October 2, 2012

My Journey As a Mom

Just like most young married girls, I was extremely excited about the prospect of having a baby.  The Mr. and I were married for two years before we began to think about this possibility.  I was teaching 1st and 2nd grade and enjoyed it so much that I decided to teach for two years before having our first baby because, of course, I would do what my mom and the Mr.'s mom had done - stay at home with all my babies!  This was what all good Christian girls do.  Besides that, my mom had my baby brother when I was 18 (yes, I typed that correctly)!  I knew EVERYTHING about babies!!!

Oh my!  Thinking you know everything about something is never a good way to begin anything...especially the journey of motherhood.  Our first baby was my little Miss E, and she was everything that I had NEVER dreamed of - literally!  She cried all the time, and although I say the word cried, I probably should have used the description screamed at the top of her lungs for so long and so loud that no one could stand it for more than 5 minutes! She cried in the car.  She cried in the swing.  She cried when I was holding her.  She cried when she laid down.  While we were still in the hospital, I would have to give her to the Mr. so that he could calm her down so that I could try to nurse her again.  And nursing....well, let's just say that was another problem altogether! 

To put it simply, all my ideals of motherhood were shattered. I never felt as though Miss E and I bonded during the infancy stage.  She was always much sweeter with the Mr.  This left me feeling like a horrid mother who must not be doing anything right because her own child did not want her! There were very few peaceful quiet times of holding my little angel doll and staring at her sweet little face.  Almost every night from 5 PM to 1 AM she would cry non-stop. get the picture. 

Moving on past the crying stage which finally seemed to taper off when she was about 6 months, I had a few short months of mostly enjoyable motherhood...until we got to the mobile stage.  Then, I began facing the battle of the wills.  I was not prepared for my 12 month old to stare me in the face and shout NO at me!  (I did NOT remember my brother doing such as this!)  Looking back now, I realize that Miss E really was not as horrible as I thought she was then.  The true problem was that neither the Mr. nor myself knew what in the world we were doing.  We thought if you feed a baby, keep the baby's diaper clean, play with baby, and spank baby (older baby) when absolutely necessary, it will grow into a good Christian child!  If only it were that easy and if only there were a simple method to parenting!

When Miss E was 22 months old, her brother Mr. A joined the scene.  Mr. A was the total opposite of Miss E - very sweet, loveable, and easy-going.  I do not really remember much of little Mr. A's babyhood though because I was quite consumed with Miss E's toddler years!  Again, I see where much of it was my fault.  I was teaching choir 4 hours each week, directing several small music groups at our church, tending to the duties of being a deacon's wife while our church was without a pastor, singing in almost every service, teaching a Wednesday evening kids' class, teaching junior church on Sundays, and also consulting for a home decorating company.  All of this topped with the fact that anywhere I drove took me at least one hour to get there.  I was spending approximately 12 hours per week in the car and doing all this with a 22 month old and a newborn!  Not very smart - AT ALL!  I was exhausted, always in a hurry, always feeling guilty for not keeping up with the home, but if I happened to be caught up at home, I was always behind in one of my other activities.  This left me with not much patience for my two sweet babies who just needed their mom.

And number THREE!!! My oldest was barely 3 1/2 years old!!!  That was when the melt downs began.  I was sleep deprived, exhausted from keeping up with everything, but I felt extremely guilty for saying no to anyone because, after all, the only thing I did was stay at home.  If anyone should have time to serve, it should have been said the lies of Satan.  I remember one afternoon, I had battled with Miss E over nap time.  I was exhausted but needed to get some things done during nap, and she was not cooperating.  She woke up her brothers a couple of times, and all in all, it was just not working.  After a huge battle, she finally fell into an exhausted sleep at 4 PM, and I knew that would lead to her staying up until midnight that night.  I went and sat down in my rocking chair and cried and cried and finally screamed, "God, I cannot do this for the rest of my life.  I WILL NOT DO THIS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.  And, God, You have to change it because I don't know what I'm doing wrong."  I will remember those words and that afternoon for the rest of my life.   

Shortly after that day, my sister and her family moved and found an amazing family centered church to attend.  She was struggling with the newness of motherhood as well, but here, at this church, she found women who mentored her and taught her about the idea of training and discipling your children.  (Just to make this abundantly clear, the Mr. and I were both raised by wonderful and godly parents.  I really believe we were both oblivious to the way we were raised and just assumed that it all happened with very little effort.  Since changing our ways of parenting, we both appreciate our parents' sacrifices made to instill the character and training in us that we received.)  My sister began to teach me what she was learning through many LONG phone calls we had together.  At first, I thought she was CRAZY.  None of this sounded anything I expected.  Training and disciplining were two different things?  Practice with your children the things you want them to do properly in public?  Withhold things from your children for the purpose of instilling self-control?  The big one...say no to ministry opportunities so that you can be at home with your children? My conclusion...this was work!  However, my sister and I also used to watch Dr. Phil.  And our favorite phrase from his show was, "And how's that workin' for ya?"  We would tell each other about something we had tried and how miserably we had failed, and we would laugh as we asked each other that question.  I realized that nothing I was doing was working, and so I began trying the things my sister was telling me about.

The very first step I took was cutting back.  I quit my consulting job.  I discontinued much of my music ministry at the church.  I also stepped down from Junior Church.  The only things I continued were teaching choir and teaching my Wednesday evening class and occasionally singing in church.  This left me with an amazing amount of time at home.  Then, I began to work on organizing my home - making it a relaxing, comfortable place to be.  That took awhile!  Oh, who am I kidding? I am still working on it...although it has come a LONG way, and I do feel like I enjoy my home most evenings! 

In all honesty, it took a good four years before I could  say I loved being a stay at home mom more than anything else.  During those first years of rearranging life, I enjoyed it, but it was a long journey before I realized this is what I loved and began to grasp the important responsibility I had been given.  It was awhile before I realized that many things I viewed as interruptions were actually teaching moments for both me and my sweet little ones.  Do I have it all together now? No.  There are still days when I go out in the back yard and scream at the chickens (at least that's what my kids think I'm doing)!  There are days when I go to the bathroom and turn the water on and have a good hard cry because I feel so lonely or incapable.  Thankfully, though, those days are much fewer than they used to be.  

There is not a day that goes by that I do not remember the kind of mom I used to be, and thank God for His grace and miraculous change in my heart.  Do you remember my words that afternoon?  "God, You have to change it because I don't know what I'm doing wrong!"  God has changed me! Psalm 37:4 has been accomplished in my life!

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

It was not until I began searching for God and trying to find His way for my life that He began to change my heart.  He did not give me what I thought I wanted - a career as a music teacher AND the chance to be a great mom.  Instead, He gave me more than I ever dreamed of.  He gave me HIS DESIRE for me.  He gave me a second chance to be the mom He made me to be - the mom He intended me to be.  I no longer wrestle with the guilt of who needs me most - a job or my family.  I know, without a doubt, God made my family to need me, and I am made to serve them.  And I am so deeply, deeply thankful for this second chance.  I pray that I will not waste one bit of it on my selfish desires.  Each day, I want to show my children Jesus in me.  What could be more important than that?  I'll tell you....absolutely nothing!

I have opened up my heart here and shared some things that I am really not one bit proud of.  I am doing this so that you can see that I am not perfect.  I struggled desperately hard with this mommy thing, and I still struggle today.  It hurts when I see my children doing things that I know I could have and should have prevented them from allowing to become habits in the early years.  I wish I could go back and start over.  Then, God graciously reminds me of how far He has brought me and of how much He has worked in both mine and my children's lives. I tell you all of this so that you can see that it isn't too late.  If you are struggling with finding contentment in motherhood, remember God sees you and He cares - He cares more deeply than you do.  Remember this is the plan He gave us in His Word, and even though the job is tough and lonely, He has promised to never leave us.   He has also promised to provide a way through everything.  In tomorrow's post, I will share a few things that helped me tremendously as a struggling mom, and I pray they will help some other mom too!  It is never too late for God to change anyone!


  1. I LOVE this!!! It has taken me a bit to figure it out but I am so glad I cut so much out before Ari came. Now I feel like I can keep up and enjoy some things. It took many nights of me crying at night and feeling lonely to realize my ministry are the children and then when I have them trained we will enjoy things outside of the home much better. I take them to work with me and we have no problems usually. It is the only reason I work where I work because I can take them. It also has been a good training tool for them to learn to behave and be respectful. They do behave so well. This is such a good reminder though! Thank you!

  2. Loved your post Christy, thanks for sharing!

  3. I hope it was an encouragement to both of you! I'm so thankful for you moms who encourage and teach me!