I have read a ton over the past couple years, but lately I’ve been listening to audio books more than regular books, and it’s nice to be able to listen while I get other things done.
2. Wearable breast pumps.
This one is super specific, but where I’m at right now. I’m exclusivly pumping for Ollie, we just couldn’t get him to latch without much pain, and my husband and sister convinced me to buy the Willow Go pump, it’s without cords, and has a battery, and it’s been life changing. I can move around the house, pump in the car, jump up to wipe little bums, and am not tied to the couch for 4+ hours a day.
It’s a Bible reading journal, to accompany her Read the Bible in 180 days Plan. It seemed a little overwhelming at first, to read the whole Bible in just 6 months, but I’m 19 days in, and finding it really manageable, and super interesting to read the Bible chronologically. The journal just makes in easy to jot down some takeaways and thoughts from the daily reading, and I think it will be super cool to look back at what I was learning/noticing throughout the whole Bible.
4. Doing my nails.
I haven’t kept up with doing my nails in months, but it’s always been something I enjoyed, helps me feel put together. I put on a sticker manicure this week, and it’s just made me feel elegant. I think I am going to give press on nails another try.
I walked into Old Navy and the sales lady asked if I needed help, and I asked for the most high rise jeans she had. After lamenting to my sister that I now need jeans that go up past my belly button, I have worn them out several times, and they are amazing. They stay put, don’t gape, and I’m not hiking them back up all day long.
6. Playing games with my kids.
They are just starting to be ready to play games, and we are having fun learning go fish and slap jack. Their attention spans last about 3 minutes, but we have a lot of fun!
7. Less toys.
We are moving soon, so I’m slowly packing, and this week I packed up half the kids toys, and it’s been a game changer. There is far less clutter scattered across the house, and the kids don’t seem to even miss them. I think we will downsize, and set up a toy rotation system to help us keep less toys on the floor!
8. Batching food for lunch.
I made a huge batch of quinoa and egg rolls in a bowl on Monday, and it’s been so nice to have it to grab every day. Would love suggestions for other batch meal ideas!
Always behind. Always something to do. Check. Next. Check. Next.
Didn’t get that done. Do it tomorrow.
Should have got it done anyway. Don’t have time.
All I want is to clean the kitchen. But someone has needed me every time I’ve tried to start.
Stressing. Anxious thoughts. Grumpy. Cluttered.
I’m choosing to take a deep breath and step back. Recognizing the season of life I am in. Postpartum, newborn, pumping, toddlers. It’s a lot going on in our house all at once. I’m feeling behind and stressed about housework and getting dinner cooked at a reasonable hour. And I’m struggling with feeling like I’m a bad mom because there is always a pile of laundry waiting for me now, and perpetual dishes in the sink. I’m overwhelmed with the clutter, but also realizing that it’s just toys on the floor, scattered by happy toddlers playing with each other.
This transition from two to three kids has been a lot harder than I anticipated. Hard doesn’t equal bad, and we don’t regret having another baby at all, but it has not been the smooth transition we experienced with the birth of one second child. (Even though the months after that were also tough with PPA.) Our toddlers are go-go-go from the moment they awaken, and I often feel touched out by 8:00am.
This is a work in progress, learning to be a mom of toddlers, while also moving with the pace of a newborns needs.
I’m trying to set some new daily rhythms, figuring out our new schedule, and how to fit the still important to us things, alongside the new important things, like naps and pumping for Ollie.
Some things that are really helping during this overwhelming season are.
1. A clear morning routine. I follow a ritual of journal, Bible reading and writing a to-do and grateful list every single morning and it is very grounding to start the day off this way.
2. Nap time is sacred. We are unavailable from 12:30-2:30 every single day. The kids will be sleeping, and I will be sitting on the couch holding my sleeping baby for at least 45 minutes. I love contact naps, and this is the only time in the day for a few minutes to sit completely still and be calm. I’m giving myself permission to ignore the laundry and dishes for that time while I just hold Ollie.
3. Taking my supplements and getting outside. These two practices have made such a tremendous difference in my life, and they will forever be a priority.)
4. Less screen time. We got through the immediate postpartum healing phase with lots of screens. I was so thankful for that option so that my body could heal, and I could figure out pumping, and now we are working on finding ways to get through the day without needing the screens. It’s taking some times to detox, particularly for the 4 year old. But it’s good for us.
We are moving in just a few weeks, so I think that has also been adding to my overwhelming feelings, but I’m also looking forward to the process of gong through things and simplifying even more.
I am so grateful for the last couple years. I have had to learn a lot about simplicity, and living with less, (our apartment is tiny!) and being comfortable with making changes to adapt to our needs.
What are some things you’re learning or working on this year?
I love to listen to podcasts and audio books. I’m a young mom, and don’t have a lot of friends or social outlets at this point in my life, so I tend to listen to something audio when I need a break from the being-home-alone-with-toddlers-24-7 overwhelm.
I like mom podcasts, and enjoy learning about parenting. Being a mom is hard, and it’s helpful to find resources to work through issues we’re facing with our kids.
So last week I turned on an episode and the ladies commented about how hard shopping is with young kids, and how lucky they are to live in an era of grocery pickup, because they don’t have to live through the struggle with toddlers that their moms did.
Oof. First of all, shopping with toddlers is so hard. I am extremely thankful that pickup orders are possible, it’s so convenient to drive up, pop the trunk and drive home.
BUT. I think avoiding social situations like shopping with young kids is doing them (and yourself) a big disservice. Every outing is a training opportunity and avoiding the hard situations means that your child isn’t going to learn how they are expected to behave in a store, restaurant, or place of business. Instead of learning early, it’s going to be impossible to run errands or shop as they get bigger/louder, because they just didn’t learn how to behave in a social setting. (And the tantrums will get bigger if they’re not addressed and worked through as toddlers.)
All of this is to say:
1. Don’t be afraid to take your kids with you, even when you know it’ll be hard. The work will pay off later when your kiddos are able to be respectful in businesses, and have FUN learning life skills with you! (And don’t worry, shopping is stressful for me too right now, I’m right there with you, there is a 100% chance that either Tori or I will cry in the store or the car on the way home. )
2. Let’s give lots of grace to the mamas in the store/restaurant/church who are dealing with those toddlers meltdown. She’s made the decision to push through the hard and embarrassment of meltdowns and tears to help her kiddo learn how to navigate social situations, and snarky comments/judgmental stares and unsoliced advice are not helpful or edifying in anyway! In fact, having someone tell me “you’re doing great,” or “keep it up, it gets easier!” Is literally something that will brighten my entire day!
There are two vastly different worldviews I regularly see all over social media, and in real life, about motherhood.
The first is “wine mom culture.” You know what I mean, messy hair, messy house, flaunting the less than perfect parts of being a mom, turning everything into jokes and witty captions. There is a touch of realism in this portrayal of motherhood. These people and posts are relatable. They show their life as it is, not hiding away and pretending life is a-ok 100% of the time.
The second view I see the most is the “very religious,” spiritual people talking about how motherhood is a blessed calling. That as Christian mothers, we should never complain to anyone, or show a negative outlook of our life online or in person. A lot of these well meaning Christian people take it a little too far, encouraging fellow moms to personify a bright, flourishing perspective all time, no matter what is actually going on in their lives. That if you’re not talking about how blessed you are, and radiantly shining as a mom, you’re failing as a Christian, because if you’re saved you shouldn’t have struggles, or anxiety.
Both of these views have some merits, but both have some really dangerous flaws.
While wine mom culture is relatable, and it’s nice to find people who are dealing with the same things you are, and it can be hilarious to poke fun at some of those things, using wine to cope in any area of life is dangerous, especially when you’re coupling it with parenting. The “wine mom” label that people are using is really cryptically masking alcoholism. It isn’t just fun and relatable, but covering up deeper issues that need to be addressed off of social media.
I agree 100% with the view that motherhood is a calling and a huge privilege. It isn’t lost on me that I have been given the gift of two sweet babes, when so many can’t have children. I also see the merits of being careful not to complain on social media, and remembering that you are a witness for Christ. However, when taken too far, this is encouraging moms, usually young mamas in the thick of babies and toddlers, to hide the struggle, and just put on a happy face. And I don’t think that is serving anyone.
As a young mom of two toddlers, I have seen and experienced this first hand, and how detrimental it. It encourages mommy judging from those who aren’t struggling currently. And makes those who are going through a tough time feel shame on top of everything else because they don’t see other people dealing with the same exact thing. It often feels like, since we are “Christian,” we’re expected to take that label, but aren’t allowed to admit that we are also human. And that being a human is really hard sometimes. There are stages of life that are truly amazing, and it is easy to be that bright happy witness. And there are stages that are really hard. Whether that is due to life changes, like having a new baby, losing someone you love, or struggles in your marriage, or spiritual drought or warfare.
I really think that as Christian moms, we should be able to normalize admitting to struggling within motherhood, and life in general. We should be able to reach out to those around us for encourgment, and help, without judgement for feeling overwhelmed.
My perspective on this has slowly evolved over the past couple years, as I have had my kiddos, and experienced postpartum twice now.
After Victoria was born, I spiraled into postpartum anxiety, without even know what that was, and it was a really dark time in my life. I had a perfect birth, but still ended up with tearing and stitches, and when my husband had to go back to work just 4 days after I had her, I was in a really rough place. I was trying to take care of everyone, but wasn’t nearly recovered myself. I was having trouble with breastfeeding. Victoria had a severe tongue tie, and she was getting horrible blisters on her lips from just trying to eat. (It took 9 weeks to be able to get in to have her tie fixed.) And then just a few short weeks after she was born, Victoria was diagnosed with a cataract, sending her into surgery as a newborn, and resulting into a host of vision appointments that continue to this day. Just two weeks after her eye surgery, she had another surgery to deal with her tongue tie.
Both of those surgery’s had after care that had to be done 4+ times a day, and that naturally fell to me. I am so grateful we were able to have those done, so that she has vision, and was able to eat without getting sores on her lips. But It feels like I missed her newborn stage, because I was so busy trying to take care of her and everyone else, that I couldn’t even sit down to enjoy my baby.
It was so much for me to handle, and I started to spiral into PPA. There were so many ways it presented, but one of the things I remember clearly, was putting my kids into the car one night, and having to drive with my hand reaching back to feel my baby’s cheek, because I couldn’t see her in my mirror in the darkness, and my brain was terrified that I had left her at home. (It doesn’t make sense, but that is what anxiety is like. This is just one example of how the anxiety was affecting my life.) It presents as rage, and there were times I sat down and wondered why on earth I was screaming at my toddler over his shoes on the floor. It was such a little thing, so why was I so angry? I have always loved a clean house, but I started compulsively cleaning, and thus began the vacuuming 3+ times a day.
This is all to say, it was a really hard time. And I’m finally coming out of that darkness, thanks to time, and finding some supplements and exercise that have helped tremendously. But I’m realizing that it isn’t normal or necessary to hide the struggles away, and pretend everything is okay. We should be able to talk about real life, and support the other moms in our lives.
So while I’m not condoning complaining, or whining about everything you don’t like in your life, I am suggesting that we start to be more real with each other. Motherhood is hard sometimes, but it’s easier when you can find those people who will brace you up and encourage you no matter what!