For the Weary Mamas
Happy Thursday friends.
It's raining and I am snuggled in a blanket with sloths on it which is so apropos.
When you know the day will come to a close with a date-visit to the Chick-fil-a drive through you can smile at your corner on the floor by your bed.
No school today as we prepare for company.
My quiet time to write is filled with piano chords, trumpet tries, trash round pick-ups and polite offers of coffee.
I laughed as someone began to ask me something and then in a hush asked, "Wait. Are you WRITING?!!"
After a nod they backed out of the room.
Oh that sweet man of mine that convinces my kids that I am doing something magical Thursday mornings.
Makes me want to share my Chick-fil-a points with him and get him a shake, it does!
So on a weary, dreary day my thoughts go out to the weary ones.
Today my thoughts go to the weary Mamas.
The Mamas who have the cultures growing to combat the NEXT world pandemic right there in the front plastic-lined pocket of their diaper bags.
This goes out to you.
I'm thinking of the Mamas with "littles" as we called them, who wonder how on earth they will keep their "little" universe with those "littles" running another day.
Without desiring to run away.
Days when you run low on patience, ground beef and peanut butter yet high on stress, frustrations and laundry needing to be folded.
Days when you wonder if you should've thought of more interesting names for your Littles, like "Larkspur," "Summer" or "Noble," so that their nickname wouldn't be "Nase" or "Chubbers Horatio Alberto Bell."
To you Mama, here's my feeble attempt to encourage you:
- Some days are just hard. The dinner will fail, the kids will up and revolt, and you will get angry at anything that is breathing for no good reason. We all have them. (Read that again- we ALL have them, have had them and WILL have them.) Stop and ask for help. Take a beat. Step into the walk-in-closet. With a humble heart, ask the Lord to renew your mind, your dinner, your attitude and your pursed lips. He will do it. Some days you may spend more time in the closet than teaching anything and that's okay.
- You may not feel like celebrating the little things or the big things or anything. A laugh at night, over dinner, when someone says words like "stinky," or when someone falls is good enough celebration. Your kids will remember the time Dad belly laughed over a silly moment more than they will remember what color streamers they had at that grand birthday party.
- Your house will not smell like your in laws' house for years and years and maybe never because it's not THEIR house for Pete's sake. This was a ginormous hold-up for me as a wife and mother. My Mother-in-law's house always looked cute and perpetually smelled of apples and cinnamon with a sprinkle of coffee. I loved it then and love it now when I step one foot in the door. That's THEIR smell. That's the smell of a life well-lived in a different house, with a different spouse and different kids. I like to think my house smells amazing, but it most likely smells like oatmeal, Scentsy bars from Christmas and soap. And that's just fine. It's actually more than fine- it's perfect.
- When people say, "Don't sweat the small stuff," they mean, don't worry about the argument over why you don't like the new garbage can. They also mean that you shouldn't give another thought about the skirt from college you cannot fit into unless you refuse to eat for two whole days. And the fact that you still don't have outlet covers after the painting or some good way of remembering which child is supposed to be rewarded for which chore.
- You love your spouse to the moon and back, but somehow that seems to seep out of your mouth in the words, "Could you just please change their diaper?" It's a weird phenomenon that will wear off in a year or few. In the mean time, keep making their favorite meal, keep folding their white shirts, keep bringing them iced tea in the middle of mowing the lawn and keep kissing them like you mean it. Things will shake out just fine. You will remember just how much their arm around your waist means directly after the phase of peanut butter on your whole being. Trust me on this. It's crazy great that the older your kiddos get the younger your love feels. Ahem. Okay, MOVING ON...
- Your kids will be alright if they still don't know how to pronounce Phoenix, Arizona, know the IMMEDIATE answer to 9x6 or even how to count back change. Honest and truly. They may never know a verse in Spanish or remember a verse of a poem and they will still go out and conquer the world. And here's the kicker. They will remember the teacher more than the teaching. My oldest three (before homeschooling) remember teachers who laughed with them and teachers who laughed at them. It's not the love of knowledge but the knowledge of the love of God. Videos, books, flashcards and finger puppets alike just need a bit of love to be useful.
- Don't ask what everyone else is having for dinner. If you eat rice and beans every Friday, that's magical. If your kids eat hot dogs on Sunday afternoon or cereal late on Monday nights who cares. Not me. Cordon bleu and baked desserts can pop out when one or two actually leave the house. It's cheaper that way. Do you have a meal plan? Wonderful. Does your husband love bringing home a rotisserie chicken from Giant Eagle? Huzzah. If it works for you and your sweetheart, it works, period. No family eats five star and frozen green beans are nutritious.
- Pets are great morale boosters, but they are expensive. They are joyous when they are young and frisky sure, for one solid our of the day. The other hours are spent chewing on your favorite shoes, leaving potty places the kids haven't thought of and reminding you to take them places. No one will remember their cat's litter box but you and also food and water and everything else. And they will get old and need some kind of crazy expensive intervention that will make you furiously tell your children that they do not have a soul like you do and still end up costing you literally an arm and a leg. They can be wonderful but they can also be more work and a lot of cold hard cash. Just sayin'.
- Get a good robe and slippers and at least one pair of lovely pajamas. By good, I mean, ask for them for Christmas from your Mom or Mom-in-law who know what a good robe feels like and why it's important. If I could go back ten years I'd have begun the habit of deliriously comfortable lounge wear. I'm not one of those, "you're worth it!" kinda gals, but to me, these things are just the uniform for the job. You wouldn't send your husband out to work without a decent lunch box or work boots. I believe sleep deprived vomit wars and teething stages call for the proper attire.
- Friends are wonderful. They can pray and bring soup and remind you that you are not indeed crazy to think that this rash on Junior's arm came from some African plant that is lurking in your woods. But remember that the Lord wants to be that closest friend. Starbucks cards and casseroles cannot replace the need for Him in all of us. The friends who have been the closest to me have been the ones to understand busy and understand that friendships are icing on the cake of life. They are not the cake. If either part tries to make their friendship the cake it is doomed for failure. Ask me how I know this. Enjoy picking up when you can and leaving off when you need to for the hustle and bustle. You'll still store up so many, "Remember when Isaac burned all of his eyelashes off getting too close to that candle?!" stories to count!
- Read your bible. Read it standing up, read it sitting down, read it nursing, cooking, cleaning or just waiting in the minivan. And by reading, I mean, listen, write it, say it out loud or even sing it if need be. I remember consistently playing a tape of a man named Mark Rogers who sang scripture and how it helped me so much. Whatever you do, get God's word into your heart. All of it. Even Leviticus and Revelation. Even when you are mad or sad or too tired or even feeling uninterested doing so. Feed your spirit the broccoli and reap the benefits to come.
- You don't look as bad as you think you do. You know you are fearfully and wonderfully created, you've heard it a thousand times, but you seem to focus more on the fearful part and less on the wonderful part. When you are 40 you will laugh at how "bad" you thought your hair, body, makeup, etc. looked in that family picture. You look great. Well, if you could audition for "My 600 pound life," on TLC, I beg to differ, but if not, then you look great. Pluck an eyebrow if you wish, change things up and go with a more coral pallet. These are not the things people love you for or will remember you for. Your spirit will leave the lasting impression.
- Find someone who encourages you to be all that God would have you to be. Don't sit and mope because they aren't knocking down your door singing, "Let me Mentor you!" YOU GO AND FIND THEM. Ask them questions. Sit on their couch and cry with the "baby blues." Memorize their tried-and-true recipe for barbecue sauce. Listen to them tell you how mad they would get at their husbands and sigh with the peace that comes from "normality." These are things that I did and things I still do. Humble yourself and say, "What do you see in Freddie that could be changed?" "What can I do to stop them from doing, X, Y and Z?" You may need M&M'S after this but TRUST ME, it's worth listening to. Enjoy the benefits of a Godly Mentor. Go and get you one. Bring her flowers on her birthday, candy each time you see her and hug her often.
Hope a belly-laugh came out as you read some of this friends.
I am rooting for you weary Mamas.