Mom Fails

I’m so sad. I don’t want to be a bad mom. I want to be patient with my little girl all the time. I don’t want to raise my voice. I don’t want to be visibly angry with her. I want her to be a sweet, obedient child.

But I find myself losing patience. There are all the reasons in the world to justify it, of course. We’re all tired and cranky. She’s not listening. She’d rather play, like a normal toddler, than go to bed. She’d rather throw a tantrum because the stuffed animal isn’t doing what she wants it to do, than rationally see my point when I say “You’re fine, calm down, here’s the bear, right here!”

SIGH……

Will there ever be a time in my life when I’m not treading water, keeping my head only slightly above? My strength wanes as I keep treading anyway. Because life is merciless in its endless demands for more. More work, more hours, more time, more money, more bills, more chores, more diapers, more tantrums, more CLEANING.

I know. No one wants to hear other people “complain”. I guess I don’t see this as complaining. I’m simply being real. Who actually enjoys the sucky things about life? Anyone? Bueller??

Didn’t think so.

What I have to learn through all of the crappy pieces of life, is to give myself some grace. To see my faults, decide they’re unacceptable, give my best, most valiant efforts to change them, and if and when I fail…to let it go.

Frozen’s popular song can teach us a thing or two. To let it go is one of the most important lessons we can learn! I want to let go of unrealistic expectations. I want to let go of guilt. I want to let go of fear, anger, sadness…melancholy.

You know what I think melancholy means? Seeing life for its stark reality and nothing more. No hope. No beauty. Just endless, endless TOIL and HARDSHIP. Never a happy moment to be had, and if so, it’s fleeting.

No, thanks.

I simply WON’T persist in being melancholy.

It’s just too sad, and there is SO MUCH to look forward to and hope for.

So if you’re in the midst of a “Mom Fail”, and you downright despise yourself because you haven’t been the perfect June Cleaver mother…STOP RIGHT NOW. Give yourself grace. Write down some ways you can make it better, and let it go.

You’re not a failure. You love your kids. They love you. Tomorrow is a new day.

A few things I want to remember and maybe they’ll help you, too.

1.) Praise your children ten times more than you correct them.

I should post this everywhere in my house, it’s so important!

2.) When you’re losing patience with your child: LOWER your voice instead of raising it.

I’ve actually done this one. And while it may not stop Olive’s meltdown in its tracks, it definitely has a calming affect on me. So it’s worth it.

3.) Spanking only works if you’re not angry. Even then, it’s doubtful.

To spank or not spank is totally a matter of opinion and I don’t judge people who spank, because I do it. But to be honest, I don’t want to do it, and it’s only as a last resort because how the heck do you get your toddler’s attention sometimes without a swat on the bottom?! But I hope to phase it out, because I feel it’s counterproductive.

4.) Don’t underestimate the power of involving God in your family. 

This may sound cliche and you may have skimmed over this part. To be honest, I probably would have, too. I hate cliches and platitudes. But I feel that the simplicity of actually putting this step into practice can CHANGE OUR LIVES. Praying about our families, praying WITH our families, searching our hearts to see if there’s any mean ol’ selfishness hiding there, and rooting it out and giving it to God…becoming more aware of others’ needs and choosing someone else’s happiness over ours. These are all things that can truly change our lives. And I want to do them more often. Not in a religious way…but in a very real, “God, I can’t do this without You” way.

It’s Monday night. I still have a long week ahead, full of any manner of frustrations, mishaps, pull-my-hair-out moments. But once again, God has centered me. He has brought peace. And I revel in this moment in gratitude. I’m thankful for my life, my family, my beautiful Olive and my handsome husband. Happy Monday, indeed. 🙂

Frustrated mom and toddler

 

 

 

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Why Can’t Everyone Be Nice?

People. I don’t know if I have very much to say right now, but if you could just imagine me. My eyes closed, arms straight down, hands ever so slightly raised at a ninety-degree angle, heaving a Big Long Sigh.

I had to capitalize that. Big Long Sigh is my usual go-to coping mechanism when my day gets frustrating. Maybe I should stomp my foot for good measure.

Seriously. Why can’t everyone be nice? I don’t understand. Is it physically impossible for you to say a kind word or be helpful in any way?

I’m trying to figure out the psychology behind a nasty person.

Do you think the world owes you something? Has life been unfair? Has your heart been broken and you’ve been cynical ever since, so you make the world pay? Have you got a terrible, unseen disease that causes you excruciating pain, so you’re physically unable to smile? Do you hate everyone? Why? When did you become a snob? A jerk? A mean, old grump? A cynic?

When did you stop caring if you hurt others’ feelings? Did you ever care? I’m sure you care if your feelings are hurt.

Because the world owes you. We all need to bend over backwards to accommodate the chip on your shoulder.

I know why people aren’t nice. There are seriously so many reasons. But none of them are good enough.

When it comes down to it, if you lack the ability to have simple KINDNESS, you lack one of the most important qualities you could ever hope to achieve in your lifetime.

You could be very successful in your business and make millions. No one could ever fault your business know-how. And you could argue that you got to the top because you were ruthless and people were afraid of you. But monetary gain will be ALL. You will miss out on the richest things in life. The things that do not come with a price tag.

It’s the best feeling in the world to know that your smile or your kindness made someone’s day. Here are some ways to be nice:

Smile.

Say “Thank you!”

Say something encouraging when you see someone struggling.

Practice empathy.

Don’t complain.

Be patient.

Don’t be self-centered. Remember that you’re not the only one that needs things.

Pray when you’re upset.

Believe in God and His ability to help you, in any circumstance you are in.

Determine to have renewed hope for your future. Whatever has happened to you is in the past. Clean slate.

Now, I want to say that I haven’t always been nice. I have to be honest. As an opinionated little personage, I’ve definitely had my moments when I’ve disregarded others’ feelings in favor of being right. As if that’s all that matters.

It most assuredly ISN’T all that matters.

Grumpy
Don’t be like Grumpy. Come on!

Kindness. That’s what matters.

 

 

 

Hold on Hope

I feel too raw right now. Disillusioned. Spent. Apprehensive about the future. Hopeless. Emotions are awesome, aren’t they.

I want to feel wonderful. Full of hope and life. I know I will again. But I want to always be able to see the silver lining, and at this point, I can’t.

I love Mumford & Sons. Their lyrics and music are the language of my very soul. What’s more, I can imagine them sitting on their couch right next to my reflective lamp and me, writing songs and strumming their guitars and laughing at themselves.

“I will hold on hope…” that simple lyric calls to me. Here’s the whole song, which is really a poem full of deep meaning when you really think about it.

“The Cave”

It’s empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
And all the faults you’ve left behind

The harvest left no food for you to eat
You cannibal, you meat-eater, you see
But I have seen the same
I know the shame in your defeat

But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again

‘Cause I have other things to fill my time
You take what is yours and I’ll take mine
Now let me at the truth
Which will refresh my broken mind

So tie me to a post and block my ears
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears

But I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again

So come out of your cave walking on your hands
And see the world hanging upside down
You can understand dependence
When you know the maker’s land

So make your siren’s call
And sing all you wantMumford and Sons
I will not hear what you have to say

‘Cause I need freedom now
And I need to know how
To live my life as it’s meant to be

And I will hold on hope
And I won’t let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I’ll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I’ll know my name as it’s called again

 

Watch the video here. No, for real, WATCH IT.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REo7VnlenOA

 

Being at the end of all solutions. Of all possibilities. Feeling entirely overwhelmed…as if everything is futile and life will never be easy. In the song, that’s where he is. Yet he rises above. He says “I WILL HOLD ON HOPE” and “I’LL FIND STRENGTH IN PAIN”.

Yes. Yes. Yes!!

I’ll know my name as it’s called again.

You know what Joanna means? “God is gracious.”

God is gracious, no matter what circumstances we are in. When we feel like the weight of the world is crushing us, like there’s truly no hope and we were such fools to ever believe there was…He is there, and He is gracious. He will make a way.

Because He’s God

And Mumford & Sons rocks.

And someday I will not only see them LIVE, but I’ll somehow get to meet them and play music with them and tour and see the world and life will be over-the-top amazing!

In the meantime I’ll settle for listening to their songs over and over while I wrinkle my face into emotional expressions and shed a few real tears as I feel the lyrics come from deep in my heart…and I imagine being there, singing with them. Because they’re just like me…they feel their music and it’s tangible. It’s beautiful. The epitome of heart-felt.

I suppose it’s what one would call “Emo”. Well, I’m not embarrassed to say I love me some good Emo. It’s the best! I mean, who can listen to Coldplay or Keane or Mumford & Sons or any number of awesome British bands (because the only good ones come from over there, for some reason), and not feel a bit Emo?

Okay, so this was a rambly post. My apologies. I will stay in line next time and I keep meaning to write about something important. Current events, current events…well, I haven’t been keeping up with them lately. Don’t seem to care much for bad news, I’d rather not hear about it…but I’ll eventually write about something important. Stay tuned. 🙂

“Can’t”

Bills picI use the word “can’t” quite a bit, I’ve noticed. I can’t buy that. I can’t afford that. I can’t do that. I can’t have that. I can’t handle this. I can’t deal with this. All these Can’ts are so negative!

I don’t know if I’m overwhelmed more easily than others…but life is hard.

How do people do it? How do people make it work on one income? Mom stays home, Dad goes to work. One car. It is so tough. Unnecessarily and surprisingly. Why can’t it just be like the 1950s? The dollar went alot further back then.

So I went to a couponing class. Helpful. But I refuse to just buy junk for my family, and that’s what alot of the coupons are for. But I’ve clipped all the coupons I could possibly use, for things that we already buy, so I’m not just buying something I wouldn’t normally buy, just because I saw a coupon. And I’ve used some really good ones and gotten some really good deals I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

We’re still struggling, and it seems to be just as bad as if I hadn’t couponed at all. Car trouble has to hit at the precise moment that we have nothing to spare.

Life is so…well, I have no word. It’s not a nice word, whatever it is.

If you can’t tell, I’m a bit negative tonight. Well, actually, alot negative.

I feel that I have worked super hard at various jobs in my life…and as a stay-at-home mom, I work every day for no money.

But at this point…I am feeling that I have nothing to show for it.

It’s so true what was written in Proverbs: Money has wings and will fly away. Or something like that. It really does! You have it, then you need it, then it’s gone. Just gone.

And you’re living paycheck to paycheck, literally.

When will we “arrive”? When will we be “successful”? What is success, exactly? Does it look like this: never wanting or needing for anything, because you don’t have to live on a budget?

Well, for me, yes.

I grew up in a low-income family. We didn’t have AC in our hot, Florida panhandle home for quite a bit of my childhood. When we finally got an AC unit, we could only run it for a few hours a day, to save on electricity. We used fans otherwise. We ate alot of beans, rice, chicken, salmon patties, Raisin Bran and sandwiches. We didn’t have junk except rarely. And we always had one car.

Our current situation is all too familiar, and I don’t like it.

I know my struggles in childhood and now are nothing compared to third world countries and even compared to how some people live right here in the US.

All I know is that for me, this is hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Being a stay-at-home mom, which is essentially a thankless job. No income, no real contribution. Just day in and day out, caring for my little girl and the house. And trying daily not to freak out about money. Because right now, it’s a daily thing.

I cannot seem to be okay with being this poor.

No, I don’t want charity. No, I don’t want help. Yes, I refuse government aid. Not because I think I’m better than anyone, it’s just the principle of the thing. I will not do that. Maybe it’s a pride thing…but I just can’t do that. I’m a bit too “Libertarian”.

I want a better life, of our own making. I can’t afford a better life. There’s that Can’t word again. Well, it’s true. But I’ll try my best at this very weak, negative moment…and I’ll say, I CAN afford a better life…later.

I CAN do this. I CAN handle this. The only way is with God’s help. I have to learn to truly trust Him.

Staying home with my little girl was a step of faith. My husband and I both agreed on that. We both knew it was a step of faith. And we knew when we signed up for good health insurance at the beginning of this year, that it would be quite a work of God to make ends meet.

But my trust wavers. It fails…it seems to be daily, or at least every few days. I can’t seem to maintain a steady trust in God regarding our finances.

“Where God guides, He provides,” so I’ve heard. I want to believe that. And trust that He knows what He’s doing when He allows us to go through hard times. He is good anyway. No matter how our circumstances look!

Our God is good. He loves us. HE CARES!!

Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.…”

And He tells us this most sound wisdom…which I need so much to hear right now:

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:25-34

So where does this leave me? Well, at peace, when I truly believe it! At peace, because He cares for me, and He knows what is happening.

He understands our needs.

I can seek Him first, and He will provide what I need spiritually, emotionally, physically.

My new word is CAN.

I can trust God, because He is constant and unfailing.

He is God, after all.

Isn’t it about time I believed Him?

 

Do What Makes You Feel Beautiful

So you know that you secretly cherish the hope that one day Stacey London will find you and give you a $5000 gift card to spend on a shopping spree in NYC! You’ve imagined your reaction, mingled with surprise and embarrassment and lots of sappy tears. But since that won’t happen for 99.9% of us, we’re left to take matters into our own hands. Plus, do you really think you could ever forgive the person that nominated you?? I just don’t know…

Most women today are hurried and worried and stressed. Putting ourselves last is the name of the game and martyrdom isn’t becoming. I’ll be honest: I looked like total crap most of the time when I was working fulltime. I would get up, do the bare minimum to look presentable, and rush off to work. Then I’d rush to the gym after work. Then I’d come home, shower, and sit. And eat. And then I had a baby, and I’d skip the gym (membership ran out), rush home to take care of her, and eventually shower…at some point.

My appearance suffered because it wasn’t important. All of these other more important things and people filled my life, and justifiably, I let myself go. For several years. I didn’t do things to make myself feel beautiful, except occasionally. This may sound like you.

If you find yourself sitting on the toilet, staring down at your toenail paint that’s been chipping off for months…or staring at your crazy, unkempt hair and your leftover eye makeup in the mirror first thing in the morning…this is for you.

You are beautiful. Even with the chipped toenail paint, and the wild hair and unwashed face. You are beautiful, even with those extra pounds. Because you gained them while you were caring about everybody and everything else, except you.

But if you’ll decide today, to do just one thing every day, to make yourself feel pretty, I promise you that you will feel better about yourself.

Stop hating yourself for having that extra weight. Love yourself. Stop being so very hard on yourself about not meeting all of your expectations. You’re meeting the ones that matter, because your family is cared for, your job is done every day, and the well-oiled machine of your life somehow keeps running.

Let go of those expectations for a few moments every day. Paint those toenails a pretty new color. Fix your hair the way you like it. Put on lipstick. Take a selfie, or a million. Just don’t post them all to facebook all the time. One or two occasionally is fine. Tip: Angle the camera up and angle your head down, and you’ll achieve the no-double-chin look. You’re welcome.

The point is: women actually have a need to feel beautiful. All I know is, when I feel beautiful, I am far more confident. I can take on the world with the bubbly attitude that I want to. I can conquer my to-do list with gusto. When I have on eyeliner and mascara, look out! I’m feelin good, and I just might try to conquer you while I’m at it. 😉

Remember Esther in the Bible? Well, I think we forget that she spent an entire year being pampered and doing spa treatments and preparing for the king. Believe me, your husband will be loving it. And if he doesn’t notice, it’s his loss, and you can still feel good about yourself anyway.

So tomorrow morning, get up and decide to do one thing that makes you feel beautiful. Love yourself. Pamper yourself. If that means a long bath after the kids are in bed, do it. Pour some Epsom Salt in there while you’re at it. It helps sore muscles and promotes magnesium absorption (which most Americans are deficient in). Just had to throw that in there. 😉

Do it. Whether you feel like it or not. Whether you’re just going to be home all day with kids, or working all day, or pulling an all-nighter to cram for an exam…it doesn’t matter. You matter. You’re worth the effort. Invest in yourself.

Now, the next time you see me and I look like crap, don’t be judging me. I may have painted my toenails and you just can’t see it because I’m wearing close-toed shoes. I may be feeling all kinds of confident because I know my toes are so pretty. This may or may not be my attempt to excuse myself from looking amazing all the time.

So, whatever one thing you need to do to feel beautiful, just purpose today to make it happen. You are the one who will benefit the most. While you’re at it, your confidence will be attractive to those around you. Your smile will be more engaging. You will be able to make eye contact with ease. It’s totally worth it.

photolibrary_rf_photo_of_woman_using_blow_dryer

Learning To Say “NO”

It’s liberating, saying No. In the right circumstances, at the right time. I’ve been learning that it is so necessary for a fulfilled life. My most recent big life change was at the end of July 2014. I resigned my job and took a step of faith (more like a giant leap) to become a stay-at-home mom. Something I never thought I would be able to be.

Truth be told? I’m a little afraid to say this…but, after a few years of working in the medical field, I knew I couldn’t be truly happy doing it. I was one of the many young twenty-somethings that went to a trade school and became a Medical Assistant. My aunt had told me about it when I moved back from Tennessee at 19 years old. I was interested because at least if I did that, I would make decent money. I was tired of barely making anything at daycares and restaurants. I really didn’t see any other way for me to make a living on my own, other than to go to school. At least MA school was less than a year (at the time), and I would be better off, I thought.

I don’t regret it. I feel that it was a big part of my life for good reason. I’ve met countless people whom I love and admire, through this field. There are many truly caring professionals in the medical field. It was an honor to work alongside some of them.

Still…I had been working as a Medical Assistant for probably three years when I just knew, deep within me, that it just wasn’t for me.

I was good at it. I excelled. I worked hard. Regardless of my feelings toward it, as I gained increasing knowledge about alternative health, I remained a Medical Assistant. It was something I could always fall back on. And I did, time after time.

I don’t regret that. I was doing what I needed to do. But it was so unfulfilling.

There were times I thought I felt fulfilled. I would help a patient through a long referral process, see it through, and feel good that I was able to help that person. Or I would comfort a patient with kind words. Or get an authorization for a stat CT scan and get a same-day appointment for a patient when they needed it. Those things were always fulfilling.

But overall? Overall, it was empty. Because I began to disagree with not just one aspect…but nearly all aspects of modern medicine. I began to realize that it offers no real solutions. Only bandaids. The true keys to health are rarely discussed as the important things they are. Patients would come in with long, long lists of medications. They would be hospitalized over and over again due to medication reactions or poorly managed chronic disease.

Oh. My heart was always saddened for them! How much better they would be, if someone could be right there with them, in their home, showing them what they needed to do. Going to the grocery store with them. Teaching them basic healthy cooking skills. Walking with them while they try to exercise. Encouraging them.

If only all of us could have such a cheerleader or coach for support!

Many times, I knew that I was seeing folks in an advanced disease state, and that was why it was so bad. I learned that it is much harder to reverse illness, than to prevent it in the first place.

This didn’t stop my heart from feeling heavy and unfulfilled at the end of my days. And that isn’t all. The constant revolving door of seeing patients…there were just too many patients scheduled in one day. I know the doctor wanted to fit everyone in…but how much good medical care is someone getting when the doctor can only spend five to seven minutes with them? This wasn’t every office I worked at, but it was quite common. I was often left with a patient who still had questions and looked bewildered, after seeing the doctor. It was sad. I always wanted to explain things thoroughly for them…but I was so busy myself with injections, EKGs, referrals, and paperwork up to my ears. I was usually so stressed myself, that I couldn’t help them like I wanted to. I always did my best.

But it wasn’t good enough!

The problem is the SYSTEM.

So…I finally learned to say No.

It was so scary. Being a Medical Assistant was what I was used to. And, I cared. But I had been so heartbroken over leaving my baby to go to work, and I had never gotten over it. I didn’t want to get over it. I felt the strong pull in the direction of motherhood. I felt that I couldn’t ignore it any longer. And in spite of praying that the stress I was under at work would level off and simmer down…it got worse! And its effects on my health were becoming…unacceptable.

So I made a decision. Knowing that, on paper, Adam and I couldn’t afford it. That we would be barely…barely squeaking by.

Those first few days in August? They were strange. I thought about work, even though I was free and I was staying home with my baby, like I had wanted. I thought about how my coworkers were doing. If they were stressing. I heard the news that my replacement was fired. I felt that it was my responsibility to do something about it! But I was home, and I had let go.

But I realized…letting go is a process. We don’t just say No. We have to learn to say No. I was so freaked out at first. It has been a slow process of letting go. I found so much worth in being a Medical Assistant! I was good at it, and I was proud of my hard work. I thought that being a stay-at-home mom was…just not as important.

Now I’ve realized that it is not only just as important…for me…it is more important. Because I feel like I am truly myself. I am blossoming with creativity. I am loving being a mom! I get to teach Olive things. I get to be with her during my BEST hours of the day, not my end-of-the-day leftovers.

It’s liberating.

Trust me, I still freak out about finances. I will probably always struggle with that. But I cannot deny that I am far more fulfilled as a simple stay-at-home-mom than I ever was when I was working.

Now, to sum up, I didn’t write this to bash women who work! This is my own story. Believe me, I have been there, and it is tough! And I know that some women want to work, and others work because they have to, and others, like me, work but want to stay home but think they can’t do it.

For some of you, it’s time to say No. No more unnecessary stress. No more long hours away from my family. No, because my health will be better. No, because my family will be happier. No, even though the bank account will look terrible. No, even though people around me won’t understand.

It’s time to learn to say No.

winding-path

That One Annoying Thing

We live our lives frustrated much of the time. Have you noticed that? When you think about it, we want everything to go perfectly. To flow smoothly.

Traffic needs to do what we want it to. The people we work with need to do their jobs better so that ours is easier. The customers or clients or patients we converse with need to be nice and patient and, of course, totally understand that we’re busy.

The world revolves around us.

I realize this throughout the day as I notice myself becoming irritated with little things.

They are always little things.

Like:

Taking a sip of my freshly-made water bottle. Does it really have to find a way to spray water droplets all over me? Running down my arm and dripping onto the floor??

When I’m making eggs. Does some of the egg white always have to drop on the floor, causing me to get sarcastic and have to bend over (I hate bending over) to clean it up before Olive comes down with salmonella??

When I’m getting dressed. Does Olive really have to run into the closet, open the drawer, and start taking ALL of my underthings out and start throwing them everywhere?!

When I fix Olive something to eat. A meal that I lovingly crafted with all the motherly instincts within me…does she really have to refuse to eat more than two bites and gleefully play with it and get it in the creases of my wooden coffee table…where I can’t get it out?!

When I bring Olive inside after playing outside forever. Does she really have to have a meltdown…every time??

When I’m fixing my hair. Oh man. WHEN I’M FIXING MY HAIR!! Does it really have to be unruly and annoying and make me want to shave my head?!

Life. It is FULL of these things. I could go ON and ON. Because these things are never-ending.

But I’ve known something for a long time.

It’s my response to these things that really needs changing. Because I’m focusing on me, and the fact that I want a perfect day every day, where nothing ever gets on my nerves and life is awesome.

I want to be sweet. I want to be kind. I don’t want to ever be a mean, sarcastic person. It comes out in these moments though. It just comes out. And you know why?

It’s a matter of the heart.

The Bible says somewhere that our hearts are inherently wicked. Well, yes. Mine is. I’m totally selfish. I want my day to be perfect. I don’t want anything to get on my nerves. I don’t want my toddler to yell at the top of her lungs, or throw tantrums over little things.

But isn’t that what I’m doing, in my own way?

I’m throwing an adult tantrum. Except that it’s mostly kept inside, where I’m profoundly irritated, and that irritation doesn’t really calm down until things are going my way again.

Oh, I want to be different!

I want to be able to be calm within, when everything around me seems chaotic and annoying. When I seem to be treading water through my day, never quite digging myself out from under the messy house, the piles of clothes, the toddler messes, the pile of unpaid medical bills. Oh, there are days when I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. But most of the time? I’m hanging on by a thread. I’m barely afloat. I feel like I’m drowning in the midst of all the things I want to get done (that I’m really, truly motivated to get done!) and the reality of the fact that I am simply NOT getting it all done.

Is it just me?

No. I know so many women feel as I do. Like you’re never going to “arrive” because all of these annoying things are in your way. If these speed bumps would just MOVE, you would be home free and almost there!

You can see the finish line, but you can’t…quite…make it…..

What does your finish line look like?

A spotless house? A perfect child? A perfect day? A yummy dessert to drown your sorrows in, at the end of a long, exhausting day that didn’t meet your expectations?

Oh, I am there with you. I get it. This is me.

All I do know is this: I must turn to God. Only He can bring calm and peace to me in the moments I most desperately need it. Those annoying things…they no longer matter when we have a perspective change.

My new perspective: God is in control. It will all get done. I’m going to do what I can, but I’m not going to hurry, because I need to be a patient, kind mama, and I can’t be that mama if I have unrealistic expectations.

Michelle Duggar is one of the most inspirational moms ever. I will never forget hearing her tell the story about how God brought that scripture to her memory: “A soft answer turns away wrath,” and how she had a heart-to-heart with her children about it. She told them to keep her accountable and tap her on the arm and tell her, “Mommy, you’re starting to get angry.” It would remind her of that scripture verse, and she learned to lower her voice, instead of raising it. Her children say that now they can tell she’s really upset with them, when she’s speaking really softly!

I know that my husband deserves a happy, peaceful home. It makes him so happy. I know that Olive deserves a patient and kind mama. I want to keep priorities in their proper place, and never neglect to remember how important these two (seemingly simple) things really are.

I am idealistic, if you can’t tell. I have always been. Life has definitely tried to turn me into a cynic and a pessimist, but I have flatly refused each time. So I persist in my idealism.

If I can rise above that one annoying thing…the water bottle, the egg, the toddler messes…will I find myself surrounded by more laughter and humor? I think so. I dearly love to laugh. It’s one of my favorite things. Why wouldn’t I want to laugh more?!

Here’s to laughing more at all of these annoying things. Let’s do that. It’s better than the other alternative!

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