When Mom Fails... #notfinefriday

No One is Perfect...No Not One

All I ever wanted was to be the kind of mom who had cookies and milk on the table after school, the mom who carpooled on time, the mom who cheered for her kids at their sport of choice, the mom who came to recitals and beamed.  

But, the moment Julia was born, almost 8 years ago, I realized that all my hopes of an easy motherhood journey were very, very naive.  I didn't realize how messy, chaotic, and difficult it would be.  I didn't realize that there would be moments I would raise my voice at my kids and say the S-word...in our home you do NOT say SHUT UP.  I never realized that I would actually get angry at a 2 year old.  I didn't know that there would be times I would want to hide in the bathroom and not even want to come out.

Nobody tells you how tired you will be during the day, how worried you will get when they get hurt, or how frustrating it is to tell your 2 year old for the 25th time to sit down and put their seat belt ON!  No one prepares you for the late nights, the ear infections, the fevers, the time outs, the utter exhaustion you feel.  There isn't a class that you can take that explains how you answer a 5 year olds questions, or how you prepare your child for the first day of school, or how to do it all right all the time.

Most days you just feel lucky to have everyone in their room at night, teeth brushed or not.  Some days you feel peaceful and happy, and other days you wish you could re-do start to finish.  Sometimes you pat yourself on the back for the good meal you made, the field trip you planned that went well and you may even get to enjoy a compliment from a stranger about the behavior of your kids.  Other days you'll just look yourself in the mirror at night and wonder, why, why did God give me these kids?  How in the world am I supposed to raise up honorable citizens when they don't even follow simple directions!?

This week I took my kids to a play date at Liberty Science Center.  My friend brought her 3 kids and I brought all of my crew.  Two moms and 7 kids... not an easy task.  We weren't able to talk much since we were watching everyone and making sure no one got lost, and praying they would all have fun with each other.  As we watched all of the big kids lined up to see the snakes, turtles, and spiders presentation table we both had a moment of awe.  We held the younger ones in our arms and kind of sighed at the beauty of the moment.  Julia kept looking over to check on me.  My friend said, "She LOVES you."  I didn't really know what she meant, so I gave her this quizzical look.  She said it again, "Julia LOVES you. She keeps looking back at you because she wants to make sure what she is doing is right."

I thought about that comment the whole ride home.  Nicole and I are new friends.  She just moved to NJ and she just started attending our church.  And yet she made this observation that a couple of my other friends have made and I don't think I ever stopped to really pay attention to.

I don't always get this motherhood thing right.  I literally fail everyday.  Whether it be losing my patience, or a bad attitude or a hurtful comment, I just don't get it right... and it pains me and it's so frustrating.  Because deep down all I want to do is a really good job at it.  I didn't become a stay at home mom to stink at it.  I did it intentionally.  I became a stay at home mom because both John and I truly have felt that God called me to stay home for awhile.  

  Growing up in my home where both parents worked in the city meant very long hours away from home and very little time with family.  As a little girl I was in before care, school and then after care or a babysitter.  We never had meals together...never, maybe on the holidays but even then both my parents rarely sat down.  These were all things that I said to myself growing up, "I want to do that differently."  I fail everyday as a mom.  I make mistakes.  But my children STILL love me.  They still LOVE me.  Despite all my failures, all my mistakes they look at me with tender and open eyes wanting my approval and always giving me a second chance.


Yea, I don't deserve that. But because of that love it does help me to want to be better the next day.  The mistakes I make today, hopefully I won't make tomorrow.  I want to become a positive role model for them.  After all, they mimic everything I say and do.  They mimic the good and they certainly mimic the bad.

When Nicole made that simple observation this week, it made me so thankful for my kids unconditional love.  And it definitely made me think of Jesus.  He loves me like that too.  I don't deserve it.  I mess up.  I make a ton of mistakes.  But He STILL LOVES me.  And it just makes me thankful, and grateful, and it makes me want to love people like that.

How often do we look at people with approval in our eyes and an openness to love?  Do we even look people in the eyes?  And do we really see people?  My daughter Julia has been teaching me little lessons like this since birth.  Another beautiful thing about motherhood is that you think you are going to teach them everything, and really it is such a give and take relationship.  They are always teaching us along the way too.

This has been a very difficult week for us.  We came back from vacation and visited the Emergency Room twice.  Once on Saturday with Micah our 2 year old, and again yesterday with Mark our 6 year old.  Both boys are okay now, but being a parent is TOUGH.  It's so much work.  It's so much patience.  It's so hard.  I keep thinking back to that sweet reminder from my friend.  She made me feel like maybe, just maybe I was doing okay as a mom.  Her words inspired me to be a good mom because I have 4 kids who need me to be!  And those 4 kids deserve a good mom even when circumstances around us are not always easy.

#notfinefriday


12 Years in Love

Our Anniversary

God put love in our hearts at a young age.    We met at age 16 in Junior Year of High School.  He also taught us what it meant to wait and be patient and just how important prayer can be.

Love is never easy.  There is so much sacrifice and dying to one self.  Marriage is a lot of work, but when God knits two hearts together, and you are willing to keep Christ at the center it can truly be such a blessing.

When we went through pre-marital counseling our pastor stressed 3 very important things that we have kept at the crux of our marriage.  

First of all marriage is not 50/50.  

Marriage is 100/100.  You give it your all.  It's two people vowing that no matter what they will give their spouse their best.  At our wedding we wrote and read our own vows because we wanted our families to hear our love story and our testimony, but many people read the traditional vows which state "...for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do you part."  No matter what you go through in life, through the good times and bad times, (especially the bad times) it is all about sticking it out, staying together, and supporting each other.  I love the concept in the movie Fireproof: "You never leave your partner."  When times are hard that is when you stand closer and hold on tighter and pray through it.  Fire refines and we have found through difficult situations that our love proved even stronger and made us closer.


Never Go to Bed Angry

Our pastor told us that it is crucial to have good communication and to forgive quickly and not let anger simmer or fester.  Easier said than done, especially for someone like me who doesn't forgive quickly and likes to simmer.  (such a horrible trait I know)  John is pretty near perfect when it comes to conflict/resolution.  He hates arguments or seeing me upset and he likes to deal with things quickly but I need a lot of time and space and that does not sit well with John.  We have learned it is so much better to just talk it out however painful the talk may be.  There was one recent incident in which we were having a midnight talk and talking through hurt feelings and I went downstairs to get some space and was on the couch...waiting for John to come downstairs to talk more...he never came...he ended up falling asleep in our bed and at 3am found me on the couch and said, "Kristi what are you doing down here!"  I fell asleep too and said, "But I was waiting for you!" There's also the Bible verse that says, "don't let the sun go down on your anger."  It really is true that if you really want things to go well for your marriage forgiveness and open communication is so important!

Get Alone/Go Away with your spouse 

One of my favorite pieces of advice from Pastor Joe during pre-marital counseling was the part about going away with your spouse at least once a year!  Oh those first 5 years of marriage (sans kids) that was so easy!  We had date nights often, we went on two vacations a year, we traveled across the globe!  London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, China, Mexico, D.R., so many trips!  After kids...although we don't go very far we do make sure each month we have a date night out of the house and during the month several date nights where we watch a movie together, or go out to eat, or even just take a trip to NYC together.  I thank God for the blessings of those far away trips at the beginning of our marriage because we really got to know each other better and those trips are so great to look back on and share with our kids, and I know our family vacations and date nights are special too.

If anything is praise worthy or good in our marriage, all the glory goes to God.  We found each other because of Him, He made it work, He grew our love, and He continues to do so...we could never have the marriage we have always wanted without the blessing or wisdom from Him.  Marriage is a lot of work.  It takes time, patience, energy, and all of you.  But it is so worth it!  I can't imagine one single moment without John.  I'm so thankful for him.

August 8th, 2015 marks 12 years in love...and I can't wait til this weekend to celebrate even more!


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