I’m caring for a baby less than two months old today and I’m reminded how much time and attention a baby requires. I remember my firstborn and how I would carry him around in his baby carrier from one room to another so I could prepare bottles, cook, clean, and whatever else I needed to do. Sometimes I would allow Sesame Street to baby-sit him. Having your first baby can be overwhelming as you realize your time is not your own. Time management is the key and it has to be learned. There is no time for sleeping in unless you’re really brave. Early morning risings allow time to prepare for the baby’s waking hours as I hurried to prepare breakfast and clean my home before my little one arrived today. I know he’ll want my undivided attention. Anything else I had planned today will be put on the back burner until he naps, and of course my own children will then want a piece of me (smile). I encourage new mothers as you adjust and adapt to your new role of motherhood. When you begin to feel overwhelmed and frustrated with your never ending tasks, remember your baby is still an innocent bundle of joy and you are not alone in your mixed emotions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and for other mothers, don’t hesitate to offer help!
What are we doing with the power God has placed in us as mothers? Are we allowing it to sit dormant within us or are we working in the full power and potential God blessed us with? Mothers have the ability to cause change, and the means to mold minds. Our children are what we make them. What we place in them eventually comes out. Our husbands succeed with the amount of love and support we give them. Our homes maintain the peace we choose to promote. We have greatness in us! We were created to empower and impact those in our home and around us. I did some self-evaluation last night and it continued through the morning. I haven’t been working in my full potential as a mother. I got comfortable with what I was doing obviously thinking it was enough, yet God is never satisfied with mediocre performance. He always wants us to reach higher. Once mothers recognize our own value and power, others will recognize our worth in the world. We have greatness!!
This morning I woke up feeling just a little lazy. Actually, I’d rather refer to the feeling as tired instead of lazy. Can mothers be lazy? Anyway, I decided to retrieve my MOM OFF DUTY Button and place it proudly on my chest. I believe I was given this button on my birthday by one of my sons. I told them I wanted to relax and just put my feet up, which I did. They both cooked their own breakfast, and started on their homework. All of a sudden my oldest began to feel ill, which means I would have to do my DUTY and nurse him back to health. My youngest needed help with spelling, which meant I had to do my DUTY and teach him. I remembered my husband placed wet, sweaty clothes in the washer, which meant I had to do my DUTY and wash them. Okay, when do I get to truly be off duty? Hmmm...I don’t believe it is possible UNLESS the entire family agrees to mom being off duty. I’m working on a project which calls for a little more work than I’d care to give and this of course is added stress in my day, yet it must be done. This added stress invites a teaspoon of irritability and a half-teaspoon of frustration. My hats off to working mothers as I am reminded of my military days; your real job doesn’t begin until you come home from work and you’re already tired! Mom Off Duty? Yeah right! I’ll try another day (smile).
It can be difficult to maintain your peace of mind when children are constantly...being children. Disobedience, silly tales and questions, and frolic and fun all day long are just a few things that come with the package. I remember the toddler years being a challenge, yet puberty seems to take on a whole new meaning of ATTITUDE. My goodness! I’m so thankful the Lord reminded me of puberty because my firstborn is ten and I believe he started his change last year and I was unaware. Children go through stages and their thoughts and actions should be expected to change. If we aren’t ready for the changes, we think the child is just being defiant, difficult, or just plain crazy and this can make us crazy! We made a special visit to the library to check out a book on puberty and reading and discussing a chapter everyday has allowed me to strengthen our mother/son bond and open the door to another level in our relationship. I can either make or break his willingness to share with me by how I handle his change. Yes, what I do now will influence our future relationship. I’m doing my best to make our conversations and new words as comfortable for him to discuss as possible. His new body odor, hair growth, private parts having a mind of their own, and his ATTITUDE are new experiences for our household, and we are celebrating the change in our own way...a way to build his self esteem and his confidence as a young man. Peace? I believe puberty prepares mothers for the pre-teen and teenage years if we take notice and use it to our advantage. Preparing for things to come allows us to handle them a whole lot better. Keep the peace in puberty!
Just in case there is doubt in anyone’s mind as to where peace comes from, please know that all peace comes from The Prince of Peace – King Jesus. His name is not the man upstairs, the boss, or my higher power, yet Jesus Christ. There is power in the name alone, so to deny calling His name is to deny the power He offers. All of my help comes from above and I can’t be ashamed to share Jesus because the very breath I take belongs to Him. I am nothing without Him. I was created by Him for Him and all I do is to bring attention to Him – not myself. I can’t take any credit for the peace in my life. Without him my ground is shaken when troubles come, yet with Jesus I stand strong as if nothing is going wrong. My peace is the result of continuous trouble, trials, tribulations, and pain in my life. I’m going through a storm right now and because of my past pain, I have strength – I have peace. There is power in pain, and I am convinced that what God has placed in me will not fail. It doesn’t matter what comes your way, what issues you deal with in your marriage, or the trouble your children are giving you...God’s peace has sustaining power. Call on Him - say His name. Know that your help comes from above; Jesus is your one and only source of Peace, all other sources will crumble and fail you. I’m a witness!
As mothers, we have an unhealthy practice of inviting unnecessary stress in our lives. Our day can be full of errands, housework, meetings, and our children’s extracurricular activities, yet we will still try to squeeze one more thing in our day to accommodate someone else. There are 24 hours in a day, yet for some reason we need more time to do what needs to be done. Need is the key word – do what is needed – do what’s necessary and everything else can wait. I remember being asked by someone if I had a free day to help with a particular activity. Yes, I had one free day in the week where nothing was scheduled. Normally, I would have been happy to give up that one day, but I’ve learned my lesson. I need to schedule a day for myself as eagerly as I do for others. Sometimes we feel we have to be doing something every day of the week or we’re not being productive. What’s wrong with not having anything to do? I welcome those infrequent days with enthusiasm! When do we take time to rejuvenate ourselves? When do we take time to renew our mind? Think about it...when is the last time you had a day you did absolutely nothing? My sons gave me a button on my birthday that says 'MOM OFF DUTY' and I have to plan those days carefully to make sure I'm definitely OFF DUTY. In order to care for others properly, we must schedule a day (or an hour) for ourselves – guilt free and willingly.
Aromatherapy does wonders for the home! You’ll be surprised of the calming effects it has on the family – especially the children (smile). Candles invite a relaxing atmosphere to the home. I usually always have a scented candle or simmering potpourri pot going most days. Relaxing, comforting, soothing, you name it; scented candles can be your best friend! Not only are the flickering lights relaxing, the scent of your choice can be relaxing as well. Vanilla and lavender are definitely proven tranquil scents and my favorite. Although candles bring such wonderful moods to the home, please be careful with them. You won’t be able to relax or have any peace if your candle is not out of the reach of children knocking it over or bumping into them. Place your candles away from curtains, plants, pillows, paper, or anything the flickering light can catch onto. Also, never leave candles unattended. Children are attracted to candles for all the wrong reasons, so besides a quick trip to the bathroom, I blow my candles out if they will be out of my sight for any amount of time. Better safe than sorry! If you don’t feel comfortable lighting candles during the day while children are around, by all means, don’t! Many evenings, after my boys are in bed, I light scented candles for my husband and I to enjoy. Husbands need help unwinding and relaxing also!
Imagine this – you’re by yourself in a room with soft, relaxing music, soft scents of vanilla and lavender, and the lights are dimmed low – you almost fall asleep, but your mind wonders to the children at home and if your husband is actually watching them or watching television. You remembered a few bills that won’t get paid on time, and you need to go grocery shopping after leaving your place of tranquility. Your friend just left a disturbing message on your cell phone and you just remembered you didn’t return an important phone call last night. You may enjoy your quiet room alone, yet you have no peace. Webster defines peace in several ways, and one of the definitions is quietness, yet my favorite explanation for peace is freedom from fears and emotional disturbance. An emotional disturbance to me is muddle in the mind...stuff...needless thoughts and worries...being held hostage by thoughts we can’t seem to shake. Peace begins in the mind. You can have PMS, be in a dirty kitchen washing dishes with the children bickering in the background, a dog barking, the phone ringing, the television on with nobody watching, be behind in bills and have PERFECT PEACE! It takes practice, yet it’s possible! To be continued...
Have you ever been to someone’s home and you automatically felt relaxed? You just wanted to pull your shoes off and grab a pillow to snuggle on the sofa? Every home has a personality of its own and it usually takes on the personality of the woman sense we set the tone in the home. The colors we choose and whether our home is child friendly or a large crystal cabinet is usually our decision, however, these material decisions are not the only things that give the home personality – the most important factor is the essence of who we are; our nature, our spirit, the very core of our being. Money is no object here. The most expensive, highly decorated home can lack love and peace. If we have a peaceful, calm spirit, our home will reflect that. On the other hand, if we are uptight, on edge, and unhappy, our home will also give off that energy. It doesn’t matter what is going on in our life or in our home, a sense of peace can always be maintained within the home if we have peace within ourselves. Peace is not just a state of mind; it is a state of being. What energy does your home give? Not sure? What is your state of being right now? Do you have peace in your life? Are you content in your marriage? Satisfied with your children, your relationship with God, and your career? Homes talk!
It’s so easy to let our feelings control our entire day with needless thoughts. Peace does not mix with mess and I like to refer to mess as muddle - it sounds better since it’s occurring within my body (smile). I frequently find myself with needless thoughts -thoughts of what my husband should be doing, or should have done, thoughts of my children’s behavior, or an incident with a friend, family member, or neighbor I didn’t agree with. These thoughts then control our actions and it’s a down hill journey after that. If we can hold our thoughts captive instead of adding fuel to them, our peace would come a lot sooner. How do we add fuel to our needless thoughts? By practicing conversations in our mind over and over again and replaying situations and discussions to the point of consumption...they control our every thought and this is so stressful on a woman’s already demanding day. This stress is detrimental to our health. Stress invites disease and disease kills. Many of us are feeding our own disease on a daily basis. These needless thoughts birth unpleasant matters - our children have a hard time getting our attention, we make careless decisions in and out of the home, and we’re distracted from the things that matter most. My solution to these needless thoughts is to turn my thoughts to prayer for the particular person or situation and thoughts of good things. The battle in my mind slowly begins to cease and my peace is restored. Can't think of anything good? Think of your Creator and the life, health, and strength He gave you this day. This definitely takes practice and it sure didn’t happen for me over night. I still battle a muddled mind at times, yet I recognize my thoughts and hold them captive a lot quicker than I use to. This makes such a difference in my attitude, my facial expressions, and my home environment. Peace or Muddle – which will you choose today?