Monday, March 28, 2016

If You "'Just' Want to be a Mom"

If I've ever heard you say you, "just want to be a mom," chances are, I've rolled my eyes at you...

I'M SORRY. Please forgive me! 

Obviously becoming a mom has changed my perspective more, but it started when I worked in a residential treatment center for young girls before I got married and realized none of them would be there if they had a mother more dedicated to her calling. 

Please don't say you are 'just' a mom anymore, because I know just as well as you do that you are SO much more than that. If you need to hear that your role as a mother is close to Godliness, watch this: Behold Thy Mother. It will be the best 16 minutes and 44 seconds of your day (besides cuddling your cuties of course.) That was truly an answer to my prayers last year. I'm not going to tell you how amazing you are because honestly, I would hope you already know that. There's no need to justify your important role to anyone! 

But I hope being a mom doesn't stop you from getting an education. I knew several women who stopped going to college because they wanted to be mothers. While that is a very prestigious eternal goal, please keep going! It's such a benefit to you and your family to get a college education! I know that none of us plan to lose our husbands when we get married wether it be to death or divorce but it happens and I just want you to be prepared. My mother was married 23 years and then my parents divorced. She was then pushed into this world she never wanted to be in. The college world, trying to get a degree so she could find a job that would pay her enough to take care of herself once the alimony was over. She did it! I am so proud of her for it! But she is not rare. Mothers all the time have to find ways to take care of their families. School is so much easier when you are younger (from what I hear). I've had several mom's in my classes who were coming back to school after divorces. 

I remember one with 4 kids, she looked to be around 30 years old. She was having a hard time with school and raising 4 kids. She was receiving child support for them. After some time, she and her Ex Husband came to an agreement that they each would have full custody of 2 kids. They went to court and it was also decided that he didn't need to pay her child support anymore since they each had fully custody of 2 children. Well that threw her for a loop so she then needed to work to pay for the kids she had. AHHH how stressful?!?! Work, school, parenting! Just pick 2 and you're stressed to the max!

Life insurance isn't the answer if your husband wants to leave you or if he looses his job and it takes him a while to find a new one. You could stay home for 20 years and if he wants out you get a few years of alimony and then you're on your own. I feel like I see or hear of a new divorce every other week. It truly saddens me! The summer I got married I had 2 close friends tell me their situations and let me know they wanted to leave their husbands. I'm sitting there thinking "HOLY CRAP! What did I get myself into?" I was a newlywed trying to give marital advice?!? What did I know? Well I can tell you that with strong gratitude for my education in marriage and family studies I asked them to both give their husbands another chance and not to leave. Well they both did excellent or maybe I had a good feeling about each and was led to say what I did, because they are each very happy with their husbands now. 

I want your families to stay together forever! But I am also not oblivious to the fact that separation can happen to anyone and I want mama's to be prepared. It's sort of like keeping a food storage. Some people may not need it, but others might be SO grateful they heeded that counsel. 

If this only encourages 1 mama to finish school who may really need that education one day, it will be worth it to me! It's never too late to go back to school. It's such a benefit to you even though you may never bring in a pay check. 

With Love,

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Don't Marry for Love Only

((I've included some of our 'not so perfect' family pictures with this post-- because this is our reality.))

(Jaxon had to be bribed with fruit snacks. He had 4 packages)

Why do people get married to a particular person? I think the most common answer is because they "love" that person. Is love a justifiable reason to spend eternity with someone? I don't think it is. How many divorces each year claim they "fell out of love"? Well I don't know the statistics, but I can tell you it's one too many.

To young people out there thinking about marriage because you get butterflies when you're with him or her, you love this person, you enjoy being around them, they accept you, they are your better half, or you just feel like yourself around them, I've got to call BS on this. These qualities are NOT going to get you through a lifelong marriage. I want to pose a few different reasons to look for. 

Those butterflies will fade. Think of how comfortable you were with your parents and siblings growing up. It's going to be like that. Butterfly feelings don't come around often when you and your spouse are comfortable going #2 on the toilet in front of each other, when you start having financial troubles, when you start having kids, and so much more! You won't always feel like you're "in love." Sure you love them but that isn't the same thing. Feeling like yourself around them isn't always a good thing. Personally, I get moody and emotional. My PMS time involves being depressed for 2 days. I'm a pretty impatient person.. I want things in the time frame that I have planned... Do you think my husband would say he loves that I can be myself around him? Probably not always. I'm sure know he wishes I was more patient and complained a lot less. He also knows that I wish he spent less time on his phone and wasn't so obsessed with sports. This is where, "but they accept me" doesn't work. We are suppose to make each other better people so that when we are old and look back on life, we can see how much we have changed for the better with the help of our spouses. Just accepting who we were when we first got married isn't going to progress us much. 

I would never call him my 'better half' nor does he call me his. First I think it's cheesy and cliche. Second, we are human. Half of me is a pretty decent person and half of my probably sucks and is unenjoyable.. same for him and same for everyone. Luckily together we make a pretty decent team. On top of that though, you shouldn't be looking for your other half. You should already be a whole person when you find them. Two whole people not two half people. Jordan and I were two whole people when we starting dating. We wanted to find a spouse, but not to complete us. We compliment each other but complete each other.  

So here is what I want to pose for you to search for instead. Search for someone you make a good team with. Someone you can trade off work with. When you become a parent things change SO much in your relationship. I had a professor in college tell me the majority of divorces occur within 5 years of having your first child.. Assuming this is true, I can see why! After children think of your marriage less like your typical 'In love- I want to spend all my time with you' and more like a shift trade at a job. Let's use a nurses profession. One of you works the day shift and one of you works the night shift and when you interact it's filling the person coming in on the current patients, their vitals, how much medicine they've had, when they can have more, what the pain level has been like etc. Then you leave and the other person takes over. 

THIS is your new relationship. Jordan comes, I tell him when the last feedings and diaper changes were. How the moods have been and then he takes over and I do something different (gym/clean/cook/homework/nap/etc). Same thing goes the other way when trading off. Sometimes we think we can split and conquer (but mostly we both feel defeated) where we each take a kid and whoever has the toddler gets him out of the house because he goes crazy inside all day, but the baby is still pretty new and can't be out that much. Neither of you feel you get enough time to yourselves. He gets to play basketball twice a week with friends if he wants while I say home with the kids (usually the toddler is asleep by then though.) My alone time usually consists of napping since I feed the baby in the night. We trade off watching the kids when we go to the gym. Taking them grocery shopping is a nightmare so he stays home with them and I go. Do you see where I am going with this? There isn't a lot of "us" time after you have children. I don't want to scare anyone off from having them, because we truly do love and enjoy our boys, but our relationship isn't going to be like it was before them (maybe after they grow up and move out?) and they are a handful!!!
"Mama, please don't touch me!"

Our toddler is new to this toddler bed. He often runs out of his room and gets in bed with us anywhere from 2-5am. The baby also sleeps in bed with us because he can't sleep without being next to me... So when you think of marriage as that cute couple cuddling in bed together-- erase that idea from your mind! It isn't realistic when you have babies. Instead picture one of you on the very edge of the bed one of you on the other edge of the bed with a babies face buried in the mom's chest and a toddler in the middle of the bed with the most space and his leg is on one of your faces. Romantic right?
"Anyone want a fruit snack?"

You know that cute family picture you want? You'll rarely feel like you captured it, or be thankful that by some miracle out of the 100 attempts your toddler looks like he wants to be in a picture with you for 1 of them! 

Last night Jordan was up with our toddler at at 5am while I slept with the baby next to me and then this morning I was up with the toddler while he was in bed sleeping with the baby. We know that one day this is going to get better. They get older everyday. We just have to work as a team and understand that right now, with 2 kids under the age of 2, most of our days are about sacrifice.

Nothing I am saying is anything new. Anyone older than us is probably shaking their heads and smiling because they have been there. But I also hope & pray they are thinking "it gets better." But this is for those cheesy and at times unrealistic couples thinking marriage is about love and being yourself. I can tell you now that after sleep deprivation from a child you are NOT yourselves, and you also need to learn how to love and cooperate with your significant other when you aren't yourselves. 

Find out if you are a good team before you get married. Build something together. Babysit. Try to teach the other one how to do your job. Also before you try these things, maybe set your alarm clocks the night before for every 2 hours and then stay up for 30 minutes after it goes off. Try this for a week. If you're arguing and frustrated with each other-- GOOD! You should be. But you'll need to learn how to work together as a team. To me this is the most important part of your marriage. At least one of you needs to be a pretty patient person. I wasn't blessed with that naturally, but am SO grateful my husband is! I'm the more organized one. I'm more emotional and he's more logical (pretty typical for men and women). We need both. 

My husband just went to the store with one child. I am home with the other. Welcome to our lives as parents! 

Yours Truly, 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How Being a Mom Helps Me

Sometimes being stranded alone on an island, doesn't sound so bad. Quiet. Peaceful. Sounds of the ocean. All to myself! Not worrying about anyone else. Not seeing anyone's opinions on social media. Not comparing myself to that beautiful pregnant girl, who's 8 inches taller then I am, who's got perfect hair and legs for days. Leaving my phone behind, no more calls or text messages! Getting the chance to have the best night of sleep not worrying about all the things I need to do the next day... And then I remember how much I hate bugs, mice, and other strange animals... Then that stranded on an island dream starts to fade...

Some mornings, I just don't want to get out of bed. Not because I'm depressed, but because I need to wash the same bottles I just washed 4 days ago. I need to vacuum the same carpet that was vacuumed 3 days ago. I need to do the same dishes I just did yesterday. I'm going to have to change several diapers on a baby who won't sit still. I'm going to try on another shirt that isn't going to fit this growing belly. I'm going to have to cook... again. These don't motivate me to get out of bed.

But I do it anyway, because this boy...

... deserves the BEST mama in the whole world!!! So I get up, leave the annoying thoughts behind me and put on my super mom cape.

I roll around on the ground and crawl on the hard, cold tile just to play with him. I spin him around and through him the air until I feel like I'm going to throw up. I carry him even when my arms are tired. I sing goofy songs and make up tunes that my husband probably laughs at me for. I avoid turning on the TV when he's not sleeping.

For years I struggled with a depressive attitude. My husband did a great job of helping me. But I owe the majority of the credit to this sweet boy!

This didn't happen over night. I woke up a few days ago and realized I haven't felt the way I used to for a while! Being a mom has given me a great purpose to live and to really feel alive! Being a mom has given me an excuse to eat healthier and care more about my physical and mental health. Being a mom can be stressful. I have raised my voice. I have wanted to pull my hair out. I have cried.. A LOT! I have put my son in his crib when I just couldn't deal with him. But he is my reason for waking up every morning and being the best person I can be.

But he's not the only one. Jaxon won't be an only child. Maybe this pregnancy has turned my hormones for the better? We still have 2 and a half weeks until we find out this baby's gender. But it's an angel. It's up there looking down on me and cheering for me every day. Why? Because it wants and deserves the BEST mama and it wants to make sure I am doing all I can to be that. It's the sweetest little thing not causing me any morning sickness. (It really is an angel :) )

My kids won't care what number I see on the scale, they don't care if I'm the most fashionable mom, and they don't care how many likes I get on Instagram. They just want me to be happy, healthy, fun, kind to others, and to know how much I love and support them. So I work harder on my marriage not only for Jordan and I, but also for my kids so they can have the best parents. I work harder on myself to be better. I read the scriptures with a little more intent. I pray with more of my heart then repetition. I ask the Lord to help me be better for them. Because my kids deserve the absolute best part of me. They healed me. They make me better.

I can only pray to be half as loving, caring, and kind-hearted as my son. :)  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Parenting: Year 1- Pregnancy, Labor & Delivery

Jordan and I decided when we were dating that we wanted to wait at least a year after marriage before we tried to conceive a child. We thought that would give us enough time to establish our marriage and for Jordan to finish college. So it took him by surprise when 2 days after our wedding I told him I wanted to have a baby.

“No Way!” he said.  

I was 25 when we got married. I had always thought and wanted to be finished having children by the time I was 30. After all, it’s harder to conceive after 30 and there’s a greater chance for more problems, right? If I was going to have 3-4 kids we needed to get on that! It took a little convincing and faith on Jordan’s part, but 4 months into marriage he was open to the idea and very gratefully on my end we conceived the first month.

I was extremely tired and exhausted that first trimester. I was nauseous all the time but only threw up 2-3 times, and they were self-induced because I was just so nauseous. I knew it would go away if I could just get it all out. Looking back, I had a fairly easy pregnancy. No new stretch marks, my morning sickness wasn’t terrible, I gained a healthy amount of weight, and I didn’t have back pain! I just hated feeling fat! I know there’s a baby in there, but I still just felt huge all the time, and I hated that. I couldn’t do a lot of things I considered to be fun, and like every other pregnant woman, I had a hard time sleeping and had to pee all the time. Oh, and my body odor was terrible!! I had to shower twice a day and even then my husband would still ask me if I showered that day! Also, my breath was awful; it didn’t matter that I had just brushed my teeth. On top of that I had the worse gas! I am convinced that one is straight from Jaxon because some of his yucky diapers smell just like the horrible gas I used to pass! (Sorry probably TMI, but just being honest.)

I remember face-timing my mom to let her know I was pregnant. I started the conversation with, “If your daughter was pregnant, would you want her to tell you in person or over the phone?” Keep in mind, I have a sister who is 4 years younger than I am and wasn’t married. She cringed, and said “Which daughter?” I just smiled and asked again. She was nervous. I finally let her know it was me. She was excited, but the joke was still on her because a few weeks later we found out my sister was also pregnant! We were just as excited for her too though. Our sons are 6 weeks and 6 days apart. I loved being able to be pregnant with Samantha and have her there to talk too since she knew what I was going through.

(Pedicure with sissy a week before Jaxon was born)

I was induced at 39 weeks. When I was 37 weeks pregnant we moved 2 hours away from where I had spent most of my pregnancy. I didn’t want to find a new doctor because I really liked my midwife. We had decided it would be best to plan his birth rather than letting it happen and worrying about a 2-hour drive. I was so nervous about the induction, though. It seemed like everyone I knew who had been induced had had a bad experience.


June 18, 2014-
We woke up that morning around 5am so that we could leave a little before 6am. My appointment was for 8am. I had been contracting the drive down, but I didn’t even realize that’s what they were. I just felt my stomach getting really tight and thought he was laying on the outer part of my insides. Around 9:10am the Pitocin was started. When I was 4 cm dilated I asked for an epidural. Pain and I don’t mix. Due to this being planned, we had several phone calls and text messages coming in from friends and family members wanting to know what was happening at every moment. If I could go back and change things, I would have had Jordan turn our phones off. After a few hours on the epidural, I asked them to turn down the dosage. My legs felt like jelly. I couldn’t move them and knew I was going to need some kind of feeling in order to push. Somehow the machine got turned off in the process but it was still working because I didn’t feel an ounce of pain through his birth.

Jordan had stepped out of the room to talk to a friend who worked at the hospital. When he came back in Dr. Hansen let him know it was go time! That was much faster than he thought it was going to be. He went to the bathroom and then let our families know I was about to push. It was around 4:40pm when I started to push. The hospital was short on nurses so Jordan was a lot more involved then he had planned, seeing absolutely everything that was going on down there  (poor guy). I had a mirror set up because I wanted to see everything as well. I knew I could push him out faster if I could see his head. It was like running a race and seeing the finish line. I could “sprint” him out. A little over 20 minutes later, our sweet Jaxon Wade Jacobsen was born at 5:03pm. I tore a little. Not too bad, only 3 stitch’s.

Jordan had been nervous and feeling inadequate about being a dad my entire pregnancy. It was so nice to just look at him and see tears in his eyes. Jaxon and I did skin-to-skin for the first 90 minutes of his life. For anyone unfamiliar with that, the mom holds the newborn directly on her skin touching the baby’s skin for at least an hour. There are suppose to be several benefits to this (look it up if you’re interested! I loved it.) Can you picture holding a million dollars or more in your hands? Like how crazy would it be to hold a life-changing amount of something in your arms and it’s all yours. Holding Jaxon for the first time was better than that. It was like God was saying, “I just placed the most valuable thing you could hold, in YOUR arms. Nothing else you could ever have will be worth more than this. I trust you. He is all yours.” There isn’t even a word to describe that feeling. Love is such an understatement when it comes to how you feel about your child.

Family members had to wait for his first photo and measurements as we were bonding. Jordan just stayed next to us and it was perfect. I had waited 9 years for this day! I get to keep this one! He was sent here for me. I get to be HIS mom!! It was the best day moment of my entire life. After Jaxon was finished eating Jordan got to hold him for the first time. Jordan was standing and did sort of a Lion King ‘hold baby in the air facing dad’ thing and Jaxon immediately peed all over him. I thought it was hilarious! He handed him right back. He weighed 7 pounds 5 ounces, and was 19 inches long.  My mother and father in-law came to the hospital just 2 hours after he was born. They didn’t stay too long but this was their first grandchild and they were very eager to meet him. We had a few other friends come visit but since we were hours away from most of the people we knew we have a lot of alone time at the hospital, which I was so grateful for.

(SO Exhausted!) 

We stayed in the hospital for 2 days. Jaxon was jaundice so after his first 24 hours of life he was on the lights. I just kept crying seeing him there. He didn’t want to be in that hospital crib. He just wanted his mom to hold him so he was crying too. That was really hard for me. I asked Jordan to give him a priesthood blessing and he did. When he was tested again the next morning he was good to go home! I was so thankful for that. I couldn’t stand seeing him on the lights. I don’t know why it was so heart breaking for me (hormones!), but all Jaxon and I wanted was for him to be in my arms and he couldn’t be. Hearing him cry right next to me and not being able to hold him just tore at my heart.

They say you become a mom as soon as you find out you are pregnant but that dads become fathers as soon as the baby is born. This was very true for us. Seeing Jordan immediately become a father and seeing his protective instincts take over was extremely attractive! He is such a proud dad.

Jaxon was born on a Wednesday. We were able to leave around noon Friday. We had a 2-hour drive home and I know Jordan was so nervous driving back. I sat in the back with Jaxon as he slept the whole time. I finally got to bring my baby boy home!

Yours Truly, 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Adoption over Abortion

I read this Matt Walsh Blog Post the day he posted it and felt I had an experience I wanted to add. The fear of putting my heart out there stopped me at the time but I have a burning feelings to write something about it again this morning.

To Any Woman Unsure of What to do,

Maybe you just found out you're pregnant. You've made the decision already what you are going to do. Maybe you are now questioning it. Maybe you are 7 months along and still have no idea what to do. For 7 months I thought I was going to be a 17 year old mom, unsure of how I was going to finish my senior year of High School. I was pregnant with a baby boy. I had hopes and dreams for him. I wanted him to have the best. After much prayer, I'd decided the best thing for my boy was to have a married mother and father who were older than me who could love him as much as I did and take much better care of him.

Let me tell you about adoption.
When you hand your baby over, it will break your heart. Your arms will lock up and it will make it almost physically impossible for you to let your baby go. You've heard the phrase, "time heals all wounds." This is not true. You will go home feeling empty. The person who has been with you constantly for 9 months has been taken from your body and took your heart with it.

You will see other babies of the same gender and same age and wonder what your baby is doing. You will find that you have a month of sadness surrounding the time of your baby's birthday. You will know exactly how long he was, how much he weighed, his head circumference, the time he was born and all the details because that it all you have left of him. If you get pictures, you will cherish them. You will hold them to your heart and cry.

You will have times where you think you could have done it. You could have been a mother. You are right. But it wasn't about you, it was about your baby.

You will look in the mirror and not recognize your body. You're once perky boobs now sag and you're still a teenager or in your 20's. You will have stretch marks in places you didn't think you could. You have something called cellulite, (which you thought was an old person's thing) on your legs because your previous 105 pound body couldn't support a pregnant belly. You may have to explain to someone why your body is the way it is who doesn't know your story, when you wear a swimsuit. You think of a lie because you don't want to pour your heart out to a stranger. You work your butt off to get in fantastic shape because who's going to take you to prom looking like this? I'll tell you this though- You ARE beautiful! That light will show through and people will tell you that you have a glow about you. You'll look down at your imperfect stomach and you may smile, because it's evidence that the love of your life, once lived there.

There will come a day when you decide to have a child. You will worry. What if all of a sudden you can't have kids? Or what if you do get pregnant and you miscarry? What if something happened and now you've placed the only child you could biologically have for adoption?

Mine came 9 years later. I was pregnant. Like me, you might pray for another little boy (or girl if that is what you are pregnant with now). You will beg for that same gender child. My heart was longing for a little boy because I was missing a little boy. Girls are great too, next time. "God please, I beg you, let this be a little boy." You go in for an ultrasound. Fingers crossed. It seems like it takes forever for them to tell you what the baby is. You are told the gender... Exactly what you wanted! You are thrilled. You feel happiness and so much hope. You finish your pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. You cry hysterically. Your husband cries. Everything is perfect.

And then you get home

My plan was to place my baby in his crib and have him sleep in his own room. I couldn't do it. I couldn't let him out of my sight. He napped in my arms or my husband's for the first 2 months of life. Every nap was in our arms. Most of his naps still are and he's almost 6 months old. When he's in the bassinet at night you can't sleep. You check on him constantly. What if he stops breathing? You can't handle the thought of losing another baby. You can't sleep because all you can do is stare at him and make sure he's still alive. If you lost this baby it would absolutely kill you.

Sometimes you'll feel like you're cheating on your baby. But which one? For years, the child you placed for adoption had all of your love. That was the baby you've wanted. Are you cheating on that one now that you love a new one? Or maybe you are cheating on the one in your arms. You will tell this one that it's the cutest baby ever, when you know in that back of your mind that its the other cutest baby ever. You will begin to see what your baby now is doing and wonder when your first baby started to roll over and crawl, etc. You will wish you had seen those times in your first baby. You will appreciate every little thing your baby does, like watching them sleep and sometimes even watching them cry because it means they are real and there. You will feel this gratitude for them deeply. You will look at your baby in a happy moment and start balling your eyes out because there are not even words to describe how grateful you are that you have this little miracle. You will thank God every day that you got the chance to be this baby's mother.

You may find out that your first baby knows he's adopted. This will bring you joy. He knows you exist! For years you've been in love with someone who doesn't know you exist and it's an amazing feeling. But then you wonder. How did he react? Is he thinking about me? Will he want to see me one day? What if he doesn't? What if he's got his mom and that's all her needs? Or what if he does want to meet me? What will we talk about? Will he like me?

You may wonder if your babies look alike. How would they have treated each other? Don't dwell in that mind set. It won't happen, he has a family and it will only hurt more to dwell there.

In your hard times I want you to think about these things...

1) Remember WHY you placed your baby with that family. You wanted to give your baby its best chance. Your baby has a good life!

2) Remind yourself that if you were like me and was suppose to wait until marriage to have sex, that this child would not have ever existed. Remind yourself what a blessing he is to them.

3) Put yourself in his mother's shoes. What if you were 25 years old, married, college graduate, had so much going for you, except you couldn't biologically have kids. All you've wanted was a family. Think of how unfair that was for her. Feel her pain. I now have a special place in my heart for women who cannot have children. You've given her the BEST thing anyone could ever have. YOU made her a mother. YOU are selfless. You choose to be selfless everyday that you are not bitter. When I wonder how he's doing, I stop myself from emailing her because he is her child. I wouldn't want someone else imposing on my family. I sometimes dread the day he says "I want to meet my birth mother" because of her feelings. Maybe she will wonder, "Is he going to like her better?" Maybe she's scared or intimidated by the relationship you could have one day. I do not want her to feel this way. It's not fair that she should have to worry about this. He is her child. Think of her when things get hard. Think of how happy he's made her because of YOU. Love her. This helps me more than anything else!

4) You will be happy again. You will not regret Adoption over an Abortion. God will bless you. I promise you this.

Maybe you will choose a different path for your child, but I BEG you not to chose an abortion. Please turn a selfish act into a selfless act. Be honorable. Give your baby a life!

With so much love,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

To Opinionated Mothers

I'm a new mom, my baby will be 4 months old, 2 days from now. It seems that everywhere I look there is always contention on what is best for my baby. Breast Feeding vs Bottle Feeding, to Immunize or Not, Delivery with Medication or no Medication, Induction?, Crib, Bassinet or Your Bed, Stay at Home or Working Mom. Everyone has their opinion on what they think.

Well here is mine.. CHILL OUT!

*Breast Feeding vs Bottle Feeding*
Before Jaxon was born, Jordan and I were very set on Breast Feeding. The lady who taught our 'Preparing for Birth' class was a lactation consultant, so OF COURSE she was going to talk up nursing. Jaxon did well with latching on (some babies don't). But just 2 weeks after he was born my milk supply basically diminished. I felt I was starving him, so after a few weeks of nursing and supplementing, he became just a formula baby. For ME this made my life easier. It is nice being able to have other people feed him. I don't need to nurse to bond with my baby. Anyone who sees Jaxon and I together can see how much we love and adore each other. I was stressed so much while nursing, it hurt my uterus (which I didn't mind so much because it was contracting smaller), but it felt like my energy was being sucked right out of me and into him. So he had energy and I was a zombie. Also, due to wanting to catch up on sleep in the morning, I didn't eat breakfast until noon or 1-2 pm much of Jaxon's first month of life.. of course I was going to dry up, I didn't have enough calories. I was also stressed every moment that he was sleeping if he were still breathing. I know a lot of mother's worry about that but mine is a bit extreme. For those who don't know, I placed my first baby boy for adoption when I was 17 years old. I am very protective of Jaxon since I've waited 9 years for him. So the stress of his safety also took a tole on my body. As long as your child is being fed, I don't think God has a preference on this in general. For me, not breastfeeding is a blessing, for others breastfeeding is beautiful and they love doing it, and that's fantastic too! There is no medal either way for how you choose to feed your child. Do what is best for you and your baby, it's not the same for everyone.

*To Immunize or Not*
Let's be honest.. my sister and I choose to immunize, but let's say she decided not too, how does that affect Jaxon? or How would my immunized child  affect hers? It doesn't. Period.

*Birth with Medication or Not, Induction?*
I don't like to refer to birth without medication as 'natural birth' because guess what?! My babies still came out down there! Also, I don't like using 'natural birth' as a term for 'vaginal birth' because I in no way want to devalue the birth of mothers who deliver by Cesarean. I had an epidural with both of my boys. I LOVED it! My first came on his own a week early and my second was induced a week early. I LOVED BOTH EXPERIENCES! My sister's water broke on its own, but contraction didn't start on their own, so they were induced. She also had an epidural. Again, had she had a medicine free delivery at home, how again would that have affected me or my son? It wouldn't have. Every person is different and so is every pregnancy. When I have another child, I don't know if I will be induced or not, it will depend on that time what seems best. I know I will have an epidural again though. I don't want to go through all that pain. Some people say "well women have been doing this forever with out medicine" Well my answer to that is a lot more women and children used to DIE during birth too, so No Thank You! I'll do it my way and you do it yours. Again there is NO MEDAL, NO AWARD, NO RECOGNITION other than a "good for you" for doing it anyway you want. There is no special place in the Kingdom of God for Women who gave birth a certain way.

*Crib, Bassinet, Your Bed*
Before Jaxon was born, there was a book I read that I was set on following. There was a schedule and I was planning on having him sleep in his crib from the moment we got home. Well, that plan slapped me in the face! I couldn't part with Jaxon and neither can my husband. I hadn't even purchased a bassinet because I was so set on him being in his crib. Anxiety kicked in as I thought about Jaxon being all alone in another room. I knew I would be put every 5 mins to make sure he was still breathing. Jaxon also could not sleep if it wasn't right by me. Jordan and I decided the best thing for us was to have Jaxon sleep in the bed with us. We ALL slept better this way. Jaxon didn't even take a nap without laying on one of us at home until he was 2 months old. After 2 months I was able to put him down for naps in the bassinet and it transitioned into him sleeping there at night. Now I am transitioning him into naps in his crib so that eventually he can sleep there at night. Jaxon might be ready to sleep in his crib, but honestly, I'm not. I can't handle him in another room yet. Jordan and I are luckily on the same page. Sometime Jaxon will start fussing at 5am and I just put him in bed with us and he calms down and sleeps again. I remember trying to justify this to Jordan and he just said, "It's okay, I don't mind him in the bed with us." WOW! That was such a relief for me. Our next child might not have to sleep with us, or maybe it will. But either way, every mom deserves the right to choose for her child what SHE (and her partner) feels is best without judgement. Maybe Jaxon will be that kid at 5 years old who gets scared and comes in our bed cause I 'spoiled' him.. We don't care. If my child needs my comfort he is more than welcome to come to us to get it. I don't even care if he does that when he is 15 years old! I want him to always come to me when he needs comforting. Some may say that's wrong to have him sleep in bed with us, but again... How does it affect anyone else? Jordan and I find plenty of time other than at night to be intimate and have our alone time. It isn't affecting our marriage negatively, so don't let it affect you :)

*Stay at Home vs Working Mom*
I have been a stay at home mom for 4 months now. I do not plan to work full-time every (unless after they have all graduated, I choose too). I want to work though. I plan to get my Master's and work Part Time as a Marriage and Family Therapist once I'm done having kids and they are all in school. Part Time because we plan to live within the means of my Husband's income so that my income is fun money income or savings income and because I WANT to work but I also WANT to go to my kids games and activities. I've heard so many opinions from "I don't miss those days" and "I would have had more kids if I knew they'd be fun when they get older" to "these days go by so fast and then they grow up" and "enjoy it now." I've seen working mom's who feel superior because they work and mom who feel superior staying home because it's the "harder job".

Neither is superior. I love my son like any other mother. But I also love me time and get out of the house and work time. But I also could not work full time given the choice because I don't want to miss most of my son's waking hours. Stay at home mom's try to justify how 'hard' it is to stay home. I KNOW that it can be difficult, but nothing else is as rewarding. I don't want Jaxon growing up to me talking about how 'hard' it is raising him.  I don't want him to think he's a burden. Whether you think working or stay home is the more difficult job, again There is NO REWARD for having the "Harder" job. I don't even want whatever the "harder" job is! When you focus on what's harder you don't leave much room for enjoying life and appreciating the beauty. I want the easier job. I am not interested in a 'who's job is more difficult' battle. You can win that game all you want.

Please stop giving advice, (unless asked) on motherhood. Each mom will be guided to what is best for her and her baby. Let other moms enjoy their roles, stop trying to belittle them for not doing what you'd do.

Believe it or not, God gave us commandments to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. So in all my decisions I'm looking for the easier, least painful, more enjoyable choices. I will enjoy being a mother. There are plenty of other things in life to suffer through and think are 'hard'.. Parenting (and my Marriage) aren't going to be them.

With all due Respect,

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Want the Best for Your Children? Step 1: Put Your Marriage First!

I want to start by saying I have nothing against single parents. I know children can grow up to be wonderful when they have fantastic single parents and there are a lot out there. I have high respect for those people. I am just focusing on marriage for the point of this blog.

I was recently referred to the book "On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep" by Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, after I had asked for advice on whether our baby should be sleeping in the same room with us or a separate room. Thankfully, Jordan's wonderful Aunt Kim suggested I read it. I looked up reviews online about the book, and after some research, then reading the book myself, I realized it's something I want to follow.

My hopes were that it would get right to the point, and tell me exactly what to do. I was surprised when the first Chapter on "Right Beginnings" talked all about your marriage. This threw me for a curve, but the more I read, the more sense it made. Here are a few of my favorite parts:

"From the first breath to the last day on earth, nothing will impact a person's life more than the influence a mom and dad bring to the home environment"

"A healthy home environment starts with Mom and Dad's commitment to each other, from which a more perfect love is communicated to their children"

"It takes work and sacrifice, and it requires that both mom and dad be intentional in their love for each other"

"They become that way only through self-sacrifice, patience, and a devotional commitment to the happiness and welfare of each other"

"We believe if you really love your children, you will give them the gift of love, security, and a sense of belonging that can only be derived from an on-going demonstration of your love for each other as a husband and wife"

"Healthy parenting flows from healthy marriages"

"Children need to see an on-going love relationship that includes mom and dad enjoying each other as friends and not just parents. They also need to see their parents talking, laughing, working together and resolving conflicts with a mutual respect for each other. We cannot over emphasize this point: the more parents demonstrate love for each other, the more they saturate their child's senses with confidence of a loving, safe and secure world"

You probably get the point they are trying to make in just that bit I've summed up for you huh?

My favorite professor in college, Dr. Matthew Draper, told our class once that he can sit in church and point out the couples who most likely have marital problems just based on the way their children act. I believe it, and hope that after I have a Masters and years of experience I can be able to do that as well. Your children are a direct reflection of your parenting.

In church just a few weeks ago we had a gentleman who works in the criminal justice field say, "the #1 factor on if your child is going to be a criminal is if they grew up without a father." This does not mean every fatherless child is going to be a criminal, but most criminals did not grow up with fathers.

Something interesting I learned in school from a few different teachers was this:
1) Happily Married Parents have the BEST overall out come for your children (with school, jobs, success, marriage, just overall good person)
2) Separated/Never Married/ Divorced Parents who respect each other and get along are in second place for the best situation for their children
3) Separated/Never Married/ Divorced Parents who do not get along/argue/custody battles are next
4) Unhappily Married Parents are the worst overall for their children. When you continue in a loveless marriage "for the kids" you actually are doing them a disservice. They have the lowest high school graduation rates and are least likely to marry in the future. Can you blame them though? If that's what you thought marriage was would you want to marry?

I was asked by a couple women last summer if I thought they should leave their husbands, after telling me about their current situation. Although an unhappy couple is the worse off for your children, my first answer is No, do not divorce! I want every couple with problems working on their marriage before that even becomes a consideration. If you think your spouse is ready to give up, you need to do everything you can to make it work first. This person is worth fighting for. They are suppose to be the #1 person in your life. Make them feel that way! If they can see that, they may start trying. If you both try to make it work, it will!

Your spouse should be your #1 priority, NOT your children. I know I am not a parent yet, but I have been a child all my life and I can tell you that the stability of marriage holds your life together even when everything else in life seems to be falling apart.

"A good man is hard to find, but easy to keep."

Sadly I think a lot of unhappy couples start when women put their children before their husbands, become nagging, disrespect/belittle their husbands and stop caring to impress him. For a reality check women, read the book "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. I highly recommend this book.

Go on weekly dates and talk about things other than the kids. Take a couples vacation and do the little things for each other that make the other happy. I'm very pregnant right now... I've held the football a few times where Jordan asks me so he can practice kicking field goals. I go with him to pass the soccer ball so he can practice getting goals. Is that fun for me? Well... I like to make him happy lets's put it that way. I'll continue to do it when we have baby Jaxon.. I'll put out a blanket and leave Jax in his carseat, on the blanket, on the grass while I help Jordan because I will always do what I can to make him happy. Does he love playing board games with me or rubbing my feet? ... Not so much, but he loves to make me happy. That's marriage, putting your spouse before yourself. This will have the most positive effect on your children than any thing else! Have your children grow up and tell their friends, "I want a marriage like my parents." That will be the most flattering thing my children could ever say about Jordan and I.

You can say I'm new to this marriage thing, don't know what I'm talking about, or to wait a few more years and see how I feel. I will never take marriage or parenting advice from those people though, because I still look at my husband with the same love and admiration as the day we were married and that's never going to change.

"Once you have children, your marriage matters more not less, because now other people are counting on you." (Fatima Dedrickson)

Yours truly,