Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mom Moment's - May Carnival

This month's "South Africa Carnival of Home Schooling" blog carnival is hosted by Karen and the brief was as follows :

 " this month, I'm wanting to write about those "Mom Moments" (I love Karen Andreola's term Mother Culture): - I'd like homeschooling moms to really share about the struggles they face, and the ways in which they tackle those black days, AND how they recover from those days, how they refresh and revitalize themselves, and find/make time for themselves and the things they love to do. 
My hope is that it would encourage us all, and remind us that no man (or woman) can survive as an island. "


I haven't contributed to the blog carnival in a while and perhaps that is because I have been trying to cope with the struggles which our family have faced over the last while. I have written other posts because I have wanted to.... but "having" to think up a post has not been at the top of my list of things to do. I felt it was important to rise to this challenge though, as often blogs only portray the good times. 

Our lives have been affected in many ways since hubby's loss of employment near the end of 2010. We are now almost mid way through 2012 and he has struggled along, putting his CV out there, doing jobs where and when they come you can well imagine that it has not been an easy time. Certainly stretching us in faith and growing us! There have been many ups and downs affecting me as "Mom" during this time. We all know that when Mom has moments, it affects the whole family. 

Alongside this, I am dealing with our 3 very different, precious children at different stages of their education and lives...a tween and two teens and then, recently added to the daily mix, our sweet baby cousin and nephew of almost 13 months.  Some days just seem insurmountable and I would love to disappear and run away from my responsibilities. But that is not an option!
I have found that there are practical things in different areas that I can do to help me cope with such days....

* Having my own quiet time and prayer is important, even if it is just five minutes when I am in the shower! It helps me to remain focused on Him, our Abba Father. My security needs to be in Him and not in my circumstances. This has become more important to me of late and I have been enjoying a study on 1 Corinthians 13. It has helped me to focus on the way I talk to my precious family and how I handle various situations that arise. 

* I have got into the habit of seeking out and counting my blessings daily. No matter what I am facing, there is ALWAYS something, no matter how small, that I can give thanks to God for. I recently read the following:
"In moments of discouragement, defeat or even despair, there are always certain things to cling to. Little things usually: remembered laughter, the face of a sleeping child, a tree in the wind- in fact any reminder of something deeply felt or dearly loved. No man is so poor as not to have many of these candles. When they are lighted, darkness goes away- and a touch of wonder remains." (tombstone inscription in Britain)
I have been also been able to share with the children how important it is to give thanks daily- it helps to lift our eyes from circumstances.

* Our Bible time and prayer together at the start of the day are important too. Each member of the family has the opportunity to give thanks as well as pray for specific needs or requests.

* A brief chat with the  children after Bible time, regarding the days plans/ expectations always seem to make the day run better. 
* I try to plan the evening meal in advance so if I need something to defrost, it is taken out in the morning.

* Making sure the children are well rested and that I have enough sleep too is important - I can be a late night owl so I really need to be disciplined in that area!
* On days that I have a had a bad night, I try to fit in a power nap.... works wonders for me and it means I can get through the evening without having bad mom moments!
* On weekends, if we are not too busy, I try to have at least an hour long nap.

* When one child requires dedicated input with no interruptions, I make sure the others have something they can go on with alone. With a baby in the house, this has become more important. The children have work they can do alone when he is busy and boisterous and then when he naps we focus on work that needs my input. Afternoons, when he has gone home are also focused learning times.
* On days when difficult lessons are not going to work, we read and read and read some more...we learn so much together through our read aloud times.
* If all else fails, we watch an educational movie.
* Or we get out of the house....a bit of fresh air can smooth many things over.

Household duties:
* As my children are big enough, they help with chores like washing, dishes, feeding pets, making lunches, meal preparation or cooking and more. They each know what they have to do and usually it runs smoothly. This has also changed over the last while as we used to have help in the home twice  a week. The adjustment has not been easy but instilling the value of team work and helping one another has been good for us. Hubby will cook dinner once a week usually, which is an enormous help. Our teen daughter is also very helpful with meal preparation.
* When a child is not feeling great, has a task that is keeping them very busy or exams, it is often easier for me to quickly do their chores to bless them rather than have a moment because it has not been done.

* My friends are special, and though I may "hide away" when days are tough, catching up over a quick coffee and chatting is usually a great "pick me up". Sometimes just sharing a quick chat on instant messaging is helpful too.
* I am positive I have one of the best neighbours in the world- she is such a gem and though we may not visit each day, we are in daily contact and help one another out with lifts, share quick cups of coffee and can count on one another. She treats my kids like her own and has often been able to have meaningful conversations with them. They know they can escape mom if she has a moment and hang out next door!
* My children are all at the age when they can understand that Mom may be having a "moment" or difficult day and so a little conversation can go a long way in helping them to understand the situation, making them more willing to help where they can with things that need to be done and restore some harmony to the home. My sweet daughter will often offer to pamper me with back massages, pedicures and manicures when she knows I am struggling. My youngest will often hug me, saying "You just need a hug mom".
* Hubby also plays a big role in conversations with the children and smoothing mamma's ruffled feathers...he is generally a calmer person than me and his listening ear always makes me feel better. He has a way of seeing things in a different light too, which can be very helpful.
* A good long chat (and sometimes a cry) with my own precious mum or one of my two precious sisters often helps me to see things from a different point of view and to keep putting one foot in front of the other. 

Though I try not to, at times I blow it ...... 
I talk harshly instead of kindly, or perhaps I may be sterner than necessary where grace is needed.
Recovery and restoration comes in the form of hugs and humble apologies,
admitting my short comings to my precious family, talking it out and finding possible solutions.

As for "me time", our children are big and baby is only here until lunchtime so there does not seem to be the need for me to make time for myself as such. I can enjoy the things I enjoy around the home without them needing my undivided attention. Often they come alongside me and join me in the garden or the kitchen or having some down time watching a movie or resting quietly with a book.  Very different to a Mom of little ones.... but part of the joys of having been there and done that!  

I truly want my children to remember their home as being a happy place. A home where, despite troubles, they are loved and learn to forgive and show grace and love to one another. 
A home where laughter and fond memories are made.

This is the May 2012 Blog carnival  which is part of the South African Carnival of Homeschool Blogs. To join the carnival or visit past carnivals visit the SACHS Blogs page. We hope you enjoy browsing!


  1. Hi Wendy - what a lovely and thoughtful post - I am confident you are going to be a great source of encouragement to many mothers! And thank you for sharing so honestly too!

  2. A truly honest, inspiring, beautiful post. Thank you for being real. Love you so much. xxx

  3. It's hard isn't it? When the pressure points are all pressing - and every day has so many challenges already. Thank you for sharing these struggles, for being real.Its not always easy to be so open and transparent and yet saying what you have brings encouragement to a lot of others.

    And as for your children, they are amazingly sensitive and astute! What a blessing they must be.

  4. Hi Karen, Cath and Mel. Thanks for stopping by. I hope that others are encouraged :) and thank you for your kind words.

  5. "Our Bible time and prayer together at the start of the day are important too. Each member of the family has the opportunity to give thanks as well as pray for specific needs or requests."

    I love this. We don't get to do this as a whole family, and it is something I long for. How precious it must be to cling to this regular time together with the Lord. Thanks for sharing these struggles and for the hope you spotlight in how you cope. I pray for you often, dear Wendy! Hugs to you.


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