Mama Mia

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I guess it was inevitable that I would post a parenting blog sooner or later. I kind of didn’t want to because there are so many. But there is a reason there are so many. Parenting is so full on. You go from pretty much being the master of your own destiny one minute, to having a tiny sweet petulant dictator calling the shots the next. It’s a massive culture shift.

Before having Judah I was never much of an angry person. A bit grumpy sometimes, yes, but not angry. However a pattern has been developing over the past wee while with me and my Mr 2.5. It usually starts at morning nappy/clothes change. More often than not little dude is squatting and grunting somewhere down by his Duplos, and then I have to try and coax him to get his nappy changed. It is SO beyond me why continuing to play with a giant turd squashed into his bottom is even an option! Then once he’s finally made it to his change mat, he lies on his tummy with his butt in the air. Then I have to try and get him to roll over onto his back. And then to not touch the poo. And then to unclench his wee cheeks so I can wipe properly. Then stop kicking and stay still while I put his pants on. Then not run away before I can get his T-Shirt on. This is a horrible way to start the day. As if getting up at the crack of dawn wasn’t enough. Needless to say, a number of buttons are pushed. All before 7.30am.

Of late I have found my self getting more and more irritated. It used to creep into my voice after a string of infractions, but increasingly it just seems to jump straight there. My patience has been getting whittled and the buffer is wearing thin. I have become more aware that I don’t like this person I’m becoming. While it’s not the best way to communicate with Judah, I’m not overly worried about him – he’s the one of the hardiest little souls I’ve ever met. The most angry I ever got with him was when I was walking him to sleep in the pram and he was just being a little snot. I had been walking for an hour and was exhausted. Him not sleeping triggers the anxiety from the sleepless sick baby times. Finally, I ripped the sunshade off the pram and literally hissed, “Go. Toooo. Sllleeeppp.” Hissing is not good. It’s the out-in-public version of screaming. Barely controlled rage. Judah just looked at me with wide eyes, blinked, then cracked up laughing.

The thing that gets me is that I know that anger, impatience and irritation are not Kingdom ways to be. I really want to model my life off Jesus, and I just don’t ever imagine him speaking to anyone that way. I’m not beating myself up here. I realise that it’s extraordinarily trying having a giant limpet attached to your feet while you’re trying to do your workout. I am just aware that I’m on a character development crash course and I would like to pass. So for the past few days I’ve adopted a new method. I tell him in my normal voice that he can chose to do what I’m asking, or chose to have a timeout. And you know what? Most of the time he makes a good choice. And when he doesn’t it’s a no fanfare timeout. I realised that I had gotten to the point that I couldn’t be bothered carting him to the timeout chair, so I was trying to use my voice/mood to control his behaviour. It wasn’t a helpful way to get through the the day.

We got to go away a couple of weekends ago for our anniversary while kiddo stayed with the Granddies. It. Was. Amazing. To be honest, I wasn’t quite ready to come home, and I spent a portion of the day on Monday trying to ward off feeling overwhelmed by the relentlessness of parenthood. And it really is. I remember a friend telling us when we got pregnant that having children makes the highs higher and the lows lower. So true. It’s full on. But also the best. I genuinely haven’t laughed so much or so hard in my whole life. The other day I found Judah with poo on his hand and on the carpet, and as I was taking him to get cleaned up he said, “It’s not sour cream Mama.” No son, it is not.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that often the very hardest things are the most beautiful opportunities to become more Christlike. What feels so unyielding can actually be the kindest. Sometimes situations like parenthood gently, or not so gently, lead us to a place of surrender. Because the fight to keep self is too hard. So if we allow it to happen, Christ will take the grumpy, angry, irritable person and replace it with a better version of self. A restored one. One that he intended when he created us. Over time even a gentle stream of water will erode the hardest rock.

So will I smile serenely next time I’m presented with a basil pesto looking nappy? One that smells like the world’s smelliest poos decided to vacation together in that one diaper? Probably not. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll remember that in each and every small act of service to my little kiddo, I’m adding to a big Kingdom through a million tiny mundane acts.

Deb xx

Oh Baby!

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Over the past five to six months Caleb and I have been on an unexpected journey; a fertility one. Since we got pregnant immediately, like instantaneously, with Judah, we always joked about having to be careful sneezing around each other in case I got pregnant. It would seem that for now the sneeze-conception danger is low.

I hesitated a wee bit to write about this, mainly because we’re not out of the woods yet, and it appears that most people tend to communicate their struggles in this area after there is a resolution. I totally get that. It’s a private thing, and can be so fraught with emotion, that the thought of more than a handful of people knowing could be really overwhelming. However, I’ve always been a heart-on-sleeve kind of person. And I really am doing okay. If I wasn’t, I don’t think I’d be able to share all this. So here’s the story so far…

We weren’t totally off-base in our high opinion of just how fertile we are; it would appear that the actual making of the babies isn’t a problem. It’s just that my uterus is not being very hospitable right now. It appears that we’ve managed to make at least three teeny-tiny babies that haven’t been able to find a place to rest. So I recently visited an OBGYN. I say that because it’s so much more palatable than the alternative; gyna******st is like Voldemort (he who must not be named). It makes my inner-teenager want to gallop towards the hills with my legs crossed! Anyway, it’s not yet totally clear what’s going on, but we have a plan in place, and there is plenty of hope.

The focus of my blog this week though, is not the nitty gritty of fertility land. It’s the emotional landscape I wish to explore. When I say I’m okay, this of course doesn’t mean that there haven’t been rough days. I had just found out about the latest early miscarriage and I was sitting on the floor admiring Judah’s Duplo tower-truck. And then he just smashed it over my face. So I cried and went back to bed for three hours. Naturally there are going to be days like that. And the days of fevered pregnancy testing, the hope of early positives, the disappointment of ensuing negatives, and the anxious googling to see if it’s possible to get a positive – negative – positive test.

So yes, there have been those days. But the place I stand right now is one of such hope. And genuine joy. I feel like the journey I’ve been on over the last several years, but particularly in the past year, has been one that has solidified my trust in the kindness of Jesus. I read a book for my counselling degree some time ago that has impacted me greatly. The author talks about the many things in life that clamber for the Number One spot in our affections and attentions. Many of which are good and valid things; family, relationships, health, finance, church, kids, work. However, when anything other than the pursuit of Christ takes top spot, things get out of sync with the way God designed life to work.

Through his comforting kindness, I am beginning to see this journey from a more eternal perspective. I was out walking by the canal the other day, and I felt like God spoke to my heart and said, “Deb, I really wanted those babies with me. Thank you for taking care of them.” That may sound a little harsh to some, but it really did change the way I viewed this season. I don’t know about you, but I look at my little Judah, and although he’s definitely my son, he is just so much more God’s son. Our kids are humans that God has placed with us to love and guide and take care of. But they are ultimately his. So are my little babies that we didn’t get to meet. And they are in SUCH a good place!

I’ve also come to realise nothing other than Jesus will provide the satisfaction that my soul longs for. That includes another baby. I really want another child. But I want Christ more. I really do. Because I know he has my best interests at heart. As a result of his overwhelming kindness, I am able to say, for now, that he is at Number One. The cool thing is that he’s promised us another kiddo through a myriad of cool ways. So we really look forward to that. And in the meantime I will continue trying to trust my lovely Saviour, resting in his open hands, and keeping my gaze in his general direction.

Bless you friends,
Deb x

Are you my Mother?

imageI was chatting with someone about their job the other day. Then they asked me what I do. I told them that I was a professional counsellor, but that at the moment “I look after a two year old.” Which at best sounds like I’m a nanny, and worst that I’ve stolen a small child off the street. After that conversation I realised that I have the most massive aversion to the moniker ‘stay-at-home-mum’. It actually makes me recoil on the inside. My repulsion forces me to give people the two stage answer to the question of vocation. The second part of which comes out in a way so confusing that no-one is really sure what’s going on. I always mention my ‘proper’ profession first, because it sounds really important. And staying home with a kid is so commonplace.

It’s not my intention to cast any aspersions on women who delight in staying home with their kids; I often wish that my own dreams aligned more with my current reality. I actually somewhat envy the beautiful mums that cherish the days of babies and toddlers. But I just was never that person that longed for children. I always knew that I wanted my own family, but it wasn’t like this empty space in me waiting to be filled. I had to trust when I was pregnant that I would somehow love my tiny human – which thankfully I did. I’ve never been a baby-grabber (in the friendly or criminal sense), and I still actually find it awkward having other people’s kids over; it’s like there’s these tiny strangers in my house and I’m not quite sure how to relate to them.

One of the best people I’ve ever met once said, “We all have the fundamental questions of, ‘Am I loved?’ and ‘Am I important?'” I have grown used to answering the latter by being good at doing stuff; by excelling at work and study, by contributing to a common goal, to being a productive person, and a creator of ideas. I thrive on feedback. I love it when people appreciate what I’ve done. It fills my soul to feel like I’ve accomplished something concrete and vital. Pretending to be a dinosaur just doesn’t quite meet those criteria. And I’m actually really crap at making dinosaur noises (however I do a very believable rooster).

I know everyone’s journey is so different, but for me, I feel like God’s asked me to be at home with Judah. I tried not to actually. I had planned to start part time work when he was smaller, but he was such a sick screamy refluxy bubba, that I had no choice but to stay home. Then I investigated further avenues of work and applied for jobs. No dice. I feel like God’s kind of got me pinned under his gracious thumb. Because although it feels unfulfilling to the part of me that wants to be ‘important’, being Mum-mum to my little Schnoops is teaching me that what’s important is doing what God wants me to. And right now that involves being a munted dinosaur. And what could be more important than that?

So, hi everyone. My name’s Deb and I’m a stay-at-home mum. And I think I’m beginning to actually really enjoy it.

“Rrrraaahhhh”.

T-Rex (Deb) xx