My girls are LOVING 1 Girl Nation!! They used to listen to One Direction NON-STOP and it was driving me crazy! I was so tired of their “worship” of these boys. They were so ga-ga over them. I went looking for something different and found these beautiful women with music that is very similar sounding to One Direction but the lyrics are so much better. My four girls latched on to this right away and have memorized most of the songs on the album in the short few weeks that we’ve had the disc in the house. I will be buying more of their albums for sure!
I encourage you to check out their links below, listen to a sampling on iTunes and buy if you are so inclined! We love 1GN in the Harris house! (Scroll to the bottom of this post for a video of my two youngest girls dancing and singing to One Girl Nation’s title track. Excuse the chaos! Life goes on, whether we are producing or not! LOL! Especially because everyone wants in on the action – even the dog!)
About 1 Girl Nation:
Landing in the space where One Direction meets TobyMac, 1 Girl Nation is an exciting blend of upbeat pop music, with lyrics that are totally focused on living life for God, even while you’re young. 1GN, as they’ve already been dubbed, stars Carmen, Kayli, Kelsey, Lauryn Taylor and Lindsey, five girls with a passion for telling their fans about Christ through their music. Their first single, “While We’re Young,” can be heard on radio stations across the country and their self-titled debut album is available now!
When J and I got married we decided that we wanted many children and ignored most of the advice we got. “Go on the pill, NOW!” I didn’t. “Get to know each other before you have kids.” We figured we knew each other pretty well and there was a lot of time for that. “Wait at least five years before adding a child to your relationship.” We were married in December of 2000. Harris Baby #1 was conceived late January / early February of 2001. This is the story of her birth.
Not far into the pregnancy, we made an appointment at the local clinic with a lady doctor who we had heard good things about. Our thinking was that since she’d had a baby we would be more comfortable with her. This was not to be so! She treated J like his should not be there, because he had already done his part. She did not listen to us. We didn’t want the PAP, or any STD tests done. She insisted, saying, “I’m here anyway, I might as well.” (In response to our not wanted the STD testing done but we had already agreed to the PAP; figured we had to agree to that.) We both felt violated and ignored. She insisted on other things like an early ultrasound and used “scare tactics” to get me to agree. We made the second appointment but never went. Instead I started looking for a local midwife. The closest was an hour away. We connected well with the first and only midwife I called!
We attended a new church the morning of my due date. Although they could tell I was expecting, no one guessed that I was “due” that day. We knew that it was unlikely we would go into labor that day as few babies actually arrive on their given date. We went about our Sunday activities – to a church member’s home for a meal, home to watch tv. No inclination of what was to come that night until we were headed to bed.
On the way to the bedroom I had a “spurt” of bloody show that scared us a little so we called our midwife for support. She assured us that all was fine, that the baby would be arriving within the next couple of days. She said to keep in touch and to get a good sleep. She said that when labor hit to call her “when it wasn’t fun anymore” and she’d head our direction.
Well, labor started almost immediately. We did go to bed and I tried to sleep through the contractions. I felt like I was disturbing J and ended up getting up a couple of hours later. I folded laundry while letting him sleep as long as I could. The contractions got to a point where I couldn’t handle them alone anymore so I got J up. He prepared the bed and house for delivery in between contractions. I called our midwife again and asked her to come. She took a LONG time to do so due to some car trouble. The time between my call and the time of her arrival probably seemed longer because of the “activity” at hand and me wanting an experienced person by my side. When she arrived J helped carry in her equipment while she helped me find a good position to encourage labor and drop the baby more. Not too long after her arrival she checked my dilation. I was 9cm. She called the second midwife to come.
I remember how tired J and I were by this time. I remember feeling out of control even once I started pushing. I didn’t know what to expect; I hadn’t educated myself but had expected others to educated me. J was my birthing apparatus – stool, leaning post, hanging “bar”. He was exhausted. We finally found a position where he could sit and still support me and I could be upright enough to birth comfortably.
I had a prayer warrior for this birth too. My friend received a call from me just after my first call to our midwife. I remember that she called back the next morning to see if anything had really happened while I was in the midst of intense pushing. The answering machine had this tone that kept beeping to tell us there was a message. That sound drove me crazy! I finally begged them to turn it off! My friend had spend part of the night and early morning in prayer for this birth!
I don’t remember the second midwife’s arrival or her departure. She was just there and did what was needed to be done and then was gone again. Her biggest role that morning was to help suction and get our baby breathing / crying well (meconium in the fluid caused issues and concern).
Kristyn LaDonna (7lbs 6oz) was born mid-morning, caught by our midwife, beside our double bed in the comfort of our home. I was helped into bed and I snuggled with our new baby, while J ran on adrenaline – cleaning up, doing laundry, calling friends and family. Our midwife, quietly did her paperwork at the table, not disturbing or interfering. Baby was weight and measured and checked over at our request before she left.
I did have trouble with nursing. A combination of things caused this. Kristyn was a sleeper at first. We couldn’t keep her awake to eat and I wasn’t letting down my milk. After a visit or two and some coaching over the phone we got the hang of it. She became a pro and nursed for about 14 months, even through another pregnancy and baby arriving before she was a year old.
EDD: November 1, 2008
DOB: October 27, 2008
For about a week prior to her birth I had been having crampy, practice labor – an hour here and there, so when I woke Sunday, October 26th with contractions about 20 minutes apart I was not concerned. I got everyone dressed and we went to church. Through the service and visiting afterward, my contractions spread out to 40 minutes and petered out to nothing through the afternoon. Around 4:30 PM the contractions started again – about 40 minutes apart. I went shopping for a few grocery items that we needed; Jason kept the kids. When I got back I got stuff put away and made mac and cheese for supper.
While doing baths and bed routine I had the girls help get their overnight bags ready and Jason and I started timing contractions. They were odd. I never quite knew when one started or stopped or when they peaked. They varied in length and intensity and frequency – anywhere from 1.5 minutes to 2.5 minutes and 3.5 and 6 minutes apart. Between 9 and 10 PM, I called our midwife to get her input and to give her an update. She agreed that the contractions seemed more like practice than the real thing. She advised that we get some rest as best as possible and to keep in touch.
So I went and took a shower and got ready for bed. I slept fitfully on the couch while Jason watched TV. On one of my many trips downstairs to the bathroom we got the bed prepared for me to sleep there and then he did his evening routine. It was around 1AM. At about 20 after 1 I had a tough contraction that gave a kick or a pop. During this contraction Jason suggested that we do something more to cover the bedding in case my water broke. Well, when I stood to allow him to do so, I found myself standing in a puddle. I guess that pop had a purpose – to kick this lagging labor in the butt!
I called our midwife but got her voice mail 2 or 3 times and I got a little concerned that maybe she’d been called out to another birth or something. But I called her pager and she called back around 1:45AM. I told her that my water had broke and that she should come this way. She had a two hour drive ahead of her. The contractions were more intense, more regular and longer. Because she missed our last birth due to inclement weather and the speed of which he came into this world, she asked if I figured she’d make it. I thought she’d have lots of time; the contractions weren’t “that strong”. (I remember her telling me with my very first pregnancy, to call her when “it wasn’t fun anymore”. I wasn’t to that point yet!)
Well, Jason moved me back to the couch. Our little guy (22 months) wouldn’t stay asleep and wanted nothing to do with Daddy. So we decided we had better call the sitter to come and get all the kids. (Earlier we had discussed just letting them sleep and having the sitter run interference in the morning.) When she arrived the little man was sleeping on my tummy and I was well focused on each contraction. So while Jason and our friend did well collecting kids and paraphernalia I did have to direct traffic a little (well, I probably didn’t have to, but I did). They were gone by 2:30AM and it was just Jason and I again.
He positioned himself to help me and I remember saying to him, “I think I’ve stalled.” I had no contractions, no urges to push, nothing. I was just resting, and relaxed. And then all of a sudden a switch seemed to flip and I went full force into push mode. I continued to sit on the couch and got frustrated as it felt like I was preventing the baby from coming out – pushing baby into the couch cushion. I moved to the floor, kneeling on a blanket for warmth. Jason applied counter pressure with each push. I loved how we communicated. No anger or frustration. Just direction here and there. And questions like “Is that good?’ “Need more?” I was amazed at how quickly this seemed to go.
I was worried about tearing. I didn’t seem to be stretching fast or far enough to accommodate baby’s size or speed of delivery. Jason got hot ginger cloths to help soften and soothe, and we gently stretched the skin around her large noggin! I even asked Jason to check that it really was a head and not a butt coming first, but now we see that her butt is smaller than her head. I remember a couple of times changing position to slow her descent. Not that I tried to push her back in, but I just needed some relief and time to stretch a little more.
Finally baby’s head was completely born but the shoulders and body did not follow with the next couple of pushes. Baby was going a little blue. I changed positions a couple of times and still no change. I wasn’t worried but knew that we had to do something soon. Jason got active and right up in there to give a gentle tug. He must have missed the catch because there she was beside me. (We were expecting a boy; just a gut feeling and the way I was carrying her in pregnancy.) I scooped her up and started rubbing and patting to get her crying and breathing. It was 3:30AM.
She was beautiful pink all over in just a few seconds. Clear soft skin. And lungs! The girl has lungs!
Jason moved the two of us to the couch and started covering us with blankets. He had the temperature so high in the house that he was sweating like crazy but baby and I were so cold. Then the contractions for the placenta hit. OUCH! But no sight of it. Normal for me is within the first half hour, but being that this whole delivery was abnormal, I shouldn’t have been surprised.
Our midwife called from the road about 20 minutes after baby was born. She asked if I was going to wait for her and I had to apologize saying, “I just couldn’t. She wanted to come out so badly!” She was another 20 minutes away yet. I still hadn’t delivered the placenta when they (she’d stopped to pick up a support /backup midwife) arrived. Our midwife had time to deal with the cord before the next contraction came. (Jason had gone outside and really had no interest in cutting the cord; he considered himself “off duty” once they arrived.) With that contraction the placenta arrived all in one piece; it was very large, almost like another baby! In fact, earlier while we were waiting and the contractions were so “brutal” I questioned whether there was another baby in there but after some poking Jason and I decided that we were parents again to only one more baby, not two.
I am so pleased to say that that I did not pass out this time. Not when they moved me to a more comfortable position, nor when I got up (was helped up) to pee in a bucket. And I haven’t since! My body “got it right” this time. Oh, I’m feeling the pain of sore muscles and such of the pregnancy and delivery, but nothing like after the last speedy entry.
I did not know the baby’s name. When the midwife was doing her paperwork and asked, I just looked at Jason. He named her and I am so pleased with what he chose. I got to choose the spelling though and I love the letter Y so of course that went in!
Rayna, Jason and I spent the day on the couch – in and out of sleep, watching TV, phoning family and friends. The other children came home late in the afternoon. Another friend brought supper and bathed all the kids. Then at bedtime a third woman and our sitter came by with gifts and to put the older ones to bed. We have been so blessed.
Baby Rayna is well looked after and loved. A new baby always shows me the older children’s personalities. K(7) is a little momma – holding and changing diapers, bossing the other children. CJ(6) thinks baby is just a live doll whose clothes need changing regularly. M(3.5) just loves to talk about her baby sister but can never remember her name. W(22mon and only boy) pokes and pats and hugs; he’s feeling the pinch of not being the baby anymore; this “baby sissa” is always in the way, in his spot beside or on mommy.
I’ve never gone into labor early, so that was a pleasant surprise. I was very glad I had done as much prep work as I had – packing bags, collecting supplies and buying things for the newborn. I had activities planned for the next couple of weeks to keep us occupied and have had to change those plans, but that’s okay. We are loving on this baby and taking the time needed to recover and adjust to her being with us now. And we are welcoming guests; we are far from bored!
Our second baby came along sooner than we had planned but God knew what we needed, even if it wasn’t what we expected. Kristyn was only three months old when I got pregnant with number two. The pregnancy went smoothly until the end when close to my due date we realized that our little one was breech. When the tricks the midwives had didn’t work we had a consult appointment with a midwifery friendly doctor who was willing to try a breech delivery depending on what an ultra sound showed. This appointment required a trip to the city an hour away and for us to leave Kristyn with a sitter. It was to be a day trip.
Our midwife was to meet us at the hospital for the appointment but she was help up and we got started without her. A nurse directed us to a bed, left a hospital gown and directed me to get changed. Eventually the doctor came and started the ultrasound. The ultrasound showed a double footling breech (both feet engaged in the birth canal), the worst possible kind for a vaginal delivery.
While waiting for the doctor’s verdict, our midwife arrived and we had a parade of interns come into the room. Midwives are well practiced in feeling for the position of a baby in utereo, and these interns had very little experience with feeling a breech baby and came asking to feel; to be instructed in what to look for in such a position. I was happy to help as was my midwife.
Because my due date was close and baby was not in a good position the doctor decided that a c-section that day or the next would be best, but regardless, I would not be leaving the city. We came prepared with a detailed birth plan, but we were not prepared for such a decision so quickly. We discussed our options with our midwife. The doctor wanted me to stay at the hospital until the delivery but I did not! We had no clothes, bags or anything as we had not been planning to stay longer than a few hours. Jason decided to drive the hour home to pick up our things and to arrange for longer term care for Kristyn. Before he left, we compromised with the doctor and I went to our midwife’s home for a few hours to rest. When J returned we went together to the hospital.
Our midwife had agreed to stay for the surgery to be an advocate for us but due to delays at the hospital and responsibilities at home she had to leave. Not long after she left we were moved up! The surgery went smoothly and Jason was able to stay with me for most of the preparation and procedure. I was able to hold our little Cora-Jean (7lbs 5oz) a little right away but mostly I had Jason stay with her. The drugs made me shaky and very cold. I didn’t feel comfortable holding her.
As far as I remember we were moved quite quickly to a semi-private room. Our birth plan always seemed to be read after the initial rounds because with each shift change we had to re-explain what we did and didn’t want to have done with me or with baby. I remember having to explain to a nurse that I knew how to breastfeed a baby as I was still nursing my one year old who was at home. Thankfully the nursing staff was great about leaving us to do our own thing and ask for what we needed when we needed it. CJ was able to be in the room with us unless we needed more sleep and they were very willing to keep a watch over her. The day we wanted to go home we got the flu so we had to stay an extra day. Another thing I remember is drugs. They love to give you drugs. They gave me pain killers regularly in the hospital and sent me home with Tylenol 3s. I took them until I realized that I was not remembering my daughters’ names nor events surrounding the birth. I was surprised at my lack of pain without them and how clear my mind became. It wasn’t long until we were well on our way to a regular routine with two babies.
A couple of years ago I devoured a book and am currently reading a follow up title: Discover Your Children’s Gifts by Don Fortune and his wife. There are quite extensive quizzes included in the book which I had my children take. I read the questions and recorded their answers. According to their answers, I have a house full of servers and some days that is very evident. Just the other day, Marrissa (8) very willingly and without a fuss set up and cut up all the veggies we needed for lunch. I’ll give you a quick rundown of the gifts and where each member of our family fits. Once you know where the children’s gifts lay the book goes on to explain how best to encourage and grow that gifting in your child. The authors go into a very extensive discussion on how to parent the child, deal with the negatives and what kind of jobs each gifting would be best suited for. I am amazed at the depth of the study and I am taking my sweet sweet time in getting through the book. My friend, Reagan from Be Well With Ree, lent me the book and I’m sure she wants it back. Maybe I should get my own copy.
So here are the gifts, listed in the book:
Jason is pretty well balanced but he’s an administrator perceiver first and foremost. He just knows things and he knows how to organize people. I am a teacher and administrator. I love all things learning; I’d go to school full time if I could manage it. Kristyn is a server perceiver. I think she’s the most difficult to parent and is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to get my hands on this book. I want to nurture who she is supposed to be and not squelch it. Cora is a compassionate server. She puts others first all the time and when not misused will serve others all day long. Marrissa, like I mentioned earlier is also a server, but a giver too. She would give and give and give and will serve you her gifts with a cheerful smile and a bounce in her step! Now with the rest, their giftings are not as clear, because they are so young, but we suspect that Wyatt maybe be an exhorter, Rayna is probably a perceiver and Matthias could be a server too. Axle’s just too young altogether.
While I was reading a few more pages the other day, it occurred to me that these gifts could have body parts “attached” or assigned to them. And my thought process went like this:
Perceiver are the eyes; they see clearly.
Servers could be the strong back out there doing what needs to be done.
The teachers and administrators are the brains of the unit – each with a specific task; maybe a left brain / right brain type idea.
The exhorter is spirit or the cheerleaders. (maybe the hormones? lol)
The givers are the hands and feet of the organization.
People of compassion are the heart.
If you are interested at all in this kind of thing, I encourage you to get a copy of these books (either one will help you understand yourself and those around you). Plus, it’s neat to see how these spiritual gifts fit right in with the Myers Briggs or the four energy types from Carole Tuttle.
I haven’t read aloud to the children consistently, but we are reading this book at supper time most evenings. Everyone is enjoying the story of escape and survival! They always want me to read another chapter, just one more please! But I don’t; I’ve been sick and one chapter is all my voice and head can do at a time.
“So far I like the part where Mary, Barbara and the two boys go to find Regina, and get home.” -Marrissa (age 8). We haven’t gotten to the part where they actually accomplish their task, but the adventure thus far has been exciting. **UPDATE 08/31/2013: We did finish the book tonight. It was all this momma could do not to cry through the last number of chapters.**
Here’s a quick rundown of the story and upcoming movie based on this real life true story.
About Alone Yet Not Alone (novelization): Settled in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania, deep within America’s new frontier, the Leininger family celebrates the blessings of a beautiful homestead and bountiful harvest. That is, until tragedy strikes with the beginning of the French and Indian War and the devastating raid known as the Penn’s Creek Massacre. The lives of this simple, God-fearing family are forever altered when Barbara and Regina, two young sisters, are carried away by the Delaware tribe. Driven by their faith in God and the powerful bonds of family, Barbara and Regina hold firmly to the belief that they are never alone, even in their darkest hour, and that they will be reunited again. Rich in historical details, Alone Yet Not Alone is an inspirational, true story of a family caught in the cross fire of the French and Indian War.
About The Author: Tracy Leininger Craven loves history and retelling real-life stories in her historical fiction books. She also loves spending her free time in the great outdoors with her husband David and their four children.
We are super excited for the movie that is coming out (in theatres) on September 27th. You can find a theatre (hopefully near you) that will be playing this exciting movie here. We will have to wait until it comes out on dvd. So sad.
Kristyn (11) and Cora (10) say: It’s really good and very neat that it’s a true story.”
Movie Twitter: https://twitter.com/
Movie Website: http://www.
“MY favorite part is when they escaped. And I love Alone Yet Not Alone and the best best best best part was when they, like, they found an indian.” – Wyatt (age 6)
**UPDATE 08/31/2013: What a great story!! A happy ending, which is always nice, of course. The ending is tough to read, especially if you can empathize or sympathize with what the characters are experiencing!
It was Fair Days and the fire department was an active part of the festivities. Being 39 weeks pregnant I was unsure that I was going to attend but decided to take the children for a couple of hours. They rode on some of the rides, ate cotton candy, and dunked Daddy in the fire department’s dunk tank. I had trouble when I wanted to head home. The children did not want to leave. It was just after three when we arrived home. Due to attitudes and being overtired, I sent everyone to their beds for naps. I usually sit at my computer for some undisturbed time online to work on my blog or something, but this time I chose to lay down in my bed as well (as I had just prior to taking the kids to the fair). No one napped, nor did they stay in their beds very long, but attitudes were better so I let them up to watch a bit of television.
By 5:30 pm I was having regular contractions (as regular as they got) that were coming every 8 to 20 minutes. And seriously, that’s as regular as they got. I called J, who was still at the Fair, to tell him that labor had started, that he didn’t need to rush home, but that he should find someone else to take on his responsibilities for the next day.
We got supper, baths and bedtime done and told the older girls what was going on, so they were prepared if they needed to be moved to my friend’s home in the middle of the night. They were a little excited but did very well with staying in bed and going to sleep. The younger two went to sleep well. I contacted my friend to give her a heads up and we decided that unless someone woke up and needed attention that we would just keep the children here through the night and not disturb them or her. I would call her in the morning so she could get them for breakfast and take them to church. I called my midwife, Cathy, to let her know where things were at so we could make a plan for her trip to me. She had missed the last two births and we didn’t want her to miss this one too.
Because my contractions were still very irregular (certainly not by the book; they were not getting closer together; they were not really getting more intense) we decided to wait about another hour. At around 9:30, Cathy decided that she would slowly make her way this direction (a two hour drive) and sleep in her car until she was needed. If things petered out, she’d just return home in the morning.
Jason ended up falling asleep. I puttered around on the computer and around the house, cleaning things up and getting a few things set up for when they would be needed later. My contractions were still 10 to 20 minutes apart. I did try to sleep from time to time but never got very much. Eventually I moved some small toy boxes and laundry baskets out of the way so I could start getting the camp-bed out. (NOTE: Don’t use an air mattress to deliver a baby on! It’s too bouncy, does not provide support and is not great for recovery either.)
All of a sudden, around 2:30 am, I needed Jason and Cathy NOW! The contractions were harder and coming a little more often but not more regular. We got the bed completely set up and showed Cathy where her supplies were that we had collected.
Jason says that for the whole night I wandered around like a sheep looking for a place to give birth. I guess I was. Finally, I was convinced to lay down and rest between contractions. My contractions became less intense but never quit. We all began to think that maybe we’d have a while to go yet.
During this time, Rayna (22 months) was awake. We just had her stay awake in her bed. From where she was she could see us and interact with us. Eventually, she just lay down and went back to sleep.
All of a sudden, and I mean all. of. a. sudden, I HAD TO get up. I JUST HAD TO. I had not vocalized through very many contractions up to this point. Simple concentration and such had gotten me through each one to this point. However, during this next contraction, the house sprang into action. Jason and Cathy were immediately up and ready to help however I needed. I don’t know for sure what time it was but I’ve been told it was close to 5:00 am.
I started pushing with that contraction. At 5:11 am my water broke. I don’t know how many pushes, but at 5:24 am baby was born.
Now for some thoughts, after the fact.
I remember saying, “I’m not ready for this. It’s happening too fast.” I remember snapping at Jason because he wouldn’t quit offering me knee pads. I remember not wanting to tear; I’ve never torn. I remember having the urge to push but purposely holding back. Looking back I realize that doing that caused my midwife some concern.
I was facing Jason who was sitting on a chair pushing, and resting. Cathy tried to get baby’s heart rate and that really frustrated me because the angle was bad; she couldn’t get a heart rate and baby was not coming as quickly as she expected. She became concerned and had Jason help me flip to my back so that she could maneuver baby out. From the time she started to take the heart rate I felt I’d lost control of my birth. I was hurt (emotionally) and slightly offended.
However, I have since had a chance to speak with Cathy about it and feel at peace now. It was a miscommunication. With my history of shoulder dystocia and “tight” babies I understand her position. Having done two births unassisted (only Jason was there to help me), having to trust my body and listen intently to it, I didn’t feel the need to communicate what I was doing (not pushing) or why.
Back to the story:
Immediately after his birth, baby was on my chest. I checked the gender and immediately relaxed. Jason and Cathy took over; I was so relieved that it was over, that my baby was here, that I’d done it again. I had another boy. I didn’t pass out but I was spent. I had no desire to move and didn’t care how uncomfortable I was. Thankfully, they took great care of me; soon baby and I were snuggled in and he was nursing vigorously.
Oh, the other children:
Marrissa was awake first and woke the others. She said, “I heard a squeaky cry and I was scared.” Matthias does have a very squeaky cry. Jason kept the girls downstairs for as long as he could but they we awfully excited and wanted to meet their new baby brother. About 6:30 am, I texted my friend and she came to get the five of them so Jason, Matthias and I could rest.
EDD: August 18, 2010
There is a fine line between “me time” and “self care”. As a mom of many and pretty intense introvert, I do need to recharge alone (or seemingly alone) and have breaks throughout the day to function at the level that is required of me. For me, that recharge time is self care. My self care morphs into me time when my attitude changes. When I extend what I need to being obsessed with being alone, with being away from my family. When I’m taking care of myself, I can often get what I need while my children are in the room, or playing outside. When I have slipped into the obsession of me time, I must be away; I beg for it; I insist upon being alone or away and I make everyone around me miserable in my frustration at not getting what I want. The fine line between the two is crossed when my need turns into selfishness.
When I subcomb to the Me Time Monster, I am never satisfied. I “need” to go out more. I “need” to be with friends. I “must” exercise. I “have to” go to the library. I “need” to run errands alone. And then my dissatisfaction extends to Jason and the children. No one can do anything right. Jason doesn’t spend enough time with me. He doesn’t listen to me. All he does is sit in his chair and do nothing. None of these things are really true but they seem true to me when I’ve moved into martyr mode and the me-time mindset.
My self care activities do not require that I have some uninterrupted time alone, or alone with Jason. I work my down time into my day. I have to do this because I am a busy work at home, homeschool mom of seven little ones. I don’t have time to “run away” to go shopping or a movie or go to the gym. The biggest thing right now that Jason and I have orchestrated for me to get away is my evening walk/run – rain or shine or snow or fog. We have a medium sized dog, in town, without a place to run. I greatly enjoy walking and running as exercise. Without regular exercise our dog started to develop behaviors no one liked, so I am combining the two needs. Immediately after supper, for the last week or so (and continuing into the future), I have taken my dog for a half hour to an hour long walk while my family does meal clean up. I get home in time to help with baths and maybe even read to the children before bed. The vast improvement on our life since we started this has almost been tangible. The bedtime routine goes so much smoother! (Meal clean up followed immediately by the bedtime routine caused so much conflict when I was involved in both! So we tag team; he supervises supper clean up and I do bedtime.)
Here are some other things I do in the midst of my day to recharge. All I need, most of the time, is a few minutes here and there to refocus, be still and be quiet.
I read a number of articles on both sides of this me time myth debate. I say both sides but most were saying the same thing – just putting a different definition or use slightly different words to say the same thing. The argument comes down to ATTITUDE and FOCUS. What’s your attitude? What are you focused on? Are you focused on SELF or focused on GOD? Are you focused on NEED or on WANT? Are you making the best of the situation you find yourself in or are you demanding things that can’t happen right now for whatever reason (be it finances or ill children or scheduling)? When my focus is on myself, I become selfish. When my focus is on God and others, I get the things I need.
Keep muddling through,
Other articles on the topic:
The Me Time Myth by Amy Roberts
Caring for Yourself by Amy Roberts
The Great Myth of Me Time by Frank Furedi (great article by a sociologist who thinks society has caused the great load mother’s carry and the need they feel to separate themselves from their families)
The Great Myth of Me Time is an extension or expansion on the article by Frank Furedi above.
This is the first post I read when starting my research for this post: The Myth of “Me-Time” or I Want My Cake by Jaclyn. I loved what she said at the end. ”I’m actually hoping that this might relieve some pressure off of us parents. Don’t look at it as robbing you of your “Me Time,” look at it as permission to relax a little bit and parent in such a way that you won’t feel sucked-dry at the end of the day. We’ll always have hobbies and things that are separate from our families and that’s ok, I’m not saying we should never have alone time. However, I think our expectations on the quantity and quality of “Me Time” are a set-up for disappointment. Let’s be real about what will truly benefit us. Let’s relax in our parenting approach. Let’s show our kids how to refuel without escaping from relationship.” (emphasis mine)
Amy Austin has some INCREDIBLE ideas for working self care into your day! I loved her post here.
A friend from high school posted an article on Facebook recently about the new Equestria Girls – an extension of My Little Ponies. This particular program is not the only offending one. Others that fall into that category for me are: Bratz, Monster High, and Littlest Pet Shop. My friend says she’s is done with what she calls ‘slut dolls’. And I am too. As a mother of four little girls, I try to teach and model modesty. Daily I fight against society’s sexuality and we don’t even have a TV. (We do have YouTube and Netflix but those are controlled and will be more controlled as necessary.) I’m disappointed and disgusted that the “almighty they” have ruined yet another childhood program / toy.
When my children (cuz my boys love My Little Pony too) watch a lot of this program the attitudes and the misbehavior that comes out of them is appalling. I know there is an argument that it’s the fact that they are watching TV; it wouldn’t matter what the program was, but I beg to differ. They can watch documentaries and nature programs and the effect is not the same. My kids claim, and so do proponents of the program that the show teaches positive things and friendship but I don’t see it when my kids pick up on all the negative behaviors and attitudes of the characters. I just don’t buy it.
So, I am taking a stand. I’m making a goal for no more ‘slut dolls’; no more crappy television for my kids. That term encompasses more than their clothing. It is their attitudes, their behaviors and their speech. I don’t want to raise vulgar little girls who don’t respect themselves or others. And so it is not enough to identify the bad, wrong, evil in our world. We need to take the next step to replace that evil with something good, right, Godly. So, I am formulating a plan, going on a search, and if I have to, creating it myself. I want to teach my girls about the heroines and women of faith in the Bible. I want to teach my girls that they can be amazing without being worldly. I want to find shining examples in the world around us that they can model their lives after. We are to be different from the world and as I raise my children I want to model that for them.
And by I, I mean me. This modeling and teaching needs to go deeper. I have let some things get out of control around here. I have some changes in my own life that I need work on and continue to work on. I want to be and I want to continue becoming someone I would be proud to have my daughters model themselves after. I mean, isn’t that the point of parenting?
So, which heroine from the Bible should we study and why? Do you have an excellent resource you can recommend for our family? Our older girls are 8, 10 and 11.
Striving to live and learn God’s principles,
By the time this posts to you, I will be almost to the end of a family reunion and so in the time leading up to this weekend I’ve been thinking a lot about family. The reunion is for my mom’s parents, her sisters and their families. My parents were unable to attend being that they live in Rwanda; you can read about their adventures at Grandma Johnny is in Rwanda.
I was born into the family we visited this weekend. I am the eldest and only daughter of my grandparent’s 4th born daughter. The bond we have is one of DNA. ”The sisters” (growing up there were seven of them) as they are respectfully and collectively known are a diverse and loud bunch of ladies. I really can’t say Grandpa and Grandma did things small scale. (I’ll post pics of the reunion later this week, or early next.) The family has grown over the last 20 years so that until this weekend I hadn’t met many of the great-grandkids. Over the years, my extended family – my mom’s sisters and parents – have been there for me, Jason and the kids. Our house fire and neonatal death are most prominent but there are been other times too. As a family, we stick together – it’s in the blood.
I’m not a firefighter but I have an amazing fire family. These men and women that Jason works with (and the greater fire community too) support one another and their families through thick and thin, but we’re just like any family. There are squabbles and nitpicking. Some departments are worse than others, I’m sure. When it comes down to the wire, I can trust the others going into the flames with my husband will bring him home with them, no matter what. The group of them shed blood, sweat and tears together; it’s a bond not everyone understands.
Body of Christ
As a believer, having accepted the gift of God’s salvation, I have a third blood family. Yahweh provided his son as a blood sacrifice for our sins. We see modeled in the Old Testament through the sacrifices commanded to the Israelite people, and we read as the events unfold in the New Testament. I look forward to the day when I will be together with the whole family, rejoicing and praising God. What an AMAZING family reunion that will be! As I grow and learn more about my relationship and responsibilities in this family of God, I am excited to go where He leads.
There’s the saying, in relation to DNA family, that “blood is thicker than water” but in my world, I extend that to these three umbrellas. In my book, you’re just “water” if you don’t fit in one of these groups. (Friends that feel like family always seem to fit into one of these other categories. I love that!)
Lovin’ life with my families,
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