Do You Need a Mummy Reset Day?

27 March 2017

Do you ever stop and wonder when was the last time you just sat and cuddled with your kids? When was the last time you gave them a really good tickle – you know, the kind that makes their little bodies hunch over in spasms of laughter?
I have moments when I feel like life has just turned into one event after another. The days start to look like this: meal time, get in the car, activity, meal time, back in the car, nap time, meal time, get in the car, activity, etc.

Instead of cultivating my relationship with my kids, my engagement with them becomes all about the hustle.

“Okay, go to the toilet. Get your shoes on. What’s that in your mouth? Come on – we’re late!”

Now, we all have busy days, but when they start to accumulate, one after the other, relationships suffer.

When I start to feel constantly frazzled by my kids, instead of delighted by them, I know it’s time for a “Mummy Reset Day”.

Read the rest of my post on the MOPS blog: http://mops.org.au/archives/7349

My Mother’s Feet

I looked over at my mother’s feet.

Hardened. Calloused. Cracking heels.

My teenage mind thought it was gross.

How could she let her feet get like that? I wondered. Doesn’t she know there are things you can do to keep them nice?

Every now and then my sister and I would give her foot spas, pumice off the dry skin, paint her toenails.

She would gladly indulge us.

And then her feet would return to their usual state.

 


My mother’s feet have always been busy.

And I don’t mean she travelled very far. But she always seemed to be doing something…

Jumping up to get Dad his medication.

Running outside to get the washing in before the rain hit.

Skipping rope on the front lawn at dawn, because that was the only time she could find to exercise, and the only flat patch of grass on our block.

Running along the beach chasing our “pocket rocket” dog, Max.

To-ing and fro-ing across the worn kitchen tiles, feeding hungry mouths.

Standing up the front of church singing.

 


I looked down at my own feet the other day.

Dry. Hardened. Cracking around the sides.

Maybe I should do something about that, I thought.

Get some of the dry skin off, soften them up with some cream, paint the nails a nice colour…

But then I remembered that with these feet I can run barefoot across our backyard in 5 seconds flat to get to a screaming child.

And I don’t mind dashing up the driveway in the rain because I can hear the garbage truck coming and I forgot to put the bin out.

And I can climb into the olive tree to rescue a stranded toddler.

 


I look down at my feet.

My dry, hardened, beautiful, practical feet.

And I see my mother’s feet.

And I am so thankful that they are mine.

DSC_0528

Organisation is not a Luxury

For me, it is a necessity.

It’s be organised or live in complete chaos (and I definitely go through periods of each!).

I’m sure there are people out there who are naturally organised, and they can “go with the flow” and cope just fine. But when I don’t make lists and plans, things get forgotten and left undone all over the place, we are late to events, and I become a frazzled mess!

dsc_0491

 

I used to sit down each Sunday evening, put on some nice music and write out a plan/loose schedule for the week ahead. I would start by writing in the “set in stone” events and appointments (Bible Study, MOPS, etc), then I would add daily tasks/activities (like reading the Bible, doing dishes, etc), then housework chores (vacuuming, cleaning bathroom, etc) and then anything else like exercise or writing time.

Now, I certainly didn’t always stick to this plan. Things would crop up, and I would just go with it. But having that plan there as a guide for the week really helped in those times when I would fine myself between activities and think “what now?”. Instead of just defaulting to a time waster, I could quickly look at my plan and see what I was “supposed” to be doing, and get right back on track.

I’ve really got out of the habit of doing this, and just decided to get back into the groove recently.

I told my husband this on Sunday night, and he said, “I think that’s a good idea – you’ve been at a bit of a loose end lately.”

So there you go – when I don’t take the time to plan, it has implications for my external demeanour and behaviour!

dsc_0151

The other thing I find helpful every now and then is a “brain dump”. That’s where I just grab my notebook and write, in point form, literally everything that is on my mind. Last time I did this I filled three pages in one sitting!

I find doing this really takes the mental load off my shoulders, because I don’t feel the pressure of retaining all that information – I’ve written it down so I can let it go.

 

How about you, is organisation a necessity for you? Or do you go with the flow?

 


 

Other resources:

Work What Works for You – A helpful blog post by Elspeth

Organise Your Home and Your Attitude – A fantastic podcast by Jess Connell

 


 

And, my most recent post on the MOPS blog, Successful Breastfeeding.

 

 

 

Where Does Your Help Come From?

I love to look at the mountains. Something about them has always inspired a deep sense of awe in me, so much so that I often audibly gasp when I’m watching a beautiful sunrise out our kitchen window, or driving down the hill into the valley where we live, looking out on the majestic range to the west.

dsc_0230

Sunrise out my kitchen window – never gets old!

And whenever I look out on these mountains, I’m reminded of Psalm 121. Verse 1 says:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?

I used to think that David (the Psalm’s author) must have felt the way I do about mountains. That he must also have found them awe-inspiring and breath-taking.

When this verse sprang to my mind, I imagined that David was looking to the mountains as a way to inspire hope, or to boost his morale.

But when we read the rest of the Psalm, that’s not at all what the reference to “mountains” is about…

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

David does not find his encouragement and confidence in the mountains. He is not spurred on by a vague sense of awe and wonder.

No, he is looking to the mountains and not finding his help there. His help comes from God – the one who actually made the mountains!

It’s as if he’s saying, “I looked to the vast and wonderful mountains, but they did nothing to help me. No, my help actually came from God – the One who is bigger than the mountains, the earth and the sky… the One who was powerful and big enough to make them all!”

dsc_0069

I’ll always be a mountain-watcher (and climber!). But I know that the awe I feel when I look at them is nothing compared to the awe I will feel when I stand face to face with God one day. I know that the joy and they wonder they stir up in me, is really joy and wonder at the the beauty and magnitude of God’s creation. And I know that as great as this natural world can be – with it’s mountains, valleys and rich diversity – it all pales in comparison to the greatness and power of the One who made them.

So, with David, I too can say, “I lifted my eyes to the mountains… my help comes from God, the Maker of heaven and earth”.

Empty

This is a poem I wrote last year when I was struggling with my milk supply, among other breastfeeding issues. There’s nothing quite like the torment of being your baby’s only source of nutrition and not being able to provide that! (Yes, I did try formula – several times. He wouldn’t take it.)

I wrote this poem as I reflected on the spiritual dimension of my struggles. I wasn’t ready to share back when I wrote it because it was all too sensitive. I was thinking about trying to finish it, to give more “resolution”. But I’ve decided to leave it as is. Because we don’t always get answers to prayer immediately. And sometimes there are periods of really wrestling with faith, and no resolution in sight.


 

His furious face nuzzles my breast,

Searching

Searching

But

Finding not.

Dried up,

My hope is

Gone.

Father, where are you?

Where streams of living

Milk

Once flowed

Now only soft barrenness remains. 

I see you little one,

How I long to fill you,

To see you satisfied,

But there you remain,

Empty,

Mad,

We are exhausted.

I send up desperate cries,

Searching,

Searching for faith but

Finding  not.

Longing to be filled –

My breasts and my heart –

But remaining empty.

 

p1060005

 

The Joys and Challenges of Being Married to a Visionary Man

The other day I looked out the kitchen window to see my husband and our two oldest kids huddled around some planks of wood outside. He’d just finished sawing them down to size, and was getting the kids to hold them in place so he could drill them together.

He was making a stand for our microwave, to raise it up off the bench and give me a bit of extra storage space in the kitchen. (If there’s any phrase that gets my blood pumping faster, it’s “storage space” – be still my beating heart!)

He had the idea when we went on holidays over Christmas, and the holiday house had this great wooden stand for the microwave.

“Huh – that’s pretty nifty!” he said, “I could probably make one of those.”

So the next week, off he went to Bunnings to buy a hand saw and an assortment of wood off-cuts for $5.

Then he measured it up, and wham, bam, thank you… man(?) We have a new stand for our microwave!

dsc_0523

Now I just have to figure out what to use the space for!

That’s just the kind of person he is.

He has an idea and runs with it, testing it’s viability along the way. He’s a dreamer and a doer. He’s a creative problem-solver. He’s not content to merely step around an obstacle when he could figure out a way to remove it altogether. He’s always trying to come up with new, more efficient ways of doing things.

He’s a true visionary.

I love this about him. And sometimes it drives me crazy.

I remember doing an interview with Colin Buchanan many years ago, before I was married. (It was possibly the highlight of my journalistic career, to date.)

He made a comment about how he was a very creative person, always getting caught up in the whirlwind of a new idea that he had to chase down. And he said that his wife was very patient to put up with him.

I laughed because I couldn’t imagine how it could be hard to live with a creative person, least of all someone as creative and funny as Colin Buchanan!

But now I totally get it. Living with a creative, visionary husband has it’s fun parts and it’s pull-your-hair-out hard parts.

And I feel like this is a side of my husband that I am just starting to have a real appreciation for.

25082012102

So here are some of the joys and challenges that I have found in being with my visionary man:

He Inspires Me to Get Stuff Done

My husband is always inspiring me with his “just do it” attitude. When I have an idea, I’ll sit down and do a brainstorm, make a 5 point risk assessment plan and then just take some time to think it over. Meanwhile, he’s over there having done his research, given it a go and moved onto phase 2 plans to iron out the kinks!

I love the way he just takes the opportunities as they arise to keep chipping away at projects, until they are done.

I have a lot to learn from him about not letting fear and perfectionism get in the way, but just having a try!

Time is Irrelevant

Being a very goal-oriented person means all clock-reading abilities go out the window when he is working towards a goal.

This is a regular conversation in our house:

“How long are you going to be, honey?”

“About 10 more minutes!”

“So, 30 minutes then?”

The challenging part of this is that I feel like I am constantly shifting around the other elements of our life to make the time available. This makes it hard to plan things in advance.

He’s a Fun Dad

He’s always thinking up fun and exciting things to do with the kids, whether it be climbing a new local hill, tying up a swing in the gumtree out back or building a billy-cart with spare wood off-cuts.

It gives me so much joy when I see the love bonds between the kids and their dad growing, and growing in a way that is different to my bond with them.

There are many things he does with them that I simply wouldn’t have thought of or I would have considered too risky. I’m glad they have a Dad who helps them to challenge themselves physically and learn new things about their world every day.

He’s a Man with a Plan

My husband works in IT at the moment. He’s really good at it (and he has mad google skills). But what amazes me is that he has already anticipated a time when his skill set will be redundant, likely replaced by super computers. And he is planning for this future by working NOW to make his hobby and passion into a viable business opportunity.

Wow!

Not only am I so impressed by this, I am so glad I get to witness someone making their dreams come true. And I get to help it happen.

He Makes Stuff

He has already created and launched an electronica music album. For the last several years he’s thrown himself into learning the emerging trade of building electric bikes. And most recently he has designed a bike part that didn’t exist, but was sorely needed by him and others, and is now ordering a (small) production run to sell and make a profit.

He Breaks Stuff

Take an object. What is it meant for? What are its limits? No, not what the box says… what are its real limits?

*sigh*

Yes, an inordinate amount of things get broken around our house because they have been pushed, poked and prodded to their limit. But this is something I have come to accept as the flip-side of his creativity. If he didn’t push things to their limit and figure out what the breaking point was, then he wouldn’t think of how that thing could be improved or made stronger.

I did have to laugh the other day when, as we were leaving to go on a date, he stopped to brief the babysitter on what to do if his work table spontaneously combusted. I think he might have scared her a little.

He’s a Problem Solver

There are many examples I could think of here, but the one that springs to mind is of last weekend when we were without power for 48 hours. Before it got dark on the first night, he ran around the house, rigging up bike batteries and LEDs and placing torches around the house so that we would have enough light later in the evening. The next day he boiled water on the BBQ so we could wash some dishes.

I love this about him, because these are the kinds of things I don’t even think about.

I know I can come to him with a problem, and he will probably have a good idea about how to fix it.

 

dsc_2440_fixed

What a blessing it is to live with and love this man each day, with all his perks and quirks!

 

One Word for the Year: Discipline

I’ve been putting off writing this post. Because there is a certain amount of accountability that comes with writing things down.

I like to make goals at the start of every year, and usually I do this is a very planned-out, specific way. (You can read more about that method here: http://mops.org.au/archives/5463)

Last year, I anticipated my time would be filled up with caring for our existing little ones, and the one who was going to join the family. So I purposefully set the bar a bit lower for myself in my goals. I mean, they were certainly still a challenge, but rather than “aiming high”, I aimed lower, with simple goals that I felt I could handle. For example, in the area of “homemaking”, instead of writing something like “Get the whole house organised”, I wrote “Consistently stay on top of the dishes, laundry and cooking.” In the area of “marriage”, instead of writing “go on a date every week”, I wrote “pray for my husband every day”.

As I began to reflect on the year 2016, I realised that I hadn’t even managed to keep my goals, even with the bar as a low as it was. And I wondered – what do you do with goals you didn’t keep? Do I just discard them, and start again, focusing on all new things? Or do I write down the same goals, acknowledging that I have made progress, and working to continue that progress?

2017-planner

My pretty 2017 planner

Well, there are many different methods for goal-setting and yearly planning. And one I’ve read a bit about in other years is the idea of picking your “one word” focus for the year. Some people simply pick one word, others pick one word and use that as the basis for more specific goals.

And as I started to think about this idea more – the idea of “one word” – and talk about it with my Mum and husband, I found answers to my questions.

The thing is, I know what I need to do – in parenting, in marriage, in homemaking, etc. Of course, there are always ways I need to grow and things to learn. And the kids are always growing up and into new stages.

But where we are, right now, I know what I need to do. I just struggle in the actually doing it.

And that’s how I got to my one word for 2017: Discipline.

I want to have more discipline in my prayer life, in Bible reading, in craft projects, in reading books, in disciplining the kids, in my housework, etc.

dsc_2753

Climbing rocks when pregnant… don’t try this at home, kids.

I need discipline to get up and spend time with the Lord at the start of each day (or later in the day when it just doesn’t happen). I need discipline to consistently read the Bible.

I need discipline to love my husband well sometimes, to meet his needs not only when it’s fun and easy to do, but also when doing so requires a sacrifice on my part.

 

I need discipline in my relationship with my kids, to discipline them properly and make the most of each opportunity I have – it’s all too easy to let things slide because “I just sat down” or I just started doing something in another room. But the work of motherhood is largely the day in, day out, laying the foundations of character and applying the Bible to their little lives.

I need discipline to eat good, nutritious foods and to exercise regularly. (As an aside here, my husband bought me a Fitbit for Christmas and it has been a great motivator! I used to think, “I’m really active, I bet I’ll log heaps of steps each day!” Nope! I’m no where near as active as I thought, so that has been a great wakeup call.)

I need discipline to finish what I start, to do things well and to not overcommit.

My Bible verse for the year is 2 Timothy 1:7:

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

This is a great verse for me, because it reminds me that self-discipline is not something that I can just will myself into. It’s something that comes from God.

It is a fruit of the Spirit in the life of the Christian, therefore, I need to rely on the Spirit to develop and hone this characteristic in my life.

Honestly, I need that reminder. Because for all my list-loving and plan-making, I can tend to think that I’m the one to create change in my life… That I can be more disciplined if I just try harder.

But what I’m finding, even less than a month into this year, is that developing self-discipline takes complete dependence on God through prayer.

 

Practically speaking, I’m also choosing to focus on one “discipline” at a time. For January, this is reading the Bible and praying daily again.

I’ve also enjoyed printing off and hanging up this “Daily Disciplines for Homemakers” sheet from Young Wife’s Guide: https://youngwifesguide.com/getting-track-daily-disciplines/
I find it helpful seeing on paper what I want to get done every day, like, read the Bible, pray, read books with the kids, do the dishes, etc. For some people, these things might seem obvious and you wouldn’t need reminders, but for me… well, I really do need the reminders!


 

What are your goals for this year? Is there “one word” that captures what your focus is for 2017?