To all my FMF visitors,
Confession: I’ve been working on this first post in a series on finding your rhythm and passions as mom all week, but it so lined up with today’s word, “rhythm” I wanted to share it with y’all. I’m sorry for being a rule breaker :), but I hope you’ll be encouraged by this post on being true to ourselves as moms.
“This above all: to thine own self be true”
“Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” Judy Garland
“Do you, Baby! Do you!” Sister First Lady. Life Center Church, New Orleans, LA, 2005
Y’all today is the last day of school! I’m too excited for lazy mornings, iced green tea lemonades, pressing turquoise painted toes into the sand, and spending lots of time with my kids.
Every summer, I let them pick one theme and then plan two months of reading, crafts, snacks, outings, movie nights and games around it.
So one year we based our study of Egyptian Mythology on “The Kane Chronicles” by Rick Riordan. One year we focused on dragons and read a book called, “Dealing with Dragons” by Patricia Wrede. Instead of one theme for the whole summer, last year I let the kids plan one activity/event for their friends. My oldest son chose an epic Hunger Games based field day.
And I love every bit of it. I love the planning and shopping for supplies and the way we just enjoy learning together. My inner homeschooler who’s been cooped up all school year long, sighs with relief as I let her stretch out and flex her muscles of creativity over our summer.
Summer is one of the only times I don’t wonder if I’m a good mom…I know I’m a good mom. Summer is when I, “do you, Baby. Do you!”
Recently, at a play date in response to my Facebook status that our theme this year is “pirates”my friend said, “Oh my gosh, Osheta! You are an amazing mom. You do so much with your kids. I don’t think I’ll have the energy for all that! How do you do it all?”
And I preened bit, so self-satisfied and smug. For a moment I wanted to kick into mentor mommy mode and tell her exactly how to be like me. Because, yeah…I rock. But her tone told me she needed something else. Her tone was syrupy sweet and slightly acidic. It’s that tone we get when we’re sizing up a potential female opponent and summarily find ourselves lacking. It is a tone that’s so comfortable on my lips; I often use it as a feeble attempt to mask my own deep-rooted insecurity.
So I knew I had a choice. I knew I had the power to bridge the chasm between friends that our insecurities forge with gracious encouragement or I could widen the gap with my self-importance. So I let the clearest, best response to insecurity from a bold wife in a hot, Southern Baptist church in New Orleans be my guide.
Do you, Baby! Do you!
“I do all this with my kids because I know me. I love to plan events and create structure. Honestly, it keeps me sane to let my interests guide the summer instead of living at the mercy of my kids’ whims. I enjoy the rhythm of activities every day and planning surprises after bedtime. It makes me come alive. If I didn’t do all this, I’d drown under the monotony of motherhood because I’m a better mom when I’m true to myself. As long as you’re true to yourself, you’ll be an amazing mom too—even if you don’t have themes and crafts and activities like me.”
That seemed to help. I didn’t get that competitive vibe off her anymore, which is always good (mommy wars are the worse).
I chose encouragement over self-congratulation and in doing so, I gave her permission to be herself.
In essence, I told my friend, “Do you Mama, Do you!”
Every since I heard the pastor’s wife at Life Center in New Orleans stand up in front of the congregation and tell her husband “Do you, Baby! Do you”, “do you” has become my semi-trendy manta, (well at least it’s not “epic fail” or even worse, “YOLO!”).
“Do you”, means follow your heart. “Do you” says when you’re overwhelmed with possibilities, you narrow down the list to what makes you come alive and then you do it. Life always begets life. “Do you” trust your instincts because they’re allergic to trends, fads, expectations, and mores. “Do you” necessarily implies that you don’t try to “do anyone else”.
“Do you” means find your rhythm, commit your step to it, and confidently lead your babies into a great summer, a deeper connection with their mom, and closer to the heart of God.
In next week’s series, “Do you, Mama. Do you!”, I’ll share some specific plans and ideas on our summer theme as well as my process in discerning what’s makes me come alive as a mom. I’ll have some tips to help you find summer rhythm, hopefully, they’ll empower you to, “Do you, Mama. Do you”. If you’re wondering how to make the next few months memorable and fun for your kids, yet not burn out too quickly, this is a series you do not want to miss.
I will also be writing movie-time devotionals over the next few months to help you turn the extended screen time of summer into teaching moments by identifying and communicating the biblical themes biblical themes in popular kid movies. Local libraries, free movie nights at the park, and discounted kids’ matinees will be showing a good number of the movies I’ll write about. My goal is to give you short on-the-drive-home or over a snack devos to help you show your children how to intersect faith and culture in a fun, low impact way. We’ll start in two weeks with, “Despicable Me”. So please consider subscribing so that you don’t miss this printable resource for your family. You can enter your email in the link at the top right.
Happy First Day of Summer and….
Do you, Mamas! Do you,