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.

TURN Things Around

Family is where your story begins. The sign was on the mantle at the cottage I stayed at a couple of weeks ago.

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I have a similar saying posted in my kitchen area. Instead of family, it says Home is where your story begins.

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Either way, the meaning is the same. Our homes, our families, that’s where it all begins. The potential that exists in a family or home at the very start is staggering. No pressure there for young married or young parents, right?

I think we all feel that pressure. I hear it all the time from moms. I said it enough as a young mom myself. “I’m afraid I’m going to wreck my kids.” It’s got to be up there in the top five things we fear most as parents.

The thing is we don’t need to be afraid. We aren’t going to be perfect with our kids or our spouses. Ever. We’ll do some things right and others, we are going to mess up. Because of grace, there still is hope. We are given second chances. It’s not second best either.

Sometimes we think that, right? That a second try is second best? It’s not. Sometimes it’s better.

Thankfully that potential is always there. Waiting to be tapped. Even if it gets messed up. As Brene Brown says, “It often takes just a single brave person to change the trajectory of a family or of any system, for that matter.” (from her book, Rising Strong. Yes do read it!!!)

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Do we want to be that single brave person? Even if our own stories were horrific, or disappointing?  We can still be the one to say, “Enough.”  Write a new ending.  For ourselves.  For our children.  TURN things around.

A TURN ABOUT can change everything and every outcome. I have lived it. I have been witness to it. I’m sure we all have at some point.

Even in the beginning, after Adam and Eve sinned and it looked like things couldn’t get more messed up, God TURNED things around for us. Did He have to? No, he could have just started all over again. He had that ability. But He chose to redeem rather than start over.

He still does today. For us. Redeem rather than start over. He takes those things that we think are irreversible and He TURNS them AROUND. He TURNS them UPSIDE DOWN. Or RIGHT SIDE UP. You might be the person He’s going to do it through.  It may take a journey to get there but it’s worth it. The journey brings about the change needed and the end result is a story to be told. Stories beginning one way and ending in a way we never imagined or hoped for.

Adam and Eve were the first family. They were also the first messed up family. But that was not their ending. It doesn’t have to be ours either.

I posted that saying to remind myself that I wanted to change how my boys’ stories were going to play out. That I had a say in how their stories would unfold. That the potential is always there, waiting to be let loose. That grace does bring second chances. That love and courage can TURN our stories around.

Mom-Fail

Sometimes there is just too much to keep track of when you have kids. There are days that just keeping up with the library books is too much. Usually there are at least twenty other things piled on top. Homework. Who’s going where at what time. Managing clothing and shoes but the sizes keep changing at a increasingly rapid rate. What’s for dinner. Or what’s not. The list can be endless. I can forget stuff. More often than I want to admit.

When the boys were little, I mixed up some important information. We had signed our boys up for swimming lessons. Our oldest had learned to swim that summer and had far outgrown Preschool B. So the lessons were at two different times but on the same day. Bonus!

Our youngest went first but he didn’t even make it in the door. He had decided he wasn’t going anywhere near the pool without his brother in tow. My husband brought him back home without even going inside to the community centre pool. Thankfully we lived only a five minute drive from there.

Exactly an hour later, I left with a very excited five-year old. We got there, and he changed and we waited for 6 pm. When 6 finally rolled around, Preschool B was called but not Swimmer 1. I began to have a sinking feeling in my stomach. I talked to the life guard and she confirmed my fears. I had mixed up the times. Swimmer 1 had been an hour earlier. Needless to say, my five-year old was not happy with me. I explained to him that everyone makes mistakes, including him and me. In a dejected voice, he told me, “Yeah but you make a lot.” Ouch.

The bright spot in that little parenting misadventure is that at least he learned early on that in the real world people aren’t perfect, even mommies. It was a good lesson for both of us.

We don’t need to be perfect. Being a mother is hard enough as it is.

I really don’t like Mother’s Day. It’s a hard day for so many. Do we really need to see all those touchy-feely, perfect families in the videos, pictures and movies they haul out every year for Mother’s Day? The kind that make you squirm in your seat because you know what happened in your own house before eight am this morning. Or how the wee hours of last night went down. It wasn’t pretty. Not touchy-feely in any way. No warm fuzzy feelings.
Instead of feeling encouraged, I feel depressed. I don’t really need a reminder of how badly I’m doing the job some days.

I know that’s not what it’s supposed to be but that’s what it ends up being for many. A reminder of what they’ve lost, never had or want to forget.

So this weekend, I post my mom-fail. One of many. Because we don’t need to be perfect or even blissfully happy all the time. We just need to be real; with the kids in our lives, with our spouses and with our expectations. Perfection is not bliss. It’s not even real. Authenticity and love is really what it’s all about.

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
                                                                                                                                1 Peter 4:8