Good morning again, friends! As we continue this series (it is running bi-weekly now, by the way) we have another lovely guest – Amber Carmona from @a_dappled_life. Amber is one of a couple of friends whose children happen to be a couple of months ahead of ours, and spaced almost the same distance apart (month-wise.) She also has had harder pregnancies health-wise. I definitely look up to her as an example of someone who comes through it all cheerfully, full of love for life, beauty, and her family. Her personality bubbles over in this interview, and I hope that you enjoy getting to know her and are encouraged!
Please introduce yourself – who you are, where you are from, your interests, etc.
Hi! My name is Amber Carmona. I’m originally from Delaware, but now that I’m a military wife, home has become anywhere that my little family is together. We are currently in Kansas, after spending a year overseas in Korea. I’m a mommy of two little boys, both under two years old currently. They keep me super busy and they make life very fun, but I still try to squeeze in some time for my creative side. I have my masters degree in art, so although I don’t have as much time to spend on it right now, art will always be a passion of mine. I enjoy most creative things really. Decorating, cooking, journaling, furniture makeovers, really anything that can get my creative juices flowing. My husband and I are pretty free spirits. Even with two babies, we still love exploring wherever God puts us, and finding simple fun things to do together. A close family is super important to us. My hubs and I have been married for three years, but we have been good friends since we were 11 and 12. So we have a fun history to look back on 🙂
What does it mean to you, this concept of rejoicing in your motherhood?
Whew. Motherhood. As a little girl my sister and I loved to play dolls. We loved pretending to be moms. We loved pretending to have our own little troops playing nicely, getting into mischief or getting boo boos. Of course being a mom isn’t quite the same as my childhood self thought it would be. I never knew pregnancy could be so awful for some people! That was my first taste of motherhood… and it was a hard stage to rejoice in. But somehow God helps us to forget about the worst parts of pregnancy and birth… because most of us go on to do it more than once! Haha…Really for me, rejoicing in motherhood means learning how to trust in the Lord, no matter what hardships you are going through, or how monotonous or frustrating your life feels. When you learn to trust that God knows your struggles, you can depend on him through the hard stuff and have joy through him. I really learned this lesson while we were stationed in Korea. Friends can fail us. Family can fail us. Our husband and our children can fail us, but God will never fail us, and he is the only true source of joy in this world. So how do I find joy each day? Looking to him. Not focusing on the bad things, but focusing on the blessings, and the little jewels that peek out amidst the exhaustion and the temper tantrums. I can’t do any of this without God’s help, and when I let him lead the way, he is the one that fills me with joy for my sweet family.
What does your current season of motherhood look like?
Um… lots of sticky stuff on the floor. Haha, no but seriously, that’s most of it. Caring for two tiny humans is exhausting and so messy. I feel like I’m constantly running in circles to keep some semblance of order! I’ve found keeping a journal where I plan things out for each week has really helped me. Also I try to keep up with housework so it doesn’t get too overwhelming. Honestly though, I just try to remember how fleeting and special this stage of my babies lives is. I ignore some messes, I have fun with my toddler, I snuggle my infant, and when we have to stop the crazy we go to the park.
How are you finding joy in this season? What are some ways that you want to practice rejoicing in this season of life? What ways do you already practice joy and gratitude?
I’ve found that one of the biggest parts of having a joyful home is having a good relationship with your spouse. God has blessed me with a great husband. I’m sure we both annoy each other sometimes, but staying connected to him and having fun together really makes having a joyful home so much easier! I’ve found that when I find ways to bless him, and when I have a good attitude about the day, everything is so much better. So I try to keep my relationship with my hubby something that I am constantly improving. I don’t want to one day find that my kids are grown and realize that my husband and I don’t have a relationship anymore. So all that to say, I find joy in being close to my husband and in spending time together with our babies!
Think about this quote from Gloria Furman, in Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full: “Being a mother is wildly fun, yet because of eternity, it is a serious joy at the same time.” What are your takeaways?
Well, as mothers we have the huge opportunity to instill values in our own little people. We have the chance to teach them who God is, and how to respect each other. We get to teach them about heaven! So through all the chaos and spilled milk, if we don’t remember the huge gravity of raising our little ones for the Lord, we will have missed out one of God’s biggest blessings to us. And we will do our children a huge disservice.
Have you ever been tempted to make an idol of your motherhood or your children? How could rejoicing in motherhood turn into idolizing it in this season?
Hmm. Well I think I see myself in my toddler way too much to think that he’s perfect….ha! But I do think that in our society today there is such a huge emphasis on having a picture perfect home for others to see through social media. So whether it just be wanting others to see how cute your kids are, or how great of a schedule you have, etc, it’s definitely a pitfall that many young moms get themselves into. We just all need to stop comparing ourselves to each other, and encourage one another instead!
Reflect for a moment on James 1:2-4. How does this apply to motherhood?
Oh goodness, well I many times feel my faith being “tried” with my little ones. Motherhood is a hard season, despite its joys. But if we allow God to work in us it will produce patience towards our kids, and it will grow us into better people.
Who have been the most influential/best examples of mothers in your own life?
I praise the Lord that he blessed me with an amazing mother. She has had such a huge impact on my life. It drives me to want to be a better mom for my own kids. Other women have encouraged me and been good role models as well, but my mom has been a sounding board and such a Godly example to me. She is definitely on the top of the list!
Who and what are your current mentors/resources for parenting and motherhood that you would recommend to other mamas?
I’m currently going to a bible study at my church. It’s a huge blessing to glean experience from older mamas as well as women in the same stage as me. That’s been a huge help. I find that becoming friends with Godly women that have more experience and that point me to Christ is more dependable than any parenting book. Not that there aren’t some great ones out there. I’m just cautious.
What encouragement would you like to give to other mamas in your current season?
It’s okay to have bad days, and to get discouraged sometimes. We are humans, and God gave us human emotions and limits. (Not to mention sleep deprivation!) Just don’t stay there! Focus on the blessings God has given you, put your phone away and play with your kids. Find new ways to show your spouse you love them, and plan a family outing. This is the life God has given you. It’s easy to get in a rut in this stage of life. Find a way to do something fun together with the family God has blessed you with!