Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Moms With Small Blessings



A dear reader recently commented:

"I have been struggling with feeling depressed being home with my two toddlers, plus one on the way. I asked my husband if I could get a job in the evenings because I feel like I've got to get out - like I'm going a little crazy. Did you ever go through this? Some days I just feel like my four walls are closing in on me - literally - we have a small house and I feel stuck sometimes. Everything you wrote about I have a heart for, it's just really really hard sometimes."


Dear Sweet Mother With Small Blessings,

I can remember the season of my life with many small ones, one right after another and feeling just how you felt. You are a not alone. A wonderful little magazine came into my life called 'Above Rubies' which I highly recommend you subscribe to (used to be free, I'm not sure if it still is), which helped me gain perspective on this blessed time in my life and helped change the way I viewed my season of raising little ones. Here are some thoughts:

1. Seek God. He will refresh you, give you strength when you are weary, He will refocus you on your calling as a mother and He will give you wisdom on just how to do it. Pray earnestly to Him and He will help you.

2. Embrace this special time in your life. They will only be little for a short time. Make the most of it. Relish it and enjoy it. Do all that you ever wanted to do with them and revel in this precious time. Try not to think negatively, surround yourself with friends/godly woman who will encourage you in your role and season that you are in. Sometimes if you surround yourself with the wrong people it actually can hinder your thoughts and your mothering!

3. Establish a routine at home. Since you have so many little ones you will want to look for pockets of rest or down time so that you can rejuvenate yourself. Train the children to have their own downtime--have them go sit on their beds and look at a book or lay them down regularly for nap time. Naptimes are wonderful because great things can happen when a mom who is rested! Establish a regular 'quiet time' in your home. Don't try to do anything that would stress you out that other moms might be doing--understand this season of your life and take it joyfully one day at a time.

4. Train your children when they are small. Scriptures declare "Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul." If small children are not trained they can wreak havoc on a home and even on the best of moms! And remember that this is an on-going process so don't get discouraged because training is for 'the long haul'.

4. If you need to get out, try going on walks, go to the park, meet with friends who have little ones like you. I personally didn't try to get a job because I knew that my energies were needed at home and also heard so many stories of woman who just found themselves more exhausted and unhappy because they could not 'keep up' with work and their responsibilities at home. In the end, it just did not seem worth it for me. I decided to just tweak some things at home and understand what season I was in and practice the virtue contentment. When I began to learn motherhood was a high-calling, I was determined not to leave these little darlings for anything--unless I absolutely had to. (I am not saying it is wrong to work, especially if your husband has asked you to do this, then by all means do submit to him--but if it is just a need to get out, I would highly suggest other means.) Could you wait until your husband got home and then plan an outing just for yourself? I leaned more on doing something like that and it helped immensely, knowing that I would have special time for rest later.

Motherhood is a precious, special time in our lives. We are not alone in this precious journey--mothers from all walks of life share our same struggles and challenges. May the Lord help us all to stay focused and be the kind of mothers He desires for us to be through thick and thin as we faithfully raise the next generation for His purposes.

14 comments:

  1. The early years of mothering are indeed challenging, especially for those of us who weren't trained at home growing up. School was pretty much the framework for our growing up years and everything was planned ahead for us. Being in charge of our own home/time/routine is challenging enough, but the ongoing, repetitive demands of little ones is especially challenging sometimes. Along with developing routines, I also found it helpful to try to plan one "special thing" for mid-week so the children and I would have something to work towards - story hour (when we had access to the car), picnic in the yard with special cookies or sandwiches when we needed to stay home. If rain is in the forecast, plan a "puddle stomping" outing (planning for messes makes them easier to enjoy) :-)
    These can be rich years if you keep the vision of those souls that are entrusted to you.
    Blessings,
    Linda
    (grandma to 5 so far)

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  2. Another great post.

    My request is again then to please show us your routine/schedule on a normal day! :) hehehe but I totally understand if you don't get to it - I'm going to keep asking though! :)

    Have an awesome day!

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  3. This post was just what I needed to read today. Thank you! I only have one little one so far, but my husband is working full-time, commuting, and in seminary full-time. A lot of days I really struggle with feeling "cooped up" at home.

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  4. You gave this blessed sister some wonderful advice June! I only hope and pray she will read it with an open heart.
    The devil also will try and play tricks on your emotions and make you feel things that really shouldn't be there, hence the reason why we always need to be seeking the Lord throughout the day.

    God Bless all you mothers, mothers to be and hoping to be mommies one day!

    Dawn

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  5. I agree with your advice to the mom of the small children. I can remember how I often felt "trapped" when my boys were little. I had a baby, a 1 year old, and a 3 year old. Only one person could go anywhere with me because the back seat of the car contained 3 car seats. But don't give up. The very highest calling you can have is being at home with your little ones.
    I often found I needed to "escape" for a little while too. I would get dinner done, boys fed, bathed, and in bed and leave them with my husband for a little bit while I went to a wonderful older lady's house for a visit. She was a God send to me. She was always welcoming and I left feeling refreshed and renewed in life. Try to find an older, kind, Christian lady to visit when you need some away time. Just remember that children are little only for a precious short while. Treasure the time and make many memories! I tried to stay home as much as possible. I would go to a Bible study twice a week that provided a day care and do any necessary shopping on those days. It was just easier to be home with the boys than out and about everyday. Organization is a key but remember that dirty dishes and having a home is much better than having a perfect house. This season of your life is about raising children to become Godly people. You can have all the other things in time. And that time will pass all too quickly.

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  6. This is wonderful counsel, June. I remember when I had 3 children in five years and the days I thought I had to escape:) God gives us times of refreshing, but something that helped me trememdously was changing my thought process and what I was believing. If we constantly dwell on the fact that "we just can't take anymore" we will produce feelings and emotions that will drive us crazy. Emotions are the result of what we think. We can take everything that God sends our way because He promises He will never give us more than we can bear. When I began to believe what God said instead of what my own deceitful heart was saying, I began to experience freedom and right emotions.
    And I love the little phrase my mother-in-law told me one time during labor........"this too shall pass".
    Being a mom of little ones is challenging, but hang in there as the rewards are worth it and it does get easier:)
    Rhonda

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  7. Great post -- probably many women share the same overwhelming feelings. What helped me was finding an "older woman" a season ahead of me. They shared their wisdom, they encouraged me, they pointed me to the Sovereign God whom we serve -- who offers us rest and peace in Him. I would be honored if a younger woman desired that realtionship with me.

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  8. Wonderful! I know that many mothers will be blessed by your wisdom.

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  9. June, thank you.

    This was just what I needed to read today. In fact, I'm taking your advice and as I write I have a friend over who I taught how to make a pillow this morning - her little one played with mine and we're having a wonderful time of encouragement and fellowship. I'm not going to get a job - my husband said just what you did!

    I'm going to print this post out for encouragement. I will also look into that magazine.

    Thank you again - your wisdom, kindness and love is felt through your words - I am grateful for your "ministry" online.

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  10. June,

    I wholeheartedly agree with the wonderful words of Godly wisdom that you shared with this young mother of little ones!

    I felt that way at times when my 3 were little and often, just going to the grocery store *all alone* was a big outing for me :o)

    I loved the ideas that Linda T shared about picnics in the yard and *puddle stomping* ... I took mine to story times and we had fun with them trying to help me do some of the things that needed doing.

    Our own story times at home were special and as someone else said, spending time at home with them was far easier than taking them all over the place ...

    The years of childhood only happen once and nothing can be repeated - having a vision of the high calling that motherhood is makes a tremendous difference!

    Blessings to all those who have the pitter patter of little feet around the house as well as those who long to hear such and those who remember those precious years!

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  11. Dear Mrs. Fuentes, as a new wife with a little one on the way, I sometimes feel "I want to get out for a while!" - it happens when my home is messy, dinner is burned, and everything is falling apart.

    However, I realize working outside the home would hardly be a solution. My home won't be made prettier in my absence. No one will make it a better place. No one will keep children better trained and better behaved while the mother is out... we are NEEDED.

    Most jobs don't add to a woman's serenity. They just add more stress. An outing such as meeting other wives/moms, a long walk, an art class, or any other non-stressful activity seem much better to me.

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  12. 3. Establish a routine at home. Since you have so many little ones you will want to look for pockets of rest or down time so that you can rejuvenate yourself. Train the children to have their own downtime--have them go sit on their beds and look at a book or lay them down regularly for nap time. Naptimes are wonderful because great things can happen when a mom who is rested!

    And children nap so much better if they have some fresh air and exercise beforehand.

    One bit of advice I wish I'd known to do with my own young children is to train them to sit quietly in a chair, entertaining themselves with a picture book, etc., starting with a very brief time and increasing it, while the mother is making dinner. This helps for having cooperative children while shopping, at appointments, or at church.

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  13. I've been reading your blog for some time now. And I really admire you. I'm a stay at home mother to my 4 year old. I feel absolutely frustrated and maybe that is why now, I'm reaching out for help.

    I am ashamed to admit this, but maybe someone can help me restore peace to my home.

    My 4 year old runs our home. Literally. And I am at my wits end. As is my husband. I have always considered my self a gentle parent, a patient mother, who gives alot of time and attention to my child. I believe that this is my highest calling, and I cry when I think about how I am the one who must be doing everything wrong.

    My daughter throws horrible tantrums. She screams at me and my husband. She tells us she hates us. She refuses to stop talking over us, when my husband and I are trying to talk with one another. She engages her father into arguments, and constantly upsets him. She wakes up in the morning and demands breakfast and cartoons. Sometimes the day begins with a tantrum.
    She has no respect for us. She constantly back talks.

    We have removed TV, Toys, and I have let my home go, so I can spend more time with her. You see, a therapist tried to tell me that my daughter was fine, that it was me that had to bend to her will and give her my full attention around the clock.

    She's going on 5. This has to stop. I don't know what to do. I don't know what information to turn to that could help bring peace into our home. It is to a point where my husband and I cannot even enjoy our home or time together when he comes home from a 10 hour shift at work. He is a patient loving father. A good husband. But all of these stresses are starting to cause cracks in our foundation. We even find ourselves arguing now with one another when the stress is high. Our home feels divided on most days. My husband and I cannot figure out how to solve the problem. He and I have talked this out almost on a weekly basis.

    I'm reaching out here for anyone to please help me. I feel like I'm at my wits end. I pray so hard for something to change, and maybe I just don't have the tools or the know -how. I just want my daughter to be respectful and the tantrums to end. I cannot even function on some days that are bad.

    Please help. Anyone.
    Thank you.

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  14. Dear Anonymous,

    I haven't forgotten about you, I am responding to you in a post that should be up in a few days.

    Many blessings...

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