Why your kids need you (and only you)

Doubts about our abilities as mothers are totally normal…but completely unfounded.
Here’s why your kids need you as their mom!

Happy Friday, friends!  Life has been verrrrry interesting lately, what with this new baby around and the stress of figuring out how to manage and balance all of my mothering responsibilities.  Every big transition is like that, don’t you think?  Super crazy and overwhelming for a while, then you gradually settle into a routine and, for better or for worse, this becomes your new normal.

I’ve realized that anytime life throws us curveballs, lots of insecurities and doubts tend to come along with them.  Thoughts about what we’re messing up and about how the rest of our life may be adversely affected by these changes.  Having a new baby means less housework gets done, less time spent with the other kids, fewer opportunities to finish work projects and thoughts about whether or not we’re up for all the new responsibilities and stressors.

Being a mom of a big family means that I struggle with self-doubt and insecurities every. single. day.  I strongly believe that God called me to be a mom, to have all these kids, to homeschool them and to lead the life we live.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t constantly wonder about all the ways I’m failing every day.

Here’s the thing: your kids are your kids on purpose.  It’s no crapshoot that each family ends up together; all parents have personality traits, talents and abilities designed to help prepare their specific kids to become the best people they can be.  I know that sounds like a tall order to fill; personally it seems impossible that I could ever give all my children everything they need.

The important thing to remember is how little our kids actually need to thrive.  Yes, that’s right…how little.  They don’t need Pinterest parties or a mom in runway-worthy looks or even homecooked meals.  I know I’ve talked about this before, but when Luke and I got certified to become foster parents, we walked out of the training thinking about how we, and every single parent we know, are doing a pretty freaking stellar job.  We love our kids, we try to do right by them and we leave the rest up to God.

None of us knows exactly what sorts of trials we (or our children) will encounter in our lives.  But I really believe that we’ll be equipped to handle them because of the families we’ve been given.  Sure, our kids drive us crazy and our parents aren’t perfect – but we’re meant to be right where we are.

While our children don’t need picture perfect moms and dads, they do need parents who  love each other and their kids and who admit and apologize when they make mistakes.  They need parents who realize the blessings of being a parent and at least try to enjoy it now and then!  Parenthood ain’t for sissies…but I know each of us has what it takes to be GREAT at it!

Merry Christmas!

As we head into a magical holiday weekend, I wanted to wish you all a VERY Merry Christmas and happy New Year!  This is absolutely my favorite time of year, especially as a mom where I get to see my kids just giddy with excitement and joy over all the holiday gifts and traditions!

Like I’m sure most of you, I try to instill in my children the importance of looking outside themselves at this time of year, to teach them the joy that comes from serving and to remember the very first gift of Christmas, given over 2000 years ago.

I am humbled and awed at the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and how His perfect example and love can help us even in the darkest of times.  Regardless of what you believe, I’m grateful for a time of year when everyone can feel the call to be a little kinder, show a little more charity and be a little more filled with love.

I’m overflowing with gratitude for this little/big family of mine, for my beliefs and for the blogging opportunities I’ve had this year! Thank you ALL so much for reading and allowing me to turn some of my passions into a part time gig.

Much love and peace to every one of you!!

XOXO

When you just wanna quit

Have you ever just wanted to throw in the towel on motherhood?  There’s nothing wrong with you, I promise!

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(Quick and dirty vlog version of this post at the end!)

I wanted to quit being a mom today.  I know that sounds drastic and melodramatic, but heaven help me –  I.  Was.  Done.
Done with the tantrums, the fights, the nagging, the complaining, the sassiness; it just all came to a head in a filthy house with an overtired mom who wanted to storm out and never look back.

I really hope other moms don’t have days like this regularly, but my suspicion is that we all do.  The benefits of being a mom can sometimes be so great that it makes me want to cry great big joyous, grateful tears.

There are brief moments here and there where I look at my kids and I just wanna squeeze them all in a death grip of love and happiness!  But the majority of days (lately) have been so hard that I’m a lot closer to bursting into the other kind of tears.

The hardest part about motherhood is that we’re supposed be so darn grateful for it all the time.  I know there are accountants and lawyers and firemen and secretaries who walk around hating their jobs…but if you ever say (or even think) that being a mom just might kinda suck, then you must be an evil, terrible person. (BAD! Bad, naughty you!!)

If I feel frustrated about all my kids driving me insane, then guilt sets in because so many sweet women would do anything to have just one baby.  Maybe those of you with 1 or 2 kids feel like you can’t complain because you don’t have a huge family.  We stay-at-home moms might feel bad for wishing we had more time when those of you who work feel like no one will ever understand how busy your days are.

The fact is, motherhood is freaking hard no matter what it looks like.  You and your feelings of frustration, stress and being overwhelmed are always valid.  We always have a right to our feelings, no matter how unpleasant they may be.

Not only is it OK to feel these things, it’s OK to tell someone.  We should all have a non-judgmental friend or family member who we confide in when we’re at our wits’ end.

Lest anyone be duped into thinking my mothering attempts are all sunshine and roses, let the entirety of the internet hereby know now and forevermore: most days I have no idea what the crap I’m doing.

Our real work as mothers is pretty scary stuff.  It lies in loving, teaching and molding our children to be the best people they can be.  Even in the best circumstances, that’s a terrifying job.  Add in a household to run, a marriage to work on, maybe another job to perform, not to mention special needs, educating our kids, community obligations…it all just seems completely impossible to juggle all those balls.   It’s a wonder any of us want to become moms in the first place! (I suspect newborn squishiness is to blame.)

I try to remember in these moments of self-doubt, that my kids are part of my family for a reason.  I believe that every mom has something (actually oodles of things!) she can give her children that no one else can.  I also feel really strongly that every child can teach his parents lessons that we’d otherwise never be able to learn on our own.

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Sometimes I’m positive that even my very, very best will never be enough.  That my “good” mothering is sub-par to everyone else’s in the whole entire world, and that I will fail my children and they will never reach the potential they could (and/or they will potentially become creepy criminal weirdos who lurk in bushes and spy on people.  Ew.).  But, you know what I’ve realized lately?  Our mothering effort is completely independent of our children’s performance.

Let me just say that again…Our EFFORT as mothers is completely independent of how our children PERFORM.

Your toddler screaming and throwing toys through the aisles of Target does not make you a bad mom.   Your preteen saying he hates you and slamming a door in your face doesn’t make you a bad mom.
Your teenager getting into drugs or porn or hanging out with terrible friends does NOT make you a bad mom!
And even if, heaven forbid, our sweet innocent babies grow up to be serial killers or evil dictators or any number of awful things, all of the sacrifices we made as mothers would still be valid.  They would still COUNT.  You would still be a good person, even if your child chose not to be.

That’s a really, really hard thing to think about.  That no matter how hard we work as moms, we cannot choose our children’s destinies and we can’t keep them from harm or evil.  All we can do is love them.

And so, we do.  We love them with everything we’ve got. And we try to remember, amidst all the poop and the pb&j’s and the puberty, that we ARE good mothers.  Because good mothers show their love through service.  We might never throw a Pinterest-worthy party, or do our hair in time for preschool drop-off or be able to respond calmly when a kid says mean things, but we will keep loving.

Because loving is what moms do best.

The Pros and Cons of a Big Family

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Not a lot of people know exactly what their future family will look like when they’re still single…or even within the first few years of marriage.  But Luke and I always knew we wanted a large family and we’re pretty tickled pink that we’ve been able to make this dream happen!  Of course, having almost 8 children isn’t your typical success dream, like owning your own home or traveling the world.  It’s not filled with beautifully decorated rooms or fancy European food…and the hours are atrocious.  But it really IS wonderful!

Here’s just a peek into the good, the bad and the ridiculous of parenting a sports-team-sized crew!

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Click read more…

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The Gift of a Body

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Hey all!  I’ve had some deep thoughts swirling the last few days that I really want to share with you all.  I’ve been ruminating on our miraculous bodies and how we act, think and speak about them.

If you’re a woman, then chances are REALLY good you’ve experienced some body angst.  Our world is just too obsessed with physical perfection for any of us to grow up in it without feeling a little (or a LOT of) insecurity surrounding our looks.  Deep down we all know that it isn’t right to feel this way, but most of us aren’t really sure how to overcome it.  I’ve been blessed with a few years of experience and gotten a fair amount of use out of my body (bearing 7 kids is a fair amount, right??) that I feel blessed to have overcome some struggles in this regard.  I want to share with you a few steps I think we can all embrace when it comes to how we view our bodies.

The first thing I want to really emphasize is this: you are NOT your body.  I believe that everyone has a physical body that houses a spiritual soul and that our bodies are only a portion of who we are.  In fact, it’s a portion that we have little control over.  We can’t choose how tall we are, or our hair or eye color (even though we may try!) or the basic shape of our bodies.  We can’t choose whether or not we tan or get freckles, or whether or not we need glasses or braces.  And yet, all too often, the world judges us as if these physical features DEFINE us.  They most certainly do not!  It can be hard to let go of past trauma regarding our bodies; abuse, taunting, snide comments or insecurities can be deep seated and very damaging.  But it’s important to remember that these things are not who we are.  We are more than our bodies!!

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Secondly, we can influence the world’s obsession with bodies for good.  I am sad and ashamed to admit that a person’t body shape used to be the very first thing I noticed about someone.  I didn’t mean to do this, and I have worked hard to stop this habit, but it was an automatic reaction I acquired after years of being obsessed with my own outward appearance.  I think our greatest influence in this area begins with our daughters and sons.  Did you know that what you say about your OWN body can influence your children just as much as what you say about THEIRS?  None of us would even consider insulting our daughters’ bodies and yet we often think nothing of ridiculing our own bodies in front of our kids.  If we want them to respect their own bodies and those of others, we have to model respect for our own.  Luke and I have talked a lot about this and have decided on some basic rules for our house: we obviously don’t call anyone “fat” but we also avoid the word “skinny”, and instead we focus on words like “strong” and “healthy”.  We want our kids to focus on how they feel, instead of how they look.

On that note, I’ll share with you that I’ve made a personal decision that I won’t alter my body surgically.  This is obviously not a very popular decision in some circles and I have lots of friends and family that have made other decisions in this regard…this is in no way meant to shame or judge anyone for their decisions!  But, I personally would only choose this route for purely selfish reasons, and so I’ve decided that it’s not the path for me.  I love the idea of embracing every stage of life, no matter what it looks like (and trust me, my abs don’t look like much anymore!) and not fighting the inevitable aging and sagging process.  It’s just a losing game, after all.  Again, I am not aiming to make anyone else feel badly about choosing plastic surgery and I completely understand reconstructive surgeries…I just don’t plan on any myself.

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The next step is to truly, TRULY appreciate our bodies.  This is so hard, I get it!  You just want to lose 15 pounds or really tone up your rear end.  Or stop having people ask you if you’re pregnant when your baby is 4!!  But here’s the thing…our bodies will never measure up to the world’s standard of perfection; it’s ever-changing and it’s just too impossible to reach.  But our bodies are so incredible! It is truly a divine miracle that two miniscule cells can combine to create the jaw-dropping complexity of the human body.  When something does go wrong with our bodies, we often marvel at how many minutes, days, and decades our bodies function normally without our even giving it a second thought.  Now, I am speaking as someone who has not had to endure any serious bodily trials  (except for one not-so-fun altercation with an open flame in my youth…yikes!); my body is whole and for that I am forever grateful.  But perhaps those with serious scars, lost limbs, death-defying illnesses and other broken bodies can attest even more intently how wonderful it is to have a body that can do what we need it to do.

A little disclaimer at this point: I obviously take time on my appearance; I wear makeup, sometimes color my hair and really enjoy dressing fashionably.  Some might argue that this is vain and that I shouldn’t need these things if I truly appreciate my body as is.  And they may have a point!  But doing these things actually does help me appreciate my body, and I really try hard to strike a balance between working on the exterior and on the interior.  On this note, showing gratitude for our bodies begins with treating it right.  If we don’t love how we feel, we can make changes!  We can eat better, we can exercise, we can get more sleep.  These things will help us to maximize our bodies’ potential and realize all the good they can do for us.  We have so many resources available to us in the form of good foods, holistic remedies and medications; we should all fight for good health!

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Lastly, if you still struggle with hard feelings towards your body, find something that it can do for you!  Make a goal to run a race, participate in a competition, or just go outside and jump on the trampoline with your kids.  While for me, pregnancy and birth have been the turning points in how I view and appreciate my body, many women are terrified of motherhood simply because of what it means for their appearance.  I can think of nothing more tragic than a woman missing out on being a mom, only because she fell prey to the world’s definition of beauty.  Flabby skin, stretch marks and extra pounds are nothing in comparison with the ability to conceive, carry, deliver and breastfeed a perfect tiny human; and while not everyone gets the chance to have these experiences, they have forever changed how I perceive my body!

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The VBAC: Making An Informed Decision

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Hey all!  I’m excited to be back with another post in my series on birth!  I’ve previously written about epidurals and c-sections and today, we’re talking about VBACS.

The term “VBAC” stands for “Vaginal Birth After Cesarean” and as the rate of c-sections continues to climb in many countries, so does talk of VBACS.  Moms everywhere are asking things like, “Is a VBAC safe?”  “Is it necessary or desirable?”  “Am I eligible to have a vaginal birth after a c-section?” and “What are the risks?”

I hope this post can answer some of those questions and inspire anyone with a history of a cesarean to become more informed and ready to face future births!

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As discussed in my C-section post, we know that cesareans are an unnatural birth outcome and present risks to both baby and mother.  That being said, just because you’ve had a c-section before (or even multiple!) does NOT mean you necessarily have to have a repeat surgery in the future.  I remember grieving after Liam’s birth because I knew I wanted a large family, yet I couldn’t envision putting my body through 4 or more cesareans.  Luckily, I found some great resources regarding VBACS and have been able to find supportive providers who allowed me to try for the births I had hoped for.  I’ve since delivered 6 babies vaginally after that initial cesarean with no complications.

If it is a safe option for you, there’s a good chance you can have one!

While my cesarean was unexpected, emergent and traumatic, I understand that not all c-sections end up that way.  Some are planned, peaceful and wonderful experiences.  If you were lucky enough to have one of these, you might be wondering why anyone would choose a vaginal birth over a planned cesarean.  Barring any life-threatening need for a cesarean , vaginal births are desirable for a number of reasons:

  1.  No surgical risks such as blood loss, side effects from anesthesia, adhesions (cases where the scar tissue attaches itself to other organs), blood clots, extended recovery time, etc.
  2. Less traumatic on mother and baby: c-section babies often have fluid in their lungs, trouble breathing and other complications.
  3. If labor is allowed to begin naturally at the end of pregnancy, there’s no risk of accidentally delivering a pre-term baby.  The bodies of both mother and baby work in tandem to signal when baby is ready to be born; it’s not usually wise to forcefully extract a baby before labor begins.
  4. Lower medical costs and shorter hospital stay!IMG_4069

On the flip-side, some of you with previously negative c-section experiences might be wondering why anyone would WANT to undergo another surgery.  Your doctor might choose to surgically deliver your baby if your first cesarean was due to (or your current pregnancy includes):

  1. Eclampsia
  2. Serious medical problems with mother or baby
  3. Poorly positioned placenta or unusual bleeding
  4. Any other life-threatening emergency

As discussed in the c-section post, some less clear-cut reasons for an additional surgery include a baby estimated to be larger than usual, a breech baby or a mother with a small pelvis.  These DO NOT always necessitate an automatic cesarean.  Do some research, get a second (or third!) opinion, pray/meditate, and follow your gut to make the best decision for you and your baby.

There can be risks associate with a VBAC as well.  The most dangerous (and one you’ll probably hear about most often) is the risk of uterine rupture.  The strain on a uterine scar during labor can sometimes cause it to reopen, and this usually has very serious results for mom and/or baby.  Luckily however, uterine rupture is very rare and occurs in right around .5% of laboring women who have had a previous cesearean (check out this great article for more details).

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There are TONS of amazing resources online regarding VBACS and how to decide whether one is right for you.  The VBAC Education Project is a great place to start.  The International Cesearean Awareness Network (ICAN) is another great place to learn more.  It’s difficult to even scratch the surface of all the great information these websites hold – be sure to check them out!

Lastly, I wanted to touch on the subject of homebirths and VBACS.  While there are still restrictions in many states regarding the ability to give birth at home after a cesarean, other states have now lifted bans and allow certified, licensed midwives to assist women attempting a VBAC in their home.  Three of my births occurred at home (all 3 technically considered VBACS) and I’m so grateful for these experiences!  I researched and prayed and listened and we decided that this choice would be the safest and the most peaceful for me and each of these babies.

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I believe that each woman is the most qualified to make these crucial decisions regarding the birth of her baby.  Regardless of what your birthing choices look like, it’s important to remember that you HAVE choices!  It can be both scary and empowering to face such important decisions, but they are the first of many you’ll need to make for your baby throughout his or her life.

You can do it!!

If you have any other questions about VBACS or want to hear more about my experiences, feel free to email me!  (whiskem {at} gmail {dot} com) I love talking birth and encouraging women to make informed decisions.

 

**Note: As I am not a medical professional, nothing in this post should be considered medical advice.  Please consult a qualified OB or midwife for more information about VBACS and to decide if it is the right option for you.

A Child in Pain

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I want to tell you a story about our oldest child, Liam and an incredibly hard trial he had to go through.

Last year he began experiencing some terrible stomach pain (coupled with vomiting) for several months and even though now things are much, MUCH better, it took me a long time to gain some wisdom from that experience.  It was really painful to watch as his mom, but we’ve learned a lot from it and I’m finally ready to share it so that hopefully we might be able to help someone else!

Liam’s gastrointestinal troubles actually began years and years ago…probably as an infant.  He was the most colicky baby of all of our children, and it wasn’t just because he was our first and we didn’t know better!  Everyone mentioned how fussy he was and that it took a quasi-miracle to calm him down.

Fast forward several years and Liam began complaining of occasional stomach upset and sometimes vomiting for no apparent reason.  He’d just go into the bathroom, throw up and then come out and announce, “I just threw up, Mom!”  We attributed it to simply a sensitive stomach at the time and even though we brought it up to the pediatrician a couple times,  no doctor ever had any helpful suggestions and it wasn’t bad enough (yet) to warrant additional research.

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Then last year, right after Marilyn was born (about May 2015), Liam began experiencing INTENSE, daily abdominal pain.  It seemed to almost come out of nowhere and it was so bad, some days all he could do was roll up in a ball and lie on the couch.  It was heartbreaking for us as his parents to see him this way and nothing we did seemed to help.  We took him off dairy for a while, then gluten, then some other random stuff.  Then we started wondering if maybe it was stress, or constipation or anxiety over having a new baby in the house.

The climax came after a month or two when he was in so much pain one night he was literally screaming and begging us to help him.  It scared the living daylights out of me, so we took him to the nearest pediatric ER.  They poked and prodded and did scans; then declared him constipated and sent us home.  My momma heart just KNEW this couldn’t be it!

So then we began taking him to doctors.  First our regular pediatrician, then a gastroenterologist, then another GI, then a naturopath, then a psychologist…you get the idea.  And they ran test after test: bloodwork, urinalysis, MRI, tests for Celiac and Crohn’s, colonoscopy and endoscopy all without conclusive results: everything looked normal.  It was an exhausting, frustrating and expensive several months.

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All while this was going on, something in the back of my head kept hinting to me that his diet needed to change.  I’ve always worked hard to feed my kids fairly healthy whole foods, but Liam has always been my pickiest eater.  If it was his choice, he’d survive on cheese crisps and pizza for the rest of his life.  What surprised me most about the doctors that we went to up to this point, was that not a single one of them (barring the naturopath) questioned his diet or suggested he change it.  I thought it quite strange that when they saw an otherwise asymptomatic, healthy kid with stomach pain, they didn’t start wondering if maybe it was something he was eating.

The last straw came when we visited yet another GI, at a pediatric hospital who came very highly recommended to us.  At the end of this visit, the doctor suggested that we start pain management therapy and techniques.  In other words, he was essentially saying, “We have no idea what’s going on and can’t help your son.  He will suffer with this indefinitely and we can only put him on pain meds and hope he learns to cope.”  I left that office almost in tears…how was I supposed to explain to my 10-year-old that he would have to deal with this pain, without a solution, for…EVER??

I refused to believe it.  I had already promised him that we would find a solution no matter what, and I planned on keeping that promise, goshdangit!  It was at this point that we saw the naturopath who, even though they couldn’t offer much in the way of answers, did start him on some holistic supplements that actually helped.  If Liam took them regularly, the pain could mostly be held at bay.  I also then emailed a friend of mine who I knew to be very passionate and knowledgeable about nutrition (including gut-healing diets) and whose husband was also an MD.  She explained some things she thought might be going on with Liam and then recommended we see her husband.

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It turned out that not only is her husband a traditional family practitioner, he also specializes in integrative medicine (or a more holistic medical approach).   He listened to our whole story, looked up and learned about the supplements that had been helping Liam and then FINALLY gave us some real answers!  I won’t bore you with all the details  but in short, he said Liam’s GI tract was damaged and needed some healing.  He also suggested we start the FODMAP diet and recommended a few other things to change as well.

You guys – once we really committed to this diet (because it took a few tries and some tears before Liam was committed to eliminating ice cream and wheat!) the pain DISAPPEARED.  Seriously, it was a true miracle.  It really wasn’t until about March of this year (NINE months after the beginning of his pain!) that he turned to me and said, “Mom- my stomach doesn’t hurt anymore!”   We were so happy!  After almost a year of tears, prayers, blessings and pleading to take this pain away, it was finally gone.

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I learned a couple of valuable lessons during this time period:

  1.  When my loved ones are suffering, and there’s nothing I can do, I’m often tempted to get angry.  It upsets me and it upsets my children to see me this way.  During this last year, I learned a lot about Christ’s perfect love and His commandment to “comfort those that stand in need of comfort.”
  2. A mother’s job is HARD and suffering alongside your child is the hardest part of all.  If your child is in pain, he needs you at the top of your game.  Take care of yourself and find an empathetic friend to talk to.
  3. The solution to most health problems is DIET.  If our bodies are in pain or not functioning properly, we owe it to ourselves to research and discover which foods will heal us.  Our food supply has a lot of problems with it today, so going back to basic, unprocessed whole foods is always a great place to start.
  4. A mother’s intuition is rarely wrong.  I think it’s a special connection we moms have with God’s spirit, telling us how to best care for our children.  If we have a problem and need a solution, sometimes we just need the courage to listen to that little voice inside.  I believe it will always lead us to where we should go!Good luck raising those amazing little humans, mamas!

Women and the Need to Create (and Snap synopsis!)

A couple weeks ago I flew to Utah to attend Snap Conference: a get-together for creative bloggers and entrepreneurs.  It was SO much fun learning from and mingling with other impressive makers.  I got to meet several of my sewing blogger heroes and connect with people I’ve watched online for years.  And if a weekend full of education, parties, food and friends wasn’t enough, I was also BY MYSELF.  As in, no little people who needed me.  It was a glorious break.

Plus, check out all the swag I brought home!

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**Yes, that IS a real Instax camera…there was an amazing party hosted by Fuji and Heidi Swapp with legit awesome free stuff!

Seeing hundreds of talented women in one place (most of them mothers) got me thinking about creativity and motherhood, specifically, and why it seems that so many young moms feel the need to make stuff.  Stay-at-home moms with artistic side businesses seem a dime a dozen these days, be it a hustle making hair bows, taking orders baking cakes or helping friends with interior design.  What is it about women in general that makes us want to be so darn creative?

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The basic biological function of mothers is to conceive, grow, bear and nurture other human beings…even biologically we are CREATORS!  The essence of motherhood is within us all, even those without children.  It is the need we feel to empathize, comfort, care for and otherwise lift others up (also that biological urge to cry uncontrollably at Hallmark commercials). I believe that the very essence of creation stems from love; when we expend time and energy in creative efforts, we’re simply sharing love.  (I talk more about how moms need to create in this post.)

This past year and a half of growing the Whisk ‘Em blog and starting my pattern design business has been so fulfilling.  I wake up every morning and go to bed each night with fresh ideas for blog posts, sewing projects and new patterns swirling inside my head.  I spend all my free time either in front of my computer, sewing machine or behind the camera, often staying up half the night to finish a project that has me gripped in its clutches.  The question is…why has this creative vein recently manifested itself now that I homeschool 7 small children and barely have time to pee??

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**Baby Mimi turned 1 just a few days after I got home.  Crying all the tears about this one!  (Those sweet decorations behind me are more free stuff from My Mind’s Eye, the cutest paper store!)

Here’s the thing: I rather think that the inspiration for making beautiful things is always hanging out there, patiently waiting for us to find it.  Only once we begin to pay it any attention does our propensity for creativity sprout and grow.

This idea of creativity being almost a real, living entity is explored in Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book “Big Magic”.  It is a fascinating look at how and why we create, and the best ways to invite inspiration into our lives.  I tend to take a pretty spiritual approach to creativity; if we feel inspired to exercise, make music, paint, decorate, entertain, educate or some other avenue of improving our lives, I believe we’re being inspired by God!

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One of my favorite points that Gilbert makes in Big Magic is that creativity is both frivolous and indispensable.  In other words – no one dies if we’re not creative; it’s not essential to basic survival.  But, it IS important. If we have access to the internet to read this, then we likely have the time and resources to create, simply for pleasure’s sake.

Even my ancestors, who fought hard to stay alive while settling the western U.S. 200 years ago, still made time for beauty.  They passed on heirloom china, embroidered dish towels, built beautiful churches and otherwise used their talents to send beauty out into the world.

No matter how stressed, busy or overworked we are, there are always creative opportunities to be found.  In fact, perhaps it’s in the midst of this chaos when creativity is the most essential!

 

When Mom’s Afraid

Vivian-hospital-sleeping2If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that our sweet 4-year-old Vivian was in the hospital recently for a febrile seizure.  While she’s home now and doing great, I’ve been surprised how few moms have heard of, or know how to react to these seizures.  I hope putting our story out there might help another mom or dad know what to do if it ever happens to their child (excuse all the grainy phone pictures!).

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Marilyn’s Birth Story

 

Marylin 1

My chubby baby Marilyn turns 5 MONTHS tomorrow and in order to keep myself from totally melting down into a puddle of hormonal-overweight-newish-mom-tears, I figure it’s time to post about her birth story.

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