You know the feeling you get when you realize, wow, they DO make chocolate covered rice crispy treats, or dental floss on a pick??? Those wonderful I-found-it feelings are sort of to how I feel getting all this good advice. It’s like my new Bible verses to memorize, only not quite. I think I will probably print off a few I love to put in the places I see most often, like Sam’s forehead and the refrigerator. I hope that you read and enjoy all of these as much as I do. They’re gems. But first, the winner. I knew the winner the minute I read it, and days after. It did everything good writing should – it made me cry, it made me grateful (to be a mom) and it made me inspired (to be a better one). Congratulations, Kelly. You are a wonderful mom. Maybe you should revive “Baby in Mars” to share more of your wisdom 🙂
“Jessie….After much thought I’ve come up with an answer to your blog question: PHOTOS: Sounds simple…. But taking pictures of Josephine has been a big part of what keeps me going. Photos help me in the moment ( while I’m taking them ) and also later on when I look back at her as she has grown. Still to this day I can’t look at the picture of me with tears in my eyes and my 1 minute old baby on my chest without getting choked up. I don’t consider myself an overly emotional person. But looking at that picture brings me back to that moment….the happiest and proudest moment of my life. It makes me appreciate the fact that God has blessed me with an amazing gift to take care of here on earth. How lucky I am to have that beautiful healthy baby. Taking pictures helped me when at 2 weeks postpartum, Nick was going back to work and Mom was leaving….it was just me…and her. All day, all night. I think the minute Mom walked out the door I just grabbed my camera and started taking pictures of Josephine to keep myself from losing it. Distraction works. Taking pictures distracted me from the fact that I had a baby who didn’t sleep more then 5 hours in a row until she was 5 months old. It gave me something fun to do and when I was frustrated and tired and didn’t know why she was still crying. Looking at those pictures helped me. It made me happy. As she got older looking back at her pictures made me want to live in, and really appreciate the here and now with her. Because in a couple days, a week, or a month or so….she would be totally different. Josephine will never be a newborn again. She will never be 1 month, or 6 months again. Pictures make me sit down and say to myself….enjoy that little girl because soon you will be picking out her outfit for the first day of school. So on good and bad days, since she was born and up until this point….pictures have helped me immensely. I never thought I’d say that the one baby item I couldn’t live without would be my camera….But turns out it is. Love, Kelly.”
Here are more responses. I was very tempted to pick a 2nd and 3rd place, but then there were a few more that were so good, and a few more worth reading…I couldn’t choose! Hope you think so, too.
From Sylvia: “Hi Jessica, here is the best advice I have EVER received—Do the next thing. For example, on the mornings that by breakfast I am overwhelmed thinking about getting to morning nap as well as lunch, afternoon nap, the rest of the week, 3 months from now, and when my youngest leaves for college, I try to refocus and DO and THINK about the next thing—getting the cheerios off the floor before Annabelle drops them all down the air vent. By the time I finish with that task Marcus has brought me a book—I try to DO and THINK about reading to him. I sometimes say out loud, “What is the next thing?”. You see what I am saying? Nothing super spiritual. However, Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow and my tomorrow is often 10 minutes from now. Now, can I say that I have completely achieved this doing the next thing–no, because my children are 3 and 1, I am 7 months pregnant and hormonal, and I am a sinner. I am trying my best to allow the Holy Spirit to retrain my thinking to be more focused on doing well what is at hand. I think there should have been a comma somewhere is that sentence but I am not sure where. I have really poor grammar skills. I hope that you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!”
From Emily: “3 things: 1. Do what is best for you/your child. This may go against all logic, all experts, all your friends, your mom, your MIL, the books, etc. I was a basket case in the early days because (among other things), I felt pressure to conform to what worked for everyone else. And I failed. Babies/kids are weird and we had to figure it out OUR way. And I reckon it will be this way for as long as we’re parents – trying to figure something out. We’ll want to see input from others, but ultimately, we need to be confident about the way we raise our kids. 2. Antidepressants are sometimes necessary. 3. Develop special rules with your spouse when it comes to communicating during stressful baby/child situations. I could strangle Ben when he did something as innocent as ask “where are the keys” during A’s screaming fits. The rule now: don’t try to talk over screaming. WAIT.”
From Tabitha: To me raising children is kind of like labor. During and after labor all you can think about is how much pain you were in, how difficult it was, the sleeplessness, the pushing, not eating, the baby not cooperating…all of these things are so important at that very moment, but with each passing day they become more and more insignificant. Until eventually one day you wake up and think, that wasn’t so bad, I could do it again! The daily trials of mommyhood are the very same. The sleepless nights, teething, the tantrums, picky eaters, the potty training, the near death experiences:) All of it seems so important at the moment, but with each passing day I think more and more… that wasn’t so bad! Motherhood is a process to me, and it gets better every day. My sister-in-law told me something when Coen was three months old when I was really emotional about him getting older too fast that has really stuck with me. She said she used to get that way too (she had two at the time, now 3), but each age brings new adventure, and there’s something to love about your kids at every age. So i try to think of it this way- In the midst of all the chaos that my days are often filled with, there are lots of giggles, hugs, and kisses in the in between that make me grateful. Because when I’m old and gray, and my kids have grown up and are living their lives, I’ll have the giggles, hugs, and kisses, and everything else won’t seem that bad!
From Tina: On days when Dani (2)is in overdrive, Collin (1)is teething, Collin’s little brother (due in September)is in there partying like its New Years Eve, Brian is out of town working, the house is a mess, the laundry isn’t done, the dogs won’t stop barking, and every other one of Murphy’s Laws is in full affect I stop and remember that out of every mother that has ever lived and will ever live God decided that little old me is the mother He custom designed for my family. Realizing that He believes in me like that helps me to believe in myself.
From Lauren: “Well I’m not a veteran mom or anything, and most of my advice has to do with caring for multiples (if you need to know how to nurse 2 babies at once, I’m your girl!)BUT I would say that when things get hairy, Jeff & I constantly say to each other “you gotta laugh or you’ll cry!” A sense of humor has really helped us – and just having the right attitude. I can choose to have a quiet time before I start my day with my boys, and I can choose to stay calm and laugh or freak out and cry. Sometimes that’s HARD to do but I’m learning every day… and every day we enjoy our twins more & more! Putting things in perspective helps too – I know there are those who can’t have children who would kill to have a crazy day with 2 babies… and watching a good TV show about triplets, quads, or quints always makes my life seem blissful. ha!”
From Jenny: “My mommy advice is whenever i am getting frustrated with jack or im tired or cranky i just tickle him- as silly as it sounds you can not stay stressed mad tired cranky or whatever with your little boy giggling :)”
From Aunt Rebecca: When I think back on those seemingly never ending, exauhasting days of child rearing , priorotizing if I recall, was one of my most helpful coping mechanisms. As an “empty-nester” let me remind you how short life is and how very quickly your children grow up. Choose wisely what you do with your time and consider the effects it will have on you and your family. For example: Which is more important a homecooked meal or a clean kitchen?
I can tell you from my experience that they don’t usually happen on the same day, so opt for the homecooked meal. The dishes can wait your families health can not! Oh, and by the way, no matter what you’ve previously been told, “Hamburger Helper”, is not a homecooked meal. Ok, let’s look at another common scenario and see what kind of choice we should make here. Things have been crazy. You and your children are feeling frazzled. Do I, A: Give the children a bath tonight? or B: Simply wipe their faces, put on some clean pajamas and spend a little extra time reading their favorite books? Well let me answer this with a story about my own mothers’ childhood. Mom was a farm girl, from the little town of Arapaho Nebraska. The whole family worked long hard hours on the farm and , I am assuming, got pretty dirty. They took a bath once a week and all seven siblings shared the same bath water! Everyone survived. So,…. back to your dilemma. I say, get a nice warm face cloth, gently wipe their sweet little faces, put on clean pajamas, (if there are any), and spend that extra time reading. Now some of you may be murmuring under your breath, “Really ,Rebecca, might this just be a clever way of justifying your constant struggle with procrastination?” Well, umm……yes, I suppose you could say,….. alright, alright, often times that was my reasoning. However I have no regrets about the times when I should have been wiping, washing, sweeping dusting, fussing, fumming, and running here and there, and chose to take a walk with my children instead.
From Melissa: ” I have no clue what I do in those stressful times 🙂 It is challenging for me at times as I am often trying to cook dinner while my toddler is going through cabinets and wanting to eat too or wanting to be held. One day it took me a span of 2.5 hours to cook a meal thar should have taken 30 minutes. Somehow I just kept going. I stopped when I had to to feed M and bathe her and get to bed and then finished. How I didn’t give up and throw something I am not sure. Then I decided not to even cook dinner until after M was in bed. So sometimes I eat late. Then some days my dogs are really bad on top of all of this. What do I do to keep going strong? I wish I knew. It is all worth it. I get the sweetest hugs and smiles. If M wants to read 15 books, I do it. We talk and sing a lot. That’s the good stuff. I’m fortunate that M has been a happy baby that likes her sleep. I do make sure to have “me” time every night. Mostly its just watching a show and too often eating icecream. But I feel guilty I’m not cleaning or something else. So, I have no answers. Maybe I do but just don’t know how to articulate it. But Id like to hear advice because I think I will need clear tips if we are blessed with another little one because that will take everything to a whole new level!”
From Sheila: What gets me though are the moments before and in-between the exhaustion… the arms wrapped around my neck when I pick him up in the morning all the way down the stairs…the sloppy kisses and belly laughs and games of hide and seek… When I’m in the moment of ‘tired suck’ there is no magic thing that helps… but thinking of the good stuff keeps me slightly sane:)
From Megan: For me, my sanity rests primarily in knowing that God is in control, that he loves my son more than I can (so I can relax) and that he loves ME more than I know! I try to keep verses that remind me of this not only on my mirror, but in the places Caspian frustrates me the most- Above his changing table, on his high chair and on the bookcase (which is OFF LIMITS!).
Also…I really like to know in those moments that I’m working toward something specific with my son. I thought this might answer a question you had a while back too, about what activities you can do with your kids. My sister did a blog post (theblessedcountrymom.blogspot.com) about what she did with her son this week. She is putting him through ‘tot school’. Its a blog site where moms with different aged children post what they’re doing with their kids. This really helps me, who can be creative but not for long~! LOL. It’s nice to see what other moms are doing for their kids and use their ideas. Check it out!