As you know, we are going local with our kids clothing as we transition ourselves to more locally sourced and ethically made clothing for our family. As you also know, that transition can be very expensive.
We are frugal people, hence the Frugal Friday segment on the blog. We don’t like paying full price for anything if we don’t have to. One thing I’ve learned through this transition is that being in-the-know can save you a lot of money. Whether it’s following the right accounts on Instagram, being on subscription lists, or just knowing the right people it can save you some dollars.
Yesterday, one of my favourite local brands, Jax & Lennon, had a warehouse sale where they clear out all of the last season’s clothes at a discount. Everything was minimum 35% off all the way up to 75% off. I found out about it through the Instagram account and knew I would be going.
After shopping yesterday, our kids are good for all seasons at all ages. We only need to continue to buy new stuff for Nixon as he grows.
Through this whole process, we haven’t paid full price for anything. We’ve always waited for a sale or discount code before buying.
We will be doing a fully detailed post about our favourite local brands and why we love some more than other in the near future so stay tuned!
Never stop adventuring!
t h i r t y.
That number that seemed so far off for so many years but yet here it is, the start of a new decade and truthfully, I’m excited.
I know society tends to dread turning older and even more so when it comes to thirty but why? Is it because we dislike responsibility and wish we could live young & carefree – aka Peter Pan syndrome, is it because we fear that this magical number of thirty means we can no longer have any fun and life instantly becomes boring? Either way, I know I don’t fit into either of those ‘camps’. Maybe it’s because I enjoy routine and predicability or maybe it’s because I’m choosing to be excited about the next decade.
When I was younger I dreamed about what life might be like at thirty, I dreamt of being married, having kids, being finished school and maybe owning a house but more than all that – being content with the life I was living. I can truthfully say that by the grace of God, the majority of my dreams have come true and for the ones that haven’t, I’m learning to grow in contentment (I mean who can honestly afford a house here in Vancouver?!?). I love this feeling of being settled into life, day to day life feels a little chaotic at times but we have a rhythm and it feels good.
I don’t believe my life is about to become boring, in fact I feel the exact opposite. As I am just entering into parenting, I think my life is about to get a lot more interesting, busy and fuller – which I am excited about. I didn’t have kids to have them hurry up and grow up, I want to embrace all the fun, and the not so fun, days of raising them. I am excited to journey with Kyle as we become better companions, build more memories and love deeper. Thirty is a chance to cherish old friendships and make new ones.
I’m looking forward to this next decade. Growing our family (no we’re not pregnant), raising the two amazing little boys I already have, going on amazing adventures with my hubby and continually loving the life God has given me.
Cheers to thirty & all the fun it will be!
Never stop adventuring!
This is not a post complaining about my life, but rather a contrast to the sometimes ‘perfect picture’ we see posted all over social media. Kyle and I have two boys, Nixon who is 15.5 months and Vanek who is almost 3 months, they are a year and 18 days apart. No this wasn’t an accident and I am and always will be extremely grateful for them.
However, just because I am grateful does not mean every day is easy. Every day comes with it’s ups and downs, rewards and challenges, tears and laughter, and then there are days like yesterday where I lost.
Kyle had worked a 12 hour day (which he always does, twice a week), the day had started out pretty normal, but by noon I could sense that things were going sideways and I didn’t like it. Nixon, who is normally quite well behaved, was testing every rule we’ve ever had, defying everything I asked him to either do or not do. Vanek is usually very content with little attention, but yesterday he wanted all my attention, all the time – not possible with a needy toddler. On top of it all, it seemed both boys were on a nap strike.
All I was craving was five minutes of peace and for my routine back. In order to survive a twelve hour day, I need routine, the kids need routine or it would be a mad house. On this day, that routine was quickly slipping away from me and that only added to my frustration. Why could I not get anything accomplished? Why were my children acting out like this? And despite by best efforts, why could I to do nothing right?
By 8:30 Nixon was in bed, and Kyle was home to take Vanek. How was a grown women just defeated by her children?! As I stood in the silence, with tears running down my face I was overwhelmed by a feelings of guilt, followed by grace. I had raised my voice at both boys, more times than I care to admit, I had been more worried about getting our routine in place and getting chores done than stopping and just being the mum they needed today. Most importantly when things started to go crazy, I relied on myself rather than asking God to guide my day. Past experiences tell me that if I had taken a moment to ask for God’s help, things might have gone a little better than they did relying on myself. I don’t mean that the day would have done a 180 and become perfect but I believe God would have given me the grace I needed to handle the situations.
I also realized that because my boys are often so well behaved that I forgot that they are so young and are going to have ‘bad’ days. ‘Bad’ meaning they are going to have meltdowns, be cranky and whiny; basically they are going to be kids. Heck, I’m an adult and I have cranky moments…(maybe some lonnng moments). I need to ease the expectations I have on them and myself. Allow them to be little and have their bad days, allow the routine to go out the window (for a short time) so I can be the mum they need in that moment – not once they’ve gone to bed.
This time with them is short. I am only going to be the solution to their problems for a brief time and I don’t want to look back and wish I had slowed down more to be there for them – I want to do it now.
So I may have lost today but tomorrow is a new day and even if it holds the same challenges, I’m glad I have a God who forgives and will provide all the grace I need to be the present mum my boys need.
Never Stop Adventuring!
Welcome back for another Frugal Friday post. Today, I get to share with you a frugal way that I get clothes for the kids at, usually, discounted prices.
Recently, Kyle and I have actively tried to start buying locally and more ethically sourced clothes. We’re starting with the kids’ wardrobes and then we will start to work on ours. I say “work on” because it does actually take work. You have to be mindful of everything you buy and where you buy it from. You have to decide how many of each article of clothing the kids are going to need. Right now, both kids have bins full of clothes. Going down this new path, though, we have realized a few things: it’s expensive, and thus their wardrobes will be cut down drastically, and it’s very hard to find everything you wear made locally and ethically.
For example, jeans, we haven’t been able to find a local company that makes jeans. What about shoes? Yeah, minimoc is great but we live in Vancouver, it rains a lot as we’ve seen this past week, and those don’t do well in the rain. Where do you buy locally sourced boots? Runners? We realize that while it is easy to make up most of the kids’ wardrobes with locally sourced clothing, not everything, that we know of, is possible.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. As I mentioned earlier, it’s expensive. I can go to Carter’s and get the kids multiple items for $20. When I shop local, I can get one item for $20. This is why I said the kids’ wardrobes will be cut down drastically. Nixon will likely go from 10+ t-shirts to maybe 5. Vanek will go from 15-20 onesies down to maybe 5 long sleeve and 5 short sleeve. Nixon can usually keep a shirt clean for the day and Vanek usually goes through about 2 onesies per day right now. We do laundry minimum once every 5 days for the kids. That’s how we came up with those numbers.
Now, how do I manage to find this locally, ethically sourced clothing for cheaper? 2 ways: Facebook and sales. Facebook has multiple swap/bidding sites as I’m sure you’re all aware. What you may not be aware of is that there are groups that focus on mostly local/trendy brands. These are closed groups so if you want to know which groups I’m talking about you can email me at email@example.com or if you know me personally you can text or Facebook message me.
In these groups, for example, I have gotten deals on local leggings for $5 versus buying the same pair brand new for $23. They are second hand but kids at these ages don’t usually wear out their clothes very quickly so everything we’ve gotten has been in excellent condition. That is just one example but at minimum I’m buying these items for at least 50% off, usually more.
The other way I’m frugal about kids clothes is sales. Warehouse sales, specifically. Often times local brands will do warehouse sales to get rid of the past seasons items to make room for the next season. These sales are great because you get items brand new and at up to 50% off, sometimes more. These sales are usually posted on Facebook but sometimes getting on brands’ mailing lists is the only way to know.
Here are some of my favourite local brands:
If there are others that you know of, please let us know – as I said, we’re still new at this! Even if shopping local isn’t something you’re ready to tackle, simply thrifting or shopping secondhand makes a huge difference. Stores such as Once Upon a Child have tons of inventory from newborn to size children’s size 12. By buying secondhand we are reducing the amount of new items these big box stores are needing to produce and you’re getting lightly worn items at a fraction of the cost, a win – win if you ask me!
That’s all I have for now, happy thrifting!
Never stop adventuring!
It’s a little late but here is the story of how Vanek Kyle Enns came into the world.
Vanek Kyle Enns born on July 29, 2017 weighing in at 8 pounds 6 ounces with a length of 21.5 inches and a head circumference of 14.5inches. Here is his story:
Sunday July 23 was a typical evening in the Enns household. Sam and I were playing Bohnanza and enjoying silence as Nixon was asleep. Sam’s contractions had started but she hadn’t told me for about an hour. Once she told me she began to time them. They were still quite far apart and not lasting very long but this was a good sign of things to come. Or so we thought. We went to bed hopeful that things were finally starting and this baby would be on time unlike Nixon. When we woke up things had slowed but not completely stopped. I convinced Sam to call the midwife and see what she said. Sam didn’t want to get her hopes up in case this was false labour. The midwife said to wait until the contractions get stronger and closer together. I went to work that afternoon hoping I would soon get a call to leave early and drive to the hospital. Except the contractions didn’t get closer together or stronger, they did the exact opposite and went away. False labour. The rest of the week went as normal until Friday.
Friday afternoon started normal, a trip to Costco for groceries and hot dogs was on the schedule. As I flashed my Costco card to the employee at the entrance Sam winced in pain. Maybe this time it was for real. All throughout the Costco trip she had contractions. We left Costco and the contractions continued throughout the afternoon. I had plans to go golfing that evening but offered to stay home just in case. Sam said to go because there was no guarantee anything would happen that quickly and she didn’t want to get her hopes up. So, off I went to the golf course. Things progressed that evening, through the night, and into the morning. The contractions had gotten closer and stronger and it was time to call the midwife. The midwife said to come in when contractions were lasting 1 minute, 5 minutes apart for 30 minutes straight. Contractions reached those parameters, we called my mom to come grab Nixon, and off to the hospital we went.
We got to the hospital at 12:30pm and the contractions weren’t exactly where the midwife wanted them to be anymore. They were within the parameters but had slowed slightly and gotten weaker and her cervix was barely 4cm dilated. (Once you’re 4cm dilated they admit you.) Not this again, we thought. Luckily, we got to the hospital during a rare instance; it was slow. So slow, I even commented to the nurse “it looks like things are slow.” Apparently I had said Voldemort in the maternity ward. Oops. The midwife told us to go eat, walk around and come back in 60-90 minutes.
We went to Subway, stopping at all the stairs we could so Sam could squat her way up them in hopes this baby would drop and get things moving.
We made our way back to the hospital and continued to do stairs and stairs and stairs until finally the midwife saw us doing stairs and said “I think you’re good, save some energy for labour.”
We went back and Sam was a solid 5cm dilated.
Our nurse Jackie brought us to our room around 2pm.
We got settled, did paperwork, and the nurse took vitals for baby and mom. All was good.
We went to playing games and relaxing, stopping when Sam had a contraction to get through.
This continued with walks here and there.
The midwife came in around 7:45pm to check Sam who was now 6cm dilated. She offered to break Sam’s water to help things along. Sam agreed and she immediately went to 7cm and the baby dropped quite a bit but not quite enough. The contractions did get stronger. Each one was no longer a wince in pain but a full on stop, bend over and ask me to squeeze her hips together (don’t ask me why this helps but she said it did). The midwife said she wanted Sam to try and get the baby to drop further so Sam went to sit on the toilet and dealt with her strongest contractions yet. This is the part it is hard to watch, I’m sitting there watching my wife scream in pain and all I can do is encourage her, again, like last time I felt pretty useless. Sam had to get off the toilet to check her and baby as the cord from the machine wasn’t long enough to reach the bathroom. Baby’s head had dropped to +1. Baby positions start at -5 (still deep inside) and go to +5 (head fully out). For reference, Nixon never got past 0. This was good progress.
At 9pm Sam started to push but the exact same thing as last time started to happen, stabbing hip pain. The midwife suggested she try laughing gas for the pain but it was nothing more than a good distraction. Then we tried fentanyl (yes, the same drug we hear about people overdosing on, but obviously this is a proper dosage in a proper environment done by professionals). It helped, but not enough. From the beginning, Sam had said she wouldn’t do this without an epidural. The midwife encouraged Sam to keep pushing because Vanek was close to coming out but the pain was too much. Sam demanded, as in “I’m not doing this without an epidural, someone call the anesthesiologist to get this epidural in.” It was about 9:45pm. The anesthesiologist was the best. He was so calm, super aware of Sam’s pain and accommodating of Sam’s wish that he do it right after a contraction so she doesn’t have to sit through a contraction while there’s a large needle in her spine, just millimetres away from paralyzing her. He obliged, got the needle and the line in quickly and things were looking up. The drugs took longer than last time to kick in but they finally did around 10pm when Sam started pushing. No hip pain. Immediately, Vanek’s head started moving well and the midwife said she could see the head and this baby would be out within 20 minutes. Sam didn’t believe her. Things never moved like this with Nixon so I don’t really blame her. I peeked to see the head because I didn’t really believe her either but I saw hair so that meant there was a head. To be completely honest, I thought our kid was going to have a messed up head. You know that curve in the cartilage of your ear? The part on that looks like a C? Well that’s what I thought I was seeing but the midwife said that was his head. ‘Great, our kid’s gonna have a big C on the top of his head,’ I thought.
I told Sam I could see the head and encouraged her that she could do this. She didn’t think she could, she couldn’t with Nixon but this time I knew she could do it because the head was right there. She started to believe in herself a little and said “babe, we’re gonna have this baby in here, not the OR.” I agreed. This is hard to put in context but throughout the pushing process all the way from no epidural to after the epidural, pregnant women are a little coo coo. Seriously, they’re at their most irrational point in life with the raging change in hormones. Things they say don’t make sense and as a rational person listening to them speak it’s hard not to laugh. I won’t share everything Sam said as to not embarrass her but hilarity did ensue. One thing she did was constantly repeat, “babe, I’m actually gonna do this, how is that possible?” Again, other than the pain she was in disbelief. Sam kept pushing, without hip pain, and within 15 minutes Vanek was out. 10:16pm to be exact. I caught the baby but I don’t actually think I was focused on catching the baby because next thing I knew the baby was in the midwife’s hands and she was asking me to tell Sam what we had. I had totally forgot to look. I saw a penis. We had another boy. I then got to cut the cord and Vanek was placed in his mom’s arms for the first time. It was incredible, Sam had done this all on her own this time. He was left skin to skin while the midwife finished what she had to do with Sam and about an hour later we finally got to see how big this kid was. 8 pounds 6 ounces. Sam said “that’s little!” The nurses said that wasn’t little. Sam said, “when your first is 10 pounds 1 ounce, 8 pounds 6 ounces is little.” The nurse agreed. Everyone was healthy and happy and much less tired than the first time around.
We were then moved to our recovery room to get some sleep. Family and friends came to visit the following day and we stayed one extra night to make sure everything stayed the same and all were healthy. We went home the following afternoon and Nixon finally got to meet his little brother. He hated him. Anytime Vanek made noise Nixon would bury his face in our chest and cry. Things have gotten better and now anytime Nixon sees Vanek he gives him a “kiss” (he places his face on Vanek).
For those wondering where Vanek’s name came from, here’s the story:
I was setting my fantasy hockey lineup one night and I was browsing the waiver wire for a replacement on my team. Thomas Vanek had been hot at the time and Sam saw his name on my screen. “what about Vanek for a boy’s name?” she asked. “Yeah I like that” I responded. And so it was, Vanek would be our second son’s name if we had a boy. Giving Vanek my middle name is carrying on the tradition from my dad. My dad’s name if Jeffrey (Jeff) and my full name is Kyle Jeffrey Enns.
Everyone is still healthy and happy and we’re so grateful for how this story turned out, much easier and less stressful than Nixon. I’m so proud of my wife for doing what she did; it was a really cool experience to see her accomplish something that difficult all on her own and see the joy it gave her. Until next time (which won’t be as soon as this one).
As I sit down to write this my hair is a greasy mess tossed up into the classic mom bun, the kitchen a disaster and toys all over the floor but my oldest is sound asleep in his bed, my youngest asleep in my arms and my heart is full.
Nixon and Vanek are twelve months and eighteen days apart. Many people have asked if Vanek was a mistake or an ‘oops’. No he absolutely was not, Kyle and I both loved the idea of having our kids close together so we knew what we were doing after Nixon. Now this doesn’t mean that I’ve loved every minute of the past month. In fact Kyle & I’s go – to statement is ‘it gets better each day’.
The first few days home with both kids I vividly remember thinking that this was a mistake – and that was when Kyle was still off work helping everyone adjust! Now of course I didn’t actually think Vanek was a mistake, what I really meant was that life was hard. Over the past year I had developed a routine with Nixon, I knew when naps & eating needed to happen, when we could get out of the house and when I’d have some ‘me time’. All of that was gone. Nixon seemed to be completely thrown off by Vanek’s arrival – refusing to nap and being oddly defiant and extra needy. I had forgotten just how unpredictable newborns are. Not to mention trying to figure out breastfeeding, managing all the postpartum hormones and trying to heal. I missed easily getting out of the house to run errands or go to the park. The first time I left the house with both kids, by myself I think it took me forty-five minutes from getting ready to the car – and I had to take the kids to the car separately [Nixon doesn’t walk yet & I hadn’t mastered carrying both kids & the diaper bag]. I missed routine. It’s gotten better now, but admitting that life was hard was difficult, I wanted to prove [and still do] to people that having kids this close wasn’t a mistake and that I can manage it. I’m learning when to ask for help & thank God for all the help we’ve received.
I know it won’t always be hard. And I’m already seeing areas become easier. But more importantly I’m learning to have more grace for myself. My house will not be as tidy as it used to, I may not always finish the laundry in one day and some days leaving the house is simply not happening. But my babies will be fed, held [only made possible by Beluga Baby] & loved endlessly.
So yes, the first month with 2 babies has been tiring and hard but as I tuck them into bed each night I know that there is no other way I’d rather spend my days.
A year ago today I was more exhausted than I thought possible as we fought to bring Nixon into this world. Today he turns one and I am full of every emotion possible. Watching your baby grow is one of life’s greatest gifts – because not only do you get to see them continually learn, you learn so much about yourself. I knew parenting was going to cause me to have to change but I wasn’t aware just how much.
From the day Nixon was overdue I began learning to let go of the planning perfectionist in me – because he simply wasn’t having any of it. That lesson continued through trying to schedule plans around naps or even achieving certain milestones by a specific age that I had put so much of my parenting success on – he’s always had his own plan and is determined to stick to it.
Being a mum has taught me to trust my gut feeling more than ever before. No one will ever know your child better than you do, therefore be your child’s best advocate. Sometimes that’s hard because it wasn’t what I planned or what society was telling me but in the end it always turned out better than I could have imagined.
As Nixon has grown up he has always taught me how important it is to still find time for me. As he has become more independent I’ve already started to realize that he won’t need me forever and already needs me less in some ways and more in others. If I don’t keep time for myself – date nights with his dad, hobbies, friends etc. I will centre my world on him and that won’t be healthy for either of us.
Most importantly, above all the growing both of us have done this year, becoming a mum has given me just a glimpse into the love God has for us. The minute I heard Nixon cry and he was laid on my chest my love for him, for Kyle, for our new family of three grew exponentially. No matter how long, tiring and frustrating the days are my love for Nixon never waivers and I can say without a doubt that I love him more today than I did a year ago in that hospital room.
You likely will never remember your first year but it will be a year I will never forget. You have been the answer to all my prayers of starting a family. You are a perfect mix of your dad and I; gentle and laid back but stubborn and determined. I could have never imagine all that I would have learned in just one year but every day bring new challenges and even greater rewards as I watch you grow into the handsome man God created you to be. My prayer for you is that you would never loose the wonder in your eyes, joy in your smile and love in your heart as you continue to explore the world around you.
‘I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.’
I couldn’t be more proud to be your mum – thank you for giving me such a gift.
Happy Birthday Nix!
As a first time parent I desire to do everything perfectly for my child the problem is I don’t know everything [and I never will]. I am simply following the directions from people smarter than me and trying not to worry. However, from the day Nixon was born [almost a year ago…another blog post on that soon] he had a big head. He had a strong dislike for tummy-time and loved being swaddled to sleep; as a result he spent a lot of time on his back & the back of his head. By the time he was about seven months old we were told that he had Plagiocephaly – aka Flat Head Syndrome and would need an orthotic helmet to correct it. These words hit my mama heart hard. I kept thinking, ‘I’ve failed my son already, I didn’t work hard enough at tummy-time or play enough with him or read enough books on how to avoid this and now he’s going to look ridiculous and people are going to judge my parenting skills.’
I remember crying the minute we left the appointment and immediately came home and googled this new word and all the images of baby’s with helmets, this did not help my anxiety. Regardless of my anxiety, I knew this was the best for Nixon and his development, so I had to put my pride away. I took him to get fitted [thankfully the helmets were smaller than the ones I had seen online] and a couple weeks later he started wearing it for 23 hours a day, for how long – we didn’t know.
The first couple weeks I was very hesitant to take him out and was even defensive when people would look at him. I wanted to have a sign that read ‘just fixing my flat head, I’m still a normal boy’. As the weeks past I began to realize how much all of this was an issue with my insecurities rather than the reality that he simply had a flat head and that I should have been thankful for the technology to fix it! Once I let go of my pride and insecurities of what people thought about Nixon, I was able to just enjoy this season. I was able to explain to people with confidence when they asked or shrug off the rude comments [there were plenty. trust me].
The best news came when we went for check-ups and we were told that his head was growing faster than most children his age which meant that he likely wouldn’t be needing his helmet full-time for much longer. Even though I had accepted the helmet and the good it was doing, I was glad to possibly getting rid of it. Within six weeks Nixon was needing to only wear it for long drives and when he slept [basically any extended time spent on the back of his head]. The doctor is extremely impressed with the growth and I can finally say that we are in the clear of needing the helmet.
For Nixon, the helmet never bothered him, he went about it days as if nothing had changed and I wish I had that attitude from the beginning. However, this season was hard, harder than I wish to admit but it revealed a lot of insecurities and pride issues in my life and for that I’m grateful because through it all I’ve learnt to be a better person. Mum’s let’s be kind and encourage one another because you’re doing a great job no matter what your child faces, what milestones they’re reaching or aren’t reaching yet.
January 2017 April 2017 June 2017
It’s early in the morning here in Boston, but it’s April 3 which means that I did it. I made it seventeen nights & eighteen days away from Nixon – and yes the emotions are still mixed.
Truthfully, I knew I would make it, the option of flying home wasn’t ever really on the table – unless an emergency came up, obviously. So the battle wasn’t “could I make it this long,” but “how would I handle it; would I enjoy the trip or merely get through it?” Honestly, there were bits of both – which was exactly what Kyle had expected.
The hardest part was saying goodbye at the airport drop off. Even once we boarded the plane I kept thinking that if this plane doesn’t get airborne real quick I am going to simply get off and get back in the car with my baby. Once it took off I knew that there was no choice and that I was headed for the East Coast no matter what. I cried a decent amount of tears between drop off and flight. But once we landed there was no time for tears…it was stinkin’ cold [-15 plus windchill (in Celsius)] and figuring out where we were going and how we were getting there without freezing became my top priority.
The days in New York went surprisingly well – we were busy sightseeing, eating ridiculously good food all the time and battling the winter weather (albeit it was clear and sunny so that was a bonus). The grandparents sent lots of pictures of Nixon smiling and having a good time so that helped reassure my mumma-heart. The hardest time was trying to FaceTime a couple nights in. Nixon lost his mind whenever we would talk to him – or simply talk in general. I tried to tell myself that it was just a new experience and that it’s odd for him but honestly it sucked that my baby cried when I tried to talk to him. So we ended that pretty quickly. Eventually, by about day ten he loved FaceTime, we were able to laugh, and smile and have funny conversations – it was the best.
As our time in NYC wound down, I knew it was going to be a little harder to keep my mind occupied because our days simply weren’t as full. Nonetheless, once again, they have gone better than expected. Kyle and I have had great conversations, even come to just enjoy each other’s silence and tried our best to take in as much of the East Coast as possible – it’s stunning here.
My conclusion on the trip: it was amazing, I am honestly very thankful for this time away of having dream-filled conversations over yummy breakfasts, sleeping in, leaving the house relatively quickly (& with just a purse- hallelujah!), and even spending time just enjoying being pregnant again. Would I do it again? Yes, BUT probably not as long. I am a homebody (unless I’m on a beach somewhere with glorious warm, sunny weather) and by about day ten I was missing just being home. I found myself easily frustrated for no apparent reason until I stopped and realized it was simply because I missed Nixon and missed our routine.
New York City, Washington, Lynchburg, New Jersey and Boston [and every small town in between] you are truly amazing and if your climate was a little closer to SoCal I’d move here in a heartbeat because the character of your cities is magical. However, I’m stoked to be getting on a plane in 10 hours to head home and see my handsome baby!
I’ve been a mum to Nixon for six months now. Crazy. Crazy how time flies, but even more crazy that such a little person can teach me so much. This boy has challenged me in every possible way, pushed me to limits I didn’t know I had, helped me see joy in the most mundane of days but one thing he hasn’t done is changed my identity and that is because I refuse to let him.
Being a mum is all things amazing and wonderful but it’s HARD. It’s hard physically, it’s even harder emotionally and that is why I wanted to write a word of been-there advice for women wanting to become a mum. As more and more of our friends start to ponder the idea of starting a family I felt this post was necessary. I fully believe that God has called us to be mothers, it is woven into our very nature to nurture these tiny miracles but they are not to be idolized and having them is not a right of ours – they are GIFTS. This notion that we deserve to have babies comes from society’s idea that whatever we want we get and if we don’t then something is wrong because we must deserve it. If you believe that you deserve this baby then stop and check your heart because it’s selfish; I have to do it daily. God owes us nothing, yet He gives us breath each day and how much greater joy is that of having a baby. Please, please stop with this mentality. From the moment God decides to give you and your husband a baby it is His and will remain His for the entirety of your child’s life. Everyday I remind myself that I have been given Nixon by God, he’s mine temporarily but He has always been and always will be God’s – end of story.
Even before trying to conceive I believe there are crucial steps to take. Talk honestly with your husband about his feelings towards starting a family. This doesn’t mean projecting your desires on him and hoping he agrees but being willing to truly listen and possibly compromise if the two of you don’t agree. If he truly doesn’t want a child yet are you willing to respect his wishes and wait or are you going to try to convince him otherwise? Take an honest look at the state of your marriage. Do you and your significant other do life well together? Do you love each other well? Do you love the other person sacrificially? If it’s a struggle now it’s not any easier when you’re tired, frustrated and busy with the needs of a tiny one. Do you serve the church well? Do you have a strong independent relationship with God? Do you also have a good marital relationship with God? Can you discuss your faith openly with your husband? Do you discuss your faith openly with your husband? In other words, is God the head of your household? Are both of you praying about it? Ask God if this is His timing or not and to bring other couples into your life (because trust me you’re going to need mom & dad friends). More practically, ask your mentors or people whose opinions you value if they think you’re ready and if they think your marriage can handle it. Again, you may not like the answer you get but humble yourself when receiving it and seriously consider it because they only want the best for you and your future family. Pray about it alone, tell God your desires but don’t demand a baby of Him – last time I checked He has never worked on our schedule. Remember that this baby would be to glorify Him, not you. Once again with all of this praying you need to be open to God’s honest answer, even if it hurts and means waiting. Finances, please take an honest look at your finances to see if adding another family member is a good idea. Now on that note, having a baby does not need to cost a lot of money if you’re willing to take things second-hand. Be mindful of what your child needs vs what you want your child to have. Kyle and I used Craigslist for a majority of our purchases and six months later I wouldn’t do it any different!
As a woman there is a lot we need to consider before having a baby. Are we healthy enough for it? Are there any health issues that might mean waiting is a better plan? An easy way to do this is to have a discussion with your doctor about if you’re healthy enough to get pregnant. Not just for you but for your baby. Any parent wants to give the best to their child and that includes from the very beginning. Being healthy (and in good shape) has more of an impact than I anticipated and I can tell you that I paid for it during my labour. Be active, eat well, drink lots of water – all the things everyone is telling you because if it’s important to your health it’s even more important when growing another human! This includes taking a prenatal vitamin for a minimum of one month prior to attempting to conceive as recommended by most doctors. Here’s something I didn’t consider when having a baby, how comfortable am I with my body and giving it to my husband? Struggling with that pre-baby only makes it a challenge as your body changes to accommodate a growing baby and post-baby…a nightmare. Now none of this was a result of how my husband saw me but how I saw myself. Do you have grace for yourself? Do you love your body the way God created it and if you don’t, do you have the determination to do something about it? Putting off what is rightfully your husbands because you feel ‘undesirable, fat, large, huge, etc.’ is a sin and will cause more sin in your marriage.
Once this child is born your life is changed, but please do not let it change your identity. You need to remember that God created you for a unique purpose, part of that purpose is mothering – no doubt. But that’s not all. If that was all I would go crazy at home, my world would revolve around Nixon 24/7 and that is not biblical. You need your own hobbies, your own friends, your own time out to do non-mum things. Do I love being a mum? 100%, but I am growing more and more thankful that God didn’t create me just to do that and that He is creative enough to give me other passions like teaching, writing and trying new things. Only recently (I mean in the last two weeks) have I learnt the importance of ‘me’ time during the day. Sometimes that means attempting calligraphy, sometimes reading, sometimes taking a nap but it is always time with God and always a break from the laundry, cooking, cleaning and pouring out of myself. By no means do I have my life all together and you don’t have to either but these are lessons learned about this I wish I had done before conceiving and things that hopefully will put you in a better place before adding a child to your marriage and things I will continue to work on forever. Mums-to-be, if you think that adding a baby to the family is going to fill a void in you, solve your marriage problems and complete your identity then I warn you with all the love I have, be wary of the idols you have in your life because the solution is more God not another human.