A rant from one Mum to another!

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Some days, being a Mum is just unexplainably hard. Period.

(I would’ve used a more appropriate word there, but will try to remain professional, and Christian!)

As much as I’d like to leave it there, the writer in me has more words that need to be said.

So…

Countless days I scroll through social media posts of idyllic squeaky clean houses, Mums hair and makeup- perfection, kids stylishly dressed without a stain in sight. Then there’s the cute could just eat you photo with the whole family looking in the right direction with a kiss on Mums cheek for good measure! Or what about the image of a child playing sweetly with their sibling, when what you’re actually amazed at is the disgustingly clean house canvas behind them!

It drives me crazy! And these images on social media, places an unnecessary pressure on us mums who just can’t do all that. We don’t have the sweetness photos, instead, we have reality- blurry photographs with real mess in the background. And often the cute moments are ones where your camera isn’t within reach, kids are still in pj’s with encrusted cereal remnants from breakfast, and hair which covers their eyes due to refusal of either a hair cut or bobble being used! Often any photos I have on social media, have took at least ten attempts to take, with lots of pleading to please smile for Mamma!

My 2-year-old was photographed more than I ever imagined in her first year. I was that Mum. It’s highly likely, I was the Mum I now marvel at and wonder how she does it! Nap times and evenings were a pleasurable experience, as I scrolled through the many milestones I’d captured during the day. The majority of which, had her encapsulating blue eyes glaring back at me. Sometimes I would even give her a quick clothe change before the photography commenced – laughable! With the house relatively tidy and all jobs pretty much up to date, nap times would consist of either a date with a book, or film- even endless mental capacity to write! Cooking tea was an enjoyable experience shared between Ava and I as she played drums with the pans while I cooked- aah, sweet moments!

Since having a second child, reality has become my friend, and a rather slap in the face! Gone are the serene moments of capturing a new milestone. My two-year-old neither wants to be photographed nor smile at the camera, and the baby (who is now mobile) moves way too fast for me to capture a remotely recognisable photo.

Reality has also revealed to me, that you neither have the time, nor the energy to have your phone within reach. Countless conversations with my husband start with ‘you never answer your phone!’ to which my reply resounds something to the effect of ‘I don’t have my phone on me all the time you know!’

Often I’ll be feeding the baby in the lounge, and hear the distinct vibrations  of my phone on the kitchen table (classically for me, on silent.)

Or, it’ll be flat (also classic for me) due to having had the Jungle Books ‘Bear neccesities’ on repeat for the past hour!

The sweetest moments I wish were captured on film, rarely are. Then when you want to recreate the moment, naturally, the kids don’t want to fake it by doing what they just did out of spontaneity!

Reality has proved, that I can still manage to get showered and dressed, but as for making furtherance effort, it’s just not going to happen!

There are days I’m filled with exuberance and energy overspills, but on the whole- I’m knackered!

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve assembled and collapsed my buggy this week, let alone in the past year. My husband uses the car for work, so walking has become our mantra.

On a stunningly beautiful day, where the sun reminds you it still exists and you finally find a purpose for your shades (hidden where you actually can’t remember it’s been so long!) On those days, walking is glorious!

But in the winter, and even just on a drizzly grey morning- walking is not fun, nor does it motivate you to step outside the front door! Lets not even discuss getting waterproofs, wellies on and off. And yes I know, walking with kids in the rain can be fun! Excitedly splashing in the puddles and singing in the rain- which we do on occasions. My girls certainly aren’t shy of the rain. But with an 8month old and 2-year-old (who now refuses to sit in the pram because shed rather walk) juggling a double buggy and all its contents, sweating with all the layers you piled on because it’s cold out there, while you’re on your way to somewhere you actually have to be…then, it’s not all fun and games!

Reality has shown me that having a tidy house, is only partly doable once children are down for the evening- that is, if you have any energy left! Repetition has become my bodies natural reflex. I scoop up the same toys I just tripped over, pile up the same books and fluff up the same cushions on my sofa. The same dishes are washed and bottles sterilised. I look around half the time, and wonder if there is any point in tidying up- tomorrow will be the same!

And with that in mind, reality has taught me to not just accept, but allow ‘mess’ to sit right with me. Exhaustion most days, is my bodies reflex, and leaves no prisoners for ‘tidying up.’ I have learned to be ok with the mess. It means my children are happy and playing. It also means they still have a lot to learn about what it means to put things away. But they roam with free access to toys at their disposal.

My mum once bought a sign for her home which said something along the lines of ‘excuse the mess, my children are busy making memories.’

And I love that. So often, in all my tidying, I’ve missed pivotal moments- those you wish you’d caught on camera.

So, as a rant from one Mum to another- parenting is hard work. Exhausting, exhilarating, excruciating, and any others E’s you can think of- not those E’s!

It’s hard yet rewarding, which is the cycle I often find myself on.

There are moments you wonder how you’re ever going to get through the next 5 minutes let alone the day ahead. Likewise, there are moments you wish would last forever, and appreciate just how blessed you are to be a parent!

 

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Thank you…

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God, thank you that when I don’t know what to say, still you are there.

Thank you, that when I travel through waves of uncertainty and doubt, still, you are there.

Thank you that though my walk is inconsistent at times, you don’t disqualify me when I think I’ve blown all my chances. Instead, still you are there.

Thank you that when things don’t seem to be going my way, when others get their blessing and ours takes forever, you don’t curse or disapprove of my thoughts. Instead, still you wait with me in my waiting, still you are there.

Thank you that when troubles come which I don’t understand, when pain and heartache cloud and question your love and reliability, you don’t stiffen your compassion and numbingly tell us to trust. Rather, you weep and your heart breaks with us, still you are there.

Thank you that when betrayal and broken relationships unsettle and upset us, still you are there.

Thank you that when floods of jealously contaminate our minds, you don’t judge and curse us, instead you loving tell us to shift our lens and our focus to the blessings we already have. Thank you, that still, you are there.

Thank you that when we look in the mirror and dispise the very reflection glaring back, you counteract our thoughts saying- beautiful one, there is no flaw in you. Thank you that still, you are there.

Thank you that when harsh and irretrievable words are spoken, and the guilt paralysis us wishing we could take it all back, you wipe our slate clean with undeserved grace and forgiveness, no grudges held. Thank you that still, you are there.

Thank you that when I think my dreams will never come to fruition, you whisper gently ‘wait’ and are my biggest encourager. Still, you are there.

Thank you that when I think I have an inability to use my skills and an insecurity in self-belief that crushes all my dreams, you remind me that you have good plans for me and have designed me with a purpose. Through all this, still you are there.

Thank you that even when I compare myself against others, you remind me that you made me to be like no one else- unique. Thank you that you see me as beautiful, always. Thank you that still, you are there.

Thank you that when I embark upon a dream you’ve placed within me, and insecurity coupelled with self doubt volumises, ‘you’re unqualified, you can’t do this!,’ thank you that you don’t call the qualified, but qualify the called. Thank you that alone we can’t do it, but with you, all things are possible. Thank you that still, you are there.

Thank you that when I’m ready to give up on me, you never do. Still, you are there.

Thank you that when a new day comes and we mess up all over again, still you are there.

 

 

Cling to Him

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In this picture you see my eldest daughter, Ava clinging tightly to my leg. Why? Because she was afraid of something- geese! Which I’ve recently discovered are also known as, a ‘gaggle’ of geese- so there you go!

To be fair, I don’t blame Ava for her reluctant approach to say ‘Hi.’ Their threatening attitude caused even me to back away as they sniffed out our family picnic. But like any parent would, I shouldered my fears and modelled how to be brave- by quickly ushering us and our picnic to a ‘geese free’ zone!

As she clung tightly to my leg for safety though (and I have to admit, one of the sweetest moments as a parent- I didn’t want her to let go!) Jesus prompted me.

When facing a situation that makes us afraid, do we cling to our Father like never before, or walk head on into the storm- alone?

I’m all for facing storms head on. Jesus tells us in fact, that He can calm the storms, so we don’t drown in our disappointment, our grief, pain, our brokenness. But the deal is, He needs to go with us.

 “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.”

Isaiah 43:2 NLT

It’s a simple image, yet one that has struck a cord with me today. Are we going to face our problem, our circumstance, head on & alone or with Jesus?

Often, despite knowing Jesus is with us, we choose to go on alone. The anxiety and depression bubbling over- we choose to battle it alone. The grief and pain- we choose to grieve alone, to cure the pain, alone.

Ava clung to my leg for safety, why? – because she trusts me. We have developed a strong relationship built on trust. She recalls memories of overcoming past fears with me, or her Dad by her side. The nostalgia of security and yet strength to face her fears head on, not alone, but rather with us right there to place her back on firm ground if she should fall.

Yet I know, when storms come our way, seasons of life we find ourselves in- some unimaginable, we try and face them alone.

How do I know? Because I’ve done it many times over. Surely I can’t be the only one?…

I find myself within a tennis match argument when I attempt to understand how mine, and so many others relationship with God works.

It’s as if we never learn. When life is at its best and everything appears to be going our way, then, we give God all the glory! Thanking him for His goodness, His faithfulness. And in those moments, we promise God that we wont forget this moment of provision, of answered prayer- and carry on with life.

Yet when life seems to be going in any direction other than the one we’d like, in our crumbling, we forget God. He receives the only prayer we have left- our last resort. We either blame, or we simply choose to walk this journey alone.

Until the sun shines again…and we’re back to square one- a yoyo faith.

I challenge you to describe any relationship that works constantly ‘one sided.’ Eventually, breakdown will occur, the relationship- fizzled out.

So, whatever circumstance you find yourself in right now, whatever season you’re in- cling to Jesus- sweet friend, you don’t have to face this all on your own. He’s someone you can trust and rely on. He’s holding your hand and won’t let go. He says, “I will be with you.” We just have to choose to take his hand and cling so tight, knowing we can’t do this alone, but only by His strength.

It’s just a wobble!

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This is a term I’ve frequently found myself saying since having children.

However, having a wobble now and then, does not mean you cannot cope!

Parents, please feel supported and embraced when I say this.

I pen these words as a reminder that you are not alone in this ‘parenting world.’ A whole world may seem exaggerated or inappropriate, but is it just me, or does being a parent sometimes feel like we’re living and breathing a totally different world?

I say that, because when my husband arrives home after a busy day at work, his and my day at ‘work’ seem at opposite ends of the spectrum.

My argument often starts with, I know you’re tired, but …I bet you’ve at least had time to sit down today, to eat your lunch at the temperature it was intended- and have it all to yourself. I’m confident you’ve at least been able to visit the loo without intruders, or worry if the kids are ok while you’ve rushed to pee because your pelivic floor just couldn’t hold it in any longer! I’m sure you’ve had time, for some headspace- no tears or or tantrums. No reasoning with a one-year-old!

We end up being caught within a comparison trap.

My aim of these rather outspoken statements, is not to diminish or disrespect our respective other half, working so they can contribute to providing for your family. Or as in my case, so that I can be a ‘stay at home mum.’

I am beyond grateful that I have a husband who has respected my wishes to be a ‘stay at home mum’ before we even had children, and followed through with our decision for me to be just that.

But the very statement that they work, and we raise the children, sometimes makes me feel like I don’t have the right to say that I’m tired, or, it’s been a hard day, or that I’ve not stopped…

Because, all too often, being a mum is not classed as work!

Therefore, we are not entitled to a moan, a wobble or even a good old rant- because we asked for this role.

Yes, we don’t have deadlines on our back, or a manager to report to. Rather, we have ourselves as our up close and personal manager- our own worse critic!

We beat ourselves up and report back to us when our children show signs of misbehaving, or acting in a way that doesn’t line up with our morals.

We may not have targets to attain, but we try to measure up to not only our own, but the expectations of others on a daily and hourly basis.

Have I taught them enough today? Have they watched too much tv today? Did I feed them a healthy diet? Have I given them enough fresh air? Have I given them enough of my time today? And so on…

We may not have a work building to report to, but we report to the cleaner and home maintanence guys on a regular basis- us.

We constantly make sure the toilet is clean enough, just in case a visitor unexpectedly turns up and of course needs to use your loo! We wonder how the home will look when hard working other-half walks in. Will it look like you’ve done nothing all day…because of course, you are at home all day…when would other-half have the time to clean the house, do the washing etc?

So, we become our own personal office. We clean, we cook, and we beat ourselves up on the days we just don’t have the energy. We are always trying to make it look cosy and idyllic, thus comparing with others personal homes and wondering how they’ve designed it so well, how much more spacious theirs is, or just how ridiculously tidy it is compared to your home!

And so with all this, not to mention the hormones, the tiredness and sheer exhaustion mentally, physically, emotionally. The worrying about our ever aging body and the haggered face we quickly gaze at as we rush past the mirror we wish didn’t exist. Then consciously thinking about if we’ve messaged a family member or friend today, have we given the people in our world enough time this week, have we given our partners enough attention (if you know what I mean?) and that’s before we even remember the last time we washed our hair or shaved our legs!

With all that, it’s no surprise we have a wobble now and then.

It’s no wonder we have days crying out in despair ‘I just can’t cope any more. I love my kids! But it’s just too hard!’ Or, we lose our temper or come across a little stern at times.

It’s no revelation that, when offered the luxury of having time to go and do something you enjoy, by that point, you actually have no energy or motivation to do anything other than stay seated where you already are.

So a wobble, a good old cry, and a cry for help- does not mean you cannot cope.

It means you are human.

It also means you have every right to a moan and a wobble, and a cry for help.

It is not a sign of weakness, but of strength.

Of selflessness, putting aside your own pride and admitting that you are struggling. And while it will not be forever, right now, you need some additional help. Or even just the opportunity to express how you’re feeling!

It is not a sign you weren’t cut out for this, or that you made the wrong decision to have children.

Nor is it confirmation of why you stay at home with the kids while your partner goes to work. That confirmation being, that you are not cut out for the working world or that you couldn’t bring in a supportive salary. Rather it is being honest and transparent as oppose to fake and opaque!

You admit that this, however you parent, whether you’re a stay at home mum, part time worker or full time, whatever your family stature and makeup- you admit that this is much harder than it appeared when all your friends had children. Harder than you first thought. Harder now because, how you first planned things, hasn’t exactly gone to plan.

And that’s ok.

There will be days you feel rubbish, and days you need immediate assistance to prevent a miniature breakdown – we’ve all had them! There will be days you feel you’re barely managing, and days you feel confident. Days you exude energy and enthusiasm- the days you’d always dreamed of. There will be days you just have to stick on the TV and allow the characters on Cbeebies to educate your kids.

There will be days you feel like a parent who can do it all; bags packed, beach day, smooth transitions, cooperating children… and on those days, that’s where onlookers wonder how you do it!

There will be days you adore being a Mum!

There will be days you miss being you.

Days you feel like you miss out, and days you’re happy to sacrifice the things you used to do before.

There will be days you feel like your wobble will never end

There will be so many different days, sometimes all rolled into one.

And that’s ok too.

A wobble, please here me- a wobble, not every day 365 days a year, is just that, a wobble. It’s a wave of tiredness, of exhaustion, a wave of irritability, a wave of no motivation, a wave of wondering how you’ll get through the day.

And just as waves do. They pass, and the waters become calm.

So don’t permit anyone to tell you that your wobble, means you’re not coping.

Not coping, would be more than a wobble.

So wobble away girls, it’s ok. You’re not alone in this. You are doing an outstanding job, one which is a privilege, though it might not feel it at times. A job which has no instructions or rule book, yet also rewards far beyond any salary could supply. So keep going. Be encouraged. You can do this!

You don’t have to do this by yourself

 

There has been a stirring in my heart all week. And while I’d like to say its been a positive stirring- it hasn’t. Rather an uncontrollable nervousness. A battle of negative thoughts verses what I know to be Gods truth.

 

What is the root? Because I’ve been asked to use my voice to speak publicly about the story God has blessed me and my family with in recent months.

 

As I thought about speaking, something which I am not used to nor feel confident doing. I felt so alone.

 

I wished I was pregnant again just so I didn’t feel alone.

And in that moment, God promoted my heart to go back to one of the first blogs I ever wrote- Kicking on the inside.

 

In that blog, I likened the early movements of our pregnancy with Ava to the characteristics of the Holy Spirit. How you’re never alone- just like when pregnant. How when you’re pregnant, you carry that child with you and recognise its movements, so is the same with the Holy Spirit.

 

You carry him with you, therefore you carry God with you- but with the Holy Spirit it’s all the time, not just 9 months!

 

And so God so sweetly reminded me. One, that I am filled with the spirit. And two, that he is with me all the time, therefore, I am not alone. He is living inside of me and is my helper, my strength, my words when words fail me.

 

Thank you Jesus, that I don’t have to do life alone. 

 

Sometimes the simplest truths are the shortest and sweetest.

 

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A work of art

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As I lay down at the lady’s feet, watching so intently, both intrigued and eagerly wanting to learn how she seamless and effortlessly weaved one loop of wool into another- I knew this moment was special. How with each mistake, she stayed calm and patient, helping me to see where I’d gone wrong or understand what had happened – unpicking my knitting and setting me back on the right track again.

As she encouraged and praised me each time I tried, I felt Jesus drop a golden nugget of treasure into my heart- this, is me and you.

I felt like I was sitting at the knees of Jesus, wanting so desperately to learn how he does things. Yet usually when I’ve done something wrong, I often feel condemned rather than convicted. This time I felt neither. I just felt loved.

It was ok to make a mistake, and I know I’ll make more learning how to knit. But my teacher will help me go back and unpick what went wrong, then put me in a position where I’m ready to go again. I found that when I made a mistake or I could feel myself losing rhythm and didn’t know what to do, I went straight back to my teacher, whose wisdom and knowledge was overflowing as she taught me about the wool, the needles, techniques and pitfalls to be aware of.

She knew what she was doing, could instantly see where I’d gone wrong. Likewise, she could see in advance what situations were going to come about if I was holding the wool to tight, catching other thread along the way. For each, she gently corrected me, empowering me to carry on and try again.

This is how I imagine a relationship with Jesus. Always turning to him when we’re unsure and when we’ve already messed up. But also to sit at his feet and just be. To listen, learn from all he has to teach. To be encouraged, supported as well as be proud to show him what we’ve accomplished- much like a child who excitedly runs up to their parents, arms stretched high holding out the painting they’ve just done, so desperately wanting their recognition and praise.

I believe He’ll help us and then set us back on the right track. He gives us a spirit of determination to go back and try again- this time, taking the teacher with you rather than thinking you know it all and can do it alone.

Sure, not every mistake is ok- I’m not condoning the mistakes we all make. But regardless, we have a Father who is not there to condemn. Instead, he’s there to help see how and why we messed up, what went wrong by unpicking our past, our actions, our experiences and so coming to a thereabouts conclusion of how we ended up where we find ourselves- usually in a spiritual pit.

And where there are no answers. Where our circumstances are through no fault of our own, like the loss of a child, the never ending ‘negative’ pregnancy results, the cancer, the fatal diagnosis- I believe he acts just as this lady did. He lovingly helps you to carry on. Encouraging you along the way and wanting you to take him with you every step of the journey.

And though going back, however far back you have to go, is hard. To unpick all those stitches and wrong loops, it’s to get back to a point where you can finish your pattern in life. If you don’t go right back to that missed loop- your tapestry will not finish as you’d hoped.

Rather it will be unrecognizable.

Sure, no tapestry will ever be perfect. Jesus loves all our imperfections despite what we might think.

But we don’t want to be unrecognizable. If I’ve made a jumper- I don’t want people to ask what is it?! But if I’ve never gone back and amended where I went wrong, the arm could be at the bottom of the jumper and no entrance point for the head!

People should be able to see Jesus in us. It’s hard though, for us to show our ‘God colours’ if we’ve ran out of emotional thread. If we’ve missed a key loop and now have no idea how to get back. If you’re tangled and in a mess. If you’ve picked up other threads along the way and it’s having a negative impact on your tapestry. If you’ve missed loops creating holes you never went back to fill with the right material. If you were discouraged along the way casuing you to abandon your dreams and self worth- all of that and more, is not irreversible.

You may not be able to take back your actions, the regretful words spoken or unspoken, the poor choices of relationships, the holes you tried to fill with short-term solutions- ultimately still leaving that hole empty. All of the above and more, Jesus can redeem and restore! He can walk with you right back to where it all went wrong. Not to put you through more pain, but to help you understand, to help you see what to avoid and receive victory from what needs conquering in your past. To deal with pain and hurt that you’ve buried creating an even deeper wedge between you and God.  Only then, can he set you back on the right path, and ask you to keep him with you daily.

He’s bought the best wool, has all the right tools needed to weave you together so intricately, with a good end result. A beautiful end that people will marvel at and say ‘how beautiful! ‘

That beautiful end is now. You are his finished masterpiece already, his work of art. You don’t have to have it altogether before you please him- he already created the most perfect tapestry in you and weaved you together so intricately- he already says, my sweet child- how beautiful you are.

It’s ok- I’ve been there.

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Whether you’re a new Mum just 3 days in or 30 years in, we’ve all experienced what it’s like to be sleep deprived. To feel low, exhausted, protective, nervous and body conscious…and then some.

Irrespective of your baby’s DNA, these areas are all common ground.

Then consider the Mum with more than one. Those with large age gaps and those close together. That’s a whole new turf, and it’s hard.

Recently, as a Mum to two girls with a 14 month age gap, and one month into being a Mum to my second, I entered my local park.

Sounds simple enough. But consider the effort and energy it took just to get out of the house. Having been up since 4.30 am (night feeds ey?!) I was understandably exhausted.

I’d sterilised all bottles, fed both children, wrestled with the toddler on the bathroom floor brushing her teeth, changed nappies (twice for the toddler as she likes to poo in a clean nappy!) dressed them, set up the double buggy, packed the bag, threw some clothes on myself, grabbed a banana, and did half a job of brushing my own teeth, and we were finally out!

I figured a secure, fenced off park was a safe idea. A gated area enabled the toddler to run off some steam without out me sending out a ‘missing child’ search party.

It would seem though, that a trip to the park, simple as it may sound, actually became a living nightmare!

In theory, the baby should have slept having just had a feed, meaning I could play with the toddler while baby slept in the pram.

But no.

Rather, baby wakes for a feed. So, I prepare a bottle in the most sheltered part of the park I could find (because I’d chosen the windiest day to venture out.) I had milk powder blowing in any direction other than the bottle, while balancing the bottle on any flat levelled surface I could find!

The toddler is in the swing and while I feed the baby, she decides she wants ‘OUT!’ And begins to pull up her legs.

Right before my eyes almost in slow mo like the movies, I watch as the overbearing weight as she leans over begins to tip the swing forward.

My mind and body couldn’t act quick enough. How do I put the baby down (whose currently gulping the milk and wasn’t for letting go!) while trying to rescue the toddler from falling head first out of the swing?!

Thankfully, a Mum saw my distress and ran to my rescue, saving the toddler just in time from a trip to A&E!

Determined not to be put off, we stayed, only for the toddler to run into the path of a swing being used and nearly being kicked in the face! Again, passers by saved my toddler  – thank goodness!

But it’s the unhelpful remarks made by onlookers close by that quickly became ingrained in my mind. With disapproving eyes and a stern look, they without hesitation hurled, ‘Control your child!’

That remark, coupled with what I felt were pity looks from other families in the park that day, was enough to send me straight back home with both children. Because home, seems safer, easier and far less judgemental than being outdoors.

Despite those cutting words, as I replay that remark and those looks over in my mind, I’m inspired and determined.

Why?

Because right now, I know how difficult it is.

I’m fresh enough having had such a small age gap, to remember how hard it is being a new Mum and now what it’s like to juggle more than one. Knowing how just merely seeing a Mum out and about means she’s probably had a hard morning just getting out of the house!

And I hope, that I retain those memories and experiences. So that in the future when my babies grow older and perhaps I become a grandparent, that instead of judgemental and pity looks, I will run to help without comment. Instead of unhelpful and cutting remarks, that I’ll be understanding and with a smile say ‘I’ve been there.’ Instead of looking on and secretly whispering to my neighbor, I’d offer a loving cuddle and encourage the socks off that Mum, praising her for how well she’s doing!

I hope I’ll always remember what it’s like, knowing that I’ve been where other Mums have been, are now and will be in the future, never forgetting with age.

So whatever your age, and that of your children, you’ve all been there and share at least some common ground with other Mums. Don’t forget what it’s like. And if you do forget, just praise any Mum you see. Because although you may forget the tiredness, the labour and the night feeds- you know for sure, that parenting is hard at times, getting out of the house is an achievement and most Mums feel like they aren’t measuring up and are failing daily!

So praise, encourage and jump into any opportunity to help, because you know what it’s like. You’ve been there.

Find YOUR Rhythm

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‘I don’t know how you do it!’ I find myself saying. Any Mum I bump into with more than one child, this is what I find myself saying!

In the same breath though, I’m almost comparing myself, trying to measure up against them.

The reason I don’t know how they do it, is because I’m not them.

Some find it a breeze bringing up children. Some have 8 and could still keep going! Some find it incredibly difficult, and some take it all in their stride.

So just because I’m finding it hard right now, doesn’t mean I can’t do it. Instead, it will mean I do it differently. I find my OWN rhythm.

It’s the best way.

You know your children best, and so trying to walk in time with another Mums rhythm will mean you’re out of step. You might aswell have two left feet! You’ll fall out of rhythm trying to keep up with someone else.

It’s that comparison issue isn’t it? We see someone else doing it better or in such a ‘Mother Nature’ way that we only wish we could do the same.

But whose comparing? Your children certainly aren’t, and neither should you.

I’m just discovering my own rhythm and it differs to others. My routine with my girls in a day is different to how someone else might do it.
Regardless, I’ve found a rhythm that works for me. One I can keep up with, and more importantly, one that works best for my girls.

So find your OWN rhythm Mums! Praise those who walk in theirs, but don’t compare and don’t envy.

Their children are different to yours, and so their rhytham needs to be. They are different to you- their temperament, personality and circumstances. So don’t compare.

You’re doing an amazing job ladies! Don’t try to keep up or stay behind for someone else’s rhytham- that’s a pressure neither you or others need!

From a sleep deprived Mamma

sleep dperived

Tiredness- what’s your purpose, your plan?
To make me look more haggered than I already am?

Your results are domino or to that effect
Snappiness, impatient and so on to all the rest

Basic hygiene takes a back seat,
seems like days since I brushed my teeth

My hair looks like a birds nest
and I’m pretty sure smells like feet
Don’t even get me started on finding time to eat

Even going to the toilet is an effort and a chore
Dragging my arms and legs behind, then I step on that stupid creaky floor

Those cringeworthy floorboards you wished you hadn’t stepped on in the night,
For once you have, the other toddlers going to wake up with a fright!

Now they both need a feed and with a bottle in each hand
You wonder how long you’ll be up this time around

Tiredness you take all shapes and forms
Right now I’m turning into every zilla that there is… sensitive and prickly as thorns

Evidently you come as a sign we need to rest
But this form you take while parenting is not one where I feel blessed

Tiredness you build a wall around my heavy and weary head
One that seems unsurpassable
All I seem to want is my bed

Tiredness you’ve stolen any energy I have left
My children would be better off with their parents as pets

Tiredness you make everything feel like an effort and monotonous
I struggle to find the enthusiasm to even sing the wheels on the bus!

Tiredness I’ve decided that you will not win
I will not allow your scheming ways to waste ‘what could have beens’

For my babies will soon be teenagers and then adults too
This time I have is precious, it is not the time to DO

DO the washing and the ironing -the million and one things there seems to be All that stuff can wait, don’t tell my head ‘that’s all that people see’

Who cares what your house looks like or the state of your front room
Your kids certainly don’t that’s for sure
They just wish tiredness would go away so Mummy can come back soon

Yes I may be exhausted and prop my eyes open with matchsticks
But a family who spends time together… now that’s what really sticks!

So tiredness you can come and be a warning I need to rest
But as for stealing my joy of being a Mum
Then that’s the time you need to realise you should have left!

For I will not succumb to your robbing ways of the quality time I have
With my children who for not too very long
will be ready to leave Mum and Dad

Today I make a conscious decision despite my lack of energy
These bags under my eyes will not define my lethargy

No, these bags will bare resemblance like the scars on my tummy
Attribute to the darn hard work of bringing up my babies and being a good Mummy

For the bags and haggered look that’s obvious upon my face
Can be covered with concealer and every cosmetic that’s in place

But my heart will not recover if I lose these precious moments
All because you, tiredness, came to fill my world with lowness

Instead I will swallow my pride and accept all the help that there is,
Conserving all my energy to spend time with my beautiful kids

Tiredness, go bother someone else
Those self help books on how to battle can be left upon the shelf

For you make us feel like we cannot cope or even get through the day
But mums out there who feel this pain… don’t let tiredness have its way!

Don’t be afraid to say ‘yes’ to those offers you’ve previously turned down
People care and want to help turn that frown upside down

It doesn’t matter if your house is filled with a gigantic mess
If your washings over flowing and the pots have just been left

Tiredness would have you think you’ve got to clean them up
Before anyone sees them and wonders how on earth you ever cook!

Don’t worry if you haven’t showered in days or even weeks!
Two minutes in the shower will resurface those rosy cheeks

And as for your babies who you are conscious you’ve neglected
It’s never too late to start again before you worry they’ve been affected

Your grumpy attitude and lack of patience in the day
They won’t remember anything if you just sit down and play

Give tiredness it’s orders, it needs to go, it needs to leave!
For this is just a season
You will not take this precious time before my babes outgrow their sleeves

Don’t just tidy. Have a clear out.

clear out

I’m beginning to realise that I complain – A LOT.

We have rented numerous apartments/houses, each time upgrading in space and cleanliness.

We’ve lived in a grotty bedroom, then a one bedroom (if you can even call it that) flat, a lovely 2 bedroom house, and now a beautiful 3 bed.

And with each home, I’ve always moaned about the lack of space.

 

“When we buy a house of our own”… I would begin by saying… “we need more space. A utility, extra storage cupboards…something!”

 

Yet while on a ‘spring clean’ after Christmas (so not quite Spring!) I decided I would have to clear out some of my cupboards in order to make room for the Christmas presents. Big headed you might think- oh no, not presents for me, or even for Carl- for the kids! They have received so many toys- they are the ones taking over my storage space and my reason for needing more!

 

And so while attempting to empty two of my cupboards, I soon realised they were full of junk! Perhaps it’s not necessarily good having so many compartments and storage, as I have clearly had a tendency to fill them with useless items. The saying ‘less is more’ is ringing so loudly in it’s truest form right now.

 

Because, as I tidied, I found myself making room in one area, but after glancing around, realised I was just moving junk from one space to another- never actually getting rid of anything.

For a moment I felt tidy and accomplished. My living room was tidy and clutter free, but my stuff; my baggage, my collected stress and over consumption was now lying on my kitchen table (which regularly becomes our dumping ground- that, or any room upstairs that guests are not likely to enter!) Consequently, making that room look messy- and so naturally, I still felt cluttered and in a mess.

 

How often do we do that in life? We Just have a shift around of our stuff? Instead of having an effective clear-out? For a moment we feel clear and able to think, then the next second we feel stressed because actually, we never got rid of the stuff in the first place!

 

That cupboard? That draw or room you have that absolutely anything and everything goes in when guests visit? You know the one! The remnants of a quick tidy up end up in that cupboard- but, it’s not actually facing or solving the problem. You’re just shoving everything into a compartment for a while to give an ‘altogether’ appearance.

 

Why do we do it?

My theory is this.

 

Just as in our homes, we wouldn’t dream of letting anyone in that cupboard. It’s a mess-  full of things we don’t want people to see. That cupboard is looking- not only a mess, but overflowing and full of junk, so jam packed it’s far too difficult to open, and so it gets left. So is the same with the way we live our lives.

 

The cupboards and rooms become compartments of our lives that we over clutter and forget to maintain. They become pockets of stress, guilt, secrets, worries and unattained dreams. And instead of really dealing with the root of the issue. We put a plaster on it. We try to cover it up and shuffle things around a little. But it only creates a momentary solution.

 

In the end, those compartments, still remain full with the same issues. They may have moved further to the back of your thoughts, or indeed further forward. But they are not dealt with. Dreams are not realised, worries turn very quickly into anxiety and depression. Secrets become lies which dig you into a pit of guilt…and so on.

 

Causing you to instead of dealing with it, to hide. We have a temporary clear out before we come before church, God and other people. We shuffle it to the back of our minds, and for a moment can be who we would like to be- mess free, tidy, living in a world full of possibilities and in the relationship with God we wished we had. Then when it all gets too much, or when you’re on your own- you crumble. The mess you shifted is still there. Your stuff still needs to be dealt with, and it becomes the draw that’s overflowing and now so jam packed, that it seems easier to just leave left unopened.

 

But you can’t fool God. He knows. And not in a condemnation or creepy sort of way. But a loving ‘come to me and I’ll help you’ way. He wants to heal what has never been dealt with, rather than shove all your mess into a cupboard as a temporary solution, he wants to heal what you have deemed broken.

He wants you to be real and honest with Him, so you can be real and honest with those around you whom you trust, gaining their support and encouragement on the road to clearing out those cupboards once and for all!

 

Some of the contents of your drawers may be that it is just too full. Too full with an endless list of commitments. And so you now find that life has become a juggling act where youre actually struggling to keep all balls in the air! Maybe some of the things in your cupboard…need passing on to others.

 

Maybe your drawers are so full of unfulfilled potential and unattained dreams, that actually all you need is to give them a new lease of life? Perhaps instead of stashing them in drawers of your mind, you need to release them out on show. Hang them proudly on the wall of your life…whatever that dream is, ask God if it is His will and to help you realise that dream and set it free.

 

So I encourage you, just as I do myself. To have a good clear out. Of your home if you wish, but also of your mind, spirit and heart.

What have you crammed away hoping never to see again? What are you shuffling around and not dealing with? What drawers are you too afraid to open? What dreams have you put to rest thinking they’re impossible to attain?

 

Don’t just tidy up. Have a clear out.