A Day in the Life

If you’re my friend on Facebook (or, as my dad calls it, Spacebook), you have most likely seen the little conversations between me and the kids. Just to lighten things up (and to be honest, this is how most days go, anyway), I thought I would give you some recent highlights.

I love how my kidlets make me laugh. They are simply the.best.things.ever. The end. (And for some reason, most of these revolve around mealtimes…what can I say. My kids like to eat.)

Enjoy!

Ellie woke up a bit on the, shall we say, grumpy side this morning.
As the kids were siting down to breakfast, the whining was in top form with her and she was attempting to tell the boys to not talk to her.

Seth (to Matt): “She thinks she’s the boss!”
Ellie (very indignantly, while still whining): “I’m not the boss! I’m Ewiana Brazofsky!”

Overheard this morning at breakfast…

Clara screaming over something inane as a two-year old does.

Levi: “Well…she’s just a natural.”
Seth: “Mhmm. Yup.”
Ellie: “AND she’s GRUMPY!”

So, VBS is this week….and today was water day. Guess who had the only kid who tried to get COMPLETELY naked during rec time? Three guesses as to which kid (Clara and Amelia don’t count.). I swear, I can’t make this stuff up. I wish I could.

Matt reorganized the garage a couple of days ago, and found his old globe. He let the boys take it to their room to “study” (in the words of Levi) and yesterday, Levi came downstairs with it exclaiming over a miraculous discovery…

Levi: “Momma! You won’t believe it! It’s the most exciting thing EVER!”
Me: “Oh really? What’s that?”
Levi: “I. have. discovered. . . . . . OKLAHOMA.”

This seriously just happened in my house:

Me: “Levi, you know I love you, right?”
Levi: “Yup!”
Me: “Good. You’re my favorite Levi in the world.”
Levi: “Yeah, and I’m the firstborn. That means I get the birthright.”
Me: DIES LAUGHING
Levi: “It’s in Esau.”

Brutiful Life

I should have been prepared. I’ve experienced it before, but it caught me off-guard and did a number on my heart.

When Levi was born, it took me six months to admit I needed help. Postpartum depression had a vise grip on me and I couldn’t look up long enough to see the beauty in my baby, my marriage, my friendships, my life. Reeling from the inexperience of being a mother, trying desperately to find new footing with Matt as we navigated through exhaustion and unmet expectations, and feeling like I was coming apart and nothing or no one would be able to put me back together.

It was brutal.

And it took time to heal. Time to wade through what was truth and what was a lie. Time to learn who Levi was and fall in love with him. Time to learn to communicate with Matt all over again as our normal had shifted. But, healing came. Thankfully, blessedly, like taking a deep breath of fresh air, healing.

Three additional children later, and then…

Amelia. Our sweet, beautiful, completely unexpected baby #5. The pregnancy I did not want. The change in our life I was not anticipating.

It took roughly five months for me to begin to feel joy and excitement over her life and what a baby would bring to our family. Five months of crying out and imploring God for help because I simply didn’t think I could handle it.

A birth that didn’t go as I had hoped, and Amelia Eve arrived. The feelings were there. I loved her immediately. I cried tears of relief and joy that she was here. Things were good. We were adjusting. It was okay. I was okay.

Until I wasn’t. Again.

And just like with what I experienced before, the whispered lies kept coming.

“You don’t love her. You didn’t want her. You know you didn’t. What kind of mother are you?”

“You’re failing. You’re being a terrible wife. A terrible mom.”

The worst one?

“You are alone.”

Because we had been down this road before, Matt knew something wasn’t right. That I was not myself.

“You’re checking out on us, Erin. You need to talk to me. Please keep talking to me. I know it’s hard. I can’t help you if I don’t know how you’re feeling.”

Although everything within me did not want to keep talking, I did. I didn’t allow myself an excuse not to.

But there were times when it was obvious to others as well that I was struggling. Shutting down.

And they love me enough to reach out and speak truth to me even when I don’t want to hear it. And they, without knowing it, showed me they were willing to fight for me when I couldn’t fight for myself.

And I think, sometimes, this is what friendship is about. Showing up when it’s hard, when it’s messy, when you don’t want to. Because you love someone. Because they matter.

These beautiful hearts did that. They breathed Jesus into my heart and helped me start the ascent out of the deeps I was in. They showed me I wasn’t, and am not, alone.

I still have moments of dark. Glennon Doyle Melton calls these times in life brutiful. As in we have moments, seasons, times of hard, hard things, but there is beauty in it. Because of God. Because of friends. Because of what the hard things bring. I think this has been one of those times. A brutiful time, indeed. I am thankful for those who have been light and beauty during this time more than I can express. Because of them, the light is shining in the dark brighter than it was before.

By the grace of God and my identity in Him, I am okay. By the love of my husband, I am okay.

And by the love of my cherished friends, I am okay.

**When I experienced my first bout of PPD, I put myself in the care of an amazing counselor. Being aware and catching the signs early this time has helped me and Matt tremendously as we navigated this latest bout with the tips and tools I received from my counselor. I do not take my mental and emotional health lightly, and if you are experiencing feelings of depression, hopelessness, anxiety, etc., please reach out to a professional to help you through it. You don’t have to do it alone.**

Blessings and love,
Erin

Oh, Daddy…

This morning as I was doing my routine Facebook check, I stumbled across a blog post shared by a friend. The title of the post grabbed my attention and so I clicked over to read.

Essentially, it was encouragement and exhortation to those of us who have small people in our homes. Those of us who are in a season of unending, non-stop care of our littles were lifted up and reminded that yes, this season is desperately hard and a lot of what we do goes unnoticed, but we will have our season of being able to pour out into our communities, friends, and other loved ones. The point was that we are heard and valued. This is our calling right now.

The Lord knows I needed to read that this morning. Our youngest, Amelia, just turned two months old last week and life right now is hard. We have been blessed with five beautiful and amazing children, but our oldest is only six years old. This means that the majority of my children do not know how to tie shoes, get themselves completely dressed without some sort of assistance, need me to prepare their meals, do their laundry, give them baths, and on and on and on it goes. All you momma friends feel me, I know you do. And I don’t even work outside my home! (Dearest ones who pull double duty, I love you. You are my heroes. I cannot begin to fathom how you accomplish all you do. My hat goes off to you.) Matt and I are in a season of transition and adjustment to life as a family of seven, as well as working on our home, finances, and marriage. It gets tough. I feel unseen, unappreciated, and as though life is futile sometimes.

As I was processing what I read and how much it encouraged and spoke truth to my heart, I watched my wonderful Matt as he was soothing Amelia while trying to pay attention to the newly-turned-two-years-old Clara as Levi, Seth, and Eliana were running around in a circle just for fun. It was madness. And a small voice in my heart said, “Erin, if that’s what you needed to feel encouraged and heard, what does Matt need?”

We’ve seen so many articles and blog posts devoted to applauding and lifting up mothers, and rightly so–being a momma is hard work!–but it dawned on me that I have rarely (if ever) seen anything to encourage the dads out there. I don’t know if dads need a post for them, but it can’t hurt to try, right?

So, dads, this post is for you.

Our friend Dustin was talking with Matt several years ago, and that conversation has stuck with me ever since Matt shared it with me. They were talking about being fathers and working (my friend Joy is also a stay-at-home mom; she and Dustin have three gorgeous kiddos) and how challenging it can be to balance both areas when Dustin said to Matt, “It’s like this. We have two full-time jobs. I clock out of work and clock in to work at home when I walk through the door.”

That hit me like a ton of bricks. I had never, ever, thought of what Matt did as a responsible working adult and being a father as two separate jobs. My job (and all moms’ jobs regardless of whether they work in or outside of the home, although, again, you mommas who work outside the home, this is also your reality) as a mother is 24/7. I don’t clock in, I don’t clock out. I am on all. the. time. It seems, at times, interminable and as though I am doing it all alone. To step outside of myself for a minute and think about it from Matt’s perspective was enormous.

This morning, as I was watching Matt, I then thought about everything that I don’t have to do because of what he does. (And disclaimer: I realize every marriage is different, every husband is different. But I have a feeling a lot of husbands are like mine in a lot of ways. This is not to say this is how every family should work. You all know what works for your family–do this. If what I share about me and Matt gives you some fresh ideas, awesome!)

Because of how Matt gives of himself sacrificially, I can count on one hand the number of times I have taken the garbage can and recycling to the curb. He handles ALL of the yard work, because if it were left up to me, we would be up to our eyeballs in grass and weeds. The majority of mornings, he is the one to get breakfast for the kids while he is getting himself ready for work or the day. He sees that laundry needs to be done and does it (I still fold the laundry, but hey, I don’t have to schlep down to the basement in between tantrums to start or switch it!). He will do baths and bedtime without being asked. He rarely tells the kidlets ‘no’ to them asking him to play with them. He doesn’t complain about the lack of housework that gets done during the day or what I make (or don’t) for dinner. And there is more. He does all of these things at the same time that he works 40-50 hours a week.

Dads, you’re not alone. What you do is hard, and we know it. You are not unseen or unappreciated. While we forget sometimes to say thank you for what you do, it is not futile or worthless. It does matter and your support, provision, and love are hugely instrumental in how we view ourselves as mothers. You are of immeasurable worth and for all of us wives and mothers, thank you.

Thank you for working hard to provide materially for your families. Thank you for pushing beyond the tiredness of the work week to engage with your children, especially if they are small (they are like tornadoes sometimes, no?). Thank you for looking at your wives and really seeing them and seeing the girl you fell in love with all those years ago. Thank you for giving verbal encouragement on those days that just plain suck. Thank you for appreciating what we do. It means more than we can tell you.

Dads, you rock. Keep on keepin’ on. We’re in your corner.

Blessings and love,

Erin

ps. Mommas…you are awesome, too. I love each of you and know the world is a better place because of you.

For the Love….of all things Book Launching

I’m baaaa–cck! Did you miss me? No? Well, okay then.

In all seriousness, I don’t know about you, but life has blown up in my face with busy-ness and summer and birthdays and babies being born (yup, I am no longer pregnant; let us take a moment and bow our heads to PRAISE THE LORD because man alive, that is a birth story to end all birth stories.) that as much happiness and laughter and good times there have been, it. has. been. hard.

Seven people in my family. Five of them aged six years to a whopping two months old. Chaos reigns supreme most days.

But, I digress. Today is not about me or the brilliant idea I had for a blog post (seriously, it is brilliant and I can’t wait to get all the thoughts down to share). Today is the day that we get to celebrate Jen Hatmaker and the launch of her new book, “For the Love”. Remember she’s my new BFF?

Seriously, I wish all of you could have a copy of this book. If I could, I would buy a whole bunch of copies to give away to everyone I come across, but you know, babies.

What Jen shares in this new book is something I believe everyone needs to hear. Especially the church. She speaks truth in a honest, but extremely loving way. Chapters like ‘Letter to the Church’ and ‘Letter to Pastors’ spoke deeply into my soul and I shed buckets of tears when I read her letter to her children. Nothing is too frivolous, fun, or serious for Jen to talk about. She shares her heart wholly, whether it’s talking about how leggings are NOT pants (um, amen!), her own version of Jimmy Fallon’s ‘thank you notes’, recipes that will have you thinking you can smell what she’s cooking, or how flawed our American theology can be at times.

This book breathes grace. This book is for everyone, regardless of where you are in your journey with Christ.

So, please, for the love, if you are weary or heart-sick, if you are happy and whole, if you don’t know about this whole God thing, pick up this book. You won’t regret it.

And Jen, not that you will see this ever, but thank you for the opportunity to be a part of your launch team and the amazing experience to be on a small corner of the roller coaster with you. It has been life changing.

Blessings and love,

Erin