Tuesday, April 29, 2008

FairyTale Mom.....

"'If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!'" We smile as we read the wall plaque in the novelty store. But our smile quickly turns to a frown if truly "Mama ain't happy." This is because the wife and mother in a family often "sets the tone" in the home. The "tone" God wants her to set is one of joy, optimism, and a delight in the Lord and in her family. If your family were called upon to describe you, what would they say?"
~Martha Peace, "The Excellent Wife"

Last night I went to my 7 yr. old daughter's first softball game of the season. Considering we are only a couple of days shy of May it would seem the appropriate time to begin this warm weather sport.

Yeah, right! The high here yesterday was in the low 50's but the wind chill made it feel much colder than that!

Fortunately I wore my heavy winter coat and gloves and as I snuggled under blankets with the other parents on the bleachers I had a revelation: "this is not at all what I pictured being a Mom would look like." So that got me to thinking about some of the other things that have "surprised" me about motherhood.......

My kids:
Don't listen when I say "no"!
They often whine and try to manipulate me.
They have been known to lie to me!
They leave the house in grungy clothes and wear mismatched socks!
They are not stellar students!
They fight with one another!
They have been known to utter bad words!
They are messy!
Some days they just have bad attitudes!
They are embarrassed for their mom to hug or kiss them in public!
Two of my girls have tatoos!
They have made some poor choices and been caught! (And I am sure they made many others where they haven't been caught).

I don't blame you if you are thinking my family is the definition of dysfunction. I know that is exactly what I would have thought, at least before I had kids. Now, I find myself const
antly revising my ideas of what parenting looks like. As soon as I think I have it figured out, I am thrown a new bone to chew on....

The thing it comes down to though, is this......how am I going to manage myself? I cannot alter the behaviors of another person, including my own children. I can be a guide and an influence but I cannot be God. I cannot change who they are and who they are destined to be!

So what will my response to their undesirable behavior look like..Anger?Disapproval?Criticism?
And what kind of reaction might I expect from these responses... Fear? Rebellion? Self doubt?

What if, instead I choose to respond with love, grace and forgiveness?
It's likely I would see love, humility and repentance in return....
I might not see it now. I might never see it in my lifetime but by planting the seeds of unconditional love I am making it possible for God to water and grow them.

These are not natural reactions to many parenting situations in which I find myself. But I am not supposed to live in my natural flesh. Too many times, when I have responded harshly, it has created an atmosphere of negativity throughout the entire household. However through God's patience and love, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, I am seeing my role as a parent th
rough new eyes.

Last night the eyes I was seeing through were hidden between earmuffs and a neck wrap.

When I pictured being a Mom I might have seen a fairytale but my hope is that my daughter (as well as all of my children) sees a "real Mom" who is always ready to smile and cheer for her, no matter what the "weather"!

For more on the importance of a mom's attitude please visit Christin here.


Amy said...

That was beautiful, Kelley.....They need us to love them just as God loves us, and it is not always easy in human flesh..:)

On a funny note though, when times are tough as parents, my husband and I like to say, "If we don't love them, who will?" :)

God Bless,

Kristen said...

What an honest, beautiful post. Your love response is right on...
Bless your children - you are planting the seeds - leaving a legacy of love for God that will guide your children as they navigate through life.

Christin said...

" As soon as I think I have it figured out, I am thrown a new bone to chew on...."

Isn't that the truth! I sure wish that I could grasp better the idea of parenting as God does instead of with the mentality that "I know better then my kids", because I am still learning, too! The same attitudes they carry that I "work" to dispel of are in me as well! (Hmm...that's where they picked it up!) We moms always have much to learn - that's what life is! We just need to keep pressing on for the prize. Thank you for your thoughts on this quote! Have a great week!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

So raw and wonderfully true! I love that. My kids have often surprised me by their responses to life and to me at times. But on the contrast, there have been those moments when the surprise has been a welcome reminder that they do grow up to become men and women after God's heart. Like yesterday...

My college age son is making plans for his return home for the summer. When I called him, he seemed busy, preoccupied, but nothing unexpected on my end. We said our goodbyes and about 15 minutes later he called me back to apologize for his "abrupt" nature.

I hadn't really noticed it and was in no way bothered by our previous conversation, but he said he felt that God would have him call me back and apologize. He finished with "Love you mommy...lots! See you Wednesday."

So there you go. Unexpected surprise from a child who nearly sent me over the edge by the time he was two. Seriously, it's a wonder I had any more children!

I love the fact that you're a mother of so many. I think you should write a book about mothering...something along the lines of "A Week's Worth of Wonders" and give each child his/her own chapter (like the ups and downs and what you've learned through each one of them). It's a thought. You have so much to offer all of the rest of us!

be blessed~elaine

Lelia Chealey said...

Oh my dear friend...
This summer I'm staying the week prior to She Speaks instead of the night...I just learn much everytime I visit here. ;)
That was a great post on a day when I was Ugly Mom this morning.
Need to go home & kiss on my son now, if he'll let me...
Love you,

Susan said...

Oh the joys of motherhood! I think you must of looked at my list before you made yours...

Yes Kelly, we play such a vital role in our children's lives, and how we act and RE-act to things can turn a child completely around.

Love is like that. I'm so blessed it was God's loving-kindness they drew me into His loving arms.

Great post for a great mom♥

PS We are HOT down here, I need to get up there soon!

MrsJoeB said...

Kelly-you described my kids (only lets replace the tatoos with belly peircings). My Sunday post was my "mom revelation". I want to love them fully, as Christ loves us (Luke 13). It has not come easy these last two days..bickering, not so nice remarks, messes, etc. I'm still trying cuz I do love them..I just want to love them fully!

In His Graces~Pamela

Kim said...

You are an AMAZING writer!!!! What a POWERFUL post, again, one that so many can relate to.

Bless your sweet heart for your open, honest thoughts.

I am ALWAYS blessed, each time I visit your blog.


Karey in OK said...

I always thought if I raised my kids with Biblical values they would not go their own way. Did I get a slap in the face when one went off to college. But when the second one admitted some wrong choices to me, God said Karey they are not sinning against you. They are sinning against Me. I just want you to show them the way and let them make their choices, continue to pray for them and leave the rest up to Me. So thats what I did and I told them He said they weren't sinning against me. That was 3 yrs ago. Guess what. They are both following HIM! Praise God! Keep on showing them the way (if not in word them in deed).

Joyful said...

Kelley, this is so real. Thank you. The thing is, there are no guarantees. We pray...we ask the Lord to help us in all we do as Mom's. We sometimes get it right. We sometimes (often) make mistakes. Hopefully through it all our children can see that even when we mess up, we never stop loving them, gently directing them to the Savior and trusting them in His hands.

For the record, I think your children have a wonderful mom!!!

Feathering My Nest said...

You are a loving and honest mother. It is hard. My children do the same things, but then I am always surprised by joy. Yes, they have messy rooms and they talk back....but they do appogize. I guess they do what we do. I have had to say I am sorry so many times after losing my temper. I do repent and then tell the children. God is so good. He gave us these children knowing we would make mistakes. He trusts us with them. He promises to help us be those good mothers we want to be.

Good job Kelley. Hugs and smiles to you sweetie, Kathi

Jamie said...

Love it, love it, love it...I was so blessed by this post. Thanks for keeping it real.

Faerylandmom said...

"Too many times, when I have responded harshly, it has created an atmosphere of negativity throughout the entire household."

You mean, I'm not the only one? I was starting to think I was crazy...thank you so much.

This post was a blessing to me. Really and truly.

MiPa said...

This is a great post! Thank you. Blessings on your week.

SweetPea said...

My first time to your blog. It sounds like you are very loving mom who seeks to love with Christ's love and through His eyes. Moms and Dads sure do have a powerful influence on their kids. Their reactions to their wrong decisions and misbehaviors can mean more than anything. The same way when we react with love to a co-worker or stranger who behaves inappropriately.

In Him,

luvmy4sons said...

As time goes on...my vision, my "view" of motherhood keeps changing. It is such a journey. Much like marriage. There are so many seasons. Lately, I realize that much of what I do is not appreciated now, but I do it not for the appreciation-I tell myself. I hope that some day, though I have only sons, they will grow up and remember me fondly despite my mistakes and attitudes that were not always perfect.

Anonymous said...

Great comments!
Be blessed!

Faithful Froggers said...

Just loved this post! It is so hard to be a mother . . . but all we can do is LOVE them!

Have a great week!

Debbie said...

What a beautifully honest post. It could be any of us!! Believe me, I know those new bones!!


Jenny said...

That was so timely for me! I'm having to choose to be sweet when I would prefer to be ugly!