To the Mom Who is Scared

As a mom of a one year old and three year old, fear has never been stronger. We need to talk about it. The enemy is attacking my heart and scaring me to raise these babies in a world like this. In a world full of so much tragedy, and so much pain.

Someone told me when I was pregnant with my first, “I don’t know why anyone would bring a child into the world we live in.” They didn’t know I was pregnant at the time, but I truly felt taken aback that someone would even think that fear would stop them from starting a family.

Now I am scared every day. The “what if’s” happen every time I leave my kids with someone else, every time we are out in a crowd somewhere, and every time I put them to bed. Fear is trying to take over my parenting.

All I can do is pray. I pray for peace. I pray for wisdom. I pray for protection. I pray for for the strength to tell fear that it is not welcome here. I will not live in fear. I will not be robbed of the joys that motherhood brings. I do not know what my children will go through in this life, but I know that if I live in fear, I will miss out on so much.

As a mom of two toddlers, I make a choice daily to focus on raising them well. Raising them kind. And raising them to know Jesus and His extraordinary love for us. There are things in this world I can’t control, but I am in control of how I raise my children and how I can love them well. I choose to focus on that. Let’s encourage each other to not live in fear. It can be tough raising babies, toddlers, teenagers. It can be scary. Let’s do our best to raise them well, raise them kind, and to tell fear it is not welcome here.


“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34


This calling of motherhood is not an easy one. But we need to remember that as we are doing dishes, picking up clothes, wiping noses and making sure everyone is fed, we are doing kingdom work. We are fulfilling the call placed on our lives to take care of our family. And what an honor. What a joy it is to be a parent. What a joy it is to have clothes to fold! And noses to wipe! Mamas, we are called to this. We can’t let fear take over our motherhood.

I will still worry, because I’m a mom and that’s what we do. But I will not let it take over my motherhood. I will do my best to focus on what I can control, rather than the things I can’t. We can’t control what is happening in our world, but we can love our families well. Let’s start there.

 

 

5 Reasons We Had a Home Birth

Woahhhh. I had no idea the responses I would get when we started telling people we were having a home birth. I was confident in my decision, but sometimes people wondered if we were on the crazy train. We had a hospital birth with my first, and overall things went well. I was induced (10 days overdue) and was able to have a natural birth which I was thankful for. But there was something about the idea of having your baby at home that seemed so comforting to me. We decided to use a local birth center. Originally we were going to have the baby at their facility. We currently had an 18 month old that had not spent a night away. I hated the thought of her first night away being when her sister entered the world. After talking with the birth center, we found out they offer home births as well and decided to deliver at home.

The story goes a little something like this. My husband had been up for almost 24 hours. He was working swing shift at the time and had just come off night shift. He was up the whole following day. We were getting ready to go to bed around 11:00pm, and I started feeling something. I looked at my husband and said, “I think it’s happening.” He said, “Are you sure? Can it wait until morning?” I tried not to laugh but I know I did. I told him I don’t think it works like that and we should probably call the midwife. Poor guy was so tired. But I was also getting ready to birth a baby so I could only give so much grace in that moment.

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We had a friend come stay with our toddler. She was in and out of sleep all night. So it was wonderful having our friend there to help keep her company. She also came in to say “hi” to Mommy and Daddy before things really got going. Those were some special moments.

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I loved doing the “slow dance” motion during my contractions with my first birth, and I followed suit with the second as well. I just wanted to stand and sway. Things really got going around 3:00am. Intense contractions with small breaks in-between. Which I never got when I was induced. What a relief to have a break! Even if for just a few minutes. My water broke around 4:50am and I was ready to push right after that. Olivia was born at 5:05am. She was twelve days late, only to be born on Leap Day!

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  1. I didn’t have to go anywhere. Being in the comfort of my home was incredible. I didn’t have to ask if I could do anything. My midwife was calm and gave me confidence that I was doing a great job. Also, not packing a hospital bag was the cherry on top.
  2. My toddler didn’t have to go anywhere. I remember finding out we were pregnant and immediately thinking about how she would adjust to this new addition. She was able to meet her little sister at home. Shortly after Olivia was born she came into our room and got to hug and kiss her for the first time. It was one of the sweetest moments I can remember. It’s a moment that will forever melt my heart.
  3. Comfort in knowing that if something were to go wrong, my midwife would be on top of it. The biggest question we received was, “What if something goes wrong?” Midwives are very well trained and are definitely aware of what to do if something does go wrong. They are not shy about that. We were well aware that if they think anything may be wrong in any way, they wouldn’t hesitate to get us where we need to be. Not once did I question if we were in good hands. My husband did just admit to me the other day that he was “freaking out” the whole time. But I was fine. Must’ve been his sleep deprivation.
  4. Sleep in my own bed. Y’all. After everything was said and done, we took the longest family nap ever. It was so needed. No one was waking us up. We just slept. I felt so much more rested this time around, and I credit it to the fact that we could sleep when we wanted to. Aside from the feedings every 2-3 hours of course.
  5. I could do whatever I wanted to do. I remember looking at my friend, who had also had a home birth, and asking her, “Is it ok to eat a banana?” She assured me I could do whatever I wanted to do. That was a good feeling. And that was one good banana.

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I am thankful for the opportunity to have a baby at home. It was a beautiful experience and we hope to have all our future children at home as well.

Do you have any questions about home birth? Have you had a home birth yourself? Let me know in the comments below!

Don’t Wish Moments Away…

Don’t wish moments away… but what about the hard moments? I really want to wish those away. I want to skip through those and get to the good ones. The reality is that there will be hard moments throughout our motherhood journey. There most definitely, without a doubt, be hard moments. I’m only 3.5 years into this thing and the hard moments are much more present than I would prefer. I find myself thinking: “This will be easier when she’s 4, or 5, or 12.” What I’ve realized is that each age is going to be challenging. Each age will have wonderful moments and hard moments. The beauty is that those moments are just that – moments. Moments that will pass. Moments that will probably get harder before it gets better.

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I have to stop wishing these moments away. What an opportunity we are given when these hard moments come. An opportunity to lean on God and seek his face when we feel like we have nothing left. It’s such an honor to raise these little people, but it can also be a daunting task at times. I have cried out to God so many times because of these moments. He reminds me that this will pass. He surrounds me with the peace that passes all understanding. And turns out I can never understand it. How does He do that? He just wraps us up and this overwhelming peace just takes over.

Instead of wishing those moments away, I’m trying to see them as opportunities. Opportunities to hear from the Lord. To feel His presence even when things are hard. He’s teaching me that these hard moments are an opportunity to get closer to Him. I’m learning more about myself (especially my weaknesses), and in the midst of disciplining toddlers and trying to stay sane – I’m learning how to be a better person. How to be more patient and understanding. While I definitely do not enjoy this hard part of parenting, I can see what God’s doing there.  We’re disciplining our children, while God is giving us chances to grow. Now trust me, I fail at this daily. More like hourly. But when I can do it well, I can look back and thank God for giving me that opportunity to teach my children, as well as grow as a Mom.

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I’ve learned that it’s ok to not like the hard moments. That phrase, “Enjoy it, it goes by so fast” is most definitely true. But I have had some really long days, some really hard moments. And during those times I am not enjoying it. That’s ok. I remind myself often that it’s ok to not enjoy the moments that are frustrating and confusing. I remind myself that these children are just longing to be heard and understood. They want us to hear them so badly. Am I? Am I really listening to their heart? Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp talks deeply about this. The root of the problem is in their heart. So many times when I want to react to a behavior, I try to stop myself to figure out what’s really going on. Number one, are they hungry? Number two, are they tired? If we rule these out then we can really start searching.

In those hard moments when I really don’t want to search their heart, I’ve realized that’s when I’m missing it. I’m missing an opportunity to learn more about my child and their heart. My oldest is three and she able to let me know what’s going on. I may have to translate it for someone else, but I totally get her. I try to take that opportunity to hear her, really hear her and figure out what the root of the problem is. Because their behaviors are just that – moment by moment changing emotions that take over and come out through their behavior. But what about what’s underneath that behavior? Sinful nature, yes. But what else? I’m diving deep into this, and I pray that you will come along with me. Share what you’re learning about this things called motherhood. Let me know how we can better search our child’s heart instead of just the surface of their behavior.

Thank you so much for being here and hearing my heart. Comment below and let me know your thoughts on this topic. We Mama’s have to help each other out!

photography by Love + Covenant

Give Your Toddler More Responsibility!

Toddlers. Let’s talk about them. The good, the bad, and the smells. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think of my oldest as our guinea pig. In the most loving way of course. I tend to feel like we are constantly winging it because every day is something new. She’s always changing and curve balls happen often. It’s an adventure and I adore her, it just takes some time to really learn who she is and who she’s becoming. She is currently 3.5 years old and I am starting to enjoy this stage. There are challenges, lots and lots of challenges. But overall I am enjoying the fact that she can communicate and understand better.  I am seeing who she is and really trying to hone in on her gifts and positive characteristics.

When I had my second child, my oldest was only 18 months old. My saving grace was that she became my little helper. She loved being able to help even if it was just grabbing me a diaper. I feel like kids are naturally wired to be helpers, but it is such a big part of her life now that I’m starting to see it as a gift. If someone falls down at the playground, she’ll be running to make sure they’re ok. If I drop something on the floor, she wants to pick it up right away (and hopefully not eat it). She loves every chance to help. While at times this can be inconvenient, I’m trying to foster that characteristic rather than allow it to bother me.

In the past year or so, I’ve tried to include her in everyday chores and activities (rather than treat her like a bother so I can do something). I’ll be honest, when she helps me with dinner – it takes twice as long. I have to slow down and remember that these days are flying by. If dinner takes twice as long, that’s ok. She is learning and she is loving every minute of helping Mommy. Here are some examples of ways I include her in our everyday tasks:

  • Folding laundry – This is our most recent chore. I need to stop thinking of her as “little” and remember that she is so capable of these things. It may not be the best folding job, but I taught her how to fold shirts, pants and hang up clothes. And she can totally do it! Those kids learn fast, faster than we may realize.
  • Cooking dinner – You can either lay out a sheet, or just let them make a mess and remember that it can be cleaned up. I choose to let her make a mess. If we are making dough, she is totally capable of pouring and whisking. And you guys, she lights up! I mean she thinks she is captain cool in our house when this is going on. It’s a joy to see, and also added work for me, but it’s so worth it.
  • Picking up after herself – this is one we’ve worked on for a while, and are still working on. She is by no means perfect at it, but when she does remember to do this on her own – I give her all the praise. I make it a huge deal so she knows that when she picks up after herself, she is doing something awesome.
  • Feed the dog – A little responsibility can go a long way. My toddler knows that this is her job and she feels such a sense of accomplishment once it’s done. We also implement a chore chart that involves stickers. The stickers may be the only motivation, but I’ll take it.

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These are just a few examples. I try to include her in as much as I can. My almost two year old is starting to catch on as well! I give her smaller tasks, but she still has that same sense of accomplishment when she completes a chore.

 

Thank you for reading! Does your toddler love to do chores? What else could you add to the list? Comment below and let’s talk about it!