Blog

The chipped coffee cup

It’s a rarity these days to sip warm (never mind HOT) coffee. And you guys, I’d totally settle for warm. Most days I reheat one cup of coffee 8 times…and still sip very room temperatures coffee. So on the rare occasion, hot coffee hits my lips, it’s usually only if I happen to wake before my three little prince charmings. Occasionally, my husband and I are able to sneak out on our back patio before the rest of our house wakes. We treasure these few moments together, without three little love bugs crawling on us and between us.

So there we sat one morning, just my hubby and me and a coffee cup. It is during these coffee dates on the patio that we usually discuss our plans, dreams, fears, and goals. There I sat, legs pulled up in my chair, with both hands wrapped around my white coffee cup. It was then that I realized I had, yet again, grabbed the one chipped cup in our cabinet. It was a cup I had continuously been drawn to, even after several mental notes to trash it. Something in me couldn’t part with it, and suddenly there was a strange comfort in that damaged cup. The coffee inside still did the trick. It was in staring that this chipped cup that helped me gather my thoughts and find the courage to tell my own story. Holding that chipped, I decided to pursue a long time hobby of writing.

I doubted my abilities and my talent, but my husband didn’t. He handed me another cup of coffee in that chipped cup, and told me “go for it.” And so my writing journey began. Like many times before, he believed in me, even before I believed in myself. He loved me, in spite of my chips on the surface. In fact, he loved me because of them. He saw a spark of excitement in me that I hadn’t even noticed in myself because I was too focused on the flaws-the chips of my abilities as a writer. While I was letting the chips hold me back, he was asking me to use them for good. To be honest in my words of expressing myself. While writing about marriage and motherhood and how both can be messy, and crazy and hard, but also so gratifying and blissfully beautiful all at once.

I realized life is this way. Motherhood is this way. Marriage is this way. We are chipped just like that coffee cup. But these bumps, bruises, and cracks show character. They tell a story. None of us are perfect. If you are, I’m not your kind of people. Just because it’s chipped, or cracked, or bruised, doesn’t mean it’s broken. Good things can still come from it. Lord knows this tired mama of three needs her cup of coffee. And this beautifully flawed cup delivers that yummy goodness day after day.

That chipped coffee cup has become my favorite cup in my cabinet. Not because it’s perfect, but because it’s perfectly IMperfect. It was with that chipped cup in hand that some of my most treasured ideas have turned into reality. And it is in spite of my chips, flaws and all, that I have grown to be more appreciative and accepting of how I got to this perfectly flawed place in my life.

This isn’t my season for room mom

This isn’t my season for room mom

I have a giving heart. I do. I’m all for Teacher Appreciation week, and donating to the treasure box supply. I even love the fundraisers, and all that it teaches our little entrepreneurs. I delight in the holiday parties, and love the valentines parties, the 100 days of school events, Easter egg hunts, and the hand print hearts that come home in the Wednesday folders.

I’m not blind to the fact that our sons’ school run on giving hearts, volunteering their time. I know that room moms take a giant load off the teacher’s back, and they are oh so needed and greatly appreciated.

But in my current season, my giving heart is giving all it can to my babies at home. So during my season of littles, it’s simply not my season to be room mom.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve felt the tug of guilt on this mama’s heart at every meet the teacher when I leave that line blank on the sign up sheet at meet the teacher. I’d be an excellent room mom, too. I’m the crafty type. I’m the Type A, planner personality. But I also recognize that I cannot manage to do it all. Not well at least.

For now, I rush to the sign up sheet these awesome room moms send out because God forbid I get stuck with a hot dish for teacher appreciation week. I’m much better with the shelf stable napkins, that don’t have to be refrigerated or brought in at a specific time.

There will come a time when this season comes to an end. One day, I will no longer have toddlers running me ragged for 12 hours straight at home. I will no longer spend my days a slave to crumbs and tears, and nap schedules. Giving way for new adventures as a room mom. I look forward to my days inside my children’s classrooms. But right now, with one early on in his elementary career, and 2 others at home full time; it’s just not realistic to commit myself to hours of service to my sons’ teachers. If only I could be in two places at once.

There will come a time when all three of my babies transition to full time school, and I will love the opportunity to be the room mom during another mom’s season of littles.

When it’s my season, I’ll gladly pay it forward.

For now, sign me up to bring the napkins.

Take the trip…with kids.

Our recent beach trip with kids had us questioning our sanity about 90 times per day. At any given moment one of my three kids were crying, fussing or complaining. There were epic battles to apply sunscreen and wrestling matches that involved bathing suits, goggles, and life jackets. I felt like a pack mule loaded down with snacks, and boogie boards, towels, and swim diapers.

But after it was all said and done, after I’ve caught up on sleep, I still say traveling with my kids is wonderful. Not because it was relaxing. Oh no. It was far from that description. But the memories we made as a family far exceed the effort, sweat and tears we put into making that trip happen.

I still say it’s worth it.

I don’t travel with my kids so that they will remember it, because I’m fairly certain they will only recall mini snippets of our trips at this age. I also don’t consider a trip with young kids a relaxing vacation. It’s actually a lot more work than staying home, if I’m being honest. But we travel with our kids to create family memories. Because even when it’s utter chaos (and there will be chaos), we laugh at the madness that is our life. There are no perfect photos. It’s only real life. But it’s our life. And I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

So take the trip…with the kids.

Will it be hard? Absolutely.
Will there be meltdowns? Yep.
Will you make lasting memories as a family. For sure.

Dear son, I’m not here to be your friend.

Dear Son,

I’m not here to be your friend.

Maybe in 15 years we can be friends.

But not now.

Right now, friendship with you is far from my priority.

My role in your life, is teacher, caregiver, protector, encourager, motivator, the lead by example type of Mama. And that means I love you to the end of the Earth, but I’m not really bothered if you don’t like me all the time. And I hope one day, you’ll understand. One day, when you’re a parent too, you’ll understand the monumental task I tackled when I became your Mama.

Being your Mama means I need to teach you manners, and life lessons. It means I’m not going to protect you from every fall because I want you to learn to fly. It means I’m going to side on the sideline and be your unconditional cheerleader for life. It means I’m going to discipline when I see fit, correct when necessary, and teach when needed. It means I’m going to provide my best balance of shielding you from from the outside world and letting you shine in it. It means guard your heart with my life, but also gradually give you the independence you deserve.

Being your Mama means I’m going to expect you to be learn how to be humble and confident all at once. I’m going to expect you to be thankful and mean it. I’m going to expect you to be kind to everyone even if I don’t expect you to be friends with everyone.

Here’s the thing, my son.

My goal as a mom is to create and build a well balanced adult. I’m tasked with raising boys into men. And I’m certain that in order to accomplish that great task, you won’t like me all the time. So I don’t need to be on your friend list.

I’ll hold out for BFF status when you’re an adult.

For now, I’m just your Mama.

You have to lose patience to teach patience

Sometimes you have to lose your patience with your kids, in order to teach them patience.

Hear me out, friends.

Motherhood comes with it’s fair share of highs and lows. And those highs and lows can come on quick. They can flip like a switch. Just when you think it’s all going your way. Just when you think you have it all figured out. Just when you think you have control.

You lose it.

That’s motherhood.

It’s a constant adjustment to the game plan. It’s a change on the fly, learn as you go kind of gig. And it’s not for the light hearted.

So it comes with the territory that during motherhood, you’re going to lose your patience. And not just once, but time and time again.

And I’m here to tell you, sweet tired mama, it’s ok to lose it sometimes.

It’s ok to lose your patience. To lose your cool. To lose your sanity.

In fact, it’s not just ok. It’s just plain normal.

In order to teach kids patience you have to lose it sometimes too. “Losing your patience” is a well known phase because that’s exactly what it is.

Lost.

Gone.

Cannot find it.

Motherhood can be completely overwhelming. Sometimes we completely lose our cool. Sometimes we completely lose our patience.

But that doesn’t mean we’ve completely failed our kids.

Watching an adult lose their patience teaches kids that everyone has a breaking point and they’ve just seen yours. It teaches kids although they are the center of your world, they are not the center of the entire world. A valuable life lesson, for sure.

It teaches kids how to lose your patience and recover from it. Sometimes reaching your breaking point is what you need to build yourself back up, and find a different solution to the same old problem. Sometimes it takes hitting a wall, before we seek change.

So to the Mama at her breaking point, give yourself a break.

You didn’t ruin your kids if they see you lose control and lose your cool.

Here’s your permission to not hold it all together all the time. Here’s your permission to forgive yourself when you lose your patience. Here’s your permission to give yourself grace. Here’s your permission to completely lose it sometimes.

There’s still good out there

It’s hard to avoid the loud hum of negativity in the news headlines. Most days, I can’t even listen to it. Mainly because since becoming a mom, I internalize every story that even remotely involves children. But also because I try to shelter my kids from the negativity for as long as possible.

If I could keep them in a bubble always, I certainly would. If they never had to practice lock down drills at school, I would be able to relax a heck of a lot easier when they were away. But our sad reality is that there are those tough headlines. There are terrible, heartbreaking stories that involve real people. Real families. Real kids.

In a world filled with heartache, the only way to stay positive, is to focus on the good. And although the bad seems so heavy and often clouds the view of the good, there is still good out there, sometimes you just have to look a little harder.

In a world filled with tragedies, there will still always be…

Teachers not working for the pay check, because Lord knows they don’t do it solely for the money. They spend countless hours prepping and preparing, loving and hugging our babies. They feed the curious, they wipe the tears, they build up the next generation. They pour their heart into other people’s children each and every day.

Now that’s something good.

There will still always be strangers helping strangers. There will always be people that still hold the door open for the person behind them or give up their seat for the pregnant mom in the crowded waiting room. There will still always be strangers that rally for people they’ve never met. They will show up after hurricanes and provide food, shelter, and hugs to those displaced. There will still always be church families that travel the world in hopes of spreading good news. There will always be people giving funds to provide a better life to people they will never meet.

Now that’s something good.

There will still always be neighbors that will become your village and your extended, chosen, family. Neighbors that will drop everything to help you when life gets hard. Neighbors that hold hands a funerals and come to hold your newborn within hours of their birth. The kind of neighbors that bring you a warm meal when your husband travels or replenish your wine supply when yours is running low.

Now that’s something good.

There will always be children giving to children. There will always be kids with a tender heart that want to donate school supplies, toys, and warm clothes to other kids that don’t have them. There will always be kids that stop to help the kid that dropped their books, or sit with the kid sitting alone.

Now that’s something good.

Your turn. Tell me something good.

Mom Code

A friend comes over for a play date and my house looks like a tornado struck my kitchen. Muffin crumbs are strung within a 10 foot radius of our table, juice (or possibly urine) is puddled under the table. Crafts from the night before are still glued to the table and 10 markers are missing their caps. But that friend walks in for our play date and doesn’t mention the mess, but swoops in and hugs my kids and zaps her cold cup of coffee in the microwave for the 4th time of the day.

That’s mom code.

No one mentions the mess, we’re just living life together in survival mode.

Walking into Target on the rare occasion that I am sans kids, and I see a mom in the dollar spot with one screaming baby in the cart, pouring out snacks from a bag she most likely opened from the shelves in the store, and the other kids hanging backwards off the front of the cart. Another kids makes a bee line for the front door and the mom scrambles to make the quick decision to abandon her cart full of kids or dart after the runaway. I jump into mom mode and grab the strange kid and block the doorway. Her thankful expression says it all. She is exhausted, embarrassed and thankful to have found another mom on the same journey. Our eyes meet and we both know we both get it.

That’s mom code.

No one mentions that chaos, we just dive in to help a fellow mom.

A mom is in the newborn haze, covered in milk (both spit up and from her breasts). Her hair is in a ball on top of her head, and her eyes are glazed over from lack of sleep and a screaming baby. Two moms show up with cleaning supplies, a hot meal, and a sound machine (for mom, not the baby). The two friends jump into action, one cleaning the kitchen and the other picking up the playroom. No one asked for help, but it is always welcomed with open arms.

That’s mom code.

No one has to ask, because likely no one ever will.

Mom code is doing for each other because we’ve all been there. We know the exhaustion and hormones can turn a mom into a mess. No one got through this mom journey alone. It really does take a village and a huge understanding of the Mom code.