Motherhood Monday – Andrea N.

Monday is here, and I’m welcoming Andrea to the blog for Motherhood Monday!

Meet Andrea

Andrea has quickly become one of my closest friends in Atlanta. We do a “family” dinner with her family (+ Allison‘s family + one other family, whose mom is my next guest!) every other Tuesday. It has been so much fun to see our kids play and our relationships grow since we started getting together. Andrea is wise and so loving to her three girls. Her youngest and Henry are less than two months apart too! We are so thankful for their family for inviting us in and being intentional with us.

The Interview

1. Explain your “motherhood journey.” Including your kid(s) and their age(s)

I was never one of those girls who dreamed of becoming a mom. I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to have a family one day, but it wasn’t something I thought about all the time. My husband, Jeremy, and I were married for six years before we had our first child, Analeigh. I use to tell people if she came out as a teenager I would be happy. Why, you may ask, because my husband and I were in youth ministry and I felt like I understood teenagers way better than babies! I remember holding Analeigh for the first time and being over joyed and terrified at the same time! As she grew, I learned so much about unconditional love and how much the Lord loves us. And, man, did I need that reminder! That little girl stole my heart and I have been thankful ever since that she made me a mommy! We liked the first kid so much we decided to have another one! Eva was born and we felt like our family was complete. However, God had other plans and decided to give us a little surprise six months ago and Hadley joined our family. For those of you keeping track, that’s three girls! Analeigh is five, Eva is two, and like I mentioned Hadley is six months. Life is busy and sometimes a little chaotic, but also filled with so much joy!

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A family of five! Picture provided by Andrea

2. What is the biggest lesson (or 2 or 3) that you’ve learned from being a mom?

The biggest lesson I have learned is that things are not perfect. No matter how much planning, Pinterest searching, or ideas in your head things and life are not perfect! I do not have a perfectly clean house (ask Erin!), I don’t have perfectly behaving kids, and I’m not perfectly organized. And that is perfectly okay (pun intended)! Childhood is about allowing your children to explore, grow, and fail. That’s what will eventually make them great adults. Do I get upset sometimes about things not being “perfect”….sometimes I do. But I try to remind myself to find joy in the everyday and enjoy my children where they are at. The only thing perfect in this life is God’s love and that is what I want my girls to learn more than anything else!

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Sweet Analeigh and Eva. Picture provided by Andrea

3. Share one (or 2 or 3) funny or sweet stories that make it all worth it.

This stage I’m in right now is becoming my favorite! Analeigh and Eva love each other and love to play with each other. They make up stories with their babies, they play family, and they dance and sing together. It’s been so fun watching them become friends! My prayer is that their bond and friendship continues through out the rest of their lives.

My husband and I always talk about how Eva has been hit in the head so much in her short life. A few weeks ago, Analeigh and Eva were playing and Analeigh slammed Eva into the corner of the wall (by accident). She had a huge bump on her forehead! Thankfully, she was okay. The next day, we were outside playing in the yard. I was throwing the wiffle ball to Analeigh and she hit it right into Eva’s forehead! The poor girl! Sometimes it’s so hard not to laugh!

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Best sister friends! Picture provided by Andrea

4. What do you think the biggest challenge of being a mom is?

I think the biggest challenge of being a mom is not losing who you are. Before I had kids I got my master’s and worked. After Analeigh was born, I just couldn’t leave her. So I became a stay at home mom and I knew it was the right decision. However, I struggled with feeling like all I did was “be a mom”. I had to get vulnerable with Jeremy and tell him that even though I loved being with my girl everyday, I felt lonely and like my purpose was gone. Obviously, I had some things to work out with God about my feelings and emotions. I had to figure out what things I needed to do outside of the house that brought me life. I had to ask for help so that I could do those things that brought me life. And I had to learn that “mom” was a part of who I was and not the only thing that I was. The Lord was sweet and brought me a great group of other stay at home moms that I was able to speak openly with who totally understood where I was at. We started a monthly play group with our kids and I got involved in a bible study filled with other moms. I learned that the Lord didn’t want me to stop being me, but learn how to balance my different roles. It can still be challenging, especially with more children, but it is worth fighting for!

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Becoming a mom with Analeigh. Picture provided by Andrea

5. If you could write a “job description” of being a mom, what would it say?

To be able to handle ALL.THE.THINGS. while being sleep deprived, functioning on less brain cells, and never sitting down.

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These girls really love each other. Picture provided by Andrea

6. What’s something from your family growing up that you think affects your parenting or the way you raise your child(ren)?

My parents always made sure our childhood was filled with memories. They instilled great family values in my sister and I. I want that for my girls, to value family and understand how important that is. At the same time, I want them to know that family is more than just blood and that we invest our time in others who are important to us. I also knew growing up that I could always talk to my mom about anything and I did. Well, except for middle school, my mom would tell you! I want my girls to know they can always talk to me about anything, without judgement or criticism. I want them to feel comfortable and know that they can trust me.

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Eva loves being a big sister. Picture provided by Andrea

7. If you knew someone who just found out they were going to be a mom, what would be your two pieces of advice for them? A practical tip and a piece of wisdom.

First, there will be many people that will give you advice. As a first time mom, I’m sure you will listen to all of it and be overwhelmed. Take it all in then do what you feel is best for you, your baby, and your family. You will know your baby better than anyone and it will happen quickly! Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and what you feel is best for you and your baby! Second, a practical tip, invest in a good video monitor! It will save your life!

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And Hadley makes three! Picture provided by Andrea

8. Anything else you want to include?

Motherhood is a journey and it is always evolving. There is always a “terrible” thing about every age, but there is also always something magnificent. Try to enjoy each season because it really does go by so fast! I use to hate when people would tell me that when I was a new mom, but recently I am seeing how true that statement is! I have learned so much about grace and why God has given it to us as a free gift. There is no way that I can go through each day without the grace of God and without extending that same grace to my girls. And, as my sister always told me, crying is free therapy!

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One of Eva’s first days at home. Picture provided by Andrea

Wrap-Up

Andrea’s words of wisdom about still being herself after becoming a mom really hit home for me. I love how she says, “I learned that the Lord didn’t want me to stop being me, but learn how to balance my different roles.” It can be so hard when you feel like you’ve list yourself when you gain a new role, like wife or mom, but the Lord is teaching and refining us to look more and more like Christ. I believe He does this by adapting and adding things to our lives to shape who we become.

Thank you so much, Andrea!! I look up to the mom that you are to your girls, and I am beyond thankful for the way you and Jeremy have welcomed us in.

What was your favorite thing that Andrea said? Do you have a question you want the Motherhood Monday moms to answer? Comment on this post or e-mail me at openhandsopenhome@gmail.com. Know a mom that needs some encouragement or that would like the Motherhood Monday posts? Send them a link to this post! The goal of these posts is to reach out, encourage, and empathize with moms all around.

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