You are more than enough

“Mom, what are you going to do when you grow up?”

“What do you mean buddy? I am grown up! I get to help you grow up. That’s my job.”

“No mom, like I mean “real job.” Like when I am a grown up and you are done being a mom. What are you going to do?”

Little did my sweet boy know, that he was putting to words the very thoughts that were rolling around my head as I prepare to send him off to Kindergarten.

“What am I going to do when I grow up?”


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“Mom! my tummy is hungry!”

“You just had cereal and half a piece of MY peanut butter toast” I gently remind my sweet boy who is commonly referred to as our “little garburator”. As I am cleaning up the breakfast dishes he stands by my feet and looks up at me with his pleading hungry eyes.

“Buddy, we just ate! you will have to wait until snack”

“Mom I am bored? can we paint? can we go to the park? I want to go the beach.” as the words come out of the mouth of my sweet little 3 year old, all I hear is: “mom can I make a mess so you can clean it up? Mom, can we leave the house and then have me ask for a snack 5 minutes after we close the front door and proceed to play at the park for 10 minutes and then ask to go home again because it’s too hot? Mom, can we drive 45 minutes while I ask every 3 minutes if we are there yet and then have you carry all my earthly belongings down to the beach and then take home every seashell and half the sand with us?”

“Being a mom is such a blessing”. As Mothers, we are pretty much forced to say that. People around us do not let us forget that they grow too fast and the years are too short. We can’t be ungrateful because not everyone gets to be parents and if we come across motherhood, we should be counting our blessings rather than tallying the days until they move out. Strangers freely give advice on how to raise them and family often leaves their unwanted two cents for us to stumble upon. No matter the decision you make as a mother there is someone who will not approve how you are “handling your children” and you will hear about it. Whether it is a complete stranger or your own mother. Everyone has advice.

Now, not all advice is unwanted or unwarranted. I have received a lot of advice in my days and I am left to discern which words to hold dear and which ones to let roll off my back, the point is, I am listening. I hear what people are saying. And whether I want it to or not, all those words, both filtered and  unfiltered, hit my soul and leave their marks.

I think what makes motherhood so different when looked at as a “job” versus all the other careers I have had and roles I have played, is everyone, no matter who they are, seems to have an opinion of how your job should be done. People all seem to have an idea of what would make the perfect mother. I rarely got advice on how to be a server at a restaurant or how to teach my preschool class. Actually, most people responded to both of those jobs with the same statement: ” Wow, that is a hard job! You definitely don’t get paid enough for what you do.”

Huh? Why can’t people say that about motherhood? It’s true, isn’t it?

Lately, I have been struggling with making a few decisions that will affect both myself and my family. Like all choices that we make as mothers, there is more than one way to have a right answer and more than one way to make it work wonderfully for both my family and I.

Going back to work. The transition from having children, being at home with them, and going back to work. This world we live in now puts a lot on mothers to “Have it All” I have noticed in a lot of my conversations with friends and family and even other mothers the conversation at some point ends up at the question, “so what are you going to do now?” Now that my son is starting Kindergarten and my in-home daycare is slowly coming to a close with only one family left, this leaves people wondering what I am going to be doing with my life. ummm….. good question, I guess?

I feel like I should probably mention that I am a sarcastic person, by nature, so these kinds of questions spark a fire in me that is pure sass and attitude. I am not sure about anyone else who has played the role of a mother, but motherhood is hard work. How come mothering is not enough? Why do we always need to want more? Why is it looked at with such a negative attitude of laziness and almost with a tiny bit of selfishness, when a woman wants to stay home and raise her children. I clearly understand that not all families have the ability to let one parent stay home with the children and not bring in a second income. I realize that not all families have two adults who are able to bring home an income if they wanted to. Not all families have two adults.

Now I also know a great deal of amazing moms who are aware that they are only able to be amazing when they are given the time to let their other strengths grow and be used. Working outside of the home brings these woman great joy which in return allows them to be the amazing mom they were intended to be. Knowing this about yourself and being able to find that balance is so important. I would actually say the majority of my friends have found their “working out of the home” groove and I must say they are so much fun to hang out with. They are living a life that works well for them. My amazing co-founder of this very blog has found her groove and is making such an impact on the world around her and on the hearts of her own two children.

Sometimes I truly feel and start to believe that what I am doing is not enough. That deciding to stay home with my own offspring is not enough, and I should be contributing more to society and my family.  I feel the pressure to make something of my life, as if raising humans isn’t doing enough. I know I am not alone. There is a group of us who feels the pressure to become a mompreneur or find a way to be “doing something” with our lives all because of people’s opinions. Raising children is an important job. Not because children are sensitive, delicate, and vulnerable. The reason raising children is so important is that they will one day be teenagers, young adults, adults, lawyers, doctors, tow truck drivers, fathers, mothers, neighbors and one of them will be the Prime Minister of this great country. Raising children is not all about play dates and healthy food. Raising children is about nourishing good character and fostering the growth of positive decision making. Bringing up the next generation of adults is a pretty important and exhausting job. It should not be looked down on as a burden but should be granted the respect and dignity that it deserves.

It is not just woman who feel this pressure, men have it even worse. I find it shocking how unaccepting people are when it comes to a man who has decided to stay home with his children. We rag on men for not being involved in their children’s lives and harp on them and use terms like “deadbeat dad”. But then when a father decides to take time off to spend with his children he doesn’t get praised and encouraged for his decision he gets asked when he is going to get a real job? Seriously, there is just so many things wrong with this. Fathers are not babysitters unless they are taking care of someone else’s children. Fathers spending the day with their children should not be a rare sight. Those children being equally raised by two adults who love and cherish them are going to be some pretty amazing adults in the end.

We put so much pressure on ourselves to be more. More wealthy, more successful, more creative, more important, more popular, more flexible, more gorgeous, more fit, more organized..etc.. Yes, there is a place in life where wanting more and setting goals and striving to be your very best is so important, I do not want to take away from that. But my main struggle these days is knowing when it is best to just be content with where I am and strive to make the things in my life so much greater, instead of adding more to my plate. Pouring my energy into building up my children to be amazing adults rather than just raising them to be able to live on their own. Focusing on gifts I have been given and using those to help others. Instead of adding more and more to my already full plate, how do I just become content with what I have and the calling that is already on my life?

The pressure that is all around us can make us feel as if what we are doing is never enough and that if we do not have our own pinterest board or instagram account documenting our steps of the journey then we are obviously not committed. In finding contentment in our everyday lives I believe we will be one step closer to creating a life we were meant to live. When we only focus on the words of those who we trust and can discern the truths in what we hear, then we will be able to find our calling. God has called us all to Him and has also given us each a mission. There is a time for stretching ourselves and a time to stop settling for less, but there is also great wisdom in knowing when that time is. Knowing when you are in a season where you need to just focus on family, career, or school.

As I figure out my own journey and find out what I am going to be doing when I “grow up”, I keep finding comfort in knowing that my future is already planned. My future is already laid out by the most amazing creator of the universe. My job is to just rest in His peace and make sure that I am keeping in constant communication with Him. God can speak to us through so many ways. I find for me He speaks so clearly through the simple questions of my children and the deep discerning thoughts of my close friends. I am still learning to block out what the world around me is saying and the pressures I so unnecessarily put on myself. I am learning to filter out what I can handle and create a well balanced life.

How do you balance your life? How do you keep focused on the motives behind the things that you do and the decisions you make? How do you block out the unwanted “noise” around you from people who “mean well”?

I would love to hear and learn from what you do.

I will share how I have been focusing my goals as well as balancing my family responsibilities on my next blog post. Today’s post was written over a week’s time and was meant to express my frustrations and honest heart on a complicated matter. I do not have it all together or all figured out, but hopefully some of my tools will inspire someone else and help them where they are at.

-lioness

 

 

 

Wandering around the Prairies

We love adventures, my husband loves driving, and I love sleeping in the car. So we combined all three of those and took our family on an Alberta bound Vacation. Here in British Columbia and Alberta the first weekend in August is a long weekend. So for the past two years we have taken advantage of the extra day and spent it with our family in Olds, Alberta.

My husband and I have amazing family members spread out all over the world but two of our most favorite people live in the quiet and beautiful little community of Olds. They have a little hobby farm and a beautiful home that they so graciously open up to us and our crazy crew. We obviously didn’t overwhelm them too much as they once again took on the fun responsibility of being our hosts for one of our awesome adventures.

 

My husband’s Aunt has created the most wonderful set up for her garden. Their property is located in the middle of another farmers fields. Their long driveway leads to their yard where as a mother you feel safe to let your children run free without constant supervision. No one is running away.  Her vegetable gardens are huge and supply food for more than just her own family. She shares her crop with others. Her berry patches were where I would often find my son when things were too quiet. I would spot his little hands covered in berry juice, reaching for more.

The crops surrounding their property are different every year. This year it is a barely Crop. As a west coast girl I had no idea what barely looked like and was actually shocked at how short the crops are. At the height of my children, the stalks stand straight and strong as they blow in the wind. There is a lot of wind. Not having any natural land masses to stop the force of the wind blowing across the prairies, all the trees and crops and buildings stand tall and well adapted.

Pets

Having a small farm almost always means you need to share it with some pets. Our children loved feeding their sheep that they basically just use as lawn mowers to help keep the grass low until the first frost. They then sell their sheep and wait until spring to get their new flock. My children got to help them pick some gold fish for their little pond. We are all glad that they freely said good bye to them before we went home. I would not have enjoyed a 10 hour car ride with a mason jar full of gold fish.

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Bees

This was my favorite part of their cute little farm. Even though I am allergic, I was so excited to partake in this crop from their farm. Fresh Honey on our toast in the morning and fresh honey in my tea at night.

Freedom.

They both loved being able to roam and explore and eat wherever and whenever they wanted. I have to say, so did I! You would often find my boys riding a quad and my daughter petting their dog. But with so much property and so much freedom everyone was happy and everyone slept really well.

These pictures pretty much speak for themselves. They have built trails through their forest for the quads to explore. We would play hide and seek on the quads and would play cops and robbers. My son always needing to the be the cop and my daughter willingly taking on the role of the robber. It was so fun to be free to actually play with my kids and not feel the responsibility of house work or dinner prep to get in my way:)

Living on farm means there is always some sort of project to be worked on. This year the kiddos helped their great uncle build a bench for the back of the quads trailer. They did everything from measuring to cutting to drilling. My son was in heaven. He loves hands on projects.

The town of Olds is located 2 hours south of edmonton. On a cloudy day we took the kids to the great and wonderful West Edmonton Mall. The sole purpose was to go to the water park. It was nostalgic for me and my husband as we remembered being the same age as our kiddos splashing in the same waves.  My kids normally last max an hour in any pool but we were there for more than 5 hours exploring all it has to offer. There was never a dull moment.

Prairies are flat (obviously). So my husband (mr dorky) brought his telescope to check out how far he could see. The great reward was waiting until all the stars came out. With no city lights or streetlights to obstruct our view we could see millions of stars and even the milky way. It was breathtaking.

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Side note: My 3 year old daughter learned to ride a bike!!!

So how did we get to Alberta? How did we travel 10 hours with a 3 and a 4 year old and still smile about it?

Well you basically have two options. We tried both.

  1. Drive over night- We left at 830 pm (already an hour past their bedtime) You can almost always assure that the excitement of going on a trip will cause anyone to have a hard time falling asleep. Our children finally fell asleep at around 930. My husband is better at driving when tired so I did the first shift and drove until 12:30am. Then I tag teamed my husband and he took over. I instantly fell asleep and was woken up by a tap on my leg at 5 am by my hubby who desperately needed me to take over. I drove the rest of the way.  Pros: – only one bathroom break/gas break . No food except sunflower seeds and coffee for the driver. Less traffic. don’t waste a day traveling. No construction. quiet family. Cons: driving in the dark is harder to see with headlights always in your eyes. Do not get to see the scenery. kind of boring. Driving tired is not always the best idea. when you arrive you need a nap.
  2. Driving during the day- With kids we like to leave at around 10 or 11am. Getting in a big breakfast and lots of running around is key. Once the kids are in the car we give them a snack and make a short little drive to somewhere to have lunch. So we put in about 1-2 hours before we stop for lunch. This trip we stopped at costco and had lunch for 7 dollars 🙂 That is not always an option. So after lunch our kids were ready for a nap so this is when we got our longest stretch of driving in without stopping. We make it about 4 hours before we stopped for gas and a game of freeze tag on an empty field across the street. We all piled in and drove a few more hours and then stopped for dinner. This time we went to a restaurant and took about 1.5 hours to eat. Then we got back in the car and drove the rest of the way home. We got home after bedtime with two sleeping children. We carried them to bed. It was great. So what are the Pros? : getting to see the view. no lonely as everyone is awake. not tired. no headlights in your face. lots of stores on the side of the road are open and selling fresh fruit or local goods. playing road trip games. Cons :All the bathroom breaks. if someone gets carsick, they probably will. Stops for food slows you down. a whole day is spent traveling. construction and holiday traffic.

-Lioness

Belated Featured Female : Monde Janzen

oops! a little miscommunication! so sorry! here is our amazing female feature! winner of prize was posted on instagram!

What is the name of your business?FB_IMG_1467608967321
My parent company is Kuomboka Crafts, however for my kids brand the name is “Jummie’s Threads”
Jummie is my childhood nickname. Infact most my relatives in Zambia still call me by  Jummie. The story behind this name is one of my cousins Beswa (who was 3yrs at the time ) started calling me Jummie , while she and i were playing.  i must have been like 1yr old, my mum liked the name and she started calling me Jummie. so when i thought of a name for my kids brand Jummie was just perfect.

What first inspired you to start your brand?
I draw my inspiration from children, people i have met, places been, and traveled.
I make what my kids would wear, i use mostly African and Western Prints. This way they can appreciate both cultures.

My Passion of sewing as a business since last year October 2015. I launched at the Zambian 51st Independence Celebration in Coquitlam, BC Canada.


Who Taught you to Sew?
My mother and sister in-law taught me how to sew. My mother in-law made all her children’s clothing until they were teens. In 2012 when I was pregnant with our second son they showed me how to thread and helped cut the fabric.  I remember my mother in-law saying “measure twice and cut once” …I miss her.
I made curtains for the baby room with matching, duvet, blanket, curtains and pillows for his room. I just couldn’t stop sewing.

Dec 2014 my mother brought over her 50 year old Swiss Elna sewing machine again and we were going to make shepherd outfits for the boys Christmas play. However, I noticed my mother in-law was very slow and couldn’t remember some things about sewing, so I googled and “youtube” most of the stuff, like threading a bobbin etc.  Then four days later we got a call that she had a stroke. So I think my passion for sewing came about after my mother in-law had a stroke ( to carry on her legacy) and also after our youngest son was born. I love to match my family, I often had to visit a few stores before I could find matching outfits from newborn to 5T not to mention the whole family.

Another inspiration is my own mother’s  love for fashion.  When I was growing up she always (still does) loved to wear elegant  African prints and always looked so flawless .

I can tell that family is so important to you. Tell me about your family and what your home life is like.

I come from a family of four siblings. My elder brother, myself, younger brother and little sister. We were raised by our mom.

I am a wife and mommy to 3 sweet boys. We live on a farm.

How do you balance work and home life and your amazing farm?

We live on a farm so this is my first year of having to balance a sewing business, an organic farm, and 3 boys.

I usually do my sewing at night when all the kids are asleep and I am less distracted. This allows me to easily tap into my creative side without being interrupted every 5 minutes by one of my beautiful boys. Drinking a tea that stays hot and letting my self think and create brings me such pleasure.

During the day I am busy with dropping kids off at school, house chores and of course farm work. I grow most of our own vegetables, we also grow commercial Red russian organic garlic.

Sunday is my day off day. We attend church and spend time with family and friends.


What is your goal for your company ? 
I want to be a shopping place for everyone and be able to make enough income so I can be a stay at home mom till the boys are grown.

What motivates you?
My family, the future and God’s purpose for my life. I want to use my blessing to the best of my abilities and as an outlet to bless other people.

What sucks the life out of you?
1. Laundry,  I never can stay on top of it ( I have a crib full of laundry as I am typing this lol)
2. When I find a hole in a garment when ironing it just before packaging it for shipping. So Frustrating.
3. Hand Weeding 1800m of garlic field in a day. However, I now plan my days according and if I do not get everything done that was on my list I don’t stress anymore (having three boys has calmed me down )

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

1. Have a brand where everyone can feel at home
2. Be a commercial garlic growing farm

What does your dream retirement look like and how does your small business fit into those plans?


I want to be sewing for our grandkids,friends and family.  I would love to be living on a self sufficient acreage.

Tell us something absolutely amazing about you that we would knock our socks off! : 

I was Zambia’s first female white water raft guide, before I moved to Canada. I also studied Agriculture at UFV.

Where can we find your store?

Jummie’s Threads

Etsy<https://www.etsy.com/ca/people/Jummiesthreads>

facebook
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Thank You so much Monde for letting us have a glimpse into your family and business. You are one amazing and inspiring mama and entrepreneur. Definitely a role model in the Mompreneur category. 

Thank you for giving one of our readers this amazing Giveaway!

Harem Alphabet Romper
https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/266202214/harem-romper-alphabet-romper-trendy-kids?ref=shop_home_active_7

Rookie DIY projects

Sometimes I think “I love DIY projects, I am going to make a desk out of pallets and sand it down and do it all myself”.  Than reality kicks in and I do not have that much creativity in my life.

I love DIY projects to a certain degree. SO, here is a sample of something I literally finished in maybe 1 hr (includes purchase and painting, not included, bringing upstairs).

My husband and I needed a desk for our main floor. We didn’t want something white, becuase we have white walls, white table, white accent items, white everything! and we were feeling like everything looked too put together and not enough flair or style. SO we decided, since buying a brand new desk is way to expensive (unless you love ikea still), and most of the time older desks are not in tip top shape, we would embrace the older style and maybe just fix the top of it a bit.

So I bought a desk for 60.00 at Mennonite Central Committee Thrift Center (BEST PLACE EVER), and found some great FAT chalk paint that would go with the color of the desk and got to work.


I sanded the top a bit and just bought the color “peacock” from a store called wildflower downtown Abby.


Literally one coat later


I just waited for it to dry and added a bit more to make it look a little bit textured.

End result. Not the best arranged photo but you get the idea. We will be getting something clear to put our computer and mouse on top of because of the nature of the paint it shows easy, but with how easy this project was and I love the color scheme, I am pretty content with the turn out.
-owl