Tag Archives: work

A Letter to the Mamas,

I’m writing this to you because I think you need to hear it, but I’m also writing it to me so I don’t forget.

Hey, you. Yeah, I know you don’t have time for this. You need to get out the door and nobody has their coats or shoes on, and Baby has decided to take his pants off and run around the room. You’re going to be late to the kids’ doctor’s appointment and if it’s by more than 15 minutes they’ll make you reschedule. You’d think a pediatrician’s office would be more FLEXIBLE since, I don’t know, their dealing with CHILDREN WHO CAN’T DO ONE BLESSED THING FOR THEMSELVES SO HOW ON EARTH ARE YOU EXPECTED TO BE ON TIME? Anyway, by now you’ve gotten their coats and shoes on and Baby has on hand-me-down jeans from who knows where and you’re getting them in the car. Now one of them is crying because somebody hit her and Baby is whining and arching his back making it nearly impossible to buckle him into his car seat. As you use your best stern Mom voice to tell them “hands are not for hitting,” you notice you forgot to wipe of Baby’s face from breakfast and he has sticky syrup on his cheeks that has attracted every dirt particle from your home. He basically looks like a homeless baby. So you grab a wet wipe from the diaper bag and wipe his face off which makes him scream and you try to comfort him but you’re late so you figure he’ll get over it and jump into your seat. As you turn on your kids’ music or show, you find yourself starting to zone out.

This is where you need to listen, Moms.

As you begin to tune out all the car chatter, the voices in your head may take you down those old familiar roads. They are like a corn maze you can’t get out of. On your first turn, you head down the “What am I doing with my life?” path, then you take a right onto “Is this what motherhood is supposed to look like?” then hang a left on “Endless fighting and whining is not what I signed up for,” then merge onto “Am I even doing a good job?,” then you make a hard right onto “I suck at being a mom.” Then you’re basically there.

“Where?” you ask.

Right in the place the devil wants you. A place of vulnerability. A place where you’re so unsure of who you are and what your purpose is you are desperate for someone to tell you. So he does. He whispers things like, “No, you’re not really a good mom because what good mom yells at her kids/lets them watch THAT much TV/loses her temper/can’t get her kids to eat healthy foods/can’t get her kids to behave in public/doesn’t want to spend every second having “intentional” time with her kids/scrolls through her phone THAT many times a day/(fill in the blank with anything else that makes you feel like a crappy mom)…

And then the devil takes his toxic shame coat and drapes it over your shoulders and that’s how you live. Covered in shame.

This is where you need to listen, ladies.

Don’t let shame make you forget who you are.

Don’t forget that you are the woman that fed your kids today, you helped them get dressed, you held them when they cried, you listened when they told you about their day, you gave them encouragement when they doubted themselves, you washed their clothes, you picked them up when they needed to be held, you laid with them so they could fall asleep, you read them books, you helped with homework, you got them new jeans because theirs were getting a bit too short, you signed them up for camps, you made doctors’ appointments for them, you put money on their lunch card, you prayed for them, you prayed with them, you told her that she most certainly could not wear shorts that short, you said no to the party that was sketchy on the details, you called them out when they were being less than kind, you pointed them to Jesus with loving words, you corrected them and loved them, YOU DID SO MANY IMPORTANT THINGS.

Don’t forget that the God who made ALL the people gave you a few of His own to raise; because He knew you’d be the perfect fit for them. He chose YOU. He knew you would need help and He knew you would screw it up and He was ok with that.

See, the thing is, as much as we forget who we are sometimes, God doesn’t. If we have been saved through faith in Jesus, the Word says “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)

I believe being a mom is good work. It can be exhausting and wonderful and mundane and sweet and aggravating and beautiful and just plain hard. Lots of times being a mom doesn’t feel good. When we feel like all we do is discipline and say no, it doesn’t really feel that awesome to be a mom. But my feelings are all over the place sometimes so it helps to go back to the Truth. “for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Prv. 3:12)

Aaaaahhhhh. Nice to know that all our reproving means that we actually LOVE our kids…contrary to what our kids may say. We’re just trying to point them to Jesus and keep them out of juvie, am I right?

All that to say… Moms, you’re doing a good job. What you’re doing matters. I see you and you are good enough. Actually, scratch that. You are excellent. Now go forth into battle and don’t forget to put snacks in your purse.

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(This pic was taken many years ago but it reminds me that winter with littles is HARD.)

-Courtney

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What is infecting the kids in our community?

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WilCo-itis.

It’s infecting children everywhere in my community, Williamson County. It may be genetic, but it is highly contagious from kid to kid. I felt like it was my duty to inform you as I’ve seen signs of it in my own children from time to time. Here are 7 signs your child might be suffering from WilCo-itis:

  1. The idea that any “break” from school demands an amazing vacation.
  2. If you didn’t beach it at 30A, your child may not even consider it “the beach.”
  3. A little man on a horse is no longer a good enough shirt emblem. It has to be a whale or you can just forget it.
  4. Sonic happy hour? No. Frappes from Starbies.
  5. Duckface with a peace sign is the only selfie worth posting on social media.
  6. Expecting a car before their sixteenth birthday.
  7. Nike is so old school, Under Armour and Lulu are the only athletic clothes to be seen in. Even if you’re not being particularly “athletic.”

 

I know it sounds bad but don’t worry, it can be remedied. Sometimes it stays in the system for a while so it’s hard to kick, but hang in there. The treatment for this is going to be hard, parents. You will have to be vigilant. So here’s the cure:

WORK.

That’s it. Make your kids do work. Then make them use the money they WORKED TO EARN to pay for their own Starbies and whale shirts. Some other treatments are: phone deprivation, staying home during school breaks, and keeping your money in your own wallet. These are also effective.

Now, I have to warn you, the side effects of the treatment can be brutal. Here are 7 side effects that come with the cure for WilCo-itis.

  1. HEAVY eye-rolling
  2. Huffing
  3. Puffing
  4. Complaining
  5. The phrase “But ___________’s parents don’t make him/her work!”
  6. Overall tiredness
  7. Grouchiness

I know, the side effects look grim especially if you have to live with them every day. Not the kids, you. You will have to live with them every day. It will be hard but I think you can do it. YOU have the ability to raise children that aren’t entitled little jerks running around with their parents’ credit card. YOU are the parent, not the fun/entertainment director. YOUR KIDS ARE NOT THE BOSS OF YOU. You are the boss, and occasionally, you let them make choices and you don’t have to feel bad about it. Even the tweens need (GASP) guidance even though they know everything already. You are equipped to do this. You can cure your kids of this nasty disease and they will be better humans for it. Together we can beat Wilco-itis.

-Courtney

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The Dreaded Question…

What is it that I do?

It’s a simple enough question, right. On the surface it seems harmless. “What do you do?” People ask this question all the time especially when meeting someone new. This question fills me with anxiety because I’m not sure how to answer. For me, when I’m not sure about something it leads to insecurity. Even more so when I feel like it’s something that, at 35, I should have figured out by now.

When I graduated college and passed the boards it was easy, I was a nurse. When I had my babies it was easy, I was a stay at home mom that worked as a nurse occasionally. Now that my kids have gone to school, it’s left me with a bit of a question mark. I usually say, “I’m a nurse” because that’s the safest response. Do we typically classify something we do once a week or less as our “job?” No, but it takes the least explanation on my part. If I told you I was a writer, let’s be honest, that sounds fake. The fake job that makes no money. If I told you I was a stay-at-home mom, well, then you’d ask how old my kids are and I’d tell you their ages and you’d deduce that they, in fact, are in school every day. Then I would get the same question with a side of passive aggressive judgment, “So what do you DO all day while they’re at school?” It’s subtle but it’s there. Or at least I think it’s there. It’s actually probably not there but I’m insecure so I misinterpret things all the time to be a dig at me.

So, what do I do?

The world places a lot of value on what we do. It’s how we identify people and put them into categories. Some jobs are important, others less so. We’ve made up things like “status” to go along with jobs. This way we can value/devalue each other depending on the importance of our jobs. We can puff up with pride when the world recognizes our job as important. Or we can cower in insecurity when it’s not, or at least we don’t think it is. Or we defend our jobs to the death so people will know how vital our jobs are to humanity.

I’ve believed the lie again. I was praying about this very thing the other day. Trying to get some kind of affirmation and clarity from God on what’s my purpose and what am I supposed to be doing with my life. You know, just a regular Tuesday for the introvert. And somewhere during the prayer, it happened. If I’m at home by myself I tend to pray aloud because it helps me work out my thoughts. It also helps me not fall asleep. So while I’m working out my request to God (because it’s all about me) He revealed something to me that I had never really considered before.

He calls me by name.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Is. 43:1

“To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” John 10:3

“And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Ex. 33:17

“The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.” Rev. 3:5 (Emphasis is mine)

He calls me by name. He doesn’t call me by what I do. He doesn’t call me Nurse, or Mom, or Writer (because that sounds fake). When He thinks of me, He doesn’t associate me with my job, I’m just Courtney to Him. I also love in that last verse, that it’s only my name in the Book of Life, not my accomplishments or transgressions, just my name. My name gives me value, not my job. Though I don’t always think it’s in the form of a “job” for everyone, I do believe God has work for us to do here on earth. It says in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” My mind tries to play tricks on me and tell me that it’s only “good work” if it has an important title. If I volunteer all my free time at a nonprofit, then it’s good work. If I support every cause for needy children, then it’s good work. If it gets recognition, if it helps a lot of people, if it requires a lot of money, THEN it will be good work.

I’m slowly figuring out that in the end, God is the only one I need to care about knowing my name. I’m here to make His name great, not mine. And “good work” may look like taking my kids to practice, or cooking dinner, or having a good attitude when I’m at my nursing job. Good work can look like watching someone’s kids while they go to an appointment. It can look like taking someone a meal. It can look like being a prayer warrior for someone during a hard time. These things don’t get a lot of recognition but they do matter.

So for those of you needing a reminder (me), God cares more about your name than your title. Maybe writing it down this time will help me remember.

Does anyone else struggle with this “what do you do?” question. I’d love to know!

-Courtney

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My Worst Boss Ever

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For as long as I can remember I’ve worked for someone. I’ve always had a boss. And no, I’m not going to get all “God is the boss of my life” on you. I do believe He’s in control but that’s not where I’m going with this.

In my career/work life, I’ve been a nurse that answers to doctors and supervisors. They tell me what to do and I do it. It’s actually a very simple formula. At home, my kids are my boss. I know this sounds weird since it’s supposed to be the other way around. If you asked them they would say I’m the boss of them. This is what they believe and I need them to believe that so they’ll obey me…most of the time. Most of the time they obey me. Ok, some of the time. Ok, after I ask them 17 times and I’m shouting at them. Whatever. They think I’m the boss. What they don’t know is my life, to a point, revolves around their activities and care. When they were younger it was like working for miniature terrorists. They would make demands and didn’t understand English. And when they didn’t get their way they would declare war in a screaming/crying fit or they would whine. Forever. These were hard times. You’ll be glad to know they are no longer terrorists and can negotiate sensibly. Usually. Whining never actually dies.

Anyway, the point is, someone has always dictated my schedule or told me the expectation for the job I am to perform. I’m actually very comfortable with this set up. I’m no chief; I’m a good little Indian. I like following rules and helping out just tell me what you need me to do for you. This season of life has been a transition for me to say the least. With my kids in school, I feel like it’s cut my caretaker job down to part time since they’re not with me for 7 hours of the day. I also decided to work at my nursing job less so I would have more time to write. But here’s the thing:

I stink at being my own boss.

I am no good when left to my own devices. I piddle around the house. I run errands just to get out of the house. Heck, I even exercise to avoid sitting down at the computer. Exercise, people! Now, the exercise has proven to be beneficial but the rest is just a distraction. I move inconsequential things up on my priority list and shove writing down to the bottom and at the end of the day it’s left unchecked on my “to-do” list. Then I whine in my head about how I just don’t have enough time to write. Why do I do this? Why do I trade something that fills my soul for a pile of clothes that need folding? The more I ponder it the more I think it’s because writing can be hard. It’s intimidating to let your thoughts have free reign to become words on a page. I’m not always sure what’s going to come out in my mental upchuck. Sometimes the things that come out are embarrassing. I don’t always want to be honest about things I’m ashamed of. Sometimes things that I find funny fall flat on other people. The story on paper isn’t as good as the one in my head. So I fold clothes and I go to the grocery store and I make lists of things I “need” to get done. And then, at the end of the day I wonder why I feel unaccomplished. I wonder why I don’t seem to get enough done. I have a sneaking suspicion that when you don’t do work that fills your soul, you will be left wanting more out of life.

Why am I telling you all this? I tell you this because I need your help. For those of you who are gifted in time management and being your own boss, what are your tricks? How do you stay on task? How do you choke down the enemy of distraction? Leave a comment for me if you have any wisdom that would be helpful! Thanks in advance!

-Courtney

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