Baby toes

23 things I didn’t know before becoming a parent (that make it the best ever)

Before I was a parent, I felt like all I heard were the horror stories about having kids.

“Say goodbye to alone time.”

“Travel now, because you won’t get the chance once you have kids.”

And the dreaded: “You’ll NEVER. sleep. again.”

To a woman in her twenties who liked alone time and traveling, and very much so loved her sleep, being a parent sounded like the pits. I heard moms around me swap war stories about how they rarely got a shower, they only leave the house for grocery store and Target runs, and they were up 37 times the night before with their toddler. It all seemed so terrible.

So when we had our daughter, we prepared for the worst. But much to our surprise, we found out there was a whole lot of good mixed in with the not-so-good. And the good is great. I mean, like really, really great. Like powerful enough to lift you up and carry you through the tough times great.

Perhaps it’s human nature that we tend to commiserate about the negative aspects of parenthood. I’ve read many a blog post about the frustrations of caring for littles, the drudgery of the routine, and the weariness it all produces. Is there some truth in all that? I’d be lying if I said no.

Yes, it can be challenging.

And yet, it is so. COMPLETELY. exhilarating.

Maybe you could’ve told my pre-parent-self how all the once-ordinary parts of my day can suddenly be so joy-filled, and maybe it still wouldn’t have hit me. A little more than 16 months into this parenting gig, I’ve come to realize you can’t understand most of it until you’re there. Or maybe parents keep all this good stuff to themselves like the perks of being in some exclusive club. But now I know. The secret’s out. And I can’t stop myself from sharing my thoughts on what it is about having kids that is so mind-blowingly awesome.

Here’s my 23 reasons of why it’s the best:

  1. The thrill of (repeatedly) counting 10 tiny fingers and 10 tiny toes.
  2. Drinking in the intoxicatingly sweet scent of milk on your newborn’s breath.
  3. How you get so excited for them to wake.
  4. How you could stare at them forever when they sleep.
  5. The silky smooth wonderfulness of baby skin.
  6. The magic of watching them discover something new. How you find yourself holding your breath as you observe each brave attempt, and how your insides burst when they succeed. I mean, they should give out Olympic medals for rolling over, right?
  7. FOOTIE PAJAMAS.
  8. How they look like perfect angels when they dream.

    Sleeping baby

    Ahhh. The pure bliss of sleep.

  9. Giggles are your new buzz. You’ll do just about anything for them. Crazy faces. Pants on your head. Tooty sounds. All dignity goes out the window.
  10. How you get to relive the best moments of your childhood through their eyes. Christmas. Dogs. Large empty boxes. Snow.
  11. Wobbly baby steps.
  12. Snuggles during story time.
  13. Finding Little People in your purse. Or blocks in your bathroom. Or puzzle pieces under the table. It’s like a little trail of breadcrumbs pointing back to their delightful presence.
  14. Hearing them say your name for the first time and mean it.
  15. Dance parties.
  16. That distinct clean baby smell.
  17. The twinkle in their eyes and the crinkle of their nose when they smile.

    Crinkly baby nose

    Crinkle nose. My favorite.

  18. The reward you feel when you’ve soothed them.
  19. The honor of providing complete care for another human life.
  20. Baby talk. Best conversations I’ve ever had.
  21. The serenity of drowsiness. The fierce sucking of the paci, the tap of the blanket to the nose, and the soft stroking of their favorite stuffed animal.
  22. When they choose to do right.
  23. And finally, one of the absolute best things about being a parent to these little miracles: the humbling privilege of watching them daily develop into the people God planned them to be. It’s breath-taking and overwhelming and beautiful. There’s truly nothing like it.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above …” (James 1:17)

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5 Reasons to Start Blogging in 2015

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It kind of seems like an odd time to start blogging.

I mean, I’m a little late to the game, right?

According to copyblogger.com, blogging’s roots can be traced back to the mid-90s, at least a decade before Facebook ever hit the scene. In a way, it could be considered one of the granddads of social media—one of the early online platforms that people used to communicate, connect, and get feedback to their posts.

Today, with many social media sites competing for our attention, from LinkedIn to Instagram, Snapchat to Vine, and Twitter to Tumblr, blogging as a means to connect online seems a bit … well … old. Like one-foot-in-the-grave kind of old. Picture gray-haired and rolling-along-in-the-wheelchair kind of old.

But tales of blogging’s imminent death have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, WordPress saw a nearly 13% growth in new blogs in 2014 from the year before, and more than three-fourths of Internet users read blogs.

So why did I join the 18 million+ new blogs* last year? Here are my five reasons I’m blogging now:

  • I want to chronicle the biggest transition in my life thus far. Confession: I’ve been a bad mom. I didn’t start my daughter’s baby book until the week before her first birthday. I have not been good about writing down important days and milestones. My husband sometimes hands me a significant scrap of something and tells me to “save it in the baby box,” to which I say, “sure, hon” … and stuff it in a drawer somewhere. So I want to do a better job at recording this time as a new parent.
  • I usually have something to say. Just ask David. In fact, when I told him of my plans to start blogging and that maybe that would help me use up my words so I wouldn’t unload them all on him at the end of each day, he quickly retorted, “doubtful.” And now that I spend most of my days at home, there really aren’t that many people to regularly unload my words to, except David, Olivia, and our dogs. So, thanks for helping a girl out.
  • I like to write. That should be no surprise to most of you that know me. Having spent a decade of my professional life in communications and media, I want to continue to develop my skills and do something I love when I have some time to myself. Watching the words unfold across a blank page is cathartic for me. And I think all moms can agree that after a day spent changing a seemingly endless supply of diapers, we need some kind of an outlet.
  • I want to do something that scares me. The best blogs I’ve read expose the heart and soul of the author. You get to see who the person really is. And that really freaks me out, for two reasons. One, though I’ve written professionally for years, I’ve either had to remain objective as a member of the news media or I’ve had to promote the beliefs and opinions of the particular brand I’m representing. I’ve rarely put myself out there in public writing, and the thought of doing so is kind of terrifying. What if I offend someone? What if I’m wrong about something? What if I embarrass David? (In the first two cases, I’d want to and would welcome your feedback. In the latter example, I KNOW I’ll hear about it …) The other reason blogging scares me is that I’m actually quite introverted and don’t let many people intimately into my life. Example: I haven’t left the house since church Sunday, and I’m totally OK with that. Many moms I know would’ve ripped the door down by now, bursting at the chance to escape. I often joke that I’d be totally fine living as a recluse (but really, I would) with limited human interactions, and here I am, about to pour out my thoughts to the interwebs. CRAZY. But I’m finding that the more often I try things that scare me as I grow in my walk with Christ, the more it pushes me in good ways out of my comfort zone. And we just heard from the pulpit this week how Christians are not supposed to be comfortable (or camouflaged, but same idea, right?).
  • Last but certainly not least, I want to share what God is teaching me and be publicly held accountable for the lessons I’m learning. Let me explain the name of my blog. In my last corporate position, all that mattered at the end of the day was my net gain. What did my brands earn? How much growth (or loss) did we see? Now that my focus has shifted to being home and raising our daughter, I want to continue to invest my efforts wisely—but in a different way. I don’t want to waste these precious moments where I can daily teach her about Christ’s love and forgiveness. I want to be purposeful and prayerful—and when my selfish, prideful, impatient heart breaks through, I want to be rebuked and corrected with God’s truth. I don’t want to be idle with this valuable time God has given me, and I want to be useful to furthering His kingdom, in whatever way He would allow.

So there you have it on why I’m starting this adventure of blogging. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

*Number of new blogs on the WordPress platform in 2014