Tag Archives: Personal

Taking Stock

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In just a few short weeks my baby girl turns one (sob!), and I thought it was time to sit down and have a look at what’s changed in the space of a year.  Becoming a mother has changed my life drastically.  It has brought changes for the positive, and it has also been a magnifying glass for the glaring short-comings in my life.  So what has changed then?

-my health: from hitting rock bottom with the threat of a spell in hospital as conventional GPs were of no use, finally through the help of a homeopath we discovered what was making me so ill.  Without having my daughter, I would probably never have discovered the truth.  The physical strain of the pregnancy and labour brought my body to such a state that we were pushed into searching for the answers instead of allowing ourselves to be pacified with the mediocre state of health offered to me by the National “Health” Service and their pills to mask symptoms.  For improving health even though I still have rough days, I have my daughter to thank.

-creativity: I would never consider myself to be creative.  It wasn’t something that was overly encouraged in my childhood.  My parents would openly admit they weren’t great at drawing etc and I guess due to this it was never something they felt they had the skills with which to encourage me to be.  All through school I hated arty stuff, and I never felt my work was worth anything.  Since having my daughter I have somehow from somewhere found a love of creativity.  I don’t believe my skills have improved any, but maybe my acceptance of them as they are has improved, and my willingness to push myself and try out new things has increased.  In the last 11 months I have done more artistic stuff than I have since leaving high school(quite some time ago now).  I have made a pattern for and sewn up a stocking for my daughter for Christmas, I have made her a picture with a quote on it to be framed for her bedroom for her birthday, I have also drawn and coloured her birthday invitations which were sent out to people(even a year ago the thought of someone seeing and judging my “handiwork” would have been enough to handicap me in this area), and I am also hoping to take some of Miss E’s baby clothes and turn them into a keepsake stuffed toy for her.  Wow, I never could have guessed such things would be done by me before she was born!

-baking: I have rediscovered my love of baking.  Before my GCSEs I used to be baking all the time.  I loved to make cookies, cakes, bread etc.  Then studying took over and adult life got in the way of another creative channel.  Now I love the times I can be in the kitchen whipping up some form of cake batter or a frosting cupcakes.  I’ve even allowed other people outside of my husband and my parents taste my baking.  I also decided I would make and decorate the cake for her first birthday party……………….my first time ever dealing with fondant icing!

-confidence: As I look at the two previous points, I guess a big thing that my daughter has given me is confidence and self-belief.  Ill health and years of people just assuming I was making it up because on the outside I looked normal, caused me to lose a lot of confidence in myself.  Since having Miss E, I have regained some of that.  I am open to pushing myself and yes, failing sometimes.  I am willing to go to gatherings of strangers alone to make new friends and to give my daughter the chance to attend different events.  In the past I’d rather not go, than have to face a bunch of strangers.

-sacrifice: Miss E has taught me the meaning of going without for someone else.  I have sacrificed my body, my time, my possessions for her, and I am ok with that.

-love of peace and tranquility: by this I don’t mean the times when she has gone to bed in the evenings or for a nap.  We used to have the tv on a lot before Miss E was born.  In the evenings, we’d flop down on the couch and get sucked into that thing for hours.  Communication, real communication was minimal.  It always bothered me, but it took having Miss E for the big change to come.  When Miss E is awake the tv is not on, plain and simple.  Now, when she is asleep we rarely have it on either.  I love the peace of just being.  I no longer have to have something filling my brain with noise and images all my waking hours.  It’s liberating.  In fact, I would quite happily get rid of the tv altogether, but my husband isn’t quite so far down this road as I am and still likes the security of having the black screen sat in the corner just incase something good comes on tv that might be worth watching.

 

These are some big things that have changed since having my daughter, but there is still much room for improvement.  Some of these areas are;

Selfishness: I have made big sacrifices, it is true, but I am still oh so selfish.  Selfish with my time.  I want my daughter to sleep when I want her to sleep, to play happily by herself when I want her to do that.  And when she doesn’t, I often don’t take this impingement upon my plans very graciously.  This is an area that with God’s grace I am still working on and learning much about.

Patience: This area is HUGE for me.  Various happenings in my life have caused me to become rather impatient and snappy.  I can fly off the handle easily.  Since having my daughter, I have made big steps to keep my cool, and sometimes I do succeed.  But more often than not, I fail miserably.  I raise my voice, I get angry, I storm about, I get demanding, I want my daughter to do things to my time scale.  I am more often than not displaying the type of behaviour I do not want her to see or copy.  This must change, and it is an area that I bring often before the Lord in prayer.  I want to, NEED to cultivate a heart of patience and gentleness.  It’s not easy to kill off old habits, but it must be done as my daughter deserves a better example after which to model herself.

 

As I look forward to the next year of life with my daughter this is the thought I want to keep at the forefront of my mind:

“Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands.  Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God.  Be a person in whom they can have faith.  When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.”
―    Lisa Wingate

Motherhood makes you do crazy things

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Before becoming a mummy, I had zero interest in sewing.  And, apart from a few cross stitches about 7 years ago, I have not picked up a needle and thread or used a sewing machine in about 14 years since I was in high school and was forced to take home economics classes and sew a pin cushion, an apron, a wrap over skirt and and actual cushion cover.  Since having my daughter and using cloth nappies/diapers and washable wipes, I have found a whole host of WAHMs making lots of lovely items on their sewing machines for sale.  Lovely reuseable wipes, dribble bibs, nappies/diapers etc.  You name it, they probably make it!  Some of things I ws looking at made me think, even I could make them with some material and a sewing machine.  I’m no seamstress, but I might could manage a simple line of stiches!  So, I became inspired, and, in my mind, I redecorated pretty much our whole house!  I made cushions, drying cloths, napkins, those cool, non paper, ‘paper towel’ rolls, washable wipes for baby, blankets for her.  All sorts of lovely stuff……in my mind!  One major obstacle is the fact that I have no sewing machine to try and get these ideas from my head to being a tangible reality.  Well, seeing as Christmas is looming, I am starting to think ahead to that lovely time of year and stockings hanging up.  We have a whole host of stockings in various shapes and sizes…mainly mine from childhood as my aunts bought me a new one quite often!  Stockings were the best bit of opening presents for me.  I started to think that I’d quite like my daughter to have a unique stocking, not just something I picked up from a store.  So, once again it comes into my head the idea that I could sew her one :O  I started on a hunt for festive material and have found the most gorgeous ones for her.  My husband has asked his Grandma if we can borrow her sewing machine, so that’s no longer an obstacle if she can get it working, and I have watched you tube videos on sewing a stocking, and it looks pretty simple(til I actually embark on trying to cut out the pattern and sew various bits together).  So far so good!!  I am excited to give this new thing a try, and I just hope I don’t ruin some very pretty material in the process, but I find it amusing to see how much I have changed as a person since having my daughter.  For one, it has made me want to be more creative, and I would never have classed myself as a creative!  Even a year ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of sewing anything, and I would have laughed so hard if someone had told me that this year I’d be on the hunt for material and haberdashery to make a stocking.   I still find it very amusing that I am embarking on this little sewing adventure.  Who knows where it will lead?!  Maybe I’ll get hooked and actually make new cushion covers and my long list of other ideas afterall!  How has becoming a parent changed you as a person?

Change

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Change

Change is like the wind.

It can come gently, almost silently like the whisper of a breeze; creeping up on us.  We are barely aware.

Change

It can come at us loudly like the roar of thunder and turn our lives upside down in an instant like a tornado.

Change

Are we ever ready?

Change

It causes us to examine how flexible we are.  Do we accept it?  Do we fight it?

Change

However it comes, and whatever our response, it comes to us all in some form or another.

 

Changes around here have been subtle recently, creeping in gently, but with enough force to make my heart pay attention.  Shifts are taking place once again in my relationship with my daughter.  Slow, miniscule changes, but changes none the less.  She no longer needs my comfort for day time naps.  She quite happily falls asleep on the bed after a lunchtime feed and sleeps for 3 hours. The wrap lies redundant in the daytime right now.  There are positives to this change, of course, I have 3 hours in which I can speed round the house doing chores I didn’t get done when she was awake, I can have my lunch and relax over it, I can have a few moments to myself to be still, to quiet my heart, to read, to rest.  But these positives come tinged with hint of sadness, that my baby girl has taken yet another step on the road to becoming more independant, to becoming her own person outside of me.  Other changes are that she will happily play for at least 30 minutes sometimes longer out of my presence while I do chores elsewhere in the house which was unheard of in the past.  She had to know I was nearby or else she let the whole world know she felt very much alone.  And today she managed to crawl…backwards, but she crawled.  Little changes, little steps on her road to becoming independant from mummy and daddy, but sometimes it’s the little things, the quiet, subtle changes that resonate deeply in our hearts and give us cause for joy and wonder mixed a little hint of sadness as once again we come face to face with the reality that the time on this side of our babies flying the nest solo for the first time is really so short.  We must make the most of now.

Teaching A Child To Love Who They Are

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I was reading over at Nurshable this morning and came across this fabulous post which I had to share.  It is definitely a must read!  Oh, how we  forget as adults the little eyes and ears that are watching our every move and taking in our every word.  How we forget that every negative comment we dish out to ourselves is being internalised by this clean slate who in turn starts to magnify the “negative” he or she sees.  We need to be careful; careful to ensure we build each other up and not tear each other down.  We need to be careful with the comments we dish out to children as well such as, “wow, what big feet you have” or “aren’t you tall/small for your age?” or “isn’t she a big baby?”.  They may seem harmless words as you spout them off, but it might just be enough to make someone dislike themselves.  There are parts of me that I dislike for the simple fact that people have pointed them out to me, like my big feet for instance.  I have a nephew who is really conscious about his height because he’s the smallest in his class and hates people talking about his height.  I dislike it when people stare at my baby and say, “wow, she’s a big girl!!”  By whose standards are we measuring the length of feet, or the height or weight of a child?  In God’s eyes, my feet aren’t big; they are exactly how He wanted them to be for the purpose He placed on my life, same with my nephew’s height, same with my daughter’s size, same with each of us.  We are how we are, because He has deemed it to be so, and He sees each of us as beautiful.  Don’t measure your beauty by man’s warped standards, because will all be doomed to a life of never measuring up.  Look to the one true mirror and see that we have been made in the likeness of God; beautifully hand crafted, each and every one of us.  Let’s start to magnify all the great stuff about ourselves, because it’s there, and let’s start to have a healthy, positive attitude towards ourselves and others.  Nurshable’s post also reminded me of the great Casting Crowns song, Slow Fade.  Remember, all around us are little eyes and ears who are hanging on our every word and action as an example of how they ought to be as they grow up, and little feet who will follow in our footsteps.  Let’s be sure those footsteps are leading to positive behaviours, thoughts, actions etc.

Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you’re thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Wise Words

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I hope to make the earnest listening a reality in my life with my own children.  I have seen what happens when parents don’t give much attention to the “trivial” matters their little ones bring to them.  It crushes spirits and breaks trust.  Yes, we may have more “important” things to think about or deal with at that time, but let’s keep the long term picture in mind as parents and remember we need to put the effort in daily and take that time daily to cultivate a relationship that will last and be open and strong when our children hit those rocky teen years.

Sometimes We Discover Things We Wish We Hadn’t

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It’s been a while since I’ve blogged.  My husband’s had a few days off work, so we’ve been enjoying some family time which has been wonderful.  Last time I blogged I was saying how difficult a day I had had my with my little one, and I was ridiculously frustrated and stressed out.  The rest of the week followed pretty much the same pattern.  God chose not to change my circumstances, and I discovered some things about myself that I didn’t really like and I wish hadn’t been brought to my attention.  However, I needed to see the ugliness for what it was and make changes.

Mainly I discovered how very, very selfish I am.  I have my plan for the day, and I don’t take well to having my plans disrupted for the needs of someone else.  I guess I’ve never liked my plans being disrupted or changing them, but before children these times of “inconvenience” are less frequent so the irritation felt by having to change plans is easier dealt with.  Motherhood requires sacrifices; sacrifices of time and energy.  I knew all this in theory, but try asking me to put it into practice and I started seeing the ugliness of what was really in my heart.  I want to hang the laundry out, my child is screaming and wanting to be held.  I want to eat, but my child is crying and needing fed.  All these scenarios and more crop up quite regularly these days.  I realised that I was responding to my child, but not with the right attitude.  I always had one eye on my ever increasing to-do list and was starting to build up resentment in my heart towards the fact that I never seemed to get round to my very “important” tasks.

God has kindly rebuked me, and I know I need to willingly sacrifice my desires for my child.  Right now she is totally dependant on me, but it’s only a phase, one day she’ll be gone from my arms, and it won’t matter one bit then that I didn’t get the vacuuming done when I felt it should be done, or that maybe I had to gobble my lunch down as she needed comforting.  What will matter then is the time I put into her, and I don’t want to get to that day and live with regrets that I felt annoyed that she “disrupted” my schedule nor that I didn’t take the time to truly meet her needs and nurture her as she deserved due to my own selfishness.

I will have all the time in the world to do the housework or whatever else it is that currently I deem important when she’s left home, but these days with her will never return, so I need to be willing to JOYFULLY sacrifice my time and my energies for her for this brief period.  In the grand scheme of things it’s really not a lot to ask, and my child can go into the world knowing that  she is loved, never having to doubt that she has my full support or thinking that she was less important to me than all the trivial matters of life.

So, the next time I find myself in a situation where I’m starting into one of my tasks and my daughter needs me, I will try to remember this lesson learned and happily leave whatever it is to attend to her.  My tasks will wait another day, but my daughter won’t.  The time to build a lifelong bond with her is now; we’re only assured of the day we have been given, and I want her to know without a doubt the value I place on her little life.

Patience and Grace Needed Here Please!!!

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Ever get those days as a parent when life just seems to be against you?!  I’m now into my second day of that.  I’m currently rather ill with a cold and chest infection(the weather round here’s been so changeable that viruses etc are having a great time with people’s immune systems), so am not really feeling up to the job of being mum.  I wish there was an option to call in sick to work because right now I could really use some time to recover!

Yesterday, my daughter screamed all.day.long.  No matter what I did.  She refused to go down til 10pm and I was so exhausted I followed to bed shortly after.  I was feeling exasperated.  Today, I woke up hoping things would be better, but NOOOOOOOOOOOO.  I’ve tried feeding, cuddling, playing, dealing with any underlying teething pain, wrapping her, but nothing will pacify this child today!!!!  Except, of course, sitting out in the blazing sunshine, which she then got fed up with and cried but screamed even more when I brought her in to bring her bouncy chair etc inside so the dogs wouldn’t destroy it.  This is made all the more embarrassing and frustrating as both sets of neighbours are outdoors and can hear her scream like I’m causing her some harm.  I was so stressed out, I ended up slipping on some water spilled by the dogs and twisting my knee and ankle.  So, I have placed her safely upstairs, still screaming at the top of her lungs, closed the door (and the windows to save the outside world from having to suffer the same fate as me), and come down here for a quick 5 minute breather as this tired mama is at meltdown point.  I hate listening to her crying alone, and I rarely leave her like this, but I felt for my sanity’s sake right now it was best to get some space between us for a few minutes so I could just breathe before going to try and find a solution.

My husband’s unhelpful solution was to have patience…………..clearly he couldn’t see that my patience tank is running on empty with being sick, exhausted and having already listened to her screaming for a whole day previously!  So, if there is any patience out there to be had, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease send it this way.  And if you can’t find any then please, please say a prayer for God’s grace right now.  We sure would appreciate it.

Do you ever get days like this?  How do you get through them?