Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Yesterday I babysat three other children for four hours, along with watching my own. These kids' ages are just-turned-eight, almost-six, and three. Along with my three year old and 16-month old, it made for a fun few hours. But the beauty of it was that it gave me a glimpse out of the "little years." And it. was. glorious.

Playing with the laundry (hanging over the doorframe since it started raining today, about an hour after I decided to wash our sheets...).

Everyone says that it gets easier. That it gets better. But it's hard to imagine when you're stuck in the middle of temper tantrums, sleep strikes, the millionth diaper change, and so on. Yesterday gave us a glimpse of what life might be like just four or five years from now (although maybe not with five littles...). A few months ago I read somewhere (sorry, no idea where exactly) that being the mother of young children can feel like you're stuck in the movie Groundhog Day. Every day you wake up and life is the same. The same sleep deprivation. The same meltdowns and temper tantrums. The same battles. The same discipline. The same, the same, the same.

This is so true.

Because, well, it is. Every day is much the same. Every day I will have to tell Lane not to lay down at the table, but to sit on her bottom and eat her food. Most likely I'll have to feed her some of it, unless I want to sit at the table for an hour. I will, most likely, have to discipline her for not staying in her bed at bedtime. I will have to cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I will have to do a load of laundry or diapers, hang them, and fold whatever was on the rack before. I will have to vacuum, make beds, sweep floors, clean toilets, and so on. I will build block towers, wipe up spilled (or thrown) milk, do my "silly dance" for Lane, tell Noel not to pull her sister's hair, wipe bottoms and change diapers, and wipe noses and comb hair and clip fingernails and toenails and hold Noel's arms by her sides with my legs to get a ponytail holder in her hair. I could go on, but I think you get the point. At the end of the day when the girls are in bed I keep pushing on, exhausted, to wash some dishes, wipe off tables, fold laundry, write emails, study language, and maybe, if I've finished all of my other chores, I'll watch a television show with Shannon or read a chapter in a book.

My life is boring. And repetitious.

But, at least today, I'm ok with that.

I've been reading (on my Kindle, in fairly large print, with one hand while I blow-dry my hair with the other) the book Desperate, by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. And I have to say, it's pretty good. I happen to be reading it in a break in my "desperateness," but just a few weeks ago it would have been SO good to read, as I did feel like I was drowning in motherhood (along with everything else that living overseas entails). If you are feeling overwhelmed in your mothering, I'd recommend it to you. 

There is one quote that I really, really appreciated and needed to read:

"My ultimate encouragement to you so that you don't feel defeated? Give in to your season of life. You will feel desperate sometimes, I know, and it's scary some days. But the more you allow yourself to be fully and completely invested in the discipling of your children, the less defeated you will feel."

So that's what I'm doing. I'm giving in. I'm a mother to young children. My house will not be spotless. (I've mopped my kitchen once [with an actual mop] in the last 5.5 months.) My children may watch television nearly every day. (A mom does need a few minutes to cook dinner or take a shower, after all.) And I will mess up, lose my temper, not know how on earth to get my child to sleep, and feed my children more crackers and bananas than is actually good for them.

But really, if my kids watch television every day and my floor isn't mopped and my kids eat too many bananas and crackers, and they don't take great naps, and they end up in time out more than any of us would like, but I can play with them and take them to the park and buy them ice cream when they do something great and we can eat breakfast for dinner a lot (since it's the only thing both of them will eat every bite of), is that so bad? 

This time is only a season, one that will pass quicker than I can imagine. So I might as well embrace the insanity: the less-frequent-than-I'd-like nights of interrupted sleep, the spills, the laundry, the gashes in my kitchen table, and the meltdowns at the completely wrong time. Because with them come kissing every boo-boo, hugs and kisses and snuggles willingly given first thing in the morning, excitement over ladybugs and big sticks at the park, milk being "so good,"and giggles and screeches over what is, to most people, absolutely nothing. All the sweetness of the "Groundhog Day years" is accompanied by all the inconveniences. And I'm going to try my darndest to embrace this season and not to wish it away. If you're a young mom struggling in motherhood, I'd encourage you to try to do the same.

Any tips out there that help you to embrace the insanity instead of want to run from it?


  1. What helps me the most is to keep an attitude of thankfulness, focusing on what I am grateful for, instead of on the things that drive me batty. Also, consistent time in the word. When I start to slack, it comes out in how quick I am to get irritated and angry.

    I haven't read Desperate, but I did read One Thousand Gifts and that was helpful. It helped show to how to live gratefully, even when it's really hard.

  2. I sooo enjoyed your post today! Thanks for sharing your heart. I'm right there with you. These are hard days! I need to get a copy of that book. :-)

  3. Great thoughts! I too feel like my life is somewhat boring and repetitious at times and not filled with all the activity it once was but it is also so sweet and I am so thankful. Having those sweet arms wrapped around my neck make it all worth it! :-)

  4. Looking back, dealing with little kid issues are so much better than big kid ones. When they are small the step on your feet, but when they grow up, they step on your heart. Love to all of you, Joyce.

  5. YES! I totally agree and have to keep reminding myself to embrace this season (and I have older kids - there's always something....). And it's so good the Lord gave you a glimpse of how helpful and different a day looks with older kids. I used to not really believe my friends but it's so true. It's been amazing to have older helpers and more independent kids while also enjoying a baby again. To discuss and learn alongside and interact in really rich ways with my 8, 7 & 6 yr old's precious minds. I'm learning so much! I also feel an increasing dependency on God, but I think this is GOOD. I think what your saying is against CULTURE and against our perfectionistic natures that love law keeping and lists :) (at least I do!). I realize God is often peeling away our white knuckled fingers from the lives we pictured or thought we should be living and "accomplishing" to bring us joy in the present. These little people are our largest present work. Loved this post - thanks! And will have to get the book too!


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