Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Mother vs. Mother

"Once a Mom, always a Mom".

I distinctly remember my Grandmother telling me this a long time ago. I'm not sure why it stuck with me all these years, but I have been thinking about it recently.

Whether you have had a baby or have been pregnant and suffered the loss of one: You are a Mother. No one can take that a way from you. It's an elite club.

I'm not typically one to form or join an elitist club, but this one is too good to pass up. And, it's worthwhile. Moms really have to stick together; this is a tough job after all. Raising children, managing a household, loving our husbands, maybe working outside the home...the list goes on and we need to support one another in this club of ours.

So, why then, do we as mothers criticize each other so much? Why do we judge? I know I've done it. I know we've all done it. It's a part of "The Club" I'd like to remove.

Here are just a few topics we argue about in public and behind closed doors (and these are just the ones I've encountered, I'm sure there will be many more!):
  • To vaccinate or not to vaccinate
  • To put our kids on a schedule or not to schedule
  • To allow our kids to sleep in bed with us or not to allow them
  • To spank or not to spank
  • To home school or to send them to public school or to Christian school
  • To let them watch TV or not watch TV (before or after a certain age...)
  • To work outside the home or not to work
  • To "x" or not to "x"---you fill in the topic
And the list goes on...and on...

But none of these issues are Salvation issues. Not one. So why do we argue?

Instead, we should focus our energy on helping our friends and fellow Mothers decide if it is a spiritual issue for them. And pray. And then pray some more.

Here's an example:
Friend A feels like God is calling her to "home school" her child for preschool. They don't really have the money to send their child to school and the mom gets her children out to bible study, play groups, classes, etc...regularly. The mom is torn about what to do because she knows her child would love the interaction with other kids.

Friend B has only one child and may not have any more. She has immersed herself in her daughter and her daughter's needs. They do everything together. But she feels like God is calling her to send her child to preschool outside the home so they can both develop other relationships. She feels like her daughter would benefit from the separation--as hard as it may be.

Who is "right"? Who is "wrong"? The answer is simple: neither one is "right" if they do not follow God's calling for them. The one who is "wrong" is the one who ignores God's will for their family. Keeping your child home or sending them to school is not the spiritual issue.

The spiritual issue is what God is calling you to do and being obedient to that calling.

We need to quit bickering and judging. And start getting to the root of the issues: What is God calling you and your family to do? Your answer may be different than mine and we can both be right.

We're all in this together.

"Once a Mom, always a Mom".

And we need to stick together.

This job is already hard enough.

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."
Proverbs 31:26 (NLT)

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Few Thoughts About Sleep

It's no secret that I love to sleep. Any time, any where. 8+ hours at night, minimum. Naps. Snoozes. Whatever you call it, I like to sleep. There is nothing like a good night of sleep and certainly there is nothing as rejuvenating as sleeping in past 9am on any given day. Every day, really. 

You might say I'm a bit obssesive about sleep.

Enter the variable of a child, or in my case, children, and my obsession gets a little tricky.

When Anders was born, I knew there would be many sleepless nights ahead. Surprisingly, he turned out to be a pretty good sleeper. There were a few bumps along the way, but overall he was a great sleeper and I was soon able to get back to my obsession, even if it was modified a little. I was feeling pretty good, even when I found out I was pregnant with Jacobson Baby #2.

Fast forward to May 2010.

Anders quit sleeping.

Not only had he dropped his morning nap,  all of a sudden he didn't want to take an afternoon nap and 6am seemed to be a perfectly normal time to start the day. We switched him to a "big boy" bed because Baby #2 was coming soon, and he quickly figured out that he could get in/out of his bed much easier than his crib. Going to bed at night became a fight.

And so a struggle of epic proportions began.

20 month old with a new found love of not sleeping
Pregnant mother who is obssessed with sleep (and a lot of it)

We have tried everything over the last 7 months:
  • Gates (yes, pluarl) in his doorway to keep him in
  • Clocks to show what time it is (don't get out of bed until "X" time)
  • Bribery
  • Threats
  • Laying in his room with him
  • Pack-n-play
  • Rain machine for background noise
  • Music
  • Allowing him to lay on the floor instead of in bed
  • Crying (me, not necessarily Anders)
  • Praying...
For months I was angry about his lack of willingness to love sleep as much as I do. I was so exhausted when Cade was born--not due to having a newborn, but because Anders was just wearing me out. It was hard for me to enjoy spending time with Anders because he was so tired all the time and just plain cranky. I kept thinking that if he would just sleep until 7am, I would be such a better mom--he would get more sleep, I would get more sleep and our day would just get off to a better start.

We have had some small successes along the way. He did start taking a longer afternoon nap again and staying in bed has gotten a lot better. There are days where he gets up at 6am, but he will come and lay in our bed with us for a while before starting his day. Anders has adapted to sleeping about 9 hours at night and 1.5-2 during the day.

So what worked? Which items on the list were the "winners"? Aren't you just dying to know?

Probably a combination of a few of them. But I am convinced that the one that has made the most impact is prayer. Simply put, I think this issue comes down to being a spiritual issue for me:

Sleep is my "god" and God didn't like that. And so he helped me adjust my priorities.

I still love to sleep. And my thoughful husband allows me the luxury of sleeping in one day on the weekends while he hangs out with the kids. But I am working on not being so obsessed with needing sleep above all else. This has been a real inner struggle for me over the past 7 months.

Let's just say God and I have had a few "discussions" over the last few months. In the beginning it was mostly me telling him how much I hated this new arrangment and could he please make Anders sleep more. But these conversations slowly turned to him reminding me that I am not in control and he knows what's best, even if I was a bit tired.

It has been a daily surrender to God of my attitude, will, and anger about not getting the amount of sleep I wanted. But when I'm most tired and exhausted, I have to rely on him because I don't have the energy to do it myself. And that is really a wonderful place to be. Relying on God. 100%.

I have had to own my bad attitude and adjust my expectations of Anders and my own needs. And I have learned two very valuable lessons.

1. If we allow God, he will use our children to teach us as much or more than we could ever teach them.
2. God wants to mold and refine us into who he wants us to be. We can take the easy road. Or in my case, climb Mt. Everest. Next time I'll hopefully choose the Walk in the Park route.

What is your "god"?
How is God encouraging you to let it go?
Did you have to climb Mt. Everest to let it go or did you learn a little more easily than I did?
What was the most recent thing your child(ren) taught you?

My hope is that you haven't had to go through the "Valley of the Shadow of No Sleep". In the end I'm glad I visited there for a while because ultimately, it brought me closer to the feet of God. And there is no better place to be.

Except maybe in bed. (I'm still learning...)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Best Buds

Although they don't know it yet, they will be best friends. 
And at times, I'm sure, worst enemies. 
But hopefully more of the former and less of the latter.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Different Perspective

I'm thankful...

that I don't always get a full night of sleep...
...it means I have a newborn in the house.

that we have ongoing house projects to do...
...it means I have a roof over my head.

that my 2 year old gets frustrated over puzzles...
...it means he's learning.

that I have a few extra pounds to lose...
...it means I have plenty to eat.

that I dread getting up at 5:30 on Tuesday mornings...
...it means I have a job to go to.

that Wednesday mornings are often a scramble to get out of the house...
...it means I can openly study God's word with awesome ladies.

that we're always scraping money together to fly across the country...
...it means we have family & friends we love to visit.

that sometimes we have to say "no" to certain activities or events...
...it means we have lots of great friends we enjoy spending time with.

that every Sunday afternoon, August-January, (and Thanksgiving Day, too) I have to watch football...
...it means I have a husband to love.

that sometimes I have to ask for the dishes to get done...
...it means I have a husband who loves me.

Happy Thanksgiving. Here's hoping you have lots of things to be thankful for, too.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I Love This Kid!

Anders never ceases to amaze me with his funny faces, crazy antics and the way he can go from 0-60 MPH in 2.2 seconds and then back to 0 as fast you can blink an eye. Recently (OK, since like May) we've had a lot of trouble with Anders sleeping--him not staying in his bed, him not sleeping long enough, waking up in the night, etc... But just the other day he fell asleep while watching a DVD (I was downstairs getting ready). He had never done this before! He slept right there on the couch for at least 1.5 hours. What a cutie.

Then, yesterday at CBS (Community Bible Study), they studied Jacob's love for Joseph and created these "Coats of Many Colors". He only wore it for me today for like 30 seconds or less. But, how cute is this craft? I think Anders colored about a 1"x1" piece of it and glued on a small bible verse. But, it's cute anyway.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

Last year, I went with some friends up to a Pumpkin Patch in Boulder. We had so much fun, we went again this year. My friend, Monique & her son, Ryan were able to go with us. This will be an annual tradition!

We checked out the goats...
Measured how tall we are (yes, he's almost 3' tall already!)...
Took some pictures by the pumpkins...
Hung around for a while...
Ate a snack...(Moique & I have learned to bring similar snacks when we go on field trips so the boys don't fight over what the other one has!)...
Pretended we were a girl...(I didn't even notice, Joel did when I showed him the pics)...
Walked, ran, sat, jumped along the path...
Took pictures by the tractors...
And checked out the donkey...
Did I mention it was at least 80 degrees out and we were all sweating by the time we got back to the car?

Why I Keep Haiku

It's no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with our dog, Haiku. I really do love her, but sometimes her whinning and her shedding really get to me.

But then I watch Anders with Haiku. And this is why I keep her.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Garden Time...

October seems like a strange time to be planting shrubs and flowers, but I guess it's a good time. Especially when the weather is so nice--like we've been having (90 here last Tuesday...). So, I've been busy this week looking for good deals on plants, purchasing and then planting them! It's a bit challenging with 2 young kids, but I am motivated!

The week after Cade was born, my dad & Joel worked in 95+ degree weather to build this retaining wall. It took them all week, but with the help of our neighbor and some of our friends, they were able to finish it!

This was the work they did this summer...

Joel's job was to build the wall. My job was to plant. So, it was time for me to hold up my end of the bargain!

I am hoping these small plants will grow to cover the utilities and part of the window...

 It doesn't look like much now, but hopefully it will grow & grow! 
I also planted some tulip bulbs--my first ever. 
Talk about a lesson in hope...plant them now and just hope they come up in the spring!

My Two Boys

I've had a hard time accepting the fact that I now have TWO boys! It makes life a bit more hectic, but a lot more fun. They totally look like brothers--but couldn't have more different personalities if we tried. Anders is very energetic, a bit stubborn and was a bit more sensitive to his surroundings, even as a baby. Cade is low-key, mellow and just all around easy going. I love them both!

Anders has adjusted to being a big brother, although I think he would enjoy having more "Mommy" time during the day. He loves to "hold" Cade on the couch and kisses him all the time. He tells everyone his name when they ask and can be very sweet to Cade. We do have our moments of jealousy, irritation and other "2 year old behavior". But, we have begun to get into our routine and life is moving forward!

I love little baby feet! Cade has long, long toes!

Anders' face looks a little beat up in this picture. 
That's because it is. 
He has a bruise on his nose from knocking his face into the floor in a fit of rage and
I'm not sure where the mark on his right cheek came from. 
We won't even mention his legs and knees!

I love these kids!

Quick Trip

Last weekend we made a quick trip to Butte, Montana with Joel's mom, Rhonda. Her mother turned 80 and there was a surprise birthday party for her! We loaded up the van and drove 14 hours on Friday...including a number of stops along the way--one in Buffalo, WY to visit Joel's Aunt & Uncle. We know where every McDonald's with a playplace is from here to Butte! (And we weren't happy with a couple that didn't have one!) The boys did great traveling but we were all glad to get there on Friday night.

Joel's family owns a concrete plant in Butte, so Joel's Uncle Rande took Anders up to the plant to climb on and explore the big semis, trucks and bulldozers they use. Anders had such a great time playing and riding in one of the huge semis, he fell asleep!

That night was the surprise party. It was a great time celebrating Great Grandma Shirley's birthday. However, Anders found that running around with the helium balloons was more fun!

Rhonda, Great Grandma Shirley, and Rhonda's two brothers (Rodd on the left and Rande on the right)!

On Sunday we loaded up the car again for the 14+ hour drive home. We stopped in Buffalo again and Joel caught a quarter of the Broncos game. We made it home about 10:30pm and Anders was up at 6am the next morning ready to go. He didn't miss a beat!