Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Will the Real Mama Please Stand Up?



"'If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!'" We smile as we read the wall plaque in the novelty store. But our smile quickly turns to a frown if truly "Mama ain't happy." This is because the wife and mother in a family often "sets the tone" in the home. The "tone" God wants her to set is one of joy, optimism, and a delight in the Lord and in her family. If your family were called upon to describe you, what would they say?"
~Martha Peace, "The Excellent Wife"


Ooh. I'm not sure I want to ask my family this after last week's surprise surgery. I'm pretty sure they'd describe me as a sleeping machine!! Who knew a grown woman could sleep as many hours as a newborn?! Hey, what day is it any way?

This last week aside, though, I'd still be reluctant to ask my family to describe me. They know more than anyone how much I mess up. They see me at my worst more than they see me at my best. Lately I've wondered how much impact I have on my teenagers in particular. They are much more enamored with their friends and youth pastors than me. I'm just Mom, that lady that rides their tail about homework, asks them a lot of questions they'd rather not answer and makes them eat.

I know I should strive to set a good "tone" in our home and for the most part, I think I do, but sometimes Mama's gotta put the smack down which isn't always popular. It's tough being a mom. I must admit I think I do a poor job of it most days. I get tired and overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. I'm not Mary Sunshine (gasp!), and I don't try to be. It's just not me. Honestly, I think it would creep them out. My goal is to be the same with them as I am with anyone else. Now sometimes this means they cry, "TMI" (too much information) or even "WTMI" (Waaaay too much information), but I feel it's more important for them to know the real me than an ideal I'll never reach. It means I apologize and ask forgiveness quite a bit, but aren't these skills they need to learn as well? I do my best by them and pray God molds them into amazing people.

Yes, it is important for Mama to be positive and joyful, but I think it just as important for Mama to be who God has created her to be. It is no mistake any woman is mother to the children placed in her care. Those kids are there to learn specifically from her. I can't be something I am not. Besides, kids can see through a fake. I think it essential for women to admit their failings and confess their bad behavior to their children. We're going to mess up. We're human. We might as well teach our kids how to handle their sinful behavior by showing them what to do with it.

When their worlds were jostled last week, I got a glimpse that despite the irritations my kids suffer at my hand, above all else, they do love me. I saw it in my older kids who kicked in gear without hesitation to take care of their siblings in the wee hours of the night and morning while we were visiting the emergency room. I saw it in the tears shed by my younger kids at the first visit to the hospital and the unexpected appearance of my teenagers on their way home. I saw it in the little bud vase placed near my head on the couch with flowers from the yard changed as often as they wilted. I experienced quietness I never knew possible in my house (Do I hear the "Hallelujah Chorus"?). I think it says something that all but one of them have crashed enough to miss a day of school since Mama was down. I may not hear how they appreciate me, but they have shown me. Just as I love them when they are not perfect, they love me when I am not too.

Yes, Mama sets a tone, but every Mama should set the tone God places in her own ear. There should be no striving to meet an image or maintain a perfectly happy house, but a commitment to being real and showing her children how Jesus fills her gaps. Honest and real helps her children prepare for the world better than sweet and quiet.

Visit Christin at As Gold Refined for more In "Other" Words impressions.

14 comments:

Brenda said...

Tami,

This is so sweet. I'm glad you are feeling well enough to blog. I'm glad your kids were there for you. You have great kids.

Christin said...

(((Tami))) You are in no way a bad mom. And of course no mother is going to be perfect. The goal for my particular life is to be in a constant state of growth. I don't want to be "me". I want to be Jesus. I want to model my life and behavior after Him, but that doesn't mean we are all going to look alike, because Jesus can still be perfect through the different personalities He created. No, we will not reach perfection on this earth, nor should we be in a state of perfectionism. My personal goals are to lay aside myself so that Jesus can shine. Yes, I will mess up and yes I ought to confess when that happens - no matter how often it happens. (And it happens pretty often) :-P
I don't think our imperfections make us bad moms. I think they give God the opportunity for polishing - but He needs a willing heart to do so. :) The question is not "How can we be perfect?" It's "Are we willing to be polished?" Where we are weak, God is strong.
God bless you and get some rest! :)

MiPa said...

This "My goal is to be the same with them as I am with anyone else." and this "Yes, Mama sets a tone, but every Mama should set the tone God places in her own ear." speak deeply to me. I need the tone in our home to be filled with the same grace I extend to those outside our home. Bless you for sharing. I hope you are back to your physical best soon!

Karen said...

The mold we are suppose to be using is Jesus not other women around us doing what they are doing. We can learn from them or pick up tips from them but we still need to be all God wants us to be. Sounds like you're striving for that by being the same person in the home as well as outside. Keep it up and recover from that surgery!

Heather@Mommymonk said...

Tami, I'd like to see you puttin' the smack down on your kids! :) Too funny.

I think the example of this past week with your surprise surgery is great. When it comes to the heart of the matter, your kids love and respect you.

I can't imagine that you've been able to do much mothering (I mean, puttin' the smack down on 'em), but they care about the real you.

I think we have to be careful about our attitudes around the house, but I totally agree that we must be real.

Keepin' it real ~ Heather
(P.S. How are you doing? Are you recovering ok?)

Tracy Berta-daughter to the King, wife, mother, speaker, writer said...

"My goal is to be the same with them as I am with anyone else."

Yes! It's funny because I thought about that whole idea, too, but my post was getting too long!!!!!

I am guilty with this one! And,that was what I was thinking about....I don't want to the "BEST" I am with strangers and be "Monster Mom" as I call it :) with my family!!!! So....I continue to let Him refine me!! :)

Great post! Check out my take when you get time! Blessings!!!

Susan said...

Tami,

So good to hear from you, hope you are recovering well.

Boy do I know how to put the SMACK down over here! Somebody had too, with a house full of testosterone, there was always some smack going down each day!

I loved when you said this:

"We're going to mess up. We're human. We might as well teach our kids how to handle their sinful behavior by showing them what to do with it."

That was great. Thank GOD for his mercy and His grace, and for equipping us for the job.

Your children sound great!

Blessings to you my friend♥

Rachelle said...

I asked your youngest how you were doing in church on Sunday, and she said "better, at least she's good enought to get dressed and stop wearing her pajamas around the house" Love it!

Bonnie W said...

Tami - I love the part about every mom setting the tone God places in her own ear.
My daughter is a great mom. Her pet peeve is when single women or those who only have one or two kids tell her how she ought to be as a mom. She has to be herself to stay sane with 5...

Dianne said...

I appreciated your take on this Tami. Though not a mom, still a wife. I had the same thoughts about "tone" as you did. I don't even know if setting the tone is so important as being continually transformed by God, and that probably involves the good, the bad and the ugly - being real as you said. Blessings my friend, andn prayers for your complete and speedy recovery.

Faerylandmom said...

"They see me at my worst more than they see me at my best."
I couldn't have said it better myself. This is exactly why I get so frustrated.

"I must admit I think I do a poor job of it most days. I get tired and overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done."
Talk about it! I feel like I never can finish any task in one shot...and I am the poorest of the poor when it comes to the job I'm doing...at least, it feels that way.

"There should be no striving to meet an image or maintain a perfectly happy house, but a commitment to being real and showing her children how Jesus fills her gaps."
I struggle with this...where a lot of moms are people pleasers, I want to be a people impressor...if that makes sense. My biggest struggle is spiritual pride, and I have to work extra hard to make sure that my kids see the real me. Sins and all...and also that they see me confess & repent.

I don't think I need to always be "happy" - as in emotions. But, my children need to see that even in my struggles, "the joy of the Lord is my strength." I think that's the essence of what the quote is getting at...

I related to you so much, even though my oldest is only 5...thank you for blessing my socks off today!

Jaime said...

I loved this blog, but what I think I love even more is that I get to see more than just the words you write......I get to see you live just as you described it in your words. You are such a witness for me. I get to see on a regular basis what a woman/wife/mother, who strives for Jesus in everything she does, truly looks like.

Lelia Chealey said...

I loved that last paragraph you wrote Tami. I so often get down on myself when my head hits the pillow because I feel I failed not only my kids but God.
Thanks for the reminder to just be the woman God created me to be.
I hope that you're back to 100% sooner than later!
Blessings,
Lelia

Terri Sue said...

A good point, to be the mom God made you to be! Thank you for the reminder.
Be blessed and I pray you will have continual healing.