Archives For Motherhood

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

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? 

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links which help support this site.

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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Belly

For the birth of our third baby, we decided a homebirth was the best option for the birthing environment we desired. After a very fast labor and chaotic hospital delivery with our second baby, we didn’t want the stress of worrying about whether or not we’d make it to the hospital. That coupled with the fact that my labors and deliveries have been uncomplicated, we felt that homebirth was completely safe.

Our baby was due March 31. I really had no feelings whatsoever regarding whether baby would arrive early, on time or late. My second son arrived 9 days early so based on that, I thought there was a strong possibility this baby may arrive early also. Of course, babies are unpredictable so I prepared myself for 40 plus weeks of pregnancy.

This pregnancy went well. I dealt with morning sickness and food aversions from weeks 6 to 14. The second trimester was wonderful and the third trimester started well. Around 32 weeks, I started to have severe hip and pubic pain. Thankfully, frequent chiropractic visits with hip and pubic bone adjustments with an activator helped tremendously, keeping the last weeks of pregnancy from being miserable.

On Wednesday, March 19, I woke up and decided that my first priority of the day was a visit to the chiropractor. The day before I had bad pelvic/pubic pain and knew I needed an adjustment as soon as I could get one. And, I definitely wanted to be freshly adjusted for labor. I think I subconsciously knew that baby would be arriving soon. A friend offered to watch the boys on Wednesday but I told John David, “I told her no because I think she’ll have them tomorrow.” I don’t remember saying this but he told me that I did.

After arriving home from my adjustment, the day proceeded mostly as normal. During rest time, I did crawl in bed to rest and started reading birth stories from Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I read several birth stories which were encouraging, inspiring and just what a woman who subconsciously feels labor coming on needs to read!

A little after 5, my husband called to tell me he had a meeting at 6:30 and would be home late. Around 5:30, my sister called and we chatted a few minutes and I told her, “I’m pretty sure baby is a boy!”

The boys and I ate supper around 6 and by 6:30, I started cleaning the kitchen. As I began cleaning, I started noticing light contractions, nothing painful, just low pressure. I was able to keep cleaning through them and wasn’t timing them at all at this point because they were painless. After I finished cleaning in the kitchen, I decided on a whim to clean both bathrooms. I encouraged the boys to start picking up the playroom and when I finished my cleaning, I joined them in there. We were finishing up tidying the playroom when John David arrived home around 8:30. I told him that I was having some occasional contractions and he downloaded a contraction app to start timing them.

Then, John David’s parents Facetimed with the boys while I sat in the living room and timed contractions. They were light, not very painful at all since I was able to just sit through them. We finally started the boys bedtime routine around 9:15 and I texted my midwife, Michelle, to let her know that there was a 10 minute pattern in my contractions. (She had told me to look for a pattern).

Once we read stories and prayed with the boys, I ran a warm, lavender bath. I got in the tub around 10:15, hoping that the water would speed things up. It didn’t work – they stayed around 10 minutes apart the entire time. But, baby was super active the entire time I was in the tub. The feet were pushing against my left side and the bottom was against my right and my belly looked like a football – it was wild looking! I really tried to enjoy those movements and feeling baby move around inside since I was really beginning to think things were real and baby would be arriving soon. John David was in the bathroom with me and I told him, “my final gender guess is boy!”

I stayed in the tub through 4 contractions (about 40 minutes) and decided it was probably best to try and get some rest since they were still 10 minutes apart. I got ready for bed, read more birth stories from my Ina May book and then laid down around 12. I had contractions at 12:10, 12:21, 12:33 and 12:44. With each, I’d wake up, hit the start button on the timer app, hit the stop button and fall back asleep.

On the Birth Ball

After the 12:44 contraction, I decided to try my birth ball. The next few contractions started averaging 5-6 minutes apart once I was on the ball.

Since contractions were now 5-6 minutes apart, we decided to call my midwife around 1:15 and she arrived around 2:00. I continued timing contractions, which were still averaging 5-6 minutes apart, until 2:30. At that point, Michelle was at our home and didn’t need to know the frequency, I was feeling the baby descend with each contraction and I felt that keeping track and seeing that they were still 5-6 minutes apart was discouraging to me.

Contraction

Once I stopped focusing on timing contractions and the time, I was just taking contractions one at a time. I am pretty positive they stayed 5-6 minutes apart. They never were painful, intense or close. With every contraction, I felt baby burrowing further and further down. The sensation of the contraction was just from the pressure of baby lowering. I had absolutely no back labor this time which made the contractions seem easy.

Squatting

Finally, I started feeling a little pushy and sat on the edge of the bed. I was feeling like I wanted to push but when I tried I just couldn’t. Michelle told me maybe it wasn’t time to push so I just embraced the contractions and tried not to think about pushing. I did change positions and started to squat in front of the bed. After a few contractions, I kneeled on my knees and was given a pillow to kneel on.

Pushing

Finally, I was comfortable and started to really feel pushy. I started pushing and felt a little helpless for the first time during this labor but knew that this was transition and the end was near. I was trying to think about meeting our baby but couldn’t focus on that thought due to all of the pressure. Transition happened quickly and before I knew it I was pushing.

Baby's Birth

Pushing seemed intense and was definitely the hardest part of this birth. I pushed twice and felt baby’s head come out and felt some relief but knew I had at least one more push to go. I pushed hard and felt the rest of baby come out. Michelle put baby between my legs, right in front of me. I glanced down and thought baby was a boy, which was what I was thinking. I then put my head on the bed to rest and Michelle told me, “look at your baby, pick up your baby.”

Baby Girl

I looked back down and saw the cord draped between baby’s legs and again thought it was a boy. I moved the cord and saw that we had a girl! I was surprised at that moment – a daughter, our Cecilia Rae! I scooped her up and started crying.

Holding Baby

Mommy, Daddy, Baby

John David, my midwife and her assistant helped me onto the bed where I started nursing my baby girl and easily delivered the placenta. My midwife  mashed on my belly and had me drink juice while I was nursing. Then I was given toast and honey to eat and it was so, so good after labor!

I asked about the time of her birth and they told me that she was born at 5:21 am. I was amazed that she was born so late. I was in active labor for 4.5 hours and nearly 11 hours total labor from the start of contractions. Of course, the 4.5 hours were slow, steady labor but I was amazed it took that long.

Herb Bath

About an hour after the birth, the midwives helped me get out of my clothes and walk to the bathroom for a warm herb bath with baby. How wonderful that felt and it was nice to get cleaned off in such a soothing way. After the bath, I was partially dressed and climbed into bed to be examined- no tears with this baby that needed stitches!

Then, we started focusing on Cecilia. She weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces and was 20.25 inches long and everything looked wonderful during her newborn exam.

After Cecilia’s exam, my midwife dressed and swaddled her and gave her back to me to nurse. She gave us some instructions about the baby and me and then left around 7:30.

John David and I put Cecilia between us and were able to sleep, in our bed, until 8:15 when Weston woke up.

Weston walked into our room, saw Cecilia lying in the bed and asked, “whose baby is that?” We told him that she is our baby. Weston climbed int the bed and started looking at her. We let him hold her and oh, how precious that moment was!

A few minutes later Paxton staggered into the room. He was still half asleep and climbed into the bed with us without noticing the baby. After a few minutes he noticed and we told him that he had a baby sister! We let Paxton hold her and then spent some time in bed talking with the boys and admiring our new baby – a memory I’ll cherish forever.

We’re so thankful for our calm, relaxing homebirth. Everything was so peaceful and our boys slept through everything which is exactly what we were hoping for.

The births of all of our children have been wonderful moments in my life but this birth evokes nothing but positive thoughts and memories. The calm atmosphere, the comfort of home, the care of nurturing midwives, not being separated from my baby and being able to sleep in my own bed after the birth are the wonderful benefits of having a homebirth.

And, we’re still in awe of our sweet baby girl.

My other births:

First Baby – Paxton’s Birth Story 

Second Baby – Weston’s Birth Story

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