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Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom: How I Survive Without Going Crazy

Two weeks ago I started this series looking at how I became a stay-at-home mom and took a closer look at some of the things that make this the hardest job ever.

So the next question I thought about was, “How do I survive day after day?” Honestly, in the beginning this was really really hard. Now, it’s just regular hard. And some days it really is just getting up and putting one foot in front of the other, like any hard thing in life. But I don’t count down the hours as much as I used to. And sometimes I even enjoy myself.

I am a list person who likes to physically do tasks. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. Being a mom is not really like that. Sometimes I can get some tasks done, but more often I feel like I am going in circles doing the same things over and over with nothing really getting done and nothing to show for all my “work” at the end of the day.

I had to go through a major mental shift when I became a stay-at-home mom, and that didn’t happen overnight. It’s still happening, in fact. I had to learn what would work for me and my kids in this new role. I can guarantee you that our everyday family life will look different than yours because I am not you.

But I also know that some of what has helped me is universal, and may be able to help you too. So here is a list of 5 things you can do to help with the transition to motherhood or becoming a stay-at-home mom: Read more

Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom: Hardest Job Ever

It’s been a little over 3 years since my husband and I decided I would leave the workforce and become a stay-at-home mom. We were pregnant with our first when we made that decision. I cannot say the road has been easy. There are many days I want to quit, but it has been worth it.

I want to challenge and encourage any moms out there who want to be home, who are home and struggle, or even those that work outside the home. Being a mom is an all-encompassing job whether you are home full time or not, so I know that even if you work outside the home there will be something you can relate to.

Over the next few weeks I am going to take a look at three aspects of Becoming a Stay-at-Home Mom:

1. Hardest Job Ever!

2. How I Survive Without Going Crazy

3. How We Can Afford to Live on One Income.

I wish I could say that I have all the answers for you, but I don’t. I’ve only been at this for three years. Lots of moms have tons more experience than I do, but I can share my experience, and hopefully you will find something that you can relate to, especially if you are in the early years of your kids lives as well.

Hardest Job Ever

That pretty much sums it up. I’ve worked many types of jobs: customer service, manual labor, printing, project management, etc. But this is, by far, the toughest job I’ve ever had. Granted, it is also the most rewarding, but toughest nonetheless. Some days I am ready to throw in the towel. While my daughter throws a tantrum and my son bangs continually on the closet door I question if I should do something about all this or just walk back in the other room and put my head under the pillow. Did I mention it’s not even 6:30AM yet? Yeah, it’s gonna be one of those days. Read more

Motherhood: Bringing Out the Worst in Me

Motherhood_Motherhood brings out the worst in me. It’s not like I thought I was perfect, but I guess I did think, with this being my second child, I had improved in some areas. I was wrong.

If you want to know what’s really in your heart, spend month after month with a baby who is a terrible sleeper and a toddler who is, well, a toddler. If you can handle that with ease then you are my hero and I want to know your secret. Please, share.

For me, this season of life has been anything but easy. You may have noticed my blog sabbatical. Sorry, but I just was not coping well and blogging was not a high priority. Survival was my only goal everyday. Some days that is still my only goal.

Even though this season is slowly passing, thankfully, it has not been without a lot of struggle. I had so much anger and frustration pent up. Much of it was about things I couldn’t control, and the rest I couldn’t explain.  Instead of sharing my burdens, I just hoped I could deal with it on my own and it would go away, but that wasn’t the case.  I was so impatient with my kids and husband — more than normal — like a time bomb and everything became a spark to light it.

I specifically remember one weekend afternoon when my  husband was out on the patio getting the grill ready and my youngest little guy had just settled into his chair for a hard-fought-for nap. He had been very irritable for a few days and my nerves were raw. I can’t remember the exact scenario of what was going on with my 2 year old, Maddie, but she was quiet. After a few minutes of sweet relief, out of nowhere, Maddie just screamed at the top of her lungs and of course, Asher woke up screaming. So there I was in the living room, with a toddler who just woke up my baby who hates sleep and was screaming. I screamed  back at him in frustration (like I said, not my finest moment). I will never forget the look on his face. He was scared of me. And at that moment, I was scared of me too. Something had to give. Read more

Life with a Newborn: What Time for Yourself Looks Like

timeforyourselfPeople love to give advice, especially when it comes to being a parent. And I get it, I really do, because I found myself wanting to do the same thing for my pregnant friends after I had my first baby. “Let me tell you…” But one piece of advice I have heard so much and find impossible to practically implement is to “take time for you.”

Hmmm…

Now, I will say this is slightly easier with only one child, but only slightly. I will also say this is easier if you are not breastfeeding, as your baby doesn’t need you exclusively as often. But given those two caveats, what mom of a newborn really has time for herself? Read more

Life with a Newborn: Breastfeeding is an Act of Love

Life with a Newborn_-2Two things I never thought I would have been doing while breastfeeding are: going to the bathroom and throwing up. Not my finest moments, and though I wish neither had been a reality, somehow those moments seem to perfectly capture the messy reality of motherhood: loving when it’s really hard, when it hurts, when it takes all you’ve got and then some. Breastfeeding truly is an act of love! Read more

Contentment in All Things, Except for…

I used to think I was a pretty content person. And then I had a baby.

DSCN0313

“When she gets to be 3 months old, I may enjoy it more then. Well, maybe 6 months will be better. You know they say at 1 year things are much more enjoyable.” It seems at every stage so far I have found reasons to be discontented. I’m just waiting for this stage to pass and move on to the next, something bigger and better, easier.

But you know what? It’s not getting easier. I should rephrase that. Some things have gotten easier, but then other difficult things emerge to take their place. I fear there is no end. I have been living in a state of anger, impatience and stressfulness. If you’ve been around me, you may not know it. I internalize very well. But my husband knows it. Poor guy. He’s had to put up with a very irritable, frustrated wife. Something has to change and I fear it’s me. Read more

The Books I Didn’t Read

books not readAs a new parent it is extremely overwhelming. There is suddenly this new life to care for that doesn’t come with a manual. So what’s the first thing you naturally want to do? Read as much as you can about how to take care of this child. The only problem is that there are a million books and they all say something different and often even contradict each other outright. This is a problem. How do you know who is actually right?

This is why I pretty much decided early on I was not going to read a million books. I did take a look at a few books. Mostly on basic baby care – changing, feeding, bathing, what milestones to be looking for. Stuff like that. Currently I have been going through a few books on making the transition to food. But again, it’s mostly for information on how to prepare the food, what types of food and how much rather than technique. And even with that there are differing views on how to present food to your baby.

Ultimately, I decided to forget about what the experts may say because one will contradict another. What sense does that make? I am the expert on my baby and I’m gonna just go with my gut and follow my baby’s lead, and so far it has worked out just fine. If an issue comes up and I need help I will probably check out a few more books and sift through the info to try a few things and see what works.

That isn’t to say books don’t have their place or that asking questions is worthless. Definitely not the case! I am so thankful we have had so many friends and family offer advice or lessons learned. I am thankful we have so much info at our disposal, even if it can be overwhelming. I’m sure I will continue to learn so much from all these avenues. But the best learning will take place in my own home in the everyday-ness of life with Maddie and that’s ok. Especially, since she won’t remember any of this anyway. That brings me comfort 🙂

Failure to Thrive

failure to thrive

It all began at the doctors office. Poor Maddie and mommy had to endure 4 vaccine shots. I hate these days. I know they are for her good. I know she will survive. But I hate subjecting her to this pain I know she can feel. I wish I could take the shots for her.

As if the shots weren’t hard enough the doctor called for blood work to be done as well, which would mean another shot for the blood to be taken. My little trooper did an amazing job despite all the pain and tears (some from me). But I regress.

The doctor is concerned, understandably so, by Maddie’s weight gain. She has slowed in her weight gain and is still under 13 lbs, just barely and that puts her in the 5% range for weight. Everything else is the 25% range. So she ordered some tests to be done to make sure that there are no underlying health issues going on with her digestive system. They took a urine sample as well which was quite interesting to see for a baby.

As I was waiting for the lab to call us in for the blood work I took a look at the doctors order. There were several tests ordered but what caught my attention and made me choke up and get defensive all at once was this:

Diagnosis: Failure to Thrive

Failure to thrive? Really? No way! This is my baby you are talking about! I felt like I was on the stand defending my motherhood. “She is healthy and thriving. I see her reach milestones every day. She can even sit up all on her own and is practicing for crawling. It’s not like she lays around all day. It’s not like I don’t feed her. I feed her often. I feed her until she’s done. I’ve even started giving her cereal and real food. She has been doing well with that. Sometimes I have to even refill her cereal bowl because she wants more. She’s thin and petite, but have you seen me and my husband? She’s no stick and she’s very active.”

I felt like it was a personal attack on me. Failure to thrive. I am her main food source right now. If she is failing, I am failing. Then come the self-accusations. “What if my milk is no good? What if it’s not nutritious enough for her? What if it’s slowed down and she really isn’t getting enough? Should I have pushed the formula more from the start? How can I make her drink formula that she refuses to drink? Am I really hindering her growth?”

Three words. Failure to thrive. They may not have been intended for my eyes. I know they were not meant to be a personal attack. I know that thriving in the doctors eyes is different than my eyes. But I just want the doctor to change the words and to see that although my baby is small, she is, in fact thriving! I felt like I got my first failing grade as a mother and I have to remind myself that this isn’t going on my permanent record. It won’t be used against me in a court of law. It was an order for blood work to ensure my baby is healthy. And that’s all.

This motherhood business is hard in so many ways. I want to do the best I can for my child and sometimes I don’t know what that is. I find myself praying for wisdom every day in caring for this life. Praying that God will help her, protect her, grow her and teach her despite my mistakes and ignorant parenting. And I know He will. I pray she will thrive, not just physically, but in truly living abundantly in and for Christ.

 

 

I’m Not That Mom

fussySome people make parenthood look easy. If you think that’s me, you are wrong. Some moms seem to enjoy every moment of every stage of their kids lives. Again, that’s not me. Some moms have wanted kids since they were kids. Yet again, not me. Do I love my daughter? You better believe it! I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world. Do I miss life pre daughter? Yes. Yes I do. And I’ll tell you why in two words.

I’m selfish.

There, I said it. Read more