Showing posts with label Motherhood Challenges Series. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Motherhood Challenges Series. Show all posts

May 11, 2017

Wholehearted Motherhood

We were running late. It should have known by now that something is about to go wrong. Something is about to go completely off the schedule. The shoes were on the wrong feet, the diaper bag was missing diapers and I could not, for the life of me, find my phone. I was telling my son to go do this and that, and for crying out loud, change his shoes. My daughter was taking everything out of the coat closet in hopes of finding her coat.
I was snapping at the kids and completely disregarding the fact that my son was trying to ask me something and daughter was happy to find her favorite little jacket. I was not paying attention. I was doing the thing I was meant to do, the role God created me for yet my heart wasn't fully in it. My mind was running ahead of me, my lists were getting a hold of me. I was desperately trying to fit into my own time line that I have created for myself. I was trying to do it all for the sake of doing it. Just to prove that I can.
I wasn't present. I wasn't at peace.

In the back of my mind, I was giving up important things (i.e. full time job, blogging and career) for these children. I had to do it for the time being. Yet I was waiting for the time when they are grown enough to put their shoes on themselves. Then I can go on to do those 'important' things and achieve new heights in personal accomplishments.
I didn't think I was achieving anything important that very moment.
Of course, I knew my kids are important but not to the extent of making motherhood my life's mission.

In the modern society, we teach girls to do everything except how to make a home, take care of a family and children. Somewhere along the decades of 20th century we have rationalized that family isn't worth it. Having a family, children and home to take care of isn't enough. And with thousands of years of history behind us, all of a sudden we thought we knew better. 
We are women.
We can. We can do it all.
Of course we can, but at what cost? At the cost of a failing society desperately trying to redefine family and miserably failing at it all along.
Hear me out, I'm not promoting a full abandon of yourself as a human being. I'm not even talking about an outside of home job. That's secondary and totally up to what your family needs are at the moment. 

I'm talking about motherhood being done with the whole heart. A motherhood where we are intentional about our time, we set boundaries of how much time we spend outside of home and how we prioritize. Raising our children with a whole heart of love and patience, where time is of essence and yet we are in no rush. Ceasing the moment yet, letting it all fall into place on it's own. Finding a tricky balance to life where we know our place, happy to be where we are yet strive to be better. 
Wholehearted motherhood is fulfilling because it has an eternal focus. When we as mothers realize we are not just doing laundry, making dinners and picking up the living room day after day, but shaping the future of our children we become less focused on how and more on why

Mothering with the whole heart means knowing who you are, knowing your children's place and how God designed it all to work. It does not mean we forget about everything in the world and just focus on our children making sure they become the most successful people by the world's standards. Absolutely not! It means, we strive to reach our identity in Christ before we find it in our children. When we grow and find fulfillment in the Lord, we are ready to give our best to our home. We are no longer questioning our place as women and strive to be everything we were never meant to be. 

Having a personal relationships with Christ does answer a whole lot of questions in life and gets rid of a lot of insecurities. When our hearts are filled with God's loved and humbled by His grace, we are more likely to sacrifice and serve without constant need for attention. When we make priorities for our home and time with our children, we our sowing seeds that will grow now and reap for all eternity. 
Day by day, learning to be the women of God with uplifting, nurturing, loving and caring attitude. Women that inspire, while showing by example of servitude and grace. Mothering with our whole hearts and giving our best is what God created us to be. 

November 12, 2015

Holiday Perfection {Motherhood Challenges}

With the upcoming holidays, social media tends to draw pictures of perfection. More like tiny flawless snapshots in time for all to see. What we don't see is the hours (or even days) of preparations, stressful photoshoots, sleepless nights, marital quarrels and misbehaving children. We only see a small part of someone's perfectly staged photos (mine included) and think that this is reality. Absolutely not.

October 6, 2015

Being Present {Motherhood Challenges Series}

If there is anything we do well in our generation is multitasking. I'm a pro at it. I will complete ten tasks on my way from the bedroom to the kitchen. I will check and answer all my Instagram comments while I'm nursing Abbie, and I will answer emails while eating breakfast, 

I am not good at doing one thing at a time. 

By doing multiple things at once, I'm not doing any of them well enough to be considered the best. I'm always thinking if I'm doing enough and wondering what else should be done. Being present in the moment is something I have to consciously remind myself of . As a person I was taught to strive for more, push for high efficiency but that doesn't mean I am using my time wisely. 

Motherhood requires me to be present.

When we are reading books, I have to remind myself to pay attention to Jonathan, put down the phone and listen to him. When I'm playing with Abbie, I make myself stop Snapchatting and look her in the eyes. Even when it seems that all the chores are done there is always something else to do.

There is always more. More stuff  to do. More responsibilities. More people entering my lives. More ministries to fulfill. More social media to engage.

Being present demands my undivided attention and I love how even all throughout the Bible, God calls us to present with Him. He isn't asking us to be active in every ministry in the church. He doesn't require us to fulfill the entire law. He doesn't even want us to be productive every moment of every day - He created the Sabbath. The following scripture speaks volumes and reminds my heart to seek Him.

Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)

You can't know God without being still. You can't go through life without being present to actually enjoy it. 

Life is pulling us in every direction while our children need us to to just be. Be there with them in the moment. They don't need more things or stuff, they need us to pay attention and be present in the moment with them. They need us to pay attention and instead of capturing every moment in a photo, just capture it in our hearts.

Thank you for reading and have a blessed day!

September 30, 2015

How To: Survive the Newborn Stage

When that precious babe is placed into your arms, the emotions and feelings are overwhelming. You feel joy and pride of being a parent. You are scared not to hurt him/her while caring, changing and feeding. You aren't quite sure what you are doing (yet). A few days go by and the baby is sleeping all the time. You congratulate yourself on having the perfect child and try to get some sleep yourself. And then it happens - they wake up, start crying, have colic, diaper rash, spit up and gas. So much is happening that you forget the last time you brushed your teeth because that tiny human being has consumed your life. Here are a few tips on how to survive the first three months, which (in my opinion) are the hardest.

1. Let Go of Expectations
It's so hard to not have expectations and for perfectionists (like me) it's hard not to expect more. First few weeks babies eat around the clock and it feels like all you're doing is feeding, changing, feeding, changing. And that's exactly what's happening. Give yourself a break and don't expect to have everything figured out right now. Don't expect to have an orderly house and dinner from scratch every night - you will be too exhausted to care what you eat. It's OK to just let go and enjoy that little babe because time will fly by way too fast (trust me).

2. Have Patience
Babies are fussy little beings and sometimes you have done everything possible and he/she is still crying. They may be hungry after you just fed them, and pooped the minute you changed the diaper. It takes a lot of patience to just go with the flow. Don't get angry but try to calmly figure things out, even if sometimes there is nothing to be done. Be patient with yourself because you are new at this and everything new takes practice. It takes time to figure out why they are crying and what they don't like. Even if this isn't your first baby, remember they are all different.

3. Laugh Often
The baby pooped on your bed as soon as you took the diaper off? Laugh. Did she spit up on your new blouse after you fed her? Laugh. You forgot to put a bib on and he puked on the car seat (which now has to be washed) and you are late? Laugh. You can't get through the first few months with a newborn without laughing at the circumstance or yourself. It will help you stay sane. At one point you may want to cry and that's OK too. Not everything is peachy with babies so if you have to let your emotions roll, have yourself a good cry and then go back to looking at everything with a smile. 

4. Get Into a Routine
It's hard to have a schedule with a newborn baby. There is nothing set in place. They may decide to sleep four hours one day, and then only hour the next. You do not need to be watching the clock but it's good to have a routine. Babies are unpredictable but getting them into a rhythm will help you later on. I do not have a set schedule because everyday is different but we do the same things every single day (ex. bath, massage & tummy time).

5. Ask For Help
When I was a first time mom, I felt like I had a lot to prove to the world. I didn't want people to think that I couldn't do this mom-thing. Let's be honest, it's hard doing it alone and no on expects you to. Whenever you feel overwhelmed or just plane tired, ask for help. No one will have the heart to refuse a mother with a newborn. Trust me. Don't think that asking for help makes you weak or incapable of taking care of your baby. Life with a newborn is super exhausting. Sleep whenever (and however) you can, don't forget to eat and get away for a minute. Let family members take care of the baby while you sneak in a little nap, or escape for a shopping trip. 

Hope these help whether you are a veteran or a first time mom. Babies are amazing so enjoy them because they grow up way too fast to be worrying about little things.

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September 22, 2015

Body Image {Motherhood Challenges Series}

Becoming a mother is an earth shattering experience. If you haven't been through it, there really is no way to explain it. Honestly. Besides having the precious little bundle of joy and the excitement of being a mother, there are a lot of things a woman goes through. 

After growing this gorgeous belly and having everyone admire your body's ability to house a human, all of a sudden you are empty. You have nothing but flab skin and stretch marks, your hair is falling out and your breasts are leaking milk. What has happened, you may ask yourself? Where am I in all this? Who's this tired and frazzled woman starring at me in the mirror?

All those things are normal and part of the deal.

After having my first baby, I was super upset and almost hated the way my body looked. I gained too much weight and on top of that, had a C-section which made healing that much more painful physically and emotionally. There were stretch marks and lots of silent tears in the shower. I did not appreciate what my body has done and wanted my old self back. Desperately.

It took time and lots of patience to feel like myself again.

This time around, I took care of myself and was kind to my body all throughout my pregnancy. I ate healthy, exercised and didn't gain above what I should. But I still have loose skin and a flabby belly which will take time to disappear. And even though I look better, it's my attitude and thoughts that changed. 

I appreciate my body's ability to grow a human being.  I marvel at the fact that I was able to give birth naturally and the incredible feeling that it gave me. 

I love my curves and that soft belly that once held my precious little girl. I enjoy the fact that my ankles are back and don't look like elephant feet anymore (ha!). I love being able to breastfeed my child and laugh every time I get a let down. 

I know that it takes time to lose the baby weight but I'm not in a hurry. I'm enjoying this season of life because I know it goes by way too fast.

Honestly, having a positive body image is not about size or number on the scale, it's about feeling comfortable in your own skin. I'm happy with the way my body looks right now and what it has accomplished. I know I'm not perfect, and never want to be. Those curves remind me that this body brought two amazing individuals into the world and that's something to be celebrated (with a giant piece of cake;-).

July 14, 2015

Attitude of Gratitude {Motherhood Challenges Series}

Lately, I've been counting my blessings. Twice.

There is nothing really major going on in our life, or any health scares that would make me appreciate life that much more. I just think it's part of growing up.

Hubby and I spent our anniversary weekend staying in, cooking, relaxing and spending time together (while Jonathan was visiting the grandparents). We didn't go out to any fancy restaurants or did any extra curricular activities, but simply relaxed  without the toddler running around (read: pure bliss). I think out of all the times that we did plan to 'do things' last weekend was the most memorable. It made me realize how blessed I am.

That is one thing I struggle with, especially when I start comparing my life with other's. Comparison truly is a killer of all joy! There are many things I can complain about, and find negative in my life, especially when you look at social media staged perfection. But when I look closer, when I actually see how many things I'm blessed with, my heart overflows with gratitude.

I'm beyond thankful for a supportive and caring husband, who cares so much for his family. I'm blessed with a man who understands that time doesn't stand still, life is short and family is the most important.

I'm so thankful for the privilege of being a stay at home mom. It fills me with gratitude knowing that we are taken care of, and I don't have to work to support our family. Knowing that my husband takes care of us so that I can take care of our home, be there for our babies and spend time doing what I love is beyond humbling.

I'm thankful for healthy and happy babies and the ability to carry them myself. Seeing so many women struggle with infertility or raising special needs kids breaks my heart. Besides the aches and the pains, the swollen ankles and weight gain, it's the most amazing thing that happens in a woman's body.

I'm so thankful for having my family close by, and the ability to have babysitters. As much as Jonathan gets spoiled (read: a lot) whenever he visits his grandparents, I'm so grateful for the memories he's making with them. My heart melts seeing him follow his grandpa and the special bond they share and when he's playing with his cousin, having the most fun of all.

Gratitude really is a change of perspective and all depends on how you look at things.

When I start feeling sorry for myself that it's hot and my ankles are swollen at the end of the day, or that I have to clean up the house for the nth time, or that laundry never (ever) ends I think of my grandmother. A woman, who carried seven children while living on a farm with cows, pigs, chickens and the whole shebang, also had acres of land for crops and daily cooking, cleaning and laundry all the while living with her critical mother-in-law. She worked from sunrise (sometimes even before) until midnight without taking a break and without slowing down. At that moment, my little pity party starts to look silly and I know I have nothing to complain about.

Slowing down and changing the outlook on life, as well as counting how much we have instead of what we don't have brings such a change, It helps see things in a whole different light giving us an attitude of gratitude.

June 10, 2015

5 Ways To Help a New Mom {Motherhood}

After having Jonathan, I understood first hand what it means to be a first time mom. I struggled with no sleep, lack of personal time, feeling overwhelmed and constantly tired. I also, became more understanding of what other mothers of newborns go through. As a matter of fact, I became aware of how much we don't do to help mothers of newborns.
It's sad but our culture as a whole does not support and help new mothers at all. For example, by Russian tradition, the entire family gathers and comes over to the newborn's house, usually for dinner. They bring gifts but expect to be fed first class food and  leave without offering clean up (or any other help). I've been there myself - I visited other people's homes when the new mother just came home from the hospital with a simple outfit in tow. I didn't understand how exhausting it is to entertain when you have a newborn on hands (and possibly a few older siblings). From now on, here are the rules I practice.

1. Bring Food (not flowers). 
When visiting a new mother with her baby, think about what she might need at that point. She doesn't need another thing to worry about, like flowers but she will definitely appreciate food she didn't have to make. Think nutritious and healthy, something she can eat while breastfeeding and can easily reheat later. Of course, if you want to splurge on a restaurant quality gourmet meal, by all means. But even bringing a platter of pre-cut fresh fruit will brighten her day. Making things yourself will put you on her 'awesome friend' list because it shows that you really care. 

2. Ask When You Can Visit. 
Don't just barge in whenever you feel like it or have time. Even at the hospital, there are visiting hours (thank God) to ensure that mother will get the necessary rest she needs. Giving birth and caring for a newborn is exhausting enough, so don't be a nuisance. If the new mother doesn't want to offend you by saying that she doesn't want to see anyone, just tell her straight up that you wouldn't be upset in either case. It's comforting to know we have those people in our lives who will understand. 

3. Offer Help (and do it)
Instead of waiting to be served and sitting around, offer to help the new mom. She may be reluctant to say 'yes' but if you are serious, she may take you up on it. Wash the dishes, take out the garbage or run an errand. It doesn't have to be a whole day thing but every little bit helps, You can offer her to watch the baby while she takes a nap (which I'm sure she desperately needs). 

4. Drop Off Goodies
Some moms are not up for seeing people for a while but you still want to help. She may not want you to come inside her house (it's a disaster let's be honest) but she would appreciate a box of fresh bagels and fruit first thing in the morning. Drop it off at the front door and tell her to go get it, while you sneak out unnoticed. She will be eternally grateful and will not forget the act of kindness. 

5. Offer to Babysit Older Siblings
If it is a second or third (or forth) child, chances are she is as tired as ever. Now there are multiple mouths to feed and a new baby who requires all her attention. Offer to take the older child(ren) for a day so she can relax and bond with the the newborn. Make sure to ask her if she has any rules about places you can take the oldest to and food preferences. You can have fun and spoil them but she doesn't want sugar high maniac(s) to return home. 

Some of these acts are more involved and depend on how much you know the family. But anyone can pick up some food and drop it off without knocking. Life as a new mom is quite difficult. that's why we all need to help each other to get through the adjustment time. The world will be brighter and life more pleasant when we spread more kindness around. 

Photo Credit: Kate McCoy Photography

June 2, 2014

Fear {Motherhood Challenges Series}

Motherhood is a challenging task. It makes you take an honest look at yourself and evaluate who you are as a person. Of course, none of us can reach a point where we have corrected out bad habits to the point of perfection. In addition, every child needs to learn from his parents how to grow, learn from and deal with difficult parts life.
Fear is one of the biggest motherhood challenges. It's not the fear of my son getting hurt physically (nothing can stand in a way of a toddler) but the emotional pain that I may cause, or who he may grow up to be, or the future that expects him. 
A lot of times, I fear what I'm doing isn't enough or wrong, and I start doubting my own abilities as a mother. I fear he will grow up to make some awful mistakes or will hurt other people. I fear that I'm not patient and tender enough to show God's love everyday. I fear that he doesn't see the loving and ever-bearing parent I want to be. I fear that something I do or say will impact him forever and he won't recover from the consequences.
As mothers we face the reality of life every day and want to protect our children so much more but we cannot. What we can do is ask God to cover all our inabilities and insecurities with his love. It's not that we won't make mistakes, but we know that God keeps our children in His hand and in whatever we're lacking, He will fill up. Whatever we can't do, God will finish and whenever we mess up, He will give mercy.
Fear disables us from moving on and cripples our ability to love fully, give our all and do great things. God doesn't want us living in a constant state of desperation and tragedy, better yet he has a plan. We just need to trust Him and let go. He knows the present, he has been in the past and every child has a future. When we do our part, he will take care of the rest.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (John 4:18)

May 23, 2014

Blessings of a Stay at Home Mama

Last picture of his baby curls...

A younger version of myself never saw this life that I'm living in the future. I always thought I will get my education, get married, have children and go back to work as soon as I could. Little did I know that God had different plans for me. Being stay at home mom has its challenges but it's such a huge blessing. There are so many things I enjoy that need to be documented before I forget how precious this time of my life is.

The best part about being with my child 24/7 is seeing the little things he does as he changes and grows. I notice how he goes from dependent-on-me-for-all-things baby to independent boy. I see how his personality starts to show through and he becomes a fully functional member of our family. I love seeing him grow into a little man, attempt things on his own, like certain food and dislike others, categorically object to me leaving him and talk up a storm.

I'm amazed when all the teaching and repeating things over and over again finally pays off. After a million 'please' and 'thank you's he finally says something and it seems like there is nothing more precious in the world. I'm surprised when he randomly brings something into garbage without me telling him, or knows where the place of a certain item is. Those are the moments when every difficult moment and sleepless night is worth it.

I adore his slobbery kisses and hugs, and the fact that I'm his first love. He sees only me, wants me, and although it gets annoying at times, I treasure this time of closeness. Don't get me wrong, I like my personal space and alone time but that boy just knows how to melt my heart into a huge puddle of mush. He is a hugger but not s cuddler, if that makes sense. He will come up and give me a huge bear hug, after he jumps on me a little. But he will not stay passed two seconds because frankly he's too busy and has got to go.

Time is fleeting and life is so short. I cherish the time I get to spend one-on-one with my son. I'm raising a human being, a future leader, husband and father - that has got to count for something more than the career I'm missing or the dress I can't fit into. Motherhood is a great joy, and there is nothing in the world I would rather be doing right now.

January 29, 2014

Style {Motherhood Challenges Series}

Personal style is defined by who you are as a person. Style is not the latest brands or designer labels but something that makes you, well, you. It's personal and very unique to every individual. And although there are guidelines for looking groomed and put-together, I don't think that being a mother is an excuse for sloppy personal attire. 
Finding your own personal style and knowing what works well for your figure is something that comes with time. As a mother, I have seen my style evolve and change to accommodate my growing responsibilities. I love wearing dresses because they are a no-brain outfit. I adore above knee skirts and high boots (as you can tell with my latest outfit posts) and quiet frankly it's possible with an infant in tow (granted I only have one).
One thing is for sure - I seek comfort and ease of movement with all my outfits and limit amount of jewelry in my everyday wear because those tiny chubby hands love to grab onto everything. I still love pretty sequin tops and never shy away from a great pair of heels but it's knowing how to style them is the key.
Having classic, versatile, high quality pieces makes it possible to mix and match to your heart's content. Here are a few of my picks for a functional mother's closet. 




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