Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Were you "mothered" by your Mother?

    I was recently asked this question "were you 'mothered' by your mother?". Without hesitation I thought "of course!". Not just taken care of, but actually "mothered". So, I decided to list some of the most important things my mother taught me that I want to pass on to my girl (or girls if the Lord allows). In no particular order, they are as follows:

1. You are a daughter of THE KING...don't forget it.

2. Guests should never enter your home without being offered a beverage and/or something to eat. If they refuse, keep asking every few minutes...they'll cave eventually.
3. Sauteing onions on the stove while dinner's cooking makes it smell more "fancy"...and more "ready".
4. Always fix up a little before your husband comes home. If the barn door needs paintin'...
5. Make the bed before you leave...you might die before you come home. Do you really want them coming in to see your bed unmade??
6. Clean as if the Queen of England were coming to visit.
7. Remember who you are and whose you are.
8. You can always count on me (your mother).
9. Nothing is too difficult for God.
10. Chicken Salad is the only way to go for a baby shower, wedding shower or ladies' lunch.
11. When a friend is sick or a relative of theirs passes away...take a meal.
12. Never sit on a public toilet seat...there's cooties on there.
13. I will ALWAYS love you...no matter what you do. I will ALWAYS love you.
14. Always check for toilet paper on the bottom of your shoe when leaving a public restroom.
15. Turn to the side when taking a photogragh.
16. Show hospitality to everyone.
17. Love your enemies. OK, that's in the Bible too, but I'm pretty sure that's where she got that.
18. Good girls don't call boys. Oops. I'm changing it to "good girls don't call boys and if they do, they get beat."
19. When people are coming over and you ran out of time...throw it all in the dryer.
20. And finally...Have a godly day. For what good is there in a "good" day if it isn't godly?"

     Obviously, some are more serious than others, but it's all very helpful. :-) If I'm HALF the mom that mine was, I'll be doing good. Thank you, mother, for the past 34 years of "mothering"!! I love you!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Move it, girl!

     When I was younger, probably about 12, I started redoing my room every now and then. On Friday or Saturday nights when we would just be hanging around the house, I would clean out my room. It started as a little clean-up but would quickly become a major clean-OUT. I LOVED getting rid of things...even as a young girl. After I'd get everything cleaned out that I wanted to throw away or give away, I'd start rearranging the furniture. Yep. Even as a preteen I had the built-in desire to move things around...constantly. I'd clear the walls and set up vignettes (even though I didn't know that what they were called at the time) and redo the walls after. I'd vacuum and dust til everything was perfect. I'd set the lighting to be atmospheric, thinking about reading light, overhead light, and accent lighting, even though I had no idea what that all was. It was just in me. Once everything was set to my liking...the big reveal.

     I swear I was meant to have my own show. I'd have both parents come look at what I had done. I'd show them around the room and even into the closet. My work was always met with the proper amount of "oohs" and "ahhs" to satisfy me. I'd do this redo every few months. Then I started wanting to redo the walls. My mom actually let me wallpaper paste torn brown paper to the walls...all of them. It looked great! I loved my room after we were finished.

     My point is, if Kate and any other daughters I may have, want to redo their rooms like that...more power to them. I loved the freedom it gave me to make the space my own. And it made me learn how to keep everything I wanted in a small space and keep it orderly. That's been handy the last year as I am now living in a smaller space. Looking ahead at moving into an even smaller space, I'm already thinking about what to get rid of and how to stash what I keep. I want our kids to feel at home in their home. My mom used to let me change things around all the time. Even now, I do it when we visit. I appreciate how they let me use what was in me without discouraging me. I can't wait to see how our daughters use the gifts they're given. How fun to watch our gifts from God use their gifts from God.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sweet Boy

On September 20, 2009, at 5:02 a.m. my world was forever changed for the better when the doctor placed a very slippery, slimy baby boy on my chest and we saw each other for the first time. He was so tiny (sort of!), and I loved him instantly and intensely. In the following days as we bonded as mother and son, I knew for sure there was a special relationship between mommies and their boys just like everyone had said.

Now, I have a brown-eyed, curly headed two-year-old tyke who has truly stolen my heart. He is such a joy...kind, considerate, polite and oh-so-cuddly. Even now, I get teary weepy when I think that one day he'll be too big to rock or too old to cuddle, but he'll always be my...sweet boy.

So, a late, but very Happy Birthday to Samuel Andersen Gossman!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Kate's Birth Story

Pregnancy and birth are such exciting and precious times in life, and I'm so grateful to God to have experienced them both. There was a time when we weren't sure pregnancy would ever result in a live birth, but God knew it would. Samuel's birth was a bit different than what we had "planned" for but it was a good experience overall. I have fond memories from his birth and cherish them all. Kate's birth, amazingly, was exactly what we had envisioned it being...peaceful, calm, and joyful.

At 2:30 Monday morning, the 6th, (Labor Day), I woke up having some really good contractions and back aches. I got up at 3 and tried to walk to the bathroom. When I barely made it there I realized this was it. I was shaking a bit and the contractions were every 4 minutes. I called Christy, our midwife, in between and she headed our way. In the meantime, Jeremy started inflating the labor/birth tub and filling it. Mom and Memama scurried around helping in different ways, and the midwives were here by 3:45. Lynsey, the photographer, was here by then as well. Everyone was busy getting things arranged, and I was busy with contractions.

I started out sitting on the edge of our tub, leaning against the wall in between cont. At this point I would need to stand during them and have someone apply pressure to my lower back. Much like Samuel's labor, I had a lot of pressure in my back. In between cont. I was on the verge of falling asleep. Christy told me my body was giving me the hormones I needed to cope. I felt drugged without the drugs. It was nice to rest at these times. I would need it later! Lynsey, our birth photographer, was in there with me, so I enjoyed the company of someone I trusted but who had done this as well. We talked a little, but she was also served as a silent encourager. During labor, there were times of prayer, focus, and even laughter. It was such a team effort, and the unity I had prayed for was very apparent.

Around 5 or so, I think, I was ready for to get in the tub. I really found the water very relaxing with Samuel's labor and was anxious to get some relief. Once in the tub, I felt instant relief, but the contractions were far from being any easier. I had been reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and had gleaned a lot from the birth stories about breathing, not allowing the contractions to overtake me, and letting your baby go.Those stories were so helpful, and they challenged me to do all I could to make this birth happen. The Lord was with me and was speaking through everyone as they encouraged me. He was so gracious to answer our prayer that my water not break so labor wouldn't be as difficult to bear. There are so many aspects to the birth that the Lord answered our prayers on, and we are so thankful.

I continued to labor in the tub, and around 6:30 my water broke. At this point the contractions became very intense. Thankfully, I only experienced 3 or 4 "transition" contractions at this time. This is the only time I thought, "why did I do this?!". :-) I think I may have even said "I can't do this" but then quickly remembered I WAS doing it, and I COULD do it. Besides, I knew that to get in the car and go to the hospital would be stupid because the baby would be born by then. So, I made myself focus and stay ahead of the contractions as much as possible until it was time to push. Funny story...one of the midwife apprentices was leaning over the edge of the tub to take fetal heart tones. I grabbed her outside arm closest to me and squeezed it as hard as I could through these contractions. At one point, I put my teeth on her as if I was going to bite her. Even in the midst of all the pain I realized "I can't bite her...she's another human!!". We talked about it later...she was a good sport and laughed WITH me not AT me. :-)

Around this time Christy said "you're going to have your baby at sunrise!" and I asked, "when's THAT??". It looked pretty dark outside to me still so I wasn't too encouraged...then I looked out the back door window and saw the pink and blue of sunrise and thought "oh, it's NOW!!". This helped me get through this stage of labor. Knowing she would be here soon and envisioning the newborn exam afterward, I felt her descend even more and knew she was well on her way.

A few minutes after my water broke I felt the incredible need to push. It's amazing how your body works when you don't interfere. I couldn't have stopped it if I wanted to. I still had never been checked during the entire pregnancy, but I just knew it was time to push. Jeremy got in the tub with me and supported me during this stage of labor. Pushing was a relief. 18 minutes later, Baby Kate was born into the water, and we pulled her out of the water together. All I remember saying was "She's out! She's out!". After waiting for so many days she was finally here. The cheering from everyone reminded me of a football game. Jeremy's parents arrived at the house just seconds before she was born and my parents and grandmother were already here. Memama had never seen a baby be born in spite of having 4 of her own. I'm so glad she was here with us. Having our family present and lots of midwifery support were two of the reasons we chose a home birth.

The herbal bath with Kate and myself was probably the highlight of the day for me. Just the two of us and a chance to really look at her. It was so peaceful, and the herbs were so healing. Again, Lynsey was there photographing silently, but also recounting with me the events of the day. The rest of the day seems like an out-of-body experience and it was just the way I had visualized it for months. The Lord was so present in every aspect of our labor, delivery and after care. Our birth team was calm, encouraging and extremely helpful. It truly was a privilege to work with them to get Kate here. Our baby girl is finally here and her arrival could not have been more perfect...including the rainy days that followed that were so relaxing. We thank God for His presence and provision.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Say it with me, girls..."I'm NOT a bad mother!!"

There's a phrase I hear a lot from other moms and from myself more often than I'd like. It's easy to say and just rolls right off the tongue. It makes light of the situation when you're feeling judged or inadequate in some area of your mothering duties. And it's something I'm not repeating anymore.

"I guess I'm just a bad mom."

There it is. It's not at all the truth and deep down we know it. So, I've compiled a list of the my actions that I will NOT be dismissing with the phrase "I guess I'm just a bad mom". I don't blog often, but when I do it's cuz I've got a bee in my bonnet over something or I'm feeling particularly thoughtful. Well, this is just a freebie. ;-)

Number One-I am NOT a bad mom because I don't put my child to bed before nine o'clock. Who in Tarnation said 7:30 was the magic bedtime hour, anyway?? We do what works for us. That's how it should be in every house.

Number Two-I am NOT a bad mom because I don't bathe my child every day. He's little. We don't go outside. He doesn't roll in mud. He hates baths. Nough said.

Number Three-I am NOT a bad mom because I dress my boy in smocked outfits. That's all I have to say about that one.

Number Four-I am NOT a bad mom because I let his grandmother, whom shall remain nameless, let him take swigs off her decaf coffee and/or her Starbucks, well, and/or her soda. It's the little things in life that make us happy...this way, they're both happy.

Number Five-I am NOT a bad mom because I don't sit down with my son every day and "teach" him his colors and junk. You'd be surprised what a kid picks up if you just TALK to them. His response of choice right now when you say his name? "What?". Yeah, we're gonna work on those manners...ours. My mama always says "it's what's 'caught' that matters".

Number Six-I am NOT a bad mother if I choose to spank my son when he runs into the street. I said "spank"...(gasp)...

Number Seven-I am NOT a bad mom if my son cries for a grand total of 1.5 minutes when he goes to bed or for a nap, and I don't go "rescue" him. He actually falls asleep that way and they (you know, the collective "they") say that some kids just have that in their sleep pattern.

Number Eight-I am NOT a bad mom if I let him eat the occasional fast food. Sometimes you just got to.

Number Nine-I am NOT a bad mom if I don't buy him everything under the sun or keep twenty gazillion toys for him to play with. The kid is happy with a spatula and bowl, for crying out loud.

Number Ten-I am definitely NOT a bad mom if I don't forget who I was before I was a mom and continue to embrace that and enjoy the things I did before the Caveman came along. It's weird though that the longer you're a mom, the harder it is to remember what you did before you were a mom. Anybody feelin' me on that one?

There are so many other ways I've felt scrutinized as a mom, but I won't go any further. You get the idea. If you're a mom, and you understand what I'm sayin', make an effort to encourage other moms in this journey. We're in it together...we have a lot we can offer and a lot we can learn from each other. Why do we have to tear each other down over such inane things? These things I've mentioned are all opinion...even my own! I'm not Super Mom and never claim to be. I don't exercise daily, I don't eat right daily, heck, I don't even get to shower daily (sometimes!). I'm a mom in her thirties just starting out and have a lot to learn. Being a mom is a more than laundry, cleaning and bedtime. It's about pouring yourself into the life of another human and thriving in that position until your job is done. So, if not cleaning the bathroom for three weeks or doing laundry for 4 weeks (not that I would EVER do that!) makes me a bad mom...then I'm ok with that. I'd rather spend that time with my sweet gift from God. Time spent with him is of much greater value than anything my "to do" list has to offer.