Grace.

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What I came down to this morning ~ we’ve been using paper plates and cups this week while our countertops are being re-done, and my youngest spilled her cereal (with milk) everywhere this morning. And yes, occasionally I let my kids eat Fruity Pebbles. Just keeping it real for you all. ;)

 

Stop.

 

Take a deep breath (really.) 

 

Give yourself just a few seconds to breathe, settle down, and not race on to the next event. (Feel better?)

 

Okay, here we go. ;)

I’ve been running around for the last few weeks like a crazy momma keeping up with deals here on PPP, carting my three kids around to way too many activities, shopping for Christmas gifts, making Christmas goodies, and {kind of} keep my home straightened up. {Read: my kids probably have clean underwear. That’s about it.}

 

I’ve been frustrated with myself for not working more efficiently, not accomplishing more, and not looking like the mom that I envisioned myself to be years ago.  I’ve talked down to my children (over things completely not worth obsessing over), I’ve cooked absolutely no meals (I did drop some chicken in the crockpot this morning!), and, in all honesty I’m just not keeping up with all of it.

 

But, I need some grace, so here’s some encouragement for both myself and for you, in case you’re feeling a bit worn out with the Christmas Crazies too.

 

Give yourself grace.

 

As painful as it is to admit it, you and I can’t do it all. We’re not going to make Pinterest-worthy crafts, coupon like a rockstar every single grocery trip, make dinner worthy of bragging to all of our Facebook friends about, and have a home that looks like Martha Stewart just finished tidying up.

 

And, especially during the Christmas season, we can spend way too much time focused on being oh-so-perfect when instead we need to extend to ourselves a little grace.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are okay some nights as a meal (really.)  Teachers are just as happy with a $5 Target gift card as they are with some super adorable craft you’ve spend hours slaving over.  And, if couponing just isn’t happening for you this time of year, you can still shop Aldi’s or similar stores to save even without using coupons, and always (always!) shop your sales ad. (Come January we’ll all be back in full force with those coupons, but if you’re like me right now you might just be in survival mode!)

 

Give yourself grace, tackle the things you love to do (and are good at doing too), and enjoy the season rather than simply racing towards it.

 

Practice grace with your children.

I love my kids. Adore them. But more often than not I’m the very first one to point out a mistake they made, something they didn’t do just quite perfectly, or a teensy-eensy flaw in their character. (Did I just tell y’all that?)  A few days ago one of my kids came home and I was just plain old disappointed in them for something that absolutely did not matter in the grand scheme of their life. Rather than practicing grace and letting it go,  I let them know that they should do better. Be better. Show off better for me better.

 

Yikes.

 

It occurred to me later that that there are some big things they’ll do (or not do) that matter. Causing problems at school? That matters.  Teasing your siblings mercilessly just for fun? Absolutely not okay.  But just not strutting your stuff as much as I’d like in front of someone else? Nope, that one doesn’t matter at all.

 

Practice grace with your children during this crazy busy time of year (they feel it too!), and take time to focus on all the fantastic things they do each day. (Can someone give me a call around 5 o’clock this afternoon and remind me of that one too?) ;)

 

Extend grace to others.

During the Christmas Crazies, we all get overwhelmed.  Traffic is nuts, shopping can be hectic, and our to-do lists are often more than we can manage while behaving graciously around others. A few days ago a friend called for something I easily could do, but my knee-jerk reaction was “I’m way too busy for that.”

 

Stop. Extend grace. Show others the kindness you love having heaped on yourself. This does not (in any way) mean that you have to say yes to everything asked of you (in fact, saying no is probably the best way to manage the Christmas crazies!), but living graciously will take you much farther than behaving selfishly ever will.

 

Does anyone else feel like they’re struggling along to keep up this season too? Know that we’re all here in this together, no one is quite as good as they might look on Pinterest or Facebook, and it’s okay to give yourself the grace to slow down and savor the blessings of this season. (Promise.)

 

If you’re with me on all of this, I’d love for you to comment and share your thoughts too.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Maggie C says:

    Thanks for this post! I think the biggest reminder was to practice grace with my kids and with strangers. When my kids see me showing others grace, I think it goes far further than just that one instance.

  2. Amy Sepanski says:

    I needed this. Thank you!

  3. jim says:

    Ha ha…my two and a half year old has done that to me twice this week with milk and a bowl of cereal. Both times I was warning him to be careful…so frustrating. I had to get the house ready for our new realtor when he spilled his cereal everywhere. It was a hassle to clean up. Oh well…it really isn’t that big of a deal. I guess I should be proud of him he doesn’t want a sippy cup :) . The biggest challenge for me as a stay at home Dad is all the people in public who are constantly interfering with me and my kids. People come up to us out of nowhere with suggestions, comments, help, etc. It is really driving me nuts! I sure hope people in the South leave me be! For all you super Moms out there give us Dad’s a break and grant us our personal space.

    • Laurie says:

      I’m one of those moms who maybe has passed on advice to a dad or two along the way – thanks for the reminder Jim (we forget so easily that we really don’t know how to do it all!) :)

  4. Novella says:

    Thank you for sharing. One of our members at church, has a son whose cancer has returned. He is 9. The past week, everytime I look at my children, I think, “it’s ok she left dirty underwear in the bathroom, and her makeup is all over the countertop” or “thank heavens he left a dirty plate in the sink and his worn out tennis shoes in the middle of the floor”, when really I want to loose my cool. Her son may not have the opportunity to do those things for very long.

    Bad, annoying things have to happen so we can see that we are blessed and that Grace is one of the best gifts we can give.

    • Denise says:

      Thank you for reminding me that others would love to swap places with me – a mother whose child has cancer while mine is healthy and making messes, a homeless person while I grumble about my dirty house, children wearing too little clothing/shoes while I grumble about all the dirty clothes, etc. I really needed your reminder along with Laurie’s.

      Hope everyone has a wonderful day and blessed holiday.

      • Laurie says:

        I so agree with Denise – I needed that reminder today too. Will be praying for that little one and his family this Christmas (my heart aches for them!)

  5. Vicki says:

    I’m totally with you! As a Mother of 7 I have had to remind myself these things many times and when we truely show grace it is amazing how much better everything will go ! Thank you for keeping it real and giving us all a reminder of what is the most important. Have a wonderful blessed Christmas season!! :)

  6. Amanda says:

    yep.. nailed… needed that, thank you! Ugh… sad when you want to do so much good… you end up doing bad to your self and your family… erg.. Thanks again! <3

  7. Sheila says:

    We moved out of an affluent neighborhood where everyone was trying to out do the other and to the country. We put our children in a small private Christian school where faith and family mean more than things or social status. That was seven years ago. I felt like a new woman and have never regretted it! I know this is not possible or desirable for everyone. At the very least , changing the company you keep can make a huge difference in feeling like you and your kids have to be “on” all the time. Also, when you hit your forties, you care much less about what people think. Its fabulous!
    Merry Christmas to everyone!

  8. Julie says:

    Thank you, Laurie! What a timely reminder. This somewhat shortened holiday season has found me in two modes: hyper-drive or overwhelmed. It all comes together in the end, but this is not the type of Christ-like Christmas memories I’m hoping to give my children. Grace is. Thanks again.

  9. Alice says:

    I needed this. Thank you.

  10. Jennifer B. says:

    Wow. I was coming to comment about spilled milk (on a RUG??) and not being able to call you at 5pm because I’ll be too busy running around like a chicken with its head cut off (I don’t think they run, but I’ve heard they still move around for a bit) because I’ll be trying to prep dinner and working on getting my son to do his homework. Then I read Novella’s comment and started to cry and then Denise’s and realized how blessed I am and that I need to hush up about any sort of complaining.

    Thanks for the great reminders, both you (Laurie) and these lovely ladies (and a dad!) who’ve commented.

    • Laurie says:

      We have a (very inexpensive) rug underneath our kitchen table to protect our hardwoods from being scratched by chairs. Of course, there’s nothing there to protect the rug from our food! :)

      Just felt like I had to explain that one…. we really don’t eat on the carpet normally!

  11. I love this article….even as a great grandmother, with no family close except my 32 year old high functioning DS daughter…It is pertinent for all of us to stop..and exude Grace…if for no other reason than to make Our self feel better..calmer, happier…. I love the way you wrote this Laurie and so many young parents(Mom’s) need to rehear this and slow down and just enjoy the moments..Will we ever be stress free? N0—Will we ever not get that “tone” to our voice? NO, but as long as we think about i tand do out best , that’s whats important…..I raised 5 children and a home full of Foster children…I made many errors..but my kids still made it okay..lol and some of it today are our biggest menories–like Mom remember the day you got so mad we didn’t like your homemade rye bread with tuna, that you tossed them all at the wall ,one by one? Haaa ( and guess WHO cleaned THAT mess up…hahahaha) so it is never the end of the world but Grace has certainly helped me over come it all…and it still works today…Thanks for the reminder!!!!!!! Hugs Kathie

  12. Laura says:

    Thank you. I needed to be reminded of the beauty of grace in our/my lives. Merry Christmas!

  13. As I looked at the picture of the mess, the first things I thought was “All you need to make that picture complete is an elf on the shelf sitting next to the mess.” :) You could have probably written a whole post on your fun little elf who spilled cereal and milk, but instead you chose to bless us with honesty and transparency.

    Although Christmas is often touted as “the most wonderful time of the year” for many people it is the most stressful time of the year. For some people, money is tight and it’s hard to imagine how you’re going to make Christmas special when you’re barely getting by. Others have lost a loved one and will spend the season remembering better Christmases and wishing for just one more Christmas with their loved one. Some people are lonely. Others are sick. And a little (or a lot) of grace could seriously make a huge difference in their life.

    For myself and my family, I have been reminding myself over and over that grace is what Christmas is about. Last year, my husband and I got custody of 6 year old twins on December 21st. They were abused and neglected and joined our family with a lot of issues. We already had 2 busy teenagers who keep us jumping. To say this last year has been crazy would be an understatement. The twins have been dealing with all kind of abandonment issues and we’ve all been adjusting to a new kind of normal.

    While it’s been almost a year, there is something about holidays that tends to put the twins on edge and dredge up all their fears and insecurities. I remind myself 10000 times a day that giving grace and living grace is the best gift I can give the twins this year.

    I hope that your Christmas season is filled with grace. Thanks for this timely reminder!

  14. Laura Mac says:

    Thank you so much for this post! Just goes to show you that God speaks to us in so many ways! Hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas! :)

  15. Laurie, you've helped me countless times save money and find great deals, but this post has made me far more richer than any of those other things you do to help. You have been a blessing and at 1:03 a.m. I am taking a deep breath and stepping back. Guilty of everything you shared. My children have always loved the Christmas season and now my 13 year old daughter doesn't want to be around me because I've become so frantic with all there is to do. SAD and WRONG. Will go look at my nativity scene, say a prayer, and be thankful for all of my blessings, give up perfection, and ask the Lord for grace. Merry Christmas, Laurie to you and your family!

    • Laurie says:

      Oh Susan – I am so with you this morning (God’s timing is always perfect, isn’t it?) I just snuck downstairs to work on PPP this morning before my kids woke up, and need to stop, slow down and take a deep breath again today. It’s so hard to stay focused on what matters this season!

      Have a wonderful Christmas, and thanks so much for sharing that I’m not the only one (and for reminding me too today when I needed to hear your words!)

  16. Wendy Nguyen says:

    Thank you for helping me finds savings and deals!

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