The Smith Project

spouse support

Preparing for Marriage

MarriageAndrea SmithComment

So now you're engaged and needing to plan for the rest of your life. Now what? If you already feel overwhelmed by all the wedding planning that you need to do, don't fret. The wedding is just one day. Go beyond that and start thinking about your future of what's really important.

Here are 5 Steps to Take before You Say "I Do"

1.) Pre-martial counseling-

You might you could just skip out on not meeting with another couple, but it's not recommended. What's hard about receiving counsel from others is the fact that they keep you accountable. They tell you things that sting. But just as the Lord disciples those He loves, so do the people who love and support us. If you aren't connected with a church or don't even believe in God, but want counsel from others. Look for a couple that you trust. That models marriage the way you want to live out your life. I love my single friends but this is an area where you don't want their advice. They don't know what they're talking about since they are not married. Seeing marriage and being married is day and night. If you don't have a couple that you trust or look up to, ask people if they would recommend anyone for marriage counseling.

2.) Accountablity-

Speaking of being held accountable, now that you're engaged, your boundaries will be tested now more than ever. Setting up boundaries with your future spouse is critical. You are not only trying to keep your standards high, but you are setting the stage for what your marriage life will look like. After establishing the dos and don't within your relationship, tell someone and ask them to meet with you once a week or whatever works with your schedule. You don't want to walk down the aisle with regrets or be full of shame. You want to walk in the freedom that you are loved by many and will make countless mistakes but have a willing heart to make things right.

3.) Planning-

Not the planning type that's ok cause that's not what I mean when I say "planning". You should talk with your marriage counselors and sit down with your spouse and ask the hard hitting questions. What are our 10 year goals? What are the expectations regarding taking care of the home? Do you both want kids? Etc. These are questions that you shoujld already be talking about but if you haven't you should start.You might be surprised by what your future spouse will say. The goal is to be on the same page. Even if you disagree you can work it out.

4.) Inner Healing and Deliverance-

Yes you heard right. I remember going through a handful of marriage classes with my husband and also taking inner healing courses. This has helped our marriage so much because I knew I was a mess and I didn't want to bring in all my crap into this marriage. Of course I brought some into it, but since my husband knew what I was getting myself into, he would pray for me, talk with me, listen to me. It strengthened our relationship so much because we were able to go deep and process issues together.

5.) Relax and have fun-

Even though I just gave you a pretty hefty list of things to consider before you say "I do". In the end, all your crap is going to come up and you'l need to deal with it one way or another. Have fun with your person. Continue to go out on dates while working up a storm and saving up for your wedding. It's important to still kindle the flame before you get married.

I pray your marriage is successful and firey. I hope that you will continue to love each other no matter what happens. Continue to stick to one another when the other is being such a jerk and wants to leave you. Run toward them not away. Trust me they still love you, they are just so hurt and confused that they just need to know that you will still be there for them. Through all the brokness of a human being they need to know that you still want them, that you'll still stand by there side. That's what marriage is truly for. Your friendship being tested to the core.

Blessings on your journey with your best friend

5 Ways to Breast with Success

Motherhood, Pregnancy, FamilyAndrea SmithComment

Breastfeeding. Women have been using their boobies to feed their children for thousands of years. But what people lack to tell you is how freaking hard it is!

You've probably heard that babies naturally latch onto your breast when they lay your baby on your chest for the first time. Ya that's like the 1% buddy! I don't know a single person who has had an easy, breezy, beautiful Covergirl breastfeeding experience. All of you who have. I seriously give you mad props. I am truly happy that you didn't have to experience hardship when it came to breastfeeding.

But for the 99.9% of women I know who have had cracked nipples. mastisis, yeast infections, thrush, lip/tongue ties, teeth biting off nipples. You know, #thestruggleisreal

Don't get me wrong I do enjoy and appriecate the fact that my body can produce milk for my baby and give him all the vitamins and nutrients he needs. But if you are a first time mom or soon will be, please please please find a breastfeeding support group. Find friends or family that know how to breastfeed and ask for help. Having these two things are so important and critical for you to have a successful breastfeeding experience.

So here are some tips to have a good experience while breastfeeding. Whether you're a working mom or stay at home mommy, you can do it and don't give up! It's hard but you've got this ;-)

1.) Find a local breastfeeding support group

I can't emphasize enough how much this saved my life. When you are home on maternity leave and you are struggling at the house, you really need encouragement and support from others. My friend (who was pregnant at the same time as me) told me about this breastfeeding support group that the hospital does on specific days. I went and it was so encouraging to me that I wasn't alone in the struggle, and even better was seeing moms who had older babies than mine that were still having issues. As your baby grows and changes so does breastfeeding, there's different stages that you go through that I didn't know about.

2.) Nursing bras

Dude. You need to invest in some serious nursing bras. Yes I know they are expensive but you will not regret it. Plus you can always give it a shot for like a week or so and if it's not working out for you make your husband take it back! Duh! Some of the brands that seem to be super popular and also that I like wearing are the following...Bravado, Motherhood Maternity, Target, Walmart. Try a bunch of different ones and see what works for you. If you tend to leak a lot I would recommend getting a few day time bras and then getting a nighttime bra from like Target.

3.) Disposable nursing pads vs. Clothe

Honestly I use both. The best disposable nursing pads I've found are Johnson and Johnson. They are comfortable, stay in place and soak up a lot of milk if you get engorged and are leaking like a fountain. Clothe I use during the day which keeps me fairly dry and the disposable I use at night. They work great for me and you should try both to see which is most comfortable and conveint for you.

4.) Be patient and give grace

Patience is not one of my strong giftings. I struggle with it everyday to not be critical of others and of myself. I tend to have high expectations for myself and project that unto others. So regardless of what people have said about the baby naturally latching unto your breast which is true in some but rare cases, your baby has no idea what it's doing. Just like you have no idea what you're doing with this creature you just made for the past 9 months. You must, must, must give your baby grace and just as importantly give yourself grace. You just delivered a baby, your life will now be forever changed with screams, cries, hugs and laughter forever. The times when you get super frustrated with yourself or your baby, take a deep breath and try again. If you are still struggling to get your baby to latch or whatever, ask your spouse (if they are there) to take the baby for a minute. Put a binky in there mouth or your finger and they will quiet down for a minute for you to gather your thoughts and calm down.

5.) Spouse support

Your spouse can't breastfeed your baby but he can help you with the baby. You can pump and have dad feed the baby while you go take a nap. When the baby is screaming and you are about to lose your cool he can stick he's finger in the baby's mouth and they will suck on that for awhile for comfort. He can encourage you or if you need to vent you can ask him to listen to you and hold you while you cry it out with how hard it's going. Your spouse can do a lot more than you think. Trust me. All the above I've been through it. I seriously would have given up if my husband didn't encourage me, comfort me or support me with breastfeeding. Even though it's primarliry a mom and child experience, your spouse can and should be very involved with the process. Our nightly routine is Jared gets Liam ready for bed while I get ready for bed and he gets me water, gets me my iPad (I like to play games on it or Pinterest everything) hands me the baby as I get situate for our last feeding of the night and we're good to go. This process has been so helpful after a long day of work and taking care of everyone else, he takes care of the baby and helps me out even for a few mins.

Again you can do this! It's hard but you will be so happy you stuck with it. I promise you. I don't know a mom who has ever regretted breastfeeding her baby. #gohardorgohome