Motherhood, Marriage & Ways To Maintain Both

Motherhood, Marriage & Ways To Maintain Both |theprimarilyinspired.com|

First comes love, then comes marriage, then…down the road and a couple years later when you’re somewhat financially stable and settled from your move across the country you take a vacation and here comes baby.

Well, it at least worked out that way for us.

My husband and I were very open with each other about family and our desire to have children – eventually. We looked forward to when we would become parents and couldn’t wait for that next season of our lives together. Now, as we parent our eight month old and sit in reflection of it all, our marriage has changed a bit. It’s to be expected and a tad unavoidable; and not so much in a bad way, but just different as we find ourselves with a new circumstance within our union.

Speaking for myself, I have found I am quite picky about how to care for our son. Brand new things annoy me that never bothered me before, after spending all day at home with a constant teething son my patience has dropped significantly, and overall I just have my way of doing things at home and with Greyson.

However, I’ve learned that there’s a way to preserve the relationship you have as a wife and mother that leaves room for yourself too…

Keeping my husband my #2 in our marriage.

Not number one? Hear me out.

One of the biggest worries my husband had right before Greyson arrived home was that I would give my son more attention than him; that he would be bumped to the bottom of the totem pole in our family. However, that couldn’t be farther than the truth. My belief is simply that God comes first, my husband second, and my child(ren) third. Keeping that in mind has allowed my husband and I’s relationship to become stronger even having our little Greyson around. Having God first allows His word and teachings to guide my life and marriage, which affects who I am as a woman and wife to my husband, and thus a reflective living example onto our son.

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Proverbs 3:6

I’ve personally seen how strained a marriage can become when one partner, typically the mother, becomes more affectionate or wrapped up in their child over their spouse. I love my son so much and I would love nothing more than to dedicate all of my waking hours to him, but there are other people (and responsibilities) that demand my affections and time as well. Learning to balance baby and my husband have proven to keep our marriage as strong as ever and (hopefully) keeping my husband feeling loved and attended to.

Continued time for each other without baby.

Time was precious even when we didn’t have kids and now that we have Greyson it’s vital in our marriage that we make sure to spend quality time with each other. These days our time is divided up between my husband and his work, taking care of our Murphy (our pup), and caring for the baby. That leaves just a smidge of time for each other and it’s so important we make the effort to resume our relationship even with the addition of the baby.

We’ve gone wine tasting, to happy hour, dinner, and enjoy snuggling up to an episode of Game of Thrones – all with baby in tow (follow our adventures on Instagram). To us, that’s our new normal and I’m thankful I have a husband who stretches himself to make time for his needs as well as the needs of his family. Our alone time is equally important as it is us, the two adults, that form our marriage and time away from the baby helps remind us we’re more than just parents.

“In every way and everywhere we accept this with all gratitude.”
Acts 24:3

Making time for intimacy in our marriage.

Oh, sex. Getting back on this proverbial horse was a difficult one for me. Not because I didn’t miss being intimate with my husband, but for what sex would be like after healing from a vaginal delivery. Things shifted bit down there, breastfeeding makes things interesting, and it was is definitely painful. Connecting with my husband again in that way just makes me feel so much more in love with him even amidst the diapers, spit-up, and tiresome nights. Never mind the scent of breast milk that lingers between my boobs #justsaying – nonetheless, it’s intimacy that keeps us grounded as husband and wife.

Talking about sex…

Besides, you know your husband deep down can’t wait for this day either and talking with him about your feelings on the subject definitely alleviates any kind of pressure or self-consciousness going in. Just because your doctor may give you the go-ahead after 6 weeks doesn’t mean you’re ready – I know I wasn’t. However, discussing how I was feeling and making sure to affirm my husband in other ways kept our bond strong within our marriage and made those more intimate nights special.

“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs.”
1 Corinthians 7:3 NLT

Which brings us to…

Communication.

Having a baby can definitely make or break a marriage due to the newfound stress, sleepless nights, and new roles in which each person plays. I have always prided our marriage on my husband and I’s ability to talk and discuss what’s on our mind. Even if the conversations are uncomfortable or deal with hurt feelings. Ensuring we’re both on the same page about the baby helps us discuss what’s on our minds. Even if it’s about my husband’s habit of throwing soiled diapers on the floor when changing the baby instead of using the Diaper Genie, which is this innovative little contraption that is designed just for soiled diapers. But, you know.

Don’t let new mommy stress take control…

Maintaining your communication is so important, but it’s also in how you communicate too. Being up with the baby at night or during the day can cause a new mom to be stressed out by the time dad gets home from work. Words can be said and tones can become snappy, but try to keep in mind the day your husband may have had and how excited he is to be home with his family – just to clock into another full time job: parenting.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Ephesians 4:29 NLT

Learning to let go of the control.

This one is important for me as the mother. I was watching a documentary on Netflix the other day called The Beginning of Life and there’s a portion of the film in which new dads comment about having a baby and their care-taking dynamic versus that of their wives. They talk about how they are less likely to help out with certain things because their wives do it a certain way and they’d just rather let them do it. Not because they don’t want to participate in caring for their child, but because they perceive they won’t “do it the right way.” The irony is we all know there is no real right way to care for a baby.

Allow husbands and fathers to figure out this parenting thing on their own with little intervention from us moms. It’s no secret that I definitely have a way of caring and doing things for Greyson that differs from my husband’s and I just need to learn to let him care for our son. No matter what form that may look like (see diaper story above). I am guilty of trying to have him conform to how I do things, but the fact of the matter is I don’t want my husband to feel inadequate or feel like he needs to get my approval on how to do things as a father. Because after all, I do need his help and am grateful for his role in Greyson’s life.

You’re already fantastic parents…

Parenthood, especially as new parents, is a journey and one in which can switch from exhausting to exciting as quickly as your little one’s temperament. Just remember that you and your spouse are on the same team and if you can survive infancy you’re all set for toddlerhood and beyond. Just keep these few things in mind as your cross the threshold together…I’ll let you know how it goes for us 😉

Motherhood, Marriage & Ways To Maintain Both | It IS possible to maintain both your identity as a mother and wife. Here are a few ways I’ve been able to stay sane within the first three months of being a mom. |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Until then, any words of wisdom for maintaining your sense of self as a mother and wife to share?

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Celebrating A Closed Chapter In Love

Celebrating A Closed Chapter In Love |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Love and relationships come and go from the time our parents allow us (and for some sneakily) to have them. To understand our adult relationships one must acknowledge how the past has played a part in who you become as a partner and what you value in others especially as it relates to love. So, let’s start from the beginning…

My first ‘boyfriend’ was in elementary school and the extent of it was that we held hands and saved a seat for each other on the bus. I shared my first kiss with him and he was the first I really had feelings for that extended beyond our friendship. It was a young love that wouldn’t last, however, and we broke things off practically weeks later (read: sarcasm there). Throughout middle school I didn’t get into the whole dating thing. I chose instead to involve myself in soccer, my schoolwork, and eventually my part-time job at Movie Starz, which was the local video store in town.

During my sophomore year I did meet a boy who shared a few classes with me and ended up winning me over with his humor. After some time we became ‘official’ as boyfriend and girlfriend – a momentous occasion at that age. We did everything together from talking on the phone for hours, walking each other to class, and he was even my first. Although we loved fast and there were many positive memories from early in our relationship, things began to shift.

I began to notice a different side to him. He became controlling and verbally and emotionally abusive. He would check my phone or accuse me of things I never did. It even got to the point where I had to lie to him just to keep myself from an argument. I knew then I had to get out and that even at 16 this wasn’t a healthy relationship. I ended things only to be met with retaliation from him and his friends- having bitch and whore written on my locker, mutual friends choosing sides, and even though I was the victim somehow I was the shameful one.

I recovered from that, although difficult at the time. I continued to focus on my schoolwork and job and eventually I graduated to then head off to college. I had this refreshing mentality of a fresh start – something new on the horizon to look forward to.

During my freshman year I happened to meet an older guy from the area through my sister and mutual friends. He wasn’t in college, but I enjoyed conversations with him, he made me laugh (see a trend here?), and I felt that since he was older I could connect with him in a way that I had difficulty with people my own age. After a number of years, I finally realized that I spent that time falling for someone who couldn’t love me in the same way back. And although we certainly had a lot of ups and some pretty heartbreaking downs, our tumultuous relationship didn’t last – and looking back it was for the best.

I’m not going to sprinkle sugar over how toxic we had become both during and after our breakup. Rather I can only speak for myself and share that although I refused to acknowledge the wrong while we were together, my own character came into question. In fact, I made mistakes, I treated people wrongly, and I threw caution to the wind. I wanted to find value so badly in others that I forgot to even look for it within myself. I had lost a lot of myself, not because of the person (or people) I was with, but because of me. It took me years to process my hurt and anger, but the results all circled back to me. The responsibly of finding value and self-worth were all mine.

I am a huge believer in the ability that God uses people and places them in your life at specific moments. Moments that at first seem unassuming. Meeting my husband when I did was His way of reassuring me during one of the hardest seasons of my life that I was worthy of true, everlasting love. It was a two-fold sense of love because Philip, from the very beginning moments of our first conversations, enveloped me in his compassion, intelligence, matchable quick wit, and most importantly the love he had to offer me. To love and be loved was never work, it flowed naturally. I had never experienced a love like that before and even though it’s four years and a baby later he has never wavered in that same sense of love for me and I him.

The other sense of love I received was from realigning my life in Jesus, giving up that control, and opting for His plan for my life – especially as it relates to people and relationships both with friends and strangers, as well as, in my marriage. Ever since I made that choice to seek Him amidst the challenges in my life I’ve gained so much more and have become a better person because of it.

Did I somehow celebrate the end of such a difficult time in my personal history only to revel in the love I share now? No. Instead I choose to rather celebrate a closed chapter in my life that I can go back and re-read if I so desire through reflection. Although I have made my fair share of mistakes or handled past situations poorly, I don’t look back with regret or even shame. I simply look back as a means to recognize where I’ve been, how far I’ve come, and where I have yet to go in my current relationships.

Have you celebrated or commemorated your divorce or a significant breakup? Would you ever?

This post is also a part of a series called NaBloPoMo 2016 hosted by BlogHer. NaBloPoMo is short for National Blog Posting Month and it challenges writers and creatives to post on their blogs once a day (at least) for the month of November.

Feel free to join in and share your post either here or on my Facebook comment thread for each day’s post! I’d love to see my fellow blogger friends join in!

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Stop Making Motherhood Difficult

Stop believing the rhetoric that being a SAHM you have to give up yourself in the process and instead believe in the wonderful opportunity you have to be home with your child - knowing they’ll grow up remembering this time with you. Hold onto the notion that some days will be tough, but you’ll learn more about yourself as a mother than you ever thought possible.

I’m feeling a bit fed up today.

I love reading various blogs and other mommy websites that share fun and thought-provoking articles on all things motherhood and baby related. What I love the most is reading stories that us parents of children can all relate to like what to expect [fill in baby’s age] or those ‘lies I’ve told to my toddler’ posts. Today on the other hand, I’ve seen just one too many posts on how motherhood has left some moms feeling burnt out, confined, and leaving little resemblance of their former selves. We have found ourselves in a serious problem here.

Since when did being a stay-at-home mom mean losing yourself in the process? Come on, we’re more valuable than that.

Motherhood is a beautifully tiring thing no matter if you birthed the child yourself or adopted. Becoming a mom and making the decision to stay at home to raise your child(ren) is a huge deal, or at least it was for me. It’s not something that one should just enter into frivolously – it really is work and any SAHM will attest to that. I intentionally put my career on hold because it meant I got to be there for my son as he learns and grows and that was something my husband and I discussed prior to even becoming pregnant. Yes, I am fortunate enough that staying home with my son is a privilege my family has and I am grateful for it. One day I know I’ll return to teaching, but in the meantime I get to enjoy being a mom who clocks in to work within the home – and I wouldn’t change that for anything. Even on the challenging days.

The reality of being a SAHM does change things a bit. I’ve learned that put simply: I don’t exactly get to do what I want when I want to do it. My home looks a bit different these days often with dirty dishes in the sink, soiled burp cloths strewn about, and Lord knows how many toys, floor gyms, and teething rings you’ll find (not in their proper places). However, I’ve come to find my mommy groove which allows me to maintain myself and my home without feeling like I’m missing out on something.

I achieve quite a lot on a daily basis.

Does my dress code consist of black yoga pants and numerous nursing tanks? Yes. Do I apply my makeup or do my hair everyday? Nope. But, I can take a daily shower, clean the house, blog, create products for my TpT store, relax while catching up on my summer reading, and binge on Grey’s. I can also prepare dinner (although it has proven to be tricky), take a trip to the outside world like Target if I so choose, and socialize with my neighbors.

It IS possible for a mom to equally care for her child, read and play with them, go for walks, and feed them all while doing the things they enjoy; and I refuse to listen to another mom who claims they can’t. I’m fed up with this notion that you must give every fiber of your being to the attention and whims of your child. Why do this to yourself?

Stop believing the rhetoric that being a SAHM you have to give up yourself in the process. Instead believe in the wonderful opportunity you have to be home with your child – knowing they’ll grow up remembering this time with you. Hold onto the notion that some days will be tough, but you’ll learn more about yourself as a mother than you ever thought possible.

HOW TO ROCK THIS WHOLE SAHM THING WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND

Get yourself and baby on a damn sleep schedule.

Baby ‘Duh’ Tip #1: Your baby thrives on a daily schedule, especially as they get older. Come to know their schedule or be really diligent about establishing one early on – you’ll thank yourself later. What does my son’s sleep schedule look like? He wakes up, takes a mid-morning nap at 10am on the dot, then is awake until lunch where he takes his afternoon nap (about 2-3 hrs) right at 12:30pm, then wakes up again, and at 5pm on the dot he’s ready for another cat-nap before he goes to bed at 8pm.

In between those naps we play, read, go for walks, etc. During those times of rest I am able to have my me-time where I can pretty much do whatever pleases me. That’s where I find the time for myself *fist bumps self*.

So please don’t spread this horrible mom-rumor that your life ceases to exist because you have a baby.

“Being a stay-at-home parent means that in order for your family to thrive, you have to die a little bit” via.

The very moment you give in to this ideal you begin a trajectory downward into resentment and delusion. Of course your child is important and this doesn’t mean that you stop caring for them, but it does mean that they don’t have to consume you. If you think of it in percentages of your whole being, you have to leave room for yourself otherwise other aspects of your life will fail. It’s just #math.

Ultimately, reevaluate how you run your household.

If you’re finding that motherhood means ‘working harder, not smarter‘ then you need to change things up and get real with yourself. Totally not judging you or your abilities as a mom – but one thing about having experience as a teacher and new mom to a growing baby is that you must change and adapt your day depending on what the needs of your child(ren) are. And quite simply: the other huge factor to your ability to do things for yourself comes down to parenting.

Share your motherhood needs with your partner.

Most moms need a break once Daddy walks through the door. It’s as if they have this silent agreement that once he gets home they hand over the baby and peace out (I literally may have done that a time or two). Most moms may even shut their husbands out from the gate. They think that the work they do cannot possibly be understood or replicated by their husbands because they aren’t home, they aren’t a mother, and they aren’t them.

Although this is true, it doesn’t mean they can’t relate to stress or needing to hit the refresh button (read more about that here). You’d be surprised as to how good motherhood will feel when talking out your feelings and what you need in that moment with your husband. After all, they’re your partner in life and sometimes you need to tag them into the game.

Instead let’s focus on the powerful SAHMs out there who are busy raising their tribe with one, two, three plus children who range in age. Let’s hear more stories about moms who manage to do it all – knowing that motherhood looks different for everyone and knowing it is possible.

This post is also a part of a series called NaBloPoMo 2016 hosted by BlogHer. NaBloPoMo is short for National Blog Posting Month and it challenges writers and creatives to post on their blogs once a day (at least) for the month of November.

Feel free to join in and share your post either here or on my Facebook comment thread for each day’s post! I’d love to see my fellow blogger friends join in!

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When It’s Okay To Be Selfish

When It’s Okay To Be Selfish |theprimarilyinspired.com|

Selfish isn’t a character trait that I would typically use to describe myself and quite frankly I stay pretty clear of those who embody it. All over scripture are we reminded that we should live not of selfishness, but rather take interest in those of others or help others in need. However, today I’m sharing with you that sometimes when we find ourselves giving all we have as mothers, daughters, wives, and working women; it’s okay to stop amidst the chaos and take a time out. It’s not only something we all earn, but it’s important to relax, rejuvenate, and refresh our minds and bodies from time to time and consider our mental health in the process.

That’s why it’s okay to be selfish.

I am a wife, daughter, new mother, and previous teacher. I spend the majority of any given day dedicating my time, energy, and efforts into others whether that be my husband, the 20 students I had the joy of working with each day (and any teacher will tell you that not every student on every day is a joy to work with), my mother who I try to call as often as possible (considering the time difference and the fact that we live on opposite sides of the country), and even my pup Murphy requires love and attention no matter how little energy I may have left to spare. Since bringing Greyson home it’s been a nonstop adventure and now at almost eight months old, and he learns just how mobile he can become, my eye is constantly on him and running around after him. Although I find immense happiness and joy when providing for those I love, there comes a time when I need a personal reset button and time for just myself.

Here are small ways we all can be a little selfish without feeling bad about it…

Me Time is important, understood, and respected by my husband.
Anytime I tell my husband, “I need a minute” after a tough or particular exhausting day, he knows to leave me be…as hard as that may be for him at times. He makes sure I have uninterrupted time for myself by cooking dinner, taking the dog out for a walk or a trip to the dog park, or just simply watches TV or plays with Greyson until I crawl out from the depths of our bedroom. I am so grateful that he respects this time I need for myself and most importantly, respects the privacy I require at the time. It’s important for couples to communicate when they need that precious time for themselves and for the other person to not take it personally. The same goes for my husband, who started a new job a few weeks ago and is working longer hours and takes up a lot of his mental capacity – just to return home and be a husband and father. This #adulting thing is tough, but routine me time helps get you through it.

Recharging the battery.
My me time comes in all different forms such as a hot bath, taking a nap, watching my favorite trashy TV shows (Real Housewives, anyone?!), or even blogging with no interruptions. Whatever form your me time comes in, it should be something that helps you unwind from the day and spent doing something enjoyable without the normal distractions of the home. Recharging your battery is vital for a healthy mind and body, so keep your stress level in check.

A real mood changer.
Ever notice you find yourself to be extra irritable once you step through the door, already feeling like your gas tank is running on fumes, and you’re met with needing to prepare dinner, take the dog out, or be bombarded with kids or your husband? It doesn’t happen too often for me, thank goodness or should I be saying yet (again), but there are times when I just need to throw up the white flag and admit defeat after a long day/week/month. Universe: 1 Kelly: 0. And in those moments that’s when I need to give the me time bat signal and reset my body and mind so that I don’t unintentionally take out my frustrations on those around me.

Be content with saying no.
Saying no to others can sometimes be a real struggle for me. Lysa TerKeurst put it best in her book The Best Yes when she said that often times we have this “disease to please”, which leads to the bigger problem: guilt when saying no to someone as if we’ll somehow offend the other person. There have been so many times where I feel as though I’ve needed to constantly please the people around me, by no fault of theirs, but it leaving me with little to spare for myself or even my family. Learning to find contentment in saying no allows me to fill my time and energy with things that are important or may be the priority in that moment.

Our men need their me time too.
One thing to keep in mind about when it’s okay to be selfish is that it works both ways. Just as the men in our lives need to respect this important me time for us, we need to offer the same courtesy to them. A lot weighs on their shoulders as men, husbands and fathers and a lot of this weight we may be unaware of. So, when your guy comes home and wants to grab a beer with his friends or otherwise wants to do something not including you, consider that his own bat signal that he needs a little time to unwind. For me, this looks more like my husband playing his PlayStation4 for a couple hours at the end of a long day. I don’t take it personally that he doesn’t want to listen to me ramble on about my day. I give him his time and before I know it he’s reset and ready for me now.

One of the biggest keys to any relationship is communication. It’s important that couples know how to talk to one another and respect the privacy or distance that both people need from time to time. I value the communication that my husband and I both have with each other and it’s gotten to the point where we just know when the other person needs a little time for themselves. Be sure to communicate this with your own spouse or partner so that you both are free to be a little selfish from time to time!

What does your “me time” look like at home? Do you and your spouse have a known routine when you need a little break?

This post is a part of a series called NaBloPoMo 2016 hosted by BlogHer. NaBloPoMo is short for National Blog Posting Month and it challenges writers and creatives to post on their blogs once a day (at least) for the month of November. This weeks prompts are (weekends are free writes):

Nov. 1: When you’re having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do to help yourself?
Nov. 2: When was the last time you did something brave? What happened?
Nov. 3: If you could be completely honest with no regrets, what would you say and to whom?
Nov. 4: Which fall shows should totally be canceled already?

Feel free to join in and share your post either here or on my Facebook comment thread for each day’s post! I’d love to see my fellow blogger friends join in!

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