Self-doubt in Motherhood

A sweet but vague truth has been spinning inside my mind and, to help put it all together, I’m going to try and put the thoughts into words …

That guilt you’re feeling (the mommy guilt) … it’s a lie.

The fears you have about your child’s development and people skills … they’re a lie.

Any doubt or anxiety plaguing you about your child or your ability to mother … all lies.

Being introspective, I wrestle terribly with self-doubt, fear, and guilt over my role as mother and how my little will turn out. I put value on doing well which means any sign of delay, struggle, or failure sinks me to my knees.

Currently, one struggle of mine is learning how to handle Uriah’s tantrums since he isn’t yet able to communicate with many words. As we walk through these (wonderful!) toddler years, I’m seeing a sweet independence develop within Uriah; we’re learning how to help him deal with those emotions constructively and Biblically.

When a melt down happens or Uriah is unusually fussy, the enemy whispers lies into my heart — if you were a better mom he’d be able to communicate better; if you had only spent more one-on-one time with him today he wouldn’t be throwing a fit; if you don’t respond well this time you’ll train his character poorly and he’ll always be rebellious …

I could go on and on describing the daily onslaught of lies I hear about my role as mother. I’m sure you can too.

But, sweet mama, let’s listen to truth. Let’s identify the anxious, condemning thoughts for exactly what they are — lies meant to tear you down and make you less effective as a mom.

Then, fling your burdens, gaze at Christ, and focus on the truth He has spoken over you

You are God’s workmanship created for good works that God has ordained

Mama, you have been called to be your Little’s mother. God created you to help them grow into people who love and do good. You are called, so you have been equipped.

You are a new creature in Christ which means old habits of fear, anxiety, and condemnation are over

God will help you guide your children’s character towards godliness. Because you yourself are learning and growing into the image of Christ you’ll be able to gently guide your own children.

And remember, you are never alone

God promises that “because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.”

If you are feeling conviction about your parenting or priorities, repent and move on. But the next time you feel crippled by self-doubt, worry, or guilt remember Whose you are and Who is living in you.

You’re not alone, mama. We have been called and chosen for this role — let’s believe that truth and cling to it!

Happy weekending!

Frannie

My 3 Favorite Ways to Play with my Toddler

As a twenty-eight year old, first time mama, I’m learning a lot about the special relationship between mother and child and one of the most important life lessons I’m currently learning is how to play.

There’s something so beautiful and exciting when you see your child grasp new forms of play. Some of my forever memories will include watching Uriah motion to his favorite song or roar at me when I sneak up close.

Play is not only good for our little’s development but it makes for a happier life. Playing with your babies turns the tired, long, hard days of motherhood into days of joy, laughter, and memories.

Here are 3 of my favorite ways I play with my toddler!

Songs with hand motions

We LOVE singing songs — every morning, I start the day by turning on the bedroom light and singing our favorite morning song. The days are full of music and Uriah sings too! (Which is quite a joy and accomplishment considering most children with trachs cannot make sound). 

Some of our favorite hand motioned songs include Itsy, Bitsy Spider, Head And Shoulders, Wheels on the Bus, and Patticake.

Hide and Seek

Even though Uriah isn’t yet walking we have a fabulous time playing hide and seek! I hop down on all fours and crawl around, hiding behind furniture and around corners. Uriah loves looking for mama and the victory of finding me!

Playing Pretend

Ah, this is the best! We’re starting to enter the more advanced stages of play which include pretending. I love watching Uriah drive his cars or walk his little toy animals across the floor. It really is the best!

A friend recently gave me more ideas for pretend play and they included:

Playing with your toddler really is limitless and you don’t have to have expensive toys to make it successful! All of the ideas above basically involve time, effort, and you smiling.

(And to the special parents out there with children who may have medical issues and developmental delays — you can play too! I know it’s hard (and you have a million things to do) but your little one needs you to be their playmate as well as their caretaker, advocate, and appointment maker. They need your smiles and laughter!)

So here’s to all of my fellow mamas who choose to take the time to play. And here’s to motherhood — the snot, chores, hugs, late nights, tickles, and life lessons all rolled into a sweet and precious relationship between mother and child. Enjoy!

Frannie

What are some of your favorite play activities you do with your baby/toddler? What’s your favorite hand motion song? Leave me a comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

When Your Child Looks Different

In 2016 my water unexpectedly broke at 24 weeks landing us in our local hospital. I spent the next 63 days hoping and praying that I could stay pregnant for as long as possible. Those were long, hard weeks.

When you experience PPROM (preterm premature rupture of the membrains) you never really know how much time you’ll get with your baby. There are a million fears that plague you as you rest in bed and experience a high-risk pregnancy.

Add to the fact that we had been told our son had possible facial anomalies and the fear factor rose a million degrees. I worried — what if my baby has a misshapen nose or only one eye? (These were real issues we dealt with as the ultrasound was unreliable and the diagnosis we received can cause such anomalies). What if my baby is rejected by this world? What if he will be bullied? What if … 

That was when God sent this book to my room and began teaching me.


Pumpkin Patch Blessings is written by Kim Washburn and illustrated by Jacqueline East. I love this book because each page has a corresponding Bible verse, gorgeous illustration, and precious fall-themed rhyme.

I cherish this book because it taught me that no matter our physical appearance, disability, or challenge we are just right.

The first time I read Pumpkin Patch Blessings I cried. My worried, weary-worn mama’s heart cried as I read the truest of words:

Some pumpkins are bumpy.

Some are bumpy, bruised, small, or tilted. And some babies are born differently-abled. Diagnosis’ abound, medical complexities exist, and anomalies are something many face.

But that doesn’t mean they’re not right. Every child, every person, is formed in the image of God. That includes your baby, dear mama, who may have a physical impairment. Your baby with Downs Syndrome or severe eczema or Hydrocephalus. That precious soul hasn’t been forgotten or made by mistake.

They were hand-crafted by a God Who cares beyond what we can even imagine.

He didn’t make a mistake … He just chose to make someone extra unique for His glory. Your baby isn’t forgotten — he’s just right. 

I know it’s silly that a child’s book could give me so much hope but it did. It was in that moment that I embraced my child for whoever they would be and however they would be born. So what if my child was born bumpy? We would deal with it. We would love, cherish, and support that little one as they dive into life and find their purpose.

Are you a mama of a kiddo with medical complexities? How have you dealt with the differences you notice? I love hearing from mama’s walking through the same journey! 🙂 I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Love, blessings, and lots of coffee! 

Frannie

Look Who Is Standing!

Sweet people … I can’t quite tell you the thrill and sob-filled joy and delight which accompanies watching your child overcome. This week, Uriah started standing. He’s initiating standing and supporting himself for seconds at a time. He still needs support but wow

Wow

I don’t think we can appreciate how much strength, balance, mental concentration, and work goes into growing up. Babies without delays roll over, crawl, stand, walk, and eat without any fuss; babies with delay require months (or years) of therapies, special equipment and exercises, occasional medications to strengthen or loosen muscles, personalized shoes and braces, and hours of repetitive play. 

These children are warriors! Hard-working, adventurous, striving little warriors eager to do life their way. 

And how exciting when we see their sweat, tears, and work pay off! 

Love from a very excited mama, 

Frannie

The Importance of Being Understood

Have you ever felt the ache to be understood? As mothers, I think there is a strong desire to have our fellow mama’s understand us, our choices, and our life situations.

We want people to understand, not just tolerate, why we’re late to church again. We want the picture-perfect Target moms to get why we’ve got circles under our eyes, a double shot Venti latte in hand, and three uncombed children practically spilling out of the cart. I think we want to be seen for the mess we are and accepted with a hearty “I’ve been there, I understand” smile.

I know I do.

Lately, I’ve been longing to be understood. I want people to understand the ache in my heart when I’m scouring grocery store aisles for prune juice and probiotics. I want to be understood when I walk through Hobby Lobby with a darling son and equipment that won’t stop alarming. I crave the acceptance that only comes from similar experiences.

I know my heart’s cry is needy. Why do you need to be understood, Frannie? Just do you. Be you. But it isn’t that easy. Feeling alone in your situation, whatever season of life it is, can feel exhausting.

Imagine the pure joy I had when someone accepted, understood, us. We were cruising JoAnn Fabric’s aisles and I was starting to feel myself shrinking as Uriah’s ventilator kept alarming. It’s this loud, repetitive sound that occurs when he is breathing fast and, since he was so happy and excited to be out of the house, the whole store could hear us coming. 😉

And whenever you carry a child with loud medical equipment you tend to get sweet, kind, pity-filled looks or stares. And as well-meaning as those looks may be, you can’t help but wish to be normal, not pitied, and understood.

As I was cruising past one aisle and entering another, I turned and saw a 15-ish year old young man with Dwarfism looking Uriah over. And, without one ounce of pity or look of sorrow, he looked me in the eyes and said, “That is a cute kid.”

That is a cute kid. 

No “how can I pray for your son?” No awkward side-eyes. No bold stares. No pity-filled, lip quivering looks. Nothing but pure admiration for a little boy who is so much more than the trach sticking out of his neck or the machine beeping wildly beneath the stroller.

It was in that moment that I realized that young man understood us. No, I’m not saying he understands everything about our medical journey or difficulties. He probably has no experience with a trach or feeding tube.

But he did understand what it means to be different. He understood sticking out in a crowd. He understood the fear, the worry, the awkwardness of not being normal.

And in his innocent way, I felt embraced. I felt like he was part of the tribe I needed to find. I felt like Uriah was seen for who he was and accepted without question.

(I always worry when I share these posts that you, my amazing reader and friend, will worry that you’re making me feel uncomfortable, that you’re part of my complaint. I promise you, you aren’t. We have an amazing group of friends across this nation who have embraced us, given us courage, and love! I tend to only struggle with these feelings when I’m surrounded by folk who don’t know us.)

How about you, friend? Are you longing for someone to simply look at you and understand? Are you hoping to find a tribe who accepts you, your children, husband, home, and time schedule without question or judgement? You’re not alone, I promise. We’re all looking for friends who understand. 

The beautiful thing is that there is always one Who does understand and that is our Heavenly Father. He knows our hearts, knows why each tear falls, and invites us to cast every care on His Son, Jesus. He came to tend to the broken, the weary, and the hurting.

And after He works on us, we can find ways to understand and be there for others. 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie