Whether a first-time mommy or a weathered veteran, we believe every mother has some valuable wisdom that she’s gleaned along this crazy journey we call parenting. Mommy Spotlight highlights a mom who is striving to create a thriving home in her own unique way.
Today, we introduce you to my (Rachel’s) friend, Holli. The things I appreciate most about her is that she’s a thoughtful parent, is passionate about just about anything she puts her mind to, and at times prods me to think outside my comfort zone. Although we don’t always see eye-to-eye, it’s hard not to love and respect this mom!
Tell us a little about you and your family…
One husband, Todd, 7.5 years, and two crazy red headed kids, Marin is 5.5 years old and Owen is 21 months. I work part-time for our church as Coordinator of Early Childhood Ministries. And I have been a doula for 7 years now. I primarily teach birth and postpartum readiness classes, care for families postpartum and occasionally get the privilege of attending a birth.
What are some things you love about being a mom?
I love their littleness, they way kids look at the world and share it with us, I love little kid snuggles and hugs, I love their fuzzy hair in the morning and I love watching them become really cool people who I want to be with.
What is one of the hardest things about being a mom?
No one really told me you would ransom your heart upon meeting your child for the first time. I guess I mean I didn’t realized how much my “mental wellness” would depend on them being “okay”. Learning to trust God through this is a continuous journey.
I can’t seem to get used to never finishing a project because of all the interruptions.
And I try not getting to obsessed over finding all the missing puzzle pieces.
How do you balance working with your family life?
Working and having kids is not easy. Being organized is the key, and I’m not very good at that so its always a struggle. I try to work during nap or preschool hours so that when kids are home I’m not getting frustrated with interruptions.
One of my favorite ways to reconnect with my kids and husband after a busy day is reading together before bed time. Even with laundry in piles around us, laying together in bed or on the couch is our favorite way to connect with each other.
As a mom, how do you keep yourself spiritually healthy?
I like to take the Anne Lamott route and pray these two prayers on a regular basis:
1. Help me help me help me
2. thank you thank you thank you
Having a good husband and good girl friends making the journey with me have been a huge help, too.
I also love and use the daily podcast “Pray as You Go!“.
What is some advice you would give new moms or mommys-to-be out there?
Mandatory five days bed rest after giving birth. Follow your instinct. Get to know other moms. Learn to wear your baby. Make time for your husband. Don’t feel like you have to have it all together because no one else really does. Get a no-hair-dry hair cut.
I always like to share this video in my classes.
What are a few of your favorite baby/kid products?
1) ERGO Baby Carrier: Front, hip, back. Its designed for the back comfort of the parent and the spinal growth of the baby.
2) Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper: Ya never have to get out of bed to nurse at night!
3) Phil Teds Classic Stroller: We love ours. You aren’t wide or long, so you can get through doors and not take up all the sidewalk. And, you don’t feel like a train.
4) Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
5) Nalgene 12 oz Kids Grip-N-Gulp Water Bottle: This thing never leaks! EVER!
6) Earth Mama Bottom Balm: This stuff is the second best gift you can give a soon-to-be postpartum mother. The first is a meal. Both will get you a hug and a letter of thanks.
8) The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
What are some of the most helpful books you’ve read on motherhood and parenting?
The No-Cry Sleep Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Baby Sleep Through the Night by Elizabeth Pantley
Kids Are Worth It! : Giving Your Child The Gift Of Inner Discipline by Barbara Coloroso
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
What is one of your favorite kid-friendly snacks or meals?
For birthdays, we love to make a pizza in the shape of the letter of that family member’s name. And, we like to bake cookies but I can’t find my measuring spoons (probably in the sand box or under the couch with the missing Trader Joe’s Chocolate Syrup).
Any tips or tricks on saving money as a mom?
THRIFT STORES!!! WHOOO! I try to buy used as much as possible. A few weeks ago our iron mysteriously got a crack in it and stopped working. So I walked over to the nearest thrift store and found I had four old irons to choose from, all made in the USA, and well built. The one I got cost me $2.99 and the money went to the local Hospice program!
Cloth diapers saved us a ton. (Note: Check out Polly’s in-depth article and video about cloth diapering.)
Also just saying no and having self control to not buy everything I want.
What Bible verses have encouraged or shaped you as a mom?
Genesis 48:8-16. Joseph learns his father, Jacob, is dying and brings his sons to receive a blessing….so he (Jacob) said, “Bring them to me that I may bless them…Then Joseph brought them close to him, and he kissed them and embraced them…And may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
In the Old Testament, we find this deep understanding that children are taking the story about God with them into the next generation, somewhere we are not going. In this passage we see the importance of a blessing given to children. In this passage Joseph learns that his father is about to die, and he and his wife gather up their sons and rush to Jacob so that his children receive a blessing before he is gone. The ritual of blessing children is a way throughout all of Christian history that children have been nurtured and told, you are part of the big God story. You are an important part of taking the stories of God and Christ to another generation where we are not going. Out of this passage comes the Jewish tradition to bless each child in the family on Friday nights during Shabbat.
I love this passage because it reminds me that one of the ways to nurture a child’s faith is to learn how to give them blessings or God’s promises. One of the ways I like to do this with my children is as they leave me (Marin going off to preschool for example) I might say something like, “Marin God can help you today” or I might use Psalms as blessings: “Because God is your shepherd you have everything you need,” “God will protect you,” “Jesus loves you,” and sometimes I say the author Anne Lammot’s Sunday School blessing, “You are so loved and so chosen.”
Check out Holli’s blog called Thoughtful Parenting.