Dear Stay-at-Home Moms of Little Ones…

Dear Stay-at-Home Moms of Little Ones,

There is a specific moment I can clearly remember from just a few short years ago. It happened on a late fall day that was quite ordinary for me at the time. There was nothing especially new or different going on.  My oldest son was in afternoon kindergarten and I sent him out to our driveway to wait for the bus. I was standing in our front doorway to keep watch as I was unable to actually walk him out that particular day. You see, I had a LOT going on at the moment. I remember holding a baby in each arm, both fussing loudly to be nursed and me trying to hold them off until their big brother was on the bus. My second oldest was in our upstairs bathroom yelling, “Mom, you need to come up and wipe me!” Oh yeah, and then there was my daughter,  2 at the time, who had spilled something all over the floor while this was playing out. Not a fun or really endearing moment, but one that I have held on to these past years.

Now you may wonder, whoa, why would this lady remember such a moment? A normal person may try to blank that one out! I can recall it so clearly because as it was happening, I was thinking to myself, “You need to remember this. It is not going to be like this forever. Someday you may actually look back and be able to laugh at it.”  Believe me, at the time I was NOT laughing at all. In fact, I’m sure I really was on the verge of tears and praying just to make it to nap time.

So, dear Moms of little ones, particularly those of you who are home with your babies, I can tell you that I’ve been there. I’ve been in your shoes at one time and wore those shoes for a number of years. Whether you know me personally, have read my blog for awhile, or just stumbled upon this article in a search, I have some things I want to share with you all. I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on anything, but these are just some things I wish someone had told ME while I was in the thick of it. I know I really looked up to Moms who were in the stage ahead of me and really appreciated any wisdom they had to impart. I still do! So hopefully you read this and take something away from it, even if it’s just a spark of encouragement. (Warning: It may read like a list, but these are just little tidbits that randomly came to mind when I pictured all of you sweet Mamas.You may agree or not agree with some of them, but hey, some of these are just taken from my humble experience. Also, I can assure you that I certainly did not excel at all of these as a young Mom!)

-Enjoy each snuggle, toothless grin, and sweet moment. Treasure them. Each one is a gift.

-Live within your means. Be content with what you have and don’t complain about what you can’t afford.

Me with my 2nd born, Andrew.
Me with my 2nd born, Andrew.

-Don’t compare yourself with other Moms. On that same note, don’t compare your children with other children either.

-Don’t feel pressured to go out and get a job so you can “be something other than a Mom” Being a great Mom is a big enough job.

-Respect your husband and don’t be a nag!

-Exercise regularly as much as you can. Drink plenty of water.

-Don’t ignore your own health.

-Keep your kids on a schedule. Everyone typically functions better that way:)

Our only girl!
Our only girl!

-Don’t feel pressured to hop on the bandwagon with some parenting trends. Examine each one and pray about what is best for YOUR family.

-Don’t judge other Moms who do things differently than you do.

-Don’t make sweats your everyday outfit. If you make an attempt to dress cute, you will likely feel more confident and motivated. (PS-I’m sure your husband will appreciate it too.)

-Take advantage of nap time, whether it’s to catch a quick cat nap, drink coffee with your feet up while watching Netflix, or to give the house a once-over. Nap time was always golden to me!!

-Find a good balance of being home and doing activities that are outside the home.

-Make time for a hobby that interests you. Sometimes doing a little something fun that puts an extra pep in your step helps keep ya sane!

Our oldest, Daniel, as a toddler.
Our oldest, Daniel, as a toddler.

-Get the kids outside (and yourself too!) on a daily basis. Fresh air and sunshine does wonders.

-Pray for your husband and children. Spend time in the Word regularly, even if it’s a really quick devotional.

-Pray with your husband and children as well.

-Get away from your kids once in a while. Whether Daddy keeps watch or you drop them at Grandma’s, a little time alone or away from littles is not something to feel guilty about. Enjoy it.

-Don’t feel pressured to sign your kids up for activities and sports too early.

-Carve out some time to be alone with your man, even if it’s after the kids are in bed.

The youngest two, Joseph and Joshua, in the arms of their Dad.
The youngest two, Joseph and Joshua, in the arms of their Dad.

 

-To go with the above statement….Your hubs still finds you beautiful, even though you’ve birthed some babies. You may not think so, but he does. Mine told me he thought I looked “pretty cute” and made bedroom eyes at me on the way home after having our twins! I was like, “For real dude?” Yup, he was serious.

-Don’t attempt to have a perfect house. I hate to burst your bubble, but it ain’t going to happen. No one does, at least for longer then like 5 minutes.

-On the same note, I personally feel better when mine is regularly picked up and at least passably clean. I know it seems like a never-ending cycle, but don’t let it get too far out of control.

-Don’t let your little ones turn into mini dictators. You are the parent, not them.

-Don’t spend too much time on the computer or phone, especially when they are awake. On the same note, don’t let them spend too much time on electronics either.

-Strive to be kind, courteous, respectful, and generous. Some things are caught, not taught.

-Read to your babies.

The whole crew back in the day.
The whole crew back in the day.
Our quiver full of blessings. Love them to pieces.
Our quiver full of blessings. Love them to pieces.

-Don’t overindulge. They really don’t need 50 bazillion toys to make them happy.

-Learn to be a planner. Being at least semi-organized makes a world of difference and makes your home a calmer place.

And last but not least…….

-Teach them about Jesus.  Live out your faith.

Whew! I know that was an exhaustive list, and I’m sure I could add about 50 more things to it if I wanted to. Hopefully you took something away from this and know that it was written with good intentions. As I mentioned previously, I certainly didn’t do great at ALL these things. Some were lessons learned along the way and some I’m still learning as I go. I hope you feel encouraged in your parenting and know that you will one day be able to look back and maybe chuckle at some of the crazy moments you had. You are doing just fine. I totally respect and affirm your decision to be home for your little ones. They are well worth it. Know that I am praying for you all as you love on those babies God has entrusted you with.

Rock on Mama.

 

 

My Life Verse for 2015

I have some exciting news!

Well, it may not be that exciting for you, but it definitely is for me.

I found my personal verse for 2015. It just about jumped off the page of my Bible at me yesterday as I was actually reading over a passage on the opposite page.

b40b59fc48510b833e329a7a4b905d2c

Last year I didn’t really have one verse that I focused on.

I’ve had ones in years past, and once I had the same verse for 2 years in a row. (1 Timothy 6:6, look it up!)

This particular verse from Colossians is one that I’ve always liked and had memorized a long time ago. I even have had it written on a note card and stuck in my Bible along with some others that I’ve accumulated over the past few years. At the end of 2014 I had been praying to find one verse that really spoke to me to focus on for this year.

A good one, isn’t it?

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  -Colossians 3:23

To me this means that I need to try my absolute best at whatever jobs the Lord has given me. No half-hearted stuff. Do it with passion and give it 100%. Don’t get caught up in being busy with so many “good things” that I am not doing my best at any of them.

Do it for God, not for man’s approval. Because really, that’s what matters anyway, isn’t it? I’d much rather please God than worry about what so-and-so thinks of me.

Honestly, I think I’ve gotten slightly better at not caring what others think, especially as I’ve progressed well into my 30’s. I think I know more about who I am, what I believe, and what I do or don’t stand for. I’m definitely more confident in who I am than I was maybe 10 or 15 years ago. No longer am I the meek, mild doormat that I probably was at one point.

Even my husband told me recently, “You know, you’re a lot more aggressive than you were when we met.”I was like, “Is that a good thing or a bad thing??” He assured me that it was a good thing.

Well, as long as I am pleasing to my Maker, then I am doing okay.

Pray for me this year as I try to live out this verse. I know I will likely stumble along the way, but I know my God gives me grace every day.

Blessings to you this 2015!

—Rachel