Friday, October 25, 2013

six things to avoid saying/asking to a new mom {and our upcoming family of four}

I've been recalling a lot of old memories of having a newborn lately.  In part because a billion women I know are popping them out left and right, but also in part because I decided to join them. 
We're expecting our second baby this coming May!

In honor of this exciting news, I'd like to give you a slightly sarcastic, possibly too blunt list of things new moms don't want to hear or be asked.

  1. Is he sleeping ok?
    Um, no, he's a newborn.  He's up every couple hours and we're both exhausted, but thanks for reminding me.  Instead consider asking how long his stretches of sleep are and then encourage the mom that it is a great number no matter what it is.
  2. Is he a good baby?
    What does that even mean?  If he's not good does that mean he's bad?  Does God make bad babies?  If I answer no, will you go trade him out for a good one?  I hear you only have 90 days with a gift receipt.  How about commenting about how calm and sweet he is being and if you could come over again another day and take him for a walk (then you can judge for yourself if he's a good baby.)
  3. You look tired.  Are you getting enough sleep?
    No, I'm probably not.  I have a newborn, remember?  You're welcome to come hold my sweet kid for a couple of hours while I take a nap.  Except no mom will come out and say that, so you should offer to do it.  And don't be vague and ask about coming over sometime...ask if you can come over tomorrow at 2pm.
  4. Enjoy this time, they grow up so fast, they'll be in college before you know it.
    I'm 100% sure you are right.  But right now these past 2 hours have been exhausting and he doesn't look any bigger and he's been crying for 30 minutes.  It's ok if I occasionally wish him a little older.  Maybe you should recall to yourself how it feels like yesterday that your kids were this little and you remember how it can sometimes feel like the days drag on forever.
  5. You just wait until he starts doing this or that, it is so much funnier/cuter/better than what he is doing now. 
    Ok, so maybe you don't say it quite like that, but that's how we hear it.  Be nice, our hormones are wacky and we're still not confident we're not screwing it up.  Instead try to be in the moment with me.  I haven't experienced a messy blowout yet, so let me tell my story without you one-upping me about the bigger and better blowout your child once had.  Make me feel like my kid is the coolest thing since sliced bread.
  6. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help you.
    Look, I'm not going to do that.  Not only am I exhausted and barely hanging on for dear life, I would also feel rude and weird calling you up to ask you to come load my dishwasher.  Please just take the initiative (if your offer was serious) and do it.  Call ME and ask if now would be an ok time to come vacuum.  We'd love to just answer the phone and say, yes, now would be a good time, thank you!
I could probably keep going.  And I kind of wish I could keep going for at least four more to have nice round list of ten, but six will have to do for now.  And it should be noted that I'm totally guilty of some of these myself, but it's a good reminder for all of us.  Being a mom is hard.  Living on little sleep is the worst.  Hopefully you enjoyed it and were reminded a little too.  

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm Still Here {guest post}

My sweet friend, Hannah, has agreed to share a recent post of hers with us today! 
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

I've decided to stop referring to myself as any form of “Mother” in the third person. I have a bad habit of doing this on most social media platforms. I’ll say, “mommy needs a nap…” Or “mommy break time!”… as if it’s some self-awarded, term of endearment. 

What I’ve realized is that, for myself and my particular genetic makeup, this is no affectionate, endearing team. You see, I’ve lost myself while in the third person. It’s inevitable that I’ll call myself “mommy” or “momma” while speaking to my children… (Mommy said NO, Samuel. Etc) but I certainly do not have to call myself “mother” TO myself or the world at large. 

Yes, I am a mother. Just as I am a wife and a friend and a daughter. But this is not all that I am. I am me. My name is Hannah. There are many, MANY attributes that make me who God created 26 years ago. 

The other afternoon, after sorting through unpacked boxes from our recent move from central Georgia to the Savannah coast, I found my old piano books. One book in particular I remember playing from every Christmas since about the age of 16. I flipped to my favorite piece inside and scooted the bench closer to the pedals. In the next few minutes, I played the song from beginning to end. I shocked and amazed myself—and somewhere deep inside, I proved SOMETHING to my inner being that simply had been waiting impatient and expectant for quite some time. 

Now, as I played this piece, keep in mind and picture, if you will, that I had a 23 month old banging on the keys beside me the whole time. But it didn’t deter me from completing the piece with all the emotions required, all the notes needing playing and all the dynamics being monitored. 

When I was to the end, I started crying. 

It’s easy to lose yourself in motherhood. It’s easy to go through the motions of breast feeding, changing diapers, doing laundry, fighting picky toddlers, soothing crocodile tears, calming colicky babies, and then getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep in one night. It’s easy to get in a rut. In a scheduled routine of wake up, play house, go to bed. 

But I’ve decided to stop the mundane madness. I am still me. I posted a picture on Instagram earlier with a comment of “Nap times mean a reading and coffee break for mommy”… I immediately felt this twinge of regret and heartache inside and deleted the comment. I changed it instead to: nap times mean a reading and coffee break for Hannah! 
Because the facts remain that although, yes, I am a mother to two wonderful boys, I am also the same young girl who loved to write and dreamed of impacting the world with her strength and passion found in Christ. Although I am a mother and wife, I am still the same young lady who wrote songs and lyrics, longing to make that human connection with crowds of people—even if in a lowly coffee house on a college campus. 

I still have tremendous dreams. I still contain passions yet to be tapped into. My mask may seem dull… Changing diapers, bathing bottoms, and serving meals… But behind my disguise is Hannah. I’m still here.
If you want to read more of Hannah's post, check out her blog:

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Over the past week I've been trying to figure out if I want to write about the instincts a mom has when her baby is sick, but as this week has progressed and I have gotten more and more cranky, I realized I'd rather talk to you about community.

For those of you who work outside the home, this probably doesn't pertain to you.  However for those of us who stay at home day after day, week after week, the job of caring for our children can get really lonely.

During Sam's first year of life, I didn't really have any "mommy friends" to hang out with.  Sometimes I even wondered to myself, am I really the only one going through this right now?  Where is everyone else!?

And then, at the turn of his first year, I noticed something started to change.  I had a (now) friend reach out to me at church, pointing out that we had a mutual friend (who is an absolute awesome person) so I knew she must be legit.  A few months later I got invited to go to the park with some babies and mamas...and I went...and made small talk...and felt slightly awkward, but I noticed my mood began to change.  I was starting to enjoy my days a little more.  The fog of winter wasn't so bad when there were other moms with which to navigate through the fog.

I went to a graduation party for a (now) friend who I really didn't know all that well at the time, but I thought, if I want to have friends, I need to put some effort into it.  I'm not a recluse, I have friends, but there's something about walking through life with people who know basically exactly what you're going through that makes it easier to handle.  I brought my friend a congratulations card with Justin Bieber on it.  I wanted to be light-hearted and I love it even more because I have fun teasing my Canadian friend, so it only seems appropriate that I should give her a card clad with a Canadian born pop star!

So how does this all tie in with mama-instincts about sick children?
 My son started running a fever on Sunday night and now four days later, he's finally fever free.  However, for the four days that we have been quarantined in our house, I've had flashbacks to those lonely days before we actually got out of the house to do things!  I've been irritable and unhappy and I'm realizing it's directly related to being cooped up!

three little buddies, filthy dirty and having fun while their mamas have fun too
If there's something I'd like to pass on as helpful mommy advice it's this:  get in community.  Find other moms who you can spend time with who have children with similar ages.  It's an awesome feeling to sit on a park bench and have adult conversation with someone while your kid happily plays with his friend.

***I feel like I should add a disclaimer to this blog post.  There are many other good friends that the Lord has placed in my life along with their children, but to make my point, I thought I should keep it short and sweet.  God is good all the time.  And I'm very thankful to have a fever free child so we can get out and play tomorrow!