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What if we’re missing the point of “the days are long but the years are short”?

Ever since I became a parent I frequently hear how time flies with kids and how one day I’ll blink and my kids will be moving out, getting married and start having families of their own.

Like when that sweet older mother you ran into at the grocery store, pushing a rather empty cart, looks over at you and your chaotic tribe with adoring eyes. She tells you to enjoy that tantrum in the store because when they’re teenagers you’ll be wishing all you were worried about was teaching them to manage their emotions in aisle six. And if she’s feeling really nostalgic, she’ll go on to explain how when they move out someday, you’ll be wishing for crazy bedtime bribery again.

As she slowly starts pushing her cart down the aisle away from you and your munchkins, she bids you farewell by saying a phrase we hear often as young parents: the days are long but the years are short.

Depending on how overwhelmed you feel in that moment, you may find these words encouraging as you breathe and navigate the tantrum with more ease than before, or you may quietly be ripping that sweet old lady’s head off while trying to wrangle your kid to get in the basket.

Yes, today was a long day for you for sure.

When we hear the phrase the days are long but the years are short, most of us easily get why the days are long. Being at work all day with stressful clients, followed by a frustrating drive to pick up your kids from daycare or school, followed by an evening full of meeting the rest of life’s demands, can make a day seem certainly long. Or maybe your day is filled with the demands of your threenager and newborn and more times than you care to admit, you are just waiting for the day to be over (I feel you!).

But what about the years are short part?

What does the days are long and the years are short really mean? Feeling tired and worn out in motherhood? Read more to explore finding rest in the busy season of motherhood.

I used to think the years flew by because we’re such a busy society always in motion. We live a life where busy is king and productivity is lucrative. Our schedules are filled to the brim with busy from sun up until sun down, and then some. And we’re talking real busy.

You’ve got a presentation to give at the end of the week and after the kids are in bed, you need to stay up late to finalize the details and get up early the next day so you can meet your colleague to go over the project. Or you’ve got a busy day that includes day three of potty training with your toddler, day one of starting solids with your baby, followed by a trip to the library and then the grocery store and probably a quick run to Target for those pull-ups you forgot to buy when you were there yesterday. Or maybe you’ve got a day that includes both of these kinds of busy!

But what if being busy is only part of the short year equation?

Do you ever feel like we’re constantly waiting for that next thing? We all wait and work towards the next big thing in our lives–promotions at work, getting married, having kids, buying houses, new cars, big trips, holiday events, etc. But I’m talking about even waiting for the small things too that fill our calendars–for the weekend because we have plans for the pumpkin patch, or next week you have that dinner date with a friend, or the next week your family is coming up to visit, and then it’s the end of the month and that one bill is finally due you forgot about. Time flies when we’re waiting.

I feel like I am constantly looking ahead. I am always excited (or dreading) for the next future thing that’s coming up on my calendar.

My life feels like it’s constantly in motion whether I’m moving through a busy day or waiting for the next busy event to happen in my life.

This constant motion has my heart continuously reaching for ways to work harder not smarter, to find balance in the chaos, to have peace while still being able to do all the things I need to do (or want to do).

And when those long days are done and I’m lying in bed recapping my day, I let my mind wonder and toy with a new idea: what would it look like to live a life a where the days don’t feel overwhelmingly long and the years feel more lasting than vanishing?

*******

I’ve been getting this subtle itch about the uncertainty of my life lately. It starts when I question my parenting skills a little more than usual. It grows when I feel like I’m not doing enough writing. It overflows when I start comparing my life to others and question if what I’m doing even matters.

Maybe you feel it when you come to a crossroads in your job. Maybe you feel it when all that potty training feels like a waste because your kid is going through a regression. For me, it’s been a small series of events in different areas of my life that are unfolding in ways I did not plan.

When things don’t go according to my plan, I start to wonder if I’m messing up somewhere. I question my ability to lean not on my own understanding. As a recovering control addict, feeling uncertain can feel like a nervous breakdown at times. I’m serious.

The other day I was making my way through our local bookstore. As always, I stopped to peruse the Christian Living section. As I scanned the shelves, I felt bombarded with title after title telling me, no, it felt like shouting, they were shouting at me to to chase slow, to be present over perfect, to find joy in little, to throw out all my possessions because less really is more and so on and on and on and on…

And I love it. My soul eats it up because each of these titles speak to a longing in my heart to somehow find a satisfaction in my life that I am otherwise missing.

And I love these authors. I really do. I own many of those titles. I truly believe God uses writers to extend his truth to his people. Clearly I believe this, otherwise I wouldn’t be up at 5:00 AM writing this very article.

But what if I’m approaching these books with a “fix me” attitude? What if I took that hunger that was oozing from my heart and through my eyes at the book store and shifted it to my time with the Lord? What if I approached the Bible with more of a relationship attitude?

*****

I have this verse above our fireplace that I see every morning when I’m getting around to start the day, and I see it every night when Mike and I catch a quick show on TV.

be still and know

Almost every time I read it, my heart echoes the rest of the verse, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 NKJV)

And lately, I feel like God is saying to me, Stop being so busy waiting for the next thing, Gloryanna, and start being uncertain in life, but certain in Me. To be certain in me you have to be still.

To be still means coming back to the foundation of what I know is true of the Lord and the only way I remember his foundation is by reading his word and praying with him.

It means I might have to look at my calendar less. It means I might have to be OK with that potty training regression because seriously, God is with me in that. Maybe it means you might have to accept what you can do within your job and what you can’t, and trust that God is there in the uncertainty of your job.

To know God means being OK with being unsure of what the next step is because we know he is there in the uncertainty.

I wonder if the more I press towards the Lord and the calling he has on my life, then the more life might start to slow down.

I wonder if the more I lay Biblical foundations in my heart, the more I will mature in new ways when the uncertainty comes. I will remember to lean not on my own understanding (or someone else’s) and trust in God first. If we reach for his word first instead of reaching for an answer on our phones, then maybe the days wouldn’t feel so long.

And maybe this constant reaching for his truth as the compass in our lives would make the years more memorable and lasting.

Next time you see that lady in the store and she’s telling you the days are long and the years are short, your eyes will soften and you can say, Thank you.

Because really, she’s just reminded you to be still and know.

Peace,
Glo

That one time I left the house with diapers in my back pocket

If I got on my phone right now and scrolled through Facebook or Instagram, I would surely see a handful of posts about motherhood. They would be posts that talk about it being “wine-oclock” already or wearing leggings everyday. Or maybe there would be a funny post about how chasing a toddler is like preparing for a marathon. Those are great and I am definitely on board for not taking myself too seriously in this momlife.

But you know what else I see a lot of AND THINK a lot of? I see a lot of posts about PPD or frustration in motherhood. I see a lot of overwhelming posts about the tough stuff. And I think a lot about how hard it is being a mom. I think about how hard it must be for work away from home moms. How hard it is as a mom at home. I think about how I screw up all the time and worry about how my kids will turn out if I let them eat too much macaroni or watch too much TV.

I get it. We all get it. And I know it’s so so so important for us to keep talking about those things. So please keep talking about them. I know I will.

But as of late God has been working in my little heart with big fears and worries. He’s been opening my eyes to the joy I experience from the day to day instead of constantly thinking about the hard stuff. It’s not about trying to make the hard stuff go away by ignoring it. It’s about seeing the good stuff more and more so the hard stuff gets smaller and smaller in my head.

As someone who had her share of PPD with her first born and is now navigating two under two, I need those worries and visions to get smaller and smaller.

And it all started when I walked out of the house with two different diapers stuck in my back pockets. Yep. One for Sis and one for Bubby. Didn’t have enough hands so I stuck them back there to put in the diaper bag and forgot about them.

 

And you know what I realized? I laugh more in a day than I ever used to.

 

I do some of the wildest things (no not sky diving wild) but wild like going pee, while breastfeeding a newborn AND reading to my toddler at the same time.

I am the master multitasker.

You moms out there, we are some of the funnest people around. My toddler laughs every time I make fart sounds. My husband might laugh at this too but that’s besides the point.

I’ve got the best audience on a daily basis that brings me the most laughs.

Of course there are rough days. I wrote a post once to the weary mom. But not this post. This post is to the crazy and fun things I’ve done as a mom that I plan to remember on the rough days. It’s as cliche as I’ll get out. I’m talking about choosing to see the positive in my day to day and these are just to name a few.

It can be hard to be joyful as a mom. Today I'm talking about choosing joy as a mom and enjoying the positive on a daily basis. Read for more. That time I left with two diapers in my back pocket.

 

I’ve changed 4 diapers within 30 minutes. That’s got to be like a pound of poop or something. Some kind of record, right? Right?!?! And let me tell yah, my audience was not happy about all the poopy diapers. One was miserable because she was poopy while the other was horrified at having to change the poop. It was hilarious–all the crying, all the poop. Seriously. Laughing was the best response. Feel me?

I’ve made homemade brownie batter just to eat by myself when the tiny people were napping at the same time. I like to call my batter creation “Heaven in a Bowl.” It’s so good. And eating while they’re napping is an incredible little treat. I can’t do it all the time but it happens every once in a while when I need a chocolate fix.

I have crawled in the crib with my son and let him watch Elmo so I could take a 20 min power nap. I am a genius. And oh the snuggles I get while we do this. It really is something I wish I could bottle up and save for the tough days.

 

 

It’s when I buy 12 pairs of cute PJs for my son so 1) I don’t have to wash them as often and 2) they double as his clothes for the day. And then I wear my PJ’s all day too. See how that works? Although you gotta watch the PJ one. It can backfire. Being in my PJ’s all day can bring about some depression.

I totally let my dogs eat the toddler’s spilled food off the floor. Bwahahaha! I think the positive from this is pretty obvious.

Hygiene care has become hysterical. Dry shampoo is my BFF. I can’t even remember the last time I shaved with a razor and water. If my husband only knew what has become of his electric shaver… If you add up the time I would normally spend shaving my legs with water and soap vs the quick way with an electric one, well I just know I got back many more days in my life.

I’ve eaten leftover macaroni from lunch. I ate it at night. After my son was in bed. From the pan. The pan that got left on the stove all day. It was so so good. Not gonna lie. Having a toddler gives me an excuse to eat macaroni.

Speaking of yummy food, I’ve eaten more puffs than I’d care to admit. Those sweet potato ones are YUM.

I’ve used my toddler’s diaper as a pad before. That’s all I’m gonna say.

I don’t think I need to explain the positive in this situation. It saved me is all.

 

 

I know all the words to Elmo’s Song. Which means I can sing it whenever I need to cheer up my son or get him to quit squirming while I’m changing his diaper. I’m thinking the positive in this is that he could be in love with a much more annoying song. 

Speaking of Elmo, one time it was like I was outside my body and saw my current situation. Elmo and a human foot were waving bye to me from the tv while I was breastfeeding and writing on my phone with one hand.

 

Like I said, master multitasker.

The thing is some of this stuff seems crazy to people but when you get with another mom and start talking about this fun weird stuff you do as a mom, it all makes sense.

It’s easy to go down the negative weary path and I absolutely believe there is a season to explore those hard moments as a mom (hello? have you read my motherhood posts before?) but for me, for right now, I’m looking at the positive. I’m choosing the positive. Especially when I totally forget about those diapers in my back pocket. You gotta laugh at that. 😉

Won’t you join me?

Peace,

Glo

Saying Goodbye to Being a Parent of One

I never thought I would be sad to welcome our second child.

I used to think I would have only one child. Scratch that. I used to think we’d never have any children. I used to think I’d be a teacher forever and that was good enough. And here I am a mom of a toddler boy with our second, a girl, due in a few weeks.

And I can’t imagine life any other way.

 

Seriously, I cannot fathom my life without our little family. I never thought it would be possible for me to love someone so much as I love my son and our future daughter. I love my husband and we choose each other every day, but it’s a different bond God creates.

The bond I have with my son is a different world.

That face in the morning when I get him from his room. The immediate energy bursting through as he is jumping on his bed at the crack of dawn. The exuberance when running across the kitchen to tackle one of the dogs. He is big emotions and they captivate me every single day.

 

And in those quiet moments when we watch Charlotte’s Web for the bazillionth time, and he lets me hold his hand, I can’t help but soak it in. I can’t help but feel a swelling sense of privilege to be his mother.

Sometimes I think God created the seasons of parenthood as a means for us to grasp a tiny bit of what His love is like for us.

I never understood what other parents meant when they said it’s a privilege to raise children.

Until now.

And as I commit these special and chaotic moments to memory, I am washed over with a bittersweet twinge in my heart. The kicking in my swelling womb reminds me that our world is about to change even more.

The afternoons of a quiet snack and movie with mom, with just the two of us, will be three.

I think of the specialness that comes with the first child. The firsts for everything.

I remember those long nights when I thought I might go insane from lack of sleep. I remember crying with him as I held him close in my arms because I didn’t know what to do for him. I remember the explosive poops on the changing table. I remember the first laugh. The first roll. The first crawl. The first five hours of straight sleep.

All those firsts that made me feel like a light was shining through me as joy burst from my heart. We had done it. We survived.

My son, these first two years with you have been a privilege. The joy and the challenges that came from taking care of you brought me closer to Christ and are forever etched in my heart.

 

Six Tips to Help You Fight Postpartum Insomnia

I’m thinking I must have Pregnantsomnia because much of what I faced with postpartum insomnia I am now facing as a pregnant mama with my toddler running around. Nonetheless, these six tips to fight postpartum insomnia apply to me now too and I think they can help many a mamas, but especially those new moms.

I am by no means a professional and I am only sharing what worked for me. If you are battling insomnia then I would encourage you to seek guidance from your physician.

I remember when Bubby started to sleep longer stretches at night as a new baby. He’d sleep four, five maybe six or even seven hours of sleep. Not me. I’d roll over and look at the clock and it’s 2:00AM. I’d start thinking “I’ve got a couple more hours, maybe even one, before he’s awake again. Go back to sleep. Go back to sleep.” Nothing. No sleep at all.

Some women it hits right away. For some, it takes its time, showing its ugly face right when you start to feel “normal” again. Insomnia. Unfortunately, for most women who suffer postpartum insomnia, depression may be lurking around the corner. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia and depression tend to go hand in hand. We already know that those who suffer with sleep disorders need to be wary of the onset of depression. So why does postpartum insomnia get so easily overlooked for moms who experience postpartum depression?

Most women are told it’s normal to run on no sleep during those early newborn months. We laugh about the 30 minute power naps we take a few times a day to get through a 24 hour period. Women are made to believe that sleepless nights are normal and will pass. You know, maybe in a year or two when the kid starts sleeping through the night. Most women need the tools now to curb their sleepless nights which may dial down postpartum depression. Here are a few strategies that you can try right right now in an effort to get a better night’s sleep.

Postpartum insomnia is tough. Here are six tips to help you fight postpartum insomnia.

Quit trying to nap when the baby naps.
Some women just don’t nap well or can’t pull off the power nap.  If anything, you lie there, agonizing over the fact that you’re not sleeping while the baby is sleeping. Instead of trying to nap every time the baby does, use those times as rest time but only pick a nap during the day when you know you just might actually fall back to sleep.

Get some exercise and get outside.
Many moms groan at this one but don’t underestimate the power of stimulating your body. Let’s define exercise real quick for the new mom. It is NOT jumping right back into your old workout routine. It is NOT pushing your body too soon physically.  Sometimes a simple walk around the block will do wonders for your morale and your body. Maybe it’s doing that annoying 10 minute total body workout video you bought from WalMart. Whatever is, give it a simple try. We think we should be able to sleep because we haven’t had very much sleep to begin with, but studies show that a short time of physical exertion helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Quit surfing Facebook before bed.
If you’re like most of us smartphone-loving moms, you check your Facebook during that middle of the night bottle feed or nursing session.  Studies upon studies tell us we need to put our electronics down at night. For this strategy to be effective, we should put them down about an hour before we turn out the lights. This definitely eliminates checking your Instagram while you’re nursing at 2:00A.M. The simplest way to explain this reasoning:
the lighting on your electronic devices makes it hard for your brain to shut down to fall asleep and to stay asleep.

Try to not look at the clock when you wake in the night.
This strategy alone helps some individuals reduce anxiety with mid-night wakings because they aren’t aware of how long they’ve been awake. Keep yourself from running in a vicious circle, agonizing over how you’ve been awake for the last hour. Turn off the stress, and you may fall back to sleep sooner than if you were aware of the time on your clock. Plus, looking at the lighting on your clock may be too stimulating for your brain.

Try turning the baby monitor down a notch.
This doesn’t mean turn it off. We already know that women are more sensitive to their baby’s noises than men are. But sometimes we hear every little move the baby makes and wake when we don’t need to. Try different volumes during the day to gage what you’re comfortable with. Maybe move the monitor in your room so it’s not so close to your bedside. Find an option you’re comfortable with so you won’t worry about it.

Just get up and do what you can’t stop thinking about.
This might sound counterproductive, but if you’re laying there thinking about laundry, the grocery list or something else you want to get done, then it might serve you better to get up and do it quickly so you can quit thinking about it. Don’t make this a habit but it could be a valuable option if it will help you go back to sleep.

Seek help and counsel if you feel your sleep loss is greatly impacting your mood and attitude.
While this is the last strategy, it is certainly not the least. Many women fight a silent battle against postpartum insomnia, while they’re dealing with depression. Don’t let yourself be one of them. Talk to your provider or a friend who may be able to give you some advice on how to receive help.

What about you Only a Season Mamas? Any other tips you would add to help encourage one another?
Don’t forget you can PIN THIS article to save for later or share with another mama. And if you’re interested in getting tips like this to your inbox, check out our Mom Tribe.

Peace,
Glo

To the Weary Mama

“Give me your heart, give me your song, sing it will all your might
Come to the Fountain and you can be satisfied.
There is a peace. There is a love you can get lost inside.
Come to the Fountain and let me hear you testify.”
                       ~NEEDTOBREATH “TESTIFY”

 

Motherhood is a gift that easily gets tainted. I know I am my own worst enemy most times. So much anxiety and thoughts race through our minds.

Am I doing this right?

Am I doing enough?

Do they know I love them?

Do they feel loved enough?

To the weary Mama, I see you. I see you trying to hold it all together on the straight and narrow path of deception. A path so wide and straight that many find their way so easily to an unfulfilled thirst for acceptance. We want to know that we’re doing enough. We want to believe that the daily decisions we make will guide our children to a better path as they grow.

I see the worry. I see the masked concern when you drop a little bit of your motherhood that you have clung on to for so long, when one of the plates fall.  It’s a constant nagging when Inadequacy drowns out all the love noise of the One who is calling you to His well.

We want to be confident in who we are, but the world constantly battles for our attention and tries to fill all those voids. The world offers us a drink and we leave still feeling thirsty. When I take that cup from the world, I leave with a false sense of knowing where I am. I leave with a parched mouth.

Are you weary and tired in motherhood? Do you feel overwhelmed? Know that you are not alone.

I know that all consuming thirst all too well. It’s that thirst that can only be filled when I drop all that I am trying to carry and come to His well where His Word fills my soul.

I want to be lost. Lost in His love that I can’t see a way out. I want to wander in the deep cave of His mystery. My feet kick the rocks on the ground in His canyon of peace.

He takes my hand and shows me His Word that’s written on my heart. I gently hand Him my heart that has it all figured it out and in exchange I receive His truth.

There are times when I trip and fall as I walk through the vast valleys of victory in Him, and it’s then I am grateful for my weakness because it’s in these moments when I know really how strong I truly am in Him.

If I am always looking back, questioning my worth as a mom, then I trip and fall. When I look side to side, I lose direction. But when I look forward, towards Him, I am lost to all that is around me. I’ll never look back again.

Wont you be lost with me?

I let go. I let go of the expectations I put on myself. I let go of comparison. I let go of my anger. I let go of myself.

I sing my song of redemption. I sing it at the top of my lungs.

Let go and sing with me.

I find His well of wild love and drink deep. I am satisfied in the lostness of knowing Him.

Peace Mamas,
Glo

 

How to Survive Pregnancy with a Toddler

Figuring out how to survive pregnancy with a toddler boy running around me is not a challenge that I thought I would spend that much energy on. I knew it would be hard at times but mamas, bending over the side of the crib to pick up my toddler is incredibly harder than I anticipated. I’m talking about being 30 weeks pregnant while picking up an 18 month old boy from his crib in the middle of the night because his gums hurt from teething.

But as I have progressed throughout this pregnancy, I have realized that I do a lot to help us both get along throughout the day so our home can stay as peaceful as possible. I know there are many Mamas out there who can totally relate to what I’m talking about and I know many of you have tips of your own! If you want to add to our list, read on and then add your comment below!

Here are a few tips to help you not just survive, but thrive while pregnant with a toddler.

They post may contain affiliate links. As always, opinions are all my own. Full disclosure here.

How to Survive Pregnancy With a Toddler. Tips for being pregnant while having a toddler.

1) Start incorporating Independent Play with your Toddler NOW.
I could probably write a whole post about the power of independent play (IP), and if you haven’t looked into this yet, now is the time. You want to start this trait now, no matter the age of your toddler. And if you aren’t sure how your toddler will respond to this, then start now so you can slowly work towards increasing time your toddler will play by himself.

Independent play is simply you letting him explore a few toys on his own, without interaction from you, allowing him to be totally creative on his own in a safe setting. You’re going to want this time to catch your breath or to feed your new baby once she gets here or whatever you need to do. My 18 month old can play by himself for an hour and 15 mins (we use a timer!). We do this almost every day. It is a lifesaver.

2) Don’t be afraid to put everyone to bed earlier than normal so you can go to bed early too.
I think majority of moms are extremely exhausted that first trimester. I know I am! When I was pregnant with Bubby, I could nap or go to bed whenever I wanted. Now that I am chasing Bubby around all day, I am wiped out by the time my husband gets home and he is usually pretty tired himself from a long day at work, so early to bed we all go.

And this can include nap time too. There are some days when I put my toddler down earlier so I could take a nap myself or I just plain needed to lay down for just a little bit. Putting him down 30ish minutes early is not going to hurt anything and I use this opportunity to teach him he needs to quietly lay/rest in the crib until mommy comes to get him. Getting your toddler used to a flexible sleep time with a window of 30 minutes is a tool you’ll want in your belt when your new one arrives!


3) Allow the extra help!
We have fantastic grandparents and relatives who will gladly take our son for a few hours or even for overnight! I have found I used to struggle with this the most when I kept holding on to control too much over my son’s routine. I realized I needed to prioritize what was important to his routine, communicate that to whoever is helping and let the rest go. Plus, I want Bubby to be used to being around those folks so when our new little one comes home, we can all have a little break from time to time.

4) Try to keep up some sort of exercise routine.
I know this can be REALLY hard the first and third trimesters but I’m not saying you need to pop in P90X and listen to Tony Romo blair out your TV. I have found that variety works best for me when I’m battling prego fatigue. A 10 minute pregnancy pilates DVD here, a 30 minute walk outside with my toddler there. Whatever I do, I try to do something 4 days a week. What might that look like for you?

5) Take a risk with intimacy and your spouse!
Each woman has her own experiences during pregnancy and when it comes to sex, this can be especially varying. Some women are raring to go and some women are still searching for their libido. When I say take a risk, I mean take a risk on being intimate with your spouse and forget about the rest. Most men are sensitive to your needs (and comfortable positions!) during this phase. Try not to let tiredness rule out intimacy every time. I know this can be incredibly hard and a sensitive topic for some but take a look and see if intimacy has faded since being pregnant again. I know it did for us and we decided to change things up so we could each stay satisfied and satisfy each other too.

Use this time to try new things or to be more open with your spouse about what works for you right now as your body is changing. I can personally say that when my husband wants to be intimate with me and I have no desire to be sexual, I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt and things almost always turn out better than I thought. Just something to think about! 😉 Feeling sexually fulfilled while you feel like a giant walking watermelon can give you an amazing boost during this tiring time, especially knowing your spouse feels good too!

6) Start planning now instead of wondering and worrying about what it will be like when baby arrives!
I tend to ask myself a lot of questions about what will I do if this situation arises with our new baby and how will I handle Bubby in the process. I am a planner by heart so coming up with possible ideas incase the need arises down the road reduces a lot of stress for me. The balance of all this is realizing that things may not go at all how you expected and that’s OK! Learning to adapt to a change of plans is such a vital tool, and I imagine this is ESPECIALLY TRUE when planning for your new baby’s arrival.

Some things to start planning ahead now:

  • Bulk freezing meals and/or snacks for your household, especially your toddler.
  • Create a general menu of a week or two of meals so whoever may help you take care of your toddler can have a reference point (I am doing this for my husband too!).
  • Checklist of new items you’ll need to get for new baby that can’t be reused from your first baby.
  • Independent Play (mentioned above) for your toddler.
  • Consider having help come by once or twice a week to help with some household chores the first couple of months. I plan on having our teenage babysitter come once a week to sweep, do laundry, dust, vacuum, etc. (Teenage girl is cheaper than maid service I would imagine!)
  • Bulk buy items that are a pain in the butt to run to the store for when you run out. I did this recently with a huge pack of a TWO MONTH SUPPLY of diapers! Whoot! We also bought bulk deodorant, toothpaste, trash bags, etc. Household items like this give me a peace of mind, knowing I wont need to worry about buying them while I’m sleep deprived.
  • Start creating busy bags or simple daily activities you can easily do with your toddler when baby is sleeping or feeding.

7) You might want to start changing up your daily routine with your toddler.
When I first found out I was pregnant, Bubby was taking two naps still. I never got too sick during that first trimester but boy I would get so exhausted mid-morning. There were mornings I would put him down a little earlier than he probably needed so I could rest for a few extra minutes. We also normally had a mid-morning snack that I slowly moved up so we could just eat lunch earlier together because it helped me fight fatigue. Having an earlier lunch helped me a lot that first trimester!

Also, before I found out I was pregnant, we would get out pretty much every day and do an errand or two or go on a playdate. As I have progressed in my pregnancy, I can’t quite keep up with that every day business. I have started more at home activities with him so we can get used to being home more which will be the case when Sissy arrives (at least in the beginning). It helps me feel more rested now and will help us adjust to being homebodies when she is born!

I know we could add so much more to our list! What would Mamas like to add? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’d like to get tips like this straight to your inbox, click here and join our Mom Tribe.
Peace,
Glo

Can I Just Take a Minute and Talk about Some Awesome Mom Bloggers?

First, I personally am not a fan of the term “mom bloggers.” Mainly because when I tell people I write for my blog and they say something like “Oh, a mom blogger” with air quotes, I tend to roll my eyes at their ignorance and their shrug of shoulders. I think some folks have an opinion that a “mom blogger” is someone who dallies around on the Internet and “tries” to be some kind of writer.

Not everyone thinks like this, I know, and some people I tell get it and are interested in what it means. But for the most part, I think there is a reality that lots of folks just don’t understand about what all goes into creating, writing, and sharing content for a blog. Just like I don’t fully get everything my husband does at work, he doesn’t get everything I do on my work at home. There. Enough on that.

Secondly, I have had so many mixed emotions on my journey as a writer who has a blog, that if I started taking shots every time I changed my mind about something, or started something on my blog and let it go, I’d be a walking drunken mess.

When you get into this “blogging” world, you are inundated with so much advice and tips and “do this” or “do that,” that you are kind of prone to take up drinking. OK, maybe not drinking alcohol, but I bet the caffeine intake goes up a notch or two for most of us.

With that being said, there are some amazing women I have crossed paths with along the way. What I love about these ladies is that I have a different relationship with each of them but we all have so many similarities that we can gather around each other  (virtually that is!) and encourage one another all the same. I would not categorize these women as the air quoted “mom bloggers.” These ladies can write and are well worth the read.

Seven Mom Bloggers every mom should read.

I have had an interesting week working on my blog and collaborating with other writers and free lancing on the side side side side (insert eye roll) and have sought each of these ladies in one way or another for advice or encouragement. Sometimes I just head over to their site to see what they’ve been up to and find good-for-my-soul encouragement that is exactly what I needed to hear at that exact moment.

Friends, that is something special to have in the online world of writers. While not a one of us have met each other in person, I feel as though I could catch up with them easily at a cozy coffee shop. We have grown in our friendships over the last year and I think we have some more years ahead of us in store.

I would encourage you to not just find your mom tribe, but cultivate it too.

 

I have learned too many times that friendships must be cultivated and lifted up in order keep them.

When I say that I am inspired by these women, I don’t just mean they give me warm fuzzy feelings. I’m not just trying to make someone feel better here. I mean these women make me think about the different facets of my life and in the end, make me a better a person. That’s the kind of friendship I want to keep alive.


Meet Abbie. She writes over at www.grumblinggrace.com and has one of the funnest Instagram feeds and genuine hearts. I love her sense of humor yet sensitivity that she brings to motherhood with her faith. She has the ability to make me laugh and cry all in one sitting. If you ever need that extra mom umph in your life, you need to have her in your social feed. Abbie is a woman of integrity who takes what she does seriously, but is sure not to take herself too seriously.


Say hello to Aimee. She is a writer with so much depth and grit and fierceness that sometimes I think her words were literally meant just for me. Aimee has an amazing ability to connect with her readers no matter where they are at in motherhood. She is incredibly honest in her words and strives to lift you up. She is someone you always want on your side. Be sure to check out her writing over at www.mamacentric.com.


And then there’s the fabulous Emily. She writes at www.emilyfisk.com. Emily has such a sweet spirit and I find that when she writes about her journey as a mom, she has a way of softly prodding my conscience to stay focused on my own path as a mom and be sure to cheer on and wave at the other moms across the way. Emily’s ability to remind me to forget about the others and do my own best me is one of the things I love about her.


Harmony is one of the strongest, most confident women I have met online. She has an amazing faith and unwavering belief that I am always drawn to her writing. Even though Harmony is a straight shooter, she has never made me feel less than in my beliefs. She has a way with her writing that doesn’t tear me down, but provokes me to be more. She writes over at www.mywanderingheartsong.wordpress.com.


There’s something about Christina that makes you feel empowered as a mom. I don’t know if it’s because she gives me recipes like macaroni and cheese and makes me feel healthy about it or if it’s her never ending encouragement she gives to all her readers, but she is a writer to follow. She is so patient with others and only wants to cheer you on as you walk your path in motherhood (and she might serve you up a smoothie while she’s at it!). Definitely peruse her writing over at www.thewholecook.com.


Marisa is a writer who is so humble and so rawly honest, that you can’t help but read what God presses on her heart. She has an elegant flow to her words and a quiet boldness about her that I am always left with my heart feeling full. Sometimes she makes me feel full of wonder or full of rightly pointed questions, but either way, she is a writer to keep your eye on. She writes at www.brokencookiessite.wordpress.com.


And I could not, will not, ever forget about Lisa Leshaw. If there was ever a genuine lover of people, it’s Lisa Leshaw. I don’t think I have ever met someone online who cheers on other writers as much as she does. She is an ambassador of hope for writers. Lisa would not ever call herself a prolific encourager, but that makes her all the more genuine. I met her as a fellow writer at Her View From Home and it wasn’t long before she sent me a friend request on Facebook. What’s funny about Lisa, is that she is friends with so many of us writers and she genuinely is always interested in how you are doing and that yesterday was your sister’s birthday party. She’d love to hear all about it. There’s no way I could list all the places she’s probably been published but I know one of her places she likes to call home is Her View From Home. Check out some of her writing here.


Like any other mama, we’re all flawed and have our strengths and weaknesses.

What’s beautiful about the relationships we form with one other is our ability to grow someone in their strengths and help them along the way when they are weak with our own strengths, making our bond that much stronger.

I hope you’ll take a minute to say hello to these ladies by visiting their sites and their writing.
Peace to you mamas,
Glo

 

Our Gender Reveal Party for Baby #2!

Bubby’s little sister is to arrive in March 2017. We have been super excited over the fact that we’ll have a boy and a girl and the fun (and challenges!) that come with raising both genders. I have so many cute pictures and activities that I’ve already recorded and written down about my son, that I want my daughter to have some of those same experiences.

BUT, if you know anything about having subsequent children, you know that the pictures and crafts get fewer and fewer the more kids you have. Trust me. I know. I’m the youngest of six!

To start off on a proactive note for our little girl, I decided to have a gender reveal party. I knew she wouldn’t get all the showers and games and fun that Bubs got as our first born, so gender reveal party we threw!

Since I have such a large number in my family, I wanted to do something that was relatively simple, but still festive and fun. I decided to keep decorations low key but have some fun activities for my family to do to celebrate the surprise gender of our baby.

Gender Party Ideas for Party. Party ideas for a Gender Reveal Party.

 

MOST IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION FOR YOUR GENDER REVEAL PARTY:
Deciding how to reveal the gender is always the big question. Husband and I knew the gender ahead of time and we decided we did not want to use food in any way to reveal the answer. My family has a few who would cheat (haha!), and I wanted it to be a complete surprise to everyone!

We decided to use balloons in a box and then have our toddler son help us open the box as the balloons floated out with the gender color!
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FOOD

In terms of food, we have a party favorite in our family and that is funfetti cake. It is my favorite by far! Since food wasn’t an integral part of the surprise, I kept it very simple and cheap. Funfetti was on sale for 99 cents a box at the store, so I bought two boxes and made over two dozen cupcakes. I simply used some food decorating icing and put “G” on half the cakes and “B” on the other half.
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I decided to make our table half of a girl side and half of a boy side. I went with simple decorations from Party America. I love anything that’s chevron print, so I kind of based it off the napkins I picked up. 🙂

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DECORATIONS and PARTY GAMES

I decided to go with simple and “traditional” blue and pink colors to decorate as you can see above. I wanted the decorations to be part of the activities so I decided to use the wall space in our kitchen as part of the activities for our guests.

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PHOTO BOOTH
This was our photo booth for the day. The tissue pom poms hanging from the ceiling were super inexpensive. The blue ones were already in my son’s room from one of his showers and I picked up the pink plush ones from Party America. (Bonus, I can keep the pink ones for her room above her changing table!)

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I had a small table set up to the side with the boards for the guests to use. If they thought we were having a girl, they posed with the “It’s a girl sign.” Vice versa for a boy.

As I mentioned, this was pretty simple but our guests ended up having a lot of fun with it! I had my niece be in charge of taking pictures and getting folks to participate so I didn’t have to worry about it either! 🙂

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NAME GUESSING
We thought it would be fun to put up a list with five girl names and five boy names and then have our guests pick one of each that they thought we would use. I read the answers while we were eating lunch outside. It made for great conversation and then we told them our top name when we revealed the gender! You could award the correct answers right when you read all the answers, but it’s up to you!
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I just used the same table that had our photo booth accessories on it and threw some burlap on there that I had in my craft box. Simple and fun!
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BOY or GIRL Onesies: You pick!
This probably wasn’t necessary but these little paper onesies were so cute I had to figure out a way to use them! We had our guests write their name on the color of onesie they thought we were having. So if Bill thought we were having a girl, he wrote his name on the pink onesie. It was another cute decorative corner to add to our kitchen and everyone had fun with it.
img_3086My sister even wrote the name she thought we would use with the gender she picked and wore it on her clothes! Extra bonus!
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BEST WISHES FOR BABY
Have you ever gone to a shower and they had those cute little sheets that the guests write their best wishes on for the baby? They something like “I hope you ___________” and then the guest fills in the blank. Well, I had something like this for Bubby and I wanted Sissy to have a similar experience because I absolutely love the sweet things people write. So we had a small spot set up (below the onesie banner) and family members filled them out throughout the day.
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GUEST BOOK FRAME SIGNING
Lastly, I took a picture of her gender sonogram and bought one of those frames where folks can sign the outer part. We have since hung this up in her bedroom and she can easily see who was at her party and the warm wishes they had for her (regardless of her gender!). I had blue and pink pens and let the guest choose what they wanted to use!
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We ended up having a great time with our families and the party was a real hit! If you end up having a gender reveal party I would encourage you to think about your priorities for the party and focus on those instead of trying to do everything. ESPECIALLY if have more than one kid running in circles around you! For me, food was a lower priority and activities was a higher one.

What would you mamas add? Anyone else do something similar? Would love to hear from you in the comment section below!
Peace and happy Bumps to you expecting moms out there!
Glo

The Truth about Motherhood for Me This Week #fiveonfriday

My alarm radio sounds in my ear, demanding I shake off my warm covers and take on the day. My brain is blaring to get going on my to-do list, but my heart is overloaded. This has been one heck of a week. Between recovering from the election and realizing that Thanksgiving is one week away, I found myself fighting the anxiety bug.

As I went into this week, I didn’t know that I would make some changes and start something new. I didn’t realize that in the midst of the crazy that is motherhood, I would come out on the other side feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Here are a few things I did along my motherhood journey this week.

Motherhood this week. Five on Friday.

I changed up my wardrobe.
Hello #capsulewardrobe. I had never heard of a capsule wardrobe before and when I came across this site on Pinterest talking about a winter capsule wardrobe, I immediately fell in love with the idea. When you’re expecting baby #2 in March and you have a 17 month old running around, well, you know how it is ladies. For many of us, our fashion and style priorities fall to the side.

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I decided I would take on the principles of a capsule wardrobe to accommodate the unique fashion sense that comes with being preggers. I removed several and I mean several items that I don’t “love.” Items that I was unsure about, I turned the hangers the other way and if they get worn in the next two to three weeks I’ll keep them, otherwise, I plan to say farewell to clothes whose hanger didn’t get used.

I rearranged my closet, prioritized my shoes based on the principles mentioned on her site and felt like I was all ready to tackle my fashion dilemma these days while carrying around this extra weight. 😉 Plus, I signed up at Corina’s site for her first seven outfit arrangements to help jump start my wardrobe creativity to reuse and rewear what I already have!

Speaking of fashion, have I told you that I feel SUPER PREGNANT these days?
My body. OH me oh my. I remember with Bubby I had this weird sense of confidence with my body. I think it was all the excitement that came with the first pregnancy and I was definitely in better shape before I got pregnant the first time than I was this time. But this time around, I just feel big. I feel like I may never get my body back (which I know isn’t true, but you know, #hormones.) Basically as soon as I was done breastfeeding Bubby I became pregnant again, so there went that short window of freedom and all the wine.

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I think that was part of my drive to change up my wardrobe and take charge of my maternity fashion sense. Doing this gave me a confidence boost I think I needed.

I also know that I thrive with exercise. It’s my go-to for postpartum depression too. I have been making it a point to walk almost every day and that has helped me tremendously too.

Ankle Boots
Oh, and I know I’m way behind the fashion train, but I took the plunge and got me a pair of ankle boots to use as a base shoe in my wardrobe and I LOVE them! I got a neutral color to wear with several outfits which is a plus. The downside to ankle boots? I gotta keep my ankles shaved! Ha! Bye bye #noshavenovember 😉

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Being Present in the Day-to-Day and Not Wearing my Watch
You read that right. I went a whole day without wearing my watch. This may sound trivial to some of you moms out there but this was a big deal for me. I like to plan. I like to organize. Shoot, I would love to have a planner for my planner. After a weekend away for some much needed time to evaluate and look at my faith, I came home with the urgency to just BE and forget time.

I was amazed at how much more present I felt in the moments with my son. Playtime and story time and outside time all seemed like this big, fun adventure. Seriously, give it a try. It may be just what you need to refocus.

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A Weekend Away
I had some time last weekend to go on a “retreat” that my church hosted just for the ladies. I say “retreat” because it wasn’t what you might think a traditional retreat is when you hear that word. This was a weekend about restoring. Restoring your heart and your faith in your walk with the Lord. I don’t think I’ve ever cried that much in my life or felt as raw and real.

It was incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating and I will definitely need to write separately about it sometime soon. Having gone to that retreat soon after all the emotional and social out lash that came from the Presidential election was just what my soul needed.

I came home and was welcomed by this cute fluff butt whose vivacious curiousity keeps me moving forward. What about you? Any new revelations on your motherhood journey as of late?

beingpresent

 

 

20 + Tips from Real Moms on What to Do when You have a Newborn and a Toddler

We are having our second child in March and will be bringing home our new little addition to the family while having a 20 month old running around. I am excited, nervous, and a little scared. Scared of the unknown of a life with two under two. Nervous about the demands of a toddler while having a new baby. Excited to hear what tips other moms might have for me.

Thankfully, I am not the first woman who will experience the life of a mom with a newborn and a toddler. If you’re like me and scouring the Internet for tips, hacks and advice on how to survive as a new mom for the SECOND time, then look no further.

While I have mixed feelings about being what some might call a “Modern Mom” or a “millennial parent,” I without a doubt and grateful for the over 11,000 moms whose support I have in an awesome online mom group. I’ve seen these women post day in and day out with questions and concerns about how to survive with a newborn and not pull your hair out with a toddler.

So when I started worry about what this chapter of my life was going to be like, I knew I needed to hear the realness of this adventure straight from the horse’s mouth. Mamas, I give you to you REAL advice from REAL moms about how to navigate the life of having a newborn and a toddler. Here are there top tips for us new moms!

 

Read more for tips on brining home baby while having a toddler. Quick tips and reminders for mom with two under two.

Erin said: “My youngest two are 16 months apart. Best advice- GRACE. give yourself lots of grace. It gets better, but it will be super rough at times. Don’t stress about little stuff, just take it a day at a time (sometimes an hour at a time.”

Sarah said: “Grace. Lots of grace for yourself and for both kids. Mine are 17 months apart and here are a couple things that helped me.
-a “nursing basket” with special toys for the toddler while you nurse
-have your toddler do room time during one of the feedings
-get out of the house and don’t feel guilty about it!
-go to bed when baby does until night time sleep gets better because you can’t really rest much.
-ask for help with the toddler (wish I did more of this)
-when they’re both crying, determine the highest need and go wth that one first 😉
-let baby sleep in the swing or in the carrier the first 6 weeks!
-start “sleep training” week 6-12.
Grace. Everyone needs it. And if you cry, that’s ok!”

Kerry said: “If you’re a perfectionist like I am, lower your expectations for yourself a little. I expected to nail it, and was disappointed in myself over and over. Now I don’t pretend to have it all together, and it’s so much more freeing. And when things go bad, I’m like, whatever, that’s life. And when things go good I’m like yaaaaa!”

Claire said: “Let your older one say that he does not like his brother/sister or even horrible stuff. Do not yell at him for that. Just explain him/her that you love them both, that you are listening to his/her frustration and you will protect and love each of them the same way. Do not say that the older one will help you. He/she is not the parent.”


Kiah said: “Schedule a pedicure/massage/hair app whatever makes you happy before baby is born, have a plan and stick with it. It’s crucial to take care of yourself. Also schedule realistic date nights even if youngest baby tags along.
-Meal plan/freezer meals if possible, see if someone knows of a college girl or maid service that’s inexpensive.
-Purge the house of stuff you don’t want now and organize the rest. There are lots of videos on YouTube about how to organize on a budget.
-I used lots of positive affirmation with my boys preparing for baby #2 and #3
You’re going to be such a good big brother!
Are you going to hug and kiss baby when he’s born?
Baby loves you sooo much! Look how he smiles at you!
Anytime there was a misguided comment about how jealous they would get etc I would politely turn it around.

Ashley said: “Mine are 13 months apart with no family nearby😳😂
I really tried to make the toddler a part of the newborns care- not only did I keep my daughter busy, but I really believe that they are pretty close now because of it, it also taught her how to be kind and caring towards a baby. While I would nurse the newborn, the toddler and I would have special conversations or songs that we would only sing while I was nursing.
-And when I was caring for baby, I was constantly talking to both of them about what I was doing. ” Ok, mama’s gotta change brothers clothes…again”😜
-I pretty much lived down on the ground with them reading and playing. I would put his jungle gym down on the floor and lay some books out for her, and a lot of the time I could cook and clean with no issues! They both really enjoyed music too!
-I praised my 13 month old so much for being nice to her brother. To this day she gives him so many kisses, hugs, and brings him all of his favorite toys. Now, they are to the point where he is mobile and they chase each other and play all day – it’s great! they are 22, and 9 months- looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way!”

Elisha said: “Be kind to yourself. Take one day at a time and don’t try and do everything ask for help!”

Dara said: “Don’t be afraid to live completely in survival mode for the first 6 to 12 weeks or as long as you have to. And also, on the other hand, don’t be afraid to go out of the house whenever you need to keep things normal.
-The best advice I have received so far, is to use the toddler as your flex point. By this I mean if you need both kids to nap at the same time with the toddler down for their nap earlier or later based on whatever the baby schedule might be. The same thing goes for bedtime. If all hell is breaking loose and you need to tend to the baby you can put the Toddler down a little bit later and they will be just fine.”

Sarah said: “Crying has never killed anyone. If baby has to cry while you care for your toddler, they will be fine. If you have a toddler screaming at your feet while you feed baby don’t let that stress you. If you have to leave BOTH kids wailing to take care of your own needs, do it. This only lasts for such a short time. They do get the hang of sharing you! You are super woman, but you’re not God. You don’t have endless untapped energy and you can’t be everywhere at once.”

MORE POPULAR TIPS FROM THESE MOMS:
*Hire someone inexpensive to help clean or cook and if they can, be with the toddler for a little bit.
*Don’t freak out about everyone crying. Prioritize who needs attending first. Oh, and don’t be afraid to cry yourself!
*Get outside and exercise when you can! This may mean investing in a double stroller.
*Freezer meals AND snacks you know your toddler will eat without much complaint.
*Don’t be afraid to ask someone to set up a “Take Them a Meal” system.
*Have second baby’s room set up as much as you can before second baby arrives.
*Get those busy bags ready and only pull them out for the toddler during specific times. Thank God for Pinterest. Also, check out my 45 Daily Activities to do with a PreToddler for quick, free, and easy tips.
*Make sure and take care of yourself!!!
*Try to keep a date night to connect with your spouse!
*Let others help you!

WHAT ABOUT YOU MAMAS? What else would you like to add? Let us know in the comments below!
As always, cheers!,
Glo

When I Realized I Was Teaching my Son to be Sexist

Twelve years old, I was riding my bike down our neighborhood hill as fast as I could. I remember beating my neighbor friend to the bottom of the hill and enjoying the thrill of winning against him. He was one of the “wild” kids in our little tribe and my girlfriends and I never really went over to his house to play. Unless he asked us to jump on the trampoline.

But he hated to lose and let me know about it too. To restore his manliness, he wanted to race down another hill not too far from our spot. The hill was far enough away on a busy road and I remember not being comfortable competing against him anymore. That’s when I heard it for the first time. Pussy.

I cringe as I write it now. I remember the feeling it gave me. I felt like I got punched in the gut. I felt bad for being a girl. I didn’t know anything about sexism and feminism but what he said never left me.

Why is it as a society we find satisfaction in insulting others by using feminine vulgarity? You’re a bitch if you’re in a bad mood. Your ex-girlfriend is a cunt because she broke up with you. You play ball like a girl. You’re a pussy for not racing that boy down the hill.

Why does it matter? Using these kinds of terms perpetuates a weaker view of women and skews upcoming generation’s view of the female sex. Calling someone a “pussy” instantly denotes a weak feminine counterpart. As if you’ve been called a girl and that’s somehow incredibly insulting.

Not just a girl, but a girl’s vagina which, I don’t know about you, but our vaginas are pretty amazing. I mean, my son came out of there. And for some reason, a teenage kid thought calling me a pussy was a good insult. Hmmm. Wonder where he got that idea.

While many worry about what celebrities and politicians say, you don’t see a lot of people talk about how their favorite popular teen movie had sexism in it. You don’t hear many talk about how their grandparent is a blue collar racist. No one wants to take that hard of a look at themselves.

I don’t really remember my parents running around spouting off gender degrading comments, but I’m sure they did. I do not doubt that most of my gender stereotypes came from TV and friends, especially growing up.

Unfortunately, there was a time when I had never thought too much about these degrading terms until I had a son of my own. I remember we had been playing in the front room and my husband made a comment about someone on TV  “crying like a girl.” For the first time I saw that I might be contributing to the problem.

Taking a hard look in the mirror, I realized that what I do and say could have my son imitating that twelve year old neighborhood jerk. I about threw up.

When my husband made that comment around our son, I knew we weren’t going to be talking like that in this house. Not anymore.

How do we break the cycle? The simple answer: within our homes.

I want to educate my son on respecting ourselves and the opposite sex. I want to live an honest life in front of him that shows integrity towards the male and female sex. As a family, we have to decide what that will look like and how we will cultivate an atmosphere of respect towards others. I want to empower my daughter to stand up against those that would slander her using feminine vulgarity.

In my home we won’t need to tear down each other by degrading their gender and using stereotypes.

And if my son gets beat by a girl in a bike competition, I hope he’ll tell her congrats and not “take it like a man” but authentically respond like a child should. Tell her she cheated.

What about you? Have any memories like this? How will you approach this with your children?

Do you ever wonder how sexism gets perpetuated? I realized I was teaching my son to be sexist and knew I needed to stop. Feminism. Sexism. Parenting.

 

 

A First Time Mom’s Guide to Surviving Baby Battles (or just eat the damn puffs!)

I’m a first time mom (FTM) and just like any parent, veteran or not, we have the good days and the bad. The days you feel like you are the elite parent whose child slept for nine hours last night, and then the next day you’re knocked off your high horse when your child starts clinging to you and screaming for no apparent reason. No, wait. There might be a Wonder Week for that. If you haven’t heard about Wonder Weeks yet, they are the answer for every “What the heck is wrong with my baby?” Google it. You’ll feel a little more sane on those days. You’re welcome.

Whether it’s a Wonder Week or maybe just a typical day in the life of trying to figure out what the heck you’re doing, every FTM needs to have some defense moves on the days their baby declares an all-out war.

First Time Mom's Guide to Surviving Baby Battles. Humorous tips to survive babyhood.

Battle Ground: Eating Foods

Baby’s main defense: Karate chopping. Mom approaches mouth with food on spoon, just like any other day. Baby ain’t having it. Mom tries to force past the karate chop. Baby begins arching back and screams. In a momentary lapse, Mom loosens grip on spoon. Baby senses weakness and knocks spoon out of mom’s hand. Better yet, Baby laughs at flying food and wants to blow mommy some smeared broccoli kisses.

FTM’s defense: Trying not to freak out because your child isn’t eating his vegetables like you dreamed, you decide to check your trendy baby-led weaning book. Screaming baby ensues because he wants some food. You drop the book and head to the fridge. Cheese. Best FTM defensive food out there. Go ahead and enjoy some too. Maybe a little glass of wine too? It’s almost lunch time, right?

Battle Ground: Diaper Changing

Baby’s main defense: Back arching and becoming stiff as a board. Putting a diaper on a baby who has stiffened their body and squeezed their legs shut in protest is like trying to move a 700lb rock on your own. It ain’t happening.

FTM’s defense: Kisses and giggles to distract baby. Reminder to FTM – this trick works for .0000007 of a second. Giggles become rip mommy’s face off since she is so close to my hands and I’m ticked about this diaper change. FTM looks around for anything that will distract baby from stiffening his legs. Your phone dings a new message and with it, a battle-saving reminder. Just give it to him. You know you will let your baby play with your phone eventually anyways.

Battle Ground: Grocery Shopping

Baby’s main defense: This one is tried and true. Screaming as loud as he can.

FTM’s defense: Letting baby play with anything crackly off the shelf. This gives you about two toMAYBE three minutes to get to the next aisle to grab some baby puffs.  The puffs you swore you’d never try. The ones you were committed to try and make homemade. And yes, you should just open it in the store and let that baby stuff his face.

Battle Ground: Errands in the Car

Baby’s defense: This can vary. However, screaming tends to be the most effective. Mom’s main goal? Keeping your hands on the steering wheel as much as possible and try not to let your head explode with all the screaming.

FTM’s defense: There are a few tactics mom can try here. Roll down baby’s window to get a 20 second reprieve. Turn up music and sing with baby for a 20 maybe 30 second reprieve. Take said puffs just throw the jar to the baby, and don’t think about what the back seat will look like by the time you arrive home after the 15 minute car ride across town. This may be the most successful tactic in making it home without swerving off the road.

Battle Ground: Nap Time

Baby’s main defense: Cuddles. The more cuddles he tries to give you, the more likely you are to fall for the rock-me-to-sleep baby tactic.

FTM’s main defense: Don’t rock baby to sleep. You want the baby to put himself to sleep. Right – that thought lasts for about two seconds.

FTM’s new defense: Rock the baby to sleep in as big of a recliner you can find in your house so you can try and sleep too. Oh yah, and keep those damn puffs near by.

This post originally appeared on thehomelovingwife.com

Mommy’s Little Hero

I’m huffing and puffing, walking up the stairs, trying to carry this squirmy little dude on my hip while balancing a basket of laundry on the other. Asher is laughing and giggling while trying to see how hard he can kick his legs around before mommy drops the basket. Socks are toppling over the edge of heaping clothes, oozing out the sides of my basket. Oozing because Mike’s socks stink people. If you want to see a fun balancing act, watch a mom carrying her kid and a huge basket through a baby gate at the top of the stars, all the while a 70 lb freight train we call our dog, charging up the stairs. I sort of feel like this is my life lately. I am constantly going up and down. Overloading myself. Trying to get everything done.

I’ve come to realize that if I don’t watch myself, I can pretty much feel like this Every. Stinking. Day. The frazzled feelings. The not enough shaming. The mom judging. The days that get foggy.

Asher is all sorts of pre-toddler these days and I can see the challenges arising.

I worry that I won’t be enough.

Days can be hard as a mom. 

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As I’m sitting there trying to fold our laundry, Asher cruises on over to see what this is all about. Laundry has become his favorite new entertainment. Take the clothes out. Put them back in. Laugh about it. Take the clothes out. Shake them all about. Giggle. Hand mommy her clothes. Yank them back out of mommy’s hand. Laugh about it.

No joke. I had been sitting there working myself into what could have been a good o’l pity party, that would have ended with some comfort eating I’m sure, because that’s what I do sometimes, BUT as many times before, this little guy brings me back.

He brings me back to focus.

What can seem so mundane becomes an adventure.

 

We laugh together.

I remember how lucky I am.

I’m sure the worry will come back. The nag never seems to go away.

But it’s moments like these I need to keep her at bay.

I hear parents say a lot about how they can’t believe they are parents. The unbelief in the privilege they have of raising a family. I can’t say that comment always resonates with me until I start to worry about not being enough for my family. Then it all starts to make sense.

I choose happiness. I choose gratitude. I trust I am enough. I trust that God will continue to guide my heart as I hold my son’s hand. Really, he is leading me. Leading me deeper into my relationship with God. Growing my heart in ways I never knew.

I trust that he will know someday when he looks back that his mama loved him and in the midst of doing laundry, my heart was overflowing with gratitude for the joy he has brought to my life.

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I Miss My Life Before I Was a Mom

I love how I live in a part of the world where we get four seasons. I love when I wake up early and step outside and the crisp air washes over my face. The dew on the grass is no longer frozen and the sun grazes the grass’s wetness, causing  my eyes to squint in its reflection. It’s spring time here. You know that feeling when you can sense the change of seasons? You can see the little clues from day to day. The trees start looking greener. The crisp air turns into cool morning air that will lift as soon as the sun is high. I am one of those that tend to associate memories and moments with nature’s little clues. When the yellow flowers bloom on our ground cover, I am reminded of my grandmothers and great aunts I never got to meet, but I have a touch of them with the flower I dug up from their old house to keep alive in my front yard. When our lilac bush blooms in the spring and its scent carries through our kitchen window, I am taken back to when I was a young girl waking early in the summer, dying to go outside and play.

When spring approached this year and April turned into May, I can’t help but remember my life before I was a mom. I was a teacher before I became a mom who decided to stay home. As anyone who knows a teacher knows, May is a love-hate relationship for us. We love that the year is winding down, but tend to grow old of the tiring behavior students inevitably carry during those last few weeks of school. As a reading teaching, I am not gonna lie. I LOVED April and May. We did some of my favorite units as the end of the year approached and there was LOTS of reading outside.

When I step outside these mornings, I am reminded of the feelings of excitement and giddiness I used to have this time of year. Excitement for the plans I would make for myself for the summer. Excitement while driving to school with the windows down because the cool air was teetering on being warm. The rush you get when you decide that it’s too beautiful outside to stay cooped up indoors. I miss those feelings about teaching. I miss those feelings as an individual that come with summer time. I miss my life before I was a mom.

I miss life before the responsibility weighed heavy on me. I miss life before my schedule had to accommodate this little human’s needs. Apparently naps are important. I miss my life when my husband and I could go out to eat at the drop of a hat. Or we could go see some friends whenever we wanted. I miss being able to binge watch some TV show on Netflix during the summer. I miss being able to cook big, awesome meals for my husband when I was feeling inspired because time was not an issue. I miss traveling to see our families more frequently.


Why is it that when we make big changes in our lives that people think what we did before, we can no longer like or say we miss? I feel like this is even more true as we become parents.


Why do we get this feeling of guilt if we say we miss the life we had before our children? Is it because we are afraid that people will think we regret having kids? Is it because we’re afraid people will think we love our kids less? Why can’t we miss what we used to do, but still enjoy what we’re doing now?

I miss my life before I was a mom. I love my life as a mom. That’s all there is to it.

My responsibilities these days do weigh heavy. But not every day. Not all the time. If I need to be home so my little guy can have a nap that is important to his growth and development, then I can live with that. Naps wont last forever. Besides, I wouldn’t be able to write this if it weren’t for his nap time.  Being able to see friends whenever we want has changed. Now we have to plan and schedule a babysitter, but that doesn’t mean my joy left. It just made me more purposeful in my friendships than what I was before. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to binge watch TV anymore, but that’s what early bedtimes are for, right? Right?!

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I think as Mother’s Day approaches how this particular holiday has a whole new meaning than it ever has for me. Being a first time mom, (I’m not sure I’ll ever stop calling myself that. There will always be firsts that will cross my path with my first born, right?) Mother’s Day means that I am now connected to this little guy whose butt I wipe, whose tears I wipe, whose face I wipe, all the wiping!– this connection that will never leave me. No matter what seasons I go through, being a mom I will forever be. 

Now as May unfolds I have new excitements. Taking Bubby to the pool for the first time. Scheduling an annual cookout with some of our friends. Watching Bubby figure out how to walk. Planning a trip to see our family on Memorial Day weekend. The excitement has changed, but I still have it. I still have the excitement that comes when the seasons change and I will always remember the excitement I had before I was a mom. I still love that feeling as the air changes. And by God, I can still read outside if I want to.

What about you? Do you ever feel this way?

Peace
Glo

 

Being a Parent Freaks Me Out

Squishy oatmeal on the floor. Granola stuck to the seat. Bacon filling the air. Dogs licking everything. Breakfast is my favorite. Bubby’s in a good mood and ready to try whatever food I throw his way. I said ready to try. Not always actually eat. We’ve been doing the whole “let-them-feed-themselves” bit and it’s worked out pretty well, for the most part. Drawback to this? Flying food when he’s not interested. Thank God for my dogs. Mike doesn’t even know the half of what’s been on our floor and mopped up by the dogs. I look at Asher and I can see the flail is about to commence. He’s going on 9 1/2 months and I’m telling you that kid already can feel when he does something he’s not supposed to. His hand is raised. I give him the look. He gives me the look. The look that says I’m still too little and don’t understand, right? You’re not going to do anything to me? Right? I’m just gonna throw this bloppy raspberry over… It’s an amazing and very quick process all of which happens in about three seconds. Breakfast is over.

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“Let’s move to the front room,” I find myself saying out loud. If you don’t know this already, parents start this habit of speaking everything they do out loud when they have children. “Let’s not do that, let’s go out side, let’s clean this toilet, let’s not pick our nose.”

I find myself thinking how in the world I would do this with two kids running around. That’s right. Running. I’ve just got the one who has just started crawling.

I remember when everyone was asking if he was crawling yet. While this is my first kid, I knew better than to hope for mobility. Mobility means chaos. Or fun. Whatever. Fun for about ten seconds. He’s crawling for the DVDs as soon I set him on the ground. I’m OK with this. It’s when we see the pretty light on the plugin that I start to get nervous. I always like to watch and see what he’ll do now that he’s discovered this ability to actually GO where he wants. The plugin calls his name. I swear he looks at me to see if I’m going to let him grab it.

It’s in this moment I freak out. I freak out because the realization that I am one of the biggest forces that will shape my son’s morality hits me in the gut.

Being a SAHM has been amazing so far. I know I still have a big journey ahead as Asher gets older and hopefully, someday, our famly grows bigger. There are the good days and the bad days, but I am enjoying this ride so far. When you become a first-time-mom and if you desire to stay home and are lucky to be able to, I don’t think you ever see the big picture of what you’re getting yourself into. Even if your kids are in daycare, you are still fumbling along the wall looking for light to help you navigate and figure out what the heck you’re doing. No matter if you work or work from home, whatever, you are now a parent. You are in charge of this little life. Don’t even get me started when his life grows outside of days with mom and dad.

No matter if you work or work from home, whatever, you are now a parent. You are in charge of this little life.

Being a SAHM logically means you spend A LOT of time with your littles. Knowing that I’m responsible to help him understand the difference between fun and risk or humor and bullying or love and lust is overwhelming. I think I’m starting to see what other parents mean when they say parenting is a privilege. We have a special right to guide and love someone unconditionally. No wonder many parents find God when they have children. What better way to understand His unconditional love for us than to experience a snippet of it with your own child.

Being a parent freaks me out when I think about all this. I’m reminded how small I am, how fragile I am. How fragile Asher is. How strong he is. How strong I can be. Never before has the phrase “God is my strength” rang more true to me than when I hear it tossed around as some kind of cliche. No. Not a cliche for me. A rock solid truth. A reminder that I can’t do this without Him. I am nothing without Him. The more I live this truth out in front of Asher, the more raw and human I am, then the better Asher will be. The better I will be.

Being a parent freaks me out. Being a parent makes me stronger.

 

Why I Don’t Shop at Gap Anymore

I was a teacher for six years in the same building, same room, teaching the same content to the same grade during that entire time. Yes, being an eighth grade reading teaching is awesome. Middle school teachers are pretty rad (although I feel like elementary teachers are superheroes in disguise and us middle school teachers want to stay kids forever. OK, digression over).

Some might say that’s a decent amount of time to stick with something so specific. Veteran teachers might chuckle at “six years” as they approach retirement after being in the field for 25+ years. Either way, six years was long enough for me to feel like I had developed a major part of my identity.

When we decided to start a family and I would transition to being a SAHM, I was definitely inundated with the questions: “How long will you take off work? When do you think you’ll go back? Do you think you’ll always teach? Are you nervous about this big of a change?”

Uh, well, let’s see. I have no idea how long I will decide to stay home to care for our family, so I don’t know when I’ll get back to teaching, and I don’t know if I’ll always teach. Was I nervous? Nervous was to say the least!

I had read that most women go through some sort of identity crisis when they go from having a career to embracing the new career of being a SAHM. I don’t know about crisis, but there were lots of emotions. I wasn’t sending off flare SOS signals, but I definitely started evaluating who I really was as an individual.

Why I don't shop at Gap anymore: when I became a mother, things changed. I had to figure out this identity and reconcile it with my oldself before I became a mom.

I gotta say, I felt like I started my “identity” worries when Mike and I were trying to get pregnant. We were due June 2nd, so I had a whole school year to say goodbye to my passion, at the time. Timing wise, our pregnancy worked out perfectly. I didn’t have to worry about missing a bunch of work. I was easily able to pack up my room and finish out all my units. Everything worked out pretty well.

I remember my last day driving in to my job as a teacher. Talk about mixed emotions and lots of prayers. It’s not that I was regretting our decision. I was just worried about how it would all turn out. Would I enjoy this change? Would Mike? Would I be able to make the transition to a SAHM?

The cool thing about making a big decision such as starting a family and leaving your job, some folks, myself included, start to talk with God a lot about the process. I remember waking in the night worrying if Mike and I were ready. If it was time.

 

I have come to embrace my night wakings. Sometimes I get the best ideas when I wake at 3:00 AM. Most times, I get the best revelations from God, whispering his peace to my heart. As I was lying in bed I was reminded of a verse God had been weaving into my heart. I was using this verse as a basis for some lessons with my youth group at the time.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

When people started asking me would I go back to teaching, or did I know how long I would be home, my simple answer was that I didn’t know. I didn’t know when I’d be back or if I’d go back to teaching. What’s awesome about being God’s masterpiece is that the painting isn’t ever finished until we meet him face to face.

 

His masterpiece in me while teaching was an amazing experience. I will forever be a teacher at heart. And I have NO IDEA where or what I’ll be doing in five years or whobody knows when! What a liberating feeling to say that I trust God and know that whatever I’ll be doing down the road, it will be because I felt the Lord leading me in that direction and continue to pursue His peace in my life.

This past week I started cleaning out my closet, getting ready for spring. Trying on clothes to see what still fit. Getting rid of clothes I never ever wore or will wear. As I started going through the bright flower prints, the pastel stripes and soft cotton, I realized many of my clothes that were gaining dust, I wore as a teacher.

These days I much prefer leggings , but I have always been a lover of loose khaki pants with a soft, pastel shirt and a good o’l cardigan. Enter the Gap. The Gap was my go-to store for any sort of teacher-wear. I hardly ever spent full price on anything there, but man when they have sales, they are great. I mean, why else would I have three pairs of tan khaki colored pants? I decided to keep about half of my clothes because I love them and see no reason to get rid of everything I used to wear, but I definitely did the “love it” vs “like it” test. Anything that wasn’t a “love” was packed up for Goodwill.

 

If you’ve ever cleaned out your closet like this before, then you know that once it’s all nice and clean and organized, you get this sick feeling to go buy something new. OK, at least I do. The temperature outside was a loverly 70 degrees with sunshine and our downtown Gap was calling me.

I loaded Asher up and we went for a stroll downtown and happened to stumble upon our Gap. We certainly don’t have the money for me to shop at the Gap like I used to since I stay home but I figured if I found a nice top that was on sale, I might buy it. Ha. Said the woman who walks out 10 bags later.

As I started perusing the fun flower prints and and must-have scarves to wear in the spring (whoever thought of scarves for the spring was an evil genius), I began to realize that those loose lovely khakis that I wore all the time, just didn’t quite have the appeal like they used to.

Buying adorable peach colored flats became “meh.” I was taken back and reminded of being God’s masterpiece. While I still love the Gap, it is just not my go-to store anymore. I get more of a kick going to the Aldi store and finding a good deal on fruit than a good deal on a flowered skirt.

 

I have found that quite a few moms who go through a similar transition are embarrassed to say so. Embarrassed to say their identities have changed. As if they lost part of themselves instead of gaining a new part of themselves. We get so focused on what we do as a means of who we are that we forget we are His masterpiece. Constantly changing and evolving.

We get so focused on what we do as a means of who we are that we forget we are His masterpiece.

I don’t know if I’ll be teaching again in a few years or if I’ll be taking pilot lessons or planning to sky dive (OK, that probably won’t happen) but I have found comfort in knowing that no matter what I do, I am a child of God. I am His masterpiece. I am His. And if that means I care less about shopping for clothes, then I guess I just might start wearing khakis around the house more often. I mean, the leggings have got to get a break at some point, right?

Peace,
Glo

Snuggly Morning Nursing

 

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Some of my favorite moments are nursing Asher. I love the sleepy eyes and grabby hands as he voraciously eats in the morning. I’ve gotten into this habit of asking other parents when is their favorite time to feed their little one. Some dads love the bedtime bottle, giving them time alone after a busy day. Some moms like the morning bottle to start their day off in peace before heading to work. Other moms like the afternoon nursing to bring some quiet to their chaotic day.

No matter how or when you feed your little, I have found almost all parents have a bonding experience during that time. I’ve talk before about how feeding a baby can be lonely, especially during those early months, but I’m learning as time goes on, I’m really starting to cherish some of these quiet moments Asher and I have together.

I love my snuggly morning nursing.

What about you? When is or was your favorite time to feed your squish?

Having More Than One Kid: How It All Starts…

I was rocking Asher one afternoon and I could hear the radio playing softly in the background. We have KLOVE radio playing in our house pretty much 24/7. “Flawless” by Mercy Me was playing. I was overcome with memories and emotion.

You see, this was one of those songs that held a special place for me when Asher was born. There were many 3:00AM nursings when I would hear this song playing in the background and tears would fall because I hoped (and still do) that Asher would know what it means to be “flawless” in Christ. I want him to know and experience God’s love.

I’m sure tears were also falling because I was exhausted, full of hormones,  and overwhelmed with how hard it was and how could I love this sweet little guy so much?!?

It’s like we have this bond of going through those newborn stages together.  I didn’t know what I was doing. Asher didn’t know what was going on. We were surviving together. I look at him now and get a little freaked out when I start thinking about him walking and talking back to me. Eeeek. But for the first time since having Asher, I got it. That ridiculous feeling I’ve heard parents mention.  I don’t think all parents experience this and I don’t think it matters if you do or not, but I felt it. That twinge. The craziest feeling of “hmmm, I think I could survive more late/middle of the nights.” Or “I can handle all the crying and not knowing what’s wrong.” The list could go on.

Of course there is a great difference in the feeling of what it would be like to bring home another baby. As a second-time parent, generally, you do know a lot more of what’s going on. Even if it can be hard, there is a special boost of confidence just really knowing and understanding it, unlike the first time. If you’d asked me two months ago about having another one, I would’ve laughed and said something like “Are you crazy?”.

Then I start thinking about having two kids grown up, running around our home and it does make for a sweet, anxious, crazy feeling. So much unknown. It’s amazing how we do this. Give birth. Parent. Raise a family.

I just read a post about how hard parenting can be, but then how rewarding it is and what a privilege it is to be able to raise your children. In the comments, someone said that having a family was crazy and all she ever heard was the parents complaining about no money, no time,  no privacy. She asked, “Why would I want to do that to myself? I like my time. I like having my money. I like being able to do whatever I want.” I thought about that and you know, there’s nothing wrong with those things being important to her and high on her priority list. But that doesn’t mean parents who struggle with these things are living in some kind of despair.

Happiness is a choice and I choose to have a child, and God-willing, will most likely have another one, BUT there is an inexplicable joy that you can’t produce on your own, on demand, that comes from your child’s sweet little face laughing at you singing “I’m a Little Teapot” for the thousandth time, when you could be out doing “whatever you want.”

So, when I’m singing to Asher while changing his major gross diaper, and he’s laughing, and I hear “Flawless” in the background, I get that feeling. A reassurance that I could definitely do this again. Afterall, who doesn’t like the song “I’m a Little Teapot.”

Peace,
Glo

morethanonkid

I’m a Stay-At-Home Mom and I wear leggings every day

Wahh. Wahh. No time to pee. No time to eat. Must. Get. Up. Must. Feed. Asher. Good morning.

The sweetest face. Ever. Big smile. Raspberry kisses. Crusty hand from sucking all night.
Hmm. Crusty mattress. Spit up?

My night gown is damp. Yep. Thought so. Leaked some milk. What am I doing? You’re hungry. Right.

Huh? I don’t know where your pants are. I’m feeding the baby. Wear your work pants from yesterday. Yes, I’ll be doing laundry today. You’ll have clean clothes for work tomorrow. Bye, love you too.

Don’t bite Momma. I know. Two new teeth. Burp. Spit up on night gown. Switch sides. Repeat. Burp.
Big smile. Raspberry kisses. The sweetest face.

What is that smell? Yummy. The stinkiest diaper in the West. You’re pretty good at grabbing those toes. Pretty good at missing those toes and grabbing your poop. No, not in your mouth. Sure, why not, wipe it on mom’s arm. Better yet, my night gown. Big smile. Raspberry kisses. The sweetest face.

I’m the fastest changer in the west. My clothes included. Why? Easy. I wear leggings every day. Black. Matches everything. Cheap. Thank you, Wal-Mart. There’s lots of stains hiding under there. Spit up with prunes mixed in. The boy loves prunes.

There’s lots of love hiding under there. Tear stains from a teething baby. Slobber stains from a teething baby. Sweat from, well, everything. I’m hot all the all time. Can I get an amen? Running up and down the stairs to check on baby. Running to the mailbox and back to check on baby. Running across the room to stop baby. Running across the room to tickle baby. Big smile. Raspberry kisses. The sweetest face.

No time to worry about my wardrobe. No time to worry about tomorrow. Shoot. I wore my dirty leggings from yesterday. Smell test. They can go another day.

Wahh. Wahh. No time to worry. Love this. Staying home with my baby. What an opportunity. A Blessing. Big smile. Raspberry kisses. The sweetest face.

THIS POST ALSO HAS APPEARED ON www.mamalode.com

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