Loving on the mom with a newborn

We recently welcomed baby #4 into our family. What an exhaustingly sweet time! With each addition to our family I have been amazed at the creative and loving ways people have shown up for us in these seasons of transition. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to bless a momma with a newborn so you can also show love and support to those moms that are in your life. 

  1. Set up two weeks of meals for after baby arrives ( Here is an extremely easy tool to help you set something like this up. https://takethemameal.com/ )
  2. Help prep freezer meals that she can pull out later.
  3. Give local restaurant gift cards for her pull out in a pinch. (Subway, Pizza Hut, etc.)
  4. Drop off a year supply (can be less 😉 ) of paper plates, silverware, etc. 
  5. Set up a diaper/wipes pounding. 
  6. Offer to come over and clean/vacuum while she takes a bath/shower. 
  7. Text her and let her know you are praying for her. 
  8. Write notes/verses on a bunch of newborn diapers so she can smile while she’s doing changes.
  9. Make a goodie basket for her to pull out whenever she goes to nurse. This can include mini water bottles, snacks, verse cards, lanolin cream, fun little gifts for her to open, etc. 
  10. Drop off new toys/books for any older siblings to help keep them entertained while they all adjust to large amounts of time being taken up with nursing/feedings. 
  11. Take any older siblings to the park or library so Mom can snatch a quick nap.
  12. Offer to sit with the baby while Mom goes and does something with any older siblings in order to give them some needed quality time together.
  13. Babysit ALL the kids so she and her husband can go on a date. 
  14. Offer to vacuum out their family car. (Someone did this for us with baby #4. I had never even contemplated it as being a helpful idea but this allowed the van to become a clean space for my brain to relax in every time I had to load all the kids up. And instead of being greeted by a mess, I was reminded me of just how loved I am.)

Learning from the Godly Moms of Great Men

In what was originally a blog post series, Tim Challies shares eleven short biographical sketches of the mothers of godly men who have left their mark in history and how these mothers impacted the lives of their sons. These men include men such as Charles Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, John Newton, and J. Gresham Machen. In very brief chapters, Challies highlights women who had great wealth and great poverty, women with a higher education and very little education, women who had a number of children and few children, as well as women who were married and widowed. Their circumstances were as varied as a group of eleven women’s circumstances today would be. However, all these women had one thing in common: they loved their sons.

As varied as these women’s circumstances were, God also used a variety of means to impact these men. One mom diligently prayed for the salvation of her son; another mom consistently responded with love and gentleness when her son questioned his faith. While most of these women were already believers when they were raising their sons, one mom became a believer after her son was already an adult. Another mom was simply faithful to the tasks that were set before her: to work hard so she could provide for her children.

And God used these women to impact the world through their sons.

I really appreciate the devotional-like quality of Devoted and am thankful for how it reminded me of the incredible potential that God has given to us as mothers. Sometimes I get incredibly weary of being a mom; sometimes I even resent the sacrifices that I sometimes have to make because of being a mom. However, as I finished the last page of Devoted, I was thankful for the encouragement that, even in my most weary and frustrating day of parenting, God can still use my feeble and sin-marked efforts to bring about good in the life of my child.

Fellow mom, if you’ve ever wondered whether what you’re doing as a mom is making a difference in the life of your children, this book can help you see that God does, and can, use the seemingly everyday and insignificant things that we do to impact the lives of our children.

“Best Advice” we’ve ever received

The past year has been different in so many ways for all of us. Most of us have spent a lot more time at home and a lot less time with people; perhaps we’ve also had to do without or get creative with essentials. And undoubtedly, we have all had to redefine “normal.” Yet even with all the changes, a lot of things have stayed the same–we are still wives, mothers, homemakers, friends–and so some advice we have been given by other women over the years rings just as strong and true today as it ever has. We hope these little nuggets of advice that have been helpful to us will be a blessing to you and encourage your heart as you go about the roles and responsibilities that God has placed before you!

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“There are times when my husband doesn’t deserve my service and that’s when I just say ‘Lord, this service is for you!’”  

A dear friend of mine shared these thoughts at a time when I was really struggling with submission. Her timely comment helped me to remove my husband from the situation in my mind and realize anew that my service is ultimately an act of worship to my God. – Chrystal

 “Make your plans in pencil.” 

A missionary lady shared this with a group of us when I was in Bible College.  The point is that we can make plans but as we make our plans we must remember that God is ultimately  in control and we should hold those plans in an open hand. There have been countless times over the years where I have gone to write something in my planner, set down my pen and gone to find a pencil. There have been many times that I have gone back with the eraser and been thankful for that perspective when I made those plans in pencil.  – Rachel

“When I was having a rough day with my kids, I’d put them in the bathtub and let them play for a while. Some days they took three baths!” 

My older friend shared this with me and we both laughed over it. Her frankness about parenting not always being easy was such an encouragement to me! And it also gave me the freedom to use her idea on my own rough parenting days. – Chrystal

Just do something!” 

When asking an older, wiser woman for advice on how to know God’s will for my life, she gave the illustration of a parked car: it isn’t going to go anywhere as long as it is parked, but once the car is moving, the driver is able to steer it in one direction or another. Similarly, when wondering whether something is God’s will for my life, many times I just need to do something instead of waiting around for the answer to fall in my lap. God will then open or close doors, as He sees fit!   – Angie

“Live your life in such a way that for those coming behind you, it will have mattered that you were here.”

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth shared something along these lines at one of her conferences and I have thought about it many times since then. I may never meet my grandchildren or great-grandchildren but the choices I am making today can make an eternal difference in their lives. – Chrystal

Ask yourself “What can I do now to help make life easier later?” 

This is the question that I learned to start asking when I read The Lazy Genius by Kendra Adachi. As simple as it seems, this question has been so helpful during my current season of life with young children. It has made me learn the importance of redeeming the time and realize how helpful it is to pick up a few toys quickly or do some simple prep for supper during naptime.  – Angie

Empty Cisterns

Have you ever watched the “Mom Song” on Youtube? (If not, you can check it out here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXgoJ0f5EsQ

I think we can all relate to the busyness this mom is describing. Some days it feels like we are living a never ending cycle of meals, laundry, bills, groceries and kids who need our physical and emotional energy. At the end of the day, we collapse on the couch, feeling desperate to be refueled because we know that tomorrow will require more of the same energy we used up today.

When those days, weeks or months of busyness hit, where do we find our source of strength to carry on? Often, I find myself wanting to turn to my phone, Facebook, a movie, etc. I want somewhere to go where I can just veg out and have nobody needing or requiring anything of me. After all, I’ve earned a break, right? 

While there is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying any one thing, I have discovered that when I turn to “things” for my refueling they are always sadly lacking in the “life-giving” arena. In fact, I often end up more tired because I’ve stayed up too late phone-scrolling or binge-watching, desperate for some down time to myself. 

Jeremiah 2:13 says “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”

Everything we have ever really wanted or needed is found in God, yet, we are so determined to look in every other place imaginable. 

We waste our time digging wells that will never yield anything with which to quench our thirst. We want a refreshing drink but instead of water, we keep on turning up dust.

Jeremiah says that God is “the fountain of living waters.” I love that analogy. A fountain keeps on giving, keeps on pouring. It never stops running. So, when we’re feeling empty, He is the One we need to constantly be turning to for “filling.” 

When we open our eyes in the morning and the kids are already clamoring for our attention, will we stop with the kids and pray that God would give us patience? 

When the kids are down for naps and we’re feeling stretched thin, will we grab a quick drink from the Word before closing our eyes for that much needed nap? 

When we’re feeling short of temper, will we text others and ask them to pray for us? 

When we fail to show kindness to those God has entrusted to our care, will we confess that sin to God and accept the forgiveness He offers? You see, when we choose to run to God, instead of all the empty cisterns that so easily draw our attention, we will find the true rest, true strength and true life we are seeking. It can only be found in Him.

These are a few of our favorite things (Baby Edition)

Because Chrystal and Angie both had babies recently, we thought it would be fun to compile a list of some of our favorite baby items! Some of these items are essentials, but other items are ones that we have found to make life with a baby a little bit easier! (Please note that while some of the links are for the specific brand that we like, other links just go to the broad category of the item because we are just recommending the item in general, not a specific make or model.)

Johnny-Jumper — Get one of these! Not only have all my girls loved bouncing in these but I have loved all the work I’ve been able to accomplish while they are happily entertaining themselves!
Boppy Pillow — This is really helpful during those early newborn days. It can be used for mama to sit on while healing or it can help in supporting and keeping the baby in place while nursing. This is also really nice to use during tummy time, as well as when the baby is learning to sit.
Bandana Bibs — These bibs are super handy (and cute!) during those weeks of endless drool. However, I have found that not all bandana bibs are made equal. I like these particular bibs because of the special fabric on the back that helps protects the baby’s shirt from getting totally soaked. I also like that they have a snap instead of velcro, as velcro often either doesn’t stay on well or can easily irritate the baby’s skin because of the rough texture.
Bumbo Seat & Tray — We used the Bumbo seat and tray as a highchair for our daughter from the time she was about 6 months old until she was about 2 years old and we loved it! Initially the table seemed a little on the small side, but we never had issues with it. Unlike traditional highchairs/seats that have a cover or insert, this model of the Bumbo seat is all one piece (excluding the tray attachment), which makes it super easy to clean out the crumbs that land in it during meals!
Reusable Food Pouches — I initially expected to use these pouches when we were out and about doing errands and such, but because they are not sealed, the food would need to be kept cold. For this reason, they haven’t been as handy to “throw in the bag and go” as I originally thought they would be. However, they have still been super nice for using at home because they help eliminate spills and extra messes. Our daughter uses one everyday when she eats applesauce for her afternoon or bedtime snack! These Baby Brezza pouches are nice because they open on the side of the pouch instead of the top, which makes them very easy to fill and wash.
Baby Monitor– Unless you want to go the video-monitor route, we found that the cheapest monitor at Target worked just fine for audio. Quality and distance were rarely an issue.
Mini Crib– We were pressed for space when we were expecting our first child so we chose to buy a mini crib instead of a full size crib. Now, four kids later, we live in a different house with more space but we’re still using the mini crib. We like that it doesn’t fill up more of the room than necessary and that our kids have had no trouble sleeping in pack n’ plays when out and about because they are used to the same dimensions in their crib. ***(Our kids did outgrow it around age 2, at which point we just moved them into a toddler bed. However, if you want your child in a crib for longer, then this might not be as good of an option for you.)
Pack ‘n play With both of our babies, we have just used a pack ‘n play for their bed and it has worked just fine! Similar to the mini crib, the pack ‘n play has been nice because it is so small; it has also helped cut down on expenses because we didn’t have to get both a crib (for at home) and a pack ‘n play (for travelling.)
Manual breast pump This isn’t exactly a baby item, I found a simple hand pump to be a lifesaver during those first weeks of breastfeeding when I and the baby were still figuring out how to do it! It has also come in handy for the occasional nursing strike!

This list is short and sweet, but we hope you have found it helpful! We know that there are a lot of other really good baby products out there, so if you have an item that you just can’t live without, we would love to hear about it!