Monthly Archives: September 2015

6 Things I’ve Learned in One Year as a Mom

  Baby O turned a year old a couple weeks ago and I got all reflective on how my life has changed. I’ve laughed, cried, slapped myself to stay awake (seriously, it happened), and sought out lots of advice from other parents trying to figure out this whole “keep your kid alive” business. So, here’s 6 things I’ve learned since becoming a mom:

  1. Snot, spit-up, and saliva are really not as disgusting as I previously thought. At least one of those things has been a part of my daily life, some days in larger quantities than preferred. It’s so common, in fact, that I had to stop myself from wiping a lil food from J’s face one time. Which makes me think of another learning point: Boundaries are healthy, y’all. 🙂
  1. If you’re breastfeeding, you will laugh through your tears with this article: 15 Weird Ways Breastfeeding Messes With Your Mind. It’s not as funny now, but when I was in the thick of it, this article made me feel so much more connected with other women. Breastfeeding is hard. But you’re also a total badass if you can do it. And I felt like superwoman with my feeding skills. 
  1. God has been so gracious to us financially. J and I were freaking out pre-baby when trying to figure out how to pay for $700+ of day care each month. But there is always enough. I don’t get it. And we are crazy awesome budgeters – we know where every penny goes. And pre-baby, there was definitely not that much extra. But there always is enough – every month.
  1. Laughing feels so good. I should do it more. And I do – with O in my life. He is intrigued by the simplest things, and his only stressors are shots at the doctor’s office, vacuums, and avocado (spits it out every time I try to sneak it in!). Life doesn’t have to be so stressful, and is much more enjoyable when I relax and laugh. It’s all about perspective. And boy oh boy, does a little human provide perspective.
  1. I will not tell a new or expecting parent how they should parent. I will only share my personal experience or experience that others have shared with me – IF ASKED – in a non-judgemental tone. And even then, it probably won’t work for your kid. Because when wonderful friends offered caring advice when I asked, it rarely worked for O. But I at least felt like someone was pulling for me. And if you offer me know-it-all advice about my kid when I don’t care, I will smile and say “sure, I’ll try that,” but will probably go home and tell J about how screwed up your kids are. Because clearly that’s logical. But I’m a parent now. It doesn’t have to make sense.
  1. I don’t totally suck at being a parent. Minus the time I bonked O’s head on a door, or the time he screamed bloody murder because his leg was caught in the crib and he wasn’t really that upset about nap time. In spite of those times, he smiles at me every time I walk in the room, he reaches for me to pick him up, and when he’s really – really – tired, sometimes he snuggles me.

Lord, thank you for this past year. Thank you for this new crazy life J and I are living. Help us to raise baby O well, and remind us to always lean on you for support.

Church with Children: for the Parents

O at church

For you parents reading…How many of you “tackle” church with your young children on Sunday? We have been sincerely struggling with participating in the service. When we first started taking O, it went fairly well. He passed out during worship (as evident in the photo), and took his bottle during the sermon. But now the core of the issue has to do with J and me serving the youth while the first service is taking place, and O is in church daycare. So by the time we try to attend second service as a family, O is exhausted (nap time was an hour ago) and whiny…and loud. We can stay for the first 20 minutes of worship, but have to leave because he is so disruptive while the sermon is being preached.

So for starters, I just want to say: every church needs a cry room. Our church records the sermons and puts them online, but I want to experience it with everyone else! Then, I ran into this article from the HuffPost (I remember reading it when it was first published in 2013) and was reminded of how important it is to take our kids to church with us! I want O to experience a community of people worshipping and learning about God. And I don’t want his first exposure to be at age 5 – or age 15. Proverbs 22:6 instructs, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

I want him to have a strong sense of the importance of committing to at least one hour a week with a community of fellow believers. And I want that to follow through to college. I chose to attend church as a college student, and we were definitely outside the norm at the cafeteria at Sunday noon – in our dress clothes while everyone rolled out of bed in sweats. It was hard to not want to be with the majority. But I craved God’s Word – and a community.

I want this commitment to one church service to impact O’s daily life as an adult too. I pray he would be a man who prays daily, reads his Bible for direction, and surrounds himself with fellow believers who are willing to share their authentic struggles, lift one another up, and provide sound advice. I have those kind of people surrounding me, and it makes life’s struggles bearable and joys that much better. So I have to remember that I’m setting a foundation. Crying during church is going to happen. And people are just going to have to deal. ‘Cause I’m taking care of my baby and hopefully impacting his salvation. It’s important that I take this lead in raisin’ ‘em up! (Ok, suck it up and indulge in my country song. It’s Keith Urban. And it’s good for your soul. You’ve got 3 minutes. You’ll like it.)

Lord, help me to be brave when my O is having a difficult time in church. Help us to ignore the stares (there really aren’t many) and to keep the bigger picture in mind: we’re staying in church because this teaching and connecting time is important to our family. Help give me the courage and energy to be a Godly example of you for my little guy.

What church experiences have you had with your littles? Any encouragement to share with others?

Does it Make You Happy?

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a book out with a funky new strategy to keep your place tidy. The premise behind throwing out stuff you don’t need? Ask yourself if it makes you happy. Ha! I’ll admit, I thought this was super corny when I read that line. But I couldn’t stop watching (video above) until I learned further how this kooky woman wanted me to reorganize my life. And you know what? It’s kind of brilliant. She suggests organizing by category, not room. Throw all related items in a huge pile – like all your clothes on the bed. Then go through each item and ask yourself it makes you happy. When I thought about this, I first pictured my favorite pair of jeans. I love the way they fit, the way they look. In fact, I wish nearly all my jeans were this pair! Then it suddenly became easy to picture the pairs leaving. Of course, other logic weighed in better too: I haven’t worn these in a year, and let’s be honest –  I’m not going to in the next. But somehow, my reaction to the joy the jeans didn’t give me, suddenly made it much easier to let them go.

And then I thought: this is so Recovering Martha-like! I get to accomplish a task – but it’s a task where I get to feel joy! Woot woot! And then I stopped. Wait – am I allowed to find joy in a Martha-task? For some reason, I had this strange pull that the task accomplishment was pulling me from God, and that my joy was not appropriate. And then I had a snap-back come-to-Jesus moment when I realized that was SO not true. And the little learner in me sought out Bible verses – about joy.

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

God wants me to be filled with joy! And I get joy from organizing! (I realize that is sick and twisted to many of you, but He makes us all unique.) So now it’s like I have permission to be joyful in organizing. And I’m connected to God through my organizing because I’m reminded of the joy he gives me. I am so pumped about this connection that I seriously feel (warning: educator moment) a flow chart coming on where I can visually share this connection with everyone! (I know, sick and twisted again.) I feel…free. Like a weight is lifted when I consider this joy. I feel that same joy when Baby O smiles at me, my husband puts his arm around my waist, a stain actually comes out of the laundry, and I don’t burn a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

So here’s to purging many outfits that don’t fit right, are worn out, or just look terrible. Here’s to purging kitchen cups and bowls that I never use. And here’s to feeling joy – because of purging.

Lord, thank you for joy. It’s such a simple gift that we’ve been given. But it means so much more when I realize it’s from you. Thank you for making me a unique individual who can experience joy from a variety of sources. I pray that when I get my feeling of joy, I’d be reminded of its source: Your love for me.