Separation Anxiety

I thought I had picked out this great day care. I was really excited about it.

You know, I’m a first-time mother anticipating my first child while balancing a career. I’m working my way to being a partner in my firm. I’m now a manager. I worked really hard to get where I am, and I want desperately to continue my career and be a mom.

In anticipation of this baby, I’ve been planning and preparing. I’ve got her life planned out for her. I’m going to stay home on maternity leave for ten weeks. Then I’ll take you to this great day care, where I know you’ll be loved and cared for. We’ll spend our evenings and weekends together. In just a few short years, you’ll be off to school. I can come home early in the summers and spend time with you. We’re going to have this great life.
I am sure this is how it will be … until I stay home for ten weeks and realize that I have never loved anyone like I love my baby girl. I didn’t even know this was possible. When she was born, it was like my heart was unbound and it exploded and grew. I love my baby so deeply.

At the end of ten weeks, I wake up and get myself ready for work and get her ready to be dropped off at day care. I’m ready to go back. Let’s get this thing started.

I walk in, carrying her in her car carrier. I talk to everyone. Shes asleep in the car seat. I ask, “Who wants her? What shall I do with her?” They tell me, “Take her out of her car carrier and lay her down in the crib. She’ll be fine in there.” These cribs are plain; they are like jail cells. All I could picture was my baby crying, like, “Mama, let me out!” You know, those babies behind bars.

They say, “Just lay her down in her bed, and she’ll be fine. We’ll get her when she needs us.” I look around. I’m in this room with infants in their cribs, and none of the workers are in there. Everyone’s in the adjacent room. I pick her up and hold her. I start to weep. I don’t think I was made for this. I don’t think I was designed to take my baby and lay her down and leave her for someone else. 

I hold her for a really long time. I start to weep silently, soft sobs. No one can tell. The tears aren’t flowing. No way. I don’t want anyone to see this tough business woman as sensitive. I’m dressed in my suit, ready to kill that day. I lay her down in her crib, but I hesitate to leave. The crib looks cold to me, looks lonely. I stand there for a minute with my hand on the side of the rail. Can I leave? How am I going to leave? How do I do this?

Silently, without even a single day-care worker saying anything to me, I pick up my car carrier and walk out. I slowly make the walk down the hallway and out of the building. I put the car seat in, get in my car, and sob and sob and sob. How will I go through an entire day with her being in this place, where I’m confident those people will not take care of her the way I would because I was designed to be her mama?

Only a mama knows. God designed us beautifully for this love affair, and that’s why it hurts our hearts. Happy Mother’s Day to the women who lay down their lives every day for future generations! 


What Relationship Means

Being a homeschool mom, I have a lot of time with my children. I’m with them for hours every single day of their lives, but just because I’m with them doesn’t mean I’m actually engaging with them in their hearts. I can be commanding them to do things, issuing orders, telling them what to do with school, giving them tasks and challenges, but all the while, not truly connecting with them and their hearts.
The question is what is the most important, quantity time or quality time with our children? I would argue that it’s neither. Greg Gunn of Family-iD first introduced me to this concept that it’s not about quantity time or quality time; it’s about quality of relationship. When you have a quality relationship with someone, it doesn’t matter if you spend five minutes together or an hour. When you connect with each other with your hearts, that is what makes the relationship continue to be woven together and glued together thickly.
How can we relate that to God? In my own home, I have a choice with God. I can choose to spend a lot of time with Him and acknowledge Him. I can choose to have a quality relationship with Him. That’s a very different thing. Having a quality relationship with God involves listening.
I think sometimes we feel guilty about going to God and asking Him for something and telling Him what our needs are because we think, “Oh, I haven’t spent enough time with You. I haven’t read the Bible enough. I haven’t prayed enough. I don’t feel worthy to ask You this.” But it’s not really about the time; it’s about the quality of your relationship with God.
I think it’s important for your heart to bow down in thanksgiving to Him continually, like when you see the sky and the beautiful sunset or the puffy, beautiful clouds and you acknowledge the Creator. I mean, that’s quality relationship right there. It’s not a work. It’s recognition. It’s honoring God. I want to encourage you to seek a quality relationship with God and your spouse and your children.

Dreaded Teenage Rebellion

Teens. Teens. Teens.

With all girls, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve heard people say, “Oh, I feel sorry for you. Just you wait until the dreaded teenage years.”

I always respond under my breath, “I rebuke that in Jesus’ name.” 

I seriously never believed I would go through some of this teenage junk. 
I know. I know what you are thinking. 

Are you stupid? 
Hello, naive mother, every teen talks back and rebels. 
Thanks for that. 🙂 
No, I am not stupid. I just refuse to believe that every teen has to go through it. I believe there is a better way, and I am trying to learn it.

Key word: TRYING! 
This is how it went in one instance (and most every other day in the sweet year of 2014).
Me: 

“Did you go through the blah blah blah [you know that’s what she heard] like I asked you to?”

She: 

“No.”

She continues doing the same thing. 
No movement toward the thing she was asked to do. 
Music volume increases.



My head voice:

Really?

Big eyes.
Foot tapping.

Hello! Wake up! See the body language?

Me:

“Ahem.”

 Crickets.


Mom’s plotting thoughts: 

Hmmm … what’s the consequence for this delayed obedience?
No more iPod for the next 10 years! 
I guess that’s not a natural consequence. Get real. 
You can do this, mom!
Well, that’s it. I’m going to have to swat her.

Okay, deep breath … 

Wait, I know! I will pray.
I have not because I ask not, right?
Father, whhyyyy [whiny voice]? What is wrong with her? 
How do I get back to her heart?

Sigh. This isn’t helping. The music is too loud to pray. 
Why is she ignoring me and my request?



Don’t forget to breathe out, Sheri. 

Okay … 

 just walk away. 



Oh nelly, the music stopped. 



What does this mean?



Oh, wait … wait! 

Hallelujah! She’s back. 

Whew. 

She:
“Oh hey, 

Mom, I was just taking a short break because I completed three math lessons. That was exhausting.” 

Humiliated Mom:

Really? 

“Oh, great! Good job. I knew you were a wise time manager.”

What is wrong with me? Shut it. 

Help! I am an idiot. 

Have you ever been an idiot like me?

Maybe the dreaded teen years aren’t all the teenager’s fault. Maybe it’s partially our fault (along with uncontrollable hormones, appetites, and growing pains) 
for not transitioning our role from commander to coach. 


Parents need to transition gradually from controlling our children (“You’d better or else!”) and requiring immediate obedience to waiting on the teen’s will to catch up to our request. We have to let go a little at a time, or we will find ourselves quickly losing ground and all of the influence we have with them. That’s when it’s just too late. 

I am in the influence stage. 
All I have now is influence.

Every day that I choose to voice my frustrated words or body language is a day that reduces my influence.
   




Oh Father, teach me to remain silent. 
Help me to understand that I am not her army commander any longer. I have the privilege of coaching, mentoring, and influencing. Help me to embrace this incredible new season.


In love, 
Sheri 

Separation Anxiety

I thought I had picked out this great day care. I was really excited about it.

You know, I’m a first mother anticipating my first child while balancing a career. I’m working my way to be a partner in my firm. I’m now a manager. I worked really hard to get where I am and I want desperately to continue my career and be a mom.

The anticipation of this baby—planning and preparing—I’ve got her life planned out for her. I’m going to stay home, on maternity leave for ten weeks. Then I take you to this great daycare I know you’ll be loved and cared for. We’ll spend our evenings and weekends together. In just a few short years, you’ll be off to school. I can come home early in the summers and spend time together. We’re gonna have this great life.
Until I’ve been home for ten weeks and I realized that I have never loved anyone like I loved my baby girl. I didn’t even know that was possible. Literally, when she was born it was like, my heart was unbound and it exploded and grew.

I had loved so deeply and at the end of ten weeks, I woke up and got myself ready for work and got her ready to be dropped off at day care. I’m ready to go back. Let’s get this thing started.

I walk in, I carried her in her car carrier. I carried her inside and I talked to everyone and I asked—she fell asleep in the car seat. I asked, like, “Who wants her? What shall I do with her?” They told me, “Take her out of her car carrier and just lay her down in the crib. She’ll be fine in there.” These cribs were just plain; they were like jail cells. All I could see was like, “Mama, let me out!” You know, those babies behind bars.

They said, “Just lay her down in her bed and she’ll be fine. We’ll get her when she needs us.” I looked around and I’m in this room with infants in their cribs and no one’s in there. Everyone’s in the adjacent room. I picked her up and I hold her. I start to weep and I just think—I don’t think I was made for this. I don’t think I was designed to take my baby and lay her down and leave her for someone else. I picked her up, I held her for a really long time. I started to weep silently, soft sobs. No one could tell. The tears weren’t flowing. No way. I didn’t want anyone to see this tough business woman as sensitive. I’m dressed in my suit, ready to kill that day. I lay her down in her crib and I hesitate to leave. The crib looks cold to me, looks lonely. I stood there for a minute with my hand on the side of the rail. Can I leave? How am I gonna leave? How do I do this?

Silently, without even a single day care worker saying anything to me, I picked up my car carrier and I walk out. I slowly make the walk down the hallway out the building, put the car seat in, get in my car and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. How will I go through an entire day with her being in this place where I’m confident those people will not take care of her the way that I would because I was designed to be her mama.

Only a mama knows. God designed us beautifully for this love affair that’s why it hurts our hearts. Happy mother’s day to the women who lay down their lives every day for future generations!! 

Milk Spill? – "No Problem"

When I was young, everything got negative attention. Every negative thing I did was highlighted with a flashlight. When I became a mother myself, I vowed never to treat my kids in that manner.

One day, Chandler spilled her third cup of milk all over my floor—the carpet, of course. I thought I was going to lose it.


The day that Chandler spilled her milk was later the same day that I had vowed that I would not lose it. So every time she spilled her milk, I responded with, “No problem.” But every time I said ‘no problem,’ I really said it behind gritted teeth—because I really didn’t like the spilled milk everywhere. But I refused to respond out of my emotions. So I would say, “No problem.”
God showed me, when she spilled her milk for the third time, that in this moment, the spill does not define who she is. It doesn’t define her. She’s not a klutz. She’s not a spiller. She’s not negligent. She’s not irresponsible. She spilled her milk, for goodness’ sakes.

So Chandler and I laughed and talked about the fact that God and I loved her so much and that would never change. No matter how bad the milk spill was, no matter how bad her mistakes were, he would always love her; and so would I.

Later, I read in Jeremiah 1 about who I am in Christ. In Jeremiah 1:5, that he chose me, he formed me in him before the creation of the world. I realized that in myself, I did not fully believe that I wasn’t defined by my actions. I actually believed that I was defined by the mistakes I had made.

So I was sitting here laughing and having a wonderful conversation with my child, telling her that she’s not defined by her mistakes, that inwardly feeling like that’s what I had based my whole identity on—was being defined by my mistakes. The constant criticism that I received as a child come back in my life as a broken record. Every single time I failed, “You’re a failure.” Insert Jeremiah 1.

So when it came time for me to try new things, I would say, “Oh, I’m not good at that. I don’t wanna try it. Because if I do, I might fail,” and I honestly wasn’t willing to do that.

Today, I take all those negative thoughts and those parental tapes captive and I replace them with the truth of God’s word in Jeremiah and in Ephesians.

And today, I believe by faith, even when I don’t feel like I am God who says I am, I know who I am. I’m not defined by my actions. My mistakes don’t make me a mistake. I take these thoughts captive in my own life and they make me a better mom every time the milk is spilled.

Today, I can tell my children without reservation, without gritting my teeth and there’s no frustration—I can tell them who they are in Christ and that the milk spill is no problem.