We took the month of December off school to prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of Christ – and to welcome this little baby girl into our family.
The time we spent together was special: reading, crafting, learning, playing, exploring, adventuring and resting. It was probably the best Advent preparation and Christmas holiday we’ve ever had!
Though by the end of the month I think we were starting to get a little sick of the lack of routine – and it showed in ALL our attitudes! :D
This past week we started back to our school and daily routine. From experience I have learned to take it slow and drastically lower expectations – we’d been out of our routine for over a month AND had a 4-week-old added to our family. I didn’t expect to get much accomplished – yet on most of the days we did really well! Despite Miss E not really napping very well, and some attitude adjustments that needed to happen throughout each day, there were few complaints about schoolwork and we still managed to get chores and cleanup done – most days :D
We even had FUN! Like doing our tallying with real sticks as we prepared to start up a new math level. Reading books about Jesus for letter J. Writing fun journal entries and taking off one morning to play in the snow at the park.
Giving thanks each day also helped to set the tone for our mornings! We’re starting a family thanks journal, and sometimes it’s hard to get them to stop their list!
Some of my 1000 Gifts this week:
580. Friends w/ encouraging words and prayers
581. Early morning quite as I feed Miss E
582. Learning and relearning baby sleep patterns
583. A new hello mornings challenge beginning!
584. Encouragement from moms in the trenches
585. Sweet baby snuggled, grunts, stretches, smells
586. Waiting for that first smile and getting it!
587. Simple truths shared in God’s word
588. Awana starting up again
589. Co-op starting up again
590. God’s promise to give us strength, lead us, guide us when we seek him
What I did struggle with through this week though was my frustration and anger mounting at the kids’ lack of listening. And since we’ve been so out of it, it seemed to be even more aggravated, like each week off school had added more cotton to their ears. Add to that the stress of needing to get out the door for a midwife appointment and piano lessons, and you have a recipe for a mommy explosion.
No matter how naughty and disobedient my children are being, it doesn’t excuse my angry responses. This has always been a struggle for me. But I haven’t always wanted to do what it takes to kick the bad habit. Change the routine, plan ahead, stop to discipline, get off my feet and on my knees and PRAY.
This past week I’ve read so many blog posts about moms and grace. Christin wrote about our children’s behaviour, how our expectations of our children are too often high and wrong, and how we expect them to adhere to perfect obedience when WE can’t even do the same? I was struck by her words that when they don’t live up to our standards, it shouldn’t be a constant disappointment to us – because one day they’ll just stop trying, knowing that nothing they do for us is good enough.
I listened to a great webinar called Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. I realized that I too often resort to blaming or shaming my children when they’ve done something wrong – making them “feel bad” for what they’ve done, instead of dealing with the action or behaviour and loving them. Do they see me as the hard-to-please mom? Or do they see me as the grace-for-when-I-fail mom? There were lots of great ideas for setting your children up to succeed when you ask them to do something that I’ve been able to use – for example, if the kids are playing electronics and their time is up, we discuss with them before hand what happens if they whine, complain, argue or delay in ending the game. It’s worked, and yes, they didn’t adhere every time, but they felt the pain of the consequence without mommy getting angry!
There’s this book. It’s called Desperate. You may or may not have heard about it. It’s written by two women, Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson, who through their humility, love, gentle encouragement, convictions and complete honesty have blessed many a mother. And it’s for you, for me, right where we are – in our messes, our upsets, our joys, fears, frustrations and struggles. It’s for those days when you just want to curl up into a ball because you just can’t do it anymore. It’s for those days when no one is listening, and everything is going wrong. It’s for those moments of panic, anger, anxiety and wondering if you are the only one in this world going through these emotions. It’s for the mom whose love for their child deeply penetrates every area of their life and leaves them helpless to do anything in their own strength – but everything through the strength of the loving heavenly Father.
If you haven’t already, you need to read this book. So many hearts have been broken and restored; so many mothers blessed and encouraged. Get the book, join a group, read it together and encourage each other! Join a movement of moms encouraging each other, praying through it all. I’m excited to be doing it with some of my best friends and pretty sure there will be some tears along the way – but ultimately we want to glorify God in our mommydom, and give more grace.
Because that’s really what it’s all about. HIS grace penetrating into our lives, us seeing, understanding, receiving it, and giving it back. To our children, husbands, friends, other moms. Because no matter where we are, how well we think we’re doing, or how terribly hard life is, we all need more grace. Are you ready to give it?
Linking up today with these great blogs