4 Moms on life with littles

4moms35kids I hope you’ll excuse my absence last Thursday.  I was with my sweetheart, celebrating our 21st anniversary.  He was able to take the day off, so we enjoyed a leisurely, low-key day together.  Among other things, we visited the church where we said “I do” half a lifetime ago.

church

We ate a light lunch at Pei Wei (my favorite source for fresh, inexpensive Asian food!), then spent hours at the McNay Art Museum, where we visited and shared a picnic lunch during our honeymoon.

renoir

Before heading home, we had some of the best pizza in town, from Florios.  The people behind the counter spoke with Brooklyn/Italian accents, which made the pizza taste even better.

anniversary art

But I’m back for this week’s edition of 4 Moms, 35 Kids.  This time we are talking about those long-ago days when we had only little ones – not quite as long ago as our honeymoon, but closer to that time period than this one. This is a question that comes up time and again, because those can be difficult times.  Not surprisingly, I’ve posted about those days before.  Here are two of my favorite posts:

If you’re asking the question, you probably already know that those are tired times.  I’m struggling now to get enough sleep for a variety of reasons, but back then I just resigned myself to operating on a sleep deficit.  It sounds discouraging when I say it that way, but you know what?  I don’t remember it being so bad.  I was young and energetic, and my body was able to adjust.  I whine much more about sleep now than I did back then.  I napped when the little ones did if at all possible, and muddled through the days that I couldn’t, but we all made it.  We now have healthy, happy well-adjusted teens – plus some children who still infringe upon my Constitutional right to sleep.

Those days with all little ones are also busy days.  I remember struggling just to keep up on cooking, dishes, and laundry.  Never mind about dusting, mopping, daily baths, and three hot meals made from scratch every day.  I pared down my daily duties to the bare essentials, and tried not to stress when I just couldn’t get everything done.

We focused on teaching first time obedience, especially before a new baby arrived.  It was so much easier for me to sit and nurse a newborn if I didn’t have to get up every few minutes to deal with an unruly toddler who didn’t believe me when I gave a verbal command.

I often used nursing time to read stories aloud to the other little ones, feeding their minds while entertaining them and keeping them out of trouble.

I enlisted their “help” as often as I could.  Even though they slowed me down, it was good to know they weren’t off discovering new methods of chaos and destruction.  And of course we were making memories together!

It was a fun, crazy, sleepless time, with some days (and nights) stretching into infinity while others slipped by entirely unnoticed, leaving me staring at the calendar dazed and confused.  I’m thankful to be past that season of life now, but oddly enough that description fits this season of life just as well.  Maybe that’s just life?

How would you answer this question?  See what the other moms are saying today:

About 4 Moms, including a list of past topics

Comments

  1. I have been feeling SUPER overwhelmed lately. I have two boys: 3 and 1 and am about to have a baby girl :). For the past few weeks at the end of this pregnancy I have been having a super hard time just walking…by the end of the day my back and lower stomach hurt so bad I can barely move. I dont know if anyone does this but I’m in the mindset that I have to make sure everything is PERFECT before the baby comes. Aka I have been stressing out about the cleanliness of the house…because I feel that if I go into labor with a messy house it will be the end of the world. We still don’t have a dresser for the baby so all of her clothes are still in a bin. We don’t have a van..and we aren’t sure if we can afford it. Has anyone ever tried fitting two toddlers and a baby seat in the back of a corolla? My 1 year old (2 in nov.) is teething. My 3 year olds sleep schedule is messed up. He has been staying up to sometimes past 11 which makes him realllly cranky during the day. He already doesnt take naps. My 1 year old still doesnt fall asleep by himself..I rock him. I actually just now stopped rocking my 3 year old probably around febuary or march. He falls asleep on the couch while I rock my 1 year old. The problem is were all the the same room upstairs..the whole upstairs is just one big room. Also they are both having obedience issues. It seems like they are both going through the same stages at the same time because the 1 year old copyies everything my 3 year old does. They are both having some sharing issues my 3 year old is particuarly possesive about everything. My 1 year old wont sit still for more then 2 seconds to listen to a book unless he is exausted. He also is having issues coming when I call. My 3 year old is semi potty trained but still never tells me if he has to go…I just take him. We always miss poops and it always ends up in his underwear. He has just always been really loose so I’m wondering if he just cant help it? He still wears a diaper to bed and still wets the bed once or twice a night. I was doing an online “homeschool curriculum” with my 3 year old for “preschool” but i’ve stopped doing it because it’s just too much with the pregnancy and everything else. And our house is for sale. Some days its overwhelming and somedays I make it. Sometimes it just depends on how achy I am. I’ve been getting angry more often too..which I hate. I’m sure there is more but if any one has some tips I would be super appreciative. And prayers are always appreciated too :)

    • Nicole, I hear you. When we had our 3rd baby, we had all three car seats in the back of our Dodge LHS… then I wrecked the car (NOT on purpose) and we got a van ;P… But I hear you. We too moved when my third baby was only 5 months old. My hubby was working 2 jobs to make ends meet…. we had one car…things were TIGHT… Sometimes I wonder if our scope is too wide. I have been reading Litte House on Rocky Ridge to my boys at night, and I am taken with how much focus Laura put simply on housework/farm work each week. There was very little spare time, and it describes how often she was weary from all the scrubbing and things, but it seemed like that was the point. Homes are not accidents….they are MADE. She often saw no one but Almanzo and Rose for weeks at a time. And yet she was content (or seemed so). All her energies were taken up with making a home. I wonder sometimes, if we, in the age of instant everything and constant stimulation, assume that life should be more than it was meant to be. Somehow life needs to be all these things that drive up our expectations, when in reality, we need to shrink down our perspective and improve the quality of the most important relationships andspaces around us–our families and homes… Don’t get me wrong, I”m the insane mom who wrote the third comment above!! I understand chaos… but often, if I would be honest, it’s really more because MY heart doesn’t WANT to be here…I’d often rather be anywhere else…and so I let things slide that I shouldn’t and after a while, feel like I’m justified in NOT wanting to be here….Take one day at a time.

  2. What I would like to know is how to get through the day enduring all the little annoyances that crop up when you have several people living in close quarters….For example, staying up to work on bill paying and wait for hubby to get home from work…so then, having baby wake you up for breakfast at 6:45, (while hubby sleeps, not that I’m bitter…) and coming down to a sink full of dirty dishes, because of course you can’t balance the budget AND wash dishes… only to have 3 peepee accidents by 9am, one child smear poop on the toilet in an effort to “be a big boy!” and climb down off the potty himself… oh, and by the way three of four boys peed the bed and all the sheets and bedding must be washed (and the dryer’s broken so everything must be hung out)… and 2 boys spill milk during breakfast, everyone has to pee during family worship… oldest child takes 6 hours to finish 10 math problems…it just seems like my days have been like this from the time I open my eyes in the morning to the time I collapse into bed… and I find myself being/feeling angry, impatient, annoyed and so on… I end up barking at everyone through out the day… and what’s worse FEELING like I have a RIGHT to be angry! but objectively realizing that these things happen when you have a larger than normal family… Just that feeling of lagging yet rushing through the day, and come to the end and NOTHING feels done, even while you frantically try to accomplish everything all day… How do you salvage days like those? (especially when you feel like EVERY DAY is like those!!) any help??

    • Not that I write because I know what I’m doing. I write because it sounds a lot like me. A LOT! In fact, I’m reading this after doing receipts for the bills and my hubby is sleeping. Bless him, he get up tomorrow at 2:30 am for work.
      I lived my life a lot like you sound. And for a long time, barking was pretty much it. Until…my oldest two got old enough to sound like me to their younger sibs and I began to wonder…hmm…uh-oh!!! So the Lord washed me in His grace and mercy and every day gives me a new chance to show them how to treat others. It’s the biggest challenge of my day, showing fruit of the Spirit. I love my kids with everything in me, but chaos is so quick to take me down. I will be praying for you Laura. Just do the next thing, and the next one after that. And a good friend of mine gave me great advice once. When she had a huge busy period in her life and sick children, she was complaining to a friend saying, “I don’t know if I’ll get anything accomplished.” Her friend told her if all you get done today is to smile at them, then it was a good day.
      May the Lord shelter you, carry you, energize you, renew your spirit, and show you how to depend on Him! Be encouraged!!! This is the good race! Press on toward the prize!!!!!

  3. Congratulations on your anniversary! Littles are there own sweet special exhaustion, but I am trying to love it, as I know too well it will not last.

  4. I’m with Leanne! I’m 43 and have three ages 20, 18, and 13. I think I get less sleep now than I did when the kids were small, BUT…everyone can dress themselves and govern their own behavior now :). The problems and projects are much more complex, though. I wasn’t really prepared for this stage of life. I figured it was going to get easier as my custodial responsibilities decreased (is anyone else out there laughing??)

    I may not have listened, but I would have appreciated someone telling me that it’s important to be in physical/emotional/spiritual shape for the teen/late teen years. I needed a “What to Expect During the Years of 16-20″. I’ve learned the experential way, and I might be able to write the book myself, now! I’d be interested in a third volume, “What to Expect During the Years of 21-30″ or something like that. I’d appreciate posts like that.

    But of course you were really referring to the early years–I echo the advice you gave. Those years really do pass quickly even though they seem to be endless at the time.

  5. Shoot, I’m a 40 year old mom of toddlers, littles, middles, AND teens at the same time and I’m more tired now than I was when I was a young mom!!!! LOL! But now, it’s a bit easier to sneak in a nap whenever I need it, which is almost every single day, sometimes twice a day….especially now that I’m not only 40 years old with 8 kids, but #9 is on the way in December! SO I’d be interested in a post on Being an Older Tired Mama! LOL!

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