The Makeup Bag Moment

Saturday rolled around and it was time to go pick up hubby. I was thrilled and I wanted to look nice. I’m down 9 pounds, and thought I’d do something other than the no makeup/messy bun/leggings look that I’ve been rocking for months. I’d try to look cute for him. So I got my jeans on, and a cute t-shirt, flipped my hair up out of the way and yanked open my makeup drawer.

It’s not actually an entire drawer of makeup, for those of you wondering. It’s just the drawer that held the few makeup items I had.

Had.

My precious, wild three year old had opened every tube of LipSense color, remover, gloss, poured out what she could, let the rest dry out. Okay, no lips. I’ll just do my powder and my eyes.

Mascara? Open, dried out. Eyeshadow? Covered in dried LipSense. Powder? Same as the eyeshadow. Even my eyeliner was broken to nothing.

Now, it’s been three years since I bought any makeup, and it’s been MONTHS since I wore any of it, but it was mine. In my drawer. In my bathroom. I thought the couple times she ran out with a little color smeared on her face was just nothing. I cleaned her up, and the closed drawer made me feel like all was right inside the drawer.

I completely lost it. I was crying, and chunking things in the trash, and I called my hubby and he seemed confused, a little like he couldn’t hear me, and a little like it didn’t matter anyway. But he pointed out I should have left already. More tears as I hung up the phone, now mad that he couldn’t see my problem for the problem it was.

I stormed around, angry and crying. My 6-year-old tried to comfort me, and even told me she would try to buy me new makeup. I turned to look at her and it hit me. I hit my knees and pulled my three littles close. I lost my peace over some makeup because of a million other things weighing on my heart. I kissed each of their sweet faces, helped the girls with their hair, and we went to get my husband.

I don’t care about makeup. While I can’t replace 15 tubes of LipSense, or even the other things I have right now, losing my peace over that moment was silly. It wasn’t the real issue brewing under the surface. I was forced to admit that the tears and ache had nothing to do with makeup.

It has to do with working out how robbed I feel of the dreams I had for the next few years with my two boys. Good things can also be hard things. As much as the peace of God has overwhelmed me through all of this, I still have so much processing that I’m working on.

It looks a little like this:

Did you know I am a curriculum nerd? I was so excited for the curriculum I was going to use with the boys this year. I thought it was going to be a great year.

Did you know I am getting to stay home for our school year? I had so many activities planned for the boys.

Our activities, places we would go, things we would see. It all sits in a basket in my mind, full of things that were going to be that never got to be.

It’s my least favorite brain basket. Sure, I have plans with the other kids and those haven’t changed, but they aren’t the plans I had with the boys.

So I lost my peace over a bag of makeup. I’m thankful I didn’t unpack and live there – not over the makeup, not the with the basket of undone things. I returned to God and asked Him to remind me why we are doing this, to remind me what He is doing, and why He calls us to surrender the hardest of things and let Him have the wheel.

Friend, what are you losing your peace over? Is it the real problem, or just an outlet for something else you need to deal with?

 

Unmet Expectations

A new lesson I’ve been trying to impart to my crew is how unmet expectations, and unreasonably high expectations, can really put a strain on relationships. This is true for any relationship – be it spouses, parent-child, siblings, friends, co-workers. Unmet expectations can place a burden on a relationship that sometimes, the relationship cannot even bear, which in turn, suffocates the relationship altogether.

I’ll give you a recent example from events that actually happened.

“Let’s have tostadas for dinner,” My dear husband said aloud. I immediately assumed that he was volunteering to either make dinner, or at least pitch in to help make dinner. Time ticked by. It became apparent that the words he should have used were, “Will you please make tostadas for dinner?”

I have a couple of choices at this moment. Now mind you, I’m tired by the time we reach the evening. Not to take away from or compete with his tired or anything. But we are both there – pretty well done for the day, with a couple hours until bedtime. And God knows I love this man He gave me, but when he comes home from work, his tired means he is getting down to his underwear and watching TV.

Now, if I ask for help, I can usually get it. But I have that woman/mom thing where I don’t feel like I should have to ask for help. Another post, another day. Or is it? Are these unmet expectations, rising up with a chokehold on our relationship?

Back to the tostadas. I can accept that he wants tostadas for dinner, and I can make them. With a cheerful heart, aware of all I’ve been blessed with, and the very fact that I have a husband to cook dinner for. Or I can throw in the towel, dollop some pb&j on some bread, pass it out to the kids, and cross my arms in silent, rebellious satisfaction. If he isn’t going to help, then he isn’t going to eat what he wants.

Say I go with options #2 – pb&j, and maybe my snarky self brings him one, too. With water, ha! Now, what do we have here?

We have mom frustrated by the expectation that the original question seemed like a team effort dinner but wasn’t, and dad frustrated that he thought he was going to get tostadas, now faced with pb&j. Who is more right to be frustrated by their unmet expectations? Both? One or the other? Neither?

I think it’s neither. I mean, I guess we have the right to live in this cycle. But do we want to? Why would we want to?

So, is it always or only up to me to be the bigger person, make the tostadas, and smile about it? No, I dare say not. And I can’t pick my sleeping husband’s brain about the times he feels that rise of unfairness and fights back by being kind and going the extra mile, mainly because he’s sleeping as I write this. Maybe I should write up a few questions for him to answer so I can have a husband Q&A. Add your questions at the bottom and I’ll try to put him on the spot this weekend.

Back to the tostadas.

I can do this with a good attitude, and sit down to enjoy tostadas with my family (which were delicious, by the way). Or I can have a bad attitude and make the tostadas, or not. I’m still missing out because of my attitude.

Sometimes we don’t see the expectation ahead of us, so much as in the middle of frustration we see, “you didn’t do this like I thought you would/asked you to/needed you to.” We have to train ourselves to stop, identify what we were expecting, and how we can make the best of the situation. I think this is always most effective by inviting Jesus to soften our hearts and teach us in the moment.

Sometimes we are right to speak up and address the issue with the other person. Sometimes we are right to address within ourselves the expectation, how/why it wasn’t met, and move forward. I didn’t go to my husband and complain that he didn’t make tostadas with me. Not every unmet expectation is because the other person did something wrong. Sometimes it’s because we expected something that was never implied or intended. Sometimes it’s because we expected something because of our past, because of something we misunderstood. I can’t even begin to think of all the ways we come up with expectations, but I know what it feels like to feel let down.

We don’t have to wallow in those feelings. Ask Jesus in, identify what to address with the other person, identify what you can correct just by changing your thinking on the matter, and keep moving forward in your relationships.

(Don’t forget to add your questions at the bottom for a fun little hubby Q&A!)

Until next time,

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A Prayer to Share:

Dear God,
You see the expectations I’m building in my heart and mind. Help me weed through unnecessary expectations – whether they are too high or too many. Help me to be at peace with the people around me, accepting of who they are, and able to enjoy the relationships I have. Help me to forgive those who have let me down.

Where there have been expectations on me that I have not met, help the other person to be at peace, to forgive me. Mend those relationships as you see fit, Father.

Help me to stay focused on becoming more like Jesus day in and day out.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen

Parenting Stretches Us

Parenting always pushes me out of my comfort zone and really forces me to examine my thoughts, motives, actions. I have to really analyze my feelings, determine justified and unjustified emotions, and move forward with the day to day, no matter how happy or hurt I am.

My sweet son was talking to his dad on the phone as we drove home. I listened to half the conversation and could tell his dad was going to a movie, and he wanted to go.

“But not in 3D!!” My son exclaimed.

Hmm, I scratched my head.

“But I had to sit on the front row… Dad, I hate the front row,” he lamented.

Into the darkness of night, I fixed my gaze, as my feelings stung a bit. See, I worked extra hard to put together a movie day with just the big 2 and my husband and I. (Which never happens, for the record.) I’m not “in the know” enough to know that I should buy Marvel movie tickets 2 months ahead of time, or wait a couple weeks to try to see it. So we got stuck with front row seats.

3D gives me a major headache so we opted for a regular showing. But I was just certain that movies, popcorn, soda, and no little kids to hang out with would be a total win. But at this moment, all I heard were complaints.

My knee-jerk reaction/thought was, “I’ll never take you to another movie.”

I wish I could pluck thoughts out of my head and cast them in the trash, forgotten. But that’s not the case. I have to challenge the thought, the feelings, and find what makes the most sense. I have to ask Jesus to help me sort it out.

(Yes, I think kids need to be taught gratitude, but I don’t think this was entirely a gratitude issue. And even if it was on his part, I still have my part to sort out.)

See, parenting gives us these moments and lots of them. Moments where we can cry, stomp, and even lash out. Or moments where we can analyze our thoughts, our hearts, and choose our responses carefully.

In this case, I was merely eavesdropping, so adding my thoughts to his conversation would have been rude. I realized the effort I put into making the movie a special treat for the boys was my energy and effort spent, and being a words of affirmation girl made it hard to hear the opposite. His complaints weren’t far from my own – I thought the front row sucked, but it was better than not going at all.

And I’ve never known a kid that didn’t love a 3D movie.

And I think it’s normal for a kid to say what he/she thinks it will take to get what they want. He wanted to go to the movie with his dad and stepmom and siblings. Regardless of whether I made it a special afternoon, or we had a blast. He still wanted the experience of going with them.

That’s reasonable. I don’t mind experiencing the same thing multiple times if I get to experience it with different people that are important to me.

Okay, we’ll go to another movie at some point.

Sure, I’d love rave reviews about how perfect the afternoon was and how much they noticed that we went out of our way to make it fun for them. But then I have to remember that the absence of that, while felt sharply by myself as a words person, isn’t actually an insult.

I’m thankful that parenting teaches me so many lessons. I’m glad that parenting is part of how God is making me my best self. I’m thankful I get to walk through these things and that I get to learn to love expressively and fiercely. I am better for these moments that are a little painful.

Until next time,
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