Friday, January 27

Confessions of a Crabby Mom

I have been a crabby momma lately...

Just putting it out there...All the cards on the table...

It's partially the time of year-- Buffalo gets gray, gray, gray around this time...Sometimes I don't even realize it's impacting my mood and then we get a sunny day and I'll be dancing in the streets and inviting the whole neighborhood over and wondering, "Whoa! Where'd you come from lady?"

It's partially the season of life that I am in, and admitting that makes me makes me feel like my love for my girls should overwhelm any frustration, discouragement, and irritability I have about the day to day responsibilities of raising them, yet it does not.

If I'm being totally honest, I hear my husband on the phone somedays, talking to colleagues, and I find myself thinking, I want to talk to colleagues. I want to have creative planning meetings. I want to work on a professional project and realize the excitement of finishing it. 

There are many days when I think I would rather be doing all of those things than spending what feels like the entire day cleaning the kitchen, and putting toys away, and breaking up arguments, and listening to whining about 'no more snacks', or 'no more t.v.', or 'please clean up after yourselves!'

I know it's not that never is. Scott has an incredibly stressful job and it makes him weary some days too. And for him, after the weariness of his job he gets to enter into the craziness of mine.

Yesterday morning I received an email from a literary magazine looking for subscribers...I read through the email and checked out the link...want to know what I ended up thinking...All those people are celebrating and utilizing their creative minds. They are writing, and creating, and inspiring and working in creative settings where they encourage one another. 

I looked at the kitchen counters again...My workspace was not feeling very inspiring, creative, or stimulating.

One might think that I could find pockets of time in my day to do those things...I used to, a little bit more than now anyway...that was in the days of naps.

How about after the girls go to bed at night? 

Oh my word, I'm so tired by then that I numbly stare at my husband and try to find the energy to think of something to say besides..."Hi. How are you. I'm tired if you couldn't tell."

So after all of this, it came as somewhat of a surprise when I woke up at 6:30 this morning, sighing about getting out of bed, and realized there was a song running through my head...A song I used to sing in Sunday school when I was a kid.
"I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart! 
Down in my heart. 
Down in my heart. 
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. 
Down in my heart to stay!" 
It was as if the activity director of some crazy kids camp had slipped next to my bed just before I woke up and started singing this song as loudly as humanly possibly, partly in jest and partly to get this mommas butt into gear and out of bed. JOYFULLY.

You can't sing that song, or have it go through your head and not partially allow a grin to form. Even if you wind up grinning at the irony of the fact that this, of all songs, would be the one going through your crabby head.

Alright God. I hear ya. So what's the deal. When I'm crabby and in this crazy season of life in which I feel a little lost, and discouraged what do I do? 

Clear as a bell....Have joy in all circumstances.

Grrrr. Joy. When I don't feel like it?! Can't I just have the role of Oscar the Grouch in this act of the drama of my life? Just for a little while anyways?! I can do Oscar REALLY well, I think it would be a good fit.

Clearly again...Your feelings are lying to you. Start speaking joy. 

And then I was reminded of a very important passage of scripture...
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 
 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
 Sometimes the actions need to come before the emotions. Joy is not merely available when we feel joyful. We are called to ALWAYS be joyful, in EVERYTHING. 

Shucks. I guess I botched that one. Fortunately God is a God of new beginnings...and not just once a year new beginnings, but EVERY day new beginnings. Boy oh boy do I need that everyday grace. Chances are I will practice this today and forget it by tomorrow...and then I'll get crabby and then God so very graciously will send the heavenly activity director to stick a really repetitive children's song in my head so that I get it again.

You see, all those songs our children are taught in Sunday school, they're not really for this season of their lives...I mean, they are, but they aren't. The real reason for those little songs and verses, those memos of encouragement, is so that they lodge themselves in our children's hearts. Then, someday...

When, just like Ava asks so frequently, "Do I get to do all these things when I am a mommy?"

And the answer is yes, except that she is tired of doing them, that little bubble of a song will float out of the space in her heart and will encourage her along for another day...and she will have the tools she needs to take her from crabby well, at least not so crabby mommy...

And that is something to be joyful about.  The gift of a childhood song reminding me to have a joyful heart in these days of raising children. 

Off to start my day...And look up that song on You Tube so I can teach it to the girls today! 

Found it!


  1. Ya know Lisa, it's not that much different for the working Mom. That crabby Mom syndrome. I often think, wouldn't I be a better person if I did stay at home? Then I could get all the home things done, spend time with my kids and not have the added pressure of projects at work on TOP of their activities and projects! I get 3 hours at home every night with my kids before I have to put them to bed. I wish I could say it's a lovely story of me singing to them, praying, reading, laughing...but it's probably a lot like your nigh time routine. I have the same experiences, even with working outside the home. Then, when they do finally all fall asleep...I try to cram in anything I need/want to do at home (cleaning, picking up, paying bills, talking to my husband, alone time with my husband) just before I have time to prep for the next day, sleep then rush out the door in the morning.

    So, I suppose being a Mom for me, has the same affect on my inner crab...just the hours are different! ~Robin (p.s. See you tonight after this crazy day!)

  2. Hey Lisa...maybe you might consider going back to work? There's no shame in that. Even part-time? You have worked hard for your degree and you definitely have skills in your might enjoy joining the world of working adults and having some adult conversations/thoughts/accomplishments etc. I know I do! (even if it's only once a week). That may be just what you need to help you feel refreshed and give you some added joy when you ARE at home with the kids.
    And Robin, I appreciated reading your perspective as a working mom. I know the time of day that you are getting to spend with them is the HARDEST part of the day...when they are getting cranky & there is much to do w/ dinner, cleaning up, bath, bedtime routine, getting ready for the next day...ahhh!!! :)

    Being a mom isn't exactly a "walk in the park" when you look at the day-to-day, is it?? But I truly wouldn't trade the role of parenting for anything!!! Those little blessings from the Lord known as my children are also my greatest joys! Thanks for sharing, Lisa &'s to a more joyful perspective in our lives :)

  3. Thanks Ladies...both of you. I LOVE that I have such a wonderful and diverse community of moms in my life...moms whose days all look very different, but who emotionally feel very much the same.

    Robin...I do think about that hard it would be to try to cram everything I do with the girls into just a few hours in the evening...that's tough...and tiring...and I probably take some of my time at home with them for granted...for sure.

    Rhiannon...I have thought about a part-time's hard to find the right job, that is part-time, that utilizes your skill set, etc. etc. I will pray about that...Actually meeting with a local freelance writer this morning to see if she can help guide me along a bit...

    It's all a journey...And God IS in control...the real job is to simply keep that in the forefront...the trust that he knows right where we are and right where we need to be...

    Thanks ladies...

  4. haha! I use to listen to this song when I was a kid over, and over, and over. This made me smile:)

    I just have to share with you quickly that God has really been calling me lately to pour time into my family- and to really reevaluate what I want to be doing as a wife and mother.

    I think that a lot of times trying to do so many other things and please so many other people, and the stress that it causes on our home can make us really grouchy and snappy toward the ones that we love the most.

    It's like we're our 'best see' for people that we really don't even care about and our 'worst self' for the ones we love most. At least I know that I am at times!

    Anyways, sorry to go on and on! I just wanted to share with you how God's been calling me to "reassess"- and really shut some things off and pour some time/thought into just small little plans of action for my family:) Maybe it could help!


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