I feel like I don't have the authority to write anything on motherhood considering I've been one for about ehhhh two years...yet, I felt a stir to write this nonetheless.
Motherhood has been my greatest teacher. If anything it has shown me my weakness as I admit daily that I have no idea what I'm doing. Yep, you heard it here first guys, *I* don't know everything. There's a beautiful freedom in that, don't you think? Admitting our inadequacy gives us the opportunity to humbly submit before our Lord and ask Him to take over. And when He takes over, that's when the change happens.
We need to reject the temptation to remain stagnant in this life and aim for something greater. I've noticed how, as my children grow month after month, my heart grows too. I am stretched, and humbled, and broken down, and re-built up again on a daily basis. These lessons are ongoing. They are hard, but boy are they necessary. This post is to highlight a few of those lessons in order to share what has worked for me. My days probably don't look like exactly like yours...you may have twelve kids or zero or one just like me and do things entirely differently, but I think these tips can be applied universally regardless of your station in life.
| LET GO |
Otherwise known as humble submission. Easy right? :) Letting go of the stuff I can't control is probably the most difficult thing for me as a mother. It's also a lesson that I'll be learning until my grave (and then some!). I need to accept that I can't control Pier's behavior. I can however, control my behavior. I can respect him (and others!) by actually listening, being fulling present, and being completely available. I have the ability to ask Jesus to help me see Christ in my life when all I see with my fallen vision is the hard stuff. Then, I rest in hope that I will have the strength to respond to Pier's toddler tantrums, (crazy!) energy, and whatever else life throws my way with love and patience.
Some days are easier than others, but I have complete trust that the Lord will make straight my crooked lines -- He alone has the power to turn my bad moments into good ones. Dear Lord, help me to let go. I don't want to get in your way. I want to unite my will to yours and love my family as you love them. Please help me be receptive to any graces you so willingly wish to send me. I am weak and I need your strength.
| GIVE THANKS |
Motherhood has helped me be thankful in all circumstances. If Pier is happy and healthy and playful, then I give thanks. If he is screaming and sick and irritating, then I give thanks. Actually say the words, "Jesus I thank you for everything" because then, no matter what the day brings, you are in a constant state of praising our Lord for your blessings and crosses. When life gives you a curve ball, it's easy to complain about it and tell anyone and everyone about your problems. Believe me, I know. Some days I'm the queen of complaining. Just ask my husband! Remembering thankfulness is just plain hard, but when I do remember it changes everything.
| SCHEDULED PRAYER |
(Sorry this is so long...probably should have been an entire separate blog post..oops...)
This is a new thing I'm trying for Lent and LOVING it so far. What inspired it? I noticed there are certain times during the day where Pier is crankiest and my patience starts to run thin. Very thin. My problem during these times is that I seek an escape -- I play on my phone, or clean, or online shop -- things that distract me from the chaos that is toddlerhood. I don't recommend it! Avoiding the hard stuff isn't the way to go about life #amiright.
So I turned to God and asked Him for help. I basically told Him that He needs to inspire something big in my heart if He wants me to change. I thought about it -- how can I overcome a big obstacle? Prayer of course! Duh, Emily. So I started to look at my day and see how I could incorporate a scheduled time to pray not just once but multiple times into our routine. I already have a semi-regular habit of getting up early in the morning to pray, but here's how Jesus showed me I could do more:
5:30/6:00 a.m. | wake up and do my morning routine
7: 00 a.m. | (or whenever Pier wakes up :)) We usually say a morning offering and sing the doxology while he drinks his bottle and I get morning snuggles.
10 a.m. | This is my "hit the wall" time. Pier is super fussy and I've run out of ideas of stuff to do. I usually put him in a safe spot and turn on an episode of Peppa Pig as I retreat to my room with my Bible. (Mothers who parent without using videos, God bless you. You are my role models in life). You may be rolling your eyes at this saying, "you turn on videos to PRAY...come on Emily..." but honestly, I have zero guilt about it. I'm all about using the tools in your parenting tool belt. Those 20 minutes won't corrupt my child for all eternity. Those 20 minutes will however give me the spiritual food I need to power through until nap time. The point of this novel is: if you notice an opportunity to pray then JUMP ON IT. Sneak away and just go be with Jesus so that He can redirect your focus to see that child through heavens eyes.
12 p.m. | We pray the Angelus while eating lunch (...sometimes...I usually forget!)
1 p.m. | Pier's nap time...Also pregnant mamas nap time. I started praying for 5 minutes in bed before taking my nap. It's usually Scripture or spiritual reading, but it helps me regain peace.
3:30 p.m. | Pier naps anywhere from an 1 to 2.5 hours, so that leaves him waking up during the 3 o'clock hour. I started to turn on an audio Divine Mercy chaplet while we eat our snacks...it's quick and effective.
7:00 p.m. | We gather as a family after Pier has dressed for bed and say our prayers. Usually it's vocal prayer or reading a psalm followed by singing the Salve Regina.
9:30 p.m. | chapter of spiritual reading before falling asleep
I hope I can continue doing this once Lent is over. And I realize that when the new baby comes, life is gonna get crazy. It looks a little overwhelming, but after doing it for a few days I noticed that it really wasn't. There was a distinct shift from stress to simplicity, and a rhythm began to form into our routine that was lacking beforehand. Plus....do we really realize how much time we waste doing the dumbest stuff??? I invite you to pray about it and God will show you just how much time you really do have in your day!
Pleaseeee don't think I've got it figured out. I assure you that I do not. My life is beautiful, but isn't always photogenic. I mess up a thousand times a day even when I pray and try to do all the right things. But I'm at peace with that. Discouragement and despair are not of God. I know my weakness. I know I am nothing without Christ. And I know that, God willing, there's tomorrow to try again.