Exhaustion

Few times, in my life, have I ever felt this exhausted.

Blow me down like the air pumped into a balloon and I will pop

Mull me over with words and I will implode to nothing

Sink me in the earth with a step and I will cave to dust

Sleep is underrated to the, truly, tired!

The promise of heaven on a pillow where nothing comes in but surrender.

These are the nights that test the soul.

And I stand waking with the promise of dreams while the world slumbers.

Life is messy

Sleep is treasure and my pillow is screaming lullabies that should be quiet

In the place of the mind where the quiet goes to die, I wait

Until tomorrow when the siren blazes another day has come.

Until then, don’t speak or I may blow away.

When steal hearts rust, the breeze is threatening.

Goodnight world. I’ll see you on the other side.

Feminism, Covid, and Reality

I consider myself a strong woman. I do what needs to be done. If I don’t know how, I figure it out. If I can’t figure it out, I figure that out.

I’m in a mood tonight. I’m sure it’s primarily caused by the fact that I tested positive for Covid yesterday. I’m fine. It’s a mild case and will pass in no time, hopefully. Still, it is hard for me, as a mother, to sit in bed and rest and leave the heavy lifting to my husband.

I appreciate his willingness to help. I truly do. Still, one day in, and he seems frustrated. The kids and dinner, and lunch packing, and laundry, are apparently too much for him. He’s complaining and my house is a disaster. Yet, these things are my reality, after I work a full time job.

So I’m stuck between frustration that I can’t do all I do and annoyance that all of these things fall to me everyday and my husband can’t handle it for a day.

So where does my inner feminist stand on this issue? Is it okay with me that I do it all? Is it okay that it’s expected of me yet looked at with sympathy when he has to do it?

Is it okay that I, a strong woman, feel like crap, not because I literally feel like crap, but because, I can’t do it all? Why do I have to do it all? When did feminism become the ideal that women do everything? Why is it okay for me to feel bad because I feel bad?

I realize I may sound ungrateful and I don’t mean it that way. This isn’t even about my husband. It’s about me. I’ve become so ingrained in my role as mom and homemaker that despite the fact that I’m the primary breadwinner in my household, I still feel guilty if it isn’t all perfect.

This week, I cannot make it perfect. I’m isolated to my bedroom to keep from contaminating my family and I feel like my world will end because my kitchen is a mess and I can’t go clean it! It’s torture. Part of me would rather we all catch Covid than allow my kids’ bathroom to go without being cleaned and that is on me.

Or maybe society or whatever ridiculous norms are expected of us mothers and women trying to do it all. Feminism was made for equal rights yet it’s become unequivocal.

Why can’t a man work and scrub the dishes? Why can’t a man work and clean a toilet? Why do I feel so guilty because I’m sick?

I blame Covid for the mood but not entirely…it’s probably been brewing for awhile. Still, this week is testing my patience. But soon, I will feel better and take it all with grace.

Another day, another virus, another annoyance, another reason for me to question the system we’ve created.

It is what it is…

One foot…keep walking

The wind spins circles around my head

I see the life before me and I wonder if I’m supposed to be who I am

What is life but the continuing of one foot before another?

Every breath, a choice

Every moment, an opportunity for a voice

Yet, I am so often silent.

This is humanity…

A million moments of the mundane, followed by a hundred moments of impact.

But the mundane…the cleaning, the dishes, the listening to my kids talk about their day…the laundry…

In these moments, I become me. The woman I’m called to be.

So I’ll write and create and care for children, and sing, and process invoices, and update databases and go on..one foot in front of the other.

And in that, I will be more than I ever imagined.

Somehow, in the grind, God created destiny and legacy and that is enough for me.

Hello, tomorrow. I’m ready to do my best. We will see what God has in store. It may be great. It may be monotonous, but if it’s for Your glory, it’s entirely worth it.

One foot in front of the other…this is life.

Do you ever sit and stare?

It’s been a week! I got sick, probably just a severe cold or flu, but it banned me from humanity in the current Covid climate, despite my negative test results. So I tried to rest, amidst my endless household to do list and everything I fight for and against on the daily. I often wonder if anyone could possibly know what the machinations of my daily life are…then I settle into a firm, “no” and go to bed.

So a week home of sickness, from work, has brought WAY too much time for watching home improvement shows and realizing my inadequacies. Maybe my organization style is actually, “modern mother seeking to survive life with chaos”? Who knows, but I don’t think I fit the mold. So I await the HGTV genie crew to come in and save me from myself and make my house a palace, but I think I’ll be waiting a long time.

And at the end of the day, it’s me….it rests on my shoulders to make light from darkness and order from chaos. I don’t think that I’m equipped and I know I won’t be gracing the world with appearances on (insert home show here.com), but I know that this is my life…this is my rodeo and I will fight to make it beautiful!

We can strive for HGTV “perfect” or we can rest in “our best” and if I have to choose, my instinct goes to “perfect” while my reality goes to “just breathe”. I may not be perfect, but God gave me these kids and He knows best. So I need to learn to suck it up and deal and fight another day. I am me. I am trying. I am who I’m meant to be this is me. (Okay got carried away and quoted a song, but somewhere someone was singing it! Or maybe that was just me) Either way, we are human, trying to get through the daily. We are warriors. Represent! Or am I the only one staring blankly at the end of the night? I hope I’m not alone! I sit and stare at the clock until it swallows me whole and then regret knowing the definition of time.

Missing Myself

It’s all been a whirlwind. I’m sure you’ve been there, when life creeps in and steals…well, the life right out of you. Then suddenly I realize in the midst of the grind, the day to day, the chaos, that I don’t have to allow it all to get the best of me. I can choose to stop even when the madness doesn’t. I get the privilege of deciding what warrants immediate attention and what can wait. I get to decide that I’m important too.

I think mothers are so easily susceptible to what I’ll call the squishing. The systematic pressing down of oneself in favor of those you love and/or those who scream the loudest. Then suddenly, the music stops, the writing ceases in lieu of more pressing priorities. All that was placed in you by the creator is shelved for another time…a seemingly mythic day when there’s quiet, though you know the heart will cry when quiet comes because they have grown and you may have missed something.

I think at the end of the day, we can have it all. We can treasure the moments of motherhood, maintain some measure of order and cleanliness, actually shower, and still be us. I know, I know, sounds too good to be true. I still believe that God placed treasure in earthen vessels and that He never gives us a load too difficult for us to bear. We may need to exercise our faith muscles. We may need to work diligently to find balance. We may need to learn to say no or ask for help but it may be worth it.

Today, I’m making a resolution that I will make myself make time. I will read. I will write. I will sing. I will play. Yes, I’ll still clean and nurse and nurture and teach but I will make the time to be me. The world will be a better place and I will be a better version of myself. Today, I’m determined.

Though I’ve been missing in action for a while, I’m coming back to life, one decision at a time and I shouldn’t have to miss me much longer.

You Know You’re a Mother When…

1. You check your clothes before you leave the house to see how much goo you happen to be covered in and whether it’s worth the effort to change.

2. You forget to check for you goo until three hours later when you realize you have smashed up graham cracker on your shirt and boogers smeared on your shoulder.

3. You close or open more doors with your feet then you do your hands.

4. You bring a thermos of coffee with you to pick up the kids from school so you don’t fall asleep in car rider line.

5. You have no idea what Pharrell Williams looks like but you know what color every Disney princess wears.

6. You’ve only heard of Pharrell Williams because your teenager was talking about him yesterday.

7. You know all the words to every silly song Larry the Cucumber ever sang.

8. Your family looks like a picture in a magazine other than you…. you haven’t brushed your hair in three days.

9. You based your outfit on how easily you could discreetly nurse a baby.  Consequently you haven’t worn a non-button up dress in months. (Who am I kidding? If it wasn’t for work, you’d live in yoga pants or sweatpants or jammies.)

10. You have hot wheels and Cheerios in your purse or maybe even an extra pair of itty bitty toddler underpants.

11. You have super-human abilities to carry multiple items at once without dropping anything including the wiggly baby on your hip.

12. You realized sleep wasn’t really necessary after all. You haven’t had any in years.

13. A trip to the gym counts as alone time.

 14. You forgot to eat on more than one occasion this week, but it’s okay because the baby shared his graham cracker with you (See #1)

15.  You don’t shy away from challenges. You after all, can do the laundry, play ball, cook dinner, pay the bills and talk on the phone all at once. Most of all, you can untangle one of those plastic slinkys and THAT my friend is a thing of magic.

16. You know all about love and pour it out daily.

17. You know what it is to look on baby faces and little toes and feel completely overwhelmed with gratitude that you were chosen for this awesome adventure that is parenting.

18. You know what it is to feel like you can’t possibly do it all while realizing that what you do daily has lasting meaning. You do your best and hope and pray that God can make something beautiful out of it. And He does!

19. You are blessed!  Psalm 127:3 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward!” Proverbs 31:28 “Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her”

Smile Mom! You’re doing great!

Adoration

I’m sitting in a quiet room, baby in my arms. Soft and warm, nuzzled tightly to my chest breathing in. Tiny sighs and squeaks eek out occasionally as lips move to reflexive smile or the impulse to nurse though his mouth is empty. He sleeps and I adore him.

My husband lies across the room still, resting after a long day’s work. I watch him. Eyes closed, peaceful and strong and I am thankful. With strength and persistence he provides for us. So diligent, so faithful. Then loving, he comes home to me with smiles, a tender embrace and kind words. Now he sleeps and I adore him.

The sun is sitting low and casting light through the stained glass into my cozy little nest. the way it alters the hue and brings sparkle and shimmer to substance fills me with wonder. I don’t stop enough to admire the beauty.

Then he looks at me. Blue eyes lit with something deep and extraordinary. I become fully awake in the joy and love behind his eyes. I’m captivated. He is mine and I adore him.

 

An Angel in Sock Monkey Slippers

She’s an angel in sock monkey slippers.

Her smile amazes me.

She sees the world in color without fear of what others may see.

She’s come along way since her little blond curls and her belief that apples made her superman.

She’s stronger than most and wiser than her peers.

She’s brilliant and discerning.

She’s conquering her fears.

 

She’s an angel in sock monkey slippers looking for the right angle.

I love her determined focus when she sees an opportunity.

I love her sense of humor, her integrity, the sound of her laughter.

I’m very proud of the young woman she’s becoming.

 

She’s my angel in sock monkey slippers.

We can drive each other mad at times.

Still, I love our time together, fake accents and spontaneous singing.

I love talking with her about random things.

I love that I get to be her mom.

Dream on Sock Monkey!

 

 

Why I Do & Don’t Work Out

 

Everyone knows the benefits of exercise. Doctors, health & nutrition experts, personal trainers, magazine articles, advertisers and celebrities have been telling us for years that if we want to be healthy, we have to work it. For me, that fact alone has done very little to persuade me to get up & move, or worse yet…step away from the chocolate. I realize that there are those among you who can honestly say that health is your primary motivator for exercise but when I look around; I can’t help but think that the majority of the folks at the gym are there because they want to look better. I used to be one of them.

I grew up as one of the scrawniest people alive. I was ridiculously skinny as a child & teenager. My first pregnancy, I weighed in at 5 months pregnant a whopping 88 pounds. I’m 5’3″ tall. The only concern I had with weight was that I had not acquired any. At some point, after a few kids and a desk job, I crossed the line into “normal”. All of the sudden, I was just an average, thin person instead of a commercial for starving children. I was in the middle of a disastrous marriage in which every flaw I had was pointed out & magnified. I became terrified that one day I would look in the mirror and it would verify what the voices screaming in my ear everyday were telling me…that I really wasn’t good enough. So I worked out. I became obsessed with every “trouble zone”. I worked out in the morning before starting my day and did crunches & leg work in front of the TV at night. I knew I wasn’t fat, but I wanted to be better, whatever that was.

After my divorce from my first husband, I got worse. I didn’t mean to & I don’t know if I even knew it at the time, but I stopped eating breakfast and lunch. I continued to exercise & added to that the responsibility of walking my ex’s dog, that weighed more than I did, three times a day. I dropped back down to below the 100 pound mark which I’d tried so hard to get up to as a teenager. It was lunacy.

When I started dating my husband, something in me shifted. He spent time at the gym, but his focus was totally different from what mine had ever been. He truly wanted to be healthy & fit for all of the right reasons, while I’d been striving to be good enough. He began to love me to life. I began to realize that I’d been enough all along and that no amount or lack of lunges would change that.

For a time, I stopped exercising altogether. I think I needed that time to come to terms with the fact that my body doesn’t define me. At times it’s been hard. I’ve gained 25 pounds in the last year. I probably needed at least 15 of them. Sure, I got aggravated when my size 0 pants quit fitting. I cried once or twice when I couldn’t fit into anything in my closet. Still, I feel completely satisfied with who I am and that is a victory for me so I refuse to feel defeated by a few extra pounds.

I think sometimes, we need to really grasp a concept before we can move on. I needed those pounds. Now I can work out for the right reasons. I woke up this morning and I didn’t want to crawl out of bed and start working up a sweat but I did it anyway. That for me is the greatest treasure of exercise. It’s in the ability to cause our flesh to submit to what we know it should be doing. Romans 7:14-15 talks about man’s struggle with sin. “14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” I think the same concept applies here. We know that in order to be healthy & fit, we need to exercise, yet we don’t want to, so we don’t. For me, when I put my flesh into subjection & let it know that it doesn’t get a vote here, it is so fulfilling. I feel powerful & strong. I also know if I can make my body submit to exercise, I can make it submit to the Lord in other areas as well. I love that!

I work out for me. I work out for my kids, so that I can have the energy and stamina to play with them & do what I need to do to be a great mom. I work out for my husband so that I can be around for a long time and enjoy the wonderful life we have together. I work out for God (yes that sounds strange) but I know that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I need to be a good steward and take care of it. I work out so that I have energy. Sure, I want to look good, I want my husband to have a beautiful wife to come home to. I want to feel good about myself, but I’ve learned that I am beautiful even if I have a little cellulite. I am perfectly designed just the way that I am and finally, I’m okay with that.