Category Archives: Parenting

Dear Exhausted, Weary Mom

Can I just say it is extremely difficult being an exhausted mom? There are moms who are exhausted because they have done an exhausting amount of work in their day. Those are the ones I marvel at. I watch them, I see the unfathomable (to me) amount of energy they put into pushing, pulling, running with, and chasing their kids, and they do it with genuine smiles and laughter. They sing, they play patty-cake, they bake WITH their kids (which I just can’t comprehend) and they do things like (gasp)- craft time. I get tired just thinking about it.

There are moms who pour themselves out for their kids, from morning until night, and it seems to me the feeling of accomplishment must be very satisfying. I am one of those mom’s too, pouring myself out all day, yet it looks so different. Oh, for the energy to do craft time- and clean up after it, and be able to move on to another task without needing to pump yourself up like you’re playing in the Super Bowl. Oh, to exert strength playing with your children, and not feel like all the wind has been vacuumed out of your sail.

I have so much admiration for the energetic moms I know, and that well-earned exhaustion they feel at the day’s end. I hope I join their rank soon. I feel like I’ve had, here and there, too far spread out, glimpses of what that kind of normal mom life might feel like. Those are bright days in my memory bank.

But there are other moms like me. I can think of at least five that I know off the top of my head, and so I know I’m not alone. There are moms struggling through physical or mental health issues, single moms, moms of multiples waddling their way through the third trimester of another pregnancy- who are like me, and yet not so different from the energetic moms. You pour yourself out from morning until night too, but it looks small, and it seems like you are below ordinary. You get your kids dressed, and that’s hard, but you do it. You feed them, and it’s hard, but you do it. You go to the park, you smile, you make effort to be an involved momma, and it all looks so normal, but it’s costing you. It’s a sacrifice. You love it, yet, you wish the simple things weren’t just so draining. You wish the trip to the park, didn’t mean feeling paralyzed later.

Your house is far from spotless, cookies come from a box, craft time is a coloring book, learning comes from a green frog on a device, “outings” are restricted to a 2 hour time frame, and you probably need to bring along help. This is me, yet I have no doubt that I am doing my best. I am giving it my all, and sometimes it feels like more than my all.

To not be able to be the “you” that you really are inside, and that you really want to live out as a mom, can be devastating. I have had my break-down moments. These are some simple truths that have helped me. Continue reading

Still Learning Through Suffering (A Life & Health Update)

God has moved in my life in mysterious ways, to teach me lessons I would not have learned by any other means. I have a wandering heart; I have an idolatrous heart. “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love, here’s my heart, oh take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above,” is a song that I can sing and mean.

After Liza was born (you can read about that treacherous pregnancy here), I was done with suffering. I needed a chance to breathe, settle, heal, and adapt to life again with a newborn. The trials were behind me, and it was onward and upward, or so I thought. We had sleepless nights (of course) and nursing difficulties (again), but those things were expected, and I was just content to finally have my girl in my arms. That first month was hard, recovering not only from a C-section, but from the horrific pelvic separation I get during pregnancy. I remember having NO idea how I was going to care of this baby, but my resourceful husband tied a sturdy basket to my walker with soft blankets inside, and that is how I got her around our house the first month. It was difficult, but it was happy, so happy.

I don’t think Liza was more than a month old when my church split. Blogger Land isn’t the place to divulge all that, but let it suffice to say it was sudden, unexpected, and drastic. It was upheaval that I certainly wasn’t looking for at the time, and it shook me.

I was tired then, really tired, but who isn’t tired with a newborn who has her days and nights mixed up? But then one night, when Liza was 2 months old, I fainted and my husband couldn’t wake me up. He called 911 and I woke up by the time they arrived, but fainted again when I got to the hospital. My hemoglobin had crashed dangerously low, and I needed a blood transfusion.

I continued to be tired, and honestly, I have been tired ever since, and have especially struggled to raise my iron levels.

Somewhere in the mix of this, I realized Liza was not meeting her milestones. At three months old she still couldn’t raise her head off my chest at all, and wasn’t able to turn her head to look to the side well either. I didn’t handle that realization well at first. Why couldn’t I move past these long years of difficulty? Why would God put me through all these difficulties, and then place me in a situation where I worried daily for the baby I had waited so long for? I felt like all my happy moments were being tainted by the foreboding that hovered in the back of my mind, and I was driving myself crazy over it.

But you know what? God taught me about surrendering while I waited for that little peach to lift her head. He worked in my heart to accept whatever His hand had in store, and not to worry or be afraid. He took that worry from me, and when she was four months she finally lifted her head. And guess what? At 15 months old, she has started walking. She is doing great, and I have had extra joy at all of her milestones.

I turned 30 last September, and wrote about some of the lessons I learned in my twenties here. What I didn’t say, is that I really hoped, and even believed, that somehow the dawn of my thirties could mean the start of easier happiness. I don’t know if that expression makes any sense to you, but it does to me. Maybe my health issues could stay behind me. Maybe I could succeed in some of my goals. Travel somewhere. Further my education. Publish a book. Run around freely with my kids. Hike mountains with my husband.

Man I hate when the things I hope for in this life turn to disappointment. But I’m still just 30 right? There’s a lot of space between here and 40. Hoping can be such a difficult and painful endeavor.

Well, I think we have found the reason for my ceaseless exhaustion. I had a scope done through my throat and into my stomach before Christmas, which showed blood in the stomach and a large tumor which can be seen pressing into my stomach, changing the shape- kind of like how a fist pressing into a balloon would appear on the inside. The doctor said it has likely been developing for years, and it will need to come out. Continue reading

5 Lessons Learned from 20-30

I turned 30 this week and I am strangely excited about it. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and thought I’d list some of the things that stand out as lessons I’ve learned this decade. In no particular order here they go:

  1. One child, or person for that matter, means a lot to God, and if He has given you only one to care for, He has given you a precious and meaningful thing.

I spent a lot of my twenties caring for one child at a time. First I cared for one very special girl who had autism, then one sweet little boy I nannied for full time, and then my own beautiful daughter Adelle, who was my only child for nearly four years, and I was her stay-at-home mom. That was a lot of one-on-one time God gave me with three amazing children, and He saw fit to use the majority of my twenties in a way that seems so small, but I have no doubt in my mind of how significant and meaningful those times were.

  1. Being a mom, a wife, and a keeper of the home is enough.

This one really hits me hard, because last year I was not able to be Adelle’s primary caregiver, not because of choice, but because I was physically in too much pain. Being a mom isn’t easy, and being a mom when you have health problems sometimes feels impossible. Being a “home keeper” at times really has been impossible.

This year has been so much better, but I have really battled with anemia and ups and downs with pain issues, so at times I have definitely felt like I can’t “do my job.” But God has been good, He has helped us, and I have had a lot of good times this year. I am excited for our future as a family. I took my daughter Adelle for a bike ride the other day and I was so full of joy you might think I was loony. It felt like heaven to me, and I appreciate those times so much because of the times I have missed out on them. When we got back she asked me for a snack, and to my delight I still had enough energy to make one for her and one for my husband too. I was really excited to not be falling over half dead by the time I got home- I mean like, really excited.

Being a mom and wife in this family is something I can’t take for granted. I realize now what an incredible blessing it is, even though it can be so hard. God has given me more in this family than I could ever hope to find elsewhere, and I am so thankful. (Note, I am not saying women cannot do things outside of the home- I am currently taking a University course! But I don’t need to add to my role to find fulfillment or prove I am enough).

3. Job 2:10 “Shall we indeed receive good from God, and not accept adversity?”

I don’t know how many times I have battled this out. Enough times that I would hope I have really learned it, but it is usually a wrestling match. There is no peace when we don’t accept whatever comes from God’s hand. When we resist His will. When we say He is unfair, and when we actually believe we deserve something better, whether we say it out loud or not.

Whatever the circumstances, I have learned that God provides peace when I recognize that I do not ultimately get to have a claim to what I want or think is best for me. He knows. He is wiser than me.

  1. “If the Lord wills” is not a cliché. Those have become some of the most freeing and peace giving words in my life.

Going back to the last point, I have learned that I can accept adversity while hoping for and even pressing relentlessly towards relief from that adversity. If the Lord wills, I will overcome. If the Lord wills, He will bless my efforts. If the Lord wills, I can achieve my goals in spite of this adversity. And if He does not will, He will stop me in my tracks. He will thwart my efforts. He has the right to do that! He knows what is best. If I recognize that my life is in His almighty and loving hands to do with as He pleases, what is there left to fear?

  1. You don’t need it all by 30.

Speaking of thwarted plans- hah! Actually, I stand amazed at all the Lord has done in our lives. Two kids, a house, and my husband works from home full time running his business. I marvel how we ever made this work, and know it can only be because of God’s provision.

As far as my ambitions or even plain desires outside of this realm, God has often made me unable to run after them! He has kept my life small, and even the small things have often felt harder than I think they should, but small does not mean insignificant, and guess what? I’m only thirty y’all.

More Than a Parenting Method

Within weeks of my daughter’s birth (almost three years ago *sob*) I felt totally disillusioned by baby-parenting books. They had given me tried-and-true methods for happy-mom/happy-baby success, but none of it really pulled through and broke those endless hours of screaming. Needless to say, I was not too enthusiastic about parenting books anymore.

Raising toddlers is a whole other ball game. I love my daughter to absolute pieces, but nobody told me that a two year old girl and a sixteen year old aren’t all that different… Does that came out insulting? Let me explain. The other day I asked my almost-three year old daughter to clean her room and her response: “That’s mommy’s job.”

Yikes!

But for the most part we have fun. Best of all, we have love. For every bad moment there are many more good ones. I get to hear “I love you mommy,” every single day, and “Just stay one more minute” every night. When I’m really lucky I get a “Mommy you’re so sweet and nice,” or “Mommy you’re my best friend.” Continue reading

Share It With Me- A Poem for My Daughter

Share It With Me

God’s wonders all around
It takes a two year old to see
The tiny movements in the feet
Of the gathering bee.

This day if I alone
Went for a walk down by the slue
I would not tromp through long, thick grass
To find the dragonflies like you.

I would not leave the trail
To weave and spin beneath the trees,
Leap from stumps, or watch squirrels bustle
Or hear the rustling breeze.

For an hour we could
Toss stones, and in ripples rejoice;
A nursery rhyme’s a prize told
To you in mommy’s voice.

Dandelions become
Flowers, picked and clutched in my fist,
And berry picking not a chore
But a picnic and bliss.

I would have missed the moon
If you’d not pointed to the sky
And the jets roaring overhead
As swift they pass us by.

Such clutter adulthood
Bestows with busyness and rush
I had forgotten how to lie
In grass and there to hush.

To you life is a gift
One that you open without shame
And throw yourself headlong into
‘Tis pleasure and a game.

To be so free from cares
In life, you will not always be
But while you are dear, precious gift
Keep sharing it with me.
Adelle

My blog is not a “mom blog” and I know this isn’t my typical post. Maybe you wonder how it correlates to “Come to Christ.” This poem is a reflection of the delight I have in my daughter’s good delight. Parenting toddlers is often connoted with dread and difficulty, not so much with delight. We’re all familiar with the phrase “terrible twos.” For sure, it is a task that challenges us and tests our patience at times. Sometimes I don’t feel like “dealing” with toddler things today. But more often I am overwhelmed with the beauty of this relationship and the joy of parenting my daughter. She is a gift from God, so I will celebrate that here. There’s not a lot of celebrating children in our culture today, and I think God is pleased when we rejoice in them.

I’m teaching her about Christ, and she’s teaching me too, about all the simplistic, wonderful things God has granted us to enjoy in His creation and in the love of family. His care is displayed in these marvelous things, and I am grateful. When I enjoy my child, I do so with a love for God. All good gifts here point us back to praise the giver- all praise be to His Name!

Just Me and My 2 Year Old

I love my 2 year old to pieces. We laugh, dance, tickle, sing, and read together every single day. We take slow walks, picking up rocks and sticks, sitting on logs and calling them boats, petting puppies and finding a world full of treasure in a puddle (you know like nut shells and dead leaves, that kind of thing). We also have melt downs- or near melt downs- every single day. That’s one of the parts of parenting I could do without. Continue reading

Why Children?

The question “why children?” never really occurred to me until I was pregnant. In our culture we often have a romanticized idea of what it means to have a family. We want a baby who is born in perfect health, rarely cries, and is cute. We want them to grow up to be quick learning, strong, and well mannered. Of course, a nice house with a beautiful nursery and a big back yard helps too.

We all desire these things for our life and our children. I think the desire to have a healthy, happy baby is natural. But this is where I have really started examining myself: Why do I want this child? Continue reading