Mom Guilt- We All Have It

This has to be my biggest struggle to date. I have self-confidence issues, I would be terrible at a diet because I like candy and ice cream too much, I have a hard time following through with a workout plan, my house is not perfect and my kids might look a mess because they like to dress themselves. The hardest thing for me to overcome is Mom Guilt. It is what is the underlying issue to all of the above mentioned “problems” in my daily life.

Self-confidence issues are a result of not putting myself first (or so I think). I have always been a giver – thinking of others before myself. That quality is great, as long as you take time to give yourself something back. If you are always focusing on others, you struggle to see what is good about yourself. You struggle to develop your talents and constantly compare your achievements to others.

Sticking to a diet means putting time in to plan, prepare and stick to a meal plan, a work out plan, and not making excuses – cue Mom Guilt and being a giver – we give so much to others that we rarely put any time to focus on our needs.

I wish my house was perfectly clean and I was able to stick to a cleaning routine, but again I feel that I should be giving attention to my kids and my husband – playing with them, taking care of them, helping to relieve their stress levels.

My kids get to choose their clothes, it is not a battle I want to fight, but it also fosters their independence and confidence in making their own choices. Mom guilt comes in when I drop my kids off at school and realize all the other children are wearing matching clothes and their hair is done (haha).

We all deal with mom guilt (dad guilt) all the time, every day. Our house did not get clean because we were playing with the kids. The house got clean, but now we feel guilty because we did not play with the kids. Mom and dad have a date night because we need it. Mom and dad should be there to tuck the kids in bed. I am still in my pajamas, but my kids are dressed to the nines. I got ready today and my daughter ate dinner in her pajamas. There is no way to win.

Today I went live on my Facebook page talking about the mega dose of mom guilt I had for taking a shower. I am a big believer on spending quality time with your kids. I try to avoid using the TV as a babysitter, but today I woke up in a terrible mood. I forced myself to spend time with the kids prior to my shower- playing cars, building Magnatile houses and coloring. After putting Elizabeth down I made the choice to take a shower. Momma need an attitude adjustment – aka time alone to relax and check something tangible off my daily to do list. So I put on the TV (it was at least an educational show) and took a little me time. The kids watched the show and built with Magnatiles for about an hour – and this momma got dressed, did my hair and makeup. It felt great!

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Carson’s Car House (and yes, that’s a purple pacifier in his hand…)

As soon as I got done though I was hit with some mom guilt. I should have woke up before the kids and got ready. I should have taken the shower during naptime. I should have blah, blah, blah…you know the drill. So many reasons how we could have done something different, better, etc.

I decided that it did not kill them to watch an hour of TV today. The saying “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” is a true thing. In our house, I feel that my mood sets the tone of the home. Taking it upon myself to get in a better mood was what needed to happen today. I took the shower. I did my hair. I even put makeup on! And I am giving myself grace.

So this is me, giving you grace the next time you want to take a shower because you NEED it! You need to take time for yourself, even if it is only 10 minutes. Self-care is a big deal. I wrote a few different posts about self-care, the importance of self-care and different ways you can take some time for yourself. We must fill our cups before we can fill others – an empty cup has nothing to share.

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My little bucket heads aka my bucket (cup) fillers

You have my permission to leave the dishes in the sink and take a bubble bath while you read a good book. You have my permission to sleep in, just this once, because you want to. You have my permission to snuggle those babies a little bit longer and let the laundry sit in the dryer another day. We all need to take a step away from being a mommy, a wife, a whatever- and remember what it is like to be YOU.

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My little ghost baby (PS- my sweater is on sale right now!)

~xo~

Another Self Reflection Moment!

It has been almost 3 MONTHS since I sat down and threw my thoughts on paper (not actual paper, but you get the idea…). This whole new baby that makes 3 kids + trying to sell a house is NOT easy. I am struggling with organizing my time and my day, but I should get points for trying. This topic has been on my mind for a while and I am working through some personal things with it, so I figured why not put it all out there – be SUPER vulnerable – and see what you all think!

I have always compared myself to other people, finding flaws in me and pointing out the good in them. What I realized is that does nothing positive for me at all. All it does is continue to make me feel bad about myself. Last weekend, my husband went to Arizona for a Fraternity Leadership School and I gave him the hardest time for leaving. I was stuck here in California with no family and my three kids (I promise I love them, but doing it on my own is HARD!)…I had this crazy idea to drive the kids and myself 15 hours to our family reunion in Utah…did I mention I’d be doing it ALL BY MYSELF?!?!?…just to get out of being alone for the weekend….crazy talk right? Well let me reassure you that the trip most definitely did not happen. And the weekend actually was not all that bad…who knew! ha

The thing about this trip that I wanted to take was that Brian felt very strongly that I should not go. I, of course, jumped immediately to some fault he was suggesting I had (not the best driver, could not handle it, would want to turn around after a few hours, etc.) and not the actual reason he was against it – he did not want anything to happen to me and the kids. Our car has been slightly wonky lately and he did not want to put our lives in the somewhat un-trusty hands of that car. I only realized this conclusion after he had left and I sent a rant worthy text to him about the situation. It was then that I realized I had, yet again, looked at my own faults rather than searching for my strengths. He was not trying to bring me down even more – he was wanting to protect me.

All of this brings me back to what I continue to refer to in multiple posts, that I am still struggling to appreciate myself and what I am worth. I feel like I can trace this back to middle school (although it most likely has gone on longer than that!), but I for sure can pinpoint different situations in middle school that continue to feed this negative self-image and viewing others’ lives as WAY better than mine. I received a strong “kick in the butt” from my wonderful husband yet again. The text message he sent in response to my somewhat snarky rant said many things, but one important piece stuck with me. He said “If we are not happy, we only have ourselves to blame”. He is so right. I am the one to blame for my unhappiness. I am the one that can change my thoughts. I am the one that has to change how I feel about myself. I am the one who can make our house a home. I am the one who has to force myself to remove focus on others and put a little focus on myself. I am the first to say I need a break and the first to say no when given the opportunity.

I believe strongly in the statement there is no such thing as a coincidence. My mom is such a positive influence in my life and she continually reminds me of this thought. She says that God has a plan for all of us and these “coincidences” are His way of letting us know He is there and that all things will work out.

If Brian had not gone on to Leadership School, I would not have sent the mean text, which would result in Brian not having to send his reply. If all of this did not happen, I would have never heard the words that I so desperately needed to hear. I am terrible at putting myself first and seeing myself in a positive light. This text made me realize that I am doing myself and those around me a disservice. The more miserable/jealous/incompetent/etc I see myself, the more that projects onto others.

The more I write these thoughts down, the more I hope they stick. So here is my somewhat apology for continuing to repeat these themes throughout some of these posts. I need them repeatedly throughout my life so that I can take them to heart. My hope is that the more I express my frustrations, the more likely I am to work out these personal issues and get past it. I am surrounded by wonderful people in my life who continually remind me of my worth. My mother continues to remind me that I am who I am supposed to be. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter and a daughter of God. I am special. My husband loves me unconditionally – even with the constant self-put downs and nagging. Out of all the people he could have chose, he chose me! My children need me to be the best mommy I can be – and the example that I set for them about self-image and worth needs to be positive. There are so many other people who influence my thoughts and I thank you for being one of them!

If you have made it this far then I thank you! This is a deep down and personal issue that only I can change. Bare with me while I work through this, as it is all an attempt to better myself – for myself – but also for those around me. Here goes another attempt at resetting my internal thoughts and forcing myself to point out the positives! We are always a work in progress – and as long as we are progressing, then that is enough. We are enough.

~xo~

 

Love & Logic: Review Part 1

One would think that a clinical social worker can handle herself and her children in the best manner – at all times – how not true that statement is!

Parenting and motherhood is THE hardest thing I have EVER done in my entire life! I taught multiple parent trainings that centered around self care, emotional awareness, regulation skills and cognitive stimulation. These trainings only grazed the surface on what all went in to parenthood, but I felt like I knew more than the average person about child development and what to do in tricky situations. Boy was I wrong…ha

Making the decision to start a family is a HUGE decision in one’s relationship. It comes with life style changes, husband and wife challenges, and oh yeah…those cute little babies! The thing with babies is they grow up and turn in to toddlers, threenagers and beyond – all with their own challenges.

If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I our oldest daughter has given me a run for my money lately (check out these posts here and here to get an idea of what I’m talking about). The two kid challenge has really tested my social work skills and mommy brain – now with the third on the way (within 2 weeks!) – my stress level has peaked.

With all this going on I decided I need to stop complaining and start doing something about all my miscues and stress level. I went back to some training material and was reminded about a few different parenting books that were used to give tips and tricks during parent training. One of which was Parenting With Love And Logic by Cline and Fay.

I have not opened this book since my early social work years, and have yet to finish it – there are so many good points that I figured a mid book summary was okay! I will say, I am not TOTALLY convinced on EVERY.SINGLE.THING they promote, but the general gist of the book and the ability it has already had to make me stop and think about my words is working for me.

Cline and Fay begin the book by talking about the basic premise of being a “Love and Logic Parent”. This meaning that the parents are raising responsible children who learn from their mistakes and consequences – whether positive or negative – (they call them Significant Learning Opportunities). A Love & Logic parent helps their children “move from total dependence on us to independence, from being controlled by us to controlling themselves.” This theme carries itself throughout the entire book and is referred back to throughout the scenarios and tips given.

They jump next in to different parenting styles – and here is my disclaimer: I am not promoting any of these nor am I trying to make anyone feel guilty about which one they “fall” under. I think each person needs to find what works best for them and focus on improving that skill as a parent. I find myself in different categories that they describe at different times in my motherhood – I’m trying to focus on changing some things I do personally that works best for my kids and my family and so should you!

  • Helicopter Parent – Cline and Fay describe these parents as those who are always coming to rescue their child. They run lunches, permission slips, homework to school. They are always pulling their children out of a jam. “Whenever their children send up an SOS flare, helicopter parents, who are ready hovering nearby, swoop in and shield their children from teachers, playmates and other elements that appear hostile”.
    • Cline and Fay feel that these types of parents are loving, but depriving children from learning. “Such children are unequipped for the challenges of life. Their significant learning opportunities were stolen from them in the name of love.”
  • Drill Sergeant Parents – They love their children and the more they “bark orders and the more they control”, the better their kids will be in the long run. They are constantly told what to do.
    • “Kids of drill sergeant parents, when given the chance to think for themselves, often make horrendous decisions…these kids are rookies in the world of decision making”. Cline and Fay claim that these types of children are followers because they never learned how to make decisions for themselves.
  • The Consultant Parent – “Love & Logic Parent” As children grow, they move from being concrete thinkers to being abstract thinkers when they are teens. Children need thoughtful guidance and firm, enforceable limits. The authors state that as children grow into adolescents, this parenting style becomes even more important.
    • Children have been taught to make their own decisions. They are offered choices while young (but can still be started in teen years) which forces them to think about choices and the consequences. “In order for children to succeed, their kids need to learn to make their own decisions.”

According to Cline and Fay, being a consultant parent is “the” way to go – again to each their own, and I have found myself at times in all three of these categories. I’m stating again that I am LOVING this book for the fact that it is making me stop in my tracks, reflect on how I interact with my children, and forcing myself to make a better choice of words or actions next time the situation arises.

Multiple examples are given throughout the book which help with understanding – most of which pertain to a little bit older children, but the underlying meaning is still relevant. The authors also put in “Love and Logic Tips” that are excerpts of personal stories they use as teaching moments. These are SUPER helpful and easy to refer back to when needing a refresher.

I think the hardest part of parenting, which they nail on the head AND encourage, is that we as parents have to see our children fail. I mean how hard is that?!?! Look at these cuties and tell me you don’t want to help them not ever have to feel trials!

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However, through these failures come consequences (they refer to them as Significant Learning Opportunities) and are the lessons that children need to learn. The positive end of this for us parents is through these SLOs, children learn responsibility and independence. “Children who grow in responsibility also grow in self-esteem, a pre-requisite for achievement in the real world…there is a direct correlation between self-concept and performance in school, at home , on the playground, or wherever children may be. Kids learn best and are responsible when they feel good about themselves.”

So far I am enjoying this book. The many examples and phrases they say NOT to do, I have done – and they couple that with what I should be saying to create a lasting relationship with my kids. I love that it is making me stop and think – as that is how I best learn as a parent – and learn new ways to interact with Paisley and Carson. It is helping me step towards my goal of 2017, which is to become a better mother, wife and friend.

I will continue to post reviews of this book as I get further in to it. If you have any questions along the way, do not hesitate to ask me! I’d be happy to give my opinion (and it is JUST that…my opinion – you are the expert of your own life!) and what the book suggests one to do.

Thanks for reading!

~xo~

The Last Year of My 20s

I feel like I have posted a lot about reflecting on my past – days, weeks or years – and over time I find that it helps me refocus on changes that I have said I would work on, or focus on what skills I need to improve on.

I write this today on my birthday – my 29th birthday, a.k.a. the last one before the big 3-0! I want to focus on the past year and all the changes that have occurred which bring me to where I am today – a nervous wreck half the time, and a well managed/organized pleasant person the other half! ha

Last year, Brian and I packed up our belongings and moved to California. A land we had never lived in before, where we knew no one. It is by a HUGE blessing from God that we landed where we are. The friends we have here are AMAZING and I’m so glad we felt the need to buy the house we did. We’ve been blessed beyond measure in both Brian’s career opportunity as well as our family’s well-being with this move and leap of faith.

We also had the pleasant (and some what scary) surprise of getting the chance to welcome a new baby into our family. Everyone says the 3rd kid is what did them in…so we welcome all the positive thoughts and baby wisdom you have! We are very excited, but at the same time a little nervous to see how this one goes.

Every time I feel overwhelmed, I think back to my daily scripture study and how that is helping reassure current decisions we make and my mothering skills. Through countless trials and tribulations, there are many examples of people overcoming these fears through trusting in the Lord. That is what I am aiming to do. I know there are feelings of insecurity throughout my daily life (in all aspects!), but putting my trust in Him is only helping me push through. This faith and hope of good is what helped us get to where we as a family are today.

If we hadn’t trusted Him with a move to California, the house and ward we are in, and the thoughts of adding another baby to our family I’m not sure where we would be. Brian and I have grown closer as a couple and stronger as parents. Our children have met some pretty amazing friends and found out what it is like to strengthen those relationships. We have been blessed beyond measure as a family and both Brian and my testimony have grown!

Even though I’m a bit nervous about this upcoming year, I am excited to see what it brings. Our new baby will be here in a month or so (OMGOSH!!!!!), a new sister (Cannot believe my brother is getting married! But so excited for their future!!!), and there is an upcoming BIG changes for our family – will give more details when we know more! Reflecting on the past year and seeing all the positives, blessings and joys we experienced only makes me that much more excited for the last year of my 20s!

~xo~

The Coming of Stinky Pete!

It’s rare that a post gets me super excited to write, but this one has been a long time coming and it’s about my baby CARSON! I wrote about Paisley’s birth story a few months back (it too was WAY overdue) and it took me right back to those two wonderful days. I am just as excited to dive back in to my memories and share with you all Carson’s story!

Carson is our energetic and overly active son! He just turned 19 months and I am not sure he has slowed down since he figured out he could move. From the day he was born, he has been all boy. The kid loves dirt, balls, trucks and running around. We love this kid and cannot wait to watch him grow!

About 15 months after having Paisley, Brian and I made the decision to try for another child. Knowing that with Paisley it took us 8 months to conceive, we figured we would have some time. And we were right – it took us 6 months to get pregnant, only to find out that at 7 weeks we miscarried. Flash forward about another 2 months and bingo…prego eggo. Going to that first doctor’s appointment was nerve racking. Would we see the precious babes? Would we hear the heartbeat? I was so scared we were going to be disappointed again, but luckily we weren’t. Every doctor’s appointment after that was a little anxiety provoking for me – each time I was relieved to hear the heart beat and the good news.

Pregnancy with Paisley was totally different than Carson. With Paisley I craved all things salty, bloated to over a 50 pound weight gain, had carpel tunnel in my wrist the last trimester and swelled like a balloon daily. Carson on the other hand was not as rough on my body. Maybe it was the active toddler I had to chase around, or maybe it was my brain actually working right – I kept my weight gain to a healthier 40 pounds, didn’t swell as much, craved all things sugar and managed to get out and about a lot more. I was super sick with Carson during the first trimester, actually getting the flu shortly after finding out I was pregnant, but that sickness died down around 13 weeks. It’s funny how each pregnancy is so different! Shot below of my 3rd Trimester with Paisley (left) and Carson (right).

Anywho – enough with the pregnancy progression details – now it’s the good stuff. The actual lead up to the birth and there after!

If you guys read Paisley’s birth story, you know that we made a fatal mistake…we went to the hospital TWICE! #newparentfail This time with Carson, I didn’t want to go in until we knew for sure we’d be staying. It was a Sunday and the contractions were getting pretty bad – not bad enough that I couldn’t bare them, but progressively worse. We called Kelly and she came over to help watch Paisley as Brian and I went on a walk around the neighborhood, we were going to be sure that we didn’t have to go home. HA! After walking about an hour, we made it home and decided that Paisley should stay with family for the rest of the day. Contractions were getting more intense and closer together BUT we didn’t go in just yet. Brian and I went to lunch at Tanner’s down by the Plaza in Kansas City (the hospital we delivered at was 30 minutes from our house – Tanner’s was closer than home and we needed lunch, too!). I sat at the table and clocked the contractions, now they were getting to the point that I had to put my food down, take deep breaths and wait for them to subside. WE STILL DIDN’T GO IN!

After lunch, we decided more walking could only help, so we took a nice stroll around Loose Park. After this walk, contractions were minutes apart. We called the doctor and they told us to come in. The hospital was quiet. The nurse who checked us in said that we were the only patients in so far for the afternoon, which I think was a fantastic blessing. She checked my dialation and told me we were only at a 3 – my worst fear – we may have to go home! How dumb of us…and I felt really dumb because these contractions HURT! She had to have seen the look on our faces because she not only let us hang out in the triage room, she turned on the Royals game for our entertainment.

I’m pretty sure we sat in that triage room for the remainder of the game and even walked around the hospital for a bit before having the nurse check me again. This time I was progressing enough that she admitted us! It was now close to 6pm and Brian was hungry again! (He has this thing about needing to eat every time I’m delivering apparently!) I’m pretty sure he ordered Jimmy John’s once we go to the room, and it probably smelled so good! I got a popsicle or some ice chips probably…yum!

As he settled in with his dinner, I settled in with the birthing ball. We did what any couple would do while waiting on a baby to arrive…we watched Space Jam! After all, what better way to brainwash your eventual 6 foot plus son who’s dad hopes he likes basketball, then to give him an early dose of Space Jam!

As the nurse came in to do her usual check, she asked about an epidural. We told her we wanted to do this with the least amount of intervention as possible…apparently those words are not what you say to a L&D nurse. That means that they won’t check on you for hours and leave you to do your thing! Oops…for real. I made Brian go out and find one of them because the contractions were getting so strong and frequent that I needed to know how dialated I was. If I was only a 5 then let’s call the anesthesiologist, if I was further along I could probably do it again. When the nurse came in she apologized up and down for misunderstanding us, and we did the same! She was amazing. After she checked me this time she mentioned I was at a 6/7 on the way to the transition phase…the worst part of labor! Contractions get super frequent and intense.

This nurse was an angel though and told me about a little drug called Stadol…what a wonder it was! This little baby did the trick in getting me right through that transition phase – when I woke up from my foggy knock-out I was at a 9/10!

Stadol

By the time I reached a 10, it was right on the brink of turning from August 23rd (Tracy’s birthday) to August 24th (My grandma’s birthday). Multiple texts were received from all family members vowing their case for when Carson should be born! ha…if it were only that easy. This labor process felt so long, much longer than Paisley! We were in the triage room a little after 2pm and it wasn’t until 12:34am on August 24th, 2015 that Carson James Gettinger made his appearance…Grandma Marcia had won the birthday battle!

Carson hospital

He weighed in at 8 pounds and 12 ounces, and almost 23 inches in length. The doctor mentioned that he was “really long” and she was surprised at how all of him fit in my belly! Ever since that day, he has been an eating and growing machine. This kid didn’t sleep through the night until he was 11 months old…he was (and still is constantly hungry), eating every hour and half for a long time. At his last checkup, Carson was an inch taller than the 98th percentile for an 18 month old and in the 98th percentile for weight #bigbaby.

One last thing before I close this up and let you oooh and aaaah over all the pictures, many people have asked us about his nickname “Stinky Pete”. I have no idea where it came from, or how I managed to pull this crazy name out of my head. What I do know is that coming from a sleep deprived momma who is seeing all her friends babies sleeping peacefully through the night at “normal” times (i.e. 3 months, 4 months), one has to think of a cute and fun name to call him when he was woken up for the 3rd time hungry…hence the name Stinky Pete. I’m pretty sure he gets called Pete more times than his actual name…he may be confused one day about that. But Stinky Pete was the name dawned on him so that this momma and daddy would get a little laugh every time he woke up!

If you are still reading this, you are a trooper and deserve a good array of pictures. This kid sure is cute and is going to eat us out of house and home! Enjoy!

A Nice Little Reminder

Last night I received a text from one of my besties – and it literally made me tear up. It was the SWEETEST thing ever and just the right thing I needed to hear. The gist of it was that she was super impressed at my ability to have 3 babies (soon!) in 3 different states and not even blink an eye…..if she only knew! ha. But seriously…who sends these random messages to their girlfriends at just the right time?!? It was so needed and made me feel like all my doubts need to be pushed aside. So thanks lady (you know who you are!)

This got me thinking the about the last few months and if I have been working my best to improve myself. If you have kept up with my blog, you know that I’ve made a commitment to myself this year to stop comparing myself to others (BIG TASK…I know…ha) and to be my own person. Begin to discover who I truly am and what makes me feel special. I continue to get sucked back in to comparing myself to others (see this post, this one,  and this one if you need to see this recurring struggle happening in my life) – It’s a vicious cycle that I keep finding myself in – struggling to make it out.

But this text, just a simple 2 second thing that my girl sent me – just because she was thinking of me – got me back on track. As many of you know, I am currently pregnant with our 3rd kiddo…and I’m freaking out a bit. I find myself struggling daily to keep my cool with Paisley and Carson, only to realize I blew it…again…and the day starts over – me trying to stay calm and patient. Most days I feel pretty successful, but there are times where I think back to how my day went and feel ashamed. Ashamed at how I yelled again…ashamed at how I put myself first, rather than taking the 2 minutes to address their needs…ashamed at the satisfaction I feel when it is finally naptime!

I think to myself “how am I going to do this with 3 kids?” This is a daily struggle and concern. My feelings of inadequacy run deep – not just around raising children, but in most facets of my life. As much as I don’t like to admit (and as weird as it feels to say/write them down), this blog is actually helping me realize these negative thoughts and feelings I have about myself and my abilities. Just scrolling through these posts, you can see that I think about these things a lot. I tend to share them a lot too (a lot more than I had intended), but for whatever reason it makes me feel better. So they will continue.

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When I realize these self-doubts, I have to remember that they come from a dark place – the adversary is a tricky guy and he gets very good and getting in to our hearts and minds. This text I got last night is the reminder I needed – I Am Enough! I can do this. Someone out there thinks I am a wonderful mother and example. She has faith and trust in me that I can do this, that I am not alone. That I am strong. I’ve proven it time and time again – multiple moves, multiple children, multiple life changes – and I’ve done all of them! I grew stronger with each new step. I am becoming my own person and we as a family are continuing to grow closer and rely on each other. I am a mom to 2 (almost 3!) amazing and wonderful children. They are the reason I was placed on this Earth. To guide them, teach them, show them the way.

A little pep talk for myself this lovely Wednesday afternoon. Thanks for hanging with me throughout my self-discovery process. I promise not all posts will be this heavy, but just felt that this needed to be shared. It gets it off my chest – so if it only helps me, that is good enough for me!

The next time you feel the need to call or text a friend, please do! Act on that prompting. It may seem small to you, but it may be just what that friend needs to hear.

Happy Wednesday All!

~xo~

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

We’ve all heard this phrase a million times, but for some reason today it hit me a little more than usual. I am working on stepping out of my comfort zone, to push myself and grow. It’s scary, it’s hard and sometimes not fun. What I have found is that it causes a whole bunch of self-doubt and necessary recovery from that, AND an entirely new, positive perspective on life.

I sat down this morning to read my scriptures and happened to be on Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon (it has been WAY too long since I’ve done this and trying to get back in the habit…again…for the umpteenth time!). The number of times I have read or heard from this chapter is probably among the hundreds, but for some reason it felt different today.

We had the missionaries over for dinner last night and their message to our family was about faith. What is faith? How do you grow your faith? They too referred to this chapter (coincidence, I think not), asking Brian and I to describe how we have gained faith, what it means to us and how we play on that every single day.

A general understanding of faith is something that is hoped for, but not seen. There is also the understanding that without works, faith is dead. Faith is not something you have and then it grows. Faith is something you believe in will grow, and you work towards doing the necessary things to make it grow.

This can be with anything in life, not just religion or spiritual growth. Take my example of growing this special child for the past 7 months…wow, ha! There have been multiple times, especially of late, where I have to stop and calm myself down because the thought of having three kids truly freaks me out. I know people do it all the time, but there is just something about this time around that is making me REALLY nervous and anxious. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t feel like I am handling myself  very well with two, maybe it’s that pesky little self-doubt creeping back in my mind, maybe it’s the fact that we are still trying to get settled here in California all the while having our sites set on a new opportunity on the horizon…so much unknown in our future is apparently starting to get to me.

I am trying my best to create and establish a well-balanced life for my family and myself, running a side business, and this blog. All of which are definitely giving me a run for my money. I struggle to meet my own demands with these hats I wear, and I often find myself wondering if it is worth the stress. After all of these negative thoughts, comes the light at the end of the tunnel.

The phrase “feel the fear, and do it anyway” is played out a lot with various twists that all generally mean the same thing. There is nothing wrong with being afraid, being anxious about change, or the unknown. What is important is to have the faith and hope that things will be okay. Even if we just have the desire to have that faith, that is enough to build upon. None of this is going to be easy, but with this desire to find the good and push through trials, things will get better. It takes work, it takes effort, but what good thing doesn’t?

“Feel the fear and do it anyway” is a motto for a lot of people. It gives us permission to set aside our uncertainties, find the faith and push towards that goal. We find ways around obstacles and support from those who want to help. We find answers to the questions “Why is it so hard?” and “what’s in it for me?”. Having the desire to find faith is enough. Just the smallest amount of belief is all it takes.

As for me, reflecting on the joy and unconditional love I have for my kids is where I start. I have the desire to be a better mother and wife, the faith to know that three kids will not break me (although that may still take some convincing, ha!), and the hope that my future will be okay and better than I imagine. These three things help me to continue to push myself, to grow and learn new things. To get up at 5 am so I can get my head on straight and have a few hours to myself. To take time out of my daily to-dos and spend it with my kiddos. To put down the electronics and talk to my husband. I am still striving to be better, but I know that with time, all things will be okay.

~xo~

*featured image credit to Imagefountain Photos*