Give Yourself A Raise

A little while ago, I received an email from Raise asking me to participate in their campaign ‘Give Yourself A Raise,’ where I’m to share about how I reward  myself as a mother. Raise is an awesome new marketplace to buy and sell gift cards on the web.  With the extra money you can save on discount gift cards to your favorite brands, you can spend more on the things you love.

I’ve been pretty honest on here lately about how much I struggle with the lack of tangible rewards, and especially praise, that motherhood brings. Motherhood is intense, and it is constant. I find myself both loving my life and feeling utterly exhausted, and it often feels like there is no reprieve. My daughter makes me sparkle and shine. Nevertheless, I have very little time during the day to relax, and yet I struggle to get everything done, and I end up feeling lazy and berating myself because my house is a pig sty and I got fast food yet again. Being a mother is wonderful and is it’s own reward. Being a mother is difficult and thankless.

I couldn’t really think of what I do to reward myself. Being a mum makes everything except laying down your life for your kid seem selfish. So writing this blog post was pretty hard. But then, Thursday morning happened.

My little girl is pretty happy-go-lucky. She’s clear about what she wants, and full of energy, and for the most part, she’s easy to be around. But on Thursday she was having an off morning. She hasn’t been eating or sleeping well, because she has teeth coming through, so she was quite grumpy, and everything felt like a bit too much.

First, she didn’t want her water. We were at Playcentre, and she walked around the morning tea table, grabbing which ever water bottle she could see and trying to drink out of it. When I swapped the bottle for her own water bottle, she had a tantrum.

Then, she was playing in the pretend kitchen, picked up a fake cob of corn, and brought it over to me, tapping it and frowning. When I told her it wasn’t real corn, Tantrum Time.

Lastly, as we were leaving, she made a game of stealing things out of other kids’ bags, and running away with them. Cue third full on tantrum in an hour.

I had been planning on making lunch. I’d even decided what to make. I was so determined to be “good” and make my own lunch instead of going through a drive-through. But as we got into the car, I said to Madelyn, “Right. I’m going to need some McDonalds.”

Other mums reward themselves with pampering sessions, nights away, shopping. Sometimes even a shower, or toileting with the door closed and no audience, can seem like a reward.

But me? I reward myself with a cheeseburger.

How do you give yourself a raise? Is there something you buy or do for yourself that makes it all feel less overwhelming? I’d love to hear from you 


What I now know about life… (Part 4)

For the past few days, I’ve been going through the major life lessons I have learnt while working in full time ministry for the last three years. My job has been to “follow up” the children and young people who attend our events, with particular focus on those who become Christians or make other big life changes/decisions. You can find the past three lessons here, here and here.

The final lesson that I will share is this:

It is better to be rewarded in Heaven then on earth.

One crazy thing I’ve noticed about our society is that we reward stress. We all want so desperately to feel significant, and to feel like we’ve made a contribution. I see so many people working themselves dead trying to prove that they matter, that their contribution matters. Then they complain about how stressed out they are, how hard they’ve been working. They play the matyr role.

I prefer to be a “human being” rather then a “human machine” (unlike my husband, who has definite machine status), so I am not inclined to stress. But over the past three years, there have been times where I’ve been grumpy, short, and talked all about how oh-so-stressed I am, how many hours I’ve worked, how much I’ve had to get done, etc. And it’s not like I am consciously seeking for affirmation that my contribution matters, but after watching people and reflecting on my own life for some time, I’ve found that this is what I, and others, are doing subconsciously.

In the Matthew chapter 6, Jesus issues a warning around how we should pray, fast and give. He tells us that we should not announce it with trumpets, stand where we can be seen by all and change our appearance so that everyone can see. As harsh as it can be to hear sometimes, He tells us that the people who do that have already recieved their reward in full.

This makes me sad, that so many times I have let my pride seek out an earthly reward, at the expense of one in Heaven.

So, the time I gave food to a homeless person, and then bragged about it and only got “That’s really cool” as a reaction, well, I wasted my reward on that one.

The time I went on and on about how tired I was after working a 100 week and just got a few looks of amazement for a couple of seconds, that reward was wasted too.

The time I joked about how little we earn working in ministry, secretly trying to show how good we are for it, and the person didn’t give it a second thought, that was another reward gone.

I didn’t really get much of a reward for all my hard work any of those times, did I?

This last lesson is not something that I have seen in full yet. But the Bible tells us that no mind has concieved what God has prepared for those who love Him, so I trust that the reward I receive for all the times I give with humility is going to be far above what I’ll ever receive here on earth. So I resolve to stop seeking out earthly rewards, and start focusing on the Heavenly reward that is to come.

“Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Matthew 6:4b