Archives For mommy

I used to have such an incredible memory. If you asked me what I wore last week, the meals I ate or what the conversation was about that we had last Tuesday, I could tell you every detail right down to the last vegetable on my plate. You think I am kidding? I had a steel trap for a brain! It was a gift really. I loved being able to be the one to give you the meaningless details of things or answer a question that no one else could remember. Then I heard this crazy story… that when you started having kids you start to get “the mommy brain.” What? I couldn’t help but laugh and think that it was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard, mommy brain, that’s hilarious! I went on about my life. A little while later I had my son, still not considering this crazy story as a reality. Well I have a little secret for you… it’s for real! All you moms out there are probably laughing because you were waiting for that confession, if you aren’t laughing it’s because you haven’t experienced it yet!

Here’s the thing, I don’t think that it is a 24-hour kind of deal. It’s more like this…we have so much on our minds as we worry about everyone else in the family that we start to forget where our sunglasses are… and then magically they turn up PB&Jon top of our head. I  look at it as the tiny details are blurred in the picture and eventually they come into focus, but it may take a while. My most recent encounter with this was just the other day. I was having a lovely lunch with my friend from work. This particular day I had packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and used my sons spider-man sandwich container (that’s right spider-man). We finished our lunch and went on about our day. That is until about 11:00 pm that night when my eyes popped open and I realized that I had thrown away the spider-man container! Agh! Let me tell you I was so frustrated with myself! It took me forever to go back to sleep. The next morning I told my friend what happened and so we went pilfering through the trash can with kitchen tongs (I know it’s kinda gross, but it was a tiny trash can so we had to see if it was there!). And guess what… there it was!

Don’t worry it has been washed…several times!

I honestly have to say that this was something I never expected as a mom. I figured my steel trap would be with me forever. I guess that I was wrong about that, but I am okay with it because the blessing of my son is well worth it! There is something to say about moms, we are constantly serving our families, and sometimes we just don’t think about the small details of a sandwich container. The good thing is we can laugh about these little moments!

How is your mommy brain treating you today?

 

This article I wrote for a guest blog on EpicParent.tv. Head on over and check them out! 

Photo Credit: Shawn Carpenter

Challenges and Rewards

January 29, 2013 — Leave a comment
The following is a guest post by Ashley Furman. She is a fellow blogger, mommy of two and living with Lupus. I am so thrilled that she has written a post for me and I know that you will enjoy her writing as much as I have. Make sure to head on over to her blog and check it out Oh, my aunt has Lupus.

Being a mom is challenging. I don’t think that statement is a surprise to anyone. Being a mom with Lupus certainly adds to that challenge.

guest blogMy husband and I got pregnant with our second child when our daughter was only 10 months old. If you are unaware, 10 months is right on the difficult cusp of toddlerdom. Let me fill you in, in case you haven’t been there before- this is the time when your sweet little happy baby starts turning into this autonomous being, who refuses to eat and sleep, and goes into full blown panic attacks every time you leave their field of vision for more than 3 seconds. I quickly began seeking advice on what life would be like with 2 kids under 2 years old, and something I was told often was essentially “prepare for a crazy hard first year.” Some people were more encouraging than others, but I was left in a constant limbo between excitement for the beautiful chaos that would take place, and “Oh God. What have we done?”

Being pregnant with an infant-eventually-turned-toddler was definitely hard for me, especially during the weeks that I had my head shoved in a toilet 5+ times per day. And I reflect on those days often when I’m having a particularly difficult time mothering my kids during painful Lupus junk. Feeling so sick while pregnant but knowing you are still responsible for the life that you already brought into this world is a lot like the dilemma you face as a mom with a chronic illness. (I guess when you can compare your pregnancy with a chronic disease, it’s safe to say they’ve been rough…) You’re tired, you don’t feel good, you would give your left middle toe to stay in bed just a little longer. But your kid is crying and you remember, much to your disappointment, that stay-at-home-moms don’t get “sick days.” You have to get up, you have to make breakfast, and you have to find a way to get through the next 12-15 hours before they go back to sleep and you can be longingly reunited with Mr. Sandman. That almost sounds dirty, but it isn’t, I swear. The bottom line is, you don’t have a choice. As a parent, your kids await. And whether you’re sick or not, I’m a firm believer that if you’re doing it right, parenting will be hard. It’s supposed to be. Children are a gift from God, and I believe He uses the challenges that parenting brings to refine us and to draw us closer to Him. I now consider living with Lupus similarly. Having a chronic disease is a constant reminder of my weakness, but it’s one that Jesus is ready to answer with His own strength, drawing me closer to Him. And how thankful am I for that, because sometimes it’s near laughable at the circumstances that I’m functioning under.

My husband is a second year Medical Student. When you account for time he spends in class and time studying, it more often than not adds up to approximately 80 hour work weeks. Because I stay at home with our daughter Makaila, who just turned 2, and our 5 month old son, Cohen, I definitely feel the burden when my husband isn’t available to help during any hour of the day. However, by the grace of God we were given a baby who, unlike his sister, is one of the easiest, happiest babies of all time. However, also unlike his sister, he still wakes up every 2 hours throughout the night. So although I am dealing with Lupus fatigue on top of standard motherhood exhaustion, the ear-to-ear grins from my toothless babe at 2 am help to keep me going.

Beyond sleep deprivation, having a baby and a toddler has naturally come with its own challenges. Possibly the biggest of which with Cohen has been that he has a mild form of plagiocephaly, aka “flat head syndrome.” We were told at his 2 month appointment what was going on, and essentially given doctors orders to NEVER put him down, in hopes it would “correct itself.”Luckily I was already prepared to do my fair share of baby-wearing, so I had a great wrap on hand (because how else do you take care of a newborn and a 19 month old?) but in practice, keeping him off his head and in my arms at all times has been downright exhausting. (Side-note: I would like to say right now that if his head does round out over time, I am fully claiming it as a fruit of MY hard labor, and not giving any credit to his greedy skull bones. Correct itself? Give me a break. Mom did that.)

So really, in perspective, the most difficult part of having Lupus for me is simply trying to keep up with life while having Lupus. Does that make sense? I guess what I mean is, Lupus isn’t the hardest part of my life. Life is the hardest part of my life. For example, last Sunday, Cohen screamed and cried all night long. Literally. All night. Since it was so out of character for him, I took him in to see the Pediatrician first thing the next morning. Come to find out, the poor bugger had a double ear infection. Then the very next day we found out that my daughter somehow contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease, and she was struggling to even drink a glass of milk without screaming in pain. Totally heartbreaking. A few days later it became apparent that my husband had managed to catch the virus from my daughter, and then he too was hardly functioning. So, all week long I had an entire family of sickies to take care of, including two extremely needy, demanding, and frequently crying children, all while working through my own joint pain, headaches, body aches, and fatigue. That’s just a recent example of how Lupus made some standard life circumstances that much harder. And while things may be less taxing during a normal week, honestly my normal is always hard.

I’m one of those moms who makes a big effort to keep my kids engaged in things other than the television (or iPad, iPod, computer, whatever…) My baby boy won’t be allowed screen time for at least another year, and my very spirited (and thus very energy consuming) toddler has her’s kept to a minimum. To keep children occupied, happy and safe while simultaneously trying to shape them into responsible, moral, gospel-centered, educated, and kind individuals, is no easy task. There are days when I’m so tired that my oldest will get permission to watch an extra episode of Yo Gabba Gabba (in which I have to extend grace to myself, as to not feel like I’m failing her. Perhaps silly, but true.) But the meat of the day is spent together putting together activities that foster her creativity and development. And although he’s still a little tot, the same goes for my 5 month old. There are definitely times I think of how much easier my life would be if I could stick both kids in front of the television and zone out for an hour or two, but alas, my convictions always come up stronger than my desire for a morning of inactivity. So while I’m fantasizing of going back to sleep, what actually happens is I gulp down some form of caffeinated beverage, take a horse pill of ibuprofen if I’m feeling extra achey, and I try to remember that it’s only going to be on the Lord’s strength that I can get through the day in any type of meaningful way. And then I take it as it comes. And it can be good, and hard, and exhausting, but it’s all beautiful. And I’m thankful.

For me, having 2 kids under 2 has already proved to be challenging, no doubt. As is being the wife of a Med Student, as is living with an illness like Lupus. But what I expect from challenges is that they also offer us the biggest rewards. My family brings me amazing amounts of joy. Every day, every hour. How could they not? I was given 3 incredible people to love. And although there are a lot of trying times within the dynamics of our relationships, I am beyond blessed by all of it. I really believe that God is also going to use the challenges of my Lupus in a similar way. If I am handing it all over to Him- submitting to Him my head, heart, and hands, including this disease in its entirety- He will lighten my burdens and I will be conformed more to the likeness of Christ. It’s not like He’s going to leave me hanging as if I’m less valuable to Him now that I’m sick. On the contrary, I think the Lord actually has big blessings He wants to bestow on me in the midst of my relationship with Lupus, and that ultimately, He will use this disease in my life to bring glory to Himself. And although it can be difficult, in the end that is the biggest reward I could ever hope for.

Little guy watching cartoons while sick

The stomach bug has made its appearance in our home. It all started on Wednesday when I got a call from Eli’s preschool saying that he was sick. I picked him up and decided that since he had this bug it would be good to have some pedialyte in the house for him. With us being a one car family and Chase was already at work I figured now was the best time to go get it because we were already out and what if he got worse later in the day and it wouldn’t be practical to get back out. So with that I pulled into the neighborhood Wal-Mart that was on our way home and headed inside. I didn’t make it two steps inside before he started throwing up, yes I am aware that this might be to much of a painted picture for some… but hey, we are all moms so we all deal with this. Anyways, I managed to keep everything contained and not get any on the floor, you’re welcome Wal-Mart! I darted for the bathroom where he could finish throwing up, because yes it was still coming. After that I cleaned up the mess we made and cleaned us up the best possible and then decided that although I seemed to be a little like superwoman just then, I would like some help. This would be when I called Chase explaining to him everything that happened and asked him if I could swing by his office, grab him to help us get home and then he could go out and get the pedialyte while I cleaned Eli and I up. The awesome hubby that he is was watching for me out his office window and came right out as soon as I pulled up. He then managed to help us get inside, cleaned up and went to the store and back all before returning back to work. What a blessing that man is!

I call my Wal-Mart trip my worst decision ever! I mean it seemed like the best idea at the time, what else was I supposed to do? Being a one car family and I had the car this was the most logical idea, or so it seemed to me. I know that I can’t be the only one who made a similar terrible decision that at the time seemed so great. If you are reading this and saying how crazy this entire situation is then you probably have never been puked on, well your day will come. Trust me! Every parent will get this experience, mine just happened to be in public. For the rest of you, your probably reading this with a slight chuckle in your throat because you have experienced something very similar yourself. Then there are probably some of you reading this that do not have kids yet and I totally just grossed you out. Don’t worry, puke is puke, it is gross no matter what, BUT when it is your kid the gross factor is secondary to their helplessness and their need for you. So if you don’t have kids yet, don’t fret because when your day comes you will be able to handle yourself like superwoman, that is just what moms do in these situations!

And just to add a side note, in the time it took to finish this post Chase has now come down with the stomach bug as well, I guess it’s only time before superwoman gets it too…

I love having a son! There is nothing like the excitement of mommy’s little boy! Having a boy means the house is constantly a playground, superhero capes are a must have and playing outside in the dirt is not an option. And I love every minute of it! Lately Eli has been wearing his superhero cape practically non-stop. In fact we took his wagon and went for a walk to get some ice cream last night and he wore the cape the entire time. Everything is an adventure when you wear a cape, even Braum’s ice cream! He loves to put the cape on and scream “ready, set, go” and then you see him take off running through out the house. It brings a smile to my face every time! Eli is also a big fan of playing outside. He can be spashing in his little toddler pool or running around chasing the dogs, no matter the case he is never ready to come inside. Everything is truly an adventure for him and watching his excitement makes me just as excited!

Being a mom to a boy is awesome, they always know just how to make their mommy’s heart just melt, which is probaby part of where you get the phrase “mommy’s little boy.” For me, its always when he gives me that precious smile of his and sweetly says “mommy, mommy, mommy…. I love you!” There is nothing more precious!

With Mother’s Day tomorrow I think about my sweet little boy and the joy that he brings to our family. Mommy’s work is a constant… changing diapers, washing diapers (we use cloth), making meals, laundry, hugs when he needs it most, story time and the list could go on, but I wouldn’t change it for anything! Not every day is perfect, in fact some days it feels like nothing goes right and Eli woke up in a mood, but again it changes nothing. I love every minute of being a mommy. Right now at his young age he doesn’t realize what Mother’s Day is, and that is okay because I know that he loves me! So with all that said I want to give my little one a blessing for his future. I pray that in all my efforts, in every day mommy work I encourage and inspire him to be creative, be filled with passion, to seek God’s word daily and sprint towards God’s plans for his life.

With Mother’s Day approaching and everyone around us reflects on the work of moms what do you hope your children learn from your life? What blessing do you have for them?

 

I wish all the moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day!