You are a Good Mom!

Did you know that you are a good mom?  Let me tell you how I know…

I remember the days well.  They were long and I was absolutely exhausted at the end of them.  I couldn’t seem to work hard enough or fast enough to get much of my to do list done.  There were many interruptions in my days to clean up spilled milk or break up a fight.

It all seemed overwhelming and I was drowning.

The lists of demands were never ending and unforgiving and to top it all off I was supposed to be happy and love taking time to play with my children.  Who wrote these rules?  They only seemed to set me up for failure.

I was a bad mom.

First it came as just a thought but I quickly owned it and agreed with it.  “I must be doing it all wrong because I cannot get this mom thing right.  I am constantly failing. I’m a bad mom.”

Of course these were all thoughts and I am not sure I would utter them out of my lips other than discussing my frustrations with my husband.  I still wanted to get it right.  I still longed to figure it out.

But I just kept failing.  More than I was getting anything right I was getting it wrong {at least by my standards}.

One day everything changed.

My heart was forever changed as the veil was removed from my eyes and the truth flooded my world.

I heard myself.

I had heard the lie that I was a bad mom and I bought it, began to agree with it and even speak it over myself. “I’m a bad mom.”

I was becoming what I was agreeing with and what I was speaking over myself.

When God created the world and sat back and surveyed it all He said it was good.  You and I and motherhood are part of His creation and He declared it all good.

I’m a good mom.  That’s the truth. Not a perfect mom. Not a mom who has it all together but a good mom.  That is what I combat the bad mom thoughts with… truth.

I start to become what I believe and agree with.  I was agreeing with the lie that I was a bad mom and I was in a rut that I couldn’t get out of that confirmed over and over again to me that I was bad and doing it all wrong.  Now that I know the truth, and believe it, I am becoming a better and better mom.

I am a good mom and you are too! Do you believe it?

How Do You Keep it All Together?

I get asked this question a lot: “How do you keep it all together?”  Perhaps people ask me because I have 6 kids and if I chose to have 6 then I must have felt like I could handle them and stay on top of everything else too.  Right?

The truth is that I almost always went into a new pregnancy wondering how on earth I would manage with one more or even two more (after having twins second I always wondered if I was having twins again).  It was always a stretching process to add another child to our family.  I knew it would be but I also knew that God had promised to be my strength when I relied on Him and so I did.

I didn’t set out to have a large family.  I was a planner, an organizer and very much liked to be in control and a family of 8 never crossed my mind.  But I found that when you have a child on your heart, and your husband is in the same place, another child is always a gift.  Always.

Back to keeping it all together.

I don’t think that it’s possible.  To keep it all together.  It seems to me that any togetherness is a perceived condition.  Children don’t allow for it.

Please don’t get me wrong.  I am NOT saying that you cannot keep your house neat or that you cannot be organized or that you cannot have a great plan.  What I am saying is that keeping it all together implies that you are completely in control and everything goes your way.  It doesn’t. Hardly ever.

Kids are ever changing and raising them is incredibly demanding.  A mother needs mounds of grace for her children and even more for herself.  The dreams and plans you have of having it all together are sure to get interrupted by dealing with heart issues, sick kids, sleepless nights that lead to tired days, a daily battle inside of how much time you spend cleaning up and how much time you spend playing with kids, and I haven’t even gotten to distractions or tangents (like wanting to redo your daughters room. Right. Now!).  Did I mention doctors appointments and planning meals and running errands?

The only way I know of how to keep it all together is by not allowing it to wreck you when it all falls apart.  I’ve spent many moments crying over spilled milk and clothes all over the floor that I just put away.  I’ve had heart palpitations over people coming over at a moments notice and when my kids melt down in a store.  But I think my time is better spent on learning to be okay with the things that happen outside of my plans rather than trying so hard to keep anything outside of them from happening.  Know what I mean?

I hope this is freeing for you in some way.  I have spent years trying to keep it all together.  If we can learn to hold it all loosely and focus on what’s important than I believe we will live lives that are capable of more joy, more grace and even more fun. And that’s what I want for my family and for you too.


Linking up today with Kristen from We Are That Family for What Works for me Wednesday

The Most Important Status Updates You Can Pay Attention to

The other night I was sitting at my dinner table with my family and the kids, all 6 of them, were being chatter boxes.  I felt like asking them all to take a deep breath and be quiet. But then I realized something that I needed to remember.  They were sharing the details of their life with me and it would be easy to ignore these status updates but they are the most important ones I can pay attention to.  I do love Facebook and Twitter but staying up to date on everyone else and missing what my kids are saying would be really sad.  So I’m taking more moments to listen, to be in the moment and stay up to date on my kids statuses.

Do you struggle with missing your kids status updates?  What ways do you make time to really hear them?

Don’t Let a Rough Morning Define Your Day {or Who You Are}

You know what it’s like. You wake up and wish you could sleep for another hour.  Your kids wake up grumpy and don’t remember your “keep your hands to yourself” rule.  You end up rushing around because someone doesn’t have a clean shirt or can’t find their homework.  Once again you let your kids have it for not laying everything out the night before like you’ve told them to do a hundred million times before. Secretly inside you are kicking yourself for ever trusting them to do it on their own and not checking to make sure everything was done…but you were just so tired {still are}.

A rough morning like this longs to define the rest of your day.  It wants to stretch its tentacles into noon time when lunch is pressing and you’ve barely started the laundry. It hopes to still be around when the afternoon is over and that nap you so desperately needed {to survive the rest of the day} just didn’t happen.

You give a rough morning power when you let it define your day. You can let a rough morning define who you are and your life. It’s a cycle that can be tough to break and can rule a mom’s heart.

It starts with the inward mental beating that you give yourself for not doing a better job, being more prepared, or having it all together.  The mental beating will continue until you put a stop to it.

The way to stop the madness of letting these things define your day {or who you are} is to realize when you are having these negative thoughts and start to hold them captive. Lock them up and refuse to give into the feelings they bring and the self condemnation that they feed on.

You are a good mom! When you believe that you WILL start to become it. When you believe that you aren’t you won’t be.  Our thoughts are SO powerful.  They can rule our day or our entire life.

When the morning has been rough, and it seems as though you failed, and the thoughts come barging in to tell you you’re no good, take a deep breath, smile and remember that you are learning this mothering thing.  You will have new moments to do it better, to learn what works and what doesn’t. Remind yourself you are a good mom who is diligently working on becoming a better mom all of the time. Then kiss your rough morning goodbye and enjoy the rest of the day!

Do you have days like this? You know I am writing this from my own experience right?! I’ve been there many times. How do you overcome a bad morning?

New Ways to Approach a New Year {especially when last year didn’t quite go as planned}

If you are one of those who have come face to face with a new year that you weren’t quite ready for then raise your hand.  That would be me this year.  Usually I’m ready, more than ready, for a fresh start to a new year and I want a fresh start but I just don’t feel ready. There are still so many things that were left undone last year.

Somewhere about mid Fall I realized that I was running on just about empty. I was giving so much in so many areas and not really finding ways to be refreshed and filled up myself.  Part of it was because there was already so much to do and I couldn’t keep up.  I tried but I just couldn’t.

So when I got to January 1st of 2013 I just felt like going back and playing catch-up. Making up for the past year doesn’t seem like a good way to go into a new year. So I decided I really needed to dissect what happened and why I felt so overwhelmed.

Part of it was just life. Things happened that were well outside of my control.  Lots of things. This past year was one of surprises and not necessarily the good kind. There was a lesson it all that I am still learning but most of all that I need to understand that these things can and will happen.

Another part of it was a lack of margin. I had so much to do this past year that, if I was honest, would have taken a pro organizer more than a year to do. I was setting myself up for failure.  This year I am intentionally saying no to a lot more and purposefully scheduling more margin into my life.

I also tried to do a lot of it on my own.  I need family and friend in my life.  Even if they aren’t close by, I need their voice in my life to encourage me and stay connected.  I was so busy this past year that even taking time to connect was a challenge.  This year I want to remember that I need the connection and it makes the rest of everything better when I have it.

I need to keep reevaluating what isn’t working. You know how you can get so frustrated that things are going the way they are but not even feel like you have the time to stop and fix it? Well, that was me and it is so worth taking the time to step back and reevaluate it all. Reevaluate what is not working and make changes.  If it isn’t working it isn’t acceptable.  if you don’t know how to change something that isn’t working than you may need some outside advice which is where my next point comes in…

I can learn from older, wiser women. This is something that has really been on my heart lately.  I met a woman this year who, unknowingly, challenged me to see older women differently.  She shared with me how she felt invisible to younger women and it about broke my heart.  She has great wisdom and experience with raising kids and being a wife and yet that knowledge and wisdom is going to waste because no one is benefiting from it.  She, and many other older women, have been through so much of what I am struggling with right now. She could be a wealth of information, support and encouragement. I am very intentionally seeking out a local mentor this year.  Someone who has had a similar circumstances in life that is willing to come along side of me and teach me how to do this mothering thing, and being a wife, well.

My list of goals for this year are simple and specific. They are intentional but not overwhelming.  I plan to keep coming back to the list above and make sure that I am doing all of these things.  I hope to look back on 2013 having accomplished my goals with lots of grace for myself and having used wisdom and intention along the way.

How about you? Are you looking back at 2012 and happy with the way it went?  Have any tips for us?

I hope your 2013 is off to a great start! There are some changes in the works for Mommy Kudos.  I’m excited about the journey ahead for us!