Thursday, June 13, 2013

Enjoy today!

Photo: "You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow, they'll be a little older than they were today. 
This day is a gift. 
Breathe and notice. 
Smell and touch them; study their faces and little feet and pay attention. 
Relish the charms of the present. 
Enjoy today, mama. It will be over before you know it." 
- Jen Hatmaker

Picture Source: Joni Lay at
As we start our summers with a bang, I want to challenge you to remember this message.  I know I need to remind myself of this very thing all the time!  Our children are a blessing every day, even when we are going crazy!  May you have a blessed summer with your babies.  Make some great memories and tell me all about them!
I'm off to make some memories with mine over the next two weeks.  Between Disney and Gatlinburg I will have many chances to remind myself that every day is a blessing!  I pray that I will be able to leave the stress behind and just enjoy being a mom.  I pray the same thing for you as the summer vacations begin and we all have kids full time. 

"Enjoy today, mama.  It will be over before you know it." - Jen Hatmaker

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Help, the Mommy's Guilt is Out to Get Me!

Today's question deals with something us moms are very familiar with: mother's guilt.  Some of us are better at it than others, but we all feel it over something at least once in our mothering "career."  The question we're going to address today is two-fold: how do I deal with the guilt when 1) I enjoy one stage of mothering so much and can't stand another and 2) I'm not super volunteer / cheerleader / philanthropist at school?  Can you empathize with either of these?  I know I can!  Why do we love to beat ourselves up over every little thing?  It seems like we can always find something to feel guilty or inadequate about as moms.  We volunteer, but not enough; we love our children, but really can't stand changing diapers or crying babies; we missed every field trip for one child and made all of them for another; we totally forgot about Teacher Appreciation week, and the list can go on and on.  We love to hold on to all these "failures" and stew, don't we?  If only we were perfect!  Well, we're not, so you can take that pressure off yourself right now!  The way I see it we have some options here for dealing with our Mommy Guilt. 

1.   You can choose to let the guilt rule you.  This is not what I recommend, but you can certainly try it for yourself and let me know how it goes!  Here's a picture of how this might go for you: every time you feel guilty about something that doesn't meet your standards let it eat you up inside until you fix it.  Did you forget to send in a donation for the class auction basket?  Quick, write a check or go out and buy something really nice so no one thinks poorly of you...  don't worry about the family budget you just blew.  Feeling guilty about your volunteer schedule?  Make sure you're at the school for something every day... just forget about the things at home you're leaving undone.  Do you see where this strategy will get you?  I have tried to keep up with everything and invariably I can't do it!  If I'm Super Volunteer at school, then I'm not Super Mom at home, and vice versa.  One thing I can guarantee about this option - you will not be satisfied if you let your guilt rule you.  You will never measure up, and there will always be something you could have done better. 

2.  You can deal with the root of the problem.  Do you know what is at the root of mother's guilt?  Insecurity.  We are all scared that we're not good enough.  Some of us love babies, but struggle when our kids get bigger and start expressing their opinions, while others really have a hard time with babies and their constant demands, but love the ages when their kids are mobile and active.  Does that make us better or worse than each other?  I don't think so.  I think it makes us human.  As with anything, if we were all the same this world would be an awfully boring place.  If I'm a baby stage-loving mom and have a good friend who's an older stage-loving mom, don't you think we can complement one another?  She can be strong in the areas that I am weak in, and vice versa.  Here's the kicker though, we have to be honest with ourselves and others about these things.  We let our guilt rule us and we never admit that we have struggles.  The key is to turn that guilt on its side.  How about listening to God's ideas of parenting instead of the worlds'?  What does He have to say on the subject?
Ephesians 6:4
"4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."

Do you know how much Mommy Guilt we can avoid by simplifying our parenting?  Instead of worrying about living up to others' standards we should worry about living up to God's; and he's pretty clear - bring your children up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  Wow!  How often does that even cross our minds while we're wallowing in guilt over everything?  Does it ever?  I know the guilt is very real and very troubling, but it really is misplaced.  If this is your struggle, I urge you to take it to God in prayer.  Let Him take this guilt away!  He will... if you are willing to let it go.