Things Mamas really should know...

Confession: I can be a bit of a know it all. I have a tendency to sometimes think I am smarter than I really am. Pride in my life often takes the ugly form of judging others and their inability to do something that I think I can do (even if I really have never tried.)

Confession: It is really hard for me to adapt to new situations. I don't like change. It hurts deeply when things don't go as planned.

Confession: This is an ugly truth.

Why in the world did I decide to confess all of these things on the internet, where any number of people could read this and change their opinion of me? Well, for starters,I share it because it is in fact an ugly truth about my character. I also share it in hopes that what I am about to share may help some of you out there and that maybe some of you might be able to help me.

Today in the car, I told my sweet hubby, "You know what I think other mothers should give new mothers? A huge sign saying, 'you are stupid.'" He just kind of looked at me like I lost my mind and asked why I thought that. I then proceeded to explain to him that with the exception of a few non ignorant mothers out there, the majority of women feel like they are totally ready for motherhood. Sure there may be a few fears here or there but most of them have babysat or have younger nieces or nephews or worked in childcare or something else similar. All of those experiences give them a false sense of their abilities and their knowledge of child-rearing. I was no exception to this rule. I had done all of those things... PLUS I was an early childhood major and I had taken care of 16 babies in an orphanage for a whole year of my life. Try and top those apples!

Oh but how far we can fall from that dreaded peek of pride. These last 8 months I have discovered how stupid I really am. I am sure some of you may think that stupid sounds a little too harsh, but I think in my current state it applies. I really was stupid, clueless, and a whole mess of other things prior to becoming a mama to a little baby.

Let me give you a bit of a back story though. I pretty much became a mama as soon as I became a wife. Hubby and I took a month long honeymoon/vacation (we went to the states for Christmas to be with my family), but as soon as we returned at the end of December 2007, we took over as the house parents for 14 adolescent girls. Then, after about 8 months of marriage we became parents when we adopted our sweet son (technically the process is not fully finished so you can keep praying about that too). He had just turned 3 when we moved in with us. I will admit that all of these things were challenging, but we really had rather smooth sailing. I was used to teenagers and especially girls, so that was a good fit. We had already been a part of my son's life since he was 5 days old (I cared for him when I worked in the baby house a couple of years earlier), and well he was already on a schedule, already potty trained, and pretty much was just stoked to be with us. All was good.

So, when I became pregnant only a few months after celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary, I was totally pumped and not at all worried..except about the actual birthing a baby part. I knew about getting babies on schedules. I knew about diapers and baths and teething and all sorts of other things mamas are supposed to know about taking care of babies. I was set! In fact, I was so set that I was even a little judgmental of mamas whose babies weren't sleeping through the night or who were even still sleeping in their beds or who were having temper tantrums over "nothing"...and a whole slew of other things. Again, lots of ugly truths coming out here but I hope they won't make you love me less! :)

Maybe if you had seen the tears I cried this past week, it would make you feel slightly bad for me...or at the very least a little tenderhearted. I cried it all out this past week. It all just became too much, and I realized just how weak and unable I very much in need of a Savior I am and how very much in need of God's strength I am EVERY SINGLE DAY.

My job as team/missionary coordinator was becoming completely overwhelming for me. I was so burdened with the heart and desire to offer them the care and support they need while working in a foreign country, but between all of our sicknesses, I was lucky to give them more than a "hello and welcome." I was totally behind (and still am) in all my correspondence for the job. I think people were/are wondering if I am even still here.

I was also feeling the weight and responsibility of being a mama to 14 teenage girls on the verge of going out on their own...wondering if I had prepared them enough, had done enough, taught them enough, etc. I forgot my sweet son at school twice...twice in a 5 day period. I was so busy with meetings or feedings or cleaning or laundry, that I just plain forgot him! The great thing about being a 5 year old though is that he was totally excited about this and enjoyed the extra play time on the playground. I, of course, felt horrible and wondered how in the world I was ever going to manage all that is currently on my plate plus homeschooling next year! eeekkkk!!!!

Then on top of everything else, my sweet, darling, beautiful 8 month old baby is going through quite the season of change. All "apparent" experience with babies really hasn't worked out so well for me. I have done LOTS of things that I said I would NEVER do...really never good to use the word never...but again, still learning here. I have let little Miss fall asleep many times nursing, I let her sleep with us twice when she was so sick and it was FREEZING here. I usually rock her to sleep. She loves her pacifier. Yeah, I know, I know...lots of things I shouldn't have done. She is not a great napper and she still wakes up twice a night...once in a while only one time, but she has never slept through the night. Oh and did I mention that she still sleeps in our room! SOOO...all of that to say, I am REALLY tired, overwhelmed, feeling completely incapable, and really just at a loss....and most of all feeling like I was failing at being a Mama.

On the very bright side, though, God loves showing His strength in our weakness. So, this is going to be His time to shine, and I am hoping that this at a loss Mommy can open her life up so that He shines so bright and His strength is seen in spite of all my weakness and humanness. But, advice is wanted from all you experienced Mamas. I know there is ALOT I should have, could have, would have done, but I would like to concentrate more on what I can do right now and how I can help my little Ladybug grow and thrive.

Cassie  – (August 30, 2010 at 7:22 PM)  

Oh Sara!!! We all go through this! I can not count the number of times I have made comments about others parenting to find myself now doing the same things I would "NEVER" do! God knew what he was doing when he gave you your sweet children, and as mommy's we have to not feel so much guilt! Instead we have to know we can only rely on Christ to guide us as parents. I will pray for you my friend!

Jill –   – (August 30, 2010 at 7:33 PM)  

Sweet Sara, you are loved and being prayed for. Whatever you do for your baby is exactly what she needs. God gave SaraBella to YOU. No one knows her like you do. YOU are the perfect Momma for her. And, for Andy also. I, too, forgot my little Josh at preschool many years ago. I know the sinking feeling in your tummy. But God uses these situations to help us with priorities. About your job - your priorities are correct. God, wife, mom, job. Matthew 11:28 We love you.

Janel –   – (August 30, 2010 at 7:36 PM)  

I think it's fantastic that you have been so open and honest about your feelings, judgements, fears and experiences. That's takes alot of guts! I think many women, myself included, feel like we SHOULD know it all, especially when it comes to being a mom. I have been lucky that my little girl has been pretty easy so far (2 years down, many, many more to go) and that I have a great support system that help me out when I don't know the answer. Still, sometimes I feel overwhelmed and frustrated and then I feel bad for being frustrated. We are doing THE TOUGHEST job there is. We're raising children. We're molding a person into who they're going to be for the rest of their lives. Talk about pressure! It sounds like you have a very full plate and are doing an amazing job. I think it's important to feel stupid sometimes. It keeps us grounded! Continued luck and love to you and your beautiful family

Kara  – (August 30, 2010 at 9:08 PM)  

Dear sweet Sara, I think all of us would say we have been there and I can assure you I will be back there I am sure of it. I want to start by saying "do what works for you" Kyla still wakes up and comes to our bed at times and you know what I am okay with that. It works for us! Learn to be okay with whatever works for you guys!

More importantly I want to share a scripture with you that the Lord gave me a few weeks ago... Galatians 6:9 "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."

Remember sow what is eternal in the lives of those around you and let the world pass away!

Love you!

Krista  – (August 31, 2010 at 1:19 PM)  

Sara, you speak the truth! I've felt like a failure, incompetent, overwhelmed, all those things!
You have this great plan in your mind of how you are going to raise your baby - the things your baby will definitely do (funny how we think we can actually control them!!!) and the things your baby will definitely not do. I believe I ended up doing everything on my NO list --- Sienna slept in a swing for every nap & at night for many months, I nursed her to sleep, she sleeps in our bed when she's really sick, she doesn't have a "set" schedule, we sometimes skip naps (gasp!), she eats hotdogs & ice cream, etc. But she's happy & content, and she feels loved. That's the end game.
Just remember that things seem worse than they are when you are sleep deprived, which I think just encompasses all of motherhood. :) Remember to give yourself some grace and don't hold yourself to perfection. (Supermoms do not exist. I'm convinced.) From one perfectionist to another, I know that's a tall order.
As someone else said, your priorities are in order. Just remember to take time for yourself from time to time, so you can keep pouring into your family! Love you, praying for you, and miss you soooooooo much!

Grace Wheeler  – (August 31, 2010 at 4:28 PM)  

Sara, all your comments should speak volumes that you're not alone!

Sometimes I think the Lord uses my kids on an hourly basis to bring me to the foot of the cross. Without my kids, I'd be self-confident, independent and falsely secure in all my "wisdom".

The Lord definetly uses motherhood to bring me to my knees...and I think it blesses Him to hear my prideful mouth say, "Lord I don't know what to do..." because lots of times my actions scream that I am lord of my life :(

Even after 4 kids (and now expecting #5) you'd think I really did have reason to act like I know it all---but the Lord gives each one different personalities and temperments and needs that cause us to freshly fall on Him each time!

Love you and thanks for your honesty!!!

Mimi  – (August 31, 2010 at 5:19 PM)  

I'm not a mom. I send my kids home at 3 pm. I cannot pretend to understand, but THANKS for letting me know in advance the kinds of things I have to look forward to (20 years from now, LOL!!)

I love you and I'm praying for you!


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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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