9 misunderstandings about motherhood (i wish someone told me this)

If you’re a struggling mama, a new mama, or a soon-to-be mama, a never-ending, or a super mama, hippie mama, corporate mama, stay-at-home mama, unschooling, homeschooling, public schooling, private schooling mama…this list may be for you.

1. Breastfeeding is beautiful and natural.  Okay, this ends up being mostly true, but it’s starts out blisters,  crying (mama from pain), and ends in biting and more crying- ’cause mom doesn’t want her baby to  grow up.  Somehow your child will live- even on formula *gasp*.

2. Stay-at-home moms don’t do much.  Excuse me?  They have time to do everything perfectly that working moms never can.  Being a SAHM is easier.  For me, I think my mind and emotions would rather I get a job.

3.  Motherhood comes naturally.  Disagree.  Selfishness comes naturally.  Motherhood is a life of service.

4.  It gets easier.  So far, no.  The change of physical demands and no sleep to bra shopping and  hormones- ’nuff said.  I have heard enough from mom’s with adult children to know that season has it’s struggles  as well.  Like I said- life time service.

5.  If you read a bunch of parenting books, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect and how to deal with  it.  Don’t worry the formula works for everyone…said no mother ever!

6.  You have to be able to juggle house, schedules, and bake cookies all the time.  Give yourselves a break.   We mamas can seldom muster up the will and motivation for for anything other than keeping the young  alive.  It’s okay.  If you’re a ball of energy, that’s awesome.  If you’re not, don’t fall into the trap of looking  around you.  Assume you’re friend’s Instagram picture of perfection was the only moment of peace that  day held, and she documented it.  Assume that all the Pinterest pins are looking more like the Pinterest  Fail blog.  Just love your babes and do lots of deep breathing and praying.  You’ll make it to the next  stage.

7.  Your friends are sweeter, more peaceful, and never complain about anything.  They have it all figured  out.  They are better than you.  Yeah right.  They are likely struggling just as much- maybe more.  Have  honest conversations and be a friend who understands.  We are all figuring things out as we go.  YOU”RE  NOT ALONE!  Surround yourself with godly women who you can relate to.

8.  If you don’t feed your child organic from scratch food, on a plate that’s BPA-Free in a chair you bought at the thrift store and painted with chemical-free paint, while strumming your guitar to a song you wrote especially for him– he’ll grow up hating you and thinking that you neglected him.  Give that kid some chicken McNuggets and let him play in the ball pit of death germs.  He’ll love you more.  Just kidding. Do what ever you want, but remember that he only wants you.  Not your food or your up-cycles.  Just your presence and love.

9.  If you’re a single mom you have failed.  You don’t see your kids enough and they will turn out horrible.  Don’t believe that for a second.  You can do it, and you will realize one day how amazing you are for raising a child with no help or relief from a spouse.  I think single moms are amazing!  God will get you through to your next season.

Moms!  You are important.  What you do everyday is doing something.  Every stage of motherhood you look back on and see the growth in your person, your relationship to the Lord.  Every stage is teaching us something.  Don’t believe lies.  You are a mother.  You are amazing.  You may not feel amazing, look amazing, or act amazing (mommy-ka-boom!), but if you love your children they will know.  

Sometimes a, “Mom, MOM, MOMMY!  I love you.” Is enough to remind us, right?

Do not grow weary in doing good.  The Lord provides the strength you need.  Just be the mom He wants you to be, not the one you think you should be.  

 

chore/allowance system that will blow your mind!!!

I’ve done my share of printing and laminating chore charts.  Some have worked better and longer than others.  All have failed at some point or another.  Nick and I decided we wanted to work on cleaning as a family instead of having everyone assigned different areas/tasks.  We came up with something that blew our own minds.  I’m so excited to share this with you!

First, a word on our chore philosophy.  We don’t require much.  We want them to learn to be responsible and accountable, but we are not slave-drivers AT ALL.  Secondly, we have never had set allowances.  Occasionally, we’ve paid various willing children to help us with big tasks- all voluntary.  We expect everyone to do something to help around here.  They are part of a family.  Families work together.

About allowance.  I’ve never liked the idea of trying to come up with a payment plan.  Who gets what?  When? How often? Seems like just more info I’ll forget or flake out on.  It also made me nervous about strife, competition and fighting among the kids.

Here’s what we came up with.  I’m still wondering how this idea came to our heads!  Thank you Jesus!

Click here for our PDF.  family contributions chart PDF  Follow this video link for the “normal” household chart.

how small children do chores

IMG_1304 IMG_1307The blurriness of these pictures drives me crazy.  That said, it couldn’t be helped.  Josie would not, for any reason, sit still.

The point is, children doing chores is messier and takes longer than you doing the same thing.  It must be done though.  We want them to clean up after themselves when they grow up right?  The only way to learn is to make a mess first.  I guess.  I do wish it weren’t this way, but alas, it is.  

This is Josie putting her bedroom trash into a bag.  Yeah.  Someone didn’t put a bag in before they filled it with trash.  That someone will go unnamed.  

It wasn’t an adult.

Raising young ones is tough on this recovering OCD mom.  I’m self diagnosed by the way.  Wed MD has saved me many trips to the doctor.    

Let go mamas.  By mamas, I mean one mama.  Me.

After all, Isn’t parenting about teaching?  If I do it, she learns nothing.  

If she does it, she learns that making a mess is fun not fun.  She will learn to be a productive member of the family.  Helpful, responsible, orderly are words she will live by.  At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

What are you letting go of?  

i gave in: homeschool mama confessions, part 2

First, if you haven’t read Part 1, please do so now.  If you have, welcome back and thanks for reading.

So, our summer wasn’t exactly fun.  It was very stressful.  I did what some may call “soul searching” after returning from a two-week stay up North.  I say this lightly, since I know very well my purpose in life.  Seek and serve Jesus.  I really meant, how am I going to turn this grief into good.  Out of this tragedy, what is God telling me?  What is He calling me to?

During the last 5.5 months, I have done so much growing.  I have gotten zealous for the right things, and the wrong things.  I started running to expel those swirling thoughts right out of my head, and to work off some grief.  I even ran my first 5K. I’ve signed up for college, and then dropped out.  My motivation for that was purely fear (what if Nick dies and leaves me destitute?).  I’ve gardened, pulling weeds is SO therapeutic.  I’ve knit, I’ve sewn, I’ve distracted myself, and I’ve faced myself.

The kids went to school.

I read at least 4 books.

I had my gallbladder removed.

While searching for my next book on my recovery bed, a title caught my eye.  Desparate: for the mom who needs to breath.  Okay, I’ll bite.  I’ve heard of this blogger before so I went for it.  I posted about my review of this book here.  That’s what God used to show me clearly, precisely what I was spending so much time and energy looking for.  The end of chapter three was a concrete wall.  I ran straight into it.  Whack!  God spoke to me, “You gave up.”

I really did.

The tears came.

Why was I searching everywhere for my new fresh purpose?  My children are my purpose.  I suppose I became discontent with that being all.  Can I just say right here, discontentment is very dangerous.  It drives people in such an oppostite direction, then where the Lord is leading.  I’m thankful that I listened when God called me back at this point.  Discontentment can go farther.  Much farther.  I’ve seen it myself, with people I love.

Discontentment drives people into depression, into adultress relationships, into a money-focused lifestyle.  It drives people to leave their family, into selfishness, into addiction, into separation with God.  Our hearts are the limit here, and they are a bottomless pit of SELF.

Jerimiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Please pray if you think this is taking root in your life.

For me, it drove me to send my kids away, and made my personal call to homeschool void.  I was driven to self-service.  I was looking out for number one.  You may or may not be called to homeschool, but I am.  I know I am.

After a month or so of praying and talking with Nick, we’re back to square one.  I have come full-circle on homeschooling.   I have given in to the Holy Spirit’s convictions.  This is the best possible being to give in to.  I have realized that I didn’t need to give up in the first place.  I needed to seek support for the hard times.

Titus 2:4  And so train the young women to love their husbands and children…

I needed some encouragement to persevere.  That’s all.  I hope you have someone in your life who speaks truth to you, who encourages you in your walk with Jesus. Someone who is honest in the difficulties that moms of young children face.

It’s not easy!

As humans, can we just admit our reality?  Our one picture of daily greatness on Facebook or Instagram, doesn’t happen every moment of our lives.  We aren’t picture perfect.  We aren’t perfect at all.  Our clean houses, happy husbands, and well-mannered children take LOTS of hard mundane work- everyday!

Can we also admit that our houses aren’t always clean, our husbands aren’t always happy, and our children can act down-right uncivilized too?

Thank you.  Doesn’t that feel better?

We don’t have it all together.  No one is a supermom!  Some are close, but everyone has struggles.  I have many.

We are all works in progress.  We need each other.  We’re meant to encourage each other.

So, the Garcia kids are finishing this last week of public school.  It will be a nice end, with parties and plays.  Then, in January, the real test comes.  Will I drink a full pot of coffee a day again, after weaning myself to 1-2 cups?  We shall see.

What are your mama struggles?  What do you need a fresh perspective on?  Why have you not read this above book yet?

Persevere friends.  You will be glad you did.  Be honest.  Be who God created you to be.  As a mom, person, dog, or whoever you amazing people who read this are.

Let the planning begin!

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cold weather reading

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Last Fall Nick finished reading the entire Chronicles of Narnia to the kids.  We immediately bought The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  Nick finished The Hobbit, and now they’re nearly done with the first book in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Family reading happens more often in the colder months, when gathering early in the evening by fire or candlelight ,is an unavoidable draw.  I am usually cleaning up the kitchen, while the younger three color or do puzzles, while they listen to the story.  The older two cuddle up next to Nick, and take turns reading the little poems and songs scattered throughout the tale.

Later I join in and keep the littles busy.  I can sneak in some Christmas knitting on most evening.

Yesterday, we started Avent reading using The Jesus Storybook Bible.  Each evening a story is read and discussed.  I printed out this schedule, but it’s just the first 24 stories starting December first.

What do you read to your children in these cozy cooler months?  Please leave a comment.  We just may get a lovely list of reads to work our way through.