Archives For motherhood

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Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings was previously interviewed by NBC about her professional beach volleyball career and her fourth chance to win the gold medal in Rio. Media outlets are highlighting her comments because she’s pro-family and pro-babies. Walsh said in the interview, “I feel like I was born to have babies and play volleyball.”

Shocking, right?

She even went so far as to say, “I’d love to win a fourth gold medal and I’d love to have a fourth baby.”

Four children…Wow!

Okay, if you can’t detect in my writing here, I am being a bit snarky. Let me explain why.

I am a huge advocate of life in the womb, out of the womb, and for celebrating motherhood. I understand Kerri’s comments because I too, feel like I was born to have babies. God gave me three of them and they changed my life.

Kerri commented: “Before I had more kids, I was like, this feels trivial. I’d been playing for so long, and I was like I need balance. All my eggs are in this one basket and it’s very self-centered and self-focused. They gave me that perspective and balance I thought I was missing. It took my game and my desire and my passion for life to the next level. I am hugely indebted to my children.”

A-ha! That revelation after we have children that the world no longer revolves around us because we are too busy raising these precious babies. It’s one of the greatest joys of being a parent when we realize that giving up of ourselves actually makes us happier human beings.

Now Kerri’s comments aren’t controversial. Yes, they do contradict some of modern-day feminism with putting careers before children and the whole “choice” mantra. There was some push back on Twitter from her comments. But who cares? She’s celebrating life. Three of them to be exact and maybe a fourth in her future.

Media outlets are now taking her words and labeling them with titles like, Liberals Go Nuts When Kerri Walsh Jennings Says… or USA Volleyball Star Makes Comment about “Having Babies” That’s Pretty Ballsy in This Day and Age. They are catchy titles meant to grab the reader but they are dishonest to Kerri’s comments who was simply sharing her life story.

As a writer, I have been guilty of this grab and attack technique. Someone celebrates our passion and we put labels on them to prove a point. I once called myself an anti-feminist because I disagreed so much with the feminist movement. I have written articles against feminism and I was even invited onto a radio program because I was a self-proclaimed “anti-feminist.” Then I realized something. Labels, catchy phrases, and shocking titles are not needed to define who I am. My life and the way I live it speaks for itself. I don’t want to be known for what I am against. I want to be known for what I celebrate.

That’s the thing that needs to change in our society and among us as women who celebrate the miracle of life, children, and motherhood. Just do your thing! Be a mother, celebrate your blessings, and even express how your children have added to your profession or career. Don’t define or label yourself how you’re different from women who don’t share your same perspective in life. Yes, you might get some push back from feminists who believe differently but don’t sweat it. Just be you and you will shine. You don’t have to win a gold medal to figure that one out.

I love Kerri’s comments but there was something that she said that wasn’t highlighted. She remarked, “My priorities are faith, family, and my career.” Now that’s balance and for those of us who share those same priorities let’s share the joy in that kind of living. That’s the woman God has called me to be and I am going to promote it- no labels needed.

 

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” – Luke 2:19

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motherhood

My oldest just turned 18 years old.

How in the world did my first-born become 18? It’s seems like just yesterday I was reading that book called What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I read that book cover to cover about 10 times. People used to tell me that you really can’t prepare someone for childbirth and motherhood. You just have to experience it for yourself. It’s really true. There’s this unspoken language that mothers speak and at times it’s hard to convey in words the joys and trials that come with being a mother.

Just like children, no two mothers are alike. We do it all differently while always wondering if we are doing it right. I was way too overprotective with my first-born, eased up on my second, and now need to remember to not be so entirely relaxed with my third. Motherhood is one of the best gifts God has given to me. I have learned so much about who I am through my children but I’ve also learned who God is because of them.

When I struggled as a new mom wondering if I was using the best baby techniques and reading all the latest parenting trends… God was there encouraging me along the way and reminding me that women have been raising children throughout history without the latest stroller or baby monitor.

As my husband and I had to discipline and set boundaries for toddlers that would test our patience and brought me to tears out of frustration… God would remind me that parenting is hard work but love is about saying no sometimes.

When I had to put my kindergartener on that bus on the first day of school, I realized that my tears were  about how I was going to make it all day without her, than she would make it without me… God reminded me that He is always watching over us.

When schedules get crazy and I feel like I am losing myself in the craziness of life and all my personal ambitions seem never to be attained because it’s not about ME anymore… God reminds me that this time is but a moment and He called me for such a time as this.

Realizing that I am not such a sweet mother because I get angry with the kid that hurt my child’s feelings… God reminds me I am a sinner saved by grace and I need more compassion for the bully 10-year-old.

When less hugs and kisses are replaced with friend time or leave-me-alone-time… God reminds me that His love, too, is always there amidst the shadows and times of dry communication.

When another birthday comes around and I feel both sad and proud about how fast my children grow up… God reminds me that each year of my child’s life is a gift and a reflection of the love He has for me.

We live in a world that makes motherhood out to be this difficult sacrifice where women give more than they receive. Perhaps there is an aspect of that in the day-to-day. However, after 18 years of being a mother, I am realizing that I have gained so much more by embracing how God has changed and molded me because of my children. I am who I am because of these precious gifts God has given me and while I am molding them, I realize how God has molded me in the process.

Motherhood is a measure of God’s love for me. Sometimes I get so fixated on being the mother I need to be at each stage of my child’s life that I forget how God is using every joy, test, and trial of parenting to mold me into His image. If it is a sacrifice, then it is reaping wonderful benefits when I take the time to realize how much God has changed me through these God-given blessings.

Thank you Lord, for blessing me with 18 years of motherhood. Teach me how to be a mother now in the adult years of my child’s life. Continue to watch over me as I make mistakes as a mother. Continue to mold me as I mold them. I am beyond grateful for the life lessons I am learning as a mother. 18 years and counting…

thCAFBKD59Are you the kind of person who cannot accept a compliment? Do you constantly downplay your abilities in front of others? Are you more fearful of success than failure? If this describes you than I think it is time you move out of Defeatville.

I have written about my own struggles with insecurity and low self-esteem on an older post. It is not something I have been cured of because, let’s face it ladies, we all struggle with insecurity from time to time. However, I have seen too many women live in a constant state of defeat. Some of it stems from emotional wounds, some from feeling the pain of failure but a lot of it is just plain fear.

I recently read a quote from the author Donald Miller. He said, “God puts your life on the door of His fridge with a magnet. He sees the beauty in you.” What a beautiful image as women and children of God. We display our own children’s paintings, writings and doodles on the walls of our house and our refrigerators. As mothers, we enjoy showing off the gifts and talents that God has given our children. Yet, when it comes to our own abilities we seem to hide them from view out of fear.

Many of us find safety behind the upbringing of our children. We get so focused on nurturing and developing the gifts and talents of our kids that we sort of retreat into a disappearing shadow of self-deprecation. Some of us lose ourselves in the midst of child-rearing and we fail to recover the beauty that God knows has been there all along. Now, I am not promoting being a working mother over a stay at home mom or vice versa. We all know the beauty that comes from self-sacrifice in being able to raise and nurture our children. I am simply driving the point that as women it is so easy to lose ourselves in the midst of our various roles. Many of us succumb to depression and fear under the weight of our responsibilities. However, God wants you to shine too.

Living in a state of constant “giving up my desires for others” can almost be a form of pride. It can also be an excuse. God wants us to succeed and show off our talents that He has given us. Yes, we need to balance them with our family’s needs. Many times, in the nature of our role, it will require that we have to take a back seat to others for a time. However, God does not want you to live in a constant state of defeat. Develop your gifts and reflect on a compliment that is given to you and let it blossom within you. Don’t hide behind failure because it is easier to live in a shadow then in the possible light of success. God wants to display His beautiful handiwork that is you with all your creativity, intelligence, uniqueness and beauty. As women, let’s start encouraging each other in our gifts and not let jealousy or bitterness discourage a friend from showing off her God-given ability. No one deserves to live in Defeatville!

working mom

She was a perfect gift for our family. What joy we all felt when my husband brought home an 8 week old puppy for the kids and I for Christmas. She was adorable, cuddly and we loved her. So the hardest thing to do was return her 3 days later. Who knew a puppy could cause so much grief? We all felt the pain of it and for us as parents it was hard admitting we made a mistake. It was hard watching our kids feel the loss of a dog that they wanted so much.

Why you might ask did we return her? The bottom line is our plates are full enough. We both realized that the stress of taking care of a puppy that needs to be loved and trained was just too much stress on our lives right now. It was hard for me to admit that I cannot do it all. I started to compare myself to other mom’s out there. They do it all with kids, sports, work, schedules and have a dog, so I can do it too. However, reality set it and I realized as much as I wanted this adorable pup I had to admit that I would not be able to handle the stress. I am not a super mom and I know my limits.

As women we are so hard on ourselves. We are constantly comparing our looks, our success and our abilities with other women. However, when we become mothers there is this added pressure we feel. Now not only do we feel the daily pressures of life on us but we now want to be the best mothers we can be. So we strive to do the newest and best parenting practices, we try to be the most creative in putting together the greatest birthday party or we make sure we volunteer every last-minute at our kids’ school so others know we are involved in the lives of our children. The pressures and stress seem endless and we add more and more to our plates. When do we admit that enough is enough?

That puppy taught me a valuable lesson. I have a breaking point and to be a good mother means sometimes I have to admit that I can’t handle certain things that possibly other moms can handle. This doesn’t make me a bad mother it makes me an honest one. My kids felt the pain of losing that dog which was hurtful. However, they gained a happy, less stressful mother who is able to attend to their needs without added stress on her life. I can’t compare myself to any other mother and I can’t pretend that I can do it all. God made me who I am. I know my limits and I know what added stress can do to me and the balance of my family.

I am in one of the busiest times of my life in raising children and managing a family. My plate won’t always be this full. The balancing act isn’t about seeing how much we can add to our life (or plate) till we break. It is about being honest with our self, admitting when life is too full and realizing less is sometimes more. Yes, my life is busy and full but I am not at a breaking point. My cup overflows with the joy and happiness I feel in raising my children. I am not going to let society’s measure of what motherhood should be take that joy away from me!