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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My First Vlog: Finding Time for Mom!

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Aaaagh!  I’m so excited for my very first video post today!  It’s all about taking time for you moms to do whatever it is that YOU feel passionate about!

If you like it, I would LOVE you forever if you’d subscribe to my YouTube channel, give me a thumbs up and/or comment there or here!

I’d also love to know what sorts of motherhood, sewing or style tips you’d like to see in the future.  I can’t wait to get some fun sewing tutorials filmed!

Thanks so much, guys!!

XOXO

 

DIY Diaper Caddy: Simplify Motherhood

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SuperAbsorbent #CollectiveBias

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Hey mamas!  Today’s post is all about simplifying life as a busy, crazy insane mom….specifically, diaper time!  Plus a super easy sewing tutorial!  Click read more below!

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You’re Not a Good Mom…You’re a GREAT One

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I’ve got a deep(ish) motherhood post for you today, because so much mom-stuff has been on my mind lately.  These posts can get really wordy though, and so I’m excited to be working on some brand spanking new videos for the blog!  I can’t wait to share more mom-musings and DIY tutorials via video because they’re just so much fun! (But also so, SO much work…yikes!).  Here’s hoping they’ll be ready soon!

Before our France trip last month, I’d found myself turning into a pretty mean mom: there was lots of yelling, impatience, frustration and I was really slow to appreciate my kids.  We all get this way sometimes, and for me as a full-time SAHM (especially one who doesn’t send her kids to school…believe me, there are days I WISH I did – haha!) it can be really difficult to pull myself out of that funk.  Summers are especially hard on us here in Phoenix cause it’s so darn HOT and everyone’s cranky and miserable and stuck inside with too much screen time; i. e. recipe for disaster.

Then Luke and I took a 10 day trip away from everyone and I came back with a fresh perspective.  Life didn’t get any easier (coming back to real life is always an adjustment, especially after a selfish vacay where you only take care of yourself!), but I noticed that my mindset had shifted, just the tiniest bit.

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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.

View More: http://redpoppyphoto.pass.us/kathi-payne-extended-family

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!

 

Bare Basics for Baby (plus 12 minute blanket tutorial)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NurseryMusts #CollectiveBias

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It seems like every mom-blogger has created an “essentials for baby” list and most of them are SO different!  The thing is, nothing but experience can tell any new mom what products and gadgets will be the most helpful as their baby grows.  Keeping 7 babies alive (so far, so good!) has taught me that there are really only a few true necessities for a newborn. You ready for them?

Here they are:

*a blanket
*outfits
*stuff for feeding baby
*stuff for handling the poop.

That’s it.

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Last week I ran to Target (because…TARGET) to grab some gift basket stuff for my little sister’s brand new baby (isn’t Crosby so cute?? MY OVARIES!) and I just kept it to the basics this time.  She had all the big stuff already from her first son and besides, she’s a minimalist. Click read more below for all the deets on each necessity and what I love about them!

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How to get a baby to sleep through the night

I hope all my American friends had a fabulous Thanksgiving with lots of family time and pie and whatever else makes you happy!  Now on to some serious business here…

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I’m pretty sure the person who coined the phrase “sleeps like a baby” never, in fact, had a baby.  These little cherubic stinkers are notorious for their naughty nocturnal habits.   [Read more…]

Sisters Trip to Sedona + tips for getting a baby to sleep in a hotel room!

 

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My amazing sister-in-law Xan and her family will soon be leaving Arizona and moving across the country.  She invited all her sisters and SIL’s to a quick trip to Sedona as a last hurrah before she moves away.  We just got back and had THE best time!

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