What child gear could you not live without?
"The short list of things that are still around through 5 moves for our 4th baby:
1. Bumbo: An armchair when they're 4 weeks, a great neck exerciser when they're 2 months, a containment system when they're 4 months, a fun chair when they're 6+ months, and an entertaining piece of headgear when they're older. Also a wonderful way for them to be a part of the family at meal times even though they're not into that solid food thing yet. We put it right on the table. I also love the way it keeps them upright and able to be alert and look around when they start getting curious.
2. Umbrella stroller that is taller than average. I'm a short person and still have to bend over to push the mainstream cheap-o ones. Invest in a very light, tall stroller that won't send you to the chiropractor after a walk.
3. Baby monitor. The classic technology that lets moms know their babies are still breathing in the next room."
What activities did you take for granted before kids, that now feels rare and special?
"Sleeping through the night. All the way through. I'm not trying to bash my kiddos; but even on the nights when there's no bad dreams, wet beds, sick kids, or a little baby that needs to be fed and changed, my body still makes me get up and pee. The traitor."
How have you and your kids adjusted to moving multiple times?
"So far, our kids have proven to be very flexible with all the moves. We try to rejoice in the good things. The people/places/weather that couldn't be experienced at our old home. Also, when they're old enough and not just cluelessly along for the ride, a lot of verbal processing. What can I say? They're girls and they're mine."
What do you wish you could do better?
"Everything. Mostly though, I wish I was better at time management and resisting the pendulum of either perfectionism or paralyzing escapism. But God is transforming me and I'm learning. My most recent mantras regarding all the things I 'need' to get done or want to get done:
"Good enough is really freaking good." and "Done is way better than perfect." They help."
What inspires you?
"True stories. Best heard in person. But I'll take books or movies too. Also a good night's sleep is pretty inspiring."
What has been the best parenting advice you've been given?
"Love God with all your heart. Love your neighbor as yourself." -Jesus
"And I'm not joking. Or trying to be super-cliche Christian. When my love for God is foremost and cultivated and deep, my love for my kids goes way beyond "They're so cute and they came out of my body and I love them so much." It can get to the hard parts of loving; "I can make these endless sacrifices for them; They're not under my control; God loves them more than I do; This is what's best for them; I can discipline (which is the hardest part of loving to define and execute well) them; Scary as it is, I can parent with the confidence that God gave me to them and them to me."
What's your advice for balancing motherhood and a relationship?
"Love God, Love others." -Jesus, the great simplifier.
"For me, balancing here means discerning between the requirements of a marriage, the requirements of motherhood and my own rampant selfishness. This comes from the Holy Spirit. Speaking from personal experience of both the rewards and (more often) the consequences, Listening and obeying is always best and worth it. ...
...Also, on a practical note, recognizing with seemingly brutal honesty and freedom the exact opposite of what our society tells us: Kids really don't need a lot. But pretty high on the list: a loving, stable environment. We try to prioritize our marriage which was created by God to reflect His love for the world. When we're investing in our marriage, we're investing in our kids. We're giving them a blueprint of God's extravagant, intimate love for them. So we do weekly date night and choose that specifically over the list of school functions we/they 'should' go to. Or the list of sports/extracurricular activities they 'should' be involved in. And we spend our money on vacations and grandparent visits rather than all the toys, technology, or Pottery Barn bedding they "need"."
What do you do that is just for yourself?
"I do not restrict my shower time. For as long as the water heater keeps up, I stay in that thought-erasing, happiness-infusing, interruption-blocking, reality-pausing, luxurious stream of wet, hot, goodness."
Thanks to www.unison-home.com for setting us up with this artisan made baby bedding. You will fall in love with each well designed item, we promise.
Side note, bed, sheepskin and leather hide sourced from Ikea.