Well, I’m not here this morning. I mean, yes, existentially, I’m here on Planet Earth still…
…but only just, I think.
(Anyone know where this enchanted spot is just from this picture?)
After two very long days of travel that included 4 flights and lots of layovers, we have arrived in heaven, or somewhere close enough not to quibble.
And since I’m not “here” this morning, I invited Ruth from Gracelaced over to talk about motherhood, since it’s been far too long since we’ve talked to another wise mama about this!
Normally, I would be a little more detailed in my introduction, but in the interest of not annoying my husband (who’s hungry), I will simply say that I find Ruth’s Instagram feed inspiring, her blog uplifting, and her pictures and art absolutely stunning. I hope you will take the time to check her out yourself because this self-described, “unlikely mama to six boys” (!!!) has so much to offer.
So, let’s just dive right in, shall we?
Out of the possible matriarchal titles (Mother, Mom, Mommy etc.), which do you prefer? Any particular reason?
My children call me Ma Ma, which is the Chinese Mandarin title I grew up using with my mom. I was born in Taiwan, and am mostly still fluent in speaking, but my children only know particular words and phrases, so I love when they call me Ma Ma.
You’re an artist (and a talented one at that!). Do you feel like your art is affected by (or even flows out of) your mothering process? If so, how?
Because I so often paint and create my artwork with my children with me, at the table, or looking over my shoulder, I’ve really learned to express and model the process for them– not so much the process of painting technically, but the process of letting go of perfection and enjoying the exploration of creating and imitating the Master Artist, God himself.
You have 6 kids–all boys. Are you a born “boy-mom,” or was that a big adjustment?
I always pictured myself with girls, because of my interests and personality. However, God, in his gracious sovereignty, gave me the perfect family. I have grown into enjoying the noise, the physicality, and the amount of LEGOS and sound effects that come with raising boys. And yet, I do not resign myself to being simply a “boy-mom” as there are so many virtues and attributes that are for boys and girls, and I’m seeking to raise these boys to appreciate much more than dirt and guns!
What did you want to be “when you grew up?” Where did motherhood factor into that?
I never aspired to being a mother. I was too obsessed with graduating at the top of my class and working in the medical field. I pursued everything BUT art and motherhood. But, somewhere in my second year of college, the Lord humbled my heart and revealed much about my pride, my true desires, and my need to look to him for direction in my life. I still was not a natural mama early in my married life; however, the Lord was so kind to grow that desire in me, and truly…I simply fell in love with motherhood.
Care to share your most recent best/worst Mom-ment? (ha! see how I did that? totally cheesy!)
That’s a tough question. I have had so many in both areas! I suppose my best Mom-ment would be a recent conversation I had with my five year old, alone in my room on a “date,” as we talked through his anger that sometimes feels simply annoying or childish. I was so blessed to see the fruit of what can come when we squeeze in imperfect, but deliberate time with our children. With him on my lap, in private, and having tender time to ourselves, made all the difference with that little one. As for worst Mom-ment, I would say that it is more like many moments strung together. In our current season of a deadline for getting our house on the market and losing houses we hoped to buy, the stress level can be high, and my attitude is often impatient and unkind. I overheard my oldest correcting his brothers the other day in a tone that was so clearly mine. It was harsh and ungracious. Praise God for those moments when we clearly see our sinful tendencies as moms– rather than cause us to despair, they push us to remembering that we are broken, just like our children, and need our Redeemer to transform us from the inside out.
What’s your best piece of advice for mamas everywhere? (i.e. the one thing that helps you stay the sanest).
I think one very practical piece of advice I would give is to always try and lower your voice and get down on your children’s level, physically, when correcting or giving them directions. I think we are so quick to shout orders, say things in passing, or throw words out into the air, and expect our kids to absorb them all. When we deliberately look them in the eye, put their faces in the palm our our hand, and speak sternly but softly, we do more to win their trust and capture their attention for what we have to say. It’s also a safeguard for my own heart as well, when anger or impatience rages in the midst of the chaos.
Do you have a life verse or one that’s become especially precious since becoming a mom?
I think Ephesians 3:20 has been that verse for me…and why I included it in my shoppe! That the Lord is able to do more than we ask or imagine is evident in his gracious provision of my boys, and in my role as a mom. He has indeed given more and made more of my life than I knew to even hope for.
I’ve entitled this series Mombassadors because I believe that we have the potential to be ambassadors for Jesus + examples of joy in a profession/calling that’s rife with opportunities for negativity if we let it be. But it takes a very conscious effort/choice on our parts. Because being a mama is hard! What kinds of things do you do to actively choose joy in motherhood?
I guard my heart from bitterness, anger, or negativity by being thankful. Thankful for salvation, thankful for forgiveness, thankful for grace, and thankful for all the blessings I don’t deserve.
Quick! Don’t think too hard if you can avoid it. What are the first three “M” words that pop into your head that describe you as a mom?
Molder (not to be confused with moldy)
Oh, ya’ll. I know I’m the one that wrote the questions, but Ruth’s answers to them were just so great that this interview felt fresh to me all over again. I love her advice about lowering your voice and getting down on your kids’ levels especially. Every. single. time I do this, my discipline is so much better given and received.
And now, Ruth would like to give away TWO things to one lucky reader!
1. This uber-practical and fun veggie slicer.
2. Any 8X10 print of your choice (excluding giclees) from her absolutely gorgeous selection of hand-drawn art in her shoppe.
Side note: Ruth has some awesome prints that would be perfect for Father’s Day, but you need to order by TODAY to ensure delivery by next week.
This one’s my fave:
All you have to do to enter is answer the following question:
To me, grace in motherhood (either your own or from your mother) means _____________________.