Fighting Overwhelm When Life is Crazy

Four is the number of children. Not the perfect number (unless that’s what you have, of course), not the number to aim for, not the number because it’s “even.” Four is the number when people start counting your kids when you go in public. I always wonder if those people think they are being subtle because I can almost see them moving their finger from head to head as their mouths drop open. And then they ask, “And that baby is a boy too, isn’t he??”

Yup. Four. All boys. Yes, they are all mine. No, you don’t need to feel sorry for me.

Of course, there’s a certain amount of crazy you sign up for when you have four small kids. It can be crazy when four small children all need something at the same time and you’d be surprised how often they all need something at the same time.

6 Reasons Why I Sleep Train

I’m a fairly relaxed sleep-trainer. We need to be flexible because of our lifestyle; we will not be home every single night at 8:30 to put the baby in his bed. (You need to know why you are sleeping training and what results you want to be successful at this. Don’t just adopt someone else’s plan.) I want to have a consistent nap routine and bedtime and to be able to put him in bed awake and him go to sleep on his own.

This is not a how-to post. There are tons of great resources on sleep training that you can Google. You can even take my favorite method: read a bunch of different stuff on it and cobble together something that works for you. This is a WHY post. I want to share why I sleep train and why that makes a difference for our family. Our home needs to work for everyone and this is one of the ways we’ve made that happen.

(And, as always, if you don’t sleep train, feel free to click away and go on with your life. No judgment here. This is what works for us.)

Stop Telling Yourself You’re Tired (even if you are)

I wake up tired and go to bed tired these days. That’s life with a newborn.

At least that’s what it easy to tell myself.

Now don’t get me wrong; that is life with a newborn. But not just life with a newborn. That’s life with a job with a crazy schedule. Or life when you’re ill. Or pregnant. Or caring for a sick child or parent.

My real problems- not the exhaustion- start when I think I’m the only one. When I think I have it worse than anyone in the world.

That is my go-to reaction when I’m tired: self-pity. I’ve learned to constantly reframe what I’m thinking. There are a lot of people that are tired. For most of us, it’s a season and we will one day get more sleep.

Mamas Are the Magic Makers

I cut the slices of banana bread, trying not to drop any crumbs on the head of the wrapped baby that’s nestled under my chin. I take a moment to kiss his head before the two-year-old helps me fill the plastic minion cup with water. Playgrounds are thirsty places. I break up fights, shove my phone into my pocket, and slide on my flip-flops before locking the door behind us.

Those walks to the playground happen early, before we even sit down for breakfast. These are 90 degrees days and we are trying to slip out and back in before it hits the mid 80s. We look at leaves with purple edges and watch birds of prey circling around the edges of the treetops. We investigate a dead stink bug and throw sticks across the fence. We deal with bad attitudes while we climb across the playsets.

These can seem like bleak times. We are surrounded, inundated if we choose to be, by news of genocide and terrorism and hatred. We can turn on the tv or log onto twitter and see so many things that are wrong with the world. Even our own personal lives, blessed though they may be, can be overwhelming and discouraging as we plow through times of hardship and struggle.

How to Speak Truth over Your Laundry + a playlist

Last week I found myself drowning in laundry: piles to fold, piles to wash, more in the washer and dryer. There were children constantly needing correction (for the same thing as the day before!), dinner to make, and oh look, the rug needed vacuumed again. That’s when I decided there was no point and I might as well not even bother. It wouldn’t matter if no one ever cleaned our floors again, right?

It’s not that anything big was wrong. I was just tired and being tired makes me more easily discouraged.

Side note here- I know in these situations that I’m just tired and nothing’s really wrong because when I wake up feeling rested I’m sure I could take on the world. Diagnose the problem: it’s not that life is bad; it’s that I’m tired.

How to Get to Church with Small Children

No doubt that mamas of littles need the spiritual food and adult companionship that can be found in attending a good church. But sometimes getting there can be so hard, especially if you ever have to go by yourself with the children. Today I’m going to share a few ways that I make this process easier at our house. (And, as always, this is one woman’s story; there are other ways.)

1. Go to bed earlier to get up earlier. Please don’t just try to get up earlier unless you want to embarrass yourself snoring during church. Or doing that whole drop-head-jerk-it-back-up thing. Stop whatever you are doing and put yourself in bed as soon as possible. Then get up and give yourself a few precious minutes alone (or if your kids pop up when you do, at least you have a few extra minutes to snuggle and love on them).

That New Baby Life: What I’m Enjoying Now

Luke is almost three weeks old now! In some ways it feels like he’s always been here and then I realize it’s only been a handful of days. Here are a few things that I’m enjoying in this postpartum season.

Reading

Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan: This book is one of my favorites that I picked back up the night before I had Luke and I’ve been reading and praying through it since then.

Summer to Thrive Guide by Jess Connolly: Really, our big summer goal is to adjust to our new rhythm with another baby. The guide is an excellent place to start if summer leaves you flailing. (It is the freebie you get if you sign up for her newsletter and it’s a good one on its own.)

Ephesians 4-6 printed out from Bible Study Tools: I printed mine at 50% scale to leave the awesome margin space for notes. I stuck these papers on a clipboard and it’s super easy to read and take notes now while I’m feeding the baby. Ever tried to write in your Bible with just one hand? Not a good idea.