You start out with one baby. He takes up a lot of your time, day and night. But eventually you find your groove and all is well.
You might add another baby a year or two later. And now you have two little people to take care of, but no additional help. But eventually you find your groove there, too.
Baby #3 comes along. And another. And maybe more after that. You always eventually find a balance and a swing to things, but you often feel like you’re not holding it all together so well. All these little kids who are so needy and aren’t able to help much yet.
Sometimes you fear you may be losing your mind. Just kidding…but not really. Right?!
We pretend we have it all together but every day is a new experience in uncharted waters with the oldest. Every day, there’s another sibling squabble to quash. The baby isn’t sleeping through yet. And your toddler(s), well, let’s just say you need to step up your babyproofing game (they really should call it toddlerproofing).
And I haven’t even mentioned chores yet. Or homeschooling. Or working from home. Or reconnecting with hubby. Or having time with friends, or even bathing. You know, the rest of your life.
It’s not a matter of fitting it all in. You could fit a lot into your days, but you find yourself not wanting to. You’re low on energy, you’re frustrated from not sleeping well in years, and you just.don’t.wanna. You’re in a slump.
Mama, my friend, you don’t have to lose your mind (well, not all of it). This motherhood thing, it’s a lot of trial and error. The thing is that you can take your trials and errors and show your kids that life isn’t perfect. Show them how to stay calm when things don’t go as planned and how to get your rear off the couch even when you don’t feel like it.
God can use all things for His good. He can use your stress, busyness, your messy house, even your crying kids to teach you (and them) something. To equip you for the future. To draw you closer to Him. To force you to surrender it all and let Him make your paths straight.
Above all, pray. He will help you get through those tough days where you truly feel like you are failing or your brain is fried or you are so frustrated you can’t even with bedtime. He might even lead you to a blog post like this one for some encouragement and tips. 😉
Don’t skip your chores entirely. For me, I start feeling a little crazy when there is a lot of clutter. I start feeling overwhelmed when there are too many dishes in the sink. Figure out what you need to prioritize and carve out time to work on those things each day. It could be as simple as doing dinner prep during nap time or running the vacuum while your kids are doing independent work.
Take time each day to have fun! Just five minutes on the floor with your kiddos can bring a smile to everyone’s faces…maybe even yours.
Stop neglecting your social needs. For so long I went without real friendships. I’m an introvert, and Jesus is my bestie. But lately I’ve been trying to get better at forging and maintaining friendships with local moms. Get the kids together to play and chat away with the mom. The good thing about motherhood is that your kids’ friends’ moms are sort of like built-in friends for you. You might just find someone who is likeminded and will become your confidante and biggest cheerleader.
Likewise, see how you can support others. Maybe you can volunteer in your child’s co-op or the church nursery. Lend an ear to your new friend. I always get a bit of a high knowing I have helped someone else. Don’t do it for that reason; do it out of love for your neighbor. But that swell of good feelings that comes with doing right by others can boost your own morale.
Use what you’ve learned to help others. Every mom has some things figured out. Even if it’s just your favorite tips and tricks for meal planning or making naptime easier, you have overcome something difficult and can share that to help other moms. Be confident that even though sometimes your life feels crazy, there are certain things you are still doing well!
When all your kids are little, life can be so overwhelming. You can stay grounded by helping others and accepting help for yourself, scheduling in some time for fun each day, staying on top of your most important chores, and praying for God to give you energy and mental clarity to do the things required of you. Overcome your obstacles and then you’ll be equipped to share your strategies with other moms in the trenches, all the while setting an excellent example for your kids. Before you know it, you’ll be teaching your oldest how to drive and missing the days when your biggest worries included getting trapped on the couch under a sleeping baby.
Andrea Townsley is a Jesus-loving wife to one hardworking man and mom to four spunky littles. You can find her blogging about homemaking, homeschooling, faith, and natural living at Townsley Times. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram for more real life truths and encouragement!