Mad in Motherhood

Learning how to embrace our crazy beautiful lives. . . without going mad along the way


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Stop the Madness #2 Live.Love.LAUGH… a lot

Well, April flew by like a jet plane! So fast in fact, that here we are again in another month and another Stop the Madness Monday entry where I will be attempting to encourage you to turn away from the thoughts that will drive you MAD in MOTHERHOOD and embrace God’s truth instead.

WHAT NOT TO DO: Have absolutely no sense of humor.
Stop the Madness: No sensible person ever said that life would go perfectly smooth. Anyone that even hinted at it being that way is, well… a liar.

StoptheMadness.Laughing You may recall the example I gave earlier about the preschooler peeing on the tree. That was actually a story from my days as a nanny told to me by the sweet girl’s mom. She really did handle the situation with a little laughter, but she was a teensy bit mortified inside. So it made me think of all the different scenarios of how that could have played out without having a sense of humor in the equation. There could have been yelling and pandemonium. There could have been a scared little girl running around – now peeing on the entire yard. There could have been tears shed (by all parties). There could have been a silly and simple teaching moment completely wasted. Instead, as I recall, the mom laughed, placed her forehead in her palm for half a second and looked at her distinguished new neighbor and said, “Welcome to the neighborhood!” Kudos to you, Momma! Well played.

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We have SOO much to learn from those precious tiny humans that are entrusted to us! Think about how seriously they take life…. for the majority, the answer is ‘not very’. Now, my Cutie Pie is in the life-phase of feeling embarrassed and learning consequences, so sometimes she thinks things are a much bigger deal than they really should be. Even as I type this, my mind is wondering if my lack of humor in some situations has tainted her ability to just roll with the punches (of life). I mean, we certainly don’t want to completely throw caution to the wind and run a amuck like the Mad Hatter, but maybe we do need to LIGHTEN UP A LITTLE

Most of the time, children see humor in things that we just don’t get. Peek A Boo, for example, is one of the most mind numbing games known to the adult brain, but to a 9 month old…. HILARIOUS. Slapstick comedy is also a winner every.single.time. To me, my body cringes and aches when I see someone fall or trip or get hit with something. Have you ever noticed the joy all over their face when they play in the mud or splash in a puddle or finger paint their entire body. They giggle, their eyes sparkle, they get lost in the the fun of doing something crazy. They truly Live. Love. Laugh – and learn, might I add.

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Just a little cow humor

Some of our lack of humor comes with age, with experience, or with wisdom. Some of it is because we’re tired, we’re stressed, we’re ‘responsible’. Sometimes we forget to laugh because we want to cry or yell. Sometimes we’re too busy or distracted to really pay attention. Sometimes we are just guilty of forgetting the same thing that I tell my Cutie Pie… ‘No big deal. Accidents happen’. We even made up a song for that little phrase, and sing it multiple times a day.

It’s hard to find the line between enforcing consequence and allowing freedom. It’s hard to decide the best way to make a learning point in a situation on the spot. Is a simple yes/no they way to go, or a more drawn out explanation? Why do I want to say ‘no’ anyways? Is there really harm in letting her use the curb as a balance beam? Just because I fell off of one and was greatly traumatized, doesn’t mean the same thing will happen to her. Maybe, you fear that if you don’t have strict rules and boundaries your children may grow up and be featured on America’s Most Wanted. Well, it is true that those people were indeed someone’s children once, but I don’t think the likelihood of your children growing up to be like them is very high.

If you’re like me, you want to make a teaching point out of nearly every moment. Sometimes, the teaching point is meant for us to learn from them. What we need to remember is that sometimes, the best lesson to be taught is how we respond to life’s curve balls… to the tantrums… to the messes… to the toddler defiance independence… to the crazy drivers… to the rude people that clearly hate their job in customer service… to the waiting for.ev.er at the doctor’s office… to the peeing on a tree. The best lesson of all isn’t correcting their behavior on the spot, it’s reminding your little sponges that you are one cool, calm, collected, life loving, grace giving, joy seeking, AWESOME MOMMA!

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A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

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Stop the madness #1 – No more Super Mom mentality

Here we are… It’s the first Monday of the month, Which means it is Stop the Madness Monday and I will attempt to encourage you to turn away from the thoughts that will drive you MAD in MOTHERHOOD and embrace God’s truth instead.
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WHAT NOT TO DO: Never ask for help and certainly don’t accept it when offered.
Stop the Madness: Here’s the deal… No one is actually Super Mom – As in a super hero with special powers who can do absolutely everything in half the time it would take an army to, and without breaking a sweat. No one.
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You are amazing. You are a giver and a lover. You are a multitasking phenomenon. You are a personal chef, trauma nurse, chauffeur, spiritual leader, and laundry master all rolled into one. You are Mother…. And you are HUMAN.  Just because you CAN do all of these things (and then some) doesn’t mean you should feel like you HAVE to do them all day, every day, all on your own. Nor, should you feel like a failure if you don’t do them all on your own.
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I remember the early days of motherhood… exhaustion, confusion, frantically trying to figure out how to take care of this small person (and all her poop and spit-up) and how to maintain the house, and not forget about my husband, all while counting the days since I last had a shower. Then someone would would kindly offer their assistance and June Cleaver’s voice would come out of my mouth saying something absurd like, ‘Oh, no thank you. I have it all under control. In fact, think I’ll make a lasagna from scratch for dinner tonight, after I do the 17 loads of laundry that are piling up and spilling into the hallway.’ Ridiculous.
Side Note: Anytime someone says ‘I have it under control,’ they are begging you to politely knock some sense into them.
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After about a week, I pseudo-accepted the assistance…. Mustering up enough energy to ‘tidy up’ before that angel of a person came over to help me ‘clean up’ for real. I thought to myself. ‘No one really wants to come clean my house and do my laundry. They want to come hold the baby and chat, so I should put on my big girl pants and clean up before they get here and see the disaster in which I am sitting.’ All my thinking was wrong. After some coaxing and several weeks of trying to be ‘Super Mom’ I changed my tune to. ‘Help Me, Rhonda’… (or anyone for that matter).
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I told you before, that I had never imagined so many people would be folding my underwear. Well it’s true. I have never been the kind of person to ask for help, and I have never been very good at accepting it when offered. I have also never thought my self to be a prideful person…. but I am learning that ‘pride’ can wear a lot of different masks. I told myself things like, ‘I can do the dirty jobs that no one else really wants to do’ or ‘they’re just offering to be nice’ and what I was really doing was pridefully shortchanging every person involved. I wasn’t getting the help I so desperately needed to make my life easier and I was robbing someone else of the opportunity to love and serve me. Whoa.
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God calls us to live in community. To love each other. To help each other. To serve each other. To encourage each other, And to challenge each other.
Community is precious. It allows us to be the body of Christ and to live to our fullest ability.
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So, when I humbly accepted my shortcomings in this season of early motherhood as opportunities and not failures, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. If my inlaws want to take turns folding laundry and holding babies, awesome! If my friend wants to get a babysitter for her own kiddo so she can come clean my kitchen and bathroom, amazing! If my other friends want to bring a meal over, Terrific – I love all food! I am eternally grateful to you for seeing my need and so graciously meeting it. And because of the lovely give and take/help each other out mentality in living in community, I too will help a momma out…when I get my head steadily above water.
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We have to remember to take care of our own Stud Muffins and little ones first, before we go running off to save the universe (again, remember ‘Super Mom’ = Fictitious) So, this may be the season in life where you need to receive the help. Like me, you have probably had many seasons where you were able to give the help. Those seasons will return (although it may not be for a long while). Ride this one out. Before you know it, you’ll be needing less and less help on a dire basis and you’ll be doing more and more on your own. Save your energy to be the best YOU that you can be for your family. Your friends and others will understand. And if you’re like me, enlist the help of someone on Care.com to help with some of the areas of housework that are really bogging you down. Seriously. I joined today. Because I humbly accept that my house manufactures more dirt than I can handle right now.
An honest look at my house:
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I documented my dining room floor sweepings every 2-3 days for 10 days.
Note: The small pile in the middle is due to spending an entire day out of the house, plus eating 2 meals out. Sheesh. Too.Much.Dirt.

Oh please, sing along if you know this song 🙂
You’ve got to know when to hold em
Know when to fold em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run!
*Tis true for playing cards and Super Real Momma’s.*
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If you need it, run to someone and ask for help today! And if you are on the other side of chaos, offer Christ’s love to someone who may need a little help, but is too scared to ask.


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Sleep. Oh how I’ve missed thee.

They say the number 7 is special. This guy calls it magical. God calls it holy. I call it INVIGORATING! You see, after 10 1/2 long, exhausting, sleep deprived months, Miss Squeals A Lot has decided to sleep through the night. For the last 7 nights she has slept from about 10pm until 8am. WHAT?! I know, it’s insane. Just 8 nights ago, I had accepted the fact that she was insistent on waking up an average of 2.758 times every night and I was coming to grips with the idea that this may be my life for the next 17 years. I was feeling grumpy, lunatic-ish, disheveled, blessed, needed and loved all at the same time…. but Oh. So. Tired. Can you feel me?

You should know that I have a deep love for sleep. It is among my favorite things. The Stud recently pointed out that it is often my physical source of comfort. After spending hours upon hours feeding people, picking up toys, changing diapers, and breaking up sibling disputes I just want to climb into my giant bed with my mountain of pillows and drift off to Mommy Wonderland… even if it is only 11am! Most of us moms don’t get to experience such wonderment in the early years of motherhood, but I hold on to the hope that one day those luxuries will return!

So 7 days ago I got a glimpse of uninterrupted sleep. My independent little girl decided to try out sleeping a whole night – all on her own accord. She somehow knew that while I love seeing her adorable little self at any hour, a rendezvous in the daylight would be just as precious… maybe even more! Of course, being cut from my cloth, she found the beauty in a good nights sleep. She was refreshed and ready to rock and roll that morning. And an added bonus – I had the gift of showering and brushing my teeth before getting her up, so ‘stinky mommy’ got the day off.  Talk about feeling like a new woman – for both of us!

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A more realistic image than the book:
Love You Forever

If you’ve ever had a child who didn’t sleep well, you know what I’m talking about. If you STILL have a child who doesn’t sleep well, you may want to punch me in the face. Please keep reading and know that you are not alone! While I have had 7 glorious nights with a sleeping beauty, it has been a long time coming. Cutie Pie has only been sleeping (consistently) through the night since December. She still wakes up once or twice a week crying for me. That’s 2 1/2 years of restless nights people. Two and a half years! The beauty in that is that there were times that I thought I may actually lose my mind and die from exhaustion – but I didn’t. There were nights when I cried like a baby because I couldn’t get the actual baby to stop crying. There were days where I fell asleep sitting up – in the middle of a conversation – because I had absolutely no ability to keep my eyeballs open. There were many nights where I fell asleep in the rocker and had a stiff neck for days to follow. There were nights where I put the diaper on backwards and once where I even forgot to put a fresh diaper on Cutie Pie! I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.

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She MUST be tired!

All of those sleepless nights led me here. I’m still alive and most of my mental abilities are intact. AND mixed in with all the less appealing moments were the precious snuggles and coos, the sweet faces looking back at me in the moonlight, the extra prayers and quiet time with God, the quiet and peaceful bonding time that drew my girls and I closer. Mixed in with the enemies desire to exhaust and distract, were the beautiful blessings of God’s grace and love. I find that I have to caution myself from hoping for what’s to come in the future so I don’t miss out on what’s happening in the present. While I have longed for good sleep, I know that the day will come when my sweet snuggle babies will be throwing me a kiss (fingers crossed) and taking themselves to bed- a bed time song and story in the rocking chair will no longer be their hearts desire. I know that those tender moments in the quiet moonlight will one day vanish, and I’ll be grateful for the refreshed feeling of rest, but I will be sad to only have memories to cling to.

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Miss Squeals A Lot and Gus-Gus
Yes. She goes to sleep holding him like that.
Be still my heart.

Hang in there Momma. Your day will come. Until then, enjoy the midnight moments with your wee one. Catch naps whenever you can. Ask for help when you need it. One day, your baby will be all grown up and sleeping through the night and you’ll be the one running in to check on them and sneak a quick snuggle.

Some Wise words from other Mommas:

A Prayer for the Mom Who’s Worn

To the Tired Mother


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12 Surefire Ways to go Completely Mad in Mommydom

I was having one of those days where I was being way too hard on myself for falling short of perfection in every aspect. I was upset with my husband, grumpy towards my kids, and frustrated with myself. Then I realized the reason I feel like I am becoming a mental person is because I AM MAKING MYSELF FEEL THAT WAY! Not my wonderful husband or my precious babies, no one else but me…. And a great big nudge from Satan pushing me in that direction. You see, Satan loves to see us fail. And hurt. And hurt others. But God doesn’t want us to feel/do any of those things. So there I was, being unrealistic with my expectations, ignoring my own limitations, hurting those I love AND pleasing Satan all at the same time. *Open wound. Pour in salt*

I began to pray and ask God to help me to be honest with myself about all of the unhealthy ways that I was behaving and thinking in effort to improve – not beat myself up. He must have heard me loud and clear, because the list came rushing through my mind faster than I could even jot it all down!

These are the reminders that I have to tell myself on a nearly daily basis. Why is it that we get so frustrated with having to repeat ourselves to our husbands and children, and we ignore the fact that we, ourselves, require repetition? It seems like it’s always the good stuff – the encouragement and the reminders that we are only (one) human – that needs repeated the most, too. Momma, I urge you to take note of these things and if you are guilty of any, pray for the ability to make a change. Relax and embrace your imperfect others AND your imperfect self.

This is my current top 12 – I’m sure the list will grow and change over time!
My 1st Blogger-Goal is to make one of these my focus on the first Monday of each month and go into more detail about why these are problems AND help you find the remedies – So be watching for the STOP-THE-MADNESS-MONDAY entries at the beginning of each month!

12 Surefire Ways to go Completely Mad in Mommydom
(followed by a snippet of encouragement)

1. Never ask for help and certainly don’t accept it when offered.
Stop the Madness: Here’s the deal… No one is actually Super Mom – As in a super hero with special powers who can do absolutely everything in half the time it would take an army to, and without breaking a sweat. No one.

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Do not try to recreate this image.
I am (almost) certain she was photo-shopped.

2. Have absolutely no sense of humor. When you’re chatting with your new neighbors and they point out that your pre-schooler is peeing on a tree, just be completely mortified. Don’t smile. Don’t snicker. Don’t think about how first impressions mean everything and try to make a joke. Try denying the existence of said child and go dig a whole and crawl in it to save whats left of your dignity.
Stop the Madness: Obviously, peeing on a tree is not the first location, us moms would choose, but imagine what your husband would do in this situation. Mine would bust out a big belly laugh and (hopefully) explain that maybe going inside to the bathroom would be a better choice next time. What’s wrong with a little laughter? It goes a LONG way in the midst of chaos.

3. Treat your husband like he’s less than royalty.
Stop the Madness: Now, I’m not saying you should be washing his feet and feeding him grapes while wearing a toga, but I am saying that he should know that you absolutely adore him. Appreciate him. Respect him. Tell him he’s the sexiest man alive! He will be on cloud nine and without even realizing it, he will start doing the same for you. He may even offer to so the dishes or laundry or clean toilets! THAT is how powerful your love and respect for him is. He is your prince. You’re crazy about him, so tell him!… And tell your kids too. They need to see a healthy picture of relationship and know that mommy and daddy are always on the same team.

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Maybe, you could start with buying him this shirt.
(click image)

4. Wait for someone else to apologize first AND/OR offer fake forgiveness – you know, the kind where you ‘say’ the words, but you don’t really ‘mean’ the words.
Stop the Madness: This will hurt you more than you know. God calls us to own our sin. Our mistakes. Our choices. He does not ask us to keep record of everyone else’s faults and wrong-doings. He’s got that under control. God doesn’t need a secretary.

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5. Allow anything and everything to constantly take precedence over your husband and children. Including: laundry, dishes, housecleaning, running errands, hobbies, shopping, television, phone calls, games and social media – to name a few.
Stop the Madness: Make the most of your time with your family when you are there. Find the best time to get the things done that truly need to be done and keep time available to ENJOY your family.  This can be SOOO challenging when you have little ones under foot. Just do the best you can and be content with that.
** Side Note: Hear me when I say that Working moms are not neglectful and that all moms need to take a little time for themselves. YOU need a recharge YOU need to be refreshed so that you could be the best you for your family.

6. Be extremely hard on yourself. Never allow room for error, mistakes, or happenstance.
Stop the Madness: This is a big one. Think about how you treat your friends as moms of young ones. Would you speak to them the way you speak to yourself? No way! You would listen to their dilemma; maybe provide some wisdom and encouragement; and maybe even hug them. Do those things for YOU too! Even the self-bear-hug. Don’t beat yourself up momma! God loves you. God shows you grace. You show others grace. Give yourself a little grace too.

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Seriously, you guys.

7. Always take everything personally. Every tantrum, every mess, every middle of the night crying fest, every sassy mouth, every poop up the back, every tossed dinner, every crumb on the floor, every toy out of place, every… EV-ERY-THING. After all, you are the one raising these little humans.
Stop the Madness: If you think for one second that your little angels are doing these things to make you angry, you are sorely mistaken. Snap out of your narcissistic moment and realize that they adore you and even though you have poured everything within you out for your dear ones, they may just need a smidge more in that moment. You can do it. God will help make sure of it. Just ask him.

8. Always make a plan and stick to it. There is no room for flexibility in this house… Unless it’s coming from someone else! – every time your child or husband steps outside the plan take it as a personal attempt to sabotage you and your efforts to maintain and manage a decent household.
Stop the Madness:  
Seriously?? I know some people who are really good at making plans and checklists and keeping order – I was one of them BEFORE kids. Now, I attempt a plan, but I know it may derail before breakfast. And for Heaven’s sake, that is O.K. If schedules and checklists work for your family, Fantastic! And if they don’t, thats ok too!

9. Pretend you don’t need a break. Attempt to power through by multitasking and handling everything under the sun because the universe may slip out of orbit if you slow down for even a second.
Stop the Madness: 
I have tried (and failed) this one many times but guess what, the universe is still in tact. When you are having ‘one of those days’ – you know the one I’m talking about – it is absolutely ok to have a mommy time out. When your hubby comes home and can see the weary look on your face and offers to help, greet him with a kiss and a smile and graciously accept 5 minutes of peace and quiet alone. In your closet, if you have to. I like to take a diet coke with me when I go.
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10. Read every book on parenting and take it Word for Word exactly as written realizing that there is no room for individuality within a family unit. Also, let the people-pleaser within, rise up and take every piece of advice to heart and carve it into your family stone. I give you 3 seconds to go completely MAD.
Stop the Madness: 
Advice and wisdom from other moms are GOOD things, but take everything with a grain of salt. Your family is uniquely designed by God and what works for other families may not work for yours. Its worth a shot to try, but don’t feel obligated to force the ideas and success stories of others into your life.

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It takes a lot of work to make the square peg fit.
It can also take a lot of work to find a round peg…
…But it’s the right fit.

11. Live in fear that your infant will pick up on every kicking and screaming tantrum that your toddler has and use it to their advantage.
Stop the Madness: Honestly, this may actually happen. But chances are it would’ve happened anyways – whether you wear yourself out trying to keep that wee one sheltered or not. After all, where do you suppose the toddler learned such behavior?  We’re all born with sin nature even that sweet little baby.

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Babies talk. Enough said.

12. Cast judgment and mutter phrases such as ‘I would never do that’ or ‘if she would just do ________, she wouldn’t have that problem’ – only if you want to taste their bitterness later. yuck!
Stop the Madness: 
Pretending to know all the answers for every scenario will only knock you down to size later. Don’t try to use what you know to fix what you don’t know. I have eaten many words from my pre-baby days and trust me, it’s not fun. Humbling, but not fun. I have even chewed on some cynical self absorbed words since becoming a mom, but I am working hard to manage my diet and keep to more wholesome nutrition.

REMINDER: These are the ‘tongue in cheek’ snippets.
My 1st Blogger-Goal is to make one of these my focus on the first Monday of each month and go into more detail about why these are problems AND help you find the remedies – So be watching for the STOP-THE-MADNESS-MONDAY entries at the beginning of each month!


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So, I guess I’m a Blogger

I’ve never really gotten into the whole Blogging phenomenon. I tried Xanga once – yikes, I feel old – but I found that my thoughts as a college freshman really weren’t all that spectacular.  Words fumbling around the screen with little direction or motive. Even today, I am that person who proof’s their Facebook posts at least 7 times hoping they are grammatically correct or incorrect in a socially acceptable way because my high school English teacher is now a friend and may read what I post. But I just embrace the incorrectness and ask for forgiveness. I have also never enjoyed reading other peoples blogs… until recently. When I became a stay at home momma of two.

My oldest (we’ll call her Cutie Pie), a very comical, loving, knock your socks off two year old with Shirley Temple spunk has Hydrocephalus. I should say mild hydrocephalus. The mild part is the important part. The doctors caught this during pregnancy, so for 3 years now we have been monitoring her closely to determine if she needs a shunt or not. I praise God, that she hasn’t had any major issues so far – other than not being able to pull a normal size shirt over her head – but she has had a ton of tests, procedures, exams, and specialists following her. So you can imagine, my reading material for the last 3 years has revolved around Medical Journals and Websites.

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Dr. Cutie Pie

Then, along came my youngest (we’ll call her Miss Squeals A lot), also very spunky, sweet, & entertaining but throw in a little extra sass and determination. While pregnant with Miss Squeals A Lot, I found myself longing for other mommas to walk this road with me. Surely, I wasn’t the only one to feel like I don’t have a clue as to what I’m doing with these two little humans. I have a psychology degree and nearly 10 years of experience caring for children, yet it seems that none of that has prepared me for this. I know all about what the books say, but guess what… scholarly wisdom doesn’t apply to every child, in every situation, ever!

Miss Squeals A Lot… currently not squealing because my coffee table is in her mouth

Miss Squeals A Lot… currently not squealing because my coffee table is in her mouth

So, there I was, holding Miss Squeals A Lot and sitting in a puddle of spit up and cheerios, feeling lost in the madness with Cutie Pie hovering over me asking “You OK Mommy, You OK??” when I turned to the wonderful land of Blogs. Enough with the textbooks, give me some real insight, please. Enter Jen Hatmaker and the funniest Blog entry ever. I laughed until I cried. Seriously. After just that one entry I felt like she and I were life long BFFs (to which I may refer to her as from time to time). I was so grateful to hear someone else share their story of crazy, beautiful chaos and couldn’t help but see myself as THAT parent. I thought my current state of pandemonium was a phase that would pass. Turns out, its called Motherhood – and it’s absolutely amazing – but was not going to vaporize anytime soon. I was at that place of going mad, getting mad, making other (small) people mad; when I heard God say, “Snap out of it, woman! You don’t have to do this alone. I’m here.  Your BFF Jen is here. And lots of others too.” Hmmm. How bout them apples?! I’m not alone or crazy. I should add here that I have an incredible husband by my side – I may refer to him as My Stud Muffin in the future – and our parents have been invaluable in lending a helping hand – I never dreamed so many different people would be folding my underwear!

I began to immerse myself in Blogs and articles geared towards parenting and motherhood and being a better wife. As I continued to absorb the wisdom of my fellow mommas and began to let go of some of my expectations and demands, I noticed that I was finding joy in the midst of my madness and I wasn’t the only one. You know the saying, ‘If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy’? Well, there’s truth to that, Except replace ‘happy’ with ‘content’ or ‘joyful’ and make it ‘If Momma ain’t CHOOSING to be ______________…’ fill in the adjective that fits best.

My hope here is to compile my thoughts and impart the wisdom (gained from experience) on to other challenged Mommas. And also point you toward some of my favorite bloggers and articles. You know that other phrase, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’? Also true. And by ‘village’ I mean a whole collection of friends, family members, and BFFs whom you acquire via Blog posts!

This is it. It’s official. As soon as I hit that magic little button labeled ‘Publish’, I’m a Blogger. Or something 🙂