What kind of Mom am I?

Most Moms, sometime during their motherhood, have a complex (or Mom-plex) with their identity as a Mom.
What kind of Mom am I?
As soon as the baby is born, the crisis comes. Must. Decide. Right. Now.
The pressure is on. The expectation is there. What kind of mom will I be?

Beeecause…In 2013, you can be any mom you want to be – ALL the MOM magazines say so:
the best Housekeeper
the most Organized
the Designer
the Scrap-booker
the Baker
the Runner
the Seamstress
the Photographer
the Writer
the Farmer
the most Fashionable
the best Documenter
the Angry mom
the Weary mom 
the Funny mom
the Kindest mom
the Friendliest mom
the going to School mom
the Working mom…

Aaaand… adding fuel to the fire of a Mom-Plex is you must also be a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest Mom.

Aaaand… the labels we attach to the Mom-Plex crisis in acronym form:
SAHM – stay at home mom
MOPS – mother of preschoolers
WM – working mom
MOT – mother of teenagers
OM – older mom
GM – grand mom
(YGTP – you get the picture…it’s enough to make every mom want to hide in the bathroom. forever.)

We tend to attach to the label we identify with when we are at our best and worst.

WHY MOMS???
Why do we do this to ourselves???
Stop the madness. 
It’s a WOT – waste of time. WOM – waste of money. and WOE – waste of energy.
(These are acronyms Adam and I made up a long time ago to make ourselves laugh in the face of situations we like to put labels on)

This week I had the opportunity to speak to a lovely group of MOPS ladies (who also happen to have preschoolers… and other children of various ages) at their MOPS meeting.
I was dressed up and ready to go as a fashionable mom, looking super ‘put together’ with my scarf and all. I packed up my kids, dropped off the two oldest at school, and headed to the meeting with my preschooler. As soon as I was on the road, I realized I only had one earring in. I almost turned around to go back home and get it, but I didn’t want to be late for the meeting (I’m late for almost everything, and this time I was trying really hard to be on time). So I turned around from almost going back home and ended up behind a tractor. Going 2 mph. Seriously? And it was raining. People in Ohio can’t drive in the rain. Oh well. 

It wasn’t worth getting angry. Years ago, I would’ve flipped out.
I had done that prior to a MOPS meeting once before…

When Soleil was a year-ish old, I was involved in the MOPS group at our church. I was running late to one of the meetings (no surprise) and stressing out (also, no surprise) when my stress was heightened to the point of anger (again, no surprise). I boiled over in a temper tantrum much like a two year old and kicked our kitchen cabinet. I thought I had broken my toe. I was angry enough to kick my kitchen cabinet because I was running late to a MOPS meeting? Really?! It made no sense what.so.ever. The last place I should be stressed out because I’m running late because I can’t pull my mom-crap together is a meeting. FOR MOMS. 

When I arrived (late), I hobbled in, looking weary and much like a stressed out mom. Perfect. I’m at a Moms meeting. So I confessed my plight to one of my mom friends. She laughed at me and told me it made her feel better to know I had anger issues, and to know she wasn’t the only stressed out mom who runs late to Mom meetings.   

Whew. This time was different. Miraculously I made it on time to speak at the MOPS meeting, in spite of the tractor and the rain… with my one earring, my one preschooler, and my heart to share my story. 
Me. And my one earring.

Just be who you are created to be… a mixture of all (or none) of the above… A Beautiful Mess. 

Moms. You’ve heard it and read it before. But you don’t believe it. We don’t have to have it all together.  In fact, if you do (supposedly) have it all together (which I highly doubt is even possible), it’s probably because you’re spending too much time on yourself and not enough time with your kids. Being a MOM.

The more honest we are with ourselves, the better Moms we will be. Today, we can proudly wear any kind of mom label we want to… but there’s something deeper… A stirring to be the Moms we are created to be. Maybe it’s something as simple as admiring the kind of mom your Grandma was, or aspiring to be a Little House on the Prairie Mom, like Caroline Ingalls. You don’t have to have a Mom-Plex. Shed the Mom labels you’ve found yourself tagged by, if they don’t reflect who you truly are. There is freedom. Ask. Pray. Seek. to be the Beautiful Mom-Mess you are created to be. 

In Him, Leslie

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folding laundry for Jesus

yesterday was one of those days i’m not immune to…
running all over my house -with plenty of things to do- while accomplishing very little.

well, i did take care of a few things-
the kids needed a ride to their elementary school, so i drove them.
our plumber came over to fix our leaky sink, and i let him in the door.
the dirty dishes were sitting in the sink, and i loaded them into the dishwasher.
the kids room was a disaster, so i cleaned it up.
my family was hungry at dinnertime, so i made dinner.

and before i knew it, evening had come.
i went downstairs to switch out a load of laundry, and it all felt pointless.
really, my whole day felt pointless?
yea. just a little.
hmmm. well, at least i washed a load of laundry…

my thoughts were caught up in what i hadn’t done, should’ve done, could’ve done… 

sometimes i feel as if it’s me against the house. 
and i hate feeling that way… because although i am a homemaker, stay at home mom, non-working outside-of-the-home-mom, or however else you want to label it… 
i don’t exist for my house… 
but i still have to take care of it.

as i bent down toward the dryer, i saw this note my girls had left me a few months ago when they had surprised me, and helped with the laundry without my asking them to. 
i have left their note on the dryer door because i love it! and it reminds me our kids are wonderful helpers! 
and as i was pulling the laundry out of the dryer it struck me – i can fold this laundry for Jesus.
usually, the laundry stays in a pile on the floor. or on the bed. or both. 
sometimes it takes me weeks to put all the laundry away, and the cycle never ends.
folding and putting away the laundry is the chore that is always procrastinated… until the next round of clean laundry is thrown into the pile.
the kids are used to looking thru a pile to find their clean clothes.
and if i do put the laundry away right away, it’s usually shoved into the drawers.
pathetic, i know 😉
  
if i look at the chores at home thru the lens of it being another part of my never-ending “to-do list”, i will always be overwhelmed.

many of things we have to do in life can seem pointless and go unnoticed…
but my heart is seen. my attitude is seen. and my worship is seen.
by Jesus. 
i can please Him by worshipping Him at all times, no matter what i’m doing.
whether i’m leading worship on a Sunday morning, or folding laundry… it’s all for Him.
i exist for Him.

today, i am folding laundry for Jesus. 
what are you doing?

In Him, Leslie

kick the box.

on Sunday we went to church…
I worshipped, experienced God’s presence, taught in children’s ministry, and had some fellowship.
then we left church, drove our one-minute commute around the corner, came back home…
aaaaaaand then… i had a meltdown.

the kids were whining.
the dog was annoying.
cold symptoms were lingering.
my patience was thinning.

I’m hungry!
I lost my Lego!
I can’t carry everything!
I wanna watch a movie!
I wanna play Mario!
I wanna let the dog back inside!
bitch – moan – gripe – complain – blah – blah – blah.
yes, even the Pastors kids act up. shocker.
fighting, arguing, dogs’ water splashing, mom. spiraling. losing. control…
I can’t take it anymore!!!

*blink blink* uh oh. mom’s pissed. silence fills the room.
the kids were quiet.
i went downstairs.
and kicked the crap out of an empty box in the garage.

now before you freak out and think ‘she has iiii-ssues’, i will be the first to admit – i do. 
i have anger issues. i lose my temper. i over-react.
and you can read about previous temper tantrums here, here and here.
and you will read about more tantrums that are sure to fill my future, if you continue following my awesome blog. *yes, this a plug* you should follow my blog.

and i digress… nothing new.
but this is not about ‘how can i keep from becoming angry and losing it’?
the real question is…what triggered my outburst?
routine. boredom. comfort.
same old-same old. day in-day out. nothing changing. nothing new happening.
i am called to something more… something different… something new…

there is a line of thought which celebrates – ‘hooray for routine’! 
routine is best for kids. you need to set up a schedule.
get more organized. develop a chore chart.
your life needs more balance.
ugh. i hate, loath, detest the word balance. i have been known to use that word on several occasions and when i catch myself saying it, i have to stop and re-phrase.
life is not about balance.
a balanced life suggests everything is in sync, in order, just right, perfect.
guess what? perfection doesn’t exist. 
routine is defined as a detailed course of action to be followed regularly; a standard procedure. a set of mechanically performed procedures or activities.
well guess what? i am not a robot.
routine is o.k. for my workout plan, but not for my life.
screw routine.

and this past Sunday, after my lil’ meltdown – after i kicked the crap out of the box in the garage – i came upstairs and laid on my bed for a few moments. gathered my thoughts and became a better mom. i talked with the kids. talked with Adam when he got home from church. and have since then changed things up. 

God gently showed me ~ in His great kindness and mercy ~ these routines have taken root in my day to day and become bad habits. for me. for the kids. for our family life.
***
God is creative! He is always moving, working, growing, renewing, restoring, changing, on and on and on and on and on… for our good.
I want to live life in His image ~ as a new creation! Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
Life with Christ is an adventure. 
it is never boring. never comfortable. never routine.

on a recent car commercial i heard this quote. i tweaked it (adding the ‘on the dreams of’ part) and love it.
Inspiration dances on the dreams of the daring. 
***
my suggestion? dream with God. be daring. take risks. get worked up. screw routine. make a change. and if you need an extra wake – up, maybe you need to kick the box.

simplicity.

today is day #4 of wearing the exact same outfit.
i didn’t begin the week intending to wear the same outfit four days in a row…
but as it happened, there was a surprising freedom found.
Monday I put on the jeans i wore on Sunday {so technically it’s been 5 days of wearing the same jeans} and the tank tops, sweater, boots and scarf to make the outfit. then on Tuesday, i had a bunch of ladies and their kids coming over for a Bible study in the morning, so it was just easier to throw on the same outfit than to waste any extra brain power on thinking of something different to wear. then on Wednesday, my mind was on what i was going to wear later for halloween.  
not really.
just kidding.
{as a side note} our halloween clothing was a pretty simple decision:
i dressed as *myself* ~ a super cool mom with a coffee addiction.
the wee babs dressed up in sweet hand-me-down costumes we already had.
score.

Photo: Me & Les!! :-) http://instagr.am/p/Rdw2KtzQl4/
me with my friend Kristen ~ another super cool coffee addicted mom 🙂
Photo: My ballerinas and Iron Man :) #Halloween http://instagr.am/p/Rdy5-opGTu/
the wee babs ~ two ballerinas and an iron man

i think we all looked pretty cute 🙂 

so even though i was not thinking about halloween outfits on Wednesday morning, my mind was distracted *as usual*… hence, i took a whiff of the jeans and sweater and thought they smelled fine…ish. {and believe me, i know a thing or two about wearing stinky pants} i threw on the clothes, sprayed on some perfume and went out the door. then on Thursday, i was running late getting myself ready and forcing the kids to get ready for school… and you guessed it: the same outfit went on again…for the fourth day in a row.
now let’s be sensible. yes, i took a shower. yes, i changed my underwear.
but i have worn the same tank tops, sweater, boots and scarf for the past 4 days…and the same jeans for 5 days.

when i was in college, there was a fellow student in my biology class who wore the same outfit every single day.  he wore a denim button down shirt and jeans.  i always wondered if it was just on the days we had biology… but the other days i would see him around campus, he always had on the same outfit. i wondered why he wore the same outfit everyday, but i never asked him…

maybe it was just easier.
maybe he hated shopping for clothes.
maybe he didn’t have money for more than one outfit.

maybe it was just for the sake of simplicity.

i like clothes. and shoes. and bargains.
i’m not a big spender or a name brand snob, but i do like new clothes. and shoes. especially boots.
there are times in my life when i shop more, and other times when i give things away and forsake all further shopping.
when i do go shopping, i can easily get caught up in a buy/regret/return cycle.
and with 3 wee babs to buy clothes for, this cycle can triple itself.
this can be exhausting.

so for me, it really is better to keep it simple.
and wear the same outfit.
i mostly wear the same things anyway.

so this week i didn’t intend to wear the same outfit four days in a row…
but i am thankful i did…
it reminded me of how much i have… and how little i truly need.
it reminded me of how little the majority of our world lives with…
compared to the excess we live with.
it reminded me of the Pioneer times when American people owned very little clothing… an outfit or two for the work week and another dress for their ‘Sunday best’.
it reminded me how we are blessed with more than enough… and how quickly we can be burdened by living with too much.

i’m thankful for the surprising freedom found in wearing the 
same outfit this week.
simplicity.


what have you simplified in your life?

Birth Story ~ Salem

On September 2nd, 2006 our Bubs ~ Salem Charles Babcock was born.
This is his story. 

we found out we were pregnant in January 2006.  so excited is an understatement.
the pregnancy was going great. at 20 weeks, we found out Salem would be a boy. his due date was September 4th, and we couldn’t wait to meet our little man. 
life was grand with our sweet Soleil. we were pumped for her to have a little brother. P.A. was also pumped to [finally] be having a little boy. 

so the months went by and summer came.  june was a hot month and I was one hot mama. i had been through pregnancy before with soleil’s birth and was pretty much an expert. i began to think, ‘let’s just skip these last few months of ankles swelling, raging hormones and increasing crankiness’… 
and just have a baby. 
but it doesn’t work that way… still, there were some days i even managed to convince myself i would go into early labor.  i was in such a hurry to have him.  once i thought i really was in labor and we went to the hospital early, only to be sent home. finally, September rolled around on the calendar.  i was so anxious. on that Saturday, September 2nd, i woke up at 4am and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I read my Bible and wrote in my journal. 
labor had begun.
however, i had myself convinced it wasn’t labor. i didn’t want to go back to the hospital only to be sent home. so i talked myself out of it.  i muffled my way through contractions that day and we went on our merry way.  my mom had just come into town the week before. we went to run errands: Sam’s club, Marshalls, Kohls. and for lunch we ate mexican food [a big mistake] i would find out later. and as we were sitting at the mexican restaurant, i hesitantly began to believe i was really in labor. we started timing my contractions only because my mom made me. 
yes, did you realize that even at age 29 your mom can make you do something?  
it’s true. 
my mother knows best. thanks mom. 
otherwise, he might have been born under the table. 
playing with daddy’s hand at the restaurant while i’m in labor
 after lunch, we walked around the mall at Easton and went to Barnes and Noble where Soleil played with the “chu-chu” for a little while. i figured lots of walking and activity could only help progress this lil’ labor to move along, so i was all for never going back home. and procrastinating going to the hospital for as long as possible.  at Barnes and Noble, we timed my contractions, as they increased in strength and intensity, until *again* my mom made me strongly suggested we prepare to head to the hospital.  and she was right *again*. here we are waiting for our friend Stacy to pick up Soleil, before we went to the hospital. 

3 generations 🙂
the next few hours were a whirlwind of activity and waiting.  we arrived at the hospital around 7:30pm, and my friend Amy met us there.  i had my support posse in place, and found out i was dilated btwn a 3-4. things were moving along, but not really fast enough for me, so we took a little walk around the maternity ward.  that was fun until i threw up my mexican lunch from earlier all. over. the. carpet.
  “Clean up in the maternity hallway!”   
i continued laboring in the room and was barraged with a bunch of labor questions from one of the nurses.  she had impeccable timing *during* each contraction.  i had answered so many questions prior to labor and filled out a laundry load of paper work, so i didn’t understand why she was asking me again the same questions. i was growing irritable. i was waiting for her to ask me, “do you prefer Dr. Pepper or Coca Cola?” “Is your favorite color blue?”  etc… Adam & my mom fielded most of the questions and Amy made jokes to keep me distracted. jokes are one of her spiritual gifts. 

finally…
a few hours, a few strong contractions and a few pushes later at 11:27pm ~ 8 lbs 3 oz of awesomeness entered the world.

Big Sissy!
Our Bubs ~ now he’s a big six year old! Salem is an amazing boy full of energy, compassion, love and laughter.  we are so grateful to have him as our son.  he brings us joy every. single. day.
Birthday Boy~loves his homemade Super Mario characters from Soleil 🙂
Happy Birthday Bubs! We love you and are so excited to share your birth story today!