The Motherhood Rollercoaster

Hands held high or Screaming bloody murder?

Have you ever been on a rollercoaster? Do you remember your first time? Were you scared? Were you excited?  Did you throw your hands up high and take it all in or did you scream bloody murder until the ride was over?

Motherhood has been a rollercoaster experience for me.  And I know I am not alone.  It is extremely exciting at first.  The baby shower, choosing names, designing nurseries, picking out the safest stroller and car seat, and buying cute outfits! So exciting!

But the minute labor/birth is over, and your baby is in your arms, you look at your spouse and think to yourself, “How in the world am I going to parent this little person?  How am I going to be responsible enough to raise a good citizen?  How am I going to do this? And why in the world is the hospital allowing me to take this precious new thing home?!

When my husband John and I brought Julia home that first day 6 years ago, we were in the parking lot of the hospital.  We strapped her in, we made sure the car seat was secure.  We followed all the directions.  We packed her diaper bag.  We bundled her up on that January morning and we both sat and stared at her in the car and said out loud, “We get to bring her home?!” It was both baffling, and terrifying!

Just like a rollercoaster of emotions we were so excited and happy in the hospital, but the moment we brought her home, and I still wasn’t able to sleep because of visitors, and nursing was painful, and sitting down was painful, and I was just so over tired, the happiness was gone, and reality set in.  Motherhood is no joke.  It is work.  It is painful.  There is no more luxury sleep.   The house still needs to get cleaned, meals need to be cooked, and this baby, this new baby, needs you.  All.  The.  Time.  And trust me when I tell you.  I was so spoiled.  

Julia was the best baby in the world.  She latched properly.  She fell quickly into a rhythm and routine.  She loved bath time.  She did not cry.  I’m serious.  She didn’t.  She was such a good baby, but I was so new at all this.  I was such a great teacher.  I was teacher of the year for crying out loud.  I had my Masters Degree.  Why couldn’t I keep it all together and do this motherhood thing right?  Why was I so hormonal? Tired? And Cranky?  Why did I miss my life before kids so much?  Was I normal?

The mundane jobs of being a mom, changing diapers, food shopping, cleaning, making beds…not so exciting or terrifying, but John and I now have 3 kids…with one on the way…and life just keeps going and you just get busier and busier. 

On my journey of motherhood I have found that each child has brought their own joys and trials.  The roller coaster ride aka as motherhood goes pretty fast.  And once you are on, there are no trial runs or time outs.  You are committed to the ride.  You are a mom forever.

One minute you are burping a newborn and the next you are watching them run!  The next thing you know you are enrolling them in kindergarten or in our case picking out curriculum for home school.   One of my favorite mommy quotes is, “The days are long, but the years are short.”  Isn’t it true?

It’s funny because growing up I always loved babysitting, I always taught Sunday school for little kids at church, and then being an educator and teaching pre-k, third grade, and fourth grade in the classroom, I always thought being a mom was going to be a snap.  If I can lead a classroom of 25 third graders, earn my Masters degree in 3 summers, be involved in missions at church, and be a wife, how hard could a baby be?
Little did I know!

At Jacob’s Well, I have met so many wonderful moms, I have listened to their stories, I have interviewed some for my blog, I have shared my struggles and joys with them.  If you look around JW you will notice one thing: LIFE!  People are either pregnant, nursing a baby, holding a grandchild, or running after a toddler.  I love it.  I love the honesty of the moms I meet.  Motherhood is a sacred calling.  It isn't always thrilling, exciting or fun, and it can be downright scary.  I am so thankful that with my Savior and my awesome spouse, I am not alone.  I can actually throw my hands up from time to time and enjoy the ride!



Book Club Wednesday

Lysa Terkeurst

Chapter 5: Exploders

I did not expect to get such a big response about Chapter 4.  Many of you shared that you are both stuffers and exploders!  I think it definitely depends on the person or people you are dealing with and the situation.

Many of you shared how frustrating it is to be an exploder because once the explosion is over it may have felt good to "get it out" but the guilt you feel afterward just isn't worth it, not to mention hurting people we love.

This chapter solely focused on the exploder.  I am definitely both a stuffer and an exploder at times.  I am much more comfortable stuffing, but when I just can't take it anymore or and at my peak of stress or anxiety...WATCH OUT!  An explosion will ensue.  And I really hate that about myself.  I never even know when it is going to happen...and forget when I am pregnant.  The hormones....oh, Lord Jesus, help me with the hormones!

I like how in this chapter Lysa shared that she struggled with not being able to function after a disagreement with someone through texting.  She was so frazzled she couldn't even put her shirt on the right way!  She ended up at Target with her shirt on inside out, and the check out lady HAD to mention it.

Have you ever been frazzled by someone's words?

Have you ever tried to call back to fix things only to make matters worse?

Did you explode instead of become the peacemaker?

And afterwards did you get so mad at yourself for not being more calm and patient?

I hear you!

Lysa says, "Raw emotions won't sit quietly awaiting further instructions.  They'll move outward if we explode and inward if we stuff."

That's the tough part about emotions.  WE can't control them.  They are so unpredictable and complicated.
And the shame and regret afterwards only makes matters worse.  What do we do with that guilt and shame we feel after we explode?  Do we use it to motivate us to be calmer next time?  Do we use it to help us to not want the shame to be our reality next time?

Lysa says, "Sip the shame so you won't have to guzzle the regret."

I love that!  Basically she is saying weigh the consequences because the regret you feel afterwards is NEVER worth it and you can't take it back after the fact.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
You know what often happens in this life?  We put each other on the enemy side.  We put family members, the annoying lady at the library, the rude man at the gas station, and the sassy mom at the park as our enemy.  We explode on each other we dump on each other and we don't even realize who our real enemy is.  Every time we explode and we hurt the other person, we make Satan so very happy.  That is just what he wants.  To side track us, to cause disunity, and to make people the enemy when HE is the only enemy.

Not to sound corny, but we should be busy loving each other, making and keeping the peace, pouring on kindness and blessings, not dumping and exploding even if the other person "deserves it", even if we are in "the right."

Ephesians 6:19 Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.
I love this verse!

Whenever I open my mouth....words may be given to me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.

WE must all carefully consider our words to each person.  People are not the enemy.  Try to see the BIGGER picture.  Trust me, I am speaking to myself more than to any of you out there.  I really really needed this reminder today.

Instead of Exploding
1. Begin by honoring the one offended.
2. Keep your response short and full of grace.
3. End by extending compassion.

Lysa reminds us that choosing a gentle reply does not mean you're weak.


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