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Spinning Top Mom: I can’t do it all

I was a Spinning Top Mom, trying to do it all, feeling like I was always failing. It was time to get real, and get okay with letting that spinning top stop.

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It’s time to come clean. I can’t do it all. When I try, I feel like a spinning top, twirling out of control. I can’t do it all, and I quit trying.

Are you a Spinning Top Mom? Trying to “do it all”?

Over mugs of coffee, we’ll all nod in agreement, “of course, we can’t do it all.”

But secretly, I always think, ‘but I could be doing this better, why can’t I do what that mom does? I’m a total failure at this.’

Over mugs of coffee, we'll all nod in agreement, "of course, we can't do it all." But secretly, I always think, 'I'm a total failure at this.'

And, even though we know Pinterest is a liar, we’ll still use that measuring stick to beat ourselves over all the things we can’t do.

Even though we know Pinterest is a liar, we use that measuring stick to beat ourselves up. Click To Tweet

Depending on the day, I probably present a pretty together, homeschooling, Godly mom picture, but that picture crops out the gory details.

A load of laundry has been in the dryer for three days. It is 1 p.m. and I’ve only eaten two peach slices from my daughter’s plate, and we’re probably ordering pizza for dinner.

A load of laundry has been in the dryer for three days. We're probably ordering pizza. Spinning top mom: I can't do it all!

I’ve spent an hour trying to get her to finish coloring a shape worksheet.

Some days I multi-task well, but something always has to give. I cannot make a Pinterest worthy craft, write a deep blog about mothering and faith, provide three healthy meals, clean the house, exercise (and shower again), check the mail, water the plants, have quiet time with God, lesson plan, pay the bills, etc., etc. all in one day. Something has to give – everyday.

Maybe, it’s time to really get okay with that.

Tonight, we really did order pizza because I had two repairmen in the house all afternoon. We’re all sick with a cold. I’m trying to find the groove of homeschooling. I spent too much time explaining “I don’t want to!” is not a valid excuse. It was far from a perfect day.

But when I put my daughter to bed, I asked her what she learned today. She answered, “respect, perseverance, finishing what you start, and obedience, and coloring.”

Apparently, I managed to get the most important thing done today. I loved my daughter. I loved my husband. We ate pretend fruit salad and drank tea. I watched her play and held her hand. She whispered, “I love you” into my ear. I packed his lunch and made the coffee. I had a long overdue catch up with my sister.

Some mothers seem to juggle it all.

They jog, bake, craft everyday and manage to keep all their little people alive while they do it. But their strengths aren’t my strengths, and while their picture might look perfect, perhaps they’ve got gory details hidden in the background, too.

Picture perfect moms might have gory details cropped out of the background of their picture. Click To Tweet

This summer, I’ve dropped a lot from to my do list. Trying to do it all made me feel like the hours were racing away, putting so much pressure on me to juggle and spin the rest of the day into perfect memories, that I was making myself feel crazy.

I didn’t want to spend any more time being a ‘Spinning Top Mom.’ I wanted to be in the moment with the kids as much as possible.

My daughter is in kindergarten, and we’re homeschooling. I’m simultaneously doing too much and not enough as we try to figure this out for our family, but five is already three months gone, the last of her little kid years.

While she will always be my baby, she won’t always be a baby.

I don’t want her to turn six only to realize I missed the best moments trying too hard to do too much.

Ephesians 5:16 ESV “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

I’ve got to use these days wisely. The house work needs to get done – some days, and some days it can wait. We have to triage, set priorities, and focus on what really matters for the season of life we’re in.

That mom I’m jealous of may be in a completely different place than I am, with a totally different journey. I’ve got to let those false comparisons and expectations go.

The mom I'm envying is in a different place on a different journey. Stop the false comparisons. Click To Tweet

Those are the days I remind myself, “Heaven, not Harvard.”

If I’m parenting and living for heaven, what do I need to do for today? pray, read the Bible, be present, honor God with my life; the rest will sort itself out.

As if to make my point, when I tucked her in tonight, she whispered, “You’re the best mom.” “What makes me the best?” I asked. Innocently, she replied, “You love me.” What a wise and perfect answer! I can’t be any other mom, and I don’t have to be.

I’m not a failure, I’m just a mom who is doing what matters for my family today, even if it isn’t the laundry. The spinning top mom stops here.

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Rejected Rock or Cornerstone

Do you ever struggle with feeling rejected? Between gossip and judgmental 'friends', we all do from time to time. But what is God's truth?

Do you ever feel rejected?

I have been really struggling with rejection the past few weeks: gossip, slander, unkind messages, ignored phone calls. Praying and working through this issue, I’ve realized feeling rejected has colored on the canvas of my entire life (but I’m in good company).

I remember being happy and confident as a child. Then the first day of kindergarten, I somehow didn’t fit. I was called cruel names. No one asked me to play during recess. A cruel boy ruined my new ‘cowboy’ boots in second grade when I left them in the coat room. I was rejected and bullied mercilessly throughout elementary and middle school.

Sophomore year, it eased up some as my braces came off and my hair grew out from an unfortunate Dorothy Hamill bob that was NEVER a good look. But rejection followed me to college, into adulthood, even as a military spouse. And I internalized being rejected as definitions of ME.

“I am weird.”

“I am unlikable.”

“I am ugly.”

“I am fat.”

“No one will ever really love me.”

“My thighs touch.”

“I always mess things up.”

“I’m a failure as a mother.”

“I’m not worth loving.”

“I’m not a good enough Christian.”

And Satan uses it all, whispering fiercely into my head and heart.

As Revelations 12:10 says, our enemy accuses us day and night. He is the constant liar.

Do you ever struggle with feeling rejected? Between gossip and judgmental 'friends', we all do from time to time. But what is God's truth?

Even just a few days ago, I lay sobbing from the painful sting yet again. If I am doing this Christ-thing right, why do people reject me? Am I even a good person? Am I a good mom? Am I a good Christian even though some people don’t like me?

1 Peter 2:4-8 ESV  As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”

I read this passage from 1 Peter and realized that I’m chosen and precious to Him. Then I wondered why am I giving these people so much power over my life? What gives them credibility? If it isn’t God, why am I listening!?!

1 Peter 2:4-8 'rejected by men, but in the sight of God chosen and precious. Oh <3 this! Click To Tweet

God chose ME as precious. He reached into my miserable little life and calls me beloved child. He is building me into a spiritual house. If I am being transformed by Him, their definitions do not matter.

“. . . whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

I am so easily manipulated by today. I forget that in the end God won’t let me be put to shame if I’m following His will for my life. Just keep taking one step toward Him each day, the rest will take care of itself.

Jesus was rejected and offended people; He made people angry. They rejected Him to the point of crucifixion. And He was perfect.

I’m not perfect. I can’t expect for everyone to love me. I sometimes have ‘openmouthinsertfoot-itis.’ I can keep growing as a person and Christian, but what I cannot keep doing is letting people dictate how I define myself when God already gave me His definition.

1 John 3:1-2 ESV “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

God’s love defines me. He carves my beauty out of the mud and muck in which I’ve so long been mired.  The Master of the universe chose me before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

How dare I hold onto these labels of lies, of blame, and rejection, questioning who I am, when what I will be has not yet appeared?

Oh, the hope in that appearance, that I will someday appear like Him as I labor to be transformed by Him.

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Haircut Failure

Have you ever known you were making a mistake while you were doing it, and kept at it anyway? I think that pretty much sums up my daughter’s recent, unplanned haircut, for both of us. *SIGH*

Being a mother challenges the worrier in all of us. I’ve struggled with worry. I’m learning to take my worry to God and doing better at leaving it with Him. I hate the scary things in this world, but am learning to seek wisdom and understanding what things I can actually control, and to know when to pray and let it just be on my radar instead of blocking my entire path. And I think I can really see some growth in my heart.

2nd Birthday 014
Hair barely long enough to barrette at 2

Which is why my failure to keep perspective this weekend really threw me for a loop. A vain and silly worry, for sure, but I’ve always been afraid my daughter would cut her own hair. (Let’s just say many women have childhood trauma relating to this issue.) It took 3 1/2 years for her to have enough hair to even get her first “trim”. She only plays with scissors in supervised situations for this very reason. She is my only little girl and selfishly, I wanted her to have pretty hair for me to style.

When she came home from the neighbor’s house on Sunday, something wasn’t quite right. Then, I saw it, several chunks of her hair were missing. The more I looked the more pieces became evident. Someone had made several snips on both sides of her face. My instant emotion was not pretty.

I even heard God whisper, “How you react is important” and I barely paused. My reaction could have been worse, but it certainly did not reflect the grace and love of God, at least not at first. I cried and got loud. I knew it was wrong.

She immediately claimed the neighbor did it. And she isn’t a good liar, but, man, she had commitment, took us 30 minutes to get her to admit she did it.

While she was in time out for lying to us, my husband convicted me of losing control. He was kind and gracious, and acknowledged that I handled it much better than he would have expected from a couple of years ago, but that I still needed to calm down before saying anything more to her. God whispered to me again, “How you react is important.”

I didn’t want him to be right, but he was. And I told him so. We talked and processed, then called the kiddo back into the room. We set punishments for 1) cutting anything other than craft paper, 2) breaking the rules at a friend’s house, 3) lying about what happened, 4) trying to get her friend in trouble. Then she apologized to me and her dad. I apologized for being too upset about her hair when it really isn’t important. Then we prayed. She apologized to God, and so did I. We talked nose-to-nose, our tears mingling as we prayed. Then I scooped her up and wrapped her in love and forgiveness.

But I stayed sad inside. Her hair! I can’t fix it. She cut it in such a way that I don’t think anything but time can mend. And then I felt like even more of a failure for letting vanity be more important than setting a Godly example.

Proverbs 31:30 ESV  “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

If teaching her to be Godly is the goal, then demonstrating true beauty and obedience to God needs to be my default reaction. How can I go into a tailspin over something that really doesn’t matter? Especially when I know His truth.

Matthew 6:25 ESV  “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

I’ve been told my value is in my appearance by every magazine, movie, and billboard. And now that I’ve kind of gotten control over most of my self-esteem/vanity monster, I realize that maybe I’ve just put energy into making her cute and adorable instead of myself. Looks like some time for more growth. God says not to be anxious over any of it, that what we really need, He will provide.

So I’ve spent a few days asking for God to help me grow in this area.

Psalm 119:37 ESV “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.”

And then I felt like a failure for not obeying God, for throwing away a chance to witness to my husband over a few (albeit importantly placed) locks of hair.

But then I was doing my Bible study, A Confident Heart by Renee Swope, this morning and came across this verse.

Revelation 12:10 ESV  “And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.”

The accuser lies to us day and night, whispering to us things like, “You’re a failure.”

Side braid to hide the four different lengths

Well, I failed, I sinned, but I accepted correction. I prayed in front of my family for forgiveness. I am doing my best to change my heart about this issue and learn some new funky hair styles to hide the mismatched strands.

What did Jesus say to the adulteress (caught in the act) that people wanted to stone?

(vs. 10) “Has no one condemned you?”     John 8:11 ESV  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

That is the truth. I have to trust that I’m forgiven because He says I am. I have to learn and do better. Her hair will grow back very, very slowly. And side braids are cute, right?