Me vs. God

Me versus

God:  Hey Barb, so I know you love staying home, but I’m going to ask you to step out of that for a while.

Me:  Um, I think no.  But thanks anyway!

God:  Hey, so…. actually yes.  But don’t worry, I’m gonna help you be okay with it.

**Husband: Hey Barb, I’ve been praying about this a lot and I think maybe we need you to apply for some jobs outside of the house.  Not forever, but for a little while.**

Me:  Um, yeah…. So still no.  But I get that I need to do something else so we don’t fall into a financial hole.  So look at all of these cool things I’m looking into that I can do WHILE STAYING HOME!  Isn’t it great!  Yay for a compromise!

God:  Mmhm… yeah… I see where you are coming from.  Unfortunately, ya know-being God, I don’t compromise because I really DO have a great plan that I would LOVE for you to be a part of.

Me:  Lord, you can’t really mean it.  I was supposed to stay home this time.  I’m supposed to be able to spend all of my days with my baby this time.  We’ve finally found a routine that works for us, a group of mom friends who are becoming my “people”, and life is starting to feel somewhat comfortable.  You can’t really mean that you want to take me away from all of this?  Away from my kids?

God:  Barb, that’s not what I mean.  I’ve given you this year at home to build your community, your confidence, your understanding of Me… all so that when I ask you to do this difficult thing that you will be prepared, you will be ready to do the work I need you to do, that I created you to do.

Me:  Okay.  I get it.  Lord, I’m going to apply for some jobs.  Mostly because I want to prove you wrong because nobody is going to call me back.  Look at these part-time jobs I can do when Eric gets home from work… best of both worlds!  Stay home during the day and work in the evenings :).  Ooo Ooo, and look at these online teaching positions!!  I can do them FROM HOME!!  Okay, okay… I get that you also think it might be a good idea to apply to some good ole full-time teaching jobs.  Fine.  I put in 3 applications.  They aren’t going to call me back.  So yeah.

God:  Kiddo, I love you.  I love that you are STILL trying to compromise with me.   I promise I will help your heart feel better about this.  You know that verse… “I work for the good of those who love Me, who have been called according to my purpose.”  It doesn’t mean that I’m going to give you whatever you want.  It means that I have a purpose for your life and when you love Me, I help you understand that purpose better and WANT to be a part of it… even when it’s difficult.

Me:  Dear Lord Jesus, Father I would really really like to stay home, but I kinda also know that what you have planned is usually better.  Please close all of the doors you don’t want me to go through.  Don’t let me get a job where you don’t want me.  (IE… if you could please get me a part-time or work from home job, that would be ideal, thanks!)  I promise to be obedient to where you call me.  But you’re gonna have to help me be okay with whatever and where ever that is.

God:  Yes!  I promise this is a good thing.  I’m going to even show you how good before you even start working… but first…. let’s close those doors…

*Online Teaching Jobs:  No Responses.  Sylvan:  Too slow to respond, not enough hours.  Part-Time Random Jobs:  Didn’t want me.  Part-Time Teaching Job:  No Response.

*Applied for full-time teaching position:  Called the next day for an interview.

Me:  Crap.  I got an interview.  Lord, you can’t really mean that I’m going back to full-time teaching, right?  right?!?

God:  It’s going to be okay.  I’m here.

Me:  Lord…. They offered me the job… I have to let them know tomorrow if I’m taking it.  I thought I sabotaged my chances during the interview when I told them I was really only returning because I needed the paycheck and I was hoping to find a part-time job instead.  Apparently they are cool with that :(.

God:  Yeah… so… when I’m working toward something, little statements like that don’t really get in the way… But nice try!  And woohooo!!  You got the job!!  Barb, this is gonna be so good.  For real for real.  Trust me.

Me:  *Dragging feet*.  Lord, you closed all other doors.  I want to make you “Lord” of my life and actually obey what you call me to.  Clearly, this is where you want me to be.  *Deep Breath*  Here we go.

God:  “Do not be afraid, for I AM WITH YOU.  Do not be dismayed, for I AM YOUR GOD.  I will STRENGTHEN you and HELP you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Me:  mmhm.

God:  “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for, and assurance of what WE DO NOT SEE.”

God:  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Me:  Lord, my life is not my own.  I’m not the only person ever to have to leave my babies to go to work.  Help me to be a testimony of your goodness and faithfulness.  Increase my faith.  Help me to run this race well.

God:  “I will be with you always.”  You aren’t alone Barb.  This year is going to be so good for you and those you don’t even know yet.  I have a plan.

Me:  Right, so when you say “year”… you mean this is only for this year, right?  Then I can come back home?… right?  Lord?

God:  Trust me.

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Dear Mom, Love Toddler

Dear Mom,

GOOOOD MORRRNNNING!!  Oh, btw, I hate mornings now.  And it’s all your fault so I’m going to be spending the first 20 minutes of the day screaming at you.

Now feed me.  I’d like a banana this morning.  ALL DONE BANANA!  How dare you give me a banana?!  I clearly did not want that.  You must not love me.

I want milk please.  See how kind I was and said please?  Oh wait, this is the wrong cup, I wanted it in the blue cup!  The only way to express my displeasure in this is to throw the cup across the room, splurting milk everywhere as it goes.

You look tired this morning.  I’ll help you make your coffee!!  I’ll push the button!  I know your back hurts, but if you could please lift me to the counter so that I can press the button you already pressed to make the coffee start even though it’s already going.  Yay!!

I want to go potty. … oh wait, you thought when I said that I wanted to go in the actual potty.  Oh no, sweet mom.  I want to sit on the potty and play with the toilet paper and flush handle for 20 minutes, and then poop in my diaper.

So I know you said that because the baby is sleeping we should be quiet, but I had a better idea.  I woke up the baby!!  Now he’s crying hysterically because he wasn’t ready to be awake, BUT we can be as loud as we want!  Isn’t it great!  …. You might want to go take care of him, he seems mad.

Time to go out!!  I want to wear my batman shoes.  And ONLY my batman shoes.  You’ll have to find them or we can’t go anywhere.  BTW, I hid them.

I’m almost ready to get in the car, but I need to find all my buddies first.  Mickey, Second Mickey, Olaf, Sven, Big Bert, My Sock, Tonka Truck, Moose, Your Hair Brush.  What do you mean I can only bring one?!  Fine… I’ll bring Teddy Bear…. but I have to find him first.

Okay, now I’m ready!  Wait… you mean we have to get in the car?!  Well, I’m only do that if you let me drive.  I WANNA DRIIVVEE.  Since you value my safety above my wants, I’m going to make putting me in the car seat a full cardio workout for you today.  You’ve been looking a little squishy lately anyway.  You’re welcome.

Oh hey, Daddy’s home!!  I’m going to go take a 3 hour nap now, at the same exact time as my brother, without any argument.

Love you lots!

Your Toddler.

Dear Mom

Day (and Night) In the Life… Of a Really Tired Mama

11pm:  Because let’s be real, at this point in life I’m not really sure where one day ends and another begins.  So let’s start with the hour after I fall asleep that baby wakes up and is hungry again… after eating just two hours ago.

12:30am:  Okay, tonight’s the night.  He’s going to sleep in his own “bed” all night.  I’m not going to fall asleep while feeding him and end up letting him sleep in the bed with me.  *Feed baby* *put baby down in rockn’play* *attempt to go back to sleep*

1:15am: Screw this, bring the kid into bed with me while feeding him.  Attempt to get comfortable.  Sort-of fall asleep.

3:30am: Totally not fair that husband doesn’t have necessary equipment to feed the baby.  Get baby back to eating (because he’s hungry AGAIN! … anyone still wondering why I have a 16lb 3 month old?).  Pull blanket off of husband just because I can.

5:30am: Maybe I should just make this time the official wake-up of the day.  Who am I kidding?  Feed baby, lightly fall back to sleep.

7am: Feed the baby… again… decide it really is time to start the day.  Baby decides to go back to sleep… sleeps for 2 hours (because of course he does).  I go down to make coffee and write about my life on the blog for the world to see.

7:10am: Toddler wakes up.  Of course.  Feed toddler, feed dog, finish making coffee

9:30am: Maybe we should go out for the day?  Oh goodness, the baby needs to eat again and the toddler just poured the dog’s water bowl all over his toy bin.  Oh, what’s that?  His milk from this morning wasn’t actually consumed but instead dumped on the rug?  Ants are starting to colonize…

10am: GET OUT OF THE HOUSE NOW!  Barnes and Nobel is open… off to coffee and trains (maybe invite a friend so we can count this as a ‘play date’)

12pm: Home for lunch.  Convince toddler that he doesn’t really want a mayonaise, italian dressing, lime juice, pb, and j sandwich.  Just pb and j.  And blueberries?  Okay fine, goldfish, but I’m putting the blueberries on the plate!  Watch episodes of WhatsUpMoms on youtube during lunch.  Toddler likes to say “hi guys!” with them.  Feed baby while toddler eats.  Maybe down another cup of coffee and eat remnants of Toddler’s lunch.

12:30pm:  NAPTIME!!  Try to get toddler to sleep in his toddler bed.  Give him water, pacifiers, sing a song, pray, get books, get stuffed animals (Olaf, Mickey, Other Mickey, Sven, Teddy Bear, Big Bert).  Go back and forth for an hour because he won’t stay in bed.

1:30pm: Give up on the toddler bed, this kid just HAS to sleep.  Move him to the crib.  He sleeps blissfully for the next 2.5 hours.

1:45pm:  Start getting the coffee jitters from too much coffee and not enough real food.  Eat a granola bar and … oh yeah, I’m supposed to drink water instead of coffee… drink a glass of water (or half of one at least).

2pm: Feed the baby, try to convince him that he would like a nap as well.  End up falling asleep next to the baby while feeding him.

3:30pm:  Toddler is awake! … and unhappy about that.  Walk into his room, yup he definitely pooped.  Clean him up, spray fabreeze.  Baby wants to be awake now, but toddler wants me to carry him downstairs… go get baby.  Carefully carry them both down the stairs and think about how dangerous this is and what would happen if I fell.  Snack time, play outside, more coffee… I mean water.

4pm:  Husband gets off work but isn’t home yet… start counting down the minutes.

4:15pm:  Husband gets home.  He asks what I have planned for dinner.  Oh crap, you mean you want dinner EVERY night of the week?  Pancakes it is! (with coffee…)

4:30-5:30pm: Family time… ie laundry and kitchen cleaning time while Husband watches the boys…. except that the baby will probably want to eat halfway through this.  TV time.

5:30pm:  Fight with the toddler about dinner.  Pancakes were his favorite food last week, so of course they are the equivalent of brussel sprouts today.  Attempt an adult conversation during dinner.

6:30pm: Bath time for the boys!  This part is fun 😀

7pm: BED TIME FOR THE TODDDLER!!!!  Husband puts him down, so of course there is no argument about sleeping in his toddler bed.  Feed the baby, watch tv with husband.

8pm-10ish:  On and off feed the baby, hoping that eventually he will fall asleep.  Put lavender in the diffuser in hopes that he might sleep tonight.

10pmish: Baby falls asleep in his rock-n-play.  Tonight’s the night!  Go to sleep with hopes of not waking up until after 3am!….

11:30pm:  First feeding of the night.

I'm smiling because you think I'm going to sleepfor several hours.... and I'm going to wake up in 5 minutes!

 

 

Unintentional is not Excusable

I’m white.

I grew up in a white family… white  culture.

Most of my friends growing up and now are white.

My husband is white.

I went to and go to a predominately white church.

I am telling you all this so that you understand my perspective.  I am absolutely not racist, or so I thought.  I have come to realize, unfortunately, my gut instincts and reactions are.

This week I was driving around a neighborhood I’m not familiar with.  This isn’t all that out of the ordinary, as I’m still adjusting to a new city.  My husband was helping some friends move into their new house, and I had two screaming children in the back seat who wanted to go home… and so we drove around the neighborhood for 30 minutes.  While driving I thought about how impressive it was that these friends were moving into such a rough neighborhood.  A place I had been told was not a safe place to live with kids.  I did not see a white person during my drive.  But what I did see were families sitting on front porches and kids playing basketball at a community center.  Obviously SO DANGEROUS (please read that as sarcasm).

While circling the neighborhood I chatted with my friend to help pass the time.  We talked about everyday things, and then our conversation turned to the events of last week.  Many of our friends had posted on Facebook or other outlets to express their own thoughts, and she asked me if I felt the need to post something as well.  Here is (another instance) where my ignorance came into play.  I told her no, I didn’t think I had anything to say and didn’t want to post just for the sake of posting (which I think is still a good idea… if you don’t have anything to say, then don’t.)  I praised the posts of friends who are cops, in career ministry, and African American, feeling that their posts meant more because they are a part of the community the events have effected.  Clearly, as I am not in those groups, I am not really effected and therefore should stay quiet.  It’s not good to get involved with political matters anyway….

And then this week, God smacked me in the face.  This isn’t politics.  This is HUMANITY.  Everyone is responsible.  I’m not saying everyone needs to write a blog post or express their views on social media, but we are all responsible to help make a change.  God showed me how my gut instincts (rough neighborhood solely because of the skin color of those who live there?!) (it’s not my battle?!) create an “us” and “them” idea in my head that I didn’t really think existed.  It allowed me to view myself as better.  My gut instincts were racist, and even though I didn’t intend it… THAT’S NOT OKAY.  It’s inexcusable.  So my job now is to apologize for my stupidity, ask God to make a change in me, and get to work on helping to change our country.

So to apologize, I am sorry for ever believing that I was better than anyone else.  I am sorry for stereotyping.  I am sorry for excusing inaction with the thought that “this just isn’t my fight.”  I am sorry for ever thinking that the hashtag #alllivesmatter was an appropriate response to this horrible situation (this article from Relevant Magazine expresses so well why we need to stop using it.  Please go read it.)

As far as getting to work to help change, I have two little boys who will one day be white men.  I don’t want their gut reactions to be like mine were.  I want them to be able to celebrate differences and use their white, male privilege to advocate for the marginalized.  To not take advantage of, or ever for one moment believe they are entitled to feel superior to, anyone else.  I need to instill this in them.  I need to teach them and raise them in this way, and pray that God works in them to firmly plant this in their hearts.  (Another good article here about talking with our children)

And I need to get my own brain and heart in check.  I need to allow myself to be more understanding of the perspectives of others.  I need to begin to really love others, because that is all I am called by Christ to do: love others.

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

Survival Kit: Motherhood Edition

This morning, at 12:30 am, my almost-3-month-old decided the best birthday gift he could give me would be waking up to eat just as I had FINALLY turned my brain off and fallen asleep.  He continued to give this amazing gift every hour and a half throughout the night… ya know, just in case I forgot what my reason for living was (obvi it’s to take care of him every single hour of every single day 😉 ).

My toddler continued the theme this morning at 8:30 am by throwing the worlds biggest temper tantrum.  He asked for milk.  I pulled the cup down from the cabinet to give him milk.  He considered this a heinous crime against humanity.

Whether you are a mom who works in or out of your home, we all have this in common:  we struggle some days just to survive.  I don’t mean that we are in danger or death each and every day (although, sometimes with the lack of sleep it may seem that way 😉 ).  But we all have our moments, our breaking points, and maybe even those times when we can’t remember who we are outside of being a mom.  This list is for you mamas!  Let’s lift our cold mugs of stale coffee together and toast to survival!

  • Friends.  I’m not talking about the TV show here (although I’m pretty sure that could be considered an essential as well 😉 ).  We were never meant to live in isolation, but for some reason motherhood can become very isolating.  Find a group of women in your age range, at least some of them should be moms too, and check in with them regularly.  Have a play date, let your other parent  watch the kiddos and go grab coffee, join a bible study.  Whatever your group looks like, finding one is so important.  You need a chance to talk with other grown-ups and feel like an adult again.  To talk about your mom struggles and feel understood (because, let’s face it, dads are not always the best at understanding our mama struggles).
  • Caffeine.  Whether you drink coffee, eat espresso beans, down a 5 hour energy, add an IV of caffeine straight to your system, or add some fizz to your afternoon… this is an ESSENTIAL.  Being up all night with babies, or convincing toddlers to GO TO SLEEP is exhausting.  And then actually doing human-like activities during the day and expected to be a coherent and intelligent being… caffeine is the best way to “fake-it-till-ya-make-it”… and by make it I mean make it to bed finally.
  • Grace.  I’m sure you know by now, but you aren’t perfect.  There are days when you are going to yell, maybe say your favorite swear word more than once, and just overall won’t be the most pleasant person to share a room with.  We have ALL been there and will be there again.  Don’t beat yourself up when these days happen.  Learn from them and move on.  But also, remember that your kids are going to have these days too.  Give them some grace, just like you are given grace every day.  How will they ever understand the Father’s grace and love unless you show it to them first (in your own broken way of course.)
  • Alone Time.  Several times in my life I have been asked what my hobby is.  I never know what to say because “sleep” doesn’t really seem to be the answer they are looking for.  But being home this past year I have begun to understand the importance of having something just for me that I enjoy doing without anyone else.  A place to express myself and let all of the stressful things of the day fall away for a bit.  For me, this is blogging or reading (and on a VERY rare occasion, crafting… but it’s very rare and usually turns out that I’ve wasted money and materials on something that can never be displayed because people might go blind if they saw it.)  If you don’t have something already, find something that you enjoy that you can do to invest in yourself.  It might be painting, writing, crafting, decorating, baking, cooking, anything!  And you don’t have to be an expert at it, just do it!  (Although, if you choose baking or cooking it may be important, for the sake of those around you, if you are some-what skilled.)
  • Goldfish.  No matter what age your child is, these lovely fish-shaped crackers are wonderful little bites of salty heaven that create instant happiness as well as a built in edible toy to keep your child out of your hair for possibly 5 minutes (or more, depending on how quickly they consume these delicious bits of cheesy water-dwellers).  You may even get the chance to use the bathroom by yourself!  I do caution you though, bringing these to any body of water (lake, beach, etc..) will most likely end with your toddler wanting to release the fishies to their natural habitat… before catching them again and eating them soggy.

Being a mother is really awesome, really it truly is.  But when it comes down to the day-to-day and we are bombarded with the stresses of being a grown-up, occasionally it comes down to survival.  We can survive a bit better if we carve out some time to be ourselves and not have our identity completely founded in our children.  Maybe we can do even more than survive?

As a current stay at home mom who is making the transition back to working outside the home in just a month, I would LOVE to hear your advice and tips on how to survive the coming season.  Let me know in the comments, or share how I can help encourage you through whatever season you are walking through right now :).Some days survival is all about eating cookies for breakfast.