What I hope I will do different for Baby #2

Even before we got pregnant with this second baby, I wondered how I would do it all over again; the sleepless nights, the teething, the sleep training, the nursing. I struggled a lot with postpartum depression with my first and so that was on my mind a ton, too. How would I prepare my family, what would I do differently, how could I prevent the onslaught of crazy emotions, and most of all–how could I make this next experience better.

Not that having Parker was bad, but it definitely was hard. A lot harder than I expected. The emotions and depression threw me and my husband for a loop. Not only was it hard to see myself in that condition, but I think it was harder for my husband to see me like that–to try to help, but not quite know what to do.

So what will I change, what will I do differently this time around? Really–what has my first baby taught me:

What I hope I will do different

1. Fill that Prescription. Like yesterday. I noticed with Parker that I was struggling. I was anxious a lot, I was frustrated a lot, and then I started having feelings of “I just want to run away” or “my family would be better off without me” or “can’t I just get out of here?!” I also started having feelings of wanting to hurt myself and my baby, which in my right mind, would not be there. Basically, I should have jumped in my car first thing and went to my doctor. DON’T wait for that 6 week appointment. That’s just 6 week’s of downright crazy. Don’t wait until you have all the signs and symptoms that every website lists. Just know if you are feeling worse and then talk to your doctor. You don’t have to be on the prescription forever, I definitely wasn’t, but it will sure help in the beginning while you’re getting used to almost no sleep, taking care of another human, and trying to wrap your mind around all the crying. Again, this is for me. It may not work for everyone, but this is for me.

2. “This will not last forever.”– Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is that these stages really do not last forever. I remember crying to my mom that I was worried I would hate motherhood, because my 3 week old was just not leaving me feeling fulfilled or happy. {Not completely surprising}.

977824_10200800162741418_611722807_oThe stages of waking up every 3 hours at night or sitting in the mothers room for almost the entire church block, or being up with a teething baby DO END. They are so short. I almost have forgotten about them already, which is crazy, because they seemed never-ending at the time. But really, they pass. Soon you are getting a full night’s rest, you are sitting in church with your hands empty listening to a lesson while he’s playing in nursery, and then during the day your baby is playing with toys in the other room entertaining themselves. And then… to top it off they hug and kiss you and tell you gushy things like “I love luuu, mom!” It’s wonderful. So believe that things will change for the better, and that most likely you’ll love motherhood. There’s a reason why lots of people have multiple babies!

3. Get a routine, but let it slide- sometimes. I love routines. I thrive on them and so does Parker. He likes to know what he can expect and so do I. I like that he naturally settles down for nap when I tell him I’m grabbing a vitamin and milk… because he knows he gets to read stories and then rest. I like that I can depend on when to get things done and when to meet people for something due to being predictable. And I like having time to myself and with my husband. It just works for me.

923247_10151641119126763_1750822069_nBut, I’ve also experienced a whole lot of stress and anger (embarrassed about that) when my routine is thrown off. I’ll sit there frustrated that he isn’t in bed, even if we are doing something fun. I’ll worry that the routine will never be the same…. yaddy, yaddy, yada. But, really, it will work out. He’ll make up for it some other day that week, or he’ll take a longer nap at some point, or… he’ll teeth the next night and be up all night and then we’ll be zonked the next day. Whatev. It’s just life. So when you get handed a fun opportunity and it’s not going to be an everyday thing. Do it. Break the routine. Make a memory. And just.have.fun.

4.Thank my husband MORE and have less pity parties. Man, even though he didn’t birth the baby or carry the baby, he sure did do a lot. For me, it was easy to get into this mind set that everything was about me during pregnancy and after birth. I wined a bit, lets be honest. Granted my hormones were wacky and I was healing like no body’s business, BUT, he was doing so much too. I wasn’t the only one sleep deprived, I wasn’t the only one trying to make sense of everything that had changed.

268806_10151641119191763_2021570266_nI wish I would have realized that having a baby is a family matter, even more than I did, and that my physical scars would heal quickly.  I wish I would have thought more about my husband, instead of feeling bad for myself. From working to PAY for the babe, to being there when I went crazy. From calling my mom FOR ME at 1 in the morning, because he knew I needed to talk to someone, to loving me and telling me I was enough, over and over and over. He really was a champ. I wish I would have pulled myself out of my pity parties more and bonded more with him.

Overall, I’m just excited for another baby. I’m so grateful for what my 1st has taught me, and I can only imagine this one will teach me a whole lot more in so many different ways.  I’m excited to try the whole process again, hopefully with a little less stress than before. It’s amazing how experience can change us and teach us. Although, here’s to trying it out with having a 2 1/2 year old. We’ll see how that goes… and hopefully take it in stride.

What have you learned from your kids?… How’s that for a loaded question? 🙂

Each day I choose: flaws or fabulous?

Over the years, I think I believed a marriage was made better due to both individuals changing and becoming better over time–a slow refiners fire. Although I still believe this would make for a better marriage over time, I’m beginning to realize that the biggest change for my marriage will take place within… me.

Of course there are exceptions. Some marriages are genuinely harmful in nature and degrading to a spouse. But overall, many spouses in a marriage have a daily choice, I know I do in mine. My marriage could be joyous, fulfilling, satisfying, and meaningful, because of who I am and my attitude. Or, my marriage could be full of frustration, annoyance, disappointment, and contention, because of who I am and what I choose to see.

The choice is mine to make. Every single day.

Each day I chooseEach day I choose the quality and happiness I will find in my marriage. I can choose to see the flaws of my spouse and hone in on them. I can choose to not get past them and begin to think of ways that he needs to improve or the characteristics he needs to alter. I could even make a plan for his change and try to make the change occur through “subtle” hints, encouragement, or reminding. But, most likely, I would be the one making the marriage worse.

In H. Wallace Goddard’s book, Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage, he says:

Satan knows that healing human souls is something we humans always do poorly. That is why the devil wants us to be mate-fixing do-it-yourselfers.

This is a keen irony in our dilemma. We cannot fix our partners. We cannot even fix ourselves! But we can make ourselves humble. We can recognize our dependence on God for all that we have and are.

So when we presume to set our partners and our marriage right, we are intruding on the Heavenly prerogative. We are seizing the reins from God. It doesn’t work. We mortals make poor gods.”

I was not made to fix my spouse and tell him how he needs to change and the steps he needs to take. I’m not even the one who needs to tell him what to work on. That is simply not my job, and whenever I assume it, I’ll inevitably do it wrong. Why? I cannot even change myself very effectively without the help of God and His endless and all encompassing atonement.

So, what is my job in the marriage? To simply find joy in what I love about my partner. Celebrate his triumphs, celebrate his good, celebrate what I fell in love with in the beginning and leave the rest to him and God. My job is simply to love, accentuate the positive, and have charity for his weakness, as I hope he’ll have charity for mine.

In the end, my marriage is only as good as my ability to love my spouse. In the end, my marriage is only as good as my ability to see the good. And in the end, the only lasting change I can make takes place in me.

I am the master of my fate*If you would like to read more thoughts on marriage, feel free to jump on over to my blog about marriage and relationships: Working for my Marriage. It is still in the early stages of being created & designed, but the content is all there! 🙂

Easter: Made stronger than I am

This week spring is in my heart. The warmer temperatures, the blossoms blooming, the clear blue skies and bright sunshine all bring this new sense of life to my soul. It reminds me of Christ, the one who enlivens my soul and brought life to the whole world.

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Click to see photo cred.

In my quiet time this morning {which is a rare beauty} I read this verse while reading THIS talk:

“Yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.” (Mosiah 24:15)

I want this verse to be the core of my life. I will always have burdens, even though my heart seems to yearn for the time when my life will be free of them. But even though there will always be something that is hard, worrisome, or wears me down, I can always turn to God, be strengthened by Him, and then move on and live my life {full of burdens} cheerfully.

That is my desire. To be stronger because of my life. Not simply keep asking for an easier life.

I know I have been absent for quite a while, but I have a new goal to be back more often, but with more simple posts. I’ve realized I live for these meaningful thoughts. I long for a space to dump my brain. I want to write my thoughts with no reservations. They will show what I care for and be raw and real. They will embrace my beliefs and all I live and love.

I hope this Easter week is meaningful for you as it is for me. I’m feeling enlivened by the bright knowledge that God lived and died to give me life and strengthen me.

From uglies to beauties

Lately sitting down to write has not come easy. Partly because I’ve felt my thoughts have been anything but inspirational, hopeful, or weaved together well.

So here are my broken words–

Life has left me broken; feeling acutely aware of all my faults, all I lack, and how I’ve fallen short of who I want to be. For a whole slew of reasons I’ve come face to face with a version of myself I always tried to ignore or simply believed was not really part of me, but part of a situation.

“No, that’s not me, that’s part of my postpartum depression.”

“No, that’s not me, it’s part of the stress of moving twice in just over a month.”

“No, that’s not me, that’s part of being sleep deprived and up all night with Parker.

No, no, no, no, no….

But, I’m done with the excuses. I’m tired of letting my temper and my unruly side get the better of me. I’m tired of dumping it on my husband and son. I’ve decided to step up to the mirror and own up to even the ugliest parts of me; the parts I try to turn away from or hide in my closet. It’s time for me to get them out, sort through the uglies, and decide how to conquer them; how to make them beauties.

Speaking of the uglies in my closet... here in my closet currently. :)

Speaking of the uglies in my closet… here in my closet currently. 🙂

I keep reminding myself of this promise:

“… for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27)

I really do believe that. Or at least I’m trying to believe that. I want it badly. I want to be able to contain my temper, even during stressful times. I want to be kind to my husband, even when I’m low on sleep. I want to have more patience with my son, even if I’m sick and depleted.

Because when in life will I be able to say I’m not stressed about something? Probably sometimes. But, not very often.

In the end, I want my happiness and kindness to be in my court, not dependent on perfect situations. Because life, as beautiful and wonderful as it is, is rarely a perpetual, perfect situation.

How have you overcome personal traits that you didn’t want in your life? I would love your advice as I am on my own journey of overcoming!

If you enjoyed this post, I would so appreciate your vote. Thanks!

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The spare change of our lives

Yesterday my boy and I were playing with a bottle of our family’s spare change. Since Sam and I were married, we have dumped our spare change into the same bottle and moved on with the day. Slowly the bottle has filled up and I’m starting to wonder if we should either spend it on something completely for fun, put it into savings, OR get a bigger bottle.

Oh, the important questions I sit pondering about. 😉

The spare change of our lives(1)

But as my son and I were playing with the coins, I started realizing my life has been made greatly better, if not made completely more beautiful, due to the spare change in my life. Those little daily experiences that I subconsciously drop into my bucket of mommy life and then move past.

Just like this bottle of spare change is filled with pennies, nickles, dimes, and quarters– so is my life filled with these seemingly insignificant moments, that in the end, if treasured, add up to a large amount.

My life is mainly made of these small moments. So here is my life, documented in precious spare change:

Watching my boy soak up (or eat up) nature, discover the bees floating from flower to flower, and see the ants crawl around

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Feeling Parker snuggle into me, wrap his arm tightly around my neck, and simply enjoy the fact that we are two peas in a pod

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Dates with my husband, Sam. When we can be carefree and more fully remember what sparked our love in the first place.

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Listening to Parker belly laugh while on the swings… or anywhere. His glee seems to envelope my soul and make me smile no matter what.

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Seeing Parker’s sweet face relax and drift to sleep. This is when I can study his face and silently thank God for sending him to me.

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These moments are not rare at all; they are just as prevalent as a penny on the ground or a quarter in the couch. Yet to me they add up to a beautiful, happy life.

What are some of the everyday moments that bring you a touch a happiness or a smile to your face?