Hope from my Breastfeeding Failure Story

If you've already read Unsupermommy, you know that breastfeeding didn't work out for me. I told you that, but I never shared my story. I've been holding it close, because it isn't easy to say that you just plain old gave up. That sounds like the worst kind of motherhood failure in our culture.

I've never heard a woman tell me that she also became a bottle feeder without her expressing disappointment. In our culture, the easiest way to get an A+ at motherhood is to feed your baby right. It starts with breast feeding. Extra credit if you struggle with it but persevere through to 15 months. 15 months is better than 12 months--it demonstrates your true grit--but 18 months, that just makes people uncomfortable.

I wish we could abandon the term breast is best. We Christian women should know better. God is best. God provides best. God knows best. God loves best.

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A Happy Birthday for Mom?

Last Thursday was my birthday. I turned 31--pretty awesome, right? Yeah, no need to congratulate me. Since I became a mom almost five years ago, birthdays haven't been the best. There's really nothing to look forward to, right? Unless my husband whisks me away for an unexpected trip sans kiddos, a birthday is just another day of work. The needs of my children don't vanish for the day so I can lay in bed all day watching movies. Even my dreams of the perfect birthday have been diminished to something as mediocre as watching movies!

If I get really honest with myself, even before motherhood, birthdays were often a let down. I have always expected to get everything I wanted on my birthday, and it pretty much never happened. I think I cried at every birthday party I had as a kid, usually because another child added "cha-cha-cha" to the birthday song when I had specifically requested no "cha-cha-cha's," or something equally horrifying.

Motherhood has only heightened the tension between birthday expectations and birthday realities. A day spent doing whatever you want whenever you want with whoever you want when you're a mom…it's an oxymoron. By definition, the majority of our lives as mothers is spent worrying about what our little people want and need. For years this felt like a death sentence on my birthday happiness, but not anymore.

This year, I decided to give myself a Happy Birthday by choosing to find happiness in whatever I needed to do that day. To celebrate turning 31 I made breakfast, read my Bible, went child shoe shopping and only managed to find 1 of 3 necessary pairs, changed diapers, ate lunch with my boys and MIL at Panera, put a son down for a nap, got a surprise gift of a kiss and an I Love You from my preschooler, helped a toddler stay in his room during quiet time, packed for the cabin, let my sons watch a TV show while at Noodles for dinner, entertained children in the car for 3 hours, received gifts and ate cake and let my boys stay up way too late once we arrived at the cabin, and even managed a few chapters of a book.

It was an average day of motherhood, but this quiet little life of mine is a gift. There's plenty of happiness and celebration to be found in these little people I serve. It might not be everything I imagine I would want to do, but it could be enough. Enough to be a Happy Birthday. 

Why Not Getting What I Wanted was the Best Thing for Me

We put our house on the market last week. As I prepared the house to list, I encountered countless stories of quick sales. Apparently we are in a seller's market where houses on the market receive multiple offers in only a few days. I was delighted. I couldn't imagine keeping my house "showing ready" for weeks with my 3 busy bodies. I was confident. We have a pretty standout home; I knew it would sell quickly. We planned to be out of the house except to sleep for the entire weekend. Then we had one showing the entire weekend. One.

I'll admit it: I tantrummed. I know why my kids do it--a little tantrum can feel really good. I wallowed. I cried. I laughed with exasperation. This was not what I expected.

Sunday night God got to me. If you're new here, be prepared to hear me talk a lot about what happens when life doesn't meet our expectations. New friends and old, I didn't get what I expected and I'm not proud of my reaction. But I take this comfort: it didn't last all that long. God really is getting to my heart on this. I'm quicker to turn back from my disappointments than I was before. On Sunday night, he taught me a little equation:

God's Sovereignty + His Love for me = the Best for Me

It's kind of like a proof in geometry. Remember proofs? I'm sorry if you hated math, just stick with me. If God is sovereign, and he loves me, and he works all things together for my good, and I didn't get what I wanted, then not getting what I wanted was the best thing that could happen to me.

Do I know why this was best for me? Nope. I once thought there was a perfect little lesson for every disappointment. When I didn't get what I wanted, I aimed to discover the lesson asap. Learning the lesson was my tool to motivate God to give me the thing I wanted. 

I know some of you might be thinking, but she didn't lose a friend, a mother, a child. That silly non-geometry proof is too simple for my complicated and painful situation. I get it, this is just a little, minor want of mine that I didn't get. Yet it's these little things, these minor unfulfillments where we step up and trust God's equation, that weave faith deep into the fabric of our hearts. Then when we walk through the shadows, our faith may waver, but it will not fall. Not because we are faithful, but because we know that He is.

I'm glad I didn't get what I wanted, because I know it's God's best for me. I don't have a perfect lesson to tell you, I just have faith in a sovereign God who does what's best for me.