Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We've Made Progress

I've set specific challenges for myself for the last couple of weeks and it's been really good for me. I've liked having a goal. The first week's challenge was to keep my computer off while the kids were awake and the second week my challenge was to revive my blog. The Blog Revival has been fun but you should see the state of my house right now. It's not pretty. I've been running around like a headless chicken for a number of reasons, so I won't just blame it on the blog.

So this week my challenge is to have a better attitude about motherhood. I spent last week feeling very frustrated. I hate to admit that this was tied to my blogging and busyness but it was. My attitude absolutely stunk. I pretty much aired every complaint and frustration and it just wasn't good. So I'm focusing on how I think and talk about my role as a mother.

I was looking at my blog stats on Monday and I noticed something interesting. On Blogger you can see how your posts rank in page views. My second most read post in the last year - after Joy while I was in Guatemala - was "We Survived the Day." I'm thrilled that one of my Compassion posts blows all of my other blog material out of the water in terms of page views. But I was sad that a post about being at my wits end as a mother was my #2.

I'd been seeing it at that rank for quite a while and I finally took the time to go back and read what it said. In short, we were having a pretty rough day and dealing with issues that weren't uncommon, but nevertheless hard. Do you know what I realized? Not one of those problems I wrote about is still an issue today.

Take a deep breath.

Now take another.

Whatever issue we are dealing with today as mothers, it will probably not be an issue forever. When we have to pick up the house three times a day, every day, it feels as though nothing we do will ever get done. But we are making progress in our kids' lives. Let's ask God to show us some victories today and encourage us.

I was tempted to look at that post negatively and say "I'm just as frustrated as I was, but with new issues!" That's a very defeating thought. But having new issues to deal with is just life. There will always be something new to gripe about. If we can conquer our habits of complaining and rehearsing our hardships, maybe we can be more content in our circumstances.

If we are having really defeated thoughts about motherhood (even though we looooooove our children), we can know that we're not alone. But it won't do us any favors to stay there.

51 comments:

Angela said...

Amen sister! Great post with many great truths.

Angie said...

There will always be issues because we'll always be rearing sinners-who are being parented by sinners.

Bask in the contentment that the issues from your original post are gone.
You're doing a great job as Mommy/Wife/Blogger and we are all the better for reading your honesty!

Hugs

Tree Frog Creations... said...

I needed to read that today!!

Elizabeth said...

Babe, what a great insight you gained as you looked back at that blog post! My mom (your beloved Nanny) used to say, "Will it matter in six months? If so, it's worth a lot of concern today. If not, don't give it much space." I still think about that advice. Your blog today was a timely reminder to me that present challenges are, for the most part, next year's distant memories. Btw, I watch you parent every single week. You are a dang good mom. And an honest one. And that will serve you well.

jerry said...

Amen! I LOVE the blessing of being home with my children and thank Jesus for it. Some days it does seem like all you do is clean but when you step back and look at the big picture you can't help but praise God.

Jerry, Lauren, Kaylee, and Isaac! said...

AMEN! I think all of us moms have days like that. It feels like you clean and take care of kids and that's it and your to do list just grows and grows and you feel so unacomplished. However, I take a step back and realize how bad my husband and I wanted me home and how Jesus helped us make changes to allow for that and I am blessed. Raising Godly children is no small task but I am thankful and humbled God called me and also gave me other sweet moms to relate to along the way!

Marc and Charity said...

Thank you. I'm extremely frustrated. Must. stop. now.

Kelly said...

Why do you always know EXACTLY what to write???
AMEN AMEN AMEN AMEN!!!!
and thank you!

Shelli Littleton said...

Amanda, the other day I was thinking how I never have to use "Shout" on the girls' clothes anymore. When they were small, there were always, always stains or dirt marks to get "shouted out"! I almost felt relieved, but then realized I have so much harder issues now ... Karalee will be in 8th grade this next year leaving college just around the corner. Forget high school, I'm already concerned about college issues! Ugh ... ugh ... ugh! I feel the pressure of them being smart to do well on SAT's, etc. And guiding them in the "way they should go" for their future (college/career interests). Let me go back to the "shout" days!!

Shelli Littleton said...

PS. You gave me the urge to check my blog stats ... my most read one was "True Love" where my husband painted "I love Shelli" on my wall with red paint!! How funny!! We have since painted another wall red! Hee, hee!

Ashley N said...

I remember that post being an encouragement to me then, and I just re-read it, and was re-encouraged. My baby daugther is now the age Annabeth was when you wrote it....we're in the "diapering a cat" , awful mealtimes, into everything phase. And that's not to mention my attitued challenged 5yr old. IT. IS. SO. HARD! But I think when other mothers acknowledge and admit how hard it is, it makes us all feel less alone in it, and that helps. I've really enjoyed the blog revival!

Holly said...

Mine are all home due to a train spilling hydrocloric acid, so school was cancelled. And the day? Has been utter delight. I am trying to embrace their ages and stages and enjoy the time. Also, I am trying to find the stressors and eliminate them. Today, we are going through toys and simplifying...less tied to stuff, less clutter and tie ourselves and our hearts to God. A daily goal--not always realized. But some days, like today, make it so very very full of joy. Blessings on you and your family, Amanda.

Katie said...

I love this post!! Such a great attitude to have (it's so hard sometimes!) and I something I have struggled with as well. Love, love, love this! It's so refreshing to hear that we aren't alone, right? :]

Mari Bryant- Marks said...

So encouraging! Thanks Amanda :) Its hard when you are in a phase with your child, to remember that it won't last forever.

SassyAtty said...

Oh I needed that today. Bless your heart!

Tara said...

It's a high calling; motherhood. Don't doubt it for 1 second! My oldest is 14 and I am reaping much reward for those first 9 years I stayed Home.

Fraley said...

While I understand your point and certainly agree with it, I also want you to know that the post you spoke of was one of the most encouraging to me. It is often easy to look at other mama's from the outside and think they have it so together and forget that we are all human and in need of a whole lot of GRACE! Some days it is all we can do to make it through the day and pray that we do better the next day. Although I don't know you personally, I sure appreciate your honesty that sometimes this blessed job of mothering is harder than it may look.

Immeasurably More Mama said...

"If we can conquer our habits of complaining and rehearsing our hardships, maybe we can be more content in our circumstances." Whoa, this is good! I've been feeling very convicted about being intentional in my role as a mom. Like you, I need to set some goals that will make me more available to my children (like turning the computer off) and STOP venting every complaint and frustration! You have been a good friend to us all with your honesty. :)

Ana B said...

I always have to remind myself that it will not always be like today, whether it is good or bad. I've tried keeping the computer off when my daughter is awake, but that flopped when she decided she doesn't want to nap for a couple of days straight! Now her short naps aren't helping. I can only imagine how it will be when baby #2 arrives in November!

Kim said...

Thank you for this. My daughter is 7 1/2 months and has terrible acid reflux and as a result can't sleep for the life of her. Bless her heart she's so happy during the day when she can be upright but nighttime is a nightmare. As in every hour to hour and a half up crying. Good thing God makes them cute :)

The Sotos said...

thank you for posting this! exactly what i needed today. I woke up this morning thinking "I cannot do another day of this!" I felt like it is all so mundane and repeatative. And it is, but it is the job I chose and I am investing in my daughter and she loves me no matter what! It also helped when Bobby told me that he appreciates all I do! :) It is the little things. Glad I am not alone. :)

Jamie said...

Awesome post! Very encouraging. Thanks :)

Enjoying the journey, Karla said...

Amanda,

I totally understand your frustration because between being a Mom/wife, novice writer, blogger and life in general I had to change up my schedule. I started setting aside 3 days a week to write for my blog unless I had lots of time. I tried to do 2 posts per sitting. This allowed me to schedule them to post and begin looking ahead to what I wanted to write about.

I have taken a 2 month break from my blog while I prepare to take my Human Resource certification exam on May 6th. I am planning to start my blog back up in June and am praying toward what the Lord would have me write in May to give me some scheduling flexibility.

I am praying that you will find your rhythm just as I did. Thank you for all your posts...good and bad. It is your transparency that is such a blessing.

Karla

tiggerdaisy said...

I needed this at this exact moment. Thank you.

Prayers and blessings,
Rebecca

Jen said...

You will never know how timely this was - thank you.

Looking UP Amid the Chaos said...

It is sooo hard to remember that we get fresh, new mercies EVERYDAY! I don't know why in the world I would feel defeated if I truly "got this"!
I will keep pressing on....

Tonya Gray said...

You know that verse in Matthew, "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks", I have found the reverse to be true as well. Especially concerning motherhood (and wifehood). I have found the more I complain, grumble from my lips (even sometimes just sarcastic complaints to get a laugh), my heart starts to change and I start to believe what I say...I try to remember that when I need to vent about my kids and/or husband!

Heather said...

I just love you so much friend. I love your heart and thank you for sharing this. You write beautifully! Thank you for this!!

Tara G. said...

In one of Elizabeth George's books (the Christian lady, not the mystery writer), she said that every age of her kids was her favorite. I've always remembered that and combined it with something a wise mentor always referred to her issues as: opportunities- opportuntites to trust the Lord, to persever, to gain character, to disciple, etc. I don't always embrace them, but as you said, there are most certainly victories to rejoice over!

Honeycutt Family said...

Thanks! I really needed to hear that, Amanda, since my week has been a rough one with my kiddos and I feel my attitude getting worse and worse. Thank you for speaking Truth and encouraging me (and so many others)!!!!

Beth said...

Thank you for writing this. It is exactly what I needed to hear this morning.

Amy T said...

Very well said. Thanks!

Annika said...

Very true, Amanda. I also find the danger I fall into is being home with the kids all day by myself, and by the time my husband walks in the door, the only thing I have to say is all the negative hard things that happened in the day. I HATE when I realize I've hit that desperate point. If I'm having a super-hard day I sometimes try to call a friend an hour before my husband gets home just to "talk it out" and ask for prayer so that I don't dump it all on him!! :) You're so right though...even the hardest days come to an end...and every day is a new day. And lots of deep breathing always helps, too. :)

Ellen Grant said...

I've recently realized that it helps to tell the Gospel to myself. I just sinned, Jesus died to forgive that {usually my bad, impatient attitude with my girls} and now it's time to MOVE ON. Praise Jesus for His grace and new mercies. Right?

Lindsee said...

I pray that my life lends to as much honesty and authenticity as yours does. This post is a great reminder for all of us, mother or not. Thanks for sharing!

Emily said...

I'm right there in the trenches with you! God placed Galatians 6:9 everywhere in my life over the past week or so. Perhaps it will encourage you. "Be patient in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."

Stephanie said...

Thanks for sharing my mothering attitude needs a regular check.

Kari said...

Loved this post too! Hope this one ranks #3!!!!

Love,

Kari

jkjkjkb said...

My catch phrase (besides, Help Me Jesus!..ha ha) is "This too shall pass". I know in the moment it doesn't seem like it & we ALL struggle to get through it, BUT our children are resilient & FORGIVING & thankfully I've never met a child who holds a grudge. Kim

Rachel said...

Oh Amanda!
I do not write comments usually, but I NEED to now! Thank you so much! I had been frustrated too as a mother lately, and I am so glad you wrote this post! Thank you so much!

Lauren said...

Aaaaamen!

A Doring Family said...

So encouraging. Even just knowing I'm not the only one who tidies up three times a day!

Shellie Paparazzo said...

Thank you so much for this! It's a good reminder for me right now, as it is the start of my son's baseball season, which is always crazy. My counselor also reminded me that our attitudes tend to be picked up by our children, so if I'm excited about Jeremiah's baseball games and practices and all of the new things he's learning, the girls will be, too. Cause I did complain that the girls get irritated with so much focus being on him this time of year. She says she wishes that she would have instilled more excitement in her children for each other's accomplishments if that makes sense. Get them excited about what their siblings interests and gifts. I also realized I can remind Angela that during the Missoula Children's Theatre play the focus was on her and her acting, so now it's Jeremiah's turn. It's okay, cause we all have things we're interested in and good at, and it's kind of cool how different we are. Angela's my little actor and Jeremiah's my athlete. Well, Angela's an athlete, too. She just hasn't found a sport we can keep her in consistently. She'd like to try basketball next year, so we'll try that. It can be exhausting having kids with so many different interests, but it's neat that they're starting to see areas of strength in themselves. Chloe...Well...we're still working on figuring out what her talent is. I'm thinking it might be accessorizing as much as she likes jewelry, crowns, scarves, gloves, nail polish, make-up :) Come to think of it she may be the younger version of your mom :)

Lori Lehrmann said...

Thank you so very much!! I needed to read this post today! What a blessing!

Kari said...

I just got around to reading a Proverbs 31 Ministries email this morning that was sent a few weeks ago. The lady was talking about how her now 20-something kids like to talk about remember when.... She pointed out that never do they talk about remembering the "sweet, sweet smell of Pine Sol"!

I struggle with trying to be super Mom at the expense of my 3 boys childhood! Thank you for the encouragement today.

Bev Brandon @ The Fray said...

Well, I just added to the statistic by reading it again. Your post today touches me because you are so moved by the things of God. Always asking good questions. "Blessed are the eyes that see what You see." It's not always knowing the right things to do but it's about seeing like God does and you wrestle well with such Mystery. Love your posts. Love your huge heart for Him and His people. Mary saw and chose the One Thing Necessary, Luke 10:42.
That is so the beat of your heart. Happy Easter to a beautiful mom!

katmullin said...

Thank you for writing this. I so needed it. I so need God's grace to not complain about this season of my life. The ironic thing is that I prayed so hard and worked so hard that I could be a sahm when I had children. God answered and I'm living my dream and I get so upset that I complain so much. I need to be more thankful.

Cha-Cha's Cakes said...

Amanda,

thank you for this post. This isn't really a comment for posting...I just didn't know how to email you. I wrote you about two years ago worried about strange blog comments, and you were so kind to respond and offer encouragement. I visit your blog and the lpm blog regularly and followed your journey to Guatemala, praying for you. I wanted to write and ask you to pray for me. For the past year, I have had a ministry to women in Kenya on my heart, one that would operate much like Christian women's Job Corps but would also work in Africa. I lived in kenya as a journeyman from 1999-2001. My husband and i have been praying for the right time for me to go and do a vision trip of sorts...and I'm going in June. Without my babies. I know you understand the fear and anxiety I am feeling as I try to follow God's leading so I really just wanted to ask you to pray with me. My daughter is five and a half. My son is one. I will be in Kenya from June 9-June 22. Thank you so much for praying with me....

Charlie White
charlie@mississippimom.com

Shelly@Sweet Journey said...

Thank you so much for this!

Cassandra Sines said...

Amanda, thank you so much for sharing your heart. As a mom to three children with special needs, many days I struggle with just getting things done and not feeling like a good mom. I know that the Lord has given my husband and I these children (all through adoption) and that He knew that we could handle it. But there are many days when I ask him if He was sure He made the right choice because I feel so unprepared to deal with the issues that we're dealing with.

Thank you again for sharing.

shouldbesleeping said...

thank you, I needed to read this today!