My view of snow-covered PIke's peak from a park bench of yesterday,--just sitting and breathing in the beauty.
There once was a sweet mom with children,
Who worked day and night just to serve them,
She cleaned and she cooked and she taught and she booked,
Till she died of exhaustion and left them.
Today, I was sifting through some old articles and ran across this--a silly poem I wrote in 2008, almost 10 years ago. Funny--life hasn't changed much! But over the years, I have learned a little bit more about pacing myself or at least seeing when I am dangerously close to burning out. Then I take the time to figure out how to set boundaries, how to live a more sustainable life--and I am at that place again--on the way to burning out, but stopping before I get there. One thing I must share, you don't get to quit being a devoted mama when your children become adults and move out of your home. It is just as demanding, only with bigger and more expensive issues. :) That is if you want to stay in the realm of being their devoted friend, their encourager, the one who will draw them to God's love and solutions. So, the poem still applies.
Ok, ok--it's not great poetry, but I did think there should be a short dedication to all the moms who have given and given and given with nary a one to appreciate them. I got tickled the other day. I had written the blog about taking Nathan to dedicate him to the Lord after taking him out to lunch and then the little story about taking Joy out for her 13th birthday. A sweet mom who read the blog was probably sending a comment to a friend and accidentally pushed the reply button and sent her email to me which said, "She makes me tired!" (I have done this before much to my horror--meaning to send a comment to Clay and instead sending it to the person who wrote it! Grace and peace--don't worry!)
But, I do think this task of ideal mothering is such a tiring calling and we all put ourselves under so much pressure to be perfect when we have too many sinful children, no support systems, no breaks, no full time maids, and they all want to eat and wear reasonably clean clothes every day ! And we are responsible for their character, manners, education and spiritual outcome, sense of well-being and happiness! A lot to ask.
In light of this, I also received another letter from a sweet mom. She asked if I ever blew it and yelled at my children! Yes, I have sinned often in the presence of my less than perfect children. I have had to accept myself as God does--it says in Psalm 103, "He is mindful that we are but dust!" Oh well, God says, Sally is just dust anyway, what can you expect from her?" As Joel my son once well said when I was in a tizzy over the messy house. "Mom, we will clean the house and it will just get messy again. But when you are sad, we feel guilty, like we have done something wrong. But when you are happy, we feel happy and like we are the greatest family in the world. So, Mom, lighten up and we will all be ok!"
We moms are giving out at a much faster rate than we are taking in and so depletion and exhaustion and consequences thereof are normal. So blowing a top once in a while is verynormal. I love the verse in Proverbs that says, "Where there are no oxen, the stalls are clean." I have at least six oxen in my stalls all the time, so my stall is always in different degrees of clean-ness!
I just want to affirm all of you who are hard on yourselves. You are making a difference in this world-your work is eternal and extremely important. Don't give up what you are doing--ever, ever, ever. But, take a break. What will it take to fill your cup emotionally? Going out with a friend to an adult lunch where no one tastes of your food? Or being by yourself alone? Or sleeping? Take time this summer to put beauty and life and joy and fun and pleasure in your life.
Hope you enjoy the podcast today. Let us know what you think. And be sure to order The Ten Gifts of Heart so you can join us in 2 weeks for a new podcast series we will do together. This is a newer, reedited with a new cover version of 10 Gifts of Wisdom--either book will do! Kristen, Misty and I have had fun getting our summer fun ready for you. And our Story Formed Friends may just pop in with some great suggestions.
We will start our summer podcast series the first Monday of June. Hope you will join us, read along and make notes to help plan a great year ahead.
PS FOR THOSE IN THE COLORADO SPRINGS AREA, NATHAN AND I ARE GOING TO BE INTERVIEWED FOR A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT SHOWS ABOUT OUR NEWEST BOOK, DIFFERENT ON TUESDAY, 10:30. JOIN US IN THE GALLERY WITH YOUR KIDS TO BE A PART OF THE SHOW AND WE WILL COME OUT TO VISIT WITH YOU. SEE YOU THERE!