Navigating the Seasons of Motherhood

It’s taken me almost four years to allow myself to begin following my passions outside of being Mommy. In the first few months of marriage I published a children’s book; it was an exciting project and my husband was my biggest fan! Fast-forward nearly five years, and mothering two small children is beyond a fulltime job — there are no nights or weekends off, no breaks, and no vacations (at least not yet). Being a nursing mother adds another plot twist that makes it quite difficult to just drop the kids off at Camp Grandma & Grandpa for a weekend of “freedom.”

Before Keane was born, I ventured back into the blogging waters. It’s been a great way to let my creative juices flow and fulfill my passion for writing. A year after he arrived, I decided to get serious about figuring out my DSLR…I didn’t want childhood moments left to chance on auto settings or my never-enough-storage-available iPhone. Now that I’ve gotten a handle on shooting manual and am developing my eye for photography, others have asked me to capture their special moments and beautiful families. It’s truly an honor that gives me a sense of joy and allows me to stretch my creative legs.

This new endeavor has been teaching me that it’s not always as easy to navigate the waters of motherhood and doing things for myself. There is balance for all things, but it’s not always easily found. Voices tear at me from all directions:

You’d be happier if you had a career.
Don’t define yourself by motherhood.
Just take a vacation without the kids.
Letting them cry it out won’t kill them.

While everyone is well-intentioned, my aim cannot be to hit someone else’s mark of motherhood. Advice that works for some women is not a fix-all bandage for all womankind. It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s ideals, but I’ve learned that my finger must be on my own pulse…not those of friends, family members, or social media personas. The one piece of advice that seems to surface from seasoned mothers is this: This is only a season, enjoy it while you can.

I find that particular wisdom to be of utmost help. My children won’t be so incredibly needy forever. One day (hopefully), they will both sleep through the night without assistance. There will come a day that they won’t crawl up in my lap, and will be out of the house more than I’d like. Until that time comes, God has placed it on my heart to savor this season. I can take care of my children while honing my photography skills; I can document their childhood with talent, but I don’t need to feel forced into a business that would just add unnecessary stress. As time allows, I can document other families’ memories on a more regular basis…but my priority remains at home. Of course it’s nice to get away for the occasional session, but I’m nowhere near ready to give up our family’s evenings and weekends.

This season will be over in a blink of an eye. I will pine for it in my old age. My goals for this season are simple: Glorify God. Nurture my family. Live a quiet life. Savor each day.

How we Celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas

I wait for Christmas all year long with great anticipation and excitement. Since having children, I long to impart that same hopeful joy to them throughout the holiday season. I credit my parents and Granny Jean for filling my heart with beautiful memories of advent, Christmas carols, and endless laughter with family. While I do remember a handful of my childhood presents, those pale in comparison to my memories of lighting advent candles, praying over the Christmas cards we received — asking God to bless those families throughout the coming year, and gathering around the kitchen table to swap stories over chips and dip.

This is the Christmas experience I want for my children. Not making endless lists of stuff and going over the top with gifts. Sure, it can be fun to spoil our kids…but not at the expense of losing sight of what truly matters. With at three-and-a-half-year-old and an eighteen-month-old, our little family traditions are just beginning, but I am very intentional about how we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Christmas AND Hanukkah

We read in the bible about Jesus celebrating Hanukkah; it’s called the Feast of Dedication in John 10:22-40. Christianity, for the most part, doesn’t pay enough attention to the Hebrew calendar — which is a bit of a shame considering it is rich with tradition, history, and depicts a beautiful picture of God’s perfect timing. I have a fantastic book of biblical holidays that describes how Jesus fulfills each of the Jewish feasts. It is important for me to impart to my children how our Jewish roots are an integral part of Christianity. (For a concise reference to each biblical holiday, I also have a pamphlet that quickly ties everything together.)

This will be the first year we light the menorah, and I’m very excited about using one my dad brought back from Israel earlier this year. To explain the history of this sacred tradition, we read a children’s book about the Maccabees, and discuss how God miraculously allowed the menorah to burn in spite of a lack of oil. We have a traditional seven-branch menorah, as well as a DIY kid-friendly Hanukkah menorah (because toddlers and candles make me nervous).

For our family, the focus is Jesus. I adapted nightly Hanukkah readings from A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays to fit our young audience’s attention span. Each night focuses on different aspects of Jesus being the light of the world. If you’re interested in learning how Hanukkah fits in with Christmas, here is a short, helpful blog and video. If you’re trying to navigate the tricky waters of commercialism versus Christ, there is a great DVD available for you and your kids to watch together.

Instead of building up a belief in Santa, we tell the story of the real Saint Nicholas. Even at three years old, Asher understands that every Santa Claus we see reminds us of the real Nicholas, and how he served others because of his love for Jesus. I want my boys to be rooted in the things of Christ from an early age, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re Santa-haters…it also doesn’t mean we tell them that he comes down the chimney to bring presents. We celebrate Saint Nicholas day by reading a book about the real person, then we playfully sneak around and leave coins in each other’s shoes. This year, Asher insisted on sneaking the coins into his own shoes — fine with me! He really enjoyed himself and fully comprehended the concept.

In addition to a traditional Christmas tree, we also have a Jesse tree that tells the story of Christ from Genesis to Revelation. Each day from December 1st to the 25th, the kids get a new ornament that depicts a piece of the story. We sit cuddled together to read the corresponding scripture before adding the ornament to our Jesse tree. This is our version of an advent calendar — Asher loves getting a new ornament and reading the Bible each morning! If you’re up for a crafty kind of Christmas, your kids can make their own Jesse tree ornaments.

Whatever your family traditions may be, I wish you and yours abundant blessings of peace, love, and joy this sacred season! May we be free of commercialism’s chains as we remember how Christ came as a baby, and wait with hopeful anticipation for his return. Merry Christmas!

Your Second Baby: Tips to Ease the Transition

The joys of growing your family are often tempered with well-meaning (albeit unsolicited) advice. One phrase I routinely heard throughout my second pregnancy sounded something like this: “The transition from one to two children was tough! You better start getting ready now!” Mothers of three or more often told me that adding the third or fourth baby was easier than the initial transition from one to two.

Yikes!

While I mentally braced myself to have our little world completely rocked, I started planning to make the transition as easy as possible — not just for my husband and myself, but for our two-year-old son. Now that I’m thirteen months removed from our major family transition, I wanted to look back and inventory our most helpful preparations. Please know that I did not and do not have it all together. Making plans helps me combat stress and anxiety, so I put these things in place for my own mental health…not because I am Supermom.

For those who like timeframes, these things are best accomplished beginning in your second trimester (or whenever you feel up to it). Depending on the situation, adoptive mommies may not have several months to prepare — just do what you can when you can, every little bit helps! Some of these things I figured out before Baby #2 arrived, and others came together in the months soon after his birth.

1. Organize!
I took my pantry from crazy-town to a regimented, compartmentalized system. I decided on a rotational meal system, and created space in my pantry for each meal. In an effort to keep it simple, I chose about seven meals. A few of my tried and true favorites were Chipotle-style rice and bean bowls, loaded baked potatoes, chicken and veggies, crockpot roast and veggies, and pizza. We’re a gluten-free and (mostly) dairy-free family, and I have a host of food allergies, so I knew that no one would be jumping at the chance to bring us dinner. (I don’t blame them — my extensive list of food allergies still freaks me out.) I chose easy-to-prepare meals so that my husband (or any other visiting family member) could help without feeling overwhelmed. The idea of eating the same things over and over again may sound boring, but didn’t bother us one bit. Stocking your freezer is also helpful…but our freezer is particularly small, so I couldn’t hoard.

Painters tape and labels helped keep things tidy and made it easy for my husband to put groceries away. I put my toddler’s healthy snacks on a lower level so he could forage as needed. I spent countless hours in the rocking chair nursing baby brother, so this kept him from waiting (and waiting and waiting) until little brother was finished.

2. Implement a routine!
Scheduling with a toddler and newborn can be a double-edged sword, so I prefer predictable routines over strict schedules. I wanted my older son to have an established routine so he would have some semblance of normalcy in the midst of change. It was important for him to have ownership of his routine, so we came up with a chart to keep us all on track. It didn’t take long before he was reminding Mommy and Daddy that his teeth needed brushing and he needed to clean up his toys.

Creating an environment that allowed his autonomy to flourish helped quell outbursts and meltdowns. We still had (and have) our fair share of epic fits, but they aren’t nearly as bad when he follows a predictable routine.

3. Guilt-free entertainment!
I am not one to use technology as a babysitter, but the first few postpartum months often looked like survival mode. It’s nice to have educational shows that teach while they engage — after sleepless nights and growth-spurt-nurse-a-thons, popping in a DVD can be an absolute lifesaver. Now, at three years old, my son knows all of his letters, numbers up to thirty, ridiculous amounts of sign language, a handful of Latin phrases, and has fistfuls of knowledge that rival seasoned kindergarteners. I don’t say this to pat myself on the back, but to show that purposeful “edu-tainment” is a better option than mindless cartoons.

This area proved to be a huge mental struggle for me. I felt so guilty about Asher sitting in front of the TV and iPad more than usual, but I was on my own within four days of Keane’s birth. The majority of the time, it was just me and the boys from 8:00am until 6:00pm, five days a week. (Thankfully, my in-laws were quick to take Asher to their house for a few hours each week.) During the early days of our transition, I lamented the TV issue to my trusted mommy group; a wise friend told me to give myself lots of grace and 100 days of guilt-free technology use. I chose to use technology as an ally from that point forward. My favorites are Signing Times, Preschool Prep, and Song School Latin.

A note about potty training: I’m of the mindset that it’s never too early to start teaching toddlers how to potty. Cultures around the world begin potty training much earlier than we do in America — and it all works out just fine. Grandmothers and great-grandmothers today will happily tell you that it was almost unheard of for a walking, talking toddler to be in diapers fulltime. I know not everyone can pull it off, but having one child in diapers is more manageable than two. I started potty training Asher when he was 20 months old — he was diaper-free by the time he was 25 months old. It takes effort, but it’s totally worth it!

4. Cut corners!
Whether your second bundle of joy is blessed with a full-fledged baby shower or just a sprinkling, don’t lose sleep over thank you cards. During your third trimester, design a ready-to-go thank you card (use a sonogram picture or a maternity photo), print a handful of them, and address the envelopes as needed.

I didn’t anticipate many gifts this go-around, so I didn’t do this beforehand. I did, however, print out generic thank you cards that showcased my adorable newborn. This proved to be a timesaver and a stress-reducer. Win-win! (You can also prepare birth announcements in advance — just go back and add photos to the saved announcement.)

5. Simplify!
I care about the environment, but I also care about my sanity. It was my sanity that led me to buy paper plates in bulk…I haven’t looked back! It’s nice to have the option to throw the dinner dishes in the trash instead of loading and unloading the dishwasher one more time.

Beyond disposable dishes, line up people to help with laundry and/or cleaning. Save up a few extra dollars to have someone come clean for the first couple of months. If you can afford it, get $10 to $20 cashback each time you get groceries during your last trimester. Stash away the cash to help pay for housekeeping. If you’re involved in a church, ask the youth minister if there are any teenagers who are looking to earn money for summer camps or mission trips — you may find yourself a reliable mother’s helper! If neither of those avenues is an option, check out the Fly Lady’s website for help managing household chores.

Bringing sweet Keane into our lives has been absolutely phenomenal, but the early transition period was not without its challenges. I had no control over my lack of sleep and utter exhaustion, but I could control the state of my pantry, a responsibility chart, and a handful of DVDs!

I’m "Just" a Stay-at-Home Mom

This past week my husband and I had the pleasure of having dinner at our pastor’s house. Every couple of months, they invite a group of new church members over for food and fellowship — it was fun getting to know others and relax for a couple of child-free hours. At one point, one of the pastors asked what we did for a living, and I responded with, “I’m just a stay-at-home mom!” Without missing a beat, he said, “There’s no ‘just’ about it, that’s a fulltime job!” He was absolutely right.

My life as a stay-at-home mom far surpasses my former life as a high school English teacher. I truly loved my students, but the love I feel for my own children is enough to take my breath away. These last three years as a homemaker are vastly different than the six years I spent in the classroom, but they are infinitely more rewarding. The fact that God allows me to be exactly where I am, doing exactly what I’m doing, overwhelms me with gratitude and humbles my heart.

Meeting my husband’s and children’s needs is a never-ending task, but one worth pursuing. I’ve come to see my responsibility to my family through the lens of Christ’s sacrificial love. My attitude is paramount to living out sacrificial love to my family — if my heart is not centered on God, then my patience runs thin and my children suffer. Finding balance in keeping the home, loving my husband, educating Asher, taking care of Keane, preparing meals, and pursuing my own creativity can take a toll…if my focus is in the wrong place.

Aside from anchoring myself in scripture, I have found these books to be essential to my motherhood:
     1. Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel
     2. The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
     3. Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full: Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms
         by Gloria Furman

My bookshelves are also stocked with titles on strong-willed children, childhood brain development, and methods for classical education…but I’ve found that it’s much easier to deal with my strong-willed child when my will is bent to his Maker. When I respond with grace and sacrificial love, his tantrums tend to be curbed from melt-downs into teachable moments that involve scripture. Is every discipline encounter full of snuggle-hugs and bible verses? Absolutely not. There are still plenty of off-the-charts melt-downs, but when I’ve taken the time and effort to center myself in God’s word, I am more inclined to respond as Christ responds to me.

There are days when I’m beyond exhausted from sleepless nights, and on those days it’s God’s grace that carries me through. There are days when I scoop my three-year-old up in my arms and ask his forgiveness for my impatience and my poor attitude; hearing his sweet voice say, “I forgive you, Mommy,” humbles me anew. I don’t have it all together. I am not perfect. My failures are enough to fill a vast ocean, yet his mercies are new each morning. His grace is sufficient for me, his power is made perfect in my unending weakness.

Considering Lilies…

It’s been quite a rough week…and we’re barely halfway through. A restaurant mishap led to a major allergic reaction to eggs — I’ve been out of commission for three days. Little Man is teething something fierce, and has been waking up every hour and a half. I’m in great need of rest, but there is little to be found.

I did, however, sneak outside after a rainstorm while both boys napped. I drank in as much beauty as possible before returning to my motherly duties. In that short amount of time, I felt refreshed. God reminded me that the lilies neither toil nor spin, yet they are clothed in royalty. In the midst of my harried and overwhelming week, he is taking care of me. In my own little corner of the world, he leads me beside quiet waters…even if just for a moment.

Treading Water

My current stage of Motherhood manifests as an endless parade of adorably uncooperative circus monkeys. I’m bombarded with endless demands, monster trucks, diapers, feeding, cleaning, toddler wrestling, and hostage negotiations.

Toys are underfoot, on the kitchen counter, in my lap, and on the beds. Laundry is in the floor, on the kitchen table, and hiding in various other places I have yet to discover. The baby sign language DVD is on its second go-around this morning, and Asher is requesting butter for breakfast. Keane’s diaper explosion earned him some one-on-one time with the kitchen sprayer. Is it nap time yet?

This stage of life often plays out like a G-rated Groundhog Day, except my hair never looks as good as Andie MacDowell’s. And I’m covered in more drool.

The only thing I consistently accomplish is loving my boys and keeping them fed. For now, that’s going to have to be enough…because it’s all I can manage. Some days are better than others…some days feel like glaring failures. This phase won’t last forever; I’ll do my best to savor every moment and not wish the time away.

One day, I will miss it. In the not-so-far-off future, I’ll have time to bake, blog, and create. I’ll have time to work out consistently, shower more than twice a week, and little mouths won’t hurt from little teeth. A few years from now, the nursing bras will be packed away (burned, more likely), my lap will feel empty, and my arms will ache to hold my children.

Family Worship: Praise Him in the Puddles

This morning, my two year old son brought Romans 12:1 to the forefront of my mind; he reminded me to let everything be an act of worship. “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” (NLT)

Yesterday, both boys spent the day with Nana and Papa while I made up some maternity leave for the military. I missed them terribly and wanted to make up for lost time on our lazy Saturday. Asher wanted to play outside, so I upped the ante and surprised him by turning on the stream as he stood in the dry bed. He jumped and splashed until he was soaked.



Then, I broke the “rules” and let him play in his sandbox after getting wet. His joy was contagious! I didn’t care about the muddy mess he made of his clothes; I didn’t chide him for his impulsivity. I just watched and cheered him on with each splash. As I witnessed him worshiping with his life, he inspired me to worship with mine. Every smile and every squeal made me more aware of God’s love. Yet in those sweet moments, I knew the amount of love and joy I felt for my own son paled in comparison to the joy God feels when I worship him with my whole being.



Days like these are so important. No schedule to keep, no obligations to meet — just messy fun. While Asher and I made new memories (and Keane napped), I thanked the Lord for allowing this precious time. Some days it seems the world is coming apart at the seams; it’s imperative to remember that my God is never caught by surprise. He is never unprepared. He makes all things new, creates beauty from ashes, and holds us close. As his children, our job is to fall into his arms. To let go. To live for him, by him, and through him.

Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks, just think about whatever is pure and lovely. Don’t focus on outside distractions, focus on grace, mercy, and peace. Sing silly Bible songs with a silly two-year-old. Take a bubble-bath and make bubble-beards at 10:30am. Eat “ice cream” for lunch. Unplug. Relax. Don’t worry about muddy shoes, messy clothes, or dirty footprints. Don’t worry at all…about anything.



May you jump in life’s proverbial puddles.
May you roll around in wet sand.
May you treat each waking breath as an act of worship.
May your Father revel in your unbridled praise.

The Simple Sweet Sound of Silence

My mind, my mouth, and mobile devices were rarely silent, until very recently. After reading Southern In-Law’s latest Sisters in Christ blogvotional, my heart is stirred for silence.

There are times throughout Scripture when believers were instructed not to be silent. Esther’s silence would have meant the destruction of her family. In Luke 19, Jesus said the stones would cry out in praise if his disciples kept quiet. Christians are called to loudly stand up for injustices and praise His name, yet in other instances closed lips are the key to godly wisdom.

Psalm 4:4 (NIV) speaks of silence. “Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your heart and be silent.” The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.” I have my father to thank for my quick wit and gift of sarcasm; it’s in my DNA. For the most part, these characteristics serve me well and I truly love to make people laugh. However, sarcasm, quick wit, and anger are a recipe for disaster. I have an unfortunate ability to wound with my words. My husband, Mark, knows this all too well.

Rather than fighting back with a sharp tongue and wounding my husband’s spirit, I need to meditate in silence. When my words aren’t exactly dripping with honey, they need to stay in my mouth. If I’m not prepared to encourage or edify, I need to keep quiet. Or unload the dishwasher. Or take a walk. Or bake a cake. Then I could fill my mouth with delicious gluten-free cake instead of venomous words.

Psalm 12:3 (NIV) reminds me that silence squashes selfishness. “May the Lord silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue…” The Contemporary English Version is a bit more graphic, “Won’t you chop off all flattering tongues that brag so loudly?” Turns out that my tongue needed a bit of chopping. Social media became an avenue for me to brag and engage in unproductive flattery. It’s difficult to hold our tongues about how wonderful our children are; we need to be proud of them and brag on them! But for me, the issue isn’t just about taking pride in my children, it’s about the condition of my heart. What am I really saying with every see-how-awesome-my-kid-is status update?

 
Sometimes it takes great restraint to close my mouth in the midst of anger and hurt feelings. It’s so much easier to tell my husband exactly how I think he has wronged me, how his words and actions make me feel, and what I want him to do about it. In these instances, the hard thing is the right thing. My anger is mine, no one else’s. When I begin to feel frustrated or overwhelmed, I need to quietly reflect until I’m able to have a peaceful, productive conversation.
 
When I feel the stinging loneliness of motherhood, I don’t need to post a litany of mommy-accomplishments or veiled attempts to fish for compliments. I can meditate on scripture, pick up the phone and call my mother, have an impromptu dance party with Asher, or write a blog. The words of my mouth and meditations of my heart are often far from where they should be, but resting in silence allows me to regroup and recover instead of doing damage control.

How I Tricked my Toddler into Listening

Life with a toddler brings laughter, silliness, adorable memories…and frustration. Listening is difficult even on the good days — their independent spirits are blooming, and stubbornness is in full force. If sharing my latest Hail Mary parenting pass helps at least one frazzled toddler-parent, then the struggle has been worth it!

In my extensive, highly scientific research in the field of toddlers, I have come to the following conclusion: They be cray-cray. Adorable, but certifiably crazy.

If adults acted like toddlers…

Any adult who actually did those things on a regular basis would be under psychiatric evaluation in no time. (Full disclosure: I may have witnessed my adult brother do a few of these things.) Toddlerhood is a beautiful blend of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. They’re happy and energetic one minute, then sad (and still energetic) the next. They must hear voices, because Mommy and Daddy sure didn’t say anything about eating suckers for breakfast. Or waking up at 6:30am. Every morning.

After one particularly rough morning (during my week without Facebook), I reached the end of my rope. Asher doesn’t respond to counting, or conversations, or threats, or spankings, or time-outs. I knew he needed some sort of visual aid to help him out when he went rogue. In my desperation, I turned to a paper plate. In less than five minutes, Mr. Listening Ears was born. He has my ears.

I explained to Asher that when he made good choices, listened, and obeyed, that Mr. Listening Ears would be happy. But when he made bad choices and didn’t listen to Mommy and Daddy, Mr. Listening Ears would be sad. When I introduced our new friend, I had Asher touch Mr. Listening Ear’s orange paper ears, and we talked about using our listening ears. Then he touched his own ears to solidify the concept.

He hangs out up high on the refrigerator — away from toddler hands and constantly visible. When Asher starts to exhibit a wee bit of craziness, I remind him that Mr. Listening Ears is currently happy, and we wouldn’t want to make him sad by making bad choices. Sometimes it thwarts a tantrum, sometimes it doesn’t.

On the occasion that the smile turns to a frown, Asher goes nuts. He definitely does not like seeing the sad face. He’ll fuss and cry, saying, “Mommy, make Mistew Wistening Eaws happy!” To which I reply, “Only Asher can make him happy with good choices.” Sometimes he continues on to full-on-meltdown-mode, and other times he course-corrects to earn back the happy face. We’ve had more successes than failures with this new method, which is promising.

So, my toddler won’t necessarily listen to me, but he will listen to a paper plate. I’m calling it a win.

My Life as a Castaway

Some days, life as a stay-at-home-mom feels a lot like being marooned on the deserted island that is my house. Aside from two small, wild native-dwellers, my only companion is a much more technologically savvy version of Wilson: Facebook.

As much as I’d like to embrace the cliché that SAHMs sit around all day, eating bonbons while watching soap operas, I cannot. It’s much less glamorous. My toddler ensures that I’m only allowed to bathe two or three times a week, and the baby likes to remind me why bathing is overrated by puking down my shirt and eating my hair. On the rare occasion that I open the door for a UPS or FedEx driver, they’re usually greeted with a wild look in my eyes and scary hair. On good days my teeth are brushed.

It ain’t pretty, folks. My desperation for adult human contact often leads me to scroll through Facebook throughout the day — while nursing the baby (which is how a good chunk of my day is spent), attempting rare solo bathroom trips, during naptimes, and when the natives get restless enough to put me on edge. I’m part of a few mommy groups, and we tend to check in with each other throughout the day to ask questions (Does this look infected? What’s for dinner tonight? Should I call poison control?), and talk one another off of emotional ledges when our kids go rogue. While these interactions can be good and helpful, boundaries are necessary. I had blurred the lines and let my boundaries become so lax that they were almost non-existent. A few weeks ago, Mark jokingly made the comment, “I bet you couldn’t go a week without Facebook.” His words stuck in the back of my mind.

Last Sunday afternoon, while mindlessly scrolling along, I came across this Matt Chandler quote: “Find the things that stir your affections for Christ and saturate your life in them, find the things that rob you of that affection and walk away from them.” Those words immediately hit home. I had become dependent on these daily interactions with friends and acquaintances, and had been neglecting things that should be priorities. I allowed my mind to be filled with other voices all day long. While these voices were friendly and encouraging, they weren’t the one voice that mattered most. When the kids did something funny or frustrating, I wasn’t just telling my husband about it, I was telling fifty other women through my Facebook groups. Some things simply need to be cherished in my heart, not splashed about the internet for the grins and giggles of the masses. After reading that quote, I handed my phone to Mark and instructed him to change my Facebook password.

Cool, calm, and collected on the outside, my guts began to inwardly panic.

 
The first day was a little rough, but by the second day Asher and I were reading chapters out of Winnie the Pooh, and “cooking” together. During nursing sessions with Keane, I figured out how to hold a book and a baby and a boob so I could read to Asher while Keane ate. Productive multitasking, sans iPhone and Facebook. By the third day, my brain began swirling with blog ideas. Blogging has always been a favorite outlet of mine, but as of late my brain has been so fried that it’s been the last thing on my mind. Without the constant daily input from my online mommy friends (and without my input to other mommies), my mind became filled with thoughts and my heart became filled with prayer.
 
My own organic ideas flitted through my brain.
Light bulb moments flashed when I least expected them.
 
 
I felt my creativity return and my mind felt more engaged throughout the day. Rather than staying abreast of the happenings and activities of my fellow mommy friends, I was wholly present with my little family. One day when Asher was particularly difficult, I turned to my husband and my parents for support and prayer. In the past, I would lament online. By no means is Facebook the devil, but I needed to get it under control before it began to control me. Now, I pass my phone over to my husband once a week and ask him to log me in. I check out my friends’ cute baby photos, check in with some of my favorite mommies, and then I log out for the rest of the week. It’s good and necessary to be alone with my thoughts…quite freeing, actually!