To All of the Young Moms...
Motherhood is hard. It is exhausting in every area- mentally, physically, and emotionally. It is constantly giving, giving, giving, only to get little in return- especially if you only have little kids.
Some days, it is all you can do to survive. Some days, you barely make it until it's time to put the kids to bed, and you do it with a sigh of relief, only to turn around to face a house in disarray. You clean for the next two hours, and then you nurse a fussy baby, finally lay down to sleep, and a kid wakes up puking. Yeah, it's tough.
I have been a mother for almost 19 years now. I have been through every season. Pregnancy eight times over, birth seven times, (almost eight- just a couple of weeks left!) newborn stages, toddler stages, middle school stages, teenage years, and now I have almost raised two to adulthood. I currently have an adult son living in the home, and another right on his heels.
And I have to say, as an older mom, with older kids, it's easier now than when I first started.
I want this to be an encouragement to younger moms.
No mom has it all together. We all have our faults, we all have our weaknesses, we all have our strengths and strong areas. We all struggle some days, and are victorious other days. Sometimes our children are perfectly behaved little angels, and we think, "Hey, I finally have this thing figured out!" And then the next day hits. Our house looks like a tornado hit it, we burn all the meals, the dog runs away, the phone rings nonstop, the kids fight, we are in our pajamas the whole day, and we feel like a failure. Both scenarios are false. None of us have this thing figured out, and none of us are complete failures.
When your kids are younger, you are going to feel like you can barely keep it together. You will be pulled in a million directions, every day, all day. You will be stretched in ways you never knew were possible. You will feel like you can't do it all, be it all, or even fake that you are. And you don't need to fake it. Who are you trying to impress? Your Facebook friends? Your Instagram friends? Your real life friends? Why? Our goal should be to impress the Lord, and that's it. Do your best, and leave it in God's hands. No need to put on a front, because, as moms, we all know how hard it is. Motherhood is the most exhausting thing I have ever done. Ever. Nothing compares, and I am not going to pretend it's easy. BUT. It does get easier. Let me give you some examples, based off of things I have seen in my own life, and am living out, at this very moment.
When your kids are little, you have to do EVERYTHING for them. Everything. Dress them, brush their teeth, clip their nails, give them baths, feed them, train them, discipline them.
When your kids get older, they start doing stuff for YOU. Watching the baby so you can nap. Cleaning. Cooking. Running errands. (the one perk of having drivers!)
When your kids are younger, you are constantly disciplining and training. That in and of itself is exhausting.
When your kids get older, the discipline ceases, (training never does) and you are able to teach by your example, your words, and your actions. Teens might be trying to find out who they are and become more independent, but if you have done a good job at gaining their hearts when they are young, they will bring you joy and pride as you see them blossom into adults.
When your kids are younger, you have no outlets for yourself. You have to pour everything into these tiny humans. You barely have time to breathe, much less be involved in any outside activities.
As your kids gets older, you can branch out more. Hobbies that were a thing of that past suddenly pop up in your life again. You can have a side activity that you love, to bring in extra money for fun things. The possibilities are endless. I had been a mom for 14 years before I was able to invest my time and energy into something other than child rearing. It was then that I was able to teach piano at an Arts Academy in town, during a couple evenings when my husband was home. Before then, it was impossible, and I just accepted that.
I have often been asked how I get so much done. I am a pastor's wife, a mom of almost eight, a homeschooling mom, a YouTuber, blogger, (sometimes- I can't believe how long it's been since I posted a blog post!) and I teach almost 20 hours of piano lessons a week. Some call me SuperMom. I scoff at that. I am not SuperMom. I just have older kids.
My older kids help me run the house. They all have their areas of responsibility, and they do it well, for the most part. Yes, we have our stressful days where we have to work out the kinks, but for the most part, we are settled into our routine and the house runs just fine. Being a keeper at home doesn't mean that you do every little thing yourself. Being a keeper at home means that you are the overseer, and you can delegate tasks!
So here are some tips for you younger moms.
1.Train them well when they are young, and they will be a huge blessing as they get older. Train them to work hard. Train them to respect you, and other adults. Train them in the things of the home. Train them to love church. Train them in the things of the Bible. It will seem like it's all you do, but don't give up. You will reap the rewards later.
2. Comparison is the thief of joy. Do not compare yourself to older moms. Older moms are in a different season than you. They have older kids. Don't underestimate the huge difference. You will see, as yours start getting older! It's a game changer, believe me! I couldn't do 75% of the things I do without my older kids' help. Do not compare yourself to young moms who seem to be perfect and have it all together. Maybe they just don't want to show their dirty sink on Facebook, but believe me, none of us all have it together. Live YOUR life and stop worrying about the fake realities of other peoples' lives.
3. Remember that someday, you will have other hobbies and interests. You are in the thickest part of the "battle" right now. You are being drained the most and pushed the most- at least physically. There is a different kind of exhaustion as your kids grow up- mainly mental as they enter their teenage years, but when they are young, the physical exhaustion is real. Realize your limits. Don't try to do too much, and don't bemoan the fact that you don't have time for passions or interests. That day will come. Believe me.
4. Learn contentment for every season of raising kids. Learn to go with the flow. Learn to let go of over the top expectations. Learn to choose your battles. Learn to be happy even amid the chaos. Learn to enjoy the smell of a newborn, and the antics of toddlerhood. The days are long, but the years are short. My, how I am finding that out!
5. Ask older women for advice. Don't do it alone. We all need each other, and we can all use advice, admonition, and encouragement. You don't have to struggle in loneliness. Reach out to someone if you need to.
6. If you are doing the basics when you have little kids, you are doing awesome. You cooked three meals? Amazing. You bathed and dressed all your little kids that are five and younger? You are the SuperMom. You clipped their nails and washed their faces and combed their hair? Win for the day!
7. When you have only little kids, your day looks different than mine. I might teach ten students and homeschool four kids and have a hot dinner on the table when my husband gets home, then leave and do a GLS show, and you might only keep the five kids 6 and under alive, but you know what? That's fine. We are in different seasons of life. What you didn't see was all my kids being independent learners during their homeschooling, (while I was teaching piano) Abby cooking the meal for supper, and the kids cleaning the house after piano lessons so it didn't look like a complete mess when their dad got home! Our days will look different, and that doesn't make one better than the other. It just is what it is when you are in different seasons of life.
8. One day you will sleep again. I promise. You will. And you will be able to leave the kids at home while you run errands, or have your son run an errand for you. You will be able to knit again, or sew again, or have a side business. You will be able to sit and read for a couple hours. It's coming, believe me.
But in the meantime, hang in there. Motherhood, like I said before, is a wonderful, stressful, hard, great, amazing, stretching, growing, beautiful time.
Learn to love every season, and remember- the day when you have older kids is coming. And for me, it's been a wonderful time.
For now, you'll just have to trust me. But I am pretty sure that if I asked you five years from now if it's gotten easier having older kids, you would agree with me.
Life isn't always dirty diapers and snotty noses and bleary nights and running after toddlers.
Those babies grow up.
Enjoy every season, because once you blink- it's gone.