Ep. 9 Faith in Motherhood and the Importance of Flexibility


Laura Today on Mom Talk, we're joined by Makaela. She is a mom of two amazing kids and is also an event coordinator. I first met Makaela when I applied to Peet's Coffee, years ago. I was struck by her openness and her radiating personality. She is definitely one of the kindest, most genuine souls you will meet. In this episode, we get a chat about how she develops a deeper faith by finding small lessons in motherhood, as well as the adjustment after having her second child and the lessons she's learned from being a full-time momma and boss.

Laura Why don't you start off talking about like what it's been like with maybe just parenting one? And then the transition to like to do. And what's that look like for you so far?

Makaela So Piper, my first, when I talk about her and how she was as a child. People always said "Oh, wow. She was an easy baby." I had a really great with her. There are so many positive things like her and I breastfeeding, it was like a dream. I couldn't have like dreamt of a better way. she was so easy with things. She wasn't colicky. She slept well. There were little things, but not when I think about it in general. She is a very easy baby. And then even to our toddler years, she just was a joy. And she was so funny and spunky. When I got pregnant with Pax there twenty-two months apart, she was excited to be a big sister, like all of the things. We even got her potty trained right before he came. And she was pretty good. She was like a year. She was young. She was little. And then once he came potty training went out the window, it was like she forgot everything. She wanted her diaper.

Makaela Then there was Pax, this newborn. And he was pretty good, too. Not as great as a sleeper at all. It was like I felt like it, was this is the chaos that like I heard about. How do we balance this? The whole struggle of getting them to nap at the same time is just like crazy. The effort of trying to do that was more difficult than just going through daily life, just going through the routine.

Makaela So I didn't have like a crazy struggle with feeling like Piper got gypped. I didn't question, how am I going to love this one as much as this one or it just was an extension of me. I just felt like he as they both are. But it was a blur, I was working full time and I had crazy hours. There were days, weeks, I don't know when I slept or I would have to be at work at 5:00 a.m. and I just got finished nursing through the night. How did it get here? I didn't know how I was functioning.

Makaela On top of that, trying to work full time and be present at home with them and then try and pump at work it was chaos. It was one of the hardest times. I look back there were still many days where I would go to work and try and pump and keep up my supply and drive home, just like crying every day. I couldn't hold back the tears. It was like, what am I doing? I wrestled with it so much and it was just it wasn't as hard with Piper. I guess I had this little expectation that looks back at thinking it was going to be just as it was with Piper. It's gonna we're gonna click and breastfeed fine. Pump okay. His needs were so much different. Having to adjust to that was hard at the same time. You just kind of adjust and make the changes that your kids need.

Makaela My husband and I are pretty flexible. Go with the flow people. Very go with the flow. We don't like stress about crazy things or changes like that. It's not hard on us. That helped I think, with the transition for Piper. We never had them on a tight schedule. I knew Piper napped at some point between this time and this time. At nighttime to we were out doing something or it's a family member's birthday or a friend's birthday thing, or we had so many bridal showers and baby shower three times, it's her normal nap time, but it's important for her to be here. It's important for her to learn that we adjust our schedules for important things. This is our day to day, week to week it's pretty the same. However, we are totally okay with going off course and going off schedule for an important event. Having that flexibility, and letting them adjust and say, hey, no, this is what we're doing today. No, it's not normal. But this is what we have planned. I see it a lot in Piper, the ability to change and to be flexible with new environments.

Laura When I met Piper, that was one of the things that I noticed about her. Almost immediately it was like you were saying she was a very chill baby, but she also was very flexible. I mean, you took her into the coffee shop and there'd be a zillion people around coming up to her and saying hi. And she was just like, yeah, this is cool, no big deal. And I when I had Luna, I was like, I'm going to raise Luna like that because I just feel like it's so beneficial overall to be able to have that foundation of flexibility.

Makaela Things constantly change in life. Piper, she's in preschool right now, and they try and make things as routine and the same as possible every day for the kids. One day one of their teachers couldn't make it to school. So there were too many kids. They had to ask the kids if one of them could go to another classroom to even it out. And Piper was the only one that offered and was willing to go to another classroom. When I asked her about it and I picked her up like she was so happy, she said, I got to see any classroom. I got to meet new people like, oh, well, they got a new adventure for her. The teachers were like this was a big deal. We didn't have to force her. We didn't have to beg. We'd have to like, you know, and try and, you know, bribe a kid to a new room. Like she just jumped up and offered and, you know, little things like that. Oh, that's a little win. That's a little win. You know, who knows what's gonna happen. You know, but it's those little wins. She can navigate and make her own little choices and we set her up for that. New things aren't always scary.

Laura You were talking about how with Paxton breastfeeding and pumping and working. So how did you make the mental shift for yourself of saying, "this is okay" and leaning into that new reality or expectation? What would you want your advice to, like new moms who are experiencing similar things?

Makaela I learned a lot of things during that season because I had to give myself a ridiculous amount of grace and just fight the feeling that my body is failing me. I wasn't able to produce enough for Pax at all. And a lot of it was my situation, the stressfulness. I could not physically pump at work. I would pump in the backroom behind a shower curtain. I'm back there and thinking to yourself, what? How am I doing this? I'm half-dressed right now at my place of work behind a shower curtain. People are coming up to the curtain and being like, "Hey, can you come on the floor? Hey, can I get this? " And I'm like, "do you know what having him do with right now?"

Makaela People told me to bring a picture of him to look at. All these things. I tried everything. I don't recommend doing this. I would pump. I would hand pump and drive. That honestly was what I used most of the time to pump. I'd get ready before. I start my car and I'd have it all set and then drive home and I would just play worship music or something and drive home crying and that's when I would get the most milk.

Makaela There was like a point where my mom is watching the kids and there were some days where she didn't have enough milk to feed this hungry baby. I didn't ever have a freezer supply. I never had a store supply of milk. I was literally pumping like his next day's food that day. I think it was around between five and six months old. He was getting mad while feeding he would bite me. He would get frustrated. It wasn't something he wanted so he just self-weaned. And it was heartbreaking for me. It was just it was really hard.

Makaela During that time I had a hard time, my husband just reminded me that we can just supplement. Before with Piper breastfeeding was really easy. The challenging part was pumping at work, but as long as we were together, she was nursing it was fine and great. But with Paxson, it was pumping and he wasn't nursing great. I wasn't producing enough for him. And so that was a really big challenge. I remember telling myself like if this is harder with our second. We're just gonna do formula. And my husband reminded me of me saying that. So we went we got the formula and we're here. I'm like, you need to make it. I don't know how to make it. I don't know how to do this. It's so foreign.

Makaela And I still felt like I was like, I didn't really process my emotions and how I felt during that time. I was in survival mode and I didn't really think about my true feelings in my heart about it until almost a year later. I was talking to my counselor about it and she's like, just paused me for a minute. And she was like, "I'm really sorry that that was your story, does that make you sad when you think about that time?" And I for the first time really cried about that season. About how that was really hard. And I didn't really talk about it with anybody, not even my husband. It was that moment I was like, oh, thank you, you see me. You see my feelings and you see like this was hard. Then I proceeded to process it all of that time in that season. It was like, man, I don't want this for anybody.

Makaela I also know those seasons and those moments when I look back at that time were necessary. Like I had to work. This is my job. And I loved what I did. I have loved my job. I love my kids and I love being a mom. And I was trying to do the best that I could do for them. And I did that. But it wasn't until a year later that I was like, that was sad for me, but I was sad for myself and sad for that time and really trying to grieve that.

Makaela I think that's so important that grieving I went through a phase with Luna, we're pumping and breastfeeding my milk supply. I had plummetted for some reason. I don't know if it was stress, but I got to a point like where I was like, I just can't let it go if I have to switch to formula. I've just switched to formula. She'll be fine. It's not that big of a deal. But the expectation and that hope you have what you think that that should look like, being gone was really difficult, and pumping just wasn't working. And the only time it would work was when she's actually latched on.

Laura What is one of the biggest lessons that you would want to pass on to other moms?

Makaela So I think the biggest thing for me and what keeps being kind of, I guess, grounded in this, because I know at times I have. Felt crazy running around with my head chopped off and the kids are running the show. They are in full "I'm I do this by myself. It's mine." They're wanting to be so independent.

Makaela And I think what's key is I'm both grounded in my faith and my walk that this whole motherhood journey ultimately is allowing it to grow me closer to Christ. And the mundane routine, the things that we do. All of the things, the laundry, the pickup, the cleanup, the late nights of them not going to sleep like all of those moments where you're just like, what am I doing with my life right now? I have tried to turn those moments into I want to be as most like Christ in my life. In my walk, before kids, I tried. Right? Now with motherhood, you're like, oh, I'm so far from that. It brings out all of the flaws and all these thoughts you never had before. I'm so far from what I thought I was before. Ultimately, I look at my journey of motherhood as I'm serving and I'm serving these little tiny humans. And they want their peanut butter and jelly cut in a certain shape. I'm just trying to allow my heart to be molded and shaped in those moments and hoping that, and literally praying, "How in this moment can you teach me and show me how to be how I can be more like you?" Give me the patience, you know, in all those moments. It's hard. Even in my career, I am focused on serving people and loving people, trying to be the best version of myself. I try the same thing with motherhood. These little humans are entrusted to me. I am trying to shape them and mold them. Some days I feel like I'm going two steps backward. And then I have these like little wins. And I'm just like, oh, thank you, Jesus. That's a win. I see it like I see the fruit of the work of like a mundane routine thing.

Makaela How is folding laundry? How are these little things going to make me more like Christ? How can I create this in my heart and see these moments as sanctifying? These are moments that are set apart and not to look back at this time as bitter time or this stressful life, thinking I could be doing something else. I am here for a purpose and I'm serving, and this is right. I'm supposed to be really trying to soak in that and gratitude.

Makaela Man all the gratitude, all the gratitude. I have to start every day with gratitude. I have a journal that I write in. I just started trying to do with Piper and because I think to look where I am. I've learned when I get stressed out, desperate, or frustrated, I just think of five things I'm grateful for. Instantly I find my mood change. Like instantly.

Makaela Piper is four and a half and she gets worked up about things that didn't go the right way. She has her tantrums and our moments. And I'm like, OK, I just need you right now to think of five things you're grateful for. And she gives you this sigh. I tell her "No, come on." and she does. All of a sudden you can see her demeanor and her little heart and her eyes just change. It's like those little moments. I'm just trying to settle it in those practices, because it's so easy to go down the slope of bitterness, selflessness, and like being sad for yourself and feeling like there's something else out there that you should be doing. These years are so important.

Makaela I think just really making that switch in my mind. In my heart. OK. This motherhood thing can teach me to be more like grace. I think, you know, part of that struggle of not worrying about you being in the right place like social media can make it difficult for you because. Absolutely. You know, when you're looking at these lives of these other people and then you begin comparing yourself and saying, "I'm just here taking care of these kids."

Laura How do you go about just being okay and aware and acknowledging the fact you are where you're supposed to be. How do you embrace that and not chase for somebody else's life?

Makaela I suppose you could say, yeah, it's that comparison game. Your mind and your thoughts control so much of your reality. So if I choose to have negative thoughts about this life or about my house not looking a certain way or whatever it is, you know, then I'm going to create that in my mind and I'm never going to be satisfied. When I make the choice to choose to have thoughts that are at the gratitude and joy and look at my life and be so thankful and blessed for what I have. We have more than we ever need in a lifetime. Consistency in having your identity and your just heart and your mindset like centered and finding that in Christ, or in your faith, whatever it is that you have. That it makes this whole journey in this crazy season a little easier. I see the joy in moments that I wouldn't be able to.

Makaela We have a word of the year, and we put it up in our kitchen and stuff is kind of a funny word to say, but it's "behold". Behold, something great is about to happen. And we wanted to behold these moments of being with our kids. I picture us like on the couch doing something and, you know, cell phone, social media that it's all in our life. I'm trying to be intentional about saying, wait, behold, something really cool is about to happen. Our kids are out to do something really cool. We need to, they need to, have our full attention to take in those moments. Wait, something magical is going to happen. Yeah. We don't know what it could be, maybe a cool guitar solo. It's just that idea of like being present because something always awesome is about to happen. And I just want us as parents to just be ready for that. To watch it and not be distracted, because I think those moments are like gold when I'm so focused on social media or just scrolling I don't like myself. I ask myself, "why am I so grumpy right now? Why do I have little patience?" And I realize I just spent 15 minutes scrolling on Instagram. So I just trying to be present. Savor these little moments because. Yeah. They're gonna go. I'm gonna be here.

Laura Well, I just want to thank you so much for joining me and talking about all of this. If you want to follow Makalea check out her instagram @makaela.m.white

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