You, me, & coffee- just invite her

IMG_5226A busy mom with several children is sitting at home struggling.  She is lonely and would love more than anything to connect to others who share common interest and who are in the same season of life.  Reality is, she would love to connect with anyone.  She feels a little forgotten.  She starts evaluating herself and looking for reasons why it seems like no one reaches out to her.  She finds herself unsure why, but realizes she is feeling self conscious wishing she could figure it out.

In a house across town, another busy mom has been invited to a luncheon but has no one to go with.  She wants more than anything to put on makeup, fix her hair, wear that new dress, and have a kid free lunch with friends.  She scans the contacts in her phone.  She concludes that most everyone she knows is far too busy to go.  This friend probably can’t get a babysitter.  This one seems to have so many friends and always busy, I doubt she has time for me.  One by one she answers for them, without asking.  Before she knows it, her excitement about the luncheon has turned into sadness and she decides she won’t go because she doesn’t want to go alone.

Have you ever been either women?  In this season of Motherhood I can find myself being both women at times.  I have been the lonely mom, wishing someone would invite, call, or text me.  I have longed for meaningful relationships and wondered why I don’t have them.  I have also been the woman who didn’t even ask because I  thought they were too busy or I feared feeling rejected if they said no.

Through talking to other women, trying to figure out a solution to loneliness in Motherhood, I have heard over and over again that a lot of moms don’t invite out of fear OR they don’t invite because they assume someone is busy.  I have also heard moms saying they just feel overwhelmed by all that they have going on and truly feel too busy to reach out.

If you are the overwhelmed mom, but long for some girl pal time, here is a question for you- What would it look like to determine a set amount of time for this?  Do you feel that even with your full plate, carving out some time to hang with other moms might actually help you be less overwhelmed?  I know that taking time out of my normal crazy to drink coffee and chat with other moms it helps me feel human again!

If you are like me and often assume other moms are too busy OR fear rejection, lets ask anyway!  You never know when another mom may need the invite, just as bad as you want them to say yes!  And lets remember that a no isn’t personal.

Just invite.  Reach out.  Make new friends.  Love on old ones.  Have coffee, lunch, dinner.  Go play at the park.  Find ways to connect and don’t let things stop you.  Relationships are far too important to allow fear or busyness get in the way!

I do not have a full proof solution for the lonely mom, but I do know if we don’t ever take a chance and just invite, we will miss out on so many opportunities!

Happy Monday Friends!  I hope it is fabulous!

 

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The Perfection Infection

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No more perfect Mom, Chapter 1 (These are my thoughts on the book “No More Perfect Mom by Jill Savage” along with quotes from the book)

I was introduced to this book after doing a 7 day devotional on YouVersion (bible app).  I loved every day of the devotional and wanted more when the 7 days was over and that is when I discovered there was a book.  The more I researched the book the more I knew I needed it and felt it was so timely for this season in my life.

Chapter 1, The Perfection Infection, hit home with me.  What I found was, a lot of what she was saying I already knew, but still struggle with.  I know that I can’t compare my life to ANYTHING I see on social media, but I still do it.  I know the “highlight reel vs. blooper reel” thing.  BUT, knowing doesn’t always make it easier.  It makes me more aware but it doesn’t solve the problem.  I am still tempted (and fall into the trap often) to compare myself- my appearance, my kids, my house, my craftiness, my pictures, and so on, to everyone else’s.  Social media really makes that easy doesn’t it?  I know we all wear masks that hide what we don’t want others to see and I know we generally only let out the pretty parts.

But, then there were a few things I had to break out my highlighter for and really think about.  “The thing about masks is that they never bring us closer to who we were created to be. Masks always make shallow what God has intended to be deep.”  This took me back and I had to stop there and read it again.  Wow- I don’t know that I have ever viewed it in that light.  She goes on to list Friendships, Marriages, Families, and Churches.  What would happen if all of those relationships were deep, like God intended them to be instead of sheltered and shadowed by the masks that we put on?  I can only imagine!

When she puts it in the context of “me” I really had to stop again and contemplate all I had read.  Cheating myself in my relationships by wearing a mask?  We live in a world that not only makes wearing a mask easy, but also makes it very normal.  It is easy to say “Oh I am fine, thank you!” and move on when really we are hurting on the inside.  For me, I fear that others don’t really want to hear what I have to say or that they really won’t care how I am doing, so I politely respond and leave it at that. But masks hide the truth.  They allow us to stay alone in our pain, frustration, sadness, brokenness, sorrow. Wearing a mask keeps us from having the opportunity to be encouraged, loved, and held up by one another.  It also keeps us from sharing our story with someone who may need to hear it.  Who may be feeling just like we are but they feel so alone.  “Not only that, but wearing masks breeds judgment.  It keeps us judging ourselves and others instead of living in and loving through grace” That line right there- the judgment that comes from wearing a mask is real.  I realize I do this and it makes me sad to think about.  I wear a mask to protect myself but wearing that mask causes me to look at others different.  That mask is a lie, and as long as I am wearing it I cant see the heart of anyone else.

Our world screams YOU MUST BE PERFECT IN EVERY WAY.  I know I strive for it even though I don’t like to admit it and I am getting better at letting some areas of my life be just fine wherever they are.  What happens when we let what others have, become who we think we should be? We may become discontent with our real lives. “Most of the time we don’t even realize that is what we are doing. It’s a subtle erosion of our satisfaction.  If we don’t recognize it, the discontentment can turn into disappointment, and then the disappointment can eventually turn into disillusionment.”  I have found myself in that place before.  Where it seems like all I am ever saying is “I wish….. my house was, my kids were, my marriage was” Instead of looking at all the things I do have, I end up focused on the disappointments.  There is no happiness in this. 

I don’t have anything figured out but one thing I do know is we are not alone.  Being a mom is hard.  There are days that I say more then once “I don’t think I can do this any more”.  I dream of being on the beach alone often.  My kids don’t always do what they are suppose to.  I yell at them and then have to apologize.  There are times when I am so tired I can’t seem to function properly and I feel so guilty that I can’t shake the exhaustion.  I have lost it over missing shoes, sippy cups, brushing teeth, and so many other things that seem so silly.  My house does not stay clean and I can’t seem to keep it organized like I use to.  The laundry falls behind.  I haven’t successfully meal planned in months or gone to the grocery store with a solid list. We eat out more then we should because I fail to plan.  But I bet that I am not alone.  Moms- we need each other.  We need to be able to say “I am having a horrible day” and not fear judgment.  We need to be able to stick together.  To love each other with grace.

I am so excited about this book!  The next Chapter is The Antidote.  THANK YOU for that, because I need it!  We are reading a chapter a week over the summer, so feel free to grab a copy and join us! 

Harvey, 365 days later

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Harvey is ONE! I never shared his birth story, even though I typed it out a few weeks after he was born so I have decided to share it now!

DSC_1930ccMarch 31, 2014…. It is Kamden’s birthday!  I woke up feeling a little like labor was in the air.  But I wasn’t really sure.  I had been in pain for weeks and sweet baby boys position had just made me miserable.  I had an appointment that morning.  I found out at the appointment I was progressing, and was in between a 3-4 and 50% thinned. (sorry for all of you who that is way too much info for, but this a child birth post).

I left and went to pick up a few last minute birthday gifts for Kam.  Then I ran to Walmart and picked up a few groceries.  By the time I got to the house to eat lunch with the fam, I told Joel I  was really thinking I might go into labor that day.  He reminded me that I had all the others at 38 weeks and 2 days, and waiting until Friday (it was Monday) was much better for his schedule.  Of course we both laughed at that, knowing we don’t have any control. 

I had already been praying that I could wait until AFTER Kamden’s birthday.  I did not want to miss his day.  I was able to go to dinner and Goody’s for dessert.  I was having a few contractions throughout the evening but they were not consistent however by 8:45 when we were at Goody’s they were pretty strong.  When we got home we got the kids ready for bed and I went ahead and made sure all the bags were ready.  By 11:00 I laid down hoping that I could just sleep.  I had contractions 10  min apart for an hour and decided I should wake Joel up.  By the time he was awake enough to know what was going on, my contractions were now 3 minutes apart and we both knew we had to hurry!  We got to the hospital at about 1:00am (had to wait for someone to get here, then we had to drive to the hospital)

It was a very rushed process with lots of skipped procedure (like being admitted before stuff starts happening) But I was between an 8 and 9.  They called my doctor and by the time he got there I was ready to have a baby!  We will skip all the fun stuff, and jump ahead to 2:20am, when this perfect little boy arrived!  He was so gorgeous and wonderful!  Funny how all the chaos disappears and you just fall madly in love with this tiny baby they just laid on your chest!  He came into this world 2 hours after his big brothers birthday ended, on April fools day!  We didn’t text too many people at 2am but I just knew when we told people the next day they would think it was a joke!  We sent photo proof with our text the next morning! 

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For those of you who may not know, Harvey was born with a incomplete unilateral cleft lip and a notch in his gum line.  He had surgery July 2014 to repair his lip.  He was so incredibly perfect before and I love looking at all of these pictures of him before his surgery!  He is just as perfect now though and I kind of feel blessed he has two smiles!  Melts my heart!

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This boy is so funny!  He loves to play with his big brother and sisters!  Everyone spoils him rotten though!  He is not walking yet, but crawling and climbing on everything he can get to.  He has not been a big fan of baby food, table food, bottle OR sippy cup (mom is his favorite!) but he is finally coming around to table food as long as we let him feed himself.  He loves pizza, peanutbutter sandwiches, and ice cream. He is obviously a health nut!

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I have said it so many times over the last year, but this boy has taught me SO much about life!  I don’t know if I will ever be able to express all of the things he has helped me to see.  All I know today, is that I am honored to be his mommy.  To watch him grow and learn.  To be his teacher and guide through life.  I look forward to holding his hand as he walks, helping him memorize scripture and showing him what it means to love Jesus.

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My prayers are big for this little guy.  I pray God gives me all the strength and wisdom I need to be the best mommy I can be for him.  That he knows our love for him always and knows he came into this world perfect in our eyes.  I pray that he knows Jesus deeply and knows how loved he is by Him.

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I’m ending it with this picture, because right now, he points at everything and says “dat” but it is also a good reminder that he is really ONE!  Look how smart he is, holding up one finger- hehehe!

Are you exhausted?

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11 weeks and 3 days ago we welcomed our 4th child into this world.  There are so many joys in new babies!  I love so much about the experience.  The visitors, the meals, the squishy baby in my arms all of the time, that new baby smell that is just intoxicating, all of the tiny little clothes.  I mean really, whats not to love about a new baby?

Oh, you are thinking lack of sleep maybe?  Or maybe the crying and excessive pooping they do?  Well, there is that.

I will tell you that having baby number 4 has people asking me “are you just exhausted” almost daily.  (I also get, “bless your heart” “wow you have your hands full” “oh man, I do not know how you do that” and a handful of other comments that I will just have to address in another post) When people ask me that I tend to have a generic response that is something like this “not really.  I feel pretty good actually”

But yesterday we had some friends over.  We were standing in the kitchen and she asked “So are you just exhausted?”.  I gave my normal response, except my husband was standing behind me and he started laughing.  I turned around and looked at him and he said “did you really just say that?”  It really got me thinking about it.  It made me think about why I really don’t feel the need to feel exhausted.  And also to think about why my husband was seeing things so different.

I have decided its called mom strength.  Am I exhausted?  Probably.  Being a mom is hard work, tiring, 24/7, non stop.  There is a never ending list of tasks to be done and they must be done while juggling kids and life.  Being a mom is probably one of the hardest jobs on the planet.  I think every mom is exhausted.  Am I right?  It just comes with the job.

So why does my husband laugh when I say I am not exhausted?  First of all, my husband sees me daily.  He knows what I do, he sees me at the end of a long hard day filled with non napping children, a day that hasn’t gone at all as planned, and an 11 year old who knows better.  He knows I get up to feed the baby throughout the night and even when I am asleep I am not resting because my body is on mom alert.  He  hears me say “I just don’t know if I can do it again tomorrow” in a moment of weakness.  He knows I am exhausted.

If I am exhausted, why do I not explain that when people ask?  I don’t think I notice how exhausted I am most of the time.  I think I just get up and go and do whatever is in front of me.  If you asked me if I was exhausted in the middle of a really tough day, I would probably be really honest, but for the most part, every day life and the exhaustion that comes with it just feels pretty normal.  When I stop and look at things honestly, I think my strength and perspective  comes from God and leaning on Him.

“Those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

This verse does not mean that I will never be tired or even exhausted (because I am both).  I just know that trusting in the Lord for my strength has been so fruitful for me.  I have been able to muster through some rough days by simply relying on the Lord for strength.  God always provides what we need in the moment when we rely on Him.  I have learned that He might not always answer my prayers the way I envision them being answered, but he always answers.  God called mothers into the mission field of being a mom and He is faithful to walk with us until our mission is complete! God is bigger then anything we face daily. He is bigger then physical and mental exhaustion.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28

Moms- It is ok to be exhausted.  It is ok to realize how hard your job is and how much weight you carry by doing it.  But be encouraged that God called you into Motherhood and He is there with you every step of the way.  Ask Him for whatever you need.  Remember that you are not alone either, look around you, moms everywhere are exhausted too, just like you.  Hug another mommy and remind her how precious she is to her children and to God.  Take time to laugh with a fellow mom and see how much exhaustion fades away when you choose to smile and find joy.  Encourage someone else today because you can.  Love with all your heart and soul.  Remember you have the power to change the world, one little tiny person at at time.  Being a mom is a BIG job, an important job, an exhausting job.  But God chose YOU to do it because He knows you can!

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