Tag Archives: learning

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A Change of Focus

August 28, 2015

I had high expectations for this summer. Those hopes haven’t been met and my summer has been all the better for it.

I’ve been pretty open about my husband and I’s struggle with fertility. We’ve been trying for another baby for many months now and have been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility,” which means just that. We have no idea why we aren’t getting pregnant…

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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To Risk Losing It All, Again

July 14, 2015

As the doctor walked into the ultrasound room, I knew something was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. “The baby looks great,” she solemnly shared. “But you’re dilated to 4cm.” My heart stopped. She said other words that I couldn’t fully process: bulging membranes, emergency surgery, hospital now. She left the room so I could get dressed…

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

Why dating is bad for my marriage

June 26, 2014

And I don’t mean dating someone outside of my marriage. That seems pretty self-explanatory. No, I’m talking about dating my mate – the same handsome dude I promised to love, honor and obey. The one I really do love spending time with.

If you look online for “date your spouse” you’ll find all sorts of articles on why it’s important to make time for your marriage and even how to date your wife/husband. So who am I to contradict the wisdom of the interwebs?

Creative Commons  — photo by Robert Flake

Creative Commons — photo by Robert Flake

And yet, every time we prepare to go out for a date night, I end up more angry and frustrated with this man of mine than I would have been had we just ordered a pizza and picked up Redbox. I’d like to say it’s all his fault {because really, when is it not} but in this case, I blame the babysitter.

After all, she is the one I am thinking of as I tear through the house picking up GoGo Squeez containers, Little People and loveys. She is the one I’m concerned about as I glare at my husband and nag him to “stop folding the laundry and just hide it in the guest room.” And it’s her fault that 10 minutes before she is to arrive I’m just hoping in the shower to make myself completely beautiful for my magical-evening-now-turned-ugly.

Or perhaps I’m the problem.

And while I’m at it, I should probably claim fault for most of the things I blame on my husband. Instead of focusing on the fun of a night out, I focus on making my house spotless. While I should be happy to have time alone with my love, I’m criticize him for not cleaning the “right” way. And when it’s time to get ready – the part that used to be so much fun – I’m just frazzled and annoyed, and ready to call the whole thing off {the date, not the marriage}.

It’s time to reclaim the joy in date night. To that end I promise:

  1. To pick up the clutter and spot-clean my house before date night but not stress about every possible mess.
  2. To stop cleaning at least one hour before departure time so I am not frazzled when we leave.
  3. To spend more time shaving my legs, doing my hair and makeup, and choosing a cute outfit for a great night out.
  4. To think about my man as I prep for date night and not the babysitter and her judgy-judgy ways {which I’m sure is really only happening in my head, because she’s a total sweetie}.
  5. To love date night. Even if my husband doesn’t make any plans and we end up at the same place again {okay, so some things really are his fault}.

What about you? What keeps you from dating your spouse or enjoying date nights?

Making Time for Me

April 21, 2014

As a mom, most of my waking hours – and some of my sleeping hours – are spent working or taking care of those I love. Working in an office or cooking and cleaning at home, sending emails and wiping dirty bottoms and runny noses, my days are not my own.

And I love it.

I love being a wife and mom. I love the messy joy, the sticky hugs and the wet kisses. I love planning meals and birthday parties. I don’t love the dishes and laundry, so if you know anyone who’d like to volunteer for those tasks, I’m all ears.

And yet, even with all the joy and fulfillment being a mom brings, I have needs to be met. Making time to care for oneself can seem impossible or selfish but in reality the value of “me time” is immeasurable. Because when I am in a healthy place – physically, emotionally and spiritually – I am best able to care for my family.

Creative Commons — photo by Adrian Serghie

Creative Commons — photo by Adrian Serghie

Here are five ways I’ve found for keeping the “me” in Mommeeee happy and healthy:

  • Get dressed. Even on days I’m not going to the office, I try to get showered and dressed before my husband leaves for work. Starting my day off with a tiny bit of privacy – while he watches Reagan – and a lot of hot water sets the tone for a better day.
  • Take a break. When possible, do something that you enjoy during nap time. For me this might include a short dance-workout via video, reading a good book or my Bible, taking a nap, trying out a new recipe or watching one of my favorite reality shows with a bowl of fresh popcorn (embarrassing confession – I’m a sucker for all things reality-tv).
  • Make a plan. Schedule a weekly or monthly activity that gets you out of the house for some fun with other adults. Maybe a weekly Bible study, a monthly Bunco group, a Saturday hiking club or an every-other-week MOPS meeting. Whatever you find, commit to it.
  • Set a date. No really, time away from the kids with your man on a regular basis is crucial to a great relationship and a happier, healthier you. So find a trusted family member or friend who can watch the kids for a couple hours while you and your guy reconnect.
  • Invest in yourself. Even in the midst of parenting, you can continue to grow and develop  the person God has created you to be. As your schedule allows, take an art class or dance lessons. Go to a writers’ conference or a weekend women’s retreat. Take an online class and work on your degree. Not only will you be growing but you’ll be modeling to your children a love for life-long learning.

And before you think I’ve got this me time thing down, let me reassure you: these are things I try to do. Some days I do well, other days it’s all I can manage to drag my weary body to bed at night. And that’s okay because I will have another chance to do better tomorrow.

How about you – what do you do to best care for yourself? How does taking care of your needs affect the way you are able to care for your family?

One Year In: What I’ve learned since becoming a parent

March 26, 2014

In the last year (well, 13 months really but we’ll get to that later), I’ve learned a lot about being a mom. I’ve learned about sleep deprivation and poop, how you can be lonely with a small person strapped to your body 24/7 (okay, that’s an exaggeration because Reagan mostly sleeps in her own bed), and how you can love someone else so wholly and completely that not only would you give up your life for them, but you would live your life with their best interest in mind.

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Looking back over my time as a parent, here are the top ten things I’ve learned so far.

  1. Parenting is harder than I ever imagined. You are learning to put someone else ahead of yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about parents taking care of their needs too but, when it comes down to it, Reagan comes first (if you need evidence just take inventory of her closet compared to mine!).
  2. Parenting is more amazing than I ever imagined. The giggles, the funny faces, the cuddles – I love the smell of Reagan’s hair after her bath, and the feel of her breathe on my cheek as she drifts off to sleep in my arms. I love the smile she freely gives me when I pick her up from the babysitter and that greets me when I open her bedroom door first thing in the morning. She brings my life more joy, more meaning and more purpose and I wouldn’t trade being a mom for anything in the world.
  3. Growth percentiles mean very little. I’ve worried, and cried, and lost sleep over Reagan’s growth (she’s an itty-bitty thing!) but overall, she’s growing at a consistent rate albeit fairly low on the growth chart. She is healthy and happy and strong – none of which can be fully determined by a chart tracking her weight and height.
  4. Postpartum depression is real. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please talk to your doctor. Postpartum affects about 13% of women for up to one year after giving birth.
  5. You will never be on time to anything ever – EVER – again. Refer back to first sentence of this post.
  6. It wasn’t love at first sight. I mean it was love but not like I imagined (Bravo if it was for you … really, I mean it!). For me, I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with this cute but squishy-faced baby when they gave her to me. She was round and blonde and not at all what I expected. I loved her right away but it took a few days, weeks and even months before the parent/child bond really set in. And the cool thing is, it’s still growing. I love my child more every day.
  7. You can do it alone but parenting – and especially mothering – is better in community. I encourage you to find a MOPS group or a local mothers group to get involved in. Community is good for mom and baby!
  8. Sleep deprivation stinks. But feeding and rocking your baby during the night is pretty awesome (although most nights I would have traded it for more sleep).
  9. No matter how hard you try, you will never be perfect. And neither will your child. Sometimes I get frustrated – sometimes she gets frustrated. It’s bad when we both get frustrated, and sometimes I have to walk away. That’s okay. Soon my baby will understand my “I’m sorrys” and hopefully she’ll learn to ask forgiveness too, from the example I set.
  10. You are not a perfect mother, but you are the perfect mother for your child. God blessed me with this little girl – he gave her to me, and me to her, and no one else.