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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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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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 🙂