I was completely spent the other night and told Billy that I needed a little time to myself. He was, of course, more than gracious. While I took that time I was reading a little book called "The Power of a Focused Mother" by Renee Ellison. Something that she said really struck a chord with me.
"...regardless of what shape you're in, smile at your children...a warm, endearing smile. Smile in the middle of jobs, tasks, and undertakings. Smile at your shy child; smile frequently at your noisy child; smile even more at your most difficult child. This is important work."
I have been so consumed w/ finishing up the school year and getting ready for this baby that I have let some important training and cultivating go by the wayside. Although I'm with my children all the time I have been miles away in my head and not really present w/ them. I haven't given them the kind of attention they need and deserve and I'm seeing the results of that. How easy to smile. I don't think I've even been smiling at them very much lately. I love to delight in them, but I've been so focused on other things....things that, when you get right down to it, don't really matter. She goes on to say:
"Cultivate a caring attitude and a cheerful spirit around your children. Even if you don't feel like it, put cheerfulness on like a robe. Think of what you can GIVE of yourself to your children today, not what you AREN'T getting from your husband and others. This shift of focus will give you hope, and a new release of energy. It's every mother's challenge. It's what we're ALL about...what we were, in fact, created for."
I'm afraid I've been having an attitude of stress and been far too uptight. Having "A Cheerful Spirit" is definitely not the way my children would describe me. I haven't been the wicked witch or anything, but I know I haven't been the way that I should. I can tell by the way my children interact w/ one another. There is less grace and patience....and it's b/c of the example I have been setting for them. I'm very disappointed in myself yet don't want to get bogged down in feel so badly that I continue to put my focus on ME.
"Nurture, nurture, nurture. Give affirmation, and beam high-voltage love on all around you. If you'll do this, you'll soon discover that you have a never ending supply b/c our heavenly Father replenishes it as fast as you give it out."
Smile a lot at my children, be cheerful and overflow w/ love. That is really not that hard if I stop focusing on myself. My agenda, my needs, my inadequacies...it's all about me and that makes it so hard to be the kind of mother I know I should (and CAN) be.
All this to say, I've done a poor job of mothering for the past several weeks, but hopefully this will help me refocus. It helps when someone points out specific ways to start. Smile, smile, smile. Love, love, love. I'm really going to try to slow down a bit and calm down a bit! These precious littles are going to under-go a big change when the baby arrives and I need to enjoy this time b/f things get really crazy! ;)