Wednesday Book ClubWhat is your definition of a good mother? A woman who raises good citizens and keeps a clean home and provides well balanced meals, while maintaining a great figure, keeps her husband madly in love with her, and of course she knits, sews, crochets, and does the laundry well too, while also managing a budget, drives children to and from sports and extra curricular activities is involved in her community, and smiles a lot, right?
Ummmm, you lost me at good citizens!
The first thing I did after having Julia in December 2007 was join a bible study about 2 weeks later. I needed to get out of the house, I needed support from godly women, and I had a lot of questions, about how to be a good wife and mother. It's now 2013 and I still have a LOT of questions. But God is so gracious to patiently show me that being a GOOD mom is so very hard and that if I really want to do my best at raising my kids I NEED HIM. You know, I was a great 3rd and 4th grade teacher, but after a few nights of no sleep, dirty diapers, and a sore body, I was ready to throw the towel in...I did not like motherhood AT ALL!!!!!!!!!
Oh, it feels so good to admit that now. Because looking back I see that it wasn't that I was a BAD mom, I was just so used to taking care of just me and John. And I wasn't used to considering a newborn. I also hated breast feeding which was so hard at first and I just wanted to sleep. Oh Lord, please, let me sleep I prayed. Those were the days when John made me, literally, go to bed, and he took care of Julia til 1 or 2 o'clock so that I could get a solid 4-5 hours of sleep. He was so wonderful. He still is. One question I will definitely be asking God when I get to heaven is: Why are babies born not sleeping through the night??? It would make life so much easier, wouldn't it? But God, I know you have the best plan...sometimes I just want my way.
I remember asking my best friend Liz K. when I would start to enjoy motherhood. (Her baby was a year older than my Julia and she always filled me in with the coolest toys, what to do about teething, and what stage was the most fun). She said right around 3-4 months I would LOVE it because that''s when babies start to really respond to you. She was so RIGHT. The minute Julia started to coo and smile and laugh, oh wow, she had my heart! And it also helped that by 2 months she was sleeping through the night...I'm still wondering why it took my boys so much longer to do this?
Chapter 1: Am I Messing Up My Kids?
Anna Quindlen: "The world is full of women blindsided by the unceasing demands of motherhood, still flabbergasted by how a job can be terrific and torturous."Being a Mom is Tough...understatement of the universe....
So what do we do when we feel overwhelmed by the job of motherhood? I love how Lysa Terkeurst the author answers this question: "I have discovered that if I can change the way I think about something, I can change the way I react to it."
For me that means changing my attitude about the duties of motherhood. It's not I have to change diapers all day...it's I GET to take care of this cute little baby. It's not, I'm always the one to cook around here, it's I GET to make wholesome, delicious meals for my family (hey, pizza can be wholesome and delicious people!!!!!!!!). It's not, I never see my husband, he's always working, it's I'm so lucky to have a husband that is such a great provider and has such strong work ethics.
Whenever I start to get overwhelmed, overworked, cranky, or am super exhausted I have to make an effort to put positive thoughts and language in my day. And it really helps to surround yourself with positive people who can help you with this! I have a boat load of friends I can call at any moment to either pray with me, pray for me, or encourage me and get me through a rough patch in my day. And starting my day right in the Word, or ending my day in the Word helps to focus and refresh and fill me so that I can POUR out that love and wisdom on my kids.
Lysa says, "I can be a mom who thrives and lives and loves the great adventure I've been called to."I'll never forget what my friend Suzette once said to me through text after a rude man said to me, "You've got your hands full!" with a sneer in his voice...Suzette said, "Better full than empty!" What a great perspective on life. And now whenever people say that to me, (which is pretty much at least twice a week when we are out and about doing our errands)...I constantly say, "Better full than empty!" with a smile, and some still look at me like I'm crazy, but some look at me with a new found respect like, "This mom knows what she's doing." (Thank you Suzie, I love that response!)
We might not have the answer to every motherhood question. But we need to rely on God who made us and gave us these gifts called children. My joy and my strength come from Him. He is my source and His purpose is for me to embrace this role of motherhood not feel like I'm a failure (or feel like we are messing our kids up). I don't know about you but I want my family to be my greatest legacy. Lysa says, "If I fulfill the calling of being a godly wife and mother, then I will be satisfied."
I couldn't agree more.