Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mom, Women of Faith 3-9

Welcome back to "Mom: Woman of Faith".  Each Saturday a group of moms respond to a question essential to our lives as Christians and Mothers.  It is our hope that this series will spark reflection and growth for all those involved.  Please feel free to add your thoughts here or on facebook.  Thanks for being here, and for sharing in our journey as Christians and mothers.  We are always looking for more contributors!  Email nancy if interested.

This week's Question:
What is your biggest challenge as a mother? How do you deal with it?

I actually find the vocation of motherhood to be totally unchallenging...  Ok.  That's a lie.

Without a doubt, entering motherhood has been the most challenging (and ultimately fruitful) transformations of my life.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE being a mom, but there are still parts of motherhood that challenge me to the core.  Since I was nearly 30 before I became a mother, I am most challenged by how motherhood demands such deep self sacrifice.

I would like to think that sacrificing for my children would be easy--and it is sometimes.  I don't mind getting up at night or missing a social event because they are ill.  But, it when I have to sacrifice parts of my identity or when I am reminded that my life is no longer my own that I am really challenged. 

When I became a mother I was lucky enough to quit working and stay home.  I love being home with my kids, but I didn't realize how much of my identity was wrapped up in my occupation.  I also didn't realize how selfish I was.  Even with prayer, I was selfish.  I wanted to pray in this way at this time and I wanted it to be silent.  The challenge comes in not only giving freely of myself for my children, but also at the same time taking care of myself.  I still needed an identity and I certainly still need a prayer life!

The only "solution" I have come up with for this challenge is to bring it to the Lord.  When I am feeling lost or emptied I am in a perfect place to humbly approach the Lord.  I strive to make the little moments of motherhood my time for prayer--cooking, cleaning, nursing, rocking.

I thought this would be an easy question to answer because I had an answer in mind immediately. Then, over time, I realized that I actually had a different answer every single day. I finally sat down at the 11th hour to get at the root… and once again, found the answer relatively easy.

My biggest challenge as a mother is my own weakness. My own limitations. My failures. Period. I wake in the morning and in they rush before my feet have hit the floor. I struggle through my morning prayers, trip over the shoes I left in the middle of the floor, and head off to change the sheets of the little one I forgot to take to the bathroom before bed. I go to bed at night with my failures playing like a permanently unfinished to-do list on a mental film reel.

I could list some big challenges outside of myself. Like teenage eye-rolling, household management, discipline, meal planning, sibling relationships… but what it really comes down to is whether or not I have the humility to fail and fail and fail again at managing those little and big things, and then get up again out of love for God and family.

When I fail to trust the in the Lord’s abundant grace and mercy, I tend to wallow in the muck and mire of the frayed details. In those rare moments when I have my heart in the right place, my head follows… and I see God standing in the gap, gazing at me and my failures with patience and affection. He is Mercy. And I rest in that confidence every moment of my motherhood.

My biggest challenge as a mother is to be at peace with the loss of control that inevitably comes with welcoming dependent children into your life.  I’m not a type-A control freak or anything, but I do historically like to call the shots in life, to have my time be my own to squander or to spend wisely.  Mothering provides me with the opportunity (being positive here!) to embrace the chaos and take one day at a time.

My husband and I have a 2 year-7month old boy and an 11 month old girl. They’re so sweet, loving, and generally very delighted with life.  But when the house is filthy—like literally needs to be scrubbed top to bottom, I have no plans for dinner beyond breakfast food, the baby is teething and needs to be held, the big boy is whining and needs to be held, I haven’t showered in a few days or more, and my day is consumed with everyone else’s needs but my own—I feel pressed beyond my limits!  I want to crawl into the laundry basket with a bar of my favorite locally made chocolate with my IPhone and surf the web and social media!  In lieu of doing that (too much laundry in the basket!), I call any one of my sisters to complain.  

The better way to handle this challenge would be to capitulate to the dirty house, intense and somehow simultaneous physical needs of children, and breakfast food for dinner.  Change my attitude and embrace that this is where I am in life: a shadow of my former all-under-control lawyerly self, but a much more complete person!  Shower when the kids are asleep and try again the next day to have a better approach to the mundane daily tasks of housekeeping and cooking.  Plan ahead better.  Get out of my PJs/yoga pants and approach the day like a complex case: one in need of preparation and mental fortitude.  Pick a priority, be it cleaning the bathrooms or kneading the bread dough, and tackle it during nap time.  And know that this time will pass so quickly and my challenges will only grow as my children do.  Small children, small problems—big children, well, you can guess it!

I would say there are many challenge I face as a mother. Finding time for myself, balancing being a wife, mom, and homemaker. There is only so much time in the day and I want to be there for my kids and my husband and keep the house clean. I often feel overwhelmed at all the tasks I need to do. Recently I downloaded a daily & weekly "chore" chart and meal planning pages to put into a folder. It helps me keep track of things I need to do during the day & week and have meals planned ahead of time. I went to and downloaded an Ebook there, but you can also go on Pinterest for awesome menu planning and daily to-do Printables.
With my folder and my lists, I'm not coming to the end of my day and wishing I would have done more, when I already did the things I needed to do for that day. Finding some time to myself really helps me to. My husband is really great about watching the kids in the evening and on weekends, so if I need to run out to Target or a thrift store to get my mommy alone time, he is there to watch the kiddos.  I also try to find time to get together with friends without the kids. Even just grabbing a cup of coffee or getting a bite to eat is refreshing. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I feel so much better.  Being a mom is definitely a balancing act, and it's very rewarding and it's also very tiring too. But I'm working on finding the right balance that works well for our family, and my sanity.


And now it's your turn.  Tell us your thoughts, or comment on what we've shared. 

For next week's question click here.

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