you’re older.”

Then eight came along and it seemed as if older had just parked itself in my driveway and was laying on the horn.

There is so much my daughter cannot do on her own. She’s eight! There are many decisions she is not ready to make without our parental help. But where does the independence start? I can’t let all 5 fingers of my grip on her relax when she turns 18, all at once.

It was once described to me (by parents older and wiser) that it starts with a finger. Just one. We let part of our grip go. Finger by finger, over the years, we slowly ease our hold until we let go completely and they fly on their own.

This hair cut was my pinky relaxing.

I chided myself a bit. “Jen, it’s hair. It’s just hair!”

The haircut wasn’t a bad idea; it just wasn’t my preference.

As Lil sat in the chair at Christi’s that day, I’ve never seen her so excited. My heart skipped a beat (for real) with the first chop. “This is really happening!” She gushed.

Christi cut off 9 inches of beautiful, blonde locks and is donating it to Locks of Love.

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It made Lulu so happy that she was bubbling over and she looked adorable. I immediately said, “Oh, we should have done this months ago.” I can admit when I’m wrong.

I relayed this story to another mom in my church whose kids are grown. She has such wisdom and I do look up to her. She said to me, “Good job, Jen. That’s a notch in your mommy belt.”

She might as well have given me an A+ at the top of my paper with a shiny sticker. Her simple words of encouragement made me feel so good. It was a victory and someone else had noticed. I hadn’t thought of it in that way until she said those words.

So let me be that mom for you. Think about something you’ve done well as a mama this past week. Now, put a little notch in your mommy belt and let me tell you, “Good Job!”

You can do this. And do you know why? God knew that no one could be a better mom to your kids than you. We are not perfect; but we are the perfect mamas for our kids.

“The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5).

“The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double- edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

 

 

 

 

 

31 Days To My Best Yes:: Day 20 A Mother’s Guilt

Barley-Sunset

The Hubs was giving me the night off.  Why wasn’t I jumping at the chance? I had been to all of Lily’s practices and the one game she’d had so far. It was the first time my baby was participating in organized sports and I didn’t want to miss a thing. I shouldn’t, right?

Before the season started, our soccer league had put on a special skills “academy” for 5 weeks. This was the last practice  and they were giving AWARDS.  But the Hubs was saying, “Take a couple of hours to yourself. I’ve got this.” But they were giving AWARDS! What kind of mother misses that?

I could have two and a  half hours of aloneness and silence or I could be there to see my daughter receive her first sport’s award. Both were good things.

The season had just begun and I knew there would be a lot more games, a lot more practices,  and in the big scheme of life, a lot more awards. Was I terrible for just wanting to be alone?

When did we moms begin thinking that taking time for ourselves is so bad?? We need it! And desperately! Like a car that needs to be refilled with gas and tuned up from time to time, I need to be refreshed and recharged or I sputter out.

I might have been the only other mom missing these awards out of the hundreds of parents there (And I probably wasn’t.); but that didn’t  make me a bad mom.

I’m so glad that I didn’t let my mother’s guilt keep me from taking a night off. Why? Because I had  the best two hours!

I took our dog, Boomer,  on an hour long walk. Good for him and good for me.

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Something happened on this walk that doesn’t happen very often. I got to think…. actual thoughts. There were a  lot of thoughts, fleshed out and all strung together without interruption. This was a rare event.

I let my eyes take in the beautiful countryside, felt the breeze on my face, my muscles moving. I was in no hurry.

Deep thoughts you didn’t know you had seem to surface when you have the time and space to think, when the white noise that surrounds our everyday is shut out.  We need that. I need that.

I walked past a field that should have been summer green. Instead, because of our dry, drought weather, the bleached grass swayed in the golden field. Too much sun; not enough water.

Yet as the sun shone on that bone dry field, I couldn’t help but think how beautiful it was. I wondered how many times I’d driven past this field in my distracted busyness and missed this beauty.

God and I had a great conversation that evening. I always seem to end our really deep conversations like this, “Lord, what’s my purpose? I know it’s to be a godly wife and mom. But what else?”

He reminded me in that gentle, loving way He always does,  “Just do what you are doing now. Walk the dog. Take time time to talk to me. Today you are doing what you are supposed to do and that’s all you need to be concerned about.”

Would going to  my daughter’s event have been a good thing to do? Most definitely. Would cheering her on and supporting her been a good choice? Of course. But that day My Best Yes, was taking taking some time for me, walking my dog, and thinking some thoughts.

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To Mamas of Little Boys:: Don’t Give Up

When I see a well a mannered boy ages 2-5, following closely to their mother’s side, I do a double take. You see my brain just doesn’t comprehend what my eyes see. Did this little fella come out this way? What did you do to get him to be so calm?

Do you see this face? Pure mischief I tell you.

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Is he a bundle of energy? Yes. Times ten!

The other day he threw a 45 minute tantrum. It was all over his blue blanket. A blanket, people!

He did not come out of the womb calm, passive or compliant. Those still aren’t words I would use to describe him now. The love I have for this kid, though, is indescribable. Everyday, he makes me laugh and gives me so much love.

And everyday, for as much joy he gives me, there is a constant battle over who is the boss in the house. He’s determined and stubborn.  I know as frustrating as those qualities are right now; God will use them for Him. The Hubs and I have to be strong, though, and consistent. Sometimes, that is so hard. Okay, a lot of times.

The point of this post is. If you have a wiggly, stubborn, passionate, less than model acting  little boy (or girl) and if this causes you to stress and wring your hands and mutter under your breath to teachers, relatives, or even strangers for what seems the millionth time, “I’m so sorry.” DON’T GIVE UP.

I’m learning so much about the process and progress of parenting. The other day he cleaned up his whole room all by himself. He’s growing up.

God promises to give you wisdom in every situation that comes into your life. He chose you to be  his parent. Not Miss “Has It All Together” down the street or in the pew in front of you.

Be consistent, even when it’s hard. Even if  you feel like you’ve disciplined for the same thing over and over again.

He has the best belly laugh.

He’s so smart. He knows, literally, the name of every ocean animal.

Several times a day he says, “I love you so much, mama.”

He does this funny, awkward dance.

He has eyes are as big as saucers and they just melt me.

He’s such a good cuddler.

He loves his sister. They are best friends.

I love to hear him sing.

He’s starting to say “I’m sorry” on his own (without us prompting) when he’s disobeyed or has had a bad attitude.

His pediatrician always reminds me that while he’s not the size of other kids his age, (Little H was born 10 weeks early and is still small.) on his own personal growth chart he is progressing. He has always grown. He’s never plateaued or gone backwards. He’s always gotten bigger; but at his own pace.

I’m constantly reminded that this parenting thing is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. My kiddos are so different and the Hubs and I need God’s wisdom so desperately to know how to parent them.

If parenting has you stumped, go to Him and cry out to Him. Psalm 143: 7-10 says,

Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails.

Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in you.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God;

may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.

Proverbs chapter 2 is another wonderful chapter on gaining wisdom. Go, read it, now!

Rereading these scriptures have encouraged me and I hope they encourage you.

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The Week I Let Little H Dress Me

So, two weeks ago, Little H dressed me. When I woke up that Monday morning, I had no idea what I would be doing that week. Then The Hubs challenged me. “You should let Henry dress you everyday this week.”

He had seen some post on facebook about a mom letting her 3 year old dress her and he thought I should do it.

Gauntlet thrown; challenge accepted. I did it for two reasons: The Hubs challenged me; and  honestly, I thought it would be fun. So, though it was meant as fun little experiment, I actually learned some unexpected lessons this week. But first………….

My Little H: The mastermind behind all the lovely pictures you see below.

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Day #1

I didn’t choose  any of the clothes items this week except for the green shirt in this picture. It was St. Patty’s Day after all. I’m pretty much a jeans and t-shirt girl. My clothes seem to range from blue to gray. I have about 3 pieces of bright colored clothing.  As you’ll see, those are the pieces H picked of course!

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Day #2

Do I really need to say anything about this outfit? It kind of says it all, doesn’t it? I bought that dress in Hawaii 3 years ago and have not worn it once until this day! I appreciate that Little H picked out some comfy shoes for me to wear. This is my Miss Frizzle outfit.

 

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Day #3

Just call me The White Shadow. I  haven’t worn these white pants in a year, at least. This ensemble was a perfect going out outfit. My mom and I took Lily out for a movie and lunch that day. And yes, I spilled my Thai salad on the white pants while we were at Paneras. I think H really cares about my feet. He picked my comfy shoes again and those snazzy Christmas socks.

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Day #4

I actually like this show and watch it so, I mean no disrespect here. I felt like one of the Duggards today.

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Day #5

Ok, I was very tempted to stop my week short because today was Sunday. I was going to church and going to see a lot of people.  I was pleasantly surprised by H’s color coordination. The boy’s got skills. With absolutely no help from me, he pulled together this little get up.

I’m not sure why I chose to take this picture in front of the dog kennel……. weird. But the outfit is not half bad.

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So besides just being silly and fun, I did learn a few things that week:

#1  People don’t care as much about how you look as you think they do. Most people barely batted an eye at Day #2’s outfit which I thought was the silliest. I care too much what other people think. I feel a little freedom coming on here.

#2 Being a parent can be hard and exhausting. Especially when you have a squirrely, stubborn, sweet little 3 year old.  Why not have some fun while having to do the hard parent stuff?

#3 I look good in white!! Ok, not really. I did realize when looking through my closet that most of my clothes were kinda blah. I didn’t think H would have anything to work with and this experiment would be a little lame. He managed to prove me wrong; but I realized I  needed to do a little shopping and maybe be a little more adventurous in my clothing choices.  A little more color maybe? A little Miss Frizzle isn’t  bad, right?

Every Mama Needs A Break:: It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

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It had been a rough week in the mommy department. I had a melt down of sorts. Like most things that push me over the edge, it is actually a build up of several things over a long period of time.

Can you relate?

I thought so.

Neither one of my kids are perfect (just like everyone else’s) and they each have their own unique set of challenges; but right now, we are neck deep (sometimes eye ball deep) in the terrible 3’s. I don’t know what else to call it.

Lately, parenting seems a lot like this: Remember that scene in Nemo when Marlin warns Nemo to not touch the ship?

“If you put one fin on that boat…..Don’t touch the….. Nemo!”

Whispered in utter disbelief, “He touched the butt!”

Can I just say that I love my Little H. To pieces!

But this mama was at the end. of. her. rope. It seemed like I was just fighting the same battles with my little guy over and over. Day after day. Every day.

Parenting Is Hard.

I laugh when I type this because I know that I’m not breaking any cutting edge news here. There is just no other way to say it. Plain and simple, in your face, HARD WORK. For Pete’s sake, it’s an emotional roller coaster!

I was simply exhausted, frazzled and frustrated.

My husband doesn’t “come home from work” in the evenings. He wakes up, hangs out with us and then goes to work. So, by the time the hubs woke up, I was curled up at the end of the couch, in the fetal position, sucking my thumb and rocking back and forth.

Okay, okay, maybe not quite like that……….. but I was done.

Here’s the thing.  My day hadn’t actually been that bad. It was one little act. It was one, “No, I’m not going to”,  with arms crossed. It was one, thin, slivery piece of straw and the camel collapsed.

It was a build up of several challenging days that led to what I felt was one big colossal fail as a parent. I had gotten angry. I had yelled. My patience was non existent.

After I had explained my morning and my frustrations in general, my husband then said the best words he could have ever said to me.  He said, “You need to leave. ”

I did. I needed a break.

“And don’t come back until you feel ready. Take as long as you need.”

Yup. Marrying him 14 years ago was THE BEST decision I ever made.

Sometimes a mama just needs a break! The afternoon away didn’t solve all my problems. I didn’t come back with a full-proof plan to make my 3 year old obey and stop throwing fits. The afternoon did give me time to be alone, to cry, to pray, to take a breath.

I PRAYED A LOT.

I told God everything that was on my heart. Since He knows what is there already, there is no use in hiding it.

I told him, “Lord, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing! I think I used to, a little. I have a very strong willed, passionate, stubborn child. How do I parent him?!”

Guess what? He showed me some real truths and encouragement from His Word. And just turning to God’s Word, not a parenting book or friend, set my heart in the right place.

Psalm 38:15  For I hope (wait) in you, O Lord; You will answer, O Lord my God.

God promises to give us wisdom and discernment when we ask. He loves my children more than I do and want me and the hubs to be the best parents we can. Hoping in the Lord isn’t the kind of hope where we “hope” we get a better job or “hope” we can go on a fancy vacation someday. Those things are nice wishes but are definitely not a gaurantee. God’s promises in His Word are our “hope”. God’s promises are a sure thing. If He says He will give us wisdom, He will.

Psalm 56:8  Record my lament. List my tears on your scroll. Are they not in your record?

That day I was crying, literally, over what I viewed as my obvious lack of parenting skills. I was lamenting over my feelings of frustration and tiredness. There have been other times I’ve cried, though. Over broken relationships, loneliness, uncertainty,  fill in the blank! God knows about every single tear and He cares.

Psalm 13:2-3; 5-6

 

(2-3) How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and everyday have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death.

I know my troubles do not compare to those of David’s; but bringing those troubles, whatever they are, is what God wants us to do. David is a clear example of that.  David had some very formidable foes in his life. Right now, parenting is kicking my butt! I’m feeling like the enemy is triumphing. That simply cannot happen, right?

(5-6) But I trust in your unfailing love, my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.

Praising God through trials. Yes!! David did it. He had trials galore. No matter how terrible, how horrible, how no good and definitely very bad my day had been, at the end of the day I could praise God for his goodness and for saving me. Honestly, these verses filled me with comfort and joy. Had it changed my bad day? No.  Was I still worn out? Yes. Were all my questions answered? Absolutely  not. God had reminded me, though, that He’s given me whatever I need to be the mom that Lily and Henry need.

Is my Little H stubborn and strong-willed? Ummm…… yes. Can God used these things in his life to do fantastic things for Christ? Yes, Yes, Yes!!! Do the hubs and I have work to do? Yes!! We have two little sinners in our care who God has given us to raise. And we are sinners ourselves, big ones!!

Mamas, we need those breaks from time to time to keep at this parenting thing. I’m just at the beginning of my parenting journey; but there are a couple of things I know for sure:

  • I need some time to myself. Yes, I need time with the hubs and the girl friends; but I also need time to be quiet. Reboot and Recharge!
  • I need to keep my quiet time appointment with the Lord, every day. God’s Word is powerful and shines truth into my life.
  • I wouldn’t trade being a mom for all the peaceful quiet, uninterrupted meal times, crumbless carpets or sleepless nights in the world.

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