Oh, Mother's Day

Saturday, May 10, 2014

(I know, I know, over a month since I've posted.  And I am going to write a retroactive IF Awareness Week post- stay tuned.  Lots going on (everyone says that, but of course it's true to some extent or another), and alot of things I want to write about but don't want to just rattle off a post because they're bigger than just random...)

But you know, about Mother's Day tomorrow.  For IF graduates, a very bittersweet situation.  Bitter because you remember what it was like to want to hide in your basement the whole day and because you (more than likely) still know someone who is doing that very thing, but of course very sweet because now you actually finding yourself in a position where the day actually involves you.

I have said a zillion times how grateful we are to have been blessed with M, and I could go on and on about it, and of course I championed my new favorite mothering book a couple months ago (if you never ordered it, you should give yourself a Mother's Day present right now and get a copy- you will not regret it!!), but the thought that came to me when I was reflecting about what to write about Mother's Day took me back to when I was not a traditional mother.

In the fall of 2010, I had gone to counseling because I felt totally alienated by my fantastically fertile college friends, and Mr. A was out of advice and ideas.  My counselor was not particularly focused in infertility issues, but she had a few helpful thoughts.  The one that applies most here was that when I was telling her of my desire to be a mom, she noted that there were many ways that I mothered that are still valid, even if they were not the traditional role.  I had two dogs that depend on me for exercise, food, water, and attention.  I cared for my husband when he was sick and made meals he liked.  I checked on elderly neighbors to see if they needed help with daily activities.  My volunteering often placed me in situations of providing advice to teenagers in crisis situations.  Even though I didn't have a child in the house, I had unknowingly been using my mothering abilities and strengths.

So if you are still waiting for a child to fill your home, or if you have overcome IF through acceptance of a child-free future, I celebrate you tomorrow, in all the ways you mother, even if they are not the traditional greeting-card ways!!


Monday, March 31, 2014

I knew the day would come, but I hadn't really prepared myself as actively as I'd wanted (mostly because I didn't know they were trying)... my sister is having another baby.

She called a couple weeks ago to tell me she was 12w along, and all I could say, over and over again, is "You are so lucky."  She kept saying, "I know, I know."

I cried off and on the rest of the day.  Alot of people I know are having their second (or third, etc) babies now, but this is my sister.  My nephew gets to be a big brother.  Meanwhile, M has to pretend her dolls are her sisters.  (Which she has started to do, without my prompting- one is her sister and one is my sister, and they are also sisters (haha), and she takes them everywhere...)

Mr. A is so solidly unmoved by families adding more kids to themselves, it's a lifesaver.  He ran down the list of reasons why it is great to have (and/or be) and only child, and I would repeat them to myself dozens of times in the next 2 days.  Many are materialistic, like being able to give her really nice toys and clothes, send her to a private school with excellent standing in the community, and pay for her college, etc... but subconsciously those are difficult for me because they are why my mom crucified families with only one kid- when I was younger, she would say "they just had one kid so they could take fancy vacations", "how selfish of them to just have one child so they can live in a bigger house", "too bad they didn't give their child a sibling".

After some journaling and praying, because feeling the weight of being left behind/infertile, when clearly we've been given M already, brings up guilt and confusion all its own, I came up with this: I am not longing for another baby for myself.  M is 100% enough for us- we prayed for a child to fill the hole in our family, and she has filled the hole a hundred times over and more.  I think at this point, after seeing my friends' kids "get" a sibling, I would love another baby for M.  I would love for her to have a ready-made playmate, instead of standing at the front door willing the neighbor kids to come bursting out of their door.  I don't want her to be lonely.  I want her to be able to say "this is my sister (or brother)" and see the proud smile on her face and see an actual sister or brother and not her doll.

Of course for as many people who are super close to their siblings (me), there are those who are not close or even at distinct odds with their siblings, so my assumption that M and a hypothetical sibling would have the kind of relationship I have with my sibs is definitely not a certainty.

I wrote in my journal for her: "You are more than enough for us; I hope we are enough for you."

Fast forward a few days, and I was a couple days past my usual new-cycle day.  It is interesting how you can rationalize with yourself and convince yourself of varying situations, because when I realized I was late-ish (of course any giddy-ness about being a couple days late is long gone by this point in time!!), I started thinking, well how are we going to save as much for two college educations?... we'll have to start full time childcare all over again...and on!  I laughed because only days before, I had had to convince myself of the glory in easily saving for M's college and being on our last leg of childcare!!

And of course, I had nothing to worry about because obviously I wouldn't be pregnant (CD 6 today), and I am grateful to genuinely feel happy and content with M as our only lovebug.  I pray that God will bless our relationship so that we can do, and enjoy together, really cool mother-daughter things that maybe we wouldn't be able to do if He'd given me a new baby every 2 years.

I am sure that my sister have another baby will bring the questions from M about where is her sister, etc., but I'm just praying God will give me grace in that moment to respond to her without losing it myself.  I am grateful for the family He has created for us, and hey, Jesus turned out okay with no siblings, right?  ;-)

One more about the book!!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Just a quick reminder about the excellent book I’ve had the privilege to review recently, Motherhood Realized- it's doing VERY well! (#1 in Motherhood at Amazon already!). To help the book keep moving up the charts, everyone who buys the book by TOMORROW (Saturday) gets some awesome prizes. You pay just $12.74 for a book and get about $40 worth of free stuff!! Just go to Power of Moms- Motherhood Realized for details.

 In all honesty, I think every mom needs to read this book as encouragement of how important and beautiful motherhood is.  And you all know me, I wouldn’t recommend something I don’t totally believe in- this book is powerfully inspiring!!  I think it would be the perfect present for yourself and all the moms you know for Mother’s Day!!  

 For what it’s worth, if you’re thinking of buying a bunch for friends/family, you should know that if you purchase 10 books, you get the Power of Moms premium package worth over $200 for FREE!  Visit Power of Moms- Motherhood Realized for details.

Still excited about the new book

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hi ladies, Just wanted to share one more time about the Power of Moms' beautiful new book Motherhood Realized (free gifts at this link!).  This is one of my favorite quotes from the book, and they made it into a graphic, so I wanted to share it.  I pray every night that M feels like the most important person in the world, and that she would pick me to be her mom, if she could pick anyone in the whole world.

You can click here to buy it- it may be out of stock (it was when I ordered my 5 copies!), but they will be shipping very soon!!

Awesome book for pre-order March 24!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

As I mentioned in my last post, I've become an ambassador for Power of Moms, an invaluable community and source of encouragement, inspiration, and learning for moms, and really, anyone who "mothers" in any capacity.  When I was waiting for M, I always tried to consider how I mothered others- my younger siblings and cousins, the kids I taught at church, and our friends' children.  So, if you are still waiting on your little one, don't feel like there won't be anything there for you!  

Anyway, they have one great book out already, but tomorrow (Monday) you will be able to order their newest book, which I have had the true privilege of reviewing beforehand.  In my opinion, it is even better than their first one, which is saying something because their first one rocked.

My favorite part of the new book is that after each essay/article, there are a couple of reflection questions on how to tie in the concept to what is happening in your life right now.  This makes each one very personal and very powerful.  I have an electronic copy, but you can be sure I will be ordering one for myself so I can dog-ear pages and highlight my favorite quotes!!!  Not to mention I want to get one for each of my close friends and family!!  

You can get a sample chapter from the book for FREE and watch a quick video by one of the authors at Power of Moms- Motherhood Realized.  Believe me, it is totally worth it to read a few pages- it will leave you wanting more, I'm almost sure :)

Here is the link you can follow to order this book on March 24 (tomorrow/Monday)!!

I will leave you with one of my (many) favorite quotes from this book-

"Can we remind each other that it is our uniqueness and love that our children long for?  It is our voices.  Our smiles.  Our jiggly tummies.  Of course we want to learn, improve, exercise, cook better, make our homes lovelier, and provide beautiful experiences for our children, but at the end of the day, our children don't want a discouraged, stressed-out mom who is wishing she were someone else."
-Motherhood Realized, Power of Moms

Power of Moms Ambassador

Thursday, March 13, 2014

It's no secret that being a mom to M is a dream come true and a prayer answered.  I try every second of the day to honor that blessing by being the absolute best mom I can be to her.  I do my best to savor every moment, not taking a single one for granted.  For me, this manifests itself in how I cook, what sorts of things we value in our home, how I respond to tough situations, and how I carry myself as a person. 

I would say I cook 98% of all of our meals from scratch (loving every minute!) because I think that is healthiest and most economical, but also because the time it takes to chop and cook and set the table (usually no more than half an hour) allows us time together at the end of each day to reconnect and learn and laugh.

As far as what is important to us in our home, I would say contentment and simplicity.  We have comfortable furnishings and a nice house, and I do my best to declutter (currently doing my Lenten cleaning each day and it is awesome!!) so that we can have a peaceful space to come home to and relax in.  M has plenty of toys, but they all have their space up and away from being a huge mess on the floor, and if it appears that there isn't enough room in the bins, we prioritize which ones we'd like to keep and donate the rest.  Each night the kitchen is clean, the counters are clear, the mail is sorted, and all the toys are put back away before we are all in bed.  Waking up to a clean house sets the tone for a good day, I think! 

But more than material things, we value calm voices, encouraging words, and peaceful conversation.  I was raised in a yelling house, and nothing good comes from yelling. Of course I have raised my voice, but do you know what happened the last time?  M started to yell back at me, and that hit me like a ton of bricks.  No way did I want my daughter growing up with that kind of frustration-coping mechanism.  I don't think I have yelled since.  There are moments which require stern redirection or correction, but because we try to make it a habit not to raise our voices, M is very receptive to even the most serious of tones.

I try to be an example to M of healthy life choices.  She sees me making healthy food choices, and because we do it twice a day, she is learning the value of walking the dogs (for both dog and human!).  I try to give myself some relaxing time right before going to sleep for reading blogs, reading some of whatever book I'm reading, and (new this year) making entries in my prayer journal, and my journal for M.

Part of my relaxing time is often reading articles over at Power of Moms.  It's a site with an incredible amount of resources, all focused on "deliberate moms".  A site with constant encouragement to keep up the good work and the daily decision to be the best moms to our kids.  The articles are honest- often exactly what I'm thinking- so it's not like the writers hold themselves on a pedestal, but instead they write about the conscious choice to respond in love when it's difficult...and whether they lost their cool or not!  :)  They also have organizational resources, schooling tips, podcasts on all kinds of topics, just to name a few things.  Please go check it out!!

Recently, they put out a call for Ambassadors.  Moms who would like to spread the word about their mission and purpose.  I applied and was super excited to be accepted!  In the application, I had to write why I wanted to become an Ambassador.  I wrote that I wanted to champion the cause of moms with small families.  So many of their contributors have 3 kids under 3, or 5 kids from age 2 to 14, and while I imagine those situations are truly challenging to manage sometimes, moms of one or two kids can have many of the same stressors and full plates. 

I'll be posting about a book they are releasing soon- I've had the chance to preview it, and so far it is AWESOME!  I have their first book, and it is one of the mainstays on my night table.  This new book is even better, so I hope that once you learn more about it, you will consider ordering it for yourself or a mom in your life. 

So, so grateful I'm even in a position to be a motherhood ambassador- for so many years, it seemed like I would never qualify!

What now?

Friday, February 21, 2014

It's been a relatively quiet week, and at the same time not so quiet.  Quiet in the sense that it is slowly sinking in that we really sold the house, and not so quiet in the sense that Mr. A's aunt passed away and we are preparing ourselves to fly cross country for her funeral.  Tips for flying (2+ hour flights and 2 hour layovers) with a 2 year old appreciated :)

With all the hubub of closing last week and buying crazy expensive airline tickets this week, and just the rigors of every day working and home life, I haven't dwelled (dwelt?) so much on secondary infertility recently.  I'm sure that will come back closer to home this weekend when I start a new cycle ;-)

Life is good these days, and I'm so thankful for it.  Thank God for His mercy :)