The Moment I Realized I Wasn’t Expecting Enough From My Children

The other night my teenage daughter asked if she could have a friend over after summer workouts. Unless we have plans, I never mind her friends coming over. I have ulterior motives but hey, what Mom doesn’t? Her friends are all very well raised, they’re good influences on each other and it gives me a chance to see what there up too. If they’re here, then I know they’re safe.  Plus, it’s summer vacation and she’s a good girl, so why not?

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I told my daughter that her friend could come over as long as she cleaned her room and her bathroom. Now I’m kind of a clean freak so I expect things to look a certain way and the kids actually do a pretty good job keeping the house up to par with only a mild bit of nagging from me. As the night passed she and I did the things that we normally do. We watched movies, I did her hair, she played with her sister and she chatted on Facetime.

About 11:00 pm, I told her she needed to go to bed because she had to get up about 5:30 am for workouts. Then I realized that she hadn’t cleaned the bathroom. I asked her Dad go and check to see if she had done what she was supposed to. She hadn’t. She told her Dad that she had done everything but clean the tub. How do you clean a bathroom without cleaning the tub? I didn’t remember smelling any Clorox and I knew for a fact that she hadn’t come and gotten the broom. Uh oh. Activate Mommy Dearest mode.

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I stood there in the kitchen fuming. I felt a massive rant coming on.  This behavior was absolutely unacceptable. She had no problem asking me if her friend could come over. As a matter of fact, lately anytime she’s wanted something, she’s had no problem asking for it. But when I ask her to do one simple thing, she conveniently “forgets”. How disrespectful.

I headed back to the bathroom intending to deliver her a lengthy lecture. I planned to tell her how hard her Father and I worked so that she could live this life and how she was behaving very selfishly, among other things. As I stormed towards the bathroom, it hit me. My daughter’s shortcomings in doing what was asked of her, were my shortcomings as a parent. The entitlement that my daughter was exhibiting, began with me.

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I have three children so please don’t misunderstand me. I’m no stranger to discipline. I’m not ‘that parent’ that feels like their children can do no wrong. I don’t allow my children to behave without any consequences or responsibility. I believe in accountability. Spare the rod, spoil the child. So why? Why hadn’t I been expecting more from my children? When did I begin giving them everything and requiring nothing? When did I begin telling them ‘yes’, so much, and ‘no’ not often enough?

I realized that often times, I’m doing the cleaning because I want things to look a certain way. If I do it, I know it’s going to be done right. But if I never really give my children a chance to do anything, then how can I be upset when they do it incorrectly? If I’ve never really taught them to do it properly, then i’m handicapping them. how am I preparing them for the real world?

Instead of delivering that lecture, I made a silent promise. I promised myself that from here on out, I’ll tell my daughter exactly what I expect of her. Instead of just giving my children orders, I’ll help them and show them how to properly do whatever tasks they’re assigned. I’ll prepare them for the world by teaching them that hard work builds character and that they should always give their all. I’ll be the change that I want to see, in them. I’ll lead by example.

Psalm 32:8 – I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

 

 

A Mustard Seed

A year ago I began to feel that God was leading me in another direction. It was a very strong feeling. I wasn’t sure what it all meant or what direction I was supposed to be going in, but I believe that when God speaks, you listen. So I decided to do just that.

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After months of thinking, planning, and praying I decided that I was going to embark on a career as a stay at home mom, freelance writer, blogger, and business owner. It was an idea that I had visited in the past but I never truly opened myself up to. This time though, I felt good about it. I sat down and talked to my husband about my ideas and we decided together that I should go for it. Then I got cold feet.

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I started doubting myself and making excuses. I began to panic. What if I’m not successful? What if this doesn’t work out? What if don’t make any money? What if the financial strain is just too great? What if I can’t get my old job back. The list went on and on. I was literally spiraling out of control with doubt.

I began questioning the plan and the intentions that the Lord had for me. I cried out for him to show me a sign that I was going in the right direction. Now I don’t believe that God is an on demand God, but I know that he is an on time God. He may not show us that sign right when we want to see it, or the way we want to see it; but he always shows us.

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Shortly after that I had my first freelance job and my blog was featured on a major site. I was ashamed. How could ever have questioned him? When has he ever NOT provided? Two days after that, I turned in my letter of resignation.

It’s not always easy to listen to your heart, but to not be obedient is to sin against him. Giving up complete control and surrendering yourself can be downright scary, but we have to trust in God and his promise.

I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I know that God always has my best interest at heart. So with my faith in tow, his love surrounding me, and my family by my side,  I’m stepping headfirst into this new adventure. Stay tuned!

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An Early Morning Passenger

This morning I got up at my 4:35am. I dragged around the house as usual thinking about how I didn’t want to go work and how I wished I could crawl back into bed.  Finally, about 5:20am, after psyching myself out I grabbed my lunch and was about to head out the door when I remembered that the night before, I had only seen one of our new pet kittens on the porch. We have two. So I looked out the window and I noticed that little Michelangelo was still all alone. (My son Logan is a huge Ninja Turtle fan, hence the name Michelangelo. The other cat is a girl so can you guess what her name is? Wait for it. April O’Neal.)  So Michelangelo (let’s call him “Mikey” for short), sees me peeking out the window and starts meowing. April O’Neal is nowhere in sight.  I look over at the bowl and there’s no food.  I’m already pushing it because I have to stop for gas but by this time I’m worried. I’m also thinking that what kind of cold and heartless person leaves their kittens to fend for themselves this early in the morning, with a whole possible 4 hours until the other human wakes up? (insert sad music) So I grab some cat food out of the pantry and head around to the front porch to feed Mikey. I’m hoping that maybe in the process I can lure April O’Neal out of hiding.

5:22am. I get to the front porch, feed Mikey, and wait around for a couple of minutes. No April O’Neal. I look through the bushes and call out to her, but still nothing. I’m starting to panic. We live in the country. It’s a big wilderness out there! Two kittens before April O’Neal met their untimely demises by the vicious dogs of our neighbor. Thoughts of all the terrible things that could happen to little April O’Neal are running through my head! Logan loves her so much already. What am I going to tell him? What do I do? Should I wake up my husband?

5:25am. Work is 20 minutes away and I have to stop for gas. So I say a quick prayer that little April O’Neal is okay and I jump in my truck and head down the driveway. 5:26am. I pull up to the gas station, go inside, grab a cup of coffee and head towards the register. The sweet girl that works behind the counter has her husband and baby with her. I stop to see the baby. He’s a really cute little fella. The husband, well let’s just say he seems less than friendly. I instantly make up my mind that he seems mean. Good riddance to you Mr. Meanie. I pay for my items and head to the pump.  5:30am. I put my coffee up and start pumping gas. Then I hear it: a tiny meow. I look on the back of the truck. Nothing. It is early. Maybe I’m hallucinating. I start pumping gas and I hear it again. Meowwwww. Oh gracious.

So I lean down and start to look in the wheel well and up towards the engine. And I see a tiny white face. It’s April O’Neal! I’m elated but that quickly turns to terror. What if she’s hurt? What if she’s burned or smooshed? And she’s too far away for me to reach! What am I going to do? Now I’m panicking again. My only option is to go back in the store and ask the sweet girl behind the counter if her husband (Mr. Meanie) could help. To my surprise, he comes right out! After two or three minutes, he coaxes April O’Neal from under the engine. Thank God!! I was so grateful all I could do was continue to thank him! 5:35am. I scoop up little April O’Neal and deliver her safely to the front porch. I guess “Mr. Meanie” wasn’t so mean after all and maybe today won’t be as bad after all.

How often do we automatically judge people by the way that they look without knowing anything about them? And in judging them, do we give them a fair chance? Are our judgments kind? Why not approach people with open hearts, and in turn, they may do the same. 

“For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7