friday close-ups with: Jane Gray Bledsoe

This week for Friday Close-ups one of my very best friends, Jane Gray shares with us a little bit about her motherhood journey. Jane Gray is one of those moms who I can call or text at anytime and know I will be getting great encouragement and advice from.

How many kids do you have and how old are they?

Hello :) My name is Jane Gray and I am the blessed mama of two little boys. James is 3 1/2 and David is 5 months. They absolutely steal my heart on a daily basis and time needs to freeze. I am loving these ages!

What was the hardest thing about becoming a new mom?

The hardest part of becoming a new mom was getting to know my little one. They have an advantage because they have gotten to hear your voice for 9 months and so instantly they are comforted in your arms. What a glorious birthday it is! You meet at last! I learned that it took time to get to know James and slowly (snail pace slow) I figured him out. Once I figured him out, things got much much easier. It turns out that he is the carbon copy of my husband!  I learned what he liked, how he liked to be swaddled, his favorite sleep position, etc etc etc. So, if you are a new mom, with patience, you will get to know your baby. Give yourself much grace as you learn to take care of this little stranger that will forever steal your heart! 

What helped you the most to get through the newborn stage with your babies?

Encouragement from my mom, mother-in-law,  and the other friend moms around me (shout out to Gina & Sarah N.!!)  I listened closely to their advice and listened to the motherly instinct within me to care for my newborn. I'll never forget how calm my mom was with James. She taught me how to be a mother by just watching her take care of him when I was feeling scared or inadequate to do so. She always gave me encouragement and helped to build my confidence by just being there with me the first 2 weeks. She gifted me with her time and took care of all of the housework so that I could just focus on feeding my newborn and sleeping. And I am SO blessed to be very close to my mother-in-law as well. She also gifted me her time and took such good care of me and my babies when they were born. I'll never forget one night she drove to CVS @ 3 am to get something we needed for James.   Just having friends in the same boat helps a ton. This blog is so wonderful for this very reason! Coffee and espresso didn't hurt either! lol 

Do you co-sleep or does your baby sleep in their own crib and why?

Both my boys sleep in their own beds. It was important to us at an early age that they develop good sleeping habits and this just worked best for us. They know their routines so it makes bedtime easy for us. We eat dinner, take baths, read books, sing sings, and get in bed. They both love their beds and have early bedtimes (7 pm)  so that my husband and I can enjoy a peaceful night of watching TV, reading a book, drinking a glass of wine, and catching up on our day.

What is something you would go back and tell yourself as a new mom?

GRACE GRACE GRACE. It's OKAY to cry. It is GOOD for the soul to laugh. It is OKAY to get frustrated. It is OKAY to not know what you are doing.. and then laugh about that. It's also okay to completely lose it and cry at the drop of the hat just because of hormones. Throw the books away (!!!) and just listen to the motherly instincts that God gave you. My BFF Bella gave me that advice. I took it to heart and instantly became more relaxed because I was no longer trying to fit my son into a puzzle piece that wasn't working. Get to know your baby with lots of snuggles, cuddles, and kisses. Rock them. Rock them to sleep. Wear them around. Rock them some more. And take in their new baby smell and praise the Lord for them! YOU were called to be this little one's mommy and you are the only mommy that knows what he or she needs. It is so wonderful to have advice from moms that have gone before us, but sometimes that advice can get overwhelming. Listen to your mommy heart and do what you think is best for your baby even if it goes against all the rules…you'll never get the teeny tiny newborn weeks back! They go so fast so enjoy them :) 

How has having kids changed your marriage for the good or bad?

Having kids has changed our marriage for the good. Daily, we cannot believe that God gifted us these precious children that we get to love and nurture. We strive to "date" each other often and put the kids to bed early so we can enjoy the night together. We love to talk about their quirks they get from us and how we may do our VERY BEST as parents, but somehow and in some way, we will mess up… and that's okay because who wants to be perfect parents anyway!??? Our marriage is stronger having had kids. Children take sanctification to a whole new level!

What resource has helped you the most in your journey of motherhood?

Kara Tippetts. She wrote a blog titled Mundane Faithfulness and she wrote a book called The Hardest Peace. Both of these resources absolutely rocked my world as a mother. Her insight and biblical wisdom has been so foundational as a mom. If you have not read her blog or book, I highly recommend you obtain a copy asap. She helped me to understand that my role as a mom, as mundane as it can be at times, is so significant to Jesus. He is crazy about the mundane details of being a mom. When we are wiping dirty faces, cleaning spilled milk, sweeping crumbs, or singing songs, our work is so important to the King! We are showing our little people the love of Christ and this absolutely changed the way I lived as a mom. She also helped me to pray for patience, kindness, and love towards my little ones. I am forever thankful that the Lord brought her in my life when he did. I still read through her book over and over and over again. 

What is your go-to meal to make?

Tacos! My favorite brand is Tortilla Land and they are uncooked.  I keep tortillas in the freezer (best brand here  and seasonings on hand for taco night. It's so easy to sauté some veggies to go with it for a quick and easy meal.

How do you juggle kids and getting errands and chores completed?

I have to follow a routine for the week or I will get overwhelmed. I try to put a load of laundry in at night and fold in the morning to keep up. I've got a cleaning schedule I *try* to stick to and this helped tremendously. I'm not sure that I will ever fully complete all my chores while I have little ones around, but i know the dishes and the laundry will be around FOREVER so if i am behind, i give myself grace. This is so hard for me because I am OCD when it comes to keeping a tidy home. I THRIVE on order and organization. My mood often reflects the tidiness of my home. I'm still trying to figure this one out. And i don't have it together. Not sure if i ever will. But today, i'll give myself grace that the dishes are over flowing and the laundry hasn't been put away.