Fully Experience…Deep Breath, Momma

I must jump like a frog from every couch or moving thing. I must ascend the tallest trees, towers, rocks with no help because I am the strongest. I have a compulsion to leap before looking from the highest heights; swing from anything that challenges me; touch as MANY things as my very small hands can manage and even lick them just to make sure they taste the way they appear.

Oh, by the way, when it looks like I’m doing this to you…

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I really feel like I’m doing this…

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It’s a hard balance as a mother. We want our children to be safe from all harm, stay our babies forever and never experience hurt, grief or fear. But, ironically, in conjunction with that, we want them to be strong and independent dreamers. We want them to aim for the mountain tops and let nothing stand in their way (Isaiah 41:10.)

I am one, and always have been, to see where a child takes one wobbly step and I, in turn (in my head), see them ten steps later rolling down the remainder of the steps. I have a natural knack for seeing a bleak outcome in these scenarios. It didn’t bother me before when it was with other people’s children because then I was just being “extra” cautious. It was almost laughable. But now, I have my own child for whom I am 100% responsible in every way. And I need to be so much more sensitive in the ways I am fostering her growth. My ways of watching for danger at every step and turn give almost a timid spirit to my very bold and independent child.  I am learning there is a difference in teaching your child to be cautious, but to also enjoy the adventure of life all around them.

When my husband and I became parents, it gave me a whole new thankfulness as to God’s plan in joining us together. My husband is my complete opposite. He has taught me how to help push our child to the limits and brink of what she thinks is possible. Sometimes as a mother I get nervous because I think, that is too high or that is too far. But, the confidence, boldness and independence I see burst through our child is not to be underestimated. Some of that comes naturally, yes (and oh man does some of that independence come naturally haha,) but some of that has been planted and nurtured in her soul by a loving, earnest father.

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Something my husband brought up the other day, that is very hard for me as a mother to think about is, one day our child will grow up and not need us anymore. We should desire that our children grow to be independent thinkers, bold dreamers and strong enough to stand up for their own beliefs. As much as I want my child to stay my little baby forever and protect her from every heartache, bump/bruise, fear, etc.- it is necessary. They are testing the limits of their small world and discovering there is much more out there. It is so scary for us as parents. We were designed to want to shield them…insert momma bear instincts!  But, sometimes we just need to take a breath, momma, and let them fully experience. Let them dream, leap, climb, test the boundary a little and slowly watch their spirits unfold.

 

 

Stay-at-Home Mystery

When you first bring your child home from the hospital, they are truly a bundle of joy. Beautiful, perfect, the most precious gift you could ever receive. You could spend every waking moment staring into their tiny little eyes. You just want to lay there holding their tiny hands and cuddling all day as if nothing else in the world matters. The day you have to go back to work as a mom or dad seems like a travesty. It is an injustice to the world. How could you leave this precious angel for just one second? Oh, the horror. You tell yourself, if only I was lucky enough to stay home with this sweet child then all would be alright.

Fast forward a few more years into toddlerhood, in our case, and you get the time to stay home…through very unfortunate circumstances. It will hopefully only be momentary (due to the circumstances), but still any time with your precious angel is magical, right?

Right?????

I will now get to live in the dream world that all other stay-at-home moms get to live in for a little bit. It won’t look exactly the same because of my back, but we can still make it work. We can have tea parties, play barbies, learn, paint our nails, have movie days….you know just sweet day after sweet day.

Okay, ALERT!!!! Stay-at-home moms, your job is hard! I literally spend no waking moment of my day alone. I go to shower, pee…”mommy, I just thought you should know I’m here and I still love you.” Sweet, right? Totally! But, oh, how I desperately long for a breath just to myself sometimes. Being able to take care of any household chore, phone call, anything besides devoted attention to my sweet angel is almost out of the question except for nap time. Then before you know it, nap time has zoomed by! Being able to get even 10-15 minutes in for a quiet time is my ultimate goal. It calms my spirit and gives me rest. But, even that feels almost unattainable at times.

Now, I have been in both worlds-working and now staying at home for a little while. A mother’s job, no matter how it looks, is Never easy. Working moms have it completely difficult as well, so please, no working moms take any offense to this. Your job is equally as hard. I always felt like I never had enough time for my daughter and I was short-changing her with the energy I had left. That was my struggle and I really struggled with working. But, at the same time, I loved working and felt equally as passionate about that. Besides, it was what you had to do and what I will do again when given the chance. For this season, I am just having the chance to write from a different perspective that I never thought I would totally understand. But, I think in either situation, this last part applies to us both in some capacity.

Staying at home, to me, is like a snow day. It is beautiful because you get to see a masterpiece up close. God’s handiwork right at your fingertips. You get to play with it, have fun with it by building snowmen; snowball fights; and snow angels. You get to snuggle inside after playing–you hold each other tight with a cup of hot cocoa. But, then comes the driving in it. You have such HUGE responsibility when driving in snow or ice. After getting bundled up, you must clear the snow off the windshield so you can see properly; your door to get in; shovel off the driveway. You do all this just so you can leave your house.  Then comes navigating the road with all the uncertainty of the terrain and how other drivers will react to the conditions. You stay white knuckled at the helm making sure that you and everyone in the car gets to where you’re going safely. I feel the same  about this season of motherhood. It is beautiful, it is miraculous. I wouldn’t trade it for the world because I am watching God’s masterpiece (Psalm 139:13-16) up close. But, the days are not always easy and perfect like I imagined. We are three years old now. We skipped terrible twos and gave mom the illusion that we were the exception to the rule! But, bring on the terrify threes. They are filled with a lot of learning the wise and unwise ways to behave in this big ol’ world. We have a lot of snow and ice to navigate through on this road. And sometimes mommy doesn’t always know the right way, because no one gave me the sacred GPS for this one either! It is hard work. Never for a second do you doubt how much all of the effort is worth in the long run for the success of your child. But, just like with the snow, sometimes the “work” becomes the focus and we forget about the beauty of it. We have to make sure to set aside a moment or two of our very hectic schedules to notice the beauty playing, growing and being silly right in front of us. Breath it in. It will be gone before we know it and on to the next season.

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Perfect Mommy

It’s amazing the amount of weight that we, as mothers, bear on our shoulders.

I love Christmas time because you get to see all the family pictures, newsletters and posts about what is new in the lives of people who are close and those you have lost touch with. It is a blessed time getting to read about all the adventures, see the new family additions, cute dress-up clothes, etc. I love it!

It is also a time of self-analyzing that I know we don’t always do intentionally. We look at everyone else’s accomplishments as mothers whether it be number of “picture-perfect” children, financial status, or how picturesque the family looks in the photos and think-what have I done wrong and where have I fallen short?  Or, why didn’t I get started on Christmas cards sooner this year?! It’s amazing the amount of weight that we, as mothers, bear on our shoulders. It is not because anyone else necessarily placed it on there, but because we have a vision of how great our children’s lives should be and that the sole responsibility of their happiness, healthiness, and ability to amount to greatness rests in the palms of our hands.

I have bore this responsibility heavily lately with the inability to be the mother that I envisioned for my child. There are days where I see it as okay and have accepted this season in our lives. Then there are others days, most days, where I see it as a handicap my daughter must bear as well. It is unfair, I want to scream and cry as loud as my soul and body are able. We don’t have a “Pinterest” schedule where we awake, do crafts, school time, paint some more, then finish the day up with more outside playing. There are days where that can be done, but it is not typical. Will she be at a disadvantage growing up this way? Will I be the cause if she doesn’t reach the office of President of the United States?

We all have our battles, whether it be a physical limitation, there’s never enough time, we feel like we work too much, etc. I don’t know that I have ever met a mother that truly feels, oh by golly I’ve got it-my kids are going to be amazing because I am the best, did everything right, I am perfect. We all struggle with feeling like we have to strive just a little bit more to achieve perfect motherhood so that our children will be alright.

Those thoughts brought me to this Christmas and thinking a lot about the manger. We were striving (there’s that word again) to get my daughter to truly understand the meaning of Christmas is all about the manger, not the Christmas presents. But, coincidentally enough, as I sit back and think about all my striving, I go back to that manger. Since the garden of Eden when Eve and Adam sinned, we have never been enough on our own. And that’s a tough pill to swallow…I’m a perfectionist! But, our miracle came that Christmas morning when Jesus came to earth. He came to live, die and rise again to be enough for each and every one of us.

I remember praying the night before my first spinal surgery as I was scared out of my mind. It was routine to everyone else, except me. I prayed that night that I would be able to give my child up to God, no matter the outcome. It is a prayer I have to pray often. It is not easy to “give your child up” even though He is the one from whom the gift came in the first place (interesting thought). He is the one who can care and raise up a child, lead and direct wiser than any of us. Yet, we want to be in sole control of it all and think if we aren’t-chaos ensues. That Christmas morning, when Jesus came it changed everything. He has saved me and given me power that I so desperately lack on my own. He has my child’s best interest at heart because He is her Father as well, looking on with an even greater love I can’t begin to understand. His grace, mercy, wisdom, power, and so much more are more than enough for us both. So, take a breath mommas! And don’t forget who is truly holding us all.