You’re Not Alone, Mom!

Chasing SuperwomanIn the May 2011 issue, our article "Looking for a Safety Net?" talks about the kind of mom friends you need in your life.

If you can’t find a way to meet regularly with friends, at least take time to read their blogs! There are tons of great mom Web sites out there to help you network and remind yourself you are not in this alone. Here are a few of our favorite Mom “reads” in book and Web site form.

 

 

Do you have a favorite mom blog or book about being a mom? I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my own imperfect-mom blog, Vanderbilt Wife. Hope you’ll pay me a visit! – Jessie

New Moms Need Mentors! by Jessie Weaver

A little over 22 months ago, I birthed my first child into the world.

She took her sweet old time as my husband and mother waited and the dog watched me, confused, while I didn’t sleep for two nights straight.

Her little life has changed me just as much and more than I expected. My greatest panic as we came home from the hospital in October 2008 was that I had no family in Nashville, where we lived. No one to call for help. I begged my mom to stay forever, to move to Nashville without my dad, anything to save me from having to raise a baby without her guidance. Wisely, she declined.

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Just a few days into Libbie’s tiny life, the preschool minister from our church came to visit. She brought three things: the rose that had symbolized Libbie’s birth on the church altar; a Christian parenting book; and a copy of BabyLife.

I will confess to barely touching the book; life was too overwhelming already with a newborn wreaking havoc in our house. But I read BabyLife from cover to cover, multiple times. And discovered its bearer, our dear preschool director, lived very close to our house and would fill in as “Mom” when needed. Her guidance and friendship saved me several times.

Titus 2:3-5 encourages older women to mentor younger women “to be sensible.” I can think of many times when I needed some sense stuffed into my head. I am forever grateful to the women in my life — older, not too much older, even younger — who have taken the time to talk me down from a cliff. Every new mom needs guidance at one time or another, whether she wants to admit it or not!

Now, as baby #2 is gestating and December seems to be getting closer and closer, I hope to find another wonderful mentor in our new city. Because life with two seems pretty scary to me, but I know a lot of women have been there.
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The ParentLife staff is starting work on the newest edition of
BabyLife , which will be released in June 2011. The magazine is full of advice for parenting children during their first two years of life. What would you like to see featured in the magazine? What articles would catch your attention?

Jessie, the new “ParentLife Blog Guru,” is a stay-at-home mom and freelance writer and editor in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She has blogged for over four years at Vanderbilt Wife.

Back-to-School Moms

When it comes to back to school, most news coverage focuses on getting the kids prepared for the new school year, but what about the newest population of students … moms?

In these uncertain times, a record number of moms will go back to college this fall to advance current careers, find new job options, and seize opportunities to contribute more to household finances during a recession. 

How do the families of college moms cope? Try the following tips from real-life college moms.73_Mom_online.jpg

  1. Gain the support of friends and family. We all need cheerleaders to accomplish the many things moms do in any single day. 
  2. When you go back to school supply shopping for the kids, don’t forget your own supplies for online studying like printer ink and paper, a spare battery pack for the laptop, and flash drives.
  3. Prepare meals for the week on Sunday. Whether it’s a hearty soup, lasagna, or a casserole, make meals that are filling and easy to take out of the freezer and reheat quickly.
  4. Work as a team. Show the kids that running a family requires team effort and that your schoolwork is important too. Let them pitch in to help out with family chores.
  5. Remind your significant other that he may need to brush up on his math and science skills because you will need him to help the kids with homework.
  6. Before you sit at your computer, take 15 minutes to do some stretching and/or a few sit-ups. Get the adrenaline pumping so that you are ready to commit to studying and homework.
  7. Instill in your children the value of making sacrifices. Teach them that hard work has positive results.
  8. For those single moms or stay-at-home moms who sometimes have to do it alone, it is OK to let your older children entertain themselves when you have deadlines to meet.
  9. Keep the faith. Everyone has their ups and downs, and sometimes, there are more downs than ups. At the end of the day you can still do this. Remind yourself how much your education means to you and of the future benefits it will bring to your entire family.
  10. Plan some alone time, even if it’s a 20-minute soak in the tub to relax after the children are in bed.

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Thanks to moms at Kaplan University (www.kaplan.edu)— where nearly 75% of students are women and the average student age is 34 — for their tips for juggling family, work, and school.

Have you decided to go back to school?
 
 

Honoring Mom

Every year it seems I hear that more phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other holiday of the year. People are clamoring to get in touch with Mom and check in on Mother’s Day! And no wonder, considering how special Moms are!

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At ParentLife, we think of Moms in every issue we produce. In the May 2009 issue of ParentLife, we feature the article "Mentors for Moms" about how Moms receive so many benefits from having a godly mentor. The author, Linda Anderson, is the founder of the Mom to Mom ministry and curriculum to help encourage Moms and provide mentoring. Check out the Mom to Mom curriculum here.

Together with my children, I look forward to celebrating my wife on Mother’s Day and making sure she has a special day. I also plan to call my Mom and telling her thank you for being such a great Mom.

How do you plan to celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day?

An Unexpected Benefit of Motherhood

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I am so excited! This Sunday, I will celebrate my first Mother’s Day as a mother. Not only do I get to show my mother (and mother-in-law) my gratitude and love, but I also will be honored as a mother. My little boy, Jack, is a gift from God, and I do not remember what life was like without him. He has changed my world!

Being a mother has had some unexpected effects on my personality. Suddenly, I have a newfound confidence. Don’t get me wrong. After almost 10 months of parenting, I am still very insecure in my parenting skills. Every day I wonder if I am doing things right and whether or not I am the best mother I can be. But other insecurities in my have been drastically reduced.

Those that know me well know that I tend to get stuck in a rut easily. I order the same food from the same restaurants. I fix my hair the same way every day and do not branch out much when it comes to fashion. I tend to worry a lot about what others think about my appearance and my personality. But for some strange reason, since Jack has been around, I am much more willing to try new things and I worry much less about what other people think. I find myself looking for restaurants I have never been to and ordering new things at my favorite restaurants. I am ready for a brave new hairstyle and to shop for a new wardrobe.

Some of this confidence definitely comes from God. The end of my pregnancy and Jack’s delivery were anything but easy. In fact, some complications made them downright scary, but God carried us through. My faith and trust in God have been deepend, making me more confident.

I also think the confidence comes from my new identity as a mother. I feel important and needed more then I ever have in my life. I have a stronger, more clear-cut purpose. I realize that so many of the things I worried about in the past were insignificant and silly. Now, I have something more important to focus on — my family.

What about you? How has parenthood changed you? Have you discovered any unexpected benefits of motherhood?

 

How Time Flies!

My baby boy turned 5 on Tuesday! I can’t believe it. It seems like it was just yesterday when Christopher made his entrance into the world. But he was destined not to be a baby for long. Almost from the beginning he wanted to be like his big brother. Christopher walked and talked earlier, liked the shows and games his brother watched, and wanted to play sports with his bro — no matter that Christopher is five years younger. How quickly this time has passed!

14_Jonathan&Christopher.jpgWe thought about the reality of these changes as we completed an “All About Me” poster for Christopher’s preschool to display on his birthday. We spent a day perusing every photo we had of Christopher to pick out our favorites (this is one of our favs of the boys). Then came the whittling down process. We chose photos representing every year of his life and included every family member: aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, and first cousins. Sound tiring? It was! But afterwards, we looked with amazement at how blessed we are as a family.
Of course, we celebrated Christopher’s birthday in many traditional ways — delivering cupcakes and treats to his school and opening presents between slices of pizza and video games at Chuck E. Cheese’s. We certainly made several more great family moments! But it is hard to top a poster overflowing with five years of memories. It will become a keepsake for our family, reminding us of how God has been good to us!
What about you? Share with us some of your favorite ways to celebrate birthdays and capture memories of years gone by.