I still use my brain as a stay-at-home mom

I remember when I first became a mom, I strongly desired going back to work to “use my brain,” and to have “adult conversations.” I felt home bound a lot due to breastfeeding, naps or a sick baby and thought my new life was void of the conversations and intellectual simulations I needed to grow and feel important. Zane is now two and as I reflect now on the aforementioned beliefs and even hearing new moms say it following their update that they’ve returned to work, I realize how close-minded I was with this thinking. Daily, my brain is overworked to the point that it needs to check out. Do I feel dumb because I spend most of my time with a toddler? Heck no! I feel smarter than ever with my refined problem-solving, planning, and negotiating skills, along with all the parenting knowledge I’ve read. I never stop thinking; there’s meal planning, injuries, discipline, taking care of my husband, sleep training, potty training, self-care, swim lessons, etc. The list is endless! Further, I have enough thought-provoking, meaningful adult conversations that sometimes I need a break from meeting up socially with anyone. How did this become the case? As tiring as it is staying at home with Zane, and future kids, I’ve appreciated the fact that I get to create what our life looks like on a micro- and macro-level. In other words, I get to choose what our days look like and overall, what teachings, value, beliefs, etc. I want Zane to grow up with through my guidance while staying home. How does this look like for us? Well… I’m not a routine, habitual person so therefore my rule of thumb is, as long as Zane naps, plays, eats, and is clean, his needs are met. It does not need to be at the same time exactly everyday. Of course I get hung up on how long his nap is, or how many he had, or the quality of food he consumed, but overall, I’m pretty flexible. Therefore, I have cultivated a flexible life for us that includes daily play dates or meet ups with my childless friends. Most of the time he gets to play, and sometimes he just has to make do with what’s around if we aren’t at a park or around toys. It is during these social occasions that my need for adult conversations has been met and exceeded. Namely it is because I handpick my social meet ups and each person fulfills a different need I have. But best of all- I get to build relationships and be present for someone. Put together, I never feel like I’m missing something that work would fulfill.

I’m thankful for the life I have as a stay-at-home mom, even when the days are rough. I wouldn’t do a thorough job serving my family and especially other people (by way of being there for them) if I had to juggle work outside the home as well. This is what works for me/us. I know everyone’s situation and feelings vary.

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Posted in Communication, Friendship, Motherhood | 1 Comment

when my heart feels at home

After having moved many places and visited many countries and cities, where is home to me? When I return to the small town of North Haven where I grew up, I definitely do not think of it as home. But rather a place I needed to escape from ASAP in order to grow and be happier. When I think if San Diego, I am overcome with beautiful memories and a longing to return, but know in my heart that that chapter has closed beautifully. Now living in the Gold Coast, this is our new choice of location, and even with family nearby, I don’t think I’ll ever call it home. It’s still new, so maybe check with me in five and ten years. ;-) As of now, I’m truly discovering the term, “home is where the heart is.” I don’t know if it truly depicts how I feel, but all I know is, there have been occurrences and moments when my heart feels at home. It feels happy, loved, understood, thought about, and warm. Can it be possible? Surely; if you are in tuned with it, seek it, and thrive from it. Following are some of my recent beautiful “my heart feels at home” moment.

1. I am so blessed with the mother friends I have, especially the ones I have from San Diego since I have more history with them. One evening while checking my email, I received a lengthy email from a mom of two, one newborn and another toddler, who thought I’d appreciate her triumph with potty training. Given her sleep deprivation, exhaustion, lack of time, and overwhelmed state, she took time to detail out her success story to me. In attempt to emphasize and place myself in her shoes, I thought it was impressive she thought of me and took the time to impart knowledge and wisdom my way. Thanks R!

2. Shipping to Australia is very expensive! What’s warning to the heart is when our friends in the States send us birth announcements, gifts, and Christmas cards in the mail knowing the cost and time to probably buy a specific international Forever stamp out purchase international postage.

3. Skype dates with family and friends rock my world (and data usage!). To connect face-to-face with loved ones who “know” me and we can pick up where we left off and just be us makes my heart not want to be anywhere else.

4. Making new friends is a job in itself, especially for me who seeks deep friendships with similar interests and beliefs. I’ve been blessed with the gals I’ve met. Being in their company makes me feel at home because there is hope in finding new friendship after leaving forever friends in the States.

In sum, this new feeling that has made my heart happy and at home is encouraging me to see the light. When I’m in the moment and allow these beautiful moments envelope me, I am reminded that it doesn’t matter where I am, I am loved, thought of, and understood. It’s just a matter of remembering this all the time. :-)   When does your heart feel at home??

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the benefits of a christ-centered marriage

(I have internet and am back to blogging)! Before I met Daniel, and looking for a partner, one of my criteria did not include my future husband having to be a Christian. As long as he was a good man and made me happy, that’s all that mattered. Yes, I was a believer of God and Jesus, but my faith walk was not strong enough to make it a deal breaker if my future husband did not hold the same belief. When Daniel and I got married, we had a pastor at our four-guest wedding, but this decision did not indicate that we’d be following Christ together. Again, I was okay with Daniel being agnostic. God works miracles and in mysterious ways, and after years of leading us to two different churches in San Diego, friendships with many Christian seed planters, and a small group that was influential, Daniel committed his life to being a Christian. I was happy that we would both be Christians, but it still didn’t make a huge difference for me since Daniel remained to be a good man and my goal was never to convert him. Now that we are in our sixth year of marriage and nearly have been together for ten years, I can’t emphasize what difference it has made in our relationship that both of us are followers of Jesus and look to Him for guidance and wisdom. Daniel and I live an active life in that we socialize a lot and do a lot of things, such as exercise, travel, DIY projects, serve others, etc. Yes we have down time, but at any given time in our lives, there’s typically something going on. And of course not all happenings are good, we experience work stress, life stressors, relationship challenges, etc. Considering all that I described, you can imagine how many conversations (and arguments) we’ve had that require a commitment to have better communication, serving one another better, making big/small decisions, growth opportunities, goal setting, dreaming, and more. For us, these dialogue topics serve a significance in dictating the direction of our marriage and our plan for the future. Before we were avid Christians, we would have these conversations from a self-serving perspective, whether for ourselves or jointly as a couple. Examples include: “How can we make the most money?” “I want a, b, c, and d for myself and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get them.” And, “You aren’t making me happy. You need to change this.” These questions/ statements serve a purpose, but for us, it took us down a path towards seeking our own will, doing everything in our strength, attaining worldly possessions and status, and focusing too much on ourselves and not others.

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Nov 2014- wedding of dear friends

Operating from a Christ-centered marriage, the following are some approaches we implement:

A. Be Christ-like to one another (ie. Being more graceful, kind, forgiving, selfless, etc.)
B. Seek His will in our daily lives and big picture plans
C. Encourage Christ-like behavior when one another come across challenging people and circumstances
D. Prayer when we are uncertain about things and in all things, give prayers of thanksgiving
E. Finding ways to serve others together
F. Finding ways to be generous to others together
G. Raising our child/ren in a Christ-focused environment

Of course we are not perfect with carrying these out, but we do try. I encourage you to have a think about this. For us, sharing the same belief and living out our faith in our marriage has been one of the main reasons we are going strong, and especially remain strong through transitions like this recent big move. Above all, we have peace when the going gets rough, especially when we are living without a steam of stable income. :-)

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Posted in Communication, Dating/ Marriage | 2 Comments