Monday, August 31, 2009

No Escape

Jack peed on me! Three times!!

That's right, I just told on him.

I have to say, one of the times he peed on me I couldn't do anything about it. I was trying to get him into his bath and he would not sit down. Straight as a board, Jack peed directly on my stomach. I couldn't let go of him or move away, so I did what any self-sacrificial parent would do. I let him.

Give that mom a Klondike bar!

Jack lounging in his "tub"

Monday, August 24, 2009

Realistic Beauty

Though I try to be grateful that my weigh continues to drop (at least I think it is, I don't have a scale to actually confirm this), I can't help but be frustrated over the fact that I do not know how to dress my postpartum body.

Beginning with the top, my arms are a little flabbier (though Jack weighs a gazillion pounds), my breasts are bigger, I have a little pooch for a stomach, my hips... well, they seem to be slowly shrinking, my legs will not remain hairless, and my feet are still a size 9.5 (well, they were always that size, still way too big for me).

Fortunately I came across this article which promises to answer all of my problems! Their advice?

Accentuate the positive!

  • Show off that awe-inspiring post-partum rack. A bull’s-eye print works well on sweaters, and in warmer months, pasties are sure to draw the attention just where you want them. How about some tassels? Get creative!
  • Your forearms are probably still delicate and lovely, no? Wear elbow-length sleeves, oil up your exposed arm-parts, slap on a little glitter, and wave them around gracefully. Strangers will be so impressed, they won’t notice, you know, the rest of you!
  • Are you an all-over mess? Aw. We bet you still have nice eyes! Play them up with false eyelashes and liquid eyeliner, slip on a burka, and you’re good to go!
  • Hide the negative!

    There are countless ways you can confuse, dazzle, or blind anyone who comes near you. Here are only a few.

  • Mirrors
  • Sandwich boards
  • Multiple flotation rings
  • Layers upon layers of tulle
  • Christmas tree lights wrapped around torso
  • Black duct tape
  • Feathers!
  • Beaded curtain hanging from neck
  • Giant fanny pack filled with puppies
  • An enormous bustle to even out proportions
  • Mascot costume
  • You’re an astronaut!
  • Astronaut giving a thumbs up

    (Seriously Corrie, thanks for posting this site on FB)

    On a more serious note, Glamour magazine seems to be drawing quite a bit of praise for publishing a nearly nude picture of a plus size model in their September issue. On the Today show this morning, the editor in chief nearly promised Matt Lauer that we can see more of this realistic beauty in the future.

    The model has this to say about the response:
    "When I read [the letters] I got teary-eyed!" she says. "I've been that girl, flipping through magazines trying to find just one person who looked a little bit like me. And when I didn't find it I would start to think there's something wrong with the way that I looked. When J. Lo and Beyoncé came out and were making curves sexy, I started to accept myself more. It's funny, but just seeing them look and feel sexy enabled me to do the same."

    Maybe someday we can all have a realistic expectation of what we should look like and an appreciation of our beauty. Especially postpartum.

    Sunday, August 23, 2009

    Highs & Lows

    Low: Jack woke me up at 6:30 this morning. 6:30!! Way too early.

    High: Jack snuggled with me on the couch tonight, leaning his face into mine. I love this kid.

    Saturday, August 22, 2009

    One Lonely Mommy

    Loneliness is something most moms deal with. To quote Carla Barnhill who wrote The Myth of the Perfect Mother,"Our friendships with other women are often the first thing we sacrifice when we have children, simply because we know they'll understand." (92) Ouch. I find that to be a harsh reality.

    My friend Kelly and I were pregnant together. We went on walks together at least once a week during our pregnancies and often talked about pushing strollers together soon. But when Amaya was born and then Jack, those walks just haven't happened as we both thought. We admit that those first few months of motherhood we were just trying to survive so we were unable to reach out to one another. Since our babies' births, I think we have gone on two walks. Two. Ouch.

    But it's not only other moms who I have lost touch with. I feel I haven't seen my other girlfriends as much either. I know they're busy - we all are, - but I am beginning to think moms aren't the only lonely ones. We all seem to have difficulty finding time for one another. Or maybe I am the only one feeling this way.

    Tim is going on a camping trip for three days with work. I don't think I really realized he was leaving until 45 minutes ago. I'm lonely and I don't know what to do with myself until Tuesday.

    I used to find this demotivational poster from funny. Now I'm not so sure.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    We Love WIC!

    Today was our tri-monthly WIC appointment. For those of you who don’t know, WIC stands for Women Infants and Children. It is a federal program run by the USDA Food & Nutrition Service which provides “supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.”[1]

    In a word, it’s a blessing.

    Since January, we have received checks which have purchased us 6 gallons of milk, 2 dozen eggs, 2 boxes of baby cereal, way more cheese than we could ever eat, carrots, cereal, tuna, and beans every single month. And today I was shocked to discover that Jack and I would receive even more food through WIC. On top of the food I already received, I’ll be able to purchase $10 of produce and 16 oz of whole wheat bread. Jack on the other hand now receives 60 jars of fruits and vegetables and 31 jars of meat!! Every single month! Wow!

    Money is really tight right now and I have been making my own baby food in order to save money. But honestly, there is not much a difference between my food and Gerber’s and it is a heck of a lot easier to open a jar than to take the time to cook, puree and freeze a variety of fruits and vegetables. So when Sue, our WIC lady, showed me our new package I felt as though someone gave me a precious gift. I am so relieved to know Jack will be well fed.

    This is so great for Jack. While he hasn’t complained about having the same five fruits and veggies until I make another, I am excited for the variety of foods he will now be able to experience. Plus, I was not looking forward to pureeing chicken and beef. Gross.

    So, whoever took the initiative to form WIC, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for remembering the mothers who want to eat healthy and feed their children well, but often can’t afford the food. Thank you for standing up for us and taking care of us. Today you blessed me and my baby Jack.

    Thank you.

    (p.s. According to the WIC scale Jack now weighs 18lbs 8.5oz. No wonder my back is breaking!)


    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    The Myth of the Perfect Mother

    I am reading a book right now and I am so excited about it I want to share it with you all. It is called “The Myth of the Perfect Mother” by Carla Barnhill. When I started reading this book, I couldn’t believe that it is no longer in print! I had to buy a used copy through However, as I continue to read I can see why many people may be offended by what Carla writes; though I believe most of what she writes is so true.

    I haven’t finished the book yet. Maybe when I do I’ll write an actual review of it. But I want to tell you this book has brought up some issues that I’ve wrestled with in my heart. It also affirms me as a woman, it comforts me as a mother, and it excites me as a minister.

    * * *

    Denver Seminary is a fairly conservative school. Sure there are pockets of “liberal” theology (emphasis on social ethics, profs who voted for Obama, etc.), but when it comes to women there are a few things that can be noted. First, in the MDiv program that I graduated from, women account for maybe 10% of the population. In some classes it is less. Second, based on my experience it is clear that most men at the school question whether women can serve in ministry in certain capacities. They are also uncomfortable relating to women socially. Third, some male students have no problem telling female students that they basically believe women should not be studying in the MDiv track. And they’re sly about it too. They don’t say “you shouldn’t” they say, “I don’t think women should preach…”

    Carla affirms that women are gifted in ways other than being a mother or wife. Motherhood is a stage of life that ends at one point or another. Some women are gifted uniquely to be awesome “professional” mothers for their children. Others are not. For that matter, some women are physically unable to have children or are single and will never have children.. What is most important in God's eyes is the advancement of the gospel; the rearing of children is secondary. That makes me push on and pursue the ministry God is calling me to, as a woman.

    * * *

    As a mother, I question going to work and leaving my son in child care. Part of this is because I love him more than I thought possible. Part of this is because my mom was home with me and my sisters. And part of this is because of one of those conversations I had with a male classmate. It went something like this:

    Me: I think I will have a hard time being home all the time.

    Him: Women who say that are selfish.

    So, though I don’t respect this man’s opinion and I feel bad for his wife who has nearly ten children and he wants more, I have this little voice in my head saying You’re selfish.

    I relate to this paragraph Carla wrote:

    I love being a mom and I’m thrilled God has given me the privilege of raising these two great kids. However, I don’t think he’s created me to be a ‘professional’ mom. I love being with my kids, watching them grow, helping them learn. But I find so much more satisfaction and fulfillment when I edit a manuscript than when I build a Lego house or dress (and redress) Barbie for her eighty-seventh wedding. This has little to do with my role as a mom, but more to do with the gifts and talents God has given to me personally.[1]

    I have always hated babysitting. I get bored playing with kids. I love studying, writing, and teaching. While I am in awe of Jack and love spending time with him, I also love his nap time when I can read and write little “articles” like this. I hope to be able to work outside of the home doing the things I have been specially gifted to do sometime soon.

    * * *

    Finally, Carla calls out where the church has failed women and mothers. She discusses how most ministries for women assume they are married with children. She points out how mom’s groups and Bible studies occur during the day when working mothers cannot attend. She states that the church needs to be supporting women in their struggle to be the best moms and servants of God that they can be rather than pointing out where they need to improve. Carla writes, “Imagine if churches treated women as Christians rather than as mothers…” (That line sends a chill down my spine!)

    Maybe the moms of the church will want to get together for mutual support and encouragement, but maybe they’d rather hang out with older women who can mentor them as Christians or with childless women who share a passion for music and art. The idea is for churches to open their understanding of “women’s ministry” to center on a women’s multifaceted spirituality rather than on her stage of life.[2]

    My response is “Yes. Yes. YES!” Honestly, I have avoided mom’s groups because while I am a mom I do not primarily identify myself that way. At times I get tired of talking about sleeping, nursing, and teething. I don’t want every milestone in Jack’s life to be everything in my life. I am more refreshed when I meet with my friends who are not yet mothers than I do when I’m with other moms.

    At the same time I feel God has called me to minister to other moms, especially new moms. I think becoming a mom is one of the most difficult transitions a woman can face in her life. It is vital that she is encouraged and heard at this time.

    I appreciate Carla pointing out where the church has failed because as a minister I deeply desire to meet the needs of the women and mothers in my congregation. I have a feeling that one reason why her book is out of print is the way Carla repeatedly calls out the church’s failings. Her prophetic voice stirs the waters and no doubt makes people uncomfortable. It even makes me uncomfortable!

    And yet, I appreciate it. Thank you for your book Carla.

    [1] Carla Barnhill, The Myth of the Perfect Mother (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004), 126.

    [2] Ibid., 35-36.

    Friday, August 14, 2009

    Square Peg, Meet Round Hole

    Have you ever felt like you were doing a job that didn't quite fit you and instead of thriving you find yourself tired at the end of each day? While I love being a mom and spending my time taking care of Jack, I hate the housework that comes along with being stay at home mom. I shouldn't say I hate it. I struggle with it. It is hard for me. That feels foolish and silly to say, but some housework exhausts me.

    I thrive in the abstract world of ideas and relationships. I am passionate about reading, writing, brainstorming, and dreaming. I love deep relationships and mentoring others. I crochet and bake, but that's about all I like to do with my hands. And yet, here I am, surrounded by a concrete world of diapers, cooking, and cleaning.

    While I know most people don't necessarily enjoy housework, I often am drained after one or two chores. The very thought of trying to organize our junk at times gives me miniature anxiety attacks. As a result, the buildup of housework leaves me feeling stressed out, inadequate and depressed. What makes me feel worse is hearing my neighbor vacuum her apartment up to three times a week! (yes, our walls are that thin)

    I am learning to make it work though. I like having a clean house, so I have been motivated to figure out a system in which I can get some chores done without wearing myself out and with ample time to spend doing the reading and writing I love. After several months I think I finally have a solution. Every day, before Jack's morning nap, I spend just ten minutes doing simple chores. That way, once Jack is asleep, I can get straight to the things I want to do rather than putzing with the stuff I have to do.

    This may not seem like a big deal to you, but for me it has been life changing! I have finally figured out a way to work with my weaknesses in order to let my strengths shine! It’s not perfect (for example, today I put our sheets in the wash and completely forgot about them. Now it is nearly 9:00pm and I am waiting for them to dry so we can sleep in our bed), but I feel so much more joy in life.

    Oh! Remember my domestic disaster last week with the soufflé? Check out the omelet I made myself for dinner last night.

    Go ahead. Drool.