I choose to ROCK as a mom…

It’s 10 pm and I just made a coffee cake for tomorrow’s breakfast – not because I am amazing (which of course I am) but because we are out of cereal, milk, and all things even slightly breakfasty… It was either bake something or fail as a mom. The sound of failing really didn’t appeal to me all that much. I chose to ROCK come 5:30 am tomorrow instead.

See, I’ve found that sometimes “failing” isn’t the only answer to a problem that seems to have no other options.  Frankly, I don’t always like to hear that.  I get tired and sorta whinny inside and I say, “but I cant do it… I’m too tired.”  I do a grownup rendition of a tantrum.  I sit down in the chair, sigh a loud huff, push myself harder into the back of the chair and growl out loud.  I truly want to stomp my feet and say, “It’s not fair!”  Then my, “I loathe failure,” side kicks in and says, “Really, Christi?”

So I strap on my thinking cap and look at ways to trick MR FAT FAILURE into helping me ROCK as a mom.  Creativity is born out of necessity.  Would I choose to make a coffee cake at 10 pm?  Heck NO.  I love to bake, but I don’t like to do it at night when I am dead tired and have a days worth of weariness piled upon my eyelids.  But come morning, I will hate the wimpy me more than I will love my fully rested self.

So there you have it – in case you think me a wonder woman.  Rocking as a mom usually comes because failure is looming around the corner.  It’s true in all of life isn’t it?  If you don’t remember to keep your eye out – nearly everything in life can cross the line from good to bad… success or failure.  It’s not just parenting, it’s everything.  For me however, all too often it’s easy to let the kids slide because the rest of life is pressing in so hard.  I just want to catch a break.  Just this once.  Once moves into twice… and then it snowballs.

Here’s the good news, you Rock Star wanna-bee’s… you don’t have to have your act together.  Honest.  You merely have to know how to make it work in your favor.  True stuff here.  I’m not making it up.  Nobody really has their act together.  It’s all a fancy illusion.  It’s like the man behind the cape in the Wizard of Oz.  Now that you know the trick – you can rock it too.


The “F” bomb…

Okay – so after reading a post by a fellow frazzled mom – I took a much needed trip down memory lane.  Not so much that I needed to go back in time and relive this particular day, cause it was a killer of a stinky day, but it’s nice to see how far I’ve come and realize how much I have SURVIVED!  I’ve come a long way, baby!

Motherhood makes you not just more patient, but so much more humble.  Her blog was about a very humbling moment.  (Here’s her post if you’d like to join her funny journey http://parentingisfunny.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/in-case-you-didnt-hear-the-insult-let-me-sing-it-to-you )  No idea how to make this a link so please copy it into your browser!!

I drifted back to one of the most embarrassing moments I had in my first 3 years of parenting…  There would be MANY more to come… but this was one I have never had the good fortune to forget…

My daughters were both toddlers under age 3 and we were in a packed isle in the big grocery super store.  I was more tired than my napless daughters. My oldest couldn’t say her “S”s yet so she substituted “F”‘s for them. Normally it was a cute and endearing thing.  This day?  Yeah, not so much…

I was bribbing them both with suckers from the bank teller who had doted on them a few moments ago when they were darling angels.  Now they were past humoring my To-Do list.  We were on sucker number 2 and I was praying that the sugary balls of goodness would hold out, but I was ill prepared for the jam packed isles. I ran out of suckers and my once angelic daughter began tantruming (I swear I am a better mom than this sounds!) …but she began whinning at a glass-shattering high pitch and began yelling, “Mommy! Fucker, Fucker, Fucker!!! (Meaning I want a sucker of course – duh!) but yeah – I’d never said the “F” bomb in her life but here she was yelling it at the top of her lungs.  Together her sister tried to imitate her by pounding her fists on the shopping cart and yelling nonsense while my oldest kept her mantra of the “F” bomb going.  I was fresh out of those sticky sticks of silence and so I was “SOL”.

I got done really fast from that point – let me tell you.  I was dying a thousand deaths as hundreds of eyes bore down on me assuring me that I was, in fact, the worst mother on the planet.  I will never forget the feeling of wanting to sink into the floor and hide forever.

But living through the kid’s toddlerhood – barely – has made me a better neighbor, line waiter, and WAY better human.  I am more apt to look at the tantruming child in the line in front of me and remember my kids and then say a little prayer for their mom.  I know she has to be as frazzled and embarrassed as I was that day.  You cant make a hungry baby stop screaming by any other way than feeding it (Just an FYI) – and if you are a nursing mom, it’s not like you can hand it your breast and make it happy, not like a bottle feeding mom can do.  I always feel so sorry for the mom’s who just want to get home and are standing trapped in a check out line with people ahead and behind them. There is no where to go.

So next time a kid is tantruming in the isle or the line – remember, life isn’t as easy as you remember it – and no, if it was YOUR kid, you wouldn’t always have it whipped into shape inside of 5 seconds.  Give the parent some grace.  You don’t know what they live with and you don’t know what they have going on in their unseen lives.  Don’t judge them by their screaming kid… and they wont judge you by the high and mighty stench you give off as you waltz by with your “Know-it-all” attitude.

This has been a trip down memory lane  has brought to you by the “Hind Sight is Better than Foresight” Knowledge Company.

I’m not a report, so what do you mean, “When am I DUE??”

A completely ditzy gal tonight leaned in excitedly, as if to get the latest gossip, and who, you need to know, I have NEVER laid eyes on before in my life, asked “when are you DUE!”   I looked at her for a minute before it registered she was talking to me.  Seriously!?  I’m not a book report.  I am no science fair project.

I then proceeded to say the first thing out of my mind/mouth (see  unpublished hand guide about the absence of a filter on the thing) and it went something like… “Oh about 9 years ago now I’d say…” (said very matter of fact-like.)   I felt bad, so I get credits there… I know it’s written in the fine print somewhere that feeling bad after a rude response is allowable if said after a previous RUDE comment from another about the state of one’s NON-pregnacy.  Look it up.   Anway, I immediately felt scummy – honest, but then I doubled back and flattened out my gray blousy-designed-that-way (note: not simply worn too big)  stylish long sleeve top (which I had bought after Christmas simply because it gave me “flattering” extra room and hid the extra 15 lbs over my “target weight” I’d packed on, or so I THOUGHT).    I had to prove to the completely NOT-INTERESTED public at large that I was SO not fat NOR pregnant – in more than words alone.  In short -She had to SEE she was wrong about me!!

My pride was wounded, okay?  I didn’t want to make her feel bad… but listen here – not everyone can say they’re within 15 lbs of their oh-so-targeted weight the nifty charts say they should be at.  So really I am so far ahead of the game!  I NEEDED her to see that for some stupid reason.  But why doesn’t it feel that way when someone asks if you’re pregnant and ARENT??  Why do I STILL feel that way hours later?

Suddenly I can go from being happy  that I have three amazing kids and have survived their babyhoood, toddlerhood, general school-age chaos, and yes, Pre-teen-dom! to beyond bummed and self-loathing in seconds.

I AM ahead of the game.  I am. Admittedly a tad sluggishly, but I HAVE arrived at the halls of the infamous TEEN-hood walk of fame, and am still alive and kickin.  So… how dare you – person who shall remain name-less (mainly because I forgot to look at your nametag) how dare you shatter my precious ego at the amazing mother I am.

I will have you know…  I may be a bit deflated, and yes, honestly, I do look a bit tired, frazzled, and ragged around the edges… but I’ve made it in so many ways.   I have a lot of show for the years I’ve put in, 13.4 to be exact here (plus those 9 months of carrying  the kid too).    I may be a Mom with dark circles under my eyes and the extra 15 lbs to show for it, but there’s more where that came from.  If you wanna see them, I have wonderful battle scars of varicose veins, wonderfully un-tan-able stretch marks along many unnamed body parts, and glorious wrinkles and gray hairs all put into place by children who I can point and name specific names to.  Each child graced my body with attributes that continue to make me the proud mom I am today.  Yeah, really.  I actually mean that.

In fact, here is something that will make no one squeamish if I note it here…  My first born daughter changed the color of my hair – like a bad hair dying job.  No, seriously, I kid you not.  My beautician can attest to the nasty line that my beautiful first daughter brought my way.  The second daughter (who is also my second born), changed my hair from stick straight to curly and full.  I’ve never needed a curling iron again except to tame the fly away curls that sometimes try my patience.  My last born, and my son…  well, he aptly made it all just start falling out.  Not sure what his deal was, but the day he was born it began falling out in clumps and did so for the next 3 months.  If I didn’t have so much danged hair I would have been bald!  Now?  Well, between surgeries, illness, and stress, it’s just it’s own shade of whatever I choose it to be.  Yep.  It doesn’t have a color I like any more.  The curl I can deal with… but prematurely gray and odd patches of white?  Nope.  THAT is where my chin-up-and-out pride gets fiesty.  I wont be an old lady in the kid’s classrooms just yet!

Anyway – that’s just my “day in the life” for you today.  Next time someone asks you something very personal, and SOOOO none of their business,  just remember to laugh and blow it off.  (Don’t do what I did and obsess over it!)  What matters is not what’s seen in a mirror… it’s who’s there for those kids at the end of the day… and if you need it spelled out – it’s who your kids come and throw their arms around… (and act like you are the most beautiful thing they’ve seen.  And you are…  You’re mom!)

Here’s me and my last “baby” who was due ALMOST 9 years ago…  I gave birth to this precious boy on July 2nd, 9 years ago, and it was the final crowning achievement of my young motherhood, in giving birth to this guy.

I’ve got a lot of work to do in the next 10 years before he leaves my nest.  So talk to me again THEN about wrinkles and battle scars!  I am sure I will have more to say and to show off by then!!  🙂  But for tonight, I am gonna blow this off (yes finally) and let it go.

Tomorrow I’ve promised two stories, instead of one, read from our favorite book of the week,

“The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies: And Other Warped and Creepy Tales”

I think the the phrase is, “He who gets the last laugh, wins.”  And together, we will be doing lots of laughing!

Prescription Sunshine

Believe it or not – I’ve obtained an actual prescription to sit on my duff, outside in the beautiful sun, and relax.  Sounds too good to be true, right?  Well I got lab work and a doctor’s order to back up my claim.

My most recent blood workup came back that I am very deficient in Vitamin D.  I have a new added tablet to mix into the cocktail of things I take to keep me moving and chugging along in life.  This one I am not at all worried about taking.  I am happy to say things most definetely get better, not worse, with this addition.

But I am not just to rely on that.  The best Vitamin D is what comes naturally.  So – now when I decide to go sit outside in my most favorite spot – my freestanding swing in the side yard under the pine tree – well, I can do it guilt free!  I can say, “doctor’s orders,” and go curl up with a book, an iced chai, and rock my worries away.

Getting outside is cheap therapy.  Don’t discount the idea.  Sitting inside, no matter how good it maybe, just cant hold a candle to the fresh breezes and sounds of joyful children running up and down the block.  Today the dog curled up beside me and we both took a snooze for a while, since we were made sluggishly happy with the aroma of fresh cut grass and budding flowers.

The effects are good for your health – but moreover, it’s good for your psyche.  We get too busy these days.  We forget to just take 5 and sit a spell.  We go-go-g0 all day and then we play catchup all evening on 50 other things we didn’t manage to squeeze into the day.  Maybe we should make a line item on our list to just sit and reflect.  To close our eyes, lift up our chins, and take a deep breath and let it out slow.

It’s been said that just 15 minutes a day can change the outlook you have, and create a calmer and more focused perspective.  I am convinced that if more people would take the time to do “nothing” more often, the world would be in better shape.  Sounds flippant – but it’s just my two cents.

Go try it yourself and give me you’re two cents  🙂

Staring myself down

I have nothing inspiring or creative to say – but when I read this on a friend’s Facebook page – I had to pass it on.  I have no idea who’s credits should go to the graphic or exact words – so whoever you are – forgive me.  No malice intended!  I was encouraged and ready to move on towards tomorrow via this note.

I was sitting in bed – ready to head off to sleep – but my body is making me nuts.  It’s moving and twitching, and I have nothing to show a doctor but my words.  I can not make myself do this on command, and even if I did, unless it would be a sweeping large movement, how would I show them?  The thing annoying me most is that it floats around my body, never telling me where it’s moving to next.  How do you show THAT to a neurologist?

But this is all beside the point.  The reason I tacked on a few minutes of my day here on the blog is just to say – I DONT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER – NO MATTER WHAT YOU THINK!!!  And for that, I am thankful.

What?  “THANKFUL,” you mumble aloud?

Yes.  Thankful.  Because if I actually believed I was in control of anything – I’d fail and fall flat on my face.  But am I down and out of the game?  Heck NO.  I’ve only begun.

So, TAKE THAT, you sniveling beast of a shadow, who dares to lurk in the corners of my mind… and think you can make me crumble in upon myself and give in to the lie.  Which lie? The lie that I can’t bounce back or still be ME, no matter what jerky or crappy things plague me.

Yeah – I’m still here… and I’m not goin anywhere.  I’m just stubborn enough to make it too.  Watch me (she says with a set chin and satisfied nod of the head.)

No one expects me to crumble in my life… but the “everyone” in this little note I saw is ME.  I am my own worst enemy – and I am always waiting for me to stumble so I can point my finger in my face and say, “SEE – I knew it!  You can’t (fill in the blank here)”. I don’t just wait for me to mess up on one thing – and give myself a pass on the rest of life – oh no… it’s for every single thing.  No mercy.

So this time I turned and said NO.  “Dont you dare.”  You cant have my confidence and you dont own me.

Now… what’s in your shadow, lurking?  I dare you to turn and face it.

Trust me.  It’s not nearly as strong when you turn the light on and stare it down… than when you let it hide in the darkness.

Being you…

Nobody else can do it.  At best they will be a lousy copy and no part of them trying to be you will be anything more than a child playing dress up in your identifying characteristics.

Let’s face it… we’ve all done it at least once in a lifetime.  Me?  I’ve done it dozens upon dozens of times before I learned  the secret truth.  What’s the secret?  Whoah!  Hold on now… You dont seriously think I am going to go ahead and give  up the answer to that THIS soon do you?  OBVIOUSLY you don’t know me well.

First off – I will humor you with my own ridiculous behaviors – never once touching on the fact that YOU may do any of these things.  I promise.  Cross my heart.

I remember when I was a little girl I would wear my mom’s heels, apron, and sneak her cook books into my room so I could play house. I’d put my ear to a phone and listen sympathetically to a dead air tone and say soothing things to my bears while putting bandaids on my dolls.  I would try to read really hard books (see theology books on the lap of a 5 year old) instead of the picture books I was ready for and stand up on a bed and try to tell my animals about Jesus because I wanted to be super smart like my Daddy. (You should know my Dad is a pastor.)  These seem harmless, and even very good qualities for a young child to aspire to.  Given.  But then I started school.  I tried to walk like Stephanie and I wanted so badly to have the pretty curls and glossy hair of Kim.  I wanted clothes the other kids had thinking I would feel so much more self confident if I did.  I wanted the barbies, the games, and the big play sets they had too.  I wanted to play in the band for one reason, and be amazing on the drama team for another.  I wanted people to see the person I built – not the person God did.  Why?  Did I honestly think that I could do a better job than GOD?  Guess I did.  Funny, I still do it today… like I cant learn this simple lesson once and for all.

So I try to be “super mom” the way I see other mom’s doing it… I wish I could work and bring home money the way some wives do, and to cook and prepare amazing spreads of food for parties and gatherings I will never have the courage to host.  I want to be the amazing volunteer at the school that teachers secretly all wish they had, be active in the church’s this or that, the latest walk-for-a-cause thingy, and wow all my friends with how crazy wonderful I am.  I want to sing like an angel and be the life of a party.  Heck, I’d just take being invited to one right now!  I want to be beautiful beyond words.  Why do I want all that?  Because I forget who I am.

I have learned the secret…that wasn’t a joke to get you to read all this.  God brings me back to it every time I seem to forget, and every time  the simple answer seems so much sweeter.  I relax so much more fully and  I am happy beyond description, warmed from the inside out.  It’s sorta like a love note tucked in the last spot I finally look when searching for the “key” to who I am.  God gently reaches down from Heaven and points to it… like words on a sticky note, short and clear.

It’s so simple.  God made me the way I am because he NEEDED a Christi in the world.  He didn’t need another Gina, Susie, Lori, or Kate.  He needed me.  And being me is not always super easy mind you, but it does come natural, I have all the skills to be her, and if I relax and trust God in it, He will even use all the broken stuff, mixed up stuff, and even the really yucky stuff too.  He NEEDs YOU, too.  You cant be me, and I cant be you.  But we can be ourselves, which is even better.

So, the secret is to smile.  It’s good to be you – even if you are not perfect, are feeling like you’re sorta stale, yucky, or not the person you want to be.  Let God worry about who you need to be, because He knows best who you are to become.  He can take it all, mold it like clay, and build a magnificent new creation from your lump of a life.  He can do that – but first you have to stop trying to be someone you aren’t and be the very best YOU that you can be.  Hand over the broken stuff that just doesn’t work and let Him fix it.  Stop worrying about what you “should be” and just BE!

Remember… the first step is to what?  To smile!

Go do what nobody else can do… to be YOU!



Published in the Mount Zion and Barkers Chapel monthly newsletter for April 2011