Saturday, August 22, 2009

Alone Time

None of us got a lot of sleep last night. We got home from a wedding in the wee hours of the morning. Mike had to leave for a conference and Maren decided to wake up early. She was as ornery as I was. She climbed up on the counter and took off her clothes. When I told her she had to get down and get dressed she cried and ran around naked finally landing on a living room chair which she peed all over. It was not a good way to start the day.

As I was doing my 7th or 8th load of laundry and putting it away in between making lunch and mopping up from finding the sink left on and overflowing in the bathroom, I started to grumble.

Where's Mike? Why does he have to be gone all day on a Saturday? I bet they are having a nice lunch now.

When is it my turn? How long do my needs and desires have to be last?

What if it's never my turn or "me-time"? I've got at least 16 more years of active parenting. Do you know how old I'll be by then?

I grumble about those things a lot. But I was unusually bitter about it today.

And in my heart I kept getting the answer No. And Forever. Translation: it may never be your turn. Ever. Can you live with that?

I've never thought that God speaks to me but where did that come from? He was certainly impressing something on my heart. Something like grow up and get over yourself. Making you give and give is a great work I am doing in your life.

And I know that I am called to give and serve like Christ. But I don't know how to find the balance. I mean I'm human and being demanded of all the time takes its toll.

I've had a few little breakdowns over the last few weeks. Usually it entails complaining about never having a break and then feeling like the worst mother ever for wanting one. So is it selfish to want to spend time alone; away from kids, husbands and household responsibilities?

Usually when I'm tapped out and need refreshment I focus on myself. But that's just surface stuff. If I make my time alone God-centered that's when I get true refreshment. Oh, when I get the chance I like to run off to the mall thrift store, but that usually leaves me more tired. What I really need is for God to fill me up so that I can return and give (and give and give till it hurts) to the family I love.

Only through God's grace and strength can I find the refreshment I need.

So can I really live with being last? Can you?

Isaiah 40:30-31
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Matthew 11:29
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I remember when we had our third baby and realized we were outnumbered. It was a little bit scary. But we obviously overcame the fear and had a few more. I know a lot of people think I'm crazy. Somedays I think they are right.

Last winter I was visiting with some dear friends from college after a baby shower for one of them. Someone said they weren't going to have more kids because they "just want to be sure they do a good job with the two they have." Was she implying that I couldn't possibly be doing a good job with five? I'm sure she didn't mean it to be offensive. Being a woman and a Mom I tend to over react. But it did get me thinking about if I could possibly do a good job being so hopelessly outnumbered.

Big families live life differently. It may appear odd or abnormal or even unhealthy to the untrained eye. They drive large vehicles, shop in bulk and have lots of bunk beds. It becomes more of a herd mentality or zone defense.

Sometimes, we are unable to play board games or go certain places because of the little kids. The age span means varied interests. The bigger kids don't want to play in the kiddie pool or do play dough anymore. We can't up and go out to dinner or a movie because it just costs too much for seven people. We have to limit activities and sports because we can't be in five places at once. Everyone has to help out with chores because there is a lot to do.

So does having a large family hold us back? Sure, in some ways it absolutely does.

Is that a bad thing? I don't think so. The kids are learning patience, sacrifice and teamwork. They can occupy themselves and learn to play together because I'm usually too busy doing laundry to play. They are becoming close friends (that fight a lot).

There's sacrifice on the parents end too. Having more than two kids means committing decades to parenting. That's right, decades.

Tomorrow night we are going to a wedding. The groom grew up in our church. There are six kids in his family. He's in the middle somewhere. They never had a lot of money or a fancy house, but seeing those kids as adults is so amazing. They are such a close knit family and do everything together. They have grown up to be thoughtful and caring. And that gives me hope!

I love the activity and energy of our big family. And it's a good thing I do since it's too late to change my mind!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In Over My Head

Have you ever had those moments in parenting where you thought:


I've been having a lot of those lately. It seems like every time we get past a stage or problem and I think I've got my Mommy act together something new sneaks up. Unfortunately, I don't handle it well. I'd like to respond calmly. With prayer. But usually I just get ticked off.

Then I look around and it seems there are others who do have it all together. They could be having their ninth baby, grind their own wheat, use cloth diapers and just love every minute of it. They seem to calmly dole out discipline that actually curbs naughty behavior. Their kids take naps and go to bed without fussing. They probably aren't still trying to get half their kids to bed after 10 p.m.

Grant is usually calm and laid back and cooperative. But lately he's been irritable and angry and stubborn. I'll admit it, I know nothing about boys. I didn't have a brother although I always wanted one. I thought a brother would like to swim and play outside since my sister didn't. This week sent me searching out my autographed copy of "Bringing Up Boys". For real, it's signed by James Dobson himself.

And that is why dealing with boy stuff is left to my husband. But as much as he knows about guy stuff, he doesn't have all the answers.

Even though I think I know some stuff about girls, I'm already dumbfounded by some things my girls say and do. There are no easy answers or formulas.

I don't like not knowing what to do. I don't like not being in control. It makes me realize that parenting is bigger than me, my strategies, problem solving and book reading. In humility, when I know I don't have the answers and I can turn to the One who does. That's when I'm driven to pray for my kids and ask for wisdom. It's when I realize they are God's and not mine.

He is never in over his head.

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the hills-
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD ,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip-
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you-
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm-
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.