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Monday, October 28, 2013

It Takes a Village

You know the saying right?  

"It takes a village to raise a child"

I'm not certain who actually came up with that quote - or when - or what exactly their intent behind it was.  But after having Logann I've realized more than ever that I cannot do this by myself.  I need the Lord, yes and amen.  But that's not what I'm referring to here.

I need a community of people.  I need them.  And quite honestly, they need me too. 


We are all different...different gifts, different resources, different seasons of life.  And that's all so beautiful!!!



I wasn't around when most families lived next door to each other.  Or across the street.  Or even in the same household (a bit much sometimes, I'm sure).  But just think what a sense of community there was!  An extra pair of hands to hold a fussy baby, refill sippy cups, take out the trash, get children dressed, prepare lunch, unload the dishwasher, fold some laundry, argue and grow from one another, listen to and encourage one another. 

Our society is just so stinkin autonomous.  People are so busy.  And I get it.  We all have lives. But lately I've just had to be home more (running out with three small kids isn't exactly a piece of cake).  And I've realized I need others' help!

I've read several articles recently about young mothers and the stresses of motherhood.  "You are not alone" "Others feel the same way"

That's nice I'm not the only one who feels like a psychotic mother of preschool children.  But isn't there something that can be done instead of nodding my head or telling people "bless your heart", and/or simply saying prayers for those young mothers, middle-aged mothers, elderly couples with health problems, teenagers looking for approval and guidance - why don't I actually get involved??

I do believe the church is a great way to have community.  But not everybody at church lives near you.

But your neighbors do.
 

We didn't know hardly anyone - and we'd lived here for eight years.  Slowly, though, we have developed relationships.  And guess what?

My dear English neighbor who has grown kids and lives alone?  She loves to hold babies.  And come eat lunch with us.  And sit at the house with my older girls while I take Logann to an appointment.  She loves for us to stop by on our way back from walks and "interrupt" her work time so the girls can say hello and look at her thimble collection. She teaches us about the United Kingdom and says things like "lovely" and "cheerio".  And she's a good listener.  



And my pregnant neighbor up the street?  She has a girl Rilynn's age.  The girls play well with one another.  I can have her daughter down to play while she rests, or catches up on laundry, or runs an errand or two.  My girls gain a play mate.  It's a win-win see?  A few days later she may have my girls up for lunch while I do some house chores.  Or nap.  

There's an elderly couple we recently met several houses up.  They have a cute dog that always runs out in the road when we walk.  Because of that dog, we have gotten to know them.  The husband just had triple bypass.  The wife asked if my girls could call her Nanna.  Before his surgery they gave us homemade pear jam and fresh peppers from their garden.  Now every time we pass by and they are outside, we get to chat with each other.  She recently asked about our church and I was able to invite her to ours.  We exchanged phone numbers and have already texted one another.  



I know we aren't living in The Wonder Years era or anything.  I guess what I'm saying is, I've realized that when I am intentional to look for ways to bless my community - my neighbors - it blesses my heart.  We look out for each other.  And I'm realizing more than ever how important that community is and how refreshing it can be to our whole family!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Family and homemade jam

I'm playing catch-up a little bit here.  Last weekend, Ri moved from her toddler bed to a twin trundle bed.  I didn't plan for it to happen but we found a great deal on Craigslist - matched the dresser we had in there already.

See all the stuff on her bed?  I don't know how there was ever any room for her in her toddler bed!  

Proof that my kids DO have some of my features: (me on left, Logann on right)

 Septtro's brother and sister came to visit last weekend.  It was so fun to have them here - the girls loved having all of them here to play!

Kaylee is about 8 months older than her cousin Skye but she's quite a bit smaller.  Sorry girl, guess you got your momma's short genes.  Beautiful lil gals!!!

Some friends gave us a LOT of muscadine grapes.  Septtro made homemade jelly!! I'm not a fan of the grapes but haven't tried the jelly yet.  He and the girls love the grapes though so I'm sure this won't last long.  


I've been trying to hard to capture that universal newborn stretch where they curl around themselves, hands behind their head.  I just love it!!  I haven't been able to catch it on camera yet.  But I did catch a "praise Jesus" moment.  :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mommy Guilt

You know how, no matter what you do accomplish, there's always a tendency to feel guilty over what didn't get done during the day?  

I had this genius idea to go around the house very briefly during nap time the other day and take pictures of what I had done already that day; no matter how small it may seem.  Surely, after doing this, I'd be encouraged as I was likely unaware of the many small tasks I had completed.

I got a load of dirty clothes into the washing machine.  I had kept the kitchen counters fairly clean and decluttered.  Our bed was made.  And I showered AND straightened my hair.  
That's in addition to caring for the emotional and physical needs of three children during the day.  

I should feel accomplished.  And I did.  For moment I felt at peace with not feeling obligated to do anything else that day except enjoy my children as much as possible.  

Then...it came creeping up again.  That mommy guilt.

I managed to get more clothes in the washing machine but I still hadn't folded that basket of laundry in the living room.  The counter was cleared off but the dirty dishes were still in the sink.  My bed was made but our bedroom furniture was covered in dust.  And I'd showered and straightened my hair but when was the last time I'd plucked those caterpillar eyebrows?? And seriously, when is the last time you put on deodorant?  Don't you smell yourself??

I cannot catch up.  It will never end.  I will always have something else that needs to be done.

These thoughts of guilt - this mommy guilt - it's not from the Lord.  


 So what's this purpose the Lord has for me then?  

To embrace this...


And this..

And be ok with this.  


 It's not easy.  And I don't think it's natural for most moms.  I'm still learning how.  
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. - 2 Cor 12:9
I need to be mindful of those times when mommy guilt creeps in.  If I am not diligent and purposeful about refocusing to my ultimate purpose, I will become overwhelmed very quickly.   

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.
 
Refrain
I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.
 
I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

Oh, and just in case your weary soul needs this too - whether due to your job, family, finances  or that dreaded mommy guilt - take a few minutes..close your eyes.  And just listen to this song:

And now I think I'll lie down and nap beside my almost-9 week old baby girl...even though the dishes aren't done and there's wet laundry in the washing machine and my bed isn't made.  :)  

But I *did* remember to put on deodorant today!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Adjusting

Life with three.  I'm totally outnumbered.  :)


I knew it wouldn't be a walk in the park.  I knew I'd struggle.  And I have.  Most days I feel like I hold it all together pretty well.  

But then I decide the dishes have to be done, and the laundry washed, dried, and sorted - right then.  The toilet is showing signs of orange rings, the ceiling fans have layers of dust, where did that dead bug go that I saw an hour ago?  And then there's that shoe that's been missing for a few days that I really want to find.  I want to make applesauce and more homemade meals for my family.  I have to nurse every two to three hours - not to mention the time in between when the baby decides not to nap when I'd like her to.  

And I get overwhelmed.  I feel like I haven't a clue what I'm doing.  Where did my day go?  

How do I know what to do when?  Yes, housework can wait.  But eventually it has to be done.  And when I have a few minutes, I have to choose between sleep and chores.  Septtro has been a huge help.  I know in my head a clean and tidy house will never stay that way.  Why does it bother me so much?

I want to play with my girls...and read to them.  I want to go on walks with them.  But I feel like I'm being pulled in a million different directions.  


I wish somebody could just tell me exactly what I should do each day.  That'd be a whole lot easier.  

I've tried schedules.  I've tried "loose" schedules.  I've tried no schedules.  My kids are still young and they need me for almost everything.  And activities don't last for hours - they last for minutes and then their minds are on to something else.  I feel like I'm constantly finding my new normal.  

I wish I could just take a few weeks and enjoy this newborn stage.  An 8 week old still counts as a newborn right?  Is she really already two months old??!



Will my older two remember all those days filled with their mom constantly apologizing (or not apologizing) after, once again, "having a bad attitude"? How do I help my older girls not argue so much?  Can't I give them something to do so I can nurse my baby without having someone yelling or crying?  Will they remember how much time they spent in front of the TV?

Please don't misunderstand.  I'm thankful.  And I wanted all three of these precious gifts.  They are my heart.


I just feel lost.  And sometimes I feel alone.  

I'm too hard on myself a lot of times.  When I struggle emotionally I feel like I'm being a weenie.  I should just put on my big girl undies and get it done.  Suck it up.  

But I'm telling you, hormones are very real.  And they make this all very difficult.  

Then she smiles.


And they giggle. And tell each other "secets" (secrets for those of you who aren't fluent in toddler/preschool).

I smile.  A real smile.  And for a moment, I feel confident.  I can do this.

I most definitely need Jesus.  Oh how I need Him!  I need His word integrated into my day as much as possible....a Bible story with the girls, a song on the radio, a verse on my iphone, a text from a friend - I need it.  It does miracles in my weary soul.  It gives me confidence - in Him and in my abilities as a mom.


I hope I never forget these little years.  I want to be used to help others in the future.  These are the trenches.  I'm constantly battling - my emotions, my children's behavior, fighting for their souls, organizing and keeping my home.  

It's worth it though.  It's all worth it.