How I Try to be a Generous Mama

Being a generous, patient, gentle mama is tough; there’s only so much of ourselves which we can spread around and it’s very easy for to be panicked and stingy with our limited resources of time, energy, and attention.

But, I want to be a generous mama — one who is quick to give of my limited resources — I want to be more generous because God is so generous to me.

And I want to encourage you too, dear friend!

Honestly, it’s easy for us to freely give of ourselves when life is going well — when we’re well-rested, there’s a surplus in the budget, and the people around us are angels. 😉

But let’s talk real life — how can we be generous, giving mamas when we’re exhausted? How do we practice generous patience when we’re running late and the gas light flickers on and our kiddos are whining in the backseat. How do we give of ourselves when we just don’t want to read that book anymore?

Mothering well is not an easy task but that is where the Holy Spirit and some practical forethought can help us overcome!

For me, preparing my heart at the beginning of the day helps tremendously. I have a cute little basket holding my Bible and current devotional; it takes a great deal of effort to crawl out of bed early but I never regret the 15-30 minutes I spend with the Lord in prayer and Bible reading.

I also plan our daily schedule out and include blocks of time specifically for snuggling, book reading, or sensory play. Of course, random kisses and play times happen but I find I’m much more intentional and generous when I plan to be.

Then, of course, there are the days when I’m running on fumes and feel like quite the grouch. On those days, it’s important to be generous with myself. That can include:

  • picking the battles I want to fight
  • folding the laundry tomorrow
  • asking my hubby or a friend for help

Of course, what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you and your family. But, when it comes to loving my son generously it tends to look like:

  • reading Bear Snores On with gusto a few times daily
  • helping him with therapy exercises
  • being quick, yet patient, in the habit training we’ve established
  • slowing down enough to give great eye contact, hugs, and watching his non-verbal cues and communication

The sweet thing I’ve discovered is that when I am intentional and generous with my love, attention, and patience Uriah’s development, behavior, and personality thrive — which are ample rewards for my choosing generosity over the bare minimum.

Tell me, friend, how do you practice generosity in your relationships? I would love to hear how you have been impacted by a generous person in your life!

This week, I aim to fill our days with themed crafts, songs, books, and Scriptures themed around this idea of generosity so I’ll be sharing some of that here on the blog or on my Instagram.

Plus, I’m hoping to send a little giveaway to someone in the coming weeks so be sure to come back for that!

With much love and blessings,

Frannie

Flu Season is Tough; Here’s How We Survive Winter Isolation

It’s winter time in the Midwest which means for most medically complex families it’s also a time of isolation — a time to avoid public places where viruses and germs are so easily shared.

For so many of us the common flu or RSV virus lands our precious little ones in the PICU where IV’s, nose swabs, airway treatments, and antibiotics surround us. And for the parents any sickness can lead us toward exhaustion and cripple us with fear.

Which is why it’s so important to have a game plan for winter isolation!

The months crawl by as we skip out of basic outings like attending church, MOPS, or grocery shopping; yes, mothering medically fragile children can be difficult but we must choose joy and choose creativity and make the best of our wintertime — it’s important for our own mental health and our children’s development!

Here are 5 ways I try to beat the wintertime blues when we’re in isolation:

  • Country drives: when the weather is cold but we desperately need sunshine and a change of scenery we hop in the car and explore the countryside or a nearby town. Sometimes, I park by the river and hop in the backseat and read to Uriah while we watch the river pass by.
  • Coffee drive-thru: Wonderful invention! Sometimes a little coffee or lunch picked up without going inside is just what the week needs! I often try to budget my fun money so I can treat myself during our daily drives to therapy.
  • Initiate friendships and invite people over: Hospitality has been one of the most challenging and yet enriching projects I’ve worked on since Uriah came home from the NICU. I serve coffee and tea and friends bring any goodies they feel like having; then we play games or just visit. We live in such an isolated society and it’s important to be the initiators of friendships.
  • Check out local parks and conservation areas: This is a free and fun way to get sunshine; in my spare time I like to look for conservation parks and plan morning trips with Uriah. I consider it both exercise and sensory play to get out of the house and explore!
  • Order groceries online: This is another great invention and I am so grateful for it. I spent the first several months after Uriah came home from the NICU saving my errands for when Dalton was home and could watch Uriah. But that wasn’t practical; now, I order weekly and pick up our groceries on the way home from therapy.

Even though we desperately want to keep away from germs sometimes we just have to go places and that’s okay! We’ve had pretty good success with my portable jar of disinfectant wipes and Germ X I carry everywhere. I wipe down tables, highchairs, and anything Uriah may touch.

Thank you for stopping by my blog; I’m always amazed by the sweetness you give when you take the time to read about our lives and what Christ is doing in them.

And if you are a mom who spends most of her time away from people or places you love in order to keep your medically fragile child safe I applaud you and give you an online hug. I know it isn’t easy!

If ever you are lonely or need prayers please send a message! I would love to connect!

Love and blessings!

Frannie

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

Why Nap Time Needs to be Your Time

In my early days of motherhood, nap time was a stress filled sprint — dishes, laundry, pumping, bottle washing, meal prep, medical equipment upkeep, toilet scrubbing, and bills all demanded my attention. I ran on low trying to cram my long list of to-do’s into the 3-4 hour naps Uriah took a day.

I was tired, frazzled, angst-filled, and guilt ridden because the to-do lists were never fully done.

Thankfully, my sweet, thoughtful, Mr. Fix-it sort of husband encouraged (demanded?) that I either sleep or relax during one or both of Uriah’s naps. He wasn’t keen on coming home to a freaked-out wife especially when the pressure I was feeling was my own creation.

It took several months to adjust to this new expectation — sleep (or rest) when baby rests. I’m a list-maker and relaxing and/or napping during the day made me feel unproductive, guilty, and that I was failing as a mom and wife.

Are you in the same boat? Do you struggle with feeling defeated, exhausted, and frustrated while you try to juggle motherhood and life? You are not alone, sweet mama! We have all been in your shoes. 

I think it’s important to remember that we don’t indulge in mommy time because we want to dull our exhaustion and never ending to-do lists. We enjoy mommy time because it refreshes us, equipping us to love more, feel better, and work harder. Therefore, taking time to rest is important. Mama, make nap time your time!

For me, my avenues of relaxation include reading God’s Word and connecting through prayer, catching up on my current Netflix craze, reading a favorite book, coffee, napping, being creative (blogging or crafting), decorating the house for new seasons, and having a friend for devotions and lunch. I won’t lie, I do tend to clean during nap time but that is because I enjoy cleaning and keeping up our house. But in the early days of motherhood I needed more down time so cleaning tended wait.

Tell me — what are your favorite down times? I would love to get to know you better so leave me your current Netflix craze, relaxation tip, or book? Here’s to you mama … now go take a break! 🙂 

Love and blessings, 

Frannie

To the mother in the NICU this Christmas

Advice to the mother spending Christmas in the NICU or PICU.

I see you … you’re drinking Ronald McDonald coffee you smuggled into your little one’s room sitting in the middle of IV alarms, feeding tubes, ventilator equipment, and nurses chattering in the background. You’re spending Christmas in the NICU, PICU, or surgery floor. 

I see you smiling at your baby — thankful to be with her even if she’s in a warming tank or you’re wearing those noisy isolation gowns.

Despite your smiles I know you’re struggling with tears and questions — why do we have to spend the holidays here? Why do we have to endure this?

It’s okay; I know that your burden is very real and very heavy.

Can I give you some advice as a woman who spent 281 days in the hospital with her baby?

Mama, decorate your baby’s crib. Even in the middle of the storm, you need to find ways to make these days special.

If baby can tolerate stimuli, I hope you sing her your favorite Christmas carols and dress her in the outfit you got at your baby shower.

Eat the extra cafeteria sugar cookie and take a little time to look at the Christmas lights down the street.

Give your husband an extra long kiss before he goes back to work.

Please buy a tiny Walmart tree and set it up in your Ronald McDonald apartment and enjoy the free gifts they leave hanging on your door.

This is your Christmas.

This horrible, exhausting, lonely Christmas is your Christmas and one day it will end.

One day you’ll look back at this season and wonder how the days passed so quickly.

But until then, be easy on yourself. Find ways to make these precious days count.

You need to survive these days just as much as your baby needs to survive. You need to be gentle with yourself — after all, you’ve lost so much normalcy — it’s okay for you to grieve the loss of normalcy.

It’s okay. 

Love and blessings from someone who has spent the holidays in the NICU and PICU

Frannie