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The Dangers of Comparing Ourselves to Others

I stood grating parmesan cheese, for yet another dinner, my body aching with tiredness and my soul weary. The noise of children playing in the garden on a summer’s evening. As I prepared food I thought how I wanted someone else to do this for me, but how that was not going to happen. I thought how I didn’t want my tiredness to overflow into grumpiness towards the children over dinner. It’s easy at times like these, the times when the mundane drudgery of the everyday, when the relentlessness of daily life becomes overwhelming, to compare ourselves to other people. To think of that friend who appears to have it all together, to have an endless supply of energy. To compare ourselves to the women we know surrounded by support and help, who has scheduled days off, and “me time” on a regular basis. The problem with comparing ourselves to these women is firstly it does not help us, it adds to our grumpiness. It can also lead to bitterness, if we are not careful. Such thoughts do not change our circumstances, but they make the circumstances harder to cope with. Secondly, such women do not actually exist. We take someone we know and create a distorted image in our minds of what they are like, what their children are like, what their husbands are like, and what their circumstances are like. All of which, at best is a charactercher of reality; at worse a complete deception. The truth is every signal one of us have days where we cannot cope. And there are times where we do just need to grit our teeth until bed time. The devil wants us to believe the lie that that family are better, that that women is a better mother, that those children are more obedient, that their marriage is stronger….. the list goes on. But that’s what it is: a lie. Knowing Your Own Identity One remedy for this is to know our own identity. Keeping our vision fixed on what God has called us to do. God has called us to raise the children He has given us, with their unique personalities. He is in control of our marriage, our finances, and where we live. Therefore he will give us the grace to cope. It is like David trying to fight in Saul’s armour. He couldn’t do it. David was not Saul, he was David. David had to fight Goliath as David, only then could he win. We will not be the mothers our children need if we try to...

Striking a Balance

I don’t really like the term “me time”! I think having children means ultimately putting them first. Children simply need parents. They need loved, nurtured, disciplined, stimulated, they need your time. As parents we have to come to that realisation: that our desires cannot rule our lives any more. However, it is not wise to totally sacrifice oneself on the alter of motherhood. Part of being a good mother, is being a wise mother, and a wise mother ensures she is emotionally and spiritually healthy. Our children receive from where we are at, therefore we need to take care of ourselves. Therefore it is important we can find times of refreshing, where we can minister to those parts of our soul which become so wearied by motherhood. It is also important to find people to connect to who we find mutual refreshing with. For me I find myself renewed in nature. Yes I can find refreshing in nature with the children, but time alone, without noise, without demands, is like a refreshing elixir for the soul. I also have certain people, more mature ladies, who I can turn to, who I can draw strength from, and pray with. God made us to need times of rest and refreshing; he also made us to need other people. As mothers we owe it to our children to fill these parts of who we are, in what ever way is right and proper for us. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Follow The Joy

It has shocked me how brutal parenting can be, and as a consequence it is easy to grow hard. During the times when I find myself becoming hard I shout more, cry more, feel overwhelmed, and guilty. Condemnation begins to weigh heavy upon me- I am a terrible parent, I can’t do this, my children will need therapy to “get over” their childhood. And the downward cycle continues. However, I do not want to be this kind of hard mother. Life is life, and the pressures of living will always be there- like death and taxes! I have to find the joy and follow it! Where God is there is joy… I want some of that please, I want some of that for my children. Following the joy may mean overcoming tiredness, apathy, even fear… but you and your household will reap the rewards. Think about the times as a mother you have known joy with your children: is there are pattern? I have noticed I experience joy chiefly when reading with them, and being in nature- surrounded by beauty. So to cultivate joy, I want to increase the amount we read together- not always easy with a broad age range of children, and a 1 year old who likes to throw his books at you when you try to read to big boys! Secondly I need to seek out beauty in nature… my doorstep is slightly limited in beauty. This means the motivation to bundle the four children into the car in search of wild places. Small steps towards intentionally improving everyones lives. Otherwise the drudgery of day to day life can sap the zeal from you and make every one depressed. I don’t want this to be the memories my children have our our home. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Motherhood: Staying Sane!

As mothers we sacrifice a lot for our children. Even mothers who manage to maintain a career- most will not reach the heights of the career ladder their childless peers are able to attain to (regardless what Sheryl Sandberg would like us to believe). For stay-at-home mothers it can feel that the sacrifices involved in the day to day monotony of life barely leaves us feeling sane. And after a number of years in this mode of existence many women are left feeling utterly depressed, not sure who they are as women- as they are now so given over to the role of mother. Being a mother is an awesome privilege. In nearly every career role the position can be filled by a myriad of people. To your children, you are the only person who can be the mother they really need. In nearly every career the gratification and results are temporary. In motherhood the results go down the generations, and are felt eternally. However, as women we are complex beings, with deep personalities. Our children receive from us when we cultivate other areas to who we are as people. Currently I am reading “Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breath” by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson (I bought it on a spur of the moment, as the title described how I felt at that moment, but I’m really enjoying it!). I enjoy Sally Clarkson’s writings, she writes with beauty, and wisdom. Her words resonated with me, “a mature woman must take responsibility for her own happiness”. When The Jedi Boy was a baby, I sunk into a depression- he was not an easy baby. I felt consumed with the world of babies, and toddlers. I was mentally bored, and felt a complete failure as a mother. Mr Man worked shifts, and I would often spend the dreaded dinner/evening routine in tears. When the Jedi Boys was around 6 months I started a distance learning course. What was I found most interesting was the improvement in my mental health, because I was doing something I enjoyed- learning! I now make it a priority to have little projects on the go: things to keep me intellectually stimulated- this is important for me, it keeps me sane! I believe mothers need to find that thing that for them makes them something more than only a mother. It may be learning, writing, sewing, handicraft. We are created to be wonderful, complex people with depth and a plethora of talents; homeschooling, full-time motherhood need not be a barrier to cultivating different...

Mummy Wars…. Time for a Truce

This week the government thought it was doing a fab thing by helping working mothers with child care costs. I know the UK has the highest child care costs in Europe, and I also know many mothers end up working to pay for the cost of childcare… there is an obvious problem here. However, this greatly annoyed stay-at-home mothers, who also wanted government recognition for the work they do, by way of some sort of hand out. Their annoyance turned to outright rage when a government spokesman implied that stay at home mothers are not aspirational, and that they don’t “work hard and get on”. Now I do think Mr Cameron ought to consider some research about the detrimental effects of full time nursery care on the development of very young children, and the fact (to the annoyance of feminists) research points to the fact being cared for by a primary care giver is better for a child up to the age of three than full time day care… not everything can be measured as GDP. However, this whole mess is more evidence of the tasty, catty attitudes surrounding motherhood. The mere thought that you are not doing the best for your child send women into hysterics. From the point of conception parenthood is like a competition, and you feel every decision you make regarding your child is being judged. For example, mention breastfeeding to a mixed group of mothers with babies… watch the feathers fly! Why can we not accept people raise their kids differently, and for different reasons. Some working mothers beleive they are doing their children a service by working- they teach their child (particularly their daughters) that they are capable independent women, and in doing give them a role model. I can understand that, but I don’t fully agree. And that is fine. As mothers we are all totally devoted to our children, and it causes deep pain to think other people think we are failing them. Many of the issues which cause much of the fighting and offence in women are those issues which create in us personal guilt and doubt: like breastfeeding, working- or not, child care, educational choices, the list goes on and on. Is it not time mothers realised we are all trying our best, and support each other in these decisions… parenthood is hard enough has it is. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...
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