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A blog to support, encourage, and mentor at home moms in all aspects of home making and family life.

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Friday
Jan242014

Anxiously Waiting For Life To Start

My youngest daughter is in labour.  

When I gave birth to her sister, 20-something years ago, things did not go smoothly.  They went a little better when she was born, but women in my family don't give birth easily.  It's a very long, drawn out and often unsuccessful endeavour.  Between my sister and I, three out of our four births resulted in emergency c-sections.

And so I'm uneasy as I wait for texts from my son-in-law.  

"They sent us home, said it would be a while still."

"We would love it if you'd drop some food off, her contractions are more regular and I don't want to leave her.  She's hungry but doesn't know what she wants."

"Going back to the hospital, the morphine has worn off."

At this point as far as I know they're still at home, but they could be back at the hospital.  I'm sure texting us updates on their whereabouts isn't foremost in their minds just now.

Three months ago our older daughter had her first baby.  A home birth with a mid-wife.  I was very nervous about this idea.  I imagined her needing an emergency caesarian, them having to call the ambulance, be transferred to the hospital, prep-her, freeze her -  all taking up valuable, and possibly life threatening, time.  None of this happened.  In fact, she delivered their beautiful, healthy, baby girl, at home, after only 2 1/2 hours of active labour.

So I'm some what less trepidatious this time.  However, this is a different daughter.  A different body.  A different baby.  A different birth.  And just like my own two births were different, even though they were both experienced by the same mother.  I'm very aware that this is a new and different situation.  We don't know how her little body delivers, or how willingly this little babe will enter the world.

My husband knows, from when our older daughter had her baby, that I'm not chatty when our girls are in labour.  And so when I respond to his questions with a distracted and somewhat surly "What???"  He accepts it good-naturedly and leaves me to my pensive silence.

I've sent no emails to friends or family.  I've made no phone calls to let them know the babe's on her way.  I haven't Facebooked or texted anyone.  I want to be left alone.

I am.  Waiting.

Waiting. 

And so, just like when my girls married and I was home, forcibly retired from my beloved job of full-time mother, and I turned to this blog to pour out my feelings of grief and uncertainty at my unfamiliar future.  Today, once again I write for my own comfort.  Not sure whether I'll ever post this or not.  But find reassurance in the silent, anonymous companionship of my readers.

The support of being able to speak to you, to pour out my emotions, without the burden of a reply or questions.  A friend I can confide in without the need to feign excitement, when all I'm feeling at this moment is anxious anticipation.  

I'm not one to parade my emotions.  Unless my emotion is joy.  When I'm anxious or unsure, grief stricken or lonely, I retreat.  And I have, over the past 3 years since I began Your Apron Strings, learned the great solace writing provides me during those times.

Pouring my heart out to a flickering curser that may or may not, at some point, become a link to the many unknown friends I've made through this blog. 

And so I wait. 

Not sure if they're home or in the hospital.  Not sure if this new baby girl is close or hours away.  Praying that the mercies and blessings, God has lavished so richly on our family, will continue for yet another day.  That this little girl and her mother, still a babe herself in my eyes, will come through this safely.  Healthy.  And that my anxiety will once again, as it did when our first grandchild was born, melt into unspeakable joy and thanksgiving.  That I will once again tearfully meet a new love of my life.  And delight at the wondrous joys that await my daughter and her husband through the life of their first born child.  

I wait.

Unable to help her.  Unable to change anything that's going to happen.  Very aware of my dependence on the God I love, and what a tremendous blessing the safe delivery of a child is.

Such unspeakable blessings.  Such unspeakable joys.

Soon.  But for now I wait.

Friday
Jan172014

What You're Offering A Future Husband

I try really hard to keep to my mandate of "encouraging and mentoring, full time, at home mothers," when I write posts for this blog.  To keep away from politics or topics that vary from my set course.  But every now and then an issue comes up so repeatedly that I feel I need to write about it.

In the past 12 months I've had several young women, early 20's ish, want to talk to me about how they're "struggling" with their desire to settle down young and be full time mothers.

Their struggles seem to come from a few different angsts.  Those being;  They have a degree they feel they should use.  They feel that they're supposed to do and accomplish "more" before they settle down and start a family, things like getting an education, traveling or purchasing a home.  But the most common reason they seem to give for their hesitancy to admit their longing to be a wife and mother, is they feel "guilty."  That they're asking too much of the men in their lives.  The fear that it might scare them away.

I realize that much of North America no longer values motherhood as a career, but I didn't realize that this move away from the traditional role of wife and mother, had instilled in the younger generation trepidation to admit that they want it.  

And through this shyness to voice their desires for a traditional life, many young women are misrepresenting themselves as they date.  They just assume that young men no longer want a woman who wants to stay home and raise a family.  They're afraid that their boyfriends will be overwhelmed by the potential responsibility of being the sole provider for a family.  Or that they will be put off at the temerity of a woman expecting to be cared for in such a way.  They feel that it's asking too much and offering too little.

I have to say that coming from a home where my mom was home full time, as were my grandmothers, my husbands mother and his grandmothers, this surprised me.  In our family it's understood that motherhood and homemaking are valuable.  To be honest I'd go so far as to say, I always thought of them as some what of an art form.  Raising well behaved, well mannered kids, learning to be a good cook, organize a home and a family's schedule.  How to host occasions as well as putting the special into every day life.  The pride of keeping an clean and tidy house.  Helping out at school, driving for field trips.  

So as I struggled to wrap my head around how to address this topic.  How to affirm these young women who are coming to me, admitting this secret, shameful desire.  A desire to not have a career, but rather make a career of motherhood, I asked my husband what he thought and again I was surprised.  Well not really surprised so much, as had my eyes opened yet again.  His response was that young women weren't the only ones misrepresenting themselves out of fear of political incorrectness or due to social pressures.  But that young men were as well.  He said that a guy, in this day and age, would be very terrified to say to a woman he was dating, "So what if you just stayed home when we have kids?"  For fear of how she might respond.

And so there you have it.  Men and women longing for something so primal and basic.  Something once so expected, that has, over the last few decades become taboo.  We've somehow reached a point out there in the gendersphere, where we're afraid to tell one another what we really want.  Well that is unless it follows along the recent socially acceptable path of; education, job, live together, marriage, kids, job.

So today I thought I would delineate what it is that a young woman who wants to be a full time wife and mother is offering her future husband, and to champion the value and responsibilities of both his and her contributions in such a union.  

Here's a list, for the men, of what a girl who wants to stay home and be the mother to your children is offering;

  • Someone who will love you and only you, all your life.  
  • Someone who will bear your children.
  • Someone who will teach your children manners and how to get along with others.  Who will put their pictures up on the fridge and drive for their field trips.
  • Someone who will reinforce the teachings of your faith within your home.
  • Someone who will lay beside you in bed and listen to your last thoughts of the day.
  • Someone who will be your lover.
  • Someone who will plan birthday dinners for your parents, and bring them meals when they're sick.
  • Someone who will hold your hand at the movies.
  • Someone who will make sure you're eating healthy.
  • Someone who will use her time and energy to create a home you're happy to return to at the end of the day.  
  • Someone who will share your memories.
  • Someone who will support your dreams.
  • Someone who will live within the budget of your earnings.
  • Someone who will tell you when you're wrong.  And admit when she's wronged you.
  • Someone who will make you dinner.
  • Someone who will do the laundry, buy the groceries and clean the house.
  • Someone who will stick.  Even when the rough patch, stretches into a rough year, and you don't like each other very much right now. 

 

Here's what she's likely to expect in return;

  • Your committed and faithful love, for her entire life.
  • That you will be the soul financial provider for your family.
  • That you will take delight in your children, regardless of when they arrive.
  • That you'll take out the garbage, change the really high light bulbs and get up to see what that noise is in the middle of the night.
  • That you'll mow the lawn.
  • That you'll be a fully involved parent, even though she will be the one who spends more actual time with the kids.
  • That you'll love her as she ages, and see the beauty of a woman who is growing in wisdom and character as she decreases in youth.  That you won't expect her to remain 25 forever.  Mentally or physically.
  • That although she'll respect your position as head of the home, that you, in turn, will respectfully consider her opinions.
  • That you'll place her needs and the needs of your family above your own.
  • That you'll open her car door, without exception.  In the rain.  In the garage.  When you're mad at her.
  • That you'll appreciate the value of the home she creates for you and the children.  The details, and thought and care that go into making a loving sanctuary for your family.
  • That you'll pinch her, when you walk past her in the kitchen, and not wait until you're in bed to show her affection.
  • That you'll keep yourself for her and her only.  Physically, emotionally and mentally. 

 

That's the the offer.  That's the proposal.  It doesn't involve income or career.  Your home and family will be her career.  Loving you and your children, looking after the physical and emotional needs of your family is what she'll channel all her time and energy into.

This is what's on the table.  What a woman who wants to be a wife and mother is offering.  And I'm not ashamed or apologetic to say so.

Monday
Jan062014

Christmas in January, Gift Wrap Ideas

If you're heading out to take advantage of the very, marked down gift wrap mentioned in yesterday's post, I thought these pictures might serve as inspiration.

My girls and I love wrapping Christmas presents.  Something handed down from my Mom, who would put on Christmas music and make a special day of wrapping.  

So I thought I'd share some of the cute ideas that showed up under our tree this year.  The girls' are more creative than mine, mine are just matchy-matchy.  That's just me!  :)  

My colour coordinated presents. I like to use only a couple different kinds of paper so it all looks cohesive. I'm a matchy-matchy kind of Christmas tree girl!Another pic of my matchy tree.

This year our youngest daughter wrapped her presents in craft paper and stamped them all with "Fa la la", then she cut out the letters "FA LA LA" and placed them all through her tree. It was VERY darling! Our eldest daughter wrapped all her gifts with the theme of what was inside. My husband and I are going on a big trip for our 25th anniversary this Spring, so she bought us super comfy, embroidered cashmere travel socks for the overnight flight. You can see the travel lables she's put on the outside of the gift - super cute!!Here's another of our eldest's themed presents. This one has Hendrick's Gin inside. Here's one more of her themed gifts. This one was from our little grandbaby Elisabeth, it had sweet little pictures of her inside. She obviously knows the way to her Grammy's heart! xo

The eventual plight of all gift wrap... The aftermath of our Christmas morning 2013!!!

Monday
Jan062014

Christmas In January, Save Money Shopping For Next Christmas Now!

Okay, I know it just all finished but if you can emotionally handle it, I have some suggestions for things to do now, that will save you money come December!  

So!  (And I realize this sounds like an informercial, but it's true!)  This is the perfect time of year to buy all the Christmas basics.  Everything is on sale, usually for 50 - 70% off!  If you're running low on anything you'll need for next year or are just the kind of person who likes to take care of things in advance, now is a great time to buy;

  • Wrapping paper
  • Christmas cards - unless you do photo cards, then wait until Cyber Monday next November.
  • Gift sets - the ready to give, boxed up sets that are only out at Christmas time.  These are great gifts for people who aren't going to be giving you wish lists like your kids do.  People like - teachers, coaches, grandma, baby sitters.  People you just want to give a little something to at Christmas time.  Don't buy anything perishable, no one wants to receive 11 month old chocolates as a thank you gift!
  • Hostess gifts - scented candles, Christmas napkins, a pretty note book, things like that. 
  • Decor for your own home - that really pretty wreath that was too expensive to buy - it's probably 50% off right now.
  • Christmas PJ - In our family we all get new (matching!) PJ's every Christmas Eve, and it just now dawned on me that I could be buying these on sale in January and not having to worry about it during the busy Christmas season.
  • Christmas dishes - it's fun to have pretty Christmas dishes, but hard to justify buying them when you already have a gift list as long as your arm, once again, they're probably 50% off now.
  • Christmas crackers - if you're Canadian or British you know what these are, if you're American look into it, they're fun - and marked way down right now.  They last just fine, and will still "pop" come next December.
  • Birthday presents for your girlfriends - I know this isn't Christmasy, but during Christmas they put out so many beautiful notebooks, boxed cards, bracelets, sweaters, etc.  There's just oodles of pretty girl stuff in the stores right now, so long as it's not too seasonally specific now is a great time to stock up on pretty things to give your friends.

Almost anything you need for Christmas is still in the stores and being sold at a fraction of the price it was 2 weeks ago.  If you know you're going to need it for next year anyway might as well get it now!  While it's marked way down, there are no line ups and lots of parking spaces.  Oh!  And ask for gift boxes while you're at it!  They still have those too!

*This advice is all given with the caveat that if you went way over budget in December that you should disregard the above.  Saving money only makes sense when you are actually saving, and not digging yourselves further into debt.

Monday
Jan062014

Christmas in January, Don't Throw Out Your Christmas Cards!!!

I wanted to catch you before you throw away the Christmas cards you received this year. 

I'll preface this by giving full credit for this idea to my mother, she's a very clever and thrifty little lady!  I always say she was the original Martha Stewart.  She was "green" before it was in fashion! 

So I learned, by watching my Mom, to re-use Christmas cards, friends has mailed to us, as gift tags the following year.  She would just rip the front of the card off and keep it tucked away until next year.   

They looked really pretty because they're usually bigger than an average gift tag and they have the nice weight of a proper card.

As I've done this, myself, over the years I've also started ripping up my December magazines, (in January) - cutting out images from pretty Christmas ads or articles and gluing them to card stock to use as tags.  I also find that many of the flyers you receive at Christmas are quite beautiful as well.  This year Pottery Barn had a card sized mail out that had a Christmas tree surrounded by candles.  Perfect for a tag. 

When my grandpa died a few years back and we were emptying out his house, I found a box full of gorgeous Christmas cards from the 1960's.  The images on them were so charming.  Somehow much more optomistic than the Christmas images we have now.  Many of them had glitter and were printed on paper that is just somehow different than the paper used for cards now.  I couldn't bear to rip them up, but I scanned some of them and used them for gift tags as well. 

Here are some pictures of some of our presents with tags from old cards, magazines and store mail outs.  Just for the record I had these 'Christmas In January' posts in mind when I took these pictures before Christmas - I don't normally take detailed photos of my Christmas presents!

The tag with the pinecones is one of the vintage ones from my Grandpa's that has been scanned. The "Ho Ho Ho" parcel is a card sent to us last year.

A Hudson's Bay flyer, glued to white card stock.

The Pottery Barn mail out I was telling you about.

Isn't this cute!!?? It's one of the ones from my Grandpa's house. See what I mean about how they have a more optimistic feel to them than cards today?

My file folder of old cards and magazine clippings. I store it with my gift wrap so I'll know where it is come next December.