Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~Sleep is my enemy~ December 17, 2013

“So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
    How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
    sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
    poverty your permanent houseguest!”

(Proverbs 9-11 The Message)

This time of year is the absolute worst for people like me.  You know the type, the ones who thrive off sunshine and warm temps.  I am seriously dragging right about now.  This morning, I laid in the bed tuning out the sound of my alarm as the sound of the wind whipping outside my window drove me further under my nice, warm blankie.  While the minutes ticked by, I did a mental rundown of all the things that needed my attention.  My desire for more rest had me trying to adjust my schedule to accommodate my laziness.  Trouble is, my agenda for today is already jam-packed with not a lot of wiggle room.  So I rolled myself out of bed, rather reluctantly, and headed for the coffee pot.

What if I had went the other route…choosing to lay in bed rather than complete my normal morning routine?  Ultimately, thinking about the trickle down effect is what got me out of bed in the first place.  You see, if I choose to neglect my responsibilities, it doesn’t impact only me, it alters the life of those around me as well.  I am the “alarm clock” for my children, so as momma goes, so goes the house.  It kind of sets the tone for a bad day when it begins with your mother running behind you like a drill sergeant barking orders to “hurry or you’re going to make us late!”  Who is making us late, mommy dearest??

Most of my life experience revolves around being a mommy, but the same application can work for non-parents too.  What happens when you drag your heels and are late for work?  Who has to rush around picking up the slack, doing the work of two while you enjoy a little more slumber?

I know we all occasionally oversleep, unintentionally, that isn’t what I am referencing.  I’m talking about those who choose to succumb to idleness knowing the negative impact it’s going to have on their lives and those around them.  No one ever gained success in life by sleeping in on a regular basis….just sayin’.

In my desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman, I chose today to not eat of the bread of idleness but to rise and tend to the affairs of my family in hopes that my children would rise up and bless me and that my husband would praise me also. 

Having the same routine every single day can be tiresome & boring, but just think of what would happen if we all decided to not do our part tomorrow.  So shake it off, weary one, I am right there in the trenches with you!

7 am...that's funny, couldn't find an alarm with my actual time!

7 am…that’s funny, couldn’t find an alarm with my actual time!

 

~The “other” parent~ August 9, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:33 am
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What defines a parent?  Is it sharing the same genetics or are parents made?  I struggle with people who undervalue someone’s role as a parent because they weren’t mom or dad from birth.  Maybe I’m super sensitive because I was raised by a man who was not my dad by birth, but by choice and it would always upset me when someone would say he wasn’t my real dad.

Now I am raising my own non-biological children with zero involvement from their birth mother and it still makes me cringe when someone calls them my step-kids.  The phrase, “Oh, so they’re not your real kids?” will likely unleash a side of me that no one needs to see.  I am sharing this because I know I’m not the only one out there who feels the same way:

There is a word that I despise only few will understand.
It’s the title “step-mom” that makes my hair stand on its end.
By definition of the word I am simply the father’s wife.
Never mind the sacrifice & struggles that come with this new life.
But more than that, my heart is theirs as if they are my own.
Countless acts of love & care; mercy being shown.
I wipe their tears, keep them fed & I’m their biggest fan.
I make them feel loved & protected as only a momma can.
It is not simply through labor that a mother gets her name.
It’s the selfless act of daily tasks that she receives her fame.
It’s a sleepless night filled with worry because the fever spikes.
It’s running along beside them when they get their big kid bike.
It’s encouraging words, saying prayers & offering a helping hand,
Being ready with open arms when they need a soft place to land.
So please don’t call me step-mom, mommy will suffice.
For it is me, after all who tucks them in each night.

The act of mothering or fathering means to bring up a child with care and affection.  The Bible says we are to “train up a child in the way he should go.”  So in my opinion, it is of far less importance who brought you into this world than who is walking you through life.  Those who teach you values & morals, who nurture your dreams & provide for your physical needs….that’s a mom and dad.

My Mommy's Day gift from my hubs & kiddos

My Mommy’s Day gift from my hubs & kiddos

 

~Super-Mom, I am not~ August 6, 2013

I have recently started to work a part-time job outside of the home.  This has proved to be a bit challenging for someone who has been a stay-at-home mom for nearly 5 years where my only other job was babysitting full-time.  While I am grateful for the opportunity to help provide for my family, I find myself getting increasingly agitated when I have to rely on someone else to help me get them here, there and everywhere.  If I miss an opportunity to do something with them and someone else steps in, I get jealous.  (insert pouty face here)  And I’ve had to reduce the amount of blogs I post due to the madness that has become my life.

Compounding the problem is the fact that I have two boys playing football on separate teams, a daughter cheerleading & singing on the praise team at church and one of my football playing boys is also running cross country.  Today I saw our first conflict.  One Saturday this month, Peyton has a race @ 8am, Isaiah has 2 games @ 9 & 11 and Peyton has a game @ 12….and guess what?!  They are all in different locations, like 30-45 minutes away from each other!  This is where my control freak tendencies go into overdrive.  I can’t possibly be at all four events so surely the world is going to come to an end.  After all, it is not possible for my boys to function without their momma present.

If someone could kindly pass the scissors, I will cut the apron strings.

The problem is I get so riddled with guilt when I feel like I am failing my kids, but there is one of me and like 100 of them (this is only a slight exaggeration).  So this is where I have to remind myself that there is no way on earth that I could possibly do it all.  While I would like to think of myself as super-mom, it isn’t possible for me to be in two places at once and I don’t think my husband would be on board with cloning.

I had to tell my kids that I wouldn’t be able to be at each event they participated in that day, that Daddy and I would have to divide and conquer.  Their response, “NOOOO, we can’t do it without you there to tell us how awesome we are!!”  Totally kidding.  I believe it went a little more like, “OK.”  It would appear that my kid’s expectations of me aren’t nearly as out of this world as the ones I place on myself.

The point is, as parents we can seriously stress ourselves out trying to do and be everything for our kids to the extent that it becomes detrimental to us and our families.  We get so wound up that it causes us to be short-tempered with the very people that we’re trying to please. Our worries and anxieties that we aren’t doing this parenting thing good enough make us crazy!  But Scripture tells us that we don’t add any time to our lives by worrying.  I can fret all day about what I can’t do for my kids and miss out on doing what I can do.

So I commit today to make Matthew 6:34 my mantra:

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Rather than spend all of my precious time stressing over our hectic schedule in the coming days and weeks, I choose to give my attention to what God has for us on this day.

This is what the coat rack looks like when my mom friends gather.

This is what the coat rack looks like when my mom friends gather.

 

~Mean Girl~ July 29, 2013

There is a mean girl living inside of me.  She looks exactly like me…until she opens her mouth.  The worst part about her is she tends to show herself to some of the most beloved people in my life, my children.

It makes no sense, but sometimes I can be incredibly hateful and short with the biggest blessings God has ever given me.  I sat and thought on it and realized that just maybe it’s because not every single moment of parenting screams “blessing”!

Allow me to paint you a picture.  It has been one of the longest mornings of mommy-hood in my life.  Everything my kids can do wrong has been done with flair.  Glorious naptime arrives and for the first time all day my butt connects with the couch.  Just as I start to truly relish the quiet, I hear rustling from the girl’s room.  I tiptoe to the door and listen….”Mooommmyyyy, I poop!”  Down the stairs I go and there stands my Bella in her crib, pant-less.  It would appear I have a little Picasso on my hands and with no crayons in sight, she has decided to improvise.  Here comes my mean girl.  As I look upon the mess that I have the privilege of cleaning up, my mind is reeling “NOTHING about this moment shouts blessing!!”

I lectured my 2 year old with enough vehemence to make a military general retreat.  Half a bottle of bleach & one bath later, the smoke clears and I realize just how foolish I would have sounded had anyone been listening in.  My daughter didn’t do anything different than nearly every other child has done at some point.  But I was so tired and frustrated from a very long morning and she made an easy target for me to unload on.

However, I refused to let my mean girl win.  Just because “she” felt justified in her response, didn’t make it right.  So I used the best weapon I have to shut her up, the Bible.  The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom when it comes to controlling our anger.

“People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness.”  (14:29)

The next time one of my children, or anyone else for that matter, throws a crick into my day, I have to choose to exercise understanding over acting a fool.

“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.”  (15:1)

When my knee-jerk reaction is to respond with a hot-temper, I am teaching my children to do the same.  With every harsh word I speak, I’m stirring up the “mean girl/boy” inside of them just dying to come out.

“Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.”  (19:11)

Some wrongs cannot be overlooked when it comes to parenting, but as a wise woman once said, “You have to pick your battles.”  Thanks Mom, as always, you were right.  Respect is something that everyone craves but few work to get.  Granted it is a given that children should respect their elders, we make it far easier on them when we express grace & mercy rather than going off like a raving lunatic.

This is obviously an area where I am a work in progress.  There are days when I feel like I should be wearing a warning, “Caution: Mean girl crossing.”  It is by God’s grace that I can and will overcome.  I ain’t no quitter!  On the most difficult days when I struggle to bite my tongue, my goal is to recall the words of James 1:19:

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:  You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.”

Sometimes it is to my benefit to count to 100 before I open my mouth!hand over mouth

 

~Double Standard~ July 9, 2013

men women scalesIf you grew up with a sibling of the opposite sex, then you are familiar with the term double standard.  My brother is 7 years younger than me, so I was out of the teen years before he even got started.  I remember on several occasions saying things to my mom like, “you would never have let me do that!”  She would say, “it’s different with boys.  It’s not fair, but it is true.”  Not cool, Mom, not cool.  Evan got to go places I was never allowed to go, stay out later and have a little less supervision when we traveled.  As I got older, my momma explained to me that she never had to worry that someone would snatch Evan…and if they did, they’d bring him back, (sorry Ev, but she was right).  There was no danger of him turning up pregnant.  There was no worry in the clothes he wore drawing the wrong kind of attention.  Now that I have kids of my own, I understand what she meant.  What I don’t understand is what we are teaching our children when we as adults have a different set of rules depending on gender.

Why is it that certain behaviors and actions are considered okay for women but detestable when the same things are done by men OR vice versa?  I have listed just a few instances where gender may play a part in determining right from wrong.

A group of friends hits the strip club or hires a “private dancer” for a special occasion.  Ladies participate and it’s all in good fun.  Guys do it, and they are pigs for viewing naked women as entertainment.  The same can be said for “non-live” versions of the same entertainment, (including reading materials & movie choices).

Mom and Dad are divorced: Mom has custody & Dad’s not paying child support and the courts throw the book at him regardless of why he’s holding out.  Switch the scenario and Momma is the one neglecting to support her kids and all her lame excuses are accepted without batting an eye.

How about the young people in your life using “potty language?”  You overhear a group of boys talking trash and it’s just boys being boys.  Now let’s say it is pretty little girls saying the exact same things, they’re said to have poor upbringing.

Double Standards.  The urban dictionary defines it as “When a situation is desirable for one group but deplorable for another.”  I would like to present the challenge that wrong is just wrong.  It doesn’t differentiate between genders.  If it’s unacceptable behavior for one, then it’s equally unacceptable for the other.  What worries me is that our generation seems to be blurring the lines.  We use the fact that so-and-so is doing it so it must be okay for us to do it too.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. …”

(2Timothy 3:1-17)

Don’t allow the fact that we are living in a different day & age affect your moral standards.  Don’t attempt to justify certain behaviors because “everyone else is doing it”…what would your momma say?!  Don’t sit back and accept things simply because society tells you it’s okay.  Stand up for good and live righteously with the help of the Holy Spirit.  And when it comes to making choices, especially ones prone to the old double standard, ask yourself two questions:

  1.  How would I feel if my husband/wife or son/daughter did this? I say this because chances are, if you’re doing it, they will too because you won’t have a leg to stand on to tell them not to.
  2.  Would I do or say this if Jesus were standing right in front of me?  I’m going to let you in on a little secret….He is standing right there watching you and He hears every word you say & every thought you think.
 

~Shhh….You Hear That?~ June 18, 2013

priorities“Isabella, Mommy is very unhappy with you.  You pee-peed in your pull-up again!”

This was the conversation I was attempting to have with my 2-year-old as we are in the midst of the dreaded potty-training phase.  It was only 9 am and she was looking up at me from the throne with a completely spaced out expression.  I continued on.

“Bella, where does the pee-pee go?”

I was about to say more when she blurted out,

“Shhh….you hear dat?!  You hear dat bird?!  It go, whacka-wa!!”

What?  I busted out laughing.  Here I was trying to have a serious discussion about how disappointed I was and my little bit, who is her daddy made over I might add, hadn’t heard a word I was saying.  Her random outburst made me realize how ridiculous I must have sounded.  Who in their right mind tries to rationalize with a 2-year-old?!

Later in the day as I was still laughing about her quirkiness, I thought about how many times in my life I’ve missed some small joy because I was focused on what I thought was more important.  Another prime example would be my fanatical need to have a clean home.  I can’t tell you how many times I have missed out on time spent enjoying my husband and kids because I couldn’t leave the dirty dishes for later.

Here’s a sobering thought, if I died tomorrow, what would matter most-a clean home or a spontaneous game of two-hand-touch football with the fam?  When I see life through the eyes of my baby girl, I can overlook a yet again wet pull-up and fully appreciate a very unique sounding birdie outside the bathroom window.

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
―     Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.”
―     Ezra Taft Benson

“A glad heart makes a happy face…”

(Proverbs 15:13 NLT)

Nothing makes my heart glad like time spent with the ones I love.  Today I vow to make my face happy by keeping my priorities in check.

 

 

 

~Little Eyes Are Upon Us~ June 17, 2013

I recently saw a tv commercial for bottled water where the little boy does exactly as his father does.  Every movement, every choice he made, he did because his father did so first.  I have noticed the same to be true of my boys.  They are looking at their daddy to see how they should behave.

I was talking with my mother just this week about how different things are now.  Saying things like: “please, thank you or yes sir or ma’am” have gone out the window.  Boys no longer open doors for girls as they once did, why should they, she can get it herself.  In public, you see these young men berating their girlfriends instead of treating her like a lady and you have to wonder, where they are learning that behavior.

I am not trying to place the blame solely on the dads, however, your boys are watching you whether you realize it or not.  Do you ask for things politely or do you make demands?  When you go through the door, do you step back and let your wife and daughters go ahead of you or do you rush in and let the door slam in their face?  How do you talk to your wife in front of others?  Do you honor her with your words or tear her down?  I know with my husband, nothing gets him hotter than when one of our boys talks disrespectfully to me.  He comes to my defense like a wild man and makes it perfectly clear that he will not tolerate that sort of behavior.  And it melts my heart.  Because I know, that by his actions, he is teaching our boys to one day be protective of their spouses and to treat all women with respect.

Now guys, don’t fret.  Even if your dad didn’t exactly set a shining example on how to do this kid-raising thing, your Father in heaven is happy to show you the way.  It is never too late to get in the Word which is full of advice for all your parenting woes.  The very best way that all kids learn is through example, so start living out what it teaches in front of them. Although it may sound good to say, “I’m the adult so do what I say not as I do,” it doesn’t typically fly with the little people.  If you want kind, respectful children, then be a kind and respectful adult for them to model their behavior after.

Shadow-of-Father-and-Son

“Direct your children onto the right path

and when they are older,

they will not leave it.”

(Proverbs 22:6 NLT)

 

~Stay-At-Home Moms Unite!~ April 19, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:00 am
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Busy-MomOk fellas, ya’ll are going to have to excuse me…today my post is all about the ladies.  However, you may find some wisdom in these words to keep you from meeting an untimely death.

As a full-time homemaker, I am often met with questions like, “What exactly do you do with all your free time since you are just a stay-at-home mom?”  This is where I have to remind myself that unless you have been there, done that, you really have no clue what an idiotic question that is.  Another favorite, “You can do that.  You have plenty of spare time since you don’t work.”  Again, counting to 1,000 to keep from going on a rampage.

Let me enlighten those of you who have had the audacity to say such a thing to my fellow homemakers.  We are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We do not get sick days, personal days or vacation days.  We are the cook, cleaning lady, personal finance manager and the mediator when fights break out on a daily basis.  We receive absolutely no compensation for all that we do.  While you get to leave the chaos for your job each day and are allowed to perform your tasks in relative seclusion, we are required to meet our quotas with one or more children hanging off our legs, dangling from our hip or gripping our ankles as we attempt to run away.  We rarely have a moment to ourselves, even the bathroom is no longer our sanctuary.  We go through the house putting toys and clothes back in their places, cleaning up crumbs from breakfast & wiping peanut butter finger prints off every surface, including the dog.  Only to turn around moments later to see that our work was done in vain.  You see, our lives are stuck on repeat.  We do the same thing, literally, every. single. day.

I’m sure you can see how this might get a little old at times.  I’m sure you can also understand why some days you may be risking your life if you ask us just what we did all day.  I’m not seeking your pity for the SAHM, we chose this life.  I am simply asking for the same respect that any other professional is given.  Being a full-time parent is my job and I take it quite seriously.  That is why I find it offensive when someone insinuates that I don’t work out of laziness.  Gotta love it when someone says, “It must be nice to stay home all day.”  Yes, being home all day with a house full of moody short people with no one to call in for back-up is a glorious life, you should be jealous.

One other thing that wears me out and I promise I’ll wrap this little fit-fest up.  “Your husband must really rack in the dough for you not to work.”  Yep, you got me there.  We’re loaded, we just hide it well.  *Sarcasm*  Being a single-income family is a sacrifice for the majority of us.  We don’t live lavishly and do without most of the luxuries that would really like to have.  The choice to stay home with our children was not made based on financial reasons.  I would venture to say that most SAHM do so because they feel that it is what’s best for their children, not the other way around.

My whole point in writing this post is to combat some of the criticism that we receive.  What is it about being a homemaker makes people feel they have the right to say such things to us?  I seriously doubt that any of the above statements or questions would ever be directed at a banker, lawyer, doctor, construction worker, etc.  I would like to add that I am not judging the momma’s who choose to work.  They are excellent multi-taskers who deserve some praise too.

But if you ask me why I stay home as opposed to working elsewhere, my answer would be;

“(I am) directing (my) children onto the right path, so that when they are older, they will not leave it.”

(Proverbs 22:6)

For me personally, that requires me to be home with them in the early years to provide them with a firm foundation.  I love my job and despite the struggles that it brings, I wouldn’t trade it for the highest paying job available.  My reward comes from seeing my children grow and mature into beautiful young men and women of God.

So if you get the chance today, give that overworked, underpaid, exhausted momma a hug or an encouraging word as opposed to making her defend her decision as the stay-at-home mom.

 

~Life After Loss~ April 16, 2013

LifeLossFeet“What do you mean there’s no heartbeat?”  I stared blankly at the radiologist who I happened to know personally as she batted back tears in an attempt to remain professional.  “I am so sorry, Valerie.”  That was all she could muster.  She quietly wheeled me back to my room in the emergency area of our local hospital.

Let me back up just a bit.  I was 10 & ½ weeks pregnant with my third child and something just felt “off”.  My husband and mother along with all of our friends assured me I was being paranoid.  In my heart, I knew they were wrong but so hoped that they were right.  So my husband drove me to the ER where my sweet pastor’s wife met us to take my then 2 year old daughter home with her.  The day drug on for what felt like an eternity.  It started with blood work to confirm my pregnancy.  All looked normal so I patiently waited for my ultrasound to see my little peanut safe and sound.  As afternoon approached, I called Holly and asked her if she would mind to get my older three children from school.  “No problem.  We’ll see you soon.”  All was still right with the world.

Shortly after 3 pm on April 16th, 2010, I was dealt the shocking blow.  The emergency room doctor explained to me that I was having a miscarriage.  He went into detail about what I could expect to happen in the coming days.  I was numb.  I couldn’t talk, couldn’t cry.  There was no way this could be happening to me.  I had been through two successful pregnancies that resulted in two beautifully healthy babies, so why would this one be any different?

It wasn’t until we had left the hospital and were headed to our pastor’s family home that the reality of what just happened began to sink in.  Jamie had called ahead to let them know the horrible outcome of our day spent in waiting.  By the time we made the 5 minute drive, I was on the verge of a break-down.  It was then that I fell into the arms of my dear friend and we cried together.  She comforted me the best she could while her husband explained how God is the giver and sustainer of life.

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

(Colossians 1:17)

We gathered our kids and returned home to break the news.  They were still young so they couldn’t really grasp what daddy meant when he said, “Mommy isn’t going to have another baby right now.”

In the coming days I was surrounded by family and the church hospitality team kicked it into overdrive.  I felt blessed and cursed at the same time.  While everyone was pouring out comforting words about how sometimes things like this just happen, I was battling my mind that was screaming it was my fault.

  • I ran too much when I should have reduced my exercise.
  • I shouldn’t have used the flavor packets in my water, some ingredient in them is known to cause miscarriage.
  • And the worst thought, I’ve disappointed God and He is punishing me.

Every possible thing I could think of was what caused me to lose my baby.  I refused to think that it “just happened.”

A couple of months later, I found out I was pregnant again.  I was terrified.  It was too soon.  The twisted part about it was my due date was April 15th, 2011…just one day before the anniversary of the worst day of my life.  I barely breathed for the first trimester.

It was during those nine months that God comforted and reassured me that there is indeed life after loss.  The very fact that I became pregnant so soon after losing a child was proof of that.

On April 11th, 2011, I delivered a very healthy baby girl.  In those first few moments with her, I had the painful realization that had my previous pregnancy been a success, I would not have my precious Isabella in my arms.

We may never fully grasp the workings of our Lord.  He gives and takes away according to His perfect plan for us.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

(Job 1:21)

The best thing that we can do when faced with a devastating loss is cry out to our Father who keeps track of all our sorrows and stores up each tear we cry.  (Psalm 56:8)  While it may be difficult, praise your way through your circumstances knowing that God’s ways or higher than our own.

It has been three years since that aweful day but the memories are as fresh as if it were only yesterday.  It’s not easy to talk about something so devastating but in my pain, I found the most comfort from others who had gone through the same.  If you too have experienced this life altering loss, I pray that God would heal your broken heart as only He is able.

 

~Life Is Messy~ March 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:35 am
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My youngest child wanted to play downstairs but this busy momma had work to do upstairs.  So I sent her down to play unsupervised like I would one of the big kids.  My thought process was, “how much damage can one kid do?”  Being the mother of five, I really should have known better than to entertain this thought.  After about 15 minutes, I realized it was quiet…too quiet.  The kind of quiet that can only mean one thing, disaster has struck.  I tiptoed down the steps to find my not-yet-2-year-old in the middle of a mess of tornado-like proportion that would have garnered at least an F-3 on the Fujita Scale.  Every piece of neatly folded clothing belonging to her and her sister had been ripped from their homes and scattered around the room.  All three beds had been stripped of their coverings and were being used to form a replica of tent-city.  Pictures were on the floor, dollies were hanging from the doors, diapers lay in every corner of the room, (unused, praise Jesus).

Now, to some of you this may seem like no big deal.  However, for those of you who share the neat-freak gene, you will sympathize with me.  Under normal circumstances I would have just cleaned it up.  On this particular day, I literally had just finished doing the laundry which is no small feat with a family of 7.  I was heading out the door for preschool pick-up and my neat-and-tidy side refuses to let me leave my home in such disarray, even if only for a few minutes.  So, did this mommy go into the chorus of the “clean-up” song with a smile on her face-uh…no.  This crazy woman went tearing through the room like a raving lunatic; throwing things back into the proper places all while my sweet baby girl stood paralyzed from either shock or fear.  That’s when I felt it.  That little nudge in my spirit telling me to take a chill pill.  I was making a huge deal about nothing.  My Bella didn’t know she had done something wrong, because she hadn’t.  She was playing, quite nicely I might add, all by herself.  (Enter maniac-mommy stage left)

I wasn’t exactly setting a good example for the little eyes that are always upon us.  If I blow up every time things get a little messy, I’m paving the way for my kids to follow in my obsessive compulsive foot-steps.  I was teaching my daughter that when messes happen, the way to handle them is to come unglued.  Bad parenting red flags shot up everywhere!  Wise words from Proverbs 22 rang through my head,

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

(vs. 6)

So I stopped what I was doing, scooped up my girl and told her what a beautiful job she had done redecorating.  After pick-up and lunch, the girls and I went into a slightly off-key version of the clean up song and restored order to the room just in time for naps.