I just wanted to thank you for your website again…. I have spent time here the last two years now [reading] various posts, especially concerning planning, parenting young children, and some of your recent posts….
[They’ve made me aware of] ways I have let myself entertain thoughts of how difficult my life is now instead of wholeheartedly embracing my children. I need better answers for ladies at the grocery store who tell me how rough I have it, or the occasional comment like that by my doctor or even my dear relatives sometimes….
I need to tend to my minutes, hours, and days better. I have spent a shameful amount of time wishing for naptime or for bedtime, instead of disciplining properly so our home would be peaceful, or just somehow leading my children in having good and Christ-honoring days. Any thoughts here would be welcome, though I know your days are full!!
The people in the grocery store who tell you how rough you have it with three little ones probably aren’t trying to be rude; they’re just attempting to empathize and acknowledge the fact that mothering can be hard work.
It’s all right for you to admit that, too, while still sending the message that you love your “job.” Maybe answer with something like, “Yes, it can be challenging, but the rewards are SO WORTH IT!” or “Yes, my hands ARE full, but it’s the BEST KIND OF FULL there is!”
I remember an older mom came to see me soon after my first baby was born. At some during her visit, she made the very innocent and heartfelt comment, “Don’t you just LOVE naptime?” I didn’t quite know how to respond to that comment, either. I didn’t fully understand or appreciate what she was talking about at the time, and I mistakenly believed that making such a statement was somehow equivalent to confessing that I didn’t enjoy the hours my child was awake, which certainly was not the case.
I’ve thought about that conversation often in the thirty years that followed. Experience eventually taught me that I can love and appreciate my children’s sleeping hours and their wakeful hours for different reasons, and that’s okay. When they’re awake, we’re learning and making memories together. When they’re asleep, I can some work done and mark a few items off my to-do list (or, in those early days, get some rest myself).
I’m glad God gives me both. There’s plenty of love to go around!
As for making your home more peaceful and efficient, try these tips:
Don’t work yourself into a frenzy trying to keep up with the Joneses. Slow down and enjoy your children instead of spending every minute toting them from one activity to the next.
If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to think outside the box in search of a reasonable solution.
Don’t keep your children guessing. Clearly define your expectations for them (and for yourself), then enforce the rules.
As I said before, don’t be afraid to admit that motherhood has its challenges. But at the same time, don’t focus so much attention on the hard parts that you miss out on all the joys and pleasures children bring with them. In my experience, all the good far outweighs any bad, so do your best to keep the struggles in perspective. 🙂