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Posted by on Aug 10, 2016 in Motherhood | 10 comments

The Mommy Phase, The Martyr and the Miracle of Singing a New Song

Atlas & Andi Rose are both currently in a ‘mommy phase.’

Mom Life

They’ve been in this phase for about 3 years and 1 year, respectively (so, basically since the time they exited my womb. And technically, I could probably count pregnancy as a mommy phase because Lord knows they were tied to me, quite literally, then too). You know what a mommy phase is, right? If you don’t, allow me to paint you a little picture of what it looks like.

Me: “Atlas, go upstairs with daddy so he can change your diaper.”

Atlas: “Nooooo! I don’t want daddy to change my diaper, I want Mommy to change my diaper.”

…Me handing Andi Rose to Dave so I can go change Atlas’ diaper…

Andi Rose: Screams loudly and clings to my shoulder in a valiant effort to avoid being transferred to Dave.

Me: “Fine, come on Andi Rose. Let’s go change Atlas’s diaper. Dave, you can stir dinner and refill my wine glass.”

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Mama's girl

Or at other times it looks like this…

Dave: “Come on Atlas, let’s go get you in the bath.”

Atlas: “Noooo! I want mommy to bathe me!”

Me: “Atlas, Daddy is bathing you & Andi Rose tonight. Go. Upstairs. Now.”

*Insert the sound of Atlas sobbing here*

Dave picks up Andi Rose as she clings to my leg, screaming as if Rhett Butler just left her at the altar. He moves up the stairs with 2 kids in tow, both thrashing wildly about, like fish who have just been swept up in a net, desperately fighting to return to their natural habitat.

*At this point in the story, I usually chug my wine before following Dave upstairs to bathe the kids myself while he heads back downstairs…because why make the whole family suffer, right?

This is also the part in the story, where if I’m not careful I turn into a martyr. Mama, you know what I’m talking about, right? This is when I start saying things like, “RELAX, everybody! Mommy will do it because Mommy ALWAYS does it. Because Mommy does ALL the things for you people ALL the time and I’ll continue to do ALL the things for you until I die, which may be sooner than we all think because you people are running me into the ground! All mommy needed was 10 minutes to respond to an e-mail while Daddy bathed you, but NO! That’s too much to ask, so don’t worry, mommy will wait until all of you are sound asleep and then I’ll stay up until midnight working on all the things you guys don’t allow me to do during the day because that’s my job! So, YOU’RE WELCOME!” Phew. Always feels good to get that out. Except when it doesn’t…

Because let’s be honest. The martyr isn’t a good look on anybody. It’s ugly. It’s a habit of the flesh that I personally have been striving to break.

Motherhood

Having 2 kids who prefer me most days of the week to do most things for them is hard, especially when I have a husband who is so willing to help. It’s just easier to have Dave clean the kitchen while I bathe the kids to avoid the drama though. But there are so many nights that I want to clean the kitchen while he bathes the kids because I just want to have those few minutes of silence to accomplish something…something as small as wiping down the counters. So, here’s the thing: It is so easy for mothers to suck it up and do the harder job (bathing kids is harder than cleaning the kitchen if you’re wondering) and do the right thing with the wrong attitude. I think we can all agree on this universal truth – Moms do it all. That’s why we all love our mom. Moms get **** done and moms make everything better. That’s why I call my mom several times a week. She’s the bomb.com. But I’m not doing my family any favors if I’m doing all the dirty work with an ugly heart and the attitude of a martyr. The real gift to my family is doing those jobs when I’m tired and don’t feel like it and singing a song anyways while I work. That’s a lesson I’m trying to instill in Atlas’ little heart. I tell him on the regular, “Don’t complain and pout while you pick up the playroom. You obey with a smile. You sing the clean up song while you do it. You need to have the right actions and the right attitude.” And usually, I find the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart that that same message also applies to me.

Mother Daughter

Hebrews 13:15 says, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of our lips that give thanks to his name.”

I’ve heard this verse before, but recently it took on a deeper meaning for me. The phrase “sacrifice of praise” stood out to me because how true is that? Sometimes my praise to God does – at least, initially – feel like a sacrifice. Like, I don’t feel like singing all the time. I try to make my kids’ lives so fun. We sing. We dance. We play. We are silly. But there are those nights when I don’t want to do any of those things and I want to just sit in silence while Dave does those things. But I know God wants me to work as if working unto Him. When I’m weary and tired and overwhelmed, he wants me to sing anyways – to sing praises back to Him. Sing of His goodness and His faithfulness. And you know what is so amazing? When I sing – when I smile and laugh and play during the kids’ bath-time  – even when I don’t feel like it – my heart usually follows suit. It’s amazing what whistlin’ a new tune can do for ya!

Motherhood Post

I believe singing worship songs through the daily frustrations that go hand-in-hand with motherhood keeps my eyes and heart focused on the blessings around me. It is super hard to play the martyr when I’m practicing gratitude. I also think that God hears my songs and sees my sacrifice and it moves His heart. It’s such a great way to invite him into my mess and chaos.

I think there are a few ways to avoid becoming a martyr (more on that in this post, about staying sane during motherhood). Carving out time for myself is so so important. I do have to have ‘me’ time and I have to fight hard for it every day, whether it be waking up earlier to read my Bible and walk the dogs alone, or heading to the gym for an hour by myself, or letting Dave actually take the 2 screaming children upstairs for bath time on occasion… We all need time to recharge our batteries. So I certainly am not implying that as mothers we should never take a break. In fact, I believe we MUST take breaks for the good of our family. But I am suggesting that during those times when a break isn’t an option and we are ready to pull our hair out, we should try a new song. Literally.

Mom of 2

I also think rattling off a list of things I’m thankful for always helps me to see my life through a new, prettier lens. When I focus on how grateful I am that I get to be a mother in the first place or how lucky I am that my kids actually love me enough that they want me all the dang time – my attitude changes.

There’s no greater encouragement than God’s word for me during this season.

And now is the part in the story where you make me feel totally normal by leaving a comment below telling me how YOU sometimes play the martyr too. 😉 We are all a work in progress and we are all in this together, right?

Matching

Oh, and I linked most of these outfit details in Monday’s post, but in case you missed it and you’re interested my dress is here, my shoes are M.Gemi and my lipstick is YSL #26. I love that Andi Rose & I can sort of match when I wear these shoes. Matching her is my favorite thing lately. She’s going to hate me when she gets older, isn’t she? I should seriously soak up this mommy phase for all it is worth, shouldn’t I? P.S. Can we please talk about how stinking adorable these shoes are? I want them for Andi Rose in all the colors.

10 Comments

  1. I would like to say something: as you know my son is 18 and getting ready to start college (Boise State, yes I’m proud). I wish I had those days back. Before you know it Atlas will be starting (kindergarten if you’re not homeschooling) college and then little Andi Rose to follow. I remember those early days being hard, but now I would give anything to do it again with him. I always thought “I can’t wait for this part to be over” and boy was I wrong. Don’t get me wrong I am blessed with an amazing son who has become a great man, but I miss that little boy who would look up at me and just smile huge for no reason except he was happy.

    • I think you must be right because EVERY parent with older children always says, “you’ll miss this.” & the funny thing is, I can already tell everyone is right. When I see a newborn & I find myself thinking, “oh I miss those snuggles…” & I realize it does all go by so fast…except for those bad days that go by sooo slow. LOL
      Thank you for the encouragement! 🙂

  2. You spoke straight to my heart tonight. I’m sitting here at 12:24am because it’s the only time I get alone. I’m crying my eyes out because I SO often play the martyr with such an ungrateful heart. I have 3 kids; Charlottle (4) Gavin (9) and Cameron (13). They each need me in completely different ways…unless it’s to find something, that’s a universal need! I can’t remember the last time I went anywhere without one of my kids. If I work out (that’s a big if) Char HAS to “work out” with me. If I go to the store one of the boys has to go, mostly because they know I’ll hit Starbucks and they want in on that action. I don’t even go to the dentist alone!! See? Martyr!!! Ashley, in the past few months you have opened my eyes and shown me that not only am I not alone in the motherhood madness, but that I can be a better mama if I just have a better perspective. Mom and I were JUST talking about you today, she said “I didn’t think anyone was THAT nice all the time, but she really is, she’s just has this amazing heart”!
    So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this sincere, sweet comment. It just made my morning! I’m so glad my words encourage you because sometimes it is easy for me to feel completely alone & wonder before I hit the publish button if anybody can relate. But that’s why I think it is SO important to talk about our struggles because it reminds us we aren’t in this alone!! And I feel you on never doing anything by yourself…I took Atlas with me to almost all my OBGYN appointments when I was pregnant with Andi. Talk about awkward…haha

      And I’m definitely not always nice! I was trying to pee this week & I had both dogs & both kids follow me into the bathroom & the dogs wanted me to pet them & the babies wanted me to hold them & I was all “GUYS! 2 minutes! I need 2 minutes to pee! Everybody get out!” 🙈😩

      But God knew I needed my kids as much as they need me because they are showing me the ugly parts of my heart that I need transformed! I know you’re a great mom & your kids are so lucky to have you! Love you (& tell Your mom I said I love her too)!

  3. Your blog hit home to my heart today, but it was a much needed reminder that I’m not the only one who feels this way or has these struggles. But you are absolutely right about taking a break for yourself, to teach your kids that is ok to have off days but we should always try to be happy in the work no matter what it is.. (picking up toys to giving your kids a bath) I also agree with Kathi (love her tons) that when the time comes I’ll miss the chaos and wish time hadn’t gone so fast wishing I could get frustrated with potty training or the snuggles, even just the simple smiles and coos of my newborn babies…all of them..thank you for the reminder of being grateful, it’s a great way to bring a negative attitude to a postive one. Thank you again for this beautiful inspiring blog!

    • Thank you, Crystal, for taking the time to read my blog and to leave such a heart-felt comment. It means so much to me! And I think there is so much empowerment that comes with mothers standing together and saying, “You aren’t alone because I feel the SAME way!”

  4. I love this post! Thank you. When I feel like I have had a “bad mom” day, I cry lying in bed thinking of the day lost being upset or being short with my kids. Then I tell myself I will be a better mom tomorrow. And I usually am (unless I’m pms ing). Being a mom is so much harder than I ever thought it would be, and sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit for the good things. I have also noticed that my kids reflect my behavior…interesting!

    • Oh girl! Nothing helps during the week that I’m pms-ing! LOL I tell my husband all the time I wish I could be sent away for that week…for the good of the children! hahaha
      So thankful for new days though – especially when we have those rough days! His mercies are new every morning!

  5. You spoke to a fear that I have now, even before children. I want to stay home and sincerely enjoy and teach my children, but that fear of being burned out follows. I don’t want resentment to ever build towards such a precious gift. Thanks for the transparency.

    • Thank you for reading, Amanda! I know you will be a fabulous mom! Beating that burn out is hard and it definitely requires some strategy, but you will get it! 😉 There’s so much grace in this season of life and so much God teaches me through my children – it is such a gift. Don’t fear it!

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