Category Archives: Mommas

Is Mom Guilt Ever Justified?

5th July 2016

Oh, mom guilt. I’m so thankful for the bloggers, writers, and speakers who call attention to it’s ridiculousness. I’ve been mulling over the silly situations that bring me mom guilt, which include but are not limited to, forgetting to brush the toddler’s teeth, feeling bad leaving the boys alone so I can brush my own teeth, not doing enough scholastic things with my 2 year old (a 2 year for goodness’ sake), taking either of my kids in public with a dirty shirt, having to do anything remotely productive while the boys are awake, driving around in the car when we can’t take another moment at-home, nursing my baby to sleep instead of trying harder to sleep train him, having a toddler/baby who doesn’t do (insert whatever stupid milestone that they will eventually pick up here), not getting dressed every day, not waking up before the kids..it doesn’t stop.
Look at these cute babies! Oh crap...I should have brought my kids hats, too..

Look at these cute babies! Oh crap…I should have brought my kids hats, too..

Now, does any of this sound even remotely important to you? Okay, so I’d like for all of our teeth to be brushed, but none of this is of much significance or eternal value. I’m not sure about you, momma friend, but I’d like to stop worrying about the nonsense that I guilt myself over and focus on the grace and redemption of Jesus. This is not a new concept, and I’m so thankful, but I’d like to propose a new question: is mom guilt ever justified?
If you’ve been a Christian longer than say, .2 seconds, you’ve probably heard that guilt is from the enemy and conviction is from the Holy Spirit, so let’s start by working off that basis. This means all guilt is useless, but I think conviction, on the other hand, often gets overlooked as mere guilt and ignored. Listen, momma, you’re not perfect, and neither am I, but there are things I catch myself doing that do not fall into mom guilt. They fall into selfish desires that I write off because I feel I “deserve” this, that or the other. Here’s some of my own examples: spending most of the day scrolling Instagram, forgetting to intentionally play with my kids, and getting irritated when they want something from me. Trying to take too many pictures throughout the day so I have some idealized portrait to blast on social media, even though our day was not as fun or exciting as it might look,especially since I watched the day behind a phone camera. Spending the day focused on the shows, errands, and tasks that I enjoy, instead of being sensitive to my children’s needs and wants. Using the internet as a break from my kids, which inevitably goes from a 2 minute distraction into a dangerously captivating idol. Getting angry at the boys when their needs interfere with my schedule. Consistently putting “good” things like housework, mom dates, and free play above my time with my children. Letting my physical and digital appearance take precedent over my babies.
Here’s the fun thing – I don’t feel guilt over these things. I feel motivated to love my children better because I serve a God who is the ultimate Father, but I would be blind to my own sinful and selfish nature if I wrote these off as “mom guilt” and never gave them a second thought. Be encouraged, momma, that you are both imperfect and completely capable, through the mercy and power of Jesus. Let’s throw away the useless guilt and let the Spirit move to convict and sanctify us, so that we may tend to the important and neglect the empty.

fallondanae

May 13, 2016

image

“There are few things more damning to the Christian life than wanting to be perceived as more than we are.”

This is from my pastor several months ago now, but it hasn’t left my mind. I could probably dedicate an entire post on the ways we try to appear “better” and more put together than we truly are, but one my pastor dove into is having no deep friendships. Think about it – if you have surface-level relationships with enough people, you can allow them to see your pretty, all-in-order top layer while still making yourself feel as if you’re fulfilling your need for community, even though no one is allowed to see your messy, struggling soul.

I’m bad about this. Ok, really bad. I’m often guilty of wanting to search for new friendships instead of investing in the people I already know. I think we often trick ourselves into believing every relationship will magically, immediately bloom, and that the only friendships worth pursuing are when you basically meet yourself in another form. Or, we’ve somehow convinced ourselves we don’t really need friendships that go any deeper than small talk, so we’re not forced to expose our ugly to the world. It’s leaving us pitifully lonely.

The biggest common denominator for an amazing friendship is simply this: you both LOVE JESUS. And it helps to live close to each other. That’s really it. Would I love for every friendship of mine to be a young mom with two kids close in age who has all the same interests and hobbies as I do? In all honesty, kinda! But, I think the Lord knows that would not grow me the same way as having a diverse group of friends. I believe the Lord has given me people to confide in who have a lot to offer, regardless of their life stage. It is undoubtedly beneficial to have the counsel of those who relate to what you’re walking through, but be careful about disregarding a friendship just because someone’s life doesn’t look exactly like yours.

Few people know the depth of my loneliness the past couple of years, but Jesus has finally pulled me out of that pit, so I want to share it in more detail. For the first year and a half to two years of being an at-home mom, I felt completely isolated and alone. I would often cry to my husband about not feeling truly loved or known by anyone but him, and I was genuinely convinced every other mom or woman my age had her friend group lined up and set in stone, with no room for me. I would meet women I admired, but never really go out of my way to hang out with them, OR, I would meet someone who wasn’t my spitting image, so I wouldn’t pursue that relationship very fervently. I was digging myself further into my lonely hole. We were not consistent or intentional with community, and I was not pouring my sins, my victories, or my convictions out to anyone other than my husband, and it was not a good place to be. While stay-at-home-moms have a tendency to be a bit more isolated, I don’t want to rule out the rest of you. Human interaction at work, etc. can be fulfilling, but that’s not always a given. Being around people is not the same as being known by those around you, and we finally came to terms with that. A little over a year ago, we joined a new community group through our church. My husband and I have always had trouble being consistent in groups like these, but the Lord was good to give us a deep desire and connection to this one. That group has morphed into one of my absolute favorite things. I love to be around these people. Do I know every detail of their lives? No… (I’m not a stalker…well, maybe on Facebook just a little bit..). Do we sit around and paint each other’s nails every weekend while we have pillow talk? Maybe someday..? (I apologize if you don’t know my personality. Please don’t take me seriously very often.) The thing that draws me to this community is their love for Jesus. People who are genuinely, deeply in love with Jesus are my favorite to be around, and it’s made me sad to realize the fullness that I missed out on in years passed. Internet community – there is nothing like having real-life community. It’s so easy to slip into an online-only mentality when our culture is so centered around it. Connecting with people on social media can be great, but don’t let that be the end of your relationships. It can’t fill your deep need for loving people like a friend up the road can. It took me too long to learn that.

It seems painfully obvious in retrospect, but our pastor made a great point during the sermon the above quote is from – Jesus had 3 men he was extremely close with, and 12 he was pretty close with. That’s not very many. Fewer and deeper. If Christ did it, shouldn’t Christians probably consider it? We are so busy trying to make everyone know and love us that we often don’t have anyone that knows or loves us. Sure, people may like a skin-deep misconception of you, but loving someone is when you’ve seen their dirt and their shame and you still seek to know them. Loving someone is sharing hard truths, asking difficult questions, and knowing your own sin is not less than theirs; I would trade that for lackluster friendships any day! I spent too much time seeking social media approval and blasting every moment of my waking life onto Instagram instead of praying for the women that I know.

This is a challenge to myself. To pursue and love people better. To never wallow in loneliness and assume that nobody else is right there, too. To stop trying to be a one-woman-faith-act and love my community. Jesus never intended for this life to be lived alone! Let me blunty say, if you are only going to a church service on the weekends and don’t have a community that truly knows you, that is not enough. Jesus has so much more in store for you! If you sometimes feel an odd emptiness in the midst of an otherwise full and beautiful life, you probably need deeper relationships. Contrary to what we might hope and think, they don’t just happen. You have to intentionally find them (and by the way, your spouse is wonderful if you have one, but they should not be the only person that knows your struggles).

To myself, and to my readers: Pour your heart out to someone. Stop avoiding the people you already know in hopes that someone more like you will come along. Be bold enough to initiate a conversation that actually matters. Stop making excuses for not pursuing people – they may need a friendship more than you think.

Your Comprehensive Guide to Going Dairy-Free

26th January 2016

I made a HUGE discovery this morning.

Archer sarcastically slow-clapping my huge discovery.

Archer sarcastically slow-clapping my huge discovery and just my intelligence as a whole.

I’ve been “dairy-free” for about 4 months now. Why the quotes? THE STUFF IS IN EVERY-FREAKING-THING. I’ve been mostly dairy free, I discovered. I think most people who try to go dairy-free make that mistake, too. This whole journey, I’ve wished someone could compile a guide on what to eat, what not to eat, what weird products that you’d never in a million years guess had dairy that actually had dairy, where I can eat out, etc. So, here’s the information I wish I’d had in one place!

First, why go dairy free? (I’m sure we can both think of a few good reasons NOT to…like ice cream, cheese, and baked goods..). For starters, most of the world is lactose-intolerant. We’re also the only mammals that drink: A) milk after infancy and 2) another mammal’s milk. Kinda weird, right? For me, dairy-freedom was about my nursing baby’s milk protein sensitivity, but I’ve shed pounds and felt amazing in the process. Honestly, I would recommend going dairy free to anyone and everyone, just to see if it improves your quality of life – especially if you have something like eczema, chronic gut or other issues, an autoimmune disease, etc. Don’t be fooled by the “you won’t get enough calcium” lie – there are a ton of other ways to get it. Need some more reasons? Here you go! 

Let’s start with the sneaky names for milk: whey, lactose, and casein are the most common, but the list goes ON. Click the picture for my favorite comprehensive list of what is, may be, and surprisingly is not dairy (I avoided dairy-sounding ingredients for months that actually weren’t dairy!):

from godairyfree.org

from godairyfree.org

With this said, you HAVE to read every ingredient list. If you eat anything, you need to know exactly what is in it. You may have well-meaning friends and family that want to cook for you or buy a snack for you, but they will never in a million years know the ridiculous names for dairy. Do not trust that every person knows the definition of “dairy” either – some people think eggs are dairy and sweetened condensed milk is not. It is true, folks. Don’t be afraid to ask for the ingredients and/or package of anything that you eat.

So, I know you’re thinking, “What CAN I eat?” Never fear friend, here are my favorite dairy-free substitutes:

  • Butter – Earth Balance Vegan Butter: VEGAN BUTTER IS A THING. It’s a pretty good dupe. I didn’t know about this until far too late in my dairy-free journey. It’s also soy free, if that’s an issue for you or baby! Coconut oil is another great substitute – especially in baked goods or for sautéing.
  • Ice Cream – So Delicious “Ice Cream” – You might forget about the real thing with this. My favorite is the Cashew-based Chocolate Truffle. Holy {you will not miss that} cow.
  • CreamerSilk Almond (or other flavor) creamer is pretty dang good. It can be pricey, though. Don’t be afraid to try plain coconut oil –  throw your hot coffee and a tablespoon of coconut oil in a blender (add a natural sweetener if you can’t live without it) and you may be pleasantly surprised at how much you like it! You’re going to want to invest in better quality coffee, though (here’s my personal fave). Your coffee may have sucked all this time and your creamer just masked it well. Stay away from the Folger’s, people.
  • Milk – For drinking, I recommend almond milk with no added sweetener. For savory recipes, cashew milk; for sweet, coconut is the way to go (if you’re a fan!). If a milk, creamer, or other product says “lactose-free,” it may still bother you (and your nursing babe for sure), because it probably still has a milk component – opt for the full substitute or check the ingredient list first.
  • Starbucks – You CAN still have it! Ask for black coffee, tea, an Americano, or a coconut milk latte. If you need flavor, get a syrup, NOT a sauce (vanilla, caramel, hazelnut, peppermint, etc. are safe. Seasonal drinks, anything with the word “mocha” and chai’s are out). Their website states you can ask on-site about allergens, so don’t be afraid to ask the barista for ingredients. I’ve done it. They might hate you. It’ll be fine. You get coffee, after all!
  • Cheese – Sorry, you’re not gonna like this. Don’t even try. I still haven’t found a good cheese replica (others have recommended Daiya!).
  • Cheesecake – I’m in love with this recipe. The texture is a bit different but it makes a pretty stinkin’ good flavor (I’m sure Pinterest has tons more – this is just what I’ve tried!)
  • Anything labeled “Vegan” – if you don’t want to sort through too-many-syllable ingredients, look for vegan products!
from thefoodieteen.com

from thefoodieteen.com

My handful of other random tips:

  • Dining out doesn’t have to be hard. A TON of places offer thorough allergy menus. The best ones I have found are Chili’s, Cowboy Chicken (in Dallas), Babe’s, and BJ’s (don’t even think about that pizookie, you’ll cry), and here are several more. You can do an online search for a restaurant’s allergen menu before heading out, and inform your server of your dairy sensitivity/allergy when you get there, so the chef doesn’t cross-contaminate. Be sure to check things like dressings, sauces, and breads – again, if you don’t have the ingredient list or a restaurant promise that it’s dairy free, don’t risk it.
  • Oreos, marshmallows, graham crackers, and a lot of Duncan Hines products are dairy free. You’re welcome! Most (definitely not all – be careful) packaged products will list potential allergens at the bottom of the ingredient list, so if it does, you can do a quick scan to see if milk is listed. If not, wade through those ingredients. Here are some other guilty pleasures with no dairy: thank you Buzzfeed. (Let it be known I’m not recommending you replace all your dairy-filled-crap with this crap, but sometimes you need a good party recipe that you don’t have to hate everyone else for enjoying without you.)
  • READ INGREDIENTS. Even if it should be a single-ingredient item. I know, I’m really beating this horse dead. Why? 4 months in, I discovered that ALL OF MY SPICES say “may contain milk.” The heck?! If you’re extremely sensitive to dairy, this will bother you. If you want to avoid cross-contamination, you’re going to need to avoid brands like Aldi’s, Great Value, etc. and opt for the higher quality stuff (like this brand). Here are a few other ridiculous things that can contain dairy, to save you some time and energy:
    • deli meat
    • salad dressings
    • pasta sauce
    • medications
    • vitamins
    • bread, tortillas, chips, etc
    • margarine
    • most fried foods
    • chocolate (it hurts, I know – look for 70% cocoa or more and check ingredient list)
    • sherbet (not sorbet)
  • Don’t overdo the alternatives. If you’re going dairy-free for health, you might screw it up (like I did at first) by overdoing the dairy-free treats. Make most of your diet whole foods  – you’ll save sanity at the grocery store, too! Nothing is more frustrating (or a bigger time-waste) than standing with an item in hand for 10 minutes, racking your brain to remember the twelve-thousand names for dairy and trying to get your dang phone to search for them fast enough. I’ve done it. It’s dumb. Fruits and veggies will never do you wrong. SourPatch Kids may be dairy free, but you will still probably hate yourself after you eat the whole bag.
  • Best calcium sourcesSilk brand milk subs all have tons of calcium. So do dark leafy greens like broccoli and kale, salmon, almonds, oranges, and beans. Here’s some more great choices from the place that’s currently taking all my money. Thanks Whole Foods. I really do love and hate you.

Alright y’all, what did I miss? Anyone else have any dairy-free tips? My baby’s eczema and my mommy heart will thank and love you! Thanks for reading!

If you’d like more information on healing eczema, check out my post here on how we are curing our son. For more info on an elimination diet for breastfeeding or for immune health, see this post and this post.




Is it Worth it

1st December 2015

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

If you started singing Missy Elliot after reading this post title, we are kindred spirits. I basically sang it the whole time I wrote this – (don’t worry, I won’t be putting my thing down, flipping, or reversing it during this post) – if not, stick around anyway – we’ll find some other weird thing to connect over.

Let me tell you, it is a terrible idea to not take motherhood one step at a time. There are moments when I am so overwhelmed and tired of drowning in diapers and rashes and slobber and milk that I can’t bear to think of the remaining years in this phase. If I have to sweep up one more plate full of food dumped on the floor, say “don’t touch that/eat that/throw that in the toilet” again, or wake up 3 times at night with the baby and then wake up at 5am with the toddler one more day, I’m going to lose it. Sometimes I’m really convinced I’ll go insane. I can’t help but stop and think – is this all worth it? What would my life be like without kids? What would I do with all that FREE time? I could pee alone and sleep in and eat anything in the world without a tiny human fighting me for it (and obviously dream super big…). I could leave the house for a date night or errand whenever I wanted, probably would have considered getting another degree and would definitely have a lot more money in my pocket.

I could have fit in better with people my age (who mostly don’t have kids yet). I could have my pre-baby body. I could have pursued a career first.

I could have not experienced the awkwardness of trying to have an adult conversation when I haven’t been around another one in days. I could have not cried almost weekly over being lonely, tired, or overwhelmed. I could not have to worry about two tiny people’s future college find at 24 years old. I could have not had to totally alter my diet for a breastfeeding baby who can’t handle certain things. I could have not seen myself become more angry and impatient than I ever thought possible.

Has it really been worth it?

I could have not seen two beautiful children bearing my image. I could have not witnessed my husband sacrifice himself to better love his babies. I could have not held a tiny, fragile body against my chest and experienced the beautiful, utter dependence of a child on a mother.

I could have not witnessed the first time my toddler said “I yuh you, mommy.” I could have not beheld the first gummy smiles and musical laughter. I could have not experienced the way my children’s faces light up when they see me.

I could have not felt a love so desperately deep. I could have not seen a child discover the world for the first time. I could have not felt the sweetness of tiny warm hands clasping mine. I could have not seen my body carry and nurse two babies.

I could have not kissed boo-boos and played peekaboo and laughed hysterically over things my kids do. I could have not finally gotten a better glimpse into how God loves me. I could have not wept over the hurting women who’ve lost babies, who want babies. I could have not had a heart bursting with joy, pride, and inexplicable love.

I could have, and it’s all been worth it.

See Me, Mommy

18th November 2015

 

There is nothing more lovely than feeling known – for someone to understand your quirks, likes, passions – to be able to predict your behavior and thoughts. Isn’t this what we all truly want? We search for this in everything. We want our spouses to know the depths of our soul. We want our friends to include us in the things they know we’d appreciate. We want to be seen and heard.

My toddler recently started saying, “see me, mommy.” He uses it for multiple things – when he wants to be held, when he wants me to look at him, when he wants me to pay attention – it’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard. As if hearing my name called from those tiny pink lips wasn’t enough to make me melt, he pleads with me to know him. My wild child, whose current favorite word is no, who rarely slows down long enough for me to cuddle him, who often wants no comfort after injury, asks me to “see him”. I can’t help but oblige, of course. It’s a reminder to stop whatever (often unimportant) task I’m doing and love my baby.

LOVE ME NOW, CHILD. Just kidding. He does.

Are your kids an afterthought right now, mama? Are you so dedicated to pursuing your own goals, dreams, and desires that your kids are getting left out? I’ve been there – I am there. There’s stuff that needs to be done and I’m the one who has to do it. The constant mess in our house needs picking up, the shopping has to be done, life has to be lived, and you want to do things for yourself. You just want to finish your episode, wrap up your reading, publish your blog post, find time for the little things that make you feel like you. Breaks are okay and we both know that we need them, but are your kids being drug along while you pursue other things? Don’t mishear me – this is not about working moms. If you are a working mother, know that I respect you deeply. Know that I understand you have two callings that are both important. This is about the time mothers spend with their kids – working or not. Some days, I reflect on my time and realize my entire day was about what I wanted to do. It’s not always fun stuff, there are certainly chores involved, but between wanting to get “stuff done” and wanting to relax, there are some days that have very few intentional moments. I hate these days. Sure, sometimes all I want is a break or a little me time, but all my boys want is for their mom to see them, to play with them, to know and love them.

See your kids today, mom. Slow down enough to appreciate the tiny features that will change before you know it. Take a deep breath when they get under your skin and try to see life from their point of view. Sometimes, all a misbehaving kid needs is more of their mama. Sometimes, all a short-fused mom needs is more of their child. Put down the phone. Turn off the TV. Let the dishes pile. Take a break from errands. See your babes, mommy.

The Weight of Baby Weight

30th August 2015

I read a blog post the other day from a Christian momma of two boys on her current workout routine, for some post-baby inspo. She began by talking about her total obsession with working out right after her second was born, saying that she dedicated every spare second to exercise. She says she was completely addicted to her fitness and that it was virtually all she cared about.

Now, I keep reading and I’m waiting for the silver lining here. Like, “and then I realized how completely insane this was and that my value is in Christ and my pre-baby body is nothing compared to my two beautiful children.” Nope. Nothing. That was literally the post. She got skinny again and the end.

In a sense, I want to say, “Yay! I can get my pre-baby body back (ish..),” but a greater part of me is so discouraged, because I know I feel the same way as this gal. There is a heartbreaking message forced on moms that if they do not manage to get back to their former shape then they are worthless and certainly not trying hard enough. Come on, don’t you see all those Pinterest moms rocking their skinny jeans like the day after baby? (Who probably has sucked in so much her ribcage is about to pop out..don’t even play)… Please mommas, nourish your body well and find exercise that you enjoy, but good grief! What are we doing? We have NO sense of who we are if losing baby weight is all we care about. And please know I am writing this because I am SO right there. I got mad last night getting ready for church (CHURCH, y’all) because my clothes still don’t really fit right. Am I really mad about trading my figure for my sweet babies? Do I honestly think that my weight and body shape has anything to do with my eternity and the kingdom of God?

I will never forget this message from my husband, sent to me when I was in this same selfish stage after baby #1:

image
Yikes.

Now why do I call this mindset selfish? Doesn’t feeling insecure mean that you have low self-esteem? Absolutely not. My insecurities mean that I am thinking way too much of myself. They are a pompous insult to the Lord. When I am not fully confident in who HE is instead of who I am, I’m declaring that my own glory is more important than his. The way I feel about myself or my own image outweighs who he has already declared me to be. Isn’t this nonsense? God has already named us – spotless, beautiful, redeemed, worthy, righteous – and we want to call ourselves scarred, ugly, unlovable. I want freedom from this mess, don’t you? I want to stop wasting energy wallowing in my long-lost-wardrobe-woes and use those thoughts to pray for my family, to thank the Lord for them. Stop caring so much about your own body and go encourage another mom in the same place. Non-mommas? You always tell a new mom she’s beautiful. Always. I don’t care if her hair is matted to her baggy-eyed face and she wreaks of old milk – she is beautiful for being a mom. Not because of her outward appearance, but because she gets to selflessly love and serve a little one who can do nothing for themself. She is getting an opportunity perfectly representative of Christ – nothing in the world could be more beautiful. And mommas? Hear that and know its truth. When we were unable to do anything for ourselves, Jesus stepped in. You are doing that for your baby. You are so full of purpose and so loved.

Fridays.

21st August 2015

Direct quote from my last post:

“God created nap times so mommies wouldn’t be admitted to insane asylums…nap times come every day. Can I get an amen.”

Oh, but guess what? I think my toddler somehow read this sentence and sneakily giggled to himself and decided to actually NOT nap all week long. And I’m not talking about a happy little curly blonde-haired cutie who continued his sugary sweetness even though he was running low on sleep. I’m talking 30 minute scream sessions in his crib (several times a day as we tried again and again for those precious naps) and grumpy grump pants the rest of the day. That’s me I’m referring to – Everett was also a mess… =P So if you see me in the near future and I have a slight twitch and am mumbling to myself, there’s your explanation.

Needless to say, it’s been a bit of a rough week. Monday was without a doubt the worst day of the week (and possibly um, ever) both for me and my sweet Everett. I started googling daycares in my area (if you know me, you most likely know I’ve always wanted to stay at home with my kids..seriously, I was made for this gig) – so yeah, our day was that bad. When your Monday is crap, it’s pretty stinkin’ hard not to beg for Friday to magically appear like.. now, while also counting down the minutes until your working man gets home to provide some relief. But of course, the Lord was not kind enough to let me sit in my impatience without conviction. I can’t tell you how. many. dang blog posts, pictures, etc. I just so happened to stumble across that talked about contentment, not wishing your kids were in another stage, living in the moment, blah-dee blah blah. Like this.

stopforfriday

 

Who, me? I love all the things about today! Today is my fave!

I can’t say that I totally succeeded at this (big surprise, right). We did have some great moments this week, but my tiredness and selfishness won out a lot. Suddenly, it’s Friday. And you will not hear me complaining, but I happened to glance at the date today (something I don’t always keep up with…like what month is it?) and my newborn is going to be a MONTH old tomorrow. TOMORROW. A FREAKING MONTH. Did we not JUST get home from the hospital?? I have no clue where a month went, and if I’m not careful I’m going to wish the rest of his months away without enjoying them.

James 4:14-15 are verses that have always resonated with me. “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'”

“If the Lord wills, we will live.”

What if the Lord doesn’t will that I live? What if I spent the last week of my or my children’s lives wishing that Friday would come?

The thought alone wrenches my heart. Who am I to pompously assume that tomorrow is guaranteed for any of my family? Can you imagine the regret I would feel for wishing any phase to hurry and be over? And even if we all live long and happy lives, my babies are growing up fast. When I desperately wish that time would speed up, I’m essentially telling the Lord that HIS timing is crappy, he doesn’t desire my absolute best, and I am completely ungrateful for what he’s given me. This is not just a mom thing. I have been a “forward-looker” my entire life. I have always anxiously awaited the next event, next weekend, next phase of my life, and half-heartedly enjoyed the present. The current situation is not the issue – my heart is the issue. If I truly understood the weight of eternity and the brevity of my time on earth, I wouldn’t wish away moments. I wouldn’t be so quick to get frustrated with my toddler who isn’t going to be a toddler much longer and who needs to see the grace of Christ represented through his mom. If my joy was always in Christ, I would seek to become more like Him through these frustrating times instead of lashing out at everyone around (poor, poor) me.

Do I have any life-changing, practical tips to help us focus more on the present? Er, not really (helpful, right…), but I can encourage us to turn to Christ in weakness. James 1 tells us to ask God for wisdom if we lack it, and I’d venture to guess the same stands for any Jesus-esque quality. I want to be diligent to ask God to lead me in making the best use of my time. I want to seek to honor Him in every moment, especially in the hard moments. What little advice I have for myself and other moms: put your phone up; try something new with your kids every day; put Scripture around your house to remind you to find your joy in Christ. Sit, breathe, and reset. Your day and mood can turn around as soon as you decide for it to, so stop waiting for Friday and enjoy your day today.

 

 

Nap times and sleepy thoughts

13th August 2015

God created nap times so mommies wouldn’t be admitted to insane asylums.

Oh, you didn’t know that? Yeah. It’s pretty much a fact. Here are some musings from yesterday that I didn’t completely finish because those sacred slumbers ended before my thoughts did. But alas, nap times come every day. Can I get an amen.

“There’s brown rice sprinkled over the floor around the highchair, I left half folded laundry on the table, the living room floor is covered with dirt tracked in by little feet and my bedroom hasn’t been picked up in a week. But, the boys are both asleep. And all of that rhymed and I did not mean for it to. And there’s only so much my sleep-deprived and wearied self can take before I need to pour out a few thoughts.

Somehow, being a mom to two babies has simultaneously made me an infinitely better and worse mother. It’s forced me to to be more organized and more efficient, made me more willing to let little things go, given me a greater focus on my family, and pushed me into a selflessness my heart does not have the strength to willingly choose. I also haven’t slept, and I have a toddler who has now decided that screaming like the baby is the best way to get mom’s attention and whose gums decided to sprout all the molars at the same time. So I have maybe been the slightest bit cranky. Maybe.

My littlest baby is three weeks old, and for the first two weeks of his life, we constantly had dad or a relative at home with us. Then real life hit and I was left at home with a pair of babies like, what the heck do I do now? Sure, I started the first day armed with high hopes and an ignorant grin, and within about 10 minutes realized that this was going to be stinking hard. I don’t think I made it past 10am without calling my husband, in tears, to tell him how bad of a mom I already was. I’ve had several days like that in fact. Today, for example. Patience has not been on my side and neither has my toddler (I mean, when you’re 18 months old, your side is pretty much the only side. Especially when you’re teething). In the past several days I have genuinely started to question whether God actually meant to let me get knocked up back to back. Like, that was a goof-up, right? I can’t take care of two crying snotty humans. Sometimes I can’t even figure out how to adult (which is now a verb apparently).

This is where one of those nauseatingly overused and cliche encouragements like, “Sweetie, God won’t give you more than you can handle,” would come in handy, yeah? Except, surprise! I can. not. handle this. I will never handle every situation with grace and patience (all the while being perfectly clean and made-up and thin and beautiful..duh) while my sinless and spotless little lambs frolic around my vacuumed house obeying my every word. I will never stop having to apologize to my kids after I have a bit of a crazy-woman melt-down (because those definitely aren’t going away). And the Lord will never stop having compassion on my incapable soul. He will never stop being slow to anger. He will never deal with me according to my sins or repay me according to my iniquities. When I am so weak that I can’t react to my son in any way other than frustration and I’m ashamed at my own actions, God is steadfastly loving me in spite of it.”

Mkay. Pretty, right? Let’s fast-forward to about two hours after this lovely moment when I was (again) in tears because my kids had both been screaming for about 30 minutes and my toddler is apparently trying to set a world record for how many whines can fit into a day. I found myself on the couch, sobbing, while we watched TV for the too-many-eth time that day because it is one of the few things that will calm my cranky boy. And after several minutes I realized my toddler was nestled under one arm, my baby was cozy in the other, and my firstborn had his sweet hand resting on my little one’s head. Sure, he was in an exhausted, Netflix trance, but it was SO sweet. I wanted to cry some more.

This is all such a perfect picture of life and motherhood. The biggest thing I’ve learned from having two under two is that I have to be prepared for things to be crazy. Does that mean I approach the day with a pessimistic attitude and expect the worse? No.. (although I’m sure I will do just that from time to time) but it does mean that I quit being so entitled to think that every moment of my day will be pure bliss and throw a fit otherwise. Don’t we do that (mommy or not)? Where the heck did we get that idea from? Being a mom does bless you with those beautifully heart-warming moments, when your toddler is kissing your baby’s head, or trying to rock his swing when he cries, or when both boys are snuggled contently in your arms, but there is often chaos. And there is often just normalcy. If every single moment was not included, it wouldn’t make the sweet times so sweet. It wouldn’t give me countless opportunities to rock my babies and pray over both of us because we need a reset. And you know what else? Today was a new day. The Lord does not require me to drag my failures from yesterday into this morning. He beckons me to be refreshed and renewed and live in his constant forgiveness and grace. We’ve had a good morning so far (despite the 5:30am wake-up…when those molars come in I’m going to punch them), and even if all hades breaks loose between now and when dad gets home, tomorrow is a new day and The Lord always forgives.