Motherhood is a lesson in stewardship 


How long can you blame postpartum hormones? Or is motherhood always this emotional?

My baby had her six month shots today. She was such a trooper that she kept trying to smile at the nurses in between her sobs because they were trying to cheer her up. This sweet little girl.

I accidentally left my house key inside when we left for her appointment this morning, so we got locked out and, of course, Jacob was out of town. As was my landlord. 

So Adeline and I spent the rest of the morning window shopping and she was so happy! She babbled and made all sorts of happy sounds in her stroller. It was overwhelmingly precious and I looked back to the days when she hated her stroller/car seat and I felt like we would never be able to leave the house and smiled. We have overcome.

Now I’m sitting in bed and she’s asleep in my arms. I’m breathing in her deep, sleepy breaths and I can’t believe that time is ticking by. I kiss her soft little cheeks (they are SO SOFT – when does that change?!) and wonder how I’m supposed to let her become an adult? Kissing her cheeks won’t feel the same. She probably won’t even let me kiss her cheeks? At least not often. And definitely not with her cradled in my arms.

Motherhood is so emotional. Every day is like holding onto your most precious, prized possession, but realizing that when morning comes she will already have changed. And she will keep changing every day after that. These sweet moments that I want to grab and never let go of are literally fleeting – here now and gone the next minute as she grows and discovers and changes. 

What a lesson in living with open hands, am I right? What God has given me doesn’t belong to me. It’s not my possession. She’s not my possession. She’s His and I’m a steward of her, for a time. 

This is the hardest lesson in stewardship I’ve experienced in my life so far. I don’t want a single second of it to pass by with my eyes glazed over. I don’t want to miss a thing. I want to be bright eyed and present and grateful because time is already moving at warp speed. 

Out of Whack (prioritizing struggles for this new mom)

Reprioritizing as a new mom

I do this annoying thing all the time where I get all high and mighty because I think I’ve got this motherhood thing down. I did it during pregnancy, too… for example, I thought I must just be an amazing pregnant lady because I wasn’t getting all swollen and huge… until I did.

You’d think I’d learn my lesson, but those thoughts have continued right on into motherhood. I think, I’ve really got this bedtime thing down and then this happens. Or I think my daughter must be the best baby ever because she’s never fussy and I can take her anywhere… and then she cries through an entire meal at a restaurant, or while I was frantically checking out at Target, or she suddenly decides she hates the car and screams during every single car ride.

So, of course, I felt like I had this motherhood gig down until I started work again. That little piece of humble pie I’ve been served has certainly done the trick! I am a hot mess. My first week back to work I ended up canceling all of the friend hangouts I had scheduled on my days off because my days off aren’t really days off anymore. Since motherhood happens all day every day, my work from home hours are no longer so scheduled or limited to certain days of the week.

I am incredibly grateful to have a job that I love with flexible hours and that allows me to work about a third of those hours from home. The problem, though, is working from home. It takes on a whole new meaning with a baby who has a lot of needs (AKA food, help falling asleep, diaper changes, someone to play with her and oh yes, general care). My hours worked from home that were once “only on Thursdays” are now split up into 15-60 minute chunks all day every day in the form of sending emails while nursing and scheduling, planning, and practicing during naps, etc.

With all of these changes, I sat in bed the other night and realized I needed to press the reset button on my priorities for this season. My Scripture reading has been spotty at best, I sometimes forget to kiss my husband goodbye when I head into the office (but never Adeline, of course!), and I can no longer schedule multiple friend hangouts on “days off.”

But instead of measuring a day’s success based on the status of dirty dishes and household clutter, I need to turn the pyramid upside down and rethink those measurements.

Instead of measuring a day's success based on the status of dirty dishes + household clutter,… Click To Tweet

My New Daily Priority Pyramid:

  1. God – Have I spent time in the Word today? What are three things I can thank Him for today?
  2. Jacob – What is one small way I can serve him today?
  3. Adeline – Have I talked to her, played with her and enjoyed her without my phone nearby today?
  4. Work – Did I accomplish the “must have’s” today? Am I on track to reach my hours this week? Is the house at least in a livable condition (are there clean dishes and clean clothes)?
  5. Friends – If I can’t connect with a friend in person this week, how can I make a point to serve her? At least send a quick text to let her know I love her and ask how I can pray for her, write a quick card, etc.

After typing those out they seem ridiculously simple, but in the minute to minute of my day it is so easy to let them slide through my fingertips! Would you say a quick prayer for me today that God grows me in discipline in this season and I make this pyramid flip a priority?

How can I be praying for you? Are there priorities in your life that are out of whack? I encourage you to take a minute to consider what is most important to you and ask yourself if that is actually lived out in the reality of your day to day life.

3 months: What I hope I never forget

3 month old baby

– the way your sweet smile slowly spreads across your lips and into your eyes when you see us smiling down at you

– the way your lower lip pouts out and your cheeks puff up when you finish nursing and are drifting into dreamland

– your little wrist rolls

– the way your fingers fold around mine while you sit in your car seat or on my lap

– when you lie down for tummy time and raise your little head like a pro, swinging from left to right to check out your surroundings

– how you love it when we wipe your drool from your face, giving us a big grin every time only to replace it with more drool

– the way your little body teeters from side to side when you do your “superman” during tummy time. I am anxiously awaiting your first roll over!

– your talkative coos, groans and prolonged murmurs. You love to participate when others are talking around you!

– your morning stretches – you still love to stretch like nobody’s business when you first wake up! You make yourself as long as possible with your arms and legs straight as boards, squish your little chin down and totally change the shape of your face! It is hilarious and adorable.

– your lower lashes have started growing! It totally surprised me the other day because I hadn’t even noticed they had started, but they are peeking out! Your upper lashes are still amazingly long and curled… So pretty!!

– you love smacking your lips and sucking on them with your tongue. You’re always sucking on your lips!

– the way you push up on your legs when we hold you to our chests while we sit down. You love to stand on your legs and show off your strength!

– you still hate being in the car, but I think we’ve finally figured out you just don’t like being alone in the backseat! If mommy sits back there with you, you are so much more agreeable.

– you’ve started grasping objects and I love watching your fingers open and close while you discover.

– your preferences have changed so much since you were born! At first you liked being held cradle style at all times, then chest to chest on our shoulders and now you still like the shoulder position, but when we are sitting and holding you, you prefer to face out to see what’s going on!

Adeline, we still think you’re the bees knees. We love watching you discover the world around you and spend soooo much time repeating your funny baby sounds and faces back to you. We are so thankful to be your parents and can’t believe how quickly time is passing already. You are such a happy baby!

Returning to work + Fighting to believe the truth about it

Encouragement for returning to work after maternity leave

Today marks the end of my maternity leave… Or, rather, the start of my return to work. I’m a ball of mixed emotions as I drive to the office today.

A huge part of me mourns the hours of my week that will no longer be devoted solely to meeting the physical and emotional needs of my daughter. I’ve spent the past 8 weeks learning how to care for her, anticipating what her needs may be and constantly shifting my priorities from my needs to hers. Very little during that time required me to shift my thoughts from her to something else. Those eight weeks passed in what now feels like the blink of an eye, although I know some of those nights felt like an eternity in themselves.

Related Post: Adeline’s birth story

But a small part of me fights to speak truth into my sad heart this morning. That small part reminds me that I’m acting out of obedience to God by returning to this job. I know this responsibility is a calling he has placed on my life – a calling he has given me in addition to motherhood and being a wife that I want to walk in because above all else, first I am his daughter.

My job is completely a gift from God; it’s one of the several loud, tangible examples I’ve seen of his grace in my life over the past two years. In fact, about this time last year I realized this job was the dream job I didn’t know my heart desired!

But I now know motherhood is another job I didn’t realize my heart desired… I had no idea how much I’d want this and never want to turn back.

So as I drive to work today, I’m reminding myself of these truths, because despite the changes this new season of working and motherhood will bring, I know I’m walking in God’s desires for me and my family.

When I go to work, I get to spend part of my week exploring how we can help people encounter God each week through the arts. I get to brainstorm and bring to fruition these ideas with people who are passionate about making the gospel known to our community.

When I go to work, I’m surrounded by people who inspire me to grow and be better. They inspire me to renounce selfishness and remind me this life is about more than just myself and my wants.

When I go to work, I get to lead my community in meeting God through song. What a joy and what a responsibility! I don’t take Sunday mornings lightly. What a privilege to gather freely as a community to preach truth to ourselves, to each other and to unbelievers who visit with us through the words we sing in those songs. I am incredibly grateful that God has entrusted me with the responsibility to lead part of his people in this act of obedient worship each week.

When I go to work, I get to use my gifts as a musician and grow in them! I get to collaborate with other musicians and be inspired by their discipline and talent. I’m driven to further develop my gifts and that brings me incredible joy.

When I go to work, I get to help provide for my family. I’m not leaving Adeline for my own selfish gain (not that “me time” isn’t a healthy thing for moms to have each week!) – I’m leaving her so that I can help keep a roof over her head, clothes on her body and food on the table! I am glad I get to help demonstrate for her the discipline and value of work.

When I go to work, I am walking faithfully in one of the many callings of my life. I’m renouncing Satan’s whispers that I’m neglecting my daughter or that I’m not qualified or that I’m not creative or talented enough for this job. And boy does he try to lure me away with those lies! Motherhood is another string for him to twist in my heart. No – when I go to work, I am honoring my commitment as a follower of Christ, as a wife to Jacob, as a mother to Adeline and as a woman who values growth, hard work and chasing a dream and life she loves.

So when I need to remember why I’m going to work, I’m going to re-read this post and ask God to use me, to make those hours count for his Kingdom and to help me remember the freedom I have to do so joyfully.

Ladies, no matter what your season of life looks like – whether you stay at home or go to work or do a mixture of both, live this season faithfully! If you are struggling with where you’re at, I encourage to to sit with the Lord and ask him to show you why you’re there. And then write it down! When Satan tempts you to sink into the lies that where you are isn’t enough, read that list to remember God’s truth. And then walk in it confidently! All of the seasons of our lives and motherhood look different, so don’t worry yourselves by comparing yours to the people around you… You matter right where you’re at, right now. As I press “publish” today and drive into work, I’m praying for each one of you reading this, that you’ll believe the truths God has for you in this season instead of Satan’s temptings to despair.

Mama, you matter right where you're at, right now. Whether that's at work or at home. Click To Tweet

Thanks for your encouragement as a new mom these last 8 weeks! I hope we can continue sharing so much more encouragement with each other!

What’s an area of your life that you are struggling to believe is purposeful or valuable?  Claim that truth today and ask God to help you believe it!

A slice of my heart in this newborn world of ours

 
Being a mom has rocked my world – little Adeline has stolen our hearts and has us eating out of her teeny tiny little hands. (You can read her birth story here!) Our lives have changed so drastically in the last three weeks, but I can’t imagine it any other way. 

Most days and nights consist largely of the same thing – feedings, sleeping in intervals and changing what feels like a million diapers – but I’ve loved every minute. 

I can’t get enough of the newborn cuddles and giggling with Jacob at all her facial expressions and noises. Watching him be a dad has transformed my world in a way I didn’t know was possible. What they say is totally true – you feel love in an entirely new and different way once you’ve had a child, and watching my husband with her is like falling in love with him over and over again. 

But truthfully, motherhood has also been incredibly hard. 

Since we are breastfeeding, I am the sole provider of food for Adeline, which means I’m at her beckon call to eat at all hours of the day and night. I’ve adjusted fairly well to the lack of sleep/increments of sleep, but I have my moments y’all. 

It’s easy to sink into bitterness in the wee hours of the morning because I have to be up whenever she needs me and Jacob does not. And, believe me, he helps so much! He gets up to change her, rock her, hold her when she just won’t sleep, etc… But the truth is, he can’t feed her (yet – I need to work on pumping so he can!). 

So in those moments I want to resent him because he can sleep or watch TV in peace, I have to choose to remember these moments are fleeting. The way she wraps her little hand around my finger and looks at me while she eats is absolutely heart-melting. I love every second of it, and these days are already numbered. 

I’m learning that parenthood is a long journey of sacrificing myself over and over again, much like marriage – but kind of harder in this sleep deprived stage at least 😉 – and I’m trying to learn to sacrifice joyfully. 

Jacob, I love you and I appreciate you so much. Thank you for dealing so patiently with my grouchy self at all hours of the day, but especially in the middle of the night. Thank you for holding her at 3am so I can sleep in peace and waking up with me all throughout the night. Thank you for the endless treks to get me water, more diapers and fresh clothes at 4am. You are an awesome dad and a sweet husband. 

Adeline, I love you, too, sweet girl. And I’m so grateful for all the cuddly moments we get together and I hope you’ll let that continue for a long time. I love being your mama and am incredibly grateful that God gifted you to us in this life. I plan on soaking up every waking moment with you and cheering you on as you discover who you are. You are beautiful, baby girl. 

For our Little One, 22 weeks

Dear little one,

I can feel you moving inside me now! I’ve been waiting for this moment for weeks it seems. Many of our friends have been asking, “Can you feel her yet??” And I’ve had to admit I wasn’t sure!! Was I just being extra sensitive to normal belly rumbling???

But now I know for sure it’s you! You like to move around a lot throughout the day, but so far you’re most active between 7-10pm. When I get into bed and lie on my back, sometimes I can even feel my belly move on the OUTSIDE. It’s crazy. Your dad hasn’t felt you quite yet, but I’m sure that will happen any day now.

We’ve talked about your name several times, but still haven’t found the perfect one. It’s a big deal to pick your name, so know that once we choose your name, we didn’t choose it lightly! We know you will associate so much of who you are and who you will become based on your name. And we want it to be great, because we know you will be great. This week you’re about the size of a spaghetti squash and you finally weigh a whole pound by yourself!

I started working on our registry for you this week and it’s hard to believe all the things we need in order to prepare for your arrival! I’m hoping your dad and I can go look at strollers and car seats in person soon so we can make a decision on what to get for you.

Little girl, I can’t even imagine how much you’re going to change our lives. But the closer we get to meeting you, the more excited I become. You are already so loved.

my love for you grows every day!
your mama