Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When You Feel Like You're Not Doing Enough

I read the email too late.  After I parked the van at my son's preschool, I quickly scrolled my messages before walking him in.  My inbox held a request for more parents to volunteer at the music fundraiser before school.  Immediately, I felt that all too familiar drop in my spirit.  I hadn't been able to help out with that yet.

The lie I too often believe whispered, "You are not a good mom.  You don't help at the school enough.  What are the other moms going to think of you? You're failing."

Thankfully, with some practice, I've learned to shut down those negative thoughts when they arise (It seems like they never leave me alone). Because the truth is, I am not failing.

I just fed three kids breakfast, helped pick out all of their outfits, made sure teeth were brushed, hair was fixed, shoes were tied, and backpacks were zipped. Then, I buckled us in the car with enough time to pray for our days and walk them to the door, complete with hugs and goodbyes.  I did all of this before I read the email asking for more parental involvement.

I am doing enough, and I have to care less what other moms think of me.  I just have to. The measure of my success is the well-being of my family, not the tally marks for my community involvement.

So if you're with me in that place today, where you're still home with a little guy, and taking him anywhere is a slight risk to your sanity, please know that you are doing just fine.  You are taking care of your family.  You do not need to run yourself ragged proving your worth to anyone else in this world. 

And for yourself, remember that you are doing HUGE things!  It doesn't matter who sees them.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The One Thing I Know I'm Doing Right

My kids have been giving me a run for my money lately.  The bickering, talking back and arguing can really wear this girl down. I'm not sure if I'm handling misbehavior the right way.  I don't know if my speeches are getting through.  I wonder a lot of times if anything I do is working at all.

There are always question marks in the mom season. I know I'm doing one thing right though.  I'm here...being Mom.  

I haven't checked out yet, even when my thoughts are screaming, "Run away!  Let someone else deal with the hard stuff!"  I mean, I've definitely put in some time- ten years of lessons in manners and picking up your messes. It is tempting to take a much-deserved vacation, like every week! Some people would possibly understand if I escaped into a hobby, another job, a good book, or a few extra nights out with the girls to distract me from my children's endless requests and demands.  Those are all positive outlets and certainly provide a break when needed.  But they can't replace the reward of a race well run.

The one thing all mothers can be sure of is that we are doing a good thing when we invest our time and energy in the business of raising our kids. It's hard and not all that fun, but it's important.  And that keeps me going.

 Now is not the time to quit.  When the parenting gets tough, the tough get parenting!
And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.
So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers]. -Galatians 6.9-10 (AMP)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Be Brave and See What Happens

I'm going to admit a fear I've been battling lately.  Actually, there's more than one dragon I'm swinging a sword at, but it comes down to the fact that I've just been scared.  It really isn't anything major except that, any sort of fear (rational or irrational) always holds us back.  It limits our potential and impact on the world. So if I'm going to make my mark, I have to face the enemies.
  1. I have been afraid of failing. So I don't try.
  2. I worry about what others think. So I withdraw.
I told you these weren't gigantic monsters. Possibly, you've had the same insecurities as well (which  would come as a relief to me).  Living in fear, isolates you and I.  It causes us to close the curtains and hide. Just sharing your worries with someone else, can weaken the scary stuff and build yourself a team of support.

For a writer, fears limit my willingness to say what I want to say.  I'm a wiz at over-analyzing the outcome.  Will the words make sense?   Did that sound stupid?  Does anyone hear me? Quickly following, are the self-doubting thoughts: Why would anyone read this?  Hasn't everything that needs to be said, been said already?

Mom friends, have you feared that your current method of parenting isn't the right one?  I too have worried about that.  Are you also afraid of making your kids mad at you or not measuring up in the eyes of other moms?  Me too, sometimes. The danger is falling into the "forget-it-I-can't-win" mentality. This is a terrible loss for our families and for ourselves!

In everyday interactions, fears can effect our relationships too.  I may not speak up when I have a good idea. You may not reply when someone offends you.  Opportunities are missed when we stay silent and friendships suffer when we aren't vulnerable. Tucking away seems safer, but it's the opposite of living an awesome life.

So, in my quest to BE this year, the first challenge I accept is to BE BRAVE! I hereby choose to no longer be afraid of what MAY happen and let the fear of unknown possibilities paralyze me.  Doing nothing will accomplish...nothing. 

I hope you can muster up some courage to take down a few of your own insecurities. Who cares what others think? Be your wonderful self and attempt your very best at what lies in front of you.  It may take a few whacks, but beating fear itself is always a win!

I'm praying for me and for you.  I can't wait to see what happens :-)