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Don’t Grow Weary!

I know it’s been quiet here at MyBusyHome… mostly because my busy home has been, well busy. I’m in a tough, demanding, active, crazy, overwhelming season of life. I have busy kids who hurricane around the house overwhelming me constantly with their endless energy.

There’s a four-going-on-thirteen-year-old, self-declared princess, who creates and perpetuates drama, but also initiates sweet conversations about God and life. There is a little boy running around in big boy undies, so busy with playing and jumping and laughing he sometimes forgets to do his business in the potty. And don’t forget the adorable, mobile baby who is as fast as lightning and has a fascination with electrical cords…

Some days I drop into bed at 11pm and I wonder how I made it through the maze of another day, and if I can muster the energy to do it all over again tomorrow.

So, I haven’t felt very inspired to write here about how to manage a Busy Home, because more days than not it feels like my busy home is managing me instead.

In days and weeks like I’m having lately, I find the greatest comfort in verses like Galatians 6:9:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

I cannot express in words the comfort that this promise brings to my heart.

I shouldn’t grow weary. I must not give up. I don’t need to stop doing what I’m doing. I can’t stop sowing into my children. I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other… And, one day, when it’s time, I will reap.

Isn’t that a precious comfort? Don’t give up! It will take hard days, and long weeks, and toil and struggle and tears, but WE WILL REAP if we don’t give up!

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Why Is My Baby Crying?

When your baby is crying and you’re not sure why, take a few simple steps to figure out what might be going on:

1. Take a deep breath.  Say a quick prayer asking the Lord to give you wisdom to figure out how to calm baby down.

2. Think about what just happened.

  • Were you dressing your baby?  Could a zipper have pulled some skin, or is a toe be bent in a sock? Check baby all over while talking quietly to him.
  • Was baby in a new or busy place– maybe she was overwhelmed by new sights/smells/people. Take her to a quiet and dim place.  Remove some of the stimulation to help calm her down.
  • Did baby just eat?  Maybe he has gas in his tummy and needs to burp. Put him up on your shoulder or lay him across your lap and pat or rub his back gently.  Try giving him Mylicon gas drops.
  • Could a loud noise have startled her? Hold her close to you and talk reassuringly to her.

3. Think about how long it’s been since baby slept. Babies are usually only awake for 1-3 hours at a time during the day before they are ready for a nap.  Is your baby ready to lie down and rest? Take her into her room, dim the lights, swaddle her, and lay her down.  If she isn’t calming down, try to rock her or hold her while walking for a few minutes.  Sing to her. When she stops crying, try again to lay her down in her crib.  Speak slowly and gently to her– tell her you know she’s tired and she’s ready for a nap.

4. Think about how long it’s been since baby ate. Is baby hungry?  (Before you discount this thought since baby has been consistently eating on a “schedule”, remember that babies have growth spurts that cause them to be hungry more frequently than normal.)  Usually if I go through all the things above and baby is still unhappy, I feed him, guessing that he must be hungry.  Generally this calms him down, and sometimes he sucks for a few minutes and then drifts off– and I assume he must have just wanted a pacifier and a nap!

5. Think about what else could be going on. Could he be teething?  Could she have a fever?   Could she be constipated?  Has his schedule been changed– out past bedtime, skipped bath, new caregiver, daylight savings time, etc?

Other Ways to Soothe your Baby:

  • Figure out how baby likes to be held.  Both my boys loved it when I cradled them close and held them tightly.  Maybe your baby likes to be upright over your shoulder, or wants to face out and see what’s going on.
  • Stand up and walk while holding your baby or sit down and rock your baby, sometimes movement helps to calm babies.
  • Go for a drive with baby in her car seat.  Most babies love the movement of the car.
  • Swaddle your baby.  Often the tightness of a swaddle feels comforting to them like the close quarters they exited from!
  • Sing or making a comforting shhhhh shhhhh shhh sound.
  • Offer a pacifier.
  • Place baby in a swing or vibrating bouncer seat.

It can wear down even the most put-together mother if baby is constantly crying and nothing seems to help. If you feel like you’re losing control, put your baby in her crib and leave the room.  Your baby will be OK crying for a few minutes in her bed while you gain control over yourself and your emotions.  Call your husband or a friend to come and help you if you need to– there is no shame in asking for help when you need it!


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One Foot In Front…

…of the other.

Each stage of parenthood seems a bit daunting at first. I remember before Ladybug was potty trained, fretting about how to do it and if she would ever use the potty on her own. Back up just a little and I was worrying about giving her solids– what to start with, how much to give, when to offer it… Then it was getting rid of the pacifier. Should we bribe her? Should I reason with her? Will she take the pacifier to kindergarten?

Each time, with a little prayer and a lot of patience, everything has worked out just fine.  She ate solids (and loved every bite!) and moved onto feeding herself eventually.  She dumped the pacifier when she chewed a hole in it and didn’t like it anymore.  She just started peeing and pooping in the potty one day, and never looked back.

I find myself even now worrying about the next thing.  Living overseas puts me in the position of needing to teach my children.  I actually have a degree in elementary education, so no sweat right?

Wrong.  I find myself pouring over curriculum reviews, wondering which letter I should teach first.  Wondering if it will be better to do home school in the morning or the evening…

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaait a minute!  Isn’t Ladybug three years old?  Why, yes, that’s right.  She’s only three years old.

How quickly I let my mind run wild and without seeking the Lord first, I’m sprinting ahead wondering how I will do this, and when I will accomplish that.  Like I’m some sort of superwoman mom.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

It’s so easy to do.  To operate out of our own strength. To work from a sense of guilt we have as moms– Suzie Q posted on Facebook that her two-year old knows all her letters already!  Cindy Lou‘s new baby is already saying seventeen words and knows sign language!— a need to keep up, a need to do better, a need to perform well.  To not trust in the Lord with all our heart.  To lean on our own understanding.

As moms, we need to be spending time with the Lord daily.  Pouring out of fears, frustrations, hopes, dreams.  Asking for His divine wisdom.  Trusting for Him to create a path for us to walk down.  Knowing He will meet our needs as moms– whether our need is potty training a two-year old, or teaching a sixteen year old how to drive.


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Quick Tip: Nursing Bracelet

As a nursing mom, my brain is usually always pretty fuzzy, and it’s often hard for me to remember which side I need to nurse Doodlebug from.  I made myself a stretchy bracelet to move from arm to arm to remind myself where to start.  If you aren’t into jewelry-making, or don’t have the supplies, you could use a hair tie or rubber band, or find a cheap stretchy bracelet at Target or Claire’s to help you remember where baby needs to nurse from! (A stretchy bracelet is ideal since you can easily move it from arm to arm without dealing with funky clasps.)

(My only problem now, is remembering to move the bracelet after baby eats!)