It’s the first Monday of summer.
There’s a lot of joy up in the house this morning. And by that I mean my kids are still sleeping. We are all fine with that,
I am a mother slash referee slash encourager slash cook slash comforter slash resident laundry queen slash chief finder of all things lost. So in other words, what’s a summer break?
I love this time with my kiddos. It’s slow and I’m not yelling HURRY UP a hundred times every morning or making another peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Instead I’ve tossed out the kid’s alarms and I’m gonna let them make their own lunch. I control the tendency to constantly be plugged in (watching TV, playing on the computer and video games) with a little program I like to call “For every hour you read, you earn an hour of screen time.” I own summer.
But not really because I have to make myself relax and enjoy my children. Being the “fun mom” doesn’t come naturally to me and on more than one occasion my kids have reminded me that my OCD is showing. Ahem. It’s also challenging working from home (Mercy House and book writing) without always being on the computer. [My plan: wake up before them and go to bed after them-thank you, room darkening curtains.]
Moms don’t get breaks. But sometimes we need a breakthrough.
What Every Mom Needs to Hear (on the first day of summer):
You are doing a good job
There’s no manual in motherhood, no report cards or progress reports. It’s a lot of winging it, praying and breath holding. Our day-in-and-day-out monotony is a lot like a giant art project–up close it’s messy and out of proportion, and we wonder what our grade is at the end of a long day. But when we step back, we can see the big picture. And what we see is a work of art. And that’s enough. You might have hands covered in paint, but I want you to know you are doing a good job.
Your value isn’t based on the way your home looks
Don’t let that enormous basket of laundry in the middle of the floor judge you. Your sticky counters and the toys scattered on the floor are proof that you are alive. Your house isn’t a museum, it’s a place to live. Your worth isn’t measured in square footage or a white glove; it’s love. Don’t look at the dust, look at the aftermath of your life at the end of each day and count your blessings.
This will get easier (and then harder) and then easier:
Just when you think your teen couldn’t push you further, he does. Just when you think she couldn’t sleep less in that crib, she does. Dear Mom, it will get easier. This hard pressed phase will end; it will bring another. Sometimes with room to breathe and sometimes it takes your breath away. But with every passing day, the ebb and flow of parenting, you both are growing.
When you clean up that mess (again), you are serving God:
I found a trail of orange Cheeto fingerprints yesterday. I bent down low to wipe and I remembered, whatever I do unto the least of these, I do unto Him. Wiping up spills, pairing stray socks-scrubbing grass stains–it doesn’t feel like service. It feels like work-the kind that is endless. Your hard work-the day in and out duty-it’s service to God. Don’t you ever forget it.
It’s okay to be okay:
I’ve had good days in mothering (no vomit and a finding forgotten chocolate) and bad days (projectile vomit and out of chocolate). But at the end of the week, the ups and downs equal the grand total of average. And that is okay. Just because we can’t see hair or grass grow, doesn’t mean it isn’t. Our children can flourish in our imperfection.
Tomorrow is a new day:
At the end of the day, you crawl exhausted into bed and think: Today didn’t go as planned. You yelled too much, the kids argued about everything, the macaroni boiled over, and you served macaroni again. It’s okay, Mom. Tomorrow is a new day, a fresh start to hug twice as long and find new mercies.
You are loved:
Your kids might not be old enough or kind enough to tell you how much they love you, so I will. They love the way you get the bandaid just right on the boo boo. They love that there’s always clean clothes in the drawer. It’s like magic. They love when you cut up their fruit bite-sized and wait in carline every day. And they love when you say no, because deep down, they know it’s said to protect them in some way. They love you in case you wondered.