Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'm a good mom.

  1. Growing up,
              I dreamed of being a mom.  Seriously. I would play with dolls all day long- carting them around with me wherever I would go.  All of them had names, and to this day, I have kept them all safely packed up for the day I feel my girls can carry out the huge responsibility of taking this job over... :) As I got a little older, I would lay on my bed and daydream of what it would be like when I started my family.  I had my kids names all picked out-- Nadia Rose and Isaiah James. (Those would be the first two and then I was planning on having (or adopting) at least 5 more)... ;-)

    I had everything perfectly planned out-- I would get my teaching degree, stay at home with my kids until they were all in school, an then I would teach a kindergarten class at the same private school my kids were attending-- all seven of them. My husband and I would travel and sing) to pay for the private school education, of course), we would live in our absolute dream home-- a farm house with a wrap around porch, a tire swing, and (obviously) a few horses.  My husband would be a pastor (which would basically mean he would love every single second of his job). :) My kids would be in gymnastics, piano, violin, dance, baseball, basketball, football, theater, Spanish Immerson class, and anything else I could think up in that moment.

    Basically, my life (and theirs) would be perfect. Picture perfect. So perfect there would be no trace of problems whatsoever. No money problems, marriage problems, parenting problems. No car problems, house problems, or kid problems. Nope, we would be living the DREAM.

    I journaled about this. I wrote short stories and poetry about this. I even collaborated a few songs about this. I was absolutely, positively convinced that my life would look like a storybook fairytale.

    .... Instead, here I am tonight, tucked away in my room (with the door locked), because I desperately needed time away from my little ones--(there are four of them, (not 7) and I homeschool them-- in case you were wondering) :) I'm hiding away, because every part of my soul cries out for introvert time when I have not had it for awhile. (And let me tell you... I have not had it in awhile.)

    I was impatient with my kids more times than I can count today. "PLEASE make your bed, PLEASE get dressed in actual clothes-- not pajama pants and a fairy costume! Please don't throw the baggie of gold fish crackers all over the floor that I literally just swept up ten minutes ago. Please don't use that tone of voice-- (never mind if I am using it on you right now) Please don't bite, don't hit, don't shout, and for goodness sake-- don't cry!!" (Yes, I really just confessed that all to you.)


    Being a mom is hard. Period. End of sentence.
    It is tiring. It is exhausting. It is stressful.

    Some nights (well, a lot of nights) I lay in my bed and think of all the ways I was not a perfect mother that day. I beat myself up. I point a finger at myself and ask, "Why couldn't you have been better??" ... "Why couldn't you be perfect."


    That is a very tall order to live up to. Perfect in its Webster dictionary form looks like this:


    1. having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

              2. Make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a                 condition as possible.

    "As good as it is possible to be"-- "Free from faults or defects"

    If I'm honest with myself, that is what I want. I want to be as good as it is absolutely possible to be.

    I want there to be no speck of dust on my floor, (I must sweep those hardwood floors 10x a day) No piece of furniture out of place, (they love to do gymnastics on my chairs and couches.) No hair left un-brushed, (can you pleeeeeease put on a hat, or at least brush your hair today, buddy?) No outfit needing cleaned, (OK, let's try a different shirt- I think that hasn't been washed since you spilled applesauce on it... last week?) No attitudes adjusted. (Would you be talking that way if Jesus was in the room?)... (Insert huge eyebrow lift)
    I want my body to be in the best shape possible. (Why oh why did we let the Y membership lapse?) My hair NOT to be needing to be re-done (Yikes--it has been months.) My van to have no scratches on the outside, (how did they get there?!) And no disaster on the inside. (Where did all those crumbs... and sippy cups, and shoes come from?!) My dinner to be perfectly made and then perfectly delivered. (Would everyone please sit down-- we are not doing cartwheels and somersaults right now... we are done singing... Babe, where do I find that relaxing Pandora station again??)

    Perfect. Perfect. Perfect.

    Oh, it is exhausting. Oh, is it draining. And, oh, does it make you feel like the exact opposite...



    1. lack of success. the omission of expected or required action. an unsuccessful person, enterprise, or thing.

    In case it isn't obvious. And, in case my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram world paints me in a different light...

    I. am. not. perfect. (reminder-- NO-one is perfect.)

    Nope. I'm not a perfect mom or perfect wife. I don't have the perfect body, I don't dress in the perfect clothes, and my house is NOT always perfectly spotless.

    I make mistake after mistake after mistake. I mess up. I FAIL.

             (I'm so thankful there is an 'however'...)

    I also succeed.

    I give my kids hugs and kisses every day.

    I make them yummy food... So when they are older, it will (hopefully) bring them back to when they were small... (We had meatloaf tonight, and it brought back the best memories of when I was a kid.)

    Today-- Today I made sack lunches, and we sat outside in this beautiful autumn weather while I read them a chapter book.

    Today I played the game of marbles with my son at 8:30am-- before I had even drank 4 sips of coffee.

    Today I let my kids wear whatever they felt like wearing-- applesauce-stained shirt and all.

    Today I held my daughter close after she stubbed her toe and would not stop crying until we had found the exact band aid that would do the trick.

    Today I tucked my little guy in for his nap-- snuggled him up so tight- that he would feel safe and sound as he drifted off to sleep.

    Today I reviewed where Ireland, France and England are located on the map...

    I answered questions about the North Sea, Baltic Sea, and Adriatic Sea...

    Today I snuggled close to my oldest daughter as she rattled off the Seven Types of Biomes to me.

    Today I played tag in the leaves with my (almost) 2 year old.

    TODAY I am a good mom...

    NOT a perfect mom.

    I am a mom that lays in bed and prays for a better day tomorrow than we had today.

    I am a mom who worries over the health and safety, and choices of her children.

    I am a mom who cries at the thought of sending them off to college.

    I am a mom that absolutely can not sleep until I have checked on all of my babies; to be absolutely sure that they are sleeping peacefully.

    I am a mom that was chosen for these kids. Hand-picked to be THEIRS.

    I am in need of forgiveness. And grace. And do-overs.

    And most of all, I am in need of the constant reminder that I was not called to have everything perfect in my life...

    I was just called to be their mama.

    To love them unconditionally. To let the facade of perfectionism go. To wake up every morning, knowing that my life won't be perfect-- but to embrace the reality that it will be real, it will be messy, it will need do-overs... but most of all,

    It will be beautiful.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm turning thirty.

In three days, I will turn the number that always seemed such a pivotal turning point in a person’s life. 30. Just saying it makes me chuckle a little bit. I’m going to be THIRTY. I remember being in junior high, and having teachers that were 30. They were SO. OLD. to me! Looking back however, I’ve realized, that half of those teachers weren’t even married yet, let alone parents. A lot of people tell me how “fun” the 30’s are… a different kind of fun than the 20’s brought. However, if I’m honest, I have felt in the “30’s” category for a long time. Choosing to get married at the age of 20 in today's world is a rarity. Having FOUR kids, before the age of 30? Almost unheard of.  And yet, as I sit here and think about my 20’s, I’m so very ready to close that chapter of my life. 20’s to me, always seemed to hold the title of “discovery”. Discover who you are. Decide who you want to be. Figure out how you are going to get there. You ask yourself the question of, “what makes me happy." You figure out life on your “own." You slowly grow up. (or, at least start the process in that direction). I remember talking to my sister, and her explaining the 30’s. It was almost as if she was able to let out a big sigh, and live the life she had imagined.

I’m ready.

My husband asked me how I felt about turning 30. My reply was, “Honestly? I’m so ready. I think I have been waiting for this day for years.”
It is one thing to gain credibility, just by being parents to four children… but, still to be in your 20’s, and be parents of four children? It is interesting. It is like we are the “old people” with the younger 20’s, but, still “too young," and “un-experienced” for the 30’s+ age groups.  

I feel like in my short 30 years of life, I have done a lot of living, and even more amounts of growing. I feel I have over-come a lot of battles, experienced a lot of “firsts," and come to realize who I am a little more.

If I’m honest with myself, I always pictured myself married, with a home, and lots of little ones surrounding me by the age of 30. I used to tell people I wanted to be “done” having kids before I turned 30. Well… that’s a whole 'nother conversation. ;-) But, here I am, a mom of four beautiful kids, married to a man I truly, whole-heartedly adore, and being able to live the life I always imagined.

Life is good.

Looking back, there were the, “too many to even count," beautiful moments.

My wedding day was beautiful. A young bride of just twenty, ready to take on the world… Only two years removed of leaving my parent’s nest, and there I was, beginning to build my own.  The birth of my firstborn son was a beautiful moment. Not even 22 years old yet, and there we were, looking as young as teenagers in the delivery room, getting ready to embark on the greatest journey of our lives. Then there were the memories of buying our first home, buying our first family car- trading in the sporty Honda civic, for a roomier, could fit two children, Honda CRV. There were the beautiful births of our first baby girl, our 2nd baby girl, and our 4th, a boy, who perfectly evened us out.  There are the memories of prayerfully deciding to become those, “homeschool families," and learning how to live life in full-time ministry.

Life is sweet.

Life is sweet, but it is also painful. There were a lot of painful memories that helped build and shape who I am today, and who I will become tomorrow.

There was the terrifying car accident, the day after our wedding, just as we were about to turn into our honeymoon destination- an accident that should have left us both dead, and a car that was completely totaled. (We believe that God sent angels to surround our car that day.)

There were the miscarriages. Three precious babies; that we will never meet face to face, until we get to heaven. There were the tear-streaked pillows, the pleading with God, “why’s," and the acceptance that He knew what He was doing.

There were the marriage struggles. The heartaches. The choices we wished we didn’t make, and the love that became stronger than we could ever imagine.

There were the completely “broke” days. The days were we wondered how we would buy Christmas presents for our little ones, and how many home-made gifts we could get by with.

There were the, “Did we get married too young, have kids too early, start life too soon?” days.

There were the searching for God days, the, “have You left us?” days.

All of these days, that made up the months, that shaped this decade, that have made me who I am today. Here I am, three days before I turn 30.

The days that have made up this painfully beautiful, growing-up decade. The decade that I’m about to finally close the chapter on. The decade where I began the process of “growing-up," just a little bit more.

May 26th, 2013, I will be 30.

I will start this new journey. This new decade. This new story.

I am ready.

My thoughts on turning 30? 

Watch out world, here I come.