Monday, October 15, 2018

Should Wives Submit to Their Husbands?

When I was saved by Christ at 26 years of age I identified as feminist. Soon after my salvation experience I realized that I knew nothing of what the bible said about women! I believed only what I had heard; I listened to the arguments of those around me instead of gleaning the truth from the bible. In the last six years I have been on a journey to find out what the bible says instead of what "I feel" or what the world says around me. And I no longer identify as a feminist. I have had to redefine everything since I accepted Christ. My doctrine changed, my marriage has changed and grown, I have different ideas about child rearing and many aspects of my life have irrevocably altered.

But this is about wives. So, should wives submit to their husbands? Are women inferior to men? What does the bible really say?

I draw most of my conclusions thus far from Ephesians 5. 
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. 
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
I find this verse very helpful in defining my role as a wife. I am not told to be submissive to all men, but only to my husband. Thus the above verse does not place women under the authority of men: but only a man-- her husband. So what does that mean? Am I to ascertain that I am inferior to my husband? Should I give him his own way in everything?

I've found that finding the anwser to one question usually begets more. Thus my search continues. Discovering that I should submit to my husband only makes me ask "how" and "in what way". 
1 Corinthians chapter 11, verse 3 reads “I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man; and the man is the head of a woman; and God is the head of Christ.” Paul is just saying this to show that there is an authority and submission principle built from God in heaven on down to men and women. This isn’t something cultural; it isn’t something just recently invented. There has always been in God’s plan and God’s economy a place for submission and authority. So I am to submit to my husband the way Christ submits to God.

Is God greater than Christ? No, they are equal. They are both God. They are equal spiritually. God the father is God and Jesus is God. Thus I surmise that am equal to my husband. God's idea of submission of wives to husband has nothing to do with inequality. I think it has everything to do with his plan and purpose for marriage.

As to what submission means in my marriage, or what it means between all men and their wives--I  am still researching. I know what it does not mean. It does not mean I don't have an opinion. My husband and I speak about everything when we can between nursing and caring for babies and trying to get adequate sleep. It does not mean my husband controls me or rules over me like a tyrant or is allowed to be abusive to me. I have a loving husband who is supposed to love me the way he loves his own body and the way Christ loves the church. Christ gave his life to the church! And thus my husband gives his very life over to me, to our family. He does this by working daily to earn money for us to live. He does this by caring for me and tenderly ministering to me. He does this by taking care of our children, working in our yard, and even cooking and cleaning. He never demands but instead gently leads as Christ leads him. These examples (and many more) are the ways my husband loves me.

In order for our marriage to work as God ordained, in order for me to submit to my husband--my heart must be in full submission to God. Also, my husband's heart must be in full submission to God. If he is not he will lead not only himself astray but me as well.

Oh God, let not me listen to what the world tells me my role should be, but let me only lean on you and incline my ear to your Will for my life. Let your truth be my truth, and let my ear be ever listening to your word and my feet seeking your ways.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

He almost drowned, and other relevations

A few weeks ago we went on a family outing to the blue ridge parkway. I vlogged it, and you can see it here. The sun was shining but it wasn't too hot, the day was beautiful and breezy. Both Reuben and Rebekah were in great moods. Becky slept the whole car ride. I usually have a lot of anxiety about traveling with small kids (this part of the parkway is about 45 min from our home) because of the crying. I can't listen to my child cry in the car. It breaks my heart.

But on this day, she didn't cry. She slept, the toddler slept, and husband and I chatted like we didn't have two kids under 3(ish) and were battling sleep deprivation and life fatigue.

It was a perfect day. Except for the child that almost drowned.

I didn't talk about this in my vlog. Because it was confusing and really really scary. But now I've had a lot of time to think about it and Now I Have Thoughts.

It happened like this. 

We had been exploring about 15 minutes, and were walking a small trail that led down to a swimming pond through some stone steps. Reuben was fascinated by the stone steps, and we were fascinated with keeping him from falling into the water.

I was so wrapped in watching Reuben, taking pictures and videos of our time together; I wasn't paying attention to others around me. I had seen enough to ascertain that there were several couples, a biker gang, and a few families also enjoying the balmy summer air. But I hadn't looked closely at anyone.

I heard one of the mothers scream her child's name. She was on the other side of the swimming pond with one of her children (I later learned she had three) and her husband. One of her sons had fallen in the water. They were really far away but they immediately started towards him—he was drowning. He wasn't supposed to be in the water at all, but somehow had fallen or wandered in. He looked to be around 6-7 years old. I was wearing Becky and no help—being farther away. A elderly women on the faux beach close to the drowning boy jumped in the water and grabbed him. I would say everything in the paragraph above happened in less than one minute.

The cry of the mother—that startled me, startled everyone else too. All the families and couples and the biker gang heard it. And we all stood there frozen, watching. I suppose no one knew what to do. It's like we were all collectively holding our breath, waiting on the edge of panic for relief.

I'm glad to say the boy was fine. Once everyone saw that, it's like we all let out our breath together and went back to what we were doing. At least, he seemed fine. I felt like I should go talk to the young mother because I was sure she must be feeling awkward about being the center of attention like that, and I really wanted to tell her about dry drowning if she didn't already know. I waited about ten minutes fuming over what to say and if I really should approach her, but in the end I walked up to talk to her. She seemed really tense and I think she was worried I was going to scold her, but after I asked how her son was and chatted with her a bit as she relaxed. It turned out the elderly lady who had jumped in to grab the son was his grandmother, and she also chatted with me. I mentioned dry drowning, but she already knew about it. I told her she was brave and a good mother and said that scary things happen to everyone, but I can't remember the exact words I said. I just knew I wanted to let her know I cared, and diffuse some of the awkwardness. We had all just stared at her, frozen, until it became apparent her child was okay! In times of stress—I've noticed the majority of people, myself included—freeze. It's odd.

I thought about what happened over and over again for the rest of the day, unable to shake it off. The boy, quietly drowning. Not splashing, not crying for help. The mother's scream when she noticed. The way they started towards him even through they were really far away. The grandmother jumping in even through she was fully clothed. All of us unable to move.

Anyway, I was reminded of that time at the blue ridge parkway when two scary things happened with Reuben this month. One was we lost him in Aldi's. I can laugh about it now, but at the time I was very angry with him and with my husband. We were all there—Brian, Rebekah, Reuben and me. Daddy had Reuben in his cart and I was wearing Rebekah. Daddy said Reuben wanted down to go to me (I was waiting for them to restock the gluten free bread) but he didn't tell me! So he let Reuben down out of the cart and presumably Reuben was supposed to run to me. Only, I wasn't even looking for him so I have no idea if he did or not. Brian continued shopping. When I rejoined Brian, I noticed Reuben wasn't with him. Where was he? Brian said he was with me. No, I said. He was in your cart. At this point I was panicking. I couldn't do anything. I told Brian to find him, and he did. He located Reuben a few isles away- he was fine. But he could have been kidnapped, lost or run over! Seriously. We now have a rule that Parent #2 needs to tell Other Parent if switching kids.

The second thing was that Reuben fell. He hasn't fallen off anything since he was around 18m, so I wasn't expecting it. He fell off a table at our house and landed right on his mouth. He really hurt his teeth and gums and it was so stressful. We are still waiting for a dentist appointment to get everything looked at, but I think he will be okay. The stress is more of dealing with the crying upset toddler and the blood and the whining. Oh, the whining.

Why God chose to bless me with a mountain goat for a son, I have no idea. It is a total point of anxiety in our family! Reuben climbs on everything! He does not fall—I mean, since 18 months old. But he has no common sense or self awareness, making my job of keeping him off anything that looks remotely climbable impossible. I am trying to teach him to no avail that he is in control of his body and he can deny his climbing urges. He does not get it. At all. This kid is all idea = action, no forethought or planning! Just like his mama, sadly. But I have thirty years of experience to buffer my whims, and I definitely do not ever feel like climbing on anything. I just also want to do all the ideas that pop into my head right when they happen.

He needs to learn that he does not have to execute every idea that pops into his head!

Anyway, these three lessons have taught me, or shown me, how little control I have. Control as a mother, and control as a citizen of the world. Scary things happen. God is the only one who I can cast my fears on, and put my hope in. Evermore I believe this, especially after recent experiences. God controls life and death. He is the master over our world, even if it is in sin due to our own choices. And he is good.

He is so good.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Another Becky Hat

I made another hat (this time filming the tutorial) in green. I love it, she loves it. What more can I say?

One more hat to film! And a tutorial to write out, and some hats to post for sale. Squee.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Hat For Reuben

I made Reuben a hat to match Becky. Three is so interesting. I had to bribe him with chocolate to put it on and let me take a picture! I love it, but he seems unsure. Maybe when it actually gets cold he'll let me put it on him and adorn Becky similarly and bask in a mother's pleasure at matching siblings.

This pattern will be coming soon to the blog and Ravelry!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Life Update

Whenever I have time to sit down and write I never feel like writing. And when I do feel like writing I of course can't, because children. Or life. Or something. Right now Reuben is playing on the playground and Becky is asleep and I think I should write something, but a topic alludes me.

I've been reading a lot of Victorian literature lately. Right now I am reading Can You Forgive Her by Trollope. It sure is an interesting read and full of many political and relational insights. I'm about halfway through. I want to read more of his works, but this was the one I started with. I've also been reading Charles Dickens. I just finished David Copperfield. This work of fiction has blown me out of the water! I must own and read all of Dickens works. He's amazing. I never gave him two thoughts before, but now: I am hungry for everything he wrote and plan to read it all.

Not having internet is...interesting. At it's worst it is only inconvenient. I can't Google things whenever I want. I can't mindlessly check out on the internet. I have not watched a single YouTube video since we canceled it and I miss watching my favorite YouTubers. But it has also been oh so healing and soothing to my soul to not have internet at home. My day feels less rushed. I feel completely unburdened by the noise that is media. I don't care a bit about the “social” aspect of the internet anymore, and I realize that in light of Eternity and God maintaining a "online presence" is minutely insignificant and not worth my precious time. Living without the internet is bliss. However “inconvenient” it is I know I made the right decision for myself and my family.

Another thing of note that has occurred: I quit the keto diet. I originally did keto due to blood sugar issues and I loved it. But I quit loving it. Keto became a burden, a diet that I felt I “had” to do. I “had” to do it because my husband was. I couldn't give up because I'd be letting him down and letting myself down. All my friends knew I was keto, knew I loved it. I couldn't just quit, could I? Furthermore I knew the second I started eating carbs again I would gain 20 pounds and become intellectually stunted.

Eventually I just realized I was being stupid and I quit. It was as easy as that. Right now I am doing only dairy and gluten and refined sugar free, and I have picked up yoga and it's going great. I have only weighed myself once in the past three weeks. I am enjoying sandwiches. I have not gained 20 pounds but I can bend over and pick up toys without feeling vertigo, so thanks Yoga. But I could wax eloquent on the sandwiches. I have eaten either a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich or a hummus sandwich or a cheese toasty (vegan cheese) for lunch, with a side salad, every day since I quit! I also made chili the other week. I have not had beans in over five years. There was a party in my mouth and a tear in my eye when I took that first bite. I plan on making more chili next week. My toddler hated it, but hey, more chili for me. Whoo!

Becky is eight months this September and Reuben is a solid three. My husband is turning 34 next year and I am ever daily traveling to 32. This sounds so old! Thirty two. I think of my mom when I think of that age. I was 11 when she was 32. As much as I wish I had kids when I was younger, I know my younger, unsaved self would have been a horrible mother, so I am glad I was spared that adventure. Having kids as an older woman has its pluses and minuses for sure, but from my perspective it's all pluses for me. Sure, it would be nice to be out of the pregnancy phase (we want more kids) and have that behind me in my 20s, but I know solidly I was not ready for kids at that age. I wasn't ready at 30 either—but God was there with me and I was adaptable enough that I listened to him. I wasn't in a listening frame of mind in my 20s.

That's a life update. How are you guys doing?

Friday, September 21, 2018

Hat for Becky

I've started knitting and crocheting my own patterns again! It's been too long. I have not been able to write patterns since Becky was born, but now that she will play by herself I have been able to dabble a little. This is the infant size for a new hat pattern that I will be releasing soon! I also plan on having a toddler and adult size, as well as video tutorials as well.

It's super cute. I also plan on listing all these hats for sale on etsy because I need to pay off some debt from having this baby. I'm excited to be creative again, and have a ton of new knit/crochet ideas.

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Little Jacket

I was making myself a sweater, but instead I made Reuben a coat. Because one of my skeins of yarn was not the right color and it was glaringly obvious. So I unraveled about 70% of a sweater and remade it into a little neat jacket for Reuben.

This is the second time I have knit this pattern. I made a rainbow version of this last year for Reuben, and this year I made a red version. He loves it! The pattern is the Storytime Scholar, and I plan on making one for Rebekah next.

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Cancel Your Internet

If anyone is still around who read my blog in 2016, they might remember that I married a man who did not have home internet. I was baffled. After I moved in, I was inconvenienced. It took six months of begging and pleading with him, but eventually we did sign up for home internet! I know I posted about how happy I was. The very next year I also posted about how I was addicted to my iPhone, so clearly it worked out well.

Anyway, we had internet for four years. I say had, because we no longer do! For four years I have struggled to create good boundaries between myself and the internet. I have tried putting it on a self timer. I have tried deactivating my Facebook. I have tried many many things. They have all failed because the internet is mindlessly pleasing and easily accessible.

So we canceled it. And I have never been happier. I mean it!

Now when I sit down to write (like I am doing right now) I don't waste 20 minutes browsing Facebook. I write.

Now when I nurse I don't mindlessly scroll my phone and ignore my son. I read a book and ignore my son. Hah, just kidding. Sometimes I read him books, sometimes I read by myself, sometimes I knit, and other times I just sit and chill and talk to Reuben.

But not having internet has taken a ton of pressure off my life. No Facebook ads. No worrying about notifications or checking my e-mail. I just pick a day to go to the library and upload things and schedule posts and check what I need. My life is so much more free! My husband comes home in the evenings and we and talk to each other. We don't stare at our phones.

There are other benefits. I've always worried about how to keep Reuben and Rebekah from looking at pornography as they mature. (if you want to know why I think porn is bad, I can do a whole post on that, but for brevity's sake: you can't tell if those participating are of age and/or have given their consent) There are a lot of evils on the internet and I want to protect my children and teach them how to have good boundaries. But how can I make sure they aren't online in the middle of the night when I am asleep? And how can I teach them when I myself struggle with good internet boundaries?

I want my children to use the internet as a tool and not become addicted to any aspect of it. Moreover, I desperately want them to know that they can have joy and happiness and a life outside of social media. What better way to keep them from looking at pornography or talking to strangers online than not having internet at home? What better way to teach them they can have joy without the internet than by example?

Because of the revolutionary change that has come over our household with the removal of the internet I would greatly encourage everyone to try it! Only blessings have come our way from taking this step. We've saved so much money. Because of canceling the internet we also canceled Amazon Prime, Pandora and Audible. Not having internet has drastically reduced our online shopping!
I will update you as the weeks turn into years, as we have no plans of ever signing up for home internet again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

on structure

I'm not a structured person. Is anyone by nature? But I have learned to thrive under it, especially as a mother of young children. Establishing a good morning and evening routine has really helped my day.

I eat breakfast right when I wake up, then I do yoga. I make the toddler his breakfast after that and nurse the baby while doing my morning devotions. By this point it is (usually) around 8:30, so I attempt to get dressed and shuffle everyone out of the house until lunch.

Lunch. I try to get Rebekah to nap, with some success, but often not (wah). So I make everyone food and baby-wear if I can't get her down (because cranky baby). We all eat and then I play with my toddler for an hour. After this I am confined to a chair nursing the baby for an unspecified amount of time. Cue lots of book reading either by myself if Reuben is content in his room, or with him if he wants to be with me. (Right now I am reading Rose in Bloom by L. Alcott) I also attempt to fit in some chores here if the baby is awake and having "floor time". Dishes. Laundry. And/or using my mom voice to tell Reuben to get off his sister/the table/my knitting. Sigh.

By 4:30 I try to start dinner, by 5 I try to eat it (and save some for my husband). We go on a walk at 6 after I clean the kitchen and dining room. I come home and everyone gets a bath or shower and then I sit down to nurse the baby (again) to sleep while Reuben watches television. My husband has been working really long hours, so he arrives home around this time to a refrigerated supper while Reuben is on his second show (or after he's fallen asleep on the couch). I miss him coming home on time! He either puts Reuben in his bed or lays down with him until he falls asleep--eats his supper--and we try to talk---and go to bed ourselves.

Two things I've been struggling with--

  1. Becky only likes to sleep on me, making me sit down or baby wear a lot during her naps. I would be able to get a lot more done if I could lay her down in the evenings! 
  2. Feeling inadequacy as a mom. I have this tension behind my heart that I am failing and not good enough. It's so hard.
But God is still good. 

Having structure and sticking to it really helps balance everything, too. I know what I am doing or what I am going to do next and don't have to think about it. I don't have to worry about what comes after such-and-such task or what we are doing this evening, because for the most part I have a plan. I try and prep as much food on the weekends as I can so we all have easy snacks and quick meals. I eat a salad almost every day for lunch, and Reuben has either a sandwich or chicken nuggets from Aldi's. We have the same breakfast as well every week. This week for me was two eggs and a bagel. For Reuben it's either toast with fruit or oatmeal with fruit. Simple.

I'm learning and growing as a person as well. I make little moments to knit here and there if I can, and am remembering to brush my teeth every night! I've even showered the past three days!! Consecutively

In short, feel like I'm in a good place, even if I am on my toes and exhausted.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

half of being a mom

Half of being a mom is functioning while you're exhausted. The other half of you runs on coffee and the occasional six hours of sleep you get (consecutively) once a week. If you are lucky.

I feel often I don't know who I am. Mother? Knitter? Creative enthusiast? Lover? Friend? Cleaner and cook? How can I be all this at once and survive? I try to quiet all the interests in my heart and balance it with my to-do list but usually I end up a tangled mess who forgets to hug her husband hello when he returns in the evening. Hello husband. Would you like a sticky hug? Oh, and please hold this baby while I poop. Thank you.

Half of being a mom is living divided, torn in two. One part of you thanks God for the tiny hugs and wiggly, rambunctious toddler-hearts and the other part of you desperately wants to escape and not smell like day-old milk and dirty laundry. Just for one day. Or even an hour.

Motherhood is part worry and part fatigue. Part irritation and part pride. Part please-eat-your-vegetables and here-just-eat-this-donut-for-goodness-sake. Just eat something. Preferably green. And not playdough.

One part of you worries that something bad could happen at any moment and the other part just wants to get away so you can breathe. Because toddlers suck all the air out of the house with their never ending energy. Tragically, moms need air. Toddlers, I believe, thrive on trucks and dolls and Franklin the turtle movies.

Sometimes I feel fragmented in to a million pieces and not even sure how to feel. Because I am sensing/experiencing too much at once. And there is so much to be done and not enough time to do it in.

There are so many things to wipe, so many things to wash, so many emotions to feel and people to please and mess to organize and engagements to remember and friends to be friendly with; that I many times altogether lose sense of myself. Am I human? Do I breathe? I barely have time to remember who I am under the weight of being a mom.

Half of being a mom is being all mom, one hundred percent of the time. Holding anything back is impossible. They demand it all. God demands it all. And sometimes you might get to shower alone but often you don't and you just try to be glad you showered.

I've learned what the phrase "daily taking up your cross" means. I've learned to juggle. I've learned to try and at least understand my own feelings so they don't spill out of my mouth at the end of the day in anger. I try not to bury myself. Under rocks, you say? No, buried under the word Mother. Heaped up in regret and mental stress the weight is emotional and it makes all mothers weary with toil. We function on less sleep then convicts and criminals and are expected to complete all our assignments without error or complaint oh, and raise the next generation of humans.

You know, just the small stuff.

And that's only half of being a mother.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Motherhood is full of pain

I'm not a natural mother. Perhaps the phenomenon of a “natural mother” does not exist but culturally the idea thrives and makes mothers all around the world feel guilty.

I thought I would love motherhood. Not every second, of course. No one loves everything all the time. But I had the general idea that while the road would be rocky at times, most of the parenting process would be straightforward and rewarding. I thought I would just “know what to do” when my child threw tantrum or peed on the floor. I thought that after birth, when I brought my beautiful child into the world, things would just fall into place and the cogs would turn as they do in well-oiled machinery. In short, I didn't plan.

Instead what I found of motherhood (so far, in my three years) is a lot of work and very little reward. My cogs are broken, if I am supposed to have them.The edges are all worn off and they don't fit together anymore. What God has given me is a puzzle without all the pieces. I don't know what I am doing half the time and I exist in a perpetual state of desperate prayer and half-guesses. I feel always behind and shortchanged. I look about for rest, and find none. I look about for my compensation for the hours of work—and find, usually, a hungry husband awaiting his supper at the table. The rewards of motherhood seem scant, at least the kind of rewards I can hold in my hand and tangibly see.

I am tired. I work from dawn to dusk. There are always tasks unfinished. There are always small moments missed where I should have pointed my child to Jesus but didn't. There are the failures I count over in my head as I am nursing the baby to sleep, if I have any thoughts left to spare in my exhaustion. There is the guilt. I didn't do well enough. I lost my temper. I cried. We watched too much TV. I didn't take him to the park. I didn't reach out to my friends.

Motherhood to me seems like a lot of lonely moments and missed opportunities measured against my guilty shortcomings. Who in their right mind would chose this life? It's hard. And as I said above, motherhood does not come naturally to me: it's a lot of hard work. It's not fulfilling, it's not rewarding: at least not in worldly rewards like money.

That is because the rewards of motherhood are not of this world. God didn't write “raise up your children and you will feel fulfilled and be richly blessed”. Because motherhood does not fulfill me on any sort of human, worldly level.

The rewards of motherhood are all spiritual. I am learning about God while raising my children. God is pruning my branches as I traverse toddler-hood. The heavenly father is teaching me patience, gentleness, kindness and humility. And I must submit to his will and to his teaching: not fight him for what I think I should have or how I think motherhood should look.

While on Earth motherhood is a lot of grief as you watch your child go through trials of all kinds and generally fail at making good God-honoring decisions. Our children, like their parents before them, live in a fallen world. They are subject to the whims of their own sin nature.

Thus we mothers sit here in perpetual prayer for the safekeeping of our offspring, daily beseeching God to keep them safe. Safe from themselves. Safe from vices, cancers, drunk drivers, abusive relationships...the list goes on and on and nothing is more broken than a mother's heart when we see our children hurt, be it physically or emotionally. Yet we must bear it.

While motherhood is mostly a world of heartache here at our temporary home on Earth: the abounding spiritual gifts of motherhood overflow! So do not despair, dear lonely mother. The joy of the Lord is everlasting, even in the midst of sorrow of hardship. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Despair of Motherhood

Sometimes I wake up and I'm so tired I can't move. I lay there next to Rebekah (usually the one who woke me up) and try to figure out how to get myself out of bed and start my day. My mind starts to run through my to-do list. Presently my toddler wakes up, crawls on top of me, asks if it's daytime and demands to go downstairs. With me, of course. Because going downstairs by yourself when you are three is impossible.

Yesterday Reuben, the aforementioned three-year-old, threw a thirty minute no-holds-bar tantrum about sharing his toys with his sister. I tried to patiently explain to him that sharing is fun, and that he only had to share one of his balls (he has a ball pit with hundreds of balls in it) but he wasn't having it. I told him if he didn't want to share he could take his toys to his room and play there. He didn't want to play there--he wanted the impossible; for the baby to not want to touch "his toys" even though she is six months old and into anything that is in front of her.

Today he threw a tantrum about toast. I'm talking screaming, crying, throwing himself on the floor hysterics. He didn't want the toast he had asked for earlier (when I gave him a choice between toast or oatmeal). I explained to him he asked for toast, and thus I had made toast. So he had to eat toast. This was apparently an unreasonable expectation.

When my toddler has these extreme outbursts of emotions I am always caught off guard. I mean, it isn't rational (to me at least) to cry and scream over toast, or sharing. Lets not even talk about the crying in public.

That reminds me of something else that happened. Last week I forgot my baby carrier for Becky so I put her in the stroller. I didn't realize that Reuben thought of the stroller as his. He screamed for about 10 minutes about it. People stared. But I couldn't hold a baby and buy whole chickens and eggs and things, so it had to be done. I think Reuben is still upset.

Sometimes when everyone is crying and I am exhausted, I despair. I wonder if this season of small babies is ever going to end and I am ever going to sleep through the night. I wish people would stop touching me and demanding my time--I dream of getting a moment to myself to breathe, but even in the shower I am accosted by my husband who can't find clothes, diapers, or kitchen utensils like a grown adult.

I wonder if Jesus feels the same way about my prayers.

Motherhood is harder than I ever imagined. It is like being refined by fire. Many times I feel like I  can't go on. Many times I fall on my face before Jesus and try, by his strength alone, to keep pushing forward. Navigating my marriage, interpersonal relationships, cooking, teaching my children, cleaning my house and chores--and attempting to care for my own hygiene and interests is a complicated juggling act that requires me to be the best person I can be at all times.

Even at my lowest I feel the tender love of Jesus calming the choppy waters with his everlasting peace. He reminds me that raising children for his glory is my purpose, and that caring for my husband is the way I worship God, and that he is ever pruning me as I traverse these toddler years. I cling to that when I want to throw in the towel.

God is good. Even when my life is falling apart and my anxiety is sky high, God is still good. My despair is human, but I have a heavenly father to lean on and I don't have to do this alone, even when I feel alone.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

how to be happy when your husband works late

1) Don't save anything to do when he gets home.

I used to "save" the dishes, sweeping or other chores for when my husband came home. He minds Reuben so I can easily work without interruptions. However, this meant when my husband arrived home there was a lot to do (and I was rushed and anxious) OR he came home too late and Becky was ready to nurse and not play with Daddy, or I was too exhausted to do chores. Now I try to get the dishes, laundry and chores done before 5pm so everyone can rest whether or not daddy is home.  This way there is no expectations of work in the evening and daddy working late does not throw off our groove.

2) I don't expect a break when he gets home.

I've said this before, but one of the main reasons I get so upset in the evening is my expectation for some type of break. I've worked hard all day, I deserve a break, right? Well, not really. I deserve nothing. Expecting no break has helped my sour mood become less...sour. Yes, I do get breaks. But not all the time. I have humbly come to realize running a household, managing my children are ways I worship God. Seeing chores and parenting and marriage from a holy standpoint has greatly influenced my mood and expectations surrounding personal rest time.  It's also helped them feel less like "lists of things I begrudgingly have to do" and more like worship.

3) Treat my husband with love and respect and always be happy to see him.

One way to a grumpy evening is to be upset with my husband just because he's late. Right when he arrives. Or send him desperate text messages letting him know I am sitting there waiting for him to save me from being crawled upon by two hooligans. Is he two hours late? Three?! Why?! Nothing like a sour, upset worn out wife crabbing at you right as you walk in the door to make your evening sparkle, yeah? Hah. Now I try to act happy to see him no matter who is melting down and how tired I am, and no matter what time it is. At least he's finally home, right? I try to treat him with respect. I mean, he does not walk in the door crabbing at me, so why should I crab at him right when he gets home, even if it's late? It's not like he wants to be late or chose to be late: he had to work overtime to fix an issue or get his code finalized, or whatever engineers do.

4) I realized he wants to be home too.

I don't know why this one didn't occur to me, but often I would feel like my husband was punishing me by working late. Like he did it just to make me upset or angry or because he didn't want to take responsibility for our household and help me at home. Once I realized that internally I was feeling this way, I legit wanted to laugh at how ridiculous it sounded. Sure, my husband is not perfect and he can be dense as a newly hewn log, but he loves his family and does help a lot! He cooks, he holds babies, he changes poop. He wants to be home with us. He works late because he wants to keep his job (and so do I) and that is that.

5) I no longer let him being late put me in a bad mood.

A lot of what I am learning in my 30s is that while I can't control what the world gives to me, I can control my output: aka my mood. In my 20s I let my emotions control me more often than I would like to admit.

I don't have to like that my husband is working late, but I also don't have to let it completely destroy my day. I can have (gasp) a positive outlook about it! I can be an adult and work hard on my end to make sure our house is in order. I don't need to crab at the kids. I don't need to feel upset and defeated. I can be okay even when he works late. I am in control of my response. Mind blown.

6) Set realistic exceptions.

This one applies to the whole topic of raising kids. I expect myself to get too much done, and I expect my husband to arrive home at a reasonable hour and help me to get things done. This is preposterous, as he's always late! Now I try to set realistic expectations to help curb the let-down feeling that arrives as the eight hour work day rolls on by, sans husband. After five years of being married to a computer engineer I expect him to be late now. But I still hope. I try to realize he will probably be at least an hour late every day. Usually two hours. And I plan for the days where he will be very late, and bedtime will have to be completed solely by me.

These are the things I try and do to keep the peace in our household when my husband works late. What do you do? Please give me all the tips.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Reuben Turns Three

I already uploaded these pictures to Facebook, but look how old my baby is! He's three! He had his first (non-family) birthday party. He's THREE. Wow. I cried the whole day before but on the day he turned three I was fine. He's so big. And he ate a lot of cake! We had a very relaxed pool party with friends and food and lots of fun.

Reuben turns 2 and Reuben turns 1.

Happy Birthday Reuben!

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