Advice From the Person Least Likely to be a Mom

 

I stumbled across this post that I wrote over three years ago about how difficult I found parenting to be… oh, how true that remains! I thought I would re-publish it because 1) the book I recommend is still one of my favorites, and 2) the pictures of baby Jeremiah are cracking me up! He was such a mess! 

::

I’ve never been a kid person. When Michael and I first got married (and for many years after that) I would walk by the baby isle at Target and inwardly cringe at all of the baby stuff. I didn’t hate babies, I just had no idea what I would do with one of my own. Kids were something for later… waaaaay later.

And then something happened and now I was living in “later.” It was time to think about having a baby. When we talked about having children, we always jumped ahead in our thinking to when they would be cool. Like when they were 9 or 10 years old. When they would be able to read and play guitar and have a conversation. We didn’t really focus on what it would be like to have an infant– largely because we had absolutely no idea.

For instance, did you know that new moms can become slightly irrational about their little ones? I do not usually consider myself to be the irrational type, but within 12 hours of bringing J home, I became obsessed with the temperature in his room. He was born on July 1, but I was convinced we were keeping it too cold in the house. I bought two thermometers for his room because I needed to know at all times what the temperature and humidity level was. I needed two thermometers so that I could make sure they were accurate.

I didn’t realize how much this child would change me. I knew he would change a lot of things about my life– sleeping, to name a big one– but I didn’t realize how much he would change me. I didn’t know how much I would miss him while he spent an afternoon at Grammy’s. I didn’t know how much I would love making him giggle hysterically by yelling “Boo!” at him. I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be to listen to him cry in his crib. I had no idea how much my heart would leap when he placed his hands on either side of my face, looked me straight in the eyes, and leaned in super fast for a kiss (which turned into more of a head butt.)

I had no idea about anything baby-related and I didn’t really try to fix that. I read a few books when I was pregnant about how to swaddle a baby and help him sleep through the night, but that was it. In my mind, there was a good reason for not reading tons of books about becoming a parent. I didn’t want to obsess over every decision I made. I didn’t want to read books that would contradict each other and leave me frustrated and confused. I didn’t want to read about all the things I should be doing and create more and more metrics to judge myself by. I’ve been down that road before and it never ends up where I think it will. It took a really long time, but I’ve mostly embraced the idea of grace. The idea that I am going to make mistakes but there is grace for me.

I didn’t dive into all the books that I might have read. Instead, I turned to a few dear friends who probably did read all those books and I said, “Help me please!” I have learned a ton from them and I am grateful for their patience with me. I know they think I’m a bit strange with all my [basic] questions, but I would rather ask someone I love (and who loves me!) what they tried and how it worked, than try and sort through what books are going to be helpful and what books are going to make me hate myself.

So, this next part is going to be pretty ironic because I am now going to recommend a parenting book that I read and really loved. I am not against books. I love books! I’m just trying to be more discerning about what I read and whose advice I take. This book is one that has really stuck with me and I find myself thinking about throughout the day. Especially in those “melt-down” moments.

::

Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson- The authors do a fantastic job of showing us how to bring the Gospel into our parenting. What I think about the Gospel is the most important thing about me. So to have a book that demonstrates how the Gospel dispenses grace into every aspect of parenting is incredibly refreshing. There’s good theology in this book, but there are also good, practical discussions on how to raise your children to love, adore, and be captured by the Gospel.

“Every way we try to make our kids “good” is simply an extension of Old Testament Law– a set of standards that is not only unable to save our children, but also powerless to change them. No, rules are not the answer. What they need is GRACE. We must tell our kids of the grace-giving God who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters. If this is not the message your children hear, if you are just telling them to “be good,” then the gospel needs to transform your parenting too.”

::

Pin It!

Baking and a Baby

Jeremiah is definitely growing and thriving these days. He’s asserting his personality (and will!) all over the place and some days are easier than others around here. For instance, yesterday I took him to get his hair cut and let’s just say it did not go well. He was a slobbery mess before the (very kind) lady even got close to him with the scissors. It was so bad that a second hair dresser came up to us and tried to help- she finally asked us to come back later that day after he had calmed down so they could finish. We did not go back. So, after paying for the hair cut and tipping very well, I have a child that will be wearing a hat for the foreseeable future. Sigh.

(The photo you see below is before the hair cutting fiasco. The next time you see him, he might have a buzz cut.)

There are days where I desperately need to distract Jeremiah, or else neither of us will make it to nap time. Earlier this week, I decided to make some cookies while also trying to capture some fun moments with him. He lasted about 3.5 minutes, but that’s pretty good for him. I used this recipe (although I did not add the wheat germ… Michael would have a BIG problem with me if I put something that healthy in his oatmeal raisin cookies.) I also made half of them oatmeal raisin and half oatmeal chocolate because we are a household divided over our oatmeal cookies.

I found it very fun to measure out everything ahead of time for the purpose of taking photos. I never do this in real life… I’m a very distracted baker normally, but I might actually prefer this new method. I got all the ingredients out of the cabinets in the beginning, measured everything into bowls, and rechecked the recipe before I did any mixing.

Jeremiah, as you might expect, was a big fan of the Kitchen Aid mixer. He particularly enjoyed trying to “catch” the paddle as it went round and round.

Now, this is the part where I am pretty proud of myself. {Although this is not my idea… I saw it on Pintrest, of course.}

The recipe called for 2 sticks of butter, which in my mind, means that it’s going to make way too many cookies for just me and Michael. (Jeremiah won’t eat cookies… he’s strange.) In the past, when I’ve tried adjusting recipes to make smaller quantities, they don’t always work out well. And even though I’m pretty sure I’m doing the math right, there’s something about changing the amount of eggs or trying to use half a stick of butter that just doesn’t work well. So, I decided to make a full recipe and freeze the rest in ice cube trays! Clever, right?!?

I made a full batch of dough, but only baked 12 cookies. Then, I portioned the rest into ice cube trays (I used a small ice cream scoop so the cookies are all the same size.) I popped the trays in the freezer, left them overnight, then put the dough balls in Ziploc bags.

Now, I can just grab a few pieces and bake them when we want some cookies. I’m really excited about this because we love having folks over for dinner, but making dinner and dessert is often too much for me. So now I can just grab them out of the freezer, let them thaw for a bit, and bake as normal. Whee!

I experimented a bit with the amount of time to let them thaw. The first time I left them out until they were completely thawed which took around an hour and a half. Then I baked according to the original recipe. These turned out fine, but I wondered if I could do it quicker. The next time I left them out for about 30 minutes before putting them in the oven. They were still a little frozen, but they did great! I still baked them according to the directions and they were perfect.

It’s nice when things work out like you think they will. That rarely happens around here, so when it does, we celebrate. With cookies.

Pin It!

Advice From the Person Least Likely to Be a Mom

 

I’ve never been a kid person. When Michael and I first got married (and for many years after that) I would walk by the baby isle at Wal-Mart and inwardly cringe at all of the baby stuff. I didn’t hate babies, I just had no idea what I would do with one of my own. Kids were something for later… waaaaay later.

And then something happened and now I was living in “later.” It was time to think about having a baby. When we talked about having children, we always jumped ahead in our thinking to when they would be cool. Like when they were 9 or 10 years old. When they would be able to read and play guitar and have a conversation. We didn’t really focus on what it would be like to have an infant– largely because we had absolutely no idea.

For instance, did you know that new moms can become slightly irrational about their little ones? I do not usually consider myself to be the irrational type, but within 12 hours of bringing J home, I became obsessed with the temperature in his room. He was born on July 1, but I was convinced we were keeping it too cold in the house. I bought two thermometers for his room because I needed to know at all times what the temperature and humidity level was. I needed two so that I could make sure they were accurate.

I didn’t realize how much this child would change me. I knew he would change a lot of things about my life– sleeping, to name a big one– but I didn’t realize how much he would change me. I didn’t know how much I would miss him while he spent an afternoon at Grammy’s. I didn’t know how much I would love making him giggle hysterically by yelling “Boo!” at him. I wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be to listen to him cry in his crib. I had no idea how much my heart would leap when he placed his hands on either side of my face, looked me straight in the eyes, and leaned in super fast for a kiss (which turned into more of a head butt.)

I had no idea about anything baby-related and I didn’t really try to fix that. I read a few books when I was pregnant about how to swaddle a baby and help him sleep through the night, but that was it. In my mind, there was a good reason for not reading tons of books about becoming a parent. I didn’t want to obsess over every decision I made. I didn’t want to read books that would contradict each other and leave me frustrated and confused. I didn’t want to read about all the things I should be doing and create more and more metrics to judge myself by. I’ve been down that road before and it never ends up where I think it will. It took a really long time, but I’ve mostly embraced the idea of grace. The idea that I am going to make mistakes but there is grace for me.

I didn’t dive into all the books that I might have read. Instead, I turned to a few dear friends who probably did read all those books and I said, “Help me please!” I have learned a ton from them and I am grateful for their patience with me. I know they think I’m a bit strange with all my [basic] questions, but I would rather ask someone I love (and who loves me!) what they tried and how it worked, than try and sort through what books are going to be helpful and what books are going to make me hate myself.

So, this next part is going to be pretty ironic. Because I am now going to share two parenting books with you that I have read, and really loved. I am not against books. I love books! I’m just trying to be more discerning about what I read and whose advice I take. These two books are ones that have really stuck with me and I find myself thinking about throughout the day. Especially in those “melt-down” moments.

::

Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic- I’d heard several friends reference this book and had read some things that Rachel wrote on her blog, so I thought I would give it a shot. Plus, it was only $6 on the Kindle so I figured I could risk it. This is a short, incredibly funny, and encouraging book for moms with young children. Rachel has 5 kids that are all little and she has somehow managed to keep her sanity. This is probably a book I will read several times a year for a while.

“This is not a tender reminiscence from someone who had children so long ago that she only remembers the sweet parts. I do not have a foggy, precious perspective on mothering little ones. My children do not sit on monogrammed picnic blankets in coordinated outfits while I bring them nutritious snacks on a silver tray. You are more likely to find me putting an end to them pulling each other around at breakneck speeds on a tablecloth tied to a jump rope, or seriously counseling someone who has part of a toilet paper tube taped to their nose.”

Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson- The authors do a fantastic job of showing us how to bring the Gospel into our parenting. What I think about the Gospel is the most important thing about me. So to have a book that demonstrates how the Gospel dispenses grace into every aspect of parenting is incredibly refreshing. There’s good theology in this book, but there are also good, practical discussions on how to raise your children to love, adore, and be captured by the Gospel.

“Every way we try to make our kids “good” is simply an extension of Old Testament Law– a set of standards that is not only unable to save our children, but also powerless to change them. No, rules are not the answer. What they need is GRACE. We must tell our kids of the grace-giving God who freely adopts rebels and transforms them into loving sons and daughters. If this is not the message your children hear, if you are just telling them to “be good,” then the gospel needs to transform your parenting too.”

::

Pin It!