Please Don't Judge Me

Raising five girls, I am learning a lot about myself and about females in general. I guess that it is making me more aware, and I have to admit- I don't like what I see. My 6yo fancy girl who loved tutus and regularly wore THIS over-the-top ensemble to school now wears the same activewear outfit that I bought for gym days as soon as it is washed. She wore it Monday and she is wearing it again today (Wednesday). Gym class is tomorrow. If she was outgrowing the phase, it would be one thing, but I asked her about it and she said, "No one at school dresses fancy." She just wants to fit in.

It made me sad to think of her giving up her sense of style just to blend in with the crowd, but my response to her wearing the same outfit yet again was to worry about what people might think about my parenting. I am no better.

What I am realizing is that girls so often want to fit in, to be accepted by their peers. Their peers can be mean.

Some never outgrow it and adult women can get caught up in tearing others down to build themselves up or measuring themselves against others' social media displays of perfection.

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I think maybe it is harder for mothers. The stakes are high and it can feel like you have no idea what you are doing. The stages, the challenges, the solutions are constantly changing. And we all make so many mistakes. It is hard to tell if you are doing it "right" and no one even agrees on that definition. We look around and compare, looking for validation in some way. This is where it can get ugly.

We all have different priorities when it comes to running our homes. We also have different challenges and different blessings. Yet, we never see the whole picture in anyone else's story...

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Keeping up on the laundry in this house is H A R D. There are at least 10 socks in each load of laundry that don't have mates. I do at least 3 big loads of laundry every day, not including towels or bedding. If you come to my house and the sock basket is overflowing and the furniture is covered in folded and unfolded laundry, please don't judge me.

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I like to sew but I hate to do mending. I messed up when I hemmed my bathroom curtains and have left them hanging lopsided for months. It just isn't a priority for me to fix them anytime soon, so please don't judge me.

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My desk was clean a few days ago but it is the prime spot in the house for everyone to dump random things. It is clean again now because I couldn't find my media card reader to transfer these pictures. (I actually found that under the dining room table.) Lots of people live here and make messes, including myself, so please don't judge me.

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Every now and then I try to get the kids to make their beds, but it I have learned to choose my battles. That one is not usually worth fighting before 7am. Things might have looked great when I took pics for the blog (HERE) but their beautiful bedroom is normally a mess. My children's training is still a work in progress, so please don't judge me.

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I haven't finished my fall decorating yet. I was not feeling so great and I have been busy with other priorities. The kids stuffed some weeds in my milk can and there is a soccer ball where I plan on putting a pumpkin. Use your imagination. I am not a fabulous home decorator, even if I am crafty in some ways, so please don't judge me.

Please don't think that I am some crafty genius who does homemade everything and has an amazingly decorated house. Also, when you see my shortcomings, please don't judge me for having different priorities and struggles than you do.

Kindness and grace for myself and for others is something that I want to focus on more intentionally and try to instill in my daughters. I can tell you from experience that people at school barely notice what your kid is wearing. I am still going to hide that outfit because I am sick of seeing it and want her to get some wear out of her other clothes but I want to be mindful of reinforcing the concept of petty, social judgement.

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Getting My Act Together

easter-lily

easter-lily

At the beginning of the year I was challenged to come up with a word to focus on this year. I couldn't really come up with a specific word, but I had the general idea that I wanted to "get my act together."

I bought a cute planner and decided I was going to be organized. I love my planner and it is a great start, but sometimes it gets lost on the mess of my desk. I wanted to get the entire house decluttered, but stalled out before tackling the bedrooms. I had all of these grand ideas that if I could get the house organized and cleaned, if I could tackle the laundry pile I call Mount Washmore, if I could send out birthday cards on time, if I could finish all of my half-completed craft projects, if I could be on time for everything, if I could get a healthy supper on the table at a reasonable time each night, if, if, if... And guess what? It isn't happening. That is not real life. We have 6 kids and a little wanna-be farm. I try, but something will always be a mess and I can't get everything done.

Just because everything isn't Pinterest-perfect doesn't mean that I am failing. I am such a perfectionist about certain things, as I have confessed before, and I am slowly chipping away, learning to let go. I get to a point where I completely run myself into the ground. So, really, "getting my act together" is more about getting my attitude together and prioritizing.

sky

sky

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working-on-truck

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clothesline

hostas

hostas

I didn't sew the rest of the Easter dresses on time again this year. I ordered some fabric that came a few days ago and I didn't want to stress myself out to get them done. So I didn't. Instead, we made a ton of peanut butter eggs and did a lot of cleaning, both of which were very necessary.  We didn't get to any egg hunts besides the ones at family gatherings because of vehicle problems. Instead, the girls played outside and we painted our toenails on the sidewalk.  Probably the most shocking... I didn't give my kids anything in their Easter baskets. It was a personal decision to combat a materialistic attitude some of them have been displaying.  (When did Easter become the spring version of Christmas?)  Instead, we opened resurrection eggs on Easter morning as a family and took turns reading from the Bible.

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blossoms-against-sky_edited-1

cleaning

cleaning

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dowel-rod-fishing

holding-a-kitten

holding-a-kitten

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pb-eggs

tree-blossoms

tree-blossoms

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painted-toes

resurrection-eggs

resurrection-eggs

This Easter I think I found a little more peace. I realized that I can't get everything done, so I have to choose what is important to me. I can let go of some traditions that aren't working, postpone them, or even just take a break from them. I am pretty sure that my kids aren't going to be scarred for life because they missed out on a chocolate bunny. A few years ago I would have been up all night sewing to get dresses finished and baskets filled. This year, I curled up on the couch with a book waiting to shower and relaxed! I can see that part of getting my act together isn't doing more, but learning to be OK with doing less.

What Moms Really Need for Mother's Day

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I want to be totally honest.

I am not Super Mom.

Things are not always sunshine and roses around here. Yes, I squeeze in a lot of crafty things, but there are a lot of things I don't do.

When it comes to school, I am one of those slacker moms.

I don't check my kids' school folders. Yes, I know that I should. The first kid or two I was all over that. Now, not so much. If I get to it once or twice a week that is pretty good for me.

I don't do the homework thing. They need to learn to be responsible. I might as well start them young. Kindergarten homework is the worst. It is really homework for me. We are supposed to read X number of books during the month. I don't even know where April's calendar is. My brain is still back in March and now the calendar says May!?!

I don't keep a very clean house. Now, it isn't something that could be reported to the authorities, but there are cobwebs and dust bunnies and please, oh, please, don't ever look under the couch cushions. The kids have there own methods of "cleaning" so just don't look. Things get cluttered up. That is an ongoing battle around here. I mop, but clean floors never last, and it even gets me locked out of the house in my nightie if I am not careful! (See that story here.)

I don't weed my flower beds. OK, I do weed them sometimes, but I am losing the battle here. I have to do some major work in those. Every other year I seem to find myself pregnant or having a young baby and that one in between year there was a yellow jacket nest... Excuses, I know. I like flowers, but you will only ever see me taking pictures of the pretty flowers up close- there are too many weeds underneath them.

I don't keep up on the mending, even though I sew. I reserve the iron for quilting and sewing- clothes go in the dryer or you are on your own. My husband knows how to starch his own shirts if he so chooses. I am happy if the clothes are washed. Line drying and/or folding earns me bonus points.

I don't keep my temper in check. I yell at the kids, at my husband, at other people when I am driving (although I have now scaled that back to calling them names that my Kindergartener might use and, yes, I called someone a "stupid stoopeyhead" and a "dummy" yesterday.) I even throw a tantrum sometimes.

But, I am doing the best that I can. And you know what? I bet you are, too.

C.S. Lewis said that Motherhood is the Ultimate Career. Well, I think it is also the Ultimate Challenge.

Mother's Day is coming up this month and everyone makes a big deal about getting Mom a nice gift- maybe flowers or a card or chocolate (hint, hint). I think what a mom really needs is some grace, compassion, encouragement, appreciation,...

And maybe some sleep. Oh, wait. Sleep? What is that? How did that get in there?

But, seriously, let's try to encourage each other and build each other up. Us moms can either criticize and judge (I am guilty right here) or we can  recognize that we may do things differently but we all love our children.

And while we are at it, let's cut ourselves some slack, too. Yes, we mess up. I mess up A LOT. This is the toughest job there is, after all. I can either dwell on it, or I can learn from it, ask for forgiveness, hope that my kids don't need counseling, and move on. They say the days are long, but the years are short. Yes, they are much too short for this negativity junk. In the words of Elsa, "Let it go!"

Happy Mother's Day!