I really enjoyed watching Amanda Gorman, the young poet who spoke at President Biden’s Inauguration. I caught myself wishing that my little girl would one day dream big and then work towards achieving her goals and desires. Go girls, go!!
I love Cup of Jo. The blog content and the community of readers that gather around it. It is a very beautiful space on the internet and what I secretly wish for this here little space.
She recently had a blog post on family rituals and I decided to steal a few to start with my child(ren) as they get older. So here goes and please also check it out.
To keep things simple at Christmas, we each get 4 gifts: something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read. I am planning to use this model with my children (someday)!
My MIL had three curious kids who would shake gifts put under the tree before Christmas day. She invented Christmas “code names” to write on the presents. From then on the kids didn’t know whose presents were whose and would stop peeking. On Christmas day each kid gets to guess who’s assigned to each code name and she reveals the results at the end. My husband is now 33 and the tradition is still alive! She always chooses a different theme. Sometimes they are so abstract we spend hours just trying to guess what the theme is. Last year it was types of dairy cow (Holstein, Normande, Guernsey, Belted Galloway) and the year before it was cities in Ireland (Cork, Killkenny, Limerick, Dungarvan). One year she did locations of WWII battle sites. She keeps us on our toes and I always look forward to it.
“When my (very adult now) kids were smaller, I began asking for their self-portraits as my birthday gift. Many years later, I enjoy the most incredible archive of their growing artistic skills, evolving concepts of self, and interests at the time. It’s still what I ask for, and they happily explore new media, formats and methods each year — often their portraits coordinate incredibly well with no overt communication. Can’t recommend this enough. Only wish we’d begun even earlier!”
A nice tradition I have started with my kids is giving a special book on their birthday. Instead of a greeting card, we pick a book that means something that year (a book we borrowed many times from the library, a little story about a place we travelled to, about getting a sibling, etc) and we write a note on the front page or wherever we can fit it talking about memorable things of that year and hopes for the year ahead. I plan to give my kids a book with a love note every year for as long as I live
She doesn’t know it yet, but I invest money each month for my goddaughter, in the amount of her age. $1 a month when she was 1, $2 when she turned two, ect ect. She will be 11 next month! I plan to give her the money when she graduates high school or turns 18. It is a fairly low financial commitment from me each month, but should hopefully be a very nice gift for her one day. AND it will be a great lesson in compound interest and investing in your future 😉
The night before the first day of school we eat under the dining room table instead of on top of it. My kids are little (4 and 7) so they find this exciting and a wacky way to end summer and start the year!
I have occasionally thought that of the working parents, some were better than others but today, it hit me as they say in Kiswahili kila mtu apambane na hali yake (each one to contend with their situation / bear their cross). I also read this post that chronicled how some parents are sharing their child care needs – each of us is doing what needs to be done. That is all.
So how are we sharing the responsibilities?
We discuss calendars on Sunday evening and coordinate so we do not have clashing calendars. This is necessary because one parent works in the morning as the other does child care/ house and all those demands.
We each took on more around the house based on interest and strengths. Having said that, I suspect as the mom I do more 😦
Early on, we shared with our respective bosses and teams the situation at home and the impact on overall availability and deadlines.
We regularly check in with each other because its tough for each of us, on different days and in different ways. And we need to carry each other because as I keep saying to the Mr, if we think we are hanging on by a thread now, we cannot afford to break down or get sick.
I/ we both dropped our house cleanliness / tidy standards because no one has time or energy to keep those up. Also, no one is visiting the other so whatever.
Lastly and most importantly, to be easy on myself. I had some grand plans for this year, both in terms of school, work and personally but God in His sovereignty has placed me here and now. So I occasionally say to myself, chill, be easy.
Underscoring all of this is such great privilege that we both kept our jobs and work in fields that allow us to work remotely. Coupled with this is a child who has the beginnings of being resilient and who rolls with the punches given by Mama and Papa.
In person, these feelings and reflections on the past year are mostly joyful but definitely extremely emotional. I cannot put into words what this year has been like but I would like to try.
Motherhood takes a village. You can do it alone but it is so much better when shared with people you love and trust and with whom you can point your children towards. A pal of mine shared with me that you need four or five people that you trust enough to say to your kid if you cannot talk to me about anything, you can speak to ….. I definitely have those people, both in family and friends.
Pregnancy takes a toll on you the mother and it takes a while for your body to adjust, both physically, emotionally, hormonally and just. Be patient with yourself also, don’t stress too much about your looks.
A baby’s personality develops at birth, observe and work with that.
A friend told me about a mothers’ instinct at my baby shower and I was doubtful. It is true that it does kick in and that I am the best person equipped to be her mother. No one can be a better mom than me.
The dynamics of your relationship shift significantly. Talk about it, review where you both are/ how you are feeling and to discuss. Little people can otherwise impose a lot of pressure on your relationship.
Having a baby helped me refine how much I love people. I also finally understood how much my mom loves me. If she loves me even a little of what I feel for her then I am loved. I also know what it means when I miss someone because I sometimes miss her so much my heart and body actually aches. How does my mom cope?
I learnt that I can be efficient with my time. I commit better to things immediately. I can function with little to no sleep.
A friend is waiting to have her first baby any time now and a popular blog I read often asks participants what advice they would give a first time mama and only now am I kind of ready to attempt answering that.
Over the holiday I got a bit tired of listening to the same subscribed podcast content so I challenged myself to listen to shows I wouldn’t normally do or I had heard but did not want to commit to full subscription just yet. So here are some of those fantastic episodes.
I felt my back stand up when I first listened to her views on infidelity so I wasn’t open at all but I liked it so much I listened to this other episode on sexlessness.
Radio Diaries’ Teenage Diariesrevisited. I love that kind of radio soooo much. I was hanging on the edge of my seat listening. Definitely subscribing. As a teen I would have loved to participate in such an activity, to be honest, even now I would.
This being the last week of my maternity break, I thought I would share some of the lessons I have learnt as a new mom. Please share your own lessons in the comments, thanks.
Newborns make interesting sounds right from the beginning. Leaving the hospital the little one giggled … we should have known she had grand plans for us later that night.
They try to turn their necks from side to side initially, at least she did.
They are your co-partner in breastfeeding. FACT.
Breastfeeding makes you feel insecure – get a good lactation consultant on standby and attend a good birthing class that included breastfeeding lessons.
It does take a village, first kids are naturally born resilient coz how do they survive with parents who don’t know what they are doing????
… but you should also control the type of visitors you get. In the early days I caught myself making lunch and teas for visitors, very very sad.
Trust your instincts always. This took me a while to get used to but it does kick in, thank God.
You fall in love with them coz they pin you with that intense penetrating gaze and then one day they just smile and you are captivated.
I will honestly admit to the fact that I did not initially fall in love, like day one. It took me a week or two but when I got there, I was fully in love …
Newborns aren’t fazed by hiccups.
They hate to bath, at least she did. It took three full months for it to become bearable.
You are initially tired, lack of sleep and childbirth, but you soon learn to cope.
The nature of the relationship with your partner will change. The most important thing is to talk about it and give each other some grace. Also, get some zzz when you can, lack of sleep exacerbates errrrthing.
Baby breath and baby farts don’t smell at all
Changing dirty diapers is actually not the worst thing.
The best part of it all though is getting to know her an experience that I would liken to a slowly opening rose bud.
In this season of late nights and quiet early mornings, of little cries and fussy babies I am learning three truths about God and really reflecting on that.
God the Creator. Throughout the pregnancy I have seen how God creates little beautiful people and the level of care and His great attention to detail. His ways make sense and when you read the Science behind it all, you cannot help but worship Him deeper and love Him even more.
God the Provider.Isaiah 49:15 talks about how just as mother will never forget the child she is breastfeeding so also God will never forget us and will always show us compassion because He has engraved us on the palms of His hands. God knows all the details of our lives and He sees to all our needs from the small to the large. He is our Source and Sustainor.
God is Love. I love my daughter and it sometimes overwhelms me just how much the little lady has captivated us and then I think that God loves me even more than that. That He loved me so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for me. Oh how He loves us!!
What does God mean to you as we approach this Easter season?