Monday, December 20, 2010


MOPS recently posed an interesting question on their twitter account.  It wondered if being a mom has made you more or less resilient.  I thought about that a lot.  I’ve always considered myself to be so. 

However, the last few months, have been extremely frustrating for me; too much to do in too little time, not being able to do the things I need to and want to do because of lack of resources, and continually running behind on everything. Groceries, laundry, paperwork.

My “Do December Different” has kind of stalled out thanks to sickness.  I spent a bunch of days at urgent care or the doctor’s office with Maren and then Abby last week.  This week?  Stomach flu.  There is very little I loathe more than that but especially at Christmas.  It’s kind of hard to bake and shop when I’m cleaning out buckets. 

On top of that, I had to deal with my preteen girls this weekend.  I’m not really sure how girls learn so young to cause great hurt with their mouths.  It felt close to anarchy around here at some points and my head and heart hurts.  One of the few things that I really pour my heart and soul into is my parenting and when that falls apart, I feel like a failure. 

All of a sudden all I feel is overwhelmed, frustrated and bummed.  I  want to give up.  Or freak out.  Quite often it’s both.  What’s the point?  I try to do everything right and it seems like something always gets in the way.

This is where being resilient is so important because we all know that things aren’t going to go as planned in life.  Especially life with kids.  Here’s the meaning of resilient: recovering quickly: able to recover quickly from setbacks.  And elastic: able to spring back quickly into shape after being bent, stretched, or squashed.  (According to the Bing Dictionary)

It seems like the older I get, the less elastic I become unless you are talking about the waist in my favorite sweatpants.  But we absolutely have to be able to bounce back.  No matter what, we have to do what it takes to keep going and be there for our families. 

I think there are a few things that block resilience for me.

First is performance.  I get confused and think that my worth is wrapped up in what I do.  A “good” mom should… you fill in the blank:  have a clean house, make healthy home-cooked meals, stay-at-home.   I am  so busy with my packed schedule that if one little thing goes wrong everything falls apart.

Second is perfection.  I feel the need to do everything perfectly.  I am not satisfied in just putting peanut butter sandwiches on the table for supper.  And when I do, we have to feel guilty and rake myself over the coals for it.

The third I’m going to call prozac because I want everything to start with a “P”.  My emotions are raw.  I think that’s true for a lot of us.  We are driving ourselves too hard.  We’re exhausted.  Hurt.  Angry.  All these things that we have no time, energy or outlet to deal with.  What woman do you know that has the time to fall apart or process things?

I’ve been there.  There are days when dealing with my children makes me want to run away from home.  There are times when I wonder if I’m emotionally stable.  There are moments when I just want to throw in the towel.  But I don’t.  I can’t.

I want and need to be there for my family.  The key to true resiliency is in Christ.  He loves and accepts us with all our faults and inadequacies.  Through Him and His love and strength I can bounce back.  I can fall apart and pour it all out to Him.  That’s ok.  With His help I can  get back to it. 

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:14-16

As I was laying on the couch with my sick daughters last night, they were chatting away betweens bouts.  I had been thinking about how horrible this was.  How I wasn’t getting “things” done.  How I just wanted to go to bed.  But there I was laying around in front of the Christmas tree with my girls chatting incessantly.  It was quiet.  We weren’t busy.  It was kind of nice (except for the flu part).

And I wondered why I care so much about things.  Why do I care if we have cereal for supper sometimes.  Or if I don’t execute all my little plans.  Or if the house is messy.  Or if we struggle through some rough waters.  Have you heard the old saying, life isn’t about what happens to you but how your respond? 

Even in the crushing blows of family drama, mouthy kids, nights of puking, and bad suppers we’ve got the power of Christ to help us snap back into shape.  We can go to Him with our hurt and disappointments, then get up and get on with it. 

Because my kids will not be well served with a mom that is crying in her closet or just a zombie going through the motions.  They need all of us.  Fully engaged.  Fully invested.  Fully in line with Christ and His gospel of grace in our lives. 

Maybe I can finish the elfing I wanted to do in January.  Because I think it’s probably okay to give even if it isn’t December.  And maybe sometimes eating sandwiches happily in front of a football game is more of a fun night with the family then being stressed over a really nice meal.  Maybe it’s rolling with the punches that makes us strong.  And maybe we perform well when we don’t let perfection drive us. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.   Philippians 4:6-7


Anonymous said...

Wish I lived closer so I could do some elfing to help you! Hang in there! - christy

Peter and Nancy said...

I don't know what it is about stomach bugs . . . they're my least favorite minor illness to deal with!! And I often feel depressed in the middle of it. I'd rather have a cold for 10 days than a stomach bug for two! Hope everyone is well soon!

As I was reading, I was thinking that we moms need to set smaller goals for the non-essentials. Maybe one or two special projects instead of five, etc.

But I'm with you -- bad behaviors make me feel like a bad mom. It's probably a good time to remember mercy. :o) For them and for me!

Shan in Japan said...

Thank you! I am not a mom but I am a church planter and that church is my baby. Just about everything you talked about, except the puking, has gone through my head and heart this week. Ah, that dern perfectionism. Praise God for His grace!
I pray you are all well for Christmas and enjoy your time together.