Help

{Photo 305/365}  I’m always willing to help, really I am.  BUT, most of the time — I have NOT-a-clue what to do.  Math is different than it was for me when I was growing up.  Seriously, what he’s working on in 6th grade I remember doing in high school.  Science?  That I want to block out of my head completely…didn’t like that subject.  Spelling?  Did I say that spell check just might BE the best invention ever? and dictionary.com is my favorite website on the internet?  Homework…it’s the last thing I want to do.  If I could release myself of this one duty as a parent, I would.  They struggle and I struggle too.  God help us.

Soap

{Photo 277/365}  Bath & Body Works Nectarine Mint anti-bacterial deep cleansing hand soap does not taste good, these two will be the first to tell you.  WHY?  Because our day ended with sassy lips, disrespect, fighting, talking back and I had enough.  My solution? Separation with soap in their mouths for 10 minutes.  Then shower and off to bed at 7:15.  I know, “I’m the mean mom” and “life is cheap” and all the other nasty-ness that came streaming from their lips was meaningless — I just did what I needed to do to bring order to the chaos.  I love these two nuggets more than anything in the whole-wide-world, tonight was a challenge.  Tomorrow is a new day…mercy and grace.

Back In The Day

fathers-day-dinner-lgBeing a mom is, I believe, one of the most important jobs I will ever have. It is a gift I have been given, and I take it very seriously. This week in particular, I felt very conflicted with balancing work and home. Maybe it was because it was the first week back to work after the holiday. It was a bit of a letdown, simply knowing that the fun and games were over  and I had to put on my nursing hat so to speak.  I felt a longing to simply be a mom, and would have been satisfied to put that nursing cap on the shelf to collect dust.

These feelings got me thinking about this role of being a mom. I began comparing my own parenting to that of MY mother, and how it differs.  I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up in the family I did, and to have the parents I do. Consistency, calm, Christian influence. My dad walked in the door at 5:10 or so every night. Home made meals on the table at 5:30 every night. A home made sweet treat after dinner every night. The house was always picked up, laundry always done. Life was predictable. I had 2 sisters, both older than I, and we all respected my parents. I know I am the youngest, so my memory may be a little different than that of my sisters, but I don’t remember my parents ever having to yell to get our attention. For me, it was more of a fear of disappointing them that made me want to do good. (Not sayin’ that I didn’t do my fair share of stupid things growing up!)  I don’t ever remember sensing anger or impatience between my parents. Life was simple. Or at least that is how I remember it.

Fast forward several decades (gulp)and here I am, blessed to be raising my own children. Boy, I am afraid to say the the environment in which I remember growing up is very different than the environment my children are being raised. To start, I work. I have the privilege of working part time and feel very blessed for that opportunity, but…. I work. I feel like if I’m not on call, I’m going into the clinic, or thinking about an outstanding subpoena, or a child that touched my heart in a profound way. It is always there. How much does that take away from my ability to be a good mom? Are there ways that makes me a better mom?

I think another big difference is our children’s schedules. I grew up on a farm in a rural town in MN. I have to say there weren’t too many opportunities for extracurricular events until the junior high years. It wasn’t until then, that we would begin or choose a sport- and there were only a few to choose from. Practices were predictable, after school, and we would always be home by dinner-time.

My son Owen decided to play hockey this year.  I’ve been told that 6 years old is a year or two late to begin skating. Really? Along with this commitment are 1 to 2 practices a week, and 1 game per week. Not really all that bad. Then you factor in our 4 year old daughter Gracie and her 1 practice a week for gymnastics. Add the weekly church, school, typical play dates, and preschool car pools… it all adds up. And with that, takes away time from home where I could be cooking, cleaning or creating consistency and calm. On the other hand, it provides exposure to a team sport, helps build confidence and cooperation among team members and provides excellent physical activity.

So what gives? I know that schedules will only get busier. I mentioned I have 2 older siblings with older children, so know what is ahead for us. I just struggle at the difference in how I was raised. I can’t expect life to be the same for my children as it was for me 38 years ago. It is a different time, and we live in a different demographic.  I may not have the opportunity to have dinner on the table every night at 5:30. BUT there are things I can and DO do.

Creating memories with our children. Having popcorn parties on our family room floor. Watching movies. Playing board games. Creating family traditions. Being silly.

I can still provide consistency, but in a different way. Consistency in parenting, in providing a safe haven,  in creating predictability.

Calm, yet different than what I knew. Calm in my responses to various situations. Calm created by preparing for the day, for the unexpected. Calm in my marriage. These things are all a work in progress.

Christian influence- I pray I provide this by being an example in my daily walk.  By being in the Word. By making church a priority. By praying as a family. By reading devotions with our children. By living our lives as an example. I think THAT is the biggest challenge of all. Thank you to my husband who continues to hold me accountable in these areas as they too, are a work in progress. I love you!

So, for me, being a mom is a title I’m honored to have been given. My job is to help mold 2 tiny persons into a godly man and woman with the help of a lot of other wonderful people, most importantly their father. I just pray each and every day that I am equipped with the skills needed to do my very best at this incredibly important job. I can’t expect things to be the same as when I grew up. In fact, there are many positive things my children have been afforded that back in the day, were not available. I need to stop comparing, and appreciate each day for what it is. Finally, I pray for peace and balance in my heart when juggling my various roles becomes a struggle.