In this week’s episode, I’m answering a question from a mom in our Thriving in Motherhood Community about possible routines (besides sitting in bed together, playing with toys, and watching movies) that you can have with severe morning sickness during pregnancy when you have other little kids at home.
I’ve had four really challenging pregnancies, the last three with kids at home, and in this episode, I’ll share what worked for us during those hard months and principles you can apply to make the best of an honestly challenging situation and feel some joy along the way too.
Routines for Mom:
- Monthly reviews in the Thriving in Motherhood Planner: These monthly reviews are ESSENTIAL. It helps you reality-check what is actually happening. I told myself, “All I do is lie on the couch, grow a baby, and hang out with the kids.” Not a helpful story. Once I started writing down what I learned and discovered, accomplished, places we went, significant things for our family, and books I read or listened to, I had a more accurate picture of my life, and it was much better than I thought.
- Ask the questions in the Thriving in Motherhood Journal: These questions are so important for changing the focus of your days and what you think about them. Here are four to get you started:
- What am I grateful for?
- How have I seen the hand of God in my life today?
- What were my big wins today?
- What were my magic moments today?
- Have something you are excited about: It can be as simple as a story you like reading to your kids (I recommend Winnie the Pooh), a date with your husband, or getting together with friends.
- Have a simple, creative project that you can see progress on: I crochet a blanket for each of my kids – single crochet 10 up, 3 in the hole, 10 down, skip two, 10 up, etc.- in the evening. It keeps my mind focused on not thinking about how I don’t want to face the next day or even a rough night. And I get to make progress on something for the baby that connects me to why I’m sick and feel a little bit of excitement and love in this season of sacrifice.
- Use this slower season to be intentional with your input and get clear on your vision: I’ve never totally stopped making progress on the things that matter to me because I always knew my next little baby step and could keep moving forward. Making progress – even sllooowww progress – does wonders for the soul.
- Look and pray for ways to serve others: It might seem impossible when you are struggling yourself, but even a phone call can make someone’s day, and it will lift your spirits too.
Routines for your Family:
- Listen to audiobooks/musical stories: We invested $5 in a CD player from Goodwill during my pregnancy with some audiobooks or musical stories for the kids to listen to. Each day, when I needed some space, they would set it up across the room with some play dough or coloring and listen. This gave me a bit of a breather. As my kids got older, we graduated to a Kindle, but the only thing they have access to is the library audiobook app, and it’s password-protected.
- Go outside: During my pregnancies, we often lived outside at the playground by our house, or the kids spent a lot of time in our yard during my last pregnancy. I took a blanket to lay on and, if I was feeling a little better, a project (I carved wooden animals and made leather shoes – again coping with misery with creation). For two of my pregnancies, we had friends who would meet us outside or even help us get to the playground, and it was wonderful. Bring water and snacks for you and the kids to last for hours. I think that’s why my kids play outside so much because once we were out, I wasn’t mobile again for a long time. It wasn’t my most graceful season – I threw in every bush on the way to the park and surrounding areas by the end of pregnancy – but we survived!
- Pray for help or to know who to ask for help: I had many miracles in this department. I’ll share three:
- I was talking to a friend from college, and her roommate and mutual friend didn’t have to work for a week when Andrew was traveling. She flew out and took care of me and my kids. She made us food and cleaned my microwave. It was good for the soul as much as the body.
- On a really rough night, I needed to go to the ER, and a friend who had just moved out to Indiana for school took me so Andrew could stay with the kids and get some sleep before a huge day with his graduate studies. It was after midnight before I got home, and Andrew was gone all day. We were both under a lot of stress, and things felt strained, and I was in the depths of despair. That was the day of angels. I had people unexpectedly show up at my door all day. First, a mom with six kids whose youngest was my oldest’s age felt like she should just stop by on her way to preschool drop-off, and she sat with me for a bit and just listened. Then another knock on the door came, and a friend with older children came by, and power cleaned my house. Then a homeschooling mom stopped by, and she and her kids had gone to the grocery store and bought loads of snacks that were different for us to try. It just kept going like this all day. I was so grateful for everything they did individually and felt so seen by God.
- With this last pregnancy during COVID, we rarely saw people, but a few times, we had new friends drop by with food, a quick sweep of the floor, and tidying of our main living space, and they listened to the many things my kids wanted to share. That was such a blessing.
Once I understood I needed help (I don’t think I had that figured out yet), I started praying to know who to ask. We’ve had seasons where it’s been so hard and uncomfortable, but it was essential, and I reached out for help. If you aren’t sure what to ask for, consider:
- someone to come over and play with your kids at your house and engage with them
- someone who can have your kids go play for an afternoon
- meals or snacks
- help with bedtime if your spouse isn’t there