It doesn’t have to be perfect…

IMG_9065“It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” The Nester 

Sometimes (most of the time) I like to think I will have it all figured out one day soon. I’ll be the best mom and wife ever who is able to stay home with her child, sew all his clothes, grow all the food we need, invest in the lives of a million women, have the cleanest house alive, study the Scriptures inside and out, make the most fabulous meals, look and dress amazing, eat perfectly, etc. etc. etc. You catch what I’m saying here. “I’ll be perfect one day very soon” – I lie to myself almost daily. In the  midst of breaking down about the dirty floors, needy child, untouched text messages, sugary snacks, starving chickens, piles of laundry, empty fridge, etc. I give myself the hope that I will figure it out very soon. If I just try harder, life will get more beautiful, easygoing, manageable, put together. But we all know this isn’t true – IT AIN’T EVER GOING TO HAPPEN. and, really, should it be the ultimate goal?

I’ve been wanting to blog about my frustrations for a while now. There is a lot bottled up inside of this heart and mind. These frustrations aren’t new though. Motherhood has just amplified them – just as becoming a wife did. These are long held hopes and dreams of perfection that I have carried on since childhood. But with each new role, new season of life, my unrealistic hopes are weighing me down and weighing me down and weighing me down more and more and more. My perspective of my worth and value can easily become entangled in how well I decorate my home, how clean my house is, how many items I have made or grown by my own two hands, how well I have eaten, etc. I’m not trying to sound like the stereotypical woman. I’m very serious in saying that I struggle, sincerely struggle, with not judging myself by the quality and look of my home, my creative output and my physical attributes. I often feel better about my day if it has resulted in clean floors than if it only resulted in an encouraging conversation with a friend. This is slowly killing my spirit.  I need a reality check and a heart change. One that lets it all go and focuses on what really matters. One that tells myself in the end it won’t matter how clean this or that was, how beautiful my house looked, what crafty thing I  made, how many vegetables I grew in my garden, but how well I loved those around me. How well I loved and enjoyed my little one. How much I showed love and respect to my husband. How well I opened my heart and home to friends and those in need. I’m failing at the most important things and sometimes it doesn’t even affect me because I’m too focused on the temporal, stupid, minimal aspects to see the weightier, eternal, life-giving ones. But, honestly, just wanting to change my heart to a better direction feels like one more added frustration because I fail at that every single day.

What I am saying isn’t anything new. It’s being said  by women and men all around me. I have probably read a dozen plus blog posts in the past few months that essentially express the same thing I am saying here. I just need to get this out of my head and into actual written/typed words while I secretly hope to encourage at least one other someone who may be feeling the same frustrations inside. I want you to know, “Me too” – I feel like a failure, like I can’t figure it all out, that I’ll never be good enough. You can put my name down along with  many other women who feel the exact same way.

But how do we not just remain in this constant state of disappointment? Atticus isn’t going to be the only baby (Lord willing) so what the crap am I to do when there isn’t just one child at home but 2, 3, 4 plus? I’ve got to come to some sort of peace with my imperfection because the LAST thing I want to do is pass such frustration onto my children.

Well…I don’t have an answer to making it all perfect at this very moment. But I do know the one who does have the answer to moving past the frustrations, imperfections, stresses and worries. Jesus. I say his name not as the cliche, Sunday school answer to everything but as the sincere, hope-filled, life-giving name that it is. Jesus. So much is put into perspective when you read about what He did and said in Scripture. He points us, sometimes very blatantly, to what really matters in this world. He entrusts us with the job of doing His will on this earth – being satisfied in our Maker and making Him known to all peoples – though we are imperfect, messy, stress-filled, selfish beings. He gives us His Spirit to accomplish what we are unable to do on our own. Obviously, in the day to day, I forget this. I forget how beautiful He is, how lovely His words are, how many life-giving things He has for me to do through Him. In the end, it all boils down to where I focus the eyes of my heart when I wake in the morning. Are they on Him and His purposes, plans and desires? Or are they on things of this temporal life? They are almost always situated on the here and now. On what culture says I should or should not being doing. On comparing myself to the moms around me. On focusing on my wants, needs and desires. On what I can’t do. On how I fail at so much.

What if I instead woke up and focused on what I can do in Him? If I turned my eyes to what He tells me matters? As a follower of Jesus, I l know that how a day will turn out can simply come down to where I have fixed my heart’s gaze throughout the each moment. Lately, I have finally begun to really understand the purpose of prayer and reading Scripture on a daily basis. It’s not God’s chore list for us. Life pulls us in a thousand different directions from the moment we wake up. I need His words and a time of speaking/listening to Him in order to keep my head above water, to keep my heart focused on Him. I need prayer and Bible reading to stay constantly in tune with Jesus because, honestly, my heart and head aren’t going to do it for me. I’m so easily distracted, so easily misled, so easily convinced that XYZ is the next best thing for me that I have to constantly remind myself through prayer and reading that He is the answer, He is the best thing for me, He tells me what really matters. This is an ever growing area in my life so please don’t think I spend every day in prayer and reading. Right now, it’s a rarity but it’s so life-giving when it actually happens.

If this Jesus isn’t someone you know or you think is a load of crap, I encourage you to open a Bible to the book of John and start reading. Seek out a church or a Christian and ask questions. Lots of questions. Hard questions. Pray. Ask God to open your eyes and heart. Message me if you like. I trust that if you truly and wholeheartedly seek Him, you will find Him and that your heart will be changed even if you always thought Christ followers were the crazy ones. We all worship something with our lives. We all believe we have the truth. What truth do you live by? What do you worship?

I am encouraged. I hope maybe one other person is too. I’m glad I sat down to write this post, even though my child is slowly taking apart the humidifier before my very eyes and dinner is going to be quite delayed.

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It doesn’t have to be perfect…

life with atticus [months 3-6]

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the fact that i haven’t written a post since august is proof enough of how consuming a baby can be of one’s time. i just finished reading over my last post and it’s amazing how much atticus has changed in a few months (that have seemed to pass by in seconds). he is now more like a little person than a helpless baby.

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in my last update, i wrote how atticus was starting to zone in on his toys and talk to them. well, now he reaches for a toy, grabs it, gives it a good chewing and then moves on to the next one. at six months, he has now begun to master the art of sitting up on his own and balancing his rather bulky frame. we’re at the point where i can leave him on the floor without my hands ready and positioned to re-steady him. he has had a few tumbles and encounters with the floor but luckily he is easily comforted and back to playing in no time. sitting up also means he has moved on to having baths in the big bathtub. he is loving it and has a good ole time splashing the water with his hands. his favorite toys at the moment are plastic spoons (baby spoons that we use to feed him), a ring of metal measuring spoons that we call his “keys” (this toy was created after jeremiah let atticus chew on his set of keys which resulted in his face getting covered with grease marks – no mama likes to see that), a toy giraffe that plays music & white noise, crinkly fabric toys, and anything else he can get his hands on.

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when it comes to eating, atticus just began his first “solid” foods. he continues to be an avid nurser but he is also very interested in eating food. just a couple weeks ago, we started him out on his first food, chicken broth. we have let him gum on a piece of fruit here and there but broth was his first true meal. besides broth, we’ve introduced him to sweet potatoes and avocados but he doesn’t seem to be too sure about eating those just yet. he makes the most disgusted faces when eating them. so, for right now, milk with a side of chicken broth is his preferred meal.

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physique wise, atticus continues to grow nice and chunky. at his six month checkup, he weighed 18 lbs. 7 oz. and measured 27 1/4 ins. he now has his two front bottom teeth and, boy, are they sharp! atticus is a decent sleeper – we have begun to loosely implement a schedule and are working on getting him to sleep for longer periods at night. i’m not going to lie, i am ready to sleep at least a little better!

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we are very excited to celebrate atticus’ first Christmas! his stocking is hanging over the fireplace and there are a couple of presents under the tree for him. we even have a little artificial tree with colored lights set up in his nursery. it’s quite a pleasant sight to sit in the rocking chair with him at night and look at the tree all aglow. it’s fun having a child under our roof this time of year – it makes me kind of feel like a kid again.

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as far as motherhood goes, some days are good, other days are not so good. but i keep trying to work through the difficulties and appreciate the extravagant blessing of being atticus’ mama. i had a friend pass away recently. she was a mama to two little boys. when i think of her and the loss of her, it puts everything into perspective. i do believe she is in a place of pure joy, free from any sorrow and dry of tears. but i am sure she would tell me to embrace every single second of being a mama. i know she loved being one and i can truly say she was one of the most precious mothers i have ever met. her babies changed her, and all for the good. i have never seen a mother love her child more than she. and now i have the memory of her and her love for two little boys, and i am reminded to not squander any of second of being here to love and raise my little boy.

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be sure to follow me on instagram @mdareaustin to get a more day to day update of our little goings-on.

life with atticus [months 3-6]