Browsing Category: Motherhood

The Year I Found Me

The Year I found Me: Daughter of the King

My birthday is this week, Friday to be precise. I turn 35. Goodness that sounds so old, 35. I remember when my mom was 35, I was 13…I think I planned a birthday party for her. I was always planning parties for people, still do. It’s taken me a few years to be OK with this new age…fortunately, it’s just in time. I feel like at 35 I’m finally willing to live my life on my terms, that I’ve finally found myself.

The Year I found Me: Daughter of the King

So much, too much, of my life has been lived in fear. I never really lived my teens or early 20s, I was too responsible. Too scared of pissing off my parents. And I did nothing. Now, I sit and think about all the things I didn’t do, all the things I wish I had done. The girl I wish I would’ve been, rather than the girl who was too scared to do anything.

Those few risks I took, the limbs I went out on, all turned out pretty good…and yes, Matthew was one of them.

A couple of years ago I realized something: That while I am a wife and mother, I am first myself.

I existed as Me, long before any of those other titles came to be. I was created as a Daughter of the King; Only to Him do I owe any explanation. That moment, that realization, has set me on the course of living my life with less fear. I had to STOP ignoring who I was or in 20 years I was going to wake up to an empty house and wonder what I was supposed to do with my life now.

The only title I have had for all eternity is Daughter of the King, and it is only to Him and for Him, that I am bound to live my life.

Can I tell you what a freeing concept that is?! That I don’t have to sacrifice who I am for what other people think I should be. God created me just as He wanted and needed me to be; the talents, the interests, all of it. All that is me was created solely for the purpose of bring Him glory.

What does that even mean?! It means I can stop stuffing down who I am and what I like and what my interests are. It means that I am free to be WHO I AM in my roles as a wife and mother. It means that I am not JUST A MOM, but an individual, created uniquely to live this life for him.

A friend was recently chided for writing a book, that somehow as a wife and mother it was not “good” for her to take time away from her husband and children to write a book, and I loved her response:

I smiled and told them that way back when, God reached in and tugged at my heart. I chose to live my life for Jesus and not for my children. Any legacy left here for them, is because He has my heart and gives me my focus. My children are just living in my surrender. Wholly and completely given to God.
When my children leave, God is still my first love.September McC.

Before I belonged to anyone, I belonged to Him. When everyone is gone, I will still belong to Him.

God is the only one who has the final word on who and what I am. No one else in this world has any right to tell me that they think my energies are better spent a certain way, that I’m not permitted to be who He created me to be. If I am right with God, that is all that matters. If I am following His lead, that is all that matters.

That weekend trip to Dublin…it was something I desperately wanted (and needed). It was crazy, I knew people would think I was crazy, irresponsible even, but I knew it was a GOOD THING. I knew it was something that God had put together just for me, to learn that I was His, and the He had freed me to live the life that He planned for me.

So, these next few years, I’m hoping you don’t think I’ve gone off the deep-end or that I must’ve lost my mind. I haven’t. I am just living the life God has for me, pursuing the interests and paths He has laid out, and BOY! do I have a lot of time to make up for.

A Weekend Trip to Dublin: Proving to Myself that I am Capable

The end of a year often results in retrospection and the creation of new plans moving forward: Those very ideas stress the bejeezers out of me. The very idea of dissecting the good and the bad and thinking that somehow I’m going to do “me” different in the next year has, in my experience, resulted in more failures and disappointments than not.

I kind of take each year as it comes. Of course, I toy with the idea of hitting up the gym to lose those pesky last 50lbs post babies or setting up a new morning routine, but I know me…at least a little bit. Those kinds of “resolutions” just are not going to be what motivate me to do anything. I have to come to things by a much more….organic method.

I was listening to the SortaAwesome podcast while cleaning church this afternoon and they were talking about the personal growth and development that each of the hostesses experienced in 2016. I rolled my eyes, in my direction…not theirs, and though to myself: I think the only growth I had could be measured on my scale.

Then as I listened something started to whir inside of me…a few gears were beginning to tick and something began to foment in my mind. 2016 was LONG…not just long, but LOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGGG! Or at least December was. December alone was incredibly hard, not for me personally, but for our family, specifically my sister (she’s been in and out of the hospital with what can only be described as a medical mystery seeing as no one knows what’s going on).

But there was January. A whole year ago.

Last January, I did something crazy and completely out of character for me…something that some would consider borderline irresponsible/crazy. At the time it was just a fun idea, a pipe dream if you will, but it quickly progressed past that into one of the greatest gifts someone could have ever given me.

My parents and sister went to Ireland last January for a 10 day vacation. I have loved Ireland since I was a tween…like L.O.V.E. it. I studied abroad there the summer of 2014, Matthew and I went in 2016. It truly is my second home, and some place I would not be at all surprised to find myself living when I grow up.

On a particularly hard Mom-Wednesday I was googling airfare on a whim, because honestly I was done with the screaming and shouting and arguing about doing school, and I found an incredible deal on airfare from JFK to Dublin. I giggled, texted Matt I was going, and chuckled. Then I kept thinking about it….my parents were scheduled to be in Dublin on Friday and come home on Sunday. And I kept thinking about it. I mentioned it to Matt. He chuckled too.

But I kept thinking about it. All. Night. Long.

I sat at the computer on Thursday morning and looked again, it was still there. I bravely mentioned it to Matthew and kind of made a joke about it, because SERIOUSLY there was no way I was going to go Ireland that night. Who does that?! Matthew texted me back a little later:

“Do you really want to go?”
“Well YEA! Who wouldn’t? But I know that’s completely unrealistic.”

30 minutes later Matthew called me, telling me to book the airfare, his mom would take the kids that night and Friday (he’d be home on the weekend). I was dumbfounded. Like seriously could NOT say anything. My hands started shaking, I was thinking the airfare would be gone, I’d do something and book the wrong thing. I started texting people to find out where to park my car, how to navigate a last minute flight out of JFK.

I managed to book the airfare and received my confirmation (hoping that my passport that would expire the following month wouldn’t be an issue).

“It’s booked. I can’t leave without saying good-bye to you first.”
“I know. I’m hurrying to get home. – My dad is going to take you to the airport.”

There were no words.

Matthew got home in time to not only see me off, but drive me to the airport too. I was off to my second home!

I landed in Dublin the following morning and walked out in the frigid sunshine, all smiles. I found the bus that I needed to take to get to where the AirBnB was that my parents were renting, hopped off, and began my meander through the city center and Trinity Colleges campus. The cold air filling my lungs, my thighs feeling frosted and warm from walking in the cold, and it was WONDERFUL!

I was completely alone without a schedule or anything else, and I had successfully navigated an international airport, and a city bus system without getting lost!

There was something that I desperately needed to learn on that trip…

While I am a wife and a mother, I am not defined solely by those things: I am a capable adult.

I am a capable adult outside of those titles, and I can do things that I’ve sort of forgotten that I could. It’s not that I became incapable at anything besides being a wife and mother, it’s that I forgot who I was as just me.

Pride and Poopie Diapers

Pride and Poopie Diapers How God Convicted Me About My Own Stinkiness @JessicaMWhite.com

Amidst all of the changes we’ve been going through, since vacating our home and moving in with the in-laws one of them is that we are no longer using cloth diapers. My in laws have a front load HE washer and radiant floor heating {making diapers not easy to wash and dry} and, quite frankly, I didn’t want to possibly destroy my diapers or, even more horrific, their machines. It’s been tough. I genuinely LOVE cloth diapering and its kind of been bugging me that I’m not doing it.

Here we are…spending a $100 a month {that we really don’t have} on using ‘sposies on our triplets. It’s killing me. Kill.ing.Me. Not because I feel like a failure or a fraud about this passion for cloth, but because I genuinely love cloth diapering and saving money. Even though I was to the point of being beyond done with the wash-dry-stuff-repeat of diapers times three, and the kids bladders wetting through them in one go, I really did not want to stop. I really do enjoy cloth diapers, but I had to admit to myself that a home renovation warrants some liberties.

See…I have this thing about doing cloth diapers. I clothed diapered 4 kids at once; I really don’t understand when people can’t be bothered to cloth diaper even one kid. I don’t get it when they say it’s just too much work. It seems really ridiculous to me when they just can’t deal with that extra load of laundry.

Pride and Poopie Diapers How God Convicted Me About My Own Stinkiness @JessicaMWhite.com

And that…those feelings and thoughts…are absolutely wrong.

For me, my being able to cloth diaper 4 kids, then 3 kids at once for the past few years, is a huge source of pride. I am proud that we managed to do that. I patted myself on the back when others were impressed when they heard that. I take secret pleasure in having other moms call me supermom.

And that’s wrong.

I wasn’t able to breastfeed my kids exclusively and I tend to get “upset” {on the inside} when someone says that they don’t get why moms can’t breastfeed their kids, that it’s so much better for them, and all those other things that I completely agree with. But then, in my mind, I turn around and make those same comments and have those same prideful thoughts about people who don’t cloth diaper.

I had never really thought of this before, that I was being prideful about cloth diapering my kids, until I entered the rabbit hole of the internet and through a series of links found this post. While reading it, I kept thinking to myself, “This is ridiculous. So what, you had twins, what’s the big deal with cloth diapering 2 at once?”

Throughout the whole piece I kept defending, to myself, the validity of cloth diapering. I wanted to type a ridiculous comment, “I managed to cloth diaper 4 kids at once, it really wasn’t that big of a deal.” But there was absolutely no benefit to posting that comment.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful
for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29

Here was a mom saying that she was struggling with PPD and deciding to not continue cloth diapering helped, and all I could think of was a comment that would certainly not be helpful and would be very hurtful. Even hours later, I kept huffily thinking, “Well I managed to do 4!” Because I had been convicted in my own thoughts.

It’s pride. Plain and simple, and boy does that hurt to say.

Pride, which is one of the seven deadly sins, and considered by some to be the worst of them. We are all guilty of it, on some topic, on some level we feel that others should be able to do what we do, simply because we do it, and that they are somehow not on par with us because they don’t.

Pride, is no good. It doesn’t do anyone any good. It makes other’s feel less worthy and makes the prideful put themselves on a pedestal. It’s destructive, it’s hurtful, it pushes others away from us. It’s physically impossible for us to be full of pride and to love and embrace those around us.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4

I don’t think I’ve ever actually said anything hurtful to anyone about cloth diapering. I knew I didn’t want to make someone feel bad, but I know the thoughts were there, and for that I’m sorry. That even though I didn’t say it, I was thinking it: That in my thoughts I am just as guilty as the other moms who champion their mom-battles, thinking less of others, and making others feel less of a mom.

Pride is a tough pill to swallow.

This post was originally published on my other blog on May 5, 2014.

Mamas…it’s OK to Not Love the Things of Mommyhood

Mamas it's ok @JessicaMWhite.com

Maybe you’ve spent years and thousands of dollars to have that little one your holding, maybe you just wanted to be a mom and it happened, maybe you weren’t planning on being a mom, but it happened anyways. No matter, I want to tell you something…it’s OK to get tired of it sometimes. To get tired of the demands, the discipline, the whining, the not being able to just do “whatever” for dinner. It’s OK.

Just because we CHOSE, or were chosen for, this life of mommyhood doesn’t mean that we have to love, or even like, every minute of it. Just because we may have been through hell and back in the getting and having of these little people doesn’t mean that we’re NOT beyond grateful for them in spite of the tough times. Or that we’re not allowed to struggle with all of it.

Mamas it's ok @JessicaMWhite.comI remember going through infertility and thinking “I will never complain about anything, because I will just be beyond ecstatic to FINALLY have a child”.

Sometimes I still feel guilty complaining, then chuckle to myself about it, because, honestly, no one knows just how motherhood will be. Nothing and no one can prepare you for what’s ahead.

No other mom, even your mom, can tell you what it will be like, because no one is doing what you’ve done before. No one has mixed your personality with those of your little ones. This is more than once in a lifetime.

Just because someone else makes it look like a cake-walk with their own kids, doesn’t mean that your life should too. Or that their life even looks like that all the time. There are moms with more {and less} kids than us that I look at and think, “Boy, I couldn’t do that”, and I know others look at us and think the same thing.

I love my kids, but I don’t always love the stuff that came along with them. Our children, while a package deal {every child comes with poopie diapers, sleepless nights, and tantrums etc}, doesn’t mean we have to love the THINGS. Because, honestly, all those other things are just that, things.  And it’s OK to not love things. It’s more important that we love them, our children; the little people they are, the big people they are becoming.

You’re not less of a mom because you don’t appreciate every iota of baggage these little ones come with, because if we were all honesty with each other, none of us do. Yes, some of us handle different things better than others {honestly vomit, poopie diapers and poop-splosions don’t bother me in the least, but pull my hair or whine without ceasing and WATCH OUT!}, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the little people we’ve been blessed with.

We’re not meant to do this mommy thing alone.

In what other “job” do you receive zero training, zero support, zero breaks, zero pay, and be expected to love every single stinkin’ second of it, with a maniacal smile on your face? It doesn’t exist. It’s OK Mamas, to be weary; to be tired of the endless pointlessness of picking up toys and clothes, dirty dishes and dirty diapers: It is OKAY! But this job is still so, SO worth it.  And your value of it isn’t determined by the tough minutes, but by the sweet moments. In the choosing of doing, day after day.

We’re not meant to do this alone, to keep our frustrations all bottled up inside. We’re meant to do this with God, in community with Him, our spouses, and other moms and dads. Even Jesus wasn’t too keen at times on the job He was called to do! But he sought God when he needed Him most. Mamas, it’s OK to be overwhelmed and frustrated, as long as we remember to draw near to the One from which we will always get our strength, the one who loved us first.

This post was first published on June 5, 2013 on my original blog.

The End of Year One of Homeschooling

The end is in sight people! We have nearly completed (successfully) our first year of homeschooling! Pardon me while I take a moment to do my happy dance. In the Fall I was seriously questioning whether we would continue past the first year. It was daunting, there were arguments and fights, and it was not looking good.IMG_9389

Then sometime this spring it just clicked. We had figured out what worked for us and what didn’t and how and when to do what we needed to do. Just the other day, we had to do school in the afternoon, rather than the morning. Ave realized that she was still done with school before the kids were walking past our house leaving the high school. I was floored when she said to me how glad she was that she got to do school at home.

Hands down this girl’s favorite subjects this year have been Math and Science! I always ask what should be start with, and the answer is always science! She loves learning how things work and why things happen. Math I think she loved, because for the most part it came really easy to her this year. A lot easier than reading and writing.

We’re planning on continuing Read, Writing, and Arithmetic through the summer. I’m not going to be all crazy about it, but I do think she will benefit from the extra work, as well as being fresh when we start in the Fall. There won’t be a ton of time wasted covering things we’ve already learned.

I asked Avie about some of her favorite things about this past school year. Her favorite books were Mr. Popper’s Penguins and Owls in the Family, she loved our field trip to the Museum of Natural History. She didn’t like math so much because it got harder over the year.

I really loved Sonlight’s curriculum. Being that this was our first year, I really felt prepared each day. If you are not into reading and really don’t like reading aloud, then it’s not for you. I love books and I can stand reading aloud. We still haven’t finished all of the books that were assigned as part of the curriculum, but, again, I figure we’ll work through them over the summer.

I think going into Sonlight and KNOWING that we wouldn’t read every single book during the year helped me. That was part of our struggle,  I felt a lot of pressure to READ EVERYTHING and then realized I don’t have to. If it’s not working for us, move on. There were a couple of books that were really hard to get through, so we got them on audible and listened when we were in the car. Some of them, became ones that we read at bedtime. It works. That’s the wonderful thing about homeschooling, you figure out and do what works best for you and your kiddos.

While Matthew and I were away, we had given the grandparents a list of things to read. My father in law spent quite a bit of time with Avie doing her world history reading and he was blown away by how intense and substantial the readings were. I never felt that what we were doing was a waste of time or frou-frou. I have to say, that with everything subject we covered it was always meaningful.

I’ve put together an Amazon store of some of our favorites from this year! I’m hoping to keep adding every year to our library.

Our Favorite Homeschool Books