I have felt like I am going non-stop the last 4 weeks, between children and school and the rest of life. It feels so good to be out in the sun again and I am thankful for all the joy that is to be found in my life. How is it that things are so good? As I am learning again in a formal setting, I am also learning again how much I don’t know, how to slow down, be content, and present in the moment. School will be slowing down soon, as I am finishing up one class early. I am looking forward to the extra time to be with my littles and not feel so rushed and pre-occupied so much of the time again. Hopefully I will be able to share some more of what has been on my mind again soon. For now, this is a different season.
I haven’t been writing much lately, but here is a small look into what my life has been full of. I have been thankful for the reminders to just stop and play with the ones I love, allowing my eyes to take the pictures instead of my camera. How blessed and full my every day is when I stop long enough to notice. Busy creating this month for my shop, but hope to return to sharing words here soon.
Blessed with an amazing day today.
We spent it close to home. It was everything I hope a normal day to look like.
I am enjoying this place we live more and more and how good it feels to be outside and working in the dirt; breaking ground for the coming spring.
So thankful for these little ones and days like this where you forget the hard parenting moments and remember the joy and peace that can be found when you slow down and begin to be actively present with the life around you. Amazed by how my children are growing and learning so much, so quickly. Hoping and praying for the focus to have many more days like this one.
It seems that many of my friends (and myself) are in a season of being a mother to very young children and in the midst of the constant exhaustion that can come with it.
I can feel your tired bones.
And how I hope you know that you are no where near alone in your struggles.
I know what its like when you completely lose it toward your child and then wonder who this crazy person you have become is.
I have thought, “I was never like this before I had a kid!” and again, “I was never like this when I only had one kid!”
When night after night you are up again and again and during the day you never seem to catch up and no one seems to really understand because you want to seem as normal as possible when you are actually around other adults, so how can they really anyway? There may be no real help and you go about your day alone with your babes just trying to make it to nap time.
I know mothers with more children to tend to than I have or with children who need specialized and constant attention and care. Mothers who struggle with hard medical and financial decisions on top of the tiredness, who are emotionally and physically drained. Mothers who may have these little ones during hard circumstances beyond their control and are just barely hanging on themselves and they question how can I ever do or be enough?
Even though our individual circumstances and struggles vary, they all can wear us thin at times.
It’s easy to compare ourselves to other moms, thinking we are better off or worse than them and can even become envious of those in a different stage of parenthood, trying to just get through to when things will finally be easier.
But every stage of life has its challenges. Some times, things will be too hard for us.
Yet, isn’t it when things are hard that we become stronger? When you break down your muscle, it rebuilds stronger than before and over time becomes more and more defined. It’s not always easy or fun. So it is with motherhood.
I love the honesty and beauty of what my sister-in-law posted on facebook yesterday,
“Taking care of another human is so emotionally draining and I have never been a “worse person” in all my life. But after I swore it all off and I came back down to earth I told my mom, “I guess I just need to die a little more.” And I will die for my children… Because I wouldn’t want to live any other way.”
Being a mom means making sacrifices, even if we feel like we might lose ourselves.
So what do we do? Just accept our fate as going crazy for a few years and hope our kids and ourselves come out okay on the other end? What can we do for ourselves and for the worn out moms around us to not just survive (although, some times that is all we can do) but rather embrace this season, which we are told so often will be over before we know it?
Let’s start by really listening and not immediately spouting out advice, by offering help in even simple ways and being okay with it if they don’t want it, and sharing both our struggles and our victories without belittling them or putting ourselves or anyone else on a pedestal.
Let’s celebrate together and encourage each other and fully give and receive grace.
Let’s simplify and be present and think about what is really important, because maybe some things aren’t as big of a sacrifice as we thought in the first place.
Let’s stop spending so much energy comparing our struggles and successes with someone else’s and trying to validate our own.
Let’s realize that its OK to cry out and raise our fists and pound our pillows and say, “I just can’t do this anymore!”
Because we just might feel that way some times.
But then we calm down and help each other remember
that there is this little, special and amazing life we get to see change and grow and just be every day. There are the smiles and giggles and first words and slow steps and sweet hugs and soft kisses and triumphs big and small mixed in with the tantrums, the sleepless nights, the parenting “failures”, the cuts and bruises, and the countless diapers and clothes you have changed that day.
And there is you.
Displaying your love for your child through those dark circles around your eyes and the food smashed on your clothing and in your hair, by putting some of your dreams and pursuits on hold, in your anxiety and prayers over your child and your specific circumstances, and by getting up once more to take care of your babes in the middle of the night when all you want in that moment is just 10 minutes of uninterrupted sleep and you are so frustrated you cry as you rock your little one.
You are mom and the love you show for your child may go unseen and misunderstood and unappreciated by many, but no one can replace you or the child who is helping shape who you are to become.
We hear and think and say and rehearse and keep to ourselves and wish we could take back so many words throughout our days.
Some words we put a lot of thought into before speaking, others we say without thinking at all. Later we may regret them, forget them, or occasionally, be amazed by what we spoke.
Words can inflict unnecessary pain. They can lead to more words, or no words for a very long time.
And even good words can bring about grief. The ones seasoned with love and truth and delivered with grace, which stretch us to see ourselves in a different light.
And some times the words we don’t say at all can be the most powerful.
As a mom to an inquisitive, spirited, and thoughtful 4 year old, and an 18 month old who knows exactly what she wants and gets frustrated when she can’t communicate it, there are a lot of words exchanged throughout our day.
And so often, I forget to stop and listen to what I am hearing, to what is truly being said by those I love. I react to situations by speaking out of turn – words spoken hastily, harshly, and without a second thought.
Reminded today to see these moments not as interruptions to my day, but as moments to teach and be taught, to love and to learn who my children are and who they are becoming. To take a moment to stop and think before I speak, so that I might be able to choose words wrapped in love, kindness, and truth.
Often I find that when my head at last hits my pillow at night, my brain becomes most active.
Finally, all is quiet and still.
I can hear the dim hum of the fan near my daughter’s bed.
My son tosses about, occasionally hitting the wall with a leg or an arm.
I hear the deep and steady breathing of my husband.
As my eyes adjust to the darkness, I can see the trees out of our large windows, glisten in the moonlight and the occasional headlights bouncing along as a car drives by. And I think and reflect and make plans (oh, the plans!) for the next day, or week or whatever. Usually these have to do with things I want to do better. Tomorrow, I will wake up earlier and do such and such before the kids wake up. or I will work out or I will show more patience. This dialogue can go on for quite some time, mixed with prayers and attempts to process life. I run circles in my head of the same thoughts again and again and again, as if I can somehow will them into reality.
Then I drift off to sleep.
And the next night, I wonder where all my ambitions went and I begin the same loop of thoughts as the previous night, hoping something will stick this time – longing for a change to this rhythm and a new drive to keep it alive.
Rhythm and drive.
These two words bring the humble image of a monastery to mind.
My husband and I have always been drawn to the ways of the monks and christian mystics, who live their lives to a certain cadence. They stop what they are doing to pray at certain times, to bring themselves back into awareness of communion with God and each other. They have an intentional rhythm in their life, and they keep to it, because they see the importance of it. They are driven by their love for and devotion to God.
Our family has started to practice this in a few ways on a seasonal basis, like observing certain traditions such as Lent and Advent. Lent was really a groundbreaking thing for us to do as a family last year, and we have been looking forward to it again this coming year. I imagine I will be posting on this soon, because it truly was a huge catalyst for change in our lives.
Those traditions happen only once or twice a year for us. Afterward, we find ourselves in a “high”, excited and determined to remain in this new rhythm. Soon, however, this excitement wanes, and we are back to our old busy and self-centered habits. This is the very reason for these traditions; we need something to physically change in our lives in order to be brought back into a better rhythm.
I am left wondering.
Is it possible to keep this connection in the “every day”, before losing sight of what is important? Before I end up in a different rhythm, one defined by reactions and defeat and praying the same thoughts about changing the same things every single night?
I have many thoughts on this, which I will share soon. One practical thing I am challenging myself to begin doing is having a regular “quiet time” each day.
My children already have this as a regular daily routine. My 16 month old daughter naps for 2 – 3 hours and my son takes at least a 45 minute rest time (most days it is longer) after lunch. They do not always want to do this, but I know they need it and so, it happens. What do I do in this most sacred of times during a mother’s day? It varies from day to day. Some times I work out, other days I write, do housework, sew for my shop, or mindlessly waste time on the internet. There is no real rhyme or reason to it. Then I ask myself at the end of the day, Why am I so exhausted? How did I not find any time to be still? To breathe, to reflect, to pray, to re-connect? How much better would my day have gone if I had? How much better would their day gone if I had?
I need this. My bones are crying out for it.
It is important for my children to rest midday because they are young and need more rest for their developing bodies. I also hope to instill in them the value of slowing down and resting each day, so that they may choose to make this a habit as adults.
Because who have we ever met who does not seem to be asking for more rest and peace and quiet, whether their words or only their eyes speak of it?
So. I am going to start joining my children in their “rest time”, for at least 15 minutes before I even think about the mound of other things I want to accomplish.
I just keep reminding myself that those things will still be there once I have caught my breath.
Feeling so fully blessed with the life in our home. We witnessed a major 4 year old melt-down this morning (common occurrence around here). It is hard to feel this way when in the situation, but I am thankful for these teachable moments. Yes, for my child, but at times even more so for myself. To be able to learn from my own parenting failures and from suffering alongside my child in their pain and frustration. I am grateful that when we own up to our mistakes and forgive one another, a day that seems destined for ruin can take a turn toward redemption. I am amazed by what my children (just as any mother is of their own) are capable of understanding, doing, and emulating. I desire to be a better example for them and am praying for my children to grasp what it means to be generous, compassionate, and tenderhearted.
As I’m collecting my thoughts and forming words for an upcoming post, I find myself in awe of the little family I am part of. It is amazing to be able to wake up to these faces every morning. These kids can sure be crazy (as probably many onlookers can testify to), but I wouldn’t trade the crazy for anything (most days). They are behind so much of what I do and who I am. My children are what cause me to grow in so many ways. I can’t imagine life without them and hardly remember life before them. Trying to keep this in mind when my patience wears thin and my eyes are tired and things feel hard. Because they are so worth it.