Imagine waking up in the middle of the night with your left calf completely contracted and your left foot stuck in a pointed position that would make a ballerina jealous. It’s a Charlie-horse type of pain and the only thing you can do about it is wake your hubby up and ask him to force your foot back into place and hold it there until the cramp subsides, or just wait it out and cry. They say it’s a potassium deficiency but really… if I have one more banana I’ll probably grow a tail.
Don’t sneeze, or cough or laugh too hard!
I learned this for the first time at the checkout line of our local Target. I was pregnant with Grace and so naïve of what pregnancy bladder was all about when I let out a sneeze and with it came a cascade of urine that sent me running to the bathroom. I was so embarrassed that I waited for all the costumers around me to checkout before I showed my face in line. It happened then (and continues to happen) more times than I’d like to admit. My advice, empty your bladder frequently or just throw in the towel and get some depends.
You can’t escape the swelling
Everything swells. Your hands, your feet, your ankles your lips, your behind… There’s no escaping it. You turn into a water balloon and end up wearing your bed slippers to the movies because your cute strappy gladiator sandals cut off your circulation. There are other areas that swell too… I’ll let you use your imagination on that one but I will say that it’s not so flattering! My suggestion, put your engagement ring in a safe location and kiss it goodbye for the next 9 months. Also, get sneakers that are one size or half a size bigger than you usually wear.
If peeing 100x doesn’t keep you up, good ol’ insomnia will
It’s 1:30am and I’m sitting down writing this post… not because I’m so eager to offer up some wise and unsolicited advice, but because I can’t fall back asleep. Really. I’m tired as can be but my body is just not giving into sleep. I’d suggest some light exercise but after chasing Grace and Haddon all day, you will not catch me trying to expend any more energy than I already have. I suggest that you get used to it, because once that baby arrives there will be no differentiation between night and day.
Your esophagus will burn up
All day, everyday heartburn! Some things make it worse… like eating. I’d suggest you don’t eat but that’s probably against medical advice so my next suggestion would be to carry a bottle of Tums with you everywhere. I do. It’s currently in my purse and I pop them during the day like they’re candy. Alex always makes a big fuss about how much Tums I consume, but it’s the only remedy that puts the fire out and until he’s growing humans inside of him… he just can’t understand.
It’s not as cute as they say it is
I saw Ellen DeGeneres interview Kristen Bell and she asked her about her pregnancy and her overall experience being pregnant. I chuckled and waited for a snarky remark, but to my surprise she said something along the lines of “I love being pregnant” and “I had a pregnancy high throughout my whole pregnancy.” WHAT?! I may have thrown the remote at the T.V. and then came close to thinking a very profane word (not my proudest moment) What in the world is pregnancy high?? Bringing a human into this world is absolutely beautiful and a miracle BUT it’s gruesome, sticky and uncomfortable and definitely not a high. The sooner you can grasp that, the better.
You become a hair model
This was truly evident when I was pregnant with Haddon and had long locks that kissed my back. I guess because you’re so pumped up with vitamins your hair thickens and every time you brush your locks, you end up looking like you’re in a Pantene commercial. It’s wonderful and short lived because once that baby comes, you’ll loose about 60% of it. My advice, is that you enjoy it and if you have the time to do your hair… do it! Straighten it, curl it, moose it, infuse it… whatever… but do it because every day during your pregnancy is a great hair day month… and it should not be wasted on a pony.
You cry. All. The. Time
At one point I just turned to Alex with tears in my eyes and asked him to tell me WHY I was crying because I sure couldn’t figure it out. There was nothing sad around, the kids were having a great day and I was feeling normal. Turns out hormones are a crazy thing to play around with and tears will run down your face with or without an explanation. I just carry tissues around and if I feel a cry coming, I embrace it. I figure maybe if I give into it, then I can let it all out and move on.
People are nicer to you
This is one thing I will definitely miss about being pregnant. You see, when you’re not pregnant, there’s an expectation of you to just buckle up your bootstraps and get things done. However, when you’re pregnant, people will let things slide and will actually go out of their way to get the remote for you, get you water, help you put your groceries in the car, they’ll hold the elevator for you or let you cut in line. My advice on this topic… I say you milk it! Smile and let the world be kind and generous because once that baby arrives, no one will let you cut in line or offer to put your groceries in the car (unless it’s your husband)
You love that baby so much it physically hurts
It’s cliche but it’s true. When you hear your baby’s heartbeat for the first time, or find out the sex of the baby, or see her little face on the ultrasound you feel it. It’s a love that makes you want to be a better daughter, wife, Christian, and overall person. Most moms will share this deep rooted love that you can’t explain until you live it. The crazy part is that it started for me as soon as I knew I was pregnant with Grace. It’s a love that’s so deep that makes you WANT all of the crazy, painful, uncomfortable, smelly and sticky parts of pregnancy because you already love that child so much. And the truth is that after you’re holding that baby, you forget all about the swelling, the cramps, the stretching and you move on to live your life with this amazing creature that God has blessed you with.
My point is, that I think moms don’t tell you all of these things because once they hold their sweet babe, all else fades and what’s left is love and gratitude. Gratitude for the long 9 months, gratitude for the child and for the opportunity that God gives us women to bring children into this world. This is my third pregnancy and although some things I mentioned are horrid, they’re all temporary and they’re all worth it. So if you’re pregnant… hold on a little longer sweet mama. You’re doing an amazing job at keeping that sweet little one safe!
Also, whenever I found myself in a moment of frustration, reciting scripture helped me get through it.
Here are a few verses that have helped me through these LONG 40 weeks!
Psalm 18:2- The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Numbers 6:24-26- The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord makes His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
Psalm 29:11- The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.
2 Timothy 1:7- For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Joshua 1:9- Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Philippians 4:13- I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Isaiah 41:10- Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:13- For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
Matthew 11:28- Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Psalm 127:3- Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.
Jeremiah 29:11- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Psalm 61:2- From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
John 14:27- Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
We are picking up our #steadymotherhood series with the amazing and incredibly talented Ruth Chou Simons!
First off, I can’t tell you how excited I am that I get the chance to have such an inspiring woman on this blog, to interview her and have her share her wisdom with us newbie moms. She’s the #momgoals of all #momgoals. Ruth is an artist, author, entrepreneur, and speaker. She has six “man cubs,” is madly in love with her husband and she just released her first book GraceLaced: Discovering Timeless Truths Through Seasons of the Heart.
Ruth was kind enough to share some of her steady motherhood wisdom with us and I know you are going to love her!
How long have you been a stay at home mom and to how many kids?
I have 6 sons ranging in age from 4 to 15 years. I have been a stay-at-home mom since my firstborn was a toddler. I’ve served alongside my husband Troy during his decade as a pastor, his season of headmastering a school, and now, continue as a work-at-home mom, running our family business and online ministry together while we tag-team the boys’ education.
If you could describe your parenting style in one word, what would it be?
Honest is the first word that comes to mind. I want my children to be honest and vulnerable, but at the same time, what I want to see in them must be demonstrated in myself. I’ve learned that honesty and transparency about our brokenness and need for a Savior is one of the greatest things I can share with my boys.
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If you could offer some advise to a brand new stay at home mom, what would it be?
For the brand new stay at home mom, I would offer this advice- Staying home with your children may not be something that comes naturally or is easy; however, when it doesn’t come naturally, it comes by grace. The love of motherhood, of teaching my children, of purposefully crafting a memorable meal, of creatively reflecting beauty in my home, of doing the same thing day after day after day…those things do not come to me naturally. They are the result of pruning and cultivation. Be patient with yourself; your children are a work in progress…but so are you.
What’s your one tip for getting your day started on the right foot?
Don’t neglect spending time with the Lord. Try using a reading plan, an audio Bible, or find an accountability partner. Our family tries to gather in the living room as the day begins for quiet times (alone), but together. It really does help keep us accountable to one another in persevering in the Word.
Do you have any book/movies/pod-cast/IG feeds recommendations to help us on our journey?
There are a number of women who are on Instagram that are incredibly encouraging. Well Watered Women is a like-minded sister company to GraceLaced. They are intentional and encouraging when it comes to motherhood online. Deeply Rooted ministry and magazine is a periodical that is also very uplifting to me. I highly recommend the At Home 6 podcast as well as their blog. I recently did a podcast interview with Risen Motherhood. The podcast and my particular episode with them addresses the little years and how to steward well a season that may not be your time to shine in other endeavors.
If you had one whole day all to yourself what would it look like?
If I had a day to myself, I would deep clean my house first (sanity!) then pull out a giant blank canvas and paint all day…just for me, and just for fun. We all need to make more time to be creative for the sake of process instead of production.
What do you enjoy most about being a stay at home mom?
I love being able to, at the ready: train, speak, and observe what is actually going on with my kids. I love that if they have a need or express concern for something, I am always available to provide immediate encouragement or challenge. The home is the messiest context in which we can live out the gospel with our children. That may discourage us sometimes, but it should also bring us hope, because being home (even for those who cannot be home full-time) allows opportunities to invest in each others’ lives in the most vulnerable and impacting ways.
Ruth Simons is an artist, writer, and speaker, who shares her journey and how God’s grace intersects daily life at her blog + shoppe at GraceLaced.com. She’s an unlikely mom to six young boys and wife to Troy, with whom she leads GraceLaced’s small but mighty team. Get a glimpse and behind the scenes of her heart, art, and home on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter where she shares scriptural truths daily through her hand-painted artwork and words. She has pursued her calling based on one overwhelming desire: to reflect the majesty of the Creator. Ruth and her husband, Troy, live in New Mexico and are grateful parents to six sons—their greatest adventure.
Grace started kindergarten this week. We set our schedules, alarm clocks, put on real clothes in the morning and started our new homeschooling/ fall routine. I knew that homeschool was going to be the best option for us this year and we are praying through every minute of it. I am not a teacher. I don’t have an extensive amount of patience. In fact, I am short fused, but I am excited to see how God is going to work in my life and in the life of my children through this season. He is the one who gives us wisdom, patience and strength and you better believe I am leaning on Him for all of those things and more.
Monday started with a walk at the park, to ensure that all the wiggles were out, followed by Cheerios and circle time. We sang about father Abraham, practiced our bible verses and dove right into reading and writing. Grace was really excited and I am all about structure, so I’m thinking that this is going to do us all a great deal of good.
Haddon asked to do school a million times and Emory is working on being patient, bless her heart. I too am working on my patience and on being present more than anything else. So far, we’ve read a few stories, brushed up on our math and are looking forward to exploring new subjects together.
I will be working on a post later on with pictures and tips on how we’re structuring our day and sharing my thoughts on homeschooling. So, stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, I thought I’d document this day and this little lady who is growing up so quickly. The other day I asked her when did she grow up, and her answer was “mom, I grew up as fast as I could” Girlfriend sure did!
I’ll tuck her in this week and hold her extra tight because I know these days are going to pass us by, and although they are so tough and the days get longer and longer, I only have a short amount of time with her.
Here’s to our babies. To the ones that grow up as fast as they possibly can and to the ones who ask for one more hug, before they go to bed.