Give Yourself A Raise

A little while ago, I received an email from Raise asking me to participate in their campaign ‘Give Yourself A Raise,’ where I’m to share about how I reward  myself as a mother. Raise is an awesome new marketplace to buy and sell gift cards on the web.  With the extra money you can save on discount gift cards to your favorite brands, you can spend more on the things you love.

I’ve been pretty honest on here lately about how much I struggle with the lack of tangible rewards, and especially praise, that motherhood brings. Motherhood is intense, and it is constant. I find myself both loving my life and feeling utterly exhausted, and it often feels like there is no reprieve. My daughter makes me sparkle and shine. Nevertheless, I have very little time during the day to relax, and yet I struggle to get everything done, and I end up feeling lazy and berating myself because my house is a pig sty and I got fast food yet again. Being a mother is wonderful and is it’s own reward. Being a mother is difficult and thankless.

I couldn’t really think of what I do to reward myself. Being a mum makes everything except laying down your life for your kid seem selfish. So writing this blog post was pretty hard. But then, Thursday morning happened.

My little girl is pretty happy-go-lucky. She’s clear about what she wants, and full of energy, and for the most part, she’s easy to be around. But on Thursday she was having an off morning. She hasn’t been eating or sleeping well, because she has teeth coming through, so she was quite grumpy, and everything felt like a bit too much.

First, she didn’t want her water. We were at Playcentre, and she walked around the morning tea table, grabbing which ever water bottle she could see and trying to drink out of it. When I swapped the bottle for her own water bottle, she had a tantrum.

Then, she was playing in the pretend kitchen, picked up a fake cob of corn, and brought it over to me, tapping it and frowning. When I told her it wasn’t real corn, Tantrum Time.

Lastly, as we were leaving, she made a game of stealing things out of other kids’ bags, and running away with them. Cue third full on tantrum in an hour.

I had been planning on making lunch. I’d even decided what to make. I was so determined to be “good” and make my own lunch instead of going through a drive-through. But as we got into the car, I said to Madelyn, “Right. I’m going to need some McDonalds.”

Other mums reward themselves with pampering sessions, nights away, shopping. Sometimes even a shower, or toileting with the door closed and no audience, can seem like a reward.

But me? I reward myself with a cheeseburger.

How do you give yourself a raise? Is there something you buy or do for yourself that makes it all feel less overwhelming? I’d love to hear from you 

I have called you to be Mummy

Sitting up late at night, feeling isolated and overwhelmed, I mourned the missed opportunities to serve God as I have concentrated on my baby.

My Heavenly Father whispered into my heart, “I have called you to be Mummy.

You are not missing out. You are not useless. You are exactly where I intend you to be. I am preparing your heart to nurture people, to love them as they grow and tend to them until they blossom into who I have created them to be. I will give you a legacy, and an inheritance to leave your children.

I have called you to be Mummy.”

I have a new sense of meaning, a purpose for my life. Everything I do is not wasted. I am living out my identity

 

What I hope my daughter’s life holds

As Madelyn’s mummy, I find myself spending a lot of time dreaming of what the future holds for her. Even though she’s only 10 months old, she’s already had two words from God over her life. The first happened before she was even born. A man visiting our church who had the gift of prophecy said that her life would be full of colour and of song. He spoke of her being joyful and creative. He said she would dance. The second was a few months after she was born, a woman told us that she saw leadership over Madelyn’s life, and that she would be a shepherdess. It makes my heart happy to think of the woman she will grow up to be.

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I hope that she will know she is loved. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with her, I have sung to her, “No matter what you look like, no matter what you do, God loves you…” My greatest hope is that she would never doubt God’s love for her. My prayer is that she would be secure in God’s love, and that she would conduct herself accordingly. I dream of her having the presence of a princess raised in the royal court. I hope that she knows how much she is worth to God.

I hope that she will love God. I hope that she will be saved, and that she will walk on the narrow road to Heaven. My prayer is that she would know Jesus as her Saviour at a young age, and that she would never depart from Him.

I hope that she will love others. I hope that she is compassionate and kind, and that she puts others first. I imagine her being the kind of kid who stands up to bullies for other kids, who makes a difference in her school. I want her to have empathy, and for her to understand that each person is precious to God.

I hope that she will tell people about Jesus. I hope that she will be brave and bold, and loving. My prayer is that God would use her to draw others to Himself, and that her life would be used for His glory.

I hope that she will stand up for justice. I want her to be a voice for the voiceless, and for her to stand up for those who can’t stand for themselves. My prayer is that she would not be able to abide people not having the life they deserve, and that she would be spurred to action. I pray that she will have a strong sense of right and wrong, and that her convictions would be from God.

I hope that she will be merciful and forgiving. Not that she will be a doormat, but that she will understand the complexities of the human heart, and that she would be willing to let go of hurt and anger in order to live her life to the fullest. I hope that she wouldn’t seek revenge, but that she would trust God, knowing that He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him (and I pray that she will love Him).

I hope that she will be all that she was created to be. That she will be happy. That her life will mean something. That she will live forever.

How to exercise and get your baby to nap at the same time

This blog post encompasses two problems:

1) Madelyn doesn’t like to sleep. Why would she? Sleep is silly. There are plenty of other, much more fun, things she could do instead. Once she finally gives in and has a nap, she wakes up within the hour, and you can see her thinking “What did I miss out on?!”

2) Finding the time to exercise takes skill greater than I possess. I would love to keep myself healthy, but it’s just so hard to find the time to do it.

I may have solved both of these problems with one simple solution:

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The baby smiled at me while I talked and sung to her until the gentle movement across the water lulled her off to sleep. And then I got to spend a couple of hours kayaking across the lake, enjoying being alone with my thoughts. I even pulled up on the bank under some shade and read while she slept out of the sun.

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I might do this more often.

I love my life.

One month old

Today Madelyn is one month old.

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Oh, what a month this has been.

One month ago, she was an impossibly tiny little sprite. She only had one little Prem-size onesie that fit her, and even that was on the big side. Her hospital notes describe her that day as a “settled little baby.” She was just so new. At one month old, Madelyn is robust and alert, though still on the tiny side (she’s now the same weight as her daddy was when he was born).

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My little pixie all ready to go into town

She’s a hungry little thing, always wanting to have a little snack. She loves having cuddles and being talked to. When she has a bath, she likes being on her tummy, where she kicks her legs and twists around and has a big swim. She loves spending time on the ground on her tummy, and just before she turned 3 weeks old, she started to lift up her head and move it from side to side. She’ll happily lay on her back or her tummy and wriggle around, but she needs her position to be changed constantly or she gets bored. She has an arch that plays music, and she’ll lie under it dead still for a surprising amount of time. She loves going to the workshop in the front pack with Daddy, and laying in the big hammock under the trees with Mummy. Her little personality is starting to show through. She is so much like her daddy. She’s impatient, letting us know immediately and loudly when she needs something. She’s energetic and alert, and needs to be tired out with exercise (tummy time and then a bath) before she’ll go down for a nap. She loves people and noise and talking. Her face is very expressive, which makes us laugh. She babbles and squeals with delight. Her eyes smile, and every now and then we’ll catch a glimpse of a real smile.

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Pre-lunch cuddles

She will scream like her heart is breaking when she’s hungry, if I take too long to get ready to feed her. But then once she knows she’s about to be fed, her screams immediately turn into cute little satisfied sighs. When she’s particularly hungry, she’ll say “Nommmmm!” as she latches on, which always makes me smile no matter how tired I am.

There is too much to be excited about during the day, so she doesn’t nap for long and stubbornly fights sleep. But she’s developed her own little pattern during the night. After a marathon feed, she falls asleep at around 8pm. So I put a movie on, and at around 9:30pm-ish, I wake her to change her nappy, put her nightie on her, wrap her up, and then do one more feed, and put her down in her bassinet. She’ll sleep there happily for 4 – 6 hours, and then wake up for a midnight snack. Once she settles back to sleep (this can take an hour and a half on a bad night), she’ll sleep for another 2 or 3 hours. She’s been doing this for about the past week or so, and I’m feeling much more human. Sometimes, her night feed goes so well that Angus doesn’t even wake up for it. Success!

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Frilly-bottomed babies, you make the rockin’ world go ’round

This morning, it was a little bit colder then it has been since she was born. We’ve had a drought, and it rained last night for the first time in her entire life. So she wore her little jeans and a little hoodie jacket, and Angus and I laughed at her in her Big People Clothes. The socks she was wearing had little grips on the bottom, like if she walked she wouldn’t fall over (she was wearing her Walking Socks). She was cranky this morning, and Angus was stuck on the couch with her because whenever we moved her off his chest, she woke up and cried.

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She thinks she’s Big People

Yesterday, she did a massive poo that exploded above her nappy and through her clothes. We put her on the plastic changing mat so that we could easily wipe it up afterwards. But as soon as we took her nappy off, she did a wee, spreading the poo all the way up her back and into her hair. So she had two baths that day. Then, this afternoon, she did a poo during being changed, so it went all over me and the couch (this is the second time she’s done this, the first time she did it to Angus).

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Mums who need breakfast are thankful for babies who like to look at things

This afternoon, we went to a team meeting for church. She was one of three babies there. When I walked in with her crying and apologised for my crying baby, one of the men said “It’s fine, we’ve all been there.” I love my church for making sure I don’t feel bad about her crying. She fed pretty happily for most of the time, and then started to cry again so I got up to run outside with her, and at the door she stopped crying. She was staring at the roof as if it was the most fascinating thing she’d ever seen. So I stood by the door rocking her for a while, until I noticed poo on the back of her little onesie. So she had an outfit change, and I put a green cardigan on her so she was being all festive for St Patrick’s Day.

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Partying it up in her St Patrick’s Day gears

She is the most precious wee poppet. We love that she is our very own little daughter. She fits right into our little family, and we are so happy she’s here.

(I wrote this blog post on the 17th of March, but have only just had an opportunity to read through it and publish it. Life has changed for the better)