A Life Stirred

The Motherhood Paradox

“The days are long, but the years are short.”

“Enjoy every moment.  They grow up so fast.”

“This too shall pass.”

“Don’t wish the time away.”

Anyone who has been a mom for more than a day has probably heard one or all of these comments.  They’re meant to encourage and give perspective.  And they kind of do.

Except they kind of don’t.

Most often, I hear these types of comments as a response to a mom’s frustrations in her current season.  It certainly does give a big picture perspective of how long this current season will last, but it does nothing to affirm the mom’s feelings in the moment.  If anything, it dismisses her frustrations, and tells her to suck it up because someday her frustrating baby will be gone.

See?  Not so encouraging.

And yet, all those statements are absolutely true.  The days are long, and the years are short.  They do grow up fast.

Case in point: This was 3 years ago yesterday. That definitely went fast.

Case in point: This was 3 years ago yesterday. That definitely went fast.

So what do you do with it all?

It’s the Motherhood Paradox.  As a mom, I experience this paradox every.single.day.

It’s fast.  It’s slow.

It’s enjoyable.  It’s torture.

It’s fulfilling.  It’s absolutely draining.

I love my kids.  I….still love my kids, but need a minute alone (or a few hours).  (Anyone else?)

But you know what I’ve realized?  Motherhood can be all of those things at once.

You can also absolutely love your three year old, and her blossoming personality and language.  And you can want that very same threeanger to hurry up and be four.  It doesn’t take away from enjoying this stage.  And it does nothing to actually change the speed of time.  (Spoiler Alert:  Time is constant.)

You can love having all little kiddos.  And you can wish for the day when you don’t have to change diapers and wipe poo.  (TMI?  Maybe…but we’ve all been there, right?)

So, vent those motherhood frustrations, and don’t feel guilty for one minute.  (Because, seriously, don’t we all have enough mom-guilt as it is?)  Enjoy your kids in their current season, and wish for the next one.  It’s the Motherhood Paradox*.  And it’s ok.

*I should put a trademark on that phrase and make millions.  Because apparently, you can do that.

This delightful moment was followed up with a toddler melt-down. Thank you, Motherhood Paradox.

This delightful moment was followed up with a toddler melt-down. Thank you, Motherhood Paradox.

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What do you do well?

I read a lot of blogs these days.  Because 5 minute chunks of time for reading is about all I can handle.

[Sidenote: Sometimes I worry that I’ve broken the part of my brain that could focus on a mental task for more than 10 minutes.  I’m blaming motherhood for that, but I wonder if it’s more a cultural trend.]

So, anyway, I read mostly Christian, mom blogs.  [Maybe I should diversify my blog-reading, but that’s not what this post is about…]

Generally, these blogs strive to encourage and challenge other moms in their walk with the Lord. Which is great.  I need that.  The Bible even tells us to encourage one another and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

BUT lately, it seems like everything I’m reading focuses on areas where we might be falling short.  Presumably because those are probably the areas where we most need encouragement.  Things like being patient as a mom, practicing hospitality, housekeeping things, developing a regular prayer time, loving our children well, loving our husband well, being a good friend, focusing on self-care and on and on.

And before I go any further with this post, let me say clearly, there is nothing wrong with those postsNothing.  I need all the encouragement I can get in most of those areas (ok, ok, all of those areas).  There’s a reason I read the blogs I do—I want to be spurred on towards love and good works (Hebrews 10:24).  And heck, I do the exact same thing on my own blog (or I try to)!

However, with all the focus on areas where we need help and encouragement, I think we forget an important piece.  We don’t often acknowledge the ways where we are doing well, the things that do come easily to us

No matter who you are, there is something that you do well.  There are areas of motherhood and life where you don’t struggle, areas where you actually shine!

Maybe you are really good at keeping your house clean and organized.  Maybe you find joy in mopping.

Maybe you are naturally patient with your kids.

Maybe you find joy in throwing elaborate, Pinterest-worthy birthday parties.

Maybe you are thrifty.

Maybe you love inviting others into your home.

Maybe you are consistently in the Word and in prayer.

Maybe you do super-creative educational projects with your kids.

Maybe you are really good at selfies in the mirror aisle at Hobby Lobby.

No gift is too small.

Not as easy as it looks.

Do you get the idea? You excel in some way.  Yet, too often, we push those gifts aside or long for a different gift or dwell on the 318 ways we could be doing better.

Granted, I know that it wouldn’t be healthy (or fruitful) to spend all our time talking about the ways we do things well.  But I think there is value in sharing our gifts.

So, today, I want to hear from you.  Yes, really, you.

 What do you do well?

And if you share (and I hope you will), don’t make excuses or be apologetic about your gift.  Be proud of the gifts the Lord has given you.  I know it will encourage my heart to hear how you are uniquely gifted!

[P.S. If you can’t think of anything, ask someone who is close to you for some ideas.  I bet your friends could give you a few ideas.  We are often so critical of ourselves (and even of our own gifts) that we are blind to our strengths.]

 

 

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Take a Minute

Alright, so how do you tame your tongue in everyday speech?

No, really.  How do you do it?

I still really have no idea.  So if you were expecting a super-practical, hands-on post, I’m probably going to disappoint you.

I may not have it all figured out, but I have put some thought into it.  So there’s that.

The biggest thing I’m trying to do to tame my tongue is really not all that groundbreaking.  Actually, it’s not groundbreaking at all.

So, ideally, before I speak or text or email or share, I take a second and examine my heart and my motives.  I say “ideally” because it doesn’t always happen.  But when I do, I’m always better for it.  And sometimes I chose not to say what I was going to say.  (Which is always a really hard decision to follow-through on, and I will generally have a 6 minute battle with myself as to whether or not I’m just being ridiculous.)

So, if I’m about to send a friend a text to complain about my day, I take a moment and decide why I’m sending that.  Am I asking for encouragement?  Do I want a pity party?  Do I want to wallow in my own frustrations?  Most of the time, I want pity, and there’s not really much value to that.  Sometimes, with a humble attitude, I can admit to my frustrations and discouragement, and I can open the door for my friend to speak encouragement to me.

What about you?  Do you have the habit of pausing before you speak?  Any tricks to share on how you remember to do that?  Do you ever have a 6 minute battle with yourself about whether or not to say what you want to say?  Or is that just me…?

Don't miss a day!

Don’t miss a day!

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God’s Word on Our Words :: 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Joanna has some obnoxious delightful  songs on my her iPod.  Bible verses set to music.  Presumably they are catchy so that she will be inspired to memorize scripture.  I think it might be working because I’ve caught her singing along to them during naptime.

One side effect, however, is that they are also worming their way into my brain.  This is both a good thing (it’s always beneficial to know scripture) and a bad thing (they are oh-so-annoying).

 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Sing with me:  “Encourage one another and build each other up. Build each other up.  Build each other up.  Encourage one another and build each other up.  Up up up up up up up up.”

In this journey towards taming my tongue, this verse (song?) has been almost permanently stuck in my mind.  So I guess Steve Green got what he wanted—scripture in the minds of believers.  [Sidenote:  I just googled Steve Green, and it turns out he’s a well-respected and talented Christian artist.  Who knew?  Ha!  Sorry, Steve Green.]

Encourage one another and build each other up.  This is my heart’s cry.  Recently, a new mom’s group started at my church (MOMS Connection…check us out, if you’re local!), and our theme for the year is “encouragement.”  Because all moms need encouragement.  So badly.

I want to be an encourager.  I want everyone who crosses my path to leave feel just a little lighter because of encouragement.

I’ll be honest, though.  It’s not always easy.  Sometimes I’m too self-centered to encourage.  Sometimes I’m too prideful to encourage.  Sometimes I feel too discouraged to encourage.

Out of the heart the mouth speaks, right?  So if I have a heart full of the Lord’s encouragement, my mouth will speak encouragement as well!  I simply need to seek Him and encouragement from His word.  Simple really.

Do you need encouragement?  How do you most like to hear/feel/receive encouragement?

Don't miss a day!

Don’t miss a day!

 

 

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Scripture on a Sunday :: Ephesians 4:29

Don't miss a day!

Don’t miss a day!

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Some random thoughts before the snow

There’s a big snowstorm coming (12-18 inches!).  So naturally, I’m all kinds of excited.  I love winter.  And snow.  It’s just so pretty and white and cold and fun.  Plus, I love that a snowstorm gives you a legit excuse to snuggle up, drink hot chocolate, and watch a movie.  And if you go outside at all, it pretty much qualifies you to be the Mother of the Year.

My favorite snow bunnies.

My favorite snow bunnies.

Because of the pending snow, Ben swapped his President’s Day vacation day for tomorrow.  So right now, it’s our Friday!  And we’re hanging out, doing nothing.  De-light-ful.

You know what’s not delightful?  My infected finger.  So gross.  So painful.  So small…and yet I’m pretty sure it’s killing me.  (Don’t worry, I’m on the road to healing, but for the past 4 days, I’ve been dying.)  You’d think after giving birth twice I’d be a little tougher on the pain scale.  Nope.  The nurses asked me to rate my pain on a scale of 1-10, and I wanted to say 8.  I said  2 because that seemed more reasonable.

I find the faces helpful.  "Yes, I'm at a 2.  Because I'm smiling, but not all the way."

I find the faces helpful. “Yes, I’m at a 2. Because I’m smiling, but not all the way.”

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.  More than normal, I guess.  Or at least more focused.  At the IF: Gathering (a women’s conference), Rebekah Lyons  talked about calling.  She said calling is where our burden and talents intersect.  So I’ve been thinking about what God’s burdened me for (oooof…grammatically, that sentence hurts).  And I’ve been thinking about my talents.  I’m excited to see what God will teach me about my calling.

I’ve also been thinking about this post by Ben’s cousin’s wife.  So my cousin-in-law?  Is that a real thing?  I feel like we’re best friends.  Her boys (who are stinkin’ adorable) are pretty much exactly the age of my girls.  So I feel like that qualifies us for best friend status.  Except I’ve never met her, and I just read her blog and out-loud agree with everything she writes and then spend days thinking about it and quoting it to anyone who will listen.  Does that make me a creepy cousin-in-law?  I hope not.  Because someday we’re going to meet, and I’m going to have to play it cool.  [“Oh, you have a blog?  How interesting.  I’ll have to check that out sometime.”]

Anyway, that post was really good.  I totally recommend it.  (And hey, if you read it now, you’ll have a head start for your next conversation with me…because odds are, I’ll quote it.)  It’s about encouraging one another.  A topic that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, even before her post.   I definitely have a burden to encourage others.  And maybe some talent?  Could it be a calling?  No idea.  So, yeah.  Gonna leave it hanging there.  I’m pretty sure I’ll come back to it, but it deserves it’s own post (or twelve).

Well, Claire is clamoring for food.  Even though she ate 1.5 hours ago.  But whatever.  It’s what I do at night.  Nurse.  All the time.  Sigh.

Hope y’all have a great weekend.  Enjoy the snow!!

Seriously.  Mother. Of. The. Year.  It doesn't even matter that everyone is crabby.

Seriously. Mother. Of. The. Year. It doesn’t even matter that everyone is crabby.

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