Music to a Mama’s Ears

I’m a word person, no surprise there. But even if affirming words aren’t your “love language,” everyone can use an uplifting word now and then. And I’ve found that sometimes all it takes is a small piece of encouragement to refocus my perspective on how this whole motherhood thing is going.

So many times I feel ill-equipped for this huge task of raising a daughter, but thankfully this truth never changes: when I am weak, HE is strong in me. 

That’s some good news. 

So we can rest in the fact that we were perfectly chosen and have been perfectly positioned to raise our babies. Enough of this doubting and guilt and worrying. 

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So, two things I’d like for you to do:

  1. Find the phrase below that means the most to you. Write it somewhere you’ll see it today – your hand, your phone, your kid’s chalkboard…whatever works.
  2. Find a mom to pass them on to. Send out a quick text, comment on an Instagram photo, or tell them to your friend at the playdate today. Be the one singing the praises of moms in your circle, or the moms you pass in the grocery store. 

“You’re a good mom.”

“You are doing immeasurably better than you give yourself credit for.”

“You’re not in this alone.” (*Catch – you have to help them not be in this alone.)

“Motherhood looks good on you.”

“You were made to mother.”

“You inspire me.”

“You’re doing a great job.”

“Wanna make a Target run?…By yourself?” (*Must be prepared to catch baby mid air as mom makes a mad dash for the car)

“Hey, I could use some parenting advice… “

“Your babies are blessed to have you.”

“Tomorrow’s a new day!”

“___ year old’s are hard. But you’ve got this.”

“You are SUPERMOM.”

I sincerely pray some of these words put a smile on your face, hope in your heart, and buoy you up today as you walk confidently in your ability to mother well.

Moms: you are needed, cherished, loved, seen, and so so appreciated. Parenting is challenging, but no doubt – you can handle it.

So let this music of encouragement play in your ears over and over, until it sinks deep into your heart like a song you can’t stop singing. ❤

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S.

 

you are a good mom.


I need this reminder more often than I care to admit. I’m guessing you do too? Sure, I’ll take it on a good day when I’m winning at patience and understanding, but it carries even more weight and significance when I’m feeling like One Big Mom Fail. 

We doubt ourselves too quickly and judge ourselves too harshly.

So let me remind you: 

YOU are a good mom. 

You ARE a good mom. 

You are a GOOD mom.  

and, 

You’re doing a great job. 

I know it seems so SIMPLE, these few words. And yes, it’s actually very simple. But also affirming and powerful and LIFE-GIVING. Like one giant reset button. 

Whatever’s got you stressed or convinced that you just aren’t cut out for motherhood, let it go. Relax your shoulders. Say a prayer. Try to laugh rather than cry. Reach out to a supportive girlfriend and siphon some of her excess positivity. Remember the truth: that you are enough today and every day.

For real. It’s gonna be okay. Be kind to yourself.


Let’s all find a mom to pass these affirming words on to over the next day or so. Maybe a stranger that you notice with tired eyes and a screaming kid in Target, or just a mom friend that you know could use a little pep talk. When mothers come alongside other mothers and simply say, I see you, and you’re doing great – that is the greatest gift and compliment we can give each other. 


The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11

grace for your post-baby body.

I stepped up to the station to have my mandatory flu shot at work (yes, mandatory. That’s a whole other post yet to be written). The nurse was prepping the shot, not looking up at me while I confirmed it was okay to get even though I am still breastfeeding (it was – dangit). Right before she stuck me, she stopped abruptly.

“Your arm is so small, let me switch to the smaller needle”

“Oh good… yes. Please do that.” 

As she is switching the needles, she says “Well honey, is your baby just sucking you DRY?” 

I didn’t realize what exactly she meant. “Uhhh, I guess so…?”

“The same thing happened to my daughter when she was breastfeeding. She looked just terrible!!”

Silence. Awkward, awkward silence. I only stayed long enough to grab my band-aid and signed form, hoping the line of people behind me hadn’t heard her humiliating comment.


I’ve told this story to some family and friends and we joked about how this nurse would for sure take home the Foot In Mouth Award. But truthfully? It stung.

Here’s the worst part: I don’t think it ever even occurred to her what conclusion I must be drawing about my own appearance based on her comment. Did she mean to hurt my feelings? I’m sure she didn’t. But this is just one of so many body remarks I’ve received since having my baby. And I know I’m not the only one. I’ve been on all sides of these remarks and I’ve learned one thing:

We can’t win.



During your pregnancy, you either you gain too much or too little according to the medical professionals and nosy, non-experts surrounding you. Then, post-pregnancy, everyone is keeping an eye out to see when you will “bounce back,” which is probably (definitely) the farthest thing from your new mom mind, considering your all of your thoughts are laser-beam focused on keeping your tiny human alive and well. 

So, basically one of three things happen: you don’t shed the pounds as quickly as everyone expects, you look like you were never pregnant to begin with, or you lose too much because your baby is “sucking you dry.” All equally looked down upon, especially from other women.

I still had a legit baby bump in those first couple of months postpartum and very few of my old clothes fit – but hey, who cares, because I JUST GREW AND BIRTHED A HUMAN, by the way. I had a front row seat to witness how powerful and expertly built our bodies are as women. It’s actually insane, what we are capable of. 

Looking back at my daughter’s newborn photos, I see my ten day postpartum body and think that body just performed a miracle. Being pregnant and giving birth were my proudest and most empowered moments. I learned so much about overcoming fears and gained a whole new sense of confidence. I vividly remember leaving the hospital believing that if I can give birth, I can do anything. A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G

Never before had I experienced God’s strength through my weakness in such a real and tangible way.


 my hands still swollen, a week and a half after she was born.

I became very comfortable in the new softer and curvier body my baby gave me. I carried those extra pounds proudly for over a year altogether, from pregnancy through postpartum, and I actually wanted some of them to stick around. (I’ve never been the “curvy girl” and you know what they say about the grass being greener.) Maybe I’ll gain a few back when I stop nursing. Maybe I won’t. So when the pounds began to really drop, I felt too thin. This body felt bony. sharp. too many angles. unfamiliar. It no longer reflected the enormous change I had gone through. 

Physically, I was looking more like my “normal” self. But my heart would never be the same. With every body comment made, I could feel the insecurity start to creep in and those feelings of confidence I had felt so strongly were fading. How could such a supernatural event already be a foggy memory? But then God sweetly reminded me: whatever I may look like, this is the same body that assisted in His miracleI never want to betray my body by shaming it for the miracle it performed. Instead, I want to celebrate it.

Did you know your appearance has no bearing on what kind of mother you are? Baby weight to lose, underweight, C-section scars, stretch marks, grey hair, still wearing your maternity jeans a year later….none of it matters. Loving your baby well? Now that matters. 

…..and all the insecure mamas said amen.

Can we just agree to a little mom to mom grace? Lets choose to walk alongside each other instead of sizing up the person to our left or right. We need to be built up, supported, and loved on. And then loved on some more. Lets be more intentional and constructive with our words. Lets show each other overflowing grace, not just about our bodies, but all of it. No one wants their insecurities drawn over with a highlighter. How about asking that new mom how she feels? Ask her what her favorite part of being a mom is. Ask about the newest milestone her baby just became a pro at. Give her a safe space to talk about the tough and lonely moments of motherhood. These are the important things.


And to you mamas who are in the thick of this, struggling with your post-baby body image…whatever side of the scale you fall on, I don’t need to know you or even see you to be able to say this with 100% sincerity: You Are Beautiful.  Really, truly, honestly beautiful. The kind of beauty that reflects from your heart and shines on your face. Beauty in it’s purest form. 

When you become a mom – however that happens for you – rest assured, you have been marked with beauty. That is a title you can carry proudly. 




All professional photos in this post are credit D. Crowe Photography.

PEP TALK for moms

This one’s for all you supermoms. Yep, I’m looking at you. 


Since the day my daughter was born, I’ve become completely in awe of moms everywhere. Once I learned just how demanding and consuming motherhood is, I see things with new eyes, almost as if I had a LASIK procedure performed on my heart. Things are so much clearer to me now.  

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought how does she do that? as I watch moms around me just doing what they do. (AKA, being AWESOME.)

Like when I see the mom at Target wrangling her four children under four and I think it’s the most amazing feat I’ve ever witnessed. (Now I ask her if she could use a hand.) Or when I see the mom’s Facebook posts about being glued to her baby’s isolette in the NICU, never wanting to leave, and I wonder where she finds her strength? Surely I would never survive a trial of that magnitude. (Now I actually pray for her instead of just saying I will.) Or when I hear a baby losing it’s little mind in a restaurant, I no longer feel aggravation, but instead compassion. (We all have those moments with our babies. We just want to enjoy a dinner out too!)

If you’re a mom, you’ve had a moment like this. In fact, you’ve had countless unseen moments just like this, when it’s just you and your baby. I could list so many examples, but they’re all the same really. Selflessness. Unconditional love. Pushing through the hard moments and reveling in the sweet ones. That kind of unrelenting love that was first modeled for us by the Father. It’s so powerful. And you embody that love in a million tiny little ways every day. 



There’s a commercial I saw recently (which, if you’re like me, that’s saying something since I usually fast-forward through them!) and it is promoting healthy living. Every time the woman makes a healthy choice, like choosing a salad or taking the stairs, confetti falls from the sky and fireworks go off.

Imagine how this commercial would look for moms:

You take the time to pump breast milk at work even though it’s inconvenient and a hassle – someone in the hallway gives you a high five!
A marching band appears when you finish cleaning up the diaper that exploded and landed everywhere but inside the diaper!
You put down your phone and read a book to your child – a standing ovation ensues!

What mom wouldn’t welcome a little background cheerleader helping us get through the day? I have to remind myself that God says “whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me.” And “whatever you do, do it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not men.” We don’t do it for recognition, a pat on the back, or applause. It’s not a competition to see if we are doing more hands-on childcare than our spouse. We do it because our babies are entrusted to us to care for by the Lord. He sees. And He’s pleased.


Moms, listen carefully. I know there are days when you feel unseen, unappreciated, and alone. You’re not. Here’s what you are:

You are seen. 
Special.
Inspiring.
Doing a good and important work.
Enough.
A hero.
Capable.
Significant. 
Strong! 
And so loved. 

No one can take your place. 

You are amazing, mama.

Oh this face.




Wanna keep reading?

Here are my thoughts on being a new mom.