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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wise Words from Wise Moms

I love being a Mommy.

Motherhood is such a high calling. It’s such a privilege. And my five children are such a joy and a delight to me.

Except when they’re not.

We’re like any other family. We have good days and bad days and occasionally we have days that make me want to run screaming from my house.

I think it’s that way with any ministry. Whether we’re talking about my ministry to my children, my ministry to my husband or our ministry to Africa through SixtyFeet, there are good days and bad.

Dr. Suess pretty much said it all:

Wherever you fly you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because sometimes you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so but sadly it’s true
That bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you.

True that, Dr.S.

It happens all the time in my house. We’ll be in the midst of a great day - clipping right along, kids are happy, I’m being productive… and suddenly everything falls apart. Yes, apparently bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to me. Like, everyday.

Here's a fun example from this morning -- Dan is out of town at a SixtyFeet event. I was terribly proud of myself for getting all five children dressed, ready and out the door on time for church all by myself. We pull out of the driveway at 10am on the nose, I pop in a worship CD and we are flying high. It's going to be a great day! We get about 5 minutes away from the house and I happen to catch a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror. And I suddenly realize... THAT I AM NOT WEARING ANY MAKE-UP AND I HAVE NOT BRUSHED MY HAIR. I am on my way to church with dark circles under my eyes and splotchy skin and wild hair.  And I've gotten too far away from the house to turn around and go back and rectify the situation. Sweet.

Seriously people. That's how we roll around here.

In the last 15 months, our family has grown from 2 children to 5. That’s a pretty big move for less than a year and a half. And lately I’ve been finding myself a tad overwhelmed with the various bang-ups and hang-ups around this place. Large family stuff is not for the faint of heart.

Last week, in a moment of sheer desperation, I reached out to a couple of veteran Moms. These ladies are rock stars in my book. They’ve all been at this “big family” thing for way longer than I have.

I asked them this question… “Will you please send me your best pieces of advice for moms of big families? What are those things that keep you sane, that help you save money, that make your days manageable?”

These ladies are busy people. They run ministries, they homeschool, they write very popular blogs. Some have special needs children, some have husbands who travel and they all have email inboxes that are bursting full. And yet every single one of them took the time to write back to me. To encourage me, to share their ideas and to assure me that they all struggle too.

Their advice and suggestions were really too good to keep to myself. And so, based on their words of wisdom, I’ve compiled the list below. Read it now, implement immediately and thank me later.

Wise Words From Rockstar Moms:

1. Stay in the Word – read from the Proverbs everyday

2. Go to bed with your house picked up and organized – that way you never have to start a day in the hole

3. Every day, spend at least a few minutes with each child – look them in the eyes, hug them and ask them about their day

4. Read to your children everyday – it’s a way to cuddle, relax and teach all that the same time

5. Popcorn that you pop yourself is a cheap, filling snack that goes a long way with a crowd

6. Grocery shop in the evenings without your children – with fewer distractions you’ll make better choices and spend less money. And never, ever shop without a list.

7. Hire a housekeeper to help with cleaning AND laundry – at least for a season

8. Bite the bullet and ask your friends for help

9. Be very careful about your time on the computer and the phone. Do not get on either during the day unless you have to.

10. Choose one day to do all of your laundry for the whole week. Have your children pitch in and help sort, fold and put away. And don't even think about the laundry on the other 6 days.

11. Before purchasing anything -- whether it be food, furniture or containers for the boys' legos, make sure you've first used what you already have. Be creative, pray through your every purchase
12. Make the hard choices about how to spend your time out of the house. Assess your children's (and your own) outside commitments and prayerfully cut out those things that need to go.

13. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (per Romans 12:2). You don't have to look like or be like everyone else. It's ok to look different and to stand apart for Christ.
 How’s that for some wisdom? I praise God for placing these women in my life.

 I don’t have to be the doer, the manager, the keeper and the director of all things. Heck, I don't even need to wear make-up to church. I need only to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, to walk in obedience and to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

"We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne..” -- Hebrews 12:2, NLT


Brian & Amy said...

What a WONDERFUL post Shelly! Love all the tips!! And I laughed out loud about your hair and make up! Reminded me of the time i was 8 months pregnant, Brian was gone and i was so pleased to get everyone in the van to church (3 kids then) and I looked down and noticed i had PURPLE CROCS on with my fancy dress! SHOOT meant to change those before we left the house! And I rolled with it! Got crazy looks! :) Still makes me laugh!

Melissa said...

Wow, that is a lot of good wisdom!! I am on track with a couple of those things, but can't wait to implement more. Loved seeing your family last night!!

Wild Olive said...

First of all, great tips...thanks for sharing. And second, I am laughing hysterically that you went to church looking like a ragamuffin!!! Did you have on your PJ's or did you actually get dressed? Classic. I love it! And I love you, so that makes it even funnier. :)

Chasity said...

Good stuff! You go girl...make-up or not you rock!

SixtyFeet said...

if it makes you feel any better, i didnt even notice. you looked great in your cute red shirt! i love you and love and treasure your friendship! so thankful i am on this crazy journey with you!
just noticed i am signed in as "sixtyfeet" not sure how to change that :)

HealthyChick said...

Love love love this list! Thanks for sharing! Just wondering, who are the moms who offered it? Wondering if any are some of the same big family, homeschooling moms I admire from COTA or CCP???

You are an inspiration Shelly! Great seeing you a couple weeks ago and thanks for letting Dan come over and help me and for the ADORABLE pillowcase dresses!

Heather said...

I showed up at bible study a few weeks ago w/out makeup and I only have one kid. I was just at the sixty feet event and was so excited to meet your husband because, quite frankly, I think you guys are ROCK STARS. Told my husband that too. Kind of funny you see other people as rock stars. I even prayed for you tonight thinking about what it must be like for you to not have him w/ you.

Audrey @ The Brown Brigade said...

I love it!

Christy said...

Love this list! Thanks for compiling that - I think I might have to print it out! :) And I know we've never met, but I think you are pretty beautiful without makeup! :)

Lara said...

Love it! I am so glad that third or fourth sentence said, "except when they're not" because I was starting to feel a little like bad mama because well my kids aren't always a delight either! Love that you went to church without makeup. You're a better woman than I - I would have turned around and opted for breakfast at The Waffle House instead.

Anonymous said...

This list of tips is a blessing to me. Thank you for your clarity- it is challenging sometimes to prioritize our crazy lives- and how wonderful it is to have advice from some Godly women... xo Anna

The Mosleys said...

I absolutely love this! Would you mind if I shared these tips on my blowww.livefitdaily.com--I will definitely give you full credit and direct any traffic to your blog. My email is cfmosley@gmail.com--let me know if it would be okay!

Alison said...

Love these tips! Thursday is laundry day at our house! I hate feeling like I am doing laundry constantly! I would rather be a "laundry crazy person" for one full day a week than to drag it out all week long! :) And I love that you went to church with no make-up! As I sit here with NO make-up on! :) Who has time for that?! :)

angie said...

LOVE!!! thanks for sharing :)