Mad in Motherhood

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


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Stop the Madness #3 – Be your husband’s #1 fan

Well, Helllloo! 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. This month we are addressing our marital relationship and taking a look at how we might bless those Stud Muffins!

WHAT NOT TO DO: Treat your husband like he’s less than royalty.
Stop the Madness: You don’t have to wash his feet while feeding him grapes and wearing a toga, but you should be letting him know that you absolutely adore, respect, and appreciate him. Tell him you’re proud of the man he 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.

Our current family phase is what I like to call “Survival of the Fittest”. One of the thoughts that stays permanently in place in my mind is that one day, he will come home and find me tied up and being used as a human trampoline, while the girls stuff their little faces with whatever junk they may have found in the pantry while watching Barney – a forbidden show in our house… Just say no to the big purple dinosaur! The other image is that of me curled up in a ball on the floor mumbling things – after being used as a human trampoline and voluntarily turning on said purple dinosaur – eagerly awaiting the kind people in white coats to take me off to a far away land of peace and quiet. Ya feel me?? Lost my mind
So, if our family life phase is ‘Survival of the Fittest’, it makes sense that my marriage phase is (now more than ever) ‘Intentional and Purposeful’. The Stud and I have to make EVERY EFFORT to pour our love into each other these days. When we were younger without kids, it was easy. I thought he was ever so dreamy, and he thought I was the bomb diggity and we would show all kinds of appropriate levels of PDA and call each other on the phone just for fun and we openly (and obviously) adored one another. Now, most days we’re tired, sore, distracted, busy, forgetful… we’re responsible and hard working parents! And as parents, we need to remember that while we do have to rotate the pots from time to time, our relationship with each other should never just sit on the back burner.

If you’re like me, you delight in seeing the joy on your kids faces when you give them a gift or take them somewhere special or even just doing silly everyday things. It’s like an instant soul boost. It’s refreshing. It’s encouraging. It’s daily *hopefully*. It’s so easy. But what about those Stud Muffins we married? Is that joyful, blissful, blessed look something you see on his face everyday? It seems much more common to leave out the man, the grown up, the provider. It is so easy to forget to please him too. Try to hang in there until the end and take my words as encouragement, because trust me, at the end of a physically and emotionally long day with busy, needy, kiddos; the last thing on my mind is tending to the needs of the Stud Muffin! I am constantly learning how to bless him and with each phase of life, the methods may shift, but the goal stays the same.

This is such a challenging thing because men are exactly like us women, in that they are all completely different! In general, their needs and desires are very similar, though… and simple. Love, Respect, and Affirmation. If you give your Stud Muffin those 3 things, you will see that smirky little kid grin on his face more often.

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Can you tell I think he’s the cheese to my macaroni?!

Ok, here goes…

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One of my most favorite images.

LOVE – Lets go back to the notion that all men and women were uniquely created by God as He was simultaneously working on a comedy routine and made us (men vs women) with completely opposite needs! The category of LOVE is not exempt from this little factoid. And no, God wasn’t drinking when He chose to do it that way, and He wasn’t trying to be funny (well, maybe He was… who knows!) but He was being very intentional.  You have to do a little homework to find out exactly how to bless your husband with your LOVE. A great tool to use to figure him (and yourself) out is the 5 Love Languages assessment. You can take the assessment online and read the book to figure out what each one means, but they are pretty self explanatory.
Gary Chapman points out that there are 5 categories (LOVE tanks) in which we are able to give and receive love. They are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. What I find absolutely fascinating is that the way I would choose to express love is NOT  my Stud Muffin’s preferred way of receiving…. and vice versa! The Stud is a giver, so he thought buying me things showed me his LOVE, but really I was looking for quality time together. I am a doer, so I thought I was showing him my love by doing acts of service, but what he would have preferred was physical touch (imagine that!). We spent a lot of time and effort running ourselves ragged until we realized this and began filling up the right tank! Now here’s the kicker… The tanks change with different seasons of life. It’s not a one and done kind of assessment. So if you have never taken it, or it has been a couple of years (or a couple of kids) since you have taken it, TAKE IT AGAIN!… and talk about it with your Stud Muffin!

 

RESPECT – I recently had a conversation with some close friends about leadership and RESPECT in their homes. I realized that, while I am not always great at going above and beyond to show my husband RESPECT and allow him to lead, he is worthy of it and deserves it. My Stud is a hard worker, a provider, a goofball, a wonderful father and husband, and a great man of God… Notice perfect was not on that list and he is STILL called by God to lead our family. We are all only human; mistakes happen, bad choices happen, redemption happens. If your husband is trying to lead, are you respecting his efforts in doing so?

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Remember that He is a gift from God… No refunds, returns, or exchanges

 So what if you’re in a relationship where your husband is not leading your family in the Bible sense? What if your husband says terrible things to you, ignores your children, lives his life like a young bachelor? How do you RESPECT him? How do you allow him to lead you if he’s living in sin and/or ignorance?

– – – 1st… You can pray for him. YOU can not make him change, but God can.
– – – 2nd… You can look for any little way to show him RESPECT; i.e.  give him the freedom to pick out the kids clothes, a big way is to live in the ‘ask, don’t tell’ frame of mind. Don’t tell him you are going to do something, ask him what his thoughts are. It is so hard for us SAHMs to remember that our husbands are also parents. Even though we keep the house from tipping over and rolling down the street day after day, our husbands are also capable human beings.
– – – 3rd… You can be the spiritual leader in your family by encouraging him to be the household leader. Sometimes we have to step up and be the spiritual leaders in the home, but still allow the husbands to be the ‘leader’ overall. My in laws are a great example of this. As wonderful and godly of a man as my father in law is, they both will tell you that quite often Linda was the spiritual leader in the family because she was the one most present while he was working. She loved, submitted to, and encouraged her husband into being the overall ‘leader’ that God calls men to be. For some of us that is harder to grasp and master if we don’t have a great example to follow and if the husband isn’t understanding or knowledgable of the role definitions. Even those who DO have an example to go from, get it WRONG from time to time. Every situation is different and that’s why I believe it’s important to pray and have those very difficult conversations to define YOUR family roles with each other.

Remember that your husbands are not your children. Think about how that might make him feel if you were to imply that he was another child for you to care for and clean up after. Even though it is so unbelievably hard to do sometimes, we should find joy in serving our husbands. We should not force our ways of handling our kids on the grown man that we married. So, I beg of you, please do not refer to your husband as a child – especially to your friends! I used to grit my teeth when The Stud would come home from work and squeeze past as I am making dinner to get to the fridge for an ‘appetizer’. It would drive me crazy, thinking that after my crazy day and nearly successful efforts in the kitchen he is going to ruin his appetite and not want to eat this dinner I am slaving away making!You know what? Not once has he ever left more than a couple of lima beans on his plate due to a pre-dinner snack. I started looking at the situation with fresh eyes and thought maybe he burns more calories and really needs that pick me up, or maybe he had a lite lunch, or maybe he’s just hungry and can make that decision all on his own… without my ‘permission’. So, I changed my attitude about it and actually started offering him a snack if I knew it would still be a few minutes before dinner would hit the table.

The important thing to remember about showing RESPECT is that it often goes hand in hand with being supportive and submissive. Oooo… That’s not a word commonly used in our post modern culture, but I do believe that God calls wives to be submissive to their husbands. Being submissive does NOT mean to lie down and let them kick you around, but to allow him to LEAD. Just as we are called to be loving and submissive, men are called to be godly leaders and to lead their family as Christ led the church. Unfortunately, most marriages don’t get this right 100% of the time and that’s OK… As long as we are striving for it.MAD - 103-Words-of-Affirmation

AFFIRMATION – This is the tool used to show your husband that you appreciate him, that you notice him, and that you’re proud of him – 3 things that are sure to float his boat! Have you ever thought of how powerful your words are to your husband? How he desires your AFFIRMATION and your approval? It’s true! He really cares about what you think about him. How open are you with your encouraging words to your Stud? I remember when My Stud and I were newly dating he would make a terribly loud cat call sound whenever I would come into his view at church. I would feel my face instantly heat up and I would want to duck behind the nearest plant or person until all the eyes looked away. I was embarrassed by the attention, but certainly notby him! One day, I thought about how it might be perceived by him or others and realized how hurtful that could be. So, I again changed my attitude and embraced my loud, goofy, amazing Stud for who he is and I started running towards him and even sending a cat call his way every now and then! Look for little ways to AFFIRM your Stud on a daily basis : Thank him for taking out the trash or cutting the grass, kiss him in public, ask him about his day and listen to what he says, tell him the ways he is a great dad, thank him for being an amazing partner, don’t nag and complain to him, tell him that Adam Levine has got nothing on him – tell him he is the sexiest man alive! Buy a pack of post-its and leave him notes of gratitude or encouragement… Buy two packs and give one to him to leave each other LOVE notes too! A dry erase board works great for this too!

So, what can you do to bring back some of the romance you shared prior to preschool pandemonium? Do something right now! Send him text, call him, go snuggle up on the couch with him, kiss him in front of the kids, go tell your kids how awesome their daddy is. Pull the marriage pot back to the front burner and watch it sizzle.

That about sums up my thoughts for this purpose, but there is SO.MUCH.MORE.GROUND.TO.COVER… What are YOUR thoughts??

Click here for a list of ideas on how to LOVE, AFFIRM, and RESPECT you husband.

 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time,so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

1 Corinthians 7:3-5


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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!