coming out of the fog

HebrewDawn: coming out of the fog

My daughter is just about to turn nine months old, which means she will be out as long as she was in. As we hit this milestone I finally feel like I’m coming out of the proverbial new mom fog. If you’re in the midst of the fog you might know what I’m talking about. If your past it, I’m almost certain you know what I’m talking about. Whether we’re in it or past it, we all eventually come out of the fog.

As a mom, it is always an adjustment to embrace your new found identity. You had this baby that spent nine months growing inside of you, but now it is learning to live outside of you. You spent months adjusting your growing belly and now you must recalibrate and learn to provide for this little person all the time. 

Not only are you learning caregiving skills, but you also have this new identity called motherhood to embrace. You’ve gone from being your own person, and now your some little person’s whole world. If you already have older children, you’re learning how to share yourself with all the little people vying for your attention. No matter how many children you have, it’s always an adjustment to accept the new you.

When you have a baby, they’re always worried about you having postpartum depression. No one talks about this fog you’re living in. With so many things changing in your body, your life, identity, etc. you spend your days with your mind spinning. I am here to share something with you that I’ve heard from almost every mom; adjusting to this new identity as a mother is a challenge for everyone. I’ve also heard from almost every mom that we do make it out of the fog and see our world clearly once more. The way we see our life and world may be different than before, but it is now filled with lots of love and joy. 

yours in motherhood,


HebrewDawn: coming out of the fog

mommy brain is real

Whether you have kids or not, I’m certain you have heard about Mommy Brain. My dearest Erica (aka happedancing) always wondered if it was real, and then a few of her close friends had children. One of the first things she said to me was, “DUDE, mommy brain is real!” Of course I responded, “oh yes, mommy brain is definitely real! Thanks to it, I feel half-stupid all the time.”

Since having kids I have moments of feeling functionally crazy or off my rocker. Frequently my husband questions the half done projects, things left on the tables/counter, and tasks left undone around the house. I attribute all of this to mommy brain. But none of these compare to the Chicken Incident.

I was just a couple months postpartum from having our second when I invited my friend Steph and her daughter over for dinner. I warned her it wouldn’t be anything super fancy as we were running errands that day. We both agreed that time spent together was of greater importance than a fancy meal together.

The incident…

That afternoon I took a trip to Costco with the girls, to keep the oldest entertained (she LOVES their samples). I also went to get some needed groceries, and I picked up a rotisserie chicken. I almost always get a rotisserie chicken if it’s anywhere close to dinner, because I know I’ll get at least two meals out of it. Work smarter not harder right?

HebrewDawn: mommy brain is real

Once we got home I put the chicken in the oven to keep it warm until dinner time. Next I put on a pot of brown rice to cook, because I figured I might as well make the sides healthy if I was bailing out of cooking the main dish. Right about that time Stephanie arrived. The weather was so gorgeous we decided we had to go enjoy some time at the playground with our girls. After awhile we came back to the house thinking the rice would be almost done so we could get a vegetable made to go along with our easy but healthy dinner.

In the midst of doing this I remember that I needed to warm up the chicken since it had been a little while since we got home and turned the oven on (mind you our oven defaults to 350 degrees). I started preparing some broccoli to sautée on the stove, turned on the stove to get the cast iron skillet hot, and then I noticed something about the rice cooker. The remaining cook time on the rice was 75 minutes and we need to feed the girls in about 20 Minutes as it was close to meltdown time for two hungry three year olds.

Suddenly something smelt a little burny (I don’t think that’s really a word, but I’m going with it). Then I remembered that I had put the chicken in there earlier to keep it warm. The chicken now had it’s plastic container melted all around it. *face palm*

HebrewDawn: mommy brain is real

Mommy brain struck again and I had ruined dinner. I waited too long to start the brown rice, and most importantly the chicken was inedible with melted plastic all around it. This was moment that I could have chosen to cry, but all I could do was laugh and give thanks that I had a good friend with me.

HebrewDawn: mommy brain is real

We turned off dinner, loaded the kids in the car and went to Chick-fil-A. I may have had hopes of providing a healthy dinner of chicken, brown rice, and broccoli for dinner, but fed was definitely best that night. Not to mention the two almost hungry three year olds were tickled to have dinner together at one of their favorite places. I guess mommy brain isn’t always so bad for everyone?

Real Moms: Heather Wiederholt

I am so excited to introduce another mom to you in this new motherhood series here on HebrewDawn. Please allow me to introduce, Heather Widerholt. She and I became fast friends over tacos, margaritas, laughter, and a fun trip to MommyCon this past summer. Heather is the beautiful voice behind Sleepy Brother, and owner of Turtle and Hare Photography. This woman is full of so much talent, joy, AND she’s a wonderful mom. I hope you enjoy getting to know Heather and hearing about her life as a mom with her beautiful little girl.

 Real Moms: Heather of Sleepy Brother and Turtle & Hare Photography

How many children do you have and how old are they? I have one daughter who is four months old.

What is your greatest joy in being a mom? It’s hard to pinpoint a single joy for me at this point. Maybe it’s just because my daughter is so young, but right now all of the emotions are so vibrant, that it’s all joy. I’m joyfully amazed at her existence. I’m joyful that I get to love and teach her. I pray that I do a good job at that. I’m joyful to have the privilege to watch her grow and learn.

What has been your greatest struggle as a mom? I think that balancing myself has been, and will continue to be, a struggle. When I say balance I don’t just mean time. Being a mom makes all of the stakes in life feel higher. Decisions are harder because there is another person to consider. Time management is obviously harder. Prioritizing myself, or others, over my child is also part of this delicate balance. Every action is a series of choices in which I must prioritize people and activities. I’m still getting the hang of this.

What’s something you wish you knew before you became a mom? I wish I knew that I would experience emotion to a wider degree. It’s not necessarily a negative, but I just feel things much deeper. I doubt there would have been a way to prepare myself for that though.

How has your relationship with your significant other changed since having kids? It’s been so comforting to have someone to go through this transition with who is experiencing, questioning, and learning from all of the same things. We are learning how to be parents side by side, and it’s brought us closer together. I’m sure it won’t all be sunshine and flowers, but the thought of this very special shared life event is very exciting right now.

My hope for motherhood… I’ve only been a mom for about five minutes, but they’ve been a very full five minutes. I hope I can be a wise mother who humbly shows her daughter the grace, mercy, and love of God.

Thank You Heather for being a part of the real moms series! 
I hope you have enjoyed hearing from this beautiful and kindhearted woman who is full of so much love and grace. I hope that no matter where you are on this motherhood journey, that you have so much to offer the world around you and other women you encounter.

If you are interested in checking out Heather’s music with Sleepy Brother, I highly recommend giving their latest album Let in the Light a listen and a buy. Lastly, if you’re in the Richmond, Virginia area and need a photographer or videographer for the special moments in your life run and check out Turtle & Hare Photography as you will not be disappointed.

Would you like to be featured in the Real Moms Series or have someone you’d like to see? We are always looking for moms with kids of all ages, faiths, and backgrounds to share their story. Make sure to send me a message to be featured or nominate someone!

Real Moms: Loren Mitchell

I am so excited to begin the new motherhood series here on HebrewDawn, and interview our first mom. Please allow me to introduce, one of my dearest friends, Loren Mitchell. She is a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a writer, and a dear friend. She’s and I met while in seminary together, and though miles may separate us, our friendship has remained strong. It has been a joy to be on this motherhood journey together, as our kids are 7 months apart. I hope you enjoy getting to know Loren and hearing about her life as a mom with her sweet boy K.

Real Moms Series: Loren Mitchell

How many children do you have and how old are they? I have one child, a son, who will be 2 years old in May.

What is your greatest joy in being a mom? Seeing how much fun K has when he is doing the most basic things! He loves moving and sorting things from one box to another. He gets really excited now to go outside and play. While he is more of a picky eater now than he once was, he really enjoys eating applesauce and cookies. He is very adamant in asking for both. He also has this little monkey backpack and lunchbox that he loves to wear to school. My favorite part of the day is bedtime. Not the part where we keep trying to delay putting on pajamas or fighting brushing our teeth. But the part where we snuggle in the rocking chair and read stories before bed.

What has been your greatest struggle as a mom? Having my child be sick so frequently in the past year. For the first ten months of his life he went to work with me (I was serving as a solo pastor in a small congregation). When we moved to a bigger city and I began to serve a larger church a year ago, K who was becoming mobile, had to start daycare. He has had every virus under the sun, twice! To make matters worse, he has febrile seizures. This means that when his fever spikes from a virus or ear infection for example, he has seizures. These do not cause damage and don’t last very long but they are so scary! So, as parents we have struggled a lot on whether or not to keep him in school or take him out. It is always hard to see your baby sick, but the fear of seizures has made us extra protective when he isn’t feeling well. We’ve chosen to keep him in the Montessori school where he attends because he loves it so much and he is learning so many great skills. And finally, after a year, I believe his immune system is finally getting stronger!

What’s something you wish you knew before you became a mom? I was so terrified to bring him home when he was born. How would I ever sleep? I knew it would be so tiring. I knew that we would become pros at feeding, changing, etc., but I don’t think I was ever absolutely certain that I was ready to be a mother. I guess I wish I had been more confident in the fact that I didn’t have to breastfeed my child. I had wanted to do that and was prepared for it. But, I was sick when he was born. Not only did we have latching issues, my milk never came in. After about 6 weeks of stressing over that every hour of every day I quit trying. And you know what? It is okay! My son is healthy. My son was thriving and I was not. I had to not only accept that fact but trust that we bonded just fine as mother and son without breastfeeding. It is great for some moms, but it didn’t work for me and that doesn’t make me any less of a mother.

Having a child changes you, so what do you hold onto and let go of as mother? Being in control of everything (P.S. this is ridiculously hard). I like to plan things out but I find that with a child things change in an instant so it is harder for me to commit to doing things professionally or socially. I actually had to give up serving on our Presbytery Youth Council because I just couldn’t do everything. This was very sad for me to say that I couldn’t participate in that ministry anymore. I’ve gotten very lax about keeping the house straight or even keeping my desk/bill pile organized. I hate this and It drives me crazy. If I have to choose between sitting on the floor with the kiddo or straightening up, I have learned to try to sit still in the moment (my husband will tell you he has to constantly remind me that it is ok to be this way)! I am also trying really hard to hold on to my friendships. Time is such a precious gift these days but I am often too tired to pick up the phone or plan a day with friends. I value those relationships and that support so much, as I have wonderful friends. I hope they know they are appreciated, even if we don’t spend a lot of time together like we did before we all got married and  had children.

How has your relationship with your significant other changed since having kids? My relationship with my husband is certainly different. In some ways we are stronger than ever, we are a team when it comes to parenting our son and I feel that we are intentional in quality time spent as a family. But there are days when we really struggle. There are days when all of my energy is spent being pastor and mother and I am just deflated at the end of the day with little energy to be a wife. Not that these roles should ever be divided up in this way as I am supposed to wear all these hats at once, but I think that my husband often gets the short end of the stick. Other life stresses can also contribute to that but I think that we strive to spend quality time together, but it is tough. This flows over into the next question

How do you make time for date night? Or how do you keep it saucy when life gets messy? Short answer: I am not very good at it! I let the stresses of life kill my mood more often than I should. We have tried, and will continue to strive to take date nights or spend time together on days I do not have to work. We are lucky we have family close by so we do try to take advantage and let K spend time with them!

What’s the one thing you would tell yourself looking back on your journey thus far? They grow so fast. And Saturdays can be so hard! Just try to relax and enjoy the moments you have with your son and your spouse. Children change every day and I want to be able to remember what he was like at each stage of his childhood. Two things I have done to record those memories are to make Shutterfly Photo books every few months and write him a monthly blog on his birthday date with memories, milestones, and photos so that we can always look back. He’ll either appreciate that when he is older or want to kill me.

Thank You Loren for agreeing to be a part of the real moms series!
I hope you have enjoyed hearing from this beautiful woman, and hearing that there are many similar struggles that we are all facing. If you enjoyed her writing style as much as I do, feel free to read more on her blog Preaching Thumbelina.

Would you like to be featured in the Real Moms Series or have someone you’d like to see? We are looking for moms with kids of all ages AND mothers of children all grown up to share their story. Make sure to send me a message to be featured or nominate someone!