Adventures in Parenting

On Grace

Giving myself and others grace is something I have to continually work on. Recently my husband Charlie and I had a free morning on Saturday, no plans, which is a very rare occurrence. Either he’s working or we have something going on so naturally we decided to get things done around the house.

Our kids did not get that memo, however. They fussed and whined because we have a free Saturday, so when you’re young, that means mom and dad play with you non stop, all day long.  We were on separate wavelengths which made everyone in a bad mood. So I did what any good mother would do and just ignored them and sent them to their room…the girls, not the baby. Charlie and I chatted downstairs while the girls screamed from upstairs; we were frustrated about why we couldn’t get anything done and why no matter what we did that day, someone was fussing at us.

It was a rough day, a day I wanted to just write off, start over. I gave myself zero grace that day. I deemed myself a bad mom, a bad wife; it was only 1pm and I told myself I wasted an entire Saturday that we had together complaining and feeling defeated.

I have this verse hanging on our wall. Thanks to Hobby Lobby clearance section, you can now read yourself through our entire house…

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

    -Lamentations 3:22-23

 

So momma, when you burn the meal and feed your family cold cereal for dinner, give yourself grace.

When your kids don’t sleep at night and you haven’t showered in 3 days, give yourself grace.

When you just yelled at the top of your lungs at your children, the ones you love and adore more than anything, give yourself grace.

When you can’t remember the last time you mopped your kitchen floor, give yourself grace.

When you haven’t exercised in a month, give yourself grace.

When your clothes are covered in spit up, sweat, and unidentified stains, give yourself grace.

When you just CAN’T, and you turn on the 10th Daniel Tiger for the day just so you don’t have to answer any more questions, give yourself grace.

Thank you God that tomorrow is a new day! Thank you God for the grace you give us and for so many chances to try again. Thank you God for the tough days that help mold us into the person You created us to be. Thank you for your gentle reminders that we can’t do life on our own and we need Your strength daily.

Who can have a bad day with this smile?

While we’re on the subject of grace, I once attempted to (apparently unsuccessfully) explain to the girls what grace is and that they really needed to give mommy some grace that day. June replies without hesitation, “but mommy, where IS the grace? I can’t find it!”

I love 3 year olds and how they simplify our over complicated minds. They also make the toughest days hilarious when they need to be.

 

Adventures in Parenting

The Day I was Super Mom

Do you ever have those days when you’re just killing it? As a mom, they don’t happen often. I’m a planner and kids are unpredictable so in my eyes, everything is always out of control. I’ve learned in the past few years to loosely plan, otherwise I’m setting myself up for disappointment. Sidenote: my twin girls are 3 and have started using the word “otherwise” correctly in a sentence and it’s absolutely hilarious. 

One day, I planned to go to the grocery store with the kids, which should be considered an Olympic sport. I actually consider it my exercise for the day and don’t plan anything else that day because I know it will completely wear me out. I literally race through the store pushing 60+ lbs of kids, plus groceries, in an extra long cart (that you should need a separate license for) with a 20 lb baby strapped to my chest. Oh and then I have to use my brain at the same time…

The kids actually really like grocery shopping most of the time, and I try to make the most of our grocery trips, making it an opportunity to not only practice obedience, but teach them about food, where it comes from, why we’re buying what we’re buying, staying on budget (needs vs. wants), etc. EVERYTHING is a teaching opportunity when they’re at this curious, asking questions stage so I capitalize on it most of the time, unless I’m just DONE and then I tell them mommy has a headache and I need quiet (many days) and “no, for the fifth time, you may not have jelly beans”. Charles just laughs and smiles at everyone no matter what we’re doing. Gosh, I love that kid.

Not pictured: smiley, happy baby snuggling in his carrier

This particular day, I did not have high hopes for our trip. I don’t know if you’ve shopped at Wholefoods, we do occasionally, but it’s not the most family friendly grocery store; they have ONE cart that will SOMEWHAT fit all of my children, and the food to feed them. The last time we walked into Wholefoods, an employee actually commented to me inside the store “oh, you actually made it inside”. I guess he saw the all out meltdown by one of the twins at the entrance about who got to sit in what seat… “Yes, we still need food, sorry for hurting your ears.” So I braced myself this time.

This trip was amazing, the kids were so patient and kind, an employee offered them an apple (washed, peeled and cut for them…I sometimes love you Wholefoods). I smiled, the kids smiled, strangers smiled, we all had it together, people probably thought I was super mom, I surely did.

We got to the car, unloaded the groceries, the girls buckled themselves into their seats without me even asking (cue the choir singing). I pulled the baby out of the carrier and he’s covered in poop. I mean covered. I’m covered. It’s a mess. I lay him down to clean him up and I have no wipes. I grab a couple of napkins and a bottle of water, do what I can, and put him back in his seat and buckle him in. More poop. Apparently this mess occurred BEFORE we went in the store because it’s all over his seat. I take off his clothes again, change his diaper, I have no change of clothes for me so here I am driving us home in a poopy car that had been basking in the hot sun, covered in poop myself, wondering how many of those kind smiles from strangers were really laughing at me and my baby covered in poop? Also, how did I not notice it?

God has a really funny way of humbling us sometimes doesn’t He? That day was a kind reminder that I do not have it together even when sometimes I like to tell myself I do.

 

Random Thoughts

Just Sit Down

Y’all, I love a good heart to heart. You know, those conversations that occur in a nice cozy setting, with hot tea, and nothing else to distract you. The kind of conversations where both parties share their heart, get to the bottom of their feelings and you come out of the conversation feeling like your relationship has really grown. That’s not always how it goes, in fact, usually those conversations can’t be planned nor do they occur in that setting. It’s usually in the kitchen in midst of a disagreement, or on the phone while a bunch of other distractions are happening on both ends of the line, or in my case recently, at the top of the stairs.

Let me back up. Me and the kids had just arrived home from a weekend at my parents house while Charlie had to stay back and work. We were all tired from swimming, playing and just the usual exhaustion from a trip with kids. All 3 of the kids were screaming when we unloaded from the car. The baby was hungry, Faith wanted to paint before she even got out of the car and needed to do it immediately, while I was trying to unload everyone and everything before a huge storm came in. Who knew what was going on with June. She walked in the house and fell on the floor in a fit of rage, completely unable to communicate with me.

Our June is a fiery one. We had this impression of her before she was even born just by the way she was inside of me. Our impression was true and has been consistent for her 3 and a half years of life so far. She always keeps us on our toes, always challenges us, always questions, and always has a plan. She’s hard to keep up with; she definitely has a mind of her own and I’m told that this type of personality will change the world one day if we just hold on tight and guide her through these years.

This particular day I was just DONE and didn’t feel like having patience or grace (though I had been listening to a podcast the entire drive home specifically about this and here I was with a perfect opportunity to practice it). So I sent her to her room to calm herself down since she wouldn’t communicate with me and was just thrashing all over the place.

Thirty minutes later, the baby was fed, Faith was painting at the kitchen table, and June was still screaming. She was inching herself out into the hallway to the top of the stairs still throwing a fit, but losing steam and probably forgot why she was crying in the first place. I was still unpacking and determined to finish before figuring out dinner from the 4 things we had in the pantry, but I made myself sit down in the hallway next to her. Instead of asking her “what’s wrong”, which would have just reminded her that she’s mad and prolonged this entire thing, I attempted to “fix” things and asked her what we could do so she could feel happy again. Her broken response through tears was “you can give me a kiss.” She crawled in my lap and I did just that.

Most of the time, that is where our children need us, on the floor in the hallway, when we’re doing a million other things. I had to actively tell myself to JUST SIT DOWN. That’s all they need, for us to be down at their level so they can crawl into our lap and receive unconditional love.

What’s so amazing is that we have the best example of this in God. He is the perfect parent, never too busy for His children, and always waiting for us to crawl in His lap and say, “I’ve tried it my way, and it’s not working, please just love me and make things better.” Isn’t that the definition of grace?

I wish I could say that my children never misbehave or throw fits, and I also wish I could say I never lose my temper when they do. But if that were the case, if everything was perfect and we were in constant control, we’d never be reminded how much we need God’s grace and mercy. He is constantly pruning us, and it’s no fun, but you can’t grow without the pain.

I learned a huge lesson that day to just sit down. My children need to experience grace, learn to extend it to others, and they need to know they can always crawl into the lap of our Heavenly Father. It’s our job as parents to teach them that, but isn’t it funny that in that process we end up learning the same lessons as well?