free pass

February 8, 2012

 

When Asher was a baby and he was crying all the time, I remember trying hard to learn something about faith and then implement it. These were beautiful ideals and I wanted them in my life because I know the peace that comes from actively seeking the heart of God. But what I remember the most is that I was sitting there crossing my fingers and toes and wishing (that’s probably not very Christian) that the person speaking to a room of mothers would add a disclaimer. Something like,

Yes, doing all of this will help you and you will feel freedom and peace. But, don’t expect to accomplish this if you aren’t getting any sleep and someone is tugging on you at all times. Then you get a free pass because implementing anything is impossible for you right now and you should just go ahead and expect very little of yourself in any regard. One day soon you will have a few more minutes here and there. I mean, mothering will never ever get easier, but in some ways it will, and then the whole mental and spiritual and emotional health thing will feel less impossible. I mean, who can possibly pray or meditate or read when the teething baby can’t be put down and the other children are coloring everything and fighting because you’re too otherwise occupied with not bathing or eating to stop them. Please just go ahead and get yourself from one end of the day to the other and let that be enough. Let your prayers be counted as butts wiped and mouths fed and floors swept and hours of sleep missed. Please go easy on yourself because some day you’ll be sleeping again and you’ll look back and see that you were doing all that you could. 

Of course, she didn’t say all of that like that, and that’s just fine. It was just a wishful daydream. I think I just wanted her to say it because if I try to learn something from a speaker or preacher or a book or even a blog, I end up feeling like everyone else is doing all of these things and I’m not and therefore I’m the lazy or unfaithful one. And that’s not a good road to go down, obviously. I mean, I saw it on Pinterest: Comparison is the thief of joy.

Ain’t that the truth?

I’d like to be really peaceful and holy, exhibiting all the fruits of a healthy spiritual life, but in general I’m just not, especially right now. I mean, I’m definitely a God-loving girl with good intentions but I’m not much of a hoop-jumper and then I get worried that my lack of hoop-jumping is the reason I feel so much anxiety and depression.  I mean, I grew up in church and went to a Christian college and have spent time in a hundred kinds of Christian circles and sometimes I get exhausted just thinking of all I’ve learned about what I need to do.

Lately, instead of comparison or focusing on what I’m doing and not doing, I’m trying to see what I know about God because of my life and its mess. That is this–Grace abides. It lives here. It stays. It overcomes. There is absolutely nothing I can do or not do about it. It wins. And that is so often shown to me like lightening strikes through the hearts of my children. They are carriers of grace, untainted by regulations for it.

:::::

We were having a particularly rough morning. I woke up (after several other wakings) with the anxious depressed feelings that seem to decide when they’re coming and going on their own and Miles was struggling too. He’s my more uptight little guy and it breaks my heart. He was really upset because he couldn’t get his shoes tied and I was really upset that he wasn’t just finishing with his stinking shoes already so we could get out the door for school. I was being short and biting back tears and all kinds of fun. He was biting back tears and pouting and using his whining voice. You get the idea. We were feeding each other’s crazy and it felt just plain awful. It was hovering over us and I was beating myself up for it.

We got in the car and fought about the seat belt and I was doing this thing where I feel like I’m watching myself get all impatient and I just can’t shut the switch OFF. Heather, I say to me, just take a deep breath and CALM DOWN. But I don’t listen. My insides are in control and they just keep heading full steam ahead to Nowhere Goodsville, their gas, sleep deprivation.

We wrangled and got the seat belt (finally) on and we both sat back in our seats with a huff and then we were so quiet and that finally snapped me out of it. Quiet is so rare and so…holy? that it breaks through even my worst moments and lets peace or gentleness speak. Maybe that’s why mothers want quiet to so so much. Just let me FIND it! Just give me a chance! You know?

Anyway. I tried suddenly chatting with Miles about trivial things because as much as the quiet helped, I wanted to break it to get to my son. He was staring out the window, mute.  I tried a much-too-often-said apology for my impatience. He continued staring out the window. Then I got desperate or inspired or something and I prayed aloud. It was a hurried prayer because I was nearing the drop-off line and it wasn’t eloquent because my out-loud prayers never are (please don’t send me hate mail, but I get suspicious of eloquent out-loud prayers because they feel contrived and inauthentic to me, like putting on a show or using them as teaching moments while pretending to talk to God. I guess I just think that if you really really mean it, it comes out as messy as you feel, and we all feel very very messy.)

I said something along the lines of HELP and GOOD GRIEF I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO and it ended with, Please help us both feel lighter and happier than we do right now.

Then without a beat my boy said, “Instead of heavy and mad.” He said it like he fully expected that it was going to get better. He is six and and I’m thirty-six and there we were, just trying to figure it out together because nothing can be put in a box or said to be done a certain way with God and life and mystery.

He hopped right out of the car with those little Kindergarten legs and walked into school with his big boy backpack flung over one shoulder.

I called after him, I didn’t care who heard me, “You’re the best, Miles Ryan! I love you!”

He didn’t turn around because, how embarrassing, but I know he heard me way down deep. I drove home then and I said a little thank you in my heart. Because nothing is ever going to be all fixed and I’m never going to be doing everything right and we’re still here, crazy in love with each other. Miles even came home later and busted through the door and said, I’ve been waiting so long to see you! 

He loves me despite how I can’t keep it together at all and how my insides don’t match the outside and how I can’t hide my pain so much of the time. He is a little God reflection. He doesn’t wait to love me until I’m doing it all right. Kids don’t expect the impossible in their mothers. He just wants me.

It’s hard to carry all the doing expectations with you and then learn how to let them go. To accept the free pass and not trample on it, and to just keep going, truly believing that it’s enough.

But it is because it’s all I’ve got.

 

This post is linked with one of my favorites, Sarah Bessey of Emerging Mummy, and her Practices of Parenting Community.

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

robin February 8, 2012 at 10:32 am

this is us…moms…all of us. Trying to do our best and not feeling like we are. And this post hit home and grabbed the very inside of my heart. we are messy and our kids love us anyway, showing us the Grace that we don’t deserve but we get anyway. We are their moms for a reason, we were put together for a purpose. And that reassures me everyday. thanks for spilling your heart out and saying what is inside my heart everyday.
robin recently posted..blessings, and seeing them

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Lyz February 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

Isn’t this the truth.

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michelleJ February 8, 2012 at 10:46 am

This was GREAT. Thank you for this.
I have tears in my eyes because I can relate.

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designhermomma February 8, 2012 at 10:51 am

whoa. yes. thankyou. LOVE this post so much.

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DeNae February 8, 2012 at 10:52 am

Years ago I was asked to sing a song at at women’s event, and a couple of lines have always stayed with me: “A little thing here, a little thing there, that’s how my day goes, from prayer until prayer…And the simple and small things add up to something extraordinary and grand.” Moms, you get it right more often than you get it wrong. And some days, just walking out of your bedroom and facing all those millions of small things is an extraordinary victory.
DeNae recently posted..Procrastination as an Art Form

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tracey February 8, 2012 at 10:58 am

I know that hearing that other moms go through the EXACT SAME THING as I do helps me, just a bit. So know this: You ARE normal. Sleep deprivation is a real issue and, as you know, will not always be present in your family. Hang in there and be proud that you were able to ask for forgiveness. That’s an incredible lesson for Miles.
tracey recently posted..What I’ve Learned and What I Promise to Do…

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Katherine @ Postpartum Progress February 8, 2012 at 11:09 am

Oh my gosh I’m crying my eyes out with this one. Which is rare because I spend a lot of time reading sad stuff and I’ve gotten very good at not crying. You got me, Heather.

We all love each other, our little family, even when we suck and we’re tired and short-tempered, which we often do and are. And it’s BECAUSE we keep apologizing and talking and trying.

Somebody get me some kleenex.

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Varda (Squashed Mom) February 8, 2012 at 11:10 am

So beautiful and so true. It’s never neat and tidy, this messy messy business of parenting and, well, life. I am so glad you had a spontaneous moment of grace in an otherwise overwhelming day. Hugs and rainbows to you, my friend.
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Sherry Carr-Smith February 8, 2012 at 11:16 am

This is exactly how I feel almost every second. Thanks for using your beautiful words to articulate it.

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Laura February 8, 2012 at 11:18 am

This was so awesome to read today. Of course, I wrote a post today about trying too hard and realizing that I couldn’t do everything, but this is just so eloquent and so inspiring and so true. Each day, I yearn for more quiet time, more spiritual time, more time alone with my God. When I am able to *find* that time, my day progresses so much smoother, but it is all those times of chaos when I just can’t find that time that I suffer as a mother and my family gets anything but my best.

Thank you for reminding me about grace and love and family.

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Charlotte February 8, 2012 at 11:22 am

Whenever I feel overwhelmed with everything I should be doing- especially when my kids were all really little- I would remember Ecclesiates 3:1- “To every thing there is a aseason, and a btime to every purpose under the heaven.” This has saved my sanity more than once.

I love your thoughts on prayer. One of the my most memorable prayers was when I whispered in desperation, “I have nothing left right now, I need help.” Messy and simple is totally the way to go.

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Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig February 8, 2012 at 11:27 am

Beautiful, beautiful post. I recently had a similar morning with my 10yo son, and I worried and bothered ALL day over it while he was at school. As soon as he came home, I hugged him and apologized. Funny thing is, he didn’t even remember what had happened that morning! Sometimes we hold on to things that are just a tiny blip in our child’s day. That really gave me some perspective. :)
Also, my oldest just turned 18 and is getting ready to leave for college this summer. As we’ve been talking, she’s confided to me that she will miss all the normal, little things we do together – watch movies, drive to the store, eat at the dinner table. I had always feared she want to run out the door when she was old enough, counting all my many mistakes as ammo for her eagerness to leave, when in fact she’s already wanting to grab on to all the tiniest things that make our family…our family. That’s also given me a lot of perspective.
Really, our children grow and thrive and become who they are not despite us, but because of us, even with our many faults. That right there is the Grace you already mentioned.
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Jen February 8, 2012 at 11:44 am

It’s been a very long time since I’ve connected with words this clearly. Every bit of it. Amen, and amen.
Jen recently posted..When the walls…

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Chasity February 8, 2012 at 11:53 am

Heather, truth is in the air my friend! It seems as though God is stirring up transparency and sharing truth in so very many hearts right now. So with you on so many levels here. Great post. Love the Furtick quote as well, used it a while back in my Behind the Scenes post. Thank you for speaking your reality!

My most recent writing at All Things His http://www.allthingshis.com/2012/02/enough-already.html

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punkinmama February 8, 2012 at 11:54 am

Love this post. It speaks to my heart. Thank you!
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Leslie February 8, 2012 at 11:58 am

Love this. Hugs to you, dear Heather, and hopefully some rest today.

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Sherry February 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I have no words to express how much I relate to this post, I just do. Your way with words shouldn’t surprise me anymore, but it still does. Thanks for sharing this today, I’ll make a mental note to REMEMBER that I’m not the only one who has rough rough mornings with my boys, or prays all messy-like.

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Heather February 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm

“prays all messy-like”

I love that.

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Ciaran February 8, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Truly awesome post Heather. I needed to read it. I can relate to it. It does get better. But then brace yourself, you have teenagers and it gets a different flavor of difficult. Some nights I don’t even want to turn on a tv, I’m so desperate for that quiet. You’re such a great writer. I could hug your words. And you!

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Heather February 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Thank you, lady.

I’m so glad I’ll know a host of experienced mothers of teens when i get there. I’m sure it’s so freaking hard in so many ways.

so I have no illusions that this will get easier…but I do hope i get more sleep someday. You know, more than like, two hours a night. heh. I can just picture it now, though. Me wide awake until they come through the door and all that. OY.

xoxo

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kristen howerton February 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Bawling, because I relate so much.

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Lee February 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Oh dude. This is a good one. I especially relate to the voice telling me to breathe and just calm down but. I. Just. Can’t. Oh I get that. Yikes. But yeah, guess what? You are enough. That is truth.

And wow – your boys and your girl know what’s up with their mama. And they love you for your imperfection because we are all imperfect. They are too and you are showing them that love exists all around – during the heavy and mad times and the light and happy times.

You’re so awesome. Try and bask in that for a minute today. Sending sunny love your way…

xx
Lee
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Tracie February 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Yes to this. To all of it. Yes and a big amen!

That is exactly the kind of prayer I needed to pray yesterday (but didn’t), especially Mile’s “Instead of heavy and mad” part.

But I did have a moment yesterday when my daughter came up and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek (which is a big deal for her, because she is so NOT a kissy-person), and I felt that sliver of peace break through the depression I was fighting. It didn’t take it all away, but it was a life-line I could grab onto for a moment of sanity in an awful day.
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Lance February 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm

As terrific as this post is, I connected to it in a different way. I’m a boos at my job. I mean that in slang and in actuality, I’m a project manager. Also, I’m the father of 3 daughetr,s 16 (ugh), 8, and 7. I also take being a husband seriously. I do as much if not more hosuework than my wife. I also struggle with an anxiety disorder taht seems to be getting worse. Everyday is a battle. I’m one of those 300 spartan withotu a helmt or abs.

I’m not insecure in my ability to manage all of that. I’m insecure in getting the appreciation for it all. I don’t buy the snake oil that’s old to me that love is inconditional. That’s what I struggle with.

This was a great post,. Thank you
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Heather February 8, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Well. I’d like to validate you. That might sound all trite and cheesy, but really, you have a lot on your plate and i can’t even imagine it. True story.

When you said, “I’m insecure in getting the recognition for it all.”

I thought, ME TOO. I demand it a lot, in really ugly ways, actually. I wrote a post a little while ago about that…how sometimes my need for recognition and validation makes me feel so lonely…invisible, really. And I think we parents feel this way in general…just striving so hard and feeling like it’s some sort of competition. It’s hard to explain what I’m saying, but maybe you’ll get it. I hope.

I’m sorry about the anxiety. I know it well. I hate it much. I’m with you in this battle with no helmets. It’s painful and sometimes I just can’t do one more thing. Then I see some small glimmer of good that pulls me along and I don’t know if I’d see all of those little graces if it were not for the dark parts. Life. It’s A LOT.

Peace.

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Bea, OT February 8, 2012 at 1:40 pm

This is so beautiful and so true! I was feeling the same way just yesterday!
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Katie @ Heart Gone Walking February 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Oh I needed this today. I needed it even more than my root beer which is really saying something. Thank you.

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Melissa from the Blue House February 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Oh wow, totally needed this today.
Love,
the most insecure wife and mom ever. :)
Wish I could get it all together…

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Heather February 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Oh lady. Don’t we all? But we can’t. And so–GRACE.

Peace to you today and all the ones after it,
H

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Corrina February 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I’m holding back the tears. Thank you. I had a rough morning and i wasn’t the mom I want to be with my kids and yes, I will take that grace.

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L.T. Elliot February 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm

You said today exactly what I needed. I did that same out-of-control-unable-to-stop-yourself thing yesterday and found myself crying in the middle of the night, desperate to just say I was sorry for how unfair I’d been to my son. And when I did, and when I told him I was so wrong, he just hugged me back and said, “I love you, mommy.”

Thank you. Thank you for getting it. Thank you for being messy and real.
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anymommy February 8, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I adore that quote. If more mothers let their hearts show like this, we’d all feel less judged. Because the funny thing is that I think most of us feel this way inside. xoxo.

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Gillian Marchenko February 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Love this, Heather. Thanks for helping us all realize we deserve a pass here and there.

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Melissa February 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Oh Heather, you are in my mind, my heart (and apparently my house in the morning’s because wow, that scenario has happened with my oldest son more times than I care to admit)

You friend are a blessing to mothers.
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Ann February 8, 2012 at 8:30 pm

This is going to be the forward of your book called “Messy Prayers.”

Because I said so.
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Lisa Rae @ smacksy February 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Adore you and your words.
xo
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Kendra February 8, 2012 at 8:49 pm

One of your best, Heather. Beautiful.
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Robin O'Bryant February 8, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Yes. That exactly. Excellent writing. Will you be my new best friend? Please.

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Rach (DonutsMama) February 8, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Grace. It’s the word hovering over me these days. I’m learning the beauty of it.
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krista February 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm

i am walking a constant tightrope over the possibility that my ‘good enough’ isn’t ‘good.’ that it isn’t ‘enough.’
and that deep down, my kids will think so, too.
i sat here sobbing, after three days of a four year old with the stomach flu and a five month old teething baby and a man who is exhausted from working and me exhausted from the work of living and i just thought…
yes, i needed to read this tonight.
needed.
thank you.

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Gianna February 8, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Everything you wrote was EXACTLY what’s been going on in my head.

I screw up. I apologize. Again. Again. AGAINANDAGAINANDAGAINANDAGAIN!

Apparently these apologies aren’t changing my heart. Apparently, this is just lip service to my children.

My heart is telling my head right now that not everything is okay. And people aren’t listening to me saying I think I need help. No, what they are doing is agreeing with me that everyone goes through the EXACT same things.

Just because you think you go through it, too, does not make it okay for me.

Yesterday, in an untypical moment of clarity, I told my youngest daughter, “I’m having a really hard time not sinning in my anger right now.”

I am never that clear. I never see what’s coming until it’s already vomited all over everyone! Never!

So I am EXACTLY there with you. EXACTLY!
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danielle February 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Thank you for this. I have nothing more eloquent to say as today has been one of those taffy pulled, stretched out, long long days that I’m shocked I made it through with as little melting down as I did. Peace mama.
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Headless Mom February 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Excellent post! You have somehow put into word what I felt most of the time when my kids were smaller. They’re a little bigger now (10, 12, and 21) and although it’s a little less sleep deprived the stakes are a little higher. I get it, and yes, His Grace is Enough.
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Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac February 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm

This one is going to stick with me for a long time. Your quiet son in the backseat…oh that about killed me. I have a 7yo just like that.

And for what it’s worth, I don’t trust the fancy prayers either.
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Leslie February 8, 2012 at 11:55 pm
lynsey February 9, 2012 at 1:48 am

once again, you spoke my heart. it’s like you were riding in my van today, with my kids and i. thank you for writing the words i feel.

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Suki February 9, 2012 at 6:54 am

Hi Heather,
really this made me cry, because I never have it all together, I am trying my best.
Ryan loves you because you are who you are, nothing more or less.

Love, Suki
who is trying her best as a single mom to a 6 week old.
Suki recently posted..everyday craziness.

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Editdebs February 9, 2012 at 8:41 am

This is the first post I’ve ever read of yours, and it is beautiful. I’ll be coming back and reading more.

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Sarah@EmergingMummy February 9, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I think I just exhaled. Thank you.
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Misty February 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Your words are such sweet grace today. Thank you for the work that you do as a writer on top of all you do besides.
Love,
A tired, emotional, downright crazy, yelling hurt at my kids, drowning in my own unforgiveness, mommy. :)

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Dulce February 9, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Oh, I needed this so deeply today. Thank you a zillion times. <3

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Diana Trautwein February 9, 2012 at 10:14 pm

It’s been over 30 years since I had a six year old son, but MAN CAN I RELATE TO THIS. Beautifully told, and believe it or not, sweetcheeks, beautifully handled. Being real with our kids is what it’s about – admitting when we blow it, asking for help in their presence, acknowledging that this is not an easy job we have as moms. In fact, I’d wager that it’s the most challenging job on the planet – raising small children full-time. Yes, I’d wager it is. Hang in, hang on.
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deb February 9, 2012 at 10:43 pm

amen to all of it.
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Katherine Willis Pershey February 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Mercy, this is lovely.
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Galit Breen February 10, 2012 at 12:46 am

Oh the truth, and then the heart, and then more truth.

(You always make perfect truth and heart sandwiches. Yes, always.)

Thank you for these words of yours.
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Missy K February 10, 2012 at 11:09 am

Wiping back tears right now because that was so good and I needed to read it so much.

Thank you.
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Wendy February 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Heather-

Wow! Came across your blog after reading your love story. AMAZING… I love this and you hit it. It is so hard to be a mom knowing the immense responsiblity that we have. KNOWING… that is the key. if you think about it too hard then the overwhelming sense of responsibility will crush you. Your confidence will let that voice that questions take over. Your kids do understand. My kids understand, all too well. I pray that I improve and allow God to help me everyday. if I can just listen and breath. It will continue to be amazing.

Thanks so much for your words. I have spent a good part of yesterday and the day before reading your words. They are exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks!

-Wendy
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Tiffany February 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm

I saw the first picture and started crying. This is sooo what I needed today. Thank you.
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christine February 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Oh Heather. Oh Wow. I have tears in my eyes from your words and feelings. Because, you write so beautifully and I feel like like this. A. Lot. And my insides don’t match my outsides. And the whining and the crying and the impatience and the yelling and the frustration towards my little people. And I see it happening, I see it escalating and I don’t know how to turn it off. It is SO hard. And it feels so lonely. Because I only see other people’s highlight reel. And I know that I’m not doing myself any favors but I can’t help and think, why is everyone a better mother than I am? And I just feel so grateful to have read this post at this moment today, right now. And so grateful that there is another mother out there who is willing to put it all out there which results in me feeling like maybe I’m not such an abnormal mother? Maybe, just maybe. I am not alone. So, thank you.
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Jenn February 11, 2012 at 11:51 am

This is beautiful and so true. I love the free pass, I need one today (and it’s not even lunch time yet!)

Your words resonated deep today, they made rivers of tears run down my face – but oh the grace, I’m so thankful for that and for the hope it’s blessed me with today.
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Jessica@Team Rasler February 11, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I loved all of this post. I, too, feel overwhelmed sometimes by what I am not doing, beginning with keeping my patience and ending with not knowing what kind of faith I am instilling in my children and pretty much everything in between. You are right that, especially here in the blogosphere, there is a lot of comparing ourselves to everyone else’s best moments. It is such a relief to read honest posts. And ones that remind us that our kids love us for who we are? Priceless. Thank you.
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Rebecca February 13, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Thank you so much for this. Years ago, I read an article in Discipleship Journal that pointed out that we go through seasons in relation to things like our devotional times. There are times (like when we are single and in college), when we have a ton of time for that stuff. And then there are times (like when we are nursing a baby or chasing a toddler) when we have less time, or at least less focused time. That’s ok. We just need to do the best we can and let our work be prayer. And when time frees up, we can return to it again. Thank you for your beautiful, grace-giving post!
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Carly S. February 15, 2012 at 12:00 am

This post was beautiful, amazing, and exactly what I needed to hear.

I will have my first son in two days (via planned c-section) and I already worry about being “good enough.”

I’ve bookmarked this post and plan to read it on the difficult days, the difficult days that I know will come.

Thank you so much for this.

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Louise February 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm

What a sweet and wise little boy. They teach us so much about ourselves, don’t they? Beautiful post.
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Amanda April 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Perfect. Gosh I love reading about real moms. :) My out-loud prayer over the last 2 months has been “God, why is this so hard?” Because it has been. Working, mothering a 3.5 year old and 5 month old, trying to survive a sinus infection from hell… hard. And I’m learning grace, and low expectations, and freedom in Christ. I pray my boys will see the answer to my prayer… that even though it’s hard, it’s all for good, all for God. Thanks for letting us see your heart, for helping us know it’s okay to be real.

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Anne October 13, 2012 at 6:19 am

AHHHHHH. Tears filling my eyes as I write this, Heather. What a beautiful post! I’m so moved at your faith to put it all OUT there- your every mother’s terror- that we’re not doing it well enough. Too angry, out of control, hurting the kids.

Well I just want to share one little thing I learned from an ‘expert’ (which you probably already know). As long as kids aren’t shamed, made to feel that they (as opposed to their actions) are essentially unacceptable, they have an easier time with expressed anger than with repressed anger. Expressed anger makes sense, they understand what’s going on. The repressed stuff confuses them, weakens them, makes them unsure of themselves.

Of course I have a burning memory of my then 5 year old shouting at me from his full height of little: “I’m NOT a bad boy. Imma GOOD boy!” I evidently had attacked the essence of who he was…hmmm…even so, now at almost 24, he seems to not have been too damaged. In fact, maybe not at all.

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