Everything for Him..

A couple of years ago if you were to hear Christian Mum in a sentence I think most would picture a homely looking woman, perhaps home-schooling her children with a swear jar on the counter.. okay maybe not.. thank you Instagram and FB- the modern Christian mum is young and hip looking, juggles multiple jobs while volunteering at her local church and pre-school. Perhaps she makes grain free banana muffins on the weekends and she posts pictures of cool looking food oh and her kids wear lots and lots of linen and never poxy pink tutus (guilty as charged..) Hats off to you if you are hip and with it.. I find myself striving to be this “modern Christian mum” swayed by Instagram and Facebook. I was listening to a podcast (crazy right.. 2 kids at home and a podcast playing.. it actually only lasted 15 minutes but more on that later..) this morning of a sermon titled “Everything for Him.” It was like a slap in the face if I’m being honest.. The sermon was based on the scripture: “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:3

I am the first to admit that I am struggling with embracing this season of my life. I’ve been on maternity leave for just over 12 weeks now and I can’t say the going has got any easier. It’s not that the girls are “hard”- by no means are they “hard”- we have been blessed with great eaters and sleepers. Having worked outside of the home since I was 16 (minus one year that was spent overseas) it has been hard to put the working Steph aside and take on mum Steph full time. Yes, I still volunteer at Church and have heaps of work there that I love doing, but you know that I mean. I almost resent my husband each morning as he gets his clothes on and leaves the house. I feel a twinge every time I hear the garage open knowing that I’ll see him in 8 or 9 hours.

Today I was really feeling it- that utter spiral of “is this what my life has been reduced to..”, “will I ever get to go back to work..”, “I wonder if I can end my maternity leave early..”, “I don’t want any more children”.. couple all of that with a massive blow out that actually saw me throw out a singlet (it wasn’t worth trying to save), a cold (that I’ve had since Saturday night) and an untidy pantry and spare room. This may seem ridiculous to you but for someone who thrives in organisation and ‘everything in its place’ I was beside myself.. and then I turned on the podcast. To be honest I’m only about 15 minutes in- the kids woke up so I had to pause it until maybe Friday (haha.. just kidding..but really) but just the idea of “all for the Glory of God” made me really stop and look at my life.

If you find yourself in the trenches of motherhood not knowing when the fog will clear or when you may have even a sliver of independence back let me remind you “all for the Glory of God.” From the minute your child makes a noise in the morning it’s go-go-go (today my day started at 6:15am..so I know exactly how you feel).. It’s hard to remember that everything I’m doing is for the Glory of God. As I washed another load of dishes, waiting for the familiar ding of the washing machine to finish the second load…

…hang on…time out…Raegan has woken up…I’ll be back…

Okay back…

..this is life at the moment..full of interruptions..but all for the Glory of God! My prayer is that my kids and husband see the love of God in everything I say and do.. as I cook another meal my prayer is that my family feel the provision of God and know that we are blessed to have what we have. Every dish in the sink means we had food to eat, every load of laundry means we had clothes to wear, every vacuum of the house means we had walls and a roof over our head to live in, every day of maternity leave means we had the finances for me to raise our children full time- when you look at it through the glory of God you really do see it differently..

I challenge you mumma- this week, start looking at things with “All for the glory of God” in mind!

Here’s an iPhone wallpaper I’ve designed to remind you!

Just click on the image and save to your camera roll.

Woven- To know her is to love her..

For those who have just started following Growing A Bebé, Woven is a new series of stories from the women around me- their stories of labour, love and growing their little families.. I hope you see the imperfect perfect of this experience we call motherhood in the tapestry of stories woven by each woman..

My next guest in our series, Woven, is a dear friend of mine who I look up to so very much. She has been my Pastor’s wife for nearly 8 years- side plug, if you’re looking for a church in Sydney, come along and check out ours here– it’s an amazing church!

She has two children, a beautiful daughter named Qiana and an amazing little boy called Joaquin! To have met her is to love her.. trust me..

You know those people who, when they hug you, are really hugging you? Like they are conveying their love and support with how tightly and confidently they hug you? She is one of those ladies.

Today, I introduce to you Robyn Harvey!

FullSizeRender (1).jpgRobyn (far right), Joaquin (bottom right) and Qiana (middle)

Okay, so here we go..

How big is the family you come from? I come from a family of 4 kids. I am the youngest of the four. I have 2 older sisters and an older brother. There is a 13 year gap between my oldest sister and I.

Can you tell me a bit about your family? My parents and siblings migrated here to Australia in the mid 1970’s. My parents were Pastors in the Methodist Church in Fiji. An opportunity arose for the position of a Pastor in the Northern Sydney suburb of Berowra that was offered to my father. There were strong links between the Australian Methodist and the Fijian church. It was a leap of faith for my parents to move their family to a country that they did not know. My siblings were young then and I was not in the picture yet.

They found it difficult to adjust to a new culture in the beginning and were faced with many challenges. My father was the first non- Australian minister to pastor an all Australian church. They were interviewed by 3 of the local papers at that time and published in the local news. We lived in Northern Sydney for a few years and moved around Newcastle, Yallambie Heights, Berowra and Hornsby, where I was born.

*I tried to find this article, but with it being so long ago I didn’t have any luck! 😦

Okay, so now onto your own family! How many children do you have? I have 2 children.- Qiana & Joaquin, who are my world.

How were your pregnancies? My first pregnancy I had morning sickness up until I was about 7 months. Towards the end, I had a lot of fluid and couldn’t wear closed shoes for the last few weeks and I had put on about 15kgs…yikes! With my 2nd pregnancy, it was great. Morning sickness ended at the 3 months mark and I had a pleasant pregnancy, no fluid like the first one and I was able to wear most of my normal clothes until I was about 7 months.

Where did you have your children? I had them both at Liverpool Hospital.

..and Natural or C-Section? I had a natural birth for both children. I was in labour with my daughter for about 16 hours. I was induced and had to be laying on the bed. Through the excruciating contractions I was unable to walk around or stand as I was strapped with the drip in my arm as well as the machine that was monitoring baby’s heart rate. With my son, I was in hospital at around 11:30pm in the evening and gave birth at 4:37am, it was a much shorter labour and less intense.

If you had to narrow down one of the things you struggled with the most, being a new mum, what would you say?

The hardest thing I struggled with becoming a new Mum was listening to all the different advice that people would give me. It was confusing and overwhelming at times. My mum would tell me how it should be done, the midwives would tell me what I need to do, my friends would tell me something different along with all the many pregnancy and baby books I had bought for myself. Who do I listen to?

We normally only see Joaquin and Qiana at church on Sunday where everyone is either serving, or participating in the service. I asked Robyn to share a funny story involving her kids!

Well, my son never crawled due to his low muscle tone, so he would roll everywhere instead to get around. (Well one day) I left him on the lounge room floor on the playmat to get his lunch ready. When I returned to the lounge room, I couldn’t see or hear him anywhere, I panicked a little and started calling his name out, but he wasn’t responding. After I had called out his name a few times, I heard a small voice that sounded distant, I kept talking to him until I could find where the voice was coming from. As I approached the sofa in the lounge room, it got louder. I got on my knees and looked under the couch and there he was, with the biggest smile on his face chewing on his, “chewy tube” (therapeutic tube) for babies with sensory issues. Cheeky monkey.

Let’s talk about work..Did you work outside of the home when you had children?  Yes, I did work outside of the home. At the time I was a Case Manager for a Welfare Organization working and supporting single young mothers who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. I worked 3 days a week. Qiana was in Family Day Care for those 3 days. By the time my son was born, my mother was on her way to retiring and was only working 2 days a week. So she arranged her roster to work on the days I had off and then she would have her days off when I went to work for the 3 days. This worked out really well for the next 5 years until my son was in Kindergarten.

Where, are you currently working? Well, in 2014 the program I worked 16 years for, lost funding and I was made redundant. I then worked for another Welfare Organisation in the CBD for just over a year, whilst studying my Diploma for Interior Design. When I completed my Diploma, I felt like I needed a career change after working in the Welfare Industry for 17 years. Interior Design has always been my passion. I started my own Interior Design/Styling Business (Salt & Light Interiors) in September 2016. I work for myself from home and I also do Freelance Interior Styling for a styling company in the City.

Robyn is an amazing interior designer- so I’ll make a little plug here, if you are looking for an interior designer in Sydney- I cannot recommend her enough! Her company is linked here: Salt & Light Interiors.

What do you find the hardest thing now is, at this stage of life with your children?

My daughter is now a teenager, that just says it all. Dealing with a teenage girl has proven to be difficult and challenging at times. I guess adolescence is a difficult stage in life, having to deal with changes in the body, mood swings, hormones etc I’m learning everyday.

My son is turning 10 this year and he has an Intellectual Disability. We have had quite a journey with him, one of many challenges and obstacles, but also one of growth and many triumphs. His journey has not been easy, and will continue to be that way throughout his life. He is a placid boy who is very gentle in nature and always has a smile on his face. We will face more mountains to come as he gets older but with the support of our wonderful family, friends and therapists it makes a world of difference. We are so very thankful and so blessed.

As we round up our interview, could you give one piece of advice to a new mum out there?

My one piece of advice to a new mum is always, “Sleep when baby sleeps”. It is so important to be rested in our bodies physically and mentally. Having a new baby is such a wonderful and joyous life event for us but it can also be a very stressful one, having had a enough sleep helps you to think better as well as feel better.

 

 

Mum Life Lessons

img_2093I initially thought about naming this post ‘the postpartum season- not for wimps’ but decided against it considering it wasn’t very eloquent. I’ve been “on the job” for just over 11 weeks now and I find myself conflicted most days.

So.. I decided to jot down a few lessons I have learned over the past 11 weeks since becoming a new mum.. I’m sure there will be many more lessons to follow…

You don’t have to have it all together all the time

No one prepares you for the overwhelming sense of responsibility that hits you like a ton of bricks when you give birth. I remember sitting on a plastic chair in the shower after giving birth, and with tears pouring down my face I asked him “What if I’m a bad mum? What if I don’t know what to do..” I was so overwhelmed with a self-placed expectation to have it all together. When I was pregnant I very much had an idealistic view of what having a baby would be like. I’m not just talking about the birth- I’m talking about life with a baby. I read plenty of books about raising babies and sleep training. I watched youtube videos and read articles online- even with all this research there are days that I don’t have it all together and I struggle to muster up nurturing feelings towards Ava. I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a bad mum.. I would die for her, but when she is sitting in a car screaming for no apparent reason (yes, just yesterday, in stop start traffic) I struggle big time! Guess what? Ava survived yesterday.. and so did I! Life lesson- even on your worst days your baby will survive!

You may do everything right but she will still throw some of the bottle up!

The first time Ava threw up some of her bottle I cried like a baby. It was so heart breaking to watch.. since then she has probably spat up 30 or more times.. On average, if she has had 5 bottles a day, for 11 weeks that’s 385 bottles at least!!! I tried changing the way she lay, the teet, tilting the bottle, keeping her upright.. nothing seems to work.. Life lesson- I can do everything right and things will still get messy!

Worrying won’t get you anywhere

I have envisioned Ava at almost every stage of life and it terrifies me. Every time I see a teenage girl and her mum my mind races to conjure up images of what Ava will look like.. and whether her and I will be best friends like my mum and I. Will we be sitting for coffee or laughing at each others jokes.. where will we be in 12 years time? I see pictures of a father and her daughter at a wedding and I start getting teary thinking about Greg giving Ava to a man to love and cherish. The Bible says that “..all things work together for good”.. Life lesson- Rest in His peace that you are raising a good person! Invite the Lord into every parenting decision you may be facing. God has blessed us with a baby to raise so He will help us!

Don’t trust instagram

I’ve known this for a long time, but instagram is the highlight reel of most people’s lives. For every “perfect” photo there has to be 10 that are miss-matched, chaotic and imperfect! I know.. I’ve tried photographing a newborn! Don’t take everything you see at face value…Life lesson- comparison is the thief of joy..

Surround yourself with people who love you!

Having friends that will force you out of the house are friends that you should surround yourself with! Friends (and my mum) have been my saving grace these past few months! Whether it’s a coffee date, or a play date at someone’s home- community has kept me from becoming a recluse.. I cherish them! Surround yourself with people who won’t let you disappear!

This to shall pass..

Your baby will not be a baby forever. You may not be able to see it now but she will get bigger, and become more self-sufficient. If you choose to, you will go back to work and have that responsibility of helping run a business for a few hours a day instead of managing bottles and nappies. This has probably been the hardest thing for me. From working full-time and being heavily involved in our local Church to timing bottles and changing a bazillion nappies every week it’s been a very big shock to the system. I have to remind myself daily that Ava will not be 3 months old forever..haha.. it sounds very much  like common sense, but it’s hard trust me!

and last but not least.. Just because you find parenting hard doesn’t mean you’re failing at it..

Raising Ava, at this young age, comes with its learning curves- curves that will change during different seasons of her life- they will get steeper and plateau and hopefully stay manageable- as a new mum, if you’re finding it hard to process all the changes, it doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful for the blessing of your baby and it doesn’t mean your failing at mothering. It’s okay to struggle to find the new you, it’s okay if your baby is not your whole world- You can be you and a mum they don’t have to become synonymous.

Wherever you are, if you are a new mum, I hope you’ve found comfort in my ramblings.

xx

P.S Here’s a little photo dump of my growing bebé. I can’t help it..

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