How many children do you have? I have one with one on the way. We were also foster parents before having biological children.
How old are your child(ren) OR how long have you been a mom? My son is almost 2 years old.
Are you a mom of girls, boys, or both? A boy mom with a little girl coming this summer.
How do I continue to rise in the power and strength of the Lord in this age?
What are some routines that help your day to run more smoothly?
I am such a huge believer in using sustainable systems and routines in my homemaking and motherhood. I have a daily cleaning routine as well as a weekly cleaning routine that I follow to keep my house tidy and in order. For me, having a clean home is not about a home that could be featured in a magazine but rather it is about being tidy and moderately well organized.
I work with many women through my website on establishing good homemaking routines and one thing I have noticed repeatedly is where social media has given us a false expectation of how our homes should appear and function. A clean home does not mean a home that shows no signs of life.
Another area where I love a good routine is meal planning. I write out a meal plan every week and use that to create my grocery list. The mental load that this takes off my plate at the end of a long day is such a lifesaver. At 4 p.m. when I am drained and dreaming of bedtime I do not have to put any effort into deciding what to make for dinner or chasing down ingredients. I did all the leg work before and I’m always so grateful to have the meal plan there and ready to go.
How have you managed Mothering a child living with chronic illness, mental illness, or learning/developmental disabilities or special needs?
Before having biological children my husband and I were foster parents. Being a foster parent was equally the most rewarding and challenging thing that we have faced both as individuals and in our marriage.
Managing as a mother when you are caring for a child with mental illness or learning/developmental disabilities means that you will at times need to put yourself first.
I am often reminded of the speech given before taking off on a flight when you are instructed to put on your oxygen mask before helping another passage to put on his/hers.
From my experience the best advice I can give to mothers in this situation is to remember to take care of yourself. Having a child with extra needs does not mean that your needs become invalid. You cannot pour from an empty cup so make taking time for yourself a priority.
What do you believe are the hardest things for moms to say and why?
I cannot speak for every mother but I know for me the hardest thing to say is that I need help. I have often struggled to ask for help because I convince myself that I should be able to do it all and that needing help is a sign of failure or weakness. I have always wanted to be a mom and a wife so when I am struggling with those roles the voice inside my head tells me that I must be doing something wrong.
In reality, I know that asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness. I have prayed about this struggle a lot and I am grateful to see where God is working in this area of my life.
How has God seen you through a “dark” period in motherhood?
Saying goodbye to our foster son was so deeply painful and broke my heart in every way imaginable. When we accepted the placement it was with the understanding that we would be able to adopt. Without sharing his personal information I will just say that the situation with his biological family was such that adoption was very much on the table and expected. I spent long 12 hour days in the NICU with that precious baby boy and was delighted when we were able to bring him home. His smile could light up an entire room and his giggles were deliciously contagious. I loved him as if I had birthed him myself. It felt as though he was always meant to be a part of our family.
Seven months after he came into our home and hearts his case took an unprecedented turn and he was moved to another state. For those unfamiliar with the foster care system moving a child out of state is incredibly rare. We were just four months shy of changing his last name to ours when we had to say goodbye. I was also five months pregnant at the time which brought my emotions to an all time high. My anxiety and depression was worse than it had ever been before in my life.
I prayed and cried and screamed to God. I was heartbroken and angry and confused.
God carried me every step of the way. When I did not have the willpower or energy to take care of myself and my unborn child relief would come in the form of an unexpected phone call or visit. When I was masking my pain behind a fake smile someone at church would say the exact right thing that spoke to my heart. Bit by bit I was able, through the grace of God, to put the pieces of myself back together again. The raw pain was soothed over and over until my smiles became more genuine than fake and I was able to look forward to the birth of my son.
Felicia Graves – Blogger
I am all the more grateful for the women (like Felicia) who have chosen to join me on this journey of transparency and support – ESPECIALLY in addition to the life adjustments and loads we all experienced in the midst of the last year! I can’t thank you enough.
Connection and support are vital to our growth and survival as humans and as Women. I have met many Mothers (myself included at one point) who are going through the trenches and carrying loads solo. This has often led to depression, loneliness, isolation, and such guilt and shame in “not measuring up”.
My prayer is that the women who lay eyes on “Bold & Brave”, will be encouraged, emboldened, and all the more hopeful.
For the Moms,
This series is for the Moms! In honor of Mothers, this May will be chock-full of real stories of Motherhood from Moms of all ages, in all stages. Join me as I feature different Moms (on a weekly basis) who will so graciously be sharing their life in words.
Missed the previous post? Catch it here. Stay tuned for more stories of triumph, valleys, and faith!
- The MRKD Store is HERE!
- She’s Marked Podcast – Faith Over Feelings
- For the Moms – Treasure in Jars of Clay w/ Hannah Forbes-Smith
- For the Moms – Treasure in Jars of Clay w/ Jen Kosuda
- For the Moms – Treasure in Jars of Clay w/ Kelly A. Foster