Enjoying Each Season of Motherhood

Enjoying Each Season of Motherhood

“My baby is growing up.”

These words weren’t uttered for the first time when he started crawling or on his first birthday. Instead, they were said on the way home from the hospital. He was just one day old!

I spent the first few months of his life sad.

I was sad he was growing, sad he wasn’t a newborn and sad he wasn’t going to stay a baby forever.

Once I realized mourning the past was keeping me from enjoying the present, I began fervently praying about the issue.

I prayed that God would allow me to be content with the season of life I was in, that He would take away the overwhelming sadness that my baby was growing too fast and that I would have joy throughout the years as my children grew.

My heart began to change.

I enjoyed my son in each and every stage instead of looking back on those early days with such longing.

I realized how blessed I am. How selfish it was of me to not want him to grow.

I thought about mamas who have never seen their child because of a miscarriage and mamas who held their stillborn baby only once. They would give anything to watch their babies grow.

I thought about the mamas who have a child diagnosed with cancer who just pray they can see their child grow up to graduate high school or get married.

I also thought of the women dealing with the grief of infertility, praying and hoping they’ll one day be blessed with a child they can watch grow.

How can I mourn my child growing when it is such a blessing that he is growing? Why should I allow the natural and beautiful process of a child growing to bring me sadness?

God really didn’t give us our children, he’s lending them to us for awhile as they grow. We are to raise them and train them to become independent men and women.

When my second and third babies were born, I cherished the moments, knowing the newborn days pass quickly. Those days passed but they were without sadness.

I am enjoying my children just as they are each and every day. 

We cannot slow time down but we can slow down.

We can decide to live in the moment, choose to be joyful about our children growing and enjoy each season of motherhood.

What Defines You as a Mother?

What defines you as a Mother?

When I first became a mama over 5 years ago, doing certain things defined me as a mother.

For awhile I described myself as a ‘breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering mama.’ And, while I did all of those things (and still do), they don’t define me as a mother.

Now, I do these ‘natural mama’ things because they are what work for me and my family.

  • Breastfeeding all 3 of my babies has been easy. But, I know it’s not easy for every mama.
  • I wear my babies because it makes taking my children places so much easier. Wearing my babies also allows me to fix dinner, fold clothes, wipe bottoms and do other household tasks even when my baby does not want to be put down.
  • We cloth diaper because it saves our family money. Diapers are expensive and I love that we’re able to reuse our diapers over and over and have saved a lot of money over the past 5 years of diapering. But, cloth diapering doesn’t work for every family and that is perfectly fine.

Now that my oldest son is 5, my thoughts on birth and taking care of babies do not define who I am as a mother because I realize that there is so much more to mothering than how babies are born, diapered or fed.

With my oldest being kindergarten age now, we’ll officially start homeschooling this fall. ‘Homeschool mama’ will be a way to describe myself, but it’s not going to define me.

Who I am as a mother is so much more than how my child is educated. Our family chooses to homeschool for our reasons and other families choose public or private schools for their reasons but we all want the best for our children.

Being a mom should not be about trying to prove that we’re better than other moms because of the way we give birth, care for babies or educate our children.

No matter how a child is born, how they are fed, diapered or educated, they’re all children. And, all children have tantrums, get sick, fight with siblings and leave their mamas exhausted.

Being a mama is hard and the last thing we need to do is define ourselves by what we do or don’t do and compare ourselves to other moms.

Instead of viewing motherhood as a competition, it should be viewed as a sisterhood. We need to remember that we’re all in this together.

We need to encourage one another. We need to support one another. We need to help one another.

We need to let love, support, help and encouragement define us as mothers.

What defines you as a mother? 

Encouraging books about motherhood:

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

Mom Enough: The Fearless Mother’s Heart and Hope

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Gift Ideas for the Mom Who Lives Simply

Gift Ideas for the Mom Who Lives Simply

Mother’s Day is just a few days away.

What do you give to someone who lives simply and doesn’t like clutter?

I love giving gifts but want to give gifts that are meaningful, thoughtful and won’t just clutter up my mom and mother-in-law’s home.

And, as someone who lives simply, gifts that are personalized and consumable are always appreciated.

Gift Ideas for the Mom Who Lives Simply

1. A Meal Out

Mom’s are always cooking and cleaning for their families. A meal out is a wonderful (and clutter free) way to celebrate your mom. I often say that food is my love language! And, I feel even more loved when I eat out and don’t have to clean up.

2. Personalized Jewelry

Bejewled Outlaw Bracelet

While I don’t own a lot of jewelry, I do love meaningful and personalized pieces. Bejeweled Outlaw is a mom owned business specializing in hand stamped jewelry. She makes cuff bracelets, leather bracelets, necklaces and more.

3. Personalized Photo Gifts

Moms and grandmas love pictures of their children and grandchildren. A photo canvas, photo necklace or photo magnet all make wonderful gifts.

4. Homemade Body Products

I love making homemade body products, both for myself and to give as gifts. Your mom would probably love homemade scrubs or lip balms made their favorite essential oil scents.

My favorite scrub recipe book – Simple Scrubs to Make and Give.

My favorite lip balm recipe – Homemade Lip Chap Recipe

5. Anything Lavender

Lavender Essential Oil

I love the smell of lavender. It is such a relaxing scent. Lavender soaps, essential oil, a lavender plant or lavender sachets all would make a wonderful gift.

Of Lavender and Lace sells beautiful lavender filled pillows and sachets.

Lavender essential oil would make a wonderful gift. It’s consumable, smells wonderful and can be used on burns, stings, cuts and more.

6. Books

I love to read. Books are such an encouragement in my mothering. They help me grow spiritually, manage my home better and teach me how to better nourish my family. This is a list of some of my favorite books and a few that are on my wish list.

Mothering

Faith

Other

7. A Handwritten Card

Don’t just sign your name to a card, take some time and write down things you appreciate about your mom and why you are thankful for her. I’m pretty sure this gift will be more appreciated than anything you can buy!

Do you have anything to add? What are your favorite meaningful and/or clutter free gift ideas? 

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Attitude Makes All the Difference

Attitude makes all the Difference

Two weeks ago, my husband was gone for 5 days.

To be completely honest, I was dreading this trip since he told me about it several months before.

When you have 3 kids under 5 years old, the thought of doing it alone isn’t exactly exciting.

I’ve learned that my attitude makes all the difference in all things. During the weeks leading up to his trip, I stopped dreading it and started planning what we would do with our days.

I wrote out a big list of things we could do that would be fun. Included on my list was go out for lunch, go shopping for baby sister a birthday present, go to the library and get lots of books and watch movies..

Instead of just having the mindset of simply surviving while daddy was gone, I wanted to enjoy these 5 days with my children and make some memories.

The first day he was gone, we ran a few errands, stopped in my favorite local resale store and went to the library. We came home, read library books, snuggled up and watched a movie. It was a fun day! After finishing our movie, Weston was very calm and quiet which is a sign of sickness for him. Sure enough, he had a fever.

Sick Weston

So now not only is my husband is gone and I am alone with 3 kids but one child is sick.

I put Weston in bed early and my plan was to get Cecilia down around 8 and spend a little bit of quality time with Paxton before turning in myself.

I nursed Cecilia and tried to put her down twice between 8 and 10:15 before she finally let me walk out of her room without screaming. At this point, I get Paxton ready for bed (he’s a little grumpy because the baby interrupted our l time). I go check on Weston who is moaning and seems very uncomfortable. And, I finally start getting ready for bed myself when I hear the baby crying again.

Her crying, my sick Weston and pouting Paxton makes me want to cry and give up.

I felt so torn as to whose needs I needed to meet first.

I wanted to call my husband and say, ‘You have to come home. You cannot leave me, this isn’t fair. I have sick children and I am all alone.’ (I didn’t call him, but I did send a few text messages about the situation because I needed some encouragement.)

His encouragement, coupled with prayer helped my attitude.

Sleeping Cecilia

I tried to soothe her back to sleep. I was unsuccessful and then her crying shifted to unconsolable screaming which lasted for 45 minutes until I propped my knees up, placed her in a sitting position, rubbed her head and whispered ‘shh…’ I sat like that for probably another 30 minutes, too afraid to move for fear of waking her up, before I finally realized it was after midnight, I was tired and had a full day alone with 3 little ones ahead of me the next day!

The next day, I sent my husband this message “Honestly, the hardest night of parenting with a sick little one and an unconsolable, clingy baby.”

It was a rough night but I knew that just because we had one hard night, didn’t mean the rest of the days were going to be awful. I examined my attitude and started fresh with the new day.

Thursday we had a lazy day. We stayed in our pajamas most of the day since Weston was still feeling bad and we had nowhere to go. We watched The Jungle Book and Monsters Inc, read books and played with Legos.

Friday morning we headed to town for a few fun errands. We bought baby sister a birthday present, had lunch at Chick-fil-A, bought some party supplies for Paxton’s birthday party (which he is super excited about) and spent time looking at toys. When we arrived home Papaw David was here. The boys were super excited to see him and so was Cecilia. By later Friday evening, Paxton was running a fever and slowing down too.

Saturday morning, Paxton woke up feeling much better but sweet little Cecilia was running the fever. I fixed breakfast while Papaw held Cecilia. Papaw played with the boys all morning and left early afternoon. We also had a surprise visit from Papaw OB and Nana (the boys great grandparents). When they left, we watched another movie and then had dinner and a calm evening.

Sunday we went to church, played outside all afternoon and then the boys went to AWANA that evening. After AWANA, I got them tucked into bed and John David was home by midnight!

We had survived and enjoyed 5 days without daddy!

My attitude makes all the difference.

If I would have continued my feelings of dread in the days leading up to the trip, I would have went into these days with a bad attitude which would have rubbed off on my children, made my husband feel guilty for leaving and made me miserable.

Keeping a positive attitude even during sleepless nights with a baby and sick children made these 5 days with my husband away good days. We were able to make some memories, my husband was able to enjoy his trip and I learned there is so much truth to the saying, ‘when mama’s happy, everyone’s happy.’

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