What Mother can’t get her Childs Birth date right?

I haven’t blogged in about ten thousand years. Since the Earth is only around 6 thousand years old, I take full responsibility for messing up that Math for you guys. In fact, I take full responsibility for messing up so many things in life right now.

The ability to do math and basic things with my hands lately has affected my blogging lifestyle. Per say. While my hands want to type, they are sort of tied up wiping baby butts and serving the other three children mediocre dinners while Daddy works late, again.

I’ve missed you guys. I’ve missed writing and sharing and feeling sane, and showering daily. While our fourth baby is a massive blessing, he is also a spider monkey in human form and is making my life this very crossfit experience I never signed up for. Crossfit is for experienced people that have worked out before. I feel like when I signed up for this fourth baby I was a little limp in the bones. A little out of shape.

I’m now bound by this contract for 18 years, and I’m scared because I don’t have the right protein powder to replenish the amount of milk that he drinks from my breasts on a daily basis.

When I say out of shape, I mean in Mother form I was a 400 pound beached whale just waiting on a rescue mission to save her, with like birds already surrounding her , ready to declare her dead and ready for consumption.

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Story time!

All three of our older children got into a Charter Academy for this Fall. We are super excited, and ready for a change. This also means that I had to transfer documents from their current school, as well as make copies of my soul and uterus for the new school. They weren’t super accepting of my placenta as a form of ID, but I am working with it.

As always, I wait until the last minute to send in copies of anything important, as I am sitting on my butt watching the clock change to bedtime hours daily. I do nothing all day, in case you are wondering. My life is super peaceful and quiet.

Today I happened to finish my Soap Oprah, so I decided to go and make copies of all the important documents, and things they needed for the new enrollment.

We get to the Register of Deeds, and I realized Luca didn’t have any shoes on. This is ok. This is normal, it’s warm outside. Except he is now walking , so I knew this would be an issue while trying to make copies of the Last Supper of Jesus. AKA birth Certificates of my offspring.

You would think that it was our Lord’s last bite the way they went about handling my paperwork.

I’m sure I saw someone in the back light a Menorah and say a prayer for my shoeless child.

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I’m standing there filling out these forms for my girls, all the while Luca is reluctantly on my hip trying to eat the complementary pens on the counter for people like me that do not come prepared with a pen of their own. I keep trying to teach him that the pens aren’t like Chick Filas mints. You can’t just grab 7 and expect everyone to turn a blind eye.

He starts getting annoyed with being held captive, so I put him down. Shoeless and unafraid he begins to roam his new found territory as I try to use my mushy brain to fill out important things I should know about my daughters.

I nod my head, and assure the front desk woman that everything is correct, as she ushers the documents to the back.

The woman in charge walks towards the front desk, mean mugging me. Oh mercy. What have I done now? I mean, I mopped my kitchen floor last night after the kids used icey pops to decorate for Spring!

She whispers to the sweet lady I am dealing with, and I hear her because I am basically a ninja that can hear a four year old lying from 43 miles away.

” Yeah she wrote the birthdate wrong. It’s not the 12th, it’s the 11th. How can you get your child’s birthdate wrong? ”

I had obviously written the wrong number down. I am obviously a special needs Mother.

My special needs include – someone help.

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Listen Rhonda, I know exactly when she was born because she roared out of my vagina like she was late for yoga class. I couldn’t even cough before the Doctor got in there, as she was waving at me from my lady hole.

I KNOW she was born on the 12th. The 11th. The 11th. Math is hard and everyone needs to calm down.

Ma’am , since you wrote the date wrong and we had to run it through the system, that’s an extra $14 over your normal $24 rate since she was born out of this County.

Luckily for myself, my treasure is in heaven and in my wine cabinet, so I wasn’t worried about spending an ungodly amount on mistakes.

Listen, that’s what Jesus died for. My mistakes. So if you could just send him that bill, that’d be great Jeannine.”

Let it be known I will not be applying for any accounting jobs. Writing numbers down isn’t my strong point.

The tiniest Haggerty, overtaking my heart and sanity day by day.

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Don’t talk about my friend like that.

If you are like me you couldn’t give a flying flip what your friends house looks like for a playdate. When you walk into their home only to see cereal poured out all over the kitchen floor, it gives you all the freaking warm fuzzies that you are in fact not the only one that cleans crap up all the day long.

You went there to catch up with your friend and maybe have a mid day beer. Let the kids go wild outside while you complain about your mom bods and intend to do nothing about it.

Am I right?

Lets reverse roles here. You are the one hosting a group of women. You are frantically trying to make your house look like Southern Living magazine, when in reality ten minutes before guests arrive you still have a wet towel on your head from your shower that you took five minutes ago and only one eye has mascara because you dropped the tube and now you cannot find it FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

You put this pressure on yourself to present this life that isn’t real. Tiny people that have tiny fingers that make big messes make your house look like an episode of Hoarders.

In this Season of my life I’m learning to let my guard down. To allow women to see that I am just one big blob of Mom. They can hang out with me and be one big blob of Mom too. I am the blob. Half the time my friends and I just sit in silence because we lack quiet. We nod our heads if we need a refill of wine. Yes, I love you. Yes, I need more liquid.

There is a part of us as women that takes pride in a clean home, I know I do. When my house is a huge mess it makes my day even more stressful, so I tend to clean more often that I have in the past. This isn’t what I am talking about.

I’m talking about stressing ourselves out trying to make our homes spotless before having a guest over. Guess what? That friend, if she is a true one will feel more at home sitting on your mountain of clean laundry sipping her lukewarm coffee, than she would in a museum of clean diapers and perfect throw pillows. Maybe she would even help you fold while you cried about how your baby hates to sleep. Or hates you. Whichever.

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I walked into a friends house the other day with all four of my kids in tow. They were in rare form after school. They were hangry. I was just angry my birth control didn’t work. I was hot and lacking laughter, so I knew I was at the right place at the right time. This friend makes me keel over with belly laughs that I someday hope to receive abs as a gift from. They keep trying to resurface but I keep eating cheese.

I watched as she vacuumed up spilled snacks on the floor and I remember thinking to myself:

” Oh my gah. Just leave them , my baby will just crawl right over and clean those up. Don’t be so hard on my friend. She’s great.”

And so I said it outloud, and so the babies did eat them off the floor. Because they are both fourth children. They do everything for themselves. Just the other day I passed her 14 month old on Main street. It looked like he had picked up an Uber job on the side. Someone has to pay for College around here. Fourth kids just take the wheel. Pun intended.

Until my friend couldn’t take it anymore and started cleaning up again. I watched her spray cleaner onto the coffee table and clean up leftover whatever.

I thought to myself again, hey be easy on my friend there.

She’s a fantastic Mom. She strives to love everyone she comes in contact with. She’s a fighter, in a righteous way. She fights to keep her marriage Godly and her children in check. Her relationship with Jesus first. She’s an encourager. A giver of all things , big and small. She can see what I cannot when I walk into a room. She can see a need and meet it to the best of her abilities. She can make you feel seen and heard and give you one of the best hugs on earth. She’s my friend.

She’s more than her perfectly scrubbed kitchen table or her home cooked meals.

I love her for her, not for her clean house or her perfect life.

These are things we place on ourselves that no one gives a s#%^ about.

I think these are things we forget when we are awaiting our guests in our home. We forget that they are aware we are Mothers too. Our lives and busy from sun up to sun down and in between. We are tired, constantly. We all strive to do our best and sometimes that means leaving those dirty dishes in the sink to pick up your toddler and dance in the kitchen.

They came for the chats and laughter, not for your bleached sinks.

Next time you are hard on yourself for the way your house looks or the roots that are six inches overdue for color, tell yourself :

” Hey. Don’t talk about my friend like that. She’s more than those things. She’s awesome.”

And while you’re at it , tell yourself too.

” Hey. Don’t talk about me like that. I’m trying.”

Photo by Amanda Sutton

He overlooks my crazy.

It’s been a hot hashbrown minute since I have blogged about anything spiritual. My days are so jam packed in this season, that sharing about them other than Facebook updates is scarce.

I’ve been in this mommyhood fog of dirty diapers and homework, so much so that I have felt farther away from Jesus than ever. It’s silly right? I am doing what he has called me to do, be a Momma, yet I feel far away from Him.

I know He is right here, even now sitting beside me as I write this out. He’s there when I’ve had it up to high heaven with my 5 year old and her new found attitude , and lack of respect for my personal space. He’s right there when I am running from store to store, with a baby on my hip and a little girl begging for candy on aisle 3.

But today, He was there in a new way. A way that I just have to share with you guys because it’s so vital for us as Mothers to know that he cares about every.single.detail.

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The day started off all wrong. I missed my alarm to take the big kids to school. When I finally awoke it was to my 10 month old pulling my boob literally out of my shirt to get his breakfast. What the?! It’s 8 am. Perfect.

The kids are supposed to be at school no later than 8. It’s fine. I like them to make a fashionable entrance just like I did in High school. At least I’m ensuring they actually attend school. I’m winning.

:: I’ll back up here for those that aren’t aware that four years ago I had no choice but to go on an anti anxiety medication, or I would probably die. I actually almost did.::

My medication ran out over the weekend, so I had to wait until monday to get it refilled. Usually I am super responsible about this and get it refilled early, but our week and weekend was jam packed. I just plum forgot.

I ran the older kids to school and called my pharmacy requesting a refill. Explaining I would need it today, as I had been out.

By this point I had a severe headache, body aches and my vision was starting to be affected. ( 1 1/2 days without ).

I get to the pharmacy only for them to tell me that my Doctor wanted to schedule me a follow up appointment before he would refill my medication. He had done this without notifying me , otherwise I wouldn’t have gone all the way to the Pharmacy.

My eyes watering with tears of desperation, my ribs tightening just as the did before I started this life changing savior pill, I prayed.

                            On the verge of a massive panic attack, I continued to pray.

I sat in the drive through window, and talked to my Papa aloud. I cried and told him that I needed his help. I needed my Doctor to answer my calls, and call in my meds.

I decided to wait in the parking lot, waiting for his call. All they needed was for me to schedule an appointment, no big deal. I could wait.

If you have never suffered from severe anxiety, AWESOME! If you have, you can relate to how I was feeling, and how my body was reacting to the withdrawal of my medication. I was completely in my right mind, but my body was showing signs of rebellion to my mind. That’s how anxiety works with my body right now. My mind, my emotions, all sound. My body, chaos. 

I am perfectly capable of caring for my children, and extra children. Nothing is wrong with my mind. Other than lack of sleep.

Though I’ve had some judgements thrown my way , I know I am a good mother above all.

Knowing that a friend was coming over for a play date, I knew I needed to get home. I didn’t have time to sit there and simply wait. I had decided that I would have to be fine until they called in my prescription. I had to be. I told myself it would be just like what my body was like before the meds. I functioned.

I started my ugly mini van and headed towards home. Tears streaming down my face, I was desperate to breathe correctly. Desperate to get some relief from my body crawling out of it’s own skin.

I would go home and brew some chamomile tea, put on my big girl panties and ignore my bodies screams. I had done that for two whole years before I reluctantly took the miracle pill. I survived, and spent many days fighting to breathe, but I made it out alive.

I turned onto the road that led me home, to my home that God had given us in just the right season. Our home that was his promise to me. I began reminding him aloud of the promises he has made to me in the past few years that I am waiting to be fulfilled.

Sure that he keeps his promises, I prayed on.

Not even praying about my medication issue , he spoke straight to my troubled body:

” Rachel, look in your glove compartment. “

” My what? I’ve never put my medication in there. Just like napkins and chapstick.”

” I know. Look in the left corner underneath the napkins.”

I laughed and playfully stuck my hand in there. LOL JESUS. Wouldn’t that be crazy if I…..

Found ONE Paxil.

My fingers grazed it as tears streamed down my face. There’s absolutely no way this is what I think it is. Is it?! It’s probably a freaking mint that one of my kids hid away so their siblings wouldn’t find it.

I pulled out what my fingers had found in the left corner.

Just one lone Paxil. 

You guys. Never have I EVER put my medication in there. Not once.

It was in that moment that I held in my hand something that I needed so much. My earthly body for now is flawed, and he knows that. He knows that this one pill would make my day a thousand times easier.

I couldn’t help but cry and praise him for how very personal he is to us, as his children. I knew that HE put that there. There is NO other explanation. He met my need. MINE. His flawed daughter who needs medication in this season to function. He loves me despite that, and from today’s events, he loves me BECAUSE of that.

He loves me for the traumatic lives events that lead me to a life of recovery from medication.

I held the pill in my hand for so long that it began to soften.

So tight, I held it like I was holding his very hand as I drove.

I am telling you all this to show you that no matter where we are in our lives, he is right there. He isn’t ashamed of us when we are reliant on modern medications. He celebrates with us when we find just the right balance.

His ultimate goal and will for our lives is healing, but until then he meets us right where we are. Right when we need him.

I needed this today, I needed to feel him down on my level. Motherhood is hard enough, but dealing with anxiety from the pit of hell makes it much more challenging.

I am no special woman, anyone can hear from Jesus. That’s his gift to us when he died of the cross, giving us his Holy Spirit to speak to us.

I know that he is often speaking to me, to us. It’s just that sometimes I am not listening. I cannot hear him above the noise and Cheerio spills of four children.

But today he heard my cry and sent me a miracle that may seem small to some people, but to me it was everything.

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(((( photo by Amanda Sutton ))))

He heard my crazy self. He overlooked the fact that I am not perfect. ::gasp::

Does he do that?

He sure does.

A healing birth after trauma.

Before I write this I want to specify that a healing birth after having a difficult one doesn’t always happen. Often women are left scared, and forever changed from the one birth that left them traumatized. I was there for four years. I was hurt, wounded and angry. Sure that I would never view birth the same. My heart longed for just one more positive experience to end that note on.

For me, that happened. For you, I pray it happens. But, if it doesn’t , please know there are ways Jesus can heal you heart, other than birth. There IS hope for you. Your pain doesn’t have to stay.

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As soon as I knew my labor was real, unlike the three other false labors I had experienced, I literally prayed for the pain to come.

Some would look at me like I was insane, asking the pain to overtake my body. I understood that I lived and flowed through the new covenant with Jesus, the one where it was his will to take the pain of labor away. I knew women that had experienced a pain free birth, and I believed their stories. I also knew deep down in my wounded heart that I needed to feel the pain this time.

There is something about agonizing pain that makes the ending of the pain beautiful. This deep breath after holding it underwater. A gasp of oxygen.

With each wave of pain I welcomed it, not to accept punishment, but to FEEL my body do something I had longed for. Something I prayed into, long before Luca was conceived.

Each pain I felt, I grew closer to Jesus, allowing my body to lay at the foot of his feet and to soak in his presence. Each tear that formed in my eyes, everytime I looked at my husband and cried out for him to pray over me, I felt Him. I felt his joy over this life I was bringing into the world in the way I wanted.

The pain was unbearable, so much so that I shook with each contraction, and yet I loved them all the same. Each pain brought me closer to my promised baby.

When you are in such great pain, you cannot think of anything else.

I couldn’t think of anything else but meeting my son. I imagined how Jesus must have felt on the cross that day, thinking of only us, his children. I imagined how he literally welcomed the blood, the pain and the tears as a sign of his love for you, for me.

The pain was something I needed to experience for myself, in my walk with him. The pain did something in my spirit that a perfect, pain free birth couldn’t have done. I laid my pain at his feet, my every whim and move HAD to succumb to his presence. I was weak, but he was strong.

I needed Him, I needed to need Him.

After pushing him away for so long after my traumatic birth, I know that he allowed me to experience a long, painful labor , all the while holding me in his arms. I needed to be weak as a child needing her Daddy to fix it.

He allowed my pain to kill my pride. He didn’t WANT me to be in pain, that is not his perfect plan, but he allowed it.

I will tell you that I have never felt closer to him. I have never lifted my head to the heavens, begging for him to comfort me more that I did that night, and into the morning hours. I needed my Dad. He met me.

Just when I thought I would pass out from exhaustion, he lifted me up, to keep pushing until my son was earthside.

After two hours of pushing, with no progress, I lost all my couth. Every ounce of dignity I had went out the window and I screamed out to my husband:

” PRAY FOR ME RIGHT NOW. I CANNOT DO THIS!”

The room fell silent as everyone began to pray out loud. I had nothing left in my physical body to give. I was depleted. Done. No strength left in any bone of my body.

Right then I decided I would put aside MY strength, and allow HIS to overcome my physical body. It’s just a body right? It doesn’t define my very soul, and who he has created me to be! It’s my shell, the one that long ago I had given to him to reign.

I stood up and Luca started to descend, just as everyone had prayed.

I was unaware of his birth position being dangerous, I could only focus on one thing, to get him out.

With the incredible knowledge and fast thinking of my midwife, he finally arrived.

Seeing his face and instantly connecting his soul to mine forever was immensely emotional for me. All I could do was breathe in his presence and allow my body to relax. I hadn’t done this alone.

It took my Heavenly Father and a relentless team of loving people to bring him into my arms.

When I was so very weak and helpless, they were strong. It is completely possible to draw strength from other people cheering you on. That’s exactly what I did.

Absorbing their passionate desire to see me succeed was intoxicating.

This wave of love overcame me as I held my longed for son for the first time, teaching him to breathe on his own. Awakening his senses to the love that surrounded him in me, and especially in my arms.

Though I knew of other people in the room, I could only see his face. Our eyes meeting for the first time in the physical, a rush of love filing my senses. Nothing else in my life mattered, my pain was whisked away in the moment of his birth.

Suddenly I wasn’t wounded and alone, but a proud Mother embracing her gift.

I was still intoxicated as I climbed into my own bed, in my own home.

This cloud of joy and overwhelming passion for this tiny human overcame me as I welcomed our three other children to meet their prayer over sibling.

I have never felt more loved by Jesus than I did that day. Every ounce of me was filled with his strength. My body that was once so hard towards the world, so blistered and bandaged, hiding my weakness , was opened up.

My wounds for the world to see were healed in my weakness, only because he needed me to reveal them to him.

My body was infected with grief, yet he healed me that day.

Jesus is a gentle Father. He respects us to the point of allowing ourselves to harden to his presence. It’s only when he admit that we are weak that he swoops on to help us.

He respects our grief that he feels with us. It’s never his will for us to hurt, but it’s always his will for us to heal.

Finding a foundation at ULTA, my personal hell.

There I was, alone and very afraid of what would come next. My palms sweating as I opened the double doors to my fate. The night my confidence and dignity was zero percent.

I had only been to ULTA one time in my life, and that was in my prime. That was ALSO before a pre teen looked more put together than I ever will be. ( where is their ugly right of passage? How can they skip this? It humbles you. )

What is happening to this world? (( tiny soap box )) because I was ugly in middle school and most of high school, it’s made me a better person. They are skipping this compassionate and grounding season, now what will they do? Work at ULTA?

I knew immediately this was my personal hell as soon as the freaking UV LIGHTS hit my face, revealing every inch of blemish and sleepless nights. Surely I was getting sun burned walking in there. Do they want me to get sunburned so they can sell me more expensive products?

My first mission was to avoid eye contact at all times. Though I was clueless, I didn’t want to chit chat with perfect eyebrow Barbie about how I look like I am 56 at age 30. I had about thirty minutes to pick out a foundation that made me look rested and a liar before my baby wanted to nurse. I am not tired, see! I wasn’t up at 5:45 AM sipping coffee and contemplating running away to Puerto Rico.

I just wanted some foundation to cover up the fact that I haven’t slept in ten years, how do you explain this to a woman that you aren’t sure has your sense of humor? Will she feel sorry for me? Probably. Avoid the eye contact, keep walking. Act like you know what you are doing, just like being a Mom.

I would like to go back to the lighting in this place. I am fully aware that they make it this way to make you feel fugly so that you will buy more things from them. It’s basically a genius idea, I mean they had me passing every mirror in utter horror that I walked out into public looking like that. Even my own mother wouldn’t have claimed me as her own.

Each mirror I would pass I made a mental list of things I now needed to better my face:

No more pregnancies.

That’s all I could think of.

I realized I must have filled in only one eyebrow, the best I know how ,  ( like my 5 year old could do ) then must have gotten distracted by a child or 4. Or a husband that was looking for something in the kitchen, because he hasn’t lived here as long as I have.

After spinning in circles and crying from my blemish exposure and lack of self confidence I started the journey to find the foundation I had gone for. The one my sister ( cosmetology major ) had recommended. She said it would make me look 17 again, and I believed her. She’s so sweet.

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There are 4,457 types of expensive foundation in ULTA. It makes it difficult to choose. Luckily for me I have a keen sense of direction and it only took me 3 hours to find the brand I was looking for. Ha! Jokes on them.

So I find the brand, only to notice that there are more choices than an olive bar at Harris Teeter. First of all, who needs that many olives? Second of all how do I choose which one will make me look less homely?

I want one that makes me look responsible , yet rested and alert. Less dehydrated by coffee. Is that a 3.0?

I started testing different shades on my neck. Three shades to be truthful. If we’re being honest here, and since it’s my blog.. it was 6 shades. By then end I looked like I had a skin disease and I chose one that I thought matched the best. Actually I nervously took three of them into my hands, mixed them up and chose one. I had to get out of there. The fluorescent lighting was toying with my mental state.

Foundation, check. Now I needed something to help my brows since that is the thing everyone and their Mother is into right now. Right now I’m into finding LOL dolls on Amazon and eating my kids leftover Tyson dino nuggets. I’m also super into not getting pregnant. Do they have a brow package for this?

Several sales women passed me, looked me up and down and probably knew that there was no hope for me. I was dressed in my maternity Target sweatshirt, and skinny jeans that are two sizes two small ( THANKS BABY NUMBER FOUR AND CARBS ).

No one even asked me if I needed help because they knew that answer. Yes. Yes I do need help in more areas than my face. Are you also a nanny slash makeup consultant?

I found something that resembled a brow kit , threw it in my cart and hoped for the best with my life. They say a woman’s brows are the frame of her face, but I say how do you do that and can you teach me in very hushed tones while I drink a nice Merlot?

I army crawled my way to the check out after choosing something I knew everything about. While looking for face masks I found one that has red wine in it. It felt like home holding it in my hands. Mommy is here. Shhhh.

The cashier asked for my phone number and email address, I was hesitant to share for the simple fact of maybe she would enter me into a makeover contest…then the people would show up when I wasn’t wearing a bra. Everyone watching would be traumatized but my before and after would be redemptive to millions.

I walked out of there confident that I have a lot of work to do to be more attractive, a little baby weight to say goodbye to and a lot of concealer to use.

But most of all I learned to love myself more, so I stopped to eat my feelings with a Wendy’s frosty that I downed quickly so I wouldn’t have to share with my offspring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Santa, I’m awful.

Dear Santa,

 

I am writing this on behalf of my children that you would spare them my punishment for being an extremely naughty lady. Though I hate the term naughty and it makes me feel a little slutty, that’s the term you use. So I am rolling with it. I don’t even have time to be slutty. My lingerie drawer consists of my husbands old sweatpants and my Dad’s Carolina sweatshirt he gave me when we got married. If that doesn’t scream sexy I don’t know what does.

It’s no wonder I am so fertile with those threads.

Since I’ve been lying to them about you, I figured you could cut me a break this year. I usually give you all the fame, which is cool. But the deal is that I’ve been a bad mom this year. In fact, my seven year old is watching my baby so I could sit here for ten minutes and type this out just to feel sane.

Which is fine, she’s a better caretaker than I am. She remembers her vitamins and is always the one that catches me in the middle of a curse word. I’ve had to say I’m sorry to her more times than I can count, because she is more mature than I am.

Since I am on the naughty list, I don’t expect much. I feel the need to confess how I’ve lived my life lately, it isn’t pretty. I do really mean not pretty, I haven’t been pretty since baby number three. Now I am a busted can of biscuits just waiting to be baked in a hot tub of wine because my body aches in places I didn’t know I had. That sounds like communion. It is because I am so holy in this season of my life where I barely can hear myself think, much less get on Jesus’s wave length. I have to go up on my rooftop, light candles and hope a baby doesn’t wake up before I hit verse 3. OF GENESIS.

I’ve been studying Genesis for three years. It’s going well and I am learning so much.

Getting ready to teach a class on what I’ve learned actually, Santa. But I’ve put it off because of all the Holidays coming up and all the food I have to bake. Maybe next year. Also I don’t get any sleep at night because my baby has to be actually SOAKED INTO MY BODY LIKE BUTTER ON BREAD.

I feel like you’re pretty tight with Jesus, so if you could tell him I love him and have been sending smoke signals for years now.

( kidding. yall. )

 

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I practice fake patience with my children daily, you know what I mean. That fake I want to run away smile with a side of a little kiss on the cheek. I really love my children, but there are some days I am not sure I was made for this life. So I smile, and prepare dinner with two children on my legs and one on my breast. While making chicken breast. It’s ironic yet horrifying at the same time.

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I’ve determined that I am a mediocre adult with special hidden talents such as, skipping pages of a 123 page bedtime story while making up the story and looking at the clock wondering if I have enough time to shower before I fall asleep… I can breastfeed and pick up toys with my toes at the same time. I’ve been known to pick up a grain of rice with the baby in the Ergo.

I can cry about my day of my five year old acting like a small rabid puppy in the car rider line, and no one will ever know because of my fashionable sunglasses. That’s TALENT. That’s also called hiding, which I am famous for when the dog pukes in the house. I miraculously am consoling a teething baby so that my husband can clean that ish up.

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My mini van is in no way an impression or mirror image of my actual home. My Mini van is our vacation spot , really. There are enough snacks to last a week if need be. Luckily my children only like preservative filled crap, so no worries on the spoiling. Nope! Fresh goldfish for everyone.

There are most likely Chick Fila chicken nuggets, enough for a Thanksgiving feast. That’s actually what I signed up to bring for this Thursday. I even have the specialty sauces on hand and a few spare fries that made their way into my van by tiny, greasy fingers.

And Santa, if I am late to said gatherings of the Holiday nature, please note that it isn’t my fault. I have children that take their sweet time to look presentable, while I look like a walking dead extra. That is my specialty. I don’t want to upstage anyone. It’s my pleasure to look decomposed.

 

Santa, being a Mom is my greatest adventure and my greatest journey to feeling peace that I’ve ever been on.

Be kind to them this Christmas. I’ll just be here praising you for all the presents I wrap at 3 am.

If you could possibly drop me a box of cheap wine down the chimney, I would be much grateful. It can even be the Aldi brand. I don’t discriminate. I see all wine as equal value until it proves me wrong.   Which basically never happens. Because 4 children.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

Why Field trips are the WORST.

If you are a Parent that thoroughly enjoys spending time with your children when they are supposed to be in school, and you could be grocery shopping alone… this blog isn’t for you.

If you dread that form that comes home every few months asking you to be a chaperone on a FIELD TRIP, this one’s for you buttercup. Pour yourself a nice glass of vino and let’s talk field trips.

The number one thing I loathe about Field trips is that they always start early in the morning. I am one of those Moms that runs, no literally RUNS out the door with my undressed baby on my hip, lunch boxes hanging by my teeth and children still in denial they are going to school. I am also still in denial I am even taking them to school. Did I forget one ? How many did I birth?

I am no perky morning person. My perk left me after I weaned our first child if you know what I mean. The only perk I have now is if coffee has also been perked. I need lots of it before I can even talk. Words try to form and come out of my mouth but nothing is happening. I need to go back to bed and start over. In three hours.

Field trips be like ” We are starting at 5:30 AM , so parents, if you could be there by 5:45 to help set up the crafting area that would be great.”

At this ungodly morning hour when my children whom I love DEARLY should be out of my hands, they are in fact right at my hands asking for the 11th snack of the hour. To their dismay I only brought two snacks so they will starve before the lunchtime break. It was nice raising them. It will be my fault that they starved , but they will make lovely pine cone christmas tree ornaments that they can break on the car ride home.

In these early morning hours where I am forced to talk to other adults before I would even talk to my husband, I am also forced to make my face look like I am having a great time. Yes honey, I love hay rides when it’s 45 degrees out and your baby brother is trying to claw his way into my shirt to breastfeed. It’s my pleasure to be here for your special day that you will not remember next week. I love you. You’re my favorite.

Listen, my children get plenty of interaction with other kids. Plenty of vacations and play dates. They lack nothing as far as a social life and educational outings. They go with my husband all the time to the dump. They learn a lot from Youtube videos ( don’t freak. I kid. ) and pretending to be mothers in their playroom.

” Yes Laura, come on over! My house is a wreck but I have wine!” 

They don’t need field trips. Not until they are well into Middle School and can go without their loving Mother dragging them out the door in the wee hours of the morning. It’s bizarre to me that I torture them FOR THEM. Like, I get them out of bed to go to a place that is for them. Not for me. Why am I the one pushing this issue here? I feel wronged.

 

Thank you for reading, and if you see me at a field trip anytime in the near future, just give me a gentle side hug and hand me a coffee. Maybe hold my baby. It’s an emotional morning for me. Please know that I went through hell to get here on time and I was still late. Also, I may have gone to the wrong location first, and then made it here even later.

It’s no ones fault but my own. I am the one that signed up to be here as soon as that pregnancy test turned positive. I held in my hand a life long membership to all the field trips in the world.

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We are daughters first.

I stood there in worship with one child on my hip, the other three begging for my attention. Trying to close my eyes and enter into his presence to refresh my soul. I often find myself frustrated on a Sunday morning.

Why did I even go to church? Is this even worth it? Am I gaining anything by coming here while my children act feral in the back of the church? This is every Sunday for me. I lied when I said often, it’s every Sunday that I feel defeated. Exhausted. Hungry for more of Him while tending to my little flock. Trying to get them to be quiet, so that other people can worship. But not me. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my worship time with Jesus is while nursing a fussy baby, cooking dinner while Daddy entertains, and late at night when all is quiet and I can hear my own thoughts. With a big glass of red wine. His first miracle is the best one. Amen.

I closed my eyes and was taken into a quick vision of me at Jesus’s feet. I had three hats on my head , and something in my hand that I was holding tight to. I was bowing at his feet, surrendering all of my different talents and roles that I play as a woman.

One by one he took my hat’s off of my head. The first one read WIFE. The second one read MOTHER and the third one read AUTHOR. In that order he placed them on the ground beside my kneeling legs. My hands placed in front of my knees, weeping at his holy feet. Exhausted just from getting four children ready for church. They didn’t look THAT homeless, and we had made it only 15 minutes late. I was desperate for a touch of his robe, desperate for a taste of Him as I had had many times before I had children. The intoxicating touch of his love that I burn for. The feeling that nothing can replace or mimic even when I try. Homesick to be in his embrace above all the chaos of motherhood.

I looked up into his eyes, so green. So full. As he placed on my head a crown. He smiled and laughed as I wiped my tears dry.

” Oh Rachel! You are my daughter first. Know that and all else makes sense.”

How had I forgotten this?

My crown had so many different points a top of it, that I soon learned I could place my different hats on each point of the crown. The crown was sturdy enough to support all that I had accomplished, and had yet to accomplish. The foundation of who I am as a daughter of Christ.

The vision ended, and I opened my eyes to see our middle daughter resting her head on my Father. Completely at ease, resting in My Dad’s embrace, just as I had as a child. When you are resting in a good Father’s lap,  you know you are capable of being loved, and loving others. Your faults are overtaken by your strengths. Your doubt replaced with hope.

A good Father has the authority to speak JOY into your life. A good Father has the RIGHT to call you into your destiny as HIS child.

As Momma’s, we have to remember and embrace the fact that we are a Daughter first. We are , at the risk of sounding clique, we are Daddy’s girls.

I know in our family’s case, my husband is completely wrapped around our daughter’s fingers. It’s rare that they do anything wrong in his eyes. He’s soft with them. Gentle.

If you have a daughter, think back to the very first time that your husband met your daughter. The look in his eyes. The smitten smile. The pride that shined upon his face. The joy and accomplishment he raved about.

Now imagine Jesus looking at you, his daughter. So proud, so accomplished that He can love you and mentor you all the days of your life. Be pleased in you. Proud to call you His daughter.

A Daddy’s girl has a soft spot in her Father’s heart. You are that soft spot in Gods heart.

Know this as you go about your day. As you tirelessly give yourself to these tiny people you love , and sacrifice yourself daily for.

Remember that you are a daughter first. That takes the pressure off to be perfect, doesn’t it? If we are daughters first, we are free to be just His. Free to sit at Daddy’s feet, and ask for his advice. Lavish in his affection.

Twirl in our dresses just to see the grin on his face. The love in his eyes. The pride in his voice as he tells you how loved you are.

That means that even in our two day dirty yoga pants, and our tank top from 7th grade that we just can’t throw away because it’s the best nursing bra, we are gorgeous to Him.

His baby girl.

Soak this in. You are his daughter first. You are loved first. You are wanted first. You are a daughter about all else. All the other roles fall into the fact that you are his daughter.

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Be you, Momma.

She just stood there with all the wisdom on the subject of comparison. She’s a single , young, gorgeous gymnastics coach with the phrase that has forever changed the way I view myself as a Mother.

” At our gym, the coaches tell each child to pick a goal. It’s rare that any of the children have the same goal to reach, because everyone has a different goal in mind. Everyone’s skill level is different. That’s what I love about our gym. Everyone is able to accomplish a goal THEY made. Not someone else.

I’m pretty sure my mouth dropped for a total of 39 seconds before I could speak. I had just spent the day cleaning the girls room for a Bridal shower that was the next week, held at our home. I beat myself up for letting their closet get messy, unorganized and downright chaotic. 

” WOW! Um, I needed to hear that for reasons you don’t know. Thank you for sharing that with me.”

Little did she know that that one paragraph would repeat in my mind for the following week. It was a God thing that I desperately needed to hear.

If only I had listened. 

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I basically thought I had all my crap together, and then I had a fourth child. I naturally like things to be in order, but not to the point of some Mothers. I don’t mind if I use the same towel for a week, or stuff toys in a closet so that they are out of my sight for a bit. What is not seen on a daily basis doesn’t bother me that much. I choose my battles with the kids rooms and how often I fold laundry.

I basically set one goal when I wake up in the morning:

Keep kids alive. Drink coffee. Feed them. Bathe them. Repeat. 

I will admit that my anxiety gets sky high WHEN things are out of order. I don’t like people coming to my house when it’s a mess. It makes me feel inadequate as a housekeeper. I think these are all normal feelings a Mother has.

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Today was the first day of school for our two oldest kids. Instead of enjoying my day off, I began to allow comparisons to come into my mind. Comparisons that came from small comments meant to be light hearted.

The fact is that when you are insecure in an area, any comment on that area can flare up offense and hurt. It can surface your hurts and shortcomings into a festering wound waiting to be mended. You immediately put up a wall as a defense mechanism and roll with the rest of your day. Pretending that comparison doesn’t have an affect on you.

:: Maybe I should be like Stacey, her tupperware is always in the right spot. Each container has a match and she never has anything out of place. HOW DOES SHE EVEN DO THAT WITH FIVE KIDS? I need to work harder. Stay up later folding laundry. Be a better Mom. Be more organized. ::

All day I spent my time organizing cabinets, throwing away unmatched tupperware, organizing the snack drawers so that they were just right. To the point where I found myself in tears that it just wasn’t perfect enough. I could never be perfect enough. My house would never be perfect enough. Never clean enough.

I had given myself this ultimatum:

If you are are good Mom, your pantry will always be organized. If you are a good Mom, your tupperware will be in perfect order so that when someone asks for it, it’s there. You will not have a messy house, ever.

 

Four trash bags filled with old tupperware and things forgotten and stuffed away sat in  my garage as I broke down in tears. I would never be enough. My house will never be clean enough. I cannot work hard enough to please others, or myself. It’s impossible.

It was then the phrase came back into my mind, one that was so significant, yet I had tucked it away.

“Everyone is able to accomplish a goal THEY made. Not someone else.”

I kicked a trash bag of junk, sat down and sobbed. I had done this to myself. I had allowed myself to be so consumed with others opinions and goals for their own houses that I became fixated on having the perfect house for my kids to come home to.

The cleanliness made me feel accomplished, and happy, yet angry at myself for working myself to the ground to achieve it.

This isn’t who I am . I am a laid back person. I don’t care what others think of me. I love my children. I love my husband. I love the chaos and loudness of our home. The more children we have the more busy life gets, and the less time I spend on baseboards and organization. My identity isn’t in the cleanliness of my home, but in the way I love so deeply and openly. The way our home is always open to anyone that’s lonely or in need of some good laughter and fun. 

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 I opened the van door and welcomed our oldest two in after school. Their faces lit up as they told me about how much the loved their teachers and classrooms. About how it was the best first day they had ever had.

I was still wiping tears from my eyes behind my glasses from all these self expectations I had for the day. I didn’t finish organizing the snack drawers. I still needed to dust the living room mantel .

My ears were filled with the joy of their days and all the sweet conversations I missed while I was busting it cleaning, ( for them I thought ). For them I would make their home perfect and clean. A place where they would feel loved and at home because of my hard work.

We all walked in, bookbags thrown on the floor as papers began to fall out. Papers for me to fill out, more work for me to complete. Each kid went to the pantry and choose a snack before heading outside to play. Still grinning from ear to ear from their successful days.

” Hey Mom, did you like clean today? It looks clean.”

” Yeah, a little bit. “

Bites my lip, as if I was waiting for a compliment.

” Cool, can I play outside?”

It was then that I knew what I had known deep down all along. My kids could care less if the pantry was clean. If they had a gourmet meal for dinner.

All my expectations and goals I had placed on myself to please other people. I had exhausted myself for the sake of looks and appearances.

I love to have a clean house. It makes me feel good. But I had allowed myself to get to the point of COMPARING myself to other Mothers. Mothers that had different personalities and life situations than I do.

Bottom line here, No one is like you. No one has the same goals as you do. Each Mother’s day is so different that we cannot even begin to compare ourselves to another Mother.  Everyone walks through battles we know nothing about.

Comparison is toxic. We can literally poison our self worth by doing it.

You are YOU. You have a different goal for the day than your neighborly Mother does.

Look at this paragraph as if you are reading it in the context of a day in the life of a Mom:

 

” At our gym, the coaches tell each child to pick a goal. It’s rare that any of the children have the same goal to reach, because everyone has a different goal in mind. Everyone’s skill level is different. That’s what I love about our gym. Everyone is able to accomplish a goal THEY made. Not someone else.”

 

Make your OWN goals. Your goals are yours alone. They’re special and vital to your family. Don’t focus on the gymnast next to you. She’s training for the Olympics and you are there to have fun.

Smile at her and focus on your own goal.

My pantry is now organized. My tupperware has a mate. My girl’s closet is now in perfect order. I’ve exhausted myself to the point of break down and tears.

Guess what? My kids didn’t notice the clean pantry, they noticed the bedtime story I read them. They loved the kisses they gave their baby brother before bed and the reassurance they are loved and safe as I kissed them goodnight.

We have to stop the madness of comparison.

Be you Momma. 

Mothers are like Jesus.

I heard the bathtub start and the splash of Asher, our 9 year old settle in. He had been at church camp for five days, and I was unpacking his suitcase. The stench of boy sweat and testosterone waiting to blossom filled the laundry room as I heard him say:

” MOMMA! Which one of these soap bottles is for my hair?”

That’s funny. Shouldn’t he have figured that out this week at camp?

I walked into the bathroom to see him holding the very two bottles I packed him.

” Is the red one for my hair?”

” Honey, that’s the body wash I packed you. Did you not use it this week?”

::Sighs, shrugs his shoulders. ::

” They kept telling me to hurry so I didn’t use soap. But gosh Momma! This stuff smells GOOD!”

It was then clear as to why he smelled like a dumpster when I picked him up.

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Along with the chaos of four children under the age of 9 , I’ve found that my biggest struggle is feeling like I do not have a voice. Can they even hear me when I speak? Often times I say things five times before I eventually yell out an order.

I play this repeat game all day long.

“Brush your teeth. Wash your hands. Be nice to your sister. Give her her doll back. Get in the van. Eat your food. Get in your bed. Stop fighting. Do I need to call Daddy? Please stop fighting. Don’t hit your sister. Don’t pick up your brother. Go outside. Be nice. Be quiet, your brother is asleep. “

I’m in this middle of the drawing board trying to find the line between giving them grace for their mistakes , and teaching them respect for authority.

It’s really hard. I feel defeated daily. It’s exhausting.

But I know that all of this is necessary to train up children that are kind, responsible and loving.

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Tonight after getting a good laugh out of Asher’s camp mishaps, the Lord spoke to me over all the loudness. Over all the fighting and the dirty dishes. The working late husband and the whiney four year old.

” Even when you feel like you have failed, you are more like me than you think you are. Do you know how many times I’ve given directions to my children and they ignore me?”

It was in that moment that I felt closer to Him than I had in MONTHS. It’s been so very loud in my mind that it’s hard to hear him. Hard to hear my own thoughts, much less His words to my heart. It’s not that I don’t let him in and invite his presence to reign, it’s that I am so tired. I am worn out. I am in Mommy mode from sun up to sun down and not one day with children is ever easy. I feel in over my very own head.

In desperate need of refreshment and sustained vision for my life. I understand that this is a SEASON, one that will pass in the blink of an eye, and I will always miss it. I’ll always long for the late night nursing sessions, and when I could fix my 6 year olds problem with a snuggle session. I know I’ll miss back to school shopping and solving my daughters fights over Barbie dolls.

I know my childrens problems won’t always be able to be solved by me. But that doesn’t make this season any easier. It’s my reality now. I’m knee deep in sibling rivalry and refereeing confrontations.

But I may never be more like Jesus than I am in this phase. 

Mommas, we are the most selfless beings there are. We do things without expecting a thank you. Our job isn’t a paid one. We never stop being a Mom.

How many times has God given us directions ( his word ), told us how to live our lives and we turn our backs on him? So many.

The pain we feel for our children when they do not take our advice, and we see them fail or get hurt, that’s the same pain Jesus feels when we sin.

He knows he tried his best to guide us, but we alone make our own choices that come with an end result.

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Mommas: When you are having a day where your children won’t take your advice, where you feel like you perhaps could turn blue from repeating yourself, know that HE hears you. He understands what it’s like to be rejected.

Satan wants nothing more than to discourage Mothers who are trying to raise warriors in Christ. He wants us to feel alone, isolated and defeated.

But I say to you today that we are never closer to Jesus than when we are laying down our lives for another.

That’s what Motherhood is, we serve. We give our whole lives to tiny people that will most likely never say thank you. And that’s love.

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