Getting a Degree in Motherhood

Living in southern California brings new challenges. All the cities seem to blend together and I don’t notice how much time passes while running errands. We stopped at four places today and didn’t get home until dinner time. It was not quite what I had planned for the day. We need to schedule an errand day with lunches packed, water bottles filled, and homework in the car. While driving all over the place today, I kept thinking about how much laundry I had piled up at home, how much office work I had to get caught up on, and what in the world was I going to make for dinner? Thankfully we had left overs to turn into tacos, but each time we go shopping I find myself buying t.v. dinners for nights when we just don’t get home in time to cook (and I am not a fan of t.v. dinners).

I quickly threw dinner together and switched the laundry before realizing that I needed to make a sacrifice. I felt horrible that the kids missed out on our regular schedule so we  quickly rinsed the dishes, put the leftovers away, and headed straight to the pool. I knew I needed to do something to salvage this day so they could go to sleep happy. I dislike running errands and I know the kids aren’t too keen on it either. I’m thankful we live in a community that has a heated pool! Even thirty minutes of swimming can cheer the kids up and help them forget what a boring day we had. It helps even more that they sat in the jacuzzi for a few minutes too. Now they’re taking turns with the shower and then relaxing in their bean bags for a cartoon just before bed time.

I’m stealing just a few moments to jot down my thoughts for today before I need to finish up with the laundry and get the kitchen cleaned up. Do you ever daydream about what you could get done if you had a day to yourself without interruption? As much as I would love to pamper myself with an uninterrupted day of relaxation, aromatherapy and a bubble bath I really end up thinking about reorganizing the new office and getting caught up on filing. I even got a NeatDesk and have yet to get it set up! When I’m folding laundry, I think about how I need to dust the ceiling fan blades. When I’m vacuuming, I think about how I need to clean out the cat box. When I’m running errands, I think about how I need to take the kids on a field trip to the aquarium.

west coast by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

You know, they don’t have a degree in motherhood or housekeeping and we get in plenty of hours, months, and years of experience that I am certain we can state that we have our Masters! In fact, surviving a wedding and grandchildren most definitely should yield a doctorate! I have a nineteen year old daughter studying to be a holistic practioner and my sixteen year old is contemplating a huge decision for her future once she’s eighteen (and that’s a topic for another day). One thing I have learned in all this zany busyness is that we need to give ourselves some grace.

Each day of motherhood is different and no matter how much scheduling I plan for, it never works out the same. If I held myself to the standard of my to-do list each day, I would drown in self condemnation. I can’t keep up with it all. It doesn’t mean I stop trying. It doesn’t mean I give up and let my house go to pot while zoning in front of the t.v. all day. It just means that I need to cut myself some slack (which often doesn’t get done either).

So here I sit, blogging, trying to breathe deeply, yet struggling with getting the kids to get their teeth brushed so they can get into bed. Is it wrong of a mother to desperately need her kids to get to bed early sometimes? Doesn’t a mom ever get a chance to be herself, as herself? I love being a mom, I’m not complaining at all. I just would like some time to be…Lisa. I would like time to be Lisa, who likes to write, who likes long walks on the beach, who enjoys photography, and Lisa who likes to go to the movies without spending $60 for sodas and popcorn. It can’t possibly be a crime for a mother to want to have some time to herself. In fact, I think we need to schedule time to be able to do just that. Maybe this is why some moms go through such a nasty case of Empty Nest Syndrome when their kids grow out of the home. They find themselves empty, no more laundry to fold, lunches to make, or games to drive to.

I don’t want to lose myself in mothering and forget who I really am, aside from being a mother. I don’t want to lose my own dreams in the midst of helping my kids to achieve theirs (and I don’t think they would want me to either). I just live day to day. I mother our children hour by hour.

(sighs deeply)

Do we ever get to have the feeling of accomplishment as mothers? Do we ever get to wear the ‘cap and gown’ and walk to the sound of Pomp and Circumstance as we receive our degree in Motherhood? Sometimes it feels like I’m sitting in a never ending class with no recess in sight. We don’t get graded on our mothering skills and maybe it’s a good thing we don’t, but getting a big red A+ to hang on the fridge sure would be nice.

So with all that said, I have some goals for this year. I just turned 40 years old and I want to make some big changes to prolong my life and enjoy every minute of it to the fullest. Because quite honestly, there will be a day when my kids are all grown up and gone and I’ll have plenty of time to clean the ceiling fan blades and organize my filing cabinet, but I won’t always get to play with my kids. I want to have energy and strength in my joints to be able to enjoy their teen years without getting winded and breathless.

Maybe in doing this I will finally get that degree.

And now it’s time to get that laundry done and kiss the kids before they drift off to sleep…. all my love,

Sisterlisa

 

 

Embrace Being a Wife and Mom in the 21st Century

I see the women in the store who have the long dresses and sweet little bonnets..very feminine and I admire their courage to dress the way they do..especially when our town is over 100 degrees for at least a month every summer.

Then there are the women who don’t speak until their husbands include them in a conversation. Perhaps their marriage works best that way.. who knows..maybe she puts her foot in her mouth more times than we realize. Maybe she’s trying to learn to be more gracious with her words and her husband may have asked her to keep silent until she can mind her manners.

I’ve also known women who feel that the greatest they can ever aspire to is keeping her baseboards clean and entertaining her husband’s work buddies each week with her in-home catering skills. She may be quite content with sharing her talents with just her husband and his friends. Maybe she finds great fulfillment in that. It’s her freedom to do so and I don’t fault these women for their choices.

Some have found ways to become successful bloggers and I think that’s awesome. While a woman’s husband is at work, she’s diligently writing out her passions and selling books. Great!!!

Every woman is different and thank God for that. We have numerous women in the world to inspire and encourage us in just about every niche of life. I love the diversity.

Women can do a great many things and I applaud the husbands who see their wives’ potential and supports her in chasing her dreams. My husband has been amazing with this. I have many interests and passions and so long as I keep my own responsibilities in check, I can work hard to achieve my own goals.

This summer my daughters and I got a taste of what it’s like to ‘work outside the home’. Since my husband is a contractor, we have had opportunities to go to work with him and help with construction cleaning and painting. Between my two oldest daughters and I, we have taken turns with who goes to work and who stays home to keep the house tidy and dinner prepared. Working together as a family has helped us to set some income aside to take a few trips this summer.

bathroom accessories by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

On top of all that, I have my blogs and Pix-O-Sphere. With that comes many more hours of studying and researching for articles, moderating photos, creating new ideas to add to the development list, and much more. In between all of this we have the house to keep up on and the ministry to attend to. Someone should create a TV show featuring multi-tasking moms! There’s plenty of them out there.

Moms are fantastic people who juggle a lot. Many husbands work a full time job then come home to enjoy relaxing all night and he may mow the lawn on Saturdays, then lay in a hammock with some lemonade his wife squeezed fresh just for him. But a mom’s job is never done. She wakes up and starts the day with working at home, continues with everything she needs to do all day, cooks dinner, cleans it up, helps the kids with their homework, gets them bathed while folding laundry, tucks them in, then she becomes the love making goddess for her husband.

And people think a wife/mom doesn’t work?

We multi-task and we may not get it all done in one day, in fact I’m willing to bet no one gets it all done every day. Thank God for technology! We don’t have maidens to help with our farming, but we have the local grocer. We don’t have kitchen help, but we have GE dishwashers and microwaves. We don’t have a laundry crew, but we have Whirlpool washers and dryers. And the savvy moms train their children how to care for the home..not to make them into little slaves, but because they will have their own homes one day and they need to know how to take care of things on their own.

Since every family is unique with special needs of their own and customized schedules to keep life working smoothly, then why in the world are women trying to apply the “Mary/Martha” script to their lives? Sure, there is inspiration to be found there…a hard working sister who diligently cares for the home and the other who takes time to love her guests. But lets not get caught up on all the additional commandments of men thinking we will somehow become the best wife and mom ever if we follow some bullet list of do’s and do not’s.

We don’t have to ‘live’ in the 1800’s to be considered ‘good wives and moms’. We live in the 21st century. A modern wife and mom can be fabulous home managers and entrepreneurs at the same time. Some women may need to remain silent when her husband’s friends are around, but not every woman is required to hold her tongue. Women can express their thoughts in respectful ways and be quite good at managing an adult conversation. Sometimes the woman isn’t the best cook, but her husband is and he loves to be in the kitchen. Why should some stereotype tell him he can’t be in the kitchen? Even God commanded the men in the OT to be the ones who barbecued the meat for the families, complete with ‘frankensauce’. I read between the lines one day and figured God like his meat well done. All kidding aside, we need to be careful not to yoke ourselves up to someone’s interpretation of the Bible.

cooking by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

Not one time does the Bible indicate that only women need to sweep the floor nor does it say that the men aren’t to be the cook of the family. Priscilla was an equal partner with her husband, Aquila, in their tent making business and they also ministered side by side as well. When times get tough, society makes changes in order to survive. There’s no way our family could have made it through the summer had we not all worked together as a team to make it work.

I’m not going to say that women should be at home, but I’m also not going to say that women can’t go to work outside the home. That is a personal decision every family needs to make for themselves. Each family does what it can to make it through and during these hard economic times, we pull together as a family to stay afloat.

If you’re a stay at home mom, find ways to help bring in some extra income. If I only took care of my home I would be bored out of my mind. It only takes about 2 hours (tops) to get my house clean. There are plenty of ways a wife and mom can help with the income of their family..even if it means that side income pays for the family to have some fun trips. Here are some ideas for moms to make a bit of extra cash:

Bake Desserts! The holidays are coming and this is a great way to earn some extra dough. Create a flyer to send around the the moms you know how work outside the home. They may be interested in spending a few extra bucks to have a fresh baked pie for their holiday guests.

House Cleaning: Spread the word around that you can do housecleaning for people. Just a few hours a week in a couple of homes can land you some extra cash.

Be a Party Planner: Some moms, who work outside the home, don’t have a lot of time to plan their kids’ birthday parties. This can be your opportunity to make some money planning it for them. Be available for the day of the party and serve them with gladness. She’ll be able to actually enjoy the day with her children and leave the work to you.

These are just a few of the things my own daughters and I have done to earn some extra funds when we have needed it.

cupcakes by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

So embrace being a wife and mom in the 21st Century!
signature by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere

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