To all you amazing, patient, ever-loving, caring and understanding super-moms out there, I praise you. And I stand in awe of you, because I full-heartedly admit that I do not belong to your club. I’m not even worthy to step into the lobby of your meeting hall. I’ll just stand at the window and drool over your Food Network quality cupcakes and wonder why I can’t get my jeans and t-shirt to look quite as effortlessly mom-chic as yours.
In my everyday real-life-mom life I get frustrated, angry, sad, tired, and annoyed multiple times an hour. All those negative emotions are combatted by genuine moments of joy, laughter, hugs, and love, but sometimes it’s so hard not to dwell on the negative. And sometimes it can totally ruin my whole day. Even if there has been plenty of good to offset the bad.
One of the things that really get my goat, is when my kids (or husband for that matter) leave things on the floor. Be it toys, clothes, shoes, books, whatever.
Almost every night when Ryan comes to bed he takes his socks off and just drops them on the floor. No big deal because I do the same thing. No one wants cold toes when they get into bed for the night. However, the difference is, when I get up in the morning I put my socks in the hamper. He doesn’t. He just leaves them there. On the floor. If I don’t pick them up they just pile up and pile up. No matter how many times I have said something to him it still happens. It’s like he just expects me to pick up after him. HE IS A GROWN MAN!
Jude gets himself dressed. Almost every day I have to remind him to put his dirty jammies into the hamper and all the clothes he pulled out of the dresser, to find his Avengers shirt, back into the drawers. After reminding him to clean up over and over and over, it honestly feels like he is just ignoring me and leaving everything out because he knows I will get frustrated with the house being messy and just clean it up.
I know that Jude is only four and he needs to be taught how to pick up after himself. But I swear that in the moments of frustration I feel personally offended. I feel like my family leaves out toys, books, clothes, dishes, etc… because they know that eventually mommy will clean it up. And usually in the midst of cleaning it up there will be a huge fight between myself and anyone who is around to catch my rath. I will end up yelling at the kids about not being respectful of the things that we have been blessed with. And that if they don’t clean up I will just have to take everything away. I will get into a fight with Ryan over something silly because everything else is piling up (literally and figuratively) around me.
I hate this. No one wants to fight with their kids to take out their frustrations on their loved ones. I don’t want to be that screaming, crazy mom running around like a chicken with her head cut off. I know I have a flair for the dramatic and can take things personally way too often and that’s why when Ryan shared this with me the other day it made an impression on my mind and heart and I felt like I really needed to share it with you. Maybe there are some other moms out there who are feeling the same way and maybe this could be a blessing in your life as it has been in mine.
It’s Nothing Personal
That’s what Ryan told me. It’s nothing personal. It’s such a simple phrase. When my kids leave their clothes on the floor it’s not because they are plotting against me, it’s not because they know if they leave it there I will come behind them and clean it up. It is simply because they have such a short attention span and when they have gotten their clothes on they totally forget that they have discarded unwanted clothing options all over the carpet.
When Ryan leaves his socks on the floor for days, it’s nothing personal. It’s just that he has ADD and he doesn’t even notice them. When he leaves dishes in the living room overnight it’s nothing personal. It just never crosses his mind to put them in the sink.
When the kids leave Legos in the middle of the hallways, it’s nothing personal. It’s just that they found a better toy to play with and forgot about the Legos entirely. When they leave wet towels on the hardwood floors, it’s nothing personal. They just wanted to get into their snuggly jammies ASAP so they could enjoy story time.
I know this is all pretty basic, everyone knows kids (and husbands) have to be reminded over and over of simple things. No kid is sitting in their room scheming up a brilliant plan for getting their mom to blow a gasket. But damned if it doesn’t feel like it! But the reminder of, it’s nothing personal is pretty comforting for me.
There are days when I all I can pray is, “Lord, please help me to keep my cool,” and days when all I can pray is “Lord, help my kids to see you in spite of me.” I want to show my children grace. God has given us such a huge gift and I want my kids to see that living in that grace is what it’s all about. I want my kids to see God’s grace working. I want them to know that because of Jesus, their mess ups aren’t personal and that they can be forgiven. Because of Jesus our sins are personal.
Now, I’m not saying that I will give my kids a free pass to make all the messes they want because I know it’s nothing personal. No. It’s still my job as their mom to teach them how to take care of their things, how to clean up after themselves, how to be respectful of the people they live with. But it does me that when I am feeling personally wounded I will take a step back and remind myself that it’s nothing personal and then try to open up a teaching moment instead of flying off the handle.
I know most of you moms out there are smarter than me and don’t take these sorts of things personally. But just in case there are a few who do, I offer this Real Life Mom Moment to you. It’s nothing personal. This is my momming mantra right now. And I want to share, because as a friend of mine who just became a mommy said: “They say it takes a village to raise a child, but… I swear it takes a village to support Mommy.” So here is my fist of solidarity to all my mommy sisters!Solidarity, Sister. Don’t take it personally. Live in grace. Choose joy.
[You can get this adorable cross stitch from SimplyStitching!]