You’re More Than A PB&J Mom

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have become a daily meal at our house. I even remember as a kid that’s all I would eat for lunch. Seriously, they are easy to make and just so darn delicious. But today the PB&J sandwich made me question if I’m a “good mom.”

I’m 37 weeks pregnant with my second baby; which means everything hurts. My hips are constantly in pain, I pee at least 6 times a night. I battle insomnia at night while struggling to stay awake during the day.

Today, I actually had some energy to do a few chores. To me, that means clean the whole house. But my body only allowed me to Vaccuum and sweep the floors before my back was screaming at me. I felt so exhausted afterwards. I couldn’t push through the pain. My anxiety was escalating just by looking at the mess around the house.

Finally, I put my daughter down for her nap. I decided to rest myself but by the time I started to fall asleep my happy toddler was at my bedside ready to eat lunch.

As I walked in the kitchen I struggled to keep my eyes open. I was tired and all the energy I had to muster was only good enough to make a PB&J for my daughter. That’s when I broke down into a deep cry for about 5 minutes. “You’re a bad mom”, “you can do better”, “Aurora deserves a better mom” all flooded my mind. I felt completely overwhelmed with failure and I didn’t know how to find the energy to do more. In the midst of my crying, my beautiful 3-year-Old ran and hugged my leg with all her strength. “Mommy, it’s okay.”

Even though she didn’t understand why I was crying she reminded me in that moment that she loves me. She reminded me that a 3-year-Old doesn’t measure by perfection. They measure by love and how those around them are a part of their everyday lives.

I may have made the millionth PB&J but to my daughter it was something to look forward to. She never saw it as a lack of effort on my part but a treat to enjoy.

My husband called me right after my breakdown. He reminded me that I’m not a bad mom. He told me I’m 37 weeks pregnant so it’s okay not to be able to do everything. He told me to be patient until after I have our baby boy. Then I can become supermom again. (He knows me so well because that’s exactly what I want to be. Even at 37 weeks — supermom).

To the moms like me (pregnant or not) struggling to make more than a PB&J — you’re a good mom. You’re doing the best you can within your circumstances. Your babies love you and really do enjoy that PB&J. Give yourself grace and remember that what you make for lunch doesn’t define who you are as a mom. It’s the time and love you put into your kids that really makes a big difference.

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To Foster Parents Who Take it Personal

“Don’t take it personal.” It’s a phrase I’ve heard more than a dozen times in the last few months. I hear it when I call my agency for advice. I hear it when I cry about the recent attitude my foster kiddo got with me. It’s a phrase I grew to hate. How could I NOT take it personal?

To me, fostering and raising kids is one of the most personal things I will ever do. I pour my heart into these kids daily. I wake up and immediately hit the ground running. I go to bed after everyone else. I make the meals, clean the home, haul kids where they need to go. I sacrifice my own wants and needs for others. How could I NOT take it personal?

Foster parents, this job is personal. Loving these kids is personal. But there is a difference between taking the attitudes to heart and the job to heart. This is something that has taken me several months to realize. The actions of these kids have nothing to do with us. They’re just being kids. But it doesn’t mean it won’t hurt along the way.

I finally see that the outbursts and yelling has nothing to do with me. Like any family or close friend, foster kids will let out their frustrations towards you.  Why? Because we are the closest people to them. It also means that they are comfortable enough to be vulnerable. They may not scream their actual struggles but they are telling you in their own way that they are hurting.  Consider it an honor that these kids feel like they can say what they feel.

Now I’m not saying yelling and cussing is tolerated. You do need to let them know they need to be respectful. But remember it has nothing to do with you. I wish I had understood that sooner.

In those tough moments I want you to remember that you are probably one of the few people fighting for them. Even if they feel like you’re against them. Remember, on top of all of that trauma — they’re just kids. It’s normal to get eye rolls and whining. I know I did it when I was young.

Most importantly, be kind to yourselves. If your foster kid calls you names or says you suck as a parent — know that it doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job. The fact that you opened your home to love someone else’s child is reason enough to know that’s not true.

Don’t take the behavior issues personally. Instead, take the job personally. Keeping loving them. Show them you’re not giving up.

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A Cup of Tea and a Whole Lot of Grace

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If you’ve been following me a while then you know how much I love to listen and read things from Sally Clarkson. She is a true inspiration for mothers and women. Lately, I’v been reading her book, “The Life Giving Table.” If you haven’t picked up a copy then order one now. Anyway, so as I was reading her book, I heard God tell me to find a way to invite other ladies to enjoy an afternoon of tea. That’s how I started my monthly Lady’s Brunch group.

I really wanted to create a time where women could come for a few hours and be served the best. I have china dishes and tea cups that I really wanted to use for this setting. Not to show that I have the best, but because it’s rare to be served on someone’s fine china unless it’s a holiday. I kept thinking to myself that these ladies give their best each day to their kids, husbands, work, families and may have little time to treat themselves.

I remember having two ladies show up for my first lady’s brunch. Their reactions to seeing the table set was priceless. Each lady got to pick their favorite tea cup along with their preferred beverage. The coolest part was that we spent about 3 hours sitting and talking about life. What were are struggles, our stories of adoption and fostering, and even the lack of community in our society.

The second meeting went just as well. This time there were 3 ladies that joined me for the afternoon. Once again, we sat and talked for a good 3 hours before we returned home to our families. I noticed each lady left a little bit lighter from the burdens of their everyday life. As much as we all love our husbands and kids…it was great to take just a few hours to rejuvenate ourselves and connect.

Since I started this group I have grown so much closer to these ladies. Since I moved to Indiana I have struggled to make honest and deep friendships with other moms. But I’m happy to say I now have those friendships. Why? Because I turned my focus from my self and found others to help.

As a mom it’s a struggle to make good friends. It’s hard to even find the time. One thing I never realized was how lonely motherhood can be. But now I have people to lean on. Godly women who seek God daily. Ladies who I respect and turn to when I need a voice of reason.

Our society has taught us to build bigger homes, drive fancier cars and make it all about what we want. All the while we are forgetting those around us. We don’t help people because we see them more as burdens that could take us away from our ideal lives.

Sally Clarkson

I encourage you today to step out of your comfort zone. Find someone who needs a friend. I don’t mean the people of your normal crowd. I mean people you naturally would avoid. People who don’t quite wear the same clothes you do. People who don’t make as much money. At the end of our lives it’s not about what we racked up in things on this earth but the legacy we left behind. What legacy will you leave behind?

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Parenting Through Grace

Parenting Through Grace

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“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:9

“What did I say?” “Don’t touch that.” “No. ma’am.” I have repeated these same phrases for the last few days. My daughter is almost a 2-years-old; which means we are working on listening to mom and dad. My main struggle has been repeating myself and yet she continues to do the same thing after I told her not to. I feel like a broken record. Why won’t she listen?

If you’re a parent then you know exactly what I’m talking about. You spend most of the day trying to teach and correct your children. And yet it seems the information goes in one ear and out the other. Yesterday was a rough day. I found myself frustrated with my daughter. I would correct her and then she was doing something else. She is starting to test her limits with me. Always trying to see how far she can go. It’s frustrating.  That’s when I realized this must be how God feels.

God parents us each day. He gives us guidelines to live by. (The Bible). He teaches us through His word what we need to do as Christians. However, we continue to push the limits. Even when we know it’s wrong. Many of us have faced the punishment for our actions. And yet we’re still making mistakes. Why?

Because we are all sinners. Yes, even our babies. Those cute and chubby kiddos came into this world as sinners. True, they learn habits from those around them, but we all have sinful nature inside. Even as an adult I fight against daily sin. If you’re human then so do you. But there is good news.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:4-9

God’s grace. I had a friend text me during my rough day. She reminded me of how God gives us grace even when we don’t deserve it. Our kids need that as well. Even when it seems like they will never do what we ask. We have to remember to give them grace in the midst of those moments. It may take months or even years to see the lessons we teach them. But I promise it’s not wasted. I can think of MANY times I tested my limits with God. But He was still there. He never left my side. Eventually, I decided to follow His advice instead of my own.

As a reminder to you amazing parents, like your kids, you are still learning as well. For parents of young ones, now is the time to strengthen the patient muscle. To fight through the tough days even when we feel like failures. You’re not wasting your breath or energy. Every effort you put into your child means they are one step closer to becoming the Godly men and women they were called to be.

What are some struggles you face with your kids?

How do you remind yourself to show them grace?

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What I Learned After Being a Stay-At-Home Mom for 2 Days

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Last week I took two days off for work. We had some foster/adoption things we need to get done so I decided to take a few days to focus on that. My husband just went back to work and our nanny was off since I was at home. I was excited to see what it was like to be a stay-at-home mom. My first thought, “I can get so much done.”

Well I was mistaken. I was the worst stay-at-home mom ever. My house was messy. The dishes were piling up quickly. I was constantly trying to get things done while making sure Aurora wasn’t getting into stuff. I also was trying to get some more stuff done for my blog. I accomplished little to nothing those two days. How can I be home for two days and NOT have a clean house or have anything to show for it? I knew being at home is a tough job, but I underestimated it.

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I remember seeing an Insta-story by one mom who is part of the Risen Motherhood ministry. She was doing a “day in the life” video series. The first video, she talked about how she gets up 3 days a week at 5am to go to the gym. Then comes home and has quiet time before her kids get up. This mom has 5 kids of her own. Ages ranging from 9 to 10 months. (I’m not sure about the exact ages. I’m just guessing by how old they looked in the videos I watched). Anyway, later she posted a video where she was teaching scriptures to her kids at breakfast.  After breakfast, she changed out of her pajamas and into normal day clothes. She looked fabulous for it taking 10 minutes. All day I kept looking at her stories thinking I haven’t worked out today. I only have one child and I’m still in sloppy clothes. Yes, I was comparing myself to this sweet mom who looked like she had it all together.

But at the end of the day she posted another video. This time she spoke about how there was a lot of things we did not see in the videos. Things like her lack of patience with her kids. Or her daily sin and selfishness. But through God’s grace she (and everyone else) can start over and try harder. It’s through God’s grace that we as moms are able to do the same for our children. They are sinners just like us. (Yes, even those cute toddlers). Moms you know, even on those hard days, that’s when God reminds us of what it’s like for Him to give us grace.

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Even though I was terrible at being a stay-at-home mom, I realized that other moms struggle with the same thoughts. I know several full-time stay-at-home moms who work hard to give their kids a great education, attention, teaching moments and love all day. Every day. Unlike me, many don’t have a nanny that takes over in the middle of the day. For many they don’t get to leave the house and go to a job of their own. Their job is being there for those kiddos.

In those few days I saw a small glimpse of what many amazing women do throughout the world. Stay-at-home moms rock. They have the HARDEST job. It’s also one that will leave an impact for generations to come.

If you know a stay-at-home mom or are one then I want you to remember that you are doing some BIG things. It may not feel like it on those rough days. Yes, it’s a job you may not see evidence of your hard work for years to come. But don’t give-up. Don’t compare yourself to other moms. And don’t do it alone.

God calls us to be in a community together. Not just at church. Yes, it’s hard to reach out to another mom when you’re too busy with your own kids each day. But I promise there is a mom out there that needs a friend, help or someone to talk to who knows what they’re going through. So find another mom in your community to befriend. Someone you don’t know already. You never know how it will bless that mom. It may give her that extra energy she needs to raise her kiddos the way she has always hoped.

What are some struggles you face as a stay-at-home mom?

How can others help you on days when things are going rough?

What are some ways you stay encourgaed?

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