breaking-routine

Recently, I have implemented a daily routine, and not to be dramatic or anything, but it has changed my life.

My routine keeps the day moving, it carves out time I never took advantage of for household chores, and it blesses me with a to-do list I can reliably tick off every 1-2 hours throughout the day. I go to bed feeling satisfied. I awaken refreshed, ready to rinse, wash, repeat my fabulous new routine.

Recently though, things got a little out of hand.

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marriage-after-kids

Before I had kids, everyone told me that marriage + kids = HARD.

Little naïve me did an internal eye roll each time I heard this and thought to myself: how hard could it really be? I mean, we’d survived a couple of things in our marriage at that point, so why would kids upset the apple cart?

It turns out they were right of course, and having our two boys certainly did have an impact on our relationship.

Now, I am by no means an expert, but with my oldest having just turned seven and marital bliss still (mostly) intact, here are some tips to negotiate the rocky road:

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lessons-firstborn

I have a soft spot for my firstborn.

I know, I know, it’s not politically correct to say so.

Maybe because she’s the oldest, like I was, growing up.

Maybe because she’s the only girl, or maybe… because I have higher expectations of her. After all, she is older and should ‘know better’, right?

Ouch.

Can you feel any tension in all of this?

Brett and I had no clue what we were doing 9 years ago as first time parents. Believe me when I say I made aaaaall the rookie mistakes, trying to find my own way in parenting.

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learning-value-time

Nap time at last; time for tea!

I filled my mug from the cold pot, popped it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and waited impatiently for that soul-refreshing experience that is my nap time cuppa ritual. With a cheerful double beep, it was done.

I reached for the milk but, this is awkward, I’d been a bit heavy-handed in my hasty pour and there was really too much tea in the cup to top it with my desired dash of dairy.

I tried anyway – administering a tiny, clumsy plop and the skimpiest of swirls, but the cup was too full to move.  It was a sad moment. Reluctantly, I admitted defeat, decanting teaspoonfuls from the full cup down the drain.

The ritual had lost much of its magic; its flow. I mean the tea was still alright but the experience as a whole was just unsatisfying.

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in Faith, Family Life

Learning Like a Child

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learning-like-child

I’ve been teaching a 3-year-old the New City Catechism.

It was a supposed to be a lesson for her. I was going to systematically go through the questions and answers that explained our faith so that she would be a well-learned member of the church. I imagined that she would hide these little answers in her heart and when she was old would be able to recollect these little truths hidden inside.

But I am the one who is learning.

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mother-didnt-breastfeed

A lot of things failed to go to plan in the weeks surrounding my son Jackson’s entry into the world.

I hoped to go into labour at 41 weeks. Yes, I actually hoped to go past term, purely because we needed that time for our nursery renovation.

I hoped for a birth story like all my friends’: the requisite number of hours of labour, an epidural at just the right moment, and a modest amount of pushing, with little to no tearing, thank you very much.

I hoped to shed a few tears. I hoped for immediate skin-to-skin contact, for a photo of our new family of 3 mere seconds after baby’s first breath of air.

I hoped to breastfeed.

What I got was far beyond what I ever could have predicted.

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discussing-money

I remember as a child being told, “We can’t afford it.”

I’ve heard myself say to my children, “We can’t afford it.”

It confounded me when I heard it and I didn’t feel right when I said it, so I made a conscious decision to stop saying it.

I thought more deeply not only about what information I was passing on, but also what attitude and what picture of a relationship with money I was modeling.

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blessing-cleaning-toddler

I hate cleaning.

Don’t get me wrong: I love clean.

I grew up with a mother that knew how to clean thoroughly, spot the cobwebs that were invisible to the naked eye and throw open the windows to top it off with a fresh breeze. Coming home after a Mum Clean was refreshing and completely taken for granted.

But I am wired differently; I fight against my cluttery personality every day, as well as the part of me that says, “I’ll definitely do that later.”

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acting-toddler-growing-boss

We’ve all been there. It’s almost nap time but for some reason, we’re buzzing through the grocery store trying to grab a few items. That’s when it hits. The terrible twos. The toddler who was so sweetly holding your hand is now laying on the ground screaming, kicking their feet, angry about what, you’re not quite sure. The struggle continues either until you make it through the line, into the car, and finally to their bed or when you give up and let them have that *cookie, action figure, pack of gum, etc.*

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banishing-bitterness

I never need to look far for bitterness to come calling.

Something will happen, or someone will rub me the wrong way, and without thinking I snap my fingers and bitterness comes running over, wrapping me in a bear hug and covering every bit of me.

But bitterness is not my friend. Bitterness doesn’t comfort me; she doesn’t make me feel better. She doesn’t serve me at all. She clouds my brain. She taints my colour. Bitterness actually grasps hold of my heart and twists it, forcing me to respond to things in ways that I usually wouldn’t. She takes my tongue and pushes words from me that I don’t usually find myself saying. She even invites her friends Jealousy, Offense and Righteous Indignation in, chuckling “Come on guys, it’s party time!” So what kind of self-destructive person am I, that I would cry out “Bitterness! Come to me! Let’s wallow together!” – knowing that she’s going to make me feel worse, not better?

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