A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom


How to prepare your child for another baby (reader Q + A)

A Mother Far from Home

I recently received an email from a dear friend in a similar situation to myself, having babies very close together. My first two are 13 months apart and, as I type, my third bun in the oven will be only 16 months younger than my second. Here’s what she writes.

“I was wondering how did you “prepare” Ella Kate for Judah’s arrival since she was still very young? My daughter will be 15 months when baby No.2 is born and I wonder how she will deal with the fact that another baby will take up a lot of Mama’s time which she previously had all to herself. Especially since at 15 months they are still very dependent on Mama Bear.

 Any thoughts and tips, fire them my way !! -H”

Excellent question, H. I grappled with this topic myself since I knew that my firstborn would be too young to have a conversation about the whole thing. It was more about preparing her as a tiny person to cope with change as opposed to preparing her mind for change, as you would an older child. Here are some thoughts.

1) Get her a baby doll and role play. An aunt suggested I get my oldest a baby doll and roll play changing a diaper, burping and feeding. We would both hold a baby and do this together (as approximate as it was) in hopes that when a real baby came home she would have a frame of reference to put it in. We didn’t do it every day but we did it frequently enough. I tried to hone in the concepts of baby and cry so the noise didn’t bother her, and we just hoped for the best. Then when the baby arrived, I made sure to give my daughter the baby doll and so she could feed, change and burp with me. She didn’t really turn into a copy cat baby mommy, but I think it helped her realize, even at her young age, what I was trying to communicate. Continue reading


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Verses for your Year: Promises from God not Resolutions from you {+ printable}

2013 Verses a mother far from home

“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when
it does happen you will believe that I am He.”
John 13:19

For a few years now I’ve done this. Before or at the beginning of the new year I will pray and spend time with God and in His Word and ask Him to highlight verses that will be significant to me this year. They may be encouraging words, promises, warnings or even ones that seem to have little meaning now, but may come in handy throughout the year. Last year I had two chapters and one verse, so three passages in total and, let me tell you, they were spot on. I read them the other day and marvelled at how accurately God predicts the future. Who woulda thought?

Now, I don’t flip until I find verses I like. I flip until I feel God is highlighting a verse, interesting or exciting or not. I try not to question the whole process too much, but when I just feel deep down – you know, that deep down still calm feeling – that a passage is important, I mark it. He may  highlight super encouraging best-year-of-your-life verses, but we must be open to anything.

Two years ago God highlighted  Isaiah 43:2 for me. “When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”  Let me tell you, that is not a verse you want to be gettin’ at the beginning of the year. I had been hoping more for of an ask-anything-in-my-name-and-you-shall-have-it type verse. But, friends, that just ain’t how my year went.

So here’s why it’s a good reason to get some yearly verses.

God speaks to His people. There may be some verse of encouragement and hope God wants you to keep close and, when you most need it, you’ll be able to read it and know God is with you. There may be a warning from Proverbs that you think is off the wall, but later comes in handy when you have a business decision to make and remember God’s word for you. There could be a promise of bearing a child, moving away or going on missions. Keeping your passage handy and bringing them out in tricky times has often helped me gain perspective.

It gives God a chance to show Himself to you. We are selfish, self-involved and self-centered people. We go through our day, perhaps many days, and may find it difficult to hear God. Or, we may not even know how to hear from God. I believe this practice gives God an opportunity to work His way into our lives. Let’s face it, God already knows what’s going to happen and we don’t. Using this as a way to let God in also gives God a chance to show Himself mighty to us.

It gives you an opportunity to pray with your children and talk to them about God and how He is not just someone to sing to on Sundays. Some may find it hard to broach spiritual subjects with their children. If they are old enough this is a great way to have all the family thumb through the bible and pray together about what verses might be important throughout this year. It shows you are not just a Sunday pew sitter but an everyday follower, the best you know how. Look people, we don’t need to be perfect, we just need to be willing.

Here’s a printable if you want to write some verses or passages and hang them somewhere so you can be reminded of His plan for you!

Verses 2013 A Mother far from Home

A Mother Far from Home


The Mother Brings the Calm


I realized something the other day when I holed myself up in the bedroom to work while my husband was on baby duty. My epiphany really put a lot of thoughts and ideas in a few proper boxes. I’ve been known to get jealous a time or two watching my children play with their dad because they just have so much fun. Laughing and squealing. I even heard of a research study that showed children’s heartbeats speed up when they see their father. Speed up because of the anticipation of fun and excitement that is sure to come. Well. Doesn’t that make me happy I’m the one who makes my daughter clean up her toys, sit like a lady at the table, and go into time out? Wow. Being a mother rocks.

Okay, I jest. No, actually I’m serious. Being a mother does rock. Here’s what happened. I was working and from the other room could hear our 20 month old squealing and laughing and having a great time with her dad. I could tell she was having fun because the decibel of her voice and squeals kept growing. Then, oddly enough, I noticed that she kept getting frustrated too. For no reason, I can tell the frustrated-for-no-reason noise from the others, she was getting annoyed. Then in another moment she’d be happy. Then the next moment she’d yell. She was hyper and having fun with her dad, but at the same time I could tell that level of fun couldn’t last much longer without major tears.

Here’s what it made me think. Continue reading


Weigh Test + Measure

Weigh, Test and Measure. That’s the name of the game. When attempting to implement a form of discipline, training or work toward a goal in your home there is an easy way you can go about it. Hear me out, naysayers, I know parenting is not formulaic. But even the best chef knows there certain ratios that work and others that don’t. When your job’s on the line, winging it just doesn’t cut the mustard. Nobody may be threatening to fire you at your house, but without a plan you could end up begging for an early retirement. In Florida. Alone.

What do I mean by weigh, test + measure? Ah, I thought you’d never ask.

WeighDetermine what the “issue” is. Is there a behaviour you want to get rid of? Is there a goal you’d like to work towards? Is there a habit that needs eradicating? This step is where you determine what you want and make a plan to get there.

TestThis is where you test out your plan. What a creative name. I know.

Measure. Determine the result. Did it fully work? Did it sorta work? Are things worse? Here is where you step back, evaluate the outcome and go forward again. Continue your test for at least a week or two.

Tweak if necessary. Plan A didn’t work, no worries. Change it up and give Plan B a shot.

Let me give you two examples.

Example 1 – The Terrible Tantrums
Weigh – Tantrums won’t cut it. Particularly since they make you look bad. You determine to eradicate this behaviour by completely ignoring the tantrum then immediately giving positive feedback on other areas when possible.
Test – Toddler emotional breakdown on aisle 5. He hits the deck like there’s an air raid in progress and screams. You thoughtfully step over him as you continue down the aisle and keep moving away, though keeping him in view. The next positive thing you can find to praise him on you do. Continue this method for at least a week.
Measure – The frequency of tantrums decreased until there hasn’t been one in two days. You determine the “ignore the bad behaviour which was only for attention anyway” method worked in this particular case. Celebrate. Continue reading


Parenting by Instinct vs. Parenting by Strategy

What is it about a screaming baby that makes you lose your mind to where you’d do just about anything to stop it? Or the frown and disappointed whimper of a toddler that makes you take back the very thing you just said? Do your momentary or fleeting emotions / thoughts / ideas determine the parenting decisions you make the majority of the time? If so, this is what I call parenting by instinct.

Now, I am not referring to the god-given feelings of fear that warn us of impending danger for ourselves or our children. Nor am I referring to a mother’s intuition that her child is unwell or sick. My own experience tells me that it’s possible I may know better than the doctor when my children are involved. No, when I refer to instinct parenting I mean the type of parenting where the parents “fly by the seat of their pants” or “wing it” on the daily ins and outs of life.

Kids are smart. Because they are smart they know how to get what they want and while they are not thinking “hhmm how can I pull one over on mom?” they will emotionally manipulate you. Learning how to train and discipline your child in both proactive and reactive situations requires some forethought and strategy. What will you do if they ignore your instructions? How will they be punished if they scratch their brother, sister or the neighbour’s prized show dog? The time to decide how to handle a situation is not right after they have emptied your purse in the deodorant aisle at Target. Knowing how and when you’ll train your child is more methodical than a knee-jerk reaction to their bad behaviour or ignorance.

Without a strategy to fall back on we will often punish or discipline in anger and live to regret it. The 55th time the child lost your car keys (because you didn’t enforce the “no playing with keys” rule from the get go) you say “that’s it, no TV for a week!” Well, upon cooling down you realise perhaps that’s a bit harsh. Now you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. You either (a) go back on your word which – if done regularly – teaches them that you don’t really mean what you say, or (b) carry out a harsh punishment that does not fit the crime. You feel guilty that you reacted in haste and they are confused at the severity of the punishment. Without a strategy it will happen to the best of us. Continue reading