Why I Stopped Trying to Be a Good Mom

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Do you ever have those days, weeks or even months of HARD parenting? I never knew how hard parenting was until I was at home all day with a toddler and a newborn. When I worked a full-time job I still struggled in many ways. But when you’re home all day with small kids alone — it’s like running a marathon with no mile markers.

Yesterday, my day started off pretty great. My toddler didn’t wake up until 8:30am. My 2 month old even slept in which allowed me to get a little more sleep. I got up and made a healthy breakfast, read some to Aurora and didn’t watch TV. The rest of the day slowly got harder. My baby boy was cluster feeding all day while being really fussy. I even had to let him cry for 10 minutes while I gave my 3-year-old a quick shower. (He hates being put down. He is always demanding to be held).

My daughter and I prepared a special tea and chocolate chip cookie party for her Great Aunt who came over. Aurora was doing great — until around 5pm. After her Great-Aunt left she became a totally different kid. I was already exhausted from breastfeeding my baby boy all day. It took me a good 45 minutes to get my daughter to calm down. She went from crying, to screaming “no” at me and even hit me in the face.

On top of all of this — I was trying to get dinner cooked and on the table for my family. Then — the dinner I made had to be thrown out because I used expired ingredients. Thankfully my husband went to the store to grab a pizza. So all my best efforts and hard work felt void by the time I crawled my tired body into bed. As I do often — I felt defeated at the core. I felt like I used to when I was running a marathon. You know, when the runner’s high wears off and you are fighting with every cell in your body to just keep going. Despite my tired and weary state — I found myself laying my struggles out to God. I was so tired. All I could do was ask for help. In that moment I decided I didn’t want to be a “good” or “perfect” mom. I wanted to be a better mom.

The next morning I woke up and decided before I even got out of bed that it was going to be a good day. I was going to check my frustrations, perfectionist ideology and unrealistic standards at the door before I started my day. I focussed on being a better mom and it worked. I got up, washed my face, put on lipstick and tackled each moment at a time. The best part is — I stopped trying to meet so many quotas and enjoyed the day.

I read to my daughter at breakfast which turned into 1.5 HOURS of reading. That’s 2 chapters in “Little House on the Prairie” and 3 other small chapter books. My 3-year-old even begged me to keep reading but my voice and jaw needed a break. When my daughter wanted to help, I gave her a rag to wipe down the table and chairs. She spent 30 minutes doing that. I even spoke to her in more of a playful voice throughout the day.

The reason for my story is that I did not seek to be a “perfect” mom, but a better mom. I cannot live up to the standards of this world. If I tried to do it all perfect in one day I would go crazy — and still fail. Perfect moms/parents do not exist. I chose to give myself grace so I could enjoy my children. Guys, I don’t want to be a “good” mom. It talks about in Isaiah 64:6 that, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” I can be a “good” mom everyday and still never do enough.

It’s through the deep faith and God’s grace that allows me to push myself to be a better mom. A mom that feels like quitting — but continues to push on. It allows me to humble myself to where I am in life. To appreciate it more even when it’s hard.

In many ways it’s like the way my daughter prays. At nap time and bed time — I start the prayer and my 3-year-old finishes it. When she prays she will go through her entire day thanking God. She will thank him for her jelly biscuit, shower, reading time and even will thank him for her time outs. What a beautiful example of how we should look at each day. Thanking God for even the rough moments because you survived it. Even those moments where your kid decides to throw the biggest tantrum of the century.

Moms, strive to be better each day. Apologize to your kids when you lose your temper. Invest in their lives more than you do Instagram and Facebook. (That comment is mostly for me). It goes back to the grace. If today was terrible and you royally screwed it up — then there is always tomorrow. Refocus and start over again. We all have bad days. Let go of the terrible day you had and be determined to start the next day better.

The Day I Met My Son + the Story of My C-Section

Dear Husbands, We Need You To Fight For Us

You’re More Than A PB&J Mom

My Journey with Prenatal Anxiety and Depression

The Day I Met My Son + the Story of My C-Section

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This week my son, Declan turned 2 MONTHS OLD! It seems like it was yesterday when I went into the hospital to meet this cutie. The experience was beautiful and traumatic all at the same time.

**WARNING: Don’t read if you have lots of anxiety and/or about to have a baby. My experience may terrify you a bit.**

I woke up Friday, June 7, 2019 ready to meet my little guy. I had severe anxiety looming over me because I was delivering him by c-section. Yes, doctors perform c-sections all of the time, but complications are always possible. I sobbed while I hugged my daughter (thinking this could be the last time I could see her). Again, my anxiety was pretty bad. At this point I assumed the worst could happen. I remember Aurora looking up at me saying, “Mommy, don’t cry. It’s going to be okay. Grownups come back.” This made me cry even more but I had to hide it. I gave her one last hug, got in the van with my mom and Steven and rode to the hospital.

When I arrived at the hospital they took several hours to get me ready for my c-section. All the while, I was fighting back tears and anxiety. I still remember the nurse telling me they would insert the spinal block and get me ready before Steven could come back to be with me. I was so scared to do it alone. I remember walking to the OR with shaky legs. As they opened the OR doors, I saw nurses placing surgical tools on a nearby tray. The nurse directed me to the edge of the table where I waited for the anesthesiologist.  I continued to cry and watch nurses prep the room for my doctor. I was so scared. All I wanted to do was run away but I knew there was no other way to have my little man. He was the only reason I pushed through the anxiety and pain.

It was about 10 minutes later when the anesthesiologist showed up to insert my spinal block. The spinal block hurt SO bad. I remember when I got an epidural with Aurora, I had already been laboring for 6 straight hours. Compared to labor pains the stick in the back was nothing. But this time — it was extremely painful. Thankfully, my OBGYN happen to be in the room when I began to get my spinal block. She held me as I curled up as tight as I could. Again, sobbing in her arms wishing this would go quickly.

After what felt like forever of gritting my teeth and clenching my body — the procedure was over. As I laid down on the table I could feel the spinal block numbing my body. Steven walked into the room as the nurses finished dropping me for the c-section. Steven was dressed from head-to toe in scrubs. I could still see his big smile through his face mask. I couldn’t wait to squeeze his hand. At this point I was still fighting back tears and anxiety. I didn’t know how this surgery was going to go, but all I wanted to do was meet my baby. As they continued to prepare my belly, my doctor did a pinch test. (It’s where they pinch you on your stomach to see if you are numb enough. If you’re not they wait a little longer. Sometimes they may even put you to sleep if your body does numb like it needs to).  I couldn’t feel the pain from the pinch but I could feel her pinching me. This is where I made a mistake. I thought I was numb enough to go on with the surgery. I was wrong.

I felt everything she did. From the cutting to the stretching. My anxiety was already sky high and this made it worse. I began to tell the anesthesiologist that I was in pain. When they finally got ready to pull Declan out — I was told there will be a lot of pushing and pulling. I may not be able to breathe well for a few seconds. I was told to breathe out of my mouth. Well it was about 45 seconds of that. One nurse was jabbing her elbow into my ribs and pushing down to get him to come out. It was hell trying to stay calm and breathe. By the time they got Declan out I was in so much pain. I could feel burning in my incision area. I even had to decline holding my son because I was so distraught.

 

 

Finally, after a few minutes of me complaining of pain — the anesthesiologist gave me medication that basically made me pass out. (As you can see in the RIGHT picture above). He told me I may not remember what happened here but at this point I didn’t care. Within seconds I was out. The remainder of the procedure I was in and out. I could still feel what they were doing but I was too tired to care. I remember squeezing Steven’s hand so tight. I could hear Steven talking to me as he held our baby boy. The funniest part — was finding out after surgery that I was squeezing my OBGYN’s butt with my other hand for about 20 minutes. I guess both of my hands thought they were squeezing Steven’s hand. Thankfully, my female OBGYN had a great sense of humor about it.

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Thinking back on that day, I can barely remember them wheeling me back to the recovery area and handing me Declan. I was still fighting consciousness while trying to breastfeed him. I had a lot of help from the lactation nurse and Steven. It took me a good hour or so to wake up enough to function.

After all of that was over — I finally got to enjoy my beautiful son while still dealing with the anxiety of my c-section. The next day when my doctor came by I told her that I felt everything during the surgery. She apologized profusely — agreeing that was a traumatic experience. Again, I only blame myself because I was the one who told her I was numb enough.

The crazy thing is — I thought my unplanned c-section with Aurora was worse until I had Declan. I’m so thankful that day people were praying for me. My experience makes me think of those moms who have been through worse c-sections than me. Despite being able to feel everything — my surgery went well. I had minimum blood loss and little scaring from my last c-section. My doctor even told me I could have a third child if I wanted to. (I’m still debating that one considering how bad this c-section was).

I’m thankful that I recovered a lot faster even though the procedure was pretty rough on me. I was so thankful that Declan was born healthy. He did have to get his blood sugar checked every hour the first night of his life because he was so big. (He weighed 9lbs 8ouces).

Sadly, my anxiety didn’t go away when I went home. It only got worse. I’ll be writing about my postpartum anxiety in another post soon.

Did you go through a traumatic c-section? What were ways you were able to get over it? Did you have other c-sections afterwards?

 

 

Why Holiday Cards Can Leave a Legacy

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*This post is sponsored by Basic Invite*

As a little girl, I loved going to the mail box and pulling out holiday cards sent to us from family and friends who lived far away. I remember opening envelopes to see a beautiful snow photo with writings of warm wishes for our family. Then taking them inside the house to display them for the rest of the holiday season. As time went on, cards became more personal. Families were able to incorporate their photos with their holiday photo cards. It gave distant relatives and friends a deeper look into how everyone is growing up. But in 2019, how many of us still send these cards or even consider them a blessing in our mailbox? Especially since we have social media keeping us informed 24/7.

I was watching a live Q&A Instagram story the other day between a daughter and mother. The mother discussed how she doesn’t accept gifts from her kids for birthdays or holidays anymore. Instead, she asks them to write a story of an event that happened to them that year. Whether it be funny or serious. Then she puts the writings in books where she can later go back and read them. How great would it be to incorporate that tradition with a photo holiday card?! That’s my plan for the upcoming holidays at least. What a legacy you can leave behind for generations to come who want to learn more about their family tree.

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I know what you’re probably thinking though? Why should I spend all this money on these holiday cards when they will just end up in the trash? It’s possible they won’t. Maybe only send them to family and close friends who you know will really cherish them. You never know, maybe one day they will bring back beautiful memories for those that come across them.

A great example would be going through belongings of say an elder relative…maybe a grandmother who kept everything. You never knew where all those photo cards went until you started cleaning out her belongings. You come across a box full of them and there you see your kids 15 years ago perfectly posed in a family photo. But maybe it took 20 different takes, snacks and a lot of bribing to get your kids to smile once. It brings back those awesome memories that you’ve forgotten.

Maybe you run across a holiday invite to a party you kept. It was to your first gathering since moving to a new town. You start to remember the nervous feeling you had walking into the home. Most importantly you remember the close friends you made at that party. It’s also a great site to create holiday cards to send out to everyone.

These are just a few ways holidays cards (with or without photos) can leave a legacy for you and your family. I actually ordered sample copies for my family to preview what I want to send out this Christmas. I will show you examples on Instagram and Facebook once they come in. Here are some great examples though of what this amazing card company, Basic Invite has to offer. Some of them include holiday save the date cards which are the cutest for couples getting married.

What’s your favorite thing about getting holiday cards in the mail? Do you have any special stories? Please leave a comment below.

Dear Husbands, We Need You To Fight For Us

You’re More Than A PB&J Mom

Video: 3 Christmas Cookie Recipes

How to make a Capsule Ornament

 

 

Dear Husbands, We Need You To Fight For Us

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You know the story. A young woman finds herself in a sticky situation and just when she is about to be consumed by an evil villain a white knight swoops in to save her. In more modern stories you even see the young girl and guy work together to battle the evil villain before riding off into the sunset. While these are usually fairytales I believe one reason these ladies pick this guy as their forever mate is because she knows when there is ever a sticky situation — this guy will fight for her. But what about reality? Are our husbands swooping in and fighting for us when we need it most?

I remember when I was single and praying for a future husband there were many great christian guys in the church — but sadly many were still boys. They still liked to string girls along, act interested but put no effort into creating a committed relationship. They never made a gesture because they were too afraid. I still remember our pastor preaching on the subject of men in the church. Many christian guys showed strength in their relationship with God but were passive to many other situations. As one of the tough girls — this was never appealing to me because I have fought all my life. The last thing I wanted was a guy standing in the background while I fought the dragon.

I was thinking back trying to remember if there was ever a situation when my dad, boyfriend or guy friend fought for me. Yes, my dad got in fights with strangers often because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut. Was he really fighting for us or for himself? Then I had boyfriends who often times walked away leaving me to fight my own battles. I had other boyfriends who let their friends taunt and cuss me out while they sat their laughing. (It still took me 2 more years of that relationship before I finally realized I needed to get out). You know who I remember standing up for me? My mom who put herself between my dad and I several times. My sister who stood up and was willing to take my full beating when she saw my dad grab me by my throat and shoved me in a chair. My best friend who often times defended me against my dad. Even her dad who had to put my dad in his place when I was forced to visit him. The rest of the time — I fought for myself.

Thankfully, there hasn’t been a huge need for Steven to defend my honor in marriage — that is until we got foster kids. I love teen girls but they seem to like to verbally attack me, put me down and act against me — not him. I find myself still sticking up for myself when actually what I need is my husband to. Yes, he grew up in a good home where fighting for your life was never a situation he had to deal with. Husbands, we wives are not asking you to get into altercations with strangers of the world. We are asking you to fight a much dangerous and serious villain. Satan himself.

Husbands, your wife needs you to fight for her when she has nothing left to give. When the kids have given her hell all day — sometimes she need you to swoop in and rescue her. Husbands, when you see your wife needing time to herself — we need you to fight to take her on a date or send her to a favorite coffee shop with a good book alone. Husbands, when she’s told the kids a hundred times to pick up their toys or do their chores — she needs you to intervene and hand out orders. Guys we are fighting everyday and we need your help.

As a stay-at-home mom I have seen how hard this job is. At times I really hated working outside of the home because I always had to divide myself between work and family. I could never fully finish a task before someone needed something from me at home or at the office. But there is also something so exhausting about being at home all day long — disciplining a toddler and getting no time of your own. I can’t remember the last time I showered or used the bathroom alone. Husbands, these are the small sacrifices we make that add up to a huge battle. When our kids are talking back and being rude we need you to intervene and stand up for the love of your life. The same woman you would have died for on your wedding day.

Most importantly, husbands we need you to fight for us spiritually. Satan is out to kill, steal and destroy every ounce of energy and hope we have. We need you on your knees daily praying over us as we raise up the kids. We need you to pray for our mental health because honestly — these battles can sometimes make us crazy. We need you to verbally pray over us so your encouraging words can pour into our minds and flood out the negative thoughts. Husbands we need you to fight for us. Your wives are slowly being torn apart by this world of expectations and chaos. Men, equip yourselves and defend our honor. I promise that many of us will become less moody and exhausted if we see you going into battle for us. Once we catch our breath then don’t be surprised when you see us armoring up to fight next to you.

Attention Shoppers, Please Be Patient With My Screaming Kid

Parenting Through Grace

Trusting God: How fathers play a major role

5 Ways to Show Your Spouse You Love Them

Why I Don’t Have a Perfect Marriage After 3 Years

You’re More Than A PB&J Mom

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have become a daily meal at our house. I even remember as a kid that’s all I would eat for lunch. Seriously, they are easy to make and just so darn delicious. But today the PB&J sandwich made me question if I’m a “good mom.”

I’m 37 weeks pregnant with my second baby; which means everything hurts. My hips are constantly in pain, I pee at least 6 times a night. I battle insomnia at night while struggling to stay awake during the day.

Today, I actually had some energy to do a few chores. To me, that means clean the whole house. But my body only allowed me to Vaccuum and sweep the floors before my back was screaming at me. I felt so exhausted afterwards. I couldn’t push through the pain. My anxiety was escalating just by looking at the mess around the house.

Finally, I put my daughter down for her nap. I decided to rest myself but by the time I started to fall asleep my happy toddler was at my bedside ready to eat lunch.

As I walked in the kitchen I struggled to keep my eyes open. I was tired and all the energy I had to muster was only good enough to make a PB&J for my daughter. That’s when I broke down into a deep cry for about 5 minutes. “You’re a bad mom”, “you can do better”, “Aurora deserves a better mom” all flooded my mind. I felt completely overwhelmed with failure and I didn’t know how to find the energy to do more. In the midst of my crying, my beautiful 3-year-Old ran and hugged my leg with all her strength. “Mommy, it’s okay.”

Even though she didn’t understand why I was crying she reminded me in that moment that she loves me. She reminded me that a 3-year-Old doesn’t measure by perfection. They measure by love and how those around them are a part of their everyday lives.

I may have made the millionth PB&J but to my daughter it was something to look forward to. She never saw it as a lack of effort on my part but a treat to enjoy.

My husband called me right after my breakdown. He reminded me that I’m not a bad mom. He told me I’m 37 weeks pregnant so it’s okay not to be able to do everything. He told me to be patient until after I have our baby boy. Then I can become supermom again. (He knows me so well because that’s exactly what I want to be. Even at 37 weeks — supermom).

To the moms like me (pregnant or not) struggling to make more than a PB&J — you’re a good mom. You’re doing the best you can within your circumstances. Your babies love you and really do enjoy that PB&J. Give yourself grace and remember that what you make for lunch doesn’t define who you are as a mom. It’s the time and love you put into your kids that really makes a big difference.

My Journey with Prenatal Anxiety and Depression

Dear Foster Daughter, I Couldn’t Help You

Moms, It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

When Little is Good Enough

To the Foster Mom without Kids This Mother’s Day

It was exactly a year ago that my husband and I got the call, “You are certified foster parents.” After 4 months of training, LOTS of paperwork and home studies we were finally able to welcome foster kids into our home.

In the last year we’ve had 8 girls come in our home. The youngest was 7 and the oldest 17. A few stayed a week while others stayed almost a year. I never expected my life to be changed so much by letting these girls into our home. We mostly fostered teen girls this year and it was pretty fun. They taught me slang words, how to contour my face, what the latest fashions were and some even laughed at my jokes. But among those amazing moments there was a lot of low moments. All of them left me with my heart broken a little more each time. Sadly, this Mother’s Day I will be celebrating without any foster kids and that makes me sad.

I recently watched the HBO documentary, “Foster” that premiered this week. The part that left me in sobbing tears was at the end when the single foster mom gets cards, hugs and appreciation from all of her foster kids. I realized that no child I have fostered in the last year will be here for Mother’s Day. Yes, it’s probably conceited of me, but as a mom/foster mom I want to be told sometimes that I am making difference. Why? Because that is my hope as a foster parent. However, I won’t know if I have made a difference for MANY years if at all.

Our last foster teen left about a week ago because she chose to no longer to be in our home. While I have a very beautiful daughter of my own and a son in my growing belly, I will be morning all my girls who are no longer here.

I will mourn because I don’t know how much of an impact I had on them. I will mourn the loss of them because I don’t get to hug and thank them for making me a foster mom. I will mourn them because I may never see them again. I will mourn them because I don’t know if they are safe. But among the mourning I will remember the laughs, the jokes, the new things we taught them while in our home and so much more.

To other foster moms who won’t have kids this year — I feel you. My heart goes out to you. Especially those who don’t have children of their own. I pray you give yourself a moment to mourn the loss of these kiddos who are no longer with you. But like me, try to remember the fun times. Maybe one day we will know the true impact we had on these kids.

To my former foster kiddos who may read this one day: I  want you that Steven and I will always love you as our own children. You guys brought so much joy in our lives and we will be forever changed. If you ever need a home away from home we hope you consider ours. I pray we see you guys again one day!

 

My Journey with Prenatal Anxiety and Depression

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All of our belongings were packed away. We were living with my sister-in-law for the next week when we found out I was pregnant with our first child. I still remember eating chips in the kitchen while Steven snuck to the bathroom to peek at the pregnancy test. I didn’t believe I was pregnant but eating chips should have given it away. I still remember the shock when Steven came out of the bathroom with a huge smile on his face saying, “you’re pregnant.” I felt shock immediately followed by overwhelming joy. Little did I know that joy would soon be accompanied with anxiety.

Prenatal and Postpartum Anxiety was never on my mind as an expecting mom. I heard about the dangers of Postpartum Depression but never anxiety. I was about 6 months pregnant with my daughter when anxiety overloaded my daily thoughts. I remember one day as I was heading to a doctor’s appointment, I some how convinced myself there was a bomb in my car. I quickly jumped out of my SUV in the driveway thinking it was about to explode. I knew I was overthinking it but I still couldn’t convince myself to get back in for about 10 minutes. I even called my husband on the phone in hopes he would talk my brain out of this crazy notion.

As the months continued I would lay awake at night watching the shadows on the ceiling. I always thought someone would come in and kill me and my baby. I was working in the news business where my mind was constantly flooded with murders, child neglect and shootings. These thoughts would come and go throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. After I had my daughter I was still filled with amazing joy but I continued to battle anxiety. As months went on it got worse. So bad that I ended up in the ER twice thinking I was having a heart attack. It was over a year after having Aurora that I finally realized what was happening to me. I assumed I was crazy and it was hard to talk to anyone about it. Steven always listened but even he was getting tired of my mood swings. I finally got the help that I needed. I chose a small dosage of anxiety medication that has really helped me sleep at night. But now with my second pregnancy — I’m battling the other beast. Depression.

I am 5 months pregnant with my son and I’m having symptoms of Prenatal Depression. A phrase that scares me more than anxiety. I have suffered on and off with depression and anxiety my entire life, but being pregnant has caused these ugly demons to be revived. This time I’m not going to wait to get help. My biggest fear is that this depression will cause me to hurt my kids or myself. Thankfully, the only signs I’ve had are change of mood, lack of motivation and decreased appetite. I talked to my doctor who referred me to a therapist who specializes in women with anxiety and depression during and after pregnancies. My doctor said that this will continue to get worse so waiting would be a bad idea.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because I know there is a mother out there expecting or has been trapped in anxiety and depression for the last few years after having their kiddos. You may even have developed these based on other circumstances. I want you to know that you are not alone. It’s a fight that can be won with the proper help.

I share my story because many women don’t know about these mental illnesses. If you or someone you know has been struggling then please get help. Do not wait and try to control it on your own. Even I have been trying to minimize my symptoms but I knew I needed more.

*These are suggestions only that have helped me personally. I am not a licensed therapist nor doctor. I urge you to reach out to a trained physician to help you find the best ways for you to overcome anxiety and depression. *

Here are some ways that have helped me control my symptoms:

  1. Exercise — this is huge for me. I notice a complete mood change if I go more than two days without exercising.
  2. Eating healthy — sugar has been linked to depression and anxiety. I cut out breads and other sugary foods. I replaced them with protein, good fats, veggies and fruit.
  3. Staying Hydrated — When I feel thirsty I get angry. Once I’m dehydrated my brain cannot think properly if I am thirsty. Often times we even see these signs as hunger, but really we need a big glass of water. I also add Apple Cider Vinegar and lemon to mine to give me some natural electrolytes.
  4. Medication — I’m not a big fan of medication but eventually I had to take something for anxiety. Talk to your doctor to find out what works best for you.
  5. Talk to someone — therapy is a great alternative to medication when dealing with anxiety and depression. If you get a referral from your doctor then your insurance should cover the sessions. You may have to pay a copay but $35 a week is better than fighting this battle alone.

I hope this post helps someone today. I remember feeling so alone in all of this, but I don’t want you to. It was very hard for me to write about my struggles because they are personal. But I am getting help before anything gets worse. I’m all about being proactive instead of waiting for the worst to happen. Get help and don’t be afraid to admit that you need it. You’re not crazy — you’re struggling.

How My Nervous Breakdown Led Me to a Breakthrough

What Foster Training Taught Me About My Own Trauma

Dear Foster Daughter, I Couldn’t Help You

Parenting Through Grace

Dear Foster Daughter, I Couldn’t Help You

Dear Foster Daughter,

The day you moved from my home broke my heart. You weren’t the first one to leave but your departure made a massive impact on my life. We struggled to understand each other even though we were just alike. We stressed over the same things and yet could never find a comfortable balance for our relationship.

I worked so hard every day to give you what you needed. I made personal sacrifices to make sure you were being heard. But I still wasn’t doing enough. I still made you mad. I still made you cry. The reality is I couldn’t help you.

That phrase is hard for me to swallow. I get a clump in my throat every time I think of how I failed. How I tried. The promise I made to never see you go. To stay next to you through thick and thin. The promise to not be just another home that gave up on you. Even though you had to go I never gave up. I’m still not going to give up.

I miss you everyday. You brought so much of an impact into my life. We had some pretty awesome times together. Ones I will never forget. Thank you for coming into my life. Thank you for changing my heart and teaching me how to love you better. You may no longer be in my home but I hope one day we can have a strong relationship.

Maybe you’ll be quick to listen instead of ignoring my suggestions. Maybe you’ll see me as someone who wants the best instead of someone who pushes you to live by the rules. Whatever relationship we have I pray that we can mend the broken pieces. That we can one day look back and laugh about how similar we are.

I will always think of you as my daughter. I hope one day you will still consider us family in some way. I pray you will let me know about your life accomplishments. I can’t wait to see you become the young woman I already see. You’re strong, important, wanted, loved, beautiful, funny and so much more. You will impact lives for the better. Don’t give up. Know we will love you forever.

Foster Care and Sex Trafficking: What you need to know

To Foster Parents Who Take it Personal

5 Ways to Introduce God to Foster Kids Without Being Pushy

Fostering Teens Who Are Surrounded By Weeds

Preparing a Place for Our First Foster Child

Parents, Your Kids Can Help Too

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As a stay-at-home mom, days can seem long and overwhelming. Most days I spend with a 2.5-year-old while I try to keep the house in one piece. It’s a daily struggle of mine. The clutter causes me more anxiety so I work harder than I should most days which causes me to neglect time with my daughter so I can load the dishwasher. Then I find myself too exhausted to really play and engage with my daughter. Since I found out I was pregnant, I realized I can’t keep that schedule up. So I decided to invest more into something else. How to teach my daughter to be a good steward of her things.

My daughter Aurora is 2.5 years-old and she has been a big help lately. I first noticed her interest in helping out around the house after she turned 2-years-old. She started by throwing things away in the trash can and putting dishes in the sink. It was cute to see her want to help but I didn’t think much of it. Now, it’s 6 months later and she is helping out in so many ways. Here are some chores you can teach your toddler.

1. Putting their dishes in the sink after each meal.

This is an easy one. Honestly, a child on the later side of one-year-old could start doing this simple chore. After every meal, Aurora takes her cup and plate to the sink where I can wash it. She feels like such a big girl and it gives me one less dish to pick up after meals.

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2. Unloading the dishwasher.

This chore has become a new-found excitement for my daughter. At first it was kind of annoying because she was unloading dishes faster than I could put them up. I would tell her to go play but she would cry her littles eyes out because she wanted to help me. I took advantage of the time with her and decided to give her a chance. Now, she hands me dishes and I put them up. Yes, I even let her handle breakable dishes. Unless it’s a special dish I don’t freak out about it possibly breaking. To me, teaching my child responsibilities is more important than dishes. Tip: make sure to grab sharp knives out of the dishwasher before letting your kiddo help.

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3. Picking up toys.

This chore is probably the biggest one for me. I hated constantly picking up toys three times a day just to do it again tomorrow. As my belly has grown I have had less energy to bend over. Now, I sit down and direct my daughter on how to clean her toys. I’m not going to lie, this took a good week or so to work on with my daughter. The first time it took her about 45 minutes to pick up a handful of toys. The next day, the task took less time. Parents, this will change your life if you really spend some time helping your kids learn how to pick up after themselves. My daughter has to pick up her toys after she plays with them. She also cleans them up before bed. One way I motivate her is to say, “Mommy needs help. Can you clean up with me?” I still guide her a little but she loves being my big helper.

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4. Feeding the pets.

One day Aurora wanted to pour the dog food into bowls so I decided to see how she would do. She did great. Now, she feeds the dogs in the morning and at dinner. Often times she even reminds me of her special chore. This also helps develop motor skills.

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5. Sweeping/mopping/vacuuming floors.

This chore I’m still working on. We bought her a Melissa and Doug cleaning set that she usually plays with but sometimes uses for real messes. My daughter is a little on the shorter side so it’s hard for her to use them sometimes, but she is getting there. At this point she mostly cleans messes up by wiping them up with a towel. It can be when she accidentally spills something on the floor or when she throws a tantrum and causes a mess. Either way, she cleans up after herself. Parents, I would not make a big deal out of messes when they are on accident. Just teach your child accidents happen and they can be cleaned up. A child doesn’t need to feel more anxious than they already do.

Other chore ideas for older toddlers.

  • Making their own bed
  • Brushing their teeth
  • Help fold laundry
  • Put up laundry
  • Help move laundry to dryer
  • Load dishwasher/wash dishes by hand
  • Help prepare meals
  • Set the table
  • Wipe the table
  • Dust
  • Clean windows

I’m a firm believer that teaching our kids to do household chores will not only help with development, responsibility and appreciation. But it will also help us moms or dads relieve some stress. Yes, teaching some of these chores will be an investment for a few weeks but just think about all the other weeks you get help. The best part is they are so excited to be a part of it. Take advantage now because once they hit pre-teen age you’ll be fighting them to wash a dish.

Another great thing is teaching our kids how to take care of what they have. If they are constantly leaving a mess for you to clean, throwing toys around, destroying things then they will never learn the value of what they have. They will always want something else. This teaches them to respect what God has given them. To be good stewards of their possessions so maybe one day they can pass them down to a child that has less than they do.

I hope these tips help you feel less stressed. Parents, invest and don’t forget to encourage your kiddos and thank them for helping with the mess. We wish our kids would say thank you so why shouldn’t we teach them that as well?

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Moms, It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” ~ Jeremiah 31: 25

It’s lunchtime and the kids are screaming for food. You survey the kitchen for something quick to eat make because you have no more energy. Your day has been good but you’re just tired and overwhelmed. Sadly, it’s still hours before your husband comes through the door. You love your kids but you need a breather. You’re not okay.

I’ve had many days like this over the last few weeks. I’ve struggled with my mood despite taking my anxiety medication. I’ve fought depression as I look outside and see gray skies with no blooms. I yearn to be around life to help revive my mom soul. My mom friends are deep in their own family commitments so I have no one to call on in the midst of my loneliness. I’m struggling.

These mom days are hard. They’re exhausting when you feel like you have nothing left to give. You love your babies but just feel trapped in this world of everyone needing you.

Moms, can I tell you something? These seasons, days, weeks and months are normal. We are constantly serving others before ourselves. Yes, it’s important to take time alone but in real life those days are far and few between. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to realize you need help from others. Please don’t feel like you have to be a perfect mom to be a good mom. God sees your struggle. God knows you’re exhausted.

I think it’s a beautiful thing to say you are struggling. Every mom needs to hear they are not alone. These seasons are what keeps you pressing in to God’s word. Pressing in to God as you seek Him to find restoration for your weary soul.

The best part about going through these moments — when the days are good you become so thankful that you kept pushing through. That you found a way to survive. Not to mention those beautiful faces that give you hugs and smiles when you are at your lowest. Those moments are my saving grace. I feel like that’s God reminding me of His love for us. He’s given us our babies to keep us going when we have nothing left.

Moms, don’t be ashamed to go to God with a heavy heart. Don’t be afraid to take help from a friend when they ask if you need something. Don’t feel guilty for wanting time away for yourself. Most importantly, don’t worry about not being okay today. The sun will shine. Keep your weary eyes open so you can see those sweet reminders that God sends us each day.

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