Dry Spells.

For quite a few months I have not written or shared much on motherhood and as a result there has been a dry spell here on the blog. The problem is that I have not had much to say. I am at a point in motherhood where I am trying to figure a lot out. Whenever I think " I got it" in regards to child-rearing my kids throw me a curve-ball and change in some way. I suppose it will be like this for a while since my kids are always changing and are each growing in their own individual ways.

Many days I am at a loss as to what to do and how to best raise my boys. Despite all the books, blogs, and advice I receive I still I feel like I am a referee, chef, house cleaner, doctor, coach, teacher, disciplinarian, and babysitter all at one time. Each boy has their own needs and whether it be a meal, a sickness, or a change in clothing size my days are starting to blur together. The OCD/ schedule-lover likes the monotonous life I live where I can to some degree expect what each day will look like. I am a control freak (and will be the first to admit that) at times and being able to decide what we do each day keeps my nerves at ease. At the same time, I sometimes stare outside or look on Instagram and long to have some spontaneity in my life. I wonder what it would be like to throw our normal routine out the window and just drive somewhere because we can. The struggle is real and as much as I try not to fantasize what my life could be life it is so easy to wonder what it could be like if I was more of a free spirit. I  am content with life right now (and have much to be thankful for) but at the same time I am up for a change in our day to day routine.

There is a quote from the show The Crown (a series on Netflix) where Queen Elizabeth II states " That's the thing about unhappiness. All it takes is for something worse to come along and you realize it  was happiness afterall. " After dealing with PPD for the second time I now know what it is to be happy. I have had days that were very low and now I can embrace and love the days that are no longer filled with the worries, fear, and anxiety that can come with postpartum depression. 2017 was full of change. Change and me don't mesh well. But I can see how God has used all of the change in our lives this past year to cause me to trust more in Him and to see more clearly how my ways are not my own. 

If you would like to share a little bit about your journey through motherhood, a birth story, reflection, book review, and/or want a space to share what is going on in your life please contact me @ ginazdavis@gmail.com and submit a post. This space has been very instrumental for my own life and I hope it can be a place for you to have a voice too. Thank you so much for listening to my ramblings and for sticking around. 

***If you did not know already, there is a private mom Facebook group for the blog called Baby Blue Mom Group. This group of moms are some of the most encouraging, kind, and loving women I know. If you would like to join please find us.

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December was filled with sickness at our house. 

December was filled with sickness at our house. 

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Failing at Your Expectations.

Ever since the day I found I was pregnant with our first son I always assumed that I would make an awesome mom. I even remember one of the first dates I ever went on with Nick where I told him my one dream in life was to be a mother. I told him it was one of the few things I knew I would be good at. Most things in life do not come easy to me, but when it came to taking care of kids I have always been a natural. So it was safe for me to assume that when the time came for me to have my own kids it would be something that would come easy for me. I quickly realized once my kids were born that 1. having your own kids is very different from watching someone else's and 2. there is so much responsibility that comes with raising little humans.

"Expectations ruin relationships" is a quote I heard in the past and seemed to stick with me. In life whenever I have been disappointed with my husband, friends, family, or kids it was because my expectations were not met. Recently, I have noticed I have a short temper and my patience is running on empty. In my mind, I try to blame-shift but really I am failing at my own expectations. I expect to always know how to correctly discipline my kids. I expect to know how to rightly balance my social, personal, and church life. I expect to be liked and loved by everyone. I expect to be listened to. I expect too much and then my expectations are not met. I expect to be this unrealistic super mom who can measure up to all the other moms I see but in the midst of it all I fail to see what I am doing well and right in the here-and-now. 

Instead of having a heart that cries out to God and waives a surrender flag, I am finding myself asking God why don't I have the answers? Why are my kids not listening to me? Why aren't my hours spent reading parenting books working? Why are my recipes not coming out right? And the lists go on.

Jen Pollock Michel wrote in her book Teach Us to Want, "Struggle is the prerequisite to surrender." The struggle part has been happening for quite a few months now and finally I am at surrender. Failing at your own expectations only leads you down a road where you focus on what is not working instead of a road to surrender, asking for help, and becoming more thankful. 

I will never be the mom I always dreamed of being if I set myself up failure from the start. I can't expect everyday to go as planned or prepare for every scenario. My kids are not going to obey me everyday and I can't take that personally. Their sinfulness is not mine, just like my sinfulness is not theirs. My desire for control will keep me from being the mother and wife I want to be if I don't surrender my inabilities and insecurities to the Lord. My worth and identity can't be found in what I can or cannot do, but rather in who I am already in Christ. Thankfully, I serve a God who will never fail and who has clearly laid out what I can expect from him in his Word and through his promises to me and my children.

Jen Pollock Michel goes on to say in her book: 

But the gospel moves us beyond getting stuck in the guilt and shame of our unholy desires. We can courageously own the truth about ourselves because of the sacrificial death of God’s son, Jesus; his innocence has been substituted for our guilt.

Instead of walking in shame and guilt for what I am not, I want the desire of my heart to be that I am pleasing God. God asks for perfect obedience and trust. Knowing our sinfulness and inability to achieve this standard, God sent his Son to do what we could not. God gives us the perfect obedience he requires of us in Jesus. May we rest in the knowledge that Christ has accomplished God's perfect expectations on our behalf. We can't do anything to gain his love and approval, it is a free gift. That is love!!!

Are you failing at your own expectations? Do you wish you could live up to something that is an unattainable self? Be reminded of the truth and remember that God knows our deepest desires of who we want to be, both the good and the bad. And he gifts us with a more satisfying identity through his son, Jesus.

 

My nemesis...the playroom

My nemesis...the playroom

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Poop emoji pumpkin was the special request from max.

Poop emoji pumpkin was the special request from max.

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God Made All of Me (Book Review)

If you think your child is too young to start talking about protecting their bodies and naming body parts by name, you might want to think again.

Just like many topics in life, our kids are remarkable on picking things up very quickly and we can find ourselves surprised later in life how much they knew at a very early age. My parents never had "the talk" with me, but I knew about sex as young as 5-years-old. Thankfully, I have never been a victim of sexual abuse, but let's just say that high school and college were eye-opening, and shocking, to me with how low people view themselves and treat other people's bodies.

Justin and Lindsey Holcomb do an incredible job at simply and carefully laying out what it means to protect your body, what God has made our bodies for, and how we can use our words to keep us safe and aware of what others might try to do to our bodies. I read this book to my boys without flipping through the pages first and was pretty surprised at how engaged they were the entire time. My two older boys are 5 and almost 3 and they are at the "curious stage." They want to know everything and I couldn't think of a better time to explain to them important things related to the human body.

Many people believe that only young girls and woman are susceptible to sexual abuse, but actually 1 in 6 boys will also experience sexual abuse in their lifetime! Having boys, this statistic made me realize that I can't be naive to the fact that my boys need to know what is right and wrong behavior and how they can use their voice to 1) tell me and my husband if something happens and 2) that they can and should always say "No!" to unwanted sexual conduct.

God Made All of Me teaches kids and adults the importance of naming each body part their actual name. Predators are very likely to use other words and not actually say "penis," "vagina," "breasts," etc. It is, therefore, important for us to use these terms at home so that they are not uncomfortable words but become second nature. The book also discusses who should be allowed to touch our bodies, when it is appropriate, and when it is necessary to say "No, please stop touching me!". 

I am so thankful that there is a book out there hat is raw, simple, and straight to the point. If we do not teach our kids what God intends for the bodies he has made, then someone else will. I may not be able to stop or prevent harm from ever coming to my kids, but with books like this and prayer I can at least give them the tools they need to protect themselves.

I was listening in on the boys conversations recently and my oldest told our middle son, “Our penis is a private part and you can say 'No! Don’t touch me!' Don’t be afraid. God made our bodies.” Even when I think they aren’t paying attention to me, they are. :) 

I HIGHLY recommend this book for parents of both boys and girls. Do not be afraid to be uncomfortable, but give your children the tools they need to respect their bodies and the bodies of others around them. 

This book was given to me in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  

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