Posts tagged ‘advice’

A Letter to Myself

When putting away the Christmas clutter decorations, I wrote a letter to pack along with them and open next December. I know it will be new again, and I won’t remember writing it, because I wrote a grocery list last week and I didn’t remember anything on that by the time I get to the store.

Dear Me,

You’re looking well.

It’s all over. Another holiday season, another chapter, another year. Your tree was pretty bad. Seriously. Lights on half the tree is not better than “none of the tree.” It’s not usually a choice like that. I know that lights go on sale for 50% off on Boxing Day, but then you bought two packs of lights. If you would have just bought one box of lights three weeks before, you wouldn’t have as much stuff to put away now, and people wouldn’t look at you all sad when they see your tree.

I’m glad you took the whole month off school. It was busy enough! I’m glad you took them to do a few service projects, so that they can be a light to others (not 50% of a light, like your tree) and to teach them the world is much bigger than they are. Metaphorically and literally. They won’t forget that. Now try to be as courageous as your kids- people might not call you “so adorable!” but they may listen and you can be a light too. (Again, a WHOLE light. Not half.) It’s easy to hide behind their cuteness, but make sure you model evangelism and a “fear not” attitude. They will catch on one day, when you are always in the background. They will follow.

The gifts went well. Three each is enough. Every year you get all worried that it’s not enough, that other kids get more, blah, blah, blah. THEY LOVED IT. The gifts were thoughtful, in budget and you didn’t hurt yourself on the sewing machine. Well done.

The Christmas books, movies and activities were fun. You didn’t do all of Truth in the Tinsel, but your kids do not all like crafts, and don’t like them every day. It’s a beautiful thought to make a Christmas ornament each DAY of Advent, with part of the story to go along with it, but you have four kids. Four children X 24 Days= 96 ornaments in total. Are you really just trying to make up for the lack of lights? Either way, they had fun with what we did. Maybe next year you’ll do a couple more. Who cares? Not them.

The family Advent went WAY better than you thought. Special Sunday dinners, reading a litany and lighting candles in your wreath was something all the kids looked forward to. But the way you introduced it to your handsome hubby (Remember? “Hey! We’re going to do this.”) left a lot to be desired. If you have something you want to do as a family, present your ideas thoroughly and don’t get absolutely furious if he doesn’t love them as much as you in the first ten seconds. Good grief. Give the guy a break. Your homemade wreath was fun to make, even if it doesn’t look as nice as you wanted. I’m just proud you didn’t spend any money, and used stuff from around the house. Maybe next year you can find a special one to keep from year to year (and remember, November 30 is NOT the day to start looking!)

The baking. There’s something special about filling the house with yummy smells, and mixing cookie batter with the kids. Flour on their noses, accidentally spilling the chocolate chips in the bowl. Christmas music in the background; making up beautiful platters to bring to all your parties. What are you even talking about?! That didn’t happen. You used a hand mixer once, but other than that, there was not a square/cookie/snickerdoodle/chocolate yum yum to be found in your house. Who cares? Use the excuse that you’re trying to eat healthy or something. No one cares. The kids didn’t, and you were actually a little more peaceful than last year.

The decorating (other than your tree) was fine. Definitely mediocre at best, but you don’t care about that anyways, so why pretend like you do? It took way less time to put it all away in the end.

The date night with HH for dinner and the last bit of gifts was awesome. Do that again. Don’t forget to make his Christmas fun and special too (even if he doesn’t jump up and down like the kids do.)

All in all, I think this year went well. You took time to prepare Him room- in your heart and in your home. The little things either happened, or they didn’t, but they were little anyways. You bulldozed your way through a few things it would have been better to ponder in your heart, but that’s what it’s all about. He came for you just as much as He came for your babies. Accept His grace, His mercy and start fresh again. Marvel over the fact that a baby has saved you.

If I can give you any advice next season, while I am still fresh from this one:

  1. *If something is pushing you or pulling you along, and it’s not Jesus, cut it out.
  2. *If you are staying up late to make something magical the next day, you will just ruin it with your fatigue and lack of energy. Don’t do it.
  3. *Pick a couple things and do them well, and with love. It’s better than a lot of things rushed through and done with impatience.
  4. *Smile more.
  5. *Don’t be embarrassed when you cry through the Christmas songs. Your soul has felt it’s worth!

Love always, your biggest enemy your friend,

Me.

P.S. Buying all your gifts online so that you only went out once- DO THAT AGAIN.

Sandra

How about you? What did you learn (maybe the hard way) this year? What saved you time or heartache? What is the most important thing to remember about Christmas with little kids? I’d love to hear from you!

Advice on Advice

If only this were possible. . .

 

 

Dear me, on the occasion of your first pregnancy,

 

This is so exciting! I know that your mind is filled with all kinds of dreams and hopes. You are embarking on a new stage of life, and there is no turning back! I know it all seems like gumdrops and unicorns, but I just wanted to let you know a few things to save you some heartache and stress.

1. During the pregnancy, and through the first few years of Baby’s life, you are going to get LOTS of advice. Now that the world is smaller, you will be hearing it from more than just your mom and Granny. People in the grocery store, people at church, Facebook, Pinterest, everyone will have something to say to you. Here is something you need to understand:

JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE GIVES YOU ADVICE DOESN’T MEAN YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

I can’t tell you that enough! They are just trying to help. They forget what it’s like to be on the opposite end, or they are just trying to show you another way to do things. YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE. They don’t think you are, either. You have two choices: File the tip or info away to think about later, or smile and nod. They are both just fine. Do not argue, it may have worked for them.

2. Every single item of pregnancy, childbirth and childrearing is a potential Pandora’s box of controversy. Seriously. Here are some things that will be argued about in nurseries, blogs, facebook, and every other location in MommyLand:

Breastfeeding/Bottle feeding

Diapers/Elimination communication (If I knew how to link up blogs, I would show you your old friend Kathleen’s. She never really had to wipe a baby’s dirty bum. And she’s a real person.)

Cloth/Disposable diapers

Rice cereal

Baby weaning

Scheduling/On demand feeding

Co-sleeping

Baby wearing

Expired car seats

Organic foods

Rocking to sleep

Baby reading

Potty training

These are just a few of things you will argue about. It’s okay. None of these things are God given directives.  You could maybe make a case for one or two, but in the long run, none of these things will be important. None of these will grow your child into a mature, well-rounded individual. That’s where the parenting and relationship you have with your baby will come in. God knew how you felt about organic foods, or rocking your baby to sleep. And He still gave you this specific baby. So ask Him if you are really worried about it, research it, talk to your Handsome Hubby, and then just let it go. You will develop your OWN opinions on all of these. Keep them to yourself, unless someone asks. This leads into number three. . .

3. No one has the right to judge you about how you grow your baby. Just like you have no right to judge them, either. So feed your two year old a hotdog. Or don’t. Let your three year old decide when to potty train. Or don’t. But do not judge others for how they raise their children, and if you think others are judging you, pray for them. It’s a hard world. Concentrate on your own family.

4. Your HH knows stuff. He may not know all the philosophies, he may not have read all the books. But it’s his baby too. It is never too early to let him lead his family. If he thinks the baby is hungry, feed him or her. If he wants to snuggle the baby through the hockey game, let him. You are going to make LOTS of mistakes. Give him grace and space to make his own.

5. You can’t do it all. Give up now. It will make it easier later.

6. Write it down! You think you are going to remember all these special things. You will forget them all! Especially once the next one comes (Yes, you will have more than one. Go get a pedicure and paint the master bedroom, NOW, or it will wait for six years and counting.) Seriously, don’t worry about a special “book” or format. Write it down on a piece of paper, and stick it in a binder. Done. Memory saved.

7. Back up your pictures. You will lose them all for your second baby. Make sure someone actually takes them, too.

8. Go to a midwife. Doctors are for sick people.

9. Never, I repeat, NEVER say the words, “I will always,” or “I will never.” They taste terrible later. You will eat a lot of them.

10. I know you aren’t going to find out at the ultrasounds. So, just so you know, your first one is a boy. You will love him.

Love, 

Me.