{encouragement}

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The transition to motherhood has been more difficult than I had anticipated. The hardships have looked different throughout this first year. Originally I struggled because I was so tired, emotions ran wild, and breastfeeding was so incredibly difficult. I struggled being home full-time on my maternity leave and then I struggled being at work full-time. In this current season, I struggle with loneliness.


My days are long. I wake up at 3:45am each morning, get myself ready and then get Elijah ready. I commute, do daycare drop off, run errands, and then I drop myself off at work.
  
I put in my day at work and then pick Elijah up. I head home and try to squeeze in a workout and make dinner. Paul and I often have an hour or two to connect, but more often than not we are busy tending to Elijah or getting things prepared for the next day. Suddenly it is 8pm and I am in desperate need of sleep because in less than 8 hours I have to start this all over again.

I do not have a lot of time to combat the loneliness and isolation. Picking up the phone or getting a night out does not come easily (not to mention scheduling logistics). There is no simple solution. Even if I was at home with Elijah full-time, I would not be seeing friends or have the chance to engage in life-giving conversations every day. Motherhood is hard and it can be lonely.

In September when I went back to work, it did not take long for me to start feeling pretty down. The days felt long, and then suddenly I had a short reprieve in a weekend, only to start the process over again. The days were monotonous and I found myself feeling frustrated, sad, and hopeless.

Since September, nothing has drastically changed in my life. I do not have many meaningful conversations with girlfriends during the week, and the days continue to be long. However, I have been trying to fill my life with encouragement wherever I can. I have been seeking out other perspectives and voices. I wanted to share what I have found helpful, and if you are also in a season of feeling lonely or need an extra dose of encouragement as a mother, you may find this helpful. The great thing about these resources is that they are accessible anytime that you need them. 

Podcasts
Do you listen to Podcasts? Do you know what a Podcast is? I sort of think of it like a radio station - except you can find these audio files on any topic of interest. Not to long ago, a friend turned me on to listening to Podcasts. I love them because I have such a long commute to and from work. They keep my brain engaged and I feel like I can redeem that time. But they are also great to listen to while I make dinner or clean the house. I use an app called Stitcher which I love. I can easily create a station of my favorites shows.  I like to go to the very start of a show and listen from the first episode.  The app makes it easy to binge listen because it will automatically start the next episode. Here are two of my favorite shows right now:

The Happy Hour - This is a fun and entertaining show. It is like being at a happy hour with a girlfriend. As the host Jamie Ivey says every week, they talk about the big things in life the small things and everything in between. Often the show is about faith, motherhood, work-life balance, and adoption. Guests also share what they are reading and three things that they are currently loving.

Inspired to Action - I am LOVING this podcast! Honestly, as I listen to it I feel so encouraged in my role as a mother. The host Kat Lee often talks about motherhood being a craft. We may have giftings in areas, but there are many areas as a mother that we can grow in our craft. This podcast challenges me to excellence (not perfection). Topics are wide ranging from parenting, faith, healthy habits, meal planning, setting goals, slowing down, and being intentional.

Spiritual:
I have been trying to be more disciplined in my spiritual practices. My struggle with reading the Bible or even with prayer is that I do not know where to start, and because I am overwhelmed, I do not do anything. So I have found a daily devotional that I have been reading and a prayer calendar to help me pray for Elijah and for Paul. I appreciate the prayer calendar so that I am adding depth to my prayers.

She Reads Truth - This is the lent devotion that I have been using each day.

Prayer Calendar - Guided prayers for your husband and your children.

Blogs:
Here are some blogs that have been encouraging me lately.
Jennie Allen
Light and Loveliness
The Beginning of Wisdom
The MOB Society

Where do you find encouragement?

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