Experiencing the Lords Joy in Parenting

Has life become mundane, boring, busy and stressful? Do you feel like you’re living a life that’s different from what you thought it would be? Do Parentingyou feel like the days drag on but the years fly by and you’re still stuck in the same place? Do you feel stuck in your job and relationships? Do you feel like that fire for Jesus that once was there is barely even lit anymore and you are just surviving? You wonder where that joy has gone and how you felt when you first allowed the Lord’s love to consume you. How do you get back to that and have that camp high all the time? How do you do that when you have bills to pay and children to transport from one place to another. I guess the big question is how do you not allow the responsibilities of life to get in between you and God. I feel like as a college student who fell in love with Jesus, it was so much easier to live a passionate life for him than it is now with all the responsibilities of having a family.

I wonder where my passion went and why I am doing all the things I’m doing. I feel tired and drained and I know I’m not the only one that feels this way. I want that first love back and I bet you do too. I definitely still feel a little stuck but the the Lord is changing me and I believe that on the other side of this trial in my walk with the Lord, I will have that joy back. What I am doing is trying to find things that I really love doing that bring me joy. I’m choosing activities because I want to not out of obligation. I am getting outdoors and hiking and experiencing the Lord through his creation and taking my children with me.

We can get so stuck in our routines and all the things that need to get done and not take the time to just enjoy the Lords beauty and our family. I’m taking some time for myself to go to the gym and work out. I am choosing Bible studies that really excite me and doing them because they’re fun not because I feel like I have to. I am turning to resources like Study Bibles to learn. I’m making goals for myself that I am excited about that I can only accomplish through Jesus. I feel like having a big goal for the year has really helped me get out of the mundane and experience God in a new way. I’m allowing myself to be real with Jesus and not hide the fact that I felt stuck in my relationship with Him. Admitting your stuck is the first step in the right direction. I want more out of my walk with Jesus and I’m sure you do too. If you feel stuck in the responsibilities of life, make a goal and try something new that you have to rely on Jesus for.

Taking Time for Yourself as a Parent

 As a parent of kids of any age it can get a bit crazy. It is important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself. I remember being a new mom and my husband had gone back to work after paternity leave. I would get so caught up in all the little chores and nursing my baby, my husband would come home and I would be so tired. He would ask me if I had eaten anything recently and I couldn’t remember the last time I ate anything. Being a parent takes everything that we have. It is the hardest job in the world. We are constantly in demand and never get a day off even if we are sick. We put our little one’s first everyday and it is important to do that, but it is also important to take care of ourselves. It can be especially hard to do this if your child has Sensory Processing Disorder or Autism but you have to take time for yourself.

If we do not take care of ourselves we have nothing to give. Things that were easy to do before kids like exercise, eat healthy, have a hobby, and get some downtime are now next to impossible. But we have to take the time. If not we are going to be miserable. It gets harder and harder to do this as your family gets bigger. I remember being able to get together with my friends more often when I only had one child. Now I have three and my middle child has Sensory Processing Disorder so I find myself going for long periods of time before I realize I haven’t seen my friends in a while.

I know it is hard to do, but we must set aside time for ourselves. If not we cannot do our job of being a mom and enjoy our children. If we are tired and on empty children become a chore not a joy. When we are stressed out and unhealthy we don’t get to enjoy all the fun things about being a mom. Here are some ideas to help you take care of yourself:

  1. Wake up an hour before your children get up. Make sure you take the time to take a shower, eat breakfast and take a little time for yourself. I like to spend time eating my breakfast, drinking my chai and reading my NIV Bible. This way when your child calls you in the morning ready to get up, you are up and ready and not stressed. I know it can be hard to do. I’m not a morning person myself, but I have had to work on going to bed earlier so I can get up and be fresh in the morning.

  2. When you are grocery shopping make sure you buy special foods for yourself. I found myself buying all my husband’s and children’s special foods and getting home and not having anything in the cupboards that I like to eat.

  3. Make sure you plan a girls night out once a month with friends you enjoy spending time with. If it is on the calendar then it will not be stressful and you don’t have to think about it and you can prepare your children.  It is important for me to give my daughter that has sensory processing lots of warning that I will be gone.

  4. Make sure you exercise at least a couple times a week. I joined a mom’s workout class at my local fitness center and it is a great time for me to focus on myself, being healthy and also socialize with other moms. I bring my children with me so I do not have to pay for child care.

  5. Take a break when you need it. Take the time to find a couple sitters you really trust to have on hand for when you need them. It is important to take advantage of childcare not just when you have an appointment, but also to get a break every once in a while.

In closing being a parent is the best job in the world, but can also be the worst job in the world when you’re stressed, tired and on empty. So make sure you take care of yourself and don’t feel bad about it. You being healthy and happy is the best gift you can give your child.

Having Fun with Your Toddler

baby-teddy-bear-cute-39369Those of you who have busy toddlers at home know that sometimes you just run out of ideas to keep them busy. You love them and would never change them, but sometimes you’re just extremely tired. I love being a stay-at-home mom and love every age. It is fun watching my kids learn new things and have new experiences. I love watching them conquer fears and be creative. I have two older kids and one very curious toddler who likes to get into everything.

I have learned over the years if I have a good plan and some activities my toddler enjoy my house is less messy and everyone is happier. Sometimes there are activities that are just not age-appropriate for your toddler even though they are age-appropriate for your other children especially if you have a child that has a developmental delay, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, autism, etc. I have learned to reach out to other moms and do kid swaps. So if I have to take my older daughter to the doctor, I will drop off my toddler at a friends house. Then I try to be available when that friends needs to drop off her baby to do an activity with her older kids. Yes I could take my toddler with me to the doctor but it is so much easier when I can focus on my older child that needs me as well.

Even though I have school age children I have learned to utilize MOPs, library story times, and the children’s museum for fun activities to do with my toddler. Most children’s museums have a free day once a month and the public library has free story times. MOPs is a great place to meet other moms with toddlers and preschoolers. Having other moms with kids your toddlers age to do play dates is key to keeping your toddler happy and keeping you sane. Moms need each other.

Another thing I have learned is to keep containers or boxes with toddler toys in my older children’s room so while my older boy is playing with his Legos my younger son can play with is Duplos right next to him and everyone is happy. If not my toddler is destroying my son’s special creations then everyone is crying. I moved the play kitchen into the kitchen so my toddler can pretend to make dinner while I’m making dinner instead of getting into things he is not supposed to. I have also learned to have my older kids help with things like putting my son’s wooden train tracks together. This gives them an activity to all do together. For even more activity ideas, check out this site.

I think the key is to make sure you are doing activities that each of your children enjoy and not leaving one out. This can be tricking if your toddler has sensory processing disorder issues because this can be time consuming. Sometimes it’s your toddlers turn and your older kids can go to a friends house for a play date. Other times it’s more appropriate to find someone to watch your toddler while you do a fun activity with your older kids. When we went to Disneyland with our older kids for the day we had our toddler stay with grandma. Grandma had a great time and we didn’t have to pack diapers, wipes and a stroller to Disneyland. Everyone had a good day. It can be hard running a household with all different ages but if you allow yourself to be creative and ask for help everyone is a lot happier.