For tired young mothers of many

Back when we had a lot of Littles and no Bigs, daily life looked very different.  Sometimes it felt a little dark and hopeless.  How could I do everything that I need to do?  How could I be a good wife, a good mother, a good Christian, while battling morning sickness and creeping chaos of a house with so many little ones?

I struggled to do all the things that I thought I needed to do, often failing.  On a good day, I got everyone’s hair done before the mats moved in.  Laundry was always a struggle, but somehow I kept up.  Children and bedding got washed as needed because I refused to add another thing to The Schedule.

I often stayed up too late, either because the kids needed me or because I was savoring those few quiet hours of the day in which they didn’t need me.  Many nights, I was wakened once by a nursing baby, again by a crying 2yo and/or a wet 3yo and/or a sleepwalking 4yo and/or a 5yo who just threw up on the 3yo’s hair.  If the days seemed too short, the nights stretched on forever.  Neither afforded much time for sleep or rest.

At that time in our life, we had no family within 1,000 miles.  The church Perry had attended since he was 15 had dissolved in a mess ugly beyond belief.  He was unhappy at his primary job, and working 2 more jobs on the side.  We had personal problems and marriage problems.  In spite of a few local friends, we felt very alone in our world.

That was the bad side.  Sometimes, that’s what I remember about those early days.  When people told me to enjoy them because they would pass too quickly, I just hoped they were right.

But I also remember walking to the library on a crisp day with a double stroller packed full of shining faces.  I remember the friendly librarians who smiled when we walked in and knew us all by name.  We spent a lot of time there!

I remember our friends at the cheese factory who always greeted us with bright smiles, free tours, and sample bags for each child packed full of all the best kinds of cheese in the world.  Every visit turned into a picnic.

I remember building the Great Wall of China in the living room with wooden blocks, and a 4 foot Eiffel Tower made entirely of marshmallows.

I remember using Five in a Row for school.  We read endless picture books, and every single one was a favorite.

I remember snow forts and hide-and-seek and a giant wooden playset given to us for free by an acquaintance I barely knew.  Her husband worked at a local lumber store and was able to borrow a big flatbed truck to deliver it for us, fully assembled and ready for use.

I remember grocery trips that began and ended with laughter, packed full of smiles and compliments from every passer-by.

I remember the hot air balloon festival at the county fairgrounds, just a few blocks away.

I remember long family bike rides all over our little town with 2 little ones in a bike trailer behind each of us, and a fifth child on a baby seat, 8yo Deanna trailing behind on a bike of her own.  She seemed so big to us back then, and now she’s nearly 18.

I remember trips to the zoo, to used book stores, to Chuck E. Cheese, to our friends in the country with the huge country house, to Texas and Tennessee and Oregon.  We may not have gone to Disneyland every year, but we made memories – good memories!

Why do I sometimes think of those days as dark and full of chaos?  They were also some of our happiest, most carefree times.

I think attitude plays a huge part in what we remember, how we remember it, and which memories we call to mind.

You can’t change your attitude in the past, but you can pray for a good attitude today and in the future.  You can choose which memories to review and relive, and which to let go.  You can look back with a good attitude and call to mind the good times, forgetting the bad ones – or seeing how God used those bad times to bless you in ways you didn’t understand at the time.

Now I’m the mom with older children, speaking to the tired young mother.  Now I’m telling you to enjoy those days, because they will pass quickly.  It’s true.  I nodded and smiled when they said it to me, but I didn’t really believe their words.

Now I see the end of my baby days coming soon, the end of a season approaching.  Yesterday, I was you.  Today, I am my mom.  Tomorrow, I’ll be my grandmother.  They were right.  It does happen quickly.  I’m sorry I ever doubted them.

Yes, your days are long and busy, and you never seem to get enough sleep.  You don’t think you spend enough one-on-one time with your children, and you feel guilty or stressed or worried.  I’m not discounting that.  This a busy season in life, and a hard one.

But still enjoy it.  Remind yourself to remember the good times, and let the bad times fade out of time and mind.  Ask God to help you do better tomorrow, and let the day’s failures disappear when you crawl into bed.

Comments

  1. Thank you for this insight …..so very encouraging

  2. So very encouraging, very much needed.

  3. HI! And thanks for admonishing us to love our children and these young moments, as instructed in Titus where it tells the older women to teach the youngers how to love their children and husbands. Some days you feel like you’re going to go literally INsane and feel like the only one who is having trouble coping. But when you remember that your heavenly Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you and that we should not grow weary of doing good, we get strength to push on. I have to pray daily for strength, and remind myself that MY attitude will predict the forecast in the house. If I am stormy everyone is affected. Thanks for the encouragement!!!

    Monica

  4. Yes, that got the tears flowing a little :) Thanks for sharing your life with the world. I have just 2 at the moment, the plan was to have 4 (homeschooling all the way) but strangely even as my baby is only 6 months old I have been thinking often of more.. just found these blogs tonight, and am starting to feel convinced that having more may actually be easier lol!
    Thanks again.

  5. Christy says:

    I love your honesty in this post. Yes, these times are flying by way too fast and I will miss it when they are grown, but you admit that times sometimes seem “dark” and are hard! I feel like so many people say, “Enjoy it while you can; they won’t want anything to do with you in 15 years,” as if what I am doing now is easy! I know I will miss a lot of things, and I try to savor a lot of moments, but childrearing is hard and I appreciate the fact that you didn’t gloss over that!

  6. I’m not sure how I ended up here but I soooooo needed to hear this today. I prayed this morning that God fill me with light to block out thies bad feelings I’ve been having latley about not being enough for my family (mom, wife, friend) and the way you summed it all up made me feel really good inside…..thank you :)

  7. Just read this today…boy did I cry! Thanks for sharing this! Sometimes you feel like the only one in the world who is tired and lonely! Gonna work on remembering all the good times we’re having! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Timely encouragment! Our 5….ages 7, 6, 3 and 10 months old twins…have all been sick this week and sleep has been nonexistent. I was feeling sorry for myself that once again I have to miss church…..your words are just what I need to hear! Thank you!

  9. I only have 2 kids, but sometimes it seems like there are more from the mess and the dirty clothes and the toys everywhere. I sure did need to read this today. Thanks.

  10. Charity says:

    Thank you for helping us tired moms, to gain perspective & Godly attitudes….

  11. Camilla says:

    I don’t know that I’ve ever seen you write about your struggles in your marriage before, and I really appreciated this post. If it’s not too invasive a question to ask, I would love it if you’d write more on your marriage, and on how you resolved some of those struggles. I’m a younger woman, no kids yet, and though I come from a different religious background I respect you very highly and found that I’ve really benefited from your wisdom.

  12. mother of five says:

    With baby number 6 on her/his way and my oldest 8 years old and a husband who travels a lot for work…i really could use your words thank you so much kim. Its like most women said …just what i needed today. Thanks again.

  13. Kim,
    Thanks for the encouragement. We have 4 under 5 (two of which are babies). It is sometime very easy to get overwhelmed and not remember to enjoy and relish in this time while they are young. After all, the laundry will get done some day, right?

  14. Kim, thank you for writing this. It’s like water on dry ground, for me, as I’m in the midst of it right now, with 3, soon to be 4, children, age 4 and under.

    I sometimes can’t help but cry a little when a mother of more years and experience speaks encouragingly to us younger ones. It really is *hard* many times, and to know that you’s know exactly where I’m at… and encourage me that I am doing the right thing, I am very blessed, and God will keep giving you strength… it just touches me really deeply.

    I so enjoy your blog, and your posts about your family, and the light-hearted way you see things. Makes having a big family sound so fun, and my (big, to me) family of 5 seem little. :) Many of your posts get me laughing!

    May God richly bless you, and thank you so much.

  15. God knows what we need. Thank you.

  16. Just wanted to say thanks. Your words spoke to my heart today.

  17. Courtney says:

    I was so stressed out today. I work from home on top of having a 3 yo and 1 yo. It can be so stressful trying to get all my work done and be there for the kids and clean the house. Today I let the stress of it all get to me. This was a much needed post to remind me that it will be over eventually and I’ll never have sweet baby kisses and hugs once it’s gone.

  18. I’m not a mom, but I grew up as second-oldest of 9, where my mom had at one point 8 children ranging from 11-1/2 to newborn. I was oblivious then, of course. Now I know my mom was a WonderWoman. God Bless All Mothers Generous Enough to Accept Life As God Provides!

  19. Thanks. I needed this, today and every day. I love all my “littles” intensely but it is SO easy for the exhaustion to take over. <3

  20. This brought tears to my eyes. I KNOW you are right, but it is hard to remember when they are all throwing up.

    I actually just posted a blog about “me” time and homeschooling and selfishness (mine!) today:

    http://www.chickensinmykitchen.com/2011/06/homeschooling-and-selfishness.html

  21. I think this was your best post ever.

  22. Rachel B says:

    Thank you, Kim! And my husband thanks you, too! ;) I’ve been feeling a little tired and discouraged this week (will the 5yo ever learn not to argue with me? will the almost 3yo EVER tell me when he needs to go potty? and will the 1yo ever sleep through the night?) and this is exactly what I needed to be reminded of today. I know it’s all true, it’s just so helpful to hear it from someone who’s been there. Thanks for the encouragement that even when you have times that feel dark there’s still so much light to remember when you look back …

  23. Thank you for an encouraging post! As a mom to 8 myself – ages 13-2, I couldn’t agree with your advice more!!
    Savor the good, spit out the bad… God has never been anything but good to give us this path to walk on.

    I love your blog title! (I always call myself that…)

    Blessings to you and your family!

  24. Whew. I have lost count of how many nights in a row we’ve gotten up with all 3 of our children for various reasons- all night long. I’m exhausted and achy and still sipping my cold morning coffee at 11:35 this morning, dreading even making lunch. Thank you for the swift kick in the pants. I know I need to change my attitude. My oldest is five and I already see the young years slipping through my fingers. Thanks for the encouragement.

  25. I linked to this today…

    http://onefaithfulmom.blogspot.com/2011/06/for-tired-young-mothers.html

    Already got some good feedback from it on Facebook. Thanks!!

  26. I loved this so much I’m linking my readers to it. Thank you for the wake up call…

  27. Thank you, that’s just what I needed to hear today!

  28. Wise words, Kim. Wise words. I think I am going to journal my happiest memories of those hectic days lest I forget the good stuff. Thanks for the post. It was wonderful!

  29. I usually just lurk and never comment, but this post was just outstanding. The Lord has been reminding me of these exact things. No coincidence that I posted about this very same thing on my own blog last night–numbering our days. Of course, you said it *waaay* better :)
    Great insight into the memories that are recalled and what our attitudes are. Many times I fall into bed at night feeling like a failure praying, “Lord please wipe ____ from their memory!!” Praise God that His mercies are new every morning and I have an opportunity to do better and, with His grace, provide a little more days of laughter and joy that outweigh the days of darkness and grumpy-mama-ness :)
    Thank you again,
    Bambi in Tx

  30. Thanks so much for this post. With 3 kids 3 and under, it can be tough..and sometimes I really need to watch my attitude. Gotta cut this short cause the middle child is crying…have a blessed day!

  31. This is one of the things I LOVE about having kids ages 23 down to 4….all those things that seemed so hard the first few times around…now I know to relax and enjoy the moment. I rocked my younger ones more, read to them more, sang to them more, held them more…I know now what matters the most. And it ain’t the dishes! LOL!
    I am linking to you over at my blog if that’s alright.

  32. Carolyn says:

    Wow! This is such a timely post for me. Thank you for sharing! I have two littles and another on the way and there are many “dark” times as we struggle through tantrums, laundry piles, potty training, and the ever present pile of crumbs around the high chair. I’m feeling much encouraged now to keep my chin up and my heart tuned to the Lord. :-)

  33. Maybe your best post ever.

  34. Here’s another mom who needed to hear this today :) Thank you! I have two kids and watch two others, all under the age of 4. And you’re right, it does pass too quickly. Blessings to you in the season you are in!

  35. Thanks for a lovely reminder. We have a 3yo, 2yo, and 1yo and life is certainly exhausting, despite being quite happy.

  36. Thank you for this encouraging post.

  37. Great post! I think I ay have avoided some of the dark and trying times, as my children have spaced out a bit more than many families and my older two are so very helpful these days.

    But I can def. relate to feeling overwhelmed each time we add a new family member, which is about to happen any day now. Baby #6 is soon to make her appearance here.

    It seems like it takes some time to get used to the new little person and adjust to the extra laundry, etc., and still trying to care for everyone else. It can get difficult and sometimes I find myself anxious not for delivery, but for afterwards and how I will handle the changes.

    You are such an encouragement, Kim. Thank you!

  38. Thanks for this one! I needed it today. It brought tears to my eyes!!

  39. Elizabeth M. says:

    I am not a mom of many (yet – just 1 and one still baking), but your last two posts have been SO very encouraging and refreshing for me. I get so bogged down by all the things I don’t get done or all the things I wish I had help with or frustration with myself for my lack of patience with my toddler or husband. It’s easy to lose focus. Thank you for reminding me to turn my eyes back to Jesus and look for all the good memories and good things to share. THANKS!!!

  40. First time I’ve opened my Google reader in at least ten days, first time I’ve even had a moment to do so, and this post is the first thing I see, on a day when I needed this reminder very badly. Thanks for putting it all back in perspective.

  41. Thank You, Kim! I needed your words of wisdom in this season of my life! God Bless You!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] words from KimC at Life in a Shoe: Back when we had a lot of Littles and no Bigs, daily life looked very different.  Sometimes it [...]

  2. [...] For tired young mothers of many [...]

  3. [...] season.   I know that’s true.  Though sometimes hard to believe.   I read things like this where older momma’s are admonishing some of us younger momma’s to savor this time [...]

Don't just think it: say it!

%d bloggers like this: