I Forgot

I forgot

You just start to forget things after being sleep deprived for months. I’ve forgotten to pay bills, forgotten to set doctor’s appointments, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be on time to an event… I also forgot my daughter’s birthweight.

So, earlier this week I went to my 6 week postpartum appointment (except it’s been 8 weeks. I forgot about this too). The nurse is asking me all the usual questions: Do you smoke? When was your last cycle? (Umm like 6 years ago because I keep having so many children). Then she asks What was your daughter’s birthweight? And I blanked. Numbers shot through my head: 7 pounds 3 ounces (nope, that was Noah), 9 pounds 14 ounces (no, that was Tim), maybe she was 7 pounds 3 ounces (no, Isaac was the other 7.3)… Y’all I seriously could not remember how much my daughter weighed. I tried to brush it off and not feel like the worst mother in the world.

Then as I was going to a room and waiting on the doctor I saw I missed a call and that a voicemail was left. Now, I’m normally terrible about checking voicemails and usually wait until I have about 17 voicemails and then knock them all out at once, but I figured I had some time to spare so I listened to it. Turns out I also forgot that it was Timothy’s first day of Mother’s Day Out. Crap, crap, and double crap.

From that point on until the end of the day I had this reoccurring thought… You’re a bad mom… This played in my head over and over, and as a result, my actions portrayed that for the rest of the day. I had less patience with my boys, I didn’t bother with carving out my usual 10 minute prayer time, and I was just plain grumpy. What I didn’t realize was that I had also forgotten a few very important things.

Remember that reoccurring thought of You’re a bad mom? I forgot that it was a lie. I’m not a bad mom. I’m not perfect, but I’m a good mom and that’s good enough. We as parents, as spouses, as friends don’t have to be a perfect parent, spouse, or friend; but we can just be a good one… I wish we (I wish I) would just remember this. No one is perfect, and we shouldn’t strive to be perfect. We all have room for growth, and it’s okay to want to work on that, but let’s not waste what little time we have focusing all our attention on our shortcomings that we miss the blessings right in front of us.

I also forgot to give myself grace for the moment. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in months. Keeping 4 kids alive is challenging enough, and trying to remember dates and details is even more of a challenge. We all forget things from time to time, and it’s not the end of the world.

I also forgot that I don’t have to be perfect. “Being a good mom” isn’t defined by my forgetfulness. I’m a good mom because I love my kids. I love my kids and I’m trying my darn best to provide a good (but not perfect) home life for them. Soon they will all be in school and I don’t want to spend these short years I have with them at home beating myself up for things that don’t even matter; and neither should you.

Don't forget

So I challenge you fellow moms and dads and caregivers and grandparents: Forgive and forget your shortcomings, and make the most of your day with your littles by showing them just how much you do love them.

Not-So-Small Act of Kindness

It had been one of those mornings… Well, it started as one of those nights. Baby Sarah had woken up to nurse 3 times, which may not have been so bad but we (as in, her and I) didn’t go to bed until close to midnight. To say I was sleep deprived is an understatement.

I somehow managed to get us all dressed and to church, then I got there and realized Timothy didn’t have shoes. I sat in our Suburban and thought for a good two minutes if I wanted to go home and get him shoes, are just let him be barefoot and free. I decided on barefoot, and he didn’t care. I highly doubt anyone else cared either. He stepped on a few sticker burrs, but he survived.

When I went to pick up the kids after the service was over, and I lost Timothy in the shuffle. So I had successfully gotten 2 of the 4 children and started walking into every room at church looking for my curious 3 year old. I finally found him, and then got the rest of the munchkins.

I started walking to the door and preparing myself for the nightmare of corralling 4 children in the parking lot solo. Then, a sweet teenager, the daughter of one of my good friends, asked if she could help. I gladly took her up on her offer… Which was no small offer.

Once we all got buckled up in the car, my eyes filled with tears. This was probably for a number of reasons: I was hungry, and hormonal, and had told my husband goodbye for his third of four trips out of town this summer. I was so touched by this sweet girl’s help, and then I realized sometimes I just need help, and that’s ok!

I think there was some false belief that I couldn’t ask for help because I have to prove something… Like I have to prove that people are wrong for thinking we shouldn’t have 4 kids, so therefore asking for help in some way proves them right… Truth is, whether someone has 1 child or 19 children, it’s ok to ask for help! We aren’t meant to do this life alone.

This not so small act of kindness really made me reflect on my life. When was the last time I intentionally looked for an opportunity to help someone else? Sure, I’ve got 4 kids and life is crazy, but there’s always time to share God’s love. It could be holding the door open for someone, bringing someone a meal, a simple text to say hello and let someone know they matter… I want to challenge you, and myself, as this week begins to do a random act of kindness each day… Because you never know how it will bless someone.

Beloved

I remember this moment vividly, even though it was 3 years ago. There I was, curled up in my bed in the middle of the day, sobbing. I am convinced this is a cry almost every mother is familiar with… the kind of cry where your entire body shakes with your sobs and your abs end up hurting because you unintentionally gave them a workout. At that time Noah was only about 1 year old, I was pregnant with Timothy, and I felt like a failure.

I had been so emotional all day long. I’m pretty sure I lost my temper when Noah’s sippy cup spilled all over the floor. It took way too long for him to nap. I had a load of laundry in the washer, dryer, and on my couch.  I was running on little sleep and lukewarm coffee.

Why didn’t anyone ever tell me it would be this hard? I have no idea what I’m doing… I’m not cut out for this mommy thing, and how in the world am I going to raise another human being soon?

These thoughts were running through my head, along with the all too familiar lie of: You are a failure. You are ruining everything and everyone.

So there I was… a young and 25 year old mother who had no idea what she was doing. Heck, I had never even changed a diaper before my firstborn. Literally, I had no idea what I was doing other than what I read on the Internet… that and all the posts on my News Feed from other moms having the time of their life being new moms… All I wanted was a freakin’ nap. And a bath. And a day off.

After sobbing for what seemed like an eternity, I cried out to the Lord. I begged Him for strength, for wisdom, for patience, for love, for better housekeeping skills, for everything I could think of that I needed to make me a better mother… And then I begged Him, Please let my son be okay despite of me….

Exhausted from sobbing and praying, my eyes were shut and my thoughts were finally silent. Then I sensed the Spirit tell me, Beloved, your son is going to be okay because of you. Because I entrusted him to you, and I know what I’m doing.

I would like to tell you from then on out, I have been the perfect mother, but I have not, nor will I ever be. I still sometimes snap at my children who don’t deserve it, I still sometimes (okay, all the time) suck at housework, I still sometimes feel like I don’t know what I am doing… But I trust in the One who knows exactly what He is doing. I had to let my dreams of being a perfect mom die, and live for the only One who is perfect.

I write this in hopes to encourage my fellow mothers out there. God has blessed you with your wonderful babies. God has entrusted you with those beautiful babes, and He knows exactly what He is doing. Keep loving and keep praying for you are His beloved.  In the midst of the chaos, focus on these sweet moments that are few are far between.

babynoah

What words of encouragement can you provide to other moms?  Let’s edify and support each other in the journey of motherhood.