Give up giving yourself up


Parenting is a ritualistic exercise in extreme sacrifice. We awake earlier than we want, watch television programs we don’t want to, make play-dates we could care less about, plan parties, go to parties, make nice with another parent because our kid likes their kid, etc, etc, etc, etc. It goes on forever.

But that’s what parenting is, right? Sacrifice?

Yes.

And yet a resounding no.

Last night, I asked on Twitter if Motherhood should trump Womanhood once it entered the mix. What ensued was an extremely interesting conversation. Answers varied from “If that’s what the woman wants” to “No, it shouldn’t” to “I don’t understand, isn’t Motherhood a facet of Womanhood?” It is, once it enters the mix. But what fascinates me is the way we, as women, and as society, measure a woman’s worth based on her desire to conceive or parent. Someone even pointed out a pet peeve with articles which identify someone as a Grandmother, Mother, etc., even when it’s not relevant.

In the infancy years when our children depend fully upon us, Mother is our defining role. However, we should still make time for ourselves as women as well. We are still us, we have merely added another facet to our skill set. Some of us are woman first, mother second. Some may be Mother and then Woman. That’s okay. It varies from woman to woman and is based on personal experience as well. Go with what works for you and your family.

For those who are woman first, mother second, we know we need to be valued as a woman. But no one will value us as woman if we fail to treat ourselves as woman first. But what is woman once she is a Mother? She is you, as you were before children, with the added responsibility of child-rearing. Woman is beautiful, exhilarating, compassionate, powerful, strong, complex, amazing, and full of heart. She is life, and yet at the same time, she can get so lost in roles demanded by society, she may be her own death. Swallowed whole by Mother, Wife, Employee, Caregiver, Daughter, Sister, Cousin, etc, she finds herself carried away by the powerful current of Life, not realizing until too late she is in dangerous waters.

Today I tweeted, with the intent of being humorous, “For Lent, I’m giving up giving up things.” I also posted it as my Facebook status. The responses surprised me. One of my friends on Facebook included a link to a post written by a friend of hers last year —On Eating Chocolate for Lent— which got me thinking –should we be giving up anything for Lent at all– especially when we already give up so much of ourselves as Mothers? If we continue to sacrifice ourselves at the rate we’re going, we will have nothing left to give our children or loved ones once we finish –if we finish– before we pass out, an exhausted heap in the kitchen floor.

Want to give up something for Lent? Give up throwing yourself under the bus for everyone around you. Give up saying yes to every responsibility you are asked to take on by friends, family, work, etc. Give up judging yourself for not keeping up with the Joneses. Stick with the bare necessities. Give yourself the gift of time to yourself, the gift of time with your children instead of racing around like crazy to keep family, friends, and society happy and smiling. Give yourself happy. Give yourself joy. Give yourself laughter.

Give up giving yourself up for 40 days. Be kind to you. You are worth it.

 

Giving up BACON for Mothers & Babies


Bacon Sacrifice Campaign for Postpartum Progress

To donate via credit card:

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To donate via paypal, click on over to Postpartum Progress.

Complain or give thanks? It’s up to you


We are taking a Bible study course at our church on Wednesday nights called “Lord, Change My Attitude.” Authored by James McDonald, it is an amazing course already. Tonight was just the second night.

One of the verses James talked about tonight really hit home with me:

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Did you read it?

Read the first part again: In EVERY THING give thanks.

Every thing.

Not some things.

Not just the good things.

But EVERY THING.

As I sat in class, I thought of everything I have ever been through about which I could possibly complain but instead already find myself thanking Jesus for these events. For this, I am again, thankful.

It is HARD to sit in the middle of trauma, tragedy, tough stuff, and say “Thank you.” It is so much easier to give up, get angry, walk away. But to instead be given the grace of God to be able to say Thank You to God for the hard stuff too? Mind-blowing.

As I thought about this, I realized this practice of giving thanks is a habit I already practice.

For instance:

I could complain that almost three years ago I wrecked my car – my favorite car and best friend from college. I went everywhere in that car. But instead I am grateful. Grateful and thankful because wrecking that car saved my marriage.

I could complain that because of my wreck I spent the night at the ER and in jail. Instead, I am grateful and thankful because that time allowed me to spend time with God and pray before I had to go home and talk with my husband.

I could complain that my husband spent our money on marijuana instead of on insurance for the car. But instead I am grateful and thankful because that allowed me the time I needed to spend time with God and pray before I had to go home and talk with my husband about his confession of addiction.

I could complain that God allowed me to struggle with Postpartum Depression twice. But instead I am grateful and thankful because that hell? Prepared me for the hell I would soon face as the wife of a recovering addict.

I could complain that God gave us a daughter with a Cleft Palate. But instead I am grateful and thankful because she has taught us patience, love, and how to be better parents. Through her, we have both grown leaps and bounds as parents, as husband and wife, and as man and woman.

I could complain that my husband is unemployed. But instead I am grateful and thankful because he is able to be here with us and spend time with his children and family. I am grateful for the budgeting skills it has required us both to develop.

I could complain that I lost a lot of relatives when I was a kid. That I got to know grief a bit too intimately before I was 12. But instead, I am grateful and thankful because all of that? Prepared me for everything I just listed. There’s a reason for everything God has done in my life. To be able to look back and see it laid out before me as clear as day is a sight to behold – and I am eternally grateful to Him for deciding to let me see my road map.

I can’t wait to see what He has planned for my future. I am not scared. I know, that as He has done time and again, He will carry me when I need it most. That I will lean hard on Him because He has taught me well. And for that, I am grateful.

So you see, I could complain. A lot.

But instead, I am grateful and thankful.

What are you complaining about? How can you turn your complaining into gratitude? Spin it. Turn your negatives into positives.

I’m not saying it is an easy thing to do. It is a very hard thing to do. But it is a very FREEING thing to do.

I challenge you – turn just ONE complaint into a gratitude today. And then do it again tomorrow with another one. And again the day after.