Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why Having Someone Else Clean My House Makes Me a Better Mom

A couple years ago, a friend told me that an older neighbor mentioned to her something about the cleanliness of the house reflecting upon the woman of the house.  I think my friend and I were both a bit surprised. I haven't felt like it reflects on me (maybe I should, though), but on the family (and the amount of chaos it is in at the time).  I do like my house clean because I like it clean.  It stresses me out if it's not clean.

Anyway, during the last month before I had my baby (now almost 3 months old!), I had a 13-year old in the neighborhood come help clean my house because I knew I just wouldn't want to (or couldn't) do it.  I told her I'd also want her to come clean the first 6 weeks after the baby was born, and then again before the baby blessing.  Someone in her family would drop her off; she'd mop, vacuum, clean bathrooms, and whatever else I asked her to do.  Then, her family would pick her up when we were done.  There were some great advantages to this.

1.  My house was cleaner.  While she did her jobs (the basics usually), I did other jobs.  We got more done than had been done in a long time!  Even during the week, I'd work on jobs that didn't normally get done (like clean the grill on the fridge) instead of fretting about the regular jobs that constantly needed to be done.

2.  I was less stressed about the house.  I knew if I couldn't get to cleaning jobs during the week, she would when she came.  I was able to let go a little bit and have more fun with the kids and not worry that we/they were making messes.

3.  The house actually got really clean once a week for about an hour!

4.  She got a good experience, earned some money, and I felt good about paying her.

5.  She's a very good cleaner and even if it's not as good as I *might* do it, what she does is way better then when I *don't* do it.

The only disadvantage was that I feel like the family (kids particularly) need to be helping out around the house.  I really like it when they de-clutter and I clean.  It makes me feel like we're a team. 

So, for the most part, I love having someone help me out.  Even yesterday, I thought I might be able to stand to have more kids if I have more help!  I say, house-cleaners for all if it helps us appreciate being moms more.*   Try it, if you haven't, and tell me how it goes!

I might just have to try it for the rest of the summer!

*You know what else helps me be a happier mom?  Massages.  When I was pregnant, I got one every other week and it honestly made a world of difference.  Insurances should cover pregnancy massages.  Women would feel so much better!  (I've actually struggled with lower back pain over the years, especially during pregnancy -- including sciatica -- and the massages have made this last pregnancy the most comfortable pregnancy yet.  I've even gone to physical therapy for my SI joint in the past.  But, through the massages, I think I've identified that when my IT band is tight, then it throws out my SI joint.  Maybe?).

Update 6/5/12:  My husband mentioned last night that when he read this post that he hoped we weren't becoming "those people" who are out of touch with reality because of me and my massages and our house cleaner helper.  Then I realized we each choose our luxuries, don't we?  Just to feel better I have to say, I've never had my hair colored, never had a manicure or a pedicure, and don't even have a smart phone, a Kindle-type device, or a Wii.  I know there are PLENTY of people out there who don't have ANY of these luxuries I mention, and I think that's fine (we're way too entitled in our country).  I feel pretty blessed for having massages and a house cleaner helper.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Gift of Giving Life: Meet Sheridan

I've been having a good time reading through The Gift of Giving Life:  Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Childbirth, the new book by Austin, Axman, Farrell, Allgood, and Ripley.  I've read my share of birth books and info, but none yet have put such emphasis on including God in your birthing decisions -- from home births to C-sections.

The book includes many birth stories.  I've quite enjoyed reading them; I've never found so many all in one place (other than the Internet, but that's not bound in book form).  It's odd that half of humankind has the capacity to give birth, yet we often fail to share our birth stories.  Perhaps it's because it is so common; perhaps it's because it's so intimate.  Perhaps the Adversary makes us feel embarrassed about sharing, and then we forget the beauty of the process of life.  Then, he substitutes worldly beauty for the divine gift of life and women don't want to birth anymore.  Books like this can help us remember the beauty of pregnancy and birth.  We can remember what makes us different from men.

Anyway, in meeting and visiting with Robyn Allgood, I learned that I could "interview" Sheridan Ripley, one of the authors, for my stop on the Virtual Book Tour.  Sheridan is a mom of three and a doula.  She graduated from Vanderbilt University and served a mission to France.  She blogs at

Sheridan's contributions to the book include quite a bit on C-sections and VBACs, as she's experienced both.  She brings to light that even though a C-section isn't the most natural way to deliver a baby, it can still be a spiritual experience.  Although I've never had a C-section, I appreciated the insight; it made C-sections seem not quite so scary anymore.


Meet Sheridan

1.   Why did you want to produce a book like this? What need did you see was out there for a resource like this?

I will admit that while I had spiritual experiences related to my births, I didn’t really realize that this was a power that I could choose to harness.  For example, I had priesthood blessings in my first pregnancy because there were problems, but I don’t think I ever did with my other pregnancies or births (they were “normal”).  Also in reading some of the essays in our book, I realize I did have spiritual experiences, but didn’t recognize them as such.  It wasn’t even on my radar that pregnancy and birth should be spiritual.  I wish this book existed when I was pregnant.  I devoured probably over 100 pregnancy and birth books over the years and this information was not out there! 

After I became a Hypnobabies Childbirth Educator and hypno-doula and worked with more and more pregnant moms my eyes were opened!  I saw some women who really harnessed the power of the divine nature of pregnancy and birth and how their journeys were so special.  (Regardless of the birth they had.)  I started blogging and talking about it with moms, but realized that this was an aspect that needed to be shared on a bigger platform so more women could have the knowledge and tools to harness this power that God wants to share with us.  

The Gift of Giving Life does that. It gives moms information  through the essays and the stories demonstrate how women have used spirituality to navigate through this journey to motherhood. 

2.       How did you get involved with the group of ladies writing The Gift of Giving Life?

I read Felice’s blog, The Gift of Giving Life and was excited to see her desire to write a book about spirituality and birth.  That was a topic that I felt excited about.  I had actually had similar desires to write such a book.  I was in the process of writing a different book at the time.  The Top Three Tips to Enjoy Your Birth that I offer as a give away on my blog and it took SO much work that I said, “I will never write a book again!”  I think I may have contacted Felice in July 09, but energetically I was pretty closed off to being a part of another book at the time because I was overwhelmed with mine. 

Felice picked other contributors but once I was finished my book, I was sad that I wasn’t part of her project.  Then in June of 2010,  I was introduced to Felice via her friend Chelsea.  I shared my Power, Love and Sound Mind essay and she liked it.  So after rewriting it and making it “less bloggy” I had a section in the book.  We also met in person and I guess she liked me because by September she added me to the Google Group with the other contributors. 

It has been a lot of work, but so much easier than writing a book on my own.  We all have different strengths and we really take advantage of that.  We make a great team.  I feel so blessed to be a part of it.  It is funny that I have really only met Felice and Meleah in person, but feel like I know all the girls so well.  I am so excited to meet them all at the LDS Holistic Conference in June. 

3. Has being a part of this project changed you in any way? (I might just say, HOW has this project changed you?)

It has strengthened my testimony of how the Lord will guide us as we do His work.  I have felt the Lord guide me in my personal life many times, but to see him guide us as a group was SO impressive.    
 It has been truly amazing and humbling to see how the Lord has helped us every step of the way.  Individually as co-authors we would receive inspiration about directions in which the book should go.  For instance at first it was more of a Natural Childbirth Book.  I think that one reason the Lord guided me into the group was because I have had 3 very different births.  Interestingly, Robyn (another VBAC mom) joined the same time I did and I think we had the insight to help guide the group in a different direction, more inclusive of all birth types.  In the end our book covers ALL birth types and supports the idea that each individual mom can be guided to what the best birth for her and her baby is. 

 Another way it has changed me is that now I want to experience a pregnancy/birth journey in a spiritual way.  I have always wanted another baby, but thought my husband was really “done”.  The section on Personal Revelation in the book had a huge impact on my being more open with him about my feelings and our fears.  Recently I have begun blogging about how we are preparing to have another baby, if it is meant to be.   If we do have another baby, it will definitely be because of the involvement I had in this book.  What bigger or better change could there be then a new baby?

Friday, May 18, 2012

I enjoyed Becca's post on Gender & Equality over at My Soul Delighteth.  Take a look if your into that kind of thing.  She may not have answers, but she gave me some good stuff to think about.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Limiting My Distractions

One of my Facebook friends linked to "How to Miss a Childhood" mainly about parents being overly attached to and distracted by their phones and not their children.  I don't have a smart phone, heck, I don't even have texting turned on!  But, the advice still hit home when it comes to projects and other interests.  In fact, while working in the yard tonight, I remembered I needed to be more engaged with my kids who wanted to show me the cool tricks they could do on the swing and how fast they could go down the slide.  Here are some tips from the article that I want to remember:

How to Miss a Childhood
  • Keep your phone turned on at all times of the day. Allow the rings, beeps, and buzzes to interrupt your child midsentence; always let the caller take priority.
  • Carry your phone around so much that when you happen to leave it in one room your child will come running with it proudly in hand & treating it more like a much needed breathing apparatus than a communication device.
  • Decide the app you're playing is more important than throwing the ball in the yard with your kids. Even better, yell at them to leave you alone while you play your game.
  • Take your children to the zoo and spend so much time on your phone that your child looks longingly at the mother who is engaged with her children and wishes she was with her instead.
  • While you wait for the server to bring your food or the movie to start, get out your phone and stare at it despite the fact your child sits inches away longing for you talk to him.
  • Go to your child's sporting event and look up periodically from your phone thinking she won't notice that you are not fully focused on her game.
  • Check your phone first thing in the morning ... even before you kiss, hug, or greet the people in your family.
  • Neglect daily rituals like tucking your child into bed or nightly dinner conversation because you are too busy with your online activity.
  • Don't look up from your phone when your child speaks to you or just reply with an "uh huh" so she thinks you were listening.
  • Lose your temper with your child when he "bothers" you while you are interacting with your hand-held electronic device.
  • Give an exasperated sigh when your child asks you to push her on the swing. Can't she see you're busy?
  • Use drive time to call other people regardless of the fact you could be talking to your kids about their day, or about their worries, their fears, or their dreams.
  • Read email and text messages at stoplights. Then tell yourself that when your kids are old enough to drive they won't remember you did this all the time.
  • Have the phone to your ear when she gets in or out of the car. Convince yourself a loving hello or goodbye is highly overrated.
Follow this recipe and you will have:
  • Missed opportunities for human connection
  • Fewer chances to create beautiful memories
  • Lack of connection to the people most precious to you
  • Inability to really know your children and them unable to know you
  • Look into her eyes when she speaks to you. Your uninterrupted gaze is love to your child.
  • Take time to be with him & really be with him by giving your full attention. The gift of your total presence is love to your child.
  • Hold his hand, rub her back, and smooth his hair. Your gentle touch is love to your child.
  • Greet her like you missed her when she was not in your presence. Seeing your face light up when you see her is love to your child.
  • Play with him. Your involvement in his activities is love to your child.
  • Set an example of being distraction-free while driving. Positive role modeling behind the wheel is love (and safety) to your child.
  • Create a distraction-free daily ritual. Consistently making him a priority each day is love to your child.
  • Talk to him. Ask him about his day. Listening to what he has to say is love to your child.
  • Focus and smile at her from the stands or the audience. Seeing the joy on your face as you watch is love to your child.