by Angela T. Khabeb

My husband and I are expecting our fourth child. We have one daughter in heaven, two sons at home, and one daughter on the way. When we first brought our son, Konami, home from the hospital, we were honored to have such a precious gift. When we brought home our second son, Khena, we were equally as thrilled. Now Konami is four-years-old and Khena is nearly two. Chasing after the two of them is a beautiful challenge. Just when we get one out of a mess, the other is trying very hard to get into a mess of his own. Shortly, we will add a new baby to the mix. When I think about all the activity that will soon unfold in our home, I am reminded of a quote. I’ve heard it once said, “Raising kids is part joy and part guerrilla warfare.”

Upcoming bundle of joy

As our family prepares for this new addition, our thoughts are turned toward our upcoming little bundle of joy and all of the excitement (and anxiety) surrounding this wonderful event. My mind goes back to words of wisdom and practical advice that I have received over the years. I am also mindful of the many surprises that I have experienced since becoming a mother. In the midst of the whirlwind of preparations, I’ve taken a moment to compile two “Top Ten” lists to share with new moms and moms-to-be—one consisting of parenting advice that I have received and the other consisting of motherhood surprises I’ve experienced.

Top 10 words of wisdom I’ve received:

10. Housework can wait. When you’re at home, spend that time with your children.

9. You are your child’s parent, not her friend.

8. Whenever possible, nap when the baby naps.

7. Never wake a sleeping baby.

6. Develop a support network and use it.

5. Follow your instincts.

4. Keep a journal. You may think you’ll remember all the wonderful things your child says and does, but unfortunately, some memories fade.

3. When diapering a baby boy, make sure “it” is pointing down. (Otherwise, he’ll tinkle out of the sides or even right over the top of the diaper.)

2. Maintain priorities: God first, family second, and career third. (God forbid, but if you die today, your company will replace you in two weeks. But, you are absolutely irreplaceable to your family.)

1. Remember, “having it all” does not necessarily mean having it all at once.

Top 10 surprises of motherhood:

10. You’ll become fluent in the language of crying. You will quickly learn to differentiate between your baby’s cries.

9. You’d be surprised how much you can accomplish with one free arm. I once cooked a four course meal—using only my right arm. (After all, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to hold onto that new baby every second. Don’t worry. According to the experts, it’s impossible to spoil a newborn.)

8. Just because breastfeeding is natural, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Rewarding? Yes! Easy? Well….

7. A newborn baby can go through 10 to 12 diapers a day!
(Cha-ching $$$)

6. A hot meal is really overrated. (You ate cold pizza in college, right? Now just apply that same logic to most of the meals you’ll have for about the next 10 years—that is, cold chicken and rice, cold mac and cheese, cold mashed potatoes and gravy, cold omelettes etc.) Believe me: You’ll get used to it.

5. You can fall in love with the same little face over, and over, and over, and over again…. even in the same day! (Despite the fact that he just used toothpaste to finger paint all over your new dry-clean-only comforter. See #4.)

4. A quiet toddler is usually up to mischief.

3. Urine is sterile. (Don’t ask.)

2. Once you give birth, your “Three B’s” will never be the same again (That is, your bladder, breasts, and belly).

1. God’s presence can be compared to a pregnant woman’s feet. Even though you may not see them you can rest assured they’re still there. Remember Jesus teaches us that “Blessed are they who have not seen, yet still believe.” (John 20:29)

Motherhood is a fantastic journey that reveals to us God’s character and God’s abounding love for all of creation. Many arrive at motherhood through different paths; foster care, adoption, in vitro, etc. and or some may play motherly roles without being an actual mother. Regardless, there is a certain powerful grace to being a mother and God’s nurturing Spirit will enable us to live into that holy calling.

The Rev. Angela T. Khabeb serves as the pastor of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Delphos, Ohio. She has an amazing husband, Benhi, two spectacular sons, Konami and Khena, and a baby girl on the way.

This article first appeared in the May 2012 issue of