One Pink Toothbrush

Welcome to One Pink Toothbrush, where I will be posting moments from my days as a mum and as a wife. Funny moments, messy moments, thoughtful moments, teary moments.... and hopefully using each moment to see what God might be saying.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Mothering without Mum

6 years ago, Jenni’s very healthy and active mum was diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately it was a very rare and aggressive type that took her life very quickly. I asked Jenni if she would share her story of ‘Mothering without mum’, as part of the mothering series.

What were your dreams of being a mum, in relation to your own mum? 

Seeing my mum with my sisters and their children, I was thinking it would be fairly similar to that. She was such a great ‘hands on’ Grandma and I couldn't wait to have that relationship with my own kids and her. I looked forward to being pregnant, getting excited with her and for her to be there to answer my 'mum type questions', once I'd had a baby. I also looked forward to just hanging out with her and generally doing the next bit of life together, in the security of knowing she would be there to help if I needed a break or support.

Walk us through the life changes you quickly had to make... 

 I was recently engaged when mum was diagnosed, and we ended up bringing our wedding forward so that she could be there. After being in hospital, she had come home to be made more comfortable. All the family were gathered and one morning the Doctor told us that if we wanted her there for our wedding we needed to do it ASAP. So that evening we got married in my parent’s house, with my Mum upstairs in bed watching on a video feed. Some incredibly generous friends managed to put up a marquee in the garden, and completely transform the house, filling it with fairy lights and drapes in just 6 hours! It was beautiful and looked like something from the movie "Father of the bride".
4 days later my mum passed away, with her legacy surrounding her bedside, worshipping and thanking God through the tears, for her wonderful life.

When you fell pregnant, what thoughts did you have in regards to your mum not being there?
Me and my Husband had the happy surprise of finding out we were pregnant 3 months into married life! Although this was a little shock, we were extremely happy and knew that this was a perfectly timed, beautiful gift from God. I think if I had fallen pregnant years down the line, it would have always brought up the grief of not having Mum around. However seeing as it had only been a few months, it was all still so raw. Just like our wedding, it was a season full of joy, mixed in with sorrow and loss; there was going to be so many life experiences that I would not be able to share with my Mum.

How has mothering been, without mum around? 
We are very blessed to have such great family and friends around us. We both come from large families so it has always meant that we have had a great support network.

My Husband was (and still is) very supportive. Night or day, he was there to comfort me when I felt the loss the most. The times when mum would have been by first port of call, to ask her advice about the kids, or share something new they had done, were the toughest. My second child was in and out of hospital and I know that had she been there, she would have helped out in an instant. That was really difficult. I found it hard knowing that my sisters’ kids had a relationship with mum that mine couldn’t have. It was very hard not to be jealous of them and of my friends who had their own mums around. Still to this day, I have to go to God about it a lot. My family, although can’t replace her, have been a great support.

From having Pauline as your mum, w
hat have you learnt about being a mum yourself?
She has taught me (along with my Dad) about life. She loved me unconditionally, provided for me, and was always there for me when I needed her. She has taught me that I will make mistakes as a mum, as she did, because only God is the perfect parent. She modelled a Christian walk to me, with ups and downs, but to keep God at the centre, and to have Him as my solid rock; to go to Him with everything. My amazing Mum, – she was strong, full of life, laughed a lot, loved a lot, was servant hearted; a woman of God, a wife, mum to many, friend to many, hospitable to all, and I miss her every day.

What has God taught you through all of this? 
6 years on, I now have 3 children, and there are definitely times when it hits me harder than others. But over these years I have felt Gods Fathering; His steadfastness, sovereignty and unconditional love for me. Even though there has been loss and heartache, I have far more to be happy about. God has been so good to me, I don't know how people do life without Him. He has blessed and surprised me with such goodness in my life and I am truly thankful. Mum has given me the foundations to draw near to and press into God, to have my own relationship and adventure with him.

What verses have you held onto in regards to mothering without your mum? 
There are many, but I like are Psalm 139 

and Psalm 73v23-26 
"Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
 and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
 And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
 but God is the strength of my heart
 and my portion forever."

Mothering series...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Tired & Tearful

Mmm...four months without a blog post, that's not very good is it? What have I been doing with my time? Well I guess there is Baby Number six growing in my uterus, and there are those five other time consuming little beings in my life, and there is that house to clean, and those toys to put away, and that washing which needed sorting. Then there's Facebook to look at and that romantic novel which needed reading, about a chocolate shop in Paris. Oh and there was Newday, and I seem to have the distant memories of a family holiday somewhere back there too. 

These answers are all valid of course, but I think somewhere in the midst of it all, I was just tired, too tired to write or think. There was a day on holiday, where me and the husband took it in turns to be semi conscious near the kids. They watched five dvds that day. That's 7.5hours of visual overload, and they mainly ate snacks. They couldn't quite believe that every time they approached us with,
"muuuuuuum, can I eat....?", they got a yes. That was a good day, for all concerned. Praise God for rest!

Going to bed at 9pm, makes you not only feel as old as your grandma, (bring out the warmed milk and Ovaltine) but you feel a little out of touch with the world around you. If you go to sleep as soon as the oldest one is tucked up for the night, there's no head space, or 'me time', or rubbish TV to embrace. Especially if your day consisted of the usual mum fun; answering the million questions on life and of course, the unanswerable 'why?', watching re-runs of The Octonauts and Spider-man, sorting out brotherly love which got too physical, changing a nappy or two, wiping a nose, wiping a bum, wiping the kitchen side...(Different cloths were used for all wiping scenarios).  

And although you're a hormonal, ever-so-slightly tearful mess, you try fighting the husband, who is suggesting sleep as a radical new cure for tiredness. You want to stay up later than your kids. At least 'til 10pm. Yeah...rock & roll. Maybe have a glass of fizzy and something from the snack drawer... You want to exist as you, not just as mum, tired mum. But you end up crying at every TV programme you flick through, from house renovations to hotel inspectors. So you concede that the husband, who puts up with the tears and the hormones, and has done for each and every pregnancy (and there's been a few) is indeed right. You give in and climb once more into bed at 9pm.

And then you remember that wonderful book of encouragement on your bedside table; The Bible... And God reminds you of a couple of verses in it. "Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up". Galations 6v9
I had most definitely grown weary. Weary of the day-to-day mothering. Weary from carrying a baby. Weary of wiping and answering and crowd controlling. And God asks me not to grow weary in doing good. Why? So that I can reap a harvest. Mothering is good, parenting is good; a worthy thing to plough your time and energy in to. 
John Piper puts that verse like this, "Don't lose heart spending yourself through love". 

And just what harvest can I expect? Well, hopefully the security of my kids' eternal destination. Put like that, then yes I will keep on keeping on, even if it means tucking myself under the duvet at 9pm, ready to do it all again tomorrow. I want each one of them to know Jesus for themselves, to have a relationship with God, to know their sins are forgiven and their name is on the VIP list for that great place to be; Heaven. So whether I'm wiping them, disciplining them, feeding them or answering their many questions, I'm reminded that I'm shaping them and getting them ready for much more. And yes it's tiring, but 'spending yourself through love' is the best way to spend yourself surely?! And what's wonderful to know is that God's word, the Bible contains so much more encouragement for me...
  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Philippians 4v13