No, no, I’m Fine. Really.

You know how in the midst of a bad day, it feels like everything is just failing and falling apart. You may not be able to put your finger on why or what, or it maybe that you have multiple things that are truly going wrong. Either way, later on, it usually happens that you look back and you almost feel ashamed at how much you overreacted.

I know that a week, or a month, or maybe a year from now I’ll look back and see that. But right now, I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. Dramatic, right???

This morning while in the midst of an already difficult grocery shopping trip with my youngest three, I received the news that my oldest son had broken his leg. Normally, this kind of news is not big enough to send my world into a tumble. I have four kids, odds are one of them will hurt themselves bad enough to seek medical care a few times a month. Today, though, it was the “straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Having struggled with depression, I have in place all the thought processes and coping mechanisms to help myself get out of the dumps. So, honestly? I’m just fine, really. I’m just…exhausted.

I’m tired of the division, the hatred, the endless drama that has become our “normal.” Every little change and every little disagreement gets blown out of proportion and it’s suddenly “the end of the world as we know it.” Guess what? Everyday our world is changing. Some bad, some good, but whether we are noticing or not, it’s changing. And furthermore, it will all be okay.

I’m not saying sit back and adopt a “Que Sera Sera” attitude. Though with some things, that is a healthy approach. I’m saying, If you see the need, Take the Lead!! If something is bothering you. Find a way to fight it or change it! And, NO!! Trolling people on Facebook and other social media sites will not change anything. Not really.

I’m saying write a letter to your governor, mayor, council person, pastor, dean, etc. Sign a petition. Join a group. Attend a town meeting. Get on the board at a local community group. Make a difference. Sitting around drowning in your own sorrows is not going to do you or anyone who feels the same any good. I’ll bet there are hundreds maybe even thousands who feel the same way you are feeling, but they’re too afraid to say anything. Or maybe they feel just as lonely in this as you do. Reach out! Not only to commiserate, but to encourage.

Anyway, thats my soap box tonight. Thanks for listening. You can go back to your scrolling now.

It’s not Personal, Its Business

A few weeks back I had a conversation with a friend about my oldest girl. She revealed she thought Capri was “very spoiled” for the first few years of her life; and that once we finally gave her a younger sibling she “started shaping up.” I would be lying if I said her statements did not make me want to respond with a dig of my own at one of her children. I am proud of myself, however, that I responded with a simple “she has always been a bit of a drama queen, but I wouldn’t call it spoiled necessarily.” The conversation turned to other things and eventually the night ended. Here I am, though, still thinking about her comments and taking it personally.

Want to know a secret? Your child’s behavior is not always a reflection on you. I am going to go a little deeper and say, Other people’s perception of your child’s behavior is not a reflection on you, either.

How personally do you take your child’s behavior? Do you feel like how they act in public and at home is a reflection of you parenting?

Let me switch it around for a second. When you see a toddler throwing a fit in the grocery store do you instantly assume that parent is a bad parent? I can honestly say my first assumption is never against the parent. Often my first reaction is one of “I’m so glad my kids are behaving right now.”

Being a mom now for over 8 years I have found you can do everything “perfectly” (if there is such a thing) and your child will still misbehave. All too often they misbehave in a very public setting.

The truth? Our children are human beings. I know, shocking, isn’t it? In all seriousness, though, all human beings have free will. What comes alongside of free will, is a choice of how to react to the pressures and circumstances around them. You can be disciplining and parenting with consistency and love, but they can still choose to react with disrespect and stubbornness. Want to know what a good parent does when their child reacts with disobedience? A good parent keeps parenting with love, firmness, and consistency. A good parent realizes they cannot control their child’s reaction, but they can control their own reaction to that child’s action.

So the next time someone makes a comment, snide or otherwise, about your child and their behavior, remember this: It’s not personal, it’s business. As in, NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!!

How Are You Coping?

Since recent events have given us all a little more free time (some of us more than we know what to do with, obviously) I thought I’d take this time to get back into some good habits.

How are you doing? Are you realizing how nice it is to be without all those little things that used to be such a big deal? Or are you losing your mind without them? Have you found ways to cope that you’d like to share? Leave a comment with your story.

As a Stay-At-Home Mom who homeschools, my day-to-day life has not been changed much. Grocery shopping has a little more of a challenge to it these days, but even that is only once a week or longer if I can manage. My kids barely know anything different is happening in the world, except for when I give them the Reader’s Digest version when they ask why yet another play date has been cancelled.

It has taken a mental and emotional toll, however, being told to think this or think that. Being told to stay home, or that the government doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The constant barrage that social media presents of people expressing their views, and arguing their point of view. Which they have every right to do, by the way. It can get overwhelming, confusing, anxiety inducing, and just downright exhausting. And I’m just on Facebook. I don’t have people Tweeting, DM’ing, SnapChatting, and whatever else there is out there!! Lol Yes, I know how old that makes me sound.

No matter what your views on what is going on right now, there is one thing we all have in common. We care about each other, we care about our families, we want everything to be all right once again.

Take this chance to really love on your kids. Spend time snuggling with your significant other on the couch. Learn to cook, sing, play guitar, another language. Read the books!! Little bit of advice, if you’re not normally home all day every day with your kids. Establish a routine and enforce it. Some normalcy and predictability will help them tremendously.

Right now my children are in the other room watching Frozen II. So forgive me, but it seemed to go along with what I’m saying here. “When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again? Then I’ll make the choice, To hear that voice, And do the next right thing.”

My highest calling

I just read an article about motherhood, and it was long and full of good things but after I read one sentence I couldn’t focus on anything else. I simply had to write it down and my follow up thoughts.

“Motherhood is a picture of the gospel because it is laying down ones life for others.”

Wow!! I don’t believe I’ve ever thought of it that way, have you?

True motherhood is a sacrifice, true. It’s also extremely rewarding! Being a stay at home mom can feel monotonous, but it’s a tremendous privilege! Pouring all you have out for small-minded, selfish beings that won’t fully grasp what you’ve done for them until a long ways down the road can sure feel like it’s just not worth it. Questions of “when do I get to take care of me?” float through your head from time to time.

For the past 6 or more months I’ve struggled trying to find time for the things that help fill my cup. I’ve made out multiple pretend schedules that make time for housework, helping my husband run our business, school with the kids, working out, and hobbies, but have I been able to implement any of them? Big Fat No!!

I’m not the most consistent person, and maybe I’m not being very realistic with my time. Maybe my workout video says it’s only going to be 30 minutes long but when I’m interrupted by three sibling squabbles, the dog needing to go out to pee, and 2 calls from my husband or front desk person about insurance or billing paperwork it looks more like 90 minutes.

Also I sit down to relax and watch one show on Netflix, Hulu or whatever and end up wasting three hours there.

My only redeeming thought at the end of the day is talking with my children and hearing the amazing people they’re turning into. Are they perfect? No! But are they confident in who they are and that Jesus loves them? Yes! That’s a win for me. That’s my highest calling!

What’s on your plate?

What’s on your plate? No, I do not mean your literal plate, this is not a diet article. Maybe one day, I’ll write down my thoughts on dieting, whether it be fad or lifestyle. Today, I want to ask you about what you spend your time on?

I haven’t written for a while (Maybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t, no matter). The reason being I ladled a huge helping of something onto my plate and it literally pushed things like blogs, hobbies, exercising, and free time off the edge.

In May of this year (2019) my husband and I decided to buy a local business. Technically, we decided to start looking into it and researching around February 2018, but the final papers were signed and the decision final on May 6th, 2019. I knew our lives were going to change, and I braced for it. I figured money would be tight and Reed would be more stressed when not at work, but nothing could have prepared me for the craziness that was about to ensue.

To be fair, there were other complications around the same time that led to us losing our church family, so the earth shattering stress and anxiety that hit about a month in was not all due to owning a new business. We found out that a lot of problems were lying under the surface, and it would have been much simpler to do a startup, then to take over a full grown business with a very poor reputation and crazy amounts of drama.

The beginning of July was the low point (which was obviously the turning point as well, if you’ve ever had experience with low points). We had a very full schedule and no employees. So me being the supportive partner I am, I offered to haul the kids to the shop and help run things. I figured it would be a couple of weeks of crazy stress, he would hire a couple of guys, then the kids and I would come back home and pick up normal life again. Boy, was I wrong!!

Months passed. We worked our way through three babysitters. (Because, surprise, trying to run a business with four kids under foot is not possible. For me anyhow.) My perspective on “normal” forever shifted.

I have always admired working moms. Marveled at their passion, tenacity, and what I assumed was copious amounts of energy. It was absolutely the hardest few months of my life! I was working 40+ hours starting a business beside my husband and coming home to clean and cook and homeschool and strive to make the kids feel as if nothing had changed. That plate I mentioned?? Was more like a waiter’s tray full of plates with me struggling to balance it and also make sure all the loaded plates didn’t bump each other.

Friends were worried and wondered when the madness would end. In the midst of it though, I struggled with what I truly wanted. I knew I didn’t want things to stay the same, but I also did not want to go back to the way things were. I loved being a huge part of the business! I got a thrill every time someone asked, “Oh are you the owner?” and I could legitimately say, “Yes.”

I understood the drive and the passion of a working mom, and didn’t know if I could go back to not being involved in the day to day of this baby business I had now poured sweat into.

So what’s happening now? Now, I work mostly from home, keeping books, billing and invoicing and paying taxes. Tracking the expenses and income and running the social media platforms. Have I found a way to balance that waiter’s tray of a plate? Not 100%. But most days I get to have the best of both the business world and the mom world! Also, I’m starting to work my hobbies back into a normal routine, though it’s a slow process.