Warning: Rambly post about motherhood that may or may not have a point by the end. If you don’t have time to read, here is a great Sally Clarkson podcast on balance in motherhood. It has lots of good, practical tips!
Hello mommy friends. How’s it been going with you guys? There’s no simple answer to that, is there? These past couple of weeks I’ve felt pretty encouraged. Mainly just because I’ve felt normal! And by normal I mean happy, healthy, and not exhausted/on the edge of my sanity half of the time, hahaha. Though any time I talk to my parents on video chat they’re like “wow, you look so tired”. Leave it to your family to tell the honest truth!
Anyway, the sun has been out almost every day, which is unheard of where we live so praise God! Overall, the months since Lilah was born have been very good. Life with four kids (when the oldest is only five!) has it’s moments, both good and bad and hectic all around. You know, a new baby in the house and the adjustment that comes with that + travel + holidays + Thane’s work travel picking up again + what seemed like tons and tons and tons of doctors appointments and errands that had us out and running around all the time. And did I mention there are four kids, all five and below? Haha! But errands and commitments outside of the home have calmed down a bit and we’re all healthy for the first time in months. So, praise God, I am so grateful! And we can do a lot of hard things as long as we stay encouraged, right? Keeping a positive outlook is half of the battle.
And now we’ve just come out of what was a very good stretch of peaceful, productive days and I’m over here doing a happy dance and feeling compelled to put it in writing! Though I’m not sure why I’m going to bother thinking about what life was like this week, because by next week it will be different. That’s the nature of the beast of parenting, isn’t it? Figure one thing out, only to have another thing change. Constantly.
But for the immediate future, at least it feels like it’s time to just slow down and hunker down, to borrow a good old phrase from my southern upbringing. So, we’ve established a little bit of a new daily routine; HOME in the mornings, OUT in the afternoons.
I honestly hate to be that mom that’s totally tied down to a timetable for everything, and I’d love to have the freedom to be more flexible and to come and go as we pleased. But, I’ve learned that there are seasons of life where it’s just not worth pushing ourselves to do more than we have to. Right now, less is more! Staying home in the morning when possible is a really good thing because we have to have 1) a really early lunch in order to also have 2) really early naps in order to 3) be ready to get up and get out to pick Asher up from school in the early afternoon.
I’m not kidding, even just going out in the morning to do simple things like grocery shopping gets us totally off track and the rest of the day feels like it’s gone haywire. In a few months I’m sure it’ll be different, but right now, this is where we’re at. And it’s good. Mornings at home give us the chance to have good quality play time, to keep up with the housework (I wrote about how we do that HERE), to make sure we’re set for dinner, and to be able to rest a little. Then, once we’ve picked up Asher from school at 2:30 we’re free to be out and about for a couple of hours without feeling like we’re falling behind on everything else.
So, I don’t know, it’s always an ever shifting balance of time and priorities and just plain figuring out what you have to do to remain sane when there are so many little ones and so many little things to take care of all day. But for now, this is working!
On that note, it’s taken me almost six years of motherhood to come to a firm understanding that there is no formula for this. Parenting is just a long, long undertaking and every single day is different. Especially when you add Army life to the mix. There is no method or ideology or routine that makes this journey easy or predictable. It’s a long, winding road with bends and hills and valleys, smooth parts and rough parts, stretches traveled in the daylight and stretches traveled in the dark. But I’m so thankful that- by the grace of God- I’ve at least begun to scratch the surface on what it takes for joyful, fruitful parenting, and that is this; acknowledging that no two days will be alike, that I don’t have what it takes to accomplish anything in the lives of my children that that truly matters (anything eternal) on my own, and that I won’t even be able to get the simple, practical things done well if I try to do it all in my own strength.
I’ve been writing about this topic on and off for a few years now, and the conclusion is always the same. Plainly put, I need JESUS to be the One who guides and fuels our days. I have to wake up each morning and put my trust in Him to direct the day’s course, to supply for it’s needs, and to bring about whatever purpose and fruitfulness that He ordains. I have to pray and keep my bible close. Not that it’s always obvious what the point of each day was, a lot of them seem like a frustrating, pointless whirlwind, to be honest. But by learning to lean on Jesus more, He’s taking some of the burden and giving me joy in it’s place. Don’t get me wrong, having so many littles all at once is hard. There’s no getting around it. But in spite of it all, I’m getting so much better about being able let go of the little things that just don’t matter and to enjoy and even laugh at a lot of what would have totally stressed me out in the past.
So, hallelujah! Maybe this is just the natural course that parenthood takes by the time there’s four kids in the house. But either way, I’m so, so thankful for all of God’s patience with me as less than perfect mom, and I’m so thankful that He’s bringing me to a new chapter in this motherhood season where I’m learning to enjoy it more and more despite the fact that it’s probably crazier than it’s ever been.
P.S. Asher took all these photos! Totally spur of the moment, (no hair brushing or makeup as you’ll see below, haha!) But I love them, they’re a little bit of a testament to real, unpolished life.