Do the Thing That Scares You

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I’m afraid of heights. I’m not necessarily afraid of tall buildings or elevators. . . those are enclosed. But I might not go out on a small balcony up high, and I don’t like being crowded in high places. I will take the stairs over an escalator, but those stairs had better have a railing to hold on to. (and after my slip and fall this past weekend, they better not have soapy water on them!)

You see, my fear has led to a lot of “rules” that I have imposed on my life.

There are things that I “just say no” to, because I am afraid.

Now, I’m a big girl. I’m OK with not getting on diving boards and not riding the roller coasters. But I just might be missing out on a certain amount of fun or joy by skipping those things.

What if my fear was something that held me back even more? What if I was afraid of being embarrassed? What if I was afraid of making mistakes? What if I was afraid of failing? What if what I was really afraid of was succeeding? (You know, because, if I do well at something, more people will want me to keep doing it, better and better–more of us have this fear than we care to admit!)

So, what is it that you are afraid of, and what are your motivations for that fear?

Once upon a time I was terribly afraid of motherhood. I was unsure that I would be a good mother. Having come from a broken home, I was afraid that we would not provide the stability that one (or more) kids would need. I did not have much time to ponder that fear, as God blessed us with a baby soon after our first wedding anniversary. He has turned out to be a pretty neat adult, in spite of or because of my mothering.

I learned that God often equips us with what we need, when we need it. I learned that mothering offers a lot of on-the-job training!

When it was time for me to re-enter the workforce, I had  a lot of fears. What if I was not skilled enough? What if my employer found out that I am a sham? What if I get in over my head? What if my family hates me working? What will the other moms think?

But the fact remained that I needed to work. And I had good skills to offer. I did lack confidence, but that is building, over time. I had to push past my fear.

Did you see that?

I had to push past my fear.

We tell our kids to do that all the time. “just try it, you don’t have to love it.”, “Maybe it will be easier this time.” , “I know you can do it!”, “You will be so proud of yourself when you are done!”

Why is our self-talk so different from the ways we encourage others? Why are we less deserving of optimism? Untitled design(1)

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

(2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)

It is my prayer that each of you can remember that your strength and fearlessness comes from God, the model encouraging parent!

 

Motherhood is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

motherhood is a marathon

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The other night on the Face book page I asked how old my readers’ oldest child is. Answers ranged from 51 on down to a few weeks old. That is a lot of years of motherhood, no?

“Oh, but that 51 year old does not need mothering.”, you may say. “Oh, but a 2 week-old is way easier than my tween.”, someone else will say.

The fact is. . . mothering never really gets easier. And, unlike a job that eventually (but not always) has retirement as an ultimate goal, mothering is a forever thing.

My grandmother never stopped worrying about her kids. . . or her grandchildren.

That mom with a 51 year old “child”, is likely to still be giving advice, encouragement, and prays daily for her offspring.

So now, we may be in the thick of things. Our kids are infants, terrible twos, tweens, or even getting ready to graduate from high school and leave for college (sigh). We need to keep our mothering energy up.

How do we keep from “losing it” now, so that we still have the energy (emotional and otherwise) to still be great moms once our kids are adults?

Go With the Ebb and Flow

There are times in your childrens’  lives that are very time, energy and emotion consuming. Their first year, with sleepless nights, endless feedings and thousands of diapers seems never ending. So many decisions you make seem like they are life changing and life-altering. Do we breast or bottle feed? Daycare or stay at home? Cloth diaper or disposable? Crib or co-sleep? Sleep train or no?

While these decisions should be well-thought-out for your family’s situation, let me let you in on a little secret:

Don’t sweat it, mama! Junior won’t breastfeed well and you are worn down trying? My best friend has three bright formula fed children. Don’t want to use disposables? That is fine, plenty of people use cloth. . .or they don’t. Worried that if baby spends one night, or one week, or one month, or one year in your bed that you will never get her out? No worries, most high school seniors sleep in their very own big kid beds.

And when motherhood gets just a wee bit easier, like after that first day of kindergarten– relax a little. Get a mani-pedi. Have coffee with your girlfriends. Stare at baby pictures and sniff a little. You just might get a little mothering downtime–at least during the day.

Things will ramp up again. Sports, clubs, plays, dance recitals. They will possibly consume your social time. Get a good planner, and soak it in. . .because the teens years can be lonely for a mom.

You might feel a bit like Beverly Goldberg, that your kids don’t need you anymore.

 

But they do. Whether they act like they appreciate you or not. They still need you.  And they always will.

Be ready to be that listening ear, open door, and supporter.

But to be able to have this kind of mothering stamina–stamina to endure the marathon of motherhood, you have to pace yourself.

Don’t burn yourself out on the minutia of the newborn stage, don’t hover/helicopter (using up all of your gas) in the preschool to tween years, and don’t let teen angst discourage you.

Each stage of childhood has its own unique joys, and each stage of motherhood does as well. The key is taking time in each stage to be present, to breathe it in, to make memories, and to love our kids for who they are, right here and right now.

Chime in! Where are you at in your mothering marathon? What are you doing to enjoy it?

Newborn Twins: Seasoned Mom Advice

Nothing can truly prepare you for newborn twins.

Nothing.

When the girls were born, I was already a mom four times over. I had successfully kept four little boys alive, and yet, I was totally unprepared to bring a set of twins home from the hospital.

In some ways, it was like starting over again.

Well, I’m a survivor of sorts. The twins turned three on Monday. Somehow I’ve managed not to ruin them beyond repair.

I admit, a lot of what got me through my early days of twin parenthood was the help and support of the multiple community. I have several moms of twins in my city that I could see face to face and were so happy to see me cart around my two pink bundles of joy. I also found many, many supportive multiple moms on the internet.

If there is something I learned about multiple moms, it is that they are so happy to share what works or does not work. Most of the moms I met had twins at least a few years older than mine. So I knew that twin motherhood was survivable. So, I asked my online tribe the question,

“What bit of advice do you wish you had been given right before your babies were born?”

You see, there is a lot of advice that gets thrown at a pregnant woman throughout pregnancy, but that last-minute pep talk? Those are the words that stuck with me. I still remember my friend Kathy telling me the day before my induction, “I wish someone had told me how much fun this would be!” Those words stuck with me. Because Kathy was not a mom of adorable five-year old twins, or fully grown adult twins. Kathy had given birth to her twin boys just three months before I had my girls. While she was still “in the trenches” she was finding the fun and joys in twindom! What an encouragement!

Amber’s advice really resonated with me. Giving birth to twins was a very humbling time. I am a strong, determined, “can-do” woman. I don’t complain much. I power through a lot. But having twins brought me to my knees. Two newborn babies crying at one time are very overwhelming! I learned that when people asked how they could help me, I had to give them a way to help! Other moms cooked for our family for weeks after the girls were born. Women came over to clean my house. For some women the thought of being waited on like this  sounds heavenly, but for this control-freak mom it was humbling. I had to accept help, because I needed help. My friends pitching in was a necessity, not a luxury!

My friend Krystle wrote, “It will be nothing like you expect.” I know that this is true, as I met Krystle online and was a long-distance breastfeeding and all around moral support person. When one child at a time is all you know, having twins really can turn things upside down!

Laura (with twins a year older than mine) writes,

“you will have those moments when you break down and cannot handle it all. It is OK and it is OK to ask for help. This is not a sign of weakness. Also, if the help that is being offered is not what you need and you need something else it is OK to say “thank you for the offer but what would really help is …”

Susan wrote,

They will BOTH learn how to drive AT THE SAME TIME. Talk about sticker shock All joking aside, it is a learned process and it is just like mothering one child. Always ask for help and advice when you need it.

Nicole advised, “Organized chaos will become your new normal, try to enjoy it when you can because the first year is a blur.”

Eileen remembers,

Write every thing down! I forgot which baby I feed at what time and who had pooped all the time! I eventually figured out that I needed to “chart” things! It really helped when the needed medication.

And sweet Nicolette, who took her lunch break to come and hug me while I was a weepy mess when Emily was in the NICU, knows all too well the joys and frustrations that multiples bring. . .her triplets are 14! She said, “Hang on ‘cuz it’s going to be a wild, wonderful ride!!!”

All of these moms are so, so right.

Forget the advice about schedules, and color coding, and all the other stuff that will get thrown at you! Just remember to accept help, set aside your expectations, write things down, and enjoy the ride!

What advice would you give a brand new twin mom right before her babies are born?

 

 

 

 

When I Grow Up. . .

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be many different things when I grew up. I wanted to be Miss America (Who wouldn’t? Right?), I wanted to be a teacher, Katie Couric, a mom, a famous actress.

I did not want to become a blogger.

Duh. I’m old. When I was growing up there were no bloggers. There were news columnists…which were close to blogging. But I did not want to be one of those. Columnists have to write. I wanted to talk. I hated writing. I loved to talk (my poor mom).

I still love to talk (my poor friends). And since many of my friends live so far away and they screen their phone calls so well, I’ve turned to blogging.

I’ve grown to love writing. That happened sometime between my Freshman and Senior year in college.

Blogging has allowed me to learn things that I never would have learned otherwise. Things like HTML, public relations, harnessing social media, and ahem, a modicum of organization.

Blogging has introduced me to some fabulous people, both local and across the country. Blogging has served as my virtual back fence.

But blogging still catches me off guard. A few months ago I got a Twitter message from young filmmaker, Matt Fern. He told me that he was doing a series of 2-3 minute profiles of North Dakotans and he would like to profile me and my blog. At first I thought that sounded so silly. After all, I’m just a little mom blogger.

But that is silly talk. Everyone has a story to tell. Even mom bloggers.

So I agreed to let Matt step into my life and film me and my family for a bit. Let me tell you, he does some awesome work! My profile was featured today on the Daily Dakotan You Tube Channel. From the reaction of my friends and readers, I am learning that I am achieving one of the goals that I have set for this blog. I am an encouragement for mothers. And I let moms know that it is ok to be less than perfect.

As a result, I’ve been thrust into some great company. . .several of whom are living my childhood dreams!

Like Miss North Dakota, Ariana Walker!

Make sure that you watch all the way to the end and find out how you can help Ariana make it to the top 15 in the Miss America Pageant coming up!

And then there is one of my other childhood dreams. . .

Television News Reporter! Isn’t Kate’s story awesome?

Another one of my fellow bloggers has been featured as well.

My new goal for when I grow up is to take photos half as well as Clint does!

So, what do you think? Don’t I have some of the coolest neighbors ever? I’m very thankful for this fun experience, thankful for the gifts God has given me to share, and thankful for you too. . .the reason I bother to write at all!