Saturday, December 03, 2011

Late Night Binge

I have late night binges fairly often as evidenced by my pants size and the empty snack size Twix bag on my counter.  But it’s not too often I go on a cleaning binge. 

Here I was having a normal Saturday night and all of a sudden because of a new Mr. Clean product, I’m scrubbing the tile grout, washing floors and chipping away at some hard water stains with a finger nail clipper.  What gives?

My house has been a pretty big disaster lately.  The Christmas tree mess.  Piles and piles of school papers and bills.  Five pairs of boots and snow pants.   A partially disassembled office downstairs.  It feels like chaos.  Ok, it is chaos. 

Yet in the middle of the chaos, which I hate, I am totally unmotivated to clean.  It might be that the task is too overwhelming.  It could be that I’m too busy.  My laziness no doubt is a factor.  I would rather do other things or nothing.

So why out of the blue, at the most inconvenient times do I go into a frenzy?  It’s 11:30 on a Saturday night and we have a big day tomorrow.  What on earth is wrong with me?  I filed months worth of paperwork.  I cleaned off the counter.  I cleaned underneath the toilet.  It’s so weird.

If only I could bottle this and binge on it on a Monday morning.  Can you imagine what I might accomplish?  In housework and in life.

But I guess as long as I can’t control when the cleaning binge wave hits, I may as well just ride along and clean like crazy until I get back to normal.  Then chaos can reign again.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Drama Mama

I suppose there is something in a Mom’s DNA that brings out the Drama Mama in us.  You know how it is,  I am the best. My kid is the best.  Don’t try to tell me they’re not!  If you can’t recognize their amazing talent then you are an idiot!  It’s kind of a cross between Tiger Mom and Mama Bear.  I think it stems from wanting the best for our kids but it can get ugly in a hurry.

I was chatting with a friend about our upcoming basketball season.  Disclaimer:  This friend does not live in my town nor do her kids go to the same school as mine.  She was telling me about the drama on a kids basketball team.  The minute the mom of this child starts talking about basketball she goes ape.  Curse words fly, tensions raise, she goes for the throat of other moms and other girls.  It’s viscous.  That’s why my friend never mentions the word *basketball* to this person.

It’s natural to want the best for your kids.  It’s natural to want to defend them.  It’s not normal or cool to freak out when you don’t get your way.  Or to demand that they are the best thing on the planet at academics, sports, cheerleading, eating lunch or walking up the stairs.  Seriously, it can get that petty.

There are some moms that just attract drama. It’s always something.  It seems like the root cause is selfishness.  It’s all about me.  It’s all about my kid.  We are the best, don’t tell us we aren’t.

It’s kind of like those the kids that go to try out for American Idol.  Their families have told them all their lives that they are the bomb.  The problem is that they literally are a bomb.  Some cannot carry a tune but their parents have continued to push this image and dream.  They go away broken hearted over the truth.  They are not God’s gift to music.  They had no idea.

There are things I’m not good at.  I’m not good at math or decorating.  I’m not good at exercise or cleaning.  It’s ok.  Some things that we are usually good at bomb at times.  Like today I made the most disgusting cookies.  I have no idea why because I’ve used that recipe a million times.  However that should not shatter who I am.  We all have bad days and things we aren’t good at.

Drama Mama can’t see or accept that.  She certainly isn’t teaching her kids that.  It’s a reality of life.  She’s puffing her kids up to a level that they most likely cannot possibly sustain.  That’s not a favor to her kids.  It won’t be long before they get out there and learn that they are not the best at everything.  They will be shattered. 

The other problem with Drama Mama is that she is not considering others.  If you and your kid are the best, where does that leave everyone else?  If your kid is the only one who can shine, then no one else counts.

Over and over God encourages us to put others first.  To pour ourselves out.  It’s a radical idea in this society that encourages us to be “all about me”.  But what would happen if we were all about encouraging everyone to use the gifts and talents God has given them for His glory.

In my Bible study today, we focused on this verse:

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”  Ephesians 4:2-3

The author of the study, Chip Ingram explains that humility is when we decide to think of ourselves honestly and practice serving others unselfishly. 

Gentleness develops when we intentionally relate to people beyond our comfort zone. 

Patience has a chance to grow as we experience the disappointments, delays and frustrations with those who don’t want to change or don’t see change the same way we do.

What would happen if all Moms did this?   The Drama Mama can’t see past her own selfish desires.  God wants us to go in a radically different direction.  He wants us to give up our rights and think of others.  When we do that, His grace will take over.

I don’t think it’s possible to be a drama mama and a follower of Christ.  So when I feel myself start to slip into that mode I better run back to Ephesians and check myself.  God calls us to a life of humility and service, not selfishness and boasting. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Queen Mum

Have you ever seen anyone wearing a shirt that says, “Princess Mom”? Or there’s one that says “I know I’m a Princess because my mom is the Queen”. And while I get that it’s a funny little joke, I think there are plenty of women who totally own that sentiment.

Her home is their castle. Her family is at her beck and call. The underlings do all the work and they better do it well. The Queen Mum cannot be bothered by everyday things. Stuff in the house is not her problem. She is above cleaning and cooking and getting up with the kids. She has important texts to attend to and games to play. There is no reason for interruption.

The Queen Mum has high standards. When one of the peasants try to do jobs or errands, they are seldom done right. The Queen then demeans or humiliates their efforts. There is no praise or encouragement rolling off her tongue.


A friend of mine told me that when her mom was done talking on the phone she would hold it up in the air. That meant one of the kids better get up and hang it back on the hook. I know that we’ve forgotten phones with receivers and hand sets but they did exist once upon a time.

The Queen Mum likes to go out and live large. She spends lots of time at the nail salon. When someone needs something, she looks at the pathetic prince she married with her arms crossed daring him not to take care of it.

Everyone walks on egg shells around the Queen. They never know what she will be in a good mood or want everyone banned from her kingdom. The underlings try their hardest to please and serve her, yet it is never enough.

I know some Queen Mums. I may even be one every once in a while. I used to play a little game with my husband. Only he didn't know about it. When one of the kids would wake up crying I would lay there and clench my teeth. I might have even thrown in a sigh or elbow now and then. I wanted to see how long it would be until he got up. He rarely did. Mainly because he's a heavy sleeper. He does however get up and make everyone breakfast in the mornings. I'm over that game. Now when there is a need sometimes we even tell each other to sit down or assure them that we've got it.

And while it’s not a big deal to let everyone in the family help and go spend some alone time now and then, our jobs as moms is not to hoard and abuse power. It’s to serve.

I’ve often said that being a mom is God’s grand plan to humble me. It’s a humbling job; getting up a night, cleaning up, changing diapers, doing laundry, cooking, shopping. The list never ends. So instead of being miserable and making everyone in our kingdom miserable, it might be a good idea to look at how Jesus lived and ruled while he was here.

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” John 13:3-9

Jesus knew God’s plan. He knew that God had given Him power. But he chose to wash everyone’s feet. That job was usually reserved for the lowest of servants.

I’m sure the Queen Mum loves her family. It’s just hard to let go of her love for herself. It’s hard for all of us. But we are God’s children. If we trust Christ, we truly are daughters of the King. Our position in secure. Now, in Christ we can serve as a gift to our families and a gift to God.

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not me, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.” Ephesians 6:7-8

Serving doesn’t mean we have no opinion or are mousy little slaves. Serving as Jesus serves is an honor. A gift.

Trust me, it’s really not that good to be Queen. Or at least a Queen Mum. As we grow in Christ, we should seek to become more like Him. And Jesus Christ was a servant. So should I be. In marriage, in ministry and in life.

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8