I read something on a blog recently that struck a chord. A woman with young children was talking with a friend about her list of things to do for Lent and her friend interrupted her and said “You live Lent.” Ha! This made me realize that I can be overzealous when it comes to all the ways I want to grow spiritually and that maybe JUST MAYBE I should be a little more realistic and gracious with myself. So for Lent, I’ve decided what I need most is to live my vocation joyfully, peacefully, and diligently.
Fasting from Irritation and Anxiety, Feasting on Patience and Diligence
I really struggle with remaining patient with my kids. I also get angry when they interrupt my work. But, hello! They are more important. But with that said, this focus on my vocation as lead me to see the ways I need to take disciplining them up a notch. Having all young kids is always going to be hard, but I can do my part do make it easier and one thing is to be on top of disciplining them. Honestly I can be lazy in this realm. It is really a struggle for me. I often put up with bad behavior because it isn’t THAT BAD. Does anyone else feel me here? There’s certain behaviors I never put up with, but the little things get me because I’m busy, I don’t want to stop what I’m doing, I don’t want to get up again. But wait a second…if I love my kids, then I have to do this anyway regardless of how I feel. I just want to keep it real here so if any of you struggle in this way, you will know you are not alone and that there is hope.
What I’ve Been Doing About It
I have been practicing disciplining the first time with things my kids should already know better. If I have taught them not to leave the table without asking, then if they engage in this behavior, it’s uh-oh, corner time. Beforehand, I would have warned them if they did it again, they would get time-out. But all I was doing was teaching them that it is okay to do it once. And I have to tell you, after only a few days, it’s already bearing good fruit.
Fasting from Anxiety, Feasting on Peace
As far as anxiety goes, I am trying to be mindful of when I am having racing thoughts, and choosing thoughts that help me move forward. I tend to over-analyze which paralyzes me from taking action. For example, I do the same routine every morning, but each morning my mind wants to come up with a better way of doing it. Sounds good, right? Wrong! Because it only distracts me from what I need to do and makes me feel anxious that I will do something wrong. I am also practicing giving up my anxieties to God, to hand over the worries I have that I can’t do anything about.This is helping me have more peace.
A Great Resource
In case you were wondering, many of my discipline ideas come from this book. I highly recommend it.
On a Different Note
I am also trying to ask God each day “what would you have me do?” and I am listening to iCatholic radio in the morning to enrich my faith. I especially enjoy Dr. Ray Guarendi’s show. How about you? What are you doing for Lent?
If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t posted in awhile. That’s because we have all had terrible colds and, Christmas. My husband was on Christmas vacation , which was such a blessing, but it also meant we weren’t on our usual routine. December was all about Christmas preparations and doctors visits. I think we went to the doctor 5 times and to the emergency room once (!). My poor son hurt his ear.
Aside from telling you where I have been, I just wanted to share some things I have been enjoying lately.
Guide to Catholic Home Education
My new homeschooling friend let me borrow this book. I’m loving it so far! It is answering all of the questions I have about homeschooling.
How To Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind
This book is brilliant. For anyone who struggles with home management but loves projects that have a clear start and finish (artists are usually this way), this book is for you. Even though I have made much progress in the area of home management, it helped me understand why my brain works the way it does and why cleaning and organizing have been such a struggle. Also, check out her blog!
Having a Laundry Day
I now have a laundry day instead of doing some laundry every day as I posted here. I got the idea from the book I just mentioned above, and I decided to try it out as an experiment. I must say I love the sense of completion that doing all the laundry in one day has, and I love not having to think about it the rest of the days. I feel as though I have more time and I don’t have piles of clothes that need to be put away.
I’ve really been enjoying this podcast – I found it from Kendra Tierney, the blogger of Catholic All Year. Her husband is one the “”podcasters”. I really like what her husband has to say about creating a family culture and avoiding the craziness in the teenage years by starting the way you want to finish. They start discipline with their children as early as when the baby can crawl – wow!
Ben Shapiro Interview with Bishop Baron
With these two brilliant guys together, you know it’s got to be good.
How To Blog For Profit Without Losing Your Soul
This book was recommended by a blogger I found online who didn’t want to pay the high price for “The Elite Blogging Academy”. Apparently it has all the same information! It’s on my wish list.
Sourdough Roast Beef Sandwich
Quick recipe for a great sandwich. Sourdough, horse radish spread, roast beef, smoked Gouda, spinach, tomato, red onion. You’re welcome.
Some other interesting finds:
Very compelling conversion story.
Saint Names Generator– Jennifer Fulwiler created this cool site that helps you find your saint of the year.
Taylor Marshall Goals- I loved this post and especially the podcast he did about goals. He makes a good point that you should set goals in areas you need to work on, while maintaining where you are doing well.
Our New Nativity Set
You can find it on amazon! Just click the image.
False Eye Lashes
I got some false eye lashes at Grocery Outlet of all places and I have been having fun with them. This isn’t the exact brand I got but I like these and they are a good price. I recommend trimming the inner corners for a more natural look.
What about you? What have you been enjoying lately? I’d love to know in the comments below!
I desired to be a stay-at-home mom before we got married and my husband and I both agreed we’d want one of us to be a stay-at-home parent once children came, before we got married. Since we knew we’d want several children, he wanted to be the main provider for our family, and I was happy to stay-at-home, it just works for us. We have to make a lot of sacrifices to make it happen, however. I watch our food budget very closely and I normally cook 6 days out of the week, and I practice other frugal habits. And now that I have a blog, I have transitioned to being a work-at-home mom, and I do my work when my kids are asleep and as my family’s needs allow.
Here’s a list of the pros and cons:
Seeing all of the milestones.
Being highly involved in my children’s discipline and development.
Getting to be the primary influence over my children.
More capacity for quality time.
Flexibility with household duties and ample time for them – it’s easier to be the kind of homemaker I want be,
Opportunities for flexible, creative work like blogging.
Not having to call out from work when my kids are sick.
Not having to worry about the quality of their childcare providers.
Not having to pay for childcare.
Less social interaction.
Must be very disciplined.
Feeling like I wasted time and money on my college education.
Wondering if I am a weirdo because of the choice I’ve made.
Being under scrutiny by people who have no idea what I do all day.
More pressure to limit screen time because I am the main care provider.
Make the Most of Your Situation
I view the cons of being a stay-at-home mom as opportunities, not unchangeable circumstances :
No paycheck. Get creative and find ways to save money.
Less social interaction. Join a local moms group, make friends with moms at the park, nurture relationships with your single friends.
Must be very disciplined. Grow in self-discipline. Design a schedule that suits your and your family’s unique needs.
Feeling like I wasted time and money on my college education. Your education could never be a waste. All you’ve learned you can share with your children. Also, read this.
Being under scrutiny by people who have no idea what I do all day. Pray for and bless these people. They don’t understand and that’s okay.
More pressure to limit screen time. Give yourself grace about this. You are likely the only one in charge of your kids all day, to keep your sanity you may have to have the T.V. on more than you’d like. Just do your best to try to increase healthier activities and the screen time will decrease as a result.
What if I‘ve done all the above and I’m still not happy?
If you’ve tried everything and you’re not happy, maybe God has called you to work outside the home, or find some other setup that works better for you. If you or your spouse has been trying to make everything work for some time and it’s just not working, then it’s probably not God’s will for your family but that’s good! Exciting things happen when you seek God’s will.
Stay-at-home/work-from-home mom blogs:
And let’s not forget the great and holy moms of different circumstances:
Although this post fails to mention women who have never been married that are single moms, it still gives great insight into what it is like to be a single mom in the Church. My favorite part was this idea: Instead of placing judgement on others, why don’t we offer help?
All this talk about accepting differences reminded me of a song! Just check out that awesome 90’s style and great lyrics.
So, is it worth it?
Even though being a stay-at-home mom, and doing it well, is a daunting task, if it’s your heart’s desire you can find ways to overcome the challenges. And for me, it is worth it. But only you can decide what is best for you and your family.
In this post, I am going to tell you all about how to make your schedule as a mom. It will be completely tailored to your life- something for moms who work outside and inside the home. (Mine is from the perspective of a work-from-home mom) . You’ll also learn how to approach your schedule when life happens – you know the drill – your kids get sick, the dog throws up on every blanket you own, you have unexpected company, etc. You will take stock of all of your responsibilities but also take into account time for prayer and time to do things you enjoy.
Take a look at your life
What does your daily life look like right now? Do you dread waking up in the morning because the demands of the day just seem insurmountable? Find yourself yelling at your kids most of the time and snapping at your husband? Feel like you are working SO hard but you never get anywhere? Well, my friends, it doesn’t have to stay that way!
What you need is to make your schedule as a mom. This will help you keep track of all of your responsibilities and get the important things done and at the same time keep your sanity.
A fabulous book
My life changed dramatically when I read this book , “A Mother’s Rule of Life“. It’s about a stay-at-home , homeschooling mom, who is tired of feeling overwhelmed and stressed out all of the time. She went searching for peace. She was inspired by the simple schedule of religious orders, like the Missionaries of Charity, and how they led productive lives but spent great amounts of time in prayer. When the bell rang for the next block on the schedule, they didn’t hurry trying to finish everything up , they practiced obedience – “okay God, I guess that’s all you wanted me to do today.” (Man, could I use some of that kind of acceptance in my life!) Their goal wasn’t efficiency, it was to serve and to do it peacefully. Because, the old saying, you can’t give what you don’t have, right?
Let’s get started, make your schedule as a mom
Buy a Mother’s Rule of Life. Seriously. You won’t regret it.
Decide on a wake up time and bed time.
Count how many hours you have in a day.
Decide how much time to spend in prayer.
Write down how much time you need for grooming and bathing.
Include time needed for activities you enjoy like reading, drawing, writing.
Include a few break times, 15 minutes each.
Don’t forget time with your husband or social time with those you care about.
Include time with your kids.
Include time for chores
Input meal times (cooking and cleanup) and bed time routines. Overestimate how much time you think you need. This allows margin.
Include time for working. This may be before your kids wake up or you may go to work inside the home.
What I’m trying to say is, the TV is a tool in a mom’s toolkit guys. As long as it’s not being used to excess, the content is appropriate, and isn’t there as a substitute of other important activities, I think it’s okay. With that said, my kids watch quite a bit of TV, probably more than the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says they should – but AAP doesn’t know me. They don’t know about what my needs are and our family’s unique circumstances. They don’t know that my kids also help me around the house, play with toys, play with me, bake with me, play with the dog, make messes, play in the dirt, go to the park, go on play dates, read books, roughhouse with my husband, visit family, etc. Sometimes I need to have things a little quieter for my sanity.
Only you know the needs of your family, and you shouldn’t feel guilty when your kids watch more TV than you like if you have a serious reason to do so.
When you are off track
You are going to get off track. And trust me, it’s going to be most of the time. (It is for me.) So, when it happens, just get back on track as soon as the next block starts. Sometimes this may mean there are dishes left in the sink. Remember, the goal is peace not efficiency. But if this keeps happening over and over again, for months on end, it’s time to adjust and re-evaluate your rule.
Plan to evaluate your schedule once every three months or as needed. Three months seems like a good plan to me, though, because by then with my two little ones, my life tends to look quite a bit different.
If your life is spiraling out of control, take heart! No matter what season you are in, you can take control and get the important things done. So go make your schedule as a mom! If you already have one, please let me know in the comments below!
I love to learn about child-rearing practices in different cultures. Especially cultures where women get a super long maternity leave and extremely high-quality daycare. Yeah, I’m a total francophile. So when I found this book about French parenting, you better believe I was intrigued.
This book is well-written and has humor that any woman can relate to. Its about an American mother’s experience observing the common behaviors and patterns in French parenting. I especially loved the parts about sleep training, meal times, and learning to wait.
Some of the key takeaways are:
French women do “the pause” to help their baby sleep all night, usually by 3 months.
French women teach their babies to wait from the beginning.
French babies eat what the family eats, and the baby just has to “taste” it.
If the baby is happy and safe playing on his own, the French just let the baby “live his/her life.”
The French are strict about bedtimes, T.V., and meal times, the rest of the time is unstructured. French children do not snack outside of the 4:30 pm snack time. From three months on, they eat (drink formula or breastfeed if they aren’t having solids yet) breakfast at 8 am, lunch at 12 pm, a snack at 4:30 pm and dinner before bedtime at 8 pm.
Buy it here on Amazon You can get it for less than $2 used (plus shipping). Trust me, it’s worth it. Here’s why:
It will give you permission to practice self-care.
It will give you and your baby adequate rest.
It will help teach your babies patience and independence.
It will help you teach your children self-discipline.
It will help you to create boundaries and set limits.
But Let’s Talk About Sleep Training
There are so many schools of thought on sleep training, and if the way you are doing it with your children is working for you, Amen sister, I’m so happy for you. But if you and/or your baby are tired and exhausted and co-sleeping is turning into more “co” than “sleep”, this is the book for you.
But sleep training isn’t easy. With my son, it was simpler but with my daughter, I struggled. She learned to sleep through the night easily enough by learning “the pause”, but falling asleep by herself was a different story. It was very difficult for her because she was stimulated by my presence and didn’t know how to fall asleep on her own. It wasn’t until she was 8 months that I finally decided to let her cry-it-out which was very difficult but necessary for both her and I to receive adequate rest.
Did these ideas work for me?
For the most part, yes. I found this book while I was pregnant with my first and reread it when I had an about to be 15 month-old and a 2 month-old. I tried doing “the pause” with my eldest and he slept through the night by about 1 month old, and was sleeping for 10 hour stretches at night at about 2 months old. The same thing is happening with my youngest.
Does breastfeeding make a difference?
The way I fed the baby doesn’t seem to matter either – I formula fed the oldest and breastfed the youngest. While I do think many factors are at play, like how much your baby weighs etc, I do think the way you parent at night makes a difference.
The way “the pause” works : you “pause” when your baby makes a noise or cries in the night time – only for a few minutes, and you see if the baby was just waking up between sleep cycles. If the baby still cries after the pause, go ahead and feed the baby or change her diaper or do whatever you think she needs.
Aren’t newborns supposed to eat every 2-3 hours?
I think moms aren’t told enough that if the baby is eating well, wetting plenty of diapers, gaining weight and otherwise has no other health problems, it’s OKAY to let them sleep and stop waking them up to feed them every 2 hours. I asked my lactation consultant if I could let my baby sleep and that is what she told me. I think sometimes parents can inadvertently train their babies to wake up in the middle of the night. But , again, every situation is different, and every family has different needs and desires. I think this technique is worth a try, though, if you want to get some more sleep yourself, and definitely seek help from a professional if you have concerns.
Wait, aren’t kids supposed to eat 6 times a day?
I am well aware of the ideas here in the United States about how many snacks toddlers are supposed to have, but I have tried to keep the same schedule outlined in this book, with meal times only 4 times a day. Not only has this taught my children patience and self-control, it has forced me to learn more self-control as well- because I have to set a good example, after all! My kids have done just fine without frequent snacking and they are hungrier for the healthiest meal of the day at our house – dinner.
The Allure of French Mothers
One thing I perceived about French mothers in the book was a lack of this sense of martyrdom and competition that I see in motherhood in the United States. These mothers don’t seem to lose their sense of self. They remain in touch with their other roles and interests in life. And they don’t neglect their husbands. They seem to have this elegant maturity, a natural balance, and acceptance of their role. They seem to have peace.
So do I think French parenting is superior?
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, and no such thing as a perfect mom, I must say that what is outlined in this book has much wisdom to be gained from it.
I’ve been asked a lot about what my goals are for this blog, and honestly it is just to have fun and write about things that inspire me and I hope to bless someone along the way. I also want to share art work , and maybe create some pieces that might be nice for a baby nursery.
Growing up, we would always visit a magical place filled with love, warmth, apple crisps and peach cobblers and root beer floats with beautiful antique china and flowers blooming everywhere. This would be my Grandma’s house. And at her house she had this book:
I remember reading it around Easter and eating some yummy Sees candy. In my adult life, I rediscovered it on the blog, Catholic All Year. The blogger of this site, Kendra, claimed this book was her mothering inspiration.
You see, in the book a little bunny has big dreams and is told she can’t achieve them because she has too many babies and responsibilities at home. But she gets busy and trains her babies to be responsible and hardworking and proves that her home can run without her and she’s able to become the keeper of the Little Gold Shoes.
It’s a delightful book, I think brought tears to my eyes when I reread it. Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t follow your dreams because of having children. If anything, for their sake, you need to get busy and show them how to live life to the fullest amidst serving others.
Here’s a mockup:
As you can see my sweet little girl scribbled on part of it. But that’s okay , afterall, she’s part of my team.
Have you ever wondered “why does the way of the wicked prosper”? Have you ever looked at other people around you and wondered why they get the same or better pay, treatment, recognition or attention as you, but they seem selfish or lazy or just not that great of a person?
I have, especially in the workplace .
I have often felt like a fool working as hard as I do while others don’t work half as hard. Have you ever felt insecure or insignificant? Like “the least in your family”? I have often felt this way because I compare myself a lot to others and I feel insecure about not having a career, a degree, etc. I still struggle with these feelings at times but the following quotes help to set me free:
When I get those feelings or I’m just having a bad day in general, this quote reminds me of what’s important: MY actions. I don’t have control over what other people say but I do have control over my behavior – and God sees everything I do. Knowing that, it refreshes me and makes it easier to do the right thing even if I am upset, feel betrayed, exhausted, etc.
The same inner struggles can happen outside of work, too. If you are a wife and mother or caretaker of some sort, you know the things you do for your family can seem monotonous, endless, and insignificant. You do laundry, dishes, give baths, feed babies and change diapers nonstop. You don’t get pay or recognition, you do all of this unseen. But what better path to become like Jesus? God wants us to do good works unseen. These quotes makes me feel better about not having a prestigious career, it reminds me that the little things matter in God’s eyes. I may not make a lot of money or be able to change the world but I CAN do small things with great love and I can “do it anyway.”
So guys , I’m in love with this guy. He’s super sweet and he hugs me and kisses me and says he loves me but he also :
Runs away from me
Spills his water on purpose
Yells at me
Usually doesn’t listen to me
Throws things at me
Doesn’t appreciate the food I make for him
Doesn’t have a job
Needs help going to the bathroom
Wakes me up in the middle of the night.
Embarrasses me in public
Begs me for sweets and everything he sees at the store
Always says no
Okay, okay. You must think I’m crazy to be in this relationship or you just have figured out I’m talking about my son. Lol
Guys when you feel mad at your kids remember, parenting is super hard and if your child was an adult you would have discontinued contact a long time ago due to their disrespectful behavior! So give yourself the grace to be human and don’t beat yourself up when you feel mad.
Upon reflection of my last post, “You Only Live Online”. Upon reflection, I decided I to write this post.
I pray that my blog can be a blessing and encouragement to anyone who reads it, especially you moms out there. The last thing I would want to happen is it to be another thing for you to measure yourself up against or compare yourself to. I don’t have it all together. I struggle daily to get dressed, make a phone call, keep my patience and just stay sane. When I had my first child I was a total mess and I struggled with a lot of anxiety and guilt. My anxiety kept me from sleeping and my guilt kept me from enjoying anything I wasn’t doing for my new baby. In my mind I thought if I wasn’t spending time with him every second I was a bad mom. I have the same struggles everyone else has. However, I have found coping mechanisms that help me and that is what I wish to share on this blog. (and writing about them helps me remember them!) I don’t have my life altogether now, I don’t have a clean house all the time, I don’t eat right all the time, etc but I do do those things MORE than before I was a mom. It’s progress, not perfection. (Something that is very hard for me to accept) Remember, there is no perfect mom.
Some other quotes that are meaningful to me:
I think the above image especially exemplifies motherhood, the hardest job there is. It takes all that you have. You pretty much live in a storm. So if you are going to enjoy it, you have to learn to dance in the rain. And below, good ol’ Joyce Meyer:
Society tells you it’s good to be popular, rich, famous, go to prestigious universities and receive high honors and accolades, have highly successful careers , etc.
But really? Does all this matter in the grand scheme of things? Not according to the dying. Here are their top 10 regrets:
What if we lived our lives with these things in mind? What if we prioritized relationships , service to others, self care, love and honesty above what other people may think of us? What if we stopped killing ourselves making money to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t even like? What if we didn’t live afraid?
To live this way is highly controversial. You will be judged for it. People will think you are a loser, stupid, lazy, not trying hard enough. You will get teased and laughed at. You will be humiliated. You will be cast out and ignored and ridiculed. But you know who has experienced all of that pain and completely understands?
So have your wealth. Have your fame. Have your approval. Have your excesses and riches and stuff and achievements. What will a life of living intentionally look like for you? I will be living my life lavished by the blessings of peace in my home, peace in my relationships, I will make my fortune in quiet moments before everyone wakes up, meaningful conversations , love letters, holding chubby little hands and bedtime stories, the pride of providing a clean and safe home for my family, providing good food to eat , long walks, books read, hours writing, time creating, time to be. Time to love, time to spend, time to waste. Time to stop and have gratitude. Time to be surrounded by the people who really love me and really care. And I will bask in the magic of laughter and kisses and tiny hugs , and rejoice in the magnificence of spills and messes to clean up because thank God I have a family.