What She Needs to See From Me.

What She Needs to See From Me.

I noticed it one day. 

My husband and I were in our bathroom brushing our teeth. Maddie was watching us. No big deal, right? Well, she found her toothbrush and started imitating us. She saw he doing it and did exactly what we did. And she had just turned a year old.

In that moment, I realized that everything I do, she’s watching. Every move I make, every step I take, she sees all of it. She sees how I react to things, what I eat, what I drink. She is literally with me 24/7. I’m the one she looks to when she is trying to figure out how to respond. No pressure, right?

As thrilled as I am that she likes to brush her teeth like us, there are other aspects of my life that I need her to see, and see me at my best. 

  1. I need her to see me pray. I’ll admit, I don’t pray as much as I should and I typically don’t pray out loud. But it’s so important for her to see that I pray to God and that praying is part of that relationship with God. I also want her to know that I believe prayer can change things, and if she doesn’t see me pray, it’ll be hard for me to get her to understand the importance.
  2. I need her to see me reading my Bible. Again, something I don’t do nearly enough. But I want her to know that the Bible is what God gave us as a type of instruction manual to get us through life here on earth. Answers to questions she may have in life, she can find in God’s word. I want her to see me read my Bible. I want her to find it normal to just pick up her Bible and read it whenever she wants, like any other book.
  3. I need her to see me be a Godly wife to her father. A lot of the way I act as a wife and mother, I got from my mom. I saw how she treated my dad and how she was with us kids and that’s how I act. I need her to see me respect her father and to even show affection to her father. She doesn’t need to see me be petty or irrational toward him, which I know I am prone to doing. We need to show her how we pray as a family, how we respect each other, and how we love each other.
  4. I need her to see me be brave. I’m a wimp. I’ll be the first to admit that. I’m terrfied of heights, spiders, thunderstorms and clowns to name just a few. But if she sees me scared, she’ll be scared too. Even if I have to put on an Emmy award winning performance, I need her to see me as brave and confident. That was, she is more brave and if she is afraid of something, she knows that she can come to me and I will take care of it.
  5. I need her to see me work on myself. I’ve never been comfortable with my body and there are more times than not that I’m downing myself one way or another. But because of that, I need to try to better myself every day and let her see that. I don’t want her to have an out of shape mom. I want to be healthy for her and I want her to see me do it. I need to eat healthier, let her try what I eat. I don’t want her to be afraid to try new foods. That goes back to the last point.
  6. I need her to see me be me. No apologies, no excuses. I want her to know that God made her the way she is and that other people and their opinions of her don’t matter. I fought this my whole life, always worried about what people thought about me and how I looked. As you get older, you realize that those same people had a rough way to go and decided to pick on someone else because of their own unhappiness. I don’t want her to even apologize for being Maddie. She is beautiful, funny, sensitive, sweet and smart as can be. I hope she always knows that. I hope I can always show her that.
  7. I need her to see me strive to be like Jesus Christ. Big shoes to fill, right? And I will continue to fall short, but I can try my hardest to treat people like Jesus would. Bring the phrase “what would Jesus do” to life.

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!!

First Year Reflections

First Year Reflections

This past Saturday, my baby girl turned one year old. It’s hard for me to even fathom that 366 days had gone by and that we were leaving the infant part of her life behind, marching straight into the toddler years. Maddie had a wonderful birthday party with her favorite people and it definitely showed how loved she really is. 

As her momma, this birthday hit me about as hard as I thought it would. As tough as she could be at times, it was still hard for me to think about her getting older. I cannot stress enough how fast this first year went. People will tell you that all the time, usually when your tired and sleep deprived and you don’t want to hear it, but it’s so true. 

So, as we close this chapter of my girl’s life, I have a few reflections about everything.

  • Motherhood came very easy for me, thank God. But as easy as it was at times, there were other times where I would just bawl because I felt like I was screwing everything up. My husband had to constantly remind me of how wonderful of a job I was doing. And even that didn’t make me feel better. Motherhood is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had, but it has also been one of the most rewarding.
  • Nothing compares to seeing your baby smile or laugh for the first time. I’m fairly certain it can cure just about anything. 
  • Nothing is as cool as seeing your baby understand something that you’ve taught them. Maddie knows what a dog is and points them out when she sees one. Just tonight, I asked where her belly was, and she pointed to it. Maddie is wicked smart.
  • Breastfeeding is hard. I commend anyone that can do it. I also praise mommas that have to use formula. I made it breastfeeding for 12 months and there were times when I was sure I would have to stop, but I made it. It wasn’t easy and I cried a lot. But I’m glad I was able to do it. And when I have another kid, I plan to do it again.
  • Being a stay-at-home mom is hard too, especially with a baby. My house went to crap, my dogs didn’t get a lot of attention, everything kind of suffered. But I would rather have a messy home and be able to cuddle my baby whenever I want. I definitely respect my mom even more for being a SAHM. Your job is never done, and you don’t get paid for it. It was always my dream to be able to stay home with my babies and I’m very blessed that God decided I could do that.
  • Maddie, even when she throws her little tantrums, is still my favorite thing in the entire world and I thank God every day for blessing me with the privilege of being her mama. It’s a privilege that I don’t take lightly. And I cannot wait to see what God has in store for her life.

What I’ve Learned in 2016

What I’ve Learned in 2016

With 2016 coming to a close tomorrow evening, I thought that with this post, I would look back through this year and see what all I’ve learned this past year. A lot has changed in the last twelve months, especially for my little family. So, here’s five things I’ve learned in 2016.

  1. God knows what He’s doing. Even when I am freaking out and having anxiety attacks about something I have NO control over, I have to remind myself that God knows. God has me where I am for a specific reason. He has the exact right people in my life for this current season of my life. He knows what tomorrow holds, even if I don’t. When I was nervous about going into labor, God already knew how it was going to turn out. Sometimes we forget that and try to handle everything ourselves, which ends up a disaster. If we just take a deep breath and remind ourselves that God is in control, things would go a lot smoother in our lives.
  2. Taking care of other people’s children is nothing like taking care of your own child. I used to help my mom babysit. I worked in the nursery at church. I went to college to be a Pre-K through 3rd grade teacher. I taught at a learning center for three years. I learned A LOT about taking care of children. But NOTHING prepares you for taking care of your own child. Yes, I had changed many diapers, learned a lot about different illnesses, how to potty train a child and how to feed a baby, but everything is different when the baby is your own. I loved the kids at the learning center, but they weren’t mine. At the end of the day, their parent or guardian would pick them up and take them home. I care for Maddie 24/7. I rarely get a break. And I love it, but I’ve learned a lot from it as well. You learn all their cues and quirks, likes and dislikes, all their little signs. And they rely on you to learn all of that. It is very scary and intimidating being a parent, but it is also one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
  3. You can discuss parenting styles with your husband all day, think you’ve agreed on EVERYTHING, and still not agree on everything. Ken worries all the time that Maddie is going to end up a spoiled brat because of how much I cater to her every need. I keep telling him that there is a difference between being a spoiled brat and just being spoiled. My grandma would say “She’s not spoiled, she’s just loved.” and that’s how I want to see it as well. I was spoiled as a child, but I ALWAYS appreciated everything I received. I plan to raise Maddie to feel the same way. I love my baby girl and I want her to always know that. She doesn’t always need me to buy her a toy, but I don’t mind getting her something small if we’re out together. She may not NEED me to pick her up if she’s reaching for me, but why shouldn’t I? If she’s crying, if holding her will fix the problem, that’s what I’ll do. I see no problem with this. I want her to always know that I’m there for her. And it’s okay to not agree on everything with your spouse. Just listen to each other and find some compromise. A lot of it is not worth fighting about.
  4. We may not talk every day, but I know the people I can always count on if I need anything. My dad is my number one fan and I know if I need anything, he’s there for me. My husband, obviously, is always there to help me and cheer me up. My siblings and my nieces and nephews are all amazing and I know they’ve got my back. My best friends are just utterly amazing and I am beyond blessed to have them in mine and my family’s lives. We all have separate lives and always have something going on. We don’t live in the same small town anymore and we could go months without speaking. But if something were to happen, they would be there for me at the drop of  a dime, and I would do the same for them.
  5. Being a parent is hard, and I know it’s only going to get harder. For the last almost 11 months, I’ve raised, fed, and nurtured this beautiful baby girl, and before that, she spent over 9 months inside of me. There were a lot of decisions that were made about her before she was even born. Getting her vaccinated was a big choice me and my husband made (easy decision for us), and it was a decision we were in agreement on. From the moment she was born, I’ve had to make decisions that would effect her life. I chose to have her vaccinated. I chose to breastfeed her. That decision in itself made being a parent harder. Figuring out when she needed to eat, especially toward the beginning. Feeding her while we were out of the house (usually leading to me sitting in the back seat of my car and feeding her there. Then there were (and still are) times where I worry if she’s getting enough to eat. There are times I worry if she’s gaining enough weight. Being a parent means you’re pretty much in a state of constant worry, but you love your child too much to be upset about it.

 

Tomorrow, Lord willing, I’m going to post my goals for 2017 (as long as I find time between getting ready to go to my dad’s for New Years and cleaning/packing for our trip to Disney).

We’re Not Who We Once Were.

We’re Not Who We Once Were.

I saw a picture tonight on Facebook that really hit home to me. It was just a picture that said, “I’m definitely not the same person I was when year started”. This statement couldn’t be more true in mine and Ken’s lives, more mine than his. 

From the moment back in June of 2015 when I found out that I was pregnant with Maddie, my life changed. I had another person to think about. And even though she wasn’t in my arms yet, I knew that she would be soon enough.

The picture in this post was from May of 2015. I wasn’t pregnant yet and I was the matron of honor at my niece’s wedding. I thought a lot about myself and made decisions based on what I wanted. Ken and I made plans based on what we wanted to do. The day after this wedding, we went to a concert. The next month, we went to a WWE event. No worry in the world.

Fast forward to February 18th, 2016. Suddenly it stopped being about me and Ken. Suddenly, all my decisions dealt with Maddie. Any plans I made, I had to think about her. If we decided to go out, she went too. We’ve only had people babysit her twice since being born, otherwise she has been with us. My best friend got married back in October. Guess what? Maddie was with us. We were both in the wedding! I was the matron of honor. We had a full weekend of activities planned for the wedding. Maddie was there for all of it.

Her needs and wants have become my needs and wants. I live for her. I want her to be happy and as long as she’s happy, so am I. That’s how it should be! Before she was born, I would hop in the shower whenever I wanted, once a day, and take my time. Now, I either 1) Wait until she’s napping, 2) Wait until Ken gets home from work, or 3) Don’t shower that day. It’s simple. I would do anything for her, even if that means I go without.

She’s my world. And I would never go back to who I was before. Who I am now is who God meant for me to be, and I know how blessed I am.

The First Week Home After Delivery

The First Week Home After Delivery

So Maddie was born on February 18th and we were able to go home with her on February 20th. I was very grateful to get home and get back to what would be our new “normal”. I had never been admitted to the hospital before (aside from when I was born myself) and I was happy to get out of there. It was finally time for me to begin my dream of being a stay-at-home mom. What I didn’t really expect was how I would feel right out of the hospital. Here are things I learned the first week home with Maddie.

  1. Take advantage of any leave that your significant other receives from their work. My husband works Tuesday through Saturday from 4am until around 1pm. He joked with me that I needed to go into labor on a Thursday because he would be allowed only 3 days of leave for the birth of the baby, and then he would also have his normal Sunday and Monday off. Weirdly enough, that was exactly what happened. When we first got home, the FIRST thing I wanted to do was shower. I hadn’t showered in three days and I felt gross. So that was the first thing I did when I got home. Having him home those first few days was huge for me. I had a natural child birth, and I was in a good amount of pain once we got home. It didn’t help that I couldn’t drive for a certain amount of time after delivery as well, so I also had to rely on him to drive me anywhere I wanted to go. I was very grateful to have him there to help me whenever I needed it.
  2. You will probably feel like you’ve been hit by a truck, and possibly look like you’ve been hit by a truck. I had SEVERAL people tell me that I looked really pale right after having Maddie. The picture in this post is from day 6 after Maddie was born and I looked bad. My family doctor told me that I looked pale and wanted to make sure I was taking vitamins because I was losing a lot of blood (Which is normal, it’s just your uterus going back down to its normal size. This usually takes about 6 weeks.) but it was making me weaker and pale. Eating more protein and continuing to take my prenatal vitamins helped a lot with this. But unless you’re famous, don’t expect to look amazing after coming home.
  3. If you’re breastfeeding, you will feel exhausted and inadequate at times. The first week or so, baby’s stomach is the size of a cherry. But obviously it grows pretty quick and at times, I felt like I was starving Maddie because I would feel like I JUST fed her and suddenly she would be screaming to eat again. This is pretty normal too. I knew I had the milk supply, but I felt like the worst mom in the world when she would cry, especially when she would cluster feed and I had nothing to help her. Cluster feeding is when the baby will seriously want to eat pretty much all the time. Several times in an hour isn’t unheard of, but it’s exhausting. Once my milk came in completely and I could start pumping, it got a little easier. But even now, with her going on 10 months old, there are times that I feel like I’m not giving her enough. One indicator that you ARE doing enough is your baby’s diapers. As long as they are peeing and pooping a lot through the day, your baby is getting fed plenty and you have nothing to worry about.
  4. You will more than likely feel completely overwhelmed most of that week. A lot of that comes from sleep deprivation, at least for me it did. I wanted to be the best mom in the world and I felt like I failed quite a bit that first week. But just remember, you’re learning just as much as your baby is learning. You’re learning your baby’s cues, what certain cries mean, what they like and what they don’t. Your baby is learning how to exist in general. Very overwhelming for both of you. It is okay to feel overwhelmed. But if you are really having a rough time, call someone and ask for help. Never be ashamed to ask for help. The best moms sometimes need help and advice from others.
  5. You will learn how to do regular, every day tasks as quickly as possible. I realized that if I wanted a shower while Ken was at work, I had to make sure I had the baby monitor, that Maddie was asleep and that she was safe. Then I would make a mad dash to the shower and finish in record time, usually just around the time Maddie would be waking up. One day, I was having people come over to visit and Ken wasn’t home yet, so I had to tidy up the house as much as I could by myself. So, I had purchase a Baby Carrier (the one I got is here: Infantino Advanced Convertible Carrier), I put Maddie in it and got some cleaning done. It wasn’t exactly easy, but it worked out and she slept the whole time.
  6. As silly as it sounds, I learned that I had never loved anything or anyone as much as I loved my little girl. People say that as soon as they see their baby, that it was love at first sight. That might not happen for everyone, but it did for me. I couldn’t believe that God had blessed me so much with such a beautiful little girl and my heart overflowed with joy and love at the sight of Maddie. I never knew I could love someone or something as much as I love that little girl. And as hard as the first week home was, and believe me it was rough, I would do it all over again for her. I would relive all the craziness, the sleepless nights, the hysterical crying from hormone changes and lack of sleep, feeling like a milk machine, and just being dependent on people, just to relive bringing my baby into the world. There truly is nothing like it.

Did I miss something? What is something you learned when you brought your baby home from the hospital? I would love to hear some of your comments!!