Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Stay out of the mud, flutterbudget

Ma said that they were leeches and that doctors put them on sick people. But Pa called them bloodsuckers. He said they lived in the mud, in dark, in still places in the water.
"I don't like them," Laura said.
"Then stay out of the mud, flutterbudget," said Pa. "If you don't want trouble, don't go looking for it."
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, from "The Old Crab and the Bloodsuckers," On the Banks of Plum Creek)

Sometimes I wonder what memories my children will have when they, like me, are in their thirties and wondering how on earth to parent their own children.

As they remember back to their own upbringing, I wonder what they will remember fondly and what will be remembered with a bad taste in their mouths.

There is no way I can predict this. Just earlier today I was thinking to myself, "Oh, these children! I have to say things over and over and yell and be nasty just for them to take me seriously! I don't want to be remembered as the serious, nasty, yelling mother!"

And then at dinner, my children were in tears of mirth as they told their father how different his serious face is from mine. "Yours is scary," they said. "Mama's is ridiclee-us! It is so funny! We can NEVER take her seriously!!!"

So there's no telling how this life of ours will be remembered.

And then I was wondering what I will remember. Those things that currently bring me strife (the diapers, the laundry, the endless meals)...those are just the necessities of life. Those are things that, with joy or grief, must be done.

They just must. We must eat, and we must be clothed.

Admittedly, that in and of itself is a lot. Clothes and food for eleven takes work. But it's not impossible. It's not even excessively burdensome. There are tricks and tips that help.

(My biggest tip is to marry an excessively handsome, witty man. He will keep you laughing; and even when you're trying hard not to laugh because you're THAT mad at him, he's good to look at.)

But where I get bogged down, truly, is where I find discontent and covetousness and fodder for perceived martyrdom...and that's where I need to stay out of the mud, flutterbudget.

For me, it's all in the perspective. I've found mud online - not in anything racy, but in the rat race posts of women trumpeting clean rooms and fashionable children and gourmet meals. I'm here floundering in torn toilet paper (WHO has been playing in the bathroom???), toddlers who refuse to wear underwear, and a gifted meal for which I wasn't even the one to set the table. And none of that bothers me, not really, until I start comparing and coveting and wallowing in the mud.

I've found mud in certain self-help (usually, parenting) books. It's no good looking to others for approval. They didn't marry this man (thank heaven! I want him all to myself!) or bear these children. They didn't live my past and won't face my future. So I should take what's helpful and step carefully around the mud.

The thing is, I've had it with envy. I see it everywhere - people wanting my life or wanting me to want theirs. God placed us where He willed, and that's the reality. We read His Word, seek His counsel, and pray for wisdom.

You know, bloom where you are planted, and all of that.

And stay out of the mud.


  1. Yes, and amen. I need to stay out of the mud as well.

  2. Amen again. Well spoken (

  3. Yes! I completely agree!! I usually don't feel sorry for myself or look at my life with discontent unless I'm spending too much time online (esp. Pinterest---love/hate thing there!) or reading too many self-help books or magazines. The comparison game is very dangerous and can even happen when I speak with friends, especially those whose lives seem so "easy" (2 or 3 kids, often older who go to a "real school".) I'm thankful for where God put me, for the husband & children He's blessed me with. I'm following His will for my life by just doing what I'm doing which is often very ordinary, involves lots of laundry, food, clean-up & diapers. I'm OK with all that. Thanks for your wise words.


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