How To Survive Hard Mom Days



We all have them. The hard days. I've found that oftentimes they clump together into weeks or even seasons. It might be difficult seasons with your kids and their behavior, it might be difficult because of outside life circumstances or it could be something personal to do with you (physical, mental, emotional, etc...). I have found it helpful to think through a game plan for how to handle times such as this. This is my go-to plan for those days...

Feed Your Soul

The very first thing I try and do on a bad day is go to the Lord in prayer and open God's word. Without question, this is the most important thing. Oftentimes I find that a big part of the problem is my heart before the Lord or something inside of me that needs to be changed. But even the days there are outside circumstances, I need to take a few minutes and spend time reading the Bible and praying. 2 Peter 1:3 says that He has given us "everything we need for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him." That means everything I need for the good days and the hard days can be found in Him and the knowledge of Him. How do we learn more about Him? By going to His word.

Practically speaking, most of the time, this means I have to stop in the middle of the chaos and prioritize this. It might mean me settling my kids into room time for a little bit or giving them a snack and turning on a show. But on the hard days, I have to stop and go there.

Cut Down To The Basics

The next thing I do is cut out anything I can from the day. If I see it's going to be a doozy, I cut out all unnecessary things from the day. It might mean I make the groceries stretch one more day because there is no way I trust my kids to make it through a shopping trip. It might mean I cancel the activity I planned to do with kids and turn on the TV instead. THERE'S GRACE FOR THE HARD DAYS, MAMA! (For the record, there's grace for the good days too ;). You plan your day, and you hold the control of it. If there are commitments that you can't get out of, keep it as limited as possible. Cut down to the basics of your routine.

Rest In Your Routine

One of the BEST parts of having a routine is being able to have it to fall back on for the crazy days. Take advantage of room time, take advantage of nap/rest time. The great thing of a well-practiced routine is that you don't have to think about it and it doesn't take extra energy or capacity. So sit back and reap the benefits of that routine!

Call For Reinforcements

Hear me friends, there is no shame in calling in help. Do you have family nearby who can give you a break for a couple hours? Is it worth planning a sitter for the night and having a date night with your man? Is there a friend you can call and come crash their house for an impromptu playdate (and offer to return the favor one day??) Do you need to ask your husband to cover you for a night out of the house? My husband is so good at offering this, but I also know I can ask if I just need a minute by myself outside of the house. There are some days where I call him before he comes home and when he walks in the door, I walk out. A 20 minute break at Sonic can do a world of good.

**A Note on Personal Discipline**

I think one of the benefits of personal discipline can be helping make the hard days few and far between. At least the ones we can control. Here's a list of the things I try to hone in on daily, regular self-discipline:

- Daily Time With God and His Word
- 7-8 hours of Sleep
- eating 3 meals a day and limiting snacking
- Drinking a good amount of water every day
- Consistency in parental discipline
- Practice regular community with my church

So this is my game plan for the hard days! Hopefully it helps encourage you on one of those inevitable days we all face!

Related Posts:

9 Habits of a Successful Stay At Home Mom

Taking Care of Mama: How 15 Minutes Can Radically Change Your Day

Making the Most of Your Kids' Schedule: How To Get Things Done

Sanity Savers


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Getting to Know the BFBN

I'm so exited about our topic today. Today, each of the bloggers in the Babywise Friendly Blog Network are doing a sort of introduction post for the BFBN. If you read this blog somewhat regularly, you probably see me posting from time to time about it, but maybe wonder about what it's all about. Today should answer that question.

There is a lot of negativity about Babywise on the internet. A lot. (For the record... a lot of the hate is myth! We actually covered some of the myths last year and you can read about that here). So several years ago, Valerie Plowman, from Chronicles of a Babywise Mom (the most well-known BW blog) started a network of Bloggers to help add some positive resources.

Here what Val says about starting this group:

In 2007, I started by blog in order to help parents with their Babywise questions. The internet was not a friendly place for Babywise inquiries and I wanted to be a voice for people who needs help and encouragement.
Four years later, in 2011, I wanted to expand that vision just beyond myself. Hearing from one person who does Babywise is nice, but wouldn't several be even better? So I started the Babywise Friendly Blog Network. My vision was to have a group of bloggers who all follow Babywise who could work together to create one massive resource collectively for Babywise parents. Everyone has different life experiences in general, and this is especially true in parenting. Among all of us, we could more fully address the needs of parents out there.
Nearly 6 years later, the Babywise Friendly Blog Network (BFBN) is stronger than ever! We have had so many great bloggers join over the years and we have a fantastic group today.

Some people wonder why this is still a relevant group for me since my children are older and I don't have any babies. And this is actually something I chatted with Val about recently. I think the answer is because there are still many applicable principals from the Babywise System, and also because it's important to see how BW can help produce well-adjusted, good sleeping, older children. I absolutely believe in Babywise and continue to see fruit and benefits as my children grow.



I was invited to join this group just over two years ago and this group of women has become a sweet group of friends for me. Between the eight of us, we have 26 kids with 2 on the way and 3 sets of twins! There is so much wisdom, experience and encouragement in this group and I would love it if you got to know them and and their blogs too!

Chronicles of a Babywise Mom

Yall. I cannot tell you enough how much I have used this blog as a resource for my baby days. It has answers to EVERYTHING Babywise related with several search options and label options. If you use Babywise with your babies, you are going to want to bookmark Val's blog.

Valerie has four kids: Brayden (12), Kaitlyn (10), McKenna (8), and Brinley (5). She has been married to Nate for 13 years. She is a technical writer with a degree in English. She lives in Utah and loves to sing, organize, watch football, and direct musicals.

These are a few of my favorite posts of hers:













The Journey of Parenthood

Ok. Here's where I tell you how I stalked Emily's blog when I couldn't sleep when I was pregnant with Archer. I found her blog from Val's blog and I pretty much binge-read on those sleepless nights. I have no doubt if we ever hang out in person that Emily I would be the best of friends. She loves Jesus, is organized, budget-savvy, realistic and loves a good routine as much as me! She's super creative and has so many great parenting ideas.

Emily is married to Zach and has 3 kids (with 1 on the way hopefully soon via adoption): Kye (8), Britt (5),  and Tess (3).

Also Disney. She's been to Disney more than me and rivals my love of it for sure!

These are some my favorite posts on her blog:









Team Cartwright

Kimberly joined the BFBN at the same time as me and it has been a joy getting to know her! She's been married to her husband Pat for 8 years and has three kids: Benjamin (3) and Twin girls Alison and Samantha (17 months). We have bonded over books because she loves to read! She is super passionate about the STEM fields and helping kids explore the world around them!

These are some of my favorite posts on the Team Cartwright Blog:










Mamas Organized Chaos

Katrina is one sassy lady and an excellent writer. She's smart, organized and provides another great resource for you as primarily a Babywise focused blog.

She is married and has a daughter Caroline (2.5 years) with another one on the way! She's an Aggie but we can still be friends (Wreck 'em Tech!).  She loves cloth diapers, a great baby schedule, makes her own baby food, and she used to be an engineer and high school chemistry teacher. So basically she's another smart girl!

Some of my favorite posts on Katrina's blog are:









Let's Be Brave

So Natasha's blog is a little different from the others for me because she is my REAL LIFE FRIEND. One of my dearest. I've know Tash for almost 7 years now. She has loved my babies for so long. I have often said that she had a Laura Kate shaped hole in her heart. She and her husband Gary taught the 2 year old class at our church for years and years through 3 of our 4 children, which yall, TAKES A SPECIAL GIFT. When Shepherd and Fischer were born, she helped keep my bigger kid(s). My kids call her "Aunt Dasha" and there was one time that Shepherd so sweetly asked if we would take him to Aunt Dasha and give her a kiss that we could not refuse.

Tash and Gary have walked through the hard and painful days of infertility as well as battled their way through foster care. 9 weeks ago they welcomed a biological baby girl Everly and this very weekend they are finally finalizing the adoption process for three beautiful children: Laurel (7), Bennett (5), Christopher (2).

Tash is people-oriented, a brilliant lawyer, a loyal friend, fights for the important things, and tells you like it is. Half of my book recommendations come from her so clearly she has good taste in books. She loves wine and ice cream, books and games, and most of all she loves the Lord and people.

These are some of my favorite posts on her blog:







Twinning Babywise

I've said it before and I'll keep saying it. I love everything Cole writes. I love her "voice". She's so witty and funny. She loves the Lord and she loves to read.

Cole is married to Eddie and has 4 kids: Vera (4), Abel (2), and Mercedes and Samuel (1). Did you catch that? 4 kids 4 and under. She's a saint.

Your going to love reading her blog! These are some of my favorite posts of hers:








Rogers Party of 5

Caitlin is the newest blogger to our network. Like she just joined last week. I am so excited about getting to know her better. She's another twin mom with twin girls (16 months) and a toddler son (3.5 years).  She's a former music teacher and loves coffee, wine, and healthy eating (but also fancy cupcakes!).

I really love her blog and I think you will too! These are a few of my favorite posts:








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Weekend Recap: Cousin Olympics, Beach, and Father's Day!


Our weekend started off with a not so fun bang with more car trouble. Kyle's car was in the shop (still is) because of some violent shaking and weird noises so we borrowed my parents extra vehicle only to have a blowout in it! If you think about it, pray for provision and quick repairs of the vehicles this week!


Joel and Ashley and their boys came into town on Thursday which meant extra snuggle time with this squishy nephew! Rolls for days!!


Cassie and Curtis and their boys got into town on Thursday night. Yall, I just love being around my family. They make me so happy and are more than family, some of my closest friends!!


No one makes better chicken salad than my Mama. No one. 


My sweet Mama. She has NOT felt good. She had surgery in her ear a couple weeks ago, and then was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and possibly pneumonia right when all her grandbabies got here. I so wish her health was better. I know she is so weary from all of her health battles.


Cousin time is so fun! I love that all of our kids are friends and love each other so much! 



On Friday afternoon, we held the first annual Cousin Olympics! Events included the pool noodle toss, balance beam walk, pillow case race, egg walk, and sponge race. The kids LOVED it and had a blast! Then it started storming so we ran inside to rinse everybody off and eat hamburgers! 








Bedtime stories with Papa are the BEST! He was the one who always put us to bed growing up and would tell us the best stories at bedtime. Love when he does the same thing with my kids, and of course they just eat it up! 


On Saturday, Joel and Ashley and crew had to head home, and we pretty much hung out at my parents house for the afternoon and evening. Cassie ran a couple errands with me and Kyle and Curtis went to some outdoorsy stores. Also, I made my sister some earrings :).  


On Sunday, while we went to our church for Father's day, my dad was preaching at a church in Gulf Shores. We made plans to meet up with Cassie and crew and my Dad at the beach! (Mom wasn't feeling up to it and I'm so glad she was able to get some rest, although we for sure missed her!). 


I was so proud of this girl! She totally ran out in the waves and had the best time! Even though she's nine years old, she still refuses to go near water without wearing a puddle jumper. That being said, she was all over those waves! She looked at me at one point and said "I've never taken on waves like these before"... like she was a pro surfer or something. I told Kyle I hope she always makes dramatic statements like that,


And of course, the Fisch Stick. Keeping it real since 2012. In this particular moment, he had saltwater in his eyes. Other than this, he actually did pretty well too. In fact all the kids did! The splashed and played and LOVED the waves and water. 


And the sand :)


This guy is just my favorite! I am so so grateful to have him to parent with. I couldn't do it without him and he is ALL of our favorite!


Archer's favorite part of the beach was chasing the seagulls. He would run after them ON A MISSION saying "Hi ducks! Hi!! Hi Ducks!!"


After a couple hours at the beach, we went to put our name on the wait list at Lambert's Cafe. They said it was a TWO HOUR wait when we got there. Thankfully things moved more quickly than that and it only ended up being a little over an hour. While we waited we actually went to Whataburger to get something to drink.

Lambert's was so worth the wait. The food was amazing (and huge!), the tea was sweet, the service was great and all of my kids ate their food without complaints. 


Yall. Look at the size of my chef salad in a bread bowl!! Goodness gracious it was HUGE. Our waiter said he had worked there for ten years and never seen anyone finish it (although I did have a FB friend tell me he finished it and wore the bread bowl as a hat afterwards! ha!). 



Archer was cracking me up the whole evening. This normally picky eater INHALED fried okra and kept calling it "chicken!". He tried to catch the rolls when the guy would throw them. He had the time of his life!




So fun getting to celebrate this guy in person on Father's Day. I'm so thankful he's my daddy and for all the ways he has influenced and blessed me. Also he's a pretty great Papa too!



Such a busy, full weekend with my favorite people! We made the sweetest memories! This week the big kids have VBS and I'm looking forward to even more cousin/sister time! ❤
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Kyle's Favorite Lemonade Pie

In honor of Kyle's Birthday last weekend and Friday Favorites today, I'm sharing the recipe for Kyle favorite pie, really his favorite dessert in the whole world. It's another super easy recipe and one you can make in less than 10 minutes. 




Ingredients:

1 8oz Cool Whip
1 Can Frozen Lemonade Concentrate
1 Can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Directions:
Mix all ingredients together with your favorite mixer, pour into pie crust, freeze for 2 hours, serve chilled. 

That's it! Super Easy. Super yummy! Super happy husband!




Today, I'm linking up with MomfessionalsGrace and Love Blog, and Little Bit of Everything Blog, for Friday Favorites! 

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Potty Training Survival Tips

(This post originally appeared at Mama's Organized Chaos on June 9, 2016)



Listen yall, after potty training three of my four scouts, I have quickly figured out that NOTHING makes me lose my sanity faster than potty training. So far, there is nothing I hate worse in the little years. It trumps teething and weaning. It’s the worst.
To make matters even *better*, each of my three were so different in how they trained (true to their personalities). I used the same method for all three (the one mentioned in “On Becoming Preschoolwise”) but how they responded was very different.
For my oldest, my girl, it took a solid two weeks. We trained for day time and night time at the same time. She was just ready for both so we did it. I thought those two weeks felt like two years. I thought I wasn’t going to survive. I thought I was going to lose my ever-loving mind. It takes NOTHING for me to draw up those miserable memories. And then, after two weeks, something clicked in her little brain and we were COMPLETELY accident free. Save for a couple middle of the night accidents the next year. I thought I had survived the apocalypse. I thought I had it bad. Ha! Little did I know….
It took my second, a boy, NINE MONTHS…. NINE EVERLOVING MONTHS to be completely trained. I’m not just talking nights (though by month nine of going at it he was ready for night training as well). It just took longer for the pieces to click in his brain than it did his older sister. We tried everything. We boot camped three times. Even though he had reached every “readiness marker” he just was not ready. The will is strong with this one.
For my third, also a boy, we were feeling the time clock with him to get him ready for the three year old class at preschool. I STRESSED about it. I didn’t not want to have to hold him back from this class since he was academically and socially ready. I mean I STRESSED (especially after the nine month nightmare I had experienced the year before).But he surprised us all. He was night trained before day trained and it only took him a week and half to really get the hang of it. The hardest part for him was pulling up and down his pants.
Throughout these experiences, I have learned a few things about how to keep your sanity *somewhat* in tact, regardless of what method you choose.
- Try your very best not to stress about it. The kids can smell fear. If you are stressed and anxious about it, they will be too, or it will trigger their strong will to defy you. Remember that it is HIGHLY unlikely that they will go college wearing a diaper.
- Rewards! I’m not talking about just for them. Find a way to reward yourself in the process just for surviving the day.
- Don’t overcommit to other things while potty training. Potty training unfortunately almost always involves staying near the potty. If you are trying to do other things at the same time, it’s not likely to work out. You have to be able to focus on it.
- Utilize your devices and stock up on good books! Download fun apps to play in the bathroom while you are “waiting”. Keep a stack of books in the bathroom for easy use. Throw a couple in there for you too!
- Know how to clean your furniture and carpets BEFORE the accidents happen. Know what products best remove stains from your rugs and find out if your couch cushions can be washed or not. Knowing how to deal with the clean-up before the accidents and mess happens can help you keep your cool in the moment. (Remember, they can smell fear.)
- Find the humor in it. My husband is SO GOOD at this! He makes the kids laugh and always has more success with the kids than I do. I really attribute a lot of that to his ability to laugh at things like the silly noises you hear in the bathroom. Humor breaks the tension and stress for everyone involved.
- Prepare several “accident bags” to carry with you. I put in a gallon ziplock: a change of undies, a change of pants or shorts, and a smaller ziplock with a few baby wipes in it. If you prepare several of these ahead of time for when you get out and about, it is FAR less stressful to deal with an accident.
If you are in the trenches right now, I FEEL YOUR PAIN. I don’t have to know the details. I get it. Hopefully these tips can help you trudge on. Remember… college! One day they will be diaper free and fleeing the nest! March on soldier, and may the odds be ever in your favor!!

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In The Meantime...



Do you ever find yourself  "in the meantime"? In a waiting season? Maybe you're waiting to go into labor. Maybe you're waiting on news from a job interview. Maybe you're waiting in the adoption process. Maybe you're waiting for relief from pain. Maybe it's a new season you're desperately waiting for.

Whether you're waiting on the Lord, news, other people, or babies... whatever it is you're waiting for, the "meantime" sure can be a mean time can't it?

My dad calls them the parenthesis times. The times in between the main narrative in your life. What are we supposed to do in those seasons? Obviously there's some patience involved. There is the actual, you know, waiting.... But where should our hearts rest? What should we be praying for?

About three years ago I found myself in a pretty significant waiting room. We really felt like we had heard from the Lord that a change was imminent. We could feel the tides turning, but we didn't really know what the details were. We didn't know where the change was going to happen. We didn't the how or very much of the why. We had walked through a difficult time personally and emotionally. We were tired. We were weary. And quite frankly we didn't even know where the energy was going to come from for whatever it was that we were waiting on.

In the middle of the raw weariness, I sought after the Lord and asked Him for a resting place. For something to hold onto while I waited. And I feel like He truly met me in that place and gave me three things to cling to. I think they are applicable across the board for these kinds of seasons and I want to encourage you with them, should you find yourself in a meantime.

1. Pray for Relief

The first thing I felt called to pray for was for relief. And honestly this came from exhaustion. Patience is a fruit of the spirit. It's not something we can conjure up on their own. We have to go to the source, which is Jesus Himself. But the beautiful thing about going to the Lord is that His Word tells us that when we come to Him, He will give us REST. (Matthew 11:28)

So when you find yourself weary in the waiting, remember to go to Him. He is the source of our patience, and the place to rest in the meantime.

2. Ask for Blessing

Over and over and over we find in Scripture, Godly men and women asking for blessing and favor from the Lord. (Abraham, Jabez, Hannah, David, Zacharias .... just to name a few). So why on earth wouldn't we ask for the same things.

Jabez is probably one of the most talked about examples of this that we see. When he prayed, he cried out to the Lord and said "Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!”And God granted what he asked." (1 Chronicles 4:10)

I really think the Lord delights when we ask Him for blessing. In fact, speaking of blessing, there's the familiar verse that says "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart". This does not mean that if you ask God then He will give you whatever you want. He's not a genie. What it does mean, however, is that when you delight yourself in Him, when you spend time in His word, when you spend time praying and talking to Him, then He will direct your desires. He will give you the desires of His heart. The key is to, again, go to Him as the source of those desires. 

So while you're waiting, make sure you're waiting WITH Him, talking to Him and asking Him for blessing. Just remember to let Him define the blessing and TRUST Him to lead your heart in the meantime. 

3. Laugh at the Days to Come

This concept comes from the infamous chapter in Proverbs 31. The picture of this amazing woman laughing at the days to come is my favorite part of the whole chapter. This is a woman who is not afraid. And coming from someone like me who has battled fear and worry a lot of my life, I want so badly to be different. I want to laugh at the days to come.

There are so many interpretations and commentaries on this chapter. But I heard a different take on it recently. Instead of being a list of things that the most awesome woman can check off her list, these words are used as a means of blessing. It's something that husbands used to speak over their wives as a blessing over them. I don't know about you, but I want to be a woman of blessing. I want to bless others and I myself want to be blessed.

And here's the thing about this concept that occurred to me three years ago: It's a choice. I choose to fear my circumstances more than I fear the Lord and His power. I choose to bless others and to rest in the blessing. I can choose to laugh at the days to come, to not fear them, and so can you.


Don't waste your parenthesis time. Cling to these three things while you wait, which in case you havn't caught on to this, means clinging to Christ Himself.


This is my first Wednesday Words post... a place where I flex my writing muscles a bit and talk about more serious topics. If you have topic suggestions or some things that you'd like to see me write about, feel free to send me an email or leave a comment! 

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The Struggle Is Real


I know that as mom, we all have our struggles. The things that make motherhood difficult. The things that keep us up at night and the things we continually pray about and try to find solutions for. I narrowed mine down to just a few, though I could talk about a lot more. 


Balance

This might be common for mothers across the board, but it is for sure my biggest struggle. I can't tell you how many times I've had the conversation with Kyle: "what should I focus more on today, the kids or the housework?" There's not enough time for both. (pssst... the kids always win that conversation. People over tasks). I feel like my plate is constantly full and I frequently feel like there is not enough time in the day to accomplish all that I need to or for sure want to. 

So finding that balance IS a struggle. I don't have the solution and I am always on the look out for a better system to be more efficient or ways to capitalize on my energy. I often need to be reminded about the freedom and rest I have in Jesus and what the Gospel says about me as a mom. That I can't do it all, but He can. 

Another element to this is that I think it is so common in our society to feel the societal pressure to do more, be more, better, be all and do all. And when you just really take a look at things, so much of what we want to get done in a day or accomplish with our kids is undo pressure we put on ourselves. 

Being present

This is another big one for me. I struggle to be present in the moment. My brain is often whirring 10 steps ahead of where I am and it makes me not present in the moment. In these little days with my people, my energy is so easily sapped and there are so many thing to "Watch this!" and "Mommy please get me this" that I need almost daily reminders to be present where each of my kids are. I
know there is undo pressure here sometimes to, but there's a line and I struggle with it. There's grace and freedom, but there is a responsibility too. And also a genuine desire to be a present mom. So it's something I'm working on and want to be better about.


Laundry

Yeah. I said it. It's my arch nemesis. I hate it. I can't find a good system. It always gets backed up. There are clothes everywhere all the time. I just hate it. 

I do have to brag on my husband for a minute. Because he is so encouraging and willing to listen to my struggles and encouraging me as a mom. He also is so quick to point me back to the Lord and make sure my priorities stay in line. 



Today, I'm linking up with one of my favorite blogs, Momfessionals for a Show and Tell Tuesday post! Check out some of my past Show and Tell Tuesday posts here:










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