Do you feel like you’re drowning in the everyday stress-pool? . . . Wish you could make busy-ness a business so you’d be a millionaire? . . . Welcome to the maternal order of slightly sagging sisters of the 'hood. The motherhood. With her own offbeat brand of wit and near-wisdom, popular inspirational humorist Debora Coty addresses heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos. Whether you're struggling with stress related to attitude, time-management, guilt trips, patience, or something in between. . .this humor-filled volume will deliver a much-needed smile and equip you with simple-to-implement tips for attaining the peace we all crave—the peace that passes all understanding.
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Debora M. Coty is a popular speaker, columnist, lifelong Bible student, and award-winning author of numerous books, including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressedseries. She’s also a piano teacher, retired occupational therapist, and tennis addict. Deb lives, loves, and laughs in central Florida with her husband of forty years, just down the road from her two grown children and four audacious grands. Visit with Deb online at www.DeboraCoty.com.
Read an Excerpt
PMS: Pretending Mom's Sane
If I keep my eyes on GOD, I won't trip over my own feet.
PSALM 25:15 MSG
As a first-time, expectant mom, I smiled in breathless awe as I prepared the baby's room, washing crinkly stiffness out of brand-new crib sheets, smoothing them to perfection over the mattress of the newly assembled crib, and arranging — then rearranging — adorable baby animal–themed mobiles and pillows in anticipation of the arrival of my precious son.
Every morning I stood by my baby's bed and lovingly patted the sacred, hallowed place he would lay his sweet little head.
Then one day, my hand came up hairy. What was this? Cat hair? In my baby's bed? No. No. NO!
I hid behind the couch, spying on our snowy-white cat, Shawna. Sure enough, she'd taken to jumping up and sleeping in the crib. In the all-about-me nature of felines, she'd apparently assumed that her humans had provided this soft new domicile just for her napping pleasure. After all, up to that point, she'd been the sole recipient of our love and attention — our furry baby.
Okay. Surely this misunderstanding could be resolved. Shawna simply had to learn her boundaries.
I gently shooed her out. She leaped right back in.
I hoisted her out of the forbidden crib and transplanted her to the opposite side of the house. Ten minutes later, she was back, whiskers bristling and tail twitching in annoyance.
"Nuh-uh, you bad girl!" I fussed, attempting to use her food bowl as redirection. She turned up her nose and hightailed it back to the nursery.
I chased her with a shoe. She hissed at me.
Do demons possess cats?
The war was on. But that strong-willed feline kept winning every battle.
So I shut the door. Shawna would surely forget about the crib during the remaining weeks until the baby came.
Ahhh. Enter beautiful baby Matthew. His name means "God's gift."
Yep, that's what we tell people, anyway.
In truth (now don't judge me, girlfriend), Chuck and immensely pregnant I chose that name during a midnight showing of Invasion of the Body Snatchers at the local theater. The lead character Matthew (played by Donald Sutherland) was being chased by human-replacing aliens hatched from grotesquely throbbing, mucus-oozing, casket-sized pea pods (inspiring plot, right?). After we'd listened to evil aliens shout, "Mat-thewww ... Matthewww ...," for two hours, the name sorta stuck.
But hey, it sounds a lot Christian-er to say he's "God's gift," don't you think?
So we brought our delightful bundle of joy home from the hospital, took a bazillion photos, beamed as relatives, friends, and neighbors oohed and aahed, then tiptoed into the nursery to lay the sleeping infant in his crib.
But someone was already there.
Shawna had reclaimed her territory.
The battle of wills resumed, both sides more ardent than ever: In, out. In, out. In, OUT!
Then the dreadful last straw when I peeked in to check on my peacefully sleeping baby and found the infernal cat draped across his warm little head.
"That's it!" I cried. "You're outta here!" Snatching Shawna up like a four-legged rag doll, I heaved her out the front door. "See how you like being an outdoor cat from now on."
Well, she didn't like it one smidgen, no ma'am. That stubborn critter dashed inside every time the door opened, only to be rounded up and tossed back out. Her outrage was palpable. Hell hath no fury like a female scorned ... regardless of the species. She was one torqued, snarling, revengeful soul, let me tell you.
Then one Sunday morning I found her perched on the couch like the queen she was convinced she was. She'd apparently snuck in and decided to demonstrate her smug sovereignty. Ousted yet again. But wait. Something seemed ... off.
On the ride to church, I kept sniffing. Hmm. Did the baby need a diaper change? No, but something wasn't right; I just couldn't put my finger on it.
A faint acrid odor kept niggling my senses during the worship songs. Then as the pastor began preaching, I reached into my purse for a pen to take notes. Yikes! What in the world? It was sopping wet in there! I held up my dripping pen and a sodden roll of Life Savers — now black and slimy — as the sharp ewww of ammonia slapped heads in my direction.
Cat urine. That spiteful cat had taken revenge by peeing in my purse.
How she managed to straddle my open purse (a male I could understand, but a female?) will forever remain a mystery, but everything in there was completely ruined. My wallet and all it contained ... saturated. And the horrific smell! Gag. I ended up having to throw that purse and its contents away. Except the cash. I'm far too, um, frugal (some might even say tightwadical) for that.
The only positive consequence was that it was a great excuse to spend those reeking bills faster than a bride at Bloomingdale's. I deftly ignored the wrinkled noses and arched eyebrows of the poor cashiers handling the nasty stuff. They doubtless thought I'd fished it out of a sewer.
Sigh. Just another day in a mother's life, right?
Challenges are definitely part of the motherhood download. No getting around it, so we just have to get through it. Not only must we manage the moods and ravages of our own roller-coaster hormones, we somehow have to juggle the craziness balls of everyone else under our roof.
Jealous pets are just one of the milder hazards. Between midnight colic, leaky diapers, projectile vomiting, weapons of mass destruction (toddlers), car-seat chaos, skinned appendages, gum-matted hair, sibling crash dummies, trampled feelings, adolescent hormonal tsunamis, and endless teen angst, moms must grope deep inside their battered souls for compassion. And a few slivers of humor wouldn't hurt.
Thankfully, our Creator thought of everything. Did you know pregnancy actually alters a woman's brain, changing the size and structure of areas involved in emotional attachment to their young? A recent Nature Neuroscience study found that motherly nurturing skills — like perceiving the feelings and perspectives of others — are enhanced in pregnancy and continue for at least two years after giving birth. Darn good thing too.
Wouldn't it be awesome if this extra helping of grace and forbearance lasted throughout those turbulent teen years? But hey, we'll be grateful for any crumbs we get and do the best we can.
Even if it sometimes feels like it's not enough.
Like when we make awful parenting mistakes. When we drop those do-it-all juggling balls. When we're positive our kids will turn out to be serial killers.
I'll never forget the day my teenage daughter informed me that she'd probably be in therapy for years due to my mothering. Ouch.
My response? "Well, it's your job to be a better mother than you had. It was my job and my mother's and her mother's before that. Keep all the good stuff and improve on the bad. One day in the future, maybe one of our descendants will get it right."
Listen, sister-mom, we don't have to wallow in shame over our mothering mistakes. Every single one of us makes 'em. Some hide them better than others, but we all fail at times. And it's okay. Really, it is. Papa God created us as imperfect, stumbling, what-was-I-thinking humans, knowing we'd be raising offspring just as flawed as we are.
The good news is that our heavenly Father loves us to pieces anyway. And wants us to look to Him as the only example of a perfect parent.
So guess what? Ten years after my daughter's doomful pronouncement of my mothering deficiencies, she and her husband bought the house next door to us. Go figure. They now intentionally include me in every aspect of raising their three children. I rejoice that my maternal mistakes have somehow been smoothed over. Redemption is sweet!
And despite your misgivings, sweet thang, your redemption will be too. No matter how badly you think you're screwing up today. It's called God's grace.
So please don't beat yourself up with the vicious lie that you're the worst mother in the history of the world. You're not. Nor was I, although I would've bet the farm on it many days. You cannot judge your worth by your current circumstances. Don't allow yourself to fall into the emotional black hole of self-condemnation; Papa God's love for you is immeasurably bigger than your biggest blunders.
Well, except for the time you barbecued your cat. Oh. Wait. That was me.
Just kidding, cat lovers — Shawna wouldn't fit on the grill (I measured). She finally adapted to her outdoor abode and happily straddled flower pots to a ripe old age. How proud I am that she learned that skill on my purse.
Navigating the 'Hood (the MotherHood)
1. What were some of your biggest challenges as a new mother? How did you make it through?
2. Which do-it-all balls you're currently juggling are the hardest to keep in the air?
3. Do you struggle with self-condemnation? It's okay to admit it ... every mom does from time to time. How about pausing right now to lift those nagging feelings of failure up to your heavenly Father? You just never know what kind of redemption He has in store for you.
4. What keeps you sane in the midst of the motherhood mayhem? Hey, girlfriend, when you feel like life's falling apart, I know a really BIG Someone with a really BIG glue gun.CHAPTER 2
I'm Not Crazy — I'm CrazyBusy
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you. ISAIAH 41:10 NASB
Hey, did you hear about twenty-seven-year-old Amber Miller, who, in her thirty-eighth week of pregnancy, completed the 26.2-mile Chicago Marathon then checked into a hospital to plunk out a healthy baby girl?
Now that's what I call a mom on the fly!
Well, you and I might not officially run marathons, but we both know our feet fly at a marathoner's pace most days. So many things we must do; a few things we want to do; and countless things we should do.
You know, should is a dangerous word. It's a stress-filled, pressure-packed slave driver. It ruthlessly inflates the bulk of a mother's to-do list, often crowding out healthy sanity-essentials with guilt-induced clutter.
* "I should go to that parents' meeting; in a weak moment, I said I'd be treasurer."
* "My mother thinks I should cook a big dinner every night like she did."
* "I really should make time to bake a pie for my new neighbor."
* "Shouldn't I crochet cute beanies for my kids like Perfect Patti does?"
* "I should clean my house so the kids won't write notes in the dust."
Our shoulds may be fueled by self-comparisons with friends and neighbors, subtle cultural messages, high expectations imposed on us by church, civic, or family members, or maybe even unrealistic regulations we've self-inflicted to become a perfect mother ... as if that fairy-tale creature really exists.
But as every woman striving to squeeze into last year's skinny jeans knows, more isn't always better; sometimes it's simply overwhelming. You know, we can be whelmed without being overwhelmed. Whelmed is livable; overwhelmed is strangling. We just have to recognize that we truly do have the power to choose which shoulds are potential coulds ... and then unapologetically embrace the woman our choices make us.
Only then can we clear the choking clutter and take a deep, cleansing, reinvigorating breath. Whew. The pressure is now manageable.
Once when I was playing baseball with my preschool grandbuddy, Blaine, his mama started filming. Suddenly I couldn't pitch the ball straight for love nor money. "Whoa! The pressure's on!" I acknowledged, throwing the ball everywhere but over the plate.
Blaine, wise beyond his five years, calmly laid down his bat, reached for an imaginary faucet valve, turned it, and said, "Okay, Mimi. Now the pressure's off. Play ball!"
Yep, sometimes we need to take the initiative to turn off the pressure valve and just play ball. Here are a few tried-and-true suggestions to stymie the flow:
* Be stress-smart. When you're slammed into a stress mess, sit yourself down and have a calming cup of your fave hot beverage and a snack (not baby carrots — something satisfying but not too fattening so you don't add calorie remorse to your stress baggage). Close your eyes. Tune in to Papa God's loving presence ... His heartbeat ... His peace. Slap guilt to the curb when the tyranny of the urgent attacks; you are important. Everything else can wait a few minutes. I promise you the world will not end while you regroup. Unless the kids start a fire in your panty drawer.
* Move to the front. Promote yourself off the back burner. Don't argue, girl, just do it. You may sacrificially place yourself there routinely, but your Creator doesn't. You're a front-burner person to Him. He wants you to enjoy this marvelous gift of life He's given you, not sludge through it. So it's time to add a little fun to your day. Write yourself into your schedule for an hour of something you enjoy a minimum of three days a week — walk in the sunshine, bike a woodsy trail, sing, boogie, dig in your garden until you find Papa God there, get your nails done — whatever tingles your toes. Put that beautiful smile back on your face. And speaking of pots on burners ...
* Avoid BOOP — Boiling Oatmeal Overflow Phenomenon. BOOP is one of my Coty Near-Facts of Science (theories not yet proven by actual scientific studies but nonetheless known by women to be true). You see, I postulate that women are like pots of oatmeal; at the beginning of the day we simmer — little manageable bubbles of stress rise to the surface and harmlessly pop. But as the day progresses, the heat escalates and the oatmeal boils higher and wilder and meaner until it overflows and spoils everything around with a nasty, ugly, sticky mess. The key to avoiding BOOP is to know when to remove the pot from the heat.
* Be a dipstick. The Lord puts only enough fuel in your daily tank for you to arrive safely at the destination He's routed out for you. All the detours you add will either run you out of gas or land you in a ditch. Check your tank, review your destination, and then engage in the Three Ps: Prioritize, Plan, and Pace yourself.
Listen, you don't have to end up like the disheveled, disillusioned woman standing beside me at a high school graduation party who muttered with a weary sigh, "My children suck the marrow out of my bones."
Nope, you can be like my friend Debbie, mother of nine (yes, I said nine), who pronounced in the middle of her mothering marathon, "Resting and waiting can be more faith-filling than doing and overachieving."
She's right. It's all about keeping your balance as you pound the pavement.
Navigating the 'Hood
1. What are some of the shoulds that clutter your to-do list? Name two should items you can prune from your current list to begin decluttering.
2. Do you tend to put yourself on the back burner? In which ways? Do you think this pleases Papa God, who lovingly created you and loves to see you — His precious daughter — smile? (I begin to grasp my true worth when I consider that my heavenly Father feels the same way about me that I feel about my own beloved children ... on a good day!)
3. Does my BOOP theory apply to your average day? How?
4. So, dear one, will you intentionally remove your pot from the burner? Let's review the Three Ps:
* Pace yourself
How can you practice these Ps in your current circumstances?CHAPTER 3
Unbuttoning My Attitude
Finding Room to Breathe
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. GALATIANS 5:1 NIV
What kind of volcano-erupting pressure drives people nuts like the Orlando mother who chased the bully of her nine-year-old daughter, threw the kid off his bicycle, and slammed him into a concrete wall? After choking him and threatening death, she drove him home.
The woman later told police she didn't intend to hurt the boy.
Um ... what?
Well, maybe you and I don't intend to hurt anyone either, but when unrelenting stress takes its toll and that molten lava of passion begins surging from our innards, we lose control. It erupts in rage and frustration and people get burned — sometimes people we love.
I'm guessing one of the reasons this woman popped her cork was because she was an overworked, overtapped, over-sucked-out mom. Like me. Like you.
Sister-mom, are you stressed under? Does everything feel like it's heaped on top of you and you're unable to wriggle out from beneath the pile?
If so, you need an intervention before your hope gets smothered under there. Not to scare you, but hopelessness is a very real possibility. Its seeds are planted amid relentless busyness, and you don't realize it's taken root and started to kudzu your spirit until you can no longer envision a tomorrow that isn't as bleak as today. (If you're north of the Mason-Dixon, you might need to Google "kudzu vine," the green plague that's smothering the South.)(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Too Blessed to be Stressed for Moms"
Copyright © 2018 Debora M. Coty.
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Stress Test for Moms,
SECTION 1: Why Didn't Anybody Warn Me?,
1. PMS: Pretending Mom's Sane (Motherhood Mayhem),
2. I'm Not Crazy — I'm Crazy-Busy (Seeking Balance),
3. Unbuttoning My Attitude (Finding Room to Breathe),
4. Moms Wearing Training Pants (Parenting Styles),
5. Prison Break (Scaling My Fences),
6. I'll Pencil You In at 4:53 (Time Management),
SECTION 2: So Where's the Ding-Dang Motherhood Manual?,
7. Lipstick on a Pig (Hidden Wounds),
8. Thinking Outside the (Sand)Box (Being Enough),
9. Becoming You-Nique (Finding My Mothering Niche),
10. Blabber Control Issues (Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Laugh),
11. Too Blessed to be Obsessed (Letting Go of Mom-Guilt),
12. Chocolate Caulks Relationship Cracks (Forgiveness),
SECTION 3: Coloring My World with the Crayons Papa God Gives Me,
13. Detoxifying My Stinky Face (Encouraging Others),
14. Zombie in Sweats (Finding Elusive Rest),
15. Mommas in the Trenches (Mom-Courage),
16. My Hair Stylist Is from Oz (Confidence),
17. Ripening Isn't Just for Bananas (Everyday Miracles),
18. Gratitude Is Glade for the Soul (Developing a Thankful Lifestyle),
SECTION 4: Mothering Is a Lifetime Gig,
19. They're Not Crow's-Feet; They're Chuckle Crinkles (Choose Laughter),
20. Letting Yourself Go (Emotional Damage Control),
21. Call Me Thrill Rider (Finding Adventure in the Mundane),
22. Morphing This Worrier into a Warrior (Worry),
23. Patience Should Be a Verb (Perseverance),
24. Give Yourself Some Grace (Hangin' Tough),
25. So How Does This Mom-Gig End? (Living in Hope),