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.

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Parenting Through Grace

Attention Shoppers, Please Be Patient With My Screaming Kid

For many, the grocery store is a place where people go for a peaceful stroll while they shop for food. That is until my daughter walks through the doors.

My 2-year-old is pushing the buggy fast through crowds of people, nearly running over several toes along the way. Once she spots the crackers she grabs them off the shelf and throws them in the buggy. A snack I don’t mind giving her later but my daughter wants to eat them now. I tell her not until we check out, which causes a huge dramatic reaction. I look around at fellow shoppers as she screams “crackers.”

I bend down to calm my daughter but it only makes it worse. It takes about 5 minutes to explain she can have crackers once we get back to the car. Once that issue is resolved we continue to shop for the handful of items I came for. The next isle, the process starts over again. By the time she gets to the checkout I’m straining to hear the cashier reveal the total. My child is out of control because all she wants is “crackers” and of course it continues on the way to car.Before I can put her in the car seat – I spend another 5 minutes explaining what needs to happen before she gets a cracker. She finally calms down, I get her strapped in her seat and she enjoys her cracker.

This happens a lot. I see those looks from fellow shoppers who cringe when my child screams. I see the people who try to calm my child down but are rudely rejected by my 2-year-old’s, “No”. I see frustrated shoppers trying to grab items off the shelf where my child is throwing a tantrum. Please, just be patient.

It’s not because I won’t discipline my child. It’s because I am trying to teach her patience without whipping her into submission. Yes, she does receive spankings on occasion but as parents we also learned that the more she gets spankings the more she hits. My child responds to timeouts, not hitting.Shoppers please don’t get frustrated, I know my kid is acting like a wild animal. I know she needs to calm down but sadly, 2-year-olds don’t listen to reason. They react based on emotions.

I want my child to learn she can’t get what she wants when she screams for it. I want her to learn the meaning of patience. I want her to be okay waiting for something even if she wants it REALLY bad. Why? Because those teachings start now.

One day I want her to be a great person who impacts others, to be faithful to God and trust him even when she doesn’t get her way. I want her to be able to calm down without always spanking her. I also want her to have a calming spirit towards her children one day. So shoppers, I thank you for being patient. I thank you for giving me the space to discipline my child. I thank you for understanding that I am trying as a mom.

I am working daily with my child’s reactions to her world around her. For both of our peace, I pray one day I can walk in a store with my toddler and not fight a battle. I pray she will help me grab items off of the shelf and place them in the buggy but for now she needs to learn how to act.

So until then shoppers, please be patient, offer me a smile instead of a grimaced look. Try not to be quick to judge the situation and my lack of parenting skills. For now, try to shop around me when I am in the middle of the isle dealing with a toddler’s attitude. I promise one day, I will offer the same grace when you find yourself handling a toddler of your own.

***DISCLAIMER: This article represents my views on tasing my child. This article is not meant to criticize or point fingers at parents that choose other ways to discipline their children.****

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Parenting Through Grace

Why I Don’t Want My Children To Say Yes, Ma’am

Pinterest loving, Cloth Diapering, Paleo Eating Moms are Human Too

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Before we became moms we had an idea of what we wanted to be like. Some of us were determined to be fun. Others took a personal oath that we would never have kids like little Johnny down the street. As you know, those ideals quickly change once the doctor places that beautiful baby in your arms.

For me, I swore that I would NEVER give my daughter a pacifier. The first night home from the hospital and I was scrambling to find the unopened baby shower gift. I also remember never wanting to feed my child formula. Sadly, because of my work schedule I was forced to supplement and then eventually switch over entirely when my daughter was 6 months old. But what about the ideals I kept?

One of my favorite things to do is find creative ways to decorate my home and my child’s birthday parties with inspiration from Pinterest. I may not always succeed at my projects but I still try. I made most of Aurora’s room décor with help from my husband. I also made my daughter’s zoo animal cupcakes instead of paying a fortune.

Another ideal that shocks many moms when I talk to them is cloth diapering. Most moms call me a “super mom” because I choose to rewash diapers my child uses instead of throwing them away. It’s actually not that hard.

Then there is paleo. I see moms giving their kids mac and cheese (I’m not hating) while I try hard to give my child a healthy – mostly paleo – meal. Making sure my daughter has healthy food is really important to me, mostly because I’ve struggled most of my life with the unhealthy stuff. So does that make me a better mom?

Absolutely NOT. I see posts all of the time joking about moms who prefer to make Pinterest birthday parties and cook paleo. As if what I and other moms do is saying, “I’m better than you.” I don’t want what I like to do to send that message. These are just things I really enjoy.

Moms, we all choose to raise our families a different way. But it doesn’t mean anyone is better than the other. God has given us different strengths and gifts to use. Instead of comparing yourself to the mom next door, how about we come together. Find a way to encourage other moms as they do what they love. Your strengths may be their weaknesses.

As women we already struggle with the “she’s totally judging me for wearing this shirt” mentality. Sadly, we size each other up and instantly compare ourselves when walking into a room. We shouldn’t be competing with each other. We should be encouraging one another. We have a tough job as moms and women.

So remember when you make fun of moms who like things like organic food and essential oils or the moms who feed their kids McDonalds and drink a glass of wine after a hard day. Remember they are human too. No one is perfect. Every mom is trying their hardest. It’s a HARD role. But we can do it – especially when we have others encouraging us along the way.

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Parenting Through Grace

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“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:9

“What did I say?” “Don’t touch that.” “No. ma’am.” I have repeated these same phrases for the last few days. My daughter is almost a 2-years-old; which means we are working on listening to mom and dad. My main struggle has been repeating myself and yet she continues to do the same thing after I told her not to. I feel like a broken record. Why won’t she listen?

If you’re a parent then you know exactly what I’m talking about. You spend most of the day trying to teach and correct your children. And yet it seems the information goes in one ear and out the other. Yesterday was a rough day. I found myself frustrated with my daughter. I would correct her and then she was doing something else. She is starting to test her limits with me. Always trying to see how far she can go. It’s frustrating.  That’s when I realized this must be how God feels.

God parents us each day. He gives us guidelines to live by. (The Bible). He teaches us through His word what we need to do as Christians. However, we continue to push the limits. Even when we know it’s wrong. Many of us have faced the punishment for our actions. And yet we’re still making mistakes. Why?

Because we are all sinners. Yes, even our babies. Those cute and chubby kiddos came into this world as sinners. True, they learn habits from those around them, but we all have sinful nature inside. Even as an adult I fight against daily sin. If you’re human then so do you. But there is good news.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:4-9

God’s grace. I had a friend text me during my rough day. She reminded me of how God gives us grace even when we don’t deserve it. Our kids need that as well. Even when it seems like they will never do what we ask. We have to remember to give them grace in the midst of those moments. It may take months or even years to see the lessons we teach them. But I promise it’s not wasted. I can think of MANY times I tested my limits with God. But He was still there. He never left my side. Eventually, I decided to follow His advice instead of my own.

As a reminder to you amazing parents, like your kids, you are still learning as well. For parents of young ones, now is the time to strengthen the patient muscle. To fight through the tough days even when we feel like failures. You’re not wasting your breath or energy. Every effort you put into your child means they are one step closer to becoming the Godly men and women they were called to be.

What are some struggles you face with your kids?

How do you remind yourself to show them grace?

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What I Learned After Being a Stay-At-Home Mom for 2 Days

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What I Learned After Being a Stay-At-Home Mom for 2 Days

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Last week I took two days off for work. We had some foster/adoption things we need to get done so I decided to take a few days to focus on that. My husband just went back to work and our nanny was off since I was at home. I was excited to see what it was like to be a stay-at-home mom. My first thought, “I can get so much done.”

Well I was mistaken. I was the worst stay-at-home mom ever. My house was messy. The dishes were piling up quickly. I was constantly trying to get things done while making sure Aurora wasn’t getting into stuff. I also was trying to get some more stuff done for my blog. I accomplished little to nothing those two days. How can I be home for two days and NOT have a clean house or have anything to show for it? I knew being at home is a tough job, but I underestimated it.

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I remember seeing an Insta-story by one mom who is part of the Risen Motherhood ministry. She was doing a “day in the life” video series. The first video, she talked about how she gets up 3 days a week at 5am to go to the gym. Then comes home and has quiet time before her kids get up. This mom has 5 kids of her own. Ages ranging from 9 to 10 months. (I’m not sure about the exact ages. I’m just guessing by how old they looked in the videos I watched). Anyway, later she posted a video where she was teaching scriptures to her kids at breakfast.  After breakfast, she changed out of her pajamas and into normal day clothes. She looked fabulous for it taking 10 minutes. All day I kept looking at her stories thinking I haven’t worked out today. I only have one child and I’m still in sloppy clothes. Yes, I was comparing myself to this sweet mom who looked like she had it all together.

But at the end of the day she posted another video. This time she spoke about how there was a lot of things we did not see in the videos. Things like her lack of patience with her kids. Or her daily sin and selfishness. But through God’s grace she (and everyone else) can start over and try harder. It’s through God’s grace that we as moms are able to do the same for our children. They are sinners just like us. (Yes, even those cute toddlers). Moms you know, even on those hard days, that’s when God reminds us of what it’s like for Him to give us grace.

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Even though I was terrible at being a stay-at-home mom, I realized that other moms struggle with the same thoughts. I know several full-time stay-at-home moms who work hard to give their kids a great education, attention, teaching moments and love all day. Every day. Unlike me, many don’t have a nanny that takes over in the middle of the day. For many they don’t get to leave the house and go to a job of their own. Their job is being there for those kiddos.

In those few days I saw a small glimpse of what many amazing women do throughout the world. Stay-at-home moms rock. They have the HARDEST job. It’s also one that will leave an impact for generations to come.

If you know a stay-at-home mom or are one then I want you to remember that you are doing some BIG things. It may not feel like it on those rough days. Yes, it’s a job you may not see evidence of your hard work for years to come. But don’t give-up. Don’t compare yourself to other moms. And don’t do it alone.

God calls us to be in a community together. Not just at church. Yes, it’s hard to reach out to another mom when you’re too busy with your own kids each day. But I promise there is a mom out there that needs a friend, help or someone to talk to who knows what they’re going through. So find another mom in your community to befriend. Someone you don’t know already. You never know how it will bless that mom. It may give her that extra energy she needs to raise her kiddos the way she has always hoped.

What are some struggles you face as a stay-at-home mom?

How can others help you on days when things are going rough?

What are some ways you stay encourgaed?

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6 Natural Items to Use When Your Family is Sick

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Colds and sinus infections seem to hit my family the most throughout the winter months. It’s always cold outside and places indoors are usually scorching. Not to mention our home has only electric heating which creates a very dry atmosphere. Here are some ways I tackle these small sicknesses in our home.

*Disclaimer: I am not a doctor nor do I suggest doing this with everything. These are just items I use to help my family. I do go to the doctor if I see the sickness is getting out of hand.

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Essential Oil Diffuser. My husband bought this for me when I was pregnant. I struggled the first 6 months with extreme headaches and sinus infections. I wasn’t allowed to take my normal sinus medication so I had to find something. This diffuser cost about $15 off of Amazon. It’s pretty straight forward. All you do is fill it up to the line with water. Then add about 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil in the water. Put the lid on and hit the button. This diffuser allows you to choose whether you want the contents to be released in the air every 30 seconds or constantly until turned off. It also has different colors. When I am sick I put this by my bed at night to help me sleep. I also like to get my essential oils from T.J. Max. They usually have about 4 in a pack for about $15.

Humidifier. This is a lot like the diffuser except it helps add moisture to the air. We use one of these in my daughter’s room a lot during winter. Like I mentioned before, our heat can make the home really dry. She pretty much has one of these constantly going in her room.

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Nose Spray. I love this stuff. Especially when I wake up with a dry and stuffy nose. It helps with that sinus pressure that you get through your nose. Once again adding moisture helps a lot in dry climates.

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Essential oil Chest and foot rub. I found this gem one night when I was looking for relief for my daughter. She was really sick and I came across this in CVS. It’s hard when your child is young because they’re not allowed to really have any medicine for a few years. I didn’t want to use Vick’s Vapor rub because she wasn’t of age. So I used this instead. It’s safe for babies 3 months and up. I rub a little on her chest and feet. I also use it for myself. You remember the burning sinus pressure in your nose I mentioned before? I will dab a little bit on my nostrils and under my nose to help with that. Usually in minutes I feel so much better.

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Apple Cider Vinegar. If you want to get rid of a sore throat almost instantly then this is your go to. Many people can take a shot of this stuff but I can’t. I usually mix it in a glass of orange juice or lemon water. They cut the acid from the vinegar. I also like to use this on a daily basis. This will help with your immune system and so many other things.

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Zarbee’s Natural Medicine. Once again I found this one night when I was at CVS looking for any medicine my daughter could have. She was dealing with a cold and lots of coughing. I ran across this honey based medicine that helped her stop coughing. There are different age types for these. They also have ones with agave nectar for kids under the age of 1 since honey can be dangerous to give to your child before that age. It’s a more natural way to help your sick baby with colds and sinus issues.

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The Truth Behind Cloth Diapering: Are they worth it?

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“I’m never going to use cloth diapers. They’re too much work.” Anytime cloth diapers came up, this was my response. I even would cringe at the idea of touching my child’s waste every time I changed her diaper. So what changed my mind, you ask?

I was scrolling through Pinterest one day, looking at baby stuff when I saw several pins for cloth diapering. I remember passing them several times thinking it wasn’t worth the read. However, my curiosity got the better of me so I decided to read a little bit about them. The cute pictures of the diapers were really what caught my attention. After reading one article, I knew I wanted to throw out the idea of disposables and use cloth diapers instead.

Here are 5 reasons why I love cloth diapering:

1. Cloth Diapers Can Save Money.

According to a recent study done by Baby Center, parents can spend up to $2,000 on disposable diapers for a child’s first year of life. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of money.

When I first started looking at which diapers to buy I totaled up the cost. It was going to cost nearly $800 for me to get about 32 cloth diapers. That was still a lot of money, but I was willing to invest in them. After doing lots of research and constantly looking on Amazon for great prices, I ended up paying only $160. That bought me 24 cloth diaper covers and bamboo inserts, one small wet bag and four cloth baby wipes. If you’ve researched cloth diapers, then you know that was an awesome price.  Usually you can’t buy one snap cloth diaper and cover cheaper than $13.

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(Pictured above are 12 of my 24 diaper covers with bamboo inserts. Small wet bag and cloth wipes not pictured)

I decided not to buy any more than 24. I wanted to have enough for a couple of days, but didn’t want to have hundreds of cloth diapers. Why? Because I knew I would wait longer to wash them. Even though I love cloth diapers I’m not a fan of letting wet and poopy diapers sit for days at a time. This brings me to my next reason.

2. Cloth Diapers Are NOT that gross.

One thing that turned me off of cloth diapers at first was the idea of touching  poop and pee. Obviously, you wash cloth diapers unlike disposables where you throw them away. I believe in some ways you deal with less mess with cloth diapers.

With the type of diapers I have, you pull out the insert by the very tip and wrap it in the cover. Then you place the diaper and insert in the wet or dry bag. With poop diapers you do the same except I rinse mine off in the toilet with a handle sprayer. When you go to wash them, you just dump the bag upside down into the washing machine and then place the bag in with the diapers to wash. Simple as that.

3. Washing cloth diapers are easier than you think.

Since I only have 24 diapers, I usually wash them every other day. My daughter is 4 months  old and she goes through about 8-10 diapers a day. I change her about every two hours during the day. There are longer stretches when she sleeps at night for about 6 hours straight.

One thing I want to mention is that washing cloth diapers is more than just throwing them in the washer with laundry detergent followed by the dryer. It’s the trickiest part of the whole cloth diaper experience, but shouldn’t be too hard to get a good washing routine. (Check out my blog next week for a post on what you need for cloth diapering and my personal wash routine.)

4. Less diaper rashes for baby.

After my daughter was born, I decided to use disposables on her in the beginning. A newborn has poo called meconium for the first several days after birth. It can be tar-like which I heard can be hard to get out of cloth diapers. Also, she was a little small to fit in her cloth diapers.

The first two months we used disposable diapers, Aurora had issues with diaper rash. She already has very sensitive skin and I could tell the diapers were irritating her skin. I know other moms even say to me how their child has to wear a certain brand of diapers because others cause breakouts of some kind.

Ever since I switched Aurora to cloth diapers, she has yet to have another rash. Disposable diapers have a lot of chemicals in them to cause them to be absorbent. That’s why some babies breakout when wearing them. However, babies can get diaper rash with cloth diapers. Most of the time it’s because your washing routine may not be getting them clean. Another cause could be that your baby’s skin is being irritated by the detergent you’re using. But diaper rashes are less likely with cloth diapers. Plus, you don’t have to worry about unknown chemicals touching your baby’s skin.

5. They’re so darn cute!

Let’s face it. Whether you’re having a boy or girl, you want your bundle of joy to be cute from head to toe. Cloth diapers have come a long way in the looks department. Once I switched my daughter exclusively to cloth diapers, I realized how much I hated seeing that generic diaper. (Not hating on the moms that choose to use disposables.) My baby girl can be stylish while wearing a more natural diaper that saves us money.

Be warned! Because cloth diapers are so cute, buying diapers can get addicting. In turn, you may end up spending more money than you would have on disposables. I’ve found myself wanting to buy even more, but I don’t want to add a bigger laundry pile.

After reading this post, I encourage you to research cloth diapers more if you feel like it may interest you. These reasons are all my personal opinion through experience. If you are a mother who uses disposables and still chooses to do so then that’s great too. Cloth diapers are a preference just like everything else in parenting. I never want a mom to read my posts and feel bad about the choices she’s made for her children.

Do you cloth diaper? If so what are some reasons why you chose them over disposables? Feel free to add your reasons in the comment section below.

Have a blessed day!

Heather

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast with a Friend

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“Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonest.”- Titus 2:3-5

If you read my blog post, “Cultivating Friendship,” then you may remember where I challenged myself and my readers to go out and find another mommy friend. I’m happy to say my challenge couldn’t have come at a better time.

Last Saturday, I had breakfast with a dear friend from church. I first met Michele at a Memorial Day picnic, but it was my Mother-in-law who connected their family with ours.

Michele has been married to her husband for 16 years and has four children. Her kids are older than my daughter, but I knew I wanted to connect with a veteran mom who’s been where I am now.

I remember waking up that Saturday morning with excitement. I couldn’t remember the last time I met a friend for a meal. I would love to say I went went to breakfast dressed nice from head-to-toe. Instead, I wore a hoodie and yoga pants. That’s the mommy fashion anyway, right? I knew Michele wouldn’t mind.

Michele and I met at Bob Evan’s for breakfast. I had never been there before so I wanted to try it out. It was amazing! An upgrade from IHOP.  When arrived, Michele was already there with a table. I was so thankful because I had yet to have my morning cup of coffee. The days I try to function without it seem like a mess.

Michele and I began to talk about our week. I remember it being a stressful week for me at work and home. Then, Michele began to tell me about her week. We were so in depth in conversation, the waitress approached our table several times to take our order.

During the time we placed our breakfast order and got our food, we were learning a lot more about one another. This was the first time Michele and I had a one-on-one conversation. I told her about my family and she told me more about hers. We went from talking about things we liked to how both of our husbands love Dr. Pepper. I even discovered we have a similar passion for the show, “Fixer Upper.” The more we talked the I began to realize how much we had in common. It was refreshing to not only connect with another mom, but one that has similar tastes. As time passed, our conversations became more in depth. It was as if we had known each other for years. By the time my plate was empty we were on the topic of how overwhelming motherhood can be. We were not complaining about it by any means, just opening up about those difficult moments. For me, I explained how I felt like a failure that week because my husband had to feed Aurora  formula. Until then, she was strictly breastmilk fed. I was struggling with production, but still felt like it was my fault.

As we were gathering our things to leave, I remember telling Michele why I asked her to breakfast. I explained my struggles finding other mommy friends. I was a little nervous to say those words out loud because I felt embarrassed. Michele replied that she was dealing with something similar when she first moved to the area as well. She went on to suggest we do something like this once a month. That’s when I learned Michele wanted to get out of the house more herself. That was a wake-up call.

By asking Michele to breakfast I was thinking it would be more for me than her. She’s been a mom longer than me and has other friends so I felt honored that she gave up her time on a Saturday morning. However, I realized that she needed those few hours of mommy friend time just as much as me.

It goes to show that no matter how long you’ve been a mother or what season you’re in, time with other moms is needed.

Did you take my challenge? How did it feel to connect with another mom? Are you making it a monthly or weekly thing? I hope you were able to feel the relief when connecting with your new mommy friend. Here is my next challenge.

First, go re-read the verse I included at the beginning of this blog post. Titus 2:3-5. Let the words sink in for a few seconds. Then, I want you to write down at least 5 moms that you know. They can be older than you, younger, a sibling or friend. I challenge you to connect with them throughout the week. It can be a quick text message or Facebook message. I encourage you to ask how things are going in their life, ask them how you can pray for them that day or throughout the week, and send them an uplifting message or scripture.

Maybe you can go a step further and meet them for coffee or FaceTime for 15 minutes this week. As you go throughout your week, remember to pray for them. Even if you don’t know what to pray about. As the week goes by, you’ll be able to see how God is working through you to reach other moms. You may even see how God is working in your life as well.

Feel free to share this post with other moms. I would love see a week where mothers encourage each other versus comparing or judging one another. Once you’ve completed the challenge, post your experiences in the comment section below. You never know what mother you will encourage to make a difference.

 

 

 

 

The Day I Learned I Was Going To Be A Mom

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It was a year ago today, August 10, 2015, when I found out I was going to be a mom. I remember it so clearly. My husband and I just moved all of our belongings into a storage unit minus the basics. We were living at my sister-in-laws house for a week before we made the big move to Indiana. I was feeling some nausea a few weeks prior, but assumed I was dehydrated.

I decided to finally take a test to make sure. After I took the test, I had to wait two minutes before I could find out the results. Surprisingly, I was in the kitchen eating chips instead of hovering over the pregnancy test. I still didn’t think I was pregnant. Although, my cravings for chips and crunchy food should have been a clue.

My husband on the other hand couldn’t wait a whole minute.  He snuck into the bathroom to see if the test was showing any signs. That’s when he came back into the kitchen with a BIG smile and said, “you’re pregnant.” I was in shock. I began to eat my chips even faster while letting those words sink in. Then I started laughing because I was probably one of the few women in the world that her husband told her she was pregnant.

Why was I so shocked? I didn’t always live my life right for God. I had a past filled with destruction that gave me doubts that I could ever have children. Without going into major details, I knew I always wanted children, but didn’t think it would happen. But God’s timing was essential. By His grace and mercy I was expecting my first child with my amazing husband.

I was mostly shocked, but really excited. I had no clue what the next few months would bring. Next, we had to tell our family. Finding out we were pregnant a week before we moved was scary. However, I’m so thankful we got to tell our families in person. I called my sister on the phone first with the news. Then, we told Steven’s sister, Jamie, later that night. She was so shocked she spit cereal out of her mouth. We knew she would be excited because she loves kids. The next day, we told Steven’s mom and other sister Leigh while enjoying one of our last visits with them. As we were saying our goodbyes that we week, we were sharing some big news. I think it made it even harder to  leave because we would be so far away.

I look back at that day remembering of how unsure I was about the future. I had so many emotions with all the changes we were experiencing. I had just accepted a new job, we were moving to a different state and expecting our first child all at once. Blessings overload. The ironic thing is, I wanted to wait several years before Steven and I had kids. However, God wanted to bless us earlier than I had planned. I wasn’t upset at all. Everyday I look at Aurora and think how glad I am God changed my plans. She brings Steven and I so much joy each day. Her smiles melt our hearts in more ways than I could ever have imagined.

IMG_7567I will always remember August 10, 2015 as the day I knew I was becoming a mom. One of the most exciting, scariest and uncertain times of my life. I’m truly thankful for God’s grace and blessings over our lives.

Do you remember the day when you found out you were becoming a mom for the first time? Any funny ways you revealed it to your husband or family? I would love to hear about it. Just add your story in the comment section below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Meal Prep

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If you’re a mother, you’ve probably had a few days where you stay so busy that you forget to eat. This is true whether you are a working or stay at home mom. As a working mom myself, I barely have time each day to pack my lunch box and get out of the door on time. Many times, my husband is doing it for me while I finish getting ready.

My husband works 6:00am to 1:30pm Monday through Friday. I work 2:30pm to 11:30pm Monday through Friday. We both are our daughter’s care giver throughout the week. Even though my daughter takes multiple naps while I’m home, I use that time to start getting ready for work or enjoy a cup of coffee. When I started back to work, I was scrambling to find food for lunch and dinner. I would grab anything close to being healthy, throw it in my lunch box and head out the door. Before I got off work, I would be starving. Then, I would be tempted to go pick up something from a restaurant or gas station.  Of course never feeling fully satisfied. I finally got tired of the stress so I decided to plan my meals weekly.

Sunday is when we take a few hours to prep our meals for the week. We usually pick a meat like chicken, beef or fish along with a veggie and carb.  It only takes a couple of hours to get a WHOLE weeks worth of food. As a mother that breast feeds and works full-time, it’s important for me to eat a healthy meal. It helps with milk production since my daughter is strictly breast milk fed. Also, planning my meals keeps me from buying food that is unhealthy. The best part is it saves money.

Many people argue buying healthy food is expensive. It can be depending on where you shop and what you buy. I would love to say I can afford everything at Whole Foods, but I can’t. My husband and I are lucky enough to have Aldi and Costco. Aldi has improved a lot over the last few years. They carry organic food half the price of many other places. In the last year, Costco has worked hard to put healthier choices in their stores. There you can find organic food in bulk. The same stuff you will pay more for in Whole Foods. The best part about Costco is you can buy in bulk which helps when you’re prepping a week’s worth of meals.

I also like the divided containers. I can put my entire dinner in one container; which makes it easier to carry to work. I bought several two-section containers at Wal-Mart for a couple of bucks but you can also find some on Amazon that are reusable. It’s an easy way to not over fill a regular container. You place the carb of your choice in the smallest compartment and fill the large section with veggies and protein.

For stay at home moms you may not benefit from dinner meal preps, but breakfast and lunch could help insure you’re getting something to eat . Especially for the days the kids keep you busy. I know as moms we tend to put everyone else’s needs above our own but eating a good meal is something you need to do for yourself. Any easy way to prep ahead for lunch could be making a large salad with your favorite toppings and meat. Then at lunch all you have to do is put some in a bowl and eat. You can also prep your lunches to be similar to what I make for dinner. You may even want to prep breakfast, lunch and a couple of snacks for each day. Some snacks could include carrots and hummus, almonds, fruit or a protein shake.  I try to eat six times a day. Three meals and two snacks. What about breakfast?

An easy breakfast to prep days in advance are overnight oats. If you’ve never tried them I suggest giving it a shot. I have a whole board on my Pinterest dedicated to different flavors of overnight oats. Basically, you put dried oats with yogurt, milk, fruit, chia seeds or other things all in a mason jar. You stick in the fridge over night. When you wake up in the morning, you take the oats out of the fridge and eat straight from the jar. Depending on the age of your kids, it could also be a good breakfast for them as well. Especially when you’re needing to get them to an activity, school, or the gym. Overnight oats saved me while I was on maternity leave. I struggled finding the time to eat at all, but they made it so much easier. Oats also help increase breast milk, so if you’re not a fan of regular oatmeal, this could be a better option.

Here are a few recipes I found on Pinterest of Overnight Oats. Each recipe will tell you how many servings it will make. I buy the smaller mason jars, but you can put a couple of servings in a larger jar. Overnight Oats last in the fridge for about three days. Once again, it’s quick and easy to make for those busy mornings.