The Main Problem With Giving Our Kids the Easy Life

She carries her flute like it’s something special. She cherishes the instrument, not so much for what it is, but the potential it holds. She is a musician and I wonder at the grace and beauty of her flying fingers, at the music she makes.

Watching her start from scratch in a new school music department has been frustrating. She looked for a challenge and I looked for the easy way up the scale.

I had an urge. Do you know the one? It’s the one that emails on behalf of your child and asks for the easy way. It touts of talent and technique and does all the talking. It was the momma in me that has watched behind the scenes and has seen where hard work and consistent practice can take a girl with a silver flute.

But I was quiet. Because the main problem with an easy life is the trust and faithful pursuit that are lost in route. We didn’t say a word out loud (prayers don’t count, but really they do) and she just kept making her music.

We think we want easy in this life for our kids, like a lottery day, where it’s all luck and no hard work. Because easy is well, easy. But it’s in the struggle, the sweat, the story, we find Jesus. We learn to trust His plan, We learn the undeniable value of faithfulness and persistence. Victory tastes sweeter when it cost us something along the way.

August turned to September, September to October. She kept playing and I kept quiet.

And then, just like that on a plain old Thursday, it happened. People noticed and she played and played again for them.  Her class schedule was altered and she was placed in the highest band (out of 4) and put in the last seat. And then the next day, she skipped up 6 more chairs, second in the school district. Her face beamed. Her words tumbled out in excitement when she told me.

A few days ago, this girl played with 700 other junior high musicians and became the only 7th grade All-Region flautist from her school.

I wanted to cry. Not because of what happened, but because of how it happened.

It was a good lesson in hard work and giving up the easy life.

 


WFMW: Mini Laundry Room Makeover #MaytagMom

Our laundry room is directly off the kitchen. And by directly, I mean, next to it. Let me just make it plain for you: it’s very possible there could be a stray sock in the soup. Thatclose.

This has presented a challenge or two, since there are five of us and there’s more laundry than food. It’s a very small space and my XL Maytag Bravos set takes up the room. The one shelf in the room is too high for me to reach and so detergent and baskets and laundry whatnot are on the floor.

We can’t just shut the door to keep the laundry overflow either. The laundry room door has a pet door which leads to the garage so we can keep the kitty bathroom out of the um, kitchen. #firstworldproblems.

So, I’ve been on the hunt for some kind of practical laundry system to go with my beautiful appliances. My smart hubby came up with this $139 combo from Ikea-a tall shelf turned on its side, with a cabinet and the original hanging bar attached:

I love it. I added the chalkboard paint to the door to the spacious cabinet holding my Tide detergent because I’m sort of addicted to it.

Our muddy backyard (another project) has been presenting all kinds of stain-related issues lately, so I’ve been hanging out in the laundry room a lot lately. I love the way my Maytag Bravos XL help me fight mud and grass stains. My old machine would not only rip and shrink clothes, it would make horrible noises at me. I literally just spray and wash and I’m amazed at how little water and detergent I need to get even 5 year old stains out. Awesome!

My laundry room right now:

I mean my laundry is still not putting itself away, but it’s progress.

My mini laundry room makeover and my Maytag Bravos XL work for me!

Make sure you check out the Maytag PageMaytag Facebook, and Maytag Twitter

Disclaimer: I wrote this post as a #MayTagMoms Dependable Laundry Ambassador through mom Central Consulting on behalf of Maytag. I was provided with the Maytag washer and dryer set to facilitate my post.




You Might Be a Redneck

If the highlight of your 7 hour drive to Oklahoma is listening to Tim Hawkin’s CD, Pretty Pink Tractor.

If you’re proud your 5 year old has learned the words to the best song on the CD, Shave What You Need to Shave (a parody of this song).

If you start off the grandparent’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration with a clay pigeon shoot in the pasture.

If there was a line.

If you’re attacked by a swarm of biting gnats and have the itchy whelps to prove it, but still don’t go inside.

If you hide behind the truck when the guns are going off because you’re a city girl and you don’t want to die.

If your husband is tickled you agree to shoot a 12 gauge shotgun for the first time.

If said shotgun gives quite a kick and a bruise and your husband finds this new development sexy.

If you have a family tick check.

If you expect chocolate gravy for breakfast.

If you sit around with family and tell snake stories.

You might be a redneck if you wouldn’t trade any of it.


How to Be a Good Husband

Q:

Hi Kristen,

I’m 25, about to get married in June next year and so there is a real curiosity on how to be a good husband. I’ve read a few books already. For Men Only and Christian Husband. I think my fiancee is the most amazing woman in the world and I want to reciprocate that. I guess I’m looking for  from the wife’s perspective.

I hope I’m not being too intrusive. I don’t think guys are supposed to ask girls for advice on how to be a husband.

Thanks for your time,

Billy

A:

Dear Billy,

I love that you asked me this question. I usually tell myself that men don’t read my blog.  But I’m sure you’re not the only one, so I thought I’d write this out loud for the men out there. I’ve never been a husband, but I’m married to a good one. If my husband wrote this list, it would look different, so I’m glad you’re asking from a wife’s perspective. I’m going to tell you what makes my man such a good husband. I think a lot of young men can learn from him.

  1. He listens to me. Looks me in the eye, stops multi-tasking and just quietly listens. I love that about him.
  2. He doesn’t try and fix whatever I tell him. He resists the urge to make it all right and just lets me talk.
  3. He encourages me like no one else. He is my best friend and acts like it.
  4. He believes in my crazy dreams and pushes me to chase them.
  5. He values what I do, even if I don’t get paid for it (being a mom, volunteering, etc)
  6. He recognized years ago that an occasional house cleaner would let me focus on the things only I can do.
  7. He tells me when he’s struggling and let’s me help if I can.
  8. He works hard. I’ve never once doubted he would do whatever he has to in order to provide for our family.
  9. He likes being with me, even if it’s just taking a drive or grocery shopping.
  10. He wants me and pursues me. Enough said.
  11. He dreams big with me. We’ve done some crazy stuff in our marriage. We are a team.
  12. He brings me sweet tea regularly.
  13. He turns off my alarm so I can sleep a little longer.
  14. He serves me on a daily basis.
  15. He doesn’t let me manipulate him. This is big. Because the bad part of me would.
  16. He leads our family.
  17. He picks up his dirty clothes (most of the time).
  18. He trusts me and we are partners in this life.
  19. He prays for me and with me.
  20. He loves God more than he loves me.

I’m just scratching the surface, Billy, but I hope this gives you some direction. Oh and one more thing, I think part of the answer you’re looking for can be found in your question. Don’t ever stop asking it.

Kristen

Do you have any advice for Billy? Please add it in the comments…


Moms Are People Too

This is important.

I just returned from my annual exam. Yes, that annual exam. Only, it’s been two years, so bi-annual is more accurate. I have rescheduled and canceled the appointment for exactly one year (insert excuse here) and now I have to add regular mammograms to the list. This is what getting old looks like. You’ve been warned.

My doctor wanted to prescribe something for my insomnia and anxiety. I told her about Mercy House. She said cream and a pill couldn’t fix that. So I guess I’ll have to stick with margaritas. Oh, I kid.

I left the doctor’s office yesterday and it was raining. I stuck my “to do list” back in my purse and didn’t open my laptop the rest of the day. Instead I got a pedicure:

I couldn’t remember the last carefree afternoon I’d had and while I enjoyed every glorious minute, I thought about how we (moms) are so good at taking care of everyone else.  My kids’ teeth never miss their twice a year dental appointments, they have every school supply they need for projects and I put my “new computer fund” towards my daughter’s new flute.  I drive them to their weekly sports practice, fix healthy, balanced lunches daily, spend countless hours in carlines and help with cookie dough PTO sales so they can win the little Noisy Toilet prize.

Meanwhile, I put my last hair cut off so long, my hairstylist couldn’t remember my style. So, I got  a new one. Surprise!  I have to color my hair every six weeks now because I’ve gotten so gray and since I can never remember my exact color when I’m at Target, it’s like a new me every month and a half. This month I’m Very Dark Brown (emphasis on very not mine. Unfortunately.)

I haven’t been to the dentist in ages and I’m down to my last pair of contact lenses and I don’t want to talk about my exercise routine (mainly because I don’t have one).

I live a busy life and even though I strive to be intentional in my busyness, I’ve become an expert at putting my kids (and even others) before myself.

This is part of what makes us mothers, the ability to set our own needs and desires aside and put our children first. We all have stories-from bed rest to breastfeeding, from self-denial to making their dreams come true, we sacrifice for them on a regular basis. We rock it, too. Motherhood is a high calling. And we do it so often, we  often don’t realize what or who we are sacrificing.

Mothering is exhausting and physical, emotional and spiritual, exhilarating and defeating. It’s filled with pain and beauty, often in the same moment. We make people and it’s no small thing. But mothering will consume every part of us and we must not let it. Our marriages will suffer, and our children will too, because really, that much attention isn’t healthy for anyone.

Do you know what’s harder than being mom some days? It’s being courageous enough to put everyone else on hold so you can take care of your own health, your emotional needs, and even your toes on a rainy day that started with a speculum.

I’m telling you all this because I want you to listen nd learn what I’m still trying to grasp: take care of you. It’s okay to put yourself first. It’s okay to say yes to your needs, even if means saying no to someone else.

It doesn’t make you less of a mom.

It makes you a better one.

So, that thing you’ve been putting off, go do it. Because those things are back on my “to do” list.