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.