Ten Tips for Navigating Motherhood

13226801_1107791052625520_6856197906297404978_nI found myself sitting in the bathroom eating a candy bar last night. I had the shower running to give the illusion that I was doing something productive. I know that some of you just cringed at the thought of eating in the bathroom. I regret to inform you I just don’t care about stuff like that. I also don’t care if the McRib is made out of real meat or if my children are wearing matching socks. I do, however, care that Toby from This is Us is not really overweight. I feel lied to now that I know he’s wearing a “fat suit.”

I just choose to not get worked up over certain issues. As I sat there alone with my Almond Joy, I was thinking about a conversation we had in Sunday School on the humility of Christ. How was He able to not get worked up all the time and to maintain humility when the people treated Him so poorly? Here’s what I think. Jesus was completely confident in who He was as God and in His ability to do what God had sent Him to do. It didn’t matter if the people mocked, questioned or refused to believe. He knew He was God.

People who are confident in who God created them to be and the task God has given them to do can be humble. They don’t have to be the loudest voice in the room. They don’t feel the need to air all of their thoughts on all the things. Humble people hear other people. They are not threatened by the opinions of others. So, when that mom sees your photo on Instagram and is all, “I can’t believe she doesn’t

roses1have her child rear-facing; he’s only thirteen,” you can smile and move on with your life.

I’m about to tell you something that will set. you. free. You don’t have to attend every argument to which you’re invited. You can humbly decline the invitation when you are confident in your God-given mothering instincts and abilities. 

You can handle this mothering gig, my friends.

You are loved. ❤

 

 

Ten Tips for Navigating Motherhood

  1. Have a heart that is humble.

  2. Have a faith that is firm.

  3. Be careful with criticism.

  4. Choose the Word over the world.

  5. Have a character that is kind.

  6. Let go of guilt.

  7. Embrace grace.

  8. Follow Christ – not the crowd.

  9. Be more concerned with authenticity than appearances.

  10. A side of yogurt makes any meal healthy.

 

Tap Out Before You Pass Out

I ran into Walmart with my five children and no list because, apparently, I don’t love myself. It was also nap time which means I had a 2-year-old ticking time bomb on my hands.

As I made my way to the coffee aisle, a sweet woman stopped me. She had two kids in her cart who were fighting over a pack of hotdogs which, I’m fairly certain, someone had already begun eating. In exasperation, she said, “How do you have everything under control?”

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Once I stopped laughing, I laid my hand on hers and looked deep into her eyes and shared the truth of the situation. I was on day two of dry shampoo because I’m too tired to wash my hair. I was wearing two mismatched socks that I may or may not have pulled out of the hamper that morning. Also, I’m pretty certain I forgot to brush the teeth of the younger two. That means only 60% of my children brushed their teeth that day. Now, I’m no math whiz (although I play one Monday through Friday in our homeschool,) but I’m pretty sure that’s a failing grade.

I was reading a Facebook post the other day where a friend of mine was listing the things that she was letting go of in the new year. She was learning the art of saying, “No.” Someone commented on her post saying that she didn’t see a need to say “no.” She felt that she needed to prepare herself in case she were a pastor’s wife one day and would need to do it all.

It was precious. I typed and deleted a comment several times. Eventually, I just closed my computer and walked away because life is too short, y’all.

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My children take judo and one of the senseis gave the best advice the other night. They were learning how to defend against choke holds during a competition. He said, “Always tap out before you pass out.”

See, in competition, if you allow yourself to pass out you are disqualified for the rest of the tournament. But, if you tap out, you may lose that round but you are able to continue competing. Instantly, I claimed that as my motherhood mantra.

Tap out before you pass out.

There is no shame in tapping out. It’s okay to say no to things that sap your energy so that you can yes to things that inspire you. It’s okay to say no to good things in order to say yes to God things. It may be necessary to tap out of the book club, the PTO or social media so that you are able to continue in the things that matter most.

Also, there’s no glory in passing out. When you’re running around looking haggard and miserable, it doesn’t do anyone any favors. It’s okay to say, “No, thank you.”

So, dear friend, if you’re feeling like a weary wreck. You have permission to tap out.

You are loved. ❤

5 Parenting Tips Parenting Blogs Have Forgotten

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The Internet is full of educated and intelligent people with lots of experience and knowledge related to parenting. There are countless books and blogs offering advice on everything from potty training to SAT taking. It’s wonderful. I can’t even tell you how many times one of my girls will ask me something and I’ll respond with, “Let me google that.” There’s no shame in my parenting game.

There are some things, however, that I feel are overlooked. Important things that my children need to know in order to function as productive citizens in the world. There are people who don’t know these things walking amongst us and, frankly, it’s terrifying.

Here are five things I am insisting that my children learn and implement before leaving my home.

  1. For crying out loud, learn how to merge! I don’t care if it’s on the interstate or in a drive-thru, learning this early in life will serve you well. If you are the one merging then you should, well, merge. You do not stop and hope somebody will allow you the honor of driving on the same road as them. At some point, you will be in a position where someone else needs to merge. Pay close attention because this is where it gets tricky. You let them merge! You don’t speed up, give them the stink eye, or blow your horn.
  2. What can I do to help? Whether it’s helping a sibling with a chore, a grandparent with a project, or me in the kitchen, my children are taught to always ask one question. Seriously, they probably say it in their sleep. What can I do to help? Is someone working on something and your hands are idle? What can I do to help? Does someone look overwhelmed? What can I do to help?  Is company coming and mama is running around like a crazy woman? What can I do to help? I could, of course, give them specific tasks to perform. But I want them to recognize a need and have a desire to be a part of the solution.
  3. Don’t be that person. This is another one that my children hear pretty much all of the time. Apart from love Jesus and always sleep in a bra during a nighttime storm in case the roof comes off your house and you have to run for your life, the instruction they hear most is: don’t be that person. When the light turns green and, before I can even blink, the guy behind me blows his horn – don’t be that person. When I’m standing in the crosswalk with five children and a buggy full of groceries and a car refuses to stop and let me cross – don’t be that person. When someone is unkind, ungracious or impatient – don’t be that person. When someone is selfish, greedy or unforgiving – don’t be that person. Trust me, if you implement this one, you’ll find PLENTY of opportunities to use it.
  4. Never miss an opportunity to use the restroom.  There really isn’t much need to expound on this one. Stopping somewhere for coffee? Use the restroom. Leaving work and heading home? Use the restroom. In a waiting room somewhere? Use the restroom. Of all the potential regrets in life, one of the worst is: I wish I had used the restroom back there. Teach them while they’re young my friends. Don’t let it be your kid peeing on the side of the road during a traffic jam.
  5. Hang out with senior adults every chance you get. Seniors have been there, done that, and already forgot about it. They’re a wealth of wisdom and encouragement. They are proof that this too really shall pass and that there is life after whatever trial you are currently facing. Whatever you are struggling with, there is an older person who has been through it already. They have more patience with your children than you do and they lack all of the drama you find on Facebook. They are comfortable in their own skin. They are one of God’s most unrecognized blessings. They are a safe place. If you don’t, at every stage of life, have a friend significantly older than you – you are just missing out.

Happy parenting, folks. You are loved. ❤

 

When You Feel Like a Tychicus in a World full of Pauls

We live in a world where everyone wants to make it big. There are singers who sign up for a talent show, get the most votes and are hurled into stardom. Let’s just say they didn’t live out the songs that they wrote (shout out to Hank, jr.) Folks can become “internet famous” simply by being outspoken or opinionated. Everyone wants to be the star.

Please don’t read bitterness into these words. I have enjoyed some of the singers and I read some of the bloggers and it’s all good. But do you know what else is also good? The person who serves faithfully behind the scenes. The ones who get the job done day after day. For every one person in the spotlight, there are a dozen working in the shadows and they probably feel anonymous.

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As I sit here with the dishwasher humming, the clothes dryer turning and an endless list of mundane things that still need to be done, I’m thinking of one person in Scripture that you’ve probably never heard of before. Let’s just say that, if someone asked for your favorite Bible character, you probably aren’t going to say Tychicus.

I was reading in 2 Timothy and one tiny verse stood out to me.

“Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.” 2 Timothy 4:12

Just a simple statement but it made me wonder. For all the times that I have read Paul’s letters, knowing full well he was in prison when he wrote them, I’ve never really given a thought to the person who delivered them. Tychicus didn’t do what he did for the glory. Do you know how I know? Paul’s name is mentioned over 190 times. Tychicus? Well, depending on what translation you use, his name shows up about 5 times. The only thing ever mentioned about Tychicus is that he was delivering a message for Paul to other believers.

If we listen to the world, we may begin to feel discouraged. It’s easy to think that, just maybe, the letter writer is more important than the letter carrier. Perhaps, that mom out there with her latte and her own Youtube channel is doing more for the world than you are with your Folgers and the Disney Jr. channel.

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What you do matters. Just like Paul knew that he could trust Tychicus to get the job done, God gave you a job and He trusts you to get it done. He trusts you to rock the new baby in the wee hours of the morning, to go to the therapy appointments, to fight tirelessly for what your child needs, to be the boo boo kisser, the breadwinner or the grilled cheese maker. It all matters!

Paul sent Tychicus because he knew he would go and that he could be trusted with Paul’s precious messages. You and I have been called to be mothers because God knew that we would go to the ends of the earth if needed and that we could be trusted with God’s precious gifts.

You don’t need to be famous; just be faithful. Don’t try to be a star; just be a servant. At the end of the day, if the only person who knows your name is the God who breathed the stars into place, that’s more than alright.

But now, God’s Message,

   the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,

   the One who got you started, Israel:

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.

   I’ve called your name. You’re mine.” Isaiah 43:1 The Message

You are loved. ❤

Stacy

The Ground is Level.

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There is an old hymn that says, “the ground is level at the foot of the cross.” No achievement can make us stand taller within the cross’ shadow and no failing can cause us to sink lower. We are all wretches in need of amazing grace.

We think it’s different. Sometimes, we want it to be different. We want there to be degrees of sin so that we can somehow feel better about our standing before a holy God. But you and I? We are not that different.

Motherhood is another of life’s equalizers. We look at one another and attempt to place one another in the appropriate group.

She’s into that all natural thing.

I heard she started planning the epidural before the stick was even finished turning blue. (That was me, by the way.)

Her kids are homeschooled/public schooled/private schooled.

She only wanted one kid.

Doesn’t she know about birth control? (This is also me. By my fourth pregnancy, my brother said, “Stacy, you really need a new hobby.”)

I don’t know why we insist on creating these imaginary divisions. The reality is that we have FAR MORE in common, y’all!

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Raise your hand if you have scooped poop out of the bathtub, picked a toddler’s nose because you could not handle the booger hanging out in there, changed a diaper on the hood of your car, caught vomit in your bare hand, changed wet bed sheets in the middle of the night, allowed a feverish child to sweat all over you, rocked a crying baby into the wee hours of the night, stayed up all night worried because your child was out with friends, wondered how you were going to pay for all the things, or cried with your child over his first broken heart.

I walked into a hospital room last week and met a mother whose son was just diagnosed with leukemia. In that moment, it didn’t matter one iota if she was a stay at home mom, a working mom, a work at home mom,  a single mom, a mom of one or a mom of many. I’ll be honest – I don’t know which category she would fall into and I couldn’t care less. I rubbed her back and I cried because, in that moment, my mama heart was breaking for her mama heart.

We need to be there for one another without labels, categories or preconceived notions. The ground is level, y’all. The ground is level. We’re all the same. We pray for our babies to be healthy, our bills to be paid and our coffee to have an appropriate amount of creamer. And, if anyone says you don’t need creamer, distance yourself from them because you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.

I’m praying for each of you this week. Seriously, if you read these words, consider yourself prayed for. And, if anyone needs me, I’m spending the next three days in Gatlinburg with our church’s senior adults and I am crazy excited. I may not come back home. 😉

You are loved. ❤