WOM Blog

To the Mom Who Feels Underappreciated

Jordan Harrell is a mom, wife, blogger, and a great friend to WOM. She will be sharing some of her word wizardry and wisdom on our blog in the coming months...enjoy! 


I like compliments.

I really wish I didn’t. I wish I was so confident that I didn’t need others’ praise. I wish I was so filled by the spirit that I was wholly dependent on the approval of the Lord rather than that of others. But, honestly, it feels good when someone tells me I’m doing a good job, that I’m really good at what I do.

Back in the day, I was a good teacher. I had coworkers and principals and supervisors and athletes and students that showed me gratitude and appreciation daily, that encouraged me and high-fived me, that told me I was good. I felt good about being good. It was easy to be proud. It was easy to feel fulfilled and successful.

This. This staying at home gig. This is not quite like that.

Today I started my day with a four-year-old all up in my pillow. I made three kids breakfast (and by made, I mean poured cereal). I comforted three crying children at different, yet multiple times throughout the day. I folded two loads of laundry. I stripped sheets (which have yet to be replaced with clean ones). I cooked dinner. I swept. Twice. I read books. I sang songs. I pretended to be a cat. I broke up 18,000 fights, pried baby fists loose from 2 screaming girls’ hair, and wiped 359 bottoms. I heard my name shouted post-bedtime 18 times. I went in to hear “I can’t remember” exactly 2 times.

And DON’T YOU KNOW? Tomorrow will be the exact. same. thing.

And the next. And the next….

And sadly, most days end with a heaviness. I plop down on the couch with less of a feeling of accomplishment and more of a feeling of irritation. I couldn’t ever put my finger on exactly what it was that had a grip around me, suffocating me. What was it that stripped me from joy day in and day out? Why was I so bitter?

Then it hit me. Entitlement. I am an entitled mom.

 

 

 

I have completely lost sight of my blessings around me because I AM SO FOCUSED ON WHAT I’VE DONE. 

But I cooked.

And I cleaned.

And I wiped bottoms.

DON’T I DESERVE SOMETHING FOR ALL THIS?

Where is my reward? Where is the gratitude? Where is my rest?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though working for the Lord and not for man, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

But I bathed all three kids.

I swept the floor. TWICE!

WHAT DO I GET for all the things I’ve done?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though working for the Lord and not for man, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

I like being rewarded. I like getting pats on the back and feeling my ego stroked.

But in my pouting about DOING EVERYTHING (even though, I do very short of everything) I missed the Lord whispering Look around you. This is your earthly reward. Is this not enough?

You have three precious mouths to feed.

You have three precious bodies to bathe.

You have a husband that works incredibly hard to provide for you.

You have a beautiful home with floors to sweep and dishes to clean.

Is this not enough? 

Why do I need more than them? More from them?

Yes, this job is hard. It is the hardest job I have ever had. It is hard to feel good at it. It is hard to feel accomplished. It is hard to be fulfilled.

But my Heavenly Father knew I needed this. He knew I needed to serve without receiving a “Good job” or a “Thank you so much.” I needed to perform without someone to impress. Without expectation of a compliment. He wanted me to learn to serve just for the sake of serving others and serving him, not self-serving.

Staying at home for your kids is good, but I am not doing this job for my kids. I am not doing this job for my husband. I cannot expect my family to fulfill me. That’s putting WAY too much pressure on a three-year-old. In every dish I wash and diaper I change, I am working for the Lord, not for man. 

And even if I hadn’t already been rewarded (which I have been, a thousand times over), I can rest assured that my reward is coming, and it will be so much better than any compliment anyone on this earth has to offer.


Visit Jordan's page at www.jordanharrell.com

Become a WonderWOM and help us continue helping moms in need by signing up to give $20/month to World's Okayest Mom, Inc by visiting our Give Now page! 

12 Ways to Cut Costs on One Income by Jordan Harrell

Jordan Harrell is a mom, wife, blogger, and a great friend to WOM. She will be sharing some of her word wizardry and wisdom on our blog in the coming months...enjoy! 


When Clark and I first decided that I was going to stay home, he didn’t have a job. He had just graduated from college and I had been our sole provider for two years. But I desperately wanted to stay home with Charlee so we began trying to figure out how we could financially make that possible. Four years later, we are entering into our first year of feeling like we can breathe a little, where finances aren’t quite so tight and we might even be able to splurge some. But before those number-crunching days are too far behind me, I thought I’d offer some encouragement and advice to those currently in the throes of (or just considering) a one-income household.

Disclaimer: I wanted to stay home because it was right for me. In no way do I think that it is the best way or only way to raise children. I occasionally think I might want to go back to work, and then I envision getting myself and all three children dressed and out the door by 7 am … and look down at my pajamas I’m still rocking at 3 pm and decide that it’s altogether impossible. All Hail to working moms. Y’all are amazing. I also realize that my situation is very different than others’. We don’t have thousands of dollars in student debt or medical bills to worry about. Some people literally can’t afford to stay home.  

HOWEVER, if you are wanting to stay home but are nervous about making ends meet OR if you already do but are barely scraping by (solidarity, sister), here’s a few tips and tricks from someone who has lived on one income all 7 years of marriage.

Let’s start by getting a few realities out of the way. I had to come to grips with a few things early on (and pretty much everyday since), some of which are really hard and some very relieving.

  1. I will not have the cutest _______. Fill in the blank. Clothes. House. Kids’ clothes. Decor. Hairstyle. When I feel myself “needing” something that I can’t afford, I have to remind myself, “In this season, I will not have the cutest _____. And that’s okay.” Sometimes it feels really important (because Pinterest) but if staying at home is more important, some of those things just can’t be.
  2. I am going to have to make some sacrifices. Not just me, but everyone. I am going to have to cook a lot, paint my own nails, buy less presents for Christmas, cut out some “major wants” from our budget. Everyone will still survive. And, dare I say, learn a few valuable lessons along the way.
  3. In the grand scheme, I am pretty rich. It’s really, really easy to look around and think, EVERYONE HAS SO MUCH MORE THAN US. And lament over all the things we are sacrificing. But I mean, let’s be honest. This post could probably be renamed “First World Problems” because the things we are giving up, are usually not, say, food.
  4. This is (most likely) the poorest we will ever be. Barring outliers, most people make more money the older and more experienced they get. So you might have to make a few sacrifices right now but it won’t be like this forever.

So now that we’ve gotten those basic principles out of the way, let’s get to it. I have wracked my brain to think of all the ways I’ve cut costs the past few years. I present to you,

  1. Drink water. Don’t buy juice, coke, wine, beer, lemonade, tea. I know, I know. It sounds cray, but this is one of the biggest ways I have saved at the grocery store. Drink water. Not only is it healthy, it’s cheap.
  2. Buy in bulk. I use Amazon Prime Subscribe and Save. . I buy all my non-perishables through them — diapers, wipes, ziplocs, trash bags, toothbrushes, face wash, shampoo, soap, detergent, etc. — and have them shipped to me whenever I need more. You get 15% off your entire order if you order 5+ items (20% off diapers and wipes). Yes, there is a Prime yearly subscription, but if I cut out cable (we’ll get to that in a minute), the Prime shows and movies more than make it worth it. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
  3. Use cash back for holidays. I know Dave Ramsey would not approve, but we buy everything on credit cards that have rewards programs. Two years ago, I didn’t pay for a single Christmas present. We had accrued enough points to cover all of them. Last year, we used them to go on a trip for our anniversary. BUT, that being said…
  4. NEVER pay interest (if at all possible). We pay cash for everything. Pay your credit cards in full every month. When we remodeled our home, we paid cash. When we bought our cars, we paid cash. When we bought a new couch, we paid cash. If you don’t have enough money to buy something, don’t buy it.
  5. Buy necessities for holidays. My mom told me this trick. At Christmas, use stocking stuffers to buy things your kids already need — socks, underwear, pacifiers, sippy cups — things you would have bought them anyway. Wam, bam. Two birds. One stone. Merry Christmas.
  6. Use gifted money for splurges. This is my chance to splurge on myself. Two years ago, I used my Christmas money to restock my closet. Last year, I used it to redecorate my daughters’ room. This way, nobody questions how much money I am spending and whether or not we can afford it. It’s basically free, right?
  7. Do hair care on the cheap. MasterCuts and Family Cuts, y’all. Haters gonna hate, but they do good work. Also, box color. In 5 years, you can spend $150 on a haircut & color. But today is not that day. I promise, you will look stunning with your $15 ‘do.
  8. Cut the (cable) cord. It didn’t take us long to realize CABLE IS FREAKING EXPENSIVE. Here’s our solution:
    – pay for wireless only
    – get a streaming device (we have used AppleTV and FireTV and loved both)
    – subscribe to Amazon Prime and/or Netflix and/or Hulu (we do Prime and Netflix)
    – get an antenna for local channels
  9. Get rid of stuff. I am always amazed at HOW. MUCH. STUFF we have. Every time we move (once a year, duh), I end up with boxes and boxes of giveaway items. I’ve made some pretty good #cashmoney at places like Swap.com, Craigslist, and Facebook, but there are also the VarageSale and LetGo apps where I have bought stuff… and speaking of….
  10. Shop second-hand. Here’s the problem. I want my house to look like a high-end magazine. Here’s the second problem … I’m not savvy enough to figure out how to make my house look high-end on my low-end budget. My budget is an antique/shabby-chic/distressed-look budget. SO that’s my style… because that’s my budget. Second-hand shops (specifically the ones mentioned above) are a great place to find home decor. And did you know, a can of spray paint can work WONDERS.
  11. Make a budget. Budget is not a bad word. It’s actually very freeing to be on a budget. Bought a new shirt? Don’t worry hubs! I have a $25 clothing budget this month so I’m actually UNDER BUDGET. No arguing. No accusing. Everybody wins. AND GUESS WHAT? There’s an app for that. Mint.com is the bomb.com. This website/app will allow you to import all credit cards and bank accounts so that you can see all your expenses in one place. You can then create budgets and categorize each expense so that you know how much you are spending on each category each month. It’s also super convenient during tax season to have everything categorized and searchable. If not for any other reason, make a budget so that you can see what you spend most of your money on.
  12. Don’t stop giving. Budget tithing and giving first. There’s no better way to be reminded of how MUCH we actually have and how faithful God is than by giving SACRIFICIALLY. Buy gifts for needy children before your own for Christmas. Sponsor a Compassion child. It’s amazing how much further your money goes when you steward it well. There is no better way to live by faith, than by trusting that God will take care of you if you take care of his people.

I am by no means an expert. I still spend an exorbitant amount on groceries, and I have JUST GIVEN UP. I don’t understand coupons. They make me feel stupid and angry.

However, I hope these are somewhat helpful. AND PLEASE if you have ways that you save money, I would love to hear them! I am always interested in how other people cut costs!

Happy budgeting!


Visit Jordan's page at www.jordanharrell.com

Become a WonderWOM and help us continue helping moms in need by signing up to give $20/month to World's Okayest Mom, Inc by visiting our Give Now page! 

 

82 DAYS

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON NOVEMBER 10, 2013.....

On August 8, 2013, at 1:15 AM, I watched my son die before my eyes in the guest bathroom of my parent’s home in Arlington, Texas.

82 days later -- Jenn, my newborn son Hunter, my parents, and I walked out of Medical Center - Arlington with a healthy baby, smiles on our faces, and a different perspective on the rest of our lives. 

Back to August 8...

At least that’s what my eyes THOUGHT they were seeing. To me -- there was no scenario that included the amount of blood Jenn lost that morning in that bathroom and Hunter surviving. It just wasn’t possible.

So as I stared at my beautiful wife with my wide, unblinking eyes and slack jaw, I watched her turn pale as the blood ran -- no poured -- no GUSHED -- out of her with three paramedics and three fireman surrounding her. 

She was 25 weeks pregnant, and we had arrived in Arlington three days before. I was doing some work in the area while Jenn and the girls played with Uncle DeeDoo (Jeff) and Aunt Allison who were visiting from New York City. 

Jeff and Allison had announced their first pregnancy seven hours before our adventure began. In the midst of the horror surrounding Jenn in those early moments, one of her top priorities was not letting Allison know what was happening to her. She didn’t want to scare Allison. THAT’S what she was thinking about. And that’s why I’m so happy I talked her into marrying me. 

At 1:15 AM, Jenn was awakened by what she thought was her pregnant body saying, “welp! I’m pregnant and I need to pee -- so here we go!” She thought she was peeing on herself. 

A little annoyed at first, Jenn’s irritation soon turned to terror as she realized that the fluid was crimson red -- and it was everywhere. 

She was asleep on the guest bed with our 2 year old daughter. I was asleep on the floor at the foot of the bed with our 4 year old daughter. 

Not wanting to wake the girls, Jenn softly called out to me -- “Mark. Help. I’m bleeding.” 

I happened to be awake already (having just watched the Conjuring a few hours before I was having a little trouble drifting off to sleepy land), and when I heard those words my thoughts instantly jumped to the minor bleeding event we went through four weeks prior which was no big deal. Jenn was diagnosed with a partial placenta previa at 20 weeks. Placenta Previa is when the placenta is partially or fully covering the birth canal. It’s supposed to be higher up above the baby away from the canal. If it gets near the birth canal, you can have some bleeding issues. A fully covered birth canal 100 years ago (and maybe even more recently than that) meant that mom, baby, or more likely both -- died. 

Women who don’t get medical attention pretty quickly once a major bleed initiates will most likely die with a previa. They will literally bleed to death. 

“Mark. Help. I’m bleeding.” I stood up just as Jenn quickly vanished into the guest bath which connects to the bedroom we were sleeping in. My “this is no big deal -- we’ve done this before” attitude vanished just as quickly when I put my hand on the bed to steady myself in the dark. My hand didn’t touch a regular, dry sheet or even a slightly damp sheet. My hand disappeared in a bloody puddle -- it felt like someone had dumped a full glass of water on the bed. That’s when I knew this wasn’t good.

Unbeknownst to us, Jenn’s partial previa had moved. But it hadn’t moved in the right direction. Now her placenta was fully covering the birth canal, and it would stay there until October 25 when George Kingsley would remove it with his bare hands right after he pulled Hunter out into the world. 

I walked over the bloody trail on the carpet from the bed to the bathroom and my eyes followed the bloody footprints across the bathroom floor to the toilet where Jenn sat -- looking up at me with a helplessness that I have never seen from anyone in my entire life. 

She wasn’t panicked but said, “what do I do?” 

I had no idea. 

I grabbed my phone and called Len Tadvick, MD -- Jenn’s OB in Abilene -- at 1:18 AM. He answered on the first ring. Seriously. He answered the phone like he was sitting there waiting for my call.

“Len, it’s Mark. Jenn’s bleeding pretty bad. What do we do?”

“Meet me at the ER as soon as you can.”

“Len … we’re in Arlington.”

“....................then just get her to an ER and keep me posted.”

Then he prayed with me. I have no idea what he said. But it was a moment I will never forget as long as I live. He prayed with me and for me over the phone -- 160 miles away.

I hung up and dialed 9-1-1 at 1:20 AM.

A firetruck was in front of my parents’ house five minutes later followed by an ambulance two minutes after that. 

10 minutes later we were at the Women’s Center at Medical Center -- Arlington (4.8 miles away -- I know this because I racked up more than 500 miles on my bike commuting back and forth over the next 82 days).

They shot her with steroids and starting pumping magnesium into her IV -- two things they do when a preterm baby is about to be born.

Dr. Kingsley (the chief of the OB hospitalists at MCA) came in the room and began telling us what was going to happen and the dangers of delivering a baby at 25 weeks. 

To me it was sort of good news, since 5 minutes before I thought Hunter had left us for good. But as reality set in I realized what he was saying -- 90% chance of major neurological defect // 60% chance of death. They were prepping Jenn for a cesarean section. At this moment they asked me what Jenn’s birthday was, and I couldn’t have answered the question had there been a gun to my head -- I was so shell-shocked that I had no idea. 

Right before they came to take her into surgery, they checked her bleeding one last time and it had slowed. So they called off the cavalry and decided to wait.

Jenn got two pints of blood in a transfusion and they said she lost much more than that. At least she started to get her color back at that point.

They moved her upstairs around 3 AM on August 8th. On the transport upstairs I ran into my dad and brother who were sitting in the waiting room. Having no idea what was going on or what to do, they came up to the hospital and sat. They were just there. That’s what family does.

82 days later George Kingsley made an incision below Jenn’s belly button, pulled Hunter out healthy and screaming, and confirmed that Jenn’s placenta was, in fact, completely covering the birth canal. It was 9:24 AM. 

No one could believe that Jenn had come to MCA in the state that she had and made it 12 weeks with no other episodes or complications. That just doesn’t happen.

Jenn was able to do it by the grace of God, thousands of hours of prayer said on our behalf, and a calm, quiet spirit. It was remarkable how many of the doctors and nurses would comment on Jenn’s positive outlook and sweet spirit. On more than one occasion I overhead nurses arguing about who was going to get Jenn on the preceding 12-hour shift. They all wanted her. Jenn thinks it was since she was such an easy, low-maintenance patient.

My guess is that they just liked her and wanted to be around her as much as possible -- I can relate with that. 

The one and only time I saw Jenn nearly lose it was at 2:30 AM one morning when a tech came in, turned on all the lights in the room, left to go get something, came back, checked Jenn’s vitals, then left the room for good. I was awakened a few seconds later by Jenn slamming the door. She’d had to get up to turn the lights off because the tech had left them on -- AT 2:30 IN THE MORNING. 

This was news to me since I had on my mindfold sleep mask and had no idea lights had even been turned on (sheepish grin). I did burst out of the room and try to find the aforementioned tech but she had undoubtedly already ducked into another room to wake up some other unsuspecting antepartum patient.

We left our house in Abilene on August 5, a Monday, and planned to be back on Saturday. We had no idea that it wouldn’t be until October 28 that we’d see home again. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from what I’ve called “home” in my whole life -- by a long shot.

While we were gone:

  • our dog, Roger’s, disgusting skin flap came off (thanks Nana)
  • I potty-trained Hope
  • Hope learned to swing all by herself
  • I grew a phat beard
  • I started a podcast
  • I healed myself physically after years of over-exercising and over-stress
  • I got a new crockpot, set of knives, dehydrator, candle lanterns, lights for my bike, and soap to last me an entire year (thanks Amazon Prime)
  • I rode my bike somewhere every day but one -- it was raining that day
  • I became a fan of the Counting Crows
  • I worked out at the YMCA
  • I worked out at Crossfit Boom
  • The girls and I went to the park
  • The girls and I went on barefoot walks
  • I was kidnapped and taken to a Rangers game which ended with a walk off homerun
  • I nursed Haelyn through a 12-hour stomach bug
  • I got to see Uncle Deedoo and Aunt Allison -- TWICE
  • I was close to Uncle Brad, Aunt Jennifer and Annalyse and got to be with them more than I would have otherwise
  • The girls and I went Halloween Princess dress shopping
  • We went swimming and the girls learned how to swim with their heads under water
  • I learned how to do a sweet pony tail
  • I had to say goodbye to my parents’ dog, Owen, who had to be put to sleep the day after Jenn went into the hospital. He was the best doggie ever.
  • I read Atlas Shrugged and about 10 other books
  • Jenn read 12, yes twelve, books
  • I kept a daily journal which I’m going to transcribe for our kids to read someday
  • I spent 78 of 82 nights at the hospital with Jenn
  • I got so excited whenever friends or family would come visit us -- and so many of you did for which I will forever be so grateful
  • I revamped my “Discipline for Two-Year-Olds” strategy -- which included less screaming
  • Abilene opened Carters, McAlister’s, Men’s Warehouse, Enchilada Express, and built a Fuzzy’s and a Golden Chick

Lots more happened while we were gone including my realization that my wife and daughters (and now son) are my heart outside of my body (not literally because then I would die). Actually, it’s pretty close to ‘literally’ because if I ever lost any of them, I would probably die. 

I physically ached for my daughters when they were at their Nana and Papa’s for a couple of 4-5 day stints. They’re among the first things I think about upon waking every day and among the last things I think about every night before I drift off to sleep. The other things I think about at those times are Jenn and how much I wish the Cowboys would just get over themselves and win me another Super Bowl -- it’s been EIGHTEEN YEARS!!!!!

And then, according to the girls’ and my new favorite song, “All I do is dream of you the whole night through -- with the dawn I still go on dreaming of you.” They call it the “Yoo-wee Yoo-wee Song” and I’ll never hear it without thinking of our time in Arlington. 

My parents introduced the girls to some old school hymns and now they sing “Standing On the Promises” and “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms” on a daily basis -- which I’m totally OK with. 

I learned how to deal with the constant worry of what would happen if Jenn started bleeding again -- it never went away -- not for ONE solitary second. It wasn’t until Hunter was born and we were driving home that I realized the worry was gone. 

I realized how much I love my wife and what an amazing human being she is. And just as a human being she would be the most incredible person I’ve ever met -- but then she gets to throw in amazing mom, amazing wife, amazing sister, amazing daughter, amazing niece, amazing mom, and amazing mom. Did I mention amazing mom? 

Totally unfair that she gets to rack up all those points because all I have is -- average dad, average-to-below-average husband, moderately average brother and son, football participant, and last but certainly not least, incredibly magnificent beard-grower. 

I know that most, if not all, moms would do what she did for their unborn son. But that doesn’t make it any less inspiring and incredible. 

THAT’S how she didn’t go crazy in that bed for 82 days. All she had to do was identify her motivation -- to keep baby Hunter cooking for his health and life -- and she was fine. She never complained. She never whined. She never asked “why me?” She stayed positive and just dealt with it. She did it all for Hunter. And in the great scheme of things, I know without asking her that she would do it a hundred more times without hesitation if it meant health and life for any of her three kids. 

Now, I’m not saying she didn’t have her emotional moments. They were few and far between but all of them had to do with mommy duty. She was sad about not being there for bath time. She was sad about always having to hear stories and see pictures from all the park adventures. She was sad that she wasn’t there to potty-train Hope (oh wait, no she wasn’t, she was thrilled about that). She was sad she missed breakfast every morning. She was sad she couldn’t pick them up and hold them. She was sad she couldn’t see them dancing in my parents’ living room. She was sad she couldn’t lay next to them until they fell asleep. She was sad she couldn’t say prayers with them, tell them a story, or put the toothpaste on their toothbrushes. She was sad she couldn’t pick out clothes and help get them dressed. She was sad when they would leave the hospital screaming, “I WANT TO STAY WITH MY MOMMY.” She doesn’t even know this (well I guess she does now) but my mom found Hope on more than one occasion in the middle of the night walking through the house asking where her mommy was.

I got a small glimpse into what it must feel like to by physically torn in half. Early on during our adventure, Hope was having a hard time not having her mom around and then having me leave at night. I would be getting ready to hop on the bike while hearing her screaming at the top of her lungs, “I WANT MY DADDY!” over and over and over. 

All I wanted to do was to go back in there, snuggle her tight, and lay next to her all night. But I also wanted and needed to get back to Jenn. Thinking about her being in the hospital room alone at night was a commensurately nauseating and horrible feeling. That was hard. We eventually worked out a strategy and Hope started dealing with the separation a little better -- but leaving at night was never a piece of cake. 

Probably the thing I learned through this ordeal that I’m most grateful for is my changed perspective on life. I try to think every day about what I’ll be thinking about on my deathbed -- and whatever THAT is, that’s what I try to spend time and energy on. 

When I’m down to my last few minutes of life, I’ll be thinking about my two, sweet little girls and whether they’re happy and safe or not. I’ll be thinking about what a lucky dog I was for having the high privilege of being able to call Jennifer Lauren Barker my wife (I’ll also be wondering which old dog she’s going to end up marrying when I’m gone and try to poison that guy). I’ll be wondering if I did everything I could possibly do to raise Mark “Hunter” Rogers, Jr. in the right way. I’ll be thinking about my dead brothers (because there’s no way either of those jack-wagons are outliving ME) and their families. I’ll be hoping that my kids love and respect me and want to be around me. I’ll be hoping they will talk positively about me when I’m gone and not remember times of anger or impatience. I’ll be hoping that they aspire to live like I lived. And die like I will die. 

I will NOT be thinking about money or cars. I won’t be thinking about how big my house was. I won’t be thinking about all the name brand clothes I or my family wore. I won’t be thinking about how fast I can run the 40-yard dash -- which is probably somewhere in the 4.3 to 4.4 range but I’ve got a hammy so I can’t know for sure.  I won’t be regretting that I never went to a Super Bowl (but hopefully I will have done that, so…). I won’t be wondering what would have happened if I had watched 20 more movies every year. 

I’ve always loved my kids and wife more than they will ever know -- more than I would have ever thought humanly possible before I knew them. Any parent can attest to the fact that you love your kids so much that it literally, physically hurts you. That’s something you don’t understand pre-kids. Something that I can’t wait for my brother to feel. And now I feel equipped to take full advantage of the time I have with my family and to try my best to tell them and show them how much they mean to me. 

And if it took being in a hospital in a city not our home for 82 days  and having to watch my wife sacrifice so much for her baby boy and thinking that my son had died before my eyes to really get a grasp on that? I’ll take it any day of the week.

There’s another song that the girls ask me to sing for them nearly every night -- The River of No Return. It’s a song from an old Marilyn Monroe movie about losing your love on the river. The River is time, and in my version of the song, “my love” is my kids. Every day that goes by is another day you can’t get back. Every night I say goodbye to the 4-year, four month, 8 day old version of my Haelyn. In the morning, she’ll be the 4 year, four month, NINE day old version of my Haelyn. The lesson is -- take full advantage of every moment and every day you have with  your family. And that’s what I think about every time I sing the song. Sometimes it’s hard for me to hold it together and finish it. 

The song ends with this line -- “I lost my love on that river and forever my heart will yearn -- she’s gone forever down that river of no return -- she’ll never return to me”

The list of blessings far outweighs the list of negatives we compiled throughout our ordeal. And I’ll hug my wife and kids just a little tighter than I already do because of everything we went through.

So now if you’ll excuse me -- my son needs a diaper change, Haelyn is crying because a tiny piece of her drawing was torn off, Hope is trying to feed the dogs Play-Doh, and I couldn’t be more happy -- gotta go!

To the Lady in Aisle 3 -- by Blakely Giordano

I had barely squeezed back into my pre-baby jeans (I had to essentially jump off the dresser into them, but they zipped, and that’s a feat) when my husband and I looked at each other, and at our sleeping, angel-faced son and shared a “Should we do this again?” look. We agreed to leave it in God’s hands, not stress about timing, and “see what happened.” We guessed it might take a few months.

A mere 4 weeks later, I spent the morning hurling the contents of my breakfast, and I knew God had acted – and fast. Feeling shocked and blessed, I quickly did the math to determine how close in age my two tots would be. 13 months. My husband, ever the cool, collected, calm in our household, was thrilled. I was too. I was also panicked.

“Was that PLANNED?” 

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ENOUGH -- by Michelle Underwood

For the longest time, I wasn’t sure I wanted a second baby. Whenever people asked, I’d say what I knew they wanted to hear:

Of course! We’re just waiting until the chemo leaves his system.

Oh yes, Z needs a sibling. We don’t want her to be an only child! 

Definitely. But we’ll only have two – three tops.

But secretly, I wasn’t sure I meant it.

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My Vision for World's Okayest Mom, Incorporated

I can't think of anything more fun than surprising people with the unexpected. I love birthdays and send many of my friends and family a card or a gift on their special days. I LOVE Christmas. My wife and I love giving. It's something I've always had fun doing.

And I can't think of any role more important to the health of any society or culture than the mom. There are obviously exceptions to this but for the most part "mom" is holding this all together no matter where you are.

The impetus for World's Okayest Mom (WOM) for me is the combination of these two facts. I want to bring joy to the women who have the responsibility of holding the most important job in the world -- moms.

Let's think about what moms do for us...

During pregnancy they become super gassy and super emotional. Their joints get loose and they start burping up liquid fire. They gain weight and their feet grow. They puke and have to pee more and crave weird foods and their hair falls out. What the heck?

After pregnancy they get zero sleep. Most moms who have husbands don't kill their husbands who wake up refreshed and well-rested every morning (emphasis on the word "most" haha). They have these little weird parasite things latching onto their boobs all hours of the day and night. They're at risk for post-partum depression, which is no joke. Their bodies never look the same.

Working moms have to go back to work eventually which is unbelievably hard at first (and usually never gets any easier). Moms have to deal with the 'breast-feeding in public' issue. Stay-at-home moms are the hardest workers on planet Earth, and I will punch anyone in the face who says otherwise (and my wife isn't even a stay-at-home mom).

They always have stains and food on their clothes. They can never spend as much time as they want to on their hair or makeup. If they get some extra money for their birthday or Christmas, they'll more than likely spend it on their kids (very unlike the dad in this house...[sheepish grin]).

They change diapers and pick up toys and plan meals and worry. They cuddle and rock and shush and pat. They teach and sing and clap and play. They are the ones sought after following a fall or a boo-boo. They are the ones who make it all better. They are the ones who are always there...at 2 AM cleaning up vomit, wiping bottoms, drying tears after bad dreams.

They sit through dance recitals and braid miles of hair. They scream at soccer games and apply Band-aids (most of the time when there is ABSOLUTELY NO BLOOD ANYWHERE). They get talked back to and put up with frequent eye-rolls.

They are super-humanly flexible and can seemingly dislocate their shoulders to hand kids food or whoopins in the backseat. I don't think I have ever seen a mom sitting down outside of a car.

Moms' dinner is always luke warm. They're chefs and chauffeurs and nurses and teachers and mentors. 

When everyone else is on vacation, moms' work INCREASES. They never have a day off and work 135 hours a week.

Moms get paid $0.00 to be a mom.

Moms are the GREATEST, and with your help, we want to do something for them when the storms of life hit.

We want to find moms who have an enormous hospital bill due to a lengthy bed-rest or extended stay in the NICU -- and zero those balances out.

We want to find moms struggling to make ends meet at Christmas time and give them money for gifts and meals and travel.

We want to find moms who've lost a child and pay for the funeral.

We want to find moms who've been diagnosed with a debilitating disease and take away all financial stresses from the equation.

We want to buy wigs for moms who've lost their hair because of cancer.

We want to help moms pay for child care.

We want to send gift packages to moms on bed-rest.

We want to buy diapers for moms who need diapers for their babies.

We want to help keep roofs over their heads.

We want to help keep food on the table.

We want to help them get away from abusive situations.

We want to help moms with the finances surrounding adoption.

We want to assist women who care for foster children and/or orphans.

We want to help moms in ways we don't even know about yet.

And to do all this....my wife (the greatest Mom on earth besides my own of course) and I need your help.

We want to raise a TON OF MONEY.

And we want to give away A TON OF MONEY. We want to find opportunities to change lives. That's the deal. Plain and simple. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure as heck can help relieve some pressure and let some joy shine through the clouds.

I can't think of a better way to spend my time than finding lives to change and ways to bring joy to moms' lives in astounding and unimaginable ways.

Gratefully,

Mark Rogers, VP -- World's Okayest Mom, Inc.


The thought of taking despair and hopelessness away from a mom and replacing it with joy and hope is an incredibly exciting prospect for Jenn and me.

Because of the amazing Facebook group Jenn started in May of 2015, we have galvanized WOMs all over the country and received our tax exempt status from the IRS in July of 2016!

Help us help moms by considering becoming a WonderWOM and setting up a $20 monthly donation on our GiveNow Page. WonderWOMs will also get a cool "WonderWOM sticker" designed by my famous and super-awesome brother, Jeff. With the support of thousands of moms, just $240 annually will allow us to bring joy to hundreds of moms around the country and even the world.

GASP ... a BOOB!

From June '14

So for all those who are breastfeeding, have breastfed, or want to breastfeed -- where is the best place to get the job done? In the closet tucked away with a comforter over your head or on a park bench with no shirt on? Ok, obviously those are extreme situations, but I think you know where I'm going with this.

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Play is NOT an option -- it is FUNDAMENTAL!

What? Your Kindergartener can't read? Your two year old doesn't know 100 signs and say his numbers in Spanish? G...A....S...P!!! And you call yourself an educator. SHAME, GASP AGAIN, AND ANOTHER SHAME!!

Any other parents out there feeling the pressure of making sure your sweet little ones are "fully prepared" to enter the world of school long before it's even time? Well, I certainly feel the pressure at times, and I know better.

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