The power of Words

Your words have power

I had my first emotional breakdown since Adeline was born this past week… and it wasn’t pretty. Starting work again has thrown all the routines and knowledge about motherhood that I thought I had right out the second story window. (see this post for proof.)

I took Adeline to the office with me on Wednesday and we ended the morning super fussy and flustered. She was hungry on the way home, so she was crying… which then got me crying because I knew she was hungry and I also felt like I’ll never get a handle on this working mom thing.

I felt like I wasn’t giving anything 100%. I wasn’t giving Adeline 100% or work 100%, which translates also to feeling like a failure at everything. So when I got both of us, the car seat and my three bags in the door (we’re still crying), we nursed and I just straight up cried ugly tears. I let them roll, apologizing to Adeline for making her feel insecure about getting food and telling God that I just can’t do it all. I can’t cook, clean, care for and mother my daughter, work and still have a drop of myself to give to my husband every day. I just can’t.

But it feels like I should.

It feels like I should be able to do all of these things to the same extent that I did them before Adeline, but I’m pretty sure I’m putting that “should” on myself. I worry my coworkers are bothered by Adeline’s needs while she’s there, I worry they won’t think I’m adequately present, I worry she doesn’t feel like her needs are met like they are when we’re at home (she 9 weeks old, I really don’t think she’s making these comparisons…), I worry my bathroom will never be cleaned again, I worry I won’t sufficiently get myself playing guitar well enough to lead again, blah blah blah.

There are so many worries in that paragraph!

All that to say, after I cried it out, I remembered I had an unopened envelope of encouragement cards from my baby shower. The sweet hosts asked the guests to write me notes of encouragement, and then they sealed them up for a future day when I’d need those words.

Yesterday was that day, and boy did I get my crying in for the month! This time, though, they were happy tears. Tears full of remembering the truth that God is in this with me, tears of feeling loved and built up from women speaking truth into my insecurities, tears of reading about the gifts God has given me called out on paper and witnessed in real life from these ladies.

Words have such power.

Use your words to encourage those around you... you never know how deeply those words can hurt or build up!

Thank you for using them to encourage me when I needed it most.

I encourage you today to think about someone in your life you can encourage. Send them a quick text or give them a call and speak some life into them. Call out and affirm their gifts that you’ve witnessed, thank them for ways they’ve loved you or shown up when you needed them, etc. You have no idea the weight and power those words hold. Let’s be a community who look to uplift and encourage each other!

Your words hold power. Let's be a community who is quick to build up the people around us. Click To Tweet

The nighttime dilemma (AKA God help us all)

Babies who don't sleep

And by “dilemma” I mean the fact that nighttime keeps coming back around every day… And I never know which baby I’m going to get: baby who sleeps for several hours at a time or baby who only sleeps in my arms and cries when she so much as touches her bassinet.

You know that feeling you get when your alarm goes off and you think, how is it time to get up already?! Man, the night flew by!

Well, I ever so vaguely remember those feelings and long for those days. Because when I get refuses-to-sleep-baby, the night feels like a never ending nightmare and I’d do anything for it to be 7am again.

I truly think my daughter can sense that feeling of accomplishment when we think we’ve successfully put her down to sleep. As soon as I start mentally congratulating myself for the Olympic feat I’ve just conquered, she stirs.

It’s like she knows.

So now I try to delay my excitement, as if she can actually read my mind. I know this is absolutely crazy, yet I can’t stop myself from doing it anyway. In fact, I’m writing this as I lie in bed – I just put her down – and when I realized my body started relaxing in triumph, I tensed back up. She can sense the relaxation!!!

Dang it. She’s awake again.

Related Post: Adeline’s Nursery

Related Post: Adeline’s Birth Story

Related Post: What you REALLY need for your new baby (a minimalist approach)

The Nighttime Dilemma - thoughts on bedtime with your baby

what I hope I never forget (thoughts on motherhood)

What I hope I never forget (thoughts on Motherhood)

The way you look up at me while nursing and your fingers curl around mine

How excitedly you kick your legs and flail your arms when you lie on your back

Your soft baby hair

The way you excitedly breathe in and out as quickly as possible, wide eyed, and fling your head forward when you’re excited to eat

Your tiny body curled up against my chest while you nap: arms limp, mouth open and breathing heavily

The way you coo, sneeze and hiccup

Your baby snores

The first time you cried actual tears… It about broke our hearts!

Your cry/snort when you’re really upset

The way you curl your tiny lips into a little “o” and look at us, like you’re surprised or curious about what’s happening

The way you smile in your sleep.. well, all your expressions while you sleep

How much you love stretching yourself out as big as possible

The way you look like you’re contemplating the world in your car seat

Your smiles and coos when we talk to you

The fact you are the sweetest, most precious and easy-going baby who we are delighted to love. You are so special to us, baby girl, and I love every minute of being your mom. I can’t wait to see who you become, but I’m loving all the little moments we have with you right now.

See more pictures of the nursery here. Sign from SugarKoatedSigns.

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!

To all the moms I judged: I’m sorry

Judging Moms

Before I became a mom, I was kind of judgey about other moms. I didn’t mean to be that way, and I definitely didn’t vocalize those passing thoughts … But I was judgey nonetheless. I’d be all, “I don’t want to lose my identity after I have a baby.” Or “just let her cry it out and get over it.” Yikes!!

I never said these things to any mom, but I thought them.

To all the moms I silently and nonchalantly judged, I’m sorry.

I now understand everything.

1. No wonder all you do is talk about your baby… It’s because she runs your life!!! All of your mental capacity is taken up by counting how long it’s been since she nursed and how long you have before she wakes up! Your eating, sleeping and going anywhere depend on these things. Plus, she is really cute. 😉

2. So going back to work is hard and scary and you don’t want to do it? Me either!!! And I have an awesome, flexible, part time job that I love! Six weeks flies by, that’s for sure.

3. You look like you haven’t slept in a few days. Well, apparently babies don’t have an adult-like sleep schedule for quite some time and you wouldn’t know that unless you’re googling everything possible about your 3 week old child. Also, listening to your baby cry just about wrecks you. I feel you. Rock those top knots and yoga pants, girl.

4. Sorry I (inwardly) scoffed when you admitted you weren’t reading your Bible (Guys, I promise I’m not a total hater)!! No offense, Lord, but when I’m reading anything these days, sleep puts up a pretty darn good fight. And I usually let her win. I’m sorry. (PS I’ve been reading Numbers and Deuteronomy so that DOES NOT HELP.)

5. For the first time in my life, I actually forget to eat, too. I never understood how that could possibly happen to ANYONE, but it does. Somehow that same forgetfulness doesn’t apply to coffee, though…. That’s basically my first priority every morning. So just try to go for something more substantial than Cheez-Its, I guess.

6. You’re late, again. Well, when going anywhere with a child, you must multiply how long you think it will take to get out the door by three. Always. Absolutely no exceptions, unless you are superwoman and then you must teach me your ways.

7. WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT. Like who stinking cares?! No one. Not even judgey pre-mom me… So stop worrying about it. We’re all looking at your cute baby anyway:) (And for the rest of you, DO NOT COMMENT ON ANOTHER WOMAN’S WEIGHT. WHEN IS THAT EVER OKAY?!)

8. MOM GROUPS. All of a sudden, this weird phenomenon totally makes sense. I actually want to go sit with other moms and their kids and talk about mom stuff. And I think it’s fun!! (Who am I anymore?!)

 

In all seriousness, Moms, I love you and I’m glad to have joined this weird cult of moms and mom groups. And I am truly sorry for how much I have inwardly judged or thought “I’d do ________ differently when I’m a mom.” Turns out, cliche is true… you just don’t know what’s going on in someone’s life until you’ve walked a mile in her shoes. Or, in my case, started wearing the same kind of shoes. Mom shoes.

All that to say: You go girl.

PS Happy Mother’s Day!! I’m so excited to be celebrating my first as an actual mom myself. What a huuuuge gift I couldn’t even fathom until God showed me through Adeline. She is literally my treasured gift, and so is owning the title MOM.

Now go show some love to the moms in your life this weekend!

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.