Mama Law, It’s REAL

Here’s one solid truth about being a mama: No matter how you envision your life with children, crazy unpredictable things will happen, and most things never go as planned. It’s called “Mama Law” and you’ll have to get used to it if you want to keep your sanity.

For example, the most vomit your kid will ever produce will only happen in her bed at 2 AM, the school hallway, or at church. It will only happen in your car, where you might actually try to “catch” it in your hands. Vomit won’t happen when your kid is relatively close to a bucket or a toilet. Same goes for an “accident” of volcanic proportions in her pants. That little gem of an experience will only occur when you are on a boat, or at the grocery store.

 

mama law motherhood

 

“The call” from school will come in when you are in the middle of your very first and only “spa day.”  Your head will be in foils, and your nails will be wet. You’ll finally be using that spa gift card (the expired one) your husband gave you two years ago, but you’ll need to leave early. Make no mistake, the call from the school will not come in when you are in the middle of getting your long overdue root canal.

Your son Joey’s friend, the one who has a “cool mom” who doesn’t contribute to the snack schedule or come to his games, will be the best and most popular player on the team. Side note: your son will score his only goal of the season at the only game of the season you can’t attend. 

Mama Law states that you will, at some point, spend a few hours of your time baking homemade cupcakes with frosting and candy decorations made from scratch, only to watch at least 3 kids in your daughter’s class lick the tops, examine them further with crinkled noses, and exclaim that they are gross. In front of you, they will smash them into napkins and throw them away. They might even spit out the mushy contents into the trash bin for dramatic effect. Your daughter’s friend, whose mom sent in 2 boxes of Donut holes, will be hoisted atop her class mate’s shoulders, amid squeals of excitement.

Here’s one that’s fairly embarrassing to talk about: You will finally get your period 6 or 7 months after giving birth, but it will be during the train ride you’re taking to visit your mother in the city. You will not have a pad or a tampon handy, and you will be alone holding your baby and a giant, heavy bag of supplies on your lap. So you will use a diaper. Mama Law states that you will, at some point, stuff a diaper down your pants on a train.

No sooner will you get done judging and shaking your head with a “tisk-tisk” at another mom for something shitty her kid did at school, when your little cherub does something equally or even more heinous, thus landing you front row, center in that special venue most of us visit at some point. I’ll call it the “Mom Shame Karma Club” and you will become a member whether you want to be or not. 

 

mama law

 

There are two Mama Laws that never change from one generation to the next: Your first grader will lose his front tooth (or both!) the night before school photos, and it will take you five whole years to read one whole book. Any book.

Here’s one to ponder: The more you talk about how much you hate tattoos and piercings, the more your teenage child will want one or the other, or both. But if YOU get a tattoo, your child might not think it’s cool anymore. This works in much the same way a Facebook account works. Once you have one, they no longer want it. 

You’ll be on time for pick up 99.9% of the time, but the one time you are late (or you forget to get them all together) will be the only time they ever talk about. And they will bring it up at Christmas 20 years later, after you have lovingly placed a steaming lasagna with fresh mozzarella and homemade gravy down on the table in front of their fat, little faces. They never forget.

The creme de la creme of Mama Law? You will inevitably say something your mother always said. It will fly out of your mouth during an argument with your kids, and you won’t be able to stop it. You’ll go wide-eyed in disbelief and disgust at your words before realizing how very true they are, thus crossing that bridge to the side of life where you must begrudgingly admit that your mother was right all along. When this happens, and it indeed will, you may require a quiet moment alone, because your mother will of course be present when those words fly out of your mouth. And she will smile her quiet little smile of triumph, and you will see her smile and steam will come out of your ears.  

motherhood mishaps funny

 

And lastly, here’s a Mama Law that never fails to surface at some point during the wondrous journey through child rearing: It only snows when you do not have milk, or hot chocolate, or food of any kind in the house, except for some old-ass eggs, and a few stale granola bars. 

Our Mama ancestors actually wrote all these down in a book many moons ago. Don’t shoot the messenger. 

 

kimberly-valzania-bio-pictureKimberly Valzania practices mindful gratefulness. She is creatively driven to write about and share her personal experience and opinions on weight loss, fitness, life changes, adventures in parenting, day-to-day triumphs (and failures), and the truth-seeking struggle of simply being human. As words tumble out, they are sorted into cohesive piles and delivered via poetry and short essays. Her articles are featured on Scary Mommy, Rebelle Society, The Elephant Journal, BonBon Break, The Minds Journal, The Manifest-Station, and Imperfect Parent.  Read more at her website eatpraypost.com.

 

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On the Ugly Business of Comparison: A Letter to Us Moms

Can I say something to all us mommas, something God has been speaking to my heart?

I have been reading in Galatians 5 for a study I am doing. I read it, and it’s like I can hear it written just for us moms on this very real struggle of comparison and the weight of expectation we live under.

Would it be okay if I take my liberties with this passage that was written to the church of Galatia in the first century and write it to us, in our time and just for us moms?

For in Christ Jesus neither is homeschooling nor public schooling nor private Christian schooling anything…

Neither is Walmart nor Target nor Whole Foods. Neither are cloth diapers nor disposables. Neither gluten free, paleo, whole food, nor McDonald’s drive thru. Neither breastfeeding nor bottle-feeding. Neither all-natural home birth, planned c-section, nor begging for the epidural the very second you enter the hospital.

Neither is minivan, jalopy sedan, nor hybrid SUV. Neither is a streamlined chore system nor a pile of laundry sitting on the couch for 3 days. Neither is birthing a child every eighteen months nor stopping after one.

But the only thing that is anything is faith working through love.

mom comparison

Sisters, you were called to FREEDOM. Freedom to prepare bento boxes for school lunches or not. Freedom to adhere to baby-wise or to just wing it. But, sisters, do not turn your freedom into an opportunity to think yourself better than anyone else. THROUGH LOVE SERVE ONE ANOTHER. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you compare, judge, gossip, and try to find yourself a morally superior high ground that is better than one of your sisters, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

But I say, walk in the Spirit…

Motherhood is this vulnerable place. No matter whether you chose to ride into motherhood on the premise that it couldn’t be too hard or whether you read no less than twenty-three books on parenting before you pushed that first baby into the world at some point you will feel clueless.

Even if book-learning and the sage advice of experienced moms could give us a leg-up on this parenting gig, there are things like colic, illnesses in a babe who can’t tell us where it hurts, terrific two’s, even more terrific three’s, mean kids at school, and preteen hormone surges that all level the playing field. And if none of the aforementioned scenarios leave you stumped, there are always those awkward moments, like when your daughter calmly and matter-of-factly announces to company that mom and dad shower together. (?!)

Friends, we all find ourselves feeling clueless, our shortcomings laid bare, and so very vulnerable in this thing called motherhood.

{And don’t we hate that?}

I think in all the beyond-our-control variables of parenting, in all the mistakes we just know we are making, in all the guilt we feel for all things we never get around to…

Our lives shout at us: “You aren’t enough! You need to do better! You need to try harder!” We miss the grace we have been freely given and the invitation to walk arm in arm with the Savior.

Our finite minds seriously miss the eternal view God has of our lives, our kids’ lives, and the way He is beyond able to use it ALL and work it ALL out for His Glory.

We struggle to accept God’s love for us.

We try to do motherhood by law, instead of grace.

We compare ourselves. We play judge. We treat the intelligence and talents of our kids as a competition and as a measure of our worth as parents. We think we have some kind of place to look at another mom’s life and determine whether she’s right or wrong, better or worse. Sometimes in our zeal for whatever passion we have stumbled into, we assume it must be best for everyone.

We look at a mom glowing in her talents, walking in her call, and read her personal excitement as a personal attack on the way we are living life.

We feel like we are somehow less of a mother for bottle feeding when we get up in the middle of the night AND make a bottle. We feel like we are somehow missing our badge of honor because narrow hips required a c-section AND a month of recovery with a newborn. We look at our mess of a home and feel like a failure AFTER a day of errands, wiping bottoms, picking up toys, and feeding… and feeding… and feeding again.

{Could we stop that?}

mom love yourself

I have a feeling the heart of all this originates in the same reason Paul penned Galatians and addressed the Jewish Christians who were preaching circumcision and the Gentiles who were choking on the hard demand.

It’s fear. And it’s pride.

It’s Grace-negating. And it’s freedom-squelching.

Momma, outside of love, there is no law to motherhood. There are only callings and talents and tools.

Follow God’s call for you and your family wherever He leads. Shine in the God-given talents you were given (cooking, organizing, music, teaching, exploring, crafting…) And use the tools that are best for the making of your home and the raising of the precious kids God placed in your care–whether that’s baby-wise, homeopathic remedies, or chore charts.

The only thing that is anything is faith working through love.

So, rather than compare and judge and think we know a sister’s life from the fleeting glimpses of her Instagram account, let’s hold each other up. Let’s pray for each other. Let’s serve one another.

Even in our differences.

ESPECIALLY in our differences.

We are all moms. We all love so big. We are all tilling the fallow ground of a child’s heart: both soft and rocky and full of strong-willed defiance. We are carrying the gospel to an unreached people group—our kids. It’s important work. And, oh sisters, how we need each other’s encouragement. And truly we need a little less zeal for methods and fads and a whole lot more room for grace.

THROUGH LOVE SERVE ONE ANOTHER. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

From one momma to another, I am standing here encouraging you, sister, to let His Grace wash over all your failings, to follow Christ where He leads, to shine in your talents, and to be a YOU kind of momma.

Maybe we could talk about this here? What is the one thing that is hardest to you about motherhood? What is one of the most hurtful comments you have ever heard from another mom? What is one of the most life-giving statements you have ever heard from a fellow mom?

By Grace,

Amanda Conquers

 

Amanda Conquers is a cop’s wife, mom to 3 kids, and a cheerleader for weary women. Most days, she wants to hide in her closet with her secret stash of chocolate because she feels like she’s not quite enough. But Amanda lives holding on to the hope that in spite of all her failings, she shall be called an overcomer yet. You can find her writing her broken stories on her blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

The 7 Types of Moms I’m Grateful For

We need all kinds to make the world go round. And I need all kinds of different moms in my world to help me be better at this big crazy job of motherhood.

The 7 Types of Moms I'm Grateful For

The one that I was pregnant with.

Remember that one time I showed up on your porch when I was pregnant with my first. Crying. For no apparent reason. Except maybe that I thought my husband didn’t understand?  And then in a hormonal rage I said some 4-letter words to him? You brought me back down to the planet earth. You were a couple months ahead of me and you knew what was happening.

Thank you.

The one that was less cautious than me, who taught me to chill the *@#$ out.

You know the mom. At first you look at her and you are like what the *@#$ are you doing? And a few minutes later you’re like “I’m a helicopter parent. Maybe I need to chill the *@#$ out.” And then you send your kid off to do the same thing. Maybe it’s walking to the store for the first time on their own to buy treats, or riding some crazy contraption down the street, but we all need that mom who helps us give our kids a little more leash.

Thank you.

The one who watched out for me on the first day of school when I’d come home alone.

You knew. You were there last year. I wore sunglasses all day and you checked in with me multiple times. Sending your youngest off for all day school is a big day that signals big changes. I’m glad you went before me.

Thank you.

The one who introduced me to yoga pants and the proper way to wear them.

Those are the cool kids. The ones who understood right out of the gates that yoga pants are an underwear no fly zone. Everyone needs that friend, the one that you can ask “Hey – do I wear underwear with these?”.

Thank you.

The ones I use my big girl words with.

To those moms that I escape out to dinner in the dark of the night with. The ones who I use grown up words with and giggle until it hurts. The ones who can hear anything, are up for anything, and wouldn’t judge me even if I did wear underwear with my yoga pants.

Thank you.

The one who told me that they think teenagers are fun.

I’m scared. Teenagers are jerks right? I think I was. But that empty nester that told me that teenagers were her favorite of all and told me all of the reasons why? I need to be her.  She gave me a different perspective on the years that are coming for me full speed.

Thank you.

The one that has younger kids than me, and asked me for parenting advice, and then acted like it was valid and useful.

We’re all winging it – but something makes you feel validated when someone trusts you enough to ask for parenting advice – and then actually thinks it was helpful. It makes me feel like I’m actually learning something from this whole parenting journey.

To you, and all of the other moms out there who’ve given me advice:

Thank you.