Teaching Kids How to Handle Confrontation Online

teaching kids to handle online confrontationI made a comment on a friend’s facebook post. It was interpreted in an entirely different way than how it was intended. I responded with a poorly worded defense. 4 comments later and someone I thought was a friend was publicly shaming me and calling into question my discipleship to Christ.

I was not mature about it. I unfriended her. After all, anyone who could hit me with a verbal sucker punch like that probably doesn’t think well enough of me to WANT to be my friend. At least, that’s what I told myself.

I couldn’t sleep. I cried. I was deeply hurt. I once respected this person. How could she treat me like that? But, after a few days to calm down and cope, I’m a better person, albeit admittedly embarrassed. Teaching kids to be careful online

In the future, I will be more careful in my comments. I’ll try to think more about how my words affect other people. She called into question that which is most sacred to me, and although it hurt, I’ll be a better disciple because of it.

Someday, I’ll tell my kids about it. Hopefully, they can learn from my experience. Social media is a place where we have to be extremely careful in our words. Without the physical cues of real interaction, we often become social idiots. People will say things online that they would never say in person. Even the best of people will allow themselves to get into online arguments. Human pride really really loves itself when we enter the online arena.

With that being said, here are a few things I want to teach myself and my kids about online discussion.

  • If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online.
  • If you wish to stand up for an argument, first make sure that those you are discussing it with will actually listen. Even the soundest logic does no good when those engaging are more interested in what they will write next as opposed to what you have to say.
  • Listen when you read. Just like listening in-person, it’s an awesome idea to think about what another person is saying and find understanding where it’s possible.
  • Sometimes, people will argue strongly about something that is illogical or false according to your world view. They could be arguing vehemently that dihydrogen monoxide (water) is a toxic chemical that should be removed from all food sources. In cases like this, a response is useless, dihydrogen monoxide sounds scary, and that blog post said it was scary, and it’s scary darn it! Allow others their opinions, no matter how much you disagree.
  • You don’t have to have the last word.(I’m really bad at this one.) Others are reading this. Some will side with  you, some won’t, but having the last word doesn’t actually strengthen your argument.
  • No personal attacks. End of story.

I’ll do my best to teach my kids to be kind and respectful online, but I’m sure, to some extent they will have to learn the hard way, and when that happens I’ll be there to wipe the tears. Just as my daughter was there for me. She saw I was crying and went and made me “a collection” of some of her favorite trinkets to put on my dresser. I should look to her example of compassion before I type (or swipe) another word online.

Eight Reasons You Should Let Your Kids Play With Knives

8 Reasons You Should Let Your Kids Play With Knives FacebookGuess what? I let my kids play with knives.

Really. We have loads of fun together, just me, my kids, and the knives… oh, and the food.

Not everyone would call what we do playing. I set clear and specific rules before we pull the knives out, they can only be used in my presence, and they can only be used to cut up whatever food I’ve provided.

Not everyone calls it that, and while I won’t call it playing in front of my kids, that’s exactly what I consider it to be. We are after all having fun.

But there are rules! Playtime isn’t supposed to have rules!

No. play always has rules, even free play. You aren’t allowed to hit other children. You aren’t allowed to deface property. You aren’t allowed to jump off the dresser and pretend to be a bird (true story).

Think of knives the same way you think of board game play. Lots of rules and still part of a happy healthy childhood.

8 Reasons You Should Let Your Kids Play With Knives Pinterest

Here are eight reasons to let your kids play with knives.

  • To improve coordination: Cutting utilizes fine motor skills. These are the same skills used to cut with scissors and hold a pencil. So, you’re little Einstein can work on her pencil grip without even touching a pencil!
  • To teach your kid to help: Running a household is a big job, and our kids are a lot better off when they are part of that job. In fact, according to this article in the Wall Street Journal doing household chores is linked with academic success and financial independence.
  • To allow a little risk: Risk is GOOD for children. Allowing our children to take risks now gives them a better sense of their own capabilities and fosters a sense of confidence.
  • To give your child confidence: That’s right, more confidence. It’s amazing what they are capable of if we only give them the chance to show us, and they end up showing not just us, but themselves as well!
  • So your child learns how to cook: Smell that? It’s the delicious smell of dinner, and it’s cooked by someone other than you! The possibility is right around the corner, but you have to build the foundation now, by you guessed it, letting your kids play with knives.
  • To help your child be more involved with family meals: If my kids help cook the meal they are a hundred gazillion times more likely to actually eat it! Getting kids involved with cooking is so incredibly important to teaching them healthy skills that will set them up for a lifetime of good health vs. the lifetime of diabetes that looms over so many of our kids these days.
  • So you can have some productive time with your kid: We all want to spend time with our kids, but sometimes we also want clean clothing or a floor that doesn’t crunch under our feet. When we cook with our kids we are able to both spend time with them and be productive at the same time. Although, I make no promises as to how long it will take to cook your meal. They’re kids, not gourmet chefs.
  • So your kid doesn’t cut himself: Wait, you’re telling me that my kid won’t cut himself if I give him a knife? Say What!/? Seriously, if you are teaching your kid how to use a knife, with good ground rules about how to hold the knife, how to keep fingers away from the knife, etc. Your kid is way less likely to get cut. To be honest, it’s only been a couple of years that I’ve been able to prepare a meal without cutting myself, and I’ve been preparing meals for my family since I was sixteen. That’s probably because no one ever taught me how to use a knife. I had to youtube it when my husband threatened to hide all the knives in the house. Need more convincing? How about this, Kids in Sweden are regularly given knives, not just in the kitchen, but actual pocket knives to play with. They also have the lowest percentage of child injury in the world.

I let my kids play with knives

So give your kid a knife for darn’s sake and start cooking :)

But, if you’re feeling a bit nervous about handing your tot a five-pound butcher knife, you can always try one of these kid-safe knives. My kids got these for Christmas and they love them! No injuries  yet :)

Disclosure: I’m a member of amazon affiliate so if you click this link or buy one of these knives I get a “cut” of the deal. Get it? Get it?

So, do you let your kids use knives in the kitchen? Or are you not so sure about handing sharp pointy objects to your little ones?

Gratitude Exercises for Kids – Daily Exercises That Help Our Kids Be Thankful

how to teach your kids to be grateful

It was one of those crazy hard times. A lot was going on. Are you ready for the list that kept running through my head? Here goes, in chronological order: my husband was laid off, he found another job out of state, we moved, we became pregnant with our third child, which came with some pretty nasty morning sickness, and my grandmother’s physical and mental health declined dramatically, (she died about four months later).

grandma

It was a lot of change, really fast, and to top it all off the holidays were starting.

I felt overwhelmed. I hardly had time to cope with everything that had happened. I was down, who wouldn’t be? But I couldn’t show it. I needed to be there for my husband, my children, and especially my mother, who was the only surviving child of my grandmother, and dealing with enormous stressors of her own.

Then, my husband’s aunt issued a challenge.

She gave everyone in the family a small notebook and asked us to use it as a gratitude journal. At Thanksgiving, we would take turns reading excerpts from our days of thanks.

gratitude exercises 2

As I sat down to fill out my first entry,  I had many things to be grateful for, but I had spent so much time counting the things that were going wrong in my life, it was hard to feel the gratitude.

I wrote anyway. I wrote about how blessed we were to find work so soon after my husband was laid off. I wrote about how happy we were to be expecting another baby. I wrote about how good it was to move close to our family just when they needed us the most.

In the midst of turbulence, so many things were right. In the midst of the tears and the trials, the Lord was still in charge. He had a plan.

We only needed to see the beauty and to give thanks. Since that time, I’ve made an effort to teach my kids to be thankful.

Over and over, studies show that being thankful and being happy are linked. So, at our house, we treat gratitude like a muscle, and we exercise it.

Every morning, while we’re eating breakfast, I ask the kids gratitude questions.

These are questions designed to help their little minds make the connection between happiness and gratitude. Often, children will say the same things over and over when asked what they are grateful for, and that’s OK, but these questions are designed to help kids find deeper answers, to understand what it means to be thankful. I try to bring each discussion back to the topic of gratitude.

For example, this is an actual conversation with my daughter,

What is your favorite thing to do outside?

run

What do you need to run?

“My legs and my feet, and I need energy to run.”

So, what are you grateful for?

“My energy? And you know mom, I am crazy to tell you this, but I can have energy for sixty hundred million years!”

That’s a lot of energy!

“Yeah!”

Are you grateful for all that energy?

“Yeah! My energy can never end!”

Since starting gratitude exercises, I’ve seen a better attitude in myself and my kids. It’s working! I hope you’ll consider trying it out. I’m convinced it will help your families too.gratitude exercises

  1. What is your favorite thing to do outside? What allows you to do that thing?
  2. Name someone who loves you.
  3. Name someone you love. Why? Have you told them that?
  4. What is your favorite game to play? Why?
  5. What is the weather like today? What fun can come from, cloudy, sunny, windy, snowy, rainy, etc. weather?
  6.  Imagine if we didn’t have a house, what would that be like?
  7. What is your favorite animal?
  8. Name two things that make you happy.
  9. What is your favorite body part?
  10. What is the yummiest thing you’ve ever smelled?
  11. What is the softest thing you’ve ever felt?
  12. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
  13. Name something you’re really good at.
  14. Tell us about a happy memory.
  15. What is your favorite thing about mom, dad, brother, sister, etc?

These questions have started some hilarious conversations around our house, and we notice if we miss a day. What do you do at your house to foster gratitude? Let me know in the comments! Who knows, your tradition could change someone’s life :)

The One Day at Church That Changed the Way I Mother Forever

The One Day At Church That Changed the Way I Mother Forever

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Like there’s just too much to do, and no way to do it, let alone do it all with a smile?

I do. It’s those days that make me think I might be failing at motherhood. It’s those days that make me feel like I’m alone. The days that lead me to question, what am I doing wrong? How will I make it through this?

But, often, those are also the days when I receive mercy. They are the days when I receive reminders. I’m not alone. I can do this. Everything will be Okay.

On one particular day like that, I received more than just mercy. I received a change of perspective that I hope to never forget, because it changed the way I mother forever.

It was a Sunday, and my husband had worked the night before, so I got up early to get the kids ready for church by myself.

At the time, I had a four-year-old, a two-year-old, and a nursing infant.

We were having particular trouble with the two-year-old. He is a naturally sweet boy with a wild and silly side. His silly side didn’t know when to turn off and getting him ready for church could take as long as an hour. I must confess, at times like this, I often got frustrated and resorted with threatening, punishment, and raised tones in order to reach our destination.

This Sunday was particularly bad, still, I somehow managed to get the kids in the car, out of the car, and into church before the meeting began. We even found a bench to sit on.

Things were going okay. I took a deep breathe as the baby fell asleep on my chest. That’s when my two-year-old started to act up again.

“Shhh, It’s time to be reverent.” I whispered.

I don’t remember his exact response, just that it was loud and inappropriate. I continued to whisper to him, trying my hardest to wrangle him without disturbing the baby. It wasn’t working. 

I felt stuck. If I moved, I would wake the sleeping baby, who probably hadn’t slept well the night before (knowing the sleeping patterns of this particular child). If I didn’t move, the entire congregation would be subjected to my two-year-old’s distracting chatter.

I said a silent prayer, “Lord, please help me. Please tell me what to do.”

I got an immediate answer. A thought came to my mind.

“Love him.”

“What?”

“Just Love him.”

“What do you mean? How do I just love him. I do love him, but how does that help me right now?”

I started to cry. I was sleep deprived, confused, and so inadequate.

That’s when my little boy took my face in his hands.

“Mommy? What’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

And I knew I had an opportunity to love him, to explain to him with love, not threats, not punishments, but with love, why I needed him to behave.

“Because, sweetie, mommy loves church and mommy wants to listen, but she can’t do that when you’re noisy.”

“You need me to whisper?” He said in the loudest whisper imaginable.

“Yes. I love you so much honey. Can you be reverent for me?”

I got a great big kiss, a great big hug, and a wiggly, but trying to whisper two-year-old.

We made it through the meeting. We made it through, and I knew that I wasn’t really alone. The Lord would help make up for my inadequacies, and when I parent with love I get much better results than when I allow my stress to parent for me.

The story doesn’t end there. Later, when they asked for parenting experiences in a women’s meeting, I shared what had happened. So many of my sweet sister’s came up to me after and expressed regret that they didn’t know I was often at church by myself.

Since that day, when I’m at church without my husband, I have always had offers of help. The two single sisters who are happy to hold the baby for me, or the teenager who will play with my daughter, or even the older gentlemen who will make eye contact and smile at my son. These people have further reminded me that I’m not alone, and shown me that if I need help, I need only make it known.

I wish I could say that my parenting changed over night, but as with all things, it takes time. I’m still working on it, but in the back of my mind, when I’m faced with a challenging situation with my kids, I already know the answer to my question. What should I do? Love them, just love them.

 

Positive affirmations for mothers

I remember before I had kids. My love for children led me to multiple jobs with kids. Parents often asked me if I was getting my degree in teaching (I wasn’t) and complimented me on my kid skills. I was pretty sure I had this parenting thing wired. There were even a couple of times I was able to address behavioral problems that parents were having difficulty with. I was amazing. I was confident.

Then I had children of my own.

Oh. Man.

With other people’s kids I was great, but with my own little darlings… not so much. I found myself losing my patience. I yelled. I got overwhelmed. I dealt with several nasty bouts of postpartum depression. I let them watch TV *gasp*. Basically I discovered that mothering is hard, really hard.

And I just kept making it harder on myself. How? By hanging on to unrealistic expectations. I remembered my pre-child self and expected my post child self to be the same person, to be just as good with my own children as I am with a strangers.

I was missing a big part of the picture. For one, I was missing the fact that I am with my children Every. Single. Day. *big breath* All. Day. Long. I don’t get a break to recharge. I can’t be expected to have an infinite supply of patience. Second, I was missing that I love my kids a whole lot more than I love someone else’s kids (although I did love the kids I worked with). This makes everything more personal, my emotional response to my children’s misbehavior is completely different from my emotional response to another child. Learning to temper that response isn’t an overnight thing. I’m a work in progress. I have to give myself the chance to figure this thing out, because I won’t do it perfectly right from the get go.

I have always been a bit of a perfectionist. I often focus so hard on the achievement part of the journey that I forget to take a step back and enjoy where I am right now, because where I am right now is not only enough it’s wonderful, even when where I am right now feels like a step backwards.

I love this quote from President Gordon B Hinckley.

“Please don’t nag yourself with thoughts of failure. Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know, and the Lord will accept of your effort.”

Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know how, and the Lord will accept your effort.

Whether you are religious or not I think that quote is inspiring. It challenges all of us to accept our own best efforts, to accept ourselves, right now, where we are on our journey today.Tweet: Our quest for bettering ourselves shouldn’t come at the cost of our own happiness.

The fact is, during the parenting journey we will all mess up, we will all have days we aren’t proud of, but if we dust ourselves off and get back up, we can still be happy with who we are now.

I’m all full of quotes today, but here’s another one that I love by Mary Anne Radmacher

“Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.

My positive affirmations for sons and daughters are still some of my most popular posts, but today I was thinking that sometimes I need some positive affirmations as well. So I’ve created another free printable (for noncommercial use) that is specifically for mothers. I hope it brightens your day and reminds you that you are OK wherever you are on your journey today. If you want to print it out and hang it up, please do, I would be honored.

I love my children without limit. I am strong, strong enough to weather any storm. I give myself permission to make mistakes, and I will make mistakes, after, I will apologize and start over. I accept myself where I am right now. I a mother

Affirmation: I love my children without limit – I am strong – strong enough to weather any storm – I give myself permission to make mistakes – and I will make mistakes – after, I will apologize – and start over – I accept myself where I am right now – I am a mother

 

How any mom can finish her to do list + an easy craft

63% of professionals use to-do lists, at least according to a linkdn study published in 2012, but, according to the same study, only 11% of those professionals complete them. Can I get an amen to that?

As a stay at home mom I have to be self motivated and organized or my home gets chaotic…fast…like faster than Michael Phelps in a crocodile infested swimming pool kind of fast. One of the best tools in my arsenal? The to-do list, and while there are definitely days I don’t get through my to-do list. Lately there are more and more days where I rock it.

Here are my easy tricks for getting through your to-do list:

How to finish your to do list - stay at home mom

1. Don’t “overlist” yourself: If you aren’t getting through your list, put fewer things on it. This seems obvious, but for type A overachiever types (like myself) it’s not. No, you are not failing at your list because you are failing at life! You’re just over-scheduling yourself. I try to limit my list to 5 or 6 items.

2. Don’t make your list too rigid: My husband plans his day out by the hour, school from 8-10, work from 4-4, lunch from noon – 1 etc. But as mom’s (or stay at home dad’s) our lives just aren’t that predictable. Every single task is interrupted, there are hungry kids (who were just fed an hour ago), stubbed toes (that can only be healed by a kiss), peed pants, is it nap time already? You get the picture. It’s OK to have a few items that have to be completed at a certain time, but try not to get overwhelmed if it’s 2 pm and you’re not done yet. There are so many things we do as moms that can’t be quantified or checked off in a list. Healthy happy kids are the goal, not five satisfying check marks.

How to finish your to do list - busy moms

 

3.  Keep it consistent: For the most part, my list looks the same from day-to-day. It’s part of my routine and the fact that it is pretty similar day-to-day means that when I inevitably get distracted I can get back on track once the distraction is over, rather than wandering off and starting something else entirely. This tip is HUGE for me. Seriously, if you only pay attention to one of these tips, I would start with this one.

4. Start your list in the morning: Have you ever had a morning where you were too tired to get out of bed so you let the kids watch Daniel Tiger while you caught an extra thirty minutes of shut-eye? How did the rest of the day go? Was it easy to get back into your usual routine and be productive? I’m not saying days like that don’t happen. We’re human after all, but if you are looking for a productive day then it’s a lot easier if it starts out that way.

5. Keep your list in a visible place: My to-do list is on the baker’s rack in my kitchen. It’s front and center. I see it multiple times every day, so when I’m distracted or zoned out (now what did I come into the kitchen for?) I can see my list and get going. I don’t know if it’s my right-brained self or what, but I get side tracked easily. This tip helps me “re-rail” quickly when that happens…. like fifty times a day…

So, now that you’ve read my easy tips for how to get through your to-do list. Here’s my super easy way to make a reusable white board to do list.

First, take an 8 x 10 piece of paper, I used butcher paper, and crumple it up into a ball.

wadded paper

Then, smooth it out as best you can

2

Place it into a picture frame, mine came from the dollar store

3

And you are done!

How to be a productive stay at home mom

Grab a dry-erase marker and get to-do-ing. You can do a traditional to do list. Or you can even play a game with yourself. Check out this tic-tac-to-do list I made. Once you’ve accomplished three things you win! Wooo hooo!).

6

And it can be used for many purposes. I actually do my home pre-school on it before writing my to-do list in the morning.

5

Moral of the Story: Getting stuff done is hard. But you can do it! Go grab a to do list and feel productive :)

DIY nursing top, or how to make a low tank modest

Would you believe that this is a nursing shirt?

Here's another one

Well, it is! And I made three just like it. I’m in major nesting mode and I need to prepare for the new baby. So I spent the morning making these nursing tops instead of cleaning or boxing, oh, I’m moving in a week. I really should have been boxing stuff up. Pshhh… whatev.  I got rid of a bunch of clothes and found a way to make these old shirts work. I’ve worn each of them only a handful of times because they all turned out to be too low and layering them with other tanks never seemed to work. So here’s my DIY nursing top, or if your tanks tend to creep down, a way to make them more modest.

I started out with four tops.

DIY nursing tank top tutorial

I chose to use the white one as a base for all the other tops. I cut off the straps and then cut along the seams so I had two panels, I cute those panels in half and used three of them for the three shirts.

DIY Nursing tops

snip off the straps

 

DIY nursing top

Imagine each of these two panels cut in half

 

I turned the uncut shirts inside out and laid the panels on top.

DIY nursing top

 

I added lace to the panels on a couple of them. Then I pinned the panels and sewed them onto the shirts.

DIY nursing top

I sewed four lines on each tank top. Two little ones on the straps and then two long ones along the side seams. For the pink shirt I just found the seams and sewed all along. Be careful to only sew on seams so it doesn’t show through.

DIY Nursing top

DIY nursing top

DIY nursing top

When you are done sewing just turn the top right side out and put it on. You are ready to nurse discreetly! Just pull the inner panel up and push the outside tank or shirt down. Let me show you a picture so you see what I mean.

DIY nursing top

A normal layered top? You would think so!

DIY nursing top

wa-Bam! To actually nurse pull the bottom down as well and it leaves this tiny little opening for baby to eat without anyone realizing what’s going on.

Here's another one

Here’s another one

DIY nursing top

See how it works? It’s so sneaky!

This is my least favorite one but it still worked out OK.  I wish I would have attached the undershirt a bit lower.

This is my least favorite one but it still worked out OK. I wish I would have attached the undershirt a bit lower.

It still works, and it's a loose shirt I can wear easily as soon as baby is born.

It still works, and it’s a loose shirt I can wear easily as soon as baby is born.

 

It’s a simple project, but I would suggest a stretch needle and a gathering foot to make it go smoothly. Good luck and happy sewing! P.S. I am so not a seamstress so if I explained anything the wrong way please help each other out in the comments. :)

Baby {food} making!

baby food DIYI just finished my first baby food making extravaganza. The kiddos were in bed, the house was reasonably clean, and I had a fridge full of goodies that would make great first foods for Little Jaguar. I like the idea of making my own baby food because it’s cheap and I know exactly what kind of processing went into making it, plus I get a sense of accomplishment from knowing that I don’t need Gerber to feed my baby. I can do it all on my own. :)

If you want to shed the shackles of store-bought baby food too feel free to follow along:

Today I made Mango, Pear, Sweet Potato, and Carrots for my little gourmet.

I started with the carrots, I peeled 4 large carrots and chopped them up into large chunks. Then I steamed them until they were soft (about 15 minutes) and put them in the blender along with 1 cup of the liquid I used to steam the carrots (I used this liquid because after steaming it’s really nutrient dense). I blended it all up ( by pressing the “batters” button on my fancy blender) and then poured it into an ice-cube tray which I covered and put in the freezer. Later I popped the carrots out and put them in a labeled freezer bag complete with the date. These amounts filled one ice-cube tray.

carrot baby food recipe

Next came the Mango. This was the easiest one. I just peeled and pitted the mango, blended it, poured it into an ice-cube tray, covered it, and froze it. Once again, popping it into a labeled freezer bag after it was frozen. Three large mango’s filled half of an ice-cube tray.

mango baby food recipe

Mmmm, I love me some pear sauce. I used my fancy apple corer to peel and core 4 pears which I then steamed until they were soft, (about 5 minutes) and blended with 1/2 cup of the steam water.

coring pears

This mixture was then poured into an ice-cube tray, covered, frozen, and then popped into a labeled freezer bag. These amounts filled 1/2 an ice-cube tray.

pear baby food recipe

Finally, the sweet potatoes. I peeled one large sweet potato and diced it into about 1 inch cubes. I then steamed it using the leftover pear steaming liquid. It took about 20 minutes to soften. The potato was then blended with 1 cup of steam water, covered, frozen, and finally popped out into a labeled bag. One potato filled 1 and 1/2 ice-cube trays.

sweet potatoes baby food recipe

When you want to use the food, just reheat it in the microwave. Frozen baby food should be used within one month of making it, which shouldn’t be a problem here. I taste tested all of these, and I was almost wishing I was a baby again, it was pretty yummy.

DIY baby food recipes

You can follow the above formulas for just about any fruits or vegetables, but don’t try to freeze mashed up bananas. It doesn’t work, however you CAN freeze sliced bananas and THEN blend them into a yummy banana custard type creation. Just a thought.

So, did anybody try this? What is your baby’s favorite food? Is the time worth the money saved? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments :) Thanks, and happy Baby {food} making ;).

God said no today

All three kids were crying. My two plus the one I was babysitting. They were all crying and there was no way I could meet all of their needs at once. It was noisy and desperate and I felt like locking myself into a room just so I could breathe for a minute. I said a quick prayer, “Heavenly Father, please please please let them all take their naps at the same time,” and as I said it, I felt a quiet but firm no come into my heart. I should have stopped there, but I’m weak and I asked again, “Lord, I’m so tired. Please let me have a break. Please let them all take naps at the same time. I know you can do it.”  Once again, I felt a firm no, but I also felt something else. I felt a gentle, I know you can do it. You aren’t by yourself. I will help you.

Strength and the will to continue on flowed through me for the next seven hours as I wrangled two precocious toddlers and one baby who not only wouldn’t be napping at the same time, they wouldn’t be napping at all. Even though it was exhausting and frustrating, it was also wonderful. Each of those children touched me with their innocence, their sweetness, their humor. And as the day comes to a close I realize that if Heavenly Father had said yes I wouldn’t have appreciated those moments as they deserved. I wouldn’t have had the chance to cuddle each child as they fell asleep for the night, one by one, each asking to sit in my lap as their napless day caught up to them. I wouldn’t have appreciated the quiet that bedtime eventually brings, and I wouldn’t have known that I can do it because I have Heavenly Father on my side, sending me help.

So here’s to the tired moms of the world. Moms with little ones who depend on them for everything. Heavenly Father may say no when you ask for a break, but that doesn’t mean He’s not supporting you through your endless loads of laundry, your sleepless nights, and your constant quest to teach and touch your family. I firmly believe that he is there with you, loving you for your sacrifice and sending you the kind of support you can only feel with your heart, and at the end of the day, I hope we’re all better when we’re told no, I know that I’m better because God said no today.

How to Love your postpartum body

How to love your postpartum body

I love babies :) Something inside me just swells up when I think about babies. I can’t describe it as it deserves, but motherhood is very fulfilling and wonderful to me. Sacrificing my sleep, my sanity, and my body are really small prices to pay for children… but one thing I don’t think should be sacrificed for babies is my confidence. I think that children thrive when they have a mother who loves herself… and that includes her body. Here is a list of things that have helped me to love my after baby body in spite of and because of perceived imperfections.

1. Remember that you are strong. You carried your baby for nine months. You went through labor and delivery to bring your baby into this world. You are not only strong, you are amazing!

2. Thank your body. Your amazing body made it possible for you to be  a mother. Take the time to be grateful for the strong legs that carried him, the soft fat that cushioned him, the wide hips that opened so he could enter the world, the breasts that feed him, the arms that now carry him. I get chills thinking about all the wonderful things I can do because of my body.

3. Don’t spend too much time in front of the mirror. As women we tend to look only at what we think is wrong with us rather than what is beautiful.

4. Don’t pull out the pre-pregnancy clothes too fast. You’ll just feel bad trying to squeeze into those tiny pants.

5. Get dressed every morning. I’m not suggesting elaborate hair care or make up every day. Just put on some clothes that make you feel pretty – it will make a big difference – even if no one else sees it, you will, and you’re the only one who matters when it comes to feeling good about your body.

6. Talk about it with someone you trust – It’s OK to miss your pre-pregnancy body, talking it out can help you feel better. I found talking to my husband made me feel better – he listens without judgement.

7. Take care of yourself. I always feel prettier when I eat well and exercise.

8. Pray about it. Heavenly Father loves you. He made you. He thinks you are beautiful and if you need help loving your body, he can help you do it.

9. Lose yourself in service, this is easy to do when you have a new baby to serve. When I focus my energy on my children and serving my family body issues don’t even cross my mind.

10. Remember that you can get back to normal. Some things will always be different, stretch marks and other badges of motherhood don’t go away, but you can lose the extra weight and firm back up as you take care of yourself.

11. If body issues go beyond just body issues (postpartum depression) get help.

These are the things that helped me go from looking at my body with disgust right after Little Lion’s birth to looking at my body with sincere gratitude right after Little Jaguar’s birth. So what about you? What has helped you love yourself, or do you even have trouble with this in the first place?