To the Momma Who Needs to Vent

“I just cleaned this house!”

I sigh as I walk out of my bedroom and find a living room floor covered in toys AGAIN!

NO! No No No! I’m not cleaning this mess again today. I’m not doing it! I’m not going to spend all day sorting through these toys to get them put away nicely only to have you DUMP THEM BACK OUT ONTO THE FLOOR! These shoes go in this bucket. These socks go into this hamper. These books are not being read. Why are they on the floor? We just bought them. We need to treat them nicely and not WALK on them. Cups stay in the kitchen so that they do not… spill! Who brought their chocolate milk into the living room, and WHO spilled it?! That’s it! Nothing else is going to happen until we clean up this mess!

Four wide eyes stare blankly back at me as if I have just addressed them in a foreign language.

I sighed one of those “from the depths of my soul” sighs. And I try again.

“Guys. I’m going to need you to help mommy pick up this mess. Can we do this together?”

They nod their little heads up and down and scramble to find something to put away before Mom does whatever that was again.

Some days, it feels like I am just spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere. I pick up the same toys and the same shoes and fold the same laundry. I wash the same dishes and hang up the same wet towels, and I make the same beds.

Day after day after day after…

And some days, I just need to vent about it. I need to know that I’m not the only person who feels overwhelmed, or exhausted, or stressed.

But I have heard recently that moms who complain are givin’ other moms a bad rap… or rep… I guess I never had to write out that phrase… anyway, whatever that phrase is… they’re doing it.

And I realized this.

Motherhood is the only profession where you never get a day off, are on call 24/7, are often required to show up both days and nights, the work is never done but rarely ever seen, and even though you are stressed, sleep deprived, and downright exhausted… you must be happy and full of joy always or you might get a negative peer performance review.

Well, not here, ladies!

I don’t care if you are a stay at home mom, work at home mom, or work as a full-time employee and a full-time mommy – YOU and ME are in this together.

Yup. That’s right. Together. Because while the order of my days isn’t the same as yours – the ache to get it all right – to feel like we are making the best choices and not letting anyone down – yup, that’s the same or both of us. The desire to love fully and still have some strength left at the end of the day – yup, that’s the same for both of us too.

And some days, it’s hard not to complain – because some days are hard.

Real hard. Hard like, “here pick up this house and move it five feet to the left” hard. SO hard they seem impossible.

But YOU – you in the wonderful chaos that is sometimes difficult to celebrate – You aren’t hurting me by your frustration. You aren’t giving me a bad name with your moments of honesty.

You are real. Your life is real. And sometimes, it is not easy to find the joy in all of it.

But if I can just take a second. If I can encourage you for a minute.

Because, while there are moments in motherhood that seem to be barely survived let alone celebrated, you and I both know that there is also great joy.

Simple moments of over the top, fill my heart with gladness, makes all the madness worthwhile – joy.

The baby’s face when you come into the room after naptime.

The tiny arms around your neck at bedtime.

The giggles that only you can inspire by the silly sounds and playfulness during bathtime.

And the whispered, “I love you, Mommy,” just because.

We all need to feel like we can be honest with our feelings about motherhood. And honestly – all the grumbling in the world doesn’t make you a bad mom – or me a bad mom either. It just might mean that you need someone to tell you that you’re going to be okay and beyond that you’re doing a great job!

So, here’s to you. The employee of the month! If I had an office, I’d hang your picture in it! I would put your face on display as one of the best around so that everyone would know that YOU are a success.

Because you are.

Even on the days that you complain.

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You’re Worth Your Own Attention

It was late… not like Tonight Show late… like infomercial late… like somewhere there is a farmer getting up to start his day late…. Like almost tomorrow late.

And I hadn’t slept one bit. Don’t get me wrong here. My head had touched the pillow. It had touched the pillow many times, but it hadn’t gotten to stay there long.

I put my two preschoolers to bed just as the baby woke up and decided that he was hungry again. And this was no quick meal. He did not treat it like fast food. He acted like it was an all you can eat buffet. It was one of those feedings that went on and on and on…

But when he finally decided that he was done, he also decided that he would like to play for an hour or so. I tried reasoning with him. I explained that he would be tired the next day if he didn’t get some rest. But, he’s 8 weeks old, and so he didn’t exactly listen. We’ll work on that.

Finally, he fell asleep, and jus as I laid him into his bassinet, two little feet came running down my hall. My daughter jumped into our bed, “I had a bad dream!”

“SHHHHhh. We can’t wake up baby bubby.” I scooped her up and whisked her out of the room. “Let’s go back to your room and I will sit with you while you go back to sleep.”

I apparently should have been clearer. I perhaps should have said, “I will sit with you for just a few minutes.” Because every 2 minutes she would pop her eyes open and say, “I’m not asleep yet. You said you would stay while I fell asleep.” She’s awfully smart for a three year old.

And I would whisper, “Shhh. Close your eyes.” And try to tiptoe out of the room… only to be met at the door with, “Mommy! Where are you going?!”

Bless her heart. She just couldn’t settle, and after about 20 minutes of waiting for her to fall asleep she announced, “I have to potttttty!”

A quick trip to the potty, back in bed, and she was asleep in 3 minutes. I guess I should have asked sooner.

As I got back to my room, and laid my head down on my pillow, that sweet baby started fussing. I sat up, found the paci and popped it back into his mouth. And just as I was about to lay down again, he spit it out.

Five rounds of getting out of bed to get him his pacifier later… I decided he might need more than just a paci. He was gassy. But he wasn’t just gassy, he needed a diaper change. Oh, and this would be a diaper, clothes and bedding change. You might be a mom of young kids if you know the phrase, “Yooo HOOO. Big summer blowout.” (Frozen) You might really be a mom if you know that the “big October blowout” is not nearly as funny at 2 am. After changing the diaper, the clothes and giving him a baby wipe bath, we were ready for sleep.

Except we weren’t. We were ready to eat again.

Because he is 2 months old… and he has a timer to eat every three hours like the button on LOST that must be pressed every 108 minutes or the island will explode.

So, I fed and changed and put him back to bed… and finally crawled under my own covers.

And in those few fleeting moments before I slipped off to sleep, I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was someone to take care of me? Wouldn’t it be great if someone put me back in bed after bad dreams or argued that I should really try to rest so I’m not cranky tomorrow? Wouldn’t it be fantastic if someone was concerned if I was warm and fed and dry and soothed and relaxed and rested and happy?” And then I realized… that’s my job too.

I know that there will be more nights like last night, and days that are just as exhausting. It’s part of being a mom. It’s the part that we all knew came with the territory, but we had no idea would really be this hard. But we’re not doing anyone a service by neglecting ourselves. Because we are worth taking care of too.

Has anyone told you that in a while? Because as mommas, we can get so caught up in taking care of everyone and everything else that we sometimes always put ourselves last.

It’s okay, momma. It’s okay to say that you’re tired. It’s okay to say that you love your babies, but you wish you could take a break for a few days… even though just a few minutes would be nice. It is okay to admit that you feel like no one considers how you feel. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. It makes you an honest woman with honest emotions that are equally as valuable as everyone else’s.

Today, I want to extend this simple challenge – Yes, a challenge on top of everything else you do. Today, do one thing… just one small thing… just for you. Because, friend, you are worth your own attention. And you are important too.




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A Place at the Table

My heart races. My palms sweat. I’m face to face with one of my worst fears. No, I’m not talking about snakes or spiders or even being kidnapped. I’m in the middle of a crowded lunch room surrounded by people that I do not know without a place to sit or a friend in the world.

We had moved a lot when I was younger. And at each new school, I would avoid the cafeteria like the plague. For a year, I walked home every day to each lunch by myself instead of having to face the lunch room. At another school, I chose to eat on a quiet bench instead of having to find a seat in the cafeteria.

But this year, my junior year of high school, there would be no avoiding it. I would be face to face with one of the most uncomfortable scenarios that I could imagine, and it wasn’t because I disliked being around other people. It was because I LOVED being around other people. I just could not imagine anything worse than feeling as though you are unwanted or unwelcome.

As lunch time approached on the first day of my junior year, I decided that I would just hide… I mean… wait it out in the library. But when I found the library doors locked, I resigned to the fact that I would have to return to the cafeteria. I strolled the rows of tables all full of friends and food, but I couldn’t find an empty seat anywhere. So, I walked to the edge of the room, and sat down against the brick wall. I have never wished that my skin was red-bricked colored more than I did in that moment.

I just
…….wanted to

Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option, and the next day, I would have to face it all again. Or so I thought.

“My name is Sarah. What’s yours?”

She caught me off guard. “Oh. I’m Becky.” We were supposed to be learning Spanish, but Sarah was about to teach me something far more valuable. “Hey. I saw you sitting against the wall yesterday at lunch. It was so sad….”

“Great.” I thought to myself. “At least no one noticed.”

She continued, “You CANNOT do that again. Eat with me today.”

She couldn’t have known how much that moment meant to me. But she saw someone that needed a place to sit and knew she had room at her table.

Oh if there were only more Sarahs in the world.

I’ve thought about that simple conversation a lot over the last ten plus years. Because there have been more moments in my life where I have felt like I am still the kid wandering through the cafeteria with a tray in her hand and no place to put it down.

Maybe you feel like her too. Maybe you are starting a new job, or have moved to a new town. Maybe you are a mommy who spends her days taking care of little ones and you are desperate for friendship. Or maybe you are like me and find yourself in the middle of a brand new adventure (like writing a book) with a community of people who have already found their seats… who have been doing this for a long time… and you wonder where you will fit in or if you will be welcome.

Today, I want to encourage your heart.

Friend, there is always room at the Father’s table. The Lord says that there is a place for you. You are welcome just as you are. He is sending Sarahs all across the world today. He is sending people to love and encourage and welcome you fully into their lives. Those of you at home, or on a bench, or against the wall. Because you aren’t unseen. He won’t let you disappear. He doesn’t want you to be alone.

Today, I’m sliding over, come sit with me. Because as one who has already found a place to sit, it is my job to be a hostess of His presence. To remind you that you are wanted. You are welcome. You are loved.

Come sit with me, and together we will feast with the Father.