Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Invisible Mothers

Do you ever feel invisible or insignificant as a mom? I do. I came across this blog post and LOVED the analogy:

The Invisible Mother

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’
Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?? 
Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’
Some days I’m a crystal ball; ‘Where’s my other sock? Where’s my phone?, What’s for dinner?’
I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, and she’s gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’
In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything. 
A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’ 
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.
No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.
I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. 
When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he’d say, ‘You’re gonna love it there…’ 
As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.
—Nicole Johnson


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Summer Game Plan

It's Summer. I know for some of you incredible moms out there this is good news to you because it means that you get to spend more time with your kids with less schedule and structure. This is not good news to this mom. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy being with my kids and being able to go and do what we want when we want...but the enjoyment of being with them soon fades as they start complaining, fighting, and asking "what can I do, I'm bored?". They turn into little lifeless blobs who sit in front of the TV because "it is too hot" or "there is nothing to do".


I want to have an enjoyable summer of creating memories, soaking in some much needed sun, being active, seeing my kids work and play and learn together, and spending less time nagging.


Nothing fancy...but it's a plan with a little bit of structure to give us all something to look forward to and to give the kids some responsibility.

We made each day of the week into a theme:
Make it Monday - try a new recipe, make something for someone else, or make a craft

Family Rec Tuesday - Instead of signing our kids up and paying for Summer Rec, we decided to do our own. We came up with ideas like a family bike ride, soccer, football, Wii party, game night, Nerf war, a treasure hunt, and a camp fire.

Wet Wednesday - My kids are constantly asking if they can get wet...which creates a huge mess. Wednesdays are the days set aside for sprinklers, water fights, splash pad, or slip n' slide. One day a week I can handle.

Tidy at 10 Thursday - At 10:00 we gather to clean the house. I will assign small jobs and we will work together.

Field Trip Friday - go somewhere fun and inexpensive. Some of the ideas that we came up with are hikes, try a new park, community programs, and visit grandparents.

Outside Saturday - Yard work

We also gave the kids Daily responsibilities that they need to do BEFORE they can turn on the TV/computer. These include tidying their rooms, taking care of the dog, reading, weeding their garden box, being active, and talent time (piano, drawing, math games, coloring).

So there it is...our game plan for a GREAT summer! I am writing this on Tuesday's Triumph because instead of hearing the TV turn on as my kids were waking up, I heard them puttering around the house and yard as they did their daily responsibilities. It was music to my ears! Granted, I have only won round 2 of 80 days of summer. This game plan could back fire and it could be an epic loss and show up on "Monday's Madness"...but today it was a Triumph :)