I am a ‘never stops moving’ sort of person. If you do find me sitting down, I’m probably knitting. I even knit while I am homeschooling my kids. Knitting or a really good book are for the most part the only things that make being still appealing to me (the big exception being snuggling a newborn. I can totally do that too.) So of course, that is the mom that my kids know: high energy, up and about mom. However, for the past month or so I’ve been pretty much knocked down, unable to do much at all. This is hard on all of us. Previous pregnancies have had their share of aches and pains, but I was always able to sort of push through it somehow. The problems I’m having this time around can’t be ignored or dealt with in the same way. I’ve learned to measure my steps carefully, because if I take too many I end up becoming a crying mess over the pain which isn’t good for me or anyone else in my family. I’m not going to pretend that I’m handling this in a consistently graceful fashion. Things often feel chaotic and out of control and I pretty much hate those feelings.
Last week we had a day that ended with Beatrix deciding that she was going to work in opposition to everything I asked. Generally speaking she is a very strong willed little girl so I am accustomed to her ways, but this was extreme. We were at the end of a day that had been particularly difficult for me, and evidently it was affecting her as well. She was determined to make a giant mess, and I quickly became very frustrated and did not handle things well at all. I couldn’t think clearly enough to recognize that my current state is proving to be very hard on her and her behavior was a result of that. I was having a hard time seeing beyond my own pain to hers. She went to bed crying that night and my heart was broken over the whole situation.
There is a danger in letting myself sink too deeply into thoughts revolving around how I feel and how hard this is. Typically that makes me feel worse. Of course I must take care of myself, but if I can find small ways to continue to meet the needs of my little ones I am ultimately going to be happier and so are they. On that rough evening, once Beatrix was asleep, I really wanted to sit down and knit while I collected myself. But I knew that the key to turning things around with her was in my finding some ways to creatively meet her needs and spend more time with her. So that night, rather than knitting, I sat down at the kitchen table and planned out some simple activities. I vowed to make sure to give Bea special attention the following day and to do my best to continue to do so in the weeks to come before the baby is born.
I was still feeling a little sad when I crawled into bed that night, and looking for encouragement I pulled my familiar copy of Small Steps for Catholic Moms off my bedside table, turned to the day’s meditation, and this is what I read:
Think :: “The great danger for family life, in the midst of any society whose idols are pleasure, comfort, and independence, lies in the fact that people close their hearts and become selfish.”
Pray :: Dear God, make me keenly aware of the needs of others today. Use me as your instrument to meet those needs.
Act :: The first time you want to take some “me” time today, turn your attention instead to the neediest member of your family. Open your heart wide to her needs and pour yourself into meeting them.
And those small prompts gave me just the positive reinforcement that I needed. I went to sleep feeling good about my plan for the following day. The next morning when I woke up I called Beatrix into my room and she crawled in bed next to me, obviously still a little upset. We talked for a few moments before beginning our day, a day that included extra reading time along with a couple of simple crafts. I’ve been more mindful of her needs ever since, and it has made all the difference for both of us.
Small Steps for Catholic Moms, written by Danielle Bean and my dear friend, Elizabeth Foss, has been a source of inspiration to me for nearly three years now. It gently encourages spiritual growth without overwhelming. For each day of the year there is a brief meditation in the form of scripture or a quote, in addition to a prayer and a gentle suggestion to act on. It only takes a few moments to read each day, and then it’s up to you to use it to fit your needs. You can pick it up every day, or once a week. This book is truly a gift. Small Steps has just been republished, and as part of a blog tour being hosted by CatholicMom.com
I have two copies to give away today. I am so glad to have this opportunity to share the gift with you! If you would like a copy, simply leave a comment on this post. I’ll randomly select two winners on Friday so that I can get the books in the mail this weekend. Comments are remaining open on this post, however the winners have already been selected and notified. (And because I’ve been asked before, no, you don’t have to be Catholic to enjoy this book!)
If you’re interested in winning a complete set of the CatholicMom.com books (including Small Steps) be sure to check out the “Five Minutes Alone” contest going on right now. Share the funniest way you grab five minutes alone in order to be entered to win.
The two winners of the Small Steps for Catholic Moms books are:
“Wow, thanks for the chance to win! I’m thinking of you during the last few weeks of pregnancy. I’m been struggling for a few weeks with my two (only two and I’m not pregnant!), and this book looks really good to me right now. I am Catholic (but attending a Presbyterian church right now), and love connecting with you when you post about your faith.
Rosemary: “Thank you for this giveaway … this book sounds like a treasure.”