Good Mom vs. Bad Mom

Are you breastfeeding?  Good mom vs. Bad Mom

Do you feed your kids organic everything? Good Mom vs. Bad Mom

Are your kids on social media?  Good Mom vs. Bad Mom

Do your kids watch too much TV? Good Mom vs. Bad Mom

And the ongoing saga is played over and over in our heads.  I am a bad mom.   I am a good mom.  Our inner dialogue fights to measure up to others and our preconceived June Cleaver expectations.  Stop.  You are neither a good mom or a bad mom.

Tired mom. Energetic mom.  Demanding mom.  Excited mom. Mean mom.  Worried mom. Proud mom. Overwhelmed mom. Happy mom.  Sad mom. Peaceful mom.  Explosive mom. Caring mom.  Hurried mom. 

I may have been all of these things in the last half hour getting my kids to school, but I am not a bad mom and neither are you.  Stop telling yourself that.

“You are doing the best job you can at the maturity level where you are.”  

Today might be a day where you are just breathing.  If that is you today, then just do that.  There are days that I high five myself (usually in the face) for breathing and surviving as I get in bed, and it is usually one of my favorite parts of the day….bedgasm.

Today might also be a day that you say, how can I grow?

Read this verse substituting your name instead of love:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

Read it again and find the things you do well.  What are those?  I like to hang out in the persevere, protect, and hope department.  That is how I love well.

Now, read it again, looking for two things you need to work on.  JUST TWO.  Perfectionism is not going to grow you here.

The two things I need to work on are kindness and not being easily angered.   Yep, I have some issues.

Last night before sitting down to a wonderful meal that I made by dumping anything I could find from my pantry into the crock pot and adding chicken, I said through gritted teeth to my children, “If you can not talk to each other nicely, I will duct tape you together until you do.” They knew I was not joking.  In my head, I was thinking other things, but you get the gist.

IMG_6591 (1)

My goal is to keep maturing as a mom.  I want my kids to see the emotion of life.  I want them to see that feelings come and go, but love is a choice and we get better at it by doing it.  Some days we will do it well, some days we will not.  Real, authentic love is messy and imperfect, but forgives one another and ourselves quickly.  We keep striving for better.  I ask for forgiveness often.  I know they see me trying to grow and I see them doing the same.  After a hard week with one of my daughters last week, she looked at me and said, “Thank you for putting up with me last week, I am not sure how you do it.”  And I replied, “That, is real, authentic love.” I am not a bad mom or a good mom.  I am just a mom trying to love my kids and husband the only way I know how and that is good enough.

Choose One Thing

He looked at me with rage in his blue eyes and gritted his teeth, “Get in the car.”  My father had just caught me throwing up a snack I had eaten.  I refused to keep anything down.  He had watched this ongoing cycle for three years after my hospital stay.  I would take 1 step forward and 3 backwards.

“How do you want to die?” he asked as he drove up the highway.  I did not answer.

“How do you want to die?” he yelled, his face red with frustration and there were tears in his eyes.

“I do not know, but I do not want to live….like this.  I just do not know what to do.” I cried as I looked down at my hands, feeling overwhelmed, scared, and defeated.  “I do not know where to start.”

“I know I can not tell  you to just eat.  I know that doesn’t work.  But, your time is limited.  You will die and when you die, I will die, too.” He cried as his hands gripped the wheel.  I think he chose to take a drive so there would be no distractions.  He wanted me to hear him loud and clear.

“You will do the hard things that you have to do to recover.  You are going to figure it out and you are going to use your talent. You are determined and stubborn.  Why can’t you be determined to recover?”

Perfectionism took over my life and it was one of the things that pushed my eating disorder forward.  If I could just do more, then it will all be better.  If I could lose five pounds, I would be happy.  If everything is in its place, then I will be able to relax.  If I have the perfect clothes, nobody would know how empty I was inside.  If I could just do more, be more, then things will be better…eventually.  But, it doesn’t work that way.  I had also given up on this “Christian” life because I couldn’t do the rules and live the way other Christians wanted me to live.  All or nothing.

I had given up on recovery because it wasn’t perfect and I failed.  For me, it was all of nothing.  There was nothing in between.  I had no idea how to fail and I had no idea what do with my failure.  And it was time to take a real step forward.

At the time, I did not believe counseling could help. The counseling I had in the hospital was very impersonal and had not grown me.  Nobody could do this for me. My dad was done with me. Everyone was tired of me.  I was done with me.

The only time I ever prayed was when I had no other choice.  It was my last resort.  I was really mad at God because I thought He should just fix me.  I didn’t want to do any work, I just wanted to be fixed.  And as I prayed I heard in my mind, “Choose to do one thing.”  Just do one thing.  Choose one thing.

That is how I started.  I chose one small goal, one achievable goal.  I also hated myself so much, that I tried to find one thing that I liked about myself.

  1. To keep breakfast down every day until I enjoyed it.

This took 7 months.  When I first started, I paced because the internal struggle was so severe and hard.  I started with safe foods and then tried to go outside my box and try foods that would be harder to keep down.  This was a process to change my thinking and the process was hard and time consuming.

  1. I liked my eyes.

My eyes change color depending on my mood.  Instead of focusing on all of the things I wasn’t, I focused on one small thing that I was.  When you hate yourself, this is really hard to do.  Looking into my own eyes helped me see where I was and where I had to go.

There are so many times that we have ourselves in such a hole, we do not know where to start.  As women, we have an idea of where we want to be, but really we do not have any way to get there  Usually that goal is a lie that we have been told about what it means to be a woman, mom, wife, etc.    We want to lose weight, but when we do not see the scale move after 5 days, we give up. Perfection. We want to be a better wife or mom, but when we lose it or mess up, we internally beat ourselves up and think that we are horrible. Perfection. And if we have a stronghold, something we do in secret, that we are struggling to give up, and we can’t just give it up, we see ourselves as weak and a loser, so we just continue to do it.  Perfection.

Perfection and quick fixes do not exist.  When we surrender to that, we begin to grow.  Growth happens when we are honest and we begin to work.  Jesus met me every time that I asked, but growth happens in the failure, the realization of that failure, and the step forward in faith that it can get better.  Slowly take the mask off, and look at yourself.  You are beautiful.  What is holding you back?  Identify that and choose one small thing.  Do one small thing to begin the process of making it better.  And when you mess up, try again.  Because failing forward is the best growth.

 

 

 

 

Blog Warning Label

On the first date with my husband, I laid all of my cards out on the table.

“I am a horrible driver, I have been told that I can’t have children and I do not want to get married.  If you want to be friends, that is great, but I am not looking for a relationship.”

We were married over a year later.

I am told I should come with a warning label.  And in the era of PC and hurt feelings, this can be considered a warning label for my blog.  At my age and with my experiences, this is what I believe.

Six Things You Should Know Before Reading My Blog:

  1. I have been broken and have been rebuilt…over and over again.

I am constantly growing and changing.  God has a way of putting me back together to make me stronger.  This blog will not be the same a year from now nor will I.  I am always working on growing small parts of me a little at a time.  It works for me and I will share with you how I am doing that.

  1. I celebrate growth in everybody’s life and it makes me REALLY excited!!!!

Being a mom and a teacher, I love watching kids and women grow emotionally, academically, spiritually, and physically.  It is my jam.  And we celebrate growth ALL OF THE TIME!!!!!  The messy process of growing is where we live.

  1. I do not speak Christianese and I do not blame God for the way Christians behave. (including MYSELF!!)

I have seen many Christians behind closed doors.  We are all messes.  Some just cover it up better than others.  I like to be upfront and honest.  And I have been called many a name from friends and family.  It is what it is.  I love God and I am saved by His grace.  I work out my salvation very SLOWLY with wonder and awe as he SLOWLY convicts me to be more like Him.

  1. People love me from the bottom of their hearts and people hate me from the depths of their toes.

When you have a strong personality, this is a given.  When you know what you believe and why you believe it, this is a given.  When you stand up for something, this is going to happen.

  1. I have a special place in my heart for middle school girls.

I have been in middle school 4 times.  Yes, you read that right.  We actually created a middle school in the Christian school where I was principal.  A place for kids 11-14.  These can be the worst years ever, but they do not have to be.  If we look for the good, put in the work, and lay a foundation, we can really grow kids to come out of this stage better than before.  I know that.  I have seen it done and it is worth every blood, sweat, and tear….many tears.  At our house, it is MENOPAUSE meets ADOLESCENCE…may the odds be forever in our favor….

  1. I laugh a lot and I am very, very sarcastic. Fluent sarcasm.  The end.

I would love to have you follow this journey.  We can learn much from one another.  I love hanging out with other women.  I love laughing at the situations we find ourselves in and having big pity parties with chocolate, coffee, and wine.  I love connecting with real women.  Welcome….pull up a seat and let’s paint beauty with what we have been given.