Read an Excerpt
Welcome to the Wild Side
The wild side of life. A place where sleep is elusive, adventure lies around every corner, and your nights are suddenly filled with endless parties and soirees. (That is, parties for two featuring milk and lullabies.)
Welcome to motherhood, a lifelong adventure that many enter into but few are truly prepared for: an exhausting, overwhelming escapade in diaper changing and snotty-nose wiping. A breast-feeding, bottle-feeding, twenty-four-hours-a-day on-demand job that will drain every ounce of energy you have—and then some. (Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it?)
So why do we take the plunge? Why do so many of us enter willingly into this alternate reality?
Plain and simple: love.
When you give birth to or adopt your new baby, it’s as if you’ve given legs to your heart. And now your heart is out there in the great big world and must be cared for, protected, and loved. What do you get in return? A precious little baby who looks up at you with the most unadulterated adoration imaginable. You are his universe, and suddenly he is yours too.
On this journey to the wild side, all new moms can count on one thing: newborns are exhausting. They cry a lot (especially at three a.m.), they spit up milk on your shoulder, and their diapers will inevitably leak all over your pants during the Sunday morning sermon. But then there are those moments when that stinky little spit-up machine lies perfectly still across your chest, arms draped over your sides, and drifts off to sleep. Ah, love.
But babies grow up. New moms will soon face crayon marks on the walls, toys flushed down the toilet, muddy footprints tracked through the kitchen, and crumbs under every couch cushion. However, before you can move on to the chaos and clutter of the toddler years, you must survive the first year of motherhood—ideally without losing your cool.
Life is too short not to enjoy what you have today, and motherhood too fleeting to get mired in frustration. Blink once, and your baby is a toddler. Blink twice, and she’s in college. This book is about simplifying, learning from mistakes, and becoming the mom God wants each of us to be. I want to help you not only survive your first year of motherhood but to delight in being a mom the way God intended.
In Rattled, I offer information and advice from moms who have been there, answers to your questions from doctors and experts, and resources for further study. I also hope you can find humor in the small struggles we all inevitably face. know that you are busy and your time is precious. With that in mind, I’ve designed each chapter to resemble what I call a “Motherhood Survival Kit” (boy, did I need one of these with my firstborn!).
If you were to be thrown out into the wilderness, the four basic things you would need to survive are water, food, fire, and shelter. Well, you’ve been thrown into the wilderness of motherhood, and to survive your baby’s first year you will need:
• Water from the Word. Bible verses at the beginning of each chapter remind you to focus on God’s Word through the mommy adventures that lie ahead.
• Food for Thought. Facts and statistics about the first year of motherhood will intrigue and inspire you.
• Faith on Fire. A closing prayer at the end of every chapter reminds you to lean on Jesus throughout your journey.
• Shelter from the Storm. Stories and advice from moms across the country will make you laugh, cry, and remember you’re not alone on this mothering journey.
• First-Aid Kit. These practical tips will help you simplify life as a mom—kind of like mom-size Band-Aids.
• SOS (Spiritual Opportunity to Savor). In the wilderness you send out an SOS for help. We need to ask God for help too—so at the end of every chapter I’ve added a mom-sized devotional, a Spiritual Opportunity to Savor. This will offer busy moms like you the opportunity to renew and refresh your spiritual life.
But wait, there’s more! At the end of Rattled, you will find several resource sections loaded with tons of information on:
• Miscarriage. Recounts my own heartbreaking story and how I found hope in my despair through God’s love.
• Your Baby’s Development. Details your baby’s development for each month during his first twelve months.
• Your Compass. Contains all the resources you’ll need to survive the first year with your baby.
Welcome to the wild side of life called motherhood, loaded with dirty diapers, stinky spit up, and rarely enough slumber. You will be stressed and stretched further than you ever imagined. Some days you will wonder if you have what it takes to be a mom. Rest assured you do!
So enjoy the most amazing love this side of heaven, wrapped up in the tiniest, sweetest little package called a baby!
Before you read any further, take this quick test to see what stage of motherhood you are in. Check all that apply to you and then add up your total check marks at the end.
You are probably not a mom yet. However, you may be newly pregnant or have nieces and nephews putting you through mommy boot camp. If you’re starting to freak out about the whole motherhood thing, let me assure you that watching shows on PBS Kids (and even enjoying it) isn’t such a stretch.
Mom Test 101
- Bedtime stories and goodnight prayers last longer than an opera.
- You haven’t slept through the night in months, and you can’t remember the last time you curled your hair or put on makeup.
- You are awakened each morning by someone standing two inches from your nose, breathing on you, scaring you half to death.
- You can change a diaper faster than a rodeo cowboy can rope a calf.
- You have stretch marks in places you didn’t know could stretch.
- You’re still holding on to your before-kids jeans with the hopes of fitting into them again someday.
- On a rough day, your kids have eaten Goldfish crackers for breakfast, Oreos for lunch, and Frosted Flakes for dinner.
You are probably a new mom who’s wondering if she has what it takes to survive motherhood. At this point you may be thinking, Who’s Elmo, where’s Dragon Land, and how long does an opera last anyway?
You have a couple of years’ experience at this mothering gig and are starting to wonder when the raise kicks in…or at least when you can clock out and get some rest. I have bad news for you: There is no pay raise. In fact, there is no pay. And clocking out is not an option.
- The word Yuck! has officially been banned from your dinner table.
- You’ve fallen asleep sitting in a kitchen chair in the middle of lunch with tuna on your chin.
- Your social life consists of hanging out with other moms at McDonald’s Playland, sipping soda.
- You only have time to shave one leg during your shower before someone screams, cries, or comes looking for you.
- Your child throws up, and you actually try to catch it in your hands.
- You catch yourself humming the Elmo’s World theme song at dinner without even realizing you knew it by heart.
- You know who Arthur and Buster are, can count to ten in Spanish, and think that two-headed, fire-breathing dragons might make nice pets, if they could actually leave Dragon Land.
11 or More Points
You are the mom of all moms and have several years’ experience under your belt (perhaps along with several added inches). You look forward to the day when your little angel goes off to kindergarten; this will finally give you time to paint your nails, take a long hot shower and shave both legs, and sip your morning coffee in peace and quiet. Of course, that’s right about the time that little stick turns blue again, and you get a doover with baby number two. Maybe this time you’ll get it right!1
Note to All Moms
Whether you are expecting your first baby or already have a dozen kids at home, Rattled is for you. This is because every time you have a baby, you must survive your baby’s first year. You’ll make new discoveries in Rattled, and you may even laugh out loud (making your husband think you have finally lost your mind, which is certainly better than losing your lunch).
You’re ready to begin reading. And if you happen to fall asleep in the middle of a chapter, my feelings will not be hurt. I know how exhausting motherhood is. Just try not to drool on the pages.