My Monday Cleaning Mantra

Mondays are cleaning days in our home. The goal is to get the dust dusted, the sinks scrubbed, bathrooms sanitized, beds changed, and floors swept and washed. Then, the rest of the week are upkeep days usually requiring light tidying.

While I sweep and dust and scrub I talk to Uriah about why we clean. I’ve repeated the reasons for why Momma sweeps: Momma sweeps to keep the dirt from getting on our feet. When we have dirt on our feet it gets into our beds and then we don’t sleep well and when we don’t sleep well we don’t feel well and can get sick. So this is why Momma sweeps.

To which I get the usual replies of gah gah gahhhhh or Mommmmma, mommmmma, momma, momma, momamomamomamomaoma!!! 🙂

Teaching Uriah while I work alleviates the ever present mommy guilt; it’s a strange notion that baby needs our attention all the time so other areas of life need to be forsaken to keep baby well-loved.  But mom guilt is silly. That’s why I’m learning the balance between focusing on Uriah and teaching him through my actions that the world doesn’t revolve around him (precious as he is). And one way to do that is talking to your baby as you work, especially children who have vision or mobility issues and who cannot follow momma to the kitchen when she does the dishes.

Keeping the house clean and neat is something I really enjoy doing; there is a lot of pleasure that comes from doing something well and keeping things maintained. Of course, there are days when keeping the house isn’t the most favorable task but I’m learning that keeping to the routine helps keep the mess down which makes future cleaning easier and more tackle-able (is this a word?). Waiting to clean till you see the mess or the dirt is defeating and discouraging; keep up with the mess and your friends will marvel and say fun things like your house is always clean or you should run a business because you are so organized!  

And you can smile, tell them your secrets, and enjoy the beauty that comes with weekly cleaning! 😀

Or, in the words of the magnificent Tasha Tudor, “I enjoy doing housework, ironing, washing, cooking, dishwashing. Whenever I get one of those questionnaires and they ask what is your profession, I always put down housewife. It’s an admirable profession, why apologize for it. You aren’t stupid because you’re a housewife. When you’re stirring the jam you can read Shakespeare.

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

He Won’t Be Little Forever

Just a snapshot of my little hot mess. I promise, he didn’t fall off the ottoman during this process. 😀

Dear mom of young kids,

I know, I know. One more blog post addressed to you, the coffee-driven, alone-time-missing, mass. You who are in the middle of post-Christmas cleanup and credit card statements out the wazoo. Yes, hello, you.

I’m with you. I haven’t a dozen of young children but I do have one. A precious, darling one year old. Sometimes I think he counts for at least two since he currently requires specials cares which involve me dragging around his ventilator, priming his feeding pump, and eye-balling the tiny fists which LOVE to pull out his trach because it is oh, so, fun to make mom get her cardio in. 😉

But really, I understand. Moms are tired. We’re worn down. Even on the amazing, good, organized, low-key days we’ve still got a million things weighing on our mommy brains. It’s exhausting, I get it.

I mean, I’m currently speed writing this. I’m still in my nightgown and it’s 2 p.m. I’m in the middle of trying to keep Uriah entertained while I get the house organized and sanitized since Christmas and a 4 day pneumonia-related hospital admission has me playing catch up.

But there is more to this momhood than busyness, and diapers, and weariness.

Just this afternoon I paused my bleaching and washing to prepare Uriah’s lunchtime meal. When I came close he lifted his darling, chubby arms. Hold me, Mommy. I picked him up and gently laid his tummy against my chest and swayed that little boy who loves to practice tummy time in my arms.

And in those 3 minutes I caught a vision of what might be in the next 30 years …

I imagined laying my head on my 31 year old son’s shoulder; we’re dancing at his wedding. It’s a special day. My son, my Uriah, is grown, tall, and beginning his own life. And there I am nearly 60 years old. I’m probably shorter and fatter than ever but my son doesn’t see that. All he sees is his momma. The woman who loved him.

In the 3 minutes it took to pick up my baby, dance with him on my chest, and let my shoulder get soaked through with snot, I saw what could be. 

One day, our children will be grown. One day, we won’t have littles little enough to embrace on our shoulders. They’ll be bigger, independent, and moving away from the homes we desperately keep for them. 

Dear, tired, worn, frazzled momma. Cherish these moments with me. Cherish the little person you’ve been given because, in the blink of an eye, they will be grown and gone. We’ll never be able to hold them to our shoulders like we can now. I know it’s hard to slow down. I know you have a million-and-one things on your to-do list.

But while you strive to do your best keeping up with life, rememeber to appreciate and enjoy the people in it. <3

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Lovely Motherhood Quote

Motherhood really is a privilege. Enjoy this wise, in-depth quote from one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Prentiss, and her book Stepping Heavenward. (I feel a special kinship, kindred spirit with the key character Katy).

And enjoy this free 8.5 x 11 inch printable at this Dropbox link. 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Dear Husband, Thank You for Loving Me. Signed, Your Tired Wife

Parenthood is so much more than I ever imagined. The joy, exhaustion, fun, and worry take turns overwhelming mother’s heart; I never knew motherhood could be so much.

And in the midst of it is my marriage — this loving bond that gave me my motherhood in the first place. And, sweet readers, it’s this special friendship and union that needs, more than ever, dedication and attention. I now know what every married mother tried to tell me … parenting is exhausting. Mom life is an amazing privilege and with it comes great responsibility. I’m literally at the beck-and-call of every moment of every day.

Sometimes, in my exhaustion, I am too tired to think about encouraging and pursuing the husband who I love so very much.

So, dear husband, thank you for loving me.

Thank you, to all the husbands out there, who love the women who are now mothers of your brood. I know feminists will gush a hearty but of course he should help; it’s his child too. Not me. I take notice and appreciate men who are not only great fathers but great givers and lovers to tired mothers.

Thank you, husband, for finding big and little ways to make motherhood an easier transition for me. He has inspired this list because he has done each of these caring, nurturing, loving things! 🙂

5 Ways to Care for the Tired Mom in Your Life: 

  • Making us breakfast (complete with coffee!) 
  • Loving delivery pizza as much as we do (at least once a week)
  • Sending us to bed or Hobby Lobby or anywhere where we can be responsibility free for a time 
  • Giving genuine compliments when postpartum and pumping hormones have us feeling ick
  • Pursuing romance and snuggles … because we really do want to be more than just milk machines and diaper-changing lady bosses 

 To sum it up, thank you for nurturing us while we nurture your children.

Moms or future moms, take a few moments during your next coveted coffee or Netflix or bath break to come up with some ways to say thank you to the men in your lives who are doing so much. For me, blessing Dalton is as easy as offering a massage, preparing a yummy meal, and just enjoying him.

I can’t tell you how refreshed my hubby is when I take a break from being mom and simply be his friend and enjoy his company. Laugh genuinely at his jokes, listen to his stories, or pursue his heart; imagine, husbands who enjoy being enjoyed? 😉

With love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Parenting is Hard and Holy Work

We’ve officially been home from the NICU for 74 days. Having Uriah safe and in our own little nest has been more exciting and more fun than ever expected. I love having him to kiss and hold and read to at any moment of the day. I love watching his developing milestones take place on my own living room floor. And I adore the moments I catch him smiling because he’s happy in his home.

But motherhood is a lot more than I ever thought it would be. About once a week I find myself having a mini-anxiety session where I ponder the question all mothers do … am I doing enough? On top of that, I fancy having a child who requires special cares multiplies our fear that we are failing our little people.

Eventually, that worry snowballs into a once a month cry-fest where I turn to my husband’s strong chest and sob tears that have to come out. Stuttering cries fill our small bedroom because what if Uriah doesn’t develop properly because of me? Because, as all special need parents know, playtime isn’t just playtime any more; it’s physical and occupational therapy. Eating isn’t about getting your baby to latch or getting them to like all their food groups; it’s about watching for silent aspiration and pneumonia. And every time you run out of the house for thirty seconds to drop the garbage into the bin you run back in because what if your baby’s ventilator disconnected from the trach. It’s rereading the Resuscitation Instructions once a week so you’re as prepared as possible for something to go wrong with your medically complex child. It’s greedily counting the medical supplies shipped to your home once a month and then going to the store to buy all the regular things your ordinary yet not so ordinary baby needs.

It’s so much and sometimes I feel like I don’t measure up.

Mom, if you ever feel this way, I know. I feel all the feels with you. Parenting is responsibility. And special cares or not, it is hard.

The beautiful thing is that this hard thing we’re doing? It’s a God thing. Children are gifts from God; they’re not add-ons to your already full life. They’re not the next step in life. And they are never mistakes. God’s Word makes it clear that our babies are fearfully and wonderfully made and rewards. And if God is in it it is holy. And all that hardness? It’s meant to make you more holy.

So, that baby who is fussing, or that toddler who is out of control, or that teenager who lives a busy and sometimes wildly confusing life, they’re all God things. (He’s also there for all the one’s taking care of an ailing spouse or family member.) It’s holy, hard work but that means God will be in it.

I cannot tell you the times I have seen God come in an lift my weary heart. He did it from the very beginning, during my misdiagnosed miscarriage, through the very scary first trimester, when my water broke at 24 weeks, during my 63 days on hospitalized bed rest, and during the 7 months Uriah lived in the NICU. God showed up and personally walked us through the hardest season we have endured.

And He’s here. God is still walking me through the nights when I feel like I simply didn’t measure up. He’s here, ready to bear my burden and give me grace, on the days when I’m afraid I didn’t do enough.

He’s here and He is more than enough. 

Sweet friend, I know. I know that this blog post isn’t going to fix the anxiety-filled nights or worried-filled days. I know that you can enter the morning feeling like Wonder Woman and go to bed feeling like a stinking pile of failure.

Despite how you feel, I want to encourage you to embrace the truth — that this hard work you’re doing? God will walk you through it if you let Him. And He will let the hard work be holy work if we let Him work in us.

I’d love to hear about your experiences of parenthood? Tell me your stories! I love hearing from you? 

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie