Can I Just Take a Shower?

How long have you gone without a shower? Go ahead, admit it. It’s safe here.

Okay, I see you need a little encouragement. I’m not accusing you of being unclean, nor am I confessing to a life of grime.

And some of you may be saying, What? I shower every day. Yes, I shower regularly, too. But I’m NOT talking about a 5 to 10-minute hop-in with a dash of soap and sprinkle of water. I’m talking something more.

I’m talking a decent shower.

The one where I get to shave – everything that needs shaving – and tenderly glide the razor for a smooth finish rather than slap it down like a potato peeler.

Where I use shampoo AND conditioner, and the conditioner sits long enough to actually do its job.

Where I have enough time to sigh at the warm, watery massage at my back.

Where the mirror fogs up even with the fan turned on.

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Honestly, I thought this would no longer be an issue once the baby stage was over. But it’s still here. And I’m not sure why, except that there’s too much to do in too little time. And before I know it, I’ve fallen asleep again during storytime.

I used to even take a bath now and then.

Oh, sorry. Do you know what a bath is? No, it’s not the thing you give your kids where half the water is dispersed by rubber toys. Or the washcloth serves more as a boat launch than a cleaning tool. Unless they’re cleaning the sides of the tub, of course.

I mean something quite different – a bath for YOU. I remember days where I could take a bubble bath. Sometimes I even lit candles. Jeesh, that’s just a fire hazard now. I’m not sure I even own real candles.

Funny thing. I found this poem I wrote years ago – ironically, even before I had kids.

Is the second door on the right
of the upstairs hallway
A slab of wood
keeps the world locked out

Work and home
yanking me in two directions
so I run the water
to pull me aside

A dripping faucet
drowns my children’s whining
Raspberry bubbles
replace the litter box stench

A flick of my finger
sends a ripple across the tub
and I wish my life’s course
were so easy to change

I can be free
in this warm cocoon
I can restore my soul
with the rise of the steam

I bless the woman
who invented the bathtub
Escape will always be
the second door on the right
of the upstairs hallway

With wishful thinking, we included a whirlpool bathtub in our newly remodeled master bath last year. Needless to say, my kids have used it more than I have.

Let’s face it. We get the short end of the stick at times. Everyone else’s needs come first. Then mine, if there’s something left. Like enough hot water for a decent shower.

Here’s something to consider.

How well can we take care of our family if we don’t take care of ourselves?

A friend shared this with me when I was sick, still going to work, still trying to do all I normally do. She reminded me that I wasn’t doing anyone any favors taking poor care of my family because I was in poor health myself.

So even though a shower is a small thing, small things can make a difference.

And then there’s a big thing. Taking care of ourselves includes letting God in so he can help care for us.

To be honest, God ends up at the bottom of the list, too. How often do I put His needs first? Like His need to connect with me.

I should be reading a passage from the Book instead of checking Facebook. I should be finding quiet moments long enough to give him my thoughts, my fears, my thanks.

I do pray often, but it’s usually in passing. Like when I’ve avoided a car accident with quick reflexes – thank you God for looking out for me. Or when we hear an ambulance siren – please God, help them get there in time. It’s during mealtime or bedtime, interspersed with my kids’ innocent words about having a good day at school or work.

The times I do focus on prayer on my own, random thoughts distract me – a bill I forgot to pay, a button that needs sewing on my coat, a birthday card I need to get – and steal my attention, like a dog seeing, Squirrel!

     He is a rewarder of them
that diligently seek Him.
                                       Hebrews 11:6

We should be seeking him, because he can meet our needs. He will take care of us…but we need to let him in.

Now that I think about it, who’s to say the shower can’t be my time of prayer?

Aha! The next time I want that decent shower, I think I’ll announce to the family:  “I’m pretty sure God needs me to come clean. I’ll be unavailable for the next 25 minutes.”

Dare I say…I’ll be taking a bath. 🙂

10 wrongs vs. 1,000 rights

I’m a loving mother.
I’m a patient mother.
I’m a kind mother.
I’m a forgiving mother.
I’m a hypocrite.

For all the valuable insight I’ve discovered through this blog – my anger triggers, best approaches for discipline, ways to see the positive, reminders of what’s truly important – despite all of it, I’m still screwing up.

Some days I feel like an absolute hypocrite.

Am I loving when I nag, bark, and clench my jaw over something trivial?
Am I patient while reminding my son 3 times that we’ll be late if he isn’t ready in 2 minutes?
Am I kind when I tell my 8-year old how sick I am of seeing clean shirts on his floor?
Am I forgiving after seeing my toddler drop a full toilet paper roll in the toilet by accident?

When these things happen, I wonder where that patient mom from yesterday went. The one who spoke calmly and softly and achieved success thwarting a tantrum. The one who ignored the spilled juice, cleaned it up, and went back to snuggling for a movie.

Where did the better me run off to?

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Some days I think, How can I even be writing this blog? When I still keep screwing up?

Screwing up at this parenting thing is one of my biggest fears. I fear that my aggravation will seep too deeply into my kids. That they’re absorbing more of the harshness than the kindness. That they’re witnessing more impatience than patience. And learning the wrong way to handle frustrations.

But this weekend I saw something beautiful. A reminder that I must be doing something right. That I’m not screwing up completely.

It’s right there in my boys. My proof. My reminder that…

          Even with the 10 things I do wrong, I do a 1,000 things right.

We were eating out when my older son saw a crack in his straw and wondered whether it would still work. Before any of us had time to give it any thought, my 3 year old got out of his chair and ran up to the teenager at the counter to ask for a new straw for his brother, because his was cracked. “Here you go!” he handed a new one to him.

I saw my cautious toddler acting without question, putting his brother’s need ahead of his own shyness, running to his rescue without a single hesitation. Such kindness and love wrapped up in one small act.

Later this weekend my oldest was playing with a friend in the yard. They were flying their drone, a small helicopter with sharp blades and a charged engine. His brother wanted to join them. I saw my oldest gently steer him away from the takeoff spot. “Stand back here. I’m not doing this to be mean,” I heard him say. “I just don’t want anything to happen to you. I don’t want you hurt.”

I heard the concern, not only for his brother’s safety, but also for potentially hurt feelings. Even more impressive to me was how intuitive he was at addressing those feelings even before it became a problem. Yet another act of kindness, patience, and love.

Proof that I must be doing something right.

Because I AM loving. I tell them every day. 10 times a day. With warm meals, clean sheets, and folded clothes. With hugs, kisses, and whispers in their ears. I look in their eyes and confess it aloud. I tell them at bedtime, before school, and for no reason at all.

I AM patient. Like with my toddler’s exuberance over his new Paw Patrol pajamas, which I’ve washed three nights in a row now. 🙂

I AM kind. I dry tears. I blow on scrapes and kiss bruises. I listen to their fears and hold them after a nightmare. I lift them up with encouragement. I praise their accomplishments.

I AM forgiving. The carpet stains prove that, right? It has no value whatsoever to me compared to my children. So I just keep cleaning it. Until I save enough money to finally throw it out!

I’m hoping that through my confession to continuously messing up…you won’t feel so alone.

We’re all human. We screw up. We don’t recognize the 1,000 rights because we’re so focused on the messes we make.

But no matter how many times I fail, I’m going to try again. Every day is a new day. Every hour is a chance to start over. Even every minute can be handled differently.

     Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord upholds his hand.
                                       Psalm 37:24

In the middle of our continued efforts – and especially on the days we struggle – this reminder needs to be heard. By all of us.

Say it out loud. Write it on a post-it. Tell yourself this instead of focusing on the messes you make.

          You do a 1,000 things right. Every. Single. Day.

Now, watch those kids of yours and see the proof in them. It’s there. I guarantee it.

I’m Hiding the Pudding!

Ever have one of those days?

Where the tireless mom tasks go unnoticed? You’re pretty sure no one is aware of half the stuff you do. And any stuff they are noticing is met with disappointment or tears.

I don’t want to go to the grocery store. I don’t want chicken for dinner. Why didn’t you wash my Nike sweatshirt?

Today was one of those days.

In fact, I told myself all day, “You shouldn’t write a post today. You’re feeling resentful toward the family. How are you going to find something positive in that?”

Then I thought maybe that was the point of the blog. My opportunity to turn things around if I just take the time to think about it differently.

But I’m sitting here at my computer, staring at a cup of chocolate pudding, and it’s hard to think of any positive spin. I told myself I couldn’t eat the pudding until I finished my post. Ugh! What’d I do that for?

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This pudding is just one example of feeling unappreciated, even invisible, at times.

I remember the last time I craved chocolate pudding and picked some up at the store. By the time I remembered I had it, it was eaten. I’m pretty sure that was within 24 hours. Did anyone ask if I wanted any? No. Did anyone ask why I had bought it (when typically I don’t)? Nope. They just gobbled it up.

BTW, cooking is not my forte. I dislike the planning, purchasing, and preparing. But the last two weeks, I’ve been trying new recipes – making good meals for the family – where we can sit at the table together and connect after a busy day. I’m 0 for 4 so far. For all my extra effort, I usually hear, “What is that?” before dinner is even finished. And that’s not just from the kids.

And if you’ve read my past posts, you know I try to find ways to be the fun mom. But honestly, I’m the one that’s constantly taking care of stuff, and it never seems like there’s time to just stop for fun. So when my oldest returned home after spending the day doing fun stuff with Dad, and I had missed seeing him, he laid down to watch a movie snuggled on the blanketed living room floor with…you guessed it…Dad.

I know they love me. But one thing after another today made me feel distinctly unloved. And very unappreciated. And sorry for myself. And many times I just wanted to cry.

Do you ever feel this way?

So here’s what I’m telling myself…and you. Hide the pudding!

You deserve it, and by golly, no one is going to go to the store when you have that craving and get some for you. 🙂

Seriously, though, you need to know that all your effort, out of love for your family – well, most of the time, it’s out of love – is seen and noticed. By Him.

Did you know there’s only one person in Scripture to ever name God? It’s Hagar, the maidservant who conceives for Abram and his wife Sarai. She fled after harsh treatment from Sarai’s jealousy. When an angel encourages her, she names God, El Roi, the God who sees. Because she felt truly seen by Him.

He sees us every day.

  • He sees you handle difficulty at work because you missed a day to be with your sick child.
  • He sees you fighting for patience during a bedtime tantrum after 10 hours of work.
  • He sees how badly you want to – but don’t – give up on your consistent discipline with a whining child.
  • He sees you fall into bed after working a full day, running errands, making dinner, emptying the dishwasher, helping with homework, doing a load of laundry, paying bills, and falling asleep during story time.
  • He sees that despite your feelings of self-pity and disappointment, you love your family and will continue to tirelessly be all you can be for them.

     The Lord looks from heaven;
he sees all the sons of men; from
His dwelling place He looks out on
all the inhabitants of the earth, He
who fashions the hearts of them all,
He who understands all their works.
                                       Psalm 33:13-15

So when I feel like giving up because no one is noticing all that I’m doing anyway, I can count on my all-seeing savior to notice, even if my family doesn’t. Which means I keep doing it. And I can let go of the resentment, because there is someone who sees me and knows my heart.

But I’m still hiding the pudding. In fact, I may eat two cups tonight. After all, I finished my post. 🙂


RECIPE SUCCESS – BTW, if you have any good, family-approved recipes to pass on, let me know. Although I have to warn you. I have NOT been making anything strange. I’m using honestly good recipes from other moms. But they’ve disliked the homemade tomato soup (despite loving the Campbell’s version), chicken & gravy over noodles, chicken with shells & cheese, and ham & potato stew. Seriously. One of them is mac-n-cheese, people! I’ve decided it’s not me. It’s them. 🙂

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