Wednesday, October 22, 2014

From Working to Staying Home {Part 1}

I want to write today about something that I don’t think too many people have ventured out to really talk about in an unfiltered way. It’s hard, to express the emotions and the ups and downs that come with struggling with these feelings, but I think it’s so important because no one wants to feel like they are alone. So today I am going to venture out and talk to you like we were sitting over a cup of hot cocoa (it’s cold outside and I HATE coffee, but because I am such a good friend you can choose to drink coffee if you like).

When I was growing up I used to tell my mom I was never going to be a stay at home mom. In my mind it was the last thing I wanted to do. I am not entirely sure why. I was in a very rebellious stage throughout high school that maybe anything and everything that would have been what God was calling me to do was probably something I said I was never going to do. I wanted more than anything to be a mom and to have children of my own. I was the little girl who dreamed about being a mom, more than about my wedding day. I loved taking care of kids and being the little mom wherever I went. Being a mom was etched within my very DNA – if I felt someone was not being a mother, I stepped right up to care for those around me. Fast forward a few years later to a better place, and I wanted nothing more to be a stay at home mom one day. I loved being a wife to my husband, I loved serving in ministry together, I just loved everything we were doing in that season of life I became so very comfortable in that season of life.

We started to look forward to the season of having children. I couldn’t wait to be a mom. I couldn’t wait to be parents and raise a child with my husband. I was ready. God didn’t think it was time quite when we did, but eight long  short months later we found out we were expecting our first, just when we had thought it wasn’t quite time(funny how God works). I continued on with life just as it had been going, I worked at church part time, substitute taught on my off days and just began to prepare for baby. Then the closer it got to the time of the baby being born the more I started to feel this tug on my heart. I really felt God was calling me to take a huge step of faith and step down from my position at church. My husband and I couldn’t make it on one income, we needed to be bringing in at least what I had been making preferably more. I didn’t like the uncertainty that all this was leaving. I didn’t know how it was going to work, how we would pay bills, what my life would be like stepping down from something I had been a part of for five years. The tug didn’t stop; it just got stronger and stronger. I remember sitting on the couch texting a friend with tears streaming down my face because I thought that when this time came that it would be far easier than it was. I wanted to be a stay at home mom so why was this so much harder than I expected?

I decided that my husband and I needed to meet with my boss and talk to him about what God had placed on my heart before I wasn’t strong enough to get it out. I had this whole back up plan to do home daycare to bring in the extra income and give me something to do at home so that we would be able to make this work. So in response to the tugging I stepped out and decided to step down from what I had known to be a huge part of my life for so long. I knew nothing could be more important than the time I would pour into my children at home. There was no doubt in my mind that this was the right decision for us.

In the midst of stepping down, God began to stir so much more in our hearts. My back up plan to do home daycare to make up the income was thrown to the side as God decided to move our family to accept a ministry position four hours north. The interview process was happening while we were preparing to bring our son into the world so there was no preparing for daycare. It was a big change coming all at once, a big change as I prepared to step into the role of being a full time mom.

For the sake of this post not being overbearing and long, be sure to check back tomorrow for part two.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Just a Mom

Sitting around the table with a group of people talking about life and everything that makes up who you are, then the question is asked of you, “What do you do for a living.” You smile quietly, wondering what everyone is going to think of your job and you respond, “Oh, I’m just a mom.”

Just a mom.

Nothing gets me more than that statement. I’ve even said it before. After hearing myself say it I sometimes even find myself shuttering at my choice of words. “Just?” Is that really what I think of being a mom? I am just a mom?

Being a mom is a lot. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of patience, a lot of determination, a lot of prayer, and a whole lot of other stuff. There is no just to being a mom.

It is so easy for those of us who are just mother’s to get down on ourselves because that is all we are responsible for, raising our kids. On days that we get the kids into bed and realize the house is a mess, the kids watched way too much TV, our teeth weren’t even brushed today, and let’s not even begin on what the household ate for dinner, it’s those days that are so easy to look at ourselves and say, “I am just a mom! How could I get everything wrong today when that is all I have to take care of?” When we see the mother juggling work on top of her motherly duties doing much better than we are we easily sink back into our chairs and think we can’t handle this whole mom thing. When we see the mom down the street waking up before the kids and having the perfectly balanced meal prepared three times a day managing to keep their house clean through it all, we can easily feel like we will never measure up.

But let me tell you something, there is no just to you being a mom. You are a mom, that’s what you are. Whether you are a working mom, a part time working mom, a work from home mom, or a stay at home mom, you have one of the hardest and most important jobs in this world. You are a mom. You are raising children. It doesn’t matter if you are raising one child or ten children, being a mom is a big job. It is a difficult job. Oh, but it is one of the most important things you will ever do.

You are raising a child. That child was specifically gifted to you because God knew you could handle it. You could handle the tantrums, the picky eating, the eagerness, the curiosity, the destruction, the emotional roller coasters – you can handle it. Even if all you did today was keep a child from harming themselves or constantly coral siblings from arguing with each other, you made a difference. Even if all you did today was make your presence known in the lives of those children in your care, you did exactly what you were supposed to. Being a mom is hard. Some days you feel on top of the world in this mom thing, others you feel like someone could have done it better. But never look at yourself as just a mom. You are a mom. That is an important job.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Mother Never Leaves

“She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn’t take them along.” ~Margaret Culkin Banning

Have you ever heard that quote? I remember the first time I heard the above quote I couldn’t believe how true it was. I don’t know of one girl’s night or mom’s night out that I have been at where at least one mother has not brought up her children at some point during the get together. Being a mother makes up so much of who we are. Even on the rare occasion that we are able to step away from all of our mothering duties, for whatever amount of time, we take those little humans with us in our heart.

I can look back at times where I desperately needed a break. There were moments where just one more minute spent at the house with my child was going to cause me to crawl in a corner, ball my eyes out, and pull my hair out all at the same time. Then when my hero of a husband gets home and sends me out the door, even in all my frustration and feeling overwhelmed I think of that little man while I am away. I may think of how happy I am to have time to breathe without him grabbing onto my leg, but I am thinking of him. He never leaves my mind.

Whenever our little ones are not in our care we have this inclined sense to hear them when they are near. We are in tune to their cry, their laugh, their call, their voice, their little feet pitter-pattering just the way they always do. It is a sense every mama has the moment her little one enters this world. Even when we aren’t listening, we are. There is no way to escape that intuition and natural extinct that has been placed within us.

It is just another one of those beautiful attributes of being a mother. No one can hold onto our hearts with quite the grip that our littles do.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

When Things Don't Go As Planned

If you were expecting to see me write on motherhood for the next 31 Days, you may have come back to visit and realized I have disappeared off the blogsphere. I'm doing great on the whole Write 31 Days thing, aren't I? In my defense this wasn't exactly how I expected things to go either. I somewhat forgot that this month was about the busiest months we would have in a long time. I quickly realized that when I started and thought about the fact that I was getting ready to go off to a Women's Conference. I remembered that this isn't supposed to be stressful, it's supposed to challenge me and still be fun, so I decided not to stress about the three days I would miss at conference and pick up where I left off when I returned. Unfortunately, it seems my computer has come down with a little virus. Since I returned I have had to keep all connection to internet off my computer since we have been unable to identify the issues. I just sent my computer off today for some TLC and hopefully will receive a good report. I am currently borrowing my husbands work computer to stop in and say hello.

I was really excited about writing on the first year of motherhood for these 31 Days that I am pretty sad to see it reach so many snags. Since I still feel so much on my heart concerning this topic I am going to try and continue posting throughout the rest of the month and may continue a little longer. I am not promising everyday for 31 Days since I am not exactly sure when I will have access to a computer or not, but I am going to do my best to write more on this topic.

How about all my other Write 31 Day friends? I hope your challenge has been going much smoother!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Babies Don't Keep

Being a mom requires a lot of flexibility. I’m not talking do-the-splits-bend-over-and-touch-your-toes type flexibility; I am talking about having your whole day turned upside down kind of flexibility. Something I had to learn very quickly is not every day was going to go as planned. Unfortunately, usually the days I had the longest to-do list were the ones that didn’t work out the way I would have wanted. Children are ever changing, and some days they need a little extra attention. Let’s take this morning for example, I am getting ready to head out of town for three days to a women’s conference. I wanted to tidy up the house and leave it in good shape so it would be easier for my husband to keep up with things, and so it wouldn’t be an absolute disaster to catch up on when I returned. Jase wasn’t having that. He followed me around, clinging to my leg wanting for me to pick him up and cuddle him on the couch. Children don’t always know that we moms have a to do list.

In that moment, we have to be flexible. Something I try to remind myself of often is the idea that babies don’t keep. Today he may be tugging on my leg in need of some extra snuggles, and tomorrow I may be the one begging for him to slow down enough to want to cuddle with me again. My to-do list can always wait. I don’t want to look back on this time and wish I would have stopped more to spend time with my kids. I want to know that I made the most of every second I had with them.

Sometimes this is so much easier said than done. Sometimes it is really frustrating when we had so much that we needed to get done. But when we allow flexibility to enter into the situation, we can take a moment away from our to do list and focus our attention on our children. We may have to pray that God would help us to be flexible and always remember what matters most, but it will grow us in our parenting. Our kids won’t look back and remember how well we were at keeping up with things; they’ll remember how much we showed them they mattered.

Now mama, close the computer, set aside the to-do list, and go cuddle that sweet baby of yours. Take a deep breath and get ready to chase that toddler around the house. Babies don’t keep.