The Truth About Having Kids

I have never been more tired physically, than I am, right now that I have a 1 year old toddler and a 4 year old preschooler.

My day is basically all about running around the house making sure my youngest, Mileina, doesn’t get bruised by practicing how to run. Yes, before she even mastered walking, she already started running, which is terrifying! (If you know what I mean).

I am tired.

Sometimes all I want to do is play with Matilda, my eldest. I just want to have quiet conversations with her, without a toddler who keeps on pulling up my shirt wanting to breastfeed, in between her walk-a-thon.

I am tired.

I just want to drink a cup of coffee while it’s hot and not forget about it, because I need to assist my children with their trips to the bathroom.

I am tired.

I would like to enjoy my meals uninterrupted by food that is falling, and water that keeps on spilling everywhere.

I am tired.

There are so many things I want to organize for homeschooling, that I just cannot finish, moreso, even begin. Did I say homeschooling? Yes, add in our daily lessons too!

I am tired.

I just want to lie down, have my quiet time, read my Bible, also a good book too, take a very nice long bath, get a straight 6-8 hour of solid sleep, not minding what time I should wake up in the morning.

My body is tired. My back feels like breaking. My arms are sore from all the carrying. Physically, my body might be at one of its weakest, in terms of its condition, but you know what? My heart is happy. My heart is full of JOY.

I am happy.

For when I look at the miracle of having my children, I am reminded of how God has been so gracious to me and Joey for entrusting to us the lives of our children.

I am happy.

For all the milestones I am able to see with each of them, it validates that I am doing something right.

I am happy.

For as young as 4 years old, Matilda understands who Jesus is and what He has done for us sinners, that He chose to bear our sins and die on our behalf, so that we can be saved.

I am happy.

For all the hugs and kisses I get to have every moment of every day.

I am really happy.

These are just some of the things that go through my mind, as I think about what my life is like, now that I have two kids. It’s not an easy job taking care of one, let alone two of them. Motherhood, after all, is about teaching them, disciplining them and most of all, discipling them. Sometimes, it just really takes it toll on my body. Don’t get me wrong though, I am not tired of having kids, there are just times I get physically exhausted with all the things I do for them every day. There are days wherein they do cooperate more than the usual, you know? And those days are VERY precious to me.

In the most challenging times of parenting, I am reminded and comforted by this verse,

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭127:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

No matter how tired I feel I am at times, never will I wish it any other way, for the amount of joy my children bring into my life is truly incomparable. So, to say that I am happy is an understatement. In fact, I have never been happier!! Thank you Lord, for the blessing of having children!

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Motherhood Redefined

The holidays last December was an eye opener for me about what it means to actually take care of my family, all by myself. Our househelp, who has been with us for just 6 months, left us for good. What was supposed to be a short vacation turned out to be permanent goodbye. I thought a post must be dedicated for this story alone, but I feel like it’s just a waste of my precious time, so, I did not bother anymore.

I have always been a hands on Mom to Matilda, even before Mileina was born. Losing the househelp did not paralyze us in that area very much. Although, the difference now is that, we have another baby to take care of. For one, I am exclusively breastfeeding, and it takes so much time in a day for feeding sessions. However, this is still good, because it takes away washing and sterilizing bottles as additional chores everyday if we were formula feeding. Another is that, I make sure we have freshly prepared, homecooked meals daily. This is quite meticulous to prepare, considering I do have meat and vegetables each meal. Preparing the ingredients alone is already time-consuming. 

As a wife to Joey on the other hand, it is a whole other set of responsibilities. Joey likes to have food prepared for him to bring to the office for breakfast, snack and lunch. He also wants his clothes ironed really well, shoes regularly shined and scrubbed, and his gym clothes washed right after use. Well, this is apart from the usual night massage requests he asks for as his love language (Hey, I’m not complaining ha? Haha!).

Honestly, during the first few days, I was grumbling and irritated that Joey expects that much from me knowing that I still have to look after the two kids. After praying about it though, I realized that it is my repsonsibility, and I have to own up to it. It is my role, first, as a wife, to take care of him, before our children. Yes, babies are demanding of time and attention, but it is a good training for them to learn how to wait and understand the right order of priorities. It is a really good thing so that they do not grow up feeling entitled. It is also a wake-up call for me, because I have depended so much on our househelp in doing these things for us. I would just usually instruct and observe. Now, I am able to do so much more for Joey compared to how it was when I just delegated the chores to our househelp.

On my part though, adjustments had to me made before it came to that. I am now waking up earlier that usual, around 6 to 6:30am to prepare Joey’s packed food and our own breakfast at home, which is usually whatever leftover food we have the day before. And then I go on preparing ingredients for our lunch and dinner. After which, I load the laundry in the washer and come back for it when I have spare time. We eat breakfast, keep Matilda preoccupied with activities while I cook, and then breastfeed and wash soiled cloth diapers in between. I wash the dishes when I can, too! And then we take a bath, have lunch and put the kids to sleep for an afternoon nap. This is the time I get to rest and read my Bible. When they are deep asleep already, this is when I clean the house, wash the remaining dishes, refill water bottles, fold clean clothes and get the clothes from the washer. Whew! Talking about it makes me catch my breath! It is tiring physically, really, most of the time, but relfecting on how I am sustained by God day by day is the most rewarding feeling of all. Seeing that I get to personally take care of my family too, all by myself, is a true gift from God, and for this, I am blessed! 

And because Joey saw how well I am coping with the situation, we have decided to stop looking for a househelp. We just have a stay-out help, who comes in once or twice a week, to handwash delicate clothes, including the kids’ clothes, and to iron them as well. If for whatever reason she would decide to stop coming, we will still manage. 

This is a lot better for all of us. Matilda has become even more independent, and she has learned to be more considerate. She is now more careful with her toys and does not make a mess anymore. She even helps me take care of her little sister. 

Joey on the other hand takes care of the dishes when he is around. He cooks too, when he has the time. And for myself, I have mastered the art of multitasking and time-management at its finest! It is indeed humbling and we are grateful for this change in our household. For what I used to call motherhood was redefined, ultimately for God’s glory alone. 

Colossians 3:17

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Colossioans 3:23-24

Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. 

These verses are great reminders to me on how I should view my daily tasks. I do not only do it for my family, but I must remember that I do it for God. They will see, especially my kids if what I am doing is from my heart, and if I am serving them with joy and delight. I represent my faith to them that is why it is important that I set a good example of what it means to be a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother. My goal is to accomplish the purpose God has set before me, as I wait on the Lord. My rewards will not be from the earth, but is found in heaven when I meet my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

So mothers, do not rely on help from anyone. Do what you can, so that if ever they decide to suddenly leave, (well, they usually do!) you won’t have a hard time adjusting. Like many mothers all over the world, with the right amount of prayer, patience commitment, and most of all, grace from God, you can do it too! Let’s be supermoms for our families one day at a time. 

  

Are You A Wife Of Noble Character?

Ever since I became a mother to Matilda, I must admit, most of my time has been dedicated to looking after her and taking care of her. Somehow, along the way, I became too preoccupied that I forgot to take care of Joey’s needs, and myself, included. – (Dedicating a special post for this!)

To be a full-time mom can be exhausting, most especially if you are doing it all by yourself. I am just glad and blessed that we have a reliable house-help to assist me, in making sure that our home is well taken care of.

One Sunday service though, the Pastor asked a very important question, that goes something like, “How much effort are you giving into what God has called you to do?”. This got me thinking, well, I do give my all to Matilda as her mom.. But then.. Oops! I forgot, I am a wife too, and that should be first! And there it was, right on my face. Flashbacks of days when Joey needed a particular attire for work which hadn’t been in the cabinet yet, shoes that should have been cleaned and polished, food or materials that he should have brought with him, but have forgotten, and the list just goes on and on and on. I felt so bad. Yes, I am 100% as a mother, but I am not even close to 50% as a wife.

I knew then, I had to do something. I had to re-evaluate myself on how I manage my time with Joey, his needs, Matilda, and the home. At first, I had thoughts like, well Joey must understand, Matilda is still very young, her needs are much more important than his. Then again, are they really? Sure, there are times that yes, that reason applies, but more often than not, with God’s grace and proper time management, I should be able to balance all of it.

I knew clearly that It has to start with something, and it has to start with me. It is hard, really, but definitely not impossible. I just want to be able to do all those things I was personally doing back when Matilda wasn’t born yet. To consistently serve him and be at my 100%, as a wife to him, all over again. Plus, I haven’t been a good home manager lately, most especially over the holidays when our schedules were really crazy. I have got to work on improving in that area too. So, the real question is, how do I do it? Where do I begin? First of all, I have already prayed and surrendered this to God, knowing in my heart that I cannot do this on my own. And then, I just started giving a little more effort into the things I have to do, looking after his interests more than my own. The result of all that, is up to God.

I am happy that somehow I have seen major improvements in the home. I have been more responsible in making sure everything is in order. The part I have to work on more now is, being able to address Joey’s needs before he leaves for work. He leaves really early, and I am honestly not a morning person unlike him. Another thing is, Matilda still wakes up in the middle of the night, at least twice, to breastfeed. Due to this, there are times I have trouble going back to sleep. But I am working on it, as promised. Hoping I’ll make some major adjustments with my sleeping habits soon, to make way for better changes. I just pray that Joey notices this too! 🙂

If you are a wife, this is something for you to think about, have you been at your BEST as a wife to your husband? For in any marriage, any husband would expect to be served by his wife without any excuses. Have you been that kind of wife lately, or ever? Read the following verses below to find out more about the characteristics of a noble wife, as stated in the Word of God. I’m surely nowhere close to all these, believe me, but with God’s grace, I know he will see me through! Because for me, it would be such a privilege if my Lord God, and my husband will consider me anywhere near a wife of noble character.

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

 (‭Proverbs‬ ‭31‬:‭10-31‬ NIV)

Bag of Beans

Extraordinary Sunday

Two Sundays ago was one of my not-your-kind-of-day, day. To give you a brief background of our usual Sunday, we are at church (CCF – Christ’s Commission Fellowship) the whole day. We start at around 10:45 by attending our GLC (Global Leadership Center) class, followed by a 12 noon service, that ends at about 1:30, and then a Discipleship group, or a Bible Study at 3-5pm.

So you see, our Sundays are mainly for Church activities and we are very much happy to be part in all that. Happy as I am, it is quite a challenge to do all these with an active toddler. I try with my very best to keep her busy, but, sometimes it is a bit exhausting to keep her from roaming around or playing with other kids. I’m kind of used to it though, except that Sunday, it was particularly different.

We left a bit earlier to pick up breakfast before heading to church. I got pancakes for Matilda and a burger for me. She ate one pancake during our class and she was well-behaved throughout the session. When the class was about to end, she began being a bit more “clingy”. In fact, she was very “clingy” and somewhat sleepy. I even noticed that she was closing her eyes while standing up and clutching onto my thighs. At first, I was on the impression she was sleepy because we kind of slept late the night before. So, I breastfed her and she then fell asleep. – This was the beginning of an EPIC day.

On the way to the up the worship hall, Joey noticed that Matilda was missing her other pair of shoe. One of her favorites! So we asked the guard to please inform us if someone would surrender it. Joey also volunteered to go back down and try to search for it just until we are settled on our seat. Before entering the hall though, our friends from GLC, Paul and Aish, handed it over to us. Whew! I felt so relieved! Apparently, someone approached them with the shoe, and they followed us going up.

Before finally entering the hall, Matilda woke up from her nap. She was asleep for about 30 minutes only, and not her usual 2 hour nap. I thought it was just because of the sound of the worship songs that woke her, to my surprise, I was so wrong.

As we were already seated, while the announcements were being given, Matilda started vomiting. It wasn’t the usual one-time vomit, but several episodes with lots and lots of liquid. She vomited on herself, on the chair, on my hair, chest and practically my entire body. She didn’t look bothered, though I knew she wasn’t feeling okay. I rushed her to the nearest washroom and started cleaning her up without even looking at how much vomit she expelled onto me. I was busy making sure I had her cleaned well because I didn’t want her soaked in a very sour smell – (….eww).

After I finished cleaning her up, I handed her to Joey so I can look at myself. My oh my, my top was all wet including the tips of my hair. I then realized I catched most of it. I smelled terrible and my hair was a mess. I didn’t bring any extra shirt – which I know I should have! So I decided I’d buy a shirt later after the service. I cleaned up myself (quickly) just to catch up on the ongoing service.

As soon as I finished cleaning up, Matilda told me, “Mommy, Matilda (Matata) poopoo. Mommy, hug.” And then I knew she was really feeling upset. I attended to her and allowed her to finish before I cleaned her up. After which, finally, she was settled and ready to go back to the service.

When the service was about to end, Matilda started being uneasy (again), and began passing gas. I knew that she was about to poop again and so I brought her to the back to find a spot where she can do her business. While walking around waiting for her to finish, I suddenly noticed the ribbon on my shoe has gone missing. I tried searching and I saw it was lying on the floor. (Insert music: cause you had a bad day…)

Can you imagine what I was feeling at this point? And to think that was just around 1pm? I was already exhausted. I felt so smelly and dirty. I was also hungry and to top it all off, Matilda’s condition concerned me. But even though all these things troubled me, I focused on this verse – Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. (‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭18‬ NLT)

I had to remind myself that every single thing that happens in our lives has a purpose. It is all part of God’s plan and it is always for the good of those who love Him, as also said in Romans 8:28. What good came out of it? I got to buy a new shirt! Yay! And because Matilda just had a short nap, she was asleep during our bible study – which helped me focus on our very meaty topic about the End Times. I believe this was His purpose, apart from the fact that He wanted to strengthen my faith in Him. I just prayed that He would please heal Matilda and the rest, we just lift and surrender to Him.

Matilda woke up 2 hours after, as if nothing had happened. She even ate a lot and played around for a bit. She even joined kids thrice her age as if she was a big girl! Who would have thought of our incident that morning? My baby girl was such a sport! I think God also made me realize that I should be really thankful that Matilda is an active toddler because if not, I’d be worried all the time thinking she is probably sick! And that I should really stop saying, “Ang likot na ni Matilda!”. What a wake-up call that is! As for my shoe, Joey promised to fix it. 🙂 It was a good Sunday, indeed! Thank you, Lord!

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Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom

Whoever thinks this job is fairly easy, is borderline crazy. Have you ever tried staying home with a baby to take care of? Not for an hour, but 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Without monetary compensation, no breaks and no leaves. Is there even a work like it? Well, I don’t think so.

When I was still single, I never thought of myself to be a career woman. I felt it wasn’t my calling and because I am close to my Mom, I wanted to raise my own child, just as she did. We did have helpers around, but my mom was the one personally taking care of me. Joey grew up the same way and I think that greatly influenced our decision to get to this point.

Even before marrying Joey, we have already agreed that I won’t be working afterwards. I’ll be that domesticated housewife who would prepare his meals, do the laundry, iron his clothes, clean the house, do the grocery, take care of our children, and so on and so forth. In my head, I was excited for most of it except for the ironing part – Joey is very particular about this that even though I knew how to iron, I had to unlearn it and relearn the way he wants it done. He was just used to it that way, and I was okay with it. All these things we chose to do were also in preparation for the time when I hopefully get pregnant. After all, our goal was that I’ll be the one to take care of our child. Anything else that concerned the household, he made me the one responsible for it.

During the early months, we didn’t hire a helper. I knew I could do it, so I did it all on my own. Even did the laundry by hand because I was used to it while I was growing up. I’m not a big fan of the washing machine, by the way, except for jeans and other hard to wash stuff. It was also a way to save myself from the headache of having a helper. You all know how hard it is nowadays to get a reliable and trustworthy person to work for you. At least, I’ll be able to do things exactly the way we want it. We saved a bit this way too, and we used that money to slowly buy our furnitures. When I got pregnant with Matilda though, we had to hire one already since I won’t be able to do all those things by myself anymore. And most importantly, to keep me company when Joey is out-of-town for work. Note that we were still in Davao then, as I mentioned in my other post.

So what is it actually like to be a Stay-at-Home Mom? I prepared a short list for you and here it goes:

1. It’s fun! You get to be with your child day and night.
2. You’ll be there to witness their every single milestone.
3. You won’t have to miss them.
4. Your child will get to know you and you will get to know them. You’ll build a different level of bond for each other.
5. You will personally build their character. During the formative years, this is very important.

The list seems alright, then why did I say in the first part that whoever thinks this job is fairly easy, is borderline crazy? Here goes the Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom:

1. When your child starts crying, it can be a bit tricky, and sometimes frustrating to make them stop. (If you’re a parent, you’ll understand.)
2. Putting them to sleep is sometimes easy, and sometimes really difficult.
3. You’ll have to wash their bum a lot of times – daily! Until they are big enough to do this themselves. (Unless your child has a nanny to do this for you).
4. When they start exploring like crawling or walking, it can be very exhausting.
5. When they get sick, you’ll definitely shed some tears – okay, a lot, really.
6. Wait! Your work doesn’t stop there! You still have a husband!

After God, your spouse should be your next priority. – Wait, what? Why does he even have to be a priority? Isn’t he old enough to take care of himself? Let’s see the right order of priorities according to the scripture:

1. God
• Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV)

God commanded that we seek Him first, above all things.

2. Spouse
• Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:22-25 NIV)

Husbands will rule over the wife and the wife must submit to the husband. – This has been God’s design after the fall of man. (Note the verses from Genesis below).

3. Children
• Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NASB)

As Parents, we were commanded to raise Godly children and since the husbands were instructed to work and provide for the family, (as seen on the following verses below) this duty will mainly fall under the hands of the wife.

These verses serve as a reminder to what my purpose in life is. I’m not only a mom but a wife too – and being a wife should be a priority. I must admit, I fail Joey sometimes in those areas that concern him. Matilda’s presence in our lives can be overwhelming that I tend to forget that her father has needs as well.

Marriage takes a lot of work for both husband and wife, and until you accept the fact that God created you for a specific purpose, you will often find yourselves tested with big challenges. Having a child will change your marriage drastically – it needs to be prayed for. It will change a mother’s body physically, her mind psychologically and her heart emotionally. It will surely change the daily routine you have established alone and together, it will somehow leave your social life cold and there will be times you will forget about your own self in taking care of the new addition to your family. Most of us (wives) sometimes do not notice all of these changes, but our husbands do. The only way for you to understand each other is through open and honest communication. If and when your husband feels neglected, make it up to him. Remind him of why you love him and back it up with acts of service. As I have said, in this area, I am a little guilty, but I really try my best to be the same person I was even before we had Matilda. I am thankful and really blessed that even though I forget about my responsibilities as a wife sometimes, Joey would patiently remind me and would be very understanding about it. What we also learned to do, to keep our own sanity amidst those trying times, is to turn to God’s word and constantly remind ourselves that God crafted marriage beautifully and that if you follow His design, you will be blessed abundantly.

Since this set up is quite uncommon nowadays, wherein most mothers usually work alongside their husbands, you might ask how we make it work. Is one income ever enough for a household? Of course, YES! Scripture tells us that husbands are to provide for the family.

• And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19 NLT)

• But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8 NASB)

To make it work, first of all, we choose to live a simple life – we have to, because we could never afford to live extravagantly with only one person in the house, working. So, we rarely eat out anymore unlike we used to when we were still dating. We don’t shop unless we NEED something and most of all, I am a breastfeeding and cloth diapering mom! How much we save on that alone must be dedicated to a separate blog post.

Going back, being a Stay at Home Mom works out for us because by God’s grace, we exert extra effort and strive to make it work. It isn’t easy, and we too struggle sometimes – mostly in our finances, but trusting God first and setting your priorities are key. Remember, the formative years will either make or break your child’s character. So setting an example at a young age will be substantial to the future of your child. This is why we chose this path. It might be difficult, but the end result will definitely be worth it.

Let me share my life verse:

• I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NIV)

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How about you? Are you a stay at home mom too? Or are you thinking of leaving work to personally take care of your child? Let’s talk about it!