MoJo Monday: Joy In Being Orderly

Edinburgh Mommy Friends Reunion, August 2009: Emily and baby Rosie are smiling left of center at the back.

A guest post by Emily Luehrmann of Em’s Musings (check out her blog – her three little ones are just scrumptious!)

Well, if you read this post, then you had to know by the title that I didn’t write this MoJo!  (By the way, thank you all so much for the tremendous outpouring of wisdom and encouragement in the comments.  Some ideas have already been implemented, and more will be, I hope!)  Orderliness is *not* one of my strengths, but it is an area in which I’m seeking to grow.  My dear friend Emily and I have been discussing all things homemaking for as long as we’ve known each other (since we were fellow expats and new mommies in Edinburgh 5 years ago).  She is a great example to struggling housekeepers like myself!    Since the whole “Joy in Mothering” series was her idea, I thought it would be wonderful if she could write a post to fill in in one of my major areas of weakness.  With absolutely perfect timing, here are her thoughts.

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I’m not a recovering sluggard. At 3 I organized the candy bars while my mom checked out at the grocery story. At 10 I liked to stay in from recess to reorganize my desk. And at 30 I keep my closet (and my husbands!) in rainbow order. Are you starting to say, Freak! You may see why Jodi asked me to do a post about how I love my life and find joy in mothering by being organized and keeping an orderly home! Although being organized and orderly comes naturally, finding joy in mothering through this is more tricky. I often fall into the trap of prioritizing tasks and tidying over laughing and loving. Thinking about this has given me fresh motivation and delight in mothering while keeping an orderly home!

So what motivates me to be organized and orderly? I often do it to be productive, to feel good, and because it just makes my life flow better. But all of these motivations are focused on me. And what I really want my life to be focused on is the Lord! So I have to turn my focus first to God and seek to be organized and orderly for God. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 Paul implores us that in whatever we do we are to do all to the glory of God. And in Colossians 3:17 Paul says whatever you do do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him. I also have to turn my focus toward being godly and training my children in godliness. The gospel should train us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives (Titus 2:12). I want my training to reflect God and the gospel so I’m trying to help my kids say no to ungodliness and to say yes to being self-controlled and orderly.  A final motivation I have to consider is seeking to love others and training my children to love others. When my home is orderly it is more peaceful for my husband, children, me and others who enter it. I also have more freedom to love others.

It’s great to be motivated to be orderly, but how do I do it? In case you don’t know, keeping an orderly home is hard work. Sometimes I feel like all I do is tidy up!  A key component to keeping an orderly home is consistency. I keep a housekeeping checklist of tasks that need to be done on a regular basis. I write down the date when I complete a task and then I know later if it’s been a week or a months since I last cleaned the shower! Every day I do laundry and tidy. And I’m trying to find ways to bring my 3 children into the process. When we get something new we find a “home” for it. Then when it comes time to tidy they know where to put it. I encourage them to play with one toy at a time and then put it away when they’re done. I encourage them to tidy an activity before they go on to another. I try to include the kids in housecleaning by giving them a microfiber rag or a Swiffer duster (both great tools!). When they get undressed at night I ask them to put dirty items in the appropriate basket (light or dark!). And often we make tidying fun by putting on music and doing it all together. These are simple ways I try to encourage order in our home.

Is all this hard work worth it? What is the benefit of keeping an orderly home? As I consistently keep an orderly home with a godly motivation, peace will rule in my home. My home will be a peaceful haven for my husband, for my children and for others! Consistent hard work to maintain order should also provide freedom. I can be flexible to play with my kids, to go out spontaneously, or to have people over. This may sound counter intuitive but routine helps us to be flexible! Joy comes when my kids internalize the routines and order and when they enjoy the process too. As I seek to be orderly and train my children to be orderly our home can be a fountain of love where people can rest and be cared for.

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Thank you so much for sharing your joy with us – you are a true blessing!

MoJo Monday: Treasure It Up!

Happy new week!  On the heels of my rather pragmatic post last week, I’m going to get all mushy on you today.  I’ve been thinking lately that the very act of treasuring up this phase of life gives me joy – does that seem redundant?

Luke 2:19

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

When I leave the house with my four girls, I think we make quite a scene.  The lovely man that works at our local post office described me to a friend once as “having babies hanging off me everywhere.”  Nice picture, huh?  Yet almost every time we go out, someone, usually an older woman, tells me something to this effect:  “Enjoy them, it goes so fast!”

My oldest is only five, and I know it already: the days are long, but the years fly by in a blur.  I know, even as I am in the sometimes overwhelming moments of this phase of my life, that it is a short-lived, and I will miss it when it’s past.  I know it from the ladies who stop me in Rite-Aid, and from the women who can’t wait to snatch my baby out of my arms in the nursery each Sunday, and from my own mom who cries every time she thinks about my baby sister graduating from high school this year.  I will blink, and they’ll be in college.*

I’m so aware that I cannot hold onto these precious days.  I take pictures and videos, but I know that when I look back on them, they will not bring back June’s baby smell, or the feel of her sweet fuzzy head against my cheek.  I blog so that I won’t forget, but I know I’m only capturing a tiny handful of the memories we make each day.

So, armed with the knowledge that these days of having little ones at home are whizzing past me at breakneck speed and that I can do nothing to stop it, what can I do? I can treasure it all up.

Just as Mary pondered in her heart the incredible things she was seeing God do in her own life, I can treasure the sweetness and the joy that God gives in my children each day.  I can just know in each moment that  this is amazing stuff: watching a baby pull to her feet for the first time and burst into a delighted smile, seeing the bonds of sisterhood forged through the giggles of toddlers, being read to by a five-year-old who was so frustrated by reading six months ago I wondered if she’d ever get it.  Every day is full of tiny miracles, and I want to notice and treasure as many of them as I can and to give thanks for being right where I am.

*(I’m into my footnotes lately, aren’t I?  Less distracting than a parenthesis, I think.)   Romilly must have heard me saying this recently.  I heard her explaining it to Pippa a couple weeks ago: “Pippa, you blink your eyes like this {blink}, and then you’re in college!”  Magic!  Do you think if we blink hard enough it will already be paid for?

MoJo Monday (Okay, Tuesday): Structure & Sleep

After a bit of a hiatus from MoJoing, I came back to the whole thing with fresh eyes today and realized I have neglected to tell you about one of the absolute key ingredients to my sanity joy in mothering: a little bit of structure and a healthy bit of sleep!

I am not a planner.  I am very much a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl, and for the most part, that’s worked out okay for me.  But even before I  had a baby of my own, though, I discovered that babies (and children) like routine.  They like to know there’s a plan.  They thrive on knowing what’s happening next in their day, and without that sense of security, things tend to go a little wonky.

I guess everyone has routines, so what I’m saying here isn’t rocket science, but I really don’t think you can overstate their importance, especially for small babies.   We’ve always followed (roughly) a feed-play-sleep pattern throughout the day with our babies, and that has worked really well for our family.

There was a time when I felt quite dogmatic about these things (back when I only had a six-month-old, and I knew everything!), but I realize now that God has made every family different, and there is no one-size-fits- all routine, so I try to save my advice for when people actually ask for it.  Or, you know, for here, where I can say whatever I want and nobody can argue with me.  Except in the comments.  Be nice, though, okay?

I will say this: if it weren’t for a regular naptime in the afternoon for my little ones and quiet play time for my big ones, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have a blog at all (not that you’d notice the difference these days!).  That’s what they’re doing right now, in fact.  If it weren’t for regular(ish) bedtimes in the evening, my kids would not be at their best during the day, and I would never get to have a grown-up conversation with my husband (although, we totally still call each other Mummy and Daddy after they’re in bed.  That’s a tough one to shake off in a few short hours!)

These are important things for us as parents *and* for our little ones.  I think there is a perception among those who follow a different parenting philosophy that expecting babies to nap and sleep according to a routine is selfish and maybe even a little bit cruel.  We have found that *everyone* in the family benefits from being well-rested, and that when mommy *or* baby is sleep-deprived for any length of time things start unraveling very quickly.  But, like I said, I do realize that not everybody is us.  And that’s probably a very good thing!  As the girls at Girltalk faithfully reminded their readership when they blogged about this very topic * a few years ago, it’s just a suggestion ** .

(By the way, yes that *is* our eleven-month-old baby girl pulling herself up in her crib.   Isn’t she sweet?)

*Follow the link and scroll down to the bottom of the category to see their series of posts on routines.

** This post makes a great case for Christians being united as followers of Christ and His gospel and *not* identifying ourselves by things like breastfeeding, homeschooling, and birth control which I have, perhaps, been known to get my feathers ruffled over on occasion.  Excellent point, well made.

How I Got My MoJo On Today

I didn’t turn my computer on until 5:30 pm today!  I’m guessing if you’re reading my blog that that might be as revolutionary a concept to you as it was to me, but it needed to be done.  It probably needs to be done more often.

By about 11 AM, I was itching to check my e-mail, my Facebook, my bloglines… my world!  But the girls and I were deeply involved in a craft project (thanks, Megan… if only I had a blog to link to here…), and I decided to stick it out and see how long I could last.   Remarkably, by about 4 PM, I didn’t really want to switch on as much anymore.  The worst of the withdrawal was behind me, and the cravings had died down.  I had enjoyed a fabulous day with my girls, and finished (with their help) one and a half of these little cutie pies.

IMG_9142 Despite the extra hour or more that being unplugged afforded me, I still didn’t get done everything I wanted to today.  We’re still tying up loose ends in school from Thanksgiving week and it seems like  we may never get totally caught up, but today I finished the day with sense that I had chosen what was better.  I chose to be Mary rather than Martha (oh, let’s face it, I don’t even chose to be Martha most of the time!)  I was intensely involved with my children just about all day long, and it was a rich, lovely, blessed day.  (Sadly, I totally flaked out tonight on offering my husband the same undivided attention.  A lot happens in cyberspace when a girl doesn’t turn her computer on all day!  So sorry, though.)

Today’s impromptu partial media fast came on the heels of a wonderful, nearly computer-free weekend with dear friends.  I don’t want to minimalize the blessings of being able to keep in touch and even get reacquainted with people electronically.  There is certainly a place for it!  But there’s just nothing like  being in the presence of dearly loved, too-often-distant friends.  What a sweet, busy, unexpectedly wintery (thanks again, Nancy, for the loan of the snow clothes!), fabulous weekend we all had!

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MoJo Monday: Give Thanks!

In honor of Thanksgiving week, I’m considering today how an attitude of thankfulness helps me to love my life and find joy in mothering!

Junipr_AsparagusIn the immortal words of Junior Asparagus, “A thankful heart is a happy heart.”  How can something simple enough for a singing vegetable to communicate effectively to preschoolers be such a tough thing to put into practice?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says this (and I don’t even have to look this one up, since our home school verse memory CD has all of us singing it to the tune of Jingle Bells.  Yeah, try that one!)

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I don’t think it’s just because it’s Thanksgiving time that this verse has been on my heart lately.  You know how it is when there’s something God really wants to to get through your thick skull, so He seems to bring it up in every single sermon, Bible study, and indeed, children’s video that crosses your path?  It’s been like that.

Most recently, it came up yesterday in the marriage video series by Paul Tripp we’ve been watching in Sunday school.  Each day, he said, (and I’m totally paraphrasing here) when we wake up to our flawed spouse and our messy, dysfunctional (that word was his!) children, we should feel so overwhelmed that God loves *us*, that our love cannot help but overflow to them.

Do you get it? *I* am flawed, and messy, and dysfunctional, and not only does God love me enough to bless me with a precious family who loves me, He loved me enough to die for me.  To die instead of me.  To invite messy-flawed-dysfunctional me into His family.  When that fact sinks in a little, it changes everything.  When we begin to realize what we really deserved, the Holy Spirit can open our eyes to what God has instead richly, richly blessed us with.  Life, and love and a relationship with Himself that is untainted by sin thanks to Christ’s incredible sacrifice.  Amazing!

With all that in mind, I want to take a minute to give thanks here for each of the precious girls God has blessed our family with.  They are messy, and sometimes even a little dysfunctional, but each one is a blessing beyond measure.

IMG_8587Pippa Violet, big sister extraordinaire.  I am thankful for your sparkly eyes and  your pensive spirit.   I love that you are learning to be gracious and self-controlled in the way you speak to others.  You are becoming a young lady, and it is a joy to watch!

IMG_8904 Romilly Alice, our RAY of sunshine.  I am thankful for your smile that lights up the whole room, for your love of your sisters, for your helpfulness.  I love that we never know what you are going to say, but that you never cease to totally surprise us and make us laugh.

IMG_8871Beatrix Joanna, crazy chatterbox.  I am thankful for your sweet face and your hilarious running commentary on life.  I love that you know your mind, but are learning to express it without stubbornness.  You are loud and fun and full of life.  Your sense of adventure inspires us all.

IMG_8888Juniper Lucy, little bright eyes. Well.  There’s just not much to *not* be thankful about yet!  I am thankful for your easy-going, content-with-life demeanor.  I love your big, toothy, giant-eyed, dimply grin that you are so quick to flash at anyone who glances your way.  What a blessing you are to our family!

(And for the record, although this post is supposed to be about mothering, I am also super-duper thankful for my patient, loving, wise,  soft-hearted, fabulously accented, stunningly handsome hubby, too!)

Thank you, God, for the incredible blessings you have filled my life with!  May I not be quick to forget how unmerited they are.

MoJo Monday: Joy on the Sick Days

Have you got your MoJo on today?  I confess that I really don’t.  I was up from 3 to 5 this morning with a sick little girl, and we’re already on our second DVD of the day at 11 AM.  It’s a sick day.  The Young Christian Academy for Girls is officially closed, and we’re just passing the time until this bug blows through.

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I actually feel pretty blessed in the sickness department.  My kids don’t get sick that often (well, unless you count a runny nose, we’re rarely completely snot-free) and when they do, they’re really troupers.  Last night after her third round of throwing up (I had coached her through the first two), Pippa just climbed down from her top bunk and curled up on the floor with her bowl and slept the rest of the night there.  What a love!

For me, though, the hardest part of having sickness in the house is the isolation.  Today, like on Friday when Bea was unwell, I’ve had to cancel plans to get the girls together with friends to play .  And no friends for girls means no friends for Mommy.  I’m already fretting in my mind about how far into our week we will be quarantined, how many more plans will have to be canceled, how much longer I will be stuck in the house.  Is that the most selfish thing you’ve ever heard?

Nevertheless, the Lord called to my mind a verse I am thankful to have memorized at youth group summer camp many moons ago.

James 1:2-4 says this (NIV):

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

I hesitate even to call a little bit of seasonal sickness a trial, knowing the far worse illnesses and situations others have to endure.  Yet God can use even this relatively trivial trial for His glory and my good!

Do I really believe He has  my sanctification in mind when I am weary from a long night spent with a little girl and her bowl?  Do I trust Him that He has a good and holy purpose for me having a day at home instead of at a friend’s house today? Yes!  And I long to give him glory and thanks in the midst of it.

But… ummm… I should probably get off the computer and go spend time with my kids if I’m going to  find that holy purpose.

Happy Monday!

MoJo Monday: Embrace the Humbling

Happy New Week!  Today I want to think a bit on how I love my life and find joy in mothering by:

…letting go of my pride and letting God do great things in my life by humbling me.

IMG_8271Before I had kids, if I’m honest, I thought I was pretty great.  I was pretty sure, though I wouldn’t have admitted it, that I would make a great mom.   Sure, I had my areas of weakness, things I should probably be working on, but I was going to get the *important* things right.

I am so thankful that God gives us children in the form of babies.  For those early weeks, months and years of life, they are definitely taking a lot in, but God in His grace has given us moms a good year or two to shape up before our kids really start noticing (and picking up!) our character flaws.  If only that were long enough!

From about when Pippa hit the toddler/pre-school age, with Romilly hot on her heels, I have felt an acute sense of being under the microscope of their developing character. Through their ever-studying eyes, God has allowed me to see my heart  for what it really is, and it’s not  as pretty a picture as I once thought.

While I had once thought the challenge of parenting would be to get my kids to turn out as good as I was (ha!), I began to realize that the last thing I wanted was to have my girls end up like me!

How could I teach my messy Pippa to tidy up her playroom, when I am too lazy to keep the rest of the house presentable?

How could I instruct my sweet over-reactor Romilly (should I admit that we have nicknamed her “Drama-ly”?  Probably not.) to keep a happy heart when things don’t go her way instead of bursting into tears, when I have been known to do *exactly* the same thing?

Everyone wants to set a good example for their kids, but how can we do that when we *aren’t* good?

Here are three truths about this that God has used to comfort me and fill me with hope for my children, and with all that comes joy!

  • God’s grace is sufficient to cover our areas of weakness.  By opening our eyes to them He  increases our  dependence on Him.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul writes this:

But he [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

When we know that any good fruit from our parenting is in spite of us and because of God’s grace, our parenting glorifies Him.

  • God uses our failings to humble us and point back to the cross.  We cannot be reminded enough that we do not deserve or do anything to earn our salvation.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.

Having kids reminds us daily of our own sin, and our need for a savior, and God knows we *need* this reminding to preach the gospel to ourselves daily!

  • God uses our kids as instruments in our sanctification!

Romans 8:28 says

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Whether by making the hard mistakes and learning from them or by allowing God to show us and change the areas in our lives that need changing, God can and *will* use our children to shape us into the people He wants us to be.  It can be a painful process, but there is great joy in trusting that it is for our good and His glory!

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When I fail, and when God’s love shows me that I have failed, I have found that asking my children to forgive me is the quickest way to turn a situation around.  The last thing I want to be in my children’s eyes is a hypocrite, and yet, that’s just what I am.  When they see me making the same mistakes I am trying to train them not to make, I owe it to them to acknowledge this sin before them.  They are so quick to forgive, and their sweet smiles go a long way to heal my heart of my disappointment with myself.

MoJo Monday: Your Funny Kiddos (And Mine, Too)

IMG_7980Last week I asked you to share about how your kids make you laugh, and, boy, did you come through for me!

This week’s MoJo is therefore devoted to you, my readers, and your hilarious munchkins.  Not only is laughter a wonderful gift from God, but so are friends.  Having a community (both online and “IRL” – that’s “in real life” for you non-internet-junkies) of other moms going through similar experiences to mine has blessed me immeasurably.  God has used the wisdom and experiences of other moms to sharpen me and comfort me through the difficult times.  Thank you all so much!

Shanna from Chalk Dust Makes Me Sneeze (with whom I clearly have some serious catching up to do?!), has two sweet boys, 3 1/2 and 2.  She shared this about Aiden, 2:

Just this morning Aiden was looking particularly cute and I told him that he was irresistable, and he looked at me a little confused and said, “No Mommy, I not aye-thuh-bul, I Aiden”. Duh, what was I thinking?

Ha ha!

Jessi from Reconciled to God shared this about her sweet one-year-old, who will be becoming a big sister soon,

I think Hannah’s a little under the weather, and she’s not sleeping right, and anything not going her way is making her cry–but she’s still adorable.Recently I discovered that if I say “Mommy’s gonna get you!” and hold my hand over her stomach, but don’t actually tickle her, she will pull my hand to her stomach.

Cute!

Carol is a dear friend of ours from Scotland who is just nearing the end of her time as a missionary in Mexico City with her family.  She blogs about her family here and their work here.  Her sweet little ones, Tabitha, 3 1/2, and Oscar, 1 1/2, crack us up with their wee Irish accents… well, actually, Oscar wasn’t talking much when we saw him last, but I’m sure he is now!

She writes:

Here’s a couple that immediately came to mind.  You’re right though.  They’re so much funnier when you know the personality behind them!

Tab: I’m big, so I have to go

Mum: Where do you have to go?

Tab: To buy a clock…and a bag…. so, goodbye

Or a frequent happening in our house.

Tabitha gets told off for something and starts to cry.  Oscar goes over to her points at her and babbles some pile of nonsense but is obviously adding to the telling off and agreeing with mummy.  Tabitha will then shout, “No Oscar, don’t say that!”  Makes me laugh every time because in effect he didn’t say anything, his body language and tone of voice were what did the talking.

But the other day she got her own back.  Oscar broke the rules and was being told so by Tia Margaret.  He of course protested to which Tabitha piped up, “No Oscar, I agree with Tia Margaret”  Obviously she’s heard that a time or two as she has bounced between mummy and daddy to get what she wants!

Yeah, with an Irish accent.  You can only imagine the cuteness!

J, a good friend from church who blogs at Strands of Grey writes about her 2 1/2-year-old daughter:

Last night S (the husband/daddy) was a tad late in arriving home from work for dinner.  When he sat down to the table, A was still finishing up.  She smiled and said, “Ohhhh, Papa!” (long pause) “I think I’ll send you a thank you card!”

So super cute!

Lindsay at Notes from the Name Nazi has a 5-year-old daughter, Chickie, and a 3 1/2-year-old son, Bubba.  She shares:

Yesterday, Bubba and Jack were walking up the stairs at Jack’s house while Jack’s is lamenting that he doesn’t want to go to school that day, why does he have to go to school, school is too long and he just wants to play, etc, etc.

Bubba (my old, sensitive soul) says, “Jack, sometimes life is just like that.”

It sure is, Bubba!

**And here I have to add in another from the comments because it’s too hilarious not to make sure as many people as possible read it!:

I’m giving Chickie a bath and she’s constantly trying to dodge the water because she doesn’t want water in her eyes. Which, if she’d hold still I could wash her hair without getting water in her eyes, but that’s another story.

I said, “Chickie! Sit still! You’re like trying to bathe a moving target!”

Chickie is quiet – thoughtful for a second and then replies, “A moving target? I want to be a moving Walmart!”

Oh my goodness!

And finally, coming in just at the eleventh (or maybe even thirteenth or so) hour, my dear friend Emily in Scotland who inspired this whole MoJo series, shares this about her little ones. She is mommy to Anna, 4, Elijah, 2, and Rosie, 6 months, and blogs at Em’s Musings.

I am noticing a sweet relationship developing between Elijah and Rosie. We laugh along with him at the ways he tries to amuse her. One way is by putting his head right up next to hers. He lets her grab at his hair or ears with her little hands and then they both giggle. Then yesterday at dinner he played peek-a-boo with Rosie. The way he did it was by putting his bib over his face and then pulling it down. Each time Rosie let out gleeful giggles. This was one of those moments I decided to say “yes,” but may regret it in the future when he’s spilled soup on his bib and decides to play peek-a-boo again!

Just precious!

Of course, as soon as I posted last week’s boastful claim that my kids are hysterical from morning till night every day and I would surely be back by dinnertime to share something knee-slappingly funny, the well ran totally dry for the rest of that day.  But I have to share a funny one from my firstborn that happened the next day:

After a science lesson on the worlds oceans, I was desperately trying to elicit the names a any three of the five oceans from Pippa.  We had already, painfully slowly, come up with Atlantic and Indian, and so I began…

Me: What about this one over here?  The Pa…

Her: (Silence)

Me: The Pa…

Her: (Still nothing.)

Me: Okay.  The Pa…sss…

Her: (Excited and confident) …Stachio?!

Me: Yes, Pippa, that’s right.  The Pistachio Ocean.  You got it.  Let’s do our math now.

Have a wonderful, joy-filled week, and hug those adorable little blessings for me, Mommys!

MoJo Monday: Laughter Is the Best Medicine

IMG_7866Happy Monday!  Today I’m considering the obvious: kids are funny, and life with kids is full of laughter.   But I need your help!

While I laugh outloud with my kids dozens of times a day,  I seem to sit down to blog about it and go completely blank.  Every time.

So I’m setting an assignment for all of us.

My assignment: By dinnertime today, I am going to come back and update this post with a hilarious anecdote or quote.  You are going to laugh so hard that you won’t be able to stop smiling for days!  (No pressure, Jodi.)

Your assignment: You have until Saturday, because I’m that nice (And yes, for you really observant types who actually check back on my blog after you’ve read it once: that did used to say Wednesday.  I’m even nicer than I thought!).  In the comments or in an e-mail to me, tell me something hilarious (or even just slightly amusing) that your kids say or do in the next couple days.  Something you wouldn’t mind me sharing.  If you don’t have kids, hilarious anecdotes about pets, co-workers or life in general are also welcome, but let’s just make sure none of them are too embarrassing for anyone, okay?

My hope is that the very exercise of trying to notice and remember these happy moments will help us all to appreciate them more.  And if nothing else it will get me some comment love.  (Oops, did I just type that outloud?) More to follow!

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So, I discovered today that most of the things that make me laugh about my kids are unbloggable.  Their crazy expressions and funny mannerisms and general silliness just don’t translate all that well to the written word.  But I did get one or two quotables today.

On hearing about wild animals in one of Pippa’s read-alouds, Romilly asked: Mommy what does wild mean?

Me: Wild means, um… not tame.  A tame animal is like a pet or a farm animal that you can pet and it’s safe and it won’t bite you and…

Ro:  Mom, I asked you what wild means.

Right.  So she did.

Then after dinner tonight I was getting ready to get ice cream for the deserving members of the family who had actually eaten more than one mouthful of dinner, when Beatrix piped up:

Mommy, Jupa ipes keam? (that is, Mommy, are you getting ice cream for Juniper?)

Followed swiftly by, “Nooo!!!” and a silly cheeky giggle.

That girl.

So, who’s next?

MoJo Mondays: Know Your Worth!

Happy Monday!  Today, I’m considering how I love my life and find joy in mothering by knowing my worth.

ruby_plainA couple weeks ago on Thursday we were all set to have a lovely day.  The sun was shining; we had a day out planned.  It was just a matter of getting a little bit of school done and passing the time until the fun would begin.

Then I checked my Facebook (serves me right for signing in before naptime).  It shouldn’t have been a big deal, but it was.  Some guy I hardly knew in high school had left me a truly horrible comment, probably quite inadvertently, that cut right to the heart of  everything that I am and believe as a wife and mother.  I sat here blinking at my screen hoping that I was misreading it, or misunderstanding it, but no.  I deleted the comment and sent him a private message asking him why he wrote what he wrote.  Moments later, he wrote back and said it was a joke and that I shouldn’t take myself so seriously.

Big deal, right?  Some guy I haven’t spoken to in fifteen years thinks my life is a joke.  Why on earth should that bother me?  Well, the short answer is: it shouldn’t!

But the world is full of messages to us stay-at-home moms.  Some are subtle, some are not so subtle, but they are always there, whispering or shouting.  They say things like, “Why would you want to waste your degree to be home with kids?” “Will you go back to work and do something useful with your life once they’re in school?” “Shouldn’t you be contributing something to the world rather than draining its resources by having all these babies?!”

All of that can start to persuade us, little by little, that we really aren’t worth very much, that what we’re doing is really not all that important in the long run.  After all, what does our typical day look like?  Cleaning up spills, changing diapers, making PB & J, settling arguments… how can all of that have any lasting value?  It is never-ending work that just seems to add up to nothing.

BUT.

As a mother, you hold more influence in your children’s lives than probably any other person they will ever know.  You are with them each day from their waking moments until their heavy little eyes can’t stay open another minute, teaching them what life is about, showing them how it ought best to be lived.  You, with God’s help, have the power to help mold and shape them into the people they will one day be.  People who can contribute to the world, for good or for evil, by hard work, invention, teaching, loving, communicating or even by someday raising children of their own.

Moms, you have a big job.  Maybe the most important one there is.  And on days when the world makes you feel like a barefoot-and-pregnant cliche, remember that this is what the God who created the universe has this to say about a wife of noble character (from Proverbs 31, click the link to read the whole thing, you won’t regret it):

10 b She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

While in our daily lives, we can’t take ourselves too seriously for, say, singing all-four verses of Little Bunny Foo Foo (with full blown silly voices) or for wearing a homemade necklace lovingly made out of pasta, we must also remember that when it comes to our purpose and calling as mothers, we couldn’t possibly take our task too seriously.