Friday, March 13, 2009

I still remember

People might call you a "veteran" mom now, because you have three or four, or even five kids. You've got one or two in school, or you've started homeschooling. To the onlooker, you are managing fine: everyone is fed and clothed, you arrive places mostly on time, and your kids seem well-adjusted enough. You have lots of ideas, and younger moms call you for questions on potty training and discipline.

But you are tired.

Your day starts early, before your alarm. Wait, it starts in the middle of the night, with the three-year-old who had a bad dream. You groggily walk him back to bed, then can't find sleep for yourself again. Until the alarm goes off, and then you can't seem to wake up.

The baby is teething and wakes up before everyone. She should have slept another hour, so you already know she's going to be out of sorts when you need to get some work done this morning. The five-year-old is hanging on you. "Can't you sit with me, Mommy?" You feel your heart sigh. But you can't stop: The seven-year-old can't find her shoes and is crying, and three year old just knocked the baby down because she had his truck. No bleeding, but that's going to be a bad bruise. The 9-year-old stops you as you rush to find some ice: "Mom, can we have a date night tonight?"

Where do I start?

The day marches on insistently, with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks: preparing food; making sure no one chokes; hearing the whining about your choice of food; breaking up arguments about who got the bigger cookie, the better toy, the better spot on the sofa, the Rescue Hero undies, the Cinderella bandaid. Wiping up spills; wiping off hands; wiping off faces; wiping off bottoms. Cleaning high chair trays; throwing in load after load of laundry; and trying to do the dishes before anyone burns down the living room. You think your life is one constant interruption. No matter how hard you plan, how hard you try to divide yourself up evenly among all your precious charges, you feel someone is getting cheated.

Get down off the counter. No, it is not snack time yet. Yes, you need to take a bath. Now. Put the cat down. Please pick up your crayons. Please pick up your shoes. Please pick up your jacket. Please put down the cat. No, it is not snack time yet. Did you wipe? Did you wash your hands? We do not throw fits. We do not write on walls. We do not pull people's hair. Would you like someone to speak to you the way you just spoke to your sister? What? She took her diaper off? Where is she? Everyone stop what you are doing and find the baby! No, it is not snack time yet. Didn't I just say that?

You have an errand to run, so you are faced with a decision. You can pack them all up (which will take an hour of tracking down screeching toddlers and changing last-minute diapers, re-dressing those that have stripped themselves, thinking through snacks and packing meals for the road). The errand will take twice as long because you will need to stop at the toy section and look at the fish, and take the candy away from the baby at the checkstand ("But she wanted it!" your five-year-old says). Or, you can ask your husband to take off work (again). Or you call and try to request a favor from a friend (again).

Sigh. Maybe I'll try to do it tomorrow.

Bedtime is the hardest. You are really tired by now. You've answered questions all day, about the sky, the grass, the baby's poopy diaper, rescuing renegade hamsters from behind the bookcase, all while practicing addition facts and listening to your seven-year-old tell roundabout versions of a book she read today. Again. You've lifted, hauled, carried, and drug into and out of high chairs, car seats, changing tables, shopping carts, washers and dryers. You've buttoned, unbuttoned, zipped and unzipped, tied and untied, combed and brushed.

You try to read a bedtime story but nobody seems to be listening. You get the baby to bed while your husband helps the three and five year olds, who have no interest in cleaning up the Hot Wheels that got dumped all over the floor, after you thought you had finished cleaning up earlier. After a time finagling little arms and legs into pajamas, and saying, "No, you may not go to the bathroom again," you move to the seven-year-old, who is getting to bed too late, again. By the time you lay out tomorrow's clothes and tuck in with a kiss and a prayer, you find that the nine-year-old has given up on you and has fallen asleep in her bed. You kiss her and whisper I love you and pull up her covers.

Exhausted, you return alone to face the remaining undone dinner dishes, and across the kitchen, you are not sure, but was that a glimmer in your man's eye....? =)


May God grant you a peaceful sleep tonight, and the strength to do it all again tomorrow.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

(It wasn't all that long ago --
I still remember. And YES, it is worth it...every minute of it!)
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Isaiah 40:29


Maybe you identify with this, too: Where do I fit in?

42 comments:

Laura said...

Oh Katherine...Thank you!

Laura

Chris said...

Ah you've gone and done it again Katherine!

I so dearly needed to hear this.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Chris in Canada
(yay - I finally got my google identity up and going)

Sars said...

So you're saying I'm not gonna feel like this forever?? Phew.

Thanks a bunch!

Sarah
www.alittlewhineandcheese.wordpress.com

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Love this blog. This is my first visit. I am new in the blogging world.

Will be back often. Love the blog header...

Come by and visit me.

Teresa

se7en said...

You are living under my Kitchen Table... This is my life, same day in day out! I can love it or loathe it depending on how many hours of sleep I was granted!!! ... Thanks for saying ALL that!

Kate Wicker said...

Thanks for such an encouraging post. As a fairly "newbie" mom (w/ a 4-year-old, 20-month-old, and waiting for baby number 3 to come any day now), it's comforting to know that even "veteran" moms like you sometimes feel tired/discouraged but find the strength to keep on going. :)

I've said it before, but while children certainly hijack our sleep, energy, and even patience at times, they also hijack our hearts.

Blessings to you in your vocation as a wife and a mom!!!

Maureen said...

I am laughing and crying all at the same time. While I don't have toddlers or babies, I have kids and teenagers. Quite frankly my oldest teenager seems to be the neediest one right now!

Oh how I have struggled this week. Reading your post was like it was written just about me. That is my daily life. I am so tired, funny I think I am the one being cheated not my kids at this point. I feel like I am drowning sometimes. I have felt bad so many days because I just couldn't get it all done or I may have left someone out.

God knew I needed this encouragement this week, I will carry that scripture you have at the bottom of post in my heart. Thanks Katherine!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Way to begin my Saturday in tears....LOL! But I needed it today, so it is all good.

I just posted this week about how tired I always am, the pregnancy catching up to me, the homeschooling, the constant battle to get someone to do something...

Yep, you summed it up.

Thank you! I think I'll add this verse to my mirror next to Galatians 6:9!

mommasmurf said...

That was hilarious! Oh, it's never like that... oh, wait, it's a bit like that already and the day just started... :)

Becca~TimeWellSpent said...

I loved this! I'm going to have every mother I know come by and read it. I hope I always remember and am willing to lend a hand, in the years to come, to the tired mother of little ones when I see her. After I have a good long nap myself:)

Dahl Family said...

AMEN!!!

jlarsonrn said...

Thank you for putting into words what I feel everyday! Being a mom to school age, preschoolers, and infants is difficult. I appreciate your wisdom and understanding! =)
BTW, my kids are 7, 4, 2, 9mo.

Sarah said...

Katherine, I cannot thank you enough for this! It is exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thank you...thank you...thank you! (I might just be a little choked up after reading it)

mholgate said...

Just what I needed. Thank you. I'm so glad that God brings people like you into my life that have been through the tough parts of motherhood before me!

Hugs,
Melissa

Cheryl said...

Bless you. What sweet fellowship with fellow moms...we need each other. And we need to remember that others are living this life of service (and exhaustion:-)) with us. May God bring many sweet mothers to your blog today to be lifted up and encouraged. I know I have been!

Katie said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! It was like you were a fly on the wall at my house! I have a 6,4 and 2 year old. I sometimes wonder if my life is the only one like that! I guess not! Thank you for making me feel normal!

Michelle said...

You said it again! The only thing I'd add is that yes, one day you will long for those little hands tugging at you again. Then you regain your senses and it passes. LOL. I donated on line for Allie - I hope she gets credited for it. I didn't see anything that said she would.

the funky mom said...

Hi Katherine,

BLESS YOU! BLESS YOU! BLESS YOU! I've been down with the flu for the last week....the kind where the 1 yr old sat in the same diaper until 4 pm b/c I was SICK! It is so nice to read such encouraging words. My oldest will be 11 next month, with the baby turning 2 at the same time, mixed in with a 4 and 6 yr old......well you know exactly what my day looks like. I don't fit in with my older friends b/c they don't have a 1 yr old running around and they get to stay dressed in the same thing all day yet my new mommy friends think I'm crazy too b/c well I couldn't sit and hold the baby all day b/c well the others had to eat among other activities. Some days it's like a circus...others just a zoo. I do love it....I know I do...I'm just tired! all the time! I vaguely remember reading Allie's post about her mission trip during my flu ridden week and looking at my oldest and thinking "Could this be him in 5 years?" I have to hang on and make it all worth it. Thanks Katherine for validating these crazy years!
Kathryn

Terra@mggoslings said...

Where you at my house yesterday? I read this thinking all the while "really? really? Am I really not the only one who feels this way?" Thank you so much Katherine for being honest and encouraging all at the same time!

Terra

Sara at Miller Moments: said...

Ah, you know us moms. Thanks again for your honesty. I so love your writing...so it does get better, huh? :)

Elise said...

Oh. My heart is so refreshed.

My eyes are heavy as I read this, and there is no end or break in sight for days. But I am bolstered by the reminder that He is my strength.

Thank you, Katherine.

L Harris said...

thanks.

today's been a good day, but tough.

5 years ago today my 1st son was born. our third child. he lived for 12 days. March is a tough month. but i get through. i get through for the other 5! ages: 7, 6, 3, 2, 4mon.

thanks for knowing all about the day to day.

gonna link to and share! loved it.

The Family Matters Organizer said...

Thanks for the reminder of how it USED TO BE and that it does actually and is actually easier now. My kids are 5, 8, 10, 12. The struggles are still there, but they are different now and not so time consuming, but more emotionally consuming. But oh, do I remember...and I often think...How did I do it??!! The irony, too, is that my husband worked nights for about 15 years, so I was a single mom with him gone all night and sleeping all day. Just 2 years ago he switched to days. I tell him he had perfect timing.
I see other moms with all their little kids and think how did I handle all that? and at the same time, Oh am I glad I'm done with that! Most of the time I didn't even realize how hard it actually was until I looked back. You just did it. And one day turned into the next...
The next milestone on my list? The extrication of the bathroom stool - oh am I ready to gain that space back and quit stubbing my toe on a daily basis!

So it does get easier, moms, and you'll look back and think it all went by in the blink of an eye! (And so worth every minute!)

Know what got me through? Other moms in the same position. Keep supporting one another ladies!

Anonymous said...

I love you blog and yes it does get better, problems become a little mor difficult...but usually not as constantly draining!
Thanks for sharing Katherine!
Angela in NC

Mama Brown said...

Okay, this is the first time I've seen your blog, but it CRACKED ME UP! I'm an only child and I've got 6 wonderful children (11, 9, 8, 5, 3, and 13 months). I know it's nuts, but I'm actually pregnant again (and I'm not even a homeschooler - ha!). This SO describes most of our days! God is SO good and having this crazy life makes us see the riches and the depths of His grace! Thanks for describing it so well!

Raquel, The Glamorous Life said...

oh girl i needed this! thanks with a 10,6,5,20month old and a baby on the way i am exhausted most days. i have friends who think i have it all together at times and i tell them "uh just comespend a day here"lol

anyhow thanks for all the great posts!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful post. It came at such a needed time. Life has been so crazy here. The kids are now 11,10,7,5 & 18mo. The days go by slowly, but the years pass so quickly. I am trying to remember to cherish these times.

God bless you for being such an encouragement.

It's been so long since I posted that I don't even remember my password.

Debbie (gracealone07@gmail.com)

Jen said...

So loving this...I copied and pasted it and sent it to some of my friends who can totally relate....thanks so much for sharing....

ET @ Titus2:3-5 said...

I laughed hysterically at all the yeses, nos, and please dos - it was like you had hidden a microphone in my living room. LOL! So very real. And yes, we will all live through it (except maybe the hamster).

Ginger@chirgies said...

Oh, you got it PERFECTLY!!! Have you been eavesdropping on our household? It's all SO, SO true!

Andrea said...

LOVE it. I also loved your "Where do I fit in"" post--I identify with that SO much.

Marc and Charity said...

Wow, I needed to read this tonight...as I type with one hand b/c I'm rocking my one month old baby girl! I'm exhausted and overwhelmed...trying to adjust to being a mom to a 4 year old, 2 year old and our newest baby! Thanks!!! I always find encouragement when I visit here!

Peapod Four said...

Love it!!! I'm sending the link to some friends who could probably use a little encouragement. :)

Nicole said...

Hi Katherine! I have not been such a great blogger this last year but I still catch up with you when I can! So I love this post! I am so there...though we are potty training our last one! I cant even believe it...we have been in diapers since 1998 with only one short break! Whooo Hooo!

The last time I "talked" to you was when we moved from a small town to the Dallas area right before Christmas. It has been a great move for our family but we are now making some needed adjustments. It is very easy to get and stay busy here.

Oh well...just wanted to say hello and thank you for sharing your heart. It totally blesses me!

Musings of a Housewife said...

Does it REALLY get better? Sigh... I can SO relate. And I only have three. And they are not homeschooled.

Thanks for letting us know that we're not alone.

melaniet42 said...

Followed the link to your blog from Musings of a Housewife - great post! I've only got one so far, who is sixteen months old, and I already feel like this sometimes! Thank you for the words of inspiration and for letting me know that I'm not alone!!!

Amy Andrews said...

Nail. on. the. head.

Awesome.

Hillcrest Cottage said...

I didn't homeschool (except for one year...and that wasn't by choice) and I only have three but I remember all those thoughts and the tiredness and the being pulled into a billion directions...so thanks.

JanMary said...

Wonderful post - I would say "Welcome to my world!" (the name of my blog)..... but I only have three kids!

A great description of the wonderful realities of being a mum, and I wouldn't change it for the world :)

Thanks for sharing.

Deb_in_oz said...

i only have 2 kids (4 and almost 6) and that still describes my days - and you had me laughing so much so thank you!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was amazing. Someone understand EXACTLY where I am...and she says that it's worth it. I needed to hear that today. Thanks. Love from Alex in Australia

Jeane` said...

You have been in my brain. Amazing.
Perfect. Worthy of a sound "AMEN!".

As I read, winding down to the end, I thought "I hope she mentions the husband's waiting desire, along with the dirty dinner dishes".

And I was not disappointed.

PER. FECT!!!!