Go Easy On Yourself.

Go Easy On Yourself.

Dear Mom inside of Kohl’s,

I’ve been where you are. Sadly, I didn’t have any excuse when it happened to me. But I know your pain.

I heard your little girl say those words, the kind that will break your self-esteem and make you feel like you’re failing somewhere.

I heard her say, “You look like you are having a baby now”.

I cringed internally when I heard those words come out of her mouth. Part of me wished that I hadn’t even been present for it. Having people around to witness something like that often makes you feel a thousand times worse about how you look.

It’s hard to hear anyone say something like that, but kids just have no filter and don’t understand what is appropriate and what’s not. I heard you reprimand her, which I would have too. You told her “You don’t say things like that!”

But when she asked why, and when her sister questioned what she said wrong, you just told them to be quiet.

As embarrassing as it is to be a little heavier, nothing will be fixed if you don’t explain what they did wrong and why it hurt. Kids don’t know any better until we teach them. You missed a very pivotal teachable moment, because you were embarrassed. 

Go easy on yourself, mom. None of us are perfect. There are times when I’ve cried because I hate the way my body looks post-baby. I’ve never been skinny but I used to have a little bit of self-esteem. After having Maddie, and even before she was born, I was struggling with it. Seeing all my stretchmarks on my stomach, it broke my heart. 

But you know what? Your body is freaking awesome!! Your body created those precious, and brutally honest, girls. And guess what? Those girls love you, just like Maddie loves me. She doesn’t care if mommy has a little extra weight on her. And it’s possible that some day, I’ll go through the exact same scenario that you went through. It’s rough, I know. But try to remember how much your body went through. And be proud that your body was strong enough to birth those two girls. And forget about all those little “imperfections” that I’m sure you see every time you look in the mirror. I do it too. 

I wish I could say I would have reacted better than I saw you react, but I can’t promise that. In the heat of the moment, I probably would have got upset and not explained why. If, or when it happens again, sit them down and explain to them that it’s not nice to say that you looked pregnant (which you didn’t, by the way) and that it hurt your feelings when they said that. They probably would have felt bad and apologized. Don’t matter how old they are, most kids don’t want to make people sad.

And again, go easy on yourself, mom. Life gets busy and time flies by. Just take a deep breath and move on. And know that you are awesome and doing a great job! And go easy on your kids. They’re learning to be little people and look to you to help them. 

Ten Songs for When You Need Encouragement

Ten Songs for When You Need Encouragement

Every once in a while, for one reason or another, you need some encouragement. It could be because of stress, or maybe relationship issues, or a bad diagnosis from a doctor. There are thousands of reasons why you could be feeling discouraged and depressed. I don’t know about all of you, but music is big for me. I listen to music based on my mood. So when I need some extra encouragement, I go to my iPod. Here’s my ten songs that you need to be listening to if you’re feeling down:

  1. “Oh My Soul” by Casting Crowns. Honestly, I can’t have a list without at least one, if not more, Casting Crown songs. They are easily my favorite Christian group out there. I’ve seen them live twice and enjoyed them every time. This song is off their latest album called The Very Next Thing. This song is perfect for someone that is going through a trial in their life. There’s a line that says, “There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know.” What’s better than remembering that even though we go through the fire, that we are not alone and God is always with us?
  2. “Praise You in This Storm” by Casting Crowns. Yes, I know, I already used one song by them. But this song has a special place in my heart. This song came out just around the time my mom passed away. I was obsessed with this song. If, for some reason, you’ve never heard this song (if you’ve lived under a rock), go download it now (it’s on the album Lifesong). My favorite line in this song is:  “And every tear I’ve cried, You hold in Your hand. You’ve never left my side, and though my heart is torn, I will praise You in this storm.” This is something I definitely needed to hear after losing my mom.
  3. “Even If” by MercyMe. This song is brand new and it’s going to be on their new CD called “Lifer” when it comes out on March 31st. I’ve been listening to this song constantly lately. The song is about someone who is going through a rough time and knows that God can just take care of it. But even if God doesn’t take it from him, he will still have faith and trust God. God answers prayers in three ways: Yes, No, and Wait. Even if we pray, God may not answer that prayer the way we want him to. The chorus to this song says, “I know You’re able and I know You can save through the fire with Your mighty hand, but even if You don’t, my hope is You alone.” It takes great faith to be able to go through a trial and know that it’s all in God’s plan, and to accept that.
  4. “Eye of the Storm” by Ryan Stevenson featuring GabeReal. This song is one that I’ve just recently bought and I love the message behind it. It’s saying that no matter what storm you’re going through, God is right there with you and He’s in control of the situation. My favorite line is: “And when the tears of pain and heartache are falling down my face, I find my peace in Jesus’ name”. I completely believe that it’s my faith in Jesus that has gotten me through some of my hardest times.
  5. “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Gokey. Now, I loved Danny Gokey on American Idol and I was really rooting for him to win during that season. But I’m so glad that he broken into Christian music. He has definitely gone through heartache in his life, most notably the loss of his wife not long before trying out for American Idol. This song is all about moving on with life after a tragedy. My favorite line is: “Let every heartbreak and every scar, be a picture that reminds you who has carried you this far.” It’s all about starting over and new beginnings, with God there to help you along. Such a great message!
  6. “Priceless” by for King & Country. This song is a different type of message. The other songs are more about pain and tragedy, whereas this one is talking about feeling like you are unimportant. This song mentions right away that the mirror on the wall tells lies by pointing out your flaws. We are definitely our worst critic, or at least I know I am. I’m the first in line to find something wrong with me, and I have a very hard time taking any compliment. This song is a great reminder of how we are priceless in God’s eyes. He made us the way we are for a purpose.
  7. “Even If” by Kutless. Yes, I already have one song on here with that name, but this is different. It definitely has a similar message though to the MercyMe song. Just as the first song, it’s about trusting and having faith in God, even if we don’t understand the trials we are going through. I will never know why God decided it was time to take my mom to Heaven back in 2006, not this side of Heaven anyway. But I know God is good and faithful. My favorite line reminds me of that: “You are God, You are good, forever faithful one, even if the healing, even if the healing doesn’t come.
  8. “Mountain of God” by Third Day. Okay, I’m going to be honest here. I am not a fan of Third Day. I don’t know what it is about Mac Powell’s voice, but it annoys me. Now, that being said, I absolutely love this song. It talks about how the journey is long and sometimes it’s hard, but sometimes you have to go through the valley to stand upon the mountain of God. This song has a very inspiring message to it. Like so many of the other songs, it reminds you that God is always there with you.
  9. “It’s Not Over Yet” by for King & Country. Yup, another song by for King & Country. My husband actually heard this song before me and he loved it. It’s about someone who is just feeling completely defeated. The whole song, they sing about how even if you feel like you’ve been defeated or that you’ve hit your limit, it’s not over yet and you can get out of it. The main theme: NEVER GIVE UP.
  10. “Overcomer” by Mandisa. I just realized that I was lacking any female artist on this list (oops!). So I end the list with this awesome song by Mandisa, another American Idol alum. I’ve seen her live once or twice and she’s got an outstanding voice. This song just screams encouragement. It says in the song, “You’re not going under, cause God is holding you right now. You might be down for a moment, feeling like it’s hopeless, that’s when He reminds you that you’re an overcomer.” No matter what you’re going through, no matter how horrible life may be, you can overcome your situation and becoming stronger from it. And again, it reminds you that God is with you. What better encouragement that knowing that God is on your side!

Any other songs you’d add to the list??? Comment and let me know!!!

Dear First Time Momma

Dear First Time Momma

Dear First Time Momma,

I love using this picture.

We were only home about a week when I took this picture of myself and Maddie. In looking at it, I can tell now how rough I felt. I probably really liked the picture of me initially. But looking at it now, I look exhausted, pale, and probably in pain. I was anemic, and definitely was running on very little sleep.

I can imagine that is how you’re feeling too, no matter how old your baby is now. And odds are, your baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet. Maddie didn’t start doing that until she was a year old.

Maddie turned a year old on February 18th, 2017. So I know how over a year of sleep deprivation feels like.

Because I know. I know that even before your little one was born, you had trouble sleeping. I know I did. The further along I got in my pregnancy, the harder it was to get comfortable. And if, by some odd chance, I got comfortable, it would end quickly when I would have to go to the bathroom five times a night (that’s actually pretty accurate).

Nevertheless, I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts, advice and stories of our first year. Maybe it will encourage you. Maybe it will make you feel a little less like a newbie. But hopefully this will make you feel better as a mom.

You’re going to make mistakes. I know I’ve made my fair share of them in the last year. Don’t dwell on these mistakes. They are few and far between and you’re doing the best you can. You’re learning how to take care of a very needy infant and they are learning how to live. There may even be times when you feel like your baby deserves a better mommy than you. Guess what? God gave you to that baby. God gave you this huge blessing. God doesn’t make mistakes. He gave you that baby because He knew that baby needed you as their mommy. Go easy on yourself and accept that you’re going to mess up.

You’re going to cry…a lot. If not from hormone changes, you’ll cry from sleep deprivation. You’ll cry because you feel like a failure. You’ll cry because the first year really does go by so fast, just as the ones to follow will too. I cried quite often, for all these reasons and so many more. The first time Maddie got a boo boo, I cried because I felt like it was my fault and I should have protected her better. I mean, I even did that this past weekend when she busted her lip and bled for the first time. Bawled like a baby myself. But guess what, Maddie cried for a few minutes, and even with blood in her mouth, she moved on. I need to learn a little bit from her.

Always go with your gut, especially when it comes to an illness. In the first few weeks of Maddie’s life, I had to take her to the doctor. I actually took her because I thought she was breathing funny and it was scaring me to death. Doctor checked her out and her lungs were perfect…but she did have an eye infection that needed eye drops. And honestly, I’ve taken her more times than necessary to the doctor, but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Formula feeding? Great!! Breastfeeding? Great!! A fed baby is better than arguing over which method is better. Some moms can’t breastfeed and that’s okay. Moms shouldn’t put down other moms just because of the way they feed their baby.

And breastfeeding is hard. I was able to feed her for a year, but there were times when I swore she wasn’t getting enough milk from me and felt like a failure. Again, go easy on yourself. It can be extremely difficult and very tiring. Especially during growth spurts when they decide to cluster feed (those were my worst nights). There will be times when you’ll wonder if you should switch to formula. I know I had nights like that. Thoughts about how much easier it would be. How I wouldn’t have to go in my dad’s bedroom to feed Maddie when we went to visit. But I’m very grateful that I was able to go a whole year. That was my personal goal. And there are many ways to help your milk supply. Pinterest was my best friend and it still is. Anytime I have a question, that is typically where I go.

And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Taking care of a newborn is hard work. I absolutely love my daughter, but it was always nice when my husband could take her for a half hour or so while I took a shower. And it’s nice when I go visit my dad, or watch WWE pay-per-views with my brothers, I have other people that can help entertain her. I always have someone I can lean on. Find people you can lean on.

And my last thought is this…enjoy every minute. Yes, even the moments that you are bawling your eyes out because you feel like a failure. Even the moments when you’re so sleep deprived that you almost put tea in your cereal instead of milk (yes, that almost happened). The housework may not get done. Dinner might be take-out more often than not. But you know what? They aren’t gonna be little forever. Eventually, they aren’t going to need you all the time. Eventually, they will be able to feed themselves and will be able to occupy themselves while you get chores done. They’ll (hopefully) start napping better and sleeping through the night. But for now, that little infant needs you. As tired as I would get, I always loved holding my baby girl and playing with her. Because time, and life, is too short. And if you plan on having more babies, this is the only one that will get your undivided attention. Enjoy it. Treasure this time. Because it goes by way too fast.

I’m praying for you, first time momma. You’ve got this!

 

 

What would you tell your first time mom self?? Any advice you would give to a first time mom? Comment and let me know!!