Who’s Got Your Back?

The other night was one of those nights. You know. Like it’s written in the stars or your fortune cookie:  your kids will misbehave today and so will youNothing works out right. It’s pure, cranky chaos.

It had been a long day and my husband was gone for the evening. I struggled through on my own. Cursing under my breath. Practicing deep breathing bCIMG0599etween screaming bouts. Matching my 10 year old snide comment for snide comment. Reacting with the same short fuse as my 5 year old and the indignation of my 8 year old. It wasn’t pretty. So as bedtime approached I made the rounds along each bed; apologizing, asking forgiveness, explaining that I’m not perfect and I know it and God help me, I’m working on it. Really, though the behavior leading up to this moment is certainly never ideal, the chance to model sincere regret and ask for forgiveness is golden. I mean, there’s got to be a flip-side, right?

Anyway, my kids usually make it so easy. They melt. The tension and bad mood that settled between their shoulder blades releases and I feel them go soft, give into my love, lean into my arms. I lean into them, smell their hair and hold on tight. This time, when I got to my daughter’s bed she took my hand, looked me in the eyes and said I just wish Papa were here. Oh, I bristled. I assumed she was referring to the classic Good Parent-Bad Parent dilemma (and we all know which side I was on). But then she explained.

It’s just that you need a Back-up Person, Mama. I just wish you could have had a Back-up Person tonight. Everyone needs a Back-up.

Then, she hugged me. She left me there, leaning over her bed, my mouth wide open in awe of the wisdom, love and empathy she showed to me in such an undeserving moment. She really nailed it this time.

Who is your Back-up Person? A husband, a partner, a mother, a best friend… It can be anyone ready to step in when you’ve had it up to here, when you are stuck in an ugly cycle and need a moment to breathe, to swim back up to the surface. It’s crucial in this mothering gig that someone has our backs. Hopefully we all have at least one person looking out for us. Ideally we have that village surrounding us with someone not only behind, but also on each side and in front of us. Let’s build that together for each other. Use MOPS this year as yet another way to have each other’s backs. Support each other, listen, encourage and laugh.

With your back covered you can face forward with confidence, go out into the world as mothers, as women, and flourish.

Ida

Ida Fischer is a Bigfork MOPS alumnus.  She is married to Maarten and mother to Sam (10), Noa (8), and Mylo (5). She enjoys everything outdoors, reading, and spending time alone to paint. You can find her blog and artwork at Ida Fischer Art and Illustration.

A Fierce Flourishing

negativespace-14After several months of company, I am slowing reclaiming my house. I love having company in the summertime and celebrating the family or friendship ties that bring us together. Summer is wonderful (Despite the smoke!).

Recently, I saw a MOPS mom with her kids and she told me she couldn’t wait for MOPS to start. Really? That means summer is almost over and fall is coming. How quickly it all rushes by.

The theme this year at MOPS is “A Fierce Flourishing”. I love that and I hope you will go on MOPS.org to read more about the theme. In our first meeting in September, we will talk about that theme and what it means for our group in Bigfork this year.

As I thought about how I might work that theme out in my life, one word came to mind…intention. To flourish in my life means that I need to live my life intentionally, not just floating along with whatever happens (although that is sometimes good). To purposely choose how to live fully is to flourish.

I can flourish when I decide to choose to spend time in what is most important and not major in the minors. I can spend more time in deepening relationships and less in time-wasters. I can plan fun dates with my husband to celebrate who we are as a couple. I can spend more time being thankful and less being wishful.

Here is how this is stated in the MOPS literature for this year:

Embrace Rest. This is the year to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as a measure of worth. What if one of the most life-giving activities that will contribute to our flourishing is welcoming rhythms of rest and play into our lives?”

Notice goodness. Could it be possible that we don’t need new things, but rather new eyes to see what we already have…Noticing what is good gives us the gift of perspective and reminds us that the sacred is closer than we think.”
Celebrate Lavishly…Could it be that commemorating moments might help us to become more alive, to remember what is good and become masterful at recognizing it?”

“This is a fierce flourishing. It is a deep in your guts experience of gratitude and hope that compels you to raise your hands and dance freer than you ever have before. It is a fierce protection of your most important moments, an invitation to rest and an opportunity to enjoy the people who are right in front of you.” A Fierce Flourishing, pg. 5, 6.

11351492_10152807222557097_4427345129274860055_nThat sounds great, you say, but you don’t have a baby on your hip, a toddler whining on your leg, and work pressing in on you. No, I don’t. And I don’t think this theme is in any way meant to bypass or belittle the struggles of being a pre-school mom. It is hard, it is intense, and it is time-consuming and energy-draining to be a mom of little ones.

But perhaps this noticing, this celebrating, this resting even in small ways will be what infuses you with energy in your days. Being thankful, seeing beauty every day, and learning to rest are intentional choices we can make. We can’t always control all that goes on in our days, but we can choose our attitude and learn to see the good in a situation.

I am looking forward to learning all that I can in this next year, because flourishing is something I really want to do. I am looking forward to getting together to encourage one another to grow and thrive as women and as moms. Let’s make this our best year yet!   Love you, Jan