Happy Mother's Day!

This Mother's Day is a bit of a big deal - as it is my first Mother's Day ever.  I've decided to take a break from the furniture posts and write an ode to Mother's for this special upcoming weekend.

This week I found myself dealing with two little girls who had a massive explosive diarrhea problem.  We're not talking a little bit of runny poop, we're talking it was so explosive the diapers wouldn't hold it.  Every morning, I awoke to a baby room filled with putrid stench - and two babies saturated - from neck to toe - in poop.  It was all over the bedding, the crib, in their hair... and this continued all day.  On Tuesday, our hot water tank broke, and I resorted to baths with baby wipes.  Periodically through my day, I'd find chunks on my own clothing, on the carpet, everywhere.
There was a time in my life when I couldn't wait to be a Mom.  I was so excited to have a chubby little warm body to love and care for.  I am blessed, beyond measure, to have two little chubby bodies.  My life couldn't be fuller.  But I don't think I expected the work that came with it.  I had visions of being the super Mom - the one who looks fabulous, her kids look fabulous, her house look fabulous, and SHE is just fabulous!  She walks around with her happy kids in the stroller, she is poised, smiling, and calm.

Sometimes when I go to my friends' houses, I secretly look for messes.  When I go upstairs to use their bathroom, I sneak a peek in the bedrooms.  Because if the rest of the house is immaculate  SURELY the bedroom is a disaster!   I glorify in seeing take-out boxes in their recycling bins, or seeing the dinner dishes stacked in the sink.  Am I the only one who does this?  Maybe.  I think it's because I put unrealistic expectations on myself as a mother and am dissapointed when I can't keep up with the simple day-to-day of life.  When I pick my kid up from the stroller to show her off, and discover she's charded through her pants.  Or when someone knocks on my door, and I'm still in my 'jams.  Or when I find fruit stickers or other foreign objects in my kids' diapers. 

The best part about my journey, is the support and role models I have in my life.  I know so many fantastic Moms, and I find I can learn so much from them sharing their struggles as a parent, and their unending encouragement to me as a mother.  I do not compare myself, but rather strive to attain the same qualities I so admire.  I'd like to share with you some of the Moms in my life, and their specific qualities that I really admire.

This is Sarah, and her little guy Jared.

 Sarah and I have just become friends over the past year.  She works part time, and has the most adorable little boy in the world.  He is determined and knows what he wants, and Sarah is incredible at reading her child, teaching him how to communicate with her what he wants, and striving to find the best tactics to dealing with him.  What I admire most about Sarah is that she's real.  She doesn't have a 'my way or the highway' approach to parenting - she always says, "You need to do what works for you".  She's open about her struggle to balance her time, and makes choices to be active with her family rather than spend time on facebook. 

This is my oldest sister, Alicia.

Alicia has two little boys.  She lives in Ottawa, so we mostly communicate via e-mail.  Whenever I have a question, she always takes the time to write a lengthy e-mail with solutions, or have a phone conversation with me.  What I admire most about her is that she has the most well-adjusted, self assured little guy, all from the fruits of her diligent parenting.  Ethan loves church nursery, loves play groups, loves going outside, and is just a really happy, content kid.  I know that is from their firm and loving guidance as parents.

This is my sister-in-law, Andrea, and her little guy, William.

Andrea is down-to-earth.  She is super involved in her community in Peterborough.  She bikes everywhere, uses cloth diapers, owns a cafe, has a garden, is a fantastic cook, and has all sorts of domestic talents.  What I admire the most about Andrea is her embracing community.  She has opened her home to countless people, there is always someone new living at their house.  William is so well-adjusted to other people.  He can play with kids of any age.  They are just very easy-going and relaxed parents.

This is my friend Alicia, and her little guy, Lucas.

Alicia is awesome.  She is one of those people you just love being around, she makes you smile with her honesty.  Lucas is 2, and he loves his Mom.  He loves cuddling with her and getting attention from her.  I admire Alicia for her desire to learn how to raise her children to know Jesus.  She became a Christian later in life, and her faith is so raw and so real, and while there are so many things I take for granted have been raised in a Christian home and community, she reminds me that I need to share with my kids how God has changed my life, and how much Jesus loves them.  So much!

This is my neighbour, Jacquie.

Some mornings when I am still making the beds and trying to get in the shower, I look out the window and she and her kids are dressed, fresh, and ready to go for the day.  When you move into a neighbourhood, you don't know what kind of neighbours you are going to get - and we hit the jackpot.  It is so assuring to know that they are right across the street to call on if we are ever in a jam, or to just watch the kids for a bit while I run to the doctor's or whatever I might need to do.  What I admire about Jacquie is that she lives simply, she doesn't have all the latest 'stuff', she focuses on her family, her family's health, and her community.  She asks for help when she needs it, and she offers help when I need it.

This is my other sister, Krista.

Krista and I are very alike, which for everyone who has sisters, know that can be a good thing, but it can be hard as well.  Krista is also a new Mom to Forrest.  The thing I admire about Krista, is that she has style.  I think a lot of moms lose their style once they lose their body, but not Krista.  Her style is not expensive, it's thrifty and eclectic.  She reminds me that it's important to look nice and take care of myself and to strive to lose those baby pounds.  It doesn't have to cost a lot to look good.  I also like that she is hands-on.  She makes her own clothes, everything in her house is her own handiwork.  Here is a photo she uploaded to facebook the other day, and it made me smile.

This is my sister-in-law, Stacy.

Stacy is authentic and beautiful.  She has two little guys, Emanuel and Xavier.  In my mind, Stace is super-mom.   Emanuel just started school, and his teacher says he is super confident, outgoing, and not at all shy.  Emanuel is just like his Mom, and he is so precious.  I admire Stacy for raising such an energetic and self-assured boy.  She has fostered him in discovering his own personality, and has guided him to thrive in his individuality.   Emanuel loves people, loves his parents, his baby brother, loves his cousins and aunties and uncles.  And I know that stems from the enduring love from his parents.

This is my Mother-in-law.

I can't tell you the countless horror stories I've heard about mother-in-laws.  Let me just say - I have the prettiest, calmest, easy-going, lovely mother-in-law I could ever imagine.  Mom has become a second Mom to me.  Mark and I often call her for advice and counsel.  She encourages me so much in every area of my life, praising my efforts and loving on my children.  She is gifted in conversation; I always find myself enjoying our chats together.  The first time I met her, I called her "Mrs. Vanderherberg", to which she quickly replied, "Oh Jen, you can call me Sharon!" (and my brother-in-law Michael said, "Just call her Mom!" which made things a little weird).   I remember the first time calling her "Mom", which was so awkward for me, since she wasn't my Mom!  It quickly became comfortable, and now she is nothing other than "Mom" to me. 

Well that is just a few of the many moms I admire.   Because of time, I must wrap up this post.  But not before saluting the most important mom in my life - my mom.  Because of my Mom, I was able to sit down and write this post.  I was able to sleep in a bit this morning, and sit down with my Bible and coffee.  My Mom today gave me a break from the explosive diarrhea.  She really gave me the best mother's day present I could ask for.

My Mom has 5 grandchildren.  She has fully embraced the role of "Grandma", and loves every minute of it.  When we come over, she cooks us food, changes our kids diapers, puts them down for naps, and pulls out the toys.  She always has a loaf baked.  But most of all, she genuinely enjoys her grandkids.  She makes them smile, makes them laugh, and she reminds me to take time to enjoy them myself.

Here is my Mom with each of us three girls on our wedding days.

 Not to mention, my Mom is beautiful.  She strives to keep herself and her family healthy and well.  Her house is always clean (and it always has been).  When I moved into my first apartment, she showed up with her rubber gloves and a scrubby brush to help me clean.  She has a way of suggesting things, rather than telling me things I need to work on.  She has a gorgeous house - but she's worked incredibly hard for everything she has.  She still works in the greenhouse with Dad a few days every week.  My mom is the ultimate model for the kind of Mom I would like to be, and now she is the model for the kind of Grandma I would like to be to my girls.  

My Mom reads all my blog posts, and often says things like, "Jen, I think you need more furniture (for my business).  Maybe I should look after the girls on Saturday so you can go to an auction".  My Mom is incredibly helpful.  Not many people have a Mom so fantastic.  I am so blessed!

So, Happy Mother's Day to all you fabulous, hard-working, dedicated and beautiful Mother's.  I believe that children are an inheritance from the Lord, a reward from Him.  This Mother's Day, may you celebrate in the beauty and delight of motherhood.


  1. This was a really, lovely, appreciated post. Your words are vital & important & I wish you a Happy Mothers Day!

  2. Dear jenn, it's been a hard two weeks with the boys, thanks so much for your loving words, you are wonderful!

  3. So nice, this brought tears to my eyes. Jen, what a appreciate about your mothering is how much you love everything about your girls. You have fun with them and fit into mothering naturally.
    Have a great mothers day!
    PS. I too, look for the messes in others houses! Makes me feel better about my own mess;)