Learning A Few Lessons

I think we all know that lessons are learned everyday. It’s only if we are willing to pay attention that we actually learn them and then grow and change- or stay the same. I’m trying to grow and change.

Of all the jobs that I’ve had in this life, being a mother is by far the hardest. And it’s the one for which I am least qualified. I’ve been writing about it a lot lately because I am seeing the amount of things that I do wrong… and so very little of that which I do correctly.

I yell too much, I complain too much, I ignore too much, I have forgotten how to play. When the dishes pile high and the laundry is even deeper and the I can’t even see the floor- all of these things happen daily- it’s hard for me to remember to experience the child and not the mess.

Messes will clean up- eventually. A child is young only once. I have been missing this important lesson for the mess. If you know me you know that I am not the housekeeper of the year, but there is no challenging that I cannot stand to be overcome by mess. And with seven people in this house – and all of us messy- the overwhelming mess is instant.

So, with memory kicking in I have got a few ideas up my sleeve to help us all.

1. I’m putting routine back into our lives. We all thrive on it and need it… and it will make it better if I do.

2. I’ve put together chore charts. The older boys got to decide what they do, but it’s a requirement. I found the idea on Pinterest.com (click here http://pinterest.com/mrsz7/kids-ideas/)¬† Chores are what makes a big family function. I had this idea stuck in my head that to make a child do a chore, was to make them slaves. But truth be told, everyone participating in appropriate level chores, makes everyone feel that they are an active, participating and productive part of the household. And it really helps me keep up. Realistically speaking, on my own I would never be completely caught up. But with everyone’s help- our house looks nice, in a very short amount of time.

Oh yeah, participating in the housework is a requirement, not an option. And there is no reward other than feeling good about helping do your part. However, we have set up Chore Cards (punch cards- as indicated in the link) that if they want a reward they can work above and beyond the required to earn a prize. I LOVE this, it’s really working well with the boys.

3. I need time alone. Go figure. If you know me, you know I thrive on being around people and with people and conversation and all that jazz. However, with five kids and a husband around almost all the time, I need time alone. Time to read, time to pray, time to journal, time to write, and time to just sit. This is no longer something I will allow on occassion, but something I will fight for everyday. It allows me to be more present for everyone. It’s a blessing to everyone.

4. Laziness is not an option. I cannot check out and expect the world to take care of itself. It is required that I do my part every day as much as I require it from the kids everyday. Otherwise… the piles awaiting me are terrifying ūüôā

5. Prayer. I should have listed this as number one, but it is just really needed to be listed. Prayer for the kids, with the kids, with my husband, by myself, is needed. Often and continuous.

6. Music is healing. Did you know that if you play music, good positive music in the background while working or playing or anything changes the atmosphere and brings healing to angry, frustrated and tense hearts? Trust me, it really does.

 

7. Humbleness and humiliation are not the same thing.

8. Learning and growing makes the household a better place. Not to mention my heart.

I will keep learning lessons and I will keep sharing them with you. But you have no idea how much these lessons have made a difference in the past month or so. God sure has been packing them in ūüôā

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Today

Living in the moment is not something that I can say is a skill for me. In fact… I kinda stink at it. I’m always wishing for something that isn’t. I remember once reading a poem… I can’t find it… but this is what I remember (Other than it was written by someone annonymous)

When we are young, we wish to be older

When we are older, we wish for our youth

When it is cold, we wish for warmth

When it is hot, we wish to be cooler.

It continues pointing out all the things that we wish away. Our youth, sun and more. I always feel convicted when I think of this poem… I really wish I could find it.

But truth is I do it all the time. I wish away today. I think that it will bring me more joy than where I am right now. How wrong I am.

When I wish away today, I miss the joys of shopping for really cute clothes that my kids will look so adorable in. I wish away a nice conversation with my mother… who will not always be here. I wish away my husband making me a great meal. I wish away the chance to beat my boys in yet another game. I wish away the snuggles, kisses, hugs and joys of little ones. Today is a day worth living.

I’m learning a lesson of thankfulness… which also includes stopping to smell the roses. It means that I need to be here, in the moment… enjoying even the dumb sounds of video games that my man and boys are playing together.¬† They are spending time together- and that is something.

I’ve been challenged by a book. Many of my friends spoke of its beauty and power and elegance… and I finally have joined in on this communion. I now challenge you. Read “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. I’m writing my list… and in the process I am learning to live in Today.

Motherhood

There are times when as a mother I feel… satisfied. I wish I could say that this feeling is all the time, or even a feeling that is more normal than not. However, I would say that it is fleeting and somewhat elusive. More often I feel overwhelmed, insane, tired, frustrated and useless.

Good thing motherhood isn’t about feelings.

I’m not saying that feelings aren’t valid, or even useful. But they aren’t what defines a mother. They aren’t even helpful. They are just feelings. I’ve heard women talk about raising their kids and they use the same words I just used and feel so defeated and upset over the use of those words. Like somehow each mother believes that if they use these words to describe motherhood then that equates failure.

On the contrary… it makes us normal.

I’d like to just take a minute to remind (as if you didn’t already know) us of what a mother is resposible for, and what is expected from us. (These aren’t just mom’s jobs- dad’s play a part too… but today I’m speaking to the mom’s heart)

1. Full time care giver. Not full time as in 40 hours or so, but full time as in 24/7 non-stop, always on duty, care giver.

2. Cook. Now whether you can cook or not, it is expected that as a mother you provide food for the child. 3 meals a day, 7 days a week. Menu planning, grocery shopping, prep and clean up. Full time cook.

3. Transportation. If your child is involved in anything- guess who’s expected to make sure they get there? Yep, Mom. Oh, and not all schools provide transportation… so that, during the school year, pick¬†up and drop off, every day-¬†Monday through Friday.

4.¬†Maid. I thought about using a¬†different word… but really¬†maid is the best fit. Cleaning the details, laundry for every body, general maintenance around the house… yep- mom’s job.

5. Task Master. There¬†comes a time when¬†as a mom you need to teach the young ones to take responsibility. But in order to teach and get¬†it to habit… task master becomes another title. This¬†isn’t to be confused with slave driver… this is just making sure that each takes up and does what is expected. Not making them work themselves to death ūüėõ

6. Cuddler. Now I admit that this is my favorite “chore” of motherhood… but each child needs to have at least a moment or three of cuddles per day.

7. Teacher. All lessons learned every day. How does mom deal with ___________? Does she sing while working? Does she love Jesus? Does she love me? How do I do ____________? Craft time, play time, bed time, cleaning time all of these provide daily and important lessons.

 

This is just a small list of things moms need to do. And admittedly, I am not the best at all of them. Somedays, I’m not any good at any of them. But¬†this isn’t a¬†job for the faint of heart. It isn’t easy. It isn’t loaded with high pay, great benefits (other than some fantastic¬†love and more cuddles from your children)¬†And it isn’t one for us to take lightly.

Yes some days I am overwhelmed by the massiveness of it all. But other days I find myself sitting and enjoying every minute. Just like everything in life- there are cycles. But remember to push through and keep moving forward and hopefully allow the kiddos to see Jesus in all of it.   The good and the bad. The highs and the lows. The smiles and the tears.

Feelings pass, Truth remains. Truth is this- being a mom is the best and worst job on the planet. Truth is- I wouldn’t ever go back. Truth is- I love my kids and I pray for the lessons of Jesus’ love make it to their hearts and that they see the truth lived in me.

 

Learning Curve

I have heard many people say that when you get married you discover just how selfish you really are. I discovered some of that when I became a mother, but apparently there were even deeper levels of selfishness yet to be uncovered. It’s almost amazing.

I have learned that in order to really change you have to face the truth of the situation head on… but that truth… well, it’s not always friendly or easy. Most of the time it’s just plain nasty. Or at least that is how it feels.

There is no need for me to post the situation or the actual lesson. But it is needed to voice the fact that I am in fact a fallen human in desperate need of her savior. And I am grateful for a husband that is patient and kind and willing to walk with me in truth through these lessons.

Learning to be a good wife and good mother… well… let no one tell you it’s easy.

 

The birds sing me a chorus, highs and lows with the bugs filling out the harmony.

Sun is rising around us and the breeze blowing the leaves.

The praise is resounding abundant with life and joy and prayer.

The rocks will sing and the sky will repeat and the earth break out in song

should man not sing or refuse to see the majesty of our God!

A beautiful morning in a beautiful place brings joy to the heart, and

a tear to the face.

What I long for most and seek in life is to never hear the rocks cry out.

My voice shall raise and be full of praise to my God of all days.

The birds may sing and the breezes blow but my voice shall join right in.

Because the God of hosts and the Prince of Peace deserve my very breath.

For the rocks will sing and the sky will repeat and the earth break out in song,

should man not sing or refuse to see the majesty of our God!

May the rocks ever be silent. May the sky ever only be blue.

Let my heart be the drum beat and my voice ever be true.

To sing the glory to our God and to raise my praises before thee and

to live in thankfulness!

Rocks Be Silent