Help! I’m a new mom!

help new mom

I read a wonderful blog post called How to Help a New Mom. It contained some really practical ideas. Having some friends who just had new babies, I was excited to put these to use.

However, I realized that I would not have accepted a lot of that help when my first baby was born. For some reason I was under the false self expectation that I handle everything on my own. I would be failing if I accepted housework assistance or too many meals.

This is ridiculous for a number of reasons. Here are three things we may believe that stop us from accepting help.

  1. My mom did it on her own, so I need to.
  2. Women have had babies and raised them since the beginning of time, I must be able to survive too.
  3. If I let someone help me, they will see how truly disorganized and chaotic I am. My cover will be blown.

Let’s look a little closer at each of these points and see how they hold up.

1. My mom did it on her own, so I need to.

My mom did manage to survive the baby stage four times without any extra help since we lived away from all our extended family. Now does she have tons of wonderful, positive memories from these time periods? Not really. As the oldest child, I also remember the intensity of those days with two of my sisters. Yes we made it through, but why not relieve the stress on marriage and family a little?

2. Women have had babies and raised them since the beginning of time, I must be able to survive too.

It was very common in the days of old for people to live together in communities, or very close to their families. Many women would share the load of new babies, cooking, and cleaning. If you had enough money you would have hired help, and even families who were not very well off had at least one extra helper around the house. When a new baby was born it was also common to send a younger sibling to live with the mom to give her a hand.

The women who did live in isolation, such as the pioneers, often suffered from deep depair. There have been diaries found of new moms suffering from postpartum depression in the 1800s, that illustrate such loneliness.

This isn’t always portrayed in the wonderful stories like Little House on the Prairies or my beloved Pride & Prejudice.

3. If I let someone help me, they will see how truly disorganized and chaotic I am. My cover will be blown.

Well I guess there is some truth to this. You might not be able to fake that you’re handling everything ok.

Since entering the world of mommy-friends, I have NEVER discovered one new mom who doesn’t feel overwhelmed, suffer at least slightly from baby blues, or who has a perfectly clean house.

So loosen up the expectations on yourself! When someone who has been through this experience offers to help you, they truly do want to be a blessing. They know how tough it can be.

I for one hate feeling like I am a burden, but when I am on the other side of the table, wanting to help, I am thrilled to serve. So don’t be the one to stop someone from using their gift of serving! Wave a red flag: “HELP! I’M A NEW MOM!”

If you don’t have any family near you to help out or you aren’t in a church family that has a ministry to new moms, check out this video from Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and see his suggestions for avoiding parental burnout.

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Re-Focus (Part 2)

goalquotes

I hope you had fun thinking about your goals for 2013! There has definitely been lots going on in my mind, it was hard to keep my goals limited. Like I said in my previous post about goals, some areas might naturally have more.

You can read the introductory post here.

Personal Goals

Marriage Goals

  • Stay overnight once this year without BOTH our kids.
  • Go on a date once a month without children.
  • Continue to daily read the Word and pray together.

Mothering/Family Goals

  • Enroll Caleb in a lesson (swimming, music, or something. We’re still deciding).
  • Potty train my toddler.
  • Go on a road trip with both kids.

Ministry/Friendship/Extended Family Goals

  • Continue attending my church Mom’s group (especially during the first few tough weeks with new baby).
  • Plan a play date once a week.

Business/Blogging Goals

  • Continue blogging a couple of times a week during my new baby transition.

Financial Goals

I had forgotten to include that Crystal from MoneySavingMom.com had also had financial goals.

  • Stick with monthly meal planning to help limit my shopping trips and stay on budget.

So now what? We have a list of goals…we need a plan!

What are you going to stay on track? Share your thoughts! I’m going to need some help.

 

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A New Normal

With my husband’s work schedule, our typical Friday’s are a morning “off” together as a family, then he goes to work, comes home for supper and has youth til late into the evening.

The first few weeks I dreaded being alone on Friday evenings, and had a really hard time wrapping my mind around the evenings I would be alone, or the weirdness of having random mornings off together. How would I ever really find a routine?

Well today happened so naturally, I found myself excited for Andrew to come home for supper, for me to put Caleb to bed, and settle in for an evening of doing my own thing. No deep heartache over being by myself. Just good memories from a morning together, and excitement for some alone time.

Some of us are slower adjusting to change than others. This realization today encouraged me that we DO adjust to new circumstances and we can become comfortable in a new normal.

I think back to first having Caleb and wondering whether life would ever feel “normal” even though so much changed. And of course it did. And it will with the next one too.

Your New Normal

I love this quote, but especially this picture because I was a gymnast for eleven years and then a coach for five years. Physically pushing myself to do a new skill was a lot of work, and it often didn’t feel normal for my body, or my mind.

I remember learning to do a front handspring over the vault with a springboard instead of a mini-trampoline. It felt weird to my body, and my mind was completely freaked out. The mini-tramp gave me a lot of momentum, and I basically flew over the vault no problem. The springboard need me to use a lot more of my own power, something I wasn’t sure I had in me. (watch the video below for an example of the front handspring with springboard)

 

 

There were many times I stood at the end of the runway visualizing myself hitting that springboard with all my might, attacking it and flying over the vault. Very soon, this skill became normal and I was able to move on to more complex moves.

Living a life where we are never having to master or attain something new, is really boring. As human beings we are created to grow, change and develop. Each new thing that eventually becomes normal, conditions us for handling whatever comes our way in life.

As you look towards the overwhelming that is to be your “normal”, envision yourself living it successfully and remind the Lord of his promises of strength and peace as you follow him.

“The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.”

Psalm 29:11

 

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Beautifully Tempted

Since my arrival to Pinterest, I have never seen so many enticing photos of perfectly in shape bodies telling me that I only need two weeks to get these abs, or this butt, or those legs.

Being pregnant always makes me extremely unsatisfied with my clothes. I walk through stores and it looks like this year happens to hold the clothes I love the most, that are least flattering to a baby bump.

New make up promises a “flaw-less” finish to my face. I am immediately enticed, yet always seem to look in the mirror and see the same flawed face staring back at me.

When my emotions run wild and I’m discontent, the first thing I want to do is buy something. Anything. A Starbucks, a new purse, new make up, NEW anything.

I’m not meaning to be hard on myself, in fact I know that this is deeply engrained within our female nature. I’d bet almost anything that you have felt the same way too.

This starts back with the very first woman to walk the earth. Eve. When she was in a moment of weakness and the forbidden fruit was presented to her in the garden, notice in this verse what she saw.

The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her.

Genesis 3:6a

Oh it’s so beautiful, it looks so good, it seems delicious! This will definitely improve me! I’ll be wiser, smarter, more desirable and maybe even more lovable.

So she ate the fruit, and consumed all of the lies, death and destruction that it held. Instead of it solving her problems, she experienced insecurity should could have never imagined. 1977395252

What does this tell us about ourselves at women? We are drawn to the beautiful, delicious and appealing. We want to improve ourselves; to look better, be wiser and ultimately gain more acceptance from ourselves, our spouse, even God.

This in itself isn’t wrong. But we can so quickly get sucked into all the consumerist ways of our world if we don’t step back and evaluate our deeper needs in the moment.

I still want to buy new things and definitely hope to improve myself as a person over the years. But this realization has helped me to recognize when I’m being drawn towards something simply because it’s appealing to my desire to fix my insecurities.

The chances of the latest “pin” truly holding the secret to the best abs in 5 days, is pretty unlikely. She may look beautiful and the results seem great, and we may really want to know the wisdom the article is offering. However, slow and steady is usually how results come. Hard work. Things that build character in ourselves, as well as muscle.

Don’t let the enemy hold up the new, beautiful and delicious and measure you against that! You’re confidence comes from the Lord, he will perfect you! These things won’t satisfy and will leave you craving more!

 

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“Teach, and live with purpose.”

While reading in 2nd Timothy 3, I was challenged by three things that Paul said were obvious to the man he was mentoring.

But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance.

2 Timothy 3:10

I was struck by the importance of the three items mentioned in the first sentence.

2 Tim 3

I began asking if I know the answer to these three questions for myself? Do I know them about those who I regard as role models or leaders in my own life?

As a wife, mom and influencer of people, I realized this held a great personal catch phrase, a motivational one liner for myself.

“Teach, and live with purpose.”

If I could keep this in my mind at all times, this would guide my words and actions.

However, before you start living by this little phrase you need to know the answers to the three questions listed above.

What do you teach?

How do you live?

What is your purpose?

I found that each person who impacted me lived out the answer in these areas. They didn’t even have to speak.

Examining my heart and asking God for direction helped me to narrow down some answers for my own life. Here is a concise version of what I came up with. Some of these are very specific to what I believe my message and calling are all about.

teach that all people are loved and valued by God, so much so that he sent his son to die on the cross so we could have salvation for our sins. Jesus Christ then defeated death by rising again and he is now seated in glory and honour in heaven. If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart than you will be saved.

I live to bring glory and honour to the Lord. This is done through consistently seeking His face, reading His word and valuing meeting together with other Christians – I am committed to my church. I endeavour to live a holy and set apart life that puts the Lord FIRST, and then my family. I seek to live a life that is always improving and becoming more like Christ.

My purpose is to impart into others the fact that they are called by God and he has special works for them to do. Each person has a destiny that God desires them to walk in. My purpose is to encourage them to see that the only one holding them back is themselves and that what the enemy means for evil in their life, God can turn for good, and save many people from it.

Identifying what my purpose is helps me to filter my words, actions, and even priorities through it. Knowing that I value encouraging people to walk in their destiny, I will spend my time on encouraging over other ministry opportunities that aren’t in line with that.

I’d love to hear what your purpose in life is! If you don’t know, take time to ask God and he will show you. Often the things closest to your heart reflect what he has given you a message about!

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Re-Focus

run.This is a much overdo post since January is almost over! It has been percolating in my mind as I have thought about goals, vision and “resolutions” for the new year.

Since becoming a stay-at-home-mom, I have found that I need goals more than ever, so that I can see some progress in my daily routine. There are many things to be kept busy with, but they usually are the never-ending type. Rarely do you see something last (especially if its clean clothes, a good meal or a tidy house).

I came across a website a while ago that was started by a christian mom named Crystal. It’s called MoneySavingMom. I would definitely recommend checking it out. One blog post that was particularly helpful to me was her goals for 2013 (read them here).

First I want to say I understand the debate surrounding setting New Year’s resolutions. This is not what I’m talking about. I have three times a year that I refer to as my “Re-Focus” zones, where I evaluate where I’m at with goals, decide where tweaking needs to happen, and usually get a burst of creativity around organization and some times even home decor! These are the three times that come naturally for me:

1. Beginning of a New Year

2. Spring Time 

3. September

So that being said, I am at a natural time in my year for a “Re-Focus”, and that’s what a lot of January has been about for me. You’ll know the times that are best for you.

What I found most inspiring about Crystal’s 25 Goals for 2013, was the areas that she broke them down into.

This isn’t the only time that I set goals, and I often have daily ones (don’t yell, drink coffee, get out of house…just kidding), that motivate me to get stuff crossed off my to-do list, and to make sure I’m purposely enjoying my family.

Here were her five areas of goals:

Personal Goals
Marriage Goals
Mothering Goals
Ministry/Friendship/Extended Family Goals
Business/Blogging Goals

With this being a “new baby” year for us, I’m wanting to keep my goals extremely realistic. I decided that I am going to set ONE goal for each of these, then if an area naturally has more, I can go with it. My husband will be my perspective bringer and will honestly tell me if he thinks they are reasonable. 

I have most of these in my mind already, but I’m going to take a little more time to think and pray about it. Want to join me in setting some goals in these areas? We’ll compare notes in a couple of days!

A verse that encourages me with settling goals and sticking to them is found in Habakkuk 2:2.

Then the Lord answered me and said:

“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.”

Writing down our goals and placing them before us gives us something to run toward, and motivation feels good!

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Why Is It So Hard?

so hardWe were watching a movie where a couple brought home their second baby. In absolutely exhaustion the wife cries and says

“why doesn’t anyone tell you this is going to be so hard?”

The husband replies, “I think they do, but you’re just not listening, or you don’t believe them.”

When we found out we were pregnant for the first time, anything I was told about the challenges seemed covered over by a romantic hue of baby infatuation.

20 months later, and I still am completely overwhelmed at times by just how hard this parenting job is. Maybe it’s entering into my third trimester that has me sensitive. Every situation that happens with my son, I  ask myself how I’d handle it with two kids.

Then I freak myself right out, because I don’t have an answer.

I  didn’t know how much kids got sick, or how isolated you feel when sickness won’t leave, a huge dump of snow comes, followed by a -40 windchill warning.

I didn’t know the depth of loneliness that comes in those times of not making it to church, mom’s group, play dates, or even a date with my husband.

I didn’t know the conflicting emotion that would come from holding your sick baby. I could be so angry at a cough, and so frustrated with a fever, and so overcome with compassion and love for the sniffling kid in the same moment.

I have learned through having one baby that you do figure a lot out as you go. The mountains that seem so big, quickly dissolve when you start sleeping longer than two or three hours at a time.

And the truth is, it is hard because it is hard.

Parenting is going to be the hardest thing I have ever had to follow through on. It’s the hardest thing that I can’t, won’t and don’t ever want to escape. It’s the most exhausting, frustrating and rewarding task I have ever undertaken. It holds the most cliché emotions, and sometimes you wonder if you actually are bi-polar, or schizophrenic or something because why else do I feel SO OUT OF MY MIND RIGHT NOW?

But it’s when I get to this point, that the Lord usually comes through with something big. Like something that really shapes my character, deepens my influence, and rocks my heart.

He said this to me:

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.”

Psalm 9:10

HE WILL NOT ABANDON ME!

Ever.

Not even for a minute.

In the middle of the night when my sick baby is coughing uncontrollably, he’s still there.

When I crawl back into bed, and my unborn baby is flipping out inside me because of all the screaming, and I can’t fall asleep. He’s still there.

It seems so simple, but have you ever got to the point where you need to know God is with you so desperately, that when he tells you he is there always, and that he WILL NOT abandon you, it flows through your heart and out through your mouth like the greatest shout of victory you have ever heard?

That’s where I’m at. I’m exhausted, 6 months pregnant, mom to a boy with a fever and a cough, and I’m scared out of my mind how I’m going to be a good parent to both these kids, a good wife, and a good follower of Christ.

But today all God is asking me to focus on is the true fact that He says:

Heb 13-5

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