While I’m writing this post, I’m 38 weeks pregnant with baby #2 (my kids will be about 16 months apart). For me its been interesting for me to see how people treat you when you’re pregnant – and even how differently people treat you between your first and your second (at least how I have been treated, since its different from person to person). The big one is how people think that since I did this whole pregnancy thing less than a year ago that I “have it down” or “I’m a pro”. This pregnancy was way different from my first and I feel like there were things I learned from my first that I’m not exactly sure how to resolve with the second (especially since they are a completely different human being – crazy)!
I digress from what I actually want to share (go figure). My reflective stage has helped me see what gifts I’ve been given the past couple years that have been the most beneficial. Upon reflection, the gifts that have been the biggest blessing have been the ones that helped me to continue to live out the Great Commission. I wasn’t sure what ministry would look like with a itty bitty to take care of, but this past school year has been the biggest blessing in ministry! I felt like I got the best out of both worlds – I got to pour time into my sweet girl at home AND into my sweet college girls!
If you know friends having babies and need some ideas, here are some ideas and ways to bless these dear sisters to be able to keep living out the Great Commission.
1. Give mom a gift to connect with God:
When my daughter was first born, I found I had a TON of time to spend in God’s Word but not a lot of brain power to focus. (Seriously, I felt like I popped out half my brain when I pushed Ruth out! And it took MONTHS to get normal functioning back.) So my quiet times were different, which wasn’t bad but it just needed to flow with where I was. I’ve heard of so many women dropping out time with God once they became moms – that’s the opposite of what moms need!! It’s hard work raising selfish human beings that can’t communicate very well! We need to rely and depend on the Lord more than ever. Think of ways to encourage these missional moms to stay in God’s Word.
Devotionals: I HIGHLY recommend the studies we have in the Missional Women store! Not just because I write for MW, but because they are that good and perfect for this stage of life!! I started Journey Through Judges soon after my daughter was born (or before… its hard to remember), and it was the perfect length daily to go through that engaged my half-ravaged mom brain and challenged me where I was at to keep Christ on the throne.
Quiet Time Tools: Try to think of things that help you as you connect with God daily. A cute journal, those nice black pens that help you write a little better, colorful highlighters or color pencils, that homey coffee mug (I am such a sucker for homey mugs – which my new favorite is the one from the MW conference) filled with that delicious blend of coffee from a local coffee shop… mmmmm… don’t you want a quiet time right now?
Connect with God time: Help your missional mom to connect with God on a date without baby. Offer to babysit for an hour or so she can feel like she’s an individual. Get her a gift card to a coffee shop or bakery or diner – somewhere out to get a meal or treat alone so she can connect with Jesus
2. Give mom gifts to get out of the house:
Especially if your mom friend has been in doing ministry already, trying to go back to what she was doing is going to be difficult or seemingly impossible. Heading into this past school year, I had to look at my schedule and my daughter’s schedule to see what would be realistic to do. I ended up being able to do more than I thought I could because I had a few good friends (and an AMAZING husband) that made it possible!
Babysit: We’re all busy, but if you think you can cart a baby in a car seat while you run errands or sit at someone else’s house while their kid naps then you could really be a huge help! Before I had Ruthie, I got to watch one of my best friend’s kids just once a week every other month. Something that seemed like it should have been impossible for my schedule ended up being a huge blessing not only for my friend but for me too! And then this past year my friend watched my girl once a week. I could go on and on about how much I loved this, but long story short invest and help!
Make a meal: This is not only amazing thing to do when a baby is first born (even though it was a lifesaver when Ruthie was first born – seriously, no brain to even think about food), but this could be a tremendous blessing later for moms trying to be involved in ministry and still be mom and wife to their families. I can’t tell you how one free meal has made the difference for me mentally and emotionally this past school year (really anytime, because cooking is not enjoyable to me like it used to be).
Gift Cards: Coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, ice cream – something that gets her out to invite another gal to have a discipleship appointment! Sometimes its hard to find just the right time to meet up. I had to schedule hour long times in the morning before Malcolm left to campus to fit girls in, and often it was off campus so it would accommodate both me and the girl. It’s a financial help as well and an encouragement to keep getting out.
3. Give mom gifts to go out with her baby
I am a homebody, but man! Nothing can make you feel more trapped then sitting at home with a kid who wants you’re whole attention the whole time they are awake (which awake time come in increasing amounts the older they get – I miss the days of 4 to 5 hours of nap each day)!! The follow gifts are lists of things that made me feel like I had to capability to leave the house with confidence.
Anything nursing related: breast pump and it’s accessories, bottles, small bottle coolers (to keep breast milk cold while out of the house), nursing covers, nursing bras, nursing tank tops – these are not necessarily fun to buy for anyone BUT they do encourage mom to feel like she isn’t trapped at home like a cow in a stall.
-Wet bag (great if mom is using cloth diapers, but also super functional if stuff gets wet or dirty while out of the house.---Travel bassinet. I would have NEVER thought of this until I got to use one when Ruthie was tiny. It functions like a pack n play for itty bitty babies, but it is WAY smaller and lighter! It folded up to where I could carry it on a sling on my shoulder. It made me feel like I could easily leave the house, have Ruthie sleep when it was time to sleep wherever we were, and I could interact with humans! I loved it!
-Car seat cover
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