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I am sure that we have all heard the debates about whether moms should work outside the home. I have heard it said that women can’t win, if they work outside the home then they must love their kids less. If they stay home then they don’t want to contribute to society or to their family financially. If we listen to society and these debates then yes, women can’t win. There is no way that we could please everyone with these two options. But, it really shouldn’t be about society and what others think of you as a parent. It is about what God thinks, what your family needs and what you feel about yourself! I left my job a month before my son was born and thought that I would be a stay-at-home mom forever. It’s funny how we make plans for ourselves but God’s plans usually end up in the opposite direction. Here are 10 things I have learned from being a working mom.

  1. Your Child Loves You! My little guy loves me and that love did not change because I went back to work. I visit him every day at lunch and he always has a bright smile and begins to tell me with excitement about his day. His love is unconditional. For that I am grateful. It is all too easy as a mom to make ourselves feel guilty for a number of things. But, our children see us more graciously than we see ourselves.
  2. More Intentional. I have always tried to be intentional with our family time. I never wanted to be the family that all we did was watch TV together. But, it is easy to do when you stay _MG_2659at home all day. Once I began to work outside the home I have found that our family time became more intentional. Less TV time and more playing games, going to the park, evening walks and lots of lego time. It’s not that we were less intentional before, it’s more that we cherish every moment and want to make it count. Even if it is simply hanging out at the house running around like robots.
  3. God Knows Best! Our plans are just that, they are ours. God’s plans typically will differ from what we planned. But, I have learned through the years that He always has a reason for what He does and His plans are always better than I could have done myself.
  4. Making Friends. There is nothing more special than watching my son make friends! He gets excited every day when he walks in to a room full of his best buddies. In our families situation it was not always easy to spend time with friends when I wasn’t working because we are a one car family. Many days we were stuck at home. This has offered a chance for my little guy to play with friends on a regular basis.
  5. No Lesser. I do not feel that being a working parent makes you any lesser of a parent than staying at home. Both roles are extremely important and both roles work hard. It’s easy to tell yourself that you are lesser because you are not home, but this is a lie that we are telling ourselves. Remember, our child loves us unconditionally and sometimes working is what your family needs. Doing what your family needs does not make you lesser! _MG_3138
  6. Always A Mom. This is plan and simple but sometimes you just need to remind yourself that you are a mom no matter if you work from an office or if you work from home. Moms love their children, look out for their best interest and care for their needs. This is true of working moms just as it is true of stay at home moms.
  7. The Mold. There is no perfect mold. Just because you have friends that work or friends that stay home doesn’t mean that you must do what they do. Sometimes what your family needs is not what you even expected. Every family is different, every situation is different and only you know the needs of your family. Don’t feel guilty for knowing the needs of your family!
  8. No One Is Perfect. You will not be perfect in either situation. If you work, you will have days that you feel like a failure as a parent. If you stay at home you will have days that you feel like a failure as a parent. The parenting thing is not easy. Don’t believe the lie that other people have it together, because we are all learning as we go. We are all doing the best that we can, but the truth is that no one is perfect. We will mess up. But, instead of feeling guilty we should lift each other up and support one another because parenting is hard!
  9. Struggles. The grass is not greener on the other side. I have done both and have thoroughly enjoyed both. But, each come with their own struggles, even if you can’t see it when looking in. Working you struggle with juggling your time, stress of the job, and all things parenting. Staying at home you struggle with all things parenting, being isolated, and often times a tight budget. Let’s stop putting up a front and just be transparent with each other. It’s okay to say that you are having  a bad day!
  10. Calling. I firmly believe that if God called you to it, then your family will not be content and thriving unless you are obedient. This is true in either scenario. No matter if God called you to work or if God called you to stay home, you will only ever find true joy being in the will of God!

 

I No Like It!

April 20, 2013 — Leave a comment

Isn’t it amazing the silly things you do once you are a parent?

Let me take you into my world during last night’s dinner. I promise this is 100% a true story!

As I am cooking dinner Chase and Eli were in the living room playing. I was pretty sure that it was not going to be an easy dinner as the two vegetables on our plates were Brussels sprouts and butternut squash. We have been trying to incorporate new vegetables into our diets. Usually I am very intentional about cooking only one “odd” veggie and throwing in the comfort of green beans, mashed potatoes or corn as the complementary side in hopes to make it a little less scary to a toddler. Speaking of that.. why is trying new foods such a big deal anyway?

Well this time I knew that with family coming in town this weekend there was a good chance we would not cook either veggies before they went bad. And I was NOT going to waste our money by letting that happen!

Needless to say we had two new veggies on our plates last night.

Eli was less than impressed! 

I remember when he was a baby he LOVED butternut squash! It was on his top list of favorites, right next to avocado! Well I don’t know if his taste buds have changed or just the stubborn two-year old thing has kicked in, but he does not care for it now!

photo

We decided to make a house rule: You don’t have to like the food, but you do have to try it first before you decide. 

My hope is that if he tries it enough maybe one day he will like it. I mean it worked with Chase, now he enjoys a lot of veggies he hated growing up. I just want to make sure that my children try new things and appreciate what is given to them. You simply can’t say that you don’t like food until you have tasted it. You might be missing out on something awesome! Yes, I am well aware that my child is only a toddler, but we are setting the tone for the years to come!

So we sat down to dinner. Chase and I were enjoying our dinner, Eli wouldn’t touch his food. And then it happened…

“I know it’s new, and you’ve never tasted it.
You’ll just have to trust in me.
Just give it a try.

Try it. You’ll like it.
Try it. You’ll like it.
Try it. You’ll like it.
Try it. You’re gonna like it.”

That’s right people, Chase and I started singing Yo Gabba Gabba in hopes that Eli would try his new veggies. Oh, that was probably a sight to see! The toddler refusing to eat his veggies and two adults singing at the table. Yes, this did happen! Unfortunately it didn’t really work, he still decided after licking each one that “I no like it But you know what, that’s okay. It’s one meal, one new veggie at a time!

I stood with a glazed look over my face as I saw multiple rows with packages of seeds that all promise to one day be an actual vegetable if I simply planted them. In theory this should be a “no-brainer.” Pick the vegetables I want, get the dirt, a pot to plant them in and wallah! Except it’s not that easy. I’ve never had a plant, I don’t even know how often to water them let alone which type of tomato seed would grow best. Oh by the way, did I mention that I don’t know if this is even the right season for the seeds I’m planting? 

During the month of March I wanted to focus on gardening for “green month” of my Searching for Simplicity fast inspired by Jen Hatmaker‘s book 7. I’ve made many changes towards a greener lifestyle but gardening had never been something I had ever attempted. That made deciding what to do for the “green month” pretty easy, gardening it would be! With that I picked seven things to plant:

  • Tomatoes
  • Green onions
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Sweet peppers
The first sprouts of my garden

The first sprouts of my garden

I will be honest, when I started I couldn’t tell you how often to water my garden and I still don’t! I pretty much just gave it a good look and if it seemed like the soil was damp I figured no need to water. Couldn’t even begin to tell you if this is accurate!

Patience. Oh how gardening requires this attribute! I had a little hunch that God’s message during this fast was going to be related to patience. I mean gardens don’t bloom over night! I even found myself asking “how long does it even take for seeds to start sprouting?” Day after day I would go outside, water my dirt and come back in. Nothing was happening and I kept telling myself that I was sure this would be a lesson in patience. And guess what… it was a lesson in what patience will bring! The other day I went outside to yet again water my dirt but instead I found sprouts! That’s right people, seeds actually grow! I got super excited, ran inside to tell Chase and to grab my phone to start taking pictures. I mean seriously, my vegetables had started to sprout, Facebook needed to know about this! It was my first attempt at gardening and I actually succeeded!

Confession: I can’t tell you what it is that sprouted because I can’t remember the order of where I planted everything. Whoops! I’m pretty sure it’s one of the herbs but I guess I will just have to wait and find out.

I have always been aware of the importance of patience. And in most situations I was always aware of the joy you felt after the wait was over. But it’s easy to forget and to find yourself back in that state of impatience when you are waiting.

How easy it was to plant these seeds and in a matter of a few short weeks I was reminded of what comes as a result of patience!

 

The Artist Within

March 21, 2013 — Leave a comment
artist

An artist in all of us

I am not an artist. 

I hate when people say this!

Yes, I have said this statement many times.

Why do we feel like art is strictly sketching, painting and sculpting? If that is the case then yes, I am not an artist. My abilities are limited to bubble letters, flowers and hearts. In this scenario I have not one artistic bone in my body.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” 

Pablo Picasso

Think about it. Every child gives the world’s largest grin as they proudly show off their scribbles. Isn’t this a masterpiece? Yes! I firmly believe that it is. I don’t believe that it’s the actual drawing that makes it “art” but simply the imagination that it took to create it. That my friends is what I believe is the root behind being an artist. You don’t have to draw amazing portraits or paint like a pro to have the imagination to create something spectacular! It merely needs to be thought up and put into being.

Think outside the box. Making a garden, baking, making up bedtime stories, picking out your clothes for the day, creating music, poetry, scrapbooks, decorating cakes, cutting hair and even blogging is coming from someone’s imagination. So is it art? Yes! It most definitely is! I am tired of using the phrase I am not an artist! I am going to raise my children to never believe in that statement. Children probably do not remain artist merely because of believing this terrible phrase so many of us have uttered, Building a castle from legos- art. Creating an intricate train track- art. Building a fort- art. Whatever you can think, you can create and that makes an artist! Let’s stop believing in the lie and start creating! I did, just now with this post!

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.” 

Albert Einstein

 

Platypus

January 17, 2013 — Leave a comment

“Mommy, watch. Mommy, watch.” I heard as I was filling my dinner plate and heading to the table. There Eli was, so focused as he stabbed the pasta and scooped it into his mouth. He looked up to make sure that I was indeed watching him and his eyes were filled with pride and excitement as he waited for me to respond. I of course let out a proud squeal as I told him what a big boy he was. It wasn’t that long ago that I was having to spoon feed him all of his meals. How incredibly fast these little ones grow up!

Dinner time

Eating his breakfast like a big kid!

Later that night Eli was playing with his Phineas and Ferb action figures. He began lining up all the characters and naming them one by one. “Candace, Phineas, Ferb, Bella, Mertz” (Yes Bella and Mertz are his shortened versions of the character names but it completely counts.) Then he pulls out Perry the platypus (for those that do not watch the show he is the family pet as well as a secret agent.)  He holds it for a second, looks at it and then casually says “platypus.” Wait, what did he just say? Chase and I started laughing. How awesome is that? He knew to call Perry a platypus! It really does amaze me at just how much their little minds absorb. Never would I have thought that all those times of watching the show that he would have picked up on the fact that Perry the platypus was just that… a platypus. The little minds of our children are far bigger than we could ever imagine! Every day he learns a little more, each new days brings more words, longer sentences and a little tiny human that will carry on a conversation with me. I sit here and think back to the days before Eli could actually communicate with words and it feels like forever ago, yet just the other day, all at the same time.

The other thing that really shocks me is that people other than Chase and I understand his words! You know how for such a long time in the early toddler years your child will see you talking to someone and they will chime right in. When they are done the other adult smiles, looks at you and then asks what they said because mommy knows the toddler language. The day that Eli was able to say things and I wasn’t asked what he said, wow that was weird. How did my little boy grow up so quickly? While this new stage reminds me of how quickly he is growing it also brings about a whole list of other joys. There is nothing like the way my heart melts when I hear the excitement in his voice as he discovers something new and yells out “Mommy, watch!”