To the New Mom on Mother’s Day

First things first, like Valentines Day, Mothers Day is just another commercial holiday made to make money for card companies while also causing emotional distress for about 60% of women.

Here is a small and non-exhaustive list of people for whom Mothers’ Day is a real bummer:

  1. First time moms whose husbands are actually celebrating their moms instead of their wives. (as they, my dear friends, are super accustomed to). li>
  2. People whose mothers have died.
  3. People whose mothers are dead beats.
  4. People who want desperately to be mothers but aren’t.

So today, on this day when expectations run high but are rarely met…let’s focus on the positives.

Here are mine:

My husband loves his mama and she raised him well, and then I got to be married to him. If he celebrates her a little more naturally than me on Mother’s Day, that’s ok, because she’s HIS mom. He’s spent his whole life celebrating her on this day. And I’m glad for his sake, that she is a mother worthy of his love and accolades.

I have my own awesome mom to celebrate today. A mom who valued and encouraged our creativity and independence. A mom who taught us hard work and integrity and the love of Jesus. A mom who made my childhood and adulthood generally “issue” free and joyful.

Now, I get to be a mom of four awesome kids. Heck! I got one for free with a twin pregnancy.

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Did my kids wake up and call me blessed today? Nope. My husband is still sleeping off a night shift and the kids made Happy Mother’s Day cards for their grandmas weeks ago. Goodness, they don’t even know it’s Sunday. I woke up early and sanitized the whole house because we have a puker and then I made everyone else breakfast and 2nd and 3rd breakfast (I think someone is growth spurting). Now two are down for naps, while one plays in her fort and the other reads with her grandmother.

It’s a normal day around here. And that’s good. Because it means every one is healthy (well, relatively speaking as healthy as you can be with 4 kids under 6, which is like 73% on a good day) and every one is together. My husband celebrates me as a way of life and I am blessed beyond words.

The point is precious brand new moms, and seasoned alike, Mothers Day is a great time to feel special, but you’ll find yourself much more content today if you focus on your blessings rather than your expectations. Don’t worry, most of us learned this the hard way somewhere between year 1-3 of motherhood. I myself, learned of my third pregnancy after being  a total jerk to my awesome husband one Mother’s Day morning and thinking “why am I so grouchy? Oh I’m late, oh I’m pregnant!”

 

Happy Mother’s Day! You’re a great mom!

Update: I found a note, balloon, and flowers in my closet which I didn’t notice until 10:30 because I was too busy mommin’ it up. Way to go, Husband.

Bunny’s Birthday

Last Tuesday was my Bunny’s birthday. She would have been 96. Gone only 6 months, it seems like both a flash and an eternity. So much has happened since her home going that I’ve wished she could know, wished I could tell her. Funny things, redemption stories, new life, etc. Life goes on. And I miss her, still.

As I chased around littles in this season of fast-slow on Tuesday, I thought of her from the moment I woke up til the moment I went to sleep. My plans were to commemorate her day here, but I think she would’ve rather I spent my time doing what I did: chatting with my sister while our children wove in and out of the living room, making food for my family, taking my oldest to dance, being in community. In the end, it’s not the big things that leave the legacy. It’s not the money or the big vacations or the flashy clothes that we so often revere in 2016. It’s the little things.

It’s enjoying a good meal or dessert around a table with those you love.

It’s taking the time to listen and ask questions, undistracted by media.

Its choosing vulnerable and real over maintaining appearances.

It’s loving people well.

It’s chasing relationships.

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My grandmother wasn’t famous, she didn’t have a slew of people at her funeral, and the world did not publicly mourn when she breathed her last. But she touched more lives that she ever knew. She was more wonderful than she realized. And her influence continues to spread and will. That’s the amazing thing about legacy. When you leave one, it doesn’t die. It trickles down and reaches beyond our comprehension.

guilt monster

Good morning, Mama. Did you know that there’s an invisible monster sitting next to you while you drink your morning joe? He’s called the Guilt Monster. He’s a first cousin of the control monster (we can talk about him later, he’s a bad dude). And we need to fight him.

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So here’s what happened. Before baby, we were flitting through life, drinking our Happy Hour Sonic drinks at pools with our pals, having a good ole time. Saturdays were spent eating bagels and watching back-to-back episodes of fluff TV. Life was good. Life was carefree. We decorated with stuff we found at TJ Maxx and called it a day.

Then we got pregnant, and all of that guilt free business came to a screeching halt.

Suddenly the urge to be perfect in every possible way began to plague many of us. This is when the Guilt Monster makes his move.

I asked my friends, what they’ve felt guilty about this week, and here are some of their answers:

  • A toddler out of control at Target.
  • Losing your temper at your out of control toddler at Target.
  • Being a stay at home mom (feeling lazy/not productive).
  • Being a go to work mom/sending your child to daycare.
  • Feeling frustration toward one child over another child (feeling favoritism).
  • Spanking/not spanking.
  • Wanting alone time/needing a break.
  • Not being able to breastfeed/giving formula/diminished milk supply.
  • Having a new baby and not as much time with the old baby.
  • Bumping the current baby’s head into the hallway door.
  • Going through the drive-through for Chick Fil A 1 or 2+ times in one week.
  • Not having the perfect nursery.
  • Not losing your baby weight immediately/indulging in fast food/comfort eating at the end of the day.
  • Being jealous that your husband gets to go to work and you have to stay home.
  • Noticing your kid who you thought was next to you at a store…is not next to you, but actually wandering around aimlessly looking for soda that they aren’t allowed to have anyway.
  • Letting your kids play independently/using a play pen/having room time.
  • Not always enjoying motherhood.
  • Missing your freedom.
  • Missing your husband’s help more than him, when he’s gone.

How many can you identify with? This week? Today?

Mommy guilt seems to be a part of our psyche. But why and to what end?

Here’s a little quiz I have compiled. Just answer in your head…

I have felt guilty this week for:

I can go back and change the past. Yes or No

Dwelling on this guilt makes me feel better. Yes or No.

Feeling guilty helps me be a better mom. Yes or No. If yes, explain.

For a long time I’ve thought that there is a difference between guilt and conviction, and as moms we HAVE to understand that difference.

According to Webster:

Guilt: a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong.

Conviction:a strong belief or opinion, the feeling of being sure that what you believe or say is true.

If we examine our guilt, I think we will find that much of it is born out of preconceived notions about what we THINK or DEEM are bad or wrong. Conviction, on the other hand is a knowledge of truth.

Guilt is a dead end street. Conviction usually leads to action or a change of behavior.

Guilt tells us you’re a bad mom because your baby’s nursery isn’t a pinterest perfect dream haven. 

Conviction says I would like for my baby’s nursery to be a perfect pinterest dream haven, but life will not fall apart if it isn’t. My worth is not wrapped up in a nursery OR Stop watching Housewives, and go do the nursery.

Guilt says you shouldn’t be jealous of your husband’s career or miss your own. You are an ungrateful jerk-face. Feel LUCKY you GET to stay home. 

Conviction says It’s ok to feel your feelings. It’s ok to miss adult interaction and work related praise. It’s ok to grieve. Now go find some mom friends to enjoy this season of slow with.

Guilt says You never should have yelled at your 2 year old. You have ruined them forever and they will probably 100% become a heroine addict.

Conviction reminds us We ALL mess up. Learn from it, grow from it. Teach your child what repentance looks like. You can do this, mama. There is grace.

In my life, the difference between guilt and conviction can be seen in the outcome.

Guilt condemns.

Conviction empowers.

Guilt diminishes self worth.

Conviction enables it.

In many ways, guilt has become an unconscious way of life. Think how much more positively conviction could work in our favor, if we chose it consciously OVER guilt. Additionally, think how conviction can pull us together.

When I posed the guilt question to my girl friends on a private Facebook page, a beautiful thing happened-encouragement, conversation, love, and grace. Guilt isolates, but conviction pulls us together.

It takes a Village not just for a child to be raised, but for a life to be lived. Mommies, let’s lean in on eachtother, let’s tackle the guilt monster together. I think we can take him!