To all the Moms, Happy Mother’s Day!
To all the Moms, Happy Mother’s Day!
For those of you that have followed the guest blog posts you will remember Michelle Clark of Miss Banana Pants from her earlier post she did for me about All Moms are Liars. Well today she brings some great insight into her journey of a seven month fast…
We’ve all felt the clutter of life at one time or another. I think that it comforts us to a certain degree. Having more “stuff” makes us feel secure, distracted, and accomplished. I’ve truthfully never been very materialistic. Stuff doesn’t mean very much to me. Just ask my husband in the way that I take care of my mess of a car, continuously pile clutter in every corner of my house, and resolve to the fact that we will never have super nice furniture because we have kids. I’m okay with it. To a certain extent. The truth is I’ve been a horrible steward of my stuff. I should take better care of what I’m given/what we can afford. I’ve just always had a very “disposable” mentality about stuff. It’s here today, it’s helpful, if it breaks/is stolen/goes through the ringer, it’s okay. It’s all disposable and we will just get something else. I trick myself into thinking that my stuff does not own me. Maybe it doesn’t. But my perspective on my stuff does. Just because I don’t cling to my stuff, doesn’t mean I don’t take it for granted. I’m not concerned with it being gone, because “out with the old, in with the new”. Do you struggle with this? Or do you hold on to your possessions as if they define you?
I made the massive mistake of taking this “simple-looking” book with me on vacation to read by the beach. I think I must be the very first girl ever to sit in a lounge chair in the sand staring at the ocean waves and reading a book about EXCESS. Seems a bit hypocritical. Not an easy book to read while on vacation, I’ll tell ya! Try reading it at the pool…in your ocean condo…while your kids argue about cable TV stations. It did feel wrong. I was so spoiled at that moment. No, it wasn’t wrong to go on vacation. Actually, it was an amazing free blessing/gift to our family and we were humbled by the love that has been shown to us. It just wasn’t an ideal place to read about excess. Not at all. We just have so much stuff and are so selfish. Don’t you ever get tired of how greedy we have become? It seems like the more we get – the more we THINK we need. We feel like we DESERVE it all. It’s a terrible cycle and I was ready to get off. Something definitely had to give. I soaked in each word and let it simmer in my mind and heart throughout vacation and came home with a resolve. This stuff that Jen Hatmaker covered in her book wasn’t “new” new but she did something about it. She put feet to her words. I knew that I wanted to begin to put feet to mine as well. I was not going to be just another woman who simply reads this book and says that it’s a “life changing” theory and experiment. I wanted to do. I wanted to act. I wanted to be wrecked to the point of change. It was official. I didn’t want to be comfortable anymore. I wanted to take on Jen Hatmaker’s challenge to fast in the seven areas of my life that were defining who I was: Food, Clothes, Possessions, Media, Spending, Waste, and Stress.
Currently, I’m just finishing up my Food Fast for month one and boy, am I glad it’s almost over! Not because I didn’t learn a TON, but because I am ready to try to be a better steward in this department on my own. In the book, “7”, Jen just chose seven different foods and ate nothing but those seven things all month-long. What dedication! I am not that spiritual! Ha! I, instead, made seven food rules for myself to adhere to for the entire 4 weeks, and I have to say, I followed most of them pretty well. They were: No Fast Food, No Pop/Soda, No Alcohol, No Pork, No Chocolate, No Eating After 7 pm, and Only ONE grocery trip per week.
During this whole first month, the main things that I’ve learned are just how spoiled I am in the area of food. I’ve never had to worry about what I will eat until now. I’m having to plan ahead because I can’t just grab something on the go. Sometimes I have found myself literally consumed with how to organize my day around us having enough time to come home and cook something. I’ve never had to think about food so much in my life! I am realizing what a blessing it’s been to be born into a society that, for the most part, doesn’t have to worry about food. I live a privileged life. I’ve never known hunger, poverty, or despair. I have been ridiculously blessed relationally, spiritually, and physically. My life is so happy, it’s almost embarrassing at times when I think of it in comparison to so many other people in other countries. And yet, this month, I let the little things like the fact that I couldn’t just run through a drive-thru window for lunch or grab a soda obstruct my view on my reality. I struggled to see how blessed I am because I wasn’t able to see the forest because I was concentrating on the trees. Even before this month I did that. I concentrate too much on the few things that I can’t have instead of all the endless things that I do have at my disposal I have more food (even with all this month’s limitations) in one single day than most of the earth’s population see their whole lives. If anything is ridiculous, it’s that fact. But how many times do we really stop and think about that fact? If we did, it would not only change the way we think about food, but it would revolutionize the way we think about life.
As this month ends and I am about to embark on the next phase of this 7 month fast, I’m excited to see what more God has to teach me. Next month’s focus is “Clothes” and I’ve decided to mirror the experiment that Hatmaker did in her book. She chose only 7 articles of clothes and wore nothing but those things for an entire month. Sounds completely ridiculous, eh? But I really think that this month might stir in me a new-found appreciation for what it feels like to not only not care about what you look like, but focus more time and energy on changing the ME behind the facade of fashion. This month I’m sure to see some inner change. I can’t wait.
For those of you who think this whole thing is so WEIRD, you are totally right. I think it is too, actually. Really, it’s okay to think I’m becoming one of those Christians. But in the words of our pastor, “I welcome WEIRD. Normal isn’t working anymore.” It’s not. I’m sure that most of Jesus’ ideas weren’t so popular either. I’m convinced that He got the “I-thought-you-were-normal-but-now-I-see-I-was-clearly-wrong” face plenty of times. He seriously knew how to thin out a crowd. He always gunned for less, reduced, simplified. He was the most fully and completely unselfish, ungreedy, unpretentious man to ever live, and I just want to be more like Him. It’s as simple as that. If limiting myself of my favorite things for 7 months can help Jesus overcome me, then so be it. I’m okay with an oddball label. I think we should all learn to be a bit more different. One of my all-time favorite quotes came from a speaker at a youth conference I went to almost 10 years ago but it has always stuck with me. “You cannot make a difference in this world unless you ARE different from this world.”
Photo Credit: Rachelulgado
With Mother’s Day tomorrow I think about my sweet little boy and the joy that he brings to our family. Mommy’s work is a constant… changing diapers, washing diapers (we use cloth), making meals, laundry, hugs when he needs it most, story time and the list could go on, but I wouldn’t change it for anything! Not every day is perfect, in fact some days it feels like nothing goes right and Eli woke up in a mood, but again it changes nothing. I love every minute of being a mommy. Right now at his young age he doesn’t realize what Mother’s Day is, and that is okay because I know that he loves me! So with all that said I want to give my little one a blessing for his future. I pray that in all my efforts, in every day mommy work I encourage and inspire him to be creative, be filled with passion, to seek God’s word daily and sprint towards God’s plans for his life.
With Mother’s Day approaching and everyone around us reflects on the work of moms what do you hope your children learn from your life? What blessing do you have for them?
Every baby shower there is always a goodie bag of essential items like baby shampoo, bubble bath, comb, brush, etc. Baby’s have to stay clean and sweet-smelling and so it is no surprise to open up a gift that is full of the baby bath items. A very popular brand that new parents receive in these gift baskets is Johnson and Johnson. It’s been around for a long time, no tears, gentle on baby’s skin and a trusted brand, right? Well you would think that would be the case. But, there are actually two ingredients in their baby shampoo that is known to cause cancer! This is so scary! We as parents are only trying to make sure that our kids stay clean and never would have guessed that we would need to be concerned about the baby “safe” bath time products. We moms need to stick together so that we can see a change in these issues. Check out Green Oklahoma and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for more info.
Todays post is from a guest blogger, Michelle Clark. She has her own blog you should also check out, Miss Banana Pants. She’s a great writer with an awesome sense of humor and tells the truth exactly how it is. For example, I read the other day on facebook a status update talking about rolling a fitted sheet into a ball after failing to fold it. I laughed out loud because I SO do that and never even thought about whether other people would call that normal! So with that, I will give you her post…
Ever had one of those days when your child decides to pick their nose in public, then offers his “finds” to the person behind you in the Wal-Mart check-out line? Or how about one of those days when your toddler asks why it’s okay for you to spank him, but it’s not okay for him to spank his friends? How about one of those days when you try to change a “questionable” diaper in the car, only to realize at the wrong moment that your toddler wasn’t finished with said “questionable business” and thus, proceeds to “finish” all over the front seat and your new Miss Me jeans? As crazy (and disgusting) as all those scenarios sound, I had them ALL 3 this morning. That’s right…..it’s Wednesday, but REALLY, it might as well have been another Monday for me. Usually things like this only happen on that one dreaded day of the week. I just want to shower, to go back to bed, and start over….
But I press on. I AM supermom, you know! I do have it all together and all is under control. At least I like to pretend so. Because even after mornings like the one I just had, that’s what you do. You run into a fellow mom at the mall or supermarket who asks you how things are going. You respond, “Fantastic!” ……..LIE. “Pretending” sounds much more innocent, but that’s not what’s going on here. Cause we’re ALL liars. Every last over-achieving one of us. ALL MOMS ARE LIARS.
We would all like you to think we are the best of the best at all things “parenting”, when, in reality we are just giving you our own opinions and experiences. Those “experiences” are foggy though, but we force our two-cents on other moms so that they won’t know that we have had gruesome, normal, Mommy-mornings like the one I just had. Let me give you an example of our good intentions gone bad:
You: “Oh, your daughter isn’t sleeping through the night? That must be awful. My son has always been a good sleeper. He sleeps like, 12 hours now. It’s kind of crazy.”
Your intention: I want this person to know that sleep IS possible. That one day it’s all going to work out and she’ll have a fantastic night’s sleep. We’re all in this together!
How she’s taking it: I’m a failure. I’m never going to sleep again. My life is over. I hate myself. My roots are growing in and my footwear is horrendous.
See how easily your good intentions have been misunderstood? But here’s the thing you’re forgetting:
You’re LYING. Again.
You don’t mean to. And yes, we do believe that your child is sort of sleeping but it took you a heck of a long time to make that happen and you forgot to mention that. You crossed out that little tidbit of info in your maternal memory bank because you don’t want to remember how you lost clumps of your hair and consistently told your husband that he was a douche face. You were stressed! Not sleeping is a form a torture. Look what happened to Lady Macbeth! Who wants to remember how hard it was when you can focus your energy on how awesome you feel that you only wake up once or twice now (which technically isn’t sleeping through the night, but never mind.)
So here’s the up side: Anytime another mother gives you information about her life that in turn makes you feel like you are FAILING MISERABLY as a parent just whisper under your breath: “she’s lying”. Because it’s true. She is lying. But not just to you, also to herself. And she doesn’t even know it. (And even if she’s not – who cares – you’ll feel better) So forgive her for not remembering what really happened and find comfort in the fact that there is a chemical in our brains that eliminates pain memory.
Because one day it WILL all work out. You will go to sleep and you will leave the house without Cheerios in your hair. You will once again find the matching socks to wear instead of matching a pair that just look kinda sorta similar. And, yes, you will one day wear a bra without flaps on the front – a bra that keeps your boobs pointing UP and not DOWN.
But at this point you should probably just offer to buy her a coffee because, seriously, you both deserve it. Just think how different life would have been for Lady Macbeth had someone just given her a hug and offered to buy her a mocha latte. A lot less drama that’s for sure.
Why aren’t we honest? Why can’t we say, “Well, I’m doing alright, minus getting pooped on, spit all over, and overcoming the constant public humiliation that my toddler puts me through on a daily basis. Thank you for asking.” We don’t have to be supermoms. We also don’t have to have better kids than every other mom out there. The more honest we are with each other, the more we can learn to survive this crazy journey of motherhood. Let’s hold our tongues and hold each other up more often. We’re all in this together, clothes stained with poop and all. You know it’s true.