Friday, October 5, 2012

What They Don't Tell You

Going through my first pregnancy, delivery, and the early days with our son, I felt like there were so many things about this stage of life that no one told me. They didn't tell me about the endless worry during pregnancy, or how fragile it would all feel most of the time. No one mentioned that I would feel like the worst mother on earth when I took their advice and sent the baby to the hospital nursery for a few hours at night (the right decision for us, it just felt so irresponsible!). Definitely no one told me that after three months, I still wouldn't be able to read my baby's cries every time and know what he needs. There are tons of things that no one tells you.

But I think what strikes me the most right now is how inadequate the things they do tell you are. Yes, we've all heard about how tired you'll be with a new baby. No one explains that that means not just physically tired from getting up at night, but the pure emotional and mental drain you feel everyday. How can such a tiny person who doesn't even talk yet drain your mind so much?! How can you use up so much emotion on normal daily activities?

They mention that being a mother is hard, a twenty-four hours-a-day job, that being a stay-at-home mom is the hardest job you'll ever do. But they don't go on to tell you that it isn't just work like you would do at a job, physical, mental, or social effort. It is stress on every ounce of your being for hours at a time. It's a person who depends on you completely and utterly every minute of their existence (at least for awhile). It's so consuming at times that you feel like every aspect of your life is spiraling out of control and you can't get it back.

A lot of that was pretty negative, I know. It's been a rough week at our house. I had no idea I would feel so underprepared and overwhelmed! But for anyone who is contemplating kids and thinks this all sounds horrible, here's something else they didn't quite explain. There are no words to express the joy and love of having this amazing little person who, a year ago, didn't even exist. Watching him grow and learn and change is more wonderful than I could have guessed. It's rough right now, but I'm trusting the part where they say it's worth it will turn out to be better than they said :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I'm Not Raising a Boy

When we found out we were going to have a baby boy, one of the first thoughts I had was "I have no idea how to raise a boy!"

I have a younger brother, but he's close enough in age to me that I never felt motherly toward him, he was just a pest. I'm a girl, a pretty girly one. In spite of my years of close contact with men like my dad and hubby, I really have no idea what a boy needs. So I started researching (which is always my first reaction to something I don't understand). I found blogs online. I found books at the library. I talked to friends with boys. I got some really great information, and some kind of out-there advice.

But I still don't really know how to raise a boy.

Recently I've come to realize something that I hope will help me as I face the next 18 years or so. I'm not raising a boy. I'm raising a man, and wow, do I want him to be a good one!

I know what a good man is. I'm not that far removed from those dating days when I evaluated guys against the criteria of what I knew a strong, God-fearing man was. I'm not trying to grow my son up too quickly, but I know what I want him to be like as a man, and I think that can help guide us as we figure out this parenting thing.

So, while the day-to-day tasks of raising our son may confound me sometimes, I have a goal in mind and that certainly makes it less intimidating! First of all, I want to raise a man who loves God. I want him to be capable of leading in his family and church. I would love for him to value education, new experiences, and people. I hope he is responsible, fun-loving, confident, and strong. I know that instilling these traits in him won't be easy, but I'm sure it will be a rewarding challenge!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Yep, I'm Part of The Club

Growing up, I always wanted to be a mom. It seemed like this wonderful place where I would be completely in my element. As a young adult, I realized it was a little more than that. You see, since college, I've spent a lot of time with women older than myself, and I never quite felt like I was as much of a woman as they were. They had husbands and children and homes of their own. They were part of The Club. I was an adult, but I wasn't yet enough of one to be in The Club. There were still so many issues that were so integral to these women's lives that I had no idea about.

When I got married, I felt like I was almost there. When I was younger, my mom went to several meetings of the Red Hat Society. If you've never heard of it, these were older ladies who got together wearing red hats and purple clothing. If a woman joined them who was under a certain age (50 maybe? I don't remember), she wore pink and lavender instead of the brighter colors. She was kind of like a trial member. That's how I felt when I got married. I could join more conversations now and I understood more topics the women discussed and I felt like I had valid ideas on more issues. But I still wasn't all the way in the The Club. I still wasn't quite enough of a woman to fully join in every discussion.

But then, I had a baby. He's only 12 weeks old, but I'm already fully part of The Club. And I love The Club. I feel like every woman I talk to finally sees me as a complete equal. I have relevant opinions. My life is approved of. Maybe that shouldn't matter, but it always mattered to me. I wanted to be one of those women who was in the The Club.

Recently, though, I've been thinking a lot about what womanhood really is. And I've come to learn this: being a woman is not about being in The Club. It's not about being married or having babies. It's not about whether I'm a stay-at-home mom or a working mom. To be honest, it's not even about me at all. Being a woman is about being who God wants me to be so other people see Him. I should reflect His gentleness, His love, His vast concern for His children. That is what makes me a woman, not being at a stage in life where other woman see me as an equal.

So I'll enjoy being in The Club, but I hope it can become a place where every woman is accepted just the same, regardless of her spot in life, because we all reflect Christ, and that's a much better club to be part of.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me, AKA Pudgy Cake

Yesterday was my birthday. I'm not ashamed to say, my 30th birthday. I know some people struggle with this one, but I'm thrilled to be 30! The excitement was partly due to this masterpiece:

The cake is a spin on this one from Cookie and Cups. It's called "pudgy cake." The most apt name I've ever heard. We changed the top layer to strawberry and used cream cheese buttercream frosting. It. Was. Delightful.

The rest of the day was spent enjoying family and this precious little guy (with his favorite person, Papaw). Such a great start to a new decade!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Two Months

Month two was a big one for Little Man. He didn't gain as much weight as month one, but he had a huge growth spurt in length at the end of the month! He lost a lot of the newborn look and now just looks like a round, sweet baby boy. His pediatrician again kept describing him as perfect at his two month appointment!

One of his favorite things is his Papaw. Just like his cousin, he adores Papaw. He also loves being outside. He instantly stops crying when we take him outside while he's upset. That will be useful, until winter :)

Little Man was dedicated to the Lord at our church this month. A dedication is basically a service where the parents acknowledge that the baby is a gift from God, and promise to raise him to love and honor the Lord. It was a beautiful ceremony, and we were thrilled that our pastor was able to do it on one of his last Sundays before moving away.

Little Man learned so many fun things this month. He started cooing and "talking" to us, and to his toys. And to ceiling fans. And to the dog. His favorite is cooing at his paper airplane mobile when he wakes up and kicking his feet really hard in the crib. He can hold his head up really well now, and support a little weight on his legs when you stand him up. He discovered his fingers this month, laughed once or twice, and started smiling at people.

We started regular story time this month, and he actually pays attention to the book for a few minutes. He slept through the night for the first time, but just once. He also went to his first antique tractor show (one of Papaw's favorite things) and first flea market (one of Momma's favorite things!).

Monday, September 10, 2012

One Month

This is very late. As I write, Little Man is actually 2 1/2 months, but I want this record of his growing up, so I'm posting it anyway.

In his first month, my sweet boy charmed everyone he met. He ate like a champ, gained plently of weight, and continued to be on the longer side for his age. At his two week appointment, the pediatrician just kept saying he was perfect and a big boy :)

We celebrated his first holiday, the 4th of July, and hubby and I did some sparklers for him in the driveway (which, at 6 days old, he totally ignored).
He went to his first church service, his first day trip to his grandparents house 1 1/2 hours away, and his first time at the county fair.
His first smile and first night in the crib in his own room both happened in month one. He also met his cousin for the first time (they live 10 hours away, so that was a big deal!).
It was a rough month for Mommy and Daddy, but we got through it, and really, he was a pretty easy baby!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Little Man's Nursery

We started work on the baby's nursery long before I was even pregnant. I spent many long hours filling and sanding the existing fake wood panelling to look smooth. We painted the walls and trim and cleaned up the wood floors early in the pregnancy. I'd been planning the room for probably almost a year and collecting the items I wanted to put in it. So here's the reveal!

I didn't want a real theme for the room. I want it to be able to grow with Little Man and not be babyish. I think it may be more for me than him right now :) It's full of lots of vintage items and a lot of things from our families and our own childhoods. As he grows and gets more things of his own, we'll add those and take out the delicate things an energetic little boy might destroy!
I made his mobile with an embroidery hoop and paper airplanes hung with fishing line. At this point, he absolutely loves watching it move in the air from the fan!
From the beginning, I planned to use aqua and red in the room. When we found out the baby was a boy, I added bright green to the mix.
The bookshelf area looks a little different now because I had to make room for the books I can't seem to stop buying for him!
I adore the pegboard over the changing table. It's really bright and fun and more functional than even I thought it would be! Hubby was not real sure about that one, but he was sweet and put it up for me, anyway! I also love the dresser instead of an actual changing table (which I now realize I didn't get a great picture of). It is so much more functional and versatile than a dedicated changing table.

The only furniture we bought for this room was the crib, and the table by my rocking chair. The dresser was my grandparent's, the bookcase was my cousin's, and the rocking chair is the one my mom rocked both my brother and I in as babies. That was such a precious gift!
And there's me in all my pregnant glory :) I believe I was about 8 months in.
My favorite thing about this nursery is all the love it represents. So many items were gifts to us from our families just for this little boy, things that they had cherished and now passed on to us. We're so blessed with a loving family who are all just crazy about our son!