You Might be a Stay-at-Home Mom to Four Kids, 4 & Under If…

4 kiddos

1. You find your morning cup of coffee still sitting in the microwave at 5:00 PM

2. The most popular comments in public are, “Wow, you have your hands full!” and “Are ALL those yours?”

3. You have 10 pacifiers and can’t find any of them

4. Sitting in the church service with your husband feels like a date

5. You no longer have to apologize to your company for the house being a disaster

6. You can’t remember the last time you had a full night’s sleep

7. The only break you get is a bathroom break

8. Breaking up fights and disciplining is your job whether you like it or not

9. You won’t dare go to the grocery store unless you are alone

10. Your third child doesn’t mind eating off your second child’s breakfast plate (sometimes cold)

11. You have to schedule your morning around how many dirty diapers you’ll have to change before going out

12. You consider lifting a 2 1/2 year old, 1 year old, and newborn as your weight training class

13. You get angry that there aren’t more mom-friendly, healthy drive-thru restaurants

14. You have to think twice whether or not you forgot a child

15. Visiting a chiropractor is a non-negotiable

16. You throw your kids at your husband as soon as he walks in the door

17. You pack all your kids in your van for a drive so you can have a conversation with your husband

18. Mother’s Day out and morning preschool are lifelines

19. You’ve become good friends with your Pediatrician

20. The only way to cook a meal is to put a kids show on

21. You are amazed you even got through another day

22. You’re humbled because your son’s teacher wrote you an email this week saying he’s pretty much her top student. She didn’t know you’ve felt like a failure of a mom lately

23. You realize more than ever how precious life is and it’s not a cliche that it’s truly a gift

24. You want other people to experience the blessing of children, even when motherhood – no matter how many kids you have – is the hardest.job.ever

25. You are surprised that your capacity to love grows richer and deeper

26. You find yourself not wanting to ever miss out on each child’s first milestone because you know how fast time has flown with the oldest

27. You pray every day that your children will come to know and love Jesus in spite of you

28. You ask God to do great things in and through your children so they can make a difference in the lives of others

29. You start to understand that the daily, difficult, messy, complicated, satisfying, beautiful, mundane tasks in motherhood and raising children are working together for a greater purpose. When you serve them, you serve God.

30. It’s a miracle that you finished this blog post!

A Surprise Baby!

IMG_4679In late November I started to feel dizzy and nauseous and a little off. I thought I had some kind of stomach bug but I didn’t think anything of it until it didn’t go away. Then Jeremiah and I figured I should take a pregnancy test to rule that option out. We made a trip to Target in the evening, I grabbed the test and took it after the kids were down.

Jeremiah sat in the living room and as I anxiously awaited the results. My heart raced but I really didn’t think I was pregnant. Then to my shock and surprise, I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing. Not one but two pink lines were popping up.

Are you kidding me? How can this be?

I grew angry and unsure of everything. I had a four month old, had barely gotten my pregnancy weight off, was exclusively breast feeding, and on birth control. With all my other three children, I never got pregnant while nursing.

“It says we’re pregnant Jeremiah! What in the world?” I cried in disbelief.

He was in shock and having difficulty processing it too. I was already quite overwhelmed being a mom to three children under 4 and was really looking forward to taking a break from carrying and delivering a baby. We knew we wanted to complete our family with four children but we wanted to wait a while, like 2 or 3 years.

That night I went to bed shocked, woke up shocked, and felt down the whole week. I didn’t tell any family or friends. I needed time to process and pray and work this one out with God.

Weeks passed and I slowly told our family and close friends. I knew I had the choice to accept this surprise or be bitter and angry. I faced the choice to worry about what people thought and the comments people would make (especially in general public) about being pregnant while holding another baby on my hip.

Ultimately, I’d arrived at a crossroads in my life where I had to surrender my desire to control and give all that I was, and my very body carrying this new life, into the very arms of Christ. This was His doing. Would I trust him?

Thoughts wrestled through my mind for several weeks. I went in for my first doctor appointment and my doctor couldn’t believe it when he saw my name on the schedule but that he was so happy for me. The ultrasound and heartbeat were perfect and I was already 6 weeks along. My due date was looking like July 25 putting this baby and my daughter Hannah 13 months apart!

“This is a miracle, Samantha. You may not see it right now, but God has plans in the future for this baby,” my doctor said confidently.

I held back my tears and smiled.

“Thank you. You’re right.”

My heart was at peace and I was thankful the baby was healthy. A few days after my doctor appointment I finally arrived at a place where I embraced this baby as God’s perfect will- His perfect miracle. This baby was a gift. It wasn’t about me. And that’s what ultimately helped change my perspective.

Initially, I realized more of the shock came from “Oh no, how in the world am I going to handle four children under four?” than it really was about the blessing of this baby. The majority of my fears have to do with motherhood. I’m nowhere near the perfect Mom and if I’ve learned anything with the three children God has already given me it’s that I really don’t have it together. I need the Lord’s grace every single day.

Motherhood has tested me and refined me like nothing else has. It’s also been the greatest joy of my life. I struggle daily to be everything I’m called to be but I do know that God has given me the privilege and responsibility to love and nurture my children and teach them to know and love God.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. – Psalm 127:3-5

This mission and calling keeps me going every day. And I’m just praying for the strength and endurance I’m going to desperately need when this sweet baby arrives.

Well on Friday, we had the 16 week ultrasound and everything looked great. We were thinking all along we would make it a surprise delivery since we’ve never done that so during the ultrasound, we didn’t find out but I did ask the tech to write it down and put in an envelope in case we wanted to know later. They don’t keep the gender on file.

IMG_4684I wasn’t planning on keeping the envelope in my purse for very long long because of the obvious temptation to read it. I was thinking about handing it off to a friend. Then I realized during those few hours after the appointment that I really wanted to know. I was getting too stressed about not knowing if it was a boy or girl. So Jeremiah and I opened it together Friday evening. And we loved what we saw in writing- A BOY!

I’d been praying hard all along for another boy so we would have 2 girls and 2 boys and that our boys would be the bookends. I also felt like it could be a boy since this pregnancy has felt similar to my son John’s so it was such an answer to prayer to receive the news. God is so gracious.

What I’m most amazed by at this 16 week mark is how much God has changed my heart. Of course, it has been a process as I’m a work in progress. I know more than ever that I’m not in control of my life as much as I’d like to think I am. I can make plans, but the Lord determines my steps (Prov. 16:9). He is the Creator of life and knows what He is doing. Can I trust him with my very own life? Can I trust him that this is his perfect will for our family? Absolutely. He has never forsaken me.

IMG_4678That doesn’t mean the road ahead will be smooth sailing by any means. Raising a family is hard work. Our home will look pretty crazy with four little ones running around- it already is with 3! But God has made our life so rich and so full with our children.

Thank you for sharing in the joy of our little boy who is on his way very soon!

No Matter What, You Are Loved by God

Yesterday morning my four year old John scooted our bench over to the kitchen countertop so he could stand on it. He wanted to spread his own peanut butter on his toast, which happened to be a first.

“I’m going to make Daddy’s for him too. He will love me for it and give me a kiss on the cheek!”

I thought how sweet that was for him to do and I figured I’d turn his little comment into a teaching opportunity.

“Well John, did you know that you don’t have to do anything to make Daddy love you more? He loves you just for you, no matter what,” I replied.

“Oh,” he said thinking about it.

He continued spreading in between the crust and topped it off with some banana slices and honey, just the way Daddy likes his peanut butter toast.

Then I could only naturally think about God’s love for us.

God loved us while we were still sinners and loves all sinners presently. He doesn’t need us to prove anything to him. And contrary to popular opinion, there is nothing we can do to earn his love.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

I admit that at times I have a hard time accepting these truths about His love. Sometimes I feel that if I’ve screwed up and failed to be the person God has called me to be, that my behavior changes God’s view of me.

Or sometimes I feel I have to “do” more: read more of my Bible, pray more, do more ministry,  go to church more, walk in the Spirit more, give more… you get the point. Those are all blessings and necessities that come with following Christ- not a checklist or legalistic duty. God uses all those means as gifts and tools to help me love him more and know him more fully. But they don’t for one second change the way He loves me.

The truth that God’s love is a gift of undeserving grace is mind boggling and so incredibly freeing. It’s like the image of grace you’ve probably sung about in David Crowder’s, “How He Loves” song:

And we are His portion and He is our prize,  Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,  If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking. 

I don’t know about you but in 2013, I want to know His love more deeply because I haven’t even swam close to the deep end when it comes to understanding his unending grace, love, and redemption. There is so much more my heart has yet to be filled with. And as I get more situated in to this new year, I’m excited about the new truths God has yet to reveal.

Well John got to enjoy his toast with his Daddy and heard words of gratitude for his hard work. Even though later in the day John disobeyed, fought with his sister, and had a few fits, Daddy corrected him and disciplined him and showed him love.

And even as a young child, I think John is able to understand that he’s still loved no matter what he does.

The Birth Story of Hannah Kate

Our daughter, Hannah Kate Krieger, has arrived! She came into the world on Saturday, June 30, 2012. We praise God for her birth. Here is the story…

2 days old - photo: Shades of Grey Photography

On Friday, June 29th, Jeremiah and I packed Rebekah and John into the van for a trip to the mall. I knew that more walking might help trigger me into labor. Besides, it was my due date.

The Dallas heat was over 100 degrees and I felt like I was going to pop. At the mall, we ate some Paciugo gelato, let the kids run around in the play area, and took John for a train ride.

We headed home around 7:30 pm, put the kids down and enjoyed some time together. At 10 pm we went to bed but both of us had a hard time falling asleep. At 11 pm, I started having contractions that were on a pain level of about a 4 but I wasn’t sure if they were true labor pains. I was exhausted so I fell asleep, knowing that if they were the real thing, I’d wake up.

At 2 am, I woke up to more intense contractions- the kind I couldn’t sleep through. I called my doula, Melissa, and told her what I was feeling. She suggested I take a warm bath to make sure they wouldn’t die down. But within 15 minutes, I knew I didn’t have time to take a bath and that labor was really kicking in.

My pain level increased and the contractions felt the exact same as when I went into labor with John and Rebekah- like a sharp knife pain. Jeremiah called Melissa to tell her to meet us at the hospital.

I called my doctor’s office answering service and they connected me to my doctor, Dr. Harris. I told him my contractions were coming every 5 minutes and lasting for 1 minute and my pain level was intense.

“It looks like this is it. I’ll see you at the hospital,” he said.

I called my mom to let her know to meet us at the hospital. Jeremiah and I packed a few more things into our bag and waited on his sister Charis to come and stay the night at our house. My contractions continued to feel like knives in my lower abdomen.

Each time one came, I grabbed onto the wall and did my breathing exercises. I insisted that Jeremiah come right to my side when I was getting through one. I knew I couldn’t go natural again without his support and encouragement. He was right there with me through every one.

Checking into Baylor Hospital

1 week old - Photo by Tammi Ambrose

At about 3:00 am, we drove to Baylor Hospital and arrived at 3:15 am. When I came through the doors of labor and delivery, there were pictures of babies all over the wall who had been born at Baylor.

That brought comfort to me knowing I was about to meet mine. Everything was also very familiar to me as I had just been here 20 months ago to have Rebekah.

When we arrived at the check-in desk one of the nurses said, “Aw, you look like you’re in a lot pain.”

Really, no kidding?! I’m about to push a baby out. I thought.

I nodded at her.

Then another nurse said, “You’re doing great through those contractions.”

I smiled and said thanks.

After Jeremiah filled out the necessary paperwork and I continued to endure each contraction, a nurse guided us to our room.

“Are you going to want an epidural?” she asked on the way.

“No, I’m planning on going natural.” I replied. “I was able to with my other two children and I’m hoping I’ll be able to do it again,” I told her.

Despite all the pain, having unmedicated births in the past had proven itself to be a fast labor, good recovery, a greater connection to the experience, an alert baby, and overall very empowering. But I also knew that anything could happen in the birthing process so I had to go into it without any expectations.

The nurse was fine with that and continued on, “So, no IV? Nothing?”

“No.” I said and drank from my big cup full of ice water.

“Okay. That’s easy.”

She seemed really positive in the fact that I had previous births that went well. So I was encouraged. I had nurses before that I felt doubted my ability to go natural or maybe just thought it was crazy.

When we got to the room, I dressed in the hospital gown and answered all the list of questions. The nurse checked my cervix and I was dilated to a 5. On Tuesday, I was only at a 2 1/2 so I loved seeing that I was progressing. I got out of the hospital bed and walked around, mainly clutching tight to the bar in the bathroom and hanging on to Jeremiah to get through each contraction.

My mom arrived shortly after and then Melissa. Jeremiah got the video camera set up to give to my mom.

Transition Time

Fifteen minutes later, the nurse checked my cervix again and I was already at an 8! Contractions were growing more intense, frequent, and close together. I felt like I had to use the bathroom  and that everything was going to fall out of me. During transition, I felt like I could never catch up as each contraction came so close together and so intense. I groaned and moaned and fell into Jeremiah’s chest during every one.

I sat on the toilet and rocked back and forth to keep things moving like Melissa encouraged. I tried to fix my mind on the precious little girl that was about to be born instead of the pain I experienced. My next goal was to dilate to a 10. I stood up and walked out of the bathroom into the room, staying close to Jeremiah’s side.

Dr. Harris sat at the end of the bed with his gloves on. The nurses were quiet and watching me. One nurse chimed in:

“You’re doing so well.”

“Am I almost there?” I asked.

“I’m just waiting for you to make that sound,” my doctor replied. “Then we’ll know it’s go time.”

I knew exactly what he was talking about.

“You are so close. You’re doing amazing. You’re going to meet her soon.” Jeremiah said.

“Yes, it’s going so fast. It will be over before you know it,” Melissa added.

I was hungry and continued drinking from my water cup. I felt weak and ready to give up. But I knew I had to press on. And I could eat when labor was done with. The room was so quiet as if the world had stopped. Then all the sudden, I had the urge to push!

“I need to push!” I yelled and headed to the bed. Everyone got in position.

Photo: Tammi Ambrose

Dr. Harris broke my water and with the next contraction I pushed but felt like I got nowhere. I waited for the next one, but didn’t feel an urge.

“If you don’t feel the need to push in those contractions, that’s okay. You don’t want to force it,” Dr. Harris said. “Let’s wait for the next one.”

Then out of nowhere, Hannah’s heart rate dropped. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but the nurse put an oxygen mask on me because she needed to breath. The mask annoyed me because I wasn’t used to it.

I wondered if I had done something wrong in the pushing. I didn’t have contractions for a little bit and it was as if my body knew I needed the break. They monitored me and Hannah and thankfully after a few minutes her heart rate came back up.

The next contraction came and I pushed with everything in me.

“I H-A-T-E pushing! I suck at pushing!” I yelled. I moaned and groaned, moving my head side to side. My eyes felt like they were going to pop out of their sockets. I could feel the tearing from all the pushing. I could feel stretching, numbness, and stinging like a ring of fire.

“Mom?!” I yelled out. “Mama?” Like a little child I just wanted my Mama in the pain.

“You’re doing great, Samantha,” her voice encouraged me to keep going.

The next contraction came in no time. I pushed through it, long and hard- grabbing on to Jeremiah’s arms. I just wanted to see progress and feel her head coming out. I pushed again and felt Hannah’s head crowning. Jeremiah said her arms were coming. Dr. Harris grabbed the rest of her tiny body and a huge relief fell across my whole body.

The Arrival

Hannah Kate Krieger arrived at 4:50 am. She was 7 lbs. 15 oz, 19 1/4 inches long.

She barely cried. I wondered if she was okay. He lifted her up into my arms and cut the umbilical chord. She was beautiful with a little bit of dark hair on the back of her arms, lower back, and on her head. Her eyes were dark brown and eyebrows were a blonde color. The vernix coated her skin and I couldn’t stop smelling her. The smell reminded me of John and Rebekah when they were born.

As I held her, I was also in so much pain from the tearing. I said “Ow” probably 10 times and kept asking when the pain would subside. I had a 2nd degree tear. After the placenta delivered, Dr. Harris gave me the localized anesthesia and spent 20 minutes stitching the tears. I finally felt some relief after 15 minutes and was able to enjoy her more and soak the whole experience in.

I asked Melissa if it was a good time to breastfeed. She agreed it was. Hannah latched on perfectly and sucked for a long time. This was our time now to bond- one of the best feelings in the world.

My nurse kept leaning over my shoulder to watch Hannah as if it was the first time she had seen a newborn latch on. She was mesmerized and I thought it was so sweet how she observed us.

“Aw,” she said. “I wish all my patients were as easy as you. I didn’t have to chart anything.”

I smiled and said thank you and that it was all God’s grace.

God’s Faithfulness

While sweet Hannah laid peacefully in my arms, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness during the whole pregnancy and childbirth process. I had prayed that she would come on her own and that I wouldn’t have to be induced.

I prayed that there wouldn’t be any complications and that I would be able to endure yet another laborious labor. I even prayed that she would come on my nephew Parker’s birthday, June 30th! And she did. What a gift for them to share birthdays together in the years to come.

All my prayers were answered regardless of the doubts, fear, and worry I had at times. Through the whole process, it was as if God was always saying, Will you trust me? Don’t worry about anything else in this world, but trust that I’m taking care of you. I know the exact day of your daughter’s birth and she will come in my time.

His faithfulness has spurred me on to love and trust him in my life all the more.

I’m so thankful for my doula, Melissa. She taught my first childbirth class and was one of the first women to encourage me to try going natural. She has played an integral part in all our children’s births and has been there for every one right by my side, cheering me on and showing me techniques that I would have never known how to do on my own. I love her passion for mommy’s and babies and wouldn’t have made it through without her.

I’m so thankful for Dr. Harris, who evidently loves his patients and his job. His heart for God and for people inspires me and it has been the greatest honor that he has delivered all our babies.

I’m also so thankful for all my mom’s help in preparing for Hannah. She was here for several weeks taking trips to the grocery for us, planning and cooking meals, watching John and Rebekah during Dr. visits, painting the nursery, and being on call for whenever we needed her. She is one of the greatest servants I have ever known.

Photo: Tammi Ambrose

And last, I’m so grateful for my husband Jeremiah. He is my best friend and the man I love spending all the days of my life with. He was my shoulder to cry on, speaking words of truth and encouragement the whole way through. I would have never gotten through it without him. It is a privilege to be his helper in marriage and an honor to grow our family together.

I know we have a lot ahead of us in the weeks, months and years to come with a 3  1/2 year old, 1 1/2 year old, and a newborn. But I know that God is faithful and He will continue to carry us through. He always has. He always will.

Welcome to the world Miss Hannah Kate. You are loved with an Everlasting Love.

Life & Love With Little Children

Jeremiah and I never used to frequent cafeterias until we had kids. At the cafeteria we ate at a few nights ago, balloons strung from the wooden highchairs, the food selection and presentation was outstanding, and an old lady played the piano in the background.

When we got settled into our table, John and Rebekah were fidgety. When they got their food, it took a while for them to really crave it. But with much prodding, they eventually started to eat. Within ten minutes, Rebekah was screaming to get out of her highchair and she fussed and fussed and fussed.

The old man eating with his wife at the table behind us kept turning his head around to see our little family. He smiled at us and I imagined that he raised toddlers once too. I tried to quiet my baby girl down and make her happy.

The old man kept smiling so I figured he was okay with the noise. Jeremiah sat with his work scrubs on. He had strokes of white paint all over him from working on our new house. He almost didn’t want to come in because he felt so filthy, but I persuaded him that we had to eat and he needed a break from all our house work.

We gobbled up the rest of our food before any big meltdowns occurred. I held John’s hand out the door- his little finger was wrapped up in the balloon string. Jeremiah put Rebekah on his shoulders and we headed to our van.

This is life as we know it, I thought.

I was with my best friend, lover, and husband of 6 1/2 years along with my 17 month old daughter and 3 1/2 year old son. And in just over 2 months, we would welcome the latest addition to our family.

I thought about how life has changed dramatically since the day we said “I do.” Having children has changed our world in so many ways. Life is busy, chaotic, messy, surprising, beautiful, humorous, joyful, difficult, demanding, exciting, exhausting, rewarding and abundant. Such a paradox.

And well… life has never actually been what it once was. But it’s so good.

God has used our children to change us for the better and to help us see the worse areas that need refining. We realize that there is something bigger we must invest in beyond “just us” and that makes our relationship deeper. We acknowledge that our marriage is the priority and must be cultivated everyday.

“Are we growing old together?” Jeremiah asked while we drove down the road, trying to talk over the two busy bodies giggling in the back seat.

I thought about his question earnestly. My mind raced back to our “single” days- married without kids.

“Yep, we are. We’re living out our dreams, babe,” I smiled.

A beautiful peace and contentment swept over my heart, erasing any doubts, fears, or worries. We were right where God created us to be.


Depending on Grace in Motherhood

My kids and I had just settled in at the park. The sky was bright blue. The breeze was gentle. I picked up my 17 month old daughter and inched her little legs into the holes of the swing. My three year old son was off doing his own thing on the slides.

The mom next to me was pushing her little boy in his swing. She looked a few years older than me and had long blonde hair and a nice smile.

“I can’t believe you’re going to have another one!” she said to initiate conversation.

Oh, here we go again, I thought.

I had heard this a few times before from other people (who I didn’t know. in the public setting). It agitated me but I tried my best to be nice.

“Yep, it will be a lot as they are all close in age,” I replied.

I talked a little bit about the challenges I knew I would face as a mom of three young children. And that yes, it seems crazy. Then I switched the subject and asked her questions. She was happy to tell me about her kids and how she could never have them so close in age. And I understood her completely.

But what that mom didn’t know about me was that I have huge fears and worries when it comes to welcoming our third baby in June. I had a rough transition from 1 to 2 kids and being that this baby will only be 20 months apart from my youngest, brings a lot of what if’s in my head. I’m scared of what the “balance” will look like.

How will I handle three meltdowns? Three whines for Mommy? Three hands pulling on my legs? Three bedtimes? And going out in public with three all at once? Do I even know what I am getting myself into?

In the past few months, God has really been working on me in this area of my life. If you can’t already tell! I adore my children. I love investing in them and wouldn’t want anything else in the world. God has entrusted them to me and I consider that a huge honor and great responsibility.

But I also have my days. I’m not the most patient person. I struggle with anger. I’m not a good multi-tasker. And being a stay-at-home mom around the clock has been exhausting at times. Much harder than I could imagine.

And then the same word that came to mind when I was at the park, as if to write itself across that blue sky, came yet again.

GRACE. God has brought me this far in motherhood, how could He leave me now? He has been my sustainer on the days I couldn’t go on anymore. Those days where sleep deprivation gets the best of you and you feel like you’re going crazy.

Somehow and some way, He has always carried me through even when I didn’t deserve it. His grace has helped me live in the Spirit and love my children well, reminding me that what I do in the daily, messy grind isn’t in vain. And that being at home is the greatest gift I can give them. His grace reminds me that I simply can’t do anything in my own strength.

Will His grace continue on, and on, and on? It always has. And it always will.

My prayer is that I will lean into grace all the more as I approach delivery and the days and months after. My prayer is that I will stop worrying so much about the opinions of others and trust in God’s plan for my life and my family, being confident that His grace is always available to hold onto.

Finding Gratitude in Motherhood

Last night, my friend Ashleigh’s status update read: “Being a stay at home mom is exhausting. I’m tired, annoyed, and irritable.” 

Shortly after she posted those words, her friends chimed in with their advice and experience. It had really been a rough day for her and I could relate. I’ve had more difficult days lately than easy. I appreciated her honesty about being at home. It’s really no joke!

Ann Voskamp said in a recent blog post, “Love is not passion. It is the pulse of sacrifice.” While she was relating such words to marriage, I couldn’t help but think of my children too.

Every day seems like a sacrifice raising a three and one year old (and the one baking in my belly!) I told Jeremiah the other night before bed how I often have anxiety at the start of each day when it comes to the needs I will have to fulfill and the demands required of me.

Today, we went to the mall for lunch with my parents before they were about to catch a flight. And we must have counted five or so nanny’s taking care of little ones. It’s pretty common to see nanny’s since we live close to one of the most prestigious neighborhoods in the country. Typically, they are middle-aged hispanic women and do an incredible job with the families.

As I sat feeding Rebekah her chicken and cheese taco, my heart filled with gratitude. She had rice all over her clothes and on the floor. I loved spending the time with her and was so glad she was with me. My mom helped John with his taco, but he is such a big boy now that he doesn’t need much help. I thought about how it felt like yesterday I was nursing him.

I thought about the baby inside of me. How excited I was, but overwhelmed too at the thought of having three come late June. Most people would think I’m crazy.

But it didn’t really matter. I’ve been given one of the best gifts in the world- the ability to be at home with my children. The gift of having a husband who works like crazy so I can be at home.

The ability to raise them. Nurture them. Love them. And discipline them. The incredible gift of watching all their firsts and most of all, trying with all my might to show them God’s love so that they will in turn love the world around them.

Hard work and sacrifice? More than ever. God is sanctifying me through motherhood. And it’s a painful sanctification, but there is nothing else in the world I’d rather do than make an impact in the lives of my children.

After I got home from lunch and put the kids down for naps, I went on Facebook and read the recent comments from Ashleigh’s update. She was encouraged and wrote: “Today is a new day. Thankful to Jesus for new beginnings.”

She couldn’t have said it better. And I’m so thankful God has a way of showing us moms so much in the midst of great sacrifice.

Why I’m a Stay-at-Home Mom: The Short Story

John- 3 yrs.

From last week’s blog post You Write the Title, I Write the Post, I decided to tackle Grace Graieg’s title: Why I’m a Stay-at-Home Mom. Thank you for the great topic/title Grace and for everyone who participated!

My desire to be a stay-at-home mom (SAHM) came from an early age. My mom was a SAHM to my sister and I for as long as I can remember. She made our lunches every night for school the next day and she was always available if we were sick and needed to come home. She drove me to school and picked me up. When I started riding the bus, she had a snack ready for me when I came home and drove me to swim practice. When I got my license, well, nothing really changed except that I drove myself everywhere!

The impact my mom’s presence in our home had on me from an early age was significant. It was not only her physical presence but her emotional and spiritual one too. Her genuine interest in my day, her prayers, and sweet conversation assured me that I was loved and cared for. And I never doubted her love. She also made a significant impact outside the home among our neighbors and friends. She was always baking something to bring to someone and I remember her sharing the gospel regularly.

John- 3 Rebekah- 1

So I guess you could say I always assumed I would wear the same shoes as my Mom. I wanted to make a difference like she had in my life.

After Jeremiah and I found out we were expecting our first child, we decided that after our son was born that we would trade roles and I would work part-time while he took care of John. You can read about my experience transitioning out of my career and into the home in this article I wrote for Ungrind.

Once our second child was on the way, I knew that it was time for me to be full-time at home. From the books I read in my child psychology classes in college, I knew that the formative years (birth- 5 years) were critical to a child’s development and growth and if the proper nurturing, discipline, and love were absent in those years, it could have a far-reaching effect in the future.

Other friends and moms who were further along in the journey than I was encouraged me to be fully engaged in the home as well. I knew in my heart that’s what I wanted so Jeremiah and I made the necessary changes. In August 2010 a few months before my daughter’s birth, I dove right in!

Now about a year and a half into it, I’ve learned that being a SAHM isn’t particularly glorious. In fact, most days it’s not. And I struggle many days with my anger and impatience. My kids can be demanding, needy, whiny, fussy, difficult, and more. Dirty diapers are yucky, having to schedule your world around naps can be annoying, and sometimes you just wonder if the sacrifice is worth it and if you’re really making a difference in this little one’s life.

But regardless of how hard it is raising my kids on a day in and day out basis, I still believe the sacrifice is worth it. And I believe the hard work of being fully present in our home will pay dividends in their life on down the road.

Of course, this is my prayer.

Before I know it, my oldest, John, will be in school and I know I will miss him greatly and will look forward to seeing his handsome smile when he comes home. These formative years will fly by, and I want to be the first one to see all the milestones my children cross. And I believe it’s my role and responsibility to do so.

I want to be the one to give them all my love. I want to build into their self-esteem and teach them how to respect and love all people. By God’s grace and with his help, I want to teach them right from wrong and discipline when it’s needed. I don’t want to look back with any regrets in that I “should” have been there but other commitments took precedence over them. I want to be all there for my children and for them to never doubt my commitment to raising them.

Of course, this all can only be done by God’s grace.

Everyone has their own story and convictions when it comes to being in the home. For me personally, the only way for me to be fully present and to be the best Mom I can be is to be right where my #1 mission field exists.

And of course, this doesn’t mean that I don’t regularly schedule girl night outs, date nights with my husband, babysitters, weekend getaways, time to write, to be resourceful and make money, and time to have fun. All the more, I make time for “me” (and sanity) because I need it badly!

Well I just heard a cry. My time to write is up. Until next time…

Daring to Risk a Little More

“I want to go up there!” my son John shouted pointing to the white monkey bars off in the distance. They were really high and obviously not suited for his age, but we wanted to let him try. Besides, great determination was in his eyes.

We ran over to the monkey bars and my husband lifted him up. His little fingers latched on to the first bar and he made it to the next. He tried to hold on, but he lost his grip.

“All done!” he cried.

Daddy pulled him down and after a few minutes, even though it was a little scary, you could tell he was satisfied with the attempt.

John’s zeal to go just a little further taught me a lot about my own faith. Often, I’m content and comfortable to stay “elementary” in my faith instead of maturing and growing up towards godliness.

Pursuing more in my faith requires discipline and discipline is hard work. I think that’s why I’m quick to remain put and not take risks that seem difficult or even impossible by human standards.

But God has called me to something so much greater. He calls me to step out of comfort and into living on mission for Him, meaning that I must give MORE.

  • Giving more in the way I serve others for no other reason but love.
  • Giving more in the way I raise my children and love and respect my husband.
  • Giving more in the way I use my gifts and abilities so that others will be edified and equipped.
  • Giving more in the way I share the resources and money God has entrusted to me.
  • Giving more in the way I proclaim the gospel to whoever God puts on my path.

Failure, disappointment, and conflict are all risks that come with this kind of giving and it is radical. But the joy and fullness and blessing of knowing God through giving more away is irreplaceable—bringing me just a little bit closer to complete maturity and Christ-likeness.

John was craving more when he saw those big kid monkey bars. While he was innocent of the dangers, he trusted in his daddy to help him reach each challenge.

So it is with God.

What areas in your life do you need to give more? What are you risking?

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