I’ve been trying to write this post for a week now. Ever have those weeks (or months) where you feel like you can’t catch up or keep up? I’ll confess- I’m tired. T.I.R.E.D. Maybe borderline weary. I’m telling myself regularly to push through this hard season of raising these little people, the season where I must be available to meet all of their needs, all the time (well except for my now 6 year old, because according to him he can do everything by himself, which works for me). Some say I should nap while the little ones are napping, and maybe I should, but I’d probably end up sleeping until the evening and eventually everyone will want to eat dinner, or need a diaper change, etc. and there’s sure to be whining and crying involved. Speaking of diapers, I should be heading to the store to pick some up because I’m not sure if I have enough to make it through ’til tomorrow…there might be one or two stray ones in the car or I could ask a neighbor, kind of like asking to borrow a cup of sugar, right?
Last winter was hard. Real hard. Super-duper hard. The longest and toughest of my life so far. It was lonely, isolative, and the days dragged on forever. Sleep was rare and my fuse was short most days. I felt trapped inside the house with three little people pulling me in every direction. I remember counting the days until Spring. Staring at the barren trees waiting for signs of life. Telling myself multiple times a day that warmer weather would come and we could get out of the house.
Somehow I knew that being able to go to parks, go for walks, and not being cooped up inside the house would be good for everyone. And I was right. As soon as the trees began to bud and the snow melted we hightailed it out of the house and straight to the park down the street. And we stayed there all Spring.
There were times I would just soak up the sun’s warmth on my face and thank God that He got me through that hard season (literally and figuratively). Having a newborn, a toddler and a preschooler at the same time is hard, but having them all inside the house during a long, snowy winter is enough to make anyone go crazy! That’s the season I learned to trust God and rely on Him for strength. That season is over now though and my newborn is almost a toddler and my preschooler went off to school. Whew.
So why am I writing about bracing for a hard season you ask? “You made it through!”, “It can’t be that hard again!” you might say. And you’d be right. But let’s face it. Each season comes with it’s own challenges and joys. I made it through that hard season just in time to enter another one. Another long winter with small children that like to run and play. A season with a little boy who is as ornery as the day is long and that is in full-blown two-year-old mode…who cares nothing about using the potty, uses the word “no” like it’s going out of style and has begun climbing/jumping/falling out of his crib, which means it’s time for a toddler bed, which means a whole new world of possible bedtime frustrations. And my sleepy, sweet infant? Well he’s now a curious army crawler, not content to bounce happily in his Johnny Jumper. My friends, let me say this: I’m so thankful for my children and don’t take them for granted for one second. Please hear my heart and know I’m not complaining about my duties as their mother. But I’d be lying if I told you that this is easy and I have it all together. I’d be lying if said that I’m not a little anxious about this next season. But there are some things that will be different about this coming season. One is that I’m better prepared…in a been there, done that kind of way. I know that Winter won’t last forever, but rather than brace for the season I need to embrace the season. Leaning on the Lord, trusting His promises and spending time with Him are my strength. Reaching out to other mothers in my season, seeking the wisdom of older mommas, fellowship and encouragement through bible studies and mothers groups; those are so helpful and encouraging to me. Being around women who “get it” and who are real with each other. Those women who allow me to say “This is hard!” and share their stories with me as well as giving me a dose of encouragement until the next time we meet. Some of these ladies I see in person…others it’s through email, text or social media. And it always reminds me that I’m not alone in this. Raising kids is tough…it’s even tougher when you’re trying to do it right. A great song by For King and Country says “But the road less traveled is hard to walk…It takes a soldier, Who knows his orders, To walk the walk I’m supposed to walk”. So bring on this next season! I’m going to brace myself, but more importantly I’m going to embrace God’s truths for me in this season, and I just might come out of it a better momma.