Exploits of Mommyhood has reached it's 100th post!
Initially, I started this blog on April 23, 2007 as an online journal; a place to capture my feelings and thoughts as I tread the waters of being a wife and mother in this hectic, challenging world. With ketchup smeared on my shoulder, a baby on my knee and children racing through the house pretending to be dogs (barking loudly and shrilly, I might add) I began to chronicle the hidden channels of my heart.
What started out as intermittent respite from peanut butter and jelly, chasing butterflies and tending to dishes, diapers and other disastrous events, has grown into a continual reprieval from my daily duties whereby I commit my life to observation via the internet, with the intent of learning more about myself and how to best serve God in my role as mom, wife and friend.
Back in 2007, I was the mother of merely 4 children - although another pregnancy was in the works. Sadly, my second month of blogging would see me processing through the grief of a miscarriage, leaving me raw and disillusioned, but maintaining openness and honesty to the few friends who read my blog. Now I am the mother of 6, with preteen children, all the way down to my "almost toddler" baby of the family (who has stubbornly refused to walk for months). To add further excitement and challenge to our lives, it should be noted that my husband and I are beginning our third year of pastoring, placing our lives on stage for constant scrutiny and continual (mostly welcome) intrusion. This career is something I certainly didn't foresee, yet it blends well with our sense of adventure and our love for community.
So just what are "Exploits of Mommyhood"? I thought I'd use this post to give a definitive answer to the name of my blog.
If there is one message and motto that I want to get across through my blogging, it is this:
Your circumstances may define you, but do not let them limit you.
Just because I'm the proverbial stay-at-home mom, swamped with the activities, cares and concerns of 6 youngsters, doesn't mean that I limit my thinking to the confinement of life within the four walls of my home.
I make it a practice to think outside of the box. Yes, you can define me as a married-with-children woman, but that doesn't mean I live in sweat pants, eat K-D and Drive-thru Mickey D's all the time, and live my life through my kids. I am continually seeking the adventure within my situation, or I at least attempt to laugh at myself after I get over the initial shock and horror at the adventures that befall me continually on this journey. (Just as I was writing this blog, my 9 year old son was taking a bath in my "big tub". I told him that once he was clean behind the ears, and his hair was washed, he could turn on the jets for a few minutes (as a treat). Moments later, I heard a forceful spraying and splashing sound and water was shooting upwards, out of the tub like an opened fire hydrant! Apparently, he had turned all of the jets into an upward facing position, so they were sending the water out of the tub, and all over the floor! I had a big freak out for a couple moments, got my pants completely soaked as I fumbled to reach the button that turns the jets off, then mopped up the puddles of water and walked away, shaking my head and attributing the whole situation to the fact that this was one of those "boy" things, and at least nothing was wrecked!)
When I say that circumstances define me, I am acknowledging the obvious in life. Yes, I am female. Yes, I am married... I wake up every morning next to a wonderful man who promised to be by my side til one of us is no longer. Also, I am quite overwhelmingly and obviously a mother if the comments that I get at Wal-Mart and Superstore hold any merit. "Wow, you've got your hands full!" and "Oh... you must be busy!" and the good one... "Have you figured out what causes that yet?!" Thank you. I needed that.
After about the 4th kid, I realized I could handle these remarks in a couple of different ways. I could get snappy and say "What's your problem? Have you NOT figured out how to cause this yet?" or "You must be pretty pathetic if you can't handle more than one child..." But of course, I am generally sweet-natured and wouldn't say something so menacing. Instead, I've found the adventure in having a large family and I've embraced it. I usually reply to people these days with "It's so much fun to have a big family!" or "There's always someone to love and spend time with in my family!" In my circumstance I am merely a mother of many children. Yet, my perspective has reached far beyond the circumstances into believing the best and joyfully embracing the life (and children) with whom I've been blessed.
Let's look in further detail what it is that I've ascribed to an uphold in my not-so-normal life.
World English Dictionary
|1.||a notable deed or feat, esp one that is noble or heroic|
|2.||to take advantage of (a person, situation, etc), esp unethically or unjustly for one's own ends|
|3.||to make the best use of: to exploit natural resources|
Let me be clear: although my children may say that I exploit them on a continual basis, specifically with cleaning, doing dishes, laundry and... gasp... the fact that they must clean their own rooms; I would venture to say that I do not subscribe to the 2nd listed definition of "exploit". (There is really nothing unethical or unjust going on in my home!)
So let's look at the first and second meanings... "a notable deed or feat ", and "to make the best use of ". I'm amazed at how things can turn out despite my circumstances. You might think that you are tired, weak, ignorant and insignificant. You may feel that you are only worth as much as the style of your clothes, the shape of your body and the price tag on your home; additionally you may measure yourself according to whether your children speak 2 languages, excel in school and are involved in all the right extracurricular activities. I've been there! I've lived in that mindset and swallowed the lie - hook, line and sinker. This is where the exploits come into the situation. I feel called to more - despite my situation or circumstances. In fact, I know that I'll be having fun and enjoying life and embracing the adventure whether my bank balance is zero or two hunderd thousand dollars.
For me to be committed to the idea "Explots of Mommyhood" refers to the fact that I can look past lil' ol' me and see the blessing of opportunity. When we had the opportunity to buy a gutted house, and my husband warned me that it would be an immense amount of work and that I would have to put up with a lot of mess and challenge - I became a visionary and imagined my kids happily camped out in the basement of the house, with stud walls and signs of heavy construction all around them - but the opportunity to stay up late giggling and becoming better buddies with each other. It was indeed a larger project than any sane family would take on, but I also found myself counting my blessings throughout the ordeal and developed a heart of thanksgiving.
As I sit here in my bedroom, typing away on my computer with a lovely king-sized bed next to me, painted walls and soft carpet beneath my feet, it still only takes me a moment to conjure up the images of what this room once was like (just 17 months ago). We slept on a double mattress on the floor. There was no drywall seperating our room from the view of the rest of the house. The floors were littered with sawdust and wiring. Boxes were piled up with the necessities, including kitchen gear which we could not use - except when we cooked on the hotplate in our future kitchen (that lacked a kitchen sink, cupboards, countertops...) Oh, and our fridge was plugged in and set up in our bathroom (which also had no walls!). So how on earth did I survive? I thought of what was to come. I embraced the absurdness of this adventure that I was powerless to change. And, on top of that, I knew that what I had: a warm place to sleep and a bed and food - was more than many people in the world have on a daily basis.
Exploits. Making the ordinary extraordinary.
In simplicity what I'm trying to describe is all a matter of perspective. I can touch the lives around me with a love and passion for God, and persistent, unselfish care for others or I can bury my head in the sand of my circumstances and let them be the judge of who I will become.
Whether or not others will follow me on this journey, and whether or not people will continue to read my posts, I'm stuck on this regime of impassioned adventure. Mommyhood at it's best and worst... expressed on a simple website for me to creatively articulate; wide open and honest; available for your consumption in hopes that I may touch your heartstrings, give you something to laugh about and maybe allow you learn from my Exploits of Mommyhood.