What do you do? Its 3am and you’ve already been up 4 times to the toddler who is throwing up in bed, you’ve just managed to fall asleep again having changed the bed sheets for the second time, and this time it’s the cries of your newborn that rouse you from your sleep. Its time to Mother again.
What do you do?
…when your husband is working the late shift and you’ve single-handedly cooked dinner, fed and bathed the children, and wrestled them into bed?
…you sink onto the lounge for a moment, your back threatening to give way if you don’t stop for a rest, then you realise – there’s no milk or toilet paper left in the house?
…right then, the washing machine, running its 4th load for the day, makes a terrible clunking noise and stops dead – mid-cycle?
What do you do?
It’s 8:30am on the first day of school for the year and you’re so ready for the school holidays to be over and yet so not ready to say goodbye to your kids. You are painfully aware that with each passing day we lose them to adulthood and at the same time, equally aware of the challenges and stress that each day of parenting brings. The kids are almost ready for the kindy/school run, you are throwing on a clean top before you head out the door, and right then your 6 year old daughter with the very long hair walks into your bed room and says, ‘Mum, my head is really itchy.” A quick check reveals the terrible truth. Head lice. Right on queue, the baby of the family, sitting next to you on the bed, begins emitting a nasty smell from the nappy region and you hear your 4 and 8 year old boys’ escalating voices from the lounge room, fighting over a toy.
This is ….REAL… life. This is what happens. And what do you do when this happens?! How do you handle it when times like this come your way? Because they will, if your life is anything like mine.
This year in our MOPS groups we have been exploring the principle of Fiercely Flourishing, …and what does that even look like when you are just trying to get through the hour, let alone the day? When you are just trying to survive, let alone FLOURISH!!
So, lets look together at what it means to Fiercely Flourish, and why we would want this for ourselves, and for our children.
The 3 components of Fiercely Flourishing are embracing rest, celebrating lavishly, and noticing goodness.
In the midst of the trials, triumphs, challenges and crisis of real life let’s remember this:
Life is not always like this. We have our ups, we have our downs. Everything is going to be ok in the end. We need to let go of how we wanted it to be, and embrace how it is. Stop and nurture (someone else, and quite possibly yourself). Ask yourself, “What’s important right now?” “What’s my priority right now?” Is it my ‘to do’ list? Or is it caring for the ones I have been entrusted with? Because remember: being a mum is being a leader in your home. And leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.
Being a Mum can be beautiful; it can be wonderful, amazing! It IS all those things. But being a Mum can also be utterly exhausting, and we must learn to prioritise caring for our bodies, minds and souls so that we have the energy we need to give, to love, to care, to teach, to nurture.
Y’know, sometimes it’s ok if all you did today was breathe, and keep the kids alive. Some days we just simply need rest. Embrace it like a gift, and not a punishment. We need to live at a slower pace on a regular basis, expending a lower output from our engines.
Being a Mum is like being the family barometer, am I right? You know what they say, “happy wife, happy life” :-D. In the midst of life’s messy moments it is so easy to totally lose it and start yelling. Regardless of whether we feel like we do or not, we must remember we actually have the choice as to how we will respond when something happens. It is often necessary to stop and give ourselves a moment to consider how we will respond (make space between the stimulus and the response).
Sometimes the best thing to do is to turn these messy little moments into a joy party. Put on some fun music, make up some dance moves, do what it takes to change the mood.
Our kids need to hear us noticing goodness in the midst of the mess, witness us embracing rest especially when life is a circus, and be included in celebrating lavishly in the middle of the mundane. Only then will they learn what it is to flourish, because to flourish is to really live.
To truly flourish, in the real world even, with its crises and disappointments, triumphs and tragedies, commitments and crunch-times, is not to have all your ducks lined up, nor to have everything perfected in your life – it’s to live abundantly as you are, where you are.
Take a deep breath in…and let it out. You’ve got this, Mum.
photo: that time I walked into a stick on Christmas Eve night and had to get a tetanus shot. (I seriously need some new photos of me).