Keeping Up When You Aren’t Really Keeping Up

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Here’s one of those way-too-random-ramblings that has absolutely nothing to do with penny pinching, but maybe you feel this way every once in awhile too. My friend Shannon and I both had this same thought weighing on our hearts this week, so we thought maybe a few other folks struggle with it just like we do!

Do you ever watch another mom who seemingly has it all together and feel simply overwhelmed? Do you look at someone else’s cute clothes, cute shoes, cute kids and (of course) super organized life and think . . . Why can’t I be like that?

I know, I do that too.

Many days I look at my frazzled, worn-out, over-anxious, slightly-pudgy-self and all I can think is “I AM A MESS!” (And if you know me, you know that’s pretty much the case!) My kids are rowdy, my husband is fantastic (but also loud, boisterous, and slightly prone to holler at drivers that don’t drive correctly . . . ~ahem~), and I’ve managed to miss exactly three appointments in the last two months because I simply don’t seem to have a grasp on all there is to do each day. I’ll never be PTA president (ummmmm . . . which really is just fine by me), I barely keep up with the very few volunteer jobs that I do, and my daughter has convinced me that I’m the only mom in the whole school who doesn’t plan a weekly lunch date with their child.

But, you know what? I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s okay that I can’t keep up. My children are fed each day, my laundry is (usually . . .) caught up, no one has been eaten by the dust bunnies in our home (yet), and when my kids have a rough day, all they want to do is come home to hang out with me. (Mess that I am and all . . . isn’t that just nuts?) They don’t care that my clothes aren’t super cute, they don’t even notice that I own shoes (much less whether they’re highly fashionable or not), and they’re each pretty sure that they’re kinda cute themselves.

I’m never going to be that girl . . . and I have a sneaky suspicion that even that momma doesn’t feel all that on top of things herself. So instead, I’ve got to work on being the best (unorganized, chaotic, very excitable, and a wee bit nuts) girl that I can be . . . even if that doesn’t look like what I would choose most days in the mirror. Deep down inside, my heart wants to do good, desires to help others, and yearns to be a momma who shares a glimpse of God’s own heart with her children.

And my guess is that He’s not all that concerned with how I look on the outside or just how organized I am, but rather He’s taking a peek at the inside of my heart to see the real me (which needs so much more work than the outside even!) So, it’s really okay that I’m a mess (I promise!), because He’s still got work to do on me yet.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

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  1. I honestly don’t think that there is one momma out there that has it all together (unless they have their own personal maid and nanny). I don’t have it together but what I do have works for my family and for myself. I don’t wear fancy clothes or shoes (as you know), but I really don’t care. My kids aren’t embarrassed by that (at least, I hope). They’re just thankful for plain, old me. However, I do take the time to eat lunch at the school on a weekly basis (with my shorts and tshirts and hair in a ponytail). I can always clean house, shop, etc…later but I can’t get this precious time with them back. One day, (like my oldest), they are not going to want me there at lunch with them. So, I treasure this time with them and all their little friends. It’s funny that you you posted this. I thought you were the one who seemed to have it altogether! :) I can’t even do half of what you do! You are SUPERMOM to me! Oh, and the times that I do see you other than at the ballpark, you look great to me! Your clothes at least match! haha!

    • Alice – you do have it all together! ;) I think you’re right …. it’s so easy to look at others and think they have it all, when none of us really have everything together. You are such a sweet encouragement to me, and I’m so thankful for you! (And by the way, my kids think you’re the best momma out there!!!)

      • awww…I think your kids are just the sweetest. You and James are doing such a wonderful job with your children. That is definitely more important than having some cute shoes. :)

  2. I really needed this reminder. It is all too easy to look at others and compare our life, body, job, etc, but you never know what burdens that person may have – they too are comparing themselves to others. There will always be someone cuter, skinnier, prettier, etc, but there are also others who would love to have what you have, look like you look, etc. If only we could learn to accept ourselves the way we are while working to improve what really needs to be improved – our hearts, attitude, contentment, etc.

    Thanks for this article. I only know what I see on internet about you, but to me you appear to have things under control (which shows how easy it is to judge by appearance). Thanks for being honest and letting us know you too are human.

    • Well said Denise!

    • Denise – You are so right that someone is always going to be more than we could ever be, and we have no idea what goes on except what we see on the outside. I think accepting ourselves the way we are would take so much stress off of ourselves, and let us focus on things that really do matter. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Laurie you are AMAZING!! I always think you are so put together and your children are always precious!! I always laugh at your random ramblings because they usually correspond with something I have been thinking about. I am so thankful that you put it so beautifully down in words. It lifted my heart and you are right. I need to stop looking at the outside at others and realize just how lucky I am. Thank you! Alice you are so right! I need to take the time to go to the kids lunch at school – even if I have to take Alex with me. I only go a few times per year for duty free, but I could certainly do more. You are correct, one day they may not want me there. :(

    • I’m horrible about going to school lunches…. I’ve got to do better! I think Jackson only likes me there because he knows he gets ice cream on those days, but it means so much to Caroline (I’ve got to get there next week!)

      I definitely don’t feel like I have it together, but I don’t think any of us do! And I’m so glad you can sympathize with my ramblings :) I think if we could keep things in perspective of how incredibly blessed we are it would make us think so much less about ourselves ~ I’ need to work on that! Thanks for the reminder too!

  4. I love your rambles ;)

  5. I know this is kind of off topic but here goes…I have 3 kids just like you 2 girls 11 and 6 then 1 boy who is 5. They are all doing great in school – reading, writing, math,etc. but my son gets a yellow or red at least once a week (stop light behavior system in Kindergarten). I have limited experience with 5 year old boys. Is this normal or should I be freaking out? I have read about “Raising Cain”. We have done every parenting “method” there is. Can you please tell me what works or doesn’t work for this age and gender?
    Thanks

    • Hi Jessica! On top of having your first boy, you also have the baby of the family! My youngest is a girl, but I can tell you she is so much more of a handful than my older two children. (I have to confess, I think I’ve gotten lazier in my parenting than I was with my other children!) And, boys are definitely different – my son at 11 just thinks he should start wrestling with me whenever I walk into the room!

      I have absolutely no amazing skills in parenting (so I may really be the wrong person to answer!), but I do notice that when I praise my children for their success (ANY success, like even setting the table correctly, putting their shoes in the right place, or even talking sweetly to their sibling), they react by wanting to do more good. My youngest really struggles with staying in her bed at night, so we’ve given her five “tickets” to keep in her room. Every morning when she stays in bed through the night, she brings me a ticket, and when I have all five tickets she gets to go get ice cream at her favorite ice cream place in town. It’s so much more effective for our family than punishing her! You might try a similar tactic with your son – if he comes home five days in a row all on green, maybe give him a $5 Target gift card to spend, or treat him to a special treat. I know it sounds like a lot for something he should do anyways, but he may just be wired differently than your others! (And, definitely heap oodles of praise on him on those days that he does stay on green… we do the “happy” dance at our house for those successes!) :)

      Like I said, if you saw my kids they’re pretty nuts, so you may be asking the completely wrong person on this one but it’s worked well for us (at least on some behaviors!) You also may want to check this out (it’s one of my favorite rewards systems….) http://passionatepennypincher.com/2011/10/the-friday-fluff-up-fruit-of-the-spirit-jar/

  6. Amen sister! Well said!

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