The Superpower every Mom needs (and already has)

When you picture God, how do you see Him?  What about our Blessed Mother Mary, how do you see her?  And the Saints, how do you see them in your mind’s eye? When I picture them in my head they are always smiling, and not just smiling, they are beaming at me.  They are radiating Christ’s love.

Even when I’m grumpy and complaining to Him, Jesus is always smiling at me.

I went on a spiritual retreat recently where one of my take away messages was the power of a smile.  For me as a mom of young children, a simple smile is a display of holiness–it radiates God’s love. It’s a kind of superpower, a channel for God’s awesome power to flow through me and into the world…and into my children’s hearts.

I exercised the superpower of a smile yesterday. It was the first time I had intentionally done this during a difficult tantrum, and the results were nothing short of miraculous.

The scene: My 3 y/o daughter is screaming and crying (epic tantrum). I can’t quite remember the cause but I think it was something along the lines of not wanting whatever food was for lunch, etc.

I knelt down at her level, made eye contact and SMILED at her.  Like big, huge Mother Teresa-inspired smile. It was an instantaneous response: her tantrum literally melted away and she was calm.  She told me with her words what she was upset about, and we moved on.  The house was (for the moment) peaceful again.

I feel like I’ve been conditioned to think of tantrums as “bad”, undesirable behavior that needs to be corrected or even disciplined.  So to get down at my daughter’s level and smile went against every fiber of my being.

It was a forced, contrived smile.  I definitely did NOT feel like smiling.  But, as my husband said when we were talking about it later that evening, that smile was true agape love.  To show love, even when you don’t feel it, is to love like God loves.

“I give you a new commandment: love one anther.  As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (John 13:34).

Your smile, Mama, is your superpower…or rather, God’s awesome superpower-love working through you. And what could be a more perfect power than God’s love?

May Goals

With three kids three and under, life is crazy these days. It seems like I keep making goals that I fall short of reaching, and month after month of failing to meet goals is discouraging. When I sat down to write this post, my first thought was: “Why bother with a post about goals? You never keep them.”

But I quickly stomped out that thought. Goals are important. They keep us going, striving for something better. They help to elevate us above mediocrity, and set us on a higher path. They give us purpose and when we do achieve them, they inspire us to greater things.

So here are my May goals. To write these, I returned to my 2018 Big Picture Resolution and Big Dreams and made sure my goals were in line with those.

  1. Daily (creating a daily prayer habit):
    1. 30 minutes of mental prayer each morning.
    2. 1 rosary each day.
    3. Daily mass.
    4. Read 1 psalm and 1 chapter from the New Testament daily.
    5. Read 1 section from a soul-strengthening book daily.
    6. Wash, dry, fold and put away 1 load of laundry daily.
    7. Remember to reflect on the GOOD things I’ve done throughout the day, not just the ways I’ve fallen short.
  2. Weekly:
    1. Weekly confession.
  3. This month:
    1. Plan out homeschooling schedule for the summer (I am discerning homeschooling for our family and am going to try out basic lessons and a daily routine this summer).
    2. Organize family clothes (put away winter clothes, bring out summer clothes, and put away things that are too small, too stained, etc).

I feel like this year is taking a different direction than I envisioned, which is beautiful thing because I can see God’s hand at work in my life.  I can see Him guiding me down a path that I had never really planned for myself. (This in itself is an answered prayer as I daily pray Psalm 25:4, “Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths). God is doing just that for me and there have been a lot of exciting (very surprising) developments in 2018, mainly in amazing opportunities for me to evangelize: being invited to co-lead a Bible study next year, organizing a faith-based book group for the summer, being asked to be a Table Leader for our local MOPS chapter next year, and being able to start up a playgroup for mothers of young children from my church.

These opportunities have all been surprises to me, which just goes to show that you can set your own goals but God might have different goals in mind for you!  Keep your eyes and ears open to God’s goals for your life, because, as I’ve been discovering lately, they are the best ones. 🙂

The 3 Biggest Challenges of 3 Under 3

DS turned two on Sunday, so we’re officially out of the 2 under 2 AND 3 under 3 camp (and now we’re just in the 3 under 3 camp)! We have two 2-year-olds and a 7-week-old, so I thought this would be a good time to write this post since we’re in the thick of it and honestly, life feels HARD right now. Every day is a new challenge with three under three, but here are the top three things that I find to be difficult:

  1. Pure Exhaustion. This one is really, really hard, especially during those first six weeks at home with a newborn. You’re recovering from a physically challenging 9 months, which ended in labor and delivery. Your newborn, of course, is waking up multiple times a night. You expected that. But what you didn’t expect is TODDLER SLEEP REGRESSION. A new baby is a big transition for older siblings, and both of my “big kids”—who were awesome 7p-7a sleepers—started waking up in the middle of the night AND super early in the morning. Then they both got sick and literal poop hit the fan. Everyone in our house was beat tired for several weeks. On top of the lack of sleep is the fact that you’re spending your days chasing after toddlers, instead of resting quietly on the couch with your new baby. My advice? Invest in a Keurig.
  2. Constant needs (and neediness) of children. This one will drain you dry if you don’t make sure to take care of yourself. Again, when they’re sick the neediness is almost more than you can take (and some days it is and you have to turn the TV on and pile everyone on top of you on the couch so that you’re simultaneously able to hold three crying children at once). We have three kids in diapers still, so that’s one area of neediness. Then there are three small mouths to feed, three sleepy kiddos to put to bed, three stinky kiddos to bathe, three times the laundry to wash & fold & put away…the list goes on. On top of all that is the fact that you’ve got two kids around the age of two, so tantrums and meltdowns are no joke. So. Much. Crying. I often feel like I’m playing that Whack-a-Mole game, the one where you knock one mole (child’s need) back under ground, only to have a new mole (child’s need) pop up somewhere else.
  3. Leaving the house. Three kids—who hate their car seats—to buckle into car seats. An infant to carry around, and two walking toddlers to corral. Three times the stuff to carry in the diaper bag (I actually have two diapers bags that I bring with me now—a big one for the car and a small one that comes everywhere with me). Leaving the house is both mentally challenging and physically challenging. Three small people + all of their things to move from point A to point B makes it physically challenging. It’s mentally challenging because you only have one hand free to grab hold of a toddler, but you have two toddlers who may suddenly make a break for it. For now I’ve found the best ways to deal with these challenges is either to keep the baby in a front carrier (ideal because then you have one hand free per toddler) and/or to teach your toddlers to hold hands. Also, invest in a stroller that can carry three children, such as the Uppababy Vista, the CitySelect or the Joovy Qool. Joovy also makes The Big Caboose, but I’ve heard it’s not as easy to maneuver (which you want to be able to do easily with three under three).

Moms who have had three under three, did I miss anything? For those of you who might be preparing for three under three, what questions do you have? In case this post seemed less than cheerful, I should note that my next post will be about the three BEST things about having 3 under 3. 🙂