Wednesday, June 30, 2010

All By Myself

A dear friend of mine sent me a note in the mail last week. One line of it particularly caught my attention. She wrote, "Sometimes, we as mothers feel that we must do it all." I have not read a truer statement in a very long time, and it hit me that this is exactly how I usually live my life. I get caught up in frustration over the dishes that didn't get washed (again), the laundry that (still) isn't folded, or the toys that are (continually) scattered across the floor. I want to be that Superwoman mother who has a spotless house, a home-cooked meal in the oven just in case unexpected company arrives, and beautifully-behaved children who never fight and always lend a compliment at the most needed moments.


In frustration, I often grumble to myself, "I just can't do it all by myself!"

And I think it is at precisely that moment that I realize what it is that the Lord has been trying to teach me all along: I'm not SUPPOSED to be doing this all by myself.


God has most graciously given us Mommies some very wonderful helpers if we would but utilize them. He has given us His word to lead, guide, and teach us as we train up our dear little spark plugs for His glory. He has given us His Spirit to govern our less-than-perfect attitudes. He has given us our dear husbands who labor hours on end to provide not only for our physical needs but also give us support, love, and encouragement. He has given us our friends who pray daily for us and who can relate to our situations. There really is no shortage of help, but how often do we overlook, either accidentally or purposefully, these support systems that He has put in place?

The hardest part, for me, is remembering and utilizing these fantastic helpers. My dear friend took just a moment to remind me of this, and I am so glad that she did. I hope that I can, in turn, aid others in realizing this as well. God never meant for motherhood to be an "I can do it all" job. It's just too big to do it alone, and, thankfully, we don't have to tackle this mountain "all by myself."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Interior Decorating Failure No. 1

Monday morning after Jon left for his first day of work, I took a moment to decide how to spend my day. Ordinarily, I try to tackle the most obvious, most unsightly home management problems (such as overflowing laundry and rampant stacks of dirty dishes) and then move on to the less noticeable areas of concern (i.e., our bedroom, where no wise creature would ever choose to invade). After brief consideration, however, I chose to follow a reverse pattern. Jon is accustomed to stepping over clean laundry that has tumbled onto the dirty laundry room floor, so he probably wouldn't care if he had to do it yet again. On the other hand, our poor bedroom has received such neglect over the past two years - it was our place to dump everything that did not have a permanent home - that I felt it deserved to be ignored no longer.

This decision made, the kids and I dragged out bags of Mommy's crochet yarn, hung up laundry that had been carelessly tossed onto the antique rocker, vacuumed, changed sheets, dusted, rearranged furniture, and vacuumed some more. The end result was amazing and inspiring. I suddenly had a bedroom that looked half appreciated, somewhat decorated (as long as you can tolerate the fact that the bedspread and curtains, both given to us for free, are very different shades of burgundy), and quite refreshing in its now-simplified layout.

So far, so good.

As one good deed deserves another, I decided to tackle the adjacent bathroom next. As mentioned above, I had been given some lovely curtains at no cost. They arrived in mis-matched fashion inside an opaque plastic bag. I had already hung the pair of burgundy curtains for the bedroom, and to my excitement there appeared to be another matching set in the bottom of the bag underneath several sets of tan curtains that are now residing in my living room. I wrestled out my $3 curtain rod from Walmart and, with electric drill in hand, managed to get the rod hung in a somewhat strait line. After I pulled out one of the remaining burgundy curtains and positioned it on the rod, I went back for the last curtain.

Only, there WAS no last curtain.

Instead, there was a nifty little burgundy curtain tie.


I stood back to admire the half-curtain hanging down the right side of the window and started laughing. The best I could do was to use the tie on the single curtain and place some matching candles on the opposite side of the tub to try to balance out the color. It looks ridiculous!!

I've decided to leave it as it is, though, because it does make me laugh, and at least it adds a little color to an otherwise-uninspiring bathroom. Maybe some day I'll find a mate for my lonely curtain, or maybe in all my cleaning I'll eventually find the decorative burgundy grapes that my sister-in-law gave me years ago and hang them on the exposed part of the curtain-less rod.

All that to say, if you ever need a unique decorating style, I'm your (wo)man for the job. Trust me, it takes talent to accomplish such feats!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Great Day Has Arrived

My poor blog!! How have I neglected thee? I hope to make it up to you with the wonderful news I have to share in this post: starting Monday (yes, THIS Monday, as in 3 days from today!), Jon will begin a day-time position with a local company!!

I really haven't a clue about how I should be feeling right now. 5 years is a long time to endure something that, to me, was so unpleasant. 5 years also provides enough time to learn to passively accept that which I despise, to adjust to something to the point of its becoming "normal." So even though I've learned to put up with the grueling necessity of the night shift, I have no qualms of bidding it goodbye (except to be afraid that the new job will somehow fall through and we'll have to go back to it...again).

The greatest emotion I currently feel is thankfulness. I am thankful to God for giving me this wonderful gift. I am thankful to the many, many faithful family and friends who have prayed with us for so long. I am thankful to be released from the drudgery of being a night-time single parent. I am thankful that my husband can finally go to a job that he looks forward to, and one which will hopefully enable him to live a more healthy lifestyle (grave shift doesn't do much for one's immune system, that's for sure!).

I hope I never lose this thankfulness; I hope I never forget what it is that we are leaving behind; and I hope I never forget to pray for those who must continue on with late-night hours or other less-than-ideal employment.

Hopefully this will help me to become a better wife, mother, and homemaker. I have tried my best to improve on these qualities while Jon was still on nights, but now that I won't have to tell the kids to be quiet at every turn, now that I can clean and vacuum without worrying about waking anyone up, and now that our schedule will be closer to what the world calls "normal," I hope to do even better. I am excited about the possibilities!

With that light, I also hope to take a slightly different (and more consistent!) approach with my blog. For those who are interested, I plan to share some of my trials and triumphs as I plunge ahead into improving my teaching, cleaning, and culinary skills. I admit that I anticipate many set-backs, but hopefully I will be able to present them in a humorous fashion that others can relate to.

And, if all else fails, I'll just go back to ignoring my blog. :)