Things We’ve Done Well As Moms

Once again it’s that awful Sunday in May knocking on our doors.  The knocking, at first, is soft but as the week goes on, it progressively gets louder, more insistent.  I don’t want to answer because when I do, the lies, the disappointment with myself, and the feelings of failure come pouring in.  Every single thing I regret as a mom, becomes starkly etched in my mind.  A highlight reel I don’t want to remember.

I look around and see the moms out there today and they seem so laid back, carefree.  As are their kids. Or so it seems.

I am not laid back and neither are my kids.  It’s one of those questions like the chicken before the egg.  Was it me or them?  And why do I feel like this is a bad thing?  It will drive me crazy before I will ever figure it out.  So let it go already, right?  But it’s these thoughts and doubts that drive us, as moms, to the edge isn’t it?   

I’m not sure if I’m the only one this happens to around this time of year, but I think I’m done with it.  I was reminded of something I read once by a woman who wrote some life-saving words about motherhood.  Julie Barnhill, in her book, Motherhood: The Guilt that Keeps On Giving, suggests remembering what we’ve done right as moms rather than focusing on the things we regret. She lists them.  

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I thought we could do the same.  Maybe for the next six days we can focus on what we’ve done well in the past and what we enjoy and are doing well today.  Replace the replays of mistakes with memories of good mom moments. Think of one for each day of the week, leading up to Sunday.

What did you do well as a mom?

Here’s a list of some things that maybe will help get you going:

One thing I did was I sat down on the floor and taught my kids to play.  I played with them even though I was dead tired and didn’t really feel like it.

Maybe for you it was baking and cooking with your kids…

Perhaps it was reading to them every night…

Maybe you let them play in the mud because why not?

Maybe you stayed when you wanted to leave…

Or you put down your phone and listened to them talk…

Maybe you braided their hair every day…

Or maybe you showed up, which at the time, was a herculean effort for you…

Maybe you worked so you could feed and clothe them…

Maybe you took care of yourself first so you could take better care of them later…

Perhaps you said “No” because that was in their best interest…

Maybe you put in boundaries and routines so you all could survive…

Maybe you hugged them when you really wanted to tell them off…

Perhaps you believed in them when they didn’t believe in themselves…

Mom, there are so many things you’ve done right along with the things you didn’t. We’ve all messed up, even those seemingly perfect moms.  And that’s the lie.  None of us are perfect and we never will be.  And you know what, that’s okay because our Heavenly Father has got this.  He’s got your kiddos and He’s got you.  And some day His perfect plan will all come together.  Hang in there and tell the lies to get lost.  You’ve done some good work and will do some more because it’s never too late.  

It’s never too late to change, to grow, to love.  One of our pastor’s at a former church used to always quote this verse from 1 Peter 4:8:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

That verse has given me such comfort over the years.  I’ve tried to correct where I’ve erred but that doesn’t always feel like enough, does it?  But we love our kids, don’t we?  Knowing that’s what counts the most gives me hope in my unperfected mess.  So go on and think of the things you’ve done well as a mom!  Then go love on them today and every day.  You got this.

 

He Goes Before You, Mama

He was entering the great unknown of high school and I couldn’t hold his hand anymore like I did when he was a little boy. I felt like I was in over my head. All the worries, what ifs and question marks threatened to drown me.

I’m sharing over at Raising Generations Today this beautiful October day.  To read more click here.

Love, Mom

Dear Beloved Child of mine,

You are loved. You are loved far more than you can ever imagine. You will never understand the sacrifice of that love until you are a parent to your own beloved child. This is how it should be.

Because of my love for you, You are more important than anything this world has to offer. In the end, all the successes, all the failures are not as significant as I thought. They are fleeting and empty but I get distracted by them. I have to remind myself what really matters.

I made a list….

Read more here at Raising Generation Today where I’m sharing today.

JenniferWillcock.LoveMom

Forget the Pity Party, It’s Time to Join the Real Party

It’s been one of those mornings. It started with a list of things I hadn’t done. I hadn’t gotten the reeds for my son’s musical instrument so he couldn’t play. The rabbit’s nails need clipping and we’d been reminded for weeks. Three to be precise. I could see the invisible shake of my son’s head.

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The conversation took on a life of it’s own in my own mind. I know he’s thinking to himself, “What is wrong with you? You can’t even get it together! I am never going to be like that!” In this imaginary conversation I began to defensively list why things weren’t getting done. Thankfully I kept it to myself.

I dropped them off and drove home feeling very inadequate as a parent and an adult. I sat down to read a blog that’s supposed to encourage but instead I walked away defeated and guilty.  I felt like the worst mom ever. Ever read something that’s supposed to lift you up but instead you feel like you got sucker punched?

Things were spiralling downwards pretty fast and I had a headache to boot. The day was about to go in the toilet. Ever have one of those days? Maybe today?

But wait! There is good news!

There are some days where God decides that He’s going to intervene immediately. Today was one of those days. I hope it is for you too.

I sat down to read Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. These were the opening words:

“Be on guard against the pit of self-pity. When you are weary or unwell, this demonic trap is the greatest danger you face.” (p.56)

She goes on to say that by praising God and thanking Him, we can combat those feelings and stay away from that particular cliff. That by staying close to Jesus (remembering He is near, knowing His Word and keeping it on our lips) we keep our distance from said cliff.
Wow! It was like God was snapping His fingers in my face and telling me to wake up and get with the program! Not only was He telling me to stop feeling sorry for myself but He gave me a recipe to win over it.

I stopped and looked at my situation. God had brought healing and wholeness in my life through different people and courses. My mothering had changed FOR THE BETTER. The path set out before us is totally different than one ten years ago. I am thankful for that. Then God reminded me that I have some very good friends and kind people all around me. I am thankful for them. That today of all days, I am surrounded by blessings from God.
Gratitude crashed that self-pity party. You can’t be thankful and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. It doesn’t work.

It was also a reminder that some days God wants to celebrate with you and He’s not going to put up with lies and garbage. This weekend is a big celebration here at our house. It’s Book Launch weekend and the real party plans are in place. I have much to be grateful for and God reminded me of that too. It’s not a time to get wrapped up in fear and self-pity. (It’s never a good time for that!) It’s a time for festivities and God wants to join us in those times too.

 

I believe He delights over us with singing at all times, good and bad, but how much sweeter must it be in the good? (Zeph 3:17) He wants us to let go of self-pity, fear, feelings of self-loathing and just celebrate Him and what He has done for us! It’s a time for joy and I want to be a part of that! The blessings are many if we look for them and put aside our own pity parties.

 

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I’m proud of the accomplishment of pursuing a dream. But the real celebration is the faithfulness of God. Ten years is long time. I would have quit but He had a plan. The unravelling of this plan and the excitement of being able to witness what HE is going to do is plenty excuse to throw a party!

What are you celebrating today with God?

Embracing Other Moms

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 NLT

When my boys were teeny tiny, I was fortunate enough to be in a community that ran a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. The church I attended hosted MOPS, but the group was open to the community and a lot of women came with their children. It was a life saviour for me, providing two hours of grown-up time with other moms while the kiddos went into their groups to learn and play.

It’s also where I met some of my best friends….

To read more click here.  I’m sharing over at Raising Generations Today.

jenniferwillcock-embracingothermoms

Every Little Thing

“It’s been one of those days. A twenty-four hour period that was an emotional rollercoaster. The kind that leave you feeling nauseated, breathless and wind-whipped. If you have children, you’ve experienced them. If we’re being honest, and I hope we are, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.”

I am excited to be a guest writer over at Raising Generations Today.  You can read the rest of the blog here.  It’s a great site so I invite you to go check out the blog and then have a look around!

 

 

 

TURN: To Myself This Summer

Summer’s coming. Ominous words for those of us who quake at the thought of summer vacation.

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I’m not one of those parents who love summer. Neither are my kids. We thrive on routine. We thrive on learning and discovery. We are better when we set goals. Last year my oldest son, decided to build a new Lego creation of his own design, each week of the summer. It was something he came up with all by himself because the boy just needs to have project going at all times. I thanked God all summer for that one mercy. It kept him busy and engaged for hours on end.

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His Batmobile that he designed and created.  

This year is going to be a little different. The boys are older and childhood things are passing away faster than I could ever have imagined. The usual tricks are not going to work. I’m freaking out. Just a little.

So while I’m freaking out I’m also counting my blessings.  I’m thankful for overnight camp! Hallelujah! I’m thankful for volunteer opportunities and swimming lessons. These things are going to help keep the “I’m bored” and “Can I _____(do something Mom and Dad have already said no to)” at bay. At least a little.

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One thing I am realizing is that it’s not just about keeping the kids busy this summer. Meeting their needs. It’s what summer has become about for many parents. Summer is all about the kids. Not always a bad thing but let’s remember moderation is good. It’s okay for them to have down time and bored time. To figure things out for themselves. To entertain themselves or just sit quietly for a bit.

But making them the centre of it all, is faulty thinking. As they boys grow, I’m not needed or wanted as much. I still need to be around but it’s not hands on parenting anymore. It’s more like, feet on the ground and mouth firmly shut kind of parenting. (Not really succeeding at the moment at that but as I pointed out to my teenager yesterday, it’s new for all of us! Parent’s included!) Observation and some stealth so they don’t know you are watching. Waiting for the invitation to enter their world. For the right moment to respond.

As all mothers know, multi-tasking is part of the job. So while doing all the above, I need to get back to my own life. TURN to me.  That sounds selfish but it’s really not. For two reasons. One is that eventually the boys will be grown up and living their own lives. What will I do then if they are my entire life?

And two. I will go insane before that happens if I don’t take care of my needs and myself. I know this to be true because I’ve lived it already and was reminded of it again lately.

Two Wednesday evenings this past month, I went to a writer’s workshop through the public library. I hadn’t done anything like that for too long. I forgot how much I like to learn new things. I forgot how much I enjoyed the freedom of an evening to do something for myself. How much I like sitting anonymously listening to someone speak. It was refreshing. It was rejuvenating. I felt like myself. I need to do it more. And more, as seasons change in our lives. How about you? What’s something that’s been knocking on your heart, asking to be free once again?

We think we don’t have the time. But ask yourself, what things are you making time for that you don’t really want to or need to? That PVR’d TV show? Social media? Chores that can sit another day? (I never have a problem with this one.)

I understand when kids are really little, no, you don’t have time but eventually you will. Or you will need to find some. Because if you don’t, you will go crazy. Or you’ll be a slave to your children. Frankly it doesn’t end well for you or your children if let them become your master. You’re worshipping something fleeting and false. They become self-absorbed and entitled because you taught them that they are the centre of the universe. So do yourself and them a favour, and show them that they aren’t the world.

The other thing, and we all know it to be true, is in TURNING to your own needs, you’ll be a better parent. A better partner.  A better person.  If I have done something I like, and had time alone, then I am much more likely to behave like an adult. If I’ve shoved my needs off to the side, guess what? I’m more likely to be snappy, rude and irritated. It’s called an adult tantrum. It happens for the same reasons that kids have tantrums.  You didn’t listen to their needs.

So this summer, on my to do list, are going to be a few things for me. It will be hard to TURN to them amongst the teenage angst, the chaos, the noise, the humidity. But I am going to try, so I can thrive this summer and maybe against the odds, make it a good one, full of memories we all will cherish in the years to come.