My ultimate goal would be to birth a third child and mother all three of them gracefully and patiently…BUT the reality is that with three children 4 years and under, noise, mess, and chase (as well as deep breathing and prayer) will be a regular part of my days. That is unless I outsource all the parenting to someone else. Outsourcing parenthood sounds very tempting, but in my house, we experience enough crazy giggling, fun, cuteness and cuddles that I’ve decided I’m keeping all three of my children despite the insanity that will enfold in the coming month and years to come.
In my blood, I do have a love for challenges. When challenges come, however, I like to be as prepared as I can. So for my sake and for your benefit as well, here are some of my secret weapons to help me prepare for motherhood, wifehood and life when baby #3 decides to pop:
- MOPS – So I actually have been trying to stay away from Mommy groups since I had my daughter in 2012, but the time has come where I am realizing that I need as much support as a mother as I can get. That’s where a MOPS group comes in. MOPS which stands for Mothers of Preschoolers is an international network of moms that has groups set up locally for moms of young children. They meet up twice a month (during the day) and have meetings focused on building mothers up. They have mentor moms, speakers, craft events, playdates scheduled during the rest of the year, bible studies and more. One of the best parts is that there is really inexpensive childcare (my group costs about $200 for the entire year, despite how many kids I have) so that as a mommy I know I can get two hours away from my kids twice a month GUARANTEED. That’s for my health, I tell you! And listen up, the children’s programs is not just a drop-off children’s room where they let the kids watch TV and fend for themselves. It is structured, organized and taught by the same teachers each week. One more perk that my new MOPS group has…. they provide new mothers with meals when baby is born (for a two week period) just to help me cope. Praise the Lord!
- Community Bible Study – I’ll let you in on a big secret. My ulterior motive for all my during-the-day activities is actually affordable childcare. For one, when you stay at home with your children, it can be so physically and mentally exhausting. Even when I go to the bathroom, believe it or not, I am never alone. CBS is a bible study group held all over world. I started going two years ago because at such a low cost (maybe around $150 a year?), it gave me the chance to be away from my children. CBS, in my opinion, has the best children’s program ever. My daughter loves it so I don’t feel guilty bringing my kids there. Amazing loving teachers pray for and teach my kids each week and they go through a really well thoughout curriculum that often reminds me of God’s truth. There’s playtime, music, story time, snack time and the teaching is comparable (or in my opinion maybe even better) than preschools that I know of. While my kids are in class, there is a bible study group that I get to attend and weekly, I have another time during the week where I get refreshed, not simply because I have time away from my kids, but because I am being reminded of God’s truths in his Word.
- Focus on the Family Radio daily broadcasts – At 8:30pm on 105.1 FM, every weekday, Focus on the Family broadcasts radio shows that talk about marriage, relationships and parenthood. Sometimes while driving, I am lucky enough to catch part of it. I used to listen even before I had kids (just to shows related to my stage of life) but what I like is that they have a lot of guests on the show and it includes some great insight and encouragement on how to love on my family. Did I mention, I can listen to a whole topic in 30 minutes or less? Since I rarely get to listen in the car, I often go to their site and just listen to archived shows. The shows they’ve had recently include “Understanding Your Child’s Love Style”, “Letting Go of Perfection and Accepting God’s Grace”, “God’s Blueprint for a Healthy Marriage.” Check it out!