What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming a Mom

During those nine long months of that first pregnancy, most of us first-time moms probably did all sorts of research about pregnancy.

First, we probably focused on figuring out if that new ache or pain that showed up during our first, second, or third was normal. Then, as that 40-weeks mark drew closer and closer, we studied up on signs of the onset of true labor and what to pack for the hospital. And then, of course, we read all about labor and delivery.

Finally, with each passing day, the anticipation heightened to where we were just ready for this baby to come.

And then suddenly, it happened: the baby that we had waited so long to come finally arrived!

The baby was in our arms.

We were now a mom.

What an incredible experience.

And then we realized that, despite all the studying and reading and researching that we had done, we hadn’t covered everything. We still had a lot to learn.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, here are some of the things we wish we had known about being a mom and caring for our new little bundle of joy!


Postpartum is hard. For some women, those first few days and weeks might even be harder than labor and delivery, so give yourself time to recover. It is okay to give yourself permission to say ‘no’ to extra activities and allow yourself to take it extra slow those first few weeks. Your body just went through a major ordeal and you hit the ground running. Feel free to ask fellow moms about their postpartum experience, as well as their labor and delivery experience! Most women are more than willing to share their experiences in all these areas!

Milk let-downs are painful! No one warned me that in those first few months of breastfeeding there would be multiple times a day where my breasts would feel like there were a thousand prickles poking into me. They also didn’t warn me that I would be almost frozen in place while waiting for the sensation to pass. I thought something was seriously wrong and that I might have had mastitis. Eventually, it got better but I still didn’t know if it was normal. At a later appointment, I mentioned it to my doctor. She laughed it off and said “Oh yes! I can remember being in the store, just standing there waiting for it to pass.” Four kids later and I can now also attest, it’s normal.

Breastfeeding isn’t as easy as it might look. There are so many facets of breastfeeding that can go wrong. And sometimes breastfeeding can be hard. Really hard. So if your breastfeeding journey is so much harder than you expected it to be, it is okay to make the decision to pursue an alternative method of feeding your child. You are not less of a mom if you choose to not exclusively breastfeed! 

Having a simple manual breast pump on hand is a lifesaver. Even if you’re not planning to ever use it, get one. With my first child, we had latch issues, so when my milk first came in, I was in so much pain! My little hand pump relieved the incredible pressure and helped me to endure during those first six weeks until I could finally say “Ok, I think this is how nursing is supposed to work!” I am so thankful for that little pump. 

As a side-note, if you are having trouble with breastfeeding, getting an appointment with a lactation consultant is money well-spent! They take their time with you and are ever so helpful! However, if you’re tight on money, there are a lot of great, free resources online that offer help in this area as well. If you are on Instagram, @karrie_locher is a postpartum nurse and has an incredible amount of helpful information in her story highlights on postpartum in general, as well as tons of help for troubleshooting problems you run into while breastfeeding or pumping.

Parenting is not all black and white. I started my parenting journey thinking it was going to be pretty cut and dry as far as teaching my kids what is right and wrong and training them with yes or no. Boy, did I ever have a lot to learn (and the water is only getting deeper). For example, my child has a meltdown. Now I not only have to address that their fit is wrong but also evaluate their little heart because it is not wrong for them to have sadness in many instances. So here I have to correct sin while at the same time caring for genuine emotion. Parenting takes a lot more grace and wisdom and TIME as we nurture little hearts! 

It is okay to make exceptions to good habits. Working to establish routines and schedules and sleep habits and so on can feel all-consuming at times. And then, when bedtime ends up being an hour later than usual or a road trip throws routine all out of whack, it is easy to feel like all of our hard work for the little progress that we have made is being thrown out the window. But you know what? In the end, it usually doesn’t end up being as bad as we expected it to be. So relax, take life as it comes, and try to not stress too much about those exceptions when they come your way!

Parenting reveals the sin in my heart. Before I became a parent, I had no idea that God would use parenting as a tool to help me grown in my sanctification. I am slowly learning that more often than not, it is my own sinful heart that is to blame for a rough day of parenting, not my child’s misbehavior.


Being a mom is definitely not an easy job–so many ups and downs, joys and sorrows. However, there really is nothing that can quite compare to the incredible joy of having someone call you Mom!

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.

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!

3 Things I Use to Keep My Home Running Smoothly

Keeping a home clean, food on the table, activities coordinated and life somewhat structured is a bigger task than first meets the eye!

Today I want to talk through a few things I do to keep our home running (somewhat) smoothly!

Every day I use these three things:

1. Calendar planner

2. Simple lined notebook

3. 3-ring binder

How I use my planner

I highly recommend the planners that Hobby Lobby sells. They have the month-at-a-glance as well as each week laid out in a much bigger space for organizing all the nitty-gritty of your day.

The monthly page I use for keeping track of bigger events; church activities, company coming, meeting, etc. So when we need to schedule one of those kind of events I can glance at that page and know what days are already booked.

The weekly page I use to help me know where I am going each day and how to get there. 

I write everything on these pages–from my husband’s meetings to when I need to take meat out of the freezer.

 How I use my notebook

A huge part of keeping a home revolves around food. We need to eat 3 times a day, at least, and with kids that means several snacks thrown in there too.

Just a cheap lined notebook helps keep all things food planned and organized.  On one page is our weekly menu. I always know that I have enough food and what meal it is going towards for a whole week. 

On the other page is a constant, on-going shopping list. Whenever I see something almost gone I jot it down on the list. This eliminates so many “opps I forgot” trips to the store and ultimately saves money. 

How I use my binder

The third thing I use is a 3-ring binder. Here I keep recipes and also a master list of meals our family enjoys. This list is all divided out by meat types and what cookbook it is found in. This system makes meal planning and grocery list writing so much easier! 

These three books work hand in hand to help me stay organized and our home running sufficiently. Meals our family likes are organized in the 3-ring binder which I refer to as I make our weekly menu and shopping list in my lined notebook. I then make notes into my daily planner: what day I will make that shopping trip, when I need to start prep for certain meals, events and details of our week. 

I hope these ideas will help you as you seek to serve your family well! Caring for our families is a gift! 

To Learn From A Child

Sometimes I wish I could be more like my two-and-a-half year old daughter.

She wakes up in the morning and snuggles up with me on the couch, happy to be sitting on my lap.

She doesn’t ever wonder about where her next meal is coming from.

She plays with her toys, taking joy in the moment.

She trails behind her Papa as he works outside, delighted just to be with him.

She lays her head down at night, closing her eyes and sleeping soundly until morning comes.

As a young child, she is a stranger to my tendency to lie awake at night, worrying about endless ‘what-ifs”, whether or not I cleaned the germs off the door knobs well enough, or the serious-toned conversation that happened at the dinner table.

The Bible calls adults to become like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven; their complete and simple trust in the Father for salvation reveals to us what it means to trust the Father. To take our need to become like children a step further, I would say that children often help us better understand to trust God in other areas as well.

My daughter begins and ends each day with such a carefree spirit because she trusts us, her parents, to take care of her. We’ve cared for her in the past, so why should she fear that we won’t continue to do so tomorrow, and the next day, and the next? As imperfect and fallible as we are, she still trusts us to take care of her.

My daughter has learned that if she needs something, all she needs to do is ask and we will take care of that need. If I, as a frail and limited human parent, desire to care for my daughter’s needs and delight in doing so, how much more should we trust our heavenly Father who is divinely capable of meeting our needs?

Why can we not be more like a child, especially when we have our heavenly Father caring for us?

With COVID-19 at the forefront of our lives these days, it is so easy to allow our fears to overwhelm our hearts and fill our minds with worry and anxiety. However, God has been faithful in the past and will continue to be faithful in the days to come, no matter what they may bring. Can we not trust Him?

Matthew 10:29-31 reminds us that He takes care of the common sparrow and keeps count of the hairs of our head. If He manages such small and insignificant details, how much more will He take care of us, the ones who are made in His image, the ones He gave His only Son for?

Oh to learn what it means to lean completely on the Father’s good and perfect care for His children.