Yesterday I went to Starbucks.
Normally that’s not a remarkable announcement. But these aren’t normal times, are they?
People—I went to Starbucks!!!! You know, that happy place where they toss strawberries in your Pink Drink and tell you to have a nice day. Where cake pops are shaped like unicorns and for some mysterious reason all the fiscally responsible woman of the world gladly slap down five whole dollars for a cup of jolly joy.
Family life has taken on a whole new dimension lately, thanks to a pandemic that’s keeping most of us in close quarters. If you lacked quality family time before, you might be experiencing an uncomfortable abundance of it these past few weeks. So with moms and dads working from home, surrounded by small co-workers who demand peanut butter sandwiches and assistance with virtual math, how in the world is a married couple supposed to find a moment’s rest—together?
Three days. That’s how long I’d been wearing the same sweatshirt. Of course I changed the tee underneath, I mean, I’m not a total grub—yet. But. I might be in the danger zone.
I have a new approach to parenting. It’s called shut up and listen.
Last week on the drive to school, my seventh-grader was expressing her frustration with a particular class and what she viewed as an injustice in the way the students were being treated. I heard her concerns—my heart ached for her concerns—but then of course, I did what a “good” mom does in this situation.
I pounced on the teachable moment.
We bought a BarxBuddy for our dog. It’s a handheld training device that uses ultrasonic sound to get a dog’s attention and redirect his behavior. We humans can’t hear the noise, but apparently to our dog it sounds like an annoying tuba.
Yikes. That would get my attention, too.
Carpool. Dinner. Laundry. Baths.
Volleyball. Soccer. Business trips. Deadlines.
Church, school, groceries, permission slips.
Selling cookie dough for the club fundraiser—aaaack!!!
We replaced the carpet in our family room last year. Then the kids got blue slime stuck to it.
We bought a new dining table—and somebody pressed too hard with a pencil when writing the grocery list, so now the words “taco kit” are permanently etched in varnish.
My husband and daughters gave me a lovely, delicate cross necklace for Mother’s Day, which I wore with affection and care—until somehow the dog got a hold of it and chewed the clasp to oblivion.
This is why we can’t have nice things.
My daughter and I are reading The Book Thief. It’s a sweeping story of lives intertwined during a period of harsh book censorship in Nazi Germany.
Yesterday, glancing at the book sitting on my kitchen counter, I thought of the freedom of speech we enjoy here in modern America. And I thanked God for letting people like me write books and read books and generally explore any kind of literature or films or websites I want to.
Freedom is a beautiful thing.
For lots of us moms, summer time is cranky time. So I thought we could all benefit from a list of my top 10 tips for becoming a kinder, gentler, sun-shiny mother. You know, the kind who enjoys her kids more than she scolds them. It really is possible! Here’s how.
I don’t get out much.
As a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom, my comfort zone is a 1,500-square foot ranch. The same painted walls, the same piles of dishes, and the same precious faces make up the scenery of my days. My minivan travels to the grocery store, school, church, and occasionally Starbucks for a coffee date. Adventure for me these days is a stroll through the outlet mall.
I’m okay with that. In this season of life, I like to focus inward—on my family, my faith, my casserole recipe book. I don’t suffer from wanderlust because there’s enough to juggle in my six-room home.
My world is small. So sometimes I forget that my God is big—really, really big.
On an hourly basis I probably check my phone a dozen times or more. Email, texts, weather, photos, Facebook, Instagram, Voxer, Lord help me!—these are the weeds that vie for my attention at the same time my children are flipping cartwheels in the grass.
Technology itself is not the devil. I firmly believe Christians have a responsibility to use it for good. But as a work-from-home mom, it’s dangerously easy to let work time leak into family time. And then I start looking at my loved ones as the distraction, rather than the other way around.
Fact is, it’s impossible to bless someone you’re ignoring.