Dear Mama Who Feels Mediocre

A lovely reader emailed me and when I got to this part I about choked laughing/trying not to cry since it had been a hard day and I wanted to send everyone to bed at four in the afternoon.

I’ve read that you say you don’t have it all together, and no one really does, but have you always excelled in homemaking or meal planning or time management? Or, if you don’t mind, what’s an example or “outline” of ways you’ve grown a lot in an area that you felt you weren’t successful in? 

It feels like pretty much everything I do is mediocre when I desperately want to be confident, poised, and capable in life.

Dear Mama Who Feels Mediocre,

We never arrive. I know it’s easy to say and harder to believe. Anytime I think I get a handle on something, I move on to something else. Once I do that a few times, I drop the ball on that first thing and have to start all over there again. But not as quite back as far as I was at the beginning. I’ve learned a little better. It’s easier to swing back in the routine. The more and more I do that, the more I realize that life is a cycle and I’ll constantly be throwing the balls back up into the juggle.

Mixed Emotions: Anticipating a New Baby

I’m finally thrilled to meet this baby. Not that there wasn’t always an element of thrill but it was masked in a lot of other things: shock, concern, busyness, for starters. Now I sit and watch this baby roll around, seeing his movements through my belly, and I can’t wait to hold him in my arms. In 10 weeks, give or take, Luke’s going to be kissable. My boys will finally see the little brother they’ve been waiting on. I’ll watch my beloved become a daddy all over again.

There’s also a good amount of apprehension with the excitement. That breath-catches-in-my-throat moment when I realize I’m going to be in labor again. My body is going to contract and agonize in order to bring this baby out to be kissed and there’s no getting around it. I’ll face those moments in the delivery room when I’m not sure that I can keep going and yet realize that I have no choice. There’s no other way but through.

4 Obstacles to Mothering Well + A New Project

One of my frustrations of the current women’s movements is the dismissal of motherhood. Every endeavor that a woman could embark on is applauded as noble and worthy and she is capable of rising to the challenges. At least until the challenge is this small person who needs love and direction; suddenly that challenge is beneath her. A friend even showed me an article last week that stated it should be illegal for mothers to stay home with their children because they could be contributing to society. As if mothers- that are really mothering- aren’t contributing to society.

Motherhood is often not seen as a worthy endeavor. One of the reasons for this is how mamas act. We don’t treat it like it’s worthy. Then, not only do other people not think it’s worthy, but that viewpoint is never challenged by what they see. What they observe affirms their mindset and they never budge from that.

Misery Is Not Your Destiny: Tips for Thriving as a Mama

Last week I read the most depressing piece on motherhood I’ve ever been exposed to. I was sad and a little angry and I sent it to a friend who assured me that was how motherhood was often represented in our culture. This thought has since been validated by a handful of friends and I want to state that motherhood is not the time to give up on life until your kids are older. I’m not going to link to the post because, honestly, I have nothing but compassion for the woman who wrote it. I’d like to come along beside her and encourage her. But in the interest of soon-to-be mamas and new mamas, I’d like to say that motherhood can be creative and fulfilling.

That’s not to say that motherhood can’t also be hard. But hard and bad aren’t the same thing. There are days when the kids fuss, you are sick, the kids are sick or in the hospital, the husband is traveling. Some mamas struggle with depression; postpartum hormones are a real beast; and we all go through periods in our life when the work feels pointless. But that’s not the whole picture.

I haven’t arrived in motherhood; none of us ever do. Most of the upcoming content is stuff that I have gleaned from books, podcasts, blog posts, and other women in my life. It’s not original but that means it works. If you’re struggling in motherhood, don’t read this as judgment. Read it as a list of ideas- things for you to try to help you on your mama journey.

The Motherhood Game-Changer

Ever stumble on something that kinda changes your life? You don’t know that it’s going to- you start something because it’s the right thing to do- and before you know it’s happening  you have a completely different perspective.

I’ve been reading through Psalms before bed and I kept coming across this phrase “sacrifices of thanksgiving.” Then last week I heard a sermon that also mentioned this phrase and I felt convicted about my level of gratitude. Especially when I read the part that said that the sacrifices of thanksgiving glorified God. Isn’t that my goal in life? And here, in black and white, is exactly what I need to do.

Motherhood has felt heavy lately. We’ve been working through some attitude problems (theirs and mine). I’m almost to the third trimester of this pregnancy and starting to recognize the reality of another child joining our family. Ball season is over and I’ve felt a little cooped up, especially since we were all sick for two weeks. Now in some ways motherhood should feel heavy because it’s a responsibility that I want to carry well. But seriousness is not grouchiness.

Rare Disease Day: A Choice for Future Babies

Our fourth little baby will be our fourth little boy. I’m thrilled to the depths of my being about this sweet life and yet, if you had asked me in early October if I wanted another baby, I would have answered with an unquestioning “no.”

That’s because part of pregnancy for us is making a choice from a menu of bad options.

Our oldest son Micah has Isovaleric Acidemia, a rare genetic metabolic disorder. His life is a miracle and, as you might expect, he has some struggles. I choose not to share those stories, even though I’m frequently asked about different aspects of them, because I don’t know where my story ends and his begins. It’s not my place to tell his story; that will be his job one day.

All of our children, including this little one growing inside me, have a 25% chance of having IVA. We have two options. We either have prenatal testing done (ie. an amnio that we opt to do in late pregnancy) or we wait until the baby is born to have him tested.

How to Have a Good Day with Small Children

There’s this strange struggle to me. So many of my days have what I consider high notes: we finished school work for the day, I got in some work, we snuggled and cuddled and read. But even on those days there’s still the reality of life with small children. If I added it up in consecutive minutes some days there are literally several hours that one of the three children is either crying, fussing, or needing disciplined for poor behavior.

One Monday we had what I consider to be a high day with school going well and some quality work happening during naptime and yet there were those 2.5 hours of dealing with the behavior. I’ve been working on how I handle this imbalance. How I still have- and call it- a good day when there’s so many  trying, and yes, even hard times mixed in?

Two things have helped but they are a bit of circular reasoning.