Thursday, July 12, 2012

Angela: Continuing To Grow

Angela and I met 17 years ago while we attended Texas Bible Institute together. We were able to reconnect through Facebook after many years (one of the main reasons I love FB). One of the main things I remember about Angela all of those years ago was her amazing talent on the piano and ability to lead others in praise and worship. She was always a bit quiet but very sincere and genuine.
Angela has her own business, Creative Designs by Angela- her work is beautiful and she is so unbelievably creative! (I encourage you to take a look at her site.)
I love how candid she is below in answering questions about her new journey as a Mom. Although it was unexpected and very surprising, Angela educated herself and walks in complete confidence knowing she is making the best decisions for her family and child.

My name is Angela and my husband, Raymond, and I have been married for almost 4 years and we have a 3-year-old daughter, Faith. When it comes to experience, I’m still relatively new at this Mom thing. Raymond and I were well into our thirties when we were married, so we were both very settled in our core beliefs, values, and thoughts about many things.  We both have mellow, quiet personalities. We also enjoy reading, solitude, and quiet times. WHOA were we surprised when Faith Elizabeth came along!  She is nothing like us in personality. She wasn’t a fussy baby, but she did cry a lot and liked activity and didn’t mind noise. She is super friendly and extroverted and keeps us on our toes and is lots of fun!

On your parenting journey, what was the most difficult part requiring a ton of patience?   
Two things come to mind: breastfeeding and potty training.  
I believe one reason many mothers choose not to breastfeed is because it can be difficult. It is definitely faster, easier, and more convenient to bottle feed. However, I was determined to nurse my baby no matter what. I will say we didn’t just have a naturally, easy time with it at first. It does  take work and patience! I am very happy that I was able to breastfeed my baby for a year.
Potty training was also a big test of patience. I’m not an animal person, so I never had practice with a puppy constantly ruining the carpet. I like things to be CLEAN, so it was a big test for me not to flip out when accidents happened on the carpet.
There are difficulties all along the journey of parenthood and it is important to keep in mind that each phase won’t last forever. It’ll be over before you know it, so just take it in stride!

Describe each of your children in 1 word.
ENERGETIC! It can be difficult to keep her still and quiet. She loves to jump, dance, run, sing, and talk!

Are you a Scheduled or Non-Scheduled Mom? What are the benefits and downfalls to your choice?
 A little of both, by nature, I prefer structure and schedules and typically do not do well with spontaneity. However, our family has an atypical schedule because my husband works shift work. When he works nights, we have to be very quiet around the house when he is sleeping during the day. And because his schedule constantly changes back and forth between working days and nights, his work schedule dictates our household schedule. Therefore, we don’t have the same schedule EVERYDAY. I usually get the most household work done when he is working days. And when he is off we get to enjoy family time. We are scheduled in that we always plan EVERYTHING according to my husband’s work schedule.

What is your biggest Mommy Pet-Peeve?  
I REALLY do NOT like it when people give my child things to eat without asking my permission. Especially when it is food that I don’t allow her to eat (like candy, sugary drinks, etc.) On the flip side, I REALLY appreciate it when people ask me if it’s OK for her to have something. I just think it is courteous, as well as just plain smart– you never know if a child has food allergies, sensitivities, or medical restrictions.

Did the way you were parented shape that way that you parent your own children?  
Yes. For the most part, growing up my mom was always a stay-at-home mom. My Mother was always VERY present, involved, and available. She was at nearly every single piano lesson I had for 12 years. She home schooled us for a few years. She has always put our family first. I knew that if/when I became a mother that was how I wanted to be.
Education has always been extremely important to me and I was very career-minded and goal-oriented during college and my single years. I had intended on going to a professional school for an additional 4 years after earning my bachelor’s degree. I honestly did not place a high priority on having children because I was so focused on pursuing my education- I frequently told my parents that I didn’t want children. My reasoning was because I knew how much I valued my mother being there for me. I knew that (for me) I could only put all of my energy into one or the other. That is just the type of person I am – black or white, no gray.
There was a definite shift in my mind and heart once I knew I was pregnant. I will honestly say that it was difficult for me, I felt like I couldn’t do what I WANTED anymore. I realize many people believe you can do both, and I know there are many wonderful working mothers and many mothers do not have the option to stay at home. I am certainly not trying to say there is one right or wrong way. But for me, it has been the most wonderful gift from God to be completely single-minded in putting all of my time, energy, and love into my child and not miss a single thing. I absolutely LOVE being able to teach her and watch her learn and grow.

What is the best piece of advice you could give to a new Mother?  
I would advise a new mom just to inform herself by reading and talking to other moms. There are so many unknowns and expectations that you face as a new mom. Often time’s things don’t go as we planned, hoped, or expected.  
We planned a home birth and had a midwife who suggested lots of great reading material to help me know what to expect. It was a wonderful way to mentally prepare myself for labor and delivery ahead of time. Doing that helped calm my fears and understand the different things I might experience during the process. I also read a lot during the time Faith was an infant and used certain methods to help establish good sleeping and eating patterns.
THIS FOLLOWING ADVICE I ONLY SHARE WITH THOSE THAT WANT TO HEAR (Let me step up on my soap box…) I also believe VERY strongly that YOU are responsible for your own body and family– not society, whatever the norm is, or what others tell you. This type of thinking usually goes against the grain and doesn’t set too well with medical personnel. I’ve dealt with doctors and nurses trying to tell me what I should do regarding the birth of my daughter, vaccinations, etc., and it can be difficult when you feel someone pressuring you into something you don’t want. That is why it is important to inform yourself, know your options, and know what YOU want BEFORE you are forced into making a decision.

Do you remember your first thought as you held/saw your child(ren) for the first time?  
It wasn’t the typical response. I’m sharing this in hopes that someone will relate and realize it’s OK to feel whatever you feel. After 24+ hours of labor (at home), I was extremely worn out. Things didn’t go completely as we had planned (we had to go to the hospital). When Faith finally arrived, there were no tears like I see in the movies, there weren’t any hearts floating in the air, and I wasn’t overcome by emotion. I just thought to myself “Finally!!!  She’s out!  I’m SO tired”. I really didn’t feel or think anything else at that moment. This probably sounds like a horrible confession to some (especially if you don’t know my personality)- but I do tend to be more of a rational person, rather than emotional. Although I am the oldest of three and have lots of natural maternal instincts from taking care of my younger siblings, there wasn’t an instant “ANYTHING” for me when I became a mom; it has been a gradual progression. My daughter, my husband, and I are all growing together and loving each other more and more every day.  And it is a wonderful journey.

1 comment:

  1. Some thoughtful question indeed! I seriously like all the question answer pretty much. Its a really a wonderful sharing from all side.