Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Allow Me to Introduce...Heather Ann

I didn't have a sister growing up but I had the next best thing--my cousin, Heather Ann! (That's what our Grandma Hall called her.)

For the first part of our lives, Heather and I lived in different states. We saw each other over Christmas and then some vacations in between. We fought like sisters sometimes, but we also had so much fun together. We made up dances to songs and visited the apple orchards in Nebraska City with our parents. We cried and cried when we had to leave one another.

Then, my aunt and uncle moved to Colorado just before my teen years. We were less than 2 hours from one another and have seen each other through graduations, getting married (we made a pact when we were kids to be one another's Maid of Honor, and we were!), having babies, and now raising those little munchkins.

Heather has two little girls, Miriam and Eve, and is married to Daniel. She is an avid lover of all things Disney! She is also a woman of faith, consistency, and sacrifice.

I am delighted to share her thoughts with you about her journey of motherhood. Her honesty is one of her best qualities, and I love her for all the times she's kept me in line but also given me the encouragement I need.

Heather blogs about her life and her family here. And now, it is my pleasure to introduce Heather Ann...


"Job Description"
by Heather Ann Milburn

To me, the word "motherhood" does not posses a sweet, candy flavored taste in my mouth.

I like it. I truly do. But, I don't feel the need to preface every frustration expressed with the words, "I love my kids, but...."

I often ask myself, "How can I complain so much about a job I wanted so badly?" But, complain I do. And, really....who am I kidding? I will probably always complain about it. It's my struggle.

Motherhood is hard!

It's messy.

It's demanding.

It's busy.

And for some reason it always smells like poop.

And the children are only PART of the job description.

There is also laundry, cleaning, dishes, cooking, shopping (not for cute purses like I would prefer), folding, basket emptying, bathroom scrubbing, trash emptying.....you get the picture.

I would like to think that even though my job is tough, I'm pretty good at it. 

 I like organization.

In my meal planning.....

In my children's activities......

In my laundry (this is the CLEAN pile, by the way)....

And I don't like clutter, so I absolutely refuse to let toys pile up like this......

or this.

And I never leave unsightly items on my porch like potting mix or a diaper pail that I was midway cleaning only to get sidetracked by my whiny 3 year old. And if I DID leave a half-cleaned diaper pail on my porch for all the world to see, I certainly wouldn't leave it out there for more than a month week day.

Seriously. Who has a wagon sitting sideways on their porch? Not me. 

And this? Oh this would never happen in my house. I wanted this job, remember? I'm good at it.

Are those chocolate milk stains? Nope. My kids don't drink chocolate milk. Only pure, whole, organic milk in the appropriate increments.

And when I throw my children's birthday parties, in which I do every cutesy Pinterest activity/food I find under the category of "first birthday party" without stressing out or losing sleep/money, I definitely make sure to take it all down before it starts losing its "stick" and falling down on its own 3 months later.......

I am sure to save every piece of art work my child does and proudly display it on my kitchen wall, never daring to throw a piece...or ten....out when they fall down.

Oh this is how my children's room looks everyday! Just in case someone stops by for an unexpected playdate. It's just waiting for some activity.

All of this causes me stress. I wish I could wake up every morning and be thrilled to have another day of play ahead of me

Or attend my small group in the evening in....wait for it....a good mood because " what a blessing motherhood is!"

Pew....smell that? I think it's poop again.

This is my struggle. Not everyday is happy.

But, a lot of them are.........

And all that clutter around my house? My kids really don't seem to mind.....

Although, Miriam does seem to say this phrase more often than not when the house actually is clean, "Wow, Mom! You worked hard at cleaning! Good job!" Seriously....what a sweetheart.

Sometimes I actually snap at my kids! *GASP*

The other day I said the following to Miriam, "You know what makes me so happy? When you are so loving to other kids. You have such a loving heart." And she replied, "You know what makes me happy, mama? When you don't scream at me."

Eek...in case you missed me...I'm the one that just shrunk about 2 feet.
Now, obviously I wouldn't say I "screamed" at my kids. But, in her little 3 year old brain.....I may as well have.

I am a regular mom. With regular kids. And regular complaints. I let my kids actually eat their Easter candy (in small increments). I let them watch TV (which Miriam is doing at this moment so I can finally finish writing this blog). And I try hard not to compare myself to every other mother who seems to do it better. Or at least gushes relentlessly about the gift that is "motherhood."

These negative feelings and urges to play the comparison games weren't in the job description.These feelings of inadequacy and defeat are not present in any other job on the planet. And you know what? They aren't of the Lord.

I was placed on this Earth to be the mother to these children. I may not be perfect at it, but I lean everyday on my Heavenly Father to help me do it better. Through Him, I find opportunities to humble myself and apologize to my children because sometimes mommy sins, too.

I pray that the Lord can help me "do everything with love" (1Cr 16:14), which is especially challenging during discipline.

Or even to "do everything without complaining" (Phl 2:14). It's my struggle, remember?

But most of all, I remember that "I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me." (Phl 4:13) 

It's not my job as mother to teach my children how to be perfect. None of us ever will be, even when we are walking with the Lord. No matter how much I seek Jesus, I will forever be wrestling with my human flesh; whether that be judging, complaining or simply not enjoying that gift that is motherhood.  

My job is to teach them how to run after the Lordhow to move to a kneeling position when they fall down and seek out the only one who can help them stand completely. And to teach them that over and over and over again.

Through doing that, they will find joy.

Even when it smells like poop.

It's all level ground at the foot of the cross; whether it be a child's sin or a mommy's. 

That's not in the job description either. But, it probably should be.


heckert said...

well done heather ann and becca. mommyhood looks great on both of you because of jesus.

Heather said...

Awesome! There is a tshirt that reads, "I yell because I care." If you want, Heather Ann, I can have another one printed for you. I'll bring it this Sunday when you're having English muffin pizzas. You'll know me by our club shirt.

Heather said...

HA! Love. It. I would wear it proudly. Well, maybe....no...yes...proudly. : )

Anonymous said...

Heather Ann - Such a good balance. My daughter is three months along in the pre-mommy stage and I will pass this on to her.