Colette - Seven Month Update

Naps: Three naps a day. One, two to three hour in the morning; one two to three hour in the afternoon and a short 1/2 hour in the evening.
Feeding: Formula. Four 5 -7 oz. bottles every four hours during the day.
Clothing: Six and nine month.
Bedtime: 6:30 - 7 p.m.

Colic/Reflux Update: For next month, I'm switching this to say just "reflux update" - yay! I'm sure she's completely over the colic and she seems super happy on 2 ml a day of her reflux medication. She takes 1 ml in the morning and one before bed. She is so happy, all the time, it's crazy to think that this wonderful, peaceful, content little girl was in there the entire time!

Torticollis: A month or two ago after Colette was born, we found out she has Torticollis. Infant Torticollis is when a baby has difficultly in turning their neck and/or has a head that tilts. It's common in infants, typically due to positioning in the womb or a difficult childbirth. Likely it was a bit of both for Colette, as she was OP in the womb, and while I definitely wouldn't categorize her birth as "difficult" compared to my first, there were a lot of crazy things going on to turn her, so much of that may have impacted the condition. 

I brought it up with my doctors multiple times at each of her monthly checkups, but was repeatedly told her case "wasn't that bad," and would clear up on its own. Instead, it continued to get worse, and this month, we were referred to start physical therapy for her. (I learned my lesson with Eli's eyes, so now I'm that annoying mom that if I see ANYTHING out of the norm, I'm all over it and won't let a doctor ignore it.)  Most of the PT can be done at home, and we now have multiple head and neck stretches we complete with her each day to help her neck straighten out. (They recommend at least five times a day.) 

Just a week or two after starting the stretching, we noticed a marked difference, and part of that may be do to her finally sitting up as well. We continue to do them every day, and are hopeful she'll receive the all clear in about three months. The adventures just never quit with this girl! But this is a small thing (I hope!) and we're praying it will heal quickly and easily, as most cases of it do. 

Eating: She takes a bottle four times a day and is also on solids (Baby Led Weaning). I love it because she's super flexible, so we just start her routine whenever she wakes up, and go on a loose (very loose) four hour schedule from there. She tends to take a longer afternoon nap, so sometimes it's up to 5 or even 6 hours between bottles, but since she doesn't act hungry, or wake in the night, I'm rolling with it. She still loves solids and it's getting to a point where I can't eat anything in front of her without her fussing, wanting a taste! Sometimes it's hard because it's not a "easy" or "safe" food for her to eat, so I keep plenty of puffs and rice husks on-hand to keep her happy. 

The one big thing I have noticed is that Colette really isn't a big eater. She never really has been and I always assumed that was due to the reflux - but really, she's not that interested in food overall. She enjoys it for a few minutes, but quickly gets a bit bored, preferring to play or bang on the high chair or watch her brother. Sometimes, it's hard for me to let her eat less (Especially since Eli was such a HUGE eater!) but I want to read her needs and I figure she'll let me know if she's hungry. She's not waking in the night and naps great, so I figure she's fine!
Sleeping: This girl is a great sleeper (And I literally thank God for that everyday). I haven't had to go to her in the night for two months straight, and she's still sleeping a solid 12 hours a night. She's also a great napper, though they do vary a bit in time, they're typically 1.5 hours to 3 hours. If she takes a shorter nap in the morning, she tends to balance it out in the afternoon, but overall she averages two, 2 hour naps a day, and short half hour nap before dinner.

Development: This month, Colette became super strong at sitting up for long periods of time, and I can finally take the kids grocery shopping and use those huge double carts! She absolutely loves to sit up, I think because she can see everything so well, and now fusses when I lay her on her tummy. Each time I put her on her stomach, she immediately rolls to her back and tries to sit up to no avail - it's adorably pitiful. She's getting good at grabbing toys and pulling them to her mouth and passing them from one hand to another - I'm always amazed by how far she can reach for a toy, she has some amazing flexibility! She's also started talking a ton this month - dare I say, more than Eli? I don't know if we can handle three talkers in this house. She loves to jibber jabber and she constantly gets on these huge monologues of "ba, ba, mmm, mmm," I think she just loves to feel her lips and tongue move, she's always smacking them around and trying out new sounds. 

Likes / Dislikes: 
This girl is a HUGE snuggler. She loves to be held in a dark room, just laying her head on my chest and heavy breathing. It doesn't matter if she's not tired and wide awake, take her to a dark, quiet room and she just melts into you. Along the same lines, she still loves hanging in the sling too - which is so fun for me! She continues to love the swing and it always gets immediate giggles from her, even before you push it! She also loves baths more than ever now that she can sit up - though she's a huge splasher much to Eli's annoyance. Of course, like most babies, she loves peek-a-boo, zerberts and tickling. She still likes being in the Johnny Jump Up, but it seems like she's prefers it much more when Eli is bouncing her like a maniac, rather when she does it. She's definitely a thrill seeker - she loves to be tossed in the air, "wrestled," and generally enjoys life threatening situations. The trust of babies will always amaze me. 

As far as dislikes, she's still the Goldilocks of temperature - very particular with her bath water and bottle temperature, but otherwise she's pretty much the most agreeable baby on the planet!
Momma / Daddy Update: 
I continue to be completely obsessed with this girl. She just gets sweeter and sweeter every day and I can't believe what an amazing, content, perfectly wonderful baby she is. I know I'm starting to gush about her a lot on the blog, but I think I'm just making up for those first few months when everything was so hard and there was absolutely NO GUSHING in me. I love being a mom to a girl, and am so excited to see how our relationship continues to develop. It's also so fun to see how different Mike is with a girl than a boy - how delicate and sweet he is to her - it's totally different, but equally awesome, you know? It's also been amazing to watch the relationship between Eli and Colette. Eli is starting to love on her more and more now that she's more interactive, and you can literally feel how much she wants his attention. We continue to pray for their sibling relationship every day and it's exciting to think of what the future holds for it!

Slowing Down

I'm listening to Colette jabber in her crib upstairs. It's 7 a.m. and I'm fairly certain she's up for the day, but I'm still crossing my fingers she'll go back down. After the post last week about husbands and working and loooooong days for mommas, I've been thinking a lot about moms and self-care. Actually, I've been thinking about it for a while, a month or two lately, but it feels the conversations surrounding it are picking up and God has the cross-hairs on it, if you know what I mean. I think there's a post there, I'm just letting it simmer for a bit.

I feel like I'm finally starting to be able to breathe deep again. It's been eight months since the arrival of Colette, and when the move snowball began that brought us from Minneapolis to Chicago.  We've lived here nearly six months, and had four months in our actual home. I only have three boxes from the move left to unpack in the basement , and I'm working on hacking some Ikea cabinets into a dining room credenza to finally get those boxes out of my house for good.

It's slowing down, the whirlwind of the transition, and the rest is welcomed. I finally braved the DMV with the kids to get our new license plates, I only knocked down six of the the post from those portable guard rail things with our stroller, and Eli only attempted running behind the counter twice. #snacksforthewin. Getting that one checked off the list was huge - it was one of those things that I just kept wanting to wait for a day with a sitter or a husband or the random person off the street to watch my kids, but none of those things were happening, so we went, we conquered, and we celebrated with a $2 run to McDonalds in the car - I gave Colette a bottle in the passenger seat while Eli pretended to drive and we split chicken nuggets and fries. Mom life at it's finest right there.

It will be September soon, and I've written before that this month always feels more like the New Year rather than January 1. (Plus from now on, I think that date will mainly mark Colette's birthday, my New Year's Eve baby, and not as much the new year.) As the transition of the move slows down and the big things are checked off the list, I'm trying to slow our lives down with it. There's plenty of travel and major events coming, as well as the usual "fall programming" that always begins with bible studies, mom groups, small groups, etc. this fall, but overall, my day-to-day to-do list (particularly week days) is looking a bit less hectic, and more like routine.

I know it won't stay this way, it never does. But I'm hoping to enjoy the slow down while it lasts. To do that, I'm taking more long walks with the kids, organizing a capsule wardrobe, and trying to pick up a book with actual pages, instead of zoning out to tv every night for a half hour and then crashing into bed. I want to be more intentional with my time - less multi-tasking and jumping from one thing to anther, to more focus, more presence, more "all of me in the moment."


Side note on the capsule wardrobe: Pleeeease, tell me if you've done it and had success! And two - what was the one item you loved are so happy you had, and what's the one item you kicked yourself for not including? Also, did you include coats? Purses?

And for any of you in the thick of a toddler and a newborn, let me give you some hope - it really does get better, and far easier. At eight months out, the kids and I leave the house twice a day, sometimes three times, we go on errands, and I buckle and unbuckle those stupid (yet wonderful because I know they will save their lives if we crash) plastic buckles about 12 times a day from the multiple errand stops, but it doesn't phase me anymore. Eli's sleep and behavior finally seems back to normal from all the transition, and Colette eats with uncanny predictability and can sit up in the cart the entire time we're at Menards without an extra hand to steady her. I think part of this is why I'm feeling a bit more relaxed about life, a bit more interested in looking at the long-view, instead of just rushing through this moment and on to the next one. That, and the sneak peek of fall weather this week, and the arrival of PSL's coming just around the corner. Those two things always have me inspired to re-assess my life.

Anyone else feeling like a fresh start for fall? And while I'm thinking of it, anyone building a capsule wardrobe? Or working on Ikea hacks/other random DIY projects? I'd love to hear what you all are up to ---> but let's do it over here, on Facebook, it seems like that's where most of you are hanging out these days anyway ...  I've even considered disabling comments on the blog all together, since it seems like most of you prefer to leave them on social media. Anyone have thoughts on this?

To The Moms Who's Husbands Work Long Hours

Ever since we've been married my husband has worked long hours. I don't know why I've ever expected it to change, but I suppose there has always been this hope in me that it would. To give perspective (and I suppose some credibility as to why I'm writing this post), my husband typically works 12 hour days, and though he is supposed to have every other Friday off, he works them about half the time and at times, he is unexpectedly called in on the weekends or in the middle of the night. He also goes through long seasons once or twice a year, working 12-15 hour days (or nights) for anywhere from 30-90 days straight (yes, even weekends), although this past year they introduced "Fatigue Days," where it became a requirement that they give the employees every 14th day off. (I'll be honest, I've always wondered how this could be legal.)

I know there are a lot of professions that require husbands to work long hours and I am not the only mother preparing and eating dinner with the kids by myself. But it can feel like a very lonely road sometimes and it can be tough to know how to talk about it or what to do, because for most of us, we know deep down, it's not going to change anytime soon, so what good does talking about it do?

That said, I'm not writing this to say that I have anything revelatory to add, nor do I always have a good perspective or follow the advice I'm about to share, but in five years of being married to a man that works long hours and two of which I've been a mom to small children, I have come a long way in my attitude and learned a few tricks to ease the frustration.

So to the mom who's husband works long hours, this is my letter to you.

Believe The Best In Him: It's easy to convince yourself that he'd rather be at work than home with you and the kids. Because, as you might like to tell yourself, "If he wanted to be home, he'd be there!" But if you've ever worked in the past, you know first-hand how difficult it can be to leave when you want or need to, and how great the pressure is to give, give, give to work, the greatest taker in the universe. Know and believe him when he says he'd rather be at home with you and the kids. Recognize the pressure he's under to not only preform well at his job, but to provide for the family. He has a lot of responsibility he's under, give him grace as he figures it out the juggle and believe the best in him no matter his actions.

Don't Play The Comparison Game: You hear about friends who have husbands that are home "just after five," or who can visit their husband with the kids at work for lunch, or who's husbands even come home for lunch and at times, you sorta want to strangle them for EVER complaining about not seeing their husbands, or having a long day, or needing a break, etc. - particularly when you've been single parenting for two weeks straight, but comparison is NEVER WORTH IT. And truth be told, you can always find someone who has it harder than you, so you do not have it the worst, as much as you think and want to believe you do. In those moments, try thinking about being a single parent for your entire life, or military wives, or how some mothers don't even have food to put on the table to eat alone with their kids. Perspective, perspective, perspective.

Change Up The Evening Routine - With his new role here in Chicago, my husband typically gets home a little before seven each night, and with a toddler that gets hungry around 5:30 p.m. (Who am I kidding, he's always hungry.), I found myself consistently making dinner alone while trying to juggle the kids during the witching hour. (I can think of few more awful things than that.) Then we would eat alone, I would clean up alone, start the bedtime routine alone and get bitter alone. Most days, my husband didn't see the kids, or maybe saw them for 30 minutes. ---> But who says it has to be this way? If your husband gets home later than normal, adjust your day. It's so important that he sees the kids and gets to spend time with them, and honestly? Preparing/eating/cleaning up dinner alone is probably one of the worst things ever about single parenting. For us, that meant a major change in our evenings. Now, the toddler and I eat a hefty "snack" at 5 p.m., and then I don't start dinner until my husband is home. Our seven month old goes down around 7 p.m., so it can be hit or miss if my husband sees her, but our toddler goes to bed between 8 and 9 p.m., giving my husband plenty of time to bond with him. Then we can *most nights* eat together as a family, and I don't feel stressed each evening. I'm not saying this is the answer to all your frustrations, but has been helpful to me to rethink our evenings - they don't have to look like the rest of the world's where the kids go down right at 7 p.m.! (And bonus, my kids wake between 8 and 9 a.m.!) Your family is unique so look for ways to adjust your routines to help relieve some stress.

Don't Wait. Go. Just go. Get out of the house. Go to that party, leave for vacation, attend the weddings, get to that barbecue, just DON'T WAIT. He can meet you there when he is actually off. 

Protect Him With Your Children: We all know our children key off our own attitudes and it can be so hard to mask the disappointment or frustration when we find out, yet again, our husband has to work later than usual or miss an activity. Continue to make daddy special to your children, even when they don't see him that often. Let them know how excited daddy will be about something they've made or done, call him and tell him stories from the day if you can, and make special videos/photos/art, just for daddy. The disappointment for your children will be inevitable, but you can teach them how to deal with it through modeling a positive attitude for them and reminding them daily how much daddy loves them and wishes he could be with them.

Protect Him With Others: Having a husband that works a lot means sometimes, they miss a lot of important events. Birthdays, holidays, family events and outings, often it seems like no date is safe, even if just two hours earlier they were supposed to be able to go on that double date with you and now you're a third wheel. Not many people will understand how much your husband works or even more so, why he has to work. Which can be tough when you don't really understand either. Just like your children will reflect your attitude, your friends and family will to. So protect your husband with your words and actions, letting others know how much he wish he could be there, sign the card for him, send the note for him, etc. Basically, make him "look good." That means I take care of the things my husband doesn't have time to remember or do, speak highly of him when he's not there and always cast him in a positive light - even when I'm hurting because he can't be with me somewhere.

Be Honest About How You Feel: I can't tell you the number of times my husband has walked through the door and in the next breath after we greet each other I say to him in a neutral voice, "I'm upset with you, and I don't want to talk about it now, but I do want to talk about it soon," and  I choose to have a good attitude until we have a chance to talk. What I really want to do is give him the silent treatment, willing him to apologize for being late again, to recognize the struggle, the frustration, the hard day I've had and, well, basically grovel at my feet, asking for forgiveness. Usually it's because I feel neglected and need attention, affirmation or recognition. But my time with him is so short each day and I've learned through years of doing it wrong - it's not worth going through the rigamarole of me wanting him to figure me out - I basically ruin any precious time with him I do have. So if I tell him right away, I feel a weight lifted knowing he knows, and he knows we need to talk later after the kids are in bed. I'll be honest, this is SO much easier said than done, and the one thing that I still really struggle with.

Seek Out Truth In The Gospel: There are so many things I could say that fit under this category, but the basics are this - remember where your hope and identity are found. Not in a friend, your children, a blog post, the way you "survive" each day, or a husband that is present, but in Christ. Run to the cross each morning and every minute after to find your foundation. Even though it is hard to believe at times, you know the truth, so repeat it to yourself, over and over again and find friends and family who are not afraid to repeat it to you as well. Pray. Pray all the time that you would have a well of patience and endurance that doesn't run out. Pray for grace when you fail, and grace when your husband fails. Pray that things change and he works less, and pray that you'll be supportive and content for as long as he works the long hours. The truth of the matter is this - you can do all of the above that I've listed, but God is the only one that can truly change your perspective and attitude, by changing your heart in his timing and grace.
***

So all of that said, here are a few final thoughts. What you do? It's UNBELIEVABLY HARD. No denying it, it's so difficult to have a husband that works long hours. But you are not alone and you can do this, and you can do this well. You won't be perfect and sometimes the hard days will come out of nowhere, and suddenly he won't make it home for something and as try as you might you just want to hit something or scream or cry into a pillow because you just want to be done and have help and you want him home so badly you physically ache.

But you are so much stronger than you know, and I know you will pick yourself up and continue to mother well. Because you know that's what's best for your family and you believe and trust deep down that your husband loves you and he's trying his best - just like you are, day in and day out. As much as it sometimes doesn't feel like it, you both are a team, you are in this together, and you can make it work.

Like this post? Here are some of the other most popular posts on motherhood. I also share a whole lot more on this motherhood gig over on Facebook (Oakland Avenue) and Instagram (@laurawifler) and I'd love it if you followed along!

Little Peaches Shop Giveaway!

>> This giveaway is now closed - the winner is Becca Lap. Becca, email me to claim your prize! << 
I am super excited for today's giveaway! It's extra special because I've worked with Little Peaches Shop before, about two years ago - long time readers, you might remember this post. Well today is Little Peaches Shop's third anniversary and I am so honored to help celebrate! Since we last partnered together, she has introduced lots of new things to the shop, making it even more fun to peruse the listings and look at all the goodness available. She sent me a few new items to try out with Colette, and I have to say, her stuff is perfect for the new momma and baby - this is where you want to shop for your next baby shower, folks. 
In particular, I love the organic bunny teether and Colette does too - it's perfect for waving around and chewing on - although let's be honest, chewing on stuff isn't the most flattering, but I threw in an action pic for you all anyway. 

Get it girl. 
You might have seen a little peak of one Little Peaches Shop's burp cloths up there in the pics too - I was thrilled to receive these as all the other burp rags we have are either all boy or gender neutral. I pretty much have these burp cloths on constant rotation as their probably some of the softest and most plush that I have, and of course, they're definitely the most pretty. 

Little Peaches Shop also sent along a new bib for Colette, and it's adorbs. When I put her in it I had total dejuvu - and then I remembered, Eli was about the same age when I did the first review for the shop. Check out the resemblance. 

Hold on one moment, please get ready for Eli's amazing hair. Oh how I miss it!


Gah! I love my kids. Sorry. Total mom-moment going on over here. 

Okay, pulling it together. The bibs are great - nice full coverage, and the one she sent Colette has a velcro closure - super easy to get on and off quickly. And please, just look at that little collar! I die. 

And today, Little Peaches Shop is giving away a $50 gift card to the shop to use however you wish! You can get some seriously cute stuff with that much cash, and it's enough to nab a few extra-special gifts for your mom-friends too. Plus, Little Peaches is being extra generous by giving all of you a 20 percent off discount to use from today until August 23, 2015. Just use the code OAKLANDAVE20. 
Now enter (and go shop!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Days Are Long But The Years Are Short

They say to enjoy this, it goes by so fast. That the days are long but the years are short. And even with only littles in our homes, we know they are right. These are the days they say we'll want back, that when our tinies walk across that podium at 18, it will be all we can do to not wish they were still our chubby-cheeked toddlers climbing into our laps.

And we know they are right.

It is not all difficult, and we know that. It is not all trying or exhausting. Well, it is all exhausting, that part is true. (I honestly cannot believe the physical toll raising small children has laid on my body.)

But we know they are right. That the days are long, but the years are short. And we do remember that.
But sometimes, it's really hard. Sometimes, the days are so long that you just want to quit. That you don't care if the years are short. That you can't focus on the years, because the day is what's in front of you now, and you're not sure how you're going to make it through the witching hour tonight without screaming.

You know that "you signed up for this," and "you should be so grateful you even have children," And you ARE. YOU ARE.

You know all these things. You know they say you'll regret it if you wish this night away, but in that moment, you wonder, "Will I really? Because I'm hoping I can just block this night from my memory forever."

You're struggling and weary. On this day, you're just done. You're sick of choosing who to give attention to and who's need to meet first. You just want to shower without hearing phantom cries, walk around without tripping on a toy, not be touched for a least an hour, and spend one full day in a shirt that doesn't get a stain.

Even though you know you're not supposed to, you feel a low level of mom-guilt about not playing with your kids, being on your phone too much, or not keeping your house clean enough. You feel bad about not getting dinner on the table, or maybe, spending too much time ignoring your kids while you get dinner on the table. You want an organized and picked up home, but also don't want your kids feeling like they live in a museum. You choose not to be the crazy, over anal mom about a runny nose, but it seems every. single. time you do it turns into something bigger, something worse, something requiring medical attention - and always, always, always on a weekend.

Sometimes, the days are so long you can't see the short years ahead. You know the truth thousands upon thousands of mothers have warned you of, to enjoy these moments they go by so fast, but in that moment, you'd give anything to shake off their advice and make bedtime come just a little bit faster.

It's hard when you know the truth of how you should feel vs. the way you actually feel. You never wanted to feel like this. Pre-kids, you swore you would never wish away the time. You told yourself you wouldn't be "that mom" that can't seem to ever get it together or always looks overwhelmed, dirty and a little bit strung out. But that is the past and today is today whether you like it or not, that is the mom you've become.

You know they are right, but you can't help how you feel.

But just because you feel something, doesn't mean that's all there is to the story. You are more than just this one night, this one difficult day, week or month. And I know if I asked you, you would tell me with all honesty and sincerity that with every fiber in your being that you LOVE being a mom. That no matter how long the days get you know it's all worth it. That you love this job and these children and every day you spend with them through it all. The truth is always there among the struggle.. There will be days you survive and days you thrive. Days it's easy and days it's hard. It's not that it's one or the other - it's both. Motherhood always seems to me like one big bundle of contrasting emotions

So let's be honest, you may not like it now, but you really do know what they mean when they say, "Enjoy every moment, it goes by so fast," and you do not need to roll your eyes every time it is said.

Because they are right.

The days are long but the years are short. You are not alone. We're in this together. You hear it here there and everywhere but it can still be hard to believe. You are not the only mother being pulled in 1,200 different directions. The only mother Googling their brains out for how to get two kids to nap at the same time. The only mother begging your toddler to eat just one carrot, just one, in exchange for a handful of m&m's. The only mother that can be so frustrated yet so enamored and in love all at the same time. 

We're in this together. We've all eaten our pre-parent words, and finally we know what they mean.

The days are long but the years are short. Tomorrow is a new day and things always seem better in the morning. So push up that bedtime if you need to and remember - you are more than just this long day of today. You feel strung out, frazzled and stressed, but it will get better.  So find peace with the mother you are today and remember, deep down you do enjoy it! And then let today turn into tomorrow and tomorrow into those "short years," and then one day, in the not so distant future, you can look back and say that they were right - it went by fast  - but you enjoyed it.

God Honors The Fight: When You Feel Like Giving Up

It's Mother's Day. Around 7 p.m. or so. And I'm alone.

I'm hand moping 1,200 square feet of hardwood floors in a new, unfamiliar house, scrubbing away the dirt, grime and I don't know what it is from the family before us. My knees are red and tender and my right arm is sore, so I switch the rag to my left hand for some relief.

I blink back the tears that pool at the front of my eyes. It has been such a long and hard few months. The arrival of my second baby brought joy, yes, but with her came change, uncertainty, pain, loneliness and grief. The hits keep coming one after another, it feels like each time I get up God sends another wrecking ball swinging.
A couple years ago, I would have told you that motherhood is hard. The same way I might say a paper cut hurts before I'd ever felt the pain of a deep laceration needing stitches. I didn't know. I hadn't struggled yet. I hadn't bled. I hadn't matured.

But now I know intimately what it means for motherhood to be hard. In between the explosive love, sweet words of adoration, sleepy snuggles, and gummy smiles that make your world stop spinning with beautiful, unforgettable moments, motherhood is also one of the most grimy, cruel and unforgiving things I've ever been apart of.

There's this part of motherhood, this hard to define, impossibly unexpected part of it that you can't be prepared for.  Everyone says they weren't ready for the love, the-explosive, out-of-this-world, crazy-for-you, I-can't-understand-it-or-describe-it love that comes when you see your baby for the first time. And comes again, each day as sure as the sunrise, as you get to know them, and they you.

But I would guess that most mothers are even more unprepared for the sudden unrelenting pressure on their chest, the wave of fear, doubt and defeat that crashes again and again, the constant struggle against the expectations, desires, hopes and dreams and the reality of motherhood. Most mothers are unprepared for the process of learning what is important and what is unimportant. What is worthwhile and what is worthless. What is true, right and lovely.

Most mothers are unprepared for the difficult, painful path to maturity.

I know I am not alone in this. It make take some time, like it did for me, but motherhood has a 100 percent track record of knocking women to their knees and humbling us all right on our crumb-filled kitchen floors.

Motherhood shows no favorites.

If there's one thing we can be sure of, it is this: motherhood will break you.

It's an uncertain path, the one we walk in motherhood. It's full of cruel disappointments, unforgiving demands and doubt of the goodness that is promised us. It makes us want to give up, throw in the towel, wave the white flag. I probably shouldn't, but it seems I'm always surprised at the grit of motherhood, and each time it appears, it sets me into a tailspin of not trusting God as easily as I have when times were simple, free and easy. It leaves me wavering and uncertain of His faithfulness, ready to give in; give up.

 I believe, but I don't. I trust, but I don't.

And so where do we go in this? What do we say or do in these difficult parts of motherhood that leave us bruised, broken, bleeding and limping through the long days and nights?

We remember that God honors the fight.

I believe, help my unbelief.

It's choosing to believe, yet admitting we need more faith. It's asking for help, it's begging for more, it's knocking on the door. It's fighting when the battle seems lost. It's recognizing the struggle that it is to hope against hope, trust in the unseen, and be secure in the uncertain.

It's waking up each morning and asking, "Are you here? Do you love me? Do you care?" and remembering truth and replying, "I know you're here. I know you love me. I know you care."

It's fighting to remember he is who he says he is.

God honors the fight.

As sure as our toddlers will throw tantrums, we can count on facing doubt in motherhood. It creeps into the small spaces, before the mac and cheese, around the play dates and after bedtime - doubt will never wait long, it demands results, answers and tangible evidence.

But faith begs to be waited upon, it must be chosen before it arrives, it must be pursued, sought out and fought for.

God honors the fight.

As I rinse my rag in the dirty bucket again, I push away the self-pity of a Mother's Day that was anything but picture-perfect, and I remind myself. This is what motherhood is: a fight. Motherhood doesn't quit or quiet. It demands to be done each and every day. It demands a fight.

So persevere momma. God is able to and will do as he has promised. He loves you. He remembers you. He cares for you. Call on faith to quiet the shouting of doubt. Motherhood is hard, there has never been a promise that it would be easy. The tug of doubt vs. faith is real, and as much as it seems it shouldn't be, it's okay to live with both. Have faith, then ask for more. Believe, then ask for more.

God honors the fight.

He remembers you. He loves you. He sees you fighting, and he will honor it.

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