World’s Okayest Mom

Well. I don’t know about you, but after admitting this week how hard parenting is, I feel better about motherhood…not because I’ve figured it all out, but because I know I’m not alone.

I have proof that 500 other women have desperate moments in their motherhood journey. It’s like we’re a posse of honest confessions. Yo.

And now I’d like to sit down with you over a virtual cup of coffee because I need to tell you something else. Do you like my *mug? 
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I want to whisper an important truth in your ear. You need to hear this today. More importantly, you need to believe it:  it’s okay to be an okay mom.

Some days I’m an awesome mother–I mean knock-it-out-of-the-ballpark–kind of awesome. But that’s not the norm. I have really bad days where I hide in the bathroom and change all the clocks so everyone goes to bed an hour early. Just kidding, but I’ve seriously considered it. So, if you add the really great days with the really not-so-hot ones, they equal okay. And that’s well, okay.

My kids don’t need perfection, they are actually learning all the things I so desperately long to teach them because of my inadequacy. It’s  powerful when I apologize or ask them to pray for me. I’m admitting failure but I’m also teaching them strength. It’s a positive lesson in humility when they see me ask God for help in my weakness.

Some days I feel like Joni, who left this painfully honest comment:

“I actually feel like I’ve accidently stepped into a dark deep hole and haven’t hit the bottom yet. . .There are no pinch hitters; this is the motherhood no one talks about. Be 100% for both kids and still have something left. Haven’t yet figured out a way to keep from feeling like a failure.” -Joni

I want to talk about this motherhood- the one no one talks about because honestly we can’t achieve the motherhood we all expect of ourselves. This is the raw place where our high expectations meet the reality of our back-talking teen and a baby who won’t sleep anywhere but our chest. This is the real motherhood we live.

We are human. And some days are good, we fly thru them with ease. While other days are so hard we cry ourselves to sleep and regret our mistakes. But however we rate our days, we have to remember we are not alone and we don’t serve a God who keeps track. He offers us grace, just like we offer our children when they mess up. Not only are there countless mothers experiencing the same things we are,  there’s a Great Friend who is desperate for us to lean on Him.

I may not be the World’s Best Mom. But I’m okay and that’s enough for today.

*photo source

WFMW: What We’re Eating

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I am not a health nut. I’m also not a great cook.

But I can follow a recipe and I do like nuts (and have been called Nuts), so there’s that.

We decided a few weeks ago to give the Paleo Diet a shot. With my husband’s diabetes, we are constantly reevaluating food.

All that to say, food isn’t very fun in our house. The Paleo Diet has also been called the hunter-gatherer or Caveman diet. Appetizing, huh? Not really.

Basically, it’s cutting out carbs, dairy (except eggs), and processed food. While extreme diets aren’t for everyone (we were vegan for a year to help my husband’s health), they do promote extreme health. And honestly, there’s not much worse than going vegan. My kids still randomly ask if we are eating real or fake meat. Bless their little hearts.

There is NO way I could do Paleo cooking without Emeals. I’ve been a huge fan and user of Emeals for years now. Basically, with a click, I can print out a shopping list and recipes for 7 meals based on the menu of my choice (which is Paleo for now, but there are many other options.)

And  y’all? We are really liking the food. It turns out I’m quite the hunter/gatherer (only not really). Crazy, I know. We are baby-stepping it: our evening family dinners are completely Paleo (thank you Emeals) and my kids really haven’t noticed we’re doing anything different. They aren’t asking for carbs at all and they loved parsnips and leeks this week! My husband and I are trying to cut out carbs at lunch and we usually eat an egg for breakfast. I’m also still drinking sweet tea. But y’all knew that.

Positives so far:

  • We feel great, more energy
  • We have each lost several pounds
  • We love the family meals
  • Emeals offers breakfast and lunch menus too

Negatives so far:

  • It cost more since it’s a lot of fresh vegetables and meat
  • Snacking is tough. I’m sick of carrots. Can of tuna, anyone?

So, healthy eating works for us! Who knew?


For When The Mother In You Is Desperate

UPDATE: Comment numbers 67, 492, 461, 151, and 264 are the randomly selected winners of this giveaway.

“I’ve had enough. I’ve had just about ENOUGH of the arguing and fighting!” I yelled.

My kids stopped the squabbling mid-argument. I took a deep breath. Finally.

And then my daughter whispered one word under her breath, an insult directed at her brother.

A dam broke. I said things I shouldn’t have. I was angry. I left my children standing in the kitchen.

And I closed my bedroom door.

I headed straight for the bathroom and locked it.

That’s when I felt it, desperation clawing it’s way into my heart. I couldn’t breathe.

I’ve been here before. Last week and the one before.

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I feel inept as a mother a lot of the time. I try. I try really hard and I connect with my kids, we laugh and talk and I get it right some days. But it’s the days in-between, I wonder if I’m undoing the good I’ve done.

Motherhood turns you inside out. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by how tired you feel; the days go on and on, and you want to be a “good” mom, but you feel like a failure so much of the time. -Desperate

We don’t have a manual or how-to instructions that come with our children. It’s trial and error. It’s good and bad. It’s hard and easy. It’s heartbreaking and breathtaking.

I take a deep breath and lay my anger, failure and desperation at His feet. In that dark bathroom, I receive grace. Grace to breathe, to mother when I don’t know how.

Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson’s book is like oxygen to a mother’s body. It’s simple, yet often-forgotton permission to accept grace in motherhood. They challenge mommas to lean on God and others who are further down the road during the joyful and challenging days of raising little humans.

If you’ve ever felt desperate as a mom, this book is for you.

Today, I’m giving away FIVE copies of Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe.

We often don’t talk about the desperate moments because we’re ashamed. There is power in sharing them–it frees us and offers encouragement to others.

Please leave a comment if you’ve ever been a desperate momma (as your entry).

The Hardest Part of Parenting is Me

In an instant, I was furious.

I’d gone into my teenager’s room to look for something and I couldn’t believe the mess. She told me she had “cleaned” her room all weekend and yet it resembled the aftermath of a tornado on a Monday morning.

I fumed all day.

She got in the car after school and I could tell by the look on her face it had been a hard day in junior high.

“You okay?” I asked tentatively, the way a mother has learned.

She took a deep breath, “I saw something happen today that was wrong. I told my teachers. I had to do the right thing,” her voice, wobbly. The story unraveled, the infraction and the injustice.

My anger fizzled as I forgot about her room and pondered heavier things.

The next day she brought home straight A’s on her report card. For the eighth year in a row.

The following, a Star Student Award for Caring for Others.

And on Friday when I picked her up, she wore a medal around her neck from her basketball coach for showing leadership and being the athlete with the most heart.

Her room was still a disaster. But it didn’t seem to matter quite as much.

She’s just 13. And I’m ashamed I had to be reminded all week by others what life is really about. Each day I saw my amazing daughter thru the eyes of her teachers and friends and it showed me how ridiculous our constant, often heated battles over her messy room and laundry piles really are.

Parenting is hard, no doubt. But I’ve found that I often make the whole thing a lot harder. After all, my children are children. I’m the adult in this relationship and with that authority comes maturity and wisdom.

The hardest part of parenting is me. And in the thick of it, I see that I’m the one being parented by God.

I look deeper–past the dirty room and scattered laundry and I see it there; it wears a different face, but under the layers of order, I see my nasty desire for control. Because really? The battles aren’t about a clean room or tidy drawers, folded laundry or emptied trash. It’s about my unhealthy desire to be in control of things that don’t really matter because I’m not in control of things that really do.

I’ve been a mom for more than a dozen years now and I’m still learning and taking my discipline as it comes. I’m still learning to choose my battles and let go of the trivial.

My goal as a mother is to raise children who love God and love others. I still long for organized rooms, tidy toys and clean laundry, but I’m trying hard to keep the little stuff little.

I’m raising incredible kids. And if I step back and out of the way, I’m able to see it with my own eyes.

And close them (and her bedroom door- ha!) to unimportant things.

What Jesus Looks Like on a Cold February Day

It was a busy day.  I picked up my two younger kids thirty minutes before my third. I’m a self-proclaimed multi-tasker and thought I had plenty of time to run a couple of errands. I stopped to get gas in my van and as I pumped, I shook my head at the huge tent the local grocery store had erected in the middle of the parking lot for Valentine’s Day. I could see a sea of red and pink from the pump.

I pulled to the corner and that’s when I saw the sign. I have seen homeless people near downtown panhandling, but this was a young couple holding a cardboard sign and bundled baby, both being blown by the February wind. My son, in the passenger’s seat, looked at them and then at me. His eyebrows knit in confusion as he read the sign. “Mom?” his one word held a thousand questions.

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Immediately I fumbled for my wallet and rolled the window down. I had $2. I handed it to them and the look of gratitude was immeasurable. I apologized as I slowly pulled away, “I wish I had more.”

But I did have more and as I pulled into the road, I saw my bank next to the gas station. I checked my watch and the closing window of time before I had to pick up my oldest from track practice and I turned around.

“Mom, what are you doing?” my kids asked when I pulled up to the bank.

They were both grinning as if to say I knew we could do better than that.

As I rolled down my window at the ATM, I said, “Okay, how much, y’all?”

And my kids simultaneously said an amount much higher than I had planned.

I hesitated.

“Mom, it’s almost Valentine’s.”

My heart leapt at the generosity that comes easily to my kids and I thought of my word for the year. And how this unexpected moment was another opportunity to choose love, the real kind.

I glanced back at the ridiculous tent and remembered reading Americans spend more than 18 million dollars on a made up holiday. The tent was bursting with people who wanted to give love and the family standing just feet away certainly needed it. Oh, irony.

I withdrew money and whipped my car back around.

“This is awesome,” I heard from the backseat.

The couple looked confused at seeing my van again and I tried to communicate with their broken English. I gathered from our limited conversation they had trouble with their Green Card. “We hunger. No money for rent.”

“Where are you from?”

Romania.

I handed them the wad of money, wondering if I was falling into a trap or breaking some kind of unwritten code. But in the moment, it didn’t matter if they were being honest. Anyone who was in their position (either by luck or choice), needed a little extra love.

I started to pull away and stopped. I called out, “What’s your name? Can I contact you somehow?”

Then I saw tears in her eyes as she shielded her baby from the weather. “You want to help us?” She said slowly.

Oh, yes, I do. And I want my children to know this is what we do. We love others.

The story is still being written, but in the parking lot waiting for my little track star to come off the field, I emailed our dear Russian friends (if you’ve been a long time reader here, you might remember them?) and told them about the family and asked if they knew anyone who spoke Romanian.

Within ten minutes, this precious family was connected to one of the only Romanian Church and Pastor in the Houston area.

At dinner, my kids shared the story with their dad. I smiled and my heart was full, not because we did something good, but because something good happened to us.

“I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’ Matthew: 25-35-40

Today, Jesus had the face of a young Romanian family.

What will He look like for you?

Photo credit

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This week at (in)courage I wrote about how it feels to be held by God.