Sweet Mama, You’re Doing Great!

sweet mama

Hey there sweet mama.

I saw you today.  From afar.  You were in the cereal aisle.  You had your hands full, so don’t feel bad that you didn’t notice me watching.  It’s hard to focus on anything when you have one child attempting a cart escape to gather as many sugar-laden boxes of artificially colored wonder as little hands can carry while another insists on yelling about Pop-Tarts and potties while poking the baby in the eyes causing her to scream.  Honestly, it was hard not to watch.  But as I say that, it sounds a bit creepy.  I wasn’t watching-watching you in a stalker kind of way.  Or in a “i’d like to kidnap those kids” way {let’s be honest, there was a lot of noise to consider that}.  I was just observing your life’s chaos with a warm-fuzzy of remembrance.  Because you see, sweet mama, I was once you.

I too once stood in the cereal aisle with 3 littles under 5.  Trying to wrangle them in.  Keep them contained.  Not lose my mind.  I was exhausted and irritated.  I wondered if I was doing this right.  I agonized about each parenting decision.  I worried I was messing them all up forever.  Even from afar I could see in your very tired & annoyed eyes the tinge of motherhood anxiety.  So let me be the first to tell you “You’re Doing An Amazing Job!”

I realize that you don’t believe me.  You see the FaceBook posts and Instagram photos and the Tweets and the Pinterest Boards that scream at you “You’re not doing enough!” and “You could do more!”  But  believing me.  You are doing a perfectly wonderful & shut up job!!  There is absolutely nothing easy about motherhood in these early years.  Or in any years, I’m learning.  Oh, yes, there are many blessings & wonderful moments, hugs and kisses and snuggles and firsts.  But easy?  No.  It’s sleepless nights and feeding schedules and separation anxiety and temper tantrums and general loudness and snotty noses and ear infections and potty training and pacifier removal and sibling squabbling and smelly, moldy sippy cups rolling out from under the seats in your mini van {you’re rocking the MV by the way!}.  And then throw in there the rest of your life – your hubby and work and friends and moving and bills and commitments.  Oh,  and don’t forget not to lose you.  This is all hard! Very hard!  But you’re doing great!

The thing is, no one really knows what they’re doing.  No one! Some will pretend they do or, maybe even more dangerously, will think they do. You’ll be tempted to compare and measure up.  But listen to me, sweet mama, we are all flying by the seat of our pants here on a wish and a prayer that we don’t totally screw up this enormous responsibility called motherhood. In the end we’re all just hoping that at our funerals the kids proclaim us to have been a “good mom”.

Well, mama friend {can I call you that now?} I’m here to tell you before your funeral, you are a good mom.  A great mom in fact.  You see, contrary to what you might have thought, great moms aren’t built on what they dress their littles in.  It’s not determined by where your littles sleep or how well their sleep routine is set.  It has nothing to do with the laundry detergent you buy or the cleaning products you use.  Being a good mom isn’t about organic, non-GMO foods filling your pantry or home cooked meals three times a day.  Motherhood success is not built on vacations or family game nights or birthday parties or Instagram-worthy, FixerUpper houses or playdates or how well you avoid the drive-thru.  You are not a great mom because your life is put together neatly and the children fit in like a perfectly photoshopped portrait.  You are a great mom because you are the mom that God chose to raise those little, loud, always-moving, constantly-touching, often messy, amazing, perfectly-created for Him babies of yours.  Whether they grew in your womb or someone else’s, you were handpicked to be their mom.  They only get one.  And God picked you because He knew the fit would be perfect.  So if you’re seeking Him & following His Word, you are doing the job He asked you to do very well.  Everything else is a decision.  Everything else is simply how you & your family prioritize life.  And priorities vary as much as there are families.  No one way is right and no one way is wrong.  And what you chose isn’t going to make or break you as a “good mom”.  Because, my friend, you are already a good mom.

Are you going to mess this motherhood thing up?  Heck yes!!  If you’ve decided successful motherhood is based on your perfection in mothering, you’d best lower that bar, mama, and do some rethinking.  You are going to make mistakes.  Little ones & huge ones.  After all, you’re human.  Remember?  No SuperMoms with super powers of perfection here.  Not one.  We are all human.  So take time to look to Him, the one who assigned you to these littles, ask Him to help, follow His guidance, get in His Word and use it.  Every mistake made, He can redeem.  Every single one.  And HE WILL!

And find some true, human mamas to CHEER YOU ON!  This world is full-to-the-brim with critiquers.  We are not in a competition here, sweet mama.  Motherhood is not some sport that someone will finish as a winner.  And someone will be a loser.  We are all on the same team!  So get with those who will cheer more than compete and be a cheerer for other mamas you know.  Encouragement and love win!  Every time.  Get to cheering & be cheered for.

I know, sweet mama friend, you didn’t ask for any of this.  You were just trying to get some food in that cart so you could get home and hope to high heaven that all three of those littles took a nap at the same exact time.  But I couldn’t help but remind you that you are AWESOME!  Those kids of yours, beautiful in their mismatched socks and tutu with cowgirl boots ways think the world of you!  You are doing such a great job.  A really great job.  Remember that.  And pass it along to another sweet mama you know.  CHEER ON!

 

MotY award lost

It all started at the crack of dawn.  I headed down into my office to spend some quality time with God. I grabbed my coffee, added enough junk to make it hardly taste like coffee and sat down at my desk.   And as often happens {don’t you dare judge the rest of this sentence}, that darn laptop jumped out at me & sat itself right down on top of my Bible & whispered, “just a quick check of email never hurt anyone.”  And without hardly any persuasion {just call me Eve} I logged in.  ‘Just for a minute though, then I’ll get right back into quality time with the Word.’

For-The-Love-Of-All-Things!

There in my inbox sat 31 {I kid you not here friends, 31!} emails from our fast internet provider.  This is never, never, never, ever good!

Back up with me a moment…We live out of town.  Not significantly out of town, like miles and miles away, but we are out of town on some acreage.  And while acreage is great {read hardly any neighbors looking in my windows &sending children over to eat my food} internet is bad.  Very bad.  The only option we had was one little notch up from dial up.  True.  And with teen and tweens, one notch up from dial up is a sad state to live in.  {First world troubles, absolutely}

A few months back my hubs discovered another option for us.  Since I have no vocabulary to tell you exactly what the heck this option is, I will just say that there is a cool cylinder that is now attached to the outside of our home & a new router in the utility room & internet that is lightening speed fast {for those of us with the password, aka me & the hubs}.  No kids allowed! We tell the kids that our new internet for adults only results in their internet speed being faster too because the hubs & I are not stealing all their broadband & for now, they believe us.  And it might be true, so I’m certain I’m not lying about anything. {stop your judging!}  The only catch to this glorious internet option is the usage restriction.  We get a certain amount of gigs per month for one low {hardly!} price.  Then if we go over our amount they tack on the usage fees at speeds comparable to their internet speeds.  But we never have we gone over our allotment.  Until…

Back to the 31 emails sitting in my inbox.  Never you mind that I should have been talking with Jesus.  I was staring at 31 separate “you have gone over your usage” & “you have gone over the extra 1 Gig allocation” !!  Thirty one of them.  Thirty one!!!  At $10 per gig…I was ready to throw up.

Certain the information had to be in error, I got everyone ready and off to their days at school, figuring a quick call to the provider would resolve everything.

Hardly.  After hours with their support folks, the conclusion was, as a customer I am responsible for all usage & I should be monitoring it to ensure that unwanted overages do not occur.  It was also strongly suggested that it may be a wayward teen in the house who has circumvented the password to access faster speeds for gaming & the like.  Hmmmmmm, I do have a teen who enjoys gaming & complains quite regularly about the internet speed with which he connects… could it be?

And…this is where I clearly lose the nomination for Mother of the Year.

At the suggestion of a complete stranger on the other end of the phone line, I run with one conclusion in mind: my sweet ginger boy is responsible for the $350 overage on our internet.  Although he adamantly denies the allegations against him {via text} the next hours {honestly, the entire day} was filled with my attempts to gain enough evidence to put him away for a very long, long time!

This, of course, required a message to my big brother & self-proclaimed computer geek.  He navigated his completely uneducated-in-anything-tech sister through the ins & outs of it all.  I was looking into the “advanced settings” in our router – which is normally only reserved for Mountain Dew drinking men at odd hours of the night.  But I was there, not comprehending anything before me on the screen, but certain it held the keys I needed.  My big bro was patient with every stupid question {and they were ALL stupid questions}.  I sent him so many pictures of my computer screen, it was as if he wasn’t 1800 miles away but sitting right there in my kitchen with me!  He wasn’t as convinced as I that my sweet ginger boy was guilty, but he played along nicely with his clearly insane little sister.

When my sweet ginger boy arrived home from a long day at high school, he was quickly put under my interrogation light & drilled with questions.  Although I knew nothing about the information on the screen in front of me, I pretended I knew & mentioned that I was working with his Uncle to get to the bottom of it all.  He knew his Uncle knew stuff & this might be enough to crack him open.  But he was stone-faced, not willing to budge on his stand that he was an innocent man-child.  I saw this was going to be tough.  He was determined to not admit to anything.  But, I could see his cracks, I knew his lies.  This momma would win in the end. {insert evil, crazy laugh}

Another quick screen shot to my big brother was all it would take.  He requested a picture of a specific advanced setting screen & I delivered promptly, knowing this would be the end.  And it was.  Unfortunately {or fortunately depending on whether you’re cheering for the crazy momma or the sweet ginger hair boy} it was not the answer I had been certain of, the one that would prove my sweet ginger boy was a liar & and an internet stealing thief!  Instead it proved that my husband had made a critical error in the Apple TV settings over the weekend.  Silence.

‘And the nomination goes to anyone except the crazy lady trying to put her son away for crimes he never committed.’

I’ll avoid getting all techie on you, mostly because I haven’t a clue what happened or how or even how my big brother knew, but it was all traced to that little black Apple tv box in the cabinet under the TV.  Which my son had absolutely nothing to do with.

I didn’t take long for me to tuck my tail between  my legs & run over to give my sweet ginger haired boy a big hug and tell him I was sorry that I was accusing him of lying and stealing and being an awful child.  He was gracious and said he knew all along that Uncle J would figure it all out because Uncle J is way smarter than I am with computer things & I’d have to eat my words.  Good kid, I have there, my sweet ginger boy. Now to mortgage the house so we can pay the internet bill this month.  Just kidding.  But seriously painful throwing cash away.  Painful.