Sunday, March 15, 2015

If Mama Ain't Happy...

A few years ago I said to a friend, "I think I'm going to start a blog."

So I did. The title came easily to me. I had a a little frame that held the phrase "If Mama Ain't Happy...Nobody's Happy" in it hanging above my desk. A sweet lady from a church in Tennessee had given it to me after I spoke at our church on Mother's Day. There was a companion to it that said, "If Daddy Ain't Happy...Who Cares?" I showed it to my mother-in-law once and she was not happy.

It's a phrase familiar to me from childhood. It was said jokingly or with great seriousness depending on the situation.

When I became a mother I took the phrase to mean that it was someone else's job to make Mama happy. That someone else was generally my husband, poor man. Lee tried, he really did, but since he is human he failed. A lot. Don't worry, I was really good about reminding him of his failures.


One day and three children later I was sitting in my van on a rainy day. I had a trunk full of groceries and was waiting a bit to go in. I took that time to rage at God about what a pitiful husband Lee was and gave him a long list of things He could do to improve him.

It was a very thorough list.

God had a revelation to share with me that day, though.  Apparently, my husband is not my savior. Ugh. What a disappointment.

After some weeping and gnashing of the teeth I drew closer to Jesus through studying the bible, reading LOTS of books, talking with other women, and praying.

I learned that the phrase 'If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy' really meant that my family followed my lead when it came to my mindset. I read in a book, I can't for the life of my remember the title or author, that the mother is the barometer of her family. If I'm a storm cloud thundering around my family reflects that. However, if I can be content no matter the circumstances  my family will also follow suit.

I have learned the secret of
being content in any and every situation, 
whether well fed or hungry, 
whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do all things through Christ, 
who gives me strength.
Phillippians 4: 12-13

It's amazing how true this is. The bad news is that it's a major responsibility. The good news is that we do not have to do it alone. For years I struggled with feeling inadequate as a mom. I was constantly reading books to help me be a better wife and mother. I may have started out reading a book with a teachable spirit but either by the end of the book, or a few weeks after finishing, I felt like a failure, or that I wasn't changing fast enough. My family certainly wasn't looking like the one I dreamed of as I read these books.

I was constantly criticizing myself and my family and digging a deeper hole that required yet more self-help books. Slowly, after a lot of time with Jesus, I came to realize that working in my own power was wearing me down.

The title of my blog came easily but the purpose not so much. Lately I've been thinking a lot about the purpose of my blog. I mean, I like to write. I like to share stories and goodness knows my life has given me plenty to write about.

I write because I believe that sharing story is important. Sharing stories connects us to one another, helps us feel less alone. I think one of the meanest things that people can do to one another is not be honest. I feel it's important to say, "Being human is kicking my butt today."

Being transparent isn't easy because it makes us vulnerable. Others can see our weaknesses which means that they could hurt us. I've got to tell you, I just don't have the energy to cover up all my issues. Plus what good is it to struggle to make the appearance of being okay when at the end of the day there's no pay off?  I may as well wear a t-shirt that says "not quite right". It's kind of like, if I show you mine you show me yours, you know?

SO... here's the low down for today:

My youngest son wore one of my flowered, lacy socks to church because I just can't find his.

I don't have chore charts.

I have pinned hundreds of recipes but still manage to make tacos and pasta meals every. single. week.

I swear in front of my children sometimes. I sometimes feel bad for it.

I am inconsistent with discipline.


I really, really, really love Jesus, and that trumps it all.

Erma Bombeck, said, "If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it."

I blog here to help people feel less alone, to give people something to laugh about, and to share what Jesus is doing in my life. Being human is hard. I can't make it better, but I can give you something to laugh about.

"Every life is a pile of good things
and bad things. The good things 
don't always soften the bad things, but
vice versa the bad things don't always spoil the good 
things and make them unimportant."
Doctor Who

I believe it's ALL important.

That's why I write. 


  1. Kara,

    How fun to stop by your blog again, and to see your comment on my site so I can find you again. :)
    How nice to talk with you again! How have you been? :)

    I appreciated your post here about the huge responsibility it is that we set the tone for our families. Whew. But I loved the reminder and truth that we can only do it with God's help, and lots of humility, gracious patience, and discerning transparency. Me too, Kara.

    Thank you. That chance to see my son's side of the sunrise and to enjoy the conference were neat times.

    Jennifer Dougan

  2. I appreciate your humor and your transparency. We laugh because we have all been there in one way or another. Happy weekend!