Whoa! For the past few years I’ve done a summary blog of my year. 2019 was extraordinary in a variety of ways. I actually went back and read my post from 2018 to refresh my memory on where my heart was at. I think I can safely describe 2019 as a year of incredible and sometimes painful growth.

As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, I’m slowly starting to feel more confident in my ability to make difficult decisions and communicate effectively with my patients. My preceptor always told me that it takes about 18 months to get over the terror of being a new nurse practitioner and about 5 years to feel confident. I’m definitely excited to hit the 5-year mark! My patients are constantly teaching me and pushing me to be better! The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that my primary job is to shut up and listen. Generally, if I do a good job listening to my patients, the answer they need will present itself!

I’ll be honest. It’s really hard for me to share my struggles as a mom. I think part of that comes from my own introvert tendencies. The other part of it comes from the fact that I quite frankly do not want to deal with criticism from other people. I don’t know if that’s something that you struggle with, but I’ve decided that this year I’m going to be more vulnerable in sharing my own struggles. This is not an invitation for criticism. However, I’ve decided that the odds my struggles will help another momma out there are worth the risk of someone taking advantage of my vulnerability. Sometimes that is the difference in a relationship. Are you willing to accept the cost of loving someone well?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is to give myself grace as a mom. As women we are so quick to criticize and belittle ourselves. I’ve really grown in that area of my life. However, it’s been a slower process giving myself that grace as a parent. I justify my own criticism because I believe the stakes are higher when my children are involved. While this is true, I think it’s important to be clear about the goal of such criticism. Am I feeling guilty and need to repent? Or am I beating myself up because I didn’t meet my own expectations? Sometimes as moms we add additional stress to our lives that doesn’t need to be there. I’ve started to ask myself, “What’s actually important in this situation?” Are my kids going to care if we don’t have a beautifully decorated home for Christmas? Probably not. However, they will care if I’m stressed and irritated with them all day because I tried to put too much on my plate.

Recently, I’ve found a sweet spot in my parenting routine. I will do an entire blog post in the future about what has been working and why, but the biggest factor that has helped me grow is recognizing that parenting is a time-consuming job. My kids need my time and attention. If I want to be a good parent, I’m going to have to be intentional in how I love them. This does not simply mean completing a to do list of cooking and cleaning. Motherhood is so much more than that! It’s taking time to connect and love on your children on an individual and personal level.

In April, we will welcome a sweet baby girl into our home! God definitely surprised me with this pregnancy! I was hopeful we would be able to have more children, but I honestly didn’t know. Two months after having Tobias, I started praying that God would let us have another baby. I think God has a sense of humor, because once again he allowed me to get pregnant in one of our busiest seasons. We were in the middle of moving, and I was also started graduate classes for seminary in Portland. I think God enjoys reminding me that I’m not self-sufficient. I really need him.

I have two primary goals for this year. One, I want to be the very best mother I can be. Two, I want to serve the busy moms in my audience like crazy!

I am creating a service that fills a huge need in the marketplace for busy mothers. Moms need a place they can go to feel connected, known, and encouraged. And as a mental health professional, I know there are specific, proven ways to support a mom’s emotional and mental health. If you want to be the first to know about this one-of-a-kind support, make sure you are signed up for my newsletter!

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