Feeling Lonely As A Stay At Home Mum.

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It sounded simple. I was invited out by some friends for tea in the park. Come and join us they said, it’ll be fun. But I just couldn’t and I knew they wouldn’t understand. I had a baby, actually two babies really, under the age of two. It had been a long day. It was summer and taking the babies out in the searing heat wasn’t sounding appealing. Also, it was my little boys bedtime. Sure I could have taken him out past his bedtime. But not this day. He missed his nap and boy was he cranky! He needed to go to bed and taking an overtired toddler and a baby out at bedtime to me spelled chaotic disaster. I knew he would screech and pull me this way and that and I wouldn’t get to sit and eat, let alone get a word in with my friends. Then there was the baby. I would need to find somewhere at the park to breast feed him. Plus I would have to pack the pram, sippy cups, nappies, dummies, blankeys. And my baby was starting solids soon which would mean I would have to find a place to feed him at the park, probably sitting in the pram, and it would go everywhere. Plus how would I heat the food up while I was out?

With all of this swirling through my new mummy mind. I told my friend,

“sorry I can’t make it.”

No one in my friends group had started having babies yet and I felt very alone. I got married at 18 and had my first baby at age 20. They tried to include me. But after a few night time invites out by our friends to cafes, movies and eating out I knew that my life as a mum would be very different now.

I could let it get to me and vent about my lack of freedom since becoming a mum and live a miserable lonely life. Or, I could embrace my new role as a mum and move on to bigger and better things. Find new friends who also have children and change the way I go out, perhaps to play grounds instead of cafes.

I’m happy to report that I chose the latter.

Eventually. 

It did take me a few years before I moved on and embraced my new life as a mum and left my past child-free life behind me. It took an attitude change and the Lord gently guiding and directing my heart. I began to see my life at home as a mum in a whole new light.

I was listening to Vision Christian Radio this morning and they were chatting with a past radio host who had left on maternity leave to care for her baby. She admitted on air to feelings of postpartum depression and said she had been feeling lonely.

She spoke about the importance of reaching out to other new mums around us and to check in on new mums at our church and in our community.

It got me thinking about how hard it is sometimes to deal with the loneliness of being at home all day every day with babies and young children. It really can be challenging and lonely. I know too well what it’s like to want to reach out to others in the community around me. And to pray that others would reach out to me.

I have some mum friends who I love very dearly and we share the same values and hopes and desires for our families. When we catch up with a long chat and cup of tea it is like my soul and entire being has been deeply refreshed. But our times like this are few. Between homeschooling, appointments and day to day schedules, months will go by before we can have this kind of conversation again.

I decided last year, after we sent our older children to school that I would take the my little girls to the local playgroup. I wanted to get to know some local mothers from my town, not just for my own sake, but I felt like I wanted to minister to the hearts of young mums who may need some encouragement.

But it hasn’t been easy! I’ve had to fight somewhat, just to get there! Between my five children catching sicknesses and having to stay home, to appointments, other life things that pop up and sometimes, just plain “I’m exhausted and need to stay home, ” I haven’t actually made it to many play groups! This term alone, I have gone to 1 in the past 6 weeks!

What I am trying to get at is, sometimes even when a mum really tries her hardest, it is still sometimes almost impossible for her to get out to things.

This is one of the reasons I began blogging over five years ago. I found encouragement in the words of others mothers blogs. I read them for hours and felt like someone out there understood what I was going through.

The online community back then for me was a God send. I believe He put these virtual mothers online for me at that exact moment, for me to read words of hope, friendship and understanding.

So, what makes me continue opening up my laptop and blogging away, is the thought that other mothers out there who may be feeling lonely, like I was, will find some encouragement here. If I can hardly make it out of my house to offer my friendship and a listening ear to other mothers then at least I can do it right here on this blog. Lately I have really being enjoying Youtube too. I have found some really great stay at home mother’s on Youtube and have been learning a lot of wisdom from them. Lately I have really been enjoying watching Sarah from ‘Our Tribe Of Ten.’ I put one of her videos below.

 

So don’t feel bad if you have been feeling lonely while at home with your children. Even if you have just had a baby that you have been longing for a long time for. It is perfectly normal to feel some loneliness as you adjust to life at home with a baby. The more you fight against it though and wish for your old life back the worse you will feel. So look ahead. Having a baby is a massive blessing and can be a real joy! Look for joy in little things throughout your day and take one day at a time.

Thank you for reading!

Please leave a comment and connect! I am here if anyone needs a listening ear.

Please also check out my new Youtube channel: Here

God’s blessings as always –

Peta xo

How I Handle One On One Time With Each Of My Five Children.

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My children are not a pack. I need reminding of this daily. When you have lots of little children all in a row it can be easy to think of them as a group. But really they are individual people all with different, unique, and complex personalities. They have different individual needs as well as the same basic needs of food, love, care, shelter and clean clothing.

Spending one one one time with my children is a constant struggle. I need to work hard at this and be intentional about how I handle it. They all talk to me at the same time and I turn this way and that trying to work out who to give attention to first. The children love their siblings though. Never have I thought things would be better if we didn’t have any one of our children. They each play a special part in our family and in our lives. They all love their brothers and sisters and it brings me joy to see them playing with and enjoying each others company. None of my children hold any resentment to each other. They are happy playmates. Sure they fight too – but that is just life!

It is my hearts desire that my children have a happy childhood where they look back and cherished the way their mum showed them love and attention. I have a few traditions and ways that I have set in place in our home to ensure they get the attention they need.

Firstly prayer.

I spend time everyday in prayer pouring out my heart to the Lord for him to reveal to me any of my children’s needs that have been overlooked.

Reading times.

This has been something that I haven’t always been consistent at but when all the children were very little I would do a reading time where I told everyone to choose a storybook. I would read a book to them one at a time. All the children would gather around close to listen, however, I made a point to let only the person who’s turn it was to sit in my lap. I included the baby in this too and it was lots of fun!

Bed time tuck ins.

This has been something that I have started this year. I am so tired and drained in the evening (sometimes I am just plain in a stinky mood and really need some space!) and the last thing I feel like doing is just one more thing with the children. Luke usually gets all the children’s teeth brushed and PJs on and does a Bible story app on his phone with them at bedtime. I used to just say good night to them from my comfy chair in the lounge but we noticed that the children often didn’t settle well and got out of their beds way too many times. I knew I had to change this habit and go into their rooms for one last time with mum. They just needed their mum and I had to push myself.

I now go in and spend a few minutes with each child snuggling with them on their beds. I try to open up conversation to see if there is anything on their hearts. I ask questions like “what was the best thing that happened today?” and “is there anything bad that happened today?” I make sure I end our little time with a prayer of blessing.

I make sure I speak positive words over them at this time of day and thank the Lord out loud for how smart, kind, and wonderful each child is. It gives us a chance to right any wrongs that have happened during the day. Sometimes I have even apologised for snapping at them or being in a grumpy mood. We end our time with lots of snuggles and kisses. All my children have responded so well to this special time. I’m sorry I didn’t begin it sooner! It took the Lord to give me a bit of a kick up the be-hind to get me out of my comfy chair! 🙂

The days with my children can seem so busy as we rush from one activity to the next and I don’t want anyone to get lost in the rush. Spending a few minutes with each child at the end of the day is a great way to catch up on any feelings that have been pushed aside and need expressing. My eldest child is eight so we only talk for a few minutes but I’ve been warned by mothers of teenagers that these nightly conversations may go until past midnight! I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it!

Mum and son/daughter dates.

Over the years I made made a point of allowing one of the children to come with me on my big fortnightly grocery shopping trip. The special ‘star of the day’ got to help me choose lots of grocery items that they like the best and during our time away we would have a special lunch out together and I would spoil them with treats like a doughnut and juice maybe even a book or a small toy. Even a big Wendy’s ice cream all to themselves! I would treat them to all the things that I would usually say no to when we have all the children together because it’s just too expensive to buy five of everything all the time. I let them do the coin spinner and have a go on the ride outside the shop. We have a blast together!

In the last year or so I have been more intentional about these dates and they have become a tradition. Once a week, when Luke is home to care of the other children I take one of the children out at a time. Often instead of taking them grocery shopping we go out for about an hour to where ever they choose. My six year old son loves this one cafe we have in our town that has a little play area. I buy him anything off the menu he likes and he smiles from ear to ear eating his big ice cream and sitting just with mum. It makes me smile right now as I write this just thinking about the delight in his face!

I’m sure the ways I spend one on one time with my children will change and adapt over the years as my children grow older but these traditions are working well right now.

How do other parents spend one on one time with their children?

I’m open to more ideas!

Blessings, Peta 

Why I found having 2 kids harder than 5.

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It was a cold winter morning. Luke had been up early preparing for work in the crisp dawn air while I slept on, exhausted from yet another big night of feeding and changing my newborn. Luke was greeted by our smiley 19 month old son with his head full of bouncy blonde curls. He graciously let me sleep while he made our toddler some warm toast with my mum’s homemade jam, changed his nappy and wiped his face and fingers. I was awoken by my husband with a kiss good-bye and groggily focused on little sons sweet eyes sitting on the end of my bed.

Just like that my husband Luke was gone. And I was alone. Well technically I wasn’t alone, but it sure did feel very lonely. My eyes glanced from my curly haired toddler to the bassinet beside my bed with my precious little new born son. His head covered with think black hair that spiked up in a tuft. How on earth was I supposed to care for two babies? There was only one of me, I was outnumbered and they both wanted me. It was overwhelming and I worried a lot about whether I could meet the needs of both a baby and a toddler. With a squirm my 3 week old opened his lungs and gave a familiar shriek that meant he was hungry. Right now! While I sat up in bed and breast fed him my toddler was trying to get off the bed and was stuck half way. With my baby still well attached I shimmied around the bed and used one arm to hold him up and the other arm to help my toddler to the ground.

I was starving from all the night time feedings and decided to make myself porridge. I carefully put my little son in his bouncy chair on the kitchen floor. As soon as I started stirring the pot he began to cry. I began to cry also. I was tired, overwhelmed, lonely, probably hormonal and had no idea what it was going to take to care for two babies. I just wanted a bowl of porridge.

I remember it well. A little while later a midwife came to our door for my littlest sons check up. She opened the door and asked me if I was okay because it looked as though I’d been crying. I replied that I was fine, but then burst out crying on the midwifes shoulder (almost a complete stranger to me) (also not like me – I never let people see me cry and don’t cry a lot) and said..

“I didn’t know having two kids would be this hard.” 

Things did get a little better as my baby grew, though I did go through several months of postpartum depression after my second baby was born. I wasn’t on a ‘baby high’ like I was after my first baby. I unfortunately didn’t fully feel close to or really bond with him until he was six months old.

Looking back at this time brings back memories of how hard it was for me back then. Twenty two years old with two children under the age of two. Most of my friends didn’t have any children yet. I struggled with my self image, loneliness and I was stressed a lot from two little ones needing me constantly.

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So how are things ‘easier’ now I have five children? My little newborn second born son is now almost seven years old and is a real delight.

Firstly I would say that I’ve learned a lot about children since then. Each child’s personality and needs are different though, and present to me new sets of challenges. However, overall I don’t worry as much any more about many things because usually the problem is just a passing phase.

When you have all little children and no older ones it can be physically harder because of all the lifting and changing you need to do. I would say that life became smoother and less intense once our children could physically dress themselves and go to the toilet. Even get themselves some water and a snack. Little things really do make a difference to the flow of the household. Right now I have five children yet four of them can dress themselves and use the toilet on their own. I only have one still fully dependent on us for nappy changes and getting dressed.

By the time I had my fifth baby I was well and truly used to splitting my attention between lots of people who all need me at once. When I only had two children I was so worried about whether I could give two children the attention they need. But I’ve learned now that our older children adjust well to a new sibling  and over time their new sibling becomes a cherished play mate and companion. Giving multiple children the attention they require is still challenging but I have gotten used to it and learned some strategies along the way for making sure every individual’s needs are met. Getting ready for school this morning I had one child wanting me to tie their shoe and two wanting me to do their hair. Instead of freaking out I just said okay hop in the ‘need mummy line’ and they lined up waiting to get their turn with me. They learn about patience and that other people have needs as well as themselves.

Perhaps that would be a good topic for another post – how I spend individual time with all five of my children?

I pray more now, than I used to. I used to send up quick prayers for help. But in the last year or so I have been relying on the Lord more for his wisdom. My prayers have become more focused, intentional, detailed and consistent. If I don’t know how to deal with a particular parenting challenge I spend some time with the Lord and his Holy Spirit gives me an answer. The answer comes as a thought, through reading his word or at times through advise from others or reading a book or article.

Thank you for reading! Leave a comment if you have something to add to this from your own experience.

Please like my Facebook page on the top right corner of my blog if you would like to hear recent updates from myself and my family.

I also have an Instagram where I mostly post pictures of my healthy food creations.

I am new to Youtube and have a few vlogs up there for you to watch also. Find it here.

Blessings, Peta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When is the right time to have a baby?

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Is there an ideal time in life to have a baby? Many people have their varied opinions. Some say to wait until you are financially secure. To wait until you own your own house – and make sure it has multiple bedrooms so bubs can have his own room. Wait until you have saved enough money to go on maternity leave and buy all the baby gear like a cot, car seat and pram.

In Christian circles I hear often that couples should wait for at least 2 years after marrying to have a baby to focus on strengthening their marriage first.

Some may be waiting to get their health in balance. To lose 30kg to give the baby the best chance of being healthy.

I’ve read a holistic health book that said babies need to be spaced apart at least by 3 years or your baby is at risk of being malnourished and their brain will not fully develop. – This is not true! I know many babies (including my own) who are spaced closely together and are very smart and healthy and not at all malnourished.

Most of this advise is convincing and intelligent. It may be sensible and even wise.

But there is wisdom that is of the world. And then there is wisdom that comes from the Lord. We would be truly wise to choose the latter.

It is never really convenient to have a baby. It’s a sacrifice of pure love and laying down ones life for another. So if you’re seeking convenience, then it’s never a good time to have a baby. There is much pain and sacrifice involved with bringing children into the world, but those who do it anyway realise the deep joy, fulfillment and blessing it also brings.

But is there a right time to have a baby in your life? Is the question of this post.  The truly right time must line up with Gods word. Let’s look at two of the right times when it’s best to have a baby.

  • When you are married. A marriage union between a man and a woman is the ultimate place for a child to be raised. It is within this family unit that the child will thrive and grow the way God planned. Sure, children will adapt to many different situations,  like single parenting or with a grandparent, but the ideal place for a child to be raised is with two parents who are married.

 

  • When both husband and wife are in union with the decision to have a baby. As wives we need to honor our husbands as they lead and guide our family. My husband needs to be in agreement with me to have a baby or I am going against the very thing God created for me as a wife – to serve and respect my husband. If the wife wants to have a baby but the husband doesn’t yet, then the wife must pour out her heart to her husband. If he is still firm in not wanting a baby, then take a step back and uplift the situation in daily prayer for yourself, your husband and your family and future family.

 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.Ephesians 5:24

If I look back over the last several years of my parenting. If I had waited until the worlds definition of ‘the right time’ to have a baby then I probably wouldn’t have had any children at all yet! I still don’t own my own my own home and haven’t had a lot of money to buy them lots of stuff. But children don’t need lots of stuff. They need a loving home with discipline, acceptance, tenderness and security.

So is there a wrong time to have a baby? I would say that if the mother has a serious medical condition that would be life threatening to her or the baby if she were to become pregnant. Then it would be sensible to look after your health for the sake of yourself, your husband and other children you may have. There is nothing wrong with taking a break from having babies while you work through some health problems, physical or mental.

Children don’t need their own bedroom either. Sharing a room with siblings produces character and teaches children how to mind another’s property, think of other’s needs (not turning the light on in the early hours of the morning and waking their brother). It can be a special bonding time where siblings chat into the night about their fears, joys and dreams. It can even keep them accountable to do the right thing and not get into trouble from sinning while alone in their bedroom.

The Lord will provide for our baby. There is no need to worry about having enough money to have a baby. Jesus said that when we pray to ask the Lord to…

‘Give us this day our daily bread’, (Matthew 6:11)

The Lord doesn’t give us everything we need for the years to come, or for next month or next week but if we ask Him…

He will provide everything we need – food –  clothing – shelter – love and much more – TODAY. One day at a time. It’s a matter of having faith for His provision.

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We were able to purchase this new table recently which was a huge blessing for us! The table we had before was much smaller. I found it amusing that at lunch time the other day both girls insisted on sitting RIGHT next to baby Willow! They don’t worry about the big table they just want each other.

Children do adapt to the family God puts them in. And whether they have everything all set up for them – a house, a bedroom, a savings account, etc. – is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if they are born closely together or spaced exactly three years apart. It is not a mistake that they are born and if it is the Lords will, they will grow and thrive regardless.

Blessings, Peta

P.S I want to mention women who are in the situation when it is the right time to have a baby but they are struggling to get pregnant or carry a baby to term. My heart goes out to you. The Lord has not forgotten you. Keep praying and believing.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday vlog – farm stay – Colin Buchanan concert – boots full of water – puppies eating my shoes!

I kept the camera handy in the past week and filmed snippets of our school holidays. Follow us in person to see Colin Buchanan live in concert, what I packed for a day out in the city, how we buy all our children an ice cream each at the mall large family on a budget style, see our holiday cottage on my parents farm, picking asparagus, hiking up a hill, catching tadpoles, my sisters puppies eating my shoes, and a running commentary from me of all that’s going on.

CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO WATCH THE VLOG!

 

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Blessings, Peta

 

Arrow turns 6! Including his birth story

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March 2011 – Arrow’s first week of life outside the womb – I am 22 years old. 

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Arrow Truth Goddard….”you named him what??” Yes Arrow, his name is Arrow!! 🙂

Our strong Arrow turns 6 today!

Happy Birthday to our precious little man!

Arrow is physically strong yet kind and caring. He’s not afraid to kiss his mum and play babies with his little sisters. He’s as tough as nails and has still never needed to see a doctor. He is our warrior, strong willed and stubborn yet loving and tender. He’s serious and doesn’t always see the funny side,yet we can still make him laugh. We love him dearly and our family wouldn’t be complete without our Arrow.
Let me share with you his story which was posted on my old original blog (The Heart Of Our Home) – here is is again for you in case you missed it.

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I fell pregnant with Arrow when our first bub Francis was around 8 months old. We were VERY excited to be expecting again, and we prayed and prayed for this baby after suffering a miscarriage only 3 months earlier. Right from the start I knew this baby was strong, though. I got through the first trimester with the usual morning sickness. Constant nausea but no vomiting. By 16 weeks I felt fantastic and we began planning a natural birth. I wanted more than anything to birth this baby into the world as naturally as possibly. This was the first birth that we really planned properly. I read many books on natural birthing, and God worked on my heart and helped to overcome my fears. I have ALWAYS had a terrifying fear of giving birth – especially without an epidural. And God gently worked on me and we did it! Would I do a natural birth again? Yes I would. Did it hurt? YES it did. But do I need to be afraid? NO I don’t. God designed women’s bodies to give birth, and I did it!! It was such a massive moment of transformation in my life.
Later in my pregnancy I couldn’t get away from the scripture in Psalm 127

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.   As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

God gave me a strong revelation about children that I believe is very different from the world’s thinking of children. Our children are VERY important.

From this moment on I decided that I would dedicate my life to raising children for the Lord. With full support from my husband. I decided that nothing would come in the way, no job, no career, no ministry would be more important to me than raising my family in the best way that God shows me.

This is why we named our son Arrow.

He is our Arrow, our weapon of defense against our enemies. He is our reward and gift from God. We are very blessed.

His middle name is ‘Truth.’ This stands for the truth of God’s word coming to pass as we birth our Arrow into the world. We dedicated our son completely to the Lord.

We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl until after the birth, but during my later stages of pregnancy we had only picked one name – Arrow – I couldn’t even think of any girls names. God knew though, that we were having a son and he placed him in our womb for a special reason.

I was very over due – 2 weeks and 2 days in fact, before I finally gave in to the doctors and came into the hospital to be induced. Everyone thought I was crazy waiting for so long past my due date, but I knew in my heart that my baby needed more time.

 

The doctor broke my waters, and proclaimed that my baby has a head full of hair!! Wow, we were very excited, yet nervous for what was ahead of us.

The contractions came on steady all morning and Luke and I walked around and around the hospital grounds. I had a really strong contraction right in front of the waiting room of the medical clinic. I grabbed Luke by the scruff of his shirt and leaned over him, clamped my eyes shut and breathed deeply. “Okay, we need to go back into our room NOW.” So back inside we went, where we spent the entire length of our labour alone in our hospital room. We hardly saw a midwife and no doctors were in sight. I was doing quite well up until the last couple of hours of labour where I started to lose confidence. I sat on the birthing ball the entire time I was going through transition labour. Luke sat behind me, rubbing my back and praying. I began moaning like a cow, I couldn’t help it – I had to let the noise out, it was the only way I could cope. I was sweating, feeling sick & light-headed. I was fanning myself profusely with my orange pregnancy record book. My body was so exhausted that I almost dropped of to sleep sitting up between contractions. (I had no idea that I was probably fully dilated and ready to push for a while but I just kept sitting there on that ball!)

In agony I proclaimed to Luke that I had had enough and was going to see if the heat of a shower would help with the pain. Luke helped me into the shower. I was still moaning, and I stamped my feet in the water. I felt weird, I can’t explain it, but I had an overwhelming urge that …something…was about to fall out of my body. (I later discovered that that something was indeed a baby!) Luke pressed the button to call the midwife and she comes into the shower cubicle.

Midwife: “What’s the matter?”

Me: “I think it’s coming out!!”

Midwife: “Get out of the shower..”

Me: “Noooo”

Midwife: “You have to hop out now”

Me: “NOOOOO”

Midwife: “The baby is coming out and I’m not ready to catch it while you are standing in the shower, so hop out NOW”

 

Still moaning, but much louder now; I’m helped into a wheel chair and ran into the delivery room.

The midwife wants me to get up on the bed but I feel the baby literally dropping inside of me and I gag and drop to my knees on the floor.

In this moment I completely panicked, I looked in despair at my pale husband and yelped in a quiet voice: “Luke, help me!”

Everything else is pretty much a blur to me. I can remember the midwife telling me that I couldn’t give birth on the floor and she pulled out a birthing stool, which I sat on with Luke behind me.

Arrow shot out of me on that stool with such great force, I didn’t even push. He was living up to his name already.
He was out in – 2-3 minutes.I had a 2nd degree tear!

He was my biggest baby yet: 8lbs, 5oz,

Born 7:34pm on the 21st March 2011.

We were overjoyed. I needed rest, Arrow breastfed well and I showered and we all snuggled up together in our room exhausted, yet deeply satisfied.

 

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6 years old now!

 

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Our first sunflower and our Arrow

We are so glad he is a part of our family!

Blessings, Peta

A Reality check on my to do list.

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My Life has gotten pretty busy since baby number five was born six months ago. Actually things have been super busy since baby three was born, really. Every morning I get up and write a to do list like I usually do. But ‘extra’ things just aren’t getting done. (By extra I mean cleaning something or baking a cake or …having a shower.) I realised that I needed to get real about how long it takes me to do the important and urgent things in my job as home schooling mum of five. It is time-consuming caring for a baby, even a super placid and happy baby like Willow.

Learning to work out how long it takes me to get things done and accepting how long it must take has been a saver to my sanity. I have had to say no to many other activities I could be involved with inside and outside the home so I can completely focus my time and energy on these five. And still have energy left for my best friend and hubby Luke. This is a full on time in my life and I take my job seriously. I’m raising future leaders for Christ and it’s taking a lot of sacrifice and prayer and choosing to have a good attitude.  There are lovely happy moments in each day that I treasure and there are other moments where I feel like running away or hiding: or both. God gives me grace as I continue to learn how to do this parenting-thing. And he gives me the strength to begin each morning and get through the day again and again.

This is everything I must do on my home school days and how long I have worked out it takes; give or take a few minutes.

  • Feed Willow – 30 mins
  • Serve and eat breakfast – 30 mins
  • Change and dress Holly and Willow and help the children with their morning routines – 30 mins
  • My own personal grooming (shower, dressed, moisturiser etc) – 30 mins
  • Clean up from breakfast – 30 mins
  • Sort and put on a load of laundry – 30 mins
  • Hang out laundry – 20 mins

This brings me to 10:30am and we sit around the table and do school work. – 1 hour to 90 mins.

  • I often feed Willow again while we’re doing school and change a stinky nappy or two, fix 100 snacks for starving children and deal with a meltdown or two.

The afternoon goes much like this:

  • prepare lunch including baby food – 45 mins
  • Eat lunch – 20 mins
  • Quiet time and devotions – 45 mins
  • Home school session 2 – 45 minutes
  • Clean up from lunch – 30 mins
  • Feed Willow – 30 mins
  • Give Willow solids – 20 mins
  • Hang out laundry/fold and sort – 45 mins
  • Cook/prepare tea/ set table etc – 1.5 hours
  • (Bath/shower children – Luke usually does this when he gets home while I’m cooking)- 1 hour (3x a week, more if someone is extra dirty or stinky)

We eat tea around 5:30 – 6pm

  • After tea I feed Willow again – 30 mins
  • Tea clean up (Luke usually does this) – 30 mins
  • Bedtime routine including listening to my two sons reading and family worship – 45 mins to 1 hour

We put the children to bed around 7:30pm, lights out for my 7-year-old at 8pm. Our 5-year-old goes to bed at the moment at 8:30pm because he doesn’t get to sleep very well and is noisy and disturbs his older brother that he shares a room with. He is asked to sit quietly on the couch with books or a quiet toy.

There you have it – my day is full! I’m accepting it and acceptance gives me peace and contentedness. I am no longer trying to fit too much in anymore after having an honest look at how long everything takes in my day.

If I need to do something extra I need to pray about it and get wisdom about how to go about it. For example I really want to get in a little exercise so I often pop tea in the oven, put my shoes on and leave the children with Luke and dash out for a 20 minute power walk or bike ride around 3 times a week. We do our cleaning, too, in small bursts here and there.

I’m learning to not get upset anymore if certain things aren’t getting done. I choose to ignore mess on the floor as I feed my bub her life-giving milk.

Don’t be shy to have a chat in the comments. Do you have a new baby? How are you going with getting stuff done around the house while caring for little ones?

Blessings, Peta

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Willow is 6 months old!

The youngest member of the Goddard crew is now 6 months old! Willow is doing really well. She is still breast feeding, but I top her up with formula about once a day because my milk supply goes up and down. She just started rolling around the floor, which is getting tricky because we have such a tiny lounge room. She rolled right off the little mat onto the floor boards and hit her head today! I’ll have to put her in the girls bedroom to play instead which has carpet. She still wakes about once a night for a feed but she goes through stages of sleeping right through. I’ve given her a little bit of banana, but she spat it out. I’ll gradually give her more solid foods over the next few months. She is so precious, I can’t imagine our lives without her now.

 

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Why we intentionally decided to have a large family.

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Our 5th baby Willow – I can’t imagine life without her.

Not everyone desires to have a large family. Actually it’s becoming less and less common in this century. And I also realise that some couples desire to have lots of children but, because a whole huge number of reasons, may be unable to.

It’s funny how when you have more than the average number of children (1.2) that people suddenly seem to think that it is their business to ask if the couple uses contraception.

“Haven’t you worked out what causes that yet?” Is one cringe worthy comment I’ve been receiving since I was pregnant with our third child. Most likely because when I was pregnant with our third child I also had a 2-year-old and a 6 month old baby. I try not to let these comments bother me, they are often meant well and often the person saying it just doesn’t really know what to say.

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Our first three babies are now aged 4, 5 and a half and 7.

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Like most couples do, Luke and I talked about how many children we would love to have before we were married. We thought 4, maybe 6. But as the years went on and we dove deep into research about what God’s word says about having children our thoughts and convictions began to change.

Psalm 127 v3-5

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

The Bible is pretty clear that it is important to have children if we can. Children are a blessings and gift and they are our heritage. And the barren womb is something to weep over.

But how can you tell if your quiver is full? This is a pretty huge question.

Is it even Biblical to use contraception? How can we decide who, how many, and when children come into this world? This is why often Christian couples decide to leave their family size and spacing in the hands of our sovereign Lord. And this is what Luke and I decided to do when I was pregnant with our first baby. We soon discovered that I have been blessed with super sonic fertility! *laughs! Even while full-time breastfeeding my little baby boy I was pregnant again 5 months postpartum. Sadly this baby was found on a scan to be a “blighted ovum” and I miscarried at 7 weeks. I was pregnant again within a few months and gave birth to a big beautiful bouncy boy. A baby daughter soon followed 16 months later. I then had 3 children ages almost 3, 16 months and a newborn. We had a busy time caring for these little 3. I’m so thankful that I had a lovely mums group during this time that I went to every Friday morning and these ladies were very encouraging to me and my three little ones.

When my baby girl was around 8 months old I was pregnant again, but yet again had a heart wrenching miscarriage, this time at 12 week along. I had a scan at 8 weeks along and there was a 8 week old baby there on-screen with no heart beat. The doctor offered me another D&C operation to remove the baby but I declined this time and went home and waited an anxiety ridden 4 weeks for the baby to be delivered at home.

Life gets hard and what then? We still trusted God with all our hearts to shape our family the way He sees fit. But we were weary and wearing thin. We prayerfully decided to space our pregnancies with non abortive methods of contraception. I can’t take the pill either as my body has awful side effects from the artificial hormones. I  have never felt right about the pill because some forms are abortive, which I am very against. I am entirely pro-life. We have also decided against doing anything to permanently end our fertility.

We kept having babies, just spaced apart a little. We have been blessed with two more full term healthy pregnancies both girls. We feel so incredibly blessed to have our children. My heart keeps increasing with each new child born into our family.

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Pregnant with baby number #4 in 2014  – Holly.

It’s hard to not let fear control whether we have more children or not. For us, one of the fears we have struggled with is having the finances to care for our brood. But this is where we have exercised our faith in our God the provider.

Not long after our 5th baby Willow was born I began thinking about money and I went down that destructive thought pattern of all the “what ifs” and began having a panic about how we were going to pay for schooling and driving lessons and our daughters weddings! Sometimes swirling thoughts can overwhelm me! But instead of entertaining these thoughts for too long I prayed and gave it all over to God – I put my complete trust in him. That same afternoon He led me to read this scripture during my quiet time;

Psalm 37 v 25 – 26

“I have been young and now am old. And in all my years I have never seen the Lord forsake a man who loves him; nor have I seen the children of the Godly go hungry. Instead, the godly are able to be generous with their gifts and loans to others and their children are a blessing.”

As I look at the beautiful children of the couples of the church we are now attending I imagine what it would be like if they had decided to stop having children after they had their second baby. (One family has 5, another 8, one 10 and one couple has 11 children!) There would be no one in the choir, all their smiling faces, eternal souls, witnesses for Christ, wouldn’t be here.

I met the eldest child of the family with 11 children a few days ago. She is now grown, married and has a baby of her own. I asked her what it was like to be the eldest of eleven. She says it was busy and often noisy, but she wouldn’t change it for anything. She adores all her younger siblings.

It’s easy for us to just follow the crowd and do the norm of society but I encourage you to be prayerful and dive into the scriptures today and read and learn more of the blessings of children.

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Blessings, Peta.

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The ‘fourth trimester’

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My Ergo Baby carrier often gets me through the evening.

So there are three trimesters in pregnancy. Or is there? I believe there is actually 4!

The first three months after having a baby are a big adjustment for me and my whole family. And a big adjustment for my baby too. They are used to being in their secure womb world and I need to give my precious bundle plenty of grace and affection as they get used to life on the outside. Right now I am 7  weeks postpartum and I’ve been feeling it. I’m definitely in the ‘fourth trimester.’ It’s amazing how quickly I forget what it feels like after I have a baby. Time goes all too quickly and it’s amazing how us mummy’s can forget the details of what it was like for us exactly. My mum says she forgets what the pain of labour feels like too a few years after having a baby. She remembered that is was painful, but the memories of the intensity and what everything felt like exactly  became foggy. Maybe this is God’s way of preparing a mothers heart to receive another baby.

In the first week after giving birth I am on a massive high.

I am in awe of the faithfulness of my creator and the miracle of the life He has so graciously entrusted me with. I feel relieved that I am done with labour and I tuck myself and my babe in bed together and rest and feed and feed and feed. It’s so exciting introducing our new baby to their big brothers and sisters, it really melts my heart!

Though my heart still melts every time I cuddle and smell my sweet baby, the initial excitement wears off a little when I miss hours of sleep and can’t seem to catch it back up.

I often get emotional too in the first few weeks. I find myself crying over strange things like not being able to find an item of clothing I’m looking for. I anxiously watch over my baby making sure they are okay constantly and I also feel a bit strange and worry that something bad is going to happen to one of my children. Sometimes I have frightening or upsetting dreams as I struggle to fall into a deep sleep. The details of my baby’s birth run over and over in my mind. Those crazy postpartum hormones can make me feel a little loopy for a few weeks. I make sure I spend a lot of time laying down and getting as much rest as I can. I drink lots of chamomile tea and nourish my body with lots of warm, hearty meals.

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My precious Willow, not long after delivery.

 I manage my household by asking my dear husband to take a few weeks off of work and he completely takes over the care of our older children and household tasks.

This time he was able to take 3 weeks off from the time I was 40 weeks. I went one week and a day overdue so it was nice having him at home helping me with the household needs when I was overdue as well. He will completely take over the children’s baths and bedtime routine, he cleans and hangs up laundry. What a guy! Luke is my main help – we work together as a team. We eat the stash of meals that I put away before our baby is born. I feel so much better knowing my family and I are eating nourishing home cooked meals while  I’m unable to cook instead of take-away. During the last 3 months of pregnancy I plan double or triple batches of meals that I am planing on cooking that week and freeze the extra food. It was so soothing having Luke heat up and bring me hot chicken soup for my lunches after I came home from hospital. I was so thankful that I had taken the time to make the soup from scratch and get it put away as it was the perfect recovery food to eat after birth. The mothers from our church also brought us meals almost every night for a week and it was such a massive blessing to us. We felt very well looked after and it was beautiful.

Home schooling in the ‘fourth trimester’ is kept to a bare minimum.

This is the first time I’ve been ‘officially’ home schooling after having a baby. Though it’s still not completely ‘official’ because you don’t have to register your child as a home schooler until they are six years old and my son whom I’m home schooling only just turned five in March. But we decided that we would start him this year with some school work at his level. (Our oldest son is attending school this year but we hope to bring him home again in the future).

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Arrow ‘mowing’ after some heavy rainfall.

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Savannah and Willow

After the birth we took ‘school holidays’ for a few weeks and let him have a lot of unstructured play time. Which is what I believe a child his age should be doing mostly anyway. We borrowed heaps of books from the library and he flicks through them quite often. Between 2-6 weeks after our baby’s birth we began home schooling him again though we started slowly. I began by just doing a discipleship lesson with him and the little ones in the late morning while baby was having a sleep. They do a themed colouring in and I read the Bible lesson from the ‘Gospel Light, Big Book Of Bible Stories’. Learning about Jesus I believe is his most important lesson – so it made sense for us to begin here. And in the afternoon  he does a ‘Reading Eggs’ lesson on the computer. Gradually we have added in a few pages from his workbook too. School work takes place in small bursts around the baby’s and toddlers needs. Home schooling is beautiful as our children are learning about real life and are living life and learning as we go about our daily life with them right by our sides.

One of the hardest things to deal with in the first few weeks after my baby is born is my husband going back to work.

I often feel anxious being left alone with the children when Luke does late shifts at work in those early months. I get overwhelmed easily but I’ve done this enough times now to know that it does get better. As the weeks going by I slowly get a bit more sleep and my baby seems happier in the evening. And before I know it my baby is joining us around the meal table!

Something that helped me while home alone with the children was to figure out what was stressing me the most and causing the overwhelmed feelings. When I really thought about it the main thing that stressed me was trying to cook or prepare the evening meal while trying to juggle a house full of littles. The other main stress was trying to bath everyone.

I prayed to God for wisdom in these areas so we could have a calmer evening while daddy was away and the answer was to make the most of the mornings before Luke went to work. I started cooking the evening meal (something simple and healthy) in the morning when Luke was around to hold the baby if needed. And we bath or shower everyone in the morning or after lunch if it is a ‘bath day.’ (Three days a week) So I won’t have to try and get this done on my own in the evening.

Every so often I have ‘one of those days’ where everything seems to be going wrong and it’s just one thing after another. The baby is crying and something is burning, the toddler found a permanent texta, the preschooler is stuck in the toilet and the boys have been playing too rough and someone is hurt and crying. All while I’m attempting to tidy the house for an inspection the next morning.(Why do real estate agents to this to us??)  On those days I cry out to Jesus to get me through – and he gives me comfort and wisdom on how to handle the situation. Sometimes I need to get away for a minute and shut the door of my bedroom and catch my breath. Even cry for a minute. But mostly I find, it’s not always like this and we have a happy evening together. I read them lots of books while breastfeeding my bub on the couch and sometimes I sit outside and rock on the swinging chair while watching my precious children discover things in the backyard and they bring them over to show me.

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Just perfect, my baby girl!

Something I couldn’t end this post without mentioning is…my postpartum body!

Trying to make peace with my body after having a baby has been difficult for me. I always gain around 25kg with each pregnancy and this 5th time around was no exception. Despite my attempts to eat well and not gain too much weight while pregnant this time, no matter how hard I tried, I really stacked on a lot of weight in the third trimester. I go from a size 8-10 to a size 14-16 every pregnancy! I have managed to lose the weight between my pregnancies but it does take time and sometimes it’s way too slow for my liking. Sometimes I even gain a bit of weight while still breastfeeding. I think this is all normal for me. What I try and do to make me feel better about my postpartum body is:

  1. Tell myself constantly that this body just carried a baby for 9 months and it is very normal for it to look this jiggly.
  2. Eat healthy meals as much as I can and focus on nourishing my body and building up my milk supply. Comfort eating because ‘I’m fat anyway’ will most definitely make matters worse.
  3. Go for walks a few times a week; the fresh air and sunshine completely changes my mood
  4. Buy some clothes in my new current size that fit now. Not ‘goal weight’ sized clothing but clothes that fit my postpartum body the way it looks right now to help me feel pretty and comfortable.
  5. Removing clothing from my wardrobe and drawers that don’t fit me and packing them away. Only have clothes in my current size out and available for me to wear.
  6. Shape wear can be your best friend. I’ve bought a pair to make my tummy look a little flatter.
  7. Expect to still look a little pregnant for many months after giving birth. And a word of warning; never ask a woman if she is pregnant again if she has given birth within the past year…this has happened to me. A lady asked me if I was pregnant, 5 months after having my fourth baby because my postpartum belly was sticking out a little (or a lot)! Talk about embarrassing and discouraging! Seriously people, leave the postpartum lady alone.

Babies are very time consuming and I need to give myself grace.

Babies in their gorgeous cuteness take up a lot of time day and night to look after. In the early months I spend hours upon hours each day just sitting in a chair breastfeeding. Not to mention changing, and burping and settling them to sleep. We must remember when we have little babies to give ourselves grace. You may not get much at all done except caring for the immediate needs of your baby and your older children. This is okay and it is normal. The weeds can wait, the floors can wait, the shelves might get dusty and any other project we have in mind may have to be put on hold. But we are nurturing a little person and this is far more important than any of these things. Don’t push yourself during the ‘fourth trimester.’ Don’t set up random expectations on yourself. Just relax, stop and smell that sweet smell of your newborn’s head. There will be time for all that other stuff later.

When Luke got home from work one night I said, “oh I’m so sorry I didn’t do the dishes!” He just told me that he had no expectations of me doing the dishes and I shouldn’t either and that all he really cared about is that I made it through and that me and the children are doing okay. Did I mention that he is a great guy?!

Also; when it comes to resting, my life got so much easier and I became less tired when I learned to breastfeed while laying down! It has been a real lifesaver. Especially in the first 6 weeks.

I have found that I am so much happier and am less likely to feel overwhelmed or depressed if I rest more and enjoy my baby and write things like ‘go for a walk’ on my to do list.

I have worked out that it takes me between 9-12 months before I am fully feeling back to myself and have adjusted to the new ‘normal’ of life with our baby.

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Out for our 9th wedding anniversary date with Willow, 4 weeks old.

Whatever is working for you just go with it. Enjoy that precious baby while you go through the ups and downs of the ‘fourth trimester.’

Blessings,

Peta