I got the news last week that a young couple I know is expecting their fifth child under the age of five! Another set of twins are coming unexpectedly after years of infertility and invitro. After being told they had a one in a billion chance of becoming pregnant without medical intervention, these miracle babies are on their way.
To say they are a bit overwhelmed is an understatement. I have to admit I was a bit speechless just comprehending five car seats. My days of little ones are long gone, but the memories remain.
I’m thankful for those who encouraged me through the days of potty training and endless repetitions of Disney movies. Whether you’re the mom of one, two or five, I’d love to help you remember a few things to help you through today. Why? Because you may just be hanging on and wondering if you’ll ever be able to go to the bathroom without a helper following behind.
- What you are doing is extremely important. You aren’t training a puppy. You are nurturing and raising a child created in the image of God. When you are discouraged, lonely or just flat-out frustrated, remember motherhood is a wonderful gift. Whether you are staying at home or working outside the home, being a mom is a lot of hard work that our culture doesn’t always applaud. Don’t be discouraged—the days are long but the years are short.
- Spending time alone with God is going to look different in this season of life. Remember those times when you spent 30 minutes reading God’s word, journaling your dreams and having an organized prayer list? Yeah, that’s probably not going to happen for awhile. Learn to enjoy the presence of God throughout your day—while you are feeding little people, giving them a bath or rocking them to sleep. Sing praises as you fold clothes or post scriptures in places you frequent (such as the diaper changing area). However this looks for you during this season, adapt to a new “quiet time” and set aside the guilt of not answering every question on your Bible study.
- Don’t neglect your husband or yourself. Avoid speaking to him like you speak to your toddler. Engage in conversations beyond how many times you cleaned up cereal off the floor. Find time to take a shower and put on a little make-up. You’ll feel better and he’ll be reminded that you care about him. Don’t ask him to “watch” the kids like he is a babysitter. This is a partnership and his involvement is vital. Learn to appreciate his help—even when he does things differently than you do.
- Don’t neglect friendships. This is tough. It’s likely you have friends who are also in the trenches of laundry, but get creative and find ways to enjoy one another. Create a play group of friends with other little ones. Make it simple. Having a picnic in the backyard with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches might be a memory your children will cherish! Would you believe my children are 23 and 20, and once a year we still get the “play group” families together at Christmas? I can’t imagine going through the diaper days without these friends.
- Avoid the comparison game or judging others for the way they choose to parent. Just because someone has a clean house and you’re not sure where your vacuum is currently located, this does not communicate your worth. It’s easy to compare Facebook statuses, Pinterest boards and Instagram posts and believe the lie that you are a failure. Embrace your strengths and give yourself a break. This includes your children. Just because your friend’s daughter is speaking Spanish at the age of two does not mean your child won’t make it into college.
Hang in there. Being a mom is not for wimps, but with the help of the Lord, you can do this. I’m cheering you on.