Once you’ve had a chance to read these five Christian blog posts, let me know which one helped you the most. Also, take a moment to leave the author a comment to let them know that their words touched you.
Let’s build a community.
Until next time,
Check out this collection of “Mom Guilt” blog posts from across the web too.
It had been a horrible, rotten, no good, very bad week in our home, and this particular day was working out to be the worst one. I was almost positive motherhood wasn’t supposed to be this hard.
The kids had been at each other since they woke up, I was hugely pregnant with our youngest son, and someone decided to pee on their bedroom carpet…again.
The carpet that was less than three months old.
In the house we’d just bought.
My husband was still out of state at FLETC, and I was trying to balance everything, including my children’s socialization (because obviously, homeschoolers have to worry about socialization–but that is a soap box for another time).
I was a Momma on the edge, and no amount of chocolate was helping.
Prayer is Always the Answer
If at first you don’t succeed, try turning to God.
When the chocolate didn’t work, I did what I should always do first.
It’s possible I might have begged, actually.
Which is totally okay, because God loves us regardless of how much whining we do.
He’s amazing like that.
So, if at first you don’t succeed, try turning to God.
Things didn’t magically change overnight.
In fact things got harder before they got better, (and some days are still down right hard)and when that happens people often decide God isn’t listening or doesn’t care.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, God is closest to us during our struggles.
Providing we allow Him to be.
God is always listening to our prayers, and He always knows what is going on in our lives. The problem comes when instead of turning to Him, we turn away from Him.
Often times people will quote the saying, “God won’t give you more than you can handle”.
That is a falacy.
It mght sound good, but it isn’t how God works.
He will most definitely give us more than we can handle, because He doesn’t want us to handle it. He wants us to turn to Him.
We need to turn to Him.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
The Motherhood Struggle: Dishes
Recently our dishwasher turned in its pink slip in the middle of a cycle, and since that time I’ve found myself standing at the kitchen sink a lot more than I’m used to.
This is just one more thing in the long line of, well, things that have become my new expectation of owning a home.
These moments are the times I miss renting, but only for a few minutes.
Anyway, back to the sink, and the dishes.
This is the Chore That Never Ends…
It seemed that when we had a dishwasher to rely on, there was often a sink full of dirty dishes waiting to be loaded.
Or a load waiting to be started, because there weren’t quite enough dishes in it to warrant turning it on.
One thing I’ve learned about motherhood, is that dishes are a quite necessary and often irritating part of raising children.
Kids want to eat, and when they eat they use dishes and glasses.
Often several at a time.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any time, or following me on IG, you likely know I suffer from anxiety.
A sink full of dishes adds exponentially to that.
The day the dishwasher died, I decided I wasn’t going to allow this new adventure to cripple me.
So, this time I turned to God and asked for peace about the situation.
Then I made a plan.
Sare Verses the Dishes
Several people I know, including my husband, are much more laid back than I am when it comes to chores and getting things finished.
To them, the longer they put it off the happier they are.
This doesn’t work for me.
If I put something off, like the dishes, that responsibility will follow me all day long.
My shoulders will become stiff with tension, my neck and jaw will ache, and my temperament will suffer.
To combat this, I don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink.
I don’t wait to do the dishes.
When I drink my pre-workout drink in the morning, I clean the jar and place it on the rack to dry. If I have a snack, I clean the dish and put it away.
Yes, this does mean I spend time at the sink more often, but it prevents me from missing out on time with my family if I’m washing an entire day’s worth of dishes after dinner.
If You Can Carry a Dish, You Can Help
After a meal, those who are old enough clear their personal places at the table and then wash their own dishes, placing them in the rack to dry.
This allows every one to take responsibility for the use of their own items.
It also helps this Momma to not spend hours at the sink scrubbing caked on food.
We are a family, and as a family we eat together and we work together.
No one has ever died from cleaning up after themselves, and my children will leave this house knowing how to take care of themselves and a home–regardless of their gender.
The Motherhood Struggle: Raising Productive Children
Ever since my eldest daughter was old enough to help pick up her own toys and place her blanket on the side of her crib, I have given my children age appropriate chores.
This is a big deal, sisters.
The other day I was volunteering with a group of third and fourth grade girls and discovered more than half of them don’t have chores.
Motherhood isn’t just about keeping a little person alive until they’re eighteen.
It’s about raising them and teaching them.
It’s about guiding them and giving them boundaries, balance, and skills to not just survive, but thrive when they’re no longer living within the walls of our homes.
What Are Age Appropriate Chores?
If you do a quick search on Google or Pinterest you’ll find all kinds of colorful charts listing chores by age group.
My eldest daughter (11) has a wide variety of chores including
Cleaning the bathroom she shares with her brother
Taking the dog outside
Feeding and caring for the cat
Helping with the dishes
Taking the trash and recycle to the street for pick-up
wiping down the counters in the kitchen
setting the table
helping with meals
doing her laundry
keeping her room neat and picked up (this includes bed made and art supplies stored away)
helping weed the yard and gardens
My eldest son’s (6) chores include:
Feeding the dog
putting away his laundry
making his bed
putting his toys away when he is done playing with them
wiping off the table
cleaning the toilet (with supervision and help)
helping to set and clear the table
bringing his dirty laundry down on laundry day
My youngest daughter (3) helps where she can. She:
Picks up her toys with help
carries the vacuum cord while I vacuum the main floor of the house
brings her dishes to the sink
puts away the step-stool after shes’ used it
Not all of theses chores are done all the time, but all of them have been done. Some of the are done weekly or daily.
Family Chore List
To keep things running smoothly (since our family thrives on routines), we have a laminated list of daily chores on the fridge.
Each chore has a name beside it, and that person is responsible for getting their chore done right after breakfast.
This includes Momma.
Once the chore is finished we cross it off and go about our day.
Since we try to do more together on the weekend I keep the chores down to a minimum on Saturday/Sunday. This allows for relaxation and play.
I wish I could take credit for coming up with this list, but for some reason I’d never thought of it until Stephanie over at A Simply Dunn Life shared how she took some of the struggle out of housework and motherhood.
Since my kiddos and I began using this daily chore list, there has been less stress, more team work, and an overall change in the attitude of our home.
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t fix everything that causes stress and anxiety, but it definitely helps.
For that reason, I’m including a free download of the chart we use.
Just print it out, laminate it and you’re ready to go.
As a teenager, one who obviously knew everything about everything, I believed I would be a certain way as an adult. I was one of those people who believed I knew how to handle whatever life had in store for me. This included parenting.
*Insert slightly insane laughter here*
There is a meme floating around the internet that states: “I was a perfect parent. Then I had children.”
It would be funny if it weren’t so incredibly accurate.
Too many people (me included) believe they’ve got it all figured out–life, fitness, parenting, their make-up; only to have reality kick them solidly in the solar plexus.
My old friend, Reality likes to remind me of its presence regularly.
When I was still a perfect parent–living under my parents’ roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me.
I wouldn’t keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I’d understand them, and treat them with “respect”.
I’m sure God chuckled at my plans.
My parents did.
The Reality Of Parenting Is Drastically Different
Before the birth of my youngest daughter, my niece and I spent some time sitting on a bench overlooking the Puget Sound.
The sun was warm, the sky was clear, the seagulls were begging scraps of our lunches. It was a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle we’d been dealing with for the last few months.
Taking a few moments to enjoy the beauty the Lord created, and to truly appreciate it, helped relax my anxious heart.
It also helped me understand something about myself:
I’m not a perfect parent, and I don’t really have this parenting thing down.
In fact, teen me would spend a lot of time rolling her eyes at adult me.
I always thought my parents were strict, but they were nothing compared to how I am as a parent.
Part of this stems from a moderate battle with anxiety, but not all of it.
Simply put, my priorities have changed, as have my views.
God is the Perfect Parent
God has blessed us with four beautiful children, not to be perfect parents, but to teach them and train them up in what is righteous.
Much to their dismay, that includes horrors like sweeping, making their beds, cleaning bathrooms, and picking up toys.
It also requires them to spend time with us, to not put their friends above the LORD or their family, and to forgive each other when we stumble.
Something else that comes along with this is the amount of freedom we allow our children to have.
Our eldest is only eleven, and regardless of how my husband and I were raised the world is a much different place today than it was twenty years ago.
Yes, she can do solitary things without constant supervision, and she has experienced the joy of middle school ministry events (where her mother wasn’t invovled), but there are rules that have to be followed, and consequences if those rules are ignored.
This is a relatively new freedom for her, and I still have several bad moments where I want to keep her in the house away from any chance of getting hit by a speeding car or abducted (see, anxiety).
I’m taking it a day at a time, and maybe I’ll be more relaxed when they’re visiting me in the retirement home.
The point is, there are no perfect parents on Earth, except God, and of course those who have never had children.
We as a society (especially women) spend so much time judging the merits of one person over another that we seem to forget we’re all just stumbling along doing the best we can.
Have some people lost their way?
Yes, but that isn’t for us to judge.
There are people in this world who have been called to help those who have fallen.
Instead of casting blame and pointing fingers, it’s time for us to come together and build each other up, and to raise our own children with love, compassion, and grace.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or recieved or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of Peace will be with you.”
This post contains affiliate links. See here for full disclosures.
When I discovered Facebook almost a decade ago, I never imagined it would be something that took on a life of its own. I sure didn’t expect that a social media platform would be something that could ever require the need of a hiatus.
Then one day, not long before the election, I realized I was in desperate need of cleansing myself from the constant updates, notifications, and interactions. During the four(ish) months I was away I learned a lot about myself, and the effect Facebook has on me. Here are six of them:
Facebook Can Bring Out the Worst in People
For every positive post on my feed, I found five negative ones. During the months leading up to the election even those people I counted on for encouragement and a Christian perspective suddenly posted less lighthearted and loving messages in favor of angry, judgemental, political posts.
This negativity while not directed at me, was still affecting my own spirit. There was so much darkness that it started to permeate every part of my day.
Facebook Worsens My Anxiety
Since I have already been dealing with heightened anxiety since the birth of my youngest, it doesn’t take much to push my anxious feelings to another level. Reading all the negative and hateful posts had me in a constant state of anxiety. I was having trouble sleeping–worrying about people I didn’t even know, and things I had no control over.
I could give my personal worries over to God, but for some reason, the worries of the Facebook world were never given to Him.
Facebook Made Me Less Social
Given the negativity and anxiety Facebook was bringing to me, I guess it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that it led me to avoid most physical interaction with friends and relatives.
With depression and anxiety comes a desire to be alone–or at least the belief you want to be alone.
After being bombarded by the cares, worries, and desires of those people on Facebook, I couldn’t afford to expend the energy on anyone else. Not even on myself.
I also fell into the false sense that I could be just as social through Messenger as I could in the physical company of a friend.
Though, to be honest, some of my nearest and dearest friends live too far away for me to sit in their presence; in that case Messenger has been a wonderful tool.
Without Facebook I Could Focus
During those months without Facebook, I found a focus I hadn’t had in years. I had removed the Facebook App from my Android devices, and without the ease of single touch, I no longer felt the overwhelming need to check-in several times (or more) a day.
It was too much effort to actually have to go through the website.
Much to my husband’s surprise I could actually make it through a movie or a show without my attention drifting to my phone. In many cases, my phone wasn’t even with me– a wonderful side-effect for both of us.
I Was Present With My Family
Without Facebook (or my phone) taking my attention away, my family and I had the chance to make more memories. True, they aren’t photographed or chronicled on Facebook, but during those times we were one-hundred percent together.
I experienced so much joy watching my children grow and change; snuggling with them as we read books, laughing together over the antics of characters in movies, and discussing whatever was important to them. Being able to focus on them without reaching for my phone was by far the greatest blessing I experienced.
I Had So Much “Free” Time
For the first time in too long, I finally had time. I wasn’t rushed, and if I wondered where the day had gone it had nothing to do with getting sucked into social media.
I read books.
Not just a chapter or two here and there, but actual books. Instead of being glued to Facebook, I was able to lose myself in the worlds of great writers and storytellers.
Crocheted blankets, booties, hats, and washcloths were started and finished. And each Tuesday a friend came over and we enjoyed an hour of chatting and crocheting.
I spent time with the LORD.
Without Facebook calling my name, losing myself in the Word became easier. I had time to not only read a verse or two, but could actually carve out time to dive deeper into books of the Bible I’d been neglecting.
Finding Balance With Social Media
I’ve slowly began to re-enter the world of Facebook. I still haven’t replaced the app on my phone (and I’m not planning on it).
There is so much joy and living to do outside of social media, that I don’t want to find myself suddenly trapped in old habits again.
I know there is a balance needed, especially as a blogger, and I’ve learned valuable things about myself these past few months. There is a place in my life for Facebook and other social media platforms, but they no longer have the pull on me they once had.
It’s a brave new world out here, folks.
One where I’m not controlled by social media.
One where it is controlled by me.
Have you needed to detox from social media before? What changed for you? How long did you do it for? I’d love to know.
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Each year I compile a stack of books–some paper, some digital– to help me grow as a person. This year I’m particularly excited about my choices. I’m also honest enough with myself to know I might not get through them all. However, I thought I’d share them (in no particular order) with you. Maybe you’ll find a few new additions for your own “to-be-read” pile.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, and I’ve been known to add more books to the pile as they catch my eye; my husband spends a lot of time fretting over the lack of space we have and my never ending fascination with having my own library.
What are some books you have on your reading list for 2017? Please share them in the comments.
Each morning as we sit around the breakfast table we do a devotional as a family. Once in a while the topic will spur deeper discussion with my nine-year-old daughter; usually she remains silent while she drinks her milk and stares at me as if I just asked her when she was leaving for the moon.
This morning, the topic was patience, something I’ve never been particularly good with. I’m more of an instant gratification person. Of course, three children later, instant gratification seems more like a fairy tale, and patience is still something I’m struggling with.
Often I wonder what lesson the LORD is teaching me on the (many) days my children conspire to make me crazy. I assume it is patience, but until today, I didn’t truly understand what that meant in a spiritual, Christ-centered way.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us–they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.
It’s such a wonderful feeling to know how much God loves us, even when we aren’t patient. The Bible is always here to help; to remind us to rejoice even when we’re struggling, because we have the Holy Spirit, and it continually fills us with His love.
Recently I’ve been thinking about what I’m meant to do with my life. I’m almost finished with my journalism degree (finally!), but I don’t know where I’m supposed to go from here. I’ve got massive student loan debt hanging over my head (and honestly, my husband’s head since I stay home and teach our children and he goes to work every day, bending to the ever changing will of his employer–the USMC).
I love writing, obviously, or else I wouldn’t currently owe the national debt of a small country. However, I’ve done the whole writing novels thing, and while I enjoyed it, I feel that was a different season. I’d love to blog and actually make money doing that, but that means someone other than my nearest and dearest would actually need to read and follow my blog(s) so they would be worth monetizing.
In the not too distant future my husband and I would like to move into a home of our own. One that we own (or at the very least the bank allows us to SAY we own), where our children can create memories, put down roots, and grow into wonderful adults. A place where those same children will run around in the sunshine while they are supposed to be helping me pull the weeds in the garden.
Today I sat down with God and made a plan. There was prayer involved (and more will be needed), and long talks with God as I figured out what needed to be done to achieve this dream without the burden being fully on my husband. As I’ve told him in the past, he’s not alone in this world. We’re partners and we’re in it together. The future doesn’t rest on his shoulders alone, he has me and a loving Heavenly Father who will guide us through.
I know it is time to stop wondering what my calling is, and worrying about if I’ll ever find it. I’ve placed it firmly in the LORD’s capable hands. I’m a writer, and I need to remember that. I need to write, and I need to help provide for my family–okay, I’ll be providing for the families of the student loan lenders, but it amounts to the same thing. So, what exactly do I need from the wonderful prayer warriors who may stumble upon my humble ramblings?
I need your help with prayers.
I’m not sure where I’m going from here. I don’t know just how writing is going to start paying my student loans, but I know in my heart that God will guide me. That He has a plan already, and I wouldn’t have taken the steps I’ve taken if they weren’t going to lead somewhere amazing.
Please, Please, Please, Pray for this mother who wants nothing more than to raise her children. To teach them, watch them grow, and show them how to be a successful, God-Loving adults. Pray that I listen to what the LORD places on my heart, and that He guides me toward my calling. Pray that I continue to fully serve Him, and never forsake Him as I strive for my goal. Pray that my goals are in line with His plans for me, and that I never lose sight of what is truly important.
With your prayers and encouragement, I know I’ll follow the LORD faithfully.